Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mathilda's Market....the aftermath

Whoah....I've been a little pre-occupied for the last couple of weeks and I didn't realise that I had neglected you. Sorry....

Pre-occupied is possibly understating it just a little.

The last 3 weeks I have been frantically trying to get everything ready for the Mathilda's Markets...and they have now been and gone. Phew! I'm not sure I was the loveliest person to be around:)....at the sewing machine for several hours per day and night, the washing was totally neglected, and Steven would probably say the same for him.

However, I had a major success with the market with a LOT of help from some very special friends.....I really want to thank Christine, who gave me several hours of company in the last few days before the market with sewing, pinning, overlocking, cutting and just generally being a very calming influence. Angie for helping by cutting out batting for the bibs and a stack of babyshoes, Bec for cutting out more batting and helping out at the Market ALL day and Francesca who was absolutely amazing!!! Fran supplied some gorgeous props for my stall and most importantly the expertise to set it up beautifully and take extra special care with our customers all day long. Cindy for lending me her gorgeously rustic ladder and Mum for crocheting some absolutely fabulous Gnome Homes. And the lovely Jen, who made the most beautiful Steiner Doll and donated it to Ayla's Fundraising. Thank you all sooooo very much. I, absolutely, could not have done this without you all.

At the end of the day I spied both Bec and Fran with their heads together over the calculator giggling away....this was followed by a 'high five' from Fran as she told me what our total sales for the day were....you ready for it?? $950 in sales!!!! Holy Cow!!!! That's $950 straight into Ayla's ABR Account. I had lots of really wonderful comments about my little bits, lots of positive remarks on how beautifully the stall was set-up (Thanks Fran!!) and just generally feel my confidence growing that I'm not the only one who likes my stuff :). Seriously, there are times when I question whether I just like the stuff I make purely because I made it.

On Sunday....I did absolutely NOTHING. I did not move off the couch for the entire day except to visit the toilet. Total Jamie day.

Anyway, I really want to share some photos of the stall with you all. The hardest part is choosing which ones.....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bunny Shrug Pattern

Adding to my eclectic mix of blogs here.....

A couple of people have asked about the shrug that Ayla was wearing in this post. I originally saw the idea for it in a Japanese Knitting book but changed it considerably because of course, I most definitely couldn't just stick to the pattern and use what they suggested.....far too normal.

I used my own handspun yarn (pictured above). It is a blend of 90% Blue Faced Leicester and 10% angora bunny...hence the Bunny Shrug, and it is so incredibly soft. If you want to buy some of this fibre for spinning or you would like to buy the already spun yarn.....contact Charly from Ixchelbunny. I struggle to wear anything other than cotton on my skin because I have eczema but I have to say that the addition of the angora rabbit makes an incredible difference. I put my arm inside one of the sleeves for an hour to see how I would react and it didn't itch once!

So the pattern.....
This pattern is a kinda try and grow as you go sorta pattern. Don't let that put you off though because it is such an easy pattern. Basically, you knit the shrug like a scarf (see! you can do a scarf!) and then you stitch up the sleeves like a cylinder but leave the middle bit open....promise to take a photo in the morning.

I used ~4 ply yarn with 5mm needles. I used the larger needles because I wanted a really light shrug for the cool mornings we have on the mountain.

Ayla is a size 4 so I cast on 50 stitches. You need enough stitches that it fits comfortably around the largest part of their arm, so it is quite loose at the wrist. I did 10 rows of seed stitch...so thats:
Row 1, 3, 5, 7, 9: k1, p1
Row 2, 4, 6, 8, 10: p1, k1

And then it's just stocking stitch until the sleeve reaches from the wrist to the centre of the back (between the shoulder blades). Make sure that when you measure it, have your little one's arms stretched out in front. Put these stitches on to a stitch holder or a piece of remnant wool.

Repeat all over again for the second sleeve.

