Late Night Knitting

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Well, it’s up and running. The pattern’s in my Etsy shop as of a couple of hours ago. Pulled a very-late-nighter but so pleased it’s done and I can share it with everyone.

I’ve been asked about this throw for ages and finally got my act together to create the patterns. Getting the ‘math’ head working isn’t always easy but after triple checking everything, I hope I remembered all my multiplication tables correctly!

Here’s the link to my shop – The Heirloom Throw is a featured listing – of course ๐Ÿ™‚ – Knits U Love

The nature of this pattern means you can use odd balls of yarn or create a blending design. It’s up to you. I’m not a designer but because I only used three colours, the ‘blending’ seems to work really well.

Size is down to you as well. Make it as big or small as you want. Anything from king sized bed-size down to cushion covers perhaps?

Knitting is such a good antidote to snacking. It hardly takes up any room. And you can often find knitters donating odd balls of yarn if you ask around. Or you could buy a pack of multi-coloured yarns on Amazon. Get your pattern first though – whether it’s for a throw like this or anything else, so that you know what needles and yarn type you need.

And how about knitting Christmas this year! I’ve got a few patterns at the shop designed for beginner knitters, including the Ekokid doll range, that could all be possible Christmas gifts. (The Ekokids are non-plastic versions of Barbie, but much easier to play with for little hands and much less plastic!)

Knitting is an amazing hobby and this is a time we can explore new ways of living and consuming. Millions of people are taking up gardening – like we should ever have stopped growing food! And so many more hobbies and life skills to explore. Start easy though. Enjoy the moment and whatever you decide to nominate as your next project, I wish you pleasure in your pursuits ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Hobbying!

Stay Safe

Linda x

Turning Ideas into Projects

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I’ve been working on a project for about a year – on and off – and had a few teck traumas along the way but I’m very close to finishing it.

‘It’ being a downloadable pattern for a throw that anyone can have a go at. The versatility of these kind of projects is second to none. Use recycled yarn or scraps in your knitting basket or you could go all out and design a beautiful work of art.

I loved making this throw and it gets tons of complements ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, it’ll be up on Etsy in a couple of days – fingers crossed – so as someone somewhere said ‘watch this space!’

As well as knitting, many of us are getting into different hobbies that have been sidelined for years and although we’re living in uncertain times, enjoying the moment is perhaps the one thing we can all focus on. Even washing up or sweeping the floor can be a moment of enjoyment and perhaps reflection.

When an idea turns up, don’t dismiss it immediately because of outside obstacles – finances, isolating etc; – because, even if you don’t know how to execute it, there’s so much information available and learning is always a bonus.

Although I made this throw nearly a year ago, most of the challenging work to create the digital patterns has been done in the past month!

If the ideas are coming thick and fast, attach a notepad and pen to yourself somewhere – a pocket would probably be best. ๐Ÿ™‚ and jot down ideas as they happen. At the end of the day or week, go over your notes and spend a little time with each idea.

If one of them suddenly seems ridiculously off the planet, discard it or scale it down. Anything that seems feasible stays. Then really consider if you would enjoy following through each idea. If you don’t know and it’s not going to cost an arm an a leg to find out, do it. A new experience has to be worthwhile, surely?

What you are left with should be good ideas that you would love to carry out. Then go for it!

Stay Safe
Linda x

Coping Strategies; Practical Stuff

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Over the next seven days I’ll be posting some ideas and coping strategies to hopefully help us all stay grounded until, well.. ‘this too shall pass’

Day 1 – Practical Stuff
Day 2 – Nourishment
Day 3 – Connecting
Day 4 – Relaxing
Day 5 – Playing
Day 6 – Learning
Day 7 – Moving On

I was going to try and make an acronym of these titles but there weren’t any vowels to play with ๐Ÿ™‚

