Friday, 27 December 2013

Getting my creative mojo back....

Hi everyone, I'm not going to go on too much about my Christmas on here except to say it has been lovely, and although we have tried not to dwell on this time last year, it has been impossible not to. Last Christmas day me and my mum and dad had a hurried dinner before driving to Trafford General where my lovely Geordie was lying in intensive care on a respirator. He didn't know it was Christmas and we weren't sure what was going to happen. We have really looked forward to this Christmas and it was lovely to see him eating, laughing, walking a bit and just being here with us.
Anyway, as he has needed less help with things, I have had a bit of time to myself and have been feeling a bit creative and I have found it quite relaxing.
I found two old stools in the spare room that we had used as bedside tables. They were sturdy but quite scruffy and full of cup ring marks. I didn't fancy painting them so I thought I'd have a go at covering them with some kind of decoupage. I bought two packs of serviettes, one from Tesco for £1.00 and one from Cath Kidston for £3.50 (a bit dear in my opinion and not any better than the Tesco ones!) The only other thing I bought was PVA glue for £1.00.
All I did was tear the serviettes into strips and small pieces, brush PVA glue on the stools and stick the pieces on, then brush them into a kind of scrunchy texture. I let it dry then put about 4 or 5 coats of PVA glue on as a kind of varnish. 
This is the Tesco one which is now a small table with my Chorlton pottery vase on. (not a great picture but you get the idea!)
The Cath Kidston one is here.....

This one is now next to the fire with a big red candle on. I was really chuffed with these as it was something I could just do for 5 minutes when I got a bit of time and I think these stools would have been lying around forever waiting to be sanded down and painted.
I've also been doing a bit of crochet too. I made this scarf for myself out of my scraps....
....and my friend Ms M asked me to make a hat for her sister-in-laws birthday.
Now I don't often make things for people except maybe a present for family as I'm a bit self-conscious about my work and think it's not good enough or it will fall apart or unravel. Anyway I agreed and made this from some lovely Debbie Bliss cashmere and merino wool.....

It's actually the first hat I've ever made and I just went off what I would like myself. She was really happy with it and actually sent me a photo of said sister-in-law wearing my hat in Copenhagen where her husband had taken her for her birthday!! It was very simple to make. I did a Lucy circle but for 6 rounds then just straight rows-couldn't be easier. The flower was another Attic 24 design from here
I've been up to a few other crafty things but I'll tell you about them next time.
Hope you have all had a lovely Christmas.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Little update....Geordie's cancer battle.

Hi everyone, I just thought I'd do a little update as I'm hoping to get going with my blog again soon.

The last time I updated on here, my poor Geordie had just been told he had cancer and we were waiting the results of some tests. Well since then we have had an absolute nightmare. Geordie went into hospital in October last year for a few tests and his first course of chemotherapy. They wanted to monitor him and he was supposed to be in for 5 days. Things started to go downhill almost immediately.......

To cut a long story short, Geordie ended up getting infections, skin problems and breathing difficulties. He wasn't able to leave hospital and was there until recently. He suffered respiratory failure just before Christmas and was put onto a life support machine to breath for him. The doctors told me they had never seen a haematology patient come off a respirator in 25 years and we were preparing for the worst. ...

but Geordie is made of tough stuff and he was woken up a week later. He had to have a tracheostomy put in to help him breath and he couldn't talk or eat for weeks. He spent weeks in Intensive Care being looked after by the most attentive wonderful nurses I have ever met.

Then one day I walked into his room and the nurse said "He's got something to tell you..." I looked at Geordie and he said "Hello"...oh my god, I've never heard anything so wonderful!!!

His long battle is still going on. He has lost almost half his body weight and has been as low as 47 kilos. He has lost all his muscle and couldn't sit up unaided or stand up or anything. He will walk again but it will be a long process involving rehab and a lot of work. In January he could only lie on his back and wiggle his fingers, then he began to feed himself and if the nurses 'hoisted' him into a wheelchair he could propel himself down the hospital corridor.

