Thursday, April 30, 2009

Price Gouging and the Dreaded Lurgy

I woke up on Tuesday with the symptoms of a cold: head stuffed with cotton wool and streaming nose. I was supposed to do a computer software workshop so I did. This was probably very silly - I didn't get all I should have from the lesson, and I probably gave the cold to others (though I did try to keep myself separate).

When I got home I went to bed in the spare room and slept for 5 hours. I attempted to eat, but had no appetite, so went back to bed and slept right through. Yesterday was more of the same, except I developed a dry cough which woke me during the night.

I am feeling a bit better today, so I went to the chemist to get some cough mixture. The brand I bought last time I needed it was now $25 for a 250ml bottle! I bought a cheaper brand, but I can't help wondering exactly when the price went up. I hope not since the advent of swine flu and the subsequent panic from poorly informed people.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Reverse Applique

It has been some time since I last attempted this technique. Today we were given a demonstration of it at the Innovative Stitches meeting and encouraged to do a piece ourselves. This is what I have done so far. I used some knit fabric on top of a hand dyed piece of cotton.

I am not sure whether I should trim right back to the stitches (which is what you are supposed to do) or leave a border of the top layer to surround them. I rather like the latter effect.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fashion Reinvention

I went to a talk this evening by Jody Pearl who is very well known locally for her reconstructed fashions. It was held at a local op shop. Jody brought along heaps of garments and described the techniques she had used in each case. There were a few of her previous students in the audience who were wearing garments they had constructed in her classes who also described what they had done. I scribbled down heaps of notes - I hope I am able to read them tomorrow. I am enthused and inspired.

I have been interested in recycling clothing for some time, but have lacked the courage to actually hack into things. Jody made it all sound so easy. I plan to find some discarded things tomorrow and TRY. I have enough bits and pieces that I decided I should pass on the 20% discount offered. Maybe that was a mistake?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Making String

Years ago, while living in Papua New Guinea, I learned to make string from plant fibres by rolling them on my thigh. It was not a skill I continued to practise, and I have long forgotten the details of the technique.

Last night I learned to make string again. It was the monthly WAFTA (West Australian Fibre and Textile Association) meeting and the guest speaker was the multi-talented Lynne Marshall who is a ceramicist, doll-maker, book-maker, basket-maker and dyer. She uses mostly natural fibres for her baskets. Some of the most interesting ones were those made from sea grass and other fibre collected on our local beaches of Coogee and Woodman Point.

After supper Lynne offered a hands - on mini workshop on making string. She had a collection of fibres for us to use. I chose some dyed raffia and a whiskery commercial yarn. This is the result.

So I wouldn't forget the technique I decided to make more string today. I took some torn strips of a heavy silk that I had dyed years ago to my friendship group meeting and produced this (plus quite a bit more that is not in the picture)

I need to work on my tension, and 2 cm strips of a heavy silk make for a VERY thick string, but I am very happy to add this technique to my repertoire. Thanks, Lynne and WAFTA.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Death of an appliance

The dishwasher died over Easter. On Tuesday I rang a company I had found in the Yellow Pages and arranged for a repairman to visit. It was not cheap: $80 + GST = $88 call out with 15 minutes service plus $22 each 15 minutes thereafter. We needed to be home today between 10 am and 1 pm to await his call.

The repair man arrived early (YAY!) and discovered the fault quickly. It was a valve that often fails after a decade or so. I had disinterred possibly relevant paperwork and discovered the dishwasher had been purchased in 1996 (9 years before we moved in).

The quote for a repair was $450. Given the age of the machine it wasn't a difficult decision. We would buy a new one. The repairman had some to offer - I had spotted some on sale in the morning paper. His prices seemed a bit high. We would find our own, but the same brand wasn't an option - they have just gone into receivership.

So we spent the afternoon shopping. The difficulty is that Kevin and I have divergent ideas on what is a good buy. He wants the cheapest, I want something with a recognisable name that has the best/most useable features. We visited 6 of the major big box stores and eventually returned to the first.

We finally purchased a machine with the features I want - not the cheapest. It is now installed and the dinner dishes have been stacked in it. We will run it for the first time tomorrow after breakfast.

And that was my day. No fibre except the cloths I needed to clean out the cupboards under the sink that accommodate the new hoses.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Viking Knitting

Jan, one of our members, is going to give a workshop on this at the meeting of Designing Women this Saturday. I have been collecting all the necessary bits and pieces - is it possible that I may actually use up a bit of the wire I have accumulated over the years? It's not only books that I feel I have to acquire.

Some of the bits needed are to be found in "the shed" - Kevin has come up trumps with Allen keys. I had to buy a small jewellers' vise though because he only has a major one permanently fixed to the workbench.

I have been surfing and have found some stuff on the net that has whetted my appetite. This is a necklace by an American lady, Jan Raven.

She sells a .pdf tutorial on the process. If I like what I manage in Jan's workshop I may buy it.

Later:I couldn't wait and I have bought it. Now to try out the technique.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's raining!

Easter seems to mark the boundary between summer and winter - we don't really have autumn here in Perth. Definitely no wonderful show of leaf colour.

