Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yesterday morning I woke up early and turned on the light it was still so dark. I was looking forward to the morning's work, and then getting ready for a special luncheon date with Keryn and 80 other lovely ladies of the town.This event is eagerly looked forward to every year and tickets are snapped up months ahead of time. I could hardly wait.

Something buzzed past my head and I assumed it was a blowfly, the herald of Spring in country Australia. But no, it was a BEE, and I quickly realised the chimney was full of them, trying to get out to the light. Fortuneately there is a mesh screen in the fireplace, or the room would have literally been swarming with them.

Now while I immensely admire the bee in itself and am fascinated by their society, thirty of them flying around my room is the stuff of nightmares!So I flipped the light off, rushed out and slammed the door while I worked out a battle plan.(The first thing to do was ring Keryn and shout "Help!" into the phone.....)

She was much calmer than I, having handled bees in her days at agricultural college and was less than supportive of my insistence on spraying the lot of them. But we couldn't block off the screen properly without dealing with the ones loose in the room, so they were dispatched with flyspray. The sound of them buzzing was terrifying and I decided to clear them out of the way so they didn't dive bomb us or crawl up our legs. Quickest way?- the vacuum! This worked well until Keryn was doing the floor near my open travel bag and there was a loud rattle of something disappearing up the tube.
Whatever it was remained firmly stuck in the bend of the tube and so we had to dismantle the various bits, pulling the hose out and finally managing to dislodge this little bottle of cuticle oil, of all things!
It was so firmly jammed I thought it would never come loose!!All the while the buzzing in the chimney grew louder and angrier and Bees were crawling under the screen ...... Meltdown was quickly approaching.

Eventually all stray bees were sucked up, and we set to work stuffing the gaps around the screen with scraps of batting- betcha didin't think of that use for it, did you? It's not pretty, but while the hive is in the chimney every fireplace here is going to look like this.
Next stage of the hurriedly constructed Plan was to spray up the chimney to encourage them to find a new home. I heard the swarm outside yesterday, so I knew they hadn't been there long. Easy for them to upsticks and move on now before they got settled. But the squirts up the chimney(through the screen so that it looked like this)

produced a deep reverberating growl that positively vibrated the brickwork and made us stare at each other in apprehension. We had Angered them. A lot. Time to retire and have a cup of coffee and think about this.

It occurred to both of us as we sipped our coffee in the sunroom that none of this had been on the schedule today. My bedroom was wrecked, the vacuum was stuffed full of bees, there was unsightly batting festooning the fireplaces and flyspray dripping down the screens.As we looked at the garden we saw that it was now full of angry, Angry bees dashing all over the place. Hmmm. What had happened to that enjoyable day I'd envisaged?

I decided we'd contained the problem for now and it was time to get back on track. There was a lady at the luncheon whose husband kept bees and she might know what to do.

The luncheon (in aid of the local Hospital Guild) was a delight. They put on an "Entertainment" and my face hurt from laughing at the end of it. After the chaos of the morning it was just what I needed.

And here is a little wall-hanging that a dear friend gave us for our birthdays. After a recent trip to town where we scored quite a few really good bargains I think that both of us looked like that little mouse, staggering back to the car.
Do you think our friend is trying to tell us something?


Saturday, October 25, 2008

I forgot to mention that it was our 50th birthday, hmm, I wonder if that was Freudian and I'm actually worried about how old I am? Don't think so, but I found myself telling someone I was 'middle-aged' now and realised I'd have to live to be 100 for that to be really true....

I made another Scrap Castle the other day when the bin finally got too full for me to squash anything more into it. There are some larger pieces in there because I weeded out some sheeting bits that were lurking in the scrap drawers- begone foul polyester!
This means that now I can pick up all the bits off the floor and tidy up properly, - when I get this customer top I'm piecing finished.
It's going to be Huge, so I expect to wrestle with it for quite a few hours today. Even though it's turning out very nicely and it's been fun to work on I'm really longing for some dusty blues and browns and some pinks.....I plan to have a play in my scraps when this is done and then begin a new quilt like Andrea does on her birthday. (And we share the same day, that's pretty cool) What a great tradition to instigate, and even though I couldn't start it on the day I keep thinking about my 'birthday quilt' and am vowing to do it properly next year. Hmm, should it be part of the vow that I've finished the quilt from the Last birthday? Probably.

And this box is reproaching me, I really want to get this set of blocks together. They were pieced from all my most precious madder fabrics and it's about time they were finished.

Back to the customer top first.....


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It was Keryn's birthday yesterday, and that can only mean one thing- it's MY birthday today!No, we weren't born ten minutes apart around midnight; the whole story is here in this post of Keryn's.

