Tuesday, April 30

Weekend Review - Creativ Festival

Kay at Gently Down the Seam (side note, I think this is my favourite sewing pun for a blog) sent out a little note to people who participated in the Toronto meet up that she was going to both days of the Creativ Festival, was anyone else going?  I didn't even know about it but it seemed my Saturday was free and I welcomed the opportunity to strengthen some online ties in person. Kay, Adrienne, and Debbie have already posted about it.
Picture from Debbie, myself, Kay, Debbie and Adrienne.
I have to say that without Kay pointing it out, I wouldn't have thought twice about it.  So often the focus is on crafts I find interesting but not me.  Like quilting, scrap booking or beading.  I was pleasantly surprised by the titles of the workshops, there did seem to be garment sewing content.

The  web site was a little challenging to find what I wanted.  At one point I thought I was on their web site but it was really the blog.  I read something about advanced group tickets and the cut off for that was Monday and this was Thursday, I assumed that was the same for advanced tickets.  I was busy at work and not looking too carefully, I thought I would just buy my ticket at the door.

One session I was really keen on was at 9:30 - Make Bra.  Sounds right up my alley.  Imagine the frustration when Debbie and I got there at 9:15 (she with e-ticket in hand) that the door sales didn't start until 9:30 and I couldn't get in until 10.  Their reasoning was that it was incentive to buy in advance.  I get that, there was a draw for $900 to spend at the festival open to Debbie and not me, that's a good incentive.  Letting people in to shop the booths early, also incentive.  But starting seminars before it opens for everyone?  It felt like punishment to me, not incentive to them.

Debbie is interested in tatting and I've always been a little curious about how it's done so we went to a free intro-to-tatting lesson.  Half an hour is not enough time to learn much of anything but I got the concept of what was involved so I'll appreciate the work that went into tatting I see in the future.

The main stage had two sessions that were a blur of clothing and sales pitches (and lunch for us).  Some of it was kind of interesting, but I found them a bit of a whirlwind.  The focus seemed to be:
  1. It's okay to eat cookies, just sew with elastic (that session was titled .Comfortable Clothes that Camouflage, but I could have used more camouflage and less "insert elastic here!")
  2. Sewing is easy, cut a circle in a square and you have a skirt.
  3. When in doubt, add embellishment (jewels, metallic, etc) but not the sleeves, you don't want to overdo it.
Now as my weight has changed, I appreciate knits and elastics, but some of it seemed beyond slapdash and into magic wand territory.  I am not a couture sewer at all, I'm just not in that stage of my sewing career.  Let's focus on me getting one thing done rather than soaking 30 hours of sewing into a winter coat.  But even I found this a little much.  You would think that if you went to the festival and you chose to join that session,  you have some knowledge of sewing already.  So why focus so much on making sewing look like magic because it's so easy?  And from a fashion perspective, well, it wasn't overly inspiring either.  I'm not interested in bejewelling my clothing and when I did see something I liked (lightly padding a lapel on a jacket that was puckering at the seams) it was so fast I didn't really have a chance to absorb what she did to make it work. 

Interesting though, I have found myself thinking about these two sessions a lot and what it means in the wider sewing world, so maybe my review is sounding harsher than it should.  This was like the opposite of Myrna Giesbrecht who will muslin many time to get what she wants and savours the process of getting there.  Or K-Line with her many muslined Spring Suit project.  But, there were times when I thought Myrna would like some of the embellishments (maybe not the Cirque du Soleil foiling).  I seem to remember a comment about using threads to add detail, something I know she would like.

As others have noted, the fitting session with Lorraine Henry was really awesome.  Half an hour was not nearly enough time.  I had traced out the Alma blouse prior to the show and done a FBA but still feeling a little insecure with it.  After sewing a few tents and potato sacks lately, I'm feeling hesitant.  It was great to see her discussing a FBA specifically, it really made me feel more confident that I'd put the extra space in the right spot. 

And while the session on sewing machine & serger maintenance with Joanne Brousseau sounds pretty dry, I spent a good 45 minutes cleaning my machine on Sunday.  Clearly it was inspiring.  Looking at the machine closely, I noticed the arm is a little pink.  I think the red ponte for Tiramisu has rubbed off.  I'll have to be careful when I wash it, maybe put one of the dye catchers in the wash.

