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From the studio { December }

December 31, 2015

studio view decemberDecember was a good month for sewing, two quilts, a mini quilt, a set of 8 place mats, bee blocks, teacher gifts. The weather was bonkers (when will it get cold?) and I spent a lot more time at the studio. At the end of the month I had a massive clear up and out and rearranged the space to make it work better for me. I don’t know how long I will be able to stay there as there is likely to be some rejuvination of the area but I am justĀ  making the most of it while I can.

december makes

From the studio: My Oakshott quilt finished – and gifted as a 40th birthday present for my SIL, My utterly brilliant (if I don’t mind saying so myself) Christmas Quilt (proper post on this one soon), A paper pieced Buzzard for my Dad’s Christmas present, November Bee Block (top) Place mats for my Step mum’s Christmas present and December’s Bee Block.

And that is it, a whole year of From the Studio. I will put together a review post next week. I am not sure if I will carry on with these posts in 2016, I am not sure what I want for my blog to be honest but I will be back soon to work it all out. Happy New Year, thank you so much for reading in 2015 xxx

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From the studio { November }

December 29, 2015

studio view November

Brrr. November. I love that the first shot has them setting up the fireworks – a big thing in Lewes. It was all a bit grey. College work was taking over and sewing time was really limited in November, so only one visit a week.

november makes

From the studio: (Top) My Oakshott blocks finally sewn together and sashed with the perfect fabric – Luminous from Anna Maria Horner, my first sample for college – crazy pathchwork, and another college sample this time learning how to make a piece using fused applique.

(Bottom): Fused applique sample in progress, a crochet star – we decorated the local estate agents window along with other members of the Ringmer Collective, and a crazy patchwork sample made with interfaced pieces of foil.

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From the studio { October }

December 28, 2015

studio view october

October was all about starting college and trying to find a rhythm now I had two children at school. From these pictures it looks like the sun shone too. I had been waiting for the Autumn to come and the colours of my view to change and I wasn’t disappointed. I wish Autumn leaves lasted longer though.

October makes

From the studio: (Top) Spring Quilt finally on the binding, October’s Bee Block.

(Bottom): Tying the Spring Quilt together – the first time I have done this, my block for the DIY Block Design Challenge.

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From the studio { September }

December 28, 2015

studio view september

Okay, I am four months behind on these posts, but I have all the images so I am determined to get them up this week. September was a nice month, it was great to be back in the studio sewing after the school holidays and I also headed to the Simply Solids Retreat for some brilliant sewing time (the tickets are on sale for 2016, I recommend it, I am going!).

September makes

From the studio: (Top) Spring Quilt top finally pieced together, a sleeping bag for my neice’s puppy, my blocks from The Bee Hive Quilting Bee sewn together.

(Bottom): Christmas quilt top sewn together, name badge I made for another retreat attendee, The One Ring mini for my retreat secret sewer (seriously, how cool? I loved making it).

Live

2308

November 26, 2015

sleep2308

That is the number of bedtimes that there have been since I became a mum.

6 years, 3 months, 25 days

Take off some for the beginning when there were no bedtimes, and those that I have not been home for for whatever reason and that still means that I have put Piran to bed over 2,000 times.

But it is still a bloody nightmare.

Add Kate to the mix (say 1,500 of those bedtimes she is there too) and what you get is utter carnage.

It got so bad in the summer that I started having to leave the house every evening at 7.30 and stay out until they were asleep. And we stuck to it and for a while it worked. We had a strict routine.

I took them upstairs, gave them a bath, put them in pjs and bought them back downstairs.
They could then have a snack and play with me for 15 minutes and then back upstairs for teeth cleaning and a story each. After the story I put them in bed and then said goodnight and went out.
Mr C then sat on the landing – they could have 5 minutes of playing followed by lights out and 10 more minutes of him sitting on the landing then he said goodnight and went downstairs.

It really worked for a few weeks and then they went back to school and it all fell apart. Then Mr C went away with work for a few weeks here and there and Kate was ill and blah de blah de blah.

