Wednesday, April 15

Barriers to Blogging

I used to sometimes hear blog posts in my head.  I'd be thinking about something and it would turn into a conversation of sorts.  They were words I needed to get out of my head so I could move on to other thoughts maybe.  It really was the push to blog at times I probably shouldn't.

It doesn't seem to happen much lately.  Maybe because I'm happy.  Sounds strange but I think most songs are about something sad or challenging.  When we're struggling, we often have more things to say, more feelings to sort out.

That said, I am sewing.  It's wonderful to have new clothing to wear.  You know a few days I wore entirely me-made outfits last week?  Having two pairs of self made pants is certainly extending my wardrobe.  And last week I made a denim Hollyburn skirt.

I should be eager to blog about all of them but man I suck at taking pictures.  I was frantically hemming the skirt on Saturday so I could wear it to my nephews first birthday party (CRAZY, they can't possibly be one already).  First birthday, you'd think I'd have a picture or two of me in my self made brand spanking new skirt.

Nope.  I know pictures were taken of me but go figure, all the ones I have seen are of my nephew.  I mean really, there was a new skirt to show off, someone should have taken a picture of it (we need a sarcasm font or something).  I should have asked Mr. Lina to capture the skirt in all it's non-shiny denim newness but I didn't.

And then I washed it and wore it to work on Monday.  Granted, I left at 7:30am when Mr. Lina was in the shower and I got home at 7:30pm because I have limited time management skills, but in theory I could have taken outdoor pictures yesterday.  Spring HAS arrived (although I'm still skeptical it is here to stay).  But no, I decided having dinner and buying groceries was more important.

Oh and how is this for weird?  I was at a client this afternoon that happens to be near a Fabricland.  The car went on autopilot and the next thing I knew I was parked right in front of it.  Strange.  But stranger still, I didn't buy much.  I actually reminded myself I have fabric and home and bought things like interfacing, lining, and a little piece of fabric with grippies on it so I can make my hand knit slippers last a little longer (I swear my feet eat through yarn).  Nothing even to show off.  Every time I touched something I was reminded of some other piece of cotton sateen or poly-knit in my fabric stash.

I like making patterns twice.  You figure out what works and doesn't.  Let me tell you Hollyburn runs long on me.  The "above the knee" but not short (view B) is below my knee AFTER I cut the length for size 0 and then cut an additional 3" off the bottom.  I will sew it again but it will be cut 4" shorter (to be above my knee) and from a softer fabric.  I do like my light weight denim version (fabric purchased from Len's Mill denim ends, it's so dark it's almost black) but it the denim has enough body to float away from me.  My mom said I looked "youthful".  When I mentioned being ready for the sock hop Mr. Lina agreed.  I have some black linen in my stash, just washed it for a second or third time last week.  That could be nice for summer and while it won't drape like a chiffon, it will fall down instead of out.

Wednesday, April 1

Trips & Travels & Pants

It's been quite the month.  Mr. Lina and I were off to Germany and Austria for a little film fest and vacation.  It's the third year in a row that Mr. Lina had a film accepted into the same Landshut film festival.  Every time we meet people in the film industry and reinforce friendships.  I swear, my Facebook page is half German now.  If I knew in 2012 that I'd be back to Germany 3 times, I would have taken a conversational German class.  As it is, we are getting pretty good at "menu-German".
Opening night, cloned skirt made in February.  Black photographs so well.

Did I mention I dyed my hair?  Wearing Renfew top with cowl.

Again, it was a good festival and his film "Oh Come All Ye Zombies" was well received.  It won it's block of films and came in second for audience favourite by a very narrow margin.  Year after year, their programming is just phenomenal.  He's up against some amazing films and we aren't exactly stacking the audience with cast members.
Mr. Lina at the film fest!

Same Renfrew as above at BMW.
Landshut is such a pretty little town.  Even going three times, we still got to see some new things.  The festival arranged a tour of the BMW component factory for us.  They don't hold back on the tour, I got to see engine blocks being poured and carbon fibre bumpers being made.  The also added a film maker breakfast, weistwurst (white sausage), bretzel (big soft pretzel) & beer, a traditional Bavarian breakfast.
That's a radler - beer (lager) and lemonade of some sort, very refreshing.  Pretty sure I have self-made pants you can't see.

