Saturday, March 28, 2020

It takes one to know one

When TLM and I visited our dear friend in Taipei just over a year ago, we were baffled with her seemingly over the top hygiene habits.

For example, she had one "indoor" sofa and one "outdoor" sofa. Both sofas were in her living room - the difference was that you were only supposed to sit on the indoor sofa if you were wearing your "indoor" clothes. And you had to change into your "indoor" clothes after entering her apartment from the outside.

When she took us out for meals (wonderful meals, including great, great vegan meals), she never let us put our cutlery straight on the table. They had to go on a clean napkin or on the plates of food.

And she had ways of standing upright on buses without touching any of the support poles or handles.

There were also some pretty hardline bathroom rules too, but my mind must have blocked them out because I can't actually remember what they were now.

Our friend lived and worked in Taipei and Hong Kong through the SARS epidemic, and apparently that's when it all started.

And now. Now with New Zealand in an anti-Covid19 lock down, we wash our hands religiously, "avoid each other like the plague" (!) and spend a lot of time thinking about how long to wait before we can safely touch the package that the courier dropped off...now I understand.

Our dear friend passed away only a few months after we stayed with her, but wherever she is I hope she can see what's going on amongst the living and say "I TOLD you so!"

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Colds in the time of Covid-19

Two Fridays ago I was joking about greeting people by tapping out elbows or feet with each other. The next day I was glad I'd already started doing it, because that's when my cold began.

For some reason (probably related to my asthma and my age) colds take me a long time to get over. I started feeling bad on the Saturday and I'm still not 100% 8 days on.

The good thing is that because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been no problem staying away from work all week. Normally I would take 3 or 4 days off and them drug myself up for the return to the office. This time around, I have not been to work (not even from home) since the Friday before last. And I might need to work from home this week.

Normally, if I'm at the tail end of a cold I will still go out to pick up my sewing machine, which was revived from it's mini-explosion about three weeks ago. This time, I asked the boy to do it for me and he didn't complain about it.

The bad thing is that our Internet service has been quite dodgy so that I haven't been able to Netflix myself out of boredom while home sick. Though "fortunately" I have been just sufficiently out of it that I haven't been too bored after all. Once I started to feel a bit better I got knitting and also made a new sign for my next Fridays for Future protest -


Prompted by news videos of panic-shoppers fighting over toilet paper, the boy went out and bought a jumbo 16-pack. Funnily enough, I would have thought that hand soap would be at least as high in demand...

Saturday, March 07, 2020

On protests, sewing machines and going blonde

A couple of months ago I signed up to Instagram. It seems to be the best way for me to see what sewers are making these days, as the sewing bloggers I'd been following all seemed to have gone this way.

I have finally emerged from the Instagram black hole, after discovering the vast and varied creative expressions to be found there. Pet videos! Asian streetwear! Witty climate change protest signs!

And along the way I became motivated to contribute my own visual offerings (I'm at #kiwipeeks).

So what have I been up to?

A few weeks ago I started standing in a busy central city street in my lunch break, holding a sign and trying to drum up new protesters for our local the Fridays for Future vigils. It's only been once or twice a week, and I don't bother shouting at people or anything - I just stand and smile and hope they get the message.

Two weeks ago the boy and I were having a daughter-free weekend day, and instead of suggesting we go out on a daytime date he suggested I do some sewing (and leave him alone with his computer games). So I made a simple wrap top (pattern from the Simple Modern Sewing book, fabric from a fashion label's pop-up shop sale).

Right at the end of construction I was tidying up the loose threads, when I heard a "pop" and smelled burning plastic.

My sewing machine had died.

It is at the repairer's but apparently there's a backlog of machines for him to check so I still don't even know whether it's reparable.

I think I have a cold - but I'm pretty sure it's not covid-19 so even though I'm Chinese in ethnic  origin please don't launch any rockets toward my house!

I bought a new wig. And it's a shaggy blonde bob!

Apparently it's a shade of blonde that goes well with darker complexions because on me it looks daaaaaaamn good if I may say so myself.

