Day 4 & 5: I should probably be doing the housework...

Please excuse the creases on this one. I finished sewing the sleeves at the park, while the offspring played with their friends, then only had 10 minutes before football (soccer) practice to iron it, find my son's football shorts and take a picture while there was still light. The ironing didn't happen, but I did get some pictures and my son didn't go to his practice half naked...
This is another pattern that I came up with. Just a plain top with wee gathered sleeves and buttons up the back. I stayed away from my machine's evil fabric-eating button-holer function and did sewn button loops instead.
I had pictured it with jeans, but it was hot hot hot today, so shorts it was. How is it that I was cold in jeans and a cardi at yesterday's 2 football practices, but was toasty in shorts and a t-shirt at tonight's? This weather is nutty.
Anyway, it all went together fairly easily. I did burn myself on the iron at one point, but that seems to happen rather regularly lately. I came up with a solution for those times when you're short on time and don't want stand with a burn under cold water for ages, though (disclaimer: I have little to no medical knowledge and you should probably ignore any medical advice from me): I sellotaped a frozen broccoli stalk onto my burnt thumb. That way I could continue to sew while treating it, even if I looked a little daft. I think it worked: no blister!
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Translation of the day
UK English: sellotape = transparent adhesive tape = scotch tape in US English.
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Scotch and Sellotape are both brand names that have been adopted as the generic name to cover pretty much all clear sticky tapes. Although I seem to remember Blue Peter would valiantly avoid using any such brand names...

KCWC day 3 - it's darker in real life

It's a much deeper and darker red, but these photos will have to do. Day 3 of the challenge was a quickie: another peasant blouse, made of corduroy this time. It was back-to-school night for my son's class.
My kids have never shown any sign of struggling in school - quite the opposite - but somehow I still feel worried when the teachers outline all that they are supposed to achieve by the end of the year.

More school clothes

Here's the pinafore. Yes, the British do also call some aprons a pinafore (or pinny), but a pinafore dress like this will also be called a pinafore. I have heard them called gymslips, mainly by my mum's generation, and tunics.
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I'm not too sure why Americans call them jumpers. My own theory is they wanted to cause utter confusion. How else can you explain giving pretty much every item of clothing the name of a completely different item of clothing? Trousers = pants, pants = panties, waistcoat = vest, vest = tank top, tank top = sweater vest, braces = suspenders, suspenders = garter belt, pinafore = jumper, jumper = sweater etc. etc. Do you see what I mean? Utterly confusing.
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As a side note: I really should try to remember to stop referring to my son's 'sweater' as his 'jumper' in front of his friends...
Anyway, here's another outfit for my daughter to wear to school. No doubt it would look much better with a white shirt underneath, but I refuse to put my kids in white if I can help it (I don't have much success with stain removal). I made up a pattern based on the bodice of this dress and the construction of this dress, with a couple of pleats and a belt added into the mix .
I really didn't like sewing with this gabardine fabric, though. This was the only fabric that the first fabric shop had in stock that would pass as a suitable colour and weight for her uniform. I eventually found some twill in the next place, which I used for yesterday's skirt. The twill was much easier to use and not as slippy - and easier to photograph. This one catches the light and looks several shades lighter in all of the pictures. Still, it turned out ok. It's fully lined with cotton, which helps hold the shape.
She should just be glad that she doesn't have to wear a shirt and tie like I had to...
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Translation of the day:
UK English: shirt = a top with a collar and a buttoned opening all the way down the front = dress shirt or button-down in US English
UK English: dress shirt = formal shirt worn for morning dress or black or white tie events
US English: shirt = pretty much any top that isn't a jacket or a sweater. Dress shirts, t-shirts, polo tops, vest tops (tank tops), henleys, you name it, will all be referred to as just shirts.
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It took some investigation to translate the school's uniform requirement (apparently a 'scooter' is a skirt with shorts hidden underneath), but I eventually worked out that a 'shirt with collar' meant that my kids could wear a polo shirt to school...

Kids' Clothes Week #2

Elsie Marley is hosting another Kids' Clothes Week Challenge and my kids need clothes, so here goes:
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First up is this skirt for school. We only found out the week before school started that my daughter got into the same school as her brother (thank goodness!), which didn't leave us much time for uniform shopping. It's a State school, but they have to wear uniforms, which I love. The only problem being that there was not much left in the stores one week before the start of term and what was left was usually way too big for my apparently petite daughter. 10 stores later (and a large pile of over sized clothes to return), all we had was some shirts, a skirt and a pair of shorts.
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So, here's a pleated skirt to put off doing the laundry for another day each week.
It was going together really well. The top stitching was looking good, the seams were French seams, the hem was straight. I couldn't believe that a pattern that I was putting together as I went along was going so smoothly...
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So it goes without saying that the so-called one-stop-button-holer on my machine tried to eat the skirt. With the aid of my seam ripper and a bit of satin stitching around the button hole, I think that I managed to save it - just please don't look too close at the button hole...
nb. Her school shirts are shorter than this one.
Next up, a pinafore.
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Translation of the day:
UK English: pinafore = jumper in US English
UK English: jumper = sweater in US English
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(I've mentioned these before, but even I still have trouble keeping the clothing terms straight...)
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UK English: State school = school offered to all children by the government = public school in US English
UK English: public school = a fee-paying school.
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According to wikipedia: "Public" is used here in a somewhat archaic sense, meaning that they are open to any member of the public, distinguished from religious schools which are open only to members of that religion. Personally I think that the English use the term just to confuse everyone.

The dogs

We were away from home for quite a bit of the summer, so I had decided that it was finally time to pull out a cross-stitch pattern that I had bought a few years ago and take it on the road. I did like curling up in a chair of an evening, stitching away - tuning out the kids running around with their American cousins, letting the calm wash over me. But... I think that I enjoy crafting more when I've put some creative thought into it. When you know that, as long as you can keep count, the result is going to look exactly like the picture on the packet, it just doesn't seem the same.
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I think that I enjoy the anticipation of the moment when a project is done - the moment when you hold up your work and decide whether it turned out as you were hoping or not.
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Still, I've always had a weakness for black and white and this pattern reminded me of my dogs:
They're getting on in years now. We had few nervous days waiting for biopsy results for one of them this summer - luckily the news was good, as the operation would have been expensive and I could tell that my heartless husband was considering the other option, as he started making comments about how the dog 'had led a good long life', even as I was looking at him with a 'how could you?' expression on my face...

Good grief, not MORE holiday photos...

Yesterday my kids woke up at some ungodly hour, even by their early-riser standards. The first day of school. The first day of Kindergarten for my wee daughter. Off they went, as calm as can be, wearing backpacks that dwarfed them. Even a winter-loving person like me is wondering where summer disappeared off to at such a swift rate.
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Still, I think that we made the most of it.
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We saw boats, rented boats and took boat tours.
We saw lots of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, arachnids and insects up close.
We encountered history long gone, being relived, and frozen in time.
I really enjoyed nosing around the ghost town. My husband was far too fascinated by the outhouses, mind.We went to free concerts at the park, free movies at the park, free movies at the beach, cheap movies at the drive-in and a ridiculously expensive movie at the cinema.
Hmm, the windscreen could do with a clean...
There were lakes, rivers, waterfalls, paddling pools, wading pools, swimming pools and an ocean.
There were loud moments (he got a home run from that hit)...
quiet moments...
and lazy moments.
Summer, I feel bad for dreading you. Oh, and thank you for not being as hot as previous years, too...