2018 recap

So I can move forward. Leaving so much unsaid was messing with my mind.

2 things prodded me to return, WordPress sent a bill to renew the site – decision time… and Marijana of Sew2pro very kindly emailed to see if I’d fallen off the edge of the earth. Thanks mate, I really appreciated the contact. 2018 is not a year i’d ever like to repeat, definitely an annus horribilis here at SNT HQ.

The most horrible part of the entire year were our vile neighbours at Pittwater. You may recall we were very excited about rebuilding a terrible house we’d owned for 14 years. It was eaten out by termites, thermally atrocious and judged by 3 builders over the years to be unsalvageable but the land was amazing, 2600m2 of amazing. Well the neighbours opposed our beautiful plans, drawn up over a painstaking 3 years by the nost environmentally conscious architects one could hope to find. Green eyed neighbours meanwhile started a local action group to oppose our plans. The elderly couples either side just couldn’t cope. We were 5m off one boundary and 7m off the other with no one behind. The new owner to one side wanted access through our property despite there being absolutely no legal access. 5 months later council approved the plans. But not before the ‘community’ threatened, harangued and trespassed (Zelda dog went nuts one night at 10.30pm when the idiots tried to beat their way through our neighbours fence  from our side and brought his fence down). They tried intimidation, letting us know they would do whatever they wanted to our property, whenever they wished. Often we would come home and the tennis court cleaner was upturned on the court or pushed down the stairs or just moved into the sun to perish. Once, the entire net structure was pushed off the front garden bed.

Following plan approval it gradually dawned on us that we didn’t want to live at Poison Point anyway. A neighbour purchased our property and is in the process of carving off a large slice of it for themselves, apparently hoping to resell the remainder without monetary loss in a declining market – good luck. We sold for a premium and left with a smile on our faces. But we’ll never forget these so called ‘friends’ who one day were receiving medical treatment, entertaining their grandchildren on our court, using our water and the next day were stabbing us in the back. In the words of Muriel “Good bye Porpoise Spit”.

It was such a relief to move to the big smoke again, we were renting. 8 months after we moved, whilst cycling in Germany actually, the agent let us know the owners had an approved development application and wanted to start building ASAP – so we moved out of both the Pittwater house and the rental house within 2 weeks of each other. You may recall that house was water access only. Moving out of there was never going to be easy, it was all done with boats and barges as is the norm.

We had signed the contract for the house sale at 10pm the night before I went to hospital for a full hysterectomy. So my darling husband packed up the 2 houses almost entirely himself. Thanks must go to our dear friend Stephen who is a gem of a human and also the kids for pitching in while I sat around trying to move the CO2 gas used for insufflation from under my ribs. It’s all good now and 1kg lighter in the pelvis – yay, things had really got outta control in there.

I’ve been working 3-4 days a week for about 5 months now and loving it. So pleased to be back at work.

You’d think sewing would take a back seat, but there were lots of successes while all this was going on. Aaaaaand I now own a knitting machine, so there’s another distraction. So far i’ve made 3 jumpers and they’re all wearable though most certainly improvements will need to be made!

Sold the dreaded Bernina. Never again will I buy something called a sewing computer!

Sold the too large mannequin, now for a smaller one.

Had a ‘style’ consultation at David Jones our most illustrious department store and put it down to experience. My priorities were that I need to feel cool and well dressed in our very hot humid summers – these are 2 of the garments the stylist recommended and hence, well, let’s just put it down to experience!

incredibly thick densely woven cotton sateen
Princess asked if they expected me to fit this after Christmas?

Like so many of you I descended down the Kibbe rabbit hole and really appreciate his system of analysis. Failing dismally at self diagnosis I paid Merriam of Merriam Style to do it for me and apparently I’m a flamboyant natural (FN). Totally thought I was a ‘natural’ on account of the massive manly shoulders ‘n’ stuff, but no hip curve and generous chesticles don’t totally jive with FN – any suggestions people? I’m all ears. I’m embracing the FN thing though and have just finished a copy of that Gap wrap dress you all insisted on in this post. Blog post coming soon. Dr T Designs has done a fab series on patterns for Kibbe body types and for reference and inspo there’s also Aly Art and Merriam Style on Youtube if you haven’t yet investigated Kibbe’s theories. I won’t be able to help myself going forward, it will undoubtedly be necessary to give you my 2c worth!

The Princess has 2 1/2 years of her architecture degree left, but may never become an actual architect on account of a lingering memory of being publicly humiliated by a bunch of locals about our building plans – something she had absolutely no hand in. That’s what passes for ‘community’ at Pittwater. More money to the psychotherapy fund.

