Thursday, 14 February 2019

Knock out!

Flu took me by surprise on Saturday night.

I don't mean a bad cold, I do mean flu.  I think I''ve only had it once before.   Saturday night was awful, I felt like a small child. Everything hurt and I had to decide whether it was more painful to have a dry throat or more painful to move and pick up the glass of water.

I couldn't get out of bed on Sunday, and I had a temperature of 103.   Even if I'd heard a fox, I'm not convinced I would have been able to get out of bed.  Luckily this wasn't put to the test.

I'm fortunate that DH kept me well supplied with drinks, temperature taking, and ibuprofen.  He also offered, at suitable intervals, food, cups of tea, and my phone/tablet, but I wasn't up to any of those.

On Tuesday, I got up, and ate something for the first time since Saturday. I answered a WhatsApp message.

On Wednesday I got up and stayed up.  I answered a couple of the other  messages.

DH brought home some allotment parsnips, and made parsnip soup. 

I'm up again today, and I feel OK, just a bit tired. I haven't managed to find the "..And Go" part of my "Get Up And Go".   I spent yesterday looking for it unsuccessfully.    Over the last two days I've done a few things, slowly.

I cleaned out the chooks, and found our first Garden Girl egg of 2019, laid by the lovely Fayoumi.  I sorted out the two spare nesting boxes; the Girls refuse to use them, they just like to complain about boxhogging by everyone else. Still, I like to offer them an alternative, and they can'thave the spare cube as I'm keeping that off limits. 

I sat on the swing in the garden, in the sunshine,  and fed sunflower seeds to the Girls.

I changed the bed, with DH's help.  I've done 4 lots of washing.    Today I tackled the  the things that needed fixing after several days neglect, but which I didn't want to do whilst I might still be buggy.     My Kimchi has been decanted into jars and put in the fridge.   The cabbage I bought for this week's Kimchi is now in the chickens.      I've changed the water on my sleeping water kefir.    I've changed the milk on my milk kefir.    I've fed my sourdough starters, and they are sitting on the worktop getting active.  I won't be attempting anything vaguely bready until tomorrow.  

I've vacuumed downstairs.   I've caught up on emails, and Faacebook, and stuff.  Mostly caught up. I've been reactive rather than proactive, and it's going to bite me on the bum.

I've looked at the piles of stuff on the cutting table, and chosen to walk on by.   I've told myself  I'll not do any sewing until  next week.  I'm hoping that this will take the pressure off me, stop me feeling guilty.

We had some parcels delivered, one of which was enormous.  DH asked if it was fabric,  and I was happy to tell him it wasn't, it was cat litter. I haven't ordered fabric for a couple of weeks! Ha!

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Momentum lost

Well, that didn't last long.

It feels like I've been unable to do anyting creative for a while, and I've been getting on my nerves.

Yesterday I wrote about it in my diary,  which was both cathartic and interesting.  It turns out that things are not always what they seem.

When I sat down and made myself think about what I've actually  been spending my time on, when I haven't been creating things, it wasn't as bad as I thought.

Not in actual sequence:  I cut and started to sew the replacement velvet top,  I had to wait until the skirt was done before I could continue.

I spent a lot of time on research.  I've been thinking about buying in some hatching eggs this year (as well as raising our own), and I went through my breed wish list.  I looked for possiuble suppliers.  I made a decision on one breed, and contacted a supplier to reserve eggs.    I've almost decided on a second breed,  and have been looking for suitable sellers.    The rest of my wish list has to stay on my wish list for now.  I made the decision to increase my garden flock by 2, assuming 2 suitable girls hatch.

DH has been doing some technical drawing, and he asked me to reconsider buying an A0 printer. It's been some time since I last considered this,  so   I've spent a lot of time researching suitable second hand printers. I've got the list down to a few now, and I'm still thinking about it.

I finally managed to obtain some second hand Kallax units to put in the guest bedroom (my sewing room).  I've been waiting for a particular shape to come up, locally, in a retired colour,  for what feels like forever (but was actually less than a month).   Units are now installed,  DH had to drill into the wall (which I didn't plan for, my beautiful smooth plastered wall!), and now all I need is a trip to I*** to get some more Drona boxes.

