What to watch (out for)

The books-to-TV series junkie in me is excited – first The Man in the High Castle, and now The Handmaid’s Tale is being adapted for the screen.

I’m still undecided on whether this is a good sign (important stories getting a wider audience) or a bad one (series writers and producers being prescient once more of bad things to happen to parts of humanity, courtesy of another part of humanity).
Then again – humans being each others’ worst enemy unfortunately isn’t a new concept, but has proven to be a beloved pastime repeated time and again throughout the centuries. Writers aspiring to conceive of a dystopian story just need to take their pick from the long list of atrocities people inflict on each other, add some technological bits or social elements that do not yet exist to cover their lazy writer asses – and done! All that remains for them to do is to cast Scarlett Johansson as the main protagonist!


Erm. This post escalated quickly.

To conclude on a hopeful note: for our sakes, I do hope we reach some sort of United Federation, Star Trek-style, sooner than later.

Wall of food shame 2016

  • 50g quinoa
  • 50 pizza crust (slightly burned)
  • 40g olives
  • 500g carrots
  • 2kg potatoes
  • 250g strawberries
  • 3 bananas
  • 1 peach
  • 1 bread dumpling
  • 1 egg
  • several tangerines

Somehow the amount increased this year, I am not sure why. Normally I pay attention to what’s in the fridge that needs to be consumed, this year it didn’t work out so well.

Books 2016

  1. The man in the high castle (Philip K. Dick)
  2. A long awaited treachery (G.D. Falksen)
  3. Do androids dream of electric sheep? (Philip K. Dick)
  4. A scanner darkly (Philip K. Dick)
  5. The Expanse: Leviathan wakes (James S.A. Corey)
  6. The Expanse: Caliban’s war (James S.A. Corey)
  7. The Long Utopia (Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter)
  8. The Expanse: Abaddon’s Gate (James S.A. Corey)
  9. The Expanse: Cibola Burn (James S.A. Corey)
  10. The Expanse: Nemesis Games (James S.A. Corey)
  11. Sandman 1-7 (Neil Gaiman)
  12. Sandman Overture (Neil Gaiman)
  13. The Physics of Superheroes (James Kakalios)

OOTD – Moonlight church

Some time ago I saw a particular Innocent World reservation, Moonlight Church, and knew I had to have this dress, because the print design is so intricate and detailed, and: architecture! (it seems I do love buildings).

The print is based on the North façade of Westminster Abbey in London:

I have worn the dress several times and received a couple of compliments for the print.

Attending a local meeting where we also had our pictures taken:

JSK, blouse, cardigan: Innocent World
Gate necklace: Putumayo


Books 2015

  1. Why evolution is true (Jerry Coyne)
  2. Reise nach dem skandinavischen Norden und der Insel Island im Jahre 1845 (Ida Pfeiffer)
  3. To Die for: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? (Lucy Siegle)
  4. Fresh off the boat (Eddie Huang)
  5. Beef (Ruth Ozeki)
  6. Vorstellung vom 20. Jahrhundert (Peter Høeg)
  7. Wee free men (Terry Pratchett)
  8. A Hat full of Sky (Terry Pratchett)
  9. Wintersmith (Terry Pratchett)
  10. I shall wear midnight (Terry Pratchett)
  11. Egon Schiele: Ein exzessives Leben (Xavier Coste, Carolin Müller)
  12. Also schwieg Zarathustra (Nicolas Wild)
  13. Raising Steam (Terry Pratchett)
  14. The Shepherd’s Crown (Terry Pratchett)



Wheel of Time….  I did something I almost never do – I took a reading shortcut by reading the summaries of the 14 main books of the Wheel of Time series here.

I had started to read the actual books around 2003 or so and managed to finish a few (possibly 1 to 6) until I decided that none of the characters were interesting enough for me to plough through pages and pages of padding.
Many fans insist that the books get better and better after each re-reading because of masterful foreshadowing that may even span 13 books.

I was not able to appreciate this meticulous planning of plot hints and reveals because my mind went numb from being drowned in detailed descriptions of tiles in houses and colours of flowers. Maybe these descriptions are useful for some readers to achieve better immersion in a fantastic world, for me they just detract from recreating the world and the story in my mind. If anything, the books reminded me more of a very detailed movie script.

To end on an uplifting note, here’s to Nynaeve’s hairdo:



Wall of food shame 2015

  • 4 slices of grilled polenta
  • 1 can of peeled tomatoes
  • 1 potato
  • 5 pickled cucumbers
  • 100g tomato paste
  • 2 joghurts
  • 200g toast
  • 1 apple
  • 400ml lemon juice
  • 350g tofu
  • 50g feta
  • 7 muffins
  • 2 oranges
  • 200g rice/cereal mix
  • 150g apple mush
  • 200g chestnuts

Well what can I say except: it’s a bloody shame.

I started freezing muffins; they thaw and are almost as good as new. Also I started freezing lemon juice in ice cube trays.
The damned tomato paste was super ewww as it got mouldy in its tube – but you only need a spoonful for most recipes, and the tubes are huge. So I turned it into tiny frozen balls.

