bitten off quite a lot

I did not touch the wave ball stitching at all last week because I was absolutely wrecked after days of being in the office. It was all I could do to sit slack-jawed at my computer watching the youtubes.

On the weekend I finally assembled the $4 scroll frame I bought at the Sewing Basket, attached the fabric to it and wow – it’s made a huge, positive difference to my experience.

I’m not using it entirely as designed. Ordinarily, you’d pull that fabric as tight as a drum, but I like a bit of give and flexibility. This is fortunate as there was no way I was going to get that stubborn fabric to play nicely.

I still need to optimise stitching position, because I’m sure I could be more comfortable. I am definitely not looking at expensive scroll frame stands!

I think it would be realistic to give myself two years for this and extend the expected completion date to 2025. I don’t want this to be all consuming, but I fear it might become so!

60before60: 2023 revisions

The beginning of the year is an excellent time to remind myself what is on the 60before60 list and to shake it up where required.

The list is a bit fluid and not intended to be completely prescriptive. 10 years is a ton of time and even half-way through I barely recognise 50 year old me! So this will grow and change as I do.

For 2023, I’m …

REPLACING
34.   sew an invisible zip into a garment
Right now I have no desire to make any garments – zipped or otherwise. This could change in the next 5 years, but I certainly don’t have a yearning right now.

Replacing with: solo hike – min 8km
I’m very very good at doing some things solo: staying home solo, shopping solo, sometimes art gallery solo BUT I would never, for example, see a movie by myself or travel on my own. I’m also fine eating out on my own. I’m getting quite good at doing classes on my own. Hike seems like a good next step.

REVISING | CLARIFYING

14.   Go on a multi-day cycling holiday (somewhere relatively flat!)
Replacing with: Go on a multi-day hiking holiday
I’m no longer vibing the cycling, but a big YES to the hiking (stretch goal: try a via ferrata)

28.   Give one compliment every day for a year (and record who and what)
Replacing with: show appreciation to others each day for a year (record who and what)
Appreciation seems a little more authentic – and more Penelope.

52.   make candles with Joan and Bessie
Replacing with: take a craft class with Joan and Bessie
The specificity of candles is a little limiting – especially as it is now somewhat challenging to get us all together – this allows for a little more flexibility.

03.   Eat no meat for a week (50)
Replacing with: A month of meat-free weekday lunches
This has been kicking around since the 50 list (EIGHT years!). Honestly, it’s a very worthy intention, but I’m unlikely to complete it in this iteration. Lunch though? I’m pretty confident. Plus it seems like something I could potentially incorporate into my life permanently.

There are a few items I’m giving the side-eye to (#02 for example), but I might get more clarity on those over the year.

less successful adventures in concrete

My first craft project for 2023 was more concreting. It had been quite a a while since I’d last made any pots.

Encouraged by the success of the periwinkle blue, I experimented with more colours of powdered fabric dye, adding peach and teal.

I made 1 wee house^^ (milk carton), 1 plinth for a candle (tea container), 2 marbelled pots (round takeaway containers) and 1 larger plain pot (fabric soaker container).

After 3 weeks I removed everything from the moulds and … let’s call this one a learning experience!

+ Learning 1: Not all fabric dyes and concrete play well together. The peach just didn’t set at all. Possibly better to stick to things designed for the materials I’m working with!

+ Learning 2: I suspect my cement was a little too old – setting was inconsistent and a bit crumbly.

On with the reveals!

Lesson 1

I love shape of the sandy-coloured swirl in this pot which was the peach section.

I’m not going to show what it looked like after washing/clean-up, because it was pretty unpleasant! All the sand washed away and it looked like some sort of zombie infection.

❌ Binned!

Lesson 2

I really love the colours on this wee house. But unfortunately when cleaning it up, some small sections just crumbled and washed away. Rats!

I whipped out my kintsugi supplies and effected a repair. I’m not sure this was entirely successful, but I still love those colours!

This does give me an idea for a wee house made from white felt with french knots in various purples and blues. Maybe.

No lessons, just a bit underwhelming

Pillar. Not super-jazzed, likely going to the way of zombie pot.

Two moderately successful efforts, but still a bit inconsistent. The pot on the left has that weird peach thing happening – but weirdly didn’t wash away.

Do I really need more pots and wee concrete houses? I do not! But I will not let that prevent further experiments.

I have a fresh bag of cement and I’m planning to get myself a pigments sampler from etsy and have a play around with those.

^^ of course – wee houses are mandatory

chompy chompy

It was back to the dentist today to have the two crowns fitted.

They did a really marvellous job and you really can’t tell which are teeth and which are outrageously expensive bits of porcelain.

My jaw is not at all happy with having that intense activity inflicted upon it and I’m in a little pain. I’ve scoffed pain killers which hopefully will kick in shortly.

To sleep!

Weekend ahoy!

caretaking

We’ve been popping in to feed the grandcat the past two afternoons.

He’s a very handsome boy!

He’s quite nervous and skittish of anyone other than his humans, but this time he did not spend the entire time hissing at us – so a huge win!

Maybe in the 7-8 years he may allow pats!

keeping at it

I’m in the office for 4 days this week and am fairly exhausted after day 3.

Given I’m now not working on Exciting Projects and with Mad Bobs gone, I kind of welcome the change to being more in office. It can get a bit boring at home without constant calls and drama all day.

But I need to work on my being out in the world fitness – and remember how exactly anything was ever achieved around ThePalace(OfLove) in the Before Times when I was away for so many hours each day.

Today at lunch I bought this marvellous device to measure the water needs of my plants.

I’ve only used it on some pots so far, but it has already proven worthwhile – one of the pots I assumed was bone dry (as were the ones surrounding it) was exactly the opposite.

I’m managing finally to do okay with houseplants and not drown them all after a few months, I’m hopeful this will help keep the not-dead momentum!

extreme cleverness

On occasion, completely and utterly wonderful things land in my mailbox:

“The street lamps shed a faint light into the room. It was beginning to rain. Ruth listened to the rhythm of his breathing. She sat very still, her eyes closed. She heard the click of the door. He was thrown backward by the force of the explosion. Her hunting days were done.”

Jez Burrows’ Dictionary Storiesshort stories composed entirely of example sentences from the dictionary – is so good.

Glorious.

From the most excellent Meanwhile newsletter.

finding entertainment in unlikely places

For the longest time (verging on forever), Don and I have regularly done the appallingly cutesy “You’re the best!” “No, you’re the best” exchange.^^

So imagine our delight when the tops of some of our who gives a crap tissue boxes had the phrase printed on them.

I can’t remember know how or when it started, or even who started it, but we began hiding the box top in silly locations for the other to stumble upon.

I think my best effort was hiding it in a pocket of his golf bag. Well, best effort until I recently – when framed it and placed it on a shelf in the music listening room.

I’m not sure I can surpass that, but I will give it a good crack.

^^ Past way-too-cool me would be horrified at all this adorableness, but she should chill. It’s infinitely less exhausting to be Mrs Mushy than Mrs Cynical.