The monotony of the block & enjoying Weird Al amongst others.

I normally post once a week, but I just didn’t feel like I had anything to really contribute In the last 2 weeks  (until I made that random skirt).I’m in the middle of making a few different things.

The chevrons need putting onto bigger backing pieces now, I went into the lake of dread and finished one piece of the Alison Glass paper piecing blocks (and that was after picking it apart twice), Rockette’s massive quilt is still sitting in the corner still not based together let alone started to start quilting and the mock adult skirt is still sitting in amongst it with nothing done. I don’t know what it is but every time I open up my Tilly and the buttons book my head goes to mush.

What has turned into a bit of a chore is making 26 6″ star blocks for another quilt at the moment. Normally I really enjoy making blocks but this one has become more fiddily than I anticipated.

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This small block uses an array of 1&3\4″ and 2″ pieces .Theses are so diddy that when I’m sewing a quarter-inch seam to turn them into tiny  triangles that when they go through the machine they fall in between the feed dogs and get mashed. Try unpicking that without destroying the fabric fibers and losing a bits of fabric.

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Then each little square needs pressing and then each row needs pressing, there’s a lot of pressing so a lot of getting up a down, and a bit of burning fingers….

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Then I sew all these little squares together and then sew them into little lines . That’s the bit taking me ages.

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and low and behold you should have a small star block where all the points should meet together. (Most times this almost works, close enough).

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All of this means that each block is taking about 40 minutes. I’ve done 10 over about 2 weeks!

(These blocks haven’t been blocked/ cut down to their correct size so that’s way they look a bit messy/longer in places)

I’m sad that I feel that this has turned more into a task now and not a source of real enjoyment but I’m sure once its done it will look pretty good.

Whats playing these last 2 weeks

On the music side of the last two weeks it has really been about Weird Al Yankovic. I’ve loved him since the 80’s at a time when I used to write terrible parodies. I had ambitions to be as good as him but sadly mine were  not. I crafted such embarrassingly titled delights such as   “Simply irrachookable” (Simply irresistable) and “I want your brand (Flakes)” (I want your love), why am  telling you this?? These are some of my most embarrassing moments in my life, these are my what are you thinking( whilst in mid performance) moments, these were all the other kids at school staring at you perplexed because you decided to perform it for some sort of school performance moments..I can’t go on I will just push that back in my to forget pile until someone works out how to remove it (it’s in good company it’s getting a bit close to capacity).

Anyway yes Werid Al, Word Crimes this should be learnt by all children in school. It really gets my goat when the english language is abused because of laziness or stupidity. So instead of getting annoyed I’m just gong to sing this song at people.  (I think I like singing at people I spent last week at work singing Metallica’s “Sad but True” after the end of every statement that everyone would make about the state of the work place. I know annoying yes?). I love the music for Blurred Lines I just hated the lyrics, now I can listen to it with it without conflicting emotion.

I love spellchecker. Now that’s what I call Polka! has also been big in our house. Listening a lot to that. He has done videos for 8 of his new tracks they are an amusing way to spend 4 minutes. What else is there to watch? Gordon Ramsey’s New Kitchen Nightmares USA? (Yes, yes you can watch that)

Weird Al is taking up most of my time the only other thing I’ve given over any time to is Sean Lennon’s new project The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger . This is the second outing Charlotte Kemp Muhl (she is also his girlfriend but then I thought it is sexist to just to refer to her as that).

I liked Lennon’s 2006 release ‘Friendly Fire” it was a lovely heart-break album. But I don’t think he gets the recognition he really deserves. I feel a bit sorry for him it must be difficult trying to make your way in a world when your father was a revolutionary. This is GOSTT second album, and I only came across this as I was flicking through a magazine at smith’s and was attracted to the sleeves art work (as we know I’m a sucker for art work). Its got a psychedelic multi layered summer feel to it. I keep comparing other music to the Webb Brothers but Last Call does remind of ‘Beyond the Atmosphere’ that and MGMT . It’s a nice record to chill out or sew to. Spotify tell me they are playing in Birmingham next week. Music clips are a bit weird (I shouldn’t be surprised really) so much so I had to switch off ,too odd for Rockette’s little eyes. (I couldn’t explain half of it, it was a bit pompus).

Last night I had a quick listen to Jenny Lewis new album which is streaming on Soundcloud before it’s release. So far so good I’ve been a fan of her work with Rilo Kiley and of her solo stuff , and to a lesser degree Johnny and Jenny. I hadn’t realised it’s been 5 years between solo albums, where did that go? I remember buying Rabbit Fur Coat. I was also still working at a record store mind.

