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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hot Stuff!

Okay, I promised you the down on capsaisin cream. In the UK it's a prescription drug but I see you can buy it from and other places I guess. I thought the Amazon site was interesting because, as with books and the like you can scroll down and read the reviews. They range from best cream I ever tried to the work of the devil which should be banned.

It certainly has a sting in the tail, or my tail anyway. It comes in two strengths and you only need the tiniest amount. It seems to be doing nothing at first bit it's a gradual build up. If you overdo it, watchout!

The other evening I was lying in bed having liberally applied the cream. The whole area was on fire and despite my best efforts to ignore it, I finally had to get up at midnight and have a bath to get rid of it.

I'm persevering though. Something is working for me and I feel better every day. Can't swear it's the Capsaicin. I think it has a lot to do with the idea of taking back responsibility for your own health.

I do realise how hugely blessed I am to be in a position to be able to do that.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A bit rusty

I'm trying to establish a mindfulness practice. Trying not to go through the day on auto pilot. To be aware of my thoughts. To be aware of my posture. To be aware of my breathing. But I have so much to do, how can adding to my burden help? Believe me, it can.

My fly's eye is trying to capture all I have to do in one glance, making it seem impossible. Instead
I'm going to consciously breath my way through washing the dishes. Until that task is completely finished, nothing else exists.

I can lazer focus in on my knitting to the exclusion of all else. Five hours to knit a glove seems like pretty good going. Five hours of focusing on chores would release me from the mess currently blocking my creativity.

I know it's do-able, one breath at a time.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Maiden Voyage

A chilly but beautiful sail from Largs to Portavadie on the west coast of Scotland.Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Bring on the straw

I've became foster mummy to a spinning wheel this week. All I know about spinning wheels is that they enable men of small stature to turn dried grass into precious metal. Thought that might be a plan, given the current economic climate. Only problem is, it's broken.

Well not really broken. Just slightly wounded. Its real mum uses it for decorative purposes only and lends it out to amateur dramatic groups (!). Therefore a few bits have fallen off over the years.

Frank Herring to the rescue. The wheel is a basic Ashford single drive. I learned this by watching a series of Utube spinning videos until I found one that looked like mine. Frank Herring, gawd bless him, provides a maintenance kit containing all the missing bits and I have sent for one. It costs £11 odds and contains a new drive belt (piece of string) and guides (cup hooks). See? The gold from dross thing is happening already! It's just happening for Frank Herring. But that's only because he has more spinning wheels than the moment.....

I also had some girlies round for messy play. We mono printed with acrylics and wallpaper paste on calico. Great fun! You spread the gloopy mess on a sheet of acetate (or similar), scrape patterns into it and lift then off with the calico. When dry, you can mask areas off and repeat the process with another colour or pattern.
Its the 'when dry' bit I'm not so good at. Hence mine looks a little more oganic than planned. One girlie described it as 'very sixties'. Yes, well, so am I.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Taking my hat off to Laura Reavis

We had a great knit night tonight. Two new ladies showed up and we crocheted preemie hats. How cute does this look sitting on my swift? Look a lot better sitting on a baby's head I guess. This is from an original design by Laura Reavis. You're welcome to use it for charity crafting. It's called Creative Preemie Hat
Did I mention I'm in the process of kicking my painkillers? It goes well but sleep goes completely. All I want to do is eat and part-aey! (and crochet-aey). Looking forward to the days when I happily slide off to bed at 9pm. Won't be long now!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Road to Hell

The road to hell, as they say, is paved with good intentions. I've been ill. I won't bore you. Suffice to say I finally had a diagnosis of chronic pain. Much better than it might have been. I won't mention it again unless to tell you of helpful or interesting things. After all, I have a big family out there now. My new chronic pain brothers and sisters.

So far my new magic words are Tens Machine. My pain is neurological. So instead of thinking sore, sore, depressing, easily fooled brain things............tingly.....not depressing, not distressing. Really amazing.

I'm also learning to relax, distract, and exercise appropriately.

The most useful and sensible thing I have learned is that it is not a war, it's an ongoing negotiation. If you fight pain with grim determination and gritted teeth, pain will win, every time. She'll bring you to your knees. If on the other hand you negotiate with pain, that's a whole different ball game. These guys can explain it much better than I can

Their excellent podcast Airing Pain is well worth a listen. The third episode is up now. Subscribe on Itunes.

If on the other hand you like your disability with a large helping of irreverence and you are not easily offended, catch Ouch, a BBC podcast bringing an ironically humorous slant to the seriously unfunny subject of disability.

