Friday, November 27, 2009

We're baaaaaack!

Good grief - how hopeless am I at the holiday blogging? For all you know, I could still be stuck in that cathedral at Köln. Instead, we caught the train to Paris, where we stayed for a week, then caught the Eurostar back to the UK, where we footled around visiting relatives of the Galumph before hitting up London town.
And then we flew home.

And then four days later we bought a house.

Yes, it's mad. Absolutely stark raving mad. I have no fingernails left, as I nibbled them all to pieces due to stress, but who needs nails when you have a HUGE WHOPPING DEBT? Geez, talk about killing that holiday feeling.

Anyhoo, we move in a couple of weeks, which means we'll be celebrating Christmas in our new abode. Hoorah! I can sticky tape tinsel to the walls, and not worry about losing my bond if some paint comes off when I rip it down in the new year. Heck, I could paint blue sqiggles all over the walls if I like! Not that I will, but I could. Giddy days!

In the mean time, here's a sneaky peak at some Paris pics. I think I'll still post pictures on the blog, it just won't have that 'live blogging' vibe to it. More a distant "hey-remember-when-we-were-young-and-debt-free" nostalgic haze.
Oh, there's been sewing. Yes! Actual sewing! So stay tuned ;-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 20 something (yes, I'm losing count) - Köln

After Copenhagen, we caught the train (which ends up being put on a ferry for a portion of the journey - coooool!) and then stayed in Köln (Cologne) in Germany for a few nights. I really wanted to show you the amazing Gothic cathedral, but the damn thing wouldn't even fit in my lens.

I kid you not. That thing is bloody huge!
I have discovered that when you are continuously on the road, you start thinking some really odd things. For example, there I am, gazing up at the oldest Gothic cathedral in the world, and all I can think is "Gee that statue looks like Ringo Starr!"

Or: "Hmmm, I wonder how many people set themselves alight on the prayer candles?"
Or even, upon exiting the gloomy grandeur, "Geepers creepers - how do you get yourself onto that BierBike?!"

Like I said, strange thoughts.

Day 20 - Copenhagen (in black and white)

As you can all probably tell, I'm a wee bit behind with the travel blogging. It's because I'm in denial - Copenhagen was so beautiful that I didn't want to leave!

We did all the usual things - saw the palaces and checked out if Mary and Fred were home (they weren't but Margrethe was, as evidenced by the swallow tail flag atop her palace), gazed at the Little Mermaid (yes, she is little, and kinda bored by the expression on her face) and went to the gorgeously light filled art gallery.

We also hired bikes and cruised around the town, in what would have to be one of the best days we've had away. It was just so lovely to peddle away at a gentle pace, stopping when we felt like it, and feeling so safe and secure in the bike lanes.

The one thing that really has stayed in my mind, however, is the Museum of Danish Resistance. Tell you what, if you want to find yourself blubbering away hopelessly, pop in there and read the final letters to home written by Danish Resistance fighters upon finding out that they were to be executed for actions against the Germans during WWII. They were all so stoic, and accepting about the consequences of their actions. I was bawling like a baby at the courage exhibited by those passionate young men.

The entire museum is wonderfully done, and well worth a look. As is all of Copenhagen itself. I will definitely be back.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 17 - Copenhagen

Dear Copenhagen,

I think I love you! I love your beautiful layout, peppered with open public squares and fantastically beautiful buildings. I love your delightful gardens, and your cobblestone streets. I love how clean and proud you are, with your friendly citizens and brightly painted homes.

I also love your bike lanes. OH MY SAINTED AUNT, do I love those bike lanes. They are so safe and easy to use and for the love of all that is environmentally good Melbourne, when the heck are you going to get with the program? That Swanston Street "Copenhagen-style" bike lane is a frigging joke once you've been on the real thing.

(Note from Ed: are you writing a love letter to Copenhagen, or a hate missive to Melbourne's pathetic transport planningm policies?)

