Plans for 2013

I know I’m a little late to this party, but that seems to be the way it is at the moment! Time is flying by so fast, I’m missing all sorts of things. For example, a very good friend had her birthday one month and five days ago (you know who you are!) and I’ve yet to send her her birthday parcel. She’s going to have a lovely late spring surprise at this rate! The daft thing is that I had almost everything I wanted to send ahead of time, and then the days got away from me and I didn’t do it. It’s OK, I do realise how rubbish I am!

So, plans for the remaining ten and a half months of the year include;

1. Holiday – don’t know where, don’t know when but we will have a change of scenery and see somewhere new this year!

2. Redecorate Sweetie’s room before she moves in. Her cot is in our room at the moment, and I think will be for a little while. We need to work out how to put up a curtain rail, as there is no space between the top of the window frame and the ceiling. I sorted out everything in her room this last week though so there’s no rubbish in there any more! However, I still need to decide on a room layout and colour scheme.

3. Get a new kitchen sink. We have one of those beige plastic kitchen sinks at the moment, and since we moved in I’ve wanted to swap it for a stainless steel one. I can’t dye yarn easily until I do, as it would wreck our current sink. Our plumber should be coming out to replace a radiator soon though, so I’ll ask him about it then.

4. Fitness – improve it! I was almost immobile during the last few months of my pregnancy last year, and then it took longer than last time for the pain to go away. On the whole things seem to be more or less back to normal now, so I’m very slowly improving my fitness levels. I aim to go out for walks more as the weather improves, and I always run up the stairs (except when I’m carrying the baby of course!). Baby steps, but it’s slowly slowly paying off.

5. Get my Etsy shop back up and running. I’m planning and working on items for my shop at the moment. I hope to go back to the craft market later in the Spring too, if they have room for me! But I want to revamp my stall completely, so I need to work on that for the next couple of months.

6. Enjoy my kids. They are all three of them growing and changing before my eyes, and I don’t want to miss a minute! Well, maybe the odd minute here or there to go to knit night or Wonderwool Wales, but you get the general gist!

So, these are my overall goals. I’ve got more specific ones, such as improving my baking, or certain projects I want to make. Hopefully I’ll find time to talk more about these as and when they happen.

Getting busy

Until we get past exchanging contracts I’m not getting busy packing boxes, so I’m making the most of these last few days to sit down as much as possible, and also to knit as much as I have time for. I get the impression that February might be a bit of a write off, craft wise, and I’ve got a cardigan which I’m making for myself that I’d like to be able to wear this winter. I’m nearly up to the armpits now, so I’m reasonably confident I will finish it before the weather warms up significantly. Hopefully I’ll have a picture of where I’m up to by the end of the week. Hopefully, also by the end of the week, I should have photos of a pile of boxes!

Bonus Baby, judging by the size of me, is growing well (23 weeks tomorrow!). I’m getting regular internal gymnastics displays, which are really reassuring, and I’m starting to let myself plan more. I’ve got a line of jumpers and cardigans queued up, both in my mind and on Ravelry.com to make before May! My sister-in-law is hoping that I’ll be making a couple of matching jumpers for Bonus Baby and my niece – could be good, even if only for the photos we’ll be able to show them when they’ve grown up!

Next week will be all about planning for the move some more. I’ve worked out a couple more places that I could stack a pile of boxes in the flat, so I’m not quite so concerned that I’ll need to pile boxes up on the front lawn now! I’m also going to have to clear out some more rubbish, which on the plus side means I’ll have less to pack!

My three boys (I include my husband in that!) are treating me like a princess. Regular drinks and food are provided by one or the other, together with unlimited cuddles and back rubs. And when GG and Cheeky went out for bread and milk a couple of evenings ago, they came back with red roses for me. I could get used to this! It makes the stiff joints and the slowing down completely worth it!

Challenges

New Year’s resolutions are so old hat, don’t you think?! Most people I know have eschewed formal resolutions this year, perhaps they’ve gone out of fashion. Or maybe it’s because most of us recognise that most resolutions are abandoned by the end of January, which makes us a little discontented and miserable through February.

I have made no resolutions this year. I have aims, which are softer, less structured things with correspondingly less mental self-flagelation if I fail in any of them! I aim to stay happy and as unstressed as is possible (with a house move coming up soon) for the remainder of the winter. I aim to take a second before I speak and try not to snap at my children, although this will definitely be easier if I feel happy and moderately unstressed! I aim to cut down on my refined sugar intake, beginning soon. This will be challenging, especially with the amount of chocolate we have left in the house since Christmas, but I will have to try. And of course there are the yarnie challenges.

