Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

Every knitter worth their weight in wool has a project that is a work in progress. Hell, any knitter worth their weight in wool has at least 3 or 4 works in progress at any given time!

Me - I've got way too many to count. There's the scarf I started from a magazine about 4 years ago that I decided in my wisdom would be as long as the ball of wool I was knitting it with was. Of course, I totally ignored the fact it was a 500gm ball! Then there's the topsy turvy Cinderella doll I started for my little diva Rebecca about 2 years ago as Yule gift - I'm hoping she'll get it this year. Let's just say I have a LOT of WIPs

But I've decided, as this is my first time doing Tami's WIP Wednesday I'd concentrate on what I'm actually doing at the moment.

First off my pride and joy - my rainbow cardigan! I've had the pattern saved over on Ravelry since like forever so when Kezz suggested getting people together for a crochetalong I jumped at the chance. I've spent the last 12 years going into our local hippy shop and drooling over the rainbow jumpers and convincing myself that I wouldn't pay that sort of money when I could knit one myself. I even practised by knitting each of the kids their own rainbow jumper but somehow never got round to doing mine so when I saw Kezz's post I thought it was about time I treated myself.

Of course, me being me, I'm a total miser when it comes to spending money (add to the fact that I'm skint!) so I decided I would buy one of each ball of colour and separate them into 2 50gm balls. Which means that 1 1/2inches from the end of the first side ... I ran out. I won't get up to Ramsey to get more wool until next week so don't be surprised to see this one here again.

Anyways - here's what I've done so far: (The colours are a LOT brighter in reality - the red's definitely not that orange for starters)

And again, me being me, I couldn't go for more than a few hours without working on something so I got my knitting needles out to start a Jean Greenhowe Pierrot doll for my littlest pixie Jessica for Yule. I decided to go with black and pink instead of the usual white and black but, after knitting one trouser leg and half a hat I decided I was actually in crochet mode so I went looking for the perfect pattern and propably going through a 3rd of a small rainforest printing out patterns for my collection I settled on a circular cardigan - another pattern I've been wanting to do for yonks but never had enough or the right wool. But, strangely enough on the night after the rainbow cardi came to an abrupt halt, my friend up the street called down with a humungous box of wool - with just the perfect colours for a practice at the cardigan. I'm actually nearly finished this one so hopefully you won't be seeing this one again :o)

Agin I'm sorry about the sizing of the pics - I'm not the most technological person and unfortunately the one person in the house who is has taken the kids off to bed.....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

January and February Craft Challenges - what have I been up to?

Okay - so as if I don't have enough to do with 4 kids and a 48 year old to contend with, I signed up for some craft challenges at the start of the year. Having owned and run my own craft shop for 8 years, I'd seriously neglected a lot of the crafts I'd done during that time (cardmaking, jewellery and my ever growing collection of Scrapbooks) and decided that this was the perfect way to encourage myself to actually do (AND FINISH!) some projects. I also decided at the start of the year to attempt to destash my ever bulging bag of wool - and these weekly and monthly challenges seemed ideal for that.
What I forgot however, was that while we had the shop, I had somewhere to escape to to actually work on my many projects! I could stand up there and work to my hearts content creating greetings cards, scrapbook pages, artist trading cards and jewellery. At home it's a bit more difficult, there's kids that want my attention, housework to be done and at the moment all my craftiness has to take place at night, when I've made sure that the wee ones are alseep.

But I have managed to get some things done. Hell, I've even managed to get them finished!!!

I've decided though that since I am so late at posting them, I'm going to lump them all together here. Most of them are for Crafty Mums weekly challenge but things like the purses and a little owl I sewed were for Annies monthly challenge over at The Felt Fairy. (Of course I forgot to photograph the owl so I'll have to do a quickie edit after he does some serious catchup posing :oD )


Sorry about the sizes - I will get better I promise :o)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Well, it's a Saturday night and I'm sitting here, on my own. The tv has was turned off hours ago when Tony took the last two kids to bed and I basically couldn't be bothered turning it on again. Trouble is it's been that long since I've actually had an opportunity like this that I'm totally at a loss. Oh there are things I should be doing - Tony's dishes from dinner have been sitting waiting to get washed and I've got knitting I should be getting on with but you know when you just don't want to. It's not even a case of can't be bothered - I'm just enjoying the silence, enjoying the peace and quiet that this house lacks having four very active children running about it.

