Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas comes but once a year (thank god)

(with thanks to http://www.icanhascheezburger.com/ for this fantastic image).

Is it just me, or has Christmas snuck up really quickly on everybody this year?

I remember February like it was five minutes ago. In May My One True Love and I were in Coffs Harbour briefly, and surely that was yesterday. In September I did a different job for a month, and the sound of filing cabinets closing is still ringing in my ears. How on earth did we get to December so fast?

I swear that as I get older, the time zooms past quicker and quicker. My father says it's because as we age, we do less new things, and new things distract the brain. Therefore, doing less of them - and staying in our same old routine - means we don't notice our actions, and the days, in the same way.

When I think about that, it makes sense to me. Doing different things on the weekend - instead of chaining myself to the sewing machine - actually going out and doing things, seems to make the days longer and longer. Overseas holidays too; something happens to the time zones and suddenly a week seems like a month, because I'm busy looking at the Great Wall of China, or haggling over fabric in Damascus (where surprisingly, there was plenty of silk but no damask to be found), or visiting Henry the Eighth's castle in Leeds and imagining myself prancing about in a massive dress and corset and neck ruffle. Maybe that's just me.

When I was in school, six weeks of summer holidays seemed to stretch out endlessly. Six weeks! I even remember telling my mother (far more often than she'd have liked, no doubt) that I was boooooored. Dear sweet heaven, if I had six weeks holidays now I can guarantee you I wouldn't get bored. My wordy lordy me, oh no. I would find plenty of new things to do.

This year's been a bit of a funny one for me. And I mean funny as in peculiar, not funny as in amusing. I've not had a lot of time to do new things because I've been busy hanging on to the side of the ship like grim death as it tossed about in the waves. And now all of a sudden it's Christmas, and I can't believe how quickly it's gotten here.

Next year I think I will do more new things, to stretch my days out and really experience them. Gosh, what will I do? There's a whole world out there to play with! Where to start?
Hm, I think I can feel a list coming on .....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Markets begone!

Gasp. Pant. Wiping of sweat from brow. My markets for 2009 are FINALLY over.

Good bye markets! I love you, I really do, but sometimes you get just a little bit .... stressful. Especially in the lead-up to Christmas. You get a little bit needy. You start to demand too much of my time and attention. So I am more than just a little bit glad to shut the door on you a bit and leave you to sob quietly to yourself.

And that means I am REALLY looking forward to January. January rocks! January is my month off. No markets, no fetes, no whatnots at all. Maybe a special order here and there - but no schedule, no bookings, no places to be.

This means I have a full month of recreational sewing ahead of me and I Cannot Wait. I have a pile of patterns as high as my head that I want to try out, and mountains of fabric that are threatening to swallow up not just me and My One True Love, but the three pussins as well. They're teetering, they really are. I have to be careful not to slam any doors in the house in case they come crashing down and take out the floorboards.

I already know what one of my Christmas presents is too - this fabulous dressmaker's ruler from Nicole Mallalieu design - and I am longing to try it out. Bless My One True Love, he totally picked up on the hint: I sent him an email with a link to her site, effectively saying PLEASE BUY THIS FOR ME. Yay for him.

Ah January, you can't come fast enough for me!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Two turtlebirds - and a partridge in a pear tree ....

I am very pleased - and quite surprised - to announce that the turtlebird was happily accepted on the weekend by my poor customer, who thought it was great and required absolutely no convincing on the matter at all.

Will wonders never cease?! I am indebted to her kindness.

Thank you to everyone who helped me out with a thoughtful comment about how to improve the design for next time around (should there ever be one). It shall have a smaller head, far less turtle-like. And no green eyes, I think they were definitely a flaw in the design. And perhaps I shall make it out of this lovely Echino ladybird fabric, too.

For now, I am focused on lots more Hoots and a whale or two, ahead of my FINAL two markets before Christmas. They can't come soon enough, in my opinion! Next year I'm not going to crucify myself on the market altar in quite the same way (to adapt a wonderfully inappropriate Christian metaphor given the upcoming holiday). I really feel that I haven't had time to enjoy the run-up to Christmas because I've been so manic about having enough stock, making enough stock, selling enough stock, etc etc .... where's the joy in that?

Next year, more joy. Definitely.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No, it's a ladyturtle! I mean, a turtlebird!

This is the dodgy ladybird I referred to in yesterday's post. It's not a terrific photo, I grant you, but that still doesn't make up for this sorry excuse of a stuffed toy.

Ladybird? Huh. I think turtle, definitely.

I think I needed to make the base of the turtle, I mean ladybeetle, a touch smaller. That way the outer shell would have been higher and rounder - simple physics. But did I think of this yesterday when I was making it? No, I did not.

I managed to give it separated wings at least, but I'm afraid they don't make up for this debacle. I truly don't think I can charge money for this.

I may have to try presenting it to my customer to see what her reaction is. If she recoils in surprise at the turtle-like aspects of this ladybird, and fixes me with a look of stunned disbelief, I will snatch it back and quickly hasten to add that this was a trial ladybird and clearly not a successful one at that, and that I was simply showing it to her to see if she liked the material I had used. (see how it has cute ladybirds all over it?)

And then I will try again. Smaller head this time. Eyes that are not green. A better "shell".

After I took these photos, I was so despondent that I had to make some dodgy Christmas ornaments out of felt to cheer myself up. I like these much better. But I'm still in search of a polystyrene/foam wreath base that I can decorate. Anyone know where I can get a foam wreath base? Lincraft - of course - doesn't stock them. Have I mentioned how much I hate Lincraft lately??

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What a helpful pussin

Here is the quilt I am trying to work on at the moment. Sigh. It's a Christmas present for a work colleague whose friend is having a baby, due on Christmas Day.

Grimth loves quilts. In fact, he loves helping me with my sewing ALL the time. He loves to get up on the material, and chew my pins (yes, he has this very strange metal fetish, and will try to chew pins, scissors, the edge of the sewing machine, the corner of the laptop, and even the copper roofing on a little lamp I have in the corridor. There are teethmarks in it.) - and generally be very helpful and try to assist in every way possible.

If I spread out some material, he's onto it like a flash. He loves to roll around in the fabric and get curled up into a big tangle mess of legs and folds. Here at least he waited until I was doing some pinning......

I'm working on a big range of Christmas orders at the moment. And I'm not quite sure where I'm finding the time to do them, in between the four (four!) markets I have scheduled between now and Sunday week. I *thought* I was spending every waking minute sewing for those markets, but apparently I've managed to find time to get the orders done as well. How lucky!

