Monday, May 19, 2008

stitching for sadie

How could I forget how much fun it is to sew for a little girl? Maybe it was Sadie's reaction to the pants I made her last summer, but luckily her tune has changed. Or perhaps it's the polka dots.

I was inspired by elsiemarley's pillowcase dresses and I had just enough scraps left from my ginham top to put together this tank. I didn't use a pattern - which truly is the joy of sewing for a 3 1/2 year old - and decided to only gather the front. The MOP buttons are just decorative, but they did a nice job of echoing the green polka dots. All in all it was a quick, simple garment that was fun to make and that Sadie has happily worn. And I've already cut out the next project: a three tiered skirt with an elastic waist. Sadie is really enamoured with skirts and dresses right now, so I better jump on the opportunity while it lasts.

The sewing will have to wait though - I will be absent from here for about two weeks because I'm hopping on a plane this Friday destined for...Paris!! I'm going with Ragdoll; she has a wedding to attend and her husband didn't want to go. I don't think she even got the question out of her mouth before I said "yes!". I have never been to Paris, and I'm getting more excited every day. Paris in the Spring with a girlfriend willing to do all the girlie things we want to do? I'm a pretty lucky girl and ready to be overwhelmed with inspiration. And if anyone has any "must-do" suggestions for Paris, please share. Little shops, places to eat, places to dream - anything! Oh, and I'll also take suggestions for how to handle leaving my favourite little girl behind, a whole ocean away. I may be excited, but I'm still a Mommy.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

reading challenge #11

Hey - only two more to go!

This isn't the first time I've read No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod, but perhaps I should have taken my halfway-through bookmark as a sign. A few years ago I traded with Chris my Patrick McGrath's Spider for his MacLeod, and some part of me still felt obligated to finish the borrowed book. I couldn't remember a single thing about it though, so I started all over again and got bored at almost the exact same point. Don't get me wrong, the storytelling is top notch, I just think the novel wasn't for me.

The first third of the book was quite riveting; the characters were both tangible and endearing. And when I got to the moment of the terrible tragedy I gasped aloud, it was that shocking (even though it was the second time I'd read it). But as the story progressed too much time was spent between storylines. I almost forgot about Calum in his sad Toronto room, and I especially laboured through the Ontario mining camp section. It felt much like a director's cut - the length just wasn't necessary, and the story still would have worked without every single scene. And Alexander's twin sister's anecdotes seemed insincere and irrelevant, though perhaps she just wasn't a believable enough character. Definitely she was under-developed, but looking back, there weren't really any female characters developed fully. This is a story of men, and maybe that is why I was more emotionally detached than I have been with other East Coast novels.

Oh well, at least it's done and I can finally return it to Chris. And as for the knitting comparison: I'd say this was like a cardigan, but from a published pattern that is rife with mistakes. You go over and over the same section trying to figure out how to make it work. In the end you finish it, but you never quite get over how long it took to get there.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

spring is gingham

With my May 1st deadline out of the way, the time has come to catch up on some practical sewing projects. This little tank is actually from the 70's pattern I found in the winter but with a whole whack of modifications. I just couldn't handle the sleeves, so I cut them right off and then had to put darts along the bust to help pull the shape up. You'd think this would be a disaster with gingham, but so far it doesn't bother me to see the lines intersect. The fabric is a seersucker-ish cotton which has already lived through an egg yolk spill (really, must I always slop something atrocious on a newly sewn garment?) I think my favourite part is the gigantic hem - it's about 4 1/2 inches and gives the shirt weight at the bottom. There is some debate whether I look pregnant or not when I wear it, but the low neckline has been given at least one rave review, for better or worse. Overall, a fun project and a nice kickstart to some summer sewing. And after seeing great garments like these, I'm itching to tackle more.

(Though I better improve my pressing skills, that hem is a sad sight when photographed!)

Friday, May 02, 2008

reading challenge #10

April was National Poetry Month and in its honour, I had a full-on spring romance with poetry. Not only did I savour every single poem in Anne Compton's Processional, but I also quietly took on the challenge of writing a poem a day (even though I totally forget how I stumbled upon this challenge). Ragdoll started writing poetry again too so I finally had the chance to read some of her fantastic (and even published) endeavours. The two of us are so inspired we may even take a poetry class in the fall. Ahh, I heart words.

Anyway, back to Anne Compton. PEI was a hard province to choose for, and I almost went with Saltsea by David Helwig. But I really wanted to use the challenge to go beyond fiction, and I needed a divining rod of sorts to find a new poet. With little more than an Amazon review as guidance, I gave Compton a try and I was spellbound immediately. As I sit here I'm not even sure how to describe it; her words just worked for me. Her way of using domestic metaphors was refreshing, and her references to nature were wonderful (and a great follow-up to Sharon Butala). I think I'll order her first collection, Opening the Island, right away because ending the day with her poetry has been an inspiring ritual that I'd rather not be done with. Not yet.

Dawn was in the details: each branch a charcoal stroke
against the grey.

Only 3 more novels to go to finish up this challenge. Currently I have Mercy Among the Children picked out for New Brunswick, but for no good reason I just haven't been eager to get it. If anyone has a suggestion - or a huge high-five for David Adams Richards - please let me know. Thanks to a super father-in-law, I've got an Indigo giftcard burning a hole in my wallet.