Then thread the stitches on the stitch holder back onto the empty needle and use Kitchener stitch to seamlessly bind them together. And just to help out....here is the best tutorial I have found for the Kitchener Stitch.

Ta Da!!!! You're Finished....Yay You!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Finally....the Fairy Wings

For the last 3 years I have been longingly looking at all the little girl's tops with the fairy wings on the back and just WISHING that it was worth me buying them for Ayla. But as she spent so much time on her back, I knew that no-one would see her gorgeous little wings. When she finally started sitting, the fairy wing tops were nowhere to be seen.

Ta DA!!!! I found some! Ayla wore her fairy wings for her first day back at 'school'. 'School' being the Special Ed unit where she does Conductive Education. And last week it really was all new for her. The unit moved to another facility....but she still loved it!

Friday, February 5, 2010

If this was good, what would it look like?

The above image is from eternaltrooper.wordpress.com/2009/06/

I have so much to do today but I thought I would just be a little more self-indulgent.

Yesterday I allowed myself to feel my way through a major disappointment...which I might add may amount to nothing but an emotional reaction to something I wasn't equipped to hear on that day. But, I find that when I allow myself that time to just experience that immediate gut response, I can usually feel my way out the other side of it. And I am.

While in the shower this morning (please don't picture that, it's really not good!)I started to think about an Iridology course I did a couple of years ago where the speaker was talking about re-framing things and she said, "Ask yourself, if this was good, what would it look like?". I didn't really get it at the time but over the years, I have found myself asking, "If this was good, what would it look like?". This morning I asked myself again and this time I actually came up with an answer.

The 'good' side of my disappointment and feelings of anxiety is that I learn that Nothing is Permanent. NOTHING. And that's not just to do with Ayla. Nothing is PERMANENT. Life is dynamic. It flux's and changes, it ebbs and flows. Even though our situation with Ayla is difficult and seemingly different to everyone else's situations....when you break it all down, it's all the same. Nothing is permanent.

Ayla loves her Kindy and for now, that is where she is. It's not permanent but hopefully it won't end sooner than we would like.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Dementor's Kiss

This image may seem a little dramatic, and I apologise if it annoys anyone, but this is quite honestly how I am feeling at the moment. It's an image from Harry Potter. A Dementor 'kissing' Harry's cousin Dudley. According to Wikipedia (and yes, I know that's not a totally reliable site but hey, we are talking about a fictional film here), the Dementor's Kiss is the act of having one's soul sucked out by a Dementor. To get a little more dramatic....another character Remus Lupin is quoted in the film as saying,
"You can exist without your soul, you know, as long as your brain and heart are still working. But you'll have no sense of self anymore, no memory, no...anything. There's no chance at all of recovery. You'll just -- exist. As an empty shell. And your soul is gone forever...lost."

Ok, so I know that despite feeling like I am experiencing the Dementor's Kiss, I will recover and at some stage I will feel like I have my soul back. But look a little closer at that quote and there is a really true explanation of how I am feeling right now. No sense of self, my memory has totally crapped itself and I feel as though I am existing as an empty shell.

The last 2 weeks I have actually felt like an almost normal Mum. Ayla is in Kindy. I have a designated 'cleaning' day where I can clean my house without having to attend to anyone else and I can go grocery shopping by myself. Ayla is loving Kindy and apparently thriving on it. She's even having a sleep. Short, but it's still a sleep. I get to Kindy this morning to have somebody dump a great big CRAP on me...here, deal with this!!

