Creativity has continued, but slowed since those first weeks. Parenting, exercising and working have taken a front seat more often than not. Still, we’ve been busy, individually and collectively.
Baking has definitely continued to be a major part of life, both pragmatically and for culinary delight. Bread a couple of times a week means some form of cinnamon roll, or pesto roll or pizza alongside the bread. Various cakes for birthdays and just because…
No knitting or crochet, though the yarn keeps peeking at me, especially when we rearranged all the furniture the other day which involved unpacking and reorganising all the fabric and yarn stash…
Lots of ‘art’ with chalks and stamps and paints. We’ve even lured the Tall one into our creativity…sometimes protesting gently that he’ll just sit and watch, but almost always unable to resist the temptation to get involved. Just today we’ve tried out making some white clay to imprint flowers.
Sewing though, little bits here and there and a pair of cobbled together dungarees – no printer = no pattern. They work though, and I know what I’ll change for next time. There’ll be a next time!
All links to any recipes or instructions or patterns at the end of the post.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten something along the way, but if I have the spirit of it is here in this collection. I’m loving that Small one talks about ‘doing craft’ and that she wants to do her own sewing and knitting. Our favoured quiet time activity is watching the Sewing Bee or Bake-Off. She just doesn’t understand why someone always has to go home…
Things are changing up again, within the next two weeks we will, perhaps, know how soon we will both be back to work and pre-Covid life…mixed feelings about this as I for one have finally settled into a happy groove of working, family adventuring and creating. Just being…
These are indeed strange times we are all living through just now. I’m sure there are more eloquent voices than mine chronicling our collective and individual journeys through this, however, it felt like the ideal time to revive my blog, as isolation has brought with it time to create. Creativity as necessity – food and grocery shopping being a challenging experience, but also as stress relief for me and active engagement for an vivacious pre-schooler.
To start this is just a collection point for all the things we’ve done so far, in no particular order. Going forward I have an idea to try to post every few days, we’ll see.
Baking has been our primary occupation I think. Comforting body to comfort mind. Also, Jamie Oliver has put out there so many straight forward and inspirational ideas, it seems rude to ignore him! Around Christmas time I was asked to bake a Camembert Christmas tree (yes, Jamie’s influence on my cheese obsessed husband!) so tried to get to grips with making yeasted bread, something I’ve not baked in over a decade…it did not go well, but laid the foundations of a desire to get it right. Queue plenty of time at home, a pre-schooler to occupy and Jamie on the telly box showing just how easy it could be. Bread abounds in our house – with the new favourite being a cinnamon roll created from my own imagination. Just too yummy. Too yummy when you’re still hitting up the slimming world group via Zoom every Friday 😜 Bread has also been baked in the form of flatbreads to go with soup at lunchtimes and turned into lunchtime pizza.
I’ve made several other new to me recipes in the past four weeks, curry veg fill pie (thanks BBC Good Food for the inspiration), what turned out to be epic quantities of Jamie’s (yes, him again, sorry) baked beans from the Veg book, a deep pan ‘pizza’ from his ‘Keep Cooking and Carry On’ series (soooooo good, especially with added mushrooms) and tonight getting thrown in the oven will be spicy roasted chickpeas as a snack. This new situation having driven me to finally get to grips with how to cook beams successfully from scratch. Note to self – slightly less time than the BBC Good Food site says for chick peas next time.
Then there’s the cake and flapjack baking. To be fair, flapjacks happen whatever the situation but they still deserve a mention. we had to bake a cake in honour of Grandad as we couldn’t see him personally for his birthday, doesn’t stop us having cake for him! Small girl required both strawberry and rhubarb jam to be added to the middle of the Swiss roll. I mean, why not? It certainly tasted good… finally yesterday a rather good all-in-one chocolate beetroot cake recipe. Definitely counts as one of your five-a-day, even in cake, yes? It’s also completely delicious. Thank you once more BBC Good Food.
There’s also been non-food related crafting. The trend for creating rainbows to show our thanks for keyworkers we’ve embraced. Creative coloured paper and sticking, we have no paint at home; followed by a crochet rainbow from me. That one’s just waiting for some wire to help it be a little more rigid for hanging.
