Selling Out?

Well, that’s a first for me – I was contacted by a PR person offering me a free ticket to the upcoming Christchurch Food Show – presumably they’re hoping that I will encourage my millions* of readers to attend the show too, and it’ll get all viral and social media-y and other buzzwords.  I’m also working on the theory that they think this is a food blog, because the post from Dad’s birthday party is still showing up on my front page, featuring photographs of cake and venison burgers. Totally food-blog-worthy. Anyway, no matter what their motivation, I’m not one to turn down free anything, so this is me officially selling out:

Go to the Food Show**.  It (hopefully) will be good.  I will be there (probably – I haven’t actually got my free ticket yet.  PR person said they’d mail it to me, so, assuming they don’t decide they made a horrible mistake offering it to me, it should arrive sometime next week).  I will probably take pretty pictures, and maybe even if I have time post some of them here.

Does this mean I’ve made it as a blogger?

*This may be a slight exaggeration.
**Unless you don’t want to.  Or if you don’t llive in Christchurch, of course, in which case you can’t.  Unless you go to the one in Wellington or Auckland.  Or if you come and visit.  I have a couch you could sleep on, but you have to share it with Parsnips***.
***Who has developed weird bald spots which I think are due to her over-grooming**** , but make her look like she’s suffering from some horrible disease, so you might not want to wake up with her snuggling up to you.
****Which yes, I should probably take her to the vet about – it’s on my list of things I will definitely do as soon as I can find a spare hour or two (yeah, it probably should be the hour or two I’ll be spending at the food show, but somehow going to a food show where there is the distinct possibility of free tastings seems like a much better use of my time than spending vast amount of money to have the vet tell me that she’s probably stressed by the existence of other cats, and there’s not much I can do about that except move to a new house where there are no windowsills that she can sit on and watch the neighbourhood cats daring to exist within line of site of her.)***** But I promise I will take her to the vet soon.
*****It occurs to me that discussing a diseased-looking partially-bald cat is not something you’re supposed to do in a post that’s encouraging people to attend a food show.  But I blame the PR guy for not reading my blog properly before he offered me the free ticket. Does it help if I promise not to take my diseased-looking partially-bald cat to the show with me?


Right, that’s the selling-out part done with.  Except now I’m going to sell out on behalf of work, which isn’t really selling out, because they already pay me: Look at CEISMIC’s shiny new Facebook page!  We were told by the people who are helping us do fundraising that we need to have more of a social media presence, so we set up a page and are trying to post interesting stuff to it reasonably regularly.  We need to get as many likes on it as we can, so if you’re a facebook-using type of person****** we’d greatly appreciate a like!

****** (I can hear Yetzirah’s punctuation from here, complaining about my over-use of footnotes in this post.  Sorry, (), but sometimes I just need to communicate in footnotes.) Which I am not.  Although, if you visit the page, you may see some likes and comments from a person greatly resembling me.  Do not be fooled by this into thinking I actually use facebook – it’s just an account I set up ages ago because I needed it for a work thing, and have resurrected slightly to use for CEISMIC stuff.  But despite its existence, there’s not a lot of point in friending me (and chances are I won’t friend you back anyway – I’m trying as much as possible to keep it work-related) – I never post anything there, other than occasionally sharing CEISMIC posts, which you’ll see anyway if you like the CEISMIC page.  All the interesting stuff goes here in my blog.


In other news, it’s been an exhausting few days.  I would say it was self-inflicted over-scheduling, but actually it was totally sensible scheduling until a last-minute opportunity came up at work, and I stupidly said yes without thinking about everything else I had in my calendar.

