Friday, January 29, 2010

I love to ride my bicycle, I love to ride my bike...

My bike and I, it seems, have had a falling out. I don't know what I've done - maybe I didn't keep her tyres pumped up enough, or perhaps never got around to repainting those scratches - but I tell you what: she's waging war against me!

Offensive #1: Whilst trying to lock up the bike outside work I managed to drop my bike lock down my leg. I am now sporting a lovely round hole where a piece of my shin used to be.

Offensive #2: I was walking the bike when I pushed my leg right into the pedal. Cue nasty rash down side of other leg.

Offensive #3: Rushing to pack my basket this morning I sliced open my finger along the cuticle line on the basket hinges. OW OW OW! Am turning into Band Aid lady.

Offensive #4: When riding the bike home I notice an ominous clanging noise. Stop and check chain, pannier racks etc - all seems to be in order. Get back on bike, begin pedalling and hear nothing but clank clank clank. This surely can mean only one thing - the bike needs a service. Now my legs, finger and wallet are all hurting.

At times like this I find it pays to repeat the following mantra until one feels better: Toned thighs and bum. Toned thighs and bum. Toned thighs and bum...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Green lunch wrappers

In preparation for Grumbles starting school next week (and seriously, don't get me started on it because the TEARS WILL FALL) I ordered her some reuseable lunch wraps from Biome in order to cut down on the plastic wrap.

They arrived in the post today, and so far look pretty good. You secure the wraps with velcro, which keeps everything together nicely, and the fabric is breathable which stops bacteria from breeding. Once used you simply handwash in cold water, then use over and over again.

So that's one more school task checked off the list. All I have to do now (besides put labels on everything) is to figure out how to stop my heart breaking as she waves me goodbye from the classroom door and I'll be fine.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Knitting Dreams

Ever get the feeling that there's too many beautiful knitting patterns and not enough time? I just been gawking away at the Kim Hargreaves site, and compiled a photo montage of all the things I'd like to knit. Um, hello? Earth to Jorth lady! As if they are all going to be knit this year!

Still, a girl can dream...

Left to right, top row: Misty (from Nectar); Harmony (from Nectar); Joy (from Nectar)
Left to right, middle row: Lauren (from Precious); Fay (from Precious); Bea (from Precious)
Left to right, bottom row: Effie (from Precious); Dolly (from Breeze); Daisy (from Breeze)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not your Grandmother's Liberty

The ghost of Arthur Liberty sat in his office in Great Marlborough Street, happily perusing the day's figures and takings when a soft knock came at the door. "Come in!" barked Arthur, wondering who could want his attention at this time of night.

A soft cotton fabric crept into the room. "Excuse me, Mr Arthur, sir, I was wondering if I might have a word?"

"But of course, Miss... Miss... it's Sandra, isn't it?" replied Arthur, peering through his spectacles at the floral gorgeousness that stood before him.

"That's right, sir, it's Miss La Sandra A, sir, part of the Tana Lawn line" squeaked the fabric, thrilled that somebody as impressive as Mr. Liberty himself would know her name. Summoning up all her courage she said "I was wondering if you would let me be made up into a dress, sir?"

Arthur gave her a good hard look before answering "I presume you have a buyer?"

"Oh yes, sir, of course sir!" said Sandra.

"Then I can't see what the problem could be. Off you go, and close the door behind. I can't, you see, being a ghost, and I do hate a draft."

"Thank you sir, so much!" said Sandra, happily preparing to head out the door when Arthur suddenly said "I take it she is making you up as a traditional style of dress? The Art Nouveau style, perhaps, that we were once so proudly associated with?"

"Oh!", said Sandra, caught somewhat unawares. "Actually, sir, I believe she's going for something a bit more modern. She doesn't want an old-fashioned grandmotherly look, you see."

"Grandmotherly!" yelped Arthur with outrage. "My dear, let me assure you that there is nothing of the grandmother about any of our ranges. We have always been at the cutting edge of design. In fact, in our long and proud history we engaged the designers who moulded the very essence of the Art Nouveau movement. Look at the fabric that surrounds us - if you can find anything that reeks of the grandmother in these bright, bold geometric designs then I'll eat my moustache!"

