March 2008

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Today I started the medically supervised weight management program. Thank goodness I get to have 2 cups of veges + 90 grams of protein a day – otherwise all those milkshakes would make my teeth ITCH for something solid!

I’m really tired, though.  Expect a proper post tomorrow, k?

SO! As Di and Sue have already blogged, we went down to Brisbane on Saturday for the first meeting of 2QAQ – the Queensland Quilters Art Quilters group. And met up with several people who I only knew from email or blogs; and one that I’d known when she was posted in Canberra with the Army (and she’s still as full on and a little bit scary as ever!)
It was lovely to meet Linda – and next time I’ll have some ATCs ready to swap. And the meeting was chaired by Sue Dennis – I’ve admired her work for ages.

2QAQ is already planning a juried quilt exhibition, as well as a journal quilt project, so that gives us a couple of things to work on. I’m looking forward to going to the meetings, I might even *gasp* take my turn DRIVING into Brisbane!

I’ve also joined the main group of Queensland Quilters – so maybe I’ll even have some quilts in their show this year (October).

Before the meeting, we stopped in at The Quilters Store in Auchenflower – which was worth the trip by itself! I didn’t buy much, really – two more King Tut threads – one in black/white grey for the Miranda sewing theme bag, and one in greens and brown for Maria’s Chocolate PaisleyMiranda.

Clover Seam RipperI also bought a new unpicker (since I have worn mine out! Does that tell you much about my sewing skills, hmmm?) and an awl – both of which were about half what I’d pay in Toowoomba. Somehow I don’t think it costs $7 extra PER UNIT to ship a seam ripper up the hill, do you? AND THEY WONDER WHY I DON’T SHOP LOCALLY!!!

Then this evening I had a dinner out with another person I didn’t know before – Jenny, a member of the Southern Cross Quilters, who is currently in Toowoomba for work, but normally lives in Melbourne. There were some awkward silences, I think…

( I am NOT good at social stuff – arrrgh!)

I don’t get out much, so two lots of people things in two days is something exceptional for me. I discovered that Toowoomba on a Sunday night is CLOSED – even the convenience store was closing at 8 pm when we popped around to buy eggs for Jenny’s breakfast! Seriously, she’s been told all these horror stories about “Don’t walk anywhere in Toowoomba, even during the day” – huh?!? We were the only two people on the street, but it didn’t feel unsafe.

I do not understand this town.

Anway, it’s bloody cold here – the current temperature at the airport weather station is 13.7 C (12.5 with the slight wind chill); in reality it’s 9 degrees outside and about that inside our bedroom too – which is about what we’d expect in the absolute middle of winter, not at the start of Autumn.

I’m off to bed… and tomorrow I see the dietician and start on the weight loss program….



Ok, well it might not be a “adventure” to you, but for me it’s a big deal: I’m going to this tomorrow with my friend Sue. And we’re allowing plenty of time so we can go here.

I got peopled-out while window shopping yesterday at Grump Central – got home and collapsed into bed a 4:30 in the afternoon! Slept right through (apart from a nearly 2 hour long phone call with Maria) , and then slept again all day today – I was exhausted.

Hats as seen in BWOF 01-2008In other news – apparently cloche hats are IN IN IN this season – HOORAY! They are my favourite ever style of hat (although I will have to work out what to do with all my hair – how do I make a neat low chignon??) . I’m a hat person, and am seriously considering making a cute little cloche to go with the brown outfits. (Or not so little – on fatchicks, it’s all about proportion, after all….)

And the January Burda World Of Fashion magazine had a double page spread on hats – you know, I really REALLY want to do a millinery course sometime. [click to see larger image – it’s worth it.]

Speaking of fat chicks: I had my official medical for starting the weight loss thing. I had to sign forms saying my doctor had explained to me the risks of gall bladder, cardiac, and other problems that could be unmasked by weight loss; and that I understood that my hair might temporarily shed more, that I might be hungry (!) and that this is a drastic decision and I HAVE to consume the required amount of calories and especially water; also that if for any reason I need emergency surgery while I’m on the initial (up to 13 weeks) part of the plan then the doctors HAVE TO BE TOLD so the IV fluids compensate; and that my usual medications will have to be even more closely monitored. Eeeks!

