Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pretty pretty threads

I ordered another box of Aurifil threads - a terrible extravagance but they sew so nicely, and last for ages. They have the full range at the shop down the road, so I could always just go and buy what I need, but it's much more fun to have a box of co-ordinated threads arrive in the mail. It's like Christmas! And the box is less than two-thirds the price that you pay locally, even with postage, like everything in the world. The one advantage of having a ridiculously high cost of living is that everything is so cheap everywhere else! Not much of a consolation, but I take them where I can find them.

Aren't those pastels lovely. Here are my shoes from work yesterday - I'm going to keep them. Despite the heels being a bit high they are well balanced and the tops are comfortable ... and three people said they liked my shoes!! Flattery wins again. Today I'm at home with a sick kid, so no shoes (none at all in fact! Bare toes).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Random. Shoes.

I have too many pairs of work shoes, most of which I don't wear, because the heels are too high or they hurt my feet. I've been thinking of just chucking them out, but it's hard to part with some of them, because they are so pretty. So I am going to wear Every Single Pair, and at the end of each day, I will make the decision whether to keep them or not. When I am hobbling around with blisters and aching calves; or not, as the case may be.

So I started with a slight cheat, these are a very comfy pair of nice flats that I have no intention of throwing away. But I had to start somewhere, and these were at the left - I will work from left to right I think. Although I might wear the summer shoes first, because it's only a few weeks left before tights and coats! Hard to imagine.

I may have given the impression in my last post that we are actually doing the landscaping. This would not be true. We are paying someone else to do it from start to finish - my role is to pester the very nice young men and make them explain everything to me carefully, and feed them cracker bark, which they liked very much.

Friday, February 22, 2013


After nearly seven years in this house we are finally getting round to doing something about the back yard. No, that's a bit unfair - we have done heaps to the back yard, but it's been gardening and the soft stuff rather than tackling the serious business of rocks and pavers. And when I say "we" have done heaps, I really mean my dad, who is capable of astonishing feats of gardening during relatively short visits.

This is the before shot. A spa pool we have NEVER used, filled with stagnant water and redbacks (highly poisonous spider). The paving is so sloping that all the tables and chairs need to be propped up or they rock alarmingly. Mind you this is the crappiest collection of outdoor furniture the world has ever seen! When we bought our previous house in 2001 we bought a heap of furniture from the owners for very little money. It was a bit old and tired then, but mostly good quality (much like the house) and they were going to get all new stuff. It has served us extremely well for twelve years, but it might be time to get some grown-up things, now husband and I have a combined age of over 90 :)

And this is its current state. Spa pool gone - equipment dismantled - pavers up - four large diosma shrubs temporarily housed in the vegie beds. Everyone thinks they're going to die, diosma don't like being transplanted apparently, but we'll give it a try.

This is another before shot of the steps down to the lawn. Not only can you see the pavers slowly tumbling over the edge, but the sleeper steps are rotting away. Many small children have tripped and  plummeted down these steps during the last seven years. There's also another sleeper path around the side in even worse condition. We think they are original to the house, which was built in 1975, so the condition is not so surprising.

The after shot. Exactly as decrepit and crumbling as I would have pictured it! They think it will take a month to re-lay the paving (without the massive slope) and put it some rock edging for the garden, and put in some huge rocks for a "dry creek bed" with a little bridge over it. My husband is more of a gardener than I am, and a lot more creative. I have trouble seeing beyond anything that is already there, so I don't have a particularly clear idea of it in my head, but I trust him ... :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sometimes we stay up drinking and watching music videos

So, you ask why the song makes me smile - it's the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Under the Bridge, is it shrieking at you, 1991!!! or 1992, for me - and I don't say anything, because it's the song that was stuck in my head that very sunny morning in July 1992 when I did the walk of shame back to my place from the party, Veronica's party, on The Terrace there in that dodgy flat. The one where someone threw up in the blender and everyone just assumed it was Veronica's home made hummus, that one. And I was on the walk of shame after spending the night with that random guy - Steve?  Steven? Doesn't sound right.

And I'm not sure why they call it the walk of shame because I was not ashamed at all, but happy and tired and still looking exceptionally cute in that ridiculously short dress. But, seeing you ask, husband, you were actually at that party, and I saw you in the kitchen (you don't remember me, despite the short skirt) and thought you were cute, but hey, there was Steve. No, not Steve. Stefan!!!! Definitely Stefan.

But if I'd known you were going to be you I would have paid more attention. And maybe if I'd known that was going to be the last one night stand ever I would have paid more attention to Stefan ... I have no memory of him, other than he existed. So, I hear Under the Bridge, and I'm back twenty years like it was yesterday. Walking along the street, a sunny winter's morning, a red dress.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Crumb block fiesta

I am on a roll with these crumb block thingies ... despite having made such a huge pile I don't think it's going to be a problem using them up. The latest is liberated baskets on a yellow background. It is so nice to be working in clear colours after the murky morass of moths in all those icky browns.

Not a very good photo though. I did iron it, but then I took it downstairs to take the photo, and put it in the hallway, and the washing machine beeped, so I hung it out, and someone needed their bagel sliced, and when I came back to the quilt it had been stood on a few times. So now it looks a bit crumpled. One day I would actually like to just start something and do it through from beginning to end without interruption.

Close up .  I like how the crumbs work in this - gives it a bit of interest in the body of the baskets. I decided the previous pink quilt is finished - no more borders - so I'll quilt that and then do this one, which is all finished, no need for it to be any bigger.

