Saturday, 24 September 2011

Autumn Leaves

Golden colours everywhere! Summer left a good few weeks ago and the trees have started shedding flakes of yellow and red. Slowly, we've been shedding off the life in our old, run-down apartment after finding a new, bigger and better one. This one is much closer to work for both of us, and after the treatment Rik and a friend of ours have been giving it, renovating everything with paint and brush. I did a little bit as well, but the blokes deserve the credit for it! So now, we're in the process of moving all our things from the old place to the new, and revelling in the fact that for once, we actually have room for everything!

So, it's Saturday, the last one we have before the lease of the old flat runs out, and I had to work today. That alone didn't offer the best start of the morning, and the lack of anything to eat but some cheese did not help. So having been rather grumpy and a little stressed, I trotted off towards work. As I came up by the Physics building at the University Campus, I noticed a little sparrow sitting on the ground. It must have been quite young, 'cause it still had a lot of it's baby fluff. I slowly approached it, expecting it to fly off as I got closer, but it just sat there, most likely terrified, even when I stood only a few inches away. I got a bit concerned, because it was in the middle of the road, and although there are very few cars coming down that stretch on Saturdays, it would most likely be run over if one happened come by.

So, very slowly, I lowered my hand, carefully nudging my fingers underneath it's feet so it clambered onto them. The poor little thing pooped in fright as I slowly lifted it up and carried it to the closest tree. There, I let it clamber onto a branch and watched it scramble along it (most likely glad to get away from that big, scary thing).

It was a small thing, but it really made my day! And hopefully the little bird will survive untill it's learned how to master the use of it's wings. :)




Friday, 4 March 2011

The Truth About Our Bathroom

We have known since we moved in that the bathroom probably could need some fixing but I didn't really know how bad it was until now.

As was getting dressed this morning, someone knocked on our door. I thought at first it was someone knocking at the wrong door (it happens now and then), but then there was another knock. Rushing to get at least half decent, I found some men outside, one of them saying he was the plumber and he was going to remove the bath tub and have a shower cabinet fitted. I remember Rik mentioning that the landlord was planning to do this at one point, but we had never been given a definite date. Luckily, I've got some overtime worked up, allowing me to take the day off, and about an hour ago, the two other blokes (not the plumber) turned up and got the bathtub out.

Now I was prepared for flaking paint (yes, some idiot thought it a good idea to paint over the tiles on the floor), but the sight that met me was a bit more nasty than I had expected. It seems damp might have gotten into the wall, or at least the wallpaper, and the flaking paint made it close to impossible to clean the floor (although I made a hearty attempt). The piping is a mess and the drain is a catastophe.

Although a shower cabinet certainly will make it a little bit easier to clean the floor, I suspect the whole room needs to be re-done; tiles ripped out and replaces, walls stipped and tiled, if possible. To give you an idea, here's my documentation photos that will shortly be sent to the landlord:

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Running a tight ship, or a shite tip....?

Busy times! Rik and I came home again from Liverpool in the late hours of Monday night with four full suitcases and a very nice civil war reenactment sword! Rik was obviously very chuffed about the latter, whilst I was (a little bit) more thrilled about the big 250 meter roll of 1/4" cotton tape and the almost two kilos of cream muslin acquired at Abakhan for next to nothing (at least compared to Norwegian prices). The woman behind the till was also rather surprised when I asked for every packet she had of medium sized self-cover buttons. I love shopping for fabrics in Liverpool! ^_^

Well back in Oslo, I'm getting closer to finishing off the stays, and it's really cutting it close now as the larp is next week. I have decided to leave the lining for when I actually have time for it, so now I'm just focusing on finishing the reed boning on the back of the left piece (the right one is done, huzza!) so that I can wrap it all up by sorting the binding out at last! I think Rik might be even more happy about me finishing them than myself, as he's constantly commenting the lack of visible proof that we do, in fact, have a kitchen table, a coffee table and, well, a flat underneath all my sewing stuff. Too bad I've still got a lot of other stuff to sew before the larp. He'll moan about it, but he'll live.

