Saturday, May 31, 2008

Karma is surely whipping my sweet ar*e today..

It's only lunchtime. I am very tired and grumpy.

I had planned this weekend to comprise of:
1. A haircut; and
2. Mr B and his father getting some retaining walls up in backyard.

I spent yesterday measuring said retaining walls,calculating how much garden supplies would be required, then ringing around to get prices, then ordering wood, cement, bolts and hiring a post hole digger. My father in law just had to pick the digger up this morning. The other stuff was to be delivered. The idea being works would start here at about 9.00am. My father in law goes on holidays in a couple of weeks. This is the last weekend he can help.

That's how it should have been.

This is how it has been.

5.10am Little B wakes me up for feed comes to bed for said feed.
5.11am - 6.29am Little B feeds noisly. Neither of us return to slumber.
6.30am Little B decides he is not going back to sleep. Get up. Get Mr B up.
7.30am Go back to bed. No sleep.
9.00am Attend hairdresser for appointment I received text reminder for yesterday. No appointment booked. Chew out owner in front hairdresser salon. Vow never to go back and tell all and sundry who go there never to return. Mature I know.
9.01am Receive call from Mr B. Father in law can't find hire place. Chew Mr B out for not using common sense and direct him to look up phone book as.
9.08am Receive call from Father in law. He has no wallet so cant hire anything.
9.25am. Go to hire place and collect post hole digger. Ask if all is in order to take (ie all of the right bits there). Am treated like a stupid female. Am asked to sign blank credit card slip as security for return of tool. Refuse. Leave with having executed slip for hire per day price only. Small victory.
10.00am. Get home after hiring post hole digger. Stop for Maccas Breakfast on way. Momentary pleasure. Feel worse after doing finishing. Berate self for succumbing to takeaway in an attempt to fill an emotionally disturbed void.
10.01am. Discover timber, cement etc has been dumped on front path and nature strip thus requiring manhours to move all of the stuff down our driveway. Outwardly curse delivery driver and inwardly curse Mr B for not directing the delivery in the driveway.
10.10am. Unload wet washing for hanging. Discover tissue in Mr B's pocket has spread itself through washing. Inwardly curse Mr B.
10.11am. Trip over dog and drop washing. Have to rewash some washing due to it landing on dirt.
11.00am. Wonder what Mr B and father in law are doing.
11.01 - 11.30am Watch Mr B and father in law attempt to put the post hole digger together without success.
11.31 Ring hire place to see if they have any suggestions. Treated like a fool again.
11.32 Send Mr B and father in law to hire place with post hole digger for instructions. Place closes at 12.
11.40 Mr B and father in law have not left yet due to losing wallet and keys respectively.
11.42. Find keys and wallet and send hem on them on their way.
12.01 Receive call from Mr B. Got there just in time. Hire place admits has given wrong bits. No alternate digger available.
12.02 - 12.34 Ring around other hire places and eventually find post hole digger for twice price of initial one in faraway suburb. Ring Mr B and send him and father in law to collect.
12.35. Make Little B Vegemite sandwich for lunch. Absentmindly spread vegemite on bread as thick as butter.
12.36. Absentmindly serve said sandwich.
12.37. Discover vegemite sandwich smeared all over highchair and Little B.
12.38. Decide to make toasted cheese sandwich with sandwich maker. Open to find skanky bits of cooked banana everywhere. Curse Mr B who has eaten banana brevilles for breakfast every day this week.
12.39 - 12.45. Try and find happy place. Do not succeed. Open liquor cubpoard and carefully consider contents. Find nothing suitable.
12.46. Eat toasted cheese, tomato sauce and mustard sandwich. Again berate self for emotional eating.
12.47. Write off day and eat a couple of tablespoons of Nutella straight from jar.
And yes, if you are wondering, I did double dip. What about it?

It's now 1.28 and works still have not commenced as the menfolk are not yet home.

I am guessing it is just not meant to be!

How is your day going?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On my desk...

Well it is Wednesday already - time is flying for me at the moment.

The last few weeks have been crazy busy in our household.

Mr B has been working crazy hours. Like come home at 2am and get up at 6am for 2 weeks straight. Which finished up in him pulling an all nighter late last week. Little B and I have barely seen him. I did not realise how many of the little things he does around the house until he did not do them! So if you are reading this honey. Thank you.

