Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Monday, 31 December 2012

Graduation Mess, I Mean Mass....

The week before the Grad Ball the BA's dad (let's call him Her Dad) and Step Mum had flown in to attend her Graduation Mass.

We were all delighted to see them and the suggestion was made that we meet for a meal the next night, before the Mass which was at 7pm. Lively discussion then took place regarding the wisdom of this. Himself pointed out that when we had done this the previous year, we had been very rushed and finding seating at the tightly packed school venue was stressful. There was general acknowledgement of this and some alternate suggestion of a supper afterwards, but no real decision was made and Her Dad and Step Mum left, agreeing to meet up with us sometime the next day.

Himself, feeling magnanimous and, more importantly, wanting to prove to me that there were eating establishments in Adelaide which stayed open beyond 10 o' clock, took it upon himself to book a restaurant. He spent several hours the next day researching the task online, finding and confirming a place willing to take a booking for 7 people at that late hour, and reading up on the menus and reviews. When he texted me to say he had been successful, he was well pleased with himself. The only minor hitch in this plan was that we had not actually confirmed with Her Dad and Step Mum that they wanted to eat with us after the Mass.  I texted them regarding this detail. I got no immediate response but assumed they were simply busy.

When I got home, Himself was raving about the place he had booked. He had read every review and was so pleased with himself for finding us a 5 star restaurant open after 9pm! This place apparently had a world class chef! The level of his enthusiasm set off a small alarm in the back of my head. I texted the others again.

Me: Did you get my message about dinner after the Mass?
Them: Yes, sounds lovely but we are eating now. May join you for coffee.

I took one look at my 'pumped' husband and sent them this text:

Me: Are you going to tell Himself that you are only coming for coffee??????????


Naturally, in anticipation of the five star meal he would be enjoying after the mass, Himself did not eat lunch. But that was only the start of his problems. The Mass was outdoors.

We had to be seated by 7pm for a 7.30pm start. Once in the tightly packed quadrangle, there was no easy way for Himself to exit, unnoticed,  for a cigar break. 

It started under sunny skies,

but as the sun went down and the lights came on, the temperature plummeted.

Pretty, but cold! Really cold (by Adelaide summer standards).

 Her Dad and Step Mum both pulled on bushwalking parkas; my mum had a warm shawl around her shoulders; Dad had a jumper under his jacket and I was wearing a coat; but in his summer weight suit, tie and shirt, Himself was freezing. Bone jarringly, teeth chatteringly, blue lip style freezing. And the Mass went for for over two hours.

(The Principal presents the Baby Angel with her traditional rose as she and her opposite number carry candles for the Graduation Procession.)

(An attempt at capturing the Year 12 procession down the diagonal aisles, with candles. Fail. Tiny dot at centre is the BA.)

(The Baby Angel gets emotional).

And that two hours did not include the photos afterwards.

(See what I mean about the coat).

After that, no one was game to contradict Himself when he matched purposefully towards his vehicle claiming he was ready to eat a horse. Cooked by a 5 star chef. And WHO WAS COMING WITH HIM?

On the way to the restaurant, all I could hope was that it would live up to his expectations.
To everyone's immense relief it was very nice and we were all able to have a light snack whilst Himself devoured a beautifully prepared rare steak. After which he began to once more resemble a civilised human being.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas To All And To All A Goodnight

 "Of course you realise there will be no stocking this year BA," I cautiously raised the subject as she lay prostrate and miserable on the couch with a low grade fever, swollen neck glands the size of golf balls and eyes which looked as though someone had used her for punching practice!

Her face fell. As far as it could considering the swelling.

Never mind that three weeks ago she snapped waspishly at me,"Reee-ally, Mum, you are the only parent who won't just give cash at Christmas! What is the matter with you?"

Never mind that the things of childhood hold little interest for her nowadays.

Never mind that she recently told me she thinks we'll be better friends when she moves out of home!

When push comes to shove, my Baby Angel is loathe to let go of the traditions of her childhood, and so tomorrow morning, there will be a little stocking and a letter from Father Christmas!!

Not quite the plethora of presents she has become used to, but enough to remind her that she isn't quite that big, yet.

Merry Christmas to everyone, from all of us here at The Flaming Sword!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

It Is Finished

The BA and her Dad prepare for the Grad Ball. A story for later!

