Adventures in Adult Braces: August 2017

It seems to be a trend now to leave my orthodontist appointments feeling tender and slightly disappointed.

Obviously, I am not an orthodontist, so I don’t see what he sees, but I feel like my teeth are very nearly where we want them to be. But there is still no word on when the braces will be coming off. I must be honest, these things are seriously annoying me now and I want them out! I can only liken the experience to the final weeks of pregnancy when you’re just so over everything and want it to be over.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. He is still singing the praises of my progress and telling me how well it’s going. He said that we will be as close to perfect as it’s possible to be when this is over. That does make me feel better, but the thought of going another five months with the braces on makes me very heart sore.

It’s like building a hour. The foundations and walls seem to go up so quickly, then all the finishings take for flippen’ ever.

There’s not really much to update you on this month. After my check up with the orthodontist I have my wires and elastics changed. They put larger gauge wire on both the top and bottom teeth. I also have that thing elastic tied around my front top teeth to continue pulling them together and to work on closing up the gaps.

I have to continue wearing the elastics at night to preserve the progress we have already made. From what I could tell from our conversation we are working on closing the gaps and we are still trying to move my bottom right canine tooth into the correct position. It has moved a lot since my last appointment, but remains stubbornly out of alignment.

I don’t go back now for another 8 weeks. So I will only know in October what the next part of the timeline looks like. I am still holding out hope for removal by the end of the year, but it gets smaller and smaller with each visit. Don’t get me wrong, I want nothing to be left to chance, and I definitely do not want ot have to go through this again! But I am getting really sick of these bloody things.

A quick and easy dress up DIY

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Willow’s school is currently on school holidays and she is participating in their holiday care program.

Every day they do a new fun activity for the kids from messy play to cupcake decorating. And on Monday it was ‘come to school dressed as a story book character day’. Now while Willow is building a growing collection of dress up clothes, mid-July in South Africa is very cold. So I needed to come up with a simple costume that would keep her warm. I also wanted something she would enjoy dressing up as.

So I went with a little pig from the three little pigs. This is part make do with what you have and part crafty DIY. Willow loves the Three Little Pigs so I was pretty sure she would enjoy the costume.

I dug through her clothes and found this really pink track suit which was both warm and would work for the role. She also has a pink t shirt that was perfect for a layer in case it was a warmer or colder day. I paired that with her pink Peppa Pig shoes.

Now onto the DIY:

What you’ll need

Felt in two shades of pink and black (the felt from our craft store comes in A4 sheets. I used three sheets of dark pink, one of light pink and one of black)

A sharpie

Scissors

An old Alice band (headband)

A paper cup or empty toilet roll (basically anything cardboard and round. I used an empty tissue container)

Some firm cardboard

Glue (I used a combination, but I found the hot glue gun worked the best)

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Step 1: Fold two of the sheets of dark pink in half and draw an ear shape with your sharpie. It basically looks like a tear drop or large leaf. Cut it out and set to one side.

Step 2: Repeat step one with the light pink, only this time keep your ear shape smaller.

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Step 3: Determine how big you need your cardboard nose piece to be and cut it out. At this point, I recommend punching two holes where you will attach the cords or elastic to secure the snout.

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Step 4: Cut a large circle out of the dark pink. I used a bowl to do this. Make it big enough to cover your cardboard nose piece. While you’re working on this piece cut slits in the felt to help you wrap and glue it to the cardboard. I only did this later and it would have been easier to do it first.

Step 5: Repeat step 4 with the light pink. Again make the circle much smaller for the centre of the snout.

Step 6: Cut out two very small circles of black to make the nostrils. The size of these depends on the overall size of your snout.

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Step 7: Cut to cardboard ear pieces slightly smaller than the largest ear pieces these are to stiffen the ears so they don’t go all floppy.

Step 8: Time to assemble! Starting with the snout, find the centre of your dark pink circle, place your cardboard piece and start to glue the felt to the cardboard. I found it easiest to place a dot of glue to the outside, take one strip and hold it for a few seconds. The fold the felt over the lip of the cardboard, place a dot of glue to the inside of the tube and hold in place. Folding the felt over the lip will make the piece more comfortable for your child to wear. Repeat all the way around. Add glue to any pieces that stick out and glue down to achieve a smooth finish.

