Hello Mickey :)

Hi there … tonight I just thought I’d let you know that I finally convinced a little helper to come stay with me. Say hello to Mickey:

Mickey
Mickey testing the couch. Not entirely convinced …

He was left behind by the previous tenants of a house one of my coworkers moved into, together with his ladyfriend Minnie, who’ll eventually relocate to my house as well (we only had one carrier that day). He’s settling in well, but clearly not entirely convinced my sofa is his happy place. We’ll work on that.

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Tumbleweeds …

It is well and truely summer here now. Which is great and sunny and warm and sunny and … well, you get it 😀

Which means I’ve not been home a lot, and not been too keen on being stuck in the sewing room. Despite the fact that I really could use more summery clothes … the irony of the situation isn’t lost on me.

Anyways, there was loads of fun had two weekends ago when I went sailing. I’ll spare you the endless “look – water!” and “more water!” photos (and we didn’t get a single shot of the school of 30 or so dolphins we saw), but this one I want to share as it’s a bit special to me.

Holding the wheel
Holding the wheel

Yup, that’s me steering the sail boat we were on! Quite exciting, that … and a good experience on more than one level. Life here has had it’s ups and downs, and despite having gone through the experience of moving to a new country before, this time it’s a lot more challenging. While a lot of things are great, my general mood hasn’t really been. I guess I feel a little lost, and a tad lonely, and just find it harder than expected to settle down. I’m sure all will be well in time, but right now, I’m struggling a little bit.

And quite literally taking the steering wheel has brought back into focus what I knew before, but sometimes seem to forget: it is what I make of it. So … moving on.

ordirnary day at the office
Ordinary day at the office

That’s me at work, wearing the “broken build” hat. For those of you not familiar with software development methods, it’s a way of letting people know that you’re fixing something rather fundamentally important (which, in all honesty, I wasn’t, but … ah, well, long story).

laurel in action
Laurel in action

That’s the promised better photo of the second Laurel dress I made … I really love it. Sadly, there was some sort of weird fabric accident, and one little bit of it looks a tad roughed up – not sure if it was the messenger bag or the washing machine 😦 I think it’s still wearable, but sad nonetheless.

To console myself, of course I made another one … no photos yet, but I’ll get some soon.

And of course, the garden is still growing. After all went so swimmingly with the tomatoes, I should probably have expected some little setbacks. Well, I didn’t.

One day, I noticed the first tomato starting to turn red. It looked amazing:

Loogking good ...
Loogking good …

Then I inspected it’s underside:

Meh
Meh

I don’t know what this is – if anybody does, I’d love to hear! Also, tips on how to prevent this would be greatly appreciated.

There are, however, many more tomatoes on the bushes, so I won’t fret. Okay, I’m lying. It’s the first one, and I had plans for it, dammit!

Plans ...
Plans …

Let’s hope these beauties will turn out better!

San Marzanos
San Marzanos

And the first chilies, too:

Some chilies
Some chilies

Speak soon!

Another Laurel, what else?

Last week, I received a fabric order I had kinda forgotten about. How that’s possible, with me being so desperate for some  stash additions, I’m no sure.

It was, however, a shipment of three different double-knits. And the stripey one was just sceaming “Laurel!”. So I made one … after I finally made the Moss skirt.

There will be no photos of it in this post, as it’s not quite finished yet – all that’s missing is a hook and eye, though. The other reason there are no photos is that I’m not entirely sure I love it – which, in all fairness is more my failure than anything to do with the pattern.

I chose to make a size 8, since the hip measurements were very close to mine, and it turned out just a tad tight. I’m not even sure it’s really too tight – it’s just … well, very fitted over my backside. You might or might not get to see it – there’s always the option I loose some weight, of course.

The pool finally opened last Friday, and after putting the finishing touches (well, except for the closure) on the Moss skirt, I went for a swim! Man, am I out of shape – nonetheless, it was glorious. Really need to do that more often now.

K, back to Laurel – I had wanted to try it in a stable knit anyways, and so redraftet the front piece to move the darts down a bit. My first two version have very high darts; in fact, after the first one, I spent a considerably amount of time peering at the photos on Colette’s website to determine where they should sit. Since the model in the stripey dress has them above her apex as well, I didn’t make any changes to my 2nd make, but have hence come to think they’d be more flattering if they were more traditionally placed.

