I first heard about bat wraps a number of years ago but I never got around to actually making them until earlier this month when I had some flannelette lying around on my lounge chair and I didn’t feel like packing it so I thought perfect time to use it up and make them.
Bat wraps are used by wildlife carers to care for young bats (pups) who come into their care. The wrap is made from flannelette which is soft and cuddly for the pups. Each wrap has a pillow section which the pups are placed on and then a length of fabric which is rolled around the pups to keep them tight, kind of like a bat burrito.
Sewing wise these were very easy to do. I must admit I did struggle a little with top stitching around the edge of the stuffed pillow section. If I make these again I think I will top stitch around it all except for section that the stuffing is placed in before I stuff it and then just hand top stitch the stuffing section. It will be quicker for me and a lot neater. On my Sewing Bingo 2020 card I was able to tick off A First from my list as I mentioned this was my first time making these.
Lakebed In Parramatta Park
Pups can come into care due to the death or injury of the mother or be abandoned due to weather conditions such as drought. Sadly along the east coast of Australia this summer due to the drought not just in regional areas but also in metropolitan areas such as Sydney a lot of pups have been abandoned due to the lack of water supply. I live near a major park in Western Sydney which contains a large bat colony and I have seen first hand a lake in the park dry up completely due to the drought conditions. It is heartbreaking to see the lake like this. It will take a lot of rain for the lake to reform and I really do hope it does for all the animals who use it as their water supply.
I can say it now we are moving!! We have purchased a unit and later this year will make the big move. To help me remember how I had my set up before I started packing I thought I would share it on here. Crafting can take up a lot of space with supplies and machines. I’m always curious as to how people have theirs set up
I had 4 main areas within my rental unit that I used plus my garage which I kept fabric and my first sewing machine which I called my travelling machine in.
This is where my sewing first started. Before I started sewing in the loungeroom on Mr Sttichnsew’s suggestion I had my machine set up in here in a cabinet, all my craft magazines/books and few craft supplies on bookshelves. If I was going to sew it would only be when I had enough time to set up and pack things away afterwards. I’m lucky enough I can leave sewing projects out without animals or kids touching them but when I was sewing in the study I was limited with space. I would have to pull my sewing cabinet out into the centre of the room and move things about a bit to use it. It was a nice little room to sew in but it was also very isolating. In the end the study turned a storage area for some of my sewing machines which I wasn’t using and I had a spare sewing cabinet which held my overlocker in it and the top it was used for a dumping ground for patterns. My roles of interfacings and pdf patterns rolled up were kept in there too as well as all my foam blocking mats. My bookshelves contained some craft supplies and my remaining craft magazines and books. By the end of 2019 I had sold 3 of my extra sewing machines and sold my spare sewing cabinet. Once I started clearing out my excess craft books and magazines I had space on my bookshelf to store my overlocker so I sold the cabinet.
This is where I kept all my dress making fabrics, sewing notions, yarn most of it anyway. I had a wardrobe which much to B’s amusement I called the “Craft Wardrobe” It contained a shelving unit full of fabric, containers of yarn, a bookshelf of sewing supplies and a heap of other crafting items hanging or squished at the sides. In the room I had boxes of fabrics, another shelving unit of fabrics and all my paper dressmaking patterns. I also had my clothes drying airer which often would have fabric drying on it. I would try and keep this room under control but it did get a little crazy at times… ok a lot crazy. Having my sewing patterns and dress making fabric within the same room meant sometimes I would just go and play around with my patterns and fabrics to get ideas on what to make. Sometimes that was all I needed to help me relax.
In the garage I keep a lot of my general crafting fabric. This is fabric I use in gift making and for making WIRES pouches although I did have a stash of that in my spare room too. My fabric boxes weren’t organised at all and I would have to go through several boxes to find fabric I want. It was fun “shopping” in my mini fabric store but my dream would be to organise it more so perhaps all colours were together or all prints are together. I need to go through as there are a lot of fabrics in there I know I won’t use such as Christmas themed fabric or fabrics which have like a metallic finish on them which aren’t suitable for WIRES pouches. Future me will get this organised and that way I can use it more. In recent times sometimes I have gotten lazy and just brought new fabrics instead of going through it all. As mentioned I would store my travel sewing machine here but I don’t travel with it any more so have kept it as my spare machine instead.