This resulted in some shunting around of furniture elsewhere, and I'm trying to get used to that.  I also learning about proper online auctions (not Ebay, I mean online auctions run by auction houses).  I knew that there was a hefty buyers premium on top of the sale price, and I knew VAT was charged on the hefty buyers premium.  What I didn't realise is that some of them charge VAT on the whole hammer price as well!  One of the auctions I was interested in ha a 16% buyers premium (plus VAT),  AND 20% VAT on top of everything (i've checked,  it's definitely VAT on the hammer price as well as VAT on the buyers premium).      Another one charged 29% buyers premium, but did not add VAT on the hammer price. 

Small Person came to stay overnight, which gave me a couple of hours to adjust her unicorn skirt. I sewed some clear elastic inside the elastic waistband (no pictures, annoyingly). I'm hoping it mightbe possible to remove it without destroying the waistband, so the skirt might last her a bit longer (if she wants it to).

I cleared the cutting table (which doubles as the kitchen table) enough to enable me to cut her two new pairs of leggings from fabrics of her choice.  I almost finished sewing one pair, but didn't finish before she had to go.

Kimchi (2), rye and wheat sourdough starters,
milk kefir, water kefir

I put my Water Kefir in the fridge to rest.  I made Kimchi, which was lovely and I'm making another batch today.  

I made some fab rye bread in the Ank.

I started some limes a-pickling, I'm planning to make some lime pickle. If I can find where I saved the recipe.   I'm going to make goats milk yoghurt today.

I'm glad that I made  myself think about the detail, rather than wallowing in my perception of my inability to get on and do

I just need to harness this right now, while I feel energised.

I'd better go and get started.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Clever lads

I can't remember if I shared a pic of the castle my uncle C made?   He finds bits of tree, and then turns them into amazing, detailed, unique, creations.   I've had mine for about a year now.

Dust, and dusting, was a problem. We tried to find a suitable case, the sort of thing stuffed objects sit in,  but these were mostly round based.    DH decided that making somethign was the answer.   The next time we saw Darling Uncle, they had a chat about it, as DU had obviously faced this problem before.

DH bought some bits and  and had a go with a small example (big enough for a tea light).  That came out well, so he decided what shape to do, calculated the size of the pieces.  Some time later, he got enthusiastic enough to give it a go,    got the glass (and the wood for the base) and spent quite some time building it.
He's a clever boy.  They're both clever lads.


I've been motivated enough to make a few things, and I've managed to keep the momentum going despite some challenges.

The easy things first.    My embroidery machine, Emma, and I made birthday cards for Small Person and DGD4.   The bunny was a bought design, one I've had earmarked for DGD4 for a while.  I used metallic thread, and Emma stitched beautifully.
 Small Person's design was based on a drawing she did for me just before Christmas.  The amazing Meryl, of MerylMakes,  digitised it for me.
Once again, Emma stitched faultlessly.  It's all down to the hoop support arm I bought her,  I wish i'd listened to myself and bought it months ago!

Next up was clothes sewing.   I made a couple of raglan sleeve tops (Pattern 4 Pirates, Jolly Roger Raglan). Sorry about the rubbish photos,  the clothes look much better in real life!

These were amazingly easy to make, and I hope she likes them enough to want me to make her some more!

DGS2 is coming to stay at Easter and, if he's still interested in sewing, I might suggest he makes one of these for himself.

Next up was my Big Project . I decided to make Small Person a dress for her birthday, using the unicorn duvet cover I bought months ago.    I couldn't find a pattern that was exactly what I wanted and  I ended up making a separate skirt and top. This was so that I could, in future,  make several different tops to go with the skirt.

