Saturday, February 7, 2015

ah, 6am, we meet again...

I have two rules for life. I don't talk about them, really, because people always seem to want to argue on what should be a very personal, self beneficial and therefore eminently respectable belief, but hey, this tiny, quiet corner of the internet is mine, so I can do what I want with it. Two simple rules: Never look forward to anything, ever. Expect the worst, and you will always be pleasantly satisfied with the mediocre. And never look back. If it's in the past, it can only hurt you if it can catch you. Keep moving. Let go.

It may be that this is a very negative gearing of the irksomely positive 'just live in the moment' that really offers no advice whatsoever. The moment is all we can live in, it's all there is. You can't NOT live in the moment. Okay, you can dwell on the past, or waste your time daydreaming about the future, but 'just live in the moment' doesn't offer any reason why you shouldn't indulge the alternatives. Sure, there's all that 'missing what's right in front of you' shit but that's not what I'm about. I still miss 70% of what's happening. I am not a very present person. But those two rules have always served me well. Don't get excited or you will be let down. I am aggressively nonchalant. I am so nonchalant I will fucking fight you about how much I don't care. And then probably burst into tears. A short list of things I have cared about is also an exactly the same length list of things I have been disappointed by. See: pretty much every birthday and christmas and now they're discussing having a going away party for me from work. No. Just, no. If it's an event I can control I can maybe muster the emotion "fckn keen as fck" but even that's risky. I'll probably still be let down, but at least I tempered my excitement somewhat by removing the vowels from my swears, to show I was only excited in a detached, ironic fashion. I am fkn keen for my Last Hurrah @ Charlegrark knowing full well I will probably end up with indigestion and crying. My expectations are suitably tempered. When that happens I will drown in quick-eze, not disappointment.

So yes, I am leaving. I am moving 500km to go study I course I don't know if I even want to do that has no real pathways into a career. Whatever man. We all die in the end anyway. But I'm doing that thing that I do, when there's change in my life. I am drifting out of existence. Not mine, but everyone else's. I stop posting much on facebook, stop interacting with people, stop telling people what I'm up to (lest I appear confident in my plans. Temper expectations always). I don't burn bridges, I just take some of the bricks and stash them just in case maybe I need them later, and then, surprise surprise, given time the bridge usually just collapses in time. Maybe the people on the other side of that bridge have some good structural engineers to hand, and they can maintain it even though it's missing some of it's materials, but usually, the stuff on either side changes differently because it's a lot harder to cross. And where once everyone on both sides used to be really into pineapple juice, after a while the people on one side decided they really liked apple juice, but the people on the other side got really into orange, and everyone feels kinda awkward about how into pineapple they used to be. So instead of sharing their love for their new juice, which they can't do because they both think their juice is way better, instead the only thing they have in common now is their quiet shame at having gotten a little too into pineapple juice way back then. The juice is of course all a metaphor, but a surprisingly apt one. My knowledge of a now-orange-juice-drinking-former-friend's secret pineapple history and quiet surety that apple is better will, I fear, make Adelaide difficult. When the past moves in one direction, you are not meant to follow it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Because I forgot to post about these fuckers

This is a repost of my actual entry to the BQF, and the epilogue to this story here. If you want the middle bits of of the story, as well as a whole lot of swearing about postage companies and a touch of feminism, it's over where I posted my actual entry: my tumblr, saraquilts.

So, long story short, some friends in America decided to go to a Supernatural convention, I’m stuck on the other side of the world in Australia so I couldn’t go, then I had the bright idea of making a fan quilt à la the Ron Swanson. Then I procrastinated for 4 months, only to face a mad rush to finish them in just over a week and get them shipped to be there on time. Yes, them. I made 3. I’m not sure if it’s coincidence that my favourite character also resulted in my favourite quilt, design wise, but I feel that these were the 1200 squares that came together the best.

image

Unfortunately, I got a bit carried away with the shading so unlike the nice simple easy-to-adapt-to-pattern, 5-colour Ron Swanson, the Sam Winchester quilt has 11 shades of brown in it (The Dean and Castiel ones ended with 14 and 13 shades respectively).

image

The design process involved screenshots, photoshop, lots of time spent trying to get the colours on the monitor to match the fabrics in hand and the program PC Stitch, which I highly recommend to anyone who’s thinking of making any kind of pixel art quilt. If you love it, it’s worth the $50. If you just want to have a play around, the demo version does everything but save, and that’s what the printscreen button was invented for. It also involved a lot of pain medication, but I think I’d rather recommend regular dental hygiene over having teeth pulled.

