Poppy

Poppy passed away on Saturday. She had a brain tumour & in the end, mum had to say the thing that Poppy couldn’t. That’s the deal when we have a dog. They give us their hearts unconditionally & one day, even though it breaks ours, we tell them it’s OK to go on without us.

Run on ahead, Pop, we’ll catch up one day.

FB_20170518_11_54_38_Saved_Picture

A full on 4 days!

I cant believe its been four days since I’ve posted. My humblest apologies, readers.

It’s been busy, busy in this house. I’m not making excuses, but everyone’s been coming & going since Friday, its been chaotic On Friday the 21st, my youngest turned 14. I still can’t get over how my cute, chubby wee baby has grown into the intelligent, athletic & beautiful young woman that is our Niamh.

Alas, we had no time to celebrate, as the kids were heading to Uist to visit family with their Dad. As he lives in Glasgow, he had a major amount of driving to do over the last weekend. But he was outside our house at 9 on the dot & off the adventurers went. I had an hour of quality puppy time and then headed down to pick up Poppy.

If you follow me on instagram, you’ll know that the dogs did cuddle up on the sofa. Once. What really happened was that Poppy fell asleep and Jax sneaked up & snuggled in inch by inch so he wouldn’t wake her! Also, he moved before she woke up, so she may be completely unaware he sneaked a cuddle. I’m glad I got a photo, as I might not have believed it myself.

 

InstagramCapture_9e3678a8-8c3e-45a1-a816-66159d818753
The rest of the time they were playing, chasing each other, hitting each other with toys (I didn’t know dogs did that!) As Poppy is a, shall we say, lady of a certain age, our walking schedule was tweaked to include a lot more breaks to sniff. We still had a wander round the golf course & our favourite saunter along Cow Road, it just took a little longer.

Although Pop normally sleeps in mums livingrooom, she didn’t settle in ours, crying & crying til we took here upstairs with us.
DID YOU KNOW- a Labrador & a Jack Russell breathing in their sleep sounds EXACTLY like an axe welding serial killer. Neither did I, til 3am Saturday morning 😦

We had a lovely 2 days, just my other half & I, with a big dog & a little dog, having nice relaxing walks in the sun.

Needless to say, I’ve been too busy playing taking care of the dogs to do any crocheting.

Poppy went home teatime Sunday. I suspect both dogs were happy to have time alone by this point, she was asleep soon after getting home & Jax was out like a light for a change, even sleeping through the kids walking in the door. He’s a really rubbish guard dog, lol.

The kids got back late Sunday night, full of stories of the Islands. They had an amazing time and were exhausted. It was over 400 miles 🙂 I’m full of admiration for their uncle & his family. I found it hard leaving a city to live in a small town like Berwick, so I can’t imagine adapting to Uist, although both girls did say they could understand how people could live that far from the mainland. Lots & lots of photos were taken!!

It was really late by the time I chased them to bed, they were knackered. So much so that we all slept in this morning & they ended up with an extra day off school(oops!)

Now everyone’s back where they should be, we’ll be back in our normal routine tomorrow. Fingers crossed x

Dog Days

 

We’ve been having a great time over the last few days, so I haven’t managed to do my blog. The weathers been great, bright with a slight breeze. Perfect beach weather for Northumberland.

Yesterday the girls & I took Jax to Spittal beach, to walk along the promenade & let Jax run off his energy on the sand. The tide was going out & there was tonnes of drift wood, some already chopped up. We have a few businesses here that recycle drift wood into fuel, with I’ve always found pretty cool.
Tomorrow the kids are heading north with their dad, while we have the pleasures of dog sitting Poppy for a few nights. I’m not sure how it’s going to go. Jax sleeps in our room, supposedly in his bed on the floor but in reality at the end of our bed. Poppy has a lovely padded bed & is used to sleeping in the living room. Fingers crossed it works out.
When we decided it was time to get a puppy, how Poppy would react was part of the discussion. I had visions of my hairy wee sister cuddling up with my puppy, teaching him dog stuff & generally mothering him.
In reality, by twelve weeks he was too boisterous for her & their time together was supervised. I dreaded Jax jumping in his gangly, goofy way & damaging her.

