Happy Easter

Or whatever seasonal festival you celebrate at this time of year.

For many, I guess it’s spring: lambs, chicks, bunnies and blossom on the trees. For me, Down Under and in the tropics, it’s autumn, and a welcome reprieve from heat and humidity. Chocolate can exist outside for longer than 30 seconds, flowers do not wither in a day.

Whatever your climate and circumstances bring you at this time of year, I wish you peace, prosperity and happiness.

Now, go and eat some chocolate.


Reno #14: they’re here!

The kitchen tiles have arrived!

You’re looking at my next renovation task: getting the kitchen splash-back tiled. Are these not the perfect tiles for a quilter? You can almost name the blocks they were designed from. I know they’re not the ones I originally chose, but I feel a sneaking sense of relief; these are smaller and easier to work with, a whole lot cheaper, plus easier to get hold of. And I think it’s probably clear from the photo that the kitchen isn’t exactly going to be short of colour anyway!

There are 10 different tile designs, there are 35 in a box, so you get at least 3 of each, plus some random extras. It’s just a pity I can’t pin them up on my design wall to select the layout! And by the way, am I the only one thinking that one at top left a bit overpowering? I think it needs to be placed next to the star and the triangles so it doesn’t shout so loudly. I have two boxes, so I could if necessary leave out any tiles that don’t blend enough to please my eye. I do want to use leftovers elsewhere in the house too, so hopefully I can make them all work.

So, the Easter weekend’s coming up. I have an appointment with tile adhesive, a toothed trowel and a spirit level…

F²F³: Last but one…

Better late than never, I say…

By which I mean that I finally got round to pressing and photographing these lovelies. They’ve been sitting on my work table at the old house, and I kept forgetting to do it when I was over there packing boxes.

They were made for me by Nanette for my F²F³ month, and are the last but one set. I was finally reminded by poor Nanette’s latest blog post, in which she shows her ScrapHappy work, but also tells us that she’s had dengue fever, very nasty, very tiring and you feel just horrible. So everyone please send Nanette lots of comforting, healing and positive thoughts.

She attached little notes to two of them to explain where the block design came from, and if you click on the photos you can read what she’s written. The third one, without a note, is Anvil, one of her favourite blocks.  I really love all three of them, the colours are beautiful and delicate, and they will work so well with all the others.

Thank you, Nanette, and may you recover quickly and return to health and full creativity very soon.

ScrapHappy April

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Here’s more progress on Days Gone By, the memory quilt made from scraps generated in the making of Days for Girls kits. Quite a lot to show, this time!


And after:

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). We have two new members this month, do go see and if Bekki and Pauline have anything for us.

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki and Pauline

I’ve also had an email from Eileen Burke, who wanted to share a particularly amazing scrappy project with us. She says:

“This quilt was started when I was 15, made completely from scraps, and finished when I was 45!  Better late than never. That was 12 years ago, and I  use the quilt almost every day…. The quilt was inspired by one that I saw in the Queenscliffe museum when I was young, made by WWII prisoners of war.  Mine has so many memories for me, friends would give me scraps of fabric to include, and my mother used to work in a clothing factory as a machinist and would bring home offcuts of fabric for me. I hope to go back to making quilts some time, but probably not by hand again!”

She goes on to say that the largest squares in the quilt are 1 x 1 inch.  And here it is, in all its marvellous scrappy glory. Brilliant!See you again, same time next month


Reno #13: creeping comfort

Slowly, slowly, I’m beginning to feel settled.

Up to this point, I’ve felt constantly on edge. It’s not the house, that’s lovely: quiet, solid, the right size and shape, and now with sensible kitchen and bathroom. No, it’s that feeling of being adrift because you don’t know where things are, and the daily pattern of living is broken.

In every photo you see here, there are shelves waiting to be filled, boxes waiting to be unpacked, empty boxes waiting to be filled again. It’s a constant process. If there’s a gap, it won’t stay that way for long! The delightful part, though, is that there’s enough space for everything!

Suddenly, though, I’ve turned some sort of corner, and can lay my hands on things – or at least, know where they are. My kitchen equipment is (mostly) here, and the things that aren’t I’m seriously reconsidering. I have some hand sewing, the Days for Girls hexies. I have some of my books, including some I haven’t seen for several years because they were still in boxes, buried in the store room.

Those lovely tiles I’d sourced for the kitchen splashback..? Not happening. It has been six weeks since I placed the order, and they couldn’t give me any kind of date for their arrival, so I’ve cancelled it, and am going with something pretty similar but in shades of grey and white. I’m sorry about the colour, but these new ones are also very nice, and incidentally, half the price. There will be a good few left over, so I’m considering using those in the bathroom to extend the height of the tiling in the shower enclosure, which is adequate for short people (me) but not really for the more generously built (the Husband).

