Thursday, 23 December 2010

Louisville, Tennessee

Hello there Gentle Reader from Louisville, Tennessee!  Please let me know how you found the Journal Cover Tutorial, was it too hard, not detailed enough, boring, useless, what?


Today, Gentle Readers, Mr G is at home to callers.  Also, he's still asleep, as befits a gentleman of Advanced Years, (that is, 451 tomorrow), and taking up an inordinate amount of the bed.  When we were first coupled, we had a double bed (well, I had a double bed, he had a king-sized futon which I refused to sleep on - how bad are they for your back, hmmm?) and we survived about six months before I insisted on buying something bigger, and made him ditch the Futon.  I think we would have been divorced before we were even married if we'd stayed in that double.  He likes to sleep with his elbows out, and rolls into the middle a lot.  I joke quite often about my eighth of the bed, but it's not really a joke.  I frequently wake up right on the edge, with just enough of the covers to stop me from freezing to death in the night.  


Tonight we are staying here before flying out at 6.00am (shudder) tomorrow to Perth... It's going to be a long, long day.  They are three hours behind us, of course, and so we will be arriving at 11.00am for us, but it will only be 8.00am in the wild West.  I plan to be in bed by 8.30pm, after we've done everything we need to do, such as, collecting the seafood, shopping for forgotten Christmas treats, buying wrapping paper Just In Case, buying Christmas Cards for people we didn't think about before, you know.  The usual Christmas last minute panic.  Only difference for us is that it's a different shopping centre, which is why everything will take just that little bit longer - trying to find the shops you know about in your own shopping centre is one thing, but in a foreign shopping centre?  Phew.  


In other fascinating news, the Christmas tree I made for Miss Felicity, at All Toile and No Reward, finally arrived in Bahrain, about a month after I shipped it:






At least now she'll have something Christmassy in her Porno Flat.  More info?  You'll have to read for yourselves!


And finally, in the fascinating news department, I started making Conchita the Chicken from the 'Sew It, Stuff it' book that was amongst the birthday loot - it's huge, but it's going to look very cute.  I promise pictures will be posted when it's done.  Just because that may be next year doesn't mean it won't happen... honest.


And now, the smell of Mr G's vegemite and honey toast is making me very hungry, so I'm off, off to the glamour of the kitchen, and from there, we shall see what develops.   Sporadic posts follow, as time and festivities allow.  


I wish you, my Gentle Readers, a very Festive Yuletide, with peace and joy for all.   Ciao, Buon Natale, Ciao Ciao!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

I must have been very good this year...

Because I got lots of lovely things for my birthday.  Mr G excelled himself and bought not one, not two, not three, not four, but five books!  And a necklace.  And two bunches of flowers.  Phew.  It's going to be a very busy christmas break, reading all of that lot.  Actually, I won't be reading number five, because it wasn't really a present, it was Mr Golightly's, and was just in there to round out the gifts & Mr G took it back immediately after I'd opened it.  He's a bit precious about Dr Who - there is of course a whole post in this, but that's for another day.


The necklace was of course the very beautiful pink coral & silver number I chose & paid for myself, but that doesn't distract, really.  No, really.


From My Best Friend and the Kidlets, I got a beautiful origami frog, from that wonderful shop in Mona Vale, Little Paper Lane, and my lovely Ma is saving hers up until we get there on Friday, when we're going to have a big combined present opening, because of course, Gentle Readers, in case we forgot, Friday is Mr Golightly's birthday.  Lucky chap.  


Other news:  Yesterday I  made a "Birthday Wishlist" Treasury, and included a cuff from Waterrose.  Her embroidered cuffs are exquisite, and I've been coveting (crash!) one of those for a while now... Rose has returned the favour by including my pink froggie, Petunia, in her Treasury.  And she sent me a nice note.  I wonder if that's part of the Treasury Etiquette I couldn't find out about on the Etsy website?  Hmmm.  


More other news:  Mr Golightly only has today to work, then he is off until the 6th of January, which is lovely, and we fly on Friday morning (at 6.00am, shudder) to the wild west to spend Christmas with My Lovely Ma and Hank, MGF Kaz & Az, the Hendy's and various animals:




So, for now, Gentle Readers, after my Frantic Friday, Swamped Saturday, Stunning Sunday and Manic Monday, I am going off to look into making an Owl, playing a little computer solitaire, and reading.  What a life, eh?

