Hello! Everyone alright? It's been a long week here. Nothing major, just a weariness with the current situation, and a niggling anxiety always at the back of our minds. I may or may not return to work (I am a primary teaching assistant) full time after half term, we are not sure; John may return to work in three weeks, or six, or nine, no-one knows; Angus (Y6) might go back to school after half term...or he might not. It's not anyone's fault, not our employer's fault, it's just the huge uncertainty hanging over our whole lives at the moment. We went into this lockdown with a fair amount of motivation and I think that, on the whole, it's been a positive - if surreal - experience, but we all found ourselves listless last week, thoroughly fed up with homeschool, and unable to muster even the motivation to cook dinner. Of course I know that we are not alone, but that doesn't make the uncertainty any easier. Also, it sunk in this week that we almost certainly won't be going on holiday to France in August - I had been holding out the tiniest bit of hope that we would - or to London in June, or anywhere fun at anytime for that matter. But these are first world problems. The main thing is that we are all safe and well and that is all that matters really.
One thing that has truly kept me mentally balanced and feeling calmer over the last week has been working on my Lockdown Sampler. I am still sewing a little motif each day, one for each letter of the alphabet, and the hour or two that I get to sit and sew is hugely good for me. I had got up to I when I last showed you my progress, and J had to be for jigsaws. I love a jigsaw - I normally associate them with those blissful days between Christmas and New Year - but it's been lovely to have time to work on a couple over the last few weeks.
K is for key workers. I nearly sewed a key, and was going to save rainbow for R, but I wanted to include something else for the letter R and so there had to be a bit of jiggling around. I think a lot of other countries also do something similar, but in the UK many people have been displaying rainbows in their windows at the front of their houses, often drawn by the children living there - to express their thanks to the key workers who have to go to work at the moment whether they want to or not. The rainbows are also a lovely thing to look out for when walking around your local area - Bella and I like to count them on our dog walks. Also, this was a complete joy to sew as I'm sure you can imagine!
L is for lockdown, and I struggled to think of the best way to represent this (padlock?) but then I remembered the social media sticker people have been using a lot on Instagram and Facebook to highlight the "stay home" message throughout lockdown. It was challenging to sew but I did really enjoy it.
M is for Making, a bit of a catch-all word for all the creative activities that have kept me sane and happy during this time, including crafting and especially crochet and sewing. A ball of yarn seemed the best way to sum this up.
N was very nearly for the NHS, but I had already doing "clapping" for C and and key workers for K, so I had to think again. I decided to do the news, something I've developed a bit of a love/hate relationship with lately. I hardly ever watch the news on TV but have Radio 4 on most of the time, and will spend a few days listening to it and taking it all in, then I reach saturation point and have to have a few days off for the sake of my peace of mind.
O is for outside. The fact that this lockdown has happened during spring, and not in the dark depths of winter, has made it so much easier to bear, especially while the evenings are so light at the moment. Knowing that the seasons are still turning outside gives me hope.
P is for pasta, something of a staple food in this house, and apparently everywhere else too, as it was one of those foods like flour and tinned tomatoes that everyone stockpiled at the start of lockdown. A plate of spaghetti bolognese was a fun way to represent it.
Q is for quilting. I have loved working on my patchwork quilt over the last few months. The benefit of quieter days than usual is that I don't spend my evenings catching up with housework, chores and admin as I usually would, leaving a bit more time for TV watching and sewing my hexagons.
R is for reading. Again, the benefit of slower days means more time to read in bed as I do't have to be up at 6 am for work. We have all read a lot over the last few weeks and it's been a luxury I've relished. Once I'd decided to sew book spines, I straight away thought of the iconic Penguin publishers graphic design, and had a lot of fun sewing these. To give you an idea of scale, these books are 23 mm wide by 21 mm high.
And finally S is for Sourdough. It's become one of those lockdown jokes that everyone's making sourdough now, but in my defence I was making it before, although I've enjoyed improving my starter and loaves lately. I think this may look more like a beehive than a loaf of bread (I was trying to sew those little grooves that the proving banneton leaves behind) but if you squint and don't look too closely I'm sure it's ok.
All of which takes me up to today, and T. I had better get sewing.
Wishing you all a happy bank holiday weekend and week ahead.