Thursday was Red Rose Day, which is the Red Cross’s equivalent to the Cancer Society’s Daffodil Day, but not as well known.  Ages ago they’d asked me if I’d be interested in helping out again, seeing as I’d done collecting for them last year, so I decided to take the day off work for it.  Because I had the whole day off, I said I’d be happy to do as many 2-hour shifts as they needed, and they took me at my word, because they scheduled me for 3 shifts at Northlands Mall, from 9.30 until 3.  Of course, on the day the person who was supposed to take over at 3 didn’t turn up, so I ended up having to stay on until 5, which was a very long time to be pretending to be extroverted and chatty and asking people for donations (in return for a rose, which we had buckets full of).  They’d scheduled two people on for each shift, which was good, because it’s a lot easier doing that sort of thing with another person than when you’re on your own, but it also meant that in the quiet times I’d have to make small-talk with my partner, so I didn’t get any down-time at all in the day (except for the 15 minutes break I took to quickly grab some lunch (hmm, it seems I’ve switched from too many footnotes mode to too many brackets mode)).  I can do a convincing act of extroversion when I have to, but I find it completely exhausting, so really really need to have some quiet alone time to recharge my mental batteries afterwards (I once heard someone describe this as the difference between extroverts and introverts – it’s not that one is always more social than the other, it’s that when they get tired, an introvert recharges their batteries by being alone, and an extrovert recharges their batteries by being around other people).  So yeah, by the end of the day I was feeling pretty shattered.

Which normally would have been fine, because Fridays are always pretty quiet days at work, so I’d planned to just spend the day doing nice menial tasks that required the minimum of human interaction, and I’d be fine by the evening, so I’d be able to go to the quiz night I’d been invited to by one of the postgrad students.  No problem.

Except that at the beginning of the week we got the opportunity to attend the Seismics in the City conference, which is a very business-oriented conference about Christchurch’s rebuild and recovery, so of inherent interest to us for the archive, as well as being a perfect opportunity to network with the sorts of people who have the potential to get us funding.  So an offer we couldn’t really refuse.  Except that it meant a long day (the conference started at 7 am!!!) of more socialising and smiling inanely at people who were saying things I really don’t agree with, and pretending to be extroverted (and even having to get up and give a short presentation myself (very short as it turned out – the organiser had said we’d be allowed a 5 minute slot to promote the archive, but he wasn’t sure when during the day it would be.  My boss was only able to be there for the morning, so if the slot turned out to be in the afternoon, it would be my job to talk.  So I prepared and memorised a really good 5-minute talk that fitted in all the important points we needed people to know, and was actually feeling pretty confident about giving it.  The morning came and went without my boss getting a chance to talk, so after he left at lunchtime it was all down to me.  So I waited to hear from the organiser, who finally came to see me just during the afternoon tea break to tell me he’d get me to talk straight after the break, but that he could only give me one minute, not five.  So I spent the rest of the tea break frantically trying to work out how to condense my talk, which meant I had to drop some of the key points, and instead of the well-polished and professional talk I’d planned ended up sounding garbled and way too rushed, and I’m not sure anyone really understood what I was saying.  Very annoying!  (But I’m still kind of proud of myself for being able to get up and talk in front of a room of very important people, even if I didn’t do as good a job of it as I would have liked.)))  So between the 5 am start (because I had to catch a 6 am bus to get into town on time) and being “on” all day for the second day in a row, I was so exhausted by the end.

And then I still had to go to the quiz night.  Which I probably could have pulled out of, but I didn’t want to let the team down, plus it was a fundraising night for the Labour Party, and although I don’t entirely agree with their policies, I’d still much prefer to see them in government than the current lot, so it counts as a good cause.  (And anyway, having spent the day in the company of a large number of business people (actually, mostly businessmen – as you’d expect, the conference was very much dominated by middle-aged male Pakeha), the idea of spending the evening with Labour Party people sounded incredibly refreshing!).  Anyway, despite being tired, it was a really fun evening.  A couple of the people on my team knew Megan Woods (the MP who was hosting the evening) really well, so there was lots of banter with her, and although we didn’t win, the only round we did embarrassingly badly on was the sports round, so we were all reasonably satisfied with our efforts.

LJ (who had also been at the conference) had come to the quiz too, so offered me a lift home afterwards so I wouldn’t have to catch a bus.  But first, the drunker members of our team proposed we go to the McDonalds across the street from the venue.  I have about the same attitude to McDonalds as I do to Facebook, as in I avoid it as much as I can, but sometimes I am forced into it by necessity, so when LJ indicated she was keen to join them, I tagged along.  It was actually fun, even if the food was no better than I remembered, but it made a late night into a very late one, so it was nearing midnight by the time I got home.