If I had gone on my own, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it.  I would have sat through a few sessions (probably skipped the machine maintenance), felt overwhelmed by the people and the frequent sales pitches (I was starting to expect the as seen on TV kind of lines of "but wait, there's more!" or "with three easy payments of...") and left.  But with the ladies, I was open to any of the sessions, it was lovely to talk (and laugh) and break up the knowledge soaking that went on.  My brain felt full when I got home.
Both pre-washed, striped shirting on the right has been cut.
Sunday I ended up with a bit of a hang over (oops) and Mr. Lina had people over to record voice work so I had to be quiet, the microphone will pick up the sewing machine and foot steps two floors up.  But I felt the itch and interest returning through my headache.  As well as the machine cleaning session, I pre-washed fabric above, ironed 3m of one of the shirtings, cut out the Alma and started sewing the darts/stay stitching.  This morning I popped into my sewing room to get something and noticed one point from the V cut in (I'm doing View A) was curling a little and I started ironing and adding a little strip of interfacing to the seam allowance.  I never sew in the morning.  Never.

I take this as a very good sign.

Thursday, April 25

An Ode to Drug Plans

I went to the pharmacy yesterday to pick up the Humira.  I knew it was going to be expensive, it's not often I get sticker shock this far into the process.  On the plus side, I have to go through extra paper work to get this covered by my drug plan, Mr. Lina's plan covers it so at worst I'll have to pay 20%.

Yesterday, I would have thought maybe $700.

The IV drip of intralipids are $700 each (and not covered).

Drugs like Gonal-F that stimulate follicle growth (so I end up with lots of eggs for one IVF cycle) work out to about $1000 per pen and depending on your dosage that pen could last 2-4 days but it's needed for about 6-8 depending on how fast those little follicles grow.  My drug plan covers them but Mr. Lina's does not.

So I wasn't surprised when the pharmacist starts with "it's a pretty expensive drug, that's why we don't keep it on hand" and then works into "the good news is that your husband's drug plan will cover it". 

But I was still surprised when I saw her punch $1,730 into the cash register.  That's for 2 doses.  I'll be given a third with a positive pregnancy test.

I sure do appreciate a good drug plan.  That's a whole lot of after tax income.

I was into the clinic this morning for my Day 3 appointment.  A few comments on how much my hair has grown and happy to see you, etc.  They had a new blood girl being trained (quite good, no bruising) but I walked in and said hello to the girl I do know and she said to the other "this is who we were talking about earlier".  Kind of cool to get the heads up on me (total pet peeve to be treated like it's my first cycle) but odd because she didn't clarify what they talked about.  Anyhow, new girl took a LOT of blood (because of the STD screening) on a rather heavy cycle, I was having a hard time thinking after that.  All is well now but I am glad my manager suggested working from home today (we have a meeting with a client closer to my house than the office at 3pm).  First Humira injection is done, nothing to write home about except that the medication kind of tingles.  The needle is very fine, that doesn't hurt, but it feels really weird as the medication is going under my skin.

Next step isn't until May 9th when I get my second Humira injection.  I think I'm going to do it myself.  It goes into my belly fat so it's not like I can't see what I'm doing (the problem with Lupron-Depot, I can't inject my own butt) or need to hit a vein.  Driving to the clinic for them to do it seems like a waste of time.

I started tracing Alma last night.  I can't say I got all that far, tracing is not my favourite part of sewing and I'm not really sure which size to trace.  I'm not a Sewaholic pear, I should do a FBA of some sort to this, I don't want a tent but I should make the 16 if I'm measuring right...  It all had me a bit hesitant last night.  I'll tackle it again tonight.