"Yes sir!" said Sandra, blushing from head to foot. Fixing once last glare at her Arthur said "Tell your lady dressmaker that I am very much looking forward to seeing what "modern" design she will come up with for you. It had better be a good one!", and with that he rose from his chair and shooed Sandra out the door, regretting this action somewhat later as he spent the rest of the night enduring the most horrid draft.

Several weeks later, just as Arthur was reminiscing one evening of his days as a shopkeeper in Regent Street, the door was slightly pushed open and a dress came in. Made up in La Sandra A, she stood before Arthur as if awaiting a verdict. Arthur stroked his beard, looked her up and down thoroughly and declared with a twinkle in his eye "Well, well, Sandra. Sassy, cute and completely wearable. Exactly what a Liberty dress should be!"

Sandra gave a deep bow, then headed out to her maker. They spent many long and happy years together, and each time Jorth put her dress on she cherished being able to wear something with such a distinguished history.

Project Details

Fabric: 1.2m of Liberty Tana Lawn in La Sandra A, from Tessuti Fabrics, plus 1.2m of silk/cotton lining

Pattern: Vogue 8387, size 8 (this pattern is now unfortunately out of print, which is a real shame as it's a fantastic pattern)

Notions: 40cm (16") zipper

Such an incredibly wearable dress. It's so comfortable, but at the same time manages looks pretty swish - what more could you ask for? I lined the dress with a silk/cotton lining, which gave the Liberty cotton a little more body. As for fit, I brought the side seams in by 1.5cm either side. That was the only adjustment I needed to make. Seriously, I could have an entire wardrobe of these!

And don't you just love my modelling companion? That Grumbles is such a ham!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Did you say you wanted vintage patterns?

Well here they are!

I am totally loving vintage at the moment. Actually, I've always loved vintage, but now it feels like the right time to be diving in properly and making up some vintage patterns. And what a better time to do, with all the amazing resources on the internet. For example, there's the Vintage Patterns Wiki, which is a place I could (oh jeeps, and have!) spend many hours happily perusing. Incredible!

And let's not forget the vintage bloggers. Oh my goodness, some of these gals make my eyeballs pop out with all their vintagesque glory. My faves:

A Dress A Day
Casey's Elegant Musings
Diary of a Vintage Girl
Behind The Curtain


Friday, January 22, 2010

Vintage Pattern Binge

The interrogation room was gloomy and chilly. They do that on purpose, you know, to make you extra scared, and trust me, I was plenty scared. It felt like I’d been sitting there waiting for hours, wondering the whole time what they would ask of me.

Just as I went though possible scenario #2158 the door opened, and the Galumph strode in. Not even bothering to take a seat, he slammed the evidence – oh, that blasted incriminating evidence! – on the table, and snarled “I thought this was meant to be the age of austerity, lady. What do you have to say for yourself?”

I gazed hopelessly at the vintage patterns lying on the table, and tried in vain to trammel my scattered thoughts. “Well…” I stuttered, “I figured that I would be recycling, and that’s good, right, and I could do Wardrobe Refashion, and make everything and not buy anything new while we pay off the mortgage…”

“Aha!” the Galumph sneered triumphantly. “Finally she remembers the mortgage! But not before these bloody vintage patterns were purchased, judging by the date on the envelope. In the future, could we perhaps not only remember the mortgage but also the double glazing costs and our ginormous relocation telephone bill before making random internet purchases?”

“Yes, my love” I said, then with a surge of confidence said “Will I be forgiven if make some of your favourite chocolate raspberry muffins?”

“How about you just make up some of these patterns so I can see my wife in those cute dresses?” said the Galumph, his anger replaced by a saucy wink.

“Not a problem!” I replied with joy. “I just bought some fabric that would look fabul-uh oh!”

“Lost cause”, said the Galumph shaking his head sadly. “Totally a lost cause.”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trap for young players

Many years ago I had a chemistry teacher who would tut tut disdainfully if you happened to get your valences wrong, and declare to the class at large "Trap for young players. Trap for young players!" before zoning in on one of the class nerds who invariably knew the correct answer whilst you hung your head in shame, red blushes burning your cheeks.