Then today was the bookcrossing meetup (which I’d forgotten about when I agreed to go to the quiz night), so I couldn’t even really have a long sleep in this morning, because I had to get up and get the housework done in time to catch the bus into town (which in itself was a bit of a drama, because I lost my bus card on Thursday (I think I must have dropped it in the mall), which meant I’d been having to pay cash fares (which are much more expensive than using the Metrocard), so on the way from the conference to the quiz I’d stopped off at the bus exchange to get a new one (and because of complicated reasons, they weren’t able to find my old card in the system, so couldn’t transfer the balance to my new card, so I was down $20-odd, plus the $10 fee I had to pay for losing my card).  But then when I caught the bus into town for the meetup today, it turned out they’d given me a child card instead of an adult card, and even though I explained it was a mistake, the bus driver treated me like I was trying to cheat him by using the wrong sort of card.  So instead of getting off on Victoria Street for the meetup, I had to go all the way into the bus exchange again and get them to replace the card with an adult one, then get back on the bus to go to Victoria Street, so I was late to the meetup anyway).

So yeah, a very busy few days with way too much social stuff going on.  And I need to spend tomorrow studying, so I reckon it must be time for bed now.  I’m so glad next weekend is a long one!

So much news

And the DD site has been down for days, so I couldn’t post anything. And of course I wasn’t so sensible as to just write my entries up in Notepad and copy and paste them in, so I’m sure I’ll forget some of the really cool and important stuff I was going to tell you about. And I don’t really have time to write very much anyway, so this will just have to be a quick summary of the most memorable important stuff, in no particular order:

  1. I have a thesis topic! For a while there this was not the case, when it looked like my proto-topic was going to be completely unviable, but one of my lovely supervisors (in related news, I have supervisors!) came to the rescue and pointed out how my ailing proto-topic could in fact be resurrected into an actual topic. So all I have to do now is expand my topic into a proper proposal, and submit it for approval before the end of the month. And then the real hard work starts…
  2. I have a woodburner! Of course, I can’t actually use it yet, because the building inspector hasn’t been round to sign off on it (hopefully that should happen later this week), but at least it’s been installed. It’s not as pretty as my old one (I miss my nice purple tiles), but it will keep the house warm in winter, and that’s the important thing.
  3. I have tickets! Many many tickets, and bookings, and other important documents. Lytteltonwitch came round the other night, and (after being distracted by the lure of games at the Gwilks’) we spent several constructive hours planning our trip to Greece and Italy, and booking all the things. So we are now confirmed for 6 nights in Athens, 6 nights in Venice, and 7 nights in Rome, and various planes and trains to get between them. So my credit card is cowering in terror, but it’ll be worth it. Athens Convention, here we come!  (Hmm, better learn some Greek, I suppose (and some Italian, but I know enough Spanish that I can at least puzzle out some Italian words. Greek, on the other hand, is quite literally all Greek to me.))

Welcome back DD, and please don’t die again!

Party party party

Down to the last few days of work before the Christmas break, and I’m seriously feeling in need of a holiday. What with boss still being away on parental leave, and several big deadlines falling in December, work hasn’t had the usual end-of-year wind-down this year – we’ve just been in full-on busy mode trying to get everything done. Oh well, only three more days until the university shuts down for Christmas, and then I get a couple of weeks off.

And at least there’s been plenty of distraction in the form of many many Christmas parties (one of the perils of working in a large organisation, especially when you’re connected with multiple departments), including two I hosted myself this weekend. First was the CEISMIC team party on Friday night (which grew a bit larger than expected, because we decided to invite a few students and volunteers who are working in our office over the summer – it was a bit of a squeeze fitting everyone into my little lounge, but luckily students are happy to sit on the floor :-)), then on Saturday night what was technically the Bookcrossing Christmas Party, although in reality it has evolved over the years into mostly just I invite a few friends round, whether bookcrossers or not (though I still also open the invitation up to bookcrossing meetup regulars).

Both parties went very well, despite nearly running out of cutlery on Friday night (note for next year: actually count up how many people have been invited before agreeing when someone says, “We really should invite X too”), and failing to provide vegetarian food for the Harvestbirds on Saturday (dinner was pot luck, and in a bid not to over-cater as I usually end up doing, I decided I’d only make nibbles and a dessert, and trust to luck for the mains – which worked to the extent that we ended up with the right *amount* of food, it was just that it was all meat-based. Oops – probably should have been a bit more organised and actually told people what to bring. Of course, they were very gracious about it though, and just filled up on the bread and dips).