Step 9: Glue the light pink circle to the center of the tube. Decide where the nostrils should and glue down (Keep in mind where you punch holes are. You want it all to be inline.)Finally, add your cord or elastic and set to one side.

Step 10: Take the Alice band you will be using and determine where the ears will need to go using your largest dark pink ear. Open the ear, place the Alice band along the fold. Put some glue on your cardboard piece and attach it to the back of the ear on the inside. Then add some glue to the fold and fold the ear over holding onto the Alice band for a minute or so to make sure it sticks. Then glue the two ear folds together.

Step 11: Add you light pink ear pieces to the centre of the ears. If you want some definition you can trace the join with your sharpie.

Step 12: Check that your ears hold their shape when upright and try them on your child. This is the point where I measured and made the final adjustments for the cords for the snout.

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Step 13: Enjoy how cute your child looks like a little pig.

Friday favourites: August 11

 

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The Primulas in our complex garden are putting on a spectacular show

 

This week has been all kinds of out of sorts! We had a public holiday right in the middle of it which made Tuesday feel like FridayWednesday feel like Sunday and Thursday feel like Monday. And now it’s Friday again and I feel like I have whiplash!

 

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A one-of-a-kind Willow original

 

But looking back, it’s been mostly good. I have been struggling to shake a cold which struck me down on Monday. I feel better by degrees every day, which is heartening. But I’m still not 100% better, which is more annoying than anything else.

 

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Public holidays are made for lazing in bed watching cartoons

 

I have managed to do some exercise this week though, which I feel is contributing to my good mood. Nothing really strenuous, just some yoga. I hadn’t realised how much I missed it. The first few sessions I felt like a creaky old door! But my joints are loosening up again and it feel so good to stretch out muscles that have been sedentary for too long.

 

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The kids playing at brunch. It is so awesome to watch them interacting with each other!

 

This weekend will be for relaxing, recuperating, and getting back on top of the housework. I hope you all have a restful one! Chat soon XX

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Product of the week; I bought Essie’s Gel Setter top coat weeks ago, but haven’t really used it until now (my nails needed a serious detox!) but now that I have I am really impressed! I did my nails on Monday, I did some gardening on Wednesday and it’s now Friday and there is not a chip in site! I just have a little wearing on my nail tips. This is huge! Usually my nails do not stand up to digging in the dirt. What’s more they still look plump and shiny. This stuff is awesome.

 

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I just realised that I didn’t have a pic of my new tank tops, but I do have one of this striped tee, which I bought at the same time. It’s equally as awesome. I love the embroidered heart. Also, how real life is this photo? My life is an absolute mess!

 

Purchase of the week: I pulled a tank top out of my cupboard the other day and was appalled by its sorry state. I wear my tank tops almost every day year round. They are great on hot days and are perfect for layering on cold days. My old ones were also years old (bought just after I lost my baby weight from Willow!) and needed to be replaced. I found some lovely ones at H&M for just R80 each. They are so soft, fit really nicely and come in a great range of colours.

Project of the week: Being sick, I haven’t much felt like knitting. But I did manage to finish the sleeve on my striped jersey. Just one more sleeve to go and it’s done! I plan to do just that this weekend.

Random: It’s amazing how much more positive my outlook on life is when the weather warms up. I’m ready to be woken up naturally By the sun in the morning, to not be bogged down by layers of clothing and to enjoy some summer fruit.

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Best moment: Having brunch with out friends. We had a huge spread and the kids played up an absolute storm. It was really good for the soul. Also, I can’t tell you how good it felt to be working through a yoga sequence and feeling my muscles loosen up with each pose.

 

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Willow loves flowers

 

Looking forward to: T shirts, sandals and good weather! And being healthy. I’m so sick of being sick.

Knitting project: Toddler hat

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Willow modelling one of the hats I made. I have no idea what the face is about…

I like to keep a ‘couch project’ or two upstairs that I can work on while Willow is playing or I am being subjected to yet another viewing of Frozen.

