Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Asians in the library

Racists in the halls...

I still have no idea how to make a link to somebody else's post and you, Gentle Readers, have comprehensively failed me in my quest to learn how to do this!  However, this link to the excellent "SueBob's Red Stapler blog" should provide you with everything you need to know about flashing your tits and your low IQ at the same time.  Oh, I said 'tits'.  Sorry.  Perhaps with my fine "american manners" I should have said "bosoms"?  I know Americans are a bit thingy about nudity and body parts, but not, apparently, about allowing people with no idea into University, which is, after all, about broadening your mind and challenging your assumptions, something that Alexandra Wallace has comprehensively failed on both counts.

In other news, the footstool is finished, but unmarked, so I can't bring it home yet, but there are a few very ordinary pictures:

Underneath, all neatly tied off:

A corner.  Velvet is very bulky!

The top - five large buttons instead of four small buttons.  Vive la differenza...

We spent a lot of time yesterday learning how to make pleats (knife, box and mock-box), using paper, and then marking it out on fabric.  Much frustration ensued and the day went, generally, pretty quickly.

On Sunday I made a pouch for The Bride, who wanted something to keep her meditation runes safe - in orange, of course.. and she chose one of my favourites:

Fabric Kaffe Fassett Millefiore Orange

and this lovely to line it with:

Sandi Henderson's Farmers Market...Geometric in Peach

And I used quilted calico inside, which makes it all easy:

Hope she likes it!

And that's it for me - I am going into town for lunch with Miss Mary Mary, which should be nice... if the rain stops - which it looks like might happen.... Ah, Sydney Autumn.  Gotta love it!


Sunday, 27 March 2011

Well, not much stuff has happened...

Let's see, Gentle Readers.  It's 2.28AM.  I went to bed at 9.30PM, pretty tired after a fairly busy day getting organised for a girlie family gathering, where the extremely glamourous purveyor of a well-known brand of skin care products came round to show us her wares, give the two 13-year olds facials and a little bit of make-up (they were so excited!) and sell us lots of (admittedly) lovely products... and then BANG!  I was awake.

Actually, I blame the leftovers I had for dinner.  It was a combination of lamb ribs (yummy) and indian-style osso buco (can you believe that even exists?) and I think it was a bit too much for my poor gut to cope with, so here I am.  I've had a glass of milk with Milo in it to slice through the heartburn, but there's no getting away from the wide-awakedness of it all...

Anyway, you're definitely due an update, Gentle Readers, because my last post was sketchy to say the least.  I was rushing out the door to something, don't ask me what.  Oh yes, School.  Child's chair is definitely finished, but the teacher didn't even look at them until Friday night, so no mark, no bringing home, and therefore no pics.  Sorry.

The upholstered footstool is also almost finished, remind me when I'm running my own upholstery shop to put up a big big sign saying "no velvet, no stripes, no checks".  Big lessons learnt this week about how hard it is up make nice box pleats using velvet...

Anyway, it looks like this:

Except mine is a nice pale blue velvet with a fairly '80's motif rather than that extremely nasty brocade, has five buttons in the top and only one lot of piping.  Here they've used the first row of piping to make the foam block look like two smallish blocks instead of one big one.  Ours really are two blocks, held together and in place by the buttons which are on mattress twine, which is then pulled through both blocks of foam to the underneath, and tied off using a slip knot - the buttoning needles you use to do this are incredibly long and sharp and could kill you:

 Here's a selection of the tools we use everyday.The buttoning needle is the second one from the bottom, and it's 12"/30cm long.  

The bottom tool is called a regulator, and it's also known in our class as 'The Enforcer', 'The Terminator' and 'The Force'. as in "Use the Force, Luke".  It's extremely handy for shoving material into tight spaces if you're wussy about hurting your fingers (oh yes!) on the backs of chairs...

Where was I?  I just fell into an upholstery-tool-lust moment & had to go & look on eBay to see what there was... Anyway, the skirt is made up of piping & a very long piece of material, into which you have to fold pleats that sit right on the corners, and then you have to stitch the pleats.  They're allowed a tolerance (how much it's allowed to be off the corner) of 1mm, or .039".  Yep, .039".  That's not a lot, really.  I had three goes at sewing it together before I got them to sit on the corners to the teacher's satisfaction, then I had to do the skirt & piping, which is why I never want to sew anything with velvet ever again.  My respect for Upholsterers continues to grow...