Definitely the least stressful party organising I’ve done in ages – I’ve been so busy I didn’t have time to go over the top in preparation, so it was just a matter of making sure the house was clean and doing the minimum possible food preparation (ok, so I did make bread both days, but that’s easy – most of it is just sitting around waiting for the yeast to do its magic), then deciding that anything that wasn’t done obviously wasn’t important :-) Having the two parties back to back like that helped too, because most of the preparation I’d done for the first party carried over to the next night – all I needed to do was a quick vacuuming of crumbs from the lounge and whip up another batch of bread, and I was ready to go. I even managed to recycle some of the leftover food :-)

Which meant that I had time on Saturday to go to the Art Gallery opening! The Christchurch Art Gallery has been closed since February 2011 – at first because they were using it as the Civil Defence headquarters while they were still doing search and rescue after the earthquakes, and then because they discovered damage to the building that needed to be brought back up to code before any other galleries or museums would lend them any exhibitions. So it’s been a long time since we’ve had an art gallery, but they finally re-opened to the public on Saturday morning. Harvestbird and I managed to get there in time to be in the queue to be first through the doors, and it was a very exciting moment. There were no speeches or anything, just lots of happy staff with huge smiles to finally be able to welcome visitors back into their gallery, and lots of happy people pleased to be back.

Like so many things in post-earthquake Christchurch, it’s hard to describe just how amazing it felt to go back into the Art Gallery after all this time. It’s like another little piece of normality being restored to our still-broken city, and oh so exciting. From the looks on the faces around us, everyone was feeling the same way. So many smiling faces (and the odd tear), so many people rushing up to an old favourite exclaiming, “Oh, I remember this one!” We spent so long just drinking in the first couple of rooms that we weren’t able to get around the whole gallery (the guides giving tours were having the same problem – we joined a tour, and about half way round the guide suddenly realised she’d been so enthusiastically telling us everything about everything that she was way behind schedule, so had to race us round the rest of the tour). I had to keep telling myself that this wasn’t my only chance to see the gallery, that I would be able to go back many times and see the rest – they’re not going to suddenly close it down again! I think we’re a little *too* used to impermanence in this city now…

After all that socialising, I had a nice quiet day yesterday, and managed to finish binding all my Christmas quilt projects:

I feel quite productive looking at the finished pile!

I got mail

Signs are abounding that Christmas is on its way. I already have six different Christmas/end-of-year parties in my calendar (sounds like I have a really impressive social life, but the majority are work-related), and plans are being made in our corridor at work for the annual door-decorating competition (which, of course, our office won last year, so the pressure is on to keep up the standard for this year!). But the real sign of Christmas is that I got home tonight to find a mysterious parcel in my letterbox, all the way from Germany – TexasWren’s (though actually Herschelle organised it this year, because TW is too busy) annual BC Ornament Exchange in action.

It’s always so exciting opening an ornament exchange parcel – you never know what you’re going to find inside.

Top layer, a note from the sender, chawoso, and a card…

…that turned out to be a mini advent calendar, which folds out to stand up (with what I later worked out is space for a tea-light candle inside, which will shine through the windows as they’re opened).

Beneath that, so many goodies! (Once again, I’m feeling like what I sent to my swap partner is totally inadequate…)

A couple of Christmassy books, The Night Before Cat-mas, and Joy to the World,

some reindeer serviettes,

and, of course, ornaments:

Yes, that is a cinnamon stick tied to the second ornament – I’m amazed that made it through customs without the biosecurity dogs picking it up! My favourite is definitely the beaded tree, though – in fact, I think it’s possibly my favourite ornament of all the exchanges I’ve taken part in.

Rounding off the parcel were a few chocolate coins, and a tea-light candle (which was how I figured out how the advent calendar was supposed to work).

