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.
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.
Penultimate day, I can barely believe it. Working on the underskirt a little more today, taken it all apart and putting it back together…this time just two layers, and spread across twice the distance. Tomorrow I may add another couple of layers over the top – gradual increase! Also the hem I think needs to be cut into, break it up a little, we’ll see.
I bought a dress several years ago now, never worn it as it never seemed to sit right. Finally wore it as part of my costume for the staff panto at the end of term with a net tutu underneath – different dress! So, I decided I might make one for myself to wear underneath it this NYE. A trip out to the fabric shop, some in depth research on the Internet and this afternoon, away I went! There’s a chance I stretched the elastic a little far, and there are perhaps too many layers at the top…so, might need revisiting! Either way, it’s quite fun to wear!
Got to love something which stands up all by itself!
Threaded together my stars, made a few more, strung them across the ceiling to finish off the hallway bunting. Now half hearts, half stars. Then I decided to make one of those tissue paper flowers like Kirstie was making in her Crafty Christmas show…
I can hardly believe there’s only 3 more days of this challenge, not sure how I’ll feel about it being over! There’s been thoughts of new challenges, I’d like to think I’ll stick with them like I’ve stuck with this! Still pondering what they’ll be and how (if at all) I might record them.
acknowledging the importance of creativity in my daily life