Hug my Mug!

I am, I believe, quintessentially English. There is not much I love more than coming home at the end of a long day and settling in with a nice cup of tea. In fact it has been scientifically proven through a series of experiments (totally involuntary I may add) that I am an absolute nightmare if I don’t have my cup of tea after work.
So yes that’s me, the epitome of a cliché hot beverage advert, snuggling down with my oversized mug . . . ah but here’s where I frequently encounter a problem, because the adverts have lied to me! I know, absolute shocker isn’t it, but yes as I said the adverts have lied and my snuggling down with a cup of tea is not forthcoming as this sort of behaviour . . . .
125846292335di42
. . . is liable to cause third degree burns.

So unfortunately due to the fact that i’m not an advert actress and, as a consequence, not in possession of a pair of asbestos hands I am unable to hug my mug and have to wait until it has cooled to a sufficient temperature, which takes half the fun out of it.
That was until some genius came up with the idea of ‘MUG HUGS’ (or Mug Cozy as they’re sometimes called, but I think Mug Hug is much more fun) a simple piece of knitwear designed especially for the mug of your choice enabling you to cosy up to your desired hot beverage without the risk of permanent skin damage.
I love them, and have designed and knitted several of my own (very quick and easy to do)

My own Mug Hugs 'inspired by nature'

My own Mug Hugs ‘inspired by nature’

Google mug hug and you’ll find all sorts of weird and wonderful hugs for your mugs, just . . be careful what you google . .

Batchelors hug in a Mug

Batchelors hug in a Mug

New Beginnings

Oooh I’m such a bad blogger. Well ok not a bad blogger, just an inconsistent one. I have my reasons.
It’s been a busy few months, not only did we move in November (a month before Christmas, very bold) but after two months of suffering the trials and costs of public transportation I’ve left Waterstones and got a job a little closer to home.
It was a bit of a leap, moving, but the fact that a house in Felixstowe was put up to let by an agents we’d been itching to get a house with, around the time that we’d just about had enough of our rather loud inconsiderate neighbours seemed to say something so we snatched it up.
So new house, that we loved, in an area that was perfect and with such lovely neighbours too. The only downside was the epic trek into work each morning, so only one solution to that, get a new job. Easier said than done on the run up to Christmas, so for some unfathomable reason I found myself applying for a care job . . . and getting it!!
In the craft world I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself coming up with some new and funky designs. My brother has even set me up a website for selling some of items, so hopefully as I add more items to my inventory that may take off a bit, till then here’s my latest tricks . . .

Really nice, really simple pattern for a cardigan you can knit up in one go (only seam is up the side) unfortunately pattern only comes in preemie size, so shall have to do some jiggery pokery to work out larger sizes.

Really nice, really simple pattern for a cardigan you can knit up in one go (only seam is up the side) unfortunately pattern only comes in preemie size, so shall have to do some jiggery pokery to work out larger sizes.

Simple mittens, simple pattern, simply fun (especially the twist cord) . . .

Simple mittens, simple pattern, simply fun (especially the twist cord) . . .

. . . then playing with some fun colours.

Hobbit Feet sock/slippers requested by my younger brother . . .

Hobbit Feet sock/slippers requested by my younger brother . . .

 . . . which led to experiments for a baby version . . .

. . . which led to experiments for a baby version . . .

. . . and then to the final decision, with or without toes?

. . . and then to the final decision, with or without toes?

 

Playing with a pattern I found for a 'Snuggie'. Love them! The big one takes a while, so i think i'll stick to the little 'un (although i will definately be rething the facial features)

Playing with a pattern I found for a ‘Snuggie’. Love them! The big one takes a while, so i think i’ll stick to the little ‘un (although i will definately be rething the facial features)

Sister-in-law asked me to make a felted cushion like one she saw in John Lewis for £70 (on the left) Worked out the design myself, the ratio may be slightly off but i'd say it's close enough. I used acrylic for this as it's cheap wool and it was just a test item. Unfortunately acrylic doesn't felt so i'll have to buy some 100% wool to complete this

Sister-in-law asked me to make a felted cushion like one she saw in John Lewis for £70 (on the left) Worked out the design myself, the ratio may be slightly off but i’d say it’s close enough. I used acrylic for this as it’s cheap wool and it was just a test item. Unfortunately acrylic doesn’t felt so i’ll have to buy some 100% wool to complete this

CAPTAIN AMERICA! I'm sorry, was just so chuffed with this jumper.

