Tuesday, 27 December 2011

That list again...

For those intrepid Gentle Readers still checking in to see if I'm alive, the rewards are all here.  An update on the list, a small exposition on the prospect of breaking rules now that I've turned *gasp* 50, and some gratuitous photographs.  What more could you ask for?

List Update:

1.  Pouch for Anne-Marie (18 months ago)
2.  Cushions for Mr Golightly's Big Sis (17 months ago)
3.  Cushions for Lyndsey (6 months ago)
4.  Seat covers for Mrs Autrey (at least 9 months ago) Finished, just waiting for the Post Office to re-open.
5.  Dog for Effie in Canada (only Monday) Cheated just slightly & sent her nephew the one featured on the blog.  Hope she doesn't mind!
6.  Pouch for MBF's children's piano teacher (3 months ago) Let off the hook, she'd forgotten too & bought something.
7.  Pouch for MBF's children's dance teacher (ditto)
8.  Cushion for MGF Kaz (who knows, so long ago I've forgotten)
9.  Dolls for the children of people in my team (2 months ago). Finished, see previous blog post.
10.  Christmas Scarf for Clare in the UK.  Started but nowhere near ready.
11.  Christmas Gift for Gill in the UK.  Not even started.
12.  Welcome gift for Mrs Autrey's baby (knitted but not wrapped or posted).  Wrapped & waiting for the post office to open.
13.  Welcome gift for Clare's baby (not even started).
14.  Kris Kringle gift for friend at lunch on Sunday*.  Lavender bags X 3.  Time?  20 minutes.  Easy.

Wow.  See what you can produce if you don't have to go to work, Gentle Readers?  Although I've now been off for 11 days, it doesn't feel like I've achieved much, although I have sorted out a bunch of stuff which is going into the roof pending the re-opening of the local high school - apparently they're always looking for dressmaking fabric, and I have a bunch of stuff which is not good enough to keep, and certainly not bad enough to put in the recycling... so come February, that's where it's going.

School holidays, I hear you ask?  February?  For those Gentle Readers who live in the other half of the planet, I'm in the other other half.  This is the half where it's summer right now, albeit cold & rainy, and school holidays start towards mid-December and run until the end of January.  Just like you up there, we make our kids go to school when it's cold & wet :-))

In other news of no relevance, I had a birthday.  It ended in a zero.  I'm now officially middle-aged, although I quite like Cordelia Naismith's* version of middle age, which is "always 10 years older than you are".

That's what's left of my surprise dessert croquembouche, with vanilla bean ice-cream.  It was delicious, and having the whole restaurant singing along to "Happy Birthday" was lovely - it's a bit of a tradition in our local Italian Restaurant, everybody sings when a sparkler-encrusted dessert item wends its way out of the kitchen - that way we all get to join in the fun, if not the food.

Sadly, I had to drive home, so my intake of a fabulous Shiraz from 2003 was somewhat limited - it's sitting in a cool dark place waiting for another opportunity... which will be tonight, when we're zipping up to MBF's house for pizza - is it a crime against wine to drink a Gold Medal winning wine with pizza?  Hey, now that I'm 50, I'm breaking all the rules, not just the wine rules. White wine with beef, red wine with pizza, socks with sandals, sling-back heels with panty hose, high heels with trousers that are too short, sock with heels, black bras under white shirts, showing my bra straps... wow, can't you tell I'm old?  When I was a teenager (last century, no less), you were a real moll if you let your straps show.  Phew.  

Anyway, I'm going to put my lederhosen and wig on now, and go & watch India and Australia in the cricket.  Nicely multicultural, that's me.  Ciao!

*copyright Lois McMaster Bujold, some time ago.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Aliens amongst us...

All lined up ready to go... and then.... gone!  I hope you all had a fabulously festive day yesterday, with lots of food, drink and loved ones... we certainly did.


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Don't look too closely, but...

