Tuesday, 30 April 2013

New Embroidered Jewellery Range

 Hi there :)

It's been a busy month and I've been neglecting the blog again. Oops! Here's a sneak peek at something I've been working on - a new range of embroidered jewellery. Teeny, tiny, miniature hand stitched button earrings, rings, pendants...what do you think?

This final one is a pendant I made for myself from a drawing my almost four year old daughter did. I just loved this little happy tree with shoes, and couldn't resist making a tiny embroidered version of it to hang around my neck. I'm putting it out there to ask: Should I stock this in my online shops?

The original drawing

Friday, 12 April 2013

Commissioned with Confidence, Payment in Cuddles

Or: “Miniature Things I Have Made At My Daughter's Request”

My three and a half year old daughter is my biggest fan. Anytime she sees me stitching anything, or comes across something I've finished, she exclaims with adorable enthusiasm, “Mummy, that's AWESOME! I love it!” or some similar exclamation, inevitably followed by, “Can I have it?” Bless her. If she had her way, her tiny bedroom would be overflowing with Mummy's creations. Obviously, I say “No” a whole lot. So every now and then when she requests something specific, I like to oblige her.

A while back, she saw another baby at Mothers' Group with a robot toy, and she declared that her Quackybaby (duck wheat heat that is her closest companion) LOVES robots and really wants a tiny Quacky-sized toy robot, but it needs to be soft so he can take it to bed at nap time. Then came the, “Mummy, can you sew one for Quackybaby?” Her delight in seeing the finished product was more than a little gratifying. She promptly named the robot “Tick-Tock”, and loves to make Quackybaby's arms cuddle it. She also frequently loses Tick-Tock down the side of the bed.

More recently, while she was playing with her Quiet Book during a car trip, she announced that she needed a tiny teddy to go in the bed on the bed-making page. "You can make me one, Mummy!" she states with certainty that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. That night, while she slept, I pulled out my travel stitching supplies and just happened to have enough felt scraps to make her a tiny teddy in pajamas. Win. 

Earlier this week, I woke up to this same sweet, quirky girl clambering into my bed, whimpering that she wanted to go to her grandparents' place. Once I calmed her down, I was able to ascertain that it was not actually her grandparents she was pining for, but rather a little penguin softie she played with while there on a recent visit. "Penguins are my FAVOURITE! Please sew me one, Mummy." I told her I couldn't that day, as we had a busy day planned. So next day, as she was heading to bed for her nap, she reminded me of the penguin I had supposedly "promised" to make. "How about you sew it while I am having a rest, then when I get up, you can give it to me. Is that a good idea?" "Ummmm...not sure I'll finish it by the time you finish your rest, Sweetie," I replied. "But you can try, hey." 

Ahhh, the sweet confidence. The delightful joy upon receiving her "order". I have asked myself more than once, "Am I spoiling her?" But my answer to myself is this: "She has a Mummy who spends many hours making stuff for other random people she doesn't know. It is good for her to benefit from these sewing skills for herself, and it's good for her to catch a love of creating and a confidence that it can be done. In a few years, she will have seen this process of design, sketch, cut out, stitch enough times that when she wants a new softie, she may actually sit down and make it herself." 

Of course, she may not. But I suspect she will.
The happy miss with her new penguin (note the penguin pajamas too!)


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

I Survived A Choc-Free Easter

Is this year flying by, or what?! Easter has been and gone already! Wow. 

Me at Christmas
I have something to share with you today, in a different vein than my usual posts. I survived a chocolate-free Easter. My first ever. Yes, it is possible!! "But why would you want to?" I hear you ask. Good question! One I shall endeavour to give my personal answer to below...

A while back, I shared a photo of the dress I wore on my first date with my hubby, and told you of my journey to a healthier lifestyle, and how I hope by the end of this year to fit into this dress that I have not worn for almost 8 years. What I didn't tell you was that this journey is so much more than a "get fit, eat healthy" journey. This is a journey to freedom. Freedom from what? Freedom from compulsive, emotionally-driven eating. 

There. I said it. It is hard to admit it even to myself, but I have developed an unhealthy relationship to food. Especially chocolate. I have shared in the past about my difficulty in coming to terms with certain details about my son's birth, and adjusting to being a Mum to two kids. Well, one way that I dealt with some of the day-to-day stress of those adjustments was to eat.  "I just need an energy boost to get me through the day," I would tell myself, while breaking off a row of chocolate and shoving it into my mouth, out of sight of the kids. Ahhh...what sweet comfort chocolate gives. For about five minutes. Then I would want more. I would try to make the block last a week, but too often, would consume it in a day. Not once, not twice, but over and over. Week after week. 

At first I didn't seem to see any weight gain, but as soon as I stopped breastfeeding my son, I piled on the weight. But I couldn't stop eating chocolate. If I kept myself from buying chocolate, I would scrounge around in my pantry until I could find something to substitute. Condensed milk and cocoa, or with peanut butter - not the same but it would do. Or I'd go for a carb fix of a different type - corn chips. Lots and lots of yummy, crunchy corn chips. 

I feel so ashamed admitting this, but allowing food to have power over me was something that I never thought would happen to ME. Realising I couldn't stop was not enough to make me do something about it. It took photos from a family do just before Christmas to make me see just how much my body had changed, and just how unhappy I was to go on living enslaved to food. One last hurrah at Christmas, then I determined to make some changes. Twenty kilograms (roughly 44 pounds) in one year, that was my goal. Preferably in six months, if I could. Well, three months have passed and I am only 500g away from being half-way to that goal! Yes, that truly is something to celebrate, but how shall I celebrate it? I used to eat chocolate to celebrate!

Losing weight was not my only goal. A bigger goal was to reclaim the freedom to eat chocolate with restraint. From the start, I knew that the only way I could get to this point was to forgo chocolate altogether - abstain from chocolate entirely, for a period of time. Until my 30th birthday in June. 

Which of course, meant a chocolate-free Easter. 

Do you know, I honestly thought I would feel hard-done-by. That I would find it difficult not to have a little pity party about being surrounded by chocolate but not able to eat any. But I can joyfully tell you this is not the case. 

Me today
I FEEL FREE!! I have had the best Easter ever, in some ways, as I have not had any guilt, self-hatred, sugar lows, and to top it all off, I felt like my heart was so much more free to focus on the sacrifice Jesus made for me that first Easter. And, here I am today, with my son asleep, my daughter at her grandparents' place, the house to myself, with a couple bowls of Easter eggs the kids were given, along with two of my favourite Lindt chocolate bunnies...and I know with absolute certainty that I am not going to touch any of it. That thought makes me smile. 

Now, don't get me wrong - I have had many moments of feeling weak. On those "bad" days when everything seemed to be going wrong, and all I wanted to do was dive off the wagon into a bowl full of chocolate (yes, I actually fantasized about that on more than one occasion!). But that just showed me all the more how chocolate had been a substitute for what my soul was truly craving. It wasn't a quick-fix I needed, it was Eternal Strength. It wasn't a sugar high that I needed, which would send me crashing down to a lower low afterwards, it was a moment to rest in the Everlasting Arms. And I am learning that, in less time than it takes to unwrap a block of chocolate, break off a row and consume all traces of that row before children burst into the room, I can actually turn my heart to God and ask Him to provide the strength, perspective, refreshing that I need. The effects last longer than chocolate, it doesn't cost anything (except my pride), and there is no self-hatred or guilt afterwards!!! EPIC WIN!!! 

Now, to get to the point where I can allow myself just one piece of chocolate, savour and enjoy it, but stop at that.


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