Monday, 29 April 2013

...the crafting spoonie reports in!

Good evening peeps, I hope everyone is OK?
I thought I'd bring you up to speed on the crafting side, followed by a quickie on my health... so if you're a Spoonie or a Fibromite, with no interest in crafting, you can skip to the end... & visa versa if you're a crafter LOL

Since I last wrote, I've finished a major project that I started last year... my Scarlet woman masquerade mask.

The mask was almost finished & just needed ties attached but I was unhappy with the finish on the back.  I realised that if I wanted to put the mask on my Etsy shop (link on the right) I also needed to create or find some kind of container for it.
So... I made some elasticated loops & attached them to the mask. These would allow the wearer to adjust the ribbons for ease.

Here you can see the loop with the ribbon attached. the next thing I did was to recover the back of the mask. As this had originally been an experimental piece I hadn't really worried about the back before. I found some burgundy lining fabric & used that, it looks a lot better now.

... it's something I really need to work on when I do the next mask, to get the back looking as polished as the front.

Now that the mask was finished I turned my attention to the packaging. I found an old box that was the right size, just a bit to deep... an easy solution was to make a new lid & cover both to match.

 hmmm, I thought long & hard over the decoration of the box, & at the end of the day, as always, I had to use what I already had in the house. It's a right pain living on benefits & not having any money for luxuries LOL

In the pics above you can see the papier macheing with red tissue paper and the leftovers of the mask's ribbon. I then cut some burgundy tissue hearts in different sizes & applied them & then dotted some gold heart gems around for a bit of glam.
I'm very pleased with the finished box.

I have another mask, one that also needs ties & a box... so that is being attended to as we speak.
I wanted to make my other ongoing project in time for this weekend... oops, that's gone now so I've missed the dead line by a mile LOL ~ it was for a crafting competition with the only stipulation that the theme was 'book'.

My idea was to make a treasure box out of a book, it's going to have a secret compartment & the cover is (hopefully) going to be an Ab-Fab mix of shabby chic & a pirate's chest... well that's the general idea.
Here's the book, with the pages cut out. It's all ready to have the pages stuck together, the spaces to be lined & the cover decorated.

That's the end of the crafting news... here's the update on the health & home side.

I received a letter from the DLA during the week, they're arranging for a medical examiner to come & visit ~ at least I know it's being dealt with, although I don't hold out much hope of getting anywhere with the financial support... but you never know & like they say ~ it's not over until the fat lady sings !

I managed to get down to see my GP on Tuesday, my brother was off work & I actually managed to co-ordinate everything so that the appointment fitted in with him & mum arriving & giving me a lift... wonders will ever cease LOL

To my immense relief he was very understanding, well he seemed to be! he's put me back on morphine ~ only to be used at times when the pain is too much, what a relief to have it as a back up again! ...and he's referred me back to my consultant to investigate the Chronic Fatigue & the Sleep Paralysis, my appointment is on 22 nd May.
So, all in all the visit was a success & worthwhile me making the effort. As always, I couldn't have done it without my family & I'm so grateful for their support.

I also had my last physio session this week, I've now been signed of. As Mary said, there's nothing else she can do because the most pain is from the fibro & she was only sent to me to deal with me post-op, for my hip. I shall miss having her visit but I can report that I did everything she asked me to do & she was very pleased with me (smug grin ! LOL)

Today I ran out of spoons... deep sigh... after managing to get upstairs, find some fabric & other bits for my crafting... AND have a bath...I then tried to make my bed with clean sheets & duvet... I persisted & although I probably broke a few records for the longest-bed-making-session-in-know-history, I did it BUT I lived to regret being so damn stubborn!

The end result was too much pain, no crafting & ending up in bed, horizontal, with 2 of the cats. I really should have learnt to pace myself by now ~ to end on a nice note, here's some pics of my Montie, one of our 5 cats...  he's my faithful companion... he really is a mummy's boy, bless him x

That's all folks... until next time x

Sunday, 21 April 2013

What a beautiful sunny Sunday...

It's a beautiful day in sunny Kent... what a welcome change from the recent cold weather, I hope everyone is enjoying it. 
I had a rotten night last night & ended up surfing the net at 4 am. It was while looking at people I follow on twitter that I found some other like minded people, one of them was Dee. 
After reading Dee's blog  ( ), I thought I'd see if I could alter the tone of my blog... I realised that all of my posts had concentrated on the crafting side of my life, while the real reason for them, Fibromyalgia' had been left in the shadows, with only an occassional mention. 
I thought that if I could incorporate the two, without force feeding any crafters a dose of 'fibro misery', then  I could eventually accomplish what I had originally set out to do ~ to achieve world domination through crafting & raise awareness about Fibromyalgia. You have to have a sense of humour about these things LOL

So... a quick update on me & then a quickie on my day, just to give you a taste... I promise this will be a short post LOL
I have the following conditions ~  

Sleep Paralysis ~ I get the full version )

Along side these conditions are other symptoms ... such as insomnia, IBS etc. The links will give you some understanding of the conditions; non of them are life threatening but all are life changing.

