Monday, October 31

Social Styles

Tanit-Isis was curious about the social styles I mentioned from my training course last week.  I know my own style well, but I wanted to have my notes to really comment on the other styles.

The quadrants of style are determined by two aspects of your personality.  Relationships on the vertical aspect and how you deal with information on the horizontal.  I summarized it here.

I have described Amiables in my previous post, it's essentially me.  I like to collect information, I'm pretty slow to share unless I'm feeling secure.  I build relationships and it is important for me to keep those relationships.

Analyticals are not as driven by people.  Not to say they don't have friends, but that's not part of their motivation and can seem distant or aloof because of this.  Collecting information, having the absolutely positively RIGHT answer drives them.  These are the people that you ask, "So why did you buy that sewing machine?" and they pull out 17 web sites, 100 product reviews and then a pro/con list for their favourite 8 machines.  And in the end don't buy any of them because maybe they missed something and there is a new model in 2 months that is that much better.

Drivers are, in the wrong situation, the ones that piss me off the easiest.  They want to control situations and if they trust that you did your homework, then cut to the chase and just tell them the 3 top features of the top 2 machines and let them control which to buy.  They can be frustrated by Analyticals and Amiables because we want to share all of the information we patiently collected to show we have the right answer, Drivers just want to make a decision and move on. 

Expressives are motivated by people and relationships.  They want people to like them, they enjoy a little of the spot light, they are outgoing and look like happy people.  When I'm comfortable, I shift a little to Expressive and probably fool a lot of people on first impressions.  Expressives can be bored easily, so collecting a crap ton of information on sewing machines is taking them away from shiny fabric.  They will buy what they see first, possibly whatever their friend has spoken positively about.

So when you put two personality types together you can see how conflict can arise.  I mentioned Drivers have the potential to drive me crazy.  Their firm stated opinion irritates me because there are likely perspectives they aren't considering.  They don't have patience for me needing to consider options so I feel steam rolled by their decisions that involve me.  This just gets my back up and then I go all passive agressive on them because I don't like conflict but I'm not going to do whatever it is they want me to do.  No where in this does is say I can't be a stubborn Amiable.

Everyone probably has a little of two if not three of the styles.  Some people are one style at work and another at home.  As mentioned, in the right situation I get a little Expressive.  I definitely get a little of the analysis paralysis of Analyticals from time to time. 

I posted about the Pay It Forward game a little while ago.  Expressives should want to participate because it gets their name on the spotlight and builds a relationship with me.  Drivers, well, probably don't have the time, particularly since my blog isn't established enough to really help them.  Analyticals (and Amiables for that matter) have had enough time now to process the pros and cons and think about it, however you need a blog to participate and I'm not sure how many Analyticals are bloggers.  Amiables will want to do it to make me feel better.

So what style do you think you are?  Are there situations that make you more one or another?  Or is this all just silly nonsense?

Sunday, October 30

Happy Sunday

Sunday evenings are so good and so sad.  Good because we usually don't have plans and it's quiet.  Sad because well, it's Sunday, the weekend is nearly over.  It has been a good weekend and fairly busy.  Friday night we went to the screening for cast & crew for The Post-Lifers and it went pretty well.  I put on a brave face and had a good time.

Saturday we had some running around to do and with Mr. Lina pushing me along, we got them done.  I managed to buy some prenatal vitamins, not the ones I usually take, but maybe switching to a once a day format would be good since I am not taking the others twice a day.  I did get a little time to sew, Larry the Cat even went hiding for most of today which is very cat like behaviour in a new home.

We did talk a little about how I'm feeling.  Mr. Lina has commented many times over the weekend that I look sad and about ready to cry, which is pretty much how it is when there there aren't people around to fake it for.  The problem is, when I talked about everything, he can't fix it so it felt like it just was another unresolved conversation.  Guys want to fix things.  It's their way.  I said I want to see our therapist again, this is bigger than me and I really didn't feel that much better talking to him.

We spent part of the afternoon digging up old Halloween costumes.  We had a party to go to and neither of us felt the need to find something new.  I had never met the hosts, I knew 3 people at the party, ideal situation to recycle a costume.  Mr. Lina went as a pirate, I decided I wanted to wear a cape I made a few years ago so I was a vampire without the fake teeth.

The cape is Butterick 4030.  This is just far enough off the floor to be safe in heels, sans capelet, with the contrast collar (view B but longer).  I used cheap Halloween satin for it, capes use a metric crapton of fabric.  I remember being a bit surprised by just how much I needed.  It is fully lined in the red satin.  As much as the fabric is cheap, I'm really pleased with how it turned out and I have actually got a lot of use out of it.  Most years I wear it for handing out candy.  It keeps me warm enough while at the front porch and I feel somewhat in costume.  Win-win. 
Original art.
You know your friends are geeky when you dress as a character that existed in a handful of late 60's comics and people peg it.  Now if you picked Captain America, it's pretty easy.  The Black Queen is a shade more obscure.  Jean Grey (aka Phoenix, Marvel Girl, Dark Phoenix) from the X-Men is mind controlled by Mastermind and joins the Hellfire Club.  While mind controlled, she becomes The Black Queen.  I was reading Mr. Lina's books and as soon as I saw her, I thought, THAT is what I want to be for Halloween.  I had a dark denim corset, black bikini bottoms, knee high boots, all I needed was the cape and a red wig.  I was willing to put the time into making a good cape to get the look I wanted.  What kind of cracks me up is in the original art, she's sexy for sure, but not overly naughty.  Her waist is defined and her figure hour glass, but her legs are actually kind of athletic.  Google image The Black Queen at your own risk, it's sadly all about teh cantelope boobies, thongs, whips and impossible anatomy.  Both pictures included here are from

Thursday, October 27

When 3 days feels like a week.