#1 son has 6 months to go in his law/computer science double degree. He has been working full time in a tech start up for the past 2 years and will most likely move to Melb. to be with his GF as soon as he’s finished. She’s down there completing a PhD at CSIRO; such a conscientious environmental advocate that one.

Over the Christmas break i found myself turning to my Feedly blog reader for contact with my sewing mob and inspiration – so for me, blogs aren’t dead. But we need to keep commenting otherwise it’s just 1 person shouting into the ether. I’m really going to try to comment more. Here’s to a fruitful and fabulous 2019. Annus mirabilis to all.

We’ll be house hunting – what are your plans?

Gratuitous final snake pic, guess there won’t be any more of these!


Add yours →

  1. Sorry to hear about your absolutely dismal year but so glad you are back. I’m quite envious of your sewing skills and the challenges you take on … and conquer . Cheers from the left coast of Canada and thanks for your blog!

  2. Sam the Aussie 07/01/2019 — 5:46 pm

    Oh my goodness, what a year! Love reading your blog, keep it up 🙂
    Sam the Aussie

  3. Sorry to hear about all of the challenges, Lesley. I knew about the real estate issues but presumed you had simply fallen down the Instagram rabbit hole. All the best for a much better year. Happy New Year.
    PS Flamboyant Natural seems right to me. No one is ever going to be perfectly anything. I think I am a dramatic classic but the bust thing doesn’t gel super well with that either. XX

    • The Kibbe thing reflects to me, the influence of the 80s in that not many of his types have boobs!! No one in the 80s had boobs in print or on screen! The kids said it didn’t feel like Christmas this year – our traditions were so entrenched in water activities etc. But now I guess we’re moving on – time for new traditions. Happy New Year to you and G Steph xx

  4. So pleased you’re back. Sorry to read about your annus horribilis and hope 2019 is less stressful!

  5. Well good in there as well as dreadful – but what a horror story about the neighbours.

    And a major operation but presumably you feel loads better now. It is very nice to hear your voice and see you lovely face. As for the suggested dresses – well I don’t know what to say! Neither takes into account your shape, style or colours. I want to hear about the knitting machine!

    My blogging and sewing enthusiasm waned this year as work became punishing. But I think that is OK. It’s a hobby after all , not a blooming job. Also I think we may all be getting a bit fed up with social media. Take it easy Lesley.

    • Haha yes, those dresses – what the?! I will try to write a little about the knitting machine – a jumper in a day is quite doable. Met a lovely lady at a knitting group who was such a wealth of knowledge. I kept thinking if she’d been born in a different era she would have been an engineer – a real tinkerer. I guess every year has it’s ups and downs – let’s hope the ups outweigh the downs Kate . Nice to hear from you x

  6. Sounds awful. I hope this year is better for you.

  7. Oh darling lady,
    So sorry to read about your 2018, but thrilled to learn that all is good as you entered 2019.

    We suffered an awful 2018 and like you our fortunes turned around. Like you a lot of it to do with property.

    Moved to a new area and the new sewing room/study ( husband and I happily work together in the shared space) was completed just before Christmas. Yay, sewing is back in my life!

    So glad to know that I will be seeing you in my inbox.

    Happy 2019.xx

  8. As recent new home builders ourselves, I shuddered in sympathy with your account. It seems the methodology employed by schoolyard bullies never leaves no matter what our age. In these fraught times, one would think that conflict resolution should be a mandatory field of study for everyone – sort of like basic cooking, personal financial management, swimming etc. I sincerely hope the scars of a terrible year are quickly erased with new, happier experiences. Very jealous of the knitting machine…as someone with knitting project completion issues, I often think it would be an ideal solution for me!

    • Sorry I seem to have missed your l very comment Dagmar. Yes, bullies abound and proliferate when they’re reinforced by their FB friends who only legitimise their feelings further. That house was impossible to live in, sooo hot, sooo cold. Never mind, it may have been for the best 😉

  9. As recent new home builders ourselves, I shuddered in sympathy with your account. It seems the methodology employed by schoolyard bullies never leaves no matter what our age. In these fraught times, one would think that conflict resolution should be a mandatory field of study for everyone – sort of like basic cooking, personal financial management, swimming etc. I sincerely hope the scars of a terrible year are quickly erased with new, happier experiences. Very jealous of the knitting machine…as someone with knitting project completion issues, I often think it would be an ideal solution for me! Kibbe is very confusing for me and I don’t really see myself well reflected in any of the groupings…

  10. What a year you’ve had! I’m glad things seem to be looking up, and that you’ll continue blogging, wishing you all the best for 2019! I’m also looking forward to seeing what comes off your knitting machine!

