A whole different way of camping

Up to now, camping has been a balancing act.

You balance the things you want and need against the space or carrying capacity available. I’ve backpacked; I don’t enjoy the weightlifting involved. I’ve camped with a bicycle and panniers, a motorbike and trailer, and with a car. In all these cases, you have to discard things because there’s no space for them, often things you later wish you had. It’s mostly a case of cramming things into every available corner.

laundry-bagsMiz Lizzie has changed all that. I have places for things, permanent places. One of the most refreshing changes is clothes and laundry. We have a wardrobe, and drawers, for goodness’ sake. When I realised this morning that dirty laundry no longer had to be hung outside the tent in a skimpy plastic bag till I could deal with it, I made us each (drum roll) a laundry bag! To hang inside the wardrobe door on a hook, and corral all the mis-matched socks, used underwear and sweaty shirts, so that Miz Lizzie stays tidy, clean and pleasant-smelling.

pocket-hangingAnd remember I said I’d tell you another time what I did with the pockets from the jeans I cut up for rug yarn? It’s another ‘stuff’-corralling item, some-where to put all those bits and pieces that otherwise get put down, forgotten and lost. It’ll hang inside by the door, or possible on the back of the door itself, so you can find the torch easily in the middle of the night when you have to go to the loo, or you need your car keys or sun-screen before you head out. It’s not especially beautiful or straight – old denim can be a bit baggy to work with – but it is useful, and made from a recycled pair of jeans and a fabric remnant for which I paid $3.

Our first outing is on Saturday. I’m in a frenzy of list-making now that I have space to play with. With the bike and trailer I knew what I had and could take. This is a whole new ball game – does anyone out there have any gems of good advice or experience I could benefit from?

But it’s still better to take too little than too much, wouldn’t you say?

SAL 42: A line under the alphabet

I got the border under the letters finished!

Here’s where I was last time:

sampler-middle-border

And here’s where I am now 🙂

letters-bottom-borderIt felt good to ‘draw a line’ under the letters, which I found slow going, especially at the end. Now, I can let go and enjoy myself with the borders, blocks and patterns which happen below the line, as it were.

Don’t forget to hop over and inspect progress on all the other SAL projects; links below. We’re all in different time zones, so if there’s nothing up yet, give it a few hours and try again

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnJessSueConstanzeDebbierose,
ChristinaSusanKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLinda,
Catherine, Wendy

See you next time, on 12th March.

 

Chunky denim

I was scuffling about in Miz Lizzie yesterday. As you do…

It struck me that her pale vinyl flooring  was easy to keep clean but a bit hard under foot. A rug was needed. Having handed over large quantities of the Husband’s hard-earned cash to buy her, I didn’t want to go and spend yet more money on a non-essential rug, so obviously, I’d have to make one. What did I have that would be the right colour, and how was I going to make it?

Something I have in large quantities is the Husband’s worn out work clothes, especially the blue denim jeans. They go down at the heels and wear away on the seat and inseam. But there’s nothing much wrong with the legs, or the pockets. Light began to dawn…

One big pair of scissors and one worn out pair of jeans later, I’m here:

denim-crochetI can’t crochet properly. But I can make a chain and then simply hook backwards and forwards along it. I’m using the largest hook I could find, an N or 10mm. The strips are roughly 10-12mm wide – very roughly! I just started cutting at the bottom of the leg and spiraled my way up by eye, no measuring or fancy ruler work. What you see here is one leg crocheted and the other cut into a continuous strip. It’s hard work; the denim is very tough and the seams resist being hooked through, but it does make a gorgeously chunky texture, and my arms are getting a workout.

It’ll make a nice, textural, washable bedside rug in the perfect colour. And that’s another pair of jeans I don’t have to throw away. Recycling in action 🙂

I’ll show you what I’m doing with the pockets another time.

Miz Lizzie 2: a pile of goodies

It turns out I won’t get to play with her over the weekend, boo!

