Saturday, November 26, 2011

Harry high pants

Oh wow! Dita has designed an underwear range for Target. Want! - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, November 25, 2011


I had a good week, even though I lost my cat (he turned up!) and it turns out I'm not as over my work budget as I thought I was (phew!). So everything was looking good until the last hour of work when everything went pear shaped in a big hurry. Then my taxi took 40 minutes to arrive. Then the taxi driver said my cab charge was invalid. Then Kim convinced me to go for a ride and we meandered along the foreshore. Lovely!
Now I have to try not to think about work for the rest of the weekend!

(and now blogger won't post a picture of the sunset at the beach. And it was so pretty!)
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Bridal patterns

A book of bridal patterns from UK mail order pattern company. Clicky clicky for bigger pictures.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fight for a free internet

Not my usually topic but as a librarian I can't be silent on this.

A bill is currently before US Congress that will effectively censor the Internet.

Please read on....

Right now, the US Congress is debating a law that would give them the power to censor the world's Internet -- creating a blacklist that could target YouTube, WikiLeaks and even groups like Avaaz!

Under the new law, the US could force Internet providers to block any website on suspicion of violating copyright or trademark legislation, or even failing to sufficiently police their users' activities. And, because so much of the Internet's hosts and hardware are located in the US, their blacklist would clamp down on the free web for all of us.

The vote could happen any day now, but we can help stop this -- champions in Congress want to preserve free speech and tell us that an international outcry would strengthen their hand. Let’s urgently raise our voices from every corner of the world and build an unprecedented global petition calling on US decision makers to reject the bill and stop Internet censorship. Click below to sign and then forward as widely as possible -- our message will be delivered directly to key members of the US Congress ahead of the crucial vote:

For years, the US government has condemned countries like China and Iran for their clampdown on Internet use. But now, the impact of America's new censorship laws could be far worse -- effectively blocking sites to every Internet user across the globe.

Last year, a similar Internet censorship bill was killed before reaching the US Senate floor, but it's now back in a different form. Copyright laws already exist and are enforced by courts. But this new law goes much further -- granting the government and big corporations enormous powers to force service providers and search engines to block websites based just on allegations of violations -- without a trial or being found guilty of any crime!

US free speech advocates have already raised the alarm, and some key Senators are trying to gather enough support to stop this dangerous bill. We have no time to lose. Let's stand with them to ensure American lawmakers preserve the right to a free and open Internet as an essential way for people around the world to exchange ideas, share communication and work collectively to build the world we want. Sign below to stop US censorship, and save the Internet as we know it:

In the past months, from the Arab Spring to the global Occupy Movement, we've seen first hand how the Internet can galvanize, unify and change the world. Now, if we stand together, we can stop this new attack on Internet freedom. We've done it before -- in Brazil and Italy, Avaaz members have won major victories in the fight for a free Internet. Let's take the fight global, and mobilize to defeat the most powerful censorship threat that the Internet has ever seen.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Good people

People can be good. I came home to find six people outside my back gate. From experience I knew this was undoubtably cat related. I tried to sneak in the front gate but they caught me. And yep, there in the middle of the huddle was little Jack cat chatting his head off. Half the people thought he'd been hit by a car, the other half thought he was a starving stray and had gone home to get him some cat food! Mortified, I assured them that a) I did take care of him b) that he ate like a pig c) he had dementia and it's affected his balance. But thanks anyway. It was very kind of them and Jack gobbled up his afternoon tea like the greedy guts he is. Over the last few days i've been touched by the care people have taken with Jack. Our neighbors have been making sure he doesn't wander too far and I'm pretty sure he's getting snacks from a few households. he's a very lucky old man.

