Friday, 28 December 2012

Wishing you a Happy Christmas and New Year

We have had a really lovely few days in our little cottage filled with family, friends, music, lots of great cooking and good cheer.  In between times, there have been walks with the dogs, pottering about with the chooks, fiddling with the corset and film-nights in front of the new fire: perfect.    Tonight is cheese and dessert night and, in preparation (uhuh!), I'm relaxing... taking the opportunity to catch up on some reading, laundry and a few other jobs, take photos of Finn (he's in proper posing mood today), hope that you all had a very Happy Christmas and wish you all the best for the New Year.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Flowers from my Mum

I had a lovely surprise on Thursday, flowers for Christmas from my lovely mum; tulips and anemones, just beautiful.

The Starry Night Corset

I have decided on a name for the corset for the Selene costume, thanks to Mr Van Gogh (though it has already been nicknamed Norah!), and have started on the pattern.  The reproductions in Corsets and Crinolines are to scale, and in the first instance I have transposed that onto tracing paper; my first thought, it's tiny!

The scale on the pattern worked out to 6mm = 1".  

With a little maths, some light graffiti in my book and a little artistic license, in about an hour I had a pretty faithful reproduction of the pattern in the book.

Now, with a restocked glass of red, I am working my way through Appendix 1 and annotating like crazy.   Norah Waugh gives a fascinating account of how to construct a corset, mixing instruction with contemporary quotations and historical detail.  I did not know before, for example, that modern women's backs are broader as we have not worn corsets since childhood, which narrowed the shoulder blades and, what a bonus, caused "greater development" of the bust to occur - if only I'd known that sooner!  The suggestion is to make the corset two inches smaller at bust and waist, the next step is to measure myself and redraft these larger pieces to my measurements; great time of year to do this, just as I'm about to tuck into a Christmas dinner or two!  That might have to be 3" smaller and a workout or two in the new year ;o)

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Silhouette Christmas Cards

Now that they're delivered or on their way, I don't think I'm giving too much away.  In honour of our first Christmas Day in 5 years with the 11yr old, I wanted to play with the idea of the traditional "family grouping" picture; without the festive jumpers and fixed smiles!  In Photoshop I turned photos of my happy band (the 11yr old, Megs, Finn and Rascal) into silhouettes, each wearing a hint of festive and waiting on a present.  Printed on to white card stock and glued to shop-bought A6 cards with a paper trim and 12mm star brad.  I do love this card, it has four of my favourite souls on it.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Finn's Stocking

Well, Finn needed a stocking to go with Megs and Rascal's.  I have tried to tailor them all to fit their personalities, Megan's is girly but refined; Rascal's is pared back and unfussed; and Finn's, a combination of bright blue felt and vintage polka dot and house themed vintage ribbons, is rather more colourful and unexpected - rather like the little man himself.

The only thing is that is that the boyf now needs a new stocking; his "shop-bought" looks a little lack-lustre in comparison to the others. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Abbie needs a home

I'm on a mission, this beautiful girl (who looks so like my Megs) needs a good home urgently. She is 6 years old and has lived the same family her whole life (pedigree, vaccinations up to date but not neutered).  Sadly, she has not adjusted to the arrival of their son a year ago and, with a second child on the way, they do not think that they can keep her.  They are also not able to walk her regularly, a important factor as any dobe owner knows!  She has not lived with other animals but is used to being left at home as they both worked full time.  If anyone can help or wants more information, please contact me.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Herbarium, a tutorial of sorts

Thinking about what to get my Dad for Christmas whilst also idly musing about keeping herbs in the kitchen over the winter gave me an idea to make a modern, herby version of a terrarium, a Herbarium.  Now I'm sure most of you don't need a tutorial on how to make a terrarium - especially if you're my age and have fond memories of them from your childhood. Sure, you can debate pebbles, gravel, activated charcoal but they are more a matter of taste I think than  necessity.  As long as there is some drainage and a light, well-draining soil, anyone can make a terrarium.  All that said, I was taking photos as I went along and really loved them, especially of the pebbles, so here it is, my tutorial:

I chose a mix of pebbles and gravel as drainage, both were rinsed thoroughly first in a colander before being layered in a glass vase.  I found a lovely rectangular shaped one in IKEA, a far more modern take on the old skool green bottle terrariums of memory!

I didn't bother with activated charcoal; I don't think it does much in terms of helping with drainage, as long as you don't overwater I think that the double gravel layer works well.  I would expect to refresh the herbarium once every so often to trim roots, replace the soil and at that point clean the gravel and pebbles through.  For the soil layer I chose a fine, well draining soil.  I could have added sand to the mix but I was happy with it as it was.  As it's a winter herbarium I planted sage (sage and chestnut soup, oh yes!), lemon thyme (always) and parsley (a good all-rounder).  You can't overplant otherwise you'll end up with an overgrown mess, hence the basil hovering in the background, but I was happy to put large sage and parsley in as they should be being used regularly and therefore trimmed back.

Yep, I made two, I couldn't resist!  The garden centre grows an amazing selection of herbs in the spring and I plan to refresh them next year with some funky new additions.  My herbarium is now the new centerpiece for dining room table, a perfect accompaniment to dinner.

A very frosty morning, Wordless Wednesday 12th December 2012

Monday, 10 December 2012

It's been a while....

I was reading an article the other week about women bloggers.  A surprisingly mean-spirited article written, not so surprisingly, sadly, by a female columnist.  The article focused on former working women, now mothers and with no need to work thanks to their husbands salaries, who litter the interweb with their musings and, even worse it would seem, earn money from their ramblings.  The given examples were all successful, witty, interesting, beautiful blogs with hundreds (even thousands) of readers which had also, in some cases, spawned successful businesses.  

I would be delighted if my musings could one day grow into something as successful as some of those sites, but more so the article made me think about how much I have missed lately having the time to sit and write.  More important to me, than anything else with this blog, is that it is my potted history of my life today, my journal.

I have been tinkering with a couple of posts the last few days, a scrapbook of photos and words; we've had such a lovely time of late. A weekend away with friends, an afternoon of cupcakes and Aussie Masterchef (we are addicted) with the 11yr old and the lovely Mr S, an evening spent causing chaos with a plastic moustache!, lunch with my family and gorgeous goddaughter, veg shopping at our local garden centre (beautiful veg and half the price of the supermarket) and last, but not least, our first ever real Christmas tree.  

It should have been so easy but I have struggled, there is just too much going on to focus on what I want to write.  The only time that I truly have to myself at the moment is when I walk the dogs in the evening:  sadly, sliding round a field in the dark and mud is not the best time to email, catch up on FB or blog!  It does, however, give me plenty of time to think and watch the stars; both of which put me in good stead with the Selena project.  

I love looking at the night sky thanks to my beloved Great Uncle who taught me two "very important" things; the Whyte Notation and to recognise the constellations.  Neither I remember perfectly, but as I looked up tonight and spotted the Pleiades (our sky is seldom bright enough to see them) I felt a frisson of excitement and wonder at what sits in the heavens above us.  The night sky is truly beautiful and if I can translate any of that beauty into stitches on canvas I will be very pleased with myself and my project.

In the meantime, as I write this, there are presents to wrap (though the buying is all done); cards to finish making and writing; the little man is in need of a stocking to match the ones that I made for myself, Megs and Rascal last year; I have my imapiece to make, though I'm saving that as a Christmas to New Year project; and then there's the day job and the four Christmas cards that I was asked to design today, which then need to be printed and ready for posting by next week... I tried not to look too spooked, or repeat "but it's the 10th December" any more than a half dozen times.  That would just have been gibbering... :o)

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