Tuesday, 27 April 2010

baking and more baking

I've been at work since 7:15 today due to use getting rentokill in. Ah the delights of office fleas. Fortunately I've not been bitten, but then again I rarely am. This does mean I get to leave work at 3:15 today. Woot. Spadger is away tonight for work so I'll be walking home. It's about 3 miles and very up and down hill. With my short legs and general lack of stamina it'll be about an hour to an hour and a half walk. I quite enjoy it to be honest as long as it doesn't rain. Same journey tomorrow morning and maybe tomorrow evening as well depending.

As George was taken away to be serviced yesterday I intend to spend this evening baking and trying to tidy my sewing/crafting supplies out. Everything seems to be taking over a bit and it's all rather higgledy piggledy. I hope to be able to sort out projects to do and maybe cut out some patterns as well. My notions really need sorting.

In the last half hour I have lied to a door to door salesman ( I really wanted to help him but as we're not the homeowners he would need to give his price to the landlord. I agreed to pass it on thinking he would give me the price then. Nope, he needed to take my number and get someone to call me back and a false number rolled off my lips before I was aware of it. I am such a bad person), received a gift of cauliflower leaves for the compost from next door and put the first batch of scallion scones in the oven. I'm not sure how that balances out in the scale of the universe really.

The plan for the rest of the evening mostly consists of baking. I'd really like to sort through my stuff as mentioned above but I can never seem to do other stuff at the same time as baking. My brain gets distracted by the pretties and the next thing you know the baking is burnt. So, baking first, then stash sorting. Plan!

Scallion scones, done, Chocolate chili cupcakes, done. Rhubarb cake, in the oven.

Rhubarb cake, on rack. Apple tart thing, in oven. Cookie dough in fridge ready to roll. One they're done I'm off for a shower by which time they should have cooled enough for me to make the ganache stuff to stick them together Oreo style. Man I'm tired. But I need to get it all done before I can go to bed. I've not made the savory pie I wanted to for tea tomorrow but I have cooked the meat ready. So I'll just knock that together when I get home tomorrow. Gonna sign off now folks. Sweet dreams.

Monday, 26 April 2010

George is going for a service

I booked my lovely sewing machine in for a service. This is the first once since I got it over a year ago. Now I appreciate most people get their machines serviced yearly at most but it seems like such a long time. George is a 1901 Singer V series. She's treadle powered and I love here dearly. Now she was restored by the gentleman I bought her off and he had to take her right down to the metal so she no longer has the beautiful decals you associate with Singer. She is also missing the drawers that should go under her desk. But I love her. And I have given her some hammer, really I have. Tonight I will have to take everything off her and fold her into the desk. Then I will have to pop home tomorrow morning so the nice people can come and take here away. I have no idea how long she will be gone (sob) and I have an evening to myself tomorrow. I guess I'll have to break out the knitting tomorrow. Should give me chance to catch up on that. I have a cardigan to knit for Spadger and a top for myself which have both been sorely neglected lately.

**Edited at 6:65**
The sewing machine man has just popped round as he was near my house and taken George away. I learnt that she just unscrews from the treadle base. I am rather sad that she has gone :o( Must stop being daft. However I have just given my sewing machine to a total stranger. I feel a tad nervous that he may not bring her back.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Walkaway dress: Complete!

Dear and constant reader, it is complete! I had to make one final adjustment to the front hem which was a few inches longer than the back despite us measuring from the floor upwards when we set it so it should have been identical. Ah well. You will notice that the front sits a bit different to the pattern envelope. This is due to the dress having ties that cross over at the front and wrap all the way round. At a later date I may make a slit for one tie to go through the other to make it neater. However it will certainly do for now. So onto the particulars.

Here is the front view. I appear to be stood on a slant. Just ignore that, it's been a long day :o)

Side view. No silly gaping bits now.

Back view. Again please ignore the slant. As you can see there is a massive bow which the original dress doesn't have. I like it. Spadger is learning how to do a butterfly bow to make it even more pretty!

