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.  


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.


Thursday, 25 November 2010

No news from here...

Just more happy pics - I was busily taking pictures of the gloriously green Hunter Valley on Sunday (did I mention, Gentle Readers, that it's as green as I've ever seen it?  That would be a good name for a book, don't you think?  "How Green was the Hunter".  Might be a best seller. I should write it.  Ahem.), and the pooch, the very gorgeous Zoe, decided to run into my shot just as I clicked the button.

She's got excellent timing, that dog:

So of course I had to take a proper picture of her - dogs are normally hard to photograph because they never want to sit still, and they never look at you when you've got the camera in your hand (with the possible exception of Zeb, who knew she was a movie star, and knew how to hold her chin and knew when to smile and how to work the red carpet)

So I persuaded Zoe to do the same, kind of:

And she's laughing her head off at me.  Smart dog!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Talk about...

Working my fingers to the bone.  Well, kind of.  My very rude friend Ms Creek had the nerve to suggest I was a lazy cow now that I wasn't working, and perhaps my last post about the joys of lunching whilst somebody else (and a man, to boot) cleaned my house, might have led you to believe (especially some of my newer readers, welcome, welcome, sit down, no, here, sit here, have a drink, ice?  Biscuit?  No, I didn't make them, sorry about that.  No, really.) that I was a lazy cow, but you, Gentle Readers, know better.  You know that under this slightly tubby, slightly slovenly** exterior, is a workaholic.  Well, a sew-a-holic.  Well, more of a "I've got to be doing something with my hands-aholic".  

Just as an aside, Gentle Readers, don't you think that there should be a better term than '...aholic' to denote somebody who needs to be doing stuff, all the time?  I don't like that it is derived from 'alcoholic', knowing a few of those, unhappy souls that they are, I don't like it at all, and I want a better term.  I know that the Oxford English Dictionary is looking for people to adopt words that are in danger of dying out through lack of use, and I personally have adopted 'Traboccant', which means 'super-abundant'.  It's kind of appropriate for me, in that I have super-abundant amounts of fabric, ribbon, books, CD's, DVD's, buttons, dust... you get the picture.

Anyway, I'm thinking of digging out the Thesaurus to find a better word than xxx-aholic, and when I do, rest assured I'll let you know.  I know that you'll be worrying until then, but don't fret.  I'll sort it out.

Right, where was I?  Oh yes.  We went to the beautiful Hunter Valley and I made a panoply of presents... (see, big word slipped in there, but more about big words later, perhaps next post?)

And the weather was exceeding kind:

and we had visits from all different kinds of birds, some successful, and some, not so much:

Poor little fire-tailed finch crashed into a bedroom window - how beautiful his plumage is...

And these blurry specks are the local eagles, we saw two breeding pairs yesterday, floating round on the thermals about the house:

And finally, the Jacarandas are magnificently in flower, all over the district:

And now, Gentle Readers, lunch is calling me, and I must then away, away to the sewing machine, for some traboccant Christmas gift-making.


**Slovenly - defined in my book as somebody who buys her clothes from catalogues, and only goes into shops when she has to go to a wedding, funeral or formal function.  Yours?

Friday, 19 November 2010

Ladies who lunch

That's been me this week.  Wednesday I went out to the AEON* to catch up with a bunch of people I worked with out there, originally intending to see just one person, and ending up seeing loads of others - everybody misses me, apparently.  It was like a ghost town, with hardly anybody around, which meant we could sit and chat over coffee for an hour with nobody feeling guilty about reducing the August Institution's profit down from its most recent $6 billion result...

On the way back from the AEON*, I stopped in at my favourite fabric shop, Cottage Quiltworks, to get some more Christmas fabric supplies, fully intending to spend no more than $50.00.... ha.  Suffice it to say, I went over the limit by just a little and I got these:

Which I think will make some nice decoration-y things, and are proof that traditional and modern go well together, if you make sure the colours are right (love the blue-reds!)... and this:

Product Details

Which amusingly has the same title as some erotic literature by Anais Nin, so watch out what you ask for in the shops!

