September – A Month of Change!

Call the Midwife Blanket

September has been a huge month of change for us all here at Dottycraft! It’s certainly been busy. It’s been fun, and different, and exciting and a bit scary – but we’ve almost got through it!

Starting School

Little G has started in reception. This is perhaps the biggest change of all! She’s been so excited all Summer about going to “big school” and the day finally came! So with her new uniform on, shiny new shoes and a smile on her face, she trotted in to school for the first time! She was nervous of course, but had a great time and so far (nearly 4 weeks in) she is doing amazingly well! She’s been tired, and apprehensive, and we’ve had the odd complaint of tummy ache – but she has always overcome it, shown resilience and gone in without a tear and then told us the fun she has had.

It’s such a massive change – even though she spent a whole year full time at preschool, school itself is a very different ball game! So many children, so many new routines, a different environment, less adult supervision and just generally alot to take in at once. But I’m so proud of how she is doing, and I love to hear her stories at the end of the day.

We are still perfecting the art of a new morning routine, but so far we have managed to get out of the door and at the school gates on time.

A New Job

In amongst all of the fun of starting school, I also started a new job at the beginning of September! Going back full-time after nearly 5 years! It’s also taking a bit of getting used to, and I am missing being able to be so hands-on with Little G whilst she is transitioning to school. But it will be worth it for us as a family, and we will all cope. So far, I’m enjoying it, and it is a lot less stressful than my previous job. So although I am doing more hours, I am generally feeling more rested and more present when I am at home.

Of course both these things have meant I haven’t had much time to blog! But hopefully as we start to get into a new little routine, I’ll be able to post more. I’ve got some post ideas written down, so I just need to find the time and the motivation to sit and write them. I’d also like to start an instagram, but we’ll see… right now I don’t want to commit to too many things at once.

 

Crafting Update

When I can get a spare few minutes, I have been working on some little bits and pieces. Mainly crochet blankets. I absolutely love making them, even though I haven’t really got any ideas in mind of who they will be for. But I enjoy the often very repetitive patterns (which means I don’t have to focus on counting stitches quite so much). I also love watching them grow, and experimenting with colours.

Call The Midwife Blanket

Call the Midwife Blanket

I made this one a little while ago actually, but thought I would share it as I just love how it looks. It does take a bit more focus due to the nature of the pattern, but it is easy to follow, and once I got into my groove with this one I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also love how it works up with variegated yarns… and I’ve got some more stashed away to make some in different colourways. There are hardly any ends to sew in too, which is an added bonus!

For those that might not know, this is inspired by a blanket which is featured in the TV series “Call the Midwife”.

I used Knitcraft Baby Yarn for this blanket, and a 4mm hook. The pattern can be found over at Little Monkey’s Crochet.

 

Granny Square Blanket

GrannySquareย GrannySquare2

I started this one over the Summer, and after putting it down for a little bit, managed to finish it off a couple of weeks ago. I love the colours in this one, it reminds me of Neapolitan Ice Cream! I did have a bit of a blip in one corner though, so had to think of a way to cover it up. So I decided to crochet some heart motifs to sew on, and I think it works quite well. I’ve never really added motifs to blankets before – I quite like the effect though. It also works great to cover up any mistakes!

This one is made with Bonus DK and a 4mm hook – and is just a simple granny square continued until I reached the size I wanted.

 

Autumn Cosy Stripe

Wool Haul CosyStripe

My dad recently gave me some money to spend on myself. So of course, I spent some of it on yarn. I’ve been wanting to make another cosy stripe blanket for a while, and decided to try an Autumn colour scheme. I usually go for pastel or bright colours, so this is a little bit out of my comfort zone….

But I’m loving how it’s working up so far – this is one of my absolute favourite blanket patterns. The Cosy Stripe is such a simple pattern, yet so effective and can look so amazingly different in different colours. It’s totally worth having a good look around the brilliant patterns over at Attic24 – you will not be disappointed! ๐Ÿ™‚

I also used Lolly’s Lil Wool Shack for the first time – their wool is brilliant and such good value! For the autumn cosy stripe I am using the Armoni aran rolls range.