Gratuitous armpit shot. Notice no bra on show. Quite proud of that one.

Lastly here is a new thing I learnt today thanks to this tutorial. Bound buttonholes. The back doesn't meet at all due to not having enough material so we put strap over the back to this button. I've never done a bound buttonhole before but I found it quite easy. Lots more buttonholes to come me thinks :o)

So there you have it. One Walkaway dress. Yeah I had to make a ton of alterations to it. Yeah it is darn pretty! I know a lot of people are a bit nervous about tackling this one but I say go for it. Just don't expect to get the first one done in a hurry and you''ll be fine. Treat it as a Zen exercise and all will be fine.

Friday, 23 April 2010

circles are evil!

I started picking the original back up dress apart last night. Once I had to bodice free I put it on to see if it does fit and it was just the opening needs making longer. Erm, no. It is indeed at least an inch if not 2 smaller than it should be. I have no idea how I've managed that at all. However I am persevering with this one as it is so very pretty. I will be inserting an extra panel on the bodice and the waistband at the back. So it will be slightly less polished than it was previously but it will fit. I believe that there is plenty of room in the skirt because I had to pleat it to make it fit the waistband.

I love how far I have come. A few months ago I would have had the screaming abdabs and thrown it into the UFO pile. Not now mu friend. I will be altering it next week I reckon. Same as the other version of this dress I have. That one went together fine and fits well but the waistband hung badly die to the way the instructions say to sew it. That one is now in pieces waiting to be sewn back together now.

So that's 3 dresses to complete and then add to my wardrobe. How happy am I right now?

Ok so that last statement was a few hours ago now. I've just finished the hems of this dress, my fingers are scalded form the iron and I have a crick in my back. Circle skirts are pretty but evil. Looks like the finished pics might be tomorrow. I can start the binding now but man I need a rest first. think I might go watch Spadger who is fighting with a rabbit as he tries to groom the winter coat off her. Fur is literally flying!!!! :o)

Thursday, 22 April 2010

e only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

I like this quote. It is so very true and I can apply it to my life in so many ways (not just the search for truth). I am terrible for not starting stuff for fear of failure. Better to not try than fail. What an IDIOT. I am coming to see now that there really is no such thing as failure. Everything I have "failed" at has taught me something. So the failure is not the end of the journey it's merely a pause or slight obstacle. Instead of giving up on stuff I need to practice going all the way.

I've already started applying this to my sewing. I've learnt the ability to start projects that might have scared me a bit and to persevere through the many pitfalls that come with fitting a garment properly. But last night I had a revelation. I have spent what feels like weeks. (it's been 4 really) sorting out the pattern for the Walkaway dress. Not really a walkaway for me. However it is done. I'll have the finished product in time for the wedding I was making it for. I also now have a pattern I can use for many many more of this dress. But 4 weeks ago I would never have thought I would be at the point I am now. A bit of perseverance goes a long way.

Tonight I will be doing no sewing as I am off to the local comedy club. Tomorrow I shall hopefully completes my dress.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Walkaway dress alterations: Post 3 - Starting to put it together

Well this is it. We are cutting out the pieces for the Walkaway dress. I say we because Spadger is cutting I'm just helping. He is much steadier of hand and I was terrified of cutting it wrong. How awesome is he?!?!?! I will hopefully get all the pieces together tonight and then it needs to hang to let the bias set on the skirt. In my delight at getting it done I'd forgotten that bit and am now a tad disappointed that I can't finish it tonight. Ah well. This means Friday night will be spent hemming and binding and then it should be done.

It's now 11:32 and I want to go to bed. But first a quick sneak peek at the dress. It's not finished (see above) but it's all sewn together. Please excuse the other dress underneath but I needed something to pin it to!

The ties I mentioned in the last post will pull this in a little more under my bust.