I wrote this yesterday. Today I'm a little annoyed by caring people! I was walking home from work when I saw two young chaps carrying a cat case. My, that looks a lot like Jack. But of course, how could that be? Except of course, when I got home my little cat was no where to be found. This isn't the first time but we have a dense garden and he's as deaf as a post so can be pretty tricksy to find him. On the off chance, I called the vet. Yep, someone had taken my cat to the vet. Apparently, a group of people had gathered on the footpath, some one was feeding him and they all decided he was a sick abandoned cat. He'd been given even MORE food at the vet - the little pig! So now he has a new blue collar with bells on it and a GIGANTIC tag that says he's ok, just very old! What an adventure! He's now happily on my lap watching Xena, safe and sound!
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Sunday, November 13, 2011

War bride

Wedding plans are coming along! A date has been set - April 15 - so organise your baby sitters now! There's a wedding dress shortlist and i'll be buying some patterns next week - sorry, no sneak peeks! I'm going to be a sensible war bride and get a day dress i can wear on other occasions. I've found some fabric online that should be okay. My dressmaker in Bairnsdale has agreed to do it and has even sent me a facsimile of a 1940s bridal fashion guide to get me inspired. The restaurant has been booked and I must say, choosing the menu is going to be great fun! Flowers are organized. We just need to do the invitations and start paying for things (ulp!)

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Friday, November 4, 2011

The library Blitz

My library looks like it's suffered bomb damage. We're in the process of replacing most of the shelving and rearranging the collection. It's a BIG job and i've been working like a Trojan - moving acres of books, constructing shelving, and supervising a team of staff who are doing a lot of the grunt work - while trying to keep the library running and everyone happy - though I may have missed a few things on that last point! I come home tired, dirty, with broken nails and a sore back. At least it's easier than war work. I would have done long hours, say 9 - 6pm four days a week, 9 - 9pm on Friday and 9 - 1pm on Saturday - not to mention swing shifts and no public holidays. And if you're in the land army the hours are even longer, the work even harder. Then you have to queue for food! So, I may not be doing munitions work - but I'm still pretty tired! - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wishful thinking

Sorry for the absence. I got bogged down in horror films...

My dad was in town on Saturday so we got up early for breakfast at Batch. I went a bit crazy and had potato rosti - a hearty dose of carbs to start the day. We then trotted off to town which was full of folks heading out for Derby Day. I do so love the racing season. Everyone dressed all ladylike with some beautiful hats on display. And of course, this lady...Dita!

There were race commentators calling the crossing of the traffic lights outside Flinders Street station - and the lady in the red fascinator has hit the lead. Which was so amusing we all forgot to cross the road. I popped in to L'Ucello for some buttons for my new sun dress. I love going to the Nicholas Building. There's the last manned lift in Melbourne and I love closing the double wrought iron doors. L'Ucello, the vintage haberdashery store, could be my favorite place in the city.

While it's fun to fossick, if you ask Kim for help, she knows just which box to pull out from under a table and finds just what you were looking for - in my case some bright red vintage buttons. I've been working on this sun frock

For which I have a billion acres of this fabric

The material can only be described as bouncy. The bottom layer stretched as I cut and sewed it so the pattern isn't matched exactly, though I defy anyone to notice it. You'll notice that the bodice and straps are similar to my swimsuit and again I had a huge fitting issue. The top was just inches too big around the bust. I've taken it in but I don't know, I could be rapidly falling out of love with this dress. Particularly when I turned around and noticed the back is too low cut for modern bras. Sure, I could keep the bolero on but then my beautiful buttons will be hidden! In any case the weather in Melbourne is still completely miserable so who knows if i'll ever get a chance to wear it!
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Double feature - Before I Hang and The Boogie Man Will Get You

I love Boris Karloff. I think he lifts any movie he is in. And some of them certainly need lifting.

Before I hang features Karloff as a gentle doctor who is jailed for a mercy killing. While in prison, a supremely understanding prison warden gets interested in his research work and agrees to set up a lab. Karloff can work there with a scientist until the time comes for him to be hanged. Together they work to develop a serum that will reverse the effects of aging. All for the good of mankind!

Hours before the hanging they complete the serum. To activate it they need to mix it with some blood. To save time they use the blood of a recently hanged murderer. I know... but they were trying to save time. And with nothing else to lose they try it on Karloff. All seems good but it's time for Karloff to hang. Just as he's being marched off there comes a call from the Governor. He's saved! Hurrah! Off he goes home.

