Reflecting on my week #78

I ended last week’s post saying that I might be in the market for a pouffe, and while that was tongue in cheek, I think it might not be such a bad idea.  I had some good news at the doctors last week; my vitamin D which had been scarce back in December has hung around following that course of tablets, and I’m back in the normal range.  The recent blood tests also showed that whatever is making my hips ache, isn’t polymyalgia - which having read up on the symptoms, I was never convinced about.  But it’s not that, which is good news.

The less good news is that I still have the hip pain.  And so after trying to explain how and why, and if anything I was doing could be causing it (I don’t think it is), and the doctor moving my legs around in all kinds of ways, and in some ways I had forgotten they could move, he thinks the joints and the areas around them are inflamed.  So now I have a course of anti-inflammatories which he hopes will knock it on the head.  He’s not the only one!

The trouble is any tablets only work if you actually take them, the hardest thing seems to be remembering to take them three times a day.  Luckily they’re to be taken with or after food, so that’s less of a problem.  Imagine if they had to be taken before food, I’d really be struggling.  As it is, I’m jumping up about 30 mins after I’ve eaten and once I’ve remembered, hopefully it’ll become more usual before the course ends  

I hope they will do the job, and my hips will be on the mend, as in unrelated news we’ve booked a walking holiday.  This might not be the most obvious choice for someone with aching hips, but as I regularly walk 4 miles and 10,000 steps plus on weekdays, it’s not such a leap of faith. The longest walk day, and an optional one I think is 18.5km, so about three times as far as I’d normally walk. But when you’ve got the whole day to do it, and are enjoying the scenery along the way it isn’t as bad as it sounds.  I hope.

And I’ll finally get to Lisbon.  I think everyone else in my family has been, and said how good it is, and yet I’d still not been.  We almost got there, but it was too tricky to tag onto our Porto and the Douro Valley trip.  We’ve had a few holidays in Portugal, we’ve been to the Alentejo region a couple of times too, so it's a favourite of ours, and I have high hopes.

I’ve also finished my crochet basket made from old t-shirts, it took about twelve in the end, but is a big basket. I think it looks much better in real life than in this photo, and I’m happy with how it turned out as it was a bit of a “suck it and see” project.

A completed crochet basket made from around 12 old t shirts

The lumpy bits you can see in the photos are the seams of the t-shirts, and I think add character.  Of course, if you were using bought t-shirt yarn you wouldn’t have this.  But you’d also have about 12 t-shirts too!

I’ve just watched the recycling challenge on the Sewing Bee (don’t tell me who won, I’m still behind - although I think I might not be surprised when I do find out!), and I was shocked to hear how much unwanted clothes go into landfill.  I can’t remember the exact amount, and daren't google it in case I stumble across the winner, but it was a shocking amount, and an amount that my twelve t-shirts will hardly make a dent in, but every little helps right?

it fits well into the cubby hole in the wardrobe

It fits well into the cubbyhole of the wardrobe in the spare bedroom too, and was quickly full of some of my vintage crockery which had previously been in much shallower storage which didn’t make good use of the space. 

The basket is stretchier than I anticipated, but it’s doing a good job of holding things together. I’ve plenty more old t-shirts and will be making more, but not just yet as I’m keen to get back to my Vintage Sweetheart blanket, and make some progress with that. It’s good to start new projects, but it’s even better to finish some of the ones you’ve started! 

Looking ahead to this week, I’ve some time away from work on Wednesday as I’m off to brunch with Heston Blumenthal, like you do. The event is to celebrate Everdure by Heston and the launch of the 4K, which the invite says “is the next innovation in outdoor cooking” - it sounds interesting, and I’m sure I’ll share more here - and on my instagram stories on the day - when I know more.

The Cockroach: Made from waste

Usually at Grand Designs there’s something a bit left field, and often I find myself wandering around trying to work out where and what it is. Often though, it’s something you’re really not expecting, which was definitely true at last year’s show. I mean, even if you’d seen The Cockroach in the programme, without a further explanation you’d have been none the wiser, and may even have given it a wide berth, just in case it really was cockroaches.

I don’t expect you’d have been expecting, this I certainly wasn’t - and just in case - approached with care.

The cockroach at Grand Designs Live

And while it was colourful, and fascinating, I didn’t need to worry.

It’s a solar powered, pedal powered vehicle for two which the board says is “capable of transporting two people in comfort over large distances” which I’m less sure about. It doesn’t scream comfort, or even something for long journeys to me, even if i wasn’t pedalling.

Taking a look inside the Cockroach

It’s very inventive though, and shocking too. Or perhaps less shocking really, which is shocking in itself isn’t it?

It’s made from waste collected across London including old bikes, for sale signs, mobility scooter batteries, pipes and leftovers from last year’s show. There’s even somewhere to store your provisions.

Plenty of storage available

And with provisions, of course you need a kitchen…

The kitchen I presume

There was a loo too, but it was mostly a pipe to a bucket, so definitely not one for the Loo Series.

While I’m not sure it will catch on as a vehicle, it’s clear what should catch on is how we deal with our waste responsibly.

PoCoLo

A just in time handmade gift

In Monday’s post I mentioned the Christmas gift that almost wasn’t ready in time, and which only managed to be under the tree with some last minute sewing Christmas Eve evening. MOH was bemused my by last minute industriousness, even more so when he realised it was for him. I was keen to get it finished, so he stood a chance of working out what it was, and of course to get it finished and wrapped so it could be opened on Christmas Day.

It was a bit out of the norm you see, but I needn’t have worried as he got what they were for as soon as he opened them, phew.

park here - the handmade gift for moh

They’re mats for the wheels of his bike, for when it’s wet and dark, and so the bike stays in our conservatory overnight. Up until now he’s been parking his bike on some newspaper, which while it serves a purpose and does a job, tends to hang about for a bit and so I thought something more aesthetically pleasing must exist. Then I realised it probably didn’t, but was something I could make.

The trouble was when I had time on my own in the house, usually his bike wasn’t there so what size? In the end I guessed and cut a leg of an old pair of jeans to be approximately 40cm x15cm - I knew I wanted something hardwearing, but I also wanted something softer for the newly varnished conservatory floor, so a leg of some old pyjamas were just the thing, and I had some batting somewhere I’m sure…

PYJAMAS AND JEANS REPURPOSED

PYJAMAS AND JEANS REPURPOSED

But I also knew it’d need to be more than just two pads for MOH to know what it was for. With a flash of inspiration one night I hit on the idea of adding some lettering, but what: bike park, stay dry, clean floor, no mess, not newspaper and so on, but in the end I went with the simple instruction of “Park here.”

The original plan was to embroider both words, in script, and “here” looked to be the easier and more continuous to do, so I started with that using twine. I’d written the design onto the jeans (and you can still see it in both photos) and it wasn’t onerous to do, and there was lots of tracing where the flow of the letters should go with my fingers, I realised I wanted more of the pyjama fabric on show too.

TWINE EMBROIDERY

TWINE EMBROIDERY

So a new plan was hatched for the “park” which involved using my die cutter to cut out the letters from fabric ironed onto interfacing, which I hoped would stop them fraying (we’ll have to see how that works out), then stitched onto the denim. I toyed with the placement and went with a more jaunty arrangement, as time wasn’t on my side, and I preferred to have them clearly not straight rather than trying to be straight and failing.

APPLIQUED LETTERING

APPLIQUED LETTERING

I’m rather pleased with how they turned out, with more planning I think I’d have quilted them some more perhaps, and given them a wash to remove the red felt tip lettering, but there’s time for that.

What was more pleasing was that when he opened them, he knew what they were for and sweetly suggested I could make these and sell them, however as they often say on Dragon’s Den, I think this is solving a problem that not many people know they have, so I don’t expect there’s much demand for these. They were fun to make, and to give, and as well as their practical-ness they’ve also demonstrated to MOH that sometimes old fabric can be put to good use, and uses you might not have first thought of!

Park here  - a simple instruction - on MOH's bike mats

How were your handmade gifts received?