Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 7 - Last day - Home alone

So we’ve reached the end of 2011 and my last day home alone.  It has been a good one for me in that I don’t recall any major or out of control issues apart from losing 2 dear pets but with life comes death and one needs to accept it.
 Got up and cleaned house frantically in anticipation of friend Celdri’s visit.  She already headed this way but will stop over at family tonight and even though I've been alone the carpets still gathered cat hair, feathers and with the sunny weather a brand new layer of dust.

I am going out with the big kids tonight to greet the old year and await the New Year and suspect I might just be slightly tired tomorrow to only clean before Celdri’s arrival, so I did it today.  Took a nice shower afterwards and took care of my dreadlocks (I have extremely curly hair when left unattended).

I cut the next block from the Simple Yet Elegant BOM and after seeing to all the pets to ensure that they’d be safe for the night I can start the handwork on this one while waiting for the big kids to come fetch me.
Hope you too have a wonderful last evening of the year!

Day 6 - Home alone & Simple Yet elegant Block 11

Okay, enough is enough.  One can only have this much of doing your own thing.  I am actually beginning to miss the family and having a routine.  Gosh, I am going to regret these words in a couple of weeks.

Meeko, our parrot, has not been very kind in that she woke me just before 6 am every morning, so I had no late sleep-ins even once!  Today Karin took me out for breakfast – I should add that I had to phone her and tell her that it is about time she takes me out!

Done with breakfast we walked across the street so I could show Mayday to Karin but yes, taking Karin to a fabric store is like taking a kid to a toy shop.  She glanced at Mayday quickly and then disappeared behind the racks buying decorations for her Crazy Patch quilt as is she doesn’t already have the contents of a store inside her house yet!  I am dragging her along to Croatia next year and told her to save but nah, some of my friends are so stinking rich they don’t know the end of their fortunes.

Sasky, the kitten, caught his first birdie but the poor baby is still alive.  Now I keep it in an outside parrot cage, hoping the parents will come to feed it.

Mayday is back for this long weekend as the owners decided to make use of the welcome break.  Anyone owning their own business would know how hard it is to get away and more so if you own pets.

The big kids came over after having been to the gynecologist late this afternoon very chuffed to show me their second little sonar image of an itsy-teeny-tiny 14,7mm fetus.  The doctor confirmed that they are only 8 weeks pregnant now – the time when most other women only start suspecting their pregnancy but not this DIL of mine – nope way too inquisitive.  She even plans this unborn little human’s wedding already.

They stayed the evening and while my son worked on my PC the pregnant fairy had cheese slices with chili Bovril spread in between – no crackers or bread whatsoever.

So not much sewing happening but I did finish Block 11 of the Simple Yet Elegant BOM by The Quilt Pattern Magazine.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 5 - Home alone

While at the Waterfront Mall with Rina yesterday I did a little shopping.  Bought a gift for friend Celdri, coming to visit in a few days and heat resistant glue to fix one of my Christmas gifts from DH that I broke when I tried to screw the handle on the lid!

So I did gift wrapping (packing) and repaired my lid.

I also got myself a small fan for my sewing room.  I do have an air conditioner in my room but I feel guilty leaving it on all day if I am constantly in and out of the room.  In South Africa electricity is becoming a rare commodity and I try to do my part and save as much as possible.  The little fan hopefully does not use as much as the air conditioner does and I can switch it on and off not having to wait as long before the room cools down.  The hot flushes are killing me!

I have to remember to thank my family for this break.  I processed our Trust account on Pastel, did all the other ‘need to’ paperwork lying around, filed everything and what a wonderful sight when I checked my diary to see that until NEXT year I do not have a single entry…… zilts, nothing, niks!

Okay, so I do not diarize my quilt UFO’s but allow me to enjoy this moment before getting technical.

Feeling rather ‘light and free’ I went shopping – basic necessities (cat food and bird seed), nothing fun.  Then the big kids took me to lunch at a nursery just outside of town where I had to drink a cider all by my lonesome self.  The pregnant fairy may not drink and my kids, unlike their dear mother, do not drink at all.  Lovely sunny day though and alone or not, the cider tasted great in the heat.

Back home I started working on my next ‘Simple Yet Elegant’ block and ironed fabric to heaps of freezer paper pattern pieces.  I do my hand appliqué in exactly the same manner as Chris describes in her blog over HERE and it turns out the way Marié dislikes as she tells us in her blog HERE

Whenever I have to put pattern pieces on a dark background I go about as follows.  I use my Teflon pressing sheet, which is see-through and place this over the printed paper pattern.  I then use ordinary glue stick to adhere the pieces on the right place.  The glue stick will easily peel off where it is applied to the Teflon sheet but the fabric pieces will stay stuck together.  I do remove the freezer paper before I start.