Monday, 10 December 2012

I Think She Likes It

Remember the flashy Alexander McQueen ball dress that the BA decided she liked? Well my friend Blondie and I came up with our own version!

This was the first draft. I was pretty happy with it considering the pattern we adapted looked like this:

but I didn't like the boxy front pleats so I fiddled. This is the finished result. Not perfect but hey!

I decided against lining the skirt as I figure she will wear it once. Who knows though, it may get a run in a school musical someday. Stranger things have happened! For the big night (tomorrow..eek!) I will make sure she has a long slip.

I am looking forward to seeing the finished effect tomorrow with hair and make-up (and obligatory fake tan). This Grad Ball will be the final, official school function of her young life and I am so grateful that her grandparents, both parents and step parents will be there to share it with her.

Friday, 30 November 2012

ANOTHER Evening Dress!

Believe it or not, the BA is graduating from school in two weeks. The journey which began here

will end on December 11th with her Graduation Ball.

And of course, she must have a dress!

This time the dress must be a formal floor length dress in white or cream. This Ball is akin to the old Debutante Balls, so fashionable in years gone by. The girls are presented by their fathers and must undertake the father daughter dance, something which her Dad is very excited about. I have been fielding questions about dinner suit v lounge suit, bowtie v straight...for some time now!

Initially I thought the easiest option might be for her to wear my second wedding dress.


Which looks a whole lot better on her than it did on me!
But she wasn't having a bar of that. She used the fact that it was about 6 inches too short at the front as justification for not wearing it. OK, so I'm short! Aren't mullet dresses all the rage now anyway?
Apparently not for my girl.
Running short of time I announced that I would simply make her the one I had planned to make once before: Vintage Vogue  V2962.

I thought I'd use some heavy silk for the dress and a softer chiffon or lawn for the bodice. I checked a few online images and began to get nervous. It is entirely possible to make this beautiful garment, really badly. How is that possible, I hear you ask? Well, here are the steps:
  1. Make sure you are quite short and have REALLY big boobs.
  2. Use a soft drapy fabric all over so that the central bodice panels cannot support the weight of the hugely gathered skirt.
  3. Tie something sparkly around the waist.
  4. Alter the halter so that it looks like a bikini top.
To be fair, there were a number of images where the seamstress had done quite a good job but it had taken them hours and required massive amounts of alteration.

I called my friend Blondie who is a dab hand at all things sewing and asked her opinion. She had made a retro evening gown once and I'd thought it was the Vogue one, but in fact it was this one.

Nevertheless, in the course of our conversation, she offered to help AND donated 5 metres of ivory dupion silk left over from her own wedding dress 20 years ago!! "It's been sitting around this long," she said. We  had a long conversation after school during the week and decided we would do a combination of the two patterns. The skirt from Blondie's pattern was cut on the cross and not as full so we decided to subtitute it for the excessive Vogue one; and we decided to try wrapping the tie waist effect around the halter dress to hide the central bodice panels which we felt would probably wrinkle unless we boned it...and did we really want to go there?

Now this was all fine and dandy until the BA came home. She didn't exactly turn up her nose at our ideas so much as move right along to her own preference. And this was it.....

Undeterred I thought I might make a mock-up of the Vogue dress. Just to, you know, see what all the fuss was about! I actually thought it looked quite nice, despite the fact that the halter was made out of an old curtain! One look at the BA' s face here will tell you what she thought of my efforts!

Meanwhile I sent Blonde an email containing the BA's dress preference. She was delighted and promptly went out and bought a pattern which we could 'adapt'. I was a little concerned about the depth of the neckline of course but Blondie assured me we could create something appropriate.

So, here I am in the middle of all these 'mock-ups' and Blondie has gone. We have devised a neckline and adjusted the pattern, and now I'm going to try and cut it out of the silk.  It's not as low as the photo, and Lord knows if I'll get the skirt to resemble the photo in any way; the main thing is that it has to have pockets!

I really don't know what I'll do with myself once all these formals are over! I certainly won't be sewing too much for me because, although I am dieting, things are not moving too quickly on the weight loss front. In short, I have altogether too much front, and no one wants to sew for that :-(

I'll keep you posted on our progress!                         

Long Time Coming

A long time ago I started this blog, partly to keep my overseas family informed about our day to day life and partly to talk about parenting in the 21st Century. This blog kept me busy for a very long time and through it I met some fantastic friends.