These projects are quick, simple and knit up in a flash. Finishing things regularly really helps keep me motivated when it comes to my more intense projects. Anyway, my latest couch project was this sweet little hat.

I bought the pattern as part of a bundle from The Velvet Acorn aces ago and just never did anything about it, but going through my wool stash turned up this gorgeous cream chunky yarn with a brown fleck running through it. I only had two skeins of it and I thought it would be perfect for this little hat. So I got myself some giant needles and set to work.

The pattern calls for Lion Brand Thick and Ease wool and 8 and 9mm straight and circular needles. It was a very quick and simple knit. The pattern does call for double pointed needles, but I found I didn’t really need them if I used the magic loop method.

It’s knit in stockinette stitch in the round and the chunkiness of the wool makes the fabric come together beautifully and the runs you can get from magic loop were easily disguised. I made the toddler size, but Willow has a huge head. I would have been better off knitting up a child size to achieve the slouchiness of the pattern. Still, she’s in love with it and that makes me happy.

To finish it I steam blocked it with my iron, wove in the ends and made a huge pom pom to go on top. In the end, I used up both skeins of wool and that included a failed pom pom attempt before I finally got it right. To make the pom pom I ended up using two toilet rolls and it makes a lovely full, large pom that I was very happy with.

It was an easy pattern and very satisfying to work on. It’s a great beginner project as well.

Mini Dining/Kitchen Makeover

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I don’t know how it happened, but all of a sudden we’ve had a mini makeover in our dining area.

It all started with chairs. We have been noticing for a while that our dining chairs were in a bad state. They have just not aged well and were starting to look a little worse for wear. Then one day I was looking at furniture to rent for a show I’m doing for work and this started the conversation of getting new chairs.

Once the ball was rolling we just seemed to go with it. We looked online at all the different types of chairs that we liked. We found a show room so that we could see them in person and sit on them. We liked what we saw, discussed our options and got a quote. Then we ordered and paid for them and just like that, we have new dining table chairs, new nook stools and a vanity stool for the main bedroom. That escalated quickly.

A was also so kind as to build me the plant stand I’ve been harping on about for ages. We have two cats and need three little boxes, one of which is tucked into the corner of my dining room and it’s really been bugging me. I came across a DIY copper plant stand in Pinterest and fell in love. I turned it over to A who said that he could do it for me.

We took a trip to Builder’s warehouse to buy the supplies. And in one day A had it done. It would have been done in an hour if it were not for the fact that we needed to wait for the glue to dry. It is so gorgeous! I’m obsessed. We had a plank of wood we’ve been hanging onto for years which we cut to size to make a table top and that’s all she wrote. It now sits beautifully in the corner displaying this incredible peace lily. I have placed an order for one to be made for the upstairs cat box as well.

In all the rearranging and swapping out we decided that the carpet in the dining room was serving no purpose so we decided to pass it on. I also decided to get new curtains to round it all out. It looks like a completely different room!

It was all a bit whirl wind. We didn’t plan for a full make over when we started, but I’m so happy with the result. A change was needed and the room now feels fresh and vibrant.

Friday Favourites: August 4

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The sunrise while driving to A’s parent’s house

Well, hello August! We’ve made it to the end of winter and I am stoked.

Spring comes around pretty early in these parts. I really need to stop kidding myself that August is still winter. Yes, there’s still a chance of late frost, but on a whole August is when I feel we have that unpredictable, transitional spring weather.

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My orchid has two tiny flower spikes! I’m so excited! This has never happened before.

The jasmine is in bloom, my Kalanchoe is going mad, my orchid has flower spikes and my anthurium is covered in new growth. Not to mention that spring stock is starting to make it appearance in the shops. I can feel my mood lifting already.

We will be in shorts and tees complaining about the heat before we know it! I can’t wait for warm weather and outdoor activities. I’m itching to get stuck into the garden, to enjoy taking Willow to the pool and just getting to feel the sun on my skin.

This weekend I’m going to watch the Super Rugby final at Ellis Park with my dad. Our team, The Lions, are playing against the Crusaders from New Zealand. This is the first final in South Africa since 2010 and the first final we’ve had at our home ground since 1993. I’m amped!