And I have been wrestling with the issue of whether or not to return to work. I was due to head back in mid June. That's right. Was.

I have decided to put off my return to work for a little while longer.

It was a decision that I laboured about mentally during almost every second for about a month. I have already posted about the sorts of factors I was considering in making the decision so I won't bore you again! Sleep continued to elude me. I barely functioned.

The crux of it all really ended up being that at this point in time, Little B not being one yet, I am not ready to leave him to be cared for by someone else. Time has ticked on and he is still not, in my view, quite robust enough and ready for creche. I investigated other care options but nothing suitable came along.

I was really worrying about the effect of a slightly more prolonged absence on my career. I work in an industry where things change quickly. I ended up speaking to my boss and other girlfriends about it and felt assured that my worries were overstated. Not unusual for me really. I am by nature a bit of stresshead.

Mr B and I made the final decision over the weekend. I still feel some trepidation about it all. I am now forced to face the unfamiliar on a more longer term basis. I still have to fight my fleeting and irrational thoughts that staying at home to look after Little B is not as valuable as much as working in paid employment. I have to fight the feelings of vulnerability related to not earning an income for the first time in over 15 years. Having to trust that Mr B will continue to travel along well in his job and look after us financially. A burden which for him, is his alone for the first time in 15 years.

I know that exciting, inspiring and happy times lay ahead. After all I am responsible for a little life. I can't wait to watch Little B develop day by day. Teach him new words and things to do. Share new food with him. Take him new places to see new things. And experience the newness of everything with him through his eyes.

I now get the luxury of more time to discover more about who I am. What I like to do outside of work. Sewing. Gardening. Op shopping. Writing. Who knows what is to come.

I have made the decision now. I just have to enjoy it. And not worry about how it otherwise could have turned out. It's time to enjoy the moment.

My desk today is reflective of my state of mind. Calm. Clean. Tidy. Ready for action.

Exciting times lay ahead.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Funday Monday - Trip of a lifetime!

I know it's a bit on the late side but I badly wanted to participate in Funday Monday. I got this post half written on Monday and have since had to go and attend to other things! I should be finishing those things today but they can wait!

This week's Fun Monday hostess is Alison of RDH Mom. She wants to hear about our favorite vacation.

She challenges us to consider...

Vacations...this is the time of year when most of us go on vacations. Show us and/or tell us about your favorite vacation - where you went, what you did, etc. Pictures would be great. Let's all take a trip around a the world via our FM friends!!

I warn you this post is long, rambling and full of lots of photos! I found it very hard to stop writing as I relived each moment. I have missed so much! The holiday almost felt better for me this time around! If you are brave enough do read on!

My favourite holiday of all time was the trip of a lifetime Mr B and I took to Europe over a month in September/October 2006.

To give you a bit of background, Mr B and I settled down and bought our first home whilst in our early 20s and spent that time trying to get ahead financially instead of travelling in our "gap" years. We subsequently travelled to places not so far away, Fiji, Thailand, New Zealand but had never conquered the obligatory trek through Europe.

Part of the reason why we had never travelled far was that I was very afraid of travelling. I had been involved in an accident whilst on a school trip in high school. I sustained severe spinal injuries but most luckily narrowly avoided becoming wheelchair bound. A number of other students were also badly injured and one fellow schoolmate passed on. All of this happened in a very remote location very far away from medical assistance, home, family and friends.

So for a long long time I did not associate the prospect of distant holidays with fun and avoided the idea like the proverbial plague. Instead I really threw myself into my studies and then my new career. And time passed.

Much happened in 2005/2006 which changed all of that.

In late 2005 Mr B, Fifi and I together decided on a whim to conquer a cycling holiday the following March.

We were all in our own ways, in a funk, and wanted to do something totally totally different. So we trained and eventually together rode 500km in 9 days as part of the Great WA Bike Ride. As almost all of the pictures of that holiday involve one of the three of us in not so flattering lycra I will not subject you to those here!

That holiday turned out to be a life changing experience for all of us in different ways. Mr B and I came home absolutely pumped. We were fitter and happier than we had been in a long time. We had enjoyed a great holiday together and felt that we could take on a bigger things. We were restless to try something new and also started to seriously plan the future of our lives together. Which sounds strange because at that time we had been together 10 years and married for 4.

