Something to show

I am one of those people who likes to have something to show for their time, perhaps that’s why I like crafting so much. I’m always looking at where my time has gone and asking myself what I’ve achieved so it has irked me somewhat recently that I just don’t seem to have much to show for my efforts. I’m fairly near completion of 2 crochet blankets but they seem to be growing so so slowly and I have a number of other projects that I just haven’t got round to finishing (or in some cases starting) just yet.

Yesterday however, this little beauty turned up in the post and reminded me that although I don’t have a lot of crafty makes to show recently, I have actually been doing something constructive with my time.

Over the last 10 and a bit months I have been taking part in a ‘virtual challenge’ where I had to cover the 1084 miles between lands end and John o’groats by running/ walking/cycling. It worked out at 3 miles a day over a year and despite being behind earlier in the year I managed to finish ahead of time. I’m also in training for the Berlin marathon on 24th September (4 and a bit weeks to go…eek!), raising money for Macmillan.

I’m not sure quite why I keep putting myself through these challenges but it may have something to do with the shiny medals, I think I may be getting a little bit addicted to them!

Karen x

Paying my respects

Recently I seem to have had a bit of a writers block when it comes to writing blog posts. Usually ideas for blog posts just come to me, often ‘written’ in my head when I’m running or showering. For the last couple of months I’ve thought a lot about posting  but the content just hasn’t felt right and the words haven’t flowed. I’ve had lots of ideas but perhaps that’s the problem, too much tumbling around in my head, stopping me from actually getting on with something productive.

Unfortunately I haven’t indulged in a great deal of crafting in recent weeks as life just seems to have taken over. In the first week of the summer holidays my parents visited, bringing with them my niece and nephew, followed by a week of pottering at home and preparing for our 2 week caravanning holiday which we got back from a few days ago. I’ve got lots of pictures to show and news to share from both the visit and our holiday but I shall leave that for a later post.

The reason for me writing today is that I wanted to pay my respects to a lady who sadly passed early this morning, my Great Auntie Vera. Whilst it has been many years since I saw her, due to living so far away, I do think of her from time to time. When I was a little girl Auntie Vera used to come and visit occasionally and on our visits to Leicester we always used to pop in to see her on the way to stay at my grandparents. When she first retired she used to do a lot of sewing and I remember owning several nightdresses sewn by her. To be brutally honest I remember them to be made of a hot and itchy nylon and being a tad uncomfortable as they always used to ride up and twist around when I wriggled around in bed. They were hand made though and I remember appreciating that fact even at a young age, I was fascinated that someone could make an item of clothing themselves without having to buy it from a shop. My eldest sister went to stay with her a few times and was shown how to use the sewing machine and also how to hand sew a doll. I remember being a little jealous but I was too young at that time. As she got older, she stopped sewing and took up jigsaws as her main hobby. I remember she always had one set up on her dining room table and I relished being allowed to put in a few pieces on our visits. Sadly it has been a number of years since she did jigsaws as her physical health and mind began to deteriorate until finally giving up the fight a few days ago at the grand old age of 94. I’m sure that some of my interest in both crafting and jigsaws came from her influence and I shall remember her fondly.

R.I.P Auntie Vera X X

Just the right sort of busy…

I haven’t posted anything these last couple of weeks as we seem to have been quite busy with one thing or another here in chez Oakley. Now, often when people say they’re busy it’s that ‘running around, can’t fit everything in, tearing your hair out’ sort of busy. Thankfully we haven’t been that sort of busy, no we’ve just had lots of nice things to do and time seems to have been whizzing by.

It’s now less than 4 months until I run the Berlin marathon so I’ve been trying to step up my running and last weekend I took part in another half marathon.
It was quite warm, I didn’t really enjoy it and I was not at all happy with my time. I was so annoyed with myself that it gave me the kick up the bum that I  needed to get my head in the game and get out running more often. Today little one and I (actually me pushing her if we’re honest!) took part in a 5km charity run. It was fun as there was no pressure and even though it was blinking hot, I really enjoyed it.
I just love living here, especially in the summer as there’s always something happening somewhere in the local area. A couple of weekends ago we went to a fab air show about 30 minutes away in a place called Oerlinghausen. Little miss had a fabulous time on a quad bike (as did Daddy!) and in a peddle along aeroplane and we all loved seeing the planes, model and real performing some amazing stunts.
In the same weekend there was a festival in the park only 10 minutes walk away with live music, plenty of stuff to keep little miss entertained  and as we were walking we were able to have a cocktail…or 2.
Last weekend was taken up with the half marathon and another a festival in the park, this time put on by the fire brigade with fire engines to look around and again plenty of things for children. There is a fabulous ice cream parlour in the park so we treated ourselves…yum yum!
This Friday little miss’ kindergarten was closed for a training day and as Friday is my day off we were lucky enough to spend the day together. The weather wasn’t the best so we decided to do some baking and making but we did manage to get out for a couple of short rides around the block on her balance bike (stopping of course for the obligatory game of pooh sticks on the way). She’s getting so whizzy now on her balance bike I actually had to run to keep up with her.
Yesterday comprised of me shopping for outfits for 2 weddings we are going back to England for in July, whilst Daddy took little Miss strawberry picking and then we all went out for an early Father’s Day meal last night.  Then with today’s run and then friends coming over to play we’ve had such a busy weekend.
So you see, we have been very busy lately but just the right sort of busy having fun!
Karen x

I Did It!

