Wednesday, March 31, 2010

From the keyoard of the Galumph - The baton has passed

The blogging baton has been passed. I’ve decided to make a few subtle changes to the site and over the upcoming blog posts we’ll be focusing on topics which Jorthy has never dained to touch. Some ideas :-

1. Software Development and computers in general. I’d like to expand the amount of code being presented in this site from its current state (zilp) to..., well every 2nd or 3rd post. We can talk about Joel on Software’s retirement from blogging... very sad.

2. History and general military history. I’ve been reading some interesting books lately and I think it would be great to share with you great people my thoughts on such lively topics as Napoleon and Wellington (that story about Napolean being chased back into his carriage by the tame bunnies is great!) and Churchill and Australia which I think is a fascinating topic. We might also delve into Norman Davies either History of the Isles (we’re I think he defines the Isles in the first 60 of over 1300 pages) or History of Europe.

3. Biking adventures – I ride everyday so I’m sure there are some great topics, like what is that clink in my pedal, and can you ride in your business attire without needing a shower.

4. Lots more interesting topics.

Also what we won’t touch much upon is...well.... crafty type pursuits. I’ve knitted once, but it wasn’t good, I once thought about fixing my own trousers and almost succeeded. So wool is out and sewing out. On occasional I may allow Jorthy to present a guest piece, but it will need to be heavily reviewed for appropriateness.

I bet you’re wondering what the photo is above. For a long time I’ve felt that Jorthy has neglected the cat readers out there (and dog readers for that matter). This is a photo of my cat we named Baby Ging. We of course had a cat prior named Ginger. He arrived one day on our door step and never left. He was a great pet and I have lots of fond memories of him. Jorth isn’t really a cat person but I’m running the show now. Things are going to be a lot more cat-centric around here from now on!!!

Tomorrow. We’ll discuss the intricacies of serialisation within the .Net language. I for one can’t wait!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

From the keyboard of the Galumph

Old Jorthy is still feeling under the weather, so I’m writing today.

One of the endearing facets of Jorthy is that she doesn’t do sick well. When I’m sick I lie in bed, demand hot chocolates, or something sweet, and generally complain. I’ll stay in bed for 48 hours if that is required. Jorthy on the other hand will hang washing (whilst hacking out her lungs), will wash dishes (’well you weren’t going to do it’ I’ve had hurled at me), and generally do anything but lie in bed, or relax (I could count on my hand the number of times I’ve seen Jorthy sleep during daylight hours) – no, I don’t think knitting projects, or sewing is relaxing in relation to being sick.

So when she is sick I enforce rules like ‘no going outside’ and yell at her every time she hops off the couch, I try to ply her with tea and keep up good books (which she ferociously reads). She on the other hand berates me for my slackness, and complains about my general apathy in regards to maintaining household cleanliness.

I like to think I do it better!

Not to worry though, she is on the mend and tells me she has been busily knitting. Wish her the best and please encourage old Jorthy to rest - the house can't run without her!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Feeling blah

I'm feeling a bit under the weather tonight, so there will be no blog post worthy of anybody's attention today. My bed is a-calling, and I shall heed it.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Earth Hour 2010

Gather up ye candles, and make sure you enjoy a blissful Earth Hour on Saturday night (27th March), starting at 8:30. I'm not quite sure yet what we will be doing, but I suspect board games will be making an appearance!

In other breaking news, my pap smear today (or should I say CRAP smear) made me bleed so much that I had to run out and buy pads. Pads! Since I don't actually get my period since the hysterectomy, there were none lying around the house for me to use, so a mad dash to the supermarket was in order, me worrying the whole time that I had sprung a leak. All in all, it really hasn't been one of my better Fridays.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

She threw over her blog for Gordon MacRae

Jorth opened the letter, emblazoned with the Justice Of The Peace header, with not a little trepidation. Inside there was a rather official message, stating that she had broken the vow she took on the first of this year to blog every day, family or medical emergencies excepted. As a result, she was summonsed to a hearing which would take place later on in the week.