This quilt now lives in Austin, Texas, while the Dean Winchester quilt lives in Atlanta, Georgia and the Castiel quilt lives… I don’t know, actually. It’s been donated to charity to be auctioned off, so hopefully it has a nice life somewhere when it gets its new home.

I entered this in the original design section but I wonder if I should have entered it into the art quilts section. idk, thoughts?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Okay, kinda a little bit dead.



Remember back in MAY when I said I was gunna make quilts?
I procrastinated. 

Remember how I said they had to be in America by September? 
It is September.

Now, these fuckers have 1200 pieces per top. I'm gunna blame my procrastination on the fact that my laptop was in a truly terrible state*, and noone wants to try designing on something that takes 5 minutes to open a file in photoshop. I’d designed the first one, and got a top made, but the other two just weren’t working (though I ordered some fabrics based the requirements of a design I didn’t love, in a fit of misguided optimism) and I slogged through attempts with about 6 different reference pictures to no avail. But then I got a new laptop, and I could use photoshop again, and make the designs work. I ordered more fabrics, and some spoonflower labels before that, and waited. 

When the labels didn’t arrive on their due date (the 26th of last month), I worried. Then a couple of days before the solids were due to arrive (I was hoping for the 5th), with the labels still nowhere to be seen, I discovered I had my due date wrong. Not only was the post office not giving me what I needed, but I’d fucked up all on my own too. They needed the quilts by the 19th, not the 26th

On the one hand, I accepted my fate. Got over it. It wasn’t possible. No more worry. I agreed to work an extra shift that weekend after all. I made plans to go out and get drunk afterwards.

On the other hand, the universe had had my back on this one thing – Spotlight happening to have the one exact shade I had incorrectly ordered. So it came down to: if the solids got here by that Friday, and I could organise some kind of express courier to get them halfway around the world in a week, it would be possible. Not necessarily a good idea, but a doable thing. A thing that I could do. Possibly.

The fabric came that Friday. I still had a full quilt top and a half to do, as well as making the backings and doing the actual quilting for all 3. I timed my steps along the way:

Cutting:                      3 hours
Sorting:                      4 hours
Chaining:                    4 hours
Pressing:                    2 hours
Pinning:                      2 hours
Sewing Rows:             4 hours
Pressing blocks:          1 hour
Assembling:               1 hours
Backing:                     2 hours
Basting:                     .5 hours
Quilting:                     4 hours
Binding:                     3 hours

And even considering what I already had done, I worked on these for over 60 hours in the past 10 days. I cancelled on the going out and getting drunk thing, but I still worked 36 hours too. Oh, and uni, though I gotta confess I did the summaries I had to and ignored the rest. And...


Tomorrow I need to get up really early and call the DHL people and find out who I need to drop the box off to so that they can send it for me. Like, 7am early. The kind of early I’ve been going to sleep at (cause you don’t do secret projects in the middle of the day).

The nice man on the phone when I rang to check on Friday said that if they got it Monday afternoon, it would get to Dallas by Thursday. That’s the goal.  

*To be fair, I spilled hot chocolate on it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

#NotDead (Sherlock Style)

First up, Hi, #NotDead :)

Next up, don't worry that you've missed out on a sea of epic quilts during my hiatus - I have made like, 3. One I made while drunk. The other I gave to its recipient before I remembered to take a photo and the other one is the reason for the "like" earlier on in that it's still in bits, the nephew it was being made for turning one in a fortnight. But whatever.

