Friday, 22 May 2015

Five on Friday

The past week has been a tough one for me physically.  I'm not going to dwell on it though.  For my Five Things this week I've chosen to share five of the little things which have made me happy and for which I am ever so grateful:

#1  Morris Men

A quintessentially British tradition of men dancing together with hankies in their hands and bells round their knees.  It can't fail to make you smile.

#2  Stupendously beautiful and aromatic stocks

A delightful 'whoopsie' purchase made in the supermarket whilst I was perusing the "Free From" section.  I often buy reduced flowers partly for budgetary reasons and partly because they are in flower and harder to walk past!!!  These were already in flower and continue to make the whole kitchen smell beautiful!

#3  Kitchen Dresser

I've mainly stayed in the house this week but instead of focusing on what I couldn't do I chose to find something that I could do.  I wanted something that I could come to and leave, which could be split down into smaller parts to make up a whole job over the course of a day and that would provide happiness to me.  Rearranging the display of china on my kitchen dresser always does this.  Part of the joy is in deciding what colours, which plates and items to select and part comes from seeing those pretty things each day on entering the kitchen.  Oh, I do so love a flowery, vintage plate!

#4  A Special Treat

When I saw what Jooles of the lovely blog Sew Sweet Violet shared some pictures of her recent Liberty fabric butterfly makes I completely adored them.  They really are my kind of thing and are so exquisitely sewn.  I felt that a naughty treat was just what I needed during a physically difficult week and it's true that the anticipation of a beautifully wrapped purple package winging it's way to my house was part of the joy!  I completely love this canvas and can't wait to hang it in my lounge once it is decorated.  Watch this space!

#5  Sports Day 

It seems that both of my children are Queen and King of the traditional "Egg & Spoon" race! (Both of my little winners are on the left of the photos in caps).  The school is divided into tribes named after different tribes in Kenya (Maasai, Luo, Kikuyu & Kamba) and each wear their tribe colours.  My children are part of the Kamba Tribe and so were wearing blue T Shirts.  These connections are made throughout the education within the primary school as it is twinned and contributes to schooling with one in Dabaso, Kenya hence the names of the school teams.  We fundraise through school events throughout the year and connect with some of the students attending the school in Kenya so this is a fun, educational and inspirational thing to be part of.

Last year the school sports day was rearranged 3 times due to weather issues meaning it had to be postponed on each previous occasion.  This year the first date was a beautiful sunny day - the days either side of it were torrential rain and wind!!  On the day in question though, the weather couldn't have been more wonderful and it meant that the end of next term won't be quite so manic with celebratory summer term activities.  My lovely Mum was up staying too and so she was able to watch the little ones race.  My children are very outdoorsy and athletic and competed with gusto on the day. The occasion provided so many things to be grateful for.

I hope too that there have been many Simple Things which you too have been grateful for this week.

I won't be around in this space much over the next couple of weeks.  We have half term next week here and we are away visiting family and enjoying a special visit to London too!  This will be the Little Ones' first visit to the 'Big Smoke' and they are very excited!  Of course I'll share some pictures on our return!  I know that this will impact me physically and so am just going to take the following week to help recover.  I've started instagram though - my brick sadly had to go to phone heaven and so I have succumbed to the android smart phone generation!  If you would like to see some pictures whilst I'm away I am @j9shappiness I am finding out that the camera on it is fairly pants but I'm enjoying seeing what some of you lovely people are doing in such an accessible way.  The laptop which I use for blogging is quite old and slow now and I tend to binge read on blogs a couple times a week as a result.  I love this little bloggy community though so after my little break I shall be back!  There are a few things on the hook at present and I can't wait to share!!!  
Enjoy the weeks ahead... until next time!

Today I'm delighted to be joining in with Amy for her Five on Friday linky party.

Happy Weekend Folks!!!
J9 x

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Five on Friday

I thought I'd share some of the crafty things I've been enjoying over the past couple weeks.