It's 11.47am on Saturday & I'm sitting down to write a blog post.  I woke at 5.50am, got up & had breakfast then fiddled with my phone for about an hour (no wonder my data download bill was so high in November!), then I crawled back into bed to warm my cold feet on Mr Golightly's lovely warm calves, and slept until 8.15, when I crawled back out, threw on clothes & helped Mr Golightly load the industrial overlocker (which we acquired at the same time as the industrial sewing machine) into Mr Jared's van.  Mr Jared does upholstery school with me, and he's very good.  

Anyway, I've got one of the seat covers I foolishly offered to make in June for Miss Alix in London still to make.  That's a hell of a sentence, isn't it?  I had a bit of a mental block with the second one, didn't seem to matter what I did I couldn't get it to fit.  Anyway, I skipped out of the work Christmas Party to come home & get it fixed, which I did... and now I have one left to make.  

I've made a Christmas doorstop for the lovely lady at the Beautician, along with cutting out a bunch of dollies, which I'm trying to make for the children of people I work with,  and I'm going to spend all of tomorrow making them.  

And since then, Gentle Readers, I've had a nap, a night's sleep, an excellent roast beef dinner at MBF's house, scrambled eggs & bacon for breakfast with two excellent cups of coffee (thank you Bilgola Deli) and have finished both the last seat cushion cover (yay!) and three dollies. 

I realised when I was about to make the fourth one that the work christmas party is not on until the 23rd, and although I don't have to go, I am on holidays & can drop off the dollies then, which means I can also make enough for all the children - I got up to identifying seven  (Jackson, Joshua, Zoe, Abbey, Chloe, Charlie & Charlie's sibling) and my bosses two kids who are a fair bit older... and then I went... phew.  I can't do all this tonight, so next week (when I've got some time off) I can throw myself into it.

Here's some pictures of the effort so far:

Notice they're all a bit... odd?  Some are odder than others, which is all good.  They're all made form the same pattern but with different scraps from the scrap box.  Nothing new was cut up to make these guys... except maybe some rik-rak.  I like.  I'm thinking of offering for sale, maybe if I open my shop again next year.  Price indicators, anyone?


Friday, 2 December 2011

The list...

This is the time of year when people make lists.  Most people make lists of things they'd like for the Festivals that abound at the end of the year... some people, like me, make lists of the things they haven't done yet, and that they really really need to do before the end of another set of opportunities (read "year") flies by.  

So, in the interests of depressing myself even further, here is my list, along with some indication of when I said I would deliver.

1.  Pouch for Anne-Marie (18 months ago)
2.  Cushions for Mr Golightly's Big Sis (17 months ago)
3.  Cushions for Lyndsey (6 months ago)
4.  Seat covers for Mrs Autrey (at least 9 months ago)
5.  Dog for Effie in Canada (only Monday)
6.  Pouch for MBF's children's piano teacher (3 months ago)
7.  Pouch for MBF's children's dance teacher (ditto)
8.  Cushion for MGF Kaz (who knows, so long ago I've forgotten)
9.  Dolls for the children of people in my team (2 months ago).
10.  Christmas Scarf for Clare in the UK.
11.  Christmas Gift for Gill in the UK.
12.  Welcome gift for Mrs Autrey's baby (knitted but not wrapped or posted).
13.  Welcome gift for Clare's baby (not even started).
14.  Kris Kringle gift for friend at lunch on Sunday*.

I'm sure there's more.  I'm beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by all this.  I need to stop doing a few things, and spend more time actually sitting down at the sewing machine, rather than in the coffee shop.  Tomorrow would have been a perfect day to do this, being Saturday and all, but here's the schedule:

8.00am - haircut & colour in Newport.
10.30am - drive to Dee Why for x-ray of jaw.
11.00am - xray of jaw.
11.15am - drive home.  Go up to MBF's house to belatedly help with Birthday decorations for Miss Nelly's birthday party.
12noon - Madly wrap presents before Nephew arrives for Birthday Lunch at the Arms.
3.00pm - home to start on next round of sewing (see items in list above for a clue which one I'll be doing first - *pick me*) - any suggestions as to what I can make the friend?  Quickest and easiest is jumbo lavender bags...

