Saturday, April 30, 2011

New toy

G'day all!

Nathan got a new toy today.  We walked into the city, hopped on a rail bus (they are replacing the catenary and doing trackwork on the harbour bridge railway lines) and wound our way to Chatswood.

My goodness Chatswood was crazy. Everyone wanted to go shopping there. It has an open air shopping mall, two indoors malls/shopping centres and a few hundred metres of shops lining the road to the carparks. People were everywhere.

I had discovered that there was a sewing machine shop about a kilometre from the train station, so we went for a walk.  The cars were banked up in both directions - we were walking faster than the cars fleeing Chatswood.

And we just so happened to find a second sewing machine shop that had not shown up on my search. We talked to them, we checked out the other place, we walked back to the first place and Nathan lugged home the overlocker you can see in wherever mobile blogger has put the picture. (oh, he did pay for it first. He said that his arms felt a bit sore by the time we got home and I am not surprised as he must've carried it close to three km.)

He is very pleased with it :-)

(for details freaks, it is a Bernina 700D)


Friday, April 29, 2011

Make it stop

G'day all!

Today I did Nathan's washing.

I hung one load of washing out to dry. It was almost sunny this morning, with only a few little patches of rain to be seen on the radar.

I did the second load and hung it inside. Then I walked to Quiltsmith, a pleasant walk. As I walked to Logan's Patchwork, it was raining.

It has rained 50% of the time since then.

Please make it stop. It has rained in Sydney every day for the last 8 days. It started on Good Friday and hasn't stopped since. OK, it might stop for 10 minutes or even two hours, like it did this morning (I saw this big glowing thing in the sky! It was really bright and its rays felt warm on my skin). Thank heavens on our three day jaunt out of Sydney, we found a sunny place that was glorious. I am editing pics of it but as usual have so many to choose from.

You know what really makes me cranky? The weather bureau forecast has said "showers possible" every one of those days (except Good Friday, which was outright rain). I have no idea what they mean by showers but the same sort of precipitation in Melbourne is called "rain." I am starting to wonder if it is some conspiracy or decree that it doesn't rain in Sydney or they like to pretend that it doesn't rain.

I would show you the crafting I've been doing but see rain (above). I haven't got a good bright space in this flat to take good pics and I can't take stuff out to the line to peg on that to show you (see rain (above)). The orange hat I'm knitting Nathan is a bit bright for the flash, and the white and navy tardis socks too contrasty.


However, I think you will like the pics I took in the Button shop on King St in Newtown. They were fine with me taking pics - it is all good advertising!



Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Significantly unimpressed

an addendum to the last post (of mine, not the music!)

I stopped at a petrol station today to fuel the car up, ready for its return. I decided to pump the tyres up as they have been going down every. single. day.

The tyre inflator thingo was out of order as someone had stuck it on 60psi (yes, we still use psi even though we are in all other ways metric).

The guy at the petrol station said go tell the guys at the tyre and auto place next door - they look after it.

The manager at the tyre and auto place said one of his boys would check my tyres. How nice!

The "boy" comes out and looks and says "Those tyres are bald! I'm not touching them. They are sh*t. You'll have an accident with them in this weather!"


And the rental company says they will give me a free day's rental.

I think I want something more than that.

Company starts with B by the way and is something that we do each week with our households and governments do each year...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Popped out for a bit

G'day all!

Today I am glad to be alive. I'm glad not to be in hospital. I'm glad to be telling you this story.

Nathan and I popped off for a drive for a few days. We went up to Gloucester (NSW, not England!). We drove around and looked at stuff and went for some walks of variable length and difficulty (today's was a doozy!). Then we headed out to the coast cos I like beaches and sea and water and estuaries, etc.

That was ok, pleasant enough but not much that made me want to stop. The weather had gone from being brightly sunny inland to threatening rain so we decided to start making our way home.

