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A Patchwork of Quilts

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One of my favourite ways to relax is sewing and in particular making patchwork quilts.I started off when young making “hexies” (that’s hexagons to the non-patchers) and sewing them by hand into even bigger hexies to make a quilt, or more accurately, a throw.

I still sew quilts by hand, and I spent many happy hours on the train travelling to work and whilst sitting quietly when on holiday in Iran sewing triangles together. I find it soothing and relaxing with a purpose. Everything has to have a purpose so I might as well make it a pleasurable one with a finished article I can use myself or give away as a gift.

I have finished a few quilts over the past 12 months and I now have just two “on the go”. I have made the tops  and am now finishing them off by hand quilting them rather than put them through my sewing machine or sending them off to be quilted professionally.

I have a few in plastic wrappers, folded up and in drawers, just waiting for the right time and place to be used. It was whilst thinking about my stash of quilts that I began to wonder what a group of quilters is called. I love collective nouns and how interesting it is to see what others call these groups of seamstresses with a penchant for quilts.

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My favourite has to be the “Coven of stitches” but these also caught my eye; A Stash of quilters, a Comfort, a Hotbed, a Patchwork and another favourite, a Frolic! I understand that a Frolic of quilters is a group which comes together to sew a quilt for a particular purpose like an exhibition and the word Frolic summons up a wonderful picture of a group of quilters having fun whilst designing and working together to make an amazing cover.

At the moment I am in a Frolic of one whilst my Sewing Bee partner-in-crime recovers from a foot operation but when we get started again, I may suggest that we form a Frolic. It sounds crazy and fun. Just what the Doctor ordered!

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Headspace

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Many of my posts on this Blog are really diary entries albeit my diary is public.  To some people this sounds morbid but each time I write a post and it is published, I think that it’s yet another piece in the jigsaw that will explain to my son   why I am like I am. It’s a 21st Century legacy. My posts undoubtedly help me to communicate and explain how I feel and, in the process of writing about it, I often determine why I feel as I do. I feel comfortable doing this knowing that only those people who are really interested in knowing will be reading.  Kerching! The lightbulb moment when you realise what’s dragged your mood down, made you feel vulnerable and sick in the stomach. Your confidence and self-esteem plummets and it’s not until you stand back and look in from the “outside” that you understand what has caused this instability and insecurity.

I recognise a trend with those whom I consider are members of my “tribe”. We need to live in the moment. Not churn over what happened yesterday; not preëmpt tomorrows’ events but just take each day, each moment as it comes. This is when “Headspace” comes into its own.

I don’t know about you guys but I find any attempt at meditation/mindfulness/switching off nigh impossible due to an overactive brain and, although I have tried meditation and guided meditation CDs, to date I have not mastered the technique of “switching off”.

Headspace therefore offers hope. What is Headspace?

“Headspace is a project designed to demystify meditation. Using the wonders of science and technology, we make it easy-to-learn, fun-to-do, and relevant to your everyday life.

Here at Headspace we’re on a mission to get as many people in the world as possible to take 10 minutes out of their day, to practice a simple and easy-to-learn meditation technique.  And if you like the way it makes you feel, then we’d love to show you how to make that a life-long skill.”

I for one like this 10 minute idea. Surely I can switch off for just 10 minutes a day?  Let’s be positive and assume it is within the realm of possibility. I will be following this programme from tomorrow to see if it works and if it really makes a difference.

I cannot remember a time when my mind was silenced. Even in sleep I have vivid dreams that are so realistic that I once got up believing I had breast cancer. The power of the mind is frightening and I never underestimate its influence but I need to quieten it down. I need some respite from its continuous visual and  intellectual assault. Basically, I need a rest from my own mind.

Here’s hoping that Headspace works for me and you.

Let me know if you take up the programme and if it works 🙂

This is meditation for modern life – simple, scientifically proven techniques, that you can use every day to experience a healthier and happier mind.”

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“Lively legs”

Woolly tights

Woolly tights

Today I woke up and thought I would brighten a very dull January day and wear my new woolly tights with my shiny red shoes. Woolly tights don’t sound very exciting but they certainly caused a stir. From “lively”, “funky”, “fancy” and “different” (!) to comments like “do you play golf?” , they got a reaction. Some people smiled and some laughed openly but I comforted myself by feeling proud that I have spread some cheer.

Wet Weekend

As if we haven’t had enough rain here in the UK, yet more is on its way and it is pouring down as I write. Sadly, for many people in the South and West of the country the wet weather is causing much misery and I feel for those who have been flooded out of their homes and businesses yet again. I cannot imagine what such upheaval would be like and I am very grateful that we don’t live in a flood area.

For me the wet weather means a crafty day indoors and I’m sure that I will be able to turn my hand to something. I feel another page of my nieces wedding scrapbook coming on and I wonder if the gorgeous Kaisercraft papers which I ordered on Monday will turn up in the post today? Here’s hoping they do when hubby’s out so I can steal them into my stash without him noticing! Bless him, as soon as I “open my shop” as he calls it, he finds a friend to visit for a few hours, leaving me to spread my stuff all over the dining/kitchen surfaces. He hates mess and is better off out of my way than watching me wreak havoc with his über tidy kitchen.

