Something is happening to me as I get older. I am slowing down. I don’t mean in the physically ageing sense but in a more philosophical way, in the way I approach life. I have more patience now for certain things than I did when I was in my twenties or thirties, or even my early forties. Take sewing for example.

I started making things in my teens. An elderly friend of my mothers had given her an old tin full of sewing paraphernalia and some oddments of fabric. I remember following a pattern from an old magazine and on the hand crank Singer that my mother owned but never used, I made a little duffle bag and a matching ‘smoking cap’ style hat out of a remnant of deckchair fabric. I used the bag a few times but I don’t think I ever had the confidence to wear the hat outside of my bedroom but what I liked about that first project was the speed at which I was able to bring those functional items into existence.

That was around the same time I got my first job as a Saturday girl in a soft furnishings shop. One morning I was tidying the remnant basket and found some scraps of plain glazed cotton. I remember distinctly there was some peach, a minty green and a denim sort of blue. I asked my boss how much they would be with my staff discount applied and she let me have them for nothing! In my lunch hour I nipped to the haberdashery store round the corner and bought a couple of metres of elastic and not being the sort of teen who had a bustling social life, I spent my Saturday evening making hair scrunchies in my room, listening to Pink Floyd.

Those first teenage projects all had one thing in common. They were fast makes that I completed in one sitting. Even the first skirt I made was run up in an hour or so, no pattern, just some fabric and a bit of elastic for the waist. I liked the instant gratification of being able to finish something in one sitting and that didn’t change for a good few years. I made pull on trousers and bloomers for my kids because they were quick and easy. I made a few pairs of pull on trousers for myself for the same reason. Anything else seemed far too complicated so I didn’t bother trying. I made the curtains for our house and I did cross stitch but even the time that took frustrated me! It wasn’t until my fourth daughter was on the way that I started experimenting with making other things and by the time she was born I had an Ebay shop selling bunting, baby bibs, kids t-shirts with motifs appliqued on, Christmas stockings and very crude versions of the hand stitched cards that I still make and sell now. But I still wouldn’t make anything I couldn’t finish in one sitting!

Then life started to get complicated for one reason or another and I found that more and more often I was having to abandon a project for days, weeks or sometimes months before I could see it through. More often than not the half finished things got tossed, either into the bin or back into the fabric stash waiting to be ripped apart and made into something else. Eventually I was able to pick an abandoned project up and continue on with it and what a revelation that was. It meant I could prep more complex multiple items for selling for a start! By this time I had opened my first Etsy shop and my confidence was growing. But life wasn’t straightforward and over the years I shut up shop, started another, moved to Folksy, back to Etsy (and all the other platforms in between that sprung up and have since folded!), had creative droughts and crises in confidence. I have recently emerged from such a period and this time I have been able to simply pick up where I left off with all the unfinished projects.

There is something very freeing about being able to put down and pick up. I’m sure there are many creatives out there who have always been able to do this but for me it has been an important stage in my creative evolution. Apart from a few cross stitch kits and my Strawberry Thief tapestry I have really struggled to go back to things, but now I actually have multiple projects on the go and I’m quite enjoying the flexibility of being able to choose whether to knit, embroider or baste and sew hexies together when I have space in the day for it. I love that crafts I once felt were beyond me are now open to me, like patchwork for example. My youngest has just taught herself to crochet and I no longer see it as a craft other people do but as another one for me to pick up when I’m ready. Hand sewing patchwork pieces together was once something other people did and I never thought I would even give it a try! Now I fully understand the virtues of slow stitching anything. My mantra has changed from ‘machine it if you can’ to ‘can I do that by hand’.

It’s been a varied week here. The weather has turned chilly again so I’ve not been able to sit outside, but my mood had lifted considerably this week. I say ‘had’ because my hormones got the better of me last night and made a bad situation worse, but the less said about that the better. I never thought I’d hear myself say it but I can’t bloody wait for the Menopause. Middle age hormones are worse than teenage hormones! Nobody ever tells you that do they? Anyway as I was saying, lifted mood and all that. I caught up with some much needed cleaning at the beginning of the week and did my usual trip over the border into North Yorkshire to drop off some shopping for my eldest. She is autistic and can’t cope with people wearing face coverings so supermarkets are a no go for her at the moment. I had an extra little something to drop off for her this time that I had made. Some reusable cleansing pads.

