Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Summer Sunday Shawl

I've been busily knitting and crocheting away!

I find that I can't sit in front of the telly in the evening without doing something, 
so out comes the hook or the needles, and sometimes a bit of hand-sewing.
I have been seen to do artwork too whilst I have half an eye on the box.

My latest shawl is a third Sunday Shawl!  This one I have named my Summer Sunday Shawl as I feel the soft green (Meadow Special DK by Stylecraft) with the accents of mauves, violets, lilacs and white at the lacy edge is reminiscent of balmy summer days.  

I even had a nice warm day to go out and photograph it! 
The weather has been a bit typically British recently and quite variable - 
we've had hail storms; winds; buckets of rain; chills and now sunshine!  
You just never know what it's going to be like. 

I love playing around with places to take pictures of my makes ... and it appears Trxie enjoys it too and just had to be in some of the photos! 

I'm sure she's checking out the shawl to see how cosy it would be to make a bed in ...!

Aren't the colours pretty and summery?  

I just love trying different colour combinations out!  Wonder what shades I'll go for next?  
I do have some lovely Stylecraft Batiks waiting patiently in a basket.  
I bought them from Wool Warehouse, where I tend to order a lot of my Stylecraft yarns.  
Great service every time!  And the yarn arrives in gorgeous organza style bags with ribbon ties.

I've also been playing around with Instagram.  Can you see my lovely photo collage above .... one of the tools you can use on there.  It is great fun to play around with. You can find me on there as lucy.mclaurin (also know as The Crafty Phoenix Lady).  

I'm trying to get used to all these hashtags and putting hashtags on everything I can think of that relates to what I've made and of course putting #thecraftyphoenixlady on the posts too!

Let's see if I can get myself "out" there!

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2017 DeCluttering totals to date

3 x big boxes
2 x medium boxes
7 x bags

And another big box to go!

1 bag of clothes to a friend (does that count too?)

Friday, 12 May 2017

This is me ...

It is Fibromyalgia and ME Awareness Day.

I have fibromyalgia.

This is a long post which I posted on Facebook.  Although once I'd pressed the post button I realised there were so many things that I missed out.  So I thought I would have the original post on here along with the additions.

I had "it" for nine months before I was given a diagnosis. This was nine months of numerous blood tests; tablets; electric currents run through my legs; hydrotherapy whilst having a week in hospital whilst they were trying to diagnose me (this was whilst my little girl was at Nursery and had her first ever Nativity  - I had to plead with the hospital to let me out for those two hours!)

It all started off with pain in my right knee and then the left, then my right ankle, and then my left - it went round my body like that; adding one side and then the other until practically every joint in my body hurt.

During this time I was unable to have my 2 year old daughter on my lap or give her proper cuddles; Stairs were a major issue and I frequently had to go up and down on my backside. Sleep was rare and disturbed which meant I was so tired every day and what energy I did have was spent trying to run a "normal"ish home for my daughter and I. I was off work for a year and my ex-partner would ring work and tell them "it was all in my head". I couldn't drive anywhere so was reliant on friends (and my ex) for lifts. Walking to the doctors would take me 40 minutes when it was 5 minutes down the road.

Eventually I got referred to yet another doctor ... but this one specialised in chronic pain. He did seem to be the first one that really understood what I was going through. He ran Pain Clinics for those suffering with chronic pain - and I attended. It was the best thing for me. I was able to learn to pace myself and get back my mobility.  I did little (and I mean little) exercises every day and I was able to build up to driving again and return slowly to work; I could do more, but also learnt to know my limitations.

Nowadays (and this is over twenty years since I was diagnosed) I have good days and I have bad days. 