CAPTAIN AMERICA! I’m sorry, was just so chuffed with this jumper.

and finally my 'Piece de resistance' and my proudest achievement of the year.

and finally my ‘Piece de resistance’ and my proudest achievement of the year.

. . . on a lighter note

Haven’t shared my projects for a while . .and there’s a lot of them . .so here’s my ‘gallery’ in the style of  ‘Vision On’

a-one a-two a-three a-four

Doo dobe dodo dobe do

Shawl from ‘Lets Knit’ Magazine, went slightly wrong, but still looked good.

do be do bedo

 

 

 dooby dooby do

A little experiment gone well, with lots of different styles in my head now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

do be do do be do do do do

Cardigan for my little neice

do do dooby do do be do

Berry Hats. Lots of fun and easy to knit up

do be do be do

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dooby dooby do

the ‘hey look I can crochet!’ hat

do be do do me do be do

Had a request from Baby Ben for a hat . . .so of course i went a little nuts with it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dooby do dooby do do do

Adult Bobble hat inspired by the baby bobbles

do do be do be do

Another fun onesie (panda and reindeer also on the way)

bedo be do be do do be do be

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

do be do do do be do be do

Loving these onesies!

do do be do do be do do

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

do do be do be do

Reindeer hat, debating on whether would be better or just a little freaky with eyes

do do be do be do

Very very happy with how this turned out, too cute for words

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

do do doooooooooooo

Iron Man gloves! Also designed by me at the request of a co-worker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just because it’s too cute for words . .

Baby Ben in one of my hats

Eli’s Coming!

Apologies yet again for lacking in updates, I could blame a busy schedule, high demand for my knitting skills, extreme nonchalance, or maybe it’s just that our Tablet is broken so husband has been hogging the laptop.

In all honesty though there hasn’t really been much to report, physically I’m still struggling up that metaphorical hill. I’d like to say that every day gets easier, but some days get easier, and some days I’m exhausted before lunch time and can’t explain why. I hit my 12 week post op mark next Wednesday, so I think perhaps going to the gym again might be the best idea . . . I’m just terrified I’m going to knacker myself out before the day has even started!

Then we move smoothly on to my mental/emotional state which, to be quite frank, is quite a bit worse than my physical state. I’ve recently found myself to be quite prone to tearful outbursts, even a rather unproductive attempt to book a doctors appointment recently left me wailing like a banshee. I’m not even going to attempt to justify it all by delving deep into the psychology of the emotional ramifications of the events of this year. Justify to say that it’s a bit bloody annoying and has led to people around me thinking that there’s more wrong with me than there actually is! Did that make sense? Hmm, how to explain that. Basically, yes I’ve had a hell of a crap year, and yes it all does rather upset me, but I’m dealing with it and moving on in my own little way. Unfortunately when I end up bawling like a two year old each time somebody asks me “Are you OK?” (complete with sympathetic head tilt) it looks like my body is making a liar out of me and nobody believes me when I tell them I’m fine. I’ve never really liked my body anyway, and if it continues with this sort or outrageous behaviour me and it are going to be having severe words!

