Posts Tagged ‘mistakes’

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on a McCall’s pattern for a scooter skirt from 1969. I bought it thinking it’d be perfect for bike riding, then when I opened it and saw there were only five pieces and five steps I thought it would be a piece of cake! I’d had this gorgeous dark purple and blue 100% linen plaid material I got to make a dress/jacket combo. However, when I took the jacket pattern pieces out of the envelope, I panicked, and put the whole thing away. Then I found the scooter skirt pattern and knew it would be great in that plaid! It’s basically a pair of shorts with a flap at the front and at the back.

Because of interning it’s taken me two weeks to finish, but that’s another blog post. At some point I’m going to have to get off my duff (maybe when I’m drawing a paycheck) and sign up for some sort of intermediate level sewing class because there’s still tons I don’t know about sewing. The zipper nearly drove me bonkers and in the end I just sort of winged it, doing something between a lap zipper and an invisible zipper. At least I used the zipper foot. I had the problem with a sort of “dip” at the bottom of the zipper that I was warned about if I didn’t sew from the bottom up, but after two tutorials and two books, all of which told me different things, I was sick of it and just got it in however I could because I was afraid if I didn’t, I wouldn’t. It had been sitting there waiting to be put in for a week as it was.

Then, I couldn’t figure out how to do the bottom hems like the pattern wanted so I ended up just doing a double-fold seam so the linen wouldn’t fray. The machine’s manual gave me the hint to cut corners off at certain parts so there wouldn’t be too much bulk and I must say, I’m super happy with the result! I opted to slipstitch the rest of it b/c I didn’t know how to do an invisible stitch and couldn’t figure out if “blind stitch” was my English machine’s manual’s way of saying that.


To top it off, when I got to the snap at the waist band, the two ends didn’t meet up flush, and then I sewed the snap on the wrong side. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. Oh well, this is one of those things where if I don’t tell people about it they won’t know it’s there. And of course, here I am, not only telling but showing. But I don’t know how the sides ended up not matching, so I’ll have to be more careful when I make them next time because THEY ARE AWESOME! I also plan on trying to make them not quite as wide through the legs, because as you can see, they appear to be at least an inch and a half wider on either side than the picture indicates. I don’t think I’ll adjust them quite that much, though.

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Oh, Spain.

Dear Spain,

I have been super naive coming here without a real plan. It seemed like work would be, if not plentiful, then at least forthcoming. I thought that I spoke enough Spanish. I thought I’d be able to do this bilingual, bicountry thing. But I can’t. So while I wait to find out whether I’ve been approved for a position teaching English to students in your public schools, I’m going to be with my boyfriend in England. It’s been too hard. Your natives speak too rapidly. Your jobs are too hard to come by. Your nightlife is too late for me. Madrid doesn’t have any water, nor any mountains.

I’m bored, I’m lonely, I’m isolated and I feel useless. Not having a job is terrible. But I’ve still got money saved up, will have more come tax time, and I’ll be with my guy, planning my next moves in the coming months.

See you in September!


P.S. No, I’m not talking to my blog readers. I’ll still be posting semi-regularly.

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When I first arrived in Madrid, I couldn’t tell whether it was my level of Spanish that was lacking or if the Castellano lisp was flying over my head. I determined to learn the lisp so Madrileños wouldn’t say, “Ey?” and I wouldn’t return the same to them. I’ve been trying hard, possibly too hard: sometimes I end up having a real lisp, putting that softness on ess sounds as well. One could definitely say that I have a horrific transatlantic accent (that line is stolen from a book, guess which one and win a prize TBD) and it needs to be fixed, pronto.

I had planned to go to a language school yesterday to talk to them about their intensive classes, which I can take for four weeks (20 hours per week) at a price of 580€, cheaper by about 130€ than others, which is both great and possibly worrying. It is my hope to try a class before committing, to that end I called the school on Saturday but they weren’t open. Because I’ve taken this kind of class before, I’ll basically know what to look for even though of course, all teachers are different. So I guess I have to wait another week to start classes, that’s fine, I’ll look for work this week and try to sit in on a class during the week sometime.

