28 January 2008

legend cray catcher

I wish. Here we are on the southern side of St Helens Island, about to try our hands at a spot of crayfish diving. I'm all geared up, that's why I'm looking so comfortable (not) and are about to make my splash. It is worth getting all that weight on 'cause it's pretty spekky down there!

We've dived this spot before and Ant the 'Master Cray Diver' has always done well, however we got to see first hand the effect of the sea urchin barrens - which are gradually taking over the east coast of Tasmania. Crevices and holes that crayfish used to dwell in have now been taken over by the urchins. The only real good thing about this dive was that I spotted and, with Ant's help, caught my first cray - he went for it at the front of it's hole while I waited at the 'back door/escape route' and caught her by the tail. There was even a downside of this too as when we surfaced and measured her, she was a fraction too short and had to be thrown back in along with the 2 abalone that I plucked as well. Oh well, I think I get a big tick for the effort!

The journey back to the boat ramp was another obstacle for me with my breakfast reappearing for an encore performance. Unfortunately the second spew tried to come out my nose so I've been a bit sinusy since - thought you might like to know. I always take sea-sickness pills but they just weren't enough this time, and the sea was pretty rough too! I've come to the conclusion that I'm a calm water friend.

Back home and diving into the sewing again (pardon the pun). Skirt #6 is underway for Tara so I'll post a photo when it's done. I haven't started the stools yet, looked at them yesterday and that's as far as it got - what with my crappy head and all. So I did some no-brainer sewing which cheered me up. Might try to do something with those stools tonight, or give the garden some attention for a change......

23 January 2008

sandra's bag and lucy is recovering well

Here's a look at Sandra's bag before I post it to Canada. Very pleased with the flap - The Thug done good, however I came a bit unstuck when attaching the lining to the outer at the sides where the strap also attaches. It was a spot that was too, what would you say, fragile(?) detailed(?) for The Thug so I had to try it on the Bernina which was just too much for it (kept chewing the thread) - poor thing. So after a few unpickings I got there in the end, but had to resort to hand stitching as well.
Yes the divider was a challenge but I don't begrudge it at all (and I don't blame Sandra for wanting it either!), it was something I needed to tackle and I've learnt a lot - I think.

And yes Lucy is recovering after surgery yesterday to remove a grass seed from her bottom. Poor doggy. I noticed it on Monday and took her straight around to the vet, he tried to squeeze it out but to no avail so booked her in for surgery on Wednesday. The seed was a lot deeper than they thought and even kept it to show me (yay). Poor girlie was a bit groggy and spent the rest of the day inside sleeping or licking the wound. She was right for her walk this morning but still a bit slow/sore and doesn't like the fact that I have to give her a pill twice a day, I don't like it either but she's a very good patient.

Quite a 'before' shot isn't it? These lovelies used to reside at the shack (Alonnah), actually they came with the shack when Ant bought it. I'm going to take the seat and back off entirely and reshape the wood to a more pleasing shape, put a better quality foam on (don't know where I'll get that from!!) and of course reupholster in some yummy fabric - yet to be decided.

22 January 2008

sewing for fer

I keep forgetting to take photos of the clothes I make for myself, mainly because I feel that I should be modelling them and forget to ask Ant to take the photo while I'm wearing it. Well I thought it was a good excuse!

The shirt on the right, it's light and flimsy and great for warm summer days - especially as it also protects my arms from the sun's burning rays. The only problems were that it's purely synthetic (egad!) and a real b#+*!%d to cut and sew, especially those pin-tucks!!! So, never again. I think the fabric was cheap at either Spotlight or Ebay, more fool me......

The red top is a cotton/polyester blend knit fabric with a tiny white dot. Now, I normally don't 'do' knits as I don't have an overlocker/serger and in the past the fabric tends to stretch as I sew and I forget to buy ball point needles for the machine. As this one had a good percentage of cotton (70% I think) and I did have ball point needles, it sewed up a treat - with zig-zagged edges to make up for no overlocker. I love this top!! It doesn't need a zip or buttons, is very comfortable and looks even better with a 3/4 length sleaved t-shirt underneath. I wore it to work yesterday and I felt so happy!

So at the moment the commission bag is well under way and hopefully should be finished by the end of the week. I'll have to post a photo or two.

18 January 2008

jam jam jam

I really do enjoy making jam. I thinkpart of it has to do with all those generations before us instilling a sense of living off our spoils and preserving for the future.

I went and picked plums from my sister-in-laws house yesterday arvo and started cooking them last night, while Ant went out the back and picked the Greengages. Unfortunately I didn't have as much sugar in the crock as I thought - despite raiding the caster sugar crock as well! Therefore it sat in the pot until today brought forth more, and more, so I could do the greengages as well.
These would have to be my favourite eating plums and makes excellent jam as well. I remember reading of how they were named. They were first developed in a Mr Green's orchard back in the 17th or 18th century (in England of course!), thereafter named "Green's gages". The old tree would have to be over 50 years and we gave it a heavy prune in winter as it had been neglected for many years and the fruiting branches were too high. This spring has given us lots of new shoots at a lower height, nice when a plan comes together. Just have to wait until they can bear fruit now!

We've also planted a new tree only a few metres away so that when this old chap finally becomes fire wood, we should have an established tree already bearing fruit - and many jammy years will be had.

Now we only need the apricot, cherry, plum and apple trees to mature as well - also planted last winter.

15 January 2008

pretty thing

A little present for me arrived yesterday via Etsy. I love her work and when the next lot of fabric comes out I'll be there with bells on! I hope this doesn't make me sound like a stalker, I also go mad over Lara's stuff too and now she's opening her own shop I think I'll be spending a bit of time there also.

