Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So. We meet again.

For the last two months and a bit, I've been able to avoid going to meetings. Darn time-wasters, those things can be. Because I've been on a short-term contract and therefore not strictly staff, I didn't even have to attend staff meetings, though this did mean I had to answer the phones for a couple of hours every Monday.

Actually, there have been maybe three or four meetings that I was persuaded to attend. I don't mind too much, as long as I feel I can contribute - and sometimes they serve nice biscuits too. But the last couple of meetings, I have turned up and not had a single thing to say because the agenda wasn't followed and we didn't end up discussing the sorts of things I actually knew something about.

In fact, the highlight of today's meeting was that my name was misspelt on the agenda. Funny that I, of all people, didn't notice that someone had spelled it "Violent". Oh, how we laughed.

But they'd better not do that next time.

Monday, March 30, 2009

And my next challenge is...

I've had a few failed or stalled projects lately, what with the Burda dress's miniscule sleevelings, the 2-t shirt refashion that will now probably end up a small cushion, and the sweater dress that I haven't started because I realised that chunky knits make me look like a big marshmallow.

Then I realised that all these weeks I've been sewing my clothes too small, because I've been using the little screw on my sewing machine's throat plate as a seam guide; all this time I thought it marked 1.5 cm seam allowance, but it's actually 2 cm.

But I'm far too obsessive a person to let stuff like that stop me. I'm a human typhoon, wreaking havoc on my own wardrobe and devastating perfectly good fabrics in my path...right up until I lose run out of air and move onto to another hobby.

So - my newest in a middlingly long line of start-ups will be a shirt dress made from one of the boy's discarded stripy dress shirts. Clevergirl did a nice job of hers, though that collar wouldn't suit me. Riot-siren's is pretty blimmen' fantastic, though maybe a bit too out-there for a woman of my years.

I normally have a hate-hate relationship with button-down shirts; I just hope I can design and construct a shirt dress that's nice enough that I wouldn't rather go naked.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday night telly

On Friday nights, if the boy's out on the town, I tend to spend most of the evening either reading blogs or sewing. But I set the alarm for 9.30 pm, to avoid missing Project Runway (last week they had to create outfits for a flock of sassy transvestites - surely the most interesting challenge so far this season).

But when the boy is at home (which is true most Friday evenings - I'm so glad he's not one of those husbands who lives for Friday night at the pub with the lads), I spend less time at the sewing machine or with a Macbook warming my lap. It's usually tubby-telly time.

Right up until a few months ago I managed to not watch America's Next Top Model. But then I started watching, and...anyway the result is that now I watch New Zealand's Next Top Model because it fills the time slot once inhabited by the American one. And the strange thing is, in my own very limited viewing experience of these two shows, I find the Kiwi girls seem so much bitchier. It's kind of surprising, since we Kiwis are like the Canadians of the Antipodes. Or maybe the NZ show is just playing up the bitchiness more?

Right after the showful of legs and cheekbones, is Rove. I just don't find Rove very funny. The only interesting thing about it is that the host looks remarkably like someone I used to work for. He wasn't particularly witty either.

And then it's Project Runway and all is right with the world again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bedtime reading

My fiction reading list is currently interspersed with various library books and magazines about fashion, sewing and styling. But fear not, I have been feeding my literary side too.

I've just finished re-reading Charlotte Randall's The Curative, which I loved first time around. I don't know why it took me so long to read it a second time, it's such a good book. Considering it's set within a 19th Century insane asylum and almost all of the action is inside the head of one highly-educated and not-at-all insane (but morally objectionable) male inmate, it's a bloody good read. Sure, there are plenty of words used that I have no idea of the meaning of, but that's part of the fun. Lonsdale, the inmate in question, loves words. He doesn't seem to know why he's in there, but he's keeping himself sane by talking to whomever will listen, including his vegetative cellmate.

