Reviews

I don’t tend to do product reviews and I am always highly suspicious of bloggers who are always saying how wonderful a new product is, failing to mention they have been provided the product free of charge in return for a favourable post.

 

I am also quite hard on products and I am acutely aware of what may work for me may not work ( or even fail miserably ) for others. However when I do find a product that works well for me I like to share. Now I just need to make it clear, I have paid for these products myself and I have not been asked to provide a review for them. I am just sharing these products with you because I know many of you who read the blog have the same problems as I do and they may help you.

 

The first product is the icloudy pillow made from memory foam. I have included a link to Amazon as this is where I purchased it from. At £35.99 I am aware its not cheap, particularly for those on a limited income. For me it’s been worth every penny.

 

Icloudy pillow at Amazon

 

I have bought many different neck pillows over the years in an attempt to stabilise my neck whilst sleeping. Due to EDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) I have terrible problems with my neck being unstable, a physio once described me as having an owl neck, as I can twist my head around so far. I wake up with horrendous headaches, stiff neck and just in an awful lot pain. I have said to many doctors that a lot of my headache issues and possibly my leak have been caused by my necks instability. Unfortunately in the UK this seems to be an area that is completely neglected by the medical profession when it comes to EDS. With many EDS patients facing the choice of raising hundreds of thousands of pounds to have surgery abroad or face a slow agonising death. Now I am nowhere near that bad thank goodness but a few weeks ago I woke up in agony. My head pain was so bad I was convinced that my CSF leak had returned. I couldn’t do anything as the pain was so severe. I took every painkiller available to me and it just wouldn’t shift. In desperation I took a diazepam (which I had been prescribed for anxiety) it was the only thing that worked which thankfully proved to me that it wasn’t my leak coming back. You have no idea what a relief it was.

 

Over a few months my neck had become increasingly painful, sleeping which should be a comfortable and relaxing experience was leaving me racked in pain. I was already using a memory foam neck pillow but it wasn’t doing anything for me. The only relief I had found was sleeping with just a rolled up towel under my neck but due to EDS causing reflux, it was a no no, as I kept waking up choking on my stomach contents. I also tried lifting the head end of my bed and sleeping on a rolled up towel placed under my neck but again…one night was fine but the following night my lower back and pelvis were extremely painful due to the angle raising the head end of the bed was placing them in. Out of desperation I searched online for a different type of neck support pillow. I needed one that supported the natural curve of the neck but also dropped my head back rather than it all being on the same level which is completely unnatural. After a good look I discovered the Icloudy Pillow, which was shaped completely differently to any pillow I had tried before.

 

Side view

View from above

As you can see the centre of the pillow is the lowest point so it allows for the curve in your neck (my curve is completely reversed). The difference has been incredible. The first night I thought it was a fluke, my sleep was totally different and I didn’t wake up in the night with pain radiating from the back of my head to the centre of my shoulder blades.  The second night I had a bit of pain from lying so flat, so added one wafer thin pillow on top of the icloudy pillow to see if that helped and it did. I woke up again pain free. In fact every day since using this pillow I have woken up without my usual headache and neck pain.

 

I still have to be really careful moving during the day, today I have managed what I call a crick – I am guessing normal people may call it more than that. So I have pain in the base of my skull and at the top of my shoulder blades. I can live with that, its no where near as bad as a leak headache. My quality of sleep has been completely altered by using this pillow. I can see now why it gets so many good reviews. The good news is that it will also fit in a standard Oxford pillowcase so no special case is needed for it.

 

Now as I said I am suspicious of bloggers who gush about products without making it clear that they have received financial compensation for doing so or received the product free. I never get free products and wouldn’t feel right gushing about a product that I think is shite. So if I tell you about a product it is because it worked for me and it may possibly work for you.

 

Those of you who follow my blog will know a few weeks ago I took a tumble in the snow. At the time I wrote about the fact I had hit my head and that my legs were really sore. Well I obviously had distracting injuries as a few days later I was noticing that it was very sore to sit down for longer than about 10 minutes (not good when you love to sew and even worse when standing makes you want to faint). I realised I had damaged my coccyx in the fall. I was quite plain speaking when I told Mr Myasthenia Kid how it felt “ Like someone has hit me with a shovel between my arse cheeks” – don’t say I didn’t warn you ha ha ha! It was very painful and very frustrating as I was only comfortable lying down but my back hates me lying down.