Sunday is going to just be a chill day at home. Our close friends are coming over for brunch and I’m really looking forward to it.

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A picture taken at Willow’s request. Her favourite thing now is to get into a cute pose and say ‘Mama, take picture me!’

Hope you all have a great weekend. Chat soon! Xx

Purchase of the week: I invested in a new pair of leather ankle boots and I have barely taken them off. I love them so. I got them on sale, but I feel that the style is pretty timeless, I will get a lot of wear out of them.

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This view never gets old

Project of the week: I have been setting up my new bullet journal and I’m really excited about it. I have just finished my old one and I’m looking forward to my new journal having a little more direction and refinement. I have some fun new pages in mind and plan on being more creative with it.

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Random: I picked up a pencil and did some sketching for the first time in years the other day. I’m actually really pleased with the result. I have been indulging my creative side more and more lately. It feels so good to give myself that freedom. I have decided that it needs to be a priority in my life.

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Best moment: Willow has been singing more and more in recent days. Over the weekend she spent ages arranging a heard of beaded cows in a line singing Old Macdonald’s Farm. It was possible the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.

Looking forward to: A weekend of rugby and time spent with family and friends. We’re going to be a pretty busy this month so I’m really trying to make an effort to soak it all up.

August Goals

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I have been feeling pretty directionless lately and it doesn’t sit well with me. I have a personality type that does best when I am actively striving towards something.

It struck me that I haven’t set up a list of monthly goals for ages. I think it might be part of the problem. So I think this is a train I’m going to jump back on. Here is a short list of things that I would like to achieve this August.

  1. Take a Skillshare class – I recently joined Skillshare and have quite the list of classes I want to take. This month I want to take at least one class, most probably one on botanical drawing or hand lettering.
  2. Finish a knitting project and work on my least loved work in progress. I am so close to finishing my striped jersey. I just have to do the sleeves. So I plan to knock that out this month and work on the waterfall jersey I have been working on for ages. It is the project that receives the least love from me so I need to make it a priority.
  3. Get out of bed earlier – This is a battling I am constantly fighting, but I feel so much more productive if I don’t start my day on the back foot. I would also like to try squeeze in a morning workout, but I don’t want to push it just yet.
  4. Make at least one sewing project – I have a long list of sewing projects I want to tackle, but as of yet I have done nothing about it. This month I would like to work on that.
  5. Eat breakfast every day – I am the type to get very grumpy and feel ill if I don’t eat, yet I quite often forget to eat breakfast in the morning. This month I want to work on making it a habit in my life.

Five Things that Made Me Happy in July

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Wearable blankets

At the end of June, I spotted this beauty in a little store while I was wondering around and I bought it on a whim. It’s genius. And ridiculously simple! It’s a blanket with arm holes. The one I bought was grey and steel blue and is reversible. Since then I have barely taken it off and have added to my little collection with a navy and burgundy number. They are amazing and I love how I can wear a blanket out in public and look fashionable while being toasty warm. I can see these being in my collection for years to come.

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I have been knitting up a storm and loving it!

Knitting up a storm

When it gets cold the knitting bug really hits me hard. I love spending evenings wrapped up in a blanket getting lost in endless rows of stocking stitch. I have been working really hard on a stash busting striped jersey that is very near to completion. It’s a little crazy, but I love how it’s coming together. I have also knitted up quite a few hats using a brilliant pattern. They come together so beautifully and have the perfect slouch to them. I think all the kids in my circle will be getting them for Christmas this year.

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Couch snuggles with my girls

We’ve all had a pretty crappy July with illness knocking us down more than I would like. Poor Willow has had a major sinus infection and an ear infection this winter and it’s heartbreaking when they’re sick. The only good thing to come of it is having extra couch time snuggled up with Willow and a kitty cat while we watch Disney movies. Sing is very popular in our house at the moment.

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On the health front, all of us have spent our fair share in bed with tea feeling sorry for ourselves

Le Creuset Coffee Mugs as big as my head

I tragically broke one of my favourite Le Creuset mugs early in the month and it just had to be replaced. Now I have a quirky collection of different colours and they just make me so happy. I love drinking a steaming cup of tea out of my mugs. I’m particularly partial to the Rosemary one though, it’s the perfect shade of green.