"Oooooooooooh FRIG IT!" thought Jorth, cursing herself for her stupidity. She still couldn't believe she had forgotten to update her blog yesterday. She'd had a busy day, but she knew that the JOP wouldn't buy that as an excuse. Jorth sat down heavily in a chair,and mentally sifted through her day to see if there was any decent reason why she hadn't managed to get her blog done. There'd been coffee in the morning with a friend, followed by a ride into the city to do some Easter shopping, then the ride back home and all the household chores, then some grocery shopping followed by school pick up and a trip to the library to get Grumbles a book on planets. After that they had come home, did the school reading, made dinner, put Grumbles to bed and then settled down to watch a Doris Day and Gordon MacRae movie.

That was it! Her excitement over watching "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" had clean wiped blog responsibilities from her mind. Jorth thought things over carefully, constructing her defensive argument. Depending upon the level of affection the JOP had for Gordon MacRae (and let's face it, she was an older lady - chances are she could be nursing quite the soft spot for him, or Doris at the very least) she would either be let of the hook, or mused Jorth, "she'll have my guts for garters!"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dancing in the loungeroom

After punishing myself and my sewing machine making those Three Way Dresses for the last few weeks, I decided to treat myself to a day off. And despite the fact that it did become somewhat clogged up with the usual tasks and chores (dishes, laundry, school pick up, grocery shop), it was really very lovely.

I knitted. And inbetween rows I would jump up and peruse eBay, checking out yarn bargains and having a little dream about future knits-to-be. Then I would knit for a bit longer, before decided that a cup of tea and biscuit were in order. Then I sat down and calculated my button positioning on my Joy cardigan, a job which I had been putting off but which turned out to be far more simple than I first suspected. All the while I had some excellent sing-along-songs blaring from the stereo. There may have even been a soft shoe shuffle or two across the loungeroom. And I can guarantee there was a fair bit of warbling by yours truly. Maybe even the odd case of jazz hands. Shhh, don't tell!

I have always been quite content to spend time by myself. My brain is always abuzz with so many projects and things that I want to make that I can happily spend large periods of time by myself, and not find that I am suffering for company. Just like Mrs Elton in Emma, "blessed with so many resources within myself, the world was not necessary to me", (although in my case it's actually true) and that was the delightful situation I found myself in today.

I find these days very good for the soul. I've got to schedule them in more often.

Monday, March 22, 2010

All gone!

I'm so glad to say that all those Three Way Dresses sold at the fete on Sunday - woohoo! One lucky lass even stripped down at the craft stall to don hers right away. No greater honour can a seamstress have!

I was a weeeeeee bit fearful that they wouldn't sell, but it appears I needn't have worried. I even had desperate mums asking where the pink ones had all gone (typical - bloody pink!) and if I would take orders.

Um, no. Learn to sew and make your own! The Three Way Dress Jorth sweatshop has now officially closed. Till next summer, anyhey.

Now, as the Galumph says, I just have to keep my eyes peeled for one "in the wild". Heh!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ready to take the big red bus off to dreamland...

Phew. What a big week. I am tiiiiiiiiiiiiired. The Galumph is sitting on the couch reading a story to Grumbles, who is snuggled in next to him, looking like she is about to fall asleep. I feel like snuggling in on the other side and having a quick kip myself.

Have yourselves a happy (and injury-free!) weekend, and I'll catch y'all on Monday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Those darn dresses are finally done

As much as I love the ol' Three Way Dress from Ottobre 3/2009, I wouldn't mind if I never had to see another one again.

Ok, maybe for at least two more weeks perhaps. The last couple of weeks have been all about the TWD, but thankfully they are all now done, done, done. Phew! No more till next summer says I.

In other news, the head is better but I do have a lump. The Galumph stupidly put a bowl on top of a box last night, and as I pulled down the box from the top shelf the bowl came crashing down on my head, bounced off and hit the table then knocked off a glass of water which - of course - hit the floor and broke into a billion or so odd pieces. Poor Grumbles burst into tears at the shock of it all whilst I alternated between swearing my head off, seeing stars and feeling like I was about to throw up, and cursing the Galumph as loudly as I could. Poor fellow really copped it when he arrived home, I can tell you, but gosh darn it he deserved it.

