Websites I Am Always Talking About

I probably don’t frequent as many websites as most people, sticking to Facebook and Google Reader for the blogs that I enjoy.  However when I am talking to people about the things I love I often mention certain websites and am not always ina position to write them down.  The goal of writing this post is for people to refer to my blog for my favourite sites!

The Book Depository – There is a UK site as well as others in other countries.  It is a place to buy lots of different books at greatly reduced prices and there are no shipping costs.  They seem to send the books as soon as they have them available so when I made my first order a few months ago I actually received three separate parcels in the mail – good fun all in itself!  As an example of the possible savings, I bought two knitting books which sell for $45 each here and by using Book Depository I paid about $22 each.

Strawberry.net – I was put on to this site quite recently by a good friend when my skin was suffering from the cold and dryness and I was finding that my products froma rather cheap direct sales company were irritating my skin and not being very effective at all.  Back in the day, before children, mortgages and financial strife I used to use Clinique products and loved them.  I had given them up because they were simply too expensive and I was finding that I used them too sparingly to do any good.  Now I am back to using Clinique, having paid very low prices to get some items and my skin is really showing the benefits and feeling fantastic.  There is no shipping coast and extremely fast service.  Just as an aside, the same friend put me onto Blinc mascara. It is seriously the best mascara ever and lasts through absolutely everything because it actaully puts little “tubes” of mascara around each lash which stay there until rubbed gently with a wet washcloth.  When you rub them off you can actually see the little tubes on the washcloth and there is no residue smudged around the eyes.  Obviously they are very fine tubes and there is no ill-effect on the lashes. To quote Molly Meldrum, if you are a mascara wearer, “do yourself a favour” and try some of this stuff because it really is wodnerful!

CafePress – I am very happy to be the owner of two knitting t-shirts and one teaching t-shirt from this fantastic site.  There are shirts, sweaters and a range of other products with slogans and graphics for almost any occupation or hobby you could dream of.  It is worth a browse just for the entertainment value of what sayings they have on offer. My knitting shirts are “I knit so I don’t kill people” and “Keep calm and carry yarn”.  My teaching shirt is “I teach, what’s your superpower?”  There is some shipping cost but the service is faultless and they are a very good quality product.

Ravelry – Whenever I am talking to someone who is beginning to knit or crochet I invariably ask them if they have been on Ravelry.  It is a networking site for knitting, crochet and spinning and has thousands of members who share patterns, yarns and finished projects.  You can sign up for free and either browse through what’s on offer or start your own Ravelry “notebook” with pictures of your projects and links to the patterns and yarns used as well as where you obtained them.  because of all these notebooks you can search for a type of project or yarn and find almost countless results.  It is very useful for when you want ideas for a particular item like beanies or tea cosies or if you are deciding on whether to use a particular yarn or pattern.  Just make sure you have a spare 4-5 hours to spend browsing if you decide to have a look.

FlyLady – As I get back on my feet quite literally I am using and will continue to use FlyLady.  It is all about organising yourself and your house to take the best possible care of yourself and your loved ones.  I could write pages about how good her system is but it would be far better to just pay the FlyLady a visit and check her out for yourself.


So It’s A Stay-Cation

I’m still trying to resign myself to spending the Easter holidays at home *every single day* and in the meantime I’ve been doing every Easter activity I can do with the boys that involves sitting down and producing something worthwhile.

So far we have blown out eggs and attempted to dye them with crepe paper with wildly varying results (more of that in another post).  We also made  rudimentary egg baskets/nests with plastic bowls and feathers.  They were nothing like the ones on the site that I got the idea from but the boys did them all by themselves and are very pleased with them.

Then we made goo – the old classic with corn-flour and water.  This has kept both boys happy for over half an hour so far and Daniel is still very happily pottering downstairs with a big messy baking tray of goo after trying to see just how much goo he could plaster over his big brother – as you do!  Eric has gone off to take more photos to document the process and I’m planning on showing them this clip from the Myth Busters show which examines whether or not it is possible to walk on goo.

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The View from Here

The camera worked for long enough this afternoon to get a shot of my very unattractive ankles in socks and splints.  They look a bit powdery because I need to put on prickly heat powder before the socks so I don’t get driven mad with itching and it certainly makes me glad not to be in plaster.

Today hasn’t been a good day.  I’ve been down, teary and tired all day.  It was a combination of things.  I was still pathetically exhausted after my trip to hydrotherapy yesterday, today was bit of an anti-climax because I wasn’t going anywhere and I’m not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.  Hydrotherapy will only continue once it is approved by Work Cover as I already had had the five automatically allowed physio sessions while in hospital.  It is really my only prospect of getting out of the house because we will be reimbursed for the cab fare.  I’m not able to drive yet and I don’t know how long it will be before I get behind the wheel.  If I was to get taken somewhere like a shopping centre I would have to hire a wheelchair and then have someone to push it.  The potential “someones” are either a bit old to be pushing me in a wheel chair or they have small children to deal with.  We can’t afford to spend any money on cabs that will not be reimbursed as my work prospects are going to be limited once again and for who knows how long.