We’re living in uncertain times and looking back over the past year, we’ve seen some radical movements in climate change campaigns, political tidal waves and plenty of self-care and life coaches popping up. I saw a post the other day saying

“I’m feeling like the planet has sent us all to our rooms to think about what we’ve done”

So, if you’re self-isolating or in compulsory lock-down or if you’re house-bound in any way, the following days could be more difcicult than usual to navigate. Time to look within. Nothing much you can do out there anyway, unless you’re on the front line, in which case you are our heros and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Day One – Coping Strategies for Practical Stuff

Looking at practical ways to deal with being at home with the family and not diving into the gin bottle. Not all of these ideas will resonate – pick the ones that do.

*Schedule: If you are used to a schedule, it may be a good idea to create one now. But don’t forget a lot can and may have to be juggled. At work, your colleagues know what has to be done, and to a large extent they do it. It’s different at home. If you find yourself having an argument with a three-year-old (btw, you won’t win) remember, their rules are different – i.e. they have no rules! Be prepared to be flexible and go with the flow.

*Make Lists: Different from schedules because they can be made by everyone individually. If you are sharing chores, everyone writes their chore on their list as well as the other things they want to get done in a day. Try writing your list for the next day just before bedtime. Then when you wake up, you’ll know what you ‘should’ be doing today.

*Parenting: Children actually thrive with certain boundaries and direction. You may not be home-schooling but there’s so much more to learn and now’s a great opportunity to get up to speed with any anti-social behaviours emmerging. They happen, and children shouldn’t be dismissed as ‘naughty’ or ‘delinquent’ because it’s just their way of learning social skills and also pushing their parents as far as they can sometimes – be prepared!

*Think ahead: Yes this too shall pass but maybe not as quickly as we want it to, so thinking ahead could save you frustration and anxiety in the weeks to come. Take stock of what provisions you have. If you’re not one of those who has stock piled so much you are depriving others, and I’m not going into that because it makes me crazy, then you may have to work out just how many toilet rolls and packets of pasta you will need in a couple of weeks from now and maybe get an online order in now.

Just a few ideas on practical coping strategies. Tomorrow we’re talking about Nourishment.

Keep well

Linda x

 

Home Life

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and what it could be like.

With recent events causing more time spent at home, there are a few questions coming up as to how to cope with it all.

Apart from the usual keeping yourself well by eating healthy foods and not going anywhere near the rest of humanity, there are the everyday practical, mental and spiritual issues to take care of.

If you’re not sure you’ll still have all your marbles at the end of your isolation period, check out these few ideas in case…

It’s all just too Boring?

Well, isn’t work boring sometimes? What about those mornings when you’ve wanted to stay home and get the housework up to date or prepare for a celebration?

Actually there may be lots of loose ends you could be tidying up right now. Have a wander round and make a quick note of jobs you’ve wanted to get around to for ages. Perhaps…

  • de-cluttering
  • sorting out the kids clothes
  • general tidying up
  • taking up the hem of the curtains

and then sort out your notes into a schedule – and if you don’t keep to it, juggle it around until it fits with your mood of the moment.

And there are probably some creative pursuits you would have time for at home. Is the sewing machine collecting dust? Or maybe you learned to knit, bought some patterns and yarn and never got around to knitting those winter gloves or hats. Are you a closet artist? Get drawing!

Maybe you’ve been dreaming about your own business, or starting a blog but don’t know where to start. There are hundreds of thousands of videos on youtube. Get inspired by watching others’ online success stories – although I would add a disclaimer here – not everything you find on the internet is true for you!

And remember to take some action on anything that resonates. Or you’ll find yourself drowning in a sea of overwhelm ๐Ÿ™‚

kids

Kids driving you mental?

Children are sponges for knowledge. How many times a day do you hear ‘why’ as the beginning of a sentence? Use the time to learn with them. Try not to ‘copy’ school. Home life is different.