I've cut out the bag for Shannon's work-mate and will start piecing tonight or tomorrow. I'm really feeling the urge to do some patchwork or quilting, then I'll have something worth blogging about on the APQ site. The next item on the list though is the Roman blind for the dining room. We attached the mantel piece to the chimney last night and used the 'new improved' room for breakfast this morning - so much better!

Now that the carpet is pulled up it's revealed a very interesting floorboard arrangement, that is some boards have been replaced and are a different width and there are cuts and gaps everywhere. We've both decided that a nice big sisal rug in a natural colour will look perfect, otherwise the whole floor would have to be replaced if we wanted to polish or wax. We've taken the combustion stove back out and sent it off to be fixed, as it requires repairs/replacements to the ovens and fire box. There's a place (scroll down to see the IXL one) in Melbourne that still makes parts for this very stove.

11 January 2008

waste not want not

Last night Gracie was lying beside me having a cuddle in bed (as she does). However she relaxed just a bit too much and started to slide off the bed (as you would). And being a cat she automatically reached out a claw to try and stop gravity from taking its toll (as it does). In doing so she ripped the sheet and gave me a little puncture which of course made me yelp and scare Ant awake (as it would).

I'm too tight to just go and buy another sheet and apart from the tear, it's perfectly good. So I thought I'd better patch it up and mulled over said thought. I had this patch already cut out (for one of the neice's bags I think, but didn't work) and one side of the double sided fusible webbing applied to its back. On it went, covering the L shaped tear quite nicely, but I thought I'd need to reinforce the fusible webbing and tried a bit of free-motion stuff - and it was fun! The only time I ever do free motion is when I'm machine quilting and unless it's stippling I'll always follow a pattern drawn on the quilt or go around the outside of applique, therefore this was a lovely adventure.

So the moral to this long winded story is that doing this simple patch has increased the appeal of trying this type of effect on bags and the like - with a nice abstract-y feel to it (ooo, did Ms Restrained say the 'A' word??!).

We'll see what we come up with.....

On another note, Ant's dad recommended we change our photo storage on the computer over to Picasa. Powered by Google, it allows you to edit your photos to a certain degree, but what I really love is that if you hightlight your photo/s and click on the 'blog this' icon at the bottom of the screen, it will automatically take you over to Blogger and will bring these photos up in a new post - reduced in image size and all! Computers are such fun.

09 January 2008

and yet .....

they came off! Sunday night they were looking a bit ratty so he started playing with the razor. First came the porn-star mo, which was just plain scary. Then half a mo - just plain stupid. Then off completely, yes, Ant's face is bald after maybe 3 years of a goatee. Um, it really doesn't look like him - isn't that awful? I miss the goatee!
So anyway, back to reality and there's a couple of birthdays coming up - Ant's Mum and the wonderful Jane, Ant's auntie. These cards are hilarious, I found one last year for Renee and I've been looking out for them since as the shop I got hers from doesn't stock them any more. They've got the whole range at Birchall's, including the dog versions too. So a few more of these might be floating around Australia Post in the near future!

Oh yeah and I'm loving my new scanner!

06 January 2008

and I didn't even get 'pished'

He doesn't look too bad with eye-liner does he? In the end I did make Ant a costume, as he really did want to look special. So it was a mad rush in the morning to Spotlight where I bought this pattern and the necessary fabric. I managed to make the shirt and waistcoat in time but left off the breeches, Ant just wore his good dress pants instead and they looked fine. The dreadlocks came from Chickenfeed but the sword and scabbard are genuine Pirates of the Carribean merchandise - on special at Toyworld!

It was great to see so many people in costume too. So many times you go to these parties and hardly anyone makes an effort. I think Ant scored extra points for a real Captain Jack Sparrow beaded beard, now he wants to keep it like that - grrr!

It's going to be another scorcher today but the house work has been neglected and I'd like to get this mantel piece attached to the chimney in the dining room, so we'll see how we go.

04 January 2008

new fabric

I'm so loving these fabrics, full of summery fun. The bottom centre and bottom right are Amy Butler, I can't remember the others. Yeah I'm slack.

I can't remember the last time I sewed on a flounce, maybe I managed to blank it from my memory as one of those 'sewing trauma' moments. It'll be worth it and I'm really looking forward to the party, it's going to be bonza! Yep, I'll post a photo of the pirate and his wench.

PS. Thanks Shannon for the heads up regarding the printer. This one's got 3 colour cartridges which should make replacing them cheaper and Ant's dad knows of a place on the mainland that sells them for about $20 each. I suppose we'll just have to see! :o)

03 January 2008

happy new year

I've probably had enough of break now so I should be pulling my finger out and doing stuff. I hope everyone else had a good one too!

So the start of a new year has brought with it a new Canon printer/scanner/copier, and very pleased I am about it too (I got a nice little Christmas bonus from my boss!). The above picture is scanned from Quilts of Provence by Kathryn Berenson . I love this dress, it's actually inside out deliberately to show how the lining was pieced together. One day I'll make a quilted winter skirt ........

The picture quality isn't too good as I had to reduce it a lot. It came up on the computer at 7.8mb! So I have to fiddle with the settings, sounds like a challenge!

Tony's 'Pirates & Wenches' party is this Saturday. I've made the dodice for my wench outfit and have started the dress. I also have to fix up Ant but I'm hoping that won't be too hard, just wish he won't be too fussy about what he wears.