A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

FO Friday: Lunar Macaron

Overall, I’m very happy with how my plain version of the Colette Macaron dress turned out.

It felt good to be able to use my skills to make the changes I wanted to this dress. I did look for some guidance on line, but when I couldn’t find anything about altering the pattern, I decided to go my own way. I was aware that my sewing improved a lot over the past couple of years, but I don’t consider myself an especially advanced sewist. I had a lot of help with my most complex projects, including the only thing I have ever lined properly (my coat). However, I definitely have picked up tips and tricks from Julie that helped me.

That being said, the guts of the dress turned out to be a bit of a mess. Even though it felt good to follow my own instincts when it came to the lining, this remains something I am not experienced at doing. Next time I want to line a garment, I will follow a proper tutorial.

I kind of went halfway in between lining and underlining the dress, when I probably should have just stuck with one method. Another problem was the fiasco with the skirt (described in my last post, which has a lot more details about what I did). I had already used a French seam (definitely incorrect in this situation) on the side with the zip. I decided to slightly fudge the redo of the seam, which doesn’t affect the outside but looks like a dog’s dinner inside.

On the plus side, I have been reminded that a lining (however inexpertly installed) makes a garment feel so much more luxurious. This dress feels much more ‘proper’ than any of the ones I have made before.

I haven’t covered up the waistband seams yet. At some point I plan to slip-stitch some ribbon over the whole waistband area. But I decided to leave it for now. If the lining overall had been more successful, I would care more about how the inside looks. Life just feels too short at the moment. I’m not one of those people (yet) who needs the wrong side of their makes to be as beautiful as the right side.

While I was making this dress, it occurred to me that sewing is a form of 3D puzzle. I am generally a bit bemused by adults doing things like Lego, but dressmaking really does use a similar skillset- lots of spatial problem-solving. Spatial awareness is definitely a weakness of mine, though it’s improved in leaps and bounds during my adulthood. It feels pretty good to exercise those muscles.

Coming in at under £35, this dress is one of my cheaper makes. The viscose was quite inexpensive even though it seems like nice quality to me. I suppose it is quite thin. I don’t understand fabric costings at all! I feel like this is the kind of dress that would sell for £60-70 in Oliver Bonas.

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Less trash Tuesday: Veganuary diary week 2

Day 8

Following on from last week‘s food prep, I had porridge, a chickpea wrap and vegetable stew. I was still hungry when I got home at 5.30pm so I had a toastie with banana, coconut/peanut butter and dark chocolate.

I managed to miscalculate again and ended up slightly too full 🙄

I also made a cabbage and butterbean stew/cassoulet thing.

Day 9

Ate the last of the porridge for breakfast and my final chickpea wrap for lunch. It had just started to taste a little vinegary so I think it needed finishing.

I went to the gym after work and had a protein shake afterwards. I picked up a discounted vegan salad thing from M&S when I was buying bread yesterday and had that for my dinner. It was actually super delicious.

I’m planning to make some hummus this week anyway. I loved the combination with the grain salad, roasted veggies and a tart dressing.

I was hungry when I went to bed but I don’t like to eat late. I’m still not sleeping as well as usual and lay awake fantasising about having a feast in Chinatown.

Day 10

Woke up early to go to the gym before work. Had a big green smoothie and coffee but felt a bit weak while doing weights and sick during my yoga class.

I had a protein shake for my mid-morning snack. I brought servings of both the vegan stew and cabbage cassoulet that I prepped. I won’t get home until after 7.30pm and I know that eating just one meal before then will not suffice. I also need to make a shopping list so I can prepare some more meals. I have a busy weekend so I’m concerned I won’t have much time to cook.

I’m starting to realise that I prefer vegan meals with more Asian flavours- peanut, coconut, ginger. While it’s been interesting to try meals from different cuisines, I’ve ended up having to eat quite a few things that I haven’t enjoyed very much.

