Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A quilt block and some cleaning

This is what I did today. It's for QATWII again - one lovely lady asked for interlocking geometric patterns, and so I did this one. I know, it doesn't look interlocking exactly, but it's meant to be a ribbon all twisted into loops. I found it on The Quilter's Cache, here, but it's a 16 1/2" unfinished block on there, and I wanted 12 1/2 so I spent some time scaling it down before I started. It worked really well, and really easily - it was obvious how to put it together, and when I finished and pressed all my seams one final time, I was really pleased with how neat the back looked even! I just hope it's liked and works with the others in this set.

I also tried out my parents' steam mop thingy for the first time today, and fell in love with it. It's so much easier than mopping floors the normal way! No bucket to fill and lug around, no mop head to squeeze out... Yep, that's how bland most of my day was! I'm telling you about the cleaning I did!

Hopefully I'll have more interesting topics to talk about soon!

Love love xx

Sunday, 11 August 2013

21st birthday gifts, wonky plastic cakes, bags made of fabric with kimonos on, black and white paris block commenting on the Parisian tendency to frequent cafes, Jewels in the dark, and a new baby

So - a few of the happenings which have been going on here recently!

The wife turned the ripe old age of 21! And so Mandibles and I made her a vw camper-van cake... only, we didn't make enough cake to make a well-proportioned camper-van, so we... improvised:

Just ignore the accidental brand advertising in this photo!

What?! This is how all the best bakers form the shapes for their cakes!... And the finished cake?

I know, it's a little saggy towards one corner - what can I say, it's vintage!

And if you look at the background of this photo you will see a bag with a maths book and some sweets in. Well, I made that bag! Didn't remember to get any actual photos of it once I finished it, but my mamma did. Here are some photos of it in the making process...

 See that gorgeous fabric with the kimono print? Yes, I fell in love with it too! And it seemed very appropriate to give to someone nicknamed 'chinky-pole'! Yes, I know it sounds racist, but it isn't, I promise! She's half polish but looks oriental, and we love both these things about her, hence the nickname! Well, the basket had kimonos on the side to reflect the Chinese side to her, and Mandibles and I were going to get her some polish vodka in a tiny bottle as well to show her polish side. But we couldn't find a single miniature bottle of vodka, so we left it. We filled the bag with sweets we had as children, a couple of books and a numbers workbook (in-joke about the wife's awful maths skills!) The books we got her were Michael Morpurgo's War horse: the only one of his books she hasn't read; and Crossroads by W M Paul Young, who also wrote a book we love called The Shack.

And the finished bag:

I was rather pleased with how it all turned out! And the wife didn't even realise that I'd made it! This was probably partly because she was so interested in the contents, but I'd also like to think that it looks sort of good enough to have been bought in a shop!

And for entertainment value, some photos of her battling the cake!

First slicing attempt...

 ...Managed to peel some icing off the top...

 ... Uncovered the top of the cake, where we'd written HA! in biscuit crumbs!...

... "Why is this so hard?! I'm so confused!"...

 ...Hurray! Finally!

 And, as well as making the bag, I also made a couple of blocks for QATWII - the Paris block:

Black and white, with just a pop of blue was requested, and Paris themed. What could be more Parisian than a coffee at a cafe?!

And one called "Jewels in the dark":

Bright colours on a black background were requested. I actually really liked this one once I'd finished, despite hating it in the middle of doing! Mainly because cutting strips of black to fit scraps of colourful fabric frustrated me - but I like it now that it's done!

And that's what I've been up to! Oh - one more thing happened - a new baby came to our house:

That's right, you're looking at my sewing machine!! It's really for my 21st, which isn't until October. But mum and I went to choose it together. I played on a few machines, but I'm used to a Bernina, so I preferred it. It feels sort of heavier when sewing than others somehow - not in a way that makes it hard work to sew, but in a way that makes it feel stronger in the way the needle goes into the fabric. It's hard to explain. Anyway, she's mine! A very expensive toy, and she needs a name. Any suggestions?! But I love her so, so much, and I know I'm very spoiled by my parents but I am really grateful!

So that really is all! Tomorrow I'm hoping to play on her a bit more, and make another block maybe. And I'm having tea with the family I childminded for last year, so I'll probably go in the afternoon and chat with them, and catch up properly. I'll update soon!

Love love xx

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Finally, the fish story!!

So it turned out that the fish story was not finished. or maybe it was like, I thought it was a standalone book, but then there turned out to be a sequel. Whatever. Point is, I know I didn't post again as soon as I promised, but I swear, there was more trauma, and it took me, like, twice as long to get over this trauma. But finally, here it is in all its glory!

So, one of my new house-mates has 3 fish. She has carefully moved them over from her old house to the new one. She has set them up in her room, and they look pretty happy. Problem is, she's going away to Dubai for the summer, because that's where her dad works. so she asks another house-mate to look after them over summer. And this other house-mate agrees. But then this other house-mate decides to go away for the weekend. Now, because I'm still in town, I reassure the first house-mate and tell her I'll check in on the fish and make sure they have food. So I go to the house, let myself in, find the key from the empty washing powder tub, and unlock my house-mate's room. The weather recently has been scorching - think weeks of unbroken sun, with little wind and no rain. So when i go into her room, it's pretty warm. The curtain diagonally across from the tank is open, and sunlight is streaming directly into the tank, which is a no-no for fish. So I go round, open all the windows and close all the curtains.