This album is much more inward looking , far more personal and a well-rounded good body of work .I’ve added ‘One of the guys’ on the Spotify playlist this week just because I think it resonates with me more personally. She’s round my age and I think it’s an honest look at getting on . She is a great songwriter with twang’s of rock, country and americana. I’ll keep this one on rotation.

I’ve also been enjoying Cass Mc Combs album Big Wheel and Others. I’m slowly loving it, it’s made out of that kind of stuff. it was a twinge of country in its ballads. I cant compare it to much that comes to mind. I’m going to say The Triffids but it’s probably not much like it really.

This is getting out of hand! We have the new Sebastien Tellier album in our house, I love it but I’ll save it for next week.!

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Venture into the world of dressmaking.

This actually isn’t my first try at dressmaking. When I first got my machine I did make a small top for a much smaller Rockette, but by the time I finished it she had already grown out of it, now it sits at a bottom of a draw.

But I had bought some lovely Riley Blake Unicorns and Rainbows fabric with the determination I was going to make a skirt.

https://www.rileyblakedesigns.com/shop/category/riley-blake-designs/available-now/unicorns-rainbows-1/unicorns-rainbows-cotton-2/

So with the Opening ceremony of the Commonwealth games on in the background and feeling reluctant to make another block I put into Pintrest “easy kids skirts tutorials”. The easiest looking thing that came up was toted as “The easiest skirt you will ever make” that’ll do.

Easy it was, you can find the tutorial here

http://www.danamadeit.com/2008/07/tutorial-a-simple-skirt.html

It took a whole hour and a bit to make (stopping of course to cheer on Australia when they entered the arena). The only things I will say is make sure you either zig zag/french hem/overlock all of the raw edges (the seam and the casing for the elastic) I thought I would do it further down the track but before I knew it I was done with not enough space on the seam to do it later (this was my own dumb fault for cutting it crooked and not leaving a big enough seam allowance)

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I did enjoy making it. I don’t think it looks too home-made, I’d like to think it was something you could buy in one of those Whitstable boutiques. Next I’ll try a multi layered one.

The only complaint from Rockette was that it was too tight and then it was taken off as quickly as it was put on in exchange for her new Frozen t-shirt, that’s gratitude for ya!

On a completely different note look at the weird kind of things you can win at a regatta in 2014….

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Yeah it’s a coconut. There was a weird Halloween punch ball thing too but I forgot to include it.

There’s another entry to follow shortly, nothing for 2 weeks and then I’m on fire!

The cheaters guide to quilting.

I thought this would have been finished months ago. But as usual it sat on a chair without binding for months.

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I got the idea for this at a stand at the knitting and quilting show. I had been looking for a throw for my sofa to replace the grubby brown blankets I’ve had for years.

So I bought some arrows by Melody Miller which is a massive beautiful print (I have a thing for arrows) But as usual messed up by buying at least half a meter less than I really needed ( I’m a tight arse, that top trumps basic mathamatical facts). You can still get some from M is for Make.http:// http://www.misformake.co.uk/collections/melody-miller

The beauty of all of this is that you can have a fantastic looking quilt with minimal effort. Awesome project if you were short of time or wanted a big bold image.

So just your basic quilt sandwich with super thick wadding..which was a mistake its horrible to stick through my machine.
Quilted lines to follow the arrow details, added the binding Bobs your uncle all done!!!

I have tried to take some good photos but this weather has been deadful for a whole week now.

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You could free motion a quilt top like this easily but as usual I want a simple life and used my walking foot. I know Im boring.

Short and sweet today. I’m very tired I sat up all night ( till half 4) putting together hexi’s for the chevron quilt and watching a bollywood film (which I am still only half way through!!!@!)

Nothing of much note on the music front this week, we spent Saturdays craft club(paper piecing from the begining) had a Big Bang Theory marathon on in the background. Hexi chevron finally coming to its end more soon!

Swimming in the sea of unfinished symphonies…with sound.

Quilting can take you on a long road, In my case several at the same time. This has been an ongoing issue for me since I was 4 with kindergarten teachers complaining I would do a bit of this and move on then a bit of something else yah yah yah. I say it’s a restless creative mind. Here I am many moons later doing the same thing.

I’m annoyed at all of this stuff hanging around and I just want to get on, it’s not an excuse but doing this whole social media thing is taking up much more of my time than I ever expected, wish there were more hours in the day. I’ll post all the stuff in full when it’s completed.

Unfinished 1

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Remember the chevrons hanging off the fence in the 2nd post? The main bit is almost done I just need to do ends. I had a really crappy week last week and when I feel down I hand quilt like I’m possessed. So what I thought I would have finished in about a year was whittled down to a week. I’m already itching to find a new one to start this week (see here I go again) But I like to just sit on the sofa and put it together instead of going into my dining room and using the machine.

