I want to start out by thanking the many many kind people who either contacted me privately or left a comment on the previous post. I was really really touched by all your comments and you have no idea how much they’ve helped. i’ll be responding individually to each one either on the post or privately, as appropriate.

However, i thought a general update post would not go amiss at this point.

Things are a little better than they were when i wrote that post. I still have very down days, but i have up days too which helps. I think i’m on the up path, now (touch wood), of the cycle, which is a blessing, at least as far as i’m concerned. I’ve made a few decisions that i think are helping a lot as well.

Decision 1: we’re going to the Netherlands in a few weeks to visit Michiel’s family. As part of that, and also partially inspired by Gok’s Fashion Fix on the box, i’ve decided to revamp my wardrobe and start by taking Linda J’s advice and doing a few things for me. Its hard to feel good about yourself inside when you look in the mirror and see an ugly frump, so time to change that (both how i feel about myself and how i look) and see if that has any positive changes. I’m going to try to start dressing nicer instead of just slobbing around in a t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms – not that there’s anything actually *wrong* with t-shirt and trackies, just that they’ll be a) clean (unless i’m doing something that gets me dirty like breadmaking (all that flour!) or gardening) and b) i’ll make an effort with the rest of me as well, my hair, makeup, jewellery and so on.

As part of this i’ve gone through my wardrobe and divided it into 4 piles: bin, charity shop, revamp, keep. the “bin” stuff has already gone out into, yup, the bins (courtesy of Michiel). the charity shop bag i’ve got to wash and then i’ll take them up to a charity shop up the road (i also have to check how they want them). the revamp clothing is in a pile on a chair in the living room. It ranges from mending that needs doing, to a top that i don’t currently wear because i find it too hot (its a velvet turtleneck for heaven’s sake! I’m going to cut a low neckline for that one), to a jacket that i no longer wear and, frankly, is a little shabby, but the buttons are still good so i’m going to recycle those. So that’s all in the corner and needs doing.

Decision 2: its my birthday at the end of August and Mum offered me my birthday present early so i could treat myself before we flew out there. I gratefully accepted, and decided to spend some of it on actual clothes, some of it on material for clothes i could make for myself. I dug out an old Butterick pattern for some skirts that mom made for me about 10 years ago (skirts that i still have and love), they’re A-line ankle length skirts in a light floaty printed cotton:

So i decided to make a trip into Manchester City Center to Abakhan to get some material for this. I had a look around online as well, as i decided i wanted to make a summer dress, and found two patterns that i really liked, the first a dress pattern by Butterick:

The other is a top pattern by Simplicity:

So i decided to buy both of these as well and see what material i could find for all three. Sadly when i got there i was told that Abakhan don’t actually stock Butterick patterns in the store, so i would have to order it, and it takes 10-11 standard working days for that to arrive. So i decided just to get material for the skirt and the top today, and leave the dress material till i got the pattern – for those that don’t know about dress making, you do need the pattern to know how much material to buy. There’s some tables on the back of each pattern (that always make me go cross eyed) that tells you how much of your material to buy for the different types of outfit, as most patterns actually make potentially 2-6 different outfits, and material comes in different widths, and there’s the different size of the person who the dress is for.. its all enough to give a girlie a headache. which is why when i was living with Mum i always left it to her. but she’s in another city and working anyway, so i had to do it on my own today. I cheated and handed the pattern to the sales assistant. “I want enough of this to make that in X size. please!” heh. (yes i know, Mum, i should learn how to read those tables but.. Muuuuuuum, they make my head hurt!!!)

For those that don’t know, Abakhan is actually a remants store as well as a Fabric, Haberdashery & Crafts store (I keep asking the sales assistants to throw me out, stop me spending money in there.. they never do.. *sigh*) with large baskets of offcuts of the end of a roll. There’s often some lovely fabrics in the baskets, and they’re sold cheaply by weight – often they make me consider material that i probably would’ve given a miss otherwise, and so it proved today with my skirt material selections. The first one looks a bit like denim i think in this photo, but it isn’t, its a light cotton material. I’m going to make either a kneelength A line skirt or a kneelength straight skirt, I’m not sure yet. Personally i’d make the skirt longer but Michiel likes kneelength skirts (he’s bringing me round to that opinion.. slowly. Yes, Mum, i know you approve). We’ll see:

The second is a slightly heavier cotton, it looks black in the photo but its actually a very dark brown. the printed border at the bottom of the photo i will incorporate to the bottom of the skirt, and i intend to make a kneelength A line skirt out of this one:

I also bought some material to make a top with… The few i found in the remants section that i liked weren’t big enough (and besides, they were floaty fabric, which Mum cautioned me against – see, i do listen sometimes! – as they can be notoriously difficult to sew without problems) so i went up to the “proper” fabrics section. There i found a lovely purple light cotton material, which i thought would work well for the pattern above, so i teamed that with a lilac fabric to make the contrasting trim around the collar, sleeves and hem of the top:

I’ve also some light floaty purple material, i’m not sure exactly what, which i am thinking i may make into a top, using the dress pattern above, but much shorter. I’ll make a decision on that exactly when i get the dress pattern and see how much is required, and get some material to make the dress when i get the pattern too.

So between this, a chat (and an impending visit on 8th August) with Mum via MSN last night, where we chatted over You Tube and i gave her links to Beatles videos (heh), having a little bit of a splurge today in town (I went to Matalan today too, and bought three vest tops, one dark brown, one green and one in a lovely blue colour, for £6) i’m feeling more positive already. Tomorrow i’m going to start work on one of the skirts, not sure which one yet, and i’ve a few other things i’ve an idea to make too, but we’ll see – i don’t want to overdo it and push myself back into the pit i just crawled out of…

Other things: The garden is still overgrown and neglected. that isn’t going to change any time soon, but the weather is promising to perk up some so i may try to get out there and at least cut the grass and try to maintain things a bit, even if i don’t really plant anything new. We’ve been eating some of the potatoes i grew, and i’ve promised some pink fir apple potatoes to Mom and Dad when they visit – may give them some broad beans too (don’t worry, Dad, i’ll give you something else to go with it all.. silly!) so it’s not all bad. I’m still walking Jess, doing dinner each night, and keeping ontop of at least that much. Nothing has really changed except my attitude.. i just feel more.. “can do” instead of “its just too much”. i just hope it lasts. 🙂