It's not even over and it's been a long week, bowling then training, house concert, overnight guests...  I'm done and I still have to get through tomorrow.  It is a week of a lot of internal thinking and you all make a good sounding board.  Ready for some therapy?  If not, come back on the weekend, I'm okay with that.

I have been in training yesterday and today.  My manager suggested I take "Consultative Influencing Skills".  It is geared to people who want to influence people they have no direct power over.  For example, I have to make recommendations to my clients, but I have no actual say in their decision making process. 

Part of this has been analyzing personality types.  In this training, people fit into 4 types and likely have a mix of types.  I quite easily recognized I'm "Amiable".  Generally speaking, amiables are high on relationships and more likely to ask/gather information than to tell people what to do.  End result is that I'm the soft squishy type who needs to feel safe in a personal relationship with others before I will do anything risky.  For this reason, I will do a whole lot to avoid conflict.  That isn't all unhealthy, I go a long way to prevent what might become conflict because I just don't want to go there.  I build strong relationships so if we do end up in a conflict, I'll feel safer and you will know how to keep the soft squishy parts of me intact.

Today we spent a couple of hours on how to deal with conflict.  We had to do some silly role playing and the person confronting me is someone I know fairly well at work.  I feel comfortable with her.  And yet I was almost in tears from the play confrontation.  Now that I'm home and safe and thinking about it, I can feel those emotions surfacing again.  I know I don't deal with conflict well, but I'm still surprised how much impact that role play had on me.  I shouldn't feel tears welling up 8 hours later on something that wasn't even real, there were no actual stakes at hand for me. 

This has left me thoughtful.  I know it's work training, but I'm trying to see how this fits into me at work where I'm not happy at the moment, but also at home where I am happy in moments and in my relationship with Mr. Lina.  I do avoid conflict, I know that.  It is in keeping with my style, but also what I grew up with.  The best way to disagree with my mother is to say "That's a fabulous idea, but have you considered..." even if I think she's 8 degrees of bat shit crazy (perhaps particularly when I think she's 8 degrees of bat shit crazy).  She holds grudges, loooong ones because she doesn't resolve anything, even if you ask her, she won't tell you what the actual problem is.  I see that, and much as I want to be like her in many respects, I don't want to live like that.  I tend to take the stance that it's either worth me standing my ground and finding a way to voice my displeasure, or it's not worth a second thought.  And if I chose that this is not the battle to fight, it is my problem to let it go.

All couples disagree, I started to think about my marriage because I feel I manage conflict there well.  Mr. Lina often comes out with statements that you would believe were carved in granite, there was NO WAY there was flexibility in that statement.  It's phrased vehemently and nearly makes me flinch.  Yet I can hear when it's not true.  Or when time will change his perspective, where he will see the grey in a situation he believes to be black and white.  This is particularly true with wanting children.  When he first told me he couldn't have children, I was dumbfounded.  I saw so much in his personality that screamed "SHOULD HAVE KIDS". 
The 6 steps are suppose to be (and I'm paraphrasing here, the sheets are at work not with me):
  1. State there is a conflict (this can be, "I got your email, I'd like to discuss the contents" enough to give the heads up I don't agree with all of it and we need to clarify a few points)
  2. Ask about the issue, dig down to what the real problem is, it's probably not what they emailed you about.  (good luck doing this with my mom, it could be a while)
  3. Reiterate the core issue back to them to show you listened and understand.
  4. State your own needs.
  5. Ask to work together to find a mutually beneficial workaround, brain storm on how you can both meet your needs.
  6. Draw up the plan of action for resolution.
I'm coming to realize, Mr. Lina and I spend months in step two for the big issues in our lives.  I think we spent 9 months in step two just to have him realize he did want kids.  The issue wasn't specifically about having children, it was children with his ex, it was the parenting style of his dad, it was insecurity, nearly anything but simply having a child.  This long timeline works for me because when I start to freak out, I state as much, that I need to step away from the conversation and we come back to it maybe a week later, maybe a month later, but it comes back when I feel safe again.  We don't hold resentment while putting the issue to the side, we know it's coming back and I can't shut up about things I'm pondering.  The funny thing is that our friends see us as the best example of communicators, and not that communication isn't important or part of this, but at the heart, it's me avoiding conflict and taking it in small chunks that I can process.  I never saw it from that perspective before.

Amiable people are essentially motivated by wanting to be safe.  At the core, I feel that.  I have lots of stories from my childhood that exemplify that.  I didn't talk to my kindergarten teacher because I loved everything about kindergarten and I was afraid she wouldn't like me or think I was stupid, so if I didn't say anything it couldn't be the wrong thing.  I did the same thing to my music teacher that I absolutely adored in Grade 6 and 7.  I inadvertently took the risk to talk around her trying out for the school play in Grade 8 and I am still in touch with her now.  Most of my social skills that make me look like the more social extrovert are actually me trying to make everyone else feel safe and comfortable.  I am not like that when I am not safe so first impressions of me aren't always true. 

Right now, I'm feeling overwhelmed with issues that stem from control and change.  I can't change my job because I need some stability while we figure out the whole kid issue.  I can't control getting pregnant or I damn well would be.  Adoption from CAS falls into something I can control because I could pick up the phone tomorrow.  However, once I do it feels a bit like Pandora's box to me and it's going to be a big whoop ass change.  It's also going to mean opening my life and home for others to inspect.  Part of me knows that will go well, part of me is back in kindergarten scared to say the wrong thing.  These are all things that feel like conflict to me.  So what am I doing?  Avoiding anything I can in my life - even silly things like not returning phone calls, forgetting to turn my out of office on, not taking my medication at all yesterday (I did better on that front today)...