I’ve wanted to do the Paderborner Osterlauf (A local Easter weekend half marathon) for the last few years but always ended up going back to England to visit family over the Easter weekend. At the start of the year I decided that this was going to be the year and booked my place in the race. For the last few weeks and up until the race I was very worried about it and didn’t even know if I could do it because of recent anxiety problems. However, I’m very pleased to say that I did it! It wasn’t my best time but I’m so glad I got through it and actually partially enjoyed the experience. I’ve even gone and booked my next half marathon in 4 weeks time, when I’m hoping to shave a few minutes off my time. Bring it on!!
Karen x

The Power of Pottering

Sometimes you just can’t beat a good potter and that’s pretty much what this last weekend was all about here. Usually on a Saturday morning I get up and go for an early run (because, lets face it, with a 3 year old in the house, lie ins are few and far between anyway). However, that morning quite frankly, I just couldn’t find the motivation. By the time I had been downstairs and made a cup of tea, Little Miss was sat in our bed playing games (educational, honest!) on my ipad and hubby was dozing. So, I thought sod it, I’m going to potter. I tidied up my wardrobe, bagged up some clothes for the clothes bank and thrift shop, did a few housey bits I’ve been meaning to do for ages, like topping up the soil in the house plants, and tidying round and I have to say, it felt great. Sometimes there’s  nothing better than doing little jobs around the house (when you’re in the mood for it!). I love having a clear out! Every time I take a bag of ‘stuff’  out of the house, I feel a bit like  a weight has been lifted, like the house can breathe a bit more. I really do think clearing out your stuff helps to clear out your mind too!

After a bit of further pottering around the house we went for a walk into town and a potter around the shops. It was a lovely spring morning, coolish but dry and a little bit sunny and on the way we noticed  spring flowers  peeking their heads out, bringing some much needed colour amongst the still bare trees. The sight of those spring flowers, crocuses, snowdrops, really does make my heart happy. We may have had rain since and be forecast even more as the week goes on but those little blooms are definite proof that spring is on its way, yippee!

At the shops we got a few bits for little Miss (I’ve never seen someone so excited at the prospect of new socks, pants and pyjamas – but they did have Elsa from Frozen on!) Then we took a wander around one of my favourite shops that sells lots of tat (you cant go wrong with a bit of tat sometimes) but also some lovely crafty things. I actually only went in for some crafty bits for little miss, eggs to decorate and canvases to paint but I also found these lovely little packs of spring coloured and glittery cotton, perfect for crocheting small spring flowers and this polystyrene ring and so my next project was decided… a flowery spring wreath, which I’ll hopefully have finished before Easter.

 

The rest of the weekend went on in the same relaxed way, decorating and hanging the eggs (I know we’re a little early but I needed some injection of spring colour right now!). I just love that little miss seems to developing my fondness for all things crafy too, although I do have to step back a bit and remind myself not to take over sometimes! We had so much fun painting and hanging the eggs that I think they deserve their own post (to follow soon)

 

On Sunday we went for a lovely long walk and I managed to fit in a few rows of crocheting on my granny stripe blanket. All in all a much needed, lovely relaxed family weekend.

Karen x

These past 2 weeks

Sometimes I wonder if there’s a little time thief in my house that sneaks in when I’m not looking, changes my clocks and stores up the time somehow to use as his own. If so then the sneaky little fiend has been at it again! I had high hopes of getting lots of things done these past 2 weeks, I was going to have lots of lovely crochet to show off but sadly it wasn’t to be. The week before last Little Miss was off kindergarten with Scarlet fever and whilst I had 2 days off with her, as anyone with a child off sick knows, you don’t get a lot done! She wasn’t allowed into kindergarten due to being infectious but she wasn’t poorly enough to want to go to bed or even snuggle up on the settee. No, she wanted me to play! So there was no chance of even getting any work done from home let alone any crafty stuff. I’m sure she passed some of the horrid little bugs on to me too as I was so tired and in bed around 8 every night that week so I suppose it’s no wonder I felt a distinct lack of time.

