We’re dry

There’s been a LOT of rain.

I’ve had questions from all over, wanting to make sure we’re OK, and we are. Knowing the local weather, when we moved here we chose a solid brick and tile house, at the top of a hill, and we’re safe and warm inside, even if the sloping back yard is a soggy quagmire and the water running down the brick path is ankle deep. We emptied our 7,000 litre/1,800 gallon garden rainwater tank earlier, so we could flush it. It took less than 24 hours to completely refill with the runoff from our 5m x 10m/16ft x 32ft shed roof.

The chooks are Not Happy, but there’s not much I can do for them. They have a tarp stretched over their yard and another over their tractor if we deem it dry enough on the grass to let them out in it. They have a warm, dry chook house filled with wood shavings and plenty of grain in the feeder.

Mouse is happy lounging about in the house until he needs to go outside, and then there is severe Princess Syndrome. If I make him wear his raincoat, only his paws and tail-tip get wet, especially if I put his hood up, but he sulks and trudges. If I don’t, he gets very wet, he tows me along at speed, shakes himself off on me at regular intervals and demands a towel-off when we get home. Lots of side-eye…

So far, the main road into town is still open. One end of a local through-road is closed where it dips down to cross the creek. It’s at least a metre under water. The main creek crossing on the highway is about 30cm below the bottom of the bridge, and rising. Low lying land in the area is under water. A small town northwest of us received 357mm/14 inches of rain in 24 hours and is currently cut off. Many roads are closed, including the No. 1 Highway north and south of here. Which means that supplies are not getting through to supermarkets and shelves are emptying.

All that said, and despite ongoing Bureau of Meteorology warnings and hourly phone alerts, the weather is  s l o w l y  moving away. By tomorrow afternoon, the worst of it will be over, the flood warnings will revert to Falling instead of Rising or Steady, and roads will slowly reopen. It’ll take a while for the supply chain to come back up to speed, but I didn’t wash in on the last tide, and my pantry is well stocked. The worst of it is the plethora of wet dog towels, and trying to dry laundry. I can normally expect wet washing to be dry within a couple of hours tops. Some of it has been on the line in the laundry for the last two days and I’m having to bend to the inevitable and use the drier. Once dry and folded it has to come into the rest of the house where the air conditioning will keep it dry rather than getting damp all over again. But seriously, if that’s the worst of my problems, I have much to be grateful for.

Give it another 24 hours and for us, the worst will be over.

The light of nations

It’s that time again.

The time of year when people incline their hearts and minds towards not only family gatherings, convivial company and the giving of gifts, but to change for the better, peace on earth, and goodwill towards all men. Whatever your nationality or form of belief at this time, a common theme seems to be Light. Hannukah, Diwali, the Winter Solstice and Christmas* all embrace light as a symbol, for example.

So I leave you with a little light of my own. This year, my Christmas decorations have consisted almost exclusively of lights. Perhaps my subconscious mind is telling me that all men need a light to show them the way.

Be the light.



*If this is your personal belief, I give you Isaiah 60:3

Tiny sewing is done

I’ve finished the tiny sewing room model kit.

Do click on the image and zoom in for a closer look. It’s adorable. The little light really brings the whole thing to life. I changed out a few of the fabrics used; the ones they provided were a) a bit dull, and b) rather stiff. I think, for example, that my curtains are much more cheerful than the single blue one they suggested. There have been comparatively few tweaks, though. Some things I’d change, some things were not entirely clear on the instruction pages, but overall it was easier than I feared.

For the next one, I’ve added superglue to my toolkit. Sometimes you need the instant hard set, but most of the time I liked the wood glue because it allowed me to tweak, reposition and even pull apart if necessary. I’d also recommend adding rubber bands, clamps and glue stick to the toolkit, to aid with securing things so they dried in the correct position.

I’ve got another kit lined up, but this one’s going to be hush-hush as it’s a secret gift. I’ll post about it once it’s out in the open.

And now, it’s time for something completely different.

How much more will fit?

It’s getting to be a LOT.

I’ve finished the cheval mirror, the stool and the fabric roll display stand. I don’t think I could squeeze a whole lot more into this miniature sewing room, and the instruction book is rapidly approaching the section on actual construction of the set.

These models are really well thought out and designed. It seems a lot, but once it’s all it, it’ll look totally like a busy sewing room, and it’s the quantity of small details that contribute to that effect. Notice, for example, the tiny white vase on the corner of the display stand, the vase of flowers, the fact that there’s two pairs of scissors (one would be completely unrealistic, right?).

Anyway, onwards. I have a lot to do today, and not on this. I expect I’ll get an hour or so later, but I’m not counting on it.

But the next piece (the chair) is calling my name…

The tiny table

Another bit of the kit finished.

This is the worktable that goes in the sewing room. You saw it yesterday, with just the cutting mat on it. Now, the rest of the items are finished: the tool box, rulers, flowers (both lots), cotton reels, book, roll of fabric, storage jar, drinking glass and scissors. Some of the bits are pre-made. The vast majority are not.

For an idea of the scale, each of the squares of the cutting mat this table is sitting on are an inch (2.5cm).

And I’m not even slightly fed up with it yet. Next will be the display stand for rolls of fabric, but that’s a pleasure for tomorrow. My fingers are creaking and it’s time to eat my delicious fish curry.

More tomorrow, probably.

A tiny world

I’ve never been a model-maker.

Giant jigsaws, yes, making garments and quilts and jewellery, assembling flatpack furniture, all within my wheelhouse, but for whatever reason I haven’t gone tiny.

Until now.

