2021 Is Dead – Long Live 2022,

Hello kitties! Well that was a fun year 😬 I have never had so many vaccinations, but more of that later!

I have been incredibly fortunate this year to keep my little business afloat but many others have not. I shall be trying to do all my gift shopping from small businesses this coming year and I hope you will be supporting them too.

Small business is able to deliver your exact wishes better than anyone, just take a look at this lobster….

A new year is a time for new goals and my key one for next year is to make my toys more ecologically sustainable.

I started this journey last year with Gaia the Ethicorn…

I would like to transform these bunnies next, and try an embroidered eye for them too..

I will also need to retest these designs in line with the new CA mark for childrens toys.

This little one will be making a comeback and with a matching hat for the perfect newborn gift…

There will also be a sheep and a tiger version (it will be the year of the tiger soon!)

What about me? Well, it’s best summed up with this…

I shall be braver in my work and braver in what I wear! See the closing paragraph for my brave new hat!

Before go I need to say this, it’s been a horrible year and it hasn’t be helped by the “discussion “ that has happened around vaccines.

Let me be clear I am vaccinated as much as I can be, and if they offer me more I shall take more.

I want everyone to be safe but just because someone chooses not to take the jab, doesn’t mean I get the right to call them a covidiot- and similarly I don’t want to be called a sheep!

Let’s try and take the emotive language out of this and other debates and try and respect each other’s position, because one thing is for certain, we are and always will be better together, and we will need that unity to face this New Year.

So, I send you all my love and gratitude for your support this year, and I hope we all have a more peaceful 2022.

Kisses

Karen ( in my cupcake kitten hat – pattern by Tiny Owl Knits)

Pandemic, Panic and Privilege

Hello kittens! its been a while to say the least but this time I have an excuse 🙁

****This is not a cheery post and covers all the horrors of COVID19, please pop by next week if this is too much- I totally understand*****

Unless you have been asleep or on Mars, you will know that the entire world has been in the grip of a pandemic- so serious that it makes those post apocalyptic movies look very tame!

Here in the UK we tried to suppress the virus for a while and then we entered a full lockdown on the 23rd March, this meant you were allowed out only for essential reasons i.e food shopping.

After walking the dogs that morning, me and more importantly, my 21 year old daughter received letters classing us as vulnerable because of our asthma and were told to shield at home for at least 12 weeks. Not allowed out for any reason except medical treatment. I immediately felt like I was shut in a small box because walking in the woods next to my house is my anxiety therapy.

This was the picture I had taken that morning…

It was 15 weeks before I returned to the woods.

Life then became about virtual queues for food shopping, very occasional trips out for my husband – with the manic decontamination that followed- and trying not to panic..

It was hard, thousands of people were falling victim to this insidious virus and there didn’t seem to be much of an idea how to treat it. It also became clear that being as overweight as I was, led to poorer outcomes if you were one of those that ended up in ICU. Every day brought a horrifying toll of deaths.

I decided that now was the time to lose some weight and I started to exercise with some DVDs from Jessica Smith…

Simple, low impact and based on walking, I started with 15 minute ones and gradually worked up to more. Did it make my pain and fatigue worse – you betcha! but the fear of death was one hell of a motivation. It also sweated away a lot of the anxiety that was ever present.

We started to clap every Thursday night at 8pm, I went to the front door to clap with my neighbours and to draw strength from their smiles and waves, and the occasional laugh most notably when my next door neighbours child escaped carrying his saucepan that he had been banging, and was hotly pursued by his sister and then his mum! most weeks ended with a few tears, frustrated by being kept indoors and so desperately worried for frontline staff and the ever increasing death toll.

I spent loads of time in the garden

Mostly with the dogs, here is Milo! but sometimes just to sit and breathe and look at the sky- the weather has been for the most part amazing – and to count my lucky stars that we have a garden, it has been the first time that I have become aware of what an immense privilege a garden is.

