I’ve heard it from all quarters “this year has been hard”, from the front line workers who have given their all (to them I say a huge thanks) to those of us who lost all jobs and incomes and we are the lucky ones. So many have lost loved ones that if we make it out of this year fit and healthy (even if a few pounds heavier) then we can consider it a bonus. It’s certainly one to remember…

But, we’ve reached the time of year where the dark days have drawn in and I always find it interesting that societies all over the world turn to bringing light into the darkness. Everyone does seem to have gone early this year – The Christmas season arrived and you know what? I feel a little brighter for having the tree, sparkling with silver snowflakes, golden bells and decorations that bring back memories of good times with friends and family.

The star I use on the top of the tree is as old as me, similarly battered, (I had my 50th in lockdown this year) but hubby and I decided that there’s still life in it yet!

Now is also traditionally the time to look to new beginnings; I will loose that weight, I always wanted to play the piano or perhaps to look to a new career. So what is my aim for the New Year? I’ve bitten the bullet and have ordered a ‘she shed’ for the garden. It’s a Modetro 8.5m by 3.5m from Dunster House.  A garden workshop for me to work, write, design and teach. I couldn’t be more excited. But of course, now the planning begins.

Ground works are first. My wonderful builder will be laying a concrete base for the shed. The garden does need a little tidying up at the area we are going to put it, right outside the house, which is a benefit. I’ve never quite known what to do here as we also have a cess pit – we laughingly call the patio – in this area too. Very hard to disguise, although I try with planted pots. So we are also going to put in a deck to enable people to get from the path across to the shed without a change in level. Perfect for rolling sewing machine caddies…Note to self – make sure the decking we choose doesn’t have lots of gaps to catch small wheels.

Shed will go on the right

The electrician is my next call. We need an armoured cable run from the house to the shed. The shed is to be quite large – 3.5 m by 8.5m – so I should have plenty of space for 6 to 8 people, Covid dependant. Have you ever gone to workshops and struggled to plug in your machine, your iron, then your phone needs charging and, with all those leads it becomes an obstacle course walking across the room? I’m aiming for 3 sockets per workstation for machine, iron and light with USB ports for additional devices.

I mentioned lights as I’m planning on having table top directional lights per workstation. I know I need them these days so they will certainly be useful. I’ll get daylight bulbs as I use these at home now. Bright, give true colour of fabrics and also help against SAD… Then I’ll need overhead lighting. Lots of DIY stores have these flat square or rectangular defused ceiling lights that are designed for workspaces.

The hedge will need a trim!

This brings me onto outdoor lighting. Obviously at this time of year if I operate a workshop from the usual 10 to 4 it’s dark when everyone leaves and there are no street lights by me! Although, the neighbouring farm is lit up like Blackpool so it’s not as dark as it could be. Outdoor lighting is also sensible from a security aspect so I need to add this to my list.

Well, this list is certainly growing and I’ve only just placed the order. Any suggestions that I haven’t thought of so far are very welcome – leave a comment below – and keep up with my build at Strictly Quilting I’ll let you know how it goes……