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Rejection: degrading? grounding? just life?

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I read a blog post today that made me think about how being rejected helps to shape you as an individual. Unfortunately that post did not allow comment, thus my musings here.  It spoke not of romantic rejection but of the rejection of a personal creation.  In that instance it was something turned down by a publisher.

Luckily I have not suffered the same rejection, I have only dabbled when writing. I have had the odd letter published in newspapers and when I was in my 20’s I wrote to a magazine with my views on infertility wishing to remain anonymous.  When asked by that magazine to be named I turned it down and thus rejected them.  At the time remaining nameless was absolutely necessary for me.

I have encountered job rejection, though not too recently. When younger, I moved on quickly and easily.  As I got older it took longer to get over it but eventually one does and often it can lead to something better.

I had my fair share of romantic rejection in the long and distant past (who didn’t?).  At times I thought my love life would be over forever (woe oh woe!). I kissed a few frogs before finding my prince unexpectedly, and we are still together many, many moons later.

I had never particularly thought of having something I’d made (or created) being rejected. Yes, I have knitted, sewn, painted things for Table Sales or for gifts.  Some things haven’t sold and I understand others weren’t as appreciated as I hoped they would be.  I guess you could of call those as being ‘rejected’. In fact sometimes the things I loved most were the things others didn’t like at all!

Rejection is part of life.  It happens to us all.  It’s how we deal with it that makes and shapes us.  Family, friends and a strong word to oneself helps.  There is no time limit to picking yourself up and feeling better.  It’s understanding why it happened and how you get past it.  It’s embracing the new opportunity you have been given.  It is a lesson to be learned at any stage, at any age.  We can all flourish after rejection.

 

 

 

 

 

No 1 Knit Top Down, More NaKniCromo and Calorie Free Doughnuts too!

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Busy few days. Inspired by https://shirleycyeung.wordpress.com/  amongst others I have started by first top down knitted item and I LOVE IT ! Having tried once before and failed badly, I choose small, a new baby project from Ravelry.com –  All-In-One Sleeveless Baby Top (6 months) & (9 – 12 months) by marianna mel    With a little help from a YouTube video on understanding construction I totally get it now.

Here’s a little bit of my progress.  topdown2It’s small but more projects going on at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

I have also finished another baby top – bottom up construction – needs a little steaming and a button, not as pleased with the button band as I should be, hopefully that will steam out a little.

babywhitecardi1

NaKniCromo on Ravelry.com – it’s take a lot of thinking about my dream project (Day 16) – not sure I have just one, just an image of several.  I guess premium yarns, dreams to knit without hiccups, perhaps at least one repeat of an item knit a few years ago. Oh, and of course, the price of the wool would be irrelevant or it would have been free!

Day 17 – Dream Tools – I favour Knit Pro Symfonie needles, rainbows even when knitting with boring yarn!  Day 18 – Technique I would like to master – I would like to be more adventurous with cables, though at the moment I have so much I want to knit that I choose more simple patterns that seem a lot quicker than the fantastic complicated cables I drawl over. Day 19 – More Yarn or Less yarn – More yarn, always more yarn of course. I am working on reducing my stash, whether knitting it or selling some to buy more.

Day 20 – Today – Favourite Tip or Trick – It’s ok to rip something back, don’t consider it wasted time, consider it a learning curve.  Also, mattress stitch, once learned I have never gone back to running stitch or oversewing seams.

scissors1spool

And a little sewing – remember the last post – beige and pink circles with sewing pins. They turned into these doughnuts! And now they are available to purchase at a little lovely cafe, The Teashop at Downe, Kent.  I hope customers popping by for a tea and cake will fancy taking a Calorie Free/Sugar Free cake home for later!

So as you see, a busy few days here.

 

 

I finished a project, tick !

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I started this baby blanket the first week of July and finished it on 21st. There’s been a lot going on this month and I was determined to get this done before the recipient was born. My neighbour’s daughter is due her first baby by mid August and I am due to go into hospital for a big operation tomorrow. Thus the speed. Many know of my inability to stick to just one project, but this time I did (apart from just two rows hooking on my other ‘latest’ project, which was so hard to neglect). I had in effect three extra days but didn’t need them in the end.

So, a busy month in many ways. First there was the aftermath of a trip to France in June to empty our holiday home. There are still a few things malingering over the sale and it’s not been quite as smooth as we hoped. Then I was forced to change my hospital Consultant, found a new one and was given a new date (luckily only three days later than original date). I have found myself ‘nesting’, that’s the only way I can explain the tidying up/sorting out/manic cleaning and gardening. At least I have successfully ticked off the list one project this month. If I don’t get everything else sorted then so be it.