I feel pretty wrung out from all this thinking and poking at sore spots.  I believe it's good in the long run, but my goodness is it ever exhausting.  Thanks for listening if you made it all the way down here. 

Monday, October 24

Happiness disconnect

I'm kind of new to blog posts.  Do you ever write something out and realize, woah, that's waaaay too much?  I did that today.  I'm hoping that after getting out all the specifics that this version strikes a better balance on the issues rather than details.  Granted I write this essentially for myself so even writing out the overly detailed post is theraputic.

I have come to realize I have a happiness issue.  I am happy in moments.  Every day there is something that makes me smile.  A lot of things are going well in our house, my promotion in August, recently paying off debts (which weren't big relative to IVF in the US, but it's a relief), financially we're in a good spot, we're both generally healthy and I have a really solid marriage.  But I also know that something is missing.  I'm not happy in the quiet moments, it's a fake smile for others sometimes, I'm not... fulfilled.

This manifests into not taking care of myself.  I actually hear the words "I don't care" in my head a lot.  I didn't buy more prenatal vitamins last week (and even before I ran out I wasn't taking as many as I should), I forget to take Metformin (I should take 3x/day, I might take 2).  I'm eating crap and my weight is high (not crazy high, but enough) and I say to myself I don't care.  I do a little bit of this at work too, I don't care about other peoples projects, I don't care that they want it today. 
But I do.  Somewhere inside I do care.  When I am happy, it's easy to remember far more medication and vitamins than I am taking now.  When I'm happy and I want to, REALLY want to, I will eat my healthy snacks, watch my portions and lose weight.  We aren't talking about Canada's Biggest Loser here, but I like how I feel and look 6lbs lighter.

And yet I see my hand reaching for a Halloween treat and the words going through my head?  I don't care.

Why don't I care about me?  I know I should.  I know I'm the only person being hurt by some of these choices.  The root of this likely lies somewhere in the lack of control I feel elsewhere in my life.  I can't fix our fertility issues, I can't go forward with adoption quite yet, I am bored at work but because that would upset a lot of dominos in my life the timing doesn't feel right to change that.

This is more than a bubble bath and glass of wine is going to fix.  I'm good with the momentary happy.  I just can't seem to string them together into caring about me.  My head seems to recognize that I can't change a lot of what's going on in my life, I have to change my perspective towards it.  Getting there isn't going to happen by accident.

Anyone else felt like this? 

Sunday, October 23

Stuffy Sewing

Yesterday I had plans.  My mom sells her sewing mostly through craft shows and her etsy site.  I help her every Saturday in November, but I'm a bit spotty with the couple of shows she does in Sept/Oct.  I was planning on going from 9-12.  We were going to visit my sister in law in the hospital (more on that in a minute) and go on to see Samantha Martin play at a bar in Kensington Market area from 4-7.  Plans.

First, I slept in.  Getting up at 10 when the show is at 9 and in order to visit my SIL I'd need to leave at 12 didn't leave enough time to bother driving the 40 minutes to the craft show.

My sister in law (of my older younger brother) has been in the hospital for 3 weeks now.  It took a little while to piece it together, but her problems started with gall stones.  One was passed and blocked her pancreas that caused pancreatitis.  By the time she went to the hospital, the enzymes from her pancreas had backed up and caused all sorts of internal issues.  She will be in the hospital for a while longer, the pancreas is slow to heal and she still can't process enzymes so all of her nutrition is from an IV.  Overall, she is a whole lot better now that the various organs are well on the mend and her gall bladder is in better shape after a scope to take out some stones.  She will have to have it removed, but not until her pancreas is better.  Personally, I don't miss my gall bladder and I'm feeling pretty damn thankful that I never had complications like this when I was having gall stone issues.

I had a lazy morning after sleeping in.  I figured it was time to go and make a get well card before we headed out.  But I didn't feel like it.  I don't really have good "get well" stamps and my sewing room is a disaster.  To do the stamping and embossing properly, I was going to need some elbow room.  And then I saw the Christmas present from my brother and sister in law.
 It's a really cute book, aimed at tweens or so.  Most of the suggested materials are recycled clothing, instructions are short and picture filled.  The animals have adorable names and personalities.  On the cover are Gracie the Rabbit, Den the Penguin and Monty the Giraffe.  All patterns are included in the book but you need to photocopy them to enlarge them.  I had done that for a few, but never had the inclination to make one of them until yesterday.

I have a small piece of fun fur my Mom gave me a while ago.  I thought it would look cute as Dumpling the Guinea Pig.  From the book:  "Dumpling is a very shy creature, so you'll have to listen very carefully as his voice is so quiet.  Make sure you do though because he's got some pretty interesting things to say."  The directions are adorable, for Dumpling, they even remind you to be gentle with him because he's not very confident.  I stuffed Dumpling full of love and get well thoughts (and 100% polyester filler I had - go stash go).  Sadly, I put this off so long I didn't have time to take pictures of Dumpling, I sewed him up and we left.

We got to the hospital about the time that Samantha started her set.  My SIL is feeling awake and bored so we stayed for an hour and a half rather than the half hour she was up to last week.  That would have got us to the show in time for the last song.  Mr. Lina was feeling sad and snuggly but unsure why.  We decided that maybe we should go home, order in food and hang out together.

On the drive home, Mr. Lina came to the conclusion that I thought he would, that perhaps there was another chemical pregnancy.  This has been a really heavy period, and that could just be because of that September "What the heck?" period being so light.  Either way, we were both feeling a little sad and needed some hugs.  We watched a little Deadwood, ate some pizza, he ate wings, a little cherry vodka and coke and all was good.  Mr. Lina wanted to prep for Dungeons & Dragons this afternoon, so I toodled off to tidy up and sew.

