nudge

I’m at the stage of iso when my delight in big change and new things and finding ways to adapt has moved onto rolling with a fairly dull and somewhat underwhelming routine. I’m a little flat.

From tomorrow I’m going to attempt to rediscover some of those really simple delights – making an effort with my lunch, hanging artwork in blank spaces, tiny bits of exercise, meditation, organising a drawer or a shelf, commenting on blog posts, tiny crafts, making lists.

And I’m going to delve a bit deeper into that idea of doing something I’ve been resisting for 10 minutes just to kick me into a different headspace. A couple of things a couple of times a day.

down the craft mountain

When we last left my resin stockpile, I had a bunch of pendant pieces and intentions to turn them into jewellery of some sort.

After an initial brainstorm with Joan and Bessie, and quite a bit of thinking, I planned to take those bottom four orangey quick-set pieces:

Drill an additional tiny hole in each and connect them together on a necklace, rather like this:

So I grabbed some bronze-ish jump rings at the Lincraft city store closing down sale a few months ago, let them sit about for ages (of course) and eventually picked them up one evening to mess about with while watching a lecture on Barnett Newman on coursera.

Alas! My vision was not being at all realised! Rather than the simple elegant piece of my imaginings, those jump rings were far too weighty and fussy and detracted from the resinyness of the resin.

And for it to work I’d have needed to drill an extra hole in each, which would have required a very small drill bit and an awful lot of precision. I do not have either of those things!

This is yet another lesson to get projects out of your head and into your hands, because oftentimes they won’t resolve as you’re expecting.

After some hard thinking, I remembered I had some stainless steel fishing wire in the garage from when we’d made some playthings for the kitties.

I pulled out the reel, threaded on all seven pendant pieces and was totally sold.

I cut and crimped the fishing wire to a medium sort of length and now I have something I am really very happy with indeed. Not quite what I imagined but much superior!

And yet another lesson to never throw anything away.

uncovering mysteries

After way (way!) too many hours this afternoon attempting to get the tension correct on the overlocker, I’m finally ready to get a start on a second pair of giant baggy lounging pants.

If I’d given in and zig zagged the raw edges instead, I’d be wearing the giant baggy lounging pants right now.

I might not have pants but I feel a whole lot more knowledgeable about how the machine works – and maybe I won’t have the same challenges next time I want to swap the thread!

(For Future Me, make sure the thread is sitting tightly inside the tension wheels!)

onward to may

We’ve had an astonishingly low number of covid-19 deaths in Australia so far – less than 100. I guess this is attributable to our very isolated location; that after an initial period of dithering, mixed messages and very mediocre leadership, the federal and state governments acted relatively quickly to lock us down; and a reasonably compliant population. Restrictions are very slowly being eased in stages from this weekend. I suspect it will be a long time before we can travel overseas and I imagine it will be some time too until we’re back in the office.

We’re about to head into the seventh week of The Indoor Times and we’re becoming pretty much habituated to it now. This can be dangerous as it’s quite easy to let bad habits creep in. Mid-morning Monday I had to take to bed with a migraine that absolutely walloped me. I haven’t had a migraine for a very long time and this one came with an aura which is really unusual for me. Doubtless from many days of way too much coffee and not drinking very much water or green tea, both of which were part of my usual workday routine. And probably too much time with my face in the bright lights of a giant screen.

Of course like most people I had grand intentions of making good use of this enforced time indoors. This has met with varying levels of (but mostly little) success. I started riding the exercise bike for a short stretch each day, but my recent exercise has been pretty much limited to taking a morning walk with Don. I don’t think I’m snacking too much, but I’ve probably gained at least 10kg. I’m sitting way too much. I’m probably overly ambitious about what I’m able to take on project-wise. All The Things!

To be honest, in recent years much of my non-work time is generally spent at home, so not a huge amount has changed for me. There is much less shopping for sport or things we “need”. Grocery shopping is done quickly and efficiently. I spend much less time on the weekends doing housework because I can shove in a load of washing here and there during the work day.

Now that I’ve found my way a bit, I’m liking working remotely much more than I thought I would. I’m so happy to have access to fresh air and sunshine during the work day and while my commute was quite short, I am also delighted to be without it – I invariably came down with some sort of cold whenever I was forced to catch a train. During winter it will be utterly wonderful not to come home in the dark. SML has recently engaged consultants (of course we have – we love consultants) to review our organisational structure. As part of this, managers were asked if we could do our job remotely post-covid – many of us have said we could and we’d prefer it. Of course it’s not all sunshine and ponies, and I do miss the energy from other people but on balance I would rather be here.

All this indoorness of course makes you wonder whether you need to live close to the city with accompanying eye-watering mortgage in order to be close to things – especially when you no longer access those things very frequently. I’m right there with the excellent Dame Eleanor in possibly re-examining the desire to spend my latter years in a teensy city pad amidst vibrant bustling metropolis. Maybe I really want a garden and access to nature and space to spread out to make things, and space to socially distance!

i may be some time

I utterly adore maple trees and have been on the lookout for one (or sixteen) for an age. Unfortunately around these parts they are both quite difficult to find and hideously expensive.