So – regular blood and urine tests, weekly visits with the dietician, sessions with the psychologist – on top of my normal rounds with my GP, the pain management specialist, and the physiotherapist. Maybe the idea is to keep me too busy to think about food??!

But it’s this entire re-programming thing, or resorting to gastric surgery – and I don’t want that. So the doctor did all the necessary checks – blood pressure (both sitting and standing, because apparently this sort of weight loss can trigger orthostatic problems – ie, you fall down when you try to stand up); a measurement of electric impedance (tells you fat/water composition, apparently) etc.

She also warned me that any initial loss would be water weight, as my body tries to regain its equilibrium. (Why did the !@*&)#s at Weight Watchers NEVER say that – instead they made you feel like a failure when you couldn’t match that intial loss each week??)

It’s genuinely scary. This is not your regular faffing about diet, this is SERIOUS. I have to do this.

Are very difficult to photograph!

Brown Fabrics - pieced one is for bias cut skirt

It looks quite greyed out here.

The close-up is better for the real colours:

Brown fabric - closer view

I spent last night doing this:

I love Burda World of Fashion - but tracing patterns is still a pain!

So later tonight I might even *gasp* cut into the fabric! (but only if the tissue-fitting goes well… otherwise it’s back on the table for more alterations…)

So, I went to Gardam’s in between doctors appointments today. You know that skirt from the January Burda? I got the DREAMIEST already patch-worked linen on a cotton voile baking (so no lining needed, yay!) – it has wool inserts and various textures – I love it! I’ll show you a pic of the finished skirt as soon as, ok? (Unless you’d like to see the material uncut?)

It’s dry-clean only – I can’t even REMEMBER the last time I bought fabric that needed dry cleaning – come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I took anything to a dry cleaners.

I can’t believe this though – it’s BROWN!

Do I own a single pair of brown shoes? Umm, nope! Well, I guess that’s what I save up for next. And I bough a beautifully subtle poly herringbone (that looks like fine wool, but at about a third of the cost) to make that Butterick vest pattern…. I figured if I was going to go with the brown skirt, there was no point in going halfway!

This is especially amusing to me after buying fabric to make Mum and brown bag, and now Maria’s chocolate/green/teal bag… brown is CATCHING!
And Mr Beloved was only saying this morning that “Those ratty old t-shirts have GOT TO GO, Caity, they are NOT flattering.” So yay for the sewing bug making a welcome re-appearance in my life, eh? It’s partly inspired by Sue, who is doing WONDERFUL things; partly by re-reading back issues of Threads, and also looking atErins’ A Dress A Day blog, and swooooning over her use of Liberty fabric – which I can now save up for and lay-by at Gardam’s – yay!!

I’ll be off to curse at the overlocker (serger) later tonight. I know I can get it sewing a nice three thread edge once I have it set up….

BUT – look what else Gardams just got in today! Sue and Di and Faye and Jan – and any other Toowoomba Quilters – you have GOT to get down there and grab some of this, it’s too too wonderful…. from the Loralie Designs “Sew Fancy” range:

[click on the thumbnails to see much bigger images]

Sewing MachinesSewing Machines by Loralie

ScissorsScissors by Loralie

mannequins by Loralieand Mannequins, Oh MY!

And what am I doing with this – Yep, you know it – another Miranda bag! (possibly the most useful bag pattern ever – and the easiest to make, because of the care Joan Hawley has taken with her instructions. I know I rant about it but truly – it’s that good!)

This time I’m going to make the longer handles and only use it to cart stuff back and forth to quilters. Makes sense to have a dedicated bag that I can just grab and go, I reckon.

Also, Toowoomba girls – call up Gardam’s and tell them you want to come to this: Gardams’ VIP night

I’ll be there, it should be a fun night!