I live with my partner & 5 cats, our family's have all grown up & we're both grandparents. I've been with m'Stevie for nearly 12 years but it is only in the last 6 months that he has had a real taste of what it means to live with a 'Spoonie or Fibromite' (definition at the end of this post). Bless him, he has now become my unofficial carer & can now turn his hand to most things. 
We've worked out a system, if he needs help with something he brings it to me & I do it (if I'm able), if not then we just leave it for another day... for instance ~ yesterday he needed help with chopping the veg to make a stew. He did the potatoes & the meat & I did the mushrooms, onions etc... sitting on my bed (which is downstairs) & balancing a tray on my lap.

Today he did, what I call, his 'first real washing day'. He's been doing the laundry since January, but today the sun was shining. He stripped his bed, I stripped mine (I did it sitting on one end & then swapped ends) & he managed to get 3 loads of washing done, out on the washing line,  dried & brought back in... where I folded it, sitting on my bed. 
The reason I'm sleeping downstairs is that I had a hip operation in January, so stairs are more of a problem than they had been before... we soon realised that our bed & settee's were also a problem, because they're all so low ~ If I could get down on to them I couldn't get back up. Occupational Therapy raised my downstairs bed up by 3" ~ problem solved :)

I have various other aids around the house & I alternate between sticks & crutches for daily mobility... depending on how I am on any given day.

Today I'm having an average day... which is good, especially considering I had an awful night. I think I had 4 or 5 sleep~paralysis episodes last night, which was very distressing (please read the link up above if you do not know what this is) 
I eventually managed to wake up enough to sit up & stay awake for 2 hours & managed to break the cycle... a bit like you do after a nightmare, when you worry about going back to sleep in case it comes back, so you wake up, get up, have a hot drink & eventually go back to sleep OK.

So today has been quite good. I've sorted out all of my tiny diamanté gems into individual colours & stored them in my old pill boxes... something I've been putting of for a few weeks. 

I've been for a couple of trips next door to my friend, for coffee & a chat & shortly I shall be going up to our local field (a very short walk) with her & her dogs... it's the furthest I've been since before Christmas 2012, so I count it as a large achievement every time I manage to do it... like today !  

Well,  you've now had a small peek into my day ~ I hope it wasn't to traumatic & that you'll come & visit me again... the next things on my list are ~
Number 1 make a doctors appointment about the increasing sleep paralysis episodes.
Number 2 finish of one of my masquerade masks & get it in to either my Etsy or Folksy shop
... I'm definitely looking forward to sharing the second one with you !

The images, in between the text on this post, are all taken from Spoonie & Fibromyalgia tattoo's ~ I have started to design my own, incorporating some or all of these symbols. Actually having it inked, on myself, is on my bucket list ! 
The purple butterfly, the purple ribbon & the spoon are the symbols of Fibromyalgia ~ purple is connected to Fibromyalgia as pink is to Breast Cancer... ooh yes, and Fibromyalgia day is May 12th 2013. 

The Definition of a Spoonie.

A person living with chronic illness that identifies with Christine Miserandino's spoon theory.
Say for instance, that each and every day every action you do equals 1 spoon.
Cleaning your teeth = 1 spoon
Having a bath = 1 spoon
Going up stairs = 1 spoon.
If you are healthy you have unlimited spoons to get you through your day, you can do all your daily activities.
If you are a spoonie you only have a limited supply of spoons ~ having breakfast AND getting dressed might mean you don't have enough spoons to have that bath or to make lunch... you've run out of energy or your pain levels have gone through the roof & you can't function.
A spoonie's day is always about pacing themselves & making choices.

Denim obsession !

For some time now I've been working my way through a pile of old jeans, up-cycling them into new & usable items. Running along side this obsession has been a fascination with shabby chic...  now, neither of these two styles are new, I've been doing both forever but my interest has been revived lately. It's probably that I've had more time on my hands for thinking & in my case that always generates new ideas.

So, my latest shabby denim 'make' is a mobile phone case for my trusty Blackberry ~ I wanted something to go in my bag, to protect the screen ~ my bag usually looks like the inside of a skip & trust me my screen needs protecting !

First, I cut a section of denim, from the leg of a pair of jeans & on the reverse side, drew around the phone. I extended the top edge to work as a flap, to close the case. I was going to have an asymmetric flap but I re-cut it later in the process because it didn't look right. I enlarged the shape to allow for seams by drawing a second line around the outside of first shape (about 1.5 cm apart). I cut this piece out & cut a second matching piece out of a cotton fabric. I decided that I would have the denim on the outside for the back & the pretty pink fabric on the outside for the front. I cut a front section out of denim & a second piece out of the other fabric.

I applied most of the decoration to the two halves before sewing them together, it made life a lot easier. I stitched through both layers when doing this, so make sure they're lined up properly... you could pin them like I did to stop them moving ~ I sewed some ribbon & lace to the front cover & attached similar decorations on the back.
Before I decorated the front piece I sewed the 2 front pieces together, starting with right sides together & then turning them after stitching.

