Friday, 13 September 2013

on black

I know it's been a while since I wrote.
That's okay. Things have been rather busy here.

I've come to the realisation in the last few months that I feel better wearing black, at least on my top half.

This seems boring, and I have fought it for years, I love bold colours, and for some reason I feel guilty if I'm only ever wearing black, but I feel most comfortable and confident if I am in black.

This also opens up better ideas for me for buying/making new clothes: I can be as adventurous as I like with my bottom half (bold colours skirts, for example) and they'll always look fine with a plain black top. I can focus on buying different basics for my top in black, knowing I'll be happy to wear them and feel good wearing them.

So I feel like I'm making progress with working out my personal style. Now all I need to do is get a few more items so I've got more than two options, and maybe look forwards to summer, I'll need some more black tees. But it's not warm enough for that yet, so I've got time :) other news, my ethics proposal in currently under consideration and my 'confirmation event' (read: 20min presentation on what I'm doing for my PhD) is next week.

...and Miss S is now 5 and has thoroughly enjoyed her first week of school.

Friday, 12 July 2013

A bag of tricks

So, I did a bit of sewing a few weeks ago, and I was going to blog a bit more detailed than just a "I made this" but it has taken me this long to get around to it. Here we go.

So I decided Miss A needed some kind of containing device for her toys that were starting to get played with more and then being messy around the living room so I made a soft fabric box / bag-thing:

I've seen them before online ages ago, and thought it could be a good idea. This one is made from spare cloth nappies (not fluffy ones and well washed) that I then interfaced (a fairly light interfacing). I then cut out four shapes like this:

And sewed them together: Two together along one long side and to each pointed end, and one set had an opening to turn it through on what would become the 'inside' (you could do half and half different fabrics and make it prettier), and then sewed the two halved together, turned it through and handsewed up the hole before folding it in half and then folding the top over. I should have pressed the seams open and flat AS I sewed but I didn't, and then it was rather tricky once it was all made up.

It is quite sturdy, but nice and soft. Miss A likes to sit and see what she can find in the bag and pull out something to play with. (Miss S sometimes tries to convince me it is a hat, but I am not convinced.)

As I sewed it, all plain white, I thought it might be nice to sew coloured zigzag over each long seam line, but it would be tricky with the seam allowance and the opening-to-turn-through, so I didn't. But I thought that if I made another one, I could cut the pieces like this:

And then I could. I'd sew all the sides and then the base, making the opening-to-turn-through in the base rather than a side.

It's a really easy pattern to make up. Just make a long rectangle twice as long as you want the bag high, plus any fold over (I suppose you could make it without foldover, but I think it gives the opening more structure, and the foldover can increase or lessen as the bag is fuller or emptier) and as wide as you want one side of the square. Then to add the base just make a right-angle triangle on each end of the rectangle - I used my patternmaking square, but you could use anything square, as long as the sides are even and the angle is a right angle (otherwise it won't sit flat).

 bag base, showing seams joining at right angles

If you want the second pattern style, cut the triangle in half and add both halves to the end.

It was really easy to whip up, and is really handy and surprisingly sturdy (and a great use for old cloth nappies).

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Keeping ticking

So Friday was yesterday. This week seems to have gone by really fast. Last week was really slow, so I'm caught a little off guard.

I haven't managed any exercise, for two weeks (or was that three?).

I have kept plodding with my PhD, some days better than others. I'm getting my confirmation document into order, but will need to start thinking about the presentation to go with it soon. Probably best to start that before Miss S is on holiday.

I STILL haven't managed to do any sewing. I've had sore wrists and been tired whenever the chance might have come up, so have gone to bed with a book early a few nights, and generally been keeping the washing ticking over and such instead. Soon. My crafty soul needs some making soon.

Monday, 1 July 2013

What I've learnt in June

Emily over at Chatting at the Sky is having a fun and serious link-up about "What I've learnt in June" today and I thought I'd join in.

1. I can cope with my daughters without assistance better than I thought.
The Hubster had some hard work to get down this month, which left me fielding the kidlets, and I managed surprisingly well. This means that I can feel freer to do things without him and to encourage him to go where he needs to go and do what he wants to do (youth ministry conference coming up for example?).

