Monday, 17 December 2012

The Elephant in the Room

Christmas looms like an elephant. Dh keeps opening candy containers and we keep indulging. The trees are up and the new bath is almost ready for occupancy. My little sis is coming from Montreal to visit and that was a nice surprise! I've shovelled out the spear room and the MIL will be arriving Christmas Eve. Woo Hoo!

The guest room will always be the spear room. During a move we were using second hand boxes supplied by the movers. Therefore we have no idea who labelled it 'spear room', but that name stuck with us. It just makes sense, don't you think? I really need to find a spear for the wall. Maybe a nice spear rack?

I should be panicked by now over the terror of the unbought present. You know, the one in the nightmare where a dear friend or relative arrives and you don't have a thing for them. Or perhaps you're doling out the family presents and there's a hand out and you have nothing for it? I have those fears. I just don't let them out to run wild.

Today I was useful at work! I'm always useful in a worker sort of way, but I knew how to solve a problem. Someone with a rather expensive Pfaff called in. They had been cleaning the bobbin case and suddenly had an extra piece of metal in their hand. Of course I can't see what she is looking at and she can only describe it so much. I popped the needle plate off a similar machine and emailed her a picture. She ran down to her computer and could see the piece easily! It popped back in place and I was brilliant! Doesn't that just warm your heart? It's a small thing, but I was happy.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The last of the serious stuff.

Want to feel like you're doing nice things while in actual fact - surfing the net? Put one of those charity sites as your home page. Go to Preferences and copy the link you want to 'home page'. I use http://www.thehungersite.com.  When I open my browser I click on their Give link and I feed someone via their sponsors. It also gives you links to other donation  sites. Now all of these links are American focussed, but I like to support the third world countries. If you know of a good Canadian site let me know.

I'm chatting with a former student last week and she just grabbed my heart and squeezed. We were working on a writing assignment and it was to be a personal topic. She decided to write about a time when she had been teased by another student. The look on her face was all you needed to see to know how deeply this had affected her (several years later). She wasn't looking to strike out in anger, she was just remembering the deep hurt and confusion this time had brought her.

I was teaching her and the other student at that time and remembered the incident/s well. I was more concerned with the other student then as this little victim was only part of the carnage, and in fact the aggressor was a sad, frightened little person trying hard to improve. I did try my best with her then and spent some more time with her last week. Picture the look on this little brave and mature beyond her years face, and speak up for reduced class size and teacher supports such as teaching assistants, psychologists, speech therapists, art, music, social workers and on and on. When we put our best efforts into our children, well if you're not sure why we need to (and that would make me worry), think of your pension. You want your best work force working on it. Drug lords don't pay taxes.

Now I'm off to decorate my trees. There's the regular tree, the cat tree, the basketry tree, the doily tree, etc. It takes some time. I just stuck a candy cane in my Wayne Gretzky green tea to ramp up the mood! Very festive!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Fruitcake

I discovered a new dish tonight. You may be in the mood someday, so here it is. Sprinkle chocolate chips on a plate. Tear marshmallows in half and place the sticky side down on the chips. Microwave for 20 seconds. Watch the marshmallows puff through the microwave windows. Scoop and enjoy!

You really need to be in the mood.

I think my house phone has been broken for a week. I'm not sure. It's been quiet. I thought it was just peaceful, but we seem to be lacking a dial tone. I'll look into that someday.

The recent fire in the clothing factory that killed at least 112 people concerns me. What are we thinking? We need thneads (Read The Lorax. It's an important book) it seems. Dr. Suess saw this a long time ago, and we continue on regardless. Our lust for a cheap and constant feed of new things demands the exploitation of others. We can have no concept of what that means in this country. We can pause for thought. Where do you go with those thoughts?

It seems my DH likes fruitcake. I hadn't planned on that. I made 2 and we're currently nibbling our way through the last one. Now I know why that recipe called for 4 cakes. I'm getting a fruitcake belly! It's very festive. I think I'll put up my tree tomorrow to celebrate it.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Musings

I spent time sewing with a friend today. She's a lycra girl. My fingers disagree with her cutting tools and all that tough poly. I had to have another sticky plaster this week. I'm so delicate. It's interesting how we all have our own ways. I find what we do fascinating but would never have considered sewing lycra suits to be so interesting. I think it's also her approach and professionalism. We all have pride in what we are passionate about. It's good to find someone to share that with.

I did clean out my closet with great enthusiasm. I have nothing to wear! Now there's a dilemma. The 11 patterns I just ordered from Vogue may help with that. There was a sale, people! It was late, my cat died this week, I needed stuff. Now I have stuff and I do feel a bit better. I think I'm going to buy myself an iron too. A big steamy iron with bells and whistles and steam! Steam is good.

Yes, I'm getting in the holiday mood. I want to decorate December 1st. I want to nest in front of the fire and bake sweet things. I want to slow down just a titch. I want to giggle with friends and family. This means trying to wrap up my gift wrangling by December 1 as well. It's always the one thing that drives the Christmas anxiety for me. As I have in the past I like to make a pile of things and let family take what they want. It works for me. I don't tie up a lot of worry about getting just the right thing for each person. I don't worry about a present for every person. I let the gifts fall where they may. But it still means getting a pile together and I want that pile readyish by December 1st.

Such determination!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Lucille Finds Her Own Way Home

I did not have the best of mornings. That will teach me to rearrange the sacred day of domesticity! I decided to shop and do groceries before cleaning. It seems this is wrong. OK.

On my way to the first shop (candle wick) I wasn't sure where it was and turned down what I thought was a nearby street. I turned smartly as a police car was parked on the corner. He or she was as whacked out as I was as that street was one way, and neither of us seemed to notice my car was not headed in the right direction. Not to worry law person, I was properly scared straight on my way to the first cross street. No cars or people were scared physically in this debacle.

Got my wick. $.45 a meter at Maritime Hobby if you need some. Then off to the Superstore on Portland for groceries. Picked up sherry for the fruitcake and popped it in the car so I didn't need to deal with it. Back in the store I stopped in to the washroom first (yes, it's part of the story, you need to know). I remember putting my purse on the tidy door hook. I'm pretty sure I took it with me. Anyway, some shopping later I realize I have no purse in my cart.

No tears, no panic. In times of crisis save those thoughts for after, with the sherry. However I was adding up what was gone and figuring Christmas was off my list for the next 10 years. I'll try to make this long story short. There were many trips to the customer counter, parking lot (to see if my beautiful truck was still there), garbage cans (was it dumped?). I gathered an entourage as the crisis spread throughout the kingdom. Superstore people were great.

Fortunately I remembered early on that I had an iPhone, and had registered that puppy for Find My Iphone. Dashing off to the Aliant store in the mall I found all the employees were doing their best "I'm so busy" routines. When I couldn't get their extremely slow web browsers to work (an 8 year old was called upon for assistance and he was helpful) I knocked on the back door where 2 employees had just disappeared and I dumped my woes in their general direction. Aliant Mary got out her own iPhone and we used the Find app to locate my phone. IT WAS STILL IN THE STORE!!!

You could see it. The dot was at the back of the store. NOOOOO!!!!! It moved! We watched it move to the front of the store where it settled and stopped. With everyone searching, calling the phone (it quacks) and using the locator sound option we still had no luck. I also had to run out every 10 minutes and check on my truck. I love my truck.

Finally I hear my name paged to the Joe Fresh counter. This was at least an hour later. It seems my purse had been found in a shopping cart at the back of the store and these lovely (very wet behind the ears) ladies had brought it to their counter. They were so pleased to see me as the phone had been driving them crazy with all the ringing and quacking.

They never thought to answer it or take it to customer service, where all lost things go. I didn't burst their bubble by hammering them over the head with a ham, but I wanted to. I thanked them very much and then bought the ever faithful Aliant Mary with a Timmies card. That girl never left my side, which was good, as it was reassuring to watch that little red circle stay still.

Nothing was missing from the purse. I have no idea what happened. I had no cash - maybe someone was only after cash. Maybe someone just found it and set it out? Maybe I switched carts in mid aisle? I don't know. I just know I like to have faith in the people around me and it does seem to work out.

I went home and made fruitcake. Lots of sherry in that fruitcake! Some in me too!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Yoyos vs. lace

I have been a bit obsessed with yo-yos lately. I got a little yoyo maker at Sew With Vision and have been converting stash scraps into yo-yos ever since. Working there gives me way too many ideas. It can be done without thought while watching TV. I have quite a pile, but if I am to make a coverlet I think I need 2500. If I could just get a popcorn maker converted to popping out yo-yos? I need them at that rate. Whatever. For now they are fun.

