Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We have a shed!

All that's left to do is a bit of finish work, ridge-capping and downpipes etc, and I have no idea when that will get done. We're having wild and windy and wet weather here, which is messing the work crew around. Never mind, the end is in sight.  Next up is connecting power and water, which could take weeks, and then I will need to have the place insulated and lined.  I don't think it will be done before Christmas, so it will be another exercise in patience.

I can't wait to start landscaping the rest of the block, and moving stuff into the shed, and establishing a veggie garden and water tanks and....  But there's all my regular work to deal with too, so it's going to be slow progress.  It's still exciting.

Mereth is in New South Wales, visiting DD2 and family, so I have Pippi while she's away.  Pips keeps looking for Mereth, it's quite touching.  When we go for a walk both dogs will run up to me to tell me what they've been up to, and then Pip will look all around for her mum.  When we go to Mereth's house Pip races to the door and scrabbles at it impatiently, ready to burst inside and look in every room.  But still no mum.... Mereth will get such a welcome when she gets back!

Not much sewing is being done; DD Seonaid dropped in at the start of the week, on her way to a friend's wedding. I even cooked a real meal for her; I don't spend much time on cooking these days, too much else to do.  We rushed around on Tuesday finding last minute things, then she was off on the bus to stay the night with cousin John, before flying to Brisbane the next day.  It's been years since I travelled out of state, I'm quite envious of all these other people getting to see a bit more of the wide world.  I shall have to plan something for next year I think. I'll be driving down to Adelaide to pick her up tomorrow, so there won't be any spare time for quilting for a while.  I have 23 of the Flyfoot blocks done, (only need 5 more) and some of the setting squares cut out, I just need a few hours so I can make some headway.

At least with all the rain I don't need to water either of our gardens; there's always a silver lining!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

We have a slab! 

They did indeed use a lttle front-end loader to bring in the concrete.
I'm glad I didn't have to paddle around in that stuff, I've done my share of concreting.  It was such a warm day it went off really quickly, so no chance for puppy pawprints.

Now we wait for the next step, which is the shed itself.  If I was the impatient sort I would be climbing the walls about now.  Luckily I'm quite philosophical about the protracted waiting time.  In a month's time all this waiting will be immaterial, because the shed will be there.  (Please please please let the shed be up in a month's time....)

I worked diligently on my Flyfoot blocks over the weekend, and I'm up to 19 now.  They are flying together, it's amazing.  Cutting them with the Go cutter really helps, the pieces just seem to spring into existence with no effort on my part.  It's going to look very much like the original, but I will have to combine yellow fabric, as I don't have a piece large enough to do the whole thing.  I can deal with scrappy.

And there may be a pieced border in there somewhere to, haven't decided on that yet.

My garden is taking up a fair bit of time now, and the weather is heating up alarmingly.  I'm watering thoroughly, and repotting and taking cuttings so that when I get garden beds established I will have enough plants to fill them.  Most of my plants are cadged from friends, or dug up from the side of the road, or rescued cheaply from nurseries where they are quietly expiring.  The other day I saw a simple daisy in one garden centre that had a pricetag of $21.  Gak!  Who could afford that.  So I will con tinue asking friends for pieces from their garden, and then whenever I see that plant it reminds me of the person who gave it to me.  My garden will be a collection of friends as well as plants.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

There are always a few ideas waiting in the wings, ready to take over from my main project at a moment's notice.  Sometimes, when I keep shoving them aside and working dutifully on what I should be doing, they get more and more demanding.  After a while, I can't resist any longer.
As soon as I saw the picture of this quilt on one of Bonnie's posts I wanted to make it.

Then Mereth found it on Ebay as well .  I'd buy it if I had the funds.....
So once I made the decision to use my elongated hexagons as leader-enders these blocks just jumped into existence in a matter of minutes ( or it seemed that way).  I tried a couple of other blocks to see if I liked them, and they will fit in, but I like the Flyfoot block so much I will make the rest of the blocks in that pattern.

I've never made a Flyfoot block, never made anything with yellow setting fabric, and I had a pile of those strange greyed out browns that I would like to use up.  That's three reasons to make it, and I only need one usually...

Unfortunately, my brown fabrics aren't nearly enough to do all the blocks, so I will have to use browns that have a more yellowish cast, but I don't mind.  It's an unexpected colour combination, brown and yellow, but I'm loving it so far.

On the shed front, the formwork for the slab was finished on Tuesday, and they  are supposed to be here today for the pour.  Given how hard it is to access my block, I think they are going to trundle the concrete in using the bucket of a front-end loader.  That's going to be fun.  I'll take photos.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

All the comments on the previous post have been helpful.  I particularly like the idea of post-it notes, and multiple lists, and blackboards or whiteboards.  I'm determined to build a system that works for me, and that I can stick to.  The problem I've been facing lately is that I finish the things I HAVE to get done, but not the things I want to do.  I need to list 7 things a week that I'd like to do, and cross off one a day, in any order.