We were telling this story to a local lady this week, and I mentioned the midwives who made sure I arived safe and sound, among them Sister Lewis who I wrote about in this post. It made me sad when I found out she'd died three months ago, in her late nineties.
To illustrate this post I decided to find a photo of us on our second birthday, so I turned the cupboards upside down looking for it. I thought I'd sorted things out pretty well but I must have done some rummaging before and not bothered to put the photos back in order because I couldn't find it. I could only unearth this one of Keryn with the Dolly Varden cake, and I know it's Keryn because she got a red doll and mine was pale blue.
However in the search I came across a small envelope with tiny pictures in it; these are about an inch across. Back in those days when developing was such an expensive business they printed tiny little samples and you chose the ones you wanted to have done fullsize. Some of these I had never seen before, and I got my magnifier (meant to view stamps I think) and pored over them quite fascinated.
Keryn and I have always loved looking at our family photos, and most of them are familiar and well-known. Quite often when we were growing up we'd beg to go through them and Mum would pull out the large brown suitcase so we could stare at the sepia and grey images jumbled inside. We loved hearing the stories about long-dead relatives;looking at strange little children who were now our uncles and aunties, and stranger still the young woman who had turned into our Mum. I couldn't quite believe they were the same people, and searched the faces for features I could recognise; not quite convinced that they'd grown up to be the family I knew.
So I was thrilled today to find a whole new set of images that I hadn't seen before, and excitedly discussed with Keryn the identity of the people in them. The detail in the backgrounds was examined thoroughly and I still own several of the objects depicted in one.
But this one made us laugh, and knowing our mum I can see why it was never enlarged.
Mum's brother was living with us at the time and I see his hand in this set-up. I rather think that is a smoked fish on the plate and I can't read the label on the bottle, but it's definitely beer.
Our uncle, big brother who was 15 and Dad probably had a good laugh at this little vignette while Mum was out of the room, but she would have hit the roof when the prints came back for this! No way of knowing whether it was Keryn or me but it must have been pretty puzzling, judging by the expression!
I'm so grateful that our Dad loved photography and that we have this family history to look back over. It was largely due to his efforts that we have so much to illustrate our early life and document the way things were. Finding that little envelope today was like a special birthday gift from him.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm not getting far on finishing my latest project. I was piecing a checkerboard border to use up all the leftovers, a task which kept me busy for quite a while. Keryn came round and I was laying it out on the bed to show her, getting more and more uneasy about the whole thing.
One look at her face confirmed my fears;- the border wasn't doing a thing for the rest of the top. Sigh. It needs a couple of plain borders, so the checkerbord strips will go into another project, and I'll start hunting out some fabric to make new borders.Only a few precious hours wasted....

This is a customer quilt, and the backing was a lovely rose coloured batik. It felt very firm, quite stiff in fact, so I washed it and even put fabric softener with it. I loaded it on the machine and quilted a little sample but was horrified to hear the needle popping loudly at every stitch. I tried smaller needles, less tension on the back- nothing seemed to work and there were noticeable holes where the stitches were. Some people say that these close up the first time it's washed, but I just wasn't happy doing this on the longarm.

So I did it on my Janome 6500 instead, with a fine ball point needle and using basting spray because safety pins marked the backing as well. It took me longer and made me remember quilting muscles I hadn't used in a while but it turned out nice. It was only a single bed size, or I wouldn't have attempted it, I think I'm quite over pushing big quilts through a domestic machine.
I do quite like keeping the old skills tuned, I just wouldn't want to be doing it for every customer quilt!! The weather has been very warm and spring-like so Matt has been hiking at Bowman's Park, taking photos again. This old dead tree stump took his fancy, but when he was looking at the image on the computer, look what he found....
Ugh!!! Little gremlin faces!


Monday, October 06, 2008

Sorry for the silence.I've been having troubles with my camera for a while and finally had to resort to finding my old one and using that. I can't seem to post without pictures, so I apologise for my absence.

When last I spoke I said I was looking forward to doing some of my own sewing, and I've been productive. I've got one top nearly finished and borders put on another and lots of piecing done, but the best part of my little binge in the sewing room was this.....
Oh my goodness, I've been a cutting fool! It felt good to slice up so many bits that had been hanging around for years and just get rid of them altogether. I felt very virtuous after I'd slashed through all these pale wishy washy blues and then sewed them into this...
The backing for my blue and white Crosses and Losses.This is 92" square so there's a considerable amount of fabric that has been swallowed up. For ages I've been putting all the blue and white scraps in one box; samples from shops, bits from scrap bags, salesman samples, gifted scraps, two new cotton shirts from K-Mart for $3! name it. I sewed them together to make a central panel and then started chopping up fat quarters into 10 1/2" strips like Bonnie, but used them strippy style instead of squares. When I ran out of fat quarters I used blue and white half metres, and when they were gone there were a couple metre lengths that fell under the cutter. I used Heaps I'm telling you!Now Keryn might say that this is Ugly and it took two days that I might have spent sewing Gorgeous fabric together, but I can't get past that fact..."I used HEAPS!!" (And Keryn pieces her backings too, so she's just stirring me up)

As I took this photo I noticed the light bouncing off something in the pile.
I was Looking for that!!!


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