The mantis garden S2015

Auf in ein neues “Garten”jahr –

Im Warmen wurden Chili (Habanero), Tomaten (Mühls Mini, Roma und Yellow Submarine) und Paprika (aus gekauften Biopaprika – vermutlich eine Corno Giallo, und eine unbekannte rote) gesät. In einen tiefen Topf im Freien kamen Halblange Weiße Pastinaaaaaken, gemeinsam mit Überraschungs-Topinambur (danke Markus!).

Zwischenstand nach einem Monat bei vier Tomaten, die zwei Paprika in die Zange nehmen:


Auch die Habaneros im Büro sind großteils geschlüpft. Weil sie so genial benannt sind, habe ich auch noch Ziegenhorn-Chili angepflanzt.
Als Sichtschutz-Experiment gab es daheim zwei Sorten  Strankerln* (je 5 Goldfield und Blauhilde), die im Warmen gesät wurden. Blauhilde kam direkt in die Erde, Goldfield habe ich vorher über Nacht eingeweicht, und das hat ihnen einen deutlichen Startvorteil verschafft (sie sind regelrecht aus der Erde explodiert). Nach 3 Wochen waren sie schon über 1m hoch.

Zusätzlich gibt’s probeweise ein paar rote Rohnen** (Rote Kugel 2***), die auch schon jetzt vorgezogen werden, weil sie offenbar 3 Wochen bis zum Keimen benötigen. Tatsächlich streckten sich aber schon nach ein paar Tagen rote Gestalten aus der Erde. Wahrscheinlich hat auch hier geholfen, die Samen 12 Stunden lang einzuweichen.

Für den Balkon haben wir 5m Tröge für Kleingemüse, sowie eine Rankhilfe besorgt, an der man hoffentlich einen schönen Sichtschutz hochziehen kann – vorzugsweise aus den magischen Bohnen.

In einen Trog zogen gemeinsam kleinwüchsige Karotten namens Ochsenherz und Braunschalige Winterheckenzwiebel, weil sie sich offenbar gut verstehen.


Nach dem letzten Frost wurden alle verbleibenden Jungpflanzen an die frische Luft gesetzt. Die Roten Rohnen kamen in die verbleibenden Tröge neben Zwiebel und Karotten.

Probeweise habe ich die Bohnen direkt in den Erdsack gepflanzt, denn das bietet einige Vorteile – sie sind Flachwurzler, man muß nicht extra ein Gefäß kaufen, und Ästhetik ist hinter der Sitzbank eher irrelevant. In den Boden des Sacks habe ich ein paar Löcher gebohrt, um Staunässe vorzubeugen.

Danach wurde gefaulenzt und unter der Hitze gelitten :)



* Bohnen
** rote Bete
*** man fragt sich automatisch, was aus Rote Kugel 1 geworden ist





This is gonna be a slow weekend

I went to bed with one inflamed heel, possibly because I tend to trample when I walk.
So today I try to be really nice to my foot, putting on my most comfy shoes shoes to go to work – and what happened? I sprained my ankle on the same leg. It hurt, but at the same time: LOL


Silent tribal outfit

I made a belt a while ago but did not wear it to perform because it did not match the others’ outfits. It is made from two layers of sturdy cotton, with a belt pattern that is slightly curved. I layered velvet, tablet weaving trimming I made some time ago, obsidian shinies and black fringe. And I made lace flowers that cover the belt closure.


64 bytes from mantis

Apart from posting the occasional blah about some sewing I did, and the scheduled Food shame post, there was really little motivation to talk.
I still try to support my sister and my mother, and I feel as if even more of all the little things that might have annoyed me before, are now of no consequence. Also I try to appreciate spending time with the people I like more – an important part of which is to never part in anger (and luckily there never have been any issues that would justify such behaviour).

In any case, maybe I’ll return to a more regular writing behaviour now, we’ll see.

Sewing with a plan

During reading To Die for: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? by Lucy Siegle*, I tripped over a concept I suspect to be so old that it was welcomed as great new guidelines when Lynn Cook wrote an article for the Australian magazine “Stitches” in 2003:  sewing with a plan (SWAP).

It boils down to

  • concentrate on two solid colours, add a third complimentary colour, and accentuate with prints that match the first two solids
  • cover all basic garment types: tops, trousers, skirts, jacket
  • choose simple patterns but use top-quality fabrics
  • a two-step implementation
    • “make 11 garments. These are:
      • 2 pairs of pants;
      • 2 skirts, one in a solid colour, one in a print or check;
      • 2 simple tops, one solid, one in the above print;
      • 4 tops, in colours which coordinate with the solids;
      • 1 simple cardigan jacket in a solid colour.
    • make the following 10 garments
      • 1 cardigan in one of your basic colours
      • 3 long-sleeve tops in tones that coordinate
      • 1 long skirt in a print
      • 1 blouse or top in the same print
      • 1 knee-length skirt in a solid colour
      • 1 dress (print or solid)
      • 2 more pairs of pants in tones that blend with your palette” [1]
  • don’t quit, do finish the two steps
  • any additional pieces should match at least 3 pieces of the basic wardrobe

Another great point Lucy Siegle’s book makes is to curate one’s wardrobe, a concept which is built into the SWAP approach as it enforces you to create coherent pieces that go together.

