Sunday, June 29, 2014

Winter Day

Brr - the wind was so cold today, even though the sun was shining. We had things to do around home, and popped out to do a bit of shopping. Yay, our brother-in-law Ryan arrived this afternoon for a wee visit. We're making homemade pizzas for tea.

This morning before the wind really came up I opened up the back door to let the herd out to play. My pots of bulbs are making me very happy. The hyacinths especially.

 Mouse surveyed his domain.
 Miss Dog supervised every move the cats made.
 Ahhh, time for some cat yoga.
 So much to sniff and snuffle. Mr Mouse has huge fluffy britches on.
 Everything is new and exciting for Fergus.

 The damp lawn was very interesting. I wonder if Fergus will have a tail to rival Mouse's enormous plume one day?
 After a whole lot of hard work exploring and playing the boys settled down for a snuggle up on Johnny's beanbag. The beanbag lives in my sewing room because Mouse often insists on sitting as close to me as possible when I'm sewing, and I find it easier to nestle him down next to me in the beanbag than moving him off my chair constantly.
There has been plenty of sewing over at the sewing blog, so pop over for a look. Oh, and if you are tired of cats, you are reading the wrong blog. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I'm back in action

Oh dear, we had a blogging hiccup last weekend when Blogger was too slow to work with, so I'm hoping we are back to the usual speed. I wasn't feeling the best the week before last, so was pretty unmotivated anyway. The last week has been better, with brighter days and more fun times.

Today dawned frosty and clear, with the hideous stench of cat poo from the pussycat ablutions facility in the ensuite bathroom. Oh dear, someone had an upset tummy, but at least he chose to use his litter tray. Both boys got outside for a while today because I thoroughly aired the house out. I had to block some gaps in the perimeter of the garden to prevent Fergus from escaping. What a naughty boy he is! Mouse keeps an eye on him, but he can't stop him getting into mischief.

The day was just lovely, so I was pleased to head out to spend time with Zanny and her friends. It was quiet out at the farm, so we were on our own for a ride. We headed out along the road and around the triangle block. The ground is pretty squishy, so we only had one trot and the rest of our ride was very leisurely, with Zanny choosing her own path most of the way. We did meet up with a huge hedge trimmer tractor hiding noisily on the other side of one of the big pine shelter belt hedges. I'm glad it didn't scare her. Mind you, she was heading towards home, and doesn't usually let things bother her as much on the way home as she does when we're heading away.

I had a surprising experience with the wee pony who shares her paddock with the girls. He was in with Dolly and Thistle, but today I found he was in with Zanny and Tara. Poor wee man. The girls are really mean to him, and I have had to work hard to gain his trust. He has been on the farm a while and I'm not sure of his future as he is really spooky, headshy and scared of people. He's about 12.2 hands high, I'd say, and still young. I think he was backed and turned out again. Today I said hello to him as always and his cover was badly ripped with a big piece of lining dangling right down over his hind legs. Zanny! Naughty girl! I spent some time sorting out the cover as best I could, tying up the lining, watching out in case he kicked out suddenly. But he just stood there. He let me lean my arms on his back. He stood totally still while I fussed over him, and ended up snuggled up with my arms around his furry neck, cuddling him for ages. What a treat! He was so relaxed and I was really surprised. I do get teased a bit about being a "horse whisperer" out on the farm, and maybe there's something in it. Horses are the most divine, beautiful creatures.

There has been some serious sewing over at the sewing blog. Plenty of problems too.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The new project

It has begun! My vintage sewing adventure is underway. Now you can zippity zip your way over to Poppy Sews and take a look at the first two posts. The blog is still under construction, so the various elements on the layout will built up in number, and change as I get new ideas. There has been a bit of sewing undertaken today. As usual, my furry assistants were on hand. Fergus was particularly insistent that I needed his input.
 Don't worry, I am not making a dress in this horrible fabric. It is an old sheet I am using to make a muslin - a mock up of the dress - to ensure it fits before hacking into my dress fabric.
 Worryingly, Fergus loves playing with pins. No! Dangerous!