So yes that’s my life at the moment, busying myself with various knitting projects as I physically and mentally struggle up a metaphor the size of Mount Everest. However, I can feel a change in the wind. I used to watch a TV show which I think was called ‘Sports Night’, and one of the characters in it misunderstood the lyrics of the Three Dog Night song ‘Elis Coming’ he thought it meant that something big was on the horizon and you could feel it in the air. So throughout the episode when something a little dramatic happened you just heard a little of the intro lyrics “Eli’s coming. . . “ well that’s what I feel at the moment, every now and again something in my head whispers the lyrics “Eli’s coming . . “ (that probably makes more sense if you’ve heard the song)

 

I do actually have a lot to look forward to at the moment, whilst we are effectively having to cancel Halloween (my favourite holiday, but unfortunately the endless stream of little kids it cute costumes would just be too much for me) we’re popping down to Wiltshire to see our brand new nephew the week after. We’re being kept updated with a continuous stream of cute pictures at the moment, so really can’t wait to see him. Then we have a trip down to London for some Christmas shopping and to visit the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park (Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it), there’s also a potential visitation with my Dad and Step-mum in the works, just got to figure out who’s working what and when, and also who’s visiting who. I’m also thinking about selling my crafts, making myself a little business. I really love making all the little things that I do, and if I can earn a little money from it even better! Then of course there’s Christmas and all the potential that a New Year has to bring.

 Eli’s Coming!

Happy New Year!

I’m Back!

Yes, for those who haven’t noticed, I’ve been away. Well not exactly away but convalescing and as a result rather disinclined to blog. It’s also been quite an intense couple of months with a lot going on, but maybe I should just stick to my operation news for now.

As I mentioned in a previous post my operation date was August 1st, it was a pretty nerve wrecking day made so much easier by the fact that the day before I had become an auntie!!  My older brother and his wife had a gorgeous little boy called Benjamin Nevis William Johnston (Benjamin Nevis because my brother proposed to his wife on top of Ben Nevis)

My little nephew Benjamin and his toy ‘daddy’ that I knitted him

and even though I’m an auntie already to my husband’s three nieces this was the first niece/nephew on my side of the family so I went into hospital with a very happy ‘proud new auntie’ glow about me. This was a good thing as the next week would prove to be absolute hell for me.

To start with I arrived at the hospital at my appointed time of 7:30am after 12 hours of being ‘nil by mouth’. It was a busy day on the ward so I had to wait quite a while before I got a bed and even longer to be taken up to surgery. It was 4:30pm by the time I was finally wheeled up to surgery and after 21 hours with no food and only the occasional sips of water I wasn’t in the best of moods. Then I was subjected to the worst pain imaginable, and without wishing to scaremonger, I wouldn’t wish what happened to me next on my worst enemy.

Because my surgery was going to be quite intensive and in the abdominal area not only was I going to have a general anaesthetic but also a spinal anaesthetic which would doubly anaesthetise my lower regions and it also would take a little longer to leave my system making it unnecessary for me to have a lot of pain relief after the surgery, which sounded nice. The reality was a lot more unpleasant, due to the size of my stomach I was unable to sit in the proper position for the spinal injection to be administered so I had to have it whilst laying on my side which made it tricky for the anaesthetist to get the right spot. After about three attempts and the most unpleasant pain I have ever experienced, which I was rather vocal about, they had to up the dosage of my general anaesthetic to knock me out to do the spinal.

My surgery took a few hours, during which they removed the cyst (which measured 32cmx30cm and weighed 2 stone!) my ovary and my appendix, and left me with a scar roughly 12 inches long.

My scar with staples, there were lots of them!

Staples out. . . and healing quite nicely

The next day, I was amazed at how much better I felt. Gone were the constant stabbing pains in my shoulder and my side, I could also now breathe properly and stand up for longer than five minutes without being in agony. It just showed how bad things had got, that I’d literally just had quite intensive surgery and had a very large incision in my abdomen and I felt much better than I had for months.

The ‘before’ picture was actually a few weeks before, I had got even bigger by the time I went into hospital.

My hospital stay ended up being a little longer than expected due to some complications caused, we think, by the excessive amount of spinal anaesthetic I ended up with. But the details of that are a little bit icky and unpleasant so I won’t subject you all to that.

Today I’m exactly seven weeks out of surgery and even though the first few weeks were really tough (and quite often had me in tears) things are gradually getting easier. My first attempt at stairs was slow but rewarding. My first walk into town, with a stick, was exhausting.  Since then, however, I’ve had a holiday on the Isle of Wight, a birthday, and gone back to work, so things are slowly but surely getting back to normal.

