Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hand Dyeing Wool

I was thinking about making some saffron cupcakes, but decided to play around with dyeing some wool instead. So here we are - saffron-dyed wool (click on the photo to get a closer look). I didn't leave it too long to steep, because I didn't want highly coloured yellow wool - just soft hues. You will see later in the new year what I intend to do with it :-)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Rebecca's Birthday Shots

We gave Rebecca a Brother sewing machine for her birthday - she wanted to make something with a tutor (Mum) around. The little bag gave her the chance to play with needle placement, thread changes, quilting, box corners and hand sewing. She made an excellent job of this!
This shot is one Rebecca took with her new digital Sony SLR camera from Bevan - nothing has been off limits with the new camera!

Post-Christmas Report

What a lovely day was had by all! The weather was great for the first time for years.
The pavlova not only looked fantastic, it tasted just perfect - crusty on the outside and marshmallow-y on the inside.
We even had a visit from the rein-dog:
and the smaller presents were delivered by train this year - what fun!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Not Many Hours Now ... 'Till Christmas

Wishing you all out there across the world a blessed Christmas.

My 'big' girl', Rebecca, was Christmas Day baby at North Shore Hospital, Auckland, 29 years ago tomorrow. That means she was the first one born on Christmas Day (3.25am actually). Tomorrow morning we celebrate her birthday in the morning with the most delicious breakfast and birthday presents for her.

Then we prepare the food for a late lunch. While that is cooking, we open Christmas presents. We are hoping for a lovely day tomorrow, the weather forecast is for 22 deg. C, which if correct, will be the finest and warmest Christmas Day we have had in this house - we may even get to eat outdoors on the deck, play petanque, be serenaded by the chooks and lambs!
Time to send the 'children' off to bed, fill the stockings and get the gifts under the tree.

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
(from: Twas The Night Before Christmas Poem by Clement Moore 1779 - 1863)

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Starting to Feel Like Christmas

The pavlova is made and sitting in the oven to cool off - mmm! 'tis looking good.
I have made 3 dozen Christmas fruit mince pies, which won't be enough, but at least I've started. The fruit mince is my own recipe and this year it's a beauty - it's been made for 12 months and the fruit is so steeped in alcohol it's divine.
Just needs icing sugar on the top now!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Waste Not, Want Not!

When I was making the friendship bags last week, I made a boo-boo with the very first one - all rush, no think! It wasn't until I had quilted it that I realised what I had done wrong. But, not wanting to waste such a lovely piece of work, even if I say so myself, I added more batting and offcuts of fabric to the sides, added some more quilting and hey, presto! A mantle runner!
It measures 7.5" (19 cm) x 23.5" (60 cm). All it needs are some little scented candles in the same colours, and in the box as a present (phew! another one down).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Almost Time to Tidy Again

Finished 2 of these Christmas table runners - one is a present, the other for sale. But I've made a mistake and was in too much of a rush to sew it, that at the time I was cutting and stitching, I didn't realise what I'd done. See if you can spot it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I've Finished a Few Things

Aren't these Christmas Puddings fun? I found the pattern in a newsletter and had to make one - did get carried away and as you can see I have made 4!
Here is another colourway of the last table runner - I also added another border under the Prairie Points to make it easier for finishing off. I didn't even quilt this border, just the corners - lovely citrus-y colours. Used some of these fabrics in the strippy runner, next. I love how fresh they look together - have made 3 in these colours. They measure approximately 34" x 17" and the tutorial can be found here.
I think that these give you a great opportunity to practice quilting designs, although I was lazy with one and just meandered! Lovely gifts!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting Ready for the Day Trip

My quilting group girls are having a 'Christmas' day trip and lunch on Saturday. So as my gift to them I have made each a little friendship bag with some goodies to help us through the day. Tutorial for the bag is here.
I have included in the bag, some sweets, for energy, tissues, for wiping away tears of laughter and a notepad and pen, for ideas and patterns.
We are planning some stops along the way for refreshments, window shopping, fabric shop shopping, lunch and a visit to Ruth Pretty's shop at the classroom (Ruth Pretty is a chef. She runs great classes which are very quickly booked up, especially the Christmas classes).
We are taking a van which should give us plenty of 'shopping bag' space if need be!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Table Runner