The crochet rainbow came about after making a bunch of Easter eggs for our own little garden hunt. A lovely little pattern which was so simple and only involved around 14 rows. I’d also made some small felt ones (not shown here) out of bright green felt and bright blue thread. Some were delivered to neighbours but most were used for the hunt. This year that really came alive for our small peep, she really got into it. She also enjoyed delivering the egg gifts to the neighbours in her ostrich chick suit.
Knitting has had a look in too – I made a pair of mittens late last year to keep little hands warm, one was lost on Christmas Day. It’s taken isolation for me to find the motivation to finally make a replacement.
One morning of inspiration while the small peep ate breakfast – and 20 minutes later a pair of ‘binoculars’, she’s been almost inseparable from them since. They come on every dog walk and most scooting exercise outings. She regularly pauses, lifts them up and takes a look to see what she can see.
An abortive attempt to make egg bunting for Easter – not pictured here but eggs of varying sizes on various patterned paper. They didn’t quite look right in the hanging so will get put away for recreation next year. There’s been gardening too, and doing our faces as Harry Potter for a virtual birthday party and singing and dancing and Cosmic Kids Yoga. Making silly faces on video calling with family and friends. All these things I count as creative. We’re creating the most healthy environment we can, both for us as adults and for our small peep who is missing her friends so much.
On Twitter, Instagram and Facebook I’ve been using #covidbaking #covidcraft #covidcreative by all means jump on in.
As always, December has been full to the max with projects being wrapped up (mostly for Christmas). There’s been baking, knitting and sewing.
The month began with finishing a project from the month before (a very familiar scenario this year) knitted wrist warmers which had been requested as a birthday gift.
Then some Christmas gifts. Prettified notice boards, lined zipper pouches and pencil cases.
For the first time I felt I might need my own actual Christmas stocking. After seeing many in shops, I decided to make one…
It was happily filled with delightful gifts from Father Christmas!
Our pre-Christmas Christmas weekend with friends (a tradition of almost a decade now!) meant baking biscuits for creative decoration, and the adults taking way more time than the children colouring in!
This wasn’t the only biscuit making, there were three other batches of Christmas biscuits.
There were also chocolate muffins and chocolate fudge made with my help by excellent mini bakers, we were so busy I missed the photos though!
A last minute visit to the sewing shop for some necessities (!!) meant the purchase of a little fabric suitable for making a Christmas gift for a three year old…but I lacked inspiration as to what, until I found this pattern for a bunny from Purl Soho in NY. It seemed very well received!
He’s been nicknamed ‘Wonky’ by me!
Finally finished today, another wood project using the last of the wood gathered on our Scottish adventure. Inspired by something seen on Pinterest. Hanging up at last, until tomorrow when all the decorations shall be taken down until next year…
A small photographic moment ahead of a cycle ride.
And now I’m busy knitting a neck warmer, even this evening whilst enjoying a small NYE snifter 😊.
In 2016, I’m thinking of making a dress every month…I’ll let you know how I get on 😉.
This has been a month of photography in the main. A little sewing at the beginning of the month to finish the top from last month, a little baking just because. Mostly though, photographs.
The baking involved cookies mainly, Yr11 final revision before their final exam the inspiration!
There have been many hours spent in the wide outdoors this month, some close to home, many in Northern France visiting the battlefields on our annual trip. First of all, some local meandering.
A delightful day with a DofE team, up hill and down dale…
The Ring of Rememberance, a new memorial listing the names of all those who lost their lives in this area. 580,000 names in alphabetical order. It’s an awe inspiring sight and a personally moving one as I found the names of two relatives of my own.
There has been some further local mooching…
The ropes particularly caught my eye for colour and texture.
The month has ended with hanging out with friends, doodling and colouring…
Oh, and before I forget, some letter writing too, which resulted happily in receiving this in return.
This has been an unexpectedly busy month of creativity. The month began finishing off the grey pinstripe dress from the end of April. It is proving an absolute pleasure to wear! A pattern mash-up of the bodice from Simplicity 1652 with the skirt from Simplicity 1873. The fabrics all came from Ditto in Brighton. You can read all about them in Month 4, meanwhile here’s the finished product!
There’s been adventuring in the woods, and so photo taking.
Then there has been a wonderful weekend away for a friend’s very important birthday in Boscombe, and so baking and more photographs. A coffee cake and birthday biscuits!