We talked about Dumpling on the way home.  My SIL was stroking him a lot when we were there, not in a conscious way, but I think having something small that was soft was good.  Mr. Lina said he wanted a little person in our house that I could make more Misfits for.  Perhaps I could make another tonight while he was doing his reading.  So I did.  But it will not be for our small person, it will be for another small person.  A friend of mine and a friend of Mr. Lina's met at our wedding, neither are from Ontario so we fill in some of the family gaps for them.  Because we know both families, they asked us to be next of kin to their daughter.  We have broken many of our baby rules for her, we sometimes hurt when we leave, but it feels good to see her.  She's a year and a half an now she will have her own Dumpling.
Dumpling is ready for bed.
This one is a bit different than the one I made for my SIL.  I was relying on what I had around, so the button nose is not the same, although the eyes are, I have lots of those.  One thing I did differently from the directions is that I sewed the face on before sewing the two pieces together.  It's a heck of a lot easier to sew a button on when you can access the back of the fabric.  It's hard to see here, but there is a pink mouth with two threads of embroidery thread.  The fun fur blocks it but I think it might get a little more noticable as it is loved and the fur compacts a bit.  This one also has a little bit of fabric in the middle, so it had a firmer centre.  I like to think it's a heart.
Dumpling is shy, but he likes having online friends.
All told, Dumpling is a little over an hour start to finish.  Probably an hour and a half for the first one as I was digging for supplies.  I've never sewn with fun fur before.  Not sure I really like having that much fluff flying around.  Dumpling would be a pretty good hand sewing project too because he's so small and not complicated at all.  With them being misfits, errors look intentional rather than mistakes.  This Dumpling has a much smaller right arm than left (his right, not ours), but I'm not going to fuss about that, it gives him character.

Friday, October 21

Sencha & Turkey

My long overdue Thanksgiving wrap up.  It's going to be short because we're heading out for a house concert (which outgrew the house - it's in a church).  I've got a little time before we eat turkey soup (I finally got up the courage to thaw out some of the bones) and head out.

So first, the turkey.
Gobble gobble.
Here is Mr. Lina carving the bird.  It's freakishly huge.  Look at how wide it is relative to the oven door.  Crazy.  But very tasty.

And then we had our house concert.  As mentioned, Annabelle Chvostek was awesome. 

Myself, Annabelle Chvostek and Mr. Lina

My blouse is yet another Sencha blouse.  There is something kinda funky at the back, but tucked into my denim skirt you wouldn't know and I got quite a few compliments.  I made covered buttons for this version, they turned out well and are actually less annoying than the snapper version.  The fabric is polyester as far as I remember, it took a crease a bit better than I'd expect for polyester.  I am pretty sure I bought that before we lived in this house, I haven't the faintest clue how much I paid for it.  Mr. Lina's first comment was that it was very much me, those are my favourite colours.  In cropping the picture I noticed that I'm wearing my old elastic belt. 

Alright time to go.  We're off to see David Ross MacDonald and The Once.  We hosted Dave in May, he's heading home to Australia soon.  The Once are a trio from Newfoundland, they were on Canada AM this week, I didn't see it myself (not a lot of daytime tv around here).  If I remember right from the Summerfolk program, one of the members has ties to Great Big Sea, but I can't seem to find that on their web site, granted I'm not looking too hard.  Lovely Celtic group, a few original songs, occasionally Lenord Cohen cover.  Given that I have a big soft spot for DRM and I'm just getting to know The Once, I'm picking a YouTube clip from a house concert he gave shortly after we hosted him.  The intro to the song is long, but it's worth the wait to hear his voice.  He's absolutely delightful in person, we're lucky he visits Canada.

Thursday, October 20

Uncooperative bodies

This is going to be a bit of a uterus focused vent, if you aren't up to hearing too much info on my reproductive system, come back tomorrow.  I'll put up some sewing and music and turkey then.

Lately, it's like my body has been playing mind games with me and I'm getting annoyed.  Generally speaking, I don't ovulate.  If you don't ovulate, all cycles are annovulatory and without an egg releasing, they kinda happen when they happen.  Sometimes it's 40 days, sometimes it's 60 days.  When things aren't going well and my weight is high, maybe 100 days.  There are good aspects to this, Proctor & Gamble makes far less money off of me.  I only have to deal with cramps and assorted issues 3-5 times a year.  My lining doesn't build up too heavily so while I get cramps, they weren't all that horrible and Mr. Lina has commented that I don't get PMS that he notices.

I was put on Metformin, a diabetic drug that has a side effect of lowering testosterone levels.  My doctor said it kind of removes the static so messages my brain sends to my ovaries get through.  Whatever, cycles got shorter, around 36-40 days and I did manage to get pregnant so it is doing what it should sometimes.

Getting back to the more recent body betrayal.  Around day 31 I had some spotting.  I was pretty pleased, a normal length cycle.  But then it was just 3 days of spotting mid September, no real day 1 flow so I couldn't be sure I was on a new cycle or not.  I mentioned this when I saw my specialist on Oct 1, he asked if I'd taken a pregnancy test.  I said no, my bra still fit, my breasts are really good indicators when my hcg levels are up.  But when we got home, I did and failed.  Then a week later, my breasts started looking... weird.  I took 4 or 5 pregnancy tests over Thanksgiving weekend failing each and every one.  Mr. Lina and I agreed something was going on with my hormones because these were not normal looking nipples, but I wasn't calling the clinic without a positive test.  Then they went back to being normal.