The effect is less in the outside world than it was in front of the mirror in the wig lady's studio, but I swear that I look about 10 years younger in it. Very pleased. However wigs are still uncomfortable compared to beanies and bandanas.

Friday, February 07, 2020

OMV Out!

Since I had today off work I decided to join on the OMV protest outside their local office this afternoon.

We were a small crowd of 6, chanting and singing and using a megaphone to hopefully reach the staff up on level 20.

A friendly Canadian came to chat supportively.

Another young guy stopped to talk, but it turned out he just wanted to tell us about a stage  production he is in so we could help promote it.

A guy holding three trays of beef steaks stopped to interrogate us, offering his opinion that climate change is overstated and demanding technical details about how the offshore drilling works. At least he believed us when we told him that yes, the drilling for oil is still ongoing despite the ban on new drilling licences.

Lots of people walked by with their faces turned away - now I know what it feels like to be collecting for charity on street corners...

And quite a few nodded at us in approval.

Hair and there

Once the bald spot on the left front of my scalp grew back in I started to relax again and pretty much stopped using the Welda hair tonic.

Lately TLM and the boy have mentioned a little bald spot at the back of my head, but they didn't make it sound like anything to worry about.

Then I started shedding again, at a rate that shows all over the floor and the sofa cushions.

Then I took a couple of head-back selfies and went into full-on hair loss anxiety. I even dusted off my wig from last March and seriously considered going to the Fridays for Future protest with it on.

I didn't, but only because I was going to have a sunhat on all afternoon.

So it's back to the hair tonic for me. I am really not ready to wig up again...

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Homage to Kowtow

Last time Kowtow had a sale I missed out on getting an Elda denim jacket.

 They just had a other sale, and I found a Blueprint jacket on sale
 but they had none left in siz size 😥.

So I had a go at sewing my own. I used the Merchant and Mills Ottoline jacket pattern. The only intentional mods were to shorten the jacket body a little, shorten the sleeves a lot, and change the shape of the collar (to make it more like the Kowtow ones). There were some major muckups (ie the unintentional mods) but I think I turned out something I can wear proudly.
Worn over Sea Shephard tee, Next Union Jack singlet and thrifted jeans

My unintentional mods were at the sleeve vents. Ok and the side vents.

The green tinge to the denim inspired me to used green top stitching thread. It's a nice backdrop for my Extinction Rebellion badge 😁

Monday, January 13, 2020

Taking nibble out of coastline litter

You will have all seen the photos, of rubbish islands in the ocean and litter-coated beaches.
A couple of weekends ago I decided to finally go next-level with my occasional litter picking, and join a beach clean-up organised by Sea Shepherd.

Unfortunately when I got to the beach there were no Sea Shepherd folks to be found, tho there were three other willing volunteers. I did also meet a woman who was just finishing up her own beach cleanup session and she gave me a rubbish bag in case I wanted to go ahead and pick up rubbish anyway.

So the 3 volunteers and I set to work on the beach.

 As I was wearing my Sea Shephard t-shirt - and probably because I was the oldest one present - I seemed to be the de facto leader of the cleaning pack. This meant that though all of us were on foot I was the one who would have to take the back of bottle tops, straws, coffee stirrers and unidentified plastic crap to my rubbish bin at home.

This meant that we had to stop after about an hour. This half-filled our council rubbish bag once I got home (ie equivalent to one week's worth of household refuse).

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

The universe wants me to stop buying fabric

Summer suddenly arrived and I developed a hankering for above-ankle widish leg linen pants, and i wanted to sew them up myself.

The Fabric Store has some lovely linen in different weights and luscious colors.

Well, twice during the christmas period I tried to go to The Fabric Store. And both times the shop was closed.

So I took the hint and when I got home I customized some mustard coloured king fu pants instead.
I added the shirt fabric cuffs plus the triangle of matching fabric on the "skirt"

This week's Fridays for Future placard


I brought this one with me on 27 December. 

Only after I arrived, did I realise I should have done something a little more Christmas-y. Like, "Have a merry climate emergency".

But that's ok. It was the first F4F protest that I'd been able to attend for the full 2 hours, and there were quite a few others present which was a relief.