Look no silly gaping! (ignore the selvedge edge. Yes I know I shouldn't have cut into that but I really liked it and wanted it to be in the dress even if it will be hidden in the seam)

Nice lower neckline and no cap sleeves.

Will definitely cover my bra!

So there you have it. I will post completed pics either Friday or Saturday depending on when I get it finished along with a run down on how to alter it for yourself. Sweet dreams dear readers :o)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Walkaway dress alterations: Post 2 - The Frankenstein dress

Hey folks. It's another exciting installment of the Walkaway dress saga. Today I introduce you to Frankenstein dress. To make all those alterations I discussed before I have added several pieces of fabric to the original pattern to make room for the alterations. I could have started from scratch but that would be awful wasteful. So I merrily began tacking extra bits on. I took in the shoulder, lowered the neckline, extended and raised the front and back armholes.

Now this first picture is still not the most flattering of things. It just doesn't pull in at my waist quite like I want. I could alter the darts but Spadger had a cunning idea involving long ties attached to where the closures should go so I can wrap it around me several times like an Obi belt and tie it where ever I feel like that day. This will allow me to cinch it in a bit more.

Now lets ignore the fact that I have the middle pinned very badly and admire my bust instead. The dart that is. What a difference it has made. No more weird bagging. Also no odd little cap sleeves (apologies if you like cap sleeves, they've never really done a lot for me. I'm broad enough in the shoulder thank you without drawing extra attention to it!) Plus a slightly lower neckline. Now I know it's not much but I think it sits in a much better place on me.

Lastly another gratuitous armpit shot. If you look real close you can just see the edge of my bra. Just. Much better than the gaping hole we had before.

All in all a success I think. What I will do now is pick this apart, cut the darts out so I can draw them in directly and cut the "good" half of the front piece off. These will then form my pattern pieces. The only other alteration I would like to make is to extend the front pieces so they actually meet at the back. At the moment I would have to use a tie to close it up which I think might me more visible now it's higher. However this will depend on how much material I have to work with.

Back up dress and bread

Morning folks. It is 8:24 I have had coffee, watered plants, fed rabbits and pulled some rhubarb ready for the cake I have planned. I was gonna make the cake before I got dressed (yeah I'm slack, I know) but the washing up will need doing first and I hate doing that in my dressing gown. I always manage to dunk the sleeves. The sun is shining today an my plans involve a lot of baking and sewing. Just realised though that I have beggar all butter left so I think I'd best run and get dressed now and pop to the corner shop before I do anything else. Ooh actually if I wash up first then they can be draining while I'm out. Plan!

The sewing for the day will be making the alterations to the Walkaway dress I wrote about here and making a back up dress. I would still love to have the Walkaway one done for Sunday but I can't start it till I'm certain all the alts are good and I can't check that til Spadger gets home. Bring on the dressmakers dummy says I! So I need a back up.

The rhubarb cake is in the oven and I only have one more piece to sew before I hit a brick wall on the walkaway dress. Need Spadger to get back to me about which marking I need to use. Then I'm gonna start on the back up dress. Pics to come on that one I think. Right now I've realized I've not had breakfast so it might have to be a cuppa and a couple of breakfast scones.

Finally sat down with the scones. More elevenses than breakfast now. I have Frankenstein's dress sat on the table. Bits are sewn on all over but with a cursory try on I think it;s good. Can't really tell without a mirror and someone to pin to to me. How dare Spadger go to work hehehehe

Well I made a mock up of the bodice I wanted on the back up dress and I don't think it's quite right. So, since I don't have time to mess around I'm going to go with the bodice I know works. Now I have another dilemma. The fabric I was going to use is just not quite how I remember it. Now I'm left with a choice of 2 others and no one here to help me. I'm notoriously rubbish at making decisions. Oh dear!!

1st lot of bread is just on it's second prove and I've started the yeast for the next batch. I'm on a bread mission today. All the pieces are cut out for the back up dress so I'm gonna start putting that together in a mo. First a we smackrel of something and a sit down.