#1  Coastal Target Square Blanket

This blanket journey is nearing it's end.  I have been off my legs this week and have spent some of this time sewing squares together.  I'm sure there is a more efficient way of doing this than the process I've adopted!!  I think the border will have the mid shades of blue in to pull it all together.  I'm looking forward to completing this one and giving it a full Ta Dah moment!!

#2  Crochet & Embroidery Cushion

I've completed the crochet elements of these cushions and simply need to transfer the image in my mind to the linen I've selected.  Easier said than done I think and as I have been bed-bound for large parts of the day this week I haven't been able to start the embroidery / applique bit.  It will come though...

#3  Crochet Cushion Gift

I needed a simple and repetitive pattern to work on this week at various points when my brain was just too foggy.  I had this project in my mind.  I plan to gift it to my friend's darling boy for his first birthday.  I have started it with plenty of time to complete it with yarn from my stash.  I hadn't crocheted a circle for a while and so refreshed my memory using Attic24's flat circle tutorial.  Once started it was surprisingly quick and easy to work up.  The fun bit of creating its face and putting it all together is yet to come!!!

#4  Square cutting for Quilts

(No pictures as yet but as soon as there is something worth photographing I promise I will share!!!)
At the start of this year I set myself the target to make as many birthday gifts as I was able.  I have three boys birthdays looming in the next month and have decided to make them a single quilt each.  I'll have to do this on days when I am well enough to sit at the sewing machine but I plan to create them in a mini production line style!!!  I have some fabric stashed and also I saved many of the Little Man's shirts over the years which I plan to cut up and use.  This will be time rich but a thoughtful and thrifty gift I think.  I'm looking forward to using the sewing machine again.  It has been a while since I've used it creatively.

#5  A Project to Makeover

This is another skip type rescue - I actually was walking Milo and as the gent was about to put it in I asked politely if it could come home with me!  These parts actually make up a vintage sewing box.  I really love the shape of it and it shouldn't take too much to bring it back to life.  This little makeover will be my May Pretty Me project and I'm yet to make a start on it.  I have it in mind though, waiting for me to bring it to life again.

I hope you are enjoying this fine day.  I am completely shattered at present.  The slow release steroids have ended plus I'm fighting a viral infection which has all my glands reacting and swollen.  I have glands swollen where I didn't know I had them - I think that's the lupus!  This shall pass... and I'm due to have a review at the Rheumotology clinic in early June so I should get some more steroids then... so positivity to come.  

I hope you have a joyful weekend and have many happy moments in the week ahead.

J9 x

Today I'm delighted to be joining in with Amy and her wonderful linky party

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Oh, I do like to be beside the Seaside...

I mentioned here that I had visited my lovely mother in my home county of Cornwall the weekend before the Easter holidays.  The past few weeks have been a busy time and so I didn't get round to record this lovely visit earlier.  Now it is wet and cold outside I thought I'd take us back to a month ago when the sun was shining and the sky was blue!!!

The journey down was hideous - over four hours for a two and half hour journey.  I forget how much difference the tourist trade makes to the volume of vehicles on the road!  This was why we didn't go over the Easter holidays as we've previously done that and been stuck for hours.  We arrived safe and sound though so always thankful for that.

Anyhow, the weather was completely glorious.  We were so treated by the spring fairies and felt obliged to make the most of the sunshine with a very necessary trip to the sea.  Oh bluey turqouise waves... how I miss thee.

The kiddies played in fleeces and wellies in the sand.  Happy and content for the day.  It was bliss.

My mother and I enjoyed a seat at the top of the beach, drinking in the view and a flask of yummy hot chocolate.

Sporadically, the call for more shells, water or pebbles resulted in different combinations of our little group slowly combing the sands for longed for treasures.

I'm always so inspired by the seashore.  It completely replenishes my soul and I literally drink it in.