I might have gone a bit overboard (note to self – remember to activate anti-gravity attachments before taking measurements next time), but I like the fit still a lot better now.

Sadly, even though this time I waited until the sun had disappeared behind the houses, and activated the flash, the pics were even worse overexposed than last time. Seems I’ve got to put my thinking cap on how to get passable photos during the glaring summer months …

Anyway, that’s why I only have this one rubbish shot:

Stripey Laurel
Stripey Laurel

I didn’t even really try to match stripes in the sleeves, and clearly fate wasn’t really on my side – also I’m not certain the fact that one side is kinda matched, the other not doesn’t make things worse?

After finishing the Laurel, I repurposed some of the minuscule remnants:

Repurposed tee remnants
Repurposed tee remnants

Yus, not only have my tomatoes now a height at which they need support, the first buds have opened!

1st tomato flower
1st tomato flower

And because I also epically scored against the weed (edgetrimmer FTW!), some celebratory BBQ was called for:

BBQ dinner
BBQ dinner

All in all, a wonderful Sunday. How did you spend yours? What did you make and/or do?

The fierce basil and other plants.

To get it out of the way – there’s still not enough sewing happening around here. Some … occasionally. Like this t-shirt.

Non-descript tee
Non-descript tee

Please to forgive the horribly overexposed photo … the sun had long left the balcony and wandered over to the other side of the house (it was in fact near 8pm when I took the photo, and that’s the east-facing balcony), but She was still too bright for my shoddy little camera.

Not a lot to say – my self-made t-shirt sloper, with Laurel-style sleeves this time. I’ve also added a band as finishing to the seam, which I quite like. This one is just a tad too short to be perfect.

When I sewed this one up, using some jersey I bought in Walthamstow, I made another one from some black double knit. I love it to bits – it came out with this peculiar look of a well-loved but miraculously shiny new shirt to it. Since She, The Sun, was so bright, I didn’t even attempt to get a shot. You’ll see it in time, I’m sure.

In other news – my little gardening efforts are going well so far. The greenflies are eating up the roses, which does annoy  me – but in all honesty, if that means they stay off my tomatoes, I’m down. Sorry, roses. I still try to help you!

If you have no love for plants at all, you should resume your regularly scheduled blog surfing now. Otherwise, prepare for an onslaught of green:

Buds. Close up. Excitement!
Buds. Close up. Excitement!
The first buds have appeared!
The first buds have appeared!
The fierce basil.
The fierce basil.
San Marzano tomato plant
Thai basil, chilies and moar tomatoes. 

 

Parsley, coriander, chili and garlic chives.
Parsley, coriander, chili and garlic chives.
Marjoram, and a tomato plant.
Marjoram, and a tomato plant.

I never got the hype about Liberty fabrics.

Until today, that is.

Maybe you remember this post? I certainly do. This fabric just kept spooking around in my head. And a couple of weeks ago, I felt like I needed to treat myself to some luxury. So off I went on a virtual shopping tour, and ordered the most expensive single meter of fabric I’ve ever bought.

It was delivered today – to my actual house, an occurence so rare that it’s noteworthy! – and it’s even prettier in person. It’s also so soft and floaty … yeah, this is love, actually. (It’s also pre-washed already and drying in the gentle breeze on my balcony. I know.)

Just freshly unwrapped - oh, the pretty! It hurts!
Just freshly unwrapped – oh, the pretty! It hurts!

This is totally destined to be another Laurel!

Speaking of gentle breeze – today, as for the last several days, the Levante was blowing. And that makes for a bizarre phenomenon, The Rock is covered in a cloud that seems to be floating over it’s top (well, it actually does …) while over the border in Spain, it’s sunny and 5C warmer.

Levante.
Levante.

And to make for a really great day, I’ve also scored massively at the De-Stash event of the Knitting Club in Gibraltar.

Score!!
Score!!

100gr of Noro, conveniently wound already. I’m not entirely sure what it is, I suspect Silk Garden, but to be honest, I don’t really care. I’ve loved each and every single Noro yarn I’ve touched so far, so I’m down.

Even better – something I’ve coveted for a long time, but didn’t quite have the play money to buy – Baby Alpaca! 16 x 50gr worth of it, to be exact – at 2 GBP each. So excited!

Now to quickly finish this baby present I’m actually supposed to be knitting right now … see you later!

