Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Feel Like Alice!

All I need is the White Rabbit with his watch - time is flying past fast!
It feels like I haven't been doing very much, but I have made some feijoa chutney. The recipe had just 1kg of fruit, but because we have a bumper crop, I used 2kg instead. Also, the great thing was that you didn't have to peel the fruit!
Here we are:
Feijoa Chutney
I have also started on collecting pictures and fabric for my revised Gallipoli quilt. I made one in 2009 for a New Zealand Quilter magazine competition, but after doing 4 for the Remarkable Symposium ANZAC challenge, I decided to use the size guidelines for some more New Zealand military quilts (that is; 1m x 600mm).  I liked some of the elements I used in the first Gallipoli quilt and will try to use them. But design is not my strong point, so I'm working on the layout, reading a few more books and letting ideas percolate away.
I have also been selling excess fabric from my stash on TradeMe (trader name is Commuter), so that has been keeping me busy as well. To be honest, that amount of quilting fabric I have is way too much. I have been trimming up pieces into squares and rectangles and now have enough to make about 3 more quilts!
Anyway, bear with me if I'm not posting very often.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yay! For Sunshine

It seems as if we have had weeks of wind and rain - and looking at the debris and fallen trees, we probably have! This afternoon turned out lovely, so Nolan and I got the lambs drenched, shifted them and shifted the ewes - well actually 'Meg', Nolan's dog did most of the work! We also managed to get 2 other ewes back home (they had been visiting for mating).
Here is another visitor in the orchard under the pear tree:
Visiting Pheasant
I don't know where he comes from, and perhaps he likes the range of fruit I have?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Cinderella Story

Today Rose City Quilters celebrated it's 26th annual Tote & Gloat. Every year we have a quilt challenge for members as well as a block challenge for those who attend. This year I put together the quilt challenge which was a page from a children's ecological (non-fiction) book - we had some books being deleted at work, so I pulled them apart, stamped each page, and put them into envelopes. Members were invited to choose an envelope which was to be their inspiration to making a quilt or something quilt related. We had a new category called Anything Goes so it could be a quilt that was stretched onto canvas, a book, bag - whatever! I think we had 26 entries and boy, did they look lovely (I'll  have the photos on the RCQ blog site in a few days).
My page was about keeping a bird-spotting journal. I decided to have a magpie stitched onto brocade (I thought it did resemble thick sketch pad paper) with some hand stitched notes. After returning from Queenstown all I had to do was the quilting and finishing. Last Sunday it was all ready for blocking, and look I had 4 days to spare before entries closed!
So I blocked and sprayed with water to make sure it was square and flat - BUT oh no! I had forgotten that I used water soluble pen to mark out the words, and the ink ran!
Here you can see the result:
This is a close-up of the detail:

Horrible grey smudges behind my stitching. So last week I tried a mixture of white vinegar, dish-washing liquid and water - well it did get lighter but was still very obvious. Next was a paste of lemon juice and salt, dried and then brushed off. Nope, still not 'clean' enough. By now I have 24 hours left and I'm starting to think of not entering the challenge.
Last, and totally risky thing I could do, was to 'paint' the background. Out with the fabric paints, mixing, mixing and diluting. I used a cotton ball to 'dab' paint in 3 different tones of green.
Here is the final result (passable - just!):

Now, why is this a Cinderella story?
Because I was awarded 1st= in my category!
I was sooo close to throwing in the towel (so to speak). But I always tell people that you NEVER know what the opposition is going to be like and what will appeal to the judge. Take the chance in entering challenges!
I have to admit that I think he is a magnificent Magpie (even if he does still smell faintly of vinegar!)

I also showed my 4 ANZAC quilts from the Remarkable Symposium Challenge. They were all hung together and looked pretty good. I had a lot of people come up to talk to me about them and I have been really touched. Thank you for all the support. Making art quilts is very personal but I am honoured if my work means something or touches a cord, for you.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Doing the Visitor Thing in Queenstown

I think I last visited Queenstown about 27 years ago. We didn't do any of the tourist stuff then, mainly because we didn't have much money with just one of us working. This time around I figured I wasn't going to wait another 27 years. So I sucked up the fear and RODE up the GONDOLA! Yep! Didn't want to think about the height - just DID IT!
Lake Wakatipu
On another day we took a trip on the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station at the head of Lake Wakatipu. Did the farm tour (we didn't think that it would be any good, but we got a kick out of seeing children and tourists feeding the sheep, cuddling them and chasing them), and then of course was the afternoon tea! - well worth the time and money (ah! brings me back to my teenage years working in the high country).
TSS Earnslaw coming in to dock at Walter Peak Station  
We also spent a few hours in Arrowtown snapping photos of the autumn colours of the trees. The weekend after Easter was to be their autumn festival, but I think that we saw it in the best colours. Here's an early morning shot - they had had a reasonable early frost!
Early morning - road to Arrowtown
Autumn colours - Arrowtown

We stayed 3 nights in Wanaka and took part in the ANZAC Day service - it was such a delight with a huge community involvement. It culminated with a march uphill to the Cenotaph and a fly-pass with a Tiger Moth - the weather just beautiful - the rest of the country mostly had rain.
Here is a panoramic view from the lake shore taken early morning:
Lake Wanaka