“I’m an expert” he said!

“I’m quite an expert” he said, jumping on top of the door

“hang around a bit longer” he said, and I’ll show you how I get down to the floor

I sat and waited a while, to see what he had up his sleeve

he was clearly in no hurry, that’s when I decided to leave

down he came missing his target and landing with a mighty crash

slap-bang into my laptop, and in the process it did smash1098177_556066707762263_734309471_n

Expert

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Witness to Ginger Ninja

This is my cat Ginger Ninja, he’s quite an extraordinary chap.  We’ll go back to 2011, the year Ninja was born.  My daughter was staying with me at the time and she was looking for a job when she came across an advert for baby Ninja and his sister, they were looking for a home.   I promised her that when she found a job we could get both the kittens if they were still available.   Weeks went by before she got a job, she immediately went in search of Ninja again. Surprisingly he was still available but his sister was taken.   That is how Ninja entered our lives.

We live directly across the road from a nature reserve, where antelope, dassies and other wildlife roam freely, including a lot of bird life and harmless snakes.  Ninja was always fascinated with the nature reserve, and when he was about 6 months I remember him sitting outside our perimeter fence gazing across the road at the birds on the fence.  Now this is a busy road through the suburbs, in the morning, peak hour traffic is bumper to bumper.  Then one day we noticed that Ninja was nowhere to be seen all day and then just before sunset he would appear.  This went on for a long time and we thought he might be going down the stormwater gutter in the road. One evening just before sunset I waited at the fence and I was lucky enough to witness Ninja coming out of the nature reserve looking and listening until the sound of the traffic has subsided, only then did he cross.   He’s been doing this for 5 years now, he has impeccable timing and usually comes in just as I’m giving our other cats breakfast.  As soon as he’s eaten he’s off, only to come back again just before sunset, the time varies depending on the season, but I always know when he’ll be back. During the hot summer months, he might pop in during the day to have a drink from our water fountain, but he doesn’t hang around too long. Once or twice he hasn’t come home at all for breakfast, but I can only assume he found something worthwhile eating in the reserve.  When he doesn’t show up I usually go and have a look to see if there are any bodies lying in the road, and if I don’t see any I know he’s OK.  He’s a beautiful cat, strong and muscular, but unfortunately has the agenda of a businessman.Ninja1

Witness

Daily Prompt: It’s Obvious

Some years back our gardener at the time brought his cousin to work for us as our family houseman, they came from Malawi.  Before he arrived my husband had asked our gardener some questions about him.  My husband said to me “guess what his name is”.  After not getting it right he said to me “it’s obvious”.  So there I was guessing again, reeling off some obvious names, like my husband’s and some other obvious names.  My husband said again “it’s obvious, his name is Obvious”.  Only then did I get it, it was Obvious!

 

Obvious

Daily Prompt: Miniature me

Do you know what I don’t like to see

when parents dress their toddlers like a “miniature me”

little boys in bow ties and suits

or rough denim jeans and big cowboy boots

there’s plenty of time for him to dress like a man

so for now dress him like a little boy while you still can

little girls dressed in chic designer wear

straight from the hairdresser with newly coiffed hair

I’ve even seen painted fingers and toes

what was mama thinking, goodness only knows

Let them dress like children, those years go by so fast

before you even know it, their childhood will have passed.

Miniature

A bit of sewing motivation!

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Since I started giving private beginner’s sewing lessons I’ve learned a lot from my students  how little people know about sewing and haberdashery, which I wasn’t even aware of before.   Take zip fasteners for example, there are three different kinds that are used most often on our clothing.   There is the conventional type, the invisible type and the open-ended or separating zip.  There are metal teeth, plastic teeth and nylon teeth.   So when I asked one of my students to buy a zipper for a soft cotton dress she was making for her little girl, she arrived with a heavy separating zipper that would be suitable on a winter jacket.  Of course she didn’t know any different, so I made a point of having a little lesson about choosing the right zipper for the right fabric and garment.  I thought choosing a zipper was just common knowledge!

I’m sure there are a lot of bloggers that are just starting out on their own sewing journeys, some teaching themselves while others might be having lessons.  I would like to share some points with you.  I put this up on my Facebook sewing page to help motivate my students.

