Rachel’s Portrait

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I thought I’d finished Rachel’s portrait a month or so ago, but after looking at it for a week I decided to do some tweaking. Mostly adding reflected colour to the balloons. Only then was I happy to sign it and call it ‘done’. Today I delivered it to Rachel, who now has to find a wall space large enough for it.

It was a fun portrait to do. Bright and cheerful, and a nice contrast to Jason’s portrait, which is all dark and moody. Doing two portraits at the same time has worked well for me, even though I usually only work on one at each class. I’ve started to take for granted that I know how the paint will go on using the spatula this way or that, and how far I can push the paint around before it muddies, though I still stuff up regularly. Thankfully oils are very forgiving.

Jason’s portrait is close to done. Another session, I hope. Last week I also did the underpainting for the next one:

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The Style You Have When You Don’t Have One

With all this preparation to move house, I’ve been looking at how well our furniture fits together. We have a mix of inherited antique and retro, modern ‘federation’, pine shelving and table, modern black office, and even asian furniture. The ‘new’ house has a white french provincial kitchen. Quite a mix.

I’ve started reading the Apartment Therapy blog via Bloglovin’, and they had a post recently called Ten Signs You May Be a Maxamalist. ‘Your Favourite Colour is Everything’ and ‘You see a white wall as a missed opportunity.’ are both so very me. ‘You Have a Collection of Collections’ is Paul, and ‘You worry less about whether things match than if they’ll fit’ is my reaction to most of Paul’s purchases. They should have added ‘Decluttering is a dirty word’ to that list.

So I reckon our style is ‘eclectic maxamalist’ incorporating lots of what Kevin McCloud calls ‘autobiographical clutter’.

Being the control freak I am, I’ve measured up our furniture, drawn a plan of the ‘new’ house to scale (assuming the advert map was correct) and worked out where most of our furniture will go.

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I could see straight away we’d have problems getting the bigger, heavier furniture into some areas and that our bookcases won’t fit where I first intended to put them, so it’s been worth doing. And, well, fun.

The challenge is to also group furniture that complements each other. We have pieces that we have inherited and want to keep, some pieces we love, some that are practical, and a few pieces we’re a bit ‘meh’ about. We’d like to avoid buying and replacing as much as possible, too.

I’m not keen on matchymatchy furniture. It’s a bit like wearing garments made of the same fabric all over, or a suit while relaxing at home. Yet I’m also not keen on the current fashion of aiming for all decor in the room to be as different as possible, so your house looks like a second hand furniture showroom – perhaps the equivalent of wearing tracksuit pants with a denim shirt and suit jacket.

Taking cues from the fashion analogies, I grouped furniture together of similar quality and mood. The better quality, fancier furniture went with the antiques in the living room and reading nook. The practical pine and office furniture will go in the craft room and office. The lesser quality, more casual living room furniture is for the family room.

Almost every piece found a new home. However, we do want a new bed and bedside tables, which we don’t like. It’ll will solve the problem of having a set to keep in the old house while it’s on the market, too. My first plan was to buy something french provincial as that’s what the current/previous owners have, but it would clash with the asian camphorwood chest and triangular chest of drawers I want to put in there. The room’s paint and soft furnishings leave it open to all kinds of furniture styles, so I figure we’ll get pieces that work with the asian pieces instead.

As you can see, I’m having a lot of fun planning the decor in my head, and on the computer. Whether it all works when we move in remains to be seen.

Anticipation/Organisation

Less than a month ’til settlement day.
Just under three months until the bathroom reno starts.

Having had a chance to catch my breath, I’ve been trawling Pinterest for moving advice articles in the evenings and making lists during breaks during the day. I’m a compulsive list-maker, and I now have three on the go.

The first is a list of all the stuff we want to move out of this house so it looks good when it goes on the market. The second is of the stuff that will remain. The third shows where everything will go in the new house.

Since the bathroom reno isn’t even starting until two months after settlement, we’ve decided we won’t wait until it’s done before moving in. I also want to get the old house sold sooner rather than later. The land surveyor we got to measure up the new place said there was a rush of work for planning permits, and I reckon this area is going to be full of building sites by summer.

No matter when we moved, and even if we stayed here while the house was on the market, we would have to do two moves. The trick is to get the bulk of our belongings and the heavy stuff shifted by movers, and now that I’ve done the lists I can see the first move will be the big one. The articles I’ve read suggest getting quotes six weeks before, so we now only need to decide when we want the first move to take place.

And start packing boxes. Lots of boxes.

Eye of the Storm

Boy, have we had a hectic few months! And things are going to get pretty crazy soon. And yet, we seem to have hit the eye of the storm. Paul is on mid-term holidays, the bathroom reno company is booked in, we’ve had a rough quote on the new garage but can’t do anything more until we have a building permit and settlement happens on the new house.

The head cold I’ve had is past the worst, but the worst was quite incapacitating for a week or so and my deadline is looking even less achievable. I missed two art classes, so no progress on the portraits.

I did get some weaving done on the baby blankets, but only managed that because it’s mentally unchallenging. In the evenings I’ve mostly collapsed in front of the tv, browsing Pinterest and reading blogs, or books. The reading has been an unexpected up side, actually.

July is looking uneventful. Just a few social gatherings. Other than me knuckling down and finally getting some writing done, we’re enjoying the quiet before the post-settlement storm.

