Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Home again home again jiggity jig II

Well, Gentle Readers, it would appear that half the population of Sydney decided to return to the Big Smoke at the same time as we did - we got half an hour into our journey on Sunday night and realised that because of the volume of traffic, it was probably going to take us 5 hours or so to get home - a trip that normally takes 2.5 hours... so we turned around.  Lucky for us Kaz & Az are pretty laid back, and we hadn't worn out our welcome.  Monday morning came & 8.08am saw us on the road - we were home by 10.20am.  

What did we do?  Well, as usual, Mr Golightly toiled mightily in the vineyard, winding up wire, splitting wood and help Az build some raised vegie beds, and I worked on Kaz's dressing gown, getting it 98% done, with the only bit remaining the really fiddly bit, which is to put the piping on the sleeves.  Being the fussy creature that I am, I want to use a method which will allow me to have only one visible seam, but I want the outside fabric to show on the inside of the sleeves too - I believe Vogue Sewing has the answers, so I'll be checking that out today, especially as it appears Autumn has hit with vengeance, and it's going to be cold and rainy all day... perfect for sewing!

For the first time in ages I didn't take any photos with my actual camera, only one rather nice piccie of Mr G with the pooch, her in her favourite spot, ie, right on top of Mr G, with her ears up, waiting for him to move so she can lick him into immobility... she's such a softie... although when the people on bicycles rode down the driveway & sat down to have their picnic, she set up such a barking & carrying on that it dawned on them that the land wasn't actually a park, despite the close resemblance, and scurried back up the driveway, with a "sorry" floating back our way.  Didn't do much to stop the dog from barking, but it did give us all a bit of a chuckle...

I have ordered some fabric, to make Az a footstool - I took my project up for show & tell, and he was so impressed he wants one.  Now all I have to do is find time to squeeze it in - I'm sure I'll manage!  This is what Kaz & I found trawling through upholstery fabric on Etsy:

Cotton Upholstery Fabric, Paisley Deep Rose Pink Fabric, 2 Yards

and this one, which is also fantastic:

Reversible Upholstery weight Fabric with Bird Motif

which I am just waiting for the owner to make me a custom listing so I can buy it & then Madam Kaz can choose her favourite.  I think they would both be amazing, but we shall see.

And now, given that I've been awake since 0430, I think I'm going to crawl back into bed and thank the Guvnmnt for my extra day off.  Enjoy it, Gentle Readers, I'm going to!


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Heavenly Hunter

Hooray Gentle Readers, we're off to the Heavenly Hunter Valley for Easter.  It's always lovely to go & spend quality time with the Dog, the Chef, the Maker of Big Fat Fluffy Beds and the Mountains, and I'm taking the Chair (finally) - and also the footstool so she can see my skills in action...

I'm also taking the sewing machine, so I can make dressing gowns for the Chef and the Maker of Big Fat Fluffy Beds, and also a cushion for the chair, and whatever else pops up.

I got some fabric in the mail today:

Reserved listing for Susan

This has quite a bit more yellow than I was expecting, but it's still very nice.

And this also arrived:

RESERVED FOR ISABELLAGOLIGHTLY  Fabric - Home Dec -  Blue background with green and white paisleys - 54 inches wide - sold by the yard

Which I love, and which I think will become the slipper chair cover, and this:

Temple Doors in Floe Blue Home Dec, Soul Blossoms by Amy Butler for Westminster

Which I think will be the tub chair, depending, of course, on the teacher's advice.

My lovely neighbour Lyn popped in to ask questions about how to renovate her op-shop frock for a Royal wedding party (what?  who?).  She was very impressed with the chair and suggested I try hawking it round the children's wear shops on the peninsular, especially to those shops where parents with more money than sense shop - which I think is a great idea (the chair, not the parents)... I might see if I can upholster another one in the spare time I have at Upholstery School... 

And that, Gentle Readers, is it for me, as I have to shower, dress, wash up, pack, chivvy Mr Golightly into action (although he has already mowed the back lawn, showered, dressed, packed and is now eating.  It's only 11.53am - he must be on holidays!)

Ciao (and have a fabulous Eostre, all of you!).

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


When I was in Primary School I got a bit of a key fetish & started collecting them from all over the place.  I think it stems from my unquenchable desire to open locked doors & find out what's inside.  I still think a locked door holds the most interesting secrets.  Don't ever invite me to your house, I'll be snooping before you can say "cup of tea?"...

