New

At some point we’re going to wind a warp using a warping mill in class. I haven’t used one before, though I’ve watched demonstrations. The Guild has only a small number of these, and I find I get quite overwhelmed and mistake-prone at in-person classes, so I considered making my own. After doing a bit of research, I bought a horizontal folding warping mill plan and knocked one up with a bit of help from Paul (because the big saw makes me nervous, and his system for storing tools is rather, um, personal to him).

I made one tweak – using cord instead of wooden braces at the base, inspired by my late Pa’s clothes airer. It’s much faster to just spread the legs until the cord is taught than to lift up each side, line up the holes of the wooden brace with the dowels and ram it on. And, of course, when you’re done you just lift it and let the legs swing together.

It had also occurred to me that if I sell my sectional warping equipment and make a folding warping mill I’d free up some space in my rather cluttered loom room. Having a warping mill means I won’t need my warping board, though I’ll keep it in case I need a more portable option. I’m thinking of selling my floor inkle loom too, as I’ve had it for a few years and haven’t used it once.

The urge – and need – to declutter and simplify always comes when I’ve had health issues, but there’s also the approaching start of a new year that’s driving thoughts of needs, wants and hopes for the near future. Last year I decided my mottos for 2021 were “be flexible” and “make no commitments. This year I keep returning to a great quote from Kieth Richards:

“I ain’t old, I’m evolving”.

So I’m thinking “evolve and simplify” is my motto for 2022.

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping it’s less trying than 2021.

Correction. Redirection.

So it’s not Sacroiliac joint inflammation. The MRI found no indication of it. However, it found two large Tarlov cysts and one small one, with the latter squished into the channel where nerves for the right leg pass through the sacrum.

I’ve had these appear in MRIs before – one six years ago on the right side of my pelvis that wasn’t in a bad place and is now gone, and more recently at least one in my neck. Where the new ones are positioned does explain the pain and other symptoms. If they are the cause, then I have Symptomatic Tarlov Cyst Disease, which sucks because it’s rare and very hard to treat.

I’d rather have bursitis or SIJ. STCD is not well understood and because asymptomatic cysts are fairly common, it’s often dismissed. I thought I’d had a big enough serve of ‘debilitating’, ‘unrecognised’ and ‘no cure’ back when I had chronic fatigue syndrome twenty years ago.

But I did mostly recover from CFS, and the cyst I had six years ago was bigger and is now gone, so these might eventually resolve too. Hopefully without causing permanent nerve damage and bone degeneration…

Anyway…

I haven’t had much I can post about weaving lately, but it’s not for lack of weaving. In fact, I was overwhelmed with weaving for a while there. It’s just that half of it is 8-shaft weaving course work and I decided when I started in July that I wouldn’t fill up the blog with samplers. However, I’ve recently found that having post of the 4-shaft course samplers easily accessible online can be very handy, so I’m planning to do an overview post of the course so far.

The other weaving is gift weaving, and I wasn’t going to risk the recipients would see anything before they received their items. Which was silly, because they know what they’re getting. However, I’m not going to have either gift done in time now. I had a neck flare up yesterday that forced me to sit in an armchair all day. The pelvis and leg pain is a bit better today, so it looks like resting rather than keeping moving is what works for me.

That means leaving the first gift unfinished on the Lotas. The Jane loom is almost wide enough for the second gift, which I could reduce to fit. However, I don’t think I’d get it done in time for the doubleweave sampler. I’m planning to install the supplementary warp beam I bought a year ago for that. I can’t do that sampler on the Katie, and the Katie is too narrow for the gift, so the gifts will have to wait. Fortunately the recipients are kind and understanding people who won’t mind waiting.

Other weaving-related projects are beckoning, too. I’ve bought plans and materials to make a horizontal warping mill, and once the supplementary warp beam is on the Jane I will need to adapt the trolley-bag I made for it.

Adjoining

So the latest addition to my list of joint and soft tissue damage is sacroiliac joint pain. Why? Who knows? As my regular physio said, it’s not like I don’t do a whole lot of stuff to try to prevent and treat these sorts of injuries, I’m just prone to them.

Thankfully, I can weave. The sacroiliac joint pain went from tolerable to bad during a few weeks when I wasn’t weaving on the floor loom so I’m pretty sure of that. I’m back at the floor loom now and the pain has been very slowly improving – not enough to attribute that to the weaving, unfortunately!