I was reminded quite forcefully of his sentiment yesterday when I went to insert the lining on my Liberty dress only to discover that I had sewn the lining inside out. Bugger! Trap for young players indeed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Of bears and hugs and other things

Wow! Thank you all for the hair love - it made my day!

As did the lunchbox ideas love. That was rad!

AND the sewing quirks discussion. That was cool - who knew we all had such particular ways of doing things, huh?

As for the three way dress and the shirred dress love: many thanks. And blushes!

So on behalf of Grumbles and myself, here's a bit of love for you all from Henri the ubercute French bear. According to Grumbles nobody gives better hugs than Henri, which is high praise indeed. It's not like the kid is exactly bereft of cuddles, ya know?

Right - I'm off to do a thousand and one jobs, including washing brand new school uniforms. Is anybody else getting a bit anxious about this whole start of the school year thing? I felt like I was having a mild anxiety attack just composing the school lunch box ideas list. It's a big deal, this starting of school. A rather big deal.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New hair!

Monday, January 18, 2010

School lunch box ideas - 2010 version

Here, folks, is today's recipe: take one little Grumbles who is heading off to school, then mix well with life sans car. Add a generous handful of work days for Jorth, plus full time work for the Galumph, then stir well to combine. Pop into oven and bake until well done and organised. Serves a family of three (hopefully well!)

The monthly meal plan thing I have under control. But throw in work days for me, and school lunch boxes for Grumbles and it all starts to look a bit crazy. Last year I created an ideas list for school lunches - methinks it might be time to bring it out again, dust it off and create a new monthly menu plan that incorporates lunches. This way we save time and don't waste money on buying lunches or creating food waste.

So here is the updated ideas list for 2010. I've divvied it up into sandwhich style lunches, food for hot days, food for cold days, and snacks. And if anybody has other suggestions then tell all!


- Potato salad and cheese
- Pesto and marinated vegetables
- Dates and goats cheese on rye
- Carrot, cream cheese and sultanas
- Red cabbage coleslaw and cheese
- Hummous with cumminy grated carrot
- Blue cheese with tomato and rocket
- Curried egg salad and rocket
- Marinated peppers, eggplant, roasted sweet potato and feta
- Chutney and tasty cheese
- Olive tapenade and roasted vegie slices
- Salad with beetroot dip
- Roasted tomatoes with basil, oregano, rocket and feta
- Beany Sloppy Joes with lettuce
- Avocado, lettuce and smoked tofu
- Fruit bread with cream cheese
- Breakfast burritos
- Left over roasted vegies with mayo and rocket
- Veggie burger patties with salad (or their favourite toppings)

Now, keep in mind that you don't need to just use bread. Oh, no, siree! You can use wraps, or pitas, or bagels, or baguettes, or tortillas or any other sort of carby goodness. Mmmmm... carbs! Best to go for wholemeal and whole grained bread, as they will have a lower GI. Lower GI foods are digested more slowly, which means the brain receives glucose at a nice steady rate, aiding in concentration - perfect for school kids, rather than giving them a bit fat high GI glucose rush, which may leave them tired, irritable and unable to concentrate.

Food for hot summer days:
- Chilled soups, such as avocado and buttermilk; Moroccon carrot; chilled Borscht; watermelon and berry
- Rice paper rolls with dipping sauces
- Nori rolls with soy sauce
- Roasted vegetable frittatas with yummy extras mixed in: pestos, red onions, feta, olives
- Watermelon and feta salad
- Bean salad made with tinned beans and blanched green beans
- Pita pockets stuffed with salad and felafals
- Corn fritters with avocado dip and tomato relish
- Pasta salad with olives, feta and roasted cherry tomatoes
- Chilled dips with turkish bread and julienned vegetables
- Spicy brown rice pilafs with chilled yoghurt
- Couscous salads with dressings
- Morrocan carrot salad with farro
- Fattoush
- Roasted vegetables with couscous and tzatziki

