Wednesday, February 27, 2013

nothing to report

think she might need a flower by dropstitch

I can't sleep. I'm not sure why, but it may have something to do with the giant takeaway pizza I ate last night or the large quantity of water I had to drink to combat its thirsty saltiness. Both these things (the high-salt food and the large glass of water) were a rare treat, since I am not meant to have too much of either. I justified it to myself for its rarity, but then lay in bed feeling a little bit niggly-style stressed about it. Then my eyes started watering and I convinced myself that this was my body's only way of processing the excess fluid I'd consumed and that I would drown if I didn't get up. I wasn't really going to drown, of course, but after lying awake for over an hour, I got up anyway. Once I was up, I wondered what to do and ended up looking at my neglected flickr account for a picture to blog about. 

This picture has nothing to do with anything, but I liked it. I found this ornament (for about 20p, I think) in one of my favourite charity shops a couple of years ago. I still really love her. I found out afterwards that one of my mum's ornaments is the same make. That ornament is kind of different, but they do have something in common and I wonder if that is what drew me to this one. I've been realising lately that a lot of my favourite things (e.g. favourite flowers) are things that I associate with my childhood. I wonder what things from our ramshackle and overcrowded home will stand out to Dulcie as she grows up. I'm on a constant clear-out mission these days. I think a lot of my clutter is made up of lovely stuff (it's been funny to hear visitors' oohs and aahs over my living room shelves these last few months, where this ornament stays along with many, many other things) but I want to get rid of some of the less lovely stuff so that it's all good wherever you look. I am not aiming for minimalism, however! Minimalism might be good for peace of mind, I am willing to accept, but it is just not me. Minimalism + love of charity shopping is not a stable equation, after all.

Not being able to drink a lot is one of the most irritating aspects of my heart condition. I'm supposed to stick to a maximum of 1.5 litres a day. That sounds like a reasonable amount, but it's not. I am constantly thirsty. I also have to take water tablets to help my body get rid of the fluid I consume. This makes me thirstier still. Not drinking a lot of water seems all wrong after so many years of being told the benefits of it. I think about glasses of lovely cold water a lot and when I have one I usually end up gulping half of it in a desperate oner while saying, "Sip it! Sip it!" in my head. It's hard work to resist the water cooler in the over-heated/air-conditioned environment of work. I try to sneak fluid from unofficial sources too - I ate a yoghurt when I got up this morning for its near-liquid qualities. I think thirst might have something to do with my recent love of oranges too. I try to avoid tea and coffee these days as I figure caffeinated fluid is probably not the best use of my 1.5 litre allowance. The same goes for alcohol. Soup is meant to count as part of my 1.5 litres too, so should probably be avoided, but I tend to turn a blind eye to it. It's funny how you end up kind of manking up your own rules to suit yourself. Well, it's all steps in the right direction, isn't it?

In general, my new year's resolution to make an effort with my health situation has been going well. I've not been depriving myself (this last fortnight has been fairly sociable so there's been a lot of cake and meals out etc.) but I have made lots of good choices and changed a lot of my day-to-day habits. I've lost quite a bit of weght as a consequence, which can only be a good thing. I've been making a real effort to avoid salty processed foods and have been doing complicated mathematical problems in order to get to grips with how much salt is in each portion of homemade soup etc. The physical activity thing hasn't been going so well lately because my recent medication increases have left me feeling really pretty unwell, but I have still been pushing myself to do as much as I feel able and hopefully I'll feel able to do a bit more in time. Much as it is hard (major understatement!) when you're feel constantly exhausted to look after a small child (who doesn't feel that small when you have to push her around in her pram/carry her up and down stairs!) it does mean that you can't give in to the urge to stay in bed permanently. That must be a good thing. 