Wednesday, April 24

Much Better

Things are feeling a little better today
  • It's all sorted with the clinic. 
    • I will go in for Day 3 ultrasounds & blood work tomorrow at 8am including screening blood work
    • My prescription for Humira is being sent to the pharmacy
    • No time has been wasted, the nurse just wasn't sure what I needed yesterday, essentially if it was the start cycle of the FET or the transfer cycle
    • I talked to her this morning but I was still pretty grumpy and tired and I wasn't sure if she said the dose is tomorrow or I assumed it to be tomorrow. 
    • I emailed to confirm and I got a reply in 15 minutes (Humira does start tomorrow).  There is a serious up side to them using email.
    • Pharmacy has to order in Humira, it won't be ready until 4pm, but they are open until 7pm so I can pick it up on the way home
    • So lunch time I'll pick up the letter from the clinic so it's covered by my drug plan, and then get the prescription on the way home.  The clinic isn't open late enough to do both in one trip.
  • Advil is a wonderful thing.
  • I don't want to work, this is much more interesting to me.
  • Did I mention that Advil is a wonderful thing?  I was not happy waking up to it wearing off overnight.
  • I think my hormones are making me unusually hot, I was melting at work yesterday and bowling.
  • I have mentioned that my bust seems a little fuller and I really should make tops because many wovens won't fit this summer?  I'm wearing one of those summer tops now.
  • I want to rip it off. 
  • It's okay when I'm standing up, but sitting down typing?  It is totally squishing my breasts and riding up and the arm holes are cutting off circulation.
  • I should hang this shirt in the basement to remind myself why I should sew (for myself) and not watch television with Mr. Lina.
  • Perhaps I should buy stock in Advil.  Can you specify stock options for the liquid version?  ;)

Tuesday, April 23

Here we go...

Are you guys ready for a ride?  We're about to set off on my last FET cycle.  I was one day away from taking a pregnancy test (while highly unlikely, it's not impossible for me to get pregnant naturally) but it seems Day 1 is here.  All those hormone issues were just PMS.  This period seems to be making up for being MIA since I don't know, Christmas?  I've had spotting a couple of times but right no real clear Day 1 in quite some time.  My uterus is taking revenge today.

This will be the second FET that I've blogged and I'm planning on sharing the process again.  It's a good outlet for me.  I think I've tagged all the FET cycle posts  from last year if you weren't reading at the time and would like to look back.  After meeting with my doctor I posted the "game plan" here.  I believe the only change will be the addition of Humira, an immune suppressing drug typically used by people with things like rhumatoid arthritis or Crohn's.  I posted about being a little uneasy about taking it in November.  I have a friend who used it recently and it's made me feel more comfortable to take it. 

Procedures have changed significantly it seems with the clinic.  I like working within procedure (I assume they set them up for a reason) but I feel frustrated when I don't know what is "right".  As an example, I phoned to book my Day 3 appointment to find out my nurse coordinator needs to requisition the appointment.  I guess it's suppose to make it easier on me (and them to keep track) to have one point of contact but I'm used to calling for these things myself.  On the plus side, the receptionist knows me well enough to rhyme off my birth date without having to hear my name a second time and sent a note to my nurse on my behalf.

It's moments like this that I feel good and bad.  Good to have staff that know me.  Sad that I've been there long enough for them to know me that well.

The start of my last FET has some mixed feelings.  First off, these cramps really hurt and I wasn't really expecting Day 1 today, so that is clouding my ability to think.  Day 1 is also sad because it means I didn't need a pregnancy test.  But... I am happy to get the ball rolling on this cycle.  It's exciting to try again.  I can also feel the "enough already" frustration with the clinic, signs that I'm done with this path. 

I have 2 voice mails (and now an email) asking if I've taken Humira yet, which I haven't, no one told me what day to take it so I haven't.  This is all so carefully choreographed I don't take anything I'm not told to do.  I don't even have the prescription filled.  So far as I knew, Humira does not have to be timed with ovulation/cycle days, it is the first domino in this FET.  But, I was under the impression my first dose will be mid-cycle.  Given that my period could arrive any day, it didn't seem to me like a good time to start it.  Now that it's here, I called because that's what my introduction paperwork said to do, but that is at home and I am at work so I can't double check but I remember questioning that box being ticked in the "to do" column.  And of course, today I left my phone in my coat pocket at home so I'm playing telephone tag with the nurse and it's after 3pm so they are likely leaving the office (their day starts around 5:30 or 6am).  Argh.

Believe me this will be much more interesting in June.

Sunday, April 21

The Tale of Two Capes

I have a lot of options for projects to finish.  Tiramisu, the Vogue in silk noil, the Burda dress, the Almas my wardrobe would benefit from...

And what did I sew?

A cape.

Not just any cape, a purple cape for a Skelator costume.

