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

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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

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

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

Asthma, Bunnies and Pie Charts

This week I’ve been struggling somewhat with the precarious balancing act of recovery. I am slowly becoming an active and autonomous person in this world. That fact is absolutely terrifying. I am attempting to be part of the world but not letting it overwhelm me.

I now exercise…yes it’s true. I have been to two whole pilates classes and am attempting to start kick-boxing. though I pushed myself too hard on the cardio at the kick-boxing on Thursday and my chest is still aching from my asthma attack. Attack sounds dramatic but I’m not sure what to call it. Incident? Episode?

Either way it was rotten.

I’m pretty keen to keep this exercise routine put. The problem is exercise was one of my negative coping mechanisms when I was suffering severely from my eating disorder. My therapist says that classes are good because there is a set end time so I cannot exercise to excess.  I was thrown entirely at pilates last week when Courage by Superchic came on the playlist, a song about living with an eating disorder.

The Internet is a major issue here. If we ignore all the horrible and depressing articles about  we are still left with disgusting adverts encouraging to ‘loose weight with this one simple trick’.

Ok thats is my rant over with…for the time being anyway here are the things I;ve been up to this week

Monday

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Scribbling though the first part of my novel and having lots of fun with pie charts . I’m ensuring I have all the elements of my novel stuck in my head before I go on to write the next part.

 

Tuesday

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More pie charts! It only took two days of writing every minute detail of each page to make me feel a little bit like I might be loosing perspective. to see more strange ramblings check out my other blog Today I Wrote…

Wednesday

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I left the house, read stories to the little ones at the library then went into Crafty Sew & So. It felt good to get out of my head for a day. Freya and I came up with a wonderful story all about two women who  become superheroes after training in the art of kick-boxing. I had so much fun sketching a comic of the story when I got home. At some point I aim to refine the it and find someone who can actually draw to complete the work.

Thursday

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I created a great little Bunny tutorial for Crafty Sew & So. It was a lovely day so I decided to take the pictures outside.

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My cat, Theo, was delighted I’d gone outside with him and wasn’t ashamed to show it

I went over to see Freya in the evening for the aforementioned kick-boxing class. On the way I couldn’t resist taking a photo across from the old liberty building.

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Despite the horrid asthma affair I did have lots of fun at Kick-boxing and will hopefully be back on Thursday, though I’ll probably be a little more cautious with the cardio.

 

Friday

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I was feel  exhausted still from asthma, but determined to have a good day. I got myself all prettied up in the morning, and googled how to wear a head scarf. At the shop I got started on gorgeous kit that has just come into Crafty from The New Craft House. The fabric is so easy to work with. I like sitting in front of the tv with  a good cup of tea and hand sewing the hexies together. Hopefully it will be done soonish and I can show you all how it turns out.

English Paper Piecing Cushion Kit

 

Saturday

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Manically crazy busy day at Crafty Sew & So, It seemed everybody wanted fabric, I tried to do a bit more of the cushion but I just ended up stopping and starting because of all the lovely customers. In the evening, however, when my husband was busy playing destiny I started trying to edit my novel. It didn’t particularly work as I ended up drawing a scene from  one of the pages.

And finally…Sunday

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Today I have been once again going through my novel, I managed to get through two chapters so far and hope to get at least another one done today. It was my plan to have finished by the end of the week. Above is the pie chart for characters mentioned and present in the first nine chapters.

 

 

All of the lovely things

Fifi Top

I’ve made a lot of things this week. I’m really rather proud of the Fifi top I made out of this lovely swallow cotton.

It’s was new in at Crafty Sew & So and will be adoring the window for a few months before a squirrelling it away for my wardrobe.  I made the Fifi Pj set from Tilly and the Buttons, a few months ago. It was a bit of a trauma because I got a bit muddled about which way round the panels went, and ended up doing  and undoing French seams  twice!

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They turned out great in the end, I’m looking forward to the warmer months so I can actually wear them for bed.  This time I didn’t bother with the French seams.

Novel

I’m also really proud of the fact I finished a revised edition of the first part of my novel. It’s printed out and I’ve managed to scribble my way through the first three chapters without too many embarrassing errors.

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Cakes

Lovely lovely cakes, It’s been a little while since I’d baked and I really enjoyed making this lot for Crafty Sew & So.

