Thursday, March 29, 2012

Circles and squares

Pretty much every time I make a circle skirt (other than when it's out of an already-exsting circular tablecloth) I get to the bit where I'm doing the hem and I exclaim to Pearl "Man! Circle skirts have the longest hems ever! this is taking for ever! Why did I agree to do this??" etc etc. But then I inevitably finish the skirt, and am generally quite pleased with the result, so all is forgotten and I go on to agree to ever more circular skirt-making.
Last night I was up for some hours stitching some little gems for P&E poster girl, Amber Rules. Remember her? How could you forget, with a name like that!? Being the 50s lover that she is, Amber was pretty keen to get her mitts on some circle skirt action, complete with waist bands and belt loops. I've been looking to extend my sewing skills a tad, pushng mself outside of my very comfortable A-line skirt niche, incorporating a bit more schnazzy detail and what not, so I thought that circle skirts with fully lined waist bands and belt loops and fancy hiding pockets would be a good start.
The gingham was something Amber already had, which she had earmarked as the perfect kind of fabric from which to make a "toned-down skirt for work".
This is seriously a lady after my own heart: one who believes (and rightly so!) that bright sky-blue mini-gingham is toned down.
The other fabric was something I've had kicking around for, oh, about a million years. When Amber said she wanted a second circle skirt out of something "epic", I knew this was the one.
It's a little sheer, so I'm sending her a matching, vintage petticoat that belonged to Pearl. The other option was to line the skirt, but lining, as some of you will know, basically means making 2 skirts, and with all that hem to take into consideration, that was just not an option.
Partly because I was so bloody tired after days of digging and measuring and forming and what not, and then taking 3 bus-loads of year 10 students on a tour of the tip all day yesterday. Insanely tiring.
Today was meant to be concrete-pouring day. It was extremely foggy this morning when we woke up so we knew it was going to be a sunny day, and I set off with very high spirits indeed, happily anticipating the end of our footing-making adventures. When I arrived at the block I was positively jubilant as I took in the pretty amazing scene of dew-drops glistening on the kangaroo-grass and fog filling the Bega Valley below us.
All was chugging along quite nicely, with Bill, his dog, Roy and I happily finishing off the formwork and generally enjoying the sun until about lunch time when Bill decided that the driveway was still too soft to bring a concrete truck in. Damn! So much for sweet relief. But at least no rain is forecast (or visible anywhere on the horizon), so tomorrow should be the end.
Even with the disappointment, it was a great day to be working outside. Pearl had cooked some brownies, Roy and I had some nice cuddles and a photo shoot,
and Bill and I had some very enlightening and inspiring discussions about earth floors and alternative designs for our house, if we ever actually build it. And I learned even more about squaring and levelling, and realised, quite wholeheartedly that, if left to my own devices, there is no way I could have done this forming properly.
And while I'm all for taking yourself outside your comfort zone and trying new things and gaining new skills and confidence etc etc, some things are actually better off done by an experienced professional.
And, as it turns out, we might actually bring this bit in on budget.
Budget is something we're really keen to share with potential self-made-home-builders, as it's something we really struggled to find any solid information about. As a consequence of this dearth of information, it was quite difficult for us to make up a budget of our own. So we want to share with you all our real costs so that, should you ever experience the urge to build your own home, you might be able to get a feel for how much all this bizzo is likely to cost. Also keen on breaking down some of that weird thing of people never talking about money. I don't get that, and I don't think it's helpful, so we're not gonna do it, because we're all about sharing what we learn on this crazy adventure! And that includes what it costs to get a load of 20mpa concrete...
We consider ourselves to be pretty average, in the home-building skills department. I grew up surrounded by pretty much constant building and renovations so I picked up a smidge by osmosis, but other than that I'm pretty much green. Pearlie even more so, having had no renovations of building to take in, and not being particularly crafty-inclined. So there you go. We're not the kinds of people you read about in the Owner Builder Magazine (which is awesome and inspiring but also kind of frustrating because it rarely includes real costs!) who've been building for years and then decided to build their own home. We're adhering to the theory that, if you're determined, and of reasonable smarts and craftiness, and you ask the right people to help you (this lesson has been learned about a million times over in the last few days) then you should be able to at least participate, in a very hands on way, in the building of your home. So far so good. I feel really happy with the amount of involvement I've had with the footings, and the amount I've learned in the process. I feel really empowered, too, which is a pretty wonderful and valuable thing. But back to the costs...
When we have a major expenditure, we're going to put it at the bottom of the post, and tag the post with 'actual building costs', so when you're planning your home or looking to stickybeak, you can easily access the goss. No costs so far, other than the land ($95000), but stay tuned.

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