DREAMLAND ~ A Treasure Box

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I have just listed my recently completed Treasure Box, Dreamland, on ebay *HERE*

This jewellery or treasure box is truly ‘one of a kind’ (OOAK), with an original design painted in professional acrylics by me, Stephanie Faith. There are many details such as a genuine Swarovski beauty spot and a hidden ‘flower’. The ebay listing has the full details – and many large pics! 🙂

A dreamer with long golden hair, sleeping on pillows of deep violet clouds in a dark sky awash with gold stars. Bleeding Heart flowers gently bough their lilac heads…and the dream goes on.

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To bid, click *HERE*

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Copyright SteffNouveau 2013

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Shoe-Boxes for Children at Christmas

I made these to put in Mum’s shoe-boxes that go to children at Christmas. I’m not sure of the charity’s name.

Hanging Seahorse ornament + an orange critter, maybe a Fox?

I know…more *mushrooms*! These mini mushrooms went as a pair in one shoe-box. A gent and a lady pair 😉

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Copyright SteffNouveau 2012

Phlegm and Medicine Bottle

Best buddies Phlegm and Cough Mixture are looking for a new loving *healthy* home!

Phlegm and Medicine Bottle felt characters. A unique couple because no two lots of phlegm looks the same.

This naughty green ‘personality’ (cough-onality) is made without a pattern, but cut out in a freestyle / abstract way. He has genuine black onyx eyes and both characters are sewn with embroidery threads using felt material and filled with safe toy stuffing. Cough Mixture even has his name embroided on his bottle!

The phlegm you see on your monitor is the phlegm you get. (Not a result of you coughing).

Phlegm and Cough Mixture are the best of friends because as they say: opposites do attract. And, in any case, where would they be without the other?

They really aren’t toys, but intended for less serious minded adults.

Cough up £20 plus the shipping costs and this dynamic couple could be yours!

“Cough-onality Phlegm may not seem – being green and sticky – the most pleasantest of characters however he has a terrific sense of humour and cannot stop coughing when Cough Mixture tells him silly jokes! Without his buddy, Cough Mixture just wouldn’t know what to do. He says laughter is the best medicine”

Cough up and give best buddies Phlegm and Cough Mixture a new loving *healthy* home!

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Copyright SteffNouveau 2012

Sox, A Stripey Bug

Do you like her?

Sox is made with polymer clay and painted with best quality Windsor & Newton acrylic paints. Real black onyx eyes and other genuine gemstones (jade) for the ends of the copper wire antenae. Glow-in-the-dark fimo spots on her wings. Sealed with gloss. Smiling, she sits on a piece of felt. She stands about 9cm tall, including the height of her antenae.

Sox is not a toy, but an ornament.

I made her for a friend’s daughter so she isn’t for sale. But if you would like one, especially commissioned for you – colours can be chosen! – do get in touch –

mushroompeople @stephaniefaith .net

(Remembering to close the spaces).

Each bug is different, a one of a kind (OOAK), sculptured without use of moulds – each one is therefore unique and cannot be exactly replicated. Your Bug will arrive safely and beautifully packed in a sturdy box with bubble wrap, and a decorative bag. I ship to most countries. Please allow a month for completion. £20. plus shipping.

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Copyright SteffNouveau 2012

Meet the Mushroom People

Wow. I cannot believe how long it has been since I’ve properly blogged. Which includes neglecting my beloved i love flower beetles blog.

There’s a lot of content I have that I’d like to add, related to gardening and creating things.

The world is built on dreams!My latest project is creating sculptures from polymer clay and then painting them with professional quality acrylic paints (Windsor + Newton). I’ve sculpted before with Fimo and other hobby clays but never made creatures like this…meaning the effort, care and time being put into them, the attention to detail, the extra embellishments such as sparkly mica powders, genuine swarovski gems, wire-work, steampunk cogs, glow-in-the-dark Fimo and textile pieces such as felt flowers… Also, the scale of some of the work is larger, such as the Steampunk Seahorse (photo to follow!)

