I’m a bit calmer than I was last week and I have managed to carve out some time for myself to enjoy my creative pursuits. Which always puts me in a better frame of mind because it makes me feel like I have actually achieved something. I have struggled since being ill-health retired to feel that I make a valuable contribution to society. People always ask “what do you do for work?” or “D why Io you work?” and it is a real conversation stopper when you have to say “no I have been ill-health retired since 2008”. My disability is pretty much invisible or not well understood by others, so even when I rock up in my mobility scooter or wheelchair people don’t understand why I would need to use these.

I have in the past had family members that don’t get the fact that I am in pain every day and that is all I have ever known. I don’t tend to say much about it because well quite frankly talking about it bores me, so if it bores me what does it do for the other people? I am quite private which seems weird when I write a blog every week. There are very few people I am 100% honest with when I talk about how I am feeling at any given time. I learned from an early age that complaining about pain meant you weren’t believed or were accused of being a hypochondriac and that was by people who should have known better as their job was to nurture and protect me. Plus as I grew up I made the mistake of being honest with people when I was in pain and it was used against me and I was told I was draining to be around. I know now that the woman I was dealing with, who was also my boss was a sociopath and completely incapable of  empathy towards me and even her own family. At the time though in my 20’s her attitude was very damaging and stopped me taking care of myself when I was quite seriously ill for fear of being judged by her. When working in a close environment as I was and at her mercy, I was completely paralysed with fear. These days I don’t put up with that kind of treatment but it has taken me a long time to get to this point.

Leaving work was hugely damaging for my mental health, even though the previous two years working had been extremely damaging also, when I was with a team that refused to acknowledge my physical limitations and I was treated like a burden. My card had been marked, my face no longer fitted and the senior team decided that I was going to be worked out. I desperately hung on making myself sicker and weaker until I collapsed and there was nothing left in the tank. I was admitted to hospital and slept for 48 hours solid, only waking for the bathroom and something to eat. I was burnt out by it all, physically and mentally destroyed, it took me a very long time to claw my way back and realise that despite not working I was contributing to society in my own way.

This is why sewing, machine embroidery, crochet have all become so important to me. They have been an outlet for my creativity that had been stifled for so long after being led to believe I was academic and not creative. I had no confidence at all when it came to being creative. I taught myself how to sew on my sewing machine, my embroidery machine and I then two years later taught myself to crochet. Due to being pretty much housebound and obviously numerous lock downs with Covid 19, Youtube, magazines and books have been my teachers. I do find I am a visual learner however many of these videos assume a level of experience I don’t possess. So when it came to sewing I threw away the rule book, warp and weft meant absolutely nothing to me and nor did cutting fabric on the bias. Mostly I have got away with throwing away the rule book. I did the same with leaning how to use an embroidery machine, I embroidered designs on fabric that the book and many fellow embroiderers would have said wasn’t going to cope with a dense design. I taught myself ways of getting the fabric to behave the way I wanted and have shared what I have learned with newbies. I make mistakes, of course I do. The number of times I have managed to catch a fabric underneath the embroidery hoop and rendered what I have just spent an hour on useless. I have many towels with half designs on where I failed to secure it properly in the hoop and the design has drifted from the outline. I like perfection when I embroider and sew and it is hard for me to accept anything less. Even though I know perfection doesn’t exist.

My creative outlet hasn’t just filled a void in the respect that it has given me something to do, it also challenges me and demands that I find solutions to problems. It uses my brain in a way that I haven’t done since I stopped working, which is both exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure. So it was weird this year when suddenly I became anxious about using my embroidery machine and my ability to sew. It happened out of the blue, suddenly and unexpectedly I was too frightened to sew. Something I have adored since I started back in 2017. It meant projects were started and left semi completed for months at a time. My sewing area suddenly fell silent and gathered dust. I wanted to sew I really did but I couldn’t focus long enough to do it or feel confident enough to. 

This year has been a tumultuous year with Jay’s father passing away, me making a drastic change so that I walked away from those who were causing me harm and stifling my personal growth. There are also countless other things going on and I think the fear of sewing / embroidery was just a symptom of the mental anguish I was in. Eventually it got to the point where I had to use my machines as I needed to make a gift for a friend and I also needed to replace a wall hanging that I had managed to dye pink and nothing could be done to rescue it. In the end I just had to put my big girl pants on and take the plunge. I pushed myself well and truly outside my comfort zone, tackling projects I had always put off due to my lack of skill. I proved to myself I could do it and needed to stop listening to the negative voices in my head that had held me back my whole life.

I am rather thrilled with what I have created, it is still a work in progress and there are still days I have to force myself to get the courage to use my machines. Like the book says ” I feel the fear and do it anyway”.

All the fabric apart from the balck background fabric is Liberty. The patterns I got from – spinning compass points ( the central design) and the Flying Geese ( the triangles) are from Both patterns were free and just needed to be printed off. It is a technique called foundation paper piecing a technique which I have done only a around 3 times before attempting this piece and now I am completely converted to it. The reverse of my wall hanging looked like this,

I had great fun removing the papers although it did make a bit of a mess! 

Dembe was very curious

As I said it is still a work in progress and if I am well enough over the next few days I will be attempting to finish it.