Today the Lace Guild met at my house. I needed that. I haven't touched my lace in way too long. I'm still working on the same endless lace edging. I hope I can stick with it this week as I've got the hang of it again. I can't watch TV and lace though - hence the yo-yos. 

Household hint - dump the oil from your recipe in the bowl first. Then everything else that goes into that cup just slides out. These are the things I know.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Former Day of Domesticity

I had my day of domesticity down to a science. Monday was the day to do the wash, house clean, buy groceries and run errands. It worked for me. Now I find things interrupt my domesticity and I need a new plan.

I volunteer at school Monday mornings now and it is really lovely. I get my needed dose of cute children and enjoy using what I know for good, rather than evil. I don't know how the evil thing would go, but the threat is out there.

The afternoon is not enough for me to get things done, and I seem to get distracted more easily. I was halfway through the kitchen debris today when the Met sent me an email to announce lots of PDF downloads I needed to get right away. They have loads of out of print books now available and there are great fashion books in there too. http://www.metmuseum.org/research/metpublications
is well worth a look people!

So now my house is only a little clean, and not so you would know for sure, and Tuesday is my day for Atlantic Lit class and dirt class. Tomorrow we test for ph! My soil sample is drying as we speak. Do I have the control needed to finish the clean Wednesday? Wednesday is far, far away.

I also have to clean the closet. I haven't trucked out the summer clothes yet. Each year when it gets just about that time, I start with the laundry. If I don't want to wear something again this season I just don't iron it. It goes in the pile. When the pile gets big enough, I complete the trade of summer clothes for winter. Everything needs to be ironed, of course. I consider each piece carefully. Is it worth the iron, or do I find it a new home? I plan to be ruthless this year. I always plan that way, but I really really want to mean it this year. I want to love all my clothes. Less would be fine, as long as I like them all.

Have you any suggestions?

And for those who keep asking if my Atlantic Lit prof is the famous Alexander MacLeod - well, who knew? I didn't, and he is. Take a look. I believe I mentioned the eye candy? I don't even pay for this!
http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/books/article/866164--alexander-macleod-s-giller-surprise

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Shirt Off My Back!

So Nocturne was a blast, as always! Tons of people out! I needed to spend more time planning our route, and I would have seen more in less time.  I missed the field of ceramic bunnies. It was a bit cold and I really paid for that the next day (and on and on) with an unhappy jaw. The highlight for me was the steamroller prints at the Dartmouth ferry terminal. The woodcut prints were carved from huge sheets of MDF. That stuff is tough to cut into! The skill was much better than I anticipated. I don't know why. I should never underestimate NSCAD. I'm glad they use Nocturne so well to demonstrate why we need to support them in our community. Our trip to their print (letterset) shop was impressive as well!

But back to the steamroller. They were doing large banner style prints and you could buy them for a reasonable price. I couldn't decide, and as they actually require a steamroller, placing an order after the night was not possible. However later in the night (as we were heading back to the car) they were letting people throw things in to be printed. I took the shirt off my back and printed the back. The front had princess seaming and I thought that might be a bad idea. Hindsight says I should have done the front, but now I look great coming and going!

Look at this process! They had a rather authentic guy driving the roller.  "Least likely to become an artist" written all over his yearbook! I think he came with the rental. The students rolled the carved wood with ink and this took time and a huge amount of muscle. They laid down the wood sheet and put the material to be printed carefully on top. They used a blanket for the first pass to absorb extra ink and rolled most things twice before peeling them off.






Thursday, 11 October 2012

Nocturne Halifax

Nocturne is this Saturday, and I can't wait! I went last year for the first time and it was wonderful. If you are anywhere near Halifax/Dartmouth this weekend you need to go and take everyone you know. Check out the schedule (http://nocturnehalifax.ca) or download the app. There are art events everywhere and you just roam the waterfronts and downtown areas looking for them. The app helps and keeps you up to date all night. I want to see the steamroller print making and the spinners.

Friday, 5 October 2012

All Stuck Up

So yesterday I tended to the fruit trees. We have a few little fruit trees and they had a buggy year, mostly because I refuse to spray and forgot to do the 'healthy' things you need to do in the cold, wet spring. As I spent the summer hand picking bugs each and every day, I probably won't forget again.

Who am I kidding? It will be cold and wet again next spring, so who knows?

But I did do the fall cleanup. First you wrap the trunk with a soft wrapping and then spread very sticky Tanglefoot over the wrapping. Bugs get caught as they go up or down. Then you spray some sulfur stuff (it's not a poison, or at least it's a natural poison) and then finally dig around the roots a bit. That's when I got into trouble. I think that may have been the wrong order to do things, seeing as the digging put my hair squarely in the Tanglefoot.

So today I shampooed with 2 servings of Goo Be Gone and followed with a chaser of 5 different regular shampoos. I'm ever so clean and fluffy now, let me tell you!

But none of this explains why or how I sewed a sleeve in upside down in the current project. However, if I held 1 arm up and 1 arm down, it did kind of work.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

I Just Can't Get Ahead

So I'm at the Home Depot (just the 'Po to us frequent shoppers) with my DH. He's off to look at things that explode and I tell him to meet me in the appliances. We end up meeting in the middle and I flag him over to the upright freezers. There's a cute little 8 cubic foot model I like. Over he comes. He gets the freezer in sight and starts. I'll try to get what he said as accurate as I can. You need the face and the tone to make it perfect. It was a cross between patronizing and delight.

"Ohhhh. That's right. It's fall and a wife's thoughts turn to nesting before the winter. Freezing enormous amounts of things and food and preserving. Huge turkeys and stuff. (He opens the freezer door) Is there a ham in here?"

All I could do was walk away. The freezer could not be discussed after that. Do you laugh, cry or throw things? It may be the nicest thing that man has ever said. He knows me so well!!! That is exactly what I was feeling. The garden is overflowing. I like to be well nested before the snow falls. As for the ham, for those in the know that is a well worn joke. (Look up perfect murder weapon) I do believe I can now say this marriage will last forever. Stick a fork in us. We're done.

Not getting rid of the ham just yet, though. Just in case. And we may go back to look at the freezer.




Saturday, 29 September 2012

What a great day! Yes, I know. The rain did put a damper on it for most of you. But I was at the Gaspereau Fibre Barn at a felting workshop. Love that place. They have 2 new llamas and 1 has a new babe in the barn. Baby llamas have a funny name. I can't remember what it is. Look it up, will you? Purl the cat was in attendance. Several chickens tried to prevent my departure and had to be escorted to safety. Love that place.

We learned to felt leaves on silk chiffon. It wasn't as hard as I thought it might be, and the instructors were excellent.  A good time was had by all! I am not good at picking colours, but it didn't seem to matter. Everyone went in different colour directions and it all seem to work well. First you carefully pull fluff in leaf sized bundles. Then you roll tips on each end and fatten up one side. You place leaves all over the silk in what you hope will be a workable arrangement. Then you soap it up carefully, sandwich it in plastic and the smooshing begins. Much smooshing and turning and rolling later (involving bubble wrap and boot trays and the occasional orbital sander) the leaves had felted into the silk and it was a done deal. The scarf shrinks about 30 cm before you're done.



I love it. I picked up supplies and plan to try things again.



Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Why?

Why is it people can't replace the toilet paper roll?

I used to think it was just men, but no. After all I do use the women's washroom when I'm out, don't I? It's not that hard and you have time, while you're sitting there doing other things. People, really! Just do it!

Now for a cross post from the Atlantic Sewing Guild blog. I post there as well, and sometimes I want to post the same stuff here.


I follow a blog called The Sartorialist. Much of the time it's not great, but occasionally it comes up with a gem. It's a blog of pictures from the street of fashionable looks. 
Look at this top. It takes the Chanel trim a bit further. The side seams seem to be on the right side and fringed. Bias fringed trim on the bottom edge and perhaps down the sleeve - or is that again seams gone wild? Off to look for stash fabric to try this out.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Where has the time gone?

It's been a busy week or two! First I started a job! It's only 1 day a week, sometimes 2 and that suits me perfectly. It's at a sewing store, with machines and fabric and notions and classes and thread and neat stuff! Me in a candy shop. I do find I'm tired at the end of the day. I'm currently car pooling with DH most of the way, and then with a co worker the rest of the way. I enjoy that. It's quite civilized.

