My Journey

From mind to paper and back again.

Happy New Year

Wow! It’s really too long since I have posted here.  I was still pregnant last time I did!  Let me first start by saying Happy New Year 2016 though.  I hope you are all well?

Let’s see, I last posted on 11/11/14 and those of you who know me on Facebook or Instagram ( @kirstyross85 ) will have seen that I had my little boy on 12/12/14.  He had a rocky start and a while in Nicu and just a week before he turned one he was discharged from the hospital paediatric team, although he is still under the cardiac team.  Other than medical appointments we have been swamped with visits to family and friends.  Oliver is enjoying nursery and we are enjoying the little bit of freedom it gives us to get some cleaning and chores done.

I did Nanowrimo in November again and managed to complete the 50,000 words in 30 days and in fact have been keeping track of my writing as a daily habit using 750words.com where I have written at least 750 words every day for 86 days.  Sometimes it has been towards the piece I am working on, other times it has been used as a journal, or even as a place to have a conversation with a character – yes I know that makes me sound loopy but it has helped me work some kinks out.  I am now working on the edit and filling out the glaring plot holes as well as changing bits that really need changing.  After the first one, it is going away for a while so I can work on something else.

I have also done some sewing, a little cross stitch, joined a local art class and generally got back into my artsy fartsy things as A would say.  If you want to see what I have been up to, I would invite you to take a quick look on Instagram by clicking on the link above.

Hopefully we will manage time for a monthly or bi-monthly update on here so I hope to see you all soon xxxxx

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All the pain of pregnancy and labour goes away…

or so they say.  And I am inclined to believe them.  If I could remember Oliver’s pregnancy being this difficult I wouldn’t have done it again, don’t get me wrong, I would never not want to meet this new little man, but my body is struggling to cope this time around😦

The cholestasis is bad, with scratching everywhere I have cuts, scabs and scratches all over my body – no rash, I just get really itchy to the point where I can be in tears while I am scratching but there is nothing I can do to stop myself.  The medication is helping to control the bile acid rise in my blood stream but that doesn’t control the itchiness… so I am stuck with baths and menthol aqueous creams which work for a few minutes and then it starts all over again.

Top the cholestasis off with gestational diabetes, I am on tablets three times a day for that, having to test my blood sugars after every meal as well.  Then add on  the vitamin D deficiency, the iron deficiency, and the fact that I have hypothyroidism as well and you can tell I am like a walking chemist.  On a regular day I am taking 12 tablets before the need for paracetamol because oh yes, I have just been diagnosed with SPD… no wonder I can barely walk. 

I am 32 weeks and 6 days today and my consultant has said with everything that is going on, and with the fact that I had a spontaneous labour at 36 weeks with Oliver, that I am not likely to get to 36 weeks this time, which means that the baby is likely to be here in around 3 weeks and is likely to need a short stay in the NICU as well.  This is it for me, as much as I love being a mum, two little boys are definitely enough for me, they are my world already, but I couldn’t have a third baby.  I would rather stay as healthy as possible, spend some time after Christmas cutting down and losing weight (hopefully once baby is here I will lose all my baby weight as I have only gained 7lb in total and at my last growth scan he was weighing an ounce under 4lb, so when cord, placenta, waters etc are taken into account, I don’t think I have done too badly).  I want to be able to get down on the floor with both of them and do jigsaws or play row row your boat and be able to get up again at the end of it!  I want to take them both on the park without hobbling from one thing to the next and I want to be able to carry and lift them like there is nothing wrong with me.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a slipped disc which I will be seeking treatment for again once the baby has arrived and I know that will impact on my quality of health, but I am determined to do everything I can to get healthier.  I get that everything I do can have an impact on things so if I can lose some weight and it eventually comes to needing another back operation, it will be a shorter recovery timescale than if I remain at my present weight.  I’m tired of being tired and at 7am I am yawning as I write this but this little man will all be worth it when he arrives x

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Hooked

Okay so since I am currently having so many issues with my pregnancy, my sewing has been put on hold.  I can’t sit at the machine long enough to sew a bib at the moment let alone anything else😦 my cross stitch doesn’t interest me even though I can do it on the comfy chair downstairs so I have decided that I should get as much as possible done of this Project Life before the baby arrives, as having Oliver’s first two years to document is going to take a while, let alone having two babies to document!