  1. You will make mistakes, you will fail and there will be times when you will feel like crying and “throwing in the towel”, DON’T. Like everything you’ve ever learned, sewing takes practice and perseverance too, and a lot of patience, (and even more from your teacher). Think about the first time you drove a car! Every time you see an item that you have completed successfully, it will give you new motivation to carry on.
  1. Don’t let your family and friends pressure you into thinking that you will be ready to start making them clothes after your 3rd lesson, because that ain’t gonna happen! You will only just be remembering how to thread your own machine properly. If they want homemade clothing, they can take lessons too!
  1. Don’t beat yourself up or be too critical of your first attempts, they will be far from perfect, but the more you practice the better you will become. Start off slowly; don’t expect to be making a well-fitting jacket and pants by your 4th lesson.
  1. Sewing takes up many hours of your time, and once you get hooked you won’t want to do anything else. It’s important that you have a partner who has his/her own hobbies and pastimes and is supportive.  There is nothing worse than having a partner who keeps nagging you to spend more time with him/her.  Family and friend’s support is very important.
  1. Try and organize a room where you can sew and have everything set up permanently, sewing makes a mess and it’s nice to close the door at the end of the day and not have to pack everything away, only to be brought out again when you want to sew. Most men can have the whole garage for their tools and work bench, so why must we be happy with a table in the corner of a room!
  1. Once you start making clothes, your attempts will be met with comments like “wow, did you make that, won’t you make me one” (they will want one for free, of course) or “I can see you made that, the collar is skew” or “did you make that, it looks nice, but just hang on while I get my magnifying glass out to see if your back stitch in perfectly aligned on top of your last stitch” or “why waste time sewing when you can buy it cheaper at Hoity Maloities”.

Nobody wants to hear those comments, even with 40 years of experience.   What I have noticed is that if someone knows you have made a garment, even if it’s flawless, they will look to try to find some imperfections.  I can only put it down to jealousy, which gives you the upper hand.   Once you are making wearable clothes you will see store-bought clothing with different eyes.

Happy sewing!

 

My sewing journey cont.

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During those early years when I worked in an office during the week, I spent almost every weekend sewing.  Of course I didn’t have to but I wanted to, and it soon became an addiction.   Every Monday I would walk into the office in something new.  After my co-workers had admired and inspected my outfit, they would tell me how lucky I was.  Excuse me, luck had played no part in me getting this new outfit, it was a lot of hard work being slumped over that sewing machine all weekend,  while you all lay on the beach and had fun.

There is more to sewing that joining two pieces of fabric together.   I’ve heard people say “sewing is easy, anyone can do it”.  While I don’t dispute that fact, you must remember that there is sewing and proper sewing.   Over the years I have seen some dreadful homemade creations, and to the trained eye it just shouts out “I’m homemade”.  Not that there’s anything wrong with homemade clothes, unless of course you really know what you’re doing, and let’s face it,  homemade does have a bad name.

When my daughters were little they had some beautiful clothes, always matching styles but in different colours to suit their individual skin tones.  They always got compliments when we were out shopping, but sadly not many people believed that I had made their clothes.  One day we were out shopping in a Mall when a woman approached me and asked where I had bought my girls’ jackets.  Not in a mood to explain that I had made them, I told her that my husband had bought them on a recent trip to Italy; her reply was “oh you can see that”.   So that became a line that I used for many years, until I was wise enough not to give a rat’s ass about whether people believed me or not!

Daily Prompt: Moon

Is that the moon I see, that big ball in the sky

If only I could touch it, but I don’t know how to fly

It seems so near, but I know it’s far away

Why does it shine at night, but never during the day

Oh big moon, how I love your shining light

Peeping through my window in the middle of the night

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My sewing journey

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I was born to a dressmaker/tailor 59 years ago.  My mother had made her first garment when she was 8 years old, by hand, and has been sewing ever since.  During the early days of my life, after my father had walked out and left my mother with two young children to bring up, my mother’s sole income was made from her sewing.  Growing up I spent many hours beside her, making dolls’ clothes from the scraps she discarded.  During my teenage years I started making a few things for myself.  Sewing has always been a part of my life, and looking back I think I was destined to become a sewaholic.   My mother made all my clothes until I left home and went to live in another city many hundreds of miles away.

My sewing journey really began in the early 1980’s after I had left home.  The thought of me now starting to buy my own clothes was really exciting, after having had a lifetime of clothes made by my mother.  By then I had become accustomed to always having clothes that fitted well and whatever style and colour I wanted, but at the time I didn’t realise it, until I went in search of store bought clothing.  After much searching in the shops and coming up with nothing, I decided to go and buy some fabric and my first pattern.  It was for a knee length pencil skirt, which was very fashionable during that time.  I already had a sewing machine that my boyfriend had bought for me some years earlier; it was an Empisal Pacesetter in a cabinet.  I had it for many years.  I can’t even remember how I cut my skirt out, as we lived in small flat without much space.  I instinctively knew what to do, and created a beautifully fitting skirt.  From then on there was no turning back and I spent almost every lunchtime from work in that department store choosing fabric and patterns.