Saturday, 26 February 2011

Piping, selvedges, staple guns and spelling

Well, Gentle Readers, it's a bit depressing that the new blogging schedule of every other day, or thereabouts, has well and truly fallen into the bin since Upholstery School started.  I have spent the last two Tuesdays & Wednesdays socialising, and then by the time Saturday & Sunday roll around, I've either got things on, or I'm too tired.  Last Saturday we had a lunch, then a 50th Birthday to go to, and by the time we got home (admittedly it was only 8.00pm), I fell down in front of the TV, watched three episodes of Battlestar Galactica then crawled into bed at midnight.  Do you think I could face writing a blog post on Sunday?  Nope.

This week wasn't much better.  Tuesday I went with Mr Golightly to the bank, and Wednesday I had lunch with my lovely MIL, then went up to see My Best Friend and helped Miss Nelly with her spelling.  I think it's pretty impressive that an 11yo knows how to spell 'expeditiously', don't you?  Also, 'belligerence', 'narcissistic' and 'kaleidoscope'.  I couldn't get that one right!  She did have a bit of trouble with 'crevice', but I gave her the trick - it's just like 'de-vice', but with a 'cr' at the front.  Easy.

Upholstery school continues to make me grin like a loon - yesterday I had to go to the storeroom to get the right colour thread to sew my piping onto my chair front, and I was smiling at the thought of what I was going to do next.  This makes me so happy, I feel like I've fallen into something I was always meant to do.  I'm not a fatalist, or anything, I've always solidly believed you are purely responsible for your own life, but this just feels so right.  

Anyway, this week we:

... finished our footstools.  I had to use fabric from the school storeroom, having completely forgotten to take my Joel Dewberry with me.  D'oh.. but I found a nice sapphire blue chenille-y type fabric in the fabric store.  

All they need now is feet.  I'm going up to the local hardware megastore today to find something a bit nicer than the plastic monstrosities offered by School (for free, to be fair) - if I'm going to have this thing in my house, I want nice feet. .

... drew up what's called a Cover Plan, in Upholstery-speak, but what the sewers amongst you would recognise as a cutting layout.  It's done in 1:10 scale, but with the actual measurements written on the pattern pieces.  The fabric width is also written on the Cover Plan.  They don't assume that fabric is all the same width, of course, because it isn't.  

... found fabric in the storeroom I could live with for this child's chair - this one is the one I'm not keeping - the fabric I ordered for MGF Kaz hasn't arrived yet, but as we get to make another chair, I will use the good fabric for that one.  

This fabric is woven, it's sort of browny-orange, with a green leaf & yellow dots, which sounds foul, but it isn't really.  It's just not what most people would have chosen for a child's chair:

but you know what?  Because it has such a distinctive repeat pattern, cutting it out straight is easy.  You just pick the spot, such as the every top row of the little yellow dit, and cut along the line, making sure you get each of the yellow dits.  

... cut it all out, and then we got to make piping.  Easy for those of us who've done it before (I made an eight-gore skirt once with each gore piped... what was I thinking?, and then there was Mr Golightly's bean bag... ), a bit more trying for people who've never done it.  I must say, though, that the people who were struggling with the sewing machines found the piping easier to make than they'd expected, probably because they had the discipline of following a line.

... Got to attach the piping to our OB (that's upholstery-talk for 'Outside back', or, the back of the chair :-)), just along the top, then it's secret squirrel until next week, when we will learn how to attach the back to the frame.  I've always wondered how that was done, now I get to find out!!

In other news of interest, the Head Teacher was quite interested in the concept of using a Rotary Cutter and quilting ruler to cut out - they currently use scissors, and blackboard chalk to mark it up - because it doesn't leave a mark, unlike tailor's chalk, which is almost impossible to get off, apparently - so I'm taking in a cutting board, centimetre ruler and rotary cutter for them to look at.

Madam Late turned up at 9.10 on Thursday, but managed 8.30am on Friday.  She's so far behind (in week two!) she's already having to take catch-up classes.  Ah dear.

And finally, I promised MGF Kaz I would post this picture & brag a little about it:

My lovely Ma and I made this whilst I was in Perth in early February; lots of the fabrics were donated by ladies from the Parkerville Craft Group and Good Works Society, and I did the piecing.  The creative genius, though, with the large cowboy and his lasso, came from my lovely Ma - she photocopied and enlarged the material, then cut out individual pieces for the fence, hat, scarf, pants, shirt, face, hands and feet, then raw-edge appliqued it together - genius.  