 A Free Man and his Encumberances
A Strange Scottish Girl

There are others too; some who have become facebook friends; people I would be seeing for coffee regularly if we were not separated by thousands of miles.

As the tyranny of facebook took hold we found ourselves coming here less and less. Our posts became shorter and less detailed. Our 'writing' became 'note making'.

And then the purpose of this blog became difficult to manage. As the objects of my 'parenting' became increasingly more salient beings with minds and opinions of their own, there came a time when I could no longer post willy nilly about their everyday happenings. Where they had been delighted to see themselves on the blog page they became blase, irritated and somewhat possessive of their own images (ironic given the wanton abandon with which they post them on facebook!)

And I could no longer comment on the parenting process as the subjects of this process were waaaay too alert and attuned to my activities. More and more as I needed to talk about my parenting journey I was able to use my forum less and less.

A salient lesson for all parents. Don't TELL them you have a blog :-D

But shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
I think they've stopped looking........

Unfortunately, so has everyone else :-D

But hey, the autobiographical nature of this blog  meets a need for me. The ability to look (and read) back on things I think I remember and to be surprised (delighted/mortified) at the reality of the moment,  is such a gift. My scrap-booking has fallen by the wayside recently, even my photo-taking has dropped off. Occasionally in a sodden, hormonal state I may scrawl in a real life journal (most of which I cannot read the next day) but in reality, much of life at the moment is racing by in a superficially facebook notated glaze. I gotta tell you, facebook is a poor cousin to blogging.

 And such momentous things have been happening.

Here is a random 'round-up':
  1. my 17 year old daughter has finished school and looks toward her future
  2. she also thinks I am irritating and lame
  3. having been my best picture going buddy for years she now wants to see things like 'Prometheus' and 'Hideous Scarey Paranormal Death Movie' (oh, alright, I know that's not a real movie....but you get the picture!)
  4. actually, she would rather go anywhere with her boyfriend rather than with me
  5. my 17 year old (under aged) daughter recently asked me to provide her with alcohol for a party(wt?????????????????) .
  6. This year she was dumped by her first (long term) boyfriend
  7. She has since met and started seeing a 20 year old young man who is in the ARMY!!!!! On a good note, he's a Christian, on a neg note....he will be deployed shortly.......
  8. my 14 year old stepson no longer comes to stay with us
  9. he continues to ask for taxi services and money
  10. he has recently been diagnosed with a specific learning difficulty (thank you step mother for noticing that I was struggling!!!!!! .........>:-( .....as if)
  11. there has been a whole lot more interaction between the Small Boy's mother and Himself (a good thing) and he may even change schools and go to the independent school we had initially suggested (....I really hope she offers to go halves) which has to be good for him! I hope.
  12. A few months back I completely lost it with the Small Boy (see point 8)
  13. My shoulder injury earlier in the year really impacted on my health, fitness and attitude. I put on a HEAP of weight. More than I have EVER put on before. Menopause may have had an impact on this.
  14. I WENT THROUGH MENOPAUSE!!!!!!!! (WTF????)
  15. We came into some money (Praise God!!!!)
  16. We absorbed a lot of it in clearing up some issues with our business >:-(
  17. Our partner did a runner. >:-(
  18. We discovered we were a lot better off without him! :-D
  19. I started working at the business in a bill paying, book keeping capacity!
  20. We have had some significant improvements made to our house. There are more to come!!
  21. My job has become increasingly stressful
  22. I still love my job
  23. We have heard nothing from No1 Son in 6 months. This is not a good thing.
  24. No 2 Son is still living downstairs with the cockroaches. At 23 he occasionally works as a builder's labourer with a friend. No girls visit (anything to do with cockroaches??) but he seems to be in a very happy relationship with his Playstation.
  25. I have had to make/buy a lot of formal dresses this year and another one is on the way!
  26. My sister visited in October and my Mum and Dad are here now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 So, there we are in a nutshell. I suspect a few of these 'entries' will need explanation as I go along. But for now I am happy just to be writing again.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

For The Baby Angel Although She Would Be Horrified

How do I let you go?
How do I let you go after I have loved you so long?
How do I hand you over to another's hand?
Small, snuggling, needy child
You grew
Every stage of growth
A loss
Every moment a treasure
A robbery

How do I let you go?
After I have loved you so long?
It is time
Relentless ruthless foe
It is time
It is life that makes this so

No-one took you from me
There was no tragedy
But the moment you were born
the end began.