I'm going to learn tons of new stuff I think. I was watching a machine user lesson and learned about the most easy and perfect button holes ever. Many customers are quilters and embroiderers. I know little about those things and they are keen to share. It's also the business world, and not at all like teaching. I do enjoy a change of scenery!

Now Tuesday is a busy day. I have basket weaving options in the morning, although I avoided that meeting so far. Today I cut iris leaves and put them to dry. That will be a good project to take to meeting soon. I have a basket in mind, I just can't seem to commit yet.

Then I went to a free SMU class at the library on Atlantic Canadian Lit. We are still back in the 1400's but will work our way up throughout the year. It's an hour long once a week and well attended. I need to get to the book store and pick up the book ($13).  Maybe I'll get a SMU sweatshirt while I'm there. The prof is very knowledgeable, entertaining, funny, whimsical and not so bad to look at. Not bad at all. Nope. He certainly has my attention.

Then I was off to dirt class for the first time. I now have to call it soil class, as it seems there is a significant difference, apparently. Today we covered rocks and minerals. We're also starting at the beginning (of time).

This week I work 2 days. I need to rest up tonight so I don't yawn too much. Napping on the job is discouraged.

I have day lilly plants for sale. Funds support my local Grandmothers to Grandmothers group. Name your price and come get a few. Or just come get a few. They need a good home before the snow flies.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Cookies!

I made the best cookies in the world yesterday! I didn't burn them (noteworthy!) and it was a big batch.

They were so good! I had one, and then another, and then it got totally out of hand! I made them for company for dinner, but both DH and I were eying those cookies all through the meal. Thank heavens they ate only 1 or 2. I would not have wanted to slap the MIL across the table, but things were a bit tense there.

After they left we took the basket downstairs and finished them off. I can never make them again. Never, never, never! So sad, as I grew the cutest little sugar pumpkins just for this kind of baking.

Well, my first day of work is approaching. Maybe a batch to take with me?

Now, so you can avoid this terror yourself, DO NOT go to Canadian Living web site and DO NOT download the recipe for pumpkin hermits (http://www.canadianliving.com/pumpkin_hermits.php). It's just not worth it people. No. never. Promise me, please!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Working Girl!

I got a job! Well, it's really more like I get to help out in a candy store, and they expect me to arrive and depart at a certain time. The local Pfaff dealer wanted someone for a day a week, and I was all over that. She has a great shop, with threads and fabric and notions and machines that go whirr and so much stuff! My head spins! So I figure it's exactly for me. A little mad money and a LOT of neat stuff to try and learn.

Oh. I might get to be helpful as well. Here's hoping on that part. Don't want to get fired from my first new job in 35 years. However I will be working with really nice people, so I hope they'll be able to keep me on track. I do get to pat the fabric (I saw linen!) and play with the machines. It's a perk, they say. Perks!

I think I'll need a whole new wardrobe. The working girl wardrobe. This could get very interesting. I think I'm going to be very happy there!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Remember the Frog?


Remember the frog we rescued from the puddle, because it may get hit when the cars went through?

This is the puddle.  The next picture shows the puddle under the wheels as they slide into a turn. I get to drive next month. This is SOOOO much fun! Until you hit a tree. Then the fun is pretty much over. Yep. Pretty much.

We All Brake For Ducks

So today I'm on my way to Hfx, when I have to stop. If fact, traffic is stopped in both directions right there by the pond, as a large flock of ducks cross the street in the crosswalk. They're on their way back to the pond. Perhaps they were on their way back from dropping the ducklings off at school. Who knows, but they were most orderly. There actually is a 'Duck Crossing' sign on the road there. I grew up on the pond. Ducks cross frequently and with little regard for cars. I was impressed with their use of a crosswalk.

I was on my way to drop off a cheque for SCANS where I have registered for the class on dirt. For $135 I can take as many classes as I like. Some people take up to 5 classes a week! All taught by experts in their fields and lasting 6 to 12 weeks each. A steal, much more than a deal! And they changed the start time, allowing me to go to the library lunch time session on Atlantic Canadian literature. Now the new start time was due to a misprint and not me, but I did appreciate it.

Then I was off to a lecture by Niki Jabbour. I have her gardening book. It was excellent and she signed my book for me. Yah! On my out I collected some flower seeds that were basically jumping into my bag. Once you discover seed collection you get quite clever about it.

I'm working on a lining for my raincoat. It's not going well. However I have given this project enough time and I've decided to just get on with it. Other fabric is calling to me! Loudly!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Getting Busy

We got a great load of dirt today! My boy is very happy and digging up a storm. Gardening is a good hobby. I love to weed. Good thing, as I have an amazing crop of those. Everything smells spicy at this time of year. I love it! I have pumpkins growing, which I didn't know. I thought they were squash, although I do have them too. It gets confusing.

The beginning of fall is so exciting! It's time to sign up for things and check out new opportunities. We retired people have lots of those. Tomorrow I help with registration for the seniors college (SCANS). I want to sign up for the classes on soil. Looks promising.

I have the Wednesday afternoon movie schedule in my calendar. These are at the local library. I haven't seen The Artist and it's first. I have a felting class in September in Gaspereau and the knitting shops and sewing shops are putting out their class schedules.

My sewing, lace and basketry guilds are starting back up. I need to consider a schedule for my projects. I hate to neglect anything, and I have been. There are great people in each group, each group very different.

The library is having sessions on neat topics. They are also having a college course on Atlantic authors, but it conflicts with my dirt classes. Can't have that.

I also want to volunteer at my old school. I enjoy that. It's a completely different view of education, students and teachers. I get to relax and I am so impressed by what I see. Without any responsibility I can enjoy the wonderful things I see without worrying about the junk that comes with working there. Yum!

I also want to help more with the car racing. I also get behind the wheel next month, as well as make my second appearance as co driver.  Again it really sharpens you up to take on a new learning curve. How many years do we let things go on the status quo without taking a chance on something new? It doesn't need to be a big thing to perk you up.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Be Kind to Frogs

Dh ran a big car rally this weekend and it was a huge success! This is a growing sport and he's been a big part of bringing it along. I am a big help of course. Someone needs to mop the worried brow. Well, people drove very fast and had a great time. Our car (lent to friends) ended up on an off road excursion, so it won't be home for a few days. It's resting and recuperating. I've sent a card and flowers. I decided I was too tired to watch DH unload the truck, so it waited till Monday.



So Friday we were setting up the course when we came to what would be a fast corner. A rut in the road had a bit of water and a smallish frog residing. We knew froggie had no chance against the cars and there was no other water to move him to. Not a problem. On Saturday DH transported said frog to a safer and wetter location some way down the road, using the approved amphibian transportation device below. Good thing I asked before my next Tim's stop.


Just to give you an even clearer look at DH, he set up a fruit fly trap next to his fruit bowl. It looked almost like mine (glass of vinegar with plastic wrap on top) on the other side of the kitchen, but instead of poking holes with a knife to let the flies in to their drowning death he used a fork to make breathing holes. Love that man! I just can't figure out why he had more flies than I did.

Yesterday I took Percy for a walk. We got to the top of the driveway hill and he plopped down to watch traffic go by below. Therefore I pulled up 2 chairs (he got the one with the cushion) and we sat and sipped a cold drink for quite some time. If karma comes around the way it should, someone will push me out there in my wheelchair when I get to that point. Most pleasant.

On Saturday I went to Lake Banook to watch the Canadian Canoe Championships. My sisters and I met Olympian Emilie Fournel when we presented her with a trophy (in memory of our mother) for Senior Ladies K1. She was just lovely! We were pleased to find her a reasonable height! I spent a great day with the sibs seeing all the people we hadn't seen in the four years since the last Nationals. Thanks for the beer, Kim!



It rained today and I read a book. I was going to go off and do 'worthwhile' things, but then I couldn't figure out why, so I didn't. Tomorrow, the sewing room I think.



Friday, 24 August 2012

I may have said too much about my bottom in the last post. Sorry. The Canadian love affair continues, however.

This week the Canadian Championships for flat water sprint canoe and kayak are in town on Lake Banook. All the Olympic paddlers are there, so it's got great eye candy. I remember my paddling days fondly, but I don't miss the wonderful feeling of sheer terror and nausea as you approach the start line. There's a whole new generation experiencing that this weekend. Good on you!

