Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The end is nigh....

So here we are, the hem is almost finished and with it the mammoth task of making a wedding dress. I promised it by the end of the month and, phew, I'm almost there in the nick of time.

Just before this photo was taken I shed a few unexpected tears. The emotion of all this sewing, the importance of such a task as this was suddenly overwhelming. I had been having a bit of a hemming crisis - this morning I unpicked everything I'd done last night as I just wasn't happy with it. By this afternoon (having had to rush out for more thread - those hoops and frills just used it all up - ha ha!) it still wasn't really going right - I think my eagerness to deliver the dress today wasn't really helping. I'd been thinking a lot about my Mum and how I really want to thank her for having taught me to sew - thanks for getting me into this mess, Stick! - and wondering what advice she would give me to sort out the blasted hem. Then I realised, she would, without doubt have asked for some heavenly assistance. In fact I could almost hear her saying "Right, Lord, what are you doing here? Why isn't this working? What are you trying to teach me?" So, I asked exactly the same questions. Unfortunately I don't know what the answers were/are but I did feel able to carry on and finish. 

I subscribe to the podcast of Desert Island Discs and the last one I listened to was Alfie Boe. I hadn't heard of him before but he sang in Les Miserables and Moulin Rouge...You can find out more at

Anyway, the poignant bit was when he talked about his Dad. Alfie was the baby of 9 children and very close to his father. He tells how he held his Dad as he was dying and even felt him leave. I can totally relate to that! And then he said that his Dad had told him this: "When I'm gone, there will be a point in your life when you'll see me." For Alfie, that was going into the kitchen, making a cup of tea and noticing his hand and the way he stirred the tea.

I suppose this has been on my mind with all this sewing. My Mum sewed a lot. Amongst other things she would make me miniature versions of her Laura Ashley dresses when I was a child. I learnt by watching, listening and trying it myself. I'm still learning. But I realised today that I sew in the same way as she did - too many pins in my mouth (such a bad habit), foot slightly at an angle on the electric pedal (Mum had a reason for this. Rheumatoid Arthritis meant that her foot wasn't very straight and that was the most comfortable position. I have no reason at all!), the knack of biting off more than you can chew but managing to swallow it anyway (is that me?!)....

Yep, scarily, I am turning into my mother!!! It's a revelation, but why am I that surprised? And actually I'm proud of all that she achieved so I'd say she's not a bad example to follow.

No more tears, just happiness at having been given this gift. Now to try to work out what to do with it! 

Monday, 27 June 2011

So red, so lovely....

Today's lovely thing actually was lovely last week - I just haven't had a chance to tell you about it yet!!

Red Velvet Cupcakes, yum! I keep seeing the recipe or photos of these lovely looking cakes and think that they must be super complicated and way beyond my ability. Well, I'm pleased to say that once I'd worked out how I could get buttermilk without having to search for a shop that sells it (see solution below) they were dead simple and SO effective. And they were so tasty, they were gone even before the icing was made!

Homemade Buttermilk
Put 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar into a measure. Fill to one cup level with whole milk. Leave for 5 minutes. Eh voila! Much less hassle than trying to remember which supermarket sells it. They certainly don't have it at the Coop in Larkhall, which means I'm pretty scuppered and homemade will win for me everytime!

Evidence herewith:

If you're lucky, I might make some for you one day!

PS The dress is almost done, but I can't post anymore photos until after the wedding. It is a secret after all! Sorry!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Sunday lunch - at teatime!

I love Sunday lunch - a roast of some description followed by a proper pudding - although I must admit I'm not terribly good at doing it. Whenever I do, I really wish I was more organised and cook it every week...maybe when I'm a proper grown-up!?

This week we had roast chicken, stuffing, roast potatoes, lots of vegetables, and of course gravy! It would have been at lunchtime but Daddy was out on his bike and we girls were late leaving Grampy's after church. So tea-time it was instead and delicious it was too.

