Sunday, March 30, 2008

Blue Gerbera

This is my new material, hanging up after washing. It's Carla Miller's Gerbera again. And I plan to make another A-line skirt.

Time for bed.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I really needed to supplant the photos of snow with something more cheerful and warming. This is my decaf mocha from lunch in Ha Ha's this afternoon. Beautifully presented. I excitedly spooned the chocolate and froth up first, only to discover an ordinary coffee underneath. So I sent it back and it was replaced by a less beautiful but better tasting drink.

Saturday is my favourite day of the week when Hagos is home. We have set things we do: drive into town for midday listening to Jonathan Ross on Radio 2, Ha-Ha-half-a-breakfast in Ha Ha's, bookshop for me, Maplins for H, library, then home. And in the evening Hagos cooks vege sausage pasta with pesto, which is delicious, and we watch a film together. The rest of the day is free time to potter and mess around the house. It's a day when I feel I don't have to achieve anything in particular. Nothing is crossed from the list because the purpose of the day is the pursuit of happiness.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Me and my Gorgeous Assistant

It was snowing this morning when we got up, so we decided to stay in all day instead of venturing out. I cleared the kitchen table and spread out the pieces for the layered Amy Butler A-line skirt. The pattern instructions were to sew the top two layers together and then insert the zip and then add the bottom layers, but that seemed a strange way round to do things to me, so I sewed all the layers together and then effectively followed the pattern for the normal A-line skirt. My assistant here helped beautifully with this part of the process. So this is how far I've got with the skirt. I finished the outer layer, now just have to sew together the lining, put the two together and hem it and it'll be finished. I do love this material, and was glad to have enough from leftovers to be able to make a skirt, but otherwise I don't think I'd bother making the layered skirt. Maybe once it starts fraying I'll love the BoHo chicness of it. I'm so ready for spring and warmth, I hope we don't wake up tomorrow to this again.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Toiletries bags and headbands

I'd really like to make another Simplicity dress and I'm considering the above Japanese fabrics, found during my lunchtime forays to Anglian Fashion Fabrics, a shop 10 minutes' walk from where I work and where I end up most lunchtimes, just to look. I think I prefer the one on the left. I'd have to line the dress though as the fabric is too see-through.

Yesterday I decided to make two toiletries bags and matching headbands, so while Hagos was in the bath and Meg was sleeping sweetly I got all the material and scissors and pins out and set to work. I managed to cut the outer material before madame jumped down and got involved.

This is her lying on the material and pins. I put my hand on top of the pins to shield her from hurting herself, only to be scratched and bitten for my concern.
It took me longer than I expected but I was really pleased with the results.
I lined the bags with shower curtain material I bought in John Lewis. And I backed the headbands in the green cotton I use for embroidery. I thought about embroidering something on it but didn't know what, and I wanted to get on. Anyway, these are more face washing headbands as the people they're intended for are unlikely to wear them in public.
The black material is, of course, Kaffe Fassett. The purple gerbera fabric is Carla Miller. Absolutely gorgeous. Now I just have to get the cord and stopper to thread through the top and they will be finished. Today we went into town. It was snowing as we drove in. After lunch we stumbled upon the French market that comes to Norwich twice a year and sells gorgeous things, particularly sweets. I bought some small pieces of nougat, as I'm trying to lose weight.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Husband and Home

I am extremely pleased to have my husband home again. As I said in a previous post, this tour somehow felt more significant to me because he was going to places I've never been before. It's comforting to be able to visualise the city/venue when he's away and having toured myself, to roughly know the schedule.
Anyway, he brought me this lovely present: Issey Miyake doesn't make my favourite perfume anymore (Le Feu D'Issey) so we're always on the lookout for a replacement. I really like this one so far.

I've been slowly, organically, working my way through a list of what I wanted to have achieved by the time Hagos came home and I think I've done rather well. The list included household and creative, fun, tasks. Having the house cleaner and clearer/more organised makes me feel lighter. I had a day of clearing our yard and cleaning the car and both look so much better I really want good weather now so I can sit out there and I wonder why it's taken me so long to get it done.

In amongst the household chores I made sure I also did plenty of reading, sewing, knitting and writing too. Interspersing it all helps achieve slow but sure progress.

Meg helping with the household chores:
Cleaning the car.
And keeping the settee cushion covers warm.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Green Day

It always takes me a day by myself to rev up into some kind of momentum. Almost like coming out of a fog and being able to see more clearly.

Anyway, yesterday started off very slowly. I wrote a long list of THINGS TO DO, which left me feeling overwhelmed. So instead I cleaned the bathroom (a token gesture to the list) and then started knitting a jumper for Keigan's 1st birthday. I love the colour, a kind of moss-green. I'm planning to put little football buttons on the shoulder. It will match the socks, or I should say sock, singular, as I haven't knitted the second one yet. I lit a fire around midday and snuggled down with my knitting and cat and watched Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice.

Then, in the evening, I started sewing together my Kaffe Fassett Paperweight Algae skirt. And here's the result: I'm really pleased with it. I was concerned the lining would make it too heavy for summer, but actually it still feels lightweight and very luxurious. And I'm really chuffed with how professional it looks. I made myself stop just before completely finishing it last night because it was 1am and I really needed to go to bed. So I just have the lining to slip stitch to the zip, and the hemming of the skirt and lining to do, et voila, finito!

