Thursday, August 28, 2014

Inspiration in the Garden?

 Maybe it was this clump of Daffodil Taurus that inspired me to make my next appliqué block. ( they have 2 equilateral triangles  offset one in front of the other and come out lemon and white, then turn salmon/ apricot coloured and white )
This is the first touch of apricot colour I am introducing into my zany flower blocks. The stem is only pinned here as I am hand sewing stems down.  I have another blue block almost finished.  I have been using tissue paper as a reinforcer behind these and have found it works better and pulls away later far easier than shop bought stabiliser. ( it is free  - I keep it and iron it flat when I get it in parcels around purchases etc. )  So not much sewing progress.....I have instead been spending time in the garden. Lots to do there, but the perfume of freesias and jonquils make it pleasant.
 Yesterday I visited my local garden centre and as always came home with lots of purchases. Possibly the best value for money was all these ( 7 ) pansies for $10. Instant colour. I replenished my supply of slug bait or the pansies would be a wasted purchase.
 I have lots of planting to do now but that is part of gardening I like .
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 On the orchard things are ticking along. The important spray went on the dormant kiwifruit vines in ideal conditions.
 A friend helped R put 2 new sheets of long run roofing iron in the spillway below the dam as a hole had worn through the old ones ( quite a tricky job but neither of them missed their footing and landed in the creek  -  thanks Brian )
 We are picking the first few oranges which are starting to taste sweet...a little early but need testing as lots are falling off.
 I have planted radish seeds and a few hopeful snap peas both of which prefer cooler soil conditions


Monday, August 18, 2014

Progress on Flower Blocks and Orchard.

 I completed this flower block over the weekend so now have 12 finished. That's half.
 Here are the others on the floor in no particular order . ( the photo is showing me maybe too much Ming blue ? ) ( I am trying some apricot in the next block I have selected the fabrics for. )I have also put them where they will be positioned to see what colours need to be used in the blocks I have yet to make.
 I have made all the biggest size and most of the smallest size. I do realise I will be able to swap blocks of the same size around to get the best positions.
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 What about this for an unusual
colour for a hyacinth? I was given it by dinner guests on Friday night. There are 3 bulbs  in a pot. The heads are so heavy they keep flopping down. As soon as it is over I will plant it in the garden.
 Another gift I was given recently by a neighbour returning from Oman on holiday was this wrap and coin purse. The wrap is quite large an multi purpose.
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Last week the pruners finished the kiwifruit Winter pruning so now each fine day I am back spending the afternoon tidying up the vines. Cutting off tangles they left; old clips; stocking top ties and anything I think shouldn't be there. It is not difficult work just time consuming and a bit tough on the neck . I take the radio with me and the Winter sun has been warming and pleasant so I can think of many worse things to be doing.
   Yesterday afternoon I spent my time gardening - doing a big clean up on the bank beside the driveway down  passed the house. Pruning hydrangeas, shrubs , roses etc. it involved standing on a slope gripping with my toes. I filled 2 wool pack with debris to go under the avocado trees as mulch.  It all looks so much better for my being there but I was really tired after I mowed up the  residue - it's quite steep to push the mower.
 Today is fine again so back to it all...the washing will dry.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rainy Walks and Appliqué.

We are having "4 Seasons," most days, so walks involve carrying an umbrella. 




Yesterday I went along some neighbouring roads and saw lovely Spring like sights.The daffodils up some driveways are looking lovely and I had my camera in my pocket.

 This lot were looking sheepish but are nosey enough to come and say, "Hello, have you got anything for us?"
 ( note the beehives )
 On the way back up our driveway I picked this Japonica Camellia Twilight, and have it on the kitchen windowsill now. It has such a beautiful face.
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 The pruners are still in the kiwifruit - almost finished, so when they are I can get out and begin  tidying  up the parts they leave that  are untidy or need further work . 
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  Last Friday at P and Q, Melanie who is an excellent quilter, gave us a demo and talk on how she goes about quilting - she spends hours and hours each day doing it so encouraged those of us who don't free motion quilt very well to practise. 



 Like playing piano or anything else one wishes to improve at do the practise.( practice ) ( I do almost all my quilting using my walking foot!  So my designs are cross hatching, large curves, shadow quilting etc. ) So I made up some  fabric sandwiches  and have done a little practising most days.  I haven't seen too much improvement in mine yet.

 I have also been working on my appliqué flower blocks. After having a good think I decided I didn't have to torture myself trying to hand appliqué these blocks - my eye sight is just not up to it. SO I am now using Applikay Wonder  ( iron on ) and machine stitching them down. I will still do the bias strip stems by hand. This means I will make some steady progress . I like the result. It is my work and I may do as I wish.( no rules! ) Here are the latest 2 blocks.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Gift Quilt finished.