We decided after the film fest we'd go somewhere new for a few days.  Vienna, Austria ended up being the winner, it's close enough to be cheap and yet still new to us.  I liked Vienna, it's very beautiful, compact and walkable.  We rented a one bedroom flat through AirBnB.  It was great, we could make breakfast at the flat, if we at a big lunch and just wanted nibblies for dinner, we could do that.  After being in a tiny hotel room in Landshut, it was nice to have a little more space.
Long day of walking, corduroy pencil skirt I made last year.
 The first full day we walked a crazy amount.  Through the old part of Vienna, over to the amusement park, went for a ride in their rather famous Ferris Wheel and Mr. Lina decided we should have lunch at the Donauturm on the Danube, sort of like their version of the CN Tower).  We didn't quite realize how far away it was and ended up walking 20 km that day alone.  Above I still had a few kilometers to walk to get to the flat and I needed to just sit for a bit.  Thank heavens those shoes are comfortable!

Did I mention it was windy at the top of the Ferris Wheel?

We did a day trip to Saltzburg.  It was pretty overcast and damp that day so I can't say I got the best impression.  We walked up to the castle that overlooks the town.  This is the area that The Sound of Music was filmed in.  It wasn't until we were taking the train back to Munich for our flight home that I really saw the alps clearly.
Walking to the castle in Saltzburg, never been so happy to be at the top.

Oh right, this is a sewing blog isn't it?  And I mentioned pants!  

Thurlow Trousers, lunch at the Rathaus in Vienna.

Yep, I made pants.  Since February I have made a black skirt and 3 pairs of Thurlow trousers.  The first were a wearable muslin where I figured out that the leg is just too wide for me.  I'm drowning in them as drafted.  Above I'm wearing the second pair, black twill that is shiny on one side that I put to the inside of the pants.  It means they slide nicely on my skin when I'm walking (which led to me being unable to sit still after too much beer and coffee).  This pair is a bit loose in the waist, but that makes them perfect for travelling and great for bowling.  I have full range of motion but feel put together.  I actually wore that exact outfit to work yesterday now that I look at it.

I made a third pair in grey, it's got some stretch and pile to it, but it's not quite corduroy.  After this pair being a little big, I trimmed them down further but I had such a problem getting the bum right.  Oddly enough I'm not quite as happy with them as the second pair.  I've also got a little post-vacation weight on me so I'm hoping some of that sorts out the fit.  I did wear them on vacation but the days I wore them Mr. Lina only seemed to take pictures from the waist up.  Perhaps he isn't as keen either.

On the adoption front, we're one meeting and an evening training session away from being "Adopt Ready".  I thought the meeting was going to happen today, but our social worker isn't quite ready for us to sign off on it.  He has reviewed our home study with his supervisor and I gather they are really eager to have all the i's dotted and t's crossed and working with an adoption worker to place kids with us.  So soon.  Soon.

Tuesday, February 10

Amusing Moments in Unpacking

When I packed up my sewing room, I was surprised to see really how many patterns I have.  Now I am a tracer so some of the patterns take up more space than you'd think with the additional paper, but they were all in one very full medium sized box clearly marked "Patterns".

Striking while the iron was hot (and the fabric was new), I wanted to sew one of the two fabrics I had planned for a skirt.  Easy enough project as I have skirt patterns that fit me already, a good project to get back into the swing of things with.

Of course that means finding the box of patterns.  I looked in my sewing room closet.  I looked at the boxes in the shelf.  I looked in the boxes in the basement that have not been unpacked.  I asked Mr. Lina.  We both agreed we had seen the box, yet neither could remember where.

I gave up.  I have a black skirt that is short without being indecent, perfect for a date night and it's a knit.  Exactly what I wanted for the "snake skin" knit, but now with the additional work of copying the existing skirt and figuring out the construction.  So a little more time than taking the pencil skirt pattern I already love but at this rate, faster than finding the box of patterns.

