Just in time for Christmas

The new deck is finished!

Let’s go back a little bit. We used to have a closed-in sun porch on the side of the house. It had a concrete floor, plank walls to hip height and glass louvres above. The compressor for the aircon was out there, and we scarcely used it except occasionally in the winter, because it was infernally hot.

You may recall I tried to beautify it a while ago with a large curtain which cut some of the heat by blocking off the compressor. That worked ok, but it didn’t do much for the fact that during the incredibly dry season we had recently, the ground under the concrete base started to shrink and the whole thing started to pull away from the house. A crack an inch wide appeared between the house and the porch. Something had to be done.

There was nothing wrong with the roof overhead. So I had fun removing all the glass from the louvres, the Husband and I demolished the walls, Bill the carpenter came and propped the roof, and Keith the excavator came and did his usual incredibly agile zooming around in his baby bobcat, and took out the concrete base. And then Bill came back and built us this.

Isn’t it lovely? As you can see, we’re ready for Christmas with a welcome wreath and twinkling lights. Such a change from that hot, dusty thing we had before. It’s cool, roomy, and has wide steps at either end. I can open the french windows in the living room and just step out. My 3 metre dining table fits out there. Which is just as well, as we’re 10 for Christmas breakfast, which is at Chiconia this year. The forecast is for pleasant, moderate temperatures, and I think it should be memorable.

It’s almost a shame we’re moving house early next year. I’m totally in love with this new deck….

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.

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…