Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The hills are alive...

With the sound of music... well, now that I've figured out why I couldn't hear any of Mr Dave & his happy buddy Mr Ry playing merrily on my lovely new machine, that is - she who is the self-proclaimed music junkie forgot to turn the external speakers on.  Hah!  What a dope.  Anyway, I proved it wasn't my possibly somewhat-lacking skills on the YouTube front by watching this Podcast & when there wasn't any sound, I thought I'd uploaded it wrong.  You know, what happens to old people when confronted with new technology - they get it, almost, but not quite..

What drove me was one of the other other blogs  I follow regularly was having that Podcast & they'd worked out how to stick the YouTube thingy into the post, the smarties, and I wanted to see if their voices sounded like I thought they should (and they did, which is kind of creepy), but anyway, there was no sound coming out of that either, so I did what any semi-literate computer user would do - I called the help desk.  

Just kidding.  I went to the control panel & checked for my speakers, which were apparently all working, and the little sound level they so kindly give you on Vista was going up & down, living proof (well, not quite living, but you know what I mean), so I figured "There must be something else going on".  Brilliant.  This is why I earn the big bucks, y'know?

Anyway, guess what?  The cable was plugged in.  But they speakers be not turned on.  Turn they speakers on.  Magic.  Well, actually, I don't believe in magic, but it was a nice result.  Sound, lovely sound.  Sharon Lee sounds just like I thought.  Steve Miller sounds just like I thought.  Plus interesting, as a bonus.  Now I have to sit & listen to the whole podcast.  Maybe.  But first, the results of some labours last night with the stuffing implements & a whole bag of fibre-fill:

He is so cute, and of course, he's for my lovely DSSIL*.  Last time I made her a froggie, she pressed me to come up with a name, and I folded.  Anyway, eventually we went with 'Guido', but I'm still not sure if that's the best name.  So, for this lovely colorful canine, I'm thinking that I should throw it out to my huge audience, and see if anybody can come up with something more appropriate.  A small prize is being offered for the best name.  Miss DSSIL* obviously cannot participate.

Now, I only have to sew up the open bit (and there are absolutely no prizes for guessing where that is, and figure out how to get him up to where she lives... Australia Post loves a challenge.  Just as well! 

Monday, 20 April 2009

Sidh Beag agus Sidh Mór

I just found the most gorgeous thing on YouTube, a clip of David Lindley and Ry Cooder playing "Sídh Beag agus Sídh Mór", a tune I was first acquainted with when I was much, much younger than the 750 I am today... you must have a listen.  I've stuck a link somewhere on this infernal device.  Interestingly, infurnal, infirnal and infernal all seem to be perfectly reasonable alternatives, at this time of day, after an entire day of "writing letters for a living" ... then I found this lovely lovely clip and my spirits just rose.

We also had a fabulous weekend here , eating fantastic seafood (I had prawns and a helping of Paella, plus a serve of hazelnut ice cream, what a piggy) and drinking magnificent Hunter Valley Semillon - see, what a perfect combination that would be - listening to Ry Cooder and David Lindley and drinking Semillon, although both strike me as bourbon drinking kind of boys but lease correct me if I'm libelling them here... 

Do other countries differentiate between libel and slander?  In Australia, where this is writ, slander is spoken, (which is how you remember the difference, next time you're off at the trivia-fest) and libel is written.

What else?  I played with my best girlfriend, and I handed over the other cosmetic pouch to my lovely DSSIL*, and took orders for more stuff from her and Kaz.   With friends like these two, who needs Etsy?

I made these, though, and I've just discovered I've left all my other stock in the Hunter.  Good thing Kaz is honest, huh?  I can see her running down the driveway doing a madwoman's heel spring thingy with joy at finding a pouch and 15 assorted lavender bags under the table...

And what else?  Ah yes, Much late-night joy was found reminding Kaz how to play Rickety Kate, or Black Bitch, or what-have-you, and I discovered my DSSB** is a very clever and completely shameless cheat at cards.  Also, that we both dislike celery, and some other useless vegetable I've forgotten already, and we both had Brussel Sprouts (because they make your farts smell so good - well, that's my reason, I'm sure his was something much more civilised), cauliflower and potatoes as our favourite vegetables... amazing there's no blood connection, really.  Maybe in another life?  If I ever get the chance to swap my actual sibling for another one, I'm picking him!

The weather she was beautiful, too, except Sunday arvo when it rained, which was just fine, because we all had small hangovers and a dose of doing nothing was called for.  Some were much smaller than others, I might add. Ah joy...

*Defacto Step-Sister-In-Law
**Defacto Step Brother

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Time, on my side*...

Well, I just read a lovely blog by somebody called "Maggie Mason", who has created a list of "mighty things she wants to do before she goes" (that's 'shuffle off this mortal coil' for those of us who just love euphemisms)... and I was looking at it going "yep, sure, if I had a gazillion bucks and another 30 years aged 47".  Some of things on there are just plain unachieveable for us mere mortals, like "open a Swiss bank account", "Be conversational in seven languages", and my absolute favourite, "Remove toxins from our food and environment" (and a tip from the language pedant here, I think she means "conversant")... so I thought I might make a list of some things I'd like to achieve before I buy the farm (there's another one for ya)...

Now, don't get me wrong, I like her blog, her turn of phrase and her style, but really, why do people set these challenges for themselves?  To my mind, it's just setting yourself up for failure, disappointment, heartache and dyspepsia.  Sometimes it's easier to settle for a little bit less, and then take comfort from knowing that you can achieve some of this stuff. 

