Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Declaration: It's a flop!

I know February is not over yet, but let's not draw out the agony any longer. I hereby declare my February Mini-Challenge to be a complete flop.

I utterly detest the curtain I made, and nothing else that I had planned has come to fruition yet. Yet? LOL! I hope to one day soon make some of the marvellous ideas I had, but it just hasn't happened. What a month!

I still want a curtain, but I want one which splits in the middle and is not see-through. I'm thinking I'll keep an eye out for some lovely limes and oranges in the fabric hunting through op shops. One day...

Also, I have the funnest (is that a word?) ideas for some cushion covers and throws for the couch, based largely on my small collection of Golden Hands and Busy Needles magazines.

And I really do need to get some more photos up on the walls. I have the photos, I have the frames, it's just a matter of getting around to it. Which won't be happening this month.
So sad. But what's on next month's agenda?

Thursday, 21 February 2008

First success of February Mini-Challenge

Here we are, almost at the end of Feb, and I have just stopped procrastinating long enough to finish the enormous task of the first part of my Home Decorating Mini-Challenge. It took about 20 minutes! D'oh!

The back-story: I am not a fan of open plan living. I prefer actual rooms. In our house the living room and dining room are very awkwardly joined together with this enormous boxy hole. I think it may have been an archway once upon a time. I'm so glad it's not anymore, but it's still obtrusive and ugly.

So I made a curtain to try to soften the effect and to close in the living room a little, making it feel less open and cavernous. I'm not sure if it's a success yet, I guess time will tell.

In keeping with the 1970s theme, this is made from some real-life 1970s curtains from my parents' house. This had a former life as living room window curtains in my childhood. It was not long enough, so I joined a small offcut to the bottom at right angles to make up the length. I think it has worked well.

The curtain rail was already there from some Christmas decorations we put up a few years ago. (Yes, the decorations came down a few years ago too, it's just the rail that we left there).

I hope to take some better/more interesting pics tomorrow.
:) Cheerio.

Friday, 15 February 2008

My lovely friend

My darling friend Lorna is the most encouraging person. She has recently been asking if it would be ok to buy me a present if it was something I needed which I am not allowed to buy. How sweet is that! I don't think I've really answered her yet. It seems really cheeky, but in a good way. ;)

Today I went around to see her because I depserately needed a few minutes away from the crying, sooking, teething, sick little boy I call my son. I came away with the most delicious stash of buttons, zippers, and elastic. Mmmmmm, drool-worthy!

Lots of the buttons are kinda old. I am really digging the domed, shiny green buttons (can you see them?) and I think they're from the 70s. Actually most of the buttons look like they're from the 60s and 70s. So I did some research (aka "googling") LOL!

A history lesson:

With a background of studying history, I am always interested in the age and purpose and any useless information about older things. It turns out that Australia went metric in 1968 and our money went decimal in 1966. Just in case you were wondering.

I was.

Some of the buttons have imperial measurements on them (ie '6ft of matching thread') and others simply have it in metric (ie '175cm of matching thread'). So, I'd say I'm right and the buttons are a mix of 60s and 70s vintage. Nice, huh? Should go well with my 1970s house make-over for my February Mini-Challenge. Thanks Lorna!

Lorna, and her beautiful family of three gorgeous girls and one friendly husband (nothing better than a friend with a husband who doesn't scowl at you, eh?) have also given us more toys than I can fit into a dozen photos. But one toy has sparked a bit of a "thing", iykwim.
Since receiving this toy I approached my mother's group with the idea of having a toy swap. One lady has an indoor slide which I really want to borrow, so I suggested that next time we're at my place we should all bring toys along and have a big swap. If we do that every month or so we will always have new toys for them to play with. Andrew wants me to swap out the horrid loud Elmo steering wheel toy we were given (not from Lorna!), but at least 5 of the others have that one already, so they all know how bad it is! LOL!

Well, I think that's enough chatter for tonight, so I'd better go and work on this mini-challenge. I've been procratinating. I need some of Eilleen's "just-have-a-go" attitude.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Oh, the shame!

I finally finished my study as part of the January Mini-Challenge (50% off) last night, but I must confess that my shame over the promised 'before' photos has stopped me from posting until now. I can't believe that it looked that bad. I'm so glad I took photos though, because it makes the joy of the 'after' photos so much sweeter.

Note that every surface - floor, desk, sewing table, light table - is covered in 'stuff' including things which should be thrown out or given away, Elliot's toys, and things which should have a home.

