Saturday, December 26, 2015

Boxing Day

I hope everyone had a very pleasant and relaxed Christmas. We certainly did - just the four of us opening presents, eating whatever we wanted, and doing whatever took our fancy. Reading books, playing computer games and watching movies mostly. My husband did the cooking and took the dog for a walk - I did the dishes and napped. Perfect. On Christmas Eve we went into town and saw the lights like we did last year.

It was a world record this year - most lights on a Christmas tree! and it was very very sparkly. When we arrived the lights were pulsing in tune with Bohemian Rhapsody ... and there you have Canberra in a nutshell. This is my son making ET hands. Creepy child.

I am not sure why there was a polar bear out of lights - not very Christmassy I thought to myself - and then went home and took a look at the bottom of my Christmas tree. Maybe there is something about polar bears - all that snow?

Christmas Day was quite hot, especially later in the day, but today has rained and rained. Good news for the bush fires that have been burning down houses in various parts of the country, and good news for our garden too. We went round to friends today for a lovely relaxed brunch - sat and watched it pelting down. My husband says he brought it on by watering the hibiscus and by running out the laundry hose - he carefully hooked it all up to the washing machine and positioned it on the garden - stepped back with a feeling of satisfaction just as the first thunder rolled ... and it's been raining ever since.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A gentle stroll

Now it's cooled down a bit (thank god! the weekend was just about impossible) I am really enjoying my gentle stroll to work. I won't be able to do it in winter - it's through the bush and just too dark - so the fact that it's seasonal makes it even more enjoyable. Coming home can be a bit of a trudge but first thing in the morning, when it's all fresh, is lovely. The first bit is across the street and up the fire trail. There is where I usually meet George from three doors down walking Snowy his lovely golden retriever.

Then down the narrow track through the bush. If I'm ever going to meet a brown snake I reckon it will be on this track. I do not stick my hands into hollow logs.

Then it's twenty minutes wandering through wide and leafy streets where the posh people live. I would love to live there too - it always feels cool and quiet and calm. Yes, that is a for sale sign, but I suspect it is beyond me. Holy crap, I just googled, it is way beyond me!!! I wonder if they'll get that for it, seems a bit optimistic, even with an indoor pool and a wine cellar.... And the other reason it's all so green is that they've put down bores and are sucking up the aquifer for the garden while the rest of us peasants have to pay for town water.

And then over the ring road and up to the big house on the hill with the flag on top. I tend to get the theme from Bear in the Big Blue House stuck in my head as I walk up this slope - another immovable remnant of the toddler years. "Welcome to the big house, welcome to the big house".... my first fieldwork back after maternity leave with number one son was a series of prison visits (the joys of the public service, you're never quite sure where you will end up) and I had that stuck in my head. Entirely inappropriate. Like the time I got shown round the USS Essex and all I could think of was "War! What is good for? Absolutely NOTHING"...

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The scrap vomit complete

I'm still calling it a scrap vomit - unfortunately I can't give it another name because this quilt doesn't have a name (other than "Happy 40th Birthday Karen!" which is what is on the label). It is a present for a friend who has three boys so I was very pleased when it turned out nice and girly. Not that she is a very girly girl, but you know, a bit of balance.

It is quilted with an allover curved design because I didn't think it needed any more lines, and I bordered and bound it in two different light yellows. I was going to do a striped binding but it was too much and in the end I went with something that blended it a bit more! I think in hindsight I could have done with a more definite pink, to make the pattern a bit more obvious. Never mind - maybe next time (although I am unlikely to do another one any time soon. It got a bit boring.)

School finished yesterday so I knocked off early and met the boys at the shops for an ice-cream and a catch up with friends. It was 34 degrees yesterday - heading for 36 today and 37 tomorrow - so summer has well and truly arrived. We've raced around all morning doing chores and tidying so that this afternoon we can just lie around feebly and watch movies and eat icy poles. We might go to the shops where it's cool - although everyone else in Canberra will be there too - it's a toss-up. There's a cool change coming through Monday that will bring it down to a brisk 27 degrees, and it should stay that way until Christmas which is very good news. I like to drag everyone out for a walk on Christmas afternoon but no chance if it's over 35.