All these months later, it’s gotten a lot better. For the first ten minutes or so, Jax is hyper to see pop. He runs in circles, barks like a wee puppy & licks her face. For her part, Poppy had a nosey round for any treats he may have left lying around & then proceeds to get comfy on the sofa. Once he realises she wants a nap, he lies on the floor at her feet, gazing up lovingly at her. He’s besotted.
Occasionally, she lets him in the sofa. I wish she’d tell me how she gets him to behave!WP_20170322_14_12_18_Pro

The box of unfinished things.

It’s funny how there’s certain things that we get so used to that we don’t see them anymore.

This morning I thought the pup was too quiet & decided to see what he was up to. Turns out he had found my old sewing box & was having a good old chew.

WP_20170418_10_38_03_Rich

 

I’d completely forgotten about it. It doesn’t house sewing stuff, its been years since I done any serious stitching (not counting last years prom dress!). At some point I’d stuffed it with wool & sat it in a corner. It became invisible.

There’s nothing special in it. A few balls of luxe, a couple of monsters, some bits & pieces for a project long forgotten. A dolls body, complete with 3 different sized arms (not sewn on!), a crocheted furry ball, for some reason. There’s even a half finished Melvin in there, which to me is just wrong!

I painted the box years & years ago. Mum gave it to me when she was moving to the highlands, she didn’t have space for it. She picked it up at a car boot because it was old & she felt sorry for it.

It was a stained a dark tone & was sad looking so a quick makeover was in order. The outside was given a couple of coats of bubblegum pink, a scrap piece of fabric covered the pin cushion but apart from that I’d never really planned what to do with it. I’d had loads of ideas, but never followed anything through to the end.

Now, with the pup damage, it could do with some serious TLC.

I can feel another revamp coming on. Some stencilling and lining, I think. Perhaps new handles. Maybe even wheels! Or a lovely crochet collage!

I need to tuck it back in its place for now. I’ll finish the projects I’m working on now & come back to it when I have a plan, the time to finish it properly & better paint drying weather.

 

WIP – Easter update :-)

Hi everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine this Easter Bank holiday. It’s been a lazy start to the holidays here my busy household. With my youngest away at camp, I’ve had some quality time with the older teens. Just hanging out, watching movie marathons and having a laugh.

All this means that there’s not been a load of new crocheting going on, but I have been trying out a lovely bunting pattern.

WP_20170415_16_10_57_Rich

You can find the pattern HERE

It’s also about time I started my Happypotamous. I’ve had this Heidibears pattern for ages now & haven’t made a start on it. I’m crocheting it in a ‘production line’ method, so some prepping was required! 🙂 When I’m making something that needs quite a few parts, I find it so much easier to do it this way. Keeping things organised is the key, press & seal bags come in handy, you can even write on them. All pieces made at the same pace! I highly recommend it.

I finally chose the colour scheme for my ‘Happo’ from one of the African flowers made, I think these were February’s colours.

 

When I have got an hour or two to myself, I’ve been working on my hairy coo. I’m more determined to get it out in the world now. My eternal thanks to my readers for giving me good, common sense responses! I really appreciate it.

I hope you all have a great bank holiday 🙂

 

Crochet Dilemma – What do I do?

I have a problem.

For the last month I’ve been working on designing a pattern. It’ll be my first self designed  & published paid pattern. A prototype.  I’ve been so excited about it, it ticks all the boxes for me; it’s amigurumi, it’s drawn from my highland heritage, its cute and slightly quirky.

It’s a hairy coo AKA a highland cow.

I’ve been taking my time on it, doing a bit each day & taking time out whenever I made changes so I could view it objectively. I had a deadline in mind (its not passed yet!) But now something has come up.

Crochet Now magazine has a super cute crochet pattern for a highland cow in it this month. It’s be a great designer called Liz Ward & ‘hamish’ as he’s called, is one of the cutest creatures I’ve even seen.

What do I do?

There’s no similarities in them. The Liz Ward pattern is all curves and rounded shapes, while mines is all angles.

Do I still publish?

One moment, I think Yes. After all, just because someone crochets a granny square, doesn’t mean no-one else can crochet one. Then part of my mind says No, you cant publish now. Someone else had beat you to it. Time to move onto something different.

If I listen to the negative, I could end up spending my life designing pieces, only to be pipped at the post by someone else, every time.

What a dilemma. I’ve been mulling over it for a few days now.  I’m still conflicted.

Any advice would be appreciated, dear readers x

Itchy & Scratchy

Or, Why I’m not at the Yarn festival.

