not to be minimised

So. I'm having a great year for hosiery. Tights and footless tights options abound. Even bought a pair of patterned tights with a view to turning them into footless tights to wear with boots. It's been a long time since there have been nice patterned tights in my size, actually probably never since I've been the sort of size I am now. (Basque plus size) The helpful woman at Myer even suggested another brand I might like to try too - she said she'd been hearing some good things about them. Excellent. And good on them for actually carrying the stock.

However, my other shopping mission yesterday was new bras. I have been wearing the "Touched" by Berlei underwire style in a size 20DD for about ten years now - with a break while pregnant and breastfeeding. I loved that it was comfortable, had a natural smooth shape with a degree of support and lasted pretty well. Perfect for wearing under t-shirts. And it came in black. Also good, because I don't do beige. I desperately need to replace them but I haven't been able to find them in the shops or online. The sizes stop at 16DD now. Apparently these days, they are only being marketed to young women, because the stretchy material suits growing bodies. Fine. I can see that. But it suited me too. Why can't the same product be made to serve a number of different markets? Isn't that sort of efficiency a plus from a marketing point of view? 

maiden and unicorn

Moving on. I breathed deeply and after wandering around the David Jones lingerie department aimlessly for some time, prepared to subject myself to the hideous process of being fitted for a bra. With two assistants. The older woman was actually not much older than me, but seemed worlds away and couldn't seem to understand that I just did not want to do beige or lace. Or spend $98 on a bra. And that I was not prepared to buy a minimiser bra. I explained to her that when you are "big", you want definition where you can get it. Actually, I may have used the word "fat" at one point, much to her horror and discomfort. She said she agreed with me, but still the minimisers kept coming. I suppose there wasn't that much else to choose from. Anyway, discussing how the minimiser worked with the younger woman, she said that they squash the bosom under your arms. Nice. We agreed it wasn't a great look. I suppose that the "minimiser", a term I find somewhat offensive, is sold on the basis that if your body is big enough to jiggle or protrude then you'd want to do everything you could to make it look less so.  Even if that means having your breasts squashed sideways or under your arms. Which looks weird, well it looks weird on me. If that's what some women want - then by all means cater to that desire - but don't assume that we're all the same. Or want the same thing. Or that we all have a problem with our breasts protruding and taking up space. Although I like a degree of support, I certainly do not want to be be minimised. No, I don't.

In the end I bought a beigeish Fayreform bra. The "Helen" which looks like an instrument of torture but was the best fit and shape. Despite the palaver of fitting, I was exactly the size I thought I would be, 22DD. If it is comfortable next week I am going to buy some more online. In black. Because David Jones doesn't have them in any other colour than "gold" which is really a hotted up beige. Another thing I don't get - why would you allow your shop to be essentially a fitting service and then have your customers buy the colours they really want at a cheaper price online? Because while I was there with my card and spending the money, I probably would have bought several. Or if they had an online shop as well, they could leverage the service they had already provided. Stupid. Anyway, am also going to try the Sara bra - which DJs used to stock but now don't. So I'll just take a punt and buy it online. Because I can.

So why is it so hard to buy good basics? Do they not want my money? One would think not.

