Friday, March 30, 2012


We had a tap performance last Saturday at a local primary school fete, and (once again) it felt like our Best Show Ever.  This outdoor performing thing, we know how to do it now. All the dancers and dances were very well received, we were applauded and cheered heartily and you couldn't help seeing that we'd drawn an excellent sized crowd and they all had great big smiles on their faces as they watched us.


I think there are a few reasons why this particular performance went so well, namely:

  • The primary school we were performing at is just lovely, their fete is lovely and they therefore draw a lovely crowd.  The sort of people who probably appreciate a dance school where the kids have genuine rather than showbiz smiles on their faces, where the moves are age appropriate and the stylings are gender-neutral, and nobody gets upset if the littlies stare vaguely into space while their teacher does all the actual tapping.


  • This is our 6th performance at this particular fete, so we really knew what to expect. There were NO technical problems. The boards went down easily and quickly, the ipod/sound system worked, no tap shoes were forgotten: in other words, we were very well prepared.


  • The choreography was pitched at the right level in terms of audience entertainment and what the dancers were capable of performing and remembering - the remembering part is not to be underestimated when you're tap-dancing!


  • I didn't talk at this one. Sometimes I think I should, you know, talk my school up, but I never feel I do a very good job of it and this show I decided to let the kids' dancing speak for itself.  That's what people want to see, right?  Not the crazy purple lady burbling on, just the cute kiddies and their tap skillz.


  • My injured foot didn't play up.  All week I'd been nursing a sore left foot, and ended up having an x-ray for a suspected stress fracture in the 5th metatarsal.  Happily, it turned out to be just tendonitis in that area, and coddling it all week was probably a very good thing (my feet don't get much rest otherwise) because, as I expected, when it came to performance time, a rush of adrenaline took over and I completely forgot about my sore foot.  I was hugely relieved to find that my foot felt absolutely fine afterwards, and in fact didn't start hurting again until the next tap lesson on the Monday.  But it is mending, and school holidays will do it a world of good.


  • Finally, and I think most importantly, the tap kids are so ace.  From the adorable Littlies who hold my hand and get slightly stage-struck but who melt the audience's heart with their cuteness, the Beginners who sort of know what to do (but haven't quite mastered doing it all at the same time) who smile and jump around with adorable enthusiasm, the More Than Beginners who are bursting with pride at how they are doing fancier footwork now and can't wait to show everybody, the Intermediates who I think of as my Broadway class because they possess skills and aplomb, and finally the Advanced Group who are starting to really wow the crowds with how good they are and are giving the other groups (and parents of the younger tappers) something to aspire to.  I always say it, but it's true: I have the nicest families tapping with me.  I love those tap kids.

Thanks as always to my Number One Crew: production manager Nell and head roadie Fixit, and to all the wonderful tap families who came and danced. More photos here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Romper Stomper

Cherub's Grade 3 concert is next week, and the drama teacher decided she wanted Cherub's class to be dressed in rompers.  Easy enough for 8 year old girls, completely impossible for 8 year old boys.  Not only are there none for sale new or in op-shops, you can't even find a sewing pattern for them. 

Cue Romper Stomper to the rescue. Drafted a pattern, knocked some up for Cherub. 


Easy-peasy, as it turned out. 


So in a fit of community spirit I sent out an email to the rest of the class, saying if people wanted me to make a pair for their sons, I'd do it if they gave me the fabric.  Nine other parents gratefully accepted the offer.  Most of them managed to provide me with fabric too.

Guess what I've been doing in all my spare time, and what I'll be doing all day Sunday?  (three down, 6 to go...)


(I also made this frock, which I think is the best thing I've ever sewn, although it's a bit hard to tell from this lousy self-portrait.)


I don't know who decided 8year old boys couldn't wear rompers, I think they're all going to look completely adorable in them!


PS. My house looks like the wreck of the Hesperus (isn't that a fantastic saying?) and is likely to remain so until the rompers are finished.  We stage mothers have our priorities, you know.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Cure

Diagnosis: The Patient presented as run-down and stressed, with the following symptoms : low energy, uncertain temper, bad skin, lank hair, sore back.

Prescribed Treatment: A weekend away with some carefully chosen companions.


