Experimenting with pouches

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Am currently in the process of painting my bedroom. It will be fantastic when it is done, but progress is slow as I have the kind of walls that need multiple coats of everything and have to be done with brushes not rollers. So you paint a coat and then have to wait for it to dry before you can do anything else. There is also only so much painting I can do in one day without exhausting myself, so in between painting and napping on the couch (because I had to dismantle the bed to paint), I have been experimenting with the stitches on my machine by making mini zippered pouches. It’s a good way to use up the massive amounts of zips I seem to have lying around too. They are all made exactly the same, but each one is quilted with a different stitch. It has given me an idea for a quilt as you go sampler, but it would be a lot of work and require an awful amount of thread.

Also managed to finish quilting this baby quilt. Was about 90% finished when I realised two of the blocks were upside down. Definitely not unpicking though.

Covid strikes again

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It has been an interesting week. I got contacted by our health department Wednesday night because I had signed into a shop near my work at the same time as someone who was confirmed covid positive. That’s what I get for going for snacks in my lunch hour. I basically got a ‘quarantine until you get a negative test result’ order. It could be worse. For a start, I could be in compulsory two weeks quarantine. I took myself off to get tested first thing the next morning and I’m very fortunate that I have the kind of boss who, in these kind of circumstances, lets you work from home. Got the negative result Friday so, all good and a couple of days working from home never hurt. Now I am free to roam, but I have to monitor for symptoms until 14 days from the contact and go back and get tested again if I develop any. Not too stressed about that, I’m vaccinated and was wearing a mask the entire time in the store, and it was already 10 days after the contact that I was notified, so only 2 more days to go.

I did go out today and visited the local botanic gardens. It has a very cute art gallery/studio and there was an exhibition of mixed media work on display. I feel a bit guilty going out, even though I’m allowed but masks were mandatory and only limited numbers allowed in at the time so people could social distance, so incredibly low risk.

No pics of the exhibit as most of the works were for sale, and I didn’t clear blog photography with anyone, but here are some pictures of the gardens and the view from a nearby lookout.

I had a nice picnic lunch in the gardens and then came home and finished putting the binding on a baby quilt. It’s not as Christmas looking in real life.

Despite the covid stress, feeling pretty excited because I am on holidays from now until I start a new job in November. It’s a good chunk of time to decompress and get some projects off the list.

free styling

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It’s a free styling kind of week.

I set out trying to make a cot quilt, with no pattern and ended up with this.

I do like it, but it’s definitely not a cot size quilt. I did end up wasting a bit of fabric as I started cutting and realised I didn’t have enough of the orange to do want I wanted and had to improvise some more. Though I suppose it is not wasted fabric unless I throw it in the bin and I probably have enough of the green and orange left to make a proper cot size quilt. I ended up backing it with fleece and it will make a lovely lap quilt.

My other free styling this week is going to be cooking. I usually go to the supermarket with a list based on a meal plan but I’ve been trying to eat more fruit and vegetables so this week thought I would try and order a fresh produce box delivered.

It arrived this morning and looks amazing. I’m guessing they pack it with the stuff that is in season, which is great but I have to take a completely different approach to cooking and decide what to cook from what I have rather than buying based on what I want to cook. I have to be honest I am a little intimidated by the three artichokes that came in the box. Everything else I can kind of handle, but I’ve only ever had artichokes in cans so I suspect some googling is in my future. If you have a good artichoke recipe please let me know in the comments.

Sunlight and finished quilt

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I found out a few weeks back that I was really low in vitamin D. As in really low. As in my Doctor telling me I had to go home and take 4 of the 1 a day vitamin tablets. My iron levels were normal, but on the low end of normal so I probably ought to take a tablet for that as well. I already take vitamin B12 because I am a vegetarian, so now I feel like I have a health food shop worth of vitamins to go through everyday, but my energy levels are starting to pick back up again and my mind is clearer than it has been in years. I still have days when I feel really tired, but even on the days when I feel tired, I am still motivated to do things. Before I would just sit at the computer and watch you tube videos.

Vitamin D is the vitamin you mostly get from exposure to sunlight. What with working on a computer all day, most of my hobbies being indoors and Covid happening, I guess I just haven’t been spending enough time outside. Going to try and rectify that by spending more time in my garden, but my first effort at more out of the house time was a visit to my parents and a walk along the beach near their house.

There was a bit of smoke haze off in the distance but other than that it was a beautiful day for a walk and the tide was low enough that you could just see the shipwreck in the bay.

I’ve also been working my way through my stack of UFOs and recently dragged this top out of the cupboard and machine quilted it. I know I have been saying I would try free motion but this was just really suited to the straight lines of the walking foot.

I think I would have preferred to bind it in the green but I didn’t have enough left of that, so I went with the pink I had and I’m sure the intended recipient won’t mind.

After three UFOs in a row I think I’m going to take a break and and start something new this weekend.

Wall papering and finished cushion

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Having a slight sense of deja vu, because I could have sworn I posted about my wall papering antics already, but maybe it was just because I planned the post out in my head at some point.

Anyway, a few weeks back I posted about sanding and painting the pony wall in my kitchen to prep for some wall papering, and I finally got round to it.

