Wednesday, 23 September 2015

French surprise

So, I finally moved to France, nearly 2 months ago and only yesterday we finally got Internet. So I should be able to come up with great post but sadly I have nothing to report.
My patchwork is done with cement right now, my stiches are brambles in the forest (my arms are badly scrached, worse than any sewing :D ).
The only sewing related thing happened when I was taking apart an old, collapsed chickecoop behind the fig tree. It was like a week untangling ivy shoots out of wires, move all the collapsed roof tiles and so on.... nothing exciting really. When I finally reached the bottom of the coop, where the feeds had been, something like cardbord started to rattle under my feet. I pulled that piece of plastic out and.... Little surprise!

Whiped it down with a wet cloth and it started to shine. There are few dents but nothing I can't restore.

Oh, and I finally got my last Singer, model 96, home, but it is still unpacked and probably will stay that way for loong - my future sewing room right now looks like this - the price you pay sometimes for living in as near Paradise as humanly possible.

So far most of garden had been cleared, some forest as well, vinyard seems to be beyond repair so new one will need planting.

The best news - as I can't sew, I'm running around all day long doing heavvy jobs and have lost quite a lot of weight despite all the gorgeous French food. Yay!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Life sucks sometimes

I adn't been around lately for a reason - DH managed to surprise all of us with a stroke, and as soon as I got him home, my youngest collapsed in pain - seems like it is ovarian cyst. So I'm just busy rushing between the hospital and home. No time to sew, no time to post. But I will be back, I will.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Energy saving and British traditions

Right now I’m drowning in Magnolia and white gloss so quilting must wait.  But it hasn’t stopped me thinking (I know, a bad habit). As I’m now concentrating on renovation and decoration, one thing really irritates me right now. Energy saving in average British house. 

All the UK media are screaming loud – save energy! Install new, energy saving windows and doors!  Double glazing is the must!
I support energy saving and recycling. Reduce our carbon footprint! So I totally agree with double glazing and insulation. Expensive? Yes. But should be worth it, if... 

How about that hole in the wall? Yes, that one, called a fireplace.

Fireplace is a must have in every British house.  Designers call it a focal point of the British living room. Just close your eyes and imagine... Comfy armchair in front of that roaring fire with that British cuppa after a long walk in damp moors... Britishness to the essence, right? So every UK house has at least one.  More or less decorated hole in the wall, leading right up into the open sky.  

Roaring? No, of course not. Wood is expensive and I suspect, half of population now has no idea how to lit one.  So it’s better to leave that hole untouched. For that British dream, for the traditions. For that desired focal point (well, let’s be honest – nowdays the only real focal point in average UK household is that flat screen TV). 

Our house has two of these holes, called fireplaces. One is empty, hadn’t been used for at least past 20 years; other has a gas burner installed. And none have a damper!!!  So the both holes are opened to the sky 24/7!!!

So...  How the nation is supposed to save energy by installing double glazing and packing layers of insulation in the attic while leaving two open holes in the house? How double glazing helps if you keep at least one window opened forever? 

Why there are no adds telling nation to sort out their fireplaces? Adds for installing a damper? I haven’t seen even one add! 

Damp issues? Well, UK is damp, I agree. But modern double glazing windows are made to breathe, to sort out these damp issues, right? 

Dampers are dangerous in hands of idiots when burning coal? Right. Fumes, I agree... So how many UK households use coal? I don’t know, as statistically it goes under “solid fuel” and includes wood as well. But, anyway, in 2013 solid fuel was used in only 0.8% of UK households! Less than 1 percent!!! (In comparison, in 1970 there were 39 % of households burning coal).  

So maybe it’s time to stop fooling around with these better and more expensive double glazing windows and doors and start energy saving with that hole in the wall? 

Rant over. Sorry.

Monday, 27 April 2015

New table

While packing, weeding and painting walls, my old Singer has been completely abandoned and seems that it will feel lonely for a long time as my new sewing room even has no walls and windows yet. So I'm quilting in my head only right now, but...

I bought a quilting table. Gammill 14 ft in pristine condition. So non existing walls are perfect as now I will be able to plan my sewing room according to the size of the table.

