Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Overwhelmed past participle, past tense of o·ver·whelm (Verb)
1. Bury or drown beneath a huge mass.
2. Defeat completely.

That is how I feel right now. So much so that I am struggling to articulate exactly why. So this one is going to be a rambler I'm afraid while I try and get my head around everything.

Let's start with the job. I am not at my happiest in this job it has to be said. It's not a bad job but it's not what I want to be doing. However I get a decent wage and I'm not going to be any happier realistically if I changed jobs. So here I stay.

Family: Well I don't think I have my head around the split between my Dad and my Stepmum yet. I've not really spoken to either of them in a very long time and I can't bring myself to call either of them. That's a sure sign if ever I needed one.

Homesteading: One of our hens is looking like being a rooster. My favourite one too. Poot! So there will be roast chicken on the menu soon I think.

The Plan: It's looking like we might be moving The Plan from a nice plot in the English countryside to one in the French Countryside. Eep! I think this is the one to push me into overwhelmed.

I've always been teetering on the edge of overwhelmed with The Plan. Don't get me wrong, I want it. But I've never really had to sit and focus thought on it before. Currently Spadger is the one doing all the research. This is, I admit, partly due to my own indolence. I will admit to needing a big kick up the butt to research anything. It was always my failing at uni. But it is also partly down to my own insecurity and lack of place. Spadger does all the "farming" on our plot at the moment. He knows how he wants to do things and that is what happens. We kinda fell into traditional roles at home as someone needs to do the stuff round the house. So while he gardens I keep house. Most of the time I'm ok with this. Occasionally I want to be outside but if I do that something gets neglected and it's just not worth it. I tried to help by planning the planting rotation for the garden this year but that kind of fell by the wayside. Me and Spadger work so differently that it's not a surprise that happened really.

But this does lead to me feeling like I don't really have a place in The Plan. Sure I keep house. But I know nothing about how we are going to power our farmhouse, manage woodland, pay for the things we cannot provide ourselves. I don't know what animals are best for the smallholder to keep or what crops to plant in what region. It's silly because not knowing makes me feel out of control which I hate. But there seems to be no point finding out as I'm not actually going to do anything with this information as Spadger does all that.

The scary part is I know darn well that Spadger could do this without me but the reverse is not true.

So I'm feeling overwhelmed. Mostly my own fault but there you go.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

A bowl full of forage

Ok so We've just got back from a bit of foraging (yes I am ware I should be sewing hehehe). We got blackberries, elderberries and plums, both red and yellow. I have no idea how many of each as they've not been weighed yet. I am in the middle of making jam from the last lot of plums we foraged.

Pics to come of all this soon when I get chance I promise!

Self Stitched September panic!

Ok so there are 2 days until September and I am nowhere near done making enough clothes for this gig. I plan on repeating outfits anyway as I'm not the kind of person who feels right having 30 different sets of day clothes. But still. Nowhere near ready.

Excuse me while I go do some panicked sewing hehehehe

Friday, 27 August 2010

Pretty - fantastic

I saw this video posted for the second time today. It gave me goosebumps and raised a lump to my throat the first time a few months ago and I thought about re-posting it then. But didn't. Today I had to. I think this is one of the most outstanding pieces of writing I have had the fortune to hear read. It appeals to my inner 15 year old and the woman she became.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

For Bright and New

Sorry for the delay, will this do you?

Thankee sai!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

A question for anyone who sews

I am having a problem. On 2 out of the 3 dress patterns I have made so far the side seams don't match up when I sew the bodice to the skirt. It was really noticeable on the Vogue one. I matched the centre seams and then pinned out from there. One side was off by maybe 1/4 of an inch. The other must have been out by at least an inch if not 2. I have no idea what I ma doing wrong.

Anyone suffer a similar problem or have any advice for me?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A usual day

I thought I would do a mini day in my life post today. No this won't be that interesting as my day job does not involve anything breathtaking. But I realised that I only ever do these posts when I am on holiday which is not that rounded a view really.

So here we go.

