Friday 15 February 2013

This diet thing...

Over the years I've tried many diets from simple calorie counting to the more structured Weight Watchers™. I was most successful with Weight Watchers™ losing 30lbs in just six months, however keeping it off was a different tale and in the ensuing years I put it all back on plus a hell of a lot more.

No matter how hard I've tried since then I haven't been able to stick to any type of diet plan, people say things like 'you don't need to lose weight' and 'but you hardly eat anything anyway', they mean well but every time I look at my holiday photos there's this fat woman in them. No matter where I go, she's in all the photos. In some of them she pulls her belly in which results in a comedy image a la Barbara Windsor in an old Carry On film - I can see you smirking at the thought.

And then I heard about the Eat, Fast, Live Longer, The Fast Diet or the 5:2 diet. The premise is that you eat 'normally' for five days and then just consume 500 calories for the other two - not normally two consecutive days. I started almost three weeks ago and in the first two weeks lost 6lbs. I haven't struggled with hunger on the fast days which has surprised me hugely as I am a picker or a grazer - which is why it may appear to some that I don't eat much!

However, the reason I'm writing this is to share the best result so far while using this method. For the past six months I have had chronic knee pain, not helped with pain relief, physio, acupuncture or anything else. I am now pain free, I get a twinge now and again but nothing like the terrible pain that I was experiencing which was really getting me down. Apparently, when the body has no food to process it goes about doing a bit of DIY on its self, healing cells all over the place.

I know this option won't suit all people, but if you are curious then buy the book, it's by Michael Mosely and is half price almost everywhere at the moment! There are many variations on this diet and he covers them in the book - he also did a TV programme back in August about the plan - but recommends the 5:2 option.

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Saturday 20 October 2012

Something completely different! a quilting way anyhow!

A couple of Christmases ago, John bought me a lovely fat quarter bundle of flannels. They sat happily waiting in my stash until I had a plan for them and a few weeks before we went on holiday I decided it was time to slice into them. Stupidly I didn't do the maths properly and cut the strips just a little too big to fully utilise all the fabric but never mind, I improvised and here's the result!

A snugly lap quilt made as a 'rag' quilt - because I couldn't find, even in America, a backing width flannel. Luckily when I was trawling through Pinterest one evening I found this pattern which gave me the idea of how to finish mine! I'm pleased with the result - apart from the bits that keep falling off!

Now I just have one more WIP which just needs binding, I have promised myself that I'll finish it before I start anything else...

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Tuesday 18 September 2012

Greetings from California!

So here's a little blogette form the good ol' US of A! We've spent the last couple of weeks with our very good friends in Santa Rosa, California (the same friends who lived in Missouri).

We have had a wonderful time with sightseeing at both the coast and inland. We've been through forests, mountains, valleys and beaches. And of course we've shopped! Not a lot, just a little. Honestly. We promised that we wouldn't buy any extra cases to bring the stuff home in this time.

And yes, of course I've bought fabric! Not a lot, honestly. I bought mainly yardage as most of the stores I've visited didn't have much in the way of precuts which was a little disappointing as I'd got some things in mind. Most of the stuff I bought was in the sale so yards of Moda for $5.99 (about £4) just had to be bought! The non sale stuff worked out about £8 a yard which isn't bad either!

Ooh, nearly forgot! I bought a new seam ripper! Battery operated which will save me so much time as I am forever unpicking and restitching - it will also avoid those little accidents when the ripper gets caught in the fabric!!

You'll have to wait for the pics of fabric as it's all neatly packed away but for now here are some scenic shots!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The house used for the film 'The Birds'!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Mid morning sun, no trickery or edits

>>>>>>>>>>>>> Clam Chowder in a sour dough bread bowl!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Across San Francisco from the Coit Tower.

All good things come to an end, home on Thursday, back to the boys and Ben. We've Skyped a couple of times with Matt and Ben hasn't been in the slightest bit interested, I don't think he's missed us at all!

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Saturday 4 August 2012

A dogs tale...