All is well until... creepy hand movements and Karloff becomes a killer! He goes around killing his friends, driven by the blood of the murderer. This was actually not a bad film. Karloff plays the scientist as a sweetly doddery old man and his physical transformation into a killer is well done. The creepy bits here are doctors in shiny black leather gloves, big needles and giving blood.

This one's a comedy. Like much 1940s humour you've got to be a fan of the era to endure most of it. Again, Karloff is a daffy old scientist. He's doing experiments to create a race of super beings to help the war effort, using traveling salesmen as his test subjects. Peter Lorre plays the local sheriff who gets interested in the profit making potential of the scheme. Bodies pile up. Lorre and Karloff are fabulous together. They obviously have a deep affection for each other, having worked together a number of times. I suspect there's a fair amount of ad-libbing going on, as Lorre was apt to rant on once he got on a roll. It's very sweet and endearing and I just wished I could have seen more of the two stars together.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sunny Queensland!

Wasn't so sunny after all!

Things started off well with a platter of fish and chips! The next day there was an awesome tropical storm so our trip to water world - and the debut of my 1940's swim suit - was cancelled! The day turned out sunny and fine anyway and we sat around eating sausages and salad at a BBQ.

Next day was super sunny and I got a bit sunburnt. (If you decide not to take your parasol with you to Queensland because it seems like too much drama please, please think again!) We caught the City Cat - a ferry along the river. It was lovely and we got to look at all the grand old Queenslanders lining the riverbank. We stopped off for brunch - yummy Italian savory mince - so good both Donna and I will be having it again for dinner soon! Then we went for a wander along Southbank - where the not very OHS conscious Brisbane City Council have built a pool and beach. Donna and I took our shoes off and paddled our toes.

The day was actually a lot sunnier than it looks here! We had homemade lemonade and then more food! And a laze beneath a tree by the river. Brisbane is so green and lush, though there's still plenty of evidence of the floods. I saw bush turkeys and lots of parakeets and ibis and all the jacarandas were in bloom.

There were lots of trips to the park and playtime with Gussie - who, I must say is a very chilled out kid. I had such a relaxing time - I feel very rested. It was great to simply hang out with Donna and just blather on. I do miss her!

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Operation Bathing Beauty - finished!

After the slight setback of giving away my sewing machine power cord, I've finally finished my bathing suit. I must say, I'm not super pleased with my sewing on this one. I decided not to hand stitch the shorts waistband and I think that lazy moment was a mistake - though thankfully a hidden one. I also had to take the over dress pattern in a crazy 6 inches. In retrospect I should have been bolder and taken it in even more. The top feels a bit gapey but not immodestly so. I did do an awesome job hand sewing the lining around the invisible zip. All set now for some sunny times in Queensland!

In other news my hats have started arriving. Probably a bad time for me to start wondering if hats suit me or not! Seeing a parcel arrive at work is always exciting but there's something special about unwrapping a hat. Open the box, undo the velvet ribbon, peel back the tissue paper and race off to the mirror - it's all so delightfully feminine. My most successful hat is the little one with a chrysanthemum (my favorite flower) given to me by my stepmother. Just need to make an outfit to go with it!

On my way to sunny Queensland! Have a good weekend!- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Wolf Man

It beats me why anyone would want to watch horror films during the war but horror films there are. In England, production and distribution of horror films were banned for the duration. But in America, Universal Studios churned out a series of great films, building on its successful films of the 1930s (such as Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy).

Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.

1941's The Wolf Man cemented contemporary ideas about werewolves. It wasn't the first werewolf film - that was Universal's own Werewolf of London - but it was the most influential. The atmosphere is great, all ancient buildings, gypsies and mist smoked forests with menacing leafless trees. The werewolf legend presented in the film is not ancient lore - it's all the invention of director Curt Siodmak, a horror movie master, including the bit about werewolves and the moon.

Lon Chaney Jr is a regular guy who gets bitten by a wolf in the woods one night. The wolf is Beal Lugosi (in a sadly brief cameo) - a werewolf. Now Chaney feels a change upon him and is transformed into a savage beast. Chaney does regular guy well and, most effectively, he's tormented by guilt and regret for the things he has done while a werewolf. You certainly feel empathy for his character, with it's troubled soul This role was the making - and breaking - of Chaney. It made him a B grade star and fated him to be typecast forever.

