Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A very hectic fortnight, part 2

Just now I'm using my hands in a different way than usual, and they're letting me know they don't like it one little bit. I've irritated my left carpal tunnel, so my fingers are tingling as well as lumpy and red from the heatwave we've been having here in Sydney. My best friends at the moment are an ice pack and Celebrex.

We've had the builders in for the past fortnight, working on our laundry and bathroom after a fire destroyed the floors under them both. See below the progress shots of the work on the laundry. The rooms have all been gutted back to the bare frames, and the burnt bits replaced. This involved propping up the whole corner of the house at one stage, on big Accrow supports. Quite scary really.

I've also had to do lots of tidying to prepare our living areas for cleaning after the smoke damage. I've been emptying a large entertainment unit and sorting out the kitchen so everything can be put away while the walls and ceilings are washed and re-painted. There's a wooden kitchen dresser to unpack so it can be moved to paint behind, and a small moveable pantry to be unpacked and shifted.

In our wisdom (!!!) we also decided to have 3 windows in the front of the house replaced at the same time. That involves emptying a bow fronted china cabinet of about 30 years of clutter, my bedroom needs sorting so that window can be pulled out, and the major job, the Sewing Room needs to be cleared right along one wall!!! I've already had 2 1/2 weeks to do it all, and time is running out fast to finish all my jobs. We expect the painters in about a week, but I estimate it will take about a week just to do the Sewing Room, without even touching the rest that still needs to be done. When I was despairing of being ready on time, the owner of the building firm was very helpful, putting a kindly hand on my arm and said, don't worry dear, we'll work around it !!! But I dread the thought of the builders standing on my built-in cutting table while all my storage and machinery is in-situ. So I've been filling up boxes with fabric, UFO's and haberdashery and moving them to the other end of the house at all hours of the day and night.

What's that old saying, Life is like a circus? Well we've been juggling visits to the new baby, trying to pick out vanities, choosing taps, tiles and paint colours and designing laundry tubs and storage all at the same time!!! Then a minor hurdle today when DH discovered a floor waste had been accidentally left out of one of the wet areas and the waterproofing was about to be laid! One unhappy plumber had to go back to the hardware and buy the correct fitting, which held him up even more. He finally finished the job about 5 pm, so now we've got to hold our noses for a couple of days while the floor "cures" before the tiler comes on Saturday. I'll be sooooooo glad when this is all over, all I can say is I HOPE I like the colours and things I've chosen. There's even a whisper about new blinds for the new front windows, as the old ones won't fit the new modern windows. Another dilemma, wood or metal venetians??

I've decided that the new laundry should have some purpose built storage and a broom cupboard!! Who would have thought that could be so exciting?? But for the first time in 30 years I'll be able to store the vacuum cleaner somewhere out of sight, out of mind, LOL !

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A very hectic fortnight !

I mentioned in my previous post that this past fortnight has passed in a blur of activity. The biggest event was the premature arrival of Miss Amelie Jane on Sunday 11th January. We made a dash to the hospital on the Sunday morning after DD#1 was admitted for monitoring on the Saturday evening. No-one really expected to be greeting a baby by midday on Sunday, especially the new mum and dad !

Luckily, despite a knotted umbilical cord and an emergency Caesarian section, the baby was fit and well. I noticed in a previous post that I mistakenly gave her length as 49cm (about 19 inches) when in fact she was 45 cm ( about 17 3/4 inches) but her weight was 2510 gms (about 5 lb 8 oz) These details will be important to her as she grows up, I'm sure, VBG.

Another small drama occured at day 3 when Amelie's blood sugar levels dipped and she had to go into the special care nursery for 24 hours till it stabilised. Finally the new family went home on the Thursday night for some well-earned rest. Unfortunately things took another interesting turn on Monday afternoon when DD#1 felt very unwell and her Caesar scar was red and sore. Back to the hospital for a check-up and sure enough, an infection was diagnosed. This time they were admitted to the Ante-natal section for some intense anti-biotic treatment and a quieter room was available (not usually so many visitors when there's not a new baby to play with you see!)

The best bit about this for me was that when we visited on Tuesday morning the new Dad was just getting ready to bathe the baby. When asked, I jumped at the chance to do it for them, we had such a nice bonding session Amelie and I. She's such a little doll, although a little unsettled just now, I'm sure it will pass soon. Arriving 4 weeks early, and 2 stints in hospital as well as the extreme heatwave we've been having in Sydney would unsettle anybody. I'm really enjoying my second grandchild and first granddaughter. Pop and I have already discussed having regular family get togethers every fortnight, if not more often, so that we can be part of both the grandkids early lives and so that the 2 little cousins can spend time together.

I'll post about the rest of the fortnight's activities very soon.

A textile update

The past 2 weeks has been so eventful I don't know where to begin to tell it all. As I sit here deciding what to document I feel a little guilty that there hasn't been more textile "stuff" lately for regular followers of this blog. So to remedy this I've taken a photo today of the progess of a WISP which started back in June when my SIL was first diagnosed with APL a rare form of Leukemia. Gail is doing really well at the moment, as you'll see in a future post, VBG. You may recall that I decided to co-ordinate a Healing Hearts Quilt for her to encourage and comfort her during treatment and recovery.