The chair continues apace, but I was one day short of finishing it.  The front border is on though:

and all that remains is the two outside arms, the piping (all 1.68m of it) and the back, which has to be handstitched into place.  Guess I'll be going back next year after all.  Actually, Lucas, the fabulous night-class teacher was very encouraging & suggested I enroll, then at least if I do want to carry on after I finish this chair, I can turn up from time to time with projects and work on them at my own speed.   I like the sound of that.

And now, Gentle readers, it is 01.04am, and I have to be up at 0700 to prepare for another long day, so I am going to leave you with the pictures of the first two children's softies I made, which went to a very good home:

See?  There are aliens among us.


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Squinty-eyed but gorgeous

Some interesting things have happened in my life since I last dumped on you, Gentle Readers, including something that has made me question the sanity of my decision to return to work at the August Institution.  

In other news, my lovely MIL tripped & fell off her platform stilettos*, spent 2 days in hospital, acquired some cracker bruises to go with the broken nose, fractured wrist, and dislocated & damaged thumb.

A good friend's mother died, and lastly, a piece of good news, my lovely friend Clare Carter, of Lulu Carter fame, had her baby!  Yay Clare & Ashley!

In amongst all this, I did not go to Upholstery School, despite being off on Tuesday.  Nor did I go tonight, which I probably should have done, because I didn't go last week (Mr G & I both having the day at home to keep an eye on his poor battered mother, and although Mr Golightly was going to have dinner with his lovely Ma, and I could have gone to upholstery school tonight, I wanted some time in the house with no noise.

I'm sure I've alluded to this before.  Mr G likes TV.  He likes movies, wrestling, the cricket, game shows, the news.  He would watch paint dry if it was on TV.  I, myself, am not so keen.  I lived by myself for a number of years with no TV and never missed it.  I may have spent a little time talking to myself, but generally, I like the sound you get between your ears when there's nobody in the house but you.  Especially on a night like tonight, when it's raining, and you can hear the drops hitting the roof.  At least, I hope that's what it is.

Anyway, tonight I did a bit of work on the Christmas Gifts I'm making for people in my team who have young children - I think there's about seven or eight of them (kids, not team members), and I've started making a bunch of these:

Some Gentle Readers who have been curious enough may have seen previous iterations of the pooch, including this one:

which I made for Nephew E's friend Lachie, and this one:

Which I made for MGF Kaz's niece Sharlene, and finally, Elliot:

So cute.  

Anyway, it's 10.32pm now, and even though I haven't imparted much by way of news and information (apart from the "Battle Murder and Sudden Death" at the top of this little missive, I feel my eyelids starting to droop, and I must away, away to my bed.  Besides that, there's a huge spider on the wall behind me, and although I'm not scared, per se, of spiders, I don't always want to share the room with one.  Especially when they go like the clappers and can run up your arm & up your nose before you can say "what spider?"...


*Actually, they were more like this:

Sunday, 6 November 2011

I've figured it out!

What happens is that I can only write blog posts in the study, on the big laptop.  I can't write them in bed, on the lounge, sitting in the sun or anywhere else on the small laptop, because the keyboard is too small, and the words don't come out right.  So... I can only write blog posts when I can sit down, uninterrupted by life, the universe and Mr Golightly, and use the laptop in our dedicated study room.  This room started its life as our bedroom, when we first bought the house, but it has since lost about 1.5 metres off its width to the hall, and is the perfect size for a study.  Along with several hundred books, a couple of thousand dvds/cds and a large pile of miscellaneous junk, artistically arranged across several shelves, that is.  Ghod help us if the archeologists ever get in here.

