Laura Ingalls called - she wants her sack dress back


So here it is, in all it's glory. And before you all start chiming in with cries of  "C'mon - it's not that bad" then let me tell you that it looks waaaaay better on Sabrina the dummy. On me it looked like a giant reddish sack.

Have you ever seens those pictures of Marilyn Monroe posing in an Idaho Potatoes sack? Well, it looked NOTHING LIKE THAT.

And it really is nobody's fault but my own. I knew the pattern was too big, but did I grade it? Nope. I knew that the high waist wouldn't suit my figure, what with being the owner of a particuarly long torso, but did I entend the bodice? Nup. I had a definite hunch that it would need to be brought in near the armhole, but did I tweak it? No siree bob. Did I even think about making up a muslin? Reader, I laughed at the very thought and continued on my merry way.

I was just in such a damn hurry to get the dress made and enter the competition that all sense appeared to have left my noggin before the first piece was cut out. I had been labouring under the misunderstanding that those days were behind me, that I was a responsible seamstress who contemplated and did a bit darn thinking before making up a garment, but it seems I can be as impetuous as ever.

Lesson, this time though, has definitely been learnt. I'm too old to spend the best part of a couple of days on something that will never work, but could if only I'd taken the time to organise my project properly. From now on all vintage patterns will get a toile made up first, and if I even send one tiny little fleeting thought towards a competition again it had better be a thought with more than three days up it's sleeve.

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Well, at the least the zip looked good.

The smell of defeat was rank, and lay heavily in the air. After spending the last two days in a sewing frenzy, Jorth was aghast - but not particuarly surprised - to try on her dress and be faced with the disappointment. Rather than being an image of sophisticated 60's beauty, the heavy red silk dress looked more like a homage to Laura from Little House On The Prairie.

It hung poorly, the fabric had stretched as she had sewn, and the general shape of the garment was unflattering to say the very least. Stuffing the unhemmed monstrosity into a bag, Jorth decided that some projects should never see the light of day, let alone be entered into a Vintage Sewing competition.

And the most ironic part? Her invisible zip had been perfect.

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There's nothing like a challenge

I have just done something that demonstrates beyond all doubt that I am clearly insane: I have entered the Vintage Sewing Competition on Pattern Review.

There are three days left. I have entered this morning. I'll do the math for you: I have three days to whip up a fabulous dress using a vintage sewing pattern.

Like I said: insane. Particularly when I opened up my pattern to discover that only half the pieces required belonged to my pattern. The other half were some other random pattern AND NOTHING MATCHED!

A quick rummage around my pattern stash threw up this beauty - phew! - and thank the sewing gods above I have enough fabric to make it up. Just. Skin of my teeth and all that jazz.

If anybody needs me I'll be chained to my sewing machine, and in all probability swearing my head off, pricking myself continually with my quick-un-pick and neglecting my family. Ahem!

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I really, REALLY don't like putting in zips

Ack! I just spent the best part of an hour putting the zip in my woollen dress (Vogue 8593), then tried on the dress only to discover the zip looks absodoodley ghastly. Blimming heck! It's lumping about all over the shop, making me look like Quasimoto, but with about 5 humps rather than one.

And to think that just yesterday I told Nichola that this dress was a winner. Well, it looks like my champ has fallen face first on the third last hurdle and is looking on with gravel and tears in her eyes as the others race towards the finish line.

So! It's a long weekend here, so I shan't be back until Tuesday. Let's see if I've recovered my sewing mojo by then *crossing fingers but not holding out any great hopes*

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B & W

On and on you will hike
and I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.

So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

{Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss}

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Vespa

Really could have done with a ride home on one of these tonight rather than the slog home in the dark on the bike. I love my bike, really I do, but some nights after a loooooooong day it would be nice to just whiz home rather than battle the barrage of uber lycra cyclists and copping the occasional bug in the eye.

Still, at least I have relatively toned thighs. And bugs come out, right?

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Feeling hot, hot, hot

Um, hello? Weather Gods? I though autumn was meant to be on the way. Last week was beautiful and crisp - perfect autumnal days, in other words - but now you've bestowed upon us this sticky heat. WHAT, may I ask, IS GOING ON?

Still, you can try and heat blast me out all you like. You can make me sweat so hard on my forehead that my fringe is permanently stuck to it. You can force me to stand in front of the freezer with the door open, just to receive some blessed coolness. You can even make me wince as I apply deodorant to freshly waxed underarms in a painful bid to stop unwanted dampness. But what you can't do is stop me sewing my woollen winter dress.

Even if I do have sweaty fingers.

Bwahahaha! That will show you, O Weather Gods!

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The lion has a red nose, my daughter has a red eye

I picked up Grumbles from after school care today to discover that she had fallen off a scooter-like contraption - and, of course, had not been given a helmet - and had taken all the skin off in a near-perfect ring around one eye.

And now I feel like the crappest mum in the world.

