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Quarantine Week ? – Back on track

Hi there,

It’s finally feeling like summer out there. I had to put on my air conditioner for the past few weeks. It can be a little loud so I don’t like it on all the time. The sound of moving air and water is always disproportionately loud to me. The equalizer in my brain needs an adjustment, lol.

I can also tell it’s summer because my allergies have kicked up. Something is blooming somewhere nearby and my nose doesn’t like it. Luckily the stuffy nose hasn’t affected my balance like it has other times. Although I do notice I am a little less steady on my feet. I’ll just have to monitor that one.

My weight seems to have somewhat stabilized at 10-15 lbs heavier than I was before this started. My stress eating has gone down lately somewhat so that is good. I am really feeling the extra weight though. It’s getting harder to get up from being on the floor and I think it is zapping my energy a bit.

I rejoined Weight Watchers to help deal with the weight. It’s been a month and I am down almost 5 lbs. I have been really focusing on filling half my plate with fruit and vegetables to help lower the calorie density of my meals and keep me full.

I’ve been doing a different breakfast lately, soy yogurt with fruit and a little muesli. I have been making the soy yogurt in my Instant Pot. Here is my method for those that are curious:

  • Start with a soy milk with very little additives, I use the Natura Unsweetened in the shelf stable box, not he refrigerated one. This soy milk thickens up very nicely
  • Use a yogurt culture. I have been using the Cultures for Health Vegan Yogurt one, but I bought the Yogourmet one for after this runs out because it is less expensive
  • To make the yogurt
    • Take clean 1 cup mason jars, and fill them with the soy milk. You should be able to fill 4 jars with a box of soy milk
    • Open the starter pack and sprinkle a roughly equal amount of starter on all 4 jars of milk. It doesn’t have to be exact as long as it is close to equal. I usually sprinkle a small amount at a time and keep changing which one I sprinkle on.
    • Close the jars and give them a shake to distribute the starter.
    • Put 1 cup of water in the instant pot and put the jars in on the steamer rack
    • Set the Instant Pot to the yogurt setting. I find 9 hours is usually good. I have done this either overnight or early in the morning.
    • Once the Instant Pot is finished, take the jars out and let them sit on the counter for an hour or two to get to room temperature
    • Refrigerate for another hour or two
    • Congratulations, you have yogurt.

In sewing news, I actually completed a sewing project. It’s a tiered maxi skirt from Ottobre magazine. It is very comfy and flows beautifully. I was worried about it not fitting me because of the weight gain but it actually fits very well. My measurements must not have changed too much then. Unfortunately the skirt didn’t last and it has developed a hole in the middle. I am going to salvage as much as I can from it. At least save the zipper and the button, perhaps I can use the fabric as lining for something else.

I also made 2 different tops.

This one was from My Image magazine. I wasn’t fond of how the sleeves turned out. The dolman sleeves don’t really work for me, I don’t like the extra fabric at the underarms. But other than that I think I did a good job with the sewing.

And this tank top from the April 2020 issue of Burdastyle. This one has a neat twist at the shoulders and is super comfy. I actually graded this up to a 44, the original pattern only went to a 42, and I also lengthened by 2″. Because the fabric is quite stretchy I probably didn’t need to grade up in hind sight, but it was my first time grading a patter and I think it turned out well.

In knitting news I have been knitting up a storm. I finished those bright green socks from last time. Unfortunately the yarn I chose is not good for socks. A cotton/acrylic blend just doesn’t have enough stretch recovery to work as socks. I cast on another pair of socks in a yarn that’s actually advertised as sock yarn and it has a lot more stretch. So lesson learned I guess.

I also started crocheting a lacy robe. It’s going to be taking a while there are a lot of rows to get through. but it will be pretty once it’s done.

I also cast on the Primaveral cowl. It is really chunky and probably too warm for the weather right now but it will be nice and cozy for spring and fall. Another project is the Silverstar Scarfette. I am getting close the ruffle edging on that one.

