I've started reading Radical Homemakers after it was suggested in the blog comments some time back (thank you!)

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I'm about half way through the book. It seems to be aimed at middle-class Americans, and being neither American nor middle-class it's raised a few questions for me, which I'm still pondering.... I'm wondering whether such a book would/could be written about New Travellers and other outsider communities across Europe from the same perspective?

That aside, there's much of it that resonates. We're already living the lifestyle that the book describes - although we don't grow all our own food (we don't have the space) or make all our own clothes (we don't have the time; we're busy making everything else) we're not part of the consumerism cycle; we've already left the rat race, as they say. We're building our own home, living within our means, on a low income with good budget skills. We recycle and reuse and make the most of the skills and resources we have to hand.

There was something though that I read last night that niggled inside my brain and got me thinking about my own situation, as the sole wage earner and the responsibility that it brings.

Before the Yard came under threat with the demolition order, I was much less stressed about work; about earning enough. Having to fight that fight put me into emergency mode - had the outcome been very different we could've lost everything and had to pay for that privilege, and knowing that was an option from the offset we needed to have money in the bank just in case. Aran falling seriously ill compounded that, and I'm still in fight or flight mode, these few years on (as Tom reminded me, I don't have a stop button). I'm aware that it's doing me harm.

And so I've been thinking again about what I can do to help myself, to shift my perspective.

Our little safety net in the bank needs to stay; folks who live like we do don't have the securities or protections that others have - we would never get home insurance, for instance. There's no permanency, no guarantees - which is exactly how we want it - but that does mean we need to be prepared. And we're better prepared now than we've ever been.

Its not all been bad - we learnt to seriously budget to be able to save on the little we had coming in.  We've got our monthly pocket money system in place which helps us spend way way less and helps us appreciate what we buy even more. In many ways we're that much richer for being poorer and facing those very difficult situations.

And I know I need to relax some but it's not been easy. Part of me still resents being put under that much pressure to keep my family housed fed and clothes solo throughout all of this. But I've also come to learn that some of that pressure is coming from me.

We've only ever had one holiday as a family, when we went to Portugal before Aran was ill, before life did it's thing. We tried to book something last year when the budget looked healthy for the first time in a long time but we didn't quite manage it.

I've been sat here this morning looking at flights to India. Tom would rather we all went to Thailand. And what's happening (slowly) is that I'm acknowledging that we can plan to spend some of our savings and have ourselves some great family experiences knowing that we have a safety net in place. Trying to put it into practice will no doubt be another hurdle, but I'm starting to loosen up. I'm starting to worry less and break away from the trap that is money.

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead
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Back in October my GP prescribed Amitriptyline for my frozen shoulder. The freeze was so severe; cortisone injections proved useless and the only thing that made a dent in the pain was the TENS machine. But even with that on 24/7 I wasn't sleeping properly and it didn't seem ideal to continually wear the machine, especially at night.

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At the time I didn't care about the potential side effects - I was sleeping for the first time in over 6 months and the pain was manageable.  

Fast forward 8 months and I do care about the side effects. Even though the dose is too low to have any antidepressant properties, it still carries all the usual side effects. I got seriously fed up with being so groggy in the mornings, and not being able to fit into my clothes. And so at the end of April I came off the pills.

The pain in my shoulder is a lot less - I'm well and truly into the thawing stage and have gained some range of movement back. And I've gone from getting 10 solid hours of sleep to about 3 to 5 hours (which is pretty standard when I'm going through an insomniac phase) .

The lack of sleep is familiar ground but it's tough - any chronic insomniac can tell you of the toll it takes on day to day living. And like any chronic insomniac I've tried just about everything to get a normal sleeping routine back, with very little success.

I've often tried relaxation or hypnotherapy MP3s but  while they may help you get to sleep, they don't help you stay asleep. Recently though I discovered an app which actually does kinda work. Not every night; I only have to have a couple of glasses of wine and I'm seeing 3am again. But other nights I manage to sleep through until 6 or 7 am, which is bloody marvellous.

