not a good start but a better second plan

You know how I mentioned that I was considering remaking an existing garment so I’d have a newer one to wear to a party? Yeah, well, I didn’t do it. There was no time. Too many of life’s little interruptions are already interrupting the smooth run of the year. No big deal. The intention was a good one but sometimes other priorities override the best of intentions. That’s why I have a couple of respectable dresses in my wardrobe. They’re old – we are talking considerably older than YoungB – but they were good quality when new and I wear them so seldom that people think they’re new. :) Even Dr B has made that assumption about one of them!

That was the outcome of my first half-maybe-a-sort-of-plan project for the year. Moving right along, Youngest Niece has asked me if I would make her another cowl for winter. She offered to buy the yarn and pay me for my labours, which I greatly appreciated. Her birthday is coming up, so I think I can use that as a very good excuse for getting busy with my crochet hook and not worrying about payment; though, as I say, I truly appreciate her offer because it’s a recognition that there’s time and effort involved as well as yarn. The caveat might be that if, for instance, any of her friends would like such a cowl because they admire hers so much, I would expect them to pay. With that in mind, I intend to keep a rough tally of how many hours it takes. It will be several bus trips, I promise you.

Yes, it’s a crocheted cowl. I made her a green one some years ago and she loves it but finds that it’s not a colour she wears with much but black. However, she would wear a white cowl with most other garments in her wardrobe. That’s me sorted for commute crafting for the next couple of weeks, I think, if I can remember quite which of the many designs I used for her original cowl. The beauty of crochet, of course, is that it doesn’t require quite so much arm space on a crowded bus. I have ordered some yarn from my favourite supplier and it’s on its way; but that will mean I don’t make an immediate start. Her birthday isn’t for another three or four weeks. That’s bags of time, I tell you, absolutely bags; probably enough time for me to knit her an accompanying beanie, so long as I stick to a plainish design (not TOO many cables and stuff).

Anyone wanna bet how quickly that plan also gets derailed?

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Posted by on January 18, 2015 in Crochet, Knitting, Sewing


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but it wasn’t an entirely no-sew Christmas

Promptly pressed into action

Promptly pressed into action

Because Youngest Aunt and I both worked on Christmas Eve, we decided that we’d be too tired to enjoy our usual Boxing Day lunch, traditionally held at her place. Therefore, we had it on the following Sunday instead. I was reasonably happy about that for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which was that it gave me a couple of extra days to make her Christmas tablecloth! I generally sew tablecloths with narrow hems but I made these wide because she’ll use the cloth on her outside table and my reasoning was that a wider, thicker hem would give the tablecloth weights better gripping surface and yet minimise the likelihood of their tearing it.

Fabric a-fluttering

Fabric a-fluttering

The fabric is duck, sturdy and good quality as well as suitably bright and cheerful for festivities (even Dr B likes the design on it). What’s more, it was out at sale price. I wish I’d bought more but there’s enough left to make a runner for one of Youngest Aunt’s other outdoor tables. Next there’s some Christmas fabric that was intended for a runner. That will eventuate, but because of Eldest Niece’s not having a dining table and all that – though she does have a breakfast bar, it seems; but she assures me she eats on the run, so even festive napery might not play a big part in her life – it’s folded and put away for another day.

Also fluttering is a red-and-white check fabric that turned into a small tablecloth for the card table that YoungB uses in his cabin. I bought that some while back, but it’s taken me till now to put two hems on it. That fabric was also out at sale price because it was the end of the bolt and there’s a couple of flaws in it. The resulting tablecloth looks quite acceptable and does the job and I can assure you that YoungB won’t mind a bit that it’s less than perfect. He probably won’t notice unless I tell him!

Love hearts, as they say, for a lovely young man

Hearts for a lovely young man. I elected to use what’s probably the wrong side of the fabric as the right side of the tablecloth because I liked it better.