Unfinished 2

rectangle quilt

I have had  this for almost a year, Its enormous! much too large for the Rockette she’s going to have to grow into it. Can you feel my pain when I think about having to quilt this thing with my normal sewing machine that’s bigger than the free space of my living room floor? I’m hoping to do this free motion with flowers, I say this all the time and then chicken out so I’ll see how I go. Plus when am I going to find the time????

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feathers

I spent the nights in the forest sewing bits of hexis together and cutting up hundreds of pieces for the Alison Glass Feathers quilt. Its machine pieced (bit exciting) but it took planning and concentration and I still messed it up by cutting prints the wrong way or not enough. My brain is bad at maths and this quilt is a bit more important than the others , so extra concentration needed! More as that progresses..too be honest I’m afraid to start it. But look at the organisation of lunch bags for each of the blocks!!! Be impressed I am, Impressed and surprised.

 

Unfinished 4 (kind of)

blocks

I’ve been working on test blocks and they have now ended up on the backing of the giant quilt. all sorts of proud of these as I had to reduce the size of these only using my math brain..and it worked out!

Also went over to Plush Addict over the weekend too one of their few open days. It was a long drive but great to touch and feel the fabric, it’s really difficult sometimes buying online especially if the print is larger or smaller than expected, and when your on a tight budget you dont want to mess up your purchases.

I was very good and restrained. Its July so it’s only logical to buy Xmas fabric (im buying that a bit at a time pacing myself it’s too expensive otherwise). What is happening to me? I’m turning into an organised human being? Then we found the Rockette some fabric we thought she would like (Halloween who would have thought??) so that’s another quilt to start…..

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Enough of that progress will be updated.

 

Music!

I’m still catching up on all the Glastonbury footage that’s sitting on my planner, I’ve watched loads but there is still stacks on there.

Not to sound like everyone else, but how great was Dolly Parton? I don’t care if she mimed the Sax she was amazing, hoping to be that cool when im that age.

Oh Metallica, I was looking forward to you. I had watched them in 1999 on the S&M tour and they were enjoyable, I’m not a fan really but hanging out with the metal heads at school and then going to metal clubs in my late teens I’m familiar with most of the “hits” so to speak but Im not going to be one of these stupid hipsters coming out saying, yeah big fan..

I digress, It was a mixed performance, I have no idea what they were doing just playing weird tracks and in between James Hetfield going on about random stuff. But as usual Kirk Hamett was king of cool. When they did play “hits” they sounded great I was air drumming to my heart’s content.

The house of the crafty mastermind was not appreciative of it (the music not my drumming), but Rockette decided that she did like the guitars and drums in the end. WTF was going on with the beach balls? Did you see the size of them??

 

Jack white was great surprisingly (I saw him at Reading in 200 and something) I was distracted by the Edward Scissorhands/Michael Jackson look his got going on.

Signs of getting old 1, I was so glad that I was sitting on the sofa, tea in hand blanket on lap and not there in the cold wet mud. standing next too some tiolets someone has set on fire. I don’t think I have much of a desire  go to something on such a massive scale (watch me slide into middle age comfortably before I’m due).

On the playlist this week? I loved the Arcade Fire performance especially Win Butlers shoes and his masked crusader look

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So two tracks from different albums. I’ve put Jake Bugg I love him and his making skiffle music popular. Bit of Metronomy again, and some Dinosaur Jr. but not old school stuff.

The great thing about them is that as they keep on producing new albums, unlike the majority of most bands their quality has not slipped all of the new stuff if just as good. Still wish I had the t-shirt that I wore everyday when I was 16.

It’s all been about Gruff Rhys/Super Furry Animals this week I have had them on repeat. It was hard to choose between the SFA songs but one from their classic album “Fuzzy Logic” and the other from the not so classic “Phantom Power” (hey not everything can be classic). Cant wait to see him in September.

XTC for good old measure, and my sister recommended Agnes Obel, what an utterly beautiful album. If you like the track listen to the whole thing its brilliant.

That it all for this time round! Dismissed!

If you did like this post please share it and let the world know.

I’m over  the world cup (since Australia was knocked out) but Brazil v Germany is on at the moment and I feel so sorry for Brazil, you can see they have given up trying.

The death of the houses of rock n roll.

I am an anorak, I am a music nerd. I’m not complete devotee but when ever I go somewhere new I’m in the local record shop, i get a thrill when i see a sad teenager holding a sign for a record fair and i love a good rummage through a bargain bin. I’ve always been this way for as long as I can remember. From my dad taking me to my first record fair when I was 6 or 7 and buying me a copy of John Entwistle Whistling Rhymes thinking it was a kids album.
Shall I add a picture to show how inappropriate this was to buy a kid?