Must mean it’s nearly time to put up the Christmas tree!*

(*well, “nearly” as in “definitely not until it’s actually December”, but that’s only a week away :-) )

Ah, so that’s what a weekend is

Hmmm, according to my calendar, the last time I actually took a full weekend off was in August. No wonder I was feeling tired! But I have rectified that by actually having a break this weekend – I didn’t even attempt to work on my presentation for next weekend.  Just took a proper break and had a couple of fun and restful days.  And discovered that one advantage of not having proper weekends for so long is that having two whole days off feels like such a luxury – it’s almost like having a holiday! :-)

Yesterday was Halloween, so we had a bookcrossing meetup (only three of us turned up :-( ), followed by creating a themed book tree in Jellie Park.  I didn’t have many suitable books to contribute – scraping the bottom of my boxes of books turned up a few Stephen King and Harry Potter books, which I decided qualified on horror and magic grounds, so, not having had time to trawl second-hand bookshops for anything better, they went on the tree.  But between the three of us we had enough books to make the tree look quite respectably adorned, and as we were leaving it was already being inspected by a couple of people.

Afterwards Lytteltonwitch stopped off at my place for dinner (after a quick dash to the supermarket so that I could actually provide dinner!), theoretically on her way to a Halloween party.  But in the end my couch was too comfortable to move from, so she gave up on the party in favour of staying to chat for a couple more hours.

I’d bought some lollies at the supermarket, in case of trick or treaters, but only one set turned up.  They were really impressive though – a group of teenagers who’d actually made an effort (instead of the usual half-hearted attempts we get around here, where most of the kids just wear a plastic mask or don’t even bother to dress up at all, they just demand lollies).  They were all in costume and elaborate face-paint, with a sort of Tim Burton-esque theme.  One of them was even playing a guitar (very tunefully, too).  Very impressive (and very polite – they all said thank you when I gave them the lollies!).  I wish I’d thought to take a photo.

I spent today indulging my need for creativity, sewing a second version of the Wren pattern, this time with the colours running in the right direction:

I could tell I’d been away from the sewing machine for a long time – so many mistakes! But I think I managed to fix or hide them all sufficiently, so I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out in the end. Now I’ve just got to figure out exactly how I want to combine the three birds together…

An expensive wee bit of metal

Just got back from town, where I bought myself a birthday present. If I tell you it was small, very expensive, and made of metal, I’m sure some of you will be thinking jewellery. Nope, sorry to disappoint you, but it’s actually a quilting foot for The Beast. I’ve been using a darning foot for my free motion quilting up ’till now, which works ok, but doesn’t exactly give you a good field of view to see where your stitches are going. So I decided my birthday (and my slowly-increasing skill level) totally justified splurging on the correct tool for the job.

That on the left is my new foot, and on the right is the old darning foot I’ve been using. See what I mean about actually being able to see what I’m doing with this one? I’m really looking forward to trying it – in fact, I think I may have to devote the remainder of the afternoon to quilting, so I can properly test it out.

I also invested in some new needles, because I suspect the ones I’ve been using came with the machine when Granny got it. According to the person who served me in the shop, a needle is only supposed to have a life of 3-4 hours’ sewing. Not 30-odd years then, huh?

Just before I was heading out this morning, I remembered the cat-themed books Lytteltonwitch had gathered for me to release today, so I grabbed an armful and released them along the way:

I shall report back later with quilting progress…

Being social

It’s been a very social weekend. Actually, more than just the weekend, because on Friday the CEISMIC team spent the day at the NDF Bar Camp, an “unconference” to discuss digital issues in the cultural heritage sector.  Lots of exciting conversations and ideas, and seriously inspiring.  Tiring though, in that way of an event where you’ve got your brain switched on all day. There were drinks afterwards, of course, during which the fascinating conversations continued, but I only stayed for an hour, because I was meeting a few of the Toastmasters women for dinner.

The dinner was fun – lots of laughs (and interesting food – we were at a Vietnamese restaurant, and ordered a banquet, so we got to try lots of dishes we hadn’t tried before).  Quite a late night though.  When we left the restaurant, we discovered the intersection blocked off with a fire engine and two police cars, and police tape everywhere.  Earlier we’d noticed flashing lights outside, and had seen an ambulance come and go, but this was an hour or two later, and the police were still there.  It was dark, so hard to tell what was going on, but just as we were driving away (everyone was most concerned about me walking home on my own, even though we were only a few blocks from my place, so Ade insisted on giving me a lift) I realised what looked different about the dairy* on the corner – there was a car inside it.  According to The Press this morning, the driver had a “medical event” (I’m guessing that means heart attack?) while driving, and had gone straight over the roundabout and into the dairy.