Tonight bedtime looked like this:

Man came round to talk about the decorating so we couldn’t do their bath at the right time.
Piran decided to put his pjs on, walking round naked while the nice man was trying to discuss a quote.
I reminded him that he should have a bath first. He threw a tantrum.
He carried on putting his pjs on then disappeared back downstairs.
Man left, Kate was removed from watching the TV (which according to the rules should have been switched off 15 minutes ago) – she sulked.
Kate got in the shower.
Piran ate 3 biscuits while playing snap with Mr C.
Kate refused to get out of the shower.
I turned the water off.
Kate got out of the shower but refused to get dry so lay on the landing covered in a towel. This is called being a rock.
Piran and Mr C fell out over alleged Snap cheating.
Finally got Kate’s pjs on even though she lay on the floor pretending to be a rock.
She screamed at me because I tried to towel dry her hair.
She went downstairs.
Piran came upstairs and informed me that he was going to do colouring with Daddy this evening when we is on the landing. I said no. Piran threw an almighty strop, tossed his Yu-Gi-Oh cards in the air and ran crying off into the kitchen.
Kate tried to bring biscuits upstairs and was told off. She moaned.
All upstairs again. Kate agrees to brush teeth. Piran gets super angry and starts throwing stuff around his room and going up and down stairs.
Kate brushes teeth and lets me read her a story.
I say goodnight and try to leave.
Kate cries because I will not do the 15 minutes on the landing with her.
Piran still throwing an anger fit.
Mr C pulls Kate off me and I run out of the door.
I drive to Tesco and buy sweets, chiocolate and two bottles of wine. I know I have to do this solo tomorrow night so I need provisons.
Mr C and I text – I want to know if I am allowed back in the house.
He tells me to sneak in.
He has managed to get Kate to sleep.
Within five minutes Piran is back downstairs, saying he is hungry.
We offer him a brioche roll just to get him to GO TO SLEEP but instead he screams that he wants toast. Then he screams because he wants smoked salmon and there isn’t any.
At this point I start laughing because it is all too ridiculous for words. I have been at college all day and I am too tired to deal. Mr C is having a bad week and he cannot manage it either.
We turn off the programme we were watching, still Michael Portillo and his trains on and just give up.
We all decide to go to bed at 9.15pm.
Piran insists on sleeping in my bed.
I go off, poor another large wine and write a blog post.

I know that we have let things slide but with Kate coming out of her room every 2 minutes and Piran throwing these angry temper tantrums I just do not know what to do. We try and limit screen time, there are no screens after 6.30pm.

You see these TV shows were people spend 3 nights making bedtime magically better. And we have managed that in the past. We really have tried EVERYTHING. But after a couple weeks something happens that mucks it up and we feel like we are back at square one. And we are so much more tired than the last time. I don’t think I have any patience left.

AND they both still wake up at least 3/4 nights a week in the middle of the night.

Advice and/or commiseration gratefully received.

Live, Yours Truly

One day at a time

November 22, 2015

Blogging every day in November was a bust then.

Managing anything at the moment is not going so well.

Good days are good days and I manage to make sure we have supplies, I run the errands and do the shopping. I write lists and make plans. I do some college work.

Then there are the bad days. The days when everything is just too much effort. I wander the house aimlessly. I fixate on something and get myself into such a state that I am unable to function. I make myself ill.

I know when these days come I need to be kind to myself. I know that I should just curl up and read, do the bare minimum, just get all of us through one day at a time.

But I can’t help feeling frustrated and useless. I see friends who work full time, look after their family and still manage to get more done than I do. I feel ashamed that I am not one of those people.

I want to write to get this out but I know that some people will read it and feel concerned. I don’t want to worry the people that love me, those that I have a responsibility to and for, those that I work for. So I think I should just be quiet and get on with it.

But my brain hurts and my head hurts and my heart aches that I am not more than I am.

And then there is a good day and I feel silly, like this is all in my head.

I shared this on Facebook recently, it really hit the nail on the head. With anxiety comes worry – but with depression comes the inability to do anything about it.

I have been to the doctor, increased my medication. I have self referred myself to the local mental health NHS support and I am waiting to hear from them. I am going to stop worrying about it and write more about how I feel because that makes a difference.

I am actually ill this weekend which doesn’t help – I have been trying to sleep and rest and take care of myself. I have spent most of today in bed.

A weekend spent at home, mostly in bed. Bad headaches (mine), snotty noses, headaches and sore throats (theirs) have put pay to a nice weekend. Plans cancelled, friends missed, sleep interrupted. Feel utterly void of any kind of energy though as I lay here in the afternoon sunlight. Thank goodness for the wonderful Mr C who is looking after us all. #littlestoriesofmylife #weekendscollected

A weekend spent at home, mostly in bed. Bad headaches (mine), snotty noses, headaches and sore throats (theirs) have put pay to a nice weekend. Plans cancelled, friends missed, sleep interrupted. Feel utterly void of any kind of energy though as I lay here in the afternoon sunlight. Thank goodness for the wonderful Mr C who is looking after us all. #littlestoriesofmylife #weekendscollected

I will keep on taking one day at a time.

