May 2009

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I had a WONDERFUL day today!

BFF and I went to a sewing class.  With a very brilliant teacher.  Felicity knows SO much about industry techniques for production sewing, and sewing couture… my mind was in OVERDRIVE! (Fortunately I can read my own scribbled notes, since as we know, my memory is rather dodgy…)

Two important mantras I MUST repeat, especially when sewing samples:

  1. IT’S ONLY FABRIC and
  2. IT’S SEWING, not MICROSURGERY.

My perfectionist tendencies need to be on a tight leash in class time.  In fact, next time I don’t think I should take my seam ripper with me at all.  Hmmm. Does it really matter if somethings out by a milimetre or two on a sample? GET OVER IT!

I really loved the structure of the day – we got to ask questions, veer off into things that weren’t necessarily in the plan, and learned even more on those side excursions.  I’m feeling much more confident and enthusiastic about tackling shirts again.  Yippee!!

And it was funny to see someone else press – I am have been waaaaaaay too timid about really leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaning on the iron.  No more – when Felicity says PRESS, she ain’t kidding!

I even liked sewing on Baby Pfaff.  She’s not at smooth as The Goddess Pfaffalina, and sounds a bit clunkier at first – but she does everything I ask of her with no complaining.

And spending time with BFF is sooooo good for one’s mental health. Should be more of it.

I resisted buying any fabric (good girl, woof!) but did succumb at long lsat to the luxury of my very own Point Presser /Tailor Clapper. Ahhhh!  If you’re not a dressmaking enthusiast, you’ll probably be wondering why on earth I’m so excited about this gadget.

pressers_small

If you DO sew, and you don’t have one of these – GET ONE.  It will improve your sewing immensely.

After all  that and a lovely (unexpected!)catch-up with friend C at lunch, and wind-down with Sue over tea and chat, I had the best email EVER arrive in my inbox.  A friend I hadn’t been in touch with for ages – (isn’t it awful that the only time we are in touch with important people in our lives is when there’s a funeral?  That needs fixing) – wrote in reply to a recent snail mail sympathy card I’d sent.

All the store bought cards were a) expensive b) TACKY or c) both.  So I made a card using tools from the art cupboards (Fiskars embosser, if you must know – hey, I never claimed to be a purist!) and wrote about my favourite memories of the person. Turns out this was the right thing to do – far far better than any pre-printed guff from an anonymous card company.  It was so wonderful to know that what I’d written meant something more.

NOTE TO SELF: Make more time to do this stuff!!

And now, the cuppa tea cake is nearly ready; I have a brand new roll of pattern paper, and a sleeve to alter.

My memory is going.  Or rather, parts of it have already gone.  Anyone who knows me In Real Life will have already noticed the phenomenon – and I suspect, Dear Reader, I may have bored you with the same story more than once, too.  But I can’t remember.

My long term memory still seems to be mostly okay.  My short term memory is… ummm, what was I saying again?  And I feel like the transition between short term and long term memory just isn’t happening very effectively.

I don’t know if the loss is due to general anaesthetics (four in one year is NOT a good thing) – I asked my darling SIL (a super smart nurse, now cardio sonographer and probably going back for yet more study) about it and she said there is certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence for the link, but hadn’t read any peer reviewed studies about it.

(I also have to fight any tendency to think “Well this is it, the brain tumor”…. because there is NO evidence that my sister’s illness and death were caused by anything but a random rogue cell gone berserk. Still, I worry…)

Of course, there’s always the “major depressive disorder” diagnosis to account for memory loss as well.

Internet induced hypochondria is always a fun game to play.  I love this list of “some of the earliest signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease” from the Mayo Clinic: (My typical responses in this funny green colour)

  • Asking the same questions repeatedly (What are we having for dinner? Was there any mail today? Did you go to the shops already?)
  • Difficulty remembering common words when speaking (You KNOW, the WHOSAMATHINGER!!  The WHATSIT!! THE DOOVERLACKEY!! Damnit, what’s it called? Oh yeah – the CAR.)
  • Mixing words up — saying “bed” instead of “table,” for example (I’ll just put this on the trouser, then, shall I? And mop the kitchen …. thingummyjig.)
  • Being unable to complete familiar tasks, such as following a recipe (Muffins need FLOUR? Oops!)
  • Misplacing items in inappropriate places, such as putting a wallet in the refrigerator (Isn’t that the first place everyone looks?)
  • Getting lost while driving on familiar streets (La la la I’m sticking my fingers in my ears, I only had to drive around the big block once…)
  • Undergoing sudden changes in mood or behavior for no apparent reason (I’M NOT GRUMPY! Oh. Is there any tea left in the pot then?)
  • Becoming less able to follow directions (“No, truly, the sewing pattern companies JUST DON’T MAKE SENSE.  And I’ve ALWAYS been left/right dyslexic. That’s not new. Hang on, this says do WHAT?)

