Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Sewing Machines - Grrrrr!!!

This is the Grrrr part

Things went OK at the back - haven't pressed it yet
It seems I have now pushed my luck with trying to get an embroidery stitch to work on my machine.  I am trying to cover up faded marks from where I have let down my new denim dress (you just can't reveal your knees at my age), I was going along swimmingly, got the spool threaded with matching thread to the top,  tested a l - o - n -g stretch on another piece of material.  I even cautiously stitched the back of the dress first, just to make sure everything, tension etc. was perfect.  Then I got to the front.  Unfortunately, at this stage, I had to refill the spool. Disaster, except that one carries on regardless (surely the spool is not sticking?  I will just go a bit further......) Bad mistake. Everything stuck.  This has happened three times. I have altered the tension, checked the threading. All seems fine.  Just saying.  Eventually, I got so exasperated, I left the whole thing (see pic) and went to the bathroom, tripped and stood in  the bucket of water next to the toilet (see posts re our drought). It just isn't my day.  I'll let you know when I solve this one.......

Monday, 23 October 2017

Small son - Update - still a worry

Google image

Gosh, small son is pushing 30 and has just broken up with his girlfriend after about 15 months together and a few weeks after she moved in.  We were surprised to say the least when we popped in one Saturday morning, to find her packing the boot of her car. I soon found myself comforting a quietly sobbing girl, patting her on the back and almost saying things like "there, there".  I did manage to say inane things like "It's always very hard and I know it hurts......are you moving back in with your mother?  Remember you are always welcome at our house." I gather it was my son who decided to make the break.  I gather she had too many 'issues' for him to cope with.  What worries me now is that he announced to us last week-end that he intends to 'challenge himself' and go alone for a month in Thailand over December.  Alarm bells for his mother: who goes alone to the Far East?  What about drugs, being clapped in jail, having your passport/money/cell phone stolen while you sleep?  Yes, we used to back-pack around Europe in the sixties (well, I hear people did - not me though),  but times have changed, surely small son will place himself in the face of untold dangers?  Perhaps my husband and I read too many contemporary thrillers?  Small son says he is busy doing lots of research and is planning to use youth hostels and hire a scooter.  He doesn't want to do an organised tour.  Can anyone reassure me? He won't know a single person over there.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Mistaken Identity

The two of us

I am talking about who/what was the guilty party?  We may look like the epitome of a happy, loving couple  - who doesn't on a boat cruise - but believe me (all you long-married guys will nod), we have our noisy disagreements and the odd swearing match. A year ago, we bought a new car: a Rav 4 (Sextant also has one).  We were delighted with it, but in several respects the car is paranoid regarding security features. e.g. it screams in panic if we reverse with our trailer attached "You are going to bump into something!!!"  It's taken my husband several hours of scrolling through all the digital screen menus to find the "Off" button for this.  It has one other annoying safety feature which we can't disable: when you exit the car and close the door, all four doors immediately lock, so if you wanted to retrieve something from the back seat, you have to unlock again and press the 'unlock' button on the dash before you can open the door. This is all very well but it results in a lot of frustration/cursing because neither of us has been able to reconcile with this feature. The last time this happened, I threw up my arms in exasperation, and my husband blew his top because he thought I was blaming him. I yelled that actually I was blaming the car.  When I thought about it later, when tempers had cooled, I realised that in fact, I was fed up with myself. How long is it going to take me to have patience with this feature?  (NB. He still doesn't believe me. Note to self:  You are old enough to learn self-control!)

Sunday, 8 October 2017

"Sleeve" or did she mean "Armhole"? (Rag dolls)

The bigger one seems to have suffered a leg-shortening
I was lucky to be given 3 kits to make small rag dolls a while ago and as I am not the world's best hand-sewer, nor do I really like working with tiny things, but all the little bits were in the kit, so when I was looking for a new project  - I had a go, reassured as the style of sewing was described as 'naive/primitive'. Definitely my kind of stitching. All went swimmingly, I actually found it kind of therapeutic until I got to sewing up the side seams. A stickler for following instructions to the letter (or so I thought), I ended up with a dress that wouldn't do up at the back by about 2 inches, and the sides were so wide, they looked like something out of the 17th century French court. All because the pattern spoke about sewing up as far as the "Sleeves" (written like that).  Therefore I tried to make sleeves.  To cut a long story short, I had to unpick my effort and start again, this time trying to make it look like the picture, and attach the gathered bits straight up to the yoke. Had the pattern said "Armholes" - light would have dawned.  Thought I would show you a pattern detail so you can see where I went wrong.  See "Cut to here" made me think it was for a sleeve seam.  It doesn't help that I used to be a pedantic teacher of English. Anyway, I got it right in the end. This will be a gift for my 8-year-old granddaughter (the smaller one doesn't play with dolls) - there will be two identical twins with the slightly bigger one in the middle.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Very Very Amateur Birdwatchers

Piet-my-vrou - common in our garden

Having retired close to the Westcoast National Park, we have become enthusiastic, if deplorably slap-dash birdwatchers.  Usually, we go for a gentle stroll down to the nearest bird hide which borders a protected area of our lagoon, armed with decent binoculars each, but usually forgetting our bird book.  The hide has a few helpful photographs on the walls depicting the most common birds and we argue in fierce whispers as to their identification with what is outside, (but not if there are serious birders present  - witness huge lenses on their cameras).  Then absolute, polite silence is observed. Sometimes it is easy, we know heron from a seagull, for example, but often the "little brown jobs" defeat us and no amount of comparing pages in the bird book when we get home seems to be conclusive, even if we have managed to take a photo.  It's awesome though to read that many of the birds are visitors from the far north, meaning Russia, and one constantly marvels at their determination to get here, to the Southern tip of Africa. What works a little better is to listen to an individual bird call and look it up on the App our son bought for my husband's birthday on his cell phone. This beats the book because each bird photo is accompanied by it's song.  We have often had naughty fun briefly teasing the birds by playing their song.  At least when we are dive-bombed by an indignant sunbird we know we have got the right one. My husband takes the biscuit for bird identification. "What do you think that was?" I ask.  "Oh, that was a normal bird," says he. We are saving up to go on a course.