And now I have three new non-clothing-related books next to my pillow. Last time we were in Borders, I noticed that Bill Bryson's Shakespeare was on the 3 for 2 table. A bit of hunting around on that table turned up Junot Diaz's The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao. Score! But it was not so easy finding that elusive third book. Finally I settled on Jodi Picoult's Change of Heart. I've never read her work before, and have heard that she's not a particularly good writer in the literary sense. But I've also heard that she tells a damn good story, so I picked it up and we had our trio of books.

Okay, so only one of those 3 Borders purchases qualifies as literary (Bryson's book being non-fiction). But who cares?

Monday, March 23, 2009

New clothes with an old lady smell

Over the weekend I completed a really easy refashion on a stretchy charcoal grey skirt and a two-in-one black and white top (it looks like a shirt worn under a v-neck jumper). All I had to do was shorten the skirt from calf-length to knee-length, and re-sew the collar of the shirt so that it doesn't look all buttoned up, and suddenly I had a whole new outfit to wear to work. Hurrah! It looked good with black opaque tights and the black ankle boots with white stitching, if I may say so myself.

But both items had been stuck in the back of the boy's wardrobe for the last 12 months. And you know that stale smell that clothes get when you leave them in a forgotten corner of the house for too long? It's not that nice is it? It smells like old people. Well, that's how I smelled all day today.

So, as long as you were a reasonable distance away, you would have been well impressed by my schoolgirl-goes-corporate attire. But you might have gotten a different impression once you got close enough to get a whiff.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bad TV reviewer! Bad!

Having watched most of the first episode of the vampire show True Blood (it's on far too late), I've decided it's a good show. It's inventive, it's well-written, it's surprisingly free to cringe-y stuff. So, for the most part, I agree with Jane Clifton's review.

But then I got about two thirds of the way through her article, when I came across this unholy sentence:
"In short, this is Buffy or Charmed, only the X-rated grown- ups-only version - and much, much cleverer and funnier. "
What!?!?!? Wash your mouth out with soap, woman!! I scream (on the inside)...

Not only is Buffy much funnier and cleverer than True Blood (so far at least), but there is NO. FECKIN'. WAY. that Charmed should even be mentioned in the same phrase as Buffy - except to represent polar opposites. Charmed doesn't do funny, except maybe unintentionally. And I haven't seen any clever there either.

And there's another thing. TV reviewers often talk about Buffy as though it was all about Buffy and Angel. Well it wasn't - the romance was only one part of the many subplots and themes of the show. These people must have only ever seen the first two seasons of it or something. And that's hardly credible.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A lovely dress that I won't get to wear until next summer

There have been quite a few hitches with the dress I've been working on for the last 2-3 months. That's right, the Burda EASY dress that I downloaded the sewing pattern off the Burda website for free.

The latest hitch is the sleeves. They were supposed to be easy, short, puffy sleeves, finished with elastic. Supposed to be. First of all, I questioned the length of elastic the instruction sheet told me to cut. There was no way that 13 centimetres of elastic would completely wrap around my upper arm - even when fully stretched! True, I have fallen victim to that thing called "wings", which women are apparently prone to get once they get into their late 30's (unless she is Madonna). But surely "fit" young things i.e. models, don't have upper arms that are only 13 cm in circumference?

Anyway, I put in twice the length of elastic that was called for, and it still didn't really work because the sleeves were so short. They basically ended just past my big flabby armpits. So I ripped the sleeves out and haven't bothered with the dress since.

In the meantime, I started and finished a sleeveless tunic top made from ultra-thin cotton with a tribal-ly print. It looks like something that a West African woman might have made if she'd had access to a McCall's catalogue.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A family of invalids

TLM has pretty much been mildly sick for the last couple of weeks. I can't tell whether it's one bug that's morphing constantly, or a variety of bugs in quick succession. But it was enough to keep her at home on Friday (the boy stayed home to look after her and - guess what - there was actually more mess to clean up when I got home, than when I left that morning). She's still coughing a lot, but I'm determined to refrain from using the vaporiser in her room. That thing might help her sleep at night, but the walls look like waterfalls by morning.

