Friday, 25 April 2014


Blogging from A - Z about clothes...

I 'm starting to crack by Nina Matthews(CC BY 2.0)

I'm writing too many posts all at once. And I'm getting confused. I just published my 'X' post, instead of my 'V' post, which wouldn't have been so disastrous if I'd actually finished writing it. But I sent a draft post off out into the blogosphere, and I fear it's too late to prevent it entering all my subscribers' inboxes. 

If you do receive an 'X' post that seems a bit unpolished, please click over and read the final version on Monday. Monday is 'X' post day! 

And today is 'V' day. My 'V' story is called Vests Without Backs, Top Hats and Tails and this post is all finished and ready to read (I think).

Vests Without Backs, Top Hats and Tails

Blogging from A - Z about clothes... A story about a vest, or maybe a waistcoat, but not a singlet...

The first time I married Andy he wore a grey morning suit, complete with top hat and tails. This wasn’t what he originally planned to wear. When we were first discussing our wedding details, I'd said, “We’re not having a church wedding so maybe formal outfits are a bit much, a little over-the-top.” A long white dress with a veil might seem rather out of place in a sterile registry office. So might a formal suit.

But then I changed my mind. I was only going to have one wedding. “Let’s make the most of the occasion. Let’s dress up.” Andy was agreeable. I don't think he really minded what he wore as long as we got married. 

So I bought a frothy white dress, with a hooped skirt that hovered close to the floor. My mother made me a ribbon-trimmed veil which we attached to a band of white flowers. I even bought some high heels.

Andy decided he and his groomsmen would hire formal suits. When I saw my soon-to-be-husband on our wedding day, my eyes opened wide. He was wearing a three piece suit and he looked absolutely fabulous, perfect in every way. Except his outfit wasn’t really perfect.

“I remember being fitted for that suit,” laughs Andy. “I told the assistant it was too tight and he said, ‘Oh no! You don’t want the suit to fit comfortably. A close fitting suit will look much better in the photos.’ I could hardly move when all the buttons were done up."

"How did you dance then?" I ask. "You did lots of dancing."

"Don't you remember? We changed our clothes before the dancing began."

I don't remember. But I do remember something else.

“Do you remember your suit vest?” I ask.

“Yes. It only had a front. It was attached to my body with two pieces of elastic that criss-crossed over my shoulders." He grins. “It looked good with the jacket on...”

"... but you couldn't take the jacket off." We both grin.

Why would a wedding suit have a vest with no back? Were backless vests cheaper to make? Was it because one vest with adjustable elastic fits all sizes? Or does a vest without a back sit more smoothly and look better for photos? I have no idea.

Quite to my surprise, we did end up having more than one wedding day. I did get two chances to dress up. But when we were married for the second time, I didn't bother with a long white gown and a veil. Andy didn't wear a formal wedding suit with a backless vest. Instead I wore a pretty flowered dress and Andy wore black trousers and a white shirt. 

Almost 8 years after our registry office wedding, Andy and I had a church wedding. It was a perfect occasion, and we were both even happier than we'd been on our first wedding day. Which all goes to prove it’s not the clothes which are important, but the ceremony. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Unexpectedly Entertaining Guests in My PJs

Blogging from A - Z about clothes...

Knock! Knock! My husband Andy looked at me and I looked at him. We both looked at the clock. Who could that be at our front door, at 8 o’clock on a weekday evening? Andy heaved himself out of his armchair and plodded off to find out.

“Hello!” Our new friends Tony and Ellie appeared in the doorway of our living room. "I hope you don’t mind us dropping by." They smiled, their eyes meeting mine. Then their eyes wandered downwards and the smiles disappeared. “Oh! I hope we haven’t caught you at an inconvenient moment.”

“No,” I reassured them, as I adjusted the baby on my lap. Her head was buried under my pyjama top. “I’m not doing anything important. Just feeding the baby and relaxing.”

“Sit down,” welcomed Andy, as he scooped up all the baby bits and pieces, to make room on the sofa for our unexpected guests.  “I’ll make some coffee.”

Should I slip off to the bedroom and put on some day clothes? Or could I entertain our guests in my blue flannelette pjs and fluffy slippers? I remained where I was. Why wake the baby?

So we spent the evening chatting and sipping coffee, with everyone trying very hard not to look at my night clothes.

That was the last time Tony and Ellie ever came to visit us in the evening. Actually it was the last time they ever came to visit.

So what’s the moral of this story? Never put on your pyjamas until it's time to go to bed, just in case unexpected guests knock at the door? Or never visit anyone in the evening, without phoning ahead first?