Today I wanted to work in the garden, so I sat down with a cup of coffee and started a list. First I wrote 'Plant seedlings in bigger pots'. Then I realised that I would have to make up some potting mix first, so I wrote that above the first item.  And then thought that I should mix a bucket of liquid fertiliser to soak the seedlings in too, so I had to squeeze that in as well.  It struck me that I usually write one thing on my list, and that thing involves a ton of other work before I even get to it.  Then when I've worked for hours I get to cross one measly item off the list, and I feel cheated.  So from now on I intend to write down every step, and cross them all off at the end of the day.

Further down the list I found myself writing 'Build fence at the side of the hall' and 'Pergola'.  Today?  I really need to keep my to-do lists achievable, and not include things that belong on a Long Term Goals list. And if I think of  a job to do, but I don't have all the equipment or tools or supplies, I need to write it on a shopping list straight away, so I don't forget.  When I've assembled everything I need, then I write it on the To-Do list.

I'm pleased to report that I did four things on my list today, and I will transfer the other two things to tomorrow's list.  I'll get the hang of this yet....

I am two blocks over the half way point with this quilt. 

I'm a little bit weary of sewing the same thing again and again, so I'm going to move onto another quick project and use this as a leader-ender for a while.  It's getting a bit too dark, so I need to cut out a lot of medium value fabrics to make sure it stays cheerful.

One thing that has become a habit is taking the dogs for a walk each night.  Our reward is the scenery, fresh air, exercise and magnificent sunsets.  It's such a beautiful time of year.


Friday, September 09, 2011

Two quilters that I really admire are Bonnie, of Quiltville, and Judy of Patchwork Times. They are both dynamo quilters; I have no idea how they achieve so much in the same 24 hours that I get each day.  They are great role models for me; neither of them think 'Oh that's too hard, I won't bother, I haven't got enough time, it'll never work...'  They just get in and do stuff, and then they blog about it.  I want to be like them when I grow up.

One thing that Judy does is make lists and spreadsheets, and I've never been much of a list person.  If I make them, I lose them, or forget them until days later; I get distracted, tired, my life gets hijacked by some emergency.  Or when I sit down to make the list, everything flies right out of my head, and I'm staring at a blank page wondering what on earth needs to be done.  It's really pathetic.

Lately my life has been a shambles of one 'urgent' job after another.  I barely have time to package up one thing as done and dusted before I have to get right into the next one.  I hate having to work like that, it wears me out, and then I find it very hard to recover my momentum.  I'm not a dynamo person.  Not now.

The way I worked when I was younger was in big cycles of manic effort, weeks at a time of non-stop energy and enthusiasm, then even longer weeks of nothing much.  The manic part was great!  I got so much done.  In one 6-week manic phase I wrote my book on QAYG, and quilted all the quilts on my Janome, at the same time as running my family and household.  I probably got 5 hours sleep a night, but I felt wonderful.  There was a slow period after that, while I just pootled in my cottage garden and did the necessary chores around the house, but it was a recovery time after all that effort.

I'm quite a few years older now, and I can't muster that manic energy anymore.  I have to pace myself so I don't run out of energy entirely, and it's been hard learning to do that.  I prefer the boom and bust cycle, oddly enough.  But now life is more even, without the huge highs and, more importantly, without huge lows.  I'm grateful I'm still quilting and still enthusiastic about it all.

I run a pattern club for my digital designs that comes out each month, and I design between 20 and 30 patterns for that.  I also have a website for those digitised patterns that keeps me busy with orders and enquiries.  I help Mereth quilt the customer quilts that are problematic, or need complicated computerised quilting that she's not confident to tackle herself.  I fill wholesale orders for my printed patterns, and printed pantographs.  And what I haven't told the blog is that for the last 14 months Mereth and I have also done the mail run for our little town, which takes between 20 and 25 hours each out of our week.  Small wonder I have no time!  and maybe that's why I have no energy .......

I've done all this extra work to help pay for my shed, which I hope  is going to be the start of the next interesting period of my life.  Once it's up (next Wednesday they say they'll be here, fingers crossed) all sorts of options will be possible, and I don't even know which one will be the right one.  It's going to be exciting and tiring and exhilarating and exhausting all at once.  I really hope I have the energy to blog about it.

Which gets me back to the original premise of this long and rambling post; I need to learn how to make lists!   There has to be a way to keep all these balls and dinner plates and bowling pins juggling in the air over the next few months.  I'm sure Bonnie and Judy could do it, and so can I.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The last two weeks have gone by in a flash, full of work and travel and family stuff.  I've hardly had time to sew more blocks, so there's not much progress to report.  I have 1/4 of the blocks needed on the design wall, and I am aiming to finish 20 a day for the rest of this week.  That will see me to the halfway mark, and I'll be happy with that.

 This is today's 20 blocks, waiting to be completed.  It's not much, but every little bit counts.

It's a great help being able to cut 216 triangles, enough for 54 blocks in about 5 minutes.  That leaves more time for actual sewing.

Sometimes quilts go together so quickly that I can hardly remember making them;  I don't mind this one being a leisurely affair.  I find myself studying the blocks on the design wall throughout the day, remembering fabrics that I'd like to include, making decisions about what works and what doesn't.  The more pieces I put up, the more enchanted I am with those tiny triangles. 

The photo in the book shows that those little hourglass blocks were made of two fabrics; the maker may have made those first, and used them to join the hexagons, rather than making a rectangular block as I'm doing.  It would take too much planning for me to do that, but I do like the look of it.

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