Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oh God...

Casey has no idea what she's getting herself in for, trying to catch up on watching all the episodes of Chuck. It's completely ruined my chances of sewing tonight... it never ends... each episode rolls into the next and you can't go do something else or even go to sleep... it's horrible.

What's not horrible is my pretty little (well, it's getting kinda big) pile of tissue pouches.

Good blend of cool grown up, cutesy kid and even a few Christmas ones, cause I have a nasty habit of buying it in the post Christmas sales and I've never used it for anything, and it seemed like a good time.

Whoops, I got distracted and watched another episode.

I've only got 7 more. It has to end eventually...


Monday, November 29, 2010

All that progress that I was anticipating yesterday didn't really eventuate. I'm choosing to blame Casey, because I have to pick someone, and I've picked Becky so many times it's almost become a cliche.

First off, I went shopping. This is not Casey's fault, though she did ask where I was going and if she wanted to come, but when I said Spotlight she figured she didn't. If she had, things might have gone better.

So yeah, I went to Spotlight. Used #3 of the 4 vouchers. Got bobbins like I said I would, and some white felt for monster eyes, and some heavy weight fabrics for bags, which was on my earlier list but I couldn't find any I liked last time, and some smaller cuts of expensive fabrics to make a heap of tissue pouches, because they are awesome and I can make them quickly and take them to the market. Because Casey said they were cute.

So then I got home but I couldn't get to the machine because Casey was in my room watching Chuck. Now it's excellent that she's decided to watch it too, but since she's 2 1/2 season's behind me, she's likely to be in my room pretty much constantly in her quest to catch up. And she gets cross when I try to sew at the same time, which is especially annoying when she's also getting cross at me for not sewing her a handbag.

Basically she wants mine in navy blue with white polka dots. But the only fabric I can find that meets this description is a very lightweight poplin. And since most of my interfacing turns to crap, I like to only interface the lining and use an unlined heavier weight fabric for the outside. Today at Spotlight I found a very cute drill, navy blue with Japanese-y style white and red trees on it. Very cute. So I bought some of it, and came home, and started to make it into a bag for her. Lining interfaced, pleats measured out and pinned/ironed in, ready to sew. 

At which point she comes out and has a bitch that it's not polka dots. If she'd come into town with me she could have said that while we were shopping, and saved me some effort.

So I stopped work on that and started making myself another one.

I've added a magnetic snap, although not very well, since the two sides are at different heights, and it only looks that plump because I shoved the rest of the drills I bough today inside of it when I was tidying the kitchen. My only issue with it is that the handles aren't as thick or feel as strong as on the other bag, but I did have 90cm of fabric to make that one, whereas this time I only had 50cm. Still, it's cute, and I did a slightly better job on the sides this time, so I'm feeling the pride.

I also got a dozen or so tissue pouches 90% finished - I just need to zigzag over the edges, but doing that at night gives me a headache, so it can wait till morning.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I had a pretty good day. I got the Modern Grace quilt bound, partook in a spontaneous mini crafternoon, scored a half dozen 8 cent fuel discount vouchers, which is a bit unnecessary considering that my new car has excellent fuel consumption, and I'm onto my fourth episode of Bones.

Tomorrow is for progress. Tonight is for some overdue bumming about. And cat cuddles. And chocolate.

And now episode 5 of Bones.

Good Day.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's just a matter of building up the momentum, I think...

Today, I sucked it up and made one of the backings I've been putting off for a month or so.

This is the front of Modern Grace (it's the name of the fabric range and I can't think of a better one) which is number 19 in the list to your top right and was generally known as the Blue and Brown Square quilt or the Stitch and Knit Quilt (where I bought the fabrics from) It's about 120cm square, so it's a bit bigger than the ones I've been concentrating on lately, but it's still a very manageable size.

I got a half metre each of the two brown and cream fabrics and a fat quarter of the one that's in the top left corner, and the rest is scraps left over from the front. It was only basted when I took the photos but it's been quilted since, and the binding is cut ready to go tomorrow.

I also got the photos of the recent finishes taken out in the yard today, but since there was a guy on the roof putting up the new TV antennas, I went to the far side of the block instead of doing them in the backyard. The grass out there is a bit more unruly though, so what looks like really wonky piecing is actually just lumps and bumps of longer grass under the quilts.

The more I look at it, the more GoogleEarth has become one of my favourites. The richness of the colours and the wavy/straight quilting lines make it look so... I don't even know the word. But it makes me think of sitting inside watching the rain wiggle it's way down the windows with the greens of the trees and the grass behind it, and it makes me want to eat my vegetables, and it makes me want to snuggle under it and be warm and indulgent and all that really nice stuff. It's like the world outside at this time of year - starting to warm up but still green and damp and lush from the rains of winter and spring.

I love the lines of quilting on the back, going in different angles. When I was shopping for the binding I found some fabric that is a print of slices of citrus, and if I'd seen it earlier I would have loved to use it for the back, but even though the print was too big for the binding, I bought half a metre anyway. I think I'll make it a matching bag.

I decided to call it Sweet Sacks, since it's all reproduction 30's feedsack fabric, and none of you liked the name Blandybland. You can't really see it, but I gave this a pale yellow striped binding just because I knew it would annoy Helen. I can't help myself sometimes. I would love to make an all yellow quilt one day, just to watch her hating it.

I've randomly decided to go with the name Shallow Water for this one - I think the colours are more like the sky than water, except for the brown which isn't sky-like at all, but does remind me of the sand and the rocks down at Woolwash creek.

I really need to get myself geared toward more little things for the market next weekend, but instead I find myself wanting to make bigger quilts instead. I'll see how I feel after I've had to bind this big(ish) one tomorrow - that might put me off it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

How the hell am I not bankrupt?