[Mum, anything I should be looking out for, since now we’re BOTH sewing in brown?!]

later edit: Mr Beloved commented:

It should be noted that Caity is not paid or otherwise induced to rave about Gardams.

It should also be noted that “Ewan Gardam” anagrams to “A mad, new rag”.

Pretty impressive shop, though.

… that I got through all of Easter without a skerrick of chocolate in the house.

But if the Lindt bunnies are marked down at the shops tomorrow, THEY WILL BE MINE! I’m mellllllllllltttttting!

Especially YOU, dark bunny, Muaaa haaa haaa.

Nigella - swoonish curves RULE!

That there’s newspaper speculation over whether Nigella is curvy or frumpy?  YOU HAVE TO ASK?!?!?

She is a GODDESS.  An hourglass shaped goddess.  With three kids (ok, only two she birthed, but still) and a husband and a business and you want her to look like WHAT, exactly?  Sheesh!   She is not a 17 year old (or for a longer in the tooth model, see Kate Moss – ugh!) string bean, she’s a gorgeous, middle aged, talented, busy woman.  And yeah, we could all use some firming up and strength training (as my discussion with the physio made clear!) and so she’s booked in with a personal trainer – good for her!  If I had her money, so would I.

Helen Mirren.  Judi Dench.  Nancy Pelosi.  Even OPRAH, for gawdsake – women who are WOMEN, dammit.  I am so damn tired of society’s all consuming (ha!  NOT!) passion for pre-pubescent figures.

(If you have a naturally slender figure, pleas understand this rant is not directed at you.  Although  you won’t be coming shopping with me anytime soon, ok?)

…”forward projection”. I call it a bloody brilliant “sheepdog” bra: round ’em up and get ’em heading forwards!

Yep, after the AGONY (and sweat – ugh, is it just the physicality of trying to get bras done up, or is it the whole nerve-straining experience?) of trying on over a dozen bras…


Three new bras – all the same style – two in “toffee” (a not totally disgusting beige, as pictured here) and one in a very pretty (but less practical) sky blue.

Fayrefrom “Cahroltte” - not me in the pic, OBVIOUSLY!!

The Fayreform “Charlotte”. Padded straps – oh, bliss! Full coverage! Less jigglement!

Most of the other bras I tried on had an unfortunate tendency to squish my boobs towards my armpits. And while my boobs do like to lie down and sleep there at night, by day I want em paying attention and looking straight ahead, thank you very much!

Even with the embroidery, this bra doesn’t look like”I have lichen growing on my boobs” under a t-shirt (and a big thank you to DebR for that memorable phrase!)

And Mr Beloved, bless his cotton socks, went out a got me a full length mirror. (altogether now – awwwwww!) so in a little while I’ll go have another try at that pattern.

If it turns out that the bra doesn’t fix the whole issue, I have found the pattern alteration solution in a back issue of Threads – gee I love their online index! (If you’re interested, it involves measuring the bust point and drawing a line from the mid shoulder down to intersect half that measurement, on a line parallel to CF – aren’t you glad you asked?!)

Then I got to go to playgroup (quilters!) for just a little while… before rushing off to the physio. Who was super nice and HELPFUL – turns out the wee problem? Is connected to the hip problem; the hip problem’s connected to the ….spine problem, the spine problem’s connected to the fibromyalgia, (are you humming along yet?!) … now hear the word of the specialist! Dem Docs dem Docs gonna…. DANCE around….

Yeah. So in fixing each little bit of each thing hopefully we’ll get to a healthier whole. EVENTUALLY. And there’s also the small matter of using better strategies for both my brain and my bladder. We’re workin’ on it.

And now – got the new Burda WOF in my hot little hands (the January issue – with this skirt – at last!) and all the fabric for Maria’s Miranda bag washed, ironed, and ready to sew. So why am I still at the computer?!

Oh, I forgot to tell you – the electricity substation EXPLODED this morning! Which meant that the big transformer on a pole 20 metres from our place id a big FWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMP!-y surge and we lost power, half way through breakfast. But it’s fixed now, obviously.

