A perfect combination

I don’t mind admitting that, from time to time I struggle with anxiety. Its not something that I think should be secret or taboo and so I’m quite willing to talk about it. Sharing certainly helps me and if it helps anyone else too then its an added bonus.

My anxiety, rather strangely, often rears its ugly little head as the weekend approaches. Its not that I love work so much that I don’t want the week to end and its certainly not that I’m not looking forward to spending time with the hubby and little miss. Its just that sometimes I feel a little bit lost. I think its largely to do with the fact that, from Monday to Thursday I’m just so busy, my brain and my body work at 100 miles in an attempt to keep up with the workload. I work through most lunchtimes in an effort to get finished in time to pick up Little Miss from kindergarten and regularly have to multitask. So I think its often the case that, come the weekend, my brain searches for something to settle on and if we haven’t got anything planned it can result in me feeling a little bit lost and unsettled.

All day Friday I just couldn’t shake off these unsettled feelings. I walked little miss to kindergarten in the morning, met a friend for tea, pottered in the house for a bit and walked little miss home from kindergarten but still I couldn’t shake the funny little feeling in the pit of my stomach. I felt a little bit like a lost child ‘What were we going to do all weekend?’ We’ve got no family here and friends all had plans this weekend. The two days felt like they were stretching out in front of me like 2 weeks or 2 months.

The feeling only finally left me as hubby and I settled down to watch tv in the evening (hubby, very unusually for him fell promptly fast asleep) and so I lost myself in crochet for an hour or two. By the time I went to bed I felt absolutely fine again, my head buzzing with ideas of all the things we could do for the rest of the weekend.

As it happened, not having plans turned out to be just fine! Saturday and Sunday have ended up being a perfect mixture of all of the things I love to do the most. We have baked chocolate muffins, gingerbread men, made bread and soup, pottered about and played lots. We have been for family walks, went out for breakfast, I have been for a couple of long runs and had time to do a fair bit of crochet. In fact, now the weekend is almost at an end, I am, as always, wishing it had been longer. I have no doubt though, that the little anxious feelings will rear their ugly little heads again before long, but as always I will deal with them and send the little blighters packing again until the next time.

A few of my favourite pictures from the weekend…

See you soon for some crochet news,

Karen

Hats, hats and more hats!

 

These last few weeks I seem to have had a bit of a thing about making hats. A few posts ago I showed you the hats that I had made for my niece and our little Miss over the Christmas holidays. Well, since then, I carried on making hats, for me, for some of my colleagues at work and another one for little Miss (just in case she hasn’t already got enough hats). I haven’t put on photos of all of the hats I made as I, rather stupidly, forgot to take photos of a couple of them before I gave them away. D’oh! When will I learn?!

I think I may now be over the hat phase for a little while but I have maybe, possibly moved on to a flower phase. I have a growing urge to make lots of flowers and sew them randomly onto anything sewable in the house. I shall control myself, however and am currently growing a little seed of an idea that could incorporate lots of different flowers and give me the opportunity to practise making different types flowers and using different stitches and techniques. In the meantime whilst the flower idea grows in my brain I have begun 2 blankets. Why 2? Why not!! I’ll save the blankets for another post though. Watch this space…

 

Karen x

 

Edit: again, apologies for the upside down and sideways photos, something very strange seems to be happening with a box of allsorts pics at the moment. I shall endeavour to sort out the glitch!

Something in the air…

I don’t know about you but I struggle with Winter. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot that I do like about winter: cosy days/nights in snuggled up with loved ones out of the cold; crisp winter days when it’s oh so cold but the sky is blue; hot chocolate after a winter walk and best of all Christmas and the chance to catch up with family.

However, on the whole, I find winter quite a trying time. Its seems to start for me as the days get shorter and the nights draw in. Getting up and going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark really start to get to me. I feel less inclined to go out for fresh air and exercise and more inclined to hibernate when its cold, grey and miserable. November and December are also very busy months, especially when you work in a school and the constant pressure in the lead up to Christmas can be overwhelming. I have to try really hard not to let it drag me down as it did a few years ago. This Winter has had its fair share of moments but with regular exercise, a very supportive husband, gorgeous little girl, as much fresh air as possible and regular reiki sessions, I have almost made it through the Winter!!

In the last couple of weeks I’ve had the feeling that winter is finally beginning to lift. I was so excited when I realised a few days ago that the sun hadn’t gone down until after 5’oclock. 5’oclock!!! Woohoo!! Although these last couple of weeks have been very stressful at work with the lead up to the dreaded Ofsted, I have started to have a feeling that exciting things are coming. Last week when I went for a run the sky was a beautiful bright blue and the birds were singing, yes, a sure sign that spring is on its way in the not too distant future and I for one am a tad excited. Along with spring comes longer days and the feeling of having more time as the evenings somehow begin to feel more useable once again. It wont be long until we start having breaks in the caravan  with wine and barbecues outside until late. Yes, I do believe that if I stand on my tiptoes and really look hard I can see Spring approaching in the distance and that thought really lifts my spirits. Spring is definitely in the air.