A bit of background.....Ayla's enrolment into Fingerprints hinged on her receiving a funding package from a government agency called Inclusion Support. She was assessed and after many weeks and countless revisions of paperwork by the Kindy, she was approved. The funding is a 'subsidy' toward a wage so that the Kindy can have an extra set of hands on to help out or 'include' Ayla in activities. The subsidy is $15.95 per hour. It's not a lot...but it is a subsidy, nonetheless. The Kindy don't want to have to cover the extra $5 per hour it will cost them to employ someone and as I was told this morning, the licensee is very 'stressed' about this and doesn't know what to do. This was told to me, with a kind of questioning look at the end of it as if to say..."What should you do about it?". What do you want me to do???? I get the feeling that I look at this situation very differently to them. The way I see it, Ayla has not been given a 'carer'. The kindy has been given a subsidy toward an extra set of qualified hands to help include Ayla and this doesn't mean that Ayla is supervised or cared for for every minute of every hour that she is there. I have played that role and I know that Ayla needs to be watched but I was able to help out with the other kids whilst Ayla was there. The gap between the subsidy and the actual wage that needs to be paid to that extra set of hands is not my problem. I think the $15.95 per hours more than covers the time spent with Ayla. As far as I am concerned, the 'gap' is the Kindy's responsibility and pays for the time in which the extra set of hands helps out with the other kids.

I realise that if Ayla wasn't there, the Kindy wouldn't require the extra set of hands and therefore wouldn't have the extra expense, BUT, I believe the kindy needs to re-frame the way they are looking at this situation. Whilst I was attending the kindy last year, I was told on numerous occasions that there just wasn't enough time for the teachers to finish all of their paperwork and other chores at the same time as looking after the kids and they frequently had to work back to finish it. Well HELLOOOOOOO! Use this extra set of hands on Thursday and Friday so that you can get this work done! And look at it from this point of view....you get an extra set of hands and an opportunity to get your work done for just $5 per hour! The other $16 per hour has already been paid. If you ask me, the Kindy is getting a bargain.

On a side note....I mentioned this 're-framing' to the Kindy, and they said that it just can't be thought of that way. Can't? or Won't?

Oh and getting back to where I was originally going with this.....I don't need to hear about how the licensee is 'stressed' and what can we do? I have enough of my own 'stress' to deal with on a daily basis....so my advice is this: Don't share the licensee's stress and money worries with me!!!! When she is trying to survive on less than $26 000 per year, fundraising, filling out endless forms for help that never seems to be forthcoming, doing 3-4 hours of therapy per day, fighting a system that doesn't want her kids in it and trying to maintain her sense of self and sanity on a daily basis, THEN I might actually give a damn.

Again, apologies if that seems melodramatic, selfish and rude. But that's where I'm at tonight. It's all I've got. And yes, I am angry and verging very strongly on the wrong side of bitter tonight. But, as we all know, tomorrow will be better day.

Edited to Add:

ok, after having walked away from this for 10 minutes I thought I had better come back and apologise for dumping that on all of you and just calmly say how this is affecting me tonight. So here goes.....

I feel that after the elation of the last 2 weeks that today I just feel disappointed and devastated that just when I thought I could breathe a little and perhaps let down my guard, I have had a reality check that I really don't want. The victim inside me just wants to scream and say, "It's not FAIR and it's not supposed to be this way and why the hell does it have to be so freaking hard?". I feel so broken and anxious that I can't breathe and I have been physically shaking since 9.30 this morning. Thank you for listening, thank you for allowing me this outlet to be real and I promise to share something much more light and positive next time.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Pendulum

I've taken this quote from the ABR blog by Leonid Blyum because, although he talks A LOT!, he comes out with phrases that make it seem as though he has experience of having a special needs child himself. He doesn't. He is just super committed to these kids and he cares enough to put himself in our shoes....even if it's just for a moment.

You find yourself on a swinging pendulum – from exaggerated optimism to equally exaggerated concerns and fears. You are easily excited (especially when a child is still young) but you are easily scared as well. That’s a heavy emotional tax that zaps one’s energy really fast; and as the years go – excitement vanishes or translates into a pure chase of “last hope” while the scares become more and more real, especially with under consistent ‘hawkish’ pressure.

That’s the cost of ‘blurring’. It’s a universal trait of a human nature that we are most stressed and demoralized by some vague gloomy threat, where the vagueness itself makes it seemingly omnipresent and incapacitating as a result.