Purplegerberas's Blog

A rambling collection of my thoughts about life, my children and crafty things

Baby jelly roll quilt

So another day off work sick so I decided to be productive and do some sewing. My sister in law’s baby is due any day now and I haven’t finished the quilt I promised her.

The last big quilt I made was from a jelly roll and it converted me. It comes together very quickly, much less cutting and faffing and I like the range of fabrics that you get all in one place. I bought this book

and my aim was to make this quilt

I bought a jelly roll and made a start months ago but my heart really hadn’t been in it . The fabric is moda punctuation. I thought it was a bit different but once  I started I’d panicked at who would actually put black fabric in a baby quilt?!

So this was my starting point this morning. I had already done more than I realised so most of the morning was spent pressing and cutting then arranging the blocks. This was not a fun task. I usually make quilts up as as go along and don’t often follow a pattern. At this point I was remembering why. The first row was wrong. I don’t know why and I’m not sure where I had gone wrong. I sat and unpicked the whole lot then had to rearrange the blocks.

So after much muttering and several biscuits I have finished the top

The difference between the dark and light stripes is not as strong as I’d like  (I’d struggled to pick out a good selection) but overall I’m happy. Just need to add a little bit of sashing and the binding. I’m going to wait until the baby is born to decide on which colour to go for.


Beat the Heat – week 4

Weight Wars 

I’ve had a grotty weekend and feeling all doom and gloom but lots of good things have happened so I’m thinking of them and not my tonsilitis!


1.       What have you done this week towards your goals?

1. Achieve a better work/life balance

I’m now settled on dropping my hours and not worrying. Eloise had a trial ballet lesson last week and loved it so I’ve booked her into start those in September and they will be on my day off so it’s all starting to come together. I’d also had problems with my tax credits hanging over me with a very large overpayment being talked about and causing most of my stress. On Saturday I had the final letter relating to it all saying I don’t owe any money, and they owe me so a big relief all round. I think this has helped settle my mind on the money side of things.

2. Get back into reflective journalling

Had a good go at this and its helped me put together my application form for the clinical leadership fellowship. Struggling to get down to the word limit and need to get it sorted and submitted this week.

3. Run once a week

Missed this one again – busy and ill. Same old excuse!

4. Learn to meditate and/or relax


5. Complete 3 things on my DayZero Project

Join the WI has been on my list. I like the idea of the WI but don’t really fit into their typical stereotype. A couple of years ago I rang them and asked for a ‘young’ WI they could recommend. They pointed me in the direction of one which really wasn’t me. Anyway, getting to the point, I’ve heard that there is a new WI being set up in Northampton by a group of people my age, people that I know from my sewing group so I know it will be my cup of tea. I missed the first meeting as we were away so I’m planning on going to the next one.

6. Complete one sewing project (regain my sewing mojo)

No real strides made here but I’ve already rung in sick for tomorrow. The kids are at nursery so I will have the house to myself. Sewing machine will be out and I WILL tackle the quilt for sister in law’s impending baby (still no sign much to her frustration).


2.       What did you do to make yourself feel fabulous?

Cleansed, toned and moisturised and its made a big difference to my skin so I will be sticking to that for the next week. Clearing my rubbish has been stifled as I’ve been ill and really not in the mood. My mum is coming next week so she is acting as a good motivating factor 😉

3.       Do you exercise? What is your favourite kind and why?

Not really. Exercise is not part of my genetic make up (my family will vouch for this inherited trait). The only thing I’ve ever really enjoyed is aquaerobics. You feel like you are working really hard, ache like mad afterwards (I view this as progress) but don’t get out of breath. You also don’t get sweaty. My perfect exercise.

4.       There are loads of fantastic bloggers here in the Beat the Heat competition, which blog or blogs have you discovered through the challenge that you particularly enjoy? Show that person some love!

