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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.

 

 

UFOs, Half Cut, Tangled, WIPs, Life Complexities

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This year is all about making decisions. The first decision is not to make New Year Resolutions, knowing they don’t come to exact fruition which leads to more frustration and me quietly hanging my head in shame. The last two Januaries I publicly declared I would use up more of my yarn and fabric stash. January 2021 started well but momentum was lost as the months went on. In general my zest declined with too many other things getting in the way.

So, not a resolution, but a celebration with a few crafty things completed last year, a cute grey baby set, a baby blanket and a toddler’s rag doll and dolly’s quilt (there were a more but these are my favourites).

Then admittance to things started and not finished, with photos. The best of these is the turquoise cowl (last pic) and the neopolitan sleeves of a hoodie for a four year old (luckily she has a younger sister so when it’s finally finished it will have a new recipient!) (last pic). The green sparkly jumper was finished but the sleeves were way too long so it’s been de-cuffed and is waiting to be re-cuffed. The lime green back of a cardigan turned out too long, knitted mindlessly whilst recuperating from an op – needs ripping back and reknitting. The patchwork hexies are part of an ongoing project of many years.

Then there’s things started or at least worked on in 2021, without photos. The best of these are a Cream/Silver knitted ribbon yarn top (horrid to knit with), blue/white patchwork quilt (planned for a bedroom I don’t have anymore) and a red woolly hat (would fit an elf rather than an 88 year old MIL).

Rounding off all things crafty it makes me realise I did ‘use up more of my craft stash’. There were many things sold online/donated to friends/charity to clear a few boxes. They include a big handful of patterns (including a dog coat pattern I had when I thought I might start a knitted dog coat business before being persuaded that dogs usually need easily washable/dryable coats not fashion statements!), about 2000g yarn (one was another colourway of the ribbon yarn, yuk!), decoupage papers, cross stitch books and patterns (many from the mid 90’s onwards when everyone got cross stitch birthday/new baby cards and Christmas decorations, etc), embroidery threads, etc. I even recycled etching blanks and made unique Christmas cards for 2021.

All in all, more space made for more projects. Now I just need to make another zillion things or better decisions about keeping/not keeping items so there is less to move from one house to another.

Busy Country Bees

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A French Homestead Life

I adore bees, their characters, their hard work ethic and over the years I have studied beekeeping, imported raw honey from Germany and Transylvania and can tell a good honey from a false honey.. a sly mix of sugars added to many sourced honey’s.

Sketched.

Pure unadulterated, raw honey is amazing. You should be able to clearly identify the source…sunflower, meadow, heather, forest. There should be no sharp twang on your taste buds or an aftertaste of sugar burn.

The honey should be priced around £6.00 per jar and be limited in supply. Most supermarkets honey, isn’t honey. Bees take their short lifetime to produce a mere teaspoon if honey, so how can the shelves be full? The London Honey Company has limited stocks …but it’s genuine and taste delicious. Since a few years ago they have had to supplement their range by looking further afield in England. It stands…

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Must Participate More In Class

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My son left home last week and when sorting out everything he wanted to take to his flat there was time for reflection, contemplation and I admit, some frustration too. I was keen to feed his enthusiasm, after all it’s a big step, but seeing him throwing out many childhood things I hold dear was tough (I did rescue some things!). We had a ‘practice run’ a few years ago when he went off to University, then lived in Barcelona for a few months, then Uni again for another year. However, he’s been home now for two years, the last one working solely from the desk in his bedroom with a new career as a trainee Chartered Accountant with hardly any socialising due to the Covid pandemic. What a life for someone in their early 20’s! He has coped brilliantly – but it really is time he gets to enjoy life more. How tiresome being with Mum and Dad so much at his age.

So, as we sorted out school books, etc, I came across one of my own school reports. There was more than one ‘Must Participate More in Class’. My husband laughed and said it sounded like it was about someone else, someone shy and quiet. I am not a shrinking violet these days (apparently). Then there was ‘Room to Improve’ and ‘Could do better’. I have no specific memory of anyone at school encouraging me to improve but maybe they did as I didn’t do too bad in the end. My one frustration is that I left school at an early age – wages and freedom beckoned – but I do remember the joy of that first pay packet when I dashed into the local boutique and bought a new dress for Saturday night out and then begrudgingly gave my parents housekeeping.

Moving him out was an event in itself. As usual, everything happened all at once. He finally got his keys at 4pm on New Year’s Eve. It was dusk and he had little time before he met friends at someone’s house for a New Year Party and we had plans to settle down and relax before an online quiz with family and a glass or two of bubbly. We’d been hanging around for hours waiting to hear when he could get in, cars were packed, house was in chaos, then it was ‘go go go’ ! Phew!

From cute Thunderbird to bearded weirdy in a blink of an eye!

Now there’s time to reflect back on the last few months, the last year, the highs and lows, the exasperation of not being able to just get on with life for more than one reason. In 2022 I shall take on board the ‘Could do better’ school report comment through life’s many paths. Firstly, I shall get back to blogging more regularly – my last post was in September. Then I shall make better decisions – including crafting ones – what to make/what to scrap/what to continue/what new things to learn.