This isn’t one of my main storage areas but I managed to stash a lot of yarn in here. Most of it is under the bed where I also kept my yarn winders. In the bottom of the wardrobe I also had a stash of yarn. This was big lots of acrylic yarn for future projects or scraps from previous blankets.
This was my sewing area and preparation area. I permanently have my sewing machine and ironing board set up. My machine sits on sewing cabinet by the tv so I can watch it as I sew or I can listen to music. We have no dining table so in the space behind the lounge where most people would use a dining room I have my ironing board and craft table set up. My craft table is actually a cutting table which I think you can no longer buy. It is higher than most craft tables which is good for my back as I don’t have to bend so much. With my mobility issues the higher table helps immensely. The table was my mum’s and it was one of the few things I said I wanted when we were clearing out her stuff. Most times it is pushed against the wall but I do pull it out into the centre of the area when I am tracing out/cutting out large patterns as I can get around all sides of it. When I use my overlocker I used it on this table. My craft trolley used to live under my table but I now keep it near my sewing machine as I can reach over and grab things from it.
I have no idea what the set up will be in the new place but I know things will be different. I won’t have a garage to store fabrics in I know that for sure. The unit layout will be different and it will take me a bit to work out where to put everything but I will get there. As with most things I had just gotten the right set up and balance of things before the decision to move was made. I have limited time off before the move so late December I started packing away things I wasn’t going to use in the coming months. It has been an interesting task. I have had to really plan out what I’m going to knit/crochet during that time to leave enough yarn out for projects. I had to also think about the projects themselves, I didn’t want anything too complex as knitting/crocheting is my relaxation from everything else that is going on. It helps keep my sanity. I decided on a few easy projects and so far so good. With my sewing I have kept out a bag of essential tools and supplies and my projects are again relatively simple or things I need to get done by deadlines which may fall near our expected move timeline. We don’t have an actual move date yet but have a rough time frame. I’m even thinking of gifts for Christmas 2020 and as I pack my remaining craft fabrics I’m happy to even make a start on those knowing I can always place them in a box and know where they are as during my packing I’m numbering each box and writing contents in a notebook.
It might be many months before I do an “After” blog post but once I get settled in I will. Ideally I would like to have it as a similar set up but as for the most part it was working for me in this place but I will have to wait and see.
Around the end of December early January a lot of crafters on Instagram share the 9 projects they wish to make the following year and call it a Make 9. It is a personal challenge they set themselves. Although I like the idea of it I have never done it as it would cause me too pressure to commit to it. I also have a habit of changing my mind all the time too as my mood changes or I see different patterns. I don’t want to lock in 9 projects and feel obligated to make them for a self imposed challenge.
I came across a challenge PatsyPoo Makes has set of Sewing Bingo 2020. Instead of doing 9 set projects there are 9 themes and as your sewing through the year you decide which theme your project fits into and mark it off your list. The 9 themes are
- Pattern From Stash
- More Involved
- A First
- Fabric From Stash
- Quick And Easy
- A repeat
- Long Time Coming
I really like this spin on the Make 9 challenge. You don’t have to commit to 9 projects at the start, you just decide on things as you go. I am going to take part this year in this fun challenge. My 9 items won’t all be clothing, some will be gifts others charity items. I’m going to relax and have fun with my sewing this year. Tick things off my “bingo card” as I make them. I have a few ideas of which theme boxes I can tick off with different gifts I am making but I might change my mind and find something which could tick off that theme instead.
2020 is going to be the year I relax and enjoy my sewing
In 2019 I had a few issues with my gifts. As I mentioned in a post last year I kept changing my mind on what I would make or I would leave things to the last minute. In 2020 I am getting back to being more organised with my gifts. I have decided on all the gifts I am going to make and I am not going to change me mind so I have a clear plan. A couple I was aiming to make for Christmas last year so they will be given as birthday gifts instead and one I cut out yesterday. Following the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) below is what I am going to make and what I need to have finished by each month.