The lace section on the back is a piece of net curtain,  the butterfly is made with another bit of the net fused together with a piece of pink voile. I used the iron on stuff to fuse them together, sandwiching the pieces between some waxed paper when I ironed it, before cutting the butterfly out. (this stopped the fusible material sticking to the iron because of the spaces in the net curtain). The heart & the butterfly were then appliqué'd to the denim. I used one of the waistband loops at the edge of the case, in case I wanted to attach the case to my bag at some point.


When I had finished decorating the case I pinned the two sections together, trying the phone inside & adjusting it, before sewing.
 I couldn't decide whether to bind the outer edge or to rag & fray it... so I snipped around the outer edge & washed it  ~ this frays the edges, this also left me with the possibility of trimming the raw edges & binding them if I didn't like the look later. As it turned out, it looked fine with the ragged edge.

When the case was dried, I finished of decorating the case by applying some pearls to the heart & to the butterfly. I also stuck on some pretty little flower buttons & put a pearl on each. The closing is a piece of elasticated crocheted lace, folded into a loop & stitched on to the flap; a corresponding pearled button has been sewn on the front. If I made another case I would find a magnetic clip or maybe use Velcro... this little loop is too fiddly if you've got long nails... as I found out !

So, here is my finished case & I have to say I love it so much I'm making a laptop case to match it.


21st April
Quick update.... I could no longer stand fiddling around with the button & loop... so on went the Velcro & voilà it's been sorted... I left the button, put on with the loop, because it looks OK and it's not out of place.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Taking care of unfinished business !

Goodness me... it's a week since I last wrote anything... isn't it amazing how time flies? I've been laid up, in bed since Saturday, my Fibro flared up & the CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) kicked in big time, so I was as much use as a wet weekend, for about 3 days... but yesterday I got my energy back & got back into the swing of things.
I even managed a small walk up to our local playing field, with my neighbour & her dogs... this may seem of no importance but it's the first time, following my hip operation, that I've been up there since the summer of 2012!
I hobbled behind, with the dogs waiting for me to catch up... it was almost as if they knew I couldn't move very fast :)
So here's a pic of 2 of them, with my friends legs (she'll never forgive me LOL) It was a beautiful evening & I just about managed to take this, balancing on my crutches, with my phone.

So... last night I eventually got back onto my Facebook page & updated that... & here we are,  bringing you up to date as well ~ here are the few things that I managed to get done before I ended up horizontal at the weekend :)
I finished some up-cycled denim hearts that I'd started weeks ago... I'd been waiting for some lavender to arrive, so I was able to finish them of a last... and make some new lavender sachets ~ these are different & based on a bow... in a rustic, shabby chic, kinda way ~

These two pics show the front & backs of the 3 hearts, as you can see the edges are rough cut & frayed.

These three lavender sachets are the 'bow' shaped ones, all of them have a loop for hanging round a hanger, or they can simply be placed in a drawer with clothes.
.... and last but not least, here are the hair bands I finished. I used oddments of vintage & up-cycled fabrics for these ~

Well peeps, that's us all up to date for the moment. The lavender sachets are now in my Etsy shop & the hair bands will be uploaded later on today.
Take care & I'll be back before you know it, with another thrilling instalment LOL.... xxx

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Finishing the 'Tall Ship' x

OK peeps... here's the last & final blog on the ship.
After finishing the sails, I glued them to the yard arms & also made some pennants from the star voile that I'd used for the sails. 

I decided, right at the last moment, to make some railings for the decks... & that led me to make the curved decorative piece for the bow.
I made the rails from florists wire wrapped in tissue papier mache & then wrapped some of the gold thread on top to finish them of  ~ some pics of this process & more can be found on my FB page in the 'Tall Ship' album ~  

Here's the ship ~ I'm so pleased with it :)

Friday, 5 April 2013

(cont) '.... all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.'

(.... cont)
Our 3 grand~nippers turned up last night & settled back into their routine faster than we could say 'Lickety split' ! The eldest went to her other nanny's this afternoon... so now there are two. Tomorrow we're going to do a mini fashion shoot, with the newest hair bands, but for the moment they've been too busy catching up with the other kiddies they play with.
So... after they went to bed last night, I finally got to start the sail decoration. I had some ideas as to how I wanted them but it all really depended on what I had in my box of tricks. 

I had thought about sandwiching the layers I had already experimented with, all together... & that's exactly what I did. I wanted the sails to appear light & floaty, but that didn't really go with the appearance of the ship which is quite solid... so I was pleasantly surprised with the end result.... when I held the sandwiched sail up to the window I could still see through the lace, tissue & voile.

I've kept the decoration really simple ~ I'd found an old reel of gold thread, which went with the gold stars & a tub of cheap clear beads... I blanket stitched around the edge with the gold thread &, when I came to the top edge, I put a bead onto my needle before doing each stitch.

            Here's a close up of the finished sails... now I just have to put them on the ship!