Monday 30 April 2012

Finally admitted defeat

For a while I have known I've had to lose some weight.  Since the summer I have gone up at least one dress size, if not two.  A combination of an increasingly sedentary life (too much crafting ;) ), too much snacking on things close to hand (ie cake and biscuits), increasing portion sizes (why did I think that increasing the boys portions as they grow also meant I had to increase my own portion siize?), and an underactive thyroid have all lead to me being the heaviest I have ever been whilst not being pregnant.  My wardrobe was diminishing rapidly as I kept growing out of clothes, and I was starting to find things like walking up both flights of stairs difficult.  No longer could I maintain the myth that I was relatively healthy, I might have been a few years ago, but right now things are far from healthy.  So, after finally admitting to myself that things needed to change, I did nothing!!  I kept telling myself I needed to lose weight, but would still sneak a cake, or finish leftovers from the children. 

A friend started slimming world a while ago, and I looked at the books, but couldn't work out how I could make it fit in with a large family or my ideals about non processed food and no low fat or low sugar products.  But I reached breaking the other day, and took myself along to Slimming World.  I sat through all the spiel, and still wasn't convinced, but joined anyway.  I brought the books home and was feeling so disheartened by it all as it was so heavily based on low fat, low sugar products.  But I feel I have got my head around it now.  I am eating mainly fruit, veg and meat.  Isn't that what we should be eating anyway?  Very little in the way of cakes and bread.  But my evening meal is just how it always has been, cooked with fat if needed, and I do rack up the Syns (negative points) with this, but we are allowed between 5 and 15 each day, and most of that goes on the evening meal.

I have discovered a lovely breakfast that I probably wouldn't have eaten before, porridge made with water, but sweetened with half a mashed banana, the rest of the banana chopped up, an apple chopped up and anything else I can fit in there!!  For lunch I have just had left over roast pork (lean) with salad, a boiled egg, and a dollop of mayo (full fat of course!)  I haven't yet been weighed, but I am actually enjoying this now, it has given me the framework to eat more healthily, and I do feel I have lost weight this week already, but Wednesday will be the day when I find out if my adaptation of Slimming World's programme has actually worked.  Fingers crossed for Wednesday then!!

Friday 27 April 2012

Pitter, patter,SPLOSH, SPLOSH, SPLOSH!!

 Yes, it's wet, very wet!  I know we need it, the ground needs it, the plants need it, but all at once?  All outdoor plans for the allotment have been put on hold, but it hasn't stopped the planting of seeds thank goodness.  We'll just have a massive panic when we don't have enough clear ground to plant them all! 

The boys have been waking up in the attic rooms to the pattering of the rain on the roof.  Something quite comforting about that, being all snug and warm knowing it is the complete opposite outside, but it doesn't help get them out of bed any earlier!!
 Sophie is about the only one who has relished the weather.  Her comment the other morning was "Look mummy it is raining puddles!"  She rather likes puddles, jumping in them, digging the mud up from the bottom of them and letting it run through her fingers, throwing things in them, sswishing them, kicking them... the list is endless...
 ... as is the wet clothes!!  Notes the canvas shoes, the only things I could get on her feet whilst waiting for her wellies to dry out AGAIN!!
 A mud splattered innocent face!!
 And more muddy, soaking wet clothes!  I have resigned myself to this!!
 I have been taking the opportunity to crack on with the second ring for the Guild exhibition.  My needle felted robin sat on some eggs, and I am now crocheting billions of leaves to make a safe little enclave for the robin to raise its brood.  It's so hard to get a good camera angle to show what it is like.  But I am rather pleased with it!
 Gimli is not a fan of the wet!  He has spent much of this week like this!  And when he ventures out he is shaking the wet from each paw with every step he takes.  If he gets caught in the rain he comes in miaowing in a most indignant way!
How have you been spending this wet weather? I am hoping we might just get a glimmer of sun soon!

Wednesday 18 April 2012


 I haven't been able to settle to anything much this week, flitting from one project to another.  This is more than likely due to there being lots of projects needing to be done at a similar time (when is that never the case with me!)  So, there has been lots of crocheted leaves ready for my 6 inch ring I am doing for the Guild exhibition.  I have to get it done by the beginning of May, and there is still some more spinning to do too before that is finished. 

At Christmas time a friend saw the bag I made, and asked if I could make one for her.  After explaining that I had lots of things on, and if she didn't mind waiting I could do her one in the grey Zwartble I had, she agreed.  So I eventually turned my attentions to this this week, only to find I had spun the wool too fine to use for this project, so am doubling up the balls, and will have to spin some more wool to finish it.
 I haave also been dragged into the 21st century with, not only a mobile phone, but a smart phone that does all kinds of things as well as making phone calls!  So before I was happy to take it out anywhere I had to make a case for it to prevent the screen from getting scratched.  I was going to use some handspun wool on that too, but it seemed a little rough, and was again too fine!  So I raided the conservatory (where all the wool scraps are kept) and came across some self patterning "Crofter" by Sirdar.  So combined with a dark grey for the collar, my new phone cosy was created. 
As for reading, just a bit of Radical Homemakers before bed.  Still enjoying it, but not finding much time to settle down and read.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been up to in Ginny's Yarn Along

Saturday 14 April 2012

Ticking them off

 Another Story bag finished!  It is such a great feeling, to be completeing all these projects all at once.  I am pleased with how everything seems to be coming together.   And it seems to give me so much more headspace.  Little bags made to fit the the story book in perfectly, and then enough space for the knitted characters in the main part of the bag.
 I love how an idea develops.  I had initially thought of just a bridge with a stream running beneath it to symbolise the story, but as I was putting it together it developed into the banks, and then the squareness to match the bag.  Little details probably lost on the recipient, but that make me feel rather satisfied.  It can get rather addictive this creating lark, but I am going to tear myself away from it to get on with the allotment, honestly I am, but I still have a 6 inch ring to finish, and a bag to make, then there is the guild challenge I need to start spinning for, and...
... see what I mean!  Addictive!  But off to sow some seeds... tomorrow!