Stay tuned for photos tomorrow of the dodgy ladybird I'm constructing. I've never done a ladybird before, and I am just working out of my head rather than from pattern, and this may yet turn out to be the fatal error. Right now it looks more like a turtle than a ladybird. So some artistic assistance may be required ... which is fine as long as it doesn't come from the pussin!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Twittering of the original kind

My eyes popped open at 4.50am this morning.

I could feel it happen. I felt myself swimming into consciousness, and I tried to resist, I really did - but to no avail. 4.50am and I was wide awake. That was it. No going back. Awake before five o'clock in the morning, for pity's sake.

I think it was the birds in the robinia tree outside our bedroom. They start a-twittering at dawn, which technically occurs at around 4.45 these days .... sigh ..... and they wake me up. Normally I'm an early riser anyway, but waking up pre-five am?? That is just beyond the pale.

So it's lucky I'm doing boot camp at the moment and I have something to go to at that hour, otherwise it would be a royal pain in the proverbial. Usually I don't get up until half-past five (I have to be on the 6.08 train - sheeeeeeesh that's early) so today I just lay there and listened to the radio; there was some Schubert on that I enjoyed until it ticked over to five-thirty. And then I went to boot camp.

Really, I should be a lot tired-er than this. I spent the entire weekend recovering from some markets, and sewing up the various orders I've got for Christmas, and making new products for the four markets that are left - I should be exhausted! So I can't explain the unearthly waking hour.

I bet by the time three o'clock comes today, I'll be face down on my keyboard, at my desk, snoring my head off.

Friday, November 27, 2009

And then there were seven ....

.... markets left to go in the next three weeks, that is.

How on earth did that happen?? I think it's because I book them so far in advance, and then fail to remember what I've booked. I go Okay, I'll do the Kris Kringle markets because they're close to home and I love them. That's four.

And I booked for the Made N Thornbury market in February, because it has such a lovely friendly vibe, and I thought, Oh, it's only one in December, that'll be fine. That's five.

And I booked for the Northside Makers Market because it is filled with so many wonderful friends and amazing crafters, and how could I NOT be part of that? Plus it is even closer to home than the Kris Kringle market. That's six.

And I booked for the extra Christmas Shirt and Skirt Market - seven - and the December Shirt and Skirt as well - that's eight.

EIGHT!  One down, seven to go.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's a market marathon!!

Roll up, roll up - for the greatest show on earth! Three markets in four days, can she do it?? Thursday, Saturday, Sunday - what a spectacular performance!

Watch as Flickettysplits goes mad with pressure! Behold the whirlygig explosions as her brain crumbles under the stress!

Stand well back, this isn't for the faint-hearted. Ladies, clutch your smelling salts close to you. Gentlemen, be on hand to catch the girls if they swoon, goodness knows the sight of her alone will be enough to make them short of breath. Loosen those corset laces! Unbutton those stays! Give her air, men, give her AIR!!!!!!!!!

Bring sweets and treats, feed her cupcakes, pull up a pew and keep her company as she struggles valiantly on. Light a candle to her poor unfortunate departed soul, and say a prayer for her state of mind.

(Yes, I appear to have gone slightly mad. Too much sewing and not enough sleeping. Please, come along to my markets this week and make it all worth my while!)
  • Thursday 26 November 530-10pm,  Northcote Town Hall
  • Saturday 28 November 1030-330pm, Northcote Uniting Church
  • Sunday 29 November 10-4pm, Abbotsford Convent

Monday, November 23, 2009

The I Loathe Lincraft slightly less now Society

So, last week I posted a bit of a rant about Lincraft doubling the price of my favourite cushion inserts, seemingly overnight and for no obvious reason.

And I must say that a reply was the last thing I expected to receive, but receive it I did - from the Managing Director himself, Brian Swersky. I reproduce it here in full:

Hi, my name is Brian Swersky and I am the MD of Lincraft. I follow these posts as we are concerned about what our customers think and generally like to keep up with the "chatter" in the categories of interest to you.

I take on board the comments made and will follow up accordingly. The cushion inserts in question have been a major concern for us as our Australian supplier has ceased production and now only make synthetic product.

We of course desire to offer a local product at good quality wherever possible. We have had to source the feather insert overseas and unfortunately that is the best price we can land it for. The cost is high mainly because of the freight component of this type of product which takes up a disproportionate amount of container space to its cost. We will continue to source a local supplier and review our costings.

So I have to say: kudos to Lincraft and to Brian in particular for listening to his customers (though I did get a bit of a start when I realised the Boss-of-Lincraft had read my snarky post). However, because he took the time to investigate this, now I understand why the price of my inserts have gone up, which is far better than simply being met with the blank stare of the customer representative I asked in the store.

I wanted to reply to Brian, so I googled him, found him on Facebook, joined up to Facebook myself, and sent him a reply thanking him for taking the time to reply to my piddling little post. I also cheekily offered him some further unsolicited feedback about the kids who work in the store and how a sewing supplier isn't like a supermarket and wouldn't it be wonderful if they actually knew some stuff about the products they sell, etc etc.

To his credit, he kept the line of communication open and sent a very gracious reply about the commercial imperative and how it can be difficult to invest in staff when they leave so regularly but that he appreciated the feedback.

How's that for the speed of social media? Pretty cool, I've got to say. I'm still not Lincraft's biggest fan, but I have to commend this man's efforts to actually listen to his customers, which is more than I can say for most of his employees.

And then on the weekend I went to IKEA and spent up big on feather cushion inserts. Thanks to everyone who suggested some good alternatives to me, I really appreciate it! More cushions will be sewn up forthwith.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In which I moan a bit about irksome little bothers

They're really very small, in the scheme of things. In the scheme of things, they don't really count for much. But they are irksome, oh yes they are . And they are bothering me.

Irksome bother No.1: I am doing boot camp three mornings a week at the moment. Now, despite what you would be perfectly justified in thinking, this is not, in itself, the irksome bother. (That's a separate post altogether.) Monday, Wednesday and Friday I haul myself out of bed at five-thirty, so that I can catch the 6.08am train, and make it to boot camp near work at 645. This means that every night before boot camp, I put together my bag of tricks for the next day - work outfit, work handbag, knickers, shoes, accessories etc - so that I can just grab it and go, without fussing about trying to find matching earrings.

The irksome bother is that somehow, as I was putting everything together last night, I forgot to put my phone in my handbag. I don't know how this happened, as my phone is practically surgically attached to me. And when did I realise I didn't have my phone this morning? Not as I was closing the front door, not as I was walking down to the train station, not as I was waiting for the train, but just as I'd stepped onto it and the doors closed gently behind me .....