I've been for a bath due to the terrible revelation that back up dress does not fit! Well, I can't get it on at the moment which may be due to the zip being too short or the dress being too small. I won't know for sure until I do some alts to it. Grr says I. However it is a masterpiece of sewing, possibly my neatest yet. Silver lining and all.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Walkaway dress alterations: Post 1

Hey folks. Here is my first post on the evolution of the Walkaway dress.

The first thing I did after I had cut out the pattern for thsi dress was do an FBA. This is standard practice for me now as I am a J cup so there is usually a lot of extra room needed since patterns are based around a B cup. Turns out I didn't need to do that at all. This pattern is quite roomy in the bust area so the 16 actually fits. Sort of. I say sort of because it doesn't really. Here, let me show you.

Now be gentle guys, these are some of the least flattering pictures of me I have ever shown anyone. This is exhibit A. (Please ignore the socks and the mismatched ribbon that is holding the dress together) Note the bagginess at the sides above the darts. The slightly gapey waist area and the weird over hang at the shoulder.

Exhibit B. Odd line under bust I think and masses of bra on show.

Exhibit C, gratuitous armpit shot. from the pictures on the pattern envelope the front should come round high enough to cover the bra and the back should come round quite high and go just over the side of your boob and close at the front.

So far we're not doing very well. But his is what I mean about it fitting kind of. there is clearly no need for me to do an FBA. This just leads to having masses of material to try and take up in darts at the side. Pus that wont actually give me more material where I need it. So this is where Spadger comes in armed with a pin cushion and a Sharpie.

The first things we did was undo the side dart and redraw it. Click on the pic to make it bigger. Can you see the line of the original dart just above the dotted line? Now I know french darts point upwards but I'm fairly sure that's not what these ones are. The new dart is in line with my bust apex without coming right to it and takes up all the slack on the side. Much better.

The rest of the alterations are marked here with arrows. I am bringing the shoulder in on the outside. I like the wide neckline but these little over hang bits will drive me nuts. There is the new bust dart that I showed you above. I plan of lowering the neckline to the low point of that central line. The bottom arrow is pointing to where I plan on having the back pieces come to. Now it won't come over my bust like it is supposed to because there is no way it would lay nicely there. To much out front you know? So I'm going to bring it under my bust like an empire line almost.

Like this.

Lastly I need to add a bit to the waist length. Those 50's lasses were a lot more waspy than me!. So those are the planned alterations. Not many hehehe. I might also pull the waist darts in a little more but I think that will depend on how it lies under the higher back pieces. Hopefully by bringing the front pieces up I will eliminate the problem I've read about with the dress slipping due to the weight of the back piece. Because the front pieces fastened so low at the waist in back there is nothing to help cinch it in. I'll be closing it much higher up (and have a bit out front to anchor it down over as well) which I am hoping will stop that problem entirely.

a day of slipstitching

Morning Folks. It's 8:01, I've just finished my coffee and I am thinking bout getting dressed and starting the sewing. I think today is going to be a good day to be under a quilt. We woke up to rain this morning. Good for the garden though. Plus we gained another water barrel yesterday so much more collected. Unfortunately Spadger didn't get round to fitting the overflow pipe tot he new barrel so the soon to be pumpkin patch might get a bit soggy today.

right then I am dressed, have a big pot o' coffee and my Firefly box-set. I am all set for some slipstitching action.

just finished the pilot episode of Firefly and I've finished the 1st side if the slipstitching. So that makes it an hour and a half per side, which means I have 4.5 hours of sewing left. I could get this finished and have time to do household chores. Score. I'm re-heating the last cup of coffee from the pot because I let it get cold and I can't stand cold coffee. This is the only time I miss having a microwave. Then all fuels up it's onto the next episode and more sewing :o)

Woo hoo I'm getting faster at this. Episode 2 done, 2nd side done. Coffee luke warm, yuk! I should never have a warm drink on the go when doing stuff. It always gets forgotten. Since it's going so well I think I'll pause and have a cinnamon roll.

