166/2020

Now that winter is upon us (such as it is), we’ve had our portable unflued gas heater on from 6am to around 10pm every day and it’s been deliciously toasty in ThePalace(OfLove).

Don had been having a little trouble breathing for a couple of days and yesterday the kitties were a bit weirder than usual and avoiding their ordinary hang-out spots in the room with the heater. In the late afternoon Don realised that we’d not let any fresh air into the house for at least a week and opened everything up. He almost immediately could breathe more freely and the kitties resumed their usual lazing positions. Of course we’ve never had the heater on for such long stretches before, so had no idea we shouldn’t be doing that!

We headed to the hardware store this morning to grab a carbon monoxide monitor – just in case! For the non-locals, carbon monoxide monitors are not really a thing here, at least they haven’t been on my horizon other than mentions on the Information Superhighway in lands far away. In good news, it hasn’t gone off yet.

But yay! My first non-supermarket outing for 3 months!

While we were out, we grabbed amazingly good pho for lunch at eat fuh.

I really need to make sure I get out of the house a minimum of once a week because I’m a smidge concerned this could turn into a real problem. It’s not like I’m terribly concerned about catching covid-19, so I’m not entirely sure what the source of the resistance to being away from home is. Maybe I’m most comfortable when I have control of my environment?

Next goal – a little sun, a little more exercise, a little more reading, a little less phone in bed.

165/2020

We kick over to three months in iso early next week. The fastest and slowest (and weirdest) quarter ever.

There’s been a very low number of deaths (102) here and everything is beginning to gradually open up, though social distancing is still very much recommended. As I mentioned in the last post, we’re still working remotely for the foreseeable future – fortunately most of us are totally happy with this arrangement. It’s still pretty unlikely we’ll be able to leave the country any time soon, so those end of year holidays are uncertain at best. We’re very fortunate to have health and jobs and a home and all that other privilege, if the holidays happen, they happen.

If I’m honest, I’m starting to become a bit reluctant to leave the house for anything other than the early morning walk and grocery shopping. I’m a happily-potter-around-home type person and I guess being indoors for long periods of time can make you not want to leave if you’re predisposed to that kind of thing.

Cafes and restaurants have recently opened for dining in – Don has eaten out a couple of times, I’ve been avoiding accompanying him, but I really need to shake myself out of this before it gets much worse.

Tomorrow I’ll force myself out for lunch.

xxx

In the last couple of weeks the (free) site hosting my blog images way way back in 2005 suddenly began sending assertive emails claiming I was violating their TOS by linking to those images. This was apparently designed to encourage me to pay for their quite terrible hosting services. To be honest I’d completely forgotten the existence of that account, but after some effort, recovered my password, downloaded and re-uploaded to my (paid) host and began the process of manually re-linking.

Whenever I’m next conflicted about continuing the blog, I hope to remember how brilliant it is to have this (admittedly rather superficial) record of my life.

This triggered a pretty wide-ranging digital declutter which I’d been putting off for a good while and which will likely last some time. I’d completely forgotten at least two flickr accounts and a couple of yahoo email addresses required for who-knows-what (flickr and ancient footy tipping I suspect).

I wonder if this is actually a useful activity or avoidance of I’m-not-sure-what?

162/2020

Public holiday on Monday, so I took the opportunity to take a leave day last Friday to make a four day weekend.

Of course I had grand plans to do masses of stuff, but as ever this was probably less successful than I had intended.

I might not have done much, but it was glorious not to have to be “on” for four days.

Every work day at 9am since we’ve been remote it’s as if my relentlessly-cheerful, high-energy, smiley and positive switch is flicked – and there it stays for the remainder of the day. It’s really quite exhausting and I often want to curl into a ball in the evening.

I need to start managing that a little better because there is no sign of going back to the office any time in the next couple of months.

153/2020

I mixed it up a little at lunch today and attended a freebie pilates class over zoom which was put on by one of the local councils.

It was fun and quick and I would definitely do again, though I suspect I will be quite sore by Wednesday – I’ve done almost the bare minimum of exercise in the last 10 weeks. And probably not much more in the prior 10.

I haven’t done pilates for a couple of years now but thankfully could follow along okay.

I think the real benefit of signing up for a live class is that I’m much more likely to show up for it, rather than dither about putting off working out along to a video. This is the case for most classes – exercise or otherwise. There’s probably some psychological things to unpack here!

I’m trying yoga later in the week – all low key and no pressure to do headstands!

152/2020^

Last weekend I spent quite a bit of time making a toile (some people call it a muslin, but I like saying “toile”) of a pair of pants for Don. For the non-sewists, this is kind of a mock-up of a garment using inexpensive fabric which you sometimes make to check size and fit. The toile lets you make adjustments to the pattern and avoid possible mistakes before cutting into your usually more expensive final fabric.

I chose the Fremantle pants pattern from elbe textiles. I’d planned to get the A0 size printed for about $5 per sheet, but reconsidered and glued the A4 sheets together while sitting in the sun, listening to a podcast. Once that was done, I traced the pattern out on tissue paper. This is mostly so I can reuse the pattern in different sizes, plus it’s much easier to adjust on tissue.

I pulled out an old single bed sheet for the toile. Instead of whipping the pants up really quickly (generally you’d smash your toile together fast), I decided I was going to make the whole thing properly. This would let me suss out the technique and get some practice in for the final garment. In addition to the sheet, I used some bias-binding tape I’ve had kicking around for years and an old pillowcase for the pocket lining.