I had no room to move, no room to be creative or think within this room. The study is my equivilent of Andrew's shed - my place to create. In here I (theoretically) scrap, sew, paint, draw, and do bookbinding, as well as taking care of our finances and the myriad tasks which require the computer. I say 'theoretically, because you can see that there was simply no place for any creative or utilitarian activity in this room.

Now, to the 'after' shots...

My light table is clear and awaiting some exciting project to be created. The sewing table (right) actually has the sewing machine on it, and you can walk around without having to look at what you're stepping on. I can actually close the cupboard now! That's because it looks like this...

Everthing has a home, and almost everything is labelled. From old uni work to wrapping paper (rolls are in the suitbag - cool idea, huh?) to a tub full of yarn and suitcases for different types of fabric, they know where they belong.

And the other view is just as good with a clear desk with room to move and space to work. The filing drawers hide all manner of evil, but that will have to wait until another month. LOL!

50% off? Well, I think anyone can see that I had to get rid of a lot of 'stuff' to change the look of the room this much. My old uni work was culled from a suitcase and a big tub to just one small tub (about 80% off), which left those 2 containers for fabric and yarn. No yarn was culled but about 30% of my fabric went. 100% of the rubbish and junk went, 2 or 3 boxes of stuff went to the op shop, and almost all my Scouting stuff went to Andrew or the Troop.

I just want to end by saying that I'm glad I didn't have a magic wand to fix this problem. I remember my parents tearing out their hair asking me constantly to pick up after myself. I'm not sure why I never learnt to do that. But this Challenge has made me feel really good about putting my stuff away after I use it. I feel as though I have really achieved some personal growth by doing this, as I can see it affecting the rest of the house and the way I think about myself.

Thanks for sharing this mini-journey with me. I can't wait to see the creativity conceived and born in this room.

ETA: This is my now-clear light table. Hooray!

Friday, 8 February 2008

February Mini-Challenge

I have had a few ideas floating around, such as doing a refashionista-type challenge, or menu-planning. I'm quite inspired by the other Challengers, but those ideas will have to wait.

My February Mini-Challenge is to attempt some home decorating. We simply never feel at home here in our 70's wog brick veneer home with mission-brown skirting and orange bottle-glass features. It doesn't help that we keep talking about moving back home to Shep or elsewhere. I want to feel like this is home. I hate that we have been here 6 years next week and it feels stark and empty and cold.

So, within the confines of the Challenge, I will be attempting to make our house a home with some creativity, some warm fabrics, and a sense of humour. Wish me luck.

BTW, like my new header and template? Making this blog a bit more homely too.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Pay it Forward

I really like this, so when I saw it on Kelli's blog I simply had to play along.
It should be extra fun with people like us who will have to put more thought and effort into gift-giving this year. Come on, play along!


The first three people to comment on this post will receive a gift from me,
sometime within the next 365 days.
Who knows when it will turn up, or what it will be,
but rest assured, it will arrive.
All you have to do is promise to make the same declaration on your blog,
and send out gifts to three of your lovely readers.
Easy Peasy.

Felty Inspirations

Elliot and I have been playing with the feltboard I made in 1997 for my Child Care course. I am looking for ideas to make some new pieces, so I thought I'd show what I have so far. And it's really easy to make, so I hope I inspire someone else to make one too.

Here we have The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It has all the right pieces except I just realised I'm missing a string of sausages. I don't recall making sausages. Hmmmm?

I can't find a copy of this book in the house, despite the fact that we have 4 copies - one softcover, one hardcover, one german, one spanish. I'll have to look under the house, but they can't all be there can they?

Some details:
One of the pears; the watermelon; and the caterpillar before he goes on his binge.

This one is a story called "Horatio's Hat". Below that I have two extra elephants for the song about elephants balancing on a piece of string.

Some details:
The main elephant has a "jointed" back leg to allow him to stand or sit - which is crucial to the story.
The rabbit, I remember, was quite a triumph. He was difficult to make to look like a toy rabbit, but I am pleased with the results.

The board is made of a plastic sign that real estate agents use. I remember we went around to a few agents to ask for one of these each. Yk, they're the funny plastic, like cardboard, with the corrugated layer inside. I sure hope I'm making sense.

The board is covered with felt - blue and grey on either side. The pieces are all made out of scraps of felt. I have way too much felt right now, so I really want to make another set. Any ideas? Or anyone need to swap for some felt?