Butterick 5052

So, I’ve traced off the appropriate size of this pattern. And as I started to tissue fit (just a precaution, since I’m not about to cut into even a cheap fabric without some checking) I got REALLY frustrated: there is no bust point marked! EEEPS! Okay, “Settle, Petal” I said to myself “It’s a princess line, I’ll pin it together and work it out…”

Annnnnnnnd…. either I need another inch and a half length over the boobs from what the fat-chick pattern sizing has come up with, or I desperately need a new bra. Or perhaps both. I mean, it’s freakin’ AMAZING for me to be cutting out (tracing off, anyway) one of the smaller sizes on a pattern (these go up to 6x which makes my 2x seem petite!) but then to find that I still need to make adjustments – ahhhh, I was only ever kidding myself that I wouldn’t have to, wasn’t I?

A large part of my frustration with how FAT I am right now is that I have NO CLOTHES to fit me – and it’s sooooooooooooo depressing sewing things that are so huge. Even when I can get a pattern that’s close to the right size with no grading (and may her choice of Deity richly bless Ms Crawford for designing for us fat chicks) I still *sigh* feel like it’s such a lot of effort to make something that I’m probably going to not wear for all that long….

BUGGER IT! A big part of this new diet plan thingummy is to overcome this sort of thinking. I AM WORTH DRESSING NICELY! And, realistically, given the endocrine/other health issues I have to deal with on top of losing the actual weight, I’ll probably be the size I am for a while yet. We’re looking at a minimum of 12 months on this program – during which time if I can get back down to even coo-ee of 80 kg, I’ll be happy.

So – tomorrow Mr Beloved will move the full length mirror back to the house *gulp*! And I’ll probably miss Quilters and go bra shopping… waaaaaah! Maybe I can do both? And still get to the physio for a 2pm appointment? Well, maybe not.

You’ve probably all heard by bra-shopping rants before – so I’ll just say this: BIG SHOULDN’T MEAN BEIGE.

Hang on, Mother, we’re almost there!

“Hang on Mother, we’re almost there!”

(the original cartoon by Victor C.Anderson, published April 1, 1920, found on the wonderful Filboid Studge blog)

I shall forgo my customary Easterpest rant (formerly called the Australian Gospel Music Festival) – suffice it to say that it’s very difficult to have a quiet and contemplative Easter when there are THUD DOOF DOOF DOOF SCREAM YELL noises coming at you from all directions.

Now that we have a new council (Queensland just did the mega-merger thing that NSW did 20 odd years ago) I will be petitioning for the damn “festival” to be moved OUT of our central city park, and far, far away.


All in one quilters reference toolAfter much consideration I ordered three things from Hancocks of Paducah last night:

The All in One Quilter’s Reference Tool (C&T Publishing) – my friend Sue showed me this at Quilters a few weeks back and since then I’ve been thinking “Dang, if only I had that I wouldn’t have to be sitting here puzzling out how wide to cut this @*#$&)* strip/triangle/block…” It was only $13.95 US – and the cheapest I could buy it online even in Australian was $33. Worth the share of the postage, yes?

Second thing: I’ve been a fan of Suzanne Marshall’s beautiful applique for as long as I’ve been quilting. I deeply regret selling her “Take Away Applique” book – not because I wanted to make her patterns, but because the gallery of her quilts was so gorgeous – and she included both the positive and negative judging comments for each quilt. Ah well, I needed the money at the time…

Suzanne Marshall’s new bookAnyway, I ordered her new book Adventure and Applique. $20.98 from Hancocks – $21.56 is what I would have paid as a member on the AQS site – except they won’t accept orders that go to post office boxes (so you can imagine what THEIR shipping costs!) To buy the book in Australia (even if I could get it) the cheapest price is $33 + postage ( – but it would be AT LEAST twice that if I bought it from a quilt shop.

And they wonder why I shop online?!