A while ago I started looking at the disposable things we use, trying to figure out more environmentally sound alternatives. I’ve always done this really but a couple of years ago with all the talk of microplastics I started putting fresh eyes on it. One of the things my daughter was using at the time was those little round cotton wool pads for cleansing her face, so I made her some washable ones from a brushed cotton pillowcase. They were okay but after a few washes they lost their softness. I have recently been making myself some reusable sanitary towels with a lovely soft bamboo fleece and was left with some offcuts so I made my daughter a few more cleansing pads. They are much softer than the others I made so I think she is happy with them.

Also at the beginning of the week I spent a bit of time looking over my shops and trying to get my head around the changes that have come into play since my Etsy shop was last open for business. I used to ship internationally, in fact most of my customers were outside of the Uk, but when I set up the little shop attached to this blog I set the shipping to ‘Uk only’ to buy myself a bit of time while I got to grips with it all and applied for an EORI number. It turns out getting the number is the easy bit. Understanding how, when, where to use it and how it affects customers is quite another and I’m afraid I won’t be offering shipping outside the Uk until I am confident I know what’s what.

On Wednesday my 19 year old and I went for a short walk in the park. They have chronic anxiety and during the whole of the pandemic they have probably only left the house a handful of times. But the cherry blossoms coaxed them out into the fresh air and we saw goslings too which is always a delight. We counted eight of them but you can only see five in the shot which is terrible quality because I had to zoom in so we didn’t disturb them.

Cherry blossom

Wednesday and Thursday were quite productive on the craft table. My youngest took delivery of some more yarn for the jumper she is making (I’m going to tell you about that soon) and I had added a few balls of cotton for making dishcloths to the order. By the end of Thursday I had finished one (badly) and started another. Most knitters can probably roll these out with their eyes closed but it turns out I need a counter just to keep track of whether I’m on an increase/decrease row or not. Told you my working memory is rubbish. Just in case it’s not obvious, I didn’t use the counter for the first cloth. The lime green one is already looking neater.

knitted dishcloths

I’ve also been making a few hexies. The Liberty fabric ones are being made up into a couple of pin cushions to gift to some friends and the Laura Ashley ones are for my vintage bedspread. The bedspread is actually the first EPP project I ever started, which was a couple of years ago now. I’m a slow worker. Still haven’t finished the dog by the way.

Liberty hexies
Vintage Laura Ashley hexies

Today is Friday and it’s raining, heavily. I’ve just had a text telling me my Forsythia is being delivered today but I don’t think I’ll be planting it out today. I’ve also got a new camera battery arriving this afternoon so the quality of my photographs here on the blog might start to improve soon. My phone camera isn’t awful but it isn’t great either. It’s the only thing I miss about a having a high end phone.

So that was my week in a nutshell. That’s two weeks in a row now where I’ve bunged everything into one post at the end of the week! How has your week been?

Not much to report on the sewing front this week. I’ve been feeling rather tired and my mood has been dipping again. Things have been unintentionally garden focused, which is no bad thing. On wednesday I took delivery of a little Lavender plant for the garden. It’s a variegated variety called Platinum Blonde and I’m not sure why I chose it because I’m not fan of variegated leaves on anything. I think I just wanted it to be different from the one we already have which was a wedding present from a friend four years ago. And purely by chance, the new one arrived on our wedding anniversary. How’s that for serendipity!

I don’t have much room for line drying here, so the washing hangs on a line down the length of the garden at an angle, which means the washing hangs partially over the planting. I’m thinking that once the Lavender plants have grown a bit bigger then the sheets might waft across the tops when it’s in flower and make the garden (and the sheets) smell lovely! By the way if you’re wondering why the four year old Lavender is still so small it’s because it’s been through a lot including severe neglect and a house move, but it’s getting there.

The other garden news this week is that we now have a parasol so I can sit outside without getting burned to a crisp. I had been looking at those sail things and trying to figure out how to anchor one to the walls, but then I discovered that half parasols were a thing. Perfect! Now I can sew and write blog posts in the garden.

I’m thinking some seat pads for the chairs might be one of my next sewing projects and perhaps a table cloth to pretty things up a bit. And some bedding plants for some colour are definitely required! The reason the border is so bare is because I wanted to give veg a chance when we first moved in but the shade and slugs made things virtually impossible so I’ve given up and have decided to fill it with some perennial herbs and a few favourite shrubby things.

I’ve also repurposed this bit of artwork of my daughter’s. The metal eye was part of a project from her set design degree and she’s happy for me to reincarnate it as a garden ornament. I will move it to the wall next to the back door eventually but there were already some nails in the wall where it is now so that’s where it will stay until I get my tool kit out.

How has your week been?