Yesterday I spent a very enjoyable 2.5 hours with an ex-boss, somebody I worked with for a long time, whose company I always enjoy, and we chatted about Italy, travel disasters, life, the universe, you know.  He recently went to Europe with his lovely wife JJ & three lovely children - twin boys of 11 & a girl of 14 - how bloody brave is that?  

Apparently it all went well until the three kids contracted food poisoning in Hong Kong just hours before getting on the plane to come home.  His stories of the progression of each child into the vomiting stage was hilarious - one in the hotel bathroom, one all over their bed, one in the cable car up Mount Victoria - just the way to finish a holiday.  On mature reflection, I think I'd rather just have my wallet stolen.

And now, Gentle Readers, I have the first visit of a new cleaning person today, so I need to go & make myself in the epitome of a respectable Northern Beaches housewife.  I may be some time.


*Arse-end of Nowhere

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Farewell, Streaks on the China

Some time ago, I was wasting time browsing links to other blogs on sites I read (does that make sense?).  I was on the lovely Angela Pudding's blog, Fluid Pudding, and I started to flick through the blogs with interesting titles.  Now, Gentle Readers, you know that I'm clever, but I'm not that clever.  I could never come up with something as witty as 'A woman who sews, her slightly daggy** husband and his worm farm', or "A woman who works in IT but wishes she'd trained in Upholstery when she was 17", or, my all-time favourite, "The slovenly woman's guide to day-wear when you're 48, not working and don't have to go outside ".  

Anyway, I was quite taken by the idea of Streaks on the China.  It had resonance of 1950's America, where women wore stilettos and aprons, actually ironed their husband's underwear and produced fabulous gourmet meals from packets of dried, reconstituted mushrooms, mince and non-dairy creamer.  Apparently.

So, I started to read.  I read about Sara's life, which was not about dried mushrooms and non-dairy creamer at all.  I followed her struggle with grief after a truly terrible event, her humour, her hubby, her dog.  I liked her.  She sounded a bit like me.  I even went right back to the beginning, and re-read everything she'd written.  I hung in there when she had a break from blogging, willing her silently to come back to it, which she did.  But now, it's finished.  She has declared her blog is dead, and she may or may not pop up in some other blogging endeavour.  I hope so.  I'm going to miss her.

I wish you well, Sara.  Ciao!

**daggy - slightly disinterested in fashion, likes to wear tracksuits, sit in a beanbag and fart a lot, which he blames on the possums.

So, now I'm a little peeved

You know how it is, Gentle Readers, you see a bargain, you impulsively jump in & buy, and then, wham, you get stung at the end, so that the actual bargain ends up costing you more than it would if you'd just bought the damn things outright.

This has just happened to me.  I bought a bunch of stuff from an Etsy seller who advertised herself as 'going out of business'.  OK, so she's keen to get rid of her stock.  Yup, no issue with that, and the things were quite nice.  So I bought a lot.  Quite a lot.  They're useful, they last forever, they don't take up much space.   They're hard to get here.  Enough justification, I would have said.

Anyway, they arrived, 12 days after I ordered them. From the States to here, that's OK.  I can deal with that.  However, what I can't deal with is the absolutely total dishonesty of charging me $22 to ship something that cost her $4.80 to ship.  I've been buying stuff from Etsy and the internet for some years now, and without exception, my sellers have refunded overpayment of shipping.  I even had a refund of shipping costs within Australia just last week, and that was about $2.00 - something I would not have batted an eyelid over.  But $17.20?  That's five cups of coffee and a biscuit!  That's two day's lunch money.  That's 15 minute's parking at Sydney rates.  That's definitely refundable.