Still, he did make me cheese and crackers to eat in bed when I finally felt better, so I may have forgiven him a smidge. Only a smidge, mind you because my plans for last night involved getting my hands on a nice cold beer and celebrating my Irishness with my bestie, and of course that didn't happen. Which is quite a pity, because I have a mightly good claim to Irishness. I've got the green eyes and dark hair and pale skin and bad teeth and everything, plus the Irish name and ability to trace my family's history back to medieval times in County Leitrim. I'm as Irish as you can without actually being born in Ireland for heaven's sake! Instead I lay in bed nibbling on cheese thanking my lucky stars that my head wasn't split open.

My brother split his head open once jumping off the top of a slide when he was little and let me tell you, it's not a pretty sight.

I no longer know where this blog post is going. Better summarise: dresses are done, head is intact but with a lump, my brother did dangerous and daft things as a child, and it would be a good idea for the Galumph to bring some chocolates home with him tonight.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

From the keyboard of the Galumph.

There is a reason I’m called the Galumph, and it was no better illustrated than tonight when a poorly placed object (which I may have done) smacked old Jorthy on the head as she was reaching up to get down the food processor to make some coleslaw.

Of course I was terribly apologetic, but there was little humour in the house, especially after I laughed when first hearing about it!

Wish me luck!

Jorth will resume normal quality blogging tomorrow hopefully minus throbbing headache.

P.S. Jorthy if you are reading this I’m very sorry.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It may be funny to read but this is my life, people. My life!

It's been a wee bit of a crap day. It started off with a terrible night's sleep. I had one of those horrid tossing and turning nights, with sleep refusing to come, and with it did it was accompanied by technicolour dreams of giant lice parading like dancing girls around my daughter's scalp. Eeeeew.

Then Grumbles crept into our room (what? Morning already? Noooooo! I'm too tired!) to announce that she was full of the cold. The poor old tiger, it seemed, had bugs galore - on her head and in her head. So we decided that no school was to be had, but she did have to trot along with me to my waxing appointment. Whilst there she turned over the chair she was standing on, causing me to try to open my eyes while my eyelash tint was being done. Due to the subsequent leakage of eyelash tint mixed with tears, I now have dyed eyelashes and dyed panda eyes. It's a frickin great look. When the Galumph came home I tried to explain what happened, and he said "I'm sure it will look better when you wash your eye make-up off", to which I spat "I"m not wearing any bloody make up!" The awkward silence hung in the kitchen like divorce papers slying inserted into an in tray.

After the dye-my-lashes-dye-my-face incident Grumbles and I came home. Chores awaited, but instead of going smoothly the pegs attacked me as I tried to hang her sheets (de-lousing, of course, means extra housework), resulting in a splinter in my finger. Hoorah. Ever tried to remove a splinter from your good hand using your wrong one? It's no walk in the park, Johnny boy.

I did manage to get two more dresses sewn whilst Grumbles played games on, which was good. With both of us in more cheerful moods we decided to do the conditioner trick, only this time using the fancy steel toothed comb I got from the chemist this morning.

Tell you what, if you ever want to make your child scream in pain and make them bald at the same time, use one of these combs. I don't blame poor old Grumbles for bellowing - each drag of the comb through her hair pulled out as much hair as bugs. And the damn procedure took over an hour. My beautiful girl didn't even bother crying at the end - she just sort of whimpered continually through her clogged up nose while I tried to tell her that it was almost over, and if we don't do this properly now then we'll never get the bugs out. I think it was cold comfort for both of us, though. I felt like having a bellow myself afterwards, especially when the hair dryer died in my hands.

