Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tuis in the Kowhai Trees

Yesterday I managed to get up reasonably close to a tui in the kowhai trees. You will see that the bird is upside down to get the nectar from the flowers - the beak is slightly hooked and longer than a blackbird's, to get right into the flowers. Later there were more visitors, so I'm hoping that there is a nest fairly close-by.
The tui is a fully protected bird in New Zealand, it has a tuft of white feathers at the throat and a beautiful resonant song with croaks and gurgles.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Design Wall for Sewing Room

Even though it's been a couple of months since I shifted the sewing room into the spare bedroom, we have been deliberating on how to put up the design wall. Firstly I purchased 2 sheets of polystyrene foam sheets about 25mm thick and 1.2m x 2.4m. How were we going to put them on the wall? In the end we decided on gluing the 2 sheets onto some custom wood or wallboard and attaching the backing to the wall. So off we went to the hardware store and bought 2 sheets of custom wood, some glue and a glue gun.
Here are some photos of the boards going up and the foam being glued on. It takes 24 hours to harden, which is just as well, because we must have used too much glue - we ran out of the stuff with just one sheet of foam!
Using the correct tools is very important!
Checking for the stud to anchor the backing board.
The first sheet of polystyrene is glued in place.

Starting the anchoring of the calico cover sheet.

This is exciting stuff. I will be able to organise the room now, instead of having piles and piles of wool for felting, material, unfinished quilts and miscellaneous pieces of paper. The wardrobe needs to be re-sorted and I will probably look more seriously at selling some of the teddy bears which I made for sale a couple of years ago. I have also procured a set of drawers which is almost the same height as the Horn Sewing Cabinet. It now holds the old Husqvarna sewing machine, the overlocker and miscellaneous threads. With the 2 tops of the cabinets I have a good size area for the cutting board and somewhere to put the ruler rack.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's My Birthday

Today is my birthday - yippee! Last night I made little cupcakes for work morning tea. They are coconut flavoured with different coloured icing and toppings - the recipe I used was from the Australian Cupcakes site (on the right). This recipe made heaps, so I also made some bigger cupcakes for Derrick and me.

Rebecca gave me this cupcake which is crocheted - a cool little pin cushion with sprinkles on top!

Sarah gave me the book Stitches: Contemporary New Zealand Textile Artists by Ann Packer which was a finalist in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards for 2007, Lifestyle & Contemporary Culture.
Bevan gave me a signed edition of Jerry Collins' Road to the World Cup by Tim Castle - Jerry is one of my favourite Wellington rugby players!
Derrick and Rebecca gave me a JBL iPod sound dock (called a Stage) - I can't wait to get home and try it out, plus I'll have to find some audiobooks to download now so that I can listen while I'm sewing.
One of my workmates gave me Real Fruit dehydrated Strawberries from Kapiti Candies at Lindale (can't wait to try them) and she also made the birthday card which is a beautiful big strawberry. My boss gave me a waratah (New South Wales native flower) which will hopefully dry beautifully.
A great start to the day after all.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Reflecting on my Country Garden Quilt - It's A Star

I made this quilt in 2006 in preparation for submitting it to a couple of big quilt shows. The first submission was to Quilt Symposium Manawatu which was held here in Palmerston North in January 2007. It wasn't accepted, and probably because the photography was not good enough to be enlarged onto a wall for viewing. No matter, an artist (like a prophet) is often not accepted in their home town. So I got new photos taken by a semi-professional photographer (well he has much better equipment than I have - photography equipment, I mean!) and sent off the CD-ROM to the American Quilter's Society (AQS) for their big show in Paducah (held in April or May this year). Joy, oh joy, it was accepted - then I had to get the quilt posted to the US of A - the biggest hassle being insurance. After all this quilt, although 45 1/2 inches square took me at least 300 hours to make! So, huge buzz. My first quilt accepted into an American Show that lasts for 4 days and last year had 37,000 visitors! Two other New Zealand quilt makers had quilts also in this show - one lady has hers regularly in overseas shows and teaches here in New Zealand. This is flying with the angels.
The quilt had only just arrived home on the day of Rose City Quilter's Tote and Gloat here in Palmerston North, so it got a public showing. Our guest speaker was Helen Marshall who arranges for the collection and couriering of quilts for the World Quilt organisers. She suggested that I enter it into World Quilt - well I did make it for that show originally! So I duly sent off the photos again, and lo and behold! it was accepted into World Quilt with 25 of New Zealand's best quilt makers.
There is an article about these quilts in the latest New Zealand Quilter magazine, issue 61 - mine has special mention (page 7) because it was in both shows!I am expecting the quilt to arrive home in late November/early December - it's been away for most of the year!