One of the other truly amazing things I have learned is that making/ artist endeavour/mucking about whatever you want to call it keeps me sane. I know for a fact I'm not along in this either.
I hope that creating will be the main thrust of my jottings from now on with just the odd seasoning of pain matters where relevant.
I'm having some chums round for a wet play session. Tonight I've been trying to remember some techniques. The trying to remember bit is relevant as I hope to be exhibiting in an exhibition to raise money for Alzheimer's. I have a family member who suffers.

Anyway, I began monoprinting and it starterd to speak to me of memory fading and coming back into the foreground. I would like to develop this idea.

The Road to Hell

The Road to Hell


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This is my first foray into quilt making. Pretty trad at the moment but I hope to become more experimental .
Here is a most excellent book I can thoroughly recommend if you hanker after a walk on the quilting wild side.

I enjoy making quilts but I hate finishing them. But then, I was bound to say that! (quilting joke)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Another fine mess!

If life is too short to shrink hats, life is definitely too short to knit lace. People rave about knitting lace. I tried, I really did but then I needed the pins for something else (oh, THAT old excuse). I was about to squash my 9,8652 stitches onto a safety pin for completing at a later date when I thought, who am I kidding? Just cast the blinking thing off and cut your losses, not to mention your lovely Shetland yarn.

I had heard tell that you fall back in love with your lace once it’s blocked and yes, simple though it is, a can see it as thing of beauty. But the joy for me is knowing that I will never have to knit lace again.

Bring on the super bulky.

Shrunken Head

Of course my hat is the right size. It’s my head that’s shrunk.

I did indeed wear it in the shower whilst violently rubbing my head with old vegetable net. I boiled it,

(the hat, not my head),I plunged it into cold water, I threw it about the place and it still flatly refused to shrink.

Life is too short to fight with it any more. I gave it to it’s lucky recipient who will just have to grow a new head. I have other plans. A bit of housework might be a good idea, judging by this shot…

Saturday, April 17, 2010

That shrinking feeling

I have been trying my hand at a shrink to fit Noro hat from Debbie Stroller’s Happy Hooker. My front loader just isn’t man enough for the job I suspect perhaps it washes at a cool temperature. The machine is so old all the instructions have worn off. I’m not quite up to felting by hand at the moment but I did think I’d put some bubble wrap and the reluctant hat in the bottom of the shower stall tomorrow.

Now who can I get to take the picture? Before felting….very attractive

After two goes in my rotten washing machine. Would make a lovely cake cosy or a hat for the elephant man.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's that time again! Once a year Eileandour (highland water) comes out of the sea to have it's bottom cleaned and anti fouled and polished.

Fortunately I have a slave to do this for me while I sit alongside doing the aforementioned knitting in public.

There are all kinds of fantastic rusty oil drums kicking around offering instant landscapes and seascapes.
Roll on the relaunch.

Creaking joints

My knitting swift has had a hard old life as you'll see. This is the implement which enables you turn your hanks of yarn into balls. There is something hugely satisfying about watching it twirling round as your hank decreases and your ball increases.

It already had its injuries when it came my way via a house clearance. But with a metal pin in its leg and a lota loving it manages just fine. I love to fantasise about the person (people?) who used it before me.

The beautiful Noro was gifted to me and this is one of the many things I've managed to create. The pattern is now in my head which is always a much better place to have it if you're planning to knit in public. It looks so much more impressive than scrabbling about for your rain splattered, wind blown pattern which you eventually have to sit on in the end to stop it for disappearing altogether.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Shrinking elephants

I finished the bag I was crocheting for a friend. I used nylon and hadn't reckoned with the fact that the bag itself is heavy, before you put anything in it! I've make these before with string and they work like a charm. You can fling them in the washing machine but watch out for shrinkage. My bag that would have held an elephant shrunk to one that would hold a mouse.

I decided I would quilt all the Liberty peacock feather in the quilt I'm making. The fact that had have 40 of these squares had slipped my mind. Oh well. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And once you have taken a few bites, maybe it'll fit in your shrunken string bag!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

still standing

I've been having a few health challenges but I'm still creating.

Small landscapes and seascapes

Crocheting a string bag for a friend,

and having my first foray into the world of quilting.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Homage to Ronald Searle

I'm thinking of going back to my roots. Looking at these stitched samples in old sketchbooks, this is really what I like doing, drawing with my sewing machine.

The sharp eyed might notice my homage to the St Trinians schoolgirls and the delicious black humour of Ronald Searle.

The Jeelie Piece Song

A while ago I found this photograph. I don't know where it came from but it speaks to me of my childhood, growing up in a Glasgow tenement.

I made this collage but I always wanted to do something more with it.

Joan Eardley is favourite Glasgow artist who painted a lot of tenement children in a very loose, mixed media style.

This cartoon from an old sketchbook collection appealed to me. Part coloured, part black and white, it spoke of the fact that the original photograph is a hand colored black and white print.

I have no idea where it's going - or even if it's going - but I'm liking it so far.