But until then we had both been studying, working, trying to get ahead careerwise and really had not looked at where we wanted to be in the long term. We realised that god willing, we wanted to start a family sooner rather than later.

And that we wanted to travel afar before our family started to grow.

So in mid July 2006 we made a pretty spur of the moment decision to depart Melbourne and see some of Europe. At the end of the following month.

We decided to do it all ourselves. No tours. No travel agents. Just the us and the net. In the 6 weeks before our departure we booked everything on the net with the help of Tripadvisor and some trusty travel guides. The task was time consuming but in a good distracting way.

It was a huge turning point for me personally.

Beforehand, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be inclined to go somewhere so far away and try and enjoy it! A number of times I decided that we weren't going. That I could not do it. About a week out I nearly pulled the pin altogether. The tightwad in me was about the only thing that stopped me from cancelling the whole thing!

Being the drama queen that I am about 3 days before departure I fell and sprained my ankle badly. It was at that point that I realised how badly I really wanted to go (and also how badly Mr B wanted to go and had wanted to travel for many years).

The day we flew out of Melbourne was just perfect. The weather clear. No traffic on the way to the airport. I clearly remember the U2 song "It's a Beautiful Day" playing in the taxi on the way to the airport. I was calm and relaxed, most probably partly due to the Valium I had taken and partly because I knew I had done everything I could to be ready for whatever were to come. The rest was out of my control. A revelation. For the first time in so long I experienced merely anticipation not trepidation about travelling.

Our itinerary was Melbourne-Hong Kong-Frankfurt-Prague-Berlin-Paris-Venice-Florence-Cinque Terra-Rome-Hong Kong- Melbourne.

Hong Kong was lovely but as we had been to Thailand before it did not make a huge impact on us. Except for the airport. As my ankle was still crook I ended up with a wheelchair escort through the airport. Definitely the quickest way to clear customs! We were anxious to get to the European continent and get started on our bigger adventure.

We flew into Frankfurt at about 5.00am. It was dark and cold. The airport was not yet really alive with activity. As we cleared customs Mr B and I held hands and dragged our luggage through the threshold and wondered out loud together what we had got ourselves in for.

We somehow made it to the train from the airport to Frankfurt city. The first thing we noticed was the granduer of the Frankfurt railstation, something which would strike us again and again as we travelled through Europe.

It was starting off as a cold dark day. We checked into our hotel, had a shower and went for a walk. And had a beer and a Frankfurt. I swear that I have never in my life enjoyed a tastier sausage. A ball of excitement swelled in our stomachs together with the beer and we awaited happily for that which would unfold.

The train trip to Prague was an interesting one. People did not take their allocated seats. Smoking was still allowed in the carriages. Neither Mr B nor I had ever seen a decent sized gun before. At the border of Germany/Czech Republic our tickets were checked by handsome Czech policemen. Who were accompanied by other fairly mean looking policeman. Who had some seriously sized rifle looking guns.

We were to see those kinds of guns alot whilst in Prague. On the streets, at the palace, guards everywhere with guns.

We stayed in the Jewish quarter in Prague for three days. And fell in love with the place. The history of it. The beauty of the old buildings particularly the castle. We floated around on highs neither of us had ever experienced before. We wandered over the bridge making wishes on the icons along the way. We did not think we could love any destination as much as Prague.

Yet we did. Berlin was hands down Mr B's favorite place of our journey. It was eclectic, alive, still without a definite identity after years as a city divided. The recent history of the place was horrifying and fascinating at the same time. We enjoyed so many different things, a walking tour one day, a cycle through the city and the infamous Tiergarten the next.

We stayed in a backpackers hostel which frankly resembled a hotel more than hostel. We ate amongst other things, the most gorgeous dumpling soup ever at Susuru Japanese Noodle Bar.

We fell in love with Germany's cleanliness and order. The polite directness of the train conductors, the unsmiling but genuine attempts at assistance from the shop clerks.

At that point we knew we were lucky to be alive. Just so lucky.

Part of the reason that we decided to go when we did was to suprise Mr B's mother who was to enjoy her 50th birthday on holiday in Paris with my father in law. Our next stop was so gorgeous in part due to our being able to finally share our excitement and wonder with others. As it turns out my mother in law knew we were coming. But it all did not matter. We were in gay Paris after all!