 I hung my finished baby quilt on the clothes line for the photo. I will now be able to give it to the baby's Dad  to take home to his wife tomorrow. ( along with the apron I made some time ago for the 8 year old big  sister. )  It measures 40" x 58", so is ample for a cot . That's all my current gifts to make complete! 
 I used my large kitchen bench to do the pin basting. Kinder on the knees.


 I use masking tape the hold the backing secured to the bench  then lay the batting and top over it before pin basting. I then turn it and smooth it and adjust any pins that are causing wrinkles - and keep doing that till I'm satisfied . I am glad to say  I got it simply quilted with out a wrinkle .
 I used the same fabric as the backing for the binding.

 While at the clothes line with the camera I took these garden pictures.
 My little Meyer lemon that is in a flower bed is really happy.
 A lone little brick coloured velvet face peered up from this pansy plant. I wish they would clump up more.
 The first anemone blanda, appeared in the hyacinth bowl - I had forgotten I had popped the bulbs in there.
 And these yellow daffodils looked bright on a dull Winter day - I think rain is very near.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Quilt Progress with a Touch of Spring.

  Our Spring / Winter weather has been mild and the Spring bulbs think it is time to bloom.
 I picked a wee sample to bring in for the coffee table.
 The Early Cheer are the ones with the heady perfume.

 I have been sewing flat out trying to finish the baby quilt I am making because the baby girl arrived  10  days early. So was born last week. It caught me on the hop but I am nearly there now.
 I used the camera to take photo of different layouts of the strips I had made and finally decided I liked this.
 Saturday I rushed things and had to unpick twice, so Sunday I took it at a more steady pace and it all went very well. This morning I am working on the quilting.
 I have the binding cut and a label ready so the end is in sight.

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 The pruning gang  arrives today to prune  the females Kiwifruit vines, so we are hoping for fine weather for that. They cut out much of the old fruiting wood and lay in new canes for next season.
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 I have been harvesting some veges too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

All Packaged Ready to Give.

Knowing how to package ( wrap ) a ball is not easy so a gift carry bag works well.


 Here is felt Embroidered Ball # 25 for Ella who lives in Rotorua all ready for her Grandma to collect and deliver to the wee baby girl. I am now taking a spell from making these and concentrating on finishing a baby quit.
 This was # 25 I have made. I ended up doing several new motifs for this ball.
 The family have a boxer dog so here is a boxer puppy. I was not happy with how I did the white bits so will cut separate white felt feet if I make that again.
 The pink pig was a new motif,
 As was the NZ fantail.
 You can see some motifs take a lot more stitching than others.
The black cat has been done before sometimes it is a grey at. I haven't tried a marmalade one because I haven't got felt in the correct colour and a bright orange cat would look a bit strange.
 The frog was not new.
 The ice cream cone had a longer cone this time.
 Thank you for your comments recently. It is difficult to say what you mean ( about felt embroidered balls )  without it sounding somewhat vulgar I agree. I try to choose my words carefully.

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 I have been enjoying watching the Commonwealth games very much. There have been some remarkable performances. NZ does pretty well for a country with less the 5 million.  I applaud them all for their dedication to their respective sports.   Go Kiwis !

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Duties First then Sewing.

So far this week I have had to spend time doing a whole morning of accountancy checking and  half a day attending the Zespri AGM in the city. Another afternoon  sitting beside R ( and checking  as he went ) as he sat his renewal for his Growsafe and Approved Handlers certificates on line. He had never done them on line before but now thinks it is a good idea. ( as he passed 100% ( first time ever )) It still cost $200 for the privilege of sitting. Quite annoying really when he has been spraying weeds ( responsibly ) for 50 years.  ( revenue gathering perhaps? )

Anyway that's all done now and I managed to fit in some sewing of parts for the next baby quilt I am making.( lots of string piecing of tiny 1.5" squares )
 I have also in the evening made good progress on the next felt embroidered baby ball. It will get finished over the next few nights as I hope to spend some time watching "The Games,"  in Glasgow on TV.
Here is how I prepare the motifs before sewing them onto the ball. Some care needs to be taken to balance colours and to make sure the motifs stand out against the background pentagon colour.
I pin them on to be sure they look okay where I have placed them.
 A new motif I tried this time is a pink piglet.
 It's a lovely mild sunny day here today. The new polyanthus survived heavy rain a few nights ago and look bright and cheerful. The magnolia stelata is flowering so Spring can't be far away.