3rd side done and the first disc of Firefly complete. Think I'm going to push on and get the last side done before I stop for lunch. This means I'm gonna have a whole sewing day to myself tomorrow. Woot and indeed Wahey!!! :o)

As the closing credits of episode 4 rolled I put the last stitch in. I am all done. So it seems I've booked a day off when I don't really need it. But I dislike work at the moment and I do need to make a dress for the weekend so I guess I'll have me some fun. So now it's time for some cheese on toast and a very large mug of hot squash. It was nice being under that sewing, very warm.

Ok 1 more episode down. Think now I should probably get on with the washing up (grr) and then get roasting the veggies I want to put in the pie.

Washing up don. Well, most of it. Veggies are in the oven. I'm sorting out the pics for my first post on the evolution of the walkaway dress and then for a quick tidy up I think. I then need to make the pie which I think I might cook through and then warm up when I do the potatoes to go with it whenever we are hungry.

Must go make pie now. I think I've worked up enough energy to tackle pastry :o)

Pie is in oven, potatoes are cooking and I'm hungry! I've been to the library and rented Coco before Chanel which I'm gonna curl up on the sofa with this evening. My metric badgerload of gaffer tape arrived today so at some point this week me and Spadger will make 2 dress forms which I am going to stuff with the inner of our winter duvet since we never use it (we are very warm people!). 1 will be a normal dress form, the other will be me corseted up.

Lastly for the day did you notice the new button on the right? Go one, have a look. I've been invited to be a contributor over at

Friday, 16 April 2010

Help ban GM food til the research is done

Sign the pettition to help ban GM food and crops in Europe until further testing is done!!! Pass the link on please


a few musinsgs on clothes

I've been thinking a lot about clothes recently.

I took the pledge at Wardrobe Refashion in October as a Life member. Sadly the Wardrobe is changing and I may not be able to continue my membership but it will always be a part of me now. I haven't really been one for clothes since I left university. A seriously fluctuating waistline has been mostly responsible for this teamed with a general abhorrence for modern fashions. So my spending has been limited to the ubiquitous stretchy vest. Having discovered the Wardrobe I thought this was the perfect opportunity to increase my sewing skills and get some "new" clothes. It also fits in with my hatred of waste and my eco choices. Sure I've veered many times into the wonder of new fabric but in general I've done quite well. I've not refashioned much due to needing help as I haven't a dressmakers dummy. We are planning on making 2 of them soon out of gaffer tape. One will be my standard body and the other will be in my corset. This way I should be able to (eventually) drape stuff to go over my corset. Having these will help immensely with the sewing but I imagine it's going to shatter some body perceptions. No more vanity measurements and fudging of figures. With these dummies I will be able to alter clothes I already have without Spadger's help which will help our relationship lots. Currently he gets snapped at a lot as he is trying to help me out because I can't really see what is going on and I don't really know enough to be able to direct him better. Plus I get quite frustrated as I have mentioned before with not having an "average" body so there are occasionally tears. He doesn't deserve to put up with all that so me being able to shut myself away with my yet to named dummies will be good.

I've found myself looking more and more at fashions of the 40's and 50's recently. Now I am far from the wasp waisted figure of that age but I do have an hourglass. My bust and hips are the same measurement which is almost 8 inches bigger than my waist. So definitely plenty of in and out. Everything today seems to be designed for the willowy or just plain underfed. Clothing designed for people with a bit of difference between waist and hips is perfect for me so this is my era. Stuff from the 20's not so much. What I find fascinating about older clothing is the emphasis on quality that we are so lacking today. As we have worked harder and harder to make things easier and cheaper we have lost any sense of the worth of things. By sewing my own clothes and things I appreciate how much effort goes into making something that wont fall apart (see some of my earlier attempts which are now in the mending pile). I appreciate how much nicer against your skin a good quality fabric feels. I want these clothes to last because I made them. And this is where I am fighting the last real demon I have with clothing. Boredom. Fashion runs in seasons so you must have new stuff for each season or be a fashion outcast. We also feel our clothes are disposable now because of how cheap they are. Why mend something when you can just buy another? So I want new stuff all the time partly through cultural conditioning and partly through a love of pretty things. I also feel I have to justify the space my sewing machine is taking up. I do plan to sew some things to sell, purses and bags and the like. Maybe some hair clips. Who knows.

