Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Cast off, cast on...

Yes, the plaster cast came off today! Thank goodness.... :) The swelling has mostly gone done now and my foot actually looks like it belongs to me again. It doesn't actually feel like it belongs to me, as my poor ankle is very weak, but one step (careful and well supported by crutches) at a time, eh?

The doctor I saw today was much happier with my progress over the last 2 weeks, so I don't need any more plaster (hooray!!) Instead I've got a kind of splint with little airbags inside which supports my ankle, and a very trendy and stylish* sandal with a solid sole which keeps the foot flat and prevents the bone from bending or flexing while the healing is ongoing. I do still need to rely quite heavily on the crutches but I'm able to put more weight on my right foot now and can slowly build strength back up. I also saw a physiotherapist and was given some very simple, basic exercises to encourage the ankle back towards full movement, and I've been referred to my nearest physiotherapy department for regular appointments.

It's going to take a long time till I'm 100% over this (the doctor said that it's likely I'll be aware of the break for up to 2 years, and the ankle will probably be at least 3 months in the healing), but today I feel like I'm significantly further on than I was, and that I really have made some progress :)

How gorgeous is the sandal?! But oh, it feels good to wear a sock again, for the first time in 3 weeks!

As for the casting on, I've made a start on my next scarf:

Just realised how it kind of matches the sock I'm wearing today! I always was good at coordinating my craft to my outfit....**

Inspired by Abi, I'm knitting with grey and white wool together, which gives a lovely random speckledy flecked effect :) And since it will take time to build up my mobility so papercrafting will still be tricky, and while I'm no longer confined to the sofa I do need to rest my foot regularly, I should be able to get on with this scarf fairly quickly. It does feel like it grows slowly though after the speed at which my belt got done!!

I'm so happy to be bringing you a more positive update :) I can do a little more round the house now (though I promise not to overdo it); soon I should be back at work; eventually I'll even be able to carry cups of tea again! But today, right now, I'll settle for no longer having a plaster cast :) Yay!!

* This may not actually be true.
** This may not actually be true either.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Keep Calm and Knit On!

This knitting lark is quite addictive, isn't it?! I hadn't even finished the neatening on The Tomboy's scarf before I'd cast on my next project...

Which I've already finished! It's a grey knitted belt, which I plan to wear with a long straight black jersey maxi dress, with a pretty white shirt over the top. I've worn it before with a plain black belt, but I think this one will suit the outfit better :) I'd love to model it for you but of course that isn't possible right now, so here's a couple of photos of the belt by itself in the meantime:

I've made it quite long, because the shirt reaches below my hips and I wanted the ends to hang to the shirt's hem. It's a very simple belt (like a long, narrow scarf) that just needs to be knotted to secure it.

I'm really happy with it - I can't wait to wear it! And I love that it came together so quickly - I don't think this is the last belt I shall knit....

And, of course, I'm already thinking about my next project! I'm planning another scarf, in grey and white this time - possibly for myself, possibly for The Boy. But I daren't start it yet because I know I'll want to keep knitting, and I have work to do for my course first! Once my latest assignment is complete I'll be casting on and knitting away with alacrity :)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

All complete!

Hooray - it didn't turn out to be a small blanket after all :) Perhaps there are advantages to being stuck on the sofa with plenty of time to knit?!

I figured out how to cast off, and decided against adding tassels so that it would be easier for The Tomboy to tuck one end through the slit.

She loves it! She says it's very snuggly and warm :)

I must also say a quick 'thank you' to Alison for a very special package that arrived yesterday:

How lovely, thank you so much! xx

Friday, 26 October 2012

Olympic Torch

I've had a happy morning sorting through some photos :) Photobox is having a sale right now - tip for UK readers!! You can buy discounted credit now for prints or photobooks or gifts and you have up to a month to use it, or by paying a little more you can extend the deadline to 3 months so you could use it for Christmas photos, perhaps :) The sale ends Monday evening if you're interested! Also, Photobox have launched an Australian version of their site, and new sign-ups there can get 30% off their first order and 40 free prints, too :) (No, I'm not on commission!!)

Anyway, I digress....

While sorting through my photos to take advantage of the offer (I ordered 150 prints and a photo calendar) I came across a shot that I never got round to sharing with you. Back in June, The Family and I had the chance to see the Olympic torch on its journey around the UK. We got there plenty early to make sure of a good spot, although later arrivals spilled out onto the road and could have blocked our view - but I made sure I got The Children to the front OK! So I was in a prime position to take a good photograph as the torchbearer passed by, right?

Or maybe not.... Thank you so much, person next to me who waved their flag at that very moment!!

Ah well, we were there, we saw it, and we will always remember it :) And I shall still be scrapping this photo!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Time To Perk Up!