 

In desperation again I wondered if there was such a thing as a support cushion for your coccyx. Again on Amazon I stumbled across the Supportiback pillow –https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01MF52K0I/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

At £29.87 it’s not cheap, but when you can’t sit down without being in a lot of pain and you can no longer do the thing you are completely addicted to – sewing, then believe me you’ll pay any price to no longer be in pain. The great thing is with the cushion is the size, I won’t lie currently I am wide of hip so need a large cushion, this doesn’t disappoint. I have taken the photo on my kitchen chair which is a standard Ikea chair.

 

The hole in the back is placed underneath the Coccyx so that no pressure is applied.

 

It’s made of memory foam and has a gel surface to it. It moulds to your body contours and it has also relieved the pressure I feel on the backs of my legs when I have been sat for a while. I also like the fact it is breathable so it doesn’t leave you feeling hot and sweaty when you have been sat on it for a while. The difference for me was night and day. The cushion also doesn’t slip and slide so feels completely safe when you are getting up and down. I only noticed this morning when I took a photo of it that it has a handle on the side to carry it. I am contemplating buying another one for me to use in the car, as that is now the only seat that I feel very uncomfortable on. With the cut out at the back of the cushion there is now no  pressure being applied on my coccyx which is also allowing the injury to heal much faster now. I read in a lot of the reviews that people were also using these as cushions in their wheelchairs and mobility scooters which is another excellent idea.

 

So no more numb bum or back of my thighs when I have been sitting at my sewing machine.

 

I hope you have found my reviews helpful and if you have any questions about either product please don’t hesitate to get in touch or use the links in the post so you can read the reviews left by Amazon customers.

 

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My latest sewing projects

My mood is very up and down at the moment, the only thing that is keeping me sane and happy is my sewing. I am grateful that I still manage to find the joy in putting fabrics together for projects and making magic. To me sewing is a magical art in which I can lose myself. I am amazed at the things I create especially when you consider I celebrated my 6 month sewing anniversary on 7th April.

 

As I am all over the place I thought I would share with you some of my makes from the last few weeks. I can’t remember what I shared with you last – my memory is a bit dodgy from the new medications making me a little groggy in the mornings.

 

I bought myself a new sewing machine a Janome Atelier 5 – I love it. Yes it was expensive but it was bought with money I had inherited. I also worked out that if I banked the money from not smoking for the next 14 months it would also have paid for it. It is the best thing I have done, it is an absolute bloody work horse and oh my days making quilts has been so much easier.

 

 

I managed to hurt my back getting the beast (which is what I have nicknamed it )  through the house. So after setting it up I just sat and stroked it for about an hour. However I soon got to grips with it and used it to sew the binding onto to my first ever quilt.

 

 

I quickly started on a new quilt, which was another quilt as you go, which was a Rolling Stone design. I wanted to get this sewn / finished reasonably quickly as we were having new sofas delivered and I wanted a quilt for each sofa.

 

 

I managed to get quite a bit done but I didn’t complete it until after the sofas arrived. I was about two days out. As you can see Mollie and Frankie absolutely adore the new sofas

 

 

I also in between making the quilt and the sofas being delivered I made 6 baby bibs, for my friend Pam (who sadly passed away in January) whose daughter who had given birth to a beautiful daughter. I had promised Pam before she passed away that I would make something for the baby. The bibs were finished with Kam Snaps that were adjustable so will fit the baby for a while.

 

 

I managed to finish my Rolling Stone quilt towards the end of last week and I was very pleased with how it turned out. There are still a few mistakes in it but it is a vast improvement on the first quilt I made.