Colette – Laurel

While the weather is still rather temperamental, it is a bit warmer now, and that means I can finally use the sewing room. Okay, to be honest I could have used it before, but I’d have to drag the electric heater in there, and for a spot of evening sewing that just doesn’t happen – by the time the rooms warmed up sufficiently, I’m ready for bed most times.

But with a four day weekend, I was intent on finally making use of it. I even found a second screw to secure my chair seat, so I wouldn’t fall off the chair and break my neck – win!

Last week, Colette Patterns released Laurel, and while I’ve admired a lot of their patterns, and even own a few, I’ve never made anything but a Sorbetto top – which didn’t fit me very well, and I’ve not gotten around to fix the pattern. I’m thinking I might do that soon, though …

Laurel is a cute little pattern that can be made into a dress or top, and with the fitting issues from Sorbetto in mind, I decided I’d make the top first.

I had this rather weird teal poly-cotton with textured stripes in my stash, and I’ve been looking for a pattern for it for quite a while. Laurel seemed to fit the bill, and indeed it does work rather well, I think.

Things were going fairly well with my first version – there was some gaping in the back neck line, but thanks to the back center seam, it was no problem to fix that by taking the seam in 1.5 inches.

Sadly, though, when I set about to press the seam open, I accidentally switched the temperature on my iron to highest, and promptly melted a hole in the fabric 😦 Go me.

There was just enough of the fabric left to make a second version, and that gave me the opportunity to fix a few minor fitting issues – the gaping back neckline by taking out 1.5 inches at the top of the back center seam, tapering to nothing roughly at waist height.

I also lowered the neck-side of the shoulder seams by a bit less than an inch, as they were standing up a little bit in the first version.

Colette - Laurel front
Colette – Laurel front

The back would probably benefit from a little bit more tampering with the shoulder seams and armscye, there’s a teensy bit of wrinkling there, but not enough to really bother me.

Colette - Laurel back
Colette – Laurel back

The only thing I’m not entirely sure about is the sleeve length, which hits just at my elbows. I kinda like it, though … maybe I get used to it.

And just for giggles, here’s one shot of my litte herb-garden-in-the-making. The birds have ripped out a couple of baby tomatoes and chilies, but it looks like it was more of an exploratory action and they decided they’re not appealing to eat. Phew. I’m sure there will be many other takers once the sun comes out for good …

Future herb garden
Future herb garden

In the absence of …

Just to get it out of the way – it’s still raining. It’s still too cold. But we’ve had a few sunny days as well, and all around me the flowers are starting to bloom, so I’ll take that as a good sign and just firmly believe that soon, oh so very soon, the Costa del Sol will behave itself and display what it got it’s name from – loads of sun. Yup. I have faith.

That being said, that’s mostly all I have for you.

Mostly, but not quite – there has been some further unpacking. Or actually some rearranging things. One day, it occurred to me that I have loads of unused wardrobe space, and in the absence of actual garments, why not fill it with garments-to-be?

So I got all my stash out of it’s plastic bin and put it in the wardrobe:

The Stash
The Stash

That was quite a good idea, if I do say so myself 🙂 Now I know exactly what I have – which, of course, also shows me clearly what I don’t have, and that’s the fabric I want. Oh, the hard life!

As a matter of fact, that turns out to be a bit of an issue, as the options to buy fabric locally are somewhat limited. I scouted two stores which sell fabrics, one in Gibraltar, another one in La Linea. Sadly, though, neither of them has ANYTHING I actually want to buy. On top of that, they’re rather expensive – which is a bit nuts, as everything else here is so much cheaper than back in good ole Blighty.

I did, however, finally find an online shop who ships for reasonable rates – UKfabrics online. So I ordered some more denim (yes, I’m still obsessed with making yet another Jalie Jeans. Judge me.), and some funky vintage flowery fabric. Experience tells me, however, that it’ll be roughly 4 weeks before I get my hot mitts on that, so in the meantime I’ll have to find something to make from stash.

Aside from that, I started some seedlings.

Seedlings
Seedlings

What you see there are San Marzano tomatoes, Black Cherry tomatoes, and an assortment of herbs and chilies. Some of which came out of last year’s swap with the lovely Silvia – like she knew!

So, peeps, cross your fingers for me – my green thumb has been severely under exercised these last 10 years or so, let’s hope I haven’t lost it.