The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year?

I am trying not to apologise for not posting in some time. I can only post when I feel mentally well enough to do so, recently I have not.

 The madness of Christmas has passed, after four days of intense socialising and festive fun I collapsed under the weight of a migraine. It passed after a couple of days but I can still feel the heaviness lingering at the edge of my temples, ready to strike at the slightest provocation.

As anyone with mental health issues knows, the Christmas season is an intensely difficult time of year. The pressure builds steadily through late November and December culminating in one day in which it is of the highest imperative to be merry. Heaven forfend if you don’t see every family member on this holiest of sacred days.

There is an extra pressure when issues around food arise. Anyone who has been reading this blog for any amount of time knows I suffer from an eating disorder. in the past few years, I have gained two stone and am now at a healthy weight. Although I am physically well the psychological issues around eating have not vanished. I have a sneaking suspicion they never will.    There is a strange association with emotions and eating around Christmas. I find people using languages which I associate with having an ED. They ‘allow’ themselves to eat certain foods. An indulgence often followed by a promise to diet, even from people of a healthy weight. This isn’t helped by societal and commercial norms. Christmas is for bingeing. The new year is for restricting. When I worked at Waterstones the new year was the most loathsome time of year. Books insisting fasting is a healthy lifestyle choice littered a table with the heading ‘New Year New You.’

There is nothing wrong with the old you!

 I did not intend this post to be a rant,  In truth, I wasn’t going to write much at all. All my frustrations came all too easily.

On to happier things. This Morning my eagerly awaited delivery from Fatface arrived. On boxing day I took full advantage of the sale and spent the majority of my Christmas money on a fine array of clothes. I’m wearing as many as I physically can in one go right now.

There’s only a skirt and coat which is set to one side…for now.

Sewing my own clothes has made a huge difference to my shopping habits. I’m finding myself looking at the composition of fabrics and avoiding certain shops, knowing I could do a better job of making the clothes. However, Fatface clothes are impeccably made with good fabrics and sturdy finishes. I’ve found this to also be the case with Cath Kidston, Joules, Seasalt and others with a high price tag to match. Thank goodness for sales.

I hope everyone survived Christmas, it’s over now. There’s a whole year to go before the next one.

Thanks for reading

x

My Makes…

Things are not perfect. However, I am now able to gather enough focus and energy to write this post. Last time I wrote about obsessively making things in order to avoid negative thoughts. I’m not quite comfortable having photos taken, that will have to wait for later posts.

This is the first time I ever worked with viscose. My advice. Start simple. Although this top is not complex there are a few fiddly bits, such as the collar and pocket, which were a nightmare with the slippery fabric.  It didn’t help that I decided to add cotton to the collar. although it added stability, it was difficult to piece the cotton and viscose together.

I made sleep shorts next, using a pattern from one of the Crafty Sew & So Workshops. I managed to complete the shorts in less than four hours. Essentially, I copied a pair of Pj bottoms I brought from gap a few  years ago. The little tab and button create a nice cuff.

I was on a roll. Having a bit of viscose left over I made the shorts from Tilly and the Buttons Fifi set. they came together in no time, so I added a tiny pompom trim.The band was so thin, apply the trim probably took more time than making the shorts.

My next project is the Alder Dress from Grainline. I’m really looking forward to using the ditsy flower print. Just to add a bit of interest, and because I’m falling in love with viscose, I will make the yoke out of a dark navy viscose.

 

 

I’m exhausted now. Time to crawl under a blanket and ignore the world.

 

 

An Illusion Of Control

I’m shutting myself off again. Pushing through days, focusing on minutia and ignoring my emotions. There are many ways in which I isolate myself.  Over the past couple day’s my method has been sewing. I finished a tricky viscose top and made two pairs of sleep shorts. These projects have filled my mind, taken focus and concentration. I regain the illusion of control.

Issues arise when the project is complete. All those negative thoughts and feelings crash down on me. I grasp out for something else. Anything to stop the sick twisting of my gut. I pick up another project. All is well until fatigue takes me. I fall, crumpled in a corner, alone, crying.

It’s my friends birthday coming up at the end of the month. I’m too scared to say I’m not well enough to go. I know if I wait I will feel worse.I’m scared she’ll think me callous or uncaring.

