Welcome to The Gingerbread Bunny! I'm Sarah, a textile artist specialising in crochet and felt based in Wigan in the North-West of England.

On my blog, you can find my day-to-day craft adventures and tutorials.

You can find details of my work for sale and workshops on my website - www.thegingerbreadbunny.co.uk

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Time to Change - Time to Talk

This is not the usual crafty blog post you are used to reading here on The Gingerbread Bunny blog.

You may have seen the Time to Talk adverts on television here in the UK, raising awareness of mental health discrimination and, as the name suggests, encouraging people to talk about it.  For a long time a stigma has been attached to mental health problems and those who are affected by them. At the end of last year I pledged, on the Time to Change website, to talk about mental health problems and this post is the start of this.

Around 2 years ago I was signed off work with anxiety and work related stress.  At this time, I didn't consider myself to be anxious at all and the people around me always commented on how I never got stressed.  The truth is, as I know now, that I was very good at hiding it.  The outside me did not reflect the inside me at all - they were 2 completley different people, for a long time.  The job I loved now made me anxious.  I didn't want to go to work, I would sit in the carpark dreading having to go inside, I used to hope that I would be ill and not have to go and even wanted to have an accident on the way to avoid going in.  I was anxious about everything, even the things I enjoyed, and started to avoid them.  Seeing people made me feel sick and I just wanted to stay at home and not see anyone.  One Sunday night I became hysterical - I couldn't do it any more.  I went to see the doctor, who was wonderful, and reffered me for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and gave me anti-depressants.  The CBT really helped, it was here that I realised I was a really anxious person and I began to identify areas of my thinking I needed to change.  After about 6 weeks I had improved and returned to work, still on the anti-depressants. 

After 6 months I came off the anti-depressants and continued on, putting what I had learnt from my CBT sessions into practice.  I was OK for around a year - in all honesty I had kidded myself that I was completley fine and that some miraculous cure had taken place.  I started to feel the way I had done before, I recognised the symptoms, and went back to my doctor who dropped a pretty big bombshell on me - I had depression.  I didn't feel unhappy, I didn't feel anything - I felt empty and had done for a long time.  I didn't want to do anything, times I knew I should have been happy or excited didn't make me feel that way and I spent a lot of time crying and not knowing why.  He put me back on the anti-depressants and, through work, I got a referral to occupational health who reffered me for counselling.  I found this really helpful and, under the advice of the doctor and counsellor, took some time off work (although I was reluctant to do this).  It helped and gave me time to think about what was going on with me - I found it hard to accept that I had depression.  I spent time reading books and blogs on the internet and recognised myself in what I  read.  I made some big decisions about my life - the biggest being to leave my full time job as this was the major cause of stress in my life. Things have not been easy -  I became hysterical in work one day and hid in the toilets having a full blown panic attack - they had to send for my mum to take me home!  I never returned to work after this and the doctor put me on beta blockers to help with my anxiety and panic attacks. 

Many people think that being a teacher is easy - I've even heard people call it 'babysitting'. The children are amazing.  What makes the job difficult is the constant pressure to reach unachievable targets, to 'perform' for OfSTED, the mountains of paperwork, not being allowed to do my job becuase of a new government initiative and the expectation to work in excess of 50 hour weeks - I was getting to school when it opened at 7:30am, leaving at 4:30pm (often only taking 15 minutes for lunch), taking 2 or 3 hours work home each night and then taking at least a days worth of work home at the weeked.  The holidays (those really long ones we get) were filled with planning, assessments, preparing resources, visiting places to carry out risk assessments for trips and, in the summer holidays, weeks of tidying and reorganising my classroom ready for the new year.  This kind of workload finally takes its toll. 

I am lucky in that I have a good support network around me. Mr Bunny, my Mum, my friends and even people I met through Twitter, have been amazingly supportive and I never once feel alone.  I was lucky that at work I had some extremley supportive colleagues and friends who looked after me and understood and supported me when others didn't quite have the knowledge and understanding to (the 'she's not depressed' 'what's she got to be depressed about' and 'there's nothing up with her' group!)

I am now working as a supply teacher and a private tutor.  I love teaching (and am pretty good at it!) and don't want to leave it completley.  I feel more like the old me (who I'd forgotten about) every day.  I am taking each day as it comes and remaining positive.  I know that it is a long journey but the good stretches are starting to outnumber the bad ones.

I'm asking you to check out the Time to Change website, to make your pledge to talk about mental health problems and to end the stigma attached to them.

It's Time to Talk!

Words of Wisdom - The Simple Things

I have come to realise, over the past year or so, that it is the little, simple things in life that are the most important and the most precious.