I have started off by organising my photo’s on the computer, they are now in folders organised by Year and Month, unless there is a big event, like a wedding/birthday which has a separate folder in the same year folder.  Once I had done that I went online and had a look for ways to get my photo’s printed for FREE.  Yes, there are lots of websites that if you sign up offer you your first set of prints for free.  Snapfish do your first 20 for just the cost of postage, Free Prints on Android/IOS offer 10 completely free, Asda do (I think) 50 free, as do Aldi/Lidl and a few other places – it really does pay to shop around.  I have lots of photo’s of Oliver now and have made a start on his album pages, but I am using the FreePrints app on my mobile to order 45 free prints a month to catch up (They charge £4 for shipping but it still works out cheaper than going in a shop and ordering), not only on the current month but on the earlier ones that I still need pictures for.  This is working for me, even if it does mean I am scrapbooking the start of his life at the same time as the current month.  I have to admit I love the way Project Life works because of it.

You may know that Oliver turned two on Sunday just past, so I have purchased the theme pack – celebration from Hobby Craft for Project life, I have all the photo’s we have taken over the weekend of his birthday on order and I will be doing some of the journaling while I am in and out of the hospital with this baby too.  Poor Oliver spent the last 4 hours of his birthday sat in the antenatal assessment unit, while they monitored the baby and took bloods etc from me, he fell asleep on the bed there poor little mite and didn’t even get some of his presents until Monday😦 I felt terrible but I know that he had a good weekend and he won’t remember it anyway.

These are some quick pictures of the pages I have done so far.

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I still have some journaling and filler cards to add into the layouts but I love the way it looks so far.  I have also spent some time cutting the pictures I have that don’t need to be in a full pocket down to the 3×4” size so they are ready to add in as well.  It also means I have some ready for when I get Oliver’s mini album that I am going to do for him to keep when he is older as well.

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And then I decided to learn how to make some of my own filler cards ready for Christmas🙂

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I can’t wait to show you more completed pages, hopefully the next batch of photo’s will arrive soon and I can get working on them again x

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A Quick Catch Up Post

So Monday I was at the hospital, Tuesday I was at the hospital and yesterday, you guessed it, I was at the hospital.  Luckily the only thing left to do this week is a set of blood tests.

I had my glucose tolerance test on Monday, saw a variety of different healthy living midwives and my consultants appointments were all pulled forwards due to raised liver function tests coming back.  So instead of them waiting until 3/11/14 they pulled them to yesterday.  I went back on Tuesday for physio.  The lady was really good, confirmed the issues with my back were not pregnancy related but actually all linked to my slipped disc.  I explained that my accupuncture treatment had been stopped and I am still waiting for new appointments now I am far enough along in my pregnancy and she said they should have been made weeks ago, and that she is going to go to the clinic when she is over in that hospital on Friday to find out what is going on.  She is also ordering me a proper support belt rather than tubagrip to help with my bumps weight.

