Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mickey Dioro

My Dad liked horse racing. He got a few big wins but mostly not... like he used to say "it's a mugs game".  One day he rang me at work. This was unusual ... Dad never called me at work (this is before mobile phones were around). "What's wrong Dad" I asked a little concerned. "Sofie," he said. "I won $15 000".  He was in complete disbelief. "You did not!" was all I could come up with. "Yes, yes I did." He was incredulous. He said, "There's no one home for me to tell." So that's why he rang me.

A few weeks earlier my youngest sister announced she was getting married with her boyfriend and although my parents were terrifically pleased, Dad was worried how he would pay for it... and then suddenly he was flush!

From many, many years ago Mickey Dioro was a horse that Dad used to bet on all the time and would win for him (winning again just this week I was told). He got the nick name from people at the Kafenio he would go to daily for more than 70 years. Most people there only knew him as Mickey Dioro. (His real name was Michael but was called Mick)

When my Dad died recently, all I could think of was a purple sash with white writing and yellow/gold tassel ends. When my sister called after taking Mum to arrange and choose things for the funeral, I told her about my thoughts of this sash and asked her if it was tacky. She said Mum had just chosen the flowers for Dad and they were white roses with purple irises. When they came over I asked Mum what she thought and she thought it was a lovely tribute.


I had used this purple for the lining of a skirt that I wore when the Brisbane Spoolettes went to see "Ladies in Black" (which was fantastic) and I had some left. I showed the skirt to Mum and asked her if she thought it was too 'fluffy' to wear to Dad's funeral and she said that Dad loved purple and black.  

I made two sashes and went to ABC Embroidery at West End and they embroidered it for a very reasonable price. When I picked them up it was exactly as I envisaged them. I was so pleased my vision was realised. We used one draped over the casket and it went with Dad. The other we had on the table at the wake where the food was. It looked lovely. Mum has that one now at home. I miss my Dad a lot and it's so hard not being able to see him. 

My Dad was 83. He had a hard life being orphaned in Athens after the Second World War. For a time he and his only brother were at an orphanage just out of Athens. It was a private orphanage of a very wealthy couple who could not have children ... although there were many children left with only one parent, they decided to take only children orphaned in the true sense. My Dad very rarely spoke of this only to say once that he felt safe and happy there. Look here for some photos of how devastating and desperate it looked. The only other thing he said once was that he remembers walking to the train station in Piraeus to go to the orphanage and they were turned back by German soldiers saying the train line was bombed. He used to get cigarettes from the Allied soldiers and sell them. That's also when he started smoking at 7 years old. In 2001 he was told he had throat cancer and he would be dead in a year if he didn't stop. He stopped the moment he walked out of the doctor's office. He also gave up drinking for two years. He was 67. Obviously he survived after his one shot at chemo and radiation. He was one of the lucky ones. He was devastated (as we all were) when one of my younger sisters was nearly killed in a car accident in 1983. She had horrific injuries and a halo brace for a broken neck and she was in a coma for 4 months. My sister was in hospital for 18 months then did 5 years of outpatients at the hospital every day. A few years after he survived the cancer we found out my father had asbestosis and that it probably caused his throat cancer. Of course, like many men his age, he also had prostate cancer. A few years ago he was diagnosed with dementia. The disease that robs you of your mental life and then takes your body too. We were so lucky that, although it was a terribly difficult 2 or 3 last years, for the most part my Dad still remembered us all till the end, could eat and drink and walk around. Those who dementia has visited will know what a blessing this is. 

Thanks for indulging me in talking about my Dad for a bit. Thank you so much for all your kind words and thoughts in the comments on my last post. 

My thoughts to all of us that have lost loved one. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Is it too early to hate 2017?

I am already over 2017.

I thought it started well... we went to Maroochydore for a week on 7th January. When we got there, unpacked and went out for dinner. That's when I realised I left my wallet at home. I had taken $50 of my son's Christmas money in case he wanted to buy anything and so we used that. We also found my son had left his togs and swimming bag at home. We bit the bullet and went downstairs to the private, secure car park to drive the 2 hours back home to get my wallet... only to find the two boogie boards we left out next to our car (so it wouldn't mess up the lift and unit) STOLEN.  We drove down and back (four hours driving) to get my wallet and tried to forget. I tried to buy some new boogie boards but everywhere (of reasonable price) had sold out and tried buying some 2nd hand ones... eventually finding 2 for $10... but one died by the end of the week but it served it's purpose by then.