I took a day off work on Wednesday to do my Christmas shopping - and to go to the newly opened Canberra IKEA! Such excitement, I'd never been to an IKEA before, and it was truly wondrous. So many pretty things that would make my home into a wonderland of organisation and minimal design. If I bought anything, which I didn't. Maybe next time. I moved on to other shops, and did most of my Christmas shopping, which was a win.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Some sewing-related activity

Just to prove that I have been doing some quilting related things (other than shopping, went to Spotlight on the weekend, they were having a massive sale) here is some dyeing. Blues this time. I have oranges batching away as well.

And I am quilting the blue and green snail trail. I stared at it for ages trying to think of a quilting design that would follow the snails around and emphasise the pattern. And then I thought bugger it, let's do feathers. So I am - nice fat feathers reasonably close together and just ignoring the piecing design.

I would be further along than I am but I melted my plastic water jug all over the iron ("What's that smell? Can you smell something? Are you kids making toast?") and it took forever to clean up. And to be honest I'm not sure if the iron will ever be the same again.

In another frustrating few hours of sewing, I attempted to make mastectomy swimwear because the stuff you can buy is so expensive and ugly and a dreadful cut. Unfortunately I had no luck at all - I have successfully made swimwear in the past and I'm quite happy with it technically - but I cannot get the structure of the breast pocket right. It has to be quite solid to hold the fake boob in while you leap around in the surf, and swimsuit material is very stretchy. I tried a couple of methods using multiple linings, and it didn't work, so I will put it one side for now, and do a bit of internet shopping. I might have to go to American shops, they have everything!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Kind of busy, but not really

A whole week since I blogged! I would like to say it's because of my christmas partying, but that would be a complete fib. We did have our work Christmas do on Tuesday lunchtime, which was very enjoyable, and then the school Christmas concert on Wednesday evening. For once it was a beautiful evening - not too hot, not raining, not blowing a gale, and not a freezing ten degrees. We have had every weather variation over the years except a lovely summer evening - and we finally got that on Wednesday. Number two son is in there somewhere, over on the right. They sang a cappella and did a wonderful job.

Number one son was meant to be at baseball practice but he's got an infected ingrown toenail, poor kiddie, it's very swollen and sore. His father suffered terribly with ingrown toe nails when he was a teenager and the doctor used to cut them out every time - so they went off to the doctor on Friday full of expectations of hacking and slicing and chopping ... but apparently they don't do that any more. Antibiotics and bathe the toe and hope it grows through.

My husband has very elegant long fingers and toes (I have fat pig feet and potato-farming hands) and I was pleased when number one inherited his father's digits. I remember so clearly when he was a baby and I'd admire his feet and make him laugh by nibbling on his gorgeous little baby toes ... no way in hell I'd be doing that now - great size twelve hoofers and now all ingrown and mutant. Bloody genetics. Anyway, the toe meant he got to go to his brother's concert, so fun times all round.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

No gardening at all

I fully intended to keep up the good work this weekend and get some more of that mulch on the garden ... but it was just too damn hot. A clear sky and 31 degrees is too melty for me to dig and haul mulch, so I decided to do any jobs that involved the hose. I shampooed the kilim and put it to dry on the trampoline. That was quite fun actually - the internet was quite confident that it wouldn't wreck it and it was right! Felt a bit weird hosing down the rug and putting Garnier fresh and fruity on it, but it came up well. This is the one the rug man in Ankara swore was a decades old Iranian kilim ... I have no idea but it proved to be colourfast and when it was wet it smelt very strongly of woodsmoke. And now it's cleaner than it was.