Two Cardy Refashions

I’ve had this post waiting for a few last pics for some time now…

Back at the beginning of the year, I decided Purple needed to become a cardigan:

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This involved cutting it down the front. I sewed a zig-zag on the machine, either side of the stitches I wanted to cut, then took a deep breath and snipped:

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It languished in the bottom of my knitwear adjustment basket until its turn came. I simply picked up stitches along the raw edge behind the zig-zag and got knitting.

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I have no idea why I chose a 2×2 rib. It wasn’t until I got to the second band that I thought about it. But it works. I crocheted over the raw, zig-zagged edge on the inside as an extra precaution against unravelling.

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The only detail that gives the refashion away is that the neckband is usually knit onto the edge of the button bands. This is the other way around. Let’s call it a ‘design feature’, eh?

I’ve worn this quite a bit since the refashion, which I’d say makes it a winner.

The next refashion was easier – simply to add another band of ribbing to the Gift Yarn Jacket as it just didn’t look finished enough to me:

So this:
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Became this:
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And this:
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Looks like this:
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Which took some months, but was done in time for winter at least. I prefer the second way of wearing it, though I haven’t yet worn it since doing the refashion.

Works in Progress, or Not

As I mentioned in the last post, I’ve finished Rachel’s portrait. Well, mostly. There are some tweaks I want to make, now I’ve had time to examine it critically. I’d be doing them this morning, if I wasn’t in the goopy, vertigo-ey, exhausting phase of a head cold, and not wanting to spread it around.

Jason’s has a session or two to go:

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I’ve started stitching on one of the garments I wanted to embellish. After a few false starts, I settled on purple and mauve flowers with green branches winding between them.

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I started the eye:

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The leno scarf isn’t finished because I’m holding off working on it. I want to show it to the weaving group:

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The Double Trouble baby blankets are going slowly.

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The art necklace… what necklace?

Preparations

I went into list-making, schedule-creating, organising mode a few weeks ago. This involved lots of post-it notes, different coloured pens and a whole lot of optimism. I wound up with these:

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Three lists of tasks: pre-settlement, post-settlement and pre-sale. The idea was to see what we make a start on, work out what order to do things in, and decide what we could safely put off until next year.

The challenge is to stop items in the first list slipping into the second or third one. We have to do as much information gathering and ordering as we can pre-settlement so the post-settlement projects start as soon as possible.

I’m also trying to use the spare time I have now to tidy up, cull or pack. I’d like to take some nice photos of the house, too. Progress has been slow thanks to Paul needing to prepare his mid-year folio, and me catching a cold. Blaarrrgh!

But I’ve make a start, decluttering, cleaning, and fixing a few things in the ensuite, like stripping off the black silicone the carpenter inexplicably left slathered on the rear sides of the bath (it was impossible to remove before, but time has made it dry out enough to scrape off). And we polished up the brass house number so you can see it against the brickwork now – one of those jobs you put off for ages but only takes half an hour.

I’m hoping to get the two portraits I’m doing finished and delivered to the subjects. I’ve finished Rachel’s, and Jason’s should be done in a few weeks. Though by the time I move I should have at least one new one underway, so it may not make much difference to how much I have to move.

When it comes to craft, however, finishing WIPs takes priority over starting new projects. I also need to make sure everything in the workroom can be packed away in easily transported containers. There’s bound to be some culling, too.

In the garden we’ve been spraying the weeds in the driveway – with the warmer weather it’s looking more like grass than gravel – and I’ve started taking cuttings.

And in the evenings I daydream about the new house, and pin a billion things to Pinterest boards.

Extra Post

I’ve not posted many FOs lately, because I’ve not finished anything in a long while. And that’s because I’ve been too busy or tired for crafting for several weeks.

April was a month of highs and lows. Supanova was great but I picked up a cold with a cough that lingered for weeks and weeks – I still get that catch in the lungs now and then – on top of the shingles that hit me the week before. Then the plans I’d made for the weeks after Supanova started to backfire, and I wasted a lot of time on ideas that weren’t as successful as I hoped or took longer than estimated, and wound up putting aside other good ones. I went through a two week period around the start of May feeling stressed, dejected and lacking in energy and enthusiasm.

Things perked up in mid May, though. And at the same time, in one of those ‘did this have to happen right NOW’ moments, we went to a house inspection mostly to divert ourselves and keep learning more about our area and really, really liked the place.

Four weeks later, we bid for it and won. So now we have moving house, fixing up a few things in the ‘new’ house, fixing up a few things in our ‘old’ house and selling it to add to a book deadline I probably can’t make thanks to the stuff mentioned at the beginning of this post, and Paul completing the rather full final year of his photography course.

We joked the other day that we have a knack for putting ourselves in stressful situations.

But… the new house is lovely. Not much bigger than this one, but better laid out, single level, bigger windows yet on an orientation that should be cooler in summer. I’m giving up my big workroom for two bedrooms, but I think that might suit me better, as it means craft won’t distract from work and visa versa. We lose a wonderful view, but gain a nice front yard with big trees. And it’s a much, much quieter area of this suburb, especially now that so many units have been built around the ‘old’ house.

Portrait Update

Both of the portraits have progressed since I last blogged about them two months ago:

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I’m not avoiding Jason’s face and hands, I just love painting clothing too much. And it amuses me that, with the underpainting showing, it looks like I’m painting a green man.

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I’d worked on Rachel’s face three times at this point and there’s still some work to do. Her eyes are more open on the reference, for a start. Her lips need refining. The balloons will get more tweaking, too. They’re still a bit flat, texturally.