 

My next project has been something I have never done before which is foundation paper piecing. I have always been a little daunted by FPP but no longer! I have been making a pouffe for the lounge so that instead of Mr Myasthenia Kid putting his feet on the coffee table he can put his feet up on a pouffe. I am still working on it as I am waiting for some zips to arrive so that I can put a zip into the bottom of it so that the cover can be washed (with two mutts and Jay in the house things need to be washable). I have made a stuffed inner out of some stuffing I have had hanging around for a while and two bags full of fabric off cuts that I have collected over the last few weeks. I have also made a covered button to put on the top in the middle just to finish it off.

 

 

Over the next few days I will finish the pouffe and hopefully remember to post a photo on my blog. If I don’t it will be on my instagram account @rachelmorrismcgee or on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/themyastheniakid.

 

I finished late yesterday afternoon…

Our Sewing Quarter Visit

I have been meaning to write this post since our trip to Birmingham on March 12th but with one thing or another it has kept being delayed. To ensure it gets written this week, I have got up at 1.30am, purely because I can’t sleep and because with it being Easter week (well Easter week just gone) I have had a jammed packed diary full of spending time with both Mr Myasthenia Kid and my parents.

 

We knew about the trip to  the TV Channel Sewing Quarter HQ for around 4 weeks before we travelled and we had been asked to keep it quiet. Neil the boss, had asked us via our email correspondence to keep it a secret to surprise the viewers. It was one of the hardest secrets Jay and I have ever had to keep. Especially when Jay would post another video of him doing an impression of the presenter John Scott and many of the Sewing Quarter fans would be asking when the two of them would meet or saying how funny it would be for them to present a show together. All the time I wanted to say “It’s happening!” but couldn’t. The only time I did very nearly spill the beans was when there had been a couple of snide comments on my social media regarding Jay’s “attempt to be famous”. We had never set out for him to be famous, both of us quite enjoy our quiet lives, all it ever was and would be was a bit of a giggle.

 

We were offered hotel accommodation for the night before Jay would be on air but we declined due to the dogs never having been left alone with a dog sitter overnight, plus it would have messed up their morning walk. Since Willow’s death we have tried to keep as much to a routine as possible to reduce their stress. Leaving them like that would have only upset them. It did mean however that we had to get up at 2.30am so that we could leave the house by 4am. We had to be at the studio for 7am. We knew at that time of night / early morning the traffic would be very light and the trip to Birmingham could be made without having to travel at breakneck speed. It was just as well because the weather was truly awful for the majority of the journey with incredibly heavy downpours.

 

I had estimated that we would arrive at Sewing Quarter HQ between 6-7am, we managed to do exactly that arriving at 06.40am. Luckily we managed to park right outside the building also. The building itself was nothing special. Unless you were a fan of the show you’d have no clue what went on behind the doors of this tiny building. There was nothing on the outside that gave the game away. I was so concerned that we had arrived at the wrong place I looked it up on Google Street View. I text the lady we had been corresponding with to let her know that we had arrived and would be at the front door shortly. Jay needed to change into a more flamboyant shirt and change his shoes whilst also topping up his nicotine levels due to nerves.

 

As I pressed the buzzer on the intercom I was rehearsing what I was going to say in my head. Even though the building was small I was still expecting there to be some sort of receptionist. That’s when I got the shock of my life as who opened the door but John Scott one of the shows presenters and the man we had come all this way to meet. I won’t lie I went all fan girl and all I could say for about 30 seconds was “OMG,OMG, OMG” John laughed and said something along the lines of “come here you” and gave me a huge bear hug. He was so down to earth and welcoming. I have met a few famous people in my time and some of them, in private / on their own territory when the cameras aren’t rolling are the biggest dickheads going. I can honestly say John is as mischievously charming off-screen as he is on.

 

He led us down a corridor to meet Hayley – my point of contact and a few of the staff members who were already in working. Two of them being little Paul and Vegan. We know their nicknames as John will refer to them as he does the show. I was expecting it to be a small studio setup but this was even smaller than I had envisaged. Once you left the main corridor you came into the main work area / office space. This is where guests prepare the projects (or put the finishing touches to) that they will be working on during their hour (if you’ve never watched it the show is broadcast from 8am until 12pm and each hour is dedicated to a different subject area to do with sewing, be it tools to help you, dressmaking, bag making, toy making etc, it is essentially there to sell products but it also teaches you so much by following the experts advice). It is also where they keep completed projects such as cushion covers, quits, toys etc

 

 

Hayley took us on a quick tour of the building and it was quick! In the main room there was access to the studio via a double door, when on air the red light would show above it. To the left hand side of that was a small kitchenette and staff toilets. We were led into the studio and couldn’t believe that all the cameras were operated by one person. I did media studies as part of my degree over 22 years ago now, as part of my degree I did editing, camera work, sound recording etc etc All I can say is like everything in life, things have moved on a great deal.

