Pretty Colours!

As predicted, the temptation of my new craft project got the better of me last night, and I decided to have a go at laying out the pieces on the grid. I thought it would probably take me several goes before I got it looking ok, but once I got the hang of seeing the overall shade of each square, instead of the details (I found squinting my eyes up so everything went blurry helped), it actually came together pretty quickly, and I soon had a layout I liked (sorry about the picture quality – I had to stand on a chair and hold the camera up as high as I could to get the whole thing in, so I couldn’t see what I was doing):

[album 128913 110206patch1.jpg]

As it was looking pretty good, I decided (after a few more tweaks here and there) to go ahead and iron the pieces to the backing (which is like normal iron-on interfacing material, but with a grid printed on it to make it easier to line up all the little squares). Here’s the ironed version (slightly better photo this time, because I took it this morning with the sun coming in the window, and didn’t bother trying to get a straight-on view):

[album 128913 110206patch2.jpg]

So today’s big plan is to sew all the seams (which will reduce the total size of the quilt by about a third, because the edges of each square will be folded into the seams). And then I’ll have to put it on hold for a few weeks probably, because (as always happens with kits) they don’t actually give you *everything* you need to complete the project, so I need to go to a craft shop and get a different kind of fusing web for the applique bits, plus find some fabric for the border and backing. And I doubt I’ll get time to do that today, tomorrow needs to be devoted to organising myself for the convention, next weekend I’ll be in Dunedin (yayy!!!)… maybe the weekend after that I’ll get the chance to go shopping…

Currently reading: Palm Prints by Fiona Kidman (yes, still – I keep getting distracted by more interesting books) and The Future Trap by Catherine Jinks

American invasion

No, it’s not a political rant 🙂 The first overseas guests for the NZ Bookcrossing Convention have just arrived – KimKerry and ds3233, two bookcrossers from Arizona, flew in to Christchurch today. So of course we had to arrange a meetup (if only to make boreal and rarsberry jealous because we got to meet them first ;-)). It was a bit of a last minute arrangement, so a few of the regulars couldn’t make it, but Alithia, lytteltonwitch, and I were there, and we had a really nice time. KimKerry and ds3233 were obviously exhausted from the long flight and then a long day of trying to cram in as much sightseeing as possible (they’re off to the West Coast tomorrow), but were so excited to be here and to be meeting New Zealand Bookcrossers for the first time. There was the usual meetup book trading, of course. I picked up The Quiet Game by Greg Iles and the wonderfully titled Trachtenberg Speed System of Basic Mathematics, and passed on Life’s Little Ironies by Thomas Hardy and Amsterdam by Ian McEwan, and gave Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres to the waitress when she asked about all the books piled on the table. And when we left, I left A Dubious Legacy by Mary Wesley behind on the dividing wall behind our table.

Oh, and I released another book this morning: MrPloppy had a dentist’s appointment, so I went along with him and released To Hell in a Handbasket by Richard Littlejohn in the waiting room (it seemed an appropriate title for such a scary place!). As we were sitting in the waiting room, we were amusing ourselves by coming up with other titles that would be appropriate for releasing at the dentist (like Jaws or The Marathon Man) so as it looks like MrPloppy’s going to have to go back for another couple of appointments over the next few months, I might have to have a trawl of the secondhand shops soon and see what I can find…

Wow!

And while I was writing that diary entry, another email about a catch arrived in my in-box! This time it was for Let’s Face the Music and Die by Sandra Scoppettone, a book that I’d given to rarsberry when she was up here visiting ages ago. She released it in Dunedin, where it was caught and released again, and has now been caught and taken to the UK, and released yet again! Now that’s how Bookcrossing is supposed to work!!!

A very old catch, and the odd patch

I got a great catch tonight – a book that’s been “missing in action” for more than two years! In October 2003 KiwiKat and I went on a releasing expedition to Akaroa. We had a lovely day over there, and released tonnes of books, but didn’t get very many catches. Well tonight I got an email telling me that Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon had finally been caught! By the sound of it, the person who caught it picked it up exactly where I left it, so either they found it two years ago and have only just got around to going to the Bookcrossing website to journal it, or someone else found it, kept it for two years (without journalling it), and then returned it to the bench where they found it. Who cares – I got a catch!

I’ve finally finished the backstitch on the second topiary tree:

I haven’t had a lot of time for embroidery lately, so progress has been pretty slow. Time to start on the third tree now.

