Friday, July 11, 2008

The advantages of a big house

In the comments of my last post, Karen asked how I was able to work with Ewok running about the place. The answer is simple: I don't have to watch him all the time.

It's taken a lot of time, and trial-and-error, to get the house laid out in such a way that I can leave him unsupervised in two areas of the house while I work. The first area is the living/dining room. This is two sizeable rooms joined by a large archway. The living room part is 23'x13' and the dining room part is 11'x10'. This has allowed us to set it up so that my 'office' is at one end of the living room, behind the sofa, and then we have a large dining table in the dining room, which is where I cut and serge the fabrics. Nothing in either of these rooms is within Ewok's grasp (well that's the theory anyway, it doesn't always work out that way) so I can work at the computer, or chopping and stitching fabrics while he plays in the main part of the living room.

Of course he pesters me from time to time and is usually far more interested in my antics than those of Pocoyo, or the Tweenies, and occasionally he'll be very naughty and warrant a telling-off, but for the most part this arrangement works.

Finding a way of doing the actual dyeing with him about was a little more tricky, but we sussed it in the end. The utility room, where I do my dyeing, is in the basement (which is more of a lower ground floor than an actual basement, the house is built into a hill), and the room itself is tiny. Of course I couldn't have Ewok in the room with the dyes anyway, it's too dangerous for him in oh so many ways. However the basement has a large hallway (about 13' square max), off which all the rooms lead, and with the application of three baby gates we were able to fence off the central part of the hallway as a playroom for him. So while I'm dyeing, he can play safely in the hallway, and I'm just a door away. Dyeing goes in bursts of activity with frequent 5 or 10 min breaks, and I spend these breaks playing with Ewok, so he never has to amuse himself for more than about 30 mins at a time, usually a lot less, and if he needs me I'm right there.

Finally, I usually have 2 hours each afternoon while he naps, and 3 to 4 hours after he's gone to bed, before I crawl into my pit, and of course I get loads done then because there's less distractions.

It does mean that my 'me' time will have to be mostly sacrificed until the show, but I'm hoping it will be worth it, and I'm not giving it up completely. I'll still have an hour in the afternoons to stitch and watch tv, although even then I'm working, as the piece I'm stitching at the moment is on one of my fabrics and I'd love to have it finished in time for the show as a model.