Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The First Day of School

Today being the first day of school a group of retired teachers got together for tea and crumpet. It was lovely!

I knew people, and I was quite prepared to know no one. We caught up and the air was all atwitter. It was lovely to see people and reminisce.

There seemed to be a bit of a divide. Some people are quite busy being grandparents. Some people have taken up new exercise routines. Some people have no idea what to do, and find it all very confusing. They've been retired for years and feel like it has been wasted time. They want to make a new life, but don't know what that looks like yet.

Think of the changes we've gone through. We had a 'very bossy, in charge, make it happen' job for a long time.  We worked with other people just like us. We got up every morning, dressed for success and roared off to earn the daily dog bone.

Some of us have gone from parenting to observing grown children at a distance. Our houses are too big and don't suit our new circumstances. Should we dump it all for an apartment? Condo? Money is a little tighter but our expenses have shifted, and our financial needs are still evolving to fit retirement.

And we don't know what to do with our day. We don't know how to revalue what we do end up doing.  Is it OK to read the paper till 11? What if I don't finish the Sudoku? If I read all afternoon am I lazy? Am I wandering aimlessly through life? Is this all there is? Teachers are so driven and expect so much from themselves. It's hard for us to relax and breathe.

My first year was way too busy. I wanted to do everything! My eyes were huge and there was so much candy to try. I have always liked to try new things and retirement gave me the opportunity to do that. I took classes. I learned to make bobbin lace. I sewed and made baskets. We travelled during the school year! I volunteered in a classroom. I volunteered with Grannies. If it was new I wanted to try that. My days were quite full. I often left parts of the paper unread. I felt a bit rushed.

Now I still do lots of things, just in moderation. I have to keep myself in check. I still want to do everything. My eyes are way to big for my calendar, and I'm finding I like to move slower now.  I like to finish the paper. Having my part time job is excellent! I get to dress up and see new people. I am helpful (I hope) and it's a whole new world without any of the real responsibility of my last job.  It starts at 10 - no early mornings!

I find myself looking at things more carefully and deciding not to do everything I want to do. I am giving myself permission to live slower and more thoughtfully. I savour the day.  I stop and sniff roses. Happiness is in the small things for me. With another 30 or 40 years I may get the hang of this yet. I'm learning to let go of my own driven expectations.

How are you doing? How has your life changed?


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Blackberries

I think I spilled something on my keyboard. I'm having trouble with n and l. Note to self; you are a slob. Had to type the previous N twice.

My blackberry patch is bursting forth! They are fat, sweet and juicy! You need a full rain suit to collect them; the thorns are vicious! They fruit over several weeks, so you can keep picking, and picking....

I don't actually own the blackberries. It's a vacant lot next door. If they ever decide to build we will have to strike a deal. Or they will find a bare patch of earth some morning where thorns used to be.

I just finished a purse for the store. It's the Ursula pattern by the same people who brought us the Professional Tote. Therefore the directions are excellent and detailed, but you have to read them. I like lots and lots of pictures. They give enough pictures and fill in with time consuming words. ADHD anyone? However they write well and don't leave anything out. Good for any level of sewer.

The design is really well done. It's got everything a purse could imagine. There is a wallet pocket with flap on the outside. It has little flanges to keep everything from falling out. It has an inset zippered top. I haven't inset the zipper like this before and it works nicely. They include little exterior side pockets and lots of little pockets, inside, outside, zipped and not. I used some Inspira Decofuse to really stiffen the straps and bottom. It seems Pellon has a stiffener with the same name. It's not the same thing.







I mentioned the Ledwidge Lookoff Rally last post. It went very well! I was a fashion plate in my altered Official t-shirt. Those event t-shirts with bulky crew neck are not in the least bit chic.  They're also too long. I rearranged the shirt in about 10 minutes - necessary as I altered the wrong shirt the night before and had to do the right one at 5 am the next morning. Full instructions in the next post. I also have a great use for ugly event shirts you no longer want. Coming soon as I get the pics done!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Ledwidge Lookoff Rally Weekend

Sorry I haven't posted in a bit. I have been sewing and do have things to show. The big car rally of the year for us is this weekend. We organize now and don't drive. So sad.