So, yesterday wasn't so great. I let myself get right down in the dumps, to be honest. I was feeling as if I'd been stuck on this sofa for weeks now, that the heavy and uncomfortable cast had been on my leg forever, and I was fed up of feeling so flippin' useless! Also, we had a trip to London booked for this weekend, and (unrealistically, as it turns out) I'd been hoping we could still go if I cut right down on the activities I did and made full use of the help the attractions offer (I never knew that most London museums offer wheelchairs on loan, for example). Yesterday I finally accepted that there was no way I'd even manage the journey, never mind do anything while we were there, and I was pretty down about that :(

Today, though, I'm over it! We'll rearrange our trip to London for some time when I can make the most of it and we'll all have a much better time that way. I've got a film ready to watch later, a good book at my side, a new puzzle book to hand, and The Doctor has promised to bring chocolate home for me later :)

And if all else fails, I just need to look at this photo to guarantee a giggle:

The Tomboy at a school open evening a couple of weeks ago. Those static electricity thingummies (or, if you want to get technical - or accurate! - Van de Graaff generators) are always good fun, but it turns out she had just the right hair for a particularly crazy effect!

Saturday, 20 October 2012


It's 1.29pm on Wednesday 17th October.
It's difficult to get comfortable. A plaster cast is, after all, rather more cumbersome than a bandage, however thick and padded and heavy that bandage might be. I'm trying to follow the doctor's instructions to rest though, and to elevate the foot. It's propped up on the back of the sofa, while I'm cuddled into my ‘nest’, aka the corner where The Doctor usually sits. My laptop is precariously balanced - I don't exactly have a lap to rest it on when one foot is raised level with my head! I can feel the laptop's warmth on my leg. The toes of my left foot are cold, they seem to be in a draft from somewhere. In contrast, my right leg is warm and snug under the cast.
I can hear the clicking of the laptop's keys as I type, my fingernails tapping out the rhythm of my thoughts. I have a Harry Potter dvd on for company - The Goblet of Fire - I'm working through the series for the umpteenth time. I know it so well that I need only glance at the screen every so often, which is ideal right now. If I can concentrate I can hear the swish and hum of passing traffic, but these sounds are so familiar that I barely notice them.
I really fancy a cup of tea, but it feels like too much effort, too much trouble. I have a glass of water to hand, that will do. How long I wonder till the latest dose of pain relief kicks in?

I think we'll have a Chinese takeaway for dinner tonight. It'll be so much easier for The Doctor! I'm not sure about tomorrow, The Family will have pizza, but I'm not sure about me. We're invited to The Friend's for dinner on Friday. I wish I could do more to help around the house, my poor The Doctor is having to do so much and he's so tired!
I'm looking forward to having a haircut tomorrow, it's much needed. I'm glad my hairdresser is only a few doors away so I can get there despite the cast and crutches...
I'm a bit fed up that I'm still not able to return to work. I am looking forward to spending time blogging, knitting, reading and so on, but wish I could do these things without the accompanying sense of guilt. I feel bad about The Doctor having to do so much. The Children are being so good but it's not easy for them either. I'm thankful for helpful friends and neighbours, without them we'd be struggling badly.

I'm surrounded by clutter: crutches, tv/dvd/digital tv remotes, knitting, camera, mobile phone, tv guide, book, puzzle book, tissues, Graze box, rubbish bag.... On the table: glass of water, filter jug, scissors, lsned book, new zoom lens, pain relief. On the floor, within reach but with enough space for me to get past: handbag, rucksack, one single shoe!

My mind skitters. My body is at rest of necessity, but my mind can’t seem to relax. It flits from one thought to another.

It's 1:30pm. The minutes are going by slowly today.

This post was brought to you by Alexa's 'Simply A Moment'.

Friday, 19 October 2012


As I mentioned during my Learn Something New Every Day project, I recently discovered that I can knit. Having thought for many years that I wasn't able to, it dawned on me during my weekend away that, actually, I DO know how to knit, having been taught by The Nan when I was little. I'd just forgotten that I knew. What a knitwit....

But oh, how timely that discovery proved! While I've been laid up with this sprained ankle and broken foot, I've been desperate for Something To Do. I've caught up on many blogs now, and managed to post regularly to my own once again, which has been lovely :) I've also made excellent progress with my TA course assignments. I've watched my way through various dvds and recorded TV programmes, and read several books. And I've also been knitting!

I'm hoping this will become a scarf for The Tomboy, in Leeds United colours. Yep, she's a Leeds fan - sorry.... (I haven't told her yet, because if I get bored and fail to finish it, then it'll become a small blanket instead!)

Of course, being a beginner, the sensible thing would probably have been to just pick a single colour and keep knitting till it was long enough.

When did I ever do the sensible thing?! I decided to go stripy instead! It means I have to count rows carefully, and I did have to undo a few stitches when I suddenly realised I should still have been using white at that point, but fortunately I hadn't cut the white wool so I could easily rectify that.... And I do rather love the point at which you change from one colour to the next so the stitches on one needle are white and on the other they're gold! :)

It probably would have helped if I hadn't cast on about twice as many stitches as I really needed, too. I'd be nearly finished by now, instead of being nearly half way through a much fatter than necessary scarf. Oh well, that'll come with experience I guess!

