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Winter on the hill

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

It’s freezing cold and very snowy here at the moment – and grey, really really grey – foggy and white. I’m very happy to only go out when I absolutely have to. If the sun would shine it would probably be stunning, but there seems to be no sign of that at the moment. It isn’t always chocolate box picture perfect in Switzerland!!

Being at home is lovely. I’ve been catching up with friends, getting work in the house taken care of, sewing, being a good little Swiss housewife. It’s nice. Nice not to have to get up in the middle of the night and go out in the dark in sub-zero temperatures to get to work. Best of all, nice not to feel exhausted all the time.

I’m still looking for work, but there isn’t a lot that sets me on fire. I really only want to work 80% and those jobs are few and far between – especially for a lady of my advancing years. I’ve had a couple of interviews though, so that’s at least positive – although I was way overqualified and the jobs weren’t what I am looking for, but still, nice to be asked….

Gradually I’m clearing out cupboards and getting rid of things we don’t need and I’m using things up. I try to do this every year, but usually run out of steam, but this year I’m reading the books I have, watching the DVDs, using up my fabric and wool stash and eating out of the freezer. Just lightening the load. Little steps, but making a difference. I have an overwhelming need to downsize, minimalize, make life lighter and simpler. It feels good.

I’m also losing weight with the easiest diet ever – but more of that another day!

Todays finish – something I’ve wanted to make for ages:

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An Esme tunic from Lotta Jansdottir’s book ‘Everyday Style‘ – using Lotta fabric. It looks massively better on me than the dummy  and I think I will make more of these. It has that cool Scandinavian vibe and covers a multitude of sins!

Hope you are having a lovely Saturday!

Helen

Off to a very slow start

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Usually I’m full of bounce and good intentions at the start of a new year. This year? Nope.

I’ve basically been out with the flu since the 27th – although it can’t actually be the flu because I had the jab. Whatever. It’s horrible and I’ve been coughing and collapsing for over a week and still feel as weak as a new born lamb. I guess my 16 hour round trip to the UK to return my mother after Christmas on the 29th was a really bad idea and certainly made things worse, but thanks to British Airways’ refusal to let me switch my ticket to my daughter I was left with no alternative. There were other factors too, but having looked at all possibilities, there was nothing left other than to bite the bullet and go. Would I do it again. NO. But there you are, I did it.

The gem in the woodpile was that two hours after I has left mum in her flat (and was still sitting on the tarmac in Newcastle on the first leg of the 8 hour trip home), she called here to speak to me and tell me that she had got home safely…..

I think this will be the last Christmas visit….

Anyway the major achievement of the new year so far is the completion of my first Stitch Tease bee blocks since I returned to the fold after a couple of years off. Here they are – all ready to send off to my dear friend Quiltova in the Czech Republic. They are foundation pieced (aaargh!) and I’m glad they are done. The pattern is the Starry Sky Block by Persevering Mom http://www.perseveringmom.wordpress.com

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A little deduction on the use up the stash spreadsheet – I have resolved to do very much better than last year.

But that is the resolution in any case. 2016 was (with the exception of my travels in Asia) a pretty rubbish year. 2017 needs to be better. Not doing great on that one so far, so 2017 if you are listening, it’s time to get your act into gear!

Hope your year has started well!

Helen

 

Starting small… or one tiny step towards climbing a mountain

Friday, December 9th, 2016

Since I’ve been at home I’ve had time to take stock of things, tidy up, sort and organise. It’s been a bit of a shock if I’m honest. Now don’t get me wrong, the fabric and wool stash was always kind of out of control. Every year I would say that I was going to use it up, not buy anything new (is it just me, or do all quilters and knitters say that?) and every year it would grow. Somehow. Despite my best efforts.

This year though. Wow.

I’ve travelled a lot – India, China, Burma…..and what have I brought back? Yup. You’ve guessed it….even more yummy, delicious, fabulous fabric that I certainly could never have found in Europe. It would have been, well, criminal not to bring any home. So I did. And boy does it add up.

I’m not going to tell you how much. I’m kind of ashamed….

There is no space for anything in my little office/sewing room cubby hole.

So I’m starting small. Very small. About as small as you can get.