Dh is working full time 5 days a week and may be doing overtime on Saturday and of course the boys are at school.  They will be off on holidays at the end of next week but we will still be housebound because it is too far from here to get to any public transport and we cannot afford cabs.  The book club girls took me out last night for coffee and book discussion but I came away from that realizing that everyone is still really busy and the fact that I am out of action doesn’t change that.  So while plenty of people have asked, “What can I do to help?”, I’ve really only been able to ask for people to bring the boys home from school and even that was quite difficult to organise.  Life goes on as normal for everyone else which means they don’t have time to stop for visits or cups of tea.  Everyone balances multiple roles and has a busy schedule including me when I’m not on crutches.  So I can hardly ask someone to pick me up and cart me around in a wheelchair and no one really has spare time to spend here with me.  I think all of that hit home for me this afternoon and I felt really black.

The flood of phone calls and text messages that happened while I was in hospital has dried up to almost nothing.  I’m lucky if I get two texts in a day and no one has time for phone calls these days.  There isn’t really much to say either because I don’t know when things will improve with my ankles and there is nothing happening here at home.

I also realised that I wouldn’t be able to get to Weight Watchers tomorrow night as I had planned because the boys have hockey training.  I cannot ask them to miss it as they missed out already last week while I was in hospital and it is on every Thursday so with great sadness I changed my Weight Watchers subscription to “on-line only” even though I need it and the meetings especially now more than I ever have before.  My weight has made this whole injury thing even more complicated and I really can’t see things improving while I am so sedentary and while I am relying on everyone else to supply me with food.

Dh really is doing all he can.  In fact he has been quite legendary since I’ve been home.  He sets up the lounge room each night ready for me the next day with the TV left on stand-by, the remotes all put where I can reach them and most importantly, makes sure that the floors throughout the house are almost completely free of clutter.  We are both terrified of what could happen if a crutch slipped on something that shouldn’t be there and went out from under me.  He gets the bathroom ready for me to take a shower each night with the transfer bench half in and half out of the bath and everything where I can reach it.  Then he puts on my socks and splints for me afterwards in the lounge.  I get a coffee made for me in the morning before they leave and yesterday he left a ham and cheese sandwich in the fridge and the sandwich toaster out on the bench.  I was so glad to find that when I got home from hydro!

As for the boys, the novelty has well and truly worn off.  They are usually very put out when I ask them for anything or to do something for them because it takes them away from their all important computer games.  And of course, their projects and activities must always come first.  Eric was very impatient for me to get to the computer and help him fix a flyer he was making this evening and kept coming out to ask me when I’d be there despite the fact that I didn’t have my splints back on.  The flyer was about him offering his services as a cross country coach for the the other kids at school but that’s another story!

My parents came to help out today but even that is a mixed blessing.  While I truly love that our bathroom got cleaned and the sheets on my bed were changed I didn’t need to be told that I must not apply for any job until I am off crutches, that knitting is waste of money (again!) and that I really must do something about my weight.  (If I didn’t already know the last one it was brought home to me when I had to crawl up our back stairs on the night of my fall!).  I know they mean well and they are really the only ones that are in a position to offer us any help but some moral support and encouragement would be nice once in a while.

That is the end of my whining for now.  There are some good things happening.  Unlimited time to knit, stitch, read and watch TV. Time to read lots of stories to Daniel.  I get to sleep in because there is nothing to get up for and I would be in the way during morning rush hour anyway.  I have a couple of projects to tackle –  writing and researching some pieces for the school magazine and doing the “end of season” achievement cards and certificates for Little Athletics.  The latter is an enormous but tedious job but I certainly don’t have the excuse of not enough time to do it.

It’s awful to say this but I am dreading today (I’m writing this after midnight which shows how ell my sleeping pattern is going).  I’m going to miss a couple of my regular Thursday activities, my ankles will still hurt and I will still have the long day on my own.  But I guess I just have to take a deep breath and think “this too shall pass”.


The Love Fest

I like St Valentine’s Day but dh does not.  Where once he used to go along with the whole present and going out thing he now refuses to participate at all.  I knew I’d be “flogging a dead horse” if I tried to do anything about the big day with him this year so instead I decided to focus on the three men in my life.  The boys will hopefully learn a bit about simple celebrations and ways in which you can show people you love them.  I wouldn’t suggest it now but maybe they will store away some ideas for when they have “sweethearts” of their own.  So I’ve had a bit of fun getting tready for our mini Love Fest which we held tonight.

I got the Valentine’s Wreath Idea from here.  Mine is quite different in that I went with flat felt hearts in a rich red and I got the wield my new hot glue gun.  The finished effect is simple but well, effective I think.  The rest was easy: red plastic tablecloth (boys eating spaghetti – I shouldn’t need to say anything else on that subject), white serviettes with hand-painted hearts, some red heart sequins sprinkled up the middle of the table, red tea-lights in our special rose decorated wall sconce and the “piece de resistance” (as far as the boys were concerned) chocolate heart rose buds on long plastic stems.