And another unnecessary complication was my sudden decision to work a 'slit' into the scarf so that instead of tying it, The Tomboy can tuck one end through the slit so the ends sit nicely and keep her chest warm, which should help her asthma, too, I hope! I had to make that bit up as I went along but it seems to have worked OK, with a bit of guessing and needle juggling...

I have lots of loose ends to be worked in at the end (any tips?) and, of course, a fair few more rows to knit, but it's mostly going well. There was just one point where a few stitches slid off my needle and although I thought I'd got them all back on OK there's now a small hole. (I made it look larger than it really is for the purpose of photographing it clearly!) It doesn't seem in danger of unravelling though, so I'll see how it looks once I'm finished and maybe sew a stitch or two to secure and/or disguise it if necessary.

Overall though I'm pleased with how my first proper knitting project is going :) If it does work out, I might even make a scarf for myself.... Wonder how I could overcomplicate that?!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

It didn't stay plain for long!

First I painted my toenails to match the cast...

Then I added a couple of rub ons to the ankle. I always did fancy a tattoo!

After that I started experimenting with acrylic paint:

The Family have all signed it now too, though it's quite a subtle effect, since they used a black Sharpie - but I quite like that the signatures and messages are almost secret ;)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Well, as of this morning, I no longer have my foot in a big padded bandage...

But I haven't exactly gone back to the freedom of having nothing on my foot at all...

No, I now have a cast from knee to toes!

So it almost seems that every time I go back to hospital I come out in a worse state than before!

But no, that isn't really the case :) For the past week I've been 'non-weight-bearing', which has been *very* hard work for my left leg and for my arms and shoulders. This is a 'walking cast', which means that as I'm ready, I can start to put a little bit of weight on it, which will be less tiring and willl enable me to do more. I have to be careful though, because the doctor I saw today is a bit concerned at how swollen the foot still is, so I've been given very strict instructions to rest with my foot elevated as much as possible. And I've promised to comply!

The Family are being wonderful, my own poor The Doctor is rushing around doing everything - his busy full-time job, the housework, cooking, leading House Group.... The Children are doing all they can to help, too, bless them. I'm also very fortunate to have good friends around me who are very willing to give The Children lifts to school, take me to my hospital appointments, and even help out with a meal here and there. We're so grateful for their help and support! And thank you to you, dear blog friends, for your kind and supportive comments, texts, tweets and even cards and gifts - it means a lot to me, thank you so much xx

By the way, do you like the purple cast? I was offered a range of colours, but thought the blue or red might look too much like I supported particular football teams, and fluorescent yellow wasn't really 'me'.... I like this purple, though! :)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Project 366: 247-276

And here we go with September :)

1st: I made pasta from scratch - and it was delicious :)
2nd: A special church service to mark the end of Holiday Club. And Team Australia (my team) won!!
3rd: An INSET day at school - we had a Safeguarding course
4th: I helped one of the teachers to label up stacks of exercise books
5th: It was the open day for the rganisation that runs classes, including the papercrafts class I teach. I took the opportunity to prepare some supplies, which also acted as a bit of a demo for interested visitors
6th: (Imagine photo here!) I began my Teaching Assistant training course
7th: I needed some new stationery for my TA training course! ;)
8th: I had fun with washi tape :)
9th: It was the closing ceremony for the Paralympics
10th: Aargh, another fail! Can't find a pic for this day right now!
11th: Made some rather yummy oatmeal and cranberry cookies (thanks, Ruth!)
12th: (Imagine photo here!) I sent a long overdue package to Alison
13th: The class I'm working with as TA experience had a music lesson using Djembe drums, and I got to join in :)
14th: We had a little stall selling Achkiy jewellery at Connect
15th: Yum! A trip out with The Fabulous One - I had a ginger scone with ginger and rhubarb jam :)
16th: The Doctor and I led Sunday Club, with scarves required for the relay race game, and a sliding picture craft activity
17th: I attended a course on Challenging the Gifted and Talented
18th: I used Numicon with a small group of Year 4 pupils
19th: My papercrafts class did decoupage
20th: The school photographer came in, and I spent the morning helping to organise the classes so we got all the individual shots and family photographs required!
21st: A trip to Ikea with friends :)
22nd: The Children and I went to a Horrible Histories show about the Terrible Tudors
23rd: I made some little Bible verse cards for Abi
24th: A change of host for the Radio 1 Breakfast Show - it'll take some getting used to...
25th: Rain, rain, rain!
26th: Making flowers with my papercrafts class
27th: We learnt about Health and Safety issues on my TA course (ironic, since it was less than a week later that I sprained my ankle and broke my foot!!)
28th: I still had plenty of Achkiy jewellery, so had a little stall at a local MacMillan coffee morning
29th: It was my annual weekend away with women from church - I slept in a cupboard!!
30th: A solitary, reflective walk to the sea - a vital part of my weekend away

(The photo from the 1st is repeated to make the collage work!)