The majority of my good days are spent feeling exhausted as I still don't sleep properly. I wake often and dream lots and just don't get a "proper" deep sleep. Every morning I wake up and I ache, my shoulders, my back and my knees mainly.  I always feel like I haven't actually slept at all. I pop my pills (I'm on lots of pills) and hope that it's going to be an okay day. Most days it is. I get through the day okay. But I can't do everything I want to. There are so many things I want to do, but can't for fear I will suffer for it the next day or next week.  I have to learn to pace myself and know my own body and what I can do.  I desperately need to lose weight but I haven't got the energy to do all the exercising that I need to do in order to lose it.  

Practically every day I have a headache. It can be one I can cope with, but it can also be one that means my brain just does not work! I often have pain behind my ears and the hinge bit of my jaw (oh and fibromyalgia sufferers often grind their teeth ... mine are practically smooth!  My dentist has recommended a mouth guard to wear when I sleep... hah!  As if!  How can I get the few poor hours I do get of sleep when I've got a bl**dy mouth guard in my mouth?). I also have IBS.

There are days when I can't do. I just can't. It means I spend a day in bed or on the sofa. I hate those days. It means I feel disabled and worthless. I want to be able to do things, anything. I craft and sometimes on those days I can't even do that.  That really hurts as I feel that crafting is a huge part of who I am.  I read and I read lots, but even that can hurt on those really bad days.

I am extremely lucky in that I have found a lovely man who understands.  He really is a saint as he does so much around the house when he's here.  His job means that he is away a few days during the week and those days are hard.  I have the four kids (his two teenagers and my two boys) at home and I have to sort every day things out for them.  It does mean, though, that when they're all at school I can collapse if I need to.  I just need to be able to wake up for the end of school to pick up the youngest one - and then the evening begins!  When my man is home he does the school run so I don't have to get up; he cooks many of our meals; and he always does the big weekly shop; he does most of the driving. He does so much and doesn't once complain.  I honestly don't know what I would do without him.     I have had previous partners who haven't understood and have expected me to be "normal" (whatever normal is!) or have been overly sympathetic and made me feel a total invalid. So I am lucky.  Very lucky.

So please (if you've managed to read this far) spare a thought for those who do suffer chronic pain and fatigue every day. You may not be able to see it in their face but boy oh boy they know about it in their body.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Boho Sunday Shawl

Do you remember the Sunday Shawl CAL (Crochet Along) I was part of at the beginning of the year?

It was a super pattern by Alia Bland  (also known as The Little Bee) called Sunday Shawl.  

I made one which I renamed my Gypsy Shawl.

Whilst I was making it I knew that I would make another one (at least one!) 
as it was such a lovely pattern to follow and crochet up.  It also worked up super quick too!

This time I used Stylecraft Special DK as I had a few balls in navy and oddments in other bright colours.  

I really wanted to go for a more "bohemian" look and so choose the brightest colours I could find 
so that they would really pop against the navy.

I also wanted to add a bit more of the pattern at the bottom to add a little bit more length. 
 I am not sure how many more I did, I just kind of winged it!
When I felt it was long enough I went for the last two rows to finish it.

It took me about three days to make from start to finish ... how speedy is that?!  It really is a very quick make and so enjoyable to do because of how it looks and because of how quickly it works up.

And ... I'm going to make another one!

I am taking this one a bit slower but have already selected Stylecraft Special DK in Meadow 
and have started to hook it!  

I think this time I am going to go for more delicate colours at the bottom - 
perhaps mauves, lilacs, pale green ....

So watch this space as I'll let you know when that one is finished.  Mind you, I do have a few other projects still on-going AND I plan to start a couple more KALs - this time a shawl and perhaps socks too (eek!!!)  

Wish me luck!

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Lulu's Loft's Lois

There are many traders in The Emporium in Yeovil.

One of whom has become a very good friend of mine - Lucie at Lulu's Loft.  She paints furniture and makes them beautiful using Frenchic Paint which comes in gorgeous shades - AND you can also buy this paint from her (along with the brushes and stencils and lots more)!