Because I am a crazy person, as well as still working 30 hours a week and doing foundation studies full time online at uni this year, I've just committed to making THREE 1200 piece pixel art quilts. Like I said, crazy person. They need to be in Georgia, USA, by mid September. I have done the design work on one so far in an epic, 7 hour, hate filled flurry that resulted in me getting 4 hours of sleep last night. I need to move quick, because this is the kind of project that will make me uuuurrrrrggggghhhhIgiveup if I don't see actual results soon. And I have a wedding and a 10 day honeymoon (bride and groom not invited) and school and work and a social life and at least two large scale scavenger hunts* between now and then.

Tonight I will do the counts for the first one and order the Kona. Prelim maths suggests a need for at least four and a half metres for the top alone, with a final size of 1.35x1.8m. Thank fuck it's in solids - even at $8 a metre these will probably cost me around $100 each, and that's before long arming. 

All this being said, I'm thinking I might actually just Beyoncé the damn things. Of course, saying that I'm doing them means they aren't a true Beyoncé, but then again, this isn't an album that will go multi-platinum with no advertising whatsoever. This is just some quilts. But I'll try and at least do some write ups for me to drop after the fact, including a tute on the actual design of the quilts, since that's the bit that is actually difficult. Y'know, if it doesn't make me smash myself over the head with a laptop before then.

*I've just remembered that I also made a quilt out of socks for a scavenger hunt last year but technically it wasn't a quilt, it was just socks sewn together (the definition of a quilt being batting sandwiched between two layers of fabric and sewn through) but I don't think the people running it really knew that much about quilting because we got the points even though it was technically only a sock quilt top. I slept under it at Longy BnS last year. Good times.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dont let THIS, happen to YOU!

So 10 hours ago when I was standing in the Salvos my brain was all like, "hey, lets buy that brown silk hand beaded top with the draped back and the asymmetric hem. We can shorten the shoulder straps, take out the tag, make the drape be at the bust and straighten out the hem. It'll be fun. How long ago were asymmetric hems "in", anyway? God, that was a flash in the pan. Ohh, better hurry, we need to be at the school in 5 minutes."

45 minutes later Casey told brain that actually, I had a whole another hour before I needed to be at the school. And just a few minutes ago, my brain was like "oh, did I say fun? I meant to say "a horrible idea don't do it you stupid girl put it back just make a white top from that stretch crepe ohmygodyoustupididiotaargh!!!!" Actually, I'm pretty sure what I said. You must have misheard me."

So basically my brain is a lying scoundrel and I'm hemming a beaded silk gauze top by hand tonight.

In semi-related news, this is a friendly reminder not to sit on your bed with your legs underneath you while wearing skinny jeans, lest your legs fall off. That's a pretty important cautionary tale.

EDIT, 3.30am: I think the fact that left to their own devices, my hands are capable of beading over the shoulder join and hemming the bottom, almost makes up for the fact that my brain is a jerk.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Is variety, the so called "spice of life", actually spicy enough that you don't need actual spices?

Or: How I learned that people without a functioning sense of smell probably shouldn't do cooking experiments on top of the fireplace.

We are nearly out of tomato sauce.

That might sound like a weird opening, but here's the thing: my body has an uncanny ability to crave whatever it is that we are running low on in the house. Want peanut butter on toast? No bread. Would give your left leg for a paddle pop? No ice-cream of an kind in any of the four freezers. If I'm having a hamburger (by which I mean a beef patty, and a bit of bread) I want tomato sauce with it. Ergo, tonight, midnight, I open the fridge, see a packet of mince, think "perfect, hamburger it is." Sure, the mince is one day after it's best before, but don't they play it safe with those things, surely you have a day or two extra, right?

Not only that, but it's winter (pretty much) now. The fire is lit. The fire, which gets super hot because it's 20 years old and all its insulating bricks have fallen out. The fire that, sometimes last year, I would cook a beef patty on, instead of having to wash a frypan.

Also, I decided to test that thing where, if you wrap a bottle of drink in some damp taper towel and put it in the freezer, it gets cold in 5 minutes. This will be an important part of the resolution to the story, even though it seems a bit random (ie. not as ominous as everything else Ive written so far) at this point in the story.

