I’ve reached my full potential…….

When my daughter was in high school, the comment for Maths in one of her school reports read ‘……. has reached her full potential in Mathematics…..’ I wasn’t very impressed with this comment as I thought it was telling her she doesn’t even have to try as she will never do better. I was actually really angry. Yes, she wasn’t good at Maths, but she was/is really good with languages and did well in her other subjects

I am taking part in a Hardanger SAL. It is something I really wanted to do my whole life and was very glad about this opportunity. The first coouple of steps were hard for me and I had to start over many times. but I got it right in the end. The rest wasn’t too hard and I had to unpick less. Because life happened I couldn’t finish the steps for last week. Yesterday I picked it up again, hoping to catch up before the next tutorial. I struggled to get my ‘eye’ and ended up putting it down. Today, with better light, I picked it up again. Halfway through I noticed I made a mistake and this of course meant I was out and things didn’t line up. But I did quite a bit of stitching before I noticed.

I’ve put it down.

I admire hardanger work, I admire those who can do it, especially now that I know it is actually quite easy to get it wrong. But I have not been enjoying the process and I believe that neeldework must be enjoyed to make sense in my life. Therefore my hardanger journey is over. I will use the fabric and thread for something else. At least I can say I gave it a go

I have decided that I have also now reached my full potential.

Note: before retirement I was head of department for my subject area. We appointed a new teacher to teach a couple of classes and yes, it was my daughter’s old Maths teacher. When report writing time arrrived I took him aside and reminded about the comment he made about my daughter’s Maths ability. I made it very clear to him that no such comments will be made to any students by him again……….after many years he apologised.

Advertisements

2019 ideas

I actually think this is the first time I write ‘2019’ anywhere, and it is already the 10th of January! Yes, it is here. It arrived quietly in our house where everyone went to bed around 10 ish. I was awake at midnight to send messages to my children spread all over the world, and to family in South Africa

The year started with us giving the lounge and computer room a good clean. We washed the carpets, washed windows, polished everything, the new curtains (which I bought early in 2018) went up. Rubbish into the rubbish bags. It looks sparkling clean there. I then gave the kitchen a good clean too, although it is one room I like clean and tidy all the time

My ideas/plans for 2019:

  • Breadmaking! I want to bake bread and bread rolls and everything bread related and would love to do it at least once a week. I have never really been into breadmaking and used the breadmaker for dough for ‘vetkoek‘, a yummy SA dish I make about once a year. We love having it with mince meat, mustard and tomato sauce. But this year I want to bake bread in the oven. Mix it in the breadmaker, but bake in the oven. Of course, as it happens when you plan stuff like this, the breadmaker decided it’s not on and stopped working. I ordered a new one and it should be here tomorrow. Tomorrow morning I am going to get the ingredients for a basic white bread and bread rolls
  • Sew underwear. Since my breast cancer journey my breasts are quite uneven and I find it hard to find comfy bras. I tend to wear bralettes now, but they are not really very pretty. And I love pretty undies. No, I am definitely not going to attempt a fancy bra!!!!! But I have found several bralette patterns and tutorials which I am keen to try.
    I have also found several easy panty patterns, different styles and plan to try those as well. And when I decide which ones are the most comfy, after trying all these patterns I am going to make myself really pretty underwear sets. I started thinking about this last year already and bough stretchy lace and knit fabric for the big undie sewing year 🙂
  • I am going to sew for myself! I need new tops and  have several patterns I want to try out. My fabric is ready, just need the courage. When my children were small I made all their clothes, as well as my own. But life happened and I just didn’t get to it for many years. Not sure how well it will go, after so many years of not sewing for myself I have lost a bit of self-confidence
  • Sell online. Last year I tried one market, I didn’t enjoy the experience and do not even want to think about it again. But I have joined a FB group where members sell their goodies. It is open to the public, but they have quite strict rules to sell. Luckily my stuff past the test, my care labels are ready. I added my advert for Reading Pillows a couple of days ago and basically immediately received my first order. The pillow has been made, it has been paid for and will be posted tomorrow. Eventually I am going to add dolls clothes and other bits and pieces. But there is no rushIMG_3289.JPG
  • Hardanger. Yes, this is the year. Kathy, a fellow blogger is developing an online course/tutorial to follow as a SAL. My materials are ready. I am ready 🙂 Can’t wait!
  • I also hope to finish my SS2 quilt. Still 7 blocks to complete, then crochet the border rows. It won’t take long to complete, I think if I set aside a week and make a block or two everyday I can get it done quickly. I planned from the beginning to make a 7×7 quilt and I am happy with the size. Mollie is happy with it too
    img_3046
  • Finish the Honeybee quilt. The last block will be released this month, with instructions on how to complete the quilt in February. I should be able to have a completed quilt by the end of February. It is such a pretty design
  • Make cloth shopping bags. Here in our town there are no more plastic shopping bags at the supermarkets and we must take our own bags/boxes/container. I found a lovely pattern for shopping bags. It even has a lining which will make them stronger. The plan is to use cheap, but strong, calico
  • Make machine covers for my sewing machines. I do sew a lot, but there are times when, for example, my embroidery machine is not used. I am going to make pretty machine covers for the embroidery machine, the sewing machine, the serger and the cheap sewing machine