My old work colleagues are trying to arrange a reunion. I cannot reply to any messages. I was at my lowest point when I worked with them. An unexplainable fear overwhelms me each time the memories leak into the present.

My husband suggested I should write a list of things I did today as that can often help put things into perspective.

  • Pilates
  • Cup of tea with ladies after pilates
  • Tidied back bedroom
  • Made Tilly and the Buttons Fifi bottoms in viscose

It doesn’t look particularly impressive, though the shorts took me about four and a half hours and I added cute little pompom trim to the hem. I don’t have the energy to share pictures right now. I don’t even feel particularly happy with having completed them, just desperate to do something else to regain that numbness.

I hope soon that I will feel in moderation. Then I can post about all the wonderful things I’ve created. I can explain how it was all just a blip and my life is a bunch of fucking roses (sorry mum).

Wish me luck, or health, or whatever you think will help.

Featured Image by one of my favourite artists, Chiara Bautista

Rekindling My Relation With Food

 Having suffered from an eating disorder, food preparation has been a fine balancing act. When I was in early recovery I had the same meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.  This took away any choice and stress around meal time. I knew exactly what I was eating every day. It was also useful to keep weight gain consistent. It’s only recently I’ve begun to grow bored of the same foods. I’m taking back control of the kitchen and making my own food! I used to love cooking and it’s great to get back to it. I’ve found a couple of great meals so far. I thought I’d share them with you.

Yesterday’s dish was a Red onion and cheese Omelette from Sophie Dahls Cookbook   Voluptuous Delights. I managed to get mine for free from old library stock!

I’m a fan of light meals and I always have been. I also love a meal which you can whip up in quickly and doesn’t involve much preparation. This beauty takes ten minutes at the most.

Ingredients

  • ½ a small red onion
  • About 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 50g/2oz of Red Leicester cheese (any good sharp, hard cheddar like Monterey Jack will do as an alternative)

Method

  1. Roughly chop the onion. On a low flame, heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. I use a small fat pan as I like my omelettes tidy and plump. Gently fry the onion, letting the edges brown but making sure the middle stays softly purple. This should take about 5 mins. When it looks to your liking, take it out and reserve on the side. Remove any crispy bits from the pan.
  2. Beat the eggs and season.
  3. On a low heat again, heat a bit of olive oil in your frying pan and add the eggs. Let them settle for 30 seconds.
    Either grate or break the cheese up into rough chunks and put it in the setting omelette. As it melts, pour in your onions and gently fold the omelette in half with a spatula. Depending on how done you like your omelette to be, you can then fry the other side. I like mine very slightly oozing.

This recipe is taken from Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights, published by Harper Collins

Today’s lunch, of Tomato Bruschetta, was from a far less glamorous  cookbook, though it is a solid favourite of mine, The Hungry Students Vegetarian Cookbook. Here’s my version of the recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 baby plum tomatoes (the original recipe uses cherry)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 slices of tiger bread (any nice will do)
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • Dried basil (Fresh basil would probably be better but I  didn’t have any)
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1.  Chop the tomatoes  into small pieces. Place in a small bowl and add the olive oil, salt, pepper and dried basil (if you’re using fresh, add this at the end). Mix it all together.
  2. Toast the bread, I used my griddle, as it leaves the centre nice and soft. Now use the garlic clove  to essentially butter one side of the toast. Don’t put too much on, I learned it’s spreading even if you can’t see it.
  3. Tip the tomato mixture onto the toast. Now dig in!

I’m looking forward to cooking more meals over the week!

Wish me Luck  x

Mountain Walks and Handmade Clothes

The Dolomites were exceptional.  We stayed in a beautiful town called Selva Val Gardena, or Wolkenstein if you’re a German speaker.  Writing every day, I’ve managed to collect snapshots of the holiday. I’m hoping to get that all written up  by the end of the week on my other blog, but for now, I thought I’d share some of my homemade outfits.

One of the great things about this holiday, besides the mountain walks,  was the routine. Even though I was away from the comfort and safety of home I still felt as though I was in control of my own environment. there were definitely times when I wobbled, mostly when trying to explain what vegetarian meant, whilst only remembering the german word for meat (Fleisch, by the way). For any vegetarians out there it’s Ich esse kein Fleisch.