Now to fish out a simple new project to take in for my ‘spa’ break – I have decided to refer to this weekend as a spa break rather than a hospital stay. The building itself is fancy and is set in beautiful grounds, there are beds are won’t be making, food I won’t be cooking, there will be people to look after me – so apart from a few extra things and no pool it might be imaginable and slightly less preferable than what it actually is!

I look forward to catching up here soon, keeping an eye on what others are up to.

Crocheting slowly, knitting a lot and winging it in general

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A few weeks ago my new crochet project was growing fast. Now speed has slowed and it’s not the first thing I pick up when I fancy a bit of crafting. The issue is – it’s bigger than it should be – so what started as a cardi may not finish as a cardi. I love the combination of colours, I love that I am mainly using my stash of cotton dk, however, I think if I keep to the pattern it will swamp me and I will never want to wear it. I am beyond ripping back and anyway, as each row is hooked with a different colour there would too much yarn wastage (each row would be shorter so I’d have excess left at each end and it would be a waste). So, I continue slowly, wondering back and forth whether it shall be changed into a poncho or another style top or even a blanket. There are two narrower and shorter similar pieces, initially the two fronts of the original cardi but with less rows for now – they can be ripped if need be or added to! Watch this space!

Just to throw a spanner in the works, last weekend I decided I needed to make a baby blanket for a neighbour’s daughter due her first baby next month. I had a pattern I’d never tried and some yarn I purchased last year. I couldn’t resist and I thought if I do a quick knit I can return to my crochet with new vigour. Oh it’s so lovely to see the pattern growing on lilac squares interspersed with stocking stitch mint squares. I hope the baby’s a girl! I made an off white baby blanket in a different style last year when I didn’t have a gift recipient so I have that on standby either if I don’t finish/the baby comes early/the baby is a boy. I just had to start this new one too – my knitting mojo called me. (Husband shakes head in despair here, looking around at many half done projects!) Progress will be on here as soon as it’s worthy of showing off.

After the chaos of the last couple of months, clearing and sorting house contents, travelling to another country with restrictions on how to go, what tests to take, how much isolation was required, it has been so nice to sit and clear my mind, to just relax and craft.

Towards the end of this month there is another huge step to deal with. I am due to go into hospital for a big operation. It was postponed from April last year (2020), so it’s well overdue. Last year I prepped the fridge freezer for handy meals my family can present to us all. Last year I had craft projects lined up that I proposed were doable from a sick bed. This year so far I am winging it! I can’t quite get my head as organised. Still, a couple of weeks to go so who knows, I may surprise myself yet.

Spools

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I think I must be a little crazy. There again, if you say it, maybe you actually aren’t at all!

Life right now, this minute, is chaos – physically and mentally. I am actually ashamed at the plethora of boxes and bags around me as I sit in a corner typing this. There are so many things that need to find new homes which will involve sorting out existing storage and rejigging contents Maybe there is just too much to cope with so I just can’t start and there is always tomorrow to try again – we are currently ‘enjoying’ ten days of isolation at home because of Covid travel restrictions. I say ‘enjoying’ as I am sitting around a lot, feeling a little overwhelmed mostly, yet I have spent time mowing the lawn and weeding in the garden. My husband got straight back to working in his home office. We are doing all the things the British Government told us to do – Covid tests, etc, all negative, we are both double vaccinated and we are individually receiving calls every day to check we are isolating where we said we would. I am actually quite impressed with the calls, the threat has always been there, but to know it is being actioned is a good thing.

As is well documented elsewhere, crafting can be a release, a form of relaxation. I actually picked up a crochet hook and hooked a few rows one day this week but I couldn’t concentrate for long. Then today I came across a small selection of things I put aside before our recent trip, things I’d earmarked to sell/donate to charity/share with friends. Amongst which were these spools. I thought long and hard about where I’d got them from (that took a while, 50 spools!). Then I realised someone had actually given them to me as she didn’t want them anymore so I rescued them without a project in mind. So, ideas anyone? If I had littlies I’d maybe be necklace making – anyone remember painting dried pasta tubes and stringing them on wool. If I had tiny ribbons I might use a few to tidy them up but my ribbons are too thick to store on these. Otherwise I am all out of ideas. Not that I need another project, I just don’t want to miss potential.

