Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy, happy, happy

It started last November. I needed something to do, something to keep me occupied through endless hours of sitting and waiting.
Mum had tried to teach me to crochet before, but I'd never really got the hang of it. I knit, but crochet somehow seemed...wrong. Where was the other needle? How could something that started as a chain end up as a square? Why are there so many loops?


Suddenly, this time it clicked. It made sense. And so, armed with a pattern for a basic granny square, I chose a few colours and got started.

I didn't have a plan, I just kept making squares. Eventually, I started to put them together in some kind of order. Random seemed like too much hard work, so I settled on a nice, regular, even pattern. And eventually I had a small blanket that kept my lap warm.

red square

Small wasn't really enough. I had big ambitions for this blanket. So I added some more squares and kept going.

border closeup

And so, 150 squares later - it's finished.
Eight balls (I think) of yarn.
Over 20,000 stitches.
Far more late nights than I care to admit.

it's a very big blanket

Finishing this blanket - finishing anything makes me happy. I love being 'crafty' and I always have some project or other on the go, but it isn't often that I get the sense of completion that I have with this. When I started, I knew what I wanted but I didn't know how to get there. As my piles of squares grew and I started joining them together, I could see my idea emerging and I was so excited to continue. There were times when the chemo messed up my head so much that I couldn't even string two stitches together, but I kept going. There were times when I felt too sick, or too miserable, or was in too much pain to focus on this, but I didn't give up.

this makes me happy

For me, this is more than just a simple crocheted blanket. It represents time spent with Mum, learning how to crochet. It represents frustration, perseverance and endurance. It will always remind me of a really horrible time in my life, but the lessons I've learned from this are all good:

Handmade makes me happy.
Learning new skills makes me happy.
Keep going and finish, because that makes me happy too. to apply that last lesson to the many half-finished papercrafting items sitting on my shelf!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Far too easily pleased

You know when you give a child a present, and they spend longer playing with the wrapping than they do with the toy?

If you give me flowers, I will spend at least as long taking photos of them as I will admiring them. And I'll take some more photos in a couple of days when they have all fully opened. And then all of those photos will give me hours of fun in Photoshop, because no photo of mine will live unedited.

pink gerbera

You can see some more of my flower photos here

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This used to be a craft blog

In the beginning, my blog was mostly about scrapbooking.
Then I bought a house and my blog included house-y stuff too.
I worked hard, studied harder, and my scrapbooking slowed down.
I left that house and that life, and found my creative mojo.
Then I got ill and despite having more spare time than I've ever had before, I had very little inclination to do anything with it.

I'd quite like this to be a craft blog again.
Shall we start over?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Over the sea and far away

Pont du Raz
Originally uploaded by kate bucci

In the beginning when I was first diagnosed, I decided that everything could be put on hold until my treatment was finished. The doctors gave me a timescale and in my head I was planning what I would do when it was all over.

Fast forward ten months and I've realised that it really doesn't work like that. Doctors are not accurate, diagnoses change and their original estimate of "six months of treatment" has already nearly doubled. By the time I am anything approaching normal again, it will probably be nearer 18 months.

That's a long time to put your life on hold...and somewhere in the midst of it all, I realised that I couldn't. Life goes on, whether you like it or not. And even if I can't do everything I want to right now, there are still things I can do, things I can enjoy. I don't have to just fight the cancer, I can live with it too.

Goal setting is one of those things I swore I'd never too (too self-help manual) but has actually been really positive. Whether I write it in my journal, or just mentally promise myself, having a checklist makes me happy. On my worst days, my goal can be to get dressed. On better days, having something to aim for really makes a difference.

My biggest goal was to go with the choir on tour to France. I got my surgeon to bring the op forward so I'd have eight weeks to recover, and hoped like mad. A two-week stay in hospital didn't help, and the day before we were due to leave I sat down and cried because I didn't think I'd manage it....but I did. I spent a week riding around Brittany in a coach with the most wonderful, beautiful, amazing group of people who carried my bags, sat with me when I couldn't walk, took hundreds of silly photos and shared more than a few bottles of wine. We sang in some amazing places and it was truly inspirational. I returned feeling very, very blessed to have such a wonderful group of friends and to have shared such an amazing time.

Right now, those memories are making me smile and keeping me going. 74 more days to go.