Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Sale in my Etsy Shop! and Day 22

Just a quickie - I am joining in with my networking friends to offer different things every day - and today its WEBSITE WEDNESDAY. As such, I am offering a 10% sale in my Etsy shop if you quote the code:

When I have time I will update you with whats happening on other days.

Day 22 Change:

I need to work out what to change on my embroidery machine to stop it doing this - a habit it started last night, and I am not a happy bunny!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Photo a Day in May days 20 and 21

Following the Fat Mum Slim photo a day challenge (although I have missed a few days).

Day 20 Light

This was actually taken on Saturday (day 18), but we didnt really have any light on Monday, so I am pushing it a little by including it. No editing in this photo - the light in the sky just looked this gorgeous!

Day 21. I care about this...

 It occurred to me (obviously) to photograph my children, my husband, and I almost chose a photo from the Charity I run (Called Common Sense - details here), but that wouldnt be a today photo - so I thought about my business, and what I care about  - and its this: I care that all my dolls and toys and softies are made and tested to comply with all safety regulations (EN71-3). Its not the easy, cheap route, but its important, and its something I am very proud of! I know they are SAFE and legal to sell!

Love Sarah

Monday, 20 May 2013

Grommets and Festivals


Its been a busy old week for us this week. On Thursday, Isla had Grommet surgery (her second time), and was an absolute superstar! She was given a Monkey whom she called "Grommet" the night before to help her sleep (we had many sleepless nights leading up to the surgery as she has a great understanding of medical procedures, due to Lucas' special needs), and other than a few wobbles when talking with the anaethetist as she wanted to convince him to put her to sleep with gas rather than with a cannula (which he agreed to), she was incredibly brave - visibly shaking, but holding it together tremendously. When we got home, I gave her a supersoft toy rabbit which a friend had made her. Her recovery has been great - you can tell when she is next due painkillers, as she gets really grumpy, but she has gone back to school this morning.

Tamar Barn Dancing!


On Saturday, a Family Friend of ours had a festival to celebrate her 40th Birthday!  It was a truly awesome event - with every kind of entertainment you could imagine. There will be hundreds of pics, but here are our experiences. Lots of people camped overnight, but we thought that Isla might still be a bit fragile for that.
The Birthday girl in a Sumo suit!

Balloon Animals

2 bouncy castles!
Rockers/soft play

Big Connect 4

Various crafts

Magic show!

Face Painting

Tug of war
Talented band!
Lucas got to announce supper!

Fish and Chip supper!
Barn Dance

It really was the most amazing party we have ever been to, and Tamar and her family are beyond awesome to have pulled it off! Thanks for letting us be part of it all Tamar!

My favourite photos of the day:

My Festival girl:

Lucas laughing!

(For local people who want good people - the magic show was Mr Merlin (and Okey Dokey the Dragon)
and the amazing Face Painting was done by Diamond Faces

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Day 14

Photo a Day in May Challege Day 14


This has been going round my head all day - and I have had so many trite thoughts about what I need: Various sewing machines (obvious), Children (ditto), To clean my sewing machines (had a malfunction - took the cleaning brush to all 3 and had an embarassingly large pile of fluff that I couldnt quite bring myself to photograph), Sleep (really bad few nights - but wasnt sure whether to just take photo of my haggard face?!), Time, etc (you get the idea)

Its been a rough day - I have felt pulled in all directions, almost all of my own making, and it has come to this. 

What I really need is Balance!

I am trying desperately to keep my business moving forwards - and it feels at times like I am getting somewhere, but in order to keep it moving, I spend every evening on the computer uploading, marketing, networking and so on, and then I spend very little time with Iain. I spend all day sewing, without really taking a break which means that by the time I pick the children up from school I am grumpy, hungry and have a headache, so they get the worst of me. Lucas has medical appointments and admissions coming up, and I am getting stressed working out how to fit work around them, when really he should have all of my time. Isla has an operation on Thursday, so will need my undivided attention for a few days - in which case Lucas, Iain and work suffers. I literally have no idea how to create balance. I know its possible, and I know the sewing thing is my decision - I am doing it because I want a role, a purpose, and because we need money, but I wonder almost every day what I should be doing differently to make things work better for me in my roles.  No one gets the best of me right now, not even myself. I am often on the verge or tears or screaming, and there is no reason for that except that I cannot create this balance that I so desperately need!