Ciao!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Yesterday was...

cold.  When I got up about 7.00am, it was 13C in Avalon.  That's the suburb next to us, people from Ocean View, New Jersey, because I just know you care all about Sunny (or not so much) Newport and its weather.  It also happens to be the closet suburb I can get information on from WeatherBug, which sits on my desktop.


windy.  I had a sloppy-joe on.  For people inside continental US, that's maybe what you call a sweatshirt?  


a long day.  Up at 7.00am (see, getting older now, losing my mind, repeating things.  Also, repeating things and losing my mind).  Out with My Best Friend and the Kidlets for shopping at Warringah Mall.  Warringah Mall is the biggest shopping centre within reasonable driving distance to me (read, 45 minutes on a bad day, 30 on a good day, 5 days before Christmas, what do you think?).  Why, in Ghod's name, did you go there, 5 days before Christmas?  Well, Gentle Readers, it's a sad, sad story.  I bought one of these for Mr Golightly's niece, and I've... misplaced it.  I know I got it home & I know it's here somewhere, but I can't find it.  Normally I'm very organised with gifts that have to be retained for some time until I can see the recipient in person, because I don't really like to do the mail-y thing if I know I'm going to see them again, which is why I had a souvenir bottle of Limoncello from Rome, 2008, in my cupboard for 2.5 years before it went off to its new home.


Anyway, I had to go & buy her another one, because otherwise the symmetry of the gift giving would have been shot to hell, and there's nothing worse than one sibling getting more presents than another, relative values mean nothing to children.  One of my worst Christmases ever (and there have been a few, just quietly) was the one where I got a guitar, and my sister got... everything else.  I had no idea how much a guitar cost.  Or that boardgames were so cheap.  And abundant.  And plentiful.  And fascinating.  And... not mine.  Still got some of those boardgames (still not mine).  Guitar long gone to Vinnies*.


Anyway, that took us until 2.30pm, we actually had to pay for an hour's parking ($5.00) before we whipped off to Mona Vale for Dental Floss (forgot it), Crewel Needles for the present bag, chocolate money for the Kidlets, a Handbag Butler for the present bag, ribbon, leather cord (don't ask), Muesli (for the best friend) and, finally, lunch.  We were still eating lunch as they closed up the coffee shop around us, lucky for us we're regulars and they don't think we're nuts for eating lunch at 3.00pm.


Then home for whole half hour to deal with mail, phone calls, a change of clothing (off with red angora cardi, on with said sloppy joe), then back up the hill to mind the Kidlets whilst MBF had her hair done:  



Bit worried about that for a while, but the end result was lovely!  And then, we met up with Mr Golightly who had been patiently waiting at home for me to return, to have dinner out, with much hilarity, and me calling young Master H "Helen" all night.  See, I'm older now, and losing my mind, because yesterday was:

My birthday!

Thanks to all involved for the calls, cards & gifts, there will definitely be return calls made today!  And now, Gentle Readers, it's time to go back to bed, because I'm older now and need my beauty sleep!

Ciao!


**aka Charity shop

Friday, 17 December 2010

Did you know...

There's an Annandale in Virginia, USA?  There's also one in Sydney.  They don't look much alike on Google Maps:


VA:


Sydney:


But I get visitors from both places!  Nice work you guys!  


I've been flat out like a lizard drinking, all day today, morning fart-arseing about, haircut at 10.30 (not sure about the fringe, but we'll see), lunch with my WMIL* and Mr G's niece Miss ALex, then off with Miss Alex to Warriewood for a trip into K-Mart, which wasn't as horrendous as I thought it might be (but boy that Christmas stuff looks picked over already and it's only the 17th!), then a  side trip into the Post Office to have some stuff weighed & my ID recorded in case those clove-filled Christmas Tree stars I'm sending to England (a bit late, I know) turn out to be exploding clove-filled Christmas Tree stars and they can trace it back to me, then to Wheeler Heights to drop off Miss Alex, then back to Mona Vale to buy food for the hordes for tomorrow, then a side trip to the sports store to pick up an alternative gift for Master Ethan because K-Mart had sold out of Pictureka, [goddess damn you K-Mart], then to Bilgola Plateau to check My Best Friend's mailbox because she's away, then to the butcher to pick up the meat which wasn't going to be ready before 4.00pm, then home to unload it all, then salads to make, then I got to sit down & have a cold drink.  Phew.


How was your day, Gentle Readers?


Ciao!




*Wonderful Mother-in-Law



Thursday, 16 December 2010

Hello Naperville! Hello Greenwich! Hello Boston MA!