So that's a few musings on clothes. It's kinda been a ramble as I think of it so it might not make any sense. Welcome to my head hehehehehe

Thursday, 15 April 2010

a bit of a meltdown

I woke up the morning and the magnitude of the procrastination we discussed last night hit me in the face. I went into meltdown (there was are flapping and everything). So I looked at my holiday availability, realised if I took 2 days I would still have 2 working weeks left and booked it. Monday and Tuesday are now designated slip stitching days. In an ideal universe I'll be able to get it done on Monday and then I can spend Tuesday making my dress. I'd like to get the Walkaway dress done but with all the alterations still to do that might not happen. Having said that altering and sewing that might take the same amount of time as sewing the other one as it is more complicated. Ooh decisions.

In other news I have a little shrine to the outdoors on my desk now. The picture has been there for a while and it gets changed every so often. It's always something farm or country related though. I look in that direction whenever corporate life get's too much for me.

At lunch Spadger took me to Dunhelm Mill to price up blackout fabric. Our bedroom curtains came with the house and are quite a nice purple colour. However they have watermarks and god knows what else all over the back of them. I've been wanting to change them for a while and have now amassed enough curtain tape (I hope) from charity shop curtains I've bought for the material to attempt it. Spadger is one of those people who can't sleep if there is any light in the room. With the advent of white blackout material I had an idea. I'm going to make the curtains themselves out of this material and I'll embroider them.I think I'll do it mainly in back stitch, nice and simple, with maybe a few other stitches. I'm not sure what to do but I think it will be a pattern rather than a picture in an attempt to not make it too girlie.

Spadger has decreed (rightly so if I'm honest) that I'm not allowed to buy any more material until I have used lots of my stash. Dunhelm Mill had a fabric ages ago that I fell in love with and it disappeared before I got to buy any. Well it's back. That's it I can't buy any though until some of my stash is gone. Let's hear it for motivation to sew! I do want to start making some bits and bobs to sell to now is definitely the time to start that. I also need to start cutting out some shapes for a quilt top I want to do for my friend the Spoon Maiden. It's a Janes' Diamonds so it's a good one for stash busting and using up smaller bits. I also have quite a collection of tiny bits (like when you trim seams) and thread ends which I plan on using as toy stuffing. It's all very make do. up top. Isn't it purdy?

Right then, must go gather cake and rubbish films for the girlie evening. I feel much more relaxed about going now I have 2 days sewing time booked.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

procrastination is evil!

You know that project you start really early so you get it done in time? The one you have 90% done and think right I'll finish that soon? The one that suddenly you have 1 week ish to finish and you discover that the rest of your sewing will have to be done by hand? Yeah that project. That's where I am right now. I have to have it done by a week on Sunday morning. And it's all slip stitch which I hate hate hate!!!!

So I should be doing this right now but I'm in the middle of a marathon bake off that I was sure wouldn't take this long. Tomorrow night I've been booked in for a girlie night that I would really like to not cancel. I think I might have to have a look at the holiday calendar tomorrow and maybe take a day off for sewing :o)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The walkaway dress

I am in the middle of tackling the walkaway dress Butterick 4790. This is what they call a repro of a 1952 pattern which means it has been scaled up for modern pattern sizes. I bought the pattern, fabric and enough (hopefully) bias to make it with my birthday money and have been looking at it since. Mostly because every review I have looked at shows people really struggling to make it. Should have really looked it up first. But I decided to tackle it anyway.

