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

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Just another manic Sunday

So, the week apparently flew by without me or anybody else, noticing.  Monday & Wednesday I went to Upholstery School, where we have a real teacher... and who took pity on me and helped me fix my chair's arms...  

and I was able to start on the seat:

I'd forgotten how much fun it is hand-tying springs, the twine is a little bit hard on your hands, but it was somewhat nostalgic in the 'brown paper and string parcel' type of old-fashioned thingy...

Anyway, I've got to tie them all together, and I can't go to Upholstery school on Monday because I have to go to a Management Offsite dinner - can you believe this, Gentle Readers?  Not only do I get to spend the whole day talking to my management colleagues, I get to have dinner with them as well.  Yeehaw.  Good thing the company's paying.

So, Wednesday is the last day of term, and this chair was supposed to finished this term.  Oh well.  Guess I'm not going to be ready for Third Year in 2012... unless something dramatic happens.  Any suggestions?

In happier news, I took some photos for the very lovely kate, of Rapt! Upholstery, aka The Chairy Godmother.  She's made this chair to show at the Warwick Fabrics Trade Show - I think it's fantastic!

And one of the teachers made this, which I also think is fabulous:

He made it by stitching pieces of fabric together at random, then cutting out what he needed for the chair & making it as it fell - I absolutely love it & would happily pay a lot of money for it - but apparently we aren't allowed to buy it.  I have suggested a raffle, but somehow I think it's going to end up in the foyer of the Upholstery department.   

In other news, I spent three days in the company of other 'new' or 'potential' team managers - we had a game to play, once a day over the three days, and the aim, it being a bank, of course, was to make money.  I never cease to be amazed at those people who can spend three days in a course which is designed to make you a better leader, who then throw it all away and try to do everything themselves, rather than showing some leadership and delegating some of the bits to other people.  

Our final round of the game was noisy, chaotic and disorganised, but it was fun.  We made $414 million dollars, if anybody's interested.  That was just our team.  Together the three teams made $1.1 billion dollars - all good clean paper money.  What kind of rewards and bonuses did we negotiate for ourselves?  Well, none.  What kind of negotiators were we?  The crap kind.  All the negotiating was done around the tools and resources needed to make more money, rather than share it around amongst the workers, equitably.  I'll never, never make a capitalist.  Can you tell?    

Oh yes, and I made these:

Apparently this fabric is much in demand...  and now, Gentle Readers, I am watching an episode of Stargate, and then I am going to bed.


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Has-beans and pea-ing on the ground

Well, a fabulous weekend in the Hunter was had, very relaxing (mostly because I forgot to take a bobbin for the sewing machine, so funny, ROTFLMAO, oops.  No cushions, sorry Kaz.

Kaz excelled herself in the 'big fat fluffy bed' stakes this week - the candles were lit, the bed was beautifully made and even the vases and flowers co-ordinated:

Just beautiful.

We also had lots of fun upholstering the bench (finally):

And here it is on the matching rug:

It only took about 20 minutes to finish it off.  I thought it looked OK, but Kaz said she thought it looked "bloody fantastic".  It would certainly pass the Head Teacher pinch test... and Mr Golightly looks rather fetching sitting on it in his best working clothes:

And we picked some peas, had a look at the broadbeans, which Uncle Arfur pulled out a little prematurely... like, before they'd even sprouted, and I took a pretty picture:

The smell of the barrels we bought back for MBF* Deb in the back of the car was rather heady, a mix of oak and dried wine, but fortunately we didn't get stopped by the RBT** boys, and the trip home was quite quick, which leaves me here on the couch at 6.50pm, thinking about making pouches and watching Silent Witness...

All in all, rather relaxing.  I'm going back to Upholstery School on Monday & Wednesday nights for the rest of this term (which is only this week & next), and hopefully a break will make me feel a bit better about how this is all going... and maybe I'll even get the seat started next week?  We shall see.  And see, not another thought about the Tuesday Child Minder!

Hope you all had a relaxing weekend too, Gentle Readers.


*My Best Friend
**Random Breath Testing Police

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Damned by...

Faint praise.  Yes, Gentle Readers, the Tuesday Child Minder has excelled himself.  I am overwhelmed by the encouragement and support he gave me at the end of last week,  telling me that my chair would look good in a dark room.  Hmmm.  Some issues there, I think.  I've taught people.  You know that, Gentle Readers.  I've done plenty of 1:1 coaching of people who have no business trying to learn how to use a computer, right up to standing in front of 200 fairly hostile people telling them about software which was going to make them all redundant.  There are ways, and there are ways.  This, I hasten to add, was not one of the ways.