This is beginning to sound a bit like "The Price is Right"... Naperville, Illinois, Come On Down!!!  No, that's mean.  I'm quite sure people reading this drivel appreciate being called out as having visited, even whilst trying to hide the dirty little secret from friends and family...


I have been molto occupato, Gentle Readers, which means "very busy".  Don't quite know why I feel the need to inflict the occasional Italian word on you, but Mr Golightly always speaks to me in Italian when he leaves messages on my phone, you know, on those rare occasions when Hell freezes over.  Ciao, Bello!


We had one of those yesterday, meeting for lunch in town.  Until yesterday I could count on the fingers of one hand how many times we'd had lunch together in the city, despite both working there for some years.  I think it's more the concept of stopping for lunch, rather than having an actual lunch with your actual spouse that gets him, you know how we Aussies are for working too hard.


Anyway, I met up with Mr G, and my nephew D, who teaches Divinity at a rather flash private school in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs.  Divinity, I hear you say?  Just as I am the only brown-eyed member of my family, he is the only Believer, with a capital B.  Anyway, I bought him two fabulous books for Christmas, both of which I coveted for myself (isn't that a Commandment I just broke?  Ouch.  Watch out for those shards of covetousness there on the floor!), from Abbey's, which is far and away Sydney's best bookshop - one of them was this little gem, Begat, The King James Bible and the English Language.  Fascinating stuff, even for a heathen like me.  The other one was gorgeous too, The Infinity of Lists, by Umberto Eco, a fantastic resource for a teacher and an artist, of which he is both... and we ate, too!


Then I traversed Sydney's Christmas Roads, made treacherous by short tempers, hot weather and overcrowding, to return to the sanity of my little house, and make this for My Best Friend:



It's actually all in one string, currently along the top of the glass doors between the front & back of the house, but I couldn't get close enough to show you the lovely fabrics or the letters, so I used Picnik to stitch it together.  I'm sure some of the Photoshop gurus out there could tell me an easier way, but this is OK.  Kind of...  

Anyway, it's the easiest type of bunting, 'cheats bunting' really.  I used a charm pack from Moda, by French General, and just cut the letters out & ironed them on using Vlisofix, then stitched each square and its backing onto my binding.  I do confess to making the binding from 2" strips of beautiful dark red spot, from Cottage Quiltworks... but the rest was pretty easy, in case you're thinking of attempting it.  

Tech Tip:

I buy my fonts from here, print them out and use a light box to trace each letter again on the back of the paper, then I put the vlisofix over the top, and draw them again onto the smooth side of the vlisofix.  Then I iron them onto the wrong side of the letter fabric, cut them out, peel off the backing & iron them onto the bunting fabric .  Ecco, letters!

I've just made a Happy Birthday banner for Saturday, when the Hordes* will be descending to celebrate the birthdays of Mr G and I (mine on Monday, his on Friday), and I will hang the 'Break the Rules, Bunting' as well, so we should look reasonably festive.  That's it for my christmas decorating, I'm afraid to say.  

And, that's it for me for today.  I need to go & do some mad cleaning up, in anticipation of the Hordes coming on Saturday, finish the bunting, finish wrapping Christmas presents for the Kidlets and Mr G, and then a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down are called for!

Ciao!


*Hordes - various family members

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

More Hello's (hellos, helloes, hello-s???)

Hello to Medford, Massachusetts, Fort Lauderdale, Florida and... Sydney.  I'm hoping the Medford, Massachusetts, and West Roxbury, Massachusetts people know each other and are excitedly ringing each other up going "she's posted again, quick quick", but somehow I doubt it, even if they are only 30 minutes & 15 miles apart.  


Yes, Gentle Readers, I looked at Google Maps to find out where they are.  Geography has never been my strong point, I must confess.  When we first came out to Australia 357 years ago, we changed from the migrant hostel school to a 'real' school just in time for the mid-year exams they have here in June - exams, I hear you say, in the middle of Summer break?  Well, Northern Hemisphere Gentle Readers, in Australia, June is right at the beginning of Winter and holidays are not generally taken until later in the year, when we can all go skiing (when it gets down to, oooh, 15C!).  Luxury.


However, back to my story - I managed to get the map of Australia upside down, because I was eight and a half years old and had no idea what shape Australia was, and got all the State capitals wrong.  I don't think I even knew that Australia had States, because that's not a concept England has, and I didn't really know anything about the US, in those days, except that it's where Pete Seeger came from.  Bit like these people, really... but at least I had a reasonable excuse!