Whilst we were on the Isle of Wight the husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We both agreed it’s been a hell of a year, (with somebody wording it quite succinctly that it’s quite harsh to lose your mum and find out you can’t have children all in the same year) which has only served to make us stronger and closer than ever, and we now intend to make the most of the coming year.

So here’s to new beginnings!

My birthday outing to Carisbrooke Castle. I got to play ‘dress up’ with my little niece.

 

Slow and steady wins the race?

It feels like I’ve been waiting forever to get my ‘bump’ sorted. Ok, it’s been about 8 weeks which I suppose is a long time, it’s just it feels even longer than that.

We are slowly making progress though, I had a CT scan last Monday which was a truly unpleasant experience. I’m sure you’ve all had those moments of thinking about something else whilst someone is talking to you and therefore not actually hearing what the other person is saying to you, well my whole experience was like that. From the nurse telling me where to get changed to the technician telling me what was going to happen during the scan I didn’t take a single bit of it in. I suppose when you’re having a scan to find out if you have ‘tumours’ in any other part of your body your mind wants to have a day off and find something more pleasant to do.

As I said I really didn’t take in much of what the technician was saying to me just before the scan, So whilst he was sticking an IV needle in me and talking about the dye they’d be putting in I just caught something about “flushing” “warming sensation” and “feeling like you’ve wet yourself” and I panicked a bit as I thought he meant that would happen when the dye was leaving my system. However, about 10 seconds later as I’m lying in there and  the dye enters my system and I feel a warming sensation going from my head to my toes and yup you guessed it, feeling like I’ve wet myself,  I then realised the technician had been talking about the stuff during the scan, so I was a little relieved. This was short lived however as the most horrific feeling of nausea came over me, and for the next few minutes I was constantly swallowing and concentrating on my breathing  just to stop myself throwing up.

Afterwards they sat me in a little side room for about 10-15 minutes, I suppose to make sure that I didn’t have any adverse reactions, then a nurse came through to take my IV needle out.

One weird little side effect I did have though was I developed a constant cough, unfortunately seeing as it was the same type of cough that I get when I wear anything restricting (I had to give up wearing bras a few weeks ago) I yet again panicked and thought my cyst had started pushing on my lungs more. It was only a few days later as the cough had started to subside I googled CT scans (something which I’m quite glad I didn’t do before I had my scan) and found out that it’s possible to have a mild allergic reaction to the dye they use resulting in coughs, sneezes, and hives.

. . . .

Since starting this post things have progressed quite a bit. I had an appointment with a consultant on Friday to discuss the scan results, and oh boy was that fun. My appointment was at 10:40 so we arrived just after 10:15, in good time for the appointment, and the waiting room was packed! After we’d been there about 20 minutes a notice went up in reception saying that the approximate waiting time was an hour, no big deal. However, an hour and a half after we arrived and the waiting room had thinned out a bit my husband enquired as to how much longer we’d be waiting and was told not much longer as my notes were in the holder outside the consultants room and would be picked up by somebody soon. Well at 12:40, a whole 2 hours after my appointment time, we were practically the only people left in the waiting room and I finally got called in by the consultant. It turned out that all the other consultants had been passing over my notes and leaving them to the consultant that would also be doing my surgery, unfortunately nobody had actually told him this and he’d had about 4 or 5 other patients there to see him specifically. Well as he talked about my results and what would be happening I realised why the other consultants had left it to him. Basically they still don’t know whether the cyst is malignant or benign, so the plan is to go in (using an incision that will go from my pelvis up to about 4 or 5 inches above my naval as the cyst is THAT big!)  remove the cyst, my ovary and fallopian tube, and my appendix. However if the cyst is malignant, they might have to do other stuff whilst they’re in there and I may have to undergo chemotherapy afterwards, but that’s if IF it’s malignant, which I have a strong feeling that it’s not. That’s the plan!

