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Ham Sandwiches And Fear

Gallstones are no joke, but I’ve got to laugh, because if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry.

I feel discomfort from my broken gallbladder every day, no matter how well I eat. It is just physically and mentally exhausting, and some days it brings me to tears.

My focus since March has been to manage my symptoms, eat enough fat to keep the stones from getting bigger but not enough fat to trigger more discomfort,  and to lose enough weight to get keyhole surgery.

The good news is that the fear of incapacitating pain has been really good at keeping me on track losing weight. I’ve now lost 70lbs in total and still have 30 to go to escape obesity and wander back into the mystical land of “overweight” which I haven’t visited since I was roughly 20 years old. Read more…


Tampon Ghosts

This afternoon I had a fantastic time making tampon ghosts with my craftiest of friends.

I am in Scotland, and they are both in England, nowhere near each other, but when I randomly sent them a photo of a tampon ghost in our group chat, we somehow all produced the materials to make them almost instantly.

The three of us take our crafting pretty seriously, and this isn’t exactly a serious craft, but it was too fun not to share.

We’re just 3 grown women (and one little girl) celebrating Halloween, and womanhood by up-cycling some old tampons that had been in our cupboards for years.

Hope the photos make you smile!

Anna Instagram

Bel Instagram 

Sarah Instagram 

Sarah/Anna Instagram

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Recipe Card Creative Mail Swap

It is no secret that I am a happymail enthusiast. I thoroughly enjoy allowing my imagination to go wild creating and exchanging thoughtful handmade paraphernalia with my closest mail art friends.  My favorite part, now that I have found people who I connect with very well is the way that we feed off of each other’s creativity.

A couple of months ago I had an idea for a swap centred around recipe cards, and my friend, who I’ve been doing mail art exchanges with for a couple of years now was excited to give it a try.

The only rule I laid out for this challenge was that we each did a set of three recipe cards 1 main course, one side dish or starter and 1 dessert.

I absolutely love what we both created (hers more than mine) and below I’ve shared a few photos of both our sets of cards as well as some background and details in the hope that more people might be inspired try this out in the future as it was a lot of fun and there are truly endless creative possibilities.  Read more…

Super Simple, Practical And Basic Crochet Fingerless Gloves Pattern

Fingerless gloves are very nice to have in the chilly weather, however I like my clothing on the practical side and couldn’t find a crochet pattern that really spoke to me. Something not pointlessly ornate, too bulky, or too lacy.

So I worked out a pattern for myself and I’m really happy with how they turned out. They are soft, and warm, and like anything handmade, extra, super, wonderfully cosy. I’ve already made about 5 pairs and suspect that I’ll be making even more with Christmas coming up fast.

Below I’ve written out the instructions for anyone else who would like to make a pair!

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Pizza Strips – Delicious Nostalgia

Pizza strips are strips of pizza dough that have been topped with a rich, flavorful tomato sauce and nothing else. They are meant to be eaten at room temperature or chilled rather than hot, and make a great low fat/low calorie, super portable meal or snack anytime.

When most people think of pizza it is nearly impossible for them to imagine it without cheese and a pile of toppings, but have faith, these things are frigging wonderful, especially when they’re made with a homemade sauce that you have 100% control over.

I don’t know how wide spread these are in the US as I never did much food shopping outside of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, but they were one of my favorite things to pick up from the deli when I was a kid, and only recently did it occur to me that I could make them myself. They have been such a welcome alternative to ham sandwiches since my gallbladder issues started!

Below I’ve included the recipe for my homemade sauce and the method I use to combine it with a (lazy) store bought ready to roll pizza crust.

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Exploring The Exquisite Corpse

Over the past two years I have tried a lot of different sorts of mail art exchanges, and a few weeks ago while racking my brain for something new to try I remembered exquisite corpses.

An exquisite corpse is a drawing collaboration between two or more artists who don’t know what the other person’s contribution looks like until the full picture is revealed upon completion. I’ve wanted to try doing one with someone since I was about 18 years old but the opportunity never really came up.

