Friday, December 31, 2010
I might just have to put that up somewhere in my studio as a reminder. Keep it simple, sweetheart! Sometime less is more.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Anyway, the unpicking went smoothly. I was afraid of damaging the underlying fabric. That would have been another statement which I didn't want to make. And if I get the time, I might make myself a little bag to go with this outfit. Then the zip will have a purpose in life.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
. . . and the inevitable dog hair highlighted by my macro lens, oh well . . .
Monday, December 27, 2010
Getting the studio in order has gone past the quick and easy stage. I'm down to the vaguely labelled or just plain messy things from what has been my sewing room. I tried to do some sorting along the way, otherwise I'd just be transferring mess from one place to another. My quilting fabrics and silks are in reasonably good order, but there were various pieces of unidentified dress materials there too. I tried burn-testing them, with some success and some remaining uncertainty. Burn testing depends on recognising things like the type of flame, the resulting ash and the smell of the burnt fibre. My trouble is that after testing a couple of fabrics, everything just starts to smell the same. I need the nasal equivalent of a lemon sorbet to cleanse my palette between samples. Now it's time to focus on the final clean up for the little shed. The buyer should be here in an hour or so to pick it up. It will be interesting to see how the back garden looks with the extra space.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
As it turned out, putting together the Christmas baubles was one of the easier aspects of my day. A friend who was here for lunch and has only recently come out of hospital, found the pressure of the day all too much . . . even my quiet, no frills Christmas with his favourite goodies. He asked to be taken back to his unit just as I'd finished setting out the meal. Unfortunately when we got there, the staff had taken the few remaining clients out to lunch, and the gate was locked. So we walked around for more than an hour until someone arrived. What can I say? . . . humans are so much more complicated in the way they're put together and don't come with instruction sheets.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Any well trained textile artist will tell you that the secret to success is sampling. In this case that was impossible. 100 grams of core-spun merino-bunny-silk yarn with needle felted eyeballs is not available for sampling. Fortunately I'm not too well trained to just go for it sometimes. After winding off the yarn from the skein, I looked at a few of my huge crochet hooks. I decided to go with the 12 mm one. Winding off the yarn gave me some idea of how the features were distributed. There was a length at one end free of eyeballs. I started there to form the top of the hat. I worked down the side of the hat, shaping just a little and making sure that all the eyeballs ended up on the outside of the work. I soon realised that finishing the crown of the hat would be a close thing. As I decreased stitches and made the last couple of rows I was running through options in my mind. The colours and textures of the yarn are so varied and individual that I couldn't even imagine trying to match the yarn in any way. Instead I decided to go with a bit of black. I just happened to have a small ball of fine black handspun merino plied with black lurex hanging around--as you do. I doubled it, joined it into the work and started to form the brim. That's as far as I've got and I think it will do. There's really no use attempting any subtleties here. It's a case of letting the features shine out in all their gory glory.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
I spent the morning ferrying boxes to their new homes on the shelves I built on Saturday. In the afternoon my friend L came over. She had a few pieces of jewellery that needed attention. The beading stuff was already in the studio, so out we went.
Thankfully all the projects were small and relatively straightforward. Here are our results: The fruity necklace was too long. A pair of snippers and a couple of crimps put it right. Note to self, I need new silver crimps. The crystal wreath and the silver cross wanted ribbons and a lace to hang them on. That meant fasteners of various types. A couple of trips to pick up scissors, glasses and other bits and bobs which I normally take for granted, and we were in business.
I deliberately didn't clear away the tools before I walked out the door. It's a celebration of the freedom the new space will give me. Of course I'll put them away this morning and organise a few more bits and pieces before I head out to do some shopping.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
My friend L is dropping in this afternoon with some jewellery that needs repairs and adjustments. I'll see whether I'm up to doing that in the studio or back on the kitchen table. And I need to buy a Christmas tree and some trimmings. That sounds like quite enough for one day.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
My parallel challenges are to make the living room livable and to leave some functional workspace somewhere so that I can be ready for Christmas. I must say it all feels a bit much at the moment. And it's raining, so I'm back to slippery clay between the house and the Studio. OK, maybe I'd better shift the sawbench and tools into the studio and let it be a woodwork room as well for the time being.
