Sunday, 16 March 2014

Gee, Barry, who'da thunk it?

So, Gentle Readers, this post comes to you today from the letters "D" for Disappointment, "A" for Anger, and "P" for pride...

As some of the more dedicated amongst you will remember, I've been doing this on & off for a few years now:

Applying fabric to wooden foundations, with intervening layers of foam, elastic or jute webbing, hand-tied springs, flocking flock, lintus, calico, fabric... for which the collective noun is... upholstery.

Last year, our State Government, in its infinite wisdom, decided that the Institution that trains people to do Trades (read:  plumbing, carpentry, motor mechanics, glazing, floor coverings, electrical, cabinet making, french polishing, lead lighting, and yes, even upholstery) did not need about $80 million dollars of its budget, and so it cut that much money.  The end result of this is that my course, which I was aiming to finish this year, no longer offers a night class.  Which means that... unless I can find a day job which is happy for me to work 4 days a week, I can't attend, so I can't finish.  And neither can anybody else who can only go at night.

The other part of the death-knell is that the Institution is not allowed to enrol anybody who isn't doing an apprenticeship, unless you were unfinished at the end of last year.  So, potential new adult learners, even if you could go during the day, you can't go during the day unless you've got an apprenticeship (and see above for why you can't go at night any more, in case you missed it the first time).  Apprentice wages are unchanged since the days you had to provide your own candles and Queen Victoria was on the throne, so an adult person living away from home is unlikely to be able to survive on those!

This also means that about five of the six highly experienced teachers who taught, between them, night classes, day classes, access classes (for people who might be interested in becoming upholsterers without doing an apprenticeship), country block classes (for people who live too far away to attend once per week, and who come down for a week once every month), have all lost their jobs, and only one teacher remains.

And so, the reasons behind the "D" for Disappointment and the "A" for Anger become clear.  

But the "P" for pride?  My slipper chair, which I'm sure I documented here in great detail as it was being constructed, won First Prize and Most Outstanding Exhibit in the Handcrafts - Open class, at a smallish Agricultural show not too far from where I went to school.  I gave the chair to MBF's lovely Ma, Clare as a gift, and she put it into the Show.  So, Barry, in case you were thinking nobody cares about the cuts to Upholstery, think again.  I believe the good people at the Moss Vale & District A H & I Society just gave you the finger.


Photo © Greg Reive 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


Have I ever told you, Gentle Readers, that there is a small penguin fixation in our house?  Mr Golightly was once part of a small, fierce and noble band of weekend warriors who travelled from ale-house to ale-house, testing their products for quality, allaying the fears of delicate travellers such as myself, and slaying any beastly T-bone steak that might have come between the band and its quest for ale-y perfection?

No, I'm sure I haven't.  Anyway, on one such occasion, it was observed by one of the brighter band members that they had all (inadvertently) arrayed themselves in shirts of a similar brand, with a similar logo, a flightless bird, mostly black and white but with occasional bits of yellow...  And at this same occasion, it was observed that they were all, with one notable exception, unencumbered by life-companions of the soft, squishy, washed and nicely-smelling kind.  This event was marked by the creation of an acronym that fitted into 'black and white flightless bird with occasional bits of yellow' - I'm pretty sure you can see where I'm going with this. PENGUIN.  

Anyway, Mr Golightly, himself having been the shyest of all the noble band, was the last of the Penguins to find himself that soft, squishy, washed and nicely-smelling life-companion (that would be me), and so, it was deemed fitting that our wedding cake should be the sacrificial Penguin.  

Of course it fell to me to ring the giant multinational which owns the logo copyright and check if they had any objections to us using their logo for our wedding cake.  I think they thought I was insane, and I think the wedding cake makers (a fantastic company called 'Sweet Art') did too, but they didn't bat an eyelid:

Anyway, I'm sure you've all been mightily entertained by this amazing tale of days gone by, but I digress.  My lovely friend Ms Blue Lambb wanted a penguin softie for a friend who's going off to have a baby, and given the history of this house, how could I say no?

I found a pattern here, but it's got issewes, man.  I don't like patterns where you have to sew things on afterwards, because to me, that's just an invitation for some snotty three year old to pull them off (can you tell I have no children?  Soooo much empathy...)... and they won't stand up.  I've made two now, and I haven't been able to get either of them to stand on their own two (flat and floppy) feet.  So, in the interests of getting it right, I'm going to make a small change to the pattern, to incorporate a technique I learnt here - which is, to slice off a piece, add seam allowances to the big piece and the small sliced off piece, insert the 'whatever' between the two sliced off bits, and bam!  Feet inside body.  

Here's a pic of Mr First:

And here's a pic of Mr Second:

No, he's not dead.  He's just fallen over.  Bloody feet.