I’m working on this blanket whenever I can at the moment. Hopefully I’ll finish it up by the time the weather really changes! Although I don’t think that is too far away…

 

It really has been a busy September! But mostly in good ways! And I’m pleased to have been able to crack on with a bit of crafting in between all the busy-ness the last few weeks has brought. Now that the nights are drawing in, I’m sure I’ll get more cosy crafting time.

Love,

Sarah x

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Self-Care – Do We Do Enough of it?

Self care.

We hear lots about it these days. I know my social media feeds have self-care related posts sprinkled throughout my feeds almost daily. It comes up in groups I’m in, pages I follow, magazines I read and even in discussions at work.

Self Love is asking yourself what you needย  – every day – and then making sure you receive it. – Christine Arylo

But do I do enough of it? Do we all do enough of it?

Probably not. Well, at least I know I don’t. I’ve had to take a bit of a break from my blog over the last few weeks, and things have been pretty stressful for me. It has made me think more and more about how much I take care of myself, and what I do to recharge. Where do I see my own emotional well-being in the grand scheme of things? Too low down most of the time.

Of course, this has come naturally. Being a wife, a mum, a friend, working , volunteering, managing the house and life in general has meant that thinking about me generally doesn’t happen as often as it should do. It’s the same for most of us I imagine. Life has this thing of getting in the way alot of the time!

In amongst lots of stress at work, finding a new job, preparing little G for school, and dealing with some home issues, I realised that I wasn’t being the best mum/wife/friend I could be. And that was partly because I was forgetting about looking after me. It’s true that you can’t pour from an empty cup. So I took a step back, and thought a bit about the things I would like to do that were for me. That would help fill that cup back up.

Here are some of those things:

Journalling and Planning

Earlier this year, I started bullet journalling. I had high hopes of being able to plan my life, and use my bullet journal as a bit of a creative outlet. I loved doing it, setting it up, making it look pretty. But by February I had stopped. Recently, I’ve started it again – but this time, it is alot more “functional” and I don’t beat myself up if my spread isn’t as pretty as my earlier ones, or if I miss a week because, well…life! During the few months where I didn’t journal, I missed it. I wanted to do it. But I realised I was putting too much pressure on myself to make it look perfect, rather than using it as it was intended – to help me plan.

I’d love to have the time to be able to make it instagram-perfect, but right now I know that it won’t be, and that’s OK. It’s helping with the stresses of work, and I’m sure it will also get a whole new makeover when I start my new job next month. But first and foremost, the journal is for me, and whatever I need it to be.

Crafting

This is definitely the one thing that I know will top up my self-care cup! Crafting is my absolute passion (well, besides my family of course!!) and it 100% takes my mind of any worries. Over the last few weeks, I have neglected my crafts and I know my emotional well-being has suffered because of it. This week, I’ve picked my crochet back up again, and made progress on a blanket I started back in May. It’s a simple granny square blanket, so I don’t have to focus too much on it, as the pattern is repetitive. I also love the colours, it reminds me of neapolitan ice cream and childhood fun.

Granny Blanket

I recommend crafting to anyone that wants to do something to escape from the world for a little bit. I learned to crochet about a year ago, following Youtube, and I love it! It’s cheap and easy to start up (although be prepared to become obsessed with yarns and patterns!). There is nothing more relaxing than sitting in the garden crocheting on a Summer day.

Reading

As a child, my parents always called me a bookworm. I loved to read and usually could be found “with my head in a book” as my Dad would say. As an adult, I read less that I would like, although I have started to make a point of picking up books more. I’ve signed up at my local library, and try to visit often. In the last few weeks alone, I have read two books and starting on my third.

I’ve joined social media groups to help find books I might enjoy, and I am making use of GoodReads – this is a fab site for checking out books in different genres, and keeping a list of books you want to read, have read etc. I started a challenge to read 10 books in 2018. I’ve now ticked off 2 of those ๐Ÿ™‚ I try to read a bit each night before bed. Which makes me feel better straight away as I’m not spending that time aimlessly scrolling through social media!

