Tag Archives: equal deity opportunities

Patchwork swirling twirling dress

Well I’ve missed a day again. Thordamn. The thing is,  I was seized with the urge to finish the patchwork dress for Ida to wear to the circus. I’m not sure whether these goals are good or bad. They do mean I, finally, get things actually finished but on the other hand I tend to get even more slapdash than usual.

The dress was from this amazing tutorial Patchwork Twirler  and is really a great example of a gorgeous dress. I cut out the squares the other Ida-free morning.

I even attempted to stop the fraying mayhem by zig zagging around every square. Took a while… I’ll let you know if it was effective after the first wash. I was aiming for a rainbow effect, starting with red at the top.

 I calculated the least layers I could get away with was probably four. Since I’ve never gathered before and have a disastrously short attention span I thought I’d stick with that.

Well. I completely forgot about making a bodice/yoke thing. I hurriedly cut a rough shape out of some cotton and tacked it together. I planned to fit it better to her at the end. First mistake. Also the cotton I used was a bit thin. Next time I’d make it a bit more substantial.

Look – it’s already bloody fraying and I haven’t even sewn it up yet. I’m still optimistic at this point. It’s my first gather and I haven’t realised I’ve sewn it to the bodice wrong.


 There is still hope in my heart.


 I’m starting to worry now. I didn’t realise gathering stuff was going to be so tricky. I’ve also realised the yoke is too flimsy and that attaching the layers can only get harder as they get longer…

 Yep, I’m cursing now. Loudly and colourfully. The kids and Steve are foraging in the kitchen for something to eat for tea. They can gnaw on cabbage stumps from the compost tub for all I care. I just painstakingly steered my increasingly uncooperative sewing machine around the previous flounce only to discover at the end it had run out of thread in the bobbin half way and in the flurry of material I didn’t even notice.

Had to repin it all. Joined the rest of the foraging family in the kitchen briefly to check I didn’t miss any gin. Bacchus damn it – I didn’t.

Here I’m attempting to pin at quarters before gathering to try and make it more even (why bother on the last layer you might wonder – that is not a learning through experience attitude – cut it out)

About halfway through sewing this layer on I had a little weep. Afloat on what seemed a neverending pile of pin- filled patches and realising I’d managed to catch a section of the previous layer. Steve’s put the kids to bed and I won’t be able to make the top fit properly on Ida AND I’ve promised her she’ll be able to wear it tomorrow. Gah.

This is no fault of the tutorial. Just my technical ineptitude. I think sewing is a good example of more haste less speed. Also I’m not very good at undoing and redoing. My natural inclination is to press on.

Mysteriously during my random piecing I’ve managed to make some of the patches line up. I was too lazy to un-pin and re-do so I’ve just let it happen. I’m hoping at the end it will not matter.

The colours are so awful because it is late at night. I’ve still got to rig some ribbony straps. I do like it but all the faults seem glaringly obvious. I totally see what I’d do differently next time so it’s been a good learning curve. The question is whether Ida will like it in the morning.

Ta da! – she does. It’s beams all round she spends a good half an hour spinning then crashing into stuff, dizzy.

I realise I’m covering all her clothes in those button rosettes but I just can’t get enough of them. Really need to top up the button box though.

The next photo is after a spinning induced collapse. There was a dreadful scene when we were trying to leave for the circus in the morning as Ida felt the pushchair straps were crushing her skirt. Bribery had to be used.

The colours look so much nicer in the daylight. My mum raises her eyebrows at the wonky hem but is charmed by the way it lends itself to swirling. I love it, faults and all. I’m definitely planning another one, a more competently made one and can’t recommend the indietutes tute  highly enough.

Making a mini-pond

I would like to present, da-da da-da Daaaaa!, The Pond Project

(or, indeed as Zeph would like to point out, the watery habitat spot..it is just a washing up bowl so we’re not sure it can qualify as a pond.)

The small people consult the plans…

A certain amount of scavenging and a rain drenched trip to a garden centre today have furnished us with most of the necessary stuff;

Four bricks and some moss-covered, three-year old playsand…

Some donated logs from mum’s extensive pile. A couple of thyme plants, an oregano, a salvia. In the white bag is water mint, a very small bit of yellow flag, a bunch of pondweed, and a small oxygenating grassy plant. (Yes, yes – I have lost the tags. They’re all native – that much I remember from the exhausting 40 minutes poring over them.) Oh and a purple light saber. Vital.