OMG. The only time I've been stuck in such traffic jams was when we decided to take the I80 (in California) from where the 880 or 280 (can't remember which) joins it on its way to Sacramento. Admittedly the Californian traffic jams involved anything up to 8 lanes of traffic but even the modest two and three lanes of the Pacific Highway coming into Sydney (90, 80, 70 km OUT of Sydney mind you) jammed up good and proper. I spent most of an hour crawling at 20kmh and under. (The hire car did the crawling, I just had to mind the gears and the clutch.) And the weather was miserable! Drizzle to full on rain, back to drizzle, visibility was woeful, the sun set when we reached the first traffic jam (though we couldn't tell due to the drizzle).... One traffic jam seemed to be caused by the huge queue of people trying to stop at a petrol station/mcchukkas/rest stop. Another? Because three lanes went to two.

Finally we broke free of the traffic jam. I have no idea where all the cars went but suddenly we were flying along. I was sitting in the leftmost lane most of the time as I was getting a good run in it (remember in Oz, this is the "slow" lane). Oh lovely, joy, joy we will make it to the thai place in time to get some food - after today I wasn't going to be cooking.

Lalalalala, whizzing along the road. I've slowed down a little because something odd is happening in front of me. I can't see what is going on, though the rain has cleared and the road is just a little damp, but something is happening ahead of me.

When suddenly an SUV in the emergency lane decides to pull out in front of me.

Turns out our hire car does NOT have ABS braking. I definitely locked the tyres up. I couldn't go into the lane beside me cos there was a car there. We're sliding but slowing quite rapidly as I'm braced on the horn. We're going to stop barely in time. *phew* At that point I check the rear vision mirror and realise the guy behind me hadn't realised I had to stop. He suddenly realises he is waaaaay too close and dives into the emergency lane to avoid the back end of my car.

The SUV pulling out suddenly decides that it isn't a good idea and waves me past.

We were a second away from death or terrible injury (small front wheel drive meets large SUV, I know who loses!). Plus the guy behind me was so close I couldn't see his headlights. Crunched from either end, someone would've spun out, bingo bango, noone would be getting home for quite some time cos the highway would've been closed with a multi-car pile up.

But we survived. And I didn't even get too much of an adrenaline rush. I got a little wobbly but usually after that sort of thing I need to get out of the car and go for a walk. I'm pretty sure Nathan also thought we were going to die as he told me I did a good job a minute or so later. It was luck, sheer luck.

So today I am glad to be here, telling you this tale.

PS - things with various friends are fixed up again. Others are still being nongs but well the most important ones are good :-)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Copy cat

G'day all!

Ah the fun continues here in Sydney. One never knows what is going to happen next, but let's just say we are trying to find a new social group.

We went to see Sir Terry Pratchett talk on Sunday evening. We had been looking forward to it for ages. Well it was a social disaster - we didn't realise certain people who don't want to associate with us were going - and a bit of an all round disaster for Nathan because Sir Terry talked about death and suicide a whole lot. And that raised a few bogies for DH, reminders of people he knew and one person he saw splatted by a train. That is the problem with having an amazing memory - it remembers the bad stuff that many of us gloss over and forget. So after looking forward to it for ages, umm, not so good. Then his work friends started shunning both of us, and we are not really sure why. It seems like it's time to be 15 again.

But we did get to go into the opera house - I've never been inside. I would like to hear the organ in there thundering away. I am sure it could thunder and make my insides wibble like jelly :-) (That is another thing I miss about Campbell - Nathan was allowed to play their fantastic organ and gosh it could thunder :-)

I must talk about my little trip to Newtown sometime but today I really wanted to talk about a book that I ordered, a book that arrived last week, a book that I am all enthused about.

After seeing Cindy 2paw's now not quite so new book, I had to have one too.


There's not that many patterns in it, really. There's a skirt, a dress/tunic and a jacket. It is the length and the trimmings that make them different. But I really like the concepts presented in the book and was enthused enough to race out to find material to make a dress/tunic.

I had to remind myself that I want to go subtle. I don't want to be loud and proud, well not until I know I like the style and it looks good on me. I found many fabrics I really liked in Quiltsmith but they were a bit too loud for me yet. But if the pattern works?