I know being there wouldn't have made a lick of difference (well, I would have insisted on a helmet!), but when she told me that she was crying for me and I didn't come it was like a pummel to the gut. I know accidents happen, and I can't protect her every single second of every single minute of every single day, but it still felt so inherently, so instinctively wrong not to be there to cuddle her and wipe the tears away.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if you could bottle the worry, the anxiety, the stress of parenting in a vial and hand it over as a contraceptive. Me thinks the tumult of emotions would result in one heck of a lowered birth rate! Thank goodness, then, that the love, the pride, the joy overpowers everything.

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Not so super market

Tonight we are doing one of our mammoth shops. You know the kind - you borrow a friend's car (because you don't have one of your own) and drive to that big scary place called a supermarket and attempt to buy enough tinned goods/dry stuffs/toilet paper to last about, oh, three months until you have to do it all over again.

And don't forget that it's the end of the week, so the Grumbles is tired and prone to playing up, and the husband gets a weird glazed look on his face when confronted with so many shelves of grocery items, and gets stuck in such a trance that he finds it impossible to answer when you start barking 'Honey! HONEY! HOW MUCH TOOTHPASTE DO WE NEED?!!"

Bets are on that Grumbles suffer some trolley-related injury at one point. I'll lose my temper, and the Galumph will drift aimlessly around like a supermarket wraith, so I can never find him from one aisle to the next. This wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that I'll be juggling a 10 kilo bag of bread flour and 6 tins of crushed tomatoes whilst looking for him. Heavy! Then we'll get to the pimply male checkout person who, inbetween wiping his nose on his sleeve and scratching himself in unmentionable places, will make comments like "Dudes, you guys have a lot of stuff." It will take all my will power not to snap "No shit, Sherlock!" and then the subtotal will be announced and we'll all (sniffly checkout boy included) cringe.

Can't wait! No better way to spend a Friday night!

Just going to get a mop now to clean up the sarcasm dripping from that last sentence. Hope you all have a merry weekend, folks!

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Heart

Nothing says I love you more than a wonkily cut out crayoned heart. Sniff! I love that daughter of mine.

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When life hands you lemons, get the knitting out

I think I have discovered the perfect way to guarantee yourself a full day of seaming hand knits: make sure your child does a lovely big chunder in the morning. She won't have to go to school, and you obviously can't be taking her anywhere, so whilst she resides on the couch watching her favourite flicks, you can sit down at the table and seam to your heart's content.

I know, I know - I'm a genius. A genius who smells of Pine-o-Cleen, but a genius nonethless.

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Oh, and for those who were wondering - the washing machine/clothes dryer trick worked. Hoorah! So pleased I didn't ruin all that hard work. Phew! The Joy cardigan lives to see another day.

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Who's afraid of the big bad Rowan Denim?

Congratulations, I believe, are in order, for I have done it. I have finally done it!

I figured it was just like doing something necessary but unpleasant, like going to the dentist for a filling. You can put it off, and let it build up in your head whilst moaning and groaning about it, but none of that changes the fact that it simply has to be done. Or you can just grit your teeth and get it over and done with.

So I stood in front of the washing machine, clutching the half-seamed pieces of my Joy cardigan, knitted carefully over the last month in Rowan Denim and then bravely threw the pieces in, switched the machine on, set the temperature to a whopping 70 C, and ran out the door before I could change my mind.

I mean, what's the worse that could happen - a months worth of work down the drain? Pah! I laugh in the face of yarn adversity! No fibre challenge can scare me!

(However, if you listen carefully in about an hours time, and hear bewailing shrieks of despair filling the interwebbybloggyverse, then you can take it for sure that things haven't work out. At all.)

Oh, and for those who are wondering what is with the cheetah, well meet Sammy. Grumbles puts him there each morning so he can wait for her to finish school and come home to say hellow to him. How. Stinkin'. Cute!

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Must...get...sewing...and...knitting...before...an...explosion...occurs!

I have a confession to make: my fabric stash is out of control. Hehe, as I tried to type that sentence my little finger hit caps lock, making the confession seem even worse: MY FABRIC STASH IS OUT OF CONTROL!

Caps or no caps though, it is. I'm actually having trouble closing the buffet door (what - don't you all keep your stash in a buffet?), so the time has come to take a vow.

Trust me - it's going to hurt me much more than you. I think I'm going to have to stop buying fabric... and... gulp...yarn... until I have worked - nay, slogged - my way through the stash. So if anybody had any plans to go fabric/yarn shopping with me, give me a call sometime in, oh, 2048. I should be through it by then.

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Home - with added meatballs!

The nice thing about finally, finally, FINALLY owning our own home is that I can do some halfway decent decorating. Hoorah!

Right, I'm off for the week - I have a date tonight with my couch and Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (yes, the video store was all out of Gordon MacRae flicks, darn it). Enjoy your weekend folks!

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Not the prettiest looking cake in the world...

...but it sure tastes good!

90g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 mashed bananas (the riper the better)
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste)

1 - Preheat oven to 175 C. Line a 20cm by 20cm pan with baking paper.

2 - Beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beats in the eggs, one at a time then stir in the banana. Add the flour, sifting it, and the coconut and cinnamon. Mix well.

3 - Spoon mixture into pan and bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until done. Transfer cake to rack to cool, then spread with lemon icing. Deeeelicious!