The third part of my resolution was to be more positive in my attitude to my situation/future. This has been the hardest thing of all, but I think I am doing a good job...ish! Heart-wise, things really have been tough, especially over the last four months, and I will admit that I have been down-down-down-down a lot of the time. But, with a bit of help from the NHS and the British Heart Foundation, I have been facing up to things and just this week have been feeling like maybe I have turned a wee corner. I found myself having a proper giggle with a work colleague this weekend (if you had to, would you rather sleep with Tinker or Eric off Lovejoy?) and realised how long it had been since I had properly laughed about something silly with no big, scary thoughts distracting me. I've had a few more giggles since then too. I've got another couple of months (at least) of scary stuff ahead, but I'm starting to feel hopeful that it might all be for the good in the long run. There's a long way to go and I'm sure I'll do plenty more crying (oh, the crying!) along the way, but I am prepared to cut myself some slack and say that, given the circumstances, I am doing well at sticking to that mental-health part of my resolution. I can only try, right?

This blog post has fairly passed the time. I can probably get up for real now. Dulcie and I are heading out on a top-secret mission today. I'll tell you what it was once we get back!

Thanks for reading this, anyone who's still here. Before you go, can you tell me one thing? Tinker or Eric? Tee-hee!

Saturday, February 23, 2013


snowdrops 4 by ewelina_k
snowdrops 4, a photo by ewelina_k on Flickr.

Snowdrops are my favourite flower.  
What's yours?  
(Cue zero comments.)

I saw my first snowdrops of the year yesterday.  I took a photo, but as you can see it did not turn out very well.  That's why I pinched one from flickr.  Could spring really be on the way?  Yay!

p.s. Remember, there's still have time to enter the Girls' Day giveaway or to help me support the British Heart Foundation by buying something from my shop!

Friday, February 22, 2013

knitted twoos!

 My mum (who's staying with us this week - hooray!) has been busy knitting lately and made this owly cardigan for Dulcie.  Dulcie is very interested in owls, or "twoos" as she calls them.
Isn't it gorgeous?  It's a little bit big at the moment, but should be the perfect size to be a summer jacket for her, we think.  I had asked my mum to make the famous owl sweater for Dulcie back when I was pregnant, but we agreed that a cardigan would be more useful at this young age, so my mum found this similar cable pattern on Ravelry.  I have made her promise to make the owl sweater when Dulcie is a bit older, though!

p.s. You still have time to enter the Girls' Day giveaway or to help me support the British Heart Foundation by buying something from my shop!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

what dulcie likes

 Standing.  She still doesn't believe she can do it, but can stand independently for ages if she's distracted by something.  Of course, she also loves the camera so was desperately trying to walk towards me as I took this, hence the funny bottom-out position.  She also loves dancing, as evidenced in the triple-generation family dance-off in the kitchen tonight, where she showed she has inherited her father's musical preferences.
Pulling out all her toys.   Just check out the mess in the background of this picture!  She doesn't just make a mess with her toys, though, and is getting more and more pleasure out of actually playing these days.  She has just learned to put together her wooden cat puzzle (and is so proud of herself) and will spend ages playing with her farm and its animals.
 Playing with keys and cruising along sofas/tables.  Keys are Dulcie's favourite thing.  She searches all over the flat for the keys in the top right of this picture and then carries them around all day long, saying, "Keys!" repeatedly.  Dulcie still can't walk (or not more than a couple of steps, anyway) but spends a lot of time wandering around holding onto the furniture and playing peekaboo from behind the couch.
Singing ee-ay-ee-ay-oh and making animal noises.  Here's Dulcie playing with the afore-mentioned farm.  She LOVES Old McDonald and joins in with the ee-ay-ee-ay-ohs, which is what she's doing in this picture. As well as roaring like a lion and trumpeting like an elephant, Dulcie can make most of the farm animal noises.  Cows say, "Boo," and sheep say, "Hu-hu-hu-hu-hu."
Finding out what's in the glittery shoe box.  One of my work friends is having a clear-out in preparation for a house move.  She gave me some hand-me-down clothes for Dulcie in this glittery gold shoe box.  I keep some plastic balls in here now, as well as some random/changeable toys.  Dulcie shuffles over to it pretty much first thing every morning to see what's inside it.
 Trying on my boots.  I don't know what it is about these boots, but they are a bit of a Dulcie magnet.  She needs a bit of help to get them on, mind you, and I'm fairly certain walking in them would be impossible for her.
Phones and other technology.  She is obsessed with any technology she sees the grown-ups using.  I can't phone or email anyone while she's around.  She has an annoying knack of pressing buttons that actually make things happen e.g. opening up and editing the html code of webpages and turning on predictive texting on my mobile.  I can't work out how to turn it off again.  She can even send text messages.  They used to read something along the lines of "lkjasdiuer asjdpoaurlk 349ushdflf" but since she discovered predictive texting, they read things like, "I have sweetens," an actual message that she sent to my friend Lorna.  I think it could be dangerous.  Who knows what nonsensical sense she could send to someone, who would obviously think it was a real message from me.