My anxiety / confidence will always be an issue, I know now that sometimes you do have to fake it until you make it, pushing yourself to do the stuff you don’t feel comfortable with as by running away from it makes it a much larger issue.


Sometimes it is the little things in life that make you smile the most. This morning (Tuesday 15th June 2021) I replaced my Chromebooks battery….myself! I am not an engineer, I have no technical training at all. I have never removed any covers off a computer / laptop / Chromebook previously. Until today I had never seen inside my Chromebook. The first thing I noticed when I got the cover off was that Dembe’s hair ( my dog ) had managed to get inside it😂😂😂

Around a month ago I noticed that my Chromebook charging light was failing to turn green and the battery wasn’t charging past 80%. Having had a look on Google I realised my battery was knackered ( or f**ked as we say in technical circles) . I looked at the price of batteries and saw that they were retailing for around £70 which being tight I didn’t want to spend. I could only use my laptop for about 10 minutes without having to put the charger on. Then on Sunday I couldn’t switch it on at all. The screen and keyboard would light out and then go black. I knew that this was more than likely the battery – having nursed it for the last month. Having saved a video on YouTube I had another look at it to convince myself I could do this and then started looking for a replacement battery.

For some reason this time I looked on Amazon, I don’t know why I didn’t before. I found a battery for £39.99. Considerably cheaper than the sites I had looked at previously and with the added bonus of being here the next day. Once ordered I allowed my Chromebook to run out of charge ready for replacing the battery hopefully on Monday but possibly Tuesday depending on the time of it’s arrival. Sadly it arrived late on Monday ( late for me is after 4pm and I wont have the mental capacity to be able to deal with something technical ). So the battery replacement would have to wait until Tuesday.

I have a small screwdriver gizmo that has multiple ( around 50 ) different heads that you can attach. So I had the right head to undo the tiny screws on the back of the Chromebook. Having watched the YouTube video I also knew that there would be two screws under the foot rests at the back of the Chromebook base. With everything out the back of the Chromebook came off easily. For safety I pressed the power button on the Chromebook down for over a minute to discharge any electricity static or otherwise from the Chromebook so I didn’t get a shock when messing about with the battery. I got a shock from the mains here a few years ago when I accidentally touched the metal pin as I was taking a plug out of the socket and got blown clean across my lounge so I really didn’t want to repeat that experience!

Knowing that everything was now safe I took the 2 screws out that hold the battery inside the Chromebook cavity. Then gently I took the clip that attaches the battery to the mother board off. Helpfully it does say battery above it. The only thing that could go wrong is forcing something and breaking it. So I moved slowly and carefully. The battery clip took a bit of gentle persuasion to remove but it came off in the end.

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The first attempt when I thought I had clipped the battery in, was proved incorrect when I plugged the Chromebook Charger in and the orange light on the side of the Chromebook kept flashing. When I ran Crosh it told me no battery could be detected however despite letting me know I had incorrectly installed the battery it also told me I was correct in my assumption that the issue was battery related as if my machine was working just on the charger there was no other issue with it than the power source. 

The back was taken off again, following the same routine to ensure there was no static electricity left in it before handling the battery again. The clip does have a knack to it and once it is clipped in properly ( the clip is circled )

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Once I got the clip in correctly it was quite obvious as it didn’t fall off when putting the battery in place and was nice and secure. 

Before putting the housing back on I gave the whole inside of the Chromebook a quick brush ( a clean brush ) to get rid of the Dembe hair and any dust that may have settled inside as I was working on it. I was VERY GENTLE!

A few people have said I was brave / clever doing this, my main motivation was I wasn’t prepared to pay someone else £100-£150 for a battery change when it was clear I had the tools here to do it and it wasn’t a huge thing to do. The hardest thing was handling the tiny screws that hold the case together as my manual dexterity isn’t the best. With the advent of  YouTube, many jobs that were shrouded in mystery previously are now available for us to see on video and learn from. The number of times I use YouTube during the week is crazy, especially for sewing tips or looking how to fix something. Obviously some things are very technical or require specialist tools or need qualifications for those jobs to be safe. The little jobs though and the ones I feel ok about I will give them a go.

The moral of the story is don’t abuse your Chromebook battery. My Chromebook will be three years old in November and I have trashed the battery already. I did a stupid thing which was never shut it down properly when I finished using it. I would just close the lid. I killed the battery and at £40 a pop it isn’t something I am going to repeat in a hurry. I will be turning this off religiously now.

Another bonus of replacing the battery is that the  touch pad ( which is what you use instead of a mouse) is now working a lot better. I had lost the left hand side of it. I think now that after dropping it ( I have lost count how many times I have dropped this ) the back screws have become loose which has meant the pressure behind the touch pad hasn’t been there stopping it working correctly. My keyboard is also working better as well. So even if you don’t want to take your Chromebook apart do regularly check the screws on the back are secure. I have lost one, when I don’t know ( people have always said I have a screw loose), taking the back off and putting it back on has definitely corrected some issues I was having. That £40 battery has saved me at least £200 if I had to buy a new Chromebook.

I am so proud of myself for changing the battery and solving the issue myself. My Chromebook is my lifeline. Having to rely on my phone the last 48 hours has been a nightmare.

A little tongue in cheek humour as my husband has been singing this ever since I replaced the battery