I can scarcely believe that more than half of January has slipped by already. What with Mrs P’s convalescence (she is getting a little stronger every day – thank you for asking) on top of the usual hurly burly of family life, the days are flying by in a blur of laundry and cooking, ironing and cleaning, music practice, gardening and errands. And somehow, in the brief moments between all that there is time to help finish a jigsaw, and read a bedtime story, and admire Ilse’s drawings.

I suspect you know by now that I don’t like waste or other unloved leftovers. When the remains of last year’s stitching is waiting in the upstairs cupboard I simply cannot bring myself to buy new fabric for next season’s clothes, and so, in January, I use up every last little snippet. After all the gifts have been made for the coming birthday season, and a quilt pattern decided upon to use up the rest, there are still odd scraps left over when all those two and three inch strips have been cut out.

Last year I cut my quilt fabric in the summer, and in September used those crumbs to make a runner for the kitchen table. This year I settled upon cards, and bought several sheets in various pastel shades to stitch my snippets to. There wasn’t much of a plan, beyond using every last little bit, beginning with the largest. Thus apples and pears gave way to tulips and fir trees, which in their turn moved over to leave the final sheets of card to those scraps tiny, skinny or insubstantial enough to only be good for bunting or crazy quilting. Forty six cards later it was done, and every friend and family member has one ready and waiting with their name pencilled lightly on the back. The boys did raise an eyebrow (and question my sanity) when they found me making Christmas cards in January – and this January in particular – but I have to admit that I found the whole process immensely satisfying and incredibly soothing. Having a shelf full of cards and presents for the year ahead does not make the world a better place – of course not. But it is much more pleasing than a tangled mess of unravelling fabric stuffed into a paper bag.

This done, I embarked on some new yardage this afternoon: white satin ballet outfits for Seb and the other boy in his class to wear for their upcoming show. Not my favourite kind of sewing, to be truthful, but good to have underway. And then? Well, suffice to say that some new fabrics made their way into the weekly wash today.

Hopefully it’ll only take a moment to pull out each card before sending it off to each person on their special day. And, hopefully, there are enough cards without names on the back for all those other people I’m bound to want to send one to as the year goes on – a thank you for a Sunday lunch, an invitation to a party, or a welcome-to-the-world for a brand new baby. Oddly, there’s never enough time to make a single card when you want it. But when it comes to making them in bulk, they fit themselves neatly into little snippets of time here and there.

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— January 17, 1932

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