Then there is yesterday.  I went for what should have been a quick chat with my obstetric consultant about my cholestasis and ended up being told that I also have gestational diabetes.  I have been started on some tablets and given a kit to test my blood sugar levels four times a day.  I have to go in for a growth scan on Wednesday next week, and I will be seeing the diabetes team, my obstetric consultant and the healthy living team after the scan and then the week after i have to go back to see the diabetes team to see if the tablets are helping or if I need to go onto insulin.  To top it all off they think I might have an infection and I have to wait on some results for that to see if I need anti-biotics as well.  That was all before I got to a snarky chemist who basically called me a liar because the specialist had prescribed me some cream that I had on the ward while I was pregnant with Oliver, and apparently they can’t dispense it because it ‘isn’t on their list’ and I could have never been given it at this hospital I am mistaken it’s the lesser version of the cream.  Well actually no it isn’t… that one doesn’t work, hence not being prescribed it.  She went off and proceeded to tell 3 people behind the counter that I was making it up because it’s not on the computer.  To which I was rather fed up and asked if their computer systems went back two years ago?’No.’ funny that, if they don’t go back as far as my last pregnancy how do they know – oh it was a different chemist then, they must have had a different list.  No apologies for talking about me the way they were or to me the way they did.  Didn’t offer to speak to the consultant to see what they should do, just here’s the rest of the prescription you can’t have the cream as we haven’t got it and can’t order it in for you.  So next week I need to try and get that off him on a normal prescription that I can take to my local chemist who will order it in for me.

This morning I have been up since 1.30am, Oliver came and got in our bed with a temperature and I haven’t been able to sleep since.  So now I am sat downstairs on my own writing this.  Hopefully Oliver will sleep off whatever is bothering him. 

I have some other finished pages to show you as well, the pictures aren’t great but here they are x

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I still need to add in some journaling cards and get an album but I really am loving Project life so far.  I have also done some hand drawn filler cards too.

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The Christmas one isn’t finished yet but the other two have had their finishing touches added since the picture.  Unfortunately they are upstairs where Andrew and Oliver are both asleep so I am unable to get another picture just yet x

I hope you are all well. xxxx

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Page One

Well actually, it’s the second page I have done but this will be the first of Oliver’s pages.  I hope you like it, I have already placed photo’s and journaling cards in the next six pages and just have to write the actual information onto them now.  I can’t wait to do them and add them into the folder that I still need to buy🙂 I think a trip to Hobby Craft may be in order in the next week or two to get one and start adding the pages into it.  These big pages (12×12”) will be for our large family album. I also have photo’s printed for a mini album that I will have to order from Amazon.com in a little while, I will actually be ordering two, one for the new baby and one for Oliver so I can keep a little album for both of them of their first year for when they grow up.  Once they are done, I may look to get them a large album each that I can add to over and over.  Anyway, here is the first page, once again, the lighting and photography isn’t great as it is late on here but I wanted to share it, and shall show you the other pages when I have added the journaling.

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Once I had done this I have sat and trimmed a lot of my other larger photo’s that have lots of empty space down to the 3×4 size to fit where the journaling cards go as well, so I get a better mix of photographs throughout the pages and the mini album.  I’ve been getting rather emotional looking through all of the photographs we have for him.

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Project Life – Addicted!

I am so loving this crafting idea, and even though I have only completed the first page to go into our album so far, I have loved looking on Pintrest for ideas of layouts, journaling cards and even things to photograph and keep in the album.  I have a couple of gripes with the system but nothing major, the first is that the app is only available via the Apple Play store and since I have neither an iPhone or iPad I feel left out as I can’t use the digital version.  The second is lack of products in the UK and the cost of the ones that actually do make it over here!

I have decided that I want 2 mini albums (they don’t sell these at all in the UK) that come with the pages already in, one each for Oliver and the new baby, and the baby boy core kit which will have enough cards and journaling space to cover both books as well as allowing me to do some pages for the large album that I want to get (and have already started on).  The core kits in the UK are £30 each before any postage and packaging – I put everything I want into a basket on Amazon.com and set my address so the postage is set to the UK from USA and even with customs charges taken into account (yes – Amazon can even sort this out so you don’t get stung with charges and then an £8 fee off Royal Mail) it comes to less than £34 for everything!  Yes, I will have to wait for international postage, but in the mean time I can get going on the photo’s and journaling so all I have to do with the ones I already have is slot them in.

