Monday, 29 March 2010

Sometimes I astound even myself...

So, in anticipation of the [question without notice, what's the term for something that only happens every four years??]  Quadrennial (I just looked it up) Golightly Photo and Travelfest, we went mad and bought Mr Golightly some spiffy new clothes, so he wouldn't get arrested in countries less tolerant than our own, of balding, newly middle-aged men wearing body-shirts and flares, complete with hush puppies, from the 1970's.  Actually, that's a bit unkind, he's probably worked his way into the early '80's by now.  Maybe.

I held out for Sportscraft, which is an Australian clothing company that's been around since the 1950's, they had a bit of a rennaisance about 10 years ago & really got, as the Americans say, with the program - nice quality, good colours, conservative enough so you don't feel like you're wearing your 24 year old nephew's stuff, but not so conservative that people think you've shopped at that other menswear store that starts with L and ends with prostate trouble and arthritis.

The only reason, I have to say, that I make Mr Golightly buy Sportscraft is that nobody has seen fit to resurrect Gowings, which really was an Australian institution, established in 1868, and gone, all gone, by the end of 2005.  Gowings was fantastic, a multi-levelled menswear store not entirely unlike DJ's or Grace Brothers, or whatever the hell it's called today, but it was, um, for want of a better word, and not trying to be unkind, ordinary.  Comfortable.  Domestic.  You could buy Bonds undies, socks, swimmers, bowls gear, you could get your hair cut for $10, you could get everything from head to toe, even dinner suits and Birkenstock sandals .  

Mr Golightly felt as happy as he ever gets shopping, shopping there, and I could take him once a year, wander up & down the floors, and come out knowing he looked respectable without being flashy, and that the quality was good.  So good, in fact, that he's still wearing Gowings t-shirts and shorts from the 1990's.  Which is the subject of a whole 'nother post, one we're not getting to tonight!

Anyway, we bought him this smart Navy jacket to take away on the Golightly Quadrennial Photo and Travelfest, in the hope that he'd leave his somewhat daggy shapeless polar fleece jacket behind.  Hah!  Did I say 'vain' hope?  Should've.

The main concern, gentle reader, was that the Sportscraft jacket didn't have an inside pocket.  I mean, really, what were they thinking?  What item of men's outdoor apparel doesn't have inside pockets?  Men need somewhere to stow things, that's the only reason they get away without being afflicted by the curse of the handbag!

So... I undertook to put one in.  Now, you know that I have done dressmaking.  For me.  Skirts, pyjamas, blouses.  Nothing complicated.   Nothing tricksy.  Nothing too challenging (apart from the Corset, of course).  However, I've made a zillion pouches, lined, with no raw edges showing, so how hard could it be to gently unstitch the lining of the jacket, insert a pouch & restitch up, leaving on a zip?

This hard:

 Not too hard at all, actually.  I had to do a bit of hand-stitching at either end where the zip foot wouldn't go, but it doesn't look too bad.  I did mean to have funky lining, though, but after making the pouch twice and realising I had it round the wrong way, when I did get it right, I couldn't be bothered to swap it back again.    I used something not entirely dissimilar to this:

Singing Frogs 2009

So everytime Mr Golightly opens the inside pocket in his ultra smart Navy Sportscraft jacket to get his passport out, I'm going to have a small chuckle. 

That's probably it for me for a while, I may get to post from parts unknown, but no promises.  Stay safe, gentle readers!


Monday, 22 March 2010

Alice in dunderland

I just know that I am leaving myself open here to lots of derision and scorn, but really, y'know, I have to wonder, why did Tim Burton bother?  I got the feeling that we came in about 2/3 of the way through some other story, especially with the characters in the 'real world', all of whom have been in some British drama or other - couldn't he have found some new and 'interesting' faces to play the 'real' people?  Was he looking to provide entertainment for actors who couldn't get a part in Harry Potter?  (Apart from the truly wonderful Alan Rickman & Timothy Spall, of course)... Actually, it's just popped into my head - this is what would happen if J K Rowling met Charles Dodgson & they decided to have some fun... or if Hermione Granger's great-grandma hadn't made the cut for Hogwarts.  

Anyway, gentle reader, I thought it was ... ok.  I guess.  There were a couple of little kids in the audience who were really scared, and I have to say my friend Miss Nellie in the next seat was a bit spooked by the Jabberwocky, which is, of course, the whole point, but if you're considering taking your kids, maybe think again?  I don't think it's a kid's film.  Also, from the historical accuracy POV, I have issues (yes, I know, you know I have issues...) about sending a 19 year old girl out dressed as a child, no ladies maid or nanny (still with a nanny at 19?  I don't think so!!) would have let her out of the house without a corset (they had corsets for 8 year olds, for pete's sake) or stockings & bloomers...  Just not done, y'know.  