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Two days back at work and I am already noticing the fatigue brought on by the extra travelling but this will improve as I get back into routine, lose some weight and continue with my healthy eating programme. It seems to be working and so far I am 3lbs down on my starting weight. That seems a lot to lose in a short time but it’s how my body reacts and I know that next week it will be on full alert to conserve energy and my weight loss will slow down or come to a halt for a week. I am prepared for this which is just as well as it can be very demoralising to lose weight one week and nothing the next when you have been soooooo good. I have learned not to take much notice of weekly weight loss but look at longer periods like a month-6 weeks. If you keep going you will notice a trend and individuals will have their own ups and downs as their bodies adjust. It’s also a lot to do with the hormone cycle and again, everyone is different in this respect so week-on-week it can change dramatically and affect weight loss.

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I find however that it’s easier to keep to my new habits when in the daily work routine than at home where temptation lurks in every corner. The first weekend is always difficult but my determination and resolve is still intact and I will get through to Monday with no blips.

Fingers crossed!

Happy Days!

Things that have made me happy today……..

My two beautiful boys, Tom and Will (which is which?)

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Ice-skating- I take my Level 3 test next week and need to perform “backwards “lemons” (AKA sculling, swizzles, or fishes). This is a skill I am finding it difficult to master but am definitely improving albeit slowly. There is hope!

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Sunshine-we haven’t had enough sun this year and doesn’t it make a difference when we get some blue sky and warmth instead of biting winds. When sunshine and picturesque countryside is combined with a bit of golf, who can complain?

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Red roses- even the cat loves them!

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…and to cap it all, the Grand National has finished and all the horses are safe and sound.

Thank goodness.

It’s snow joke

The weather forecast has been poor all week, but I was always hopeful that somehow we would escape the snow and ice coming our way and continue with our normal Saturday ice-skating lesson routine.

Alas it was not to be and as the snow gradually turned into a frenzied blizzard early this morning I turned the radio on just in time to hear the traffic report which also told me that the motorway junction we exit to fetch Will was closed due to an accident. Going cross-country didn’t seem such a good idea when the strong advice was not to travel unless necessary, so being the sensible soul I am, I resigned myself to no Will this weekend and no ice skating either and arranged to stay at home.

This hasn’t been such a bad thing though as it has meant I have enjoyed a lazy day which is a rare occurrence for me and one which I would normally rebel against. I like to be on the move, to do things. I don’t rest until my head hits the pillow and then only for an average of 4 hours sleep so for me to go back to bed and sleep until 11.30am this morning was a rare thing indeed.

With nothing to do outside, the garden is under 6″ of snow, the wind is bitter cold and the road treacherous, I have enjoyed sorting out my blog (note the change in format and colour) adding some new links and pictures and deleting the old ones which no longer work whilst listening to old ABBA CDs and watching Inspector Morse episodes! What an admission and bang goes any street cred I had left! But it’s not so bad….

They say a restless body can hide a peaceful soul 
A voyager and a settler, they both have a distant goal 
If I explore the heavens, or if I search inside 
Well, it really doesn’t matter as long as I can tell myself 
I’ve always tried

(Abba, Move On)

“The secret of a happy life is to know when to stop – and then go that bit further.”

“When I’m thinking, I get thirsty.”

(Inspector Morse)

Back in Brum

Back in mid-November I wrote about some changes that I had either made or was in the process of making and 6 weeks on I can now give you an update.

I have lost a stone in weight (A BIG “Thank you” to Angie at Weightwatchers, Carrs Lane, Birmingham City Centre) and I have just completed my third week in my new job based permanently in Birmingham!

Being back in Brum feels good and definitely feels like home.

I was born on the outskirts of Birmingham almost 50 years ago (more about that later!); my parents worked in Birmingham at Birmingham Corporation and British Motor Corporation, British Leyland that was and lucky me, my grandparents worked at Cadbury’s (nom! nom!).  I am a devoted Aston Villa fan and now have my security pass hanging from a Villa lanyard- Sweet!

Many of my friends are based in Birmingham and I have an enviable list of lunch-dates scheduled for 2013. It will be good to catch up with everyone and I am looking forward to being part of an office-based team again.

My First Anniversary-“Thank you”

Prozac-free and loving life!

“Fighting depression with positivity” is my tag-line and thankfully that’s just what I have been able to do this year. So much so that I am now celebrating a year without antidepressants and I really do feel that I have this unpredictable and debilitating illness under control at last.

Being positive can be hard work.  I know from personal experience that changing one’s thought processes from negative to positive and trying to block out unnecessary”white noise” and “rubbish”  is exhausting and the amount of effort that it takes to implement these emotional changes often takes people by surprise. But with the right help and support it gets easier and the further you progress, the more natural “positive thinking”  will become.

So, I would like to thank all my family, friends and colleagues for their continued support during 2012. I wouldn’t be able to maintain such a positive and stable mindset without my networks-I never underestimate their importance or take them for granted.

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Dorothy shoes!

New shoes…who doesn’t LOVE new shoes and I bought some funky footwear today 🙂

I love Alegria shoes as they are not only soooooo comfy but they are soooo cool too! (I think so although hubby is not so keen)

We are lucky where I live in Market Harborough as we have a fab shoe outlet store “Heavenly Feet” which sells Alegria’s at silly prices compared to RRP so;

For £10 I bought these :)….ignore the Poundland socks

and for the rather more princely sum of £29 I bought these 😀  What a great day!