2. If I keep plodding, work gets down. (But when I don't plod it can be sitting waiting for weeks!)
PhD work has been plodding, and progressing slowly, but I still have a pair of pjs cut out and waiting to be sewn.

3. Marking can be hilarious, as well as incredibly boring.
Okay, so I knew this already, but I've been doing more undergrad marking, and some of the things that pop up had me laughing out loud. Other bits had me facepalming and losing faith in humanity, at least until I was laughing again or came across a really good essay.

4. Sometimes the littlest things can really matter at the same time as them not mattering at all.
Case in point: "We are made in His image" vs. "We are made in God's image" - no difference, but all the difference in the world.

5. Printing out documents and reading them on paper gives me a very different perspective on them and I find it easier to edit.
Not tree-friendly, but I console myself by the backs becoming free-for-drawing for Miss S or recycling. And then more PhD work gets done (and this is good).

6. Fires are awesome (and messy).
Winter has set in, with days in a row being less than 10 degrees, so we are enjoying our fire - it makes the house so cosy! But there is always more dusting and tiny bits of wood scattered around the place.

7. An old familiar book that hasn't been read in a while is a great comfort when you fall into bed tired at the end of the day. You know you're not missing out when you find yourself half-snoozing through your reading, but it's still a good read.

8.Sometimes the most profound things we learn from babies who cannot even move around or talk for themselves: Sometimes you have to let go before you can grasp something new. (Oh, and Miss A is amazing, sitting by herself and being generally gorgeous.)

9. We have far more computer power cords than we will ever need.
I've made a small start on sorting and reboxing (and throwing away) things stored in our garage. First box accessible was the Hubster's cord box. I'm not even halfway through and I've found around 5 computer power cords and 3 old printer-to-USB cords (the type that aren't used anymore).

So what have you learned in June? From the ridiculous to the mundane to something seriously profound...

Friday, 21 June 2013

A week... passes

It's Friday again, and I don't feel like I have much to report, not today anyway. It is cold and I am tired.

The weekend was good, I got some good sewing done which I'm working on a post about specifically.

Tuesday night the Hubster was out, so I spent the evening in front of the tv cutting out Miss S's next pair of pjs. (Was that really only this week?)

Wednesday, Miss A decided to try sitting by herself, and got increasingly good at it through the day, until she decided that her toes looked more interesting. I had some wheat over the weekend and she's been rather spilly this week because of it, but it has gradually been lessening. Lots of bibs and washing done. Last night she had trouble sleeping due to a blocked nose, so I'm rather tired now.... zzzz

We got the highchair out of the garage and gave it a clean, and then I've been working on a seatbelt for it, as Miss S used to always slip down in it, so would like Miss A to be able to avoid that if we can. I managed to figure out how it might work, and dug around in my notions collection for some clips and stuff from a deceased backpack, then went and bought some strapping. With a little bit of sewing we'll have an adjustable seatbelt for it, then Miss A can start sitting up with us for meals and be out of reach of our food (which she keeps trying to grab when she sits in laps).

I've done some little bits of PhD work, not nearly as much as I should have done, but forward progress is better than none. Made some contacts and am starting to get my confirmation report into shape.

I should be spending today doing exam marking, and that means a trip out to uni with a baby, because I'm not allowed to take the exam papers off campus. I went out yesterday but, because it is an extramural paper, there weren't many there to be marked yet. A got an email about an hour after I had left saying there was now another 50 there.  Sigh. Maybe I'll go out after Miss A has had a decent nap.

I'll to try work on a more exciting post (with pictures!) later tonight while the Hubster is out at youth group, if the girls sleep, that is.  Yawn. I might need a nap.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

A little patch of sewing

The other day I did a quick bit of sewing, made some squares for Miss A to chew on. We'd been trying to find something she was happy chewing to help her teething. A lot of the teething toys she isn't yet able to hold in her mouth cos she's so young, but we found he quite happily sucking and chewing on her quilt. So I thought I'd make some more portable alternatives.