Of course after buying some nice material, I realised I need cheap material to make a muslin out of. Muslin is technically a light weight cotton fabric, in Oz it tends to be a fairly open weave, coarser than voile but fairly sheer. (I know it is different in the US.) In this case though, a muslin is the draft version of the dress. If I was at home, I'd have plenty of fabric I would sacrifice to the cause but up here? I think I'll have to pop along to Vinnies and see if they have any suitable sheets.

Anyway, I wandered around and found this material, with a mate and a couple of ring ins from scroatfight, to make the dress/tunic possibly of my dreams, but maybe not.

Yep, I chose batiks. I thought they would be relatively subtle but still distinctive. The ivory and the herringbone go quite well with the others in natural daylight and under fluoro lights.

But I need to get some material for a muslin. I am so itching to start this project. I keep distracting myself from it but argh! Want to make it!

Then I have to see if I brought any of the material up for a 1950s frock, oh and a pattern. I've been thinking of making myself some nice frocks for a while. It's just that I am lazy and cargo pants and a tshirt are easy/relatively effortless. I don't really want to go out and buy a new pattern as they cost at least $10 here, even on special. I did rather go crazy in the US and buy a number of patterns every time they were on special at Joann's.

Finally, I said goodbye to another old friend today.


Yep, I sent the Dyson off. We've had it for 10 years but they are subject to a recall as the handle can split open and expose the live wiring of the controls. Our poor old thing was starting to show its age - it still worked well enough but the powerhead was a bit dodgy. So we will get a new one for cost price. But I am a little sad because I get attached to things, which I know is ridiculous. When things that have given me good and faithful service die or get sent to whatever heaven they have, I feel sad and vaguely like I've betrayed them by not looking after them well enough or just plain getting rid of them.

Oh, a big shout out to our friend Gibbering. Thanks for being there and giving up some precious time when we needed it :-)


Friday, April 15, 2011

Loot loot loot

G'day all!

I have been such a bad naughty girl! I deserve a good spanking!

I've been buying loot cos a) Quiltsmith have 25% off fabric for all of April (except they are closed over the long weekend next weekend, boo hiss for Easter falling on Anzac Day and ripping us off a public holiday! Oh but I only work three days a week and miss them anyway...) and b) I don't have enough variety of loot to do all the things I want to, and c) I like to buy something from a place if I visit, like I did with Calico and Ivy. (and dang, I just realised that some of the homespun broadcloth at scroatfight yesterday would work well with some of the stuff from Calico and Ivy.)

Here's a sample of my loot up to earlier in the week:


I do have better pics of the various items but I'm saving them up to talk about as we go along.

I am particularly delighted with these:


The leather gloves I ranted about in an earlier blog post. They are just a wee bit small but I figure with wear will loosen up a bit. I need a tight glove on my right hand anyway. (You can get them at the Tie Rack if you are in Oz or even the UK since it appears to be a UK company.) The colours of the leather do actually match, it is just the semi-gloss nature of the leather that makes them look odd.


I like them. I might even get a chance to wear them today - the weather is totally rancid. If I can believe the weather bureau site, we've had 60mm of rain since midnight and it is a bit cooler than it has been. (I didn't bring my raincoat with me - silly me! It rains more in Sydney than in Melbourne, Melbourne just gets it slower that is all.)

I also have Even More Loot - a book arrived a couple of days ago and now I am itching to make stuff out of it. 2paw might be able to guess what book it is if I say it has ruffles in it and I too might need a ruffle making foot! I have material for one of the items in it. But no pics cos the weather is rancid and I have a window of about an hour in the early morning to take pics with natural light - our block faces slightly north of east and if I get pics before 8 or 8:30 in the morning, I get good light at my desk.

I have been knitting and quilting madly but again? No pics cos the weather outside is frightful. We'll be out in it soon as we are going to Balmain to visit a workmate of Nathan's. This colleague has a piano, a real piano and plays violin. So they will make music and I will listen or I can go for a walk.


Monday, April 11, 2011

I came, I saw, I Ikeaed,

G'day all!

I've been busting a gut to get to an IKEA for ages.


Well. Hmm.