Deep within the woods of England – and no doubt beyond – hidden from ordinary eyes are the Mushroom People. They are a quiet folk, simple in their ways, ever watchful and optimistic. However in their gentleness, there is a vanity about them – for each and every one – finds profound pride and unfoundering pleasure in their majestic hats. Mere mortal, never make the mistake of stealing a mushroom their hat!

Millinery Magnifico!

Millinery Magnifico!

Let me introduce – – –

Trio of the Mushroom People

Sparkle of the Mushroom People

MoonWatcher of the Mushroom People

By day, the happy-go-lucky Trio sit at their favourite mossy place by the bubbling brook. They watch the dance of the dragonflies, the lively family of shrews that home in the embankment, the birds and rabbits and others that drink from and bathe in the water, and the escapades of the fairies… The sunlight poking through the thick trees hits the water so that the brook sparkles as it bubbles. By night whilst you and I – and indeed they – sleep, the spots on their hats glow in the dark.

Sparkle is a cheeky little fellow. His mother’s love of gems are probably the fault of that…she decorates her children’s hats with costly jewels, and of course being such a madame mushroom herself, adorns her own hat with them too. She glitters and glides about the wood neglecting to reprimand her naughty mushroom offspring. So it’s no wonder Sparkle gets up to mischief. Don’t misunderstand me, he’s a rascal, but he’s cute too.

MoonWatcher is such a romantic! Whilst the majority sleep – except for the bats and the owls and the moths and the millipedes and the beetles and the really badly behaved fairy folk – she watches the moon. Most people star-gaze, but MoonWatcher says there’s only one moon and it should – 2nd to her big and beautiful hat – be revered.

These Mushroom People will be soon available for sale.

Each one is a OOAK (one of a kind) which means there will never ever be another exactly the same. No moulds used, sculptured by hand, each a unique personality. More info regarding details and sale will be blogged a little later.

You can always email me of your interest though, at contact@ stephaniefaith.net (remembering to close the spaces). Subject line ‘Mushroom People’ helps evade the virtual dustbin of the spam folder.

Please share this post – and – thank you for dropping by 🙂

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Copyright SteffNouveau 2012

More Gardening Bits # 2: From Patio To The Polytunnel GreenHouse

[Above photo: Geraniums with their distinctive pleasant smell, now available in different colours.  Hardy + prolific blooms.]

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An old blog post from 14th August 2011. I haven’t written any posts in a long time!

Today – Saturday 29th September 2012

The patio looks so much different now, and quite honestly, a mess. There’s only so much a person can do when they deal with chronic pain and mobility problems on a daily basis. However, growing things – whether it’s flowers or veg – still brings me a lot of pleasure. It was very disheartening after all the effort and expense to have lost my first polytunnel to the gale force winds about a year ago. There is now a new, more robust one in its place. 4 metres long instead of the 3.5, the extra 1/2 metre makes a lot of difference. But unlike last year I’ve had a lot of trouble with pests – lost fully grown lettuces to rampaging slugs, tomatoes slow to ripen, baby sunflowers destroyed by snails before they had a chance to grow, on the patio. Many people say it’s been a bad year for pests.

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These photos were taken 3 or 4 weeks ago, it takes me such a long take editing them in Photoshop, and then another couple of weeks until I finally upload them to this blog – but here they are!

And it’s now time I took newer ones, because things are looking really different again, hehe :p

Other than being a personal diary, I hope others find pleasure in my posts too 🙂

[Above photo: oooooooooo (the very pretty lilac / violet wild looking flowers with the yellow centres) smell like vanilla.  A very lovely flower.]

[Above photo: Sweet Peas yet to flower…today I spotted one flower!]

I obviously hadn’t completely removed all the old rhurbarb root………because the tub of sweet peas keeps sprouting the odd rhurbarb leaf!

[Above 2 x photos: dahlias red, yellow and 2-tone pink in this pot.  Dont’ forget to ‘dead-head’!]