Market Bargains

We went "home" to Shepparton the other weekend to visit our Godkids. Of course we had to drop in to the Treasure and Trash, now held at the Paceway since the Drive-In has been sold.

There was a stall with a lady selling off the remains of the stock of a sewing shop which has closed. It all looked very old and worse for wear, but I had fun fossicking through it all.

I thought about this purchase for ages, to see if it met the criteria, and in the end I decided that it did. I thought it met the criteria because it may as well have been someone's personal sewing supplies they were selling off - no-one was going to be re-ordering the stock to replace what I had bought so therefore I would not be adding to consumption/manufacturing. Ok, I spent waaaaay too long thinking about it, but that is the concise version of my decision. Feel free to disagree or ask for a wordier explanation, I just don't want to bore you with my internal dialogue.

I had been wanting some fabric dye for ages, but I didn't see how I could get some unless I happened to trip over some at an op shop. And I need some thin-ish elastic for making shoes since I still haven't found my previous supply in my study-clean-up. I had to hold back from getting more colours of dye, and just limiting myself to what I thought I probably could and would use this year. I abstained from purchasing cotton reels and lace and all sorts of other goodies. I didn't know I had such self-control.

Very pleased with my bargains. $5.50 all told.

More Scouting Pics

I've got my MIL's pics now from Friday, so here are some better shots of the little man in his Scout uniform.

In this second one I am wearing the same scarf as him (our Group scarf) but in the pic below my "making of.." photos Andrew and I are wearing our Gilwell Scarves which are part of the award.

The old Cub hat is one Andrew found in a Scout hall somewhere.

Pity Post

Nothing to do with the Challenge, but I'm having a Pity Party and you're all invited.

I had a tooth removed at the back of my mouth yesterday. It was a nightmare and I want to have a whinge.

One and a half hours of levering, pulling, drilling and fretting; nine injections, six x-rays, and 3 phone calls to surgeons to try and get someone who could cut it out (they'd all gone home already) and I'm left with one root of my tooth still inside my gum, held there by a side-lying, impacted wisdom tooth.

The dentist (lovely lady) told me that if she'd known it was going to be like this she would never have started, she would have sent me to a dental surgeon. Great. She told me half way through that she hadn't seen one this difficult in years, but by the end I think I may have won the prize for difficult extractions. Apparently I have really long narrow roots on my teeth. I guess that's good when you actually want the tooth to stay in place. Not so good when you want it out.

Surprisingly I have no pain now. My jaw has been put out and is sore from all the pulling and pushing, but that'll have to wait till next week for my osteo to put it back it.

Ok, whinge over. Thanks for listening.
Back to our usual programming...

Friday, 1 February 2008

A Scout is Thrifty

This is one of the reasons I have been unable to quite finish my January Mini-Challenge.
It is quite appropriate that one of the Scout Laws is "A Scout is Thrifty". It fits well with the Consumption Challenge.

This is a uniform I made (finished this morning) for Elliot to wear tonight to Andrew and my Wood Badge presentations. The Wood Badge is the highest level of training for a Leader within a Group. It is quite an honour, and a fair bit of work.

Ever since I was pregnant I would insist that our baby would have their own mini-uniform to wear to our Wood Badge ceremony. Here it is...

This uniform looks as authentic as I could possily make it (without going way OTT). I hand-sewed the badges on this morning, and the buttons all have "Scouts Australia" on them since it's made from an official uniform. It looks just like my uniform and Andrew's uniform, except that we have name tags (Elliot has a woggle with his Scout name, "Womposs", instead), and he has a "Yes" badge to show off his epulettes, and Andrew and I have a few badges to show our other training (ie abseiling, first aid).

It is made entirely from an old adult uniform. This kahki uniform is going out, and a new navy one is being phased in, but Andrew and I are persisting in wearing the "real" uniform.

This is the uniform I refashioned into a mini-uniform. Ooop! I forgot to take a photo until I had already cut into the pants. LOL!

I cut the whole lot out using another size 0 shirt as the template, and a spotlight pants pattern I had sitting around idly. The scarf and woggle were made for Elliot over a year ago by a Scout mum, who also made him a jumpsuit, Scout-style. The badges were pilfered from the old uniform and from my Scout badge blanket.

I'm seriously happy with this. Action shots will be added after tonight's ceremony.
TA-DA! ---->