Oops, sorry! Back to Copenhagen. Yes, those bike lanes rock. They make your city so easy to use, and add such a friendly air. Not to mention clean air! Copenhagen, I LOOOOOOOOOVE you! I'm seriously thinking about moving there. After all, Microsoft have their second largest corporate offices there - the Galumph would fit right in! And there's only four international schools which Grumbles could attend. Not that I Googled or anything *whistles a tune innocently*

And I especially loved the smørrebrøds, especially the smoked salmon and dill numbers. Nagdammit, they were gooooooood!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 14 - Bettmeralp

On our last day in Switzerland (sob, sob!) we hopped into Bjorn's car and drove off to visit Bettmeralp, or 'The Better Alp!' as all the tourist brochures call it. Better than what, I wondered. They're all majestic wonders of nature, not to mention freaking huge!

However, there is no denying that Bettmeralp is incredible. UNESCO agrees, and has named it one of their World Heritage Sites. Situated almost 2000 feet above sea level, the town is car free, and can only be accessed by cable car. The air is so pure here, and you really do feel like you are standing on top of the world as you gaze about the picture postcard beauty of the town, framed by the grand peaks of the surrounding alps.

Seriously - all we needed was Heidi to come tripping by with her goats, and the picture would have been complete. It's so beautiful there that it's ridiculous!

On a side note, I never really understood as a kid how Heidi's grandfather could push Clara's wheelchair down the mountain side. Surely, I thought, it would have just slowly rolled to a halt, rather than careening down the slope helter skelter before being totally destroyed at the bottom. Well, I can assure you I am labouring under no such misapprehensions now. I spent the whole day jitterly watching Grumbles to make sure she didn't go careening off the side. Damn those hills are steep!

Grumbles, however, was completely unfazed by the gradients. You take the child to the grandeur of a Swiss alp, and instead of being awed by the scenic panarama around them they prefer to laze about and pet the local cat. *shakes head* Kids these day, huh?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 12 - Lausanne

Lausanne - home to the most beautiful Gothic cathedral in Switzerland. Work began in 1175, and apparently remains unfinished to this day, although you cannot tell from the splendour and grandour of the church. At one stage of it's history, it was like the mecca of Switzerland, with more than 10 times the population of Lausanne swarming upon the town each year to pay their respects to God.

One of the more interesting facts about the cathedral is that it still employs a nightwatch man. In centuries gone by this was a common feature, with the main job of the watchman to keep an eye out for fires which could easily destroy your average medieval town built mainly of wood. As the years went by, and wood was replaced by stone, most nightwatch men were replaced by telecommunications and local fire authorities. Some forward thinking folks even went crazy and installed those new-fangled smoke detector thingies. Wild times!

But not in Lausanne. Every night their nightwatch man is required to climb up the 153 stairs to the top of the belfry, scan the surrounding countryside for telltale plumes of smoke, and if all is good he then has to yell out at the top of his voice "C'est le guet; il a sonné l'heure!" (this is the nightwatch - the hour has struck).

153 stairs. Even in the middle of winter. Every evening from 10pm until 2am. Poor bloody sod.

Lausanne is also home to what seems, at the time, like the world's most angled shopping strip. If climbing hills of 45 degrees to get your consumer fix is your thing, then Lausanne is the place for you! Except, of course, if you are the nightwatch man. I suspect he's rather over climbing up and down.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Day 10 - Gruyère

Gruyère is an incredible place. Surrounded by mountains that form natural boundaries, it has often been fought over as a strategic stronghold in Switzerland's past. Accompanying each tale from the misty past are legends that showcase the pluck and valour of the good citizens of La Gruyères.
But don't think it was just the men, with their scary array of weaponry, that came along and saved the day. Once, whilst being fought by the armies of the Bernese and the Fribourgers, the townsmen found themselves in a rather dicey situation indeed. Completely outnumbered, they were being forced into a retreat, complete with a nasty massacre at the end.

Thank heavens, then, for those clever townswomen. They quickly herded up the goats, dressed them in bells and strange hats, and sent them off towards the marauding invaders through the fog. Scared witless by the spectre of ghostly demons emerging from the mist who, incidentally, sounded like they were bleating from the very depths of hell, the enemy was thrown into panicked turmoil. One poor invader was forever captured for posterity screeching to his fellow sword bearers "Run for your life; run before the fire of war is rekindled, stoking our adversaries' courage and lighting the way to our defeat and death!"