Position your old washing up bowl on top of the bricks. There is talk here of getting one short side of the bowl facing south and the other north (obviously) but since we’re limited in space this just went where I put it.

There was quite a lot of discussion from the supervisor about this and some heated consulting of the plans.

 It was resolved with a “because I said so..”

Right, then we packed sand between the bricks for the bowl to sit on. We used the spirit level to try to keep it as straight as possible. Maybe we should have employed it more than once during the process as it did come out a little crooked. Fits in with everything else though.

You need to bank up a mix of sand and soil at the south end and pile logs with a bit of soil at the other. You need more soil than you might think. There are now a few craters around the rest of the garden. We used some of our bit-ier compost at the logpile end. We also kept back a promising branch to put into the bowl as a dragonfly (ha!) perch.

Then you plant some low aromatic bee friendly  plants on the sandy bank and intersperse them with flat stones for basking flies and bees. We used a golden and a common thyme and the oregano. In the soil at the foot of bank I planted the salvia and I plan to put some more nectar rich stuff in here. 

We scattered a mixed seed packet of butterfly friendly annuals as well.

Now we’re getting to the good bit : cover the bottom of the bowl with a generous layer of pond gravel. Leave some for the top of the pots.

Arrange your plants as you will. They should be at the sunny bank end to leave the logpile end free for all the hedgehogs etc that will be falling over themselves to drink at the pool of loveliness. You should also pile up some cobbles in the corner there for wildlife to get in and out. We don’t have any yet and I’ve reassured everyone that they will be able to scramble out via the basking stick and pot plants in the interim. (Wotan help me if they don’t.)

Ah, the VERY best bit, filling it up. I’ve let this can of water stand for a couple of days. The water should clear and settle over the next couple of days.

I think when it rains it’ll overflow which will make the log side nice and damp for toads etc and should just drain away through the sandy bank. We’ll see since it’s raining pretty heavily right now.

The result;

wetland wildlife habitat, and….

happy Zeph. Phew.

Actually this was a lot of fun and not much financial outlay. I think it looks great and I’m feel pretty confident it’s safe for Ida as well. They were both massively  engaged and involved and Zeph just spent an hour with Steve tonight looking up the kind of flies, bugs and beetles it might attract. I’d heartily  recommend it as a family project.

Zeph found it in his Bird life magazine that he gets as part of a young RSPB membership that was a very welcome birthday present from my Aunt. So all round, a brilliant day – I’d like to end it with a photo of the snail Ida found on the bag of sand;

We caught her later putting him into her dolls house. It took a lot of persuading to convince her he’d be happier in the garden. I love all my BT’s.


While transforming some leftovers into a delicious cottage pie for tea today I heard an alarming noise from the garden. When I stuck my head through the conservatory door I found a pigeon had got confused and trapped by the safety net around Z’s trampoline. It was flapping hysterically around while making a strange hooting noise. Things had been exacerbated by the fact Mittens (our cat) had noted this phenomenon and had climbed into the trampoline as well. She had obviously jumped up at the pigeon and was bouncing about a bit. She’d also obviously changed her mind about the whole thing. Probably when she’d seen how big the bird was – she prefers hunting spiders. She was trying to get to the entrance and the bird was flapping around in front of it – every time she jumped to try to get out she bounced.

There was a lot of hooting and yowling. I dearly wish I’d managed to capture it on film but I was transfixed. Transfixed I tell you.

Luckily things resolved themselves before I intervened. (Like I had any idea how to.) The pigeon finally realised it only had to flap a foot higher and Mitz dove out of the gap and shot down the garden.

To be honest nothing else today really touches that. It’s been a great day, lots of sun, sewing club, sewing edging closer to being a wearable item of clothing, bit more knitting, playdough play with Ida in which she made a mermaid. With two heads.

At least she said it was a mermaid.

The house still smells of roses and I managed to wrestle a couple more bits of anemone root out of the rock hard mud. I scoured a few more jobs pages. Winced at my bank balance. Stuff like that.

My best beautiful things today were watching Ida eat her dippy egg for lunch. She frowns with concentration when dipping. There is clearly an optimum amount of runny yolk and more set gold to be smeared on the soldiers and she’ll not lose focus ’til she has it.