So, anyway, I thought I'd have a look at her feedback.  Silly me, of course I should have done this first, but who does?  I've always had such a good positive experience with every other Etsy seller that it didn't even occur to me that somebody would rip me off.  Anyway, there was quite a lot of negative and neutral feedback, and a number of comments about the shipping costs being outrageous... Guess that should have alerted me.  I've never seen any Etsy seller with less than a 99% positive rating before.  Silly silly me.

Anyway, I did a bit more digging.  Her shop has been 'going out of business' since August 2008.  How long?  Yes, Gentle Reader, August 2008.  What should that have told me?  She's picked on a great way to get people into her shop, and then is gouging them on the shipping.  Not nice, not nice at all.  So, if you're thinking of buying paper tags, be warned.  The sharks are circling.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Did I mention these?

I made these Christmasdecorations just prior to the market, and after beading the birdie's eyes with an actual garnet, stuffing them with lavender and putting little brass beads on the whoopy bits (I don't know they're really called, do you?), I thought they were too nice to sell, so I've sent them off to my lovely friend Clare, who is 96, in the UK, as a Christmas gift.

Quite nice, methinks.  Shame about the reflections.  Picnik, where are you now?


You have been warned

OK, Gentle Readers, it's time to get serious.  You know I mostly write this stuff with my tongue stuffed firmly in my cheek - my name isn't really Isabella Golightly (she was my great-grandmother, honest to ghod), I don't really have a fabric addiction (oh yes I do!) and my husband's name isn't really Mr Golightly (it isn't even the same as my name!), but sometimes, serious stuff needs to be discussed.  And this is one of those times, because I've started the sentence with a preposition, so it must be.

I got an email from somebody pretending to be Helen Bainbridge, who has the lovely blog "Baino's Banter".  It was titled "Check out my photos".  I thought it might be from her, because she'd been blogging about her trip to Italy & France, and she knew I was interested in seeing her photos, so I clicked on the link.  I created a user ID, and then, lo and behold, there was nothing from Baino at all.  What did happen was that people in my email address book started getting emails from me (both in my real, actual name, and my Isabella Golightly persona) inviting them to check out my photos.  

I take a lot of photos.  I love photography.  But I don't email every single person in my address book (work colleagues, Etsy suppliers, friends, relatives, you name it) asking them to have a look at them - I'm extremely discerning about who can see what of mine (really mine, not Isabella Golightly's.  She even has a Flickr page!).  So, I did a bit of digging.  Turns out the mob who sent this email are serial spammers who use this insidious method to get into your computer and your address book.

Who are these people? The site is called "fanbox[dot]com". There are lots of pages on the net warning about how insidious these people are - here's a link to 'Can Talk Tech', which will give you some idea of bad these people are. In addition to their completely illegal invasion of your address book, they also use your user ID's and passwords to 'pretend to be you' on other sites. It's phising, pure and simple.

Here's some of the terms and conditions if you do sign up:

“…You agree that your public profile information, including but not limited to your display name, photograph, interests and greeting may be utilized by the community representatives or community technology to encourage other users to communicate with you or to interact with the Service…”

They can pretend to be you so they can spam you via mobile phone, which you are charged for. I also particularly liked this one:

“…you are appointing SMS.ac to be your agent and authorizing SMS.ac to store, in your profile, your usernames and passwords (provided by you) to other web site services (“Other Sites”) and to act on your behalf to access and interact with such Other Sites…”. 

This implies to me that they put some kind of trojan horse on your computer once you sign up, and it records your passwords & user ID's, then they use that info to log onto other sites & pretend to be you.

They can pretend to be you, and the final straw:

“…you, not SMS.ac, are entirely responsible and liable for all activities conducted through your Account…” 

These guys were known as SMS.ac in a previous life. That they had to change company names says a lot about the way they work. So, if you get an email apparently from a friend asking you to check out their photos, talk to the friend first, and open the link at your peril.

That is all. Normal service will resume shortly.

Monday, 15 November 2010

People are...

By turns, nice, weird, rude, amazing, funny, generous, helpful, dismissive... people.

