Monday, March 28, 2005

so busy

i'm taking a couple of days off from here.... we are very busy trying to get our house ready to go on the market this weekend! It's crazy.. I knew we were kind of pack-rat-ish.... but oh my god. I'm so ready to turn over a new leaf and stop hoarding junk!!! take care, talk to you soon.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

hello beautiful!

We've had a very exciting week and weekend! We started looking at houses on the Listings early in the week, found a place we liked, saw it on Thursday, saw it again on Friday, put in an offer on Saturday, and became it's new owners today! I love it!!! It's about 20 minutes from our current house, kind of in the "country" near a small hamlet, near the bigger city, next to the biggest city. It's got DSL for pete's sake, it's not that far out :) But it is on well water and septic tank (I'll have to plant the garden over it, I'll get giant pumpkins!).

So, yah, lots of nervous energy this week, and I'm trying to come down to earth and give my brain a break for a little while But holy crap I'm so happy!! The best part? A full basement, big enough for me to use my hoolahoop all year round :) The second best part? The private deck off the master bedroom, which also has a woodstove in it for those romantic wintery nights. Oh, and the stone fireplace in the living room, oh, and the two acres of land, oh, and the big garage for my hubby, oh, and the red cedar siding.... yeah, it's nice.

Gotta sell my current place though. Wanna buy a nice split-level house with 4 bedrooms and and 55 x 110 lot, 15 minutes from the Nation's Capitol vibrant downtown? Let me know!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

here they are!

Apparently I can't take pictures with a digital camera. All the pics I take with it SUCK, but I think you can get a feel for how the dress looks from the pictures below. If not, you may email me and I can tell you how to donate through paypal for a personal assistant who will take all my pictures for me. I'm sure you'll be very happy with your purchase. :)

So, here's a medium closeup showing all the crazy gathering and the flounciness of it all. It doesn't at all show the fact that there is a boning corset under the torso area, and five layers of fabric, does it? The damn thing could stand up by itself if it wanted to! In fact, it has so much sass, it could probably stand up on it's own, light a cigarette, and tell you all to "eat my grits y'all" except in a nice sorority kind of way. (Oh, by the way, tangent here..... Magda was trying to explain the concept of "sorority" to her mother who is not originally from round these parts, and the closest she could get was some kind of "ladies club". Let hope mama never watches revenge of the nerds of other frat movies, or finds out that her daughter is the cornerstone person on her team for the drink-2-pints-under-7-seconds contest at the greek olympics!!)

Anyway, I present the beautiful Magdalena:

Here's one showing the full dress. Yes, she did force me to make the slit 6 inches higher than in the pattern! There's a word for ladies of that sort.... bossy ;)

And here she is phoning her agent saying "Get me to the Oscars, baby, cuz i'm FABULOUS!"

Sunday, March 13, 2005

the dress is done

So.... I've been very preoccupied recently, and have basically spent ALL my free moments for the past three weeks making the dress for my sister in law. IT'S DONE! I finished it, no word of a lie, an hour before she had to leave. I drove it to her place, we put it on, and after a couple of moments where we thought the zipper wouldn't go up all the way.... zip! It went up! It looked really good. I took some pictures, but I can't find my camera right now, so I'll have to upload them later.

I'm so proud of myself!

Being 21 and a hottie and going to her sorority social, she wanted the dress to fit tighter, tighter! So, I made it as tight as possible, while still being able to get on her, and it worked out pretty well. There was a slight buckle in the back zipper, as the sides of the dress were sewn tighter than they wanted to be, but she just jauntily threw a slinky shawl around her arms, and it draped down over her back and it covered it nicely. I think she's going to wear it again for her grad formal, so I think I might adjust it a little bit. Other than that, it all turned out!

There were five layers to the dress, two short lining layers containing the boning that kept the structure of the upper section (like a corset), then a full length lining, the two layers of the silk chiffon gathered and ruched like in the picture. Although the dress overall was not hard to make, there were certainly difficult parts to the whole process. I'd never sewn with chiffon, and probably won't for a while :) It's very slippery, and delicate, and I feel more comfortable with linens and heavier silks. The armholes were difficult, and the final layer of lining had to be stitched to the dress after it was turned to the inside of the dress, and done from the outside (i know this sounds confusing,.... sorry!). So, i ended up doing that part by hand, trying to fold in 4 layers, and then attach a slippery fifth, without buckling the outside of the fabric. that took a while. Also, the gathering in the front had to be even so that there were no bulges anywhere in the top layer of chiffon. There was one tiny bulge in the end, but that got fixed when I tightened the whole lot. Oh yes, and I think if I had more time, I would have hand sewn all the flounces (the frilly bits). They were cut as long spirals, hemmed a scant 1/4 inch on one side, and then sewn onto the dress between the lining and overlay layers. That was pretty tricky, and I think they would have looked more professional if you couldn't see a hem sewing line on them.

