Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Importance of Being Me.

Something happens to me as the New Year approaches  that makes me reflective. That's normal right ?  Every year I look back and think about the year that was, and to try to define whether or not on the whole it was a "good" year. Sometimes there is more trial and tribulation and other years more joy and jubilation.

Life rarely turns out the way we think it will.  Events occur in our lives - it's inevitable. Constant change is part of life. Often those events define who we become, often without us even realising it's happened. We tread a different path. We tell ourselves  it's not forever,  that it's just a fork in the road , that a situation is temporary and eventually the road will lead you back where you "belong". What I've discovered is that the road doesn't always fork back to where you left off . Sometimes you have to beat a path back or accept the path you're travelling  will lead you where you need to be.

Circumstances over the last five years have swept me along in their wake and I've just gone with the flow because I felt I had no choice.  And  for a long long time I've put "me" on the back burner because I felt other people needed me more and that eventually my time would come. 

Over the last few months I've realised my life is not a dress rehearsal. I've realised I need to live my life in ways that will ensure my happiness and whole-ness as a human being  and that I need to create the life I want to live. I've realised I've been so busy doing for others that I've forgotten how to "do " for myself.

I've slowly over time morphed into other people's expectations of me. A lot of the time I am the carefully crafted role others have decided I will play to make their lives comfortable and predictable. And I've lost a lot of who I want to be in the process.

One of the reasons I write my blog is because here I get to be the me I want to be.  The me I am without all the expectations people have of me in the real world.  I like the me I am here. I think the me I am here is actually the real me that struggles at times to rear her head in real life.

I'm pretty much over the pressure of being that other me.   I've been doing the "right" thing my whole life and still stressing out about whether or not it's "right" enough. I'm drawing a line in the sand  and saying here is  where I stop being so hard on myself. Here is where I stop expecting perfection of myself and here is where I start telling myself "I did the best I could and that's all I can expect of myself ". Here is where I start living a life.

It may surprise you to know I'm not brave about the small things but I embrace major change with gusto. I think there will be a lot of gusto in 2011. It's highly probable you won't notice it - but the people around me in real life will and it's likely to make for some very interesting times. Oh and I'm planning to get brave about the little things too.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Day in The Life Of Shay

This is possibly the highest number of photos I've ever put into a single post along with the highest amount of waffle I've ever typed.  If you think of this post like it's an episode of "24" it might help.

I've read a lot about sharing process in recent months rather than just showing off completed projects so  I thought it might be fun to try that today as well as giving me a chance to hone my creative photography skills. 

I'm using Charm Packs of Aunt Grace Scrapbag from my stash as well as some 30's repro I had tucked away to make Dresden blocks.

I got one of those Dresden template thinga-me-jigs. I have to say they are simply fabulous. If you're careful you can cut multiple bits of fabric at once. Thanks to Mr. P for this pic since I don't have three hands. I started this bit at 9.30am.

And in about 30 seconds I had a stack of bits that looked like this. (Yes I know I desperately need a new cutting mat - I was hoping Father Christmas would bring me one but no such luck )

Then I  wandered over to my sewing machine. With right sides of the material together I sewed  across the widest part of the fabric.

Why did I ever think chain piecing was hard?

I got a nice surprise when I looked at the back of my sewing machine after about 2 minutes of sewing.

And an even bigger surprise after  45 minutes.

How cute do they look all strung out? Just like inside out bunting.

Then I came to have a look at what the Blog People are up to. I vowed  to only spend 5 minutes checking email.  I spin that out to 15 minutes. OK twenty, ALRIGHT ...30 minutes.

Then I spent an hour clipping the bits  apart, turning them right side out, and standing at the ironing board pressing them open which leaves me with a pile of this.

And all of these still to do! Clipping, Turning right side out and pressing is hard work.

So I rushed back here to see what you're all up to....because I deserve a break.

And I promised myself I'm only going to gawk at your stuff for 15 minutes but that turns into an hour. I realise I'm still in my pyjamas and it's lunchtime and I haven't eaten anything yet today. Which probably explains the headache I have. 

It takes me another 15 minutes to decide what I want to eat, and another 15 minutes to make something. Then 15 minutes to eat it.

I get back to sewing. I arrange my bits in a way that rocks my socks off. I ignore the pile of stuff I haven't pressed yet.

Tip: If you're going to leave your block on the ottoman make sure dogs with long swishy tails are not in the vicinity.