They were so easy to sew, just two squares of scrap sweatshirting, sewn together with a wide seam allowance so that when I turned then through I could just top-stitch around them and the opening was caught in too without me needing to handstitch (which I did later when I had time, but it meant they were usable right away). I made one a straight square with a colour on each side. The other one I sewing the sides of the squares together, then off-set them so each side was half of one fabric, half the other, and then sewed the other sides before turning through.

Miss A loves them. They can get quite soggy, but they can just be thrown in the washing machine, easy peasy.

I'm very happy with them. They were such a quick and easy project (10-15mins for two?), and so rewarding. And a good way to use up some small bits of leftover fabric. I'm almost all out of this pink printed sweatshirting, only scraps for things like this left.

A belated reflection

So I managed to miss my Friday round-up, but it was a very wearying week, so I was struggling to think.

We've had a friend staying with us while he tries to find a place to live, and finally moved out last Friday. (When I say moved out, he's been sleeping in his van in our garage for the last two weeks.) I was somewhat surprised by how much it has worn me out, cos it didn't feel too bad during, but post- I am rather knackered.

Then the Hubster's sister came to visit Saturday evening and we stayed up late talking (read: midnight). Opps.

Saturday I managed to finish the pj top to go with the star footsie pj pants, and despite only adding length, Miss S seems to be swimming in it a bit. Maybe they'll last two winters.

I've got some fabric for a second pair, but I have cut out Miss A some woolly singlets from some old merino tops of mine (that are coming apart at the seams but the fabric is otherwise fine) that I'll make up first.

This week I've managed to get a bit of PhD work done, not a lot, but keeping things moving at least. I've been discussing with my supervisors my confirmation event which will happen at the end of July  (showing that I've done work over the first 12mths of PhD enrollment by doing an oral presentation and giving a proposal/report to supervisors and 'confirmation panel'). So I need to get working on that. The report can mostly be a pulling together of various bits I have around the place. And then the oral presentation will be based on my critical literature review and research proposal.

I've managed two walks this week (none last week), even one in the rain cos I just needed the exercise. So I'm managing to keep that happening a bit, not as much as I would like, but that seem to be a theme at the moment.

More about another little bit of sewing in another post.

Friday, 31 May 2013


This week seems to have been much more productive than the last.

I have emailed both my ethics application and my current-form-of critical literature review to my supervisors. Feeling like I'm starting to get somewhere.

I finished the first pair of footsie pj pants for Miss S, and she is super happy. Wearing them to bed tonight (after wearing them around all afternoon since I finished them).

(The colour matches nicely with this skirt I made her for Christmas last year, edged with a scrap of fabric left over from the first shirt I ever made her dad.)

They seem to have plenty of length for her to grow, so might manage to last her two winters.

I cut out the matching top last night and managed to sew the shoulder seams this afternoon before Miss A woke from a nap and I had to stop.

I didn't manage to go for any walks this week, it's been a chilly week, and I've been getting over a cold, so didn't feel like going out and making my nose run even more. I did manage an ab workout yesterday. But generally lots of early nights and a lack of enthusiasm for being too active.

Aims for next week?

Get a couple of emails related to my PhD sent.

Be a bit more active.

I think I'd like to start tackling a new section of PhD work, do something a bit different while I wait for feedback about the bits currently with supervisors.

My parents are visiting on their way home from long-weekend-travels on Tuesday/Wednesday, so that might keep me busy a little, and Miss S is home from kindy on Monday, so we'll see how we go.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Pants galore!

So I didn't get any sewing done yesterday, Miss A didn't want to sleep. But after the girls had eventually both ended up in bed last night I managed to sort out the pj pattern for Miss S and cut out one pair of pants. I started sewing them today. Isn't the fabric lovely? So soft and cozy.


This was of course after I had sewn this pair of pants for Miss A that have been waiting a few weeks.

The colours a nice warm dark-ish green, more like the full photo than the inset. Unfortunately the fabric had virtually no stretch, and I had cut it as if it had a little, so the slightly smaller cuffs couldn't be stretched on, and I got a little tuck in one of them. I'll probably be the only one to notice, and it won't make them any less cozy.