Zeph cheering himself up about being a bit rubbish at the running races they’ve done today in PE. “They won’t be laughing when they see I can dive and how fast my breaststroke is.” Dear Thoth I hope I’ve given him something he’s good at in games. Can’t wait for swimming to start this term.

The wind yesterday had broken one of my iris stems in the garden. The good bit is I get to bring it indoors and put it in a vase. It casts a striking shadow on my white wall.

Ida won’t lie down at bedtime until she has a hug from Zeph, he comes in laughing and she fastens herself around his neck like a monkey. He reads her a bedtime story without being asked. They both smell of clean hair and toothpaste. Steve and I just sit and listen along. Bugger the overdraft – we’re rich in BT’s.

Calm down dear…

Well, it’s very satisfying all round to see the smiling, caring new man, new Tory party mask slip a little. Oh look – it’s a pompous, public school, Eton tailed, over privileged chauvinist, gosh – I was fooled by that bicycle.

Oops now I mention it perhaps the heartless slashing of essential benefits for vulnerable people, the smashing of the Surestart system – the first real chance of eradicating child poverty or the hypocritical removal of frontline NHS services and the dismantling of the free health service was,  perhaps, a little clue.

 Medea bless Angela Eagle for her brilliant response – I lifted this below from this article;

But Eagle said she had been “patronised by better people than the prime minister”, adding that Cameron should instead be apologising for the economy, which had “effectively flatlined for six months”.

She told BBC News: “I don’t think any modern man would have expressed himself in that way.

“The prime minister is responsible for what he says in the Commons. I think if there is an apology to make it should be for the dreadful growth figures we have seen today, which demonstrated that the economy has effectively flatlined for six months.”

She said it was up to Cameron “as to whether he wants to annoy 51% of the population”.

Although I was jaw clenchingly furious for a moment I agree it’s not exactly the end of the world. It was a pleasure to see Cameron slightly rattled but this ridiculous toddleresque form of debate usually turns my stomach. More Punch and Judy than democracy in action it seems the biggest blusterers and the loudest voices win the points. I wonder if all this unleashed testosterone and ball swinging is why those benches seem  filled with public school clones?

Parliament is hardly representative is it? and before we even tackle class or ethnicity I’m talking gender.

Why are there so few women MP’s? Well this campaign has some interesting points to make Women in parliament.

 Lilith love the Fawcett society.

Right, I’m off to bed with a trashy crime novel. I’ll be tackling the Monarchy tomorrow – yes it was a nice dress – yes they seem perfectly pleasant but  it’s all about meritocracy in this house don’cha know – don’t get me started on the hideous “princess” phenomena. I read Ida the Paperbag Princess at bedtime tonight and will keep it up until she leaves this house.

Crackers schmackers

They’re done, they’re done! All packed up in a shoebox and whisked out of the house so I NEVER have to look at them again. I carefully crept past Monica’s lair and left them at the office for her because I really don’t want to assemble them and I am totally rubbish at saying no.

Besides I’ve got glass jars to paint for tealights….

Here they lurk;

Looks like hardly any eh? Loki damn it.

I also nearly forgot another cake sale. Zeph suggests I should work at being more organised. I glare over the bowl of chocolate orange icing. Smirking he lays the table. To celebrate the sun shining it’s salad for tea. There are doleful faces all round the table, I redeem myself by producing a piece of cake for pudding. I berate my inner jewish mother for using food as a reward. Ho hum.

All my seeds are up, except the  beans which were quite old. Even the peas planted in pots outside are making a good showing. The potatoes are chitting beautifully and things are springing up in the garden. The delicate montana clematis I planted under the eucalyptus last year is smothered in buds. Squinting I can see it’s twined its way halfway up the tree. The peony is laden down with fat buds and there are forget-me-nots everywhere. I’m very envious of my neighbours camellias. I’m definitely going to try one in a pot for next year.

All the slabs are down on their thick bed of sharp sand. I need to water down the sand then fill the gaps with half sand, half earth with a generous helping of various seeds. I’ve got some small plants, creeping thyme and violas, to put in as clumps as well. I can’t wait for it to settle and moss up.