I’m loving Munchberry at the moment – you’re making me smile! 🙂

5.       Fun Question: What song makes you want to dance at the moment?

My ipod is cluttered with Eloise’s playlist of songs. Some I can handle (Beauty and the Beast theme) some make me want to scream (Dora theme tune) but some are tolerable.  After our holiday in February I spent several days googling the songs that had been at the mini disco each night. This is the current favourite – we all have a good sing and dance and it reminds us of holidays


Right, positive picture time and I’m excited! Got another round of results for my masters today and here are mine –

The blue highlighted bit is me 😀 with 85%. Very very chuffed about that. I didn’t think it was that good so now desperate for the feedback to be emailed to me!


Fabulous on a budget aka photos of shame

I’ve been thinking about the challenge to do something to make yourself feel fabuolous each week. I never really plan it as such and then get to the end of the week and feel like I’ve failed it. I also use the excuse that I’ve run out of money, its the end of the month etc etc. I have decided to try something diffierent this week.

I’ve sat and thought about what bothers me day to day and what I can simply and easily sort and change. I think just resolving a few niggles would make me feel fabulous so here we go with a weeks trial.

My skin is really bad at the moment. I never take time to do any ‘beauty’ routine as such (I haven’t the time!) so this week I will cleanse, tone and moisturise daily to see if it makes any difference.

Our house and its untidiness infuriates me. Flylady makes me feel woefully inadequate but at times I think she rambles sense. I’ve decided to tackle three areas that wind me up on a daily basis. They make my heart sink whenever I see them. I’ve taken photos to a) shame myself b) motivate me to tidy them and keep them clear.

Sideboard in the lounge

My side of the bed (Steven’s is no better – its not just me!)

The ironing basket that never gets emptied and a bag of unfinished craft projects that it attracted


So then, my name is Karen and I have a clutter problem.


I hope to have fabulous progress pictures next week!



10k Photos

The photos for my 10k went online this week and I’m quite pleased with them. I’m running in more photos than walking which is a good reflection. It meant I could say to Steven ‘see, I DID run’ – his ongoing pep talk was that I should never walk, just run until I died. I didn’t find it that helpful!

You can have a look at the full selection here

I also got a free download from the finish line. Its not the most dynamic photo (I’d sprinted the last bit!) but its proof that I finished!





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Beat the Heat – week 3

Weight Wars

1.       What have you done this week to work towards your goals?

I’ve adopted the ethos of slow and steady and pottering along with things rather than screaming in all guns blazing. I think this is working. I’m proud that I’m still here at week 3 and not fed up yet. I even managed to blog on another occasion this week (a rarity!)

1. Achieve a better work/life balance

My change in work hours has been approved. Not entirely comfortable with this for financial reasons. The last 2 months have been a struggle and I’m wondering if I’m mad but have started practical things to reduce costs. Last week at work was good, my diary this week is also the best it has looked in months 🙂 Eloise is off nursery sick today. I contacted my manager and asked for annual leave as I would usually do. She has given me the day as paid carers leave so I’m feeling that’s a good example of a good work/life balance today.

2. Get back into reflective journalling

I’ve found my journal that I started last year and got the book out of the library that inspired me last time. I’ve decided to apply for the clinical leadership fellowship so will use reflection to help put together the application. There’s a fair amount of things to consider when putting in the supporting statement so I think putting it on paper and working through it will be a helpful experience.

3. Run once a week

Not been this week – lol. The kids have been ill and the weather has been very grim this weekend. Have barely left the house!

4. Learn to meditate and/or relax

I went to the library and got a great book

Its very basic and simple but very practical and easy to use. There are loads of quick things in there that I feel I can easily use so will put some of them into practice this week.

5. Complete 3 things on my DayZero Project

Finally got Eloise an alphabet poster for her bedroom. I’ve had a sort out of the list and completed more than I had realised. I still haven’t got 101 things on the list so will try and complete that one by the end of this challenge. My gentle pottering mentality means I’m thinking about a few things at the moment rather than focusing strongly on a couple.

6. Complete one sewing project (regain my sewing mojo)

Not really any further forward on this. I sat and had a knit last night for the first time in months. I started a cabled wrap for myself last year and really want to finish it in time for winter. I’m past the half way point so I think this is an achievable target

2.       What have you done this week to make you feel fabulous?

Nothing springing to mind! I’ve been busy but haven’t been stressed at all which is a nice feeling in itself. I was dreading going back to work as I usually return to too many emails and messages. I hate the voicemail light on my work phone. It gives me a sense of dread and I worry about how many messages are on there. Sometimes I ignore it as I think its better not knowing how many messages are there. I was brave, first think I did was check my messages and was rewarded with a very nice ‘2 messages’. One had been dealt with already so I started off on the right foot.

