Thursday, 14 May 2020

Taking photos in the garden

One of the things on my 'to-do' list in the lockdown is to take more photos.  I used to take a lot of photos of daily life and make albums of them, but recently I have simply run out of enthusiasm!  I took my camera out in the garden a couple of days ago and took some close-up photos of flowers.  Here are some of the best: 









And finally, here's one of my collection of houseplants in the dining room window.  They are on an East facing aspect so get the full sun in the mornings.  I haven't had houseplants for a long time because I kept forgetting to water them!  These have mostly been gifts and I am taking great pleasure in keeping them thriving with water and feeding.  


A close up of the orchid flowers.  They last for months!  


Wednesday, 29 April 2020

What I have been doing in lockdown

Lockdown here in the Uk has been in force since March 23rd.  We are only to go go out for food shopping, collect medicines, care for someone or once a day exercise.  We are now half way through our 5th week now, so what have I been doing to pass the time?

Exercise:
I have changed my dog walking routine, and now take Barney out about 4pm, instead of first thing in the morning.  I love how this is working out!  The weather has been wonderful, warm and sunny for the most part.  Here's a picture of the Ilex trees in the afternoon sunshine.


As well as my daily walk, I have been doing an online exercise class each day.  Throughout March I tried to do some yoga each day, which has stood me in good stead to carry on through April.  I have found 2 You Tube sites I like:  Yoga with Adrienne, and Fabulous50s.   I am alternating them each morning.  Here's a terrible photo of me attempting to do a 'tree' pose!   I have also done a few classes from my regular yoga teacher on Zoom. I have found that I really like exercising on my own in my bedroom.


Sewing:
My major hobby at the moment!  I bought several lots of fabric just before the lockdown, and have challenged myself to be more patient and take more care and be more perfectionist!  Here I am modelling my maxi dress, hat and rucksack all made by me in the last few weeks:




The hat is unfortunately a little small - especially with my 'lockdown' hair, which is much bigger than normal!



I had a little experiment making a couple of facemasks from some pretty fabric.  I am not sure whether we will have to wear them in the UK, but I am ready if we need them!



And of course, lots of gardening with the weather being so lovely!  After a really wet winter, we have had a prolonged dry spell, so I was happy to see some rain yesterday and today!  I love to see the ferns unfolding - such a promise of things to come in the garden.




Thursday, 26 March 2020

Completed In February

Not to forget my word 'COMPLETE' for 2020 (although I didn't expect it to mean complete isolation LOL!)  Here's my list of things I completed in February.  Not so much sewing this month, but more scrapbooking.

My Vision Board for 2020.


I loved making this!  This was on the February 'to-do' list in the 'One Little Word' class that I am taking with Ali Edwards.  I am trying not to buy new magazines or books, so I asked some friends for magazines I could cut up.  I made it A1 size so it would go in a frame I had already in the dining room.  I use this room a lot for my sewing, so I see it often.  I tried to find pictures to example each aspect of my life, eg Family, my dog, exercise, crafting etc.

Analysis of our Expenditure.
I try and keep an excel spreadsheet of our bank accounts, so we can keep a track of where our money is being spent.  I got way behind for 2019, so made a point of completing it.  My previous way of working would have been to work on it a little each day, but my approach is changing this year and I worked on it solidly until it was complete.

Photos.
My photos on the computer are not too badly organised, and this is something I  want to keep up with this year.  I want to use a system each month:
*upload them to laptop from camera and phone
*delete any I don't want to keep
*tag them, so that they are easy to find at a later date
*print out the best for scrapbooking

Here's a look at one of my January scrapbook pages:



Memorabilia.
I keep all sorts of tickets, brochures, invitations etc!  A few years ago,I had a big sort out and put them into files according to decade.    Just recently, I decided to get them into my scrapbooks, along with the photos of the holiday or event.  It has saved quite a chunk of shelf space!  Here is an example of a wedding we went to last year (BIL married his Chinese bride) with the invitation next to it:


Linens Quilt.




Remember I made this quilt top with old embroidered table cloths last year?  I bought a duvet cover in a ditzy green print to use for the backing.  Unfortunately, it is not 100% cotton, but not all the table cloths are either.  I decided to hand quilt around the squares, as I thought it would pucker badly if I tried to machine quilt it.  I spent a lovely week or so of evenings sewing this.  I find hand sewing very calming.  I found the blue polka dot fabric in my stash, and had just enough to cut into strips for the binding.  I am really pleased with the finished quilt!