One of my fondest moments (and there were very very few) of high school is that at our Year 10 Farewell (that's Fourth Form, or when we're 16 for those of you who labour under the incomprehensible American high school system), I was presented with some cheap, nasty green and blue plastic keys from a baby's rattle.  No idea where they are now.  

Anyway, I made a key treasury the other day, which I thought I'd share with you, and also a picture of this beautiful key, which I bought on Etsy:

italian vintage key No.53

Too gorgeous for words, and infinitely better than green plastic.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Pussy cat pussy cat II

Perth. I've been to Perth.  I feel a bit ashamed, Gentle Readers, that I didn't advise you in advance that I was going to be off the air, or even off the planet, but I've given up my fabulously expensive Qantas Club Membership ($400/year is fabulously expensive, no?) as part of my regime to save money until I get a real job, along with the daily newspaper ($300/year), and various magazines ($150/year X about 3), and so I didn't do what I usually do in the Qantas Club lounge, which is use their free internet to update my blog with my 'going on holidays' post.  

Not being too thrifty, I do still buy two of the magazines, but I don't get them delivered any more.   I discovered that the English one, British Homes & Gardens, which I love, because it has fabulous furniture, fabrics and wallpaper in it, cost about $17.00 per issue when I subscribed.  It costs $9.95 in the newsagent, about 3 weeks later.  I can bear the wait.  Just.

Comfy living room chair | Living room ideas | Image | Housetohome

Anyway, I did take my laptop to Perth, meaning to update my blog whilst I was there, but my lovely Ma & I fell into the Scrabble abyss, and spent most of our time making up ridiculous words according to the dictates of the dictionary on Facebook scrabble.  If any of you can suggest an alternative venue for online scrabble, I'd be thrilled to hear about it.

So, what did we do?  We spent a day in the clutches of the medical profession, the less said about which the better, we made two fabulous dressing gowns, using a McCalls pattern, and because we're both clever and thrifty, we made them from quilt backing fabric, which was 118" wide, meaning we only needed 1.75 metres - mine is almost to the floor, Lovely Ma's is to her ankles... and at $27/metre, that was a bargain.  Except, I just found a place in the States which has nice wide backings for $12/metre.... and people wonder why Aussies have taken to shopping on the internet with such fervor?

Slipper chair in Bastille in Claret from Chairman & Son | Armchairs | Living room furniture | PHOTO GALLERY

What else?  We visited the Hendys, we searched the local shops for an actual physical game of Scrabble (no such luck), we talked about the possibility of a holiday in Bali in July when all the medical madness is over for my Lovely Ma, we ate, I played with the dogs, did a spot of cooking (garlic prawns, yummy) & we pottered.  The perfect week off, really.

And now, Gentle Readers, as it's 1.48pm, I suppose I should schlep out of my fabulous new dressing gown & into the shower.  I am a bit jetlagged, so I don't want to rush it :-)...  more posts this week, I promise.  

George club chair from Oka | Armchairs | Living room furniture | PHOTO GALLERY


Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Calico has no stretch

And so, Gentle Readers, the balls of my thumbs actually ache from the effort of trying to pull calico down over a layer of conglomerate foam:

Can you believe this image was found under 'conglomorate upholstery foam' in Google Images?  Which part of this foot and particularly unattractive shoe is foam, hmmm?

And a layer of linters, which is a cotton by-product used to provide the softness in your seat:

Yes, Google Images is excelling itself today...

and a layer of 20mm/.78" green foam:

That's so nicely green and foamy, isn't it?  All on the top of zig-zag springs...

Damn.  They found one!

Anyway, it's hard work and my thumbs are a bit sore from all the straining, holding, stapling, and digging out the staples when it wasn't quite smooth enough to keep the Upholstery Munchkin who teaches us on Mondays, happy.  

He's a lovely man, beautiful green eyes and a great store of knowledge and skill, but he loves a chat.  He gets started on something, and Bam!  he's off on a tangent and we're stuck 375 years ago when he did his apprenticeship, fondling coconut fibre and visiting Rapunzel in her beautifully upholstered tower...

In other news, Madam Late is so far behind the rest of us now she's almost still in the other room, and we can't decide if the root cause is 

a) self-medication (as in "she's zonked")
b) alcohol (as in "she's permanently bombed/pissed"), 
c) deafness, or 
d) she's just plain dumb.  

She knows how far behind she is, so she can't be that dumb, because she wanders round the room like Lady MacBeth sleepwalking through the castle, rubbing her hands saying "Oh, I'm so far behind", which means that her projects have become a bit like King Duncan, where she was keen to take them on, but a teeeeny bit regretful after the deed was done... "Out, damn'd chair, out I say".  She hasn't finished her second child's chair, her footstool, her two vinyl stool tops, or her drop-in seat, which is what we did yesterday.  Although, we have two days until the end of term, so if she can alter time, speed up the harvest and get teleported off this rock, she may be OK.  Use the Force, young Late.