What do you think?

(Thank you Stephanie for your comment on your Robe post which gave me the idea for this story.)

Gorda by M.Peinado(CC BY 2.0)

Image: Dogs are always ready. They don't need to change their clothes for unexpected guests.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Tired: No Clothes Stories, Only Titles

Blogging from A - Z about clothes...

I’m tired. All I want to do is curl up on the sofa and go to sleep. But I have a ‘T’ post to write. I have a few story ideas about clothes that might work…

Tea Party Dress-ups
Tie Dye Trousers and Other Hand-Me-Down Stories
Tartan Punk
Trying on Clothes
Tired of My Clothes
Teenage Doll Fashion
Top Hat and Tails
A Tutu Tale

I go from one idea to another, and can’t decide which one's the best. None of them make me feel excited. My head feels heavy. I know my words, when I begin writing, will come out heavy too. They won’t pour easily onto the computer screen. They’ll be dull and uninteresting, and my stories won’t be worth reading.

So I’m sitting here feeling stuck. I haven’t got a ‘T’ post about clothes. Will I have a ‘U’ post tomorrow or a ‘V’ post the day after that?

It is strange how I can feel on fire one day. Then all of a sudden, I lose my sparkle and desire to write. They desert me without warning.  Normally this isn’t a problem. I just close my computer and go do something else for a while. Then just as suddenly, when I least expect it, a ‘brilliant’ idea pops into my head. I can't help myself: I run to the computer and start typing. The problem is over. I am up and running once again.

And so today I should close up shop. I should curl up on the sofa and take a snooze. Maybe I should make some tea or coffee, and munch a little chocolate before I close my eyes. But I can’t. I’m in the middle of the blogging challenge. I need a ‘T’ post.

I guess I could write about anything as long as it's vaguely related to the letter 'T'. It doesn't really matter what I post as long as I post something. Except it does matter. It matters to me. I want to write something I feel happy with. Do you know what I mean?

So what am I going to do? I think I will go make that coffee, find an Easter egg to enjoy, join the cats on the sofa, and then watch a movie or have a sleep. I am going to forget about the challenge, at least for today. 

How’s your blogging challenge going? Are you still enjoying writing a daily post? Or have you hit a low like me? If you have any ideas on how to get moving again, I’d love to hear them.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Some More About Nora the Explorer

Blogging from A - Z about clothes...

Today was a very long and doggy day... 

My husband Andy and I spend all morning shopping for Nora the Explorer, our soon-to-be-adopted dog. We buy a hot pink leash to go with her hot pink collar. We even find some hot pink pooper scooper bags. They come with their own dispenser that clips onto a leash. We buy a dog bed, though I doubt she’ll use it. I suspect Nora will want to join us on the sofa. Will she want to sleep on our bed? Will we let her? Of course we buy a huge bag of puppy food. But there is one thing we don’t buy.

“You should have seen the dog coat Dad wanted to buy for Nora,” I tell the girls, when we return home. “It was black and hot pink. It was so cute!”

“We can't let Nora get cold,” says Andy.

The girls laugh. “We thought you didn’t like dogs, Dad!”

Andy grins. He'll no longer be able to say, “I’m not a pet person.” We all know that’s just not true.

“If Nora needs a coat we can buy her one another day,” I say. "We can take her into the shop and make sure we get the right size."

Nora would look great in a black and hot pink coat, but does she really need one? I’m not sure. What do you think? The temperature does get down to freezing point overnight here in winter, but will Nora be outside at that time of day? No; she’ll probably be still curled up safely within the house, where it's nice and warm.

We put all the doggy supplies away. We eat lunch. I start to write my 'S' post. It’s about sports clothes. I am partway through the story when someone from the Animal Shelter phones. Can we come down and sign the adoption papers? Write my post or go with Andy to the Shelter? I abandon my writing. Maybe we'll get to see our dog.

We deal with the paperwork. Then we ask if we can see Nora for a few minutes. We can.

“Would you like a cuddle?” asks the animal carer.

“Oh yes, please!” I say.

A couple of minutes later, Nora appears on the end of a leash. She sits at our feet. Her tail goes thump! thump! on the ground. She is so cute!

As we drive home, I think about my 'S' post. My story isn’t nearly ready to publish. Will I manage to finish it so I can post it today? Do I even want to finish it? I realise I’ve lost interest in writing about sports clothes. I want to write about Nora instead. 

Can I make my doggy day into my 'S' post? Is it an 'S' story? Is it a clothes story?

