Little Crafty Things

I’ve got lots of lovely things to share this week. Most excitingly, My Dottie Angel Frock  is finished!

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I’m really happy with how it has turned out. There was a lot of superfluous bias binding but it ended up being useful for backing my embroidered top stitching. It’s really comfy to wear. I added interior pockets which complicated things a little as the pattern called for French seams. I’ve never added pockets before but, besides on being slightly smaller, they turned out just fine. I want to make another dress from the same pattern with some lovely light denim we have at Crafty Sew & So.

I’ve received my first ever Buddy Box from The Blurt Foundation. It’s full of lovely goodies including this kit from The Make Arcade.

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It was a perfect little activity, not too complicated just enough to keep my mind, and hands, busy.

Last week I went for a lovely Blogger’s meet up at Sew Essential, Crafternoon tea brought in some lovely fabrics and embroidery thread. I found this pretty Bicycle print in their stash.

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I finished embroidering the bikes at home, I’m enjoying my little crafts at the moment.  I took my mum to a workshop at Crafty Sew & So, in late March, to make a pretty fabric doll. I’ve finished mine the other day. Here she is in the garden.

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Finally, yesterday I went to another workshop at Crafty Sew in So with my friend. We got to  grips with an over-locker and both left with gorgeous cowl scarves.

here’s mine.
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Thanks for reading x

So Many Unfinished Things

I’ve fallen out with my jersey tank top. it’s a very fiddly material. I was full of confidence after my first attempt and then flippantly began the next one. So flippant was I, that I didn’t think I needed jersey needles for this new tricky material.  I then, in my impatience, began sewing the neckline with brown thread because I ran out of black. It doesn’t look great.

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I have now brought some jersey needles and black thread.  However I  feel somewhat soured toward the project. I want to have the top but am not inspired to unpick the neckline.  There is another top of the same pattern that I need to make as a sample for the shop, but as that is a beautiful satin material, it is going to be more difficult than the jersey one.

My next unfinished object, I don’t feel too bad about, as it’s not been too long since I started. I booked a workshop for me and my mum at Crafty Sew & So to make an adorable hand stitched doll.

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Out of habit, I ended up using back stitching. I also chose the doll with fantastic hair, which meant it had the largest outline. I  took forever stitching around the doll. She is waiting to be finished in a bag full of wadding.   I’ll pop a photo of my doll on here when I’m done. 

The final thing I have yet to make is probably the  main reason I haven’t finished any of the previous projects. I recently ordered the Dottie Angel Dress pattern as I saw it advertised in Mollie Makes. I wanted to get started on it straight away. dottie-angel-dress-patter

 

I couldn’t decide what fabric I wanted to make it out of so I picked up a lot of lovely fabrics from Crafty.

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Lanni was very helpful up until she started chewing on the pattern. 

 I used the two spotty cottons, green for the main part and navy for the base. I was going to use a white cotton with deer print for the pockets, but on a whim, I decided to do some satin top stitching along the join.  I didn’t want to hide the embroidery  so I am not going to add pockets for this dress. I’ve already cut the pockets out so will make another dress or tunic for them to go on.

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I love these tucks

I am working on trying to get back into a routine. I can feel that I am throwing myself into  this project. Last night, after getting back from crafty, I worked until half ten making the dress. By the time I got to bed I was exhausted and found my head spinning. This morning I have spent   a long time resting and writing. This is not my routine. By now I should be up dressed and feeling ready to face the world. Instead I am hiding in my room, not wanting to start the day again. I wrote a post yesterday on disrupted routines, after going to Wales last weekend it’s been really difficult getting back into my routine.

Routine is a tricky thing. I know it helps, but at the same time putting pressure to keep to a routine is counter intuitive. essentially I just need to give myself a break. It is difficult doing new things. The trip to Wales was incredibly tiring. I deal far better with small groups. As it was Easter there were a lot of family gatherings and meals out.

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Easter Sunday Lunch
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Big Family Meet-up
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Tom and Me at the Rabbit Hole with Tom’s Cousins, Leanne and Charlotte. Small gatherings are just better.

 

Asthma, Bunnies and Pie Charts

This week I’ve been struggling somewhat with the precarious balancing act of recovery. I am slowly becoming an active and autonomous person in this world. That fact is absolutely terrifying. I am attempting to be part of the world but not letting it overwhelm me.

I now exercise…yes it’s true. I have been to two whole pilates classes and am attempting to start kick-boxing. though I pushed myself too hard on the cardio at the kick-boxing on Thursday and my chest is still aching from my asthma attack. Attack sounds dramatic but I’m not sure what to call it. Incident? Episode?