Anyway, all that's left is to staple it on, back-tack it (this is the process where you take cardboard strips and insert them right under the piping, then drive them into the wood using your staple gun - it stops the piping from falling down when the piece is finished..) and then cover the bottom with calico, and bam!  Upholstered footstool, anybody?  I'll be (hopefully) bringing it home on Monday night, so pics.  Honest.  No, honest.

In other news of unparalleled excitement, the quote for the gutterguard arrived.  No issue with that... but they wanted $4500 to supply & install a water tank which costs $770 in the shops.  I'm pretty sure I can rope Mr Golightly into doing all the work they included in the price, which would take no more than one day to do - even if they were charging $100 an hour for labour, that's only $800, plus $770 for the tank, maybe $1000 for parts (unlikely, it's a tap, some hose, a first flush water divertor to keep all the crap out of the tank [probably no more than $250, according to this site]) and a concrete slab for the tank to stand on, that's $2700.  Where does the other $1800 go?  The staff Christmas party?  I so don't think they'll be getting our order...
And of course I've been having such a lot of fun making Treasuries of vintage clothes on Etsy - if you haven't ever looked into the vintage side of Etsy, it is amazing.  There is everything from hat blocks (I saw a beauty yesterday for $65.00...) to shoe lasts to hats, bags, shoes, jewellery, kitchenware, you name it.  I found a beautiful purple suede Liz Claiborne shopping tote which had had 600 odd views, at least 25 hearts & was an absolute bargain as far as I could see, but nobody had bought it!  Anyway, I couldn't resist, even though it wasn't you-know-what colour (red, Red RED!), so I'll report back when it arrives.

RESERVED FOR IsabellaGolightly SALE DEEP PURPLE BAG 80s Liz Claiborne Suede Shoulder Bag in PurpleAnd now, Gentle Readers, I feel like I might be ready to go back to bed.  The Milo has hit the spot, and my eyelids are drooping.  So, Buona Notte!

PS Happy Birthday to the very lovely MIss Vetty!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Ho rifinito, ancora!

Yep, it's done.  Pics tonight.  I'm knackered, I have to say, and I've been up since 4.50am.  Don't ask.  

Also, where is Del Mar in California, and who are you, Gentle Reader?  Please pop in to say Hi!

That's it for now, off to the shower, then school, to finish the upholstered footstool.  Things are moving apace.


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A small update

On V2 of the chair...yesterday I got up to putting the ply-grip on the back, and the teacher, in his infinite wisdom, suggested that I should hand-stitch the back, rather than use ply-grip, because the fabric is somewhat thinner than regular upholstery fabric.

I must admit, Gentle Readers, to a slight amount of annoyance with the vendor of said fabric, who clearly had the words 'home dec' in her description of said fabric at the online shop.  To me, and probably to most people, 'home dec' implies that the fabric is a heavier weight than normal quilting cotton.  Here in Aus it's also known as Upholstery fabric, and although I was a bit surprised to find the pattern in mid-weight fabric, it isn't entirely unheard of... but, it wasn't.  It's just ordinary quilting weight.  And so, I'm stuck with hand-stitching both sides of the Outside Back of the chair.

And so, I have brought it home to do today, to make sure I'm not too far behind when I take it back to School on Thursday.  Some pics:

The front

More spikes than an echidna:

 The corners, nice & square:

And tonight, when I've finished putting holes in my fingers, I will show you a picture of the finished back.  All that's left after that is to do the calico at the bottom to tidy it up, and bam, it's finished.

Speaking of putting holes in fingers, Miss Natalie slipped and stabbed herself in the hand with a sharpened screwdriver, which is what we use at Upholstery School to remove staples.  It was very deep and bled a lot, and she looked like she was going to faint, to me.  Brave soul, she carried on for the rest of the day looking like a blancmange.  Very very pale.

On the ruler case front, I moved the closure to the other side, causing some loud and varied swearing as I struggled to get the binding off, on again, off again, on again, unpicked & moved, trimmed, on again.  You get the picture.  Don't sew when you're tired, hey?  Once I get the handles on, I'll post a picture or two.  Honest.