Last,but possibly most deliciously – some Hoffmann fabric. 4 yards (fingers crossed, it’s not confirmed yet!) of this lusciousness from the 2008 Hoffmann challenge. I’m thinking it needs a Bamboo mini stripe teal goldtruly groovy shirt pattern – just got to find one that I love. Maybe one of the Sewing Workshop oriental-inspired shirts? (I would have to grade up the pattern to get it to fit me currently, I hate doing that…)

Any pattern recommendations,please? I’m also considering using it to make this top (size 2x only needs 2 yards…) – it’s not like this is an actual stripe that needs to be matched, after all, it’s more of an overall texture.

Right – off to watch the prancing; then later on the Malaysian Grand Prix – even though my beloved McLarens have been penalised AGAIN (we suspect it’s mostly for Not Being Ferraris…) – I know Lewis will still drive his cute little butt off!

later edit: Bloody prancing had this SUCKY “look how far they’ve come” show on – I have NO interest in seeing that, I want to see DANCING, dammit!

At least I got to talk to my parents tonight (Mum loves her new bag, hooray!) and had a surprise phone call from Robert who was sitting at the Qantas lounge waiting to fly to Tokyo, lucky thing! 

Strip Party Quilt

So – here it is. Quilt-as-you-go strip quilt, finished. (ok, except for a few loose threads that I need to deal with, but sooooo close, ok? Oh, and a label, Yep.)

I managed to make 12 blocks at the strip piecing party at Quilters; the other 8 I made at home. So some of the blocks are completely from my own stash – still, I tried to keep it random.

My favourite part? The way I totally miscalculated how much fabric I’d need for the sashings and binding – hence the bright orange binding. Special, yes?

In health news: MY HIP IS F’ING KILLING ME!! The lower back pain has been helped considerably by the spinal block injection; but my hip feels worse. It’s probably not, it’s just that it’s no longer competing with other pain just at that level.

And update on TheAuthorityWhichControlsOurLives: There is no update.

That’s part of their own special brand of torture – you’re not allowed to know the outcome of the interview. You just get to hang around in a panicky limbo, wondering whether the next pension payment will hit your bank account and let you do wild and crazy things like – oh, I dunno, PAY THE ELECTRICITY BILL and continue to buy no-brand generic tinned food from the StupidMarket.


I’m still exhausted. The interview at TheAuthorityWhichControlsOurLives was really draining on Monday – I sat and bawled my eyes out for an hour.

So much so that I was at Quilters today for less than 90 minutes.

Feel free to pop over to the Toowoomba Quilters blog and see a quick slideshow of what we did on Saturday… Caity at Strip Party

Strip party went ok – thanks to Di’s wonderful organisation.  Taking my own chair has DEFINITELY helped – but I think I was just upright for too long at once today.


Still no quilty news here… OH wait, my fabric arrived from Emerald City Fabric and Craft – yay! The paisleys were larger than I had expected but it’s gorgeous – and the background was chocolate rather than black, so I’m going with one of the greens/turquoises from the print for the other fabrics in M’s Miranda bag.Chocolate Paisley - yummy!


Speaking of chocolate, I just made another batch of my infamous gluten free choc fudge brownies – just as well Mr Beloved reminded me, I was busy cutting fabric for the backing squares for tomorrow’s strip party.  I think it’s going to be a hoot – although there will always be someone who can’t cope with the Rules of Engagement!

If that happens we’ll just hand them a chocolate brownie and smile, yes?!

I didn’t buy the pecans I usually have in the brownies -so they have been christened “Eunuch brownies….”

How can I sew with no NEEDLES?!I realised as I was packing my machine etc tonight that I have one needle left in the packet – and one in the machine.  Oops! Sure hope I can find a packet of 90 sharps first thing tomorrow morning…

I’ve been a bit distracted by pain today and by my visit to my doctor.   Came away with two new referrals – one to the physiotherapist (for the “Trouble with Dribbles”, as Mr Beloved joked – arrgh! Once a trekkie, always a trekkie …) and one to the gastroenterologist.