Unfortunately my actual operation isn’t until 1st August so I have a couple of weeks to wait, which isn’t as bad as it seems when you consider that they were initially going to book my operation sometime in late August/September but because of the amount of pain I’m in they’ve fitted me in as soon as possible, yes apparently two and a half weeks is ASAP in NHS terms.  Which is quite easy to believe when you consider that we actually spent another 4 hours up the hospital that day getting my pre-op checks done.

So after an emotional and tense 6 hours up the hospital (without food and water I may add, well Chris my husband did get me a cup of tea from Costa whilst we were waiting for my chest x-ray, but unfortunately whilst he was gone I got called through to the other waiting area and so missed my tea!) I have an operation date, and an estimation of recovery time, and so essentially a plan of when I should be getting my life back on track. Ironically enough, my last week of recovery is also the week I’d booked a holiday off work as it’s our first year wedding anniversary. Hopefully I’ll be fit enough to take our intended holiday to the Isle of Wight, and maybe this anniversary could mark a change in fortunes for us, because in all honesty, between me losing my mum and finding out I’m never going to be able to have a baby of my own . . . this year’s been a bit crap for us! (and that’s coming from a glass half full kind of person)

Silver Linings

I’m gradually getting over my little rant the other day and looking at things from the lighter side. Ok, so I can’t physically do much at the moment so it’s given me a lot of time with my crafts, and I’ve been busy!
My lovely husband had been kind enough to keep me stocked with magazines, and in my ‘Simply Knitting’ mag there was a pattern for some really nice owl mittens. What I liked most about the mittens was the subtlety of the owl design, so I thought I’d give it a try. The pattern was for an adult size but I wanted to make a pair in a childs size, not knowing how to adapt the actual pattern I thought I’d try it with thinner yarn (DK rather than the aran suggested in the pattern) and slightly smaller needles. So I made just one mitten first with the aran suggested in the pattern just to see how easy it was to make. It was really easy, I did misread some of the pattern instructions so the first mitten went a bit wrong, but once I knew what I had done wrong it was all quite straight forward.
They knitted up great, exactly the size I was after aswell.

Another project I completed was a lacy purse. My niece has just been crowned Felixstowe carnival queen and on the day of her crowning the weather was pretty horrible, so I thought it might be nice to knit her a shawl to go with her dress seeing as I had so much time on my hands.
Well a monumental mess-up on my part resulted in me having just 50g of Peter Pan Moondust yarn (beautiful yarn, but not nearly enough for a shawl) and having to wait a few days for more yarn. So whilst I waited I thought I’d put the 50g of moondust yarn to good use and make a purse for my niece too.
There’s a pattern on ravelry for a lacy purse, it looked nice and relatively simple to make so I gave it a go. It was a really good pattern and it used a few techniques I’d never tried before. There was ‘cable cast on’ which gave quite a nice start to the work, ‘magic loop’ which enabled you to use long circular needles to knit short pieces of work, and ‘3 needle cast off’ which joined two pieces of work without a seam. So my dip into the world of new techniques turned out good, I knitted it about half the length that the pattern suggested as I only wanted a clutch purse, also seeing as the pattern was for a bigger purse the strap instructions were for a shoulder strap, so I just crocheted a little wrist strap instead. As I said it turned out well but maybe still a bit big, so might try it again but halving the width of the pattern aswell as the length.

However, the highlight so far came today as I realised that being housebound meant that when the postman comes a-knocking with a parcel for moi I get it straight away, no having to wait 24 hours then queing an eternity at the post office. So basically I was there to greet the postman when these arrived!!

My ‘Art of Quilting’ magazines and best of all . . . my new balls of yarn! The yarn will now enable me to make another monkey outfit (this time with the proper chunky yarn) also a Cow outfit by the same designer and a pair of childrens dungarees. The needles are what I needed for a Berry Hat and a newborn matinee jacket. So excited to get all these and now can’t wait to finish the shawl i’m currently working on so I can get started with all the cute baby outfits.

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