And now today my period is here, the worst cramps  since my miscarriage.  Looking at a calendar, it's like I had two 31 day cycles, which is something to be happy about.  Thanksgiving would have been around days 18-22, a bit late for ovulating given that my period is here now, but about right for maybe implantation and a couple of days of generating hcg...  Maybe my breasts were right and my hcg levels never got to 25, the clinic considers me pregnant with levels of 5 but the home tests aren't that sensitive and it would have been too soon for HPT.  If I didn't have 3 chemical pregnancies under my belt, I wouldn't think like this, but it's possible.  I'm pretty sure that's going to be the conclusion Mr. Lina draws, he has faith in my nipples as predictors of pregnancies.  They have been right with every other test I've taken. 

Since I started writing, I've since walked to a drug store to find liquid Advil.  Oh how I love liquid Advil.  I have also had lunch.  I am feeling far better. 

Conversations are happening in my house about adoption too.  It's too tender to really chat about it here yet, but Mr. Lina is now wanting to collect information.  I think I started that after the first chemical pregnancy years ago, but not to the point of phoning agencies/Children's Aid.  We talked briefly again while walking around Niagara Falls.  It's hard to see him struggle with this.  It's not so much about adoption, but in saying yes to adoption, it's also getting ready to grieve things we wouldn't experience with a new born and pregnancy.

So I email Mr. Lina that it's Day 1 and cramps suck and he emails me back a link to the video below.  The next email is about the foot ball sized lambies, swans, llama and foal he saw on his drive to work.  Someone has babies on the brain.

Wednesday, October 19

There has been a little sewing

Wow was I tired when I got home from work tonight.  Mr. Lina was watching some special feature interview and I sat down on the couch and fell asleep for an hour and a half.  I'm not sure when I would have woken up if my mom didn't phone.

At some point last year, Fabricland had 5" belting elastic and belt hardware on for 50% off.  I don't often belt my clothing, but Already Pretty  does and I think the look is growing on me.  I also have a couple of dresses, both RTW and self made where another belt option would be nice.  So I bought some and sewed it up.  I liked it in theory, but I did not think about how it would wear when I made it.  I didn't put any stabilizer on the elastic where it joins the hardware, and I tried later (bra channeling) but it still had a tendency to twist and slide down.  Not really the look I was going for.  I also didn't make it loose enough so the elastic was starting to stretch out and bubble.  Overall, it had a place in my wardrobe, but was frustrating and tired.  Time for a new one to take with me to OCFF.  There was maybe an hour between finishing work and heading out, I came up with this.

I tried pictures with it on, it's just too dark, they look terrible.

Silly me did not take pictures along the way (or even of the old belt before it was cut off), but time was limited.  I have some Halloween cheapo black satin leftover from my Halloween cape a few years ago.  I interfaced it, added some thick canvas as sew in interfacing, AND a little bra channeling at the fold.  That sucker is not moving anywhere.  This elastic is stretchier and I didn't make it so tight.  I certainly could have done a few things differently (again), but at least this one sits as it should and if I need it tighter when the elastic stretches, I can always fold a little over.

What would I do differently?  I made a tube, tuned it and cut it in half.  I was focused on the seam being at the bottom when it could have gone to mid back.  I could have top stitched the satin.  I could have done a prettier job of attaching the elastic to the satin, there is a not-so-pretty stitching on the inside that could have been hidden.  Still, I'm happy, what I would change is either style (top stitching) or hidden, so I'll wear it.  I bought enough elastic for more, might make a nice gift for my two sister in laws.  Here's hoping the hardware goes on sale again.

Tuesday, October 18


I absolutely adore the term unsolicitation, compliments that are not prompted, particularly (perhaps exclusively) for self sewn items.  I received several this weekend at the wedding I went to. 

I actually had a hard time deciding what to wear.  I have a RTW red dress that I've worn once and would like to wear again, and my first version of Lekala 5432 in black swiss dot with salmon-ish satin underlay.  I was doing a reading at the wedding, I knew the bridesmaids were wearing chocolate brown and flowers would be in fall colours including red.  I don't like wearing straight black to weddings, but I thought with the pink satin, it would work out okay.  I put the option to Mr Lina, he picked Lekala.

I am reliant on friends for pictures for the most part, Mr Lina took the picture on the right, but that's the only picture of the dress we have.  We were both busy chasing after our friends toddler (and taking pictures of her and the bride) and neither of us thought about taking pictures of each other.  I've tried to crop out my friends from this group picture for their privacy.  At least I have two angles from pretty much the same moment.

So, unsolicitations.  I got compliments from several of my friends and while they know I like to sew, this is the first real dress up wear I've made so they wouldn't expect me to have made it.  I actually wore this for New Years, but only the bride and groom were at that event, it was a new dress to everyone else.  One of my friends thought it looked worth about $500.  I love her, I think she's spent too much time at Coach outlets to believe her on that estimation.  Far better than the ignorant coworker comments that Sewing By The Seat of My Pants got from her little children's outfit (not to mention all the stories in the comments).  Perhaps part of the difference is we are just accustomed to paying more for formal attire than children's clothing.  Who would blink at a party dress price tag around $100?  $150?  $200?  I wouldn't depending on the dress (although as the price goes up, the likelihood of me actually buying it goes down).  Another friend complimented the colour, that it fit in well with the bridesmaids and looked perfect while doing the reading.  She asking if I had the wedding party colours in mind when I bought the dress.  It was a nice specific compliment that resonated true.

Looking at the pictures has me realizing I really should wear better undergarments.  I can tell where my nylons end at my waist, a little smoothing would be good with such a shiny fabric.  The two bottles of wine consumed at OCFF the night before and dinner at the wedding were likely not helping with the tummy control situation either.  That's okay, I danced and danced for the rest of the night, I got my exercise in. 