Mini home makeovers

We’ve had a little mini makeover of our downstairs living space and I’m thrilled with the results. It all started with a new kettle and toaster and spread to new dining chairs, nook stools and a snazzy plant stand which A made for me. It has all come together so beautifully. It looks even better when it’s clean and tidy, but I have a toddler, two cats and a husband. I can get my house clean for literally two seconds every week. I make sure to soak it all up when that happens!

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DIY Insect Spray for the garden.

I have been struggling for a while now with ants, aphids, scale and spider mite in my garden.

It only affects certain plants: My Hibiscus, Gardenia and Lemon Trees with ants on my Kalanchoe when they flower.

I have always used malasol to spray, but to be honest I don’t use it too often as I hate mixing it up and using it. It’s very toxic and the chemical smell is so overwhelming that it often makes me feel ill.

I recently came across a few  methods for using essential oils in the garden to deter pests. It’s like a switch was flipped. I don’t know why I never thought of this before, but it’s genius. So I started doing what I do best: researching the heck out of which oils to use for my DIY bug spray.

I have since mixed up a batch and am very pleased with the results. Today I’m going to share what I’ve learned with you. If you have a recipe that works well for you please share it with me!

You need:

A dark glass spray bottle (mine is 100ml from www.essentiallynatural.co.za)

Some dish soap (I would have preferred Castille soap, but I didn’t have any on hand)

Filtered water

Essential Oils of your choice. The oils I chose were Peppermint, Sweet Orange and Cedarwood

I found this hand dandy guide on www.hippiehomemaker.com (http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/using-essential-oils-home-garden-kill-pests-diy-bugs-b-gone-home-garden-spray/) that you can use as a starting point.

  • Ants: Peppermint, spearmint, garlic, citronella, orange, cedarwood
  • Aphids: Cedarwood, hyssop, peppermint, spearmint, orange, cedarwood
  • Beetles: Peppermint, thyme, garlic, cedarwood, orange
  • Caterpillars: Peppermint, spearmint, cedarwood, orange
  • Chiggers: Lavender, lemongrass, sage, thyme, cedarwood, orange
  • Cutworm: Thyme, sage, cedarwood, orange
  • Fleas: Lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, cedarwood, citronella, tansy, orange
  • Flies: Lavender, peppermint, rosemary, sage, citronella, tansy, cedarwood, orange, lemongrass, lemon, thyme, tea tree, sandalwood, patchouli
  • Gnats: Patchouli, spearmint, orange, citronella, tagetes, cedarwood, peppermint, eucalyptus, rose geranium
  • Mosquitoes: Lavender, lemongrass, orange, citronella, tansy, cedarwood, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, thyme, rose geranium, clove, blue cypress, cinnamon, sage
  • Head Lice: Lavender, tea tree, geranium, spearmint, peppermint, pine, thyme, orange, rosemary, cedarwood
  • Plant Lice: Peppermint, spearmint, cedarwood, orange
  • Moths: Cedarwood, hyssop, lavender, peppermint, spearmint, citronella, orange
  • Roaches: Cedarwood, eucalyptus, cinnamon, thyme, orange
  • Slugs: Cedarwood, hyssop, pine, garlic, orange
  • Snails: Cedarwood, pine, patchouli, garlic, orange
  • Spiders: Peppermint, spearmint, lemon, lime, orange, citrus, lavender, citronella, cedarwood
  • Ticks: Lavender, lemongrass, orange, sage, thyme, citronella, tea tree, geranium, cedarwood, tansy, eucalyptus, sweet myrrh
  • Weevils: Cedarwood, patchouli, sandalwood, orange

What I did:

Fill your spray bottle about ¼ of the way with dish soap

Add the filtered water

Add your essential oils (I used 10 drops of each) put the lid on and shake well

Spray it on the infestation your plants. Make sure you saturate it from all angles and spray the underside of the leaves as well.

Reapply if needed.

I did reapply because I wanted to make sure I go every last bit of the infestation. For less severe cases I think you will only need a little bit, but judge it on a case by case basis.

