not a brand that aligns with my values

I’m on the mailing list of Don’s preferred brand of unmentionables. They’re one of those annoying companies who email pretty much daily.

All week they’ve been pimping a 25% off everything sale. And Don being in need of supplies, I pulled the trigger on a reasonably substantial purchase on the last morning of the sale.

That afternoon, less than 10 hours after my purchase, the brand emailed advising that now everything was 50% off.

I hate being *that* person, but I was so infuriated that I sent a strongly worded email expressing my disappointment. Much like daily emails**, I really loathe this marketing approach. For every customer that is delighted to save 50%, you’ve got another one who feels like an idiot because they fell for the last day of a 25% off sale. And who is really motivated not to buy from you again.

2904 days

xxx

** Yes, I really should unsubscribe

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start catching some in the shower

This morning I was amazed to find it had rained ever-so-briefly.

Perhaps TheUniverse preemptively weeping for the UK election result?

Proper rain is not forecast until (I think) February and Level 2 water restrictions started this week. This means hoses are banned for most things and we can only water plants before 10am or after 4pm with a watering can and we also must use a bucket to wash the car. This latter does not pose much of an issue as we wash the car maybe twice a year.

Smoke is set to return to the city tomorrow.

2905 days

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over the eight day break i will

craft
+ petticoat
+ flouncy skirt with pockets
+ mending (pants, pants, shorts, jumper)
+ review fabric stash
+ start trainlines embroidery
+ kintsugi mend Bessie’s piggybank
+ complete back of impossible jumper

tech
+ review year
+ blog 2019 reading
+ blog 2018 reading
+ minimise mindless phone scrolling
+ 2019 not-resolutions update
+ blog maintenance

other
+ puzzling!
+ minimise thinking about SML
+ do something with the worm bin
+ review music recommendations
+ back to daily exercise
+ #2020 goalz

2906 days

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gateway

You may recall that I really dithered for a long while about what craft project to take with me on holiday. At the last minute I settled on sashiko because it didn’t require a ton of equipment or effort.

I’d been wanting to try sashiko for an age and had to buy everything online because there are no stores within my immediate (or wider) radius that sell supplies. After an incredible amount of time trying to make a decision, I bought enough to give me a taste – stencilled fabric, white sashiko thread and a couple of types of needles.

I busted out the equipment on the second or third day while lazing by the beach.

There was a slight disaster pulling thread from the skein.

So I spent some time winding it into a little ball.

Fortunately I’d taken a couple of photos of sashiko directions from jessica marquez: make + mend before I returned it to the library. But even without them it was pretty straightforward.

Interestingly, with this pattern one does not stitch the actual circles, but the wavy lines that make up the circles. This is indicated by the arrows and numbers on the instructions.

At first I was bored, the stitching was pretty repetitious – probably the opposite of my wild and free endless embroidery project. I persisted because I was determined not to have yet another unfinished project.

Around this point I started to really enjoy myself. So, so nice to sit by the pool, listen to an audiobook and stitch away. It all became very soothing and restful.


action shot

Can this be my permanent life please?

And after a couple of days … fin

I still need to wash it to get the pattern out, and it needs finishing into … something, but I’m quite delighted with the result.

I found it so peaceful and lovely that I’ve bought four more kits. I have no idea what I’m going to do with any of them, but perhaps I can use them as mats under things? I would make a quilt, but I don’t think that would go quite so well with the kitties – and we are far too grotty for fabric placemats!

Things for next time:

+ I would not use quilters knots – weaving in the ends looks more appealing.

+ Make + Mend recommended using thread conditioner/beeswax. I am totally going to try this as the thread got a little fluffy.

+ Possibly stitch through both layers of cloth (the fabric is rectangular with printing on one half). I kept it simple for the first attempt.

2907 days

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“it feels like karma”

Once again we wake to a city shrouded in smoke. This has been life in Sydney for about six weeks. It’s expected to last all summer.

But also: it isn’t obscene to find this intolerable. It is intolerable.

Really excellent writing on what appears to be our new reality.

Our new reality is bleak. Our new reality is depressing.

I’d like to leave.

2909-2908 days

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and let’s not forget the cough

I’ve done something to my lower back and it’s a little stiff and ouchy.

Perceptive people might think this is work-stress related. I don’t feel all that mentally stressed, but that’s probably because my back has decided to cut my brain a break and take one for the team.

I’ve taken to laying on the floor with a yoga block under my sacrum. This is genuinely delightful, but the relief only lasts for so long afterward.

Despite the recent glorious holiday, I’ll be very glad to break for Xmas. Unfortunately I’m working right up to the 24th, but then get eight wonderful days off.

My plans include doing not-a-lot. I will likely regret not making an Action List, so will try to cobble something together in the next couple of days. I really want to attack some outstanding craft projects and hopefully the smoke will have abated and I can spend some time outdoors.

2910 days

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60before60: #08 make something from resin – part one

I’ve always responded well to objects made from resin. Coloured, clear, solid, opaque, shiny, matte – I’m all for it! And I’ve been keen to have a crack at making something resiny for a while now.

This was one of those incomplete items carried forward from the 50before50 list which I’ve been putting off for over 4 years**. I could always find an excuse to not sign up for a class. Excuses that really wouldn’t survive any scrutiny – various houseworky items, Don having the car for golf.

I’m convinced I was just fearful of what a crafting class would be like – and that I would suck at it. Thankfully I have learned that sucking is okay! It’s not like I want to be a professional resin-glass-kintsugi practitioner. The learning is the thing. Midlife crisis crafting is pretty fabulous.

So I signed up to a class and headed off on the bus yesterday. It’s a 20 minute bus ride, the bus stop is across the road from ThePalace(OfLove). See what I mean about all those excuses?