Of course, that’s if I don’t get distracted by my latest project, the parts for which arrived today (I ordered them from a craft catalogue as a late Christmas present for myself).

As you can see, it’s not embroidery this time, but patchwork. I’ve always wanted to try out patchwork, but haven’t had the patience (or sewing ability). But this kit is for a new system called watercolour quilting, which involves making a grid of square patches in different tones (creating a shading effect similar to cross-stitch), using fusing web to stick them in place on a backing, and then machine sewing long straight seams. I reckon even I could do that 🙂 And for a change I’m being sensible and starting a new hobby with just a small project – a smallish wallhanging with only a little applique on top of the patchwork. Of course, I don’t know when I’ll get time to actually get it started, but I’m sure the temptation to play with all those pretty coloured patches will get the better of me soon…

A walk in the park

I had a very nice walk home from work this afternoon – it’s been a lovely sunny day with just enough of a breeze to cool things down nicely, so I walked home via the park and released a book (Dark Shinto by Dale Elvy) on one of the seats by the duck pond (where the ducks were most disappointed that I hadn’t stopped to feed them).

Having been the recipient of several RABKs recently, I decided it was my turn to pass on some kindness, so when Bicyclette PMed me the other day to ask if I’d be willing to send her The Runaways by Victor Canning, which she’d been searching for for ages, I immediately agreed (especially as she’d been very nice in her PM, and had followed good Bookcrossing etiquette and offered to send me a book in return. I declined her offer, but it’s the thought that counts, and usually makes me look kindly on those kind of requests. (As opposed to those people who send abrupt PMs just demanding books without even thinking to offer a book in trade or to pay postage – unless they’re obviously total newbies (in which case I’ll send a polite PM explaining why they’re not getting the book, and pointing them to TexasWren‘s excellent FAQ site), those ones get deleted without being replied to)). Anyway, I’ll be posting the book off to her sometime this week.

Parental advisory

Actually, parental visit, but when have I ever bothered about accurate diary titles? :-p

Dad and Stepmother came up yesterday for a visit (well, Dad came up, Stepmother was actually on her way back from watching the Rugby 7s in Wellington, so decided to stop off here for the night instead of carrying on down to Alex). Dad’s looking a lot healthier already, and of course was determinedly ignoring his doctor’s advice to take things easy – an oft repeated conversation this weekend has been “You’re supposed to be resting” “I am, but I’ll just do this…”

I’d told him we didn’t want him to do anything around the house, but when he got here, he noticed there’s a couple of slats missing from the fence, so he suggested he take us to the hardware shop to get some wood to replace them. I agreed (on condition that he just get the wood, and leave fixing the fence to us), but of course, as soon as we got back (after detours to the supermarket, and a stationery shop, and a department store, and… basically, any errand that came up in conversation as something I was planning to do “sometime”, would become “We might as well do that now while I’m here with the car”), he was off into the garage rummaging through the tools and had the fence fixed before we had a chance to argue… and then of course he went on to fix a dripping tap, improve our temporary fix on that weird gushing pipe in the back yard, fix a split hose in the irrigation system, and was making a start on pruning the roses before I finally managed to stop him. When Stepmother showed up, she said she’s had equal lack of success in getting him to slow down – what Dad calls “taking it easy”, anyone else would call “working incredibly hard”…

We went out for dinner last night, to Alva Rados, a nice mexican place in town. A very nice meal, and I released a couple of books on a bookshelf (which is used for displaying pottery, not books – what sacrilege!!!) in the restaurant’s foyer. I didn’t have any suitably South American or Spanish books for a real themed release, so I just released The Viceroy of Ouidah by Bruce Chatwin (who spent a lot of time in South America), and Aelred’s Sin by Lawrence Scott (which has a picture of a Catholic-looking priest on the cover (and the restaurant has several large wooden crosses as part of the decorative scheme)). Dad was disappointed that they hadn’t been caught yet when I checked my email this morning – he’s quite fascinated by the concept of Bookcrossing, although not interested in taking part himself.

Dad and Stepmother left this morning, planning to take the drive back down to Alexandra slowly, but as they were leaving, Dad was already overruling Stepmother’s suggestion that she drive so that he could rest – “I’ll just drive until we get out of town, and then you can take over”… What’s the bet he actually drives the whole way?