Monday, July 20, 2009

Exciting Times at FTC

The progress of the nursery took a giant leap forward this weekend and I have to share the photos with you all, before I burst.

Matt came up and despite something of a crisis of confidence in his abilities, did an incredible job of filling in the rough pencil sketch I had done with something meaningful. George himself was beautifully shaded, along with the pier while Keith and I slapped the base coat for the sea on with carefree abandon.

The fish were an altogether different proposition and despite the genius idea of outlining them in marker rather than paint (it’s called knowing your limits) it was still tricky to plan the spread of colours and designs. Most importantly it was tricky to keep Keith and his pencil away from the wall long enough to prevent him turning every fish into a shark!!

The most exciting part of the fishy scene is actually something you can’t pick up from this photo (but fear not, once completed there will be more on the way) but a lot of the fish have actually been given a top coat of glitter!! This little masterstroke of genius is the absolute icing on the cake, as the light catches them beautifully as you walk around the room. And plans for glitter have grown (thanks to my picking up a multipack of different colours) so that in due course, the top of the lake will also be lightly glittered so that it looks as if the light is bouncing off the surface of the water.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Make do and Mend

Thinking back, I'm not entirely sure I have mentioned very much about the last vehicle to come into the FTC stable - possibly for good reason!!

Some months back, we bought what is affectionately known in the car world as a basket case of a camper van (VW of course!!) which has since been relieved of substantial sections of dubiously repaired bodywork.

I am very proud of Keith and his persistence with this project. I have known him have a first flush of excitement many times, but this seems like a deeper love, and he has rejected all attempts to snuggle up on the sofa to doggedly pursue his ultimate aim and give us a vehicle fit for our soon to be expanded family.

While clearly forbidden from helping in my usual power tool and chemical based capacity, one thing I have claimed as my own in this new venture is the design and furnishing of the interior of the van. It came with all the cushions newly covered and some of the original panelling, which has set the tone for interior to some degree. There is still plenty of scope to innovate however, and heated discussions have been had over the relative importance of sinks Vs cookers in what seems to be a giant game of facilities chess.

Some elements of the interior have been a little easier to organise. A lovely little extra that our particular flavour of bus came with originally was something called a cab bunk, which as you can see is a canvas hammock which is stretched from specially fitted brackets on the the bodywork of the bus.

For anyone wondering at the use of such a bunk, it is designed as a bed for little people, and quite frankly, I'm jealous I don't come in under the 5kg limit myself. As you can see from the photos of me leaning on the bunk, there isn't the greatest amount of head room either, but it should be perfect to post small children away for the night.

One other element of the interior which has been organised - and in fact my reason for posting about the bus - are the curtains. Many moons ago, a chance sighting on freecycle brought me a rather special haul in anticipation of my one day getting access to a sewing machine. I managed to acquire a large quantity of some quite special material which I presented to my darling husband as his Valentine's Day gift. This material has sat in the safety of a bag for a few months now, and finally, this weekend it was finally transformed into into its intended use. It was a pretty nerve wracking experience for me, not having used a sewing machine since I was about 14, but with a little help from Bill, Lindsey and failing all else the instruction manual, I think I managed to do myself credit.
In true FTC style here they are, a little bit kooky, a little bit pre-loved, but you've gotta love Fred Basset!!

Not content with sewing in nice straight lines, I decided to capitalise on my new found creativity and give my favourite skirt a new lease of life. It might be more accurate to say my ex favourite skirt because it had recently come to a sad end after an accident at work, which they very kindly reimbursed me for (and so they should, leaving screw sticking out of walls!!).

The design of the skirt was such that there was no way to repair it as a skirt without completed compromising everything that made it so lovely in the first place, so I decided to take a more lateral approach. inspired by a maternity smock I inherited from my mum, I decide that there was more than enough material to remove the offending section and still leave a lovely floaty top to house my ever expanding belly. It was a daunting task for me though, I suspect more because of my emotional attachment to the skirt than doubt in my ability.

Lindsey once again came to the rescue however and came up with idea after idea to help overcome each little niggle that would stand in the way of my new masterpiece.

Together we head-scratched and plotted and tried and refined all afternoon until finally we managed to turn that skirt into a quite stunningly pretty smock top.

I know I'm being a horrible tease by not posting a photo of the top, but I want to hold of wearing it for a few weeks and it would be a shame to spoil the surprise. Keep your eyes on the blogs though, because I will post a photo when the time comes.

Oh and I should say, anyone who wants to follow Keith's camper progress in more detail can find his thread here