You may remember the fabric from 2009, when I made toy bags for Kerry, the beautician. Mum just substituted the lasso for the gun & bingo!  Bob's your uncle.  Or somebody is!

And now, Gentle Readers, I have to go & do... stuff.  Actually, I'm thinking about a nap.  Yesterday was a busy busy day, and I'm up, but not dressed, so I'm thinking... why not?  Ciao!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Snoring's boring

Why am I up at this ungodly hour?   Mr Golightly is under the weather.  When I lived in England in the 1980's, probably before some of you lovely Gentle Readers were born, there was a columnist in one of the papers, called Jeffrey Bernard, who lived an interesting life, and his column was occasionally replaced by the line "Jeffrey Bernard is unwell".   

So, Mr Golightly is unwell, but not quite the same unwell as Jeffrey.  He has a cold (or maybe even a chest infection?), and, incredibly, came home from work early yesterday.  This is almost unheard of, but there he was, on the bus with me at 2.30pm.  I'd been into town to meet up with him at our bank, to talk about the effects of me not working (currently) on our finances, and to put some plans into place so we don't have to work until we're 80 .  Then I went off to have lunch, being unable to persuade Mr G to have a sandwich with me, and he went back to work.  At 2.00pm he was ready to go home, and BAM!  There we were on the bus, and once we got home, he went straight to bed.

However, tonight he is snoring.  This too is almost unheard of, because usually I check at least once a night to make sure he's still alive, he sleeps so quietly.  Not like me.  I'm all snuffles and snorts, lots of talking to the aliens in the ceiling and the light fitting.  I toss and turn, I need to flip my pillow over to the cool side.  I occasionally wake up laughing.  That's pretty weird, especially when it's a great joke but you can't remember it once you've woken up...

So, Gentle Readers, here I am at 5.15am, tired and wishing he would just shut up before I get that cool pillow and hold it down over his face.  Poor soul.  

In other slightly more cheerful and less mariticidal news, Mr Golightly's lovely niece, The Bride, has her birthday today, and I have yummy gifts for her:

Orange Dot  Melamine Plate

She has a small orange fetish (hah!), so when I saw these, I thought, well, why not?

Orange Dot  Melamine Platter

They are gorgeous, and hopefully she'll love them.  They came from here, and Kathryn was absolutely delightful to deal with - the packaging they came in was so nice I can just pop the entire box in the post with a birthday card & it's all done.  Can't ask for more than.  Except for some sleep!  Now, back to bed!

Sonno felice!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

News from nowhere

So, Gentle Readers, what have I been doing?

Learning to use an industrial sewing machine:

Consew 255RB Industrial Sewing Machine

Did you know these things go like the clappers?  3,000 stitches/minute.  That's 50 a second.  Fifty stitches a second.  OMG.  That'll go right through your finger before you can say 'Ouch'.

Learning to make a webbed footstool, and these are the same techniques we'll apply to our child's chair:


Images copyright Lora Jones*

Watching with amazement as Madam Late turns up variously at 8.45, 8.45 and 8.50, when the rest of us manage to get there for 8.00am; 

Wondering how my back is going to cope with all the standing up, and find that it's actually not so bad as long as I sit down between bouts of working and the demonstrations...

Discovering that Stanley knives are really sharp and will slice your finger open at the drop of hat (it was just a shallow cut, more of a scratch really.  What a baby!)

Wondering how the canteen can display one price for toast and vegemite, then charge an extra 20c to actually toast the bread.  Hmm.  Still trying to work that one out.

Enjoying myself mightily.  It's so nice to spend the whole day using my hands to make something!

Finding out I can bear the feel of Hessian as long as I don't have to rub it on my skin.  Yuck.

In other news, 'm going to start taking my compact camera to school with me, so I can document all the stages of the footrest - webbing, hessian, foam, wadding, foam, foam, calico, fabric.  

I'm going to cover my child's chair in this:

Bird Swing fabric by Michael Miller - 1 Yard

which has a dark brown background & MGF Kaz is going to buy it from me for her niece, who is currently expecting her second bub.  I think it'll be spectacular!

The footrest?  Haven't decided yet.  Maybe some of my Joel Dewberry blue & brown stuff, so maybe this:

And now, I must away to visit My Best Friend and the Kidlets, one of whom is, like Mr Golightly,a bit under the weather.  

Ciao for now!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Oh my aching feet...

Well, Gentle Readers, I am happy to report that my first day of Upholstery School went very well, with one or two small exceptions. 
Getting up at 0530 was not so pleasant, especially as my brain had been churning all night to ensure I didn't forget to get up and I felt like a big bucket of dren when I got up, but the trip took exactly an hour (have no fear, I'm sure when the Universities go back, it will take longer!).  Imagine my horror when I got there and discovered that not only is there no ATM/cash point/teller machine, but even worse, the espresso machine wasn't working, and I couldn't have coffee.  Oh dear.  