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At least the time hasn't been totally wasted...



The thing about being stuck in the house so much (flight of the school holidays being grounded first due to me, and now due to poor old snuffly Grumbles) is this: you sure as heck get loads of knitting done!

That blue mess in the picture above, my friends, is one nearly completed Joy cardigan (pattern from Nectar by Kim Hargreaves). I've got half a sleeve and the neckband to go and that's it for the knitting. After that it's the simple matter of seaming it all together (bleugh) and then throwing the cardigan in the washing machine to shrink it to the correct size.

Yes, you heard me right: this cardigan needs to be shrunk. The instructions say so - knit large, then shrink. If only my gut wasn't arguing. Or my brain. It's developed a keening wail that goes something like this: "Don't do it, Jorthy! What if it all goes terribly, terribly wrong? All that knitting down the drain!"

I keep trying to reason with myself - it IS Rowan Denim. It's designed to shrink! It's totally all part of the plan. Everything will be juuuuuuuuuust fine.

If only my sphincter would agree. Sigh. Who knew knitting could be so STRESS inducing!

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Excuse me (hack hack hack hack)

Ach! Now poor old Grumbles has the dreaded lurgy. Tell you what, these have been the most boring school holidays EVER. I spent most of last week hacking and coughing in bed, and it looks like Grumbles is going to do the same this week.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you had a far more enjoyable Easter than we did. Wouldn't be hard! I didn't even fancy guzzling any chocolate (yes, I know, woe is me).

Signing off from phlegm central,
Jorth.

PS I think I'm living solely on soup at the moment. It was chicken for lunch, now it's minestrone for dinner. What are you guys having? I want to eat vicariously through you until I feel like hoeing into anything more substantial...

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Watch out - Jorth is a trifle upset...

"You would think", thundered Jorth as she stormed into her counsellor's office and threw herself into a chair "that if you were so sick in bed that you were tossing and turning with feverish chills that your husband would be busying himself making you chicken soup and attending to your needs, but noooooooo! Instead he was guzzing wine and hijacking my blog! MY BLOG! I've worked for years on that thing, and he just swans in and writes any old crap he wants, and then gets offended when I don't find it funny. I won't have it, I tell you, I won't have it!"

"Calm down" intoned the counsellor. "It's just a website. I'm sure he meant no harm."

"No harm? The atrocious spelling alone could have lost me beloved readers! Before I had Grumbles I worked as a technical writer. It was my JOB to make sure everything was correctly parsed and spelt before releasing it into production, and here's him thumping away at the keyboard like an inebriated monkey letting things - ach, I can't even call them words - like 'keyoard' and 'dained' and 'zilp' in. And that's just in the first three sentences! Oh, and one more thing: one exclaimation mark usually does the trick. Three is just overkill, demonstrating insufficient restraint in regard to sentence-end puctuation devices!"

"Well surely you could let that slip?" said the counsellor, but Jorth glared at her angrily and snapped "Not on your nelly, sister!" Pausing to cross her arms angrily she continued "And look at him there bragging about all the history books he reads. Who the heck does he think BUYS him the damn books? Me, that's who! Every single decent history book he has ever read in his life has first been scrutinised by me, but you'd never know it by the way he smugly goes on about it. Tell you what, he won't look so darn smug when I start walloping him over the head with them! Those Norman Davies' ones weight a tonne - I bet I could inflict some real damage."

Before the counsellor could even open her mouth Jorth bellowed "And I ride my bike every day without making a big deal about. What, does he man think he's a hero because he rides to work without needing a shower? I almost got skedaddled by a cheese truck in the city the other day, but did I carry on about it? No! It could have been death by cheese van for old Jorthy, but I didn't feel the need to let the world know. A little blog dignity wouldn't go astray!"

The counsellor, wondering if she would regret this later, quickly said "Well maybe your husband thought the tone of the blog had been lowered once you began talking about your pap smears" but she needn't have worried because Jorth wasn't even listening. She was far too busy ranting about the next thorn in her side:

"Cats! I BLOODY HATE CATS and he damn well know it, so what does he go and do? Puts a stupid picture of Baby Bloody Ging on my blog. My blog is a cat free zone, and he has crossed the line. I'd bring that ugly piece of orange fur back to life if I could just so I could do it in!"

"Good grief!" said the counsellor. "Control yourself, Jorth!"

"You don't get it", snarled Jorth. "I had an extended bad experience with a pack of wild cats, and as I result I really, REALLY don't like them. This is grounds for divorce, you know. I could overlook the blog hacking, the poor spelling, the dissing of crafting but the cat thing has taken it too far!"

With that she rose abruptly and stomped out of the room. The counsellor stared at the door for a moment or two before writing on her client file sheet 'Irrational and intense dislike of cats. Explore further!!!'


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When not on my sickbed during the last few days I did manage to sneak in some knitting. Below, fresh off the needles, is a Baby Kimono from the Mason Dixon Knitting book by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne. I used some Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic 8ply in Musk that I had left over from this project, and the ribbon was left over from that project as well. Austerity crafting at it's best! Now I don't feel so bad about some naughty eBay yarn purchasing I may have done...

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