Either way it was rotten.

I’m pretty keen to keep this exercise routine put. The problem is exercise was one of my negative coping mechanisms when I was suffering severely from my eating disorder. My therapist says that classes are good because there is a set end time so I cannot exercise to excess.  I was thrown entirely at pilates last week when Courage by Superchic came on the playlist, a song about living with an eating disorder.

The Internet is a major issue here. If we ignore all the horrible and depressing articles about  we are still left with disgusting adverts encouraging to ‘loose weight with this one simple trick’.

Ok thats is my rant over with…for the time being anyway here are the things I;ve been up to this week

Monday

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Scribbling though the first part of my novel and having lots of fun with pie charts . I’m ensuring I have all the elements of my novel stuck in my head before I go on to write the next part.

 

Tuesday

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More pie charts! It only took two days of writing every minute detail of each page to make me feel a little bit like I might be loosing perspective. to see more strange ramblings check out my other blog Today I Wrote…

Wednesday

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I left the house, read stories to the little ones at the library then went into Crafty Sew & So. It felt good to get out of my head for a day. Freya and I came up with a wonderful story all about two women who  become superheroes after training in the art of kick-boxing. I had so much fun sketching a comic of the story when I got home. At some point I aim to refine the it and find someone who can actually draw to complete the work.

Thursday

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I created a great little Bunny tutorial for Crafty Sew & So. It was a lovely day so I decided to take the pictures outside.

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My cat, Theo, was delighted I’d gone outside with him and wasn’t ashamed to show it

I went over to see Freya in the evening for the aforementioned kick-boxing class. On the way I couldn’t resist taking a photo across from the old liberty building.

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Despite the horrid asthma affair I did have lots of fun at Kick-boxing and will hopefully be back on Thursday, though I’ll probably be a little more cautious with the cardio.

 

Friday

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I was feel  exhausted still from asthma, but determined to have a good day. I got myself all prettied up in the morning, and googled how to wear a head scarf. At the shop I got started on gorgeous kit that has just come into Crafty from The New Craft House. The fabric is so easy to work with. I like sitting in front of the tv with  a good cup of tea and hand sewing the hexies together. Hopefully it will be done soonish and I can show you all how it turns out.

English Paper Piecing Cushion Kit

 

Saturday

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Manically crazy busy day at Crafty Sew & So, It seemed everybody wanted fabric, I tried to do a bit more of the cushion but I just ended up stopping and starting because of all the lovely customers. In the evening, however, when my husband was busy playing destiny I started trying to edit my novel. It didn’t particularly work as I ended up drawing a scene from  one of the pages.

And finally…Sunday

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Today I have been once again going through my novel, I managed to get through two chapters so far and hope to get at least another one done today. It was my plan to have finished by the end of the week. Above is the pie chart for characters mentioned and present in the first nine chapters.

 

 

All of the lovely things

Fifi Top

I’ve made a lot of things this week. I’m really rather proud of the Fifi top I made out of this lovely swallow cotton.

It’s was new in at Crafty Sew & So and will be adoring the window for a few months before a squirrelling it away for my wardrobe.  I made the Fifi Pj set from Tilly and the Buttons, a few months ago. It was a bit of a trauma because I got a bit muddled about which way round the panels went, and ended up doing  and undoing French seams  twice!

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They turned out great in the end, I’m looking forward to the warmer months so I can actually wear them for bed.  This time I didn’t bother with the French seams.

Novel

I’m also really proud of the fact I finished a revised edition of the first part of my novel. It’s printed out and I’ve managed to scribble my way through the first three chapters without too many embarrassing errors.

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Cakes

Lovely lovely cakes, It’s been a little while since I’d baked and I really enjoyed making this lot for Crafty Sew & So.

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Lemon Cupcakes with Butter Icing
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Chocolate Traybake

As you can see I’ve been very busy, too busy in fact. My husband has started back writing thesis and some of my old anxieties have reared their nervous heads. I’ve been  throwing myself into  various activities and unable to relax when I do stop working. Isolation is one of my key warning signs of falling back into depressive behaviours. And if that wasn’t a big enough warning, on Friday morning I had a hideous migraine. I arrived at the shop and promptly threw up. After spending too much time in the comforting dark of the bathroom I called my husband to come and rescue me. When my head had recovered enough we had a chat and worked out a routine for days when he is working. I love lists and timetables, I feel way less anxious when I am organised and feel like I have a modicum of control over my life.

