Misericordia

Taking Solace In Work

Willow leaves - Misericordia

Well, it’s been a rather emotional day so far. I’m trying to take my mind off things my immersing myself in cutting out another hundred or so willow leaves (which reminds me of an apropos song) and watching the BBC adaptation of North and South.

Willow garland - Misericordia

North and South - Misericordia

Kipling with willow scraps - Misericordia

A Silver Bullet?

Bullet Journal Washi tape decoration - Misericordia

The Lovely Young Man is in the habit of sending me articles every now and again, and this article about the Bullet Journal was the most recent one.

Bullet journal year to view - Misericordia

I took one look at the combination of diary, sketchbook and planner (on paper no less) and decided I should give it a bash. It corresponded serendipitously with the purchase of a new notebook, so I could get started straight away.

Bullet journal day page - Misericordia

[A note of caution for those who might be thinking of trying this out and turn to the t’Interweb for inspiration; Instagram and Pinterest are full of Bullet Journal aficionados who seem to spend inordinate amounts of time beautifully tracking their water intake in detailed and exquisitely shaded charts. This is not a requirement. If you want to draw pictures of square sausage, more power to your elbow.]

Fry up planning - Misericordia

I’ve only been going just under a week and I know I’m under-utilising the long term planning element and the index (both of which are cornerstones of the technique).

Bullet Journal July page - Misericordia

But for someone who unnecessarily divides aspects of her life into different books and lists, it’s quite freeing to be able to lavish as much beauty on my ‘renew pet insurance’ lists as I do on blog posts and birthday reminders.

Bullet Journal birthday page - Misericordia

The habit of sitting down to plan your day, week or month is equally pleasing (or would be if I could manage to do it properly) especially if you are allowed to doodle in the margins! I’ve started embracing the limited colour pallette, and I think it helps the whole thing look a bit tidier as I swing from random list to random list.

Bullet Journal colour pallette - Misericordia

Niggling in the back of my head is the memory that Emma (from The Gift Shed) sent me an article about the Bullet Journal and a way of organising your To Do Lists with dots, but it was more than my poor binary brain could cope with and I obviously missed the bit I could handle.

So are you all way ahead of me on the Bullet Journal train, or do you prefer electronic lists and the backs of envelopes?

Aches and Twinges

It’s been a grumbly sort of week.

Stem placement - Misericordia

Knitting chart, crumpled - Misericordia

A week of coughs and sore teeth, thrashing children in my bed, of forgotten phones, cheesecakes oozing out of their tins in the oven, sore shoulders,  last kid collecteds, I’m hungry but not for thats and I’m sorry for shoutings.

Spikey balls - Misericordia

Measuring cups - Misericordia

I think I’ll just creep quietly into this corner and hope that the universe doesn’t notice me until things are looking a little more cheerful.

Myrtle stem and thimble - Misericordia

Myrtle stem - Misericordia

Pieces of Sunshine

This week has been sunny (which, in Edinburgh means impromptu picnics and running as many loads of washing up and down the stairs as humanly possible).

Kipling in the sun - Misericordia

It’s also required a change in beverage format to suit the weather.

Iced coffee - Misericordia

Unchanged was the repetition, so much repetition.

Popcorn texture drawing - Misericordia

Leaves, so many leaves - Misericordia

Serendipitous Stash

Stop me if this sounds unfamiliar…

You receive a lovely gift of a voucher to a wool shop. So you go along and choose something that costs ever so slightly more than the voucher (despite all your intentions to stick to the budget).

Fyberspates Vivacious - Misericordia

‘What are you making?’ the owner asks. ‘I was thinking of a lace shawl.’ you remark breezily, neglecting to mention that you’ve never knitted lace in your life.

It occurs to you that perhaps you should dip a preliminary toe in the sea of lace knitting before subjecting your gorgeous purchase to excessive ripping out. Into the stash you go, vaguely check your meterage and cast on.

Diving In Shawl - Misericordia

Of course, it becomes obvious that you don’t have enough wool to finish, and you even think about just having a tiny look in the wool shop on the off chance they have something in a coordinating colour.

Running low - Misericordia

Your sensible self is desperately running alongside shouting things like, ‘This was meant to be a stash-only project!’ and, ‘You weren’t meant to spend any money on it!’

You come to your senses (also, because it’s a Monday, the wool shop is closed) and check the stash again, only to discover a ball of wool so close in colour and weight it seems almost impossible it was bought 4,000 miles and several years apart from its new shawl-mate.

Stash rescue - Misericordia

This is why there is stash…

Stitch By Stitch

My work this week can best be described as incremental.

Applied silk stems - Misericordia

But there are only so many times you can make a movement before it must come to some result, so I am awaiting the discovery that I have accidentally completed something.

Wrapped knots - Misericordia

Oh, look!