Together we wandered the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, dined in restaurant in the Eiffel Tower (very overpriced, food not so great, but the views fantastic) and cruised down the River Siene. One night over dinner my father in law and Mr B delighted in the view of the beauties performing at the Moulin Rouge! Mr B and I stayed in the Marais in a quaint apartment 4 storeys and 56 stairs up and enjoyed the liveliness of that quarter of the city. We toured the city by bike - a most adrenalin filled jaunt - riding through the extremely busy traffic filled Place de Concorde at breakneck speed after the Amercian tourguide declared "Just yell and keep riding - they should stop for us if we keep in a group!!"

We supped on the most simple lunches of bread, cheese, figs and wine in the Tuileries Gardens.

My parents in law left us the day we travelled to the Palace of Versaille. We had no time to feel homesick for our departing relatives as on that picture perfect day we cycled the gardens and then toured the castle by foot. What a joy.

Our move onto Venice was by overnight train. It was a rattly old journey. Watching the sun rise upon riding into Venice was one of the best things I have ever seen. I had studied Italian for 12 years of my schooling and as we rode into Venice the emotion of fulfilling my desire to see the city overwhelmed me.

In Venice we stayed in a hotel which was horrible. It stunk. It was an old building retrofitted with modern day plumbing which apparently was aired throughout the hotel twice a day. Probably the only negative incident of our journey. Riding the traghettos, eating pizza and wandering the "streets" of Venice more than made up for the hotel in which we barely spent any time.

From Venice we went to Florence for a few days. The view from our charming apartment was stunning. There at the recommendation of our landlord we shopped at the local market and enjoyed a feast of fresh pasta with porcini mushrooms, olive oil and parmesan washed down with a Tuscan red. We wandered around, viewed churches and art. A highlight was seeing David in "the flesh."

We trained to the Cinque Terra from Florence. As we headed south the scenery changed and became more beachy. Upon arriving in Vernazza and meeting the owner of the pensione where we stayed, I felt like I had finally reached home. The people were warm and friendly. They tolerated my terrible attempts at speaking italian cheerfully. The foccacias were fresh, the proscuitto sweet. It was in Vernazza that we enjoyed the most beautiful meal of spaghetti marinara. Now usually I don't touch the stuff. But the owner of the restaurant explained to us it was his best dish, he had fished that day for the mussels and clams. We did not want to disappoint him. Most importantly he did not disappoint us. The magic of the sea revealed itself to us in every single bite.

We trekked the 18km hike between the towns in a day. It was a tough hike comprised of stone paths and stairs. But the most rewarding part of the whole trip for me. The views of the olive groves and towns built into the rocks overlooking the sea. It was everything I dreamed of and more. Mr B and I had never been more close as we watched the sun set together that day.

From the quiet of the Cinque Terra we finished up our italian sojourn in Rome. What a contrast. A city full of grime, hustle and bustle. Taxi drivers trying to rip us off. Long lines to get into attractions. When we arrived in Rome I felt some trepidation for the first time on the trip. I had booked an apartment on Via Giulia near the Campo Di Fiori online. The Roman agent was the only one who required me to pay a significant deposit. The accomodation in Rome was the most expensive of our journey and I was worried that the final days of our stay were going to be in a dud of an apartment.

I needn't have worried. The apartment in Rome was fantastic. Top floor. Above the the children's court and the anti mafia police station - we felt very safe. Beautifully appointed with antique furniture and objects d'art. For example antique Hermes scarves framed on the walls. And a rooftop terrace which overlooked other rooftops and revealed a glimpse of the Vatican.

It was a perfect place to finish our stay. We trekked by foot around Rome and saw the most wonderful sites that the city had to offer, the Vatican, the Pantheon and the Spanish steps. We took a (very big) day trip to view the ruins at Pompeii. We each made our secret wishes whilst throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain. At the end of each day we would shop at the local market for some nibblies and retire to the terrace to reflect over the day over some limoncello, bread, cheese, salami and proscuitto.

On the way home we stopped over in Hong Kong, did some shopping and went to China (Shenzen) for some more shopping.

As our trip drew to a close I know that I felt totally liberated. So lucky to be alive and to have faced my fears.

I had experienced delights visual and culinary about which I had never dared dream.

