Thursday, 31 January 2008

Exhibiting at the Tate...



Thats the tshirts done then!

Actually there are a couple of pairs of jeans and some jim jams mixed in, but you get the idea.

Hark, I think the tumble dryer is finding me some more tshirts...

Monday, 28 January 2008

Another Step forward, actually quite an exciting evening.

As some of you are aware its been a rather trying eight months for little old me. So small steps forward are very important.

Last Saturday hubby took me to Warwick and we had a rummage through the antique shops there for a swift, I would love something old and worn and well loved but to no avail, but whilst there I decided to pop into Crafty Cottage, as I had read that they did Malabrigo which was one of the alternatives I had read was a nice yarn to use for My So Called Scarf. It was no hardship to buy this wool, it really is very soft and pretty. Jo, the owner gave good advice on the colour to choose to suit my skin tone, after a few seconds debating this plus a look in the mirror I realised she was absolutely right!

Whilst there she invited me over to her knitting group on a Monday evening, now I do go to Web of Wools Tuesday evening knitting group which I enjoy immensely, so I felt a bit tied by my feelings of love and loyalty which so often tie my little brain up in knots, so I gently declined the offer. But then Sunday came and the teenagers, who should really be on a 10 mile route march, daily, to get rid of excess energy, gave me grief, and then the youngest teenager came back from school on Monday and continued on the same vein. And I thought Why?, Why? am I doing this, Why? have I just spent hours putting together a nutrious meal, making soup from chicken bones and organising a meal from lovely home grown vegetables with all that that entails to put up with this (insert own expletive).

So I stopped, (I did finish the constructive elements of the meal, I am firstly a mother), put my glad rags on, make up etc and joined the Monday knitting group at Crafty Cottage. At the point that I was entering the building it dawned on me just how far I had come since the summer. I could not have done this even just a few months ago. Maybe the change in medication is having the right effect. I had a lovely evening, Jane very kindly showed me her knitting machine, which I loved to see in action, mainly because I myself have a knitting machine given to me from freecycle which I have never used. Jo helped me with the next stage in my pattern, which was much appreciated.

It was all good, my knitting circle increases and that can only be a good thing.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Holly in her lovely new Whippet Coat

Holly at long last wearing her new sleeping jacket, not the best of piccies I shall try and get some more this weekend when she is feeling just a little bit more relaxed. Never work with dogs and children they say, I agree!! I can't remember all the details about wool etc, I'll rummage through and find it all out tomorrow, it was from Anna Tillman's book "Knitted Dog Coats". I feel very privileged as Anna herself helped me choose the wool and also gave me some help along the way, so that I could complete the coat to such a lovely standard.




Holly herself thinks it is delightful and lovely and cosy. She approves of the colour, thanks Anna *wink* and really enjoyed the pieces of lamb she got as a treat during her photo shoot !!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

More medical stuff.

I saw my two main men yesterday, the extremely lovely Dr Marguerie (consultant physiscian and rheumatologist) and the devilishly handsome Dr Clarke. (consultant cardiologist) I have a very close relationship with both of my consultants mainly because they don't get many emergency admissions into the Warwickshire Nuffield and these chaps helped me when I was taken ill with Atrial Flutter at the end of 2006, whilst I was attending a physio session.

It was a bit scary at the time, but at long last we (as in my cardiologist and I, we) were able to pin point exactly what my witterings about feeling a bit odd at times were really all about.

I always get a bit (well rather alot) wound up before seeing doctors. I am an extremely good patient, treat the doctors and nurses with the respect they deserve, do not have the nurses running around doing stuff that I could do or could do without, but inside I feel like a bowl of jelly and am always very emotional. So I packed plenty of hankies and knitting. (of course!)

There were plenty of tears in both consultations, both of these chaps made me feel good about myself and gave good advice about dealing with grief (we are talking hairloss) and to to be easy on myself, have fun and what a lovely personality I have. Mostly I see a grumpy, depressed middle aged woman, but they see something different, it made me smile and I managed a little giggle with both of them. I was surprised to learn that I should give myself two to three years to grieve and come to terms with my hairloss. Now someone has said that to me it has made some sense to me.

Dr Clarke is changing my medication back to Flecanide from Solotal just incase that is affecting my mood. He had changed it to Solotal just incase the flecanide was causing my alopecia, but I think we have firmly established that it isn't but now the Solotal could be keeping me a little low, so Flecanide might be better for me. I'm hoping that and some spring sunshine (she says hopefully) should lift me enough that I can stop contemplating taking anti depressents. I really don't want to go down that particular route, so fingers crossed.