They’ve tested the aircon, which is working fine, but the brackets the unit’s mounted on inside its cupboard are worn and the thing makes a huge din when it’s working. New brackets will take till Monday to arrive, so while we’ll get the handover and electric braking fitted to the car on Friday, Miz Lizzie herself will not be available till Monday afternoon. It’s good the problem’s getting fixed, but not so good that I have to wait, as patience is not my strong suit…

Meanwhile, I went to Spotlight to buy fabric for seat covers and curtains, based on what I could remember of the sizes. Their 20% off sale finished yesterday, so I had to do it quickly to get the reduction. I’ve got the fabrics I wanted, ticking for the seat covers and a lovely seaside themed print for the curtains. Luckily I remembered the sizes quite well, as when I went back the next day to measure the actual seats and windows, it turns out I’ve got just about enough. I can always get a metre or so more at full price if I run short.

curtain-cushion-fabricscurtain-fabric-scaleWhile we were standing in the queue for the cutting desk, clutching the two huge rolls of fabric, the Husband said “Have you seen those tiny little cheap sewing machines over there?  Do you think you could use one for the caravan?” Er, silly question, my darling… you really need to ask? Only $99, too.

lilibetSo here’s my baby Singer, Lilibet. Isn’t she little and cute? She weighs only 4.4kg (9.5 pounds). She’s got straight, zigzag, invisible hemming, edge-finishing and decorative scallop stitches as well as buttonhole stitching. There’s stitch width and length adjustment, and a reverse lever. She has regular, zipper and buttonhole feet, and a cover for the feed dogs for quilting. That’s plenty. She doesn’t have lock stitch or needle down buttons or speed control, but I can work around that. So while we’re gallivanting around the countryside, I can carry on with whatever project I’m currently sewing 🙂 The Husband’s a treasure, isn’t he?

Meanwhile, bloke-type presents are also being bought for our new baby: power cords, amperage converters, that sort of stuff. We have 10 days before we go away, and just about enough time to get everything sorted. I won’t have time to do the curtains and covers, either, but it’ll give me a chance to see whether I’ll need blackout lining, and if the bed cushions need more padding, that sort of thing.

Time to do some proper sewing, I think, instead of petting my fabrics….

ScrapHappy February

Already! Time goes so fast…

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

Well, I’ve been working on several other and more urgent projects, so my progress on the Anemone scrappy quilt hasn’t been so very impressive. I’ve been stitching assembled hexie flowers into an ever-increasing piece.

The worst thing is that my lovely camera has decide to go on strike and I simply cannot get it to take a photo with auto focus switched on so that images are crisp. It’ll have to go into hospital tomorrow, where hopefully a nice man will twiddle a couple of switches and tell me “You had the bftrglsgl operating at ISO 3 million and the aperture at 700, and you didn’t stand on one leg while pressing the shutter button in halfway, so of course it wouldn’t focus”. And I shall feel like a fool and accept his scorn and the fix gratefully… because truthfully, I should inform myself better about this camera’s amazing abilities. But all I want it to do is take a decent, in-focus image with minimum fuss. And up to now, it has obliged me.

Here’s where I’ve got to (not too hideous, mostly in-focus photo taken with my phone instead…):

anemone-phone-1

And this is how it looked before, so progress hasn’t been too shabby. Yes, I do know it’s upside down compared with how I showed it before, but I find I now prefer it this way 🙂  I shall also refrain from making and showing new hexie flowers till all the ones I have are sewn in. It’s getting too confusing trying to work out which ones are new, and which you’ve seen before!

anemone-start-of-assemblyScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps – no new fabrics. It can be a random or formal quilt block, a pillow or pincushion, a bag or hat, a collage or rag rug. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into some-thing beautiful 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 shown on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. You don’t have to worry about 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.