So hooray for the ladies and the goats for saving the day. I would expect nothing less from a town which produced such exceptional cheeses (chèvre, bien sûr, included!).
Although the fondue is pretty good. And the raclette. And the meringues. Geez, Switzerland is seriously making me fat!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Day Nine - Désalpe @ Charmey

My father is a dairy farmer, and once a year he would gather up all the newly born calves and transport them to another part of our farm, so they could be weaned from their mothers. In my memory this was considered a big day, as the other part of our farm was a couple of kilometres down the local highway, so a truck would be bought in the transport all the calves. Exciting times!

The Swiss, however, have made the movement of cows an art form. Each year, at the end of summer, the cows are decorated with enormous bells and flowers, and are gaily walked down from the sunny mountain peaks where they have been happily munching the grass all summer to the lower pastures, where they will reside in winter. Dressed in traditional costume, farmers and their friends accompany the cows down the winding mountain roads, while the villages below get their finest to cook sausages and pour beer in anticipation of the festival they call désalpe. Traffic is blocked off for miles around, which on a curvy mountain road with no overtaking would normally be considered about as welcome as a fly in your fondue, but it is all taken in good cheer, with most people jumping out of their cars to take happy snaps, and cheer the cows and farmers as they languidly make their way down from the alpine peaks.

I may have done a bit of cheering and photo snapping myself!

And perhaps indulged in a sausage or two!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day Seven - Romainmôtier

The village of Romainmôtier may be tiny (only 400 people live here) but it has one big feature: it is home to the oldest abbey in Switzerland. The abbey, originally built in 515, was replaced by the current church building in the early 11th century, with the Cluny monks, who built the church, remaining there until they were relieved of the building during the Reform.

The energy in the church was amazing. It was a honour to be able to visit and walk the same stones steps that countless monks trod upon on their way to prayers. How many pious men, I wondered, knelt down in this church with heads bowed low? How many eucharists were celebrated to the glory of God? How many fishers of men spent a spell resting weary feet in the same spot Grumbles decided to perch? How many faces were raised up and bathed in the brilliant light filtering through the stained glass windows?

In Australia our settlement history is so new, and feels rather gauche and raw compared to the centuries of ancient yore on display in seemingly every corner of this stunning land. Having grown up on a dairy farm in Victoria, I never imagined I would find myself delicately tracing the letters etched onto a Roman headstone that has stood proud and tall for centuries in a Swiss abbey.
It really is such a privilege to be here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day Six - Poires avec Monsieur Claude

One of the nicest things about staying on a farm in the middle of the jolie Swiss countryside is that if you don't feel like catching a train into the nearest village/regional centre/city you can instead loll around, soaking up the gentle sunshine and occasionally rousing yourself to help le fermier de la maison faire la moisson (help the farmer to bring in the harvest).

Everywhere you look are tractors cutting down the corn crop, orchards filled with trees laden with fruit, and pumpkin getting bigger by the day in la jardin potager (vegetable patch). Monsieur Claude, who owns the farm with his wife Martine, has taken great delight in getting Grumbles to help him with his daily chores. The two of them have already spent many happy hours feeding the chickens and picking the ripe fruit from the trees. Despite the fact that Grumbles speaks no French and Claude does not speak English, all you can hear is a constant stream of chatter from both of them, punctuated regularly by burst of giggles and guffaws.

The only downside is that I am beginning to run out of recipes which might use up the copious amounts of poires, pommes et noix (pears, apples and walnuts) that Claude keeps giving to us!

Still, who could resist him and his lovely fruit? Pas moi!

Day Five - Ependes

You know what - I'm pretty darn sure that I could live in Switzerland. The people are friendly, the country is criss-crossed with charming lanes, the next village is only a short stroll away and everything is SO DANG PRETTY!

