Sunday, February 27

Good Study Habits

I survived my first week back at uni for the year. This being my fourth year of a double degree, I am totally over the novelty of studying. It is funless grind.

But I have to get back into good study habits, so I don't have a crisis when exams sneak up on me (again).

This is my desk:

And this is the other end:

It is hardly conducive to good study practices. Note the prominent fabric and quilting paraphernalia - fabric paints and magazines, and what you can see is only the tip of the iceberg.

I am going to set out a reading schedule, I may even stick to it. I will clean up my desk and surrounds so that I have a calm and restful study area. Which will be difficult given my proximity to the television and kitchen. (There is a doco on Goya on right now - I think I'll watch that while I'm cooking tea).

And if all else fails, I will actually crack open one of my (v v expensive) textbooks:

I have to read about Freud this week.

I am up to the armhole shaping on my cardigan, I am doing lots now because I know I will lose interest in it at some stage.

Saturday, February 26


I have finally succumbed to the knitting bug.

Several years ago, I purchased a burgundy chenille cardigan. I wore it lots. It felt lovely, and was warm, without being too warm.

It's pretty sorry looking these days - it has bald patches where the chenille is wearing away, but I still wore it around the house (and occasionally to uni, where fancy outfits are not expected). It's on it's last legs now, especially after it was accidentally washed in a hot cycle in the washing machine (in the first load I did in the front loader - the hoses were hooked up wrong). Most of the wash was covered in burgundy fluff, and the bald patches were even more pronounced. So I need a new cardigan that I can wear everyday.

There are no chenille type cardies in the shops - I have been looking for ages, well, since the winter clothes appeared at the end of January (the middle of SUMMER!!).

And I have been increasingly drawn to the knitting sections of Spotlight etc. But the total price of a finished garment of the wools that I liked (there were few) and the lack of colour choice (dismal - beige & brown dominate, with a lot of cream for variety) have been stopping me from actually buying anything at all.

But then I happened across a pattern leaflet with the style of cardie I was after (v plain, no collar) and - the best bit - the wool was only $1.50 a ball. And I only needed 10. That's $15 for a cardigan. So I bought up and got started. Here's my progress so far (1 day):

Keeping in mind I haven't knitted for a good while, my hands are a little sore now, and I think I'm getting a blister on my pointing finger. I had to do some reverse knitting - I cast on the first time the way I always have, by knitting the stitches on. This gives a firm edge. Not good for this - I was going to say wool, but it's not, it's poly something - anyway, it has absolutely no stretch in it at all, and as I knitted up the edge seemed tighter and tighter. So I undid it and failing all else, decided to follow the instructions in the book and use the dodgy thumb casting method that they recommended. Seems OK, but it's a bugger to knit the first row. Also - it seems to be getting wider and wider the more I knit, but I suppose it will be OK.

And I have been back to buy more wool - in black and purple - because Frances decided to knit one too, and a scarf.

And while the cats are used to the quilting paraphernalia around the house, they have obviously not seen a ball of wool before. Coco spied it from across the room, gingerly approached with ears laid back and tentatively touched the ball with her paw. And then jumped in the air when it fell of the chair on top of her. Then she got brave and did this:

And then she had a go at the knitted bit.

Thursday, February 24

Bad Boys

You might recall the picture of Jerome's face, which I posted the other day. He wanted to see up his nose.

I had to be at Uni for a couple of hours, and his mother was sleeping after a night duty. As I was about to leave the house, the power went out, so I left after giving him specific instructions:

  • Keep the doors locked
  • Don't let anyone in
  • Answer the phone if it rings
  • Don't go in the backyard
  • Don't open the freezer at all (because the power was out)
  • Open and shut the fridge quickly if you need something in there

Well, he took more than just that one picture. He took pictures of cars driving down the street, of Sparkle, of the driveway, of the empty street etc. About a dozen in all.

So while I am innocently loading my photos onto the computer on Monday night, I see all these shots, which I know I didn't take. The nose picture was first, and I saw a couple of the cats, and cars driving down the street. And then..........................

If you've seen the movie "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" (unfortunately I have, but I only rented the DVD on $1 Tuesday, I didn't pay lots of $$$ at the cinema) you will no doubt remember the scene where a fan recognises David Spade (as forementioned Dickie Roberts) and obnoxiously asks for a photo. Which Dickie Roberts obligingly gives him, by sticking the camera down his pants and taking a photo. Charming.

Let me just say that Jerome will be called Dickie Roberts in this house for a looooong loooong time.

