A week in my life

You get lots of glimpses of my life through posts about what I do, and what I’m working on, but I thought it might be interesting to get a look at my schedule for a typical week, to see what I do, and how I balance it all (answer: slightly precariously).

Like all my posts about my life, this is fundamentally honest, if occasionally technically un-factual, in pursuit of privacy.  So I may have fudged exactly what I did this particular week, and subbed in something from another week, or left out things that are strictly private.  But it’s still an accurate representation of what I do in a week.


This year, for the first time in 8 years, I’m not getting up early every other Sunday to teach Baha’i Children’s Classes.  I  get up early (ish) most  Sunday’s anyway, to head off to the vege market to    stock up on massive amounts of green (Mr D & I are slightly obsessed with fruits and vegetables).

This Sunday I had an even better errand to begin the day with – I met a student at The Fabric Store to help her pick fabrics for her latest projects: a 1930s dress and a Wearing History Air Raid Suit.   Qhile she was there she got enthusiastic about the Papercut Watson Jacket  (I may have influenced her slightly by raving about how fabulous the versions of it I have seen), and picked up the pattern and some pretty wool for that too.  I wasn’t planning to do any shopping for myself other than some black merino for a cardigan, but there was midnight blue velvet, and ’30s ish feather patterned cotton sateen, so I may have blown my budget for the next few months…

Then I ran off to the vege market for kai choi and kale, broccoli and pak choi, watercress and spring onions to feed the beast.

One of her favourite people

One of her favourite people

Then it was home for a quick tidy up, before  a friend came over to  spent the afternoon sewing.  The light was nice, so we sneaked in a few pictures, documenting a cardigan I made months ago (mmm…green) and have never photographed, and the shirt I made for afternoon tea.

The photos are kind of a fun bonus – first you hear what I do on a fairly average weekly bases, and now you get to see what I dress like on a fairly average daily basis (lots of cardigans and knit shirts made by me):

Sewing knits, thedreamstress.com1

Sewing knits, thedreamstress.com3

Sunday evening Mr D usually makes dinner – venison stew (from wild hunted venison) with kai choi, potatoes and onions.  Then we watch TV (We’re being very lowbrow and watching Dancing with the Stars, but other couple-friendly options include Would I Lie to You, QI, Hunting Aotearoa, First Crossings, and anything narrated by Attenborough), I sew, blog, and we play Scrabble – more than often all at the same time.


Most weekdays I get up (not particularly early-ish if I can possibly get away with it), and have tea and toast with avocado  while catching up on blogging and FB, and checking the news.

Mornings of every workday are spent doing computer-y stuff:  answering emails, writing class descriptions, syllabuses, working on patterns, working on magazine articles, researching, blogging, doing accounting. Blah, blah, etc.  Certain amounts of housekeeping may get done during this time, depending on how much I’m trying to avoid writing.

Afternoons I run errands (trying to get this done before school gets out and the shops get crazy), sew, and prep for classes.

3pmish I have a late lunch, which will keep me until I eat dinner after class.

4ish I start dinner, and while it’s cooking I run around washing dishes, making the bed (it’s been airing all day, she says primly, for the benefit of anyone who thinks it ought to have been done earlier), and doing whatever other tidying I can smash in.

5:30 I head off to teach a class most evenings, and I’ll finish off sometime between 9:00-9:30, and come home to have dinner and a relax with Mr D.

Monday’s class was the first session of Absolute Beginners – always very rewarding because I get to send everyone home clutching a drawstring bag that they made themselves and are going to show off to everyone!  I love Absolute Beginners!


This week’s exciting deviations from schedule included scanning and photographing a bunch of magazine images and textiles for the next issue of Glory Days on Tuesday.  Lots of pressing and taking things on and off Isabelle and hoping that the light cooperated.

For dinner I made minestrone soup, with lots of basil (my basil bushes are just about done for the year), and real tomatoes.  They are getting really pricey, but it’s so much nicer with real than canned.

I had the night off from teaching, so got some sewing done.

Felicity got some laying in front of the heater being too lazy to bat her toy  done:

Felicity the cat thedreamstress.com


Wednesday afternoon I spent with Madame O, draping a mid-19th c bodice on her, and working on the fit of my medieval gown.

Draping a mid-19th c bodice, thedreamstress.com1

Dinner was rice, grilled fish and steamed veg – I cook the rice, prep the veg so they just need to be turned on, and Mr D cooks the fish when he gets home.  Teamwork!

I  payed for my afternoon fun on  Wed night after class (Intro to Corsetmaking – such a great group of students this session!), when I had to scramble to write all the copy for my next Glory Days article, get all my photos edited and get it all in before midnight.


Most Thursdays I don’t have classes, so the days are a bit more relaxed.  I might treat myself to a trip to an op-shop or two, I do an hour or so of housework, and I try to make sure Mr D and I will really be able to spend time in the evenings.  This winter I’ve gotten into the habit of making him a roast dinner on Thursdays, which means a trip to Moore Wilsons (the closest Wellington gets to Whole Foods) for a meat-thing.