My, aren't we a cultured Golightly this morning?  

In other news, Mr Golightly is at home today, slightly unwell, and all my damn' fine plans to go into town for a visit with the bank and lunch with Ms Creek are up the ... creek.  That's fine.  He's a bit 'in-his-cave' when he's unwell, a fact I may have alluded to in previous posts, so my plan is to ignore him completely, except for throwing food into the cave opening at regular intervals, and spend the day in my sewing room, coming out only to feed the animals, and put more washing in the machines.  It is raining, so it's quite justified to use the dryer for some things... honest.

I have an order for three doorstops made from this (and don't think I'm relying on Google images here, nosireebob):

and I made these for the lovely and glamorous lady who sold me (amongst other things) some new face cream:

Do you like the button accessory touch?  I know people tie things onto them like sea-shells and such, but I don't have a ready supply of those.  I think the accessorising button is quite a nice idea.  Hopefully BJ will too - she's going to collect them tomorrow... so I will report back.

And now, it's 9.00am, the office is open for business, and I must away to the shower, the laundry, and then, so exciting, the sewing room!  


Saturday, 2 April 2011

Knife, Box, Inverted...

Any ideas?  Pleats, Gentle Readers, pleats.  This week at Upholstery School we learnt how to make a skirt for a piece of furniture (any piece, really, based on a little algebra [see, Mrs Imberger, you were right, I will use maths one day] - length of furniture (l), size of pleats (your choice, really), type of pleat [box pleats are calculated as size of front of pleat X 3] (s)divide l by s, bob's your uncle.  Got all that?  Good.

Actually, the technique is made easier if you make a template out of a piece of skinny cardboard which is usually used for backtacking (see previous post for description of backtacking, really, I don't want to actually bore you)... mark out the pattern for your pleat - for box pleats, the pattern is 'return, pleat, return', hence the calculation which forms (s).  Then you get your material, sit down with a suitable marking pen & the cardboard, and draw it up on the material.  Carefully.  A fine-point pen is ideal, because these lines have to be joined up with a pin when you come to sew it.

You also have to calculate how much material you'll actually need, and you can't do that until you start to mark it out, because the joins are not allowed to show in the front, they have to be hidden in a return.

This is a good example of box pleats, and you can see that they've gone to the trouble of making sure there isn't a pleat over the corner, which is not the case here:

So, you need to make sure your joins are all hidden, which sometimes means cutting the last bit of the fabric off before you might otherwise have, then sewing on your next piece before going on with the marking up.  It's a bit time-consuming.  Did I mention that?

Anyway, then when you've got it all marked up, you have to sew on the calico lining at the bottom, press it nice & flat, making sure all raw edges are even, then stitch it again at the top.  Then you get to pin it.  And pin it.  And pin it.  And pin it... then, when you're confident you've got it pinned right, you can try it on the piece of furniture to make sure it fits... then you go back & repin it until it does.

Then, finally, you sit down at the sewing machine, refill the bobbin which the last inconsiderate soul left almost empty (see, upholstery school differs not at all from the office, where the person who printed the 495 page document leaves you five pages in the  photocopier & you have to fill it up, not them), and very, very, very carefully, stitch it up.  Of course, if it's velvet, you won't get it right the first time.  Or the second...

Then, you try it on the piece of furniture again & see if it fits... and so on, ad nauseum.  I thought I'd get my second one (yes, we had to make two, one with instruction & one by ourselves) finished by lunchtime, but it actually took me until 3.00pm.  Phew.  Glad it's over.  

Next week we're going to do drop-in seats, which look like this:

You can bet your bottom dollar we won't be having nice Georgian chairs to work on, that's for sure... next week is our last week of term, and then we're apparently half way through.  Bloody hell.

In other news of paramount importance, I bought a new phone.  Don't tell Mr Golightly.  I got so tired of having my old one 'force close', which is mobile-phone speak for 'crash' that I splashed out on one independent of my provider, and spent a very frustrating few days learning how to get around the technical glitch which appears to have infected these phones worldwide... anyway, I did, it's working beautifully and I'm feeling very geeky again...

  I'm sure you get the hint.

Now it's the weekend, and I'm off to make doorstops for the lovely Belinda, but first... breakfast, possibly a shower :-) and maybe even out of my pyjamas.  Oh, the glamour.