I went out to Spotlight this week to get some more white fabric to dye (not that I need any more dyed fabric, but I felt like doing some dyeing, which is why I end up with all this stuff) but the only plains I could find were really expensive. And I had to crawl around on hands and knees looking under the shelves to find it, which put me off a bit. So I didn't get any white, but they were having a massive sale of quilting fabric for $4 a metre, which is cheap as chips, so I bought quite a bit. It's not very pretty fabric but I know I'll use it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Back to the grind

School has started, work is back on track and I'm slowly getting into the routine of drop-offs and pick-ups and baseball. Not that it's particularly onerous, but the long slow summer holidays were VERY long and slow.

There's not much sewing going on, so what else can I say? How about some random factoids:

  • The kids both got nits first week of school.
  • The day before payday I went to get money to pay the babysitter and we had negative $1.95 in the account. I found some cash in my other handbag.
  • The babysitter was not for a wild night out, but so I could go to parent information night at the school. Which was necessary but boring.
  • Of the eight and a half hours I had at work yesterday, I spent eight hours and fifteen minutes in meetings. I ate my lunch during one of them.
  • All eleven children at baseball practice on Wednesday were loopy; unfocussed, floppy, shouty and strange. Even our delightful coach was frazzled.
  • On Tuesday I decided to walk to the "good" coffee shop, even though it's a bit further, but they do make lovely coffee. I got caught in a rainstorm and soaked. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Design wall (floor)

After the horror of those moths in windows, I wanted to make something simple, sweet and pretty. I have dozens of crumb blocks now, so I did a simple square in a square with a sawtooth border, using mostly light and dark double pinks.

It's on the design wall (floor) at the moment, while I decide whether to go another border or three, or whether it's done. I quite like it, but not outrageously so much that I have to keep going with it. I wonder whether more pink might be a bit overwhelming? I will stare at it for another day or two and then make a call.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The moths in the windows

Can you believe it, I finished the moths in windows!!! Last week they were lying in a big pile where I had thrown them after finding it out just how badly misshapen every single piece was. Thank you for your comments - you were right, it's definitely my joining technique that is flawed. I made a few changes and it got better, but it clearly requires a lot more precision and accuracy than I am prepared to endure. So here's the finished product.

Turned out I couldn't stand the big pile of unfinished bits and put it together completely without caring. First thing to go was the navy and white spot joining fabric - I did all the joins in scraps, so it wouldn't be so blindingly obvious that none of the joins actually matched up like they were supposed to. And then I just joined, and if there was too much, I cut it off. And I kept going, until I reached the edges which were all up and down like derelict battlements. And then I took my rotary cutter - didn't even both with a ruler - and sliced that sucker into something approaching a big, ugly square. You can see from the back how off it is - every one of those squares is supposed to be the same size and, well, a square. 

And then I washed it and dried it and put it on a bed. I've made a lot of ugly quilts in my life. Even more that are badly made. But this one I loathed from the beginning. I gave it a very cranky label.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Whatcha Reading?

I'm linking up with Judy again for Whatcha Reading Tuesday (Wednesday). This is technically not what I'm reading because I finished it this morning, but I don't have a lot to say about the book I just started :) ... anyway, I just read The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (of Harry Potter fame) and I thought it was great. In fact, I couldn't put it down, it was such a good read. She surely can tell a story, and make things appear so real.

This book got mixed reviews, and one of the criticisms was that it was very grim. Almost all the people in it are pretty nasty, and even the better ones are still flawed. People do horrible things and there's lots of blocked emotions, failed communications, skewed values and general ickiness. But I didn't mind that - it still seemed believable and I wanted to find out what happened next. Sometimes when you don't like the characters you don't care what happens to them, but that wasn't the case here.

I finished that awful book from last week. It didn't get any better.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The very end of the holidays

And so the long, long, long summer holidays have meandered to a close. I gave up on trying to limit their time on the computer and feeding them healthy lunches. We all got very used to sleeping in, and wearing our pyjamas all day. So we haven't done much lately ... apart from more ice-cream.

We went to the zoo, and patted emus. I think emus are a bit scary (they're quite big) but son was quite taken with them. We went to the zoo on a hot afternoon and the lions were snoozing. The tigers were snoozing. The brown bear and the snow leopard and the meerkats and the cute little monkeys were snoozing. Even the otters looked a bit lethargic.

The boys did some bouncing at the mall. It's quite spectacular - especially when they're doing flips. Although these things are always run by toothless carnie types who tape the ropes together with chewing gum. But the boys survived, and quite enjoyed it.

I get a bit antsy towards the end of the holidays. I like being on my own, and being able to do things that I want to do. Not that my children are very much trouble ... but it will be nice to be back into a bit of routine again.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Why I don't think I have a stash problem

There tends to be a lot of hand wringing on the internet by crazy women who are worried that they have too much fabric. What does that mean exactly, too much fabric? Too much for what? Either it fits in your house, and you don't have a problem, or it doesn't fit in your house, and you need to throw it away. Anyway, there is much discussion of the stash and how to manage the stash and reduce the stash and sort the stash.

I don't worry about my stash for two main reasons. Firstly, I don't have that much. Maybe a hundred yards? Not much more. It can fit in the sewing room, let alone leaking out into the rest of the house. But secondly, and more importantly, my husband has the biggest collection of model aeroplane kits you can imagine. It is astonishing. He says it's nothing compared to some of the guys at his modeller's club but that doesn't make it any better. He has hundreds and hundreds.

This is his room - it doesn't normally look like this but he was hauling everything out to see what he could flog at the club swap and sell. I hope it will be all of it - but realistically I just hope he comes back with less than he went with. Not guaranteed.

This is the overspill into the hallway. A model aeroplane mini-mountain. I don't mind really - we are hardly being bankrupted by it and it's a much better use of his time than binge drinking or internet gambling. But it is nice to have the unassailable moral high ground ... on one thing at least.