Anyway, I digress. The point of that useless little story is to confess why I don't post more regularly, such as every Sunday night, when I'm slumped on the lounge watching crap on TV, thinking "I could be writing a blog post about now".  It's because this machine is too heavy to sit on my lap, and so I would have to leave behind Mr Golightly's excellent company, the warmth of the fire (yes, Gentle Readers, even in November it's been cold enough to have the fire on) and the noise of whatever is numbing our minds at the moment... and so I don't.

However, I have been sewing today, and so have snuck in here to put pictures of my work into the shop, and the lightbulb went on!  Aha!  Quick, get a post written before you get dragged out of here & into the slothly pit that is the living room.

Here's the pouches:

Beautiful lining by Robert Kaufman, called 'Tea Time', and nice thick Japanese linen for the outside.  I appliqued the small teapot on the front for the finishing touch:

And the other one, in one of my favourites, the shot red linen:

Lined with some beautiful Momo Wonderland, now sadly out of print & very precious!

I hope Mrs Pudding likes these - they are for the children's Teachers, so if you're one of them, stop reading 5 minutes ago.

In other news, the chair progresses, slowly... I have coconut fibre-d, 

Stitched all that down neatly:

Learnt how to do a stitched edge (from the Child Minder, no less!)

and added half a basket of flock to the top of the chair - and my sinuses kindly waited until yesterday before playing up.  I look a bit panda-like today, dark rings round the eyes, but I feel much better than yesterday, when (once again), I didn't get out of bed until 3.00pm, but this time it was just the woolly head, not exhaustion.

But, here is the chair!

This week, calico, and much, much, much thumping with a mallet.  Pray for me to your gods, Gentle Readers, for I fear the return of the Tennis Elbow.

In other news, I've discovered Words with Friends, and I now have five games on the go at once.  It's keeping my brain going, that's for sure, and I just spent the huge sum of $1.33 on Doodlefit, which I'm going to go & play right now!


Thursday, 27 October 2011

Yay for me!

At 4.30pm today I powered my laptop down, put it neatly away in the cupboard (deliberately left unlocked in the hope that somebody will steal it & I can have a new one...), and went home.  Yay!  Needless to say the trip wasn't particularly quick, and when I finally lumbered into Newport, the newsagent had already shut.  I was a bit peeved, I have to say, that nobody consulted me about this change to their hours.  The newsagent was always really reliable, 6.30am to 7.00pm.  It changed hands this year, to new people who I think may be struggling a bit with the reality of running a busy shop, and the hours entailed in a newsagent, and so... bam.  Bugger.  

Anyway, I missed out on the opportunity to spend more money on things I don't really need, because, since I'm working again, I've resubscribed to House & Garden & Homes & Antiques, which are a very guilty pleasure... and I certainly don't need any more magazines.  I already have them in boxes on the living room floor, because all the bookcases are full.

Did I mention about my clearing out spurt the other day?  I've been slowly identifying things I don't need anymore (define need, could you?), and those things have been working their way out of the confusing maze of stuff that is our house, and into the various charity bins, op-shops, junk piles, council clean-ups and garbage bins that surround me.  Last Sunday (no, not the one I spent asleep, the one before that) I went through my wardrobe & pulled out all my work skirts.  I never wear skirts to work anymore.  I have several pairs of black trousers, none of which fit me properly anymore, [since I started Upholstery school, and lost that very unattractive 10 kilos that was making me look like Rosie O'Donnell... but I digress (for a change)], and they were just hanging in the wardrobe in the spare room, taking up room.  

Why in the spare room, I hear you ask, Gentle Readers... well.  Most of them are too long to hang in the normal wardrobe, which has four hanging sections, two top & two bottom, two for me & two for Mr Golightly.  Well, actually, one for Mr Golightly, two for me & one full of stuff, some of which features heavily in this tale.