I managed to snap a pic of the second pair a couple of days ago.

Fabric is the same as the sweatshirt I made last weekend, both cut from leftovers of a sleeveless hooded tunic I made years ago. These pants are a bit long, but she'll grow, I'm sure.

So a much better day today, but now I must go see about dinner.

Friday, 24 May 2013

A slow week, but well measured



It's beautifully sunny today.

But it's been a slow week, slow working week anyway, not much progress anywhere.

Despite not doing much I've still be rather sore, which doesn't help the inspiration.

Chipping away slowly on a couple of things.

I'd rather be sewing though.

I traced off Miss S's current pjs, and took a few dozen measurements (some I needed, some on request), so I should be able to upsize and alter it quickly enough. Maybe I'll do some of it this evening while The Hubster is out.

I'm off to do a little sewing to try and make myself feel better. I'll aim to get more done next week. Meet you back here on Monday for some goals, perhaps?

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A little bit of unlisted sewing

So I was planning to rest my wrists over the weekend, but then Miss S was going to a birthday party for her best friend from kindy, turning 5 so a big deal, and she asked me at lunchtime (party was at 3pm) if I could make something for her to give her friend. Foolishly I said yes, and whipped out some fabric and the sewing machine and made this in less than two hours (including having lunch and feeding Miss A). A quick photo before it got wrapped up by an enthusiastic Miss S:

Rather pleased that I could make something so fast, especially with the slow crappy cheap domestic machine I have. Unfortunately it wasn't something on my list of things to make.

It only has one body seam, at the centre front, and a half-zip there. Cuffs and waistband of ribbing. And of course a pointed hood (I love me some pointed hoods).

Made without a pattern (as I frequently do), but cut based on (and slightly larger than) one of Miss S's hoodies. I got Miss S to try it on and it was big on her, but looked good, so I was happy.

Also, Miss S and I went fabric shopping on Saturday morning for some pj fabric which is now washed, but not cut out yet. That'll be the bit that takes the longest I think. I have a pair of pants for Miss A already cut that might end up getting sewn first just because they're ready to go.

Today Miss S, Miss A, and I took enrollment forms to Miss S's school, and she's going on a visit there tomorrow with kindy. Makes it all seem rather soon.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Friday round-up

So it's Friday again. I meant to write this this morning (and hopefully motivate myself to get things done today) but it never managed to happen.

Right now dinner is cooking, Miss S is playing with fridge magnets, Miss A (who is tired but refusing to take a nap) is on my lap making cute noises at the computer, and The Hubster is out at youth group 35mins away.

So I haven't really managed to do anything today. My wrists are rather sore and I've been feeling a bit down, probably because I'm sore and not getting anything done.

So what Have I done this week?

Marked 13 assignments (2 to go).
Amalgamated two half-written essays into one (this still needs work, but it's starting to get some flow).
Done a little more on my ethics app, but am waiting to hear back from my supervisors about my interview questions.
Researched possible free-txt options for potential participants to contact me through.
Knitted another row on my hat, only to find I've not got enough yarn to do another row, let alone the five or six more I need to finish it.
Cut out another pair of trackpants for Miss A and a vest for Miss S (though discovered Miss S needs some new pjs more than anything, and wants some with feet).
Attempted to read my overdue library book which someone has put a hold on so I can't renew it.
The Hubster and I visited the school Miss S will be starting at in September.
I went for one walk (I had planned 3, but that didn't happen) and did two 5min ab workouts.

So maybe it has been a busy week after all. (justified tiredness?)

So next week?

Finish all the marking (there were possibly some late ones coming in).
Work more on the essay, perhaps even manage to get it to a stage where I might be able to show my supervisors.
Follow-up the free-txt thing.
I need to write a little bio thing for an article I'm getting printed within the psych department (I have NO idea what to include).
And maybe rest my wrists enough so that I can do some sewing. That would be nice.