Friday, December 17, 2010
I can't quite remember the circumstances in which I made this little crochet heart. I do remember it was Christmas time and I must have been in some sort of time bubble, because there are an awful lot of little stitches there. It's come to light this week while I'm packing and moving. What started as the Studio project has resulted in practically my entire house being rearranged. I guess that just underlines how much difference it's going to make to have space set aside for all my creative stuff. Of course when this phase is done, I'll have a spare bedroom to set up, but that will be next year. For now I need to move enough stuff to make a welcoming space for some Christmas festivities. And arrange the studio space well enough that I can complete some of the gifts I have planned.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
The chairs are just the right height for spinning. And the straight back gives just a little support without getting in the way. The colour match is good too.
It's just as well some things in life are simple. This morning I've had to negotiate a court adjournment for a friend who is recovering from a recent admission to an acute mental health unit--somehow the staff thought it would be ok to send him to court alone in a taxi! And my email program is malfunctioning. So, it's good to focus on life's simple pleasures and on problems that can be solved with common sense and just a little application of force.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Today my concern is with plumbing. Having succesfully negotiated the process of getting the shed/studio up, I'm ready to tackle the next stage. That involves moving my laundry from a corner of the bathroom to its own home in what is now my light-court. When I invited a plumber to give me a quote, he asked for the "sewer plan". This turns out to be a map showing the location of the drains of my property. For some unfathomable reason it seems to be missing in action. I've been conducting a bizarre treasure hunt through various government departments. If all else fails, it will come down to this: An inspection of my drains using fibre-optic technology to track their location is the last resort. I have no idea how much it would cost, but I'm not ready to give up on following the paper trail quite yet. So today, in between getting some more shelving sorted in the Studio, I'll be making a few more phone calls to see what I can find.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
We're coming into the warm season, even in Melbourne, but the forecast today is for a cool 20. Most of my fibre tools and supplies are in a state of transition as I get my studio set up. The cardigan was sitting in a post-pack near my armchair. It felt good to be able to tackle it this morning.
My memory of the knitting is sufficiently distant, that unravelling the stitches isn't bothering me any. I already have two balls of wool ready to skein up, wash and rewind. As for the Studio, I spent yesterday moving shelves from the spare bedroom. They were all mounted on the wall, so each one had to carefully removed, carried to it's new home and then reinstalled. I was surprised at how far I got, but things are still looking reasonably messy. Maybe that contributes to the satisfaction of this much lighter deconstruction task.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I also managed to disassemble, move and reassemble my big desk. It caused me a fair bit of frustration when I first put it together. So It was a pleasant surprise to find it all went together smoothly.
Today I need to clean up the mess in the Studio left by the Installer-from-Hell. Then I'm hoping to tackle some of the shelving. At the moment I'm in that awkward space where I've packed and moved too many things to be able to do any creative work in the house, while the Studio is not set up enough to be useful yet. I'm not complaining, though. It still feels very exciting and I'm looking forward to my first projects in my new space.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
As the day took shape and the likelihood of making an impact on the Studio move faded, I decided to do at least one small thing in that direction: I collected all my printer cartridges into the one spot and labelled the box. Not much, but it's something.