The verdict from Magdalena's view? She was the belle of the ball. She felt like she was going to the Oscars, and everyone was flabbergasted that someone had made her dress, and it was beautiful. Absolutely everyone commented on the dress and how beautiful she was in it. She said she knew she had made an impact, when her friend's boyfriend, who is really shy and never says two words about anything, was staring at her all night, and finally came up to her and told her had the most beautiful dress on, and she was pretty. :) She likes being the centre of attention!!

The verdict from my view? It was quite the learning experience. It taught me to just dive in and do something, without fretting too much about the process. It was tough, but enjoyable, and made me realize I can do anything I put my mind to. It doesn't mean it was perfect, or of the highest quality, but it was perfect for what it was, and Magda was so happy and thinks I'm a star so that's what counts. It challenged me in all sorts of ways, and because of the time restraint (3 weeks!) I was able to just keep going even if I wanted to rip it out and do it all over again, and remember that I'm not a professional sewer, and it doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be a dress that I made for someone I love. So thanks Maggie for the shove, it was great!

So those bags I wanted to make for my business? They will SO not be a problem after this!

Monday, March 07, 2005

north is just "up" from wherever you are

So, it snowed here today in Ottawa. Maybe about 15 centimetres or so, and we are supposed to get a bit more tonight, along with that ottawa-winter-identifier: freezing rain. i was sitting at work looking out the window, thinking how pretty the snow looked, and then we all got word to go home, because of the bad weather!! I was pretty surprised - the temperature wasn't that cold, and there didn't seem to be that much snow. But a snow day! Woohoo! You know you're a complete beaurocrat when you hear "the weather's bad, go home", and for an instant, you're first thought is: "shit... I've got so much work to do...". I got over that pretty quickly.

it got me thinking of my old town, thunder bay, and how the inhabitants there really feel hardy and rugged in the winter. We rarely got a snow day in school - only if there was over three feet of snow falling that day. And we never got to stay indoors during recess - only if the temperature fell below minus 30. A true north strong and free (although, of course not as north as say Peawanuck or Alert)! So, when they said go home, today, I kind of felt like i was playing hooky, and that I wasn't really supposed to be going home. I joked with a guy at work, saying HA! These Ottawa people are so wussy, they can't HANDLE the snow!, and he replied, Hey, I'm from Toronto, I should have gone home this morning, and called the army!! ;)

Ottawa seems caught between being a small northern town, and a medium size southern town. It is north to those in Toronto, and south to those in northern ontario. That reminds me of when my friend took me to a camp in the Muskokas and there was a sign on the door that said "Welcome to the north". I nearly dropped my bottle of wine as I fell to the floor laughing... "I....hahaha.. think they mean... hahaha... welcome to just north of toronto... hahaha!"

Ottawa promotes it's Winterlude, and it's longest skating rink and all the winter activities that come out of those, but every time a few flakes fall, the drivers in this town ...aaaahhhh.... FREAK OUT! Hardly anyone uses winter tires, and there are tons of accidents all over town during a snowfall. It's not the people driving fast who cause them, it's the people who can't stop, or stay on the road. You gotta decide, Ottawa, are you a hardy, skate-wearing, snoe-showing, skiing, rugged driving sort of winter town, or are you TORONTO?? :)

Please, everyone, learn to drive in the winter. It's easy with some good winter tires and a little training. It makes everyone safer.

Oh yeah, as rugged and northern as I say I am, I actually don't like winter at all... give me a hot and dry climate any day over cold and wet. I've been in Ottawa over 7 years, and yesterday was the first time since I got here that I went on the canal! I haven't been skating in 15 years, but it was surprising how easily it all came back to me. Not that I was doing any triple sow-cows but i did manage to do a little twirl, go backwards, and of course forwards in a fairly stable way. yeah me!

PS. Thanks to all of you who spoke with me personally to give me advice for my friend. She's feeling better. xo.