The guest room is entirely finished. Our bedroom still needs two chests of drawers brought in, blackout blinds and new curtains, and mirrors and pictures hung. The bathroom needs the tile skirting/baseboard done, the tiles in the shower extended up, a shelf installed beside the loo, the walls and ceiling filled, sanded and painted and a picture hung. The living room needs some new side tables (our old ones simply don’t fit, but I’ll repurpose those in my sewing room), one wall decorating and lots of bits and pieces taken out of boxes and installed on the shelves waiting for them. The kitchen still needs lots of work: filling, sanding, painting, tiling, boxes unpacking, etc.

On a subject close to my heart, the sewing room is currently the junk depository/furniture assembly area/tool storage. Once all that’s cleared, it doesn’t need anything doing to it apart from moving in bookshelves and all my sewing stuff, and then a serious vacuuming. The blue wall is already blue, just waiting for shelves to go up. I grit my teeth every time I see something new added to the assemblage, but it will change, I will have a sewing room, and sooner rather than later.

So that’s the latest. One of these days I’ll have a huge lie-in. One of these days….

Reno #12: three for free

I’m very, very tired now.

We have been living at the new house for several days now. We’ve had our first overnight guest, who commented how comfortable and homey the place felt already, so we’re doing something right. And suddenly, we’re both totally out of steam. Not really a big surprise, but there are still so many things to do and so much stuff still to sort out and either move on or move in. It has been weeks of relentless action, and while that has paid off in terms of speed of renovation, I have nothing much left in the fuel tank. The last few days have been especially taxing. Here’s a sample:

On Sunday, I was brushing my teeth and felt something swimming around amongst the froth. I assumed it was a bit of breakfast. Nope. It was a fair chunk of my back molar. Oh wonderful, just what I needed right now. I called for an emergency appointment on Monday morning, got one, and instead of the extraction I was dreading, she fixed me up beautifully and virtually painlessly, but it was a stressful time, being my first ever major dental work. Also on Monday we rented a small truck with a tailgate lifter for some of the heavier stuff, like the fridge, our armchairs, several book cases, etc. Turns out that if you only have it for 24 hours, you really have to hustle to drive about, load, secure, unload, etc, so everything had to be done at top speed. And finally, this morning we were attempting to put up the bracket for wall-mounting the tumble drier, and despite carefully checking and marking the location of the water pipes….. Yes, well, after turning off the water, calling the plumber, etc, the screw-hole straight through the centre of the cold water pipe was fixed fairly quickly, but there was a fair bit of mopping to be done.

So that’s the bad stuff. On the other side of the balance sheet is today’s Three for Free.

1) We had to put the car in for testing the alternator we’d had installed, as the battery still wasn’t holding a charge. They tested it, it’s OK, and they didn’t charge us! (We also got a major discount on a new battery). 2) The repair of the water pipe in the laundry was done for nothing by the lovely Keith the Plumber. 3) And finally, at 3.30pm, knackered and in full zombie-mode, we went to a well-known fast food outlet for a dose of sugar and fat. And there, the Husband got a free large French fries, by accident. That wouldn’t have done much for me, but he was happy!

So all in all, we’re feeling only very weary instead of totally frayed and exhausted.


Reno #11: man-eating cupboard and hungry ceiling-monster

Well, how else would you caption these two photos?

It’s the lovely Keith the Plumber, connecting up the gas hob

…and Greg the Electrician trying to locate a wire.

It was a big day today. All the lights and power points are now sorted out, and the kitchen is as bright as day with 6 ceiling (can) lights. The bathroom is completed and has the new shower head, taps, loo and fan/heat/light unit fitted as well as a tiny night light with two bulbs the size of wheat grains for those times when you stumble in to use the place but don’t want to wake up properly! The dishwasher is fitted and working. I’ve packed and unpacked three large boxes of books and DVDs, two 80L/20 gallon tubs of sewing stuff and two large boxes of table linen and crockery. I’ve swept, vacuumed, wiped and dusted, sorted plastic and cardboard waste and sorted cupboard contents to determine what to keep and what to give away…

Yes, I am wreckage. The Husband has laboured hard today as well, and we are sprawled side by side in our chairs wearing zombie expressions and wondering if we can summon the energy to conjure up a cup of tea and a large pile of buttered raisin toast. At least, that’s what I’m wondering and I shouldn’t be at all surprised if his mind is running on similar lines.

And finally, for all those who requested video evidence of geriatric ballerina action: this is as good as it’s going to get. Me doing first position on the new bathroom floor, with rags on my feet. Seriously, I couldn’t to it to you all, you might have ruptured something laughing too hard.

And now, tea and raisin toast, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was a little snooze in there too.