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…….

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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

 

I’m So Sorry….

Hello loves, why am I sorry? well I wanted to try and resist the temptation to have my say on the inauguration of President Trump but I can’t, so if this is going to spoil your Saturday morning coffee, log off now, as always there will be no hard feelings xx

Always, as I start to write my mind begins to focus on the subject but this one brought up so many questions that I have written this post in the form of an interview. I did this so that I could try and avoid being sensationalist and prejudicial to the man who is now President.

Why does it matter so much to you? it shouldn’t , I’m British and he is not my President in any sense of the word. However that’s not how life works is it? he is effectively the leader of the free world and influences pretty much every country on trade, security and international relations. I want to have faith in the person who does that and I’m not sure I do.

Its because he is too close to Russia isn’t it? No, in fact I think a closer relationship with Russia would be great as long as its an equal partnership based on trust and not threat.

So, whats my problem? if I was an American I am pretty sure that I would be a Democrat, that party has values most closely aligned to mine, but my problem isn’t that Mr Trump is a Republican. Its more to do with him being someone who seems to lack control, to be able to speak with reason and caution in equal measure, to not make remarks about women or Mexicans or Muslims that make me physically flinch.

So he’s a loud mouth, so what? this is where I was able to narrow it down to one single, seemingly trivial thing- I don’t want him to take to Twitter every time something bothers him and I don’t want those tweets to be as uncontrolled and inflammatory as they are.

What have you got against Twitter? the answer is nothing and Mr Trump is free to tweet as the outgoing President did but when he does he must remember that everyone is reading them not just his supporters, not just Americans , EVERYONE.

So, what do you want? I want his administration to be as successful as possible, I want him to bring manufacturing back to the USA as that would be good for everyone.I want him to listen to advice and become a great President ,I really do.

Now what? Well…..Im going to hope for the best, but I also wore this hat today…….

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

Nice hat right? pink with cat ears, knitted in Wool and the Gang’s Crazy Sexy Wool,right up my alley …….except this is a hat with a message.

The pattern comes from the Pussy Hat Project, a group of women ( around a 100,000) that are going to march in Washington wearing these hats.

Whats the point? pop over to http://www.pussyhatproject.com to read their full explanation, but basically its a celebration of womens strength , our ability to create, our ability to organise,to reclaim pink as the colour of strength and to send a visual message to the new President that women are watching and expect him to treat them with respect.

Normal service will resume next week but you know what? I might still be wearing that  hat!

Kisses

Karen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas! Have A Piece Of cake!

I have had this happy blog post ready to roll since the beginning of the week and yet again the saddest of events has happened in the meantime, yet again I’m extending sympathy, this time to the people of Germany. I’m so sorry that there is nothing more to say than I wish this would stop 😦 

Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel!, Froliche Weinachten!,Buon Natale! and in my best year 9 latin Felicim Natalem Christi! Apologies if I’ve missed your country, my aged brain can only cope with so many languages!

Now in the past the Christmas Eve post has contained no more than a pretty picture and some good wishes, but this year I have not exactly a tutorial, more of a pattern review, any way lots of pictures! do you remember me showing you this book?…..

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

Its a great book with loads of actually quite useful patterns, but not the pattern I needed which was a sewing machine cover! so I adapted the pattern for a stand mixer…..strawberry_small2

I had none of the above colours, so mine looks bit more like raspberry cheesecake! I measured the length, width and height of the sewing machine and made this……….

 

Then a row of scallops round the top edge to look like icing……….


I then crocheted a panel for the top…………


I joined the top to the sides with some surface crochet to hopefully look like piped cream…..


I made a fruit for the top, its a bit of a strawberry/raspberry hybrid, plus some slices and a bit of “piped cream”…….


And it turned out like this (shamelessly festive photo alert!) ………

I’m so happy with it!

All that remains is to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

Kisses

Karen

 

 

Happy Birthday To While Darcey Sleeps!

Morning! Grab a piece of cake and a glass of sparkle because we are celebrating!

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This little blog is 2 years old! So in the words of Craig David lets “re re wind” and have a look at how far that unicorn has flown!

The 10th of December 2014 was the first entry on this blog and the first anniversary of me suffering a panic attack and developing anxiety and panic disorder.  This major upset had left me feeling like this…….

But then I went to therapy and a wonderful lady restored me basically to factory settings, so what to do with myself now? Too sick to return to work for HM Government it was up to me to find an occupation that fitted around my disabilities. That’s how While Darcey Sleeps was born, an umbrella name for this blog and my painting/craft business. It was so called because I could only work while this madam was asleep!