Irksome bother No.2: In putting together my bag of tricks for this morning, I included a pair of high-heeled blue shoes which tone perfectly with my Kinki Gerlinki steel-blue silk dress. However, I haven't worn these shoes in months, and today the delicate skin on the side of my arch knows All About The Shoes. Ouch.

Irksome bother No. 3: Noodles for lunch were the perfect solution after this morning's boot camp session. Carbs yes, red meat yes, some isolated vegetables - yes, yes and yes. I opened up the box carefully. I smoothed down the napkin over my lap. I dug around with my chopsticks to mix in the dry seaweed roll - and splashed teriyaki sauce all over me. ALL over me. All over ALL of me. I'm drenched in the bloody stuff; some of it landed on my wrist as well and it was so hot that now I've got a blister where it landed. And of course I'm wearing my lovely silk dress and I have no idea whether drycleaning will be able to get the stains out. In which case I may have to consign a favourite and absolutely lovely outfit to the rag bag.

That is the most irksome thing of all. And it bothers me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Damn you and your pricey prices, Lincraft

Yawn, stretch ...I am so tired today!Yesterday's market totally rocked and I am exhaustipated as a consequence. And ok, I admit it might also have something to do with the extreeeeeeemely late night on Saturday night, and the extreeeeeeemely early wake-up this morning, which has resulted in me losing almost a complete 8-hour night of sleep over the past three days. Sigh.

Happily though, I sold all my amazing retro food label cushions at the market - that has NEVER happened before, selling out of a complete product line - and so this evening I must dedicate myself to making another pile as I have a market on Wednesday night in Kew and no cushions left to take to it.

So off I toddled to Lincraft (I hate Lincraft!) at lunchtime today to buy some more cushion inserts. And guess what? The feather ones I like - they don't go flat like polyfil and they plump up satisfyingly - have doubled in price and are now $18 a pop. Doubled. $18 a pop. Eighteen dollars for a cushion insert!

I hate you Lincraft. I loathe you. I am starting up a Lincraft Loathers Society, and I declare myself chairperson.

[Although .... maybe this recent price hike is some kind of twisted karmic payback "gotcha" for me hating on Lincraft so often and so publicly. And I know I do it a lot, even though I actually have to shop there reasonably often through necessity, and therefore shouldn't be so churlish about it. (Isn't that a great word, churlish?). Hm. It's something to think about, though I resent giving them any of my hard-earned money at all.]

Regardless of karma, I just can't justify paying $18 for a cushion insert when I price my cushions at $39 and have to also cost in the fabric, zip, thread and time to make them. There's just no margin in that, and as much as this is a hobby, I'm quite keen to not LOSE money either. Well, not too much at any rate. Should I price the cushions higher and stick with the feather inserts, aiming to keep the hallmark of quality for which I'd like to be known? Would anyone in the world pay $50 for a 50cm square cushion, do you think?

Unwilling to test this theory out on the unsuspecting public just yet, in the end I stamped my foot a bit and then gave in and bought the inferior polyfil inserts after all, because I need something to use for the time being (ahem, Wednesday market anyone?) until I can find a cheaper supplier of feather inserts.

Any suggestions you have, ladies, will be greatly appreciated.

Oh and by the way, have I told you recently how much I hate Lincraft? There's a society for it you know, and it's looking for new members.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A blast from my sewing past

Tomorrow marks the first of my markets in November - I have five of them in the next three weeks!

I have new doorstops ready to go, I've whipped up new pencil rolls, new Hoots abound, I've made new cushions - and just as well, because I have to leave the house RIGHT NOW to go out, and I won't be back until late tonight, so that is all the sewing I can do!

My favourite items today are the lovely cushions here, which I've made out of a fantastic fabric I first found when I was in Year 7 at high school. For those of you who are wondering how long ago, let me just say that it's a looooooong time ago. Long time. Very long time. Over 20 years.

So this is pretty special to me. It's the first fabric I ever made something out of. I remember going to the Lincraft with my mum to buy the material I needed for my first Year 7 Home Economics project, which was an apron - and we found this, which we both thought would be perfect.

I took it into school with me and I was so proud of it. I knew I had something really cool, and all the other girls were envious (and this made me feel pretty good, as the girls at school were not often envious of me, let me tell you).

I laid it out on the pattern. I followed the instructions and I cut it out carefully. I held it up to the light .... and realised I'd cut out the pattern upside down.

I was devastated. I'd ruined my beautiful material and I'd stuffed up my present for mum, even before I'd really started it. And of course we had only bought enough fabric to make the one apron, so I had to keep going. The girls didn't envy me any more after I wrecked it, that's for sure.

I just couldn't believe I'd done something so stupid. And I think it was probably part of the reason I didn't take Home Ec as an elective after that first compulsory term, because I was absolutely humiliated and it was my own stupid fault. Of course, now I wish I'd kept on with it, because no doubt I'd be a far better seamstress than I am today if I'd had 20 years more practice. To this day I still freak out about cutting out fabric, and I still make the same silly error - last year I cut a blouse out of fabric with text printed on it - and did exactly the same thing.

Back in Year 7 though, I finished the apron and duly gave it to my mother. To her credit she continues to use it to this day.

I never saw the fabric again - until a month ago, when I spotted some and snapped up the lot of it. Because twenty years may have passed, but I still love it. It's vintage now of course, and rare as hen's teeth. I couldn't believe my luck when I saw it!

And of course I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. I'm going to make another apron - right side up this time - and give it to my mum as the present she should have had twenty years ago.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stupidest. Label. Ever.

I ask you, is this the stupidest food label ever?

I just had to take a photo to show you. Look closely now. What's wrong with this picture?

Honestly. I'm gobsmacked.

(For the record, they were REALLY tasty though.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The walk-away dress

Recently, Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing did a great post on the Butterick Walk-away dress.

The pattern was first released by Butterick in 1952, and recently re-released as part of their vintage line. You can get it online here, if you'd like a copy, or of course you can pick it up from your local sewing shop without any troubles - it's number B4790, and I managed to get my copy in a Lincraft, and I can confidently say that if even my local rubbish Lincraft stocks it then I'm sure your local store has it too.

Just like Lincraft, this pattern seems to divide people - you either love it, or you hate it. And the proportions are about 50-50 in each camp, so at least it's consistent. (And if you're interested and couldn't already tell, when it comes to Lincraft I fall mostly into the "hate" camp, though I'm certainly not above shopping there in a pinch.)

Me, I love the pattern. While some people think it looks like a hospital gown - and I never saw the similarity myself until someone pointed it out on Gertie's blog (maybe it's that dinky little cap she's wearing that does it??) - I think it looks like a great way to accentuate a small waist and hide a troublesome hip. Of course, if you wear the kind of foundation garments women wore at the time, that will accentuate your waist even more. Granted, you may not be able to take a full breath, but you will have a tiny waist.

