Spinach & sewing

I made torta di riso e spinaci (rice and spinach cake) for dinner. I also made another muesli slice based on this recipe, only with no cornflakes and I soaked the oats in fruit juice for a while first and I put linseeds and pumpkin seeds and chocolate in as well as dried fruit. Tastes good but is a bit crumbly. I think I will try throwing an egg in next time.

My sewing is progressing. Tonight I did some ease stitching for the first time ever. Then I made the hems on the cap sleeves. As I carefully measured the 1.5cm hem allowance and then folded the raw edge under, ironed that in place and then sewed a narrow hem, I remembered my Mum teaching me to sew. Mum, a very skilled seamstress, has never owned an overlocker, and neither has she made a garment with raw seams showing. Every edge was neatened by being folded under, pressed and sewn. My own approach has been far cruder. The fabric on this current project frays quite easily but I still can't face neatening every edge a la Mum on every seam. I have so far used a zig zag stitch on a small stitch length setting to neaten the edges and bind them together.

It rained all day. We do live in Wetville after all. So when I wasn't investigating the madness of my offspring or making food, I surfed the net and learnt more about sewing and fitting. I didn't keep a good track of all the sites to link to, but reading through the plus size sewing section of Pattern Review really got me to understand how wearing clothes which fit properly will be a zillion times more flattering than baggy clothes. The kinds of clothes which I really like never fit me in shops, and given they size them for a B cup, no one should be surprised. I need to teach myself and practise following a pattern before I start altering it. The fashions of the 1950s (which I like) were only really possible for most women because they could sew. You can't sell highly structured and fitted cotton clothing in a shop and expect it to fit all size 12s (or 18s or whatever) equally. This leads on to why plus size clothing (which is finally becoming available in mainstream affordable shops like Postie Plus) is all knits and flowing layers. Making structured clothes is just too expensive. Jeans are the one item which sell enough that manufacturers make styles to suit different body shapes.

Reading about sewing is of course easier than sewing itself. I am now on the decreasing part of the sleeve in my knitting. The endless purple crossover cardigan, hopefully to be worn in 2011, as 2010 is not looking that likely.

I have had almost no thoughts on anything which is not sewing or cooking or mothering or work (rather few thoughts on the last two for that matter). Which isn't to say that everything is alright out there. A local physician called Paul Holt gave a very frank assessment of the state of our health services here on the West Coast last week. We are spending incredible amounts on locum specialists because it seems no one wants to live here permanently or even in a medium term fashion. The layers of bureacracy which support a mountain of health managers and administrators are suffocating our town, indeed our country's health. I'm rather dubious about this target-driven health model as well. For example, there are people paid to race around our nation's four-five year olds checking things like their immunisation status and what they ate for breakfast that morning (not joking, I was at my son's check two years ago) and whether they are brushing their teeth. There are also people paid to race around injecting teenage women for HPV. But if you work in an education setting and you observe a need which would benefit from a public health nurse assessing, fixing, educating on how to manage the problem (like impetigo, or soiling, or diabetes), then you cannot get hold of one for love or money because health provision is based around specific, measurable targets. To make the accountants happy.

Then, to make matters more complicated still, I still have my concerns around the power of big pharma and the vulnerability of everyone to its tentacles.

As the rescue of the Chilean miners came to its dramatic and satisfying conclusion at the end of last week (providing the kind of gripping narrative that I suspect reality tv show programmers are always after), I wondered about all the miners who have perished in places less well off. Chile, I surmised, must be just wealthy enough to manage this wonderful and undoubtedly expensive rescue. So I was very interested to read John Pilger's article, reproduced on Against the Current, on the Chilean mining and political scene.


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