So I've decided to cook a burger on top of the fire. Normally I'd mix the mince with breadcrumbs and seasoning, but, well, I'm both hungry and lazy. And anyway, aren't Maccas burgers supposed to be all beef? If they don't need breadcrumbs, neither do I. So I squish the mince between some baking paper till it's flatish, carry it across the kitchen, and plop it onto the top of the fireplace.

It makes a satisfactory sizzling noise. There's a big bit of baking paper folded around it, but I've put the fold to the back so I can lift it up and have a look inside.

It appears to be browning in the correct fashion. But this is where the problem starts. Some beef juice is leaking out in the sizzling. This happens when I make stir-fry, but not when I cook myself a burger. Conclusion: the breadcrumbs are needed to soak up the juice so it doesn't leak everywhere. I get a spatula and try to hold up either side of the paper, so the juice will pool under the burger next to the crease and hopefully re-absorb into the burger.

I know very little about cooking. I now know more: I now know that this does not work.

When the underside appears to be sufficiently brown, I try to pick up the burger and flip it over, without letting the tiny, miniscule dribble of juice I expect to be leftover (ha!) come out the sides.

It doesn't work.

So now there's beef juice sizzling on the metal surface of the fireplace, and from the feel of it, there's still a fair bit of liquid in the baking paper. I carry it over to the sink, and drop down one corner. About 45 litres of liquid gushes out. My burger is half cooked. The baking paper is feeling a bit damp. I get another piece of baking paper, this time doing some foldy-origami type thing to the sides.

I take it back and cook the other side. The origami turns out to not be necessary: the fact that it's already managed to perform the scientific wonder of expelling 5 times as much liquid as it appeared to weigh (I too have done this, one morning when I was so hungover I peed for about 15 minutes) has left it quite dry now that it's time to cook the other side. And even more dry when I bring it over to the plate, and cut through it to make sure that it's cooked through.

I figure I should try clean the top of the still lit, still very hot fireplace, and fortunately, I have some frozen paper towel wrapped around a not-really-at-all-cold bottle of coke in the freezer. And it turns out that frozen paper towel does an alright job of cleaning the top of a hot fire, if by cleaning you mean wiping a few times in hope that it's making some sort of difference and also not getting burnt. I don't know if it's actually even slightly clean: I think the best way to tell will be to wait for someone to go "what's that smell?" since I, as ever, smell nothing. But the bottom of the now half sizzling, half frozen paper towel is a bit brown, as it would be had it cleaned up some well-cooked beef juice, so I figure, job well done.

Having given cleaning the top of the fire a, excuse the pun, red hot go, I go to the cupboard to get some sauce to have with my burger, and discover what you have known from the beginning; that all 4 bottles of sauce in the cupboard have just a tiny dreg in the bottom, which will only come out, accompanied by little fart noises, with a good deal of shaking and squeezing. There simply isn't enough sauce to cover the fact that my burger is a dried out, shriveled up blob of blandness, that may or may not have been fit for human consumption before I even got it out of the fridge.

I chop it up into little bits and put it in the dog's bowl, and eat my piece of bread, unsure how exactly I made it to the point where I am considered an actual grown up human being.

In conclusion, it's probably a better idea to just use regular herbs and spices, than to decide that cooking in a way you haven't done in about 8 months is going to be enough to make your dinner edible. Also, if you've been putting off writing a blog post for about 3 months because you know that it will be your 900th, and you want to make it worthwhile, maybe it's just better to do something so stupid that it deserves the spelling stoopid, and blog about that instead.

P.S. I just went to the kitchen and the dog appears to have eaten it. I guess it can't have been BAD bad, since his nose (I assume) would be able to tell the difference.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A story nothing to do with sewing, since I'm still just sewing ties.

About a month ago, my laptop, which I'd been using for about a year (having bought ex-rental for $200 as a temporary thing while I "found one I liked enough to spend a lot of money on") died on me, handily right before I was about to head off on a trip to Adelaide, which meant it was easy enough for me to find a temporary replacement laptop for my temporary replacement laptop. I bought a pretty decent spec Toshiba, for $390, but it's a brute of a thing with it's 17" screen compared to the 12" I had before.