The skirt I was cloning is done in 4 pieces, a curved 2" waist band in two pieces (4 if you include the facing), and a side zip.  The front and back centre seams are straight so I didn't bother, I cut on the fold.  I did not notice that the front and back waist bands are not identical so my first waist band was too short by maybe 3" because I only traced the short front band.  Oops.  My fault for not walking the seams.  I did have enough fabric to cut a second waist band so it wasn't the end of the world.  I might turn the short waist band into a belt with the hardware  and a little elastic making up for the gap.

At which point I found my box of patterns.  On the shelf where it should be.  Closest to the door, just below eye level, so not even obscured by the desk or too high/low to see properly.  The one side of the box that did not say patterns was facing out.


On the plus side, outside of hemming and fixing a little tugging on the side zipper, I have a new skirt and a pattern for a knit skirt that fits quite well if I do say so myself.  Pictures to come when it's hemmed and the zipper is fixed.

Friday, February 6

Welcome to February

Where on earth did January go?  I swear I blinked and weeks had passed.

On the sewing front, I'm getting there.  I finally found my iron last week but I still haven't found my large self healing mat.  The little one, but not the big one.  The little mat is maybe helpful for a bra and that's about it and I'm not quite organized enough for making a bra.

I am, however, vaguely organized to sew a rectangle.  Large rectangles.  Like curtains.

They aren't quite finished.  I wasn't sure how well they would block out the sun and they were needed sooner rather than later because the blinds are useless.  Completely useless.  Not only are they ineffective at blocking sun, they provide no privacy.  Something I realized coming home from bowling when Mr. Lina had the light on in the bedroom and I could see everything from the street.  Not just the shape of my furniture, but the details too.  No wonder the neighbours are so friendly.  I put up a sheet that night, bought this fabric on the weekend, cut and turned the edges and we hung them up.  As it turns out, I do need a fairly heavy lining to block out the sun so I'm glad I waited rather than cheaping out assuming the fabric was heavy enough.

Mr. Lina also has me sewing rectangles for a green screen.  I'm less enthused by that as the fabric with the right shade of green is also rubber backed and freakishly heavy.  It looks like it was sewn by drunk monkeys because it's hard to pull the fabric in 9' panels evenly.  I refuse to sew more until he supports the fabric on the side.  It's just embarrassing how crooked it is.

Things are moving pretty quickly on the home study/adoption front.  Our adoption worker is such a good fit for us.  We share similar interests in folk music, he plays guitar, he's really made Mr. Lina feel comfortable.  We've had one meet & greet and our first visit (of 4-5) for the home study.  It's pretty intense, there aren't many skeletons left in our closets.  An hour and a half of talking (each, separately) about our childhood.  And it's not just what I say but how I say it.  Like he commented on how I talk about my dad, it's like I'm defending him when no one is attacking him.  I didn't realize I felt that way, like I needed to justify everything.  So strange.  That interview rattled around my head for a few days.  Still does I suppose.  We were scheduled to have our second meeting today but he is sick, so it's going to be next week.

Oh and we went to Montreal for a wedding.  Who gets married in Montreal in January when most of your family are in Manitoba?  Not the best time of year for travelling.  BUT, it was in the Plateau area, I bought 3 pieces of fabric without it being a hassle at all, and I'm so happy for the couple.  They really are well suited and just crazy enough for the other.  It was a wonderfully casual wedding with cocktail dresses for a dress code.
Emery board for scale, really they are all black/grey.
The fabric on the left is black and the light is accentuating the snake skin print, it s quite subtle in person (being black on black).  It's a knit, fairly stable but my plan is a skirt so just enough stretch for movement and comfort.  Actually all three have stretch, now that I think about it.  I didn't notice quite how much stretch was in the top right (and it is grey, not purple) "cloud" fabric until later because it's one directional.  I want to make it into a pencil skirt.  I'm doing more formal client meetings and I feel most professional in a skirt so I'd like to add some to my wardrobe.  Last is the cable knit sweater.  It's fairly heavy, black on the back.  I was thinking a snug sweater (I think it's thick enough to smooth over bumps) maybe like Renfrew, but it was the last 2m on the bolt and I took it all.  So maybe a dress now?  Snug and fairly short maybe, something that could be worn with opaque tights or leggings/skinny jeans.

Wednesday, January 7

Posting - at last!

Oh boy, how time flies.