Willow stems - Misericordia

 

Rows and Rows

Spice rack - Misericordia

Once upon a time, there was a girl who lived in a little white house. On the wall in the kitchen were rows and rows of spice jars, each neatly labelled and alphabetised (except for the vanilla extract, which lived at the tippy top).

She would use these spices to make magic potions, surprising soups, and alarming cakes (see vanilla extract above).

Glass spice shelves - Misericordia

Ever since then, she has searched for just the right combination of shelves, jars, and labels, to no avail.

Sometimes there were shelves with mismatched jars, sometimes there were no shelves and piles of jars and packets. She even found the perfect combination of jars and labels, but the shelves remained elusive.

But good things come to those who wait, and this week her fairy shelf-builder granted her wish.

Glass and cast iron shelves - Misericordia

The moral of the story is, of course, to stay true to your dreams, buy your spice jars in lots of 200* if that’s what it takes, and…um, casually mention your shelving problems to very patient joiners.

*147 of which are living under our spare bed, just in case anyone wants to buy some.

Test and Retest

Sketchbook to do list - Misericordia

Having tested a variety of stem/branch ideas, I suppose it was only logical that, when faced with the fabric I was actually going to use, I decided to do something completely different.

Banner layout - Misericordia

I’m trying to embrace a bit of texture, as well as rediscovering an technique I haven’t used since I was enthusiastically making friendship bracelets at school. (I’d like to see the youth of today try to use loom bands in their future textile art…)

Bias strips - MisericordiaBias strips joined - Misericordia

I haven’t quite got the stems finished, but on the whole, I’ve made quite a lot of progress on it this week.

Bias strips bound - Misericordia

Next week will hopefully involve cutting a lot of leaves…

Leaf test - Misericordia

I Don’t Even Like Swans

I’ve always tried to be the sort of person who allows herself to be moved by the winds of Fate, but even this gust took me rather by surprise.

Swan Embroidery Charity Shop Find - Misericordia

This crewel embroidery caught my eye a couple of weeks ago in the charity shop closest to our house. At first, I must admit, it made me laugh. The pomposity of the swans, the unapologetic shade of goldenrod, the frankly sinister gazes, it was certainly memorable.

Unpicking a Frame - Misericordia

But it started to intrude upon my walks to and from school and work. I started to wonder if anyone had bought it, or if it might go somewhere in the flat. The swans started to seem dignified rather than ridiculous.

Faded Characters - Misericordia

Eventually, I realised that it was useless to resist any longer. Last Friday, I went in and had a good look at it. I took a photo and showed it to a few friends (shamelessly encouraging) and the Lovely Young Man (non-committal and a touch resigned). I was working on the Saturday, so I left money for Dragon to oversee the purchase and went to work with a slight feeling of trepidation.

Repainting a Frame - Misericordia

All was well, however and they were waiting for me when I got home. It seems that the man at the charity shop had been hoping I would come back for it and had questioned my emissaries closely before concluding the sale.

How to Clean an Embroidery - Misericordia

Cleaning Embroidery with a Vacuum - Misericordia

It took a little sandpaper, paint and a chance to use the conservation technique of hoovering through a fine cloth (I’ve always wanted to do that) but it’s just about ready to take pride of place, as soon as I finally decide where to put it!

Cleaning Vintage Embroidery - Misericordia

To A Bodkin

The furniture rearranging continues apace.

Sewing Drawer - Misericordia

I’ve reordered my supplies by genre rather than work/not-work and realised that I had only been using the front half of my plan chest drawers. (I suppose that’s part of the challenge of a large drawer in a small space!)

Drawing Drawer - Misericordia

With the liberal application of hoarded fruit punnets and clicky-sticky tape, I’m slowly bringing a bit of order to things (no clear flat surfaces though, let’s not be too hasty).

Corded rouleau - Misericordia

I’m still itching to draw rather than sew, which hopefully explains the slow progress on anything involving a needle and thread (no matter how beautifully organised). I did get a bodkin out, which is always pleasing. I’ve been playing with corded rouleau to use as stems for the Ark Project tablecloth, and it’s been unnecessarily difficult.

Bodkin - Misericordia

In the end I’ve settled on turning the loops empty and then threading it with a homemade cord made of scrap fabric. I’ve managed to streamline the production so much that I’ve stopped cutting holes into the ends of the fabric in favour of slits so I don’t have to put the wee flappy pieces in the bin.

Corded rouleau with recycled padding - Misericordia

I’ve become very callous and started to cut up abandoned or unsold embroidery. I just don’t seem to have the energy spare to deal with shuffling it around or looking after it.

Recycled cording for padded rouleaux - Misericordia

I wish I could say it was helping me get more work done, but it’s been mainly infinitesimal updates to various baby books, half rows of knitting, and a pleasant return to regular Pilates sessions.

Recycle scrap fabric into yarn - Misericordia

This is my favourite bit of the cord-making process, when you pull the two ends and they lock together. I’m not sure what the emotional equivalent is, but I’ll let you know when I find it.

Use fabric scraps to make corded padding - Misericordia

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