I sat and cried a few times as well, mostly for the dead but also for my shielding colleagues stuck in flats and tower blocks,I can’t imagine what that has been like 🙁

Hubby has set up his outpost of the Home Office and has worked all day, everyday since the lockdown- contrary to some of the media reports!

I worked as well, my fabulous customers, old and new kept me super busy, in difficult times I have never felt so grateful to them, here’s some of my lockdown lovelies…

Sadly, I also made these……

These hearts went to our ICU unit, one for the person who was sadly leaving us and one to be sent to their relatives, with a card from the angels that are our nurses.

Whats happening now? well I’m allowed out – hooray!- but still advised to avoid crowded spaces. Numbers of infections has decreased- with sporadic local flare ups-, as have deaths, and we are living an uneasy life alongside the virus. I walk in our woods most days and a little of the peace that this brings has returned.

Life moves on and I have a new sense of urgency and focus, we literally do not know what the next year will bring, so….

Ive also made a big business decision, finally, this will be the year that you are able to buy a crochet kit from me! there will be this bauble …

and also a polar bear bauble!

All the details on progress and more will be in next weeks blog, I just needed to address these horrific few months first before being my usual bright and breezy self!

So, i’ll see you next week, stay safe and big hugs to anyone touched by this virus and my eternal gratitude if you are any kind of frontline worker, including the amazing delivery drivers, postal workers, and anyone who works for Amazon and Hermes! without you I wouldn’t have been able to continue trading!

kisses

Karen

Happy New year!!

Good morning! I thought I would pop in and wish you Happy New year! has 2017 been a happy year for you? the truth is that years contain everything, the highs and the lows, the ecstatic moments and the absolutely awful ones.

My year has been pretty much brilliant, my little business has gone from strength to strength. I have made friends and gathered more customers and we have had a blast.

I am sure you know that I am a huge fan of the mother of all drag artists RuPaul not only for his artistry but for his common sense advice – my favourite of which is that we should all find our tribe- the people with which we share values and goals and opinions. I am so lucky as I have most definitely found mine and they rock!!

It has not been a year without sadness, family members still facing health problems and my own health being a challenge have presented their all too familiar problems.

The loss of a little boy in our community and the continuing illness of a friends child make me angry and frustrated at the wickedness that is cancer.

I have just filed my tax return and I have increased my turnover by 56%. I couldn’t be prouder or more grateful for the support you all give me. I have huge plans for next year and hope that I can get out to fairs more often to see more of you in person.

This coming year will be a challenge for the Uk as a whole, I don’t think Brexit has worked out whichever way you voted. That is going to present its own set of a problems and it is in this atmosphere that we see the rise of extremism of every shape and colour. I hope that we can respect each other and resist the more hateful ideologies that are springing up.

So, in closing, my wish for us all is this – I think its a Buddhist prayer and I apologise if I have it wrong-

May you be safe

May you be happy

May you be free from harm

oh and may you find your tribe and love them as much as I love mine.

Kisses

Karen

and a big lick from these nutters xxx

 

A Tiny Japanese Lesson, Bargains And Themes – They -Are A -Changing!

Its October! woohoo! its nearly my birthday!! I shall be 54 which actually seems quite old- good job I am still around 8 in my head! I have been super busy since we last spoke, with all of this!

So, lets kick off with our Japanese lesson! We are huge fans of Japanese culture in our house, we love sushi,cherry blossom and hello kitty! its this fascination thats helped me find my style- lets look at the words you will see if you follow me on Instagram!

 

Amigurumi (編みぐるみ, lit. crocheted or knitted stuffed toy) is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures. The word is a portmanteau of the Japanese words ami, meaningcrocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll.

So you can see everything I make is an amigurumi, but theres another two aspects to my designs, first kawaii which means as an adjective….