Food for chilly winter days:
- Refried beans with plain corn chips
- Cheese fondue in a Thermos with blanched vegetables and bread for dipping
- Dhal with wholemeal garlic roti
- Grumble's favourite soups, such as minestrone, curried pea and lettuce, Indian-style tomato and lentil, potato and leek, Thai pumpkin, tomato and rice, spicy carrot; vegetable and barley
- Serve the soups in a thermos, with something to dip with on the side: savoury muffins, bread rolls, parmesan and olive pinwheels, cheesy toast fingers etc
- Heated pastas in a Thermos, such as gnocchi or penne, with your child's favourite sauce
- Toasted English muffins with pizza toppings
- Samosas with raita
- Vegetable pasties with sauce
- Warmed oriental noodles in the thermos
- Reheated wholemeal pizza slices
- Warmed up casseroles with cheesy or herby dumplings
- Pasta bakes, heated up and put into a Thermos
- Vegetables curried with brown rice
- Coconut and chickpea stew with bread on the side

- Fruit, obviously, based on what is in season
- Fruit salads
- Dried fruits
- Dips with carrots, capsicum and cucumber slices
- Home made museli bars
- Fruity muffins
- Savoury muffins such as sundried tomato, spinach and feta
- Cherry tomatoes with cubes of cheese
- Home made biscuits that are light on the sugar and heavy on the oats
- Celery with cream cheese
- Slices of gherkins with cheese

Wowsers - what a list! I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. I think the key to school lunches this year is just being organised, and doing as much prep as possible the night before, which hopefully will help smooth our journey out the door in the morning. Wish me luck ;)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Do unto others...

I took this picture in the Musee D'Orsay in Paris. The juxtaposition of the polar bear standing in front of the ticking clock struck me as particularly poignant, and I snapped the picture as a personal reminder to do as much as I can regarding our environmental issues before the time runs out.

I remembered the image today as I read about the destruction in Haiti. As a global citizen, I feel it is our moral responsibility to do as much as possible for good, no matter what the situation. Now, I can't physically fly over there and start distributing aid parcels, but I can donate money to those marvellous organisations who are on the ground, and have the knowledge, experience and expertise to make an immediate difference.

If it is within your means, please reach deep down into your hearts and wallets.

Medecins Sans Frontieres
Red Cross

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What are your sewing quirks?

The sewing saucer, in all it's glory!

A dear friend of mine dropped around the other day just as I was finishing up some sewing. “You don’t mind if I go ahead and complete this, do you?” I asked, to which she said “Sure”, and then proceeded to investigate the contents of my fridge.

Once she found some sustenance, she sat and watched me. After a few minutes she declared “Do you know what – you are a really weird sewer”

“Whaaa-hey?” I asked, puzzled. I am never particularly articulate when confronted with such bald statements. Plus I had a mouthful of pins.

“Well”, she said, “You have all these strange sewing quirks. Like the saucer. What is that all about?”

I got slightly defensive as I answered “I like to sit a saucer next to the sewing machine. It’s the perfect place to put thread ends, and any bits I’ve snipped off, without scattering them all over the floor, or getting up every two minutes to pop something in the bin."

“Allright”, she said. “I’ll pay that one. Anything that saves sweeping up is fine by me. But what about ironing your patterns before you use them? I thought only sad old grandmas did that sort of thing.”

“But it makes sense!”, I cried earnestly. “I’m usually ironing the fabric nice and flat before I cut out the pattern anyhow, so I iron the pattern pieces too. It makes it all nice and straight, and makes it easier to cut the pieces out accurately, rather than dodging all the wrinkles and stuff.”

“Ok, ok!”, she said laughing. “Your quirks have merit, I’ll concede. But face it – they’re still weird!”

We both chuckled, then I somewhat selfconsciously got up and emptied my saucer of threads and scraps into the bin. But it did get me wondering… am I weird? Actually, scratch that – I know for a fact that I am a little bit strange! But what I really wanted to know is if any of you guys have any sewing quirks that seem perfectly natural and common-sensical to you, but distinctly dotty to others. C’mon, spill the beans!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Not so out and about

Scene: Sometime early this morning. Delivery guy marches up to door, and rings bell. Jorth trots over and answers it.

Delivery Guy: Are you Ms. Jorth?

Jorth: I most certainly am!

