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Hello readers. If you read my last post in November, then you’ll know that all has not been rosy in the land of Thimbles and Teapots. For months, I could barely function and I stopped sewing, baking, singing and writing; essentially all of the things that make me happy. It’s been extremely difficult but I think that I can finally say that, with the exception of a few ‘off’ days, there may now be a little light at the end of the tunnel.

Before I start, let me just include a picture of these beautiful flowers; a gift from my father-in-law:

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I have just finished reading a book called The Happiness Project by an author called Gretchen Rubin. One day, Gretchen realised that she wasn’t entirely satisfied with her life. She wasn’t exactly unhappy, but there were aspects of herself and her relationship that she wanted to change. She set about doing this by creating a series of resolutions for each month over the course of a year. She blogged about her experiences and inspired others to start their own happiness projects. I thought that I would try to introduce a few resolutions into my own life too. According to Gretchen, resolutions differ from goals as they are ongoing small changes that you aim to introduce into your daily life. I particularly liked her resolution to sing every morning. I love singing. I used to sing all of the time. When I was younger, I took part in our school musical productions and I was in just about every choir possible. My parents encouraged me to play a musical instrument so I took up the flute but I just didn’t feel the same way about playing the flute as I did about singing. Since being ill, I haven’t felt like singing very much, even though it improves my mood and makes me feel happy. My favourite songs are those by the old-school artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. My husband thinks that I was born in the wrong era. He might well be right. I would love to wear one of those beautiful flowing dresses (one that has been shortened to fit a petite woman) and sing along with a swing-band.

My unfortunate sewing-machine had disappeared under a pile of house-junk (you know, the sort that accumulates when you don’t have time to do any proper filing or tidying) but I finally unearthed it just over a month ago and started trying to complete a few small projects. I was advised that mini-achievements would help to improve my poor, battered confidence. Whilst there is still a way to go, I believe that it might be working. I did feel happier whilst I was running fabric through my machine and it was a good distraction from the negative thoughts that sometimes circulate in my brain. My first project was this this little owl (the kit was a Christmas present from my sister-in-law):


I’ve still been receiving my Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine, which often comes with small patchwork projects that can be completed very quickly. I made this sweet little house for a friend:

Little house enhanced

The latest edition of Quilt Now was accompanied by a guide, written by Eva Larkin, to free-motion quilting:

Free-motion quilting 

Now that I have a darning foot for my machine, I can finally learn how to do this and, in the spirit of completing small, achievable tasks, I’ve undertaken to follow the steps provided in this guide. I have to say that it’s pretty tricky and, for a perfectionist such as myself, quite frustrating! So far, I have learned about setting the tension, sewing a spiral and have been practicing my ‘squiggles’ on paper:

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If nothing else, I quite enjoyed using my coloured pencils again.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally felt well enough to bake a cake (my first bake in over four months) so I made my husband’s favourite, Nigella Lawson’s chocolate and Guinness cake. This cake is yummy but it’s a bit ‘high-faff’ as baking goes. You can’t just shove everything into your bowl and give it a good mix, you have to first melt the butter with the Guinness in a pan then gradually add the other ingredients (some of which need to be mixed in a separate bowl). By the time I’d put the cake in the oven, the kitchen and myself were covered in cake batter. The cake is covered with a layer of frothy icing (to represent the head of the Guinness) made from cream-cheese, icing-sugar and whipped cream. If ever there was a cake to make you happy then this is probably it. I think that my husband likes this cake even more than he likes Ms Lawson herself 🙂

Since it is now March, here is a picture of daffodils:

Daffodils 2 - Creative Commons

Photo taken from Flickr via Creative Commons. Taken by Ian Britton.

I’ll leave today’s post with a picture of my (admittedly somewhat grumpy) cat Marmalade having a rest on my quilt:Marmalade - for blog

Till next time,