Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….


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SEEDED PARMESAN OATCAKES RECIPE

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Forgot to buy oatcakes.

Wanted an oatcake.

Made these.

No more Nairns for me!

Super easy and absolutely yummy.  Much shorter (crispier/crunchier) than the bought variety, have a go!

INGREDIENTS

50g butter or olive oil (I like 50/50 because you get some buttery flavour but it’s healthier than all butter)

100g medium oatmeal (if you only have regular, use a hand blender to make it finer)

100g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp poppy seeds

2 tsp sesame seeds

1-2 tblsp grated parmesan cheese

 

METHOD

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan, then allow to cool slightly.  Add oil if you are going 50/50 or just use the oil cold.
  3. Tip all the dry ingredients into a bowl, with 1 tsp sea salt, then pour in the butter/oil. Add 5-7 tbsp boiling water and combine to make a firm dough.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, then roll out until about 0.5cm thick. Cut using the cutter of your choice, moisten tops with a little water, then sprinkle with a little more sea salt if you like. then bake for 12-15 mins until golden.
  5. Leave to cool for a few mins, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  6. Slather with a really good butter, add a bit of cheese and chutney and enjoy.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1840638/seeded-oatcakes

This is the original recipe I adapt this from, but if you choose to follow this, for Gawd’s sake, DO NOT USE BICARBONATE OF SODA because it leaves a really shitty aftertaste in your mouth! x

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CRAZY CABLING – FREE RETRO CABLE KNITTING PATTERN

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The last week or so has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me, but knitting this bad boy, along with the company of good friends has to take a great deal of credit for bringing me out the other end.

Craziness and creativity have long been firm bed fellows, and having a creative outlet does more for me than any of my meds.

Well.  At least as much as 🙂 .

When I first looked at this pattern, I nearly went cross eyed with confusion, but once I got into the flow of it, it all made sense.  And the end result, if it looks anything like this pattern will be worth all the hard work, as it is so my style.

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Something lovely from feeling horrible.

Sounds like win/win to me.

I wanted to share the love so to speak so if you click on the link below, you’ll be able to download the pattern; treat yourself to some nice yarn, and off you go!

http://www.allaboutyou.com/prima/free-knitting-patterns-classic-cable-sweater

Back to the needles…..will show you the end result.

Happy healing knitting!


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KNIT PICKING

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Whoever thinks that knitting is the domain of slightly batty old ladies is seriously way off base.  Anyone who is skilled at this must have minds like razor blades…..

I’m starting to wonder whether I’m out of my depth with this lovely cable sweater pattern, as it appears that you need a degree in Applied Mathematics just to get beyond the ribbing.

I spent over an hour last night un-knitting about four rows as, unbeknownst to me, I’d been reading the pattern charts wrong.

These things are not read top to bottom, from left to right.  No, you have to read them from bottom to top, from right to left unless it’s an even numbered row, then it’s left to right.

And blank means knit and dot means purl.  Unless you’re on the wrong side, there is an ‘r’ in the month and your moon is in Uranus and then you do the exact opposite.

WTF?

This project is, however, probably the best Easter present I could have given myself as when I’m beavering away at it, mouthing the mad instructions, squinting at the multiple charts and graphs and swearing like a navvy, I’m not thinking about anything else,  i.e. my deepest, darkest fears.

Which is just as well, as for the first time in a long time, I’ll be on my own for Easter Sunday.

I did however decide to have a posh dinner with an old friend, H, in Oxford the other night by way of compensation.

I’d like to say that it was fun, but it wasn’t.

When H is on form, there’s no one like her. We met on a hiking holiday in Scotland a few years ago, and she had me in complete stitches every single day.  H has a wry, caustic, coruscating humour, little patience and no buffer, so like her or loathe her, there is no way of ignoring her, especially once she’s had a few. She is also a hugely talented, creative individual and a real inspiration.

On the minus side, she is hugely depressive, extremely self sabotaging and another one of those people who expects everyone to heal, rescue, understand, help, FEED HER in every which way possible.

She is also of late, very negative, nothing is her fault and she can fall out with her friends at the drop of a hat.

Know anyone like that Sista, hmmm?  Recognise any of those less than charming traits?

H spent the entire dinner documenting her woes, moaning about people who’ve let her down, telling me how horrible everything in her life is right now, and generally vomiting up all her shit onto the table for my perusal.

The worst part of this was that it was like looking at a great, big, frightening, distorted mirror image of myself.

‘Is this me?’  I inwardly asked myself as she droned on and on and on, without asking me a single thing about myself, unless it was something she needed to know for her own benefit ‘Is that why I can’t keep my friends?  Is that why no one calls?’

I listened as sympathetically as I could, trying not to let the green black sludge suck me back down into my own, only recently vacated tar pit, and changed the subject every chance I could, but there was no good/positive/fun news to be had from her.

I think that in three hours we must have laughed once and that was when we were saying goodbye, she, because of the joke she cracked, me from relieved hysteria that I had managed to survive the evening largely intact.