Oh, you didn't have brothers/sons/a heart beat in the 80's to make you watch He-Man?  Here's the refresher.
A loooong time ago, I made a black cape.  My boyfriend at the time wanted to be Darth Maul for Halloween, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace had released that year.  To be a Sith he really needed a big flowy cape but being Halloween, it's just made of cheap broadcloth and unlined.  I seem to remember draping it over him and pinning until it looked right and had a hood.  There is no pattern to refer to, no notes from 1999 kicking around, not even pictures of the event.  Just the cape itself which is much too long because Mr. Lina and I are much shorter than my 6' 1" ex-boyfriend.  On the plus side, the actor who will wear the purple cape is 6' so no need to hem it.

My sewing skills were a mixed bag at the time (not that it's all that much different now).  I knew how a sewing machine worked very well.  I understood the concepts of grain lines, was well versed in turning things inside out thanks to Mom's bibs.  I watched her sew many things and Fabricland felt like a second home.  Things  I did not get? 
  • Patterns, the language eluded me.
  • Finishing seams for wovens.  Mom does not sew clothing, everything she made was turned inside out and usually had top stitching.
  • Full bust adjustments (not that it's a factor in this cape)
  • I don't think I understood bias tape at that point.
So looking at this cape, I am pleasantly surprised with some things I did and shake my head at others.
  • I draped the three panels so there was an arm hole, very wise move
  • All selvages were left alone, I knew I didn't have to do anything with them and that's true for the purple cape, it's a costume, not couture.
  • All cut (well, ripped along the grain line) edges were just folded back and sewn, so you can see the raggedy edges
  • I used such narrow seam allowances and crappy finishings that some of the side panel stitching have come apart.
  • The hood falls perfectly, just like the character I was aiming for.  This is something I didn't improve in the purple version, I should have pulled more fabric into the hood.
  • The weight is mostly carried by the shoulders, not pulling back at the neck.
  • It moves so well when he walked.  Pictures do not do that justice.
As many others have found, it's interesting to look back at your early days of sewing.

It's a very good thing I didn't hem that black cloak shorter.  It worked really well yesterday on the film shoot.

First time I've answered to the call "WARDROBE!"

The film shoot went well.  It's going to be a video, rock song about a guy doing a series of stupid things and pissing people off.  Like going to the movies and being obnoxious, being Skelator on the subway (you know not one person stopped us, a few looked, a few took pictures, but not many really stared or got pissed off).  It's a series of small events, we'll see how it all comes together in editing but they have some great footage.  I believe it will end up on YouTube so when it does, I'll add in a link.

Tuesday, April 16

Ramble On

* Edited to add a picture of my poor toe.
I started a sewing post yesterday (yes, I have been productive in my vaguely "tidy" sewing room) but it is going to have to wait (it would be better with pictures anyhow).  My thoughts are rather jumbled so let's do a list, shall we?
  • I hurt (broke/cracked/jammed?) my right middle toe last night.  We were taking out the garbage I was looking up at the house rather than where my feet were going and I stepped on the curb of the driveway at a bad angle.  This pulled my foot in one way and my crappy ballet flat in the other and pinched my toes.  I really can't explain how it happened, all I know is my shoe was not on my foot by the time I looked down and some not nice words were coming out of my mouth.
  • On the plus side, I didn't hurt my ankle.
  • You don't realize how important toes are until they hurt.
Poor toe.  It wasn't this bruised when I left for work.

  • Weird things are going on with my hormones
    • My breasts are sore.
    • I think they are also getting bigger, looking at where the under wire lines are on my body at the end of the day, they aren't far enough back.
    • I started crying on the drive home last night.
    • I cried on my drive to work.
    • Granted, both happened while I was listening to the news about the bombing in Boston so it's not without reason, but I'm not sure that's the only reason.
  • I am not unhappy.
  • But... what if this is where it starts?  I don't want to ignore signs like what feel like disproportionate tears.
  • Remember how my manager quit?  I told my new manager about my fertility issues yesterday.
  • Rather than replacing my former manager directly with someone senior, they are using that salary to hire two junior positions. It's a good call in my book, we need more people to do the work that is being sold.
  • Someone else on our team quit, her last day is Tuesday.
  • This requires shuffling people to meet her client facing responsibilities.  Her client days (and mine) are paid for by that client, we can't have a gap.
  • I was offered being on site one day a week with a client as part of the shuffling.  I turned it down.
  • It's probably the first time I've made a decision on what I (didn't) want to do at work.
  • Why not?  We're hiring three new people in the next few months (I gather two are pretty much decided on) and they will need support.  If training others is what I enjoy doing, I'd rather have the time to do it. 
  • Besides, I kind of admitted to myself (and my new manager), I'm a bit bored with my client facing role.  Two days a week is enough.
  • In order to build up the skills of our two most junior on sites, they will now be sending their work through me before sending it to the client.  I like this, a chance to work with them to build their skill set and bring another perspective to a project. 
  • Honestly, both of them come to me with questions anyhow, it's just being formalized that I'll see the finished work too.  They won't feel like they are pestering me and I will get recognition for helping them.  Win-win.
So lots of stuff going on right now.  Honest, sewing post is coming soon.  It involves draping purple broad cloth of all things.