And me, well I hurt my back again this morning. The first twinge occurred when I was lifting TLM's bike into the boot of the car, and it must've gotten worse while I was pushing her along on her bike on the school playground (she's only just beginning to "get" pedalling). By the time she was having her nap, I already knew there was no chance I'd be able to have my walk in the hills - not without either returning home a cripple, or stuck at the lookout waiting for a pair of kindly, strapping young men to fireman-lift me back down the track.

The boy isn't sick, much, but if he continues to do zilch share of the household chores then I might do something about that.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Jumping on the vampire bandwagon

I haven't been doing much sewing lately, because the sewing machine is in the next room where there is no decent heater. On the other hand, I've watched a lot of tv because the television set is in the living room where there is a very good heater.

There is a new tv show coming soon, called True Blood. Its star, Anna Paquin, won an Emmy or something for her performance on it - so it can't be that bad. And, unless its screening time clashes with Project Runway, Top Chef or Outrageous Fortune, I might watch it.

But the thing is this - coming so quickly after a certain vampire-themed movie that is currently drawing large crowds of teenage girls (and no doubt quite a few romance novel fans too), I'm fairly sure that the show is probably a lot closer in spirit to Twilight than it is to Buffy. And I know which vampire bandwagon I'd rather jump on.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

wintry poshness

When the sister-out-law saw me this afternoon she assumed I'd just got in from work. I hadn't - it's just that it was bloody freezing today so I was wearing my black leathers i.e. long leather coat a la Spike, and high boots. Oh, and because I just got my hair cut this morning.

All the hairdresser did was lop a few spare centimeters off my classic front-bits-longer-than-back-bits bob. And voila - cheekbones!

See if it were 25 degrees Celsius, I'd have been in my manky sandals, old t-shirt and skirt - which is not at all posh.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Seasons greetings - a post of two halves

This is how I know that Winter is nipping at our heels:

  • I have been able to wear knee-high boots to work, without cooking my feet
  • The Little Madam is onto her second cold
  • We sleep under 2 duvets occasionally and don't wake up sweating like Albert Finney's character in Broadcast News
  • All the northern hemisphere blogs are going on about springtime
Of course, technically Autumn has only just started. Autumn is my favourite season, despite it's effects on my allergies:
  • it's cool enough to wear coverup-y clothes (because I'm no fan of hot pants and halternecks) but not so cold that I must wear sheepskin and polypropylene with everything
  • it's often warm and sunny during the day, but at night it's not too warm to sleep
  • it's when the television networks start screening the good shows.
But it also means that yet another opportunity has passed for TLM to wear cute shorts.

Friday, March 06, 2009

It's the old housework gender wars again

I've been asked to stay at my job for the rest of the year. Even though I'll be taking a pay cut, I reckon it's worth it because in return I'll get paid leave and won't have to look for work again in a month's time. And I can continue to do just the 20 hours per week, arranged so that TLM doesn't have to be at daycare past 3pm.

Before this news, the boy had playfully suggested that I go for a full time position that would be coming up soon, leaving him free to get a part time job at McDonalds.

But there's no way I will let this happen because:
  • I really, really don't want to go back to working full time. Because there's no job I will love enough to willingly spend 40 hours per week at. Unless of course it becomes a financial necessity - it isn't yet.
  • I won't let the boy work at McDonalds. It will probably make him fat and pimply.
  • But mainly because without a full time job the boy does not have an excuse to avoid doing housework. I can handle doing most of the housework (though to be fair, he does most of the cooking and taking out of the rubbish and recycling) if he's busy. But if he's under-employed I know I will still be doing most of the housework, and resenting him for it.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I can sit on the Golden Gate bridge

Probably the most interesting thing I've done lately is to turn my San Francisco t-shirt (great screen print, shame about the fit and the fact that it is so not my colour) into a cushion cover.

If you were to look at the back, you'd see that I've completely botched up the flap that buttons down that side - the buttons are too far in and too far from the sides, and the button holes got ripped up when I went to open them up.

But from this side, it's kinda cool.