Anyway, I ate my cabbage dish just before 12. I’m happy to report that it tastes better than it looks, though that being said it does taste mostly of cabbage. I was absolutely ravenous by 2pm. I think it took longer for me to eat the cabbage than it kept me full for! Eyeing up lunch pt. 2 and wondering if I will have to eat a dirty Pot Noodle to get me through the rest of the day.

Ate more vegan stew for lunch ii, then a toastie when I got home.

I bought some candied chickpeas as a snack- I actually thought they were something else but they are pretty tasty. Extremely sweet, though.

Day 11

Work from home day. Had another green smoothie for breakfast, then the cabbage dish. I also made some red pepper hummus following the same recipe I used before.

Bad picture but it’s so tasty. I ate it with the two tortilla wraps I had left and I was full until bedtime.

Day 12

Fancied another green smoothie for breakfast before heading off to a day conference for work. I was really hungry by the break but there was no information about whether the pastries on offer were vegan-friendly. I went without.

The vegan lunch offering was pitiful too! A couple of platters of vegetarian sandwiches but they all appeared to contain cheese so I steered clear. What looked safest was a few onion bhajis (with mango chutney) and some hummus and crudités. I remained staunchly hungry after this meagre meal.

Had to pop (if you can call an hour’s journey ‘popping’) home to pick up the card I made for my friend’s birthday party. At least that gave me the chance to eat a serving of the cabbage I had in the fridge. Also treated myself to a vegan dirty chai. I normally limit myself to two double espressos per day, but it had been an especially tiring Saturday morning.

I checked the menu of the venue for my friend’s party and there were no vegan options. Once I arrived I couldn’t be bothered to ask so didn’t have anything. I also didn’t fancy drinking on an empty stomach- the vegetables I had consumed really didn’t fill me up.

I was starting to get so hungry that my decision-making was compromised. I was struggling to process what I wanted to eat and where I could get it. Fortunately there was a Rosa’s Thai Cafe near the tube station. I’ve eaten there before and enjoyed it so I stopped in and treated myself to dinner. They have plenty of menu items that can be made vegan-friendly. I had some summer rolls that were decent enough followed by Thai green curry and coconut rice. I love coconut so much.

I had a little curry left over and fortunately had a container on me to take it home. The waitress gave me a bit of a funny look but I don’t really mind things like that.

The summer rolls made me recall the time I spent hours making my own and they turned out absolutely disgusting. Why I thought smoked salmon and mint would be a good combination is anyone’s guess 🤦🏽‍♀️

Today made me think that summer rolls could be a good vegan lunch option when the weather gets warmer. I would make peanut dipping sauce as well as sweet chilli. And steer clear of bizarre flavour combos 😷

Day 13

I had a dream in which I was cooking some poultry. It was still Veganuary so I wasn’t sure whether to freeze it for the rest of the month. I had tasted the dish and felt cross with myself for breaking the challenge.

Had a nut butter, banana and chocolate toastie before heading to quidditch training. It kept me pretty full and I took a protein shake for after.

Went shopping at the supermarket and the Source in Clapham, which was horribly busy. I decided to try something different and got some mushroom-based sausages. I planned to make hotdogs since the caramelised onions, ketchup and mustard would taste good even if the sausages didn’t.

I got chorizo-style sausages (seemed the best option available) and there is a chorizo vibe to them. They don’t make the best hotdogs, but as predicted the other additions made them perfectly edible.

I also did a little bit of meal prep. I cooked some quinoa and roasted some beetroot and sweet potato to make a winter salad. I don’t especially like beetroot but it was nice in the M&S salad and I decided just to buy whatever Sainsbury’s had that was package-free.

Day 14

Changed things up a bit and had a hotdog for breakfast. It wouldn’t have been my first choice, but it makes sense based on my activities today and what I have in the fridge.

Since I had breakfast quite early, I was peckish by mid-morning. I had this yoghurt that I picked up in Sainsbury’s yesterday. It was delicious.

I had the last serving of the cabbage cassoulet for lunch. I added some frozen peas and spinach to bulk it up, so I’ll be interested to see how long I stay full.

