Thursday, April 25, 2013

The photo below is the first customer quilt done on Millhouse in the new workroom; lots of indigo fabrics, subtle and subdued, it turned out well.  Now that we know everything is performing properly itwill be full steam ahead on the other customer quilts.

We need to do lots of tidying up, and sort out the threads;

how did we ever get this many?  It's so lovely to have the right thread to match almost any quilt, so I will never complain about the thread stash, but it needs to be a bit more organised in future. 
 There is lots of lovely natural light to match threads to fabrics, which makes the job so much easier.

We've left two comfy chairs in the shed, for those times when we can have a leaisurely coffee break, and also for some of our elderly clients, who appreciate a place to sit and catch their breath.
 This tapestry fabric looks dreadful against the yellow/green walls, so I think I will need to make some loose covers for them.  I'll just whip them up in my spare time.

I'm trying very hard to get my sewing room set up, but nothing feels right just yet.  I'll keep moving things around until I hit on the perfect placement for my machine, and ironing board and cutting table.  I feel bereft without my sewing.  I'm still making tiny bits of progress, up to 7 blocks now, and more units ready to go, but so far I haven't had a marathon sewing session and I miss it.
It's my favourite time of year, when the potted crysanthemums for Mother's Day hit the shops; they haven't arrived just yet, but my garden has supplied me with armfuls of flowers.
I love being able to walk out and pick as many as I want.  I have some beautiful colours, but I just know that I will buy another 6 or 7 new ones this year. I can't seem to resist them.
My gazanias are loving the mellow sunshine these days too; this is one of my favourites, it's like a plaid flower.   So cheerful and pretty, I say hello to it on my way to the workroom each day.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Yesterday I spent most of my time moving the last of the furniture down to the shed, and getting the Statler up and running.  I wasn't really apprehensive, but I still breathed a huge sigh of relief when it actually stitched out a design, just like it should.  Love you Millhouse!

There is a such a lot of stuff to find a home for, but I think we'll be very happy quilting in this spot.  It's just lovely to have sunlight in the workspace, I never like working in 100% artificial light, which we were forced to do in the windowless hall.  And the herb garden is right by the door, so the smells of basil and lemon verbena are pleasantly wafting in the door.  Just so long as the bees stay outside, we'll all be happy.

I've already done one customer consultation in the mess, hopefully when she comes back to pick up her quilts the workroom will be much neater, and functioning properly.

I have to adapt a desk to turn it into a sewing table, so that's what I'll be working on today.  But once that is done I should be able to do some of my own sewing, at last.  I love watching Bonnies Quilt Cam while I sew, it's great that we can access the archived ones now.  I have the fabrics picked out for 5 more madder blocks; I think I"m going to call this quilt Mitchell St, because that was the street I was living on when I started them.  I never used to be a fan of 'naming' each quilt, but now it seems right;  why go on saying Road To California blocks, which means nothing to me, when I can refer to my quilt by a name that instantly conjures up memories. 

And of course I have to make time to work in the garden; I think autumn roses are even more beautiful than the spring ones; it's lovely to pick a bunch of these gorgeous Joyfulness roses each day. 
There are 20 buds on the bush, it's celebrating the end of the hot weather too.


Monday, April 15, 2013

What a tiring weekend it was, I will be glad when weekends mean relaxation, instead of  a different kind of hard work.  However, the Statler is shifted into it's new home, now I just have to get all the cables and belts and bits connected in the right order,so we can sew a test quilt .  That can't happen for a little while, I need to source two little screws that snapped in the moving process. 

Mereth's DS Matt came in to help with the heavy bits, and afterwards I put him to work in the garden, trimming trees and digging up weeds.  We were all tired by 3 o'clock and I suddenly needed to be on the beach with the dogs.  Within minutes we'd arranged to meet John and Liz at Telowie, packed away the tools, gathered all the dogs in one hysterical mass into the car and we were off, running away.
 It was a lovely evening, the sea was calm and shone like a crystal, there were moody clouds high overhead, a cool wind and 5 deleriously happy dogs.
It was a lovely break from all the tension and hard work.  The dogs were never still, chasing each other into the water and out, running for the sheer joy of it.
That meant that most of the photos I took involved dogs in strange positions, caught in mid leap.
 In this one, Bonnie in the background looks like one of those monkeys that wash fruit in the river, Digby is a three-legged footstool, or maybe bagpipes, and Macca is similar to those plastic monkeys in the Barrel of Monkeys game.  A Barrel of Staffies would be trouble!

We were making our way back to the car, pleasantly tired and relaxed, when Dolly scurried ahead of us and threw herself down into a pile of seaweed.  We all know what that means, so everyone roared threats at her, and I raced over to haul her upright.  All we could see was her four white paws wiggling ecstatlically in the air, but when I got closer I could see the ugly truth; she'd found the remains of a carcase and was busy rubbing it into her back..  What the heck is it with her?  She's the only dog of ours that loves smelling dreadful.