 

 

As you can see there is a bank of cameras, what you can’t see is the small camera above in the lighting track which takes the overhead pictures of the desk. So when John, Natasha or any of the other presenters or guests need a close up of something they are doing this is done by the overhead camera. It reminded me of a store security camera. Quite often they will do shots of the sewing machine in action, a small camera is hidden in the shelving to the presenters right hand side. Most of the time there is a graphic  being displayed down the left hand side of the screen so viewers would never see that camera. I found all of this incredibly interesting as when I did filming at university the cameras were still absolutely enormous and needed a great deal of physical fitness to lug around.

 

Hayley was called away for a few minutes which gave Jay and I the chance to explore the studio alone and take lots of photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we came back from the tour we were called into a little huddle, where it was explained what Jay would be doing. Jay was told he would be on air around 08.30am and that he would take the viewers through some fabric. If anyone has wondered what preparation Jamie got for going live on air that was it. He had no clue what the fabric was until he was live on air, he was given no notes on it, what colours it would be nothing. All we could do was go and have a cup of tea in the kitchenette and then sit in the green room watching the show before Jay went on air. At around 08.15am Jay got miked up, that was quite funny as never having done anything like this before he had no clue that the cables had to go under his clothing and into a little battery pack in his back pocket. After that was done he went very quiet so I knew he was really nervous and to be honest I was nervous for him. It’s one thing messing about doing an impression of John Scott in our front room with only me and the dogs as his audience but to then go live on air, with virtually no preparation…..he is my hero.

 

I watched him in the green room which was really odd as the show is broadcast on around a 10 second delay (maybe more maybe less) so I could hear John and Jamie talking in the studio before I could actually watch him on the screen in the green room. I don’t know who was more relieved when it was over me or him! We headed straight to the kitchen and had some breakfast as neither of us had been able to eat before the broadcast. For the rest of the morning (even though at 9.15am it felt like it should be 4pm) we amused ourselves by talking to staff members, looking through all the shows previous makes and I got chatting to that mornings guest Deborah Simms who has to be one of the nicest people I have ever met. I chewed her ear off all morning about sewing etc and she answered every question. She even gave me a quick demo on the sewing machine that I had been lusting after for a while that they use on the show the Elna 680. ( last week I decided to hell with it and bought myself the Janome Atelier 5, which is the Elna 680 just with the Janome badge as they are the same company).

 

We watched quite a bit of the show in the green room, at around 10.30am Hayley came in and asked Jay if he would like to go on air again towards the end of the show. They would like him to read the menu for the following days broadcast. Of course he jumped at the chance. This time he was much more relaxed as he could read through the menu before going on air and we bounced ideas off each other for things he could say. I am pleased to report he did use one of my lines!

Around 10 minutes before he went back on air he was miked up again and this time you could see how much more relaxed he was. As I sat in the green room watching him on the screen my heart swelled with pride. He did so well the first time on air but this time it was even  better. He looked a lot more relaxed and this time I could see he was really enjoying himself. That was all I ever wanted, as it was a kind of thank you for everything he has done for me over the years.

 

After the show we were called into the studio to do some publicity shots by the social media team. We also got to take out own photos

To wrap up our day we went out to lunch with Deborah, Hayley and John and it was hilarious. I can’t go into detail as it wouldn’t be fair on any of them as other than Hayley none of them knew I was a blogger and I never told them directly that anything said to me would be repeated on my blog. All I can say is John needs to write a book and tell all his wonderful stories from his wildly varied work he has done over the years. I could sit and listen to him for hours. Alas the day was over far too soon and we were back home by around 16.30 that afternoon. It was a day we will both remember forever.