Khm, now just one little thing - finding a second hand long arm which will fit on the table - no way I can afford a new Gammill machine. So if you have ideas and suggestions, you are very welcome! In general I'm thinking about something like Gammill Optimum, but I'm open to any ideas so please share your visdom!

Whatever is going on in my poor head, the spring is here in full bloom, I have new camera and even Ben and Jerry are enjoying the sunny days in garden. 

Monday, 13 April 2015

A splash of paint II

 Working hard, I managed to add few inhabitants on the nursery wall, but now I know that it will be the project to continue for few next visits as well.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

A splash of paint

My sewing machine has been put to sleep for a while now, fabrics wrapped to protect from dust, and right now, few plane tickets later, I'm having great time with my 12 yo playing on a 4 m wall of the nursery-to-be with some acrilic paint.

This is the fragment of the day One. The day Two will follow tomorrow.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Murder, she wrote...

As I suspected, shit had hit the fan.  After our not-so-romantic failure of a homesitter, my  dear husband and child went to France, leaving me behind to look after our dogs and cats. Missing holidays in France was a hard blow, but something I can survive. But! 

They also went ... house hunting!  Without me!!! For me it qualifies as plain domestic abuse.  And as I suspected, the worse possible scenario has happened. They bought a house in Southwest. A farmette in Charente.  A man and a 12 yo child bought a home. Without me! 

All I have is few pictures taken by our 12 yo who is blissfully happy about the choice because our next door neighbours will be the riding stables. Good for horses and maybe... for gardening.  And extremely happy husband who called right now to tell that he already has done all the measurements and has made all the design plans for our house.... 

I’m sitting here steaming. Totally and utterly pissed off.  Murder, she wrote...

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

'No good deed goes unpunished

Do you know

the biggest complaints married women have about their husbands?

Lack of romance is a big one (among others, of course). When you look at a grumpy man carrying over half a century on his shoulders already, you do not expect much space for romantic behaviour.
Not my case.

Dear husband decided that this is the right time of the year to do something good. And he did. Invited in our home a homeless man. Lets call him John.

Sounds completely crazy, but actually this one was one of his best thought ideas. We knew John for over 3 years - nice, but mentally restricted, barely writes or read, but we never saw him drank or behaving badly so he seemed a real candidate to get a chance in life.

Husband, after his nasty burns, would do with an extra pair of even not so skilled hands for a help then and there. It would give John a chance to get off the streets, get back into same strenght and work schedule, and when he would be ready, my husband was planning to give him recomendations to get back into a proper job and start independent life off the streets.

We knew that John has epilepsy, so there were numerous limitations but we did our research and were ready for that hurdle. He also had no documents so my husband started to sort out all that right from the beginning.

So John came in and right into shower, his clothers were washed and sorted out, husband bought him new boots and some needed clothes, and good deed started. It was planned that we will be leaving for France past Wednesday, leaving him house sitting and doing some gardening when he feels like that.

 At the beginning seemed that all goes well - John was keen to do things, but some problems also arised. He needs to go to local pharmacy twice a day to collect his daily meds, and every time he dissapeared for several hours. The pharmacy is just 5 min walk from our house so it was weird.  But ok, John had been on streets for over  7 years, so maybe he is missing his street life?

Then on one of his walks he had a fit and was taken to hospital. Husband rushed there to find John smoking outside already. Well, that's the thing with epilepsy - fits come and go easily. Next day he needed to be collected from the hospital again - seemed that he had been hit by a car - John had bruised leg. But he still tried to convince us that he wants to do the work and that he can do it.

Next day husband went through his wallet and scratched his head - some notes seemed to be missing but again - as we were preparing for France, a lot of last minute shoppings were done in a hurry, so maybe he just forget something he spent the money on.

The next day we discovered the 20 pound note missing from the money jar, and this time it was absolutely clear that money is gone and only one person to be blamed for it. It was Tuesday afternoon, and we had ferry booked on Wednesday already. What to do?

Husband tried to find a last minute replacement (to look after house and after John) but all our unatached friends already had made some plans. Finding a professional home sitter on such a short notice and weird circumstances seemed mission impossible but husband still kept trying. I carried on packing...

And then I discovered that my photo camera also has gone. On Sunday night after Crufts I uploded pictures, and left camera on its usual place - on Tuesday night camera was gone.