I have also joined lots of very friendly Facebook groups, have made a couple of lovely new friends and joined in with a couple of challenges.  One of which was to make a 3×4” journal/filler card on the theme of ‘smile’.  I came up with this one.

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It’s not perfect but I’ve never used washi tape or done these little cards before so I hope the recipient likes it when it gets posted tomorrow.  As well as these I have been having a look at making some digital journaling and filler cards and did four on the smile theme, these can be printed off on cardstock ready to use or you could add to them.

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There is a pdf document with all four cards on, print off at 100% and cut around the grey or black lines.  All four cards are 3×4” filler cards.

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I hope you like them x

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Project life

Every time I have looked up ideas for scrapbooking recently Project Life comes up.  I have been looking for something to use to gather all the memories from Olivers first couple of years and display them but I haven’t got lots of time for crafting so I looked at the products in Hobby Craft.  Then I fell in love with the idea.

For those of you who haven’t seen, project life is a quick way to still make elegant scrapbook pages.  The page protectors are split into different sections of either 3″*4″ or 4″*6″ and each one will hold either a journal card, filler card or photo.  You can embellish if you want or not.  The cards look good as they come.

I bought the mini project kit for new baby (boy) and a pack of the page protectors to get me started and ordered some of Olivers baby photos off the free prints app I use.  I have decided to use them for a base of the scrapbook.  While I wait for those ones to arrive though, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer to get started so I did this one.   Not the best picture as it is late here but I wanted to show you how it turned out.

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I can’t wait to do some more!

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New Magazine

Oliver isn’t a big story boy unless the pages are touchy feely normally.  He loves the ‘That’s not my…’ series, especially the ‘That’s not my Monster’ book as he likes to feel the different things.  Other than that we like to do nursery rhymes and at the moment his favourite is ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes!’  He knows all the actions and asks for it a lot now🙂

When he was little we used to read a book called Knight Time, he loved it but when he started to get a little older he decided that he didn’t want to sit for the length of the book.  That put bed time stories out of the window and I miss them.

Today I was in the post office and I spotted StoryTime, a new magazine for children.  It stood out from the rest of the children’s magazines for a couple of reasons and generally I have held off buying Oliver any because I don’t want to get him in a place where he only wants a magazine for the toy on the front.  He doesn’t watch TV (out of choice) and doesn’t know who characters such as Mr Tumble are so there has never been any incentive to buy him a character driven magazine either. 

When I looked at the magazine, as well as the fact that it was the ONLY children’s magazine without a toy on the front, it was the only one using nice artwork, not in your face cartoon style artwork.  Then I noticed that the stories that were being advertised were the old fashioned ones, the ones I grew up with like Alice in Wonderland (have a look on the website as there is a competition to win a full copy of Alice in Wonderland), poems such as The Owl and the Pussy Cat and games and puzzles for the little ones to play.  Oliver is nearly two but the magazines are perfect to keep, we will be collecting the series and filing them away for when he is older and can read them by himself.  For now though, I am one happy mummy as we can sit and read together and enjoy some extra snuggles before the baby comes and when the baby arrives we can snuggle together🙂

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image from http://www.storytimemagazine.com/ x

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The finished set.

So I promised to show you the finished set for our little man to come home in.  I love it but am thinking it needs matching booties and a hat! What do you think?  X

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This is up to 7.5lb but I am thinking I need another one slightly bigger just in case as well xx

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Now I have made the entire set from my own pattern pieces I feel much more confident in doing it again x

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Something I’ve never done before!