After some hard core sandcastle making and hot chocolate drinking there was some very enjoyable kite flying!  This is normally one of the busiest beaches (Fistral in Newquay) but apart from a number of local surfers we were the only family unit on the beach.  This always shocks me but it meant that the Littlie's could fly the kite without the fear of decapitating someone ;0)

The remainder of the days were spent playing at my Mum's house.  We didn't even make it to the park this time.  The Littlie's were content to play in her garden and actually spent most of their time building K'nex vehicles and racing them down the slope below.

This occasion was a very lovely and relaxed visit.  The Hubby had stayed behind for a boys weekend with his Uni buddies - and we were happy to be by the sea.  Positive stuff all round for our well-being!

Thank you all so much for the lovely comments many of you have left over the past few weeks.  I am so grateful for so many of your bloggy friendships.  I have lost a few followers over the past month so am sorry if my Journalling seems boring or repetitive.  I recognise that much of my blog has been family focused recently and that this won't appeal to everyone.  That is mainly the purpose of my little blog and so that won't change in the future.  I have a number of crafty endeavours underway but my health really prevents my days being ultra productive.  Again, this will not change in the future.  Please do bear with me - or if this space doesn't suit you then so be it.  

I appreciate the lovely bloggy friendships I have developed since joining this blogging community and on some days other than my family, these are the only communications I am able to enjoy.  So thank you for being such special people.

J9 x

Friday, 1 May 2015

A Glance Back

I find it amazing how far technology has progressed over the past decade. I was looking through some photo albums from our time before children, which were of course taken with cameras using film.  Whilst there are less pictures of those moments, these camera types did mean that you always had a real photo once they were developed. I completely adore digital cameras but do find it a shame that partly due to the volume of photos you take and partly due to leaving them in their digital form we often do not get a tangible photo to reflect on. I'm going to change that this year/ whether through scrapbooking or through traditional albums.  I'm determined to make this happen!  I had been collecting things for years to collate into a series of scrapbooks.  Then the lovely CJ of Above the River shared her album scrapbooks and I was so inspired I felt I simply had to make this change.

This thinking led me to look at some of our kiddie photos that were taken pre blog.  I love that I now have this space to journal some of our family fun.  So I thought it would be fun to share some of my favourite pictures as I was making some collages to print out for the scrapbooks.

::  Our happy boy who smiled readily despite all his challenges, Taking turns in the IKEA box on wheels day after day, an Uncle's wedding day...

::  Action shots: first trampolining experience, Marine Lake inflatables, Admiring the view from     Brean Down, Surfer dudes in Cornwall...

::  A photo shoot (Little Lady was cuddling him and saying Ahhh), Easter Egg Hunting, Playing in Granny's garden after the Fete (Little Man was a monkey with such character from the beginning!), Bridesmaid and Page boy at another Uncle's wedding...

::  Little Man not liking the cold (his first snow fall), Little Lady at Euro Disney, Traditional 'How you've grown' photo, Jubilee

 ::  Home face painting..just because, How long am I?, Little Man's fourth birthday party, Brean Down hike...

::  My first day home from hospital after the accident and the birth - reunited with my treasures; Tiny Man at 6 weeks at Bristol Kite Festival, Little Lady enjoying her first decent snow fall, Boys together...

::  Young Man's First birthday celebration, Girls together, Little Lady at Granny's house, Loving his birthday cake...

::  Young Man's First Birthday; Little Lady's first day of school x 2; Milo puppy at 9 weeks.

It may be perceived as gratuitous gushing about my children but I'd like it here as a record and some of you lovely readers may enjoy seeing them.  I think it would be fun to see yours! Have you got some favourite pre blogging pictures? Please share!!!

Sometimes it's such a positive experience to glance back.  It gave me a warm glow.  Go on… please share!!!

J9 x

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Pretty Me & Make Me Challenge ~ March

Hello Dear Friends, how are you this fine day?  Hunky Dory I do so hope!!  Yep, I'm faking it to make it.  You know there is scientific research which says if you think happy thoughts, your body releases happy hormones which in turn make you happy?  Useful in challenging times I think!!