Monday, 15 October 2012

Project 366: 215-246

And here's August:

1st: Fail :( I can't find a photo from 1st August! I'll have to check my phone and The Doctor's to see if either of us has one, or look up what we were doing that day and get one somehow!
2nd: I followed as much Olympic action as I could, on TV, online, and on my phone!
3rd: Making a list of things to pack for our trip to visit The Parents-In-Law
4th: We went out for lunch with The Parents-In-Law - I finished up with a Costa cappuccino :)
5th: We saw a raccoon at a nearby wildlife park! The Tomboy was *delighted* :)
6th: Another Costa, this time a gingerbread latte at services on our way home from The Parents-In-Law
7th: (Imagine photo here!) Family trip to the optician - The Tomboy and I both needed new glasses
8th: Another fail :( Most unlike me!
9th: My birthday :)
10th: Made a giant mint-choc cupcake birthday cake for myself!
11th: Off on holiday to the North-East - the four of us and The Mother. We stopped off at Kirkham Priory en route
12th: The view of lovely Robin Hood's Bay :)
13th: Whitby Abbey
14th: The steam train between Pickering and Grosmont
15th: We walked to Robin Hood's Bay - the tide was in and the weather a bit more grey this time!
16th: The Sea Life Centre at Scarborough
17th: Back to Whitby to explore the town and get a fish and chip supper
18th: We stopped off at Scarborough again to sneak an extra day of holiday! The Tomboy tried out various activities at the Military Adventure Park, including driving a mini tank
19th: A surprise visit from a dear friend and her children :)
20th: (Imagine photo here!) Car had its MOT - quite straightforward for once!
21st: Planning meeting for the Holiday Club I was helping with
22nd: Prepped my journal for Learn Something New Every Day :)
23rd: Put together a new storage unit for our new bathroom!
24th: The Fabulous One came over :) I coloured in some journaling pages
25th: (Imagine photo here!) The Children and I went to a local village fair - and were interviewed live on local radio, talking about our experience there and what we were enjoying! Fame... ;)
26th: The Doctor and I led the Sunday Club session
27th: I went to see the Paralympic Flame with The Children :)
28th: Holiday Club began - I led Team Australia :)
29th: Just after all The Children had left Holiday Club at lunchtime the rain came pelting down! The Tomboy and I literally had to wade part of the way home as roads were flooded when the drains were overwhelmed!
30th: My Holiday Club team had a little mascot, a koala called Ozzie, who hid in a different place in our tent each day :)
31st: We had a big Chinese and chippy takeaway as a treat for dinner

*Edited to say: All is not lost! 1st August was when we (Team GB) won our first gold medal, and I have some photos of this in a separate 'Olympics' folder on my computer. Still looking for something from the 8th but I expect there's a pic lurking somewhere!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Project 366: 183-214

I quite like this quick collage way of catching up my Project 366 pics! Here's July:

1st: We (The Doctor and I, The Children and The Mother) went to see a cricket match
2nd: Our new bathroom, finished at last! :)
3rd: One of the card designs my papercrafts class made was an apron with a little pocket
4th: An excellent school production by Year 6 :)
5th: The start of the Tour de France, yay!
6th: Made some simple cupcakes
7th: House group barbecue
8th: Andy Murray played in the men's final of Wimbledon (he lost to Federer)
9th: Lots of interesting mail that day!
10th: (Imagine photo here!) The Tomboy attended her last ever Brownies meeting
11th: Last papercrafts class of term, and I was given chocolates and flowers :)
12th: Bring and share staff lunch
13th: We had a very posh cream tea with strawberries at Connect!
14th: Picked up some Doctor Who lego-type-blocks for The Tomboy's friend's birthday
15th: Baptism of the little boy of friends of ours - The Doctor was godfather :)
16th: My classes earnt chocolates by solving mathematical problems!
17th: (Imagine photo here!) The Mother and I visited a local exhibition
18th: Coffee with Ruth :)
19th: (Imagine photo here!) I was given some lovely end of school year gifts - wine, chocolates, a helium balloon - and some very sweet cards
20th: (Imagine photo here!) The Year 6 Leavers' Assembly
21st: Made a chocolate and vanilla marble cake with The Tomboy
22nd: Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France!! :)
23rd: (Imagine photo here) The Tomboy took part in a creative writing workshop with a local author
24th: The Children washed the car :)
25th: Watched the final of the programme to cast the role of 'Jesus' in Jesus Christ Superstar
26th: The Doctor, The Tomboy and I went to see Team GB play in the group stages of the Olympic football (The Boy wasn't interested!)
27th: Watched the Olympic Opening Ceremony on TV (photo courtesy of Shimelle - and I've just realised it's in the wrong order in the collage!!)
28th: Watched a World Record being broken in the swimming!
29th: Oops, forgot to include this pic (must have been having a moment while making this collage...) We went to local botanical gardens with friends
30th: So much rain!
31st: A special lunch out, just me and The Boy :)

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Project 366: 153-182

I seem to have fallen slightly behind again with my Project 366 posts - so here's June all in one go :)