I had a day of looking at houses online, thinking that a move to more easily maintained property might be in our near future, but the thought of the effort in moving and renovating to suit our lifestyle was too much to bear, and the money we’d lose in taxes would easily cover the cost of a gardener coming in a couple of times a year plus and some changes to make maintenance easier.

As always, rather than focusing on how much I can’t wait for Christmas to be over I’m thinking about what I want to achieve next year.

Finish the 8-shaft weaving certificate course
Continue the daily art challenge
Try another local art society
Do more art at home
Simplify the garden

Trying another art society is mostly because one of them has a portrait workshop at a good time for me, but it doesn’t hurt to shop around and compare locations and vibe. The facility where I’ve been going his last year is shiny and new, but the centre management did nothing about the blinds that don’t provide full privacy for life drawing models, and I heard they’d made ridiculous demands on artists to keep it pristine. You can’t be that clean with art. Not if you’re doing it right, anyway!

And there’s the small matter of the fact the life drawing models are nearly all white women with big frontal assets. Some variety would be nice.

Still, the people seem nice and it is close to home, which is definitely an asset when you have chronic health problems.

The Art of … Getting Art Done

Lockdowns have meant I’ve been to few art classes in the last two years. In the first lockdowns I barely managed a few simple sketches at home. I’d anticipated a freezing up of creativity because I’d read about going into ‘survival mode’ during stressful times, which I’ve experienced before, so I don’t feel bad about that.

In the past I’ve managed to do some art at home, but always when I had no classes, and as soon as I started going again I stopped. I’ve assumed this meant I had a limited need for art, which classes satisfied. Recently it occurred to me that it might not be that classes fulfil my need for creating art, but that going to classes reduces the incentive to do art at home.

It’s not that classes discourage me, but to set up a workable space and regular habit takes focus, time and dedication, and that doesn’t happen because I don’t need it to.

I’m not going to stop going to classes. Feedback is essential, and hanging out with other artists is inspiring and motivating. What I am going to do is see if I can keep painting at home as well.

When I rearranged my craft room a few months ago to have a permanent sewing area I also examined my painting space critically. Acknowledging that I don’t want to stand to paint, I moved out my floor easel and put a table easel on my work table instead. My art materials cabinet was already beside the table, which completed what is now a cosy painting corner.

I’ve been making paint charts, started on a painting that will be a Christmas present, and done the occasional flower painting there. Some issues still need to be resolved. Lighting, for a start. There’s no good spot in this house for natural light. I’ve requested an easel light for my birthday so hopefully that will solve the problem.

Creating a habit is the next challenge, and for that I need to plan ahead. The art that I’m doing and two little cat portraits waiting in the wings will keep me occupied for a month or two, but I have nothing after that. I might need a bigger objective, like the portrait painting I challenged myself with a decade ago. Something that won’t be stalled by lockdowns and such.

Trying Different Hats

Normally, I try not to even think of the ‘C’ word until the beginning of December, unless I know I need to order a present early. This year I’ve put that rule aside for three reasons:

Firstly, I’m sick of ordering online. While I understand and empathise with Aussie Post for the delays, it’s one more thing to worry about. And the delays are only part of the problem with ordering online. Recently some items I ordered hadn’t arrived so I tried contacting the shop, but they didn’t reply to messages left via email, their answering machine, their website’s contact form or their Facebook page. It took a couple of weeks to finally get through on the phone, only to find out the items had always been out of stock and help up by international shipping issues. If I’d known they were out of stock I wouldn’t have ordered the items. Two and a half months later they still haven’t arrived, but the shop is the only one in the country selling them so I really don’t want to cancel my order.

The second reason is I don’t much fancy shopping in person, either. When lockdown ends there’s going to be a rush on shops, and things will sell out, and since we’re supposed to be transitioning to ‘living with Covid’ (which will no doubt mean ‘dying with Covid’ for a number of people) and I doubt the vaccine passport idea is going to go smoothly, I’m intending to stay away from strangers as much as possible.

The third reason is because my solution to the above is to make most of my gifts, and that takes time and planning.

On the up side, I have a very short recipient list. On the down side, it includes two men who aren’t easy to pick something for even when not choosing hand made.

One of the ideas I had for gifts was to sew hats. I found a free bucket hat online and gave it a try. Aside from me misreading the interlining pattern pieces as lining and having to unpick them then cut and sew a new lining, the construction was problem free and it fits perfectly.

The outer fabric is denim and the inner a navy cotton with tiny flowers in red, green, yellow, blue and white. Both came from destashes.