3.       I wrote about gadgets this week (my fav one anyway), do you have any gadgets that help you to your goals or are you a low tech kinda person?

I sit in the middle. I like my gadgets and would be lost without my netbook but thats it really. Still dreaming of an iphone. I’m sitting and waiting for the cost to come down to something more manageable.

4.       We are half way through the year, what have you achieved so far (in all aspects of life)?

I’ve achieved a huge amount at work – this has only really become obvious to me in the last few weeks. I was concentrating too much on what I hadn’t done rather than giving myself credit for what I had done.

5.       Fun Question: Tell me one of your secrets to achieving goals and living a happy life?

Remember that you’re just as important as everyone else.



More work dilemas

So, a mixed day at work.

Firstly, I’ve been told that my application for reducing my hours at work has been approved. Slowly I have been losing my nerve over this decision and worrying over the loss of money. I’m wondering if I just become a hermit for the next few months we can muddle on through.  My attempts to get our monthly outgoings down hasn’t met with great success so I’m going to try and come up with a plan of attack. A list always helps me feel better.

On top of this, an opportunity has come up to apply for a clinical leadership fellowship. It looks an amazing opportunity and just the sort of thing that I have been looking for. Sadly its arrived at a time when I’m desperately trying to cut down on my commitments for my own sanity. I don’t feel this is something I can pass by. There are only 60 places available so there’s a chance that I won’t even get a place but if I don’t apply I’ll never know.

I’ve spent this afternoon researching and sending a few cheeky emails to people to try and get some more information. Also have to tackle the application form in the next two weeks. The examples of previous work done on the scheme made me feel optimistic that  I can do it. I just need to fluff it up with the right leadership language.

My main issue is time management. I really need to work on this and it was suggested that a cut in my hours may be a positive or negative thing when combined with this new opportunity. One thought I had was to take a year out of my masters if  I got a place. Another tentative email that needs to be sent.

So, lots of deliberating needed. A good excuse to have a reflect and do some journalling to sort out my head.

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Beat the Heat – Week 2

Weight Wars 

My Goals

1. Achieve a better work/life balance

2. Get back into reflective journalling

3. Run once a week

4. Learn to meditate and/or relax

5. Complete 3 things on my DayZero Project

6. Complete one sewing project (regain my sewing mojo)


1. What progress have you made on your goals this week?

A really good week this week. I’ve had a week off work so that has definitely helped the work/life balance. Back to reality tomorrow but I’m planning on trying to keep my head and keep calm with it all.  I also took part in the London 10k yesterday 😀 Feeling very proud of myself and something to tick off the Day Zero list.

1. Achieve a better work/life balance
– week off work!
-Trying not to lose my nerve over asking for reduced hours. Money worries are creeping in so I’m tackling it in a practical way and trying to reduce costs where I can
2. Get back into reflective journalling
-Just need to find my work reflective journal! Also will go and get great reflection book back out of the library this week.
3. Run once a week
– Completed 10k yesterday 😀
4. Learn to meditate and/or relax
– Will look into this this week.
5. Complete 3 things on my DayZero Project
– 10k run – completed!
– Contemplating what else to do. Started decluttering so have decided to get rid of my mountain of books and close my readitswapit account. Will put some of these on bookcrossing 
6. Complete one sewing project (regain my sewing mojo)
– Still thinking about this one. My sister in law is expecting a baby any day now and I still need to make a quilt for it. Really should make this a priority but can’t get into the swing of things.

2. What did you do to make yourself feel fabulous?

We’ve been away for the week so generally relaxed, drank wine and did lots of things as a family. Because of both of our work patterns it is very rare for Steven and I to get a day off together so it was great to have a week away with the children.

3. Did you have a moment in your life where everything changed for you, an epiphany moment, or has it happened gradually?