I felt complete and happy. I knew that I was ready to face whatever might come in a way I had not ever been before.

Which was just as as well really... a bit under 40 weeks later Mr B and I each happily and tearfully disclosed to the other that our respective Trevi Fountain wishes had just come true.

Thank you for sharing the journey with us!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tag you are it...

It's Sunday again - where has the week gone?

I have been tagged by the lovely Elisha....
Here are the RULES:
1. Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog .

So on with the show..

1. I LOVE love love to cycle. Before I got preggo with Little B I used to ride the 60km round trip to work a few days a week. I even went on a cycling holiday.
2. I cannot bake to save myself. Not sure why but cakes and biscuits rarely turn out the way the way the recipes suggest. Martha Stewart I will never be.
3. I am a good "complainer" - ie- poor customer service, faulty products - I get a result every time!
4. Whilst I put myself through uni I managed a KFC store. At the time I worked there, the Colonel's 11 herbs and spices simply came in bag called 11 Herbs and Spices with no other reference to the contents in the bag.
5. I have disproportionately small feet for my height. I am a size 6. Which is good when looking for bargains. I can also fit into selected kid's shoes.
6. My eyes are puffy right now due to my having an allergic reaction to something I have not yet identified. Right this minute I look like I have done 10 rounds with Ali. I have eliminated the suspects down to new handwash, pregnancy vitamins and a certain brand of mineral water.
7. I really miss having a baby in my belly to keep me warm on these almost freezing mornings! Having 2 spare tyres instead simply does not cut the mustard...

So the lucky recipients of my ontagging are....

Nikki at My Husband calls me weird
Kirsten at Ready or not (for those fans of Flavor of Love head over there right now for her latest post..)
Crazy Aunt Purl
Serena who authors 2 blogs Reenisu and Serena's challenges
Sauntering Soul
Cam at Curlypops

Enjoy your Sunday!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Opportunity for whom exactly?

I had cause to visit a Salvos in one of Melbourne's more well to do suburbs on Friday.

I was astounded to find things marked fairly heftily pricewise in this particular store. For example, $40 - $50 for dresses (not designer) $50 for a pair of jeans (admittedly Calvin Klein but not the most modern of styles) and a whopping $1500 for a cabinet containing glass and china (and it was just the cabinet not the glass and the china).

Which, in the words of Carrie Bradshaw, ala Sex in the City, "got me to thinking".

Who exactly is supposed to be benefiting more from the op shop - the potential shopper or the charity itself? Is it acceptable for the thrift store to hike its prices to meet its perceived market?

Perhaps controversially I see the situation as one which should benefit the shopper more than the charity. After all, the charity is given the stuff for nothing by those wanting to benefit the charity.

Yes there are treasure hunters out there looking to secure a bargain. I have been one from time to time (I have a penchant for tuppaware and sewing stuff at the moment).

In all reality many op shoppers frequent the stores as they absolutely have to.

And those are the people for whom the op shop should cater above all. It is through finding appropriate goods at a cheaper price that they benefit from the "opportunity" shop directly and easily without waiting for funds to trickle back down to them via other charitable means.

Don't get me wrong, I do understand that running any shop is a big business. There are some expenses which have to be paid irrespective of whether or not the business runs on the goodwill of volunteers.

In the case of many op shops in Melbourne however, I understand that the op shops actually own their premises.

I suppose too, if the market will pay the price, ultimately at least some of the money will end up in the hands of those requiring charity. Whether or not the people who need it the most I am not sure.

I suppose I just don't have the answers!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pop goes the weevil!

Yesterday I checked the weather forecast for the weekend and in light of the forecast inclement weather decided to hold off from taking the sewing machine to Barry for a service so that I would have something to play with!

To warm the cockles of Mr B's heart (and his feet of ice!!) I decided to make the Rice Heat Pack featured here at Sew Mama Sew.

I needed to use up some rice we had in the cupboard which today showed signs of having weevils in it. I figured they will not survive a zap in the microwave!

I digress. I am relatively happy with the finished product.

I modified the pattern so that there are only 2 panels of fabric on the outer pouch to keep it simple. I didn't have different fabrics to make something which looks as good as Kirstin's original. Did anyone say trip to spotlight??? I cheated and used stick on velcro for the fastening as that was all I had.