Anyway, it scarred me, geographically speaking, for life, and to this day, the only two geographical things I know is that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and that the two landlocked countries in South America are Bolivia and Paraguay, and I used that in a crossword just last week.


The migrant hostel school, I hear you say?  Yes, Gentle Readers, we came out here as Assisted Passage Migrants.  We were Ten Pound Poms.  We flew with Qantas, and it was the first time on a plane of any kind for all of us except Dad, who'd been to various exotic locations with the RAF, in the 1960's.  The plane broke down in Iran, which wasn't as terrifying as it sounds, although going through immigration & being confronted by a man with a sub-machine gun was pretty scary - the airline put us up in a nice hotel, they showed us round the city and fed us, but it meant we were a day late, and the man who was supposed to meet us at the airport to drive us to the Hostel had long gone.  


My mother still talks about the exchange rate rip-off and the taxi rip-off - pounds sterling were worth about $3.00 but for some reason the airport currency exchange gave them almost parity.  Imagine that, an airport currency exchange ripping you off!  Anyway, they had to get a taxi from Sydney Airport to the migrant hostel, 77kms, or about 50 miles, or an hour & 15 minutes.  Apparently the taxi driver charged them $200, and they had no idea this was a huge rip-off.  The fare would only be about $220 today!


Anyway, here's what I looked like in 1970 - this was taken by Dad  in our one bedroomed flat, which we had moved to after escaping the clutches of the hostel (trust me, one bedroom was better than the nightmare of the hostel!  One day I will write a post - why I am slightly weird, and how Unanderra Migrant Hostel is all to blame):



Look at the hem on that dress.  So thrifty, and I'm still wearing cardigans.  I think my mother knitted that for me, it was Aran, with leather buttons.  Just the thing for the Australian Winter, a sleeveless cotton dress and an Aran cardigan.  You can tell we had no idea what was coming...


Here's a slightly later one when we'd bought more suitable clothing... kind of.  This was a pants suit made from a nasty kind of scratchy polyester.  It had patch pockets on the pants made out of the same stuff as the top.  I loved those shoes, though.  They were mustard-y brown, with three straps across the top, a square toe and a little heel.  Perfect for a ten year old.




I think this is where my love of natural fibres came from, an Australian summer spent in scratchy polyester!  Ow!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Hello out there

Hello Kellyville!  Hello West Roxbury, Massachusetts!  Greetings from Sunny Newport.



I made this little guy on Saturday.  One of the advantages of not working is that I don't have to rush around on the weekend doing loads of washing - but, I hear you say, why don't you wash in the week?  You have all that beautiful sunshine and all those long days!  Well, Gentle Readers, the washing machine '12' cycle takes 45 minutes.  If I get home at 7.30, it's 8.15pm before it goes out, and you know what?  It's dark then and I don't fancy going out in the dark to fight off the mosquitos and spiders to hang out the washing!  Poor Mr Golightly left work at 5.20pm yesterday, and arrived home 'early', at 7.00pm.  That's 1 hour and 40 minutes to get home, on a good day.  See why I don't want to work in the city any more?

Anyway, back to the little guy.  I made him from this book, but the pattern was so fiddly at 100% that I took it to the nice man in Mona Vale and had it enlarged to 150% - still fiddly as hell, but slightly more manageable.  That's a terrible photo, isn't it?  Must try again...

Anyway, it's for MBF's son, H, who was the Dux of Year 7 at his school.  What a fantastic achievement, which deserved some form of squishy recognition.  Hope he likes them both - he already has the smaller, slightly not so well made version, and he can have this one as the parent.  I love the vintage button for his/her nose, it's a great touch.  Ideas for names?  Apply below.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may recognise the fabric.  I love that sock monkey stuff.  Should have bought two metres whilst in Perth...

What else?  I feel slightly under the weather today, my right eye has been producing all sorts of green crusty stuff & it's a bit puffy, and I'm delightfully wearing a t-shirt & shorts which are both waaaaaaaaaaaaay too big for me - you know how the drawstring on your shorts can only go so far before it starts grabbing at the material in the waist?  Yep, it's there.  Hooray for me - but I look like I'm wearing bombay bloomers!  

