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August – anything but boring

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Hey there…

I’m still here… or I’m back again at least…

Bet you thought I’d emigrated to the moon.

It’s been a crazy month …or two. Too crazy. Time to make radical changes crazy.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t do everything and I’m not 21 anymore. My goals of cutting down, simplifying and living a quiet life went seriously out of the window. I mean big time out of the window.

And I’m worn out.

And I have done no sewing whatsoever. In fact there has been pretty much no running, quilting, knitting or writing. And that’s not good.

After our awe-inspiring not to mention awesome trip to Tanzania in July, I had thought that August would be mellow. I hadn’t reckoned with staff shortages and a million new projects at work, which meant I would have to work 120% instead of 80%. I hadn’t realized quite how tired I would get working and going to the European Athletics Championships would be (get up at 6, go to the office, work till 9.40, walk to the stadium, cheer on the Brits till 2.00, walk back to the office, work till 6.15, walk back to the stadium, more cheering until 10.30, fight my way onto the overcrowded tram and train, get home at midnight high on adrenalin and fueled only by coke and fast food, finally get to sleep at 2, get up at 6 and do it all again, for a whole week….) (It was worth it though!). Nor had I really appreciated the logistical nightmare of trying to get a not always co-operative teenager ready to go to school overseas, support another teenager through the university exams from hell or deal with a garden that had turned into a jungle (answer: give up and call a gardener) or the fact that my gem of a cleaning lady would be on vacation. Don’t even ask about cooking, laundry or any of the other things I would normally do.

I survived, but only by doing one thing at a time and very consciously not thinking about everything else that needed doing and all the stuff that wasn’t getting done.

But I realized that it’s all too much….I know, I know…I’ve said that before…but it is. and I HAVE to change – although I can’t imagine I’ll be faced with such a perfect storm of a summer again.

Now I’m wishing myself a boring September. Boring sounds so very, very good…




Liberty at last

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Since, well, since forever, I’ve had making a Liberty quilt on the top of my quilts I want to make list. I’ve been collecting Tana lawn for decades with this in mind, but somehow it’s never quite happened. I just never could quite make up my mind about what I wanted to do…

That’s all changed…I’ve jumped in at the deep end and the Liberty quilt has finally been started and is coming along nicely.

I’m keeping it simple. Liberty is of course all about showcasing the divine, scrumptious fabric. So I’m turning 6 inch squares into half square triangles with one darker and one lighter side and this is what I’m making.


Along the way I am discovering that all the years of squirreling away means that I can make a multitude of Liberty quilts….where did all that fabric come from? (The fairies must have brought it!)


Walking and dreaming

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Do you ever daydream about places you’d like to live? My daydreams usually involve chalets in the mountains  far away from everything (people, commitments) where I could potter around and have lots of time to sew, raise goats and tend my fabulously prolific kitchen garden (I also somehow gain green fingers in the process). There would be peace and quiet and lovely views across mountain valleys towards snowy peaks.

(I conveniently omit to mention that they will probably be knee-deep in snow for 6 months of the year and are up windy roads with no barriers that would scare the cotton socks off me if they were icy – which they are for half the year).

Recently we did a gorgeous walk in the hills between Lake Constance and Appenzell – I wasn’t very talkative because I was away on a cloud daydreaming….

…see what I mean….

8 6 7 4 5 1 2 3


One day….


Comfort knitting

Sunday, July 20th, 2014



I know it’s completely bonkers – it’s over 30 degrees outside – but when I’m feeling stressed, I knit. Socks, usually socks..this time my regular plain vanilla (which I could knit in my sleep), using Opel Hundertwasser sock wool, which is really fun and self stripes and patterns. I’m really pleased with how these turned out and Opel wools wear really well, so these will be around for a while.

The Hundertwasser yarns are a really cool idea – self-patterned sock yarns based on the color schemes in paintings by  Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the Austrian architect – who you may have come across because of his Hundertwasser houses in Vienna and throughout Austria and Germany. They are really pretty – do look out for them and snap them up if you get the chance….

This week I’ve also been trying to put my new slow down and do less regime into practice. I’ve been getting to the office at 8 instead of 7.30 and leaving at 5.30 instead of 6 or 7. My kids are on vacation so I’ve been whatsapping them instructions – to cook dinner, pick berries, clean up. I’ve been (shock horror) sitting in front of the TV in the evening (and knitting!). I’ve been running, done yoga, had a shaitsu massage. I’ve even been going out for a proper lunch at work and sitting in the sunshine with my co-workers  (not actually to be recommended as I’ve gained a kilo this week – but it felt good and I enjoyed it!!).

I actually feel a teensy bit naughty, but a little bit smug with it. I feel normal and less down-trodden and best of all…..

….nobody else has even noticed that I’ve been slacking off.

Which tells you something, doesn’t it?

Yup. This seems to be the way to go!

Have a wonderful Sunday,



Being kind to myself

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

I haven’t blogged for ages. Actually I haven’t done most of the things I usually do – I haven’t done any quilting, I have hardly been running, no yoga, not much cooking…life to be frank has lost all semblance of balance. To be fair, most of it has been beyond my control. Work is tough at the moment – with one member of staff out sick for 10 weeks and most of the rest on holiday. This resulted in one student and yours truly trying to keep the ship afloat last week – thankfully we were rescued for a couple of days by one of my former employees, now retired.

All in all it has meant long days and combined with the odd football-related late night, the end of the school year and my husband being in Asia on business, as well as several sleepless nights waiting for the errant teenager to come home not enough sleep or time to recuperate.

I’m pretty pooped to put it mildly and am definitely past my sell by date. By the time I get home I’ve been fit for nothing.

Friday night was really bad and the tension in my neck and shoulders was just giving me a never-ending headache.

That’s when I made up my mind that things have to change.

Like this I’m no use to man nor beast…and believe me, life isn’t fun. NOT AT ALL. And it finally actually clicked in my head that I’m not 22 or wonder woman, nor do I want to be, but I do want to have a normal life without feeling exhausted all the time. It’s time for things to change.

So this weekend I have been looking after myself: eating out, taking naps, I even had a massage (which left me feeling like a new woman – I think it was the reflexology that did it), a gentle run with friends, and some sewing (which frankly as always did more for my sense of well-being than anything else).

I finished this dress…


using this pattern….


I can recommend it – it’s one of the new generation of patterns where there are different pieces depending on your level of curviness, so I think the dress fits better. I still need to get used to it being so…. well….bold! 

So there we are. A bit of balance in my weekend. Teenager no2 has gone off to Thailand for several weeks, school is finished and holidays are almost in sight….and I’m going to head off to work tomorrow resolved to lay down some boundaries.

Wish me luck!