Also with the recent news lately about Black Lives Matter, I have been thinking a lot about my personal biases. I have been trying to fill my feeds with more BIPOC voices and perspectives and have been listening. I get anxious in crowds so I haven’t been to a protest but I am with them in spirit. I also think it’s important to think about the intersectionality of being a BIPOC and being a woman and/or being disabled and/or being a GSM (Gender and Sexual Minority) , and how those people have even more issues to worry about. I am listening and reflecting.

Black Lives Matter, TTYL

knitting

I survived

Hi there,

So I caught the coronavirus last week and I survived. I am thanking my luck and my youth that it was a relatively mild case and that it didn’t hit my lungs really at all. I couldn’t get a test but I am pretty sure it was COVID-19 because I had a rash and a fever and there are not many rash/fever combos out there that are not Chicken Pox and I already had that. It was also pretty brutal. Anyone saying this is just like the flu and not that serious doesn’t have any idea. It wiped me out pretty hard and I had a MILD case with no respiratory symptoms. Practice social distancing and stay safe out there. I am still under quarantine until next weekend so hopefully, I don’t go too stir crazy being locked in my apartment.

In other news, I picked up my knitting and crochet again instead of sewing. I have been finding it more relaxing and easier to pass the time while being locked inside. There is a meditative aspect and it’s something where I can check my mind and focus on the repetitiveness of the movement. As much as I love sewing it is a very active process and I need something where I don’t have to think too hard right now. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is real, I just don’t have the mental space to think out a sewing pattern.

So what have I been working on?

I picked up my Hue Shift Afghan again. I got it as a Christmas gift a long while ago. It is such an easy knit with garter stitch mitred squares. I do love modular knits because in an hour you can complete a section and you feel so accomplished.

I finished my Pioneer Gloves in Knit Picks Comfy fingering in Lilac. I had started them a year ago and finally got to finishing them 2 weeks ago.

Next I did some dishcloths:

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This is the candleberry dishcloth in Knit Picks Shine Sport in Grapefruit. This one was an interesting knit because it is done from the centre outwards. It has a slightly tricky lace pattern with nupps. Nupps and I have never gotten along well.

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Next up a beaded rib dishcloth in Knit Picks Dishie in Honeydew, can you tell I am a knit picks fan… This was an easy knit and purl pattern that once you got in the rhythm knit up fairly quickly. I actually got almost finished with this pattern when I decided my needles were too big, went down a size and finished the dishcloth again. My gauge likes 4.5mm needles with this yarn for knit and purl patterns.

I also started a pair of socks.

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This is the Vanilla Latte socks in Comfy Fingering in Peapod. I forgot how much I love sock knitting. I did three speed sock knitting competitions when I was in University. When I went vegan and decided to no longer use animal fibres in knitting I thought sock knitting was out of the picture forever. Lately, I have been finding many awesome sock weight yarns that are also vegan and I am starting to experiment with those. This sock is a cotton acrylic blend so it should still be breathable, sturdy and stretchy enough to stay up. I figured this rib pattern with also help keep the socks having a good recovery. I started the socks on Wednesday and I am halfway down the foot of the sock at the end of Sunday. Nowhere near my personal record of 1 pair of socks in 24 hours, but honestly that is probably my limit and my wrists won’t like me for it.

For crochet, I finished up one project and did one from start to finish. I did the Yes Yes Shawl in a cotton bamboo blend yarn from King Cole. I started this one almost 2 years ago and I was only a couple rows from being done.

My other project was the Tiffany Scarf in Knit Picks Lindy Chain in Honey. This was such a cute scarf but just not my colour. I am hoping to gift this to someone else.

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Well, I had a lot to say today.

TTYL

 

Sewing · Weight Loss

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Hi there,

It’s been a whirlwind of a month.

As of today, I have a new job, my company was bought out by Morningstar and we are all moving over there. It’s super exciting but it is a big change. I will have to learn about all the new systems and meet some new people. Other than that it’s still the same product we are working on so at least that doesn’t change.

The other big change is, of course, the pandemic. It’s the end of week 3 WFH and oh man it’s tough. I like working from home on occasion but doing it for weeks on end is hard. I am very fortunate in that my job can function pretty much as normal in this situation. I really feel for all the people who have lost their employment in these trying times.

