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Monday, 29 December 2014

Ravelry

It seems like ages since I have posted. A proper post that is, instead of me banging on about work.. Life has been so busy recently I don't seem to get that much time to myself; and when I have I have spent it knitting....

YES....

KNITTING!!!

I know right?! Me?!? Knitting? I haven't had a great track record with it really - my attention span is too short. BUT... Ravelry is now my best friend! there are soooo many patterns! And I love searching other peoples projects, specially for a certain type of wool... Makes it more appealing to me!

Now don't keel over in amazement.... but I have managed to complete ONE WHOLE JUMPER!!!!! I know.. It's a miracle!



I like the front, wish it wasn't quite so baggy from the back though, but on the whole I think it has turned out fine! I've got into it enough to invest in some KnitPro interchangeable needles, which I love! They are really smooth to knit with and because you knit onto the cable, the weight of the knitting isn't all on the needle. I found when knitting my last jumper (which never got further than 1 panel), after a while I got achy wrists from the weight. I don't get this now!

I have also resorted back to my good old favourite, sock knitting. Its interesting enough but they knit up quick enough for me not to get bored!



I first started this sock for myself then decided to make Scott a pair for Christmas, which I haven't finished in time!



That's the first one, I'm currently half way through the second... Although they are not finished he seems pretty happy with them so far... Hopefully he wears them! I also have a stash of another sock wool and some DK which is destined for a jumper!!

I wonder how long my knitting craze will last....

Monday, 17 November 2014

Why did I want to be a Midwife?

I get asked this a lot.

Often I lie and make up a reason.

Say that my mum was a nurse; i wanted to follow in her footsteps but didn't wan't to look after sick people.

Which I suppose isn't actually a lie, just not the reason I wanted to be a midwife.

For a long time I didn't really know why I decided to become a midwife. Or what I wanted to do with my life. 18-19 years old, in college, needing to make a decision of what to do with my life. That's the next 45-50 years - depending on what the age of retirement is by the time I get there... Maybe even longer! I had never had much experience with babies, or looking after myself, let alone other people. There was a girl I knew in school who wanted to be a midwife and I remember laughing and asking her why such a job was appealing... blood, mess... grossness!

But here I am, 2 years post qualifying and having 'a moment' - probably because I have the house to myself and noone but the dog to talk to!

Actually It's 24hr's in A&E's fault. A bloody TV program. A couple of the nurses on there were talking about how illnesses/tragedy in their own lives made them want to care for others and make a difference.I guess that's me. My sister was born with severe cerebral palsy, a direct result of mismanagement of fetal distress in labour. It was so bad that she had no life of her own what so ever, couldn't walk, talk, and was fed by a tube her whole life. Consequentially she died when she was 6.

So I guess that's why I wanted to be a midwife. I would like to think I make a difference - not sure that I do but I try. I think I do OK. I often wonder if I am cut out for the responsibility. The pressure. Or that I WANT it.

I enjoy the job FAR more than I did a year ago. I am never bored.

People often comment on what a lovely job it must be bringing new life into the world. On the most part it is but I do think people forgot the responsibility of getting it right, ensuring that mum is well and baby arrives safely - that birth doesn't always occur in a cloud with silver lining.

I don't want to be the midwife who gets it wrong. But I do love meeting people in such an important time in their lives, watching how their lives change (mostly) for the better. The adrenaline rush that comes with how unpredictable it can be. The job satisfaction that comes with getting it right. The amazing team at Southmead who keep me going.

Each day is unique, like the people I look after. Remembering that it isn't 'just my job' for which I am paid - it is a special moment in peoples lives. And it matters.


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Tomatoes!


We have them coming out of our ears!!! They have been so successful this year! I would say that I am proud of myself but to be honest all I have done is kept up with watering them. I brought some fertiliser for them but have barely used it.

After coming back from being at home over the weekend I noticed that some of my tomatoes didn't look as healthy as they did before. Some of the branches have gone all dis-coloured and funny looking, with the tomatoes looking a bit rotten. I tried to save as many as I could by picking them green and putting them in the kitchen window and then trimming back the ruined branches.



