This is an eclectic collection of information of weird and wonderful things that have happened over the last few weeks. No no particular order:

Seven Bridges Walk: One sunny Sunday I completed a 27km charity walk with 3 friends. It was such fun to do the Seven Bridges Walk through the city, the bush, and crossing 7 iconic bridges in Sydney. Afterwards we had a cool beer and jumped in the pool…Screen shot 2015-11-06 at 6.48.30 AM

Curtains!: Patrick has had a moment to hang the first set of curtains I have made for the house. They have been sitting there, un-hemmed, for some time. They get moved from the cutting table when I needed to work (to the pool table), they got moved from the pool table (on the sofa) when people wanted to play pool, they got moved to the cutting table (when people wanted to sit on the sofa to watch TV)… you get the idea. So now they are hanging up, but we need to get stronger steel rods that don’t bend with the weight of the curtain.

Also – these two curtains have 3 panels of fabric. I have decided to take one panel out on each of them. There will be several advantages in this, though it’s a real pain to undertake this type of ‘curtain surgery’… (1) the weight will be significantly reduced, so damage to the rod etc is less likely (2) you see the lovely pattern much better (3) it will be a fair bit cheaper, using less materials… BUT a pain to do. Next week this is my project!image

A new toy – eh tool: Since I intend to make curtains for my entire house, I have not spared the expense to order a tool to put the huge eyelets into the top. Nothing like this can be purchased here in Australia, and the curtain tape that I tried (the tape has the eyelets already in, you sew it on and cut the hole out) was simply too bad quality and the weight of the curtain would have ripped the eyelets out fairly soon. I also like to plain look of the curtain that has just the big eyelet – no gathering up, no small folds for the dust to settle in… much more sleek look and easier to look after! Isn’t this just beautiful? It came lovingly wrapped in waxed paper to prevent rusting.imageimage

Big machinery: A tree was taken out of our neighbor’s garden this week. Wow, I could not believe the size of machinery that rocked up for the job. Mind you, the tree was 35m high, so something substantial was needed to do take the 35m tree down! I don’t understand how they got the crane into our driveway!image image image

Wildlife in my kitchen: I got a real fright when I emptied the dishwasher yesterday morning: a gecko was sitting there. Poor thing. No idea how it got in there. Obviously it had not survived the big adventure.image

Presents: Sue came for a knitfix and I don’t know how long it’s been since we saw one another. An unusual 2 months or so! Anyway, she has been on travels to wonderful places and as per usual, she made me feel like it is Christmas with all her small gifts… Tea, honey mustard, exotic relish, pom pom makers in 3 sizes and plenty of chocolate. Thank you so much, Sue!image

Knitting: Whilst I really ought to finish the cardigan I started for my niece just before her birthday in July (!), I had the real need to cast something on for myself. I had made a lovely top down cardigan some time ago, it has stretched a bit and though it’s still lovely, it is a bit loose and not as fitting as I designed it. So, I cast on this week, and did not get up until the tricky bit was over, which is the bit where all the shoulders are cast on separately, joined, sleeveheads cast on and knitted with short rows etc… Sorry, no photo.

Exclusive Two Skeins Club: Just as I toyed with the idea of joining Kate Davies’ Seven Skeins Club I received a parcel from Ireland! My dear friend Eva (and bridesmaid 20 y ears ago!) send me hands pun wool (SHE did it!) from her OWN Alpaca! How exclusive and wonderful! And she still has got the waistcoat I knitted her 25 years ago!imageimage

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Good dogs: Our dogs had some serious dog training to get them to bark less. They have very much improved, but it is easy for us to slip back into old habits and they bark again straight away. Here is a picture of the model canine citizens in they new bedroom.image


The Awesome

A midweek post – because I am busting to share the Awesome with you!

Canal Rd Film Centre, well, here is the canal


Here is shed 1, where I spent the days having fun!image

Here is all the stuff that is everywhere, so fun to look at.image

Here are some red frills, I am making meters and meters and MILES of the stuff.image

Here is me pretending to be house model. I do love any opportunity to dress up! We are making 7 of these dancer outfits, the sequinned frills are for the sleeves.image

It seems that I have met just about anybody who is anybody in the Australian costume making industry over the last few days. Everybody is super friendly, helpful, fun. I have even met the resident dogs… It’s great to be surrounded by eccentric people. I feel very much at home and in my element.

In Top Gear

I am beside myself with exitement because I made a phone call, just checking how the land lies in regard to that film/ theatre work. Part of me thought it was a bad idea because it makes me look potentially very pushy. But on the other hand I thought that I might just not get the work, unless I am proactive and let people know that I am keen.