Because I have been under so much stress my eating plan has kinda gone out the window. I have been binging and I feel awful about it. I know emotional eating is normal at a time like this but it feels like false comfort. I know my weight is up and I just don’t want to think about it.

In sewing, I have got 2 things done at the beginning of the pandemic.

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This Burdastyle top from the March 2020 issue. It’s really fun.

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Also a Blackwood cardigan from Helen’s Closet. Such a comfy sweater, really snuggly.

Right now I am working on a skirt from the most recent issue of Ottobre. I’ve been doing a lot of hand sewing on that. On all the gathered tiers I am hand felling the seam so it’s taking some time. It’s been hard to work up the energy to sew with all this stress, today I am going to sew up some masks with my Mom.

Stay safe everyone.

TTYL

Sewing · Weight Loss

Turning the corner

Hi There,

I am posting and a year hasn’t passed. This is a victory.

So what is going on? I have come to the point where I am not wiped with caffeine withdrawal. I finally feel awake again, which is great. Now that I am more awake I can stick to my meal plans too so I am down a bit on the scales. I remeasured my full bust for making a bralette this weekend and I am down another size there. So things are going good.

In sewing, I made some PJ pants.

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Unicorns and rainbows, no I am not 12. This fabric is so soft, I got it from Club Tissus. I will definitely buy more fabric from them. The quality is so much better than Fabricland.

As I said I have a bralette on the sewing table. img_0122

This is a double brushed poly-spandex I got from Water Tower Textiles. I’ve never made a bralette before so hopefully, it turns out nice. The instructions look ok so it shouldn’t be too bad. I have enough fabric left to make some matching undies so I can have a matching set!

Anyhow, that is all for now.

TTYL

Sewing · Weight Loss

It’s been a while…

Hi there,

It’s been a while since I posted. About a year when I look at my post history. So what has happened in that year?

Work was a blur for the entire year. We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and things should settle down a bit. The product launch is behind us and now it’s back to the usual grind. With the pile of work stress, I wasn’t able to do much else in my life. Only so many spoons as we say.

In sewing, I did get some things made. Looking at my review history on sewing.patternreview.com (I review all my makes under user @Cyphgirl) I made mostly basics and gifts.

Some highlights were this tank top, I did french seaming and ended up adding the lace trim, I thought it turned out really cool. I didn’t grab any pictures though, so imagine it in a floral on black rayon voile with black wide lace at the bottom. I also made this grocery bag, actually, I made 2 one each for me and my mom.

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This was one of them. It looks like a cute little strawberry all folded up, I love it. I have more fabric for some blue ones. It’s so handy to have in my purse when I need a quick bag instead of getting a plastic one from the store.

I also made jeans. It’s my first successful pair. My first pair was from when I was about 14 in sewing class in high school. I kinda cheated my measurements and it was the super low rise style that was popular at the time. I could never get them over my tush. It was bad. I don’t have pictures of these ones, but I have more denim in my stash so I will be making another pair, maybe not the same pattern. I want to try my hand at non-stretch jeans.

Another highlight is that I made a winter coat that was fully lined. My first jacket/coat with a lining.

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It’s nice and warm and I have gotten so many compliments from even complete strangers. My only complaint with it is the fabric has a tendency to pill, but it is slightly fuzzy so that is inevitable. I’ll have to get a de-pilling brush and correct that.

In other news, I have changed up the diet again. With work stress, I ended up ordering a lot of takeouts and ended up gaining weight again until about November. In November I was doing Weight Watchers for a bit. Their purple plan is very vegan-friendly and I was having good success. I was noticing that I was going back to an old way of eating for me that was very successful. When I was eating that way I was at the lowest weight of my adult life. That is Whole Food Plant-Based, low oil. Given that I decided to stop paying the 20+ dollars a month for WW and just go back to that style of eating again. At the very least WW got me to pay attention again.

I have been using the Daily Dozen app from Dr Greger to make sure I get my nutrition in. I read his book How not to diet and it really spoke to me. It reset my focus on how to do this. Using the app has really helped me focus on the important bits. I am really working on making sure I get all those fruit and veggie servings in. When I do that I don’t really have a lot of room for much else so that helps, and I know I am getting the nutrition I need. So far I am down a little bit. Since I started again in November I am down about 8 lbs depending on the day, which is not bad.