I still haven't recovered from the shock.

The next time I have to leave Jerome at home, my instructions will include:

  • Don't touch my stuff
  • Don't touch my stuff
  • Don't touch my stuff &
  • Don't stick my camera down your pants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 21

My Chair

I volunteered to test drive Melanie's pattern for her, and this is the result. The colours are a little distorted here - they are Raspberry and Lime in real light. I want to paint my lounge room in these colours. If only I wasn't so lazy!

I had fun trying out this technique, and now I am thinking of how I can use it in some other work.

A Boy Has Been Touching My Camera:

I'm gonna have words with him!

Sunday, February 20

Fusing Fun

First of all - is there some secret to posting more than one photo at a time on a blog? I am getting tired of cutting and pasting html, and Hello only seems to manage to send one picture at a time. Am I doing something wrong? Or is that the way it works for everyone?

Onto quilting matters:

I received my copy of Fusing Fun by Laura Wasilowski- this is a great book, and I am really enjoying trying some of the techniques.

Here is one of the projects in the book that I have tried so far - Abstract Shuffle. This was very easy to do and the instructions were great (although I seem to have a lot of fused bits left over). This took me about 3 hours from start to finish. I really like this one.

And here is another technique that I tried for the first time - free form cutting. Laura's birdy looks cute, but mine looks like his legs are on backwards. I still like him though! Another handy thing I learned from the book was about tranferring pencil onto the vliesofix by ironing. Probably everyone else already knew this, but it was new to me. Although I struggled with the spacial realities (reversed, not reversed, reversed), but then I decided the best thing to do was actually follow the instructions in the book, and do as I was told. Worked a treat. I think I should have cut more holes in the grass.

I am going to free cut some flowers next and make something else - I have a pile of unused leaves leftover from my Dragonfly Garden quilt that I can use as well.

This is my friend Bridie's daughter Imogen - she plays the piano a bit.

Imogen is 6 and is now the youngest child in the Griffith Uni's Young Conservatorium piano program. They don't normally audition under 8's, so she is pretty exceptional. This is from the front page of the Courier Mail, and she has been on a few TV shows in the past week as well. The words "prodigy" and "genius" were thrown around - I don't know about that, but she practises at least 2 hours a day, which I think is remarkable for a child her age. Plus she's a really nice kid.

I originally learnt to smock because of Imogen, and I have made her several smocked dresses over the years. I hadn't made any for a while, because little girls don't really wear smocked dresses any more. Then I found out that Imogen was still wearing a dress I made when she for her when she was 2, it still fitted well enough but was getting a little on the short side. Above her knees! So I made her a new dress for her audition last year - pale pink silk dupion, sleevless, with a fully smocked bodice with beads ( and ankle length). Frances also helped me with it (or I helped her with it, depending on who you ask!) Imogen has worn it on every TV appearance, so Frances and I get excited when we see "our" dress on TV. And she wears it to the local nursing home where she does little recitals for them.

I think I'll have to make her a couple more dresses.

Saturday, February 19


This is the front of my house:

Looks harmless enough, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, it seems to be invisible to birds and we regularly hear a great thud, and see a bird flap away, dazed and confused.

Until yesterday that is.

I heard the thud, and from the corner of my eye I saw the bird drop like a stone to the driveway. I peeked out the window (I am a bit squeamish with these things), and the bird was lying on the driveway. Dead.

So, luckily for me, Frances was out in the backyard hanging out washing, so I got her to check if it was dead (yes) and dispose of the poor little thing. Which she did. Cos she is a nurse and sees gory things all the time.

I'm really glad it didn't land on my car!

Friday, February 18

Girl's Day Out

We're Twins!!

Every year on my sister's birthday, I remind her of this. We are twins from her birthday in February until my birthday in May every year, when I again become the "oldest" in the family.

Here we are in 1975 - stylishly dressed in clogs, go-go boots, assorted nightwear and a lovely turquoise, aqua and magenta swirly pattern polyester dress. I think that dress is still in my mother's wardrobe. I still have my teddy somewhere too.

And yes, that's a wig, not her real hair!! There must have been only 1 wig, otherwise I would have been wearing one as well.

We had a lovely boy free day yesterday - so we went on our road trip up the coast as planned and visited many, many second hand shops. Frances is looking for vintage sewing patterns, and old baby wear - the polyester kind that people used to think was suitable for babies before they realised how flammable it is. She uses them for design ideas on the babies wear she makes.

