Sunday, 29 September 2013

My Monthly Stitch effort

This is my inspiration for my first Monthly stitch garment. As it is the anniversary of my mothers passing, and also the month of her birthday, I decided to use this photo as my inspiration.
 But of course, I couldn't find the exact pattern in my daughters stash, and as a pattern maker myself, I don't usually have any commercial patterns . So, using  her Simplicity 2910 pattern as my base, I traced out the pattern, decided I didn't like the collar, and drafted a new front and collar. Then, after cutting out the rather wasteful collar piece, I found I didn't have enough fabric for the pleated skirt that I wanted, so the skirt became a half circle with 4 pleats, 2 in the front, and 2 at the back. So, sadly, the only actual vintage pattern piece I used was the back bodice!

This petticoat is actually vintage, given to my mother by my Dad, when I was very little. In the 60's, when big skirts had given way to more slender lines, I was allowed to wear it and I can remember as a little girl , swirling around and around, making the tulle dance in the air. 

Many years later, I still had the petticoat, and used to let my own daughter wear it. Then one day I let some older girls wear it, and the little monsters climbed up a tree in it and ripped it. I was very distraught, and put it in a bag, to be forgotten for about 20 years. This month, by chance, I found it again, and decided to repair the rips

It was fun to make the dress, I thought I'd make it how my Mum used to make hers, with nice belt loops done by hand, no overlocking, just zig zag seams, (but I did do some french seams on the skirt).

I wore it on the "Whats the deal with Teal?" day because I had assisted in making Crazy Gypsey's dress, and it was sort of the right colour.

We went off for photographs. People did look sideways at this band of Giggly ladies. Then it struck me. We looked like a gay wedding party, with way too many bridesmaids, and I was mother of the bride/groom. AARGH!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Too late for the Cape-a-thon...

I am too late to post this on the monthly stitch, which is a shame, because I made this a month or 2 ago, and forgot all about it until I saw it at the wee sewing factory the other day. The owner Cheryl, has a daughter called Jessica. She often comes and watches me make patterns, and we cut things out of cardboard, sometimes fabric. For ages she had asked whether I could make her a red riding hood cloak. Jessica is 16, but has the misfortune in having MS, the youngest person in New Zealand to have it, poor girl. It is affecting her sight, and she has a hard time restraining her very amorous nature, she's very sweet but a bit of a handful!

After helping out at Fabric-a-brac, there was a piece of red velveteen that someone was selling. "that's mine!" I thought, knowing exactly what to do with it.  One Red Riding Hood cape for Jessica. I believe she has even worn it to school, and just loves it.

Monday, 9 September 2013

For my Mum, Sheila

This is a photo of my lovely mother, Sheila, and me when I was little. I LOVE her dress... and I so wish I had a waistline like hers! And the dress I am wearing was made by her with her Necchi Sewing machine, which is still working, 50 years later!

One year ago today my mother passed away. She was a very talented lady, a great sewist (she would have been amused by that word) a great poet, wonderful cook, and the best Mum  my sister and I could ever wished to have had. She made ALL our clothes when we were young. Matching dresses when we were very little, with big gathered skirts and bows that tied at the back. Lots of cute 60's shift dresses when I was younger,  in the 70's we had hot pants, see through blouses ! (What a little tart I was!) Christmas Day was always special, one year she stayed up till the small hours making stuffed toys for us. A lovely pair of grey donkeys.

I don't know where she got the energy from.

My Mum had a great owl collection. She loved owls, and was "Speckly Owl" when she was a Brownie Leader. It started with  a few,  then everyone gave her so many! And her favourite flower was the poppy. So gifts were easy, if it had a poppy on it, Hooray!

Having a laugh with a former work colleague, Brenda
 And as for the poetry she was constantly thinking up some funny rhyme, and every year we all got a Christmas "Rhyme-a-line".   