We tried to enjoy our hospital visits together. We tried to enjoy pleasures such as fresh coffee and a cake and 'Dickinson's Real Deal'. He continued to have chemotherapy when he was well enough and we should find out soon if it has been successful and what happens next.

He was in hospital for 8 months without a break. He has had trauma after trauma which would fill a whole blog by itself.....


he is now home!!! He is putting weight on, he is walking with a frame. He is standing up on his own to get dressed. His spirit is as strong as ever and he is determined to be back walking and doing all the things he loved before this happened. No one can quite believe what he has come through and how well he is doing. We have the most wonderful team of carers, physiotherapist's and occupational therapists who work with him at home as well as the fantastic Consultant who has saved his life (which sounds dramatic but is absolutely true!!)

I have now finished work to be his full time carer and I'm hoping to find some time to get back into my crafty things as well.

This has quite literally been the worst year of my life but some wonderful things have come out of it. First my family have been fantastic and looked after me when I couldn't eat or sleep for worrying. Second all the lovely neighbours. I didn't realise how much they all thought of Geordie till they were crying when they saw the ambulance bring him home. They have watched my house, hugged me and fed my cats, they've changed my tyres, done washing and cleaning for me and sent the most beautiful thoughtful cards. Third, my work colleagues who have offered me keys to their houses so I could sleep between hospital visits, one guy who brought me salads every day, fruit and soup to make sure I ate. They sent me flowers, bought me presents and basically let me text them at all hours.

People's kindness and love for us has made me feel really humbled and I hope I can be that person for someone else in need.

I now hope to get back to my original blog (with maybe a little Geordie update now and again!)


Sunday, 19 August 2012

Tough times-need to take a short break....

This is the first time I've visited Blogland in ages (well it feels like ages!!) Some of you may know my poor Geordie has been feeling poorly for a couple of months and we have been backwards and forwards trying different medications, having cameras down and various scans. Well 19 days ago we received the devastating news he has cancer. At first they said it was in his liver, spleen and kidneys. After having a CT scan they now think its lymphoma and told us a lot of lymphomas are treatable. To say this has been one of the worst times in my life is an understatement. We are now awaiting a liver biopsy which should happen this week and then the results the week after-we should then know what can be done. I had cancer myself 11 years ago (Hodgkins disease) and just can't believe this is happening to us again-getting cancer at a young age is still very rare. My Geordie was a tower of strength when I was ill but I'm afraid I'm falling apart a bit.
Anyway we are praying, staying positive, and trying to stay calm while all the tests are done.
Please can you all pray for him or send some positive vibes our way that we hear some good news and he will be able to be treated and return to health.
Thanks everyone. xxx  

Friday, 27 July 2012

Vintage cushion cover re-vamp.

Look what I caught my Mum throwing out?

It's an old cushion cover that belonged to my Gran. It's a bit smaller than standard cushions these days and there are a few marks and stains on the back. I snatched it from my Mum's hands and begged her to give it me. She looked at me like I've finally snapped but look at those colours and the pattern!

Anyway I got it home and realised only one side was worth I drew round a dinner plate......

....cut it out......

....painted it with PVA glue on both sides......

.....draped it over a glass (smeared with vaseline so it wouldn't stick).....

....left it to dry, removed it from the glass and turned it over.....

Ta-dah!!! A lovely pen pot! I think I'll make a few more of these for my crochet hooks and make up brushes.....I'll have to find some more lovely scraps now...


Monday, 16 July 2012

Brooches, bargains and bills!

I absolutely adore Lea Stein brooches. If you google her work, you will probably recognise them. The most famous ones are the foxes and cats and they look very Art Deco in style. There are a lot on ebay and in antique shops but at around £50, they are way out of my budget at the moment. They are made from plastic, and are very colourful, she developed the technique with her husband which allowed her to insert fabrics, colours and patterns onto the plastic. 
I saw this necklace in Primark last week...

 and something about it just reminded me of the Lea Stein style. Out came the epoxy resin and a brooch pin......