When done I have a single unit that can easily be moved.

What used to be 62 small circles can now be placed on the background as one piece.

Sindy from Fatcatpatterns uses a similar way but with appliqué paper and I got this idea from her.

Didn’t finish the handwork on this blog as I found a new photo collage maker on the internet and played for almost 3 hours with it for another blog I write.  O how I do love days where I get time to play.

It has been midnight already, so I better go follow these two and find my comfortable bed to sleep in as I have a breakfast appointment tomorrow.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 4 - Home alone & Simple Yet Elegant block 10

My day started somewhat different in that I could not wander around in my PJ’s with a face mask as I did the last 3 days seeing that I expected Mayday’s owner to fetch it today.

Ash decided to see what could be so interesting inside the visiting bird’s cage as unlike our birds, it never comes out.  Mayday was not at all chuffed but strangely enough for a bird thought to be aggressive, did not attack.

Mayday left late morning and then friend, Rina came over just before lunch - big mistake!  She wanted me to help her with her blog and obviously try out my famous Banana Daquiri.  Unless you really dislike bananas this will be the nicest drink you've ever tasted.

While at the computer I decided to introduce Rina to the game I got addicted to on FB - Bubble Atlantis and after toppling one of my high scores, she calmly said:  "What makes you think my house is not going to be organized any further this afternoon?"

We obviously had more Banana Daiquiri and did I say 'big mistake'?  The little bit of non-intoxicated brains warned me that we should eat and off we went to our local Waterfront Mall.  What would our very kind waiter do?  Offer us their famous Litchi Cocktail - another big mistake.
I only got home long after 4pm with a very upset parrot, Meeko waiting for me as she is used to be put in bed round about 3pm for her nap.  Slept every bit as hard as Meeko and woke up with one alarming headache.  Had to have several cups of coffee while sitting outside with the kittens to make it subside.

I wasn't up to much the rest of the evening so I just sat back and finished the handwork on Block 10 of the BOM offered by The Quilt Pattern Magazine.

Day 3 - Home alone

I am expecting a dear old friend one of these days therefore had to tidy the one guest bedroom and as any quilter would guess have been taken over by quilting stuff!  I wonder what ever gave me the idea that I was organized.  Turned out far from!  I could not believe how many items I found in the guest bedroom cupboards and drawers that I recently had to shop for simply because I believed I didn’t have any.

While having coffee breaks between sorting I unfortunately discovered a very addictive game on FB – Bubble Atlantis.  I would rather not go into how much time that could have been used more productively was spent to play this.  Bad, bad FB!!

Luckily I run out of lives after a while.

In the mood for the computer I finally finished my class notes for the Free-motion workshop for next year and got updated on all the blogs I follow. So I didn’t ONLY play games.

The big kids came over and even brought me lunch.  I think they know if I’m alone I live of whatever comes from a can or packet.

Then I wrote a couple of posts ahead for our guilds’ blog and started with a handwork block.  Would however not be finished today, so no picture yet.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 2 - Home alone

I woke up this morning to an extremely annoying noise competition between the 2 parrots -  Mayday, the visiting bird, from my sewing room and Meeko, our bird, from my bed.  Yip, she sleeps with us in bed underneath the blankets!  I was not very friendly at 20 to 6 but my mood changed when I got up to make coffee and saw that it was softly drizzling.  I know the youngsters and people at the beach might not appreciate this weather but to me it simply meant no dust and cooler weather.

Took advantage of the ‘no-dust’ part and washed all the hardwood floors, then cleaned the refrigerator but had to get rid of all the leftover food first and chopped fruit for the tortoises that nestled by the dining room door when it started to rain.

I didn’t quite know what to do with all the bananas in the fridge as the tortoises refuse to eat these.  DH must believe I’m the town drunk for my cocktail of choice during the festive season is a Banana Daiquiri and I do believe I can make a mean but o so yummy drink!  He however surely bought all the bananas in the shop and I’ll have to stay drunk if I want to finish these before they get home.  I’ll have to invite some of the gals over this week.

I did very little machine work and only attached the binding to my pre-printed panel and sewn this by hand at the back.  Then I added the label while listening to Mayday telling me long stories. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 1 - Home alone

DH and the blonde barely left for their 8-day holiday at the coast or I did exactly what I promised to do – have no routine, quilt a lot and treat myself.  Whenever I have alone times like this, it reminds me of the song “Overdrive” with the words “I listen to only me, myself and I.  So I brushed my teeth, put on a nice facial mask and moved in behind my PFAFF Grand Quilter.  I started quilting a pre-printed panel I used way back in March to demonstrate free motion quilting but never got to finish it.