Life lately: winter 2017

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My Jasmine is covered in buds already

Wow, the past few weeks really got away from me there. As the saying goes, when it rains it pours! Everything seemed to all happen at once. So today I thought I’d update you on the happenings in my little family. I’m just going to start typing and see what comes out, so I apologise if this turns out to be long and not make much sense.

We had a huge expo at work that we participated. So from a work perspective, I was so caught up in preparation and then the actual show that I barely came up for air. The stress levels were high let me tell you!

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This cheeky face is everything!

In amongst all of that, we also had visits from family, winter illnesses, some new home additions and life as usual stuff to deal with. It’s been real.

I was so stoked that we managed to see my sister and brother in law for a whirlwind visit a week or so ago. We went to a huge family shindig with R’s family and it was a lot of fun. Willow had a blast playing with all her new friend. We ate amazing food, drank a tonne of champagne and got to have a bit of a catch-up. In usual style, Carmen and Ricky were only in the country for a week as they were attending a wedding in Durban. So it was great that we managed to squeeze some time in.

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Sick day cuddles with these two

We also got to spend some time with A’s mom and aunt. It was also a whirlwind visit, but we had a lovely dinner and Willow got in a lot of snuggle time. We are hoping to head to A’s folks’ place for a relaxing weekend this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

On the home front, A made me the plant stand I have been harping on about for ages. It’s not quite finished yet, but it’s so close! The copper frame is all done, we just need to find a little free time to sand and stand the top. It came out better than I could have hoped! I really want to make one for the upstairs room now as well.

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I’ve been indulging my creative side and working on my lettering skills

We also invested in some new dining room chairs. We ordered Tolix style chairs in a metallic bronze finish and Tolix style nook stools in a colour called Chrysler Blue. They are just gorgeous. They play up the slightly industrial feeling we have in our home and really work well with our dining room table. I’m really happy with them.

I have unpacked the sewing machine a few times this winter, which I am really happy with. I have made a pair of PJ pants, a skirt, a gown for Willow and I have some great patterns for summer things that I’m amped to try out. I hope to get to the fabric store soon to pick up the materials that I need to get started. My hope is to tackle at least one, but hopefully two projects a month, each one using a different technique to help me hone my skills.

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Willow modelling one of the hats I made. I have no idea what the face is about…

I have also been knitting up a storm. Nothing is better on a cold weekend afternoon when the whole family is sick that snuggling up on the couch with Disney movies and a pile of knitting. I have been making so many hats! They are so quick and satisfying to whip up. And most exciting of all is that my stash busting striped jersey is almost done. I have completed the front and back panels and just need to make the sleeves.

All in all, we’ve had a good winter so far, but I am more than ready for it to be over now. We’ve had a bad run with illnesses and it seems to be everyone this season. My friend’s son was admitted to hospital for almost a week with respiratory infections. Willow has been struggling to shake an ear and sinus infection. As soon as we have it under control our GP has recommended that we see an ENT to discuss grommets as the situation is now getting out of hand. A has just been on a major case of cortisone for his sinus issues and I’m still struggling to shake mine and this annoying cough I’ve developed. I would really like all of us to be healthy again, please and thank you.

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On the health front, all of us have spent our fair share in bed with tea feeling sorry for ourselves

In the effort of improving our health, it dawned on me that I have been so busy trying to keep all my balls in the air that I am neglecting myself a little. Dinners have turned into quick solutions that aren’t necessarily the greatest choice with take out happening more than it should. I have also not been exercising and haven’t been sleeping well. So now that life is calming down a bit I have resolved to get back on the healthy eating band waggon.

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I have been knitting up a storm and loving it!

I have actually done some meal planning for the first time in over a month and have a week’s work of healthy food ideas, I have eaten breakfast for the first time in ages as well and I did a work out session that has left me stiff and sore. It feels really good! I forgot what it felt like to really challenge my body and I am determined that I will work out at least three times a week.

So that is my long rambly update. If you stuck around you deserve a medal! I hope to get back to my usual posting schedule this week.

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Tango is perfectly camouflaged with our new carpet