Anyway, as well as giving a shout out to my friend and her business, I also want to mention that she has just had the most gorgeous little (or maybe not so little at 10lb 6oz) baby girl 
... and I have knitted a little cardigan for her.

The pattern I used was Short Notice Cardigan by Taiga Hilliard Designs.  It uses chunky yarn and I had the idea yarn for this ... a gorgeous Devon Sun Yarns Humble Chunky in a lush pink colour-way.  Perfect for a little girl.

I have such high praise for this yarn ... it is soft and just a dream to knit with. 
It feels lovely .... I just cannot find enough superlatives to describe how gorgeous it is to work with 
and how it works up.  So a big high five to Daisy at Devon Sun Yarns
#devonsunyarns #humblechunky

I am hoping that when little Lois is big enough for the cardigan that I can show a picture of her wearing it.  In the meantime ... some progress photos ...

I have worked on many more projects during the past month (which has just flown by) but have been hampered a bit by my fibromyalgia flaring up and haven't felt much like writing blog posts.  I am hoping to remedy this over the next few days (or weeks) and you can see what else I've been doing when I haven't been almost comatose on the sofa!  

Plus side ... I've nearly caught up with Neighbours!  And managed some more hexis for my Beekeepers Quilt along with the ends from these going into my Sock Yarn Blanket.  Both of these are long-term projects and are picked up every now and again.  

Believe me, though, when finished ... they are going to be fab-u-lous!

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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

A bit of Sparkle coming to The Emporium tomorrow!

Anyone who saw me in The Emporium in Yeovil last Tuesday and Thursday will know that I was busily crocheting away whilst serving our lovely customers on the till downstairs.

I have finished it!

And here it is in all it's sparkling glory!

It is a square baby quilt/throw/lapghan measuring 39" x 39".  
I made it with Hayfield Baby Sparkle which worked up lovely.  
A soft yarn that is actually 97% acrylic and 3% polyester but feels rather like it has a lot of cotton in it.  

Everyone that saw it in progress commented on the sparkle in it - 
a lovely silver thread running all the way through.  It just gives it an extra bit of fairy dust!  

I'm really pleased with how it has turned out.  I think it looks nice and fresh.  A summery feel to it.

Wouldn't this be ideal for a baby gift?


I have a little left over so made a little outfit for Barbie!

Doesn't she look pretty?!

Anyway both the blanket and the Barbie outfit are coming to The Emporium (link above) 
tomorrow morning (Thursday 30 March) when I do my next shift.

Now what project shall I do now....?  


Monday, 27 March 2017

Spring Lane times three

So here is the second clue for the Spring Lane CAL

 This one squares off the circles we made for clue one.

I confess I found the outside border just wouldn't work for me ... so it is slightly different from the pattern, but I don't think it matter too much.

Don't they look pretty with their square borders?

And then clue three ...

Making ten of these little ones!

My Crocus and Daffodil one is not made out of  Drops <3 You but Drops Paris which has slightly less yardage so I bought an extra colour (the dark green one) ... hence the variations on these little motifs. 

I particularly love the blues in these ones above.  
Don't they look fresh ... perhaps we should rename Ocean Road...?

And these shades just pop out ... and I love them!

Clue four is already out ... so I've got to get crocheting ....!

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Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Spring Lane Drops-a-long

So .... I've started hooking another Crochet Along!

This time it is called Spring Lane and is from Drops Design
Using their gorgeous cotton range DROPS ♥ You #8. 

The suggested colours are so pretty ...

But, me being me, decided not to go for those colours!  

Although aided by the fact that they were out of stock when I looked!

So I decided to do not one 

not two

but three colour-ways

I just thought it made sense to make several and play around with colour!  I may even make one out of non-cotton yarn to see what that looks like!

Once I'd started the first motif I was whizzing away and loving it!

So ... wish me luck with my additional CALs 
(nearly finished my KAL which has over 500 stitches on the needles so one row takes forever and I have to concentrate!  And two CAL blankets just need their borders now...)