Scrapbooked a holiday.
Another ongoing project is to scrapbook all our past holidays!  Here's a couple of pages from a weekend in Bruges which we took way back in 1998 for our 20th wedding anniversary.  It was the first time we went on Eurostar.  We had a lovely time except for the weather, it absolutely poured with rain all weekend!  Looking at these photos has made me want to go back and see it in better weather.



Well, that's it for February.  I'll be back soon with my list for March! 

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Strange times

What strange times we are experiencing!  Here in the UK we have gone into lockdown now and can only go out to buy food or medicines, or once a day for exercise, and all non-essential shops must close.  Those in key industries can still go to work, otherwise its working from home or no work at all.  It is a relief really, as there are people who are not being sensible about the social distancing rules, and this is almost certainly the last big announcement to come from the government about lockdown.  Every announcement prior to this has led to huge dash to do another big food shop, stripping the shelves bare in all our supermarkets.  Surely the stockpilers don't have any more room for their stashes of toilet roll, tins and dried food!

Anyway, we are absolutely fine here.  We have a lovely home and garden, and there's lots to do here!  I have a huge long list of craft projects that are started or ready to start.  Last week at my sewing class, I bought several lengths of fabric for projects, and I have a huge stash of quilting fabric for scrap quilts.  Somehow I can't manage to get started on a new project just yet, but I think that is because I am adjusting to a new normal.  I find myself feeling quite anxious and overwhelmed at times, and then I check the news again!  Time to keep the news sites closed, and just read blogs.  Maybe blogs will come back in fashion?   I hope so!

Maurice can work from home as can both kids, and their jobs are secure for now.  So no work or money worries, thank goodness.  Maurice has this week off to use up the last of his annual leave, and we had planned some lovely countryside walks with Barney.  Barney has to get used to the fact we can only take him for 1 walk per day instead of his usual 2.  He knows something isn't quite right, but he does enjoy being in the garden with us.  So far, the weather is lovely and we are catching up on some gardening, weeding and tidying.

Take care friends, and stay well and safe XXX

Thursday, 27 February 2020

1970s Summer Dresses

Hasn't the weather been awful lately?  We have had so much rain and wind this February - I just want it to stop now!  I feel cooped up indoors, only venturing out to get wet and muddy along with the dog on our walks.  Then I have all the palaver of hosing him down and drying him!


So I thought for a little light relief, how about some summer dresses from the 1970s?  I have several summer dress patterns from the 1970s in my Etsy shop.  I really love the pattern covers from this era.  They are beautifully drawn and the colours are bright and fresh.  They are generally in good condition, as are the pattern pieces inside the envelope.  One thing that was different about the older patterns was that you only got one size in the envelope!  You might need to be handy at pattern alterations to get it to fit. 

All these patterns are available in my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SewLindyLou.  They are all in great condition and are complete - all the pattern pieces are present.

Style 2673 is for size 34 inch bust and is from 1975.  All views have a zipper in the back.  The fashion for extended shoulders is just beginning to appear, 2 of the designs have extended shoulders and the third has wide shoulder straps.

I love this tea dress style of Vogue 9156!  It is for size 38 inch bust.  It is basically a tent dress with an elastic waist.  How comfortable!  I love the front button closing, and the pretty fabric used here.


Style 4195 is a junior petite size to fit a 33inch bust.  Just the sort of thing I wore when I was a teenager in the 1970s!  This one is from 1973.  Look at that gorgeous sweetheart neckline!

I really love the yellow sundress on Style 4613 from 1974.  I love the square neckline and the band across the neckline.  This one is a very small size, bust 32.5inches.


The 'safari' style was very popular in the 1970s.  Remember safari jackets?  This short sleeved dress with its front breast pockets, epaulettes and rolled cuffs really fits the bill.  This one is from 1977 and is size 34 inch bust.

Finally, here is another sundress from Style from 1975.  This one is size 36 inch bust.  I really like the fitted bodice and flared skirt.  The sweetheart neckline on the green version is lovely.  

Which one is your favourite?  Any of these dresses could be made for today.  The shops are full of midi length flared and full-skirted dresses in ditzy prints for the spring.  Very 1970s!  



Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Completed in January

In the spirit of my word of the year 'Complete', I thought I would list things that I have completed here on my blog:

I knitted a tea cosy!  I am not a good knitter, but had been given a lovely tea pot for Christmas, and decided to knit my own tea cosy.  I used some left over chunky wool from a shawl I had crocheted, and here it is.  I am quite pleased with it.  I have almost completely used up the wool!