I also have a sunhat pattern I’ve been wanting to try for ages, so I gave that a whirl. The main fabric is a white corduroy printed with green and black parrots from an old, stained dress of Late Lucy’s. The lining is a white cotton bed sheet.

This was a bit of a faff to construct, with lots of stay stitching and a seemingly unnecessary bit of gathering thread to ease the side piece to the top, but there is a nice bit of theatre when you turn what looks like a clump of fabric inside out and it turns into a hat. It fits and I like it.

Still, it’s not really Mum’s style and definitely not Dad’s, so I stuck with the bucket hat.

Mum’s uses some offcuts of fabric from a dress she made years ago and more of the white cotton sheet for the lining, and Dad’s uses the same denim I used on my bucket hat with a lovely soft red cotton plaid for the lining.

All the hats have used destashed or repurposed fabric, so I’m pretty chuffed about that. I’ve offered to make one for Paul, but I’ll have to enlarge the pattern. If I made it with the black denim in the stash it would be easy to tell which hat was his and which was mine, and I have a black and grey plaid shirt that would work for lining. Hmm.

Recovery

Recently I was watching a video in which an artist talked about burnout and I realised she was describing how I’d felt in the last few years toward my work. I’d assumed that back pain was the cause of my lack of enthusiasm – after all, it’s hard to be keen about doing something that hurts – and I hadn’t considered there might be more to it. Acknowledging the burnout felt right, like finding the piece of a puzzle. And because it’s hard to recover from something if you don’t know you have it.

Deciding that this was the year of being flexible and avoiding commitments was a good idea, in retrospect, but it’s been frustrating as well as beneficial. While it’s been less stressful, the break has confirmed that I do need an aim or challenge to work toward. But I needed time to consider what I wanted to do, and what I am capable of now.

Looking back, I’ve always maintained three passions in my life: writing, art and craft. I’ve turned two of them into work, as a designer for four years, a self-employed illustrator and designer for nine, and a writer for twenty…

… and as I typed that last paragraph, I remembered that I was seriously burnt out as an artist by the time I wound up the illustration business. It took time and taking up a new medium (oils) to recover my love for art. Maybe that’s what I’ll need to recover my enthusiasm for writing.

I’m in no hurry to get writing again, though I am feeling like I’ve recovered some interest. Until I do, I have art and craft to call upon for my aims and challenges. Yet at the same time I’ve been wondering how I can avoid spoiling either by turning them into work. Well, ‘work’ and ‘work at’ are entirely different things. Deadlines, clients and money are involved in the first, but aren’t essential for the latter. What matters for the latter is learning, practising and improving. Becoming good at something can be fulfilling in of itself.

I think that’ll be more than enough for me for now.

Back on Track

Stepping back from creative projects and getting stuck into chores did what I needed it to. We got a whole lot done around the house, including a big cull of gardening tools after cleaning, oiling and/or sharpening everything so we could give friends a set for their new house. Within two weeks I found myself weaving again and within three I was doing a bit of sewing.

It helps that the 8-shaft certificate course is starting soon. There’s a warp on the Jane, ready to thread for the first sampler. I was a bit worried I wouldn’t feel the same eagerness for this course as I did the last one, after all my soul-searching over where I was going with weaving. The enthusiasm is there but it’s different. The experiences I had in the last year and a half gave me an appreciation for the rarity of learning opportunities. I’m going into it without grand ideas, just the simple joy of discovery.

And a little bit of caution, because while last time I had no work projects to navigate as well, this time I might. Nothing like a writing a book, though.

The computer upheavals did lead to one small bit of creativity. I had to buy a new tablet because the ‘old’ one wasn’t compatible, but it didn’t come with a stylus holder. So Paul 3D printed this for it:

(I glued on the gemstones.)

Slippage

I always thought that the first sign that civilisation was collapsing or WW3 was starting would be that my bank accounts and the internet would stop working. Recently one of my accounts was frozen by the bank and my email stopped working, both within a week of each other.

The account was sorted very efficiently by the bank. The email problem was not so easy. It led to my partner and I upgrading my computer, which didn’t fix the problem and meant most of the software and some of the hardware didn’t work any more. We couldn’t downgrade the computer again, but I have an old computer I retired back in 2018 that still works. We eventually stumbled on a fix for the email. Lots of time and some money spent on not quite getting things back to normal. Such is life with computers.