Photo credit

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Duck Wars

At this time of my life, when so much is going on, I would expect that I should have been writing here more frequently when, in fact, the reverse (obviously) is true.

There is so much to say about our family and the trauma and angst that we are suffering in the teen years; about the business and where it is going; about the house and the windfall and the decisions we are trying to make....but all I can tell you about are the ducks in our pool.

Anyone who follows us on facebook will have seen evidence of the proximity of local wildlife to our backyard. In the past we have had to deal with snakes (plural), koalas and the ubiquitous ducks. The ducks are particularly irritating because they are hard to deter. I mean, squirt a koala and it will eventually get the message, block up all the snake entries and there will eventually be a thick line of ants marching into the subterranean coffin and back out the other side. Ducks are different. For a start, they use the water as a means of defence and when I say 'the water' I actually mean, 'our reluctance to get into the water'! Three of us can stand on three sides of the pool, shouting, hollering and hitting the water with sticks and the confounded ducks will position themselves in the centre of the pool, equidistant from all their antagonists. Unreachable unless you fancy a dip! Himself has taken to heaving chunks of wood, from the woodpile, at the offending critters.

Which brings us to recent events. Usually, through the winter, the ducks do a bunk and we are poop free on the sides and bottom of the pool. Come Spring, the bas***** return and Himself oils up his pitching arm ready to discourage them from making our pool 'home'. The other night, seeing an offending duck in the pool again, Himself went hooting and hollering up the back steps, reaching for his trusty block of wood. Just as his hand drew back behind his head to pitch the log at the offending mallard, she made a dash for the middle of the pool; her sides seemed to explode and a flock of tiny ducks streamed behind in her wake! There were 12 of them!!

The duck hating centre of my granite exteriored husband melted.

The following night, after a flurry of 'how do I get rid of them' posts on facebook, the BA and I went up to the pool to view the bebes. (Duck poop aside, they really are pretty cute). But the BA being 17 and slightly hormonally brain dead decided that she wanted to pick one up. Despite all our protests that the mother duck wouldn't let and and never mind that but you shouldn't handle wild babies or the mother will abandon them etc etc etc, she decided that the best way to collect a duckling for petting was to scoop one up with the pool scoop/net thing.

Well, you can imagine how that went.

It was pretty spectacular I have to admit. The mother duck rose up to her full height, flapping her wings aggressively and practically jumping into the net; the babies shot off in 400 different directions like a starburst of slippery black beaked tadpoles. Within 4 seconds they had regrouped under mother's wings, untouched but possibly extremely traumatised. OK then, definitely extremely traumatised.

Himself was horrified. The man who had routinely been throwing large hunks of wood at ducks for the past 2 months pointed the accusing finger at the BA and I.
"Don't you realise that if you had caught one, the mother wouldn't have anything more to do with it?" he enquired furiously.
I thought of the effing and blinding which normally accompanies the arrival of ducks in our pool, the curses associated with scrubbing off duck poop and my husband's general lack of love for ducks and I said....

The next day we saw no ducks.

"That's it!" Himself grumbled accusingly, "you've scared them off...."

The following day mother duck was back but......gasp.......there were only three ducklings left. Himself followed her as she took them for a walk, out onto the street (whizzz...beeeeeeeeeep) and over to the other side where she proceeded to walk up an extremely steep set of stairs. One little fellow made it up behind her but the other two were left, leaping and peeping at the bottom of the edifice.
"Well," he said,"if that is the way she's going to care for them, no wonder she only has three left!"

But he still wouldn't let us throw anything at them.

We may be scrubbing duck poop off the pool for a very long time.........

Food Wars: or How The Corporate World is Slowly Killing Us

I am in RAGE mode once more with my 14 year old step son. Actually, maybe it's not so much him I'm angry with as his mother and father. After all, he is only 14 and does not have the worldly knowledge to make good decisions about his health and his future.

Just when I thought things were looking up on the Small Boy front (we've identified his specific learning difficulty through assessment, liaised with the school and Himself is now actually regularly communicating with his ex), he arrives at our place this week with a bulk-buy mega-pack of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. Now, I don't know what your feelings are on the moral bankruptcy of cereal companies but it reminds me of an excerpt from one of my favourite books 'Good Omens' (from whence the title of this blog is derived).