And the lovely Dr Marguerie and I discussed my CRP levels which remain at 20, they should be in a range of 1 to 4. I discussed the numbness in my left hand again, which has been going on for over a year. He did a couple of tests and we discovered that I have lost sensation in my index finger, so just to be on the safe side, he's going to book me in for some electrical tests on my nerves in my left hand, he thinks its carpal tunnel syndrome. I also discussed with him how my gait has changed this year. I find it very difficult to pin point exactly what it is, but my left leg does not place itself so accurately as it once did. With a few expert questions we discoverer that I have pain on the outside of my left leg and that I stagger down the stairs in the morning. Its funny isn't it how we develop coping strategies without even realising that we are doing so. He feels its probably tendonitis which can be related to the autoimmune system, which we all know its what I do best. This might be causing my CRP levels to remain so high... so we may have an answer to that mystery... We are just going to do the ibuprofen route as and when on this one.

On a positive note, I showed him my skin on my left hand, explaining at the same time that I had eliminated gluten from my diet and how my excema had cleared up. He can remember seeing how dreadful my hand was so he was most impressed and gave me the green light to continue. I might even be able to wear my wedding, engagement and eternity rings for the first time in years if my skin remains clear and strong. Its still too weak to try but in a few months the skin might be strong enough to test it out.

And in another hospital Dad saw his anesthetist. He has a tough decision to make about whether he proceeds with his knee operation. They have discovered that his heart valves still leak so there is a risk to him. Its a small risk, but it is there.

I'd just like to say thank you to my two main blog readers who left such lovely messages when we lost Bramble. Son no.2 has been extremely quiet this week, almost too quiet. All I can do is keep my eye on him.

I also get to kick the patients back to work this morning. Hubby and son no.1 have been struck low by a virus since Sunday, so today I will have a cough free zone.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Bramble

Bramble had looked a little down a couple of days ago, then he went missing for two days. We found him in my wardrobe, cuddled up with my clothes. He looked terrible, very sadly with consultation with our vet Bramble went to Rainbow Bridge this afternoon. Bramble was a very old cat, getting towards 14, he had had a very good life since being rescued by us at about six months old, along with his sister Willow. I can't imagine what she will be like without him as they have never been apart. I dread telling son no.2 when he gets home from school.

Bramble.

Port and Starboard socks

Sometime ago in the dim and distant past I started these socks. I then managed to misunderstand the pattern on the heel and they languished unloved in the bottom of my knitting draw. Christmas came and went and still they looked at me reproachfully everytime I opened that particular draw. I stuck my nose in the air and ignored them, I needed time to love them again. I did love them you see, I just felt so silly at having misunderstood the heel and then to compound my silliness I had carried on and actually kitchenered one sock. I needed time to come to terms with the fact that I would have to frog the best part of one sock. In the end I frogged it completely, I felt at peace again.

Port and Starboard Socks

When I restarted to knit them, I felt my love grow, the pattern is lovely, it just flows, thank you Knitted Bear. I love the colour, it brings sunshine into my heart. The song, "you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey..." keeps popping into my head. I whole heartedly recommend this colour to you especially in the middle off all this nasty, horrible weather. It is Schoeller & Stahl Limbo 4548.

There is something about yellow socks that make me giggle.

As you can see, I was left with a tiny ball of wool. I was a bit panicky at one stage.


Excuse the golden retriever hair in this picture, its a hazard of golden retriever ownership!!


Gorgeous, gorgeousness.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Beautiful Roses.

Look what hubby has sent to me. 19 beautiful roses. I knew he was stressed about buying a car and couldn't think about anything but that, so he is forgiven for sending me such beautiful roses a day late.

Mercedes Owners!!

Thats something I never thought I would hear myself say!

Due to our wonderful taxation system, which has been stringing company car owners up by their goolies for the last couple of years and has threatened yet another rise in tax in the near future, hubby decided enough was enough. We are told the reason our taxation has increased beyond all recognition is a green issue, we are then pushed to buy a car with a small engine and low emisions, otherwise the tax man will come a calling to take more tax off your hard earned salary.

So, like alot of company car owners, we have decided to contribute to the greenhouse effect rather than Mr Browns purse. (actually the car has reasonably low CO2 emissions) And most importantly its large enough for the boys and dogs.

So we now have, or wil have very shortly a Mercedes E class estate, residing at the address of mandycharlie. Okay its not new, its a fair few years old, but it has wonderful bodywork, leather seats and low mileage and didn't cost a right arm.

So it was worth being dragged across the country for hundreds of miles by hubby to look at one car after another. I don't DO cars... I just don't understand the passion. I realised just how hopeless I was on this score when son no.1 rang us whilst we were driving home having bought the E Class. I told him we had bought an E Type... I immediately realised I'd said something wrong by the hysterical scream that blew the cobwebs out of my ears! I had to quickly correct my previous statement, whilst listening to my son hyperventilating as he calmed down.

So not much knitting has been done, I really need to do some emergency knitting very, very soon as I am behind with something very, very special........ :)

Monday, 14 January 2008

"and it don't seem a day too much"

well okay, its not forty years, just the nineteen.

Where do the years go!! I've no idea 'cause I've never found them.

Today, nineteen years ago on a cold and very blue day (as opposed to a grey day) hubby and I tied the knot.

a close up.

me in my frock!!

I love this one with my mum and dad.


