Welcome from Crafty Chicita

A big welcome to old friends and new. Follow my crafting adventures as I take you on a journey through the daily life of a creative crafter. Experience the successes and disappointments that are all part of my working day, but most of all, enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Not A Bad Lump After All

I had an appointment at the breast clinic this morning. Not a routine one, I might add, but one that was rushed through. I was told not to worry, but how do you not worry? How do you stay calm and not consider what would happen to your child, your pets, your business if you were suddenly no longer here? I had 2 hours to kill. I stopped pacing the bedroom and looked at my face in the mirror. I didn't look like a woman with cancer, but what does a woman with cancer look like? After all, until you are told that you have it, you don't have it, but you do have it if you get my gist, but just don't know it yet. I looked again at my healthy looking face and experimented with a smile. I could have breast cancer this very moment and not know it.

It all started last May when I found a small pea-sized lump above my breat tissue. Who knows how long it had been there before I noticed it, but not wishing to make it real, not wishing to be neurotic, not wanting to jump to conclusions, I left it to its own devices for a few weeks. It was only when I mentioned it to a friend and she told me the only way to remove my stress was to face it and do it anyway that I took it for a visit to my doctor. He was immediately unimpressed and declared it to be a cyst, not on the breast tissue, and that it would eventually disappear or not depending on its attitude.

Last month I took my pneumonia, then an illness with no name, to the doctor to be identified, and while I was feeling that I was about to die anyway he brought up the subject of the cyst once more and checked it out again. Surprised that it was still there he assured me that there was no cause for alarm but that he wanted a second opinion and fast. Would you start to worry at around that stage?

So here I am, glad to be allowed to live, singing the praises of an amazing NHS breast surgery unit and the incredibly sensitive, friendly and efficient staff there and learning to love my little lump which turned out to be nothing but a fatty deposit, described by the consultant as something similar to a zit! I could have it removed, but I think I'll keep it.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Pneumonia? How the hell did that happen?

Late November and the Christmas craft fairs were upon me before I knew it. The last fair I'd attended was way back in July and I couldn't even remember how I usually set up my table. So I used a craft and vintage event as a dummy run and it was here that I got chatting to a young and outrageously talented cross-dressing silversmith. Fascinating though he was he stood way inside my personal space and I think that was the moment when the exchange of bacteria occured.

The following 3 weeks were frantic. I had organised the usual fundraising craft market with 36 crafters for a locally based charity and despite being promised as much help as I required the administrative assistant was more, so much more than more than useless. The snow came for the first time this winter and as craft fairs across the region dropped like flies I was determined that the show would go on. Said admin assistant became more conspicuous by her absence. We ventured out one cold and frosty afternoon to drop leaflets through local doors and had to stop after half an hour. She felt cold. I had a streaming cold but kept going for days afterwards as I had no choice. Correction - I could choose to not be bothered and let down a whole heap of wonderful crafters. That was not an option. Meanwhile there was another craft fair to attend, orders to make up and send out. The day of my fundraising craft fair arrived. Admin assistant and I had started to set up the tables the day before but she complained that she was tired. We arranged to start early on the morning of the event and get everything set up before the crafters rolled up, only she didn't turn up and I was left to flap around squawking like a headless-chicken. By the end of the day my voice had all but disappeared. The following day my child was to perform at Gorton Monastery with the school brass band. By now I had literally no voice, and sat about in a cold and draughty yet very beautiful building for hours. The snow was still hanging about and the temperature was -10C at night. One more craft event, an evening open-studio party at a friend's house meant standing around again in the cold, close to a smoky bonfire and my voice, which had briefly reappeared, did a disappearing act again. Two days later I was helping friends to move house, hacking and coughing away. I took to my bed later that day. Finally, my daughter's birthday party - not so much a party, more a gathering of 3 old friends from primary school which required no organisation on my part other than sticking pizza and Coke under their noses at the right moment. But what on earth made me go outside and wash the car wearing only jeans and tee shirt? I thought it was a warm day. I was shocked to find solid ice on the roof of the car. I didn't realise that I had a temperature.