What do you think of the colours?  
I thought the top one looked like Spring with crocuses and daffodils; the second one I wanted grey tones with dusky pinks and apricots; and the third one -
well I just had to go with the blues, didn't I?!


DeCluttering totals to date

2 x big boxes
2 x medium boxes
5 x bags
And in the back of my car a further two bags (yes I know I haven't dropped them off yet :-/) and another big box

Monday, 13 March 2017

Mixed Media!

I feel that I need to input some oomph into my makes and when Jonathan said that his sister was attending a Mixed Media Course near us.... well that got me interested!


So after a good browse at the website and encouragement from Jonathan I decided to book!

And, oh boy, am I glad I did!

So last Friday I attended the course and met the nicest lady, Constance, who was taking the course.  I'd already spoken to her on the phone and got that nice "vibe" and meeting her in the flesh just proved that she really was the loveliest person.

She taught both Karen and I about materials and bits and bobs we would be doing ... and after a morning of chatting ... we were let loose with the crafty bits ....!

I was in my absolute element!  Learning all about new techniques and experimenting away with paint, and crackle glaze, and heat guns, and fabric ... oh my gosh it was magical alchemy!

We also met her friend, Rosemary, who brought in this most divine caraway seed cake that we had with our cup of tea in the afternoon.  Rosemary runs the embroidery classes there.  Some of her work was on display, and she brought along a piece she was working on 
 ... and believe me ... it is all exquisite!

(Maybe I can do an embroidery course another time ....!)

The Mixed Media course is actually run in four sections with different techniques etc being covered each week.  I had only booked for the first one as finances are pretty tight and obviously needed to know that I would enjoy it (as if I wouldn't!!)

It really was a most exciting day!  It was also great to spend time with Karen whilst doing something we both enjoy.

And ... what's even more exciting is that Jonathan has generously paid for me to attend the next three sessions!  They are my Mother's Day gift!  Woo hoo to my wonderful man and for being a mum!  


 I can't wait!

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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Happy Craft Month

The Emporium in Yeovil are celebrating Craft Month 
... and my makes are featured!

My taggy blankets are at the bottom second from the right!

I have quite a selection ready to sew up this week too.

It is so lovely to see lots of super handmade crafty things being sold in The Emporium 
and even nicer that they are celebrating us crafters this month!

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DeCluttering totals to date

2 x big boxes
2 x medium boxes
5 x bags

AND  in the boot of my car waiting to be dropped off a further two bags!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

My Sunday Shawl aka Gypsy Shawl

I have finished my Sunday Shawl which I have renamed my Gypsy Shawl!  I think it looks rather bohemian!

This was the Crochet Along (CAL) that I mentioned in a previous post.  

A beautiful shawl designed by Alia Bland aka

This is going on right now in a facebook group ...

I loved this pattern.  It worked up really quickly and neatly.  I had a little bit of frogging to do as the number count didn't always tally up ... but got it in the end!

Even better ... I used yarn out of my stash ... no buying any new skeins for it!  I had bought some lovely grey back last August/September when Beales' Haberdashery Department was closing down.  I just knew it come in handy one day (along with all the other balls of other colours that may have slipped into my basket....!)

Doesn't the picot edging look pretty?

The rest were single skeins that I had stashed away.  I managed to get my favourite colour ways in it.  Not that you can really see them in the photo just above.  Why is that colours never come out properly inside?  I was desperate to take photos of it yesterday ... and had to make do with the slightly orangey-dull pictures.  Thankfully today the rain stayed away long enough for me to pop out and take the first lot of photos out on our back wall.  You can see the colours in all their glory there!

Isn't it lovely?  I am so proud of it.

Now ... I wonder... do I make another one....?  Do you know anyone that would like one...?  I'd love to make it with different colours ....

DeCluttering totals

1 x big box
1 x medium box
5 x bags

AND  in the boot of my car waiting to be dropped off a further big box and two bags!

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