Take the wee village of Ependes, for example. It has everything that a picture perfect Swiss village needs, except for a shop, but who needs a shop when every house has a vegetable patch, is surrounded by uber-fertile farmland, and has a charmante mobile food van which stops in town every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday with essential supplies, such as cheese, bread, vegetables and in my case the best chocolate eclair I have even stuffed into my ravenous maw.

We've only been here a few days, but it already feels like home.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Day Four - London to Geneva

There's an old adage that says that if you must travel, travel in style. There really is no better way to see the world than from the comfortable seat of a nice, fast train. So bright and early we set off to catch the Eurostar from London to Paris. Watch out good citizens of France, here we come!

The trip on the Eurostar went quite well - Grumbles began to complain of travel sickness again, but thankfully held it in this time. We made it to Paris a mere 15 minutes late, and then set off to make our connection to Geneva. We'd allowed ourselves a comfortable hour and a half to make our connection at another station - what could possibly go wrong?

Murphy and his damnable law decided to creep on in at this point and pay us a visit. Firstly we got stuck in a taxi queue, which sucked up a good 20 minutes. No probs, still an hour and 10 to go. Then the taxi ride itself, through the CRAZY Parisian traffic took another 30 minutes. I'm not sure which was the scariest bit: the 6 lane roundabout merge than almost saw our taxi origami-ed between two trucks bent on going in the opposite direction to us, or the accident caused by our driver when trying to park at the station. Still, we were all intact (physically - my nerves were beginning to ever so slightly fray) and had 40 minutes up our sleeve to find our tickets and then board the train.

What we hadn't counted on was the rabbit warren that was Gare de Lyon. We hauled our suitcases and Grumbles down corridors, up escalators and then down more escalators, following the little arrows that promised billets (tickets) around each corner. When we finally found the ticket concourse, it was diagonally opposite the door we had entered in, and we'd wasted 10 precious minutes running all over the place. Still, the queue for tickets looked relatively small - we had ourselves 30 minutes still - we would be fine. I would simply cross my legs and wait to find a toilet after we had collected our tickets.
I hadn't banked on how long it took for everybody to buy their tickets. We stood in that seemingly never moving queue, becoming more and more nervous as the minutes ticked on by and ever so slowly people would shuffle forward to stand at the ticket desk to haggle away. 20 minutes... 15 minutes... 10 minutes... finally with 7 minutes until departure I was able to lunge forward and bark at the poor woman "Parlez vous anglais?" "Yes" she sighed, and then I thrust our booking confirmation email at her, waited with tapping toes for her to print out our tickets, then snatched them of her hands and raced for the platform. Truly not one of my finest moments. I'm still cringing with shame at my lack of manners.

However, we made the train, and I as soon as it started I raced for the loo. Coming back to my seat I felt much more composed: we were on the train, and the world was good again. This feeling of peace lasted until a loudspeaker message broke the relative silence of the carriage, screeching a stream of urgent French that seemed to last forever. One of the few words I caught was the repeated mention of plastique explosif. After the announcement the whole carriage was full of uproar, with much muttering and gesticulating in French. We lent forward to the charming French man who was sharing our seats, and asked him what was going on.

"Ah!", he said, "It appears that somebody has left some boxes on the train wrapped in plastic, with no information accompanying them. The train stewards suspect it may be a bomb, so they are diverting us to another line so les police, les soldats et les pompiers can meet us."

Police! Soldiers! Firemen! Holy Schmoly! It's the works! When we arrived at the diverted-to station, we were all made to get off and take our luggage with us, crossing the train tracks and assembling in the town square. Soon the good police of France had figured out who the packages belonged to (some poor schmuck tourists who were obviously clueless about normal sorts of luggage, like um suitcases rather then broccoli boxes wrapped in plastic then covered in sticky tape) and we were once more on our way.

However our way was not as quick as we originally thought it would be: instead of a nice 3 hour trip we now had 6 hours ahead of us. Merde!

We started off industriously enough: colouring books, puzzle games, I spy. Heck, we even grinned for the camera:
But it wasn't long before total boredom set in...

... and then some of us succumbed to total exhaustion.

