Friday, October 29, 2010

Isn’t it always the way?

Ever notice how when you really need something that you can’t find it and conversely that when you don’t need something… magic, it appears?

Melbourne feels like it has been cold for about eight months now – I’m sure that’s an exaggeration but that’s what it feels like – so what happens when the sun finally starts to appear and jackets, scarves and gloves aren’t necessary inside the house anymore…?

Well, I find an awesome jacket of course!

A couple of weeks ago a friend and I were wandering through a secondhand store in the city when I came across a couple of awesome 1940s jackets but one was up on a mannequin and I couldn’t find a staff member to help me take a closer look at it and another one had a few too many moth holes and a missing button for the price they were asking… sure, it sounds a little like laziness but I’m also trying to not spend money and also not increase the vintage section of my wardrobe until a few things that no longer fit are taken out.

Anyway, I’m half-heartedly browsing when I spy an awesome plaid in the racks. Now I have quite the collection of tartan skirts – I call them kilts, but as I don’t have any family affiliation with the tartans, I sometimes feel a bit funny wearing them. Am I being overly sensitive here? I do have some Welsh ancestry and I have tried to look up the tartans of my particular kilts, but have not had any luck matching any of them… except a Black Watch scarf that I have.


I love the kilt pins that have come with some of them… particularly the fat little thistle with a purple sparkly in it’s top. Fooling around on Wikipedia today, I have only just found out that you aren’t supposed to put the pin through multiple layers, only the top of the apron… the extra weight of the pin being enough to hold the fabric down. I guess I’ve been overly cautious in ensuring a pesky wind doesn’t whip open that top layer by pinning the two together. :0)


ANYWAY… back on track Denise… I’m looking through this rack of clothes when I spy a plaid… it’s in the jackets section… wait a second… this has bias cut pockets and shell buttons… why… it’s a Pendleton ‘49er!! Woooooooo!! Mine!

Even better… it’s works beautifully with the Simplicity 4911 skirt.


There’s a tiny little hole in one of the sleeves and there was no belt… but I love it… and the weather has, of course, turned lovely and warm and completely unsuitable for a wool jacket. Grrr…

Still, I have it now and it will keep until next year when the wind and rain returns.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another dancing video. Balboa rocks!

Hello all,

I’ve been busy with dancing again, so my apologies for the complete lack of ANY sewing related posts. Normal transmissions will resume… soonish-ish… :0)

In the meantime though, my dance partner John and I were asked to give a Balboa demonstration at a tango night last weekend. Pretty intimidating stuff as we found – and were also warned – that the tango crowd are very dance educated… so we knew they’d be watching closely.

Also, quite a few of our moves are… ahem… borrowed from tango to start with so the thought of perhaps badly executing a move that they would already be familiar with was a little nerve wracking.

There were a couple of stumbles, missed connections and less than smooth transitions… but the footage looks pretty good – plus the crowd went nuts at the end and we were dragged back for an encore so I guess they liked it! They were very quiet during the dance which was a little disconcerting as swing crowds are usually very encouraging and clap along with the music and yahoo and woo when they see something they like… but like I said, it was all applause at the end so all good.

I’m always my own worst critic so I won’t mention any specific parts I’m unhappy with and will just say I’m grateful for the opportunity, for not falling on my butt, having a reason to do more practice and having yet another excuse to wear that same skirt! It seemed to get almost as many compliments as it did at the Brisbane competition… and that’s saying something coming from the tango crowd who prefer their outfits a little more slinky than preppy cute… and no, I still haven’t fixed the catches on the skirt waistband. Bad me!!

One thing that I did note that people mentioned again and again was how much FUN they thought our dance was. I suppose when you compare it to tango it is a lot less… intense… and our music tends to be upbeat and bouncy… which again, is quite different to tango music.

Now, no more chit chat – here’s the video.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dancing – it is the best fun!

So… my weekend was fun… how was yours?

Last weekend was the annual Balboa On The River dance camp, set in beautiful sunny Brisbane in Queensland.

My dance partner John and I have been practicing hard for the last two months and I’m ecstatic to announce that we have successfully defended our title and are now the Australian Balboa Champions for the third year in a row. Woooo!! :0)

Here’s a quick peek at what we do…

Yep. That’s a pretty fabulous skirt… even if I do say so myself! It’s a vintage, full wool number that on this occasion was held together by safety pins as I ran out of time to fix it before the competition. Oops. :0)

I also entered the Jack And Jill competition which is where you are randomly paired with a partner. You line up, follows (girls) facing the leads (boys), the dice is rolled and the follows move that many places to get their new partner. You then dance for a minute and a half. Line back up again, dice is rolled and so on. This happens three times. It is basically a test of how well you follow or lead, incorporating musicality and responding to your partner.

Of course girls can and do certainly lead and some guys can follow, but I haven’t seen the reverse in competitions here in Australia. It’s all a little nerve-wracking but a whole lot of fun.

Here’s the second heat of the Jack And Jill – I had a ball in this one, dancing with a guy called Lindsay.

I was lucky enough to have a really great night and I ended up taking home the trophy for this competition as well. Some nights you’re on, some you’re not… I was lucky enough to be on… and I had an absolute ball. So much fun.

I think my favourite part of the weekend is the fact that the judging was done by five of the balboa dancers that I most look up to in the world. They are all from the US and they are all just wonderful. Actually… I’ll show you two of them in action here..

Wow right? This routine just… wow….!! I love their dancing SO much – and they are both really lovely people too.

Anyway, enough of that.

Balboa – it rocks! :0)