We went for a swim the next day and the surf tore out one of my favourite hoop earrings.. silver with cubic zirconia  all around... a gift from a friend's mother when I hosted them when they were here from the Netherlands about 6 years ago. I am really shattered at losing one (a couple of years ago  I lost one gold hoop a of a pair I bought when I was living in Cyprus in 1984.. annoying). Then a warning light went on in the car... the same one that a part was replaced a month before.  I rang the mechanic who said to get it tested to see if I could drive home safely.. cost me more money :( but it was safe to drive home.

We went to see Matilda the musical at the end of the holidays... I park nearby at a bus station (Gabba for those living here) which is 2 stops from where the theatre is. Of course, our bus passes were at home in my wallet... so had to drive home to get the wallet... we made it but only by 5 minutes. (show was magnificent) Then my son thought he lost his phone which he got for Christmas; luckily we found it. Then my shoe broke so I had to carry my shoe around while trying to look fancy.

Next, I went to a Brisbane Spoolettes event seeing Ladies in Black (also magnificent). I made a skirt (no photos yet) on the day, put on some shoes... the heel cracked... ok other shoes... the soles split while I was running to catch the ferry... drive home get shoes that don't go... but get there and have a great night.

Then my hot water system broke... of course they don't make it anymore and I was without hot water for a week while the plumber, bless him, found a salvaged part so I didn't have to fork out $1400 minimum for a new system. I was having cold showers anyway as it was still 28-30 degrees celsius at midnight... it was the hottest summer ever here with 35 days straight of over 30 degrees ... autumn now and it's still in the 30's!

Then my Dad died.... he was 83 1/2 and had dementia. He had been in a nursing home for nearly two years and I would take him out every Sunday for a family lunch (along with other days of course). Although it is very sad for us, we are happy that he had a peaceful passing and the most important thing is that he remembered us all (for the most part) and on the last Sunday he told his grand boys he loved them and thank you for taking him out every week. We are glad he did not have to get to the stage that he would suffer through forgetting how to eat or drink.  There is some sewing that is part of it but I won't post now about that yet.

Today I get an infringement notice for $243 for leaving ("littering") items at a charity bin!!!! I put stuff IN a charity bin but did not leave anything outside.... I am flabbergasted .... I am disputing it of course. I know the laws and made sure it was inside the bin. (it is illegal to leave things outside a charity bin here).  I don't know ... do you feel for some reason the universe is against you.. I am just over it ... I consider myself very lucky and I always feel I have "enough".  I need a win.

So onto sewing... I did make a pair of New Look 6459. This is in a cotton for testing. They are a nice fit and it's a lovely pattern. I have a pair half made in a polka dot rayon that I also made a dress with... the remnant leftover.  Sorry for the bad phone photo inside at night with bad light. I can't help see these as pyjama pants but they are nice and comfy. Worn with the white cowl top that needs an FBA!


I went to the fabric sale again recently and when I've got more mental energy I'll post my new purchases. Thanks for listening to my rant... let me know if the universe has fought you lately.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sharps

When I break a needle or bend a pin or the head of the pin pops off I put it in one of these little tins of   something... sorry are they gum or lollies? (I got this from my colleague who eats them all day) Anyway, I put them in this as I can't bear the thought of me putting them in the rubbish and someone stepping on them. No one is trying to make a living out of the rubbish tips here (I think) like they must in some places, but still,  the thought that someone would get stuck horrifies me. In the old days I used to use one of those little round flat container that needles of all sizes would come in... you know the one... it had a clear top and you'd twist it to let the needle come out of the little hole on the circumference of the container. When you start using a little sharps container, you really notice how many pins, needles and machine needles you go through. I keep  mine on the window sill just behind my machines.


There are some slightly bigger ones my colleague gave me too.. I use these to keep my headphones  nice, instead of tossing them around my bags. I also use one for my phone charging cord. 

How do you dispose of your sharps?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Training togs

Happy New Year. I hope 2017 proves to be a good year. I didn't have a bad 2016. I got a job that I really enjoy after looking for three years and after studying for 3 years so I'm financially on my way to some home repairs/maintenance/renovations. Not sure what I will do yet, but hopefully I'll get some stuff done to make it more comfortable for a (soon to be) teenager and grown up.  The garden needs a good sorting out too.  On the plus side, I can see the floor in my sewing room/computer room/office. No real cull yet but that's on the agenda too. I have collected patterns for a number of years when I was unemployed from secondhand shops. I love the art work, that I could afford them and they gave me lots of pleasure but I will be selling a lot of them this year as I just have too many and not a lot of room.