In other news of unparalleled excitement, the gutter guard man came today to measure up our front gutters for their new covers:

We're also getting a quote for a water tank to go in the front, probably 2000 litres, that's 582 US Gallons or 439 Imperial Gallons.  There's already been some serious discourse in the Golightly household about whether or not we actually need the tank, but common sense will prevail (that's my view, in other words)... Mr Golightly went off to the office licking his wounds.

And now, Gentle Readers, I must away to the Chair, and start my stitching.  After my nap, I think :-).


Sunday, 20 March 2011

News of a varied kind...

Gerald Gee, who was one of the nicest people I've never met, has passed away.  He was a follower of my blog, and his occasional witty comments always made me feel like somebody was reading this stuff.  He often had film clips of beautiful singers from the 1930s and 1940s, and he had witty little cartoons, paintings he'd done on his Wacom tablet, and fabulous black & white photography showing a bygone era in London and the surrounding countryside.  

Here's one of my favourites from his website.  Vale Gerald.

In other, weirder news, we had a visit from a Bush Turkey.  Although I don't believe in ghosts, angels or devils, I sometimes wonder when Mother Nature pops visitors up in your garden after something like this happens... but I don't know that Gerald would like think his spirit was contained in a bush turkey!

I did a bit of sewing - currently I'm taking three rulers to school, one of which is a metre long - that's just over a yard - and it's a nuisance, as all three have to go into a hand which is also trying to carry my toolbox and inevitably, something of Natalie's.  We both abandoned the handbags after the first week (no lockers, nowhere to keep anything off the floor, any questions?) and are using backpacks, but she carries a coffee keep-cup in the mornings & doesn't have a free hand, and I do, so... 

Anyway, I made a wrap-y thing to put them in.  It works a bit like a knitting needle roll:


(pic courtesy of Sarah Kincheloe, from whom I have bought three knitting needle organisers) with the rulers sitting in the middle but poking out the ends, and Mr Golightly is madly trying to convince me that I should have made it the exact shape of the rulers... which would have been slightly ridiculous, as they are all different shapes & sizes, but I'm not entirely sure that I'm happy with it.  Pictures when I am...

In happy news, it's Miss Mandy's birthday today, Happy Birthday MM!  I made these for her (and can finally show you!):

A little bit like the bush turkey, but not too much - this little guy is completely filled with stinky lavender!  And I made another beautiful treasury of vintage shoes and bags, which I will put up today.  Of course you can always go to Etsy & have a look at all of them in one place, in case you feel completely deprived by missing one or two...

The child's chair is progressing well (which is a good thing, considering we're supposed to finish it tomorrow!), and I made the seat border & seat back piping & attached it to the respective pieces yesterday - tomorrow I have to:

Put the calico on the seat
Put the seat fabric on
Put the seat border on
Backtack the seat border
Finish underneath the seat border
Attach the outside back at the top
Backtack the outside back at the top
Attach the piping down the sides
Attach the Ply-Grip down the sides
Attach the Dacron to the outside back
Pin the back to the piping
Attach the outside back one side at a time
Finish the bottom of the outside back
Put calico on the bottom of the chair.

Not so much, really.  I've got 8 hours.  I'll be fine.

And that, Gentle Readers, is it for me.  I can feel the lure of the television, and as I've only had five hours of naps this weekend, an early night.  Ciao!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Operation Dinner Out

On Saturday night, after a day's hard labour (well, Mr Golightly laboured, I played a bit of scrabble, had a huge nap and fluffed about comparing fabric colours with MGF Kaz), we were lucky enough to go out to dinner to continue the Wedding Anniversary celebrations...

Amuse Bouche - just to get us started - salmon roe, salmon sashimi, green tea mousse, in a pea pod

Is it possible to do too much celebrating?  I don't mean 'drink too much', or 'eat too much', I mean "celebrate too many times", I spose... Anyway, we didn't really overdo it, we behaved quite sedately, we played nicely with others (the party of older ladies at the next table with two token men (one was obviously Dad, and the other was obviously Uncle Bill, or Uncle Merv, you know) and two little kids, who were impeccably behaved), we didn't eat with our fingers, or leave the table to be sick... why am I telling you this?  