It all started 4 years ago, even if its affecting me now. I took a reaction to hair-dye for the first time in my life. I’d been dying my hair for 20 years & was at a loss as to why my body suddenly didn’t like it. When I say didn’t like, that’s an understatement. I had a strip of rash down each side of my body & welts behind my ears, the rest of my skin was blotchy and super sensitive. Luckily for me, women in my family go white young, so it wasn’t long before my shoulder length (fake) red hair was showing signs of silver. My hairdresser was great & encouraging & soon I’d forgotten why I’d stopped dying it in the first place. I was going natural, my hair growing a unique shade & I loved it.

A year or two went past & sometimes the hives came back. Friends & family got used to me commenting from time to time on my itchy skin, but I didn’t do anything about it (except try not to scratch). It wasn’t all the time, just occasionally. There seemed to be no pattern to it. I’d been to doctors one time with it & been told it was a sweat rash. The steroid cream I was given made it worse & hurt 😦

Then one night changed all that.

My friend text me to say that ‘there’s a woman on watchdog & she’s got one of your rashes!’ I immediately tuned into the programme in time to hear the presenters talking about MI. It’s ‘Sunday’ name is Methylisothiazolinone. It’s in everything (it seemed) & it is/was causing a huge amount of allergies across Britain. They were talking about it being banned. As I watched the lady on TV describing her symptoms & how it had affected her life, I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. I knew exactly how she felt.

I searched through the bathroom and found one bottle of body wash that DIDN’T have MI in it. Everything else, shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, bubble bath. All had MI in it. By now my boyfriend & kids had joined in and we headed to the kitchen. The laundry detergent was ok, dish soap had MI in it. The anti-bac wipes had MI in them (explained my itchy hands!)

A trip back to the doctors was on the cards. This time I saw a different doctor & she agreed that MI was the likely cause. I could choose to go to a dermatologist for the tests or I could cut out MI & see what happened. The doctor was clear on one thing though, if the rash was still hanging on after MI was removed, I was headed to the hospital.

3 days after seeing the Watchdog programme & my skin was happy skin. Injuries related to the rashes were healing & I became one of those people who read the back of packages for ingredients lists.

Life was great again. I wasn’t constantly fighting the urge to claw at my flesh anymore. I even risked growing my nails. Sure, sometimes I had flareups. While in Crete, I used the hotel towel one day & spent half my holiday with prickly heat type rash all over my legs. One winter, after being soaked to the skin, I had a lovely, long bubble bath. It didn’t end well. The itching on my stomach reduced me to tears. I couldn’t understand why my once health, strong body was doing this to me.

Winter 2015 came along & I pretty much had the MI thing under control. I developed a wee bit of insomnia & a few niggling things that had be back at the Doc’s. After the quickest of catch ups (she’s a crocheter too!) I explained about what brought me in. As I was retelling my symptoms, she asked me a few questions I thought were odd. I was talking about sleeplessness & extremes in body temp & she was asking about my periods. Then she asked again about the allergy, any aches & pains I had. She asked about my mum, gran and female relatives. By this time I could see where she was going. She did a blood test to be sure, but by the time I left, I had a REASON for my allergy & restless nights. I was going through the menopause, at 38. I’d been going through it for a while.

I didnt know the menopause could trigger allergies, but it can.

My first reaction was relief. I knew what had triggered the allergy to start with.

Intellectually, I could get my head round it. I was leaving a stage of life as my daughters were entering it. It was symbolic & meaningful & helped me deal with what was happening………..for about a fortnight. Then it hit me. It’s taken me a long time to get my emotions around it. My body’s doing something that I didn’t intend it to do, there’s nothing I can do to stop or change it. All I could do now was take care of my body, as it was now.

Fast forward to April 2017. I’m keeping an eye out for MI. I walk a lot. I’ve gotten in tune with my body in a way I never have before. I listen to my instinct & work on things that are meaningful to me. I’ve been vegan since the start of the year (technically whole food, plant based) & I haven’t smoked for 15 months. I should be fit, healthy & whole, right?

As it turns out, no. I’m frugal by nature & that’s been my downfall!

I bought a triple pack of soap at the local pound shop. It was a big name brand. I’ve used it before. I didn’t check the label. I knew within minutes of coming out the shower that it had MI in it. So, instead of wandering round St Abbs Yarn fest, looking at all the loveliness, I’m at home. My skin slathered in aqueous cream, downing antihistamines, filing my nails down. I couldn’t face going out in public while I’m this itchy. Fighting the urge to scratch all the time. It makes me self conscious & I’m sure no-one would want to buy yarn with someone scratching away beside them 😉

Luckily for me, the yarn festival runs twice a year.