alz-signI finally  – FINALLY!! After months of trying to remember – got a friend’s surname last night at about 2 am. The annoying thing was that his surname is also his nickname (as is the way with many Aussie nicknames – shorten and add an “ee” or an “oh”) and it was just… GONE from my memory.  I could see his face, hear his voice, remember his first name – but the surname? Nope.  I even sent an email to my Mum back on April 14: “What was the surname of S, that Nif used to share a house with?” – and that was a last resort, after wracking my brain for weeks.  ARRRGH!! (she didn’t know either.  But I’ve stayed at his house, had him stay at mine, written letters back and forth, etc!)

I recently bought a book that we already owned – a Bad Thing when our book buying is so limited – because I didn’t remember it AT ALL.  And I used to be the one that people were awed by, since I could remember whole slabs of reading.   I could cite names and arguments for academic debates and essays.  Now I get to re-read books over and over – because the plots and characters disappear between one reading and the next

There are patterns and fabrics in my sewing stash that I have absolutely no recall of buying.

And I often get things wrong because I JUST DON’T REMEMBER.  And sometimes my mind tries to fill in the blanks anyway – which means that sometimes my version of events is significantly different from what others remember.  I know that happens anyway – no one’s perception of events is the same as anyone else’s, right? I mean, we can’t even be sure that we’re all seeing the same colour when we label something as “red”.  Let alone more subjective and emotionally coloured experiences.

Old age? Sleep deprivation? Drug interaction? Just plain getting DUMBER? I don’t know.

Or maybe I just don’t remember. Am I alone in all this? And why am I writing this anyway? Who are you, I’ve never seen you before in my life!!

More on memory in another post…

(and now, I must go and play with the poor neglected Pfaff machine that only gets dragged out for classes or when the Goddess Pfaffalina is busy embroidering.  Got a class to go to with Sue tomorrow and I need to remember how to sew on the baby Pfaff!)

Yes, I know I have remarked previously that my posts tend to be like busses… (the public transport kind, not the kisses.  Although it would be sweet if you think of them as little kisses, too!)

Do please pop on over to Mr Beloved’s blog to see some bamboo. (and be sure to check his previous entries for some lovely water dragons).

And I’m thinking about food.

express

I made a brilliant (if I do say so myself!) quick Thai chicken curry (oooh, modifiers – it was the CURRY that was quick, not theTHAI or the  CHICKEN!) from one of my favourite Nigella recipes tonight.  (Her Green Curry in a Hurry recipe, on her website.) I was totally extravagant and used TWO chicken breast fillets.  Nearly $10 of meat, for just the one meal for the two of us. (Well, I couldn’t finish all my chicken, there’s actually enough for Mr Beloved to have that plus noodles for his lunch tomorrow).

Which set me thinking: I need to be kinder to myself about food.  Actually, I’ve been thinking this for a while, (and BFF has been prodding me about it, too!) but having lunch in Canberra with friend M (*mwah*, sweetie!) slapped me upside the head with the realisation.  M is going through a horrible breakup with a man who has been abusive for years – but she told me “I’m not scrimping on food.” So for lunch together we had a gorgeous duck ravioli with luscious sugo, followed by a green salad and then small cakes for dessert.

For YEARS I have treated myself as though having good food was something I need to do in secret: going out for coffee and cake.  Refusing to buy the “nice” biscuits.  Eating the cheapest possible meat.  I’M WORTH MORE THAN THAT!!  I’m not saying I’m going overboard – I am NEVER going to be over 100 kg again (and am looking forward to the “never” number heading ever downwards). Nor am I saying that it’s all foie gras and scotch fillet from here in – I simply can’t afford to eat like that, even if I wanted to! I don’t actually *like* meat all that much, so only having it once or twice a week is fine. And I don’t mind cheaper cuts of meat slow cooked – mmm, maybe I’ll make stew later in the week, yum!

But – I’m not going to feel guilty about using the whole tin of lite coconut milk in one meal. Or splurging on fruit and veges in season. Or even on decent tinned fruit (does ANYONE still eat tinned fruit in heavy syrup?), since I lack the patience, space, and skill to perserve fruit the way my Nana did…

rice-pudding

pudding-and-apricots

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have rice pudding and apricots. Enjoyed my rice pudding with apricots – It was sooooooooo gooooooood!  Creamy and nutmeggy.  Proper arborio rice – what a joy!  (Although in my scrawly handwriting, Mr Beloved read the shopping list as “aboreal mice.” We truly do not need to buy tree-dwelling rodents. Especially since next door’s locat tree is full of ripe fruit and therefore many fruit bats….)

