A day to remember…

…And give thanks.

To the men and women of our Armed Forces, then and now: thank you for the sacrifice you made and still make, thank you for the freedom we take for granted, thank you for enduring the horror of war on our behalf. Thank you for showing us that mankind has its redeeming moments amidst ugliness and conflict.

Today is ANZAC Day.  All over Australia and New Zealand, in Gallipoli and northern France, at dawn today people stood in silence to remember and give thanks.

Gone but never forgotten.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 8.03.33 AM

Still here… ūü§Ę

I dropped off the planet there for a while.

Sorry. I had a fierce three day bout of gastro and am only just back on solid foods. It was miserable, my blood sugar was all over the place and I was as wobbly as a day-old lamb.

Back in the land of the living now, and solid food is getting in a look-in once again. An unrelieved diet of rehydration therapy gets old fast… Still, on the upside, I lost 2kg/4.5 pounds.

So apologies for any posts or landmarks I’ve missed, I’ll be trying to catch up.

Hopefully I’ll have something fun to show you 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.

Today, I’m showing you the start of something rather than a finished project. A bit of background: The Husband drives a truck and spends long hours in the driver’s seat. It’s loud, it’s boring and he needs something to help pass the time, so he wears big Bluetooth headphones which enable him to listen to music or talking books, take a hands-free phone call, and protect his hearing from the noise. The ones he likes tend to break easily in un-mendable ways, from either deterioration after constant use, or accidental dropping. I’ve found a way of salvaging at least something from this situation, which is the packaging. It’s beautiful. There’s a nearly-square box and the headphone are packed inside a nearly-oval zipped hard case, nesting in a drawer with a ribbon pull. I’m using the inner cases already in a variety of ways, but the packaging waste was bothering me.

So I’ve decided to make something from them. I have three of them (so far, anyway), so I’m going to stack them into a small drawer unit for keeping my sewing tools (cutter, scissors, tape measure, etc). On the outside, I’m going to glue fabric scraps and seal the whole thing with Mod Podge. I like the orange and white colours, so I’m only going to cover up the bits with pictures and writing. I started it too late to have the thing completed for this month’s ScrapHappy, so hopefully you’ll see either more progress or the finished thing next time. I’ll certainly have some gorgeous scraps left over from the Harlequin Coat project I have on the go to use on this.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything ‚Äď 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‚Äôd 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôll 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). The list below is the most current one I have, so if you’d like me to update something, let me know in the Comments.¬† This month, we’re welcoming back Lynn after taking some time off from blogging, and Tierney, who’s creating something spectacular for you all to enjoy. Be sure to drop by and say hello!

Kate, Gun, Eva, Sue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera, Edith
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti,
Debbierose, Nóilin, Viv, Karrin,
Amo, Alissa, Lynn and Tierney

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.