Today hasn't started brilliantly. My new airconditioning unit arrived in a flurry of bad temper. The heating and cooling unit for the studio is very welcome. The installer less so. He came earlier than expected--before my first cup of coffee!--complained about my car in the driveway and the dogs who could have been locked up if he'd come at the agreed time, and then offered to "get rid of this", as he contemptuously referred to my favourite silver princess gum tree. He's now working to install the unit in a spot that is less than ideal, but it will have to do. I guess he didn't get his plumbing licence on the strength of his communication skills! He'll be gone in an hour or so and my "climate control" will remain, so I'll get over it. Meanwhile I'll get myself another coffee and take a few deep breaths. Then I hope to get things sorted a bit more for the move.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
As for tables, I managed to clear and move my Big Table with the help of some friends yesterday. Then I assembled the new table for the kitchen-living space. That's it in the pic. As I worked my way through twenty pages of enigmatic diagramatic instructions, I gave myself credit for keeping my brain supple and active. I'm hoping to live to a good old age and apparently mental tasks involving movement and three-dimensional orientation tend to protect brain function against various forms of dementia. I hope that's true.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Today's challenge is to take it slow and steady. My friend W has offered another couple of early Sunday morning hours to help me get things in place. I'm expecting her to call me any minute with her bright "ready to go" expression. It's too good an offer to refuse. L is coming after lunch to give me a hand. At the moment my brain is feeling rather slow after an unsettled night and a string of busy days. It's not coming up with an overall plan for the day, so I'm just going to pick a task and see how I go. I'm going to keep telling myself that I'm nearly there. Note to self: slow and steady is OK.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
I left home at about 9.00am. I made my way step by step through the things I needed to do. I stopped for a snack and a coffee every few hours. Travelling around the city was hampered a little by rain showers and storms, but it was OK. I finally got home at about 10.00 pm. I was surprised that my dogs didn't greet me with their usual enthusiastic woofing. I walked down to my bedroom to let them in and put down my things only to find this:
Somehow I'd failed to close the pet-door properly in the morning. My dogs know how much I love them--I guess they assumed I'd considerately given them the option of sheltering from the storms in the comfort of my bed. There was no hiding the fact that they'd accepted my generous invitation. I'm struggling about whether to confess the next point, but what the heck! I didn't have it in me to deal with the mess before going to sleep, but I did grab my camera and snap a shot while I was thinking about it. I brushed down what I could, got into my PJ's, wrapped myself a clean sheet, and tried to go to sleep. Now the washing machine is chugging away and I'm posting the evidence of a long, long day. Today my calender is quite free, and it's just as well.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I spent most of the day painting my new studio. My friend C emailed me recently and referred to it as "the craft villa". I laughed. In the afternoon I went out to choose flooring. It seems that timber laminate will be cheaper and hardier than the vinyl I'd planned to use. Now I'm thinking of it as my "Studio Sofitel". The reality is that this is turning into a really lovely space for me to work and it's making me very happy.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Since the room's going to be full of colour and interest, I decided to keep it simple. Here we have a tin of flat white ceiling paint and two of wall paint: low sheen acrylic. The colour is called peaceful white. I chose it as the most neutral of the off-white selections, but the name certainly has appeal. I have brushes and rollers at the ready. The power is connected already, so I'll pick up my phone and music machine and off I go.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Now for a shed update: the plaster is in; stormwater and electrical work will be finalised today. Then it's just a case of waiting for the finishing touches on the plaster. I should be painting on the weekend, though I have Foster Carer training all day Saturday, so I'll see how I go. Next week will see me putting up shelving and moving furniture. Then it will be time to actually move in with all my materials and equipment. I can hardly believe it. And I can hardly wait!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Off I went to the Office Superstore. I've had my eye on this little desk for a while. It seems sturdy enough and inexpensive. I don't really want a lot of visual clutter in the living space--those of you who are familiar with the current state of my house: here's your cue to laugh out loud! Of course the desk came flat-packed. Here it is now in 3-D. And don't ask me why the pic is sideways . . . it's one of those blogger days. At the moment the only personal thing about it is my greasy fingerprints all over the glass. I pride myself on being better than average at assembling bits and pieces from cryptic diagrams. This one nearly had my stumped. Most of the assembly was reasonably straightforward, but there's a clever little keyboard drawer below the main desk surface. That drawer is on tracks with ball bearings--all fine and dandy. According to the diagrams, that mechanism needs to be pulled apart: one part is attached to the drawer surface and the other to the main desk piece. Later on the assembled drawer is slipped into place. It's a while since I studied probability and statistics in maths, but I can tell you from personal experience that two slide-mechanisms, each with two components can be put together in a squillion different combinations and permutations, only one of which is correct! I tried all but one of those combinations yesterday afternoon. I couldn't get it right. I decided to use the walk away technique. This is an approach you won't find in any technical manual. It involves taking a deep breath, calmly laying down your tools and leaving the job to another day. This morning I came back to it fresh after breakfast and a nice cup of coffee. I didn't bother looking at the instructions again. I pulled the drawer mechanism apart and tried fitting the components together without the extra hassle of the drawer and desk getting in my way. Snap! they clicked together easily. I heaved a sigh of relief and just hung on to what I'd done. Then I re-attached them in the right place without letting go of those pieces. Mission accomplished. I have a neat little PC desk. Now my next task is to pull my computer apart and put it back together in its new location. Maybe I'll leave that task until tomorrow.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Meanwhile, what am I going to do with myself? I think I might pack up and move this computer, since that will give me a bit more room to move while I pack up all my fabrics from this spare room. It's a finite task--always an attractive feature.
