16 November 2008

Progress on my project

The progress on the school sewing samples is gaining momentum as I see finished pages and have a good idea of what the finished project will look like.

I have now decided on the cover and the end pages. Every person who looks at my progress has been given an overview of why the comments were made, so I have decided this needs to be in the book too as end pages, to give folk the background. I visited a local antique shop that specialises in sewing notions and bought some of these, but have been disappointed in the quality of some of them, so am not using them all.

11 October 2008

My Family History project

My latest embroidery project is a combination of family history and embroidery. Mum has given me some school sewing samples created by my favourite aunt when she was at primary school over the years 1909 to 1913.

The early samples had all been carefully and lovingly sewn onto a piece of fabric for display and many pieces are dated. There are 19 actual sample pieces.

I decided that my children knew & loved her too, and that keeping these samples out of sight for another long time wasn’t doing them justice. So I am building on my previous work in creating fabric books and have begun to create a fabric book for them.

My great aunt was a prolific letter writer, so she has written her life story for me. This became even more special when Halley’s Comet appeared, as at that time my daughter was 10, and Aunty Hilda had been 10 when she saw it for the first time. So she wrote to Amanda and described what school was like when she was 10. There are many references to her school sewing in that, so I have decided to use these to add interest to the samples in the book.

I am making slow but steady progress. I have made templates from calico and tacked these where the final samples will go, so as not to damage the samples while I work. I think the samples may need careful washing before they are added to the book, but many have their completion dates written on them in pencil, so I will stitch these dates before washing any pieces.

08 June 2008

A completed project

Amanda and I purchased kits for peacock chairs last year. Needless to say, Amanda finished hers some time ago. I have just finished mine, and have been able to make use of some of the improvements Amanda thought she would try if she ever made another one.

It has turned out quite well, and I am pleased with it, and even more pleased that it didn’t take too long to do.

I have used very little glue to construct it, most of it is just stitched together but it is still quite solid. By stitching the base parts together, I have been able to just insert the drawer and its surround without any glue. I trimmed the cardboard somewhat and it now all closes much better.I replaced the original feet with some flat sided beads and these are glued on.

Now to get back to one of my other projects and get something else nearer completion....

15 February 2008

No we haven’t forgotten

Writing blog entries has taken a low priority as Errol focuses on writing his thesis. For this month, he is endeavouring to write two literature review chapters dealing with research on learning to program and on learning theory. Both are requiring him to go back and reread material. In the process, he is endeavouring to ensure that he has electronic copies of the relevant articles so it is easier to search and find relevant material.

As well as writing, he had a trip to Palmerston North to take part in two research days for his old research group. This proved valuable as it enabled his two supervisors to meet and talk through the progress. It also helped clarify the roles that each of the supervisors would take as the thesis begins to take shape. One of the encouraging things about being involved in a research group is being able to offer ideas and possibly assistance to others. It is surprising just how easy it is to become stuck and not see a way through a particular problem. Others often can provide a source of encouragement or ideas that help overcome those problems.

Errol has also been using the Elvis Programming Research at Victoria University as sounding board for his research. This group has been very welcoming and offered a lot of encouragement. When possible, Errol endeavours to get to their research seminars as this provides another source of valuable input. The Victoria University Computer Science / Software Engineering group is extremely active and seems to be one of the few groups in expansion mode in New Zealand.

Despite the New Zealand governments recent announcement about young people needing to be in education or training until they are 18, we are hearing of more polytechnics that are laying off staff. Either our tertiary institutions are not providing the courses needed or people simply do not understand why they should take training courses if they wish to be part of the computer industry. I suspect that it is a combination of both.

We have been exploring the printing of photo books rather than having our photos printed and then putting them in an album. There are a number of companies offering this service online but they insist on having their own file formats and having the user download their particular brand of software. Often this software is quite restrictive compared with album software available from other sources. The finished books are like good quality coffee table books and are well worth the effort producing. If you don’t like the online services then it is possible to get your photo pages printed at a local copy centre and then find a binder who will do the same job. This is what we are currently looking at doing for our photos.

A nice thing about photo books is that the photos don’t fall off the pages or become damaged by what is supposed to be protective sheets. You can also add any additional written material in to provide a more complete record of the event. We have prepared one for Marilyn’s family’s Christmas celebration and we are looking at creating some as a record of our long trip.

27 January 2008

You thought we had forgotten

Actually, we have been fairly busy. Apart from Errol’s writing of his thesis chapters, he has been to Hastings/Napier to assist in commissairing the Elite national Road Championships (10 to 13 January, see Cycling Commissaire) and to Wollongong for the Australasian Computer Science Week which included the Australasian Computing Education conference (19 to 26 January, see Being encouraged). Errol has been working with a research group investigating novice programmers for a few years now and he had to present a paper that part of the group had written. The project is looking toward its next phase and Errol hopes to be able to continue his involvement with analysis and possible guidance to new participants.

Photography has taken a back seat over this period although Errol did take some photos while in Wollongong. The panorama was taken with Canon PowerShot SX100 IS’s stitch assist feature. When you take one photo, it leaves part of the image on the screen so you can align the next photo. For the best results, you should still use a tripod but Errol was trying to keep his load light for this trip so had to hand hold.

Errol had seen pools before cut into the shoreline rocks at Newcastle. Here at Wollongong, there was a public baths built around the high tide mark but what caught his attention was the rook pools that at high tide were covered totally by the waves but exposed as the waves washed back out. The photo shows the wave retreating exposing what appears to be the concrete edge of the pool. Not surprisingly no one was swimming in these while Errol was there.

06 January 2008

Midas reflection

Doesn’t dad know that I like to lay my fur around wherever I can? He keeps getting out that noise machine and chasing me around the house or at least that is what I think. I get settled on the kitchen table and he turns up with that thing so I run to the sewing room. Next thing he’s there sweeping that thing around the room. Luckily, he doesn’t seem to watch me particularly well so I sneak past and off to the next spot. The frustration is that I want to just settle but he always seems to come to where I am.

Mum hasn’t been much better. When I get outside for a walk, she doesn’t like me going down to the neighbour’s lawn to play with their four cats. Some of them look pretty much like me so I think they must be my friends. They don’t seem that interested in me though.

I like to help mum though she objects when I sit in the middle of her craft work. I thought a few of my white and coffee coloured hairs would just add that additional feature. She also seems to object to me brushing my tail over the pin tin. I can’t see the problem as all the pins are in the tin and I only knock a few out occasionally.

I don’t seem to get the run of the house anymore. Mum still goes off to work most days but dad seems to be around all the time either working with his books or at the computer, except when he goes off for a ride or a swim. He doesn’t play with me much and doesn’t like me sitting amongst his books on the table or leaving my fur trail across the computer keyboard or over the office desk. His office desk is a good vantage point for keeping an eye on the neighbours as they visit our deck.