He still looks quite little, but is eating like a Labrador, and is getting more solid with each passing day.
 Today the sun came out and warmed up the back yard for a while. I decided to open up the back door and let the fresh air in. It was Fergus' first day in the garden. What a wee adventurer he is!
 You can see mud on the decks and paving. Johnny hosed it away and Miss Dog tracked more everywhere. The grass squelches when you walk on it. We are supposed to be getting another week of rainy days this week. More mud.
 Fergus tiptoed over the wet grass.
 Mouse was there to lend a hand and kept a close eye on his wee brother. Johnny put those sticks in on the lawn to try to make Miss Dog walk a different way. She has left a muddy path like a pacing cheetah at the zoo.
 That's right Fergus, you might as well add your pawprints to Miss Dog and Mousie's ones on the cutting garden. No respect. Make yourself useful and pull out some weeds please!
After a bit of pottering in the garden, I headed out to the farm to see my Mrs Horse. Zanny and I really enjoyed another ride out around the roads. She was a little more alert and looking for danger today, and we did have a couple of discussions about potential monsters. She always thinks covers hanging on fences are about to eat her, and today I didn't let her get away with any nonsense. Apart from that we did some lovely trotting out along the wide grassy verge, which wasn't too mushy, and walked the bumpy areas. Heaven! The mountains are covered in bright white snow, and gleam when the sun shines. 

When I returned home we popped over with some flowers to see our friends (and neighbours) who had a horribly unexpected death in their family. It brought back some sad memories for my darling Johnny, who lost his wonderful dad suddenly in similar circumstances. They were the same age. Life is very precious and each day is special. I hope you can find something to celebrate about each day in the next week of your life. XXX 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Poppy Sews

Greetings all! It has been a busy week, with some big challenges, a smooshed bumper on my car (someone hit it when it was parked at school) and horribly rainy weather. Meanwhile my busy brain has been ticking away considering a new project. I adore vintage clothing. Well, specifically clothing from 1900 through to the 1950's. Half a century is a lot of time, and women's clothing went through so many changes, but the elegance, the fabrics, the accessories and the styling fascinates me. I already have a few 1950's style dresses, which suit my figure. I'm not slim, but I do have a much smaller waist than my hips and bust. I'm not really suited to the slim evening gowns of the 1930's, or the flapper era 1920's (but the embellishments!!!! Oh so glorious). But the New Look of the late 1940's through into the 1950's, with the nipped in waist is perfect for me. Hunting down actual vintage clothing in my size would, I'm sure, be a frustrating exercise. The solution? Sew my own vintage wardrobe. 

In honour of the vintage style sewing enterprise, I am considering starting another blog. I've already got one set up for gardening, but haven't starting posting on that yet. I'm uninspired by winter gardening. I think a blog dedicated to my sewing would encourage me to keep working on skills, and to try new things, without boring the living daylights out of most of the family, my dedicated readers, who can read about my general exploits on Poppies and Daisies.

Well, until I get the new blog set up, I have made a start on the first official clothing item from my vintage sewing adventure. I have already dipped my toes into some vintage-style sewing with thanks to the lovely Gertie who wrote Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing. I possibly have the biggest collection of her portrait blouses in the Southern Hemisphere. Thanks to Gertie I am willing to get stuck in and experiment with changing the fit of garments to suit my purposes and style. I'm definitely an amateur so far, having limited experience with more complex techniques. Unfortunately I also come with a history of disasters when using patterns from the big pattern companies. I might be post graduate university educated, but when it comes to following directions for sewing patterns (or any other), I'm not sure I graduated primary school. It is time to get my pattern following diploma and have some moments of sewing brilliance. 