Re-do sock rocking block arrangement. Guard it from dogs with swishy tails, and a propensity to want to love you while you're sewing.

Get distracted by the idea of making a label for the back of the quilt that is nowhere near finished. Stuff it up. Have another crack. Stuff that up. Take pictures of your failure.  

Start sewing the fan points together. Get half way and get distracted by the "You have email " sound on the computer.

Go and read your emails. Realise it's 12.30 and you've achieved nothing for the day. Think about why you're so afraid of the dentist when you really need to go. Freak yourself out just typing the word dentist in this blog post. Realise you wont be able to proof this part of the post at editing time  because of the "D" word. Stare at the ceiling. Think about changing out of pyjamas. Decide that's too hard because it would mean a shower. Realise it's 12.40. Go to the bathroom.

Come back . Get determined. Finish getting those suckers into a circle by 1.00pm. Think about being thirsty.Wander off to make a cup of tea. Get distracted. Realise you still have that headache.

Press backing fabric made from old flour sacks. Cut backing fabric, press backing fabric again. Realise despite having been washed, when you press the backing fabric is still smells a little like flour. Convince yourself that when it's finished this whole quilt will smell like fresh baked bread.

Pin Dresden fan to backing fabric, only pricking yourself 12 times , which is not bad for 20 fans. Ruminate on your uncoordinated-ness, and vow to make your parents pay for not taking you to see an occupational therapist when you were an un-co kid. Consider writing a list to present to your parents of all the ways they neglected you growing up. Acknowledge it's going to be a very small list and give up the idea because you really should be sewing instead of skylarking. Notice that it is now 1.30pm and somehow you are surfing  blogs again. Nobody is posting which means it's night time on the other side of the world and everyone over there is asleep...

Get indignant with yourself when you realise you never did make that cup of tea. Make choking noises in husbands general direction to denote that it is cup of tea time. Who says men are not good at taking hints?  

Since I am the laziest person on the planet I decided to machine applique the Dresden  to the background fabric, it's fiddly but worth the 20 minutes it takes as opposed to hours  I save  hand appliqueing them on.  Pat myself on the back for finishing the block which took 4.5 hours.

Celebrate by checking email and reading people's old blog posts. Do some mental maths and realise this quilt will be finished in around 2013.

Back to work tomorrow.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Adventures in Computing

Monday dawned cool and cloudy. What is up with that ? It's summer for crying out loud ! I want to know where the sun is because it's not here or anywhere else in Australia if weather reports are to be believed and I know it's not in the Northern hemipshere becaue I keep seeing pictures of 12 foot high snow drifts.  Anyhoo- I did my usual morning routine of hazily finding my way to the kettle (I usually do this with my eyes still firmly shut) shuffling down to the computer , hitting the on button, and staggering off to the bathroom.

Once all that is done I make my coffee and come and sit here to catch up with whats been going on with everyone on the other side of the world while I've been getting my customary 6 whole hours of shut eye, only about three of which I actually sleep because Mr. P snores like a freaking freight train.

Monday was no different. Except that when I sat down with my coffee and finally opened my eyes. I saw that my computer had been hijacked by a nasty trojan virus.  Flashing warnings, pop ups,  dire messages,  lights and alarms-it was like the carnival had come to town but nowhere near as fun, especially since I hadn't had my coffee yet and there wasn't a clown in sight.  

I panicked.  "Breathe , Breathe"  I told myself. I wasn't so much worried that my computer was about to crash and that I would lose 234 half finished blog posts, photos of Little P's birth and all our financial records. I was more worried I'd be offline for DAYS , possibly WEEKS because our computer guy is taking a holiday until at least January 4th. While I muttered about what a selfish bastard that made him, I tried to do a system restore only to find the System Tool Virus had disabled all my programs including my ability to run virus removal, access my email, and in fact run any programs at all except Solitaire, which effectively made my computer the worlds biggest bloody Atari. Uncustomarily, rather than shake Mr. P awake at 6.30am with news of this tragedy, I decided  to shut the computer down and  wait for  the computer whizz to wake up.  I went and cleaned out the bathroom cabinets. I felt very virtuous as their annual cleaning is not due until January. 

I own 8 hairbrushes, have 300 hair ties, and discovered a hair straightener I'd forgotten I had. I tossed the makeup I've had so long that blue eye shadow is back in fashion. I can stop buying soap because I have the world market cornered and  I had so many out of date prescription medications I probably could have opened up my own Russian Roulette Pharmacy.  