March – Cockatoo (cut out)
April – Crocodile (half sewn)
May – Toiletry bag (cut out)
June – Book pillows (make size to match pillow inserts already in stash)
July – Superhero doll (use DDD pattern), crochet superhero mask
August – Tea set
W – Bucket hats, heart pillows
H – Flower pillow, star pillow, crochet footballs (all blacks)
The good news is that I only have to buy a zipper and maybe some boning for the handles of the tea set aside from those all the other items I already have on hand. This will keep the costs of gifts down but more importantly mean I’m using my stash. I’m actually feeling really relaxed about my gift making this year.
I may not look it but I am a bit of a fitness and gym junkie. I am more comfortable at the gym then in a shopping centre. I would pick going for a walk over going to the movies. Fitness and sport is something I have always been interested in. I mentioned previously I played netball as a kid. As a kid you’re not thinking of it as fitness you are just thinking it is fun. After I had my surgery for many years I didn’t really do anything fitness wise and I missed it. Netball was fun as you interreacted with others but I enjoyed the training side.
Wedding present for my trainer
In 2005 when I got my arthritis diagnosis I decided to get back into fitness, I signed up to a gym and got a personal trainer who had experience training people with disabilities. I couldn’t stop the arthritis but I wanted to feel like I had control over it. 14 years later I still have the same personal trainer Mr L. I get on really well with my trainer, he is one of the few people who can read my mood without me even saying a word. I train with him once a week. He has a general plan for each of my training sessions but adapts them to what my needs are on the day. I might text him before the session and say I’m tired so we will more stretching that day which is very helpful for me or I might turn up angry and he will get out the boxing gloves. I joke that he is more than just my trainer but also my psychiatrist as he listens if I need to get stuff out of my head, my physiotherapist and my nutritionist.
The gym is “my happy place” I know everything I do it at benefits me. The hard work I put in there helps me in my every day life. My trainer isn’t one of those who yells at his clients to push them or motivate them, he knows if he yelled at me I would yell back. I briefly worked with a trainer like that when Mr L was overseas for a few weeks and I hated it. I push myself hard at the gym and I don’t need anyone else to do that. I’ll be the one who says the weights are too lite or pushes the speed up on the treadmill. You wouldn’t think it but I actually like running. I find it easier than walking. During one training session I just randomly started jogging instead of walking and from there Mr L has incorporated it into my training sessions when I am up to it. As a kid I hated running but now I love it.
My biggest fitness achievement was in 2017 when I completed the City to Surf. It is a 14km fun run / walk in Sydney. I trained for nearly 2 years to work up to it and I managed to do it in less than 3hrs! I was so surprised at the time. I did it with my best friend B and it was the best day even though I did have major issues such as cramping through it and stopping at one stage in it to be physically ill (too much water and not enough sugar in my body) I’m not sure if I will get to do another City to Surf but at least I can say I have done it and I ran parts of it.
All these years my fitness goal has been to become stronger and not focus on weight loss. Strength and movement is what my body needs and any weight loss is a bonus. In 2019 I was told I actually need to lose some weight due to my bad sleep apnoea so I have started to look at my nutrition changing some areas of my diet. My main focus is still on strength and gaining more movements in my joints that are still restricted. Long term that is what my body needs. Earlier this year I had more scans and sadly yes the arthritis has caused further degeneration of my hip but I know the hard work I have put in over the last 14 years has slowed the progress. I still see my old surgeon and he is surprised I still have my original hip as it was not expected to last this long. I can only put it down to my training.
When I’m not at the gym I still like to exercise like walking or if me and B get the chance to hang out we literally do. Exercise doesn’t have to be completely serious. You can have fun with it and that’s what I like to do. Once again it is one of those things if I’m not having fun then I’m not going to want to do it. I’m a big believer in incidental exercise which is all those little things you do like walking up the stairs or a ramp instead of taking a lift or even dare I say housework. Your body is moving and you are working your muscles without even knowing it. Every bit helps.