And so ends my quick round-up of Dulcie's recent favourite activities.

p.s. Don't forget to enter the Girls' Day giveaway!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Look what I've been doing with my lunch breaks this weekend - a spot of crochet!  Maybe you remember the super-cute cardigans I made for Beyonce-Buble, or Dulcie as she she came to be known?  This is the same pattern.  The pattern only goes up to 12-18 months in size so I really wanted to make one last cardigan before Dulcie became too big for the pattern.  This is the yoke (neck and shoulders) of the cardigan, by the way, in case you are thinking it looks a bit un-cardigan-like so far.

There is absolutely no way I can crochet at home, but I figured it was a good way to use my down time in the office.  One of the things I was looking forward to about returning to work was getting to chat to other grown-ups about things other than baby stuff.  Sadly, my office went through some major changes when I was off on maternity leave (plus I work the shifts that are usually pretty quiet staff-wise) so chatting is no longer really feasible.  But doing some crafty stuff over the last couple of days has finally given me that little bit of balance that I hoped work would restore.  I think occupational therapy could be the way to go with me.  While I was crocheting, it was the first time in months that my brain wasn't rattling in and around scary stuff.  If only Dulcie would give me five minutes' peace in the house for purely medicinal handicrafts now and again, eh? :)

p.s. Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

p.p.s. God, I love crochet!  Discovery of the millennium!

Friday, February 15, 2013

a giveaway for girls' day!

A couple of years ago, I did a giveaway to celebrate the Japanese tradition of Girls' Day, which takes place on the 3rd of March each year.  I decided to do something to celebrate it every year from then on.  I may have skipped a year in 2012, but in 2013 I am back with a vengeance... or with another giveaway, at least.  This year's giveaway has been inspired by the Graze boxes I get every week.  Don't worry - the prize is not health food!  I've been reusing quite a few of my Graze boxes to ship orders from my Etsy shop, but have managed to set aside three empty boxes that will be filled with prizes for three lucky winners.  So far I have been filling the boxes with things made by me.  

Each winner will receive:

a hulder gocco print
a sandboys gocco print
two 'now is the winter...' gocco prints (one mustard, one blue)
a Mair's ice cream gocco print
a Big Daddy lino print
two vintage recipe card cards (one sweet, one savoury)
a Little Red Riding Hood pendant
two vintage button cards
an upcycled paint chip emergency sewing kit

But that is only the beginning!  There is still room to be filled in the Graze box, so I will be adding to these prizes, probably with writing paper from my stash and maybe a few more of my handmade goodies.  I will keep you posted as the prize develops.

Exciting, no?

Hmmm, I wonder how much more stuff my mum can fit in this box...
To enter the giveaway (girls only, please - boys, you will need to organise your own giveaway for Boys' Day) all you have to do is leave a comment on this post with some way of contacting you - an email address or a link to your blog/shop/whatever.

Not feeling lucky enough?  TO GAIN AN EXTRA ENTRY, simply buy something from my Etsy shop before the end of February.  You might remember I am trying to raise money for the British Heart Foundation by donating 50% of all my February sales.  It's not going too badly so far (thanks to a couple of generous and highly organised individuals who have started their Christmas shopping very early!) but there is certainly room for improvement.  If you buy (or have already bought) something from my shop this month, no matter how small the purchase, simply let me know in your comment and I will be sure to put your name in the hat twice.  Just to make this crystal clear - you do not have to buy something from my shop in order to enter this, but you will get an extra entry if you do.

