Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A New Chicken House

My parents came up last week from Blenheim to stay a few days and on the back of their little truck, Dad brought a new chicken house he had built. We finally got it in place today after I painted it on the weekend.
It's  a Jubilee House - painted in royal colours of red, white and blue:
Front door-way facing north to get maximum warmth in winter
4 internal nesting boxes - we'll see if the bottom ones get used!
Self-feeders - especially useful if I'm working late or going to be away for a short time
The flock were very suspicious tonight, even though I feed them outside the new house - I guess it'll only take one to use it on a cold night.
Also made up 4kgs of feijoas into jam this morning - mmm! delicious!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

ANZAC Collection Title

When I exhibited my ANZAC quilts at Tote & Gloat, I needed a title. After much searching, and research, I came up with Lest we forget : remember & honour. I was going to just laminate it but decided to make one with fabric.
So here it is finished ready for hanging:

It's not competition quality, but I think it looks OK - has a New Zealand flavour in the quilting designs which I traced onto Solvy to get them to fit properly. I tried tracing them with fabric carbon paper but it  didn't work too well and I was a bit worried about using something dark in case it didn't come off later (I've had that happen where the 'dye' was trapped under the quilting thread).

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dinner and a Quiz Evening

Last night my quilting group, Quilty Pleasures, gathered at my place for a relaxing dinner and quiz evening. We invited our partners as well and had a great time. We all had to find 5 questions, one of them being a multi-choice, on a chosen topic. It was interesting to hear the questions from everyone (what they had chosen), and then to find out how much we didn't know!
I made the pre-dinner nibbles.
So here is the corn bread (thank you Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage):

This recipe makes quite a big bread, very filling and would be fantastic with soup. I gave everyone some to take home as well.
Next I made some ricotta using citric acid instead of vinegar or lemon juice.
Here are the curds forming:

And this shows the curd being strained:
From 2 litres of milk I had just over a litre of whey. That's not wasted, I used some in the cornbread and the rest I'll use in scones or something.
I also made a Moroccan hummus and had chutneys from my own produce (the fresh fig and a pear chutney, my own Kasundi relish and a feijoa 'cheese'). The table looked great and had interesting flavours:
Another thing to celebrate:
This is my 500th post - WooHoo!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

To all you beautiful, caring, loving Mother's - thank you for being caring, loving and beautiful. My wish is for you to know that you are loved!
Sharing a gorgeous lily from a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my dear Derrick!
I have a large number of figs - some are small-ish because we haven't had much rain to plump them up, but the tree seems to have grown higher and wider in the last 2 months and as a consequence there is a lot of fruit:

Too many to eat fresh, so I made some fresh fig chutney for the first time. The initial tasting was delicious, but I do have to wait for a month for the flavours to develop. I found a couple of recipes on the internet and did a little bit of adjustment to add spices which I like.
I think I'll be making some more :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012


With all the excitement of Tote & Gloat on Saturday, I almost forgot about something that arrived in the mail that day - my New Zealand Defence Service Medal. I applied for it a few months ago and knowing that there was quite a backlog, thought that I'd have to wait a while for it.
So here it is:
NZDSM - front view
NZDSM - reverse view
rank, name, number and Corps on the rim
I wasn't going to apply for it, but I did serve the 3 years (many years ago) and after doing the research on Grandpop, I figured that you never know how important it would be in the future.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Some Purchases and Painting

As much as I have sworn to NOT buy any more fabric, sometimes you see a piece that you have been wanting for a while. At Tote & Gloat on Saturday, I found just such a piece.
This is the fabric I have used as the background to In Flanders' Fields. I haven't been able to get anymore since the original purchase - I even wanted some more when making that quilt! It was also a special price, so it was bought!
Now, I always enjoy looking at the dyed fabric and Dye-It are closing down :( very, very sad face. I bought 3 small pieces that I know will be used in future ANZAC quilts:
Finally, I bought some yummy threads to use in the current project (well that's the plan!):
The big green bundle are silk threads - these are so great to use either couched down, needle punched, or laid on top of the fabric under tulle. The smaller green/rusty bundle, I'm going to try using as bobbin work.
I have been preparing for my next ANZAC quilt, which will be Vietnam. So here is the background fabric:
It was initially orange - bright orange! I have tried doing a discharge with this and very little colour is removed. Never mind! Washed with HOT water, dyed with Dylon tulip red in a bucket (I scrunched up the fabric like it was a shibori) and then spray painted with various greens of fabric paint I mixed up. It looks very blotchy, I know - but I have a plan (in my head anyway)!
Here is some lovely sprayed green background for another part:
I'm on a roll now, got the plans, got the fabric, now for the drawing and cutting and gluing and ironing - then the sewing!
Hope you are making something that is fun!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Some Photos of the New Library

The new furniture hasn't arrived yet, nor the signage on the front desk, but you can see how cool the place looks!