There are Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, according to Revelations, known varyingly as Plague (Pestilence or Conquest), War, Famine and Death. Their arrival will signal the beginning of 'The End' of all things unless, just suppose, they've been here all along...waiting for the beginning of the End of All Things......

Sable had black hair, a trim black beard, and he had just decided to go corporate.
He did drinks with his accountant.
"How we doing Frannie?" he asked her.
"Twelve million copies sold so far can you believe that?"
They were doing drinks in a restaurant called Top of the Sixes, on the top of 666 Fifth Avenue, New York. This was something that amused Sable ever so slighty. From the restaurant windows you could see the whole of New York; at night the rest of New York could see the huge red 666s that adorned all four sides of the building. Of course, it was just another street number. If you started counting you'd be bound to get to it eventually. But you had to smile.

Sable and his accountant had just come from a small, expensive and particularly exclusive restaurant in Greenwich village, where the cuisine was entirely nouvelle: a string bean, a pea and a sliver of chicken breast, aesthetically arranged on a square china plate.
Sable had invented it last time he'd been in Paris.
His accountant had polished her meat and two veg off in under fifty seconds, and had spent the rest of the meal staring at the plate, the cutlery and from time to time her fellow diners, in a manner that suggested she was wondering what they would taste like, which was in fact the case. It had amused Sable enormously.

He toyed with his Perrier.
"Twelve million huh? That's pretty good"
"That's great."
"So we're going corporate. It's time to blow the big one, am I right? California I think. I want factories, restaurants, the whole shmear. We'll keep the publishing arm, but it's time to diversify, yeah?"
Frannie nodded. "Sounds good Sable, we'll need-"
She was interrupted by a skeleton. A skeleton in a Dior dress, with tanned skin stretched almost to snapping point over the delicate bones of the skull. The skeleton had blonde hair and perfectly made-up lips: she looked like the person mothers would internationally point to muttering: "That's what will happen to you if you don't eat your greens"; she looked like a famine relief poster with style. She was New York's top fashion model and she was holding a book.
She said: "Uh, excuse me, Mr Sable, I hope you don't mind me intruding, but, your book, it changed my life. I was wondering,would you mind signing it for me?" She stared imploringly at him from eyes deep-sunk in gloriously eyeshadowed sockets.
Sable nodded graciously and took the book from her.
It was not surprising that she had recognised him for his dark grey eyes stared out from his photo on the foil embossed cover. D-Plan Dieting:Slim Yourself Beautiful the book was called. The Diet Book of the Century!
"How do you spell your name?" he asked.
"Sherryl. Two Rs one Y one L."
"You remind me of an old, old, friend," he told her as he wrote swiftly and carefully on the title page. "there you go. Glad you liked it. Always good to meet a fan."
What he'd written was this:


A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

Rev. Ch. 6 v. 6

Dr Raven Sable

"It's from the Bible," he told her.
She closed the book reverently and backed away from the table, thanking Sable, he didn't know how much this meant to her, he had changed her life, truly he had...
He had never actually earned the medical degree he claimed, since there hadn't been any universities in those days, but Sable could see she was starving to death. He gave her a couple of months at the outside. D-Plan. Handle your weight problem, terminally.
"Thank you," said Sable, and he broke the connection.
He was particularly proud of MEALS (TM).
The Newtrition corporation had started small, eleven years ago. A small team of food scientists, a huge team of marketing and public relations personnel and a neat logo.
Two years of Newtrition investment and research had produced CHOW(TM). CHOW(TM) contained spun, plaited and woven protein molecules, capped and coded, carefully designed to be ignored by even the most ravenous digestive tract enzymes; no-cal sweeteners; mineral oils replacing vegetable oils; fibrous materials, colourings and flavourings. The end result was a foodstuff almost entirely indistinguishable from any other except for two things. Firstly, the price, which was slightly higher, and secondly the nutritional content, which was roughly equivalent to that of a Sony Walkman. It didn't matter how much you ate, you lost weight.*(*and hair. And skin tone. And, if you ate it long enough, vital signs)
Fat people had bought it. Thin people who didn't want to get fat had bought it. CHOW(TM) was the ultimate diet food - carefully spun, woven, textured and pounded to imitate anything, from potatoes to venison, although chicken sold best.