DH and I are working hard on his race this weekend. He is the organizer for the Ledwidge Lookoff Rally.  Today we put up signs and kick rocks off the course. It's dirt road racing at its best, people! Actually it's as close to a date as we get lately, so I make the best of it. When it's over I should have my man back again. The next race is much less work, so we get to compete as well. I hope to repeat my great success as navigator, and maybe get up the guts to drive as well. We'll see.

Now I'm off to walk the cats before we leave. My cats are quite old, so they do a round or two of the driveway. It is a long driveway. At this point they actually walk at my heel quite well, with me going "Don't eat that!" all the way around. Grass makes them barf. If they would get that out of their systems before they come in, I'd be fine with that.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Bottoms Up!

I'm so glad to be a Canadian. We take so much for granted at times. You have to love a country where they nag call you kindly to come get your breasts neatly pressed and folded once a year so you know they are lump free. I do miss the cute BB shot markers they used to use to mark the 'apex', but that's supposed to be better technology, so full steam ahead I say.

Now they want to know about my bottom! They seem to have a rather selective interest in just the private and personal bits! I got this lovely package in the mail so they can sample my poo in search of non poo things. It's a screening that all of us 'rounding the bend' people get. Finally an answer to "Does my poo stink?". I've always wondered. Can't wait to find out!

Now I could live somewhere else where they really don't care to ask or answer these important questions.  Unless you have a lot of money or are a king or something. Nope. Here in Canada they love my bits and pieces regardless. Thank you. Much appreciated.

Friday, 17 August 2012

The Supportive Gardener

I'm looking out the window and for the hundredth time telling DH that the pear is too droopy (he's not even there). We have some fruit trees and decided to pick the blossoms this year as they are still young. Next year they will be old enough to do their thing. However we missed a few and the pear tree is having a pair of pears. So exciting! One beauty is on a low branch and is getting weighty. We are so proud. The branch has been bowing and I couldn't stand it any longer.
It's now nicely supported by a crutch. You just can't do enough for your children, can you? If the deer find this one I may cry. I hear if I go out and pee nearby....

Nope. It's just a pear. Get over it.

New yarn store in town! Dartmouth Yarns, across from the post office on Queen St.  They have some lovely selections. www.DartmouthYarns.com They had some interesting jewelry kits, along with the usual eye candy.



Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Post Olympics

They're over, and I feel the withdrawal. Love Custio Clayton (still don't understand boxing) and the women's soccer team.

I finished a shirt for DH. He has yet to wear it, and I need to check fit. I think the shoulders are off. I've also never fit a man before. There are no curves! I'm needing to check man pics to see how those shoulders should look. You'd think I should be able to look at shirts he owns, but I have and none of them look good. Why haven't I seen this before?

I am almost finished the cute pink sweater. I know, it's like not making it to the finals, as the sleeves are not done and I have a side to complete too. A Ravelympic failure. I forge on, as I do have a September deadline. I do know now how to make holes (lace like holes) in knitting. Holes that are meant to be. They aren't too difficult, but I talk to myself through the whole row and swat those who dare to talk to me then. I have ripped too many stitches out! Go away!

The coat I planned is not cut out yet. I traced off a size and then decided it would not do. It's not an easy decision. I've been sleeping on it, and will have another go tomorrow perhaps.

BUT!!!! I spent 2 wonderful days at the Merb! I scored an invite from a friend to her cottage at Melmerby Beach and it was so beautiful! We kayaked, ate, drank, swam (she made me get wet all over!). She is truly one of those people who do everything for guests. I came prepared with food and stuff but I had to be very strong. If you don't exercise a lot of self discipline she will cater to your every whim and relax you to the point of coma. From a coma position it is very difficult to help with the dishes. I know. I tried. This was not my first visit and I wasn't completely shameless. Somewhat, but not completely. This of course was motivated by the fact that I am always keen for more invites.

There was entertainment. Lots of small children roam the beach and all the cottages are arranged like the Kennedy compound. Everyone is more or less related, so little cousins play with little cousins all day long. It's the way summer life is meant to be I think.

I went to Staples last night, and not because it was August. Teachers get the itch in August to buy pencils and shiny things. I couldn't find the non school item I was after and left without anything. Yah! There were families (unhappy families) buying school supplies everywhere. I think I must be truly retired. I had no itch or urge. Feeling good!


Monday, 6 August 2012

Sewlympics

I'm loving the Olympics! It's been a rainy week, so I have been inside glued to the TV or iPad screen and working on my promised Olympic projects. CTV has been doing a great job and their iPad app is excellent! I use that as my portable TV and can check on what's going on easily.

I may have to bite the bullet and buy bifocals. For sewing or knitting I take glasses off. Then I can't see the TV and have to treat it like radio - just listen. Depending on how intense things are, I may lose crafting time as I need to watch. It's a trade off and these are 2 of my fav things! I shouldn't have to choose. Damn!

My socks are done. They were going to be a present, but I made too many mistakes. I will love them just the way they are. Perhaps those missed stitches were intentional in a subconscious manner, as I do love the yarn. I could not knit without youtube. Those toes were grafted in front of my fav toe grafting video. I'd never remember something so tedious that gets used for 2 minutes 3 times a year. Now I don't have to and I knit on fearlessly. See how the socks match? They were knit from 2 different balls of yarn. I didn't know they knit up identically until I was 3/4 of the way through! Nice!

I also youtubed lace stitches today so I could start the Felicity sweater. Felicity is my nephew's (and wife's) latest production. I wanted to try lace stitches and a baby sweater is small. The plan is to finish this by the end of the Olympics. Hopefully there aren't too many tense Olympic moments coming up to slow me down. Is that optimistic or pessimistic thinking?

I have been sewing up a storm. I want to get some fitting issues solved and out of the way. I think I have a pretty good T-shirt fit finally. The armscye still needs work, but I'm happy for now. I have a new T-shirt and expanded that pattern into a dress. With the dress I went with a crew neckline. I never do that, but I decided it's easier to cut the neckline when the garment is ready to finish. I popped the dress on and liked it the way it was. DH thought it was a good look for me as well. Crew necks are supposed to be bad for short busty women (men too, probably). I may need to rethink this. Perhaps it's the fabric. It's quite a vivid pattern. As to the dress, I think it needs a bit more flare in the skirt. I also took a lesson from my 1912 garments and curved the back seam at the waist. This really makes a difference and feels so nice. It makes putting in a back seam worth the effort.

I debuted the Jolie pattern for a tennis skirt. Oh I love that pattern! It's been for its first walk/run in the park and it was perfect! Comfortable and practical! Pockets in the side panels. Wide waistband. Perfect length and so well designed and instructions that work well! I will Jalie again!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Rocky Raccoon

I slept really well after the mouse attack. I needed a good amount of z's to make up for that night. It seems I also needed to prepare for last night.

One thing I do remember from mouse night is being woken up by DH earlier on to check on our 2 aged cats. He thought he heard scratching and little growls. Both cats were fine, nothing else seemed out of place, and we went back to sleep. Then the mouse attacked! You know the rest. Well not all the rest. It seems I wouldn't settle when he said he had gotten all the mice. I was only reassured when he told me Amy have gotten all the mice. She's the best mouser cat we have. I trust her.

Last night he wakes me up and I too can hear the scratching and tiny little growls. However this time they are coming from the bathroom window. Directly below is our green bin. He gets dressed and fetches the proverbial '10 foot stick' from the basement. The lid is raised, the bin is knocked on its side, and out peeks a raccoon! Finally I get to see a raccoon! I've previously just had the displays of garbage mess to tell me they exist. Oh, and once I heard a really bad fight in the trees out back. But I've never seen one.

Well I got to see two. After this guy finally crawls out he is joined by a larger racoon from around the side of the house and the two waddle off up the hill.

The green bin was pretty empty. Poor thing got in there somehow and fell right to the bottom. Now in hindsight (meaning I couldn't get back to sleep last night) I think he was in the green bin two nights ago as well. It was full then to overflowing. I had stocked up on weeds from the gardens. These were weeds I didn't want to compost. On top was a little chicken and the lid was not down tight. I may have been asking for it there, don't ya think? So I think those were the scratchings and growls from mouse night. I just hope the little guy wasn't in there long last night. I wonder who the other raccoon was? Mom? Sibling? Partner?

