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…downtime…

In our homeschool, we don’t follow mainstream terms and holidays. Instead, we do shorter, six week sessions, with a week off in between each session, but even though our breaks only line up with mainstream holidays once or twice a year, the children still look forward to the school holidays. School holidays, you see, means they get to go to nanny & poppy’s for an extended sleepover.

With a delightful 48 hours of silence ahead of me, I made myself a hot cup of tea, sat down, and wrote myself a list. A ew chores, a bit of work, and a hefty dose of crafty projects to finish, and a couple to start.

First up, there was a length of calico I picked up in town when I dropped the children off, that I was itching to cut into. I had bought in with two different projects in mind. During the week, there had been a few discussions around fabric dyeing and natural dyes, so I hoped to get stuck into some experiments, having had an ebook sitting on my ipad for months. Because I am very new to the dyeing game, I’m planning on making a few small batches using different materials, rather than one big pot. Also constraining me is the whole tiny house thing, and a lack of a craft room, meaning I don’t have space to leave dyes and fibres sitting around soaking for days on end. I sliced up a bunch of four inch squares, chucked in a dye bath of coffee grinds as I always have plenty of those floating around, and the other pieces went into a dilute mix of soy milk, as recommended by the book I am following along with, to be pretreated ahead of making some more involved dyes next week.

While I had the calico and cutting mat out, I also cut out a bunch of gift bags to try and get a jump start on my Christmas prep. To tizzy them up a bit, I pulled out my block printing ink and a cute lino cut I carved up a couple of months ago. Setting them aside to dry, I packed away the cutting mat & ruler and hit up the WIP box. There were a couple of projects I’d spotted when I was on a roll last Sunday, that didn’t need a lot of work to get them finished – like many of my WIPs, it seems!

There was a Flora Supply Case, sitting there since before last quilt camp, an extra that I had made for myself while I was batch sewing, and was simply awaiting binding to be attached and stitched down. The first attempt at basting the outer and inner together before adding the zip was less than perfect, showing my haste to get it done to have one to use along with everyone else. Once I unpicked, I got the zip attached…only to find I’d misaligned the corners and the case didn’t close properly and the zip buckled. Out came the unpicker, and on the third attempt, the zipper fit and closed beautifully. Of course, third time isn’t always lucky, and it was around the time I was patting myself on the back at my Most Excellent Zip Sewing, that I realised I’d managed to put the zip in upside down, and the end of the zip that opens up to allow the case to sit flat was at the top, not the bottom. It didn’t affect the performance of the case, and I was more than over the unpicking and fiddling by this point, so I decided this was an error I could just roll with, and call it good enough. Comparing it with the batch I made to gift, I’ve also mucked up the corners and rounded them too much. Thankfully it’s only just for me, so not an overly terrible error.

With the case ticked off my list, I reset my timers, knocked out some more work, setting up some ecourse framework on my website, and scheduling out some social media posts, then headed out into the yard for a spot of sunshine and weeding, before circling back to fun time. The next project in my WIP box that I wanted to move out of the way is a small pouch that I cut out way back in January, before we moved. In the madness of packing up my craft room, I came across a tiny cross stitch that I made forever ago, all the way in 2012, to create a pattern as part of a secret santa gift. It has sat in various baskets and boxes and been shuffled around ever since. Using it in a pouch seemed like the perfect distraction from the all the packing and sorting and decluttering and cleaning that comes with moving a large family out of a large home that we’ve lived in for over a decade and a half.

It turned out super cute, and just needs a button added for a closure, though being so narrow I am considering just making a ribbon closure instead. I don’t yet have a purpose in mind for this particular pouch, but does making cute pouches ever really need a reason? One option is to use it for carrying pencils and lettering pens to and from bible study, so I can work in my journaling bible during discussions, instead of getting an inspiration strike mid-lesson, only to get home and open my bible the next day and stare at the page blankly trying to recall what it was I planned to do.

As well as all the crafting, I got the chance each morning to take a nice long hike through our back forest, soaking up the peacefulness of nature (in between calling the dog back as he chased after yet another kangaroo), listening to my current audiobook – The Call of the Wild and Free – a most delightful way to engage in some personal development and reflection I must say!

By Wednesday, though, despite all the fabulous walks and productive work sprints and satisfying yard work and enjoyable crafting, I was missing my babies, and more than ready for them to come home. The peacefulness of their absence is refreshing, but after 14 years in the trenches of full-time motherhood, the organised chaos that swirls around our home when it’s chock-full of children, that right there is my comfort zone.

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