Ta-da!!!! A DIY Lea Stein inspired brooch for £3.00!!!

I also bought these beauties this week...
Brand new Cath Kidston red polka dot sandals for only £8 on ebay (were £28 new!) I was over the moon with these as I have a quite serious polka dot obsession. God knows if I'll get to wear them with all the rain we're having. I decided to make a little shoe bag to keep them in out of a Cath Kidston bag which was a free gift on Living magazine ages ago. 

First I cut the handles off, then made some loops out of red polka dot ribbon and sewed them round the top. I stitched the handles together to make a long drawstring, threaded it through the loops, and there you go-a Cath Kidston drawstring shoe bag!

We got a couple of Charity Shop bargains last week. Geordie got this gorgeous silver and glass dish, it's so lovely. We think it's a butter dish but I'd quite like to keep mints in it or sweets...

I also got this fabulous Goebel duck creamer! I love ducks almost as much as owls so I was over the moon with this.

Both of these came to less than a fiver.

Another bargain I got last week was these really cute butterfly pyjama shorts in a gorgeous mint green. These were two quid in Tesco!! Total bargain!

I've started a new blanket this week, for the bedroom this time (no use making anymore picnic blankets is it?) I've wanted a ripple blanket for ages and had a couple of goes at the pattern, but now with the aid of the ever fabulous Attic 24 ripple step-by-step guide, I have finally cracked it! This one is going to be big.....

I've been working on this having cosy days in with my poorly Geordie and the cats. The rain has been beating against the windows and Oliver decided he'd better see how warm and comfortable my crocheted cushions are....

And this was Sammy after his emergency trip to the vets last week. He started foaming at the mouth and shaking his head and we totally panicked and took him straight up to the vets. They kept him in for observation and then rang us to say they think he swallowed an insect which he didn't like the taste of! The vet said "Oh they are dramatic creatures...." as she thrust the credit card machine in my face.

 Hope everyone has had a creative, bargain-filled weekend! xx

Monday, 2 July 2012

Catching Up.

I haven't posted on here for a couple of weeks due to my poor Geordie being quite ill. He had to go into hospital for some unpleasant tests and although some things have been ruled out, it still hasn't been resolved. I've felt so stressed and worried that I haven't really done much to post about. What I have done is crocheted like a mad 'hooky' person and I've found it quite relaxing and distracting. I was very excited to finsh my Vintage Stripe Blanket.....

Oliver is carrying out a rigorous quality control check on it, making sure there are no missed stitches or loose ends.

It's like a big stick of rock!!

Here it is with my Little Squares Cushion.

I have also made another cushion, this one is just 2 big Granny Squares and literally took a couple of days to make and I used up all the bits I had left from the blanket.

I love the bright colours and they really cheer the room up. I bought the actual cushions for £1.49 each from B&M Bargains and then because you could see the white cheap material they are made out of through the gaps in the crochet, I cut up 2 T-shirts, one in pale blue and one in pink to make a cover for the cushions first before I put them in the crochet covers.

I've also been trying out some hexagons as well.....

I don't know what to do with them yet, they are all seperate so I might just use them as coasters on my coffee table or I might sew them together into a scarf or something.

Remember my post about Avoca socks? These are gorgeous knee high socks with lovely little trimmings but they are quite expensive and I had a real yearning for them. Well in the end I bought some socks in the sale from Tesco for £2 and raided my trimmings box. It has actually been cold enough to wear these recently under my knee boots (I know, I can't believe it's Summer!!!)

They are so cute and practical too. I've still got an oatmeal pair to do and Tesco still has some chocolate brown socks left which I might buy because I've got some cute little red roses and ribbons which would look sweet sewn on them. 

I haven't had much time for charity shop bargain hunting, so no vintage finds but I did find this gorgeous Boden cardigan for £3.99. I was ecstatic to find this because Boden (like Monsoon) is right up my street for quirky, colourful, embroidered vintage-style clothes, but it's just too expensive for me! This cardigan was probably around £60 new (at least) and it looks like it's never been worn-BARGAIN!!!

