Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Project Number One

The one big thing I want to get done over the next few weeks is paint the hallway - doesn't it sound simple? If only we didn't have a peculiar three-level 1970s open-plan house ... so it is three hallways and the entrance, with stairs, and if you do one bit you have to do it all. So we are doing it all - next week, which will be school holidays and we can do it as a happy piece of family togetherness. Truly.

The first step is to decide which of the million shades of white we want. The grey-whites are very modern, and apparently go well with wood, but a lot of the hallways get no natural light, so it might be a bit dim and cool. But the very warm creams look very old-fashioned to me, so maybe the bright whites? Who knows? I got some sample pots so the next step is to paint squares at strategic points and peer at them over the next few days. The children are no help - number one son likes the one that is most like the current colour, and number two is outraged we're not being a bit bolder. Navy! Aqua! Fuchsia! I tell him when he has his own house he can paint the walls whatever colour he likes, but I'm not living with three fuchsia hallways.

Two days of my six weeks has gone very pleasantly. I know that I am going to get to the end of the time and think what on earth did I do with it all, so I will list out each day's doings at the end of posts on the blog here and then I will know. And hopefully I will have achieved more than I think I did. I won't include laundry and cooking because that is a constant, and I apologise in advance because it will be boring (as opposed to the rest of my blog? What?). Here is the material I made the tablecloth from.

Monday: a 6 km run,  hardware for sample pots, mall for groceries and other random bits, wrote a draft submission on the neighbour's development application (too big and too close), quilted a baby quilt and knitted a dishcloth.

Tuesday: sorted three bags of clothes for the Salvos and dropped them off, walked slowly around IKEA for two hours, met my husband for lunch, went to the National Gallery for the Dianne Arbus exhibition (very interesting) and the Fiona Hall biennale exhibition (quite disturbing), made a tablecloth from IKEA material, sent the submission off to the Shire Council.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Proper winter and some sewing

I can now say it is proper winter in Canberra - minus five last night and a high of 8 degrees today - that is not very warm! And it is cloudy and bleak, unlike yesterday which was a proper sparkling winter's day. I went for a run yesterday morning in short sleeves even though it was only four degrees ... I know from experience that if the sun is shining then it doesn't matter what the air temperature is, I am going to get BOILING HOT. Because I have a minimum two-inch layer of insulating blubber everywhere on my body - I have been caught before with thinking I needed a long-sleeved top and ended up boiled like a lobster. Skinny people run (past me, at speed) with gloves and ear muffs and neck warmers but I know better. Here are the trees round the lake, completely bare of leaves and very wintry, but the air was sparkling and crisp.

I have resolved to make ten baby quilts for the craft fair at the school fete later this year, which is one every two weeks, which should be perfectly possible. Here is the first one before I pinned it up for quilting. It's quite fun picking out patterns and colours and making a nice small quilt before moving on to the next one. I can experiment a little bit, and use up some scraps.

And I have just started six weeks of long service leave! Isn't that a long time? I have been hoarding my leave, and just sort of watching it grow, but then when I realised how quiet my work was going to be until Parliament sits again, I thought why not? Part of it will be school holidays, and for the rest I have an extremely long list of projects and chores and things I want to get done. Our development application for another bedroom down the beach house got approved, so there might be some building work to supervise too (although probably not, we will have to wait until the builder fits us in). In the meantime though I have a Very Big List On The Fridge to work through ... and another nine baby quilts.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

My new bag

Another great thing about my weekend down the beach was taking my new bag - a gift from a friend who got it for herself but it didn't suit so she very kindly thought of me. It is awesome! Check this out, there is a pocket for everything. I don't know if you can see the bottom clear zip-up pocket but it even holds my easy angle ruler. And my 16" long ruler is in the body of the bag. Amazing.

I had a very happy fifteen minutes packing it with all my sewing things - carefully putting everything into the best possible sized slot for it  - is it strange to get such enjoyment from packing things into spaces that are just right? And then, even better, I realised that the bag itself was huge, and would fit my nighty and spare undies - so it could be my weekend bag as well! Sewing stuff first, spare clothes if they fit, and a bottle of wine on top. Zip it up, throw it on the back seat and drive off .... perfect. And it looks pretty too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Happy solstice

Happy shortest day everyone! I always like the solstices and equinoxes - there is something about the unchanging rotation of the earth around the sun that makes my problems seem very small. This is probably because my problems ARE very small (why did I buy hipster undies? how did that stain get on the carpet? I'm sure I just bought two kilos of that and now it's gone) but a bit of galactic perspective helps as well. I am reading "2312" by Kim Stanley Robinson which has humankind spread out into the solar system, terraforming the planets and living in hollowed out asteroids. It is an excellent read and I love the science of space elevators and gravity through rotational spin and solar screening. It provides a nice counterbalance to the current world where the USA seems to be determined to turn itself into a third world country as soon as possible and even the Brits have gone a bit bonkers. I might have to impose a news blackout for a while.