I’ve not thought these out very clearly yet, I just know I want to knit more! Last year was¬†a bit of a non-starter for me, craft wise, and I’m hoping to pick up where I left off before the desire to make things vanished in the mist. I’ve made a good start so far this year, planning the cardigan I mentioned last week and picking out some other patterns that I’d like to try soon. I’ve also entered myself into a challenge on Ravelry to knit up 1500 yards of yarn a month. This is a lot, but at about fifty yards a day I think it’s achievable if I get back into the habit of knitting whilst I’m sitting down relaxing in the evenings. Most of the time my knitting doesn’t involve me studying a pattern to the exclusion of everything around me, so I’ll still be able to chat with GG and enjoy a couple of programmes on the TV whilst I work. I’ve already got a couple of projects under my belt.

These are slipper socks for Cheeky, who is seven and a half now and wearing (I think) size 12.5 shoes. They are made out of superwash blue faced leicester wool in a heavy aran weight on (I think) 6mm needles. The plan is to dye the socks, and Cheeky has asked that they be dyed red and yellow. Hmm, I did warn him that he might get some orange patches in between the red and yellow, but he didn’t seem to mind too much! Once they’re dyed, I have a bottle of this liquid rubber or latex or something which you apply to the soles of the socks in order to make them less slippy. I mostly knitted them at the end of last year, but I finished them on the 1st so the final ten yards can go into this year’s tally!

Next, I made these washcloths and soap bag. I bought a couple of packs of balls of cotton yarn from Lidl about two years ago and still have quite a lot of it left. So I decided that washcloths are always useful, and whizzed these up as a quick-gratification project. The soap bag is designed to prevent the problem of dropping a slippery soap. As the bag is cotton, the soap can be left inside and the whole thing immersed in water and used to wash yourself. I’m pleased with how they turned out, especially as I knit the little bag using the ‘toe-up sock’ method and so there was no seaming or grafting needed to finish it off!

On the needles at the moment is the second in a pair of flip top mittens for GG. He travels to work on a bus every day, and finds it inconvenient having to take his gloves off every time he needs to get change or bus tickets out, or fiddle with his phone (which he also uses as an MP3 player). Fingerless gloves were dismissed as the ends of his fingers would still get cold, and so he decided on flip top mittens with fingerless gloves underneath. And providentially, Ellie gave me a book of glove patterns for Christmas, along with a couple of sets of bamboo double pointed needles. I’ve put them all to good use, and found a pattern which suited GG. I’m up to the base of the fingers on the second mitten already, and hope to finish that by tomorrow evening. He tried the first one on yesterday evening, by the way, and pronounced them very comfortable and cosy! Hopefully I’ll have some pictures of the finished items soon. I’m knitting them out of a new-to-me yarn called Lang Omega which I bought in Big Knitters a little while ago. it’s a 50/50 blend of nylon and acrylic, and so they’re washable, and it is so soft. I think I’ll be buying this yarn again for future projects, so long as it stands up to wear. I’ll keep an eye on how the gloves go for a few weeks before I decide, but I’m always on the lookout for a nice reasonably cheap yarn, so this could be good.

Right, having already been awake for 2.5 hours (it’s 6.10am) I’m absolutely starving, so I’m off to find a yoghurt. I hope the new year is treating you all well!

Looking forward

Not too many weeks and I’ll be able to look at this view again. The view over the Bay of Naples to Vesuvius is one of my favourite images, and is burned into my memory. This picture makes me think of ice cream, refreshing sea breezes, warmth from the sun warming my skin and relaxation. I can’t wait to get back to Sorrento and enjoy all of those things for real!

2011 is going by very quickly. I’m finding it hard to believe how far through March we already are, and every time I step outside the door I’m amazed by how many new flowers erupt into being between one foray into the outside world and the next! My magnolia tree in front of my living room window is right on the cusp of bursting into bloom. We must have good earth for magnolias in this part of the world, because almost every other¬†garden has one. I love the sight of them all blooming, and then when the petals start to drop, it’s as if there’s a wedding in every garden I pass! Before long, the leaves will appear on the trees as if by magic, and the extra thick winter clothes can be packed away for a precious few months.