And if that fails, a little retail therapy can add a bit of a boost.  As readers of this blog may know, I went cold turkey on charity shopping a year ago as 'stuff' was taking over our house and financially although the purchases may be bargains - what you don't have you don't miss.

Pretty Me

Well, we had a purpose for me to break this sanction as we needed additional storage in our hallway.  I thought I'd take a look in our local hospice-care shop and was not disappointed.  Essentially, we needed storage for shoes, coats and outdoor stuff.  So this little beauty was purchased for £60 and came home with me and it's makeover will form my March 'Pretty Me' challenge.

I imagine it was made in the 1930's and is really sturdy.  I liked the fact that it was a shorter height as it means we'll still have a display surface as you come through our front door.  Of course I find the walnut pretty but if left as it is it will darken an already light challenged area.  I will give it a good clean up and then give it a paint job.  I've got plans for organising these little shelves so that this area becomes more clutter free.  We have a coat rack for daily used coats and this was really overloaded hence the need for a better additional solution which is a lot cheaper than buying new or getting one built in.  Happy Days.

Make Me

For quite some time I have had a slight obsession (is that an oxymoron?) with hares.  I have a vision of my mind of a cushion using different creative processes.  I have a pinterest board which I've found inspiring and definitely think I will be creating a cushion using applique, embroidery and crochet combined.  I have a picture in my minds eye of how I want it to look but am not sure if I will be able to create it in reality!!!  I'll give it a good go though.

Looking forward to sharing these with you soon.  Take care of yourselves and I'm sending positive vibes to you all across Cyberland,
J9 x

Monday, 27 April 2015

Easter Holiday Memories: Part II

Hello LoVELY People,

The children have returned to school.  I shared some of my favourite memories here and thought I would share another post on the rest of the holiday period.

The second week of the holidays the Hubby had to return to work but this gave us chance to catch up with friends that go to different schools whom we only see in holiday periods.

I've mentioned before in this space that the Hubby and my birthdays are only two days apart.  Over the last couple years the children have named this day "Club Day" because it is sandwiched between our birthdays.  This essentially requires a menu of Club Sandwiches for lunch that day!  Little Man always chooses meat - this time: ham, chicken and salad whilst Little Lady chose marmite, cheese and crisps!  Hmmm.  The only rule is they get to choose their sandwich fillings and they get to have 3 slices of bread.  It's one day a year so I feel it's OK.  They're easily pleased!

On my Birthday a dear friend had organised a Harry Potter day for the children and her Littlie's.  My kiddies had been so disappointed to not dress up for World Book Day this year (the school didn't dress up for the first time since they joined).  They had chosen their outfits and were so excited and the disappointment they felt (when this didn't happen) was palpable.  Anyhow, my friend knew this and so chose the theme of our meet to please them (and therefore me).  In the days prior, I kept walking in to different rooms and finding a trail of cuttings and sticky stuff....

Little Lady had been adding to her costume with Homemade Spell Books (bottom middle) and some painted cardboard wands with added golden string embellishments:

My friend had got a cake to add to the celebration and we all had a great time - the larger children spent most of the time outside in her garden making potions and playing out various Harry Potter scenes, whilst us adults and her lush 8 month old watched from an adjoining sun room. Bliss!

My sister came and stayed locally with her family too and it was a joy to watch all the cousins playing alongside each other.

At the end of the holidays, the Littlie's treat for being such superb company and fabulous siblings was to have a turn on the new attraction on the sea front named Pirate Adventureland.  For months we had watched this pirate fort being created and wondered what was planned.  Once completed a couple of months ago it was their treat of choice when a special moment brought the occasion.  The last day of the holidays was such an occasion.

Little Lady adored it.  Little Man.... well.  The expression on his face shows his distress.

He gained confidence through the course but it is fair to say he was completely terrified at first.  But the photo below shows how elated they were to have completed it.

