Tag Archives: my family and other animals

DIY Dancewear – Jalie 2803 stretch pants and Jalie 2802 stretch bodyshirt

So…if you follow me on Insta you’ll have seen me sewing up dancewear for my wee fella!

He’s recently partnered up with the lovely Lola (whom you may recognise from Baby Ballroom) and they meet up twice a week for practice sessions, and will be hitting the competition floor very soon.

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The Post Adoption Support Hub

In a break from normal crafty posts , I’ve got a tale to tell that explains the radio silence  around here in recent times.

Last autumn I was invited to a group meeting for adoptive parents, and, against my better judgement, decided to attend.   I had a feeling that it would all be a bit too “hug a tree” for my taste, but the inviter assured me all would be well.

Right up until I got out of my car in the Starbucks car park, I was ready to go home.  But that would have been rude, so I went in, got a large coffee and joined the group of other ladies, none of whom I’d met before.

This is one of those life lessons about how your future can turn on something as simple as walking through the door at Starbucks.  And I should know by now that these things happen, because it was under similar circumstances that I met Dave, and look how that turned out.

The ladies around the table were lovely, and we still have monthly meetups, just to remind ourself that we’re not alone with our quite specific parenting challenges.  But about 20 minutes in, a latecomer pulled up a seat and joined us.  And this is where things take a turn.

I’m sure we knew each other in a past life.  I have other friends like that.  It’s weird, but cool.  And we kept meeting up for coffee, then lunch.  All the time laughing and swapping notes about things we did or didn’t know about the resources and support our children need.   And just how hard it is to find those resources, because often you don’t even know what you’re looking for until you find it!

And over coffee one day, back in Starbucks, we were bemoaning that fact that this information is sooooooo hard to find, and that it should be easier, and all in one place, and somebody should build a website……..

So we did.

 

We launched on Saturday. 

And we’re rather chuffed with it!

This is our first iteration…we have plans for lots more shiny stuff.  But for now we’ve hit the main problems that people like us (parents/carers of adopted children with additional health and educational challenges) have to address on a daily basis.  And when I say address, I mean battle, because the services are so underfunded you have to fight hard and long to get the support they need.

So if you, or anyone you know, has children who need a bit more support than the average bear, do come and check us out.

Normal crafty service will now be resumed.


The little socks that could

My life feels dominated by socks and hospital visits at the moment. This pair is just off the needles and I have two other pairs on the go.  Our little man is on the mend, but his wound is still about 5 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep. It’s a slow heal.  So three times a week we are at the hospital changing dressings. There is invariably a long wait. That’s ok. We’re glad we don’t need the nurses urgently any more, and are more than happy to wait whilst they prioritise those that do.

Thankfully, a sock is a very portable project.  We grab drinks from the coffee concession on our way in and check into the ward fully prepped for however long it takes.

Whilst my wee man was poorly in hospital I had a sock with me at all times.  It’s tricky to concentrate on knitting with a sick small person in a hospital bed, as the interruptions are constant.  But slowly, slowly, between obs, and while he slept, my hands turned one round of stitches, followed by another.  And slowly, slowly, the sock grew. And each stitch was a moment of calm that took him closer to wellness.

A sock is also a great conversation starter.  I met nurses who knitted but had never dared try a sock, nurses whose grandmothers had knit socks and who thought the art had died out.  A student nurse who had only used a knitting frame and was intrigued to see how it was done “properly”.  Small peeps whose fascination was wide eyed and intent. And worried mums were distracted for a few moments and transported to a place of calm and cosiness.

This is the pair of socks that I knitted by our boy’s bedside.  That commanded attention and brought our little community behind the curtains together.

Who’d have thought a pair of simple socks could do so much?

Project notes

Pattern:                             Regia 4 ply sock

Pattern cost:                     Free

Yarn:                                 Stylecraft Head over Heels

Colourway:                      Kilimanjaro

Purchased at:                  & Sew What, Chorley

Yarn cost:                         About £7?