I wonder what qualifications you need to be a TAFE* teacher?  I know when I looked into doing it in the IT world, you needed a qualification at least one level above that which you were going to be teaching.  For me, that meant I had to go & get either a degree, or some form of magic post-TAFE Diploma graduate qualification, which is what I did.  The reality that I then couldn't get a job in IT was not a reflection on me, but more an economic wake-up - they pay these guys $54 an hour (if they're lucky), but they're casuals.  They don't get any of the security of a proper job, and I didn't love teaching enough to give up my six-figure salary for $54 an hour, for maybe 6 hours a week... would you?

Anyway, having done Cert IV in Workplace Training & Education in 2004 as part of my quest to be a better teacher, I know that you don't tell your students that their chair looks like crap, and that they should have taken notes, and that nobody is going to employ you anyway because you're not a real upholstery student, not like the apprentices [and no, before you all throw up your hands in horror, he didn't actually say that, but it was implicit.  Well, it was inferred by me, so I'm blaming him.  That's how it works, isn't it?]  You encourage them gently by helping them when it's obvious they're stuck, even if they are supposed to be doing it themselves.  It doesn't get done if they can't remember what they're supposed to be doing (and let me tell you, Gentle Readers, in the grip of peri-menopause as I am, I can't remember anything.  Except the two landlocked countries in South America, which for some reason, never leaves me).  Bolivia and Paraguay.  I know.  You needed to know that.

So, here's the progress, and don't be too horrified to find out that this took me 8 hours to do.  Miss Natalie & I left at 4.00, being thoroughly sick of standing around waiting whilst the Child Minder communicated to the builder about his renos**, the other male teacher about the footy***, and the apprentices about the very thorny issues involved in making a slip cover.  Cranky?  You bet:

A note of thanks is due to the lovely Kate, of The Chairy Godmother, who reminded Miss Natalie and I that the Child Minder's tenure as our teacher is finite, and that happier days await.  Also, to the lovely Blue Lambb, who pointed out that a Vitamin B shot might help - I was thinking of a Vitamin R shot myself, as in 'Red Wine'!

In other news of the happier kind, the house is looking slightly less bomb-damaged, with clean washing only in one place, the industrial sewing machine having de-camped to the workroom and the food fairy having been [yesterday, amongst other chores post-upholstery school].  

And finally, I took myself out of the office today at 3.55pm, if only to visit the Doctor.  It was lovely to be home by 5.30pm, which I celebrated by getting the bin in, doing some recycling and meeting Butch, the new Dog Next Door.  The unbridled joy of scritching a warm soft puppy under the chin took away any remnants of tension.  I want me a dog!


*TAFE - Technical And Further Education - Technical skills such as building, carpentry, upholstery, mechanics etc.
**Renos - Renovations.
***Footy - Football - Rugby League, a game played in very few places on the planet, but still considerably more than American Football, which is played, I believe, only in America.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Routinely bad...

So, Gentle Readers, it really is time for me to get my merda together and get back into some semblance of a routine.  The house looks like a bomb has hit it, there's nothing in the fridge, there's clean washing all over the house, there's dust all over the floors, there are piles of stuff to go to the charity shop, magazines and books to go to the library  and the only clean thing is my bathroom, because I can't stand a dirty bathroom.  Where's the cleaner, now that I'm working, hmm?

Trouble is, it's all built up a bit in the first 2 months of working, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all.  

Mr Golightly has been absolutely no help because he has been, and is now, in the final stages of making this, which is going to turn our pretty much unused guest bedroom into a workroom for me, until we can come up with the $40k needed to excavate our under-house space & turn that into a workroom for both of us!  Then, he can help with the house.  Maybe.

My lovely Ma spent some quality time in an institution known as a hospital, and I felt frustrated and angry that I couldn't just pop over to be there, like I could when I wasn't working.  

Because I'm working a 9 day fortnight, I've been going to upholstery school on my off day, and then on two nights in the alternate week, and that's left me pretty much exhausted.  My etsy shop is still open & I've been selling stuff, slowly, and one of my customers from 2009 has just popped up again with some custom requests, so that's got to fit into the schedule somehow...

The new job is good, but I need to stop going in at 0700 and still being there at 1645 - that's just ridiculous.  I seem to be more productive in the afternoons, so maybe I should start at 10.00am?  Maybe.  

Last weekend I spent a fruitless afternoon trying to re-cover a piece of furniture for MGF* Kaz, and we are going back to the Hunter Valley next weekend so I can finish that off... it's a bit of a tale of woe...

No, I think I'll save it for another post.  But we did have some nice morning weather:

And I had some lovely news, my good friend Clare, from Lulu Carter, is having a baby.  I know she's wanted another baby for a long long time, and I'm thrilled for her.  Her lovely sister, Alix, also had a baby this year, and that's adding to my guilt because I have things to send and can't get myself organised enough to send them off in the post.  Gah! 

Anyway, that's it.  I've got to go and fold, wash, clean, sweep, dust, put away, tidy and shop.  Ick.  I'd rather be sewing.


*My Good Friend