Friends

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WELL! Yesterday Sue and I ventured down the hill and into the big smoke – and right out of the big smoke again to the faaaaaaaaaar side of BrisVegas. We met up with a bunch of the girls from the Pattern Review Down Under message board – frustratingly, my camera didn’t work, so I can’t show you a picture!!

We started at East Coast Fabrics at Lawnton. A few of us HAD to buy this fabric:
floral
It’s cotton, a good weight for a coat or a skirt, and was only $5.95 a metre!! (That’s my Magic Pattern Book on it for scale – the book is A5, which is 5.8 X 8.3 inches. More on the Magic Pattern Book soon.) I’m thinking it will become either this coat
106(#106 from Burda WOF 4/09 – because I have been in LOVE with this pattern wince I first saw it; and even more so when I saw Anne’s gorgeous floral version!

The other possible pattern is this “Hortensia” coat from Ottobre Spring/Summer 09.
Ottobre Hortensia

We then managed to get lost (It was the Magic Talking Lady’s fault! She kept blanking out her little screen map and tsking at us: “RE-Calc-u-lating!”) and find our way again to Indooroopilly shops, where we had lunch, and a shop at Sckaff’s Fabrics. I was VERY GOOD and though tempted (mostly by their hats!) I didn’t buy anything there – this time!

We were reluctant to say goodbye to the PRDU girls, but were late getting on the road already. Still, we figured a quick stop at Gardam’s (just around the corner from the Indooroopilly shops, after all!) was in order. Sue managed to find exactly what she’d been looking for; and I grabbed this 95% poly/ 5% wool tweedy/herringbone fabric to make a skirt.
poly wool

The trip home was looooooooong! It took us ages to get anywhere – major roadworks combined with the first night of the school holidays left us with plenty of time to put on a CD of ’80s favourites and bop along… two forty-somethings singing “my job is very boring I’m an OFFICE CLERK!” with great gusto, and “air drumming” along with Adam Ant… it passed the time, anyway!

We’d already booked for a girl’s night out with friends from the gym, but I was soooo tired I left early. I did manage to get a leeeetle bit squiffy and attempt to teach my favourite drunk tongue-twisters to a couple of the girls!

Bed day today. If it’s not drizzly tomorrow I hope to get my new fabric washed and the patterns traced – because I neeeeeed a floral coat, don’t you think?!

rhino

So there he is, in all his rhinosity! Little Caitlin, who has just had her first birthday, is the Aussie baby of South African parents, and she apparently thinks that his best feature is his handle – otherwise known as a horn!

And his Grandma – who is about to leave for Namibia to lead a safari tour – was UTTERLY thrilled that not only is he a white rhino, but his mouth is in the right place (not all cartoon-y anthropomorphic) and he has authentically short sighted little eyes.

I’m hoping Mum will send photos of the delighted recipient soon!

I HAD intended to make this pattern yesterday or today, from the same very talented designer. Sue and I met Pauline at the Brisbane Stitches and Craft fair, and I think she was worried that I wouldn’t give her sample Rhino back – he was so soft and cuddly!

KOALA_BABY_SOFT_TOY_PATTERN

But I’ve LOST the @&#$(*@& pattern somewhere in my sewing room….

You can also see one of the mouse wrist rest here – I nicked the photo from over on Sue’s blog.

mouse

The other one was for our friend V who is recovering from some particularly nasty wrist surgery. (and check out Sue’s gorgeous shirt!)

I’ve been using fairly inexpensive polar fleece (from Lincr*p, if you’re an Aussie – it was about $6 a metre, I think) and I’m surprised how wonderfully these toys (and wrist rests!) turn out.

Bet you didn’t know I used to be a full on cloth doll maker, didja? Ahhh, the dim distant past… my total time from tracing the pattern to tying the bow on the mouse was about 40 minutes. The Rhino was about 90.