And now: some housework. Actually, now I check my list, I see I need to make cards (two, sympathy) TONIGHT.  Off I go.

Apologies for my silence, Dear Reader.  I have been ill.  *sigh* Again.

The tummy pain is back with a vengeance… almost to pre-surgery levels.  It’s stopping me from doing things.  I hate that.

I haven’t been to the gym in WEEKS.  I haven’t trained, haven’t done weights, haven’t been to a SINGLE class.  Ugh.  And you know what? Not only do I feel awful, my skin has gone really ratty too.  Who knew that even my SKIN was benefiting from exercise? I know it makes sense, skin being the largest organ, etc, but sheesh!

(Fortunately when I was at the GPs today to get a coupla new scripts and a referral to Yet Another Expensive Doctor, I jumped on the scales: 98 kg.  I honestly thought that I would have been back over the 100kg mark, what with not worrying about calories AT ALL while I was away, and not going to work out. )

I have done no sewing.  Not even tracing patterns.  Or finishing off a dress that only needs armhole and neck bindings and a hem to make it wearable.

I have managed a small amount of house cleaning, though.  I get tired of living in my mess every so often and then tend to overdo things (does that sound familiar to anyone else?) so I’m limiting myself to half an hour a day of solid housework.

Mr Beloved, Constance J. Woodle, Miss Kit Tern and the birdies are all well, if slightly bored by my constant whining about my tummy hurting.

We watched a documentary yesterday about guitars (Mr Beloved is a talented muso, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that? All self taught, and very fond of experimental music and mucking about on guitars) and he said:”Do you think I would be less depressed if I played more often?”

Um.

Do you think *I* would be less depressed if I actually sewed/made art more often?

Um.

It’s all about balance, isn’t it?

balancing act...

balancing act...

canberra-morning

So, that’s the view from my friend R’s 9th floor flat in Kingston, Canberra, this morning. (For any foreign readers, the big flagpole-y thing is the top of Parliament House.)

Nice place to visit, but I couldn’t live there again.  It’s funny how quickly one acclimatises to a new place! I lived in Canberra (brrr brrr brrrrr) from mid-1990 to the end of 2003.  It’s changed a LOT in the last five and a half years – much bigger, with more buildings everywhere, and even worse traffic.

I’m VERY glad to to be home in Toowoomba!  The funeral went well, and all the travel was ok.  I shall blog more later… meantime, I need to go SLEEP!

My Nana (Dad’s Mum) passed away on Thursday May 7th.  She had a stroke (they think) and went very quickly. She was 93. (I think. Oh, I feel awful not knowing, but I just can’t remember right now!)

I’ve been asked to give the eulogy. I feel really honoured – I’m looking forward to it, even though I know it will be hard… but there are so many good things about her life.  I have so many happy memories of her (and my Grandpa, who died in 1997).

She was funny and compassionate and strong.   She valued learning and having a go at things, from building bookshelves to learning to knit for her baby son while her husband was away for the War.  She taught me to make her prize winning scones.  She never had a teddy bear as a child (because she was born during the First World War) so at age 50 something she rescued a darling old nearly furless bear from the tip, sewed him new clothes, and that was her bear. She never had a paid job, but she worked hard all her life looking after other people – whether family or the charities she supported.  Her favourite colour was green (which we’ve been asked to wear for her funeral. I like that.)

nana-bikie-pic

(She wasn’t actually a bikie – LOL!! A local group of motorbike enthusiasts visited the retirement village where she lived in 2002, and she happily posed for this picture…  it was the photo on my wall calendar for all of 2003!)

Her funeral is next Thursday in Leeton, NSW.   I’ll be travelling down south on Tuesday; then heading over to Canberra to catch up with some friends over the weekend before flying home Monday.

On May 4th (Star Wars day – May the Fourth be with you!) Darling Nic from Canberra wrote:

Ok, you’ve rubbed it in – I’m stuck in Canberra with craft shops closing left right and centre. So where is the craft show debrief??? you’ve been back for at least 2 nights? why are you making us wait? where are the great photos of the clever peeps that I’m sure you took, the detail of the fab quilts, who did you hob nob with, how did the clothes shopping (not buying) efforts go? spill the beans Ms Caity.

WELL, since you asked, Miss Nic! I do apologise for the delay in reporting in – I totally wore myself out! (And then the new neighbours moved in with a Very Barky Dog who didn’t shut up all night – for the last two nights in a row. Grrr!)

So here is the somewhat delayed (and I hope not too disappointing) review:

MEH.