What else?  It's 1.02, so time for lunch and a quick check of the mailbox.  I ordered a pattern from an Etsy shop some time in November & it hasn't arrived yet... and I found my birthday present from Mr G at Palm Beach Markets on Sunday - isn't the way?  I used to take him into Victoria Buckley Jewellery in the Strand Arcade & he would pay for whatever I pointed at, so I guess it's the same principle.  I can't show you a picture because these lovely people don't have a website, but I will drop the 'E' word at them when I go to pick it up this week...

That's it for now.  I would love some of you to try the Journal tutorial & let me know how it works for you, so I can improve it.  And now, I'm off to ham & cheese sandwiches for lunch & the rest of Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince, which I started yesterday & had to stop when Mr G came home & wanted NCIS.  Accio!

Ciao!

Journal Cover Tutorial

This will work for any size journal - be careful with your measurements and write them down!!  Caveat - if your journal is less than 6"/15.25cm wide, you will need to adjust the size of your flaps!


Measuring:
Measure your journal from the front cover, moving left round the spine to the back cover.  Do not include the pages at the front.  This measurement is the width.
Measure your journal from top to bottom.  This measurement is the height.


Fabric cutting:
For your focus fabric, add 6"/15.25 cm to the width and 1"/2.54cm to the height.  If your journal is 12" X 6", cut your focus fabric 18"/45.75cm X 7"/17.80cm.


For your lining fabric, add 1"/2.54cm to the width, and 1"/2.54cm to the height.  If your journal is 12" X 6", cut your lining fabric 13" X 7".


For the batting, I used iron-on pellon to make it less bulky, and also easier to work with.  I try to cut the pellon 1/2" or 1/4" smaller all round than the width and height of the journal so you don't have bulky seams.  I ironed the pellon on to the lining fabric.  Using slightly smaller sized iron-on pellon also makes it easier to find and align the centres of the focus and lining fabrics when you are constructing.






Put 1/4"/6mm (1/2"/12mm total) double seams on the flap ends, and 1/4"/6mm single seams on the lining ends.  If you want to have double seams on the lining ends, it's your call but it's not really necessary (unless you're the Peppermint Penguin, who will probably turn the cover inside out to see how it was done!).


If you want to decorate the cover, do it before you sew anything.  Make sure you mark the dimensions of the cover with washout pen, so you don't lose any of the decoration into the spine or the flaps:




The first two of these I made required additional stitching at the bottom as I was over-careful and left too much room - the fit should be snug.  If it's so tight once it's finished that it lifts the cover, put an elastic band round the cover for a couple of days until the fabric stretches to fit (which it will).  


Making up:


Wrap the focus fabric round the journal, and mark at the top (with washout pen) where the flaps sit.  Make sure the flaps are evenly distributed around the book, you don't want one to be huge & the other one tiny.  



Find and mark the centre of the focus fabric.  Pin the flaps into place, RS together.  Find & mark the centre of the lining, then place your lining fabric RS down on top of the (WS up) flaps, aligning the centre marks.  You will have three layers - lining, flaps, focus.  Pin all into place, and sew with a generous 1/4"/6mm seam allowance, all the way across the top.  




If you want to add a ribbon bookmark, do it before you sew it up.  I recommend putting it on the back (the RHS of the cover), but again, it's your call.  Make sure it's long enough to come out the bottom, otherwise there's no point.




Turn the cover out, and check for fit.  Poke your flap corners out with a point turner or knitting needle, taking care not to stick holes in your cover.  Your flaps should now be RS out, your lining & focus should be WS together, with the bottom seam open.




Insert the journal, pin for fit, then take it out.  If you want, you can mark the entire stitching line in wash-out marker.  Stitch the bottom seam:



Be careful not to catch your bookmark in the bottom seam, unless you are using elastic (hey!  Great idea!) and you want it caught!  You should now have a tube.  




As you can see here, the lining is ever so slightly larger than the cover.  Not sure why this happened, but you can cheat like I did; just pink off the ends (very annoying if you've made the effort to double-seam them!) to make them the same size.  The lining should be either exactly the same finished size as your cover (without the flaps), or just smaller.  


Turn it all out, through the opening in the tube.  Insert your journal again, taking care not to bend its covers, and check for fit.  This journal is a bit tricky in that it has rounded corners, but it didn't affect the overall fit.






Remove journal again (d'oh), press carefully, re-insert journal, wrap beautifully and hand to lucky recipient.


Questions?  Comments?  More info?  Less info?  Tell all, Gentle Readers.  I'd love to see your finished items... 


Ciao!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

OK, so maybe I lied?

