January has gone by in a flash. I was furloughed (again) and have struggled a little with all that is going on – all the things outside of my control. Reading has been something of an escape as always but I have also needed to look for other ways to quieten my mind.
This month I have picked up my paintbrushes again. Many years ago I took part in an evening class learning watercolours. Those were the days when there was an adult education centre here (it has long since closed). I have very fond memories of those classes and whilst my talent isn’t grand I did very much enjoy it. I came across a website called Art Class in a Box. It is a subscription service and each month they send out a box of art projects. I was too late to sign up for the January box but it looked lovely and so I found their channel on Youtube. I have plenty of materials and was inspired to have a go at one of the images myself and spent a lovey afternoon reacquainting myself with my brushes. The February box features four projects using oil pastels and you can sign up by visiting their website here. I would recommend signing up for the boxes as you receive everything you need including full instructions to go alongside the video tutorials. And what a lovely box of delights you’ll receive! I’m thinking of signing up myself!
A stitch in time
I rediscovered embroidery when I was furloughed last year and I can’t tell you how much joy and peace it brings me. It’s strange but I felt as though I have been doing it forever. I adore watching the image gradually appear with just the help of a needle, threads and material to sew onto. So far I have been working sets and patterns that I’ve found online. I received some as Christmas and birthday gifts and also purchased myself. In January I have worked an embroidery of hanging pot plants. Only shades of green and white were used on a black background and it produces a rather stunning effect. The stitches used are Back Stitch and Straight Stitch, French Knot and Leaf Stitch. It was my first time with Leaf Stitch and I absolutely loved it. Such an effective stitch. I’m almost finished with this piece – just as few more French Knots to add.
I have also started a cross stitch kit that I purchased from Caterpillar Cross Stitch. It is a Sew Along. You receive the kit and then the pattern is released over a period of six months. There is a theme (this current one is called ‘Made to Create’) but you don’t know what the finished piece will look like until you have received the last part of the pattern. It’s wonderful watching it slowly reveal itself. Find out more by visiting their website here. On this occasion I chose a 32 count linen evenweave fabric. I was a little nervous as the holes are so small but I’m absolutely loving it – it’s a beautiful fabric to work with. I’ve almost finished part one of the pattern already.
Each day we’ve been out and about for a bit of a walk. We live in a heavily residential area but are lucky enough to have some nice walks close by without the need of a car journey. We had a little snow at the weekend but most days a great deal of wind and rain. It’s been incredibly muddy underfoot but that all adds to the adventure. I love these walks and never tire of exploring the area.
Reading in January
I have actually read quite a bit this month, although I haven’t quite the pull I normally do to pick something up. I think the difficulty is a restless mind rather than available choice. Thankfully I’ve had some great books to read and so have not struggled once I’ve started.
I have posted reviews for most but here is a little recap…
They were a fantastic and diverse selection of books and a great way to kick of a year of reading.
And now we welcome February
February will see the days gradually stretching longer and longer. More bulbs will be popping up and the promise of spring is finally within sight. I shall be sewing, walking and painting more, and I have a great pile of books just waiting for me to read. Next week will kick off with an extract from Liberation by Emma Eker and a review of the stunning and moving When The World Was Ours by Liz Kessler.
Here is my remaining reading pile for February…
I’m hoping to squeeze in another Agatha Christie as well for Read Christie 2021.
Thank you for visiting. I hope that February is kind to you wherever you may be.