The first mistake I made was going straight into doing an FBA like I usually do without measuring the pattern. Oops. Seems like this one doesn't need it. So I might not have a tiny 1950's waist but I rock their bodacious chests! I cut a straight size 16 out which is right for my high bust measurement and it seems pretty good. As you can see it's not perfect by any stretch. It doesn't cover my bra under the arms. I think this may be because I am pulling the sides down to connect at the front so it goes under my bust. The girls would make it lay rather funny if I just pulled it around I think. To fix this I'm going to undo the side darts and redraw the line so it is higher. I might need to add another dart or take more up in the existing one depending on how it lays with the extra at the side. For the muslin I'm just going to sew some extra material on to do this. I don't like the wide shoulders so I'm going to narrow those and I think I'll drop the neckline a bit as it's not doing me any favours. Currently the back doesn't come all the way round to the middle front like it is supposed to (darn wasp waisted 50's). I was originally going to do some kind of lace up front but I get the feeling that the material will bunch in an unflattering way. So I'm gong to extend the pattern pieces.

Once I have it all as I would like I'm going to unpick it and use it as the pattern. I used to be of the thought that I should strive for a wearable muslin but I don't think that is viable with this. Because of where all the darts are and how hard they are to copy the plan is to actually cut them out of the pattern so I can draw round them on the fabric below. I used to feel that altering the patterns a lot was a bad thing. If I had a pattern I should follow it. However I used to feel that was about cooking recipes until I made pumpkin muffins using a banana muffin recipe. Damn they were tasty. But back tot he sewing. What is more important, the dress looking like the pattern or the dress looking good on me? Clearly the latter wins.

I will keep you posted on the progress and hopefully I will be showing a beautiful walkaway dress soon.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Deltoids and lambs

Oh dear readers I hurt. After looking at a body map of muscles it seems to be my front deltoids that is announcing it's presence. This is through another day of laying paths at the farm. I am very disappointed to announce that we didn't even finish one today. I was so sure we would get 2 done as the space was about the same as what we did last time. However I was gently reminded that last time we had George's help with the clearing and a veritable relay of wheelbarrows full of the toppings. So 3/4 of a path should be good enough for 2 people really. It was a gloriously sunny day. A little too warm for the kind of labour we were doing. I have the pinkest shoulders!!! We helped herd sheep, I got to carry a lamb (damn those little guys are heavy and warm!), saw brand new lambs and did the most exciting thing I have done this year so far. We bought a pig! This pig will be raised on the farm and then butchered and all this will be ours. Now I know this is not the same as having one on our own land but it is officially the first livestock. I have named it Goza after a kind of pork dumplings my friend made for me. We haven't picked one out yet. I'm not even sure if we get to do that. But we ran out of time today so we will go visit them next week.

Tonight we have been invited back to the farm to help *K* on lamb watch. She is hoping out presence will trick the world into making the sheep hold on and not star lambing. We are hoping for the exact opposite. Spadger has lambed before but this is a whole new experience for me.

Right now there is a vege pie in the oven who's contents were in the ground this morning. We will have fresh salad with this, a well earned beer and then head off for a shower. It's been a good day. I leave you with a picture of number 11 who has been bottle fed and is therefore very friendly. Ain't he cute? (yes that is my camera bag he is trying to eat)

Friday, 9 April 2010

Of cotton and pins

I love sewing. Now you wouldn't think so to hear the temper tantrums and swearing that accompanies every new pattern being fitted for the first time. Once I have a pattern sorted sewing is a dream. But that fitting process is a ball ache.