My day started quite well. I got out of bed when the alarm went off for the second time without Spadger having to push me. In fact I got up before him. Got dressed and put my hair in Odango. I headed downstairs, put on my wellies and set the kettle to boil. I then let the chickens out and scattered their scratch grains for the day. On my way back to the kitchen I took a few photos of one of the courgette flowers.

I think gourd flowers of any kind are my favourite vegetable flower. They are just so pretty. By this point the kettle has boiled so I put the coffee on to brew. Next was hanging out the washing. It's been lovely these last 2 days so you can guarantee that it will rain today now I have washing to hang. Ah well, it can't really get any wetter than it is now. I came in and fed/watered the bunnies and then realised I needed to fill one of the chicken water founts. So back outside for me. While I'm doing all this Spadger has got up and is making sandwiches and breakfast. I scoff down a couple of slices of homemade toast and raspberry jam and a lovely mug of coffee. I do love coffee. Usually I read a book while I eat breakfast and currently I'm reading Rama II by Arthur C Clarke. It's been quite a while since I read the first one but I am still enjoying it. Instead of continuing to read after I'd eaten until we leave like I normally do I decided to utilise the time marking seam lines on my costume. I got through 3 out of the 4 pocket pieces so that's a tiny load off tonight's list.

At about 7:45 we set off for work. 8:15 sees me at my desk. This is where all the excitement of the days ends for the moment.

Right then it's lunch time. My day job is in marketing print. The company I work for produces things like menus and posters, booklets, forms, business cards and letterheads. That sort of thing. I'm an admin bod, was employed for dull data input type things. This is exactly what I wanted as no job is really going to make me happy now that I want my farm. Unfortunately, as is the way these days, I now have a lot more responsibility than I wanted. I do the day to day ordering of all the forms, letterhead, business cards etc for a nationwide chain of care homes. It's not a bad job really. It does have a tendency to be either really quiet or mad busy. This week has been mad busy. It seems I get one email dealt with and I have 4 more, plus faxed orders and a ton of quotes to sort out. Needless to say I'm a bit exhausted from it. Ah well, makes me appreciate the madness of getting my costume done.

It's moments like this that make me really dislike my job. I've just had to go make a coffee for everyone in the office because I needed a moment on my own to calm down. Grr says I.

Once I got home form work I set too making the evening meal. I made a kind of spicy stew using left over sausages, beans and tomatoes.

I also made tiny dumplings. They were fab! Before I could get started though Spadger hollered me to come take some pics of a spider in the greenhouse. You'll have to forgive me that it is of the back of the spider. There was no way was I crawling under the connecting strand of his web. You know he would have ended up on my head. *shudder*

Then it was time to crack on with the sewing. I managed to get my dress done by about 9 ish. Now the darts are still a little bit, erm, nipply. But I'm going to blame my tools here. Or lack of them. I really need a tailors ham to press darts properly . I'm working with a tightly rolled towel at the moment which isn't great. I think after a wash and a really good press it will be better. But quite frankly I've run out of time to be pickier about it. The red coat will cover the worst of it I think. It is still a wearable dress. The zip went in nicely. I'll try and get some better pictures.

Please ignore my vacant expression

and ignore my hair

also ignore the fact that it needs an iron and the skirt portion is see through. I will be wearing a petticoat.

Once that was done I made a tunic for Spadger and a peasant cap. They're not great but they'll do.

So now it is 00:37 and I'm off to bed. Hope you enjoyed my day. How was yours?

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Little Red Riding Hood

A few months ago one of my friends mentioned that she was thinking of setting up an amateur dramatics group in her area. I said I would love to be part of it, thinking more wardrobe mistress than anything else. But as we are a new company we currently don't have many members. So it is all hands on deck for performing. On Saturday we are performing Red Riding Hood in 10 mins in the theatre tent at the Unity Day celebrations which are held every year. I'm playing Red Riding Hood. Yeah, not a small part!

This week is a mess of learning lines, rehearsals, making costumes, collecting props and generally panicking.