*translation for foreigners: small convenience store/corner shop, mainly selling milk, bread and lollies**.

**another translation for foreigners: sweets/candy/confectionery

I’d planned to have a quiet day yesterday, seeing as Friday had been so busy, but Mrs Gwilk rang to say they had a new board game they wanted to try out, but it needed a fourth person to play, so did I feel like coming round.  So that’s where I spent the evening.  The game was really fun – it was a strategy game based on the Firefly TV series (which I’ve never actually seen, but knew vaguely what it was about which was enough to understand the game), where you had to run trade and/or smuggling missions across an interstellar society, while managing things like crew and fuel, and avoiding raiders and customs officials (if you were smuggling).  The end of the game was very dramatic, with Gwilk and I racing to get to a particular planet, with whoever got there first winning the game.  Unfortunately an unlucky roll when raiders attacked meant I got there just behind him, but I think second place is still a pretty respectable result :-)

It was another late night though, because the game took nearly three hours, and then, after mini-Gwilk went off to bed, Mrs Gwilk suggested we try another, shorter game (“shorter” being a relative term when it comes to board games), so it was nearly 11 by the time I got home.

Then this afternoon was the bookcrossing meetup.  A lot smaller turn out this time – Rarsberry was at a birthday party, and a couple of the others who normally turn up didn’t show, but we did have a new person, so all was not lost.  It was incredibly busy at the cafe, because the Botanic Gardens were having a special event for Matariki (the Maori New Year celebration), so we were lucky to get a table (well, luck combined with the fact that I spotted some people leaving, so I raced over and bagsed their table – which completely confused the poor person who came to clear away their plates!).  The incredibly long queue to order food wasn’t a problem for a bunch of bookcrossers though – we just took our books so we could read while the queue inched forward :-)

So yeah, fun weekend, but I am now officially all socialled out.  Pity I’ve got to go to work tomorrow and interact with people…

Hello?

DD’s been down again, so of course I’ve spent the last day and a half composing all sorts of interesting and amusing blog posts in my head, and now that it’s back up I can’t remember any of them.  So instead, a few highlights of the past few days:

On Friday I discovered that there are actually some really nice people in the world.  I was waiting at the bus stop in the rain, and as usual the bus was running late, and every time I checked the real-time arrivals thing it would tell me that it was going to be even later.  So I’d resigned myself to being very cold and wet by the time I got home.  Except that a complete stranger stopped her car and asked if I wanted a lift somewhere, which I most gratefully accepted.  (Sorry Mum, I know you spent my entire childhood telling me not to get in a car with a stranger, but not having to wait in the rain for another 20 minutes totally beats stranger danger any day 😉 )

On Saturday night I went to a games night with the Gwilks.  There were enough people that we split into two rooms, so I joined the group playing Shadows Over Camelot, a game I’d actually played before (it’s becoming a joke that every time I go to one of the games nights I end up playing a game I haven’t seen before, and just when I’m getting the hang of it the game is over and I’ll never get another chance to play it, because the next games night there’ll be a new game).  However, this time we were playing a variation on it (so it was kind of a new game, but at least I already understood most of the game mechanics).  It’s a cooperative game, so basically you either all win or all lose, but the variant we were playing had a traitor, so it was them against the rest of us.  Except we didn’t know until the end who the traitor was.  It’s quite a difficult game, and we ended up losing, but it was still a lot of fun.

On Sunday we had a bookcrossing meetup.  Our brunch meetups didn’t suit everyone, so we shifted to lunch instead, and met at the new cafe in the Botanic Gardens.  It was incredibly busy (the line stretched right around the cafe at one point), but we managed to snag a table, and by borrowing chairs from other tables somehow managed to fit all of us around it.  Lots of books being exchanged, of course – the tower of books in the centre of the table was getting quite dangerously high for a while there.

