April began with a trip back to my home town of Tonbridge in Kent to visit family. These little weekend trips always feel so rushed as we don’t see as much of them as we’d like to. My Mum kindly made us a delicious Easter cake and the kids exchanged eggs with their cousins. Our nieces and nephews always seem so much older when we see them after just a few months and it’s lovely to catch up on everyone’s news….
Just before my actual birthday, it was the 12th year anniversary of beginning this blog. It’s a great time for reflection over the past years and make plans for the future. I’m really enjoying blogging more regularly, and I’ve got a great long list of plenty of ideas to write about to keep me going for a while yet!
I’m not very good at taking time off, so on my birthday, I sat twiddling my thumbs, wondering what
to do that wasn’t work! I decided to tackle the archway that attacks everyone who tries to get into the back garden. It’s not a bad burglar deterrent, but as we use the back door the most, I thought I should probably make it a bit easier for ourselves to get through as well. The brambles were really out of hand, and I almost finished, but it got too cold, so I retreated back indoors.
Speaking of indoors; work continued on the new living room layout, and we’ve decided to take the big step of getting rid of the huge dfs curved leather settee with matching footstools. It’s all going for free, so if you can collect, and don’t mind cleaning off the dog slobber, then get in touch – it’s yours! Looking for new furniture gives me the perfect excuse to go wondering round Wells reclamation yard again, where a very friendly cat followed me the whole way round. I didn’t find a chair, but I did buy a mirror to go above the fireplace at last. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice before I got home, that although you look fine when you’re standing close up to it, there are funny lines going across that really warp your
reflection when standing more than a couple of metres away. That’s ok – it’s more for bouncing light around the room than for looking at yourself.
We did buy a lovely purple chenille tub chair online and an armchair made out of a huge barrel, but I’ll talk more about it all in a separate blog post soon.
At the weekend nearest my birthday we went out for a very tasty meal at the Kingsdon Inn, which I’ll properly review in the next few days.
It was Bath Fashion Week after that, and I’d bought tickets to a talk by Livia Firth about sustainable and ethical fashion. It was so interesting, but has totally ruined the fun of shopping – I can’t buy anything from H&M or Primark again without wondering about the inhumane work conditions of the person who made that item. I’m left feeling guilty about those recent Primark and Tescos purchases for my workout clothing. I’m now on a mission to seek out affordable clothing brands who have decent policies and relationships with their factories.
Then the next big thing was a little holiday all to myself. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not very good at relaxing at home. As well as always needing tidying up and cleaning, it’s my place of work, so it’s difficult to just switch off and take time out to enjoy myself. So the only thing to do, is have a little mini-break! Part Christmas and part birthday present, last week I drove up to Oxford and had two nights in the Four Pillars Oxford Thames hotel. It was a real treat and I had a wonderful time. I took loads of photos, and of course made notes wherever I went, so there’s plenty of material for blog posts to come!
I’ve been working with a small team of people to get Pilton Youth Club up and going again. I’d ran it by myself for a few years in a very unofficial manner, so it was about time it was brought up to date with actual policies and risk assessments and important things like that. I’m pleased to say that almost everything is in place now and we’re back open. I helped out last week and it was great seeing the village teens again, even if they do throw sherbet over each other!
With all this going on, I haven’t had a lot of time for making clothes for Oshun, or continuing the edit of my novel. I’d also intended to make
myself something new for the day in Bath, but ran out of time, so I just mended the lacing on a dress I’d made from a pair of Indian salwar trousers. I did my first experiment with dyeing from natural ingredients I’d bought in a kit. The results are pretty, but aren’t as strong as I’d hoped for; but I probably put too much fabric in the pan. Once I’ve used the other packets, I’ll fully review the different plants and mordants. This is something I’m really interested in, and hope to do more natural dyeing in the future.
I had an order for a Khaleesi costume, so did my usual dandelion and weed technique for that, and
dyed some extra cotton so I now have a ready-to-ship option in the Oshun Costumes shop.
I’m weirdly excited about the new Game of Thrones series! Considering the last one was a bit disappointing, and I always watch it whilst also trying to be busy on my laptop at the same time. This is to try and avoid me getting too attached to the characters so I’m not upset when they die. They better bloody not kill Arya or Sansa though! I enjoyed the first episode – although nothing much happened, it’s nice to be reminded what’s going on with all the characters and where they are. Half the fun for me is looking at all the costumes to see if I’m inspired by any. I’ve got some silk chiffon dupattas that are perfect for maxi dresses and I really like the style of the King’s Landing slaves, so that’ll be on my to do list!
Before I can make those, however, I will be extremely busy for the next couple of months with my bottle bags. I’ve been talking with Lucy, head of sustainability at Glastonbury Festivals, and she’s been talking to Water Aid, and it’s been arranged that they will be selling them at their main kiosk next to the pyramid stage! I’ll also be making cup carriers for the new steel cups that are being used at the bars for the first time this year. Exciting!
There’s only one You Tube video this month, which is a little introduction to a vintage hand-crank singer sewing machine:
To be honest, I’ll be spending the next couple of days writing and catching up on editing You tube videos (I’m too exhausted from my Oxford trip still to go out anyway!), but if you haven’t decided where to go this bank holiday, if you’re in the South-West, this post might help with ideas. I hope you’ve had a great April, and enjoy this weekend – let me know what you’re up to!