There are a few tricks to keep in mind – make sure you shorten your stitch length; trace a stitching line template onto freezer paper and then iron the freezer paper to your fabric (using very low temp for polar fleece) and stitching around that – this avoids having to mark the fabric directly, so there’s no risk of the pattern tracing showing through on a light colour;
FP_all
(someone gave me a 150 yard roll years ago – I’m only just coming to the end of it!)
and I find the best tool for turning through teeny pointed parts (like the mouse fingers) is a tube about the same diameter as a drinking straw (sturdier plastic if you can get it) and the blunt end of a bamboo skewer assisted by a lockable hemostat (available from medical supply stores quite cheaply.)
hemostats

Ok – off to find that PATTERN!

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!)

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!

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!

Yep. Just one more sleep to go and then Sue and I are headed to BRISVEGAS, baby!

Friday AND Saturday –  so not only will we be going to the Stitches and Craft Show, we might also do a bit of shopping and checking out fabric stores… honestly, I’m so excited about this trip away!!

Not least because for the first time IN A VERY LONG TIME, I might be able to try on some clothes.

shopping-taipei-life-magazine

Yeah, you heard me – NEW CLOTHES!!  Even though I have been quite crook this week with swelly belly (?endometriosis returning? Seems VERY likely given symptoms and duration – off to see the specialist again soon) the dietician assures me that I have lost another couple of centimetres from my waist.  My (normal, not fat chick sizes!) size 18 jeans are falling down on me.  Obviously, I’m a different size and shape to where I was last winter!

I’m not planning on BUYING any clothes, mind you – not financial enough for that! – but just being able to try on different shaped things will be awesome.  There are things like tunics that I would love to make but I need to know first if they look ok on me – same with dresses.  It’s a lot of work to sew something and then decide you HATE the style!

But more than the shopping – I’m super excited about the inspiration I know I’ll get from the show.  I hope to meet Nikkishell (from Wardrobe Refashion and Burda Style) and buy some clothing patterns from Stephanie at Can Do Books and Perpetual Patterns… and I’m looking forward to the fashion shows and the teacosy exhbition and  – well, EVERYTHING!

get-excited

I will, I will!!

(Meantime, here’s something else I am super inspired by – from another shop I wish I could afford.

bustle-white-back

In fact, if I had money I would buy one of EVERYTHING from Clothkits… meantime I have a panel of this fabulous Olivia fabric that I am dying to give the same lining-and-bustling treatment!

I’ve started a new blog with Sue, that will cover some of the same stuff as I do here, but will probably be more about sewing.  Here ya go:

THE SEWING QUEENS BLOG!

<i>I love this image from Vivienne Westwood, don't you?</i>

I love this image from Vivienne Westwood, don't you?

It’s early days yet, haven’t done the graphics, and so far only one post, but we’ll get there.  Wooo hoooo!

And be sure to check out Sue’s other blog, Fit and Forty *mumble* ,about her fitness adventures.  (I tell ya, the woman is INSPIRING!)

I am still somewhat migraineous. (is that a word? who cares?!)  BUT I did manage to go to Ki Max (boxing and kicking on a bag) class today and really enjoyed it.  There’s something very satisfying about pretending the bag is an ex who was in my NIGHTMARES last night, and really REALLY belting him (it!) up.  Oh yeah.

It’ a race weekend, so you might not hear from me ’til Monday.  THE FORMULA ONE SEASON STARTS!!  WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!

Sadly, my team‘s cars  are not really cutting it so far.  And having the best driver in the world doesn’t do much if you’re up the back of the grid.  And I’m not happy about the twilight timing of the race, but what can you do?  Can’t wait to see how the new rules play out… slicks! and the KERS!  WOOOOOOOOOOO!

Hmmm. Time to go have a nice calming cuppa, perhaps?

So before I went on my holiday to Adelaide at Christmas, I made a skirt.  Which didn’t fit, and so didn’t go on the holiday with me.  Which was a shame, because it was a CUTE skirt, with a border of this fabric from the “Sew Girls” range by Loralie Designs:

Loralie Designs Colourful Manequins

Loralie Designs Colourful Manequins

And it was this skirt pattern, View A:

McCalls 5591

McCalls 5591

Seriously cute, yes?

But at the time I was still suffering badly from swelly belly (which I’m very glad to say has settled down considerably with a different HRT regime and the new-found love of gym) and so had to add an ENORMOUS amount of width to the front to compensate.