I have a few ideas what may have happened... first is that maybe they weren't watered enough, specially over the weekend when we were at home; some of the tomatoes on another plant had split which was almost certainly because of thirst. My other two theories being that it's just getting too late in the season or that they have caught some sort of disease... I dunno really..

The cherry tomatoes have been perfect in our lunch boxes and on salad but the larger ones I wasn't using so much. As they built up I decided to make some soup with them. I am not a big soup eater but Scott is and needed to use them somehow.

For the first batch I followed the BBC Good Food recipe. It was nice enough but a little too thin for our liking; which I thought at the time when adding all the stock!


Whilst at home this weekend I gathered some goodies from mums amazing garden. Some chillies, peppers and a butternut squash.

Mum's tomatoes beat mine just slightly!



This time I made it up as I went along. Scott wanted it to have a bit more heat so I prepped as many tomatoes as I had (nearly 2.5kg!), added a pepper, a chilli, 2 carrots and an onion. On mum's recommendation I didn't add any liquid at all and just boiled down the tomatoes until the carrot was properly cooked... It's turned out perfect! Well, actually it's quite peppery and i'm not a massive fan of peppers - actually I really dislike them - but I would eat it..!


I am sure Scott will love it and it's for him I've made it really. I have saved the seeds from the chilli to plant next year, and now thinking about it, I probably could have done the same with the pepper too.. I will with the next one I use!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Week off spent dressmaking

Having finished my sewing room now, my week on annual leave couldn't have come at a better time!! I have literally spent the whole week in the same room, playing with my sewing machine; and I've loved it!!

Dressmaking has been my task, though I haven't actually made a dress, I have made two tops and a pair of trousers! In November I will be working in the community so wanted some clothes that I could wear - not that I don't have enough but any excuse!! For my first attempt in years I am pretty impressed with myself!




I was very nervous about making the tops. Although the pattern was super easy, they are made from jersey stretch fabric which I haven't done well with in the past. I made sure I had a stretch needle (which I probably didn't before) and was very careful. And it looks like I have pulled it off! I particularly happy with the first one, and although I like the second one, time will tell as to whether I actually wear it.. I don't have the boobs to fill it out haha.



Now as for my trousers... I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE them!!!! They are by no means perfect. I was sooo careful cutting out my pattern pieces but I still didn't get it quite right.. GRRR!! Luckily it didn't make too much difference and when they are on you can't tell at all! They will look lush with my newish boots which have barely been warn.

Next stop, the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts show the weekend after next where I hope to pick up some more patterns and fabric, then who knows what ill make next!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Sorting Saturday, Gardening Sunday.

It has been an odd weekend.. Started with me and Scott having a good old heart to heart, which we haven't done in ages. Just chatting about everything and summing up 'life' as it is at the moment. I guess it feels like we are in limbo at the moment. Two rooms are decorated now and we haven't started the next one yet for a few reasons. firstly because there's ALOT of stuff to sort in there before we can get going. But the main reason is money is tight this month. We have had a few bills plus needing to pay the credit card off soon has meant there is FAR too much month left at the end of the money...which I really don't like!!!! It's frustrating too as we are saving pretty hard for the wedding and just want to spend the money rather than it just sit there... making no interest, because the banks are crap.

Scott's very busy at work at the moment, and doesn't feel much recognition, so really just wanted to feel like he/we had achieved something. Which did lead to us clearing a load of the junk out of the spare room, which is ace! Still a way to go but in the words of Linkin Park:

"The worst part of ending is starting again."
 (sorry, my favourite song at the moment!). We then spent much of yesterday in the garden. the grass was like a jungle so that's now nice and tidy. I planted my apple tree FINALLY and trimmed the pointless bush at the back of the garden. Scott washed both cars and demolished the old shed by the side of the house; now it looks tidier!!

I never mentioned that the chicken died did I?

After my last post she improved drastically for a short while, pretty much back to her normal self, apart from not laying. Then one evening she seemed out of sorts again, and come the morning she was collapsed on one side unable to hold her own weight,  and incontinent. Basically only living to breathe. So it had to be done. She was an awesome chicken.



I have also learnt how to take cuttings! I have some rosemary cuttings growing on my kitchen window sill along with the ripening tomatoes and cuttings from one of the plants I brought at the garden centre back along, Fingers crossed they take!







Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Finishing Touches!

I think its finished now! Only a few extra touches but it really finishes the room off!

First of all my lovely wall clock! doesn't it match just perfect?! I spent ages choosing that haha! It fills that small bit of wall nicely too as it wasn't really big enough to use for much else really.


I am also now set up as a (not so) little office space in the corner next to my sewing machine. The original plan was to have a decent sized tablet sit in the corner so what I could watch telly, play music and browse the internet for tutorials etc!

Scott being to gadget man that he is, hand to find me something to completely knock the socks off a modest tablet computer. Specially as it was my birthday at the weekend.... So what I have ended up with is a 23" full HD Hanns.G touch screen monitor with the smallest computer you have even seen bolted to the back of it!


Initially I was a bit daunted by the sheer size of it but now I am now completely in love with it! As you can see, I an sit and write my blog/use the internet whilst watching daytime telly! I also have a half decent set of speakers attached to it which I wouldn't have had if I had got a tablet... It doesn't seem like a full computer as you cant actually see the computer bit and all the wires are tidy and hidden! It just fills the corner which was basically unused anyway!! Weeee!! Very happy girly!!


My last touch has been taking the arms of my hair (only get in the way of the desk) and re-covering it in leftover fabric from the blind so it all matches!! For a five pound second hand chair I am completely over the moon with it!


Last little touch is another Ikea unit in the corner with a filing drawer at the bottom for my boring bits and pieces. Non-sewing related but very useful. I am much more likely to organise paperwork now rather than add it to the 'ill sort that later' pile!!



Now to get sewing.... I have fabric destined to be 3 tops and a pair of trousers... wish me luck! It's been a while since I have done any dress making so I am gonna need it!!!

Friday, 29 August 2014

I have a sewing room!!!

The carpet saga has been resolved. The credit card get the money back for us! Which means we went ahead and brought the sewing room carpet so we can finally finish it!!! This was partially fueled by visiting Clare's new house and seeing her sewing room! Can't believe she beat me to it!!

I was really lucky as the carpet place had a fitting cancellation the next day so I didn't have to wait very long at all!


We went for a neutral short pile carpet so it would be easy to hoover and it would be nice and easy to fit in if we redecorate!

For my desk, Scott did toy with the idea of making it so it could be exactly how I wanted it. It was going to be built into to was so it was sturdy. I wanted it to be L shaped so I have a cutting out area I can walk around. The idea was to have a movable panel which I could put wherever I wanted it in the room. However... there's a few reasons we didn't build it in the end... 1. I wanted it quick!!! And 2. This room will one day be the baby room. Although we aren't planning anything any time soon, I didn't want the hassle of having to deconstruct it and repair the wall when it comes to the 'change of use'!

This did mean that I had to persuade Scott to come to Ikea with me though, which wasn't an easy task! Specially during summer holidays as it was heaving even though it was a week day! I had it all planned, I picked out the exact desk I wanted and checked it was in stock... Then when we got there and saw it in the show room, I decided it was absolutely crap!! The one leg either side didn't support the L part of the table at all so wouldn't have been ANY good!! So instead we spent ALL afternoon looking at their component desk stuff and put together a design fit for exactly what I want.

I'm chuffed with it!!!!


My chair is in the way there but in the corner I have a chest of drawers which are full of lots of crafty bits!!


Charlie seems to like it! The L part of the desk is 75cm wide so there is lots of cutting out space and still just about enough room to get all the way round it. I've already had chance to try it and it makes me smile every time haha! Little things...

As it is the little room I have a box in the corner which is where there stair well gets in the way of the room. At the moment I have just stacked my boxes on top of it. At some point it will probably become a proper shelving unit. I will also make myself a ironing board to hang on the door along with my iron so it's out of the way when i'm not using it.


Next stop blind...

I love it sooo much!


However, I thought the top curtain bar looked a little sparse. I was going to make a voile curtain thing for decoration but it would now interfere with my cotton reel holder so I decided against that. But you can't beat a bit of bunting!!


Last thing to do is hang the picture currently sat on my chair and I have a nice clock on order which will go under the air vent. Otherwise I think (for now anyway) it's pretty much done!