Another thing I did that was big was I switched from coffee to tea. I was drinking about 2-3 cups of coffee a day. I switched that over to a mix of black and green tea throughout the day. Tomorrow is the beginning of week 3 without coffee. The withdrawal has been rough, it’s getting easier now though. I think I finally turned a corner on that. I am still trying to settle in on a favourite tea. I have so many I like it’s been nice having the variety. I usually had the same coffee every morning so the variety is also nice. Sometimes there are too many decisions for first thing in the morning though, it’s a trade-off.

TTYL

Sewing · Weight Loss

Latest Sewing Projects

Hi there,

It’s been about a month and it’s time for another update.

I was sick for about 2 weeks out of last month. It was pretty brutal but I survived and I am pretty much over it now. Given that my sewing progress was a little slow this month.

At the start I made some PJ pants for my brother for his birthday. They were in a lovely print from Spoonflower. They turned out really well and he is quite happy with them.

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My next sewing project was a hoodie/cardigan for my Mom. The fabric was a lovely heathered sweater knit in a deep blue. The fabric was from Water Tower Textiles. I love the knits at that place. They are always such high quality and at a good price point. Shipping from Canada is always a plus.

This pattern is the Autumn Warmer from Ottobre Designs Fall Women’s issue. It’s my first time using that magazine and I have to say I am impressed. Excellent drafting and thorough instructions. I have another project planned out of that magazine and I am looking forward to making it.

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Last but not least, something for myself. I’ve lost another 2 pounds over the last month and another inch or so from my hips and bust. This puts me into the straight sizes for patterns! I got a subscription to Burdastyle magazine this year. I love all the straight size patterns and the plus size ones are lacking. Now I can finally make one of the regular size patterns!

I made this top out of a fabric I had in my stash. I figured a basic tee was a good pattern to judge my size against their drafting. I found out that Burda actually drafts with a decent amount of ease, so I was able to fit into a size 44 without any alterations! I was so ecstatic that I can do that now. I haven’t been this size in at least 4 years and it feels great.

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From here you can really see that my belly has shrunk. That is where most of the weight loss has been. My dietician has really helped my clean up my diet. I eat more balanced and more reasonable portions than I have in a long while. Each visit I go my body fat percentage is going down and I am gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time. It really is incredible. This is also the most stress free way I have approached losing weight in a long while too. This doesn’t feel obsessive and I feel I can continue this long term.

Anyhow that’s it for now. I didn’t do anymore about the Sew your Kibbe challenge. I just haven’t had the space to think about it right now. Hopefully I can start thinking about that again soon.

TTYL

Sewing · Weight Loss

Sew Your Kibbe Challenge and Life Update

Hi there,

I follow a number of sewing blogs and the Kibbe body types have been all over the blogosphere these days. The Kibbe system has 13 classifications each with a different balance of Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine) influences. Based on the quiz and the pictures of the body types I have determined that I am a Theatrical Romantic. That is a very rounded Yin type with a slight Yang undercurrent.

The general recommendations for a body type like mine can be found at the beginning of this post by Doctor T Designs. At the beginning of this year Doctor T put out the Sew Your Kibbe Challenge. The basic gist of it is to sew garments that fit into your Kibbe type and start constructing a wardrobe based on that.

My main focus will be the following:

  • Waist emphasis, dresses and blouses skim the natural waist curve
  • Feminine details like ruffles, pleats and draping
  • Pants and skirt come in at the bottom instead of flaring out
  • Soft flowing fabrics that have good drape, like rayon challis or jersey
  • Richly textured fabrics, like sweater knits, satin or velvet

I do some of these things already. I usually gravitate towards drapey fabrics over structured ones. I also am a fan of sweater knits. Waist emphasis will be tricky because of my protruding belly, I will have to figure out how to fit the side curve while still accommodating the tummy. I tend to sew flared pants and skirts so that will also be interesting.