At 9 that evening we arrived in Geneva. Don't even think about popping the champagne and letting off the fireworks: we still had another hour long train ride to Yverdon-les-Bains.

Finally we made it, and after saying a very quick hello to our gracious hosts Bjorn and Leonie we crashed into bed, wondering what adventures tomorrow would bring. I really didn't mind - as long as there were no bloody trains involved!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day Three - London

We made it! Tired, and totally jet lagged (bed at 7 o'clock anybody?!), but here, in fine old London Town. I've always wanted to visit the world of Robert Browning and E M Forster, of Samuel Pepys and Sherlock Holmes. Even, nagdammit, the world of Richard Curtis and here I am. Hoorah!

We started off the day having a very fine hotel breakfast (note to self: if you eat too much of the cereal, Jorthy, you won't have room for the chocolate croissants!) and then stepped out to see the world. We though that we'd meander slowly through Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, turn on the spot at Piccadilly Circus and then find our way back to the hotel.

Unfortunately we picked the same day the London SkyRide was on, so we shared our route with an estimated 60,000 cyclists. D'oh! Still, if we craned our necks just so we could make out the main attractions in between the thousands of yellow clad cyclists.

One of the things that struck me the most was the statues dotted about the place. So many gallant acts, acknowledge forever in the finest bronze that His or Her Majesty at the time could afford. We saw the incredible homage to Nelson in Trafalgar Square, commemorating his victory over the French. We gazed awestruck at the Angel of Peace Descending on the Chariot of War in Wellington Arch, before smiling fondly at Wellington himself astride his noble steed Copenhagen.

We also saw some other, more interesting, statues. One in particular stuck in my mind. It was Erected To Commemorate The Glorious Heroes Of The Machine Gun Corps Who Fell In The Great War. I stood for a moment, letting the horror of what these men went through sink into my mind. I then lifted my eyes from the inscription to be faced with another kind of horror. The horror of the Most Unsuitable Statue Ever:

What the heck were these people thinking? A naked man holding a sword? How the hell does that commemorate the poor lads who perished in the worst possible way? I stood there, flabbergasted, before taking some pictures, and before long was befriended by a nice English chap.

"Take a look at this!" I blustered to him. "Those poor lads died in the war, and all they get for giving the ultimate sacrifice is a naked man statue. How does that work, I ask you?"

My new friend mused upon this for a moment, and then said "Well, at least they gave him a big sword!"

"Fat lot of good that would do him!" I replied. "Would you like to use a sword whilst naked?"
"Um, no, not really", he answered, before moving quickly away from the crazy Australian tourist. Still, they did encircle the machine guns in peace wreaths. If that doesn't get the message across that war is bad, then I don't know what will.

After that we meandered through the Green Park, which was lovely. Apparently it used to go by the name of Upper St James, but all that changed when King Charles II was busted by his wife giving a pretty young housemaid flowers from the meadow (and a bit more besides!). The Queen was so ticked off that Charles would be giving flowers to another woman that she ordered every single flower to be ripped from the ground, so he wouldn't be tempted to such foolish behaviour again. Hell hath no fury like a Queen scorned and an entire team of gardeners at her disposal!

After all that walking it was time to head back to the hotel. With views like this out of my window, I may never ever leave.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day One - The Never Ending Flight

So, I'm sitting at home, taking nice deep breaths, trying not to watch the clock and freak out about how soon the flight is. I mean, people fly all the time, right, and nothing ever happens to them. The chance of dying in a plane crash is far less than the daily risk involved in getting in a car. So I'll be fine. Because I can't even drive a car, which makes me practically risk free! I'll be totally fine. Absoluuuuuutely hunky dory.

Then the phone rings. It's Quantas customer service. The flight has been delayed, they report, and thought that as we were travelling with a child that we might want to know.

Well, Quantas, that's all very decent of you, but that now gives me an extra hour to freak out in. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!

Dear reader, I recovered. Even though we sat at the airport for another two extra hours, watching flight after flight take off before us, and trying to induce Grumbles to take a nap (completely unsuccessfully, bien sur). On a positive note, I ran into my cousin Denise, who was taking a holiday to Malaysia with her family. On a bum note, I was eating my dinner at 1 in the morning. It's a topsy turvy world.