 

The Sewing Quarter can be viewed daily on channel 678 Sky, 78 Freeview and online at www.sewingquarter,com or on YouTube.

The Great Pretender

 

Sometimes when you are blogging you can feel like you are living a lie. There is a life  that I share with you through my blog and then there is the private life that I share with my nearest and dearest. Just recently I haven’t been sharing the whole truth with anyone.

 

As my regular readers will know Mr Myasthenia Kid and I have been through some pretty traumatic times of late. We lost one of our beloved dogs just before Christmas, then my Grandmother passed away, then my dear friend Pam passed away and then a school friend passed away. At the time it felt like I was just coming up to the surface to catch my breath and something else happened. There was no time to process anything at all. I knew that it was affecting me as there were days where all I would do was cry but I also knew it was having other effects on my mental health.

 

I have always been a really anxious person, I have spent years  in therapy learning how to do CBT. The problem this time was no matter how rationally and logically I could see what I was getting anxious about was ridiculous, I still ended up diving down the rabbit hole. I was waking from what little broken sleep I was getting in a state of absolute panic – usually clueless as to what had set it off. My anxiety was reaching proportions I had never experienced before. I felt constantly as if I was in flight or flight mode, all the time pretending to everyone around me I was ok. I didn’t see the point of bringing up my anxiety because I knew it was irrational and there was nothing for Mr Myasthenia Kid to fix. I just thought I would try to soldier on. At some point it had to get better right?

 

I tried bringing up my anxiety with my hospital consultant. I explained to him what had been going on and he responded “well it’s early days, give it a few more weeks and see how you feel”. The problem was he didn’t realise that if I am bothering to bring something up in an appointment it has got to the point where I can’t cope with whatever the issue is anymore. I don’t bring up all the different things that are wrong at every appointment, as we’d be there all day. I only bring up the most pertinent issues. If I am bringing up anxiety, it’s a big issue. Especially with my previous issues with mental health which are almost 20 years ago now.

 

Although the hospital consultant never meant for me to take it this way, I am sure, I felt like he told me to pull myself together and stop making a fuss. So I continued to solder on, with the trip to Birmingham only a week away I knew I had to hold it together. My anxiety was going crazy, I was barely sleeping but I just had to keep going because it would settle down, it would get better. The problem was it was just getting worse. I wasn’t sleeping and every waking hour was filled with fear over the slightest thing. I had permanent butterflies and I was close to tears constantly. Anything at all was making me burst into tears, which wasn’t me.

 

Last week it all came to a head. On Monday after my fall I kept bursting into tears. Initially I put it down to banging my head and the stress of the boiler not working. However as the days went on I was still crying at the drop of a hat. I had to face facts that things were not settling down, I was feeling worse than ever. Jay had noticed that I had become incredibly quiet and continually distracted (staring off into space), to the outside world it was still business as usual but even that was becoming hard to do. I am a great pretender but I was even beginning to struggle coping with the outside world. I had started to withdraw from my friends and just hadn’t bothered to message them as I just couldn’t cope with the thought of having to maintain a conversation and pretend that I was ok.

 

I managed to get the Duty Doctor to ring me as all appointments until after Easter had been booked. When the receptionist asked what was wrong and I replied anxiety and depression, she immediately put me on the duty doctors call list. I am eternally grateful that she didn’t think that I could wait for a standard appointment. I wasn’t at risk of doing anything stupid, I wasn’t feeling suicidal, I just felt like I couldn’t cope with everyday life. The doctor rang me back in a few hours and I explained what had been going on. She was so kind and understanding, she didn’t make me feel like I was overreacting and that I should be able to cope. She told me most people struggle with one bereavement to suffer so many in such a short amount of time would knock anyone. I was prescribed diazepam to use on the days when the anxiety was at its worst, when I just couldn’t calm down. To help me sleep she doubled my dose of mirtazapine.

 

I am slowly starting to feel a lot better, I seem to have had a break in the constant feeling of panic that I couldn’t stop before. I am still anxious but its at a more normal level. I am however exhausted constantly, my sleep is still hit and miss. Some nights I am out like a light but others I am still wide awake hours after taking my meds. I am also feeling very groggy the following morning and it’s taking me a bit of time to wake up. All of which I can live with if it continues to improve my level of anxiety as I don’t want to end up with the situation where the anxiety eventually causes me to become depressed.