Yesterday was hot (34.3 Celsius). We had a family lunch outside and almost considered bringing out a couple of electric fans to stir the air.

Today it is raining - a nice gentle dripping that will do the garden a great deal of good. It is still quite warm though.

Lunch yesterday was a major production. Graham brought his speciality of ceviche and I made hors d'oeuvres of cream cheese, capers and smoked salmon garnished with dill. As well there was crayfish (Western rock lobster - a great special at a local supermarket) with homemade Mary Rose sauce. There is a recipe here. I don't use whisky in mine though.

Later there was ham and turkey and spiced lamb riblets with beetroot salad, chickpea salad, egg and potato salad and a tossed green salad plus freshly baked Turkish bread. No-one wanted dessert - strange, that.

And I forgot to take any photos of the feast.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ian Rankin/Rebus

I can't believe the response to this blog - I have had several emails about it. Thanks to everyone who has offered me copies to read before I raid the library or the secondhand book stores.

As I said: it is wonderful to discover a "new" author who has such an oeuvre. Much better than biting the fingernails waiting for the latest book - though I am sure that will happen once I have read all he has written. One can read so much faster than a favourite author can write!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Melville Sculpture Walk 2009

We nearly missed seeing this. It closes tomorrow, so we went this morning. Kevin has written about it on his blog too. It was at Piney Lakes, but a different part to where Designing Women meet. This is the little lake around which the sculptures were arranged. No fountain today.

Somehow my photos got lost, so I am using Kevin's. These were my favourites.

Incey Wincey.

The waterlilies on which you could play a tune.

And the fibre lizard up a tree.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I'm reading

lots. I haven't been able to see well enough to sew much because it needs a constant switch of glasses, none of which seem to do the job properly, but once I get the reading glasses on and focus on a book all is well.

I have just finished this book. I love it when I discover a new-to-me writer who has written heaps of books. I had heard of Rebus, maybe even watched parts of a TV episode, but had never read any of the books. Now I am a fan. I will be searching the library . . . and the secondhand bookshops.

This resonates:
" . . he picked up some books from the floor and stacked them against a wall, beside other columns of paperbacks and hardbacks, read and unread. One day he would get time to read them. They were like contraband: he couldn't stop himself buying them, but then he never really did anything with them once he'd bought them. The buying was the thing, that sense of ownership."

I have some of those piles too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Helen gave me a potted magnolia 'Little Gem' as a birthday present. On Sunday it had 3 buds. Two flowers appeared yesterday, but have nearly gone today. They do smell good though. I think I need to buy a large pot, find a suitable spot for its permanent residence and replant it. I do not have green fingers. I frequently kill plants, either through neglect or over indulgence in water. Hope this one lasts.

My friendship sewing group met at Jenny's new house today. Jenny does have green fingers and I am looking forward to seeing what eventuates in her presently minimal garden. There are some magnolias in a row against a fence - they are going to anyone who wants to dig them out. Glad I didn't need to offer!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Almost freedom again

I am still waiting for my new lenses. They were ordered nearly a month ago. The left one arrived at the optician's within a week, but they didn't tell me. Not a real problem - I wouldn't have been able to use it anyway because that eye was still sore.

Today I decided to find out what is happening - I have an appointment with the optometrist on Thursday, I haven't worn lenses for a month and I thought I should make some attempt to get used to them again. It was then I found that they were still waiting for the lens for the right eye. They did a bit of a chase up for me and found that the manufacturers were having some difficulty. No-one seemed to know why and it's strange because it is a replacement - not a new prescription.

It was the left eye that caused all the initial problem, so I decided I would get the new lens and start accustoming my eyes to lenses again using that and the old lens for the right eye.

So far so good. I have had them in for two hours and they are feeling fine, but I plan to remove them if I feel any discomfort. After all the glasses swapping I don't want to go backwards.

This is what I have been shuffling: tinted distance glasses, distance glasses and reading glasses.
Great fun - NOT!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Coffee Break

I did a bit of sewing (the top is nearly finished), then went shopping to Garden City. Bought a couple of books from K-Mart. I had a Dymocks voucher, but you can't beat the 30% off. I will save the voucher for something serious rather than the fluff I bought today.

I was surfing last night and found a site with these coffee mugs. Wouldn't they be fabulous for making prints with your coffee on a paper table cloth while you sat chatting?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I had a very pleasant day. Dorothy invited us to come for lunch. Before we went I had two hours in the sewing room and have finished the basic construction of the new top. Just needs the neck facing, hemming and some top stitching. I hope to finish it tomorrow.

Lunch was great. A beautiful sunny day so we ate outside. Prawns and some yummy salads and lots of lovely bubbly. Thank you, Dorothy. And a very big thank you for the beads and earrings which you made. They will go really well with my new top.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dressmaking again

I decided that I can see well enough to do some dressmaking, so today I cut out a tunic top from a Vogue pattern (the simple range!). I bought the fabric prior to the cruise, so it is really a summer top, but I think that it will be able to be layered.

So this evening I have the top cut out, the interfacing fused, the threads on the overlocker changed, a bobbin wound, the machine threaded and the correct foot installed. Pity it is dark - I think sewing now would be a recipe for disaster.

But tomorrow is another day.