I think I've started 4 posts in the past 5 weeks.  We'll see if this one sticks.  Maybe we'll go the easy route with a list...

  • Move went well, it was a good call to hire packers and movers.
  • My in laws arrived, helped and left, our relationship is still good and the weather stripping, locks and various other aspects of the house benefited from their visit
  • The house is feeling like home.  I looked at a 401 West - London sign and my first thought was "home is that way" (not that I live in London but it's the next biggest city in that direction).
  • I am still getting used to my new commute, I knew it would suck prior to moving and I was right.  It took nearly 2 hours to get into work today, this isn't going to last forever.
  • Christmas was a little hectic and felt last minute but okay
  • My SIL was a bit of a saviour, I "went in" on a lot of group presents which saved me some shopping and what shopping I did have to do was done in one night the Monday prior to Christmas
  • We got roped into hosting a New Years Eve party, a Manitoba friend has moved to Montreal in the fall and he wanted to ring in the new year with us so a party was had
  • Mr. Lina went a little crazy with moving, holidays, two colds and work, layer upon layer of crap to the point he really couldn't be flexible with any change, but I think he is returning to normal
  • I miss Lazy Subcultural Girl, she once said that she and her husband had a deal that only one person was allowed up the crazy tree at a time.
  • I spent December at the base of the crazy tree looking up.
  • Christmas celebrations had lots of babies, my 2.5 year old neice, my two 8 month old nephews and my cousin is a dad, his son was 5 weeks at Christmas and slept pretty much the whole time (as you would expect) - next year will be crazy when those babies are all running.
  • My niece likes me, deals were required to get her to stop playing and take some family pictures and part of the deal was sitting in my lap.  Best Christmas present by far.
  • Her brother only has eyes for his mom and my dad, Papa is a-okay fine by him, the rest of us are suspicious and not to be trusted.
  • I feel sad today and an odd mix of lonely and antisocial.  Probably a mix of not having team members here and 2 hours alone in the car driving in.
That about sums up December I suppose.  On with January!

January 2nd I got a call from Children's Aid, we have our first appointment with a social worker this Friday.  I'm thrilled and nervous all at the same time.  It's just an hour to meet and review our application and discuss our preferences for adoption, but it's a big first step.  I was kind of thinking that in January I'd call and just see where we were in their priority list... and now I don't have to.  

Wasn't that sneaky of me leaving the best for last?  And look at that I'm going to hit publish...

Tuesday, November 25

Blink and it's Moving Day!

I cannot believe that it was a month prior to move the last time I posted.  We close on the new house on Friday so house limbo is definitely near the end.  Since we're paying the moving company to pack, it's not too crazy but there are things we want to take care of ourselves.  It's a little surreal.

Let's see...

  • My in laws have decided to help us with the move.  While I appreciate the help and love them dearly, I'm not sure it's a good thing for them to be around me while I'm feeling my most flustered and least able to answer questions.  
  • They arrive at noon on moving day so my parents are going to pick them up.  Somehow this makes both sets of parents feel useful while they go for lunch.
  • I'm not going to be able to find anything for quite some time because they aren't helping us move so much as they are helping us unpack.  So I'm not going to know what's in most boxes because someone else packed it and I'm not going to know where anything went because my in laws emptied them.  
  • It's just stuff, right?
  • Right?
  • And we did pack the "fun drawer" already so I shouldn't end up with too many embarrassing moments.
  • Maybe.
  • Gosh I miss sewing.  I have this mostly empty sewing room and a few boxes of fabric, but it's not really a good use of my time to sew.
  • That said, I made an exceedingly short elastic waist band circle skirt (say short enough for at home with Mr. Lina and select night time locations with opaque tights).
  • Probably the least amount of effort you can put into a skirt (circle, elastic, rolled hem foot for the hem).  I didn't even measure the waist so the circle ended up too big to fit into the elastic and required a few pleats.   That said, I've worn it to see Peter Hook & the Light (bass player for Joy Division and New Order) and a few date nights.  Good for dates, not so good for wind tunnels.
  • I've also attached buttons to a few shirts, mending that has sat for a while is just getting done.  
  • Isn't it always the way that we want to do what we shouldn't be doing?
So Friday we pick up the keys.  Saturday and Sunday we'll paint two rooms and move a few things ourselves (essentials, alcohol, plants, instruments, camera equipment etc).  Monday I have to give a half day training session for a client in their office (which is closer to my new house but still a 40 minute drive) and then I'm off Tues-Thurs for the packing/moving/unpacking extravaganza.  I figure by Friday I'll be ready to leave the insanity for a day and go to work.  Eeep!

