Easter Bunnies.. the fabric kind

Ellen has just left after another very busy weekend of decorating and decluttering. Thankfully that is everything inside the house done so the next time she visits we can just have fun! We did spend part of this morning buying supplies for her latest crafting project. It is her birthday on Tuesday and as she has been making these adorable Luna Lapin rabbits and clothes I bought her some more Liberty fabric and some new books.

She already has the original book Luna Lapin by Sarah Peel and has made this adorable rabbit and clothes for her. Look at the wonderful detail on the dress with its little lace cardigan and the so cute winter dress and red coat!

For her birthday I bought her Sewing Luna’s Friends. I have just ordered one of these for me as well as an end of term, add to stash gift 🙂 I have always loved making fabric dolls so am looking forward to making these and the little clothes as some point. I love all the detail in the outfits with the lace and pintucks.

This outfit is one of my favourites, partly because of the little Liberty quilt.

I also ordered her the other Luna Making New Friends book as well, look at the cuteness of the squirrel and reindeer here!

She needed some felt to make the squirrel, fox and badger so we found some excellent supplies here at Billow Fabrics on Ebay, who I have used before for lovely Liberty supplies.

I am very much looking forward to the next three weeks, the last teaching (ever!) has been done and I am going to have a busy but enjoyable time. Hopefully the weather will be nice as I have outdoor painting and planting to do, and am praying that the sheep don’t come and eat my just about to bloom tulips before the house goes on the market 🙂 There may well be some crafting time as well, and the final, final re-write of the doctorate!

Here’s hoping and praying that the transition to more normal life goes smoothly as well. It has been a very good week for the family, with my finishing teaching, and Jacob having his contract renewed for another year in Japan, so fingers crossed our good luck will continue.

Hope that things are going well wherever you are and that you have a good week ahead. Take care, stay safe, have fun and thanks for visiting.

The value of reflection

As a teacher, and a teacher trainer for 15 years, I use and teach about reflection and its value, and have always enjoyed learning from my experiences. Like many other people, I have been thinking a lot about the last year as we come up to the first anniversary of the UK lockdown.

One of the reasons why I love having a blog is that it allows me to look back on my past makes, trips and life in general. One of the practical advantages is that I can always find where I sourced things from, but also it serves as a reminder of all of happy times. Unlike a diary, this blog is not about everything that happens, but the public facing positive things in my life

I have been reminded of the value of reflecting this week twice, once by my very good friend Sarah, whose blog I read this morning. She has written about her year here, and many of the things that she says I can very much relate to. She writes about her appreciation of living here in Marsden, with the beautiful countryside on our doorstep, and the advantages of not having to commute to work.

I am eagerly awaiting lambing time so I can go and see the little cuties like this one last year. Hopefully the weather will be beautiful again so we can go for lots more walks as well.

Like me Sarah’s life has changed a lot. She works at a university, in addition to being a GP, so she too has been working from home a lot. We have shared the frustrations of not being able to talk to colleagues easily, and missing the things we took for granted a year ago, like going to conferences and just spending time with people.

She has also completed far less projects than she thought she would this past year, and I can share that feeling as well, where did all that extra time go? I think for me, a lot of it went into thinking, and into connecting with others. I have certainly spent for more time talking to relatives and friends this year, on the phone and video calls, just reassuring each other that it would be ok in the end.

Early on in the lockdown I started taking part in a research project, I can’t actually remember how I found about this, maybe through an Instagram or blog post? It was run by Naomi Clarke, someone who I previously had come across as a crafter as she is an avid paper piecer. The project was called Crafting During Coronavirus and the involvement was to keep a diary for a number of weeks, recording what I was doing and how I was feeling. This is part of her PhD work on why people sew.

I really enjoyed being involved in this, I have kept diaries many times before, and being a diary, and only for Naomi to read it was good to be able to write about some of my frustrations of that time. I re-read them recently and we were all trying to get to grips with online teaching over the summer and feeling totally out of our depths. I have become quite adept at it all now, not that I want it to continue but feel very proud that I managed to get my head round all that complex stuff that was introduced last summer.

Naomi contacted me again this week, with another part of the project, which is to create a postcard to my past self. It is to be a crafted postcard so I think I should definitely make it using Liberty. One of my little lockdown treats has been spending what would have been travel to work money on more beautiful fabric like these from Duck Egg Threads.

I think it will have to be hexagons as well as you know how I love them. Not that I have done much paper piecing this year at all, that is one of the things that has not been achieved, overtaken by Barbie couture and Little Cotton Rabbits knitting! These are some of my favourite hexagon creations, made some years ago for Yarndale, so I think the postcard will have to be linen and Liberty.