I actually made the walkaway dress last year in a trial run, using a stretchy black and white cotton remnant. Here's a picture. You will see I am not wearing foundation garments and therefore I have a normal sized waist.

I can understand why some people don't like the finished item.There's some odd bunchiness up around the bustline. The arms are cut too wide. And there's something a bit strange that goes on with the way the underskirt fastens at the small of your back. I find that when I walk, the friction between the two skirts makes them both ride up in different ways (uck) and I spend most of my time trying to tug everything down while remaining decent. That is NOT a good look when what you actually want is casual vintage elegance.

So I've decided I'm going to remake it, and this time I plan to alter the pattern so that the underskirt doesn't go all the way round the back. I'm going to cut the skirt narrower, and fasten it to the outer skirt with press studs or contrast buttons or something. I'm hoping it will have the effect of creating one skirt that moves as a single item, rather than two skirts that move independently.

I'm planning on using some navy and white polka-dotted polished cotton I bought ages ago for about five dollars a metre. That way, if I stuff it up, at least I won't have spent a fortune on it. And I'm going to edge it with bright red bias binding for a nice contrast trim.

Now, the big question. Do I stick to the same material overall for a uniform look, using the tiny polka dot material alone, as per the photo here?

Or do I use the big polka dot material on the "black contrast" section of the dress and the tiny polka dot material on the "white inner" section? Which version will make me look thinner?

Decisions, decisions ......

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My friend the mail fairy

Mail Fairy, I hope you understand how special you are. I am always happy to see you. My heart flutters at the thought of your arrival.

Mail Fairy, I love the wonderful things you bring me - things like this marvellous prize here, which I won on The Fabric Shopper blog. Rosie at the Fabric Shopper has a daily email I subscribe to, which arrives around 6am Melbourne time and showcases different fabric finds every day, not to mention wonderful giveaways and competitions.

Isn't it fantastic? I don't win things very often, so it's quite exciting to receive an unexpected surprise like this. I intend to give it a go at some point in the next few weeks .... perhaps after my crowded clutch of end-of-November markets are over.

Mail Fairy, I confess I do sometimes load the dice by ordering lovely things online so that you have a reason to make a visit. Things like fabric (of course) and lately, some Christmas presents via Etsy and other excellent sites. Did you know that Barnes and Noble in the US ship things to Australia for a flat rate of $10? With the exchange rate as good as it currently is, you could pick up quite a few recent seasons of Project Runway on dvd for less than half what they would cost in Australia - if anywhere in Australia stocked them, of course. Project Runway on dvd! I have a plan in mind.

It's true to say, Mail Fairy, that you rarely disappoint me. It's part of the reason I like you so much. Admittedly, I am not very fond of your distant cousin, the Bringer of Bills, but I don't let that get in the way of our friendship.

Mail Fairy, please come back to visit me soon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Where are all the good patterns hiding?

So this new book arrived in the mail today. Thank you, Mail Fairy, I'm looking forward to trying it out.

I'm hoping it will help me bridge the gap between the patterns I can buy - the same old vanilla selection offered by Vogue, Simplicity, Butterick and McCalls (I don't really use Burda because I find their instructions inadequate and confounding. But I digress) - and the patterns I actually want to make.

I understand that pattern companies need to appeal to a wide range of clients, and that they are businesses who must turn a profit. Therefore, they design patterns that will appeal, suit and fit the broadest category of people. And you know what that means? That means most - and I say most, not all, because they've certainly lifted their game in recent years, I remember the empty prairies of the 80s pattern books - of their patterns are like the sewing equivalent of Muzak.

You know what I mean. No real highs, no real lows, no really interesting details .... just the basic stuff. No edge. No surprises. Not a whole lot of modern.

Now, I love an A-line dress and a fitted suit and a pair of capri pants as much as the next girl. Actually, that's a lie - I don't love capri pants, they cut me off at the calf and make me look even shorter than I already am, which is certainly some kind of mighty achievement that deserves an award.

But what I'm looking for as my sewing develops, is patterns that can help me learn techniques to express who I am, through the cut of my clothes and not just the fabric I choose to make them in, which is where I find myself at the moment.

Dresses like this here, for example. Why can't I buy patterns for dresses like this? I am in love with it.

It was designed by the lovely person behind the Grosgrain blog, for a competition run by the Shabby Apple (lovely, lovely dresses - do take a look). So a pattern company didn't come up with it, but it doesn't take a huge leap of intellect to make the connection that there is a demand for this kind of gorgeous creation.

If Grosgrain Fabulous can design things like this just off the top of her lovely head, why isn't there a pattern company out there jumping on this niche opportunity?? Gah!

I must make friends with a patternmaker, I think, so they can translate the things in my head into things on the page. Sigh. Anyone know a patternmaker?

The biggest hair ball ever

Spring has sprung.... with a vengeance!

It seems only right and proper that after the interminable weeks of winter, which I despaired would ever end, spring has finally sprung in Melbourne.Saturday was 32 degrees, Sunday was 34, and I'm told today is going to nudge into 35. I have only two words for that. At last!

Naturally though, the pussins all thought the weather was unbearable and they lay around inside stretched out on the wooden floors trying to cool down. At one point the Amateur Actress went into the bathroom and shrieked involuntarily - because there was the great furry Grimth curled up in the sink, happily snoozing in the cool porcelain. Now that's what I call a proper fur ball!

I quite like the hot weather, and you know what I love the most about it? I'm a bit embarrassed to say. It's tragic, it really is. It shows what a sewing loser I am.

Okay, here it is. I love that it's great weather for drying fabric. I know, I know - isn't that terribly domestically boring? You know you're truly growing older when you wake up in the heat and think My, what a fantastic drying day this is!

It's true though. All winter long (which seems to have lasted about ten years) I've been collecting lengths of fabric that I haven't been able to use, because I haven't been able to wash or - more importantly - dry it. You know I never buy less than 5 metre lengths if I can help it, and that adds up to a lot of material to hang about the place. I'm anti-tumbledryer because I can't bear the thought of how much energy that uses up when the sun is free. It's just a matter of waiting for the sun to appear so that I can shamelessly exploit it.