So I have been sorting out my hospital bag again ready for baby, I’m 25 weeks today and the ‘itch’ is starting to get me now.  I was at my midwife’s clinic yesterday for my normal check up, all is well with baby, although he is measuring a little big but no concerns as I am already booked in with the consultants for follow up checks in the next few weeks.  However, since I am getting itchy again, she is sending me to have another set of blood tests done so they can check my liver function and bile acids to see what they are like…😦 I am really hoping it’s just normal pregnancy itching from skin stretching but since the majority of it is on my hands, arms and feet, I don’t think it is likely… oh well.  Anyway, I thought I would share a fully packed hospital bag for my little man.  Remember, Oliver spent a week in the NICU before being allowed home so I have a couple of everything to see me through.  First thing is first, the hospital bag that I made:

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This is made following the Stella pattern from Swoon and using Ollie the Owl Upholstery fabric.  I love it.  Then I laid out everything I have so far on the table I use for cutting my fabric and found that I had to stack things on top of each other to be able to show you, yet there is still space in this bag!

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So in there so far is:

  • Nightshirt for me
  • Towel for baby
  • Pack of newborn nappies
  • Pack of water wipes (the only ones allowed at our hospital)
  • Hand made changing mat
  • Car swaddle for coming home
  • 3 nice big muslin cloths
  • A pack of two self sterilising bottles in case we have trouble breast feeding (to use with expressed milk – hence you see no formula)
  • A pack of cotton wool
  • 3 vests
  • 3 baby grows
  • A little jumper
  • A small teddy to go in the crib
  • 2 newborn hats
  • 3 pairs of scratch mitts
  • 3 newborn feeding bibs
  • 2 flannels
  • Mini toiletries for me and baby
  • Breast pads and wash bag

Out of everything in there these are the hand made things:

  • Changing mat
  • Jumper
  • Hat and Scratch mitt set
  • Bibs
  • Breast pads and bag

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Not doing too badly with this whole handmade thing🙂 If you like any of these items and would like to purchase, you can do so by popping over to my Facebook Page or to my Etsy Shop.  Even if you just want to pop by and say hello🙂

But even though I have all of this sorted for baby (I know, I know, at some point I will need to sort out things for me) he still has no coming home outfit.  So now the winter clothing ranges have hit the shops I went for a look.  No joy, there was nothing that jumped out at me and screamed ‘buy me, I’m perfect!’  So last night instead of going on the sewing machine because I was too sore I had a look through some patterns on line that can be downloaded and printed to use.  I found one I liked but unfortunately it only came in one size which was up to 13lb.  A little big for a new born, so I messaged the seller on Etsy to ask if there was a version that had multiple sizes as I want to make a newborn (up to 7.5lb sometimes called early baby) and a newborn (up to 9lb).  Even now I have had no response, which isn’t great from a seller – I would have preferred the person just told me no, than not answer me at all… So I got to thinking that since I had just sorted out the hospital bag I could draft my own.  Rather ambitious considering the most I’ve drafted of my own is a dribble bib!  But I pulled out one of the up to 7.5lb baby grows and laid it flat on some paper to give me a guide on the size of the back, arms and front.  I wanted to make a kimono style top though, so I had to make adjustments to the front.  These are the finished pieces for the pattern and the cut fabric.  I will be adding a blue band up and down the front and around the collar to break up the pattern a little as well as blue/red plastic snaps to make the fastening down one side.

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I’ve also started drafting basic instructions on how to put it together (which I am hoping to do today or tonight back and Oliver depending).  Once I have finished this I will be doing the same for a little pair of trousers in a light blue material with patterned cuffs and a little pocket.  I will also be adding a ribbed waistband rather than elastic to prevent anything being too tight on little tummies.  The best thing is, because of the size of this set, all the pieces I needed from the chevron print above fit on one Fat Quarter of fabric, that’s less than £4 for the top pieces and the coordinating cuffs and pockets🙂 It should take a meter of bias binding for the finishing seams on the top, then a small amount of ribbing material, a Fat Quarter of fabric and the coordinating pieces for the trousers. So all in all a hand made outfit for roughly £9.  Obviously if I was making these sets to sell I would be charging a little to cover my time in cutting and sewing up the pieces.  What do you think so far?  Hopefully I will be back in a couple of days to show you the finished set!

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