I decided on pink and blue hearts appliqued onto old fashioned floral blocks which she likes. So I cut and ironed hearts onto freezer paper and started collecting signatures. 40 hearts were secretly posted to friends and relations to write encouraging messages with a gel pen on each heart. With her colleagues help I even managed to send some to her kindergarten class, where kids drew on the blocks and the teachers wrote the kids names on for Gail to remember those she had to leave mid way through the year. Luckily the school was able to appoint the regular school substitute teacher to take Gail's class, the kids all knew her and settled remarkably well. That didn't stop her from worrying about them while she was sitting in the hospital hooked up to the chemotherapy treatment though, VBG.
As the hearts started returning I cut them out, removed the freezer paper then fused with Vleisofix to the 6 and 1/2 inch floral squares and hand appliqued around each one with 2 strands of cotton floss. I took Michelle Marvig's advice and chose a cream sashing with a small pattern to make the squares "pop up". I'm hoping to get the blocks all machined together and turned into a small lap rug in time to take it to school during the first term when Gail intends to return to teaching.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Welcome to Amelie Jane

It's been a very busy week or so around here, VBG. First we started sorting out rooms ready for the builders to make repairs after our house fire, then on Sunday 11th January our second grandchild and first granddaughter Miss Amelie Jane decided she couldn't wait till early February and put in an appearance in a rather dramatic way by emergency Caesarian section. Her mummy was almost prepared for her arrival at home, with baby basket and clothing all washed and ready, but when she went to the hospital on Saturday she thought it was just for a few hours of monitoring.

Doctor decided to induce labour but it soon became obvious baby was distressed so the decision was taken to perform the Caesarian, which was very lucky because the umbilical cord was knotted. Amelie weighted in at 5lbs 8 oz and was 49 cm long. Not so tiny really, but to me she seems like a little dolly as my own babies all weighed in over 7lbs 3oz up to 9lbs 4 oz. Only one slight setback with low blood sugar since Sunday, but her mother is up and walking well, feeling great and looking forward to home and a comfortable bed. The plan is to discharge them from hospital on Thursday so it's "all hands on deck" to transport all the flowers, toys and gifts home from the hospital. The photo shows Amelie at day 3, that's her daddy's hair she has there as mummy's was blonde and very fine. Chin, nose and eyes are all mummy though. Isn't she a cute little bundle?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Photos of Vintage Underwear

As requested by a regular reader, VBG, I've photographed the vintage underwear bought recently and posted the photos on my costume blog Actually, I didn't personally model them, since they are Australian size 8 to 10, and I'm certainly NOT. My DD#3 Bron has kindly modelled for me, so pop over and have a look if you're curious.

Cyber Fyber Exhibition is open

(Photo courtesy Susan Lenz Cyber Fyber blog)

If you haven't heard about Susan Lenz's fabulous exhibition of internet textile art called Cyber Fyber by now, you haven't missed it !! It's online here. The word got around the textile blogs pretty quickly back in 2008 that Susan was offering trades of ATCs and Postcards, and that your own traded cards were going to be hung in an international exhibition of internet textile artists in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. beginning January 2009.

So textile artists / artisans from all around the world have been selecting one of Susan's cards from those offered online and sending their own to take its place. Now Susan has 160 plus ATCs and 220 plus postcards from us to display, as well as the works of selected invited artists. Australia is quite well represented, too, with about 7 or 8 different people showing their textile work. I traded an ATC with Aemelia Ars style lace on it (card number 143) and one of my postcards made for Sharon B.'s TIF Challenge last year (card number 207). If you'd like to look them up, go to the website, click on online exhibition on the right side in the Atc or Postcard category and scroll down. Comments on the cards are being collected for a Viewers Choice award, so please add comments if you like what you see. Can I say now I'm an internationally exhibited fibre artisan too, LOL?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Christmas de-brief

Now, before you get too excited, the family did NOT all become nudists in the Christmas break, LOL. I just thought I'd take the opportunity during the holiday lull to tidy up a few loose ends for 2008.

I received a comment on a previous post asking where was the photo of my new little grandson Riley opening his Christmas gifts. I had to wait till his mum posted some on her Facebook page, so here they are.

He looks so cute in his Santa T-shirt!

Look at that earnest little face, not sure what this gift was as he got SO MUCH LOOT.

Then there were some ATCs traded with members of my Scquilters online group, 3 great sets for Christmas including Gold and White,

Christmas Trees

and Christmas Food.

And for the New Year, Let's Party and Happy New Year which have not yet all arrived. I also signed up for a Birthday Swap, so I'm expecting about 28 cards to arrive in the next week or so for my own birthday. Each person on the list makes one card and sends it to the birthday person during their birthday month. There were 2 of us on 1st January, Del is only the 3rd person I've known personally with a New Years' Day birthday. I went to school with another girl who co-incidentally had the same initials as myself, spooky eh?