Sable sat back and watched the money roll in. He watched CHOW(TM) gradually fill the ecological niche that used to be filled by the old, untrademarked, food.
He followed CHOW(TM) with SNACKS(TM)-junk food made from real junk.
MEALS(TM) was Sable's latest brainwave.
MEALS(TM) was CHOW(TM) with added sugar and fat. The theory was that if you ate enough MEALS(TM) you would a) get very fat and b) die of malnutrition.
The paradox delighted Sable.
Sable's limousine was parked in the lot of a Des Moines, Iowa, Burger Lord- a fast food franchise wholly owned by his organisation. It was here they'd been piloting Hamburger MEALS(TM) for the last six months. He wanted to see what kind of results they'd been getting.
He leaned forward, tapped the chauffeur's glass partition. The chauffeur pressed a switch, and it slid open.
"I'm goig to take a look at our operation Marlon. I'll be ten minutes. Then back to LA."
Sable sauntered into the Burger Lord. It was exactly like every other Burger Lord in America. McLordy the clown danced in the Kiddie Korner. The serving staff had identical gleaming smiles that never reached their eyes. And behind the counter a chubbby, middle aged man in a Burger Lord uniform ladled burgers onto the griddle, whistling softly, happy in his work.
Sable went up to the counter.
"Hello-my-name-is-Marie," said the girl behind the counter,"How-can-I-help-you?"
"A double blaster thunder biggun, extra fries, hold the mustard." he said.
"A special thick whippy chocobanana shake."
She pressed the little pictogram squares on her till. (Literacy was no longer a requirement for employment in these restaurants. Smiling was.)
Then she turned to the chubby man behind the counter."DBTB, E, F hold mustard," she said."Choc shake."
"Uhnnhuhn," crooned the cook. He sorted the food into the little paper containers, pausing only to brush the greying cow-lick from his eyes.
"Here y'are," he said.
She took them without looking at him and he returned cheerfully to his griddle singing quietly, "Looove me tender, loooove me long, neeever let me go......"
The man's humming, Sable noted, clashed with the Burger Lord muzak, a tinny tape loop of the Burger Lord commercial jingle, and he made a mental note to have him fired.
Hello-my-name-is-Marie gave Sable his MEAL(TM) and told him to have a nice day. He found a small, plastic table, sat down in the plastic seat and examined his food.
Artificial bread roll. Artifical burger. Fries that had never even seen potatoes. Food-less sauces. Even (and Sable was especially pleased with this) an artificial slice of dill pickle. He didn't bother to examine his milkshake. It had no actual food content, but then again, neither did those sold by any of his rivals.
All around him people were eating their un-food with, if not actual evidence of enjoyment, then with no more actual disgust than was to be found in burger chains all over the planet.
He stood up, took his tray over to the PLEASE DISPOSE OF YOUR REFUSE WITH CARE receptacle, and dumped the whole thing. If you had told him that there were children starving in Africa he would have been flattered that you'd noticed.......

This, as far as I am concerned, sums up the evil that is Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. They are almost worse than Coco Pops and Froot Loops which at least do not pretend to be food. One might as well have a handful of toffee covered peanuts for breakfast! Dental research confirms (I was assured once by my dentist) that even after brushing and eating other foods for the rest of the day, cereals like these are still being dug out of children's teeth at 6pm that night!

And so, it is with a sense of powerlessness and resentment that I observe the arrival of this excuse for breakfast food into my house. The Not So Small Boy smirks at me with 14 years worth of teenage contempt and the smug knowledge that I cannot do a thing about it.

It doesn't stop me examining the nutritional information on the packet the following morning and inscribing

9. 5 grams of sugar per serving

onto the front of the box in felt tip pen.

I know. I'm pathetic. 


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Formal Number Three: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime.

When The Baby Angel announced the invite to her THIRD Formal in one year, my heart sank. After the trauma of sending her off, partially clothed, to the last dance (and I use the term dance loosely), I was terrified by the thought of a) the cost and b) the modesty battle involved in this next invite.