Anyway, I stripped down to the fundamentals, and tried every one of those poor neglected skirts on.  Most of them still fitted me, but I looked at myself, with my wonky knee, my flat feet and my sandfly bite scars, and just went... ick.  So, all the straight, knee length 'office' skirts, some of which had matching jackets, went into the 'give away' bag.  Some of the matching jackets followed, including the awful maroon & beige boucle one I bought in a fit of madness one day, which was a crop style, with tight fitting sleeves, and made me look like... 

  this.  Except for a few things - I'm not a blonde, I have no tan & I don't wear white shoes.  And I'm also not quite that fat.  Apart from that, the resemblance is quite scary.

Anyway, that went.  Also, and I do regret this a little bit, a beautiful Anthea Crawford silk slub skirt in lilac, with a really discrete yellow, green & darker purple... but I hadn't worn it for over two years, and I wasn't going to.  I know it in my logic brain, but my much larger sentimental brain is still going "I loved that little lemming".  Sorry, Red Dwarf moment.

I threw out silk blouses I'd made, linen ones I bought with cap sleeves (way too irritating), some cotton shirts I'd had for more than 10 years which were never going to see the light of day again, and even some trousers (too small, too big, too flared, too straight, too long, too short).  It was quite cathartic.  Then I started on the shoes.  Mostly clumpy ones designed to take orthotics, in the days before they realised that you could still wear nice shoes and support your fallen arches...

And then, Gentle Readers, I started on Mr Golightly's side of the wardrobe.  Phew.  I need to go & have dinner now, before I reveal all.  Let's just say it was very scary.  


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Now this is just silly...

Sunday night it was too hot to sleep properly, tonight I've got the fire on.  I love spring.

Progress update on the chair:

Progress on the exhaustion?  Coming along nicely, thank you.  I haven't made it to Upholstery school this week - my need for sleep having extended to spending most of Sunday asleep, coming home from work & going straight to bed on Monday & getting up only when Mr Golightly came home, and then going to bed at 9.30pm yesterday - and I'm hitting the sack right now, even though I'm halfway through watching an episode of Sanctuary... 


Sunday, 9 October 2011

Where do you go to my lovely...

Tell me, loyal Gentle Readers, have we had that one before?  I think we may have.  I like to recycle my titles every now and again, just to see who's keeping watch.

Anyway, I'm posting this one today for all the blogs that are no more... when I started out reading other people's stuff, I was completely in awe by how funny, and clever, and creative they all were.  I got inspiration for crafty projects, links to other interesting blogs and even made some new friends and an enemy or two, but hey, it's all good.

And now, some of my favourites are no more.  I feel like I've lost old friends, or that one of my favourite authors has died much too young (RIP Sara Douglass), and I don't like it.

What're the options?  Well, I do go through from time to time and remove the interminably cheery ones, the ones that always make me want to puke with their nauseating 'everything is lovely in my world' vibe, and the ones where the person writing it is just posed over the razor blade waiting for Australia to lose the Rugby so they've got an excuse to slash their wrists.  

I got rid of 'diary of a nutjob housewife' before she bored me to tears with her tales of woe and how they couldn't afford to eat anything except hot dogs but they could afford a subscription to Fox... and I miss Felicity from All Toile and No Reward, and I wish she'd come back.  Or somebody would tell me what's going on!  I miss Gerald Gee, who used to put lovely 1930's music on his blog, but he's gone to the great Artists Studio in the sky and he won't be coming back.  I miss Baino and her eloquent endless supply of 'useless as ...' sayings.  I miss Sara from Streaks on the China, although I know she reads this from time to time, and is kind enough to comment, but I liked her writing and I miss it.

So... where does that leave me?  Out looking for new blogs to read and enjoy.  If you have any suggestions, I'd be happy to hear 'em.  I quite like House on Hill Road but I think she might be a bit too foody/quilty/kids-y for me.

