Thursday, 26 June 2014

Getting Around

It started as a practical thing, when I went back to work last year I needed a way to get to work. As it was a short journey (but too far to walk) I dug out my trusty Ridgeback, that I bought when about 4 months pregnant with Oldest and then promptly didn't ride for about five years, oops.

Then I found myself using the bike for other journeys, I kitted myself out with lights and a hi-vis jacket so I could ride at night. The final straw came when I put bike panniers on my Christmas list. I have to face up to it... I am A Cyclist.

And I love it... I don't love near misses with vans on a narrow road, but in general I feel proud of being able to get around my city on two wheels, often while carrying quite a bit of stuff with me in the afore-mentioned panniers. I've never felt joy while driving or taking a bus to work, but I frequently do when on my bike. A year of pedalling up hills (plenty of those in Bristol) has had a positive effect on my fitness too, and means that I can justify cake eating.

And it's not just me, there are others. It may be the sunny weather, but I'm seeing a lot of bikes round here at the moment. Many with Heath Robinson-esque racks and baskets attached to carry shopping or tools.

I'm busy indoctrinating the next generation too, Oldest has been riding without stabilisers for 18 months and loves to go out with me on the Bristol-Bath cycle path at the weekends. Youngest is mainly interested in the streamers on her handle bars (although, I quite fancy some of those tbh) and dolly seat on the back of the bike than actually learning to ride it, but we'll get there.


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Making Space

Compact and bijou
Last week was half term, and I took the whole week off from work so that I could be at home with the children. It was great to have a break from the school run routine of lunch boxes and book bags.

My children are getting older, and although they have (mostly) happily shared a bedroom, my husband and I decided that now was the time to give Oldest, who will be eight in the summer, his own room. But this of course meant saying goodbye to my sewing room, and we spent the long bank holiday weekend emptying the room, cleaning, painting, hanging new curtains (nope didn't make them myself, ordered them off interweb), heaving furniture around and of course the obligatory trip to IKEA that no middle class home improvement project can do without.

My son is now installed in his new room, which he absolutely loves as it includes a massive amount of Lego and a 6ft wooden bookcase bursting with books. It's the bookcase that I had in my room when I was a child. My mum tells me that she stood in the furniture shop pondering whether she should get the small one or the tall one. Knowing my bookish ways, she went for the latter.

In the space freed up by the bookcase downstairs, we created a mini workspace for me and all my sewing gubbins. I have an extra wide set of IVAR shelves, with one of them serving as a desk for my cutting mat and sewing machine. Above is storage space for bits and bobs and my fabric stash.

Obligatory bunting
The unit is pretty tall, so plenty of storage space, but I have had to be a bit brutal and only keep the things that I *really* love. I should admit right now that I have another couple of plastic boxes of fabric stashed in the loft. I may get round to painting the unit at some point, but suspect it may stay as unfinished wood for quite some time.

I've found that having the sewing machine downstairs does mean that I've felt more in the mood to sew. It's like the machine sits there beguiling me. I've taken the plunge and started piecing strips for a mad scrappy quilt. My aim to to actually use some of my lovely bright fabrics rather than saving them for some mythical 'special' project. Let's just sew them up and see what comes out...

Knitting wise I have just started a ballet cardigan for Youngest, who recently started classes at our local community centre. She has high hopes that it will be finished in time for Saturday's class, I have endeavoured to manage her expectations somewhat.

I love looking at other people's studios and workspaces and dreaming a little. But for the time being I'm happy with my miniaturised area...
Love a bit of orderly storage