Sunday, 31 August 2008

Bill Bailey

DB & I have just got home from seeing Bill Bailey, live, at his first Auckland show. Thank you so much for the tickets Caroline – and I’m so sorry you had a migraine and had to miss him!
Bill is a very funny man, with a surprising repertoire. His material covered Charles Darwin, CERN’s particle accelerator, “I ain’t gonna be your bitch!” for the ADSO supermarket chain, recently bought out by Walmart, and a very weird skit where he argued with multiple versions of himself on a big screen. The performance was a little erratic – he spent nearly the first 10 minutes introducing himself over and over again.
He seems to be an accomplished musician, taking the piss out of various singers/songs, including Elton John (ElJo). He played keyboard – wonderful piss-take on the Star Wars theme, and told us about the Council of Trent and Satanistic music – ok, you’re really strange! He also played acoustic and electric guitar, and a “bazouki” style stringed instrument.
I really enjoyed his two hour performance, and David, who hadn’t wanted to go, also enjoyed himself. A really good night out. Darn. Work tomorrow.

Sunday, 24 August 2008


And it rained and rained and rained. And West Auckland turned into a floody place, of which Eyore would be proud. DB and I took the dogs for a walk this afternoon, during one of the “fine” spells (using that word in its loosest term), to find that the bush walk along the Oponuku Stream was under a couple of metres of water. We crossed the road bridge, and went down the concrete path, gazing in amazement at the water, which is usually 2-3 metres (at least) below the level of the path. An oxbow lake had formed, and overflowed in places across the path. We made it as far as where the path construction ends, and then the rain returned. With thunder. And a large black dog trying to hide under our legs as we walked back through the torrential rain. Why is the big black dog scared of thunder, when the scaredy yellow dog just goes off frolicking in the water and chasing ducks – NO DON’T GO SWIMMING IN THE FLOODED CREEK YOU STUPID DOG!

It was a nice walk – I had a silly grin on my face the whole way, just enjoying ALL THAT WATER! It would be really neat to take my kayak down that flood – but I’d need to get a buoyancy aid on first!
The Waipareira Trust houses upstream of the bridge had flooding right into their basements – that’s what happens when you build on a flood plain! It even made the TV News – famous in West Auckland!

Bathed the dogs, and they’ve spent the rest of the evening asleep – all worn out, hooray!

Wedding Ring Quilt: Spent the afternoon sewing the arcs – after a couple of false starts working out the right angles – 5 degrees, not 10 or 15 (coz you’ve gotta halve it!) I now have 35 finished arcs – once you get started they’re really quick to make – but took a whole bobbin of thread. Might have to give in and get the bobbin winder fixed, coz it gets the speedwobbles since I broke it.

Arrgh – next decision is the background fabric – oh no, (shushhhh!) a trip to Spotlight may be required!

Lady in the Water: watched this 2006 movie from M Night Shyamalan while I sewed. AAAAARRRRRGGGHHHH. Hand me a blunt knife please, and put me out of my misery. 49 minutes before anything happened. 1 hour before I stopped sewing and sat and watched the action. About another 40 minutes and then it was over – hooray. Watched the “extras” – well, that took another hour, and I sewed the whole time. I think it was an “art movie”, and I’m just not appreciative enough. I should have gone with Beowulf instead – but then I wouldn’t have got any sewing done!

Right fred, it's off to bed, coz suddenly it's 1130!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

I've finally finished the "challenge" pack of farmyard, khaki fabrics. The baggie has come out ok, and I’ve put straps on it. There were so many things I wanted to try, but being limited to only using the fabrics in the pack, plus 2 others, I couldn’t do anything. My two extra colours were the green background, and the blue water - and I didn't have any more of the blue. I’m glad it’s now finished, so I can play with fun stuff.

DB’s done me dubs of the first 3 series of Simply Quilts (1995, 1996, 1997), which has given all sorts of things I want to try. (It’s great having a husband that works at a TV station) An episode from Series 2 has a couple of segments with a guy called John Flynn, on how to strip piece a double-wedding-ring quilt. Unfortunately it doesn’t have all the instructions, so I’ve had to do a little bit of googling for more information. I’m going to make a 3 ½ block cover for the head of our bed. It’s been fun working out how much fabric I need, how to piece it, and making the darts.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Kitset Harp & quilting