The spend $100 and save $40 vouchers from Spotlight arrived in the mail a few days ago and today I finally made it in to the store. I should point out that each person is only meant to get one, but since they deliver 4(!) catalogs to our PO box, I get 4 vouchers in the mail. Still, even using one forces you into a $60 spend, so I tend to use them mainly on batting and cottons - stockpiling stuff. The super great thing about today was that not only did I have this voucher, cozy cotton was already 20% off. So you take off 20% and then you take off another 40%, and 256cm wide cotton batting is $7.65 per metre. So my $60 spend got me 8 metres. That's enough for 16 of my baby sized quilts. I may be forced to go back next week and buy more, because not taking full advantage of stupidly cheap prices makes me twitchy, though I may have to leave it at Helen's because I don't have room for this roll, let alone another one. 

She has a whole room for stockpiling... I technically do too but I also have to live in it. (And yes, I could move out, but then I wouldn't have the money to buy all this stuff, so what would be the point?)

I used a second voucher too to get a couple of spools of white quilting cotton because I use it for almost everything and it's $14 a spool usually, some more clearance fabrics ($1.50 per metre after discounts) some machine needles (usually about $9) and some black and off-white homespun, because I'm developing a big desire to work with neutrals. I've only got the original Retro Quilt and the Awesome Quilt Top of Awesomeness as examples, but they are two of my favourites, simply because they look so "Quilty"... I suppose I mean that they look like a lot of the ones I see in other people's blogs, people who use neutrals like I think you're supposed to. I also bought a metre of a batik fabric in pink and rainbow as well as a mottled pink to match, so I can make a girly version of the Awesome Quilt Top of Awesomeness. I think that would be just as awesome, but also pretty. I will call it the Pretty Awesome Quilt Top of Awesomeness.

The only thing I forgot to get was some more bobbins, since my old machine refused to accept random cheap ones, and demands that I pay $8 for 3. Still, I suppose it's good to have standards. And it's an excuse to go back and pick another $92 worth of stuff to go with them.

As for sewing achievements, I got Summer Citrus bound, and it's in the wash with the new batiks and the off-white homespun at the moment. Hopefully the weather will have improved sufficiently tomorrow for some backyard photos.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A day of various achievements.

I achieved 3 things today.

The first was getting 2 of my 3 quilts bound (I haven't bought the fabric for the other one yet)

The second was working out a pricing scheme for my quilts.

The third was naming all the shops down the main street, in order, with a success rate of about 75%. I'm probably most proud of that one. But it wouldn't blog very well, or be of interest to anyone really, So I'll be telling you all about #2.

Having looked at a lot of other blogger's Etsy shops, I've concluded that a reasonable price for a baby quilt of the sort of size I usually do is somewhere between $70 and $120, depending on the fabrics and the design. Because so many of the fabrics I've been using are stash ones, I've no idea how much they cost, so for some math I've been using my maximum internet shopping price, which is $3 per fat quarter or $10 per yard. So these quilts, most of which have 6 fat quarters on the front, a yard of fabric for the back and a half for the binding, come to $33 for the fabric, and the batting rounds it up to about $40. My day job pays about $18 per hour, but Michael Caine once said "Pay me for the waiting around, the acting I'll do for free" and I've decided to adapt it to "pay me for the ironing and seam pressing, the sewing I'll do for free" And I think it would be fair to say there's about 2 to 3 hours of ironing for a quilt, not to mention the binding, where, frankly, I think I should be charging double.

And because my quilts are all different sizes, mainly due to my dislike of patterns, I've come up with a list of prices based on the number of square centimetres in a quilt. It increases by $5 for every 5002cm so a quilt like the Retro Bright, which is 80cm by 100cm (80002cm) is $60, while GoogleEarth, at 93x109cm (101372cm) is $80, and so on, with a $10 add on for a little bit of piecing on the back (like a line of piecing through it) and a $20 add on for full piecing. I have myself a quick reference guide written up, and at some point I'll update the Quilts I've Made page to include the measurements and prices.

I don't particularly mind if people think they're a bit expensive, especially since it's easy to imagine that if I paid full price for all my fabrics ($20 per metre) I'd be spending almost $70 on materials per quilt, before adding the labour costs of the average 6 or 7 hours of work they take. If people want a cheap blanke, they know where Kmart is.

It's not on the main street.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Goodnight already...

Sorry about the mopeyness yesterday, it happens sometimes.

In spite of the fact that I got GoogleEarth quilted and bound today, I had hoped to achieve a whole lot more. I had planned to go in and finalise the paperwork for my car, go to Stitch and Knit to get some backing and binding fabrics for a quilt noone's seen because I never seem to have it out at the same time as a camera, and come home. Then I would achieve all the stuff I've been meaning to do - quilt GoogleEarth, bind the four recent baby quilts, make some bags, maybe find a solution to world hunger and sort the back I bought those fabrics for.

But then it turned out to not just be paperwork for the car but the actual changeover, and so I was feeling glum and I hung about in town because I knew that as soon as Mum asked me how I was about it all I'd start bawling (I did) and then when I did get home I find out that Nan's up at the hospital to have emergency surgery on a perforated ulcer in her bowel, so we go up to see her and then it turns out maybe it wasn't an emergency emergency, because it gets later and later and still no surgeon. We get told that it's happening soon at 9.30pm and come home, and since they haven't called we can assume everything went well.

So I got GoogleEarth quilted in straight and wavy lines, and bound in a green fabric I got the other day from Spotlight for it, and the binding for two of the others is cut as well, but then I would have had to change threads, and that can sometimes be an insurmountable obstacle.