A friend of mine is in need of a new laptop too, so when I went up again last weekend I told her I'd have a look at the ex-rental places to see what I could find her. Crazily, the ex-rental place that I had got mine from had gotten rid of their ex-rental part, so there wasn't quite the range I'd had last time, and unfortunately there didn't appear to be much in the ballpark that mine had been: it was either a lot less for a lot worse, or a bit more (about $450) for about the same. There was also a very cute little white thing in the corner without a price on it, but while I was off looking for a man who would ultimately tell me that it was already sold, the friend that I was with googled the serial number on his phone, and the reviews were pretty good. But I couldn't get a hold of Steph back home who wanted the laptop, so I didn't buy her anything.

I left her a message explaining the situation and when she called back that night she said that if I was okay with her paying me back over two weeks she'd have a decent one, since unlike me she doesn't buy a laptop just to tide her over till she buys a laptop. Weirdo. So we went back the next morning and, what do you know, the little white laptop has a price tag of $417 on it and that man that's there now says nope, no-one's bought it, and when I get all excited because the man had told us it was sold, and that we'll take it, he throws in a $50 HDMI cable to say sorry we had to come twice.

And yeah, you can get an $8 HDMI cable at Woolies, but it's the thought that counts. The thought might be: "Wow, Radio Rentals really overcharges people on their accessories" but I'm getting a six-month old laptop for $600 off it's RRP, so that's kinda irrelevant.

But the whole point of this kinda complicated computer shopping story is this: I had the big laptop, which I had named The Queen of Sheeba, for about a month. It was nothing at all like I wanted. It's big, it doesn't have a touch screen, it has a full numerical keyboard, which meant that whenever I went to scroll down I typed 00000000000 a lot. The power cable plugs in on the right hand side, which, for someone who sleeps on the left hand side of the bed, was really quite annoying. But in that month I'd gotten kinda fond of the big girl. I loved how fast she booted. She's twice as fast as the last laptop, and about 8 times faster than Steph's ancient piece of crap, so she's gunna be completely blown away. She felt solid, like you could invade a foreign country in her. Okay, that's a bit weird, but I liked her. Had I not found this one, I think I could have overlooked the fact that it was so damn difficult to photoshop anything without a touchscreen, and we could have hung out and made stupid facebook posts for the next three years, till her harddrive fried itself and I went into mourning. I didn't feel that way with my previous laptop, but I did the one before that, and it's a nice feeling.

So I've been quite slow in moving to this new one, the Baby Princess of Sheeba, it being the one size model down from the Queen. It was handy that I could use mostly the same drivers and that I still knew where all the program installers were, and Steph's quite glad to be getting a few thousand dollars worth of fell-off-the-back-of-a-modem software and movies and TV shows, but during this transition week, while I spent my nights moving ones and zeroes from one end of the network to the other, I kept on using the big one whenever I had to do anything. Maybe because it still has the mouse plugged into it: the black and red mouse not really coordinating with the shiny white. But the queen is moving out tomorrow, and I finally un-synced Firefox, and "obliterated history from the beginning of time" on Chrome. That is a web browser that takes it's deletions seriously.

I've only known it a month, and even though it's so lovely to be able to pick up the baby with one hand and fling it under my arm and know that, even though I probably never will, I can fit it into my handbag if I have to, and that it's almost as speccy as it's big sister, and that I'm sure that given another month I'll love it just as much, as of right now, I'll be sad to see the Queen go.

God save her, because I don't think Steph knows that much about antivirus software.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

OhMyGodMail!

So one of my best friends is getting married in about 5 weeks, and since she's a short arse, she decided that us bridesmaids could all wear flats while she wore heels. I'm cool with this, since heels at a wedding pretty much inevitably mean either strappy ones or pumps, and I try to stick to boots when it comes to heels. But looking around the mount and a few shopping days in Adelaide hadn't turned up anything, so I had a look on ebay and found these.


I'd ordered them about a week ago and today when there was two blue parcel cards in my post office box I just assumed that, because I hadn't made it to the post office on friday, they'd accidentally just put one in both days. But no. As well as a little pink box of shoes, there was also a big brown box.


