Mend it Monday: Wear, then tear

And today, we are dealing with the other half of the work uniform.

Yes, that swirling mass of orange photos below is three of the Husband’s hi-vis work shirts. Orange at the top, navy at the bottom, separated by reflective strips. Tasteful, eh? You really don’t want to be looking at them after a hard night, or not without sunglasses. They’re made of densely woven pure cotton, designed to resist UVA and B, retard fire and resist sun-rot. Shame they can’t also resist the perpetual wear of the long-distance driver’s seat belt.

This example is by no means the worst. What the sun cannot penetrate, friction can and will.

And now for an entertaining assortment of patches and darns. Due to the vagaries of digital photography, my fluoro orange thread looks yellow. It’s a much better match in real life. It has me puzzled, because the camera can reproduce the shirt colour just fine. Anyway, just so you know, the patches are made from retired shirts, which is why they’re paler. Shirts that colour have to be retired because they are considered no longer hi-vis (and I’m not even going to mention the holes, diesel and grease stains, tears, splits….), which means that the good bits become available as patching material.

Clearly the sun does fade the fabric even if it doesn’t rot. The 3 shirts being mended are none of them older than a couple of years, which is why the shoulder wear is so annoying; they’re in otherwise great condition.

Those mends in the pocket corners are because the pockets are required to contain far more stuff than the design specified. Pen, phone, notebook, paperwork, mask, sunglasses, etc. Men don’t carry handbags/ purses, remember?

Hopefully this is the last of the mending for a bit. You can all breathe a big sigh of relief.


Floribunda #17: Blocks 29 and 30

The last two blocks are done.

They’re the bottom left and right corners of the quilt front, and I really like them, particularly the first one!

This is currently the final layout for the front. I won’t be starting to join anything for a while yet, as I’ll be cutting backing and batting and sashing, so if you see any obvious issues with this layout, tell me what you think. I don’t promise to change it, but I’ll certainly take notice.

Remember the fabric I bought for the quilt backing?  I was afraid there wouldn’t be enough. I was right, but it’s not as bad as I thought. I only need to make 4 blocks for the back, one for each corner. I’ll use fabrics in black & white, yellow, orange and orange-rust, to pick up the colours of the fabric. I don’t know what pattern I’ll be using yet, but it needs to be simple, because of both time and how the quilting and assembly works.

I actually have a fair bit of the batiks left. Maybe enough to make myself something pretty as a reminder of a fun and colourful project.

The next couple of days are going to be a bit busy 🙂


I saw this walking Mouse yesterday.

My first thought was that someone had hung up a CD as a bird-scarer – people do that, don’t they, hoping the sun flashing on the silver side will scare birds off vegie gardens, etc? The photo doesn’t quite communicate how silvery and shiny it was, creating the illusion of solidity. But why was it here, on the bank of a creek in a shady, little-used picnic area?

When I got closer, I realised an industrious spider had created a very nearly perfect circle of web, which was now laden with tiny drops of condensation glittering in the sun. Isn’t it a marvellous natural world, where you can confuse a spider web and a CD?

Or maybe I’m just getting old and my eyes are going…

Floribunda #15: Blocks 21-23

Yes, the patchwork machine is lurching back into action.

After my recent unscheduled short break for some assorted Covid-vaccine side effects, I’m back at the machine. I treated myself to a good tidy-up on my work table (nothing too drastic, I do have ‘creative muddle’ to maintain after all) so that I could actually find a few things I needed, and the result is another 3 blocks in swift succession.

These are the start of the next row, and one (the top one) for the row below. On the same row there will also be three pink ones, but that’s for another day. I’m giving myself till mid-May to finish the front, to the end of 3rd week in May for the sandwiching and quilting, and to the end of May for assembly. The quilt has to be entered for the Mackay Show on 4th June. No pressure, then. But as we all know, I do get my skates on best when I have a deadline. I will, however, forgive myself if I miss it, since I’ll also be entering the Hatbox Quilt which didn’t go in last year because the Show was cancelled.

Watch this space for a blur of batik!