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):

Usually has a scrappy post:

Gun at https://rutigt.wordpress.com (in Swedish and English)

Titti at http://tittisquiltlek.blogspot.se (in Swedish only)

Heléne at http://quiltochsom.blogspot.se (in Swedish only)

Sometimes has a scrappy post:

Eva at bambisyr-evaj.blogspot.com (in Swedish only)

Sue at sewingmagpie.blogspot.com (in English only)

Nanette at http://stitchandsow-homeandgarden.blogspot.com.au (in English only)

Lynn at https://thetialys.wordpress.com (in English only)

Norma at https://shesewsyouknow.wordpress.com (in English only)

Lynda at: https://pixilatedtoo.wordpress.com (in English only)

Birthe: http://birthesrom.blogspot.no (in Norwegian only)

Turid: http://densyendehimmel.blogspot.se (in English and Norwegian)

Susan: https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Cathy: http://nanacathydotcom.wordpress.com (in English only)

Debbierose: https://sewrosey.wordpress.com (in English only)

Tracy: https://itsatsweetsday.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Jill: http://nicepieceofwork.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Claire: https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Jan: http://thesnailofhappiness.com/ (in English only)

Karen: https://mewithptsd.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Deb: https://abearsthimble.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

See you again, same time next month!

 

 

Miz Lizzie

The more observant among you may have noticed I’ve been off the radar a bit…

Aside from the secret sewing, which is progressing well, I’ve had a new Project, involving lots of internet research, comparisons and in the end, a spreadsheet. Believe me, it deserves its capital P. Are you ready? We bought a second-hand caravan/trailer. Allow me to introduce Miz Lizzie.

lizzie-xstitch

img_20170210_170402959_hdrI was brought up to believe that caravan owners were road hogs of the worst kind, dawdlers and blockers of the highways of the world, curtailing the rights of regular people to unfettered zooming along the open road. However, we have sadly acknowledged that while we love trips and camping, the day is fast approaching when Miss Scarlett Thunderbolt and her follower Rolling Thunder will be too tiring and too uncomfortable for the longer distance adventures. We are not getting any  younger…

img_20170210_170920131Add to that the regular appearance of cyclone activity up and down the tropical coast, necessitating a bolt for safety of some sort if you have the means, and the fact that the Husband’s Long Service Leave is coming up in 3 years and we’ll be wanting to have an adventure, and you can see that the lure of cheap independent travelling accommodation becomes more understandable.

img_20170210_170850908_hdrFinally, she was inexpensive for what she offers compared with equivalent ‘vans on the internet, being neat and tidy, and strangely roomy for something only 4m/13ft long. And with aircon…

We take delivery on Friday. The intervening period will be taken up with servicing, checking for defects and testing the gas, the fridge and the aircon to make sure they’re running OK.

I’m looking forward to happy hours in my new play-house. There will of course be lots of decorating, arranging, re-upholstering and furnishing fun to be had…. I’m not going to go all Cath Kidston floral about it, nor the other vintage vibe, ’50s diner, but I do need to get rid of the horrible curtains and the naff bed/seat upholstery. I can live with the blue/grey and white cabinetry and the neutral vinyl flooring so it’s not going to be a full-on rip’n’strip.

Quilts? Well, of course there will be quilts!

 

TWX 8: we’re nearly there

Two more blocks in yesterday, this time from Esther.

esther-twx1 esther-twx2Beautiful fabrics – I’m especially in love with those tiny dragonflies!  This brings us up to 25 blocks in, and only 5 more needed to complete the quilt top. I know Margaret has promised a block or two, but I think after that I need to call a halt till I can get things laid out and see where we are and what we need. So unless you’ve already made and mailed a block, do hold off till I see if there are any gaps left! And if you’ve promised blocks but not yet sent them, don’t worry, there’s no big rush. This quilt doesn’t have to be finished till mid-April…

I’d like to thank all the contributors to Tealed With A Kiss (TWX) so far, many of them serial donors, who have given generously of their time and stash to create a thing of beauty for an excellent cause. They all do beautiful work and make lovely things, so I encourage you to click on their links and take a look.

Ali, Carla, Esther, Gun, Jenny, Kate B, Kathy, Lynn, Margaret,
Robin (who doesn’t have a blog), Sue and Tracy.

Once I get another project down off the design wall, I’ll be putting up the blocks to finalise the layout. More TWX coming soon!