Driving back down the coast, I said that I wanted to stop and take pictures. Because we are almost "locals" and have driven through before, we never stop anywhere on the coast. We are not beach people. So we stopped at Coolum and I took this picture:

The colour of the water was much more aqua in person. You can't see the rock pools from the road, so I never knew they were there. I don't think you can walk down there, I couldn't see a path anywhere. Frances waited in the car - with the airconditioner on - while I took a couple of pics. We are not beach people - we like to look at them, from a distance, but we don't like the heat, the sand, or getting damp.

And then onto Mooloolaba Wharf for a quick afternoon tea - it's very touristy there. This is a mechanical thingy that has been left on the wharf for decoration. I have no idea what it is supposed to be.

More op shops on the way south - this is my biggest purchase of the day, a Silky Oak lazy susan which was $10.50 at Lifeline. I love silky oak, and buy bits of furniture and things that are made of it when I see them. I have chairs, bookcases, a knick-knack cabinet and picture frames that I have acquired over the years. When I grow up and have a proper dining room - ie when the computer is not the main activity on the table (my desk), I want a silky oak dining room suite with a carver, and a proper sideboard. I already have 6 chairs, waiting to be reupholstered and refinished. The lazy susan is solid timber and weighs a ton, just needs a good clean and polish.

As you can see, the lazy susan has been inspected by Coco and Sparkle.

And now both boys are home from their adventures - one badly sunburnt and the other with a bluebottle sting on his foot. Cranky and Tired respectively.

Wednesday, February 16


I finished the quilting on Poppy, and tried some different textures to see how they affect the background. This was a fun piece, so there are bits I like and bits I'm not thrilled with, but it's OK. I'm going to do more echo quilting (which you can't really see on the petals) on other quilts, because I like the effect it created here. And I zig-zagged the edge, which is so quick and easy I'm going to use it on more quilts.

I try and try to keep cat hair off my fabric. It's a losing battle.

This morning my sister and I went shopping (it's her birthday tomorrow) so she could pick out her birthday present. So we went to Pussies Galore at Paddington, which is a shop full of cat related knick knacks and stuff. It's a lovely little shop, I've been there once before but it was before I was a cat owner, so I wasn't really into it then. Frances picked out a cup and saucer set, decorated with - of all things - cats! And the shop cat - Louis - was lounging on the counter allowing everyone who passed by to pat him.

And I did a lovely reverse park in one go, a feat not performed since I passed my driver's licence test in 1992. (I won't mention the multiple (more than 3) point turn I also did, well, it was a very narrow street!)

Off to buy a torch for Nicholas to take camping tomorrow (he's going to Moreton Island for one night). Frances and I are taking advantage of our childfree status tomorrow (Jerome is also at camp this week) to go up the coast for the day. So far the plan is: Drop Nicholas off at the ungodly hour of 6.45 am, head directly up the highway to Tewantin, Noosa, Maroochydore and Mooloolaba and Caloundra, and cruise second hand shops for the rest of the day. Plus have a nice lunch in a nice cafe. We don't have to be home by a certain time! Hooray!

Monday, February 14

Spacially Challenged

I went to the QQ gathering last Tuesday, saw friends and renewed my library books.

One of the magazines I borrowed had some pictures and “instructions” for mesh work. Hexagons, tumbling blocks and six pointed stars - all created without fiddly piecing or papers.

It looked interesting (and easy), so I thought I’d have a go. They used a Clover bias maker to make the tapes to weave together. “How hard could it be?” I thought. “Not very” was my answer.


I don’t have a ½ inch tape maker, so I contemplated using my ¼ inch tape maker instead. But why bother making all that tape, I thought, I would try the technique with 1 inch strips, just to see how it went together, and then spend hours making bias tape to make a proper one later.

Now, the magazine I have is a French one, which although it is translated into English, tends to be a little on the sparse side when it comes to instructions. On top of that, the technique seems to be a Japanese one developed by Clover to promote their products.

Japanese translated to French translated to English = Not Very Helpful.

Coincidentally, I also borrowed a Japanese magazine which also had a similar project. This magazine is all in Japanese, but sometimes the instructions are illustrated well enough to follow. It didn't help, although I did enjoy looking at the pictures.

I cut my strips and started. Basically the instructions are “look at the photo and do that”. Sounds easy. Looks easy.

It wasn’t easy.

I started out well, and pinned my vertical strips down to the ironing board. And then attempted to weave in the next set. I gave up after about 2 hours and went to bed. The “instructions” were useless, and the photos weren’t helpful.