After all of that I just wanted to collapse on the couch with a bucket of gin and tonic, but noooooooo - dinner must be cooked. Beetroot risotto was on the menu, so Grumbles was parked in front of Elmo and co once more whilst I thumped around the kitchen. I discovered too late that it was not a night to be trying to new recipes - I managed to include a piece of my thumb in the grated beetroot, and as I reflexively jerked the grater away a sliver of beetroot flew through the air and landed in my eye. I ignored the eye in favour of my bleeding thumb, but after about 10 minutes the eye was really beginning to weep. Crossing fingers and hoping the rice wouldn't stick to the pan whilst I examined myself (because I really needed that to happen on top of everything else) I raced the mirror to find a piece of beetroot floating around my eyeball.

This kind of crap can only happen to me. The fact that it regularly does makes it none the easier to deal with. However me and my splinter finger and grated thumb and panda eyes and beetroot eyeball are now enjoying a big fat glass of red and hoping that nothing else goes wrong on this accursed day.

Signing off,
One Fed Up Jorth

Monday, March 15, 2010

The winner

I know you've all been waiting with bated breath to find out the winner of the brooch give away. Well, thanks to me and I am pleased to announce the winner is... Rachel. Well done honey! Send me an email with your address, and I'll pop the brooch in the post.

In other breaking news, I've picked up Grumbles from school today to discover that she has head lice. Eeeeeew! We've spent the last hour combing through her conditioner-soaked hair, squishing each nasty in a tissue before throwing it down the loo in disgust. So. Bloody. Gross.

If anybody has any delousing tips then send them my way. I'll be hidden away in my bedroom pretending that I'm not the mother of a louse-ridden child. Yetch!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday madness

I feel like I have too many balls in the air at the moment. I'm dashing about the room like crazy, but even as I knock something off the list, another 12 things get added.


And on top of all that, did you know that Easter is only three weeks away? Blimming heck!  Don't ask me how the picture of St. Paul's Cathedral reminded me, it just did. At least I realised in time this year - I might actually get some proper Easter crafting done this year, rather than try and knit a bunny two days beforehand like I did last year.

I particuarly like the look of this little fellow from Myrtle and Eunice. Too cute!

Right, off to sew some dresses for the fete. I've got them cut out and overlocked now, so that's a start. And my internet seems to be working, so that's something.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Worst blog post ever

Sorry for the crap post today guys - our internet connection is being tranferred at the moment which means that it's playing up big time. It is driving me BARMY! Not only can I barely update my own blog but I can't read any of yours. Huff and puff.

Hopefully normal posting with crafty goodness will resume soon!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happy 400th post to me, and a brooch giveaway!

I was planning on having a nice peaceful sewing day today - just me, the overlocker and those fifty billion dresses I promised the school fete - but the council has decided to dig up the road outside my house so between the heavy moving equipment groaning away and the staccato of the overlocker I'm getting no peace at all. Gah!

Well enough of those bananas, I say. I think we need to find something to perk up the ol' spirits. How about... a blog giveaway? Hoorah! I wrote my 400th post the other day, and one can't let an achievement like that pass by unnoticed.

So here's the deal: leave a comment and you'll be in the running to win yourselves one of these:

And if pink is not your colour, fear not: I'm so nice that I'll even make one up in the colour(s) of your choice. Just let me know what they are - I'm generous, not a mind reader.

I'll leave the comp open until Sunday evening my time (UTC/GMT +11 hours) so get typing kids, and good luck to ya!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The green dress (or how I nearly botched it up, but it turned out nicely in the end)

It was, I'll admit, a damn close shave. I'd finished my vintage Simplicity 4491 dress, and then began to paint it. Recklessly I covered the dress - a dress I'd spent about three days making - in paint, beginning to get more and more worried as the white disappeared and the green took over.

As the dress dried on my mannequin I stood back to have a look. And then I said the "F" word over and over and over, because I had completely ruined the poor dress (fear not, Grumbles was happily at school, not sitting listening to her mother turn the air blue).

Instead of a soft white cotton delight, I now had in front of me some weird sort of stiff paint reptilian creation that would have even been looked at askance at a costume party. I could imagine the scene now - whispers of pity and confusion from behind covered mouths:
"What do you think she has come as?"
"Um, maybe a dead mermaid?"
"Nah, she's like some alligator-martian fusion, yeah?"
"My bet's on fungi!"
"But it's nice, don't you think, that some people try and make a costume? Even if it turns out!"