So being a music nerd it was the only thing I was interested in. In grade 6 I got into loads of trouble because the book smart nerds on my table didn’t like it that I wrote RunDMC and the Beastie Boys on my pencil case. Also when my mum sent me out to get some Maltese biscuits for my dad I came back with a Rebel MC 7″ instead…like she wasn’t going to notice! (She did as soon as I didn’t have the bag and I didn’t give back the cash). I dreamt of the albums i’d get, make long lists at Christmas and watch Video Hit’s from start to finish every Saturday morning.

All of this obsession isolated me from a large majority of fellow females everywhere..why is that???. Look if your going to be 14 and you want a hippy birthday party, don’t complain when I only bring hippy kind of music…

So at school I hung out with metal heads and the like. Being in the burbs in Australia there are not going to be stacks of people of either gender, who want to read your 4 month old copy of Melody Maker or NME. (That’s how long it took to get there).

Anyway I’m digressing as I do so well. This week I had gone to see chief mind messer Derren Brown, and in it he said the kids at school called him Dick Brain because he could memorize lots of stuff. When I was walking back home I said am I a music Dick Brain? You could be a dick brain about anything really couldn’t you?

The next morning a friend of mine had sent me a link to a collection of photos from the States of closing down and derelict record stores. This excited my dick brain but also made me sad about the demise of the once glorious and holy record store (its not all rose-tinted there was a lot of skanky ones about too).
http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/40-sad-portraits-of-closed-record-stores

I’ve worked at independent record store that was a good business, but turned bad when the new owner’s only experience was how to work a petrol pump. It was still a nice job and I could go to work in a petticoat and jumper (it was the height of riot grrrl fashion)

I moved to a chain where they originally only hired girls with big chest’s (I kid you not!) and another chain with a friendly dog (but hipster clicky staff) and one who was run for a time by a beardy man (with brilliant nerdy staff).

The thing about some of these places were was that they were about money than music, and more about being cool than living everyday with passion.

But the independent music store was my first taste and it made me feel like I was in a whole culture that understood me.  I was paid in CD’s most of the time unless we had a few sales but we would spend the day listening to UK imports and eating food behind the counter. I was a foundling and I was getting an education.

At this time I was heavy into Riot Grrl but things had been changing. I was listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin (2 mainly), Big Brother and the Holding Company and Janis Joplin. But this store had reignited my love for UK indie. I had been a shoegazer before grunge hit and it was here I was welcomed back into it’s arms. Pulp, Ash, Blur, Radiohead this was just before brit pop was massive in Australia but had already passed it’s used by date in the UK .

But as all good things this had to end and I went headlong into a world or corporate music retail, which a lot of people who used to work there really didn’t know a thing about music except that they liked Bon Jovi. But I was lucky because of my dick brain I had the free reign of stuff and my music knowledge grew. But it was still difficult as all my colleagues were 2pac and TLC fans so I was back on the outskirts with the odd person with similar tastes walk through the door. Here I was still a dick brain but I got alot of free tickets to shows because no one else wanted them.

Cut through this isn’t a CV. I finally gained employment in a store with fellow dick brains. Loads of nerds with amazing encyclopaedic knowledge about everything. The pay was crap , but that wasn’t the point. You could argue all day about the pop qualities in Roxette, drive people nuts if you wanted to play the new Joan as policewoman album on repeat, sit at lunchtime with people helping me with answers to the Mojo crossword or play Russian roulette with the cd’s. Our customers knew we were much nerdier than the listening dog store round the corner and come to us because we wouldn’t sneer when they asked for the X factor album or sigh when they were after was a rare classical recording. Even once a man bought the last Kula Shaker lp and I said I loved them. He looked at me and said that’s not fair to joke. Joking I was not, I love Peasants, Pigs and astronauts. He was wrapt!

I’m sounding like a dinosaur I know. But for me it was never about being cool it was about where my obsession was and working with it everyday. I love Spotify and I like that if I want one song I don’t need to buy the whole album. It’s not all bad now.

I think what I’m getting at is It’s not being a woman or a dick brain really is it? It’s that with all stuff online there are not too many situations where older people can complain that they can’t find this rare pressing, or when they saw Bowie at Wembley or teenagers can go into to try to pinch stuff. There’s not many places where you can hold the prize in your hand.

Even when the record fair comes around there are less and less stall holders sometimes I’m amazed they still hold it. Once when I was into my 30s a stall holder once said to me if you need any help with what all the records and who’s who just ask me. I said I doubt I need help I’ve been doing these things since I was 6! Which was/ still is part of the problem isn’t it? I’m trying to buy albums with a pair of tits , I obviously have no idea what I’m looking for.. Scuse me sir do you have any Robbie Williams?

Apologies if this is indulgent….