all is order there

This afternoon, while Gerard took Grace to her first ever AFL game*, I stayed home and cleaned the house. It was great. I was tempted to go to the footy too, but I hadn't had a whole day at home this week on account of the crazy busy. So an afternoon at home, by myself, communing with the house, was just what I needed. I put the music up loud, opened all the windows and got busy with the broom and duster. There is no longer clutter and filth everywhere. There are fresh vases of greenery from the garden and it feels so much more orderly and pleasant now. Tomorrow Gerard's going to do some mopping and other bits and pieces and we'll be set for another couple of weeks. Even if they are busy - it's a good busy.
poppy doll for ruby-lee
Hopefully being on top of the housework will mean some more time with my sewing machine. Or at least sorting my projects and getting ready for the next craft weekend in a few weeks time. Last weekend I ignored the domestic chaos and made another poppy doll (it's such a great pattern - if you are thinking of making a cloth doll to be dressed, I highly recommend it). For Ruby-Lee's third birthday. We're missing them a heap and it tugs a bit when I hear Ruby-Lee talking on skype about Grace going to her party. So maybe that's why it seemed so terribly important for me to make something. And really, it seems a bit silly to buy something from a shopping centre here and post it there.
Ruby-Lee did seem to like her present - although at three it's probably something she will grow into a bit - especially the dressing and undressing part. Grace was pretty chuffed that they both have the same doll. And Betty seemed to like it too. And despite running out of time at the end, I really enjoyed making her. Much more fun than traipsing around a shopping centre. I plan on making one for Maeve too when she's a bit older. Them all having a variation on the same handmade toy really appeals to me, don't know why, it just does.
* Grace mostly loved going to the footy. They were given some tickets behind the cheer squad by someone whose friends were a no show so had great seats, for free. Apparently the family toilets at docklands are very decent, Grace managed score a mars bar from people sitting nearby and she did some good barracking. Unfortunately the blues let us down - which Grace was more philosophical about than her dad.

this and that, mostly pretty happy

Life is whizzing past at a frantic pace right now. Not in a bad way - just in a hard to find much still time for blogging kind of way.

Yesterday we signed on the dotted line to have gas ducted heating installed. Yes, that's right five star, energy efficient GAS DUCTED HEATING. I have never lived in a house that is warm all over in winter (well except for a few short times when I moved back with my parents after they installed central heating - we certainly didn't have central heating growing up). It means cracking into the renovation stash but we decided that this is worth it. Hopefully we'll be all toasty within a week or so. No more wearing beanies to bed in the middle of winter. Just too exciting.

I've been working pretty hard on our campaign to get a high school in Coburg. Who knew that using email marketing software would be so challenging? But I have it up and running and we've sent out our first email. Did you know that people who use email marketing software can tell whether you've opened the email or not? Or that the code includes such things as a merge tag and that you can't use flash or html widgets. Apparently email code has to be written like it's 1998? The program does it for me but well, it's been a steep learning curve. Anyway the campaign is gathering momentum - we were on Stateline and I suspect the pace will just keep increasing until the election. I'll let you know when I've added the email sign up form to the website but in the meantime you can join us on Facebook here

Grace is reading! I know! I never expected it to happen this quickly and actually I had very little hand in it - Gerard helps her the most with her readers but in the space of a week she went from guessing and being read to - then to sounding out - then to actually reading. Blows me away. And she's finally riding a bike and I think the trainer wheels could come off any day.

Which reminds me - I rode a bike that Gerard fixed up for me the other day. It's been many, many years and it felt very strange at first. Grace was very encouraging as I tottered around the court, yelling you can do it mummy and then oh mum, you're a great bike rider!   

This led to the first family bike outing. Sure to be one of many. Grace is very keen and I've been told I need to up my exercise level as part of a strategy to reduce my cholesterol which is no longer in the totally healthy range. Mind you, when I asked the doctor exactly what the raised level of cholesterol meant he said increased risk of heart attack and stroke and of course I asked by how much. So he looked at the chart with my other factors and as it turns out, I'm still in the low risk range. But apparently as I get older that may change.So I've made a few changes like substituting buttery toast for muesli or porridge most mornings and increasing my activity level a bit. As my doctor said, more exercise, less butter. It's feels quite good really.

Oh and another thing -  I have new shoes. Kumfs mary janes and they delight me. I've even started wearing tights again - probably the last time I wore tights was in the early 90s. I still hate putting them on in the morning but I found some lovely ones that fit well and are comfortable all day (razzamatazz curves for those who care) and also, excitement of excitement, I've found a footless tight that is fantastic - Basque plus size from Myer. I had thought that this year was going to be another dud hosiery year and a couple of weeks ago, in anticipation of boot season, I had bought some footless tights from entitled only to discover that they are actually a legging. I have since sent them back complaining that leggings are not hosiery and that therefore they shouldn't advertise them as tights - but I don't think they are going to give me my money back unlike dream diva who were fantastic when some t-shirts turned out to viscose rather than the cotton elastene they advertised. But the Basque footless tights, excellent. 