Mr D has his meat-thing (usually lamb, occasionally wild venison if I want to participate), roast veg, and steamed broccoli and carrots, and I have roast veg (cooked in a separate dish to the meat) and a kale salad with cheese and/or nuts for protein.  (this one is very nice).  It works quite well, as Mr D gets his meat, and I get my kale salad, a taste which I have, to my infinite disappointment, never managed to convince him to acquire.

After dinner we generally play Scrabble, he generally complains about my using textile words (“scroop is NOT a word”  “yes it is!”  “Well, what does I mean and I’ll look it up”  “It’s the sound that taffeta makes”  “NO WAY is that a word…oh…wait…huh.  Huh (glare).  I still don’t think it’s a real word”) and I generally beat him.  I lost this week though.

Possibly because I had this on my lap, distracting me.

Possibly because I had this on my lap, distracting me.


Just an ordinary work day, though this one got a little exciting because I needed to get a few large scale patterns printed for my class, and while I’ve printed these docs lots of times, this time they wouldn’t print, so there was a bit of a last minute scramble and panic.

On the bright (well, sort of, as you will soon see) side, the extra hour in town while printing left me with time to get a flu shot, and while I was sitting at the pharmacists afterwards, making sure I didn’t swell up or turn purple or otherwise have a very bad reaction, I got to make a few more medieval buttons (much to their entertainment!).

Felicity was disappointed I wasn't at home sewing though.

Felicity was disappointed I wasn’t at home sewing though.

Friday’s class was Pick Your Own Project for advanced students I’ve worked with a lot before – fitting the toile for the ’30s dress I helped to buy fabric for on Sunday, re-sizing a ’50s bodice, cutting other ’30s dresses in tricky fabric, working through a jacket, turning Wearing History’s 1890s jacket into a coat.  Fun times!


Mr D & I are quite addicted to the very Wellingtonian practice of weekend brunch.  Mr D likes Sweet Mothers Kitchen (Cajun inspired, with tea served in teapots with real tea-cozies), I like La Boca Loca (Mexi-Kiwi fusion), Marrakech Cafe (Moroccan, with out of this world Moroccan-inspired French Toast), La Cloche (French), Floriditas (it has paisley wallpaper and cinnamon buns that would make Sunshine cry, so the rest of the food is pretty irrelevant) and if I really feel like standing in like and being as Wellington-ish as possible, Maranui (upscale Kiwi).  Most weekends Mr D gets his way and we got to SMK, as was the case this Saturday.  It’s rather indulgent, but being mostly vegetarian and non-drinkers keeps our food costs way down the rest of the week, so it balances.

The weather was fine this Saturday, so we pushed ahead on the last few bits of the project that has been taking half  my weekends for the last four months: painting the exterior walls of the house.  We’ve got the whole back done except for tiny touch-ups on the windows and other bits, so we just need to polish those off and we’ll down brushes for the winter.

It’s amazing how much time the last few bits of painting take.  You think you’re almost done, and four hours of squeezing gap-filler for those teeny-tiny spots later, your hands are cramping, you’re chilled to the bone (it may be sunny, but it was cold), and if you are me, you’ve turned into an angry, snarling gremlin, because I’m like a weather dependent version of those Snickers ads: I’m not me when I’m cold.

So I stomped inside for a cup of tea, a bath, and a bit of time with Stephen Fry (I’m reading Moab is my Washpot) and my sewing.

Equilibrium and body temperature restored, I got dressed and we headed out for dinner at a friend’s.  Between all my friend groups (Baha’is, sewing friends, blogging friends, swing/vintage friends, other friends) and Mr D’s friends and family, it’s a rare weekend when we don’t have a party, a dinner, people over for dinner at our place, or a family event one day or the other, if not all of them on top of each other.

At dinner we were introduced to Bananagrams, which is a game I need to get my hands on asap: it was like an awesome-er, quicker version of Scrabble.

We got home with enough time for me to do a bit more sewing, and then it was off to bed, to begin it all over again!


  1. Lauren says

    Whitcoulls usually has Bananagrams in stock 🙂

  2. Elise says

    Hooray for Greens! And good on your for your volunteer efforts. Interestingly, I’ve been thinking of my Baha’i colleagues, because a US Navy training center has recently kicked out Baha’i chaplains along with facilitators of 5 other religions, so that new recruits in boot camp are left bereft of their chosen spiritual path. Supported by the DoD. Not cool. I’ve been working with our local chaplains to ensure that any Baha’i practitioners have access. I wish I could do more. But every little bit of kindness adds up, I think. So thank you for your volunteerism.

    • Elise says

      Sorry for getting so serious!

      Of course, I’ll do it, again: Kale salad is the aces! Seriously.

  3. Thanks for the glimpse into your daily life. You are one of the few other people I’ve met who actively likes Kale. YUM, more for us I guess!

  4. You said, “cinnamon buns that would make Sunshine cry,” yaaaay. ^_^

  5. Your weeks are certainly full! And yes, it’s always surprising just how much time it takes to finish up painting.

  6. kips says

    That v-necked black top is awesome! If you bought the pattern, which pattern is it? Thanks!

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