So, I made the call and managed a light chit chat with the designer, pleasantries and so forth, but mainly letting her know that I am very keen to take on some work and that there is that flexibility with my other job and voila – within 12 hrs I had a call from the cutter to let me know that she is totally overwhelmed with various jobs and could I please come and work in her workroom for one or two weeks! YIKES!

This opportunity has made me so very very happy, I have been sewing and making patterns for all sorts of things during the weekend.

I cut Esther’s T-shirt up and up-cycled my old plain one. Looks cute!image image

I took the pattern of Clare’s jumper – it is the nicest fit ever, so plain and elegant! Now I need to do the number crunching and then I can start knitting away. I am afraid it will be a slow process, the alpaca yarn is very thin and I will knit it with 2 mm needles.image

Here are some linen pants that I started. The pattern is from the Mills & Merchant book. Unfortunately this project is on hold, since I broke the only needle for my industrial sewing machine. Spares are arriving mid- week! I enjoyed the fly, the pockets… All that detail…image

And I also prepared some patterns from the Alabama Chanin book. I bought this some time ago because I just love the simplicity of the collection – the book comes with a CD with all the patterns! But wow – printing the patterns and sticking them together takes forever…image

I did not buy organic cotton – I just cut up some old T-shirts! imageThis skirt is so comfortable. And again – the pattern for my size was way too big, so I just took the skirt in. Any other patterns I will make I will use one or even two sizes smaller!image

Spring is in the Air

We have had our first dinner on the verandah last night, enjoying the view over the tree tops. I had forgotten how quickly it gets dark and how the mosquitos come to join us. image imageThere has been a lot of spring cleaning going on in the school holidays, hosing down garden furniture, blasting away the cobwebs and also giving my workspace a good tidy up. I find a clean workspace very inspirational! starting new things, venturing into deeper waters, trying something new altogether.

And I got myself a few treats, some nice buttons for something special (not sure what that will be as yet) imageand two beautiful books. I don’t need them, no, in fact Patrick said I could write them, true. The design and layout is just stunning, the illustrations, diagrams, photos and even the information¬†is succinct, to the point and professional. Here and there are a few bits on info np entirely new to me, eg. how to make a tailor’s ham.image

imageSo all the three books have a different purpose: the one on the left is really an overview of the art of tailoring/ sewing and lays out all the fundamentals. I bought it last year. It does have a few easy projects and patterns, aprons, pillow cases, travel bagsa and the like. Every project introducing different materials and referring to the techniques illustrated. The book in the middle is just a small reference volume containing the essence of techniques, it’s like Mao’s little red book for sewers. I was so pleased about their brief chapter on full facings, which have been posed an ongoing mystery to me.image

Finally, the Workbook ‘All Season Wardrobe’ is just beautiful. It contains a heap of nice patterns (size 8-18) for very basic, timeless clothes that I love to wear. Plain tops, skirts, pants and jackets. It’s the crumpled and casual linen look… imageAnd I have so many fabrics that are waiting to be made into something… So I made this cotton top last night. NOTE: (1) the patterns are all a bit oversized, that IS their look. I am a size 10, but made this top in a size 8 and it fits nicely. However, I might make a size 10 top from a different fabric and look – so those are still decisions to be made for each garment. (2) the pattern layout on the fabric may not always be accurate in the instructions. I got the size 8/ 10 top pattern pieces out of the fabric amount they recommended – not sure size 18 would have worked.image image


Newnes and some Knitting at long last

Well here is a perfect canine citizen (after 5 week rigorous dog training) and some knitting I have done. It’s the “Echoflower” shawl, not sure where I got the pattern from. the yarn is Merino wool (2ply) and I am knitting it on 3mm needles. So, I finished one, blocked it, looked great, weighed the remaining yarn, realized I had enough for another one and cast on No 2! And that one is nearly finished, too!image

Can’t show them close up, since they are… Ahem ahem… For some people who may be subscribing to this blog.

Josie and Jasper have been so much nicer to have around. Their barking drove even us insane. So many people said that there is not much you can do with small dogs and bla bla – but we got an amazing dog trainer who turned the situation around very quickly. Well, it was a huge amount of work, I didn’t think I could do all the stuff he recommended, but in reality, we saw the results very quickly and after that it was a lot easier to keep going.