The market was jam packed, and the well-known groovy funky women’s clothing boutique just next door to the beautician had racks of clothes outside, for apparently bargain prices, and let me tell you, Gentle Readers, it was a scrum.  All sense of decorum and propriety was forgotten in the quest for a $25 bargain (details?  women stripping down to their underwear in the street to try things on...).  As we were the first stall immediately beyond the logjam of strollers, frustrated husbands, wailing children and desperately terrified dogs, lots of people just put their heads down and kept going, thrilled to be beyond the ruck, and completely passed us by.

My neighbours, the very worthwhile Clown Doctors, had a secret weapon, which involved free chocolates, cheap Christmas cards and a guessing competition for a 10Kg block of chocolate, which worked quite well on people heading into the scrum, but completely failed on the escapees.

No matter, we both coped, and there were some object lessons for me in having a stall, viz:   
  1. Have a price for something you didn’t even consider selling – I could have sold the ‘Bend the Rules’ bunting about 3 times, and hello to the very snippy woman who wanted to know why I didn’t have any made up to sell, and her very nice friend who wanted some for her daughter’s room – mail me! 
  2. Make signs for the containers – although it was mostly obvious what things were, nobody bought a badge (but I did give one away, hello Rachel!), perhaps because they couldn’t tell what they were?  Maybe the Ziploc plastic bag packaging threw them off?  Next time I’ll just have them in the box on their luggage tags.
  3.  Make more stuff.  I thought I’d be sharing a table with the lovely Kerry, but it turned out she was giving me the whole table – so my stuff looked a little lonely by itself.  I could have sold some of the cinnamon & elderberry bags about 8 times – I think it was the fabrics, because my Christmas special clove-only bags were picked up, sniffed and discarded by about 3 million people (or maybe it only felt like it!), whereas the red, cream & blue ones, and the Momo Wonderland ones pretty much all sold.
  4. Don’t feel like you have to justify why things cost what they do – I sold one of the Joel Dewberry birds to a lady who obviously appreciated quality, but a number of people wanted to know why they cost so much more than the ‘two pieces of linen, two buttons, bob’s your uncle’ birds – it was obvious to me, but then... I made them.
  5. Ignore the teenagers.  I had a pair of girls go by, one of whom said “those birds are cute”, and the other one trampled all over me by saying “my mum makes that stuff”.  Keep walking, girls.
  6. Don’t fall over in the parking lot & sprain your ankle.  It’s very hard to run a market stall with an icepack and towels wrapped around your ankle – and a very big “Thank You” to the charming lady from the Eco Linen stand who came to my rescue with said icepack, and the two wonderful girls who rushed to pick me up out of the dirt.  So undignified.

So, today, Gentle Readers, I am testing a pattern, having my windows cleaned for the first time in two years (how’s that for slovenly, hmm?), catching up with my good friend Doc Rosie who is visiting the lovely Clare, the brains behind Lulu Carter, and resting the ankle.  Oh, and listing the remnants of my Markets expedition in the shop, so if you’re looking for a nice Christmas badge, you’ll know where to come.


Friday, 12 November 2010

Sneak Peek

Well, here's the fruits of our labours - that's me, My Best Friend & the Kidlets.  We stuffed, stitched, punched, cut, knotted, stamped, wrote and argued, mostly about the pricing.  I admit I have no idea how much to charge for things - I always worry that they're overpriced, but then I remember Lois McMaster Bujold in 'A Civil Campaign', where Kareen Koudelka tells Ekaterin "don't undervalue your own work, there's plenty out there who'll do it for you - what they pay for, they'll value".  So, I've gone with more than I would have, say, three months ago, and we shall see.

