Handmade Christmas

Hi everyone - hope you are all getting into the festive spirit!

Well I have had an interesting few weeks to say the least.........

Firstly I lost my job........... although I can honestly say this was not really unexpected or necessarily unwelcome - although I had hoped to hang on to my job until February what with Christmas expenses and all, plus the fact we are moving house again and there are many costs associated with that!

However, having worked full-time  for around 25+ years, I have to say, that although I was looking forward to being at home, the reality of not having a set routine and not having my 'own' money is coming a bit hard.

But having said all that, its time for me to look for new adventures and try and find out what I can do that I truly love.  I am going to try and do some freelance HR work to buffer up the coffers a bit whilst I decide what to do.

Now OF COURSE I would like this to involve Knitting and crafting in some way, shape or form..... I have dabbled into pattern design of course and I love this, but its not the easy option, Designers work incredibly hard and I think I would have to approach this by thinking about it as just doing what I love rather than thinking that it will bring me any cash in!

Another option would be to look at becoming an online yarn shop serving the Middle East - as we do not have anything local and the cost of shipping to the UAE is expensive whether you use Shop and Ship or direct shipping.  Of course for this I would probably need to get a UAE National Sponsor, or set myself up in one of the Free Zones in the UAE, but it something worth thinking about.

Bearing this in mind of course is that at some point we will come back to the UK!! Given the problems we are having with getting the UK to treat Flo as a citizen and not a foreign student, it might be within the next couple of years so that Fred can have 3 years 'proper' residence before he starts University.

Anyway - putting those conundrums aside for a moment, and with a reduced budget, I am looking at doing some more Handmade gifts for Christmas! Although at the moment, I seem to have managed to  make one gift and one 'gift to self'!!  However inspired by Kirsty Allsops #HandmadeChristmas I am getting ready to give gifts which come from the heart rather than the Mall!

So for Florence I have made Christmas Socks in the Straycat Socks Joyeux Noel Self Striping colour way.  Wow this Straycat Socks yarn is great!  I was enabled with this by @sunnydayzdxb (who is really Claire) and I also bought the 'Candy Cane Twist' and 'Are We There Yet' colour ways - destined to fill my sock drawer at a later date.  You can see these great colours below......

For Flo's socks I did the afterthough heels, although I did them toe up.  She has quite small dinky feet so they did not take too much time and I think she's going to be very happy with those whilst she is here over Christmas and also once she gets back to Bath.

Then of course the West Yorkshire Spinners Christmas special sock yarn - Holly Berry - has been all over Instagram and Twitter - so I just had to have some of course! (along with Ethel the Brit Yarn bag OF COURSE!) and as ever the lovely Isla from Brit Yarn provided fantastic service and sent my goodies to Flo who brought them over with her when she came for the F1!

These socks just flew off the needles (and at the moment my favourite needles are the Knit Pro Zings 2.75mm with 100cm fixed cable for magic looping.....)

Again I did the afterthought heel, but this time I did them cuff down because I wanted them a little bit longer and actually the ball of yarn is so generous that I could have almost made them over the knee!
I adore them and will be wearing them on Christmas morning - even if it means having to turn the air conditioning on...........

Finally I have had a nasty reminder that my kidney function is very poor and perhaps I sometimes I take the  fact that I am so lucky to have a kidney transplant for granted!  I had a 'sore' foot which got worse and worse until I was literally crawling round on my hands and knees, because to even put my foot on the floor gave me excrutiating pain.  Now I have a high pain threshold, but for even me, the pain was so dreadful that it brought me to tears!  A trip to A&E told me it was Gout and my uric acid was twice the amount it should be....... So I spent our trip to the Abu Dhabi F1, on crutches, wincing in pain, unable to drive my visitors around and feeling generally miserable.  To add insult to injury, the anti inflammatory drugs gave me terrible stomach cramps!  So I have turned to alternative methods and have found the cherries are a natural remedy to dissolve the crystals which form in you joints - who knew!!!  With that and the fact that I now need to follow a 90% vegetarian diet with very little (or no) meat and alcohol, you could say that the last few weeks have definitely been a catalyst for change for me!

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