Delivery Guy: Sorry, I didn't recognise you with those massive bags under your eyes.

Jorth: Hurumph. It's not my fault the neighbours had another 2am party, and I didn't get enough sleep.

Delivery Guy: Okaaaay. Anyway, I've got one grey day, one tradie, one overtired and potentially vomitting child and a list of household jobs as long as my arm for you. Just sign here, thanks.

Jorth: But but but I didn't order any of this! And it means I'll be stuck at home all day!

Delivery Guy: Not my problem lady. Oh, and one more thing: a bunch of flowers. That should help you get through it, eh?

Jorth (snatching flowers in a huff): Just, buddy. Just.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More sewing from the stash!

It was dark inside the stash cupboard. Fabrics that normally wouldn't have been friends in real life, let alone deign to sit next to each other on a fabric quilt for all of eternity, were squished uncomfortably together in overflowing bags. Liberties sat next to stripy cotton prints from the '70s gifted by goodness knows who's mother, and tried to turn their aristocratic noses away from the mothball smell.

Normally the cupboard was quiet, but of late the murmurs and rumours were becoming louder. "She's sewing from stash!" some said, shocked by the very thought. "It's the mortgage, you see!" others kindly explained (usually those who had been there the longest, and been through austerity-fuelled crafting binges before). "The money is tight, so she's mending and making do. It's the new green!"

"Oh puh-lease!" tutted a rather gaudy patchwork cotton. "Let's get this straight: Crafting is the new green, which is the new black, which is the new ridiculous!" "Hush!", said an older and rather staid poplin. "Do you want to be chosen, or not?"

Despite the assurances, the sense of disquiet was palpable. Each sat quietly with their thoughts. Did they actually want to be the chosen one? When next would the bright light of day come flooding into the cupboard? Who would be removed? Would they be ironed, and made nice once more, or would they be used as play fabric by grubby and sticky fingers? Was it better to be taken out, or to stay safe and still with the one's one knew...

Then the day came. Quickly and decisively a bag was removed. Fabric was loaded onto the table, and scrutinised intently. Deep inside their cotton weaves, fibres shook with fear. Suddenly, two were chosen, and the rest were cast back into the darkness. As they soothed their troubled souls, the sound of the sewing machine could be heard. Straining in the dark, the stash fabrics listened for sounds of distress but none were heard. Then night fell, and all once more was silent.

The next morning, they heard familiar voices call to them in the magic language of fabric. "She's made us up!" the selected two cried out in joy. "We are now a party dress for a dear, sweet girl, and we have been ironed, and trimmed, and made up with love. We are so happy! Goodbye, dear pals - we are off to see the world!"

"You see!", exclaimed the older stash fabrics to the bewildered newer ones, "it's good to be used. Let us hope that there is much more stash hunting to come!"

Project Details

Pattern: Three Way Dress from Ottobre Magazine 3/2009, size 110cm

Fabric: Amy Butler I think? Who cares, it's from the stash and it's all good (and it saved traisping around in the heat yesterday looking for a birthday gift!)

Notions: 130cm grosgrain ribbon, once again from stash

Monday, January 11, 2010

Despite the heat, I'm counting my blessings

Today the mercury is set to hit a sizzling 45C in Melbourne and parts of Victoria today. Ouch! That's bloody hot, and scary in a state that is as dry and fire prone as it is.

Still, days like today always make me count my blessings. I don't have to spend the day working outside in the heat, for which I am very thankful. I have access to as much clean drinking water as I need, right from a tap in my very kitchen - no 3 kilometre walk to wait in line to draw water from a well. I have plenty of ice cubes and home-made icy poles tucked away in the freezer, loads of excellent books to read and lovely music to listen to.

I also have a charming bandit with whom to play cards with. So, apart from the soaring heat outside, life really doesn't get much better than this.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Shirred Dress

Now that we have a BIG SCARY MORTGAGE (yes, I think that warrants capitalisation) we really have to watch the pennies. One easy peasy way to do that is to think creatively, particularly in regard to the fabric stash (oh, no need to look at me like that - I know you've got one, too!) There's no reason to be buying clothes for Grumbles when I can instead stand in front of shelves of fabric, cock an eyebrow and state in a voice of steely determination "I know exactly what to do with you!", before whisking the victim fabric away to the ironing board and henceforth to the sewing machine.