Mend it Monday: no-match patches

Mend it Monday is an initiative begun by The Snail of Happiness.

Mending things, being frugal and saving stuff from landfill is the point. Clothing is cheap these days, mostly for all the wrong reasons. But just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s disposable in the same way as packaging, Just because it has a hole in it doesn’t mean it can’t be saved. Take the Husband’s work pants, for example.

Until quite recently, he’s been reluctant to pay ‘proper’ money for decent quality, because “They just get holes in them”. Gradually, he’s come to appreciate that the better the quality, the fewer the holes that seem to appear as if by magic… So far, none of the good quality ones have required mending. Funny, that.

I’m now mending the last of the medium-quality pants that were the interim measure. But I have a rule. More than three patches on the seat, and they’re not worth saving as garments, because I will have run out of fabric that’s sturdy enough to sew yet another patch onto. As a truck driver, he spends the great majority of his day sitting on that part of his pants, and the pressure and friction is significant!

This pair is on Strike Two.

This pair has one more go, and then it’s the rag bag.

You could say I make a point with these patches by not carefully matching colour and fabric. You’d be right. I see nothing wrong with patching, it’s not something to hide. I use what I have to hand. And if he insists on ripping the seat out of his pants with monotonous regularity, he’s going to take the mending I feel moved to give him!

I save the legs of the pants for patching material, I save the waistband buttons, which also have a tendency to disappear, and occasionally, I’ll be able to save a zipper. I’m looking forward to retiring the last of the cheaper work pants.

It’ll certainly save on the mending!

Bee, Myself & I #52, Parterre Block 19

Gosh, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

End of January, to be exact. When time is short, it’s always the projects you’re doing for yourself that fall by the wayside, and Parterre is no exception. It’s probably just as well all the blocks are all slightly different and assembly is involved, as they form sort of mini-projects in their own right. The process is very familiar by now, as is the order in which things need to be assembled. The difference comes from the colours and combinations of fabrics.

This one is a tiny bit different in that the flower almost matches, rather than being quite different from the other fabrics. I like the effect, and I may make a few more like this and sprinkle them around the layout of the finished quilt. At some point, I’ll also have to decide how many blocks I’m making. These blocks are 10 inches square. I suspect I will lose the will to live if I have to make enough blocks to achieve lap quilt size, so I’ll probably end up bordering each block to bring it up to 12 inches, and then sash. That will also have the virtue of standardising the final size of each block.

Bee, Myself and I is a forum for ‘selfish sewing’; any stitchery which is purely for pleasure and not to a deadline or for anyone else. The original concept belongs to Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl. To find out more, you can click through on either her blog link, or using the button a fair way down in the left hand column of this blog.

Until next time… whenever that is!

Whipping the light fantastic

Yes, you read that right.

Not an original one today, but I was so irrationally excited by the results of this recipe that I had to share it!

I dearly love a cupcake, but find most buttercream icing/frosting a bit too sweet and rich. So when I saw this alternative on one of my favourite YouTube channels, I had to give it a go. Coffee foam. No fat. No dairy. Obviously coffee doesn’t go with everything, but with chocolate cupcakes? Yum!

I got the recipe from the Emmy Made YouTube channel. I’m a great fan of hers. She tries all kinds of things, makes all kinds of things, tastes all kinds of things and tests all kind of things. She’s lovely, with a calm, friendly, youthful demeanour, and is refreshingly frank about her own fails and bloopers. She calls it Magic Coffee Whip and she herself got this recipe from a source detailed in her own video about it (see the link below), but it basically boils down to three everyday, basic ingredients:

20g/¾ ounce instant coffee granules/crystals* (NOT powdered)
200g/7 ounces caster (superfine) sugar
160ml/5½ ounces icy cold water, the colder the better.

Using either a stand mixer with the balloon whisk fitted, or an electric hand beater on medium/ high, first gently bring together and then whip them until a firm, pale foam is formed, like meringue or whipped cream. It takes about 3-5 minutes, depending on which machine you use (you can of course beat by hand, but it’ll take quite a while. Don’t lose heart, it will happen). That’s it.