However, there will be a car display at Dartmouth Crossing from 3 to 5 on Saturday - followed by a spectator stage at Conrad's Gravel Pit at 6. The spectator stage is easily viewed, short and meant to be for show, although the times are included in Sunday's rally. Come out and see what we are up to!

More info here at http://www.lookoffrally.com.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

A Whole Bunch of Nothing


Here are some of my Natal Day experiences. That lovely dog entertained us all at the parade by putting nose to the sky and hooooowling with every siren and bagpipe that went by. In true Dartmouth form I saw everybody I ever knew at the parade. 

The box car was part of a very long train passing through the middle of the ferry terminal parking lot. The stage for the music concert was on the other side. That train goes every year (probably every night?) at that time. Concert would not be the same without it!

The Great Lake Swimmers were on and I had heard them on CBC and liked them. Off I went for the live version. Mistake! They are a mellow and mournful group. After a few of their 'mournful and sad' tunes - all of which sounded just the same - I was completely sad. So sad. The fireworks perked me up, thank heavens!

There was a large crowd of the 'younger set' waiting well off from the stage. I can understand their lack of interest. However after the fireworks they were rewarded with an excellent DJ/rapper type. Nice young crowd. Well mannered and keen.

And as usual the Dartmouth Banook Lake fireworks ended with the biggest waterfall ever! Yah!




Look at this pillow! It's from a new embroidery card from Husqvarna. Instead of using Christmas colours I went pretty and bright. I'm thinking these designs will be quite useful. I'm planning to pop one on the bottom of my next jewelry bag.


Here we have my new machine cover! I don't know about you but dust can be a problem in my sewing room. Probably because I'd rather sew than clean. It just makes sense. I have more of this fabric to make covers for the other current busy bodies. Like the embroideries? Bertha has attitude. 


 And now for my latest baby. It's a toy, and I have great hopes for using it soon. It needs a small adjustment in timing, I think. Found this in a nice shop out the Musquodoboit way.


Last, and least in my mind is my first and last attempt at hand quilting. IT'S HARD! I can't make little consistent stitches! However, It does make a lovely tea cozy. Notice how I used left over scraps from my quilted jacket for the reverse side. Waste not, want not!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

My Latest Addition!

DH and I went to the Caledonia area 30 mile yard sale today. It was a lovely time! Nice drive and great food when we stopped into Mahone Bay for lunch (Kedy House - excellent food!).

HOWEVER!!!!!

Just before Mahone Bay we stopped into a barn of junk for sale and noticed an unusual silhouette  stacked on many other layers of stuff. DH was first to spot it.

My heart did a little flip. It was a treadle machine, but not a shape I knew. It was smaller than expected and (after we hauled off some junk) identified as a Wanzer by the foot pedal. I needed to see it.

The man in charge was cranky and would not allow it to come down for viewing until I agreed to a general range of price. I don't know why, as DH did all the lifting. The more we looked the more we saw. All the important parts and pieces were there - bobbins and shuttle included! DH had it tucked in the car before the cranky man could tuck away the cash!

It's a Wanzer A - one of the early ones I think. That means 1870 to 1880 I think.

 Here is the machine lifted off the treadle. It lifts off and has a hand crank for table top use! The base is marble to give it weight.The top thread would be impossible to thread without very detailed instructions. At one point the thread passes through a guide for the second time, in the opposite direction. The bobbin is even more convoluted! It uses a series of holes for tension. However, if you do anything wrong the machine won't move. Excellent fail safes!

 Here is the first seam. I used paper towel so I could tear my way out of disasters. Saw that one on You Tube. It is a beautiful stitch! The bobbin thread broke, but then again it's probably 100 years old, so I'll forgive and forget.

Here it is in complete form. Don't mind the black tape. It's not as bad as it looks.


The top has been removed. The machine fits into the table to provide a flat top for work.

Here are the attachments. Those are the original instructions and they are readable. 