Mr Golightly's entree (starter) - duck liver pate

Here's the story.  There was a table of four directly opposite me.  Four nicely dressed people, two men, two women.  The girls were dressed in that nice middle class way (I mean, not like hookers, not like they live in those suburbs where it's de rigueur to look like you rob banks for a living), in frocks, and one even had nice smoky grey pantyhose/tights on with her frock - but she was the one so pissed she could hardly keep her eyes open.

Karol's entree (starter) - Duck ravioli

I don't get it - why would you come to a hatted fine dining restaurant so maggotted that you can barely get the food into your mouth?  It was like watching a train wreck - horrible, but you can't tear your eyes away.  At one point she started to hiccup, and I thought, "oh yes, now we're going to see the whole thing land on the table", but she kept it together, and lurched off to the bathroom.  Eight times.  The next best one was watching her get the food into her mouth - very difficult, apparently.

A little kingfish sashimi to help us on our way

Anyway, the food was enough incentive to drag our eyes away - fantastic, beautiful to look at, and magnificent flavours...

Karol's main - rack of lamb with peas & bacon

Mr Golightly & Uncle Az both had the steak.  Ug.

My entree/starter - sugar cured coral trout with peas - beautiful!

My main - mushroom, spinach and gorgonzola tortellini.  Devine.

Anyway, the young man who'd brought the poor unfortunate out for dinner didn't seem to be too concerned about her, but they left very quickly.  What a waste!

And now, Gentle Readers, after a real day of labour yesterday, (Thanks Deb!), I am off into town for some socialising, then a trip to the Post Office to make sure Miss Mandy's birthday gifts arrive in time, then home to finish the washing.  Ah, the glamour!


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Ho rifinito

Yes, Gentle Readers, the bloody chair is finished.  And in the grand tradition of making somebody work on something until they are truly sick of it, we immediately had to start on the second attempt, putting all the knowledge we acquired on the first one to work.  God, who took the notes?  Not me.  I took a few crap photos as I went along:

How useless was this one?

Not quite as useless as this one:

Or this one:

or my personal favourite, where the only thing I've managed to focus on was Brad's bum:

peeking round the corner of the chair!

However, it all came out in the wash:  

and underneath:

All nice & tidy.  MGF Kaz has bought the chair from me, which is good, because I never want to see it again.

I started the next one today, using this:

Bird Swing fabric by Michael Miller - 1 Yard

which is surprisingly difficult to line up - the pattern repeat is a long way apart and the birdcage bottoms are not aligned, but I think I've got it now.  I'm up to putting the first of three lots of foam on the seat, and I'm confident I'll get it finished next Monday.  My respect for upholsterers rises to new levels.

The weekend in the Green and Pleasant Land was very relaxing... they haven't had any rain for three weeks, so things are not so Green, but it was still fabulously restful:

And in here, I spotted something:

What a little cutie, hey?

And now, Gentle Readers, I must away to the shower, coffee with MBF is calling, and the dishwasher needs emptying.  Can't do that in my pyjamas, can I?  Hah!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Progress Part II

Made birthday things for Miss Mandy but can't show them here as she reads this!  Once the birthday is over, I promise purple photographs.

Chair coming along nicely, but disappointingly not finished today due to my overwhelming desire to make sure the slip-stitching along the edge is invisible.  Which meant, I had to pull it out five (yep, count them, not one, not two, not three, not four but FIVE) times before I was happy with it, and even now there's a couple of spots I'm not sure of.

My fingers are very sore.

We're off to Hunter Valley tomorrow for a weekend of R&R & mowing, if Mr G ever gets home from work to pack his clothes, although he probably thinks I'm going to do it for him because I get home earlier than he does.  Ha.  

I've been playing scrabble online with My Lovely Ma & MGF Dawn, and losing badly.   Little old ladies have no scrabble-scruples.

There is other news, but I need to go & drag the suitcase out of the roof, apparently, so more on our return from the Green & Pleasant Land!


Saturday, 5 March 2011

Very funny, Blogger...