I think Alice's outfits throughout the film were seriously weird, too.  All that off-the-shoulder, just barely tied on, stuff?  What was the message there?  The only outfit I thought was halfway 'sensible' was the jacket & trousers she had on just before she went off to the Champion - was she dressed like a boy there because Burton was trying to say that only boys can be champions?   

The Victorians were a bit weird, though, too, weren't they?  They had some very strange ideas about what was OK for kids and what wasn't - I remember being given a copy of 'The Water Babies' when I was about 8 or 9 and being horrified by how gruesome that was - and that was another Victorian smash hit (thank the Oversoul nobody has decided to make that into a film!!)...

I remember from my brief career as a bookseller that we had some pretty gruesome Victorian illustrated books (I just tried to find them on Google, so if you never hear from me again, assume that DOCS* has come & taken me away for child endangerment) in our kids section... 

And today I ordered this:

LIME GREEN minky DOT 1 yd

No prizes for guessing what I'm going to do it it.  Or even what it is... you'll just have to wait and see!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

See, the problem is...

That the minute I sit me down to write a blog post, I get distracted by all the shiny things in our house (being the total geek-fest that it is), and I forget my original purpose... when I was much younger (in my feckless 20's), I used to have lists of things to do each weekend, so that when I found myself re-covering shelves with wallpaper just before guests arrived, the beds were already made and the fridge was full of food, instead of unmade and empty... but that good habit has gone by the wayside, sadly, along with the desire to do all my ironing on a Sunday night, and the urge to dust.  Twice a year is plenty, I think.  I'm sure I've mentioned before how one of my favourite authors, Sharon Lee, of "Lee and Miller" fame, also believes twice a year is not too often.  

Although, gentle reader, it must be said that after the Invasion of the Coffee Machine by the evil forces of Antdom, I did act quickly to locate the source of Ant Enticement that had appeared in my Small but Perfectly Formed room, this afternoon.  Apparently some kind supplier of 'something' in my dim and distant past had provided a lollipop, similar in shape and form to the sort consumed by Kojak, which was sitting behind my magnifying lamp... ants must have an incredible sense of smell, yes?  Anyway, after moving the small bookcase holding 237 years worth of Threads magazines (anybody want 'em?  Free to a good home, postage only), a small collection of buttons *snicker*, and a half-torso store dummy, I found said lollipop at the back of the bookcase behind said lamp, carried it with its attached lodgers outside, and left it in the wilds for nature to take her course.

So... shiny things.... I have ignored the clarion call of the blogs I have left unread all this weekend, in order to fulfill duties of the creative kind to my loyal and devoted audience.  Actually, I believe my mum (Hi Mum!) is about to start reading this, so I thought I'd better tidy up a bit first.  You know how mothers have that long-distance x-ray vision about the state of your house... 

I've spent this weekend sewing, having spent the week in some kind of whirling dervish trance-like state where the days from Monday to Friday just went in a blur... I was determined not to let this weekend go by without making some stuff, so here it is:

My lovely DSSIL*, Miss Mandy, had her birthday on Saturday:

 And she wanted a purple pencil case, with her initials on it, so that was easy.  Shame it wasn't there for Saturday, but after the week I've had, (which I am quite sure you don't want to hear about, seeing it was the same as the last week, and the week before that, and so on, ad nauseum), we should all be grateful I'm still crawling out of bed on Saturday mornings to sew, rather than just hiding under the covers like I wanted to!  

Then Miss E, Mr Golightly's middle niece, has her birthday tomorrow.  She lives in the fabled city of Melbourne, lucky girl, where there are markets galore, culture, lanes with bars, restaurants to die for and lots of lovely shopping. You've never been, I hear you say? Well, it's as close to Europe as you'll find in this wide brown land, so if you get the opportunity, go, for the love of craft!  This is what I made her:

It never ceases to amaze me how well the oddest combination of fabrics go together - whoda thunk that Erin McMorris's Pebbles in Lime would go with Echino's Scooters?  Well, after I went rummaging for something that particular slime green, I did!  Hope she likes it (I did press it before it went into the packaging, honest)!

And finally, for the lovely Jenifer in Massachusetts, some MoMo Wonderland jumbo lavender bags:

And now, gentle reader, I am going to lie on the couch and pretend I don't have a pile of clothes as big as a mountain on my spare bed waiting to be folded, sorted and put away (but not, you'll note, ironed!), that I don't have to go to work tomorrow, and that my big fat European holiday is only 9 working days away... oh wait!  It is!



Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Sheer genius

What's this?  Two posts in one day - it's been a while, so I thought I'd spoil you all.

We got this beauty in the mail from my mum on Monday;

It matches the one she made us for a belated birthday gift:

I think she's so clever - I love the pair of them - but there were 'vigorous, full and frank discussions' around the fabrics that went into these - Mum is very traditional, and she really struggled with the bright modern florals that I love, but, she's a professional, and the job she did was fantastic - even to the extent of hand-dyeing cotton batting to make her own felt!

I love them both, I have to say.  What do you think?

Some animal encounters!

Firstly, the Puppy!  Susie from I just love that Fabric put a lovely post on her blog saying how much she liked the puppy - I have to say I was pretty pleased with it myself, but it's always nice when somebody else likes your work...

Second, we had a small insect incursion in the Golightly household - we bought a couple of pavlova bases at Christmas, for those of you who might think I'm talking about stands for ballerinas, you can buy 12"/30cm 'undressed' pavlovas from the supermarket, in a box.  You can then 'dress' them with whatever takes your fancy - usually strawberries, passionfruit pulp and masses of cream - and they are a traditional summer dessert... yummy.

Anyway, we forgot about one of them, and it sat in a box in the top of the pantry until very early in the New Year, when we noticed a few ants winding and wending their way into the cupboard... and upon investigation, rediscovered the errant pavlova, which promptly made its way into the food recycling in our garden (aka Mr Golightly's children, all 5000 of them [it's a worm farm, ok?]).

So, over the last couple of days I've noticed a few ants winding and wending their way back into our pantry, but haven't done anything about it - until this morning, when I opened the cupboard next to the pantry,where the ironing board lives, only to discover the entire ceiling and walls of the top of the cupboard covered in ants... very busily carrying food in from outside...

So when I dragged Mr Golightly out of bed to look at 5.30AM, he didn't exactly react how I thought*.  He went apesh*t, dragging out the cloudy ammonia, throwing the entire contents of the cupboard outside, and proceeding to commit genocide (ant-ocide?), all in the nude.  Oh, for the camera!  Anyway, luckily for us the neighbours didn't appear to be too perturbed by this racket, and tonight when I got home, and after I finished cleaning up all the ant corpses, I started to look at what they were so interested in.

Many many years ago, gentle reader, Mr Golightly was a partner in a software company.  It's a very long story, but when the company was wound up, we got the coffee maker.  Yep, along with a lot of [now] obsolete hardware and software, manuals, a couple of nice office chairs and a 12 seater boardroom table, some mis-matched glasses and a black plastic tray with a crack right across it... takers for the boardroom table, apply here.

It's one of those with a heated base, where you put coffee in a paper filter, pour in cold water and wait for the water to flow down through the machine, into the filter full of coffee, and down into your waiting glass pot.  So, guess where the ants were?  Right in the lid:

You know, we've owned this coffeemaker for more longer than we've been married, and I never knew the lid even came off.  What kind of housekeeping slob does that make me?  The best kind, I think.

Anyway, I've cleaned it all out, run a pot of water through it, and hopefully it'll give us another 18 years service.

Other news:

Even though it looks like a spotty turd, it isn't. It's a leopard slug & it's sitting outside our back door, waiting to work its way into Mr Golightly's shower - they love to sit in your shower & eat the mould - weird, huh?  But in a good way:

What else?  Well, I've started taking public transport to work, because the large company for which I work has seen fit to stop paying for our parking.  To be fair, we knew it was coming, and we can still pay for the parking ourselves, it's only $3.50 per day, salary sacrificed, which is only the same as a large flat white with two, so it's not the end of the world, but I hate driving to work every day.  I'm trying to work out ways to reduce my carbon footprint, not increase it!  

So, the large corporation for which I work also runs a number of subsidised buses all over parts of Sydney.  This is essentially because they chose to move 5,000 of their staff into three brand-spanking new buildings in a location which is, geographically speaking, the arse-end of nowhere, and which is chronically badly served by public transport.  One of those buses goes through a Slightly Further Away Suburb (17km) from me, at 7.15am, and it connects with the bus from the Slightly Larger Suburb next to me, which leaves at 6.35am.  Yesterday, I arrived at work at 8.50am.  That's two hours and fifteen minutes to go 40 kilometres.  Is it worth it to save $3.50?  Time will tell.

*I thought he'd go back to bed, leaving it for me to clean up!