Cue the laughter.

Dancing around in a strange tango of despair and rage at my own idiocy, I suddenly had a scathingly brilliant idea: maybe I could wash the dried paint stiffness out. So down I raced to the washing machine, threw it in at 50 C, then crossed my fingers and hoped the best.

Out the green thing came, and she was no longer the stiff creature from before. The hot water had washed off the excess paint, leaving only the stain that I had originally planned for. I could look back the sewing community in the eye because I finally had a wearable dress!

And even though it didn't quite go to plan, I'm really rather happy with the result. Sure, the paint is splotchy in parts, but I think it works in a 'cool art school' kinda way. I'm glad I shortened the dress, as it was a bit too "Posh Spice designer skirt" in the original length, and besides the short skirt works far better with the painted effect.

All in all I think we have a winner. The dark horse won the race, phew!

Project Details

Pattern: Vintage Simplicity 4491
Fabric: "Kiko" cotton print from Tessuti Fabrics
Notions: 18" zipper

Loved making this pattern. So easy, but then again I'm a sucker for anything with facings. Don't ask, I just like them put them in. Next time I'll have to make one with a fuller skirt. Very wearable, very paintable. Hah!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Thank you

Firstly, thank you so much, dear readers, for your kind comments on my last post. It's a funny kind of grief - the grief of what-might-have-been - and it's not one which many can comprehend, which makes all your comments so much more appreciated. I don't think the pain or sorrow will ever leave me, but it can be managed. And the best way of doing that is to count my blessings, of which I have so so many. I have much indeed to be thankful for.

Secondly, fellow Melbournians, how crazy was the weather on the weekend? Hailstones as big as lemons! Floods in the city! We were watching the stage production of Mamma Mia! when it hit, and you couldn't even hear the music over the thundering of ice hitting the roof of the theatre. Then half the electricity went out, which spooked both the audience and the performers, but they soon got the show back on the road like the true professionals they are. It was surreal to have entered the theatre with blue skies and sunshine, then to come out a couple of hours later to grey apocolyptic storms clouds, flood water coursing rapidly down the city streets and mayhem on the footpaths as people sloshed their way through, waving umbrellas like talismans against more brutal downpours. Nuts!

So it wasn't a great weekend to be out and about, but it was a fantastic weekend for teaching Grumbles how to use a knitting nancy. The Galumph got rather goopy looking at the two of us perched on the couch, each with knitting in hand. Poor old sap. I'll have to let him in on the fact that it's my secret plan to get more knitting done myself. After all, it's like having a drink - they always say you should never drink alone. Likewise, methinks, with knitting. If I get her hooked, then think of all the extra time I'll have to knit alongside her. Bwahahahahahah!

Friday, March 05, 2010

You Capture - Hope

The theme for You Capture this week is Hope. Being a generally optimistic person, I'm always hoping for things. I hope, for example, that it will rain when I need to get the groceries, because I love walking in the rain (wish granted today!).

I hope that when peak oil strikes, instead of all moaning and groaning about how we can't use our cars anymore, we all gaily begin riding bicycles festooned with wicker baskets and flowers, therefore averting the need to invade oil-producing countries and/or start an energy war (admittedly I don't have very high hopes for this one, but I hope nonetheless)

I hope that loads of friends come around and drink tea out of my lovely vintage tea cups, which have been wrapped in newspaper and lurking around in boxes for far too long. None of the rental places we had before we bought this house were worthy of the tea cups, but now that are out. Hoorah!

I often find myself hoping to have more children. This is a very foolish hope indeed, since you can't actually have a child without a uterus (it was removed in an emergency operation when Grumbles was born - you can read the grisly details here, but be warned: this story is not for the faint-hearted). Yet still I find myself wishing for another little one. I imagine their sweet ducking hair, their chubby little fingers, their own particular quirks and traits. I imagine the clothes I would have made for them, and the way they might like to be tickled, or how they would like to crawl into our bed in the wee hours, and how their sweet eyelashes flutter as they snore gently through the night. I stand there, frozen mid-task, letting them run amok in my imagination for a few blissful moments before I remember, like a stab to the heart, that it's not possible, and I'd best put those thoughts back into a box marked "Do Not Open Unless You Want To Do Your Own Head In."

