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.

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.

Craft WIPs

Tapestry Bracelet – Abandoned
I went off the boil with this project. The trouble is, though I’ve sewed in the ends, the flower yarn is slippery enough that they worked their way out again. And it’s was such slow work. This is about five or more hour’s worth. Zzzznore!

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Art Necklace – in hiatus
I was going to fill the frames with little paintings of eyes and ears and mouths, then after I started embroidering I got the itch to stitch something instead. But I couldn’t think of a subject. Lately I’m thinking photos of my ancestors might be better – and much faster.

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Double Trouble Baby Blankets – picking up again
Inspired by a weaving group meeting on multiple projects on one warp at the Guild, I cut a warp for two baby blankets late March. I lost momentum for this project for a little while, but resumed warping a few weeks ago. Last weekend I finally finished and started weaving. I’d really like to give one of the blankets to a friend who had a baby in April.

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Two Heddle Leno Scarf – established
Another project inspired by the weaving group, after a meeting in which we explored bead leno. I got to thinking that bead leno should be possible on the rigid heddle loom if it had two heddles. Well, I didn’t manage to do bead leno, but worked out a way to do doup leno with tabby between.

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Gift Yarn Jacket Modification – current tv project
Adding another band of ribbing to this:

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Eye Embroidery – poised to begin
The skull was a great ongoing brainless portable project that I could pick up while watching tv or work on while travelling. Now that it’s done I’ve got this eye ready to go.

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Anti-social Media?

A month or so ago I was finally persuaded to join Facebook by a friend, who lured me in with talk about a ’99 projects’ group where everyone’s aim was to get 99 projects done in the year. I joined with a made-up name and only followed the closest and craftiest friends.

Yesterday I concluded that there was too little crafty inspiration and/or social interaction with those friends to justify the stuffing around you have to do to interact on Facebook. Pinterest provides far more inspiration and Twitter is much easier and quicker to interact within (though some recent changes have made it less intuitive).

That got me wondering… what happened to the ‘social’ in ‘social media’?

The answer is pretty obvious. There’s no profit in hosting a site that only lets people interact socially. These sites are about connecting people with people only so far as that helps connect them with products and services. Or rather, seeing how much advertising people will put up with, whether from companies or from friends ‘liking’ products and services, in order to keep up with their friends. For those who signed up early maybe it was good to begin with, then got worse slowly. Like raising the temperature of the water the frog is in, so to speak, without going too far and cooking the frog. You have to be in it early or it’s like jumping into boiling water.

Are there any social media sites where socialising is still the main function?

Ah. It all makes me miss the days when blogs were The Thing, before everyone started putting ads on their sites.

Moongazing

So it’s over a week ago now, but…

With the iPhone:
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With the point-and-shoot:
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With the SLR and a zoom lens:
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I couldn’t be bothered getting out the tripod. Besides, last time I photographed a lunar eclipse I found that the moon moved too quickly to get a sharp picture anyway. So I just took a dozen or so shots and hoped one would look okay.

Ups & Downs

Down: I got shingles three weeks ago.
Up: I’m the luckiest person to get shingles, because the rash was on my back, not my face, and the pain was never enough to warrant more than the occasional pain killer.
Down: It did tire me out, though, and when I flew up to the Gold Coast for Supanova I caught a cold.
Up: But Supanova went well. Lots of books signed. Met some interesting people. Bought stuff.
Down: There was a bit of a mess up thanks to my publisher not keeping me informed on publicity matters.
Up: Being sick meant I had to rest up in the week between Supanovas, giving me time to do the 20s dress refashion.
Down: However, I didn’t recover enough to regain my voice, and by the time I spend all weekend talking over the ambient noise I had lost my voice completely. Just a pathetic wheeze.
Up: I also embroidered a brooch for the lovely guest manager and was chuffed at how it came out
Down: And forgot to photograph it.
Up: We got solar panels installed two weeks ago.
Down: They look terrible and we’re going to have them moved.
Up: I have a job where it didn’t matter if I was a zombie all of last Monday. And Tuesday. And Wednesday.
Down: Except I haven’t written a word in three weeks and I have stacks of publicity stuff to do for a book coming out less than a month. The publicity girl at the local office of my publisher has gone on holidays without letting me know what she has arranged. Which was stressing me out until last night…
Up: … when I had a bit of a tipple and vented to Paul, and he to me, and we realised that, ultimately, none of these downs matter as much as they seem to. Life is mostly good, most of the time.

Back to the Beginning

I had some big plans at the start of the year. Photo albums and refashioning lists were going to be tackled. So what happened?

1) I could only work on the albums on my computer, which is in the workroom, which is impossibly hot in summer.

Actually, we finally finished the Japan album and sent it off to an album printing company last weekend. Pics to come.

2) Refashioning Neon Safire is kicking my a**.

I knit a new waist in mistake rib, then added the yarn for the old waistband as plain knit thinking it would curl up a little. But it curls up a lot. Ignoring that, I knit the new neck band… twice because I picked up too many stitches the first time. When I put it on, I found that separating the front to make it a cardy had widened it around the middle, which was good except that the fronts now wouldn’t stay over my ‘assets’. But I ignored that, too, and started knitting new sections on the arms. Arms that are really too tight… WHAT AM I DOING THIS IS A DISASTER?!

I think it’s time to concede defeat, acknowledge that nothing is going to make it fit right, and frog the dratted thing.

3) Lack of sleep from the hot weather meant I couldn’t get my head around the more complicated sewing refashions. And it was too hot to try on stuff.

Fair enough, I suppose. But I did get some refashioning done…

4) … until I got distracted by weaving and that crazy Mystery Box Challenge.

Well, there’s a reason this blog is called Creative Fidget.

Okay, so I’m determined to get stuck into the refashioning pile again, especially as I’ve added more to it since the beginning of the year. There’s a Craft Day coming up, so I’ll be bringing out the sewing machine and dress form and tackling some refashions at that.

That is, unless I hear the siren call of the loom, or the embroidery hoop, or…