Yesterday was another day packed with activities.  I went up to visit Dad in the morning, and he suggested we take a drive out to Butcher’s Dam, a scenic spot just down the road from Alexandra.  DOC have put in walking tracks around the Dam (which apparently was originally built as a reservoir to provide water for Alexandra), so we went for a wander, and of course I took lots of photos:

Viper’s Bugloss (otherwise known as “that @#$% blue spikey flower”), which grows wild around most of Central, and is much hated by anyone who’s had the misfortune to walk through a patch of it and get the tiny spines embedded in their skin. It’s quite pretty close up, though 🙂

It also, very rarely, comes in pink:

Afterwards, we went back to Alexandra so I could check out the Rotary booksale.  I resisted the temptation to load up on books for bookcrossing (they were a bit pricey for that, anyway), but I did get one or two (or five) I wanted to read, so counted it as a success.

Dad was supposed to playing in a golf match after lunch, but someone pulled out so it fell through.  He was still keen to have a practice round though, so I offered to caddy for him (well, push the trolley, anyway – although I have played golf a few times, and know quite a bit about it from watching Dad play, I definitely don’t know enough to select clubs or otherwise do proper caddying!), so we had a very pleasant walk around the golf course together.  We ended up only doing 13 holes, because by that time it was getting so hot as to be unpleasant, but that’s still quite a few kilometres, so between that and the walk round the Dam in the morning, I definitely felt like I got some good exercise yesterday!  (And got a bit of sunburn – I was for once sensible enough to wear a hat, but didn’t think about sunscreen until it was way too late…)

Today’s supposed to be even hotter, so staying inside might be in order, so as not to exacerbate yesterday’s sunburn.  I think I feel Mum’s craft room calling to me…

Production line

(Warning to family-type people who read this blog: there are Christmas-present spoilers below.  If you don’t want the surprise ruined, stop reading now.  Alternatively, if anything really catches your eye, let me know and I’ll make sure that one’s your present 🙂 )

January and the start of my masters is looming large, so I’m trying to fit as much as I can into the rest of this year, before I have to be head down over the books again.  Of course, my list of things to do (urgent) is much longer than the time remaining, but I’m making pretty good progress.  Last weekend I decided Saturday needed to be a “buy all the things” day, so I planned out an over-ambitious route to various corners of the city to tick off some of the retail-based to dos on my list. And ended up walking most of it.

That wasn’t the original plan – I was going to walk as far as Hands, then catch a bus from there into town, walk from there over to a place on Fitzgerald Ave, then catch a bus to Riccarton, and finally bus home.  But I spent too long in Hands (a common problem), so just missed the bus into town.  And it turns out they’ve changed the timetable so that bus only runs once an hour at weekends now.  So I decided I might as well walk into town (probably a stupid decision, given how hot a day it was, but the alternative was sitting at the bus stop for an hour (or going back to Hands… but that could have got expensive!)).  And from there I still had to walk over to Fitzgerald Ave of course (which is only a few blocks more, but walking through the dusty wasteland of the central city it feels much longer), and then I discovered the shop didn’t have what I wanted anyway, so I had to go to another place on Memorial Ave (another several blocks across the wasteland in the other direction), then back to the bus exchange – I’d love to have had one of those step trackers on to find out just how far I walked in total  (Actually, I just looked on Google maps – it adds up to a bit over 11 km!!!  No wonder I was feeling tired!)

I didn’t quite get all the shopping done I’d planned (clothes shopping got struck off the list due to feeling too hot and dusty to try anything on… or possibly just because clothes shopping is my least favourite variety of shopping, so it’s easy to find an excuse to put it off – I’m sure the clothes I bought years ago will do me for another season, won’t they?), but I did manage all the important stuff at least.

Which left Sunday free to spend working my way through the pile of sewing projects I’ve got on the go (most of which will end up as Christmas presents, so look away now, Mum (yeah, I know you won’t…)).  I had quite a quilting production line going: I managed to get most of the patchwork bits done, quilted all but one of them, and even did the binding on one (the rest might be sitting in front of the TV in the evening jobs).

