Monday, 25 May 2009

Glorious, glorious days!

The past two days have been wonderful outdoor days, when we have only come inside when it's time for the children to go to bed. On Sunday, we had our first barbecue of the year and today we set about clearing the jungle that was taking over our back garden. Everyone was outside.

We built dens...

we blew bubbles...

we splashed in the water...

we found a hidden rose...

I did a bit more crochet...

Daddy Long legs did lots of digging...

we planted...

we skipped...

we swung...

we rode bikes...

and we sunbathed!

What a perfect weekend!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

A little bit of luxury

I think that after daisies, my favourite flower has to be the peony. It's so easy to walk past them in the shop. After all, let's be honest, they're not much to look at when they are all bunched up in their buds.

Pretty uninteresting really...

... but then the magic starts to happen...

..bit by bit the leaves start to unfurl...

..until you are left with these huge, vibrant, wonderful scented flowers!
A bit decadent to have flowers in your bedroom, but as these were reduced to £4 in the supermarket, totally justified!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

..going over to the other side!

Now that all the birthdays are done with until September and there are no more 'big events' to prepare for, I have a little time to myself again. Phew!

So, on Wednesday night, I cast on this - Ishbel, out of the 'Whimsical Little Knits' book by Ysolda Teague

I have had this scrumptious wool in my stash for a little while now and thought it would be perfect.

The first part of this pattern is primarily stocking stitch which was perfect for the cunning plan that I had in mind. You see, I've decided that I want to learn how to knit 'Continental style', using the left hand.

Not sure why, but it's something I've been planning to do for ages! So, I thought, there's no better time to learn, but boy! is it frustrating! It feels so awkward, and I feel like a beginner all over again. I have heard that it's possible to knit more quickly using this method, but that certainly isn't the case at the moment. I'm sure it will come. I hope it will come, otherwise I'm pretty sure my little trip over to the 'other side' will be very brief...!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

a day of remembering..... (This is a long post, sorry!)

Tomorrow is Pickles third birthday. I'm really looking forward to celebrating with her. I'm so glad to have been given these past three years with such a wonderful little girl. It could have been so different. According to statistics and my consultant, we shouldn't be here.

During my labour with Pickle, I had an extremely rare and usually fatal condition called an Amniotic Fluid Embolism. It's also sometimes described as an Anaphylactic Syndrome of pregnancy. In a nutshell, some cells from the amniotic fluid enter the mothers bloodstream and the body has a violent reaction, shutting down the major organs and losing all clotting factor, which results in massive haemorrhage. I can't remember much about the labour and have no recollection of Pickle being born. Since then, I have a brief 10 minute or so patch of memory that has come back to me. I can remember being in the theatre as they tried to find out what was going on. I knew that I was dying, I can't tell you how, but I did, and the midwives wouldn't answer me if I asked them if I would be OK. My husband was with me at that time and I remember having an overwhelming need to tell him that I loved him, to let him know, because it might be the last thing he heard me say. I can remember the blood flowing out of me with each heartbeat, for it was at this time that my clotting factor had gone. They decided to put me under and I remember shouting desperately out to my husband that I loved him.

I woke in ITU on a ventilator, confused, in a lot of pain, with no memory of what had happened and not realising that my baby had been born. I had been in surgery for nearly seven hours, received over 25 units of blood and products and had been resuscitated once. My surgeon had not thought that I would survive , he told me later, and neither had my poor husband, who faced the possibility of being a widower, with four children under 7. He was the one who had spent the day at the hospital with his newborn daughter, who had given her her first feed, never letting her go, but who had left late that evening without his wife or his baby.

I was in hospital for nearly two weeks, and went back in two weeks later in for another week with a suspected blood clot. When I came home, I went into a tailspin. I needed, wanted to make sense of it all, but couldn't. I asked myself constantly why I survived, and became dissatisfied with all that I had. I thought that if I had died, what legacy would I have left? What would I have achieved? I got really cross with the kind of magazine articles that said ' I faced death and now I live every second of every day', because for me it felt like my life had been thrown into the air and scattered all around. Besides this, I was battling health issues and Post Traumatic Stress that arose as a result of the AFE, and trying to be a mum to four small ones.

I did calm down eventually, my husband was a rock and didn't waver, no matter what I threw at him. I am so grateful for that. My life has changed. I have battled with ME for the past two years, though that particular battle seems to be mostly won. I also was left with some brain damage, affecting my short term memory and word retrieval, but have found ways to cope with that and it's usually only apparent when I'm tired.

The last three years have been hard, stripping away all that I used to value, all that I used to identify myself by. I used to be someone always on the go, always busy, usually out with friends. Many people have fallen away as I have had to turn down many invitations and for a long time could only manage a short period of activity each day, usually the school run! but because of this, I rediscovered my love of crafting, found what it was like to just sit and do nothing, and have discovered dear and true friends. Things are better, are getting better every day, they will never be as they were before, but that's OK.

I think our family can get through anything now. The children are aware of mummy's tiredness and broken brain (- their words, not mine!) and sometimes I do feel guilty that we haven't done all the days out and activities that others have done, but that will come. They are used to me spending a lot of time in bed, though hopefully that will continue to get less and less, and it's just another place to gather and chat!

So tomorrow is a day of celebration, my precious little girl survived too and though there are concerns, I am blessed. I will save the sadness that sometimes comes, till after she is in bed and 'her' day is over and will remind myself of just how lucky I am.

Here is a link for someone else who describes the experience much better than I can...

Monday, 11 May 2009

..and breathe..!

Well, that's most of the mad mad busy time over with for a while. The shopping evening is all finished and while not my most successful sale, was still worth while. This however, is the state of my study at the moment...!

I had plans for the proceeds, and it has been carefully distributed between my 'overlocker fund', my 'Knitting-and-Stitch-show-splurge-fund', my 'I-love-this-fabric-and-have-to-have-it-fund' and one other pot which will remain anonymous for now!

It's nice to feel that I have a little bit more freedom to do things for me again.

Just the Everest size ironing pile

and Pickle's birthday on Wednesday to go!

Thought I'd share this with you...

I had seen it on Jodie's blog and fell in love with it straight away. As soon as the patterns appeared in her Etsy shop, I had to have one!

I made this one for Pickle's birthday and used it on Saturday as a prop for my felt cakes. I have plans to make six bigger plates and to adapt the cup pattern to make a milk jug and sugar bowl too. I love it!