First, though I set my attention to a less attractive task. The garden shed I've had these past ten years or so is going to go as part of the current reorganisation. It needs to be emtied out. What's in there? I'm not sure. I went to have a look. First up, four boxes of old study notes and assignments. These are all at least ten years out of date. When I stored them in the shed the memory of the effort they had cost me was too fresh and I couldn't bear to get rid of them. Now things are different:
One very full recycling bin, four empty cardboard boxes. Any useful information from those courses has been well and truly assimilated into my thinking by now. Either that or I'm going to have to learn it another way.
As soon as my nose recovers from the large dose of dust it just received, I'll go back and see what's next. I'm pretty sure there are several cans of paint and some garden chemicals I'm not going to use. I'll offer them on Freecycle or toss them out, depending on their condition. Then it will be time to slow down and shift my attention to indoor tasks.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
How many ways are there to say "excited"? I need to ask some friends to come and help me with the painting, but what I feel like doing is hiring a band for a little barn dance instead! It would have to be a very little barn dance, so maybe just one fiddler. Oh well, maybe I'll just make sure I hook up the radio to play nice and loud while we wield our paintbrushes.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
We've being making flowers for the quilt. Each one is different: some embroidered, some crocheted, some beaded. One of the group suggested adding some butterflies. Why not? Flowers, butterflies . . . I had a go at sketching some outlines before someone else suggested I use the computer. They're getting to know me well--I'm definitely better at using the computer than I am at sketching under pressure. I found a butterfly, printed it out and then tried to think of a way to make it which wouldn't involve too much explanation. Meanwhile I asked about the meaning of "butterfly". I collected one more Arabic word, which I'm not going to attempt to transliterate here. "But what does it mean for you?" I wanted to know. It turns out the butterfly is a symbol of good news, like the arrival of some-one you love. It's "like the pigeon", they said. In case you're wondering about the "pigeon", we've designed a couple of white doves--symbols of peace--as a major feature of the quilt. Up went my motivation for butterfly-making.
We were nearly at the end of our time together. Today is Eid--a major religious celebration, and the subject of more interesting attempts at communication yesterday. I used my few Arabic words to convey my best wishes and respect for the Festival. When I got home I googled, "how to make a butterfly" Here's one of my attempts:
The French-beading technique is a natural extension of how we've been making some of the flowers. And the wired butterfly can be made to hover over the surface of the quilt. Later on I'll see if I can figure out a stitched version. Next week I'll see what they think, and we'll continue to explore possibilites and meaning. I'm learning so much from this project!
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I can't recommend my approach to the rest of the day. I kept checking the weather forecast. The news didn't get any better, though the wording changed occasionally: flood warning; severe weather warning; heavy rain; storm watch . . . none of it was encouraging. I should have just given up the idea of digging and moved on to something else. I tried. Eventually I pulled out some beads and started to make a chain necklace, but my heart wasn't in it.
Today it's cloudy, the forecast is for scattered showers, clearing in the afternoon. It's still pretty mucky out there, but I am determined. I'm hoping to take all my pent up frustrations from yesterday and channel them into digging power. That should see the job done amazingly fast--if the weather holds off.