I mean, I don't know what it's like in your part of the world but the early 70s fashion for ludicrously short skirts has re-emerged with a vengeance over here in Aus.
Girls are frequently attired in nothing more than a couple of tea towels tied at the shoulder, usually with a price tag equivalent to the GDP of a small African nation. When browsing the pages of online clothing companies of late, I have been confused by pictures of what seem to me to be obviously shirts, being described as dresses!

These two are some of the tamer examples.

And it seems that everyone is wearing them! Some of the nicest girls from the BA's former school, the really studious ones who don't even have facebook, are turning up to 18th birthdays wearing little more than extended 'boob tubes'.

At each party the BA attends, her dress gets shorter and shorter until I am entreating her to 'take a cardigan in case it gets cold'. I am, judging by some old photos I have recently discovered, possibly more prudish than my own mother!

And after seeing this photo (circa 1975) I will never complain about the BA wearing short shorts again either!

So it was with trepidation that I started to ask her about her dress plans for this next Formal. I bravely tried, once more, to suggest a re-run of the black dress worn at St Saviour's Formal. I should have saved my breath. Then, after a chance buy at the supermarket, the movie High Society came to my rescue. It turns out that the BA is a closet Grace Kelly fan with a penchant for the fashions of the 40s and 50s!! Having established this, I started to trawl photos of Grace and her outfits on google, comparing them to vintage Vogue patterns on ebay. Now don't ask me how we got to this one but the BA chose it:

And...she agreed to let me make it for her! Given the last disaster I was touched that she still trusted me.

We chose fabric, I made the whole thing up in a calico first and agreed to a few modifications. The sleeves were taken in, the skirt was narrowed and the split up the front was extended. So, here are the results...

I was pretty pleased with the result, with the possible exception of the obvious 'line' above the split (at knee height) where the facings had been tacked in behind. She was happy with it too and felt proud that she had been the only girl there wearing long sleeves! Not sure how her date felt about that :-)

(Oh and yes, that is a new beau. Already! Although I think he has competition from another. Oh to be so spoiled for choice!!)

Crafty Tuesday Returns: Unfinished Knitting

I have so many posts running around in my head and, as I am on holidays, you would think I might find a little time to get them written and posted. But the words are not coming so easily nowadays and I never seem to have the picture I want to illustrate a point...

However, Crafty Tuesday over at Barely Controlled Chaos is a spot I've loved for a long time (and I mean a LONG time) and it always inspires me to get something up, so to speak. So what craftiness have I been indulging in when I should have been doing housework/ schoolwork/ work for our business (oh yes, did I mention that new string to my bow?)?
Well, when my shoulder was at its worst, just after the surgery, I started knitting again. It was the only thing I could do without moving the shoulder too much as I use an odd method favoured by the ladies of Northern England, tucking the right needle under your armpit.

Observe normal method:

Observe very old shot of me in a former life:

With former fashion sense (what is that bow in my hair about??????) but with the needle tucked very firmly under my right arm. Oh and that very 80s jumper was one of my projects. We were quite adventurous in those days.

But I digress. As usual. Seeing as I could tuck the needle under my armpit and thus immoblise my shoulder, I was delighted to have the excuse to do a bit of knitting. The last time I knitted anything was in 2009 and so, with glee, I pulled out old patterns and bags of leftover balls of wool, with the intention of making something for 'nothing'.

I could have made a few scarves I suppose, or a blanket, or even a plain kiddy jumper using multicoloured stripes.....but no......I found this.

Way back in the 90s, one of the women's magazines published a series of these Beatrix Potter characters in the form of knitted toys. I made Peter Rabbit from the first edition and promised myself I would make the rest of the set after the baby was born.

Well, she is 17 now.

So I have decided to do Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, the hedgehog, as my post operative crafty therapy. I felt sure I could find sufficient odd balls of wool to complete the project.


Not only did I find many of my remaining 80s colours far too garish for this watercolour character, but I could not find the right shade of brown for her face (there was none of the above rabbit brown left unfortunately). In fact, I visited several wool shops and bought SIX different balls of brown before I settled on the one I am using! So much for making 'something for nothing'.
I still think I may have gone 'too dark'.

Anyway, I am at the 'making up' stage now so hopefully by next Crafty Tuesday I will have a Mrs Tiggy-Winkle to show you.

After that, well, did I mention I had also bought sufficient wool to do a Pigling Bland?

For a look at what other crafters are up to, click over to Crafty Tuesday.

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