Early on in lockdown I was searching for salady-type seeds on the InformationSuperhighway and found maple tree seeds! Could this be my gateway to affordable maple tree goodness?

The package took some time to arrive because this is the way mail is now. Excitement was high when it finally got here.

But what is this? Seed requires a hot water treatment followed by 90-120 days cold moist stratification.

I recognised these as words but had no idea what they meant when all strung together like that.

After much research I discovered I needed to soak the seeds in boiling water for 24 hours and then put them in a plastic bag in the fridge for 3-4 months, checking every week or so that they remain moist. This is apparently intended to mimic what would happen in nature.

I feel like I now have some insight into why maple trees are so costly. I also feel like I’ve been initiated into secret gardener business.

I’ve set an alarm for the weekly checking and was surprised to discover one of the bags had frozen – oops. I guess more mimicking of nature?

Will report back.

first down

Like most of you, I’m at working at home now and my whole working wardrobe has gone to the next level of comfort! We have a casual work policy at SML which is utterly wonderful, but wearing shorts and tracksuit pants around the house for work is a whole extra step of wonderful.

I have two excellent pairs of lounging pants from my beloved muji but that’s the extent of my super-comfortable, around-ThePalace pants. Because we’re heading into winter I wanted some additional options but I’m on day 150 (woo!) of the clothes buying ban and I’m very motivated not to break that. Instead I thought I could give making pants a bash. No-one but Don and Joe/Frank are likely to see them, so the stakes are pretty low. Plus I get to mess about in the not-craft-room and problem-solve.

I have quite a lot of lengths of flannelette (called flannel in Northern Hemisphere?) kicking about from a long abandoned project to make cuddly patchwork quilts for Bessie and Joe/Frank. After several years we decided the quilts weren’t going to happen and it all sat there waiting either to be donated or turned into something. I picked vibrant red for my first effort, because what’s not to love about red pants?

This pattern has been sitting around unopened for about 15 years and I figured it was pretty good as a starting point. I had a few other pairs of pants that I could use for reference, so I wasn’t going to stick too rigidly to the pieces.

HolyGoodness! Did we really wear out pants so low on the hips back then? Don’t answer, I know we did. I hope that trend never returns!

Because I wanted very high-waisted, very baggy pants, I traced out the size 18 and added about 10cm at the lengthening line between the waist and crotch. I could have cut out the actual pattern pieces, but I have quite a lot of tracing paper and figured it was easier to make adjustments on the tracing. I planned to add least one pleat at the front, to add a waist band and of course in-seam pockets!

As I mentioned in the last post, this was my first attempt at this type of pocket. The pattern didn’t have one, but I traced out a giant pocket pattern from a favourite pair of baggy pants I bought on my last trip to Japan.

I also dragged out the little-used overlocker because I want to learn how to use it properly and really practice is the only way to do that! I bought the cones of thread at reverse garbage for around $1.00 each a few years ago to use as basting / tacking thread. I only have matching cones of white and black that came with the overlocker and I thought the colour mix might blend a bit better – surprisingly it did!

I overlocked around all the pattern pieces before I sewed them together, which I probably shouldn’t have done with the pockets as they turned out a little hacked up and messy, and didn’t quite line up, which was not pleasing. Fortunately no-one (except you all) is going to see them so I’m being gentle with myself!


progress shots


quite happy with the pleats!


inside – pocket curves are a bit of a mess – need practice

All up, it took a couple of days – mostly because I was half-designing as I went and because I was trying to get handle on the overlocker. Getting a handle on the overlocker is going to take time and patience – some of my long-term default sewing machine behaviours need adjustment.

Less babble, more reveal …


clashy!


with arms straight down, my hands reach to the bottom of the pockets

They are a little higher in the waist than I’d intended, and the crotch is about 2cm more dropped than I’d planned, but I’m overall pretty pleased with this first effort!

And to my extreme delight they are VERY VERY comfortable.

I have a ton more flannelette, so I’ll have another attempt with those modifications – I want them rather wider so I can add more pleats. I’m also planning a long(ish) pleated flannelette skirt with an elastic waist and more giant pockets.

All this does kind of make me realise that ruthless minimalist decluttering may not be exactly the thing I should be going for!

neat

I think this is the fourth time I’ve used the overlocker. So that’s what? average of once per year?

I’m slowly working out how to get decent tension and how to sew curves without hacking half of them off with the inbuilt knife!

Hopefully these comfy red pants will be completed tomorrow. Next step is inseam pockets which weren’t on the pattern (I traced pockets from a fave pair of pants) and which I don’t think I’ve ever sewn before.

Quite decent problem solving exercise.

One day I’ll buy a pattern that does everything I want, but then where would be the fun in that?