What can I say about nineteen years of marriage, there were times that were blissful, there were times that were very tough and there were many times that have just melted into being unmemorable. But the one thing, the absolute one thing that has kept me steady in all of this is... my hubby brings me a cup of tea in bed every morning... If you can get a hubby like that, then you have everything.. :)

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Nothing much to report.

Apart from, hubby's back is recovering nicely. From this week he only needs the wound packing every other day, which is very good news. Son no.2 goes back to School tomorrow. I can hear the sighs of relief from other Warwickshire mothers, myself included, the Christmas holidays do seem very long.

The tree is out the house it did very well, we hardly lost a needle. Very impressed I was. The last of the Christmas cake has been binned, hubby made a valiant effort of eating a whole Christmas cake to himself, but eventually it defeated him. The chocolates were demolished by the boys a long time ago. Isn't it nice to get back to normal.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Beautiful but expensive socks.

These are made from Emily by Posh Yarn, which is a mix of 80% lambswool, 10% angora and 10% cashmere.


I tried to make wildflower socks with this yarn in a size 4 UK, and it did look beautiful but the yarn ran short. So, I thought I would make a pair of simple socks for myself. I wanted to make it all out of the one skein. I even shortened the ankle to try and ensure that this happened. Again, the yarn ran short. This is the third time this has happened to me with this particular yarn. It really is lovely and has a lovely cushion to it and feels very soft, but for me anyway I always end up using more than one skein which then makes them very expensive socks.

When I realised that again I was going to be short, I raided my stash and I managed to produce a green version in a similar depth of hue to contrast with the pink, with which to stripe with. I think its worked very well. The socks are certainly very interesting to look at with their pooling and stripes. You might not be able to see this in that photo, but I gradually reduced the depth of the stripe towards the toe, which added another fun element.

And they are dreamy to wear and very, very warm as I used 2.5 mm needles and the material is nice and thick and bouncy.

So my jury is out on this yarn. I still have some to use in my stash, I will make a decision later on in the year.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Sweet sixteen, how time flies.

Ooooh, I was okay until I typed that title and then I had an overwhelming feeling of feeling quite old. It was horrible.

My second born son, my youngest child was sixteen today, well actually at 11.28 a.m. Son no.1 was born at exactly that time too, which is just slightly spooky.

On asking him yesterday what he would like to do for his birthday, (he's not the type or the age to do parties, so I hadn't worried about asking him that) he said, "I'd like to get my eyes tested". "Wot!, I meant, what would you like to do for your birthday.. you know, go for a meal, do something", "I just want to get my eyes tested, its okay I've already told Dad" "Oh" sez I in a squeaky voice.

So hubby and Son no.2 went off this morning for their eyes to be tested and new specs purchased, whilst I, well lets face it, mainly sulked. If you notice, Look -----> I've added a couple of bits to my blog, but it was mainly to try to get over the sulking.

Its a hard lesson for a mother to learn that she is superfluous to requirements, but learn it all mothers must.

Then I find that son no.1 and son no.2 have planned a trip to the cinema. Which is good, but bad in that all they require of us is as a glorified taxi service.

So I begged, in a slightly more dignified way than the wording sounds, but I think you probably understand where I'm at, if son no.2 wanted to do anything in the afternoon before the trip to the pictures tonight and to be honest he didn't.

So hubby and I went out and really enjoyed ourselves. Well, you can only sulk for so long.

Firstly, as I had been drooling over their web site for a couple of days... we went to see these. Toft Alpacas in Dunchurch. Aren't they lovely. It was bitterly cold so we didn't hang around for long in the fields and quickly made for the warmth of their lovely shop. We were made very welcome and told we could come back anytime in the summer and could make a day of it as they had some excellent walks on the farm. Whilst talking, I asked if they had any fleece/top I couldn't remember the name and tried to describe how thrummed mittens worked. It was no problem at all and she gave me a goodly amount for free, which was more than generous and very, very kind of her.



My new found treasures, fleece included. I purchased four balls of dk and 2 of 4ply. They are soooo soft, just dreamy.


And the boys discovering the unwashed fleece that smells quite strongly of Alpaca Poo. They Loved It !! The lurchers nose is normally quite long and pointy, it looks like he's trying to inhale the fleece.


And then as we were cold and hungry we decided to find the Noodle Bar in Coventry, that I had read about on a blog. We both love authentic chinese food, hubby used to work in China for a month at a time, (we are not part of the artificial sickly sweet, sweet and sour brigade, although of course, anything is possible on a cold dark night) and I reckoned this might fit the bill. It did, the stock was fantastic. I had the seafood special, sichuan sauce, rice noodle soup and hubby had the chefs special, sichuan sauce, rice noodle soup. If you go, make sure your hungry, the portions are Huge and very, very tasty.



Later after the boys get home we do the birthday cake, I somehow managed to corrupt the files so unfortunately do not have one of the birthday boy blowing out the candles on his cake. although I do have one of the birthday boy himself, wearing the tshirt I had printed for him!!


My beautiful boys. There was a really nice photograph of my boys which again I have corrupted so this is the second best one I have.