    • HNY to you too Chris 🙂 I’m hoping the knits get better and better but it’s been a steep learning curve so far. This machine is a standard gauge, so knits 3-5 ply yarn. I hanker for big chunky knits but I can probably borrow a machine for that at the knitting club – that was such a find x

  11. YIKES…your horror story indeed sounds like a HORROR. I sold/moved from a home entirely due to horrible next door neighbours once so I feel your pain. I can’t help but think there will be ‘karma’ coming round to bite those two neighbours in the butt.

    Anyways, you’re well clear of it all and moving on to new ventures which we look forward to reading about!

    I’m not familiar with the Kibbe analysis, but…eep…David Jones clearly missed the mark.

    • I know right! DJs was a horror. The other customer who was also being styled told me she was clearly wasting her time and having taken the afternoon off work – thought she ought to cut her losses and skedaddle!
      I quite enjoy shopping for property- wheeeee! Thanks for commenting- it means a lot 🙂

  12. What a tough year – but what a relief it must be to be away from those appalling neighbours. I wonder if they’re sufficiently evolved to be able to reflect on their behaviour and recognize what monsters they are -probably not!! Let’s just hope they now turn on each other :).

    I’ve looked at a few of those style / body type systems and never feel they quite work. I guess they’re only approximations, but clearly a million times better than a DJs consultant! I can’t believe they recommended those 2 muu muus to you lol. I’m a different shape to you so I won’t even try to recommend what styles are best for you, but do you have some favourite clothes you can start with?

    Hope 2019 is kind to you!

    • And also to you Gabrielle, hope you’re well luv? Yes, let the dogs of war loose is what I say!
      I guess I was trying to challenge myself style wise. You’ve made some lovely things of late. Summer is always a challenge cos I like me s pants and shirt situation mostly. But may have just hit upon a new look – when I get pics it’ll be posted! X

  13. Unfortunately some years are like that…horrible. We have moved twice because of neighbours, when the tension become too much it just better to move on. We have been renting for 6 years, a house with a view to die for and lovely neighbours, while planning to build our dream home in a country town that comes with more rules and regulation that you can poke a stick at. Sewing, fabric buying and grandchildren take my mind off all the other indecisions of life. I knit every night with needles (sold the knitting machine, too noisy and cumbersome) to keep my hands and wrists flexible. I did miss your blog and so glad you are back

    • So pleased I was missed – it often feels like no one reads it! Yes we have 2 friends who moved because of neighbours – they were either side of the same problem house. We always prided ourselves on getting along with our neighbours in every house – spoilt the track record! Whereabouts in the world are you? A town w too many rules sounds like Australia!

  14. I love sewing blogs but the most interesting stuff happens behind the screen, doesn’t it! I’m sure you’ll laugh about 2018 one day, The best revenge is to live well! Lots of love, Marijana

  15. Your year certainly does sound tumultuous. Good heavens! Neighbours from hell are never fun, but at least you got the last laugh selling in a good market!

    Those suggested dresses…. I just have no words. Really?! I’ve not gone down the Kibbe rabbit hole. I had something similar done when I was a teen, and my preferred style for both comfort and happy state of mind is still the same: dramatic classic. Unfortunately, real life dictates otherwise on a daily basis. 😀

    I’m glad you renewed your blog subscription. Every year I have a moment of indecision about continuing it, but I do prefer blogs to social media. I feel I get a sense of sitting with the writer instead of waving hello as I stride by (like IG makes me feel). And IG gets boring after a while. It’s always the same old stuff 50 different ways today in my feed. A blog post is just more like having a decent conversation, imho.

    Well, here’s to a new happy year! Do tell what you’ve been sewing!

    • Hi TD, 👋🏼 I had intended to keep blogging but knowing I had such a hole in my story prevented me from moving on! Silly perhaps? Did they use Kibbe back when you were a teen perhaps? I had colour consults but the style was new to me – I’m not unhappy but sometimes baggy clothes get a bit much! I agree w you about IG, the feed feels so ‘managed’ and I can’t seem to make it suit me – where on earth do my friends disappear to anyway?! Happy New Year to you too xx

  16. As recent new home builders ourselves, I shuddered in sympathy with your account. It seems the methodology employed by schoolyard bullies never changes no matter what our age. In these fraught times, one would think that conflict resolution should be a mandatory field of study for everyone – sort of like basic cooking, personal financial management, swimming etc. I sincerely hope the scars of a terrible year are quickly erased with new, happier experiences. Very jealous of the knitting machine…as someone with knitting project completion issues, I often think it would be an ideal solution for me! I find Kibbe very confusing and I don’t really see myself well reflected in any of the groupings…