For my costume I will be using Vogue 8615. I have made a muslin which I am using as my pattern. I'm not 100% happy with the darts but I think the residual pointyness was due to me trying to press them down. Gertie recommends slashing and trimming such big darts like this. I think this will allow me to press the tip of the dart better. Going to have to improvise a tailors ham though as I haven't made mine yet. I'm shortening the skirt to just at my knee and will have a petticoat underneath. I'm making it in white and if I get time I'm gonna try putting some red piping at the waist seam. We'll see though. I decided that I'm not just making it for a costume so I've done pockets and everything. I know I'm on a timescale but I plan on wearing it after so I thought I'd best do it properly.

Friday, 13 August 2010

I'm not superstitious but...

I am having a shocking Friday 13th.

To be fair I've had a rubbish week but it has culminated in a really bad day so far today. I would like to go home and have a bit of a snivel :o(

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Ooh I've been tagged in one of those 8 questions thingys. This comes from the lovely Erin over at Luck and Bliss

1. Is there anything you feel nekkid without? (aside from clothes!)
Not really. It used to be that my feet looked so very wrong without nail polish. But I had my fav red on a few weeks back for the first time in forever and that looked wrong!. I think I'm meant to be a nekkid innocent (ahem)

2. Books, magazines, games, comics, pieces of art that made you who you are today?
Pretty much every book I have ever read. I adore books and they have all contributed. Notable ones are the entire vampire chronicles, girlfriend in a coma, prozac nation, lost souls, harry potter and wuthering heights. I'm getting a real love of graphic novels these days and The Crow is one of my favs. Art wise anything my Caravaggio, he leaves me breathless. Standing in front of Botticelli's Venus was cool but I preferred his Annunciation. The folds of cloth on the angel Gabriel's robe are exquisite. Michelangelo's sculpture La Pieta made me cry and I will carry the moment I first saw it to my grave.

3. Monkey or Robot? Which would you rather have?
Can I have a robot monkey? No? Ok then I go with money. In a time of chimpanzees I'd be a monkey :o)

4. Food you make when the poop hits the fan? Do you cook/eat for comfort?
I am a total comfort eater. One of my fall backs when I was younger was bread slathered in coleslaw. The all purpose turn to for all scenarios, good and bad, is ice cream though. There is nothing in this universe that vanilla ice cream cannot fix!

5. How did you meet your sweetie? Is it romantic? (Will I need a tissue?... no really, I cry at everything).
We met on MySpace. He sent me a message randomly on the first evening of a week I had off work. We "spoke" for 8 hours that night and it continued like that all week. That was in the March and by the April we had met up. He lived a rain journey away at the time. After that I went down every weekend. By the end of June he had moved in with me temporarily and I never got rid of him. That was 4 years 4 months ago and I love him more everyday.

These next two are the same as Andreae's

6. Do you have a life plan, or do you just sort of truck along?
There is a desired destination. But the journey is one big truck. I had all these plans, as young girls do, none of which have happened on the timescale I set and one of which has totally gone by the wayside. Life is fluid so I try to not be so rigid. Doesn't always work.

7. Would friends of the teenage you recognize the current you? Would you still get along?
I think they would recognize me but be quite shocked. I don't think anyone pegged me as a farmer who bakes her own bread and sews her own clothes. I don't speak to many people who knew me as a teen but those I do I love dearly.

8. Could you show me something pretty? Please?
Pretty? Ok here you go. I took this at one of the lochs in Scotland. Can't remember which one.

And now my questions. I'm throwing this open to all my followers. Come on guys join in.
1. What film influenced you most?
For me it is Labyrinth. That film ruined me for life.

2. River or ocean?
it used to be ocean for me and I still think there is nothing finer than standing on a shore with the noise of the waves in your ears and salt stinging your nose. But I find rivers, particularly ones that rush, much more exhilarating.

3. Quote something and tell me what it means to you.

4. What is your favourite pudding? (I feel pudding says a lot about a person hehehe)

5. Do you still jump in puddles?

6. If you could be any insect what would it be?

7.What position would you hold in the human army when the Zombie apocalypse happens?
I've already been informed by my friend that I am going to be the cook!