Sunday, October 16

OCFF Review

What a weekend.  Today is totally a recovery day.  It's 1pm, I'm still in my house coat.  I know I'll be heading out at some point today, but I can't say I'm in a rush.  It's been a busy few days between the OCFF conference and my friends wedding.

Leaving OCFF early because of the wedding was really hard.  We participated in a fantastic workshop about the value of presenters in Canada.  The start time was different in some spots than others so we missed the first hour of the 3 hour session.  Sad because we really enjoyed it and it felt like there was still more conversation to have.  We participated in the small group discussion on demographics.  Most folk festivals and folk societies have more ah..  grey hair than what may be sustainable.  Nothing wrong with having seniors, but you need younger audiences to replace them at some point.  From a festival perspective, they actually do okay with young families by having kids tents and programming, but they struggle to appeal to teens-20's.  Personally, I think that's okay so long as you can get them back when they have kids.  For us, attendance is a struggle in part because of kids.  Either it's an expensive night with a baby sitter, or we only get one of the couple, and if a kid gets sick, it's a last minute cancellation.  It's the opposite problem that most of the other presenters have.  In talking to someone from the Haliburton Folk Society (they also do Home Routes) he found our problems amusing as they only get senior-seniors, not even boomers.

The afternoon was mostly formal showcases, caught a lot of acts out of the Manitoba room.  I'd say my favourite that I could host would be The Crooked BrothersThe Magnificent 7's were also great, harmonies, rock-a-billy meets bluegrass, but... with 5 members, too big for me to host.  We'll support them from afar.  I talked to one of the band members a few times, they truly seem like a family by choice.

The evening has formal showcases from 8-11, two rooms to bounce between.  We saw a great kids act out of Newfoundland, Shelley Bean & the Duckety Muds.  We've never hosted a family show, but we're starting to think maybe we should given our demographic issues.  We stayed for Beaucoup Blue from Philidelphia.  They area  father/son duo, beautiful harmony, I think I'm in love with resonators between Beaucoup Blue and The Crooked Brothers.  Beaucoup Blue would be perfect for a house concert.  We wanted to go to the other room to see Manitoba Hal but were so entranced we stayed for the full set.  We also enjoyed Layah Jane, Jadea Kelly, Ann Vriend.

Then off to the craziness of Private showcases.  3rd and 4th floors of the hotel, each room changing every half hour or so.  It's insanity and we tried to focus on people we didn't know already.  First up was to see Jon Davis out of Montreal.  He actually remembered meeting us last year and joined the presenters workshop in the morning.  He mostly supports his independent music through teaching and being part of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Choir.  Scott Cook was another highlight of the evening.  We have his CD already, loved it, but sometimes live doesn't match with produced, but Scott was so entertaining, half an hour was not enough. 

And I am feeling a tad sheepish about meeting Mark Reeves.  We saw Mark maybe in 2007 at Summerfolk.  I thought he was just fantastic, he has some amusing and cheeky lyrics, great sound and a beautiful voice.  His song VDub was the first song we played when we bought the Jetta.  He has done Home Routes the past two years, but not on the Ontario route and every year when the list comes out I lament that it's not fair that Alberta gets Mark and I don't.  So when I crossed him in the hallway with a bit of ah... wine induced false courage, I babbled at him about this.  Seriously.  I didn't shut up.  He was getting an offer to go join some friends outside for a "fresh of breath air" as my high school friends might say and I was oblivious, Mr. Lina told me later.  Sigh.  At least by the end of it he did want me to email him and remind him of the when and where of our conversation.  Good to know I wasn't so scary to be ah, unforgettable.

There were other great music, I'll probably talk about them over other posts.  We went to a wedding and I got a few unsolicitations on my dress, but I think this is getting long and link filled enough.

So one last video.  Given my Mark Reeves story and as much as I liked a lot of the more country or blues sounds of the weekend, the singer/songwriter folk is my favourite.  Also, I found a video of him doing a house concert so this has the feel of what it's like to come to my basement for a show.  If you like this, there is a 9 minute selection of the same show on You Tube.  Here is a much shorter video for "Takes a While to Get Like This"

Wednesday, October 12

Focus and lack thereof

Some days I completely lack focus at work, today seems to be one of them.  I was asked to do a project at work that focused on 4 things.  I figure for 4, I can do a 5 page deck on each and it won't be so bad.  But every week there are 2-3 more of these things to do.  If I knew I'd end up doing 32 of them, I wouldn't have structured these presentations this way.  I am just bored of doing it.  There are only so many ways to write essentially the same thing. 
I started a wrap up post on Thanksgiving, but it's waiting on pictures off of the other camera.  Mr. Lina used a fancy shmancy camera to film the Post Lifers and when it went on sale I wasn't surprised when he wanted to buy it.  I can barely figure out how to take a picture, never mind take pictures off of the camera.  But when he does, we'll have some picture filled Thanksgiving post.  Possibly before the American Thanksgiving.  Possibly.

Net-net, turkey took forever to cook but tasted good.  Annabelle was FANTASTIC, I've never seen someone suck so much sound from a tambourine.  Most songs she played with her acoustic guitar, a couple on the mandolin and one on the fiddle.  However, it is the tambourine song that stands out and yet I couldn't tell you the words I was so fascinated by how she played the tambourine.

Sunday and Monday were lazy days.  We went for a hike, ate so much leftover turkey I'm about to start gobbling, and rested.  I made up a few dishes with the leftover turkey so there are some easy future meals in the freezer now and I still have two pots of bones to make soup (also in the freezer).  That's going to have to wait, I'm turkey-d out.  Next week I'll make soup.