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Anyway back to the point. The hotel we stayed in was fantastic. At around eight I meandered down for a breakfast buffet and cup of tea. After that, it was time to change into walking clothes and off for a walk around the mountains.  Then it was back to the hotel in time for tea and cake at three o’clock. The Spa was open from four til seven. Dinner was then served at quarter past seven. This routine gave  the delightful experience of being able  to dress for breakfast and dinner.

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This was the very first day, I changed out of my yucky travelling clothes and into my handmade circle skirt. The was a thunderstorm which was a blessing after the long journey.

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My circle skirt to the rescue again. Walking, the day before, left me with sunburn. I borrowed my husbands cotton shirt to keep my tomato red arms protected.   Despite the bulky shoulders I actually really like the style.

 

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Sorry for the bad lighting here, it was so bright!

 

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These were really useful dresses to slip on of an evening, particularly on the hotter nights, It’s lovely being able to throw on a loose fitting dress after an afternoon in the spa. You can see in the second photo I am somewhat floppy from the spa.

 

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My final piece of home made clothing is the Coco jumper. I only wore it on the final day of the holiday, it was great when the air-conditioning on the couch and aeroplane kicked in.

If I were to pack again (and there’s already talk of going back) I would make another skirt and bring another dress with long sleeves to protect my delicate delicate skin.  I have this gorgeous dress which I wore a couple of evenings. However, it’s too nice for an everyday wear.

 

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This is an old photo, I think  it was taken about  two years ago. It’s uncomfortable to look at. The smile is strained. I fill the dress very differently now I’m at a healthy weight.

 

I love the sleeves on the Sewaholic pattern, but I think the overall pattern on the grainline (left) will suit me most. Also, the collar would be useful to protect my neck from the sun. I’ll have to figure out how to make those long sleeves.

Thanks for reading

x

When things go wrong

It’s been  a tough couple of weeks. I’ve coped with it by closing in on myself. Isolation is my go-to defense mechanism. As such blogging has been on the light side.  Writing posts ensures I look outside my own shrinking world and gain a little perspective.  Things have settled down a little now and I’m ready to rejoin the world again, or at least my own little, safe corner of the world.

Recently I haven’t made much. I started making a blanket from a gorgeous robot cotton and mint dimple fleece. I laid it all out flat and pinned together. I then embarked upon the quest of free hand quilting.

Suffice to say, it didn’t work, the stitches looked great on the top layer but terribly puckered on the dimple fleece side. Unfortunately, I didn’t see this until I was about half way through.

I’ve been un-picking ever since. I’m still planning on making the blanket but it will be with a simple stitching around the edge. I think it’s best I have another go at freehand quilting on a much smaller project with cotton backing.

 

 

 

Here you go, a post about things I made

This week has been more writing than making, I am trying desperately hard to try and get the first 15,000 words of my novel to the Yeovil Literacy prize at the end of this month. today I managed to revise 2000 words which I’m pretty happy with. However, there are still 13,000 to go.

However whilst procrastinating earlier in the week I finished off my Dottie Angel Frock from simplicity. I’ve been itching to make this for ages and am really happy  with it. although I did loose half of the instructions so the arm holes are a little frayed.

 

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I wore it today and should have posted a photo onto Instagram for me made may.  I;ve been a lax in posting photos of my makes. I was really excited when I had a new item every day to show off, now I’m feeling a little restricted.

I have, however, enjoyed making little crafts.  I made a really cute fish mobile inspired by this month’s Mollie Makes. You can read more on the Crafty Sew & So blog.

 

My motivation seems to be fading somewhat.  It’s been over a month now since I last saw my therapist and I’m beginning to miss the stability she brought me. Maybe I’m just tired. It’s pilates tomorrow, that always makes me feel better.

Tomorrow I will have a day of looking after myself.

 

Physical Illness and Mental Recovery

TRIGGER WARNING

I will be discussing my recovery, weight loss and disordered eating.

TRIGGER WARNING

It was my plan to post a picture of me wearing a home-made item each day of the month. I’ve been avoiding taking said picture all day. It’s only within the past half hour I’ve realised  the reason for this.

I’ve lost weight.

That will happen if you can’t keep food down for a couple of days. this is not a good thing. I’d never really considered the impact of physical illness on my recovery from an eating disorder. I will not go into detail as I don’t think it will do any good. Suffice to say this stomach virus has brought back unwanted memories.