Still, we landed in Hong Kong with no trouble at all. The key to not melting down during take off is to (a) have a small child to attend to, and thus divert all your freak out abilities into stopping them from freaking out and (b) cola flavoured Chuppa Chups. Since the original flight was delayed, it put our second one out of whack also, but the wait was only an hour, and then we were off once more.

We made it half way through the second flight before trouble struck. Sure, we were bored, and our vegan meals supremely unsatisfying (note to airline staff: Jorth cannot live on fruit alone!), and sleep just wasn't happening, but generally things were good. Then Grumbles announced that she didn't feel very well.

"Do you think you're going to be sick, honey?" I asked, wiping down her face with a washcloth.

"No, just a bit funny in my tummy!" she answered brightly.

"Well, thanks heavens for that, because throwing up on an aeroplane would really be...."

The rest of my sentence was lost in the sudden grab for a sick bag. I got it under her chin just in time, as she chucked and chucked and chucked. In between moving her hair back from her face and muttering encouragement, I gazed at the bag in dismay, certain it was going to burst or leak or just fall apart from all the liquid. Miraculously it remained intact, and I handed it to a poor steward as soon as I could.

And where, I hear you asking, was the mightly Galumph during all this drama? Hogging up the bloody toilet, that's where!

Exhausted, Grumbles fell limply asleep in my lap, as I glanced nervously at my watch and calculated that we still had 5 hours left of the flight. Thankfully, she broke the monotony by awakening twice more and chundering away. Who wants a quiet life, eh? However, I shall give credit where credit is due: she didn't moan, squeal, sook or carry on in any way whatsoever. Once she had done her business, she would just lie back and smile at us. The head steward came over and told her in a very campy clucky tone that she was just a marvel, and an absolutely credit to her parents, which cheered us all up immensely. The warm fuzzy feeling lasted until we touched down, where I breathed a huge sigh of relief: we had made it and Grumbles had finally stopped vomitting.

We all stood up to collect our carry on luggage, and exchange pleasantries with our fellow passengers whilst we waited to disembark. "My dear!", squarked one old English bird sitting behind us, "I had no idea the wee one had even been ill! What a blessing you have there!"

"Thank you!" I smiled back. "She's been great, hasn't she!"

Then Grumbles threw up all over our shoes.

Welcome to England!

Friday, September 18, 2009

To Do List

1 - Do a gazillion or so loads of washing so everything is clean and ready to be packed. CHECK.

2 - Learn useless French phrases: Ma mère est sous la table, bien sûr! (my mother is under the table, of course!) CHECK.

3 - Mildly freak out about getting on a plane. CHECK CHECKITY CHECK

4 - Feel resididual guilt about the carbon emissions from aforementioned plane, then figure since we haven't owned a car for 6 years, and walk and bike everywhere then we have a few carbon points up our sleeve that we'd surely be entitled to splurge? UM, SORTA CHECK

5 - Warn the good citizens of England, Wales, Germany, France, Switzerland and Denmark that la famille Jorth are coming? NO WAY, WHERE WOULD BE THE FUN IN THAT?!!

Keep an eye on the blog, fellow blogging comrades, as I'm planning on posting on the road. How excited am I? SO EXCITED THAT I MAY START BLOGGING IN NOTHING BUT CAPS, THAT'S HOW EXCITED!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Seersucker delight

The Jorth family are heading off overseas for two months (I know! Eeeeeeeee!) in a couple of weeks, and I've been one busy beaver, trying to organise and plan it all. I thought I had it all under control until the other day when I was riffling through Grumble's drawers, trying to find something summery for her to wear as we were having an unseasonably warm day.

Then it dawned on me - she has no summery clothes. None that fit, anyway. And whilst I was completely on top of her travel wardrobe, the poor little scamp was going to come home in the middle of an Australian summer with scarely a thing to cover herself with.