So far I have already made one thing that meets some of these criteria. A blouse out of KnipMode which can be found here. The sleeves and the necktie are nice drapey elements and it is fitted around the waist.

This top also marked a victory in my weight loss journey. I sewed this in a size 46 which is the smallest size I have traced out of there, and it is a woven top as well so it is less forgiving. I seem to be losing most of my fat in the belly region so that is very encouraging.

Last I posted I was doing intermittent fasting (IF). I am no longer doing that after meeting with a dietician. Her advice was that this was probably not something I could sustain long-term and after thinking about it she is right. It was getting harder and harder each time. So instead I am not counting calories but watching portion sizes. In particular, only eating the portion size recommended by the recipe and cutting the portion on my rice and pasta in half. So far this has been doing well for me. I haven’t gained back the weight lost from the IF so that is definitely a plus.

I also had a long overdue doctors visit and some bloodwork. I was deficient in iron which could explain some low energy levels. I am now taking an iron supplement with a vitamin C supplement to help with absorption.

In that visit, I also had a recurring problem I was having explained better. I was getting bouts of vertigo, especially in connection to migraines. The vertigo was pretty disabling, I couldn’t even walk much around my 1 bedroom apartment when they happened and that was about once a week. I would feel like the world was spinning and I had a hard time keeping my balance. My doctor suggested I have Meniere’s Disease, which my mother told me runs in my family. Unfortunately, it is just something I have to live with for the rest of my life. There is a medication I am taking that will slow the progression of it significantly, but I might eventually lose my hearing, predominantly in one ear, and continue to have episodes of dizziness. The thought of losing my hearing is saddening, I love music so much and I have my music going through most of the day. I have to see an audiologist to get an opinion on if that’s the diagnosis, but the medication for treating Meniere’s is already working and the manoeuvre for clearing a crystal in my inner ear hasn’t made a difference. I did have one episode recently but I was doing a lot of standing and sitting and that can make it worse.

All that standing and sitting was for putting together my Christmas gift from my parents. A new table shelf combo for my sewing. It works wonderfully and my sewing/office is a lot more functional now. I need a second chair to have at the sewing machine now, my computer chair is a bit of a pain to get over there. I already sewed the aforementioned blouse and I am working on a T-shirt right now.

Whew, that was a lot.

TTYL

Sewing · Weight Loss

My First 29th Birthday

Hi There,

I am halfway through my vacation for my birthday this year. So far so good. I am definitely finding it easier to relax this time around. Work stress settling down a lot helps.

During my vacation, I started my Christmas sewing. For Christmas, I am sewing my family each a garment or a few. I got 1 done on Wednesday, I think I did a pretty good job this time around on the pattern. I was quite proud of my topstitching. Right now I am working on another garment and this one has a collar. This is probably my best collar yet. Both of these patterns I made for them last year so they were already altered and ready to go.

I think it’s time for a weight loss update. Well, I am down 10 lbs. Yay me! Also down a clothing size, 3 inches from my waist and 2 inches from my hips. I went clothing shopping yesterday and it was so nice to be able to choose the smaller size. I am only 1 size away from straight sizes (not plus size).

So far this plan is one I can easily stick with. The fact that I am not dieting every day of the week helps. I only restrict on 2 days out of the week and I have my routine there pretty down pat. I aim for under 500 Cals for the day and that usually means coffee and tea at breakfast and lunch and then soup plus a slice of bread for dinner. Skipping breakfast and lunch keeps my stomach from waking up and making me hungry throughout the day. All other days I eat what I like, and I have found my appetite is actually a little reduced on the non-fast days. I have been tracking the calories in an app and I average about 1430 Calories over the week which is well under the 2000  Calories recommended for maintenance of my size. I may have to throw in another fast day this next week with all the indulging for my birthday. There is still cake to come!