My “failed” first attempt at a star. Now that it’s all quilted and bound, I’m much happier with it – the wonkiness and missing points are much less noticeable (though I still know they’re there). I was really pleased with my free-motion quilting – I felt like I was finally getting a feel for the right speed to use, so it flowed quite nicely, and the tangled Christmas lights effect I was going for came out really well.

I did the same FMQ design on my better stars – a wee bit trickier on this bigger size, but I think it looks really good. The centre star looks like it’s missing a set of points, but that’s just because the fabric is a bit too similar in shade to the background, so it got a bit lost when I quilted it. I actually quite like the effect though. Obviously, this one is still in the “needs binding” pile.

Another one that needs binding. This is the reject bird that I’d planned to put on the back of my ‘Birds in Flight’ quilt (which is also in the to do pile, but will probably sit there quite a bit longer – it’s so huge that I’m totally intimidated by the idea of quilting it. I probably should just give in and pay someone to do it), but that I got the colour progression back to front on. It was sitting there looking sad and unloved, so I decided to turn it into something. I’m really pleased with how the FMQ came out on this – I wanted it to have the feel of air currents swirling around the flying bird, and I think I achieved that. I probably should have done something different on the bird itself, and just had the currents around it, but it’s such an intricate shape that sounded to complicated, so I just went with the all-over swirliness. Let’s just pretend that it’s a depiction of air as a three-dimensional space, so some of the air is between us and the bird… yeah, that works 🙂

And more stars. I’m not obsessed with this pattern, honestly, it’s just that I keep getting it almost but not quite right, so I have to have another go to see if I can do it better. I haven’t got as far as quilting this one, but it’s basted (that’s what all the safety pins are for), so all ready to go as soon as I decide whether to go for the tangled lights design again or to try something different.

The other projects I wanted to get done before the end of the year are all still in the rough-sketch-in-a-notebook stage (or the even earlier vague-idea-in-the-back-of-my-mind stage), so whether I get them done is pretty doubtful. So many ideas, so little time…

I can has sleep nao?

Last night was fun, but I didn’t get home until 11.30 – which wouldn’t have been a problem except that I had to get up at 6 to catch the complicated series of buses to get me over to New Brighton (getting anywhere by bus on a Sunday morning is not fun – when I asked the bus website’s route finder search how to get to New Brighton by 8.30 am on a Sunday, it kept trying to tell me to catch the bus on Saturday night…)

I did manage to get up in time though, and (apart from a lot of hanging round at bus stops because connections don’t work sensibly) successfully made it out to New Brighton, where Lytteltonwitch and I were joining the Summer Starter fun run/walk – 10 km from New Brighton to Redcliffs.

It was a lovely day for a walk – despite forecasts of rain, the sun was shining, and just enough of a cool breeze to make walking pleasant.  There were a LOT of people on the walk – probably a couple of thousand doing the full 10 km, plus I don’t know how many joined for the final 4 km.  So it was a bit crowded at first, but we weren’t in a hurry so hung back until the pack spread out a bit, then had a pleasant stroll the rest of the way.  They had musicians stationed along the way to provide entertainment – everything from a string quartet, to a school rock band singing Guns ‘N Roses badly, to a lonely DJ playing club music in an empty field.  There were spot prizes for costumes, so a lot of people (and dogs) were dressed up, which made for a very colourful crowd.  I did take some photos, but they’re in the long “photos I really must sort through and decide which are worth putting on the blog” queue – so you might see them one day, maybe…

10 km didn’t exactly count as a long walk for either of us, considering the amount of walking we both do, so when we got to Redcliffs, after a quick stop for tacos and cake for lunch, we continued on to Sumner.  We ended up walking right along to the end of the beach, in search of a giraffe, but it had been removed because it had been vandalised 🙁  By then we both agreed we’d walked far enough, so we stopped off at a cafe for a snack (and an excuse to sit down for a bit), then went back into the centre of Sumner to check out another giraffe (and peruse the craft market) and find a bus stop to catch the bus back into town.

A lovely day, but I am so tired now!   All that fresh sea air and exercise kept me awake at the time, but now the lack of sleep is seriously catching up with me – think I’ll be going to bed pretty much straight after dinner tonight.