There isn't a whole lot of sewing going on in there.  We're going to the conference for the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals starting tomorrow.  It's like drinking folk music from a fire hose.  We went last year, one of the artists we hosted suggested we go, he had one an award there and thought it was fantastic.  Programming quite literally starts at 9:30am and ends officially at 2am but some rooms are designated as all night jamming sessions and others just kinda happen.  The OCFF conference started as a few people who put on folk festivals saying, hey, we all struggle with the same issues, lets get together and talk about it at the pub.  This year, there are over 600 attendees.  Most are musicians trying to get the attention of folk festivals for booking gigs next year.  Workshops fall into three groups, aimed at performers (ie. "Stagecraft"), aimed at presenters ("Audience Development") and general topics ("Emergency Planning").  In between are official showcases where 4 rooms will have music running concurrently.  11-2am, they took 2 floors of a hotel and every single room had music changing every 30 minutes.  It's insanity.  We will be seeing a lot of music for the first time there and some of it is likely what will show up in the Home Routes and Summerfolk bookings for 2012. 

Last year we met Samantha Martin.  We had seen her at Summerfolk and were totally blown away by her voice, but OCFF gave us a chance to talk to her and exchange information.  We ended up hosting her for her first house concert gig in May.  I did not have a clue of how important house concerts were becoming until we went to OCFF.  It always felt like they were doing me a bit of a favour coming to perform in my little basement with 18 of my friends.  But I swear every time someone saw house concerts on my name tag, it was like dollar signs went off and I suddenly had a new friend. 

So with lack of Thanksgiving pictures, I'll add some music.  Last year we saw Annie Lou and it turns out they got booked for Home Routes.  We will be hosting them (well, as a duo, all 4 won't fit in my basement) in April.  I was sitting in the audience for this specific performance at OCFF 2010.

Pay it Forward

Living in Red has put out a Pay it Forward offer and as much as I suck at mailing things out, I figure that I have a year to do it and I do like surprises in the mail.  My issues with mailing things is getting to the post office more so than the postage cost, so this is open to anyone.

Pay It Forward Blog Game
  1. I  will make a little something for the first 3 people who comment on this post. It will be a surprise and you will not know when it will arrive.

  2. I will have 365 days to get this surprise to you. The catch? To get a goodie from me you must play along too! Share the giving love on your blog by promising to send a handmade goody to the first three people comment on your blog post.

  3. You must therefore have a blog!

  4. After commenting on my post, you have to go post this on your blog.

Saturday, October 8

Happy Turkey Day!

This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada.  It's a much less important holiday in Canada than in the US, but any time you want to give me a day off from work I'm a happy camper.

The year we met (which will be next week), Mr. Lina and a few friends realized no one had family to eat turkey with, so they decided to host their own turkey dinner and we've been doing this ever since.  We call it the "orphan's" Thanksgiving and it's aimed at anyone without family to join.  Now a few of them are like us, met people here and have in laws to visit, but after 10 years, they feel that our Thanksgiving is their tradition.  We host it on the Saturday leaving Sun/Mon for family plans.  Most years we have between 16-25 for dinner, we make the turkey, gravy and stuffing, everything else is pot luck.  After the year of 10 pies and no vegetables, we push people to post what they plan on brining and I always keep some extra veggies around just in case.  I'm actually not too sure how many people are coming, but we have a 14.185 kg (31 lbs) turkey courtesy of my parents.  I can't lift it to get it out of the oven for basting.  Mr. Lina took a picture of it in the oven, it's pretty funny.  Right now, he's off at the film premiere for The Post-Lifers and I'm babysitting "Tom" as my mom calls him.

This year, there will be something a little extra going on after the turkey is done.  We're part of Home Routes which string together people who want to host house concerts into a tour for the artists, 12 gigs over 14 days.  My part of the deal is hosting 6 concerts over the "season" Sept/Oct/Nov and Feb/Mar/Apr, feeding them dinner and usually putting them up for the night.  The person who had tonight asked to trade and we preferred the weekend date over a Tuesday so we'll be hosting two concerts in October.  It's going to be good to get back into the house concert swing.  Our last show was June 4th, it's been a good break that has me wanting more.

Tonight we are hosting Annabelle Chvostek, a former member of the Wailin' Jennys.  She wrote the title track to the Juno (Canadian version of Grammy) nominated album Firecracker.  She has a really pretty sound and a great sense of humour.  This is the title track to her CD, Resilience. 

Thursday, October 6

Jury duty

I was summoned for jury duty this week.  I like the concept of civic responsibility and I wouldn't mind serving on a jury to see how it all works out.  That said, perhaps a 6-7 week trial with 3 weeks notice isn't always going to work out well.  I have vacation planned next Friday, then a week in November.  Mr. Lina was sure this was going to be yet another reason to not visit New Orleans.  But it all has worked out well.  The judge deferred my service so I'll be called again in a few months. 

With such a long trial I was wondering what on earth it could be.  Someone at bowling was at jury duty last week and his was a 5 week murder trial.  The trial I was called for was mostly drug charges (spanning Canada, USA and Peru) and some weapon charges.  The time consuming aspect seems to be more about complication than the forensic details of murder.  5 defendants, 5 lawyers, 16 charges although not all of the charges were against all 5 defendants.  It took a surprising amount of time just to check that they all entered pleas to the right crimes.  I wasn't expecting that to be part of jury selection, so this was a pretty cool learning process even if it was relatively short.  Here is hoping the next time I'm called it's something less complicated with more lead time so I can plan around it.

And more Google translate humour from Lekala (keep in mind it's not their fault Google isn't thinking in sewing terms).  Dress 4023 is a pretty knit dress, and I do like to buy knits it seems.  This is something I could tackle without directions I think.  There isn't that much to wrap my brain around.