Tuesday, April 9


There is an expression of those who can't do, teach.  Well, I think those who can't sew, shop.

I have been very aware that my output has been reduced to damn near nothing the past few months.  This makes shopping a little risky.  I don't need more stash because I'm not using what I have, but it can be inspiring to have new fabric.  And I still sew things in my mind.  Sadly, I think some of it leads to what I'd call "analysis paralysis" at work.  Looking at so many things at the same time can bring you to a full stop from indecision rather than pushing you to do more. 

I thought that I was showing restraint.  I haven't been in a Fabricland for ages.  I limited myself to a couple of pieces of fabric when my parents were away, a few things at the sewing meet up...  But in taking pictures, this doesn't look like much restraint.

When my parents go to Florida, I can't resist buying a few things and having it shipped to them.  It's just so cheap.  Let's start with purchases, two shirting fabrics

 I was thinking about blouses for these shirts.  Since adding a little weight and buying a new bra (and accepting an additional cup size) my summer shirt wardrobe has shrunk.  Things that I could kind of get away with are not going to work this summer.  My employers dress code is casual but not so casual that I can wear tshirts.  Say, either of these in an Alma with jeans would be perfect for the three days I'm there.  Add dress pants and it might work with my clients office.

Then I ordered more bra making supplies from I like their prices and with few exceptions the quality has been good. I stuck mostly to findings and elastics.

Two types of underwires and nylon coated metal slides.
Wide lace elastic & bra elastics, close up below.
Strap elastic at the top, then band elastic and channeling at the bottom.

So let's talk underwire for a minute.  In deciding that I need to go up a cup size (well, two but down a band size so in sister sizes I mean one) I need new underwires if I want to make bras.  Here are a close up of 3 underwires. 

To the left is a demi wire I bought a couple of years ago (also from Sew Sassy but I have no idea why I bought it).  The white wire is "flex lite" spring steel underwire and the third is wholesaler overstock underwire on the site, sold in packages of 6 pairs.  I wish I still had a crappy pair of underwire that they sell at Fabricland.  I think I have twist ties that are stronger than they are.  They may be fine for a young woman with a small cup size, or maybe a bathing suit, but I as K-Line has pointed out, weak wires can be the downfall of a full support bra.  On the Sew Sassy site, they picture the flex lite inside the flat metal wires because the shape/height is a little different.  Compared to the flex lite, the flat metal are 3/8" larger inside width but 1/2" smaller inside depth and 1/8" inch smaller in outside length.  Looking at the list of underwire sizes you start to understand how not all cup sizes are quite equal.  I really like the weight of those flat metal wires. 

Two bras that I thought fit well both died because of plastic component failure.  It's a sad reason to not have a functional bra.  I bought white nylon coated metal (which can be dyed although the odds of me doing that are slim) slides from Sew Sassy.  On the Toronto meet up, I found some awesome metal findings (front clasp in the top left corner is plastic but it seems a bit thicker than what I have).  Silver isn't as easy to find as you'd think and I like silver accessories.

I did buy two pieces of fabric.  I have a soft spot for wide lace elastic.  This is actually a pale purple colour, the green background is changing the colour a bit.  I spied it behind the cutting table, I tell you wide lace calls to me if it's over 5" wide.
And then craziness took over.  I've made a few bathing suits.  I think they represent a good ROI on my sewing time compared to full retail prices assuming you can get the material on sale.  I was given a little discount on this but it is probably the most expensive fabric I've ever purchased (on the plus side, you don't need much for a bathing suit).

It's wild.  I don't even like orange but the purple (kind of maroon-ish) and black swirls danced before my eyes blinding me.  I think my brain was already in Mexico.  The feel of this fabric is really nice.  It's going to take a little time to cut into this because it may end up being one of those precious fabrics you can't stop touching long enough to cut into.