After a suggestion from family I started painting and did a few test run dog portraits for friends of my daughters…….

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This has become the backbone of the business, and for me a dream come true, to paint and get paid for it feels incredible.

For me the equal pleasure is to write this blog every week and not confine our discussion to  crafts, we have talked about everything, from colour…….

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To make up…….

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

Fashion (especially hand bags!)………

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

To gardening…….

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We have had a good time…………

 

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

We have laughed…….

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And we have cried……

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Through it all, this has been the best place to hang out, I hope you have found it useful or thought provoking or just enjoyed the pictures.

My unicorn will be stretching her wings this year, making more, talking more and generally taking it to the next level, know this for sure, this sparkly door will be open to anyone, 2017 is going to need all the love we can give it and all the support we can give each other.

So here’s to us, and another year of spangly, glittery, emotional, funny experiences!

Kisses

Karen

 

 

Stop Standing In Your Way!

Morning lovelies! Are you all puzzling that headline? I’m sure like me you see more than your fair share of motivational quotes during your day. This week I saw one that literally stopped me in my tracks……….

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After two years of writing this blog and launching my little business, I knew right then and there that I was standing in my way! Let me tell you what I am doing that is STOPPING me being more successful.

1. I am absolutely useless at promoting my business! I belong to loads of Facebook groups that allow businesses to advertise and I do it maybe 4 times a year, it feels a little like this to me……

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But would I feel the same if I was a plumber or a dog walker? No, so it’s time to stop thinking of my business as different and start advertising regularly.

And while we are on the subject of look at me…

2. Networking! I am awful at this! I don’t read other people’s blogs as much as I should and that’s a shame as there are fabulous writers out there that I should be building relationships with, and I belong to several groups specifically set up to make networking easier, so if I follow your blog expect a visit soon……

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3. Social media! After spending literally hours studying effective blog and brand promotion on a course run by the super talented April Bowles Olin of Blacksburg Belle, I am a sporadic user at best. I need to pin more and analyse the successful ones like this one……..

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I also need to look at that persons boards to see what else they like, and use this information to inspire designs.

I need to Instagram more of my life and it’s ups and downs so that you get to know me better…..

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)
4. Use time more effectively! That hour in the morning where I sit around waiting to deliver the husband to the station could be used to do some of the above!

5. Get it done! move some of the ideas I have had this year into actual action, remember this?………

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)
It’s time to take that pretty piece of design and make it a reality.

6. Practice what I preach! Remember this from last year……

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It’s time to take that great advice and not put limitations on myself or my business!

So it’s onward and upward and time to spruce up the unicorn and see how much further she can fly ( if you are new here check back on my first ever post for an explanation) .

Have a cracking week

Kisses

Karen

Every Pin You Pin, I’ll Be Watching You!……

Cue sinister good morning, mwah hah, hah! Seriously, do you use Pinterest? I love it, access to all the pretty things in the world at the touch of a button, what not to like? But for me it has a more serious purpose because I analyse what people are pinning of mine and therefore gain an insight into what kinds of things  I should concentrate my design efforts on. Let me demonstrate by showing you my top performing pins.

Number 1 by a long chalk is …….


A very simple design but beautifully executed.

Then we have ……..


Everything Alice in Wonderland does really well to be fair but this outperforms the lot, I think the cuteness ( we will come back to that!) and the pastel colour scheme make it extra special.

Coming in third is this……..


A Blythe doll, I love them and the colour scheme of this photo really appealed to me… And lots of others!

That minty colour comes back in the next pin….


This is a great aspirational image, we want our tables to look like this, we want that crockery and dear lord we want that cake!!!!

The next image is exquisite……


I pin a lot of fairy images ( shocker! ) but this extraordinary doll in its breathtaking surroundings is a hands down winner.

Sometimes a pin is as much about the skill of the photographer as the subject….


The flowers are beautiful but the choice of light background and the exposure used elevate a Ho hum picture to a Wow!

Let’s not forget the huge number of tutorials available……..


I love super talented artists that are generous enough to share a how to with me!

Lastly……..


There is nothing cuter than a deer in a jar!

So, what does this tell us? The person who pins from my boards loves cute, with a bit of an edge and is likely a creative person themselves.

I am unashamedly using this info for some super cute Christmas cards and decorations!

Happy pinning!

Kisses 

Karen

Ps  there will be no blog next week as its my birthday and we are off to London, the following week will be all about what we got up to and what I bought! See you then xx