Fingers crossed!  I will report back on Sunday night, if I'm still alive.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Bend the rules, bunting

So today I had a haircut, had lunch with my good friend & breast cancer survivor KR, where we agreed we never want to go back to the August Institution which employs us both, and I made some 'bend the rules bunting'.  What exactly do I mean by that?  Well, every other bunting I have ever seen has almost religious devotion to a single shape, cut precisely, corners poked out, trimmed off, ironed to within an inch of its life and in some cases, waaaaaaaay over-engineered:

Don't get me wrong, I loved making this for the wedding of Mel and Urby, but it's kind of amazing to think somebody believes they can hold the copyright on rectangles and binding, all stuff which has been around since Adam wore short pants... but I digress.

As part of the fun for Sunday, I made some bunting which was the easiest cheat-y thing I could come up with in a very short space of time - I took 4" & 5" squares, cut some flag/pennant shapes out of my scraps box, made some long skinny strips and used up the leftovers from the binding from this lot of bunting, and pinned it onto this, from Holland Fabric House, and this is the end result:

Quite a different look, isn't it?  Kind of random, kind of messy, kind of funky.  I didn't have to cut anything much except the pennant shapes, and in my spare *snort* time tonight between bouts of stuffing & stitching, I will pink the edges of everything to make sure it doesn't look too tacky.

And now, Gentle Readers, I am off to make Mr Golightly's favourite dinner, which doesn't involve the microwave, bread, baked beans or a raw onion.  


Falling off the wagon

Well, Gentle Readers, that didn't last long, did it now?  Although the eagle-eyed amongst you may see the time and think "what in hell is she doing up at 2.57AM (ESDST)"?  I'm thinking that too.  I'm getting a little tired (absolutely no pun intended) of waking up in the middle of the night, so maybe I need some pharmaceutical help.  Maybe.

Anyhoo, in other parts of the world, I have two lovely new followers, one of whom you may recognise (if, like me, you waste creatively spend time browsing your followers' profile pages and the blogs they follow), the very lovely Felicity, from All Toile and No Reward, and Carolyn, from somewhere in the wilds of NSW (that's New South Wales to you furriners), whose blog is called 'Ordinary World'.  She has the most beautiful banner, all pink hisbicus (hibiscii?  hibiscuses?) and ferns, and each page is graced with a butterfly and more hisbicuists [joke].  Gorgeous.  And of course, like every blog, her world isn't really ordinary, it's special, because it's hers.

In other news, this blog appears to have been found by the [presumably] Chinese spammers, who left a message advertising:

"spy products, self defense products, gsm baton, spy pepper spray, spy gsm phonestun gun, Stun Baton baton, gsm bug for spy

on my blog, and a link to something I didn't even go near, all of which I have promptly deleted.  If this keeps up, I'm going to have to introduce comment vetting.  Next thing you know it'll be Nigerians with offers of cash & Russian brides seeking husbands.  I'm tempted to offer up Mr Golightly but I'm pretty sure he'd be sent back PDQ once they find out he can only cook three things, one of which involves baked beans, raw onions, bread and the microwave.

In happier news, work on the market stall produce races ahead, I spent a very happy & productive three hours with My Best Friend yesterday punching holes, tying ribbon, popping items into bags, arguing about prices and even a spot of sewing - I made one of these:

from Joel Dewberry's new book 'Sewn Spaces'... I didn't do the blanket stitch thingy round the outside the wings, and my pattern appeared to be missing half the markings, but the end result was cute enough - but making one of these took me the same time as it took to make two doorstops.  All those curves to pin & carefully sew around, I s'pose, plus the individual-ette wings to be carefully handstitched on.  I promise to post a picture after the market madness is over.

I've also made another christmas tree, this one jumbo size & decorated with bells, going off to a secret destination after the market (ditto on the photo).  And now, I'm tired, which hopefully means I can go back to bed & actually sleep, as I have a busy day tomorrow involving haircuts, lunching, more sewing, more packaging and bunting!  


Monday, 8 November 2010

On the wagon...