This was made from leftovers from a quilt that is waiting to be quilted - it's very big so I need to use a long-arm machine to do this. Very Parisian chic colours I think. Anyway, the pattern is by Judy Gray in Country Favourites No. 2 magazine, a 2007 edition. I think it should have been finished a day earlier, after all, the cutting out took longer than the piecing. I found that the instructions for finishing were not very good and had to have some help in figuring it out - if I was to make another one, I would add another border which extends past the prairie points and the binding would be so much easier to do. As it was, I bored myself silly fiddling around with it and I was distracted to do other things [sigh] I'm supposed to be finishing things not leaving them until later!
Measures 37.5 inches x 21 inches (95cm x 53cm). I used bamboo/cotton mix batting.
Here is a close up of the quilting:The pattern said stitch-in-the-ditch, but I can't see the point in that. This is simply stitched 1/4 inch either side of the seam line and I used both rayon and cotton thread through the needle at the same time, giving it a little bit more definition. Of course, wavy feathers in the outside border.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Very Pleasant Lunch Time

Yesterday, the Palmerston North Public Library had organised an hour with author Diana Gabaldon (author of the Outlander series - Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, etc.). This was originally going to be in the library AV area, but there was such a large response that it ended up being in the Convention Centre. Diana was very entertaining, talking about her background in research, how she came to write a novel and her style of writing. She even read an excerpt from the latest, An Echo in the Bone, which had me flushing, um, I mean blushing! After all, I knew at least 1/4 of the people there!
Whitcoulls had a stall selling copies of An echo in Time, and there was even a 'raffle' to win all the books in the series (sadly I didn't win that!). Afterwards, Diana signed copies of her books and spent a little time talking with each person getting the autograph.
What a way to spend lunch.
Thanks to the Palmerston North Public Library for a great time.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Another UFO Finished!

An Oriental Bay Sunday
This is as a result of a yellow charm square swap in 2000. I even received squares from overseas! I didn't want to cut them up too much, so settled on this simple block. Now, I don't really like yellow and blue together, but this is growing on me! Anyway it is simply quilted - meandering on the blue, and leaves and vines on the yellow, then finished with half feathers on the outer border. I called it Oriental Bay Sunday, because the teal blue makes it sparkle like a summer's day at Oriental Parade/Bay in Wellington.
Measures 64 inches square.
This is my favourite fabric in this quilt - birds on a wire.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

And The Winner Is ...

Firstly - thank you for all the comments (all 4 of them!) So I went to and chose the List Randomizer and entered your names. Soooo ...
the winner is Coreen! I will post off a parcel to you in the next few days - it will be a surprise!
BUT seeing as there are only 4 comments Po-mo, RubySlippers and Rhonz will get a little thank you something too.
Rhonz please contact me through the profile (email address will be up for just a few days) with your address.
I'll see Po-mo and RubySlippers before long :-)

Now, the photo. It was taken at Queen Hatshepsut's Temple at Deir el Bahri, this year. I thought the mounds were wheat (or grain) but I'm pretty sure our guide said it was incense!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More About the Giveaway

OK, just a few more hours to go for your comments to be posted on the previous post - love the comments that are there! It isn't to see if you are correct or not - it's YOUR interpretation of the photo - Rubyslippers seems to be very knowledgeable, in fact I'm gobsmacked by the information! I know what I thought it was, which is different than what I was told it was (do you understand what I mean here?).
Have fun.
Let you know who the winner is tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Celebration to You

I have just about had 5000 visitors to this blog - that is so amazing! So as a thank you to all you visitors, I'm going to put together a little thank you parcel for some lucky person.
BUT, as I suspect many of you are lurkers, you have to leave a comment on this post. This isn't for just anyone, this is for you, my regular visitors - this is my way of saying thank you for keeping in touch.
So, take a look at this photo - it's from my holiday this year.
Leave a comment on this post about the photo - tell me what you think is happening here (or was), how old it is, the colour of the paint used - anything, so long as it's related to what you see here.
You must do this by midnight 20th October 2009 (NZDT).
A lucky winner will be drawn out by
What's going to be in the prize? - I'm still working on that - something to do with the land ('cause I have a lifestyle block), something New Zealand and probably something to do with quilting. There you go - pretty airy fairy I know!
Good luck!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm Not Sure What's Going On!?