Last week I bought an advent calendar. I’m not religious but the cultural celebration of Christmas is kind of an anchor point in the year so I still celebrate. When I was little my Grandmother would always buy me and my brother an advent calendar with the little chocolates. Since I am vegan now I can’t have those anymore, although I hear there are vegan chocolate ones now, I have never encountered a vegan one myself. I did, however, find 2 that are vegan, one by accident and the other one is labelled. 24 days to love tea calendar from David’s Tea is accidentally vegan. It has 24 bags of tea in there for each day of advent. The other one I found was 24 days of vegan candy from Squish candies. This one has 24 packets of gummy candies that are all vegan. If you didn’t know, gummy candies can be made from either gelatine with is not vegan, or, pectin and cornstarch which is vegan.

TTYL

Sewing · Weight Loss

Hey, I’m Back!

Hi There,

I am back to my blog after a long time away. Did you miss me?

Work has been super crazy and I have been quite stressed trying to get everything done. There are so many tight deadlines and a lot of issues requiring a quick turnaround. It’s been rough but we are finally starting to see the light at the end.

Work has taken so much of my energy that I really didn’t sew a lot. I did make a Blackwood cardigan that looks very nice. I made it in a light sweater knit that is the perfect weight for transitional layering.

I have also gotten back into my makeup. I’ve been enjoying making myself look nicer again. I’ve come a long way from my first forays into makeup with only knowing stage makeup for dance recitals. Red lipsticks and dark eyes, oh man. That and purple/orange/pink/red hair was quite a look I am sure. Those hair colours were not all at once mind you. I have definitely learned how to tone it down.

On the diet front, I am trying something new again. This time it’s the 5:2 diet. That means eating normally for 5 days and fasting for 2 days. A fast is 500 Calories or less in 24h. I’m on my first fast day today so we will see how that goes. I weighed myself today and I am a little down from the last time I weighed myself in December, about 4 pounds. So my weight hasn’t gone up at least, in fact, I have pretty much maintained my weight over a year so that is not bad at all. My measurements are also pretty steady so at least I am not moving in the wrong direction!

We will see how things do coming into the holiday season. For Christmas gifts for the family, I am sewing stuff for them. I got all the fabric and I have washed some of it. All but one are patterns I have made before, and those patterns are even already altered for length so it is literally just cut and sew.

We have a new person starting at work tomorrow so hopefully, he will be quick to get up to speed. He is pretty senior so he should have no troubles. It will be nice to have another pair of hands.

knitting · Sewing · Weight Loss

Weight Loss Progress

Hi there,

So as the title suggests I have made progress in the weight loss front. I measured myself yesterday and I have lost 3 inches from my waist and 1/2 inch from my hips. Amazing!

I noticed it on Monday when a skirt I made around this time last year was almost falling down at work. Luckily my shirt was long that day so there was no inappropriateness.

This is kinda bittersweet because I liked that skirt and I put a fair amount of work into it, but on the other hand, I did want to become slimmer. It’s an interesting dilemma when a large portion of my clothing is me-made but I want to change in a way that it will all no longer fit. I need to keep in mind that this is for my health and wellness and it’s important to keep going with this, but it is quite sad that I have to say goodbye to some favourite pieces.

I guess that just means more sewing in the future. 😀

In other news, last weekend I did a big tidy of my apartment, (much thanks to Mom for helping). I have so much fabric that it is not fitting into the 2 designated shelves for fabric, which means I am not only on a food diet but a fabric diet as well. I have lots in my stash to choose from so it’s not like I’ll be running short anytime soon.

I am very wary about letting my stash get out of control. My late grandmother was notorious for the stash in the basement of her house. The entire basement seemed like one large fabric/yarn pile. It was always so sad because she bought so many nice pieces of fabric and yarn but had nowhere near enough time left in her life to use them all. I just would keep thinking of all the work that went into producing all that material and get very sad for all the workers and farmers that put their time into making it. I want to make sure I honour the people who made the fabric and yarn I buy by actually making it into something and trying not to waste it.

I hope my grandmother is resting peacefully if there was an afterlife I think she would be in one giant yarn/fabric pile where ever that would be. Whenever I craft I feel like I am honouring her memory, even though she wasn’t the easiest person to get on with. In fact, I see a lot of myself in her and gained an understanding of how she was on a personal level. I see a woman who went through a lot of the same psychological struggles I am but didn’t have anywhere near the same supports.

Great, now I made myself cry…

TTYL