Although I have a sewing room it's tiny - about the size of a single bed with about 80cm extra width and maybe length as well. I have lots of fabric, most of it that I still love but some that I love but I know is not for me. It may be the colour or something but again I won't have time to sew it all up so I will sell some nice pieces.

However, the stash has come good and is being used. Just before Christmas, I made two fairy skirts to go with some wings and wands I bought for little girls I know. One was just plain in a purple and this one below is a bit more fancy. I bought this sequin elastic a couple of years ago and thought it would be perfect for a sparkly skirt. The fake sequin fabric was remnants from Spotlight about 5 years ago so I'm glad to have that gone to be honest. The recipient of this one is away at the moment but she got a photo and is excited to try it on. I think it will be too big in the waist so I'll probably have to fix that up for her. The skirt is long and she is only 5 but very tall (like about a 7 year old) and I'll cut the hem to the right length. I wanted to use most the this stuff so it have a orchid pink colour for the main skirt and then scraps of the purple as petals and then some lilac on the top for the layered look.


The next thing I just finished is a pair of togs for swimming/aqua aerobics. Again stash comes to the rescue. I needed some new togs 6 months ago when my Jalie togs died. I used to do my aqua training and swimming during the day, but now with working I do a lot in the heated indoor pool (which I hate - it's way too hot) and that accelerates the disintegration of lycra. I didn't have time to make some and bought a great pair of adidas togs for $10 from a discount warehouse place and they were great for a while but then one day a couple of weeks ago I noticed they just died. (Do you notice that... one day the togs are good, then the next time you get them they have that disintegrated bum 😬 Nowhere to go from there! ) I liked the fit and the square shape of the lower back so I cut them apart and pinned them to some small pieces of lycra I had. The red is very thin and so I self lined it. I didn't make a gusset but fully enclosed the join so it should be comfortable. I have had the aqua lycra for over 20 years, it was a remnant from somewhere and it is still in excellent condition attesting to its quality. There is a little left of that but it was a very short piece so not good for the lengthier pieces.


I'm pretty happy with them. They fit like the other ones did but maybe a bit of refining of the upper chest where I am pretty narrow. This is how the back was on the other pair. Obviously for the economy of not wasting lycra the X of the back is one piece and joins the front at the shoulders so fit my small pieces of lycra really well.


The colour scheme is a bit retro really. It reminds me of the togs that were around in the '70's and '80's. The ones the rich kids wore to Friday swim club... we couldn't afford to go to swim club and no fancy togs either.  The photo below is terrible, I know but I wanted to show the ribbed pattern in the aqua lyrca. It's white on the underside if you notice in the photo above. Oh and you may notice I used the coverstitch at the seams on the aqua. I had it threaded in red (from my jacket mid last year when I last used it) and thought it was the perfect opportunity to practice with it. I'm determined to get more use of it and better at it.


Have you made swimwear? If you haven't, you should. It is so easy and overall very forgiving and if you have kids, making them some to practice is perfect. I see more togs in my future. We are going to the beach for a week soon so my son may get some new togs too if I have time. Next up, more culottes I think.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Catching up.

Well hello! It has been a while. I've been very busy... boy working full time really cuts down the everything else fun time doesn't it. So onto the catch up.



These 4 patterns above I got way back in July I think. My friend who lives and works in the U.S. was coming over and I wanted the New Look 6459, Simplicity 1366 and Butterick 6244 but of course every time there was a sale at Spotlight, these were not available or already sold, so I asked if she could get them for me. Stupidly I should have ordered them from sewing patterns.com but did think of it early enough so she popped into a Joanne's to get them .. .ended up costing me $50 AUD but I guess I have them at least.

So far I have made a muslin of the culottes (no photo yet though) and with the same fabric, the top which isn't sewn up yet... maybe this arvo.  I think that culotte pattern is a good work uniform pattern and will look different in different fabrics (that's such an obvious statement but you know that I mean non sewers will not notice it's the same pattern). I have cut out a Sweater from the New Look knits pattern (out of a linen knit from Darn Cheap fabrics a few years ago that was $2 a metre.. this is a great pattern for it and when I get it whipped up it'll be perfect for the office). Of course now it's too hot (wayyyy too hot) for the Butterick jacket but I really like it so next year winter, look out. The Butterick Dress is nice too so maybe that'll get a look in some time soon.