1st: We saw the Olympic torch :)
2nd: Jubilee picnic in the park (bit damp!)
3rd: (Imagine photo here!) Jubilee service in church, and we did the prayers as a family
4th: Watched the Jubilee concert on TV
5th: Family meal at Chiquitos
6th: Did a tortoise trail with The Children!
7th: Asda was decorated with bunting
8th: The start of the Euro 2012 football championship :)
9th: Got some loyalty vouchers from Co-op - bonus!
10th: House group picnic
11th: England's first match in the Euros
12th: The Tomboy tried out fencing
13th: The first layer of our new bathroom floor was put down
14th: I updated my records for the Civic Award scheme I'd been doing with the Year 4 class. Over half of them completed it before the end of term :)
15th: (Imagine photo here!) We got an email to let us know that The Tomboy had won a prize in the tortoise trail we'd done - closely followed by another email to let us know that The Boy had also won a prize!!
16th: (Imagine photo here!) The Tomboy took part in a creative writing workshop
17th: The Boy took part in the evening service at church, with a role in the drama and playing his tenor horn during the songs
18th: New floor in the bathroom! :)
19th: Paper quilting with my papercrafts class
20th: (Imagine photo here!) The Tomboy's school held an Olympic sports event
21st: (Imagine photo here!) I had a lovely, heartwarming text from a friend :)
22nd: The Tomboy did her piano Grade 1 (she passed with distinction, yay!!)
23rd: The Boy was issued with a new tenor horn on loan
24th: Fun and games at church, and The Tomboy had her face painted
25th: The Tomboy played a piano solo at a school concert
26th: School governors' meeting
27th: Progress with the houses being built near us!
28th: A car boot full of stuff after a morning at work and an afternoon with The Fabulous One!
29th: The Tomboy decorated a cupcake at Messy Church
30th: (Imagine photo here!) Another workshop for The Tomboy - forensic science this time! :)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Nostalgia? It ain't what it used to be...

Ah, I remember those carefree days when I 'only' had a sprained ankle :)

After my hospital appointment this morning, I now have a sprained ankle AND a broken foot...

Turns out that my fall managed to crack the 5th metatarsal as well as spraining the ankle joint! An unexpected bonus....

Now, in truth, I have had a little cry and a little strop (though I did wait till I got home!) but I'm done feeling sorry for myself now. I'm off work for another week and that takes us up to the half term holiday anyway, so I've got plenty of time to rest it. I need to get used to using the crutches all the time and not putting weight on it, which is the opposite of the advice I was trying to follow over the last week, but hey! And it looks like those cups of tea will be staying in the kitchen once again, unless I can find a way to follow up Alexa's suggestion in her comment on my last post. Or perhaps that of Ladkyis. Or indeed, take Mise up on her kind offer to carry them for me! But I'm dealing with all that :)

Meanwhile, I'm keeping my spirits up by remembering the faces of the other people in the waiting room this morning. From their point of view, they saw me going in carrying my crutches and with shoes on, though limping a bit; by the time I came out, I was on the crutches and my foot was swathed in a 6-inch thick bandage!! They must have been wondering what on earth had happened to me in there....

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

10 Things To Do When You Have A Sprained Ankle

So, my friend - you've sprained your ankle. Did you do something daft, like go downstairs in the dark when it would have been so easy to put the light on? Are you feeling quite silly about that, as well as rather guilty about the trouble you've caused to your friends and family? Not to mention the fairly continual discomfort bordering on twinges of pain at times, and the frustration of being immobile for longer than you'd hoped and expected?
You're looking at this the wrong way, my friend! Dose up on those painkillers, get that foot raised, keep digging out the ice packs, and benefit from the enforced rest! Don't focus on all the things you can't do; instead, seize the opportunity to enjoy all the things you can! Such as:
  1.  Admire the multi-coloured bruising. Marvel at the different tones of purple one small area can produce. Note that the bruise starts just below your toes and doesn't finish till above your ankle. Appreciate the straight, distinct line along the top of your foot, marking the transition from pale, unblemished skin to colourful, bruised flesh. If you have a mirror handy, you may even be able to spot some interesting discolouration to the sole of your foot, too. Hours of entertainment are yours!
  2. Throw yourself whole-heartedly into the physiotherapy you've been given. How often is it that an exercise regime consists of pointing your foot up then down, wriggling your toes, and then circling your ankle round a bit? Now that's your kind of exercise!
  3. Do some online shopping. Justify it by making sure that at least some of the items you buy are Christmas presents. Feel good about getting ahead with your Christmas shopping. Then, as the packages start arriving, realise that you need to keep getting up to answer the door. At this point it may dawn on you that you didn't really think that through.
  4. Watch some of the TV you've been taping* and never quite managed to catch up with. When exactly was Sherlock on?! Or just decide to watch your DVD of The Princess Bride for the umpteenth time. As you wish... * I can't get used to calling it 'V+ing'!
  5. Discover daytime TV. Quickly undiscover it again.
  6. Exercise your ingenuity. It's not exactly easy to carry cups of tea while you're on crutches. Other items can be tricky, too. Have some fun thinking up ways to meet these challenges. (Handy hint: Rucksacks are good for things like books. Not so good for cups of tea...)
  7. Encourage The Children to become more independent. This is an excellent opportunity for them to learn useful skills such as making their own packed lunches, washing up and putting away the dinner things, cooking, doing the Asda shop, cleaning the house, earning a decent wage, driving the car, waiting on their mother hand and foot....
  8. Send some long overdue emails. Remind a few friends that you are actually still around, you are OK, and let them know what you've been doing lately during the time you were so busy that you seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth.
  9. Make a start on reading some of the books on your towering 'to read' pile. It might be good to move some of them to the 'keep' or 'give away' piles before the 'to read' pile obscures all of the bedroom windows.
  10. Look forward to your silly ankle being better. Daydream about all the things you'll be able to do: running marathons, abseiling, mountain climbing, trekking through the rainforest, carrying a cup of tea without spilling it...
This post was brought to you by Shimelle's 10 Things On The 10th

