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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The big 2 ... 5 !

We made it!

Today is our 25th wedding anniversary ... I don't think I feel old enough to be in that sort of age/anniversary category but you can't argue with the numbers!!

Our wedding day, 25 years ago, was in the middle of winter in NZ and it was pouring down with rain. The fact that we needed brollies to get to and from the wedding car into the church and then across to the old historic house, situated beside the church, where we had our photos taken (because it was too wet outside) was just a minor blip and quite frankly didn't bother us very much at all.

We had such a great day with all our family and friends around us. Everything went smoothly and we ended up being among the last to leave the wedding reception (sometime between 1 - 2am) because we were enjoying ourselves too much.

Even if you don't do / won't do / can't do the Math, I'm sure you can instantly tell from our photos which decade we were married in!!! ... 2011 .. take away 25 .. equals .. mmmm???? .... Yep, right smack, bang in the middle of the 80's ... big shoulder pads, bright colours, big hair (well not so much those of us in the wedding party but quite a few of our family and friends obliged) - all the boxes were ticked. My hair was the other 80's style - spikey! Just a bit shorter than I have now so no huge, long veil for me, it was challenging enough to bobby pin in the small veil I'd chosen.

I reckon the cerise pink bridesmaid dresses were never worn again ... oh such a waste (wink wink). Along with the cerise shoes and the cerise stockings ... wait, haven't finished yet ... and the lads cerise bow ties!!!

The boys suits were hired so at least that proved to be the sensible option. I don't think it occurred to me at the time that all the boys in cream suits meant I wouldn't stand out quite so much ... and they all very bravely put on a smile for the photographer - thanks guys!

I'm know there are some weddings that are very classic in their styling, ours wasn't one but I think it's kinda nice when you can look back at the photos and tell what the trends and styles were at that time. Otherwise, think of all the missed opportunities to reminisce about those choices!

Life has thrown it's ups and downs over the years (fortunately more good than bad) but by far the biggest up has been our two beautiful children who arrived in our lives 5 and 7 years after we were married. I'm sure most couples think their lives are busy and full to the brim before kids ... things change dramatically when babies come along and your life becomes even more hectic and fulfilled in a completely different context - something I wouldn't change for anything! Our children have grown up to be wonderful young adults and we are extremely proud of them both.

We are now arriving at the next stage in our life where they will fly the coup and we will become empty nesters (not sure why those all relate to birds) but it is hard to believe how quickly the last 25 years ... quarter century!! ... has flown (there's another one) past.

I wonder if the next 25 will roll by as fast.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sweet 16 Panel Bag

I made this Panel bag a couple of months ago for a friend of Hayley's 16th birthday. We both went to Ikea to have a look at their fabrics ... Hayley chose this for her friend and another fabric for me to make a bag for her ... and, of course, I had to choose a fabric for a bag for me too!

It felt a bit odd cutting and measuring your own fabric which was then weighed and priced but I guess that is all part of the self-serve Ikea experience. Actually, we did get a bit lost trying to find the fabric department which is exactly what Ikea hopes will happen, isn't it!! And I'm sure we're not the first people to suffer that fate.

Even though it may not look like it, the fabric required a bit of layout planning before cutting so that I had the birds/flowers/leaves exactly where I wanted them.

This is the third Panel bag from Nicole Mallalieu Design I've made and it came together easily, all due to Nikki's very clear, comprehensive pattern instructions.

I chose to make the pleated version, including both the zip pocket on one side and the compartment pocket on the other. The fabulously shiny 38mm square edged o-rings on the shoulder strap and 19mm magnetic catch really finish the bag off beautifully!

The nice, shiny and smooth satin lining ... mmmmm

It is a surprisingly roomy bag ... I'm currently using one as my handbag and it can hold loads of other people's stuff so you are never short for room which is great!

Hayley's friend loved the bag and was using it straight away so that made me a very happy girl!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Straight to the pointe

My daughter Hayley arrived home last week with a few bags full of ... pointe shoes ... Oh, and if you're one of the "I feel the need to count everything'" type, that'd be 12 pair!

It would appear I've got a little bit of hand-sewing to do in the next week or so, with each shoe needing ribbon and elastic stitched on.

Hayley is actually perfectly capable of stitching these on herself but that's what Mum's are for aren't they? It won't be long before she's no longer living at home and will have to do all this herself.

I don't think I will ever have to worry about my son Rhys arriving home with such a request (ballet's not really his thing). It's more likely to be replacing a bit of velcro on a pocket on his work shorts ... a much quicker job and I can use the machine!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Introducing my 'Baby Ballerina' ...

... a.k.a. my Hottie Challenge entry!! 

A few posts back I have you a sneak peek at the colour scheme I was planning for my Hottie Challenge. This weekend I've had a bit of fun creating this teeny, tiny leotard and knotted tutu combo.

'Baby Ballerina' Hottie Challenge entry

But before I go any further ...... Are you wondering what on earth a hottie is??

Hottie is short for hot water bottle and is something we used to use quite a bit in the winter time as children because we didn't have electric blankets.

The idea of the challenge is to create a cover for a hottie using whatever art or textile technique you like, keeping the neck open so that it can be displayed at Opendrawer in Camberwell (Victoria, Australia). The Hottie Challenge is Opendrawer's first project to help raise money for the Margaret Pratt Foundation (Research for Heart and Lung Transplants).

After deciding fairly early on that I'd like to create something 'costumey', my inspiration came from the many leotards I've made and tutus decorated in the last seven years for my daughter Hayley's old ballet school.

After adding a little bit of lace trim around the neckline I couldn't resist adding a few seed beads, hot fix swarovski crystals and pearls ... it just wouldn't be a costume without those added extras, would it?