I have just written Some more about our dog Nora. I told you about all the doggy Supplies we bought. I mentioned the pink and black coat we might buy her. (She would look So cute in it!)

Yes, this is definitely an 'S' post about clothes. 

By the way, Nora is nothing like the dog in this photo. In fact she's the complete opposite of Princess. So have you got an idea of what Nora the Explorer looks like? I hope so!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Running Shoes, Running Dog

Blogging from A - Z about clothes...

On Wednesday, we are gaining a new family member. There's lots of things we need to buy before she arrives.  

“We need a seat belt attachment, so we can collect her,” I say to my husband Andy. "She needs to be securely fastened into the car. It's the law."

 So we go shopping.

“How big is she?” The sales assistant is eager to help us. "What breed is she?"

“We don’t really know,” I say. “We're adopting her from the Animal Shelter.”

“Oh that is so beautiful,” the woman cries, tears in her eyes. “A pound puppy! You’re saving a life.”

We return home from the shops with a collar and a pet tag with our dog’s name engraved upon it: Nora. Nora is the name she received at the Animal Shelter. She’s only had it a week or so. I suppose we could change it. But no one wants to.

“Nora the Explorer… Isn’t that a perfect name?”

“It's different. How many dogs do you know called Nora?” We can’t think of any.

"As long as Nora isn't a gnawer."

"People are going to ask us what kind of dog Nora is. What will we say?" I ask.

"We can tell them we don't know."

“We could say she's a black dog.”

“A pound puppy.”

“A pound princess.”

“A Highland Black.”

“A Highland Black?”

“Yes, she’s black and she lives in the Highlands.”


So we all agree. Nora is a Highland Black. Do you think anyone will question us further? Maybe they'll assume it’s a breed they’ve never heard of before. They might nod their heads knowingly, unwilling to show their ignorance. What do you think?

So what does a Highland Black look like? Highland Blacks are medium-sized dogs. They have short velvety coats, thumpy tails, gentle natures, soft floppy ears and long legs perfect for running. Yes, our Highland Black is going to be a running dog.

Andy and I and our girls run along the bush tracks close to home. We love pounding down the tracks, running in and out of the shade of the tall gum trees. We hope Nora will enjoy running with us. I am sure her 6 month old long legs will grow even longer. They will be perfect for dashing through the bush, on the end of a leash, of course. We don’t want her chasing any kangaroos.

“We still need to buy a leash,” I say.

“It needs to be a pink one, to match Nora’s collar and pet tag.”

Yes, Nora’s accessories are pink, hot pink. She's going to be a very girly dog. I'm sure she won't mind. Highland Blacks aren't upper-class, nose-in-the-air dogs. No, they are dogs who know how to have fun.

“Do you think hot pink will look good on a black velvet coat?” I ask.

“Of course!” everyone says.

I'm not sure, but then I remember my running shoes. They are the most expensive item in my wardrobe: special shoes designed for running over uneven and rocky terrain. They are magnificent. And they are black and hot pink.

“Nora is going to match my shoes!” I say. Yes, she is going to look magnificent too.

Andy arrives home with a big cardboard box. He deposits it on the patio and our three cats crowd around the door, curious to see what's inside. 

"It's just as well cats can't read otherwise they'd be panicking," says Imogen. LARGE DOG KENNEL: The words are printed in bold letters on the front of the box.

Poor cats.

The cats aren't the only ones in for a surprise on Wednesday. Nora is too. She'll no longer be a stray. Instead she'll be Nora the Explorer. And when her legs are a little longer, she'll be our running dog. 

Do you think she'd be grinning if she knew? I do.

Image: I hope Nora and our cats get on with each other, like this cat and dog.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Smiles

The Lord is risen! Alleulia! Alleulia!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Last night at the Easter Vigil Mass...

"By Your Kingly Power O Risen Lord is the next hymn," said Gemma-Rose, her eyes shining. "That's our favourite Easter hymn!" 

She couldn't stop smiling at me. None of us could stop smiling, even when we were singing. We opened our mouths and sang very loudly. It didn't matter that half our family was sitting at the front of the church with the choir, and half was sitting in the pews. We all looked towards each other and we GRINNED! This hymn, for us, means Easter! 

This morning, like every other Easter Sunday that we can remember, everyone sang By Your Kingly Power O Risen Lord, and I got out the video camera and recorded it. (We have years and years worth of this hymn!)

You should see the Easter smiles on this video. They grow wider and wider as the singing progresses. If you don't enjoy the singing, you might enjoy the smiles!

Happy Easter from the Elvises!