Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bright and shiny new curtains

With all the lack of posting lately you could easily have thought there was no crafting/sewing activity going on around here. Actually, that is quite the opposite of life chez moi over the last few weeks. It's been a frenzy of sewing activity because I was making some huge and fluffy warm new curtains for my living room, and I was on a strict, no-procrastinating-by-blogging schedule.
We live in a really old house. Well, really old by NZ standards. It was built sometime between 1870 and 1880, back in the days when people didn't worry about insulation cos they just stoked up their coal ranges and stayed warm that way. The other thing about wooden houses is that nothing is quite square any more, so there are lots of draughts around doors and windows. Hence, we needed a giant curtain that would cover a draughty window and a draughty door that open straight into our living room. The quote to get a custom-made curtain came in at over $1000, so I laughed in its face and said, "Ha! I'll make them myself!".
First, lets meet the fabrics: Cotton ticking, because I love it, and some incredibly fluffy James Dunlop lining fabric (polished cotton on the back with a core of dacron, like a duvet really: $10 per metre at Morelands fabric- a bargain really). I needed 12.4 metres of each. Aiyee!

The sewing. Oh my. It was a big job, because that lining has to be sewn in. Here are some of the other titles that were running through my head for this post:
24 metres of torture
Sewing helllllllllll
The perils of being a tightwad
Anyway, they're done now. My fingers are covered in punture wounds from all the stabbing-myself-with-pins incidents. Simon said that my language while sewing would make a sailor blush. But blogfriends, it was all worth it. I love them.

This little tool is a trick my neighbour uses when she makes curtains. It's just a piece of cardboard with all the measurements I needed marked onto it. You measure up your curtains, decide on the finished length, then decide what your seam allowances and fold-overs are going to be. You make yourself a wee one of these and go around your curtains measuring and pinning as you go. This way the pinning is pretty quick and each curtain ends up exactly the same length.

And finally, since it is ANZAC day today, here is a letter written on a small scrap of paper by my Grandad on the day before he went to fight at Gallipoli in 1915.

It's quite difficult to make our the words, so here's what it says: "Lemnos, 3.6.15, There is a mail going ashore, this is probably the last opportunity that we will have before we go forward. We will have a chance of doing a bit soon, some of us will come out of it alright, and will all do our best. Love to all, Rawei."

It sends shivers through me reading that, partly because of the scrap of paper it was written on- all he could get old of- partly because so many young men didn't come out of it alright, and partly because Simon always ends his txts to us "Love to all", so this letter feels so very real. Grandad spent 4 years of his life fighting over there. I can't imagine the horrors he must have seen. If he was alive today I would say, "Thanks for doing that". For me, that's what ANZAC day is all about.
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Sunday, April 18, 2010

My *special* things

I love a good rummage through the junk shops. When I'm junk shopping I see all sorts of objects that make me think about other times and other places. I never get that looking around shops full of new stuff.

Here are some of my favourite recent finds.

1. My tea pot. Actually, I don't really like tea. When Simon and I first went out for a friendly drink after work, all those years ago, he invited me back to his place for a cup of tea. "Sure!" I said enthusiastically. I did, in fact, drink tea at his place. Ever since then we've used it as a euphemism for when someone is hitting on someone else. E.g., "He REALLY wants to invite her home for some tea".

2. Irish linen tea towel with crocheted edges. This reminds me of going to the King's place on Saturday morning with Dad. Mrs King was very houseproud and had lots of doilies and nicely pressed linens. She used to give us a glass of lemonade, which we thought was the biggest treat ever.

3. A cute retro board game. Sylvie is really into the alphabet at the moment, so I thought this would be fun. It reminds me of going to cribs and rifling through the living room bookcases as soon as we arrived to find what games and books they had. We went to some great cribs, but our favourite was a run-down cottage on Stewart Island.

4. A Phoenix Glassworks jar. Actually I didn't find this one, my Dad did. He gave it to me for my birthday 3 or 4 years before he died. I love the colour and the shape. This jar reminds me of Dunedin and my Dad.

Have you found anything interesting lately?
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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Only for robots

There are many times when my children's artwork inpires me to make a toy, but never more so than when it involves a robot. This is Harry's robot shop; I love its name, "Only for robots".

See that one second from the left? I love his control panel. I had to make one just like it.

Here he is. His name is "Bill", and he is going to be a birthday present for a person I know who likes handmade things. Even silly robots.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter is pink here.

Yippee yi yay, it's the start of the Autumn holidays! Yes sir, we now have two weeks of mucking around at home avoiding jobs that we've have been leaving until we have time. But no mucking around this weekend, no no no! This weekend I had an important mission (apart from making hot cross buns with lots of mixed peel in them, of course); I had to finish a quilt.
I started it way back then, and it was to be a crazy concoction with too much pink, because that's the way Sylvie likes things. It sat pieced and almost-finished for such a long time because I was conflicted over that blue stripe there, that one in the middle, you see it? I just didn't think it fitted and I couldn't think what to do about it. It was my friend who came up with the solution: Do nothing and finish it and then you won't care.

It's totally true, too. I don't care. I'm just glad it's finished because I have other things to get on with, like 12 metres of curtains for our living room (gulp). Do you like the way I didn't even clean up the floor before I took the photo? It's because you're my friend and I know you won't care about my messy house.
It's great finishing things you've started. Unfinished projects just clutter up your brain and kill any kind of creativity.
What are you doing this Easter? I hope your weekend activities include some kind of chocolate.
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