I struggled to fit the sewing, I admit. It wasn’t difficult work – straight hems, no curves at all – but finding the time and a clear space on the table, not to mention somewhere to lay out the fabric so that I could square it up properly, almost defeated me. A larger table would help with space for the squaring, but it would also be simply somewhere else for things to go that shouldn’t.
If there’s any real New Year’s resolution lurking anywhere, it might be in my intention to keep my sewing table as clear as I possibly can – that is, keeping my sew-zone as a no-go zone for everything but sewing because if I don’t, it will be a no-sew zone instead ;-)


Posted by on January 2, 2015 in Sewing


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and in 2015, what I’ll do is…

What we watched on our TV; image from the City of Sydney’s 2014 Sydney Fireworks

Happy New Year. We watched the early version of the fireworks with Nonna.

Every year, I end our Christmas letter with a hope that the coming year will be filled with peace, good health and prosperity; and may 2015 be such a year for all of us.

I can truthfully say that, on present indications, ours will certainly have some wonderful moments: YoungB will return from his year abroad and there’s to be a wedding in the family. I’ve resolved that I’ll do more sewing and knitting this year. You know I’m not good at plans, because they’re all too frequently derailed by events well beyond my control, but it can’t hurt to aim for a better level of creative activity. As I say, I’m much nicer and considerably less frazzled when I have a piece of knitting in my hands.

The first event of note will be Middle Aunt’s 60th birthday. Celebratory attire might require that I either make something or refashion an existing garment. The latter holds more appeal. There are several items in my wardrobe that no longer fit but, because of my rushed and shoddy sewing, can’t be given away. If I were to pull them apart, very carefully, who knows what I might end up with?! That will do for a first not-plan or non-resolution for the year. ;-)

If you have plans for this year – or if you don’t make plans, if you have a to-do list or some vague ideas of what you reckon you might achieve – all the best with bringing them to fruition. Cheers and warmest wishes for a fulfilling year. :)

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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized


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last-minute ramblings

Some roses from a friend, not for Christmas but just because

Some roses from a friend, not for Christmas but just because

You’ll have to forgive me, but this truly is rambling. I’m so tired I can’t be coherent.

Our Advent calendar has nearly completed its greeting of MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU but for the last letter and the final punctuation point, which is provided by some holly leaves. Have I managed any sewing? Yeah, nah. Had I planned any? Uuh, yeah. But all of those plans were a bit like the SMS conversation I had today with Eldest Niece.

She’s newly in a home and I thought she might like some homewares or something culinary. Coffee pods (easy, but a good gift for someone who uses them and there’s a nice variety of specialist flavours out for Christmas)? She’s stopped drinking coffee. Right. Okay. How about a runner for the dining table (my original plan, only time is now perilously short)? They don’t have one. What, not even a breakfast bar? Nope. So no placemats, either (a more time-consuming alternative, but definitely an option)? No. Yeah, right. I accept that this means I’m off the hook with one lot of last-minute sewing but it hasn’t solved the problem of a Christmas gift for her and her partner. In my defence, I’d washed and ironed the fabric and had been trying to get details of her – now known to be non-existent – table for some time from every other member of her family. So, you know, plans? Yeah.

If you’ve been trying to sew or cook or craft or knit or create something in whatever medium tickles your creative fancy, I do hope you’ve been more successful than I have. I hope, too, that your year has been less chaotic than ours. I often tell myself that next year will be better and sometimes it is. I also remind myself that any notion of a new year is purely academic, since one day simply rolls into the next and the years don’t do much but add wrinkles to your skin and grey to your hair. I don’t really mind that. Losing muscle memory is a little more worrying – I sat down to practise some scales the other day and couldn’t remember the intervallic progression for one lot; how many times have I played those things? – but I can still knit and sew. Next year I aim to include more of those because I fret when I don’t have a bit of knitting to keep me occupied in the evening or a little sewing project to work on at the weekend. I’m a nicer person and considerably less stressed when I have a creative outlet.

May your Christmas be wonderful, whether it’s a crafty one or not. :)

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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in Musing, Sewing


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in the pink

There have to be more flattering angles but the Pink's the Thing

There have to be more flattering angles but the Pink’s the Thing

Today was a work day and I had to head out the door at about the same hour as usual although my destination was in an entirely different direction from usual. I wasn’t in my usual office attire, either: I was wearing as much pink – my team’s colour – as I could find (the cardigan was a late addition because the aircon was ridiculously cold). You might ask why such weirdness? Today we had a whole-of-organisation day where we played silly Corporate Games, discovered who amongst us were the truly competitive and generally laughed a lot. It’s been a tough year for many not-for-profit organisations and ours has been no exception, so this lightheartedness was an attempt at amelioration. I think it worked splendidly.