Case in point: lovely Amy Butler Midwestern Modern fabric that was bought maybe three years ago has left the cosy but somewhat stifling world of the stash cupboard, and is now a pretty darn spiffy dress that Grumbles adores, and which filled in a very pleasant Sunday afternoon.

I'm also loving that bizarre sort of logic that allows you to think that you made something for free even though you obviously paid good money for it some time in the past. Still, if you don't have to fork over the moolah immediately before sitting down to the sewing machine, it does feel like a freebie! Everybody wins!

Project Details

Fabric: 70cm Amy Butler Midwestern Modern cotton print

Pattern: Shirred Dress from Japanese sewing book "Handmade Girls Wears", ISBN 4579110544 / 9784579110544

Notions: Shirring elastic

Fabulously easy dress to whip up in next to no time. The only mistake I made (probably because I didn't follow the directions, so really it's my own fault) was not hemming the neck edge before commencing shirring. As a result you can see another row of stitching (from the hem) above the shirring rows. Still, it's a minor detail, and the sort of thing that few will notice but myself. Grumbles certainly doesn't give a fig!

Also, I was talking to Nichola who has made some for her girls, and her splendid advice was to reinforce the elastic after shirring. To do this I shirred the front and back first, then stitched the side seams together (reinforcement no. 1) and then overlocked the side seams (reinforcement no. 2). Seems to have done the trick.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Pssst! Angelina is in town!

As any self-respecting five year old girl could probably tell you, the Arts Centre is currently the only place in Melbourne to be. And if you can get there in a tutu, the more the better to enjoy the Angelina Ballerina experience.

Tell you what, for a mouse her brisé volés are pretty darn good!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

How much is that fancy double glazed window?

We moved into a new home the week before Christmas, and already the teething problems has turned into some sort of cranial-facial disorder that requires immediate surgery. We've had to:

 - get a chap in to fix our rangehood fan that is either broken/not inserted correctly (but which, thankfully, is under warranty)

 - get both the Telstra technician and some electricians in to fix the phone points, which were patched to the outside of the property, but not the inside (and surprise, surprise, the Telstra guy fluffed around for over an hour and left without even fixing the problem, whilst the electricians had the job done in two minutes flat)

 - wrestle with loads of scary chemicals to clean off the graffiti that was sprayed on our property 4 days after we moved in (thanks for the housewarming present, you pathetic layabouts with nothing else to do)

 - yak yak yak back and forth between the real estate agent and the owner/builders over a myriad of little things that we needed to get fixed/find codes for/organise workman details etc etc.

But the real fun begins of a evening when the pubs close and our friendly party-loving neighbours come home. Due to the middle of the night reconnaissance work by myself and the Galumph (ok, so we peered out the window) we have figured out that one of the backyards that faces our bedroom window is home to some merry folks who like nothing than to come home most nights of the week, tanked to the gills and ready for a midnight until three backyard chat. The main culprits are a girl who seems to be possessed of a wide social circle, all of whom apparently befall nasty traumas on a weekly basis, and her male flatmate who finds everything hilarious after the midnight hour.

It wouldn't be so bad if he didn't have a laugh like a malfunctioning machine gun that can only operate on 180 decibels, but alas, he does. So there they sit, and have conversations in the dark that go something like this:

Tragic Girl: So last week my aunty had a massive seizure as she was coming down the stairs, and has broken her pelvis AND split her head open.

Machine Laugh Guy: Nak-nak-nak-nak!

TG: And so when my uncle was driving her to the hospital, he accidently ran into the back of a truck carrying chickens, all of whom have now met their maker instead of being transferred to a free range farm. There were feathers everywhere, poor things.

MLG: Nak-nak-nak-nak!

TG: This sent my aunt into another seizure, which made my uncle have a panic attack, so she's like totally bleeding and thrashing about, and all he can do is scream that he needs a paper bag.

MLG: Nak-nak-nak-nak!

TG: The chicken driver called them an ambulance, but it took over an hour to get through because of all the chicken carcasses and banked up traffic.

