WIP-lash!

As the trials an tribulations of pool ownership continue, investigation commence into how to prevent the neighbour’s back yard washing into ours next time there’s a storm, and the excitement of the ensuite/WIR renovation extends a week longer than scheduled, I’ve been dipping my toe into crafty waters. Just one toe, and not very deeply, but it’s a start.

So I thought I’d do another bloggy exercise to get those crafting brain cells firing: the WIP update.

Alan’s Portrait:
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Just the arms to do. I’ve not gone to art classes for two weeks, and probably won’t make it this week, so hopefully I can get back to it next week.

Double Trouble Baby Blankets:
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Still waiting for me to add the binding, but not that the craft room is tidy I have room to set up the sewing machine.

Grey Vest:
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I got this far before moving house. Not sure if I should add more and/or if I should put some of the same stitching on the matching skirt. Part of the reason I’m hesitating is that I’m not sure I like how I’ve finished the stitching at the back. The ends kept working their way out again so I’ve knotted them, and it looks messy. But who cares what it looks on the inside, eh?

Two Heddle Leno Scarf:
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Haven’t touched it since the move. I’m not liking how it’s wider at the beginning and I’m thinking of unweaving and starting again. I’ve not had trouble with weaving pulling in at the edges this much before, and I’m guessing it’s because the yarn is slippery silk.

The Art Necklace:
What art necklace?

Kogin Tissue Cosy:
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I’ve worked on this little kit three times now, and it has proved to be a good interesting-but-not-too-challenging project for evenings of post-house move/reno exhaustion.

Eye:
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My travel craft project. Went to Brisbane with me.

Inkle Band:
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Another travel project. Not on the WIP list in the sidebar because I always have one on the go.

Finishing these projects seems achievable now that I’ve spent a little time thinking about what I need to do. I just need to make time to do it – and not get distracted by new project ideas and gardening.

Have to say, being stuck on ADSL internet speeds makes blogging about craft a test patience.

Craft Room

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Still some tidying to do. I did most of it in a fit of obsessive organising. I even made a scale drawing in Illustrator of the wardrobe to help me work out what would fit where.

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The left side is for paper-related craft, the right for fibre-related craft. The middle shelves and drawers are for everything else. Art materials and tools went into my tool trolley in the laundry, and the art instruction books and canvasses into the huge laundry cupboard. I rearranged the loom, knitting machine and tables until they fit reasonably well.

And then… well, more important things took away my attention and some last boxes of craft-related stuff were shoved in there, leaving the craft room not quite organised enough to comfortably use. I suspect I need a big surge of inspiration to push me into finishing. Maybe it’ll come soon. After all, I’ve done a bit of a tidy up of my to-do lists on this blog, and that often leads me to tackle projects.

Well, it turned out writing the above was the push I needed. A few hours later I started finding homes for the contents of boxes added after the first tidy-up, and repacking the wardrobe more efficiently with the help of my trusty Illustrator file. I turned the loom 90 degrees and liked it better that way. I’m sure there’ll be more adjusting, but I feel like I could start working on a project now, without having to spend a few hours making room for it first.

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Have I explained the missing wardrobe doors? The wardrobe in this room has three doors to the hanger spaces on either side of the central drawer and shelf section. There’s an inconvenient beam blocking entry 1/3 and 2/3 across each section. The only reason we can think of is that the beam is extra support for the shelves. We’re going to add internal supports to the shelves, remove the beam and join two doors on either side with hinges so they open concertina-style.

Once we find time. Which could be a while.

Goodbye, Hello

The first move is done. We’ve officially switched to preparing the old house for sale. The workroom looks like this now:

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Waiting for a quick tidy-up coat of paint.

Most of what was in it has gone into two and a half smaller rooms at the new house. I now have an office, a craft room and an art/laundry room.

The office is neat and uncluttered, with two desks, two bookcases, a filing cabinet and a small built-in wardrobe. The craft room is the opposite, and I had to rearrange the loom, knitting machine, drawing board and table a few times before I found a set up that kinda-sorta works – though that’s yet to be proven as I haven’t had time to do any craft in there yet. The art stuff has just been stuffed into an existing cabinet in the laundry and my tool chest.

I’m hoping the separation of work and play means I don’t get distracted when I’m supposed to be working, and end up not crafting when I’m chasing a deadline thanks to wanting to get as far from the computer as possible during breaks.

I also culled some craft items. The bulk of it was books and magazines, including all of my Interweave Knits collection, which has found a new home with a friend. After all the box packing and unpacking and carting stuff from house to house, I’m not sad to be shrugging off some stuff I’ve never got around to using or can’t use now thanks to RSI. I can’t believe we still have another move to go, though it should be mainly furniture, wardrobe and kitchen items.

Even half-furnished, even with a few problems like a broken central heading system, this new house is lovely. It feels like I’m meant to be here.

Upheaval

Life has been pretty hectic lately. And stressful. Let’s not go there. Instead, here’s another craft project:

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Folio bags. I found some duck cloth in a fabric store out in Lilydale (I think). The handles are some plasticy cloth tape I bought at Reverse Art Garbage lined with some softer cotton tape.

Of the 300 boxes we estimated we’d need for the first move, over 160-170 have been packed. Maybe more. But I reckon 300 was an overestimate, and it’ll be somewhere not far over 200. Mostly because we’re going to move kitchen and wardrobe contents as we need it. We’ll want some of each at both houses for a while, to make it look lived in, and we’re planning to work at the old place even after we start sleeping at the new place.

Once settlement happens we’ll take the stuff we don’t want to trust to anyone else. The movers are booked for the week after next.

(Is it just me, or does the term ‘removalists’ seems to imply they take stuff away, but not deliver it?)

Craft Daze

My lovely arty crafty buddy, Karen, hosted a Craft Day a few weekends ago. I’ve never been so disorganised over a Craft Day. To begin with, I’d lost all memory of it. It was only because I went out with some of the crafters a few weeks before that I heard about it (again). When I looked up my emails I found the one inviting me there, but it was dated around the time I had that awful cold, so I suspect I didn’t register it. That shows how sick I was. Me forget a Craft Day? Never!

But then I wasn’t sure what to take. I don’t want to start new projects when I’m going to be moving house soon. I decided to get the baby blankets off the loom so I could attach satin blanket binding and to take the knitters loom so I could finish the leno scarf.

I work on either. I’d also thrown in two projects for the move: make folio bags (large flat bags with handles that hold several folios of bundles of craft paper at once) and pouches for the previous year’s harvest of lavender.

For the folio bags I needed sturdy material. I was going to buy denim, but at the last moment we ducked into an op shop thinking we could recycle an old bed quilt or something. They just happened to have rolls of fabric, including heavy curtain fabric – which seemed perfect for the job.

Except it wasn’t. The plasticy fabric slipped everywhere and the holes made by the needles started to look suspiciously like perforations for tearing. I gave up on that project and concentrated on the lavender bags. For those I cut up an old pair of cheesecloth pants and just sewed ravioli-like squares, stuffing them with the lavender then finishing with zig-zag stitch.

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And that’s all I got through. But I did get a crafty fix and it was a fun afternoon – especially as I got to chat with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.

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.

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.