Just because I had no routine or deadlines did not mean I had no work at all.  As said in a prior post if you skip housework it is just creating a problem for later.  I packed away all the Christmas decorations and then cleaned the entertainment room from top to bottom, even washed the carpet.  I do however believe my kids are growing up now.  This year I did not have a single sticky spot on the tile floor….. Unbelievable!

I noticed the kittens were extremely bored in this quiet house and they love playing out in the front yard but get a fright every time a car passes by and like having us sit with them early in the evenings.  So I decided what the heck, it is only me that knows I’m home alone let me go sit outside.  Yip and there a drunk with all his worldly possessions in two plastic bags sat right in front of our gate.  I played brave and tried to tell him that he cannot sit there but he simply replied “that it is Christmas” and even took out 2 neatly wrapped Christmas gifts from one of his bags.

I phoned the security company which in turn phoned the police and in hindsight with all the crime in our police- and security force, I might as well have put a banner on the front gate to advertise that I’m alone.  So meat cleaver will have to stay close by.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve with the kids

The big kids came over just before lunch to spend the day with us and in this heat it didn’t take long for them to get into the swimming pool.  These two recently informed us that they will become parents late next year!

With the pregnant fairy out of the pool it was time for brother and sister to get rough.

I got so lucky to take care of Mayday for a couple of days.  Mayday is the African Grey parrot of a local fabric shop owner and as its name suggests, a mean character – or so they say.  From the first day Mayday and I saw each other, it was love at first sight and even the owners were stunned that Mayday allowed me to kiss and scratch it.  Speak of two-faced however, the moment it saw my son I was all forgotten and she sang and danced for him it was not even funny!  Meeko, our own parrot, not at all used to being in a cage, can be seen on the lower right of the photo.

Such a long wait before we could open gifts and as friend, Karin said when she sent me an SMS the cocktails do not help much to keep one awake.

So we played Wii tennis to while the time.

I am quite convinced it is a sin to eat as much as we did on this day and even the kittens had a ball having some ice cream with caramel sauce here.

Time to check out how these gifts work before we headed for bed.
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Missing kitten

We woke up this morning realizing our black male kitten, Sasky, was missing.

If you know anything about my family you’d also know this meant major chaos in this house.  Everyone that wasn’t yet up, got up and dressed extremely fast and then we went walking like crazy people, calling “Sasky!” as if he’d answer.  Now anyone with pets will know that the most stupid thing any pet does, is to stop making any sounds if they see their owners – thinking you’d see them if they see you.
Our blonde was devastated as Sasky adopted her and the two of them are rather close.  She even searched the park across the street but to no avail.  I walked right around the house still calling frantically but nothing.
In the back of my mind I kept thinking that he got a fright and somehow ended up in a spot that he couldn’t get out of and still thinking this, I heard the blonde shout out and yip, there Sasky sat in the neighbors’ tree right in the enclosure they have for their very viscous German Shepherd.  Lucky for us the neighbor had his gardener in today and he distracted the dog to allow the blonde to get up the tree and try to rescue the petrified kitten.  Sasky must have some ragdoll genes as the moment he saw his owner with a continental pillow, it was just one flop downwards and he landed on in, no scratching, ever so trusting.
Reunited with his family - shame he must have been in the tree all night long - he ate, greeted the parrot and then disappeared under the blondes' bed for a well deserved sleep.

Apart from kitten searching I did very little of anything today – very little cleaning, no progress on the festival projects and very little quilting.  I however used the left over pre-quilted fabric I had from my Bright Idea wall hanging and sewn these into little Yin-Yang coasters.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Doing good over here

Next on my cleaning list was the kitchen.  Ah, what a pleasure.  DH closed shop for the year and with him at home he moved all the heavy appliances forward to allow me to clean under and behind these.

The rest of the kitchen was a breeze.  I am not too fond of cooking and kitchens and cook because I HAVE to.  So my kitchen has the bare basics with a place for everything and everything in its place.  I think I had to wipe clean 2 drawers (rusks and birdseed) and one cupboard (a couple of dead mosquito's), the rest was as crisp as the day I organized it.

So 2 areas done on my list of year-end cleaning and I could continue with my goody bag projects and finished my half for March 2012 this time with the help of Iessie Steenberg, festival coordinator, and ‘tannie’ (aunt)  Magriet, fellow quilter, who quilted backings for me.

Ash had a ball in my blue remnant drawer when I searched for strips to match my projects.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Other important things

Done with my Free-motion project for 2012 I had other important things to do.  With me doing my own cooking and cleaning I only have this time of the year to try and get my house back to its original state as once I start teaching in the evenings in February, there is simply no time to do anything but the basics.