When Mr . P got up two hours later,  I didn't even say Good Morning before I said: 

 "Mycomputerisbrokenandinfectedbyavirusandyouhavetofixitrightnowbecauseivebeencomputerlessfortwohoursnditskillingme,andbythewayialsoneedmorecoffee" (which  I clearly didn't)

90 minutes later Mr. P had restored my computer back to health. The rest of the day was largely uneventful. I never want to be shocked awake like that again.

How was your day?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas is like your wedding day ....

You spend weeks preparing for it and it's over in the blink of an eye. A blink of an eye during which you run around like  a mad person, eat too much ham and if you're the Pyjamas Clan gallop around from place to place trying to appease as many family members as possible with your shining presence.

Highlights of our day included:

Yummy Breakfast -organised by Mr. P

Caramel Popcorn courtesy of a recipe from P at The Way I Sew It. It was a big hit. Thanks P.

Little P instigating the annual Pyjamas Clan water fight yesterday.  Actually he had a water fight with himself and a trigger hose and learnt about cause and effect. Yes- if you press the trigger when you're facing the hose towards you - you will get blasted by water spray. It's good to know he's all for tradition. Sorry no pictures- because I was too busy laughing.

Mr. P opening "Futurama" and getting excited about the  prospect of being able to sit and watch 38 solid hours of TV because  I gave my permission for him to do exactly that by giving him this gift . I think he's already on episode 14.


Miss Pyjamas Pyjamas. I think she's fabulous all the time.

Miss P all excited because I actually knew what her favourite perfume was. When will she learn I'm her mother and  I know everything?

Guess who is going to the Kellie Wulfsohn 2 day workshop next year? Hopefully I'll remember to brush my hair before I go. Isn't my husband thoughtful? He's already planning what to do with two whole days to himself. It was hard to tell who was more excited.

Little P's electric train was a BIG hit.  He spent the afternoon trying to run us all over and tooting the horn every 5 seconds.

My Mum " But how do you work this webcam dodad ?"

My sister apparently saw this and fell to her knees in thanks in the middle of the shop  at having  found me the perfect present.

Sister of Pyjamas being amazed at my craftiness.

Extreme Sports.  That's my sister in law and Miss P playing totem tennis and working off lunch and dinner (which was mostly chocolate ) 

I completely forgot to take pictures of the food because I was too busy eating. We had lamb , beef and pork roasted on a spit , ham and salads, and Weber Pavlova's with mango and strawberries.

I was quite thankful when 10.00 pm arrived and Mr. P and I found ourselves alone at home doing the "peace" part of Christmas watching Futurama on DVD and falling asleep on the lounge until 4.30am then staggering off to bed.

And now, I'm looking forward to a couple of days of playing around in my sewing room working on some of these.

I hope your day was Merry and Bright. I'm kind of glad that's done for another year and that we all survived. Next stop - 2011!

P.S. It's 3.40 pm and I'm still in my pyjamas . No point getting out of them now right?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Are you Freaking Joking ?

Can you imagine the terror that was struck into the hearts of children everywhere when they saw this less than two weeks into their 7 week summer break?

School doesn't go back until January 31st and we haven't got through Christmas yet.  Ridiculous.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thrifty Christmas Challenge - 2010 Roundup

So this whole idea started because of something  proposed by Larri at Seams Inspired . Thanks for hosting each week Larri. It's been so much fun sharing my funds and plans each week or so.

I'd been toying the idea of handmade gifts but knew I wouldnt be able to manage to do that for everyone. Men are really hard to make for and dont always appreciate  a tool belt made from floral fabric.

I started out with a vague idea of how much I wanted to spend as a maximum ceiling on gifts in total. My deal was  that if I had the fabric in my stash it didnt count towards the total cost because I didnt specifically have to buy it for Christmas. (I did have to buy some fabrics for each of the bindings on the quilts and the backing on Little P's and I counted this in the cost)