For many years my parents lived in the rural districts of Natal, South Africa, where she and my father had Watersong,  a Trout farm and cottages for fishermen to stay in. Being so far away from the nearest town made them very resourceful. One very special thing she would do was to embroider a card for us on our birthdays, and any special event. She must have made hundreds. I so wish I could hunt them down and compile a book.

I started to write about what happened to her, but it was getting a bit lengthy....

My poor Mum got Multiple Sclerosis. It was horrible, and over a long period, she got worse and worse. The right side of her body just stopped working.

My Mum was a fighter. She never complained, and refused to ever think that she would not be able to walk.  Her theme song was "I'm still standing" by Elton John.

She sat in the lounge every day, watching TV, sewing cards for us all. Now, that was a bit of a challenge, because she completely lost the use of her right hand side, so had to learn to sew , and write, with her left hand. She would keep my forgetful father on track, reminding him of TV programs, telephone numbers, and shopping lists. She recited recipes to him and he would make them in the kitchen.

One day she was stitching a card that said "out of sight, but never out of mind" for someone.  She got as far as "out of Sight..." and, then her eyes gave up. She had macular degeneration, and she just couldn't see the fabric any more. She really missed her sewing, and had to resort to listening to stories from tape Aids for the blind, but most of the time they sent her to sleep!

I went to visit her for her 80th Birthday. It was lovely to be home again. Sadly, a few weeks away from her 81st, the horrid disease claimed her.

She used to say 
"You never know what it will be, but Something is going to get you" 
and also,
"If I 'pop off', don't be sad. I can't stand the idea of ending up in a frail care facility"

So I try not to be sad, and remember how lovely she was.
Miss you, Mum

 And here's a bit of my mums writing...

Alternative medicine is not new,
Mother had some secrets too.
All the minor ills she’d ease
With simple home made remedies.
For colds some chicken soup she made,
Then night time, hot fresh lemonade.
To keep the germs from off the chest
Some eucalyptus on the vest
Salt water made sore throats get right
(With socks wrapped round the neck at night)
Runny tummies ran no more
After custard powder, eaten raw.
When knocks on heads made nasty bumps
A rub with butter eased the lumps.
When over eating was the question,
Bicarb for the indigestion.
Cold water soothed both burn and sprain
And soon they were all right again.
Wounds healed up as good as ever
With soap and sugar, mixed together.
Aches and pains eased a lot
With the old hot water bot.
But best of all, and always there,
Was Mother’s Tender Loving Care.

Coffee at the Fainting Goat

I am wearing my long skirt, the one with the red flowers on a black background, the red top that matches and the silk scarf from Indonesia.

I will get in the wheelchair, go down the ramp carefully, up the drive to the gate where the tibouchina tree sheds it’s purple blossoms on the ground. Then I will turn right and travel past the poinsettia bushes on the verge, past Alison’s house,  where Sam and Ben will bark in greeting Then on down the road, not seeing a single person on the way, until I get to the intersection. On the right is the Fainting Goat so I will keep near the pavement and make my way to the wooden tables under the palm trees. Then a waiter will come to take my order and I will sip my coffee and watch the cars drive by.

But it won’t be today. It is three in the morning and I can’t get to sleep so I plan my adventures. The wheelchair is without batteries at the moment. They were taken out to make it light enough to go in the car, and yes, I did go in the car a few times, mostly to see health specialists. But now I’ve been housebound for a while and need to go out.

I’ve been diagnosed with MS. This is a medical condition where there is demylianation of the nerves. It is likened to an electrical system with broken covering on the wires. The electricity won’t get through and with MS the messages from the brain don’t work. I can say ‘Come on leg’ as much as I like but it stubbornly refuses to obey so gets dragged around. My right arm won’t work either. I was in Barbara’s sitting room in July 2006 when the doctor phoned to tell me the news. . Most of the conversation is now a blur. The thing about MS is that up to now there is no cure. You just have to get on with life.
I’m so lucky my husband looks after me. I wish I could be independent.
So that’s why I have this plan.