The class was a fairly diverse mix of 12 women, most of whom were there solo. Everyone was lovely and interesting – though of course there was that one person who got terribly confused and asked All the questions incessantly (which she would have known the answers to if she had just sat quietly and listened). I would not be a teacher for anything.

I’ve said it before, but I really have come to love this sort of environment. Positive, friendly, creative. A love doing crafty things alongside other people – it’s such a good energy.

Honestly it was just what I needed after that hell-week at SML.

xxx

We did quick intros around the tables and then were talked through the processes – the equipment, the chemicals, the safety, the moulds, the colours. Then got stuck in.

These are the initial moulds I chose and an examples of the outputs. I certainly do not expect my finished work to look anything remotely as professional!

Interestingly, the type of mould determines whether the completed piece has a shiny or matte finish. Of course I’m all about the shiny.

xxx

We each got 300ml of resin to play with – and there were a bunch of colours to choose from. I went for the more translucent ones because that’s the look I like best.

Colour goes into the cups first followed by the resin – a little bit of colour goes a REALLY long way.

I chose what I thought were complementary colours, but it was difficult to know what they’d end up like once mixed. My blue was actually purple and my smoke grey quite a bit darker than I expected.

There ended up being so much resin that everyone just kept grabbing additional moulds. I have two bangles, two small bowls, 3 pendants and a coaster.

The is a coaster, I’m not huge on the shape, but it was the only receptacle left to take my waste resin.

xxx

Much like the glass class, because you don’t immediately see a result and are working with the unfamiliar, you really don’t know what you’re going to end up with. There’s no opportunity to course-correct based on initial results. Of course this is the whole thing about learning something new, but there’s a certain level of discomfort in that. No doubt I’ll find that I would have done things slightly differently once all is revealed.

Next week we un-mould! And make more pieces with quicker setting resin.

2911 days

xxx

** I hadn’t realised it was such a long time – yikes! life is racing by.

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coalface

Tough week at SML.

Project Sulfur is about to enter the final phase and it’s now all “yeah we quoted you $X [to get the job], now it’s gonna be $X+$X”. The SML team has now jettisoned a bunch of features and will take ton of development work in-house to get the price down to the original $X.

I’m pretty skeptical of $X because in the last phase we started with $Y and while we stayed within the $Y envelope, we de-scoped a whole bunch and kicked yet more down the road because everything was suddenly, miraculously a lot more complex then they had originally costed. The equivalent of “oh you didn’t tell us that you expected wheels on this car**.”

UselessCorp (our IT “partners” building the thing) are keen to start work on the last phase, “we should sign the contract, get started and sort the details later”. Yeah, nah. There’s a huge amount of pressure from both them and FCFC (SML program manager) to go go go NOW.

FCFC is a classic Scottish Hard Man type fellow. He can be hilarious and a lot of fun to work with. He’s occasionally soft-hearted, but is often single-minded and can be very difficult and intractable. While I was expressing my concerns in a SML project leadership meeting on Friday afternoon about the probability of price inflation – because it happened many times in the last phase – he sat there shaking his head, arms folded and mouthing “no” and “not true”. When I listed several concrete examples, he had no recourse and promptly shut up. Dude, you’re on our side remember?

Ringo (my SML IT counterpart) and I have dug in our heels and suggested we pause commencement for a week until we have more certainty that the $X includes seats for the car and the engine. Fortunately after sticking our necks out quite a lot, Bobs (our Boss) and LadyPenelope (CEO) agree that we need some concrete guarantees from UselessCorp before we sign. Even VeryHighlyPaidConsultant was all “I think carolbaby’s concerns here are warranted” – which is like woah.

I’m not sure if FCFC always works this way (or if his KPIs are driving this), but his bullheadedness is not exactly making for a cohesive environment right now.

Next week is going to be a real delight.

2912 days

xxx

** obviously we’re not building a car

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25 days of …

You may recall my advent calendar conundrum. Executive summary: family wants to do advent calendars, I’m challenged because traditional calendars contain items that won’t work for me (booze, chocolate, make-up).

Inspiration finally struck when I was about to consume my 3rd mango in 3 days. Why not a mango advent?

Day 1’s mango was consumed with sticky rice. I used this epicurious recipe. I ate mango sticky rice every day while in Hua Hin and have possibly developed a mild addiction. My results were adequate at best. I think one of those dishes enhanced by location – and having been prepared by professionals.

Days 1-3: small Kensington Pride

Day 4: medium R2E2

Day 5: large Kensington Pride

That’s probably enough pix of mangoes with numbers written on them for anyone, but if the decoration progression extends to bedazzling I’ll make an exception.

xxx

Don

Whisky fiend Don went for the White Possum Australian Whisky Advent Calendar – thus avoiding the horrifying import duties of last year.

xxx

Joe/Frank

J/F moved from his usual cider to beer this year. Palate clearly changing with advancing age!

xxx

Bessie (and Hansel)

Newly moved out and on a budget, Bessie and Hansel bought an reusable advent calendar and filled it with chocolate and tea.

xxx

Joan

The organiser of the whole endeavour, but indecision once again reigns supreme.
To be fair, she has a problem none of the rest of us face – the UK is swimming in way too many advent calendar options.

xxx

2913 days

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another holiday perhaps

Regular readers might remember the flower seeds I sewed back in September.

Despite the old testament conditions** of drought, heat, dust and smoke, we have results!


night shot (no flash) from excellent new phone!

Well, we have some results, at this stage the plants from the other seed packets are really not thriving.

In other news, without vitamin D, fresh air and exercise I am really not thriving either.

2914 days

xxx

** excellent phrase stolen from this defunct blog

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