Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Car repair and quilt inspiration

We put the replacement door on the Micra last night, removing the one that was very badly dented a couple of weeks ago.  I want to make a small quilt (or perhaps a couple of back seat cushions) capturing the amazing 'Chromaflair' paint, with the car done in applique.  I've got some two tone silk on order and might mix in some shot cotton in the same mixture, and I think I should take other fabric ideas from the door panel trim - I think the middle one could be recreated on fabric with wax crayon resist.

The door I managed to track down on eBay had already had the internal trim removed, otherwise it would have been a much more straightforward job.  Glyn had the knack to prise off the door panel.

The central locking works via the plug in cable in near the hinges, so that wasn't too hard to do.

Unbolting the hinges, with me holding the door up.  We got another set of hinges with the 'new' door, just in case the dent had twisted our hinges, but they were fine to reuse.

The 'new' door.   It has some very superficial scuffs which should polish out.

So, from this...


... to this!  You really can't tell that the door came from another vehicle - the paint job is identical.  I've sometimes needed to match out of print fabric but, until this happened, I had no idea that matching car paint finishes could be even trickier.  So the little car is ready for me to drive down to the Quilters' Guild conference this weekend, where I'm one of Friday's speakers.  And it has given me an idea for a quilt exploring that colour effect.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Summerhouse - window sills and trims

Today has been lots of fiddly finishing off jobs on the window sills and trims, with Glyn doing a lot of whittling and shaping with a craft knife to get the parts to sit tight together.  The shingles are finished and painted now, but I will add another coat of paint before the outside is complete.  We got two more tins of the Cuprinol 'Garden Shades' paint yesterday, in the closing down sale for the Perth branch of Homebase (the one in Dundee is staying open and, in any case, I've found their usual prices are a little higher than B & Q for many things).

The sides of the windows are finished with an architrave strip which slightly overlaps the join between frame and wall board, which was already sealed with a bitumen strip.

We sourced the hardwood sills via eBay.  They have a groove routed out underneath so rainwater can't run back against the wall.  I guess because most times people buy a door or a window with the sill as part of the complete piece, there isn't much call for sill as a stripwood, which is why we couldn't get anything locally.  They also needed to be slightly wider than usual - most sills are just the width of a door. Glyn screwed them in place and we will seal across the top edge between sill and window with a silicone sealant.  The side windows are not very exposed to the weather, due to the large overhang on the eaves, but the gothic window on the back is a little more exposed.

Glyn trying the sill on the gothic window for size.

Drilling the pilot holes for the screws.

The side window trims finished, with lots of screw holes to fill before I can paint them.

What remains of our Ferret Fabrications workshop pencil!

Friday, 17 April 2015

The Micra Mystique - a future classic


We got one of these cute little Nissan Micra cars (they were called the Nissan March in Japan) last Autumn, after spotting it for sale second hand at a local garage that we often drive past.  The two tone colour is amazing - orange and pinkish purple, designed to appeal to quilters - and it had very, very low mileage for a car that was nearly 15 years old.  It was also in amazing condition.  We didn't know much about it when we bought it, but spotted that things like the aircon and hifi systems were much higher quality items than you'd usually find in a small car.  It is easy and fun to drive, and I've even managed to cram a full kimono talk into the back.  We like it so much, we decided it might be worth keeping as a future classic.

Unfortunately, some idiot managed to drive into it while it was parked near Glyn's office just after the Easter holiday.


It must have been a van or a truck to hit the rear door so high up.   It is even higher than the Land Rover bumper.  We haven't found out who did it, but the police have been looking at CCTV camera footage in the area, so there is a chance they might find the culprit and they are looking to charge them for driving away from the scene of an accident if they do.

We were sure the car would be written off by the insurers, as the bodywork repair would be expensive and it is an old car = not worth a lot of money.  It seemed a real shame for relatively little damage, as it was only the door that was hit (luckily!)

I started looking for another door, with the idea of having it resprayed.  I quickly found out that the paint job could cost more than the cost of the car!   Apparently, the paint added about £1500 to the cost of the car when new, and it is done with metallic particles in clear layers.

The paint is called Chromaflair.   There's a real paint sample on the back of the brochure, although it didn't scan very well. It looks more purple here - the colour of the car under street lighting.  The orangey gold shows up better in daylight.

eBay came to the rescue.  I found a seller who was breaking the same model for parts, via a listing for another part, contacted him and we drove down to Birmingham to pick it up on Friday morning, before setting up for World Textile Day.  The replacement door is slightly scuffed, but there is no deep damage and it should polish out.  We are feeling very, very lucky.  It has all been a series of bizarre coincidences, starting with me finding a pot of acrylic craft paint with exactly the same colour effect when I was teaching at Tudor Rose Patchwork just before Easter - I bought it thinking it might come in handy to retouch a small scuff on the bumper.

While I've been hunting, I also found an original sales brochure up for grabs on eBay so, with a view to starting to show the car in a few years' time, we got that too.  Searching around on the internet, I found out that only 1000 of these cars were made and, as of Autumn 2014, there were only 341 still on the road.  There must be a few less now, including the one that provided the replacement door.  We've decided to look out for another car the same, with the idea that we'd gradually morph the two cars into one, as necessary to keep a Mystique going for another few decades at least.  So if anyone spots another of these for sale, please let me know.

With the two tone effect, it would also make a fun subject for a shot cotton quilt!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Summerhouse progress - the last shingle!

Our ceramics tutor Nancy Fuller sent me the photo above a couple of days ago.  It is one of my onigawara roof ridge end tiles I made at our evening class.  There's some photos of the first stages in this blog post from last autumn.  I used a very gritty black sculpture clay which had a lot of iron in it, giving a solid black after firing but looking very rusty (and messy) while working with it.  The white lines were incised and filled with white slip.  One onigawara has the kanji 日 (hi, day) and the other has 月 (tsuki, moon).  My design was inspired by the onigawara below. 

 While I was away over Easter, Glyn finished off the shingles above the door, in a sunray fan design.

The design looks rather like the corner of a Shinto shrine - I'm not sure what style of shrine architecture this is, but the photo below shows the radiating veranda decking on the small local shrine near Reiko Domon's family home in the countryside near Yuza-machi.

Tonight, Glyn finished the very last of the shingles on the sides of the front wall.


We've got a lot of kindling from all the scraps from shaping the shingles around the doors, windowframes and eaves.

 In the last rows, every piece has to be cut and shaved to the correct thickness to fit perfectly.


Nailing the very last shingle in place!

Glyn's got a real sense of achievement tonight.

Monday, 13 April 2015

World Textile Day North - some photos

Here are some of Bob's photos from World Textile Day North at Frodsham Community Centre on Saturday.  We had hundreds of visitors - the photos give a sense of how busy we were!  Put next year's date in your diary now - we will be back on Saturday 14th May 2016.  Our next date for 2014 is Saturday 20th June at Bridge of Allan, near Stirling, for World Textile Day Scotland. 

You can join the World Textile Day group on Facebook and follow all our travels there too - click here.

I gave my talk "In Search of Koginzashi" in the afternoon, with lots of extra slides, including maps of Japan to give everyone an idea of where I was going.  I think it works much better with about 3 x the number of slides, plus I could zoom right in on the different stitching so everyone had a much better view of the work on show.  I'll keep it like this I think.