The egg on the left is from one of my young Blue Andalusian's, the one in the middle is from a Bantam, but that one on the right?
I've had some strange eggs this year: a long pointy one that was a double yolker, a couple without hard shells (they have a supply of oyster grit) and another small one which measured 35mm, but this is almost half of that!
Oh well!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's My Birthday

Yep, a red letter day and I share it with:
T.S. Eliot
George Gershwin
Bryan Ferry
Olivia Newton-John
Serena Williams
and I guess many more. Happy Birthday to you too.
I have had a pampering session this afternoon (thanks to lovely Claire, owner of Juno, and Derrick for the present) so my face, shoulders and feet, feel and look much better.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Oldest UFO Finished!

Many years ago, at least 8, not more than 10, I swapped some New Zealand fabric with a lady in Australia and another in Canada. The New Zealand fabrics at the time were not very exciting, and it was disappointing to the Australian lady to receive them. But I used them in the center on a foundation pieced pattern called Amish Geese by Liz Schwartz, and I think that they still look good. I added some Polynesian fabrics from a local store. The quilt was too small so I designed the outer border as rays of light - then it got all too hard.
Rose City Quilters had a challenge about 3 months ago to finish our oldest UFO. It was time to drag it out and do some serious work on it. The corners were the hardest and the 1st one has a mistake, but it can't be perfect, now!

The blue sashings I overdyed some cheap fabric and the burgundy was discharge dyed (not that you can see much of it). This is the detail of the outer border and the migratory Canadian Geese.

It is a lap quilt size and I have named it Pacific Migration.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lemons + Eggs = ?

I made these pots of lemon honey, lemon cheese, or lemon curd? I don't know what to call it, so I'll guess we'll just eat it! It will go very nicely with pikelets.

Sunday afternoon tea!
Our eggs and lemons, of course!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The First of the Lambs

Thank goodness yesterday was a lovely warm day for these 2 to make their entrance into the world. The dark ewe on the left is Coco, mother to Rosie, the white ewe (they are both Romney). When I arrived home I couldn't tell whether one or both ewes had delivered, but this afternoon I had a closer look. I think that Coco acted as midwife! Certainly her udder doesn't look like it's in action, even though both lambs have tried sucking from her - also she is calling to them and they respond! Rosie had been with the ram earlier than Coco, so I was expecting her to deliver way before the others.
Happy families indeed!

Here is the 'boy', I was able to give him a cuddle!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Project Finished

... well almost! It just needs the buttons, which I am hoping will arrive in the mail soon. This is a bag to carry a large cutting board, sewing extension table, rotary cutter, patterns, fabric and whatever else. This is the outside:

I used curtaining fabric for more stability, but also used pellon on the outside (phew! that was not easy to quilt, hence the minimal amount). Also made the handles from the stalks of the flax flowers. I have varnished them a couple of times for durability and to stop any splintering.
This is the inside:

Again, curtaining fabric. The long center pocket holds a 6" x 24" ruler, on the right is the cutting board pocket and you can see the rotary on the left. I actually have a velcro stopper for this pocket so the cutter doesn't fall out. Plenty of pockets for scissors, needles, patterns and fabric. The pattern for this bag (a.k.a Gypsy Rose Bag) comes from The Cloth Shop.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Spring Is In The Air, Everywhere I Look Around

as the song goes!. Here are some leaf and blossom buds from our orchard:



and mandarins which we are still eating, mmmm!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Parcel in My Mailbox

and it's not even my birthday! This was a little competition my friend Kirsty in Australia was running on her blog. Some beautiful braid, gorgeous buttons (my favourite is the ducky), a lovely piece of '60s fabric and a pin cushion made from an old doiley. Ahh! Kirsty, it's so lovely, thank you.
We have had some lovely 'spring' weather over the past week so Derrick and I have been able to get out and mow the lawns - actually it would be so much easier if the sheep could do the mowing, but you can't trust them not to eat everything else first, then the grass. Hopefully they will be having a pre-lambing shear this weekend, then it's a matter of waiting for the lambs.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Making New Zealanders Quilt

Here is the photo of my Making New Zealanders: The Gallipoli Campaign 1915 quilt, made for the New Zealand Quilter Make in New Zealand challenge. It measures 32 x 41.5 inches (81cm x 105.5cm). I think it still needs some 'signs' to make the places on the 'map' at the top and I haven't figured out the best way to make them yet.
The top piece is in relief the Gallipoli Peninsula as the troops saw it for landing. I painted Vliesofix, crumpled it and when it was dry, ironed it onto the background fabric. The spurs were quilted on later, and then I painted the shadows of the valleys.
Four photos were transferred using the T-shirt transfer method and I highlighted some areas with colour pencils and stitching. The 2 central blocks were printed directly onto the fabric - the top one is a sketch of the positions of the landing crafts and boats.
The 2 silhouettes were stitched over painted document sleeve protectors (I liked the effect of lots of flies that I thought it gave), stamped painted crosses on the black background and the red block was an artistic version of explosions and blood.
The only traditional blocks were the pinwheels and I quilt stitched them with barbed wire effect.

