Lime & Soda: the flap is over

I don’t mean the panic, I mean the flapping of the curtain.

I knuckled down yesterday and got the extra bits made. Three ties for the right side of the curtain, and a wide channel for the left. Then I mooched about some more, looking for excuses not to do the last bit, as you do. I even went to the lengths of doing some overdue mending, gasp… We’ve had two days of heavy rain, the temperature is much more reasonable (if very humid) for working, and finally, I could procrastinate no longer. This morning I got the job done.

I drilled and screwed in three eyebolts on the right-hand, outer side of the porch, and fixed the ties onto those. Then I got another batten and cut it so it was just a bit longer than the channel. I then drilled holes in it, top and bottom, and corresponding holes in the wall. I ran the batten through the channel on the side of the curtain and screwed it in place top and bottom. Job done. The curtain is nice and flat without being stretched, and it won’t now get sucked into the compressor inlet. I haven’t tried to completely seal off the section behind the curtain; without some airflow the curtain will twang like a drum, and the aircon needs some throughput.

When we get back from our holiday, I shall move a bunch of plants into the porch to make it a bit less spartan. For now, they can enjoy the natural rainfall, which is forecast in generous quantities! Meanwhile, I’m searching the internet to find those ceramic watering spikes which have a tube to run into a bucket of water for automatic watering while you’re away. I used to have a load of them but they got lost in our last move. eBay has them aplenty, but no-one wants to mail them to Australia 😦  The search continues. Also on my return, I must make another curtain for the screen door at the other end of the porch, a simple, flat panel. I have plenty of lime, grey, black & white scraps left, so it should be fairly straightforward.

And now, I have no more excuses. Back to Bonnard, and the hand quilting. 13 rows to go.


Lime & Soda: much cooler already

Sadly, I can’t do a triumphant unveiling of the full Lime & Soda project.

The curtain’s up, and it’s already doing a great job of cooling down the porch in the afternoon, but I have managed to stuff up the curtain measurements quite noticeably, so it’s not done done, just nearly…

Here’s the porch before. During the morning and early afternoon, the sun comes in at those windows on the right. During the late afternoon, it comes blasting in the windows at the end, as you see in the photo.  Added to that, we have the aircon compressor sitting there on the left, belching out even more heat. The place is unusable in the summer.

We put a batten up on the ceiling, which has small dome head screws sticking out at intervals along the front face. If you click and zoom on the photo you’ll see what I mean.

I then put eyelets through the header of the curtain at the same intervals, which then dropped over the head of each screw. I’d have like silver eyelets but couldn’t find any. Yes, I am very picky…

The curtain hangs nice and straight. Such a shame it’s not quite large enough… We need the gap at the bottom for air intake, but the sides are both short by about 3 inches.

As you may remember, the idea for this curtain was to shut out the heat from not only the compressor but also the sun in the afternoon, when it’s low and comes in at the rear. However, I failed to take something into account. The compressor draws air in as well as blowing hot air out.  The intake is on the side that faces the curtain. Guess what… The curtain plasters itself all over the intake and prevents the aircon functioning properly. This being the case, I’ll need to make a tweak of some sort and am therefore not beating myself up over the fact that somehow, somewhere, I’ve lost several inches from the width of the curtain. I suspect I was over-generous with hems and failed to allow for the fact that they needed more than my usual ¼ inch allowance. I know how to fix the problem. I need to sew a 3 inch channel down the left hand side of the curtain, run a batten through the channel and fix it to the side wall at top and bottom, to prevent the curtain flapping and being sucked against the intake. Probably something similar on the other side as well, to hold things taut. It’s going to be an interesting exercise in seeing how much of that sashing fabric I have left!

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the shade in the porch, and the fact that this lovely curtain also blocks excess sun through the french windows and into the living room. In spite of the sunblock backing, you still get a slight stained-glass effect from the seam allowances on each block, and the greens really glow. Once the size and flapping issues are fixed, and I’ve made a similar curtain for the front screen door, I’ll eventually be able to open those french windows and cool the whole porch down even more. At that point, it’ll be cool enough for some plants, which will really give me a fresh tropical feeling 🙂

One step at a time…

Lime & Soda: not hanging about

I have the curtain mostly assembled.

I say mostly: I still need to add the borders at left and right, and add the triangular bit at top left. But I think this photo gives you a pretty clear idea of how nice it is. I’m so pleased with how it has turned out!  The sashing fabric is perfect for tying together all the patterns and shades of grey, black and white, and the brilliant greens really sing.