 

So that you can appreciate how bad things had become I had got to the point where I had become frightened of using my sewing machine. Now anyone who reads this blog or knows me in real life knows that my life revolves around Jay aka Mr Myasthenia Kid, Mollie, Frankie and Sewing. I live to sew, when I am not sewing I am planning my next project. So for me to suddenly become frightened of my machine, was just bizarre. I can’t tell you exactly what it was that was frightening me but I just felt like a complete failure and that nothing I did was good enough…….a great pretender.

 

A few days after I had been on the meds I got my sewjo back. I decided to tackle my subscription box project which I hadn’t even had a proper look at since it had arrived at the start of March. It was really complicated but I just took it very slow and steady. This was the result

 

 

Dresden Plate design cushion cover in the newly launched Liberty Quilting weight range of fabrics.  I was so proud of it I posted it on the Sewing Quarter Fans page on Facebook.

 

Then on Sunday morning this happened

 

My Cushion was mentioned by Jenni Smith who works for Liberty of London on their fabrics. I was so chuffed, it has given me some confidence back again. So much so that I made another Dresden Plate cushion cover design on the Sunday.

 

 

So I am hoping that things just continue to improve now. I still get anxious, I always will but I no longer feel like I have to pretend that everything is ok. I (well we, me and Jay) have suffered a huge loss in a short amount of time and it’s ok not to be ok sometimes. You don’t have to pretend that everything is going well.

Injury Time

My plan to tell you more about our visit to Sewing Quarter HQ in Birmingham has had t be put on hold. Over the weekend we had more snow and on Monday morning our boiler stopped working. In an effort to get it working again, I tried defrosting the condenser waste pipe in case that had frozen. Unfortunately on around the 7th trip out of the back door the snow and ice got me. I ended up falling badly and hitting my head on the doorstep.

 

I probably had a mild concussion, I was left very upset for the rest of the day. I kept bursting into tears which I hate doing. Yesterday (Tuesday) I was in agony with my legs where I had fallen very hard onto patio slabs. Today (Wednesday) I am still quite sore but I am having to sort the house out as we (fingers crossed) are having a plumber out to look at the boiler. We’ve been given the run around by two plumbers, countless others are apologising as they just can’t get to us as obviously the cold weather has sparked lots of boilers to misbehave and this is on top of their normal work load.

 

We are lucky in the fact we live in a small house so a little halogen heater is making the world of difference and we have an electric shower so we aren’t reliant on the boiler to wash. It’s just a massive pain in the arse and just another thing for my anxiety to take hold of and keep me awake for hours. The fall has left me feeling very vulnerable, I could have knocked myself unconscious and no one would have known I was there. I hadn’t even taken my mobile phone as I was going 4 steps from the back door. I am still really sore and just fed up with it all. Hence why I can’t give you a decent post which would follow up on our visit. Hopefully next week, if things have gone a little smoother…..for a change.

The Secret

For around a month Mr Myasthenia Kid aka Jay and I have had to keep an enormous secret, I won’t lie it’s been incredibly difficult. Some of the first people I wanted to tell were you my blog followers.  We had been sworn to secrecy and we didn’t want to jeopardise it, so as best we could we kept the news to a smallish group of people. However now the secret is out and I can share it with you.

 

In the UK there is a channel called the Sewing Quarter, you can check them out on YouTube as the 4 hour show is downloaded daily. Jay and I have been watching it since it started being broadcast by Sky Television in January this year. The channel sells fabric, sewing machines, quilting accessories anything really to do with sewing by machine or hand. It also however has excellent hints and tips for people of all abilities and I have learnt loads from watching the show, much more than I could have done by reading books as you have things demonstrated in front of you. The main reason I think a lot of viewers watch though is due to the main presenters John Scott and Natasha McCarty, both have very different presentation styles but they are equally enjoyable to watch. They also have a guests on that demonstrate the items that the channel is selling that day. It is after all a channel that exists to sell products, it has no outside advertising so to exist it must make money, that is the way of the world.

