They think it's all over

The 30 day macro challenge (http://www.flickr.com/groups/macro_challenge/) has come to an end. That's probably a good thing, as I'm sure my neighbours were getting concerned about my crawling around the garden on all fours. They'd probably be even more concerned if they knew I was doing all that just to sneak a photo of a fly...
Here's a quick compilation of my pics, with a couple more added in just to make the mosaic nice and square. I used the mosaic maker this time, but it does trim all the photos down to a square, unfortunately. You should be able to click on these links to see the original photos, though:
1. Clover, 2. Birthday aftermath, 3. mmm,,, carrots, 4. A gift, 5. Shining light, 6. Household, 7. Apples, 8. Pencils, 9. Spool, 10. Crochet, 11. Fish, 12. Bloomin' Rose, 13. Drawing, 14. In the garden, 15. Letter from '38, 16. Power outage, 17. California Poppies, 18. Poppy, 19. Grass, 20. Tap, 21. Love spoons, 22. flower, 23. What happened to Spring?, 24. lily, 25. web, 26. shadow, 27. water drops, 28. fly, 29. another one?, 30. Flower, 31. J, 32. fly, 33. Flower, 34. Thinking about jumping, 35. Poppies, 36. Cars
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I haven't been up to much this week in terms of making things, as J and my husband were ill. Usually I get a couple of evenings to myself a week, when my husband's at work and the kids are in bed. I did knock out a couple of invitations for the kids' joint birthday party, but that's as far as my efforts went, I'm afraid. I'm not planning on having a theme or fancy decorations. Just food and drink and space for the kids to run around. Here's a pic of the invites - I love these line drawings. They only take a few minutes to do.
I'll leave you with the Translation of the day:
UK English: Lurgy = a slang term for a minor illness, that is usually contagious but non-fatal (such as a common cold or influenza). It can also be used by children in a similar way to the American term 'cooties', as in, 'we don't want to play with them as they have the lurgy'.
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My husband and son had the lurgy this week - you would never know that it was non-fatal, though, with the way my husband carries on when he's sick...
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Take care all.

Done.

The doll quilt (http://uklassinus.blogspot.com/2008/02/corners-cars-dogs-and-dolls.html) is finished. My first attempt at a quilt is complete. This is a day that I thought would never come.
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Ok, so this might be considered a little bit too much fanfare for a quilt that's probably only about 2 foot long, but I've been intimidated by the idea of quilting for a long time. It turns out that, if you use plain square patches, chicken out of fancy quilting and settle for just stitching in the ditch and make a quilt of such tiny wee proportions all for a little girl too young to notice any imperfections, well, then, just maybe, it isn't too hard after all...
I hope K likes it - she's getting the doll bed (from Ikea) and quilt for her birthday next week (photos sneakily taken behind closed doors on her bed as the little toad has pulled all her toys out all over the floor...)
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Here's the back and binding:
Translation of the day:
UK English: bash on = to press on, to keep struggling in the face of adversity
US English: bashing on someone = picking on someone
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The best part is, I get to avoid trying to find something for K in the pink glittery aisles of the store. So far she's like her mum and hasn't shown too much interest in that stuff. I hope that continues, as I think I might be allergic to the likes of Barbie...

Boot cut to, um, bermudas?

I should probably start off with disclaimer that I don't know what I am doing. There may be many better ways of doing this. This might actually be the completely wrong way to do it, in fact, but it did work out ok.I was looking for some long shorts the other day, but wasn't having much luck, as they were all a tad long for me. I'm not sure what these shorts are called. I think Bermudas is the right term, but to be honest, I don't know what the difference is between crops/ pedal pushers/ capris/ bermudas/ knickerbockers/ clam diggers. I just vaguely know that they fall somewhere between short shorts and trousers. Anyway, after giving up on finding some in the shops, I made the above pair out of an old pair of jeans that were about to get holes at the knee.
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I didn't want to just hem the bottom edge, as then they tend to get a little wrinkly at the back, so a bias tape type thing seemed the way to go. It's made out of two different fabrics, though: the stripey part is denim and the dotted part is a floral fabric.

Ok, here goes.
Step 1: Find a pair of old boot cut jeans. Cut the jeans at the length you wish the shorts to be:
Step 2: Cut a 4" section (I'll call it 'denim tube') from the left over section of the jeans leg. The width of this denim tube should be a tiny tiny bit wider than the width of the shorts' edge. In my case, the section at the bottom of the jeans' leg was the perfect width (ie. D to E measured slightly wider than X to Y). This is why I suggested boot cut jeans, as the left over part of tapered jeans will be too narrow.
Step 3: Cut a 4" wide strip from the floral fabric that is double the length of D to E (that is twice the width of the denim tube) plus an inch seam allowance.
Now you make the 'bias tape':
Step 4: Match up the seams of the shorts to the seams of the 4" denim tube and determine which end of the denim tube would be the bottom.
Lay the fabric strip face down on the denim tube, so that the right sides are facing each other, and pin along the bottom edge of the denim tube. Sew them together approx. 0.5" from the edge (along the dotted line). nb. The corner is only folded back in the picture to show you that the fabric is face down, the corner should be up when you sew it!
Sew the 2 ends of the fabric strip together, so that it forms a tube, to match the denim tube.
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Step 5: Turn it and press along the seam.
Step 6: Draw a line 2.5" from the seam on both the denim tube and fabric, then fold both edges along these lines in towards the seam and press into place. Open it all out. It should now look like a bias tape tube, albeit with a seam where fold A usually is (see top diagram).
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Now we'll attach the bias tape tube to the shorts.