Well, Gentle Readers, much excitement for me this weekend - first of all the Treasury thingy (and did ANY of you get the gratuitous Ferengi reference on my beautiful Treasury description, or am I shouting into the wind here with the sci-fi stuff, hmmm?), and now, my lovely Beautician, Kerry, has invited me to put some stuff onto her table at the Newport Market Day, which is being held on Sunday 14th November.  

I have had numerous invitations to do markets, and I have investigated the effort required (huge, no, really) to have a stall at St Ives Heritage Craft Markets, and I'm sad to say I'm pretty much too lazy to do all that humping, lifting & carrying (actually, my back is so bad I get a backache just looking at lifting the groceries out of the car!).  The sewing part is easy, but the thought of having to get a table, tablecloth, tent, chair, float, display thingys, arrange the stock, keep a supply of food & drink, not go to the toilet all day and be jolly and welcoming to all prospective browsers or those who just want to rub their dirty sticky fingers on my beautiful lavender bags, frogs, doorstops etc etc etc, just put me right off.    

So this is ideal, the lazy person's market stall.  Her table will be selling all those products required to keep us looking beautiful, and I will be selling things you don't really need but which make nice souvenirs, or nice christmas gifts, or hostess gifts [question without notice - is that an {shudder} Americanism????] or teacher gifts, at very reasonable prices.  

If you don't have any plans, and it's a nice day (because, let's face it, who wants to go out in the rain???), pop on down & say hello.  We'll be outside Rapport Beauty, on Barrenjoey Road. I'm the tall dumpy one.  

And of course the other reason for me telling you all this useless information (well, let's face it, if you're in Bahrain, like the very lovely Felicity from "All Toile and no Reward", one of my favourite reads, you are not going to wander down to Newport, now are you?) is that I will be trying very very hard not to post any more this week, until I have made the doorstops, Christmas trees, pouches, sets of lavender bags, sets of clove bags, fridge magnets and Christmas badges, and packaged them all up, and priced them, and have something to show you.  So, please come back on Friday, when all will be revealed!


Saturday, 6 November 2010

Man, I am so excited I could almost get out of bed

Fame at last, Gentle Readers, fame at last.  Autographs here, form an orderly queue, no pushing, there is plenty of me to go around (but considerably less than this time last year, I might add)...  an item of mine has been included in somebody else's treasury - the very lovely Natalie, from Humblebea on Etsy included my Joel Dewberry Christmas pouch in her Christmas Gift treasury.  

I'm under no illusions about the inclusion (so early, and yet so poetic), I think she might have felt obligated because I put her very beautiful linen napkin rings in my Smoke on the Water Treasury, but that was never my intention, you know that, Gentle Readers, I was just finding new and wonderful ways to fill my lonely empty days.  *snort*.

However, if there is some kind of Etsy etiquette about telling people you're putting their stuff in a treasury, nobody told me.  As each treasury contains 16 items, that's a lot of convo's.  In the time it takes to write, copy the links & send all 16 convos to the makers, you could have made another treasury.  Let them eat cake, I say.  Off with their heads.  (see, no breakfast yet, my efforts to push Mr Golightly out of bed & into the toast & tea-making machine have been entirely unsuccessful & I'm getting light-headed).

Oh, you want to see the pouch?  Didn't I post a picture the other day?  Oh well, here it is:

And now I can see that I didn't do a great job of pressing it after construction... oh well.  I suspect it was the volume of Dickens and the reciprocation obligation that really did it for her.... oh stop it.

And today lovely AJ from "A Peppermint Penguin" is having a sale of items at her friend's Quilt Studio, which sadly I don't have the address for, but if you're in Glasgow, and you see an interesting looking place selling beautifully hand-knitted mittens and shawls, pop in & say "Hi"!

And that, for me, is it.  I need to get up & do stuff.  About which, more.  Later.  


Friday, 5 November 2010

New ways to waste time...

Yesterday I had lunch with a former colleague, a lovely man who manages to combine keeping me informed of all the hatches, matches and dispatches in the former office, good works and living two hours from the office (by train), and still staying relatively sane.  I have no idea how he does it.

