And what have I done?
Well, over the last few months, probably since my last post, I have been selling things on Ebay, partly to get some extra money for Christmas presents but mainly just to pass unused things on to people who will enjoy them more. I have sold 56 items since I began in the autumn and from the huge pile sitting in my spare bedroom, waiting to be sold, only two little toys are left. I think that was pretty good going.
I don’t know if any of you sell much on Ebay but it can get pretty relentless, the cycle of photographing something from every angle, listing with plenty of description, collecting plenty of packaging, wrapping and labelling, dashing to the post office to post a pile of packages and than starting all over again. It seemed that every time I’d settle down to do something, another item would sell and with the number of postal strikes we have had here in the UK, I had to start arranging courier deliveries online to get things to people faster. A surprising amount of my earnings went on postage and courier deliveries. Sometimes in my efforts not to overcharge, I didn’t charge enough and had to add money from my own pocket. Buy hey, the whole point was to send the items on their way and have happy buyers. Any earnings were a bonus. And only one person complained about the late arrival of her package and asked for a refund. I am sure that once we have moved house in the Spring there will be more to get rid of, particularly as we are (supposed to be!) downsizing, but I am glad it’s over for now and I can think about other things.
While I was run off my feet doing all this it turned very cold, colder than I remember it being here. The little heater in my study was having a hard time coping with the cold air seeping into the house. I started wearing three or four layers and making soup. The picture below shows the frost, like eerie botanical sketchers, on my front windows.
We are back to green grass and clear skies now but it is still fairly cold and snow and ice are forecast in the next few days. My cats are ready for it, tucked up in their bed like sardines, with two hot water bottles underneath them.
I have not been sewing at all. My textile course online has offered stitches masks, mandalas, maps and lettering on fabric with transfer paints but I haven’t attempted any for months. I feel a strange mixture of being desperate to sew something but not feeling that I can focus on anything in particular, a strange jumpy feeling as if I don’t have enough time, or will be interrupted if I begin. However, I have been thinking, as I always do at this time of year and into January, about where I want to go with things.
Fabric is getting so expensive and with prices of batting and thread rising too, I don’t think I can continue making quilts. Luckily I have everything I need for several already at home, so I can finish those but it’s time to make something a little less expensive. I bought a pattern from SharonBlackmanArt on Etsy, to appliqué and embroider a cottage, partly because it’s good to support other makers (even though obviously I could create something similar myself) and because I want to see how I feel about simple pieces of fabric stitched to a background fabric with no batting between, and with appliqué and embroidery being the prominent features rather than patchwork and quilting. I think someone else’s design it’s just what I need for now, to get me back into the groove.
I like surface stitching quite a lot and would love to do more of it but, as always, I am more drawn to the pictorial than the patterned. I know that I want to so something with animals. I haven’t finished my hare runner yet (pictured below with still the quilting and binding to do), but working on this made me realise how much I want to put more animals onto fabric. Perhaps birds, too.
I still want to experiment with taking English Paper Piecing in new directions, like using transparent fabric, perhaps trapping small fabric talismans between sheer layers and I am not sure I can pull myself away from American block designs entirely, as I love so many of the designs and the stories behind them. Perhaps they will become softer background designs in my work now, to support an animal in the foreground. Soon I am going to start making sketches and see where they lead me. I am sure there will be some ducks as they are often on my mind. I wonder how mine are doing now in their new home. If they have managed to stay clear of Mr Fox.
We are not doing Christmas in the same way this year as we have no family visiting until Spring. So no tree, no decorations, just the two of us exchanging gifts and enjoying some of our favourite food. No chores for me this year as my husband is doing all the cooking – well, perhaps some washing up. I posted gifts off to my family at the end of November this year, ahead of the postal strikes and cards have gone off to people who matter. I notice more and more people are not sending cards at Christmas. Some say they make a donation to a charity instead but there is nothing having cards from your favourite people all around you at Christmas and I aways buy charity Christmas cards. I have friends and relatives that live alone and I want them to feel thought about.
I wish you all a very enjoyable Christmas, have fun and keep cosy and I will be back in 2023!