The answer was not long, but fortunately I had brought some dried mango with me.

I had to eat my second lunch- quinoa, hummus and roasted vegetable salad- at about 4pm.

I couldn’t wait to have another snack until I got home so I followed the recommendation of a vegan colleague and picked up a Jamaican veg patty. I have eaten many a patty in my time but never of the vegetable variety. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. I also had some salted dark chocolate.

Summary/observations

Overall week 2 has gone much more smoothly than week 1, though I did have worse cravings for meat at times. My biggest problem is managing my hunger levels. I am not good at judging how satiating meals will be and have ended up in physical pain from being so hungry. From talking to other vegans, I understand that this is pretty common.

I need to start keeping a few vegan snacks lying around, probably something in my bag and something in my locker at work. I put together some yummy fruit and nut combinations when I went to the Source.

This week I was surprised to learn that quite a few events and places in London still don’t cater for vegans at all. I had been under the impression that most places would have one plant-based offering, even if it wasn’t very good.

WiP Wednesday: Lunar Macaron

I bought this fabric just over a year ago, planning to make a third Day Dress (previous version 1, 2). I saw someone else using it at my disastrous silk cami workshop (Sew Over It were stocking it at the time) and fell in love. Although I like the Day Dress, my pink Macaron is probably the most flattering dress I have for day wear. I decided to have a go at making a version without the contrast bodice, which no one else seems to have previously attempted. I certainly could not find any blog posts about doing this even after extensive searching.

This post contains detailed notes about how I created a solid Macaron by combining the yoke and bodice pattern pieces. I will also describe how I lined this dress- I don’t think I did the best job, it’s more a case of notes for future learning.

I overlapped the bodice and yoke pattern pieces by 3cm and traced. On the front I also increased one of the darts by 5mm since some length seems to be taken out at the seam between the pieces. I probably should have done this on the waist dart but I took it out of the side dart- I don’t imagine this will make much difference. I just did the back straight and did not alter the shaping- I’m fairly confident this will work for my figure.

I also decided to make my life difficult by lining the dress. The neckline facing on my first Macaron is a travesty (partly my error, partly the pattern). At present I have only planned lining the bodice. I’ll see how I feel when I get to the skirt.

I easily got this dress out of 2m of fabric by book folding it. I nearly always do this and it saves loads of material. Pattern companies tend to massively overestimate the fabric requirements, as well as not having cutting diagrams that are as efficient as possible. It’s really wasteful and annoying. Bear mind that I also cut out two bodices.

I cut a size 10 with adjustments as described previously. I interfaced the waistband for extra stability. Since I had plenty of fabric, I decided to self-line the bodice so I don’t have to worry if the lining ever peeks out at the neck seam. I pinned and machine basted the darts as pleats in the lining pieces, trying to have the excess fabric fall in the opposite direction to the darts in the shell.

I made up the bodice as directed, following the same instructions for the lining. I joined the two pieces RS together at the neck. Note: do not finish the neckline edges before stitching.

I machined the bottom hem of the lining to the seam allowance between the bodice and waistband pieces at the front and back separately.

This is how the bodice looked just before I attached the sleeves. I’m very happy that I decided to line the bodice since the fabric is so delicate. It makes the dress feel much more classy and professional.

I attached the sleeves as in the pattern, to both layers of bodice and lining. I then finished the seam as one piece. I haven’t yet removed my hand-basting because I think it looks really cute.

I decided it would be silly to line the bodice but not the skirt. I cut out additional skirt pieces using the leftover lining from my coat. I shortened the pieces by about 3 inches and incorporated the selvedges at the bottom to save hemming (lazy sewing for the win!) I made up the skirt lining as directed, ironing the pleats in the opposite direction to those in the shell.

I had planned to attach the skirt and lining within the waistband seam allowance before I sewed the skirt to the bodice. However I wasn’t sure about having additional weight of the lining pulling down on the waistband piece. The fabric really is very delicate. Thank goodness I decided to interface it!