The Kaleidoscope Quilt is Finished

I'm really pleased with this quilt (apart from the fact that it hasn't taken too long to finish it! See here when I finished the top.) and the quilting doesn't take anything away from it. I quilted around some of the 'lines' in the blocks, then straight lines in the sashings. Got a bit carried away in the outside border as I was going to do a large stipple, but the hands started on feathers before I realised what I was doing - do LOVE feathers though!
Finished size is 55 inches square (140cm).
One of the better looking blocks - well some of them are not very well lined up in the centers :-(

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Playing with Some Photos

Derrick and I were watching a National Geographic documentary on Petra tonight, and I remembered that I wanted to play with one of the photos. Here are a couple of cropped photos showing the beautiful work that was created by the Nabateans around 100 A.D.
I'm so pleased we went there!

Carvings on the front of The Treasury

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Day of Celebrations

It's my little girl's 25th birthday today!
This is a cool photo taken when she was 9 (I think) and that's Ruby the pet lamb. At that time we lived in military housing. The housing officer was an old work colleague of mine but I think that we stretched the limits by getting permission to have a pet lamb! Anyway, anyway, anyway, Sarah has always loved animals so if I have to leave the 'farm' for any long period of time, she has been able to act as 'farm manager'.
Congratulations and Happy Birthday for the 1/4 century my darling daughter!

#2 celebration - her Dad arrives home today from the Middle east. Oh heck! the weather is cold, wet and miserable, but then it IS winter and the countryside is green - where he's been it's a very HOT summer, brown and sandy. From one extreme!
#3 celebration - this is my 200th post! Wow! I never thought I keep up the blogging this long, but I do enjoy it.
Have a happy day everyone!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Too Perfect To Be True!

It looks too good for working in, don't you think? The wardrobe does have some things that need to be organized but basically I have a clear table for quilting on, a clear space for cutting on and several bags with quilts that need to be quilted and/or finished, out where I can see them.
Methinks it's time to be a tidy kiwi when working in here!

All the rosettes are hiding behind the door :-)

Derrick is back in 2 days, so I am very pleased that this is now at an inspection-ready state!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Faded Beauty = New Gifts

I found this tray cloth at an Op shop the other day - the embroidery is intact but the fabric was spotted and thin in places - but lo, and behold! my friend Kirsty has a tutorial on her blog to make beautiful travel pin cushions. Go here and find it on the left hand side bar.
I love how easy and quick they are to put together. You could even do some stitching while waiting in the queue at the supermarket!

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'm Not Proud of This!

My dearly beloved husband is back in just over a week from his 6 month tour of duty to the Middle East. I have to say that there are a few things that I had planned to do outside, that still haven't been done, BUT I have been busy creating.
As you can see, the quilting studio looks like...

Yes, it is pretty bad and I just can't work in conditions like this. It's now time to take charge and whip it into shape, OTHERWISE, it will be locked and all other people will be barred from entry! (Honey, if you are looking at this, be reassured that the rest of the house is vacuumed, dusted and very, very tidy!)

Since I've Been Home ....

from my overseas experience I have been busy (oh no, not doing the housework or gardening - remember it is winter and cold outside!), BUT I have made some yummy feijoa jam, feijoa sauce and tamarillo relish. There are still heaps more tamarillos, so I'll just have to prepare them for freezing, mmm, perhaps make a batch of jam, too.

I also made, from scratch, a quilt for a competition (Made in New Zealand II) run by New Zealand Quilter magazine. Anne Scott, editor, is taking 45 quilts to France this year for a show - well I couldn't NOT try to have something accepted now, could I? But, would you believe it, I was in such a rush to finish it and get it to Wellington last weekend, that I didn't even take a photo of it!
Still waiting to hear whether it has been accepted.