... later in the evening, because I still haven't managed to finish this...
Miss S is negotiating with me about how long til bedtime. I said 10mins, she said she'd rather have 6. I agreed, but then she replied 'no, no, no, 7 minutes, no, 8 minutes!' 'Sure, darling.' :)

Saturday, 11 May 2013

The ant graveyard

Over the last few months we had noticed a gradual increase in the number of ants around. So the Hubster put out some ant poison. For some reason they like to come and die on our study windowsills. We think their nest must be in the ceiling above, but not sure why they collect here.

Every now and then we'll see a live one trying to carry on of his dead buddies home. Strange ants.

Friday, 10 May 2013

A busy week of bits and pieces

So it's Friday again. I think it has been a good week. At least I Feel like I've been getting things done.
I meant to do a wordless Wednesday post of our ant graveyard, but it didn't happen.

Miss S has been back at kindy, which I'm sure has been good for us all.

Miss A seems to be teething, so a bit crotchety round the edges and wanting to chew on fingers lots, but otherwise doing well. I took her out to uni on Wednesday for a bit of show and tell with my supervisors, lecturers, and some study friends.

I've managed to make good progress on my ethics application, most of the 18 pages are now filled out. And I've done some writing work trying to bash out a literature review/article-y thing.

I've also managed to do four mystery shops this week, which was a few too many, but I forgot I had agreed to the first two when I agreed to the second two. Did two on Monday, had to dress up all flash for one of them which was fun. Then finally got around to doing the other two today.

I managed to finish a second pair of trackpants for Miss A last weekend, though they're a bit big for her, but I suppose it keeps her feet (completely) warm for now, and she'll grow. And I finished sewing bias-binding around the edge of a muslin square for breastfeeding in public with, to make it a bit prettier and layering two layers of muslin together. I decided to handsew it, knowing it would take longer, but it gave my hands something to do while watching tv, you know, cos I have no other handcraft work going at the moment.So that's two things crossed off my crafting list this week! I'm trying very hard to resist writing anything new on there until I have finished it all, the list is rather long and is a mix of machine sewing, hand sewing, and knitting.

So what's my plan for the next week?
Get my ethics application closer to finished. This involves going and talking to people I don't know, so it might take a bit of effort, I'm not so keen on doing that.
I'd also like to get my writing a bit closer to one thing, rather than a random mash-up of two or three. Serious editing required.
And I'd like to make some more progress on my handcraft list, just one more thing done would be nice, but we'll have to see how I go, whether I can get anything done at all.

The weather is getting more autumnal, and I'm enjoying watching the colours of the leaves change during the day and getting cozy by the fire in the evenings.

Friday, 3 May 2013

A week's reflection

So it's Friday.

I've been vaguely thinking that a blog post each Friday looking back at the week that's been might be a good thing. But I'm not sure anything much has happened this week.

Miss S has been on holiday from kindy, so home all the time, making things rather chaotic. She's mostly been good and happy, but so very very busy. I swear she doesn't stop moving or talking from the moment she wakes until she falls asleep. Back to kindy next week, though she's getting pretty ready for school, but not 5 til September.

I've started back into PhD work, but only slowly, easing my way in, working on some to-do lists with very small pieces (the sort of small that can get done within a baby cat-nap). I managed to get another row or two done on my hat, but now I'm getting worried I won't have enough yarn left to finish it. And considering I started it about 5 years ago, I doubt I'd be able to find any more, I don't even have a label of what it was.

We are all better, though Miss A had immunisations today, so we might have a bumpy night. She is growing beautifully, starting to recognise her hands and be deliberate about moving them and grabbing things.

I think it might be a night for curling up in bed early with my book, but I had best sort the washing out first.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Returning to study and a finished thing

So today I have officially returned to full-time PhD study, and I am yet to spontaneously combust with anxiety. Didn't get a great deal done, but I've made a start, and a to-do list to help me keep going. First up is getting my ethics proposal done, I'm wanting to interview people about some delicate topics, so I need permission, and there's lots of little things that need to be included in the ethics application, so I'm going to work my way through them.

I also managed to go for a walk with Miss A both yesterday and today (just a short ones). It was lovely to get out and moving in the sunshine (and cool wind). Probably good for me too.

Over the weekend I managed to finish the first of Miss A's trackpants, and they fit her beautifully, with room to grow. And I love the bright blue.