You can see the grass has died already. We have a few weeks of green and then it's yellow and crackly. This might also be the last useful action of the trampoline. We bought it when number one son was eighteen months old and it's been awesome; but it's just starting to perish beyond help. My husband is going to put it on the kerb with a sign that says "free" and see how long it takes to vanish. He thinks about two days ... I'm saying six months.

The other useful thing I did with the hose was wash the windows. They were very filthy and now we can see out into the garden! This is the kitchen view. It's like being in a green cave in summer. I love it.

And this is the kitchen window from the outside - you can see why I say we like a heavily-planted garden! The grapevine is just ornamental sadly, no grapes, and gets cut back hard in autumn. The roses are just about at the end of the first flush, although we might get another flowering from some of the better established bushes. The rest is a hardy hodge podge of valerian, geraniums, rock roses, snow in summer, oregano, lamandras, may bushes and agapanthus. And some stuff that grew from the bird seed....

The boys are currently putting together the christmas tree (it's a bit complicated, but they are very clever). We had people over for a very relaxed bbq last night, and other than that I haven't left the house! A very laid back weekend for this time of year.  I went to my old work's Christmas party on Friday and had a lovely time catching up with everyone. They are such a nice bunch of people and the Christmas party is always a hoot as everyone winds down and liquors up....

Monday, November 30, 2015

Working up a sweat

Some time in the last six months our garden has tipped over from Adorable Wilderness to Insane Jungle. We like a heavily-planted garden, and are happy with any plant that will grow in Canberra's horrible conditions, but it was starting to look like the far reaches of the Amazon out there. A combination of both of us working full-time - and my Dad outrageously choosing six weeks in Europe instead of gardening in Canberra -  resulted in a bit of a disaster that we have been ignoring since autumn.

This is the after shot. Before was too horrible. On Wednesday we had five cubic metres of nice fine eucalyptus mulch delivered, and on Saturday and Sunday we weeded. And made the boys weed too, and then we carried mulch.

It doesn't look like much but that was a lot of work on a hot day. There was a garden bed of shame at the side too, that Dad had cleared back in 2009, and planted, but nothing really grew and it had turned back into a dreadful mess of rocks and grass and dirt. So we weeded it all, took out the dead prostrate wattles (sorry Dad) and the strange tree that no-one planted, then watered it, put down layers of newspaper, watered some more and covered it up with six inches of mulch. That should stop any grass growing back (at least for a few months!) and we can do some more planting in the autumn. And we will plant it densely, because we do like a heavily-planted garden .... aaaaargh.

That photo also nicely shows the level of decay in our retaining walls. A brick fell off the front steps while we were doing the front - it is all just crumbling away. Do we have a spare forty thousand dollars to re-do the landscaping? Will it last ten years until we can flog it off and retire to the beach? Can you superglue a brick back on?

Friday, November 27, 2015

The big housetop blocks

I finished up the big square housetop blocks I made a while ago. It is very scrappy - just strips from the bags of strips in no particular order - and put together the same way. It is not particularly startling as a quilt; very much a utility item. I made it after reading that "Unexpected Quilts" book, which is all about using what you have to hand.

The quilting is a branching sort of leaf thing - I wanted to make it skinny rather than fat. Sometimes I like the idea of big fat feathers or plump round curves but I wanted this to be a bit pointier. Just to see if I could really, and it turned out quite well. And I could use completely scrap leftover binding.

I called it "Flat and Warm" because when I went to attach the binding I found half a glass of champagne from the week before behind the TV on my sewing table. Yuck, I thought, flat and warm, but then thought that is exactly what you want in a quilt! Just not in your wine.