I've just realised I'm using very long sentences. It could be that the huge glass of coke I just sculled has induced a sugar rush. Not enough of a one to cause me to go and change the thread in my machine, but still...

...I just got distracted for a minute in a search for a hole punch for my tags and then suddenly came down from my sugar high quite hard. But that's okay, 2am is practically an early night for me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This was only supposed to be about icecream...

If your love, your love, your love is Kesha's drug, then this is mine.

My achievement for the day was NOT eating the whole tub.

Be proud of me. It was hard work. But I knew that if I didn't I wouldn't have anything for breakfast.

Actually, I'm feeling marginally better about the whole car thing today, because I realised that it's not like the boyfriend breakup I had thought it was. It's a friend breakup instead.

My best friend from high school is getting married Friday week. I mean, what the shit? We're 22... How the hell did that happen? But then, how the hell did we go from spending 8+ hours a day together, and talking on msn most nights, to maybe seeing each other in passing once a month? My brain says that it shouldn't have happened, but then, maybe it should have. Time goes by and time brings changes*, and all that jazz. We're different people, our lives have gone in different directions, and it's hard to make more of a commitment to someone from years past than a facebook friending. At no point were there tears, or shouting, or angry recriminations or blame. The world's full of people, and they come and go. They touch your lives, make a difference, and then, they don't need to anymore. There are other people whose lives need touching. But that doesn't mean the people from your past cease to exist, or cease to matter. They just cease to be involved in your day to day existence. All you can hope is that they're happy somewhere, and try to be happy yourself, because I think that's what drives everything we do. The quest to make ourselves happy, and others happy.

Recently, most of my so called "perfect moments" have been with my car. Driving through my town, usually at night, music on loud, feeling that everything is right in the world, and that in spite of all my misgivings, I'm right where I should be. But the thing I've been forgetting is that it wasn't about the car. It was about me. About being comfortable in myself, in my world, in my moments. Because I just remembered having this exact conversation some 4 years ago, when I was worried that by giving up Elsie (she was a little corolla - LC) I'd be letting go of a part of myself. The part where I was independent of the people around me. The part that was just me, untethered to anything and free of everything. But I know this time what I didn't last time. You let go of some of yourself, and more pops up to fill the hole. Already, I feel comfortable in my new car. She's not even mine yet, but I sit in her and feel like I'm home. I know full well that within 6 months, we will be the best of friends. And that in 5 or 6 years time, I'll be going through this again. Letting go of a big hunk of metal I've essentially put an invisible friend in.

At least invisible friends don't invite you to their weddings and make you wonder what the hell happened to your life...

Nonetheless, Glenn, even though I can't make it to your wedding, and you will never read this, I wish you all the happiness in the world.

Same for you BJ. You two were some of the best friends I ever had. And now I need to convince myself I'm not letting you both down.

*yes, that is the song from Cars. It's all circular, people...

Monday, November 22, 2010

I owe it all to Wendy's Mint Madness...

Today, solely to please a pajama loving blog friend, whose name I discovered tonight I dont actually know, I sewed nothing at all today.

Okay, that's a lie. I had a bad headache in the morning, I went to Helen's for the afternoon, spent the evening giving my car a final clean out (I only cried once, and only for a tiny second) and the night eating icecream and watching season 3 of Chuck.

I'm nothing if not predictable.

To be fair, my only actual plan for the night was to quilt GoogleEarth. And then I found a tutorial for a really cute purse, and then I knew that if I plugged in the machine I'd sew that instead of what I was supposed to be sewing, so I just got myself some more icecream.

It seemed like the logical thing to do.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I would kill for some mint choc chip...

I kinda had a really big day.

I didn't go to the pageant, cause frankly, we all know it's gunna be shit, so what's the point?

Instead I decided to get stuck into stuff. Instead of putting on TV (cause the thing about Chuck, and why I've been so into it lately, is that it's very arc-y. Not as bad as, say, 24, but at least on par with Alias. You need to pay attention to that stuff, and you can't while you're sewing) so I got my funky little TV box thingy to play music really loud. Everyone else was wasting their morning in at the pageant so they couldn't complain about my terrible taste. Suckers.

So, and please hold your applause, today I did two quilt tops. And then I made a back. And then I basted it to a top and some batting. And then I basted the other one to some batting and a piece of backing fabric that was slightly too small, but will do. And then I quilted the first one.

Well, I quilted half of it. And then I turned into a weepy crying mess, because Mum came in.

But backstory is needed at this point. A previously on, if you will. I love my car. My car is old. My car is buggered. I need a new car. I still love my car.

Dad bought the Swift out today, so I took it for a couple of drives. It's really nice. It's brakes are touchy, it needs a wheel alignment and it gets caught quite badly by the wind, but I'm gunna keep her. She's beautiful, she goes like stink for a tiny thing and she's really nice inside. But I need to get rid of my beloved BJ. A two year old Swift is not cheap. And even though a 15 year old mondeo that runs like crap isn't worth much, I need to let him go. In spite of everything. In spite of all we've done together. In spite of the fact that he's been everywhere with me for the last 4 years, it's time for me to let him go. 

Tonight Mum came and said we would clear him out tomorrow so that Dad could touch him up before they take him in for a trade in or valuation if Nev at the dealership thinks we can get more going private. So naturally I had myself a cry, just like last time I had to let go of a car. And then I sucked it up and finished my quilting.

Now look at some pretty pictures while I go mope like a pathetic loser.

I've decided to call it Summer Citrus. The differences between the two shades of each colour is more obvious in the real world.