The very lovely Katie, from Katiecrackernuts issued me a challenge to reuse one of my collected embroidery frames as a Christmas Wreath, thereby denying Lincraft the opportunity to perpetuate the wasteful production of polystyrene, a material which will not break down or decompose for 1,000 millenia. Or so I'm told. 


The story right here: katiecrackernuts: IT'S A WRAP ... AND A WREATH (WELL, DER)

So I took the challenge, and here's the end result.  I like to think of it as the minimalist's christmas wreath:




And the text, for the visually impaired amongst you, Gentle Readers:




Ho Ho Ho.


Now, about that journal...







Oh Canada!

Do you remember, Gentle Readers, how dubious I was when I first put that Feedjit thingy on the bottom of my blog, yes, yes, it's still there, tracking how many times I go & re-read my own stuff to make sure I haven't put 'decorted' in there again (prize available for first person to spot it & report back when I did it...), but it also tracks other people who come to visit!  And (sentence starts with preposition, must be important), Gentle Readers, it does!  I've had some visitors from Canada!  And America!  And London!  And Sydney!  


Hello!  Welcome!  Come in, sit down, no, not there, no, that's my chair, sorry, that's actually my chair, would you mind not sitting in my chair, get out of my chair, fuck off, go on, get out, go home.  Ooops.


Hello!  I don't know who you are but you're very welcome.  No, really.  I don't care where you sit.  If you're lucky, you'll find a seat not covered in magazines, or fabric, or 3-day old cereal bowls, or old newspapers.  Some days.  Good thing we don't have a cat, isn't it?


Anyway, I've been reading some new blogs, and leaving comments, as you do, and I suspect these lovely visitors, who aren't sitting in my chair, are from there.  It's a nice incestuous world, the blog world.  Everybody seems to know everybody else.  I went from Gerald Gee, who puts the most fantastic 1930's music & fashion on his blog, to Tooting Squared, to Mr London Street, to Whoopee, to Meetzorp.  I feel like I've made a whole new bunch of friends.  Which is not, of course, to say that you lot are on notice, oh no, not really.  The people who let you into their lives via their blogs are the best kind of friends, because, for the most part, you never meet them in the flesh, so they can't find out really how uninteresting you are  I am.  


Anyway, in keeping with the vain attempt to link this blog to some crafty stuff, which was one of the reasons for its existence, here's some pics of how I've spent most of Tuesday & Wednesday:






The journal cover was custom made to fit the journal I bought from this absolutely fantastic new shop in Mona Vale, Little Paper Lane.  I also bought beautiful wrapping paper, ribbon and card, for Miss Nelly's birthday, which was Tuesday, but which I won't be celebrating with her until Friday - she's the lucky recipient of the Quilt, but I also made her the bird, which is stuffed full of lavender... here's the birthday pile:




Beautiful, huh?  I love how LIttle Paper Lane's signature colour (almost duck-egg blue, almost turquoise) is the same as Miss Nelly's.  


And, Gentle Readers, I promise the next post will be the tutorial on how to make the journal cover to fit any size journal... and now, it's raining, so I'm hopeful of having Miss Nelly's mother, My Best Friend, round for coffee because she doesn't work in the rain, and you know what?  I'll even clear off my chair for her.  


Ciao!





Tuesday, 7 December 2010

OMG, I've finished it!

The top, that is.  Not the quilting or the binding, just the top.  Needless to say there were a number of hiccups along the way, one of which was to discover I had inadvertently left off an entire set of 6 blocks, so I had to make individual sashing, slice them up some & reattach them to the sashing - it does look a teeny bit odd that one of the horizontal sets of sashing is a single piece, rather than the sliced up bits the rest of them are, but hey, will Miss 11-today* care?  I doubt it.


I have sewn on the borders, and on Saturday I will take it to the lovely ladies at Cottage Quiltworks, and they will send it onwards to the 'quilter lady', and she will turn it into a masterpiece.  Then I will get it back, stitch the binding on & it can go to its new home* looking like a quilt, instead of piles of fabric.  


So, Gentle Readers, were there any Lessons learnt?  As MBF used to say, "you bet your sweet bippy" there were.  No, I don't know what a bippy is either.  Don't ask, don't tell.