My lines are getting straighter which is good. My pattern cutting is getting better too.

I am not too pleased with the finishing of the outer pouch, the final seams near the velcro end, not pictured, did not come together as well as I would have liked.

The fiddly stuff takes time it would seem and I suppose it would have been better to come back and finish it off tomorrow fresh rather than rush the finish whilst tired as I did tonight.

Lesson learned!

Hopefully I will get the chance to try something different tomorrow.

Enjoy your Sunday!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I have almost lost control of my bodily functions..

....I am THAT excited!

The search is officially over.

Meet my new sewing partner in crime (you just know that you can those drums rolling...)

Ta Dahhhh!

I just simply cannot believe my luck. This little beauty of a machine found me. Yes it's true. "We" were meant to be.

Whilst I loved the tester Barry gave me it did not seem quite right. I can't really put my finger on why exactly. I just did not feel fully comfortable using her.

Which made me even less inclined to take the plunge and purchase a new machine not knowing whether or not I would stick with this new hobby and without really getting to know what I might like in a machine first.

I have been combing op shops local, and from afar, with no luck. Most of them don't sell electrical goods anymore.

Earlier in the week I had another idea. Some time ago I joined my local Freecycle group. So I posted a "Wanted" post to see if I could flush out a beginner's sewing machine.

Within 24 hours I received an email from a lady called Kerry who offered me her mother's old machine. She did not tell me anything about it but I hastily offered to collect it first thing this morning. After navigating a petrol spill and a number of accidents during a 90 minute trip in peak hour traffic this morning - I met Kerry and her lovely family at 10.00am.

Kerry's husband insisted on carrying it to my car. "It's too heavy for you to carry!" he cried. My heart sunk a little at that point. But I decided to wait and see what would reveal itself when I opened the case at home.

I was so happily surpised when I unlocked the blue leather (or leather look?) case. A Janome 610. Made in Japan. A late 1960's or early 1970's make. A little workhorse, I am guessing she weighs around 15kg! I am going to have to head back to the gym before I can take her out for lessons!

Kerry's mum had kept all of the bits and pieces I can see myself needing for a while.

I totally dig the case!

What I really love about this machine is its simplicity. I managed to work out how to thread this thing and load a bobbin without the manual. Which is a huge deal!

The most intriguing thing about it is the way the stitches work. More modern machines change stitches at the click of button or turn of a dial.

On this machine the sewer has to manually change the stitch by changing the cam on the machine itself. That's right people, you have to flip the lid open like so...

and change the little blue wheel. Altogether there are 27 wheels with different stitch combinations. Reading the instruction manual reveals that you can set the machine to run with 2 needles and then use 2 different cams to make a combination of 2 stitches work together.

Here is a sample of what it can do..(sorry for the bad pic I sewed on calico which flashed up terribly when I took pictures with the flash).

Whilst I suspect that in time this feature could become cumbersome, at the moment I find it charming. It totally fits where I am with sewing.

I am going to have to really stop and take the time to think about what I am doing.

So I am off to share my find with Barry tomorrow. Hopefully his trained eye will find that she merely needs a tune up. Hopefully he won't need to keep her for too long....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On my desk... otherwise named all about a man named Barry...

Well it's not really my desk, it is currently on my dining room table...

I received some cashola for my birthday and have so started the serious hunt for a sewing machine. My budget is now a little more than I expected which has opened up some different possibilities!

In my travels I stumbled across Barry from Barry's Sewing Machine Centre. He is quite frankly, a gem of a man.

As the appearance of his website might suggest, he is as you find him. His shop is attached to his work shop. He has been in the business of sewing machines for 48 or so years. He services and conditions them all himself on behalf of the various manufacturers.

Barry gave me almost 2 hours of his time late last week. He spent most of that time trying to ascertain what I would need and want out of a machine. He talked me through various options including new and second hand options.

I had done a little bit of research and so we spent some time talking about some of the better older machines out there.

What I liked about Barry was that he spoke with a real passion about all things sewing. He loved the history of machines and is enthusiastic about today's offerings. He is very no nonsense. He left me feeling that he was actually interested in finding a machine to fit me rather than simply selling yet another customer something for the sake of the sale. He actually made a couple of suggestions which are well under what the top end of my budget is.