Anyway, most of the people are lovely, except of course for the other exception - Missy Badhair and attitude who turned up late for the information day also managed to be half an hour late on the first day (if people can't make it on time on the first day, what's the rest of the year going to be like?) - but the winner was a person who turned up 45 minutes late, then sat in the back whispering to Missy Badhair - hadn't enrolled, couldn't fill in the form (apparently she forgot her phone (so?) and her glasses..) but she did manage to bond almost instantly with Missy Badhair, and impart the very important news that she lived in Balmain, she went to lots of bands, and they should go out some time.  All this whilst the teacher was telling us lots of unimportant stuff like... timetable, safety info, equipment needs.  You know.  The useless stuff.  

Then, to top it all, when we were making our first thingy (oh, did I forget to mention we made something?  Well!  We did!!), she was so busy talking over the top of the teacher she missed the instructions and had to ask people what to do.  I hate hate hate people like that.  When I was a trainer, I would let that go once, then I'd jump on them.  It's not fair on the other students, because then they miss out on what you're saying whilst answering the non-listener's questions.

Anyway, my Instant New Best Friend, N, leant over at this point and whispered to me "I'm going to kill her...".  Hah.  I love it when somebody else gets it.  Then when we got back into the workshop, she managed to use everybody else's equipment because she hadn't been listening when the equipment list was given out & hadn't picked up everything she needed, she dropped a 1.5 metre ruler on the floor & left it there, she picked up my safety goggles from my desk & put them on because they were closer than hers (yep, a whole 60cm/2 feet away, that's a long way when you're a rude inconsiderate jerk), she didn't put anything away, she didn't sweep any benches... I'll give her a month.  And you can bet your bottom dollar she'll quit because the teachers don't like her.  It won't be her fault, oh no.  

Anyway, now that I've got that out of my system, I will show you pictures of the magnificent upholstered article we made:

Confused yet?  What was yesterday?  Valentine's Day, of course.  Whoever said Upholstery teachers don't have a sense of humour was completely wrong.  They got us to cover a wooden heart.  Two different fabrics so you can learn how to deal with different levels of flexibility and grain, lessons on how to mark out fabric using blackboard chalk & cut it out using scissors, (almost quaint, really), and the most scary part, a compressed-air powered staple gun to put it all together.  Man, those babies pump it out.

Anyway, I now know that the stuff round the edges is called gimp, and it hides a multitude of sins, and it's used to finish off the two ugly rows of staples that hold this baby together, along with my burnt finger's new best friend - the hot glue gun.  See, who said upholstery was a skill?  Bring me your chaise lounge, your chesterfield, your wing chair.  Bring me a valium.  

And now, I must get in the shower, because I'm going into town for a social event.  And did I mention it's going to be 21°C today & dampish?  Yeehaw.  Love it.


Saturday, 12 February 2011

Home again home again jiggity jig

Who remembers that children's rhyme?  Apparently it has three verses!  Who knew!

Whilst I was at my lovely Ma's, she got a disk of photos from her cousin, who lives in England, with some lovely old black & white pictures of the family.  Some of these date right back to the beginning of the 19th Century, and they're fascinating.  My other great-grandmother (not Isabella) is pictured here, and she was a beauty:

Except I'm somewhat glad I didn't get the nose.  It's a bit of a honker, isn't it?  She was born in 1872 & her name was Edith Fanny Thomas.    Not quite the same zing as Isabella Golightly, but as we have no photos of Izzy, I think we should pay Edith some homage!

Here she is in 1938 or 1939 (at the beach!), with a newspaper showing a defiant pre-war headline.

Don't you just love that beach-going outfit?  Sensible shoes, a dress, some sort of capey-coaty thing, an extremely stylish hat... gorgeous.

And here she is in the 1940's, when my great-grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary:

My lovely Ma is right at the back, with her head slightly tilted.  Happy days.

In other crafty news, Gentle Readers, I am going to attempt an English Wedding Quilt with my pile of Moda's beautiful Lumiere De Noel, and I will provide photos as I progress.  I need to go to Cottage Quiltworks today to find a centre panel for the English Wedding Quilt, and I am also picking up Miss Nelly's quilt, which has returned from being quilted.  Photos, I promise.  