  1. Don't try to cut the sashing by eye.  Use a ruler!
  2. Don't try to cut the sashing in batches - find a big space & cut it in one go, even if it means paying to use a table at the quilting fabric shop for 3 hours.
  3. Measure everything.  The biggest mistake was not checking that all the blocks were the same size, so I ended up having to insert another row of sashing to make it fit, because I'd left 1/2" on the end of a block.
  4. Learn to count.  If I'd been able to count past 6 I could have saved myself lots of work this morning.
  5. Check your bobbin periodically.  Nothing more frustrating than sewing on the sashing for the third time only to find the bobbin ran out 1" after you started (suggestion:  buy a machine that beeps when the bobbin is almost empty?)
  6. Don't sew when you're tired.  It never works.
Oh, you want a picture?  OK.

This is what we started with:







And this is how it came out:


Of course you can see where it's wonky, and if you count up to the fourth row on the left, you can see where I had to insert another piece of sashing to get it to meet - the culprit was the previous row of blocks, which were all 1/2" longer than they really should have been.  Measure, measure, measure.  "Measure thrice, cut once".  Nag nag nag.  Blah blah blah.

Anyway, once it's been quilted, I will give you an update.  Apart from the wonky sashing, I'd quite like to do it again with different colours - remember these?


They're still sitting in my sewing room, dustbound... hmm.  Maybe after Christmas?  And, for those of you who just hang on my every word of domestic wonderfulness, I swept the floor in the sewing room.  Again.  Yes, I know.  Sickening, isn't it?  Here's the proof:


And now, Gentle Readers, my beautician has invited me to meet Dr Ho, who is going to talk about Chemical Peels.  I am off to enjoy a glass of champagne and good company, and come home with my original skin.  Some clever soul could come up with a pun based entirely around the concept of original skin, but today, it is not I.  

Ciao!

*PS Happy Birthday Nelly!

Monday, 6 December 2010

I am too late?

To stop what I'm doing and do something completely different?  Do people get to have two sea-changes in a lifetime?  When I was 37 I was working in IT, but without any qualifications, so off I went & did a IT Diploma (Analyst/Programmer, if anybody cares) - it was useful, and  the skills I learnt are just as valid now as then, but what's changed is the job focus - in the '90's I worked in what's known as 'Production Support', but is now known as 'Business as usual' - keeping the lights on & making sure that people can get their money out of the ATM's when they want it (snigger snigger NAB)...


Now you get to 'analyse' people's requirements, write process flows & talk to idiots who don't know how their products work but need you to work it out for them so they can tell you  how to change it.  It's more like hand-holding than analysis.


Gentle Readers, I've had enough of this.  I've seen an ad looking for an Upholstery apprentice.  I know it says "suits school leaver".  I am a school leaver.  It was just a while ago.  I'm reliable, I'm keen, I won't take sickies, I'll work hard.  Just because I'm 30 years older than the school leaver you were thinking of, doesn't mean I can't do a good job, right?  


Mr Golightly is somewhat dubious, because this will be my second sea-change, and he doesn't do upheaval very well, but really, I'm not working now, so what have I got to lose?  The August Institution I work for pays really well, there are great benefits and it's so secure it's like they've shackled you to your desk, but my heart just isn't in it anymore.  


I want to do something creative.  I want to spend 30 minutes driving to work instead of 90 minutes on a bus.  I want to leave home at 7.00 & be home by 4.30 instead of 7.30pm.  I want to be able to go for a walk after work.  I want to learn how to do this.  Do I want too much?





Saturday, 4 December 2010

Fabric, birds, fun!

One of the things I love about going West, young woman, is the prospect of new and interesting fabric shops... and Textile Traders didn't disappoint!


These are my finds:








All nice 100% cottons, and perfect for the Christmas tree decorations I'm making for some people I can't actually name at this moment in case they're reading this...
I made a couple of things too:






A6 size journal covers - these take about 30 minutes to make and when I come back from the Golden West, Gentle Readers, I will do a tutorial because they were fun to make, and very easy.

I also got some bird watching in:


This is a Bronzewing pigeon, native to WA, having a mid-morning drink at the birdbath...
and watching for sudden movement - 


And this is a wattlebird, so called because they have 'wattles' on their necks, rather than loving or living in wattles...


And we had some fun with the kookaburras:





And tomorrow we come home, so more on Monday.  Ciao!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Warning - promotional material follows...

So, Gentle Readers, here I am in the Golden West, enjoying the heat.  It was 40C here yesterday, but no humidity, so apart from a slightly baked feeling, I'm coping.  Previous posts have rambled on about the heat and how much I dislike it, but really, if you're wearing 3/4 linen pants, a singlet and an overshirt of the thinnest cotton, how bad could it be?  I also had a pedicure yesterday, courtesy of my Lovely Ma, as a bit of an early birthday present - and so my toenails are now bright red, and my feet have been returned to the pristine state they were in at my birth, apart from the bunion, the scars, and the tan lines from that day 2 years ago when I went out at lunchtime & my feet got sunburnt.  Did I mention I don't go out in the sun much?  