Service was non-existant. They had some nice sized plastic storage boxes, but no lids! After tracking down someone with an ikea shirt on, the boy looked and said "No, we don't have any lids for those boxes. People take them." And then he wandered off and played with the batteries! I kid you not. I rather wondered if he has Aspergers.

I usually like their fabric but today, meh. I liked a couple of the doona (duvet/comforter) covers but not for what they wanted for them. I've got two up here and they will do. Sometimes their sheets are cheap *and* good quality but the cheap ones today were just that.

I bought a cheap lamp. Now it did say on the description "suited for IKEA lights blah and blah" but it was not obvious that I had to buy them on the spot. Now that I look at the box, it does say excl E27 and E14 on the top only. I didn't look at the top, I just grabbed the box from the pile of them. I am sure I am not the first person to not read all of the labels and then get peeved that they can't have a nice shiny bright light in their dull little flat. I mean duh, yes I should've guessed it would not have lovely breakable bulbs in it - why would it? But argh. So I guess I'll be off to the shops tomorrow to get it some edison screw light bulbs. I should check and see if our light fittings are standard bayonet fittings - these edison screw things are not standard in Australia.

At least the little fabric storage boxes I bought fit into the non-IKEA shelves :-) Of course I liked the kiddie ones - the adult stuff was so dull and boring! White, black or black and white. Blah. Who would not choose red and orange or aqua and green boxes?

I was very tempted by a certain sort of chair - I sat on it and liked it and if it hadn't been in a square box (too hard to strap on to my shopping cart) I would've bought it. For all it was bent wood, it was comfy. And a good price too. And might be able to withstand Nathan. However a friend is bringing over a spare chair - we need a better chair at the desk than the one we have at present. Armchairs are a little low for sitting at a desk at...

I did have a most interesting trip up there. I caught the tram to Pyrmont then took the ferry across to the spot where I thought the Parramatta River ferry went. Ah, no, not until later in the afternoon. Now if I had walked across the bridge to the Darling Harbour terminal of the ferry, I would've caught a ferry that ran a whole HOUR earlier!

But I didn't. So instead I tooled around, taking pictures of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. I shall have to download them and share them on my travel blog. I saw the Manly ferry cutting its way to Circular Quay (anyone apart from Aussies know that reference?). Then I caught the Betty Cuthbert rivercat up to Meadowbank and walked to IKEA. (Note for self, watching one youtube video of the music of my youth leads to watching a whole lot more of them. Use headphones too, the laptop has crap speakers. And maybe I should try to make more noise than the guys in the flat opposite us who are thumping something enthusiastically and providing vocal stylings, and no they are not having sex....)

The trip home was less exciting. Get a train to Strathfield. Change trains to a train that stops at a station that my short trip ticket is valid for. Get back on a train that my weekly pass is valid for. Decide not to change to yet another train to get a train that stops at Newtown - it is nearly 5pm and the shops will be shutting. Instead, wander all around Central Station trying to figure out where to catch the bus that drops me 100m from my door.... Of course the place to catch the bus is at the exact opposite diagonal corner to where I started. Last time I was in that part of Sydney, they were still building the bus terminal area. At least I now know where to go and what on earth all the roadworks were about...

I am rather proud of myself for managing to navigate around, even if I did do dumb things. Live and learn, and heck I've been doing a lot of learning. The weekly ticket helps - it means I don't have to pay out of pocket for screwing up. I can just say it is helping justify the $41 for the ticket 8-)

Work tomorrow. The good thing about working from home is I can work in my PJs. If I need to go for a walk whilst thinking about stuff I can. If I need to go buy some stuff, I can. I just make the time up later. Admittedly I don't get the social interaction I used to but I am getting some good work done.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

So many things

G'day all!

So many things to show you and no pictures of any of them! It isn't even me being slack. Y'see our flat has no outdoors area *at all*. Nothing. Nada. It faces south, which means in the southern hemisphere, it doesn't get much natural light, especially with three enormous trees blocking whatever sunlight bounces off the flats next door.