This week just gone has been half term week here and we went away to Centre Parks in Holland. I eagerly packed a huge bag of wool with the intention of crocheting lots of rows on my granny stripe blanket. With a 2 1/2 hour journey each way I had high hopes of lots of hooky time but the threat of travel sickness decided it wasn’t meant to be. Grr and so after only a few stitches I had to put it away. I did manage to squeeze in about half an hour of crocheting one wet and windy afternoon but certainly not as much as I’d hoped. Never mind, we had a lovely holiday, despite the tail end of hurricane Doris bringing us lots of wind and rain for a couple of the days and most importantly little Miss had an excellent time, often declaring it was ‘the best day ever.’
One day on holiday we decided to brave the drizzle and go for a lovely bike ride. I’m so glad we did, it was one of my favourite things of the holiday. We stopped off part way in a cosy little cafe and there on the wall were these flowery beauties, giving a much needed injection of colour into a dreary day.
(sorry for poor quality photo but it was fairly high up on the wall over the stairs so was a little difficult to capture well.)
Little Miss was also very pleased with her grown up sized hot chocolate and accompanying biscuits, so all were happy. Just a few doors away from the cafe we passed a lovely looking craft shop with what looked a workshop happening in the back room. How I would have loved a little potter around it but I knew I’d see far too many lovely things that I couldn’t realistically carry back on a bike in the rain, plus browsing is always a bit less fun with a ‘shop hating’ child in tow! So, we carried on cycling and passed a quaint little wool shop on the way back and once again I managed to resist. How virtuous I was that day!!
Crafty wise in the last couple of weeks, I have managed to do a few squares for my granny square blanket and have just enough squares for two rows. I was about to start joining them so that I could then add each new square at a time (I get a bit bored of waiting until all the squares are ready). But, then a thought struck me, I may have enough yarn left at the end of my granny stripe blanket to add even more colour into the squares blanket so I’m going to put it on hold for a bit and see what’s left. I’m so looking forward to seeing how bright and eclectic this blanket is going to be with a few extra colours added, the wait will be worth it, I’m sure.
I’ve made a little bit of progress on the granny stripe blanket but not as much as I’d hoped. I am really enjoying the mix of colours on this though and love working on it. Blankets worked in rows can seem to take an awful lot of time to do but I really love watching them grow a row at a time. Each time you add a new colour it changes the whole look and feel of the blanket. As usual with my blankets I have no particular plan, each time I finish a row I hold a few balls up to see which one goes best. I usually ask my long suffering hubby for his opinion and bless him he always has a look and tells me which he thinks looks best but I’m sure he really couldn’t give a monkeys which colour I use! Whenever I make cards I always make him look at and admire each and every one too, poor man!
My poor little solitary flower is unfortunately still alone, I still have lots of flowery ideas but they’re are going to have to wait in the wings for a little while as the granny stripe blanket seems to be calling me at the moment and I’m just itching to see it progress.
Until next time,
Happy crafting!
Karen X

Slow progress

It seems to have been one of those weeks where everything important that absolutely needed to be done got done but not an awful lot else. At the start of the week I had high hopes of lots of crochety progress on my two blankets and a vision of a delicious pile of flowers ready to be made into something gorgeous. Sadly, the dream didn’t quite match the reality.

I’m not quite sure where all the time has gone this week but I suspect that a fair few hours (well, it only felt like minutes!) went on searching google and pinterest for flowery ideas and a  few more hours may have passed whilst day dreaming about lovely crochet flowers and the beautiful things I was going to have made by the end of the week. Humph! Well, the week had almost passed with very little to show, bar 2 rows on my granny strip blanket and one (whole entire) square for the granny square blanket, so, come Friday I though ‘Right, the hubby’s out, child in bed by 7, the night is mine. I’ll start on the flowers and crochet a few stripes!’ Well, as often is the case, best laid plans went to rest and little Miss decided she was not going to bed without a fight. Now, she is very rarely a problem getting to bed as she loves her sleep just like mummy but poor thing had a tummy ache. Finally, after consoling her for the 6th time (each time requiring at least a 10 minute cuddle and a tuck back in!) and trying to snatch a bit of crocheting time between, I gave up and went to bed myself, only to be called another 2 times through the night. ‘Oh well I thought, all is not lost, she still has a nap in an afternoon and hubby is going to the gym on Sunday, I can grab a bit of hooky time then.’

 

Haha! not likely! Usually, little Miss naps every afternoon (we’re very fortunate not to have lost the naps yet even at the grand old age of 3!) but of course decided that today she was absolutely not having a nap and wanted to go for a walk instead! So, I dutifully took her for a walk in the puschair during which she did actually fall asleep. As soon as those sleepy little eyes gave up the  fight I scurried home as fast as my little legs would carry me. Little Miss is currently asleep in the hallway in her pushchair as I write but you can bet your bottom dollar that as soon as I finish writing and pick up my hook those eyes will ping open and Mummy once again will have to wait till bedtime. Its ok though, this evening Daddy will be here and woe betide anything that tries to stop me from my crochet time!

Granny stripe blanket so far

 

The pile of granny squares are slowly but surely growing. Almost enough for a row!

My solitary little flower, hopefully soon to be joined by lots of friends.

I am absolutely determined that this week will be much more productive and I’ll have a lot more to show you next weekend. Until then, have a fab week and I hope you get to spend some time doing the things that you enjoy the most.

Karen x

 

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

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!

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