Given that I have (clearly) a crap ton of recent purchases.  I tried to show restraint during the swap.  I picked up a piece of stretchy leather looking fabric.  Really stretchy, like legging stretchy.  I'm pretty sure that Kristiann at Victory Patterns offered this up, she was quite funny in "selling" it to the group.  Black photographs so well (did you hear that sarcasm?) I didn't even bother trying to get the black and shiny features but that's it behind the pattern.  I have never purchased a Hot Pattern before so I was happy to take this one home.  Thanks K-Line!

And last but not least...  While in Landshut, Germany, we happened to walk past a fabric store.  At the time we were starving and looking for a restaurant that served something other than strudel & coffee or take out.  But the next day, we went back.  I bought 2m of this for myself...

The fabric is folded back at the spool of thread so you can see the wrong side and get a little sense of the drape.  It's kind of cool, like satin but not nearly as shiny (see how light isn't reflecting on any of the folds like the black stretchy stuff).  Very soft and a rather substantial weight to it.  I love the shades of purple and beige seems like it adds some versatility to it.  There is a little one directional stretch to it. 

And that is the end of the shopping confessional. 

Sunday, April 7

The Sewing Room of Shame

Quick Sunday night post of what's going on...
  • I sewed!
  • I took pictures
  • Taking pictures made me realize how much shopping I've done lately
  • I tidied my sewing room
  • No, it's not clean, but see the first point, it's good enough for now
  • House concert tomorrow night - Terry Penney from Newfoundland
  • Again, way too much on my plate at work
  • I think I'll be a wreck by tomorrow night getting through the work and concert
  • I could use another 3 day weekend
  • Mr. Lina and I went on another hike on Saturday
  • Our Dungeons & Dragons campaign wrapped up today
  • The campaign was from a magazine, it was designed to be 52 weeks of fun
  • We started in 2006, clearly we like to stretch our fun out
  • I will miss Nixi, she was a fun little sorceress to play
So I know people complain about their sewing room being messy, and not to say that it isn't, but I'm pretty sure mine was worse.  Would you want to sew looking at this from the door?

Taking a step into the room doesn't help.

And then if you do step over to where the sewing machine is and look back towards the door, well... that cutting mat isn't actually on a firm surface, just boxes of stuff.  The red fabric on top is Tiramisu, purple dress hanging up is where my silk noil dress paused.

I can't say it looks good now, but it's better.  There is floor space around the table, the cutting mat went back onto the table.  The purchases found home, the lace went back into the appropriate shoe boxes.  The aloe gel from Mexico found a home in the bathroom.  Mr. Lina's pants for curling that are on the back of my chair were fixed (yes, more sewing, and hand sewing at that) and returned to him.

I have a lot of UFO's but rather than trying to figure out where I was with them, I thought I'd do something quick and easy.  The machine had red thread for the Tira dress, I have red wide lace.  So I made lace cheeky underwear.  You'll forgive me for not modelling them myself. 

I am not overly pleased with these today.  I did try to pay attention to the pattern on the lace but I seemed to have matched the mirror image so both front and back are slightly off.  The lace itself also disappoints me.  I did make them a little big which I was initially fine with, but over the day it hasn't recovered, just continued to stretch out.  So what was a little loose in the morning is downright saggy now.  Not so sexy.

Off to bed for me so I survive tomorrow.  I do have purchases to share, it's going to be quite the shopaholic confessional when I find the time.

Tuesday, April 2

Germany Recap

How freaking cute is that?
Germany was wonderful.  Landshut (which is pronounced more like Lon-suit) is adorable.  I have no other word that fits.  If Landshut was fabric, it would be pale pink with purple polka dots in linen - durable fabric that would age well as it softens from washing and wear.  In medieval times, Landshut and Munich (side vent, why do we translate places?  Is Munchin too hard to say?) vied for power and size.  Landshut was home to the Wittelsbach dynasty, ruler for Lower Bavaria.  With skills to make armour, materials to make brick, this area was prosperous for 300 years.  In 1475, the last of the Landshut ruling family had a wedding between their son and the daughter of the king of Poland.  This couple had 5 children, two who were boys, but the boys did not live.  When the husband died in 1503 power transferred to Munich which is why Munich is a much larger city now.  The end result is this city of about 60,000 that is like linen.  You can see it was stunning, it IS still stunning but has worn into it's history.  Every 4 years, that wedding becomes a 4 week celebration where they reenact the wedding with locals playing the bride and groom and gentry that attended.  The downtown is largely kept as it was (and perfectly maintained as the wedding approaches) so that tradition can continue without McDonald's logos cluttering up your pictures.
Construction is to prep for "the wedding" this June and Trausnitz Castle above the city

Town hall, home base for the film festival.