It's not often that I get an opportunity like this - to just sit by myself and not have someone in my ear about this that or the other. I've been so busy lately with job interviews or the kids during the day and my new found love of exercising at night when they go to bed that I feel like I've hardly managed to sit down let alone relax. But tonight I'm having a night off. Tonight is for me - my new MP3 player is in my pocket with my favourite meditation cd on it but even that feels like it will interrupt.

So I'm just going to sit here, reading through a few of my favourite blogs for a while until either Tony or one of the wee ones wake up needing this or that. I give it another 10 minutes at the most..........

Thursday, January 6, 2011

You know when you do something which at the time seems like a good idea... well way back in October I felt a bit guilty of staying at home all day while Tony hunted for a full time job. He had plans to continue working part time for Tescos as a driver as he loves that aspect of it, and, as usual my guilt pangs kicked in. Now don't get me wrong, I love staying at home with the kids - after working since I left school over 20 years ago and running my business for 8 years which, lets face it is basically a 24hr job in reality, I justified it that I deserved the rest that being a stay-at-home mum would give me. (Yeah, we'll just ignore the fact that I forgot that 4 children = no rest!!!) Anyways, as I was saying, way back in October I decided that I should at least try to help out financially. In reality I couldn't get a job as, with the amount of overtime Tony was doing to build up hours, no employer would have worked around his hours, so I figured that perhaps I might be entitled to some sort of benefit from the government.

So I tottled off down to our local DHSS and signed on for Jobseekers aka the Dole. Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't happy about it - knowing as I did that I would probably get turned down for any job I applied for but, from the time I'd left the dole office to the time I got home I felt excited. What if I did get a part-time job? It would get me out of the house and for a few hours every week I would get to enjoy the company of grown-ups - and get paid for it! It would also give the kids a bit of a break from me, and give Tony a small insight into what I had to cope with at home. So, for the last few months I have dutifully filled in application form after application form and, what with it being an employers market at the moment, heard no more about it. Until now.

Suddenly I find myself inundated with various companies getting back in touch with me. Many of them I've had to turn down, due to the fact that they're basically totally unrealistic in one way or another - either they wouldn't pay enough to realistically help out with the family finances or I'm just totally unqualified for them. But, and it's totally typical of Sod's Law, I have interviews for the 2 jobs I really would like. Tomorrow I have one with the Body Shop - a shop I've loved since I was 14 years old and discovered their Dewberry perfume (I still have a small bottle I bought way back then - and it still smells lush!) and on the 10th I have one with the Manx Museum. This is the one I really would like to get and not just for the almost £10 per hour payslip that goes with it. I love history - a gift from my dad who was obsessed by the Egyptians and taught me to love learning about times past. I myself am hooked on anything Medieval and Celtic - something which was encouraged by by dad and my aunt who both fuelled my passions with the Arthurian legends and other myths of the time. The position is firstly for a retail assistant but there is some guide work involved too - I would be in my element getting to learn more about the Celtic past of this magical little island in the middle of the Irish Sea, and getting to teach others about it. Basically a back door onto the path I wanted to go down after college. But I don't drive, which could be a problem, though at wages like that, I could afford to go for my driving test again. Both positions are part-time, at least 12 hours a week so if, by some miracle I was offered them I could probably accept both. And, although I am realistic and not daft enough to think that yes I will be offered both - you know when you get that feeling...

And for some reason I'm not nervous - Tony's more nervous about it than I am! I've got my outfit sorted - no suit - I need to be comfortable so it's "dressed but casual". I want them to see me - not the suit and the act. Maybe it's a sign that I'm growing up or maybe it's just the rebellious hippy in me but the thought of dressing up in a suit that's been hanging in my wardrobe for the last 10 years, just doesn't feel right if you know what I mean. Yes it may banjax my chances but at least I'll feel like they've met the real me.

Just hope the "Real Me" doesn't scare them off too much....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back to Normality

I can remember my mum telling me a few years back that she used to love school holidays when my brother and I were at home, and how much she hated it when they were over and we had to go back. I, for my sins, am completely the opposite. Over the past few years I've found myself dreading those times when all the kids are at home together. Now don't get me wrong, I do actually love having them all here with me,when I get to forget about things like housework etc and have an excuse to have fun and do the stuff mums are meant to do with their children. But I know that most of the time it won't be like that.