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Lemon Cupcakes with Butter Icing
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Chocolate Traybake

As you can see I’ve been very busy, too busy in fact. My husband has started back writing thesis and some of my old anxieties have reared their nervous heads. I’ve been  throwing myself into  various activities and unable to relax when I do stop working. Isolation is one of my key warning signs of falling back into depressive behaviours. And if that wasn’t a big enough warning, on Friday morning I had a hideous migraine. I arrived at the shop and promptly threw up. After spending too much time in the comforting dark of the bathroom I called my husband to come and rescue me. When my head had recovered enough we had a chat and worked out a routine for days when he is working. I love lists and timetables, I feel way less anxious when I am organised and feel like I have a modicum of control over my life.

 

Because apparently I have the bug now, today I started working on another Grainline studio top, I’ve made one before and fancied one in a different pattern. It’s useful to give me a fair bit of practice on jersey materials. I actually made sure I stopped at five o’clock despite the fact I still needed to add the binding to the neck and arms. For a while I will have to stick rigidly to this routine. I can’t trust myself to know when I need to rest.

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I Made It Through

It’s been a tough week, with bad news from the dentist, my last ever appointment with my Doctor at the eating disorder clinic and thinking how on earth I’m going to cope when my comes to an end in April. I’ve been seeing my therapist for over two years and it’s absolutely terrifying thinking about stopping. It’s difficult to remind myself that the reason I’m ending is because I’m so much better than I was two years ago. The very Idea of being ‘better’ is frightening. I’m scared there will be more expectation placed on me and everything will go to hell again.

suffice to say I’ve been feeling somewhat overwhelmed. However I was cheered up no end last night by shouting down a couple of patriarchal idiots and helping out a girl who was being leered at. I wrote about it in a post yesterday.

It hasn’t been a massive making week but I have been enjoying myself with the latest Mollie Makes magazine free gift.
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The embroidery was really relaxing to do, and I learnt a couple of new stitches. The idea is to make them for decorations but I think they would just end up gathering dust in my house. I’m going to embroider the animals onto a piece of fabric and then use that to make a lampshade. The lovely Helen Bunting of Sewphies has a fantastic drum lampshade kit. She has done a couple of workshops at Crafty Sew & So

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I also made a handy carrier bag holder for the shop but I forgot to take a picture. I’m going to make one for my house soon. Today I am going to spend the morning with my in-laws and then a lovely afternoon tea with my mum.

x

I went to Norwich and did all sorts of things a normal person might do

One of the many many ways in which my eating disorder and depression has impacted upon my life is a certain reluctance to travel. I become unsettled out of my house and when my routine is disrupted. over the past few years the way I’ve coped with this has been to plan the pants out of each little trip.

However, last weekend, Tom and I took a trip to Norwich to see our university friends. We did not plan meals or write out a routine. Upon arriving we met up with a couple of friends and had a meal out. I didn’t eat much, but I did manage to have a bit. We settled into the hotel room, crashed out a little then had a big meal out at The Belgium Monk for my friends birthday. I did not know the majority of people there.

My anxiety peaked a little when I realised the meal I’d planned on having was not available. I adjusted and everything was just fine. I ate my food, I was nervous and a little on edge. I chatted to strangers and ended up having a lot of fun.

 

The next day we ate out for breakfast at Harriet’s Tea Room. I had a delicious hot chocolate and pancakes.

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I am sleepy but happy

After that we went to see another couple of friends who have two adorable twin girls. They are 18 months old and full of energy. They are learning all sorts of words, not only in english but portugese (there mum is from portugal) thier favourite seemed to be luz (light). We had a brilliant time being clambered over and reading stories. I picked them up a couple of books from Waterstones in the morning.

 

Animal Hide and Seek - Farmyard Tales Touchy-feely (Hardback)

It was then that I learned that animal noises are different in Portugal and England. the dog goes bow wow and the sheep goes maaaa.

It was a really good trip, we stayed two nights and managed to catch up with friends. We came home on Monday so that is my perfectly valid excuse as to why I didn’t blog last week.

It was a weekend of scary but good things.

I Survived Christmas

It seems a little like I’m labouring a point here but, I hate Christmas. I love my family, friends and all the time and thought they put into giving presents.

However there’s too much pressure all at once.

It twists me up inside.

I fell back onto negative coping strategies to survive.

I counted calories

I restricted

I isolated myself

And I bought too many pills. Not in order to overdose but as a safety net if everything got too much.

I do not, and did not want to end my life.

It’s difficult to explain.

Next year, in order to keep myself healthy and happy I am spending the day at home with my husband and our two lovely cats.

Thanks for reading and I hope you survived Christmas in the best way for you.