So over the weekend I made up for lost time, I can tell you. Here is what I washed:
  • black, turquoise and white voile
  • navy and orange floral cotton
  • navy and white polka dots
  • red, aubergine, navy and green broadcloth
  • purple corduroy
  • Moda Sweetwater "Authentic" quilting cotton
  • Aunt Grace Ties One On - scotty dogs in red and white stripes
  • The Kitty Chronicle linen blend
  • The Name Of the Black Cat is Lola by Trefle
  • Gothic Rose by Amy Butler
  • Temple Garland in Lotus, by Amy Butler
  • Moda Wonderland butterflies in tomato
  • Moda Wonderland butterflies in mustard
Of course I put all the water from the washing machine onto the garden as well, which means that the plants are very well watered despite the heat and the water restrictions. Waste not, want not ....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Creative Space

..... I'm a little bit late joining in with My Creative Space today - there are about a hundred people ahead of me who all got their acts into gear much quicker than I did.

But seeing as how I haven't joined in for weeks now (weeks! maybe months!) I'm forging ahead anyway.

To your left, Exhibit A: a whole pile of embryonic Hoots.

I'm taking the "production line" tactic at the moment, as I don't have any markets for a fortnight and then in the space of seven days, I have three. Three! The Shirt and Skirt market on Sunday 22 November, then a kindergarten market in Kew on Wednesday 25 November, then the Kris Kringle Market at Northcote Town Hall on Thursday 26 November, then the wondrous Northside Makers Market on Saturday 28 November.

Holy mother of god, that's four, isn't it? Four markets instead of three. Four - in a week!!

What am I doing here blogging, I've got to get back to work!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A twinset of the future - from the past

Here is a picture of my new twinset. Isn't it marvellous?

What do you mean, that doesn't look like a twinset? Well, if you're going to be so particular about it .... okay, it's not technically my actual twinset just yet. It is my embryonic twinset. My twinset in mind rather than in actuality. It is a twinset of the future.

My mother is an amazing knitter - she made me this basketweave top for my birthday earlier this year. And now she's going to make me a twinset out of this lot of merino.

I adore the salmony colour, this is certainly the colour du jour, and it's been one of my favourites for some time now. And wouldn't you know it, my mother just happens to have a big bag full of it! She dug it out of her stash while I was visiting over the weekend .... my mother has a stash of wool in her woolroom that is absolutely impressive. I definitely inherited my crafty gene, and my sense of colour, from my mother.

So this is a twinset of the future, but I'm going to choose a pattern from the past. I love vintage twinset patterns, and mum has a massive collection of them, so over Christmas I'll pore through the treasure trove and see what I can find. 

Maybe something like this pale blue number here?  It's very Grace Kelly. The delicacy of the neckline is lovely, and I think the bracelet sleeves would be perfect.

But perhaps I'd prefer something like this purple beauty instead? I even have lavender pearls I could match it with.

First though, mum has to spin it up into wool. She'll do that after I've chosen a pattern, between Christmas and March most likely, turning that big bag of merino wool into deliciously light four ply - perfect for layering in Melbourne weather.

Then she'll start knitting, and less than a month later, in April, I'll have my new twinset - and already I can't wait. I love my mum!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

They say I gotta go to rehab

.... and I say, NO NO NO.

Let me explain. I'm here in Sydney for work this week. It's our busiest period of the year, and so I get to spend every waking hour working myself to the bone, and in exchange my employer puts me into a nice hotel for a few nights and lets me order room service and use the fat, fluffy towels.

It's true that travelling for work is not as glamorous as it sounds - while the hotel part is lovely, and the breakfasts certainly are lavish, you don't get to enjoy it that much. I work like the proverbial dog and usually at the end of the day, it's all I can do to fall into bed late at night and not so much "go to sleep" as "become unconscious with exhaustion".

My gym routine gets interrupted, I eat all sorts of irregular food (re lavish breakfasts etc), and of course, there's no sewing. No sewing! For an entire week!

Lordy, it's like being in rehab - or at least, what I imagine it would be like if there was a rehab for sewing.

What would that be like? Would you have to confess how you used to loiter around vintage sewing sites on the interweb, trying to score patterns at half-price? Would you have to admit you had no power over sewing, and that although you always tried to resist the fabric sale you always faltered at the last minute, and spent your week's salary - and more? I'd have to describe that heady feeling I get when I'm surrounded by the smell of polished cottons and dye; and how the feel of a raw silk slipping between my fingers makes me weak at the knees. Can you imagine the group therapy sessions? 

It's true. The thought of a week without sewing makes me go pale and trembly, and my skin starts to itch and my fingers start to twitch.

And even though on a rational level I know it's impractical to bring a sewing machine on the plane from Melbourne to Sydney to set up in my hotel room, I did actually consider this.

So I've brought an extra little something with me for this period of work - a little sack filled with the hoot fronts I put together in the days before I left. Tracing the outline, cutting the fabric, cutting beaks and eyes from felt and fleece, stitching them on with the sewing machine, and choosing the button eyes ..... II have a dozen of those critters in my suitcase so that at least I can spend the last ten minutes of my day, before unconsciousness sets in, sewing on some eyes.

Sewing. On. Eyes.

Ahem. My name is Flickettysplits, and I'm a sewingaholic.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Something just for me .....

Recently I've spent a lot of my time sewing up things for markets, and it's given me the grumps.

Ordinarily I love sewing for markets - I enjoy playing with a whole range of stuff that I would never otherwise put together, especially as I don't have children - but sometimes it starts to take over my life. I begin to worry about my product range (if you can call it that) and get a bit stressed, and then before you know it, the fun is gone because I'm thinking about it too much and everything else has fallen by the wayside. That's when my hobby starts to feel a bit too much like work..

The other day I realised it's been nearly three months since I actually made something just for the fun of it. Something just for me. Last time it was the Study Hall Skirt by Anna Maria Horner.... in August. August!

So last weekend I took advantage of the half-price pattern sale at Clegs and bought up big.  Two wit: lots of skirts, tops and dresses. Cute things I might wear. Techniques I'm keen to try.

And then I chose one randomly. From this Simplicity patten, that one up there on the right, I chose the white top in the middle - the one with a pleated neckline and trumpet sleeves.

And then I burrowed into my stash and found some material from Tina Givens' latest range, and then I made it. Ta da!

            I'm quite proud. I haven't done sleeves like that before (trumpet sleeves? bell sleeves?) - they're very gathered, a lot of volume, and they're lined as well. See the lining?

And gee it felt good to make something just for the fun of it.

I think next on the list is the skirt pattern, the one with the big pleat at the front .... perhaps in an Amy Butler Nigella material ...... or maybe a green and purple tartan I picked up recently .... ah, the options ......

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How to grow a stunning hero piece

First, find one fantastically retro 50's chair abandoned on the side of the road, quite randomly one day when walking home from the train station.

Look around covertly to see if there is anybody nearby who might reasonably claim to own the chair. Act casual. Make sure you don't see anyone.

