Sewing room update

This is a very cold winter and we have found that heating this old house is turning out to be a very expensive experience. We mostly use a woodburner upstairs, which means it is lovely and warm there and still freezing cold downstairs. It is the same on the days we decide to use the heat pump instead of making a fire, but although the heat pump does the job upstairs it is very expensive to run

At first we considered installing a heat pump downstairs too, but when my husband retires we will be on a limited income and definitely would not be able to afford to run it upstairs and downstairs, it will simply be too expensive

So we decided to get a second woodburner downstairs in my sewing room. Of course I am very happy about this because the is my ‘hang out’ space with all my needlework stuff, a comfy chair, television, books and sewing machines and fabric. A very expensive one-off expense, but the payoff will be cheaper living costs in future winters.

The negative is that, because the sewing room is downstairs, immediately below the lounge, the flue had to be channeled through the lounge and we now have this big round black pipe running through the lounge area. On the positive side – when the woodburner is going downstairs the lounge will automatically be heated a little bit too. And because heat rises this could mean that we will only have to light both fires on extremely cold days. Or that is the theory 🙂

Does it look good with a flue running through the lounge, where there is already a woodburner? No, not necessarily, but we have to heat this place to have a comfortable and affordable life and the sacrifice had to be made. If this is where we will be in the future we had to do something about heating it and this was a good solution. I even think it could be a positive point when we eventually sell the place as it would suit a big family and they can use the sewing room as a children’s place. There are still plenty of other bedrooms left to fill with said children

I love my sewing room even more now as I can see myself all snug and warm, sitting in my chair with hand sewing, in front of the fire, watching perfectly good rubbish on the tv. With the cats enjoying the warmth with me (the sewing room turned out to be a ‘no man, no dog’ area)

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We will be hanging blinds in the window next to the woodburner as curtains could be a fire hazard.

The woodburner wiil not be used this winter as I am leaving for my trip to see the children in 3 sleeps’ time. Still can’t believe this is happening as it was a very late-minute decision to take the trip now. Friday we will drive over to Christchurch we the airport is (about 3 hours over the Southern Alps), then fly to Sydney, then Hong Kong and at this stage it seems Japan! After a few weeks in Japan and then Hong Kong it could maybe be New York, before leaving for Canada to visit my daughter. According to her I will be there for at least a month

I am potentially planning a little detour when in New York – maybe fly to Tampa, Florida and surprise an old primary school friends who lives there. We haven’t seen each other for nearly 50 years and I think it could be time for a catch up. We’ll see if this plan comes together

I have packed some hand appliqué blocks to sew a my daughter’s. This is for a cat quilt I was tempted to make. Once a month a block is released of this mystery quilt (The Little Red Hen’s Wooly Mysteries)  and the layout will be released in December. Seven blocks have been released already but I joined quite late and haven’t made a single block yet. In preparation to my trip I prepared all seven blocks, packed thread and needles and hope to come back home with completed blocks. The face details will be embroidered and the plan is to use small buttons for the eyes (Can’t believe I am making ANOTHER quilt!!!!!!)

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In the meantime I am up to date with the Splendid Sampler and the Sweetest Little Things QAL’s. I have made all the blocks released up to date. When I come back there will be two Sweetest Little Things blocks to make and quite a few for the Splendid Sampler.

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Checking 2018 goals

I had some goals for 2018 but basically forgot what they were. As I am preparing for a trip to visit my son in Hong Kong (and travelling with him to Japan, if flights are available, or somewhere else) and then to Canada to visit my daughter, I thought it might be a good idea to check whether the trip was actually on my list of goals 🙂

2018:

  • Have a market stall at least once. Sell dolls clothes – done, made no money, had fun, was tiring. Definitely not a career path I would like to follow
  • Weekly cleaning plan so that I don’t have to go in overdrive during weekends and clean like crazy. Do it ‘gently’ – this is actually working quite well, unless I find something new to sew for the week and then ……..
  • Finish the few sewing things that is half-done, or so close to being finished – work in progress but getting there
  • Improve my photography skills and participate in the Dogwood 2018 challenge. I joined the FB group and already planned the photo for week 1. But this is going to be hard as I have serious commitment problems – I am afraid my camera has not been picked up for weeks 😦
  • Smocking – yes, yes, yes! Yes, ongoing, still love it
  • Join the Rotary club. A friend, who is a member, invited me. I think I want to do this as I will meet new people, do some voluntary work. And get out of the house at least once a week. (Which is actually huge for me as I am a real home-body/hermit and can easily just stay home every single day)A goal not realised. I helped her to sell tickets to a fair for a couple of hours, was totally exhausted after that and decided I might not be able to commit to Rotary activities while struggling with fatigue
  • Finish this 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle I started a few days ago (a present from my youngest). It is very, very difficult and at the rate I am building at the moment it is going to take the whole year. I find myself staring at the pieces for hours at a time, hoping the one I want will just catch my eye. It doesn’t work that way……but I still stare – done ages ago, thank goodness. It was so distracting
  • Brush the cats on a more regular basis. They love it, and they love it when I spend time with them in the catio – OOPS 😦
  • Ride my bike more than 3 times in 2018. Easy target? As if. I was so motivated this year but find excuses without much thinking – raining so much; too cold; tired; knee sore…….so many excuses
  • Travel. This year I want to visit my daughter in Canada for a few weeks, and explore during the week when she is at work. Also visit my son in Hong Kong again, or meet him somewhere I haven’t been yet – YES!!!!!! It was on my list and in just over a week I am off. Starting with a one-way ticket as I have no idea how long I’ll be away
  • Seriously plan the trip to Antarctica – I dream of visiting Antarctica and have been dreaming about this for a long time – still dreaming about this
  • Research sleeping and try to find a way to sleep better. Not write a blog post at 3:18 am or buy fabric online – still not sleeping; still buying fabric online 😦
  • Buy less fabric, use what I have!!!!!!
  • Enjoy life, be grateful, have fun. Stop being so serious about everything. Stop being upset when the kids do not reply to my txt messages, although I know they are glued to their phones 24/7 – a work in progress, but in a positive way
  • Do the Autumn colours trip here in New Zealand which I have been planning for years, but every year something happen and I don’t do it. [2017 – sick. 2016 – sick. 2015 – Canada. 2014 – India. 2013 – plan to do Autumn colours trip to the south in 2014] – new puppy at that time, again it didn’t happen. Therefore 2018 – puppy. Maybe 2019?

Sneak peak…….bloomers

I am making little sets for a friend whose daughter is expecting twin girls later this year. Decided to use the same fabric for both sets and just smock with different colours, and use different coloured ribbons. For the first time I am deciding how to make the dresses based on the diaper covers (or bloomers, as I feel like saying). Here is a sneak peak of the beginning of the little sets 🙂 The front is smocked, with just elastic in the back

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Baby present

I find it difficult to make boy things and therefore it is always a challenge to put together a gift for a baby boy. Decided to make a nappy/diaper bag with lots of pockets and just add some diapers, knitted cardigan and booties (yes!!!!! I knitted those!) and a smocked romper.

Next time I will make the bag a bit bigger, but in general it is very practical. Hope the new mum loves it

Several years ago I bought a sewing magazine with a lovely smocked dress on the cover – I specifically bought the magazine because of the dress. At that stage I just couldn’t find the perfect fabric to use for this dress and the magazine was put away. And I totally forgot about it. A few weeks ago someone posted the cover photo in a smocking FB group and it reminded me that I always wanted to make the dress. Found the magazine and realised I now DO have the perfect fabric. And yes, it has been made and I am so glad I waited for the correct fabric. And so glad I bought this fabric last year because I wanted to use it for another dress, but it wasn’t right for that dress and I put it away. It all came together in the end 🙂

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Once again – biopsy time :(

It just seems as if my body has to try something new every single year. And of course, 2018 is another such a year. I’ve had this ‘spot’ on my arm for a long time, there is a similar one on my foot. Just a pale, flat spot. Two weeks ago the one on my arm came alive ……….swollen, red, itchy, bigger, angry. Every night I told myself to make an appointment to see the doctor, every day I ignored it. To be honest, I was scared and worried. Decided yesterday morning it cannot continue like this and called the doctor’s rooms. Living in a small town we often have to wait more than 2 weeks to see a doctor and I was emotionally prepared for that.

Nope, not Thursday – they could fit me in the same day. So off I went, and the spot was inspected with the bright lights and magnifier (I am sure there is some medical name for this but I didn’t ask). Next minute another doctor was called, another good look at the spot and decision made……….biopsy. So yes, here we go again. Hopefully the results will come back all good and that will be the end of the 2018 adventure

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I have been smocking quite a bit and sorted out the five little unmade dresses. Made sure I had all the bits and pieces together and decided to sew one of them. Really happy with the outcome. And the first dress to be labelled 🙂 Still have to make the buttonholes, but otherwise it is all done

A pregnant friend asked me to make her a nappy/diaper bag. Fabric and pattern have been sorted and this is on my to-do list for next week

Labels……..

label bag

I feel like a grownup, although I have been one for longer than I can remember. The reason? My own little logo and labels!!!!!! Yes, I now have a label to sew on the smocked dresses – with my own logo, the care instructions and ‘made in New Zealand’. I also have a smaller label with only my logo, to use on bags and other needlework. Oh, and I nearly forgot – teeny weeny little size labels for the dresses. No, I am still not going to sell the dresses, but it will be nice to get my name out there – a little girl will be wearing a smocked SP dress!!!!!

labels

This is not important to me, but it is nice to have it and I have been thinking about getting labels for a while. Shelley, at Labels by Shelley, designed the logo from a very basic idea I had. And I love what she has done. The good thing is that I can also use the logo as a watermark on my photography. See……. grownup stuff!!!