My Dad is coming on Saturday and I brace myself for his shuddering. I do know how to lay slabs correctly, with hardcore, levels and mortar. It’s just not what I wanted here…  

The next garden job is building my raised bed at the front with my gifted bricks. I have a bag of ready to mix mortar but think it’ll probably only do one layer. I’m also not sure if I need to try to drill holes in the concrete base. It’s pretty cracked already but still… need to do some googling I think. Walking around this spring nosing in other people’s front gardens I yearn for a magnolia. I wonder if a little one could survive in a shallow raised bed.  We’ll see. Steve says I need to curb my tree yearnings or we’re going to end up living in a Grimm’s Fairytale. “End up?” I say.

Death queries today; two. Hmmm. Spring has laid a beautiful thing before every step today. I appreciate it very much Lady.

seeing stars again, not cut from gold paper this time

I post the reply to the wedding invitation. We’re definitely not going – It’s for Steve’s nephews second wedding and is tooth grindingly formal. Now each to their own and all that but I fail to understand the “etiquette” of expensive wedding. The woman he’s marrying is the daughter of a lord and a deb. She’s also been married before, is over thirty and, as far as I can see, independent. So why are the wedding invitations couched in the language of chattels and dowries? More pertinently , why does she allow this? It’s all embossed, silver gilded, high cartridge pomposity. It’s also morning suits and no children and “carriages at midnight.”

I’m slightly mystified by the last and Steve and I spend idle moments wondering over it. My friend N solves it at a glance. “it means everyone out at midnight, that’s when it ends.” Later on Steve slyly says she’s blown her working class credentials out of the water. We swop suitable cryptic notes to include on a good old WC wedding – no hits til after pics (no punch ups ’til after the photographs) Hip it, no whippets (put your special brew into a hip flask for the church and no dogs at the reception.)

It’s the last couple of weeks before my birthday and I’m definitely in a grey trough. Unreasonably, I blame the crackers (Baphomet curse them *shakes fist*) but trudge on. I focus on the passing minutes and painstakingly collect beautiful things.

Today N gave me a lift to B&Q for more sand…and a couple of cut price stones….and some mortar. Poor love, Baal bless her and her lovely car. Ida and I poured sand and spread it out and I lugged a few slabs about. It’s coming on, slowly and wonkily – which is just how I like it. There was an incident with Ida, a trowel and my eye. She was trying to lever something up and slipped – you can imagine how sharply the metal trowel jerked into the air and then collided with my eye as I was bending over dropping a slab into place.

There was cursing.

Also a lot of Sow-ee ‘s and kissing better from Ida, mostly on my knees as she hugged them as I reeled around blinking furiously. We went in for a cup of tea after that…

Zeph has gone up a stage in swimming – Huzzah! – he finally managed the 10 metres of butterfly, a feat that had stalled him. Last term his teacher said to me he needed a bit of work on his butterfly stroke. Hmm, yes, I believe that’s why I’m forking out for lessons…because I swim like a decrepit gorilla. I’m really pleased for him, slightly less pleased when I see this stage mysteriously costs more. Bastards.

Steve comes home with a polystyrene tray of Saxifraga’s, “to go between the slabs” I am deeply impressed, he finds it hard to distinguish between pansies and daffodils. I suspect an outside influence but it turns out he read one of my wistful flora lists I leave around the place one the back of envelopes.

Zeph and I are childishly excited about going to the theatre tomorrow night. We’re going to see English Touring Opera’s Fantastic Mr Fox. He asks if there will be singing – “I would hope so…” I’ll let you know.

I’m crackers

Oh Shiva,Kali,Jehovah, Isis, Gitche-Manitou help me now. There are a million crackers to make – well that’s what it feels like. Steve is right, I should have been plainer and quicker but now I’ve done some they all have to be the same. Or it won’t be fair.

I’ve got glue stick finger.

We got back late after a roast dinner at G’mas. Ida didn’t even wake up while I undressed and redressed her. She’s been playing swingball with Ip (uncle philip) and her brother. There has been much squealing and running about. Alex has knitted her the most beautiful cardigan. I’ll take a photo once I’m over the cracker hurdle. She tried to explain how to do sleeves but I zoned out. She has a bit of lovely wool over and offers to do a simple tank top. “Oooh – don’t you dare,” I say, indignant. “that’ll show up my shabby effort!”  

The glitter glue is calling…