Go over and inspect the item. Note its sturdy construction, its cute tapered 50s legs. Marvel at its gorgeously tiny height (it will come up to your knees). Observe that whatever fabric was originally used to upholster it, has been thoughtfully ripped off, leaving only the foam padding. How perfect!

Take the chair home. Leave it in your spare room for a few weeks while you think about random fabric combinations in your head.

After many false starts and changes of mind, finally decide on Pressed Flowers in Rose, from Anna Maria Horner's Drawing Room collection. Purchase loads of it on sale on Etsy (and maybe put some of it aside for a skirt while you're at it, aren't those colours amazing?).

Take it to your friendly upholsterer, along with the cute chair.

Explain that you need this made up - not for yourself, nor for your children (of which you have none) - but for the pussins, who have decided the tiny chair is the perfect throne for them. Ideally sized. Beautifully rounded. Like it was made for them. Withstand the disbelieving gaze of the upholsterer. Request some piping around the edges.

Return a week later. Hey presto! You've grown a stunning hero piece.

And the pussins love it. That's the main thing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How many furs does a cat actually have?

There is cat fur everywhere at the moment. It is spring, and the pussins are moulting. Gah!

This morning I put on my lovely new Ojay black drop-waisted skirt with box pleats (it's very 80s, I feel like I'm back in school), made out of one of those new-generation materials that is more like some kind of industrial plastic than an actual fabric - it's meant to be super-duper-never-pick-up-lint-fantastic.

And it had cat fur on it.

I teamed it with a beautiful new blouse from Anna Thomas, made in washed cream silk printed with a rare yellow, grey, black and petrol Liberty print, as pictured in the slightly crooked photo at the top of this post - you'll have to forgive me, I took this surruptitiously in the kitchen at work, hoping that no one would notice I was taking a photo of myself, and from a distance I expect it would have looked, to the innocent observer, like I was trying to get a good shot of my own breasts.

I love this blouse, it has tiny little self-covered buttons all the way down the front, and blouson sleeves that are pintucked at the shoulder - and it used to have cuffs when I bought it but I chopped them off and gave it a gathered wrist instead, because they were slightly too long for me, like most sleeves are, and made me look like I was five years old and flapping around in my mummy's blouse.

And the best bit? It was priced at $398 which I would never have paid, and I lusted after it in the shop all through last season, and two weeks ago I went into the boutique in Little Collins St they were having a sale and they only had one left and it was in MY SIZE! Reader, you know I bought it.

(By the way, herewith a major plug for Anna Thomas, who is a great Australian designer specialising in classic, properly tailored office and casual wear for actual women who have an actual bosom and actual waists and actual hips and who want to make the most of their assets. She does not design for stick-figure teenagers who can throw on any old hessian sack and look avant-garde in it but who probably prefer to wear an old crappy jersey t-shirt made in China with bad seams and puckering. No, Anna Thomas uses beautiful silks and wools and tweeds and linens and whatnot, and I adore just about everything she makes. Even when, like today, it has cat fur on it. If you visit the boutique in Little Collins St you'll meet Laura, who I love because she is an honest woman and will tell you when something looks crap on you. Tell her I said hi.)

But I digress. The actual point of this post was to wonder just how many individual little furs are on a cat?

Because right now it feels like most of them are on my clothes, andI worry that people on the train will think I'm like the crazy cat lady on the Simpsons who babbles incoherently and swears and throws cats at people.

And the furs that aren't on my clothes are floating around in my house, stirring up little whirlywinds that blow around our feet whenever My One True Love or I walk past. Have you ever tried to keep a polished wooden floor free of cat fur in moulting season??  Don't even try.

Sigh. Soon spring will be over, and the pussins will have their glossy new coats, and I will spend the next four months de-furring the entire house.....

Rockin' Retro Hoot wins out

Thank you to everyone who contributed a name for the new Hoot! I loved reading your suggestions and seeing how you all "saw" him in different ways.

I had a hard time deciding, they were all so good - but I'm proud to say that Rockin'Retro Hoot won out in the end.

Hooray, and thank you to Rose and her five year old daughter for the suggestion! Rose, I would love it if you'd email me your address so that I can send you both a little thank you present. Drop me a line at flickettysplits@gmail.com , or leave me your details in the comments section .... and thanks again!

(oh, and I nearly forgot to add, this is my 195th post. And you know what that means, don't you .... it's not long now until my 202nd post ....and that means a giveaway!! Heh heh heh ......)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cute Hoot needs a name

Here's a lovely little fellow (somehow all of my Hoots are male, even the ones with girls' names).

Isn't he cute? He's made from a variety of fabrics I've picked up in Spotlight, online, and had in the stash. The polka dots are a Michael Miller, the reverse side is an Anna Maria Horner. I can't remember what the front is! His ears and feet are Michael Miller too...

But for some reason, I just can't think of a name for him. This is pretty unusual. Normally as I'm creating a softie, the name will pop into my head without too much trouble. Usually I get some inspiration from the fabrics, or the expression in the button eyes, or the overall look.

For example, this weekend at the Shirt and Skirt Market I'll have a new "Miss Havisham" Hoot, a new "Orange Blossom" Hoot, "Tthere's A Butler In My Garden" Hoot, and "The Turquoise Terror".

But blow me down, I CANNOT think of a name for this one. And I don't know why.

Have you any suggestions? Let me know what you think, and you could have a Hoot named in your honour!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Right back atcha

It's Tuesday, and I can't wait for the guy in the UK who's been spamming me at work recently, to get the following email I just sent to him .... (names have been changed to protect the innocent) ...

"Dear John,

"Thank you for your email.  I must say you never fail to impress me with your upbeat, positive attitude with regard to the [blank blank blank blank blank blank blank], which is certainly a mouthful of a title if I ever heard one. This must be quite laborious to type out so regularly in your communications, not just to me, but to the many other people you must approach as well. Have you thought of perhaps using an acronym? You could call it Tetigeb for short - I feel it rolls off the tongue (or fingertips, as the case may be) very nicely as a little endearment for your publication. Why not consider this approach next time?

"The way you manage to inject such enthusiasm into your emails is a welcome relief from the usual turgid constructions I receive from companies endeavouring to attract advertising revenue for their publications, and my colleagues, who eagerly await every next instalment from you, deeply admire your persistence and commitment to the cause. The regular scattering of exclamation marks injects a particular excitement and energy into your writing of which I am very fond.

"I must also say that your optimism in continuing to send me emails offering advertisements of different types with this publication (either in its hard copy or online format) is such a joy to behold in times like these, a period in our history characterised by the grim realities of recession, rising unemployment, falling business confidence and ongoing talk of deep financial crisis; both here and overseas. Indeed, the spirits of commercial ghosts haunt us at every turn, do they not?