The other loose end is to show you the Christmas ATC I traded with Anne L. in France, arranged by Doreen G. (see previous post) The first photo is my card to Anne, a silk print of an old fashioned Victorian christmas embellished with beads and braid.

Anne's card is a goregous cross stitched one featuring variegated stranded silk thread on a fine Aida type cloth. I'm so delighted with it, and thanks Doreen for suggesting the trade.

Holiday happenings

For several years in a row we have made an annual pilgrimage to Canberra, our nation's capital. Canberra was established halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, inland in the middle of the bush really. It was a planned city so there are circular drives and straight roads very much like wheels within wheels. There are mostly offices in the CBD while the population lives in satelite suburbs.

In 2007 for various reasons we weren't able to get away, so this year I was determined to have at least a few days down South to recharge our batteries. Eventually DH booked a room for 3 nights at the Crowne where we usually like to stay, next to the Casino right in the heart of the city and just a walk from all the eateries. So on Sunday 28th December we drove down, arriving after 3 hours which included a stop at historic Berrima.

On Monday we visited the Museum of Australia, a very modern building well worth seeing in its own right. Here is the view heading towards the entrance.

And the extension on the roof of the walkway from the carparking area, the kids love the path to nowwhere !

As well as the permanent exhibitions, this time there was an excellent exhibition about Charles Darwin. Lots of information about the man as well as his theory of Evolution of the Species. There were letters, journals, diaries, and a facsimile of his study at Down House during his later years. 2 live lizards were also on show, a beautiful green tree iguana with a long 3 foot tail, and a striped blue tongue lizard which looked like a model till he blinked !!

I'd also arranged to meet one of my web friends in Canberra so Doreen G. drove into Canberra and took me on a guided tour of the ACT Embroiderers' Guild headquarters. It was interesting to see how their Guild operates as compared to the NSW Guild. We have about 15 times as many members but probably operate out of smaller rooms than does the ACT Guild. Certainly sounds like the ACT members have a lot of fun and Doreen has her hands full co-ordinating the Recycled Goods tables and serving on the Guild committee. I really enjoyed meeting her in the flesh, and seeing her completed TIF crazy patchwork block cloth book so beautifully finished. Wish I'd been more disciplined with TIF in 2008, but there's hope for me 2009 with Sharon's Stitch Explorer each month.

On Tuesday we had tickets to the Degas exhibition at the National Gallery. We didn't take an audio tour, and perhaps that was one reason I was a bit dissapointed with the exhibition. Or it could have been that we went in the afternoon after a mixup at the hotel with our tickets, and we were a bit tired. The Exhibition was quite busy, and the crowd was 3 deep in front of some works. There were more prints and etchings than paintings, but the ones on show were worth seeing. I was most impressed with the scupltures and photos I guess. The Victorian man's obsession with the female nude figure always intriques me - the everyday clothing of the late Victorian women were so enveloping and modest, sombre in the British Empire after Prince Albert died. But behind closed doors, in certain establishments and on the Continent, oh la la !! I'll just say that the images typical of Victorian French postcards were very well represented in the Degas exhibition.

Wednesday saw us enjoying our 3rd large cooked buffet breakfast at the hotel then packing to start the homeward journey. I must say we dined very well on the whole trip, out to dinner 3 nights in a row and cooked breakfasts. Lunches were neccessarily smaller affairs, usually just a snack really. I can well imagine what my DH says when away on business, after being away for a long time and eating out you just feel like a cup of tea and a slice of toast with vegemite for your dinner sometimes!!

We detoured back to Berrima on the way home, as I hadn't been to my favourite antique shop for a couple of years and was itching to see what was in stock. Peppergreen's Antiques is a great rambling building with several large rooms. They regularly receive container loads from agents in Europe and I wasn't dissapointed with a recent shipment from France. Fabrics, threads, bed coverings, clothing of all sorts vied for my attention. I was determined though to buy myself something for my birthday to add to my Victorian and Edwardian underwear collection. I sorted through a bin labelled corsets and bras and reluctantly put them aside. There were several fabulous early brassieres made of pink satin fabric and ingenious in design, but not my era. There were bins full of glorious early 1920's and 1930's lingerie, all satin and lace and some completely hand embroidered which had to be put aside. In the end I chose 2 machine knitted woollen ladies combinations, pre WW1. They probably came from Europe as they look very warm complete with the divided crotch for WC convenience and below the knee legs. One has small gussets let into the front lowered neckline for accomodating the bosom, while the other is higher and has slits at the appropriate level with inserted gussets. Such a hoot, will try to photograph them and post later this week. I also bought 3 pairs of over the knee stockings. One in knitted lace is quite beautiful, one in plain cotton with the brand still stamped on the upper leg and one which is reputed to be a maid's stocking with a period mend on the toe and her initials worked in fine crossstitch on the top. Photographs to follow of those too.

So quite a nice short break, not long enough of course, but we hope to plan a few more such breaks in the near future.