Iggy

I finally get to share with you a finished project that isn’t a pair of socks.   Hurrah!

Last Wednesday the sun shone brightly upon budding trees and jolly daffodils, and the wee small boy and I took George to the groomers, then popped into a local cafe for a rather splendid hot chocolate.

It was such a lovely day. Especially as he’d terrified us all the previous week by being rushed into hospital and needing an emergency appendectomy.  The spring weather was the perfect opportunity to wrap him in his new Iggy sweater and grab a few shots.  We’re ignoring that the shorts aren’t the best match….they were just the comfiest on the wound area.

I wish that was the end of his medical adventures, but on Saturday afternoon he developed a nasty post-op infection and was back on the ward for another surgery on Monday.  He’s home with us now, snoring his head off as I type, but we have daily hospital visits at the moment to change the packing and dressings on the wound, as they had to leave it open to avoid further infection.

It’s been, quite frankly, bloody awful.  I wouldn’t wish the past few weeks on my worst enemy, let alone a small boy.  Thankfully, today he seems to have turned a corner.  We are hopeful that the worst is over.

So pictures of a smiling boy in the sunshine in his special request jumper are a nice reminder that this too shall pass.

He had a very clear picture in his head of what he wanted.  Having browsed my patterns to find a shape he liked, we drew out some stripes to get the idea out of his head an onto the needles.

The original pattern is Iggy, by Sarah Hatton. Apart from the stripes, the only change I’ve made to the pattern is to knit it in stocking stitch, rather than reverse stocking stitch.

It’s a quick and easy knit and the details of yarn can be found on my Ravelry page.

Needless to say, I have socks back on the needles again!


Life in a northern town – March 2017

Hello my lovelies.

I had a wee window of time where I should be doing other stuff but, quite frankly, can’t be arsed.

I’ve had a lovely morning skiving off with my friend Julia at my favourite cafe, No 15 in Penwortham.  Julia is wise and witty and should be available on the NHS to cheer all who need it.  She’d save them millions.  With avo and poached eggs on toast and a couple of good cups of coffee, it was the perfect end to the week, even if she had to dash off to get her Louie cat to the vets.

Life here is a full as ever.  The hubby is still working every hour god sends.  The kids are dancing 3 nights a week and we’re about to put an advert out for a partner for our wee man.  Much as I’d love them to dance together, my blood pressure really can’t stand it. The pinch and stomp and whinge and whine and it’s just not worth it. Maybe in a couple of years, but not right now.

I’m on the home stretch with the current studies.  I’ve an exam next week and then two more modules and I’m done for this year.   The jury is out whether I’ll do next year.  Which is actually an 18 month course.  I may bunk off and do something fun like a photography course or a couple of weeks of sewing in London (subject to being able to figure out a solution to childcare other than locking them in a cupboard.  Apparently social services frown on that.  Odd! 😉 )

I have much to share with you but it is so grey here that I struggle to get enough light for decent photos.  But…spring is coming, and then I’ll catch up.

There are knits, almost a quilt, and….drumroll….the sewing room.  As soon as I’ve finished the binding on this quilt that Ma made, I can finally, finally go into the sewing room and get to it.  First up is blinds.  Preferably before the clocks change.

I can make 4 roman blinds in 3 weeks, right? (cue hysterical laughter).

I’ve got a review for a great Craftsy course on the topic of curtain making.  So much to share.

But for now, I can share some super good news.  Some of the best.  As you know we’re having rafts of tests and meetings with various medical and educational peeps to try to get to the bottom of some challenges our wee monsters are up against.  Last night we learned that the boy definitely doesn’t have ADD or ADHD and we’re 95% sure he’s not on the autistic spectrum.  We’ll have final confirmation on that within about a month. We are narrowing the field and it feels good.  Once we hit upon an answer it informs the support strategies we can put in place for them.  This also speeds things up for him as the Autistic Spectrum Pathway (the route to a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder) is currently are 49 week waiting list in our area.  Which is shameful.