This is the presser foot. It has a hole for threading wire. I assume cording as well? Other feet slide over this foot to fit onto it.

Here is the bobbin wonder.

Here is the tiniest rolled hem foot I've ever seen. It slides over the presser foot.

And now off to the fireworks to celebrate!


Hogwash!

My raspberries are ripening like popcorn into an overflowing bowl. It's a good year! Popped one in my mouth last night and got a mouthful of wasabi. It seems that some bugs taste like wasabi. I'm not keen on those bugs.

Our groundhog is back! He/she is adorable, but likes to sample the salad bar rather than stick to one (and only one) squash like our last hog. The Lee Valley motion sensor water squirter is going back out! We are now keeping an eye out for the little rascal. It's called the 'Hog Watch'. It comes out as hog wash. After we admire him (so cute!) we gently shoo him away from the garden. You may roll your eyes now.

Sisters Week is over. We had a great time (what goes on during sister week stays....). The Fundy tides are amazing, and the valley has endless numbers of things to do! Mmm, lobster in Hall's Harbour! I made a sister week bag (Annika Market Bag) for everyone. I had another project planned, but it was NOT going to happen this year. Next year perhaps. It's all ready to go.




I like the bag pattern. It goes together in a sensible manner. The handles actually end up on the fold - and such a simple step makes it all more practical. You can line it (I did) or not. I embroidered both sides so a lining was tidier. The Great P designed the sister week logo for me. I don't do design software yet and she had just had a workshop. The other embroidery came from Urban Threads. They have great sales and monthly freebies!


Aren't we beautiful? 

Four days last week saw me at a Husqvarna Dealers Retreat, again in the Annapolis Valley. I've not sewn with a HV before and was a bit concerned I wouldn't like it. However, if you just assume a new machine works in a logical fashion, you seem to be correct - and things went very well. I had a Topaz 50 to work with. It's an embroidery machine aimed at beginner to middle enthusiast embroiderers. It's a bit slower to stitch things out and the screen you work with is smaller. Other than that it does a beautiful job and handled some pretty big tasks. For the bucks it's a bargain.

I accidentally embroidered some bag handles to the back of my work. That little machine just purred through all the 'extra' fabric. Usually you can hear a problem as it happens. I didn't, and the embroidery was just fine! The bag will be requiring a rescue. I have some handle strapping at home, I think. It will be good as new, and a testament to 'machine over stupid owner'.  I also put an embroidery stitching out of alignment. My fault. Don't leave clips where they shouldn't go. However, even with that little screen and fewer positioning tools we (it takes a village) got it back perfectly to finish a rather lovely piece of work.
















But look! Great embroidery on one side, thick strap on the other side! Impressive!







It was a dream come true weekend for a sewer. Compare it to hopping on an endless wine tour bus that just keeps on pulling up to another wonderful discovery! So much expertise in a room! So many things to discover! Wonderful people and wonderful fun. We started officially at 9 am (most people were early) and ended anytime after 10 - including a few midnights. No, you didn't have to do any of it. You just couldn't stop! You might miss something! You were dying to see how that would turn out! We even ordered our meals delivered to our room. Sewing heaven!


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

We Turn for Turtles!

So we drop the truck off for service and are driving home when....

I snap out directions for u-turning at the next driveway and the DH executes turn beautifully. There was a HUGE turtle (???) strolling the gravel parking at Red Bridge Pond! S/he was huge! We thought snapping turtle, but perhaps you have another call?

With the greatest respect for such an awesome beast I whipped out the phone to get pictures as we tried to determine where it was headed. It wasn't going anywhere with us watching, it seemed, so we took stronger measures. I hate to interfere but the road is really busy there, and Lake Banook is probably not the better choice for a peaceful locale. DH bravely picked the beast up and carried it to the pond edge. It snapped and wiggled hard all the way! Those jaws could do some real damage!

Water seemed to pour out of its shell as it was carried. That's what DH says. I think DH was being anointed. All is fair in love and war, after all.

DH is just disappointed I didn't get a video for YouTube. I've ruined his potential 15 minutes of fame and glory!