I can't take pics outside because the only flat areas are either covered with possum poo (mmm, anyone for worms and all sorts of interesting bugs?) or are under the washing lines. (The washing lines here have some of the best views! Sydney skyline views! I sometimes think I'll go sit out there and do some work, using my mobile for internet on the laptop but a) I need a seat to sit on and b) mobile's 3G network is verra verra verra slow.) Or are roads and carparks.

(The waterfront just down from our place - never said it isn't pretty!)

I've been busy. I've done lots of walking.

On Monday I took the tram into town and bought headphones for work, went for a walk with DH at his lunchtime, then caught the tram out to one stop further than usual and walked to Quiltsmith (I would link to their website but jeez it is woeful! Much better a visit.) Quiltsmith is having a 20% off sale for all of April. So I came home with some fabric. Ahem!


This means I must've gone to Balmain two Fridays ago. I walked to DH's work, then caught the ferry to Balmain East from Pyrmont, then walked from there all the way up the big long hill - have I said that inner Sydney excels at hills? And that I am getting much more used to walking up hills? - to Calico and Ivy. I bought some lovelies there too 8-)

You might start detecting a theme. We had a very small windfall of unexpected income that means I can buy stuff that will entertain me *and* also stuff that we need.

(The view from the end of our street)

I worked for three days, topped off with an entertaining visit to Melbourne that started off in a very exciting way - my taxi went to the wrong nearby lane, cos some idjit thought having Avon St, Avon Lane and Avona Ave all within 100m of each other would be a great idea. So 20 minutes after I booked the taxi, another one showed up. My driver went like a fury, though not *too* fast and I was in the airport 20 minutes before my plane was scheduled to depart. I then managed to get through security (silly me QUEUED!) and scuttled through the airport with laptop securely clamped under my arm and got to the gate just as they were calling my name the first time. *phew*! Thank heavens for all that walking up hills!

On the way home I had a little extra time and discovered the most fetching pair of leather gloves I've ever seen. A tie shop (as in the thing men wear around their necks) had a lovely bright array of ladies' gloves. I went straight for the turquoise ones, then the fuchsia ones, then I spied the navy blue and pink ones.... and 20% off! Hooray! (still not cheap though! But lovely :-) I only bought the navy blue and pink ones. (2paw, they have GREEN leather gloves! Tie Rack I think it is. Just sayin....)

My phone's camera managed to take some nice shots of sunset and the New Moon.

Friday I would like to say I vegetated but I have the feeling I walked to the shops and bought lots of food (THREE loaves of GF breadstuffs, mmmm! Plus lunchy stuff for me and other things including some glutened fish that was sitting with the GF stuff and I never thought to check until I opened the box...), then slacked by taking the bus back again.

Saturday, oh gosh, Saturday. Full details with pics to follow but I walked about 8km yesterday. By the end of it, my poor footsies were feeling very sore. But I think it was worth it.

I've been knitting and quilting today - being multicraftual. DH was uninspired but I've gotten a fair bit done and now have two quilts ready for their quilt sandwich and quilting and binding. The knitting has a fair way to go though - a jacket I was working on a while ago and a pair of Tardis socks for Nathan that have just gotten past the toe.... So we are keeping very busy and occupied and are really getting into exploring the area. Hope the rain passes so I can go exploring more tomorrow!


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Up at the crack of dawn

G'day all!

Actually, I'll be up before the crack of dawn tomorrow... 5:30am. YIKES! I have to fly to Melbourne for a training course. 7am flight. Have to be at airport by 6:30am. Normally I'd take the tram and the train but I figure that tomorrow I'd best take a taxi.

Oh, I also should get the details of where I am going eh? Thanks for reminding me! LOL

It's going to be a long day as my flight back leaves Melbourne at 6:15pm. I'll get home sometime around 9ish, just too late to get some takeaway for tea! But I might end up having leftover roast chicken, though I'll be having that for lunch if I can keep it cold enough.

Things are calming down here, thank heavens (and thanks for your responses :-). I'm too busy at present to worry about being lonely. The place is still fairly musty despite me cleaning it from stem to stern several times, spraying tea tree oil around, sprinkling the carpets with bicarb.... I reckon it is endemic to the place. There are signs of rising damp here and there - welcome to Sydney!

