Monday, 17 April 2017

less haste, fewer piles of sticks

We're just coming to the end of the four-day Easter weekend here in the UK, and as usual for a bank holiday weekend the weather has been overcast, cool, windy, and even managed to rain yesterday. We had our guests all weekend so didn't get much time to relax, because we were either taking them out places, or cooking for them then washing up afterwards.  I find guests stressful for any length of time as I am the kind of person that needs quiet down time to regroup and re-energise, and of course when they are staying in your home they are always there. The evenings were the most difficult, because as well as not liking any of the same TV programmes we do, they both wear hearing aids.  We tried watching Gardener's World but after an hour of  "what did he say?" or having the TV talked over with anecdotes about how some old neighbour used to grow loganberries, I had to give up before I was driven to violence.  DH tried to hide in the other room with a book but I made him come back.  DS is home as well and put in stalwart service last night explaining to them how to operate Skype on their tablet and helping them with their new secondhand iphone which they find very mysterious.

Meanwhile I was occasionally sneaking downstairs in stolen moments trying to glue together a replacement bed for my gamekeeper's cottage dollshouse.  I've never been happy with the commercial bed I had in there, so on my day off I had mocked up a design for an Edwardian-type bed and cut out lots of wood segments and stained them. On the weekend I tried gluing together the headboard and footboard quite unsuccessfully. As all the joins are just butt joints, and the stain slightly repels the glue, the construction was extremely fragile. I was in a hurry when I tried to remove them from the glue jig as I only had a few minutes while the guests were doing something else, and unfortunately the headboard stuck down a bit then disintegrated into its component sticks.  I glued it again and over the next few furtive visits, I got the bed glued together. Unfortunately when I tried to quickly see what it looked like in the house, I discovered that it wouldn't fit in under the rafters as it is slightly taller than the commercial bed. In attempting to 'twist' it in, the bed once again disintegrated into a pile of sticks.  Aaaaarghghghggh!

The guests left at lunchtime today, hurrah, so I was able to spend the afternoon blissfully crafting.  I glued the bed back together (AGAIN) and this time braced it with a cardboard internal frame so it's a bit stronger. I've realised the only way I will get it into place under the rafters will be to cut it in half, then re-glue it once it's in position, so I left a gap in the cardboard.  Meanwhile I've started assembling the mattress and coverlet which will go onto the bed once it's in place.

Earlier in the week I sprayed four metal miniatures with black primer ready for painting.  I had a horseshoe, a wagon wheel, and a brace of pheasants.

The horseshoe was easy to paint, with a little metal paint and a touch of 'rust', and it is now over the door in the Gamekeeper's cottage.
The wagon wheel I painted to look like wood, with a metal spoke and rim, some more rust, and then added some 'moss' with green flock so it looks like it has been abandoned in the garden for a while.

The pheasants were a lot more difficult. I painted them this afternoon when I could have a couple of hours of quiet time, using an RSPB portrait as a painting reference.  The metal miniatures were not well modelled at all, resembling flamingos more than pheasants, so to a certain extent I had to ignore the metal detailing and just paint features on top.  I'm not much of an artist but you can see what they are meant to represent. I hung them outside the gamekeeper's cottage on a nail.

Two crafts I could do while the guests were here was to knit or to work on my hand applique.  I finished the next block in my 25-block hand applique quilt including embroidering the stems with stem stitch. Only two more blocks to go!

I knit some more on my Fair Isle sock, some more on my Outlander sock, and picked up stitches and knit a lot on my leaf yoke sweater.  Before the weekend I had done a rough block of the replacement yoke, and it fits a lot better in this smaller size. I've now finished the leaf motifs and have done an inch of short rowing at the back of the yoke for a better fit.

On my day off  (while I was waiting for a delivery which never turned up, grrrr), I re-sized my William Morris quilt block to 1.25" grid bars and made a third sample block. I decided I like the proportions now, so I took apart the first two sample blocks and re-cut them to the new measurements and re-stitched them.  Then I cut out 30 block kits and today I have started sewing blocks.  I tried the grid on point and I like it a lot better that way. I'm aiming for a double-bed size quilt. The blocks are around 11" square but of course wider on point so there will be a certain amount of trial and error to arrive at a layout.

I've done a few hours on my Bucks Point bookmark this week but not very much. I did receive a couple of deliveries in the post:  I won a pair of painted bobbins on eBay (on the right) and also ordered a turned pair from resin-laminated wood on etsy (on the left).  Having pretty bobbins is fun.

I hope you had an enjoyable and relaxing long weekend if you are in the UK, and a happy Easter.  I have to confess that I did eat some chocolate on Sunday, but a fairly restrained amount as I was worried about repercussions from a massive sugar high after being low-sugar for over a month now.


swooze said...

Raymond invited some friends for Easter dinner. I was not prepared mentally for that. We had a nice visit and I was able to see awhile before I went to bed. All in all a good day!

Surgery tomorrow...

Daisy said...

You shouldn't have moved - we had a warmish sunny weekend and no rain down here!
Glad you survived the visitors. I always find it difficult to know what to do with them, especially ones that need entertaining. Wondered what you'd do about Easter eggs -- how's the low sugar diet been going?

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