We had a fantastic few days in Newnes. Packed the car, dropped the dogs at the kennels and went bush for 4 days. The weather was glorious and the scenery spectacular. And it was great to chill with the entire family. Read, walk, make fires, think, quieten the mind.thumb_DSC_0238_1024 thumb_DSC_0240_1024 thumb_DSCN0006_1024 thumb_DSCN0276_1024 thumb_DSCN0302_1024 thumb_DSCN0323_1024 thumb_DSCN0334_1024 thumb_DSCN0339_1024 thumb_DSCN0410_1024 thumb_DSCN0415_1024 thumb_DSCN0422_1024 thumb_DSCN0430_1024 thumb_DSCN0432_1024 thumb_DSCN0433_1024

Did I mention all the amazing meals (roasts) we cooked on the mini bbq, the damper we baked in the Dutch oven, the cool beer we fished out of the river, all the animals we spotted??? And the glow worms we saw in the old train tunnel – like a starry night!

The rest of the school holidays seems to be fairly mellow. I try to work 3 hrs first thing in the morning and then have time to hang with or without kids, do some chores, food shopping, infinite amount of cooking, which I have started enjoying again.

We saw the Willoughby Symphony last night – beautiful music played by our fantastic local community ensemble. When we got home I had two messages for invitations today: watching the preview of the new ‘Macbeth’ movie in the morning and to go with friends to the Jeff Buckley tribute concert (with prior dinner!)… So I have done really well. In between both cultural events just a few rows of knitting in the spring sun.


There does not seem to be much difference in business between me “not working” and “working”. So now I am working and tradespeople have left, our family will not have any more general anaesthetics or orthodontic or dermatology appointments for a while, the dog trainer has been twice and issued very specific instructions to us of how to turn the pooches into model canine citizens.

I signed a new contract at uni, so that’s part time and very flexible, looking after a grant project. They even gave me MacBook – very nice, but part of me feels that I have way more hardware than I really need.image

And here comes the really exiting news: I met up with a very busy costume designer and her (ladies’ costume) cutter and had a wonderful discussion about how to get back into the trade. The sweetest thing was that both kept asking me what it is that I really wanted to do. If I really could have my way, I would make costumes again… Get back into it… Tickle my brain to remember how to do all the inlays and canvases in men’s jackets, get my hand sewing up to speed, remember how to cut – above all things, get my confidence back!

So today I am taking it easy. I have a terrible cold and am sitting in the sunshine on our deck, just reflecting on how life can open new paths quiet  unexpextantly.

I also got my dusty tools out and gave them a good wipe. These have travelled with me from Helsinki, to London, to Sydney.image

And marvelled at my new friend, donated by Tussanee. Relocated by my best friend.image

And then I unwrapped the parcel that I collected earlier today from the work room and it felt like no time had passed at all since my last costume job. There is the design, the swatches, all the fabrics, the patterns, all the trimmings and threads.image

It feels like home.

“not working” at the moment

It’s a joke how I keep telling people I am “not working” at the moment and I feel I have never been busier… and not even much knitting to show for!

I have been getting quotes for various things that need fixing in the house. There has been lot’s of tidying and sorting, which feels good. There has been cooking of nice family meals and giving time to the kids. It seems that they have taken weeks to realize that I am available to listen and they have done a lot of talking, which is so valuable.

There have been almost daily work emails, despite “not working”… I have met up with various people from different industries about future work. Of course I have still been teaching at TAFE… and I have taken on the tutoring of 2 yr 11 boys in English, which I very much enjoy.

There have been endless medical appointments and procedures for more than half our family members that I had been putting off.

There has been a quick 4 day dash to the snow with Vincent. The weather was beautiful and the snow was great. I crashed down the slopes trying to keep up with Vincent on his snowboard… The sweet part of parenting… It was also wonderful to stay in the local Youth Hostel, I met so many fabulous women!20150814_092126

20150815_140551I managed the solo car drive just fine. It had worried me, to be honest… after crashing my car in March… but I did just fine.

In between all this I have been thinking… about the relationship of success, achievement and how often people are valued on the basis of both. I saw this and it made me mad.

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What is success anyway? High achievers are not necessarily successful in my eyes, if they achieve through bullying and on the expense of others. And there are so many of those… And successful people can be inspiring, motivating and generous. But success and achievement require more than our mental attitude, there is luck, supportive environments, material security… And to make a general claim about what unsuccessful people are, and thus inferring why they are unsuccessful is just so awful.

Success is something personal. Everybody has their own yardstick. Success should not be a moral value we attach to people’s worth. (Off my soap box and getting on with chores).