Now – I’m taking the width OUT again!  But since I didn’t want to remove top stitched angled pockets on the front of the skirt, nor did I want to make a centre seam, I’ve had to get a little creative.  Which has involved unpicking EVERYTHING except the front with attached pockets, and the side seams under those pockets.

My sweet wonderful friend Sue *mwah, sweetie!* gave me a book this week – out of the blue – and it’s so INSPIRING I have to jump about when I’m trying to tell anyone about it!

This is the book:

Forty Nine and a Half Sensational Skirts

Forty Nine and a Half Sensational Skirts

(Aussie readers will find the same book under a different cover)

The artist is just … wow.  Talk about really exploring an idea!  Talk about your working in a series!!  So many pieces that share elements but are each unique –  love that!

This isn’t just me going off on a tangent – really!  – because one of the ideas Ms Willoughby explores in the book is cutting new seams in reclaimed (or new) skirts to add embellishments or other features.  That neatly solves my problem – I can make 2 new cuts in the front of the skirt (thereby making it look intentional from the start!) and reduce the width by the necessary amount without an ugly centre front seam.  AND I get to add more splashes of colour to the plain black body of the skirt, so it will look even better with that colourful border!  Très clever, très chic, oui?

Why now? Well, another friend is launching her new business on Friday night – and what better excuse to get this skirt finished than to wear it to a sewing teacher and designer’s party! I’m pretty sure I can get it done.  But not if I don’t get to bed NOW – got a gym class in the morning, then lunch with the girls…. eeek!  GOODNIGHT!!

Sorry to  have been absent – I swear, this sinus/migraine headache pattern is NOT FUN!!  And I have been doing a lot of sleeping again, which is ever so boring to blog about.

However, I did play photographer for Sue one day last week – her sewing is awesome, I think she’s just getting better and better!!!

I took a heap of patterns around to her place the other day to sort out – and discovered that I keep buying similar things!  So it’s WAAAAAAAAAY past time to make up: *deep breath* A pencil skirt, a pinafore, a puffy sleeved blouse, and a tailored jacket.

Possibly this is next up: Do you think the straight skirt or the swingy flared version is that way to go?

Simplicity 3673

Simplicity 3673

Møøse has been sighted here and there.

  • Hitched over the top of the big wall map in the Krappenhause;
  • Hidden in the folds of an apron hanging on the pantry door;
  • Lastly in an undisclosed location (Caity does not know where Møøse may be).

moose

Hjørse is far less subtle, and has been found in many places, even vexing the Teabot 5000™ by impersonating a lump beneath the covers, while the cold-blooded Teabot 5000™ slept on top of the bed again.

Indulging his propensity for bedclothes, Hjørse retreated to an unused quilt, only to be discovered by a cold, sore Caity…

… the very same Caity who has proved impossible to dislodge from bed this morning. It would seem Caity gets lunch in bed, as well as breakfast, today.

At least her new hair colour is Teabot 5000™ approved.

And way of Møøse is subtle.
With jodphurs and whip and chair, oh my!

With jodphurs and whip and chair, oh my!

Today Sue and I wrassled our overlockers (sergers for my US readers).

WRASSLED THEM TO THE GROUND AND MADE THEM SIT UP AND BEG!!!!

We did have help:

abcs-of-serging

and this one:

easy-guide

I thoroughly recommend both books.  The ABCs of Serging is a great basic book with clear line drawings and great information on the basics. (And since it was published in 1992, reminds me a little too much of the clothes of my misspent youth – frills!!  And MORE FRILLS!  And let’s stiffen those ruffles with FISHING LINE that would catch a marlin, yeah baby!!)

The Easy Guide to Serging Fine Fabrics is exactly the quality we sewing enthusiasts have loved in Taunton’s books: Clear text, informative pictures, and techniques that really lift your sewing out of the ordinary.  (WHY they aren’t reprinting this yet I just don’t know!)

The instructions for making bias tubing in the Fine Fabrics book had us rolling on the floor –  not because they were WRONG in any way (in fact, we’ve both decided that this is THE way to make those tricky little filled cordings) but because Ms Benton instructs that once you have your turner-looperer- thingummy (ok, she used the real name, I don’t have the book in front of me!)