All month I have been wearing the items made last month, they’re bringing smiles to my face! This past week there has been bag making for a friend’s Mum, daytime pyjamas (at least, that’s the plan!) and making some alterations to a top I made last summer – another project which will run into another month.
The bag is coated cotton, with webbing straps and Laura Ashley pink spotty cotton for lining.
These are another fabric from Ditto (did I mention I love that shop!) feeling proud of myself that I’m actually using them! I remembered I had an old favourite pair of pjs perfect for taking apart and using as a pattern. I plan to wear then as daywear, but not sure yet what I’ll wear with them….there’s a little left over, enough for a top – not convinced by the idea of matching, never mind what the current fashions might be!
I made apricot and ginger jam this week. The ginger is very subtle, but enough. I also took inspiration from a blog which mentioned using far less sugar. This is only around 500gr of sugar to a kilo of fruit. There’s a glorious soft set to it like a french preserve. It brightened up my morning toast this weekend.
Finally a little pattern cutting. I took a cotton top and used it as a template. Wimped out of trying to organise the darts, partly due to the amount of fabric available. I’m altering a top I made last summer, it was too big and too square and too see through. It’s still going to be a little square, but lined so hopefully appropriate for work and I’m still loving the neon!
Time to reflect on the journey – WordPress kindly furnished me with a summary of my year – showing me the infographics and so on which illustrate my year. I am so proud that I managed to stick with it – even on the days where I could barely breathe for tiredness – a little doodle, a small moment made a difference to me. I didn’t talk much with people about the project, it had enough meaning, weight and challenge just held close to myself. Mentioned now and again – I’m not sure people necessarily understood the commitment, the intent or the effort involved in keeping going. Talking about it today, the question posed – would I continue. The answer, well, of course. Creativity had been an integral part of life even before the challenge – though certainly not as formally or determinedly as this challenge made it. Perhaps it may not involve something literally every day – but the creativity will continue, it cannot help but continue. Into this next year though, I think there will be new challenges. More of those in a moment.
I’ve created with food, paper, yarn, fabric, iPad, iPhone, paper, pencils, pens. Made clothes for me, clothes for small peeps. Home decorations, decorations for others. Baked cakes, made sweets, preserved fruit – sharing this manna with an appreciative few. Shared creative ideas and taught family, friends and students new skills. Watched my nieces and godchildren be influenced and want to create. Written and received letters. I’ve learnt new skills and honed old. I’ve made and remade when making didn’t quite work. Most important I think is that I’ve committed to the completion of a project for myself, and seen it through from one end to the other. Not for my work, my career; not for family or friends; not for financial gain or necessity – it’s been completed for me, for my well-being.
On to this year then…there’s a few things on my mind:
January plank challenge – plank every day for as long as possible
12 dresses in 12 months (or items of clothing, for me, for others…)
House jobs – redecorating, sorting, all *that* stuff
Picking up a violin again…
Meanwhile to maintain the everyday creativity as far as possible (nothing so far today, but if I try deliberately not to do anything I may get itchy fingers and just have to do something!), including writing letters regularly not just to nieces but to other friends and family. Using up my yarn stash (and really not buying any more until everything I already have it used up!) and my fabric stash – including actually making things from all the pieces of fabric I have purchased due to falling in love with the patterns – I have to get past the fear that it might not end well!
Either way – I’m fairly certain this will be the last post on this blog (unless I end up blogging whatever challenges I aim to rise to this year – in which case there’s a chance there might a post here directing peeps to the new one!). In the meanwhile – thank you to everyone who has visited, liked, commented; it has meant a great deal to me as the year has progressed to know others have been sharing a little of my journey and from an awesome diversity of countries too!
Wow. It’s here. Gosh. Busy day with this and that. Made a salmon mousse for the first time this morning, so reckon that counts. Finished my pink net petticoat for wearing tonight (which I am wearing under the frock I made back at Easter!). Made a small flower to decorate it. Happiness. Contentment. Feels like quite a monumental achievement. 365 days unbroken, but for Internet issues for posting at times. Anyway, tomorrow shall be time for reflection. Tonight, enjoying people.
A little more gift wrapping, and a little baking…with some carol singing thrown in for good measure! Staying with friends and their children for Christmas, so some last minute gift wrapping for them, as well as baking a loaf of soda bread for breakfast tomorrow. I took myself to a carol service too, so I could get my fill of singing festive songs!
acknowledging the importance of creativity in my daily life