It had me seriously questioning if having domain names, a website and this blog is worth having to deal with an ISP, but when I thought things over I realised those things haven’t been a problem (yet). It’s always been email. So I’m not closing the blog yet.

Too much time sitting at the computer trying to sort things resulted in a back flare up, but even after it healed everything felt… strange. It was like I’d slipped into an alternative universe, where everything’s familiar but doesn’t work like it should. I also didn’t want to do anything creative. Instead I cooked, cleaned, weeded the garden and generally felt anxious. When I realised it was similar to the initial Covid outbreak funk I worked out I was back in survival mode.

But like that earlier funk, it will pass. There may be a few long gaps between posts because I’ll have no finished projects to blog about, and I’m sure you don’t want to know all about us tidying the garage, or cleaning and sharpening the gardening tools.

Well, if you’re going to have anxiety, you may as well enjoy the benefits of stress-induced cleaning binges,

Fifteen Years of Blogging

A few months back I was flicking through a visual diary and found a page of notes from my tenth blogiversary. It didn’t seem that long ago, but looking at the date I realised that my fifteenth blogiversary wasn’t far away. So I began reading though my entries for the last five years and taking notes for this blog post.

2016

The year started with loom renovations. I fixed up the loom of a friend, Donna, and a Dyer & Phillips loom Paul found in a junk pile in the city. I bought the Osbourne loom and renovated it.

The last of the Sewing/Craft Days happened, after which they fizzled out. I missed them so I started hosting Sweary Stitchers Craft Days with a different group – twice a year. During the lock down we held them on Zoom.

I sewed cheesecloth tops, a 50/50 skirt, and took my first forays into making garments from handwoven cloth. I taught myself how to make braided rugs, bought an electric spinner and on a trip to Norway and Denmark learned how to do nalbinding. I tried bargello (liked) and blackwork (disliked).

At a workshop with Ilka White I learned to warp a loom back to front, which I’ve done ever since.

Then I stayed in Lake Hume with Donna and gave her some weaving lessons. Later that year I gave a friend’s daughter a Zoom Loom and taught her how to use it.

I started using Instagram.

After struggling to buy clothing that wasn’t polyester, I was sucked into the research black hole that is ethical and sustainable fashion and it changed my whole approach to buying and making clothing.

Work and health issues meant that, toward the end of the year, I observed that 2016 was “a little bit shit”, but the one highlight was one of my portraits being long-listed for the Moran Prize.

Looking back, I can see the beginnings of changes that were to come. I was starting to explore weaving more with Ilka’s workshop and sewing garments, and a few attempts at teaching. Writing was really losing it’s appeal, not helped by worsening physical issues.

2017

I started Wednesday Night Art Sessions.

At Summer School I tried basketweaving, which I liked but was a short-lived hobby. Later in the year I did a mosaic course and loved it, and that one stuck for some years.

Weaving projects included red pinwheel tea towels, a green waffleweave baby blanket, a blanket made from 14ply Inca on an extra large pin loom I made, lots of scarves woven from leftover 3 ply wool and projects using thrums, and a krokbragd rug. I also bought a vari dent reed and began experimenting, including having my own narrower heddles laser cut.

I attended my first FibreArts workshop with Kay Faulkner, which was a revelation. Afterwards, with her encouragement, I had the courage to alter my Katie loom and tweak the Osbourne which made them both much better looms.

I’m amused to note that we started a photo album update project, which fizzled. I don’t think we’ve tackled making albums since.

We converted an old organ into a bar, and renovated our laundry.

Travel-wise, we went to Central Australia and thoroughly enjoyed not having the hassles of international travel.

I had cataract surgery, which was a surprise.

The year began with a five month break from writing, during which my back and morale improved enough I was ready to start the next book. I was much more positive, trying new things both social and creative. Perhaps because of that I was all about finishing and using up leftovers by the end of the year.

2018

I gave a friend’s daughter a Sample-It loom and taught her to crochet. The crocheting stuck – she is a natural – but not so much the weaving. Doh!

At Summer School I did the Sewing for Handwovens workshop, which led to me having the courage to make a cape, skirt and jacket from my handwoven cloth. There was more experimenting with the vari dent reed. I wove the honeycomb shawl, stashbuster shawl, fancy log cabin baby blanket, and t-shirt seat pad using another hand made extra large pin loom.

I also wove half of the drafts in chapter 1 of the Strickler book of eight-shaft patterns. Crazy. The highlight of the year was organising the Kay Plus Fun workshop in Lancefield, where we learned woven shibori and made painted warps.

