Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dressmaking and Tailoring

I used to make some of my own clothes.  I learned to sew when I was young girl.  My freshman year in high school, I made a prom dress.  I wasn't old enough to have a date and go to the prom, but I was on the refreshment committee and would be required to wear a dress that night.

I still sew from time to time but here in the UK, fabric shops are very rare now.  Making things isn't nearly as fun as it used to be.  Cloth costs more and is harder to come by.  It is less expensive to buy a cheap top at the supermarket than to buy the materials and notions needed to run it up myself.   How does that make sense?

I have recently completed two baby quilts for my lovely grandsons.  It has reignited the satisfaction I get from sewing.
I still look at garment construction when I shop.  How close together are the stitches?  Are the buttons going to stay on?  Hems secure?  My current annoyance is with jeans for women that are made of the flimsiest material.  Jeans made of denim coloured dress material will not stand up to working outside.  Why can't we have jeans made of good old heavyweight denim?

I know how to lay out a pattern and make simple garments, but I want to add to my skill base.  I would like to be able to alter the pattern to fit my odd shape.  I want to be able to make a pair of trousers.  Wool trousers that are fully lined would be nice. 

Some of the finest wool fabrics in Europe are woven right here in my part of the country.  Couture houses have their materials made near by.  I can buy the ends of rolls and factory seconds from the mills that produce cloth for design houses like Dior and Chanel.

I'm going to see about enrolling this week.  More on that as we go along.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Back to the Birds

At the beginning of the year, I started a little project.  I filled up the bird feeders then sat down at the window and watched to see what birds came to visit the feeders.  I made a note of the birds that visit the feeder and in what order I see them.
Red poll, siskin and goldfinch
I offer a couple of different foods.  I have peanuts, sunflower hearts, niger or thistle seed, mixed seed and suet balls.  I figure the wider the variety of foods being offered, the wider the variety of birds.  From time to time I throw some raisins out there and the occasional crust of bread.

Now that it has been a few months in, I can see trends.  There are two new species that I've never seen before let alone seen in my garden.  At some point I'll count up the annual list and see what we've got.  One sitting saw fifteen separate species of bird visit our garden. 
Great spotted woodpecker - female

I'm making a note of them in a spare annual diary that I had left over from work. I write down what I've seen each day.  When a new species shows up for the first time, I highlight it in yellow.   I also note when the red squirrels visit.  They are not birds, but they are rare little beasts and deserve mention.
pheasant family - regular visitors

I'm still waiting for swallows in the garden.  I've seen them for a few weeks in other parts of Dumfries & Galloway but not HERE.  I am also waiting for thrushes.  We usually get them in the summer, hopping across the lawn.  I expect the swallows and thrushes any day now.
female pheasant trying to get the suet balls
This is really fun. 

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


Five short weeks after the arrival of Lennox, we have another addition to the family.  Please join me in welcoming Jack to the world!

He as born on the 10th of April  . . . .eventually.  It took his poor mother 36 hours to deliver him  and in the end he showed up in the traditional way.  Both mother and baby, though tired and bruised by the whole ordeal, were fine.
I now have two beautiful grandsons.  Both sets of parents are doing amazing jobs with their little ones.  The mothers are intelligent and sensible.  They research everything.  I was clueless when my first babies were born.  These little ones have such a head start on things.