In the end I couldn’t think of another solution. Weirdly I had an issue with having a lot of extra length in my bodice compared to the skirt, but only at the front. I was able to ease it, but it took three attempts. When I tried the dress on, it looked weird. I tested the pockets and… they were on the back of the dress. I had seamed the wrong side of the skirt 🤦🏽‍♀️

My inability to tell left from right bites me again. I spent ages undoing the incorrect stitching and sewing the skirt together on the correct side. I then re-did the waist seam and it went together much more smoothly.

I tried on the dress and I’m really happy with the fit. I love the way this dress makes my figure look.

The last step was to insert the zip. That part was relatively pain-free. I hand-tacked the dress to the zip before stitching to ensure the waistband seams would line up- this definitely helped. I probably should have used a 1cm seam allowance rather than 1.5cm because the dress is a teeny bit tight at the waist. My makes normally give slightly with wear, so I don’t think it’s worth the bother of reinstalling. Now just the hem and a bit of finishing and this dress will be ready!

Cost breakdown

Fabric: 2m of viscose costing £18 (I paid £2.95 p&p for this and the fabric for my cloud tee). I also used less than a metre of viscose lining (a scrap so I will not cost this)

Pattern: £18 (second use)

Notions: All bought ages ago so no idea. Let’s provisionally say £5

Total: About £33

Less trash Tuesday: Veganuary diary week 1

I’m going to keep a daily journal of my Veganuary exploits.

Day 1

Spent it in bed rueing the day I was born. All I could keep down was some avocado toast my flatmate kindly made for me. Oh, and a Lindor, which wasn’t vegan 🤦🏽‍♀️

Day 2

Due to being incapacitated on new year’s day (see above) I had made no food plans for the week. I had a green smoothie for breakfast and some frozen squash curry for lunch. Went to Asda and got overwhelmed by what I couldn’t eat. Ended up having a protein shake and crackers for dinner. But I did make some initial meal plans for the rest of the week.

My OddBox arrived quite late and I looked up a few recipes before bed.

Day 3

I ended up having smoothies (one green and one kind of apple pie/oatmeal one) for breakfast and lunch due to still not having any proper food in. They tasted nice but I’m kind of over drinking variously-coloured sludge.

I followed(ish) a recipe from an old OddBox and made pasta with mushrooms and cavolo nero. I used the mung bean pasta I picked up at the Source- it’s higher in protein.

Sadly it’s also higher in the taste of butts. I don’t know what I expected to be honest. I’ve never knowingly eaten a mung bean. At least I only bought 75g (bulk shopping win) so I don’t have to eat it again.

The sauce was ok but reminded me of a dish I used to subsist on at university that I charitably called ‘vegetable melange’. Basically it was loads of tinned veg with some onion, chopped tomatoes and ketchup. I remember the secret ingredient was a lot of cheese.

Today was a bad cooking day overall. I followed this recipe for vegan mayonnaise using oat milk and rapeseed oil and it didn’t work at all. Although the liquids seemed to emulsify, it wouldn’t thicken.

I still used it to make this ‘better than tuna‘ sandwich filling with the chickpeas I soaked on day 2. I still have the aquafaba from the chickpeas so I might try another mayo recipe (think I over-reduced the aquafaba though. Seriously cursed cooking day). Fortunately the spread turned out to be nice enough or I would almost certainly have cried. I also had a protein shake/iced decaf thing because I hadn’t slept well. I should be tracking my macros but I haven’t had time.

Day 4

Had the apple pie smoothie for breakfast again and a banana/peanut butter protein shake after going to the gym. I was feeling a bit sick at the gym and I wonder if I’ve been having too many liquid meals. I guess my body is also adjusting to a new diet.

I also prepped another wrap with yesterday’s spread. I actually took two wraps for lunch (I only ate one). I struggle with portioning vegan food. When bulk cooking, I find it helpful to weigh my food and I know that I normally eat around 400g for lunch. I have learnt to my cost that 400g of different foods are not equal!

For dinner, I met Glory at Patty and Bun for an impromptu flatmate date. We tried their Whoopi Goldburger.