I was originally gunna go with Cuddly Cammo, but I've changed my mind. It looks like GoogleEarth.

The back of Summer Citrus. The dots actually look like blueberries, so it's kindof a whole fruit salad.

It's quilted either side of the straight seams in one direction and next to the wonky seam on one side, and I taped a bit of cardboard onto the foot of my machine to keep the distance level to do another couple of wonky rows.

I'll be hanging with the icecream if anyone wants me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I had plans.

I had many plans. Awesome plans. Then I accidentally watched 3 episodes of Chuck, so those plans have been postponed till tomorrow. But I did get my design worked out for one of the bundles (the orange and yellow and green one) so that's good, and I also met what will probably be my new car. She's red, and I get to play with her tomorrow.

So maybe a bit more postponing on that sewing then.

And it was all going so well.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Even though I haven't sewn anything since I got home, I made a fair bit of progress before work tonight. I decided I may as well give the flanelette a test with the pastle retro quilt, which I took a photo of finally tonight after it had been quilted.

It's a bit bland, I know, but hey. I'm sure someone wants a simple, pretty, girlie, slightly bland quilt, and it's just the thing for them.

I also got the blue and brown baby quilt done too, finally, although I had to use a random piece of batting I had which was a bit narrower than the actual quilt top, which is a bit annoying. Still, the quilting came up very nice.

Excuse the cat. It does that. I liked the unstructured zigzag I did with the blue and green quilt and I decided to give it a go in the other direction. It changes randomly at each straight seam, some going parallel, some going towards each other or away from each other, and I haven't washed it yet, but so far I'm loving it.

And then, tonight, because I was feeling good about today's progress, even though I said I wouldn't, I made up another half a dozen bundles for mini quilts.

Every second one is boy safe, so I think I'm gunna focus on those ones first. I feel good about the piecing (obviously) and today's quilting upped my spirits, and best of all, binding is still a while away.

I really don't like binding, and piecing and quilting this lot will let me put off binding today's work.

I'm gunna need more batting though.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Boots. Not. That. Hard. (Surely?)

Are you looking for an easy, effective way to waste an entire evening?
Has it been a while since you've found yourself feeling frustrated and poor?
Things in your life happening too easy? Stuff just falling into your lap?

Then you need to try and find the perfect cowboy boot for you. With hundreds of manufacturers and thousands of designs, you'll be sure to find at least a dozen that are maybe kinda a bit okay, or very nearly perfect except for that massive price tag. And after 3 hours online, you'll give up, wonder if you're being too picky, wondering if you really need two kidneys and how much you'd get for a slightly used one, and if it would be a bit excessive to get yourself an emo fringe.

Or maybe that's just me?

What I have at the moment are a pair of Ariat Heritage Ropers. I bought them at the Lucindale Field Days and because my feet are small, and I'm a bit cheap, I got them in a kid's size 5, which is about the same as a women's (small) 7, for $90.

This has a good point and a bad point. Kid's cowboy boots have an 8" shaft, so from the ground to the top they are 20cm high. This means that when you wear them under your bootleg jeans, the top doesn't go up far enough to make a visible crease from the outside. That's the good part. The bad part, especially if the lower half of your legs look like malnourished twigs, is that this is not a good look with skinny jeans. I, personally, need tall boots to go up to just below the knee to look good. So that means at least a 13" but preferably a 14" or 15" shaft.

Unfortunately, and this may seem an odd complaint, there are too many fancy designs. Ariat do not make a plain leather boot with a round toe (roper is apparently just a fancy way of saying round toe) that's 14" high. The closest is the Crossfire Caliente, which I will admit has an awesome name but it has a square toe (which at least is better than pointed) it's 13" tall and I still feel it's a little fancy.

See the ornateness of that pull tab? What's wrong with straight lines? And why does the seam up the side have to be white? And why does the heel have to stick out so far from the toe? These questions, along with the AU$230 price tag, have stopped me till now.

Tonight though, I also decided to look beyond the world of Ariat. Apparently, there's a company in America called Frye, and They've been making boots for about 150 years. Which is why they were clever enough to come up with these.

These are the Billy Tall. You can also get them in Short, Pull-on (kinda medium height), Heel and Double Zip. These would be the ones for me though. 15" tall with a 3cm heel, and perfect in every way but two. Pointy toe. $300ish price tag, before postage.

I could almost cry. $350 could instead be a lot of fabric. So I've given up. New boots are back on the too hard pile for another 2 months or so till I feel like putting myself through this again.

It wasn't an entire waste of a day though, because I made a quilt top before work today, even though I said I would finish off other things first, but a) it was quite quick, b) it's a bit boring and c) I can't find my camera. It was 6 retro fat quarters, now it's a quilt top.

Yay progress.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A very important question...

Even though I don't start work till 5 tomorrow, my damn father is home and so I wont be able to sleep in.

This freaking sucks. I may have got distracted by this morning's episode of The Circle tonight at Helen's and not gotten home till after 11 (seriously, if/when you want me to leave, say) but that shouldn't make me unable to watch the new episode of Castle as well as a half dozen back episodes of Chuck.

Not while doing any sewing, mind, since I'm not sure what I feel like doing, so I'll instead be eating icecream and eBaying while watching TV, instead of doing anything practical.

Question for international peeps... I've heard you guys don't have Milo... Is this true? If so, what do you put on your icecream?

Monday, November 15, 2010

I have already used both Blargh and Blergh as titles...

After the big achievements of last night, and getting to work at 11, and buying more cotton, and a lovely bundle of fabrics arriving in the mail... I had to go back to work. Silly manager forgot to roster a supervisor on to close. So no sewing by me tonight.