I also plan on posting some book reviews on my blog soon – so keep an eye out for those!

Positive Thinking and Affirmations

I spend my working days with counsellors and therapists, and this comes up a lot. When preparing their training materials, I’ve noticed they place a lot of emphasis on how we think about ourselves. Sometimes just reading a quote or a meme that you can relate to at that moment, or something that can help you think a bit differently, can really help. I love quotes. I’ve started keeping a note of quotes in my journal, and also made a positive thinking Pinterest board with quotes, memes and ideas to help me think positively, or to think about me and make some time for my self-care.

I’m planning to also try and use them in a crafty way and make some home-decor with some of these quotes on. Perhaps some cross- stitch, or a print for my desk.

 

These are just some of the ways that I am trying to practice more self care. There are plenty of other, really straightforward ideas and I am going to plan to do a blog post of some of my favourite, simple, 5 minute self-care ideas very soon. What I need to do first, is do them myself. To take care of me, and take some time for me.

Because, do I do enough self-care? Absolutely not! And it is something I want to get better at.

 

Love,

Sarah x

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5 of my favourite crochet gift ideas for teachers

 

 

Yesterday was Georgie’s last settling in session at reception, before she starts her “big school” journey in September. In just one month’s time, her preschool days will be over and another chapter will begin for us all. She has had the most amazing year at preschool, and has come on in leaps and bounds. The staff are absolutely fantastic, and it’s safe to say I will miss them myself when its time to move on. I started on a little quest to find some cute and easy to stitch up gift ideas, so that over the coming weeks I can make some little leaving gifts for the ladies who have given Georgie such a brilliant start, and built her confidence in so many areas. So, I thought I’d share my favourite five crochet gifts for teachers with you!

Kawaii Apple Keychain

I absolutely love Spin a Yarnย  crochet’s cute amigurumi patterns, and this little apple keychain is so adorable! I also love how it is worked in flat rows, and in the awesome ragdoll style of some of the other patterns! It is quite a small pattern though, and does require stuffing and safety eyes – but is just so cute! ๐Ÿ™‚

Coffee Cup Cosies

These are a great bet for teachers, who always have a good mug – and with the number of reusable coffee cups going up, you can be sure a cup cosy will always make a great gift! There are plenty of crochet patterns for these cosies online, and a considerable number of free patterns. This one is one of my favourites – and I love the idea of using felties to stick on and make them even more adorable! You could also use pretty buttons or ribbons, if you can’t get hold of felties easily. I particularly love Sewrella’s pattern for these though, as it’s free and simple, and you can also print off the free cardboard insert to make it look really professional.

Crochet Flower Bookmark

These look so pretty and the pattern appears to be fairly simple – and fast to work up. Bookmarks make great teacher gifts – what teacher doesn’t have a book somewhere? I love these so much, I think I might even make one for myself! ๐Ÿ™‚ They are also a great way to try out cotton yarn – I’ve got a bit lying around so will give these a go.

Simple Crochet Coaster

When I was first learning to crochet, a coaster was one of the first designs I tried – it’s small, not too complicated and finishes up easily. These would make great teacher gifts, and are perfect if you are just beginning with crochet too! I also think these look absolutely fab in variegated yarns. Oh, and if you struggle to follow a written pattern, this video tutorial is the one I used to learn from so I can highly recommend!

Crochet Jar Jacket

I just love how colourful these are, and with an empty jam jar and some flowers you have a great teacher gift! Your little one could even pick the flowers to go in it ๐Ÿ™‚ OK, so there are a lot of colour changes and probably plenty of ends to sew in, but they look so bright and cheerful in the rainbow colours! Or, to avoid colour changes, you could try using a yarn cake or variegated yarn. And they can be used for allsorts of different teacher related things – if I was a teacher I’d love one of these on my desk!

I hope you find some of these ideas useful! I’m definitely going to try some of these – I just need to decide which one(s)! They would also make cute Christmas gifts for teachers or work colleagues too (not forgetting family and friends of course!)

Disclaimer: The items and links referred to in my post, are patterns that I have found and think are great! I have not received anything from the designers to promote these items.

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