That was the last straw for the big romantic deed. On Wednesday morning after the breakfast John was politely asked to pack; husband took him to shop to get him a new tent and back on streets he went. Seems like John forget to tell us one minute detail about himself - drug addiction.

So, ladies, next time when you complain about you husband being not romantic, please remember, that sometimes romantic ideas can be a disaster. This one not only cost me my camera, but also my long planned holidays in France. And might have even more long lasting effects on my life but that's for the next post.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

School bags and horses

Last week was long awaited midterm holidays, so Charlie sat down and played with treadle for the first time. 

After I played a bit with sewing machine embroidery last month, Charlie was itching to try it herself. 

Design ideas were no problem for Charlie as everything needs to be about horses. She made several drawings, copied it roughly on the black fabric and off she went. 

She had wanted to make a bag for herself for a while, and week-long holidays were just perfect for such a project.

The densely quilted bag was a very good project to get treadle motions under the belt. It took several broken threads until she learned the smooth forward motion, but in two hours she was able to put the needle exactly where she wanted at exactly the speed she wanted. 

The bag also has several rather advanced inside pockets, densely quilted (the only black fabric I had at hand was very soft, so dense quilting was needed to make the bag hold the shape and the weight expected from a hard working school bag. 

In some places there are 18 layers of fabric and the batting – thank God for the durability of an old Singer! 

What impressed me – she just kept working, hour after hour, and in three days her bag was ready – exactly the right size, right design and all that. For a 12 yo  it is rather impressive. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Blaming English breakfast

Past few weeks I had been very busy, stressed and tired, so I have done nothing. At least nothing good – I messed up the design colours on my February quilt. And decided not to bother about it. Instead I decided that the faulty bits will be a lifetime reminder of THAT English breakfast. 

It all started two weeks ago when DH rushed the breakfast. The full Monty. Bacon and eggs, hash browns and black pudding, sausages and mushrooms... (See - he is still very nice, not yet out of the honeymoon mode). 

The killer was the black pudding – it slipped and disappeared in the depths of the fridge. DH bent down to find the bugger, caught the lead of the deep fat fryer and spilled the smoking hot oil all over himself. 

Good job that DH is rather hairy and wears glasses thus face got only few freshly fried patches, not even worth mentioning. The right shoulder, hand and knee weren’t so lucky. I burned my hand just by pulling his clothes off (and it was at least 10 seconds later!). 

So he ended up with 6% body burns, some 2nd, some 3rd degree which means hospital and surgery, skin grafts and all other fun. He was bad enough not to be admitted at our local hospital but was sent to Burns unit at Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Birmingham. 

DH being a rather typical man decided that lying in hospital is not exactly his kind of sport, so he insisted on being released... Do you see where I’m heading?

Yes, he has been home since!!! Without functioning right arm...  On Sunday I even needed to change the advanced burns dressings (believe me, it’s not a light experience, for both of us, especially after our nosey cat decided to join the fun in the middle of the procedure!)

Codeine is my blessing as it throws a bit of a nice, fuzzy cloud over his extremely bored brains but anyway – as a result of all this fun I messed up with my design colours. Trust me, it’s so not me. My stitches aren’t perfect but keeping track of patterns in my head never had been a problem. So I blame English Breakfast (you can’t blame your own husband, right?)
What your husbands do when they are extremely bored and restless? Mine picked some shopping therapy (believe me, he is a man!). So... 
Last week he bought:
1)      a new car (Volvo),
2)      a caravan (with aircon and all that),
3)      a new laptop,
4)      a satnav for the new car,
5)      a new TV,
6)      10 tickets for Eurotunnel,
7)      2 Crufts tickets for me.

Actually I’m very happy about the Crufts tickets. Well, as a dog person, going to Crufts is some kind of a lifetime event itself. But the best for me is – it ends on the 8th of March. So DH is planning to drive us to France (for nice holidays!) only on the 9th of March, not this coming weekend as he was planning before ticket purchase. It doesn’t matter that he can’t walk, sit down or stand up properly right now, and his right hand (according to doctors) is at least a monthaway from any driving... He is planning to start light driving this week already (like a light trip to York and another one to Wales). No, he is not suicidal, and he is trying to convince me that codeine is not guilty either, so I can only blame that English breakfast again). It’s such a shame that we married just last year – otherwise I would consider taking really drastic steps to calm him down :D