Friday, November 30, 2012

Just not winning

I'm sure that I printed on fabric last year without a problem. Positive. Whatever I did then, I must have failed to do now, because I have completely buggered the printer. That blue stuff is NOT MOVING.

And I've done something to my toe. Swollen and bruised and painful - I'll go and see the doctor this afternoon although I don't think there's anything she can do. Toes, what a pain.

So I have lots to do, it's nasty hot and windy, I can't really walk properly and I'm in pain. And I can't print anything. Such a day...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mulch mulch mulch mulch

I've been thinking about re-naming this blog for a while ... it's not just about quilting. I haven't thought of a better name though. Choosing a name for a blog is really hard! You either have to go slightly obscure with something that means something to you but no-one else, or you can go with boringly descriptive, or you can try something funny but that gets tired pretty quickly, or you can try and "brand" it like it's coca cola. I went with boringly descriptive in the end, but if the description isn't right, then all you're left with is boring! 

I will continue to ponder on it. I like to spend most of my time thinking about really trivial matters while I put off doing important things. In the meantime, there is mulch. This is the scene outside our house. Lucky neighbours, having us consistently lower the tone of the street.

These are the steps (some of them) from our house up to the road. If you want to get mulch from the street to the back garden where the roses are, you carry it in a bucket.

And put it into a wheelbarrow.

Four shovelfuls in a bucket. Eighteen steps to the wheelbarrow down, and eighteen back up. Three bucketloads make a wheelbarrow full. One wheelbarrow covers about half a square meter of garden bed. Repeat...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Off his oats

Number one son is off his oats today - a bit of a bug perhaps. Do you like my medical expertise, yay for Doctor Mum. Either the kids have a bit of a bug, or they're just tired out, or I might stretch to diagnosing an upset tummy. And that covers the whole range of childhood ailments. I give them paracetamol regardless and test temperature with the back of the hand to the forehead (two options - "seems fine" or "a bit warm"). So today, which was going to be crazy busy with all the chores and running around that had been building up in my absence, is now rather delightfully housebound. Here's the invalid somewhere under the bundle of quilts. It's thirty degrees out there, I'm not sure if he needs all those layers.

I'm still going with the moths in the windows. I'm going to do 64, and I've made 34, and I've figured out it takes me 35 minutes to make a pair, so that means it'll take me, um, 15 x 35 / 60 = 8.75 hours to make all the rest of the blocks! That's OK. And then I think I might quilt them as I go and join them at the same time. Which will take forever.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nice to be home!

I'm pleased to see home and the family again, and I think home and the family are pleased to see me. There were storms all up and down the east coast when I flew home so everything was delayed and we circled Sydney for quite some time ... but at least my little flight to Canberra was also delayed, so I made the connection and got home in the end, even though quite late on Sunday night. And then off to work on Monday! I went, but I don't know if I achieved very much.

All the plants seem to have grown two feet in every direction while I've been away, particularly the weeds. I was going to go for a walk/run this morning but then thought that I could actually work up a sweat AND do something useful in the garden, so I did. Chopping, pruning, clearing and even a bit of weeding. You can see the roses again! They are so pretty.

Then I rang the man with the tipper truck and he arrived this afternoon and dumped five cubic metres of mulch on the front verge that will be laboriously wheelbarrowed down and spread on the beds. We did it a few years ago when we moved in but it's all broken down now and it needs another good mulching. We love mulch - six inches of mulch will stop any weeds and even keep some moisture in the soil. If there is any at the moment... haven't seen much rain lately. Not like Wellington. I still think Wellington's a fabulous place but I was sitting last night with all the doors open and the warm summer air coming in with cicadas chirping and thought maybe Canberra does have some good points...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wellington, so awesome

OK, awesome except for the weather, which is a bit changeable. This morning the sunshine had gone and the wind and rain and clouds swept in. The hills are so tall that they sit up in the low clouds. Bleak!

I took this one a few days ago - Wellington loves a bit of public art. Large kina sculptures being lowered carefully into place ... and why not. A kina is a sea urchin - a couple of inches across, and apparently good to eat, although it's one of the few things you can dig out of the sea that I've never eaten. When we were kids and someone got a really short haircut we used to call it a "kina cut" because it was all spiky and ugly. Bit cruel in hindsight, but I do like the sculptures.

And you know the quilt I made a couple of months ago and called "Helen Clark"? Well look who I got to listen to this week! The lady herself ... and I even got a few moments of chitchat with her beforehand. I am going to call my next quilt "Hillary Clinton" or possibly even "George Clooney"! A bit optimistic?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

So, where am I?