There were hardly any stalls – I mean, you know how normally craft fairs are so packed with women-with-backpacks (Guilty! this year:-))and strollers and strolling middle aged women with their Mums… well, you could have swung a cat-printed scarf through the aisles with ease.  Apparently a lot of the stallholders pulled out in the last couple of weeks leading up to the show. (You have to wonder how much of that is due to the heavy promotion being done by the rival mob – who have a show in just a month’s time.)

The hall decorations were cool – although if you saw any of the fab bloggers writing about the Melbourne version of the show, you’ve seen this already.  I did get the chance to see the awesome Selvedge dress (and chair!) however:

That's a LOT of selvedges!

That's a LOT of selvedges!

How clever (and dedicated!) is Jodie of RicRac blog? AWESOME!
I’ve put that pic in at a large size so you can see what I mean (in the dark background) about just how empty the place was.

Also, some things that got fairly big billing on the show’s website were quite – how do I say this – UNDERWHELMING.  “The Teacosy Revolution” had FIVE teacosies.  I had hoped to see a LOT more than that! (Never mind, her blog about them is lovely!)  There were some bead stalls, some of the usual quilt stores, but nothing that really had me falling over with WOW, y’know?

NOW that’s the whinging over – let me tell you about the GOOD BITS!!

And oh, they were VERY good.

First – the company was grand – thanks, BFF!! We met the fantabulous (and so busy!) Nikkishell of BurdaStyle.com, Wardrobe Refashion, and one of the founders of Mixtape magazine.  (Can I be Nikkishell when I grow up?!And Oh my GOSH now she’s gonna be a Melbourne’s Tessuti Fabrics!!  AWESOME!!)  BurdaStyle.com had a fashion parade – which was GREAT (even with those poor teeny weeny malnourished models – seriously, I just wanted to take them aside and say “Have a crumpet and a cuppa before you CUT yourself on your own bones, dearie!).  Seeing clothes In Real Life is so much better than peering at a pattern on a screen…

"Judy" skirt - pattern from BurdaStyle.com

"Judy" skirt - pattern from BurdaStyle.com

Paola wrap dress pattern from BurdaStyle.com

Paola wrap dress pattern from BurdaStyle.com

These were two of the patterns paraded – seriously gorgeous and made me determined to get sewing on some soon!

Another fashion parade featured garments from Wardrobe ReFashion – I was pleased to see the mob of shcool kids watching the show tooks HEAPS of pics of those!

We also met Justine (The other force behind Mixtape zine – it’s very cool, now I can see why people were excited every time the new issue comes out!) in blog alley – a row of indie/bloggers with their products which along with the fashion shows wsas really the highlight of the event for me.

scanned-mags

We hadn’t seen  peppermint magazine before either – not that I’ve had a chance to read it yet!

I couldn’t resist a couple of patterns from the very clever Pauline of Funky Friends Factory – seriously, how cute is Kiki the Koala? These patterns were all designed to be baby safe, are made of snuggly polar fleece, and I had a great deal of trouble giving back the rhino toy, he was so cuddly…

Sue got some GREAT organic cotton jersey hand printed fabric from Thea and Sami, which I’m sure she’ll show you when it’s made up!

sue-and-stuff

I was worried given the sparse offerings that my two absolute MUST STOP retailers wouldn’t be there – but they came through for me, Yay!!  I always need more scissors  – this time I needed to replace my thread snips, so we had to stop at  Scissorman.  I bought some lovely curved blade snips and a little brush-tipped bottle of oil – gotta have the right tools for the job!(Onya, Trevor!)

And my other MUST visit is of course Stephanie at Can Do Books and Perpetual Patterns.  I knew I wanted at least one pattern – and I got the Liberty Shirt from The Sewing Workshop.  I already have fabric in my stash – I just  need to trace the pattern out and get going…

Then into town across the bridge (slap upside the head to IDIOT Caity – MORE THAN ONE PAIR OF SHOES next time, OKAY?!) and over to Borders bookshop.  Another delightful Canberra pal (I miss you guys!) organised a book voucher for me at Borders, knowing that this was the one day I had access to a big bookshop.  It took me aaaaaaaaaages but I finally decided on two FABULOUS books:

nineteenth-fashionworld-fashion

and one just for fun – the EXTREMELY silly “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”

Braaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiinsssss

Braaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiinsssss

Then Sue and I window shopped for while before going out for dinner – we had the NICEST meal at San Marco’s, overlooking the river. Then eventually to bed.. and more shopping (mostly of the window type!) on Saturday before heading home.  We did stop in at Gardam’s  (fabric heaven!)new location but no fabrics really grabbed us – then to Sckaffs fabrics at Indoorapilly, plus a good look round a lot of other shops there.

And by about 3 pm we were totally shopped out – and I came home and went  to bed for a coupla days!

There is more (and I’m sure I’ve missed out stuff I wanted to show you) but I am too tired…. ttyl!