I have an order to make up for a lovely person in St Louis, Missouri (another one (person, that is, not order), and that will be my day today, apart from sewing the binding on Miss Nelly's quilt, which I estimate will take the rest of my life.  I had several lessons from my Lovely Ma whilst in Perth, and I think I have the mighty corners* down pat, but joining the binding?  We shall see.  Expect tears, stamping of the feet and random bouts of swearing.

And finally, it's about 21°C today and cloudy.  Just beautiful.  We've even had some rain, but the garden still looks a bit sad & dry, and one of the Callicomas is looking very distressed, so a bucket or two of water will be applied there.

And now I need to apply water to myself so I can go out in public and not get arrested.  And I can wear jeans!  Bliss!


*Mighty Corners - also known in some sewing circles as 'Mitred Corners'.  Go Tractor Jo!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

So much happening, so little time...

Firstly, meet the new dog!  Not mine, sadly, but I wish she were!  This is Nellie, a six-week old long-haired corgi, who has come to reside at the House of Hendy, and who has given a new lease of life to Puddy, the existing Dog of The House.  Kaz, take note...

This is the best I could do, Gentle Readers.  Puppies are hard to photograph, because they never want to sit still & pose, like the more mature pooches we know & love:

.  Plus, I'm sitting on the floor here, trying to snap her as she's running round madly... but I did succeed in the end, when her new owner picked her up & hung on grimly:

What a cutie, hey?  I've never really been a fan of corgis before, but I'd happily have this one!

Next, in other news of great excitement, I start Upholstery school on Monday.  Yes, Gentle Readers, I am doing it.  I thought that an apprenticeship was going to be my only option, and despaired of finding one, but then, the lovely people at our Technical School came through with the goods, and I am about to start a one semester course which will cover everything a first-year apprentice learns.  If I'm really lucky, an apprenticeship may make itself known during the semester, but if not, then we'll go to Plan B.  Don't ask me what it is, I haven't made that bit up yet.  

I haven't dealt with the August Institution yet, but suffice it to say, I need to make some calls.  Heh.  

And finally, in the most exciting news, (see, the rewards for being patient & wading through all this crap are there, they really are...), Angela Pudding put my pouch on the front page of her blog.  OMG.  Do you know how many people follow her blog?  No, me neither.  But judging by the traffic at the bottom of my blog, it's slightly more than 24.  Not that I'm quibbling, Gentle Readers.  I love seeing that counter creep slowly towards 25.   Really.

Anyway, I was touched (and not in the head, either), and gratified, and kind of amazed, really.  And a bit scared.  Am I ready for Internet Fame?  If it means I have to get out of my PJ's earlier, probably not.  

And now, Gentle Readers, it's 4.55am here in Perth, and I think I can put all the excitement behind me & go back to sleep.   Maybe.  Stay safe in the weather!


Saturday, 5 February 2011

Leaving, on a jet plane

I'm off to Perth, Gentle Readers, to visit my lovely Ma.  I have left you with something delectable to look at over in the Divine Treasury, and I don't know when I'll be posting again, but don't fret.  I'll definitely be at it this week.  No, not that, Mr Golightly is not coming along.

I've left him a six-serving pot of spaghetti sauce, so hopefully I won't return home after a week to find him surrounded by empty pizza boxes, or worse, being eaten alive by some of the insects which have found their way into the cool of our house this week...

It's going to be 31C in Perth today, much nicer than Sydney, and of course it almost never rains over there, so I'll feel right at home.  How weird is this weather?  Of course, Climate Change is a myth.  Just ask the people in Tully.

And now, Gentle Readers, I must make the most of my annual QANTAS club membership by guzzling another glass of apple juice before my flight.  Ah, the glamour.

Stay safe in the weather.


Thursday, 3 February 2011

What was I thinking?

Well, apart from the social obligations, Gentle Readers, sometimes it's nice to get completely out of your comfort zone and go to somewhere you've never been and will probably never go again, just to have lunch with somebody.  My good friend KP is working out at somewhere I consider to be a true AEON*, took me an hour to get there, four motorway/freeway tolls and a deepening conviction that everybody who lives out there is completely nuts.  Here's a picture of the Google Maps directions from Newport (Point A) to my destination (Point B):

That's further than I've been on holidays, some years.  Of course it wasn't the distance (70km each way) that makes me think they're all nuts, it's the temperature.  It was 38.5°C/101.3°F out there, with a hot wind blowing right off the desert, at 2.00pm.  No sea breeze, no prospect of a coastal southerly to cool them down.  OMG.  