So, on that happy note I’m off to pin the final stretch of binding so I can spend a happy evening stitching with wine tonight.

Have a great weekend full of the fun things you love to do.


Eight

The birthdays seem to come in a flurry at this time of the year, hard on the heels of Christmas and New Year.  But, they are welcomed as such a blessing.  Happy, sparkly days in the midst of cold, grey, wet wintriness.

This weekend our sweet boy turned eight.

I can’t believe that the sad wee man who came home to us 7 years ago is now this charming, funny, delightful boy.

Pictures like these still break my heart. He has overcome so many challenges, and still has a way to go.  But whatever he faces, we face together.

And the tricky bits are always overshadowed by the joy and pride we all feel.

Oh, my darling boy.  We are so incredibly lucky to have you in our lives.  The year without you was the hardest every, but I’ll say now what I said then.  You were, and remain, worth the wait.

You are like a permanently lit sparkler, fizzing with light and energy.  Never let anyone dampen that spirit.  Your determination to succeed and competitive spirit will take you to good places.

As will that adorable smile.

Happy birthday, Handsome.  We love you beyond worlds and beyond words.


9

Our gorgeous girl is 9 today.

When they say that the days are long but the years are short, they aren’t kidding. Tempus fugit indeed!

Darling girl, you are such a blessing to us all.  Yes…you are strong willed, stubborn and opinionated, but in this world you will need all those strengths in spades.  More important though are your kindness, wacky sense of humour, enormous heart and quick mind.

You are our little flamingo in a world of pigeons, and today we celebrate that, and you.

We love you, Button.

To the moon and stars and back…with sprinkles and icing and chocolate on top!


A heartfelt thank you

summer_kirkby_oct_2016

Thank you all for the kind words and good wishes on my last post.  I cannot tell you how much they mean to our family.  We are grateful for your friendship.

Ma is very much better.  We’ve had the all clear on blood clots, so that’s a huge relief.

The plasterer starts work in 3 weeks, closely followed by the decorator.  I need to get my act together and choose a colour scheme for the sewing room!

And Miss B had her best competition yet at the weekend.  She reached the quarter-finals for the Pas De Bas, semi-finals for her Cha-Cha, and placed 5th for her Waltz. That’s her waltzing in the picture above.

Mr B had a shock weekend and didn’t place at all.  It’s caused a bit of a ripple of discussion (not just at our dance school) as to why, but it’s so subjective, and he can’t win them all. Losing graciously is a life skill he’s not quite mastered. We’re working on it!

I’ll be back soon with another finished project.  You’ll be hard pushed to guess what it is.

Or maybe not 😉


Seasons

I’m in a reflective mood so no knitting or sewing to share at the moment.  I’ll be back soon with some new socks to share. 

The seasons have turned and autumn is with us.  This is without question my favourite season. Crisp mornings. Mist. Warm boots.  Cosy sweaters.  A legitimate reason to stay indoors with tea, cake and knitting.  But the best weather for walking in the park before curling up on the sofa.

We are surrounded by trees in our new house so I can stand at the window and watch the leaves falling in a shower of gold, copper, russet and bronze and chase each other up and down the drive and garden on the wings of a chill wind.

It’s something of a melancholy season but one I always embrace.  I always feel most like me at this time of the year.

But the season of our life here has turned too.  Ma had a TIA a few weeks ago. She’s lost sight in one eye, but we are considering ourselves immensely lucky that this is currently the only long term damage. She’s doing well and is at home, knitting and sewing and galavanting around with her friends just like she always did. She has more tests to be done, and the hospital is keeping a close eye on her, but, fingers crossed, other than the eye all is well.

We have also entered a new season with the kids.  As you know they are adopted, but what you probably don’t know is that they had a fairly rough start in life and, as such, are now facing some big challenges; emotionally, physiologically and educationally.  We have spent much of their lives engaged with the medical profession.  First for divergent squints and in-turned feet. For speech and nasal problems. We are currently awaiting ear surgery for the boy.