I have so many pics to share with you but no time to edit them and get them online. This area is very pretty but dull for the crafter. I've discovered that if I go for a little walk down the hill, I can take a bus for two sections ($2 one way) and go to Newtown! Hooray! (If I catch it at the closest stop, it means three sections and that costs more.) Newtown has two yarn shops I believe and is funkier, as one would expect from a recently gentrified area.

I expect to be knackered on Friday. Last time I did something like this, it took me a week to recover. I am fitter than I was then though, although the mildew allergy is giving me some strife. Still, I might make it onto a bus. I also want to find my way to the "local" IKEA. I have this driving urge to go look at their fabric. I've been reliably advised that I don't really want an Expedit shelving unit as they are fiddly to put together and not entirely sturdy. Boo. (DH says that the Billy bookcases are not that great either but heck the things I've got range from 9-15 or so years old and have been loaded with heaps of books over the years and haven't fallen apart yet or even scratched up. Except for the shelves that didn't make it to our house when we moved from the rental to the current place, but that is sorta different 8-)

Whoops, it's after 10pm, I must to bed! I have most of my stuff ready for the morning - I have to take a mountain of food with me as there won't be any I can have on the plane in either direction and we didn't think to put my food reqs in with the training booking. So I have to self cater!


Sunday, April 03, 2011

NO (wo)man's land

G'day all!

I cracked it today.

All week I have been cleaning, cooking, cleaning up after cooking, managing to get work done in between shopping trips (we have cutlery and crockery here and a chopping board and one good knife and some utensils and pots/pans but no mixing bowls or stuff like that - the accessories), I've been encouraging DH through doubts and fears, I've worked like a navvy.

I've dragged loads of shopping back from the shops at the other end of Glebe Point Road (and whilst it is technically is only 1.7km, or a mile away, but it is mostly downhill on the way there and uphill on the way back and on the way back is when the trolley weighs a bit. (better than having to carry it all myself though!)

Today I cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen - we were going to have a guest and I wanted it to be nice for him. We had breakfast out with some of Nathan's workmates and oh gosh, dullsville! They were excited about what they were talking about but they are computer geeks and knew what on earth they were talking about, to a greater or lesser extent. But for me? Like putting pretty much any of them in the middle of a group of knitters discussing Wollemeise or something. Dull dull dull.

I discovered several things today:

a) I didn't bring the triangular ruler for one of my quilts with me.
b) I left the battery charger at home
c) I am bored and lonely.

I only realised the last when I went looking for something "special" and "nice" for me at the shops. Didn't find it though. It will have to pass a high bar of specialness and niceness and a low bar of affordability.

Glebe is lovely. It has many quaint terrace houses and is on the harbour. It has a number of nice cafes. But it is deadly, dully boring for me. There are no craft shops, no crafty get togethers here. If I go for a 4km walk, I can go visit Newtown, where there are both. But that is 4km there, a walk around Newtown looking at stuff, then 4km back. I could hop on a tram and go into the city and get on a train and go to Newtown but that will probably take me hmm, well over half an hour for the tram and then I'll have to find out which train line and what ticket I need to buy (SYDNEY FOR GODS' SAKES, GET YOURSELF A DECENT TICKETING SYSTEM WITH DAILY TICKETS THAT COST LESS THAN $20 TO BUY IF, HEAVEN HELP YOU, YOU WANT TO USE A BUS AND A TRAIN! And whoever decided the trams should be on a different ticket and run by a different company should be shot, hung, drawn and quartered)... If I walk I can go through Sydney Uni's campus, which has some very excellent buildings and some not so excellent ones... Oh and don't suggest a taxi. That would eat up my small budget. Did anyone realise that we lost 6 weeks of DH's wages? Given that four days of his work equals my entire month's pay and we were well into renovations....

So I have the grumps well and truly. They will blow over, they always do. Maybe I will walk back to Broadway tomorrow and find something special for me to eat for tea. DH is going swimming and won't be home for tea. I think. But that may change.

(Check out my house blog if you want a pic. But it might hurt your eyes! Be warned...)