So, needless to say, I was very glad to get home & ventilate the house, and joy oh joy, a cool(ish) breeze whipped through about 5.00pm.  Some sleep is in order tonight, I hope.  I also got up into the roof (don't even ask me what the temperature was up there, please!) to get the other fan down, which is noisy but effective - but the way we've been sleeping this week, I'm quite sure the sound won't be keeping us awake.

In other news, I was delighted to see a whole gaggle of visitors from foreign climes (not foreign as in 'strange', but foreign as in 'not living in Orstraya'... hello to all you lovely lurking Gentle Readers in Oxfordshire UK, Garfield, NJ USA, Southsea, Hampshire UK, Philadelphia The City of Lurve, Pennsylvania USA, Hockworthy, Somerset UK, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (or Tronno, as we say here), and good old Wenty, somebody from Wentworthville, NSW, who drops in from time to time but never delurks, that I know of anyway.

I'm wondering if my visitor from Hockworthy, Somerset, is the lovely LucyWithaY from one of my favourite blogs, Lives By The Woods?  Come on, 'fess up if it is you.  You know you want a froggie.

In other, makery type news, I have today found out what a comprehensive PITA** it is to sew PUL***, but how much easier it is with a walking foot - first time I've used it on this machine, and after having to get the book out to work out how to put it on the machine, it was dead easy.  That stuff is so sticky, it gummed up the rotary cutter something fierce, so that's another trap for young players...  anyway, I, who am the master of the boxed-bottom pouch decided that it was a bit disgraceful to keep going on visits with a toilet/cosmetic pouch held together with a safety-pin, so I made myself a new one.  I used that gorgeous Echino Birdsong linen, and kept the nice purple bit at the bottom to match up to the zip.  Shame I couldn't find a zip that colour, but hey, it's close enough.

Birdsong in Green - ECHINO Japanese Imported Fabric - Half Yard

Also, I found out that if you're careful enough, you can put a zip in using a walking foot.  No zip foot required at all - the topstitching is a little bit close for my taste, but the pouch opens & closes without any dramas.  Also, the label is in the wrong place.  I still can't work out exactly where to put them to avoid them being swallowed up by the box-bottom, but again, it's only for me, so who cares.  It was a bit of a conceit putting the label on it anyway, but you never know what may come of it... commissions from Ma's friends?  Stranger things have happened!

So.  Pics?  You can just see the label there at the bottom left.  Bah.

The absolutely best part is that I can get all the crap I need for a week's visit to my lovely Ma, with room left over - 

And hopefully the PUL lining will keep it nice & clean.  I'm tempted to offer them for sale, 
but suspect the market is flooded already (no pun intended).  What pun?  It's a waterproof lining.  Honestly.  Anyway, any thoughts on the viability of selling them, very welcome, as always.

In other Etsy related news, my lovely Toile lavender bags have been featured in a treasury, again (so excited!), so if you're bored & want something lovely to look at, check this out.  I love treasuries, I really do.  There is some absolutely amazing stuff for sale on Etsy, it never ceases to amaze me what you can find.  I think that might be the theme for my next one!  

And that's it, for me today.  Mr Golightly is wending his weary way home from another very long day, and the dinner sits in the fridge, staying cool.  I hope that wherever you are, you're safe, and the weather is kind to you.


*Arse end of nowhere
**Pain in the arse
***PolyUrethane Laminate(d Polyester).  Dunno why they don't just call it 'PULP'. 

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Too darn hot

I keep trying to find the energy to write a post but it's just too hot.  Yesterday was worse, about 38°C/104°F, no breeze, nuthin'.  Today, not quite so bad, at least there's a breeze.

Anyway, not much to report here, because heat-driven apathy has got me in its evil grip - but I did get some lovely pics from MGF Kaz of the bed made up with the pillowcases I made, to show you:

I made the square, lighter ones, too, about six months or so ago - from a pair of table napkins - they've got red backs too.  Not bad, really.

I also finished the tablecloth yesterday, too.  It looks really nice, but I think I should have checked how big her table was first!

I also made some Birthday Bunting for the Birthday Girl's house:

Came out really nice, but I've got to work on the perfect colour for those letters... the green is Jay McCarroll Woodland Wonderland:

which I love because it's so... weird.

In other news:  Queensland is preparing for the worst cyclone in living memory, and our entreaties to the weather gods go their way... Check this out if you want to be really scared... I'm very much looking forward to the end of February, I have to say, when Summer will be over and we only have 16°C days to worry about.

Also, the poor sods in Missouri are facing the worst ice storm in decades, and our thoughts are with everybody there, but especially the Pudding family.  Keep safe & stay warm, Mrs Pudding.

Ciao for now!