PS Update: Thanks again for all your kind wishes! I'm seeing an improvement every day - I can (just about) get around without crutches now, the swelling has gone down a lot (I even managed to get a sock on yesterday, for the first time since it happened! I was pathetically excited lol!), the bruising is less tender, and generally it just feels so much better :) I have a follow-up appointment at the hospital tomorrow, after which I'll know more. I think mainly I need to build strength back up, it feels very weak!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

For Abi

Now I know they've arrived safely so I won't be spoiling the surprise, I just want to show you these little cards I made for blog-friend Abi :)

Each card is 4x6", and decorated with tiny scraps of patterned paper - hooray for pretty border punches and the super lovely Martha Stewart butterflies!! The first card here has on it a Bible verse that Abi recently mentioned; the second has a verse that I turn to often and mentioned to Abi in return :)

This lopsided shot(!) shows another favourite verse, though I have to admit my choice was in a large way influenced by the wish to use SJ's fabby Sentimental Fruits digital stamps (I can't find a direct link, but they're available here, towards the bottom of the page). I arranged the elements I wanted and printed them directly onto the card with the verses, then printed parts of each design onto scraps of patterned paper and paper-pieced them onto the card - I love this effect, and SJ's designs work so well for it :)

I had such fun making them, and even more fun packing them up and writing Abi's new uni address on the envelope :) My thought was that she could stick them onto her wall at university, or use them as bookmarks, or even give them friends if she wanted (the back is blank so she could add a message!) She tells me that in fact she has them displayed in strategic locations all round her room, so she's surrounded by and constantly reminded of God's word. This makes me feel warm and fuzzy and a little bit teary!

And maybe Bible verses aren't your thing, but this would work just as well with favourite quotations or sayings, and makes a lovely alternative to a greeting card :)

Monday, 8 October 2012

When did you last check your blog stats?

I like to have a quick look at my 'stats' every now and then - especially the bit that tells me which search terms have led people to my blog, that's always entertaining :) In the last month, readers have found me here using these keywords:
  • 1 malteser I'm guessing this has something to do with the Malteser cake I make regularly?
  • melsh Fair enough! :)
  • wordles of nt prayers Plenty of Wordles on my blog, but I've never made one of a prayer, NT or otherwise. Interesting idea, though!
  • "i miss him" Well, OK, that fits in with one of my art journal pages for Learn Something New Every Day this year
  • counterfeit smash books Not sure about this one! I've never done the Counterfeit Kits; neither have I ever had a Smash Book!
  • decorated frames This probably leads people to a tutorial of mine from 3 years ago...
  • doing a mirror with paper frames ...and this to the same tutorial as above!
  • griffith observatory weight on mars Ah yes, of course, I did write a post about our visit to the Griffith Observatory and shared photos of what my weight would be on each planet
  • life isn't always beautiful This would link to a layout I shared back in 2010 - the layout and post both had this title
  • looking for reasons to be offended ???!!! Absolutely no idea!!!
A couple of quick updates:

My foot and ankle are improving every day; thank you all for your continued sympathetic and supportive messages :) I'd hoped to be back at work today but I'd underestimated how debilitating a sprain can be - and getting around crowded classrooms, supervising lively children, and generally doing a teaching job to the best of my ability, is not really possible when I'm still needing crutches on hand, can't stand for long without feeling rather uncomfortable, and my foot is too swollen and bruised to put a shoe onto it :( I'm disappointed, but I'm being sensible. No point rushing back when I can't do my job properly and when it might risk causing worse damage!

And the photos from yesterday's post?

Yes, I was indeed Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz :) And well done to those of you who figured out that The Boy was Twoflower from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series! I'm glad some of you recognised The Luggage lol - the trouble that gave us to put together!!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Storytelling Sunday - Let's Dress Up!

"What a shame," I thought to myself. "Doesn't look like I'll have time to take part in Sian's Storytelling Sunday this month, and I've missed so many of them now!"

