100 Days to be Happy: Knitting

Knitting Crazy…

Well… okay maybe I’m not this crazy about knitting… but I do love it.

I don’t do it a lot – I tend to work on one project at a time, ever since I had nine different craft projects going on and didn’t finish any of them when I was meant to.

I’m working on a third jumper for Grandmother-in-law at the moment. I’m using a lovely cream dk yarn with green-brown flecks on cable needles and following a top down pattern from one of my favourite books. It’s going fairly well, despite the constant interruptions from PW (she likes to play with the yarn, very much like a kitten…) and I’m anticipating finishing it by September.

The reason I like knitting is that it relaxes me. When I have a lot of one stitch without too many shaping stitches or any cables to deal with, I can let my hands do the work and let my mind wander. It’s very meditative.

I’ve come up with a few story twists that way.

It also gives me something to do with my hands that doesn’t involve food – I put on a lot of weight when I’m baking a lot… *looks guilty*

All of this adds up to me feeling more relaxed, so when the kids start acting up (which is a lot) or I’m feeling anxious & upset about something, knitting soothes me and allows me to deal with it calmly.

I can’t do long periods of knitting though. I have Carpel Tunnel and the repetitive motion of knitting makes my hands ache and go numb if I do it for too long, so I tend to alternate between knitting and writing.

So that’s Day #5… Knitting. If you’ll excuse me, I’d rather like to get another couple of rows done on the yoke shaping…

100 Days to be Happy: Sunshine

I live in the UK. Yup, that’s right, I live in lovely, rainy Britain.  In fact I live in Wales and for some odd reason, the rain here is an awful lot wetter than it was when I lived in Plymouth or even when I lived in Suffolk. There always seems to be a lot more of it as well.

You remember that bit in MIB II? Where K is talking to Laura? This bit:

Agent K: When you get sad it, always seems to rain.

Laura: Lots of people get sad when it rains!

Agent K: It rains because you’re sad, baby.

Anyway, the amount of rain we get here during the autumn, winter and spring tends to knock my mood right down. So when it’s sunny, my mood picks up.

Right now, it’s cool and breezy but it’s also bright and sunny with a blue sky that seems to go on forever. It’s the sort of weather that I love, that I deliberately keep my computer next to the window for, that makes me want to just laugh and celebrate.

The colours of the world brighten and the music of nature is louder when the sun is out. I can write more; I have a longer anger fuse and a thicker skin and I eat less. Everything and everyone seems happier. There are more smiles and laughter on the breeze.

So #3 on my 100 days to be happy list? Sunshine.

Why? Because when it rains, sunshine brings out the Rainbow.

Coming soon – The Land Far Away… once I can wrest it away from the children that is!

I had a wonderful parcel arrive today.  The plain cardboard sleeve protected the proof copy of the book that Maria K. and I have been collaborating on for over a year and a half now.

That’s right, the first book of “The Land Far Away” series is almost available to purchase!

But back to the parcel… I wanted so much to sit down and savour the feeling of holding the first printed copy of our work in my hands.

The silly little rhymes that my children and I had come up with while NOS was doing his homework; the characters that the children created for me; the pictures that linked me with my friend in NC… All of these things make this particular book incredibly special for me.

So I pulled it out of its packaging carefully and sighed over the smooth, shiny cover and thick, smooth paper of the pages. I began to read the clear writing and marvel at Maria’s bright pictures…

“MUMMY!” the children thundered down the stairs and into the room like a herd of Skruffs. They caught sight of the book in my hands.

“Is that MY Pika book?” PT demanded.

“It was MY rhymes that mummy used.” NOS snapped at his sister.

“Pika is MY character! She’s soft and pink and fluffy, just like me.” PT stamped her foot.

“You can’t read properly, so it’s MY book.” NOS replied smugly.

The two of them fetched up in front of me, looking down on the pages. I looked up at them, raising one eyebrow at them.

“Who wrote the book?” I asked.

“You did.” NOS answered sullenly.

“No. We all did. You, your sister, me and Maria. We all wrote this book together. It was a…”

“Team effort?” PT asked.

I looked at NOS.

He shrugged. “I suppose so.”

I rolled my eyes, but he didn’t seem to register my expression. “I tell you what, why don’t you go read it to your sister.” The kids glanced at each other and shouted “YES” loud enough to be heard in the village centre.

I laughed and handed it to them. “Here you go then. Go careful with it please.”

They dashed away upstairs, book in hand.

I followed behind quietly with the camera and waited until they were engrossed in the story, before I snapped a photo to mark the occasion.

The kids road testing the book...

Isn’t it pretty?

If you’re interested in what the book is about, then check out “The Land Far Away” page in my bookshop.

I think having the proof copy is one of the more emotional experiences in my writing career. It’s the fulfillment of mine and Maria’s efforts and having it in my hands is a wonderful experience.

Now all we have to do is get it out there to be bought and hope that people like it enough! The thought of someone actually buying it gives me butterflies in my tummy!