  • Companions must all be funny, kind, thoughtful, good at sharing and talking/listening, fine cooks with a modicum (or more) of crafting skills. 
  • Accommodation should be equipped with a large crafting room, a luxurious bath, proximity to local massage facilities, plenty of delicious treats and lovely views.


Result: Patient has returned to her life in Melbourne feeling relaxed, revived and restored to full good humour. She has also managed to come home with a finished object.  NB. Although everyone else was very productive, one finished object was held to be plenty in this case because:
(a) Patient is a slow sew-er [that is really hard for me to say and always comes out sew slower]
(b) Patient was trying a new pattern [Cordelia from the latest Ottobre but made into a top due to lack of fabric, and millions of thanks to Sue for coaching me through pattern-speak] 
(c) Patient kept disappearing to have baths, massages or to make the white chocolate cheesecake.

 (The top is properly finished now, the patient sewed the buttons on at her kids' swimming lesson.)

Thanks and love to the fabulous girls who made it such a blissful retreat : Jenny, Iona, Kate, Sue and organisers extraordinaire Suse and Janet.  More photos here.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Where Have All The Bath Bombs Gone?

Did you know that nobody has baths anymore?  So the nice lady at the quaint pharmacy informed me when I told her how much trouble I'd been having finding something bubbly and restorative to put in my bathwater. You can buy odd-flavoured kids concoctions (banana flavour anyone? I don't think so!) or you can buy shower gel, but bath salts, bath oils, bath bombs or just plain old-fashioned girly bubble-bath seem to have disappeared from the shelves.  If you're a bath-lover like me, it's very annoying! Particularly when I am about to go for a girls' weekend at Sewjourn where there is a fabulous bathtub waiting for me.  However, the lady at the quaint pharmacy came up trumps (I'd gone there on a recommendation) and I have some muscle-relaxing juniper bubble-bath in my luggage now. Phew!

So yes, I'm off to Crarf Camp tomorrow after the morning tap classes.  I can't wait. I have only the vaguest plans for what I might craft there, but that is fine.  I shall work it out when I'm sitting at that great big work table at Sewjourn surrounded by my gorgeous Craft Camp Posse; in between the delicious meals, the relaxing bath and the massage, natch.  Because what I'm really looking forward to is the rest and revive.  The beginning of this year has been frantic for me: the change to our routine caused by Fixit's new roster (one week days, one week evenings) is still feeling very demanding to my energy levels and head space.  In particular, working out how to get Climber to & from soccer training twice a week when neither parent is home. Plus my tap school is doing very well, better than ever, and of course I am not complaining about that in the least, but it is Just Me doing it all so it takes its toll.  It is not surprising that the only two foot injuries I've ever had in my dancing career have come in the last 6 months!

Off with the tap shoes and on with the needlework, then.  At the very least I'll get more work done on my alphabet sampler


See you when I get back, all rested and relaxed. Cx

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Tie me kangaroo down sport

One of the things I like about our school is that it doesn't have a uniform.  I know some parents say a uniform is easier, but my kids are male and easygoing and we've never once had a clothing dispute, so this argument cuts no ice with me.  It would make my life harder, I reckon. I'd have to make sure a uniform was cleaned and possibly ironed, and it would cost  money, unlike the bulk of hand-me-down clothing my kids get around in.  And I'm a bit anti-uniform on ideological grounds too; uniforms seem to me repressive tools of corporate branding and homogenisation.  This is obviously because I am the sort of person who expresses myself via my clothing, and usually the message I'm expressing is: I really like purple.  Fortunately the high school we're looking at for Climber has just changed their uniform from navy blue to purple, thereby making it slightly more acceptable to me.

Anyway, at our non-uniform school, it was school photo day today. In terms of appearance, I had the kids wash their hair the night before and this morning asked them to pick out a nice t-shirt.   Climber came and consulted over his choice, but Cherub knew exactly what he wanted to wear: a tie or bow-tie, because and I quote ties and bow-ties are cool.


And actually, although I absolutely hated wearing a tie at his age to school, when I look at him in his get-out, I thought he looked very cool indeed.  Apparently quite a number of kids at school were rather impressed as well.


Also, for the class photo he and his best friend were consigned to the front row of seats (neither of them are tall) but Cherub got to sit dead centre because of his tie.  I was speaking to a friend who elected to wear a tie to school photo day many years ago, and he said he got beaten up for it.  Tie-ms have changed.