They're a very simple style, but very cozy and cute, and easy to sew. There's elastic in the waistband, but the cuffs are just a tighter band of fabric. The second pair is half sewn, sitting beside me waiting to be finished. Soon.

The problems with skirts

As mentioned last post, I'm on a bit of a mission to increase how frequently I wear skirts, aiming for 5 days a week by the end of the year. But it's not as simple as just making myself more skirts. Oh no, nowhere near.

One of the biggest problems is what to wear WITH my skirts.

Shoes, being an obvious one. I don't own any boots. I would like to, but I haven't been able to find any I like. But even if I had boots I probably wouldn't want to wear them ALL the time. Sneakers are a no-no to me, even black ones. Some skirts go better with some dressy shoes. I do have a couple of nice pairs of heels, but with my wobbly ankles I can't ever wear them for more than a couple of hours at a time, and at the moment when I am carrying a baby lots I'm avoiding the narrow and high ones completely. I've been looking for some fairly simple black leather ones from Ziera (ex- Kumpfs) because they are really comfy and last ages (5+ years of everyday wear for one pair I had) and NZ designed and made, but I'm not that keen on any of their current styles.

Tops, are another question. A lot of my tops are layering pieces, which look ok with pants, but can be a bit bulky at times with long A-line skirts. But I like to stay warm! So I'm looking at gradually altering the fabric content of my tops, heading towards more wool, less layers, so I can stay cozy without looking like I'm wearing my whole wardrobe at once. My good merino knit tops are starting to die on me, right as it's getting colder, so I'll have to go shopping for some more soon. (The not-good ones have been relegated to pjs (mid-night feeds are cold) or to be made into woolly singlets for Miss A.)

One of the biggest problems I've found wearing skirts the last few weeks is the lack of pockets I have. Tripping about with a baby I like to have a few things close to hand, just in case (flannel, anyone?), but I don't like the extra bulk at my hips of pockets. So I've been looking at hip/belt bag things, but the nice ones are all crazy expensive (like this one for example), so I might just have to experiment with making my own.

I tend to go browsing the interwebs to find some good ideas of how to style outfits with skirts. But it might be a slow process, especially over winter when warmth is more important :p
I have bought some knee-high socks and some thick tights, but tops still worry me a little, so we'll have to see how we go. It's a process, and I'm not in a hurry, especially when I'm wanting to stay warm and be able to breastfeed.

Friday, 26 April 2013

A couple of goals

I've been thinking a bit lately, and I've decided on two goals for myself.

Can I tell you a secret, interwebs? I know I'm doing a PhD in Psychology, and it's a big thing, but I don't want to do it for the rest of my life. When I left school I went and studied fashion design, psychology was my second choice. When I was 23 all my small joint problems became one big massive ball of chronic pain, and an insurmountable boulder in my path down a fashion career - everything I though I might enjoy involved handling stuff, and any kind of gripping, turning, holding, moving, repetitive action, particularly with my wrists and hands, was a big pain-inducer. So with much frustration and many tears I went back to learn something different.

I started studying psychology with the intention of doing a PhD and getting a job doing psychology in some form (not just using it as a base for work involving people in someway like a lot of people do with an undergrad psych degree). At that time, sewing had become a maybe 30mins once or twice a week thing, and in time I sold my three industrial sewing machines, my mannequin, and my patternmaking table. It was done with a lot of sadness and regret. And every now and then I would wake up from a dream doing my dream job as a patternmaker and I would wake up and cry because I STILL wanted to do it, even though my body was trying to tell me it was impossible.

So here I am six years later, and I've learned a LOT about managing my activities and pain. Sewing still hurts me, but I'm slowly learning how much I can do at a time, how much is sustainable. For a long time it wasn't just the pain holding me back, but that it tore at my heartstrings every time I sewed or designed something, knowing I couldn't do it as a larger part of my life, let alone a career. But I'm finding that I kind of NEED to make things, it helps keep me sane. And so with a bit of planning out and breaking things into small steps I'm starting to find a few things manageable. My sense of style requires that I make clothes for myself. My desire for quality clothing (and a very small budget) requires that I make clothes for myself (I am hopeless! at clothing shopping, everything seems so badly sewn or not quite right somehow). And I'm starting to think these things just might be possible.