 

Because apparently I have the bug now, today I started working on another Grainline studio top, I’ve made one before and fancied one in a different pattern. It’s useful to give me a fair bit of practice on jersey materials. I actually made sure I stopped at five o’clock despite the fact I still needed to add the binding to the neck and arms. For a while I will have to stick rigidly to this routine. I can’t trust myself to know when I need to rest.

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I Made It Through

It’s been a tough week, with bad news from the dentist, my last ever appointment with my Doctor at the eating disorder clinic and thinking how on earth I’m going to cope when my comes to an end in April. I’ve been seeing my therapist for over two years and it’s absolutely terrifying thinking about stopping. It’s difficult to remind myself that the reason I’m ending is because I’m so much better than I was two years ago. The very Idea of being ‘better’ is frightening. I’m scared there will be more expectation placed on me and everything will go to hell again.

suffice to say I’ve been feeling somewhat overwhelmed. However I was cheered up no end last night by shouting down a couple of patriarchal idiots and helping out a girl who was being leered at. I wrote about it in a post yesterday.

It hasn’t been a massive making week but I have been enjoying myself with the latest Mollie Makes magazine free gift.
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The embroidery was really relaxing to do, and I learnt a couple of new stitches. The idea is to make them for decorations but I think they would just end up gathering dust in my house. I’m going to embroider the animals onto a piece of fabric and then use that to make a lampshade. The lovely Helen Bunting of Sewphies has a fantastic drum lampshade kit. She has done a couple of workshops at Crafty Sew & So

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I also made a handy carrier bag holder for the shop but I forgot to take a picture. I’m going to make one for my house soon. Today I am going to spend the morning with my in-laws and then a lovely afternoon tea with my mum.

x

I went to Norwich and did all sorts of things a normal person might do

One of the many many ways in which my eating disorder and depression has impacted upon my life is a certain reluctance to travel. I become unsettled out of my house and when my routine is disrupted. over the past few years the way I’ve coped with this has been to plan the pants out of each little trip.

However, last weekend, Tom and I took a trip to Norwich to see our university friends. We did not plan meals or write out a routine. Upon arriving we met up with a couple of friends and had a meal out. I didn’t eat much, but I did manage to have a bit. We settled into the hotel room, crashed out a little then had a big meal out at The Belgium Monk for my friends birthday. I did not know the majority of people there.

My anxiety peaked a little when I realised the meal I’d planned on having was not available. I adjusted and everything was just fine. I ate my food, I was nervous and a little on edge. I chatted to strangers and ended up having a lot of fun.

 

The next day we ate out for breakfast at Harriet’s Tea Room. I had a delicious hot chocolate and pancakes.

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I am sleepy but happy

After that we went to see another couple of friends who have two adorable twin girls. They are 18 months old and full of energy. They are learning all sorts of words, not only in english but portugese (there mum is from portugal) thier favourite seemed to be luz (light). We had a brilliant time being clambered over and reading stories. I picked them up a couple of books from Waterstones in the morning.

 

Animal Hide and Seek - Farmyard Tales Touchy-feely (Hardback)

It was then that I learned that animal noises are different in Portugal and England. the dog goes bow wow and the sheep goes maaaa.

It was a really good trip, we stayed two nights and managed to catch up with friends. We came home on Monday so that is my perfectly valid excuse as to why I didn’t blog last week.

It was a weekend of scary but good things.

Mobile-games I played in my Pj’s

Spent the day in bed with tissues stuffed up my nose! So here are some games which have been keeping me entertained all day.

Triple Town

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Lots of fun and hella addictive. It’s kept me entertained for most of the day. Available on Android and iOS.

Prune

 

Really relaxing, and beautiful, it’s worth having the sound on because of the peaceful noises the stars make when the tree reaches them.  Again it’s available on iOS and Anroid. I ran through it pretty quickly but that doesn;t matter because it’s nice to try and create different shapes with the trees.

 

Flowy

I haven’t actually played this today because it’s been a chilled day but Flowy is fantastic when I’m out and about and feel anxious. It helps with deep breaths and also keeps you distracted with a little sailing game.

I’ve found these games on a video my husband linked to me if you want you can check it out below.

 

 

Now I’m off to make myself another honey and lemon!

I’m So Deflated

This week, in fact these past few of weeks, I’ve been absolutely exhausted. It’s been tricky to muster motivation. I’ve been feeling like I’m going through the motions. I have two moods, forced cheer or  quiet exhaustion. It feels like I’m avoiding something; keeping busy with work or making things. the only problem is I’m not sure what it is I’m avoiding. I have a few notions but the issue with avoidance is when the issue becomes unavoidable there are no coping methods in place. That often leads to unhealthy coping strategies and reinforces the fear of whatever it is I’m avoiding.

I am in recovery. I think I will spend my whole life coping with relapses and recovery.

I watched Inside Out last night, it was homework from my therapist. I cried at the end. I cried for more than the bitter sweet sorrow of the story. My throat felt raw and my contact lens came loose from the tears.

This is the penultimate scene, please don’t watch it if you worried about spoilers

 

It was a good cry. I think I’d been holding it in for sometime. I have to remind myself at times that it is okay to be sad. being sad is different to falling back into the darkest days of my depression.

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I Survived Christmas

It seems a little like I’m labouring a point here but, I hate Christmas. I love my family, friends and all the time and thought they put into giving presents.

However there’s too much pressure all at once.

It twists me up inside.

I fell back onto negative coping strategies to survive.

I counted calories

I restricted

I isolated myself

And I bought too many pills. Not in order to overdose but as a safety net if everything got too much.

I do not, and did not want to end my life.

It’s difficult to explain.

Next year, in order to keep myself healthy and happy I am spending the day at home with my husband and our two lovely cats.

Thanks for reading and I hope you survived Christmas in the best way for you.

 

 

Things I have yet to make

  1. Tilly and the Buttons Fifi Pj Set
  2. Make up bag
  3. Fabric Box
  4. Tea Cosy
  5. Hex quilt
  6. Cushion covers
  7. Make A5 books to sell at Crafty Sew & So
  8.  MY NOVEL

Things go wrong.

This is inevitable.

I hate it.

Let’s start with number one. I was happily getting on with this somewhat complicated pattern from Tilly and the buttons. My perfectionist nature made me work for too long and get too tired. This led to me making the  rather silly mistake of attaching the central back panel upside down. I probably should have stopped for the night. Instead I carried on, unpicked the French seams (nightmare)  and the bias binding. I put the back panel the right way round. I then restitched the French seams and attached the bias binding. It was when I’d completed this that I realised it was not only the back panel I’d  put upside-down but also the two back side panels.

The idea of unpicking four French seams and the bias binding is not a pleasant one. When I think about it my stomach tenses. It’s not gnawing or sick feeling. It’s a ball of tension the size of a large marble.

Number Two is somewhat similar. I began making a small zip bag only to discover I had sewn the zip to the bottom of the bag. This is by no means irreversible. In fact I have since written a tutorial on how to make this very same bag with Crafty Sew & So. Even so, every time I look at the error, I become uncomfortable. To me it is a failure. Therefore I am a failure. And so another marble hits against the first.

So go the rest of the unfinished projects until I reach the inevitable fact that all these small projects are distractions, albeit useful and fun distractions, from what I am supposed to be doing. Writing my novel.

This worry is a  bowling ball. It smashes the delicate marbles into shards of glass and presses the pieces into my gut.  Each new worry piles on and on. My house undecorated and Christmas presents unwrapped forces pine needles down my throat. Each message I’ve yet to reply to or stupid mistake I make sends an electric shock through the tangled mess and welds it together. Too soon all my failings become impossible to ignore. Equally they are impossible to complete. Movement causes pain.

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Chiara Bautista

 

The Solution

I need to untangle the mess. One step at a time. One breath at a time.  My solution. A list. Or rather a number of lists. For a long time I wrote my achievements of the day. As I got busier and busier, with working at Crafty Sew & So, running a Story and Rhymes group, looking after my niece, taking driving lessons and the many social meetings which happen along the road to recovery, I stopped. The exact date I ceased doing this was the 25th September. I’m even feeling guilty about not filling my achievement’s in! I’ve realised it coincides rather neatly with writing this blog.

I am going to write a list of achievements over the past three months, then continue with this routine. An issue I tend to struggle with is acknowledging what I have done. I feel as though I should have always done more, or better. Writing my achievements of the day, even small ones helps offset this negative way of thinking.

Here’s an example of a typical day from back  in April

  • Got dressed
  • Ate Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Walked up the garden
  • Started a Pincushion Cross stitch
  • Called Mum

More recently I’ve been able to do more, this is one from September

  • Went to get my hair cut
  • Organised a Bookcase
  • Wrote a little ghost stories

I no longer have to write which meals I’ve eaten or little things through the day which have now become routine. I can leave the house without too much anxiety, whereas before even the garden felt daunting.

I am also going to write a big to-do lists for each month then a smaller one for the week and then have a list of three or so things to do in a day.

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Hyperbole and a Half