With cookies!


And gold lame fabric! And a crocheted snowflake, but I forgot to take a photo and yeah, I'm blogging from bed. But it was white and waaaay more symmetrical than any of my misguided attempts last year.

And it had come all the way from Thea in California! There was a card in there saying that she had thought of the gold fabric for my rock star-looking jacket from ages ago, but I'm not sure that it has enough stretch for the elbows so I think I might make myself a badass new pub bag with it. I might even use some studs on it. And a fierce, chunky chain link strap.

It might take me a while to get to though, because it feels as if I'll be spending the next five weeks in the lead up to the wedding making ties. Because I'm working in the afternoons when the other bridesmaids could help out with making invites and table decorations and so on, and also because I'm the only one that can sew, I agreed to make the ties for the boys in the satin to match our dresses. It's taken some trial and error with patterns and interfacing and such, but I've got my patterns sorted and now I've just got to work through the hours and hours of handsewing that the damn things need*.

I may resume quilting in a procrastinatory rebellion.

*I only need to make 5 regular ties, two boys ties and a baby tie, but blergh, they're so boring.

Monday, January 28, 2013

If no-one else will speak the truth, then I must.

The hashtag for Finish It 2013 looks like it says fini shit 2013.

Maybe consider a hyphen next year?

Monday, January 21, 2013

A new quilt and too much other information.

Once again, it's been a while between posts. But the combination of "ergh, I'm so much ache right now I could die, I'd better say my farewells" and "OMG OMG OMG I actually made a quilt" have come together to inspire a post.

Second things first; that's right, quilt! A whole one, pieced top, quilted, bound, everything. Admittedly, it was a fold over the back binding, but whatever, I was rushed. It was for a birthday last Tuesday, though fair's fair she really only wanted to show it off Saturday night, and I made it Friday night so all's well.



It's for Casey, obviously, and tells the gripping tale of a man and his tractors. I'm not sure where he gets these tractors to try and fail to pull up a tree, but maybe there's a prequel panel somewhere out there. It's about 1.3x1.6, and the backing is butcher's twill. Never in the whole of human history has there been a quilt so perfect for someone.

And last night, quilt showing-off night, was Harrow BnS. My first in over 6 months, what with missing Longy with laryngitis and Paruna getting cancelled. We took two virgins (by that I mean people who'd never been to a ball before) and a 5L keg of strawberry cider and about 100 jelly shots. And we drank and danced and ended up funny colours and found boys and new exciting ways to inadvertently injure ourselves.

As a result, I suspect this will be my last ever post*, what with the culmative aches acquired on the weekend all banding together and leaving me convinced I won't survive to the morning. A nasty bruise 3/4 of the way down my spine. Don't know how I got it. Another quite large one on my left leg. A painful, odd looking friction-burn-and-bruise combo on my right elbow that I got by miss-executing a decent down the chain ladder on the playground. And a friction burn on my knee that I got becasue I managed to pick up the only guy there with a swag smaller than mine. But I guess that's what I get for picking up floppy haired emo boys at BnS balls. "But I love them... They're my favourite" I say when anyone warns me against it. Of course, they're not quite as specific as, "Don't do it Sara, he'll have a tiny swag and very long gentleman parts and it will be quite awkward trying to reconcile the two in a sexy sexy manner without injuring either yourself or him" and I kinda think they're worse friends becasue of it.

Real friends will violate the laws of space and time and find this shit out for you and travel back and let you know to hook up with Dreamboat instead, in order to avoid the kinds of aches that follow an evening with a boy still in his teens. But it's okay, I am, for another 48 or so hours at least, still in my early twenties, and can therefore still choose the 19 year olds instead of the 30 year olds.

Even if it's a terrible decision. No matter, I'll be dead soon. Remember me fondly, and raid my stash fairly...

*I am of course, being over-dramatic for comedic effect. When I don't post for another month, it'll be because I'm too busy being an alcoholic and watching sitcoms to post, not because I died from the assorted aches of a debauched last-big-weekend-before-entering-the-mid-twenties booze-and-boys-fest.