Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Something new with solids

I absolutely didn't mean to start a new quilt - I have finished the quilting on the scrappy two, so I should be pinning up the lemoyne stars and the sixteen patch and quilting them... but I got distracted by this excellent quilt. Isn't it great? Simple shapes in solids, with a limited number of colours. I am not much of a one for patterns though, and I thought it would be better with some horizontals, and different shaped rectangles, and a different size, and different colours, so did some colouring in and some maths.

Then pulled some soft pastels from the shelves of solids, and I've been cutting and piecing ever since.  I originally had a soft lemon yellow in there, but pulled it out. The only time I've ever thought something was better with no yellow in it!

I don't know how well it will work - my colours might be too similar in value - but there's only one way to find out! And I don't have enough of any of those colours so I have to find other ones that are kind of similar; the joys of home dyeing. I can never re-create anything. It is fun to use the solids again though - I am full of ideas for the next one.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A weekend of two halves

Saturday was 35 degrees and airless; Sunday was 15 degrees and rainy. Saturday number one son had an all day board-game fiesta at a friend's house, Sunday number two son spent the day in a friend's rumpus room watching Parks and Recreation and trawling instagram. Saturday afternoon number two and I went to the swimming pool where I did lengths and he frolicked; Sunday afternoon number one and I went for a rainy driving lesson where he carefully went on the road for the first time! and I stayed very calm.... Saturday night I made brioche, and Sunday night I made bagels. Here are the brioche, I cut back on the eggs/fat/salt and they are not nearly as nice as they would have been otherwise. And yes, I do just put Saturday's dinner on top of the weekend papers that are still all over the table. Smear me in buttery crumbs and call me a slattern.

In between I quilted on the scrappy top and the purple scraps and solids top - nearly done them both now so just a matter of a bit more quilting, then some binding, and I will actually have a finished quilt! First one this year? Might be. I also had book club on Sunday afternoon - we read "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline which two of us really liked (including me), one of us didn't like and one of us hadn't quite read. Which is about the normal odds! I really enjoyed it; a good old-fashioned science fiction / adventure read by an author I'm not familiar with.

This was the star of book club - a new kitten. Not so much of a kitten any more, more of a teenager, but still very cute and very fluffy and adorably playful until the point where she found a comfortable lap and nestled in. Awwww......

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Adelaide and Perth

On Sunday afternoon I flew to Adelaide, for a day's work on Monday, then a flight to Perth, for a day's work on Tuesday, and back home Tuesday night. Different time zones, but I think I just stayed on Canberra time, which worked out fine. Except for going to bed at 8 on Monday night and waking up at 5 am on Tuesday morning, but honestly, when you're in a hotel room on your own, it's not a problem.

In Adelaide we were in the Old Chamber Room, which is the original parliamentary chamber, from 1855. It is very simple and not grand at all, compared to the Victorian one, although not quite as cute as the Tasmanian one. South Australia uses a new Parliament House (1889) which is much more ornate. When we arrived on Monday morning the paper announcing the dissolution of parliament before their upcoming election was pinned to the front door, so they couldn't be opened. It was an A4 sheet of photocopy paper; I would have expected something fancier.

Somehow we arrived in Perth before we left Adelaide, so I got a chance to have a slow hobble around the CBD while it was still light. It's my second 24 hour visit to Perth, and one day I am going to go back properly and have a look around! It feels like a very open, sunny city to me, with lots of space. It is apparently the most isolated city on earth, in terms of distance from everyone else, and it feels like it spreads out on the ground.

Everyone was very chilled and relaxed on a pleasant summer evening. I found the Margaret River Chocolate Company shop, which provided bribes for the family, and had dinner in a pub next to an open window.  It was a long two days - and I'd rather be sewing - but I can't really complain...

Sunday, February 18, 2018

From the wet to the dry

I've gone from soggy humid and damp in NZ to blisteringly hot and dry back in Canberra - it's that point in February where everything is completely desiccated and there is no point in doing anything except waiting it out. The hibiscus are wilting; although they perk up quite quickly if you put the hose on them.

