Tuesday 5 May 2020

Sow and Sew...

So we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s pretty rare for something awful to be touching the lives of everyone around the world at the same time isn’t it?

How are you all doing?

It’s a really strange time isn’t it...very unsettling.

As I write this we are still in lockdown in the UK...our own and countless other businesses are affected by COVID-19 and so many lives have been lost..it is a big worry. Unless you're a keyworker (huge thanks to all) the best we can do is to look after ourselves, our neighbours and more vulnerable members of family and community as well as support local businesses and charities as much as we can...sometimes it doesn't seem enough. But it is.

I read a very truthful way of describing our current situation..it basically said that we’re not all ‘in the same boat’. We are all sailing in the same storm, but all in our own individual boats...some boats will be shipwrecked and some will not...some people are in little rowing boats and some are in tankers.  

Our little boat is managing to ride the storm so far - we get the occasional wave coming over the side, but nothing we can’t bail out.  I truly hope you are all okay, and that we will all find ourselves in much calmer waters very soon.

It has been weeks since I’ve  posted anything anywhere on social media and having a break from online activity has actually been good for me.  However, whilst I foolishly thought this lockdown period might mean I could create huge bodies of amazing felting work...that just simply hasn’t happened. 

But that’s okay.

Gardening for the soul...

The weather has been lovely and we have immersed ourselves in being outdoors in our garden and allotment...I am so very grateful for our outdoor space, especially at the moment. There’s just something about growing your own fruit and veg and bringing on your own plants and flowers that is very therapeutic.   

It’s also reassuring that, whilst many of us have our lives on pause, Mother Nature carries on regardless...the other day we heard a cuckoo and the swallows have started to arrive, the bluebells are blooming and we already have some fledgling wagtails bobbing about in our garden; wonderful.

I’m a bit of a ‘have a go’ gardener...not an expert at all.  I’ve always wanted a wildlife pond in the garden, and we’ve cracked on over the last few weeks, cleared an area of lawn and dug one out...I’m really pleased with it and can’t wait to get some plants in and around it...and hopefully some wildlife too!  We’ve recycled lots of things that were just lying about, like the stones and the edging that we’ve now reused as a path...it has been a really satisfying project.

I even made an insect hotel...guarded by a couple of very worn out gnomes I uncovered! 

Areas of the garden are starting to bloom...

Our allotment is slowly being turned and planted...the potatoes and onions are already showing and I’ve sown lots of flower seeds that are all germinating.  Gardening is a very optimistic thing to do isn’t it? Isn’t there a quote: ‘to plant a garden is to believe in a better tomorrow’? 

The apple blossom smells delicious...

Stitch therapy...

Well, you were maybe hoping to see some creating of a different kind in this blog post...I have been stitching, but only a few things for our own home - things I've been meaning to do for ages but have never quite managed to find the time for.  Firstly, I made a cushion for our kitchen...I used a magpie fabric patch from Mrs Bertimus  which I absolutely love and used scraps and raw edge appliqué to put it all together.

If you don't follow Mrs Bertimus on Instagram, I'd recommend her page - I love her paintings and she often shares works in progress on her stories.

With the cushion finished, I wanted to dive straight back in to make something I’ve had in my mind for a long time, and again I’ve used a Mrs Bertimus hare (from one of her printed tea towels) to create a wall hanging which will go in our front room.  It’s not finished yet, but here’s a peek of how it’s coming along. The hare has been carefully cut from the tea towel and then appliqued on to an antique plain tea towel, which is a really lovely thickness.

 Quite a few blogposts ago, I shared how I had eco dyed lots of fabrics using plants...

...and I ended up with lots of scrummy, unique pieces of cotton and silk.  I remember loving them, but wasn’t sure how I was going to use them and just put them away in a box. Well, I have been putting them to good use in this wall hanging by using them for the hexagon patchwork pieces...I just love them all together like this and it all just blends in perfectly. The vintage flowers had been dyed with onion skins.

I am so enjoying doing this...I actually can’t wait to spend an hour or so on it in the evenings.  It’s totally absorbing, and the rhythm of hand stitching is very calming - it has become my place of escape.

I haven’t quite decided how I will edge it yet, but I’m sure that will come to me at some point (exercising my 'make it up as I go along' method). I’ll share the finished wall hanging next time, all being well!

So that’s it for now...the quilt is all I wish to be doing for the moment, but I’m sure the wools will be out soon for a spot of felting...hopefully some more inspiration will come my way, maybe as the garden takes shape and starts blooming!

Just before lockdown, I did make a rather apt sale of 'Home to Roost' - I was due to meet up with the new owner to give it to her in person, but that didn't quite work out.  So I'm keeping it safe and hope to deliver it as soon as local travel restrictions are relaxed a little...never has a title of a picture been so fitting!

'Home to Roost' - now sold x

Looking forward...

There is much to look forward to, and I think (and hope) that we will all have learned to cherish the more simple things in life as we come out on other side of this pandemic together.

Personally, I’m looking forward to giving my son a proper big ‘mummy hug’...though he may cringe at the thought! It’s been hard not being able to see family.

What are you looking forward to? Have you managed to achieve something positive during lockdown, no matter how small? Or are you a key worker and have experienced the front line of this pandemic?  

Here’s looking forward to better days, because they ARE coming...best wishes to you.

xx Tanya xx