Tuesday, 26 August 2014

How to make a padded lens case.

What does one do on a Sunday morning in bed with the Ralphter? (MLP is out making my cup of tea. Good man.) Check emails, of course, and become inspired.  And this is how it all began …


As I read through my emails, I came across a blog post from Centsational Girl including a reference to this from Polkadotchair.


Okay, my attention has been grabbed. This is just what I need. My poor long lens tends to roll around in the bottom of my backpack unprotected and I often worry about its welfare.

So, I now have a task for the day. A padded lens cover a la Polkadotchair tutorial.

Breakfast is done and I mooch around in my fabric stash to find these.


Watermelon loveliness will brighten up my lens's journey through Paris, London and KL. No question.

I do the requisite measurements.


And follow the fabulous tutorial from Melissa at Polkadotchair, almost to the T.

Easy, peasy. Great instructions.

I use my little measuring-liner-upper tool from my trusty Bernina tool kit and stitch dead straight quilting lines on the lining of my lens pouch.  

I didn't use the walking foot, as Melissa suggested, because, well, I hate my walking foot. I find I'm far better off to use the normal foot. It does a much better job.


The only other adjustment I made to her instructions was I overlocked my raw edge where Melissa chose to cover the raw edge with bias tape.


I like my overlocker. It does a great job and is easier than applying bias tape.

And so my little padded lens cover is finished.


All beautiful and watermelon-ie and lime green-ie.


Fits my lens perfectly.


Thanks Melissa.

Great idea.

Great tutorial.

What do you think?

Need to make one for your lens?

Drop over to Melissa's blog, she's got lots of other great ideas too.





Friday, 22 August 2014

Final travel preparations. Woo hoo!

Today marks seven days to go. Well, six in reality, as this time next week we'll be in the air. That means next Friday, no blog post. In fact, probably no blog post for a wee while. I do hope to do some posting while I'm away, but … well … given the choice of exploring a foreign city, sipping wine, nibbling on tasty morsels, seeing splendid sights or sitting at a computer, I know which will win. So, keep watching Instagram and Facebook for snippets when I do have internet and my regular blog posts will resume when I am home again.


So, where am I at after last week's little SIPA revelation?

Progress has been made. Reader tips have been put into action. Clothes packing has not begun … yet … but, I've been thinking. The mind has been sorting through what will be taken, what won't be needed, what is still a maybe. Some further purchases have been made.

Remember my concern about the crochet hook and scissors? Well, I had a thought, children's scissors. Their ends are rounded. They are less than four inches long, apparently that's the magic measurement. And they cut.

So, off I went to Big W in search of children's scissors and found these little cuties. Mr green bunny rabbit scissors.


MLP was with me and his sage suggestion was to check that they do cut. Mmmm, good idea.

So, I fumbled around in the bottom of my trusty shopping bag and found an old receipt, folded it a couple of times and tested out the scissors.

Yep, they worked. I was a happy camper, well, almost-traveller, well, almost-travelling-crocheter.

That night, I thought, I'll test these on my thread. Good idea? Definitely! 

Snip. Snip. Nothing.

Then after wrenching the thread back and forth across the erroneously-named-blades, nothing. Still nothing. NOTHING. Not even a hint that they were going to cut my thread. 

Mmmm. What now? How can I cut my thread on the plane?

I could try to cut it with my teeth, but I can hear my father's voice saying, "Don't use your teeth for that!"

So, what now? 

Somewhere from the depths of my patch-working-days-memory comes a vision of a thread cutter that isn't scissors. Maybe they still exist. If they do, they'll be in the aisles of Spotlight, lurking, hiding, somewhere on those millions of shelves.

Spotlight here I come. And, after more than some time, I found this little lovely.


The only reason she caught my attention is because she is a lady beetle. I have a soft spot for lady beetles. So does my sister.

Anyway, tiny as she is, she has a nasty bite. Not the real ones … just this one.


See that sharp tongue. It cuts my thread! Oh yeah! 

And, I don't think it could be classed as a possible-probable weapon by Mr and Ms Airport Security. I hope.

So, now all I have to do is find a bamboo crochet hook in the size I want. Yes, I know Big W have them, but, guess what, there's none left in the size I want.  

Keep looking.

Finally, after much searching here and there, I find what I need at my-almost-local knitting shop.


Wooden, the right size and, apparently, also suitable for Tunisian crochet. Well, that's good! I haven't tried Tunisian crochet. I have heard of it. So, there's a little Mr Google project for me.

I think a wooden crochet hook should be okay with Mr and Ms Airport Security. But, I suppose I'll have to let you know.

Also, thanks to Poppy I have the heads-up on TSA locks for our suitcases.

Tick, bought them … K Mart.


These can be unlocked by the UK and USA security prior to your suitcase arriving on the carousel and your lock isn't destroyed.  

I didn't know about these. Thanks Poppy.

I've bought the travel guides. 


I love these ones. They have great maps and info and tips and and visuals. And for the five to six days we're in each city, they'll be fabulous.

I know they're not digital, but I wanted books, with pages, and maps I can hold on to. Real books. I do a lot of things digitally, but I couldn't do the digital guide books. Sorry.

Look at that fold-out map. 


Don't you just love it? I do.

Finally, the compression socks. Ivor says they're a definite yes. So, I'm trusting his knowledge.

Buying them was a little bit tricky.

Off we went to the chemist.

"Yes, we do have them. Do you know your measurements?"

"Huh? We know our shoe size."

"No, you need to measure the circumference of your ankle and calf, first thing in the morning, and those measurements determine the size of the socks you need."

Okay. So, back home we go empty handed until our morning measurements are done.

But, eventually, ta da, we have them.


There will be no DVT for us. We hope.

So, I think we nearly ready.

I know, I know. I still have to pack, but I am feeling better about that.

I have a reasonable idea of what's going into Mickey.

I am putting the sheet down in the garage.

The house-and-Ralphie sitters arrive soon.

All is well.

Any final tips before I hop on the plane?

I'm ready for that glass of champagne.







Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Photography … up close.

I'm trying to learn how to use Aperture Priority, Av, on my camera. So, in this batch of photos, I've set the Aperture as low as the camera would allow me and used manual focus to see what I could produce.


My first subject was relatively co-operative.

These are all shot with ISO 100 F/5.6



He likes to munch on grass. I'm sure he was a cow in his previous life.


Lawn weeds, prior to MLP mowing.




These are shot at ISO 100 f/4.5

Rosemary flowers.


And my lovely orchid that tends to move around the house depending on my mood.




I think I'm making some progress.

I think the weeds are my favourites.

What do you think?

Which one is your favourite?

Any tips to help me improve?