As you come in the main door, this is the view to the left. I have casual seating and along the red wall (on high shelves) are the military stack books - these ones I don't expect to go out very often, and I have to go through them all to decide which to keep.
Just in front near the beginning of the carpet is the start of the adult fiction. Most of the shelving is organised into 2 or 3 bays, so everything is more fragmented.
You will see 5 of my ANZAC quilts on the wall here, which I put up for ANZAC Day (26th April).
This is the view directly in front of you as you come in the main door. I have ordered some sofas for this area. There are also plans to hold film evenings or such like and this area will be the seating area - bean bags, camper chairs etc. and a drop-down screen.
Just to the right, off the carpet 'runway' is the adult non-fiction.
This is the right hand view - my new issues desk and a study nook. In the very corner (right hand) is a desk for jigsaw puzzles (adults only!). You can see a curved line in the carpet where the issues desk was previously. The whole area behind has become my 'office'.

This view is along the back wall, picture books, play area, junior fiction and junior non-fiction. Lovely and bright with the yellow gold wall.
I have taken away the fence around the play area. This has meant a subtle shift in who is responsible for looking after the little children (ie. not me!). Over my left shoulder are 2 internet-access computers and a photocopier.
People have remarked as to how big the place looks now, but it is because you can see much more floor - the bottom shelves are at a kinder height for my older customers. It is also a lot lighter without the shelf covers - I am just going to have to dust more often!
I am going to change the hours in 2 weeks time - I will be open for just the 20 hours/week, but open earlier in the morning, have one 'late night' and be closed for a whole day mid week - hopefully this will make more people happier and they will come to use the library.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Another ANZAC Quilt Finished

I have been quite remiss in posting lately, but I have been busy creating! First up was a quilt I had to quilt for a raffle for Tote & Gloat on Saturday and as someone else was going to bind it, I needed to get it done smartly! It was nursery rhyme blocks, so each I quilted according to the rhyme - unfortunately I did not take any photos of my work :(
The next thing, was to stop procrastinating and work on another ANZAC quilt as I am exhibiting them at Tote & Gloat. I had been slowly working on one called An Everyday Soldier : the Unsung Hero.
So here it is:
The bottom image is one from the National Collection of War Art and I have permission to use it so long as I display the following information:

·      Stretcher party November 1918 by George Edmund Butler [Archives Reference : AAAC 898 304 NCWA 473] Archives New Zealand The Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua
I wanted to make a quilt that acknowledged all the service men and women who served, who did their job, perhaps didn't have any great stories to tell, but were heroic in doing their duty to King and Country. My Grandpop was in the New Zealand Medical Corps, so was working in triage, on the front line and in hospitals. I did heaps of research into his military history and have tried to give a precis with the pictures/letters in the form of Field Medical Tags on the right of the quilt.
The sashings represent bandages. He was also a collector of bits and pieces (a magpie), so I have some odd things stitched on that he would have found useful! The label is a huge story, but I think it needs to be told, especially when the information is fresh and it does pertain to the quilt.
So here are some close-ups:
a textured heading which was painted, the wording stitched around and simply quilted
outline quilting on the uniform - a little bit of colour on the sepia - and densely quilted background
telling his story on Field Medical Tags (body tags)
I struggled with framing the photo. Initially it was going to part of the whole quilt, but with some advise from my friend Carol, I opted for making the photo a separate piece. Then of course, how to do it? Fortunately Carol had just made something very similar so was able to write the instructions for me to do it. The frame has 2 layers of batting (cotton/bamboo) to give it some depth.
I now have 8 pieces in my ANZAC collection.
BUT! no challenge quilt for Tote & Gloat - it just wasn't happening!
Late breaking news!!
I have to tell you that I managed to purchase (in time, fortuitously!) a NZMC brass shoulder flash. So I have now shifted the collar badge to above the medal ribbons and stitched the shoulder flash where the badge was. So pleased it arrived in time before hanging at Tote & Gloat.