Thursday, 28 March 2013

Sunflower Wreath

(No posts for weeks, and then three in one day! You can insert your own bus joke here)

Hanging above our bed we have this wreath that I made at Christmas. It's still there because I love how it looks, and it was my first craft success ever (seriously). I made it using this tutorial from Jill at Baby Rabies

Feminist Cupcakes: Sunflower Wreath

 When Andy's mum came over recently she said that she liked it, so I decided to make her one for her birthday. She also loves sunflowers, so I swapped the red felt for yellow, and added a piece of black glittery felt in the centre to make it look like a sunflower.

Feminist Cupcakes: Sunflower Wreath

It's a great wreath for spring because it's just so damn cheerful and bright. It would be great to have hanging on the front door for Easter. As long as it stops snowing and raining that is.

Anniversary Quilt

Two weeks ago my parents had their 45th wedding anniversary, and as a present I decided to make them a quilt. If you've read any of my other posts about sewing you'll know that I've only been sewing for a couple of months now, and this was by far the most ambitious project I've taken on. I found that the most important thing was to research the crap out of it before you even think of starting. I read dozens of tutorials on the various ways of cutting the fabric, basting the layers, quilting techniques... Every step got thoroughly researched because I had literally no clue what I was doing.

The equipment that I found indispensable was

  • a rotary cutter (you need perfectly straight lines for a quilt and scissors just won't do it)
  • a walking foot for my sewing machine. It has feed dogs on the foot so that the top and bottom layers of the quilt feed through at the same rate and don't get moved around or bunched up.
  • 505 Temporary Spray Adhesive. This stuff is incredible. Instead of basting a quilt with safety pins, buy a can of this stuff, it works perfectly.
I have to say, I'm really pleased with how it came out. There were a couple of squares that didn't align perfectly, but they were only off by millimetres, and the quilting lines are a bit wonky, but for a first attempt, I'm very pleased.

Feminist Cupcakes: Anniversary Quilt
That's Andy behind there. I couldn't get a decent picture of it spread out on the floor so he's holding it up for me.
Feminist Cupcakes: Anniversary Quilt
I went for straight line quilting on this one, but for the next one I think I'll try free motion. I prefer the look of it.
Feminist Cupcakes: Anniversary Quilt
This took so long to do, but it was really worth it. It made the whole project look a lot more personal.
Feminist Cupcakes: Anniversary Quilt
I chose pinks and blues because the 45th anniversary is sapphire
I have a Pinterest board with some great tutorials that I used here.

Anxiety, And A New Psychiatrist

I started seeing an NHS psychiatrist just before Christmas, and I think she's the first psychiatrist I've seen who I actually liked. So of course, she left and I'm now seeing someone else. I had my first appointment with him last week and it was just awful. I went in expecting a quick "How are you doing? Here's some more medication." but he opened with "Tell me about your childhood."


Nothing makes my mind go blank quicker than a question like that, especially when it's asked by someone I don't know or trust. I stammered out a couple of sentences about it being normal because as I say, I don't know or trust this guy yet, he can't possibly expect me to tell him about the screaming, and fear, and threats of abandonment, right?

He asked what my diagnosis was and when I said Borderline Personality Disorder, depression, and anxiety, he muttered something about everyone being able to fit some symptoms of personality disorders, and some doctors don't really believe in them.

When he asked me about Adam and Jack I started crying. Feeling like a crap mother because of my mental health problems is a big trigger for me, and I hate to cry in front of people, so you can see how much fun that was to go through.

He wants me to do an independence course, art therapy, an online mood gym... It's just too much right now. It sounds so pathetic, but I just want to be left alone. I could probably do one of those things at a time, but just the thought of having to do all of that, and interact with that many new people, is making my chest tighten and my heart race. I know I should be grateful that he wants to help me, and that these resources are there, but I just don't feel like I can manage that much at once. It feels like there are all these people in my life telling me what I should do, and I don't feel in control of it any more.

Things that are making me anxious today:

  • My flat is a mess, there is stuff everywhere, and the bathroom smells of cats (I don't have cats, but I do have two young boys with aiming problems).
  • We can't afford swimming lessons for both Adam and Jack, so it's just Adam getting them at the moment, and I worry that Jack is going to miss out.
  • I have to pick Adam up from school this afternoon because Andy has to take Jack to a birthday party.
  • Climate change (don't laugh, the weather is fucked at the moment and it makes me worry about what the world will be like when my kids are adults).
  • That I'm fucking up my children just by being their mother.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Grungiest Carpet You Will Ever See

Feminist Cupcakes: The Grungiest Carpet You Will Ever See

That right there is what my living room carpet looked like this evening. It's seven years of children spilling food on it, peeing on it, trampling mud over it, and throwing up on it. We've had a rug over it for a while, but the room just isn't big enough for the rug not to get in the way of something or other, so we chucked it in the loft with the rest of the crap we don't use. After having a clean(ish) rug down though, the carpet looks worse than ever, and I just can't take it any more.

Feminist Cupcakes: The Grungiest Carpet You Will Ever See

When something gets too grungy for even me to put up with, something has to be done about it. We've tried commercial carpet cleaners; the person we paid to do it only charged us half price because he couldn't get the stains out (it was cleaner, just not clean).

A couple of weeks ago Adam threw up in the hall, right after he drank a strawberry and banana smoothie. I was convinced that we'd have a pink stain on the carpet forever, but I dumped a load of bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda for any Americans reading) on the stain, left it for half an hour or so, swept it up and then gave it a scrub with a mix of washing up liquid (I use Ecover), white vinegar, and hot water.* Not only did it get the strawberry coloured vomit out, it the patch I scrubbed was cleaner than the rest of the carpet. Unfortunately I then felt obligated to clean the rest of the hall carpet because it looked so awful in comparison to the one clean spot.

Feminist Cupcakes: The Grungiest Carpet You Will Ever See
Don't scrub a carpet with a nail brush.
This is a week later and I still have a hole in my knuckle where the blister was.
Seeing as the hall carpet came up so nicely I figured I'd try the same thing on the living room. I'm doing it in parts rather than all at one time, so I started with the worst area - right in front of the sofa.

Feminist Cupcakes: The Grungiest Carpet You Will Ever See

I actually used a plastic scrubbing brush this time, so no more blisters (but the one from last week stung like fuck when I put it in the vinegar), and it looks so much better now!

Feminist Cupcakes: The Grungiest Carpet You Will Ever See
You can actually see the line where I stopped cleaning.

Feminist Cupcakes: The Grungiest Carpet You Will Ever See

It's not spotlessly clean, I don't think it ever will be, but it's a damn sight cleaner than it was.

I may not have picked the best time to do this though. Andy's just called to say he's on his way home from Woodcraft Folk with Adam and Jack and they got so muddy that Jack even has some on his nose. I think I might cry.

*I don't use precise measurements for this 'recipe'. I just use a squirt of washing up liquid and a glug of white vinegar in a mop bucket and fill it just over halfway with water. If you have a carpet cleaner, it would probably be worth going over the carpet with it filled with plain water afterwards, just to give it a bit of a rinse.

Feminist Cupcakes: The Grungiest Carpet You Will Ever See

Monday, 4 March 2013

Felt Baby Shoes

Feminist Cupcakes: Felt Baby Shoes

I made some baby shoes today out of some yellow felt I had left over from my mother-in-law's birthday present (I'll post about that next week, after her birthday). I used this pattern and tutorial from Purlbee, and I'm pretty pleased with how they've come out. I don't actually have a baby though and I have no plans to have any more, so I have to try and find someone to give these to! Any takers?