So that brings me to last Monday when I just could not stay out of bed longer than I had to. I sent my daughter off to school, fed and watered, tried to get an appointment with the doctor only to be told that there were no appointments available until after Christmas and that I should head down to A and E. I could not get out of bed, couldn't drink and certainly had no appetite. My lungs were so congested that I had to sleep sitting up. By Wednesday I had made such a nuisance of myself on the phone that the doctor's receptionist miraculously found me a cancellation. I literally staggered to the car, and despite being in a state of mild hallucinations, enjoying the ever changing display of textures and newly invented colours on my bedroom walls, I managed to drive 2 miles to the surgery and back and crawl under the covers once more. My new challenge was to try to swallow the antibiotics the size of bullets whilst feeling nauseous. By Friday I was still not eating and felt weak and weepy. I was worried that the new snowfall would kill my tough old horse, Sid, who lives outside all year round. I'd not been able to travel the 7 miles to feed him for over a week and now found myself sobbing hearty tears at the thought of him dying of hunger. I phoned the farmer to ask her to feed him. She laughed and said he was fat; he'd be fine. I phoned my ancient old mother who also has a chest infection to ask her if she could post my two jewellery orders to customers, but she was suffering too and the snow had now fallen again. I phoned my sister who lives 16 miles away to ask her to collect our mother and look after her, as she refused to go to bed or even to sit down and relax. I was going to be responsible for the death of my horse and demise of my 89 year old mother simply because I was not well enough to look after them.

Today is my 7th day in bed and I'm underwhelmed by the offers of help that I have received from my family. As a single parent I have to feed the hens, the cats, the gerbil, the human child. My family has not offered to help. In fact my phone has not rung for 3 days. Pneumonia? How the hell did that happen?

Saturday, 13 November 2010

I Met The Dolls

If you are a regular on the Folksy forum you will already be familiar with The Dolls. Sarah and Laura are the dynamic duo behind The Dollhouse and have fast become prominent in the threads with their sharp and witty comments, empathy and understanding.

This afternoon my daughter and I got to meet them both and all their cute critters. One of their cats was networking on Kitsy (the feline equivalent of Etsy) while their crazy dog, Mylo, made sure that he was the centre of attention. It was so great to meet the people behind the online presence and The Dolls did not disappoint. They are every bit as wonderful in the flesh, and I feel like I've known them for years.

Here's a bit of Laura with a lot of Mad Mylo riding piggy back.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Busy Busy Busy - Two New Shops!

Blimey, I've really neglected the blogging thing lately, but here I am to let you know what's kept me out of your hair.

So I've at long last opened an Etsy shop and have some fabulous sterling silver wire wrapped rings and earrings lurking there, just waiting for a new home. Things are going well on Etsy. I've made a few sales and have had my items featured in 54 treasuries already.

Having got used to rushing around like a blue-arsed fly on a daily basis I found myself with an hour to spare last week so what did I do with that time? Did I chill out with a cup of tea and bar of chocolate? Did I go for a lovely walk through the heaps of October leaves just waiting to be kicked into the air? Did I take a long hot soak in a bubble bath? Don't be daft! I did what any craft-obsessed person would do and I opened another Folksy shop. This one stocks my funky handspun art yarns that are all softer and fluffier than kittens or bunnies, and I hope to add more wild and unusual wool as and when I spin it. The shop is called Gimme That Spin (did you see what I did there?) and I made my first sale within two days of opening. Feel free to get the sudden urge to knit someone a handspun scarf or neck cowl for Christmas!

I've also been playing with silver metal clay, an amazing medium that I just adore. I can use my ceramics skills with this stuff and have designed a few solid silver boho rings that are most definitely one-of-a-kind pieces which are now in my Folksy bling shop

Thursday, 16 September 2010

I Had Lunch With.....?

I've been busy opening my new Etsy shop! Oh yes indeedy, this shop stocks sterling silver wire wrapped rings and earrings and today I made my first sale! I have been promoted by one person in particular who, if you know your Etsy, is something of a star in many people's eyes and it is because of her amazing endeavours to selflessly promote newbies like me that this sale occured. I adore her wild and funky jewellery designs and have 'known' her for a while through Facebook but we had never met until today.

So, today I had lunch with ..... Vicki Diane. Yes, the one and only! As she was escaping the drab and cold climate of the UK and heading back to her home in warm and sunny southern Spain we had a chance to meet up at the airport for a couple of hours and boy, did we talk!! None stop natter as if we'd known each other forever! Let me tell you, Vicki is one sassy, sexy, raunchy, vibrant and gorgeously glamorous woman and always the first to help others. So I'm packing my bags at the weekend and moving into her spare room! If only!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Day Trip To Blackpool

My 12 year old daughter is too old to attend the summer play scheme this year so instead she was invited to work as a helper, reaping the benefits of free trips to the cinema, bowling, the museum and the big day out - a day trip to Blackpool. Needless to say it was a dull and dismal day but big fun was had at the Pleasure Beach fun fair. We did all the traditional Blackpool things - ice cream, donkeys, Blackpool rock, chips, fizzy drinks, deck chairs.

My thrill seeking child was on this horrendous fun fair ride that shot up into the air and shot back down again!

Hane 'em high! Poor meerkats!