One more sitting week for the year and then we start to wind down a bit - do all those filing and admin jobs you don't seem to get time for when the building is full! It has been a busy week...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Oh Monday Monday

It's hard to get excited about a Monday when you've just had a lovely weekend at the beach - the weather was glorious and we swam like little fishes. Or possibly great big whales. The boys puttered around in the creek mostly while my husband and I caught some waves. We had our wetsuits on but it wasn't cold - happily stayed in for about an hour without getting shivery and didn't go home until nearly 5. Glorious, and very very hard to come home again.

And coming home wasn't straightforward - number two son had a bbq reunion of his theatre production Sunday afternoon so I took him straight there from the beach. It was at a property about 40 minutes on the other side of Canberra; so we got a bit adventurous and took a short cut on the back roads through some country I've never been in before. Some very scrappy, and some rather lovely. If it turns out I can't actually retire at 55, because we will be broke and eating dog food, we might compromise and swap the coastal farm with a little bush block near Canberra and still work to keep the pennies rolling in. It might depend what the boys are doing. I think I will finance ONE university degree, but if they want to do a doctorate they are on their own.

So this was the bbq location. It was a perfect advertisement for country living - warm sun, gentle breeze, lovely house with a big deck, lots of kids singing and playing games, parents on the deck with a glass of wine .... I'm sure it must be freezing and boiling and flies and snakes but yesterday was perfect. Five acres of olive trees and a big big sky.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Gelato shades

I was sewing away a few weeks ago and I put my pink bobbin back in the case, next to a green one and a yellow one. It looked very pretty - pastel ice-cream colours - so I took a photo.

I looked at it again later and the colours still pleased me so I decided to do a pretty quilt with similar colours. Except that then got translated into a very scrappy quilt with perhaps pastels maybe. I wanted to do a scrap vomit quilt - because I am routinely two years behind with any quilt trends - and I thought I would combine the two and do a light pretty vomit. Although perhaps I won't use that expression again.

The idea was originally from Ginger Monkey I think, but she has gone and deleted her blog, so I have linked to someone who made it at the time. It's not the kind of thing you need a pattern for - it's just an irish chain variation. I am doing mine with 2.5" strips.

I am also making it out of strip sets. Some of the keener quilters made each scrap block from 49 different carefully cut squares - with the aim of not using a fabric twice in the whole quilt - but I'm not going to do that, that would be crazy. So it's not as scrappy as it could be, but I like the look overall.

Monday, November 16, 2015

It rained

We got a rainy week AND a damp weekend; not at all like Canberra. I was woken up by a massive storm Friday night - my husband snored on, as did number two son - and there were some serious rain showers on Saturday, during baseball. They have a fairly robust approach to weather, so played on, despite the pitcher's mound turning into mud and the grass getting soggier and soggier.

Eventually they called it off but number one son was less than impressed. He was in centre field without having a  single ball hit to him, and was soaked through. I told him to toughen up because we didn't stop netball in New Zealand when I was his age for a bit of rain (or hail, or lightning, now I think about it) but then I remembered just how miserable it was to be frozen with cold and wet to your undies. And how it just wasn't any fun at all, even a sport you normally enjoy. You can't see the rain in this photo but it was there, trust me.

Other than that I've been doing a bit of dyeing - a couple of batches with another one in at the moment. Mostly greens, with some purple. It's fun to do this again after a couple of years off - I have ordered some more dye (mostly yellow! more yellow! yellow yellow yellow) and I will keep going until I get bored again.

I was on child duty this weekend because it was the ACT Scale Modeller's Society annual exhibition and competition, and my  husband was involved in the organising. He also won Best in Show!!! Which is wonderful, especially because he also won Member's Choice (where the members vote) and People's Choice (where the visitors vote). There were hundreds of entries across 44 categories so it was an excellent achievement and all the cursing and late nights hard work was worth it.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Too pretty for you

I don't think I have shown this quilt at any of its stages - but here it is now, completed. I was trying to stuff scraps into my scrap bin a few weeks ago, and it was completely full, so I thought I would make more crumb blocks ... and then I looked in the drawer where I keep my crumb blocks and there were hundreds of the damn things ... so I made a quilt using them.