So here's my goal: Be a patternmaker by the time I'm 50.

I turn 30 next year, so I have 20 years to figure it all out and slowly get there. I can use my psychology to support my family in the meantime.

When I was studying fashion design 10 years ago, small independent patternmakers didn't seem to exist, not that I knew of anyway. But I've seen a few start cropping up over the internet the last few years, so I've been starting to dream again. No rush, no hurry, but a small dream to work on in the background over the long-term.

Oh, and the other goal? To reshape my wardrobe so that I can be wearing skirts 5 days a week by the end of the year. I need a few more skirts for a start, but also more tops that work well with skirts.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Oh the sickness.....

I was all mentally prepared on Thursday night to write a post last Friday. Except that I woke up sick. Like head fuzzy, throat sore, feverish, no voice, type sick. Then Saturday I was worse. And Sunday no better. Monday showed some slight signs of improvement, along with a visit to my doctor. And today I'm feeling almost like I might be nearly nearly-better. Not nearly-nearly like closer than nearly, but nearly nearly as in nearly up to being nearly. Clear as mud? Or my brain over the weekend?

So the last week and a bit hasn't exactly been productive.
No sewing done.
No exercise done.
No housework... ok scratch that, it doesn't get done often enough even when I'm well.
No planning for my return to my PhD.
Not even very much reading. I was that out of it.

I did manage to finish my marking last Thursday, which was good. And my parents came to visit on Saturday, which was awesome! Nothing like your mum being there when you're sick, even when you're grown up. They even took away Miss S for an hour or two in the afternoon (I'm not being vague, I really have no idea how long it was) to visit her other grands while the Hubster and I zoned out.

And of course now that I'm getting better, the Hubster is getting worse again. Hopefully whatever this viral bug thingy is will go away and leave us all alone soon.

So the plan for the last little bit of the week?

Field the girls a bit more so the Hubster can rest (it's holidays so Miss S is home all day too, and it's boring with Mum and Dad being sick so we can't do anything).
Try to at least finish the first pair of pants for Miss A, they only have the cuffs left to do.
Write a bit of a plan for getting back into my PhD, ease my way in.
Try not to spend toooooo much time exploring the journey and adventures of Gertie's vintage sewing over here:

Hope your last week has been better than mine. Onward!

Monday, 15 April 2013

A productive weekend... kind of

We all decided to be sick this weekend, baby included. By decided I mean we got sick, we didn't really get give a choice. Unfortunately the four-year-old recovered first and was full of beans again while the parents were sitting around going 'gaaaaaaaaah, leave us alone to our misery.' The baby just carried on pretty much as usual, but with a bit of a croak to her babbling. Throat's still sore, but at least I'm more functional today.

On saying all this, however, I had a surprisingly productive weekend, crafting-wise, I couldn't think enough to do my marking, so half of that is still waiting, but things got finished and continued and started.

I finished a skirt that had been half made for a week or two. Bright blue sweatshirting, so nice and cozy, full-length, simple elastic waist, so easy to wear.

I did a couple of rows of knitting on my hat. The first row I got to do most of it twice because I got 2/3 of the way round before realising it was a beaded row so had to undo it and start again.

And I cut out a couple of pairs of warm cozy pants for Miss A, one out of the same bright blue a the skirt and the other a patterned pink and white sweatshirting, and started sewing the blue pair cos there was blue thread on the sewing machine already.

So the crafting was rather encouraging, but now I need to get back to marking :(

Sparrows enjoying the rain on Saturday.

Friday, 12 April 2013

The week past

It feels like it's been a rather unproductive week. I haven't done anything crafty since last weekend as my wrists have been recovering from doing a whole 2 rows of knitting. I am determined to finish that hat eventually, it looks awesome even only half done, but the needles are too small for my hands to be happy doing it. Sad that I love finer knitwork (though I also love fine wool knitted on chunky needles, so might just have to stick with that).

