With my renewed enthusiasm for creating it is probably time to start sharing some of the useful things I find on the internet with you all too. This week it is free patterns for crocheted baskets. I love working with thick repurposed t-shirt yarn – it works up so quickly so you get almost instant satisfaction for your efforts. I have to admit that so far my attempts at making my own yarn haven’t been great, but I will keep persevering, and in the meantime have found some great commercially produced yarn to practise with. I made these two baskets (without a pattern) to hold all the wool that was accumulating around my lounge room! I also have crocheted baskets that hang in the mudroom to hold hats and gloves, in bedrooms to hold assorted things on desks, and have a small basket made of left over pieces of yarn that I use to collect eggs in each morning! These baskets are really versatile!
I also have crocheted baskets that hang in the mudroom to hold hats and gloves, in bedrooms to hold assorted things on desks, and have a small basket made of left over pieces of yarn that I use to collect eggs in each morning! These baskets are really versatile!
Here are links to a great range of patterns I found in my searching on the internet for inspiration:
In addition to the big news that my creativity has returned, you might well ask what else has been happening here in the nest! This year is, once again, flying past and we are more than half way through it!
Autumn was colourful and not too cold and then winter hit with a cold snap that hasn’t really lifted yet.
For me the year has, as usual, had its challenges. Learning to accept that I can’t do all that I once could, because being a parent has to come first, seems to be a long lesson to learn. I still forget and agree to do something that sounds great, only to get to the date and realise that it just won’t work for the family for me to be absent for an afternoon, an evening, etc. I seem to constantly be cancelling plans and letting friends down, but, in one new step forward, have learnt not to carry that guilt with me. Phew! On the up side, following a series of linked events that saw my parents absent from the farm for the majority of a couple of months, my independence has grown significantly and I no longer have to rely on them to help me get things done – although it is still nice when I get home to find that Mum has folded my washing or tidied my bench! I have managed to finish two crochet blankets – one started two years ago – and am enjoying their warmth during this cold winter. Keeping life simple seems to be my motto in order to survive!
This year has seen new schools for two of my chicks. After many unsuccessful attempts to have my boy placed into a learning support unit within the school system he was enrolled in, I made a phone call to the Department of Education for New South Wales. What a different response! As a result he now attends a school in Queanbeyan where he is supported beautifully and where he feels safe. He is still only attending school for 2 hours a day, but he is engaged in active learning when he is at school, which is a big step forward. Throughout this process I have, again, had to learn some new lessons about changing my expectations for his future, and accepting that the role of a special needs parent is a different one from parenting non-special needs kids. You would think that after 5 years of advocating and supporting him I would be on top of this gig but it turns out that there is always more to learn!
My artist-in-residence started high school this year. I am still not sure how I missed that this was going to be a big deal for her and why I was so surprised when she struggled with the transition! All the signs were there, so I am not sure where my head was at that point! 6 months in we are making progress at supporting her to attend school, and to cope with the change of class every hour, plus the different people she has to see, but we are well and truly at the beginning of this journey with a lot of work to do to keep her supported and safe. In the meantime she has made great progress with training her kelpie Buddy, and is continuing to produce amazing works of art on a daily basis (along with a whole lot of teenage attitude).
The eldest chick has really hit her stride this year. She is (more or less) on top of her school work and has chosen electives that she is really enjoying, especially Engineering. She has recently joined Army Cadets and is constantly amazing me with her drive, determination and organisation. She has been working on her fitness and can be seen many mornings running around the paddocks in the freezing cold, weaving in between the sheep and kangaroos with her headphones on!
The farm is producing food for us! We have a freezer full of lamb, and with a new ram (named Gordon Ramsey) we hope to have more lambs in the spring. Our free-loading chickens went to new homes (no really – they did) and our new ones are producing eggs a plenty, which means baking is happening, along with egg and bacon breakfasts. (Now to think about getting some pigs…..)
It has been a dry, cold winter and the dam is at a very low point, which means that it freezes around the edges overnight quite often! We have also had some impressive fogs.
How’s that – summarised 6 months in less than 800 words! I hope that you have been well and that life hasn’t been too complex for you.
A few weeks ago I found myself lying in bed thinking about this website and wondering whether I should just delete it and accept that I wasn’t going to be in business anymore. It was a hard conversation to have with myself, but I couldn’t see anyway to move forward. Fast forward to this week and I have just reopened my Etsy shop (you can get there by clicking the link at the top of the page) for the first time in over two and a half years. Wow!
What happened to change things? I had a couple of lightbulb moments. I just couldn’t get excited about making any of the things I used to make, wasn’t inspired to design anything from those lines, and had pretty much abandoned my studio as the household dumping room for anything that didn’t have a home. Then we had a two week school holiday break for the children where we made no plans – no trips, no big outings, and no commitments. After a few days of mooching around while the kids did their own thing in their own parts of the house I decided that it was time to tackle the sewing room. Which took about 6 hours less than I thought it would, and was not stressful. The light was beginning to shine through the gloom that had been sitting over my creative self.
Then I decided that I needed a tea cosy for my glass teapot to keep it warm when friends dropped in and we drank multiple cups of tea in one sitting. I did a bit of looking around on line and ended up making my own pattern and whipping this up one evening.
That was the first light bulb moment! I found myself wanting to create! I kept making tea cosies, even though I didn’t have a person in mind to give them to. Then I found myself looking at all things tea related online and had my second light bulb moment. By starting to make again, but not sticking to just one method of making (sewing) and not just one type of product (accessories) I could delve into making but instead focus on a common theme. Tea! From there I started down the road of making resusable tea bags. I drink a lot of tea and always put any tea bags in the compost or the worm farm. Recently we emptied the worm farm and dug over the compost and all the tea bags appeared amongst the lovely dirt – not at all broken down. I have since discovered that tea bags are manufactured using plastic! While I often use an infuser I have found that the hinged ones break, and the cup ones aren’t always the right shape for the cup I want to use. The sewing machine came out, the fabric scrap bin was opened and the experimenting began.
After a lot of research I decided that using GOTS certified organic cotton was the safest option, and that using a tighter weave rather than the traditional loose weave muslin would ensure that the bags lasted longer. Then I drank lots of tea (oh the hardship) using various shapes and sizes of the tea bags, decided on the best combination and sat down and began making them. Making them involves cutting, sewing, threading, sewing, turning, ironing each little bag, so they aren’t particularly cheap to make, but I believe that they are a good investment in reducing the amount of plastic we are pouring into the earth.
This morning I got up bright and early and photographed, staged, took more photos, wrote descriptions, edited, wrote different words and finally, after a very long time, pushed the ‘publish’ button to list items for sale in my shop again. It felt good! I have a lot of ideas but have learnt a lot over the years about what works for me, what success looks like for me, and what causes me to become overwhelmed and freeze. This means that I am not putting pressure on myself, and will make and list items when I can. I am a bit proud of these first listings though! Check out my tea cosy collection!
Yes that is eggs and bacon
And even better, yes that is avocado on toast!
I have also used this new found creative surge as an excuse to hit the charity shops in search of teapots to use for sizing the cosies and tea cups to use in making ‘things’, like a pincushion.
And then because I like having a new pincushion for my pins I made another one for my needles, using a pattern from the Lion Brand website.
So there you have it. My creative urge is back and I am back in business, but with a new twist. Let’s see how it goes! There has been a lot happening apart from the creative explosion, but I will save that for another time as there is a pile of crochet calling my name, and some Netflix series to binge watch.