It's nearly time to go back to Canberra, but I had to share some photos of "the coolest little capital in the world" ... the Lonely Planet apparently called it that once and it has been seized on by the local populace! Largely because it's true. This is Wellington (New Zealand) and it is very beautiful.

It also has appalling weather. It was 15 degrees yesterday but the sun was out which made it officially summer and EVERYONE was down by the waterfront in their shirt sleeves pretending it was the Caribbean. So pretty in the sun... Charles and Camilla had graced this waterfront a mere few hours before I took this photo so it was still looking very clean and tidy.

Wellington has nice old Houses of Parliament made of stone. It also has a very creepy Speaker of the House of Representatives, fortunately my cocktail-reception-small-talk-skills are up to the task of finding him someone ELSE to talk to.

I moved to Wellington for university when I was 17, and loved it from day one. I've been getting a free hour or two most afternoons / evenings so I've gone on nostalgia walks! I'm old enough now. Re-tracing my steps all through the city to the old rundown places I used to live, and how I used to walk to uni and back every day. Most of is it unchanged.

Wellington is also where my husband and I met. And below is the street where, 20 years ago yesterday, I moved in with him... the first little townhouse on the left. I wanted to take a full-on picture from the street but just as I was getting my camera out I noticed a woman standing in the kitchen of the house about six feet away STARING at me like she was about to call the police. I should have just taken the photo but I got such a fright I ran away. Which made it even more suspicious! In fact I was so mortified I went all the way around the block so I wouldn't have to walk back past her. I'm such a coward.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Postage stamp done!

I was undecided about the border - in the end I went with a completely unrelated fabric! There wasn't enough of the main red fabric to do the border, and un-related reds looked a bit odd. So I thought it best to avoid reds altogether, although I went with a close match for the binding and I think it turned out OK.

I called it "the play is on first and third" because there's a lot of baseball in my life right now ... and also if you squint right it's baseball diamonds. Kind of. I took these last weekend because since then I have hopped on a plan to another exotic Pacific destination! Not quite as warm as some of the others but wonderful nonetheless. If I ever stop working and make it outdoors I'll take some photos and share the full gorgeousness. In the meantime, settle for the gorgeousness of this quilt... and the not-so-appealing garden equipment.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Moths in the window

I cannot resist a scrappy fad!! I completely got sidetracked by Florabunda, and now it's Moths in Windows. I do love Bonnie's scrappy quilts, even though mine are not usually so complicated. I haven't got any old shirtings to use, so I'm just going to use random blue and green prints, and my collection of gold/brown/orange solids. 

I wasn't too sure how to make them - I wasn't sure if Bonnie had posted instructions and couldn't be bothered looking - but on drawing they looked pretty straightforward. I've gone with using 3 1/2 " strips for the triangle bits and 2" strips for the outside strips and squares. This means I can use some of my pre-cut strips! I do like using them. I'm doing a positive and a negative from each fabric; that is, one where the "moth" is the solid and one where it is the print. I don't think it'll matter in the end because I'm planning on putting them together with some sashing, but I'll make 64 blocks and see how they look.

Pretty crappy photo, it's from my phone because it was just too hard to walk ten steps to get the camera...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Medallions of happiness

A couple of weeks ago I got this book in the mail ....

And all other sewing stopped, pretty much instantly. I have made a few liberated medallions before - and some not so liberated - but seeing all the ideas in one place was completely irrestible. For the centre, I had a perfect blue mock-toile-de-Jouy that was such an odd blue that I'd never been able to use it. And it all grew from there! So much fun to add borders and triangles and more borders and then, just when I was getting bored, I could stop!!!! Perfect.

It's only a top at this stage and I'm thinking that I might hand quilt it because I've nearly finished the postage stamp and I need something to do while I watch Toddlers and Tiaras cutting-edge television drama. There are quite a lot of seams for hand quilting but I could probably do something in the middle of the borders that wouldn't be too onerous.

My husband went up to Sydney for the weekend for their scale modellers show - he entered something in but didn't win :( An unappreciated genius, much like me. So I wrangled the boys through baseball and tidying up the house; introducing them to the delights of unloading the dishwashing and cleaning the toilet! Hah!!!! They are more than old enough to do this kind of thing, kids their age all over the world are making soccer balls, so ten minutes vacuuming is getting off lightly. I tell them this, it doesn't seem to carry any weight. And they escaped to the trampoline in the end.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cushion cover!

I turned that stripey quilt I didn't like into a cushion cover in the end. The cushions that live on the family room floor have a fairly short (and difficult) life, so there is always one that's looking a bit manky and fit for a re-cover.

I used this fabric for the back. It was an internet purchase where I liked the colour but perhaps should have looked at the photo in a bit more detail. Seriously, who would put those words on a quilt? It's like the quilt would be hectoring you the whole time about your character flaws.