"Therefore I can only commend you for your unfailing efforts in offering me the regular opportunity to advertise with your publication, particularly in light of my failure to ever previously reply to your many invitations. And I feel so flattered, having been pursued by you so ardently over the course of the past six months - is it really that long?- that I hardly know which way to look. Without question, your attentions are the most regular that I receive, and your undented confidence in the face of my continuing rejection is an astonishment to behold. If there were a prize for personal resilience I would nominate you for it.

"But alas, this cannot continue. Much as I treasure your every communication it is with regret that I feel I must at last declare in writing that I have no desire, no wish and no intent to ever take you up on this offer. Clearly, the regret is all mine but I feel it would be unfair to allow you to continue to hope that you will eventually wear me so far down to the point of exhaustion that I will give in. It will not happen, and I am resolute on this.

"Circumstances conspire against us, dear John, and if things were different, who knows what might have been possible. Please be deeply assured that I value every singular effort you have put into your stream of emails, and that I shall miss the regular contact from you.

Yours sincerely ......"

Too much, do you think?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gone but not forgotten

Oh my god! Ive lost a follower! How did this happen? Was it something I said?

I feel as though Ive had an arrow stabbed through my heart. Come back, dear follower, come back!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Zen and the art of potato chips

Ah ... crinkle crinkle ..... mmm.... crackle crackle .....yum ..... snarkle chomple crunch.

What's that sound, you wonder? That, my friends, is the sound of Flickettysplits snarfling her way through the end of a packet of plain potato chips. And starting in on the salt and vinegar.

I have very little in the way of willpower these days, especially when it comes to food I like. And I don't often get the craving for potato chips (erm, it happens about once a month if you catch my drift), so when I get that urge I've learnt I love myself a lot more by giving myself permission to give in.

If I don't, you see, then all my available energy goes into trying to NOT think about potato chips. And it is virtually impossible for the human brain to conceive of a negative. Because you have to think of the thing first before you can not think of it, if you see what I mean. It's a classic media management technique - do not speak in negatives because your audience will hear the opposite of what you are saying. For example, saying "no comment" just makes an audience think you DO have something to say, and that therefore you're hiding it, and ergo you're dodgy.

It works in the case of potato chips too. In trying not to think about potato chips, I of course spend every waking moment thinking about potato chips. Iimagining potato chips, romanticising the crunchy crunch crunch of potato chips, salivating at the thought of potato chips, thinking about the different flavours I could buy - and then trying not to eat them, after all that. It's a torture. A living, waking torture.

Let's do a little experiment just to prove what I'm on about. I'm going to tell you not to do something, and I want you to let me know how well you go. Here it is. Do NOT, under any circumstances, picture a blue-eyed polar bear when you read this sentence. Don't think of a blue-eyed polar bear.

Ah ha! You see?? It just doesn't work! Don't believe me? Think I'm pulling the wool over your blue-eyed polar bears' eyes? Let's try it again just to be sure.

This time, try REALLY HARD not to think of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Definitely DO NOT think of the Opera House just next door either. And whatever you do, make sure you FAIL TO IMAGINE an igloo. With a tree growing out the top of it. And little shiny tap shoes with sequins on them scattered amongst the branches.

I rest my case.

And so it is for potato chips too. I have learnt, over many years, that it is easier to simply eat the potato chip than it is to try and be totally zen about not-imagining-and-then-eating-it-anyway. It doesn't always work, and I still sometimes feel guilty afterwards (years of conditioning are hard to undo, after all) - but mostly, I just enjoy the potato chip. And if I DO manage it, I feel much prouder of myself for not feeling guilty and not having to wage an inner war - against myself - just for the sake of a bloody potato chip.

They're just chips, after all. Should we really beat ourselves up as much as we do, just for eating a packet of potato chips? Or a chocolate? Or a vanilla slice? Or whatever your particular secret craving food is? Are they really worth all that?

Of course they're not. Enjoy your chips next time you have them. Remember that giving yourself permission is a much healthier business than killing yourself by trying to resist - and then failing.

And there's something very zen about that, after all.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Daylight savings? Daylight sleepings!


I'm so tired tonight, and its because of the damn daylight saving .... I woke up at twenty to six this morning as per usual, except of course that was really twenty to FIVE and so of course I am exhausted.  Even the cats weren't up yet, and that's saying something.

So I had a coffee this afternoon at 3pm to get me through to the end of the day, and naturally, that means now I'm tired but not sleepy.

I do actually love daylight savings. I love the extra hour at the end of the afternoon, because it means I can potter around in the garden, or sew in real light for a little longer, or go for a walk before dinner - but I really don't like the first week.

Next week it'll be grand, but until the body clock adjusts, I'll be yawning .... and yawning .... and yawning ....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Reading between the lines

It's been a long time between proverbial drinks, my friends, hasn't it? And I expect you're wondering why.

I can finally disclose the reason. It's because I have finally decided - after much agonising - not to accept the glamorous job in Sydney, the one they've been wooing me for over the past month. I will not be packing up My One True Love and the furry babies and moving them to the uncertainties and displeasures of rental accommodation in Sydney. I will stop mentally spending the bags of money they were laying out seductively before me. I have resisted their efforts to trip headlong down the rabbit hole of temptation.

It was a tough call in the end. My One True Love and I spent weeks agonising over this. I went up to Sydney and back twice. Spent a day in the office, aced a written strategic assessment, blitzed the competition. He and I ran numbers and financial models based on different scenarios - sell the house, rent the house, etc etc - advanced arguments for and against (professional development, pollution), got excited about being closer to dear Sydney friends, reeled in horror at the price of rent even in suburbia - it quite exhausted me. I've done no sewing. I've missed two markets - two! I've had no energy to post. And I'm sorry for disappearing without a word about why.

And then at last we came to a decision. We'd go to Sydney. We'd cope with rent, and moving, and traffic, and public transport, and pollution. We'd leave Melbourne for three years, maybe five, and we'd enjoy the spoils on offer as well as the professional challenge it held for me. By jove, we'd do it!

But at the last hurdle, the very end of contract negotiations, the process broke down. They faltered, and I pulled the pin. It was a considered decision, and I knew it spelt both a missed opportunity and a lucky escape.

However, it's not all bad. I'm not staying in my current job either, the one that's been the source of such anxiety and stress and botheration for the past eight months or so. Oh no, that is finally behind me as well - at least, it will be in a month or so. And for that, I am eternally grateful. ETERNALLY. There's a light at the end of this long and very dark tunnel, and I can definitely assure you it's not the headlights of an oncoming train.