I like Toronto.  I've never lived IN Toronto, but I love visiting and I like living near by.  I like the energy, I like the neighbourhoods.  We don't go in as often as we used to but there is always something going on I'd like to see.  Going to Germany reminded me how young North America is and in particular how young Toronto is.  Even being so young, we don't take care of our history.  It's hard to find a large stretch of Toronto streets where it looks like it did even 100 years ago never mind 500.  It's hard for me to wrap my head around and left me thoughtful about home while I was there.

I was fairly sure Mr. Lina's movie about zombies was going to be well received when we came across this near the Landshut train station.
And the screening did go very well.  Applause was at the start of the credits (something that didn't happen a lot at this festival, people usually waited until the end of the credits or for some of the Shock Block didn't clap at all) and there were quite a few questions during the Q&A after the film aired.  The "black comedies" were the last block of films to air for the whole festival, 10:30 on the Saturday night.  A wrap party for the festival started at 11pm but it was well past 1am by the time we got there.  Our glasses had not even cleared from the change in temperature and people were approaching Mr. Lina to talk about his film.  We had met some film makers from Germany and France earlier during a tour of Landshut (organized by the film fest) and they saved some seats for us.  It took a while to get to their table because we were stopped so many times.  Even at 3am, there were still people approaching Mr. Lina.  And on the plus side, it seems some of these conversations are continuing now that we've been back.  He's Facebook friends with one of the judges from the festival and emailing some of the film makers.  So from a networking perspective, it was worth the trip to Germany.
I'd show pictures of what I wore but almost all the pictures of me look like this:
Munich - Isar River
I would push my hood back for pictures but it was quite blustery and cold.  I'd need to make a winter coat to have any self made clothing to show.  On the plus side, outside of one day with light rain, it was cold but fairly sunny.  Nice enough to enjoy walking, cold enough to want to stop for a strudel and mulled wine.  This day it was snowing off and on, pretty big flakes that would swirl around.  Oh so pretty. 

I think the vacations were very good for me.  Mexico for vegging out and Germany was a thinking and doing vacation.  I've mentioned that work has been crazy lately and with my manager leaving it's not letting up.  We're a specialized group, it takes time to find the right people and even when they are hired, it takes time for them to learn to the depth that is needed to really be a full team member.  This can lead to me feeling completely overwhelmed and shutting down essentially, sort of what I did prior to Mexico.  But this time, I'm happy.  I get to 5pm and wonder where the day went.  Like I was having a good time and I'll just finish one more thing... and it's suddenly 6:15.  Oops.  I haven't felt good like that, finding flow, in a while. 

I have not been sewing, my sewing room is a mess.  I literally went to get something this morning and I couldn't walk in the room because some pile of stuff fell over into my "path".  Tidying is not my forte.  While I've felt... let's say not-myself, I can't be bothered to either decide to pitch something or find a proper home for it.  I found bank statements from 2012 on the china cabinet, wedding invitations from 2011, 3 year old birthday cards...  just clutter.  I filled a whole recycle bin from the main floor.  I've done lots of laundry, enjoyed making dessert for my family Easter dinner, we went for a hike,  I helped Mr. Lina start another batch of beer... I've been puttering.  It's a good-busy feeling I'm hoping to carry upstairs.  Monday is our last house concert (Terry Penney from Newfoundland) until September so I can store a few boxes in the guest room again soon.

Also, I've made the call to the clinic to get the ball rolling again.  I'm ready for this last FET cycle.  Right now it's the paper work stage, I have to swing by and get all the consent forms (again). 

So next post I have to get the camera out and show off my fabric purchases.  I found a fabric store in Landshut so I have 2m of souvenir fabric.  Hopefully that will be another push to get the sewing room ready to sew in.  Mr. Lina has more filming sewing (a video for a friend of a fried) that may have to come before sewing for myself.  Whatever gets me back in there is a good thing!