I have however managed to get through over half my marking, mostly done during Miss A's micro-naps. And been for three (yes 3!!!!) walks, one of which was the whole family and the other two just me and Miss A. None very long, but it's the getting out and moving that's the important bit at this stage. I've only had one day without a shower, even if yesterday's was in the evening after the girls were in bed. (Yay me! Celebrating the small things round here.)

Little Miss A is growing out of her 0-3 month clothes, so I burrowed through our under-1 box under her cot and found the next-size-up things. Yay for growing babies!

This of course means that I've found some gaps, like warm pants, that Just Need Filling. So my list of things to do keeps growing.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Embracing motherhood

I'll say it straight out, I'm somewhat apprehensive about going back to fulltime PhD work on 1st May, but I'm doing some marking this week, so it's on my mind. Miss A will only be 3 months old and, unlike when I first became a mother four and a half years ago, I'm actually enjoying it and wanting to be with my baby.

With Miss S it was somewhat a relief to return to fulltime study when she was 6 months old. She had really bad silent reflux which was only just coming right after diet changes for me, and had long hated lying down as it made her uncomfortable and so therefore we didn't get much sleep. And I had No Idea what I was doing. I'm not really a natural baby or kid person. I had (pre- and) postnatal depression and really struggled with anxiety. So despite having to then express milk every break I got at uni, it was nice to get some semblance of normality and time to myself, and to have space to think about new things.

This time around I am much more confident in what I am doing. We've changed my diet straight away to help with the reflux (and the fact that we knew what to look for with reflux, or what reflux even was certainly helped!) and she's usually only waking once in the night for a feed. Daytime I'm much happier to go adventuring with baby (it helps that I can feed her Not Lying Down, like I still was with Miss S at this stage), and we invested in a good baby carrier to help things. She'll only catnap most days and want milk more often than I might like, which can lead to us all being rather tired by mid-afternoon when Miss S (who is endlessly busy and chatty) comes home from kindy. But she's usually good at getting herself off to sleep, which is such a relief after Miss S who would only sleep when upright.

I'm planning to work as much as I can from home, especially during kindy hours ;) but I'm really finding myself actually embracing motherhood, rather than just being a mother, this time around. So I'd like to somehow manage a more working-from-home style balance to things. I mean, I'm happy to express milk, but it takes large amounts of time and really hurts my wrists doing it constantly, so if I can do this less (or at least delay it) I'll be better able to do other things, like crafting which also kills my wrists but is so emotionally rewarding that it is worth the pain and then some, at least to a point.

At the moment the only problem with going back to fulltime work is, well, umm, the work, fitting it in during sleeps (which are far too short at the mo) and around cuddles. There's always things that need doing (or are maybe just preferable) at home. I might end up spreading my "40hr working week" over into evenings and weekends a little.

Speaking (typing?) of doing work, I should get back to my marking.

Monday, 8 April 2013

A return

I've been thinking of reawakening my blog.

It's been a long time, but I feel like it might be a good thing to have a place to set goals and share the things I manage to get done.

I'm in quite a different place to a few years ago when I was last around here, but in some ways still similar, echoes of the past. I've had another baby and am about to be back full-time studying, and as ever I am trying to fit more crafting into my life while balancing the fact that crafting causes me pain (lack of crafting also causes me pain, but emotional/psychological rather than physical).

So goals for the next month/wee while?
1. do a little bit of something crafty every day. I have long skirts to make, clothes for Miss S (who's now 4!!), a bit of knitting that has been waiting to be finished for a few years that I am determined to get done.
2. Take photos more, of said craftiness, baby Miss A, not-baby Miss S, and other things that catch my eye.
3. My book pile is growing rather than being kept up with, so I want to be a bit more deliberate about it.
4. AND there's that pesky PhD to work on ;) Might do another post of goals for that one. Though I'm not officially back into it till 1 May, I'd like to be able to ease my way in.

To help enable number 1, I've got my sewing machine sitting out all the time, with the laptop away, instead of the previously usual other way around, though bits and pieces still need to be put away from curious little hands.

Another thought of getting back into blogging is to get myself writing more, even just blog posts, and to help myself 'think on paper/keyboard' again which will help my PhD writing.

We'll see how we go :)