Quite random, and not as good as I thought it would be. I used narrow strips to frame the plain borders, but it doesn't look very good. I should have used the strips to frame the crumb borders, it just doesn't work in the way that I had hoped.

The quilting is also random because I wanted to try out different things on different parts of it, as practice. You certainly can't tell much from the front. As I was quilting away I said to the quilt "You're not very pretty, are you" to which it quite rightly replied "Too pretty for you" and so that it what I called it.

Another advantage of my new job is that it is within walking distance from home - about 4 km or 55 minutes. I can't do it every day, but one day a week when I don't pick the boys up I can walk home, leaving the car at work, and then the next morning I get up a bit earlier and walk back in. It makes a nice change and is about the right distance for a walk. I got a cheerful wave from the Transact guys this week - I thought "they seem very jolly" and turned the corner to find their tipped over ute. Someone misjudged the angle on that dirt bank....

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The weekend

Number two son and I went down to the beach for the weekend - he hadn't been for ages because of his theatre production, and I am always ready for a bit of salt water! Having said that, we didn't swim. It rained most of Saturday and was too cold on Sunday, so we chickened out. We did go for some lovely walks though, and saw what they were doing with the bridge. Taking down the old one it turned out, and slowly building a new one. There is a temporary (and rickety) pedestrian bridge which suited us fine.

He decided to make panforte which I have never done - it was complicated and took hours, so perfect for the weekend. I did the sudoku, some sewing, read a book, played Candy Crush. Awesome. We also raked up at least two hundred completely rotten lemons - according to the neighbours it had rained all week and everything was sodden. Every lemon that was even close to ripe had fallen off the tree and turned into a smelly grotty pile of green mould. That we had to pick up. Ewwwwwww. Anyway, here is the panforte. Nuts and fruit and chocolate and crystallised ginger! Yum.

We went round to the boat ramp too and said hello to the stingrays. This one was six foot across and cruising through just a couple of inches of water, scavenging for fish guts. There were some cormorants who kept a safe distance, and even the pelicans stayed away.

I like watching stingrays move, they ripple and glide and wave their edges in the air. We stood on the jetty for ages and watched the river and the birds.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Old fashioned reds

I have sewn the snails together and added a border - now thinking about the quilting. All that white makes me think I should do something a bit fancy, which makes me a bit scared, and so I have put it to one side. Perhaps something very modern and ornate? With rulers? (not that I have rulers, but you know the kind of thing....). Probably as a reaction, I felt like sewing something very scrappy, so started on a version of Bonnie Hunter's Garden Party. Different sizes, and with a different sort of cross block, but a similar kind of thing. First I made all the red chain blocks.

And then, when I went to make the second block which is all scrappy, I realised that I really didn't want to introduce a whole heap of new fabrics - I just wanted to pick out some nice old-fashioned ornate ones and leave them reasonably intact. So I went with a good old favourite Snowball block with cream corners.

I am auditioning the fabrics for the Snowballs and there are a few Indonesian ones in there. And a Kaffe or two, and a few that have been lurking for years (and years) on the shelf waiting for their time to shine! I knew I would need a metallic blue and burgundy large print paisley one day... This is why I don't understand people who give away fabric when they no longer like it, or they think it's too old style. You never know what you're going to end up making that needs an orange and yellow traffic cone print ... remind me to show it to you. It's awful.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tired today

I'm a bit tired this morning, but not because I watched the Rugby World Cup final (it was 3 am Canberra time! My husband set his alarm, but I couldn't be bothered) ... unlike everybody on my Facebook feed, which is squealing with Allblacks enthusiasm. I am afraid I support the Wallabies now - shame on me - but there was only ever going to be one outcome to the final so I can't really say I'm disappointed! Expectations were low. I will see the highlights on the news and that will be more than enough rugby for the weekend.