Live

Instant Memories

November 10, 2015

Four years ago, in November 2011, I reviewed a canvas print from Photobox. I made a collage of my favourite pictures over 6 months of Instagram and got it made into a canvas.

I had big plans, thinking that I could do something similar every six months or so. I never did. That would have been crazy expensive for a start. I do print Instagram photos – some go into our photo albums that I have been creating since Piran was born – some of the 20-30 images each month that I print every 3 months and add to an album. I also love printing off Polargrams, I do this once a year and keep them in a set.

But I have never made another collage. It lives in the toilet and every day I look at it. Sometimes I think that really I should take it down – it is out of date, over four years old, and we don’t have any more up to date ones displayed anywhere. But then I look at it, and I see the photos that it contains. It covers the period from when I was pregnant with Kate, right through until she was six months or so old.

Those months were the hardest months of my life. By far. Two children under two, one that didn’t stop crying and one that was a limpet attached to me at all times. I had postnatal depression and was extremely sleep deprived and I have no idea how I got through that time. It is a complete and utter blur.

But when I look at these photos, bits of it come back. Yes, Instagram tends to be the highlight reel, and there have been many discussions about being authentic and sharing real life. And these days my caption will tend to share the story behind the photo, ‘keeping it real’. But back then I just shared photos to capture the memories. And I am so glad I did. It was such a hard, dark time, and without these pictures that could be my only memory of that time.

81 photos. Too many to mention but some of my favourite memories (in no particular order and definitely not chronologically):

A brilliant visit from Heather and family.
Kicking leaves in the park.
Piran’s second birthday.
The first picture of Kate.
Kate with her bunny from her brother.
The quilt I made Kate.
My first trip to the supermarket with two children (I swear I felt like I climbed Everest that day).
The first moment Piran met Kate.
The first cuddle Kate had with Grandma.
Being pregnant.
The amazing relationship between my children that has just grown and grown.
Baby dresses filling the washing line.
A day out at Wakehurst Place.
A beautiful summer.
Our gorgeous garden.
Weeks spent in Cornwall.
Piran in black and white trousers on St Piran’s Day, the smell of pasties in the oven.
The fact he used to line all his cards and trucks up on top of the radiator.

I see other things too, more than one picture of Kate asleep after a whole day of crying. The Stokke newborn set that was the only thing that Kate would feed in (she hated to be held when being fed), beds full of adults and children just trying to get some rest, wide awake baby faces in the middle of the night.

Those months were so hard and so long and sometimes I wonder if it is better not to think of them. But then I stop and catch sight of one of these images and I am reminded that there were moments of light in the darkness.

Create

Sketchbook Club

November 9, 2015

Clearly weekends and blogging don’t go together for me. I was out all day Friday until late and then so busy with family weekend stuff that I didn’t get a chance to write anything.

I prefer to write when I am alone in the house, and today is the first time since last Thursday that I am. It is actually something that I never really thought about but now I have I know to set aside time for blogging during the day when everyone is out.

Something that I am happy to do when people are around is draw and paint and try and fill up my sketchbook. Over the summer I took part in thye first 4 modules of Jennie Maizels Sketchbook Club. It was so much fun, perfect to get me started creating. And when I was having all of my bad anxiety attacks during the summer it was the one thing that could help me switch off for a while and just get into the zone and draw / paint / collage. It has become part of my life now, something that I enjoy doing as well as something that helps me cope on the tricky days.

Over the summer I completed each of the four modules at least twice. Here are some of my pages. Click on the hashtags to see all the pages shared on Instagram. I love seeing how different everyone’s are.

I highly recommend Sketchbook Club. Even if you think you cannot draw Jennie makes it easy for you. Rumor is that she is hard at work creating part 2 and I for one am very excited. Piran and Kate both joined in in their own way and I love some of their pictures. It was a lovely thing to do all together.