92-must-have-tools-03

hooked at the end of the tube, you put the circle handle end over one of your thread spool holders and “Back away slowly” to turn the tube through.

“Don’t spook the sergers – they’re skittish beasts!”

“Maybe if we blow in their nostrils and offer them a carrot?!”

“*snort*” (that was me making an unladylike noise after too much giggling, not the sounds of the unruly overlocker!)

ANYWAY, the point is that while we may not be qualified Serger Whisperers yet, we can now at least approach from the correct end and saddle up the beasties.  WIN!!!

And now – I shall tackle threading the upper looper with *drum roll and audible intake of  breath from the crowd* WOOLLY NYLON THREAD.

woolly-nylon

If I’m not back by sunrise, bury me with my boots on.

Went to the pyhsiotherapist yesterday, who said: WE CAN FIX YOU!!

YAY!!

Turns out that a lot of my hip problems are caused by very weak deep muscles – hence my balance probelms and arlaming tendency to fall down and hurt myself.  I now have a new regiem of strengthening exercises – some of them obvious, like being able to stand on tip toes with eyes closed for increasing amounts of time; and some that look like I’m just lying down but in fact I’m making very controlled movements to work deep muscles in my hips.  Cool, eh!

And my Personal Training session is today, so I can ask Gwennie for help in getting the exercises right.

(Have I mentioned how much I’m enjoying the gym?  I LOVE THE GYM!)

Ok, I'm not up to star jumps in heels yet, but I LOVE GYM!

Ok, I'm not up to star jumps in heels yet, but I LOVE GYM!

Off to lunch with the girls today – photos to follow later!

  • Made it to Pilates even though I woke up exactly 45 minutes before class start time
  • Remembered to pack both clean undies AND a clean bra to put on post-class-shower/ pre-going out
  • Went with Sue to our first time at The Australian Sewing Guild meeting at Highfields, which was worth the trip. And while there I  traced the pattern to make the tunic featured on the cover of this magazine:
Ottobre Woman 2/2008

Ottobre Woman 2/2008

(Now I just have to grade it up *very* slightly, add seam allowances, tissue fit, choose which fabric to use, and actually sew it up)

  • Did a VERY intense session with the psychologist, working with a technique that I have scoffed at previously but which today saw me burst into tears… I remember now why I don’t usually wear mascara to these sessions!
  • Managed to eat and enjoy two hot cinnamon donuts even though buying three would have been better value – I only wanted two, so that’s all I had.  And they were GOOOOOD!
  • Spent another couple of hours STILL trying to find these back issues of Ottobre Woman (so far without success, obviously, and it’s driving me NUTS)
  • Ottobre Woman 2/2007

    Ottobre Woman 2/2007

    (And then I asked the Teabot5000 if he’d seen that cover and YES, he’d saved a magazine called Ottobre  in a box that he’d mentally marked “Important Textile Magazines KEEP THESE”!!! YES YES YES!!) So now I just have to locate the 2/2006 issue somewhere in our house/shed/combined clutter and I can stop obsessing:

    Ottobre Woman 2/2006

    Ottobre Woman 2/2006

    Why were these suddenly VITAL, I hear you ask?  Well, because I am now so very very close to fitting into some of the patterns that I adored in these but which would have been just too hard (I told myself) to re-draft to fit my larger size. Now I don’t have to re-draft, just trace, add seam allowances, tissue fit, and sew!  I suspect only another delusional sewing nut would understand the difference, but trust me, it’s VERY motivating!)

  • Watched the second auditions episode of So You Think You Can Dance – you all know I LOVELOVELOVE that show, right?
  • Did I mention that part of all the work I’m doing with the psychologist is clearing out unhelpful attitudes?  And that part of this is examinning what’s really important in my life?  So a lot of PHYSICAL clutter is getting sorted through, too; and I decided that the hugely expensive machine embroidery component of my fancy schmancy sewing machine is something  I want to  – hmmm, conquer isn’t quite the right word – perhaps – feel confident about exploring?  Yes.  So I *eventually* located the necessary bits and pieces (software, dongle, serial to USB converters and so on) and – TA DA – reinstalled the software and started to learn the programs over again.  Woo, yes?
  • Tomorrow: The physiotherapist.  And maybe some sewing.  And possibly a gym workout before those things.  So I must away to bed.