On a more amazing note, one of the aged cats and I went out to the patio to read a magazine and enjoy the sun. Percy is at the stage where a good sunning can be lovely on his old bones. I learn much from him. He sits on a well cushioned patio chair and sniffs the breeze before falling into light cat nap. I'm reading the latest edition of A Needle Pulling Thread. It's a great Canadian needle craft magazine that is well laid out and has a great variety of projects. If you haven't seen it, give it a try. It's at Chapters.

 Here's Percy. Note the green bin in the background.

So I'm enjoying the magazine when I hear a really loud buzzing close to me. I look up and there is a hummingbird not 2 feet from me, checking me out. I freeze and the little guy buzzes around me for a good 30 seconds before going off to the hosta bed. Amazing! It was like looking at a perfectly still bird with a blur where the wings should be. I was wearing a bright red polyester shirt. Now if that was the attraction, I may never take that ugly thing off! Percy slept right through it. I do wish I had his ability to sleep at times!

Tonight the Olympics kick off. I have my yarn and sewing projects ready. Ravelry knitting site often has challenges during sporting events. You start a project with the athletes and finish before the last medal is handed out. They just finished the Tour de Fleece I believe. There is a controversy over the name for this event. The US Olympic Committee sent them a cease and desist order as they planned to call it the Ravelympics. You can't use the Olympic word it seems. Well that would have been fine, but then the USOC went on to say it was degrading to the athletes to be associated with knitting projects. Ravelry is a huge site with over 2 million intelligent, opinionated and creative members. You can imagine the outcome! Now we are knitting in the Ravellenics. Whatever! I'll be finishing some socks and a baby sweater. So cute in a soft pink yarn! Also so little, so I should be able to get his done. I also have shirt and coat planned for the sewing project. DH just got the TV in the sewing room on the correct mode (yah!) and I have the CTV app on my iPad. I'm ready!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Mouse Attacks!

Have you ever seen the movie Mars Attacks? So worth it! Tom Jones sings to a bluebird and speckled fawn to cap it off. Everyone who is anyone is in it, and it spoofs so many things you can't possibly keep track.

But I digress. Last night I woke DH (but not myself) by getting up and searching my pillowcase for mice. He finally told me he got them all and I went back to sleep. I got the story this morning. Where the heck did this come from? I have a few thoughts. First of all when he got home last night I was soooo cranky! Took me a while to get that why down. I had been working on a Jalie pattern for a tennis skirt thing with attached pants. I ignored the stretch requirements (who needs 4 way stretch, really?) and the first attempt did NOT fit. I looked like an over ripe sausage in the green bin - ready to explode! To make matters just so much better my new cover stitch machine has it out for knits. I've tried what I know but I need help with that thing. In hindsight that kind of day was not the best background for greeting one's spouse. More a 'duck and cover' type of day.

But to get back to the mice in the pillow - the bad mood plus the weekend activities may have joined forces. DH was digging up a rubble pile (we have a few of those lying around) and felt what he thought was a spider inside his shirt. He stopped to dig it out but it travelled down his shirt, down his leg and then back up to his shirt. Mighty big and speedy spider, don't you think? He realized what was happening and grabbed the lump around his waist. It squeaked and he threw it (he says gently). The little mouse ran on his way. Now thank heavens he had his James Bond swim trunks under his pants! Their sleek fit may have saved us some serious problems!

So I think all of this May have led to the mice in the pillowcase. I'm not really sure, and I remember none of it.

So today the third try on the tennis skirt was a success. I like it! I haven't done a Jalie pattern before, but it was excellent. The instructions, the pattern paper, the diagrams - all made sense and worked well. I'm going to do more of those! However, next time I will pay attention to the stretch requirements. I just wanted to use stash the first time into it. Cute, eh? Perfect for walking in the park. I do find the waistband rolls as I sit here. Perhaps it will get an inner wide elastic lining next time.




Wednesday, 18 July 2012

My Day

It's my B Day! I had great day. First I watched 5 birds sit on the peak of the garden shed and pick off hornets as they emerged from the eaves where they have a nest. Smart little things! Then I put on my favourite (underwear optional) muumuu and went to my sewing room. I spent many wonderful hours rearranging, patting fabrics, organizing and dusting. Ahhhh.....

All this was in eager anticipation of the arrival of 4 patterns from Jalie. Thanks to Canada Post I knew they were on the truck and heading my way. Amazing! They in deed arrived this afternoon. Thrills! The guy didn't knock on the door - I found out they were there because the web told me they had been successfully delivered. I was ready to show that guy a warm welcome! He missed out big time.

I also spent a lot of time working with my new coverstitch serger. It's great on wovens but skips stitches on light knits. As that is what I want to do, I'm drinking a nice light white wine right now. I need a consultant. I have knit projects lined up!

My man got me a great cordless drill. I love it. Ive always wanted one, it just took him a few years to take me seriously. Men worry about the 'dreaded appliance' gift. Some appliances are truly gifts however, and this is one. He could certainly see me with a drill, it was the gift part I think that concerned him.

I have a lot of reasons for wanting a drill. All practical reasons. However, the best reason of all comes from Maya Angelou. Check it out.

http://blendnewyork.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/maya-angelous-best-poem-ever/



Sunday, 15 July 2012

I am a very fast woman

I got home from a week in Montreal with my sisters yesterday and my DH announces that we are racing in a rally today. I've never actually driven rally before. I have driven track and I help at rallies, and I have driven parking lot rally sprints. Full speed rally over dirt roads in the woods is different. It's fast, cars do occasionally roll and the driver must work with the co driver to be able to travel at top speed. I was the Co Driver! I've always wanted to do this and worried about how I would do. The Co driver reads instructions to the driver as he/she drives full speed into blind corners. I was concerned about a lot of things. First of all I didn't know if I could read, keep an eye on the road and not throw up. Then you really have to give the instructions at exactly the right moment in the right spot. You need to 'keep calm and carry on'. You also need to ignore the fact that you're being driven at ridiculous speeds by someone other than yourself.

I did great! I loved it! I messed up a bit on instructions at times but we didn't go off the road and DH was pleased. We were working from instructions another driver gave us as I wasn't there yesterday to make up my own with Ron. I think it will go even better with our own wording and pacing. So now I think I'm a natural born co driver. I can't wait to do it again, and I think I'll be asked back. Too exciting for words!

We did well. DH got smoother at each turn. He hasn't driven rally himself in a long time and he so loves it. We were classed in the end as an 'exhibitionist' entry so we didn't get a prize. The prizes are these cute little brass plaques you can stick to your car dash. But our unofficial standing was 'outstanding'!

I have always enjoyed racing with the DH. We work well as a team I think. We have fun. The people we race with are great people and so supportive of each other. DH organizes the races and he does it so people can play and have fun. It's a huge commitment on his part, but he seems to find the rewards well worth the effort. If you have the ability to organize events and can do so for the right reasons, the rewards are huge. I'm so glad he sees this. He surrounds himself with people who also see this. They appreciate each other, and have a good time. What more could you ask for?

http://users.hfx.eastlink.ca/~hmmerk/SlideShow/index13.htm
Here are some pics of us in our car. Ron is in red and that's the top of my head!


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

An Apple a Year

I am in Montreal and took advantage of the opportunity to visit the genius bar at the local Apple store. I took my phone, pad and an older pod that wasn't working. I so wish we had one at home. They are helpful and just have tons of neat bits of info. My pad was Immaculate! Isn't that good to hear? It's like hearing your child was polite! I have a picture of me and my genius but can't figure out how to get it loaded from within my iPad. If only I were back at the store. This means you'll also have to wait for pictures of the 5 sisters in matching bikinis and the amazing fabric steals I got! I have a new place to shop! It's good to have friends who know things. Now we are off downtown to explore. We take the train and the Metro. A good transit system is a joy.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

A Closet For Me

For those of you who need to know, after 48 hours the spiderlings moved on to start their own lives. For those of you with adult children still at home, what can I say? Arachnids are 'da bomb'!

I'm looking for the real me. I often choose my wardrobe by what fabrics and colours appeal to me. Labels as well, let's be honest here. I want to sew most of my own clothes and I want to chuck almost everything I own and wear things that suit me, make me feel great and look attractive. Is this too much to ask?

I hope not.

So I have been taking pictures of me in things I wear. I'm getting some thoughts together, but I don't have a solid set of rules yet.