I’d hoped to get some more work done on my experimental quilt, but between all that socialness and having spent a good chunk of Saturday curled up in front of the fire with a good book, I only quilted one square:

The pattern is called Windswept, and I really struggled to get the hang of it.  I just couldn’t get my speed right or the fabric flowing smoothly, and then just when it was starting to go right I discovered that somehow my backing fabric had got folded over, so I had to unpick a big section and resew it (which is why there’s some really messy bits down the right hand side).  I think it’s one of those patterns which could look really good with a bit more practice, though.

The back looks a wee bit better (mainly because the cotton doesn’t contrast so much, so the wobbles in my sewing aren’t as obvious), but it still doesn’t look much like the tutorial:

Oh well, the whole point of the experimental quilt is to allow myself to make a mess of it and learn via my mistakes, not worry about it being perfect…

Busy weekend

Haven’t had much time to work on my quilt, because the weekend has been so full of other stuff.  I’ve got about a quarter of it sewn together though, so that’s a start.

Yesterday’s outing was to Ashburton with Lytteltonwitch.  She’d heard there was a “Stash Re-hash” market being held, which promised lots of cheap fabric and craft supplies.  We got slightly lost getting there (no, not to Ashburton – it would be very hard to get lost getting there!) because Lytteltonwitch had somehow managed to combine “Sinclair Centre” and “Park Street” into the non-existent “Spencer Street”, which we spent a long time looking for before giving up and Googling the event.  Once we got the right address it was a lot easier to find :-)

I was reasonably restrained in my purchases – I was tempted to buy a lot more, but the fabrics that had attracted my attention were all in huge quantities (like 2m lengths) which I’d never use all of, so it wouldn’t have worked out any cheaper to buy them than to just buy smaller quantities new.

On the way to Ashburton we stopped off at the Book Barn in Chertsey.  I’d never been there before, so it was a bit of surprise.  It’s in an actual barn, packed solid with bookshelves and boxes of second-hand books with narrow aisles between giving just enough room for you to move around and browse the books, and even more boxes of books stacked up behind waiting to be unpacked.  I didn’t end up buying anything, because it was so huge and overwhelming it was a bit of a “where do I start?”  Think I’ll need to make myself a list of books to search for next time we visit.

Then today we had a bookcrossing meetup, at Beat Street Cafe.  It was very well attended – Chuckacraft brought along a couple of friends (one of whom joined Bookcrossing on the spot), plus Alkaline-Kiwi was down from Auckland for the weekend so came along, and Rarsberry and her kids turned up too.  It was quite a crowd round the table! (And a crowd of books on the table – as usual, I promised myself I’d only bring home one or two, and ended up with half a dozen in my bag).

After the meetup, Alkaline-Kiwi, Lytteltonwitch and I gathered up the left-over books and took them along to the Gapfiller book fridge, which is only a couple of blocks from the cafe.  The fridge is obviously still getting a lot of use – there was someone there browsing the shelves when we arrived, and as we were leaving I saw someone else heading for the fridge.  Not many of the books are actually bookcrossing books any more, of course, but it’s still working great as a community book exchange, so who cares if they’re not all registered.

March Meetup

Had our second meetup of the newly-revived Christchurch Bookcrossing meetups this morning, and yet again we had new people turn up: NiceOrc (whose name I vaguely remembered from years ago) and her daughter. Plus Chuckacraft, who was there last month, came back, so it’s feeling like we’ve got the beginnings of a viable Christchurch meetup group again. We’ve decided to try a new venue though – although Addington Coffee Co-op has great food and atmosphere, it’s too popular – it’s incredibly busy on weekend mornings, so we struggled to find a table big enough to hold us all (and they don’t take reservations). The plan is to try out Beat Street Cafe next time, which apparently doesn’t get busy until nearer lunchtime, so we should be able to snag a decent sized table for brunch.

I was running a bit late this morning, so didn’t have time to dig out many books to take to the meetup, just Conrad’s Fate by Diana Wynne Jones, The Heart of the Country by Fay Weldon, and The Sandman: The Wake by Neil Gaiman. And of course, ended up bringing home as many as I’d released: The Gift by James Patterson, Bonkers by Michelle Holman, and Gringo Soup by JB Aspinall (well, I had to encourage the new people by making sure they’d get catches on their books, didn’t I? (ok, so maybe that doesn’t explain why I picked up one of Lytteltonwitch’s books…))