She went on the leash then, while I found two clean vertebrae for John and Mereth's collections.  John uses bones in his art classes, as drawing props, and Mereth just collects them as curios.  The bones were bleached and didn't smell, and we decided they were probably from a dolphin, as there was something there that could have been a dorsal fin.  All very interesting, but Dolly reeked.  Back at the car, we covered her in hand sanitiser and sluiced her off, but I couldn't imagine driving all the way home, so we decided to go to the dogwash in Pirie and wash all the dogs.

The dogwash was brilliant, we put Bonnie, Pippi and Dolly in and washed them, then Digby and Macca.  It was chaos, with five wet dogs, but they were all well-behaved and squeaky clean in the end, and we could even blowdry them.
 'Sometimes I wish we had normal outings' I said to Liz.
'What's normal?' she asked.
'Well it doesn't involve a dead dolphin and washing 5 dogs' I replied morosely.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Isn't it lovely to wake up in the morning and think, 'I can do anything I want today....' ?  Well that might happen tomorrow, but this morning my first thought was, 'I have to shift the Statler today!!!!'  If it only the table weren't so collossally heavy, all the other bits Mereth and I can manage on our own, but that tabletop will require outside help.  Brothers and nephews will be involved, I think.

But I still have a few hours before Mereth arrives and we have to get down to work; I'm not a morning person, but the postie job demands it, and then I just wake up at 5am on the weekends from habit, so it's only sensible to get up and get something done.  I think I just might turn on the machine and sew a few pieces together.

Because my sewing setup isn't ideal, I've been cruising a lot of blogs, and two of them made me smile.
Mary Elizabeth Kinch is the author of two books about quilts with tiny pieces, and has a blog post titled Whats on your sewing table? about her messy sewing area.  I can really identify with that, my table seems to be a dumping ground too, and it's so lovely to clean it up and get things ready for a big sewing spree.  Tomorrow.

And Tara Lynn Darr of Sew Unique Creations ( I miss her shop!) has a post showing her basement sewing area.  At one point I stopped thinking, 'Well that's not much, I have as much as that, surely' and replaced it with 'Wow!  that is a lot of fabric'.  Her neutrals and browns just amazed me; I want a collection like that when I grow up.  Well done Tara.

I have been guilty of a little bit of stash  building.  We were in town doing chores and dropped in at the patchwork shop, and I bought some half metres of fabric and I was almost out of the door when I saw a jellyroll of Lario, by 3 Sisters. 

 And Mereth, just for fun, egged me on to buy it, and I did, even though I had sworn never to buy another precut again.  Seems I'm really weak-willed. 
 And then while I was paying for it, I picked up a beautiful Tilda FQ and added that to the pile.  And a couple of wax melts from the Yankee Candle range that the shop has just started carrying; it was a deliciously fragrant package to carry back to the car.
So I have to start sewing soon, or the stash is going to keep getting bigger and bigger, and we can't have that happening. By the end of this weekend, I hope to have a new sewing area where I can see all my fabrics and cut projects easily, and then I'm going to get started on a Log Cabin, because Bonnie just posted pictures of two that are truly wonderful and exactly what I want.  Instead of moaning that the Road to Oklahoma blocks will go together too fast, I'll be happy to finish them and move on to my Log Cabin.  That's the way quilting works.


Sunday, April 07, 2013

The jobs are getting ticked off the list, but I"m running out of energy.  It doesn't help that I have a horrid cold/flu/fever thingie that is laying me low, or that I've been working at this extra stuff practically all year.  I can see the finish line, just have to keep going, even if I crawl across it.

Shed is done except for one little piece of moulding that needs a second coat; just couldn't face that ladder today, so it will get done tomorrow.  We've hauled away all the rubbish left by the tradesmen, and swept the floor so it looks a bit better.  Next up is to move all the furniture down, but that will just be plain exciting, so I won't complain about that.  Mereth still has several quilts to do on Millhouse before the move, which will likely be next weekend when we can rustle up some strong men to help.  And then I'll put it all back together like a gigantic puzzle.

My living quarters are really cramped, but I love being here and having my garden right outside the door. The roses are putting on a lovely show of flowers for Autumn, so I have fresh flowers on the kitchen table every day.  There are buds on the crysanthemums too, which makes me happy, I will have lots of flowers to pick this year.  And it's time to choose the new roses I want, it's a very exciting time of year.

  I have set up a sewing area, but it isn't very convenient, and I don't like sewing in a less than perfect setup.  There have been moments when I could have made a block or two, but I wasn't really tempted.  I hate having to juggle the iron amongst all the cords and clutter on the table, but there just isn't enough room right now.  I did spend an hour sewing with Bonnie tonight, and just patiently sewed and pressed and moved things as I went. 
It wasn't ideal, but now I have the parts for 7 blocks sewn together, and it will be fun to add the focus fabrics to these to make them come alive. 

I only need 20 of this block, so I'm nearly half way there on the pieced units, it's amazing that such scattered efforts can mount up over time.  I'll just keep at it, and pretty soon I'll have space for a whole sewing room, and I'll be able to spend hours sewing in my ideally arranged area.  And if it ever gets cold I'll be able to knit and spin and hand quilt too, but it's still too warm for that.  Summer seems to hang on longer each year.

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