#sketchbookclubhouses

sketchbookclub houses 1

sketchbookclub houses

#sketchbookclubfish

sketchbookclub fish

sketchbookclub fish 1

#sketchbookclubwashingline

sketchbookclub washing line

sketchbookclub washing line 1

#sketchbookclubbugs

sketchbookclub bugs 1

sketchbookclub bugs

I have been carrying on too. Here is a spread that I created yesterday. I wanted to capture Autumn in some way, and record something about Kate and school. The words are from a song that her class sang when we were invited into their classroom a couple weeks ago.

autumn leaves

Hope you like them.

Create

Sketchbook – City & Guilds

November 5, 2015

So a few weeks ago I finally started my City & Guilds Level 3 in Textiles. I have been waiting over six months to get started and I was so excited / nervous. Anyway I have been for 2 classes (we meet a day every fortnight) and it is bloody brilliant. I am so excited about it, and enjoying it. I know it is early days but this is the first time I have done anything in depth that has a creative focus and I am loving it. I dropped art as soon as I could in school and in Textiles my pair of culottes ended up as a pencil case!

How times have changed.

Anyway, I thought I would share what I have done so far in my sketchbook. The first session was all about colour.

city and guilds textiles sketchbook

city and guilds textiles sketchbook

city and guilds textiles sketchbook

The rest of the pages I have been working on so far have been about my theme. I have to pick a main theme, and then a particular area as my focused theme. I chose London Colour as my main theme, and then I plan on using Street Art as my focused theme. I had so much fun putting these pages together over the past couple of days.

city and guilds textiles sketchbook

city and guilds textiles sketchbook

I had done some pages on Crazy Patchwork, but I wasn’t happy and pulled them out in a fit of annoyance. Silly idea as now my pages are not numbered correctly. I need to be less of a perfectionist or the book will have no pages at the end! So that will be my first and last time. I love sticking things in but I am struggling with how to represent processes and include notes without hating my writing.

Regardless of my writing I am very proud with how this sketchbook is progressing and I cannot wait to keep filling the pages.

I would love to know what you think.

Letters to my children

Four and a half

November 4, 2015

kate face

Dear Kate,

Today you turned four and a half. I realised sometime this afternoon and was so excited to tell you when I picked you up from school. You were completely uninterested and burst into tears and started hitting me. The afternoon is pretty full on when you have been at school all day and you are hungry. You do get yourself in a right pickle. That is two days in a row for after school tantrums. But I get it, it all gets a bit too much and you don’t know what to do with yourself.

It is a long time since I last wrote you a letter. I tried recording things differently earlier in the year but that didn’t seem to work out. Capturing who you are and how you are is so much harder as you get older. So I am just going to write some things that I would like to remember as you get older.

So far you love school. You go most days with little complaint and run off and line up as soon as we get there. You love being in the same place as your brother is. You like to draw and colour and love learning letters. You talk with a seriousness about any subject you have been learning about, as if we have no idea ourselves.

superstar

You move all the time. You are never still. You spend most of your time climbing on things or doing headstands on the sofa. And cartwheels on the sofa. And falling off the sofa. You love to fight with Piran. You love the rough and tumble.

You are a complete TV addict and would watch all the time if I let you. However you never just sit and watch. Your favourite this week is Hotel Transylvania. You also love Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Home, Monsters University and Wreck It Ralph. You can’t wait to learn to read and like to pretend that you can already.

You are very mischievous and very funny. You have an answer for everything, and you are usually quick to lay blame at another person’s feet, even when it is obvious you are lying. You love music. You have a musical ear I think, you can usually sing back a tune after only hearing it once. You love bright clothes, and wearing what you want to wear, not what we suggest. You love telling me what to wear. You are friendly and easy going and seem to have a great bunch of friends at school.

loons

You HATE having your hair brushed. You stopped wearing nappies at bedtime, a fact you gleefully told the Headmaster over lunch one day. You have got two certificates from school already. You love to dance. You love the water and swimming. You like to cook.

You do not like to go to bed. Bedtimes are usually a nightmare and you can drive us to our wits end. All we can do is be consistent and march you back upstairs. Sometimes it is hard to be serious when you are being cute and cheeky but bedtimes are the one thing I wish would change. I hate to finish our days by shouting.

sleep

You LOVE your brother. Massively. The two of you are so good together, you play, you chat, you look after each other. You want to be together and you are sad when you are not. He loves you back too. I hope that lasts and lasts. You are fiesty and strong and independent but you have your soft side too. You still don’t like kissing but you are happy to cuddle more these days. I take every one that I am offered.

love

You are a wonderful little girl and I look at you all gangly legs in the air, climbing and jumping and being upside down and I am amazed at you.

Love,

Mum x