I hate that bloody box. And I hate how flat I feel after my thud back to earth. So I spend a couple of minutes hoping to feel better, and after a couple of hours have passed I usually do.

And then Grumbles tells me she wishes she has a brother or a sister, and my heart explodes in my chest into a thousand sharp shards of glass all over again.

I hope Grumbles has a happy life, but one with it's fair share of challenges to remind her that complacency can be just as much as a danger as a comfort. I hope that she knows that she can make the changes she want to see, and that she has the courage of her convictions when action is required. I hope that she continues evolving, and spends a wonderful life learning and marvelling at the world she is a part of.

I hope I make a difference to you, reading my little old blog. I hope that whatever I write somehows makes your day a little bit better. You've taken the time to come and visit - I hope that you like what you find. And I hope you keep coming back for more!

Happy weekend, folks. Hopefully on Monday I'll have a painted green dress to show you. One last hope: that it doesn't look as serpentine in the photos as I fear it might!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Three Way Dress Production Line

I have two weeks to transform those piles of fabric into 12 dresses for the school fete. Eeeeeek!

This is now officially the point where I start to wonder why oh bloody why didn't I just volunteer to man the cake stand for an hour on the day. Gah!

On the bright side the above picture demonstrates some serious stash reduction. I can actually close the cupboard door now!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

One last photo before I potentially ruin it forever!

The black and white dress** stood nervously in the corner, watching carefully as Jorth began to mix paints together. She whispered to the graffiti dress in the cupboard "Are you sure this is going to be ok? What is she completely mucks it up and I end up a big green painted mess?"

The graffiti dress, with an air of 'been there, done that' chuckled before replying, "Well, if she does ruin you forever, you can take comfort in the thought that you at least made it onto the blog once in all your pristine non-painted glory!"

"Blimming heck! Thanks for nothing!" thought Miss Black and White, and braced herself for the cold daub of paint.

** Vintage Simplicity pattern 4491

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The music left me speechless

On Saturday night we got together with the in-laws and went to the final free concert by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. What an evening! We arrived about 5 o'clock, got ourselves a great position on the lawn, then happily snuggled down on blankets and munched away on our picnic dinner, listening to the Melbourne Youth Orchestra and awaiting the main event.

The MSO did not disappoint. There was something so magical about sitting in the gathering darkness, listening to some of the most beautiful music ever written as the rain came gently pittering down and Grumbles snuggled in closer for another cuddle.

As the soprano arias filled the air, people all around us lay back, set their umbrellas at rakish angles, closed their eyes and listened to the music with soft smiles. Occaisonally Grumbles would catch my eye in the darkness, lean forward to plant a kiss on my cheek then curve herself into my arms as I tucked the blanket in around us both.

The only downside was that I was already coming down with a cold, and as a result of sitting in the cold night air I've given myself a lovely husky voice/sore throat. Yesterday was spent making the boss giggle everytime I tried to speak, but that's a story for another day. Tell you what, though - it was worth it!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Another Three Way Dress

I am proud to announce that I have gotten over my addiction to Vogue 8184. Completely over it! Instead I've been concentrating on making Three Way Dresses from Ottobre magazine 3/2009. Would you believe that this is the fourth one I've made? Craaaaaazy!

Yep, it's just been like swapping cigarettes for carrot sticks. Or changing your Saturday night ritual of stuffing Burger Rings in your mouth with a chaser of two six packs of beer to training for a mini marathon. Breathe in that fresh air! Make a change for the better! Find something positive to replace with something negative. And I'm using up the stash again! It's all good, people, all good.

(Jorth suddenly remembers that some unfortunte people replace weed with crack cocaine, and her mood plunges with the sudden realisation that maybe this Three Way Dress thing isn't such a hot idea after all...)