I did have my colours done and also had a consult on styles as well. That was about 20 years ago, but I still have the swatches. I have to say the colours tend to be the ones that get me compliments.

So here is me in a pink linen dress I loved making. The contrast piping and belt were fun and I topstitched the seams with a wing needle for a statement touch. It was the type of sewing I really like to do. The dress however does not do much for me. I do like to wear it and admire it, but really it's a bit frumpy.


Then I bought a Michael Michael Kors skirt ($4.50 at Frenchy's) and I like that. I bought it because of the great linen and neatly tucked away front pockets, but here it does seem to do good things for me. Perhaps because the colour is on the bottom and may be balancing out my top? Also the pink belt above seems to cut me in a bad spot and focus attention on my upper assets. Below I have an indent at the waist but the cut line is below.


So far what I'm seeing is that v necks are good and my skinny hips need to be fluffed a bit to balance my upper parts. My waist is OK but should be skimmed over lightly without a cut line. Perhaps a bit of a sleeve cap will help with the balancing act as well. What do you think?

Oh, and I have great legs. From the knee down, at least. And I need a haircut, as usual.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Spidermen and Women

For the past 2 days I have been entertained on the back step by the birth of an egg sac of spiders. They seem to have been born on a roll of aluminum tape I put out to recycle. Now of course it stays until they no longer require it. Most of them have flown the coop, so to speak. But a resolute group remains 'in the nest'. They wander a few feet and then run back again to nap in a group. I check on them every few hours and they are always up to something.



I've been painting the house foundation wall. It's hard to do without injuring, killing or at least painting a few bugs. I hate that. I'm pro life when it comes to bugs. Considering the sheer number I'm up against on the house foundation, it hasn't gone as well as I usually like. I've found myself having a stern talk with me about my casual nonchalance regarding bug attrition during my painting. Sometimes you just need to slow down and remember what's important. I didn't, and now I feel regret. My little spiderlings are a good reminder. I promise to relocate slugs and lilly beetles with more care this week. There's plenty of yard for everyone, after all!


Thursday, 21 June 2012

Shhh, I'm Not Talking

Today was my last day volunteering at school. I enjoyed it. I may even do it again next year. The teachers I worked with are excellent. I knew them previously as colleagues of course. We worked together and are friends. However, working in the classroom really shows me what excellent teachers they are. This year I was working with many children I had taught previously, so I knew them. To see how they developed and improved over the year has been wonderful. To see children taken from where I had them to a whole new level I hadn't even considered is so neat! It so impressed me to see such caring professionals do such excellent work. It almost makes me want to teach again. If retirement weren't such fun and indeed a full time job, I would consider teaching as a career all over again. I loved it. Working with caring, creative and brilliant people is a blast! Yep, that applies to both staff and students. I take great comfort in the fact that I have moved on, and those still in the trenches are so much better and kinder than I ever hoped to be. I am in awe of their brilliance.

DH was up back making a mountain out of a molehill when he was startled by 4 cute bunny babies sitting together under a fern. One of those Walt Disney moments for sure. I rescued a toad from our window well. And that seems to be the extent of the wildlife around here. I think everyone is too busy looking after their babies to visit. Usually we get a baby parade of ducklings on their way to the lake, but we missed it this year. You can't blink or you do. School had ducklings, so I got a good cuddle in there.

I got to see and touch the most beautiful wedding dress the other day! It had been worn by 3 generations of brides all married in the same church. Gorgeous silk with lace. It had been remodelled a bit between brides and you could trace the story of that if you followed seams and such. It was a like unlocking a mystery! Some of the renos had been done with a thread that may have then turned chocolate brown. It was so strange. The latest bride does not remember that brown thread, and there was enough of it to show for sure. The lace had also turned brown, but only matched the deepness of the thread where there was a snippet of lace contained inside the dress in a seam. The silk had gone from white to cream, but that was to be expected. I don't know what was up with the thread.

I love 'fancywork'. I believe I've mentioned this before. I have a huge collection of embroidery, crochet, tatting, lace and on and on. I usually swap my display collection around in the spring, but I haven't gotten around to it. Time to get to it. Nothing makes me happier than washing, ironing and admiring my collection.  I'm such a simple girl.

I forgot to say why I'm not talking!!! My voice is fading again. I lost it completely for a year a ways back, and I'm worried it's going again. Not talking (too much) is my plan currently, but it really seems to have no effect. Hear the pessimism? Shhh.... I'm not talking.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Button Holes

I got another buttonholer at Value Village today. I suppose 3 may be excessive, but this one is different! It's plastic and has more cams and some of those cams to make a bound buttonhole! I did leave a metal Greist one behind ($4.99 at Dartmouth VV) if you need one. These little puppies attach to your sewing machine and make perfect and identical buttonholes every time. I use mine on my straight stitch machines and love them.


Now the bound buttonhole happens by sewing the little box shape through the lip fabric and fashion fabric. Then you flip the flap inside, fold 2 lips and sew them down. The cams make the little box the same size every time. This is certainly one case of old ways being very worthwhile. Simple, reliable and consistent.

So this exciting day was brought to us by my sister, the one who has a birthday tomorrow and will then (along with her brother) be my age. For a month! This wasn't fun when we were little and bed times were age dependent. Now, it's the way we all remember how old we are. They ask me, I check with them. She needed company for an appointment and then we shopped VV and Guy Frenchy's. Some great finds were had by all. In my case a pink beaded purse and a red cashmere cardigan. She and I are different sizes, so if it wasn't for me it was often for her. Efficient, eh? I do try to school the sisters on how to reach into a pile and pull out the nicer natural fibres only. They're having limited success with this, but I continue to tutor.

By the way I am a WINNER! There is a great magazine here that showcases Atlantic books and authors. It's well written and opens you up to new things. I like it. It especially warms me up to the summer reading season. So, each edition they run a contest for a basket of books and I am the current WINNER! Look at my loot! Very handy arrival, as this is my first June when I won't be getting teacher presents, and those usually include many Chapters gift cards. A book buying trip always starts off my summer. Now it's done for me!




Thursday, 14 June 2012

Learning To Parlez

Well, OMG! I signed up for the Frenchy's Challenge at Sewing Guild. Explanation needed for those who don't live here. Frenchy's is a clothing store where clothing is often second hand or store rejects, sold from bins cheaply. You can find great things there. I have a lovely Armani dress for example, purchased for $4. Going to Frenchy's is an Atlantic Canadian activity and this term may be used even if the store is Not a Frenchy's. I prefer Guy Frenchy's, but now we are really getting into it.

The Guild sent off a shopper to buy clothing that was then placed in bundles by colour theme. You drew a bundle, unseen, as you were called up. I got picked last - the tension was just like junior high gym as you can imagine. I was sweating.

I got tan and I was not looking forward to the reveal. It lived up to my expectations - blah! Now to be fair, I think I was too excited and expecting far too much. However I am a natural fibre snob, and I'm looking at white polyester (undyeable) beaded with plastic. Time to give my head a shake and woman up to the occasion!

I threw it all in the wash and sadly it all survived that and the dryer too. I was forlorn and depressed. There are elephants on the black skirt, so it would be wrong to acknowledge this high point. There just weren't enough of them (elephants and high points both).



Off to bed. Bed is a nice place. Warm, cozy, cat sleeping on my head, husband tucked under my arm. All is peaceful. And then it happens!

 At about 3:30 am I realized how to solve the fabric dilemma! It won't be easy, but it will be fun. So now I feel much better and  as a reward I went off to Guy Frenchy's myself and got some great silk skirts to line a jacket.  

I feel much better!

No, I can't tell you my plans. You will have to wait with everyone else until the big reveal in October.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

I am a rainy day sewer! It's been cold and wet here lately and I am in the sewing room being productive. I am supposed to have my Little Black Dress finished for a show and tell next Tuesday. Therefore I am avoiding. I cleaned the whole house, organized, made lace, did laundry and cooked. Then I finally went to the LBD and found a few other unfinished projects to help with the delaying. I now have a brown silk shirt and my 1912 slip is done. I even bought fabric for a shirt for DH. 

So finally I dug out the LBD parts and pieces. What was I thinking! The top has a million pieces of what I think is a rayon brocade. It's beautiful, but really unstable to work with. I underlined it with silk organza but have come to the conclusion that organza is a poor stabilizer during the sewing process. It does its best work after the sewing is done and it adds body. I have puckers at the bosom and no idea how to make those bias seams drape smoothly. It may come to drastic measures, as soon as I figure out what that may be.