I have two – my uncle died when I was 16 and I saw this as a time when I grew up. I then when through a similar experience 18 months ago when Samuel was ill and diagnosed with his heart defect. Both were very traumatic but I can look back at the times as a change which was positive for me personally. They changed the way I think and my perspective on life.  This post talks about my most recent one. It is a work in progress but it was kick started then.

4. What made you get involved with the Beat The Heat challenge?

I blame Becks! Also have had life coaching in the past and found the small goals a good way of achieving things. I also like it as a simple way to have a quick check with life and refocus on what’s going on. I get caught up in worries or general busyness so I find it a helpful way to take a step back and have a think about things.

5. What is your favourite TV Show at the moment?

I’m loving The Apprentice at the moment, sadly it ends very soon though. I also really like Project Runway but the last 2 series haven’t been shown over here (booooooo!)


Beat the Heat – Week 1

Weight Wars 

I’ve said it a million times before, I’m rubbish, I neglect my blog and I never keep up with things. I’m getting over that and have also promised myself I will not let my google reader make me feel guilty.  So, I’ve been roped into doing the Beat the Heat Challenge. New challenges and a new focus for the summer.

Its a 10 week challenge where you decide on 5 or more goals to work towards.  This challenge is being hosted by my lovely friend Becks over at WeightWars.

So then, down to business – my goals

1. Achieve a better work/life balance

2. Get back into reflective journalling

3. Run once a week

4. Learn to meditate and/or relax

5. Complete 3 things on my DayZero Project

6. Complete one sewing project (regain my sewing mojo)


Why did you pick those goals? What makes them important right now?

They all link into the same thing really. I’ve had a busy time at work since I went back after having Samuel (April 2010). My manager went on long term sick leave and we were under alot a pressure as a team without her. In February I became interim team leader, taking her place on a temporary basis. This was a huge change for me and its now getting to me.  Long term I had always had aspirations for this job but the opportunity arose a little earlier, well a few years earlier, than I had wanted. I’ve taken it on at a time when we are under massive pressure to reduce a big overspend and achieve cost savings on our already too-small budget. Baptism of fire is the phrase I use.

I was having a conversation recently with someone about Myers-Briggs personality types. We went through the process of working out of type at work some years ago. Mine had always fascinated me as it was so scarily accurate. I recently googled it again and found this –

And yes, that is me (apart from the iron – very rare to see me with an iron in my hand). I have always taken on far too much, struggled through all of my commitments and forgotten myself in the middle of it. My latest worry is worrying about things I might have forgotten.  I don’t really want to do this anymore!  I also gave up my sewing group a couple of months ago. This was the only thing I did for myself. I was so tired I rarely went and when I did go I just sat there exhausted with no motivation to do anything. I was sad that I stopped going and really feel I need to find time to follow my own interests rather than let work and tiredness dominate my life.

To survive long term in my new job I felt I had to make some changes. Yesterday I formally asked in writing to reduce my hours down to 30 hours per week. It’ll mean less money but we think we can work around that and I’d rather be poor and happy.

What’s your biggest excuse reason for not doing something and how are you going to stop it getting in the way?

I’m hoping this is a self perpetuating thing. Tiredness and lack of time are my usual downfalls so by tackling the same issue from different directions it should fall into place *crossing fingers*.

Are you a planner or do you go with the flow?

Plan plan plan in a very anal sense. My 2012 diary arrived this week – need I say more? That ISFJ profile backs me up as well!

Fun thing Tell us something that will help us get to know you. Like things you like or a silly story or about your family.

One of my reasons for working less is to spend more time with my two children – Eloise and Samuel. Eloise starts school in September and is beside herself with excitement. I would like to walk her to school and pick her up at least once a week. At present I will probably have to drop her at breakfast club before flying off to drop Samuel at nursery and then onto work.  I went back to work full time when each of them were 4 months old so I never really did the Mummy routine. I want to go to a toddler group with Samuel! So anyway, here are my two –

Right then, I’m now off work for a week (yay!) so we’re going away to my Mum and Dad’s caravan on the coast. I intend to enjoy myself!