So this morning the list is still staring at me, making me want to crawl back into bed with my book and cat. I think I might throw it in the bin and have more of an organic approach to the day.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Dress and A Sister

Here is my finished Simplicity dress. I made a longer version of the top, rather than follow the dress version of the pattern as that would have involved a zip and tucks. I'm really pleased with it and love the colour. This Kaffe Fassett design is definitely a favourite and I'd like to make a black one too. I thought I'd wait till I've finished my skirts though as I may prefer to make a black skirt. It looks really good on too, quite slimming! I decided not to line it eventually and hope that was the right decision.

My sister and her husband came to visit over the weekend. We went into town on Saturday, visited a couple of shops, I got my John Lewis fix and then we picked my friend Bev up and came home. Then we went to V's Cafe for lunch, which was extremely nice. I had my usual double egg on toast. I kept meaning to take my camera with me every time we went out and kept forgetting so I have no photos to show. On Sunday we went to Reepham Station and had tea and cake there. Jacqueline and I had the most delicious coffee cake. So today I'm back on my diet of fruit and veg.

I dyed Jacqueline's hair while she was here, which was good fun. She got a highlight kit. Then I straightened it all for her, and she really suits her hair straightened. I'm trying to persuade her to buy a set of GHD straighteners as mine aren't and take ages to use. Anyway, this is the result.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Time and Space

I became aware of Tanya Streeter when she designed champagne flutes for Habitat. She's a world record free diver and the champagne glasses had solid bases with air bubbles, I guess to signify her holding her breath at great depths for long periods of time? She came to mind tonight when I was in the bath, thinking about how I mostly operate on the surface of life these days. I rarely reach the point where I plumb the depths of my subconscious / unconscious, though I often wake in the night with existential angst! I have so many distractions: people, earning a living, TV, housework, working towards practical goals; I don't often feel I'm still enough to experience insightful moments that reveal something honest and worthwhile about life. Which is what drew me to writing many years ago, and is the state I want to find again so I can continue.
In the meantime I can read other people who do manage to make meaningful connections and write about it.

Monday, March 03, 2008


So, today, the Barcelona Layered Skirt pattern was playing on my mind when I got up. I'd worked out last night that I just had enough material to make it with my leftover Amy Butler Coriander Olive. So I traced and ironed and cut it all out, and now I have a dress and two skirts ready to sew together! I'm very excited!
This is them all hanging up next to the new Sardine mountain. So now I'm taking a break before pressing on with my Spring Cleaning. I've done the bathroom, now I just have the rest of the house (and car, and shed) to do.

I've located a new place to write in too. It's on the couch in Hagos's studio. I like being surrounded by Hagos's stuff, and it's comfortable and quiet in there, and has none of my own distractions.

I spoke to Hagos on MSN this morning for a wee while. He's in Istanbul at the moment. It was REALLY nice to chat to him

Gingery goodness

Meg is SO beautiful.
Even with her filthy, sharp claws.

Barcelona Skirt

I finally got a burst of energy last night and decided to cut out both my Barcelona A-line skirt pattern, and the Simplicity dress pattern. And tonight I cut out the material for the skirt. I think next I'll cut out the skirt lining, and the material for the dress so I have it all ready to go. I did it all while Meg was out hunting, though she came in tonight just as I was taking the pins out of the pattern and material and attacked me, making me bleed, when I shielded her from hurting herself!
I'm still feeling sluggish, but better than yesterday. My mind isn't totally present though. I think it's because I have to concentrate so hard during the week that come the weekend my brain really lets go!

Tomorrow I have to go to the gym and have blood tests to see if there's an underlying cause to my tiredness. And I really want to get an AL Kennedy book to read. Either: Day, Paradise, or Indelible Acts. I might leave that till I'm back to work on Tuesday to save an extra trip into town. And I need to buy an invisible zip and some thread. And so the list forms again.

I made a great breakthrough on the domestic front tonight, which made me stupidly happy. Our vacuum cleaner hasn't been working properly for about a month. After a swift appraisal I decided there was a blockage in the tube, thus preventing the right amount of suction. It's been a real pain, and I've ended up picking half the crap off the floor myself every time I vacuum. Tonight I was pushing it around, trying to make the floor look better, when for some reason I decided to check the bag wasn't full. AND IT WAS! It was so full the stuff was hanging out of the hole. Now, I checked the bag wasn't full when I was first aware of the problem. Anyway, new bag, fully functioning vacuum cleaner. The floor looks clean now. I'd just about resigned myself to having to buy a new one, or ask Hagos to take the hose apart to find the, er, blockage.

It's bedtime. My hands are FULL of scratches.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


It is deeply relaxing, occasionally, to revert to teenage time-keeping and do exactly what I want, when I want, without any regard for other people or THE CLOCK.

Hagos went on tour on Thursday, his birthday, for two and a half weeks.

Since then, apart from working yesterday, I've been eating what/when I want, sleeping when I feel like it (I got up this morning at 9.30am to have breakfast and go out to the library, then came home and went back to bed with my hot water bottle and my book and Meg, until 3.30pm - bliss!) and I have no plan for the rest of the day, except maybe to have a bath.
(Me and Meg getting up again - she always has to be first down the stairs.)

My life is so often filled with THINGS TO DO and LISTS and STRICT DEADLINES that it is such a luxury to let it all go for a day and snuggle in, read a book, eat eggs and rest.
And though my projected list for Saturday was to clean the house and begin making my skirt and dress, my only plan now, apart from having a bath, is to eat the curry Hagos cooked before he went on tour.