Sunday, August 16, 2020

Happy Sunday!

 On Friday I got some major muscles aches, like I was getting the 'flu. How ironic that would be, since this year was the first I had gotten the 'flu jab. So I got the boy to come take me home cos the last thing I wanted was to be sitting in a bus during a Covid-19 pandemic looking like death...

Ever since then I've been resting at home. But it hasn't been so restful today.

First, it seems that my skin is reacting to the new batch of moisturiser I made yesterday and wore overnight. So I had to spend time apply enough concealer on my face to prevent shock and alarm in my household.

Then, I discovered that my family cannot read my mind nor correctly interpret my hints, so I had to take out the recycling that was overflowing onto the kitchen floor, and tidy it away into the outside bin. It took me 3 trips.

Then, I tried to print out Style Arc's face mask pattern  so I could make some to add to the family supply. But it would not print.

One software install and a system update later, I have already had to give up vacuuming the bedroom because the bag was full and we are out of spare bags.

I finally have my face mask pattern printed out now, and if nothing further goes wrong today I might complete one or two...

Saturday, July 04, 2020

I'm trying to eat vegan

I have been trying to eat vegan for quite some time actually. It hasn't been easy because the boy and TLM both like their meat, eggs and dairy. Though I will take credit for them mostly eating free range.

It got to the point where I would usually eat vegan for lunch during the week, and whenever we ate out or got food delivered. But as the boy is the cook of the family, he usually only made vegan or vegetarian once a week or so (to please me).

When  a family friend showed us the recipes that came with their plant based My Food Bag, I got all excited at the prospect of getting the family to eat 4 vegan meals in one week. That was something I would go into  the kitchen for.

So far we have tried two businesses that deliver ingredients and recipes to your house. Actually, I think there are only two. The others offer vegetarian meal kits but I disapprove of intensive dairying most of all so that's not an option for  me. (Plus I'm  allergic to eggs)

Ultimately I want to have a clutch of vegan  recipes that we all like to eat and that I like to cook.

Kai Box - this is a vegan-only meal kit company. You can subscribe or just order a one-off; they try to accommodate food allergies and the 4  meals we made took only about 30 mins each. Most ingredients that needed to be packaged eg sauces came in glass or wrapped in paper. It cost $120 for 4 meals for 4 people.

Unfortunately we found the meals a bit bland. I expect that someone whose a confident cook will easily know what to add or tweak for their preferred level of flavour, but TLM and I are not. I would like to try again but the family is not keen.

My Food Bag - you have to subscribe, so if you only want to try for a week you have to remember to cancel on time. I didnt, so we inadvertantly got a second week of meal kits coming. Also they do not try to accommodate any food allergies. Out first week cost $130 because we had a discount voucher, but the next one at the regular price will be $170.

The meals take longer to make - 40 to 50 mins, and there are more premixed sauces and spice mixes and these are packaged in a mix of waxy paper and plastic. But the meals we made were generally super tasty and get the tick from TLM and the boy.

The main thing I found annoying was that I  might not be able to recreate those mixes because they give you a list of what's in them but not the proportions.

Another seems to be true what people say about eating vegan  and farting more!

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Rainy weekend productiveness

Yesterday I cut into my organic cotton denim ordered fro Miss Maudes, to make the Alice and co Intrepid Boilersuit.

The photos are on my Instagram here.

It literally took me a day and a half to make. I was up at 7.30 this morning and inthe "zone" until 2pm this afternoon when it was all finished. Though I did spend the previous weekend making a test garment to check the fit...

I never thought I would make a jumpsuit be cause of the bathroom awkwardness involved. But some time after rewatching Alexa Chung cuff up a boilersuit and seeing finished makes of the Merchant and Mills Thelma boilersuit, I was committed.
Besides, I had that zip that a friend saved for me when her husband decided to dispose of his overalls.

Now that its finished I am only sorry that the garment  actually feels quite heavy on. So I have to wear it belted for comfort.


  • Shortened the legs
  • Removed 1.5cm from top of the pants and bottom of the bodice
  • Removed one or two sizes worth at the sides of the legs and at the waist.
  • Cut short sleeves
  • Took a bit off the shoulder width
  • Went down a size at the sleeve armcye
  • Used option 3 for zip insertion (with facing)
  • Put the back pockets on the chest and the chest pockets on the back
I may make it again in a lighter fabric next summer. I've used the pants pieces to make pajama pants very successfully, and the upper body pieces make a good pullover top too.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Alert level 3 shopping fantasy

In about a weeks time NZ will leave covid-19 alert level 4 (complete lock down except for essential services and excercise) to go to alert level 3 (contactless shopping allowed).

And I for one am looking forward to some patriotic shopping. I'm going to buy:

  • Printed reading material from Unity Books
  • Organic cotton yarn from Knitworld
  • Selvedge denim  from the Fabric Store, Drapers or Miss Maudes
  • Sewing magazines from Minerva Books

And lots of takeaways...hopefully from:

  • Yumjars
  • Hell Pizza 
  • Burger Fuel

Mmm vegan fast food...

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 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.