Thursday, January 30, 2014

The quilt that got the pen on it

I kept going, and quilted it, and bound it, and of course the only thing I can see are those goddamn ballpoint lines! My husband says they are basically invisible (bless his good natured self) but it is all I can see. And it's a shame because I do like the rest of the quilt. I've blogged about it in its various stages before -  I did the central medallion in August 2010 and added about a border a year. Slow going for me! Sometimes things just don't come together. And on a tangent - how good is a blog for remembering things? I was able to track the (agonisingly slow) history of this quilt stitch by stitch.

I quilted sort of flowers and leaves around the actual flowers and stems; and meandering of various kinds in the outer borders. It was too busy to do anything too fancy, it wouldn't have shown.

The final border has metallic gold bits which is not at all the kind of thing I usually go for. But it was perfect for this one (in my opinion, which is biased towards colourful loudness) to finish up the slightly old-fashioned luxeness.

I waited until six pm to take this photo so the sun would be mostly off the clothesline... but it's still not a very good shot. But I wasn't going to hang around outside - I just checked and it is still 36 degrees out there and not going to get much cooler until at least midnight. We're looking at 8 days in a row over 35 degrees which really just makes everyone cranky. All the grass is brown and the trees are wilting. I'm working a bit but mostly looking after the boys for the last week of holidays.  I've said they can choose the activities - first choice was the local pool! And it was wonderful.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Beating the heat

Two weeks without a post! No, I haven't turned into a great big pool of melted butter - we've been at the beach without internet. I thought I would miss it but to be honest it was rather nice. I read a lot of books, and we are not hard core enough to do without our other electronics, so played silly games on the phone and watched trashy television and dvds. And spent a lot of time in the sea...

Even when the rest of south-eastern Australia was baking at over 40 degrees it didn't hit 30 in our little pocket by the sea. And the water temperature doesn't really warm up! You have to squeal when you get in the ocean, otherwise it's just strange.

Yesterday was Australia Day and the local surf school organised an attempt to break the world record for the number of people surfing a wave at once. The record is 110, and they had 280 surfers, but they have to be on the same wave for ten seconds for it to count. They were very organised but waves being waves and people being people ... it was fun to watch. They still don't know if they broke the record becuse the Guinness people have to review the video footage, but they raised a good bit of money for the local surf life-saving club. The life saving helicopter was there too - I'm not sure if for support or to stop people drowning. Probably both.

So we are very very relaxed and contented and well pleased with ourselves for getting such a workable little beach place. It was so easy to live in, and we had friends down for the weekend and the boys slept in a tent on the lawn, and that worked just fine. Work this week will be a very rude shock...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I am such an IDIOT

Honestly, my quilting mishaps just keep on coming. I seem to have the attention span of a small, stupid gnat. A couple of days ago I finally put the last border on a quilt that has been hanging around for years, and pinned it up ready for quilting. I thought I would do some semi-parallel lines on the centre medallion, so drew some with my wonderful frixion pen, that vanishes when you iron it. And then I got distracted, and wandered off, and came back five minutes later, and kept drawing nice black pen lines with a perfectly ordinary ballpoint pen that will NOT vanish when I iron it. Even when you do it for quite fifteen minutes thinking "why isn't this working? I better iron it some more. Hotter."

It really is deeply annoying. I asked the internet, which suggested rubbing alcohol and nail polish remover. Neither of them worked at all, just smudged it a bit. I think the vigorous ironing has heat set it perfectly. There are a few other suggestions involving soaking the whole thing but I will have to wait until I finish quilting and binding it - no point in soaking something that's stuffed full of safety pins and I was halfway through quilting it so I couldn't unpin it and do the top separately.

This is the smudgy bit; what a moron ... never mind, it will fade eventually and it was only destined for the cupboard, or perhaps a bed. Or maybe I can palm it off on someone not too fussy.

Summer has hit Canberra with a bang - 37 today and getting hotter for the rest of the week! I know you all have your polar vortex and whatnot but I'm drying up like a pie in a warming drawer. The plan is for more beach time later in the month and it will be very very welcome.

Friday, January 10, 2014

I don't like January

This is my least favourite month of the year - you're not going to get any Happy New Year whoops and hollers out of me. I loathe mornings, and January is like one long morning ... the start of another year that stretches out limply before us all. Unexpected things don't happen to me - at least not good things - so it's hard to get enthusiastic when faced with the reality of one's immediate future.

I tend to pick up about the middle of the year - like I do in late morning - when I have reached some kind of accommodation with ongoing reality and I'm busy enough to keep myself occupied. January is too empty for my taste.

But there are some good things about January - the sales! Not for myself so much, but my husband took the opportunity to buy some new work shirts and cull the rest; and I have snaffled the throwouts for a quilt. I've been meaning to do a shirt quilt for ages but the thought of trawling through second hand shops seems far too much like hard work (and I always walk out of those places with far more than I want or need. Remember kids, we are here to drop off, not pick up.) So I am just going to use these shirts, which isn't a very wide fabric selection, but this is about the materials, not the aesthetic merits of the end result.

I had a very happy hour slicing them apart. Once you get over the initial shock it's quite fun chopping off the sleeves, separating off the fronts, chucking away the collars and cuffs. I have both my mother and my grandmother in my ears telling me to snip off the buttons and save them ... but I ignored them. I have a bag full of thousands of buttons that I have carefully saved over the years and never used. So this is a nice pile of pieces of soft, worn cotton, that smell ever so slightly like my husband (which is a good thing, he smells very nice. Another reason I have avoided the secondhand shop shirts). I might even use the inkstained bits.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Holiday activities

We are meandering through our holidays - I'm working a bit, and beaching a bit ... and we're all getting used to the drive to and from the coast. We haven't managed to do the trip in under two hours yet, so I don't think we're going to, at least not without speeding or other reprehensible behaviour. The boys can both read in the car so are fairly happy on the trip; just gentle squabbling about what music to listen to (my tastes are not theirs, and vice versa). 

Number two son got some paints from Grandad from Christmas, which he thought was brilliant. Real art paper apparently, not that stuff I buy him (actually it's normally scrap paper from work, which is even worse). He did a study of our lemon tree! I think the colours are perfect.

He has also been very keen to do some cooking. We have a Roald Dahl cookbook that has a recipe for gumballs. We were a bit dubious and thought it might be outrageously sweet, but the picture looks OK.

Our version wasn't entirely successful. It spread out into little turd-like splodges, then stuck to the baking paper. He peeled it off in tiny shards.

And then rolled them in gumballs (still quite turd-like). And incredibly sweet, and probably very bad for your teeth, and a bit jaw-sticking. We're trying to steer him towards savoury dishes for the next experiment.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Back at work

Back at work today and it's very quiet and hard to get motivated! I should be taking advantage of the lack of meetings and peacefulness to get things done ... but it's difficult to get back into the swing of it all after a break. We got in a bit of beach time although the weather has been a bit cool and cloudy. The water temperature has vastly improved since a month ago though - warmer in the water than out of it! And some decent waves too. We had ice cream of course.

I knew it would get busier but this is ridiculous - look at the thousands of people on our nice quiet beach!

It's not normally like this, even at summer, this was for the annual sandcastle competition, which is a bit of an event. Over 200 entries this year - a time limit of two hours (I think) and some amazing things were built. And then washed away overnight.  My favourite was the skywhale...

All in all a very relaxing few days, with plenty more to come! We now have the house fitted out with basics and spare changes of clothes ... my husband even put up a clothesline. So we can just come and go as we please - such a luxury.