Tuesday, November 4

One Month To Go

We have one month to go before we move.  We take possession of the new house Nov 28th, but it's Dec 3rd that the move is happening.  So one month from today I'll be unpacking.

There are pro's and con's to a long closing date when buying a house.

  • Obviously, time.
    • Paperwork - lawyers, mortgage
    • Packing
    • Planning the move
  • Ability to live a little prior to leaving.  We're still hosting house concerts, Thanksgiving dinner, having friends over.
  • We can say "good bye" to things that make this neighbourhood great, but won't be so easy in the new house.  Things like our favourite restaurants.  I know I could always go back, but it's not going to be convenient and we'll have new favourite spots in the new community.
  • Using up food in the fridge, freezer and pantry, kind of highlighted how much of a food hoarder I can be.  We have a lot of roast beef to eat.
  • Everyone thinks I've already moved.  It's weird the number of people who think I'm already there and asking how the new commute/neighbours/etc are.  Mr. Lina's manager asked if he was going to vote on his lunch time last week.  Um, no, not driving 70 km to vote and turn around to go back to work for the afternoon...
  • I'm in a limbo of not wanting ANYTHING coming into the house - food, books, movies, STUFF.  If it can't be consumed in 30 days, then it's just another thing that needs packing and unpacking and is likely to get lost.
  • I sure hope none of the appliances break as we would have to replace them.
  • The excitement of the new house has become less tangible.  
  • I feel sad that I'll be saying good bye to this house and neighbourhood.
  • Limbo extends to hobbies.  I have a fairly empty sewing room, but no table to work on and most of my fabric is in storage and I don't want to make a mess.
Mr. Lina has been changing our address with, well, everyone.  Utility companies, Canada Post, banks and ID, on and on.  It's good, but getting the update of every single one is actually stressing me out a little.  Because I'm not ready to do that and I have ID that I have to change myself.  The things that I'd change easily don't seem to want 4 weeks notice.

I need to find some of the excitement again.  It is looking like we'll be going to the new house on Sunday to get quotes for finishing the basement.  Hopefully that kick starts the "ohboyohboyohboy" feeling that will make address changing and packing more exciting and less... scary.  

Tuesday, October 14

Happy Thanksgiving!

This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada.  It's not quite the big holiday that it seems to be in the US, but I'm in favour of a 3 day weekend that is full of turkey dinners.  We hosted our traditional friends Thanksgiving on Saturday night, then my family had dinner on Monday.

After a weekend with a few late nights and lazy mornings, today sucked.  I'm still not feeling awake.  So let's see what I have to be thankful for...

  • Health, generally, I'm good.  That rash has cleared up, no idea why or what caused it but I sure am thankful that it's gone.
  • Mr. Lina - we're in a pretty good lovey dovey stage at the moment.  All this change feels exciting, so glad to have him in my life.  His attention for detail is coming in handy as he takes care of a lot of the details with our lawyer, mortgage broker and scheduling movers.
  • Finances - sure, it would be nice to win the lottery, but I'm appreciating that I have enough.  There is lots of food to go around, a big roof over our head and while money seems to be slipping through our hands because of the move (7 weeks away now), it's all okay, there is enough.
  • Friends - a big pillar in our our lives, having 18 adults, 5 kids, 2 babies for Thanksgiving sure did make me feel well loved.   We'll be moving about a 15 min walk from friends of ours and it was pretty cool to hear their 8 year old daughter say how happy she was about that.  You know I'm going to be really close to her school.  
  • Family - gosh I love my niece and nephews.   My niece is a chatty 2 year old, loves imaginative play and silliness.  One nephew has figured out how to crawl like a marine under barbed wire and the other is ridiculously chubby cheeked and loves to kick everything and anything.  He also seems to have good "timing" causing me to need to change my shirt (and his outfit) and then getting me again with a leaky diaper.  No one else was puked on.  Honestly...
  • I figured out this week I still have 5 vacation days to use this year.  That's going to help me stay sane while we move.
I think I covered all the big pillars there.  