Maria Ouspenskaya, as the gypsy, is fabulous as ever. Claude Rains is Chaney's father, a little improbably, but he does a sterling effort. You'll also find Ralph Bellamy as the police detective investigating the mysterious deaths. And you must credit Jack Pierce's wonderful job at makeup.

A classic. Most enjoyable!

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Monday, September 26, 2011


Turns out 40s horror films aren't my cup of tea. They require, not nerves of steel, but the patience of a saint and i've realized that I've really got to prioritize my film viewing these days. I do, however, have a lot of time for Boris Karloff so he'll be getting a blog post all of his own. In the meantime I've got the Godfather blu ray boxed set to watch. And at 3 hours each that's a lot of screen time. And a bit less Xena time.

Operation Bathing Beauty has stalled because i've lost the power cable to my sewing machine. But I have been buying some hats as a special birthday present for myself.

No cycling because Melbourne in spring pretty much sucks. Very jacket on jacket off. And far too windy for bikes. I've read Nella Last's War (filmed as Housewife 47). The film is supposed to be quite sympathetic, but the actual war diaries reveal her to be a bit of a pain. Still, I do love accounts from the home front and the book was fascinating. I also read another of Simon Garfield's war diary compilations. Great stuff. Very revealing of the attitudes of the people of Britain towards the war. Quite sad - they're all cross about endless government precautions so early in the war - unaware that the situation is going to get so much more serious.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Always one to over commit myself - it's a new blogging challenge! Reader In Peril! A bit unseasonal for me, this is to celebrate the northern slide into autumn. Hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings, this challenge is to explore the supernatural, mysteries, horror, gothic and dark fantasy. Learning from the war read a long (books read to date = 1) and Paris in July (my books all turned up in August) I am taking up the movie watching challenge.

This time, I'm not going to post a list of what I intend to do, as chances are I won't be able to get my hands on many of them. But I'll give you a theme - 1940s horror films! There's going to be a lot of Boris Karloff going down! Wait till you see the dvd covers! Spooky!

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy birthday to me!!

I turned 38 on Friday. And I officially had the Best Birthday Ever! I love birthdays. In my family it's all balloons and sparklers and excited phone calls at 7 o'clock in the morning. I could barely sleep with excitement! I woke up early, crept out of bed to take a sneak peek at my presents and feed the kitties. I ended up waking Kim early so we could start celebrating. I got the day off work and spent it in my pajamas sewing. I made a start on Operation Bathing Suit, armed with two patterns and an acreage of muslin. Turned on crap tv - I sew better with some undemanding noise. The next thing I knew it was 6pm and i'd made a muslin swim suit. It was actually a lot harder than i thought it would be. Those 40s gals sure had some talent. Not too sure about the fit but that's ok because I have plan b.

I made a muslin of the dress version. I don't think much of the sizing because I had to take over 6 inches from the bodice. Still a bit iffy out which one I'll go with. Not sure i've enough board short fabric to line the dress AND make shorts to wear underneath.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Land Army Girl - the final

Another cooked breakfast! More knitting, reading, chicken feeding.Pinching cuttings from mum's garden - violets, forget me nots, mint and thyme.

Learning to knit! I didn't do so badly. Except for the bit where I practiced picking up dropped stitches. Forgot to knit them once i'd picked them up, which made a bit of a hole...

Inspecting the fruit trees. They pruned the orchard rather late so no blossoms just yet.

Saying goodbye to my lovely mum!

On the plane to be demobbed! Train trip down - several hours and the better part of my sanity. Plane trip - 1 hour! Got a wee bit scared taking off, but thought that Kim's dad must have done this hundreds of times and while he was going to bomb Germany, I was going home!

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Land Army Girl - part 3

In which we suffer a disappointment. And eat even more...

I have no idea what we did on Saturday. We started with a cooked breakfast - Maggie Beer's oat pancakes with stewed apple. I think I read, looked at mum's beautiful garden and had a nap. The big treat - we were headed out to see a swing band in the evening! I felt like a proper Land Army Girl getting my glad rags on.