PS: Several LOVELY blogfriends have nominated for awards – I will get to them soon, thank you sweeties!

But needed to be a post.  So here goes:

Annie said:

Egads you’re game, I cannot do classes anymore. Was totally addicted to them when I was in my twenties, but now I am just too self conscious, to say nothing of too arthritic to look graceful anymore!

Arthritis is still an issue for me, but the class instructors and my personal trainer take it into account – I do modified version of some exercises and leave some out altogether. But the pain management specialist I see is very big on building muscle to support arthritic joints, and he hasn’t steered me wrong yet…

Of course, it’s early days for me a the gym.  But I am SO determined!

“Self conscious” – I am at the point where I honestly don’t give a STUFF about what anyone else thinks I look like when I’m working out! Of course, it helps a LOT that this is a fantastic gym with friendly people and a wide range of members – there are women (and men!) bigger then I am, and people wear what’s comfy.

Also, I have noticed that the only time anyone really looks in the mirrors is to check their form – if they’re performing the moves correctly –  no skeezoids hanging about checking out the chickybabes of any gender! I think this might be because this isn’t a “trendy” gym  – yes, they’re apparently the only gym in Queensland to offer some of the classes, so they’re modern, and the machines and facilities are kept super clean – but they’re not like SOME places I could name which are owned by franchises and have sales targets and glossy advertising that they have to cover… *wink* I’m sure you know the sort of places I mean!

I’ll NEVER be “graceful” – I mean, you should see the Oxigeno instructor, she moves like a ballet dancer, only with even more amazing muscles – but I expect I’ll get less clumsy and klutzy as I learn the routines and get some balance and core strength. Even SHE falls out of balance poses and admits some days are better than others!

I guess what I’m saying is I’m not letting any of my old ideas about being “perfect” at everything I try hold me back any more. Note: i am NOT saying that “near enough is good enough” – what I’m saying is that I am finally at the point where I can do this for ME, at my pace, and with the expectation that there will NOT be instant results, it’s a long road and I’ve barely taken the first steps.

I’m a bit tireder than usual, but I think when I do get to sleep I’m sleeping better. Going to the gym everyday has definitely improved my mood: even when I’m sore, I still like getting into the workout, and so enjoy the feeling of accomplishment once I’m done!

That said, I’m off to the gym again now.  Just doing the two machines I know so far and some stretches – unless the Step class looks like too much fun!

Now, as I may have previously mentioned, I am in the process of trying lose weight and get healthy.

BUT for some time now I’ve been stuck.  On a plateau.  Frustrated.

And we all know why, don’t we, boys and girls?

Yep – simple equation that even your math challenged blogonaut here can figure out:

To lose weight: Energy OUT must be greater than Energy IN.

And even on as low as 1200-1400 calories a day – allegedly below the amount needed to fuel my resting metabolic rate – the weight isn’t shifting.  Plus I HATE how I look. Really hate the extra padding. And the painful joints and all the other miseries of being so overweight. (Yes, I’ll probably still have joint pain, that’s the nature of arthritic diseases, but putting less load on the bendy bits will help.)

And I know I don’t have to look like I do.  I know I can be healthy at a much smaller size – ideally, about 40-45 kilograms less than what I currently weigh. (That’s 88-99 lbs less than now.) When I was younger I looked like this:

Caity in 1968

Caity in 1968

AHEM!  Let’s be a leeeeeeeeeeeeeeetle more realistic now…

Caity in 1991

Caity in 1991

This was in 1991. Which means I was 23.  Now, while I don’t NECESSARILY want to be as thin as this, (and it is, after all, *mumblety* years later) I reckon I can go a lot closer to looking like THAT than I am now.

So today I FINALLY JOINED THE GYM!

My dear friend Sue has been encouraging me to join the gym for some time now.  She’s worked hard to get trim and toned – and she looks great.  So  – I have my fitness assessment TOMORROW!  I’m so excited!