I was browsing some website, and saw an ad for a model kit (the Sakura Densya from Rolife, if you’re interested). I was riveted! I jumped on the website… and I was lost. So far, I have bought two kits, and there are at least four more that I want to make Now. And that’s just for starters.

So, here’s my first. It’s the Sunshine Town alley, complete with coffee shop and bookshop, street furniture, lights and cats! I did the wiring for the lights myself, which I’m proud of. It was fiddly, I learned a lot about model making and assembly, and I can’t wait to start the next one. This completed on is one of the ‘book nook’ series, where you slot the finished thing into a book case for best effect.

The next one will be Lisa’s Tailor, a sewing room with three sides and half a roof, but there’s a lot more stuff in it, so at least the first two days will be spent assembling all the components.

You do need to be good at following visual instructions, but the instructions are good. This kit had 24 pages of assembly information and multiple sheets of laser-cut press-out pieces in thin ply, cardstock and acetate, all clearly numbered. You only needed to sandpaper off the ‘ties’ that held the pieces in place on the sheets. A little painting, a little glueing, nothing technical. Steady hands and a bit of manual dexterity are helpful.

They provide almost everything you need. Due to the customs regulations here, you don’t get the paint or the glue or the batteries with the kit, but that was an easily-solved problem, and now I have them for the next one.

I’m in love with my tiny world. Maximum cuteness, maximum satisfaction at making it, and maximum willpower required to not dash off and open that second kit Right Now. It’s a little bit… ok, a LOT, addictive, which is kind of odd when you remember you’re fiddling about with glue and paint and little bits of wood and paper, but there it is.

I’ve made mistakes and done some things a bit wrong here and there, but I’ll know better next time. And as always, it’s probably only me who sees the mistakes. I leave you with my book nook lit up and looking extremely ravishing…

At least the Husband now knows what to get me for virtually any future celebration!

EDIT: for everyone who’s wondering if they can get these kits where they live, here’s a link to the company’s web page which shows the countries they ship to and the timelines/costs.

Goes with anything

Isn’t that what they say about black?

Or in this case, all the colours. It’ll work with so many things! I’ve finished the fabric bead necklace, using up as many cones as I had. I also made a pair of earrings to go with it. Originally, I’d intended to have all the beads strung close together, as I wanted a sort of floral effect, but I discovered on wearing it that the beads would get forced upwards by movement and it looked extremely odd. So then it was deciding what to do about adding spacers.

The wire choker is quite thick, and the fastening at the back doesn’t allow most of my spacer beads to pass over it. So then I had a brainwave. I have a small collection of narrow clear plastic tubes which I’ve saved from using Piksters* after cleaning my teeth. I thought they might come in useful some time, and now they have. I cut small slices off a number of tubes, and worked out that putting two spacers between each bead looked the best. Because they’re clear, they don’t really ‘read’, they weigh nothing and they do the trick. Job done.

And finally, I have at last got round to adding the three-string clasp to my lilac necklace.

I made it in the first place to go with my beautiful silver, pearl and amethyst earrings, and I feel it works rather well. Another one to add to the collection.


And now that’s enough jewellery making for now. Back to fabric!


*Piksters are tiny interdental brushes for scrubbing between your teeth, and I find them more effective than using dental floss.

What do you think…?

Personally, I reckon it works rather well.

I need a lot more, so that they’re thickly clustered, but I think the overall effect is pretty good.

It’s not too tricky. Take an inch of silver wire. Turn up one end with a pair of needle nose pliers to form a ‘stop’. Slip on a small silver spacer bead. Fold your triangle of fabric in half and poke the other end of the wire through both thicknesses of fabric at the apex, about an eighth of an inch from the point. Push the triangle down towards the bead at the end. Fold the two ‘wings’ of the triangle in towards the centre. Poke the wire and fabric into the bottom of the cone and feed the wire through the hole in the top. Slip another spacer onto the wire. Using the pliers, form a loop at the top, snipping off the excess wire before you close the loop. Done. All that’s left is to gently pull off any dangling threads and slip the ‘bead’ onto the wire choker.

I need to remake a couple of the beads where the fabric has come adrift because I didn’t use the first spacer bead inside the cone. Apart from that, it’s really simple.

Now I just have to think about what to do with all the other triangle scraps. This necklace  has barely scratched the surface…

Feeling the weather

Yeah, weird title.

Bear with me.  The past couple of weeks has been mentally and physically… trying. I’ve been having extra back pain for a few weeks now, in a new place. As always with a cancer patient, the doctor was disposed to do a bit of investigating, and because of previous back surgery, he put a bit of a rush on it. Off to the CT scanner I went. Now, I think you’ll agree that images like this will cause a little stress in someone whose cancer is predisposed to metastasise into the spine….

My T8 vertebra, with mystery object

However.  It’s not the bad news I’ve been stressing about for days and days. I have IVP, or intervertebral vacuum phenomenon, or air pockets between the vertebral end plate and the disk. Probably caused by osteophytic degeneration of the endplate, or old age, to those of us speaking English. Oh, there are other issues too, which will cause problems down the road, but that’s pretty much to be expected with the degeneration that’s going on.

One of the interesting things about IVP is that not only is it affected by position and posture, it’s also sensitive to atmospherics. I feel atmospheric high and low pressure in my back. It’s storm season here, and we’re having an endless band of thunderstorms passing over us. Not only is poor doggo in a constant state of stress, but I’m also getting gyp from it. Happy days.

On a more cheerful note, I now have additional medication which is working a treat. But if you tell me about the bad weather and I say, “I feel your pain”, I mean it… literally.

Excuse me, I’m off to tai chi while the sun is shining!