The coffee flavour is sweet and strong. The mouthfeel is light and airy, like a very delicate marshmallowy meringue. You can store it, too, without the whole thing breaking down disastrously. A little coffee liquid will form at the bottom (see photo below) and the foam will darken on the surface and become a little more open in texture, but it’s still perfectly usable. As you can see below, it still supports the weight of the knife. I have yet to discover at what point it breaks down past usefulness. I suspect it’ll be eaten long before that happens.

You can top cupcakes or brownies. You can top iced coffee or chocolate. I haven’t yet tried it with hot drinks. I’m told you can even make it without the sugar, but that would be quite bitter and would need to be paired with something pretty sweet to balance. I’m not sure about the science, but it’s apparently about the granules in the coffee bonding with the icy water and forming a stable foam with strong walls. Or something. Emmy explains it better in her video.

Go on, give it a try. It’s like magic! 


*I used Nescafé Blend 43

Organising, socialising and remembering

Yes, it’s a bit of a mixed bag today.

Organising. Well. I got my scan results and I don’t need surgery, I’ve started physiotherapy (which is already helping) and I’m told it’ll take another 8 weeks or so but I should be walking normally again. I’ve booked a recommended hydrocortisone injection into my heel, but think that I may be cancelling it if the exercises continue to improve matters, as it’s both painful and not always effective. I was surprised to be offered my first Covid-19 vaccination on Friday (I thought it’d take a while longer), so of course I jumped at it. I’ve done a lot of reading and considering, and am happy with my decision to take it. I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones that got a few unpleasant side effects (aching bones, chills, fever, fatigue), but it lasted just a couple of days.

Socialising. Mouse has a lady friend in the neighbourhood called Lotti. She’s a small, pretty fine-boned white and tan/brindle greyhound who lives just a few streets away, and Lotti’s mum and I are good friends. Every few weeks (when the Husband is free on a Friday morning) we have the Happy Grey Social Club Coffee Morning. We meet at a local café, bring the doggos, their blankets and bowls, and the Staffs have coffee and the Greys have puppacinos. They attract a lot of admiring attention as they lounge about looking elegant, the café staff love them, they love the staff because they know where the puppacinos come from, and a good time is had by all. I thought you’d enjoy seeing Miss Lotti, who is clearly a girly girl – check out that collar 🙂 ❤

Finally, Remembering. Today is Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peace-keeping operations and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served. Today I also remember my grandfather and father, who served in the First and Second World Wars. The tradition is to attend a Dawn Service at your local war memorial, but last year the pandemic prevented us doing so and the nation lit up the dawn with lights at the end of their driveways and in their windows. This year most of us are once again permitted to attend an official ceremony, but as I’m still unable to drive to get there, I created my own Light at Dawn memorial, and Stood To at dawn to observe it as the Last Post was played all around the nation. You see here my grandfather’s war medals, including the Military Cross for Conspicuous Gallantry, and the Husband’s slouch hat from his 20 years of service in the Army reserves.

Lest We Forget

Hors de combat

Hors de combat (French: [ɔʁ də kɔ̃ba]; lit. ‘out of combat’)

I have been out of action for a couple of days. These days, I don’t often get migraines, but when I do, it’s a doozy. Sorry about the radio silence, but I was barely functional. Nurse Mouse was supervising me throughout, so I was in good paws, even if it meant that the available space in the bed was somewhat reduced… I’m through the worst of it now, so normal service will resume shortly.

I’m watching you. Lie still and be good.

Mouse appears to feel that the overtime he put in merits double helpings of frozen chicken necks. We are in negotiations…

I’m also doing something about the endless time this ankle is taking to heal. Tomorrow I have an x-ray and ultrasound scheduled, with a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon in the pipeline. My doctor agrees that it’s taking too long and is still too painful. In a sense, a swift spot of surgery would be welcome if it means reducing the endless hobbling about. We shall see.

Funny. I can be endlessly patient when I’m making stuff, but when it comes to my body mending itself, I’m constantly wishing things would just get a move on.

So, just a bit more Hurry Up and Wait…