I was desperate to get back to my knitting though, to hide amongst the knits, the purls and thick white cables, and try shoo away the thick black clouds circling around my head.  I think that was when I rushed through it and fucked it up instead of reading the pattern properly.  Dammit.

H is also on her own tomorrow and something inside me was thinking that I should cook a roast and invite her over.  Cheer her up instead of compulsively, maniacally nit picking at her in my head.  Be a fucking Christian for once.

But I couldn’t.  My home is my sanctuary and to be locked in here with her for hour after hour, as she gets more and more pissed and maudlin, not knowing when she might leave, would (a) tip me over the edge, (b) quite possibly end the friendship if I try and evict her, and I’m not willing to lose her ‘cos I like her far too much to risk that.

This is the tragedy; Aunty C always bangs on at me to make ‘healthier friends’ but I’m a magnet to my own as they are to me, and sadly, I’ve grown to realise that I can’t rescue them.  I can offer advice if I’m a good place myself, but if they don’t take it or at least try and help themselves, then I’m powerless.

I don’t respond well to guilt.  I was made to feel guilty by my family right throughout my childhood for everything and anything, and it left me very defensive and extremely angry, and I have finally learned that you can only give what you can give.  If you don’t have the emotional readies (or real ones actually) in the bank then you can’t withdraw them and give them to someone in need.  It’s impossible. Especially as some fucker has blown the door off my safe and completely cleaned me out.

I need to heal myself before I can properly help anyone else, and even then, it may not be my place to do so.

In the meantime, all I can do is love her, be a friend and see her when I can.  I will continue to gently rebuff her hinted demands, help manage her expectations and hopefully  even make her smile and bring back the H that used to have me in tears of laughter.

As for me, I’ll enjoy the peace and serenity of my home, continue to wrestle with this bastard jumper and see what tomorrow brings.

The snow has arrived.  I gaze out of my window and smile.

Suddenly, I don’t quite feel so lonely anymore.


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OH SEW EASY CUSHION COVERS

Hey, do you remember that fabric I bought on my ‘Artists Date’ on Valentines Day?  To clarify, that was an ‘Artists Way’ artist date not a hot date with a tall, dark, sexy creative type alas, but I digress…..

I finally got round to picking up my old sewing machine that has been festering away in a cupboard for ten years, had a quick look at it, hoping it hadn’t rusted or something, and it was fine, so I decided to make some cushion covers.

I initially bought zips for them, then I discovered this great blog that demonstrates how to make an envelope version which is a lot less fiddly.

http://craftygemini.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/free-video-tutorial-envelope-pillow.html

To save having to cut out six separate shapes, I folded my material so that the bottom bit was around 5 inches longer than the top.

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Then I cut out three sections the size of each cushion plus an extra inch all round as per the instructions so that (a) it was easier and (b) as much fabric as possible is left intact so that you can use it for something else :-).

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I also zig zagged the raw edges so that they wouldn’t fray when washed, then pressed open the seams, pressed down the folds and snipped off any stray threads, turned them the right way round….

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….popped in my cushions, and voila, a nice new Spring look for my sitting room!

Pleased to have ‘broken my duck’ sewing wise, on to the next project!

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‘BALLERINA’ LEG WARMERS

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I have been an on/off knitter since I was about 11 and was taught by my mother.

For those of us who struggle with depression and anxiety, knitting is perfect for helping to  silence the critic within as your attention and concentration is on your garment, and this helps you block out its deranged ranting, plus you end up with something beautiful/presentable/passable to wear. Win/win, no?

Having a mother who knitted was a double edged sword; on the one hand, she taught me a skill that I have retained (to a degree) and use to this day, on the other I was the obvious target, sorry recipient, for some of her more erm ‘creative’ projects.

So whilst everyone else at the youth club would be wearing trendy bat winged tops and tartan trimmed white shirts, I would be sweating away in some hairy monstrosity made from wool farmed from my Dads old fishing pullover, refusing to dance to ‘Tiger Feet’ lest I pass out from heat and humiliation.

The main lesson I learned from this is to never, ever knit anything for anyone that you would/could not (a) wear yourself and (b) hold against your skin for a good ten minutes without breaking out in hives.

I am not, however, against recycling yarn, especially if the failed garment is unwearable and made from lovely yarn, and these leg warmers are made from wool sourced from a scarf that came off worse after a somewhat harrowing encounter with one of my cats.

Made from Debbie Bliss alpaca silk aran in a lovely shade of teal (colour 25005), these little lovelies are beautifully soft and snuggly, can be worn under boots, and are great for keeping you warm when doing yoga on these cold, frosty mornings.

The pattern is ‘Ballerina’ by Drops Design and can be found and downloaded for free on Ravelry via the hyperlink below.

Enjoy!

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/132-5-ballerina—leg-warmers-with-rib-cable-and-crochet-borders-in-andes-or-eskimo