No crazy name like yesterday, it's simply a knitted dress.  But the pieces, there are 3 in total, you'd figure front, back and sleeves.  No... it's back, sleeve, and rack.  It would only be funnier if there was a separate upper bodice piece that really was for the "rack".  Then in the instructions they say to sew darts on the shelf.  I half expect them to talk about the boobies if there was more than 3 steps to the instructions.

The court house just happened to be near a Fabricland.  And I used the last of my snappers on my latest Sencha blouse between the buttons.  So I HAD to go.  I did show restraint.  I bought some wide waistband elastic at 50% off.  I also bought some 5" wide belting elastic because I made an elastic belt for myself and love it, but seem to have misplaced it and I could make it better based on the old one.  I resisted many other things that were 50% off, but I came home with 2m of this poly/viscose (took me a minute to realize that's rayon) at $4/m from the clearance table.  It's got a bit of stretch and feels very soft.  I put it in the machine/dryer to prewash and it seems to have come out well.  It's a pretty plum colour with black. 

Again, I shop faster than I sew.  :)

Wednesday, October 5

Signs you have a translation problem

I was just browsing through the Lekala offerings.  Many that I like I have or they look too complicated to tackle with Russian instructions.  I was looking at this dress, 5854.
The "photograph" picture of it isn't all that thrilling, the necklace makes it look like there are buttons.  Lekala has a photo contest of sorts so a lot of patterns have a link for finished garments.  I liked the way this looked finished so I thought I'd download it.

First I save the pictures, then I save the pattern, then the instructions.  They open in Russian and Google offers to translate it.  They title each outfit and this one is called...

I wish I was kidding...


5854 Knitted dress with a smell

(Makes you wonder where they shop for fabric, eh?)

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SELECTION OF FABRICS: jersey medium or low degree of elasticity of natural or mixed fibers .

AND YOU NEED: rubber band

Make sure you don't forget that rubber band.  At least the fabric recommendation makes sense. 

Tuesday, October 4

Lekala bonanza

Thank you to Fehr Trade for pointing out that Lekala is offering size 44 and 46 for free for a month.  Oh I like these months.  I've downloaded a ton in the past and while I'm slow to make them up, I love glancing through my folder of possibilities.  The few patterns I have made up I have done more than once so it feels like I have used more than I have.  The size 46 with a FBA is pretty close to my measurements.  I also need to shorten it.  Surprisingly, people do not often design patterns with152.5cm height in mind.  (Doesn't that sound taller than 5' and a half inch?) 

I wore my new Sencha blouse yesterday and it did pretty well.  Something is pooling in the back, but tucked in it looks great and the covered buttons bothered me less than the snaps did.  I was surprised by that.  Sadly, pictures will have to wait for another day.  It was Mr. Lina's actual birthday yesterday so I spent the evening hanging out with him.  He was feeling tired and a bit under the weather, so we had beef stew and leftover cake at home rather than going out.  Warm comfort food on a rainy day. 

Sunday, October 2

Lazy Sunday

Yesterday was a pretty busy day so I think today is going to be as low key as it gets.  If I'm dressed by 2pm, I'll be impressed.  Friday night I worked on another Sencha blouse, it just needs snappers/buttons in the back.  I will do that and hopefully have some pictures to share soon.

Mr Lina's birthday is tomorrow, he decided he wanted to celebrate with a "Shitty Movie Night".  We host SMN a few times a year when he gets the itch or I'm going out with friends overnight.  Boys come over, they watch horrible movies, eat snacks, Mr Lina and one friend generally buy the most horrible, cheapest scotch they can find and share the bottle.  It was a good time with old friends and a few new friends from the movie project and rather fitting for his birthday.  Last nights entertainment included Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!, Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version of Space Mutiny and closing with The Crippled Avengers.  All horrible movies, but entertaining in their own way.

I should remember to take pics prior to the event.

I went through a phase of wanting to bake cakes when I was about 23 I think.  This was not overly successful.  First problem being that my stove was no where near level.  My attempts at 7 minute frosting never quite turned out.  Eventually, I decided my appetizers were better, there wasn't a need for me to make cakes anyhow.  But birthdays are special and we weren't doing anything crazy for his birthday, I thought a me-made cake would be a nice touch.  And it was.  Chocolate sour cream cake and mocha chocolate butter cream icing both actually turned out.  Both recipes were from my Better Homes and Gardens  New Cook Book 1982 edition (apparently first printed in 1930).  One single serve of Taster's Choice made for a nice mocha flavour (Mr. Lina loves coffee so mocha seemed appropriate) in the icing.  I had a half jar of sherried raspberry pear jam in the fridge, I used that for the filling in the centre.  It made for a really moist and adult chocolate cake between the sherried jam and coffee flavouring. 

We also went to see my fertility specialist and it was rather anticlimactic.  He wants me to see an immune specialist in Toronto.  Um, why didn't we do this last year when I was sending blood to California?  Ah, well.  With what we have planned through Oct/Nov, the frozen embryo transfer wouldn't happen until January anyhow so I'll go talk to another doctor.  This guy isn't a fertility specialist, but because he is an immune specialist, he has many clients who have repeated miscarriages.  Here's hoping we get in to see him soon-ish, you just never know how far out specialists are booking appointments.

I have mentioned that Mr. Lina had a movie project this summer.  I have a trailer to share.  Keep in mind the film is 18 minutes in total, it's tough to show enough in a trailer without giving away all 18 min of the film.  Although this is a comedy, the special effects are awesome so aspects are kinda gross and the film itself is most definitely adult in sexual content (not actual sex or nudity, but talking about sex).  The trailer is tame.  I bring you.. The Post-Lifers.