    • I have developed a theory – we just withdrew and kept to ourselves but I think that created a vacuum and people in the community were more than happy to invent what they didn’t know. I would engage a PR person next time and launch a counter attack! The new neighbour who bought our place even mentioned she thought this was getting blown out of proportion by the community. And also, shouldn’t we be cautious about listening to folks that copy/paste objections to council? Some had even left the original sender’s details to intact when they sent them to council – novice error!! RE Kibbe – that’s why I paid for the consult. Just reckon life is too short to be making clothes that don’t suit me! Best of luck with your making Dagmar x

  17. Neighbours can be a problem and we’ve had our share, too, so I know how you feel. Have just recently explored the Kibbe system and I seem to be dramatic classic. Since I don’t have a dramatic bone in my body I’ll just stick to straight classic which feels more like me. Best wishes for a better year in 2019.

  18. OMG! Your experiences with your old neighbourhood sound like something out of a horror movie!
    Good luck with finding your new home, I’m a great believer in everything happens for a reason so I’m sure there will be an amazing home out there just waiting for you to find it!

  19. Vicki Maiorano 09/01/2019 — 6:20 pm

    Sorry to hear 2018 was such a shocker! Let’s hope 2019 is much better 🙂

  20. Oh boy, an awful year indeed. It sounds as though you’re in a better place now – both geographically and physically. It’s understandable that you weren’t feeling like blogging.
    I haven’t seen anything about Kibbe and I will avoid it and just continue to look a state. Nothing like as bad as those suggestions for you from DJ though! Sheesh!
    I’ve not blogged in ages as my year has been a bit of a stinker too. I’ll get around to it soon. Maybe.
    Good to see you back 😊

  21. I am so very sorry that you had such a ghastly experience of “community” . Remember witch burnings happened in communities too. It’s just so depressing to see mindless out if control entitlement paired with a bullying mentality . Shame on them all . It beats me how a place as beautiful as the Pittwater could spawn such behaviour . Good luck with your move , I am so glad you made a killing and hopefully you will find a lovely house soon .as for your blog I have missed it . I have always enjoyed reading of your sewing adventures so welcome back to the blogosphere

  22. I’m still reading and processing your post….life is never straightforward, regretfully, but thank you for your candour.
    Some days are good and others are not… but we still get up in the mornings and do what we can…….

    • Life for us has been blessed if one can be an atheist and say that. We had a friend who just had the most rotten health, passed on to her children and well, lets just say – we’ve suffered very little. I could never understand how she remained so positive though, not sure I’d be smiling . I was talking about you the other day (skin) – your ears were burning?!

  23. Oh Lesley, what a horrible time you have gone through. Shame on those people, they missed out on having you as their lovely neighbours. Nice to have you back though, missed your funny posts. What were they thinking, those two dresses couldn’t have been less flattering!

    • Hi there Sheree, maybe we’re not as nice as we think we are but certainly we’re not horrendous neighbours! In fact coincidentally our past neighbours still keep in touch! The DJs experience makes me want to put that green dress on her and match her up and down Pitt St Mall in 40C !!

  24. Oh my! That was a challenging year, wasn’t it. I was about as fond of the snake as I was of the green and red dresses. I’m sure you can whip up something more lovely than those two. I’m curious about your style advisors – Kibbe? David Jones? I shall have to google them. I’m not familiar with those names and terms and I’ve always got my eyes and ears open for more advice!

    • Haha David Jones is our most trusted and illustrious department store here in Australia- they’ve certainly done themselves a disservice of late with their style advisors. I will talk more on Kibbe, i find it interesting. And snakes, I do kinda like them too – but not when they take me by surprise!

  25. Patricia Pfeiffer 30/01/2019 — 8:02 am

    I hope I am joining up with this group at a much better time than you have been having. After reading this I have said a little prayer of gratitude for my neighbor who buys me nice clothes for Christmas just because.
    I had quite a laugh over the dresses that were recommended to you! Haven’t heard of the Kibbe thing, and just wonder how they come up with a style type. If they take into consideration what you like I would be dressing, I’m sure, in satiny, gauzy, sparkly fairy godmother gowns, but I live my life comfortably in jeans and casual tops. But I am striving to get a good fit in them, and add just enough uniqueness to make my friends a bit envious.

    Wishing you a perfectly lovely 2019 full of more fun adventures than your past year.

    • Such a lovely and thoughtful comment sparkly Godmother – thank you. If only I could get photos of my recent makes I could show you how I’d prefer to dress too 😉 wonderful to have great neighbours. We hadn’t had bad ones before! Xx

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