Now we are lining up tests for a raft of potential diagnoses.  Or non at all.  Imagine a skein of alpaca thats been played with by a basket of kittens.  It’s like trying to untangle that!

It’s unsettling for all of us.  And the system is neither sufficiently resourced nor imbued with any sense of urgency.  This could take us years to fully explore.

It would help if there was any sense that the Educational, Paediatric and Social services operated in anything other than silos.  But it is what it is.  And we are united as a family and with school to push back against the system until we get the children the answers they need.

So as you can imagine it’s pretty busy here.  As the nights draw in I’m drawing up battle plans to get everyone the support they need.  I’m working in the house to build us a safe haven and fortress where everyone has their space, and we can come together with family and friends to eat and play and relax.  Husband is taking the business forward and is securing our future. I’m immeasurably proud of him too. Earlier this week we hit the final marker for our five year plan.  It’s taken us only 2 and half years to do it.  We’re a pretty awesome team and have achieved so much together that neither of us would have managed on our own.

We are squirrels…harvesting our nuts and storing them until they are needed, and building our nest.

Thankfully there is lots of fun stuff happening too.  And though I would probably sell one of the children for a decent nights sleep and a plate of posh pasta, I’m counting our blessings as they considerably outweigh the challenges.

But here are my happiest moments this month.   I’m sorry for the grainy pictures.  I’m not sorry for being the most ridiculously proud and boastful mother in all creation.

summer_blackpool_2016

Miss B dancing her way the the quarter finals of the biggest dance competition of the year at the Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool.  Last year the Irish teams, who are amazing, swept the board.  This year, they didn’t have it all their own way.  Quarter finals after one year of dancing, against girls who have danced since they could walk (I’m not kidding). It is such a huge achievement it takes my breath away.  Especially from a girl who is falls behind her peers in so many other ways, and who struggles so hard every day to keep focused on the task in hand.

d_blacpool_oct_2016_edited-1

Shortly after this picture was taken Mr D forgot his routine.  His lovely partner said “don’t worry, I’ll dance around you until you remember”.  So she did.  And he remembered.  And he placed second in the final!  He also placed first in the quickstep.  He was the only boy on the floor leading a partner. Every other boy had a teacher with them.  He’s 7.  He wept with joy when he came first.  I wept with pride. Only a few short years ago he couldn’t walk into a shop without becoming hysterical and terribly distressed.  Now he leads a girl onto a dance floor in front of a crowd of hundreds of people.

sd_blackpool_oct_2016

A very emotional pair. He’d just placed first in the quickstep.

Guess how proud I am of them?   My kids are awesome.


Hand made frocks and new houses

I just wanted to say a big thank you to all who have commented on the last couple of posts.

I read your comments to Miss B and she was so genuinely touched by the kindness of your words that it filled my heart with joy.  You guys are the best and have done such a Very Good Thing for one small girl.

flamingo_8

I am eternally grateful.

Thanks also for your kind words about the new house.  We’ve been here just over a week and it feels like home.  We have so much more space to breathe, and the proximity to family and the park for walks and play has improved our quality of life no end.

As soon as my trades are available the work begins on making it home.  I need plug sockets and coving (crown moulding) before I can start to decorate.  Some of the decorating will be done by the decorator but I’ll be doing some of it myself.

If I can get the sewing room and office decorated and unpacked, that’s the worst of it done. I also need the sewing room ready so I can get to work on the blinds and curtains we need for each room.   So. Many. Blinds!

This is what the sewing room looks like today!

sewing_room_before_edited-1

The wallpaper is depressing, and we’ve lots of stuff that needs to go to other rooms, but….it’s going to be AWESOME!

Wood floors, view over the front garden and masses of space.  I’ll have a table for my sewing machines, a custom height cutting table and plenty of storage for all my patterns, books, notions and fabric.

Fingers crossed I can get to it fairly quickly once the kids go back to school in September. Until then we are just chillin’ and enjoying usually lovely weather for this part of the world.