Well, you live and learn. The tuning pin holes were the right size, and didn’t need redrilling. I’ve had to stuff all the holes with raffia and flax so the strings don’t unwind as you watch them. The harp is all strung now, and I’ve even played some music on it. I still have to re-stuff the low C and D holes, and perhaps a couple more, but basically it’s done.
It has a completely different sound to the hire harp, which is about 1 year old. I think as the strings stretch and the timber settles, the tone will mellow, but I can see I’m going to get REALLY, REALLY good at tuning it.
Quilting: OMG I’ve actually done some quilting. I made up the Brother club BOM, done some more work on the Mermaid, and looked at the Challenge bag. The BOM colours are not my favourites – except the blue.
Waitakere Dam: I took the dogs (Tara, Kama and Mac – Wendy’s Schnauzer) up to the Waitakere Dam on Sunday. The dam is overflowing the spillway, and the waterfall is coming out at least 2 metres from the rock wall. So much water! And it was raining, and raining, and raining. We all got totally soaked. But it was nice to get out into the fresh air, with no other people around. Didn't take the camera - too bloody wet.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Harp Kitset

Hooray - it's stained, polyurthaned (2 coats), and has a layer of beeswax and lanolin - pretty pretty, shiny shiny. All the pins are in - just had to redrill all the holes (thank you David), as they were a fraction too small. A bit disapointed to find that where the pillar and soundbox join there's a big gap, that will require staining, painting and poly. Now I have to work out how to tie the blasted strings - at the moment they're winning, and I keep getting the short end to pull tight, rather than the long end. Will provide hours of entertainment. Who's a clever girl then?

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Mermaid Class & Kitset Harp

Went to the Mermaid Quilt Class at JilliaNZ this morning. Still don’t feel like I’m getting my money’s worth, but I did at least get some sewing done this time. It’s starting to come together, but my sewing machine was misbehaving on both the black and white bobbin thread. Once I wound top thread on the bobbin it worked better. I think it may be service time! Stopped in at Spotlight on the way home to get some more thread. 3 paystations – 2 in the fabric areas, 1 at the door – all with at least 5 customers. Crap service as usual, with not enough staff. I want to try to do some more sewing on this tomorrow.

Kitset Harp: Spent the afternoon playing with my harp. Got out my new, dinky belt sander and loaded it up with 180 grit paper. It’s made of multiple layers of plywood, with a “birch” facing, and pine framing on the soundboard. Worked on the edges to round them off. Then Becca and I went to Mitre 10 and bought Wattyl Wood Gel “Mulberry” woodstain, and Wattyl Estapol Satin Polyurethane. The gel spread really well with just a foam speedbrush, but boy oh boy, was it RED! GLOW IN THE DARK RED! Got some of my husbands’ black acrylic paint, diluted it to a grey puddle with water, and rubbed it onto the wood with a soft, lint-free cloth. This took the red right down, and gave it an “aged” patina. I gave it 1 coating of polyurethane, and now it’s stinking out my craftroom. But at least I’ve started it. I’ll be able to give it a second coating tomorrow, and maybe string it during the week – Oh WOW! The pictures show the soundbox hanging from the light fitting, and the pillar sitting on a large sheet of MDF. Might need more black before the second coating of Poly.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Kitset Harp, Plan D

Just sand it down, stain it and put it together - stop pissing around!

Monday, 4 August 2008

Kitset Harp

I’m on to Plan C for my harp. My idea of using .08ml plywood to make a lizard to attach to the side won’t work – the wood is too brittle and coarse, and turns into splinters. My next thought is to use pine – or if I can get it, a piece of something like oak, about 1cm thick, and actually carve the lizard into it, and then glue it to the harp.

Becca's Fairy Quilt

I purchased this pattern at Quilt Waikato at the end of June, (plus one for purple batik which I haven't started yet), but ran out of thread, and had to buy some more. The satin stitch on the raw edges is finished. I was hoping I'd learn some useful techniques with the Mermaid quilt before I started the freemotion quilting on this. It can wait.

Quilt Projects

Saturday 26 July & Saturday 2 August - Mermaid Quilt Class at Jillianz Quilt Shop, New Lynn

This is a fusible applique quilt run by a lady named Ku. Class 1 was tracing the pattern, cutting out the pieces, and if time allowed, fusing them to the fabric. I spent Saturday afternoon cutting out the remaining pieces and and fusing them. I bought a teflon-coated glass-fibre ironing sheet, which is really great for the construction work.

Class 2 was very disappointing - I was expecting to learn some new techniques. However only 2 of the other 6 women had actually put the pieces onto the backing fabric, so Ku spent most of the class explaining in words of less than 1 syllable how to construct the mermaid. There are two more classes to go, so hopefully I'll learn something yet.

My sewing machine had fallen over in the back of the car, and the bobbin-winder had broken off, so once I ran out of thread, I was ready to go home. The only technique demonstrated was free motion quilting with a darning foot, which I already know how to do.

David has fixed the bobbin winder for the moment.

One of the worrying things about this quilt is that it's a direct copy from a picture of stained glass mermaid from a book, so I suspect it's breaking copyright.

Challenge Pack from Newsons
This finally seems to be progressing. It's still not wonderful, but having seen Wendy's cool knitting basket, I feel a little more inspired. This is what the pack contained:

And this is what I've done so far:

Next step is the "back" side, which will have a tree, maybe a barn, washing line ....