We dined on spaghetti bolognaise with choc mint drumsticks for dessert anda good time was had by three of us.  Vera the dog was intrigued by all the goings-on and desperate to be included.  She did score some leftover spaghetti sauce in the end!

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Focus on Finishing

I often have some friendly discussion with my knitting friends about finishing things.  Many people dislike the process of sewing things together that they have knitted, some are just so busy with so many projects that they rarely get time to finish things and some others are starting things so often that they just never seem to finish them. After quite disciplined start to my knitting career I’ve found that I have a few projects on the go as well as some unfinished cross stitch projects and a few projects that are just waiting to be started.  As I don’t yet have a regular income flowing in I’m going to focus on finishing some things in the next few months so that I’m not spending money on stash and it frees up some of my craft storage space.  I’m doing a little happy dance tonight because this evening I have finished the Wee Wonderfuls Santa Sacks that I started for the boys before Christmas.  I’m just going to focus on the fact that I am very prepared for Christmas 2011.  White pillowcases with red stitching for Daniel and green stitching for Eric has been combined to make something I’m rather proud of and the boys like them too! Here’s what I hope to be “finishing” this year: Cross-stitch – tropical vacation window (will be for Fiona) birth record for Rhys (hopefully BEFORE the child starts school!) Janlynn “Dolly Mama” cross stitch about housework (I’ve got this one and other one that I would like to make into pillows) Knitting – Mikayla’s Yellow Scarf – is measuring about 40cm now so I’m well on the way! Noro Shawl – will be finished very soon Dream Blanket – will take a looong time but is going to be beautiful Citron Shawlette for Trish Z with Malabrigo lace weight yarn – this one is sitting for a while as I wait for lace needles New Job Swing Vest – sigh! perhaps it will be for a new new job! Candy Stripe Cardigan -I have to admit for the sake of accountability that this isn’t officially finished but it is waiting for two buttons.  In theory, I could finish it tonight! Cross Stitch to start Christmas Ornament on plastic canvas for Luke – the surprise nephew who made his appearance after I’d done decorations for his siblings Knitting to start South African Silk Scarf – with silk yarn and contrast yarn. Silk yarn was bought for me by Fiona and Crawford in South Africa. Leaf Purse Lavender bags for Mother’s Day stall “Roar” dinosaur beanies for Daniel and Jed Wonderball scarf in white and pastels – yummy! Knitting that I might start: long cowl type thing that A is thinking of having as a knit along a “flood bear” – I was thinking of a pastel colour with “muddy” feet a cool hat for Eric because Daniel will have his special beanie. Crochet I might start: NONE – I just put that in the get Alix’s attention because no matter what she says I do not crochet!


Just One Piece

I’m playing along with Hellowl’s My Place and Yours this week and the theme is to choose one piece of furniture from your house that you would take if you could only take one piece across t

he country.  I thought about my desk

first which is a

 

recycled white wooden kitchen table with a green and white laminex top.  I do spend a lot of time here but there probably are better des

 

ks out there.

I’m such a dag.  I couldn’t live anywhere now without my Ikea storage unit inherited from my boys who used it for their trains and now has been re-purposed as my craft centre.  It is not particularly beautiful but is extremely functional and it makes me happy to sink into the recliner beside it and choose something to play with.


School Holidays – Staying in the Groove

The boys are on holidays and I am not, but we are dealing with it.  I did flex off from work today so I could take Eric and his cousin Emma to a “Softie” workshop at Threads and More.  It was really Emma’s 8th birthday present but we sent Eric along for company.  I know children should learn to make their own fun and be able to amuse themselves in the holidays.  But I think it is good to have some structured activity in there especially if it involves learning something new and producing something you are really proud of.

As for the rest of the holidays we’re farming out the boys to various different places and dh will have some time off.  But to keep our sanity we will still be going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, trying to eat regular meals, trying to keep up with the laundry and the house.  Because we didn’t have sporting commitments last weekend I took the boys and two friends to work so that they could experience the event that I’ve been working so hard on and that took up most of Saturday.  It was  just marvelous to be able to stroll around after them and interact with all the different elements that I had been working on.  As it is a “Great Train Robbery” Daniel spent a total of two hours (in two different sessions) in the police station going through evidence and was thoroughly absorbed.  I’m going to have to make sure I keep his investigation sheet which was filled with wonderful Daniel hieroglyphics probably known only to him.  Eric was just as enthusiastic but was also keen to do the Blacksmiths tours and a few other things so I think I could safely take them up there during a non-event period and they would still be well occupied.

I’m planning another trip to the city museum on the weekend but we’ll have to fit it in with Eric’s sleepover plans.  I’d also like to see a movie or two with the boys.  I’m just getting used to the fact that we don’t have to do everything during the day and that they can handle some late nights if necessary.  Our holidays are going to be very different from now on but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun.