I can't believe I'm saying this but I feel like I've been really busy lately. Of course I haven't been busy, I think my perception of what constitutes busy has certainly changed, but the days have been rushing by here. Which is fine - better that than the days dragging. I have been very happily occupied with a sewing project for the last couple of weeks and thought it was time I shared my progress with you.
You may remember last week that I showed you the beginning of my Lockdown Sampler. It's my way of recording and remembering these strange days and I am enjoying it very much, not to mention how good hand sewing is for my mental health. An hour or two a day spent sewing, with the radio or a podcast on in the background, is such a luxury and I am appreciating every second of it.
I began by dividing my piece of linen into a grid, making squares that were approximately 3 x 3 cm, and cross stitching on the letters. This isn't going to evolve as organically as a holiday diary - I am working with the alphabet here so it's already got some structure - but I don't necessarily know what I'm going to stitch for each letter yet.
A was for alcohol. I sewed red wine because it's my usual choice. It's become a bit of a national joke here in the UK that everyone's alcohol consumption has increased since lockdown started. With the lack of structure and every day feeling the same, I can definitely fall into a bit of a trap of thinking it's the weekend all the time, and have had to create new routines as all our usual ones are absent. A glass of wine in the kitchen with John is one of the ways I punctuate my day, marking the end of homeschool, chores, dog walks etc, and the beginning of a more relaxed time of day.
B is for banana bread, another lockdown cliche. I've definitely been baking more than usual and have made multiple loaves of this. No-one likes brown bananas in this house so I often have a couple lying around. C is for clapping, for our key workers. What did we do at 8pm on a Thursday night before?
D is for decorating and DIY. We smashed through that home maintenance list when lockdown first started, partly because we wanted to make use of the amazing gift of time that we'd been given, and partly as a distraction from the stress. But as the weeks have gone by, and we've settled into more of a routine with homeschool, it's waned. E is for exercise. I've illustrated this with a weight as it was easier than trying to draw a person exercising in a 3 cm gap. I am definitely doing much more exercise now than I have done in years for one simple reason: time. I started doing the PE with Joe workouts on YouTube with the children back when they first started in March, and have done them every single day since. I like the routine. I've also started doing Yoga with Adriene which I highly recommend. John and I are doing her 30 day course. I can't quite believe that he's doing this with me, but he's got a yoga mat and everything!
F is for flour because we've all become pretty obsessed with being able to buy it in the shops. I don't know if it's the same in other countries, but as soon as lockdown started, toilet paper, pasta, cans of chopped tomatoes and flour all sold out straight away and pretty much stayed sold out, although it feels like it's returned to normal now. With the flour, I can only assume that everyone is baking at home more, and perhaps people were worried they wouldn't be able to buy bread. I hope all that flour sitting in kitchen cupboards around the UK gets used.
G is for gardening. Our garden has become my happy place over the last seven weeks and I've lavished it with attention. I am so thankful that we are lucky enough to have a garden, and especially to have that safe outdoor space for Bella and Angus.
H is for home school. Of all the things I'll be glad to see the back of when this is over, home school is top of the list. I feel like I should qualify that a little: Angus's school have really done their utmost to make the home learning situation as fun and accessible as possible, and it's not them, it's him and us and this whole situation. He struggles to concentrate and stay engaged and misses the social side of learning so much. Bella's homework at secondary school is largely online anyway, plus she is an extremely self-motivated child, so I feel that her home learning is a much less stressful experience. But it's hard on everyone, children, parents and teachers (many of whom are working full time from home, planning lessons, marking, emailing parents, while also looking after their own children at the same time).
I is for isolation, for which I've sewn a mask. I often think about how quickly so much of our vocabulary changed back in March when lockdown started. I remember that my phone began to automatically suggest the word "isolating" after I'd typed "self". Suddenly social distancing became a term we were all struggling to understand and implement, and the news was full of words like quarantine, pandemic, key workers, containment and furlough.
So that's where I'm up to so far. I have a rough idea of what I want to sew for each letter but am struggling hugely with the letters O and U. If anyone has any good ideas for covid-19 related words that can, ideally, be easily rendered in embroidery thread in a one inch square, please let me know!