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Busy sewing

 I had set myself the Easter Holidays to try and clear the custom orders I have for story bags and bunting.  I am nearly there, and have had a ridiculously producitve morning today, making the bag for Little Red, which I am very proud of, it looks, well, rather good! 
 Also managed to finish off some bunting, for a little girl's birthday at the beginning May, as well as the longest bunting I have done to date. 
I just have the bag for The Billy Goats Gruff to finish off (it's a good job there was a long time scale on this, as it seems to have taken a long time from me starting it to finishing it, but then the deadline was mid May) 

After that I am putting a seasonal halt on custom items, as whilst I would like to think that I can do everything, I do also have to be realistic.  If I want to be able to things properly, I need to be able to devote more time to them, so spring and summer are allotment times, and autumn and winter are my Aisling Design times.   I may still create a few things that will make their way into the Etsy shop, but I will be switching my attentions from sewing to sowing. 

Saturday 7 April 2012

Making memories.

It was Stuart's Dad's birthday today.  We wanted to make it special for him, as being lonely on your birthday would be awful, so went and picked him up to take him out for breakfast.  After eventually finding somewhere that would do breakfast without us having to wait 45 minutes for a table (I never knew going out for breakfast would be so popular!!) we then went on to tour around where Stan grew up. 

We went to where the house he was born in would have been if it hadn't been knocked down in the 1950's for a road.  The surrounding area was relatively untouched, so we were able to see his friends houses, where the gas lampost used to be where him and his friends would congregate.  The green they would play ball on, until they put railings up to stop them (the railing were then taken down to use the metal for munitions during WWII)  We saw where he moved to when he was fourteen.  There was a very poignant moment sat outside that particular house.  The blind was twitching as the current occupants were wondering why people were sat in the car looking at their house, but at that moment, Stan was telling us how that house had seen all four boys going off to war, and welcoming them all back home again.  It made me wonder what hidden histories everything holds. 

We saw more houses where children were born, where Jean grew up, where Jean and Stan got married, and where Stuart spent his early years.  From Bromford Lane, to Howard Road, from Marston Grove to where he is now.  With many more places linked to along the way.  It was a wonderful way to spend a day, enjoyable for Stan reminiscing, and enjoyable for us in learning more about the history we are all joined to.

Plus to top it off, he got an Ipad of his very own, and the Baggies won!!  Hopefully we were able to make it a special day, and I know it has for me (in family speak) "made a memory".

Wednesday 4 April 2012

The Journey of the Rings

It's Spinspiration time again!!

It really is quite a journey of discovery creating these rings.  I have finished the 2-D one, I might add a few more touches to it, but am pleased enough with it.  The clam shell and fishes are crocheted and sewn on.  The grey edging (zwartble) is supposed to be a porthole that you are viewing the underwater view through.  And everything else is needle felted.  The 3-D one of the robin on a nest is hitting a few stumbling blocks, which is a shame as I was really excited by the idea of creating this.  The biggest problem has been the dyeing of the wool.  I was hoping to spin enough white Portland to then dye it with woad and weld.  Firstly I've not had enough time to spin the white, and then the whole process of dyeing using woad seems to complicated, and I never have enough time in any big enough chunk of time to get anywhere with it.  So I am contemplating spinning some green roving I have, and see if it is enough, I'm not sure it will be, but I really do want to get this done.
 The robin is headless at the moment, and is awaiting its red breast.  Time is ticking on, and I will really have to crack on with it.
The Guild have announced their new competition to be completed in time for Christmas.  A cushion cover, so I am looking forward to having an excuse to sit down with my wheel and get some serious spinning done.  I have also been browsing Ravelry for some ideas for designs.  If I can co-ordinate it with our revamp of our lounge then I can see it having pride of place on our new three-piece suite!

That's probably all the woolly news for now.  Looking forward to seeing what others have been up to this last month.

Tuesday 3 April 2012


 Our little boy has turned eight!  That tiny little baby that was so chilled out and easy going, who got all his confidence from his big brothers as a toddler, who took the birth of Sophie in his stride even though it coincided with him starting school too, who is so sociable and has hoards of friends, both boys and girls.  Ethan, is now eight, where did that time go?  It all started with the obligatory lego building session.  He also had a scooter, and I had made him a minecraft creeper toy.
 We decided to go out to the Malvern Hills, which Sophie has renamed the "Mouldy Mountains"!! 
 We opened the car door, and they were off, just like a pack of dogs!!
 Stuart and I were very envious of Ethan's energy at running up this hill. 
 Sophie decided she was in charge (is it ever any different?) and if anyone dared to challenge this, most of Malvern knew about it!
 The views were stunning, such a clear day.

There was the usual rolling down hills, although I think they found it a bit bumpy this time around!
 Ethan, happily swinging a stick, and enjoying himself.
 There was quite a bit of cajoling of Sophie to carry on walking, but what a great view!
 We reached the top, which was a bit cold and windy, but once we found shelter in the lee of the hill everyone was much happier.

We returned home to cake and a birthday tea... 
...and of course to finish off the lego!!

Happy Birthday Ethan, wishing you a wonderful year ahead  of you, full of fun and friendship. xx