No big lock-in contracts, no poseurs – just a nice clean friendly gym. Run by nice people.  And a lovely  personal trainer I will work with  once a fortnight. And a goal for the year: 20 kgs less than I am now, with much improved fitness and sleekness!  I think that’s reasonable and achievable.

All the specialist doctors I see have been encouraging me to go for it – Mr Beloved is STRONGLY supportive – and my Mum and Sister-In-Law have weight loss goals for this year, too.

I know there will be days when I try to pike out – but I’m DETERMINED TO DO THIS.

(Just – if I do slack off – give me a gentle kick and tell me to get back in there, ok!)

So: tomorrow is full of good stuff.  Psychologist appointment, then the gym ,then I pick up my new spectacles and prescription sunglasses.  Oh, and I get to order  the silk/rayon velvet I need for my S-I-L’s bolero – good on Gardam’s, they’ve come through for me yet again!

Ok, just so we’re clear, I don’t mean THIS Pink -(tho I LOVE her!)

I mean THIS PINK!

Yep, I was bored at the hairdressers today – bored with being grey.  So – if I’m going to colour my hair, I thought, why not COLOUR it?!

Pink! I like PINK!

Pink! I like PINK!

And although the weight loss is still slowed waaaaaaaaay down, I’m feeling better about it and back to counting calories.  I thought you needed to see me posing in front of our suburb’s emblem: the abandoned car surrounded by unmown lawn.  CLASSIC!

AND – I had the NICEST thing happen to me today!  You know I just ADORE our local fabric heaven, Gardam’s, right?  Well, I went in to pick up a layby (pics to follow soon, I promise) only to have the lovely manager hand me an envelope and explain that it was a gift certificate from Mr and Mrs Gardam!  YOU COULD HAVE KNOCKED ME OVER WITH A FEATHER!

Of course I spent it immediately on more yummy fabric, LOL!  Seriously, their store has the best service and fabric – there were some young things in there today making choices for bridesmaid dresses and I promise you, these would NOT be  “Bridesmaid Dresses” – you know, the ones that are so unspeakably awful that you look at the photos and cringe – no, these girls were playing with  gorgeous silk chiffons over some luxe duchess satins – soooo pretty!

And now I must go and retrieve my new fabric from the washing machine – by the time Miss Constance and I get back from our walk, it will be ready to iron, cut out and sew – wheeeeeeeeeeee!! Another iteration of the fabulous trapeze dress from McCall’s 5583, this time in a rayon/poly/nylon blend that has an interesting (almost looks like velvet but it’s not) texture in black – prefect in case I get to go out some evening on holidays.  And now I know that dress doesn’t need a zip, it’s even quicker to make.

Well, after yesterday’s debacle (of which more in a moment a post later) I feel the need for some girly mindlessness.  So I’m off to see The Women with my BFF.

The ORIGINAL movie The Women (which, alas, I can’t find on DVD) is one of my all time favourite flicks.  Joan Crawford as SuperBitch.   Rosalind Russell being Rosalind Russell – that is, smart, sassy, and gorgeous. Gowns by Adrian.  (swoooooooooon!)

Can the new one possibly stack up? We shall see…

Simplicity 2981 again!

Simplicity 2981 again!

Proper post to follow – but I thought I’d show you The Dress – sewn yesterday!

Not bad, hey?  The cotton was jsut a DREAM to work with – I will finish the Dress from Polyester Hell, but not just yet.

Do you like my hat?

I love hats!

I love hats!

My hat - made last night!

My hat - made last night!

I was inspired to try the zipper roses by Outsapop Trashion – a Finnish girl who makes gorgeous stuff from zippers.  I bought the shell (?base? the sinamay straw shape thingummy) at Spotlight; covered it with a double layer of black silk organza, and then used separating jacket zippers to make the roses.  A few ribbon leaves and fripperies, some black veiling – ta da!!

Karen, Caity, and Sue at the lunch

Karen, Caity, and Sue at the lunch

And now I think I’ll just go have a little nap – the wine was lovely but now I’m REALLY TIRED!

My Bestest Sewing Buddy, Sue,  is having a giveaway on her blog– this fabbo issue of Burda World of Fashion Magazine!

Burda July 2008

Burda July 2008

Get over there before November 5 and answer her question, ok!

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