The problems all started when Ryan was about to go into Year 2 of infant school and we went through what has now become know as the Summer of Hell. It was only the week before he went back that we discovered he'd been getting bullied, something which we immediately took action about. Unfortunately it took 3 years and us eventually having to move Ryan to another school to stop it (apparantly it was okay for this other kid to pick on Ryan as his parents where getting a divorce....???). In the meantime though we discovered that when Ryan has a bad day at school, we get the backlash at home. Well, his dad, his sister Rebecca and I get the backlash. And so, I spend summer, Christmas and both Half terms in a constant battle of trying to entertain 4 children while also trying to stop 2 of them from killing each other. Is it any wonder that I'm so tired and grumpy all the time ;-)

Anyways, today the older two went back to school while Jonathan started back to pre-school. And it was strange. I woke up this morning at 6am - full of beans and ready for anything. Breakfast table was set for everyone, all children were washed, teeth and hair brushed well in advance of leaving the house - usually I run after the car with the wetwipes and a brush so they can do it onroute! Granted, by 10:30am I was ready to crawl back into bed for the duration but you know what it's like - us mums never stop.

Tomorrow we'll start to take the tree and the decorations down and then it really will be back to normality. Once everything is packed away, I can finally sit down and see what this year may have in store for us. My birthday is next week and due to it's closeness to the start of the year I make my resolutions then - the start of MY year. It will be a short list - the usual will be on there - get the weight off, exercise more etc, etc, etc. But I have a feeling that this year has something else in store for us - that we all have our own adventure thaat we will be going on. I've had a restlessness and an excitedness in me for a while now about getting back on the path of my Craft, rather than the usual frustration that I never get the chance to do much about it. My Goddess cards and Archangel cards have been sitting on a side table in my living room for months but now it feels like I can hear them calling me, almost feel them vibrating in their boxes in urgency to be used. And instead of feeling thwarted that I can't get the time to look at them, I feel instead that they're getting themselves for when the time is right for me. That I'm getting ready, or rather prepared for the right time.

Who knows, maybe this year won't be that normal after all!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Onwards and upwards - New Year, New Beginnings

Well another year has started and I'd like to say that it was the perfect end to a perfect year. I'd like to but in truth I can't. A year which started full of stress ended the same way, and sadly encroached into the start of this one. But thankfully, so far it was only one day so things can change. And if I have anything to do with it, they will.

We had a relatively quiet holiday this year, by usual standards. This was the first one for a few years that I was totally at home with the kids - in the past I would spend a few days up at the shop finishing off gifts and family cards, so I would have some escape from the build up of stress that goes with having excited children and holiday preparations in the same house. Tony and I would take turns at home and at work - this year I was at home while Tony was out at work most days. And if truth be told, I've loved every minute of it. Seeing the kids get up in the morning, excited because one more sleep was over was wonderful but trying to sort everything on my own as well as entertain 4 of them did take it's toll. Not to mention having to constantly remind their father of the fact that we were just the same at that age. And believe me, dealing with 2 very excited children, a 3 year old who thinks every gift that comes into house is for him, a 1 year old who, bless her, had to spend most days in the babywalker (and hated it!) in an effort to save the tree and getting the last of the prep done was a doddle compared to having to deal with a 47 year old who makes Scrooge look nice!

I'll admit it must be hard for him - he has a lot to take in. Having spent quite a few years studying as a Jehovah's Witness, he had enough on his plate getting back into the swing of celebrating Christmas - then he met me and had to get used to celebrating Yule as well. But you'd think after nearly 12 years he'd be used to it all now. It feels as though somewhere along the way he's decided that if I'm the expert then I should sort it. Which, and don't tell him this, I love doing. But, sometimes it just gets too much for one person to deal with on their own and unfortunately, sometimes I let it! This year, it hit on Old Years Day.....

I spent most of the 1st day of this year trying to figure out what my problem was, why do I react the way I do to the most stupidest of situations. When did I change from being the type of person who just went along with things, letting problems arrive but never letting them get to me. When did I start letting things get to me, overwhelm me and turn me into the type of person - the type of mother - I hate. And more importantly, why do I let Ryan's behaviour get me so angry and wound up when I spend so much time reminding Tony that he's still just a child.

Is it because the Capricorn in me demands perfection - not just in myself but in those around me. Is it down to a battle between my inner child and the adult that I've unwillingly become. Or is it something as simple as a clash of personalities or an extreme lack of sleep! And the answer I came up with ... most likely a combination of all of them. But the fact remains that somewhere along the line I've changed into a person I'm not altogether happy being and I want to get back to being ME. Perhaps the problem is that I haven't changed - that I'm still going along with things, doing what's expected of me until it gets to the point where I can't be everything to everyone and the frustration explodes from me. As a teenager, when all the grinning and bearing got to much for me, I would hide out in my bedroom, watching videos, singing to the radio or drawing. Now I'm an adult I have to keep grinning and bearing it to the point where it gets to boiling point. Something which HAS to change!