So, here's the start of my list.
  1. Get out of bed.
  2. Have a shower
  3. Find something without a grease stain on the front, to wear to work.
  4. Leave the house.
  5. Get a seat on the bus on the way to work. 
  6. Have the bus arrive on time so I can catch the connecting train on the way to work
  7. Get a seat on the train on the way to work.
  8. Arrive at work without killing any of the school children who zig and zag in front on you when you're trying to walk in a straight line dragging a laptop, juggling a handbag, coffee and toast and some incipient exhaustion from the 5.30am start.
  9. Convince the nice policeman that it wasn't your fault that that lovely child somehow ended up under the front wheel of the bus.
  10. Stay at work all day in hiding from that lovely child's lovely crack-smoking, tattooed, peroxide-haired, multi-pierced mother who is wearing a purple lurex boob tube, yellow lycra mini-skirt, 30 kilos more than she needs and whore shoes at 8.30am.
  11. Wait until 5.30pm to go home (the mother will be at work now so you'll be safe).
  12. Wonder how your day got so bad.
  13. Forget it.
  14. Relax. 
  15. Eat. 
  16. Sew. 
  17. Sleep. 
  18. Dream. 
  19. Wake. 
  20. Start list again.
See?  Easy.

*Copyright Jackson Brown 2008

Sunday, 5 April 2009

You make me dizzy, Miss Lizzy

Man, I am such a music junkie.  I bought some new speakers when I splashed out on the laptop, from Logitech (note:  I have no affiliation whatsoever with any technology company, but if somebody's looking to sponsor me, hey!  I'm your person...) & I've got the music library playing on random in the room where the laptop lives, and also in the room where the sewing machine lives, belting out of another piece of geekery.  How bad is that?  I can't bear to be in a room for more than about 10 minutes without music.  MWH is the same with the TV, which is probably why I need the music - what was that song "57 channels and nothing on"???

Anyway, enough digressing, didya see the new gadget, didya, didya, huh, huh?  I spent an inordinate amount of time at Flickr this morning, then had to go to big huge labs to get it how I wanted it - and I still don't think it's right, but I have added a froggie slideshow to the page, only as a method of improving communications, you understand, subliminal advertising being illegal and all (well, here, at least!).

I spent some quality time yesterday with my lovely friend GMcD, aka Hannah Sutherland, who has ordered no less than four, yes, that magic number - not one, not two, not three but four, froggies, and I was happy to be able to deliver the first one:

To the left here is Miss Petunia, and she is going off to Miss Jackie as a gift, I believe.  Miss Jackie is the lovely lady for whom I made the 75 lavender bag bonbonieres last year, and she is also the proud owner of Miss Jasmine the Weddiung Frog, to the right here, in figured satin, complete with tulle veil & pearl eyes...
I also made one each for the lovely GMcD & her mum, who is visiting her from Scotland, and in celebration of her Scottish heritage, I have named them Cora and Iona:
Cora looks a little like she's been smoking those funny cigarettes, but I'm thinking that's maybe jetlag?
Anyway, one more to go, in something purple.  I'm going to have to go & find some more purple fabrics, it's becoming a lot more popular (well, that's my excuse) and I don't have enough in my stock.  Isn't it funny how we gravitate to the colours we really like?  I have loads of blues, greens, pinks and reds, but hardly any yellows, oranges, purples or browns, and I have a bunch of fabulously versatile black & white stuff but only because I was given it as a gift - it wouldn't have occurred to me to go & buy it, and yet it's fantastic to line anything... and also if you wanted a formal frog!  I hadn't thought of that... but I will now! 

Friday, 3 April 2009

And I want it painted black...

I just had a look at lovely Lulu Carter's blog today, I check her page religiously, not just because she has such an unerring sense of style, but because she is so clever with her use of colour - the images she has for her easter banner are just gorgeous... you owe it to yourself to check it out.

I also put some encouraging words on the bottom of Fluid Pudding's blog; she's trying to work up to getting the sewing machine out & make some kids clothes - I have to say that when I got to about 30, yes, yes, I know it was last century and all, but I do remember that far back... I got the urge, you know the one, the producing urge -not the reproducing urge, but the urge to make clothes.  I didn't even know what a selvedge was, and I had to ring my mother up to find out which way to pin the pattern onto the fabric.  

I persevered, and I made things, reaching the peak of my skills with a 17th century style corset I made at a course run by our national Drama Institute.. dressmaking is infinitely satisfying, and the opportunities to improve your skills just go on and on and on... but you have to take that first step.  I'll post a piccie of the corset one day, it was quite an achievement in the end, all the boning had to be cut to size, then the ends rounded with emery paper, the eyelet holes for the lacing went in using a huge victorian press, all the stitching was done on industrial machines, which are a completely different prospect to normal domestic machines, then I had to stitch the binding on by hand - all 4 metres of it... but it is spectacularly gorgeous... if I say so myself.

Once I found patterns I liked, I made a bunch of the same thing - 8 gore skirts on a yoke, a t-shirt blouse, flippy skirts with a frill on the bottom (come on, I was young once too)... and I bought metres and metres of dress fabric - and most of it is still sitting in my sewing room - cotton shirting,  beautiful raw silks, organza, linens, beautiful italian wool velvet, sari silk.. is it wrong to consider making froggies out of that stuff?  It's just sitting there in the boxes, looking at me... because I can't be bothered any more..

All that pressing, pinning, cutting out, marking the grain, measuring from the edge to the grain line to make sure it's all straight, cutting out the notches, then doing it all again for the lining... I've mastered french seams, darts, pin tucks, blind hemming, piping...

Froggies are a nice easy option for those of us whose attention span is shrinking as our waistlines are expanding... as are these guys:

Nice, huh?  And so much fun!

But, please don't let me put you off!  Get that sewing machine out from under the christmas decorations, on top of the cupboard, under the bed.  Cut out, measure, sew, wear with pride.  You can do it, and when you have, put it on your blog and share it with the world!  Go girls!