Knitting wise, I’m beginning to get my mojo back after a start of year hiatus from any crafting activities. I’m half way through a cardigan for myself, which will have a very nice cabled yoke, and I’ve started a baby blanket for my new niece or nephew (although you can’t tell my sister in law as she’s holding off doing anything for baby until after the second scan. But blankets take sooooo long, and I’ll need to be making little jackets and hats too, so I’ve no time to lose!). Yesterday saw me and my able assistant, GG, in the kitchen doing a spot of dyeing, and the resulting skeins should be in the shop at the weekend.

Everyday posting

I’ve just noticed that my mother has decided to blog every day through February. The NaBloPoMo word or theme for February is ‘Character’, which could throw up some interesting posts, especially from my Mum if she tells some more of the stories which she is known for by her regular readers. I think I may join her in this. I’ve been saying for ages that I should get back into the habit of blogging a little more often, so maybe a solid month of posts would get me back in the swing of things. The only problem would be finding something interesting to write every day. Still, it’s got to be worth a shot!

Yesterday I popped into a local charity shop as I was passing, wondering if there might be any interesting bric-a-brac (BTW, Welshpurpletree, they had shed loads of glassware there, in case you’re in the market for it!) and immediately my eye was drawn by a spinning wheel and chair by the till. Now, you’ll all know by now that my addiction to new hobbies knows no bounds, especially one which involves fibre, so this was almost irresistible. I went and had a good look, gave the treadle a pedal (I’m a poet!) and generally acted as if I knew lots and lots about spinning wheels! Unfortunately, I really didn’t, although I increased my knowledge a lot once I got home and spent all night researching spinning wheels online. However, the salient point was that if I bought the wheel I’d either be acquiring the bargain of the year or a pile of prettily shaped firewood. Anyway, to cut a long story short, after all my research I went back to the shop this morning only to find that it had gone. I have chosen to believe that it was fate, and that had I bought it, within a couple of days the wheel would have bounced off the frame and out of sight in a comedy manner. Otherwise I’d be very very sad indeed about missing out on an antique single treadle saxony spinning wheel with accompanying chair (I told you I’d been doing my research!).

Hopefully this means that my character is developing new traits of acceptance and resignation which have at times been sadly lacking in me! Also, I really need to stop being such a Gemini with my crafting and just focus on the ones I already do. But it’s so much fun flitting from one to the other, I don’t want to be tied down! I think that I’ll have a go at my needle felting this week at some point, which is a new craft to me, and have a little break from knitting. Perhaps. But then I’ll probably have a really good idea for a pattern the day after tomorrow which needs to be knitted right away, or I’ll remember someone’s birthday which needds a present.

(As an aside, my sister in law celebrates her 30th in a couple of weeks – any ideas for presents?? She will be 14 weeks pregnant by then and so all alcohol and most clothing will be out. Also I’ve already given her toiletries and I don’t think chocolate would be particularly welcomed. It’s a dilemma!)

I’m already thinking about more posts along the ‘character’ theme, so even if I don’t manage to get here every day, I’m hoping to at least make it in a little more frequently! See you soon!

Busy busy busy!

I really should have turned off my laptop by now, because I’ve got a thousand and one things to do, but I’ve been missing talking to you all so I thought I’d dive in with a quick hello! I’m just about to go off and dye up some of our new Stardust yarn, which is a yummy merino and nylon blend (perfect for socks) with the added bonus of a touch of silvery sparkle in there too (which makes it perfect for everything else in my book!). I’m having the hardest time not keeping all the yarn for myself, but I can’t knit fast enough to keep up with it all anyway, so I am just telling myself that I can always dye more for me when I have time to knit it!

I’ve already dyed up three skeins of the Stardust in purple and navy, and have sold all three, so I have my fingers crossed that it will be a popular yarn base. I also have some merino silk blend to play with today, as well as some laceweight yarn. I received a sample pack from one of our suppliers with the loveliest baby alpaca and silk blend laceweight, which I will definitely be keeping for me! So I’m thinking of dyeing up that skein today and trying to find time to knit with it sometime soon. Although, with Christmas looming, it may have to wait until January.

I’m off to Roath Market tomorrow morning, and am hoping that people’s thoughts will have turned to Christmas shopping when they come into the craft market. I will have my jewelry for sale, as well as a shawl knitted to my own design and of course our Jelliebean Yarns. I hope to have some more knitted items for sale in the next few weeks, but I’m working on a commission at the moment which really needs to take priority in my knitting time. However, hopefully that will be finished in the next couple of weeks, then I can really crack on with turning out some knitted gifts.