Kawaii (in the context of Japanese popular culture) cute.
“she paints elephants that are extremely kawaii”
and as a noun,the quality of being cute, or items that are cute.
“even in a cosmopolitan city like Tokyo, kawaii is everywhere”
So cute like these……..
Finally there is the Chibi element, Chibi can be seen as an insult if you say it to a person as it mean short, very little etc. However, in the world of Japanese comics Chibi means drawing a person or animal shorter then normal, with an oversized head and shortened limbs, to appear more child or baby like…..
Roll all three together and you get these….
Cute little critters!!!
Now onto some of the other changes that have happened at WDS towers! First off and in the interests of full disclosure, I am now linked to two affiliate schemes- what does that mean?
Well, if you scroll right to the bottom of your page you will see a link to buy a Mollie Makes subscription and a link to a fantastic paper craft shop called Craft Stash. These links in very different ways will generate income for me if you click and purchase from them.
Now I will NEVER recommend a site that I do not believe in 100%, I have been a subscriber to Mollie Makes since it began and have frequently used their projects on this blog….

Craft Stash is an amazing paper crafting store with everything from card making, dies, stamps, to planners and journalling ( and you all know how much I love a planner). I will post a link to their special offers when I think its something you will love, and here is an offer you will definitely love!

Grab a Christmas Bargain At CraftStash! Up to 70% off dies , stamps & accessories!!

Last but not least I will be changing the appearance of the blog before I see you again to make it easier to find links and adverts and so they don’t interfere with content.

Right, I am off to finish a lovely Christmas make, off you pop and be awesome and I will see you here on the 15th!!!

Kisses

Karen xx

 

Happy New Year!

Hello my loves! hows everybody head? I’ll try and keep it quiet 🙂 Here we are with a whole New Year, a slate wiped clean, 365 days of potential, 52 weeks to get all manner of things done……

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or not.

We all know how easy it is to let life interfere with…well life, the one we want, the thinner, fitter, trendier, more successful life that we all dream of.

So Mrs know it all ( I hear you say) what can we do? I can only share one pearl of wisdom with you- plan, plan and plan again! get yourself a really lovely planner or notebook, there’s this one………

This pink Kikki K one is my hub for all things business related, I put my work schedule – what I am making on a week to week basis in there, I also jot down patterns and ideas and list materials, knowledge and tools that I need to get to make those ideas happen.

And this one………

This Daily Greatness journal is arguably the most powerful, its the one that makes you list things you are grateful for or the mindset that I want to channel for the day, it effortlessly lets you focus on being open to new things. It also allows you to set goals weekly, quarterly and for the year. Its expensive so I bought mine on Ebay!, here is

If you need any help with a positive mindset, why not channel this oldie but goldie from Nadiya Hussain from the Great British Bake Off…….

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Does all this positive thinking and endless planning work? yes it does, but it’s not all pretty planners and positive thoughts. It’s sometimes about just keeping going, keep picking yourself up, keep trying to eat better, exercise more and make that business idea a reality. It’s perseverance and slog that gets the job done.

I shall be slogging away with you, even though last year was the most successful I have had, I shall be striving for more.

The materials I use will be upgraded……

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There will definitely be more sparkle!

Every single item will be of my own design……

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and each design will be refined, this bunny will be getting a backpack, big enough to hold some Easter chocolate!

I will start the process to ensure that all my makes can carry the child safety mark…..fullsizeoutput_4d4

This unicorn will be one of those both redesigned and tested for safety.

On a less serious note I will keep dreaming………

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Because mostly every plan starts with a dream!

All that is left is to wish each and every one of you a 2018 full of love, health and happiness.

Kisses

Karen

Ps if you want to keep up to date on the daily goings on at While Darcey Sleeps HQ pop over to http://www.Facebook.com/whiledarceysleeps, there is also a handy shop now button that takes you through to my shop ( you can also commission a portrait through it!)

 

 

 

 

 

Holy Hair Bow Batman! We Are Open!

Surprise!! its me! How are you? have you missed me? I have definitely missed youbut before  I bring you some exciting news I need to say a something about the series of horrendous events that have beset the UK over the last few weeks.

Firstly lets deal with the terrorists, and by that I mean the perpetrators of the Manchester arena attack, the Westminster attack, the London Bridge attack and the Finsbury Park mosque attack, the last attack being perpetrated by a white man who wanted to kill muslims. Why do I make that distinction? because terror is not owned by Jihadis – if you take actions to harm or kill someone based on your beliefs you are a terrorist. You also will not succeed, humanity will prevail because 98% of us are amazing.

