Friday Finds

Inspired by a former colleague at my 'day' job when she used to joke about Pirate Fridays, for this Friday Find I have a pirate theme item combined with my love of yarn!

This Yarrrrrn patch from SunnyDays Embroidery a.k.a Aunti Franni is adorable and if you are a knitter like me, it would be great sewn or ironed onto a knitting bag!

Friday, 28 January 2011 | 1 Comment

Thirty by Thirty Challenge - An Update

February 1st is fast approaching and on that date I will have just 18months until I hit the big 3-0. I thought it was about time I did an update for my 30 things to do before I hit 30 challenge. The original blog post explains a little more about the challenge but here is the list with updates:

1. Own a sewing machine, - not yet although I do keep looking at some

2. Learn to knit socks - I have a sock book and a sock pattern and double pointed needles, but no socks yet

3. Visit Buckingham Palace - hoping this will happen in the Summer open season this year

4. Swim in a lake or stand under a waterfall - not yet

5. Own a home (the BIG challenge) - working towards increasing my deposit on a daily basis,

6. Be debt free except from a mortgage if Num 5 happens - was doing really well on this until my PC died and I needed to purchase a new one

7. Visit Dickens House - likely to be a summer thing as I often visit places like this with my mum

8. Go to a soap making workshop - DONE!!!! I did this Sunday just gone and it was SO good, it warrants a blog post of its own soon.

9. Learn to hang wall paper - Ive been shown by my Dad and know how to measure it and mix up the paste etc so progress

10. Spend a night on the Norfolk Broads - the intention was to have a week away on the broads but as i've never really been on boats I wasnt so sure, instead im planning a week in the Broads in Spring with a dayboat hire,

11. Learn to make pastry - not yet,

12. Learn the succession of kings and queens from William the Conqueror in 1066 - I have a book and a rhyme

13. Make and wear my own dress - SEMI progress, I used a sewing machine for the first time to make some secret santa gifts and have bought some Liberty-print fabric to make 2 skirts, I also have 3 dress patterns ready

14. Read 5 books from my bookshelf - I currently own 40 books that I have not yet read - 1 book done Knit the Season, but I need to write a post about it

15. Have a make up lesson - not yet,

16. Do something every day to make me smile - I've been consciously doing this and for about 3 months I kept a journal noting things down but I always get bored of journal writing

17. Learn to change a car tyre - not yet although my car has had new wheels

18. Be able to jog a mile with out stopping - with my leg issues this is a BIG thing - so far FAIL (see below)

19. Go to Rome or Sorrento - in the research phases

20. Sleep for 6.5+ hours sleep a night consistently - I wouldnt say consistently but Im getting much better at this

21. Visit Giant's Causeway - hopefully next year,

22. Have a dinner party - This is the plan for my 30th birthday

23. Have Butterfly-Crafts mentioned in a newspaper or magazine - have been mentioned on the local radio station which is a start, I have a few things planned for this year though

24. Sleep under the stars - I havent slept under them but I have been out late at night in a Texan field looking at them and I saw the Milky Way and Saturn.

25. Live as much of a handmade/homemade/economical life as possible - I am developing this as much as possible, making a conscious effort to opt for handmade or homemade where possible and I am learning to live more economically also

26. Begin to have the stamina, strength & body shape from pre-leg issues - this was going well as I was enjoying the gym and feeling much fitter, that was until the ticking bomb in my leg went off and I got DVT again

27. Watch: Goodfellas, Casablanca, Dr Zhivago, Gone With the Wind, The Philadephia Story, A Street Car Named Desire, Ferri Beulers Day Off, Schindler's List, The Godfather and Citizen Cane - Gone With the Wind was on over the Christmas break but I sort of fell asleep. Must try harder.

28. Go to a comedy club - ws supposed to do this with a friend until she cancelled on me.

29. Finish my knitted patchwork blanket - well I have all of the wool in one place, but no knitting just yet. I have a feeling this one will be a mad rush in July next year!

30. Visit 15 exhibitions at museums and galleries - I've been to one 'Handmade Tales' and written a blog on it and been to another that needs a blog written so 2 down, 13 to go!

I must make more of an effort really or Im not going to get all of this done!!!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 | 0 Comments

Friday Finds!

I thought it was time to get back to business and a new blog series entitled Friday Finds! The general idea is (almost) each Friday I will post something handmade that I have found that interests me and it will generally be an item you can purchase from Artfire should you so choose!

The first of my Friday finds are these natural palm melts in Black Raspberry Vanilla scent from WickdChaos. This pack of 4 tarts/melts are a great alternative to lighting a candle; a cleaner and safer way to enjoy your favorite scents. Simply place one in your tealight or electric tart warmer and you'll be enjoying the wonderful aromas in no time!

Stop by next Friday to see a new Friday find!

Friday, 14 January 2011 | 1 Comment

The ticking time bomb went off

So it's been an interesting Christmas break. I would like to first start by saying those are not my legs but will illustrate the story I am about to tell.

Back in July 2008 I developed Thrombophlebitis (thrombo-flea-bite-us) in my calf, its blood clots in the surface veins to you and I, there were 7 of them. About 10 days later a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) developed in my upper thigh the size of an egg. This was alarming because 1) DVT in women under 40 is not common and 2) above the knee is very very bad. I was treated by the anticoagulant clinic for 6mths and it dispersed leaving scar tissue.