Next morning I tried again – because I wasn’t going to let this beat me. I decided to try another pattern, repinned the vertical strips, and started again. It took me a while, and I don’t know if I can duplicate it (in fact, I’m pretty sure I can’t) but here is what I ended up with:

Since I managed to make this one, I thought I would be able to do another one that results in a 6 pointed star. It’s not working for me (after 2 days!), so I am giving it up as a bad joke. I've spent way too much time on this already.

This morning I received all the back issues from a magazine subscription that went astray when I moved last year (they mucked up my change of address and sent my magazines to someone else). Seeing as they would like to use my quilts for a showcase, I thought they could fix up my subscription as well. All the back issues arrived this morning, plus some extras that I haven’t subscribed to. And the current issue arrived in the mail as well. 10 new magazines in 1 day. So I’ve been reading them all day today, and not doing any sewing.

Tomorrow I am going to start finishing the challenge quilt, which is due soon. I am going to add a double piped edge in purple and yellow, and then use the challenge fabric for binding. Oh, and quilt it as well. Might not actually get finished tomorrow, but I will make some progress.

Is it any wonder that all the screens in this house are getting holes in them? Not really.

Sunday, February 6

Mango madness grips the suburbs

It appears that I am not, as previously thought, alone in my loathing of mangoes. Particularly that menace to society - The Street Mango.

This headline appeared in today's Sunday Mail, along with:

The article detailed the problems caused by mangoes - the smell, clogged gutters, hitting passing cars (when they fall off the tree, not from being thrown) for a street in Wilston. Although, they did quote one lady who planned to make mango chutney (Ewwwww!) from the bumper harvest. I think she is in the minority.

Saturday, February 5

Minimal progress

I've spent a lot of time this week doing not very much. Very little sewing being done, some hexagons, but apart from that nothing.

This is a block from the 2nd prize art union quilt that QQ runs each year - I thought it would be quick to get started, obviously it's been a while since I constructed a fiddly applique picture, because getting it to this stage took me 2 hours. It has to be blanket stitched by hand. By Me. Oh well, it's easy enough to do. The rest of the quilt is more Australian animals partaking in ocker activities such as sailing, football, surf life saving and sledding in the snow. Wait a minute - sledding?? SNOW??? What's going on here? Snow is such a rare occurence (apart from the tiny ski region down south somewhere) that it makes the national news if there is any snowfall at all. Actually, it did snow somewhere down south this week (Victoria maybe?) in the middle of SUMMER. It made the lead story on just about every news program that night. I still have to add goggles to these guys - how could they go snorkelling otherwise?

This cannot be comfortable.

But apparently it is.

Wednesday, February 2


This is the lamp I bought last week for Nick. It was discovered this morning by the cats, who knocked it over, and attempted to grab the fibre optic bits. Didn't work. They couldn't find anything to grab onto, and kept pawing it in an attempt grab hold of it. We were amused. The lamp is now at a safer height. (We weren't keeping it on the floor, that's where it ended up).

Off to a committee meeting tonight for Queensland Quilters. I am going to have to cut back on volunteering for things - I am going to have a very full Uni schedule this year.

I have just looked at my time table for this semester - I am doing 4 subjects, which is a full time load, and I will have to physically go to uni 5 days a week. I've always had at least 1 day a week free, but not this semester. Not very happy 'bout that.

Here are the subjects I will be doing:
  • Sociological Theory and Practice
  • Introduction to Personality
  • Research Methods (Behavioural Science)
  • Management and Leadership

Riveting, huh?

Management and Leadership will be the worst one - because I know it will involve "Group Work", which seems to be incorporated into these subjects by sadistic lecturers who have nothing better to do than torture me. We will be forced to do a presentation - always dreadful - and submit a written report on said dreadful presentation. I can hardly wait.

I managed to buy a wavy edge cutter today, but haven't had much of a chance to play with it yet. Tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 1

Cats have no respect.

The latest dyes from last night (plus obligatory cat). They're OK, but I'm not thrilled with them. I seem to be having a problem setting these dyes - the colour runs and runs and doesn't seem to be getting any better, and the fabric is looking paler and paler. I have sucessfully dyed fabric using the same method, so I don't know whats going on.

All suggestions, remedies and alternative methods will be gratefully accepted!

This is a piece of fabric from another batch last year some time. Sharp clear colours and doesn't run like buggery. I had some blue/green lovelies from that batch as well.

Get up from your seat at the computer for two seconds to take a picture of fabric and this is what happens:

Cats have no respect.