The reason I'm tired is because we had a sleepover for number two's birthday - just three friends and they were very well behaved but I did feel like I should get out of bed at 7 am (my husband had no chance of doing that, see first paragraph) and make sure they were OK and feed them, and the dog. Number two made his own cake to his exacting specifications - a sponge with yellow food colouring (normal sponges are apparently "not yellow enough") - filled with mock cream and iced with a passionfruit and lime icing. It was delicious.

It was a great night for a sleepover because of Halloween - it's a bit odd in Australia because it's only been a thing for the past few years, and nobody really knows what's going on. We have a few US embassy renters on the street and the week before they dropped letterboxes with balloons - saying if you are up for trick-or-treat then put the balloon out, which we did, after stocking up on gummy bears and mini chocolate bars, and had heaps of groups ringing the doorbell! With some fabulous costumes, and mostly their friends from school, which was lovely, and some of them gave us lollies, which is an interesting spin. It certainly meant we didn't have to provide any entertainment for the evening, and then when it got dark at about 8 we took the balloon in and set the boys up on mattresses on the lounge room floor to watch TV and (eventually) go to sleep.

One of the guests brought round a unicorn mask. This is number one son - he burst out at a few of the revellers in it, causing palpitations and squealing all round. Mishka the dog was out of her head with excitement - people! doorbell! people! doorbell! visitors! - before collapsing in a heap about nine. Too much for her.

And here is a much more serene photo of the rose gardens outside Old Parliament House. We had a work lunch on Friday and went to a place just in the rose gardens where they open up the big windows and let the spring air in. Absolutely beautiful (for about two weeks a year when it's not freezing or boiling)...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A bit retro

Number two son had a birthday last week, and one of the things he asked for was an instant camera. Despite the fact that this house already has a digital camera, three phones and four iPads that all take perfectly good photos, there is something about taking a photo and having it print out the back of the camera that appealed to him. And it looks pretty cool too.

It prints out credit card sized photos - and a film pack of 10 costs $30. Yep, three dollars a photo. Boy does that focus the mind, especially when you are 11 years old and have only ever known taking literally hundreds of anything that takes your fancy and then deleting the ones you don't want. I will buy some more film for general family use though, it is like magic when the photo develops! We never had one growing up in the 1970s - it was only the rich families - and I really like it. Good for parties :) Despite the photo being really tiny and not fabulous quality, it has a real charm.

I won't bore you all with a detailed account of my doings again ... there's not much to say! Working completely destroys your day. However the weather is finally warm enough to start dyeing again. I like it when it's all white and full of potential.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Documenting my day

It was a terrifically normal Saturday here in the brick and concrete depths of suburban Canberra. The temperature was an average 23 degrees, with an average amount of rainfall (i.e. zero). My husband dropped number one at baseball at 7.30 am, then came home, had breakfast and went back at 8.30 for the game. We were rostered on duty today, so he brought the after-game snacks - cut up oranges and I made a chocolate cake the night before. Apparently the under 14s are not too old for sprinkles, so it had chocolate icing and sprinkles. During the game my husband manned the fundraising bbq that goes all morning - bacon and egg rolls ($4) and sausage-in-bread ($2.50). Sauces and onions are optional and free, and if they didn't want an egg he gave them another rasher of bacon instead. My son's team lost 9-8 with the winning run scored in the final innings.

I did a load of washing and took number two son into the mall to buy a birthday present (the Four Ingredients cookbook, apparently the birthday boy likes to cook) for an 11th birthday party he went to later that morning. It was four hours of paintball at Delta Force in Tuggeranong and it was full to overflowing. Cars and kids and adults everywhere - apparently the thing to do on the weekend! News to me. I dropped him and ran.

We took the opportunity to go to Costco (along with everyone else in Canberra who wasn't at paintball) where we spent $705.58 on groceries. A lot in one hit, but it's enough meat and dry goods and cleaning products for the next two months for a family of four. And it did includes at least $100 of unnecessary things (boogie board, vodka).  We do love their frozen prawn gyoza, so we had those for lunch and it was delicious.