So three cheers for Ottobre Magazine for coming to our rescue. I knew just what to make: the ubercute summer dress pattern from the 3/2009 issue, and I also had to hand some of the most incredible seersucker I've ever laid eyes on (heh heh, one of the perks of working in a fabric store!)

Seriously, this seersucker is the best! If I could marry this seersucker, I would, because it truly is that wonderfully brilliant! It sewed like a dream, and shall be perfect for those crazy summer days we're expected to have this year. I don't know about you, but I'm not looking forward to those 46 C days again...

Speaking of again, I'll be making this dress up again and again. It took all of two hours, and was so easy peasy, yet looks so good. The hardest part was doing the rolled hems on the sleeves, yet even those were a breeze with this fabric. Everybody who has seen the dress has done the "oooh, ahhh!" thing (most gratifyingly, I must say!) and I've even got some orders put in from the other kinder mums. Nothing beats the kinder mum stamp of approval, I say!

Anyhoo, enough babbling: I'll let the results speak for themselves:

Project details

Pattern: Three Way Dress pattern from Ottobre 3/2009, size 110 cm

Fabric: Japanese seersucker from Tessuti Fabrics, 60 cm of main body fabric, and 45 cm of contrasting fabric

Notions: 130 cm grosgrain ribbon

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happiness is a scarf with pom poms

I mean, seriously, what's not to love? I think I need a pom pom scarf!

Project Details
Pattern: Both hat and scarf are from Phildar Pitchoun Automne-Hiver 2006-2007

Needles: 6mm for scarf, and 4.5mm for hat

Notes: The hat was knitted using double strands of the yarn.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pattern review: Vogue 8468

Fabric: $10 special fabric from Tessuti Fabrics

Pattern Description: Vogue 8468 Loose-fitting, A-line, lined dress, mid-knee has self-lined yoke with back button and loop closure, back zipper and stitched hem.

Pattern Sizing: I made the size 8

Did it look like the drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done? Not really, because of course I had to do an alteration or two (cough, cough).

Were the instructions easy to follow: They were easy enough, but I didn't like the construction method used. The pattern instructions call for you to assemble the dress front and back and lining - complete with understitching - prior to adding the sleeve, but this, I feel, creates unnecessary bulk, as you are essentially sewing the sleeve onto a half-finished sleeve opening. If I made this again, I would assemble the dress sans facing, then assemble the lining and then sew the lining to the dress in the usual fashion.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I shortened the dress by 13 cm as it felt too bulky in the fabric I used. I really should have used a lovely soft floaty fabric, which would have looked much better, but what can I say - I loved the fabric, especially the colour, and was determined to make this dress in it.

Once I tried it on I realised that this fabric wasn't quite right for this pattern. In fact, my husband said it looked like a very bad church choir vestment, and then helpfully suggested that I belt out numbers from Sister Act whenever I wore it. After that comment I took to it with the scissors!

I also didn't add the sleeve flares, and increased the sleeve length by 12 cm.

Would you sew this again? Nah. How many church choir dresses does a girl really need?

Conclusion: This dress is growing on me, but I made the mistake of trying to the make the fabric fit the pattern, because I looooooved the colour. As a result, without the belt it's frump city! I'm so sorry, fabric. I did you wrong. I really should have given you a pattern you deserved. Forgive me!

I also made it a wee bit too short. Without the leggings, it's undie city. Not exactly the look I was going for.

Still, with the belt cinching in the waist and the leggings and the cool fuschia colour, it's a pretty darn good rock chick dress. Not what I envisioned, but I'm oddly very happy with it.

And I must say that I'm still in love with the fabric. It's so comfy to wear, and the colour is just incredible. I feel quite glamorous walking around in such a beautiful slinky shade of fuschia!

Now if only I could do something about the dreadful hairdo I'm sporting in the photo. What was I thinking?!?!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Clever green design posters

Greenpeace Australia recently held a design competion, with the brief being 'Be a Part of the Action'. According to the website, they wanted the posters, above all, to raise awareness of environmental issues and inspire action.

I'd say the above finalists did a pretty darn good job of that! Click here to check out the other entries. Link via Make Wealth History.