Here’s a picture of the finished product. It was a type of wall paper where you put the paste on the wall and then stick the paper on, rather than paste up the paper and try and get sticky paper on the wall. As someone who gets tangled any time I use sticky tape, I appreciated the ‘paste the wall’ option. It went up surprisingly easily, though I think having the half height wall probably helped. A ceiling height bit of paper would probably have been harder to wrangle.

It still needs some tidying up on the painted edge but figure that will be covered by another coat of paint on the painted end of the bar.

We ended up going into lockdown again for a week, which was annoying but it did end up contributing to me finally finishing the cross stitch cushion I have had in my cupboard for years. It’s amazing what you can do when you get two hours of commute back a day. Though maybe I just need to be more creative in how I spend my train time going forward.

The cushion was from a Riolis kit, and I had a moment of panic when finishing as I thought I was going to run out of green thread before I finished but thankfully found a bit that had got separated and put in my loose embroidery thread box.

Fabric dyeing

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I’m getting to the stage where I need to have a bit of a tidy up of my sewing space. So far, I can’t find 3 metres of fabric I bought to make curtains and the big plastic attachment that tells me all the stitches on my sewing machine. I know both must be in the sewing room somewhere. The rest of the house is tidy enough and lacks hiding places, so if they were there, they would be obviously visible.

What I did find however was some photos from about a month back from some fabric dyeing. I’d meant to do a blog post but forgot. Sometimes my mind is the mental equivalent of the sewing room.

I don’t dye very often, mostly because I get freaked out a little about the vast amounts of water used for rinsing. I guess there is probably just as much water involved in commercially bought fabric, we just don’t get to see it going down the drain…but the environmental impact of craft is a subject for another day.

Just before covid started I went on my first ever trip to Japan as part of a quilting/craft tour. While there, for some reason I ended up buying a massive bag of scrap prepared for dyeing fabric. What can I say? It was a bargain and I thought it might come in handy one day if I ever decided to have another go at dyeing.

I’d had the fabric for about a year when a local store had a sale on which included a half price offer on all their tie-dyeing kits. Another bargain, so I got a pack with 12 colours.

Then it was just a matter of squishing and folding and elastic banding my fabric and squirting dye everywhere. I then wrapped up all the fabric in plastic bags in a tray.

After leaving over night, for the dye to soak in, I rinsed and then put in a normal wash in my washing machine.

Now I just need to think of something to do with all this lovely fabric. As some of it is heavier canvas type cotton I see maybe some bags in my future.

Quick jobs

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It’s funny how often the things we put off are often not as daunting or energy consuming as our avoidance of them.

For months now I have been avoiding sanding a wall I patched and painting a second coat on a pony wall.

I did them this morning and both jobs took less than 1/2 hour. I am not sure that all avoided jobs are like that though. The next step on the sanded bit of the wall is to put up some wall paper. I’ve never done that before and I am sure it is not going to be as straight forward as the sanding. For now though I’m going to go out and mow some lawn, hanging wall paper will have to wait until another weekend – hopefully not 3 months away.

Strange?

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I don’t know what it is, but at the moment everything feels just a little bit strange. I’m going to put it down to the weather (which is rainy) and vaccines.

I finally got my second dose of the covid-19 vaccine last week. It was supposed to be the week before but I came down with a nasty cold and had to postpone. Yes, colds are back unfortunately.

I do have mixed feelings about vaccines. I don’t in anyway doubt their effectiveness and they are absolutely necessary in many cases. As someone who almost died of complications of measles as a child, I will always advocate for people to vaccinate their kids. It’s just the effect of vaccines on me personally that is the issue. If there is a side effect from a vaccine, no matter how rare, I’m going to get that and 10 random other things. In most cases I toss up the impact of being vaccinated vs not and usually come down on the side of the vaccine but its not my favourite thing to do.

The covid vaccine feels like a bit of a relief and maybe the world feels a little off centre because being vaccinated removes a fear that’s been sitting there for so long now. I’ll probably appreciate it a lot more once my lymph nodes unswell, but I figure no matter how uncomfortable it makes me at least I have the option. There are a whole bunch of people out there who for what ever reason can’t get vaccinated, whether that’s for health reasons, poverty or lack access to health care. I figure I’m fortunate to have the choice, just like we’re fortunate to have the rain even if it makes the day dreary.

What with head colds and work and things, I haven’t been getting much done, but I did finish quilting the quilt on the machine last time I posted. Not sure what I am going to do with this one. It’s a bit too small for a queen bed and I don’t know many people who own singles any more. Might just have to keep it for snuggling on the couch.

Getting my motivation back…

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Maybe. I’m here writing a blog post at least and just realised it’s been more than a month since my last one. My house and garden are both still in need of a mammoth spring clean though. I should be outside this morning pulling weeds but I had my first covid vaccine shot yesterday and my weed pulling arm is still a bit achy where I got the jab. Starting the spring clean might need to wait until next weekend.

I am trying to keep up with the reading though and I finally went for a visit to the new library building in town yesterday. It’s a nice building, but really hard to find. I got lost getting there and while trying to get out of the car park when I was done. At least I know where it is now, I have a bunch of books which should keep me out of trouble for a while and hopefully it will be an easier visit next time.

I’ve also been trying to keep moving on clearing out some of my ufos and managed to put together some abandoned blocks into a quilt which I have started quilting.

Still just straight stitching with the walking foot but a lot less densely than the last top I quilted so should hopefully have it finished in no time. Made myself a promise though that my next project has to involve giving free motion quilting a try.