Plus an ice cream helped to convince him he'd had a good time ;0)

Yes, this holiday time had many special moments which I shall treasure forever.  I don't want to wish time away but I really look forward to the next school break!!!  They have returned to school, happy and refreshed.  Little Man in shorts (hurrah it's currently warm enough) and looks oh so cute in them. They have really flourished this spring.  He is such a happy, caring and funny little boy.  Little Lady has hit a milestone in maturing in that she is becoming more conscious of how her hair is looking and which clothes to put together.  Not in a superficial way...  it is just a natural progression as she starts to realise what her own style may be.  It is a wonderfully warm feeling to watch this Little Lady emerge, although I often wish I could just freeze them.  But I've said that sporadically for years, "It's just perfect now, if only I could freeze them at that stage".  If that was possible, I wouldn't know how wonderful the next stages would be and that would be something sad indeed.

I am looking forward to sharing with you my March Pretty Me ~ Make Me plans soon.  I'm off to make a cup of black decaf coffee - who knew I could adjust so easily!?!

J9 x

Friday, 24 April 2015

Five on Friday

In the last few posts I've talked about how well I've been feeling in myself on this new medicine regime and with the positive effects of the 'free from' diet.  I knew it would happen, but I had a reality check again this morning.  FACT ~ I have a sick and broken body.  When I say I'm good it's more that I am at my best 'new normal'.  After feeling so positive after the Easter break - instead of taking the opportunity to rest and replenish when the children returned to school, I tried to push through.  Unfortunately, the inevitable circle of overdoing things lead to a flare and ultimately a crash emotionally and physically.  
I must do better at listening to my body and applying pacing plans again.

This has happened before (and of course it will happen in the future!)  I just need to be mindful of the fact that I have a whole host of health issues that I need to manage each day.  Sometimes it sucks.  But of course, there are always things to find in amongst the challenges.  I choose to find happiness in those Simple Things!!

Five things that have made me happy this week:

#1  Little Lady was awarded her Rookie Lifeguard trophy after completing her bronze, silver and finally gold levels.  

This is a big achievement - CPR, swimming in clothes, swimming with a dummy, rescuing people from drowning etc.  It started as something different to do because she loved swimming and had completed all the learning stages.  She's delighted with her trophy and did show and tell at school with it this week.  I'm a very proud mummy.

#2  The blossom on my apple tree is in bud.  

For the last couple years we've had minimal crops but the blossom looks promising for this year.  In the meantime, the flowers are beautiful.  As is the gorgeous blue sky in contrast against it.  It has been a gorgeous week of blue skies here which is good for the soul.

#3  Slowly growing piles of crochet Target Squares. 

Enough said.  These squares are very soothing and I have taken them on travels recently!!  In long car journeys, at the park, waiting for the school gates to open at pick up time - you name it!  Can't wait to start joining these beauties together!

#4  Enjoying beautiful colours and flavours in a pretty bowl.  

So appreciative of reading The Immune System Recovery Plan - and feeling the benefit of my new regime.  It's by no means a cure but the Hydroxychloraquine and elimination diet have seen my symptoms reduce from 9.5/10 to 7/10.  When I've been in flare to that degree for around 6 months even this reduction is life changing.  Still a challenge but there is hope - and for that I am ridiculously grateful.

#5  Forever grateful for my Family
The understanding of my children and Husband of my physical limitations and impacts of chronic pain.

I have grieved for the life I should have led.  For a family who is physically active my physical ability could be an issue and I won't lie - for me it always will be.  But I am so grateful for my Hubby doing those things with the Kiddie's.  For cycling, running, climbing, trampolining, hiking... and so much more.  Regardless of the weather.  Striving to do what is good and not taking the easy option.  I know I do other things with them and together we provide a good balance.  But we are a tight unit - perhaps even more so due to the health challenges we've been through.  It takes strength to fight on... and together we muster just about enough.

Hope you have had some happy moments this week.  Take care until next time,

J9 x
Today I'm delighted to be joining in with Amy and her Five on Friday Linky Party