I sewed this lovely fabric into a tunic top.  I had bought this fabric for another top pattern, but decided to use this one from which I have already made 2 summer tops.  This one has long sleeves and looks great over black polo neck and jeans or black trousers.  I can see me wearing this one a lot.

I started sewing this little bag a couple of months before Christmas and then left it while I sewed Christmas items.  It is really sweet!  It has a zip across the top and the front and back are made from patchwork panels.  It is from a pattern by The Birdhouse Patchwork Designs, an Australian company.


I did have 1 failure!  Hence my bemused look in this photo!  This green top started out way too big, and I ruined it by trying to take it in.  See how it pulls across the front shoulder?  It doesn't look too bad in this picture, but it is practically unwearable!  I have left this photo uncropped despite the vacuum cleaner in the side because Barney looks so cute photo-bombing!


Remember I made quilt tops last year?  Here's one of them all finished with batting, backing and quilted ready to parcel up for one of my daughter's friends who has just had a baby girl.  I am intending on working through them all over the next few months.


I like to make a scrapbook of each year, and I finished up the 2019 album in January.  I like to use some pocket pages (Project Life) and some 12 x 12 pages.  Here are a couple of examples.







I also finished some pyjama trousers that I had made for Maurice for his birthday back in July!!  All they needed was the elastic in the waist!  I made a black t-shirt top to go with these, but he has been wearing them with a long sleeve top recently as it is so cold.


There is one thing that I forgot to photograph, and that's a little bag I made for my craft friend Burnice for her birthday early in January.  She had been given a vintage sewing/knitting basket for Christmas so I filled a little bag with vintage sewing notions for her.  She was really pleased!  We celebrated by going for afternoon tea.

It's been a good month for completing things!  I love to be able to tick things off my list, but I am trying to slow down a little, and take more care, especially with sewing projects.  I am also trying to keep going with each item through to completion, rather than 'making progress' with several projects.   

Thursday, 30 January 2020

My word for the Year - COMPLETE

I have had a word for the year for quite a few years now.  I have chosen words that help me approach and focus my goals.  Way back in 2009, I picked the word 'Simplify'.  I wanted to simplify areas of my life to give me more time to do things I love to do, such as spending time with my family and creating things.  I spent the year tidying away clutter and trying to get into routines each week. As I do not have a job, I have a lot of time to myself, and I like to use it productively.  I have found a way of  using my time intentionally that works for me.



Half way through that year I found a wonderful website 'Simplify101'.  Aby Garvey was running online courses to help with organising, and I straight away signed up for the 'paper clutter' course.  Sadly, Aby's business is not running anymore, but 10 years later, I am still in touch with the friends I made along the way.  Aby was kind enough to host our little forum until she closed the website last year, and we posted every day about our goals and how we were doing.  I have been lucky enough to meet my friends from around the world in real life!  I have met Shari in New Zealand, Cynthia in San Francisco, Lau in France, Nancy in Oregon, USA, and Kathryn from Australia (we met in London).  Now the forum has closed we are not in touch every day, but I am sure we will still keep in touch regularly.

Other words that I have chosen in the past include LIGHT, SLOW, BREATHE, and GROW.  See this post from last January about my word LIGHT for 2018.

I have written goals each year for a while now, and basically they are very similar every year, and are centred around my health and fitness, my family, my home and garden and my crafting.  This year I have decided not to write goals as such, but to use a word to help me focus, and I am partaking in an online class run by Ali Edwards, One Little Word.  Ali provides regular prompts and discussions to keep the word in mind, and to explore how the word's different meanings can be incorporated into everyday life.

So for this year I have chosen COMPLETE.


I first decided on this word as I do have some projects to finish, including completing the quilt tops I made last year.  With the help of Ali's prompts and worksheets I have some other ideas:

*Completely use up stuff around the house - eg fabric scraps, paper craft stuff
*Feeling complete - when my family is around me, feeling healthy in body and mind
*giving things my complete attention - less distraction, eg from social media!
*how well I complete things - perfectly complete or completely perfect
*complete rest - I could definitely do with resting more.
*working on 1 project until I complete it - 1 project at a time

A word about perfection.  I tend to finish things off quickly, tick them off  and move onto the next thing.  Sometimes this is at the expense of perfection.  I am not saying that I want to be a perfectionist as such, but I think I need to keep it in mind, especially when sewing. 

I am looking forward to this year and how my word pans out!  I am keeping a journal to see which aspects of COMPLETE will inspire me the most.  I will keep you posted.