I also had a little trip to the Cath Kidston shop to browse in the sale. It was for therepeutic health reasons only you understand and it was practically on my way home and it would have been rude not too. Anyway I got a little present for the lovely Ms E, who sits beside me at work, and has very very kindly given me her Blackberry as she has got a new phone. She is so lovely and she knows I have wanted a Blackberry for ages and I was really touched when she said I could have hers. Anyway I got her this......

and I'm going to crochet her an Attic 24 Bauble, with some essential oils on the stuffing to hang in her car as she has always liked mine.

I haven't been doing much else these last 2 weeks apart from having a free listen to the Stone Roses gigs as I only live about 10 minutes from Heaton Park. I had the back door open so I could hear the music without the trauma of standing in the rain and mud. Our whole area was totally swamped with Roses fans and it was quite exciting really seeing people who had travelled from all over the world queuing for beer in our Sainsburys!! I saw one enterprising neighbour cooking burgers in his front garden on a barbecue and selling them to the fans! I'm sure he had all the necessary permits and risk assessments done beforehand-lol.

I'm off work now for 2 weeks and will be having a few trips out sight seeing and bargain hunting. Happy July everyone. xxx

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays....

All the rain over the last couple of weeks has made me really yearn for a lovely pink polka dot mac I saw in Sainsburys. Well the rain hasn't been letting up and Geordie was sick of my 3 times a day conversation about how much I really NEEDED a pink polka dot mac. So it's now mine and I have worn it every single day over the last 10 days.

It's first outing came last Friday when me and Ms M went to Ramsbottom to look for antiques and charity shop bargains. I found this gorgeous little jug with blossom on which looks really old. All the glaze is crackled and I think it will look gorgeous with some sweet peas in on my kitchen table-cost? £1....bargain.

I also found this lovely big serving plate which looks 1970's to me. I love the pattern and colour and I'll definitely use this rather than put it on a shelf-cost? £2.....another bargain.

Then I found this really sweet spice cabinet with a stained glass door. I'm going to paint the wood in the same lovely duck egg blue paint I did my kitchen table in and clean up the glass and it should look good-cost? £ bargain. 

Ms M bought some lovely things for her shop, chamber pots, vases, tea caddies etc. We are totally different when we go shopping together because she likes to look at the factory names and if there is a chip, a crack or anything missing she's not interested whereas I always tend to gravitate towards the rejects- a dish with the lid missing, a vase on it's own when it should be a pair, I just go for pattern and colour, I don't care if it has no name underneath.
We went in a few vintage clothes shops too and saw some gorgeous dresses and fake fur shawls and jackets-so lovely. We saw so many beautiful things but I'm on such a tight budget at the moment it was strictly window shopping in those shops. As I did the driving, Ms M treated me to coffee and carrot cake in a lovely old-fashioned tea room. Yum!!

As the weather has kept me at home quite a bit, I decided to get some of my 'Work In Progresses' finished. First up was my Attic 24 Little Squares Cushion. I only had to actually sew it up but it's just been sitting there for weeks. Anyway here is the finished project and I'm really pleased with how colourful it looks. It's my first time using the 'join as you go' technique with the little squares and it's so easy I'll definitley do this again.

Next I finished my Owl Doorstop. I'd actually finished all the crocheting weeks ago-it just needed stuffing and sewing up. I ended up putting a kilo of dried chick peas in to weigh him down. He looks so cute and I can't wait to see what the cats think of him (when they all wake up from their giant 12 hour snooze on our bed!)

Anyway, it's Monday tomorrow and back to work so I decided to have a go at making another corsage type brooch but in cotton instead of wool so I can wear it on a cardie for a more Summer-y look. I really like how it turned out as I've not used cotton before and I found it a bit fiddly to crochet with it because it has no stretch in it. I used the Attic 24 pattern and just sewed a circle of felt on the back with a brooch pin on. I can't wait to wear it tomorrow for work. It should cheer up a dreary rainy Manchester Monday.....

Hope everyone has had a good week. xxx