Until next time

Karen x

edit:

Apologies for the upside down and sideways photos, I’ve turned them the right way and saved the changes several times and they just keep popping back. Very strange!

Every day’s a school day!

Last week in one of our school staff meetings, we were shown our way around the new school website and how to add posts etc. Well, it turns out that our school website and my blog both use word press and so I learned a few things that I’m hoping to put into practise here. I learned how to resize photos (hence the larger photos in my last few posts) and how to categorise posts, so hopefully I’ll be able to use some of these things to organise my bloggy space a bit better. Watch this space for a few changes. Who knew I’d learn something at a school staff meeting that would  help me with my blog?! Every day really is a school day!!

 

Karen x

Eclectic Mix large granny blanket

I love love love this blanket. Out of all the blankets that I have ever made, this has to be my favourite. I’m not quite sure what it is about it, whether its the random mix of colours, the white bordering the squares that really seems to make the colours pop, the chunkiness of the squares or maybe a combination of all of those things.

 

Whatever it is, I love it so much that I have set straight about making another one for myself even after promising myself no more time consuming blankets for a while. Oops! this blanket was gifted to my sister Sarah for Christmas and thankfully she loved it as much as I do. The colours in my blanket won’t be exactly the same or in the same order but it will have giant granny squares in random colours and it while be joined and bordered in white.

 

I’m so excited, I cannot wait to see it folded in my living room and snuggle under it on the settee. I swore that after finishing the two blankets I made for Christmas presents, I would not make any more for a while and concentrate on smaller projects but I just cant seem to help myself, so here we go again…

‘Hazy Days’ blanket

I started this blanket way back in June to give to my sister for Christmas. Its a good job I started it so early as it literally took me  until 2 days before Christmas to finish it. This blanket really was a labour of love. I enjoyed making the squares as each one only took me about 20 minutes and many of them were done during the Summer holidays, hence the blankets name. Joining the squares (all 144 of them) was however, a different story and one that I did not enjoy unfortunately. I decided I wanted to try a different way of joining that I hadn’t used before and I really didn’t want to sew them together. First I tried a single crochet method but you could see the joins, so after a few squares I frogged it back and carried on searching for a suitable method. In the end I stumbled across a method by Lucy of Attic24 see here which involved joining the squares with slip stitches. She does such good tutorials with loads of photos so it was easy to follow but my goodness, it took a loooooooong time to do. It was a very effective method though and produced a lovely finish where you can only see the joins if you look extremely closely. I was very pleased with the finished result and thankfully so too was my sis.

In the rush to get the blanket finished and wrapped in time for Christmas I totally forgot to take pictures of it. Thankfully though Jen has taken photos of the blanket for me in its new home and here it is…

Even though it was a bit of a beast to make I do love the way it has turned out and most importantly the recipient loves it too. I love giving blankets to people who appreciate the love and effort that goes into handmade things and I know this blanket will be treasured for many years to come and that makes me very very happy.

 

Karen x

A bit of sparkle!

Whilst back in England I found some gorgeous sparkly wool in a pound shop of all places. I really didn’t need any more wool but it sparkled at me and even the hubster encouraged me to buy it, so it would have been rude not to!

As soon as I could, I set about making a hat for one of my nieces. Having only made 1 hat before (last year for little Miss and it turned out far too big, it may fit her in about 3 more years!) I was a bit unsure of sizing and had to frog back a couple of rows to get it just right. In the end I was pretty please with how it turned out and so was Em. 12 year olds can be fairly hard to please so I was delighted that she loved it so much, even wearing it to have breakfast in the day after I made it!

After the success of Em’s hat I decided to make one for our little Miss too. Again the sizing was a bit wrong to start with so I had to adjust the crown size a couple of times until it was just right. It was worth it though as she loves it, especially the pompom and has been wearing it around the house saying ‘Now I’ve got a hat like Em.’

As I seem to be on the roll with hats now (they really don’t take long, especially if you get the size right first time!) I’ve started yet another using the same wool, this time for a work colleague and friend. She has requested a flower though rather than a pom pom and as I’ve been meaning to have a go at making flowers for about the last year this gives me the perfect reason to  make my first one. Watch this space for more hat pics to follow…

A few thoughts for a new year

I know I’m a bit late with it already being the 3rd of January but better late than never!

New Year was a quiet affair for us this year (as most years to be honest) as we only arrived back home on New Years Eve and hadn’t made any plans. This was absolutely fine with us, we’re not ones for big New Year celebrations and enjoyed a relaxing evening at home and a snuggle in front of the tele.