The grass is yellow, the leaves have fallen off the roses, the trees are drooping and washing dries in the time it takes to do a second load. The photo below isn't my grass - we went round to friends' for a bbq lunch today - but it's the same colour. Because of my toes I am not able to do any exercise except swimming - so I took myself down to the local pool to do some lengths yesterday afternoon. It was beautiful. Nice and cool (it's an outdoor pool) and not many people there. I think everyone has given up on summer, and gone to the movies, where there is air-conditioning.

My flight from Sydney back to Canberra was delayed a few hours on Wednesday so instead of a civilised nine pm return it was nearer to midnight. And up early on Thursday for another parliamentary sitting day, then a day of public hearings on Friday, then a very welcome fish and chips by the lake on Friday night with friends before eleven hours sleep and starting to feel human again! I even did a little bit of machine quilting yesterday which made me very happy. I am not at all looking forward to hopping on a plane again in a couple of hours (a day in Adelaide, then a day in Perth) but it is part of the work at the moment, and I'm not really complaining. Perth is much further away from Canberra than NZ is, which just doesn't seem right to me.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

I'm in New Zealand

No post for a week because I have been in New Zealand to celebrate my cousin getting married! I booked this trip last year before I knew work would be so busy, so there is a bit of guilt at wandering off and leaving both home and work to their own devices for six days. Especially in only the second week of school! But I am having a LOVELY time.

I have hardly taken any decent photos of anything, so here is brother, sister and brother-in-law in the kitchen. Actually my iPhone ran out of storage soon after this photo was taken so you will have to take my word for it that the wedding party was lots of fun, and in a beautiful setting at their place in the countryside just outside Rotorua. I had wonderful chats with siblings and cousins and family friends that I hadn't seen for ages.

So that was on Saturday - I flew into Auckland last Thursday, spent two days with my little sister, then we all went down to Hamilton to have lunch with my older brother and sister and their families - including ALL the nieces and nephews! I haven't seen them altogether for a very long time, now they have jobs and studies and travel around the world. Then off to Rotorua for the party and a night in a slightly decrepit motel (but very handily located) before back to my Dad's for a couple of nights in Tauranga. He is looking after me extremely well and doing all the cooking! This is fish he caught himself and saved specially for me.

The only two things stopping me having fun are the weather - which is appalling, it has rained every single day - and my toes ... while I was packing on Wednesday night I dropped my ipad on my toes (straight down, like a guillotine) and it was excruciating. They swelled up black almost instantly and the pain just wouldn't go away so we spent four hours down in emergency and had xrays. Normally I wouldn't bother for toes but given I was going to fly the next day I wanted some medical professional to say I could! Which they did. Lots of strapping, lots of painkillers, and I've really been only able to walk properly today, which has scuppered my plans to do scenic strolls and a bit of light shopping.

Instead I've been cleaning out a few of Dad's cupboards, throwing out as much crap as he'll let me, and having lovely catch ups with relatives and friends here, including fellow quilters! There is nothing quite like spending time with a fellow enthusiast, particularly when they make absolutely beautiful quilts and are happy to answer all your "how did you do THAT?" questions in great detail. Magical.

Monday, February 5, 2018

The shock of paid employment

Talk about slamming into it! Last week was crazy busy with work and this week is shaping up much the same way. Those beach afternoons of swimmings, DVDs and beer are another life and it is totally back to the treadmill. Except not actually to the treadmill because I have been too busy to get to the gym at lunchtimes. The dog and I walked round the lake on the weekend which was lovely, but not really exercise.

I finished the scrap sixteen patch quilt top. I tried to colour wash the top - graduate the colours across- but it didn't really work because it was made of random scraps! So I've put all the browns together, and that's about it.

I told number one son to look like he was thinking something intelligent about the quilt. He had his first day of college today! The ACT system has them at a separate school for the last two years, where they do their major school leaving qualification (and university entrance ranking) as continual assessment over the two years. I think they put the fear of god into the newbies, which has my full approval. He was excited but a bit nervous when he got home.