Three winners will be drawn at random on Girls' Day, which is March 3rd.  I'm happy to ship internationally, so this giveaway is open to girls the world over.  Friends and previous giveaway winners are also more than welcome to take part.  Good luck!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

happy pancake day!

 Dulcie and I had a bit of a long lie this morning (late shift last night) and then got up and made pancakes for breakfast.  Dulcie, who has fruity porridge every morning, is taking the strangeness (and smoky kitchen) in her stride.
 Mmmm!  I am having my pancakes with some spiced plum and fig jam made by my mum.
I haven't made pancakes in a looooong time and had forgotten my favourite thing about them - all the baby pancakes and planet-shaped pancakes you get from the drips.  I gave this baby pancake to Dulcie, missing out on the fun of piling it high with jam, but it seemed appropriate somehow that she should have it.

To make your own fat pancakes: 125g of self-raising flour, 1 egg, 150ml milk.  Mix it all up and plop dollops onto a very hot (and lightly greased) frying pan.  When bubbles appear and pop on the pancake's surface, it's time to turn it over.  Easy.  (Mine are a bit burnt and chewy, but for a first attempt as an adult, I will be lenient!)

Friday, February 1, 2013


Vintage Valentine's card available here.

If you have a heart condition then perhaps (like me) you will not be much looking forward to the onslaught of hearts that is February.  The blighters are everywhere at the moment, constant reminders of thoughts far removed from love and romance.  This year I have decided to reclaim February from all those perky, symmetrical little hearts (so unlike my own misshapen lump) and hopefully raise some money for my own true love, BHF, in the process.  So, for the entire month of February, I plan to donate 50% of my Etsy sales to the British Heart Foundation.

The British Heart Foundation is an amazing charity, which does so much to help my situation in so many ways.  As well as funding vital research into a huge range of heart conditions (the biggie) they also do loads of other little practical things that you might not know about unless you need to make use of them.  They have an amazingly informative and well-maintained website - great if you suddenly have a question at stupid o'clock.  They publish a wide range of leaflets and books to give patients and their families information on their condition and the implications of it, covering everything from medication and lifestyle advice to breaking the news of your diagnosis and legal matters.  The British Heart Foundation even pays the salary of a specialist psychologist who deals solely in helping people with heart conditions.  I'm sure they do a million other valuable things for other people too.

I can often be seen lugging bags full of goodies to the BHF charity shop, but given how much I value the services they provide, I'm keen to find other ways to pay them back.  That's why I'll be donating 50% of all my Etsy sales (excluding postage) for the entire month of February.  This probably won't amount to much, to be honest, since my shop is not exactly bustling, but it is a start.  Perhaps you've had your eye on something in my shop for a while?  If so, February would be the month to go ahead and treat yourself.  You'll be treating others at the same time :)

Here are a few suggestions of what you might like to buy.  Visit my shop to see the full range of goodies on offer.

Beware The Hulder - limited edition gocco print
You pay £6, BHF receives £3.

Large Pat Butcher embroidery
You pay £15, BHF receives £7.50

Acorn brooch
You pay £5, BHF receives £2.50

 The Sandboys - four gocco printed notecards
You pay £6, BHF receives £3.
You pay £3.50, BHF receives £1.75.

Now Is The Winter... gocco printed notecard 
You pay £2, BHF receives £1.

Small Ethel and Willy embroidery 
You pay £6.50, BHF receives £3.25.

Two hand(made)kerchiefs in vintage fabrics
You pay £5, BHF receives £2.50.

Or, if you'd prefer, you can make a one-off donation directly to the British Heart Foundation here.

ps If you don't want to buy anything yourself, maybe you would like to point others in the right direction?  Or perhaps you would like to donate a small percentage of your own sales this month?  And ten bonus points to anyone who can guess what that second L stands for.  But be warned - I did once famously strangle my sister for referring to me by my middle name...