Earlier last week I had an annoying experience of spending a fair chunk of cash on taking kids to a rather disappointing waterslide on what was supposed to be a fun school holiday outing. Also, I think I managed to lose Charlie's good Akubra hat in my huffy state as I left, probably leaving it balanced on the front of the car as I drove off. Boo. Luckily, this weekend seemed intent on turning the tables.
I love a good roadside furniture freebie. I even scored a relatively aesthetically-pleasing doggie pooper-scooper (yes there is such a thing) from someone's hard rubbish recently. It has long, chromed handles that remove you from the 'business end' of the device, which is pleasantly rusted, blue-painted metal. Seriously. I barely even mind the chore when I'm using it.
What is it about the thrill of scavenging? I'll be the one running up the street with the wheelbarrow when there's a tree cut down, collecting firewood. I think fruit overhanging someone's fence is fair game. Andy's a bit dubious about it sometimes but hey, waste not, want not!
On Saturday, this desk presented itself with a 'FREE, PLEASE TAKE' sign just around the corner from our house. Don't mind if I do! My companion at the time was Clem, who has the treasure-hunter's instinct, and was very excited.
We gave the whole desk a quick wipe-over and then a light polish with my trusty beeswax/linseed oil potion, I tightened up the screws on the drawer handles and it was good to go.
We had to do a fair bit of re-shuffling in his room to make it fit, and Clem (not for the first time) rejected my suggestion of getting rid of the doll's house you see upon it, which was my eventual solution. Fortunately, it's quite a deep desk.
On Sunday I took Clem and Jasper blackberry picking (Andy is overseas, actually on his way back right now, and Charlie was at a friend's house). The day was not too hot, and recent rains had plumped up the berries.
The boys and I have enjoyed blackberries and vanilla icecream for dessert two nights in a row and there are still more left. Mind you, I just extracted a lingering stray blackberry thorn from under my right big toe. But the scratches and prickles just kind of make it all the more satisfying. We fought for those berries! And won!
At any rate, I think the world has given at least as much as it has taken from me this week, and I am happy. And tomorrow, two of the boys are back to school and Andy comes home. And the next day, Charlie is off to high school. Yipes!
- Jane x
Monday, January 26, 2015
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Here's a quilt I made for Clem over the last couple of weeks: the fastest actual pieced quilt I've ever made. (Also only the fourth, so no world records here.)
A scrappy quilt, that's almost all garment scraps, and looking particularly 'scrappy' here because I forgot it was in the washing machine for a few hours before hanging it out to dry, very rumpled. Let's call it 'texture'.
As the mother of a 13-year-old now (and that's a whole other topic), I am acutely aware that what might appeal one year can be downright embarrassing the next. If 7y.o. Clem had his pick of fabrics now, it would be all cute, cute, cute. And I'm very ready to indulge that for things with a shorter lifespan, like clothes. But for a quilt, I wanted to choose prints that, I hope, will stay in favour as he grows.
By telling Clem the quilt was for him, I knew I'd have a little project manager on my back, pushing me to get this finished. He also wanted to help.
My other expert helper was Skylar, who has happily settled into being the absolute furry centre of our family. Oh, how we adore her! Do you know, greyhounds barely have any 'doggy' smell at all, so you can totally bury your face in that soft, soft spot just behind her ear and tell her what a gorgeous thing she is. Another thing about greyhounds is they are very good at testing out anything soft-looking that you lay out on the ground.
I was tempted as a kind of challenge to use nothing but scraps for the quilt backing, too, but didn't have enough of anything suitable. So I nabbed a bit of this Erin McMorris print from the sale trunk at the shop (it's little houses - I love it), chopped it in half and stuck big chunks of flannel down the centre. And then bound it with some snuggly-feely chocolate brown corduroy scrap from the stash.
And of course, Skylar has tested out the finished object. Clem's pretty happy with it, too!
How do you feel about quilts and quilting, if that's not too massive a question in sewing-land?
- Jane x
Sunday, January 11, 2015
Our Christmas present to Charlie and Jasper was a two-day knife-making workshop at Gardner Knives, based at beautiful Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley.
On our New Zealand holiday last year, Jasper had been entranced by the blacksmithing facilities at Weta, where swords were made for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Then later in the year we happened across the artist-in-residence knife maker at Seppeltsfield. Sword... knife...more or less the same thing, only rather more useful in real life!
Andy was keen to make himself a chef's knife. And two January workshop days became available due to a cancellation. No time like the present! Even if the forecast was 38 degrees C both days (and rising).
Seppeltsfield is a very large, old winemaking property established by the Seppelt family. Whilst the Seppelts are no longer owners, it has recently returned to private ownership and management that is determined to preserve its heritage and restore its place in the Barossa community. Which is so nice to know in these times when so many grand old family businesses are bought by faceless corporations, properties are sold off and brands become meaningless logos slapped on whatever sells.
The process of polishing an antler knife handle with a belt sander produces an odd, not entirely pleasant smell that Charlie likened to burnt cornchips and Andy to having your teeth drilled. Just in case you were wondering.
At the end of the second day, clouds were gathering and when we dropped into a winery on the way home, we were treated to spectacular lightning, thunder and downpour that we watched from the broad verandah overlooking paddocks and vines. (Photos taken out that way were a uselessly rainy blur.) It was a welcome relief after the heat and also much-needed to help contain a scary large bushfire that was out of control in the Mount Lofty Ranges.
- Jane xx