One of the things I found whilst carving the chicken was the little wishbone and remembered a non-broken wishbone was always a treat to pull with my mum. I thought about the way she hooked her little finger around the bone before me and we would both close our eyes and wish, regardless of who got the bigger piece. I'd forgotten all about it. How nice to remember lovely things like that.

Four clean plates (Isabel having had a second plateful!) later, we all enjoyed an ice-cream cone with sprinkles on top (our current favourite pudding). Yum!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Sip it!

Today's lovely things - butterfly straws. Perfect for the butterfly party that C is at right this minute.

Thanks to Gayatri for buying similar for our Book Club Cocktail Night on Thursday and giving me the idea! My mind is whirling with the possibilities...

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Zippidee doodah, zippidee ay, my oh my, what a wonderful day!

Can you guess why I'm rejoicing?! Yes, the zip, my biggest fear, is done and looks beautiful (even if I do say so myself!)....

The outside of the dress is now all sewn and is patiently waiting for the lining to be added. With a bit of luck - and hopefully a tired baby - that can happen shortly.

Many thanks to the lovely Claire for looking after the littlest one this morning so I could get this done. I feel much happier now.

And breathe!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Procrastinate no more!

Finally, after much talk and deliberation, and an unsleeping baby, the dressmaking has begun!

Stage One - the cutting of the silk took place this afternoon.

Stage Two - the sewing of the silk incorporating the sewing of the zip (my biggest fear) should have taken place tonight except that the unsleeping baby, who, after much singing to and chatting with her toys (basically procrastinating - can't think where does she gets that?) went to sleep at the last minute and then had to be woken to go and get her big sister from school, cried very loudly and very insistently for most of the afternoon and evening and made her mummy too exhausted to do much other than eat pretzels and drink white wine. I do find a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc helps the recovery process. Then it was time for Luther. Oh, how I love Luther! The long awaited second series started on BBC One tonight. And now, I'm exhausted again! 

Tomorrow is another day and I WILL sew - and hopefully cut, and sew and sew....

Night all! x

PS Proof that the silk was at least laid out ready to cut


Ever the procrastinator, I managed to find a couple of sewing jobs that ABSOLUTELY had to be done...They were both birthday presents after all.

The first, a lovely green bag for Georgia, complete with flower, of course, for her Flower Party.

Closely followed by a little named cushion for my lovely niece Emily, who amazingly turned 18 today. How did that happen? It only seems like yesterday that she and her big brother Tom came to stay with us when they were little dots and we had no clue how exhausting two little people could be. Great fun, but they certainly kept us on our toes. And now, she's officially an adult. Crikey!

And so to the task in this space!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Double Phew!

It fits! Yippee! Bride and dressmaker both very happy.... 'Though I have to say, lovely B2B, getting ill is a bit of an extreme way to lose weight and it wasn't really necessary! Never mind.

Now it's all systems go to get the dress made... or rather it will be on Tuesday! Tomorrow is too full already, what with Little Me, the piano tuner coming at 1230pm, the floor bloke coming after school pick up to let me know exactly what he's going to do in two weeks time and just how much stuff I have to clear out of the two rooms before then, and then the first of my singing workshops happens. I predict I'll sleep well tomorrow night, let's hope my children do too!

Tuesday it is then. Watch this space!


Well, that was the easiest a zip has ever gone into a dress! Which is just as well really given that the bride is coming in a hour for a final pretend dress fit! Hee hee!

Reality kicked in at the end of last week when I realised that if we were celebrating my Dad's birthday, it must be 9th June (HB, Papaji!) and that meant only one month until my "Still 40" celebrations (I'll be 41 the day after!!) and, above all else, that means one month until the wedding....and the dress hasn't even been cut out yet! Eek!

All necessary parts are now here and after tonight's fitting, it's all systems go. I'm on a mission to see just how much I can do in one week. It would be lovely to complete it, but I won't be too optimisitic.....

Wish me luck and say some prayers....