After lunch we tidied the house. Then I did some sewing, number one son played on the computer and my husband worked on his model for the annual comp next weekend. He is running slightly behind schedule, but expects to finish it in time. He picked up number two son at 3.00 and we cooked dinner for friends who came over. Before dinner we had cheese (brie) and crackers and olives, with a packet of chips for the kids. We also bought prosciutto but forgot to put it out.

Dinner was roast beef with roast vegetables, gravy, mushrooms, asparagus and broad beans. The friends brought dessert - chocolate mousse with strawberries and ice-cream. We had a vodka lemon before dinner, then a bottle of red (tempronilla) and a bottle of white (chardonnay), both Australian. We talked about work, recent holidays, plans for Christmas, gardens, re-painting the cupboards, quilting, politics and mutual friends. They left their cooler bag behind.

The cat slept all day on a cushion in the sun except from about 5 pm when she wanted dinner. She stalked around while our guests were here because they took her evening spot on the sofa. The dog slept most of the day except for two walks and some random barking in the back yard. She loved having guests over and leapt all over them for half an hour, then spent the rest of the time snuffling under the table and kitchen floor for dropped food.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Oh, the humanity

We washed the dog on the weekend. Boy did she need it - grubby little monster.  When I say "we" washed the dog, I actually mean my husband - she adores him so much that she will do anything he wants, even have a bath, even when she really really hates it. And she does ... how is this for a look of long-suffering agony? It is so undignified when really fluffy animals have a bath; they look so diminished.

I made some more selvedge blocks because my plastic bag of strips was filling up. As usual, it surprised me how many strips it takes to make a block, and how long this is going to take me! I used quite a few of the ones that Michelle sent me, which was lovely, because they are different and new it made me happy to find them among my boring ones. So I think I did another eight blocks, which doesn't bring me much closer to enough for a quilt, but it could be a long term project.

The other project was moving the big bookshelf into my son's room, and tidying that complete cesspit including throwing quite a bit of stuff away, and generally make it presentable again. It is very incremental steps around here. We hadn't moved the bookshelf since we arrived here ten years ago and it was disgusting. We found a lot of small flat things (postcards, playing cards, Lego catalogues) that had been poked there over the years.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Five foot high and bouncy

I finished quilting my next one - the medallion with a dresden plate edged in ricrac that I started a while ago. Plain borders, with one half square triangle border and one tumbler border. And then I stopped - I am still a bit put off by big quilts since my giant "If" adventure, and I thought this one was the right sort of size to be a cheerful sofa quilt, or for the kids.

Despite taking forever to do the backtracking quilting on "Sheep Stations", I ended up using another reasonably ornate design, largely of my own invention. You can't really see it clearly because of the piecing, except on the back (dust ruffle!). It's a swirl with pebbles in it and then kind of echo in-fill. Kind of.

This quilt is called "Five foot high and bouncy". It's slightly more than five feet square, and not particularly bouncy, but it seemed like an apt name for a cheerful wee quilt.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Rotating my snails

I have made 36 snail trail blocks out of eighteen different fabrics, which I think is quite enough for a quilt - I trimmed them back to 12" so that will be a 70ish inch square quilt, or more if I add borders. I can't decide how to arrange them though. This is more traditional - it make a big pattern like wavy arm starfishes.

Or this is the other option - lots of waves.

I think I like the first one better, but I will ponder for a little while and then sew them together, and then think about a border. No rush.

In other news, I got attacked by a duck when I was out for my run on Sunday. Lots of flapping wings and I definitely felt a beak on the back of my legs, although there was no actual injury. Maybe I shouldn't have tried to get a photo, but the little bundles of fluff were so cute... see that one eyeing me off? It was the Assault Duck.