Well, the batteries went back into the wheel chair but we moved house before I could take myself off for coffee at  the Fainting Goat. But I do want to go one day. I’ll let you know when, and perhaps you will join me?

Sheila on her 80th Birthday

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Once a maker, always a maker....

Although I've been a bit preoccupied with getting my girl better again, the urge to 'make things' has been lurking around in the background... and this weekend they all seemed to come to a head at the same time! Almost like withdrawal symptoms from a naughty bad habit that you have that you just can't kick, no matter how hard you try, one day you just lose the plot and go on a 'naughty-habit-binge'!

A little while ago on one of my forays into Spotlight, I spied some wool in lovely colours, lots of turquoise, blues, purples and earthy greens and greys, in an interesting twist which made it fat, and then thin. It was in a skein , and I purchased it on the spot, and thought I would make a scarf. I like scarves, I have far too many, but they are so great at turning something fairly boring into something different and 'flash' and they take no time at all to knit, or sew if they are fabric. I never used to like them at all, and then I discovered that as long as they didn't flap in my face, and hang down in front of my rather ample 'ladies' in front, I liked them.

Then I lost my big fat knitting needles. How can you lose big fat ones, for heavens sake? Luckily my Crazy Gypsy came to the fore, she found a pair at her house, so I was off! I knitted a test strip, and it looked awful, all knobbly, and not at all as I wanted. The lovely colour graduations disappeared and it was just darn ugly. I knitted 4 test pieces in all, and each time I wasn't happy. I even gave Buster the dog a piece to rip up, and he couldn't eat it, and abandoned it.

Then I remembered a top my lovely Mum knitted for me  way back in the 80's, where you do clever things with winding the wool around the needle and then dropping the wound up ones on the next row. Bingo! I had found the best way to use the wool to show off the  lovely colours. I started knitting on Saturday...

However, when I went through to the kitchen a few hours later, there I found a whole lot of stuff that my "Tidy Eye" character couldn't avoid, and I had  to clean up the kitchen, the bench top etc. HOWEVER, I did find time to make up a batch of lovely 'Wonder Wax' which I just love. I've got a lovely neighbour who has lots of bee hives, and sells the most lovely raw honey, and he sold me a block of bees wax.
 I heat up plain old salad oil, coconut oil and some bees wax and it makes the most amazing stuff, I use it to clean and  polish my saddle and bridle, I put it on Chocolate Box's (Horse) hooves as nail conditioner, (and on my hands too!) I take off my make up with it, rub it on my legs after a shower, polish my shoes and furniture with it.I know exactly what's in it and you could eat it if the urge hit you and it wouldn't hurt you at all. I did add a bit of essential oil this time so I really don't want to eat it !
 I found a half used pot of Body shop peach body butter and I melted that down and added it to a portion of it, and whizzed it up with a whizzer and it has made the lightest hand cream which smells divine.
Then I grabbed  my new bag of goodies that I got this week.. some henna from LUSH in Palmerston North, at the Plaza, with the dubious name of "Caca"

Whoops its sideways, wont turn round for me, so its staying this way!
Mixed it up.........

I plonked it on my head. My tidy place was getting a little out of hand.  Half way through washing it off in the shower the phone rang, and it was a fishing friend of my husbands, wanting to know if we were coming to see their new house that afternoon, when I was REALLY wanting to go riding with my friend Jill. The shower looked like someone had had an extreme case of diarrhoea which had even reached the ceiling! Washed it all off eventually...

Well, for all the trouble the hair looks fairly normal, not much difference!

I DID manage to have a ride on the beach, and go to see the new house too.

Sunday was Fathers Day and Evan came up from Wellington. We went to Foxton Beach river estuary as he wanted to do a spot of kite boarding. It was sunny, windy, and freezing! Thank goodness I had my knitting in the car!
I made a snood... not enough for a scarf. I love those colours!