Decide when your own child/children respond best to learning and learn with them. We know, from various tv programmes and social media posts that parents have forgotten – or indeed never learned in the first place – a lot of the stuff that kids are learning now.

Home schoolers have support groups online and your local authority may have some guidance available for your child’s grade.

And, learning aside, how about some fun? The biggest challenge with today’s kids at home seems to be separating them from their devices and screen-time. So, get the board games and jigsaw puzzles out of hibernation if you have them. If not, don’t despair! Get into some traditional games that our grandmothers would have played. They were often fun and educational. I’ll put a link to a handy download of Indoor Family Games below.

If you have a garden, or even just a little windowsill space, sow some seeds with the whole family. Nurturing plants is a joy in itself and you may be able to grow some nourishing organic food. There are some useful gardening posts here so no excuse!

housework

More household chores?

Well, yes, but you have time to do them now. I wrote a quick post about washing up and the pleasure to be found – yes really!

But again, the household chores can be turned into a learning time and also fun. How about either a recap or a new experience in …

 

  • tidying away toys and belongings – adults too!
  • putting laundry in the laundry basket – ditto ๐Ÿ™‚
  • appreciating their space
  • baking sugar-free cookies
  • putting a meal together

Age has to be considered of course, but with some proper coaching about possible dangers and how to avoid them, children can surprise us every day with their ability, responsibility and creativity and imagination.

My grandchildren could teach me a thing or two in the kitchen!

You’ll have no ‘office’ clothes to launder so enjoy the yoga pants every day. And yoga pants don’t need ironing – Bonus.

money

Less money?

Tricky, as money always seems to be an issue when trying to raise a family or simply survive in recent economic times – although I’m not sure it hasn’t always been like that.

 

It’s about how we respond to the bills and finances generally that makes the difference.

Being at home all day is bound to increase home utility bills but being aware helps. Did you really need to put the heating on that early when there are lots of people milling about generating body heat? Maybe not. And it’s not really necessary to always sprawl on the couch in your underwear. Turn the heating down and put a shirt on!

Washing hands and general cleanliness is of course important, but if you don’t have to take a shower first thing before going to work, perhaps take one later when economy fuel time kicks in, or limit yourself to every other day? Just a thought. ๐Ÿ™‚

A small investment in seeds and pots could result in some good food you can pick yourself, as I mentioned before. And getting creative in the kitchen can really help reduce food bills. Find vegan recipes and test them out on the family. ๐Ÿ™‚

Keep well and enjoy the moments you can

Linda x

indoorfamilygames

Indoor Family Games to play at home or away, and mostly for FREE!

This is the fun stuff that children got up to before the days of computers. Bring the whole family together with a fun idea and the little darlings may even switch off the computer game voluntarily!

Using everyday items, and sometimes none at all (FREE!), all 31 games are played without plugs, batteries or chargers.

Pure and natural resources – imagination, creativity and a little energy – help develop life skills while having fun.

Finding the kid in you keeps you young, and, of course, you get to spend quality time with the children without having to dig out the credit card. Just about every game can be adjusted to suit the age and number of players.

Enjoy a whole month of rainy day games you can play in the sunshine. (And it’s super cheap at the moment!)

Amazon US , Amazon UK , Apple Bookstore , Barnes & Noble , Kobo , Payhip , Healthy Living Books at Etsy ,

 

 

 

Family Games

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Oh wow, crazy times we’re living in at the moment. But I guess we just have to do what we can to keep well and accept that what is, is! But if you find yourself at home with the kids with or without any outside space for them to play, it’s important not to let them spend 12 hours a day on their devices.

We all know that, of course we do, but often these devices are handy ‘baby sitting’ tools when we are rushing around trying to get a meal on the table or cope with other household chores after a day at work.

 

But what if you aren’t going out to work every day. Some will be working from home (which might mean you can juggle your time a little) but others will be at a bit of a loss as to how on earth they can keep the kids entertained in a confined space without resorting to video games etc;

Aside from craft activities, board games and jigsaw puzzles, there are plenty of other games to play. The secret?

