Saturday, July 26, 2008

This morning while hunting as a pack (aka taking the dog for a walk), Partner and I saw thirteen tiny ducklings, only just hatched. Most of the ducklings on the pond are now burly adolescents who've left home already. These ducklings had two mommies who shouted at the dog every time she tried to get a closer look. So cute.

I've nearly finished the blue starred skirt I had in mind. Well, when I say nearly finished, I mean I need to put on the waistband, the sash, and hem the bugger. But I drafted a very successful pattern when fits me exceptionally well. I made liberal use of the tape measure and straight edge. I plan on finishing it today and I may have enough material left over to make a top. The only downside to making my own patterns is sewing projects take a lot of time. I have to make the pattern first, then figure out how it's supposed to all fit together. I think I've worked out the skirt though; maybe I should write myself directions on the pattern for next time. I've been using newspaper sheets glued together to cut out patterns. It seems to work quite well. Back when I was a teenager I used brown paper bags. You don't get them in this country, though.


A few runner beans next to a flowerbed, taken this morning. All the latest garden photos are at:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I finished the white blouse earlier today and I'm happy to say it fits perfectly and is super cute. I will try and get a proper photo of me in it. This last weekend Partner and I went shopping and I bought three yards each of blue star print and white and red polka dot cotton fabric. I have visions of a light polka dot dress and possibly a blue skirt. However, I'm not entirely decided and what I want the most for my wardrobe at the moment are cute tops. So I'll just have to see. Shopping was great fun, though, and I saw all kinds of prints I would have loved to have bought, if only they were 100% cotton. I didn't want any polyester.

We went to the indoor market at Leeds and I took photos as promised. My father-in-law kindly donated his old phone to Partner who in turn bequeathed it to me; it takes much better photos than my old phone. I wanted to take a picture of a halibut at the fish market, but the best I could do was turbot. Still, as a flatfish, it's pretty darn cool. Since it swims on the bottom of the ocean, its eyes are on the top of its head, but unlike a normal fish with a dorsal fin on top and arms on either side, it evolved so that it actually swims on its side with an arm on top and bottom and the dorsal fin on one side. It's so freakish and utterly neat.

Red snapper on the left, and those little bundles are razorfish (actually a type of shellfish)


This is the turbot. You kind kinda make out its asymmetric eyes. Cool, huh?

Various fish in bins

More random fishies

Friday, July 18, 2008

Here is the nearly finished first sewing project. I only need to add buttons and buttonholes--everything else is completely done. I'm really happy with the design of it, and I will definitely use the pattern again, though I may modify the sleeves and collar, and possibly make it more fitted around the waist. There are some slight flaws to the attachment of the lining which you totally cannot see from the outside, but I will have to work on it next time. I couldn't work out how to attach the sleeves and the sleeve lining smoothly, so unfortunately there is a raw edge on the inside there. And I need to figure out how to do the hem attached to the lining as well. Still, all in all I'm very pleased, especially since I not only sewed it myself, but designed and drafted the pattern myself. Oh, and it's being modeled not by the Venus de Milo but by my aforementioned duct tape dressmaker's form. I found some very helpful pattern-making resources online for making the sleeves and collar, and for help in utilizing the blind hem stitch option on my sewing machine, including:

I have a few other projects in mind for some bits of material I have hanging about the place. I have about two or so yards of some red satiny material and about a yard of some gray woolly stuff (it may have once been a blanket). I might put them together to make a gray jacket with red lining, or I might do them separately as a red dress and a gray skirt. I also want to make a trip to the fabric store and pick up any bargains I can find. My only prerequisite is that the material be made of a natural fiber such as cotton or linen. I looked through a few shops while in London but most of the material looked like it ought to be a curtain or possibly a pair of disco pants.

I am an avid follower of several blogs, and am always interested in other people's pictures, so I will try and break out my camera more often and post more photos. As one blogger put it, what fun is a blog without pictures?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Partner wrapped me up in two rolls of duct tape last week to make a dressmaker's form. It was incredibly uncomfortable, but once I was cut out of it and stuffed it, the thing is a pretty near double of my shape and size. I've already begun making a pattern on it for a shirt. I can foresee that making patterns will be much much easier. Before, I basically had to work things out on myself in front of a mirror. Now I can pin and tuck and cut efficiently.

I spent the last week in London with a cousin, mostly trying to find great landmarks and getting lost in the process. We saw a West End musical, a Leicester Square film, several museums, and all sorts of comings and goings. I actually think my favorite place was the street we went shopping in East London with all the charity shops and cheap clothing stores. I bought a new pair of shoes (bit of a shock--I haven't bought shoes in years), a couple books, and some hand-embroidered doilies. I love nice handmade doilies and tablecloths and the like, especially embroidered. I like old jugs and bowls and vases for flower arrangements, though I didn't find any this time. I also adore rhinestone brooches and I always have a look for them (once I found a gorgeous silver dragonfly). I used to just look at clothing in charity shops, but now it's more household items.

The cousin is now (hopefully) back home, as am I. It's good to be back--I hadn't seen Partner in a week, though now we're home he's downstairs on the edge of his seat watching a car race. The house is only slightly untidy. And he cooked himself dinner every night while I was gone, he claims. I'm impressed. Clever man.