In the meantime, here is a much more soothing scene. I went down the beach for the weekend on my own, and to check that our house hasn't been washed away in all this rain.

The house is fine, but the beach has changed shape. There is quite a bit of erosion in the dunes, and some gutters that weren't there before. It will no doubt silt back but this the first time I've seen such a change in the years we've been going down there. We had a huge amount of rain, a king tide, and massive seas. It doesn't look very inviting and I was not tempted to swim! Lots of sewing, trash tv and reading books.

This is the creek at low tide - the water is absolutely copper coloured. It goes that colour after rain because of the water coming down through the trees. It's quite stunning - if you pick up a handful it's a golden colour. Actually it looks a bit like pee if the sun's not on it, which isn't very attractive, but I try not to think like that.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Still coughing

Slowly slowly getting back to something like health - but still a long way off it - and sounding like typhoid mary hacking up a lung at work. My husband went away for the long weekend down to Melbourne in a minivan with his scale model society, and came back with the bug and has been at home all week. Which is one of the reasons I'm at work despite the cough - it is peaceful and warm here and nobody wants to talk to me. So a very quiet few days all round. I felt like doing something completely brainless and konmari'd my cardigans into a drawer.

Aren't they pretty? In the interests of blog honesty I will take another photo of that drawer in three months time and we can see how well it lasted. It does make them much easier to see. Number two son drew himself a t-shirt with fabric markers. There are all sorts of things on there, which he explained to me, although he admitted that "some were random".

Hopefully a nice restful weekend will put me back on the up. I am so sick of this cough, and it's making it hard to sleep, so I'm tired and cranky ...

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The plague

I've had a bloody awful week - down with the same horrible cold that the kids have had - also known as the "6W plague" because half of number two's class have had it. When I went to pick him up ten days ago from school he was lolling feebly in sick bay with one of his little mates - it was a deeply pathetic scene .... take two eleven year old ham actors and a snuggly blanket and see how sorrowfully they can cough. I shouldn't mock because it was quite a genuine illness, and karma has now given it to me, and I've had a rough time of it; two days off work for the fever, than a day back feeling better, before going downhill again with a horrible cough and the last four days back in bed not doing much of anything.

It's a long weekend here and we were going to go down the beach but I had to cancel it, so the boys are a bit bored and fractious, and I am barely alert enough to do the basics of boy and pet feeding, let alone provide any entertainment for anyone. Certainly no sewing or anything interesting to report! I am saving up my strength for an outing to the library this afternoon because number two's books are overdue, but that will wipe me out for another 24 hours. At least I've had a shower today....

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Soggy Saturday

It is bucketing down here today - like half the world it seems - with quite severe rain predicted for the rest of today and tomorrow. Normally I like rain, given how dry Canberra is and how much rain I grew up with NZ, but heavy rain makes me nervous. Our house in Canberra has been known to leak through the roof, and up through the ground, and even down the steps and in the front door on one occasion. We think we've fixed all those problems in various ways, but there's always that slight worry that a freak downpour will have us underwater again. Our house at the beach is much more solidly (and sensibly) built, but it's in a low-ish area that could flood with this weekend's combination of very heavy rain and king tides. Nothing we can do about it of course, except worry.

I finished this quilt a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to show you ever since - but I keep forgetting to take photos outside until it's dark. Or the line is full of washing. Or it's pouring down rain. So I've done the indoor shot again - not quite so good with very little light but you get the idea.

It's called "Hermit" because when I was making it I was thinking how nice it would be to be a hermit and live on the side of a mountain completely on your own. In the last few days though I've been reading "Loneliness" which is not only extremely interesting, but details all the physiological and psychological ways that a lack of social contact impairs your mental and physical health. It is not the sort of thing I normally read, but I follow Gretchen Rubin's blog (slightly mad but quite interesting) and she recommended a few books, and the Parliamentary Library had some of them, so I thought what-the-hell and borrowed whatever I could find. I am mostly reading on recommendation at the moment as a way of trying out different kinds of books. Otherwise I can easily get stuck in a particular reading rut.

This quilt was made quickly because I had an urge to do scraps (surprise!) and wanted to do Bonnie Hunter's Pineapple Blossom again. I made one ages ago, in yellow, but thought the blue would be quite nice. It is quite nice, but not particularly exciting. I didn't put any effort into the quilting - just straight lines through the blocks and quite far apart. It will be a utility quilt for a bed somewhere ... but it did make a nice dent in my 2 1/2" strip bag.

Speaking of dents in scraps, that pile of blocks that I thought was about a hundred or so turned out to be 181 when I counted them, and since then I have done almost as many again! Fun and addictive, and the scrap bin is down to about half full, which I haven't seen since forever. Not sick of them yet, so will keep going, especially if the weather keeps on with the rain. We are having friends over for curry tonight - it's in the slow cooker at the moment - which I think is very suitable.