I do not want a picture of me in this top whilst I am not at my healthy weight. So here’s a Photo of me from a little while ago wearing the jersey top I am wearing today.

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Little Crafty Things

I’ve got lots of lovely things to share this week. Most excitingly, My Dottie Angel Frock  is finished!

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I’m really happy with how it has turned out. There was a lot of superfluous bias binding but it ended up being useful for backing my embroidered top stitching. It’s really comfy to wear. I added interior pockets which complicated things a little as the pattern called for French seams. I’ve never added pockets before but, besides on being slightly smaller, they turned out just fine. I want to make another dress from the same pattern with some lovely light denim we have at Crafty Sew & So.

I’ve received my first ever Buddy Box from The Blurt Foundation. It’s full of lovely goodies including this kit from The Make Arcade.

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It was a perfect little activity, not too complicated just enough to keep my mind, and hands, busy.

Last week I went for a lovely Blogger’s meet up at Sew Essential, Crafternoon tea brought in some lovely fabrics and embroidery thread. I found this pretty Bicycle print in their stash.

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I finished embroidering the bikes at home, I’m enjoying my little crafts at the moment.  I took my mum to a workshop at Crafty Sew & So, in late March, to make a pretty fabric doll. I’ve finished mine the other day. Here she is in the garden.

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Finally, yesterday I went to another workshop at Crafty Sew in So with my friend. We got to  grips with an over-locker and both left with gorgeous cowl scarves.

here’s mine.
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Thanks for reading x

So Many Unfinished Things

I’ve fallen out with my jersey tank top. it’s a very fiddly material. I was full of confidence after my first attempt and then flippantly began the next one. So flippant was I, that I didn’t think I needed jersey needles for this new tricky material.  I then, in my impatience, began sewing the neckline with brown thread because I ran out of black. It doesn’t look great.

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I have now brought some jersey needles and black thread.  However I  feel somewhat soured toward the project. I want to have the top but am not inspired to unpick the neckline.  There is another top of the same pattern that I need to make as a sample for the shop, but as that is a beautiful satin material, it is going to be more difficult than the jersey one.

My next unfinished object, I don’t feel too bad about, as it’s not been too long since I started. I booked a workshop for me and my mum at Crafty Sew & So to make an adorable hand stitched doll.

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Out of habit, I ended up using back stitching. I also chose the doll with fantastic hair, which meant it had the largest outline. I  took forever stitching around the doll. She is waiting to be finished in a bag full of wadding.   I’ll pop a photo of my doll on here when I’m done. 

The final thing I have yet to make is probably the  main reason I haven’t finished any of the previous projects. I recently ordered the Dottie Angel Dress pattern as I saw it advertised in Mollie Makes. I wanted to get started on it straight away. dottie-angel-dress-patter

 

I couldn’t decide what fabric I wanted to make it out of so I picked up a lot of lovely fabrics from Crafty.

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Lanni was very helpful up until she started chewing on the pattern. 

 I used the two spotty cottons, green for the main part and navy for the base. I was going to use a white cotton with deer print for the pockets, but on a whim, I decided to do some satin top stitching along the join.  I didn’t want to hide the embroidery  so I am not going to add pockets for this dress. I’ve already cut the pockets out so will make another dress or tunic for them to go on.

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I love these tucks

I am working on trying to get back into a routine. I can feel that I am throwing myself into  this project. Last night, after getting back from crafty, I worked until half ten making the dress. By the time I got to bed I was exhausted and found my head spinning. This morning I have spent   a long time resting and writing. This is not my routine. By now I should be up dressed and feeling ready to face the world. Instead I am hiding in my room, not wanting to start the day again. I wrote a post yesterday on disrupted routines, after going to Wales last weekend it’s been really difficult getting back into my routine.

Routine is a tricky thing. I know it helps, but at the same time putting pressure to keep to a routine is counter intuitive. essentially I just need to give myself a break. It is difficult doing new things. The trip to Wales was incredibly tiring. I deal far better with small groups. As it was Easter there were a lot of family gatherings and meals out.

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Easter Sunday Lunch
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Big Family Meet-up
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Tom and Me at the Rabbit Hole with Tom’s Cousins, Leanne and Charlotte. Small gatherings are just better.