Sunday, 10 August 2014

Flower Power

Well I have certainly managed to keep my orchid alive this time!!! I's doing AMAZINGLY!!!!! Look at this...



It loves our bathroom; since the last orchid update it has grown 2 more leaves, one major stem with the first flowers on and then 2 shoots off that stem with lots more buds developing! I am very excited about it! Every time I go for a wee it makes me smile!

Moving on from that matter... I have been thinking more about my wedding flowers. Ages ago I got some hyacinth vases with the plan on forcing hyacinth bulbs for the table flowers/decorations. Today I have been doing a little bit of research into how I might grow them. I'm quite nervous about it really as it feels pretty high risk trying to get them to bloom at the right time (or at all)!

I think I have picked up a few helpful hints so far:

  • There are two types of bulb you can buy. Pre-chilled bulbs are produced for bulb forcing, so don't need any prep. Normal bulbs need to be chilled before starting. Websites tend to vary on how long they think this should be for, the general seems to be between 8 and 12 weeks. Plopping them in a cold dark garage or shed will do! Some say refrigerate...
  • Vase time! Fill the vases with enough water that it barely touches the bottom of the bulb. If the bulb is soaked it will rot. They can be prettied up my using glass pebbles. I might do this, depends on how expensive the pebbles are! I quite like the look of just the roots too..? Ill see..
  • Once the bulbs are all vased up, they need to be kept in a cool dark place for a further 6-7 weeks.
  • When the shoot is 3-4" high (or the flower is out of the bulb), they can be brought into the light - but not direct sunlight! Direct sunlight is fine after the first 10 days.
So... If I get normal bulbs i need to get them chilling by December really, thats like 4 months!! Blimey-O-Riley! Hopfully ill be able to get hold of pre-chilled ones, gooling them, that doesn't seem to hard! I reckon if I vased them in the new year, hopefully they will be flowering ready for the wedding. Shouldn't be too hard should it?! Eeek!!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A Rather Red Lounge

6 months we have lived here now, and last week we FINALLY finished decorating one room!!! It has really taken that long.... God.

I didn't actually take a picture of the lounge before we started which was very silly and unlike me! So the only one we have was from the estate agents when the people before lived here, and how they had it set up which is completely different to us.


It needed an awful lot of work . The first week we moved in I started stripping wallpaper. There must have been about 5 or 6 layers on the walls in total, the last few absolutely welded on... months into this Andy, our VERY useful and helpful neighbour let us borrow his steam stripper.. OMG I wish we knew about that sooner, all that wasted time wetting and scraping one tiny bit off at a time... 



We then went on to have it re-plastered/skimmed, it was a complete mess underneath and we just wanted to paint so thought were'd do it properly straight from the off. 




Following this, it then took a base layer or magnolia then 4 layers of colour before we were happy with it (and 4 white coats on the ceiling). To begin with we were using a mixed Valspar colour from B&Q. It was shit. don't buy it... was so thin and sticky all it did was leave roller marks all over the wall. Andy said it was the worst paint he'd ever used!



After 3 coats of that, we changed the colour to a Crown Centre mixed colour. wasn't quite the same but close enough. One coat of that and done. Thank you, finally!

Next stop, getting rid of the old (and now ruined) vinyl. 6 weeks ago we first brought carpet both for the sewing room and lounge. And what a saga that has turned out to be. First we couldn't get hold of them and it took ages for it to be ordered and to get into the warehouse. then when it did get there, the carpet fitter went to collect it and found that the lounge carpet was too small - not what we ordered. Just to top it off the company have now gone into liquidation so we can't even get a refund, or accept only one of the carpets. we had to refuse both and I'm in the process of claiming though my credit card... Thank god I paid for it on that! As is had taken this long to get this far already we decided to go and buy another carpet just so we could finish the room. 



All that's missing is the back speakers to make up the surround sound, new curtains, a large cuddler swivel chair and a table to put drinks on. Yay!!! 

It was worth the time and hard work. 

Now hopefully the credit card claim won't take too long so that we can get on and sort the carpet for the sewing room! Then after that, Second bedroom here we come - Scott needs to sort his junk though first!

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