Love Sarah

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Photo Day 12 and a Craft Fair

Day 12


This photo was taken 10 years ago the day after Lucas had open heart surgery. It was the first time he had his ventilation tube taken out and I was able to get close to him. This absolutely isnt all that being a mother is to me - there are more good days, and more happy moments than there are hard, and yet - always, every minute and every day I have memories like this, and thoughts of equally hard times (or worse) in our future. We dont know whether Lucas will live longer than us, whether he may any day become very ill very quickly, so motherhood is always so incredibly precious and so scary every day. Never for a moment do I take being Lucas' Mum (nor Isla's of course) for granted, because I may not get to be his mother for as long as I would like.

The Great Wimborne Craft and Bake Sale

Found a link to this fair yesterday on Facebook . Persuaded the children to go because I mentioned cakes about a hundred times, so we did that thing where we say we will get ready, then about 1.5 hours later we are actually all in the car with picnic packed. God - it all takes so much time at the moment!

Anyway, the first (and best) thing we did was pay £2 to decorate a teacup and saucer. Lucas was very hesitant to start with (the story of his life atm tbh), but eventually joined in. Isla was so incredibly intense the whole time, and took around 45 minutes to decorate a tiny cup and saucer.
Lucas did this! Complete fluke obviously, but fab!

Lucas drew the spirals, and Iain got stuck in colouring in the gaps!
Very busy work - painting a rainbow!

We did the decorating with Sharpie pens, then when we got home had to put them in a cold oven, turn it on to 180degrees, then leave to harden in the oven for 30 minutes (if you fancied having a go). They look fabulous actually, and has convinced me even more than lots of pins on Pinterest that I really need some Sharpies in my life ;-)

Then we had a look at other stalls, and bought some fabulous cakes from a stall called Bakery Boxx. We took the cakes and went outside for our picnic. It was, honestly getting bloomin freezing by this point, and Iain and Isla seemed to suffer the most. Iain put on every layer he could find in the car, and Isla decided that she needed my hoodie as well as hers!

We had pretty much just finished eating when the rain came, so hurried indoors to get a last look at the stalls. Isla spent her pocket money fairly wisely on two lucky dips, and Lucas decided that his would be best spent on one more slice of amazing chocolate cake from the Bakery Boxx, which they shared for pudding. The fair seemed to have a large footfall (most of whom were carrying bags of goodies) a good choice of stalls, and nothing quite like I make, so I will certainly make enquiries to have a stall at the next one.
Love Sarah

Photo and Fortune Tellers

Day 11 of Photo A Day in May:


Slightly cheating today on this one, as I have used two photos and because Its not 'work/business' related in the slightest, but both my kids blessed me with great smiles today - so it seemed unfair to make me choose whose to share. 

Fortune Tellers

So - Isla has got really into paper aeroplanes, and so I was pondering some easy and fun origami for her. Then my mind wandered back to my childhood, and I remembered paper "fortune tellers". I asked friends on Facebook who knew how to make them, as it was very vague for me, and got linked to this fabulous Youtube video. We set to work, and had a marvelous time working out how to make them. To start with, we had some trouble getting our folds accurate, but we improved, and got some made. I managed to make mine work well, but it was just too big for Islas hands, so then we made some teeny tiny ones, which worked better. I had vague notions of writing things inside them, so started with vague 'yes' 'no' parts under the flaps - and then remembered colours for the top flaps, numbers in the middle, and 8 different options underneath. I havent got a good photo of our final design, but if people cant remember how to make them, and want to give it a go, I can go and get it out of Islas bed where its resting at the moment ;-)

Many amusing questions followed - with Lucas throughly getting in on the game and the action. We even did that thing where you write the names of who you might marry on them (with one horrendous option), and the kids each did it. We let the Fortune Tellers decide what we would have for supper, pudding, if Iain was smelly, if trains were boring and many more things. Great, easy activity for a rainy day - cant recommend it enough!