If you want to see my achievement for the day, I've updated the "So Far" list, but it's all photos we've seen before, so it's not really that exciting.

Oh well, little victories, and all that.

The Awesome Quilt Top of Awesomeness

Looks bloody awesome.

But yeah, it was a bitch. the mixed fabric issues only got worse - I did the rainbow-on-the-outside blocks first and they all skipped a couple of stitches when they hit the seam, which I dealt with by holding the fabric in place for a few stitches, but when I did the black-on-the-outside ones, none of the stitches at the ends would work. My machine is ancient but I had a new needle on and good thread, so I'm bummed if I know why it was being such a cow. I got it to work if I was pulling it taught, so I had to start in the middle of each block and work my way to the end. Took way longer than it should have.

If anyone wants to know the story of this quilt, I'll just say it was of the horror genre.

I bought the rest of the bolt from Spotlight today though, so I can remake it for me, with homespun black, and many happier memories.

I start work in 8 1/2 hours.

Ergh. I'd rather be making pretty stuff.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

An Apology...

Yes, universe, I'm sorry. I knew it was a bad idea before I did it but I did it anyway. I solemnly promise and swear that I will never mix blends or weaves in the one quilt top again.

For those of you who aren't the all-knowing-universe, I got started on the quilt that looks better in my mind than any quilt I've ever seen in my mind, a sublimely cool black and rainbow version of the Two Tyred design I'm so very fond of. But when I bought the fabrics, I got black poly-cotton poplin instead of homespun. And when hottest-possible-setting iron hit it, it kinda melted a wee bit. Fortunately I got plenty, since I'm going with black for both the body of the back and the binding, so I only lost 10cm or so, but still. It meant that when I got to the actual seam pressing, I had to have it on a lower setting, and be careful.

I think it will have an upside though. No matter how much I ironed the batik, it simply would not flatten out. Whereas the black poplin, I was really only ironing it because I needed it to stay lined up when I cut it. It didn't really have any creases, and I think that will come up really nice once it's all done. Smooth black, crinkly rainbow batik.

I think tomorrow I might go into Spotlight and get some more of the rainbow batik, so that I can make a spare, just in case someone wants to buy this one. It's really gunna look that good.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Grrr Bloddy Grrr.

I'm very glad I didn't do a post about how much I'm liking the new charger for my laptop, since it just exploded. Flash, bang, scorch marks on the bed and everything. Casey says there's burning smell but that can't be personally verified.

Laptop fortunately is fine, and since I only unplugged the other charger yesterday, I still knew where it was.

I'm pissed off though. 25 hours of usage, and it blows up. This is why I don't leave feedback as soon as an item arrives.

The other thing that I find weird is how they say "we will refund your money if you still give us positive feedback" when clearly, it hasn't been a positive experience. There's a black smudge on my quilt cover. It's not one of my actual quilts, but I'm still miffed. Even though I can't actually smell the smoke (have I mentioned I have no sense of smell? The official word, for those of you playing at home, is anosmic) I can kinda sense it. It's annoying me. So I have said I'm willing to not leave any feedback, positive or negative, and that's my best offer.

If it had happened when I wasn't here, if it had happened in a different spot, it could have burned my house down. I think I'm being pretty damn reasonable.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Batting, and other confusions.

Because I've done so many quilts, and because I buy batting in bulk when it's cheap, I've no idea what I've used for what quilt. The rainbow quilt was wool, I know that, Maddy's was pre-cut cotton, #5 and #6 were precut bamboo, but after that, I'm not sure what's what. I bought various bamboo by-the metre until spotlight had run out, and then switched to cottons. Currently I'm using cozy-cotton, which is $15.95p/m for a 254cm wide batting, which is great value, but it feels kinda thin, especially before it's been quilted and washed. It bulks up a bit once it's done, but I'm kinda wishing I knew what I used when I did the wonky mingle quilt, since I think that's washed up the favourite of any of my quilts. But then, it might be because it was quilted really densely.

I've decided that I'm gunna try concentrate on what I've started instead of new projects for the moment, which is why I'm thinking about battings. I've cut it to size for the Autumn Nutmeg quilt and the one that I made from the fabrics I got at Stitch and Knit, because they're both really nice "grown up" quilts that I want to have ready for any markets that we go to. Other than those, the Blue and Brown baby quilt is another market one, along with the red and green flower one that you really can't see the design of. Then it's just Bob's quilt rounding out my to-finish list.

I've allowed myself two new projects though, for all that I'm not sure when I'm gunna get time. I want to do the "Two Tyred" design in two completely different fabrics, in this case a solid black and a rainbow batik, which hopefully will look beyond gorgeous, and make me never ever do it in two similar fabrics again. And I need to get around to making Casey's handbag like mine. Maybe Sunday... tomorrow is out because I'm working a stupid 9 1/2 hour shift and Saturday I need to go play with babies before work, because it's been too long and I miss them.

Oh and even though they know I don't do mornings, Monday and Tuesday they have rostered me to start at 11. I know that's not early by most people's standards, but I'm usually still asleep then.

I may be dead by Wednesday. Can someone finish my WIPs for me?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm so cool...

So after I put season 4 of Big Bang Theory and season 3 of Castle onto the SD card for Tegan last night, I took it into work with me even though she wasn't working. Us Woolies peeps: losers, the lot of us. Most of us will go there even if we aren't working, just to grab something, say high, check stuff... so I had it in my pocket, fully expecting that she would be in at some point.

I was right, and so at about 4.30 this afternoon, I did my first drop-off of illegal documents.