As I’ve got older (and maybe just a teensy bit wiser?!) I don’t tend to make hard and fast resolutions any more.  I think people have a tendency to set their sights too high, and set themselves up for feeling a failure if they don’t achieve them all. I certainly used to write a whole list: eat better, exercise more, drink less, be a better person, read more, be more positive etc etc etc. In the last few years I have managed to achieve a much better work life balance and positive outlook and on the whole I try to eat well, exercise where I can and do as  much as I can of the things that I enjoy, especially spending time with family. I do tend to try to do too much though, so I suppose if I had to think of a resolution it would be:

‘To be kinder to myself.’

The world will not end if I don’t get every bit of work done in the time I was supposed to, S will not grow up to hate me if she’s the last one to be picked up at kindergarten, I’m not suddenly going to become unfit and overweight if on occasion I don’t go for that run and the house will not fall down if everything is not tidied away into its own space. I’m going to try so hard to live by the ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ school of thought and try to just chill out a bit more and if I don’t manage it then hey,

WHATS THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?!!

Karen x

And there it was gone…

As always, this Christmas holiday has passed in the blink of an eye. As we live abroad, Christmas is one of the main times  when we get to catch up with family and I am always left feeling rather sad when it comes to an end and we’re on our way back to Germany. We had an absolutely amazing time, S was in her element being surrounded by family, especially her cousins and having so many more people to lavish attention on her.  I always think it must be a bit of a disappointment for her to come back to spending so much time with just Mummy and Daddy. To be honest though, I think its me that finds coming back the hardest. I’ve lived in Germany for 12 years, so you’d think I’d be used  to it by now but every time we leave family again it hits me hard. I try not to dwell though, if we didn’t come back then we wouldn’t get to be excited and look forward to the next time we visit. Every cloud and all that!

Anyway, I was a very very lucky lady this Christmas and was far too spoiled by my lovely hubby and family. I had a wonderful array of presents including these beauties which I just had to show you …

Silicone button coasters for our caravan. Before too long I may feel the need to crochet some matching cushion covers. Hmm….

STATIONERY, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

Now, I have a bit of a thing for bright colours and for stationery (I still get the thrill of buying new pens, pencil cases etc at the start of each new school year, I think its a teacher thing!), so imagine how excited I was to peel the wrapping paper of these treasures. I haven’t actually used any of them yet as I have a strange tendency to look at new things for a while before actually using them, its almost like I need a special occasion to put new things into action. they will undoubtedly be made use of very soon…once I have stopped gazing at them.

Karen x

 

 

Busy! Busy! Busy!

On the whole, I love being busy as I feel that being busy makes you more productive, you tend to make the most of every minute. However, there’s busy and there’s BUSY! and sometimes I would just like to slow life down a bit and appreciate every moment a little more.

I almost can’t believe that it’s been well over a month since my last blog post! In that time I’ve been so so busy but I don’t feel as though I have an awful lot to show for it. Work has been unbelievably hectic and so time for craftiness has been somewhat limited. I have however been plugging on with the blankets I’m trying to get finished for Christmas presents. In my  previous post WIPs & IIWs (works in progress & Ideas in waiting I think I mentioned that I had almost finished the squares for one of the blankets. After laying them out it turned out that I had too many for one blanket (I literally made as many squares I could with the yarn that I had and counted them at the end) and so have been able to make 2 blankets, one a double bed size and the other a baby blanket size. I spent quite some time playing with the layouts until I was happy with them and so here is a pre joining sneak preview…

fullsizerender

img_5147

img_5148

Since then I have almost finished crocheting them together using a single crochet method from Lucy of attic 24 joining granny squares (what a labour of love, that has been!) and have JUST got the border to do! Oh and to think of a name for it.

The other blanket that I’m making from 10 round giant granny squares, is still very much a work in progress and I really do need to get a shift on! I’ve got 5 more giant squares to do and then need to finalise how they will be joined (I’m still mulling over a couple of options but I think I’m close to a decision).

In other news I have set up a craft and chat group, something that I’ve been meaning to do for years. It’s still a very much in its infancy with only a few regular members but I’m sure in time it will grow. I was so nervous about it and didn’t want to have to teach as I teach at work all day, so I set it up as a group where like minded crafty people can bring along whatever project they are working on whether it be knitting, crocheting, sewing…anything goes and we work on our own projects and have a good chat. Now that I’ve got past the nerves of being responsible for a group (it felt a bit like hosting a party, I was worried that no one would come but on the other hand worried there would be too many people), I’m even considering running some crafty workshops next year. Eek!

As well as crafting I am a keen runner and have applied for a place in the Berlin marathon 2017…. ?! I should know by the end of the month whether I have a place, so  fingers crossed and watch this space!!

Karen X X