MLG: Nak-nak-nak-nak!

TG: And when they finally got to the hospital she had to be operated on by a junior surgeon, because the main surgeon had gotten himself hit on the head during a caber tossing tournament, and is expected to be in a coma for the next few months.

MLG: Nak-nak-nak-nak!

TG: The hospital insisted on keeping my uncle in for a few days, because he'd like totally gone into the shock and stuff, so when he finally got home he found out that both the cat and the hamster had died, because nobody had fed them.

MLG: Nak-nak-nak-nak! NAK-NAKKITY-NAK!

So there lie the Galumph and I, cursing both our feeble windows and the never ending stories emanating from our annoying neighbours. I shove my head under the pillows, dreaming up evil ways of disabling their midnight chats. So far all I have come up with is throwing water balloon at them; feeding them chocolates made out of laxatives, so they will be indisposed and hopefully in bed during the dark; and bellowing out the window "SHUT THE CUSS UP SAD STORY GIRL AND MAN WITH IRRITATING LAUGH!"

As you can probably tell, I'm not so hot at coming up with ideas or insults during the middle of the night. I need sleep, nagdammit!

The Galumph, however, is made of more pragmatic stuff. He has spent the last few days researching double glazing options and prices. So far we've been quoted minimum $600 per window (although some quotes are as high as ($900). I've just done a quick count, and we have 11 windows on the top level alone.

Eleven windows!

I must log off now. There's some weeping to be done.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Butterfly Dress

Poor old Grumbles. Poor kid can't even step outside the door without a swarm of butterflies landing on her shoulder. Try as she might, she can't even shoo them away. It's like they are sewn on for good.
Look at her, screwing up her face. "The butterflies! The butterflies!" Thankfully her brave French teddy bear, Henri, is there to save the day. Or at least increase the cute factor. One or the other.

Project Details

Pattern: New Look 6613. This pattern is so quick and easy. If you are in the market for a cute summer frock for a little one, look no further. It takes about two hours from whoa to go, and can be easily altered to accommodate growing legs (is it just me or do they all sprout up like crazy during the summer?). I made version D, and crossed over the straps at the back.

I also cut out some of the butterfly motifs, interfaced the back, then sewed them onto one of the straps. Just a little detail that really brings a lot of 'wow' factor!

Fabric: "Canvon Flutter - Pink" Butterfly Print Cotton from Tessuti Fabrics. I just love the way the butterfly print looks like it has been hand printed. Super cute!

Notions: 1.1m of 6mm elastic for back.

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Pledge

The room, despite the summer heat, was cool and the atmosphere suitably sombre. Jorth felt herself shiver slightly as she made her way along the dark expanse, lit only by the odd shaft of sunlight from the deeply recessed windows that served more to highlight the dust notes languidly floating through the air than to provide any decent warmth or light.

The crowd murmured as she slowly walked up the aisle, and came to a nervous halt in front of the justice of the peace. The JOP, an older lady with that particular type of matronly bosom that long ago fell out of fashion, stood holding a bible with an air of official authority. "Place your hand on the bible, and take the oath", she boomed at Jorth, who hesitantly did as she was told, and spoke in a faltering voice:

"I, Jorth of Jorth.Blogspot.Com, do solemnly swear to update my blog on a daily basis for the duration of 2010, weekends and family emergencies excepted."

"Hmmff!", said a wag at the back of the room. "We've heard that one before!"

"Hush your mouth!" directed the JOP, eyebrows narrowed like a hawk, before turning to Jorth and stating in a bald manner "You do know that you must update now. This oath had been taken, and must be upheld accordingly. Forgive me my doubts, dear, but I know you have struggled in the past - are you sure that you can manage?"

"Yes", said Jorth with quiet confidence. "I have been delighting in the words of others for so long, and neglecting my own blog, much to my shame. It's time to take less, and give a bit more back."

"Very well" said the JOP. "Go forth, and blog well. Oh, and put a few more vegetarian recipes up. I always like a good recipe."

Friday, January 01, 2010

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness

May your year ahead be filled not only with light and love, but with a plentiful supply of people who know when to light the candle, rather than moan about what they think they cannot do.