As well as discovering the cut-throat competitors, there were a few surprises, including a couple from the Pink Team. Two of our number proved to have a steady hand and excellent hand-eye coordination so that their combined score ensured we came second in the nut-piling competition. And I trounced the opposition with my rubber-band-flicking skills. In the government office where I worked way back in my youth, we held ferocious competitions at morning teatimes doing that very thing (no need to start on the psychoanalysis; we could have told you even then why we were doing it). I admit modestly that I got pretty good at it. I haven’t had such fun in years and I’ve got my boss running scared :)

Tomorrow, of course, it’s back to work but we’ve had a thoroughly good time away from the office. At this time of year in particular, wouldn’t you reckon that’s one of the best ways of staying in the pink ;-)

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Posted by on December 9, 2014 in Food, Musing


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adding things to roses

One day it’s only halfway through November, the next we’re nearly a third of the way through the Advent calendar. I put the tree up last weekend and it will do. I hung our rosy wreath on the outside door this year but decided that it needed something else. So I knitted a little Father Christmas using the pattern found here – eclectic – and hung him in the middle. It sort of works. Dr B says, and I agree, that he needs to be in a different plane but no matter. He’s there.

But any crafty stuff of real helpfulness? No, that hasn’t happened. I managed to break a needle on my sewing machine yesterday afternoon when I was doing a rescue job on Dr B’s favourite jeans. I couldn’t even muster the energy to swear about it! There’s a big part of the problem right there: exhaustion. It happens every year but we’ve had a busier than usual year this time and I congratulate myself daily for just putting one foot in front of another in order to get things done.

Do you have that experience, too? There are days I think the Clauses have it easy: a whole year to dedicate to nothing but Christmas! On the other hand, I truly don’t want my life taken over by dedicating it to preparation for one single day. You miss out on too many other things if you do that. On the other, other hand, it would make this time of year less difficult and perhaps less busy (if you’re anything like me, you find you have something extra-curricular happening nearly every day for most of December) so that we could actually enjoy ourselves more. There’s no simple answer, I know.

However your year has been progressing and whether or not your are now looking at the sewing machine with one eye and the clock with the other, all the best for the last few hundred metres of the race.

PS: I know it’s my blog and I can do what I like with it, but I apologise sincerely for the lack of photos and for links that are just URLs. I’m still without a computer and to say I’m typing this with fingers crossed doesn’t come close to describing how disempowering it is to return to using old, unreliable technology. Still, it gives me more time to add things to my roses, so it can’t be all bad. Right? :)

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Posted by on December 7, 2014 in Uncategorized


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seasonal stuff

I don’t mean THAT season, or at least, not really, although nature’s colour schemes might lead you to think otherwise.

I just mean the season of flowers and crazy weather and this being the sort of thing I see on my way home through the park (an example of nature’s colour scheme echoing the human overlay, you might think).

Red-flowering gum

Red-flowering gum

I mean, too, how fantastic it was that yesterday we could be sitting outside eating gelati at 8.30 pm and it would be warmish and, whats more, STILL DAYLIGHT! Heck, it’s felt like that’s been a long time coming this year.

I spent the evening in town with Youngest Aunt and Uncle, helping the former to celebrate her birthday and we had a wonderful time. I didn’t even mind having to wait for the bus. And wait a bit longer. And then wait some more because, obviously, the bus that was meant to come wasn’t coming and when one did it was already close to capacity and half the cabin lights weren’t working and it was a fairly quiet and oddly eerie trip home.

But, you know that other season? Some of those who really celebrate it already have their houses lit up like, well, Seasonal Trees, so if it was dark on the bus, it was by then light in a different way outside. And it felt quite appropriate and seasonal.

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Posted by on November 15, 2014 in Food




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