Step 7: Slip the bias tape tube over the end of the shorts' leg. The fabrics on the tube should be facing inwards towards the shorts, so that the right sides are facing. The denim side of the bias tape should be the nearest side to the bottom of the shorts' leg.
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Step 8: Mark a line 2.5" from the bottom of the shorts' leg. Line up the fold (C) on the denim side of the bias tape with this line and sew the two pieces together along the fold. Fold it back on itself and it should look like this:
The seam just sewn is C - marked with white dots.
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Step 9: fold the bias tape along folds B and A, so that the floral fabric is inside the shorts' leg and pin. Top stitch about 0.25" from the seam A (dotted line):Step 10: Pin again, so that the fold (B) on fabric side of the bias tape is pinned next to seam C. Top stitch approx. 0.25" from seam C, making sure to catch the fabric bias tape on the inside of the shorts. This line is marked G. You're finished. You should now have a cuff on the edge of your shorts that looks like this: With a nice floral lining:Here's another picture of my scary white legs to show the finished object: I hope this was clear. I'm not the world's best at explaining things clearly and I have the feeling that I've made something that is very simple sound very complicated. It would probably help if the background noise level in this house wasn't making it hard to concentrate.. Sorry.
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It doesn't help that I not only don't know clothing lingo, I also don't know sewing lingo, either. I think I have a good excuse for not knowing the clothing lingo, though, as Americans seem to have chosen to swap all the clothing terms around when coming up with their own language.
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So, today's translation of the day, is all about clothes:
UK English: trousers = pants in US English
UK English: pants = panties / underwear in US English
UK English: waistcoat = vest in US English
UK English: vest = tank top / undershirt in US English
UK English: tank top = sweater vest in US English
UK English: braces = suspenders in US English
UK English: suspenders = garter belt in US English
UK English: pinafore = jumper in US English
UK English: jumper = sweater in US English
UK English: knickers = panties / woman's underpants in US English
UK English: Y-fronts = briefs / men's underpants in US English
UK English: polo neck = turtle neck in US English
UK English: dressing gown = bathrobe in US English
UK English: swimming costume / cozzie = swimsuit in US English
UK English: fancy dress = costume in US English
UK English: tights = pantyhose in US English
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Do you see why I wonder if the early Americans were actively seeking to confuse when coming up with their own clothing terms?? You can probably imagine how surprised I was to hear that American soldiers were issued suspenders as part of their battle dress uniform. Being told that they used them to hold up their pants, just caused yet more confusion...
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Similarly, my father-in-law was wondering what on earth I was going to wear to a pool party, when I assured him that I would be bringing my swimming costume along...
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Take care, all.
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PS. If you make some, please post a picture to http://www.flickr.com/groups/lil_d/. I'd love to see how they turn out.

We need more power

For those of you in Southern California, just a quick note: the California Poppies are blooming near Gorman. Such a beautiful sight. Even worth a car trip with my husband muttering things every 5 minutes or so, like 'What a waste of time', 'Look, there's a flower by the road, can we go home now?', 'Do you realise how long it's going to take to get there', 'I bet we'll hit traffic' ... (Thank you for taking me there, dear, it was much appreciated).I've been doing lots of boring things like sewing on buttons and fixing seams recently, but I did think that I would have the finished doll quilt to show you today. I finally found some material for the binding on Friday, finalised my choice on backing fabric, quilted it, then... this happenedNo, not a seance... not a romantic candlelit meal... A power outage. Darn. So much for my plans. The kids had a nice early bedtime and I got to read by candlelight until the power finally came back on. So, half the binding is now done, just got to do the other side now.
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In the meantime I'll bore you with pictures of works in progress:Here's the blanket I'm working on for J (I said I'd wait until it was bigger than a scarf to show you... Can we pretend that it's the width of a narrow shawl, then? Maybe it will be finished by the time he goes off to college...).Here's the rhubarb scarf I'm attempting with that beautiful yarn that Moonstitches sent me. I think I've finally got the hang of the stitch, but this won't be one for crocheting on car journeys, what with all those itty bitty stitches. Maybe this one will be finished by the time K goes to college...
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Today's translation of the day continues on the game theme:
UK English: Noughts and Crosses = Tic Tac Toe in US English. Goodness knows how they came up with that moniker...
UK English: Patience = Solitaire in US English. Ok, I'll allow that that one does make some sense, but...
UK English: Solitaire = a game you play by yourself with a board full of pegs (in a cross shape), where the idea is to remove pegs by jumping other pegs over the top of them, in an attempt to end up with a single peg left on the board in the middle. No idea what the Americans call that one, sorry.
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Am I the only one wondering whether the Americans decided to use UK English words for completely different objects just to confuse things. I mean, just look at the clothing terms. Well, more on that one next time - it's about time I got going. Take care all.