As it happens I have a friend whose weird matches my weird and she can draw! Thankfully she was also up for giving it a try with me, and we’ve been sort of shamelessly addicted to creating exquisite corpses together ever since.

I started an instagram where I’ve been uploading our completed EC’s ( check it out for more examples) and I assume we’re just going to casually keep at it until we get bored or distracted!

Below I’ve included a few examples of our recent collaborations.

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Geocaching – 5 Handmade Swag Ideas

Over the last two months we have been spending a lot of time exploring our local area through geocaching.

The exchange of swag is definitely one of my favorite parts of the process, and in my limited experience I have also found that it seems to be a fairly neglected aspect by many geocachers.

In addition to topping up the kiddie swag in caches, I like to leave some handmade items as well, and that’s where my crafty skills come into play.

Besides it just being really nice to find something out of the ordinary, my hope is that as more people find these things they will maybe be inspired to think more about whatever it is they are leaving behind as well.

Below I’ve outlined the first 5 little projects that I put together recently to pop into the caches we find on our travels.

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Raising Painted Lady Caterpillars

For our third year of butterfly rearing I decided to go with our first round of mail order bugs in the form of Painted Lady caterpillars.

I purchased a caterpillar voucher for our daughter’s 6th birthday from Insect Lore. They arrived via post in sealed jar containing everything they required up to the point of pupation, which I am still left with mixed feelings about as it felt sort of cruel. However we saw the process through to the end anyway, even if I don’t feel 100% great about it.

Below I’ve detailed our experience and observations. (with lots of photos) Read more…

I Made A Kracken Shawl

Just a quick post/review on a pattern that I bought recently called the Kracken Shawl.

I started following Two Hearts Crochet a while back when a crochet friend of mine started making the c2c princess squares.

When I first saw the Kracken Shawl I was instantly inspired to make one because cephalopods are amazing, clever wee beasties. Also it reminds me of Cthulhu and Lovecraftian horror which is always a big bonus. So I purchased the pattern in April. Two weeks later, it was completed!

The instructions and graph were easy to follow. It shouldn’t have taken me two weeks, but unfortunately I had to rip out my stitches enough times to literally make a whole other shawl! (my own fault) If even one stitch is missed it throws everything off, so wanting to make it perfect, I did a lot of pulling back my work. The pattern was also a really good introduction to this sort of crochet technique using boxes to create a picture and it’s absolutely simple enough for a beginner to complete, so not intimidating at all.

I am looking forward to eventually applying the same techniques to a design of my own creation someday.

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Will Seed Bombs (Balls) Made With Air Dry Clay Germinate?

Seed bombs/balls are spheres of soil and clay with seeds inside. When dry, the sphere of clay and soil protects the seeds within. When they get wet, the seeds are stimulated to grow and they will break the sphere apart as they push out, giving the seedlings a perfect start.

They are ideal for throwing into places where people can’t really get in to plant, and can contain any sort of seeds, however wildflower seeds are the best for helping the bees and butterflies in your local area.

I received my first introduction to seed bombs via a recent random conversation with a friend, and I thought it would be an excellent idea to make some of my own with wildflower seeds to spread on our adventures walking through the countryside.

So of course, I consulted the Google with my query and found many pages with recipes for how to make seed bombs/balls, but they mostly seemed to involve clay powder, which I was having trouble sourcing. Then I remembered that I have a brick of non toxic air dry clay in my craft hoards, so I started looking for recipes using air dry clay.

I found a few which basically walked me through how they made the balls, but none of them seemed quite right to me, and it made me feel fairly sceptical when I couldn’t find one actually confirming with photos that the balls germinated. I mean… anyone can chuck a few seeds in some clay and take photos, but the important thing about a seed bomb is that it actually facilitates the growth of the seeds inside.

Below I’ve outlined what I did to create my own seed bombs (which are all sprouting nicely) using easily sourced materials in the UK.  Read more…

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