"Hah!" cried the universe. "Maybe a sprained ankle will slow you down a bit?"


"Oh dear," I thought to myself. "Now I actually have time to tell a story, I can't think of anything to tell!"

"How about going with my October-ish plan?" suggested Sian. "Let's Dress Up!"


"OK," I thought to myself. "Except that I can't remember the last time I dressed up! Wonder if I've got any photos of the kids in fancy dress? I'll take a look through the photo archives....."

"Ooh look!" prompted my memory. "Do you remember The Boy's leaving party at the end of Year 6? He dressed up for that, didn't he?"


He certainly did - but can you tell who he's dressed up as? :)

And I'd completely forgotten that I was one of the parents who was brave enough to dress up, too! Can you tell who I'm being?! (The shoes are a clue - imagine them a brighter shade of red!)

(Gosh, it's interesting to see how much taller I am than The Boy here, even allowing for the heels - he's very nearly overtaken me in height now, just over a year later!)

Saturday, 6 October 2012

For Jemma

Jemma posted this tutorial on her blog last month, and very kindly agreed to let me use it with a group some time. I'm hoping to to do it with the Connect group that I help to run, and which meets this Friday, but decided to test it out first - please note, it wasn't Jemma's tutorial itself I felt the need to test, but my teaching of the technique!! So on my weekend away with women from my church, we all had a go - and here's what we made:

Everyone was so happy with the results :) Thanks Jemma, we had a lot of fun making these - and I shall definitely make them again with the Connect group!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Reflecting on the learning

Hello again :) I'm taking advantage of a few spare minutes - a rare luxury these days!! Though perhaps I wouldn't have chosen this particular method of gaining some enforced rest... - to look back over my Learn Something New Every Day journal :)

I love the 'bulge' of a completed book! I actually had plenty of spare pages, so I tore them out ready to use for other projects. The LSNED page spreads were on alternate pages (so that (a) if I made a really awful, irretrievable mistake then I could tear out that page without affecting any of the other entries, and (b) if any ink or paint soaked through the paper, it wouldn't spoil the next page in the book) so once the whole thing was completed I stuck the pairs of pages together.

Love that decoupaged 'Boofle the Dog' peeking out!!

There's such a range of techniques and styles in this little book - I've had so much fun playing with ideas throughout September! :)

I hope it won't seem narcissistic to talk about a few favourite pages?! It's actually part of my reflection - I've learnt a few things about the creative process and how I approach this project, as well as all the other lessons I've recorded!

I enjoyed doing a bit of sketching here and there in my journal :) {Note to self - do a bit of sketching every so often!! Maybe incorporate it into a scrapbook layout some time? Meanwhile, why not use those spare pages from this little book?}

I'm really happy with the left hand page here. While I don't claim to be anywhere near in her league, I must credit Julie with inspiring me to have a go at this style of art journaling :) {Note to self: have some fun cutting out words and phrases from books and pictures from magazines and putting them together to say profound and/or nonsensical things!}

I do like the paper-pieced fairy on the left hand page, but I've chosen this as a favourite because it's one of quite a few double page spreads with plenty of journaling included - and I've very much enjoyed the writing :) {Note to self: Maybe next year, keep a journal for LSNED? Or at least make sure I incorporate more journaling into whatever format I choose?}

This one I like because I found a way to convey the lesson in the way I created the page, as well as in the journaling itself. {Note to self: Definitely bear this in mind for future art journal pages. How else could I convey different emotions? Idea - maybe make an 'emotions' mini book some time?}

I guess my reasons for liking this one are similar to those I gave for choosing the previous one - I'm pleased that I was able to use bits and bobs from Ikea on a page about Ikea, and I love that the smaller piece of paper and more spread out writing on the left contrasts with the longer list and crammed together notes on the right, representing the 'before' and 'after' lists from my shopping trip! {Note to self: Plan another trip to Ikea soon...}
I'm already looking forward to next year's class!! :)
PS I must thank you all for your lovely comments on yesterday's posts - I really appreciate your support and sympathy, and the advice, too! I've made myself a comfy little nest on our corner sofa, with a big cushion to elevate my foot, laptop handy, TV/DVD remote and phone at my side, and The Doctor at my beck and call ;) I've been prescribed a different painkiller now that doesn't make me feel peculiar, and with the pain managed and the swelling going down just a little I'm feeling more comfortable today - and able to enjoy being forced to rest and be waited on! Thanks again for your concern, everyone x

Thursday, 4 October 2012

How plans can change!

You see, my plan was to get a good night's sleep last night, then spend the day working as a Teaching Assistant with my lovely Year 2 class, before meeting up with The Boy (who was going to walk to our school to meet us after he finished early because of an open evening at his school) and taking him and The Tomboy to their reading group, then dashing back home to grab a quick bite to eat before attending my 3-hour class, and finally looking over my course notes before watching a bit of TV with The Doctor and then off to bed for an early night after just another normal busy day....