[Above 2 x photos: the corner of the patio where I like to sit and drank tea or coffee.]

The sunflowers I seeded are now big, their golden faces leaning towards the sun, the California Poppies are now little plants with petals yet to unfold, the strawberries are producing the odd berry or two, and all the flowers have grown big and bushy.

[Above photo: The carrot patch.]

According to HOW TO GROW FOOD IN YOUR POLYTUNNEL by Mark Gatter + Andy McKee, I can be expecting ready-to-eat-carrots by October / November!  I sowed them a little late, the last week in July.  Hope there won’t be any snow (very unlikely in these parts).

Today, er, 3 weeks on from sowing, little carrot top leaves have sprung up.  I’ve never grown veg from seed before, it’s quite exciting.

[Above photo: baby lettuces in their grow-bags.  Far left are basil herbs.]

Growing your own fruit and veg is under-rated: I’ve eaten a lot of salads in my time – a good 10 years living on the continent, salads are very popular – but never tasted lettuce like mine.  Grown from seed in the polytunnel.  Juicy, light, never bitter – a real cullinary delight!

[Above photo: Very small lettuces at the front, 4 x new tomato plantlings at the back.]

After Mum and I tasted the first batch of cherry tomatoes we knew home-grown IS BEST! so I grew 6 x more tomatoes from seed.  I’ll be sowing more toms and lettuces next month to try and keep the cycle going; hoping they’ll be fine in the sanctuary of the polytunnel.

The afore mentioned polytunnel gardening book has some great advice – especially for novice gardeners like myself – such as plucking just a few outer leaves of each lettuce until you have enough for dinner.  By doing this you encourage new growth and always have a few leaves over!  The lettuces have quite a long life cycle this way.

[Above photo: Chester my Jack Russell sniffs the flowers…tiny Straw Flowers (grown from seed) in a recycled acrylic box; and to the right, I recently treated myself to a fully grown raspberry bush – which is now residing near the polytunnel in the garden.]

[Above photo: at the back of the polytunnel.  The 2 x tall tomato plants are now producing fruit, but there’s never enough tomatoes.  To the right, a bag of 2 x cucumber plants.  They have really tiny cucumbers already, so frustratingly slow to grow tho.  Left and right, shelves of seedlings and baby plants…sweet peppers, chilli peppers, Straw Flowers, Acquilegas, Violas, blackberrys (not the mobile phone!), basil and dill herbs, more lettuces on the bottom shelves.]

Another tip I learnt from a member, Elaine, in the UK Veg Gardeners group, is to stick broken off bits of the tomato plant in the compost to grow more plants.  This does work!…I accidentally snapped off a long arm from one of the tom plants a fortnight ago, and the little plant is doing well.

[Above photo: cucumber plant.]

[Above photo: 2 x sweet peppers and a tiny blackberry.]

[Above photo: Straw Flowers in a bucket.]

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Copyright SteffNouveau 2011

More Gardening Bits: The Polytunnel GreenHouse

This year my wonderful fiance bought us a polytunnel greenhouse, one of those modern greenhouses with a plastic covering instead of the standard glass windowed type.  Cheaper, quicker to erect and doesn’t let the green inhabitants boil to death.  However, you do need to add extra weights to hold down the cover which can – and did in my case! – blow off in high winds.

Ours is at the end of the garden…

Like to come inside?

Not too much going on as can be seen in this photo…but that was taken a month ago.  In my next post I’ll show you how much further everything has got on, I am quite happily surprised myself  🙂

In the above photo there’s one tomato plant (established); 2 sweet pepper seedlings (pink pots, grown from seed myself, from sweet peppers from the supermarket); 1 bucket of mixed herbs, from seed, basil and dill; 1 bucket of a garlic bulb (unfortunately, this never took and really stank so I threw it away); bottom shelf, long planter with 2 smallish tomato plants and 2 TINY cucumbers (the poor cucumbers were ravished – in the horrible sense! – by invading slugs; and, although they are still alive today, the one is still trying to get past the trauma of the whole incident 😦   ); 1 large seed tray of blackberry and strawflower seeds.