On Friday night, me and Mr Bunny went for a walk in the snow.  It was freezing and I got soaked but it was amazing.  It turned out to be so much fun and quite magical as everything around us was transformed by the snow. Just spending time, with Mr Bunny, enjoying the snow and a walk made me smile.

It wasn't quite as much fun for the poor people who couldn't get their cars up the hill. However, a group of local teenagers where helping to push cars up the hill.  This was lovely to see as reports of teenagers throwing snowballs at people in other areas were all over Facebook!  The simple act of helping someone out definitley made those drivers smile. 

So this week I'm going to make an extra special effort to appreciate the little things - flowers, blue sky, conversations with friends, a cup of tea and a sit down! 

Why don't you spend a bit of time appreciating the little things this week?

Until next time.

Sarah x

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

WiP Wednesday - Shhh! It's a secret.

Hello again. Apologies for not writing a WiP post last week but I'm back on the wagon this week so here goes!

I'm still working on Mr Bunny's Lego blanket (which is going to take a while I think) and I've made some progress on my Granny Square coat and have nearly completed the first sleeve!
I made a cotton dishcloth in funky colours for the current Caithness Craft Collective swap and have started work on a new baby gift for my friend who is due to give birth any day now!  pictures of both of these projects will be shared once they have been received by their new owners!

I've also been designing and sewing this week for my shop! I've had plans for some crochet hook pouches for some time and have finally made them. They are made from funky cotton prints with interfacing to make them more sturdy. The hook holder is felt as it is 'sticky' and great for stopping hooks from slipping out. They fasten with a rather cute ribbon loop and button.  These are currently for sale in my Folksy shop and can be made to hold crouchet hooks, Tunisian crochet hooks and knitting needles!

What have you been up to this week?

Until next time.

Sarah x

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Words of Wisdom - Giving Up

I'm going to keep this short and sweet as it is the 3rd attempt as Blogger keeps crashing (rather apt actually!)

My friend posted this weeks Words of Wisdom on her Facebook wall earlier this week and I recognised a little bit of me in it!

When we set ourselves goals, we often spend a lot of time looking at where we are going. Of course we need to do this but it can actually have a negative impact. We see just how far we have to go, how much more needs doing, and we get discouraged and then we give up, choosing something 'easier' instead.

What we forget to do is to look back at how far we've come, what we have achieved. This often gives us the encouragement and motivation to keep going and to reach our goal.

I'm going to be more mindful if this and spend a bit if time reflecting on how far I've come not how far I have to go!

Until next time.

Sarah x

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Words of Wisdom - The Doctor!

This weeks Words of Wisdom come from The Doctor!  Doctor Who? I hear you say - you just said it (as the terrible joke goes).

This quote makes me laugh but is so apt - 'normal' people (whatever passes as normal anyway) aren't half as interesting as those of us who consider ourselves a little mad. 
Until next time.

Sarah x

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

WIP Wednesday - Granny Square Coat

I currently have 2 projects on the go at the moment - The Lego Blanket for Mr Bunny (mentioned in last weeks WIP post, and a crochet granny square coat for me!

I started the coat earlier this week after my Mum put the idea in my head. After a bit of browsing and pinning on Pinterest, I made a few sketches and started to design it. Now I've started to make it, the design is changing but I'm just going with the flow!

The picture shows the waistband (which was initially the squares but is now the striped panel) and the start of the `skirt`of the coat. I'm working in purple and teal with a pink accent. I'm really excited about it and can't wait to show you more next week!

Until next time.

Sarah x

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

It's Arrived!

Forgive the excitement but Issue 1 of Simply Crochet  landed in my cat doormat this morning! I resisted the temptation to read is straight away (I was in the middle if doing some planning and printing for my tutotungband supply teaching) and put it to one side. 
Hours later I have finally sat down with a cup of tea and a mince pie to take my first look at the magazine and I can report that it is amazing!!!

It has everything you'd expect a good craft magazine to have and more. The presentation is funky and modern, the articles relevant and interesting and the pictures beautiful. And the patterns? Well, what can I say, Toft Alpaca and Nikki Trench, among others - amazing!!!

There's even an offer - 3 issues for £5 - to whet your appetite.

If you are a crocheter then you need this magazine in your life!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Words of Wisdom

This weeks Words of Wisdom have great meaning for me and, I've had to keep telling myself that things will work out in the end regularly this past week. 
I am in an exciting, but also pretty scary place at the moment.  Choosing to give up a full time job as a teacher to work as a supply teacher, private tutor and, the biggy, to be a business woman and grow The Gingerbread Bunny, was a massive leap.  This week, it's hit home like a sledge hammer that I no longer have a very regular income to pay the bills at the end of the month.  Also, I'm still waiting for my CRB to come back for the 3 supply agencies I've registered with - this means I can't work until they come back.  In addition, I have absolutley no idea how much work I'm going to get or how frequent my work will be - eeek.  I don't regret my decision at all - my job has made me very ill for a good number of years now and there came a point where I had to decide if it was worth it anymore and whether my job was more important than my health and happiness.  I chose health and happiness.