Love Sarah

Friday, 10 May 2013

Photo a Day In May Challenge Day 10

So - todays theme is STARS.

Took forever to get any inspiration from this, and some peoples photgraphs I saw posted on FB were so amazing that I just didnt feel it. Was going to stitch out a star on something of Lucas', as have been meaning to do that anyway. Then I looked across at Lucy (embroidery machine) working hard, and realised I had been a numpty! It was literally star(r)ring me in the face!

(apologies if the colour is a little off - my screen has gone bonkers, and I cant seem to mend it without pushing "auto correct" again and making it all bright and garish all over again)

Will keep at my Tweeting lessons with Iain, and hopefully actually tweet this with the correct Hashtags, and not make a faux pas of some kind (which I have been doing a lot, so he tells me!). Take it easy on me if you see me in Twitter land though guys? 

Love Sarah

Thursday, 9 May 2013

About a (blind) boy

Update: I wrote this post last year as a guest post for Rachel at Imagine Gnats but I realised looking through my blog that its not easy to find information about our journey with our son Lucas, so thought I would reshare it tonight, as he is filling my mind with concerns and complications for the future. We are dealing with new issues, and I will attempt to blog about them in the coming weeks, so wanted to remind my older followers, and inform my newer followers before I get stuck in!
i is for button 200
So, I am really excited to write a guest post for Rachael at Imagine Gnats, and have spent a long time wondering what to write. Do I write about being English (I think most of the other guest bloggers aren't), do I write about something crafty that I am up to? Or maybe even a tutorial?, but it is the Easter holidays here, and the thing which is most on my mind is my son Lucas - so here goes:

About a (blind) boy: 

Lucas was our first child, born in June 2002. He is the most incredible, funny, talented, magnetic boy in the world. He also carries a huge list of diagnoses, which don't describe him, but they are a huge part of who he is - here goes:
Septo Optic Dysplasia
Optic Nerve Hypoplasia
Partial Agenisis of the Corpus Collosum
Agenisis of the Septum Pellucidum
Migratory Brain Cysts
Retinal Aplasia
Tetralogy of Fallots
Low Gut Motility
Sensory Processing Dysfunction
Gonadotropen dependent precocious puberty

He is blind (he reads and writes Braille and uses a long cane and echo location to move around), he has life-threatening and life limiting medical conditions, which require medications from 7am til 11.30pm everyday. He has intramuscular injections, sub-cutaneous injections and can never be left in the care of someone who isn't medically trained.

Having a child with severe disabilities is an incredible journey - it challenges your ideals, your parenting, your belief system, definitely your marriage and family relationships and your ability to cope. I don't always cope - I have intermittent depression and anxiety, I don't sleep well, I eat either too much or not enough, and I am going grey!  My husband and I have survived - although we have times when we become insular, when we don't communicate and when we just don't like each other very much!  I question my parenting almost on an hourly basis and am known by professionals and other parents as a control freak.  If it weren't for the support of other parents, then we would not have had the confidence and understanding that professionals aren't always right - and our son would not have survived if we had not found the amazing team at Great Ormond Street Hospital.  I am truly thankful for the National Health Service in this country every single day. without it I'm sure either Lucas would be no longer be with us, or we would be bankrupt.

We are so busy trying to get help, support, advice, provision and medical intervention for our children, that often it is hard to have our own personal voice - but being Mum to Lucas is an enormous part of who I am. I have learned a lot medically, I can read and write Braille, I am now a Mobility Instructor and we run a charity loaning out long white canes to Visually Impaired children across the UK (and are the only people to do this).

People ask how I cope - and the answer from me isnt that different to the answer my friends with disabled children give - because I have to, and mostly I really enjoy it.  For me, firstly study (I earned a BSc from the Open University) and then crafting are essential for my well-being.  I craft, I think, because it is something that I do just for me, something that isn't connected to being Lucas' Mum.  I am not the most skilled crafter in the world, nor the most unusual or original, but it is my thing - and crucial.

Here is a poem which is known to most parents of children with disabilities, but not so much by other people.  I think it is brilliant!


by Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

And here are some through the years shots of my truly remarkable, one-in-a-million boy:

Love Sarah xxx