My Makes…

Things are not perfect. However, I am now able to gather enough focus and energy to write this post. Last time I wrote about obsessively making things in order to avoid negative thoughts. I’m not quite comfortable having photos taken, that will have to wait for later posts.

This is the first time I ever worked with viscose. My advice. Start simple. Although this top is not complex there are a few fiddly bits, such as the collar and pocket, which were a nightmare with the slippery fabric.  It didn’t help that I decided to add cotton to the collar. although it added stability, it was difficult to piece the cotton and viscose together.

I made sleep shorts next, using a pattern from one of the Crafty Sew & So Workshops. I managed to complete the shorts in less than four hours. Essentially, I copied a pair of Pj bottoms I brought from gap a few  years ago. The little tab and button create a nice cuff.

I was on a roll. Having a bit of viscose left over I made the shorts from Tilly and the Buttons Fifi set. they came together in no time, so I added a tiny pompom trim.The band was so thin, apply the trim probably took more time than making the shorts.

My next project is the Alder Dress from Grainline. I’m really looking forward to using the ditsy flower print. Just to add a bit of interest, and because I’m falling in love with viscose, I will make the yoke out of a dark navy viscose.

 

 

I’m exhausted now. Time to crawl under a blanket and ignore the world.

 

 

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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 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.

Productivity Away!

The chaos of Christmas seems to have passed and I’m feeling refreshed. Things seemed a lot easier to get done this past week. There are several reasons this could be. Routine has come back into play. I’m going into Crafty Sew & So three times a week, reading and singing songs at my library every Wednesday and taking my driving lessons on Mondays.  it’s a comfortable kind of busy.

Right now I’m sitting in my  freshly made Fifi Pyjama’s, with thermal undies because it’s way too cold!

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Yesterday I made a really simple blanket for the Stories and Rhymes mornings at the library. I picked up some red gingham in the Crafy Sew & So sale and some cotton backed wadding. All I had to do was put the fabrics right sides together, used a bowl to round the corners and then sewed along the edge leaving a gap to turn it right side up. In hindsight I probably should have used pins to ensure the gingham was stretched out fully before this as I ended up with a few bumps after top stitching.

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After tuning it right side up I used a pretty top stitch to close the gap and then ran it all around the edge. Next I stitched large squares, lining up with the pattern and had a nice sturdy mat for story time.

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Also for the first time in at least I month I did some work on my novel. I’m currently revising a draft and managed to finish a chapter which had been bugging me for a while.

Here’s to another productive week!

I created a world

World building in fantasy is exhilarating but frustrating. After scribbling vague countries onto pieces of scrap paper I decided to browse the inter-webs for help. surprisingly I was rewarded almost instantaneously with this website:

http://donjon.bin.sh/fantasy/world/

You can decide all sorts of things or alternatively keep clicking randomize until you get the world you want. I am just awful and geography so this little device has helped no end. it’s even got little tropical trees for land near the equator. I decided to choose a planet with a fair bit of ice and not that much land. 55ba1219569ac438 Another really fun thing you can do on this website is create your own calendar, choose how many days, months and weeks in the year and how many moons the world has. I stepped away from the computer and worked with pencil and paper to scribble down country names. Then  I assigned characters to different countries and figured out how their heritage changes how they behave and look. I found it a relativity easy way to work diversity into a story.

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I have a cork board now dedicated to geography

I also worked on smaller geography and sketched out a very inaccurate version of ‘The Hollow’ which is the location for most of the action in my story.

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long time no blog…but I made a lot of headway in my novel!

I have been away from my blog for far too long but my very noble excuse is that I’ve been editing away! This is the first draft I have printed out in it’s entirety. though I think in all honesty it’s probably around the fifth draft in all it’s different incarnations.
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I printed it out on blue paper because because my dyslexia means it’s almost impossible to process anything if it’s on white paper, Here’s a link if you’re interested. Eyes and Dyslexia.  There has been a recent study which claims coloured paper doesn’t help people with dyslexia. I do recall my tester telling me something along the lines of the vision issues being a separate but related issue. My elder sister doesn’t find the tinted sheets useful, however I know it takes me three or four times to understand a document without my tinted glasses and only one or two read through with them. This is all very much beside the point. Here’s a link to the new study: Forget colour overlays – dyslexia is not a vision problem.

That’s enough about dyslexia for now, back to my editing.  This is the mess that I’m left with after around a month of solid editing:

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I made an extra notebook with the same stab binding, I also got a new guillotine with a fancy perforation option.

The first bit of editing was probably the most laborious, I went through every chapter and separated it into scenes, one posit per scene with a very quick description, list of characters, location and whatever I want to change.

The next bit was almost as laborious I took an idea from The NaNoWriMo Blog, It’s a fantastic resource for writers and come november there’s a wonderful manic mass writing hence the name National Novel Writing Month.

Here’s an exert from A 7-Step Guide to Big Picture Revision (With Bonus Checklists!)

Here come the highlighters! Look at your list of scenes. Use a different colour to highlight each subplot.

  • Do some of them only show up a few times?
  • Are some introduced too late in the story?
  • Are any unresolved?
  • Do some do nothing to advance or mirror the main plot?

When you are done, anything that is left unhighlighted is your main plot line. Read these over.

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At this point I was mostly just bewildered by the amount sub-plot / plot / maybe not even relevant. I took a step back, left the chaos for a few days and did a bit of a free writing which was blissful compared to the mind twisting editing. In the meantime I put my novel in a folder and gave it to my mum, who has wanted to read it for a very long time.

Then came time for lists:wpid-20150702_113058.jpg

I wrote plots from from lots of different characters and got my time line entirely set wpid-20150702_113019.jpg

Next I tangled out the most important plot points and wrote a 500ish word synopsis. My novel is still far away (at my sisters house). Until I get it back, with all it’s pencilled ideas, i will not start revising. My plan is to free write from different characters points of view to really flesh out each personality.

Today I made a plan

‘If a job is worth doing it’s worth doing badly’

When my therapist gave me this piece of advise I told her she was wrong.  I absolutely hate doing anything that I deem less than perfect. This way of thinking is not helpful, it often leads to not doing anything for fear of doing it badly. This perfectionism is ever present in my life. I have only recently been able to consider the idea that even if I feel I’ve done something poorly, it does not mean that I am a failure.

Recently I’ve been able to do a lot more, however this is not as good as it may appear. I have gone from doing very little to filling my day and exhausting myself.  I now start to feel I have to work endlessly in order to prove I am a worthwhile person.

My solution  to this was scheduling and alarms set on my phone. I wrote  a list of things I would like to do this month and divided it into weeks and then planned one or two activities to do each day.

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With set activities each day I hope I can concentrate more on doing what I enjoy without the the stress of trying to do too much.  I am starting to believe that if a job is worth doing it’s worth doing badly….so long as it gets done.

Today I made a trip to Buttons Boutique

I decided it was high time to stock up on material and other nice bits. Going into town (or even leaving the house) is something I find difficult. I’ve had panic attacks in the middle of shops and become so overwhelmed I give up on whatever I was there to do. This has resulted in the complete  avoidance of the outside world.

So  this outing required forward planning.

Step One: deciding a town outfit, (pretty Cath Kidston dress, leggings and thick long socks.)

Step Two: Write a very detailed list of things that I need.

Step Three: Plan the trip with contingency plans.

The plan was to leave nice and early  so all was quiet, this plan was somewhat scuppered when my kitten Lannister (named by the RSPCA and kept by us) refused to come indoors. After half an hour of calling we decided to open up the greenhouse and leave with her still outside.  This was the first stumbling block but I think I managed to remain calm. We (my husband and I) got in the car and put on a bit of Florence and the Machine.

We arrive in Leicester and I went to lovely Buttons Boutique and my husband went to Forbidden Planet. I was alone in the store and for a moment it felt like an assault course. I took a deep breath looked at the list written on my phone and wondered about the store. Customers came and went before I managed to focus my mind enough to look for what I needed. I picked up a basket when my arms got too full and had a nice little haul. After I had my bits and pieces I went on to the fabric. Their were lots of bundles and next to them A printed sign read: Fabric may be available by the metre if in stock.

My anxiety peaked. I would have to go to the counter. I waited in a small queue. My heart beat too quickly and my hands felt clammy against the patterned blue material. A young woman stood at the counter, sorting out stock between each customer. I hesitated and then blurted out my request. She smiled and said she’d check if the material was in stock. I breathed again and wandered about the store. She came back down within minutes, two metres of the pretty patterned material in her hands. I bought my wares and met with my husband. I still felt breathless but proud of myself.  Nothing terrible had happened. I didn’t make a fool of myself. The world outside the sanctuary of my house isn’t as scary as it seems.

At home I sat happily in the living room with a lovely cup of tea. 2015-05-06 11.51.03

My haul.