Spring projects

The sun shone brightly and the world was a lovely place.  I spent the morning in bed reading Lynda Hallinan's Back to the Land: A Year of Country Gardening, rising only once I'd devoured the entire book.  Great book.  Marking a truly spring day, I donned my floral curtain Colette Crepe dress for the first time.  I asked my daughter to take some pictures.  It's not quite summer, so I teamed my dress with black leggings, a black long sleeved t shirt, odd socks and gumboots.  In keeping with my usual Saturday style, I neither brushed my hair nor washed my face before heading out to the garden.
 I had fun in the garden.  The iceland poppies are flowering in front of the gone-to-seed rocket and beside the garlic.
 I planted out lots of pansies and polyanthus and I even had a go at upgrading the falling down, overgrown and neglected piece of sort-of garden out the very front.  Mostly what this photo shows is the falling downwind shelter, but perhaps you can see where I have tied the rambling briar rose across the remnants of a fence.  I'm hoping for a graceful arch of pink flowers from it later this year.
 A few problems became evident with the dress throughout the day.  I'm glad I didn't wear it out without a top underneath.  This evening I asked my beautiful assistant to take another photo so I could share the problem.  Despite all my careful alterations, going down in neckline size and the making a full bust adjustment, the dress still doesn't fit in the shoulders/upper chest.  At first I thought the problem was the width of the shoulders.  But now I think it is more likely that I need to make a petite adjustment between the high bust and shoulders.  If I were to pinch out an inch on either side of the shoulder seam for both shoulders, I would get quite a good fit.  Whereas in the current situation, the dress falls off my shoulders (which are narrow relative to standard pattern measurements) and the I am left with a large pillow effect from the sweet heart neckline down to my waist.  As in larger and more formless than even nature has endowed me.
Sewing?  The more I learn, the more I recognise what doesn't fit or work, and three years later the successful and long term wearable dress has still eluded me.

I've been having a look at possible uses for the $50 worth of emerald green satin I bought during the week and which hopefully I don't have to turn into a ballet costume after all.  Given I never go to formal wear events, the pickings are slim.  I am considering a half circle skirt for day wear.  Given my experiences with fitting myself with non-stretch fabrics, I'm not currently full of confidence on this project.  But when I rang the shop and what I wanted was emerald multi-stretch dance fabric and they only had jade, moving on to the evening wear section seemed the only option.  There are only a few colours I dislike, but jade may be at the top of that list.

Events in the rest of the world are utterly outrageous.  Paula Bennett's half baked punitive policy on early childcare for the children of beneficiaries has many holes in it as well as being morally bankrupt.  I've spoken to a friend in an isolated part of the West Coast who is affected by this and has no access to fifteen hours of an early childhood learning centre without driving very large distances.  What is the bureacracy going to cost to assess situations like hers?

One thing which was really good was last night's performance of The Cave above the Pa/Te Ana I Runga I te Pa.  I think it is an important beginning to telling and sharing the story of the dispossession of Mawhera Maori and I hope I find ways of learning more.  Historical perspectives on our town always seem to be focused on Pakeha stories.  There was a discussion afterwards on where to next for Greymouth which was a good idea in itself, but I didn't feel I had anything to contribute.  Once I would never have attended an open forum like last night's one without contributing.  I haven't decided whether I've gotten too cynical to see beautiful visions of a new future or whether I've acquired enough wisdom to keep quiet unless I have a genuinely valuable contribution to make.  What I do know is that this is the third play from Kiwi Possum Productions, a local community theatre group led by the talented and indefatigable Paul Maunder, and I look forward to both more discussion about Te Ana I Runga I te Pa and to whatever play is on the horizon for next year.


Sharonnz said…
I've requested Lynda's book at the library - looks good from the brief flick through at the bookstore.
Bummer about the dress...surprised I haven't had a similar problem being so narrow across the shoulders. Maybe having no boobs is working in my favour?
Concerned discussion about Paula's measures in the home-educating community too. She's written a response to the group which shows (unsurprisingly) very little understanding of the situation of solo parents wanting to continue home educating. Not looking good.
Sandra said…
Hi Sharon! I think the ideology is to a) minimised support to anyone via the state and b) to create an 'us and them' mentality so that New Zealanders not on a benefit see themselves as different from and opposed to beneficiaries, not similar to and in solidarity with them. So the early childhood stick is rolled out without any evidence that I have read of to support it. The message the government aims to give New Zealanders is that beneficiaries are 'bad' people who don't send their children to kindy or preschool. I imagine that in this context, Paula Bennett finds home educators a seriously left field irritant and wishes they would disappear. This outrageous ridiculousness is only matched this week by the travesty which is the government's plan for Christchurch schools.

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