I’m knitting stripy socks with those little ends of balls of wool. You know the zillions of tiny bits you end up with when you’ve been a prolific sock knitter for years. I can’t throw them away and they keep falling off the shelf and unravelling on the floor. Which was starting to get to me.

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So I’m making a start. A very, very small one. Two socks simultaneously so I don’t get myself into a pickle if one of the balls runs out.

And if I feel rash I might even baste my quilt this afternoon.

Wild life, huh!

Helen

 

A little time to sew

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

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I can’t say that job-searching is going spectacularly well. A little disconcerting to realise at the age of 52 that the rest of the world in all probability believes I am past my best. I guess the most important thing though is that I don’t think that. There is still some life in the old dog. Maybe a change of direction needs to be considered, but not quite yet.

I have however had an important conversation with him downstairs. I will give myself a few months of looking for sensible, normal finance jobs. If I keep being dumped on the rubbish pile then I’m going to change tack – and that is probably going to involve retraining and doing something I enjoy. Various fabricy options are on their way to creeping on the table as is training to be a tour guide. Or maybe both. Together. If I can manage it. I’m only going to do something I enjoy. That goes for the sensible jobs too. I’m only going to work with nice people doing something I like. No more unmanageable commutes or sleepless nights either. It has to be a positive  step not a desperate one. Life is too short. So there. Rant over. Him downstairs understands and says he only wants a happy wife. (Which is one of the reasons he really is a keeper!).

The rather blissful thing about not having a job is that although still busy, I do have time to do fun things. It is, frankly, fab and I now understand retired people who say they don’t know how they every found time to work. (I hope this doesn’t mean that I’m actually retired and just haven’t realised it….)

I finally finished this quilt top which has been hanging around for quite a while. The pattern is The Simple Life by Camille Roskelley and the fabric an assortment of Bonnie and Camille fat quarters. So tick number one. Now onto the basting – most hated job…..

Little by little I’m having a sort-out too. One drawer or cupboard at a time. No plan. As the mood strikes me. One or two things sorted a week is starting to make a difference. We have way too much stuff, so I’m trying to simplify and get rid of things we don’t need along the way.

It feels good. Life is pretty nice.

Helen

 

New perspectives

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

 

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I am standing at a crossroads. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. I’ve taken a big risk giving up a very good job (at my age…, a big risk I know, but it just had to be…). I had been working my socks off for a long time, with a lot of responsibility and a horrid commute. I reached a point about 6 months ago where I felt like I was standing on the edge of a big cliff overlooking the abyss and realised that if I didn’t do anything then I would topple over and that would be it. I’m glad that I was sensible enough to see the risk before I fell.

Everyone told me I was mad to resign without another job to go to, but I was too tired to look and so I wasn’t going to find another position anyway. So I took the risk on board and left. This probably sounds a bit silly (and I might live to regret it), but it feels so good to have followed my own feelings. I didn’t do what anyone else told me to do – infact I did the opposite – I followed my own heart and my own head. I didn’t do the sensible thing, I did what I wanted to do. It felt wild and free and a rather reckless act for a woman of a certain age! I suppose we all fall into the tracks of doing what we have to do, what other people expect and as mothers with children the decisions are always constrained by looking after others. I’ve reached the stage where I only have one child at home. He is about to turn 18 and thrives on neglect, so I actually can be a little bit selfish on this call.

Since the end of September I’ve been sorting out my mother in England, travelling around Burma, getting my poor neglected home back into shape and trying to do the same for my poor neglected body. Oh and I have been applying for jobs – not very successfully so far, but to be perfectly honest I would be a bit disappointed if I found something now. I am LOVING being at home, pottering, organising, not having to get up early in the morning and going out to the train in the dark. I’m taking the time to explore lots of avenues – even radical ones about following my love of all things fabric and doing something in that direction and ssssshhhhhhh not being an accountant anymore.

I’m also sewing and knitting and being happier than I’ve been in ages. Oh and I’m not dog-tired anymore. I feel like I’m actually living again and listening to the little voice inside of me that has been ignored for a long time.

Any my husband loves coming home to nice dinners again…..

Sometimes it’s really good to jump into the dark.

Helen