Lets start with the fact that I am a J cup. Yes people, a J. Now I appreciate that this end of the alphabet is unusual but I can put it in perspective for you. Were I to go to somewhere like Marks and Spencer's for example they would fit me as a 38 G at most. Maybe even a bigger back size to accommodate the cup. I wear a 32 back which is slightly smaller than my actual measurement which is nearer 33. But this fits better than having a bigger back size. Because let me tell you, the bit of your bra that does all the work is that strap around the ribcage. This is why strapless ones work! So adding 4 or 5 inches to that just seems preposterous and this is what standard measuring does. So I go to Bravissimo where they don't use a tape measure and my bras fit!!! The reason I am extrapolating on my bust size is that standard dress patterns are drawn to fit a B cup. That means the measurement around the fullest part of your bust is 2 inches bigger than the rib cage. Mine is 10 inches! So you can see already that I'm gonna encounter problems. I discovered early on that cutting a pattern based on my bust measurement doesn't work as it isn't large to accommodate the bust but all of me. I'm no supermodel but I'm definitely not a 42" all the way round. Plus the armsyce and neck line become massive on me. So I have to do an FBA. I'm still learning to do these so it's very trial and error (enter some of that swearing I mentioned earlier).

To be fair this covers most of my problems. I am a short lass so that has a few complications and I also have a really high waist. But these aren't that hard to work around.

So why all the tantrums then? The first real dress I made was for a friend. I cut the material, sewed it, gave it to her. That simple. Because she was average. Now I certainly don't mean this in a bad way. How I long to be average when I start sewing! Once I have an item finished though. Then I am so very glad to be far from average. Because you know, all the tears (yes there have been some) and yelling is worth it (Spadger might disagree) when I can wear something beautiful that I have made myself and fits me well.

Right I have spent ages reading this blog procrastinating. Time to get down to some of that sewing. Should I make the skirt I already have cut out or start a top? Decisions decisions.

**Edited at 22:24**
I decided on the skirt and it is now done apart from either a button or a hook at the top of the zip. Score :o)

Monday, 5 April 2010

Back to work tomorrow

And the holiday is at an end. I always feel a bit down when I have to go back to work but at least a feel rested now. It used to be that I would go back to work totally refreshed and ready to go but now I have Barnheart it's not quite the same. I feel much better and am less likely to bite everyone's heads of now that's for sure. But I don't really want to go back. I want to stay home and cook, sew, garden and even clean. Not selling forms to people and stroking the egos of reps. This is the first holiday I have had where I feel like this and I guess it's nice to know. I am certain of where I am in life now. It is a testament to have far and have come and how much I have changed that when we were at the farm on Saturday I was happily planting broad bean plants in the rain. Now let me explain that I can't stand being out in the rain. I don't mind if I'm on my way home to a dry set of clothes but otherwise I hate it. But when striding out across the farm in search of the plants I realized that rain as dripping off my waterproof jacket and down my legs and off the end of my nose and I didn't mind. Had I been anywhere else the chances are I would have been grumpy as hell.

So it is with thoughts like these I must sustain myself at the office. I must think that it is all a means to an end. If I want that wide windowsill with the gingham curtains wafting in the breeze around a home made homegrown cherry pie then I have to put in a few years graft in a job I don't like.

Unless I win the lottery of course :o)

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Planting peas

Sunshine. Glorious sunshine. I managed to get outside today to plant my peas seedlings and the pre-germinated sprouts we had done a la Ad Posse Ad Esse. I felt like I had planted a bazillian but I didn't manage to get them all in to the ground so it can't have been. I then went to take my library books back and to buy the wool for Spadger's cardigan. I will get round to knitting it hun, I promise. I then made a little Easter basket (sort of) for Spadgersdottier to collect chocolate eggs in on Sunday. After that I kinda ran out of steam. I slip stitched a dress I've been working on but I messed up the zip and couldn't bear to rip it out. I usually mess them up at least once but I just didn't have the energy for undoing stuff. I've got some bread on the go right now and don't know what to do with myself until Spadger and Spadgersdottier get back. I've hit one of those points where I can't really be bothered to do anything but I'm too antsy to just sit still. I might do some knitting (no hunnie not your cardigan, I need to take some measurements first). Yeah that sounds like a plan, lets do that :o)