We're going to be hosting David Bradstreet on Monday.  The guy has won Junos, a Gemini, produced for lots of other artists who are far better known than he is.  I'm excited to host someone with this kind of Canadian pedigree but I'm getting worried it's going to be another small audience.  Hopefully I get a few RSVP's this week.  Anyone local is welcome to come, I'll send details by email if you'd like.  Have a listen.

Tuesday, October 7

Falling Apart

Now don't take this too dramatically, but do you ever have little physical issues come up and feel like you're falling apart?

Last week, I had a bit of vertigo.  My blood pressure is generally low so it's not uncommon for me to need to touch things for a bit of balance when I get up in the morning.  Usually by the time I'm brushing my teeth I'm good.  I'll feel some momentary dizziness if I've been bent over (say cleaning the bathtub) and stand up quickly.  But Thursday it just wasn't going away so I took the day off.  It certainly wasn't as debilitating as what my mom has described as her vertigo, but it was enough I didn't want to drive.

Side note to taking a sick day.  I'm used to going through my "personal days" like popcorn at a movie theatre from fertility treatments that I was surprised to see I'd only used 2 this year.  Unbelievable.  That sealed the deal on not even trying to work from home.  Good thing too, it took three tries to find the word "cream cheese" at lunch, Mr. Lina was looking at me like I had 3 heads.

We had a great weekend.  Mr. Lina's birthday on Friday, spent Saturday with my niece, nephews, brother and SIL at a conservation area, Sunday was a charity smoker competition at Steamwhistle brewery in Toronto...  It was busy and a lot of time outside in a not so warm fall weekend.  Getting up on Monday morning sucked.  I guess I wasn't hiding that so well.   My manager and I were in one half hour meeting together and touched base maybe twice yesterday.  First thing this morning he said he was too busy yesterday to ask but I didn't seem like myself, was I okay?  

Last night Mr. Lina and I were relaxing.  Had some steak for dinner, a bit of red wine, it was nice to just be on the couch together.  And then I looked at my arm and noticed it was textured.  Like red and somewhat raised, a rash over both forearms.  I took an antihistamine, stopped drinking wine and mostly ignored it.  Well, it's still there this afternoon and now it's on my neck, chest, and chin and more annoying because it's a little itchy.  Based on the itch, I suspect it's in my scalp too.

I'm also realizing how much proof reading I need to do because I'm not functioning on all cylinders.  We have a house concert coming up, David Bradstreet on Monday October 20th.  I sent out a note to our mailing list last night about the show.  
  1. I wrote November in the body of the email,  but it says October in the subject line.
  2. Today I noticed that, sent out another email saying whoops, it's October.
  3. Then I noticed that the subject line in both emails said October 18th.  Not 20th.  The wrong day is probably a bigger problem than one mention of the wrong month.  
  4. Sigh.
Again, it's all just little annoyances, but I'd like all of them to go away and feel like myself again.  A less itchy, brain foggy, well balanced version of me.  

Monday, September 22


Moving has this odd mix of packed and not packed.

You would think what I've packed are things I don't need.

I look around the house and wonder why I didn't pack certain things (although the answer to that might be that they should be pitched).

And yet...

  • Not sure where my secondary wallet is.  This sounds worse than it is.  When I switched my wallet to a new one, I left some less important things in the other wallet.  At the time, I was trying to cut back on buying fabric.  Guess where my Fabricland card is?
  • I packed both my blender and my hand blender.  Soup making will be chunky until December.
  • I packed the coffee bean grinder, I mean, the coffee maker has a grinder built in.  Then Mr. Lina went to make his fancy pork recipe that requires grinding annato seeds and asked where the coffee grinder was.  
  • He bought a new one.
  • I'd like to make some panties, my cheeky lace ones, but I packed those too.  Hence the need for the Fabricland card.
  • Mr. Lina gave me flowers and I had to put them in a plastic spaghetti container because the vases are all packed.