Sure it happened in bakehouse while I was on my teabreak, and she was buying cookies to eat during her exams tomorrow, but whatever. It felt awesome anyway. We shall spend tomorrow night basking in our awesomeness and planning more situations where we can be awesome.

I still want to be a hitwoman and start a "company" with Simone (we shall be Thomas and Hosking, Disposal Experts) but I'd like a bigger resume than that. I think, actually, I want to do everything that George Clooney has done in a movie, except the bit where he got stuck in a car boot with Jennifer Lopez. Cause that would be weird.

But yeah, I wanna be a hitman, and a spy, and an assassin, and rob some casinos. They say to aim high in your life goals - I want to be George Clooney.

But I'll also skip on the bit where he got fat for that one movie. Also he grew a beard, and I'm not feeling up for that either.

Meh. Does anyone know where I can find a crew*, and an easy casino to take down?

The one old poker machine out in Dad's bar will do for a start...

*It must include Matt Damon.

Nothing to do with craft of any kind.

Since my internet got big, I've spent even more time than usual on slightly shifty websites finding myself slightly shifty copies of American TV shows that haven't aired in Australia yet. These websites have taught me many things.

-Russian girls want to marry me. ME! This seems odd, since all I could muster would be a Civil Union, and I don't think this would allow them to stay in the country. I think they actually want to marry Desperate American Nerd Male me, but whatever, I'm flattered anyway.

-There's one big secret to make you skinny, and another (well, I assume it's a different one) to give you white teeth. I cant be bothered trying to find out what these are. I'm looking very hard for the pilot of the apparently quite good but very short lived (canceled after 8 episodes) TV show Traveller. I don't have time to make my teeth whiter.

-There's this random woman, who I think is pretending to be on some kind of Current Affair/Today Tonight type show that is apparently telling you how to earn 10k a month from home. But actually, if you ever click it, she isn't, and you wont. It's a bit confusing.

-You can get these very fake looking women who sit on your desktop. Like it isn't clogged up enough already*

-Advertisers think that only dudes use torrents. And lesbians too, because sometimes there's two Russians who want to marry me, and they're making out. I'm neither, so stop filling my screen with useless adverts and give my my bloody download link already!

Earlier tonight I spent an hour or so writing up a how-to for a friend from work who has decided she's sick of iTunes too. and wanted to know where I get all my TV shows from. It doesn't include any of this information, but that's okay. It's important that we learn things ourselves along the way.

*I have a touchscreen laptop, and if they could come up with a guy version who could incorporate these two features I would get one. First, he needs to be ticklish. Second, when I activate the onscreen keyboard and everything on the screen gets pushed down, it must bash him on the head so he passes out. This would make me laugh, and feel better about the fact that so many guys are douchebags.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Photo post.

I went to bed around 8.30 last night, because Casey said I had to wait until it was dark. I still didn't get up till lunchtime today though, so i think it will be going down in history as a curious experiment that proved nothing.

Anyway, the weather yesterday was lovely, so I took photos of the quilts I got finished on marathon night. They're not very good, but oh well. I was tired.

The log prevents creases, which is good, but doesn't fit in the cute little briefcase.

My helper.

The double wonk quilt.

The teenie quilt. Short side is about 65cm.

Blue and green seems to be a popular pairing for me, with 3 quilts already.

Even though this had always been referred to as the purple and green quilt, I think we should go with purple and teal as a more accurate title.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I've been up for over 26 hours now and I gotta be honest, I stopped being productive about 8 hours ago now. I got the second half of season 1 of Covert Affairs and watched that while I was doing the binding, and yeah, it's still my weakness. Binding, not Covert Affairs. It's a good show and all*, but I still have 2 more days of White Collar obsession before Psych arrives Thursday night and takes over. And then when Psych finishes in January, White Collar starts again. 

It's a never ending cycle of awesome.

Anyway, I'm beat. I'm not good at this. I'd only ever done it before when I had something going on, and to have done it without rushing to get something finished is a bit weird. I've go no actual, real world motivations/distractions, but I know on the other hand that I have to wait till tonight to go to bed (I wont be tossing and turning tonight) otherwise my body-clock stays whacked. But I'm too tired to do anything much, so I've been doing the click-a-link thing that's sooo good at wasting time and bandwidth. I said I was gunna go to Helen's but I'm not sure if I'm feeling game to drive. I've got 5 new quilts for her to see, but she wont get to if i fall asleep in the car on the way there.

Casey has spent most of the day sleeping. It's like I'm in bizarro house or something.

*isn't it interesting that "weakness" here refers to both something that I'm not good at and something I can't resist... What an interesting language we have.

Not my first 4am progress report...

I think my body does know that 4am is bedtime, because it was about now last night that I started to feel like bed last night too, but then Becky was up texting some guy who was doing the night harvesting and was bored, so that kept me entertained for a few more hours.

So far tonight I have made the back for the purple and green baby quilt, which went well, and quilted it, which started off with having to unpick 3 rows of wavy stitch because the machine was doing this thing where the bobbin feeds through the wrong hole and the tension goes just slightly loose - I ignore it with straight line but you can see it in the wave stitch. Still, since I could just cut it every 10cm or so and then pull, it didn't take to long, and the gods of quilting apologised by making the rest of the quilting happen flawlessly - there isn't even a ripple, let alone a pucker. 

Unfortunately when I was squaring it I chopped a chunk of my fingertip off - well, actually it stayed attached which was good, because it meant I could just pop it back in the hole and bandaid it down. it hurts though.

And now I'm up to binding it, and the blue and green, and the double wonk. The binding's been made and is all pinned down and everything, And this is probably the easy part, before I have to try to line up the back of it.

I'm really not good at binding. So wish me luck.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Written 2 hours ago...