I shall also make better decisions in general, biggest one being moving house. We are midway with that complex project. We sold our holiday home in France in June last year, which was traumatic, involving all sorts of PCR tests/isolation/furniture scrapping/storage, the actual sad decision to sell was spurred on by Brexit. The bigger decision to relocate in the UK is proving troublesome at times. Still, the house move here has been a dream to me for about ten years. I am embracing the fact husband seems on board now, albeit with trepidation. 2022 is due to bring many changes and celebrations. It has to be a better year than last. Good luck to others for a better year too.

Apple Cake

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Today I decided to use up some more apples freshly picked from my apple tree. Creamy butter, sugar and cinnamon, gram flour (because I had some to use up), chopped up apples complete with skin, bake, cool slightly, sprinkle with icing sugar – it didn’t take long before the family devoured some! A friend asked ‘with custard or ice cream?’ – no time to make accompaniments before the plates and forks were held aloft !

This is hilarious – I just realised why it didn’t rise – I forgot to put eggs in the mixture! I was thinking the cake was really flat because the flour was gram flour and old! I really am out of practice of baking. I am just getting over an operation – slightly wondering if they took out the thinking part of me rather than just gynae!

Repurposing Something or Correcting Mistakes

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A few weeks ago I started crocheting a colourful cardigan. It was fun to select the changing colours and to learn a new way of construction. I blogged a couple of photos as I progressed. It was supposed to be a simple project to occupy my time whilst putting my health first and also using up a huge pile of cottons in my craft stash. Look at it now! You may be confused as this isn’t a cardigan …..

I admit it – it beat me! The main body of the cardigan turned out too wide. I had my suspicions as I was about two thirds along but carried on regardless. The one sleeve I started looked like a flower pot – confirmed when another blogger thought the same. Instead of giving up totally, throwing it all in a bag to hide it from myself (as another UFO) I decided to jiggle around the pieces and repurpose it as a cushion cover. The ‘flower pot’ sleeve remains a tubular ‘thing’ but you never know it may turn into something else one day! Yes there were a few choice words beforehand but I am rather pleased with the outcome and have moved on to another project.

Next project, a summer cotton cardigan

Next year, a new cardigan in lime green for the summer we are overdue as it didn’t exactly arrive this year! Next year too, a couple of those other UFOs will also be finished or repurposed/ripped back – a promise to myself!

A little round hooking

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I am still working on a colourful rainbow cotton crochet top. It seems to be taking ages but yesterday I learnt something new, which is pretty amazing seeing as I am still recuperating from an op, still drifting off into the land of tiredness regularly and am not always able to concentrate when I need to. I have learnt to crochet in the round, that’s round and round in a tube, not making a circular ‘thing’ like a table mat or rug. My journey into the land of crochet is not very long. I can granny square, albeit sometimes wonky, I can do basic singles, doubles and trebles (and half trebles, all UK terms). So here’s the beginnings of a sleeve. Just showing off really, feeling like I have been neglecting crafting when I have a lot of time in the world to indulge.

I also dipped into the never ending hexi sewing project and put a few shapes together when on a zoom call this morning. I was zooming with crafting friends who usually meet in person pre Covid. We seem to put the world to rights over the airwaves. We craft a little, or not at all. We console or congratulate each other on losses on wins, depends on the nature of the week or the day or the month. It’s a bit of normality from afar with virtual hugs and giggles. I didn’t do much sewing, but there was nearly a seven piece completion, which was easier to half concentrate on rather than hooking this morning. After the call unfortunately I dropped the hexis on the floor and couldn’t stretch to pick them up – which was lucky not to be mid zoom. And then lucky again my son when almost immediately, and by coincidence, arrived in the room and retrieved them for me – albeit with a little mutter than he thinks I am dropping things intentionally so he has little ‘jobs’ to do to help me out!

That’s about it for now. I would like to say I am enjoying a little bit of British summer, but just lately the weather hasn’t been very favourable and dare I admit – yes I do – I even put the heating on one evening this week. I am thinking it was more the issue of being less mobile that day than usual, and I’d chucked on another jumper and covered my legs with a blanket (handknitted of course). Come back sunshine! I was planning to recuperate sitting in the garden often with a good book or three.

What’s everyone else been up to?

Feeling lucky

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I am feeling lucky as I am recuperating well after an op. I am sitting with my laptop somewhere different in my house than where I usually sit. I am surrounded by a few lovely things and feel lucky to have had time to craft in the past and even a little this week too. A snapshot of next to where I am shows the patchwork cover of my sewing machine (I loved making this piece a few years ago, didn’t ever intend it to be a cover up but somehow it became one). Today and yesterday I have been sewing in cotton yarn ends on my latest crochet project, the laborious part of making something multi-coloured. Two thirds down, one third to go. I’ve also knitted a few rows, item not in the photo. I did take knitting into hospital with me but I was rather over ambitious – so it just had a ‘mini spa break’ with me. As I sat there on day two with cannulas in both hands, unable to reach anything unless it was put right in front of me (and the knitting was across the other side of the room), I was still slightly spaced out on morphine, I actually laughed at myself for being a little over keen with yet another craft project! Laughing in theory was funny, in reality very uncomfortable!

Today I realised I am using a zipped bag for my notions (scissors, stitch markers, sewing needles, etc), given to me by my lovely sister in law. I can dream of future travel as the fabric is part of a map of the world.

How lucky am I? Are you feeling lucky today too?

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.