So what I am doing on the last day of the year? Since I don’t have to work today I’m hitting the gym. I haven’t been to the gym since before Christmas and I really need a workout as I miss it. My trainer won’t be there but that won’t stop me, I can happily train on my own. My favourite equipment at the gym is the TRX. Unless you have been to a gym in the last few years that has this you may not of heard of it. It is suspension training where you use straps that are anchored to a point (the roof at my gym) Using the straps you can do a rang of exercises such as push ups, squats, rows, bicep curls the list you goes on. You use your own body’s weight as your resistance. When my trainer first introduced me to TRX I feel in love with it. Out of all his clients he has taught me the most exercises on it plus I have learnt a heap of others from seeing them on Instagram. For me TRX is fun, I don’t have to worry about adjusting weights it is just me and the straps. I can switch from working my arms to working my legs without having to change equipment. Next year my trainer is switching gyms and the first thing I asked was “do they have TRX?” They do so I am happy.
Happy New Year everyone.
I have always had a fascination with hot air balloon since I was a kid. I’m not sure what sparked my fascination but I had jigsaw puzzles of them and once my mum did an embroidery for me of one. Whenever I saw them in the sky I was mesmerised by them, I think it was the bright colours and designs of the balloons. I have been lucky enough to go hot air ballooning twice, Albuquerque in New Mexico and Christchurch New Zealand. I loved every minute of it. When I was a kid I received a birthday gift from my sister’s friend gave of a hot air balloon mobile. I loved it and kept it pretty much until I moved out of home. This year for my niece I made a hot air balloon mobile.
I guess a mobile is a toy. These were really easy to make. The balloons are machine sewn and the baskets hand sewn from felt. The baskets being so tiny were a little fiddly but they are so cute and worth feeling all fingers and thumbs making them.
I wish I could share a picture of this hanging up but sadly I was posting this gift through the mail which meant I couldn’t assemble it. I did buy some doweling which I sent with the gift so it could be hung. The only items I needed to buy for this gift was the doweling and the split ring all other items came from my stash. It was a good project to use bright colour fabrics in.
I’m glad I finally got to make this. I had the pattern in my stash for years meaning to make it one day. I don’t think I have the pattern anymore, I think it was one of the ones I decluttered a few months ago. I have made it once and it was fun to make.
So I have done a recap of my sewing year for 2019 so here is my knitting year. I think I spent more time knitting and crocheting this year than I did sewing. Knitting and crocheting is something I can just pick up and do when I have a minute here or there.
My favourite item for the year was Daybreak. It was the first West Knits pattern I’ve ever done and I loved it. I wore it most of winter. The yarn feels so delicious and the colours went well together.
If I had to pick a least favourite which is bad to say but it would be my Groovy shawl. There is nothing wrong with this pattern I just got bored knitting it. It is really easy and mindless knitting but there was just something about it that lost me. It seem to feel very slow knitting it and maybe that is why it lost my attention.
My favourite pattern for the year was Knitted Bangles. Super easy and quick to do. You can make them with any yarn that you have. They make a perfect gift or can be made to go with different outfits. I am doing more of those next year.
I have enjoyed knitting and crocheting for others this year. The beanies that I made for B were relaxing knits. I am really proud of the virus shawl I made as a gift. I have also done a lot of knitting and crocheting for charity this year which is something I enjoy doing.
This year seems have been a year of knitting failures which I did blog about. Some patterns were a little complicated some I don’t know what happened they just weren’t working for me. I’m hoping to restart them next year.
My day trip to Bendigo is my yarn highlight for the year. It was so much fun that day. After using their yarn for so many years it was fun to go and visit the actual shop. I haven’t made anything yet from the yarn I purchased but I will.
My yarn plans for 2020 really are just to start using the yarn I have in my stash which is a lot. I have decluttered some yarn I’m not going to use but I still have heaps. At this point I have one project that I know which is crocheted poncho. As mentioned I want to attempt a couple of the patterns I failed this year but I don’t really have a list or deadline for yarn projects. I will just go with what I feel like.