The burger itself was decent. The bread was lovely and the patty had a good texture, though it was a little on the loose/wet side for me. The fake cheese was quite nice too. My favourite part was the rosemary fries. It felt so good to eat something deep fried, hot, salty and crispy. I’ve eaten too much mush this week.

I picked up some vegan chocolate on the way home. Turns out that I really really really like milk in my chocolate.

Day 5

Had a green smoothie for breakfast. I like to have fruit or vegetables as the first thing I put in my stomach each day but chewing is tiresome. I didn’t add avocado and I actually preferred the more watery texture for a change.

I had some avocado and mushrooms on toast later. I was due to go out for a meal and expected to eat more, but I’m still not feeling too well. I did feel a little hungry so snacked on a bit more of the vegan chocolate, which was nicer with coffee.

Went to the Spread Eagle, a vegan pub in east London. All of the meat alternatives were super tasty and it was another welcome change. I had the trio of tacos and enjoyed them all.

I also had this deep fried cheeze, which had a similar texture to brie. I liked it but wish I had ordered a dessert instead.

Unfortunately I just don’t feel right in myself. I’m feeling increasingly sick throughout the day. I’m also tired, though to be fair I haven’t been sleeping well (unrelated to diet). I’m going to give it a few more days but I am worried that being vegan is making me feel so bad. I did a bit of research and I think it is quite normal to take time to adjust. But I don’t like the idea that I’m making myself ill when I was pretty happy with my diet before.

Day 6

Slept in, which I hope will help me. Perhaps part of my malaise has been sleep deprivation. I ate the last of my mushrooms first thing, followed by batch cooking some very nice apple porridge.

I was still a bit peckish so had a protein shake as well. I toasted the wrap I didn’t have on Friday for lunch and it was pretty tasty. Spread stuff needs more salt though.

I then prepped a stew featuring my OddBox veggies. It turned out quite nice.

I wanted four full servings for next week and I was still hungry after eating what was left in the pot. I had a peanut butter, banana and chocolate toastie. It was great! I don’t normally eat much bread but I think that’s going to help me through the month.

I didn’t feel sick today so I’m hoping my body is getting used to veganism. I’m also feeling much more prepared for the forthcoming week. Bring it on!

Day 7

Reaped the rewards of food prep and had porridge, a chickpea wrap and stew with little effort. Not feeling sick but did get so hungry after the gym that I had stomach cramps. Treated myself to a rice-coconut chai latte from Pret but the barista told me the powder (note: the chai and turmeric drinks aren’t ZW friendly!) contains milk. I ended up having a turmeric latte with unclear vegan credentials because I had already paid. Pret later contacted me on Twitter and their allergen information indicates that neither product contains dairy. I guess they want to be careful since someone recently died after eating something to which they were allergic in Pret.

I was ravenous when I got home so had another peanut butter, banana and chocolate toastie. Started feeling like I could get used to veganism.

Summary/observations

All in all, it was quite a hard start to Veganuary. A lot of that was down to my poor planning. I’m hoping to start tracking my nutrition because I’m sure I’m not getting enough protein for muscle growth.

I have noticed that I’ve been ticking the ‘no unhealthy snacks’ box on my habit tracker more frequently. This is mainly down to not having unhealthy vegan things in the house to eat. I’m also quite weak-willed and partial to a chocolate or five if people bring them into the office. Or if my flatmate brings them home after Xmas. It’s so weird to think that on Monday I was scarfing them down only to stop on Tuesday because I ‘can’t’ eat them.

A challenge for this week has been my own narrative that I don’t like to eat processed food. This story prevents me from eating pretty much all meat and cheese substitutes. However, I am perfectly happy to eat (mass-produced) dairy and meat products such as cheeses, yoghurt and sausages. It’s interesting that I’ve come/been conditioned to not consider these things ‘processed’ or ‘bad’ and yet I am mistrustful of vegan alternatives.

Having to cook everything from scratch is quite a strain so I feel like something has to give. I might ask my vegan friends for some recommendations about what is worth trying.