I don’t think I have much left to knit for my own Christmas gifting; I got the bigger items out of the way early on. There’s a few pairs of gloves and some hats to do, but other than that I think my home¬† made gifts yet to be made are mainly foodie ones which will have to be done nearer to Christmas anyway.

And a couple of photos to round off my update;

My first attempt at shawl design, and using my own yarn. I’m quite pleased with it, although there are a couple of points where I want to tweak the pattern before I publish it. Again, I think this will probably now have to wait until after Christmas – how that gets in the way of my creativity!

A cardigan for the baby daughter of one of my husband’s friends. I really need to get this in the post before C grows out of it, but I’m hoping to do a matching hat before I post it off, so I’ll wait a few more days.

Handsome (DS1) was ill at half term, and so I made him this bow tie to cheer him up. He is a massive fan of Doctor Who, but hasn’t dressed up as the eleventh doctor yet. I thought this might help him along!

So that’s a little insight into what I’ve been busy with in the last couple of weeks. I hope you’re all well, and that the approach of Christmas is filling you with glee rather than gloom!

I forgot to post again, didn’t I?

I keep doing it. I switch on the computer with every intention of blogging, but by the time I’ve done everything else I have to do online, it’s time for me to switch off and do something else. So yes, I’m rubbish and I know I am! It’s not that I don’t want to, and I can think of plenty of things to say! But I’m here now and that’s what really matters, right?!

First off, I took a picture on Tuesday with the sole purpose of posting it here;

Christmas chocolates. CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATES, on the SEVENTH OF SEPTEMBER!! This is unacceptable, and left me muttering furiously as I made my way around the rest of the supermarket. Thankfully the¬†sweets looked untouched, so I’m fairly certain every other shopper was as disenchanted with the display as I was. What made this even more incongruous was that right next to this budding Christmas section was a still active barbeque and summer garden section! They could at least wait until they’ve packed away the charcoal before wheeling out the selection boxes!!

In other news, I seem to have picked up a lovely pair of ear infections, which is filling my life with boundless joy at the moment. The one ear started off about ten days ago, but was just irritating so my GP prescribed the same drops I’ve had before for a form of exzema¬†in my ears called otitis externa. However, by Saturday and while I was at Roath¬†Market the pain levels had increased exponentially and so I called the doctor and made an appointment to go to the out of hours clinic at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary (which, on a totally unrelevant note, has featured in Doctor Who lots of times¬†including ‘Aliens of London’, ‘The Idiot’s Lantern’ and ‘Turn Left’). There I was prescribed some very strong antibiotics (flucloxacillin, anyone?) which, over the course of a few days made my ear slightly better (much less pain) but had a very detrimental effect on my tummy. So, back I went to the GP on Friday and now I have super-strong eardrops and an invitation to go back again next Wednesday if they haven’t worked. If my ears are still full of yuck then, I will be enjoying a trip to the Ear Nose and Throat people in the hospital. So much fun to look forward to! Oh, and then yesterday I woke up with both¬†ears aching, so I’m now using my superstrong drops in the one ear, and my weaker drops in the one that’s just started aching.

Update on my hands; my rheumatologist has decided he has no ideas (as I already said) and my GP has said I’ll learn to live with it over the next couple of years. I went back to work on Wednesday after my long summer break with the boys. By Thursday lunchtime my hands were aching despite the more accessible hardware my employers have provided. So, this week I should hopefully be trialling a touchscreen monitor with a new on-screen keyboard, and hopefully this will allow me to do my job pain-free. Otherwise I’m not really sure what I’ll do.

Knitting wise, I’m keeping myself busy, especially as it seems to be good physio¬†and pain relief for my hands. I’m knitting a jacket using some Lopi¬†yarn that my parents brought me back from Iceland, a shawl to go with my new winter coat (that I’ve not yet bought) and a short sleeved¬†thin sweater with a fairisle yoke (like this one, in fact). I’m thinking of changing the pattern on the yoke to something rather than paper dolls as the variations that the designer showed looked so cool, but I can’t decide which one I like the best. So I may well do a paper dolls one first, then another one with another design later on. Talk about glutton for punishment! The jumper involves an i-cord cast on, which I’ve never attempted before. Suffice it to say that I can generally cast on the stitches for a jumper in well under one episode of a favourite TV programme. Last night I watched two episodes of ‘Bones’ and I was still only about a third of the way to casting on enough stitches! This is going to be¬†a severe test of my patience!

So now you’re all updated, I’m off to do something else useful. I hope you’re all having a lovely sunny Sunday like us!