Time Travel!

Step back in time to when you, your parents or grandparents (depending on your age!) made their own entertainment. Before the days of TV.

What did they do?

There was a lot more ‘playing out’ going on back then, but the communities were tighter and there were fewer, if any, cars on the road so it was probably a lot safer for kids to play out on the streets with often no more than a ball and/or a skipping rope. But there were always those days when it was raining too hard or far too cold to go out to play.

Time to flex the imagination muscle. The games we made up as kids were often bizarre and had no meaning to them other than they passed the time and often made us giggle uncontrollably. ๐Ÿ™‚

We also played family games, sometimes simple games like noughts and crosses or joining dots to make boxes. But often we played games that stretched our thinking but were still fun and still often hilarious.

One such game was:

TABOO

Players decide what word is โ€˜tabooโ€™. For example, you may decide โ€˜andโ€™ is taboo so therefore every time a player has to say โ€˜andโ€™ he must say โ€˜tabooโ€™ instead.

One person is chosen to be the questioner and can ask each player as many questions as he wants to try and catch them out โ€“ if they say the taboo word, in this case โ€˜andโ€™ then they drop out of the round. The last player left wins and becomes the questioner in the next round.

The secret to this game is speed. The questioner can ask questions at random and may interrupt a player in mid-answer to try and catch them out.

For example, if the questioner asks a player, โ€œWhat did you have for breakfast this morning?โ€ the player may answer โ€œToast.โ€

The questioner should then quickly ask โ€œDid you have anything with the toast?โ€ The player may answer โ€œYes I had toast taboo cerealโ€. If player replies โ€œYes I had toast and cerealโ€, he has said the taboo word โ€˜andโ€™ and therefore must drop out of the round.

Can get kind of confusing at times this game!

…………

Google traditional games or family games and enjoy some quality fun time together as a family while you can. They grow up so quick!

Have Fun!
Linda x

P.S. Couldn’t resist putting a few of my favourites together in a printable download. The game above is one of ten easy to play family games you could be enjoying right now!

10FamilyGames-etsy

10 Family Games

10 Family Games to play without plugs, chargers or batteries. Old-fashioned play will bring a smile to everyone’s face. One of my favourite quotes:

“You don’t stop playing because you get old. You get old because you stop playing” George Bernard Shaw

Available at Payhip and Healthy Living Books at Etsy

 

 

Easter Plans

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Let’s be good to our fluffy and feathered friends, as well as all the other wonderful creatures on the planet – I include (most) humans as well!

I only say ‘most’ because there are still some strange humans who think trophy hunting is something to be proud of.

Anyway, before I start ranting on about that, there are a few Easter plans we could make this year to help save the planet. Yay!

Often, at this time of year, the shops are packed with chocolate and plastic novelty toys. And parents everywhere are adding stuff to their to-do lists in lieu of creating egg hunts and making all the Easter plans that pop up at Easter time.

One of the wonderful things about Easter is that it usually arrives along with the Spring. Although sometimes we get snow at Easter – but moaning about the weather is not what I’m doing today – the sun’s been shining!

Chocolate is actually good for you (see my post here ) but the problem is that it’s only the dark kind which doesn’t always appeal to the children’s taste-buds. If your children love it, then great! But regular easter eggs are often packed with sugar and additives and all they really do is satisfy the craving for a few moments and turn the kids into hyper-active crazy people. Yep, been there, done that.

So, how about going down a different road this year? We still have a month to go and time to get creative – how about…

**Making energy balls? There are tons of healthy recipes online – I found this one on Nest & Glow. Although one of the ingredients is cocoa powder, there’s usually organic cocoa available in most good health stores.