She has asked us to think about what we would say to our past selves, from our current selves, knowing what we know now. Being a huge fan of any time travel time type stories I have been thinking a lot about what to write. Almost a year ago on the 21st March I wrote a blog post about the start of lockdown. I titled it ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’

I think that what I wrote then still is very true today, but even more so. I consider myself so lucky to have all of my wonderful friends and family, who have been so supportive over the past year. There have been some lovely times, like going to Whitby and Northumberland with Ellen, and Aysgarth with her and Jacky. I will put that in the postcard, along with the power of positive thought and prayer.

My focus in that post, then as now, was on crafting. The immense comfort that I have had from knitting, sewing and embroidering over the past year cannot be underestimated. I know others feel the same, judging by the amount of knitted animals that have been created in the last year on the Little Cotton Rabbits Facebook page. This Egbert, who I finished last July, wearing the first set of striped jumper and dungarees. I am now on my third jumper so have really got to grips with top down knitting.

My stressful meetings, complex concerns about the job and the students, and worrying about my family, don’t completely go away when I craft but it makes it all so much easier to bear. The blog also serves as a useful reminder that I have failed so far to use any of the fabric that I bought on that trip that I posted about last March for Barbie dresses. I have made lots, as you know, including these two made at the very start of lockdown, but just not with that fabric. Oh well, at least it doesn’t go off, does it!

My plans for this weekend are to finish another striped jumper for a little animal and to create the fabric postcard. I also have lots of little DIY tasks to do, Ellen will be up again next week the last weekend of decorating, then it will only be a couple of weeks of finishing touches before the house goes on the market. Exciting times 🙂 What is even more exciting is the Easter holidays, I am not promising much in the way of crafting, due to the house prep, but you never know.

I hope that you are having a nice weekend and that things continue to be positive in the weeks ahead as well. It is strange to think that we may be on the way to a more normal life. I was sat in a friend’s garden this week, in the sun, having a cup of tea. Over a year ago that would be commonplace but I was so grateful just to be able to be there and have a chat with her. It is, as always, the little things that make a difference.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Back to life, back to reality…

I have been lucky enough to have the first of my vaccines, so far no ill effects at all. Here in the UK the vaccine rollout is going well and we are all hoping that it really can be a case of getting back to normal life really soon. Our plans for Easter still look like they will go ahead and we are starting to see more confirmation of other possible events later in the year.

I am also very near the end of my teaching, only two more sessions and that will be it, nearly 35 years of teaching over. In a way that will mean I can go back to having a more realistic life as well, I have really not enjoyed sitting in front of a computer all day, spending a lot of time in virtual sessions with no interaction. Teaching has always been a very social job and I have loved the human side of getting to know my students. I am looking forward to having a life where I am not staring at a screen all of the time and spending more time with actual humans!

We have been doing yet more decorating (nearly finished) and are getting down to the final touches before the house goes on the market! Exciting yet slightly scary times! I have no idea what the rest of the year is going to hold, or where I am going to be so it is all a big adventure. I am finally able to start driving lessons in April so that is the first step to freedom and adventure. Hopefully I will get over to Spain at some point as well so I shan’t be completely homeless 😉 Although I am quite looking forward to a bit of a van life adventure of my own, after so many years watching vlogs of other people’s.

There has been a bit of progress on both the Barbie wardrobe and the knitting, this dress below is another for my great-niece and is made to fit my gorgeous curvy Alexa. The skirt is from an charity shop shirt that has been in my stash for some time. Such pretty fabric and as you can see I had fun with embellishment!

I made this one a wrap around back so that I could use velcro to fasten it. This makes it a little off centre but I thought it might be easier for little hands.

I deliberately set aside the whole of the weekend as a sofa and TV watching one, various friends who have had their vaccine have felt very ill so I planned to do nothing at all. I have therefore had a lovely time so far, reading, watching old TV series (Space 1999) and working on another top down jumper from Little Cotton Rabbits.

The first one of these I knitted a while ago totally confused me, I could not see how such a long straight row of knitting could ever become a jumper but it is, as one of the Facebook group described, ‘marvellous engineering’, and once you start on the sleeves it all becomes clear. They are seamed underneath which forms the sides of the body, making it a lot easier to put together. This will go with a lime green pair of dungarees and green and orange trainers for a bunny for a friend’s grandchild.

I want to make a cute cardigan next, I have been inspired by all the gorgeous Easter bunnies that are being knitted on the Facebook group at the moment, look at these by Heather Harrison, adorable!

I really need to get out and do some gardening, Ellen and I bought some lovely plants for the hanging baskets last weekend but it has been dreadful weather all week, hail and sleet, and today is not much better. Oh well. nothing else for it but to stay under the fleece on the sofa and carry on knitting. I discovered a new series on Netflix last night, ‘The One’, which is very gripping so will continue with that and hopefully finish the jumper today.

I hope that you are all having a good weekend wherever you are and have a very good week ahead. Mine will no doubt go very fast, time seems to be whizzing by at the moment. Take care, stay safe, have fun and thanks for visiting.