Sunday, March 25, 2012

P is for polar bears, pallets, passata and paper logs

And this weekend we gleefully partook in all of these things!
Last night, I finished a skirt/dress for the niece of P&E lover, Bec. As you may have noticed, if you've read this blog a few times, I think Bec is fully ace, and count her as one of my absolute favourite customers. I've never met the lady, but crikeys do I enjoy getting emails and clothing requests from her. This weekend's polar bear dress is actually a gift for Bec's "amazeballs" niece, whose favourite animal is - yep, you guessed it - the outrageously cute, yet potentially deadly polar bear. Bec thought she might like some polar-bear-flavoured frockage action along the lines of this dress. Obviously, I didn't want to just make a copy of that dress (very distasteful) so I just set it to the back of my mind to let stew for a while, so as to conjure a perfectly P&E polar bear dress. On friday, it started to emerge from the shadows... Navy corduroy... a stitched white silhouette of a kind of frowny, crossed-arms kinda bear (modelled on one of the polar bears in the stunning book Zoo-ology by Joelle Jolivet - seriously get it. NOW)... detachable, capped-sleeve braces so you can wear it as a dress or a skirt... a ruffle and, of course, some ric rac for good measure.
I took my time with this one because of the stretchy corduroy, and even used iron-on stabiliser behind the embroidery (never done that before) and even lined the front of the skirt and the little cap sleeves (never done that before either).
Here's me 'modelling' it (if by modelling you mean standing awkwardly while getting one's picture taken).
Kinda cool - I'm the same size as niece of Bec, Pearl's the same size as Bec, so we can provide handy models for the whole family's P&E couture. I was rather chuffed, not least of all because he's got his arms crossed!!!
This morning we all woke up happy and, after about half an hour of in-bed cuddles (this is pretty standard morning fare in our big king bed) had an outrageously delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs with silverbeet, tomato, basil, parsley and jalapeno chilli on toast. Then Oski and I headed off to the tip - yeah!!! One of the awesome, but strangely excruciating things about my job, is that I get to spend quite a lot of time at our many many tips, checking things out and chatting to the staff, and marvelling at how rude people can be and how much good stuff people chuck out. The excruciating bit is that, due to some hysterical adherence to the code of conduct, I'm not allowed to get anything from the tip while I'm working. Last week, this meant that I missed out on an awesome load of very-good-nik galvanised corrugated iron, which would have been perfect for any number of things up at the land. Never mind. Today I borrowed a trailer, and Oski and I managed to get a crap-load of hardwood pallets and chicken wire, which is almost as good. The hardwood pallets are for flooring our sleeping loft in the studio, so as to avoid having to buy any more new timber than is absolutely necessary (various timber-related compromises to be discussed at a later date). I also scored a few awesomely awesome beams which will be perfect for framing the kids' tree-house. Olive and I have been absolutely devouring Tree Houses, and are very excited to get started (Olive has been taking special note of the 'Things not to do' page). On the way home we had some ice-creams (Oski's first of 3 for the day) so in all it was a top adventure.
While we were out, Pearlie was busy turning another 20kg of tomatoes into passata,
and Olive was decorating the house with mermaids and mermaid-affiliated paraphernalia and generally talking to herself. Alas for the passata adventure, we lost 3 jars to cracking, due to them being put into water that had already heated up too much. Make sure you put your jars in the Vacola unit when the water's still cool!!!!!
And then we made some paper logs.
I've been very intrigued and inspired by the ongoing discussion in Grass Roots magazine about the various methods for making fire logs out of newspaper. Makes sense, right? And apparently they work really well! When we move to the land, we will have no hot water, and will be bathing in a fire bath, under the stars. Fire bath, obviously requires fire, but our block is not heavily wooded on account of it being ex-grazing land, so until our coppiced wood lot gets up, we'll need an alternative to buying in some chopped up old-growth forest. I thought the paper logs could be the answer! Pearl has a subscription to the Sydney Morning Herald, so we have a lot of newspaper moving through our house. The idea is to get them really dense. You can use a paper-brick maker, which smooshes torn up wet newspaper into a brick shape, or you can just roll up the paper, tight as you can, and kind of papier-mache it into a log shape with an outer layer of wet newspaper, then let it dry.
Can't see why it wouldn't work - paper used to be trees, after all - but we'll see how it goes. I cannot wait to get into that fire bath!!! But first I'll need to make another trip to the tip to secure an appropriate bathtub..

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