As a whole it's not a functional hottie cover but I've made the knotted tutu easily removable so it can be used as a dress-up for either a soft toy (it fits Winnie the Pooh perfectly!) or even a 2 - 3 year old!!

Last year Winnie very graciously modeled a knotted tutu that was made for 2 & 3 year olds dancing in a ballet concert.
In fact Winnie was the perfect model, sitting patiently and extremely still while I knotted on each tulle piece!!
His belly was just the right size for this job :-)

A little peek underneath

If you are interested in dropping by to see all the finished entries, they will be displayed at Opendrawer's Gallery, 1158 Torrak Road, Camberwell from Friday 1 July to Sunday 24 July 2011. You will also have the opportunity to vote for your favourite hottie cover.

After this, all the hottie covers will be donated to the Margaret Pratt Foundation for sale.

A special thank you to CurlyPops Cam for doing such a wonderful job organising a bloggers group entry. Please pop over to Cam's fabulous blog where, amongst lots of other wonderful entries, you can keep right up-to-date on our group hottie challenge entries. Scroll down the page to 'Hottie Features' and click on the number to see the hottie or the name to visit their blog.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A day for remembering

Today Dad would have turned 74 ... however, he passed away on the 8th February this year.

I've been looking back through some old photos and have selected a few to share with you ...

My Dad
Dad with his Mum & Dad (who was killed in WWII)
Mum and Dad on their wedding day

Dad loved his cars - this one was a bright orange Hemi Pacer!

Dad with his three girls
Dad with me (eldest)

Dad with Naomi (middle)

Dad with Rachel (youngest)

Poppa just being a Poppa
Poppa with Rhys (now 20) and Hayley (now 17)
Poppa with Samantha (now 19)

Poppa with Jayden, the youngest grandchild who's turning 3 very soon

 Some of Dad's other loves included -
Cooking - Dad loved to BBQ but he was just as happy in the kitchen too!
There was always a wine at hand and would never stop at just one ...

Dad loved to sip a cool beer on a warm day :-) (with Mum)

Mum and Dad both love to travel
This was taken about a year ago by one of the people who ran the Day Programme Dad was attending at the time.

Dementia picks who it wants, when it wants and it chose my Dad. 

Although it took from Dad the ability to think clearly and communicate articulately it did not take his kind, considerate nature which stayed with him until the very end. 

Dad - you are in my thoughts every day.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A formal request ...

About 10 days ago my daughter Hayley received a text from a friend asking if I would be able to alter a dress for one of her friends ...  To clarify - could I do a dress alteration for a friend of a friend. My answer was "Yes, I can at the very least have a look at it and find out what she would like changed."

Oh, and I probably should mention that the one other consideration is that the friend of the friend would like to wear this dress to her upcoming school formal!!

A week later Hayley's friend arrived at my place with her friend, the dress and the fabric.

The before dress ...
Friend of the friend was liking the top ...
Not liking the skirt ...

My Mission ...
  • Dismantle the skirt from the top (not too difficult due to the way it was sewn together ... cue happy face here!)
  • Keep zip but could change if needed (all good 'cos I'm okay with zips - I especially love the invisible kind but that's a whole other story)
  • Add two layers of gathered fabric on top of the lining
    ~  Bottom layer - dress net (of the very stiff variety)
    ~  Top layer - gathered white satin
  •  Finished with a soft edged hemline
A dressmaker I'm not but having made quite a number of costumes (in the 100's and in, what I think is, very forgiving lycra) for my daughter's old ballet school over the past seven years, one skill that I have acquired is the ability to create something without a pattern or step-by-step instructions.

It all went pretty well to plan and I was very happy once the friend of the friend had tried it on while it was all safety pinned together and said it was just how she had imagined it ... yippee, I thought!

The finished dress

It's a wonderful thing when others have absolute faith in your abilities ...

There have been many moments over the past seven years while I'm at the point of trying to decide how I'm going to construct something when I've sat there with my head in my hands saying "I don't have any idea of  how am I going to do this?" ... "What am I going to do?"

That feeling eventually passed because of the one person who truly believed you are capable of delivering what is needed - and a path to an end solution always presented itself.

Thank you to anyone who has ever placed blind faith in someone's abilities - it can work wonders!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Morning Melodies ballet treat

I had a lovely outing yesterday to the Australian Ballet School's Morning Melodies performance at the State Theatre ... In fact if I'm to be exact, I actually went to both performances - the first at 11am with my husband (who also happens to be Hayley's dad - who'd have guessed that?!) and the second at 1.30pm with a friend who was also Hayley's ballet teacher before she went to the ABS two and a half years ago.

Arts Centre Spire - the State Theatre is under this
The theatre looked full from where we were sitting in the Stalls and it was all abuzz as everyone took their seats. It's a great opportunity to see the up and coming young dancers' first performance of the year and is always well supported with a great mix of wide-eyed youngsters through to the 'grey haired but still young at heart' brigade.

The programme featured Senior School students in Levels 6-8 who are around 16-18 years old and there were four different dances performed (both classical and contemporary) with each one being different from the next.

Hayley (Level 7) danced in the Corps de ballet in Paquita with other Level 7 and 8's. Paquita is a classical, tutu ballet and they all looked beautiful in their costumes which were supplied courtesy of The Australian Ballet.

The hour long performance was a treat from start to finish and it always flies by too quickly when you are a proud Mum sitting in the audience.

Hayley (far left) in last year's Australian Ballet/ABS Peggy performance.
This photo appears on the Australian Ballet's Facebook page and was taken by Jim McFarlane

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