Sunday, 19 October 2014

Things you don't want to hear

Things you don't want to hear:

1) At 8am on a Sunday when you thought you were having a lie-in: the rumble of a huge lorry parking outside your house followed by several minutes of metal crashing together, men shouting, and the clomp of boots outside your walls as they scale the scaffolding.  Yes, the scaffolders apparently do work on a Sunday.

2) A sudden loud shout of alarm outside, followed by hoots of laughter and a lot of whooping - strongly suggesting that something or somebody has had a near miss as the scaffolding is dismantled. Also that burly scaffolders are in fact little boys playing with giant Meccano.

3) Multiple bangs coming from the ground and wall outside your sewing room as large heavy things apparently rain down from the rapidly disappearing scaffolding. Thankfully there are no windows on that side to break.

Yes, our scaffolding is suddenly almost gone. I phoned on Friday expecting to nag them, only to be told they were coming to get it on Saturday.  They took about a third of it down and we expected them back on Monday to continue the work.  They must have needed the kit badly, because instead they showed up this morning. I imagine we weren't the only ones to be woken on our street, the neighbours probably hate us now.

But suddenly you can see our house!  It had almost become normal to have the house obscured, every window covered in tubing, and every room shaded.  Now the scaffolding is gone except a bit at the back and every room seems brighter and lighter as the sun floods in again. You can see what the newly-spruced up house looks like from the street: gleaming white woodwork, our nice new black aluminium guttering, the areas of repointing which will blend in more once they get weathered.  Strangely enough the house looks bigger without the scaffolding.

Meanwhile inside, we now have a nice Georgian Blue lounge, with white wood trim.  The picture rail looks fine - you can see it is wonky if you study it, but at first glance you wouldn't notice.

On Monday, while the painter was working away in the lounge (he sings while he's working, it's quite cute), I undertook the mammoth task of unwrapping all my quilt 'sausages' which had safely stored my quilts for 18 months.  Long time readers may remember that I rolled the quilts around foam 'pool noodles' used for swimming aids, and wrapped them up in clean sheets tied at the ends like a christmas cracker.  The sausages stood on end in the storage crate for over a year, then in my closet for a few months.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but it seems to have worked brilliantly.  The older quilts, which are more drapey and more evenly quilted, look as fresh as when I packed them.  Newer quilts, and those that aren't fully quilted, did show some crease lines but not too badly.  It took me about three hours but I opened them all up and spread them out on DS's bed now that he is gone to Uni.  I photographed each one and ended up with over 60 photos!  I have too many quilts. And this isn't even all of them.

I actually felt increasingly depressed as I unwrapped the output of almost 20 years of quilting.  I used to love making them, but what do you do with them all?  We have multiple bed quilts for each bed, I've given quilts to everyone I know who wants one, I tried selling via Folksy (like etsy) without much success, most of the quilts have too much work in them to just randomly give to charity although I have donated some to disaster reliefs but they obviously don't want wall hangings. In our old house, I had a lot of them hanging on the walls but that won't work as well in our new, period-style house.  Also my tastes have changed and I no longer love some of them as much as I used to.

So I decided I have to do something, and I've booked a table at a local craft fair in December, to see if I can unload some of them to people who want them, and make a bit of money in the process.  I've researched a lot of 'tips for selling at craft fairs' to learn how to do it. I think pricing is going to be a problem.  Even if I put a realistic charge to cover materials, I don't think they would sell here because it's not a very wealthy area. At the end of the day, I just want them to go to good homes so I think I will have to price them pretty cheaply.  I was hoping DH could come and help but that's the day we have to pick DS up from university of course, so I will be on my own. I will need to do a lot of work to get ready:  pricing, removing wordy quilt labels, thinking about display stands etc.

Gatwick Doll House Have a Go day

Yesterday I made a long trek (2.5 hours) by train down from Northamptonshire to Horley near Gatwick Airport, to attend the Gatwick Doll House Club 'Have a Go' day. I found out about it in the dollshouse magazines, and it sounded like fun. I haven't dollshoused in a long time and I missed it.  It was a well organised day, held in a medium-sized church hall.  There was a tombola (I won a wardrobe), an exhibition, several second-hand sales tables, and almost a dozen 'have a go' tables where for a small fee you could buy and assemble a simple kit.  The kits weren't anything innovative but then they had to be simple to keep the costs and time required to a minimum.

I made some clothespegs, an aspidistra plant (which got a bit squashed on the way home), and a lavender plant. I started to make a boxed Monopoly set but the only tool provided was some children's scissors so I decided to bring that kit home to do properly with a scalpel and straight edge. It felt really nice to be making things again and the ladies were all very friendly.

Most of the secondhand products were lower-end quality, but I did pick up some useful things including some nice floral arrangements.

There was also a refreshments window with lovely cake to eat, then I had a look around the exhibition.  I think a lot of the displays were from past club projects. There were some more unusual ideas for vignettes (a car boot sale laid out around a vehicle; a motorcycle repair shop; an 'opposites' book end theme (life/death, youth/old age); and various shops and shallow houses.  The best by far was a gorgeous 40s living room set inside a roombox fashioned from a working 40s-style reproduction radio, which was actually playing 40s songs!  With the lighting and the flickering fire, you really felt like you were in the era.

There was also a prolifically stocked miniature knitting stall.

And some sewing was done

I even did some sewing this week, putting together the piped cushions.  Despite having read several tutorials, I still managed to make a few boo-boos but they look alright from a distance.  The dark red cushions came out too small for the cushions, and the bolsters were a complete screw up because I accidentally sewed the ends together instead of the sides.  I didn't realise my mistake until I put the cushions in and found the covers were six inches too long, and too skinny for the cushions.  I've stuffed the empty ends for this photo, and then today I unpicked one end and shortened them by six inches to fit better. I didn't make the window seat cushion, I farmed that out to a local upholsterer.

And finally, I've just got a couple more rows and I will be casting off the Marian Tabler square of the Great American Aran Afghan.  I think this is square 15 of 20, but the only ones left are the more challenging squares now, so it will be a while before I can start sewing them together.  Then there will be the border to knit.


swooze said...

I get first shot at the house quilt!

I expected the rail you mentioned to be lower. Now I understand why the wonkiness would matter. The room looks lively! You know I want to know what the next house project is :). Hugs to you.

Sophie said...

I love all the quilts! Do you still advertise on folksy? If so what is your shop name? I would possibly be interested in one or two.

Mairead Hardy said...

You have had such a busy week. I love the dolls house things - and the room set in the radio is very innovative.

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