And in news of the other kind, I took some nice pics of My Lovely Ma's garden whilst in Perth (Oh, I'm back, btw, did you notice?), and spent most of yesterday asleep.  Jetlag will do that for you.

And now, back to my knitting. Ciao!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Chairs, Chairs, Chairs

Red, yellow, black or white, with a little bit of moonlight...anybody recognise that song?  It was a one-hit wonder from about 1978 or 1979, by a band whose name has gone, long gone, from the pit that is my memory...

Anyway, I am in WA, Gentle Readers, that's Western Australia, visiting my lovely Ma and Hank for the first time since June, and covering their bargain buy, which I may have posted pics of earlier.  If not, here goes.  (Look away now if ugly upholstery frightens you...)

Mum attacked the chairs with hot water and sugar soap and they were... filthy:

But after a good scrub, a coat of varnish or two, and some new upholstery, they look pretty good, imho.

My Ma professes herself to be ... quite pleased.

Me too!


Sunday, 25 September 2011

If a tree falls in the forest...

Would anybody hear?  Well, Gentle Readers, let me tell you that when a tree falls down in our street at 0149 on a Friday morning, pretty much everybody heard it.  And popped out in various states of undress to inspect, surmised that a) nobody was hurt, b) no property was damaged, c) no electricity was off, d) no driveways were blocked and e) no accidents were likely, becasue it's a flat road and the tree was easily visible. So we all went back to bed.  Except for the new(ish) neighbours to our left, who came home at 3.00am, and decided that the fallen tree  presented an immediate danger to life and limb (ho ho ho), and promptly called the Fire Brigade. 

I have no idea why the Fire Brigade felt it was necessary to come charging through the quiet streets of Newport with lights ablazing and sirens roaring, but they did.  They parked right outside our house, proceeded to set up the generator for the lights, got the chainsaw out and spent a very happy hour and a half (yes, it was a big tree) cutting up the tree.  Sleep?  Not much, really.

They finished about 4.15am.  I get up at 5.30am.  Cranky?  You bet.

Anyway, here's the evidence:

And here's Mr G watching from the safety of our bedroom:

And the best part (I think)?  All the foliage and tree bits have landed on our verge/nature strip, and so when it finally stops raining, Mr Golightly is going to go out & mulch it all up & put it on our garden.  Some small measure of compensation for spending Friday with a brain like marshmallow, yes?

In other news, I finally got MaddieGal's pouches off in the mail to her - and I have bits and pieces of Mendocino left, if anybody's interested.  It is very thin, and really only suitable for small things like pouches or lavender bags.  Definitely no good for doorstops etc.

In other news, the crazy hours continue, 44 last week.  I have vowed that I will not do more than 32 this week, partly because I'm off on Tuesday (yay!) and am schlepping out to Villawood to eyeball some upholstery supplies for my chair-recovering sojourn to Perth next week...

I've been doing these stupid hours because I've been on a few courses in the past two weeks, but that's all finished now, so things should settle down a bit.  I now know what makes you a Leader, as opposed to a Manager, and that my GSI is mostly blue and a bit green with not much red.  Gah.  Amazing how much money institutions spend on this stuff, isn't it?  Our Management offsite dinner was... interesting, for a certain value of 'interesting'.  I was home by 9.30pm & asleep shortly thereafter.  All that lemon squash!

And yesterday, despite my head feeling like a slightly overripe rockmelon, I went up the hill to help MBF* and the Kidlets strip the hideous straw wallpaper from her dining room.  We found this underneath:

Any ideas who Ruby was?  Me neither!

And that, Gentle Readers, is about the sum of my week.  It's 13.32pm & I'm still in bed.  I 
still feel slightly like a damaged piece of fruit, but the urge to sew is getting to unignorable levels, and I feel some lavender bags coming on... 

And so I wish you all uninterrupted sleep and a great week!  Ciao!

*My Best Friend