Tuesday 31 December 2019

...the post-Christmas slump

The days leading up to Christmas were busy. There was a miniature production line in operation as I raced to get 9 candle jars assembled and ready...
...the super-curly scarf was pinned out on the blocking mat for 36 hours while I crossed my fingers and held my breath until it was dry... 
...and revealed in all its non-curly glory. I really love this pattern. I like the fact that the ends are different, the main body stitches are easy to memorise (making it perfect for combined knitting and TV watching), and the overall effect is simply rather elegant. It reminds me of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's art nouveau designs, and I will probably end up making one for myself!
There were four more candle jars to complete before the weekend, by which time I was well and truly over them! So one ended up with a green lid...
 ...and a completely different design. Mass production is really not my thing!
Yesterday we had a walk at the park with the XXSCat dog, which made me realise just how out of shape I currently am. The gentle slope in the photo below felt like a mountain as we walked up it, and although my new bionic hip coped ok, the other non-bionic one was grumbling horribly. Given that there are over 4 million people currently waiting for joint replacement surgery in the UK, and given how well the first operation went, I've decided to talk to my GP about going back on the waiting list to get the other hip done sooner rather than later. No more stoicism and "soldiering on" this time around - I really don't want to get back to the point where life doesn't feel worth living any more! In the meantime I'm also hopping back on the weight loss bandwagon to help ease the pressure on that arthritic joint. 
I believe it's quite common for people to feel a little out of sorts and deflated in the hiatus between Christmas and New Year, and I'm nothing if not quite common! I'm back at work on the 6th of January, so I feel like I 'should' be making the most of my precious time off - but all that racing from one festive  family gathering to another combined with an accumulation of sleepless nights (husband snoring like a train after succumbing to the cold that's kept me awake coughing for the past two weeks) has left me decidedly lacking in get up and go. I think the photo below sums things up rather nicely. There's a lot just lying dormant (bare clematis stems and  Minions half-buried in dead leaves in the garden), there's a fair bit of boredom and inertia (half-finished teddy jumpers and mittens), but there's also the knowledge that life goes in cycles (orchids come into flower, bulbs send up shoots from the bare earth) and the hope that there will always be something to rekindle imagination and inspire (Christmas Snork-maiden awaiting a flower garland, skeins of colourful yarn, a gorgeously illustrated book of cleverly constructed sweaters). Here's to 2020!

Wednesday 18 December 2019

...WOYWW - The One Before the BIg Tidy

There are just a couple of days to go before I finish work for the rest of the year (hooray!) - which is just as well, because things are getting pretty messy around here. My workdesk (other workdesks are available here) is at the epicentre of the chaos, because it's in the room where the Christmas presents are dumped stored while they wait to be wrapped, and where the miscellaneous "stuff that's been got out and now needs to be put away" also gets parked. I literally can't wait for Friday, when I will have the house to myself and can clean and tidy to my heart's content. 
Things that have contributed to the carnage over the past week or two are:
  • Work stuff - our Service User Group Annual Christmas card design - everyone made a tree, and I faffed around with an improvised backdrop of blue card and white silica sand. Why? Because it was there!*
  • Distracting seasonal gorgeousness stuff - the best thing about short, dark, winter days is the fantastic sunrises and sunsets that we get to enjoy at the beginning and end of them. This one, seen from the landing window, was absolutely epic, and made me late for work.
  • Christmas gift knitting stuff - I'm persevering with this scarf very much against my better judgement because it is curling like the curliest curl on Planet Curly, and I'm really not sure that wet-blocking can properly rectify that issue. But it's 75% complete now, and frogging it to make it into a sensible, non-curly, moss or garter stitch scarf is just too disheartening to think about.
  • Finishing touches stuff - Eco-friendly tealights? Tick. Sachets of white silica sand to even out the bottom of the jar and for *random sprinkling onto blue card for a Christmas card backdrop? Tick. Circular labels to decorate with snowflakes and stick on the lid? Tick.

Roll on Tidy Friday!

Wednesday 4 December 2019

...WOYWW - The One Where Christmas is Coming

November drew to a close with a perfect "cold and frosty morning" last weekend...
...every ivy leaf exquisitely edged in crystalline white...
...and December began with a flourish!

On my workdesk today (for those taking a virtual peep over each-other's shoulders) is a heap of festive prep. On the left there's a scarf - currently one skein in to a three skein job. On the right, a pile of paper Christmas trees made by members of our Service User Group at work. I'll be assembling them for a photo that we'll use for the annual Christmas card. 
Towards the back there's a stack of recycled jars I painted at the weekend, ready for some final touches. With an individually decorated circular sticky label for the lid, a little sachet of white sand to level out the bottom of the jar, and a couple of eco-friendly tea-lights popped inside, they'll soon be good to go. 
In pride of place, the wreath I made on Monday night after my friend dragged me out to a workshop at a local florists. There were around ten of us there, with lots of different materials to choose from, and no two wreaths were the same. I went for quite a minimal/natural look - I got seduced by the different shades of green in the foliage and decided I didn't want to detract from it with baubles or ribbons or glitter. I don't actually have any means of hanging it on my UPVC front door, so it might have to be used as a table decoration instead!
I'm not quite ready to get our tree out of storage yet, but things are well underway in the doll's house, where Miss Lavender is feeling full of Yuletide cheer. At some point in the next three weeks I will almost certainly have to get the air-dry clay out and make her a miniature Christmas feast...