I've been considering pulling an all nighter to see if I can get myself so tired that I fall asleep at a reasonable hour tomorrow night. But, unfortunately, I've run out of stuff that can be done in front of the machine (piecing and binding both need the cutter and the iron, which are out in the lounge) so I've pretty much lost all motivation. I bound the tiny quilt of leftover bits earlier in the night (very badly) and I just quilted the bue and green wonky quilt (quite well), and now my possible to-dos include binding the double wonky quilt, and piecing a back for the purple and green quilt. But, in the kitchen. Where it's 3 degrees colder, possibly because my computer is running hot enough to warm my bedroom right now.

My internet has dropped out for no apparent reason. I've rebooted the router, and my laptop, and now I'm doing the turn off the router for half an hour and hope it miraculously works when you turn it back on. It's worked in the past, but I'm worried that I may have used up all my mad computer fixing skills today at work, where I managed to get the big moneys out of the registers that couldnt be turned on. I had the actual tech guy there at the time, but I did all the metaphorical heavy lifting, while he held the trays in the air. That shit is literally heavy, y'all. Coins and stuff.

Any time shit is *something* in my world, it needs to be followed up with a y'all. I dont know why.

But anyway, my internet isn't working. And that's a good excuse for me to not go to bed, because I like to check everything last thing before bed. But on the other hand, I like to break up my sewing with internets, and I think a good bout of internets right now would let me get back into the sewing again. That's why I'm typing this even though there is no internet, in the hope that the internet is back by the time I'm done. And if the internet doesn't come back tonight, then I'll have to save this to post in the morning, and go to bed.


Shit's complicated, y'all.


Internet came back up, I got distracted by fabric shopping. It happens. My plans have now changed to "do I watch DVDs all night?" or "do I go to bed?"

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Random factoid: I actually wanted to call Stuff I'm Liking (my other blog) Shit's Good Y'all. Cause it is.

Anyway, that's not the point. I'm home from an excellent night at Flannies Country Karaoke, and to celebrate, here's a picture I took of the pink batik quilt this afternoon.

It's very sparsely quilted by my standards - I've done either side of the long seams and that's it. It's self bound too, so that made it very hard to quilt in both directions, without lots of knot tying, and what lines would I go over anyway? If I only go over the direct ones, that doesn't seem enough. So it's only a little bit quilted, but I washed it (well, rinsed and spun it) and put it in the dryer for 45 minutes and it came up fine. So shit's good, y'all.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Tonight, I made some pants.

But you see, the thing about pants, the thing that differentiates them from quilts, is that you need to be wearing them when you take a photo. And if half your family is driving around Australia, and the other half are in at the pub, then there's noone to take that photo for you. And when you try yourself, you realise that your arms aren't long enough, and all you are doing is taking photos of your crotch. And that's a bit weird.

So, unsurprisingly, there's not going to be any photos of the pants. Actually, the pants aren't quite finished, they need their button attatched and the bottom hems done but they are at least, clearly recognisable as pants. Not great pants, but then, these pants were never going to be considered the eighth pantsy wonder of the world.

Here's how it all happened. I finished work at 4 so I went to the Salvos. There I found their pattern for 25 cents (American friends, that's 26 of your cents. Our dollar wins) and I bought it. The thing about their pattern though is that it's from the seventies. And it's a boy's pattern. For a 23" waist.

Still, that's the kind of pattern I usually start with. Something clearly unsuitable. That said, usually I'd make a half dozen prototypes first, but hey. The fabric was $2 (US$2.03) per metre, so it's not like my failure would cost the earth. Also, I was feeling optimistic.

Which is a bit weird really. See, I've never made pants before. Well, I've made pajama pants, with elastic waists, but this had pockets, and a fly. And it was almost 40 years old, and already cut out, and there were two almost identical but slightly different versions, which had almost identical but slightly different patten pieces.

Still, I've learned a lot. I've learned that boys have flat bums so after it's gone around a girl's bum, it's gunna sit lower at the back. I've learned that if you have a 25" waist, and you add a half inch to each piece of a 23" pattern, your pants will miraculously end up still being two sizes too big. Just like every other pattern, where you remove a half inch from every piece. I've leaned that if you're zizgzagging over your hems, the spool of cotton that can piece and quilt an 80x100cm quilt will not be long enough. I've learned that the design for the fly of the 70's wide legged pant was quite complicated, and that it's been greatly simplified since then. I've leaned how to put in a damn good pocket.

I learned that the Aussie dollar is whooping the American dollar's arse, and that made me happy. But I didnt learn that by sewing myself some pants.

I learned that by blogging about sewing myself some pants.

New Blog! But this one's still here too.

Okay, so I didn't do, well, anything today. Actually, that's a lie. I just didn't make anything today. I went to work, I went shopping, I came home, I had tea, and I lay on bed and watched some of the DVDs I spent so much money on.

And having written that, I've just realised I need to put those rentals on my computer. I got distracted by the behind-the scenes features on White Collar, and if any of you are considering getting yourselves a copy, it's $50 at Kmart, $40 at Sanity and $25 at Target.


Anyway, speaking of the sweetness, I made a new blog between the previous paragraph and this one. It's called Stuff I'm Liking. I think you find it by looking at my profile, but otherwise, stuffimliking.blogspot.com

There's no point reading today's entry, since it's pretty much the same as this, but I like a lot of stuff, and I suspect it will have more posts than this blog before the month is out.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

yesterday's photos

I was right about the midnight snack, so I called in sick today. And then spent the entire day feeling guilty about feeling like shit, and not doing anything.