 

Back in January Jay and I were decorating the lounge and whilst we were doing that we had the sewing channel on as it was their birthday week. They had lots of special offers, competitions and a sew off between Natasha and John – hilarious. Well whilst we were painting Jay must have been listening quite intently to John, as a few weeks later I was sewing in the kitchen and jay piped up “ As Rachel is finishing off her Easter wreath, I will take you through todays bundles”. I had to stop sewing I was laughing so hard. I mentioned it on the Sewing Quarter fan page and people started asking for a video. I posted something along the lines of if John Scott mentions Jay on the show then he will do a video. So this happened – sorry for the poor quality of the sound and shaky camera work, I have recorded it using my phone straight off the TV.

 

 

We were mentioned a few more times during this week, much to our delight so on the Sunday Jamie decided he would do his first video.

 

 

It went down exceptionally well with the fans of the show, to be honest it went a bit crazy! Later than evening whilst I was in bed Jay came rushing in to tell me the head honcho at the channel Neil Garratt had sent him a message on Facebook and what should he do. You see Jay is not brilliantly tech savvy, he can operate Facebook but he had no idea he would have to accept a message to be able to respond to it etc. I was in shock and looked at his phone to see that indeed Neil had messaged him. I accepted the message and then handed the phone back to Jay to let him read it. It said that they wanted Jay on the show to be alongside John and that we had to keep it quiet as they wanted it to be a surprise for the fans. Jay had to email him and one of the members of staff form the show would be in touch with us.

 

Within a few days it was all set in motion that Jay and I would travel to Birmingham and visit Sewing Quarter HQ and that Jay would be on air on 12th March. It was all very exciting but oh so difficult to arrange and keep a secret. Especially when Jay had to organise time off work and I had to organise a dog sitter for Mollie and Frankie. Hayley the lovely lady that we were working with offered us a hotel room for the Sunday night but as we had never left the dogs overnight before ( and they are old doggies now) we didn’t feel comfortable doing that. We decided we would travel up that day and do it all in one as we had when we went to the Emma Bridgewater Factory in October last year.

 

When Jay did the first video and I posted it onto the Sewing Quarter Fans Page on Facebook people had asked for more. Even people who had never seen the Sewing Quarter but were friends with us on Social Media asked for more when I posted the video to my Facebook timeline and Instagram. So to keep Jay relevant and the fans happy, we recorded another video, plus we had been mentioned a few times on the show by John Scott ( which we always got an enormous kick out of).

 

 

 

The second video went down as well as the first, which was a huge relief!

 

My planning and organising went into military operation mode, my anxiety has been up through the roof since suffering a series of bereavements at the beginning of the year / end of last year. My need to control everything as much as possible was in overdrive. I am sure Jamie must have got sick to death of my ever-growing to do list that seemed to cover every minute aspect of our lives! New shirts for Jamie had to be bought as John is famous for his flamboyant shirts, Jay couldn’t appear in his usual conservative style. Thankfully my best mate from primary school Sharon, offered to look after the dogs as soon as I told her what had happened. She like everyone else that knew what was happening said it was about time that we had something nice happen after all we had been through. Ellie offered us a car to use should something happen to ours, she also said she would be available to assist Sharon should she need any help. So many people offered us so much help and support it really was amazing.

 

The time between knowing that we were travelling to Birmingham and getting there seemed to at the same time to pass very slowly but also very quickly. It was so exciting but the excitement was stopping me from sleeping. From Monday night onwards this week I have been out for the count before 7.30pm. I am totally exhausted and in a lot of pain but it has been worth it.

 

Jay made a final video before our trip to Birmingham

 

When this one went up, so many of our friends and people on the fans site were saying “when will they be on the show together?” and that kind of thing. I just kept saying nothing that would give the game away, although it was getting harder and harder to keep this secret. I will admit on Friday last week I did message a few people and let them know that Jay was going to be on the show. People were beside themselves with excitement and were so happy for us. It was really lovely to know that all these people were delighted for us.

 

There is so much more I could tell you, I will probably expand more on the experience in next weeks blog post but I am aware this post is already getting quite wordy and its been the most I have written in ages!