I feel I need to blog! And this post is something I never thought I'd write!
A few weeks back, I started to think about suggesting to John that we should get a dog to keep him company when he retires in a few weeks. Just thinking, you understand, I'd had the odd google for rescue dogs, but was disappointed that they were nearly all Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Not a breed I liked at all. I said nothing until last weekend when we were in Dunelm and I was trying to think what I wanted to buy. We were standing near all their pet stuff. John said 'a cat basket?' I said 'do you want a cat then?' 'I've seen one on the notice board at work and I thought about it' 'what about a dog?' 'really, a dog? But you've never wanted one!'
And so to today, after a week of looking longingly at lots of cute dogs online only to find they'd already been rehomed and my absolute resistance to a Staffy, we've committed to picking up a Staffy tomorrow. His name at the moment is Patch but we are going to rename him to Ben. He's approximately 2 1/2 yrs old and was taken as a stray. Rehomed in January only to be returned to the kennels in May. and since then nobody has shown any interest in him.
When we arrived we were warned that he would be bouncy when he came out and he was - for all of five minutes! After that he ignored us and sniffed his way around the ground.
We took him for a short walk, each of us taking it in turns (Matt & Amanda came with us, David was at work) to walk him on the lead. He walked well, constantly checking back to see if we were still there, obeyed instructions like 'sit', 'down', 'paw' and 'roll over' (which wasn't a good idea in the mud Matt!). We decided there and then that he was the dog for us and I still can't quite believe it!
So, to the pet superstore on the way home to by him a bed, a crate, food, collar, lead and toys in readiness for bringing him home tomorrow. He's in need of a bit of TLC and fattening up, he's been stressed in kennels but he is otherwise in excellent health.
And now the fun begins. John will have a loyal companion to keep him company when he retires and Ben will have a loving home - a forever home as the kennels call it.
I know most of you will have seen the pictures on Facebook and Twitter but here he is anyway.

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Thursday 21 June 2012

Finally I can reveal....

What I was working on for so long! This is the first time I have made a quilt for somebody else, normally I make them and they sit in the cupboard!

I started this quilt last summer and got a bit frustrated with it, I'd bought it as a kit and have to be honest, it wasn't the best quality cotton I've worked with since I started quilting. It got put away but I knew I wanted to give it to Amanda for her 21st birthday. So in March I made a determined effort to persevere and finish it. I had to tweak the pattern a bit because the original instructions meant the diamonds weren't central, which was a bit strange. But finish it I did and with trepidation took it off to be long arm quilted. After all, I'm new to this, I wasn't sure if it would be good enough, what Janette would think about it, would she be able to work with it? Anyway my fears were unfounded and I was really pleased with the result.

I duly took took it home and bound it and can honestly say I'm so pleased with the result. I managed to keep it a secret from her - was caught out only on one occasion when they came round unexpectedly and I had to run upstairs to hide it. They were in Las Vegas for her birthday and only came home yesterday, so I'd waited so long to give it to her.

When I it home from work she was asleep on the sofa curled up under my first quilt so we woke her up to give her her present - I think she liked it!

She went straight back to sleep under it!

Thankfully she also found out yesterday that she has a job as a radiographer following completion of her degree course, we're all very pleased for her!

Anyway, here's a few more pictures of said quilt - posting this from the iPad doesn't give me quite the flexibility with the photos so I hope you can see them properly!

Before it was quilted


We opted for a blue thread and a swirly, Spirograph type pattern which really lifted the white.

A Moda cream for the backing!

A rare ray of sunshine!

That's all! For the first time since I started, I have nothing in progress - apart from the quilt I'm collecting tomorrow that I'll bind over the weekend - I need to get going again!

I can't work out how to link to Janette on here, but she works as J Quilts, in East Bergholt - give her a look on Google!

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Saturday 26 May 2012

Memory bags

Just thought I'd share a few of the bags I've made so far!

When I made the first batch, I made the bottom of the bag the fold and stitched down both sides. That was fine for the plainer fabrics but not for those with a pattern! I had some lovely fabric with buses and cars on - sadly they are upside down on one side of the bag :( never mind, lesson learnt!

I've also created a Facebook group called Bags and Blankets - quite a catchy title I thought, please feel free to add yourself if you'd like to join us!

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Wednesday 25 April 2012

Just a quick post....

....I know that some of you who read this are crafty types so hope you don't mind me putting out a bit of an appeal for the neonatal unit where I work ( I don't work in the neonatal unit but you know what I mean). They are asking for people to make 'memory' bags for the newbies that will be placed on the incubators for parents to place things like name bands and other bits and pieces in, as a memory of the time the baby spent in the unit, sadly some babies don't survive and for their parents it is helpful for them to have something to remember their littles by.

So what am I asking? Could you make a bag or two (amazingly we need about 500 a year) to help the unit out? Ideally they need to be about 9 inches square with a short drawstring along the top - like the slipper bags the kids take to school but smaller.

They don't need to be fancy - just a simple one colour/pattern fabric would do, perhaps a bit of appliqué if you feel the need, with a ribbon threaded through as the drawer string.

I'm going to have a go at the weekend and I'll share pictures then!

Thanks for reading, let me know if you can help!

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