Mend Monday: Two pairs of jeans

Some of my precious sewing time during my time off work was devoted to patching my two pairs of jeans. I already posted a tutorial on how I do this and I followed the same technique.

I very nearly threw the lighter jeans away when I moved house in June, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Even though I haven’t worn them since summer 2017, I love these jeans. I possibly kept them in case I wanted to replicate the fit in case I ever make my own jeans (at this point looking unlikely but who knows what the future has in store).

Annoyingly I didn’t think to take a picture, but the fabric around the seams on the inside leg of these jeans was completely worn away. You can see in the photo above the way the denim is pulling apart.

I was sorting though my clothes and I examined the jeans again. I think I previously dismissed the idea of patching over the seam, but suddenly this seemed like a great idea. The seam allowance is perfectly placed to cover where the denim is damaged. Shouldn’t a patch over the top hold it all together nicely?

You can see how heavily the jeans are already patched. I marked out with pins where I wanted to add new patches.

As with all of my jeans repairs, I made the patches with denim left over from my first day dress.

You may be able to see that I made the patches on the incorrect side of the fabric but you shouldn’t see this from the right side so I didn’t bother to remake them.

Weirdly intimate to show a picture of my crotch

You can see that I’ve basically reinforced the whole crotch area of these jeans with an extra layer of denim. I was a bit concerned that they would feel uncomfortable but they’re absolutely fine.

I just noticed that my ‘new’ jeans (purchased in September 2017 and worn quite heavily since) have just developed their first hole. My jeans always wear in exactly the same way.

This was a very straightforward patch job. I slightly thought about preemptively patching the areas that I know will wear away next but in the end I didn’t bother.

I almost feel like it is a personal challenge to see how many years I can keep these two pairs of jeans going. I’m fairly confident that I have had the brighter blue pair for around five years. It’s interesting how my conception of something being ‘worn out’ has changed in a fairly short period of time. This project has also reminded me how hardwearing jeans are- even though jeans are now a staple, this harks back to their history as a garment for hard physical labour.

Less trash Tuesday: Eighth OddBox

I got my most recent OddBox a couple of weeks ago.

Again the timing of my cooking and lighting did not lend itself to getting good pictures of what I made. I followed two recipes that came with the box.

A broccoli and cauliflower bake (that I managed to leave a knife in). I bulked it out a bit with some orza (pasta) that I’ve had lying around for a while. The meal was surprisingly tasty and filling.

This leek and potato soup was delicious. Nuff said. I should have heeded the warning that it’s best frozen without the cream.

I also made this squash curry. Also pretty tasty. It’s meant to be a jalfrezi but I used Thai curry paste because that’s what I had on hand. I also made coconut rice (1 tin coconut milk, 1 tin brown basmati, 1 tin water cooked using absorption method) that was much-needed because the curry was slightly too spicy for me.

I also made some snacks- the recipe is for the vegan coconut bites they sell in Pret à Manger.

2018 review

I decided to sit down and reflect on the year since my last attempt turned into a post about future intentions. 2018 has been very much a mixed bag for me. Work has been mostly very challenging and I need to put some serious time into considering the next steps in my career. It’s hard for me because my mother really hammered into me the belief that a woman must have her own source of income. I have worked really hard to have a decent job that pays quite well. Although one of my core beliefs is about the importance of excellent universal free education- it was the route to independence from dangerous families for both my mother and me- this job is simply not my passion. While I don’t mind doing it, I’m not excited to get out of bed on weekdays. What does get me excited is the things I write about here- making things and reducing my impact on our one and only planet.

It’s been a funny year in my craft life. My output has decreased every year, but I really see this as a positive. I want to focus my time on making a small number of items that are of the highest quality I can achieve, that meet the demands of my everyday life, and that last.