 

So from the Sewing Quarter Monday 12th March 2018 here are Jays appearances:

 

Jays first segment

 Jay closing the show

 

We would both like to say a massive thank you to everyone at the Sewing Quarter HQ, especially Hayley Marshallsay, John Scott and Deborah Simms.

Snow

Snow is a big deal in the south-west of England, purely because it happens so rarely. I have lived in Exmouth 22 years and have only seen it three times. On those three occasions it was worse than any of the forecasters had predicted. This time there was a red weather warning over Exeter, which Exmouth is very close to (for those of you elsewhere in the UK or overseas). Everyone was pretty blase about the possibility of snow because it is just such a rarity. However I follow a local weather group South West Storm Chasers and I have to say their forecasts are very accurate and when they started saying that “yes Exmouth would get snow” I started to listen.

 

On the Wednesday of last week we had a few very light snow showers, whilst other places in Devon got quite a bit more snow. However on Wednesday night it was clear from all the forecasts it was going to be Thursday that the weather would be at its worst. Hubby was sceptical, but when we woke up to snow on Thursday morning and it didn’t stop snowing, he started to take notice. Hubby was working a middle shift so I managed to convince him to leave the car at home and just walk in. At that point around 9am there wasn’t a lot of snow but within a few hours the situation was completely different.

 

I was sat at my sewing machine in the kitchen with the local BBC radio station on listening to the reports on road closures and school closures. Each hour I was sending hubby photographs of the back garden as it was getting covered in more and more snow.

 

 

 

I was quite happy though as I just sat at my sewing machine and finished off the panels of my first quilt as you go quilt. I have just got to now sash the panels together, which I will do over the next few weeks. I am trying to decide if I will add both my quilt as you go quilt panels together or have them as two separate ones.

 

My second quilt I sewed in one day on the Friday, as once I knew what I was doing I could whizz through it.

When Hubby got home at around 6pm on Thursday evening it was still snowing and when we went to bed at around 8pm it was still going.

Overnight we had freezing rain, which is a very weird one. It falls as normal rain but on contact with any surface it instantly freezes. It leaves the most bizarre patterns on things.

 

 

What it also did was leave a thick crust of ice all over the snow that had fallen the day before. When walking on it, it was so loud like you were walking on gravel. The dogs hated it, Mollie couldn’t get back to the house quickly enough when out for a walk and really missed her daily jaunts to Woodbury Common.

 

During Friday we had more snow, so again I sat in the kitchen at the sewing machine whilst listening to the radio, I couldn’t believe it when I completed the second quilt as you go (qayg) from start to finish in one day. This included cutting 44 , 2 ⅝ inch squares for the six panels. As this quilt was the same as the first one I whizzed through it as I knew exactly what I was doing.

 

The snow was short-lived on Friday night the rain started and that continues all day Saturday. By 2pm all the snow was gone from our garden and traffic was moving again.

 

Saturday I spent making my mums mothers day present. I can publish a photo of it here as I gave it to her Monday as I was down in Plymouth for a hospital appointment. I made this one by watching Debbie Shores YouTube video on Laptop bags. I just made the same bag but down sized it. It took 4 fat quarters to make, I used fabric from some John Lewis fat quarters. I absolutely adore this Moroccan style fabric

 

 

On Sunday afternoon I decided to make my best mate a ipad bag and myself a clutch purse ( same bags just different purposes). With these I made them from fabrics I had bought in the sale at Christmas. However these both had directional patterns on them so I had to solve the issue of having the patterns facing the right way on the back and then on the flap at the front. I solved this by cutting out the back panel, then cutting it in half, turning one pattern completely around so the print faced in the opposite direction and then sewed the two pieces back together again. If I hadn’t done that the zebras and foxes would have been upside down on the flap. I was so proud of myself for working out how to solve this problem.

 

 

Mine is the red with the zebras and my friends is the one with the foxes.

 

Next week I will have lots of exciting news for you nut at the moment I am having to keep an enormous secret. Its killing me keeping it from you all but you will love it when you hear it. And to put you all out of your misery I am NOT pregnant!