It was a bit of a painful journey, and it isn't over yet.  The skirt was reasonably OK.  I used a Tadah Tea Party pattern because I wanted something really, really  really full. Annoyoingly, it only goes up to age 8 (when most of their patterns go up to age 10).     It also had to be extra long because I'd bought a tulle underskirt too.  I did the necessary adjustments,  and it was OK, although I ended up with a lot of fabric to try and cram into the waistband elastic.    The skirt took so much fabric that there was miles of rolled hemming to be done, and I pressed, pressed, pressed so that it looked fab.  It

It looked fab sitting on June the Duplicate, like a rockabilly type skirt.  

The top was a nightmare.  I had a large quantity of purple stretch 'velvet', and I wanted to use that.  It was already lined, so I didn't want to make a lined top.  This meant I needed a neckband and sleeves.   The first top, I stuffed up on the sleeves.   I'd also made lots of small errors, so I was happy to make it again from scratch  anyway.  

The second version  was better during consruction, I can't remember what went wrong with that actually, although I know it was near the end.     The third attempt was looking good, but I managed to irrevocably chew up the neckline.  Fortunately, I had decided to put the neckline on as soon as possible in construction,  so that if I did stuff up, I wouldn't have wasted all the rest of the work.  I'm going to do this from now on.

I ran out of time, so I took the incomplete top with me to try on with the skirt.  She seemed to really like it.   The skirt waistband was too big.  I expect I can try and fix it with some clear elastic (or a pair or braces).   Because it was hanging on her hips,  the topwas too short.  I quite like it sleeveless though, so I might cut another version of the pattern and make the next one without sleeves.
It was a little frustrating, but each time I made a new version, the top improved. I'm seeing her in a week or so, so hopefully I can get that done and dusted. 

I do wish I'd taken the time to do a Surefit blueprint of her, and I think I will take the time to do that next school holiday.

With that out of the way, I decided to try making an infinity scarf with hidden zipper pocket for my mum. She sometimes finds it hard to carry and handbag, but needs to carry tissues and stuff, and a scarf seemed like it might work for her.

I ordered some fluffy fabric, with a design on that I knew she'd like, but  which I hadn't realised had no stretch.  I also hadn't read the instructions before ordering,  it seems I need 2 yards of fabric - 2 yards! -  and I'd only bought 1.

I also wanted to make my version from two contrasting fabrics, rather than one extra wide piece folded, but that was easy enough to accommodate.  

I followed the instructions and video tutorial from Patterns for Pirates, and this also didn't go to plan.

Version 1:  I cut and sewed two lots of fabric to get to 72 inches long.   I followed the instructions, made the pocket, and managed to create something.  I wasn't happy with the way the zip sat,  and I wasn't happy with the unfinished edges inside the scarf.   I loved the fabric choice I'd made though. I decided to make again

Version 2:  I made this slightly narrowerI made a much better job of constructing this, finishing my seams, pressing, blah blah.  I still wasn't happy with the way the zip sat, so I thought about how to do it better. I watched a video tutorial from  Made Every Day about putting a zip in a dress, and decided that would give me the finish I wanted.

I'd run out of the fluffy fabric at this point. I decided to make Version 3 from stretchy fabric, which would also mean that I could make it shorter (and therefore more practical).    Once again I went for two fabrics.  One was a lovely soft grey jersey, which would be lovedly against the neck; the other was a really pretty black and silver sparkly fabric, which was reasonably thick and looked like the edge would hold up.

 This time, it came out pretty well.  The zip closure was much more neat and 'finished', and it sits well on the edge of the scarf.
Lovely zip pocket.

Lovely fabric on both sides
 I've posted it off, and I hope she likes it.

I was hoping to average making 3 items a month this year , and when I set myself that challenge I decided that items I'd made but stuffed up at the last minute (I call them 'OFFS ' - oh for !*! sake ) might still count.   I also decided to try and see each of my OFFS ) as something positive to learn from rather than confirmation of my uselessness at sewing.   

In January so far I've made 5 items (2 cards, 1 of the raglans, 1 skirt, 1 scarf) plus 3 OFFS (2 of the 3 velvet tops,  and 1 of the scarves).

Two weeks in and it's working well so far.