So here's the list:
Handmade or Thrifted / Op shopped or Garage Sale Finds  
Little P's Quilt
Kashmir 2 Quilt
2 x Crayon and Pencil Rolls
Mug Rugs /Fabric Coasters (14 of them !)
Table runner
Tote bag with appliqued  tree on front
3 fabric journals/diary covers
Peppermint Crisp Bark and Smartie Bark
Marvin the Monster for Little P
Little P's bear
Little P's bead/wire toy
Little P's electric ride on train
Cut Glass Butter dish
Chintzy tea pot
Fur babies new toys
Depression glass container
8 assorted glasses and coffee mugs
Little P's car play mat
Punchbowl Set
Pink Minkee Cushion

Bought new at a heavily reduced price
Miss P's perfume set
SJP Perfume for my sister in law

Paid full price
Licence Plates
Fur babies food stuffs
Vouchers for JB Hi Fi (4)
1 x CD
Rocket Pop Iceblock Moulds

Bought during the year and put away
Little P's "in the Night Garden " figurine set
Barbecue Apron
This ended up being gifts for 12 family members , 5 animals, and 8 people at work. 70% of my gifts  were thrifted or handmade. I'm so proud of this effort! And I came in under budget by about 60 dollars. This was definitely worth doing and I'm already planning for next year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Amazing-ness of Perception

All in all , it's been a good week. An exceptionally good week. You may recall me saying Mr. P had some temporary work a few weeks back. That ended nearly two weeks ago. They called him last week to offer him a full time  job and he starts tomorrow. Yay! It's something completely different to what he's been doing for the last 25 years , so he's about to experience a steep learning curve career wise. It's a challenge,  but one he's looking forward to.   I am looking forward to being able to buy fabric again with impunity.

I've been thinking about perception today. Sufficed to say a quilting process was not going well, but instead of getting annoyed with myself , I just shifted my perception of the quilt from  " Yuk "  to  "Indy and Lola are about to have the coolest dog blanket ever ". I'm over stressing out about being perfect all the time.  So I finished the quilt, washed it in really hot water and chucked it in the dryer  to antique it up and voila. It actually doesn't look too bad now it's shrunken and deliberately puckered!

I didn't pick the cherries last Sunday because Mr. P told me he found two dead starlings under the tree and the cockatoos haven't been round (maybe they're all dead too ) so I started wondering if those cherries are poisoned. My Dad ate 5 cherries and didn't die but this is the dude that ate mouldy lamingtons and survived. I'm giving it a miss. Just in case.    

I morphed into Betty Crocker over the weekend. I made my own bread from scratch yesterday. (Thank you for the recipe Little Miss Sunshine ) This bread is seriously good even if my yeast was somewhat doubtful. New yeast is on the shopping list. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Last year at Christmas I decided at the last minute to make something with chocolate in it and raced down to the shops to get some baking chocolate only to be confronted by empty shelves and only el cheapo chocolate left. This year I got prepared for those last minute baking urges.

And then I made smartie bark ...

And peppermint crisp shavings to go into hot chocolate and coffee...

And then today I decided to make truffles. White chocolate with apricot and dark chocolate with vanilla. Seriously good. I had these for dinner. Really.

I'm ready for Christmas. I need to  do my final grocery shop at the last minute so my rocket doesn't wilt and my feta doesn't dry out.  The ham is in the fridge and ready to be eaten (if I can resist until next Saturday morning - we always do ham and eggs for Christmas breakfast).  I'm working this week so I'm hoping to relax and enjoy the lead up to the big day since Christmas Day for us will be spent elsewhere. We're having everyone here Christmas Eve but I'm keeping that simple with BBQ snags, baked chicken pieces, crusty bread and salads. If you're in the vicinity feel free to drop in.

I'm not sure when I'll be back here again this week, so just in case I'm not- Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, or have a good week. I hope you all have a wonderful time with family and friends and  relax and enjoy the season. Best wishes to you and your loved ones from the whole Pyjama Clan.  

Friday, December 17, 2010

Favourite Things Friday-Final Edition for 2010

Since I started FTF in early September I cant tell you how much I've  enjoyed reading the  posts about your Favourite Things each week.

I want to say thanks for playing along and giving me so many fabulous things to look at.  This is the final  FTF for 2010, because many of us are  about to become insanely busy celebrating Christmas and ringing in the New Year.  I figure it's better to take a break than have people feeling like they have to fit a couple of extra  posts in when frankly you should all be enjoying time with family and friends.

If you didn't take the time to write your posts and link up and participate and share and humour me there would be no Favourite Things Friday . Sure I could write my own blog posts but it  wouldnt be the same. I love that  we're sharing some positivity each week.  