[Above photo: sweet peppers – sprinkled with blue slug pellets.  Sorry slugs.  It was either you or my green babies.]

At this point – 1 month on – I’m almost running out of space!  And to think at the beginning, the 3 m x 2 m polytunnel seemed rather large and empty 😮

I really like my gardening shelves.  I might get another pair so I make better use of the space.  These shelves are now filled completely.

I love spending time inside the polytunnel.  It’s so peaceful.  I sit on an old ‘kick-along’ stool and pot away.

[Above photo: yep, I’m growing those too – now.]

Foolishly I thought that the invading slugs and snails could NOT get into the polytunnel, but how wrong was I!  Overnight I lost 2 baby lettuces.  I said to Mum, “er you know that offer you made…to sprinkle everything with your slug pellets…?”

[Above 2 photos: tomatoes were first grown in the bathroom as the polytunnel hadn’t arrived by then.  Below photo: poor ravaged cucumbers!]

Each day there’s different visiting insects.  One morning I spotted about 20 ladybirds.  They’re more than welcome to stay 😉

More often than not I get other visitors…like my Jack Russell, Chester.  One time I was sitting there, quietly content potting on and a rocket shot into the polytunnel: Chester had arrived home from her walk with Mum, and had obviously spotted me, with her keen eyes, at the end of the garden.  Oh, did that startle me though, haha.

[Above photo: the front of the polytunnel, whilst inside.  I don’t bother opening both zips of the door as access is just as easy – and less fussy – with just the one.]

The frame of which the polytunnel ‘plastic’ covers, is sturdy enough with poles that easily slot in – or out – of each other.  So if you go wrong, you can easily undo it.  It is recommended to dismantle this polytunnel during snowfall.  We don’t get much of the white stuff in Norfolk though, so I’d think it can stay up throughout the seasons.

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Copyright SteffNouveau 2011

Gardening Bits

Fairy Flowers (acquilega) are my passion! It started with a ‘mixed’ plant [1st photo] and one of ‘Black Barlow'[2nd photo], I’ve now got different seeds on their way.

Dazzling dahlias…

Sunflowers…

Red Japanese Maple…

Lemon thyme…

Lilly (no blooms), …………. , …………. , and dahlias mixed together.  Names to be added…

Strawberries…

More photos to follow…..

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Copyright SteffNouveau 2011

Piriformis Syndrome

Finally, I realise what this chronic pain is – Piriformis Syndrome.

After nearly four years of suffering – I believe this stems from physical trauma a few years earlier – my physio told me the name of the place in my thigh, where the pain goes shooting down.  “Femur.”  She mumbled.  In retrospect, she seemed to have said it like she’d had a revelation, which she was too startled to share…and now I know why.  Because as soon as I entered femur pain in the search engine and came up with sciatica pain, it then led to piriformis syndrome.

This physio has been looking after me for my chronic pain, on-and-off 3 years now, she should have known earlier about my femur pain.  She is a highly trained physio;  surely she already knew the existence of piriformis syndrome?  If so, then she and all the various GPs, surgeons and specialists I’ve seen had overlooked it – either they were not really listening, or not really caring, or had no idea that piriformis syndrome existed.

To her credit, my physio was the only medical professional who had detected the partial hip dislocations – of which happened a few times – and corrected it, by re-aligning my hips.  However, after re-aligning my hips, what I and my family couldn’t understand was, why was the pain still persisting?

I’d had blood and bone tests and x-rays, and ultrasonic scan.  Everyone agreed it must be sciatica, muscle pain.  But what is causing it?

I have trouble even resting my hand on that thigh (femur), and if one of my little dogs even jumps on that thigh it can trigger agony for the rest of the day.  Walking normal distances, with a normal gait, is out of the question: I have limited mobility as the pain levels sour as soon as I begin walking, resulting in inflammation and stiffness, which impacts my already slow gait to the speed of a snail!  Why don’t you walk normally? my physio asked, I told her what I just wrote here, adding that if I persist, I then experience shooting, lightning pains up and down my spine, buttocks, leg.  Indeed, on a few occassions I have fallen because of this.