The instructions were really clear and simple and it all came together relatively quickly. I was pretty pleased with my finishing. I still need to work on the curves with the overlocker though I’m improving slightly. I free-styled the bias tape finishing for the pockets and would totally do that again. I hated the technique for the waistband, so abandoned that and did what I’m accustomed to – I still need to add some rows of stitching to that.

Detail pix:

How wonderful is this label? Purchased from JosieButtonsAU on etsy

xxx

Don was golfing and not available for progress fittings. What could possibly go wrong?

go gently judging that background clutter!

Verdict: baggier than expected, but weirdly tight across the top of the knees when walking. Much shorter than expected (should have measured length and not relied on the photo!). The design of the slash pocket depth seems to be proportionally off a bit. The front pockets aren’t as deep as I’d personally like.

When comparing to a pair of Don’s favourite pants of similar style, the leg width is similar, but the crotch on the fremantle isn’t quite as deep as on the favourites – maybe that’s what’s causing the weird knee tightness?

Think a unisex style is likely to not give me the results I’m aiming for,so I’ll be trying a men-specific pattern. This took me about 6 hours to choose today – but I got 3 patterns for $12 so, score!

xxx

And maybe I can steal the toile for gardening / painting / cleaning / messing-about pants?


dear god, those upper arms!

Might need to reduce the length of the elastic in the waistband just a smidge!

Whatever happens with it, I really loved the process. This low-stakes sewing has been super-fun!

xxx

^ slight pivot and going with the day of the year, rather than the date. Also – where did those 152 days go?!

rather than agonise over post titles, i’ll try using the date^^

A little over a month ago when I was Enthusiastic about planting things, I ordered Dragon Tree and Stone Pine** seeds and just as I’d pretty much forgotten about them, this week they arrived!

Like the maple, the stone pine requires cold stratification – though for not quite as long. Both the dragon and the pine germinate in the 22oC range and as we’re about to hit winter, I briefly considered holding off starting the process, but nah – carpe the whatevs and get on with it! I’ll keep them warm somehow. I’ve mentioned before that Sydney houses are normally quite freezing – architects / house builders / developers appear to collectively believe winter is not a thing that happens here.

xxx

^^ you’d not think it, but oftentimes settling on a title takes approximately 15 times longer than the actual post

** I adore stone pine trees almost as much as I adore maples. On my very first morning in Rome on my very first overseas trip at the comparatively advanced age of 40, I was on the Palatine Hill looking over the Circo Massimo – there was mist, there were stone pines, there were ancient ruins – and I wept at how beautiful and amazing and magical and wondrous it all was. I totally hid this from Don, because at that time I totally had a vision myself as way too cool and worldly for such displays of emotion. Honestly, what an idiot. Now I freely weep at every possible opportunity.

if i try to come up with a title i will never post this

(ack! must not have hit “publish” on this on Tuesday evening)

xxx

How very simple it is to lose the habit of daily posting!

How admirable are those that keep it up for the long haul!

How mystifying that I managed to keep it up for over a year!

xxx

I spent a good part of the weekend sewing and greatly enjoyed the process – even if the output was a little wanting. More details on that when I’m not posting on my phone from bed.

Before we get to that, I will say that if you are a sewist, I can highly recommend two new-to-me tools that have made a significant and positive contribution to my experience.

+ entomology pins
and
+ mini quilt clips

Absolute magic! The clips hold tight and the pins are great for fine or tightly woven fabric, fine enough to accidentally sew over and can withstand the iron.

Need to get myself more of both!

flashing past

I’m not entirely sure how it got to be Friday so quickly, but here we are!

Work has been work has been work. Slightly on the tedious side and while I’m adoring remote working, I’m feeling pretty unstructured and chaotic. I’d like to knuckle down and try to become a little more organised.

We were advised this week that we’re likely to be remote until at least the end of Project Sulfur, which at this stage is the end of September. So I’d better get on that!

I failed to list action items for last weekend and felt like I accomplished nothing. This probably wasn’t true, but this weekend I intend to make a muslin/toile for a pair of pants for Don and watch some improving videos, amongst other general pottering and blog-catcheruppering.

Sitting at your desk all day with your face in a computer can really make you disinclined to sit at the same desk all evening with your face in a different one!

from my cold dead hands

As you’re not doubt aware, I am totally here for the tracksuit pants! The ability to wear trakkies all day is surely one of the top 5 things about remote working**.

So I was delighted and interested to read No sweat: how tracksuit bottoms became the height of lockdown fashion on The Guardian a couple of weekends ago.

This, however was the stand out for me:

But not everyone is convinced. Last week, Adam Tschorn, deputy fashion editor of the LA Times , wrote an impassioned plea against the rise of the tracksuit bottom in our work-from-home environment. “Please, can we put away those sweatpants, ratty, grey, decades-old collegiate sweatshirts and obscure minor league baseball caps, and start our workdays looking like we deserve the pay we’re lucky enough to be earning while the world around us burns?”

No, Adam, no we can’t.

There is so much to unpack here. The idea that what we wear is any sort of indication of our capability, productivity or value. The idea of an old white privileged man dictating what is appropriate to wear in our homes.

But most mind boggling and hilarious of all is the idea that someone who dresses like this:

is in any way qualified to comment on fashion or style.^^

xxx

** other top things: fresh air! no commute! cats all day! (I know that’s only four things)

^^ there is a suitably amusing twitter thread here