My plan did NOT include remembering, just after going to bed last night, that I needed to take a particular document into work with me, hopping out of bed to find it, then misjudging the last stair in the dark and landing with my foot at 90 degrees to my leg. *Owwww!!!*

My plan did NOT involve frightening and upsetting The Boy, who heard me cry out and was most concerned about me, bless him. Neither did it involve The Doctor having to dial 999 for an ambulance, or dragging my poor The Mother out of bed to come over and look after The Children while we went off to A&E. It certainly didn't involve spending 5 hours in hospital, having various checks, 5 x-rays, a second opinion from another doctor, and being sent home with crutches, strong painkillers, and strict instructions to rest with my foot up for a few days :(

I didn't exactly plan for those painkillers to make me feel nauseous, light-headed, dry-mouthed and otherwise quite peculiar, either - think I need to give my doctor a call, as I suspect I may have developed an allergy to Co-Codamol...

It doesn't look so bad in this photo - close up the bruising is rather more severe, and there's a lot of swelling (my ankles are normally very skinny!)

But oh, I'm so thankful that it isn't any worse - the doctors are pretty sure there's no break, though it is a nasty sprain; a broken ankle would have taken so much longer to heal, and affected our lives rather more, too! But it could have been worse still. I only missed the bottom step, so didn't have far to fall. I know of several cases where people have died after falling on stairs. Yes, I feel very thankful that I only have a bad sprain to worry about.

I'm also so thankful that The Boy did hear me, and that he came to check and me and fetched his dad. The Doctor was fast asleep and I might have been a bit stuck otherwise! My (not so) little hero :)

And I'm so thankful that The Mother lives nearby, and was able and so very willing to come over at once to help us out. She got some sleep on our sofa but I know she didn't exactly have a comfortable or restful night. She's also being great at helping us out with getting The Children where they need to be for the next few days. Thanks, Mum!

Last, but not least, I'm so thankful to the medical staff who cared for me last night. Special mention to Rachel and Kerry, the ambulance team, who were wonderful; to Sarah, the student nurse, for whom nursing and caring is clearly a vocation; and to the x-ray-er, whose name I didn't catch, but whose sympathetic and gentle manner helped me greatly while I had to manoeuvre my foot into various uncomfortable positions for the necessary x-rays.

Meanwhile, I may as well take advantage of this enforced rest to catch up with you, lovely blog friends! Every cloud has a silver lining..... xx

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Still learning!

The final set of pages from my Learn Something New Every Day art journal :)

24th September: It was quite a day! So I kept the page simple just to get it done - a sketch of the car radio, with a note about how morning radio just isn't going to be the same now Nick Grimshaw has taken over the breakfast show on Radio 1.

25th September: Oh boy, after 2 days of steady rain, it became clearer than ever that wet play = restless children! I used this double page spread to try out a couple of 'rainy' ideas - drippy, runny ink on the left, and Stickles on the right. I prefer the left hand side on the whole, though I guess it would depend on the project! But it was good to try them both :)

26th September: This was a day of rushing around from one thing to the next - sometimes the timings fit together perfectly, sometimes they really didn't (for example, I underestimated how long my papercrafts class would need for one of the techniques and we didn't finish it, oops! But I did manage to get from the class to a meeting at school which finished just in time for another meeting at school which finished just in time for me to collect The Tomboy from her football club....) Yes, timing is everything!

27th September: Another page I was just thankful to get done - after a full day in school then a 3-hour course in the evening! And on the course I learnt that different teachers have different styles. This wasn't taught to me as part of the course content - I learnt it because our usual tutor was away so we had someone different that session. It made me reflect on my own teaching style and how to allow for children who respond to different styles, and what I could/should do about it, so it was quite a useful process :)

28th September: After those very busy days I picked up my little notebook to fill in all the little lessons I'd made mental notes of but hadn't found time to write down - but, of course, I'd forgotten nearly everything :( So I learnt to write things down if I want to remember them!

29th September:  I learnt that I can knit! And no, I don't mean that I learnt to knit - I mean that I discovered that I can actually already knit, but had forgotten, and was quite convinced that I couldn't. (Welcome to Planet Melsh, folks!) I can't cast on or off, mind you.... And I can only do the basic 'knit' stitch! But that's rather more than I thought I could do.... *sigh!*

30th September: Some lessons appear in some form or other in every LSNED journal - there's always something about how much I love my annual weekend away with women from my church, and I hope there always will be! This year's variation on the theme was that I value my time with the company of these women as much as I value my time alone during our weekend away each September. A short, solitary walk, preferably to the sea, is an important part of my weekend; hilarious, noisy, chatty, fun, silly, supportive, deep and meaningful companionship are also an important part. They both together make the weekend special. They both together work to restore my soul.

My closing page is in a similar style to my introductory page, to tie the journal together a bit, having used so many different styles and colours within it! What a whirlwind month - I have so relished the chance to take a bit of time each day to reflect, to record, to notice, to create, to learn.

Thank you, Shimelle! xx