It always feels like something is ‘knotted up’ inside, like it needs to be released.  Why else would the inflammation be happening?

Due to my chronic – relentless! – pain, my quality of life is poor.  I rarely go out now because it takes so much out of me.  When I do, I use a ‘stick’, and for longer distances, the mobility scooter my mum bought me.

I am denied disability benefit which would lead to a BlueBadge (disabled parking) as someone in the medical profession had wrongly informed them that I can walk long distances, albeit slowly!  I was shocked and angry at this news, the long awaited response of my disability claim, that arrived in October of last year.  I had to wait 5 months for that bit of news…about being called a liar and denied the help I need.  Double whammy.

Another thing which is certainly not helping is the size of my chest.  The added weight from my bust must further aggrevate my problem.  The NHS (National Health Service in the UK) says I am legible for the breast reduction but only if I reduce my weight…but how to lose 2 or 3 stone when you’re barely able to walk?!  At this point in my life I am unable to privately afford the OP at £7000.  In my case the reduction is definitely NOT cosmetic.

Below I’ve written some Q&A relating to piriformis syndrome.  If you suspect – or have already been diagnosed with this – I would love to hear from you.  As of yet, due to not knowing what I have, I haven’t met one person who has piriformis syndrome too.  I had been living till now with a ‘health problem’ with no name.

What is piriformis syndrome?  Muscle, piriformis: A muscle that begins at the front surface of the sacrum (the V-shaped bone between the buttocks at the base of the spine) and passes through the greater sciatic notch to attach to the top of the thigh bone (femur) at its bony prominence called the greater trochanter. The gluteus maximus muscle covers over the piriformis muscle in the buttocks.

The piriformis muscle takes its name from the Latin “pirium”, pear + “forma”, shape. It was thought to be shaped like a pear.

Piriformis syndrome:  It is due to irritation of the sciatic nerve caused by compression of the nerve within the buttock by the piriformis muscle. Typically, the pain of the piriformis syndrome is increased by contraction of the piriformis muscle, prolonged sitting, or direct pressure applied to the muscle. Buttock pain is common. The piriformis syndrome is one of the causes of sciatica.

The piriformis syndrome can cause difficulty walking due to pain in the buttock and lower extremity.

Why hasn’t one of my doctors or surgeons diagnosed piriformis syndrome?  According to my ‘net research, piriformis syndrome is often underdiagnosed.  (This reminds me of endometriosis, a disease which is also not at the forefront of medical minds).

How can I tell if I have it?  To be properly diagnosed, you must have a doctor examine you, usually by means of a rectal.

Treatment of piriformis syndrome pain –  NOT walking, but rest.  Pain killers and also the type of medicene to deal with the inflammation.  TENS machines and heat packs may help.

How to get better from piriformis syndrome – Special stretching exercises – ideally learnt from a good physiotherapist (this is where I can thank my physio) – not only to ease the pain, but to try to fix the over-stretched piriformis muscle.  Rarely, for severe cases, surgery is performed to relieve the pressure irritating the sciatic nerve. During surgical operations, the piriformis muscle is either thinned, elongated, divided, or removed.

Why doesn’t an MRI scan help identify piriformis syndrome?  An MRI only helps in identifying bones and muscles, it’s not able to detect certain ligaments and nerve tissue due to their fine density.  However, through a search on YouTube, I came across a surgeon in California, USA, who specialises in piriformis surgery and who says has pioneered the first ever piriformis scanner: MR Neurography www.neurography.com

Dr. Aaron Filler of the Institute for Nerve Medicine in Santa Monica, California (http://www.nervemed.com)

Dr Aaron Filler’s Blog.

click on diagram to enlarge

click on diagram to enlarge

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Copyright SteffNouveau 2011