I stopped making resolutions along time ago. Let's face it, with my stress levels the way they are, I'm hardly going to be giving up the smoking anytime soon! But each year I like to make a list of things I'd like to try to do in the coming months. The usual suspects are on the list - lose weight, stop smoking and biting my nails, be more compassionate to my fellow in-mates...... but, thinking about it,`if I was going to make any resolutions this year, it would be just two - I need to learn how to organise what time I have so I can have more time for myself to do the things I want and need to do. But more importantly I need to learn how to ask for that time - to not be afraid to ask for that time, rather than what I'm doing now in just trying to keep going until eventually I explode and alienate those people. I need to re-learn how to talk to Tony and the children so that we can re-claim what we've misplaced. And more importantly I need to remember that I am just one person, people like me for who I am, not what I am or what I can do for them. And I need to stop taking things so bloody personally!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.....

.....which means that the kids are excited and I'm starting to panic. Big time!!!
Every year it's always the same - I decide that I'm going to start early and collect bits and pieces through out the year and then realise at the start of December that I've got absolutely nothing in or ready. And don't even mention cards!!! Having owned a craft shop it was a given that I would make my own - and old habits are hard to break.


This time last year I was sat beside my 8 week old daughters bed in hospital, watching her suffer with bronciolitis and praying to every god and goddess I know the name of that she would make it through. Which, thanks to them all, she did. However, due to a combination of preparing for her birth in October, the hectic first few weeks of her life and her subsequent illness, it did mean we were way behind for the holidays - so much so that we only had one week to organise everything (including getting the gifts off to Santa for the kids ;-D )

Somehow we managed to pull it all off but I swore I wouldn't go through that stress again... and this year... was absolutely no different from any other year! I'll admit that I did try hard this year. I bought the stamps for my cards way back in February and even started them. Then Tony decided we were closing the business and I spent the next few months packing up a lifetime of craft materials - including my Yule and Christmas cards. We even started getting a few things in for gifts when we found a bargain or a freebie (gota love Freecycle!!!). And then life got in the way and before we knew it the birthdays were upon us, the kids were of on holidays or starting back at school and other things started to take priority. When we closed the shop in July I had it all planned - I would start up my own business again - this time making finished pieces to sell, like the cards and jewellery, maybe even some of my Fimo or ceramic pieces. All this would be done at night when the kids were in bed and I'd have a bit of freedom. But first I would finish off my Yule/Christmas cards so I wouldn't have those hanging over my head. Life however had other plans.

And so we find ourselves - 3 weeks (I think - I hope!) before the big day and my cards are still here waiting to be finished. And as usual we had the mad mummy panic the other day were daddy was literally threatened to within an inch of his life that he WAS going to go shopping and we WERE going to buy the gifts that I picked!!! And I'll give him his dues he went along like a good little soldier and we got everything we wanted (cos in the end he decided that it was a great idea of his to buy the drumkit, Happyland, pink stereo etc) for the kids.


And now we look forward to that other big tradition - the Annual Tree Decorating Arguement. An evening of family togetherness, where the kids argue and fight over who's putting what where and shout at the wee ones for taking the decorations off as they're being put on.

I'd like it to be like my memories of my childhood - I believe in my heart that this time of the year is the one last real piece of magic in a childs life and therefore in their parents/caregivers lives. I try to make it special for them and it breaks my heart each year that it never seems to work out that way - that both Tony and I allow ourselves to get caught up in the stress that goes with the whole season. Somehow, while trying to re-capture that part of us that are forever children, we unwittingly allow the adult to come out and spoil it for everyone. We spend this time of the year threatening and blackmailing that it will be cancelled (which it has been at least 4 times already this week!!!) instead of embracing the magic and allowing ourselves to be carried away with it. Basically we try way too hard to make it "perfect" for the kids - who cares if it's perfect - IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!!

But we live in hope that this year things will be different - that daddy won't lose the head and complain about how much this is costing him and that mummy won't go psycho. That Ryan will not get aggressive when Rebecca puts the decoration he wanted on the tree, that Jonathan won't open too many of the gifts before time and that Jessica will leave a few decorations on the bottom of the tree.

And that despite - or perhaps inspite - of everything - we will have the perfect Yule and Christmas that we're all dreaming off........