30 day photography challenge

Orange Flower has organised a 30 day macro photography challenge (blogged here: http://orangeflower.typepad.com/orange_flower/2008/03/30-day-photogra.html), which has given me a great excuse to play around with my new camera (and to wonder why there are quite so many grasshoppers in my garden - in addition to the two posted, I have a pic of a little green chap, too...). Here's the photos that I have posted so far (you can see the larger versions at http://www.flickr.com/photos/uklassinus/):There have been some absolutely stunning photos posted in the challenge's flickr group (found at http://www.flickr.com/groups/macro_challenge/pool/). It's well worth a look around.

Now I'm not sure that this really qualifies as a translation of the day, but I recently purchased the Chutes and Ladders board game to play with my kids.
UK English: Snakes and Ladder = Chutes and Ladders in US English
For any English folks wondering, in the American game you slide down a playground slide rather than a snake. Perhaps American children were considered too delicate to have snakes in their board games? My problem with this, though, was trying to explain to my kids that the object of the game is to climb the ladders, not squeal with delight whenever they got to go down a slide...

Catching up

Tax returns are filed at last, thank goodness. I've got some catching up to do now. For starters, a big thank you to Alex of http://moonstitches.typepad.com/moonstitches/. She had a giveaway on her blog and look what she sent me: I believe this is the same yarn she made her beautiful scarf with(http://moonstitches.typepad.com/moonstitches/2007/11/rhubarb-scarf.html). I'm hoping that that Matryoshka doll fabric might be just the inspiration that I need to get around to finally picking up a paintbrush and finishing off this set for K's room (I found the set in the background ages ago at a thrift store). Ever since I bought them I have been seeing Matryoshka dolls everywhere. Meanwhile mine have gathered dust while I procrastinated... Secondly, a long, long time ago, I was tagged by a couple of bloggers. The 'you make my day' award from the blog Quality Time (http://jemimabean.blogspot.com/) was very much appreciated. I now have to pass on the award to 10 others.
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Then I was tagged by Jennifer of http://infinitymoremonkeys.blogspot.com/. The rules for that one are: Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog and tag 7 people and link to them. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged. Ok, here goes:

1. I am commitment shy. I'm currently dithering over which school to choose for my son.
2. I have long fingers (looks like I could do with cutting my nails, too).3. Yet I am short - just 5'4"
4. I can't take the heat. I passed out a lot as a child, especially in church services
5. That's probably why I am a winter person. I love, love snow.
I live in Southern California...
6. I met my Californian husband in Germany.
7. I do all the DIY in our house.


The following people can consider themselves tagged for either both or just one. They've all been nice enough to leave comments on this blog and really make my day, so hopefully this returns the favour. There were more that I was planning to add on to the list, but I'm really rubbish at keeping track of all the blogs going on, especially after a few weeks away from the PC. I'm setting up a blog roll (finally!), though, so hopefully next time I'll be a little more organised.

http://thriftinandcraftin.blogspot.com/
http://linaloo.typepad.com/linaloo/
http://jemimabean.blogspot.com/
http://someofakind.blogspot.com/
http://procraftinate.blogspot.com/
http://craftedbykylie.blogspot.com/
http://fluffyflowers.typepad.com/
http://infinitymoremonkeys.blogspot.com/
http://mylittlesewing.blogspot.com/
http://sweetpeaknits.blogspot.com/

Be right back

Be right back.
Hopefully that wasn't what I said in my last post. I'm sorry to have neglected you, but I did have a great time with my visitors. Lots of late nights playing dopey games and chatting (unfortunately they were followed by early mornings for little ol' me, as my dear children like to get up before sunrise...). I'm not much of a tour guide, but we did manage to stop by a couple of tourist spots as well as beaches, boat rides, gardens and the like.
After the second set of visitors left, we then had to drag the kids off to Sacramento for two nights. I really liked what little I saw of Sacramento: much different atmosphere to the cities in the LA region.
A couple of firsts: we used a complete stranger as a babysitter AND I wore a dress for the first time since my wedding day. All so I could clap and look proud while my husband picked up an award.
Talking of my husband, I changed the name on the blog header (just in case you were wondering if you were in the right place) as he has been taking the Mickey out of the name "Lil' d" constantly ever since I told him about this wee blog.
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Translation of the day:
UK English: to take the Mickey or take the Michael = to tease or ridicule in US English
The phrase originates from Cockney rhyming slang, but I'll just say that this is the version you can use in polite company and leave it at that...
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Ok, I had better go and work on our tax return (yes, I know the deadline is fast approaching). Normal posting should resume shortly. Take care,