I popped into Fabric Vision and picked up a couple of patterns that appealed and that I could buy in my size. They are both Vogue 1950's reproduction patterns and and very much in the style I prefer to wear. Vogue 2903 is fabulous for my figure, and I'd love to wear View B to the school formal in August. Elegant, but modestly covered. This dress requires over 7 metres of fabric (OMG!!!). I need to do some practise before tackling a project that could result in the expensive destruction of that much fabric. Unless I can find something perfect for $2 a metre, of course. So instead I am starting with the sheath dress in Vogue 8875. I love the coat as well, which is actually inspired by riding coats from the 1800's. How cool is that? The coat will have to wait. It looks like it needs expensive fabric. 
 Today was a lovely day after our horrid wet week, so I had gardening and riding to do too. Time to hurry, hurry and get some pattern preparation done. Look at all of these tissue sheets.
 Here's where Pattern Reading 101 begins. I'm scared already. There are pages of instructions. Luckily half of them are in French, so I'll just ignore those.
 Look- great to see measurements to fit the curvy girl. Don't be fooled by sizing on patterns. Always measure your body and match to the measurements on the pattern, because they don't match ready to wear sizing. Wooo hooo - I perfectly match one of these sizes - and guess what? It isn't the largest one. Cool.
 Now we meet the first hurdles in my sewing experience.
 I removed cat number one, and along came cat number two. Pattern tissue makes the most delightfully enticing crinkly sounds. Very appealing to my furry familiars.
 Once I took a good look at the pattern, I realised that once cut in my size, I would be unable to re-cut the pattern smaller because of the overlapping lines, so I took the time-consuming route of tracing the pattern onto my preferred pattern making material, which is actually frost cloth. We are bringing the garden indoors. Note the cans holding everything steady. The technical term for these is "pattern weights" I think.
 I got this box out and put the cut out pattern pieces into it to stop the cats playing with them. Then someone hopped in for a little rest. It is hard work making patterns, thinks Fergus.
 By the time I had got half of the pieces traced and cut out it was time to do my gardening. I set myself some times to work on jobs at the weekend, because I'm on a tight time schedule. I cleared the front border of dahlia stems and other dried up foliage and filled the green waste bin. Then it was time for lunch and I headed out to ride Zanny. The dear girl was pleased to see me, and we both enjoyed a hack around the small block in the sun. We met our friend Viv and Frank halfway around, so they joined us for the second half, and a good chat. Zanny didn't even squeal at Frank when they touched noses to say hello. She was very chilled out today.

Tara's tummy is already hanging down below her cover. She's due to have her next foal in November. I remember she was really plump when pregnant with Aria, so I'm not too concerned that she's so big now. We don't want twins as horses rarely successfully carry twins to term. Poor Zanny lost two beautiful colt foals during one pregnancy. She was heartbroken. Zanny loves being a mummy. I'm a bit sad she won't be one again, but it wouldn't be a good idea at her age. I bet she'll be pining after anything male with four legs in spring. She's a real tart.

I managed to fend off the furry assistants long enough to finish tracing and cutting my sheath dress pattern. I do have some fabric in mind for it, so hopefully I'll have enough of it to use for the job. I think I should really make a muslin to see how the dress fits (i.e. to check whether it hides or emphasises the curves in the wrong places).

I think Fergus would rather I put the scissors down and played instead.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Queen's Birthday Update

Greetings everyone! Winter has moved in with a very dank weekend. Yesterday I rode Zanny with friends out along foggy roads. Today was too damp for riding. It doesn't look good for the rest of the week either. Fortunately the Queen's Birthday three day weekend was sunny, as we had visitors. My lovely sister and sister in law, plus our wee nephew came to stay. 

Look at the little dinosaur- I want a hat like this in my size! You can find some cool things at the Riccarton Market. I did pick up two pieces of chintz china and a scarf with swallows on it. 
 We went to Steam Scene out on Mclean's Island and rode the big train. Unfortunately the wee trains weren't running due to a marathon (????). I didn't see any runners puffing along the mini train tracks, so couldn't really understand why we had to miss out.
 Anyway, the big train was fun, and awesome with my fab sister and her brilliant family. We love them all so much!!! Note the new swallow scarf above.
 Henry thought the playground was just his cup of tea, and would have happily stayed for hours, I think. I really enjoyed basking in the sun and feeling a bit grateful that I could appreciate the playing children with no responsibility for any of them.
We all enjoyed eating out at The Flying Burrito Brothers, and having Indian food and a homemade Mexican feast. We also had a prowl around The Tannery, which is a boutique mall. I managed to find a great pair of black knee high boots on sale at the Dressmart outlet mall too. Plus I bought a MAC Russian Red lipstick which is the perfect pinky red vintage colour. It stays on well compared to my red Body Shop one, which I also love. That one is a true red and is also perfect for the vintage look. I'm a huge fan of red lipstick, and life is too short not to indulge on an everyday basis. (By the way, note the lack of red lippy in the train photo- if only it stayed on for a lot longer).

Well, the school week ended on a down note, and I required some serious recharging over the weekend. Sorry to say my camera battery didn't survive the week either, so I haven't taken any more photos of dear wee Fergus, who has a remarkably healthy appetite. There's a bread bag with a big hole on it on the bench. Our Birman baby is very greedy, and people food is not off limits as far as he is concerned. He spent most of the afternoon in the hot water cupboard with Mouse, cosy and warm. I made myself a very pretty top with pink roses on it, and watched Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey. Yes, photos when the camera is charged.

Now I'm very keen to get back into making clothes again.