I did add the shirt to the top. This does help it to hang properly. I am also now wearing my famous black lace bustier for fittings. Now I know why I needed one of those things! It smooths all my wiggles to the waist, and a fitted top looks more like it should. This dress will also need lingerie snaps, as it is off the shoulder and sleeveless. 

I have no idea how I will get a lining to fit. I've made so many alterations to the original pattern pieces that I have no reference for cutting out a lining. I have plans to use a knit for the top and do the skirt with something else. I pray for the forgiveness a knit may bring to the issue. Who knows? 

I am planning a lingerie rainy day. I need bras, panties and some nighties, etc. I think I will make a few longer bras. Something to smooth my wrinkles and I also find less of a band to be more comfortable. I'll let you know. Lingerie brings me to the news that Dallas is coming back to TV this summer! Remember Alexis in all those amazing teddies and silk slips? I'm ready for it. I have some sequined vintage items in the closet and also picked up some beaded belts at a recent rummage sale. Now for some shoulder pads! What did they drink back then? I seem to remember Bourbon, but that doesn't sound delicious or good looking. I'll keep searching for a drink. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

It may be a long night. We've run out of duck and bird seed. There has been a steady parade of fowl up and down the driveway, quacking, since noon. My ring tone is a quack, and it makes me jump when I hear quacking. The chipmunk went into the hoe hut and checked on the food situation for himself. I've not heard those words from a chipmunk before, and I plan to refresh stock tomorrow promptly so I never hear them again. Here are ducks, pacing in the driveway. They actually look in the window and quack!



I did spend the day at lace guild. I have started an edging that I plan to make lots of. I want to get some serious practice in. The pattern is a good level of challenge for me, I've only ripped out a few parts (twice) since I started. I make a roller pillow to work on. I have a little roller to work off of, and as you get some inches done they release off the back side and you keep going. Good in theory. I got some suggestions fro modifications from the other lacers. I will practice tonight and hopefully every day until I feel more comfortable. It's a cute little pattern. Other lacers bring show and tell to our meetings. We aren't even in the same ballpark, people. Mine looks like string in an organized tangle next to theirs. However, someday.

I have been sewing and also bought some patterns this week. I don't use patterns often, but I do like the idea of someone else designing for me. It's tricky figuring out what design detail to put where. I need to make a Chanel jacket and I got a pattern for that. I bought this wonderful Chanel fabric years ago in Montreal and it's time to move on it. I also saw some amazing macrame type lace trim today and wonder how that's done. Then I got a lovely slinky vintage evening dress that will make a better nightgown. I have some silk charmeuse that wants to be that dress. I have people who travel with me who need to know I have a nightie. Fussy people, you know who you are!

Do you ever watch the Turner Classic Movie Channel? I love the vintage dresses. I saw a great dress with a cutout neckline, and a little band at the neckline to close off the dip demurely. This nightie pattern has a top with that sort of feature. I love old movies. The clothes are so amazing. If you watched The Help you know what I mean.

Speaking of vintage, I went to the Kermesse fair yesterday. I have gone every year for about 30 years. It's really evolved. It's much smaller now and there are fewer bargains. I did rescue some doilies and then scored some amazing beaded belts. Now I finally have something to wear with my sequinned jacket when Dallas returns to TV this summer. I can't wait!





Now last weekend the sisters and I went on our annual Mother's Day adventure. As usual we went the weekend after Mother's Day. Easier to get in to wherever we end up. Less crowd. So we loaded up little brother (we feared we might need a driver). First we drove to Kingsport to get him and it was so nice there that we never left. Well, we did go into town for wine and wieners. They have both at the CoOp. Also had some miniature doughnuts frying up right there on the sidewalk! Delicious! Sadly we passed the wine with more passion that the sunscreen, and there were consequences. It was a lovely day. We do plan to make it to Pete's Winery yet. This pic was taken Before lunch, which took the rest of the day. You can just see the fire pit if you look close. If you look closer, you can see that P is wearing polka dotted undies under those white pants. 


Thursday, 3 May 2012

Clarification

I meant nothing derogatory about DH in that last post. I spent years training that man to give me honest and useful feedback on clothes that I sew. He does it well, and when he gives advice it is well meant and well received. I know it's an unusual thing, but it works well for us.

I've been cleaning the house this week. I have actually washed ceilings and walls. When have I ever done that before? I do feel better. I think it has been bugging me for a while. I don't know why. I just needed to nest I guess. Thank heavens that feeling is fading! I did discover that the grout in the back closet never actually set. Bizarre! It must have been an old bag of grout and it had lost its ability to cure. The really nice thing was that bad grout vacuums up. It's sweet when a bad thing goes away 'just like that'! Of course, it doesn't say much about that last time I vacuumed or washed in here.

I have my third and last Tomato heel sock lesson tomorrow. Last week the lambs in the next door barn were frolicking with their moms and cousins. It doesn't get any more idyllic than that! Their guard llama was not available. Perhaps inside filling out his daily log.


On Sunday I had lace class in the valley with the group. I wasn't sure I wanted to go. I hadn't laced for a few weeks, felt behind I my homework, was feeling over my head.... I went anyway and had a wonderful day! The location was so lovely! We were in a lovely farmhouse with just a perfect feel to it. The hostess is an incredible artist in many areas, and her home reflected this. I got my brain sorted around the next steps in lacing. It was a good day. I keep forgetting how long it has been since I had to learn something so totally new. How do children do it? How do people survive their first month on the job?

How do we live without it?

Monday, 23 April 2012

That Man!

DH looks at me in my DNYD jeans and says that although he knows I like designer names, they don't always flatter my figure.

The man is brilliant. Now, of course I need to acknowledge this moment of truth and find what does flatter me. I can still appreciate the beauty of design and well made clothing. It just means I need to look at what I wear with a more personal eye. As I can sew and don't mind drafting my own patterns, WTH am I waiting for?

I think this may be the hardest thing in the whole world. Those jeans are comfortable, and they were on sale!

That poor man will be sitting down tonight and looking at me in all my jeans and getting a lot more specific about what does flatter me. He's had good training and he's actually very good at that. I think I'm lucky to have him.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Please Pass The Duct Tape

Thursday I went to school for the morning! I'm volunteering! I felt like the glove fit, I enjoyed it. The kids have all grown a year and are so brilliant! I think one morning a week will be good for me.

Friday I went to sock school. I'm learning to make a tomato heel. It's very smooth. Currently I'm working down the leg to this smoothness. Sock School is at Gaspereau Valley Fibres. It's located in beautiful farm country and they have a llama. Of course farm country in the spring can have a very pungent smell, and indeed it was fresh with fertilizer. Their sheep were having lambs this week and their llama is in charge of security. He takes his role seriously and kept me at bay nicely.

You knit round a farm table in a beautiful barn that has been converted into a gorgeous yarn shop. The product selection is amazing. If you ever get to visit, do so. Take lots of money. Pete's Winery is just down the road, if you need more encouragement. Tea breaks happen in a kitchen just off the shop. It's a most pleasant 2 hours. Two more classes to go. I've gone to slightly smaller needles and my socks look smoother. Hopefully they still fit.

So today I was edging a garden bed. I got out my new rubber hose to use as a straight edge. DH offered to get me a string and tie it up for me. I should have gone with that. I'm using the garden fork just like a pro when I jab without really looking, and put it right through the hose. My new hose has a hole. I couldn't have hit that hose if you gave me 10 free jabs. However, now I have a hole. Pass the duct tape please. I'm a little depressed.

Monday, 16 April 2012

What a great weekend! I dug in the garden. Too much, apparently. Why is that now I have the time to dig, my body isn't keen? DH moved a mountain to a new location by the stream. He built a retaining wall of huge boulders and filled it in. Now he's planning roses. Love that man! Thankfully one of us is an expert with a shovel. He's promised lessons.

The Basketry Guild made cattail ducks at the market this weekend. They take about 2 minutes and actually float. We had more adults trying than children. Now there weren't that many children, but it's funny how much the adults enjoyed it. It seems many thought they couldn't 'craft'. Ah, the simple things in life!

The Canadian women's hockey team won the World Championship after a rather tense game. It went to overtime. Last time they did this I injured my voice again. I was more controlled this time, but still. I taught 3 of Rebecca Johnson's (#6) cousins. Wonderful kids, and very athletic as well. They brought her to school after her Olympic win a few years ago. She was a bit shy but did a great job with the kids there. Sunday I wore the shirt she signed for me. It didn't help much with the digging.