Anyway, he floored me a bit by asking how I was filling my days, and you know what?  I found it a bit hard to come up with a sensible answer.  Then, this morning (note the time, Gentle Readers) as I was finding out a bit more about my last commenter, I saw that she had an Etsy Treasury displayed on her blog.  And I had a Eureka! moment - this is what I've been spending my days doing!  

I love that Etsy now lets anybody make Treasuries, they don't restrict it any more to some arbitrary number, but those of us with the urge to trawl the interweb looking for slime green budgie smugglers* can express their desires freely for all the world to see.

So, I will post some pics of the treasuries I have done over the last few days, if only I can work out how.  Help! (but here's a link until I do figure it out!)

Also, yesterday I bought a new camera strap from here and I think I need a tutorial on how to work it, I resisted the siren song of new t-shirts for (hah!) summer, and I got a parking ticket.  Shouldn't have spent all that money on the camera strap!

Anyway, it's time to get up now *snort* and get on with the day.  I forgot to buy milk yesterday, along with putting the free parking sticker on the car (see, too busy thinking about the camera strap), and so I can't have breakfast until the corner shop opens at 7.00am - I highly recommend staying away until after that.  Animals are always more placid after they've been fed!



Thursday, 4 November 2010

Slice and dice

This is a gift for somebody, but I'm not telling who it is until a bit closer to the day.  Also, I don't want to reveal the type of gift, because that would just completely give it away. 

This is the second First Quilt I have made, I'm still working on the Sydney Pies quilt, but it's sooooo boring sewing round all those circles and I promised myself a little light entertainment after the tree adventure (being delivered today, any suggestions on pricing would be welcome, MGF Kaz had very firm ideas and I must admit she was probably right, there was a fair amount of manual labour involved in sewing on all those beads, buttons and bells... not to mention the stuffing!)... so this is where I'm at:

I love these colours, they're feminine without being too girly, young enough for a small-ish person without being childlike, and fresh enough to stand a few seasons worth of fabric in & out of fashion-ness (you know what I mean, some fabrics on the market are instantly date-able by their very design, and so become outdated very quickly).  

I note here, Gentle Readers, that we are having a parenthetical and hypen kind of day, today.  If your brain isn't coping too well with the grammatical strictures, come back later. It isn't going away.

Anyway, after much anguish about ways to ensure nothing was repeated (failed) and nothing was next to the same pattern in a different colourway (failed), I threw the whole lot in the air and just put them together as they fell.  Kind of like divining using chicken entrails, but a whole lot less messy.

The progress:

The pattern calls for the quilt top to be 'slashed' (and just to clarify for some of our readers from other lands, I know that "going for a slash" has a whole 'nother meaning, but here we're talking about cutting out chunks of fabric), then you resew it together with the sashing (blue strips) in exactly the same positions it was in before.  I thought that was a bit boring, so I took the opportunity to fiddle with the pieces, and moved some of them around to make it a bit more interesting.  

Then, when it's all back together, you do the slashing thing again, except on the vertical, but in exactly the same places (2 1/2" either side of seams 1, 3 & 5, working from the left).  This is what it looks like now:

A big pile of strips.  I was going to rotate some of the colours again, but I've discovered that 2 1/2" can be bigger on one side than on the other, probably due to the fact that I was trying to cut it out on Mr Golightly's Über-precious Jarrah kitchen bench, the largest surface in the house (apart from the floor), and having to keep moving it to do so (plus I was cheating & doing it by eye, rather than using my ruler, and my eye is not as accurate as I had hoped.  Unsurprisingly.) - I'm pretty sure the recipient won't have her ruler out checking.

So, I think it will probably stay as it is, but with the additional vertical sashing.  I think it's going to be quite nice.  Now all I have to is work out how to assemble it.  See, this is where I need my mother, to help out - she's made a zillion patchwork quilts over the years & can probably do this in her sleep, but the downside is, she definitely will have her ruler out.  Ouch.  I can feel it on my knuckles now.