Sesame chocolate raisin balls

1 cup / 140g Sesame seeds
1 cup / 150g Raisins
ยฝ cup / 50g Cacao / Cocoa Powder

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until the paste starts to stick together
You may need to shake the blender or scrape the inside a few times between blends
Scoop out a heaped teaspoon at a time and roll into balls
They will keep for a few weeks in an airtight container in the fridge

NOTE– they will only keep for a few weeks if you hide them!

And when the big Egg Hunt Day arrives, maybe they could be wrapped in greaseproof or waxed paper – anything other than plastic is a plus.

**Avoiding plastic novelty toys really should be priority these days – I suppose it always should have been but we do know better now. How about checking out local eco-friendly craft markets. Supporting small businesses helps families pay their bills and take their children swimming, rather than lining already rich pockets with more of your hard-earned cash.

Have a look on Etsy. I just typed ‘childrens easter gifts’ into the search and came up with some amazing natural gifts. Really worth a look.
**And if you’re feeling creative yourself, make something! Many years ago, I was strapped for cash when my youngest daughter’s birthday was coming up and I designed a doll – since then I’ve developed many costumes and themes for the doll and made the patterns available for everyone to try.

easterspecial

 

This is the Easter Version – if you’d like to try it yourself, pop over to the Ekokids. page

But if dolls or knitting aren’t your thing, what is?

 

Again, have a look on Etsy and see if anything springs to mind. Are you an excellent wood carver? Maybe you could create wooden egg cups or Easter bunnies! Really, looking at some of the wonderful creations made me want to immediately sort out some crafting space in my home.

So, a month to go if you’re reading this a month before Easter ๐Ÿ™‚ – plenty of time to create something different this year.

Anyway, Happy eco-friendly, sugar-free Easter everyone!

Linda x

 

Don’t Clean Yet

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Thinking about spring cleaning? We’ve still got arctic conditions going on but we live in hope :-). When the sun eventually does show up it’s going to highlight the smudgy windows, the dust particles floating around and the general aftermath of winter wellies and celebrations.

But before you rush for the rubber gloves and mop, there’s a shortcut to cleaning that we should all adopt…

De-clutter first!

De-cluttering my world got so important, I even had to write a book – that I follow as well. The memory’s not as good as it was!

I’ve moved homes lots of times and I lived in a van for about eight years so an organised home-life ( especially with four kids ) became obligatory for me. And I like to apply the process to my work space as well. Writing books demands a certain amount of organization as well as creativity – this is where the left brain and right brain start intermingling and often getting confused or overwhelmed.

If you have a busy home life it’s likely you’re collecting clutter that you just ‘put up with’ because those piles of stuff grow quietly and steadily without you noticing. Sneaky huh?!

So take it step by step. Starting from the top if you live on more than more floor is a good practise because everything gets taken down and closer to the exit. Although in my house it often gets piled in the kitchen for a while. Hmmm….

But how ever many floors you have, start with the bedrooms. Getting rid of clothes you’ll never wear again is strangely therapeutic. You could maybe get a little cash for the good clothes via ebay or second hand clothes shop. Or give them to your local charity shop. Items sold go to good homes and help people or animals in need.

Anyway, if you’d like to have a copy of De-Cluttering, it’s downloadable and cheap as chips! (see below for shop links) – Please don’t quote me on that. You may well be able to get cheaper chips ๐Ÿ™‚

So Spring Cleaning suddenly got a bit easier….

When the house is tidy, it’s so much quicker and more efficient to get the cleaning done. When there are piles of stuff cluttering up the space, they have to be moved to clean then moved back again. Phew. I’d rather exercise with a nice yoga session than shift piles of toys, books or general paraphenalia around.

Well, nearly time to spring clean the house. I’ve de-cluttered and now looking into ideas to get the job done properly without using any chemicals or plastic based materials. This may be a challenge but if I find some eco-friendly short-cuts, I’ll post them asap.

Enjoy your space!

Linda x

De-Cluttering

De- Cluttering

Choose from your favourite bookstore:

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