Next is the dress above made for the Brisbane Spoolettes Frocktails way back in October. I used the vintage Butterick on the left for the bodice and the skirt from the modern Butterick on the right. Fitted perfectly together. Funny story about this, as usual I made it up on the morning of Frocktails. Of course I wanted to make a new dress for Frocktails (at least this guarantees one dress a year) but I was vacillating between many patterns and fabrics for a few weeks, interestingly none of the ones that I actually used. In the end, at 11 am on the day of Frocktails, my son asked to meet up with his friend at the park so I said yes but he had to be back by 1.30pm. So in that time, I suddenly chose this fabric and patterns and whipped it up.

The fabric is a remnant piece I bought from Darn Cheap Fabrics in June when we were in Melbourne for a week. It's a polyester, which I normally steer clear of as I prefer to wear more breathable fibres, but I just loved the print and it was only $7 for about 2 metres. It is even more vibrant in real life.. th pink is actually fluro. I don't like full skirts on me and I like the A line skirt on the other pattern so I used it. I fully lined the dress with some cotton muslin-like fabric so it was a quick sew really. I did start to make facings but it was just too time consuming to cut them out plus interfacing, I figured it was quicker to line the whole front. I pinched out about 2 inches in the neckline front and back (I am very, very narrow there and across the back.. tiny even) and if I had more time, I would have faced the tie parts in the fashion fabric, but no time and it's not that noticeable. What is noticeable is the ties loosen quickly and easily, I'm guessing because of the slippery nature of the polyester... I think the cotton lining makes this go slower because I don't think they would stay tied up if both sides were polyester. I ended up not putting in the elastic as I liked the A-line look of the dress and I sometimes choose to wear it with a chain belt. Every time I wear this I get multiple compliments. If, when I make this up again, I will lower the boat neck a bit as it is high and I hate things on my neck, but otherwise a lovely dress that has had a lot of use and is easy and lovely to wear.


 I loved the venue "The Annual Sew Your Own Dress Get Together" was held at. Thanks Colette for a fabulous evening. It was cut short for me as my son had a birthday party that evening too, so I had to collect him by 8.45pm so I wasn't there for the games but I had a great time catching up with those I did get a chance to say hello to. There is never enough time to talk to everyone...particularly if you leave early :(


This is me wearing the dress (the only photo I have wearing it) and my son and nephew at Parliament House Special High Tea last week. My Christmas gift to my sisters and Mum was the high tea. Everyone had a great time. They boys read the information sheets and made sure they stirred their tea without touching the cup and making noises, holding their pinkies up and also learned the correct way to get the scone on the plate and then cut it and put the jam and cream on. We did the tour after and had a great day.


This is me the last time I went three years ago... look how grey I have gotten in that time! 


See that dress above, it's Simplicity 1796 below. Notice what I did... yep put the skirt and bodice on the wrong way. So I didn't even allow myself to get cross, I just unpicked it and sewed it up again. I am debating whether or not to put elastic or a drawstring tie in ... I think I'll go the elastic 'cause it's easier and I just want to finish it. I made an 8 in the top to the armholes and then down to a 16 at the waist and the skirt. It's a quick make but there is something weird about the facings and the shoulders in the drafting... there is 2 cm seam allowances there somewhere for some reason. The facings didn't fit so I skipped them and made some bias and used that instead. Quicker and a nice finish. This is a rayon that I got from an eBay seller - Janie's Fabrics I think, something like that. It's a nice heavy rayon and was only $6 pm. I have been looking for a rayon same at this but a navy for about 4 years and finally I saw some at Spotlight online. I bought it and for .3 kg weight they still charged the full $8.99 in postage. I will never buy online from them again but I really wanted this fabric. It is much lighter weight and only 112cm wide but I want it to make some wide leg pants. I had some in black many years ago and they were so versatile I wanted to replicate them. 


I will try this pattern again and maybe make the cross over dress. Again I need quick easy things to make for work as my wardrobe is limited - as is my time.


This is the last of the makes... I made the skirt a few weeks back... a remnant piece of rayon crepe (what a gorgeous fabric and print). It was only a few dollars and just enough for a simple elastic skirt, but I didn't have anything to go with it (which reminds me I made a white cowl neck top too but no photos) and then I bought a dress and this green top at Big W when they had 20% off. I think it was $20. It's a polyester crepe and when I washed it I noticed it was the perfect colour to go with the skirt, so win, another outfit for work. I am contemplating cutting it shorter at the hem and shortening the sleeves too as I feel overwhelmed in it, but I may wear it together first and see if it's workable as is. No point using valuable sewing time if it's not needed.

I don't foresee any posting before Christmas so I'll wish you all a safe and happy festive time and a hope for a wonderful and peaceful 2017. Thank you for reading and commenting - it's very much appreciated.