Some of your posts are funny, some are sentimental, some are about people  you love, books you've read, movies you like, quilts you 've made, photos you've taken. We've had recipes and gardens, husbands and kidlets, furniture and beauty products. Some of you love your cameras and computers. People share jokes, and funny things, life experiences, fabric and quilting. The sheer diversity of posts is often overwhelming.  What I love about the different posts is that each one reveals a little bit more about each of you to me. With each Favourite Thing you're sharing yourself.

Another thing that is so fantastic  is that everyone tries to make sure they get around and leave a comment on the posts each week. I think new people feel welcome  and that's because of the people who link up each week and share the love.

So my Favourite Thing this Friday is YOU! The people who make FTF happen. This week is to say thank you for  all your posts for 2010 and  making this so much fun.  

And these are for you too....

If you want to link up today , you know the drill!

P.S. FTF will be back on January 7th. I look forward to seeing you all back here and ready to post more wonderful favourites then.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The 2011 PhD Challenge !

So when Ms. Sarcastic Quilter mentioned she was joining Myra's PhD (Projects Half Done ) challenge a few days a go, I thought smugly  "Well I dont need to do that because I dont have that many WIP's".

You know how this story goes. You start a quilt . It holds so much allure. And at some point - you stall. It might be because nothing is going right, you might move onto something you love better, you might realise that the colours are all wrong. Whatever . The  project that started with such promise languishes in a drawer, on a chair , or somewhere dark and nasty where you can't see it- but it remains unfinished.

So, I sat down and counted my works in progress (and I use that term loosely ) I have four. There is no way I'm finishing that many WIP's before New Year right? Not even if I started now and didn't go to work for the next two and a half weeks. Yes I know -it's mega scary because there's less than 3 weeks left of 2010 and some of that is Christmas. 

So I hightailed it over here and decided to sign right up. Myra is hosting the challenge which runs from January 1st to June 30th , and you can decide how many PhD's you want to finish. And while it's important to commit, and give it your best shot, nobody is going to crack a whip if you don't get all of  your PhD's finished  because this is about motivation and fun.

The genius of my plan is that  now I can ignore the quilt that must not be named until at least March because I officially have until the end of June to finish it. Nothing like buying yourself a little more time to finish something that's been lurking round so long it could almost legitimately be called vintage.

So to keep it all honest , I'm posting my PhD's  here (with pictures ) so I can celebrate when I get things done. I'm thinking Tequila shots might also be a nice way to mark the end of each finish.  Who's up for that?

First off is the Windmill quilt, which until immediately prior to this photo being taken had been living on my sewing room floor for the last three weeks.

and was coincidentally being used as cat bed. Nice.

The much maligned Windmill quilt needs many seam repairs, the back needs to be finished, and it needs basting, quilting and binding.  I am ashamed to say I started making this quilt in January 2010. I've decided I'm going to love this quilt and give it the finish it deserves. Or possibly bitch and whine about it for a bit more then pretend the cat ate it. It'll be fun  to see what outcome I choose.

Sadly Christmas is upon us and this quilt will not be finished in time to be part of the celebrations. Sorry half finished quilt - there's always next year.  I started making this in August 2010.  It needs a pieced back , basting , quilting, and binding.  In re-looking at this quilt , I think  it really needed green instead of spots. But finish it we must...

This Shoo Fly quilt has been sitting around since Christmas 2009 when Mr. P bought it for me as a gift. The top came finished (it's apparently vintage) and the back is ready to go. (I made that up)  So  all it needs is basting,  quilting and binding. I actually really like this top which may be why I have avoided it - I dont want to stuff it up. But it's no good to me sitting there like this ...unless I want to use it as a tablecloth , which I dont. At least if it's a quilt it wont get gravy all over it - although in this house anything is possible.

And these little bits are part of a Snowball Quilt Challenge that  I think started in about May 2010. These fabrics are really sweet and I think it'll look darling put together but I just ran out of the motivation to get any further than this. So  a fair bit of work to do on this one.

So if you have PhD's, WIP's ,UFO's or anything you hate the sight of  but desperately want to finish , please come join us at the PhD (Projects Half Done ) challenge. There will be lots of other people like you trying to finish leftover projects. I'll be one of them...

P.S. If you want to see my Christmas shopping/handmade/thrifted gear it's over here. (unless you're family then you're banned ) It's so cool being able to ban your family from your secret blog...I'm giddy with the power.