How happy we look! So full of enthusiasm for the night ahead! So unaware of what awaits us... That's my mum's new car by the way.

Firstly, of course, we needed feeding. We set off for an hour's drive to Hamilton where we had a booking at the only restaurant in town. Wonderful cream of pumpkin soup followed by a pear and apple tart with Maggie Beer ice-cream the flavor of which escapes me (yes, there is a bit of a MB theme, I think because we're so close to the South Australian border).

Off to the arts centre for a night of swinging. Was a bit anxious at staying up past my bed time. Seats were a bit squishy, but never mind. There was a supposed to be a folksy support band but how bad could that be? Big bass section ta da and we start! It's not a swing number but never mind. Then a chap gets up and starts telling jokes. Odd. Then he starts to sing a Cole Porter song. Except he can't sing. Muffled giggles from our seats. Then a lady comes out and sings the Girl from Ipanema. Except it's not a swing song. And she can't sing. Muffled laughs turn to worried frowns. Joke man comes back, tells a joke and sings a 1950s novelty song. Uh oh. Then they get their trumpeter out and she sings It's Too Darn Hot and she is so absolutely fantastic that we make the mistake of getting excited. Because back comes joke man to introduce the folk band that are really a pub band and really really loud. With a fiddle player. The crowd goes wild. They start a Cat Stephens song and we flee into the night! We've been there half an hour. At least I got to bed on time!

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Land Army Girl - part 2

In which we understand the value of curators and our heroine eats too much...

My very tolerant family took me to a World War 2 'museum' in Portland - otherwise known as a heap of old stuff shoved in a room all higgeldy piggeldy. Oddly it was in an old water tower. No war connection, just an old tower they had lying around. You can see the quality of exhibits above. Really, it was rather endearing and there were a few good bits about the war in Portland. And a beautiful view from the top.

Then we were clearly in need of more food. Yummy fish and chips and lashings of Ginger beer!

Then off for a brisk constitutional along Shelly Beach - which actually is pretty much devoid of shells. In the 1930s they took them all away for shell grit for chickens.

Mum, Steve and no shells.

Mum and I did a quick tour of the local op shops having heard rumours of the Wall of Buttons. No special finds but we did go to a great craft shop to pick up some blue wool for this...

My wonderful mum is knitting me this, another 1940s pattern from Stitches in Time. And because we were practically fading away by this time mum cooked us a roast lamb dinner. With lemon meringue pie! Yum! And we watched Hitchcock's Young and Innocent (1937) based on a Josephine Tey mystery. Then time for bed.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Land Army Girl - part 1

Join the Land Army for fun and fitness!

This weekend I was a poster girl for the Land Army, spending the weekend down at mum's place in Bolwarra. That's down the Great Ocean Road near Portland in Western Victoria. I left after work by train. I'd gotten myself in a bit of a tizz and though I started well with a nice chat with a lady who'd grown up in a Communist run internment camp in Croatia before emigrating to Australia, I soon got myself in a right state. Whizzing through the darkness, with nothing to see but your milky reflection in the window, way past my bedtime, explaining to someone that no, I wasn't in fancy dress... Onto the bus, on and on. Arriving in black out conditions in Narrawong. Eventually I was tucked up in bed underneath a mountain of blankets (it's very cold there!) with a hot water bottle. I'd forgotten there were glow in the dark stars on the ceiling and I went to sleep with the Southern Cross at my feet.

The next morning I woke to a cooked breakfast.

Fed the chickens! That's Elsie, Vera and Pizza Head. Guess which chicken is Kim's?

Collected eggs.

Watched out for bombers!

Gave the horses a snack.

All before lunch time!- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Curvy Kitty - Land Army Girl

I'm off on holiday!

Heading off to the station after work to catch a train to Warnambool, then a bus to Narrawong, then a drive to mum's place, arriving in the middle of the night. I've already packed two books and there's the promise of a hot water bottle awaiting me. It's going to be a weekend of chickens, horses, cooked breakfasts and Wellington boots.

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