Must say though, I'm loving this big internet thing. I've downloaded 5 episodes of Covert Affairs and 3 episodes of Chuck, because White Collar is in the off season and I need more Matt Bomer.

I'm a fangirl loser like that. But I'm not ashamed. Seriously, google him. He's hot.

Clearly, I'm feeling better. New midnight snack - icecream. Not feeling icky today.

Anyway, SD reader kicked back into use again, so here's the photos from last night, since I didn't achieve anything today.

Some flatbears. Still only pinned up the side, but I'll get the handsewing done eventually.

Mutant flatbear. I think I can fix the cheek by handsewing it in a bit further, but we'll see.

Mutant bear's mini brother, who's not mutant, but who I stupidly cut a hole in. It was getting late.

Ow. It doesn't look that bad, especially if you compare it to my sister's fingernails, but I always have long nails, and it bloody hurt. Today it bled a bit, so it has a bandaid on it now.

Yeah, I'm soft and a loser. Still not ashamed.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

First Tuesday in November...

Oh the Melbourne Cup brings Australia to a stop,
From Darwin down to Hobart,
From Perth up to Ayers Rock,
The nation's in a fever, 
You're bound to be caught up,
First Tuesday in November, 
They run the Melbourne Cup*.

After the Melbourne Cup ran I figured I didn't really have enough time to kick into a big project before I had to go to work. So, I had a rummage through my drawers and found a little ziplock bag of flatbear pieces that I cut about 6 months ago, but that got put aside because I got bored.

I'm still waiting for that to happen with quilting. Most mornings I wake up and expect it to be the day, but it hasn't been yet.

Anyway, since I need to do some little things for the markets that are coming up over the summer, I figured it was a good bit of time to squeeze them in.

I took some lovely photos of them too, including the last one which has a strange cheek lump and a dislocated shoulder, which convinced me to stop for the night, but my card reader has randomly decided to cark itself (it does this sometimes) and Mum's taken her laptop with her so I can't even use that to put them on the network.

My horse got scratched (I think he had to go yell at some terrorists or something**) my card reader stopped working and I broke a thumbnail, and then silly me picked at it till it was quite short (I had photos of that too, but...)

It's not been the best of days. It seems Tuesday strikes even when my parents are away.

Also, I think a midnight gorging of strawberries, cream and chocolate cake may not have been the best idea.

*Stay tuned another day for my detailed description of the mandatory hat or "substantial facinator" needed for entry to our uber-exclusive cup day celebrations.
**His name was Bauer. I know 24 got kinda ridiculous after season 3, but still... I loved that show.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stuff I'm liking...

You know what I'm really liking right now? Ovaltines. Except for how they get stuck in your teeth really badly. And how you get a funky taste in your mouth a couple of hours after you ate them.

You know what else I'm liking? Not making a quilt top right now. I made the back of Bob's quilt today, but I cant find my camera and anyway, it's a back. Doesn't count.

Helen of course immediately claimed to like the back better, but then she always does that, and gets all "why cant we just say it has two fronts?" except that it's not a moebius quilt, so it has a front and a back. Granted, if it was a moebius quilt, it would only have one front, but not two. Still, it's a good segue to the third thing I'm liking right now.

Why did the chicken cross the moebius strip? To get to the same side.

I love the Big Bang Theory. So so much. And I very much like the fact that it airs on 3 different TV stations in our house, although we have it all on DVD anyway.

Things I'm not liking include the fact that the power cable to my laptop keeps falling out, and the way my mother has abandoned me without filling the fridge. Seriously, if it's not bad enough that they suddenly decide to go on holiday for 3 weeks, but then they also take the peanut butter with them? That's just bad parenting.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Today I simply could not focus. After helping Mum pack for a bit, since they're pissing off around the country for a few weeks, I put the fabrics for today's top in the washing machine. Then, while that was going, I decided I'd to a tiny quilt, well, not tiny tiny, but the size of my leftover bit of batting, which was around 65cm wide by about 1m. So I got all the scraps from quilts numbers 13 and 14 and laid them all out on the batting, but then I couldn't sew them because there was a really quite interesting documentary on the Melbourne Cup on TV and anyway, Casey was asleep on my bed. So I faffed about a bit more, and cooked myself some chips, and read the newspaper, and helped Mum and Dad re-cover a card table, and, eventually, (much later) A teeny tiny quilt top got made. Then I couldn't find any pins, so I basted it to the batting, and attached the back (from Soiree by Lila Tueller) with save a stitch iron on webbing tape. Just as an experiment.

Tonight, while doing more faffing about instead of doing this post, I quilted it, quite nicely I feel, in a wavy-stitch-pseudo-free-motion-thingie. It needs binding before I can wash it and see if the webbing has affected the final condition at all, but for now it looks nice.

Anyway, obviously, that wasn't my actual planned quilt top to make today. Around having fish and chips for tea, missing both Offspring and Bones but watching Juno yet again, only with ads this time, and cooking myself some chocolate cupcakes, I got this made.

Apologies for the crap photos but I couldn't be bothered sweeping the floor so I could take a nice overhead shot, and I didn't want the batting to get all dirty.

Helen's probably a bit excited since she bought the fabrics above for Bob's quilt, but for everyone who didn't know, That's Bob's quilt. Bob is the big brother of Esther, who missed out on a quilt when he was born since I wasn't actually quilting then, but here it is. Upside down, but I also couldn't be bothered turning it around, and this was the end with the couch to stand on.

I'm so hugely proud of the fact that the fish are all the same way up. I rock.

Some kind of backing will be pieced tomorrow so that I can get it properly basted, even if I don't get into the actual quilting for a bit. In case you were wondering, I have since found more pins.