And one last thing, over the last six months, we've been doing some work together as a family, with some help from Mind, a group working with people who have mental illnesses (I saw an ad in the local paper). It was totally free. They came to us, there was almost no paperwork. And it has been great. At times it was hard work, but rather than hashing out why and how you piss each other off, the course focuses a lot on the positive aspects of your relationships and gets you to work on how you talk to each other. Some of it seems really obvious but it is surprisingly effective. And the benefits have rippled through our life. I feel so proud of us. 

Alright, that is it for me tonight. We've had our broadband slowed - again. At least this time we're close to the end of the month. We'd planned on a couple of big download days to get value for money from our plan but it only took half a day for Gerard to download enough music to completely max out our usage. So I guess I won't be on the internet much tomorrow - dial up is just so last century. Maybe time for some craft? 

it was awesome

I'd almost forgotten just how much I love going to Sewjourn. Beginning with the sweep of the Lancefield road as it dips across an old bridge and back up into a world of big skies and puffy clouds. Turning into the gravel drive (thankfully without incident this time) and watching the house fill up with people and projects and take on the energy of the weekend. Watching for the light that comes through the high studio window at a certain point of the afternoon. But most of all I love being part of a creative community of women. 

sewjourn april 2010

1. lisa, 2. pins, 3. yuki, 4. autumn leaves, 5. kate, lisa and suse, 6. somewhere over the rainbow..., 7. gaura with bokeh, 8. sewjourn, 9. lovely kate, 10. dew on the paddock, 11. cheesecake slice, 12. yuki's pincushion, 13. sewing studio in the morning, 14. caroline watches yuki roll nori rolls, 15. nori rolls and salad for lunch, 16. me with grace's skirt, 17. eleanor and caroline, 18. sheet for quilt backing, 19. suse, 20. hive of activity, 21. afternoon light in the studio, 22. caroline and a finished skirt, 23. lisa's rug, 24. shula, 25. suse and her quilt!

As always we had beautiful, lovingly prepared food. Lots of inspiration there and I'm definitely going to make Shula's cracked wheat dish and Yuki's salad next time we get bok choy in the vegie box. Somehow I managed to get off very lightly in the meals department owing to the number of people we had and the decision to have simple self catered breakfasts. That worked really well and I enjoyed the food more because of it. It also gave me the prefect excuse to make the super rich cheesecake slice again (recipe here).

Making of all sorts happened at a steady yet relaxed buzz. We had a quilter, a screenwriter, a tap dancer who sewed a beautiful purple skirt and led us in pictionary, a knitter who made cupcakes and helped with the food photography, a quilter who felted and steeked and made her first skirt, a garment maker who crossed over to quilting's dark side, a yogini who set incense at the door of the studio and practised embroidery with stillness and grace, a seamstress of beautiful tops from Japanese pattern books, a masseuse starting up her own business. And me. There were moments of utter hilarity, the odd burst of manic activity. Even some swearing. But there was quiet too.

I came home with a new cord skirt from an Ottobre pattern, some linen pants that I'd already cut out but are now ready for next summer, a garment and pattern copied from an existing top (pattern needs some work but it's a start) and a skirt for Grace (which I think she will love once I take the elastic out a bit). Everything will be worn and was a pleasure to make. Except for the gathered bits of the top which did involve some swearing, but hey it was late and, well you know.

So all in all, awesome. Thank you Suse and all you lovely ladies of the internet for being there and for making it such a pleasure. Despite coming back to a weekend of catch up housework and a mountain of folding, I still feel relaxed and energised by the whole experience. Just awesome.