Then I go to the tank. I have a quick peer inside, looking for a long-term feeder - you can get fish feeders which last 1-2 months, or pellets which last a few days. I can't see anything like that, so I lift off the lid of the tank to take a look, in case the feeder is floating near the top. And the smell that hits me is just foul. I know you often read in books about a stench of death and how awful it is, but this didn't smell like I imagined the stench of death would. It just kind of smelt like a sweaty composting bin. Nothing major about that, in this weather, but I make a mental note to myself that fish really smell. Then I see it. One of the fish is lying on its side. It's resting on top of the water filter and looks really, really ill. so I give it a prod (with my bare finger, I know, DON'T JUDGE ME!) and it floats out into the main tank. Still on the surface of the water, still on it's side. The other two fish are swimming around fairly calmly, but this one seems... Dead. Really dead. Like, so dead that bits of it start falling off - or rather, floating off since the water stops them from actually falling! and I swear, for a moment my heart stops. we haven't even started living together yet, but I have to tell my new house-mate that her fish is dead. It feels like a surreal moment. I get my mobile out, dial her number, and wait. No answer. I try again. still nothing. so I go onto facebook, and message her, saying, "one of your fish is dead. I'm really sorry but what do I do?" And then I ring my best friend, who, I know, had a fish when she was younger...

H: Hey, what's up

Me: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I don't know what to do! Oh my goodness...

H: Oh my goodness, what's wrong hun? Are you alright?

Me: It's dead! And it's not even mine!

H: Wait, what's dead?!

Me: My house-mate's fish is dead! And I found it! And she's not here!

H: ...your house-mate's fish is dead? Have you told her?

Me: I tried, but she didn't answer, so I left her a facebook message saying I'm sorry but her fish is dead. (cue much laughter)

So she kills herself laughing whilst I panic about what to do with the dead fish and how to tell my house-mate. And in the end I fish the dead fish out with a net, change all the water and then ring the house-mate again; and this time she answers...

L: hey, which fish is it?

me: The black one.

L: Are you sure it's dead? because he likes to pretend to be dead a lot. He's like a dog.

Me: He's definitely dead. Really, really dead.

L: Okay, you can flush him or bury him. I'm really sorry!

Me: It's okay, I'm really sorry too!

So, the fish ends up in the washing powder tub, and my house-mate's keys go into a different box for safekeeping. I take the washing powder tub outside, thinking I'll bury the fish. And as I get outside I realise I have nothing to dig a hole with. But, since I haven't seen the garden, I take a wander round it, past the burnt out bonfire of mattress springs, through the lumpy, bumpy grass, and round the trees. And I stick my foot in a hole. It's like the kind of hole that an animal lives in, like a rabbit or a rat or something. And as I'm stood there, I begin to think that actually, it's about the same size as the washing powder tub. In fact, it would fit in there really nicely. and I can bury it later. Stop judging me! I was in shock! So I stick the tub in the hole, cover it with dead grass so nobody would be any the wiser, and make a swift exit. I check on the surviving fish one last time, then leave.

And there I thought my story ended. But apparently not. Some author thought that this story needed a sequel, and the sequel was about as welcome as Saw 2, 3 and 4.

So moving day finally arrives for me. I've packed all my stuff, hired a van, and I'm all moved over. I realise something crucially important: moving is awful. There must be a section of hell reserved for people who leave houses without paying their rent, where they're constantly packing and moving and unpacking and packing and moving and unpacking, for all eternity. But anyway, all my stuff is brought up and dumped outside my room, and in a moment of procrastination decide to check on my house-mate's remaining fish. the other house-mate messaged me in the week before I moved asking about the location of the key to feed the fish, so my visit is just cursory, really.

I retrieve the key, unlock her bedroom door, and go to the tank. Immediately, I can see one of the 2 month feeders in there. But... I can't see any fish. You would think, you would think I have learned my lesson from last time. It's like watching a scary movie, when you're yelling, DON'T TURN YOUR BACK! DON'T TRUST HIM, HE'S OBVIOUSLY THE KILLER! and so on. I lifted the lid of the tank. And there started a second phone call to the wife which also ended with her in fits of laughter as I hysterically shrieked at her down the phone, "THEY'RE DEAD, THEY'RE ALL DEAD! THE OTHER TWO FISH ARE DEAD!"

I could go on, but I feel that the sequel had a very predictable storyline, which very much mirrored the first book, and was the author's excuse to add more gore. The ending was unsatisfying, and the entire plot lacked climax or resolution. But it does have a moral, which is NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER GET FISH. EVER.

Tomorrow I'll show you my latest sewing exploits and some other fun things!

Love love xx
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