Next on the list is a shift and I'll be using the muslin for that. Then there's the burgundy jute, which will most likely become a bodice or a jacket (I've not really decided yet), and I'll be lining it with one layer of thin wool mix and then a layer of thin burgundy cotton. Also, there's Rik's trousers. I got some thin, dark grey wool for that and I'll be lining it with some plain black cotton. I've got about a week to finish it all off, and I'm probably going to end up taking a few short-cuts. But I have no ambitions of sewing any of these things by hand, so I might just make it. I've managed to sew a wedding dress in a week and a half, so it is possible. I think. Wish me luck! O_o

Sunday, 13 February 2011

18th Century Stays Progress

So, the boning turned up just in time for the weekend, both the steel and the reed. I found that because I would be a bit short on the steel boning, I would use some reed as well. I ended up making the whole mid-front panel boned with reed, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I also handstitched eyelets for the front and back opening (they need a final finish, but they'll do for now) and cut the pieces that will become the shoulder straps.

Now, I had hoped to finish these off over the weekend, but no plan survives contact with the enemy... I was getting closer to the binding stage, I realized that some of the boning would cause discomfort and I had to re-do the boning on most of back section, plus allow a lower line underneath the arm. I've decided that, although it will take longer, I will try to do reed boning on this section instead of steel, and I'm currently working on that for the left section. Once that's done on both sides, I can start attatching the shoulder straps and the binding. If I'm not running short on time, I will sort out the lining as well.


Back before re-doing it:


Back after I starte re-doing it:

Handstitched eyelets:

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Bothersome Boning...

I ended up doing some handstitching anyway. The boning channels are now done using running stitches. I might yield and use the machine for sewing all the pieces together, but first I have to deal with the problem of not having any actual boning yet. I have some left-overs of 10mm and 12mm wide hoop steel boning (and I've ordered 4 meters of each width from eBay) but I see now that it's not going to be enough, so I might have to call in a favor from the "in-laws". There's a terrific shop in Liverpool (amongst other places) called Abakhan which sells exactly the boning I need, but they do not, as of yet, ship outside the UK, so I won't get what I need untill I go over at the end of February. I guess I'll just have to use some plastic boning as a temporary solution and then swap them with more suitable boning when it's available. I've also ordered a big bundle of reed, but it's not likely to turn up in time (and it's 1/4", so it would be too slim anyway), so I'll probably save that for later projects.

Anyway, this is how the pieces look for now, boned with a mix of plastic and hoop steel boning:

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Flu, Bronchitis and stays

So, the inevitable flu has finally caught up on me, spoiling all plans of celebrating Imbolc, going to the gym, or getting some reports done at work. With little else to entertain me than fumbling what could have been rather spectacular jumps and moves in Assassin's Creed II on Rick's new Xbox, playing Spider Solitaire for the umpteenth time and surfing on a rather unstable internet connection, I have decided to turn my attention to my next little sewing project.

At the beginning of March, the larp "Broderskapet" ("The Brotherhood") takes place just outside of Oslo. It's a 18th century larp about thieves of all sorts (wood bandits, pirates, highwaymen and society thieves), with a dash of horror and supernatural elements brought into the mix. Combat; almost non-existent, intrigue; essential. Quite my cup of tea.

Being given the role as the leader of a clan of wood bandits, I was relived of the preassure of having to sew all the fineries of the quintessential 18th century lady in four weeks, however it gave me the tricky task of deciding what the clanleader of such a motley crew would indeed be wearing.
Regardless of what conclusion I will arrive at in the end and although the costume requirements are not at a reenactment level, one thing is quite clear: no matter her class or occupation, proper stays would be required. And if you disagree, you have never experienced the pain of having an F-cup and running/jumping without a bra. ;)

And so, equipped with some black cotton, a grey wool mix, dark beige cotton canvas and 18 pocket packets of paper tissue, I am setting out on the adventure of making stays. Being lazy and slightly short on time, I will be machine sewing some of the seams this time (if the result is good, I will then have a working pattern for a more accurate, hand sewn version later). I had previously made a pattern (with two different solutions for the front), using the cardboard method described in this blog, and cut out the pieces.