This year I sewed seven items. They are also a mixed bag and as follows:

  1. Cloud tee
  2. Striped tee
  3. Boat Linden
  4. Olive blouse
  5. Speckled Linden
  6. Emoji blouse
  7. Corduroy trousers

The two Lark tees… meh. I have definitely learnt to stop buying jersey online. There are big variations in quality and that is the main issue with both of these tops. The cloud version does get worn sometimes but the black one is in the big bag of items I have that will one day be cut up into t-shirt yarn.

The Lindens… also meh. I love the look of the boat Linden but unfortunately the discrepancy between the weights of the fabrics did tell and the neckline has started to pucker. However, it has reminded me of how much I love pattern- and colour-blocking so I imagine there will be more of that in my future. The other Linden is nice enough, but just a bit boring. I don’t wear it much.

The olive blouse I was so proud of making does get worn, but I want to replace it with something better. The mistakes I made- especially sewing the neckline facing wrong and making a hole in the button band- mean that this is not going to be a garment that lasts for years. It was intended as a wearable toile, so I guess it served its purpose. While I really like the sleeveless blouse I made, I am very annoyed with myself for using cotton even though I know that I don’t like cotton tops.

The biggest win of the year was my corduroy trousers. Which is quite funny because it took me so damned long to make them. I guess it’s a reminder that projects that aren’t much fun to make can be great fun to wear. I adore these trousers.

So I guess that one of the main takeaways of the year has been to be super mindful about my fabric choices. I am very happy with my choice to state the costs associated with every make. It’s helpful for me to be clear about what I spend on craft. I wonder if it’s also interesting for non-crafters (though I’m not sure how many still read since Facebook links stopped working). People have definitely commented on how ‘frugal’ I must be since I make my own clothes. Of course they wouldn’t say that if they knew that my handmade coat cost over 600!

Especially when fabric comes out of stash, it’s easy to see it as ‘free.’ But of course, it isn’t. I believe someone has started a hashtag wherein she documents all the time it takes to make things too. I think that’s an interesting concept but I’m not sure if it would work for me. For sewing, yes. But knitting is generally something I do during ‘dead’ time such as travelling and watching TV. It would be logistically challenging to document.

I have spent time both on larger-scale alteration projects- such as unravelling two unworn jumpers to make a new one– and small-scale repairs that extend the lifespan of clothes I love. I have also made a few things in my zero waste journey, like my produce bags and dishcloths.

I have only finished one major knitting project this year- the sweater that took ten months to make. Again, I am happy to take more time to make better items rather than churning out loads of things of which I’m not that fond.

It’s been a good year for me physically. I only ended up achieving one of my three fitness goals, mainly due to breaking my finger. However, I know that I am stronger, faster, and better able to endure than ever before. I keep wondering when I will reach my fitness ceiling. However, my body continues to amaze me with the things I am able to do. This year I ran my first 10k.

Some of my fitness goals

  • Lift over 100kg in lower body compound lifts
  • Lift over 50kg in upper body compound lifts
  • Unsupported handstand
  • 5 pull-ups
  • Enter at least two more races, aiming for sub-25 5k and sub-50 10k

The Happy Book bullet journal

Finally, I started bullet journalling this year. I like the way I have been able to record some aspects of my day-to-day life. However, I have really struggled with the planning/future logging aspect, which is actually what would be more useful for me. I was also hoping that the bujo would be a creative space, but I haven’t realised this wish.

Me-made May layount with RuPaul

I was looking back on some of my very oldest blog posts recently and I remembered how much I used to love making cards. I haven’t made a card in years, though I suppose I have also largely stopped giving cards. My craft life has exploded but this has been at the cost of my more artistic side.  When I was at school, I spent hours and hours every week drawing and painting (I did art and graphics GCSEs).

It’s tough because there are only so many hours a day. I already work full-time, undergo psychoanalysis, play quidditch, go to the gym, knit and sew my own clothes, cook almost everything I eat, live a low-impact lifestyle, travel as much as I can and maintain a blog! That’s not even to mention socialising, life admin and rest/self-care.

However, as my weekly screen time reports attest, I do somehow manage to spend hours a day on my phone. I want to use the hours I have well.