Other crafty adventures included revamping raffia hats, sewing a skirt out of old black denim jeans, a wrap top and jumper on the Bond and projects on circular knitting machines. I started using Stylebook to organise my wardrobe.

Paul’s had a back operation. I got plantar fasciitis again from driving more because he couldn’t. After watching the War on Waste we reduced our single-use plastic consumption.

I decided I was tired of mostly painting background and clothes in portraits and concentrated on just heads of friends, which was surprisingly addictive.

We went to Flinders Island for a friend’s 50th and I hosted the extended family Christmas party using only recycled materials for decorations.

It was a year of stretching myself – of trying new approaches, taking on organisational challenges and responsibilities, and deepening knowledge. I was hopeful and enjoying myself despite the setbacks, though a work issue provided a source of worry and angst toward the end of the year that I could have done without and the return of back issues had me seriously considering retirement.

2019

The year began with a contemplative post. Deadlines and the editing phase of the book were looming and I knew that was going to provide some hurdles. I was starting to accept a few other changes that out of my control. “Don’t expect everything that gave you joy in the past to do so in the future,” I wrote, while asserting that at least I could choose some of the challenges ahead. Or so I thought.

Early on I finished the biggest mosaic project I’d designed – the clock – and a birdbath and house number. The Wednesday Night Art Sessions had dwindled to nothing and Paul wanted his studio space back, so the mosaic tools and materials moved to the laundry, then were put away in the garage and I haven’t done anything since.

I had another short term dive into jewellery-making, inspired by a friend’s section necklace. Later in the year my friend KRin and I made new candles from old. I dyed some t-shirts and a last shibori sampler with leftover indigo from the Kay Plus Fun workshop.

Weaving continued, with two huge projects: the Memories Rya Rug and a long table runner for Fran. Later I wove two sakiori runners and wove tea-towels for Mum for Christmas. I had a fabulous time at another FibreArts workshop with Kay Faulkner and was determined to go to her studio to do another when book obligations were done with.

Then on a day when my back was at it’s worst and I could not see how I could continue writing as a career, I learned that Kay had died. It hit me much harder than I had expected and made me really think about what I wanted to do.

That led to me signing up to the guild’s 4-shaft weaving certificate course. I agreed to teach rigid heddle weaving at Summer School, my first weaving class. I bought a Lotas loom and had it shipped from Western Australia, then later I picked up a Louet Jane loom.

A neighbour and friend of my Dad died, and I spend two weeks helping clean out her house. That led to holding a stall at the local trash’n’treasure market with a friend, getting jewellery and paintings valued, selling clothes through a consignment shop, and doing some unplanned refashions.

I was so exhausted from all this that I had no energy to organise a 50th birthday party but saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child instead.

Since we had guests stay only once or twice a year, and our friend’s kids were growing up and didn’t need a room to play in, we turned the guest room into the Loom Room. Best decision ever!

2020

After the bushfires I used the circular knitting machine to make possum pouches and wound up with rsi in my right wrist from cranking. An abundance of lavender spurred me to try distilling oils.

At summer school I did the Fun with Rugs workshop with Gerlinde Binning, which was inspiring. I was helping a friend run a craft destash stall at the embroiderer’s guild when I discovered one of the stall holders was trying to sell a big bag of flannelette scraps, so I bought the lot. Cutting rug strips was a simple task that I needed during the first Covid19 lockdown, and then as anxiety levels dropped I was able to start weaving, making a test rug then two huge rainbow rugs.

My rigid heddle workshop went well. I attempted too much, of course, but plans to do a revised version later in the year had to be abandoned. I also agreed to be the guild’s loom caretaker and attempted to get all the looms in good order and a stocktake done, but that was also stalled.

The 4-shaft course continued on Zoom, which proved better than in person. It finished in September and I signed up for the 8-shaft course in 2021.

I sprained my thumb and got De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, which took most of the year to heal.

A friend sold to me a cheap 16 shaft loom which I intend to remake. Soon after a LeClerc Voyager came up for sale. I bought it but it didn’t suit me so I sold it. A lovely lady who wants to make rugs bought the Osbourne.

It was definitely a year for weaving. I wove a deflected doubleweave scarf, linen dishcloths and fabric for summer tops. Later in the year I did two workshops with Denise Kovnat organised by the Australian rep of Complex Weavers, on Echo and Jin and Deflected Doubleweave as Collapse.