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I’m in Spain! Wow! I wasn’t able to write during the first week, in London, as I am generally unable to when on vacation. That’s basically what being in London was like, going on vacation and now that I’m in Spain I’m supposed to be trying to start a life – however short or long a time I’ll be here. But what a life to try and start! Nothing is even remotely the same as any hispanic neighborhood I’ve lived in and I don’t know how easily I can fall back on English should things get hairy. I know I don’t want that, I need to keep speaking Spanish as often as possible, but it’s a scary prospect at first.

Just before the plane touched down in Madrid, I was offered refreshments and chose a coffee. In the two seconds between the man setting down a covered cup and asking me a question, I realized, “Uh oh”. You betcha, “Will that be euroes or Stirling?” Shit. I have neither, only dollars. I grudgingly handed the man a $20 and was returned 10 euros!!! They used rather draconian conversion rates of $2/£ then converted £ to euros. Basically, I paid $8 for a cup of airline coffee. Awesome, eh? At least this was the last in a long line of charges, hassles and difficulties spanning Friday to Sunday. All of it was travel-related, most of it London’s obscenely expensive Tube service. It’s NOT the NYC MTA, my friends, and we need to stop complaining about the “high price” of service. Imagine spending up to $3.50 on one leg of your day’s journey if you live anywhere but central Manhattan. Oh, and you can’t use it past 11 p.m. Oh, and you’ll pay double for bus tickets if you don’t use their little card that you have to pay a $3 deposit to use.

Back to the hassles and charges, I didn’t realize that I was bringing “too much” to Spain and was levied a £61 fee for my excess weight at the ticket counter. Yikes! This was the penultimate in the series, the night before when I’d gone to email my roommate I found out that I’d been somehow misreading the time of departure from London the whole time and I was to leave from a distant airport at 9:30 in the morning. Tube service doesn’t start until 6 a.m. thus I was obliged to take a £45 cab ride, but I made it on time! To anyone traveling in London – never take the first quote a cab service offers you, they would have charged me £60 if I hadn’t decided to try and look elsewhere.

When I arrived on Sunday, around 1:30 p.m., my roommate was visiting her parents for the weekend, she had Monday off as it was a Spanish national holiday. The guy whom I was supposed to call spoke in extremely rapid Spanish (dang, all those emails in Spanish to my roommate gave her a vaulted opinion of my abilities) that I basically misunderstood. Turns out he wasn’t in her apartment but close by and would be there shortly. It was raining, I had everything I brought with me hanging off my person, and I had to make two trips to nearby public telephones to try to sort everything out. It was, indeed, sorted, I was explained the intricacies of the apt. that he could remember (in English), then he blessedly left me to myself. I took a shower and regrettably slept the rest of the daylight hours away. With no internet (improper converter, no adapter for my computer), no books [I’d just finished the one Ollie gave me (The Back Passage, a hilarious gay porn “traditional English country manor murder mystery”)], and no television (it requires two buttons pushed, one on the set itself and one I wouldn’t have expected to push on the remote), I decided I’d go ahead and take a walk in the rain.

Being unsure what would be open for business, I decided to stick close to the apartment. Not much nearby was open but for gaming parlors and a few fried snacks/beer joints. This is not the swanky neighborhood. My new roommate didn’t come home until quite late from visiting her parents in the north, near the border with France. The bolt lock to my apartment door must be turned four times to open or lock it from the outside, that was quite a strange thing to find out. The rest of the apartment is small and definitely different than American tastes expect. Half kitchen, two electric burners, no oven. Whoops, there go my dreams of learning to bake better. But it will be fine for the two months I am here right now and until I decide whether I want to stay in Madrid or go home or to Barcelona. I need to get a job, first! I’ll go bonkers if I’m here for two months without some way to fill my time.

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