Finally the horror that is Grenfell Tower, I just can’t find a appropriate word to describe my anger at the way successive governments have failed the occupants of that coffin in the sky,research continues into its cause but what was clear is our hanging by a thread Prime Minister failed. She failed to go and speak to people, she failed to allow them to vent their anger and their sadness. Who went to the tower? our 91 year old Queen in searing heat and for over an hour- oh and Jeremy Corbyn, the local MP who Teresa May couldn’t even pick up the phone too.

Praise without measure goes to our firefighters, ambulance staff and police officers. Praise also for the community who pulled together regardless of faith, Sikh helping Muslim, Muslim helping Christian. You demonstrated why the terrorists won’t win, because we are always better together.

Now for the good new my Folksy shop is open!! Skip over to http://www.Folksy.com/shops/whiledarceysleeps and take a peek! there is practically nothing in there at the moment but I am listing like a mad thing! Too tired to click the link here is whats in there at the moment….

and it will not be just bows, there will be dressing up masks, sleep masks, keyring and probably a lot of unicorn related stuff!!

I will let you crack on with your day now, behave your selves and I will see you soon.

Kisses

Karen xxx

 

From Titans To Trash – I Love Them All!

Morning kitty cats! I expect that very soon there will be thousands of english lit. students cramming facts on this years set books. To me this force feeding of literature is the opposite of what reading should be. We should meander through books, changing subjects according to mood and how much attention we can give to reading in that moment.

Let me illustrate with a wander of the titles on my Kindle:

First and definitely in the titan category………..

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This is a stunningly written, decadent tale of a couple whose fragile marriage is kept afloat by their reckless spending. Rich with the kind of detail that creates the most wonderful images in your head, I can’t wait for it to be turned into a Baz Luhrmann film like the Great Gatsby ( and if you haven’t seen it you are excused to go and watch it).

Next a really modern tale that will make you look at your iPhone differently………

225x225bb This is a subtle, threatening book about a girl that lands her dream job with a tech company that has designs on managing every aspect of your life and I mean every aspect…. Soon to be released as a film with Emma Watson watch out for the shock ending.

I also occasionally feel the need to understand an issue better, this is why I downloaded this…

 

Radical, by Maajid Nawaz, this is a true story, brutally honest account of how an ordinary english boy joined a radical islamist group. He also details how he came out the other side, in these troubled times I felt like I needed to understand the process of radicalisation better and this book really does give you an insight.

Sometimes great literature can be as easy to read as a gossip column……

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L’assommoir by Emile Zola is just such a book, based around the cheap liqour bars that bear this name (it means to stun or knock out in french). The heroine Gervaise struggles her way out of poverty to open a laundry shop, only to see all her efforts gradually wasted by her alcoholic husband. The characters are so vivid you quickly become Team Gervaise and try and will her to succeed.

Finally, a book that I haven’t finished…….

HighRise(1stEd)

High rise by JG Balllard, I downloaded this as I saw a trailer for the film but couldn’t stay up to watch it. So far it has been fascinating, set in a luxury tower block, it chronicles the residents descent into anarchy. I am half way through and can’t imagine how it will end!

And just in case you think I only read serious books I have a number of these…

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Fun and full of desciptions of amazing shopping trips, they are made for me!

I am taking next week off as I have a big craft fair to prepare for, I’m attending the Paper Daisy Events Easter Boutique Market at the Bright helm Centre In Brighton. Please pop along and say hello if you are local.

I will return the week after with Tricky Trends and How To Wear Them!

Kisses

Karen xxxxxx

 

I Have Become Comfortably Numb!

I hope you understand that the body of this blog was written before the events in London and it is humorous in tone, therefore I have inserted my thoughts on those events  above it.

Here we are again, back in the middle of a senseless act of terrorism. This time on the streets of the city that I worked in for many years and still like to visit. I had to contact my husband who frequently works near by to seek reassurance that he and his colleagues were safe.