Because I'm under 40 I had something called a thrombophilia screening to see if there were any underlying causes of my DVT and it was discovered I have a genetic disorder with my blood called Factor V Leiden. My family were also tested and my Mum is the carrier. To save getting too technical, it means that i'm at a higher chance of re-occurring clots but the decision was made not to continue warfarin treatment (aka rat poison) because the clot was taken care of - I just had to inject my stomach with awful injections before flying and hope for the best that another wouldn't develop but know that it could.

Well yes, the ticking time bomb went off on Boxing Day last week. It was in the evening and we were having a late dinner, my legs were feeling really heavy and I was uncomfortable. I got an almighty sharp pain in my calf and I winced almost to the point of tears.

I knew.

I was a good girl and measured the size of my calf, it had ballooned an inch - I keep a check on what is "normal". Dad got me in the car and we headed to the A&E as quickly as we could and were told the wait was up to 5 hours. How fun. The best part of the evening was the drunk group having a bitch fight.

It was funny seeing the triage nurse because I could tell her what was going to be done to me as I've had three scares in the space of 12mths. I had a lot of blood drawn to have a test called a d-dimer which measures the clotting factor in your blood. Everyone has a clotting factor, its a number, and above a certain number indicates a clot. I don't remember the digits but was told "it's raised but its not too high" but because of my history and my genetics they treat it as if i do have a DVT, its the safest way. After 6hours, Dad and I finally got home at 3.30am.

Now, I am not particularly enamoured with needles, I hate the little buggars but the one good thing to come out of this latest saga is that I have been doing my own injections. The way a suspected DVT is treated is to have a daily clexane injection in your stomach until a scan is had. The only way I can describe the injections is that they burn like acid for about 25mins. But I did them, 6 of them. Last time I had 13 so I consider myself lucky!

Eventually on Thursday I got my doppler scan. Its a bit like an ultrasound with jelly but it sees the flow of blood. I'm fascinated by it. I clearly remember the one in my thigh being found. So this time i'm lying on the bed with my jeans in a pile on the floor and tissue paper in appropriate places. The jelly gets squired on and its cold. The scanner has to be held down quite firm and it can be painful. The technician says everything looks normal in my groin and thigh (phew) and makes her way to me knee and that looks good...but...then...down my calf....oh shit (my words not hers). There we found 2 giant DVT clots that total about 6" in size totally blocking my blood flow.

Now, last time this was about the point I broke down in tears and sobbed - I was supposed to fly 3 weeks later to Vegas to be maid of honour for a friend and wasn't allowed to fly. This time, I just sighed and was like " well lets deal with this then". What's the point in being angry or upset? It's not my fault, it's nothing I've done wrong - shit happens right?

So next we had to get to the consultant and she is lovely, I remember her from last time. I got my warfarin and a few more injections and the return of the seriously sexy stockings which i get to wear for 2 years. They come in white, black and the ever-so-neutral 'biscuit' colour. I've been to the hospital every day since, to have my INR (International Normalised Ratio) test done and adjust the levels of warfarin. The INR is like a staple gun in your finger tip and a blob of blood is put on a stick to measure the level. Everyone has an INR, the lower it is the thicker your blood. My ideal range is 2.5-3 and the first test was 1.4. Its getting better/thinner though. Today I go to the warfarin clinic to get my yellow book and all the bumpf I need to read - been there and done that already.

So why did I get another clot? Well, think of the factors of DVT as a triangle. In one corner you have clotting factors - mine is raised because of the FVL. In another corner is 'flow' as in are you sitting down all day long which can cause a clot, and finally is 'vein damage'. This time I had 'clotting' and 'vein damage' as there is a lot of scar tissue from my previous clot.

What does this mean now that I permanently have 2 out of the 3 risks? Well I will be on warfarin for the rest of my life. This is a good thing because it will hopefully stop the paranoia I have about getting another one, and I wont have to do injections before I fly anymore. But there are negatives too such as not being able to walk into a chemist and buy something over the counter in case it conflicts, never being able to have an aromatherapy massage as the oil can get into the blood flow, not allowed to drink cranberry juice or eat green leafy vegetables (this one is devastating to me - insert extremely sarcastic tone as I hate green leafys). But there are more personal side effects too like my hair may begin to fall out (it did this before), I don't have much of an appetite and my energy levels are through the floor. I am hideously exhausted. There are more personal issues too, but i'm not getting into those here as I need to process those.

So, it hasn't been the best of Christmasses but there is no point me being sad or upset at myself. My body has let me down once again and this time the effects will be long lasting, but worse things could have happened. If the clots dislodged themselves and travelled to my lungs, I wouldn't be here to write this stupidly long blog post! - Aren't you lucky!!!

I will probably blog a little more about my DVT over the next few months as I go through treatment so if you have any questions please do ask!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011 | 8 Comments

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year! I hope that you celebrated to dawn of a new year in your own way and that you will have a healthy, happy and enjoyable 2011 with what ever adventures may face you!

Every year I usually set myself lots of resolutions - do more exercise, eat less junk food, be a better person, go to bed earlier the list is usually about 7 things. This year, I've not had the best Christmas which I will talk about another time and so I have just 2 resolutions that I hope to stick to:

  1. Get more than 4hrs sleep a night,
  2. Consume less and I dont mean in terms of food but in what I purchase and use on a day-to-day basis. When you see the picture below you will see that I dont really need to buy any more toiletries as I have an entire cupboard full, yet when I see something I use on special offer, I buy it "just in case". That needs to stop. I need to use up the things that I have before I buy more as not only will this help my space and storage issues but also save me money in the long run. I will attempt to do this with craft materials too but that will be harder! This also falls within my 30 by 30 challenge to help me live a more economical lifestyle.
What have you set yourself as goals or resolutions for 2011?

Saturday, 1 January 2011 | 0 Comments