What a year! I constantly wonder what it would have been like if I hadn’t retired. That period of anxiety during the first lockdown would have probably affected my ability to concentrate on writing. But otherwise writing it would be a good job to have during lockdowns.

Instead I concentrated on learning about weaving in a way I’ve never had the opportunity to before. However, I ended the year feeling quite down. Why? Well, a few unpleasant encounters and physical health issues dinted my confidence. I won’t go into the details of the former, but they left me feeling so much more appreciative of and wistful for Kay’s generosity and inclusiveness. She was worried that knowledge of weaving was being lost, and inspired me to want to pass on what I knew, but that month of back pain and migraines left me thinking I may be too unreliable, physically, to commit to teaching gigs.

Summary

What a half-decade! It started with the Osbourne loom purchase, and since a floor loom purchase is a serious commitment, I consider it the point I really started pursuing weaving as my main hobby. It was also when my interest in ethical and sustainable fashion began and, boosted by the War on Waste, evolved into a new approach to making and buying things.

My back took a turn for the worse a year or two before, which really impacted my ability to work, but I kept at it, only conceding defeat in 2019. I haven’t completely given up on writing, but I needed a mental break and change of process as much as a physical one.

When the half-decade started I was painting full sized portraits. I had one big success. My enthusiasm waned and I moved to heads only but even before art classes stopped I think my interest in portraits was fading. I need to find a new viewpoint or technique or subject to drive me.

That’s work, art and hobby. What else? Socially, there have been changes that were outside of my control or influence, as the larger circle of friends fragmented due to disagreements. That was stressful, but I’ve adjusted to hanging out with individuals and smaller groups. Which may have been a good adjustment in so far that it wasn’t as big a shift when when lockdowns happened.

Plans for the future? If 2020 taught me anything, it’s to be prepared for plans to be scuttled, so drop anchor and weather the storm. Keep resisting the ageing of the body and mind but don’t put myself under too much pressure or expectation to produce at the rate I did when I was half my current age. I’ve worked really hard and paid a physical price for it, but I’m lucky enough to have benefitted from that work. There’s nothing wrong with slowing down – and enjoying the slowing down and easing of pressure. My slogan for 2021 is “Be Flexible” and that’s how I intend to approach life for now.

Catch Up/Clean Up

I don’t make New Years resolutions, but it is has always been my favourite celebration of the year because I like to look back and consider the good things of the last year as well as look forward in a optimistic way. But of you’d seen me the first week of 2021 you’d have got the impression I had made some resolutions. We’ve been getting stuck into the garden and house chores and clearing out old stuff.

When it comes to the garden, a great deal is simply maintenance that didn’t happen because of my thumb sprain followed by a back flare up and then a slightly niggly right knee I’m not supposed to put my weight on for a while. We have an acre, so that’s a LOT of garden chore backlog. Still, we’re tacking one garden area at a time, aiming to get 99% done. The other 1% is the fun part – like choosing plants and planning to make garden sculptures, which will happen with inspiration strikes.

When it comes to clearing out old stuff, I’ve not targeted anything specific. The main areas I usually cull are clothes and craft and they got clear outs last year. Instead I’ve been noticing at an object and realising I don’t want it, and adding it to the op shop pile.

That got me thinking about wasteful gift-giving. Not the presents you choose carefully for the people you are closest to, but the ones I call Crappy Gifts of Obligation, or their evil cousin: Crappy Festive Themed Gifts of Obligation. The stuff that ends up in the op shop pile.

It’s like a slow disease that’s infected our culture, displacing the stock you actually want to buy in bookshops, haberdashery shops and electronics stores because it’s a way to make an extra quick buck. And it really is, because it runs on guilt. One year you go to the family Christmas party and someone has bought everyone these CGoOs, people feel bad that they didn’t do the same, and the next year everyone is doing it and the CGoO buying has multiplied exponentially.

(When this happened to me a few years ago, I started cooking my famous shortbreads and packing them in jars. Everyone loved them so much I’m kinda stuck baking 300+ shortbreads each year even though the CGoOs seem to have stopped. Except now it’s started on the other side of the family. Just as well I like baking!)

I’ve digressed…

Anyway, hot weather put the brakes on the gardening after six days of hard work, and the general sleepiness of summer has set in, as well as a need to make sure I’m 150% ready for the pin weaving workshop I’m running soon. I may be swapping cleaning up for napping and a little bit of making.