I didn't notice, Gentle Readers, that my post from yesterday, when I came home all full of enthusiasm and dust, was full of HTML, until this afternoon when I was waiting for MBF & Master H in one of the few decent bookshops on the mid-Northern Beaches (which is closing down, for shame [but which isn't part of the A&R or Borders chain], because the owners are retiring and didn't even try to sell it as a going concern...), and my back started to ache, so I went and sat on The Bench to wait for them.  As I do from time to time, I thought I'd look for updates from my favourite blogs, and as usual, I get to them via my own blog, because of course they're all gathered there for convenience.  Mine, of course.  It's just very handy for you as well, because I know that some of you go straight from me to Mrs Pudding, for example, and that's fine... 

Anyway, long story short... I was doing this on my phone (so geeky) and what do I see but a mess of HTML... I assumed it was because there was some issue with the phone, but now that I'm home, having had a drink & two aspirin, lying on the bed & wishing I felt better, that I have discovered that the whole post went up in HTML, and none of the photos made it, either.  Gah.

Anyway, I couldn't bear to do it all again, so here's a precis:

Madam Late arrived at 8.50 on Thursday & didn't arrive at all on Friday...
Mr Smelly didn't arrive at all on Thursday, arrived late on Friday, stayed for 2 hours then nicked off without letting the teacher know he was leaving (not really an attendance thing, more a courtesy thing)...
Miss Sulky actually picked up a broom but only managed to wave it round her own workbench, she didn't quite get to the rest of the floor, but that is some progress...
Miss Badhair left early so she could go to the beautician.  Guess that's better than Zumba, which was last week's excuse for leaving early.... such dedication
Poor B put his inside back cover on the wrong way round & had to start again... 
The rest of us are perfect, but you knew that already.

Chair is coming on:

And tomorrow is our wedding anniversary (18, to be precise).  Incredible really.   Mr Golightly sent me these yesterday, saying Happy 18th & here's to another 80.  I don't really want to still be going at 375 years + 80, but I guess we'll see.

That's it.  I'm having a rest now, before we go out tonight with OWP & KWP to our favourite Italian, where Mr Golightly & I have been dining since before we were married.  Yum.  

Have a great weekend, Gentle Readers, and watch out for that HTML monster!


PS I bought a scrabble dictionary.  Watch out!

Friday, 4 March 2011


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Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Eye spy

At Upholstery School there are very strict rules about wearing safety glasses whilst stapling or nailing - those mothers really punch out the sharp flying things, and while you can always grow skin over a cut or a hole, you can't grow another eyeball.

Needless to say, the safety glasses sit in our toolboxes, and get all scratched and greasy.  So... today I made three pouches for the three amigos (me, Caroline and Natalie):



And the glasses fit in very nicely, thank you:

and so do the safety glasses:

And yes, we all look like Fearless Fly.  But we're safe!

Anyway, I'm going to put these into the shop... they work just as well as other cases, they're lined with quality fabrics, made squishy and protective with quilt batting, and they look a lot nicer than the brown vinyl one you've got now, come on, admit it!

And in the fabric purchasing department, I bought a metre and a half of this:

And yes, that is my hand, so you see the scale of the print - my favourite chair, which we inherited from Mr Golightly's lovely parents waaaaaaaaaaaaay back when we were newly married and very poor, is covered in a gorgeous wool from KA Fabrics - way back when we were very spoilt and had three or four KA stores to choose from - which is blue, cream and brown, and although it may sound pretty foul, it's gorgeous:

And, of course because KA no longer graces our shores, there's no more to be had - that and the fact that it was nearly 10 years since we had the chair redone!  So, I wanted something that would go with the chair, and could be used to recover the lounges if & when I ever get round to it ... I think they kind of go together... and I will use this to cover my skirted footstool, which we have to do at Upholstery school.

I had a lovely time at Bargain Upholstery Fabrics at Seaforth - they don't have a website, but what they do have is six (yep, six) shops full of amazing fabrics.  Despite the huge choice, it didn't take me long to find the cream, and it was only $16/metre.  That's a massive bargain, when you consider that quilting cottons can cost as much as $25 per metre - is it any wonder that we get our quilting stuff direct from the US???.  I got 1.5 metres, which should be enough to do my laura ashley cream wool footstool as well, which is looking a bit grubby and old.  

And that, Gentle Readers, is the news of the day for me.  I now have to dress respectably (out of the yoga pants, into something guaranteed not to frighten the children) and away, away to the supermarket.  Can't wait!