But don't let the details concern you. I'm staying in Melbourne, and life continues. I'm happy with my decision, for the most part, though of course there is a sliver of me that deeply regrets the missed opportunity that just slipped out of my fingers. Or more accurately, the one I deliberately released.

If nostalgia is the pain you feel on looking back through your past, what is the word that describes the pain you feel on losing an imagined future, never experienced?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fat Black Puss

It never ceases to amaze me what people will search for on the internets.  First though, let me digress briefly. There's a point, I promise, and I'll get to it.

If you're a regular reader of my blog (hello to both of you) you're no doubt aware of the three furry babies in my life: Podae, Fatpuss and Grimth. I should write a book about them called The Very Furry Babies. It would sell to Very Little People and their Very Nice Parents, I'm sure.

I love these animals, even though they can be incredibly capricious and frustrating at times. They won't sit on my lap - I know, three cats and not one of them is a lap-sitter, which surely is the primary function of a cat? I should ask for a refund. And they vomit in hard-to-reach places from time to time. And every now and again I get a small, bloodied corpse deposited in the bedroom as a token of love. And they like nothing more than to smooch on me and fur up my clothes in the split-second before I leave the house ... but I take it all in my stride.

It's the price I pay for unconditional love, you see, and I consider it a small one. And after all,they do shower me with the odd burst of affection and caterwauling, Fatpuss especially (the caterwauling that is). Podder is better with affection, and Grimth? He's mainly food-driven. Though he does quite like a scratch on the head in the morning and will close his eyes in ecstasy if you get the spot juuuuuuust riiiiiiiiight.

Ahem, I've become distracted. What was I saying? Oh yes - that I blog about them every now and again, and tell you adoring stories of their latest adventures and quirks. Much as I've just done. See how I did that?

And when I blog about them, I tag each of the blog entries with their names. Podae, Fatpuss and Grimth. Which leads me to the point, after all. Sometimes when reviewing my blog stats I'm intrigued to see how people find me. Often it's through keywords they enter into Google. Vintage tea towels is a favourite, as is Ode to Friday, and oddly, who sang Lazy Sunday Afternoon as well.

But my favourite has got to be the one tag people are most definitely NOT searching for. Not in the context I use it, that's for sure.

Let me be direct. Fat Puss. Fat Pusses. Furry Fat Puss. Fat Black Puss.

Yep, you know what I mean. And I can guarantee that a photo of my lovely furry fat black puss, such as the one at the top of this post, is not what they are after!!!

So this post is in honour of my lovely furry fat black puss, and his clear internet - ahem, attraction. Fatpuss, you're the tops.

Photos are back!

Whoo hoo! My photos are allowed back into my blog when I post from work!

I have no idea what is different, but I am very pleased. THAT at least I know.

Of course, I have nothing momentous to say on this occasion - isn't it  always the way?

And so I will leave it at that. Ta da!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cate's crochet couture

Look what Cate Blanchett wore to the opening of a thing down at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square today!

It's a crochet dress! It looks like she's taken her nanna blanket and had it specially made into couture!

My word, if I ever needed any more proof that craft is the new cool, this is most definitely it. A crochet dress. A one-shouldered, full sleeved, ruffle-ornamented crochet dress. Worn without any sense of irony at all. Seriously, Cate Blanchett must be the only person in the world who could wear a nanna blanket and look good in it. And doesn't she? I especially like the double ruffle layer at the bottom.

Crochet couture. What boundaries will craft push next??

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I has no oomph

I has no oomph today.

I slept badly last night - could it have been the Russian Blue pussycat in the bed overnight, snuggling his little furry body firmly against me? Why yes, I think it was.

Podae gets under the covers when it's cold, you see. He waits until I've fallen asleep and then he sneaks himself in and wedges himself in the triangle between my arm and my torso. Only his black nose and whiskers poke out.

And many years of owning pussins has trained me well in the Overnight Stowaway Cat department. I never roll over and squash him. I've been known to reflexively stick an arm out to stop My One True Love doing exactly that, before I even know I've done it - but I've never had to stop myself doing it. Consequently, the Podder knows exactly who to go to when he needs winter warmth.

I like the snuggles, but it does result in me having a lesser quality of sleep, as I'm sure my unconscious mind chants to itself throughout the night: Don't Flatten The Cat. Don't Flatten The Cat. Don't Flatten The Cat. It's got to have an impact, right?

This morning's impact is that I feel all limp and boneless. I has no energy. I has no oomph. I even has no appetite, and that's saying something.

I'm finding it hard just to sit up straight .... all I want to do is slither silently off my chair and lie in a puddle under the desk, sighing quietly to myself. It's not made any easier by my present state of mind, which simply wants to push aside all the hard decisions on my plate at the moment and just veg out. Seriously, if my brain was a vegetable right now, it would be a turnip.

Nearly one o'clock. Technically, I can go home in four hours and eight minutes.

Not that I'm counting, of course, oh no ....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's Tuesday and I can't wait to ....

It's Tuesday and I can't wait to ..... unleash this little beauty on the unsuspecting public!

Her name is Elly Fump.

On her right side she's made from Amy Butler upholstery print. On the reverse,
a Heather Bailey pattern.

Those legs? They're bits and pieces:
  • an old maroon and gold-flecked paisley I once made cushions from- handmade, as in, I stitched every stitch by hand with a needle. This was in the days before I owned a sewing machine.
  • a lovely terracotta polka dot
  • a pink and brown oddment
  • and the matching chocolate and white partner to the Heather Bailey print on the reverse side
She has lovely Alexander Henry inner ears, and on the outer of those flapping giants is a Michael Miller damask print I intended to make a skirt out of but never got around to.

Elly Fump's coming with me to the Shirt and Skirt Market this Sunday. It's meant to be a lovely day - 23 degrees and no rain until later in the afternoon. Hooray, because I hate it when it rains on market days!

And the best part about Elly Fump? I think it's that lovely pink pom-pom tail.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Today's horoscope says .....

Aries: The personal touch proves decisive in your getting hired. Venus, the planet of diplomacy, gives you an easy manner, so go with your first instinct. A new job will challenge your expectations, but concentrate first on getting in the door. You can negotiate terms once your position is made clear.

This is my second job-related horoscope in two weeks. This seems very signficant.....

PS, these tulips came from the garden, they got blown down in those crazy winds two days ago and I didn't want them to die. Tulips keep growing if you cut them, did you know that? So I chopped these ones off and now they look fantastic in this vase, and they're not limp anymore. The variety is called Batavia, and the colour is somewhere between salmon, terracotta, orange and pink. The cups are as big as my palm with fingers extended. Seriously.