June bloomed as we said goodbye

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We are back from our last foray to La Belle France and to our holiday home of 14 years. Over the years we’ve been restricted by school holiday periods and travelled every other month except June. I now discover a little of what we’ve been missing. Here are just a few snaps of the flower bed beneath the lounge windows. The roses smelled just as divine as they look and the camelia flower was as big as my hand splayed open. There are too many other photos and views to share here, but I shall hold them forever in my heart.

The weather was beautiful for the whole of our 11 day trip, which included 7 days of isolation in our house and garden due to Covid restrictions. That made the hanging around a little more palatable at times as I sat in the sunshine with a book a few times before we really got into sorting out 14 years of ‘stuff’. Two vans full of junk to the municipal dump later, tears of frustration at ‘what to keep/what to throw’, cleaning, packing things up safely to bring home have left me drained and exhausted physically and emotionally. The next step is finding new homes for everything that made it back to the UK, equally frustrating as packing it up!

The removal van seemed almost as big as the house!

Growing Crochet

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Tension is becoming more regular and the speed of trebles is increasing. This will be the back of the cardigan and two more pieces the same number of rows will be the two fronts. Crochet garment construction is very new to me. This is only the second garment I’ve ever made though I have hooked two blankets previously and have a mountain of granny squares to make another (the granny squares were an early project, there are a few ‘wiggles’ in tension on those!). I am usually much more of a knitter and a little bit of a sewist. Knitting and sewing is taking a back seat right now. This was my progress up to last weekend. Having just read the instructions for sleeve construction I am interested in how working in the round will turn out and cuff making looks particularly unusual. If anyone wants to see what I am making it’s The Gertie Cardigan by Holly Woodrow from the Lovecrafts.com website. I would so love to pop a photo of the pattern but obviously due to copyright I just wouldn’t. There are often very clever crafters who can just look at a photo and work out how things are made without giving credit to the designer.

Hope other crafters are keeping busy. I intend to dive right back in with my hook shortly. Such a shame things like sleep, general housekeeping, etc keep getting in the way this week! Anyone else say to themselves as the evening goes on …. just one more row? ……

A little colourful crochet

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I think my crafting mojo might be back! It’s either that or I am using crafting as a distraction from other things. I have so much going on at the moment it might be the latter. Mind you, at least my distraction isn’t lounging on the couch eating chocolate and watching trash on tv. That’s been a known distraction in the past and I enjoyed it but ask me to recount detail of those tv shows and I will probably be blank!

I am trying to use up some of my yarn stash. Technically, that’s something I promised myself I would do in 2020 and I did it a fair bit, albeit continuing into this year, I have had to supplement a little this time. Oh it felt so good to yarn shop, even online! The difficult thing was to stop when I did. So most of this is Lovecrafts Paintbox Cotton DK from my stash with a smattering of Drops cotton and King Cole Cotton. It should be a colourful edge to edge shortish cardigan. I reserve the right to turn it into something else along the way – as with several projects this has actually happened.

I have even resurrected a hexi patchwork project. This has been ongoing for years (have blogged about it before). What began as a cushion has grown into the beginnings of a sofa throw, maybe a third of the front is assembled already. It is mostly autumnal reds, browns, soft yellows and greens. I still have a way to go but this will be the latest hexagon filling a ‘gap’ in the design.

And onto why I am being distracted – very soon I am going to France to sort out the contents of my second home before we sell it. For several reasons we are selling and truthfully there are lots of highs and lows about the sale (many, many lows). I won’t bore anyone about the hoops we are jumping through to get there, which involves several Covid 19 tests, self isolation there and again when we return, then more tests. If we don’t go we break a contract with the sale, there is no possibility of delay, otherwise we wouldn’t be travelling. We even asked someone else to clear our house and store it’s contents but sadly that wasn’t possible. I cannot think why anyone during a pandemic would take on the stress of travelling abroad for a break away. Certainly wouldn’t advise it!

Well, back to the hook for me (and double/treble checking we have the right paperwork to be let out of the country/into another country!). Bye for now!

Somewhere on a Caribbean Island

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Last week I was lucky enough to get away on a break from home. I have been to Antigua several times and St Lucia once.

It was warm. It was sunny. I was, admittedly, in a jumper and jeans rather than shorts and a tshirt.

However this isn’t an island in the Caribbean sea or the Atlantic Ocean. This is the River Dart, taken from Greenways, the holiday home of the late, great author Agatha Christie. We were in South Devon, in the UK. The beautiful yachts and sunshine bouncing off the water reminded me so much of times spent high up in the hills in Antigua. With the sun on my face and the peace and quiet, the odd yachtie sailing slowly by there were definitely parallels.