A tradional Blackpool tram and the famous Blackpool tower lurking on the horizon.

The vast stretch of beach. When the sea goes out you have to walk a long way for a paddle.

Blackpool ain't Blackpool without the donkeys!

Under the board walk. All sorts of naughties used to and probably still go on here late at night, preferably when the tide is out!

Chillin' Chicita!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Lucky Break

It's hard to believe that it all happened a year ago today. I'd been looking forward to 5th August as the weather forecast predicted a hot week of sun starting on that date. My riding buddy, Ellen, and I went out for a lovely hack on our horses, down to the water's edge in Reddish Vale Country Park. We noticed that our horses were both a little skittish and took it slowly. I am a very cautious rider, particularly as my horse, Sid the Sod, is a twit who jumps at anything, even his own shadow, but for the last couple of weeks we'd been cantering up a field in the park, something that I did not normally do. On this particular day just before we went into a canter I noticed a large man with a large stick and 2 large rottweilers. Ellen led the way into a canter but Sid would only trot so with one kick I had him up and running, but he reared and accelerated, making me lose my stirrups and eventually my hold on the reins too. I screamed to Ellen to stop as Sid never overtakes the leading horse but he swerved and went into a gallop. By now I could see the whites of his eyes and I was bouncing about in a tight ball, trying to stay on him. After a quarter of a mile I came off him and still with my body in a tense state I landed in the long grass, the centre of my back taking the full force. My head, legs and arms didn't even touch the ground. I was not even winded. After a minute the pain started to kick in and the adrenalin rush had me jibbering nineteen to the dozen as Ellen told me not to move. As she phoned for an ambulance I had already made up my mind that it would take me 10 minutes before I was back on my feet and riding the horse to his field. It took half an hour for the ambulance guys to reach me, across a rough field, by which time I had hundreds of ants crawling all over me, up my nose, across my eyes and in my hair, and many of these critters ended up still with me as I lay in A and E in a curtained cubicle, all alone, still strapped to the stretcher, hungry and scared for 2 hours.

I was begininning to think that I had been forgotten when a porter came and asked if I was OK, went and fetched me a sandwich and lent me his phone so that I could call my 88 year old mother to collect my child from summer play scheme. 'I had a fall' I told her 'and I need you to take her home. I'll be back later this evening'.

4 hours after the fall I was wheeled to X-ray then into a ward where I was left alone for another hour and told not to move a muscle. Eventually a consultant told me that I'd fractured a vertebra and those words meant nothing to me at all. 'OK, so can I go home now?' I asked. They needed to keep me in for anything up to 12 weeks, I was told.

My tearful daughter arrived that evening. It must have been an awful shock to see me like that, although I felt fine, not ill, no longer in pain, just wanting to get home to look after her. When the lady serving supper came to my bedside and said to me 'Aw, did you know you'd broken your back when you fell?' the extent of my injuries hit me at last.

Being a vegetarian in one of the worst hospitals in the north west for 6 days was beyond belief. I was given chicken for each meal, remained unwashed for 3 days until I pointed this out and the situation was resolved when a nurse brought a luke warm bowl of water with a bar of soap half melted in it and left it just out of reach. As I was not allowed to move still I could not reach it and developed a horrendous rash all over my back. I won't even go into the bed pan issue other than to say that I was left on one with my back arched for one and a half hours on one occasion and I put my current back pain down to that experience. A night nurse gave me morphine on my second night there which I said I didn't need, then returned 10 minutes later to give it to me again, insisting that she had not already dosed me.

After 4 days I was allowed to move my legs. After 6 days I was fitted with a back brace, a rather Heath Robinson design with thick metal rods up the back and front and a kidney shaped plastic piece that stuck under the chin and rubbed the skin raw around my neck. Physiotherapists walked me up and down the ward for 5 minutes then left me sitting on my bed. I was dressed and out of there so fast, well as fast as I could hobble, and back in my own bed by that evening. I had lost over a stone in weight and was filthy and angry.

4 months later I was allowed to remove the back brace forever, and a month ago I was discharged from the hospital's 'care'. So today I have been a little emotional, remembering the event, my lucky fall. I was lucky, very lucky. I could have been killed. Worse still, I could have broken my neck.

I have taken this happening and turned it into a positive experience. At the time it happened I was struggling to sell my handmade ceramic pottery, but with a back injury I was no longer able to lift heavy bags of wet clay, and started getting interested in the lovely online bead shops while recuperating on my bed with the laptop. If I hadn't had the fall I would not be making jewellery. I'm thankful for my experience. It changed my life in so many ways. I no longer ride and miss it dreadfully, but I still have Sid the Sod, happy as a sand boy and stuffing his face in a huge field with his mates.