The Mauve Marshmallow or A Formal Dress for a 12 Year Old

Well, the time has come. My daughter is having her Yr 6 School Formal at the end of this month. If you are one of those highly organised mum’s you did all your research on the internet and found you can buy a flower girl dresses up to girl’s size 12, from Hong Kong for around $25, no postage, in any colour of the rainbow. Here is an example of what I call the mauve marshmallow dress.

The brief I got from daughter was periwinkle blue, long and flowy. We could not find anything on the internet that met the brief exactly. Then 21 year old son pipes up and says in front of daughter, “Mum, don’t buy off the internet, what if it looks terrible on her?”

This meant a trip to our local formal dress shop. The shop had forewarned me that they did not have much stock for 12 year olds, but that some styles in an adult 8 sizing may work. I was a little stunned to see the styles that she was offering me. She would say “this one was purchased by a Yr 6 mum for xxxx school” and I would shudder. I would look at the price tag and shudder some more. (The average 12 year old does not have a lot of call for a formal dress and so to spend upwards of $250 on a dress that would be worn less than 3 times seemed outrageous to me.)

I informed her very nicely that my daughter was not a street walker and asked if we could look at something long, blue and flowy. We found a bit of a bargain in cobalt blue (daughter’s other favourite colour) with a one shoulder adjustable strap (one shoulder’s all the rage at the moment apparently), ruching on the front bodice and shirring with a zip on the back bodice and then flowy from the hips.

We then found some funky silver chain in my sewing nik naks to use as the other strap. After removing 20 cm of excess hem on the under and over dress, plus hemming about 3 metres by hand, then teaming this with a handmade co-ordinating long silk scarf made in a silk paint class 2 years ago, we will have a very decent frock which can be cut down to cocktail length as she grows older.

We got some simple silver sandals to go with the dress and I will do a mani/pedi the night before with clear nail polish. My daughter has long straight hair down to her bottom. On the day of the formal, daughter is booked in for  a steam pod, trim and some ringlet curls around the face, will dress at the hair salon, throw on some lip gloss and go straight to the formal from there.

My daughter’s high fashion switch has not yet been flicked.
I hope this formal does not flick it!!

 

 

 

Extreme Makeover – 42% More of My Life to Live

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9c313-extreme_makeover-showSome years ago, at 40 something I read an interesting statistic that was the trigger for my personal reinvention. It was that “the average Australian woman at 50 years old today still has 42% of her life to live.”

At that time I was 100kgs, always working,always dressing in black, never making time for me.

But perhaps I should step back in time to 1999 when I was stressed out strategic marketer for the largest private hospital in the state. I never imagined that I would be earning a living making and marketing wooden rocking horses to baby boomers.

I had enjoyed nearly 3 years of managing events large and small for Specialists, GP’s, doctor’s secretaries and staff . However, the job was demanding more and more hours and I was newly single with a 4 year old son and there were 25 year olds with the qualifications and no children who would happily put in the hours. So I set about to find my replacement from among those ranks and did so by early 1999.

On a 5 acre property with busy Windsor Road frontage near to Windsor with two, fifty year old houses, a shed and a huge pool, my then partner and I lived in the smaller house, rented out the larger house and made rocking horses in the shed.

By the June of that same year we were making enough money from the rocking horses for me to risk resigning my job at the hospital. In the space of a week I had surrendered my title, my hard won salary and sold my BMW.  After 6 weeks of adrenalin withdrawal migraines and a small identity crisis, I set out to make and market rocking horses full time.

After many years thinking I would never have another child, I had a beautiful daughter in October 2000.  She turned out to be a copy book baby and child, who today loves many of the things her parents do—antiques, rural living, farm animals, all things French, people and making things.

Christmas 2000 in the workshop, she was 3 months old in a front baby pouch on my chest asleep while I was putting the finishing touches on Christmas rocking horse orders.  To her the workshop was just another room of the house.

I was 12 weeks pregnant with her when we did our first 16-day Royal Easter Show. She was 6 months when we did our second Royal Show and 18 months when we did our last. She did the Adelaide Royal Show with us at 3 and has done many Timber and Working with Wood Shows.

 

My Little Pathological Marketer

To say she is socially adept and a pathological marketer would be an understatement. At one Timber Show in Canberra she boldly informed the Renapur Leather Dressing demonstrator polishing her shoes that she “could make a rocking horse at our place and stay at our B & B and have scrambled eggs, egg in the shell, omelette or flat eggs for breakfast.”

 

I have shown my porcelain doll and pram collection to many tour groups over the years and had my developed patter which rolled swiftly off my tongue without too much brain-effort. One day when she was about 6, I overheard her explaining the prams and dolls to a school friend – my patter verbatim!

It’s was good to know that when my marketing mouth got tired she could step into the breech.