The gardens are stunning at Greenways. We were lucky enough to still see bluebells (see my previous post about recent bluebell walks), so much wild garlic (ooh pretty but a little scented!) and the rhododendrons were amazing. So unusual to see yellow rhododendrons.

We had lovely weather for this visit, but on other days we dodged a little rain and wind and had the odd treat or two to make up for it. Now back to ‘normality’ or whatever normality living in a pandemic allows us. Masks on, walking boots on, planned appointments, nothing spontaneous for now. You never know I might even get my crafting mojo back if I am lucky.

I leave you with (hopefully) your mouth watering, Devon style, cream first then jam.

Bluebells in the woods

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I had a lovely walk in the woods last Friday, near Shoreham in Kent, UK. There are a lot more bluebells this year than last. So, so pretty. I wish you could smell them too – it was amazing! We wandered, we ooh’d and ahh’d and then we sat and had a rest here and carried on admiring the view. Just wanted to share with you.

The weekend before I actually went into Shoreham itself. It’s a sweet village, but slightly too many cars drive through the narrow street at times and it gets a little frustrating having to wiggle in and out of each other’s way (cars vs pedestrians). I did manage to take a few photos, unfortunately not of the River Darenth that flows under the bridge, nor the ducks that were taking a swim, but a couple of pretty houses – the type I dream of living in !

And then there was cake back at home in the garden.

Ponds, Ducks and Darwin

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A lovely walk at Keston Woods and Keston Ponds. I love the way the trees are reflected in the water. There still isn’t too much leaf growth but it’s on it’s way, it’s still Spring here. Talking of which, the birds are pairing up and these two were very sweet to watch. She tried to be nonchalant but I think he’d won her over!

Keston is in Kent, UK, near Bromley,12 miles southwards outside London.. A snippet of history for you – Charles Darwin (English naturalist, geologist and botanist, the discoveries of evolution) studied round leafed sundew at Keston Bogs and earthworms on the heathland. Volunteers constantly maintain the area so others can enjoy being there.

Look at the height of the towering trees alongside Keston Bogs. This area is so peaceful, the ground is drier than near the ponds and layered with fir needles. It is a contrast to the heathland and more open areas and around the ponds.

A little add on note re Charles Darwin – if anyone was wondering why he was here. Charles Darwin, his wife Emma and their ten children resided at Down House which is very local to Keston. The house itself is owned by English Heritage and is a great place to visit.

And also a P.S. if you can call it that – for anyone who regularly reads my blog – sorry nothing crafty to show right now. I am slow with current projects and will post some pics when I have worthy progress. I know I am not alone when I say the recent few weeks (nearing the end of Covid-19 lockdown and tight restrictions) haven’t exactly been helping the crafting side of my brain to function well. There’s been a lot of procrastination and distraction.

To see the sea and discovering a castle

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At the weekend I saw the sea for the first time since last autumn. It was wonderful! I was brought up at the coast and despite this week’s location not being where I am from it was like going ‘home’. This was a trip to Whitstable and Tankerton Beach in Kent, one of my favourite places. I’ve blogged about here before, it probably won’t be the last time now but I hope a little bit of what I like brings a smile to others.

A visit to the beach is like therapy. Boy, I was in dire need of a remedy to the blues, the pandemic has definitely tested me lately. Being at the coast is not just about enjoying fresher air and seeing somewhere different to the norm. The views out to the horizon/the distance without buildings/seeing people playing on the beach or in the sea (too breezy today to sit on the pebbles or play in the water for me!)/people sailing boats and kites/children fishing for crabs from the harbour, lowering buckets into the sea and squealing with delight or horror when they see a crab coming up. Put it all together and it just feels terrific!

Today we also discovered something new. We usually meander the same part of the promenade, admire the beach huts, visit our favourite fish and chip stall and in a non Covid world pop into favourite pretty little shops. This time we did most of the usual lovely things (avoided the shops), but we also wandered into Whitstable Castle gardens for the very first time. A little history is in the following link but basically it was a family holiday home, been owned by several notable families and used in various guises and is now owned by the local council. The castle itself can be used for events, such as weddings and the general public can enjoy the gardens. What a relaxing place for a sit down in the sunshine, the sweet smelling plants around us. Next time we’ll make sure we’ve room for coffee and cake when we get there. http://www.whitstablecastle.co.uk/history.