Anyway, this probably segues nicely into Maggie Alderson... Maggie writes wrote a lovely column for the Sydney Morning Herald, full of interesting observations about fashion, people and clothes, which in my mind is not the same thing at all as 'fashion'.  Fashion, for mine, is that rarefied world of Parisian catwalks, tall skinny women wearing impossible creations of organza and silk, ridiculously high heels and hideous hair, and short fat men coming out to bow happily to audiences who know that perhaps 300 women world-wide will ever have enough money to buy these fashions.


The rest of us do department stores, little boutiques, chain stores, online shopping, vintage shopping, raid our mother's wardrobes, steal our husbands/boyfriends shirts... that's clothing, not fashion.


Anyway, Maggie has always had this eye, she makes observations about clothing that, when aired, you and I might go "Oh yes, now I see it", but left to our own devices, we could see but never really identify and analyse, much less talk about in an amusing and entertaining way.  So, the bods in charge of the Good Weekend magazine, which comes free with the Saturday edition of the SMH, have decided to revamp it, and Maggie's column has been dumped after 12 years.  I think I'm going to cancel my subscription, because frankly, Gentle Readers, apart from the travel section (in which the same places appear again and again, slightly reformatted to trick the less observant amongst us into thinking it's new), there's not so much in there that I want to read now.


On the up side, that's quite a lot of paper out of the recycling bin.  And, (note, sentence starts with a preposition, must be important...) Maggie sent me an email (shall I say that again, Gentle Readers, just for emphasis???  Maggie sent me an email Maggie sent me an email Maggie sent me an email Maggie sent me an Email) to say that she has a new blog, Maggie Alderson Style Notes so I can still get my Saturday fix.  Something else worth getting out of bed for, and with Maggie's help, out of the PJ's.


And now, because it's only 6.30am here, I'm going to have a nap.  


Ciao!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Flying high


So, Gentle Readers, here I am in the Qantas lounge at Sydney Airport, learning why my flights cost so much money - they've got whizbang new Apple terminal thingys here, free internet, all manner of reading material and even free plastic things full of hunny.  Can't beat that, really. 

I'm winging my way westward today, to be in Perth for my lovely Ma's birthday, which is next Tuesday.  From our house, it's about an hour and 20 minutes on a good day to the Airport.  Of course, my flight being at 10.00am meant I could leave home at 8.00am and come pretty close to missing it, or leave home at 6.30am and spend some quality time *snort* by myself in the lounge, eating stale bread & hunny and reading the paper.  Or creating a delight of the written kind for you to enjoy... so of course, here it is.

I was a bit disturbed to learn that Qantas has removed all check-in desks of any kind from the departure terminal - now you have to check yourself in (again), print out your own bag sticker, wrestle with that sticker to get it onto your suitcase so that it won't fall off, remember to peel off the two little stickers, one for your boarding pass, and one for your suitcase, so that when that suspicious person tries to run off with your suitcase, you can prove its yours because the stickers match - then you have to wheel it over to the conveyer belt, and then check it in again, do all the declaration thingys again, and then watch as it disappears off into the Ether, never to be seen again.  At least when you had a person do it for you, you could always go back & say "but Dierdre put it on the conveyer for me"...

I did wonder what happened to the jobs of all those people who used to do all this stuff for us - like so many other jobs, swept away by the advances of technology, I guess.  Think about it - typesetters, ledger clerks, car builders, hand knitters, lace makers, textile weavers... what's left?  The jobs that can't yet be replaced by machines - the thinking kinds, those that require analysis, deep thought, interaction with humans (doctors?), fine motor skills (mechanics, plumbers, cabinet makers) and brute force, but the careful kind.  Is that any oxymoron?

Anyway, I did promise a post about big words, but for now I'm letting it percolate in my backbrain - I haven't forgotten, honest.  Also, I have photos to post of my recent adventures in pouch-making land, and perhaps more Hunter Valley photos, if you aren't bored with them yet...

Here's one I made earlier:

Moon Mountain, Hunter Valley

And that's it for now.  I'm sure that as the week progresses there will be New! and Exciting! things to report, but for now, think of me stuck in the tin box that flies for the next four and a half hours.

Ciao!