It's going to take time adjusting. I'm working on losing the excess weight before my black dog completely takes over (I've always thought it a perverse thing that AD meds have a side effect of weight gain.... it's pretty counterproductive for anyone with self-image issues). I want to be able to relax enough in the evenings without having a glass of wine, which should in turn help my sleep. Pain management is mostly looking after itself (thank you, TENS machine - you were the best discovery ever).

But in the meantime, expect more blog posts or knitting in the wee hours. 

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead
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I'm a little late sending out the newest wholesale catalogue and newsletter, and I thought I'd ask for some feedback on printing options?

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As you'll know, my wholesale is managed through the (wholesale) newsletter and printed by Magcloud. Magcloud have printers on the continent so shipping and turnaround time is pretty reasonable, but being a US based company everything is priced in $$ and given the exchange rate as it is, I know that's a barrier to my UK (and EU?) shops.

And so I'm researching digital printing options in the UK and checking on prices. I don't know what's involved time and cost wise to have the book reformatted from US letter to A4 but I'm willing to look into it if there's enough interest?

To qualify for a wholesale account you don't have to be a shop - you can be an indie dyer or maker of other fibre related goodies. I have no minimum orders either through Magcloud, though if I have a small print run done I may need a 2 or 3 minimum. If you'd like to be added to the wholesale mailing list or would like to know more, drop me an email.

There are a couple of reputable digital printers in the UK and printing costs leave a reasonable margin for wholesale, but I'm not keen to hold printed stock hence I used Magcloud, as they drop ship and have a store front, which the others don't.

Please do let me know if you're interested - leave a comment or send me an email if that's easier. And hopefully I won't be too tardy with the next wholesale newsletter! 

(I'm blogging from my phone and I can't add hyperlinks - find the email contact form from the drop down menu above :) 

ps/ this is in the queue for translation into German! I'm looking forward to launching wholesale for the translated patterns towards the end of the summer. 

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead

Is up for sale. We suspect it's the premises, not the business, that's selling and in turn we suspect that means the closure of the shop.

 

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This is where I come for buttons and other haberdashery bits and pieces when I'm in Santarcangelo. The yarn they stock is from two Italian brands only, and in this way it reminds me of the yarn shop that was local to me when I was growing - not that they sold Italian yarn, but that their range was limited to more traditional, big mill yarns. 

 

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Inside it's an Aladdin's cave, as many older yarn shops are. So many things to spy and look at, although at the same time it means you have to ask for things rather than pick them off the shelf, which is something I still struggle with. 


  She has an amazing selection of buttons and threads and I'm planning to stock up on decent sewing threads in the next couple of weeks, assuming I'm not too late.  

 

She has an amazing selection of buttons and threads and I'm planning to stock up on decent sewing threads in the next couple of weeks, assuming I'm not too late.

 

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I'd like to think that whoever buys the shop keeps it as a yarn shop, but it seems highly unlikely. I'll miss this place. 

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead

It's a thunderstorm kinda day. And that also means it's a power cut kinda day. The lightening tripped the power 3 times within 40 mins or so of waking, and in no time at all the garden looked like this:

 

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Our plot is at the lower end of the Yard, and so all the water comes rushing down to us and we flood almost straight away. This is after an hour's worth of rain -  I'm not sure we'll still see the raised paths if it carries on as expected! (this is why we have raised paths...)

The storm, well the thunder, has been making the bus shake as the sound waves hit. Even with the lightning further away now, we can still feel as well as hear the thunder. 

Thankfully my studio trailer is the same side of the plot as the bus and I should be able to make those few yards without getting too wet. Not sure the power will stay on long enough to put on a few lights and power up the monitors, though. 

My studio trailer, when I had the vintage caravan, used to be the other side of the plot. Can you imagine the fun I had trying to get to work on those rainy days? 

And yeah, the bathroom is outside too. In fact it's a further walk than my studio but thankfully it's this side of that giant puddle. 

(why yes, that's our daft cat outside in the storm. She loves the storms themselves - all the wind and thunder - but hates the rain. Thankfully she came to her senses and followed me back into the bus) 

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead
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