So today I cleaned out the pantry and what a hell hot little room this is in summer!  I had to walk out several times and just stand at the nearest fan to allow the sweat running down my face to dry.  However it is done and now we’ll be able to find all the stuff I bought for the next couple of months – or maybe just until the next time I shop depending on the speed that I need to pack things away.

Then I quickly finished my goody bag projects for our National Quilt Festival 2013 and I am proud to say that I am actually ahead in that I finished my quota for February 2012.  I have to thank fellow quilter and National quilt judge, Frances van Schalkwyk, who helped me tremendously by quilting all the backings.  I could therefore just stitch the project together, trim and neaten it.

Sasky had an absolute ball with all the fabric snippets on the table.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Finalizing the free motion project

With having a public holiday in sunny South Africa DH was at home.  Now from the day we got married I realized this guy was a workaholic and knew it was up to me to entertain myself, which I did.  So having him at home all day long is ...... uh... different (opposed to annoying).  But he got himself 2 helpers and tackled the garden before the holidays however the day was still different in that I simply refuse to cook on public holidays.  One has to put your foot down occasionally.

So I got up, tidied the houses and even did the laundry and ironing before disappearing into my sewing room to finish up the free motion project.  Not much left to do and satin stitching around the thought bubble's edges went faster than doing the same around the smaller pattern pieces and the variegated thread looked so pretty!

Popped all the pieces into the washing machine to get rid of any blue markers and spray adhesive and served myself a cold cider to celebrate.  There are few better feelings than tidying your sewing room and putting away fabric and thread after finishing a project.

While waiting for the pattern pieces to dry and obviously with having had a cider during the daytime, I took a 'public-holiday-daytime' nap which was wonderful at the time.  Let's rather not discuss not being able to sleep that evening.

Then I used what was left of the day to assemble the whole lot to get my wall hanging as a unit. Mostly done by hand but by matching the tread to the thread color of the satin stitching and with the back thread being buried in the batting, I didn't have to worry about small or neat stitching.

This concludes my wall hanging - named Bright Idea - but I can see how others might want to add more 'bling' to their wall hanging and I think I'll leave this as a personal choice.

Now to type up the notes for teaching...............ugh!

Completed:  16 December 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Step 4 of the free motion project

Done with the unpicking I could start fresh and being this close to finishing this I have to admit that I abandoned the house and cleaning for a day.  Cut your nose to spite your face as it has to be done at another time.  Why don't housewives get vacation?

This went rather fast (or then still most of a day but faster than the dense stitching I did on the other colors) and I loved every moment of it.
Visited our local PFAFF dealer during the morning and noticed the most lovely metallic Marathon thread on her table.  Just arrived, not even unpacked and I had to have one!!

My photo is unfortunately not that good but hopefully when clicking on it to enlarge it, you'll be able to see the silver pebbles filling the empty spaced between the feathers.
As much as I wanted to finish this there and then I simply had to stop and get some housework done.  Ah well, at least I have something to look forward to tomorrow!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Step 3 of the free motion workshop

Templates cut, I could start packing the shapes to get a nice color variation in every piece.
With this done I used a wide and dense satin stitch to keep the pieces together and with satin stitch not being one of my favorites it felt like this step took forever but looking at the end results worthwhile.
Then I moved on to the center thought bubble, marking my feather placements after the shadow was stitched in place.
I started with Marathon variegated thread color 5005 and got as far as this when my friend from Cape Town phoned.  I was quite happy with the thread and color.
While talking to her however, with my thread box open on the table, I spotted these Metler variegated spools and decided that I liked this more.  The color of the Metler thread is 9981.

So then I had to unpick my previous stitching.  Not that I terribly minded. Our 2 new kittens chased a bug and ran over my quilting several times causing me to have a few nasty stitches.
Here they look ever so calm while sleeping but believe me they can be a handful.  After Catsidy died I literally cried myself into 2 new kittens.  So allow me to introduce Ash and Sasky, with Ash being the tinier one but a week older than Sasky.

Okay, off to bed to sit and do some unpicking.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Second step in my free motion workshop

Another Saturday with DH playing golf gave me time to finish step 2.  I obviously didn't do all of this in one Saturday but had hours of fun densely free motion quilting my colors.  Just loved working on the shaded fabrics as they made much more of a statement than the plain colors did.
With this done I could cut the templates needed to start assembling the different pieces.
I took care of Karin's parrot, Nordic, for the weekend and she actively helped me do my planning.
Coming along nicely at this stage.