I’ll keep a closer eye on my skincare in future!

If crocheters ruled the world……

..bus stop seats would be a lot comfier. If the bus came while you were half way through a row, they’d wait.

…everyone would be taught the difference between crochet and knitting at an early age, no-one would ever have to ask again.

…crocheting would be an Olympic sport

…whittling crochet hooks would be more than a post apocalyptic life skill

…kids would leave school knowing how to crochet (obviously), as well as knitting, cooking, sewing, basic mechanics & DIY.

…yarn markets would beheld in every town, Wednesdays & Saturdays. You could ‘meet the sheep’ your yarn was coming from

…everyone would want a hooker as an ancestor

…someone would add a snack dispenser to the beer can hat, so we could eat and drink without putting down our work

…crocheted goods would be bartered. A simple scarf would be worth 1kg carrots & a bag of tatties at least (depending on season and type of tatties) A blanket would be worth 4 hours babysitting or a full MOT on your car, easy peasy.

Can you think of anything to add to the world?

 

Share it in the comments below x

A night out with my fledgling.

Tonight my daughter & I attended the local theatre to see “Heaven Eyes”.

I admit, I was only going to keep her company. It had been a busy day & I was looking forward to sitting down for a while.

The show was spectacular! Funny & touching, thought provoking & dark, we were swept into a world of make believe for an hour & a half.

Afterwards we were able to chat about our favourite parts. My daughter, E, explained to me that there was a monologue that she liked and was going to learn. It was something that I’d never thought about. As an actor, she sees the world differently from others, even other creative people. Where I was watching a performance, she was deconstructing & learning.

My children are going growing so quickly. They are on the cusp of flying out into the world. A new era has started in our home & it makes the time we spend together even more precious.

Whether it’s as a family, or individually, I’m learning more about these young adults as time passes & seeing glimpses of the adults they will be.

The sciences, medicine & the arts are equally followed & studied in our house. There’s always something being discussed & on the go!

The future is certainly going to be interesting 🙂

My Crochet World

I crochet pretty much everywhere. For the longest time, I’d have only one project on the go. It lurked in a bag & followed me around from room to room as I went about my day. I’d crochet as I ran the kids baths, as I waited for dinner to be ready, before I went to sleep. The hook would zoom through the yarn til the project was done & then the next one would be started. Now, I crochet smarter!

Currently, I’m the only crocheter in the family,at least locally. My great aunt crochets as well, but she lives back in Glasgow. So, when something fun & cute is trending on Facebook or Instagram, there’s a good chance I’ll be asked to make it!

There’s a stack of African flowers living in my handbag & keeping my hands busy when I’m travelling. A different colour scheme each month stops it getting too monotonous. My hands pretty much remember the pattern by now.

In the drawer, under the bed is a mish mash of yarn & bits & pieces. Usually there’s a mermaid blanket getting done. Something bulky & easy to pick up & put down again. The bedroom crochet has to be big enough to distract me when hubby decides to watch something with zombies in it. They’re not my cup of tea.

In the livingroom though, that’s where the hard core crocheting happens. A project bag lives on the table 99% of the time & I have an old sewing box that’s full of..guess what? YARN!

One of the current WIP’s, the Iron man blanket, hangs behind the livingroom door. Every time I catch a glimpse if it, I think its someone hiding. One of these days Iron mans going to give me a heart attack.

There’s a running joke that crocheters can watch a complete box set without knowing what any of the characters look like.  It’s not really a joke 😉

I’ve watched Spectre at least 5 times,  with no idea what James Bonds latest squeeze looks like.

I sometimes listen to podcasts when I’m crocheting but if they’re good, I get distracted & forget where I am in the pattern. Now, I mainly listen to audio books. My playlist right now consists of Terry Pratchett, Anne Rice and Derek Landy.

My favourite time to crochet is late afternoon. The light is great (usually) & the dog isn’t acting too mischievous. I can taken the inspiration from the day, colours & shapes that have caught my eye & work it into something solid. I’ll sit at the dining table and work away til its time for dinner. But truth be told………………..I’ll crochet anywhere 😉

Where do you crochet?