img_3232

I have a long list of things I want to sew, some in the above list, but many just random ideas or patterns I want to try out. I want to embroder the shopping cloth bags, I want to embroider the machine covers before making the covers. I need a new bag for my Hardanger supplies as I gave the one I made for myself away. I am busy making touletry bags for my daughter and her partner, to be mailed to Canada. I also want o make my daughter a zipped infinity scarf, to be mailed with the toiletry bags. I want to smock and make a rainbow dress. Maybe a rag quilt………

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)

roomroom1room2

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!!!!!!)

IMG_0742

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.

Um, um and yep, nope, maybe………

I embroidered a pair of booties to go with a little romper, for a pregnant friend. After lots of umming and yep and nope I decided I wasn’t 100% happy with those and embroidered a new set of booties this weekend

These are the first ones, but I decided it wasn’t done well enough to be gifted

IMG_0011

Now I am happy and the set will be gifted to the pregnant mum this weekend. These are the new booties and they are perfect!

IMG_0128

I have smocked for a very long time and still enjoy doing it. Wish I knew years ago how well the smocking and the embroidery done on the embroidery machine would compliment each other

Busy smocking weeks

The weather has been quite miserable here, with lots of rain, and it is getting cold. I am also still (trying) toilet-training a puppy and therefore decided to just spend time in the sewing room which allowed me to keep a close eye on her

One of the students I taught about 10 years ago is expecting a little baby boy and I made some rompers so that I can give her one for the new baby. I had enough fabric for four rompers and decided to use all the fabric, instead of saving the rest for another day

IMG_0080

I’ve had my eye on a specific smocking plate for a long time and decided it is time to use it on white batiste fabric. It was supposed to be a little dress but the fabric decided it wanted to be a top, with pink under it. I love the little flowers on the smocking, it is such a dainty little top

The toilet training is very hard!!!!! I have to remind myself she is still a baby and to be patient. But personally I think people of a certain age should not be allowed new puppies. She is such a bright, sweet little thing and although she doesn’t understand about going outside if needed, she can ‘sit’ and ‘come’ on command

IMG_0085

 

Sidetracked again!

After making some key fobs and pencil toppers for the market stall, I once again got sidetracked and embroidered blocks to make a tote bag for a friend. I used the embroidery machine to embroider 12 ‘Fashion Girls’ which will go around the bag to form  big pocket. The great thing is that these are embroidered with 3 layers – 2 fabric and 1 batting. I just had to sew it together. It looks so neat and tidy

img_2888.jpg

Why haven’t I bought a machine years and years ago?

Chicken scratch embroidery

A few years ago – 4? 5? 6? I’m not even sure – I saw chicken scratch embroidery on gingham and I liked it a lot. I then managed to find a book with projects and the ‘how to’ and started embroidering an apron

But I found it a bit boring after a while and packed it away. This morning I woke up and realised my body is having a ‘tired’ day. I needed something I could do without thinking, and without using energy and remembered the apron. And that is what I am doing today – and I am actually quite enjoying it

IMG_2770

Of course I am thinking about embroidering a design on it with the embroidery machine too, might even try appliqué, not sure yet. I still think chicken scratch is pretty