Thursday, December 21, 2006

Now I'm Cooking with Gas...

Some of you have seen the antique quilt I'm copying. I was working on it in California just before we moved. The antique original is here now, and I'll pull it out and post a photo soon. This lovely old quilt is just too fragile to use, so I drafted it in EQ5 and am remaking it with modern fabrics in similar colors, and resizing it so it will fit on a queen or king bed...haven't decided which. Here's my first bit of sewing yesterday on the new Bernina. I have quite a few blocks made, and decided to put some of them together using the new machine. What a dream to sew on! My only problem is getting used to the Bernina quarter-inch foot. My old Elna quarter-inch foot had a little flange on the right side, so you could just rest your fabric edge against it to sew. It requires a little more concentration to guide the fabric using just the edge of the foot for guidance, but I'm getting there. Also decided to be brave and put the BSR foot on and have a little play...my first with the new free motion toy. It's a lot of fun, but it's going to be a challenge to regulate the moving of the fabric at an even pace. I tend to go in swirls and swoops, and it's hard to keep a regular pace, but still, the machine does its best to make a consistent stitch length. I didn't think this was bad for my first time. I've decided I'll try to play around with it regularly, so that when I'm ready to quilt the first quilt on this machine, I'll be very comfortable with the BSR. What a GREAT invention, though!
It was kind of funny when I fired up the Bernina for the first time yesterday morning. I had put it in the new cabinet for the photos I posted yesterday. When I turned on the power switch, I got a funny, high-pitched whine sound...uh-oh! I thought there was something wrong with the power outlet, or the extension cord I was using. Moved the machine to another power outlet...same thing. Sigh. So I called the dealer in Sydney and described what was happening. "Hmm," she said. "Sounds like the bobbin is trying to wind." Oh. Yes. I must have bumped the little gizmo when I placed the machine on the sewing cabinet. Can you spell d-u-m-b?!!! One little flick, and it worked fine!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Things Are Lookin' GOOD in Exeter!

Long time since I've posted, but it's just been busy as we continue to organize our new lives in a new country. Big news of the day is that I've got the new Bernina sewing machine all set up in the guestroom, in its new Horn sewing cabinet, with my new Horn cutting table right alongside...hooray! Can you see the EQ6 Upgrade box on the left in the pic below? Still in the box, but I'm hoping to get it loaded up before long. Also, the cutting table is in its folded up position, with my laptop and the attachment box for the new Bernina on it in this shot, but BOY is it huge when it's open! This is going to make my life SO much easier...
And here's Patch, watching Wall TV, at last. The little hole in the wooden retaining wall used to be home to a blue tongue lizard, but lately it's been the hidey-hold of both a little bunny and a large skink (smooth-skinned, shiny lizard, for those who're wondering). Patch stares at this hole for hours, gets his head and arm into the hole feeling around, but no disasters...yet!
And here's Alfonse, enjoying the wide open spaces on our driveway. The sun broke through this afternoon for a little while, and all the cats had a wonderful prowl around for an hour or two, then returned, on their own, to their little chook house for a snooze. All's right with the world!
The party for our friend, Garry, went off without a hitch on Saturday afternoon/evening, with 23 old friends gathering here to wish him well during his short visit to Australia. A wonderful time was had by all, and it was a great shakedown cruise for DH and me...it's always strange to throw your first party in a new house. Of course, all 23 congregated in the kitchen the entire time!

Our architect came on Monday to draw up the plan of the existing house. The renovations and extensions begin in earnest in the New Year and will take about a year from start to finish, we think. I told her after Saturday's experience, I want the new kitchen to be right in the middle of the living room!

Christmas will be here at our place on Monday, with DH's family joining us...8 for lunch...coolish, showery weather is expected, but there will be no complaints from any of us...this drought has been going on much too long for anyone to be whinging about a few raindrops!

Happy Holidays, everybody!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Together, At Last!

The day we knew would come at last, has come at last! All kitties are home and safe, and we are SO happy to have them with us. Here's me, with Patch, who looked so miserable at the quarantine facility. Cloudy, his brother, is behind me, very blase, having a bath.
Chloe, one of our most scaredy-cat ex-ferals, contemplates a break-out, but decides the chook pen and it's fenced yard may be an ok place to hang out until we complete the renovations and extensions to the new house.
Cloudy is settling in very fast, and may be able to do some prowling around tomorrow, outside the cage. He's our most confident ex-feral.
Spike is our oldest cat...a female who was mis-identified by the first vet who saw her after we adopted her, but we just couldn't rename her. She's VERY happy to be back with us. And here's DH, Ross, with Patch, Alfonse le Soot and Cloudy, getting comfortable with the new space.
Didn't get photos of Frank, who was still so terrified he wouldn't come outside, and Cassie, who was busy at the food dish!
I hope these Jet Set Kitties will never need to travel this far from home again!
On a quilty note, I set up my new Bernina and did a little playing around with simple stitches. Got the BSR all plugged in and set up, but ran out of time to do any actual playing. It is a GORGEOUS machine, though, and feels like a real winner. I heard today that my new sewing cabinet and cutting table will be delivered tomorrow, along with a new bed so we can accommodate some overnight guests this weekend.
Hope to have a chance to post a pic of the new Bernie in its cabinet tomorrow.
Can you see me SMILING?!!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pa...Thetic!

Well, I've had the new sewing machine for a solid week, but haven't sewn a single stitch!

Seems like sometimes life just intervenes and keeps us from our passion, doesn't it? I HAVE read the entire manual, and today I did set the machine up on my dining room table and prepared to wind my first bobbin. That's when I realized that I have not a single spool of thread here...they're all still in California. So, tomorrow I'll be off to the LQS to stock up on thread, and hopefully will make a first attempt with the new Bernina.

I've ordered a sewing cabinet and cutting table that should be here in a week or so, and then I can get serious about setting up my sewing room.

And, of course, Wednesday is pick-up day for the cats, at last...need to save lots of time for cuddling and cooing with them! I'll post a pic once they're settled in their chook house (chicken coop, for those in the U.S.)! This will be their home until we're sure they know that this is where they live...finally!

Meantime, a good friend from California will be here Saturday and we're throwing a party for him, so my attention will be elsewhere for the next couple of days as I pull things together. I'm pretty savvy about the local shops at this point, but special food for parties may be a bit more of a challenge, and the oven here is still rather a mystery to me...but DH will barbecue, which will help.

Hope to have Quilty News soon...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Woo-Hoo! New Machine at Last!

Well, a big thanks to my friend, Margaret...she took me to Chatswood this morning and we bought my new sewing machine! It's absolutely wonderful: the Bernina Aurora 440QE with BSR. This baby is slick, slick, slick! Can't wait to open everything up and start playing.

Tomorrow is visiting day at the quarantine facility, so no time to play till Wednesday, but look out after that...pictures at 11!