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Life List - No way Josè

  1. Go to England with less than $1000 in my pocket when the exchange rate was $1:33p.
  2. Have Gastric Flu.  Coming out both ends.  TMI?  You bet.
  3. Spend 6 months unemployed in the Midlands, UK, in the 1980's, where unemployment was running at 28%.
  4. Borrow money from a parent.
  5. Find out my new chap was married to a woman called Sharon who lived in NZ.
  6. Learn shorthand.
  7. Go skiing.
  8. Rupture my ACL skiing, hence #7.
  9. Wait 2 years for an ACL reconstruction because I didn't have private health insurance.
  10. ACL reconstruction.
  11. Second operation to fix something they missed in #10.
  12. Get married.  Have a wedding** 
  13. Put on 3 stone (19kg) after #12.
  14. Watch the arches in my feet collapse after #13.
  15. Have the police knock at my door to tell me a parent had died.
  16. Work as a Secretary.
  17. Start anything new in a year ending in -9.  
  18. Lose a friend to Breast Cancer.
  19. Lose a friend to Lymphoma.
  20. Lose a grandparent to Emphysema.
  21. Lose a friend to AIDS.
  22. Lose a friend to Suicide.
  23. Go to a funeral.  Any funeral.
  24. Take Mr Golightly shopping.
  25. Lose a beloved parent-in-law to Alzheimer's.
  26. Fart in the office.
  27. Have an accident of the menstrual kind in the office.
  28. Almost have an affair with a married man, in the office.
  29. Be sexually harrassed by a crazy ex-footballer.
  30. Move house.  22 previous addresses (that I can think of) is plenty, thanks.
  31. Do data entry for a living.
  32. Leave my camera in a taxi and never see it again, Olympics pics and all.
  33. Live in Leicester, UK.
  34. Work in a library.  It really is like "The Librarians".
  35. Let myself be bullied.
  36. Convince a doctor I didn't want children.  No, I really don't.
  37. Share a one-room flat with anybody.
  38. Live in a one-room flat with outside toilet & shower.  Those winter mornings really bit.
  39. Fall off a motorbike at speed.
  40. Be a passenger in a car which rolls.  Still got the dodgy shoulder from that one.
  41. Shoot a sitting duck.  Shame on me (I was 16, does that ameloriate it a little?).
  42. Shoot anything.
  43. Drink too much white wine from a flagon.
  44. Vomit said white wine all over the bathroom floor.
  45. Cleaning up #44.
  46. Drink cider.
  47. Spend 9 weeks on crutches, courtesy of #11.
  48. Spend 2 weeks in a caravan on 'holidays'.
  49. Share a house with 3 unrelated blokes.  Can you imagine the soap?
  50. Take a dog to the vet and come home alone, knowing you'll never see the dog again.
  51. Have a neighbour steal your dog when she left her husband and 6 fox terriers behind.
  52. Be poor.
  53. Live in a foreign country with no support network & no friends.
  54. Algebra.
  55. Statistics.
  56. Wait until I'm newly married before discovering the one thing I want to really do in life requires me to go & live in another city 300km away.
  57. Spend November and February in England.  Freezing cold.
  58. Spend two years in pain waiting for the doctors to decide if I needed to have my gall bladder out.
  59. Have my gall bladder out.
  60. Vomit after smelling the vegetable soup somebody ordered for dinner immediately after I'd had my gall bladder out.
  61. Wet the hospital bed whilst vomiting after #60 (told you it'd be a good list, didn't I?).
  62. Go out on Christmas morning looking for somewhere selling wrapping paper, as Mr G had 'forgotten' to wrap his presents.
  63. Wrap Mr G's presents on Christmas morning.
  64. Spend a Christmas in Cairns.
  65. Spend a Christmas in 42°C heat