Again.  *sigh*

Because I am losing iron even though I take the supplements every.single. day.  ARRRRRGH!   In the last 4 blood tests, my ferritin levels have dropped from 39 to 15 to 13 to 8… normal range is 30-150.  Guess who probably has to have iron injections?  Problem is, we have to find out WHY it’s disappearing.   Or if I’m not absorbing it, to start with.  If it’s not one thing…

Look for pics tomorrow – I have spare batteries in my camera and I’m not afraid to use them…

Well, not literally true – there were only three teeny spots of blood.  (Two injections in my back, and the whacking great cannula in the crook of my left arm.)

But the OW! is fair dinkum.  My back actually feels WORSE after the procedure… bugger bugger bugger BUGGER!!

Apparently this happens – it’s supposed to settle down “in a few days.”


As pre the doctor’s orders, I was out at the shops after being released from the hospital – walking; and I did about 10 minutes of vacuuming; but now sitting up again is NOT nice and I am going to go lie down.   And take more painkillers.


Still, beats the alternative:

The next option??!!

Doctor Pain….

The envelope we have been waiting for arrived today – we are going to pay off my credit card and then I will get a debit card – I’m just too – ummmm – spontaneous? in my money decisions otherwise.  Ahem.

Home of Faceless DroidsSo Mr Beloved had to call TheAuthorityWhichControlsYourLife  because – hey, we are poor cripples, and TheAuthorityWhichControlsYourLife doesn’t LIKE us to have any money.  Especially not money that suddenly appears in the same bank account as where they pay our pensions.

He lucked onto THE most helpful faceless droid EVAH – I mean, she was AMAZING!  Helped us get a new pittance  allowance to go towards internet/phone costs, talked us through updating some details, was generally very helpful, and then – took down all my details and a statement to go on file so that the Bad Rude Horrible Faceless Droid who upset me so much on Monday won’t get away with it.

Bloody ASTONISHING!   As he usually does, Mr Beloved made sure to tell the Good Faceless Droid that we wanted to let her supervisor know how wonderful she had been, and she said that they appreciated feedback, good or bad.


ANd now I’m going to my sewing room, to prepare for the Toowoomba Quilters Strip Party.  I have to be at the hospital at 7 am (ugh!) and not eat for 4 hours before then, not drink for 2.  Is it even worth going to bed when I have to be up again by 5?

So, for weeks I’ve been psyching myself up to go to hospital this Wednesday. But when there was no phone call from admissions by 6pm, I got a little bit freaked out. How would I know when to turn up? Where was I supposed to go? When could I eat? Panic panic panic!

So I phoned the hospital’s pre-admissions call centre number.

“Um, I’m meant to have a day procedure tomorrow but no one’s called?”

[after asking for information] “No, I’m not seeing you on the lists..”

*panic panic panic!*

“Which doctor, dear?”

“Dr H. For xyz?”

“That’s on THURSDAY dear! Tomorrow’s Wednesday!”

“Oops! Lost a day there! My mistake! Thanks! Bye!”

*hides head until pillow until blushes calm down to only being visible from MARS…*

Yep… that’s me folks, unable to read a calendar.

I *did* remember that today was shared lunch day at Quilters, and that I was doing a demo – you can see it over on the Toowoomba Quilters blog if you want. Foundation pieced flying geese.

It was NOT good – I am NOT GOOD at doing talking in front of people these days. I got terribly flustered and embarrassed and rushed and got myself confused and left stuff out… I am much much better in writing than in person.

BLUSH!Annnnnnnnnnnnnd to add to it all (and I can’t believe I’m telling you this, dear reader – it may be TMI (Too Much Information) but I have a new and wonderful symptom that is complicating my life just that little bit more….

It’s been a bit of an issue since The Fall in 2002… I didn’t pee for over 24 hours and then – ahem – needed assistance. But now it’s – well, a little less controlled.

Could be from the whole “OH MY GOSH YOU’RE FAT!” thang (gotta love this: “Q. Does weight have an effect on bladder control?” A.”Even a few kilos can make a difference. A five to ten percent weight loss can help improve bladder control by reducing intra-abdominal pressure.” Colour coded just like the packs – Oh, goody!)

Add a side of tomato juice (who knew?!) and some stress and … well.
Good thing I’m seeing my doc on Friday, eh?

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