I’ve really enjoyed working with all these blocks, and recalling who made them. This curtain is going to be a wonderful way to showcase all the lovely work, something I will look at every day and be reminded of quilting friends far away.

So, next I will add the triangle at the top, then the side borders, and finally, I’ll hem the piece all around. I still need to add a sunblock backing fabric, a triple-pass curtain lining. The curtain will not have a batting layer or quilting, as that will stop it draping. The backing will be sufficient to make it heavy enough to block out the heat. The angle of the ceiling will not allow a rod or rail in the normal way, as the curtain would always be pulling ‘downhill’, so the header of the curtain will be trapped between two long battens of wood, rather than having curtain tape and hooks or rings on a rail. This batten sandwich will be fixed directly to the ceiling, thus keeping the rising heat out.

Once it’s up, I’ll have some fun tidying and dressing up the porch to make it a pleasant annexe to the sitting room.

A small landmark, and an update

Some of you will have received a notification about this in your Reader yesterday, and found the post was not there. Sorry about that, but I was a doofus and hit Publish too soon. I meant to schedule it, and had to take it down again in a hurry.

First, the landmark.

It’s exactly 4 years and 4 months since I started this blog. It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve made many kind and interesting friends, learned a lot and received much support and encouragement. And yesterday, I got this notification:

So to all of you out there, old friends and new, thank you. Thank you for following, reading and most of all, commenting. It wouldn’t be so much fun without you 🙂 People who comment, who actively participate in the life of a blog, are what make the blogging world go round, and I’m so grateful to you for taking the time and trouble to do so.

And now, the update. The Lime & Soda porch curtain is coming along nicely. I have all the rows joined. Next, I’ll start working out the triangular pieces I need at the top to fit under the sloping roof and add the side and bottom border. It’s lovely renewing my acquaintance with these blocks; I’d forgotten just how pretty and fresh they were, and the colour scheme is perfect for this use. Those lovely lime greens pick up the greens outside (or will, when we’ve had some rain!), and the blacks will echo the black porch chairs I have out there. And Bonnard is creeping ever closer to the halfway point. Another line completed yesterday.

Back to the sewing machine this morning, and hand quilting this afternoon.


Staying cool with Lime & Soda

In case you were wondering, this is not a recipe post…

Mackay is in the tropics. Our climate is hot, ranging from pleasantly sunny to raging, stinging heat with the force of a hammer. Our old wooden house requires no heating and air conditioning is a must. In the winter, the sun is the only way of taking the edge off any mild chill inside a house designed to stay cool. To this end, the house was designed with a sun porch running along the north side of the house, following the track of the winter sun from east to west. It gets sun all day long. Our living room has 4 continuous french windows which open onto this sun porch, but they’re never open, despite the fact that it would increase the space, warm the room on cooler days and increase air circulation. This is because the sun porch gets too darn hot; the aircon compressor lives in there, and the louvre windows have no fly screens so they stay closed, and the screen door onto the porch lets in the hot air.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this?

The porch roof slopes down so the curtain needs to be higher on one side than the other. I shall fill the gaps with sashing fabric.

Curtains. If I screen off the area of the porch where the compressor lives with a heavy curtain, keep the louvres closed and the bamboo blinds down, and have another curtain for the screen door, I can open the french windows and air condition the sun porch too on hot days and allow warm air into the main room on cooler days. And the Lime & Soda bit? That’s the clever name my friend Carla came up with, back when I was going to make a quilt from these blocks, which were made as part of the first FootSquare Freestyle (F²F) block swap.

Sashing fabric for between the curtain blocks. The flowers are about 2 inches across

NYB tablecloth, which I will edge with the sashing fabric, and three cushion fronts

Instead, I shall make a heavy curtain from 28 of the F²F blocks, and for the table and chairs in the porch a tablecloth and cushions from the four gorgeous New York Beauty blocks made by Avis and the final  three blocks.

The screen door curtain will probably come out of the numerous black, white, grey and lime green scraps I was hoarding with these blocks.

That leaves just one problem. How to stop the barking geckos leaving their pellets of poo all over everything.

Up to now, they’ve had it all their own way in there, and that’s going to stop.

Still, the little poops are black and white, so at least they’ll blend in with the colour scheme.

Ah, life in the tropics…