Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Coming to a stop

As ever it's been interesting times travelling, with a huge list of potential blog posts lined up, only a fraction of which, I suspect, will ever get into reality.

But one of the best bits of travelling is the return to home. Despite the terrific hospitality of friends old and new and family, there's still only one place that's home, and it's got a dog in it.

Toby and I re-established the afternoon walk, and checked out the park to see what had changed (not much but some things) and while I'm highly allergic to routine, there are a few things done by rote that are worth it. This is one. Toby is now just lying on his side tuckered out by the wonder of the walk.

Time for tea.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

This little piggy went to....


Not just once, but twice!

I picked up Toby last night from James' lovely friends G and S and their boys. It was fantastic to see the little guy, who was puzzled but delighted to see me, too. Since we got home, he has been following me around the house with his 'What're we doing now?' look on his face. And searching for James, who comes home tonight.

So last night, as we were chatting, I was asking how Toby had been (good, with a completely new tendency to escape and hang out on the front doorstep) -- and G said; 'He went to show and share'.

Show and share -- you mean, like Show and Tell?
Yep! The boys insisted, and G went along, and he went to both classes of primary school. What's the betting he LOVED that one?

Hilarious. I love it, too!
(I wonder what he learned?)


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hitting the runway (no, this is not about aircraft)

One of the interesting things I've done on this holiday is to make a dress. My very first dress, actually. It started with a challenge: can you make a garment out of items that would normally be thrown away, within two days, for a fashion show?

Can I? Heck, I don't know - but I'm going to try!

First stop: the Goodwill outlet, Grand Rapids. Jennifer generously showed me to this secret location, the warehouse of epic proportions, filled with fridge-sized cardboard boxes, each one with scrawls on the side: 'SHOES', 'CLOTHING, ASSORTED'. Big bins in the center of the room are periodically wheeled out, refreshed, with all the things the Goodwill thrift shops across America have been unable to sell. Someone hasn't been paying attention, as there's plenty of good stuff left to be had!

We wheeled our laden trolley onto the weigh scale: 50c per pound. Several men's shirts, some denim, some stripey, and an embroidered cotton smock for a dollar or two.

Late night sewing: cut up shirts until they form generous wedges, then sew them together to a rough skirt shape. Tuck and chop, sew and fuss till it fits. Sew the skirt to the bottom of another shirt, which you've chopped off to make short sleeves.

Fits! (Photo circa 4:20AM)

Next morning, after much coffee has been drunk, load up the washing machine with lots of red dye. Tip in the dress, let it rip! Get talking, forget about the soak cycle, oops - oh well. It turned out a lovely raspberry shade that I adore.

"Aarr! Into the blood-red dye bath for you, my lovely!"

I sewed on, sort of at random, pieces of a cotton belt, collars from shirts, and scraps of embroidery cut from the smock. Lots of random raspberry pieces left over. Thanks to the generosity of my host for allowing me to use her sewing machine and supplies, it went pretty smoothly.

The finished dress. Also circa 4AM, the next day.

The cool thing? This is the first dress I've made, and tonight it will be flouncing down the runway in the fashion re-fashion show in Michigan.

It also got a very brief spot on TV, advertising the fashion show, on Jennifer's craft segment on Take 5. Check out her own efforts with a newspaper dress delight -- fashioned on two late night sessions of snipping, sewing, unpicking and laughing. A 98-inch waist, indeed!

Let's hope my raspberry delight has fun at the fashion show. I called it 'Summer Fling' becasue it was fun and flirty and it came and went so quickly. It will be sent back to me in Australia, and I can't wait to wear it!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Summer breezes

As we sit here on the patio, side by side in lawn chairs, looking at the lake and the boats, the sunlight falling on the mountains and the late day's breeze, she says 'It's been two weeks since we posted a blog post - or is it three?' He says: 'Mmm'.

Patio lounging. Pass the wine!

Relaxing in Canada, chez Parents Laing, enjoying summer hot weather and swimming every day in the lake. (Or should that be lakes? Today's sample included a new one.) Clear blue water and hot sun.

Yes, there are bushfires here, and yes they are serious, but they are on the other side of the lake, a couple of miles as the crow flies (and there's a large, long lake between us and them). We watch and hope that the damage is minimal to those over there.

In the last week, we've been out and about, and there's so much to show! A friend christened this the 'Bev and James frolic' across North America. There will be pictures of planes, I promise. And crafty things, too.
Taking pictures of the flowers at the botanical gardens and sculpture park in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
(Photo by Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood.)

In the meantime, there are flowers and sunshine, planes and people, cricket and crafting. And watermelon. Don't forget the watermelon.

Plenty of cuddles available for free. Smiles, too. (Shame the giraffe copped it).

Having a great Northern summer, catching up with the family, meeting our new nephew, and generally being spoiled. More soon.