Now, if you saw the Pittsburg/Philly game I'm sure you were as disgusted as I was. Seriously, their mothers were watching! Now if the moms had been on the bench, things might have been different. It was a complete loss of control for both teams. Philly came closer to playing hockey, and the score reflected that.

Please send your prayers to whatever deity you may favour. My phone may have gotten wet. So far it still breathes, but I am deeply concerned. That phone is a big part of my life! NO, not for making calls, silly. For everything else!

Friday, 13 April 2012

1912 Project Wrap

I just finished up all the things I wanted to try out on this pattern (wrap 400) from the 1912 Project from Vintage Pattern Lending Library. It was a lovely wrap pattern. Again, I love the way these garments are cut. It is meant to drape, and I kept wanting to pullet up around my ears. That's not where it goes. It's meant to drape elegantly around your shoulders and drip embellishment. It was made for a 36 inch bust. I am larger in the bust area, but small through the shoulders, so the fit was fine. The pattern itself is extremely easy to do. Proper embellishment is what makes it special, and that is up to the makers desire and expertise.

It's meant to be layered and beaded and such. I choose a soft embroidered wool fabric as I wanted to try out a few new techniques without really making something to wear. The wool gave me the weight and drape of what was intended in the finished garment, I think. I simply turned under the edges once and sewed them down. They don't fray. Then for the trial. Have you seen those crocheted edges on tablecloths and pillowcases? Where the crochet hook actually pierces the fabric and stitches a base chain that you then crochet into to embellish the fabric? I got out some sock yarn and tried that. It was surprisingly easy to pierce the fabric. I put a single crochet into each hole made and chained 5 stitches in between each hole. Then  made a second round with a scallop (sc, dc, trc, dc, sc). Lastly I made 3 strand tassels to hang from the trc in each scallop.


This took a fair amount of time, but would make an excellent edging. A nice silk or rayon thread would be a better choice than sock yarn, and more rounds of crochet could make this edging as complex as you like, before adding the tassels. The same thread could be used to embellish the shawl body - I have a great little chain stitch machine that would be perfect for the job. A simple diagram of an embellishment outline would be helpful. I can see little curlicues or other abstract designs working well. In my case the fabric was already embroidered with tone on tone stitching.

So My final checklist for this pattern:
1. Pattern Name Wrap #400
2. My Skill Level Advanced
3. Pattern Rating 3 - It works well but needs to be embellished to be worthwhile
4. Easy skill level required - little fitting, simple sewing
5. Instructions should include more possibilities for embellishment
6. Fit was as expected for a wrap
7. I didn't alter for fit but did try a crochet trim technique

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

I Need More Corn!

It's very busy and exciting at the feeder! Yesterday a gorgeous pheasant showed up for the first time this spring. I'm sure he is one of Henri's offspring from last summer. He showed no fear when he saw me in the window taking pictures, and it took them some time to get over that last year. He was joined by a bevy of little birds. The ducks stop by several times a day. They circle the house first, giving me time to check the feeder and refill if needed. But this morning there was a deer next door. It was huge! I have no idea if s/he stopped by. In fact, I don't know how I feel about that. Deer don't share my garden as well as the groundhog. He tends to stay with the same squash all summer - a few bites each day. Deer tend to mow through everything. I've talked to them about this in the past, but they just look up, snort and continue. My deer are not sissy deer.

However, if I remember correctly, the pheasants destroyed the strawberries last year. I tend to forget that because they were so cute while doing it.

I'm also on a retirement budget! This is going to get expensive! Especially as my DH is concerned that cracked corn may not be the best thing for all and is researching gourmet treats.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Chains

I bought this adorable Singer 20 a while back but hadn't been able to sew with it. It seems you have to read the directions. Hmmmm.... Who knew? The threading diagram is full of unexpected twists, but if you do what it says, you get a great little chain stitch. You know how I'm always referring to tea towels that spell out the tasks for each day of the week? Well now I can embroider a set! See how cute? I cleaned it up with some kerosene and oiled it up. Just like a day at the spa. Then I did the same for a little toy Casige model as well. Tomorrow I'll try to get that running.
 Now the nice people at Singer suggest that this machine is a great machine to take you from childhood right to university, for those little repairs and such. Can't you just see yourself pulling this out of your suitcase at the dorm? Turning the little crank?

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The NS Basketry Guild show at the Craig Gallery opened last night. It's wonderful - at least to me and other basket makers. I have 3 baskets on display. The larch basket was one of my first and has a very rustic feel. I started by chopping down a larch tree and used it all but the rink. Then I made a rush hat with rushed plucked out by Lawrencetown beach. Last is an ash Shaker style basket. I got the ash from the instructor. I have tried splitting and pounding ash, but that is truly difficult.



Today I spent with a great and generous friend working on fitting a shirt pattern. She has ideas and knowledge from another part of the brain that I haven't developed. I think I may have a little dead spot there? Anyway, I have great hopes for the resulting pattern. We'll meet again next week and sew some more. Sewing has such a lovely social aspect. I love to sew by myself, but social sewing has its own wonderful perks. The company is lovely but 2 minds and someone knowledgeable to talk to really elevates the sewing experience. You don't get as much done, but the benefits apply wider and longer than the actual day.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Nesting

Today I cleaned house (no snickering), did the laundry and shopped for groceries. Monday is a good house day. I need a set of red work tea towels to keep me organized. Also nesting today were 2 crows and a seagull. The crows spent the afternoon in my yard pulling up nesting material, flying off to an undisclosed location and returning to do it again. The seagull was seen crossing the road with a similar bundle in beak. A sister gave me a little holder for yarn or fabric scraps to be used as nesting material. I put it out every year, but my birds seem to be naturalists. I do try to update their look.

I had a full day of lace class yesterday. I do hope I didn't embarrass my lace teacher. She didn't sit by me. What does this say? At one point I did dump my lace pillow on the floor. I doubt that appeared as an impressive move. I learned tons as we got to watch the teacher go from pillow to pillow and lots of neat stuff was demonstrated and discussed. Some of it I even kind of understood! So I proudly get home to show off my progress and realize it amounts to a leaf. It's the purple part. If you zoom in real close you can even see it. The shape is terrible, but I do know what's wrong. I feel that's an important first step, don't you? DH admired it anyway. He is the world's greatest fan, that one. It's also the first time I have made 2 layer lace. The leaf is sitting on top of another layer. Impressive, eh?

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Shirt Class

Today I spent the day with 7 other sewers learning new and old techniques used to put together professional looking shirts. It was an excellent day! Because you were using more than 1 technique (we made a little shirt but made each part a different way) you could compare and choose your fav. I could really see how things fit together. I like shirts. All that precision sewing and pressing really appeals to me. I love a well pressed edge. I used a lot of different machine feet today and got a better feel for what works well for what. Machine feet are a lot like shoes. Pretty ones are hard to resist, and you can never have too many. Oh, and they come in cute little boxes.

So in a few weeks, when some other needs are off the table, I plan to make shirts. Shirts suit me. They're comfortable and classic. If any of you want to join me, let me know. Sewing should be a social activity.

The ducks are doing well, thanks for asking. I understand the neighbour kids have named them Donald and Daisy. I prefer the more formal Mr. and Ms. Duck. Mr had to put the boots to the other couple two days ago. Once 'the mating' is complete he will tolerate them. Here you can see him on the rock pile (that's another story) putting the boots to them. I would have cropped this picture but you can see on the windowsill all my sweetheart notes from Sewing Guild Challenge night. I display them proudly! As each challenger displayed their creations the audience wrote down comments to share with them. Each person took home a bag of goodies, just like Valentine's Day when you were little. My caftan and belt/shoes were a hit - as was every other outfit displayed! I had so much fun doing it and I think the other sewers enjoyed it as well.

I do firmly believe all of us need a caftan of 2 in the closet. You could also call it a muumuu or a whole list of other names I'm sure. Anyway, pop it over your head and you're done. Underwear is optional. You can up or downscale the design as you like. Shorten or lengthen, add a belt or drawstring at any level. I could live in one of these. You may note the handmade wool felt shoes, but don't zoom in too close. One turned out just fine and one went astray. Design and production didn't mesh all the well. It's a work in progress.