I keep reading this quote to remind me that my decision was worth it and, even when times are tough, I need to keep trying!  It's also a great quote to keep reading with regards all of those New Year's Resolutions we've all made.

Until next time

Sarah x

Saturday, 5 January 2013

A handmade wedding

5 years ago today me and Mr Bunny got married! It was an amazing day, in the Lake District, which we shared with our friends and family. 

Being the crafty soul that I am, where I could, I made things.  I made my own invitations, order of service, seating plan, thank you cards, place settings, menus - pretty much anything I could get away with! You can see just behind the owls in the photo a menu card poking out!

Where possible, I bought handmaid items. Custom made corsets for my bridesmaids ( to go with the bargain skirts and wraps I picked up in the sale), handmade soap for gifts, hand made chocolate hedgehogs for favours from a gorgeous chocolate shop in Windermere. We even had a souvenir  plate made instead of a guest book!

I thought I'd share a few photos of that special day with you all.

Until next time.

Sarah x

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

WIP Wednesday - Crochet and Felt

One of my crafty resolutions for 2013 is to blog more regularly.  I love blogging but found that life got in the way and I wasn't blogging as often as I should so I've given it a little structure.  To ensure I blog at least twice a week, I've introduced 2 regular features - Words of Wisdom (which I launced here yesterday) and WIP (Works in Progress) Wednesday ~ I borrowed this idea from the fabulous Plutonium Muffin (I hope she doesn't mind!)

WIP Wednesday is an opportunity for me to share what I'm working on be it crochet, sewing or art journaling. 

Currently, I have 3 projects on the go. 

1.  Wrapt Top from Curvy Girl Crochet by Mary Beth Temple

This is the second project I've made from this book which, as the title suggests, is full of projects designed for curvy girls.  I've finished the body and sleeves and just have the edging and ties to make and then it's finished and ready to wear!  The yarn is Red Heart Shimmer in sparkly pink which I picked up in Sainsbury's for the bargain price of £1.50 a ball.  Eventhough it is 100% acrylic, it is super soft and will make for a beautiful top when finished.

2.  Lego Blanket (Pattern by Andrea Baker)

I'm making this blanket for Mr Bunny as he loves lego and needs a blanket of his own so he will stop stealing mine!  The pattern is really simple and, once you've made a few blocks, you don't even need to look at it.  So far I have around 30 blocks so I'm not really that far along - he wants it completed immediatley but it is definitley going to take some time.  To keep costs down, I'm using my acrylic stash up so it's going to be a multicoloured lego wonder when finished!

3.  Textile Coursework

Today has been devoted to finishing off all my work for Module 1 of my City and Guilds course (we have to hand it all in for assessment in a few weeks - eek!).  I've been writing in my sketchbook and have made my sewing machine earn it's keep.  I've still got a bit left to do, but the majority of it is done now - phew.  I've really enjoyed machine embroidering onto my felt pieces as it creates an amazing effect.

What have you all been up to this week? 

Until next time

Sarah x

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Words of Wisdom

I love quotes.  I find them really inspirational. They are also a great stimulus for my art journaling and really get me thinking, writing and creating.

One of my crafty New Year's resolutions is to blog more regulalry.  Aspects of my life have prevented me from doing this as fully as I could over the past few months so, to get me back into the swing of things, I am starting 2 new regular features - one of these being Words of Wisdom!

Every Sunday I will be posting a quote of the week to get us all reflecting and thinking.  I may also add other 'bits' to go with it such as photo's or journaling - I'm pretty flexible on this and so you could get just about anything.  I would also love it if you, my awesome followers, would comment and share your thoughts and ideas through the comments section and by linking back to your own blog or page - I'd love to see what you are all up to!

I know it's not Sunday, but being the first day of 2013, I felt that a quote would be appropriate.  This week's quote is:

Image courtesy of mymdsdesigns.blogspot.com
Ok, so not quite a quote but pertinent to the start of a New Year.  For me, I am starting a new chapter in my life with a change of direction with regards my career.  I see the start of a New Year as the start of a new chapter and an opportunity to set some goals for the year ahead.  I avoid the traditional resolutions of lose weight, give up alcohol etc etc and prefer to be more positive and look at the things I would like to do. 

How do you want your 'new chapter' to begin?

Until next time,

Sarah x

P.S - Happy New Year!