The bitingly cold days continue apace at the barn, both without and within (there’s something about a meter counting down the oil usage which makes you so much more aware of how much the heating is on). We’re all getting much better at layering up than we’ve ever been before – even the kids aren’t insisting on taking off their socks and jumpers as regularly as they used to.
The upside of all this cold is the amazing frost formations on the gates, the barn roof and the hedgerows.
We’ve even got our first icicles from one of the holes where a down pipe should be on the crafty barn’s gutters.
This morning, another first, the water butt (our supply for the chickens and wild birds water) did not gush forth water, it remained stubbornly inside whilst we tried to warm up the tap. On lifting the lid there was a thick layer of ice, making it impossible to get the water from either end, I poked at it a couple of times and then took a rock to it, which did the job and the birds were watered (so to speak). J later commented he’d actually headed off to get a hammer, but I know he secretly admired the ingenuity of my Cain and Abel moment.
Now the cold has truly set in I am starting to feel like the clock is ticking on Christmas, not helped by someone sharing something on Facebook saying that there are only 4 more Mondays before the big day. We still have the majority of presents to buy, booze to get in (can’t get it too early in case we drink it all in advance) and food to plan and buy. We also need to go through all our decorations and do a stock take as this year we are hoping for two trees, in order to make the barn suitably festive. We also need to look into getting some outside lights to brighten up the yard – all will be very tasteful, of course. I also need to get my finger out and get a cushion, one of my friends has ordered, made.
Pre-children I used to attend craft fairs and sell my wares, but once the kids came along there just wasn’t time to get the sewing machine out. This autumn has been the first time I’ve starting making things again, which has been hugely helped by J still not working; he looks after the girl whilst I sew, and the boy is at school (the idea of having the sewing machine out whilst trying to look after the kids fills my mind with dread, along with images of bloody fingers and fabric). The cushion on order is a personalised moon-gazing hare cushion; fortuitously I had put a picture of one on Facebook that I was making for a little girl with the same name as my friend’s niece.
The hare, his fluffy tail and the stars are hand embroidered and the moon and name are machine appliqued. Again pre-children, I used to love embroidery, I found it a good way to wind down after a day at work, and enjoyed the slowness of it. Since becoming a parent I find the slowness of it quite frustrating (probably why I’ve not touched my knitting project for a couple of months) and so this is a good mix of a little embroidery, not enough to annoy me, and the rest done by machine (at varying speeds depending on how, efficient / annoyed, I’m feeling).
I’d forgotten just how much I enjoyed making cushions and seeing the finished product, but now I’ve dusted off the sewing machine and started again I’ve started to have some ideas for new designs, and am planning to make some for the boy and girl (whether they want them or not). Much like blogging, I find creating something frustrating at times (when the inspiration won’t come, or the sewing machine needle snaps) but it also gives me a sense of peace and satisfaction I don’t easily find elsewhere (other than on top of a fell, or a spring day watching washing hanging on a line). I can turn my mummy mind off and just, be.
Even though neither of us are working I am always amazed at how busy we are, we rarely have a day where we get to just sit down and watch a film with the kids, there’s always washing to be done, meals to be made, something or other to fix, new games to invent or outings to be had. I think we are definitely making the most of this, enforced, family time, and, despite my rantings and ravings, I think we’re all enjoying it. So much so I don’t know what it’ll be like when J finally does start working, it’ll certainly be a bit of a shock to my system. So, for now, I’m going to make the most of the opportunities for my mummy mind to be turned to OFF.