Pattern is from Kim Diehl's Country Whig Rose. I actually rang and spoke to Kim to get permission to use her pattern and have it photographed - thanks to they had a comment on where Kim lived so I could track her down!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rosie is With the Flock

Rosie was becoming very much like a pet lamb - demanding, yet stand-offish. On Friday I tried enticing her with nuts to cross the little stream, through the paddock with my yearling bull named Biscuit, and up into the top paddock with the other sheep and lambs. But no. She wasn't going to get her feet wet! So, I had to wait until Sarah was home yesterday. This time Sarah did the enticing and I came in behind to encourage!
At last success! Rosie performed the hogget's Swan Lake - leapt the stream and ran jumping and baa-ing to the next fenceline. Oh, did I wish I had the video camera, it was a sight to behold.
Now to get into the next paddock! Alice decided that she was going to visit greener pastures (they aren't) so she was through the gate in a shot, lambs right behind. Introductions all round between Alice, Rosie and the twins - a butting of heads, leaping, almost a clicking of heels, I'm sure! Some of the flock wanted to see what all the excitement was about, and came running. Poor Sarah, there she was, acting like a Heading dog, rounding up ewes, lambs and Rosie. What a fantastic job she did too!
Rosie introduced herself to all the lambs - no baa-ing here - a head butt to let them know that she was boss!
Friday night, Derrick and I had to bury the ewe that had still-born twins. Fortunately the ground is not rock hard and he has great experience in digging holes, because this was a big hole to dig! We are now down to 10 ewes, 1 ram, 2 ewe hoggets and 13 lambs - still 2 ewes to produce yet.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Rugby and New Lambs

The weekend has been full on and it's not even Sunday lunchtime yet!

How exciting the Air New Zealand Cup is becoming. Manawatu (my local team) got their second win in true style and in great spring sunshine yesterday afternoon. After achieving a draw last week, and now their 2nd win, the guys should be feeling pretty good about their teamwork and style of play by now. I'm really pleased and impressed!
Then of course the All Blacks blasted Portugal in the Rugby World Cup. Everyone knew that Portugal wouldn't have much of a chance but they NEVER GAVE UP! They even scored a try and played with more determination than Italy did last weekend. Perhaps that's the difference between choosing to face the haka or not! Each to their own.

This morning one of my ewes delivered a stillborn lamb and then spent another hour + trying to deliver the other twin. In the end, Sarah, Derrick and I managed to round her up, and Sarah pulled the other stillborn lamb out. Poor mum. Both lambs were huge - probably overdue - and she couldn't deliver them by herself! But, another ewe delivered twins this morning, so 5 sets of twins (plus one set stillborn), 2 singles and 3 more ewes to deliver (hopefully).

Friday, September 14, 2007

Some of My New Lambs

Yesterday, my lovely daughter, Sarah, took the camera to get some images of my lambs for me - my wrenched knee still makes it too hard to get up into the paddock with them.
So playing around with Flickr I've got a little selection to show you.Here we have Alice with her twin boy and girl, and Coco with her twins. The ram is South Suffolk and both mums have some Romney. That's why there are black noses, ears and knees!
Cuties though!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Where Did Rosie Go?

This morning I was a little worried that Rosie had jumped the fence in the night and visited the neighbours. But no! there she was in the corner of the chook house, and the chooks? Well they spent the night outside and one had even dropped an egg in the paddock! So I (wo)manhandled her out of the house after trying to entice her with 'nuts'.
Rosie does not know how to dance or walk on 2 hind legs - you know what it's like trying to put socks on toddlers? They spread their toes instead of pointing! I somehow managed to get her into the maternity unit compound as this is totally enclosed and has lots of grass. She can spend a couple of days in there until the chooks are used to her being so close.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Spring and the Lawn!

Yippee! the warmer weather heralding spring is here. I'm so sick of the rain. Yep, I know, in summer I'll be complaining because we haven't had any - you just can't win! This morning we had a beautiful frost which usually brings on a warm day, and it was one to celebrate. No wind, sunshine, and I got to do some lawn mowing for the first time in a month - the grass is sooo lush and green, I just wish I could let the hoggets loose to mow it down, but you just know that they'd eat everything else that they weren't supposed to.

Today we had the birth of our 3rd set of twins. 7 lambs from 4 ewes and 7 ewes still to give birth (well here's hoping anyway). I haven't even been to have a look yet but must take the camera for mum and babes photos.

The ornamental cherry trees are covered in buds and the Sakura Festival is on 22nd September at the International Pacific College - 2+ weeks of anticipation.

This afternoon my friend Trish gave me a fantastic massage - oh, bliss. I'm making pizza for tea and there is a great game of Ranfurly Shield rugby to watch this evening.

Life's little blessings!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

ReVisiting Some New (Old) Places

I found this on YouTube in the Travel & Places section - took me back 20 years to my visit to Athens - ah! we could see the Erechthion from our little hotel room. It was so magical! Before climbing the steps to the Parthenon we went to the Sound and Light Show at night, where the whole story was reconstructed - it made it so much more enjoyable the next day, knowing a bit more of the history.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Magnificent Magnolias

Final Dying Show

The first days of spring are here. Three of my ewes have delivered their lambs - 2 sets of twins and a single - and the other ewes are looking bigger and more uncomfortable every day. I haven't been able to go and have a close look, or take photos yet, hopefully soon!

Anyway the magnolia flower is in it's final dying stages.

But don't the pistil and stamens still look magnificent?