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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



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Monday, August 10, 2015

Near miss

To follow up on my anniversary present, the Narwhal earrings, my husband told me he was torn about what to bring me home for a gift.

It was either the earrings or a pair of polar bear pants.

Now the thing you need to know about my husband is that if it is nutty it is also probably true and something he really is considering.

Polar bear pants, he explained, are made from the limb hides of polar bears, yes that's right, two arms sewn together.

"But they would be incredibly warm," he said. "Great for winter."

And here I was worried that elastic waist linen pants would make me look fat.

In case you think I am making this all up here is a shot of some incredibly warm Inuit men:

Other news is Miss Daisy seems brighter this morning.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Update rainy Sunday afternoon

First things first. 

Miss Daisy seems to have picked up. She played around a bit with her ball in her baby bed and fussed to be liberated. I let her out to walk around but when she took a few stairs, back she went. Her spirits have improved enough for her to be annoyed with me, which is welcome.

My son's Bordie Collie, Birdie, who is with us while Ben works in a project in Texas has been a prince. Always the gentleman Birdie has been staying by the bed Daisy is in and every time she looks at him she wags her tail.

Speaking of Ben I have been on the phone with him on and off all afternoon. Someone dumped a mangy puppy on the job site (Ben is doing quality assurance at a huge windmill installation) and since he was at work I have been making the calls trying to find a no kill shelter in southwest Texas for him. Not an easy job but in the end Ben found a woman who is running a private shelter and specifically dealing with the local outbreak of mange. She has agreed to treat this puppy and Ben is going to visit every day to follow up and give her a donation to cover all costs. Apparently an excellent, bright little dog and hopefully they can find a decent home for him.

Ben is my child who so far I can say has most inherited my feelings for animals. When he was four, and our first dog had died the spring before, I found Ben sitting on the front steps with the old dog's leash in his hands crying. Such a small boy and so sad. Needless to say there was a new dog in the house within the week.

My other news is that the flower girl dresses are done.

I kept waiting for something to go wrong on this project. 

You know like cut a hole in some bodice by mistake. Spill tea down one front. Burn a sash. When a job really matters it is my experience that I am going to do something like that.

However nothing went wrong and no one was more surprised than myself.

The basic pattern was pretty standard but I adapted it to match a picture the bride showed me so the skirts were very full and there was a very wide band at the front and extravagant bows with long ties that fell to the hems at the back. I made four in slightly different sizes working from two standard sized muslins I made in the RV in the winter in Florida.

I was able to try the  muslins on the two sisters who are going to be in the wedding party when we were visiting DC at Easter, and did the same with my two granddaughters when I came home.

Of course that was then and this is now.

I remember only too well how much kids can shoot up over the summer, so all of these dresses have good hems I can let down at the last minute in the days before the wedding - but of course I sincerely hoping the sewing gods continue to be with me and that will not be necessary.

Here are the pics, taken carefully staged as all my shots are, in the bathroom:

All four dresses, you see why I am going to take a steamer with me.

Back view

Front view, I hope you can see how wide the band at the front is - it has actually been sewn into the seams.

Other news is, as I mentioned in passing, my husband is home for a few weeks from the North Pole, and yes he is now going to spend our anniversary helping me make blueberry jam.

He actually brought my anniversary present with me - Narwhal ivory earrings (I think they are in the shape of polar bear claws) made from the tusk of the Narwhal.

This is what the Narwhal's look like, this really is a strange part of the world and my husband is lucky to be able to see parts of it most people don't:

Now of course Narwhal are protected, and I am as aware of that as you can imagine, I mean my dog is in a Pack and Play, but the Inuit are allowed to hunt them because the Inuit actually eat whale meat as part of their standard diet up there and the tusks are a by-product.

So here are my earrings, which I am pretty sure are not something you see every day, not unlike the man who gave them to me.

So that was my day.

Time to decompress and make something fun and easy next to cleanse the palate, I am thinking Louise Cutting's Ageless and Cool pattern, looks to me as if it will go exactly with Narwhal earrings. I am going to do the shirt and if I feel sufficiently ageless and cool try the pants, although they are not my usual style. What do you think?

Rainy Sunday afternoon

Just a quick update.

Miss Daisy is on no activity and tons of meds until we see the vet again Tuesday for an assessment - basically to find out if her back is healing up or do we take the drive over to PEI (two provinces away)  because only the regional vet college does this kind of surgery.

There was no way she was going to be OK in a cage again however, so I sent out my husband (who thankfully got home from the North Pole for three weeks on Thursday) to get a second hand Pack and Play for babies instead. We have set that up in the living room so she can see us. It has wheels and we can take it into the bedroom with us at night. It is a pretty good solution, it confines her but doesn't make her feel trapped I don't think.

I really hope she turns to corner soon - my instinct is to just want to put her in the car and start driving to Charlottetown this afternoon.

Things like this expose a person's weaknesses.

I am proactive but at the point of it being a fault. If there is something wrong I want to get it fixed/done right away and there are situations when you have to give something some time.

Waiting is not my best thing, particularly when those black eyes are looking at me like they are now.

The upside is that I have spent the weekend quietly hand sewing the linings into the bodices of the flower girl dresses. 

So far so good.

I will probably post pictures tonight when they are done.

My plan next was to start a muslin on my own dress but I am not ready to start such an intense project yet. Just don't have the focus right now and my being careful quota got a bit emptied out with these taffeta dresses for the little girls and I am going to need some moments for it to refill.

I am thinking I might take a break from the serious stuff when these little dresses are done and make say a loud camp shirt or some pull on linen pants in say purple.

As usual my sewing reflects where I am at the moment, and most of all, what I need.