Thursday, April 26, 2012

No Guts No Glory

I finally plucked up the courage to admit to being an author of a blog, and it got me wondering why I was so worried in the first place.
I have a few followers (thank you to the 3 of you) though they are "reciprocal" bloggers that I follow.  The fear factor was borne out of admitting to my blog in the Real World!  I have never even let my husband read it, and my family are completely oblivious to it.
I should not have worried, within minutes of announcing Red Rose To Tulip on my Facebook page my page views shot through the roof.  I was fairly confident I knew who said viewers would be and in the most part I was correct.  Everyone has been very complimentary, so my humblest thanks to all of you.
Pressure is on now to keep up the pace and keep you all glued to your screens for the next installment in my life!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

To Infinity And Beyond...

 So today is the annual Teachers birthday at my sons school, they all have a party on the same day to make things easier and I suppose a bit more fun for everyone.
I only discovered this on Monday afternoon, partly due to an insanely busy previous week and partly to not fully understanding the letter in Dutch.  That is becoming fairly standard as last week I sent my son in with an extra piece of fruit as requested (or so I thought) and was informed the school were providing the extra piece of fruit, ooops!

I digress.  I did find out that the teachers tend to have a list that you can pick something from.  Being late to the game, the list was all gone.  Turns out this may have been a blessing as one of my friends had to buy vouchers for facials at the local spa!!!  I decided, not surprisingly to bake cupcakes and make a home made card!

I am sure there are other mums reading this who have experienced the unnerving wave of sweat and nausea as they arrive at the school gate to see enormous, beautifully wrapped offerings. These are carried in by clearly over-burdened children, while parent walks proudly behind on their i-phone, clearly checking out the corner of their eye that every other parent has seen their incredible gift and is gazing in shock and awe at their generosity.

My son was typically undeterred and in his Buzz Lightyear costume ran very excitedly in to the class and plonked his tin foil wrapped, chocolate cupcakes on the table next to the 3 tier cake with sugar craft flowers all over it.  A tiny bit of me died at that point.  That is until School Dad A, whispered into my ear, "Shit, we painted a picture" at which point we were able to find solidarity in rolling our eyes at the vain attempts of over-stretched parents to curry favor with the teachers.

Who knows if I get it right as a School Gate Mum, or if the teachers and other parents snicker behind my back, but I should take a tip from my son's approach...dress boldly, act oblivious to the show boating of others and take pride in the fact I did it all myself and from the heart!

To Infinity and Beyond!!!!


Friday, April 13, 2012

A Highland Fling

So I have finished the tartan skirt a while ago and only now remembered to blog about it.  I am actually really pleased with it and I think it is the first item I have ever made that I have worn out!
I found a great pattern in the old stash of Burda Style magazines I had on subscription in 2004! Its the first time I have used any of their magazine patterns and I noticed just in time that they do not add the seam allowance to their patterns, so out came the handy Seam gauge to add to the pattern trace!  As promised I also made a toile for fitting, but as it turned out no alteration was needed!! That's got to be a first right!

The construction was pretty simple, which is a blessing, as the magazine instructions are fairly basic due to space for text.

Ready for the local Kids Disco
I knew that working with a Tartan was going to be a challenge for lining up and it certainly was more fiddly, but it was worth it and I am pleased with the line on the side seams of the skirt. I didn't pay so much attention to matching the waistband pattern once I had cut it on the bias, so it bugs me a bit when I see the pattern misaligned at the zipper, but everything is a learning experience!

Once it was ready it needed a final tweak as the back hem "kicked out".  I just unpicked 2 inches of hem and tapered the back seam from the base of the zipper to the hem, (almost an inch and half out of the hem) and re hemmed with a machine blind stitch.  I have drawn the adjustment on the pattern pieces but not permanently altered it as I am not convinced yet if the "kick" was down to the pattern or the lack of drape in the is very firm!

I did a 3 stitch zig-zag at the waist band to stop the lining from rolling over, I really like this way of making lining lie flat on a neckline or waist.

I have worn it out for shopping and coffee with the "Girls" and kids but I may go back to it and attach the lining to the waist/skirt sideseam so it doesn't turn itself completely inside out when I step out of it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pay It Forward...

Many years ago a good friend lent me a book called Pay It Forward, it has since been made into a film, but it has stayed with me since I read it and it is a good motto for life.
I am always willing to help someone out, I like to think I am someone who can be relied upon, called upon and trusted to help out. I have always viewed this as one of my better qualities, but recently I have started to question when that becomes a negative and  people start to take advantage? How do you recognise when you are being used?
My husbands threshold for willingness to help is much lower than mine, especially when it affects our family life, but even more so when the amount that I am doing means that he comes home to someone who is burnt out. Although I am someone who expects people to ask me for help, I do not ask others for help easily. I am a coper, I always have been. I am resourceful, and if I am motivated to do something, I will find a way to accomplish it. I think nothing of being the parent that takes care of flat pack and erects beds.

One friend describes me as on a permanent mission. For example I need to buy a new bookshelf, I have no car, its raining and Ikea is a 60 minute bike ride away, doesn't stop me, just has to be do it!
The same friend also describes me as the one who always answers a cry for help but never cries out for herself.
Another friend has offered to pay me when I look after her son while she has to work.  I refused payment, but it does suggest to me that she knows she is asking a for bit more than a helping hand.

It gets you into trouble aswell though.  The things I do well, and others may not, like my baking and sewing get me into the most trouble.  I will offer to make the birthday cake, sometimes I am asked.  I am asked to make craft things, curtains, hem trousers etc, sometimes I offer, but everytime I do something for someone else and to their timescale a little bit of my enjoyment of the skill dies.  I feel the pressure.

How do you balance the enjoyment of your hobbies and the ability to help others, with the high expectations of yourself and them?  I am sure this is something Wonder Woman and Supergirl struggled with too, so I am in good company!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I am once again attempting to lose weight, and have been on a new program for 7 weeks now.  I have got to the point where I float between losing weight and regaining it.  I get here, think I can lose weight whenever I like and treat myself to an edible reward or 6 and then next week back to the top weight. This is a dangerous week and wouldn't you know it, its Easter!!!! This is the second time during this weight loss program that I have reached this loss and put it back on, so although I have lost 3 lbs, I am kidding myself I have lost 7lbs because I lost 4 put it back on and then lost 3 again!!
I made the mistake of announcing my 2lb weight loss this week, which of course triggers the other half into asking the questions that I don't want him to ask, like "so how much is that over all?" and "how long have you been following this one?" It also means he raises his eyebrow at every mouthful I raise to my lips!

I wonder how many calories are burnt in 30 mins of beating up your hubby?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Nightmares for Rent

One of the challenges of living abroad is having to relinquish control of the elements you have left back home.  In our case it is the house that we saved so hard to buy, lovingly refurbished, bought both our boys home from hospital to, and created so many fabulous memories in the 8 years we lived there.  It was with trepidation that we decided to let the property and have a management company look after it for us, but at the time we still wanted the fall-back of a place to return to if moving abroad went horribly wrong. 

For the last few months it has become a source of stress as the tenants have failed to pay, and we have had to chase the management company relentlessly.
We finally decided to serve notice on the tenant, and last weekend they moved out.  The saga does not end there as we hoped it might.  Instead the tenant got angry with  the management guy and refused to hand back the keys until he got his deposit back!

Now I start to wonder where these people come from?? In what world do you not pay rent for 2 months, have 3 cats on a "No Pets" contract, put a cat flap in  PVC door, leave a stain on the carpet, and expect your deposit back????

Rant over!