All in all I think he just offered good old customer service and expertise. Which I think is rare these days.

The only downside is that Barry did not have new machines available to test even on site so I have had to see some of his competitors to try out a new machine or 2 even though ultimately if I buy new I will probably go back to him.

He did give me a second hand machine to try out for a week. He also shared a penchant for rock n roll music and dancing and leant me some of his cds (for my mother in law who also loves all things rock n roll!)

This baby is probably just about as old as me but in far better nick! Barry has tuned her to purr as she sews. I have not sewn since my high school years and was frightened about handling her but by and large the experience was actually a joyful one!

In my op shopping travels last week I picked up a library bag and art smock pattern for 50cents from the Colac Salvos. I made the library bag without too much bother once I worked out how to read the pattern - don't laugh it took me forever to work out what "cut to fold" meant!! I am not ready to post photos yet - the straightness of my lines leave a lot to be desired for one thing - I have a lot to learn.

I am still not 100% sure if this is the machine for me but I am definitely sure I would like to pursue learning the art of sewing.

And I think that is in part due to blogland and in part due to Barry!

Check out Kirsty's blog to see who else is playing along today!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I have been fiddling with my header and can't get rid of the pink block which appears on the right hand side of the header irrespective of what I upload.
Grr. I am a total novice. Any ideas?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day weekend delights!

To all of the mothers out there, I hope you had a truly satisfying and delicious day!

The weekend just past was all about me as it was my birthday fell on Saturday and then Mother's Day fell on Sunday!

I was spoilt rotten! Not a dirty nappy nor a dirty dish passed through my hands!

I was showered with lovely gifts including tickets to the MSO and a DVD gift set of my favourite tv series - Boston Legal (Denny Crane anyone??)

Mr B and Little B also joined me and my parents for some good ol' yum cha! It was Little B's first yum cha experience and whilst he only managed to get his hands on some steamed rice he had an absolute ball!

Life is good. Really really good.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Back from the brink of madness

So it's been a while!

I have been too busy to think straight!

A quick run down.

The wedding was last weekend - it's been a while since we have been to a wedding and overall it was a fantastic day 0 the bride and groom gorgeous, their service very intimate and personal, the cocktail reception lovely, the band and dancing great. The hangover post wedding not so good!

A lovely feature of the day was the bride's veil, a 65 year old heirloom piece. Just stunning.

Not that the day was all about me but you may be pleased to know that I did not go to the wedding naked.

My dressmaker friend pulled off a miracle and put together a dress in a half a day prior to the wedding. Inspirational to watch. Really. She did so whilst still serving customers in the shop and taking phone calls, dealing with her bookmaker and whilst Little B was under her feet. Bloody fantastic job Tais!

The whole debacle required me to act under pressure and select fabric for said dress which I pulled myself together and managed. I really am coming to love Spotlight. But have learned to get in there early for quick service and quiet browsing time.

The dress came up a treat. Upon reflection perhaps not quite dressy enough for the wedding but that was my pattern selection and/or fabric choice rather than any doing of the dressmaker!

The pics Mr B took of me in the dress on the day are awful. We were rushing to get out the door to the wedding in the midst of Little B having a tanty about our departure when he took them and I don't think they do the dress justice. So we are going to retake in the next few days which I suspect will be rather amusing as I will have to drag meself out of me trackkies and dolly meself up just for the photos! To come shortly...

Last week I went and visited my nanna and pa who live in Terang a small town in the Western District of Victoria. In between Geelong and Warnambool on the Prices Highway. I did not get back until yesterday (Friday).

I had a great time. It was lovely to spend time with my grandparents. It was their 60th wedding anniversary whilst Little B and I were there which was a treat for all of us. They are still so cute together. They reminisced about their time together including their travels, their child rearing and their working lives. I learnt alot about them both. They absolutely loved spending time with Little B who behaved just beautifully.

I enjoyed some different cuisine, stewed rhubarb and steamed pudding courtesy of my nan. I enjoyed the latter so much that I picked up a pudding bowl from an Op Shop on the way home!

It was sad to leave them. Both of them have declined in health considerably since Christmas which was the last time we saw them. It's hard to say but the possibility of one of them not being around for the next visit is becoming more and more likely as time progresses.

I came home both rejuvenated and exhausted after the last few weeks.

It's good to be home.