My eighth is the same as Erin's as I loved it so.
8. Could you show me something pretty? Please?

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Started Vogue 8615

I've started the muslin. I'm going to do a proper one this time, like I did with the walkaway dress and then use the pieces as my pattern. So far I have cut it all out, marked the darts with tailor's tacks (this is a first for me) and sewn the entire skirt together including pockets. In a revolutionary move I have drawn the seam lines on the pieces after pinning them so I can sew them accurately. Me and sewing a straight line don't really go together I'm afraid.

Hopefully I'll have hilarious muslin pics for you soon.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Willcox & Gibbs

I got a new sewing machine over the weekend. Well, I say new. A friend found it in the workshop on the grounds of a dilapidated house he has bought. I have no idea at all how old it is. The serial number is one I can't seem to find anywhere with it having an L prefix. It is in need of some TLC that is for sure. The biggest problem I have is if I can't identify it I have practically no hope of ever using it. I don't even know how to thread the darn thing. Now it does have a motor but I'm not sure if that is original or not. Either way I would like to convert it to treadle or hand power. Particularly if it is an industrial one. The motor looks pretty fearsome hehehe

I joined ISMACS because I could not find any info on this machine anywhere. I posted a link to a machine I had found that was similar as I've not taken any pictures of mine yet. Turns out one of the moderators for this digest is the owner of that picture and has kindly sent me a repair manual! The front cover has a pretty clear picture of how it should be threaded so I reckon after a clean up I can get her going. How ace is the internet?

I have named her after King George the first's wife (my first sewing machine is called George you see). So henceforth this machine will be known as Sophia Dorothea :o)

Friday, 6 August 2010

Simplicity 4127

AS mentioned in my earlier post I was working on a top. It is finished! Introducing Simplicity 4127.

Yeah I didn't want to smile

This is my second attempt at this top and it's gone much better. The pattern still needs a little tweaking but only a little.

The biggest problem I have with this style of top is it hanging wrong off the girls and making me look much large of waist than I am. I am a proper hourglass and I am coming to see that an empire line isn't as flattering as I once though.

I intended to drop the back much lower than this and made it a really sharp V as I did on the first version but that didn't seem to happen. However it is much lower than the pattern originally intends.

The only flaws with is as far as I am concerned are that the straps are not central over my bra straps, the horizontal bust dark is slightly puckered and I had to pinch a little extra off the side seams at the last minute. I should have taken the whole thing apart to do that neatly but didn't bother. My zips still need some work as they pucker a little but I think this is caused by the alterations I make with an FBA and what that does to the pattern pieces. All in all I'm really happy with it.

26 days and counting

Ok so I've woken up this morning and realised that there are only 26 days until the first of September. This means if I really want to manage my SSS pledge without wimping out too much I could do with sewing 1 item of clothing a day for the rest of the month. Ha! In fact hahahahahaha. Ok hysterical moment over.

I was discussing this with Spadger this morning. He was all "but you've sewn loads of stuff already". This is true. But most of them are on the fixing pile either because they need tweaking or I'm just not happy with them now my skill has improved a little.

So I think to alleviate the panic I'm going to have to re-visit the pile of doom and do all the little things. This should lead to a fairly sizable start to SSS.

I've cut out the above dress pattern and a quick hold it up against me makes me think I can sew this one with no adjustments. Looking at the measurements on the bodice piece it should fit. This is one of those patterns that has several cup sizes and while it is a D (man I haven't seen a D cup in so long!) the measurements match which is the important thing. So I might have a go at that this weekend if I can fit it in. I plan to leave the sleeves off on at least one version of it as I am far too warm a person to need sleeves til November!

Tonight I'm going to finish the top I've been working on (above). I had a flid last night and decided that it made me look 9 months gone but I think that might have been an exaggeration. I'm going to withhold judgement til I've finished it.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Canning pic

Yeah so I'm a few days late with this. Life gets in the way of blogging hehehehe