Tuesday, December 10, 2019

When you look annoyed all the time, people think that you're busy.

Hello hello! How have we all been since the middle of October, eh? I've been okay - mostly great, in fact - nobody I love has been in a horrific accident, so the latter months of this year are showing an improvement on the earlier ones. Can't be too bad, right?

I'm being facetious, but I think I am allowed because there has been a lot of suckitude this year and I am glad to be nearing the end of it. Of course, there is a general election on Thursday so there is still a strong chance that 2019 will deliver a steaming turd in a bag to all of our doorsteps on Friday morning, but at the moment I'm trying to stay positive and work with that.

ANYWAY. What has been happening? Good stuff. Some good stuff has been happening! After we got back from our holiday to Perpignan at the end of September, we bought a new mattress and it has been such a life improvement, omg. The bed in our hotel in France was so lovely that when we got back to our sad old Ikea mattress I was like, 'NO MORE'. I had been working up to buying a new mattress for about a year but this is my least favourite type of shopping - it is expensive and boring to research, but you need to do your research because it is going to be expensive. Anyway we got some advice and bought a combination memory foam and sprung mattress (sprung on the bottom and memory foam on the top) and ever since it was delivered I have been like this:

So that's been good. It hasn't cured my insomnia or anything, but I have been sleeping much better overall and it has helped. It is also a really luxurious place to chill out and read. I love it.

In November, Nic and I had a short trip back to Northern Ireland to visit family. We had a long weekend and it was lovely. It was cold but dry and the weather was very beautiful.

The Black Lough, Dungannon

We weren't home for a particular reason, just to hang out with my family. It was so lovely - I was able to spend lots of time with my siblings, my nephews and my new niece. We took Joe to Armagh Planetarium - I hadn't been there since I was at primary school and it hasn't changed - and my parents took Nic and I to the Ulster Folk and Transport museum in Cultra. Also, importantly, I had a lot of time to cuddle Mini:

I think Mini would have preferred it if cuddling her had been my only activity whilst I was home.

One of the great things about being home was just being there for no reason - which is to say, not because of a family emergency! It was wonderful to see how well my brother has recovered from his accident. He still has quite a lot of pain but he has been able to get back to work a couple of days a week. If you didn't know what had happened to him and the severity of his injuries, you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at him. It is such a relief to see him doing so well.

It was an intense few days and we were exhausted when Fionn MacCumhaill waved us goodbye at the airport:
yeah I'm not sure why he has a golf club, either

I haven't been doing a lot of sewing. I have had a few busy weekends but also I've been lacking in energy because of the low light so I have spent a lot of time lying on the sofa - or on our lovely mattress - just chilling and playing Zelda. It's been okay. I have started taking vitamin D and vitamin B supplements to help with that and having our Christmas lights up has also helped! But anyway, here a couple of things I have made.

I've been wearing my Jenny overalls quite a lot - they are super comfortable and I love the shape of the bib (so I have decided to make another pair over the Christmas break... watch this space.) In my seeming quest to find my perfect pinafore dress, I decided to have a go at cobbling together some different patterns to make one. So that is what I did a few weeks ago:

To make this dress, I used the bib and the straps from the Jenny overalls, the pockets from the Fiona dress and the skirt pieces from McCall's M7475, which was a cover gift on Love Sewing. I was a little paranoid about which skirt size to cut because the waist and hip measurement for my usual size in McCall's patterns seemed like they would be too small. So I went for a bigger size, and regretted it! You can't really tell in the photo above but the bib and waistband were too big and, as the denim I used had stretch in it, the second time I wore the pinafore I felt as though I had wrapped myself in a sail! Fit is very personal and very subjective but I do like my clothes to be fairly closely-fitted. Anyway - I considered taking it apart to make it smaller - which I just couldn't face doing - and in the end decided to just throw in a hot wash and put it through the dryer to let it shrink a bit.

This is like a weird spot-the-difference competition, isn't it?! The hot wash/dryer treatment worked well - a little of the dye came out of the fabric but not as much as I had feared and although I was a little alarmed by *how much* shrinkage had happened when I first put it on, I really prefer the fit now. It relaxed a little in wearing and I'm very happy with it now.

Here I am wearing it with a glass of champagne in Oxford a few weeks ago.

I don't know if it is the perfect pinafore dress but I am very happy with it and have worn it quite a lot already... it may be part of my unconscious desire to look as much as possible like my character in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp:

Even though it is literally just PIXELS I still wish Brewster offered re-usable cups.

Last week, I did a little bit of sewing to soothe my mind after a truly horrible few days at work (a three-day meeting where everyone was stressed and miserable at a horrible venue in the middle of nowhere with terrible food and limited coffee. Yeah, it was not great.) I had some Cath Kidston fabric that I had bought on ebay to make a shirt-dress, so off I went with that:

Magic Nights dress - M6891 bodice and M6696 skirt

Cath Kidston currently have shirt-dresses in this print for sale but their shirt-dresses never fit me and the fabric is viscose, which I don't trust not to shrink or bobble, honestly. This fabric is a light to medium-weight cotton poplin and it was lovely to work with. I paired the bodice from M6891 and the skirt from M6696 and sewed this dress over two evenings by the light of the Christmas tree, listening to records. It did a lot to soothe my mind and I am really happy with the finished dress.

I wore this on Saturday for a day out in London with Nic. He had a speaking engagement and then we had an afternoon of pottering around Bethnal Green, Shoreditch and Whitechapel... mainly eating, if I'm honest, but also enjoying festive London without the stress of central London.

This dress also works well with champagne, I am pleased to report.

I'm very pleased with the dress. I considered adding sleeves but honestly, even when it is very cold I prefer sleeveless dresses as they are easier to wear with a cardigan. I had dithered a bit on the buttons but I love how retro contrast buttons look so I bought these cute yellow buttons from the John Lewis haberdashery and leaned into looking as twee as possible.

As twee as possible and also as derpy as possible, of course!

I'm not very fussed on having a Christmas dress but I think this one looks suitably festive but will probably still work in the spring and summer - hearts and stars are for all year round, after all! Cath Kidston has since brought out a similar print in a different colourway but with Snoopy and Woodstock all over it, so you can bet your bum I will be lurking ebay in the hope of obtaining some of that!

Anyway, that's the craic with me. I only have a few days left of work this year - I finish on Friday for three weeks - and I am looking forward to relaxing with Nic and celebrating all the good things that happened this year and moving on from the bad. I have some sewing plans which I will no doubt share with you soon - until then, be good!