I have no words that will make any sense of the murder of both civilians and one brave police officer that literally stood in the path of a mad man.

What can we do? nothing except carry on and refuse to let those that are filled with hate change our minds on anything.

We must support our police officers and those of the ambulance and fire service who have to walk into scenes such as those.

We must continue to demonstrate that only love wins.

Morning my little pains au chocolat! it has been a bit of a week here at WDS towers, I have had two visits to  the medical profession in the last two weeks and they were equally challenging! Visit one confirmed that the numbness that I have been experiencing is as a result of damage in my neck and has limited treatment options…….

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Visit two confirmed a laundry list of diagnoses also with- yes you’ve guessed it – limited treatment options….

So whats a girl to do? I tell you what girls do – we go and run the world thats what! or if you are me you did this…….

I ate a considerable amount of chocolate……

I designed and made this…..

I have a craft fair booked with the amazing Paper Daisy Events who do marvellous publicity for their artists , so I went and looked at my entry……

I walked these morons…….

They really are morons Milo won’t climb the stairs at my mums and uses the stair lift!

( check out my Facebook page for the video)

And I did all the grown up things like taxing the car and networking and just flipping got on with it because thats what girls do!

Kisses

Karen

xxx

Onward And Upward!

Well good morning to you! I am afraid dear reader that things at While Darcey Sleeps towers are in disarray! I’ve been suffering with some numbness in my hands which I have just found out will only be partially treated by some physio.

I’m sure you can imagine that hasn’t put me in the best mindset for writing a cheery blog! However it has put me in the mood to look back at my achievements and the posts on this blog, this will be more than enough motivation to help me keep going. here are some of the important  bits from the past year…….

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

We spent a lot of time in Chinatown, mostly eating and buying cute stuff.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

I spent a lot of amazing time with the management board of my company.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

We were often tempted by the lovely shops in London!

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The management board conducted a lot of research into bluebells!

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I painted……..a lot!

And sewed…..a lot!

I marvelled at the strength of the human spirit.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

I protested (just a little bit).

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I laughed and cried when Bob won.

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and I stopped doing that!

But best of all I spent time with you guys and I am lifted every time I see how many of you visit my corner of cyber space.

So, Monday afternoon I have an emergency rheumatologist appointment after which I will be pulling my socks up, stiffening my lip and as Beyonce says “getting back to business”, and a proper blog post will be yours next week.

Kisses

Karen xx

 

 

Love Is?

Morning petals! I was just packing away my Valentines card and it set me to thinking how lucky I was to have such a great gift from my husband. The gift wasn’t particularly expensive but it was chosen with careful thought and a whole treasure hunt set up to find it……………


I applied a magical filter to these photos because it felt so magical to me! As an Alice in Wonderland nut it couldn’t have been more perfect. The gift?……..


A bottle of love potion tea from the tea wizards at Bluebird tea in Brighton, this black tea tastes like a dark chocolate rose cream. Next to it a jar of Valentines fudge from Brighton too, full of strawberry it was delicious!

What did I do for this lovely man? Hmmm… I really thought I had nailed Valentines with this comic themed card…..


Pretty cool right? The gift was not so inspired, a comic that he had chosen himself. This is where we get to the point of this weeks post, what does love look like the other 364 days of the year? What do we do for each other that still says I love you and I care? That lovely husband bought these home on Saturday when I was being tortured by arthritis……….


And this morning before 8, I made sushi and packed this bento box…..

Because when it come to love the devil really is in the details, its not found in the grand gestures or the expensive gifts, it is the small considerations often when you least feel like it, that show you care.

I expect you have heard this at weddings “love is patient, love is kind etc,etc ” well actually a lot of the time love is shouty, love is moody and other things unrepeatable here. It is at those moments where we need to dig deep and demonstrate our love.

So in the words of a lot of chat show hosts – be kind to one another, and next week I am hoping to have a great DIY for you.

Kisses

Karen xxxx