Are you ready for this? Introducing me and how I’ve ended up here…
At the start of the year, we all had grand plans. It was a big year ahead of us in the clan. Big birthdays, big celebrations, big holidays. Then Coronavirus happened to the world and that seemed to turn this year into one that I couldn’t wait to get rid of, as I think quite a few of us started to feel. Life went from all things exciting to surviving Asda trips and the feeling of satisfaction when you realise you’d bought that 4kg bag of rice for a reason.

In March, Mark and I (hey Mark!) celebrated 10 whole years together – I’m still trying to work out which of us has got the worst deal. To celebrate, we went to the spa at Sherwood Forest, and within a week normality had disappeared we were working from home indefinitely. And that’s all I can really remember of the start of this year.

April saw my world well and truly turned on its head. Thinking we were untouchable in our sturdy IT careers, bang came the news that I was to be furloughed and then boom! I was on this massive emotional rollercoaster. For at least the rest of the month, I had days where I told myself that I needed this break from the world of IT that I love to complain about, and others where I cried into my breakfast and spent all day sat at the dining table wondering what my neighbours did for a living and whether they were furloughed too.

May arrived and having been given the news that I was likely to be furloughed until the end of May, I started to try and relax into it a bit more. Some solid advice from people in and out of work showed me that it was OK to not find this OK. It’s weird. Everyone gets it. It doesn’t mean I’m rubbish at my job. It doesn’t mean I’m a failure. “If I wake up and want to be a sloth for the day, then it’s ok to be a sloth for the day” (this one will always stick with me thanks Steve!) And so I thought sod it. Time to suck it up and embrace my new Furlough life. Time for me for a change!

On May 3rd, we celebrated Mark’s birthday in lockdown style. I’d had a week or so of prep stress in cake planning, cheats truffles making (to be covered in separate posts – got to get my content from somewhere!) and generally trying to get things together to make what could have been a sh*t day somehow great. The feedback was positive. 5* rating on trip advisor for my Italian restaurant, despite the treadmill in the dining area. All in all, somehow things seemed better already.

Guessed at this point that I had better start to do some more exercise. Fitbit gave me a 3 month free trial of coach and combined with some other women’s health content, I started to exercise 6 or 7 times a week. You’ll quickly get to learn in this blog that I really do try to include some balance in life. Mainly to counteract the bad, but hey I’m only human right – and furloughed so that definitely means more sugar and alcohol consumption is acceptable. With nothing better to be doing, I really had no excuse but to get up and get active!

Baking went from one extreme to the other, and in this new Furlough life, I found a new desire to just keep having a bash at things. Scones? No problem. Sourdough? Pah! Easy. (Shout out to Tim who sold me the starter kit for the bread). I nominated my friend to benefit from my baking with socially distanced deliveries provided as part of the service, and the baking world was now my oyster. I became a panic icing sugar, caster sugar and eggs buyer. My mum started to send me care packages of self raising. THIS WAS IT. BAKING WAS MY CALLING!

My 30th birthday arrived at the end of May, and with great weather and great surprises, it will always be one of the best that I will always remember. There’s something about all of this craziness that really has brought out the creative side in so many people. If you’d have asked me before all this started if I would describe myself as creative, I’d have probably said “I’m more resourceful”. How wrong was I?

With my birthday came my greatest present of all time, and the true inspiration for starting this blog – the Janome beast of a sewing machine. Sewing Bee on the tele made this urge even stronger and my brick-like hints were heard. Paired with 3 months subscription to online sewing courses in the absence of anything local right now and I’m away, and today I sit here having spent the last 2 weeks doing nothing except for thinking about sewing, sewing, or planning to sew. I’ve spent years saying how much i’d love to be able to make my own clothes, or adjust what I already have – before COVID I was a bit of a talker you know? Not anymore!

And so, as an outlet for my new found creativity bug and as a few people have told me they feel inspired by what I spam them with on instagram (you lovely people!), Stitched Up at Straws has been created. The name is partly inspired by a few things, but initially as part of a jokey present that I’ll post about later in the month. I guess if I think about it, “Stitched Up” relates to the new found sewing hobby/job, and how much I also end up being “stitched up” by Mark into cooking/baking/generally being the creative one of the two of us. Straws relating to where we live now and the slightly boring bit. S.U.A.S for short – need to get a logo made.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading and welcome! Prepare yourself for all things sewing, and if you’re (un)lucky, life moments that I feel need to be blogged about with some poor humour thrown in for good measure.
Em x