In my case, the dominant solids are definitely black and gray. A second pair of solids is based on brown and green. The complimentary colour would be red, or maybe ivory.
Then there’s some bright red, and of course all the pretty “berry” colours (purple, wine, and so on). Bright red goes best with black, and the berries like grey as supporting colour.

I am currently looking through my sewing output and the first insight I had is: I certainly am putting off the making of trouser patterns, lazy me.



* this book really brings some disturbing facts to the table. I at least vowed to try and change my clothes consumption – less buying, more research who made the piece, where did the materials come from…

I am sick => filler

It always amuses me when Tom and Lorenzo present the Miss Universe National costumes:

2010: one, two

2011: one, two

2012: part one, two, three

2013: part one, two, three

2014: part one, two, three, four

and when they scream their thoughts at fashion pictures from 2014 Golden Globuli like a crazy person on the subway.



Tribal in black and bling

May I present an outfit I made for a show in April: pants, red skirt (bought), a fabric belt, a black bra, and a shrug (bought). The self-made items are the interesting ones, so:

It’s my first tribal bra, so I hope the next one will be better. I found many good tips here, and I browsed a lot of dancers’ pictures to decide how I wanted it to look, and to glean their little secrets. The before:


I cut off the straps and promptly doubled the remaining back/horizontal straps with pretty velvet because they were very stretchy. I also added some fabric to the sides of the cups to keep everything under control there.

I then added D rings and new shoulder straps made from soft batiste (4cm wide, so they would be comfortable, and 110cm long to leave enough for tying in the back) and tried it on to see how the straps tied in the back  – this is the look I was going for.

When I was satisfied with the fit, I started sewing on stuff (below: some examples of stuff).


And more stuff. And some metal pieces I got from Melwen.

And some more. And then some. Until:


The belt I made did not match the others’ outfits, so I borrowed one for the show, and I made a set that’s more oldschool later.

The pants that are worn underneath are made from 2m of teal fabric with a diamond pattern. I managed to picture it like its sister fabric, in the lightest shade of blue:


but it’s very teal, really.

The making of is easy: take fabric, cut two rectangles – if the pattern allows for it, the fabric width is leg width, so the height is determined by leg length. Fold rectangles in half and cut quarter circle to accommodate your buttocks. Sew leg seams, then sew legs together. Attach waistband and add elastic band. Tada!





I have a strange habit of buying too little of pretty jersey, but here’s a solution: loop scarves (howtos for one colour, two colours). The flowery one is actually made from two fabrics, but the black jersey is not as interesting.



The violet one is 160cm long, which makes for comfortable wrapping around. The other loop is only 140cm long which is almost too short (and no, my head size is not the problem).

And a small bag like this one, made from black twill with pretty lining


I don’t add tote straps because I prefer using the shoulder strap. Also I’ll create the inner pockets from folded lining fabric to achieve a sturdier construction (more layers -> less floppy)
The bottom gets boxed corners.


More skirt experiments

I saw a nice striped skirt which made me theorise about how it’s made. I’ve ordered 4m of this fabric (150cm wide)


and will make two layers of skirt, along with a volume layer made of tulle.

First I determined the length of the two skirt layers (65cm resp 55cm), then I cut 2 pieces (180cm each = 2×55+65, plus 5cm seam allowance) and made a huge fabric tube with 3m circumference. I folded the layers into the tube



and added a double layer of tulle into the bubble skirt part.
Then it was already time to add a jersey waistband, as already practised in [1].
The fabric is rather heavy though (160g/m²), so the poor waistband will get elastic band support. The last thing to do is to add a small trim to the longer skirt layer (the skirt is not as fire-engine-red as the picture claims)


and then:


A new semester of dancing

We’ve ended the winter semester with a hafla, and it was great fun with awesome pieces.

I wasn’t at the top of my game during the choreo, and I already know why that is: not enough practise during the winter holidays  because total antimotivation (not dance-specific though). However we’ll continue working on the choreo during the summer semester, so it’ll be fine.

I also danced in one of the impro groups, and we had maps of Tasmania! :D


Next week the summer classes start, and I’ll just continue with Impro II, III plus the choreo class. It’s two evenings of coming home late, but it’s worth it. Resolutions are obviously: improving choreo, and improving impro style (getting more proficient with skirt moves, better posture).

There are some big events coming up as well: Tribalconvention in April, and Caravanseray in August. Manca Pavli will give workshops in April, and I’ll have to check which ones are suited for my level.

At Caravanseray we’ll see workshops with Samantha Emanuel and Lamia Barbara among others. I’m just waiting until the schedule is released, then I’ll decide.