Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Well Done.

last December I mentioned in a post how disappointed I was when a new dahlia I had planted turned out to be a totally different one and not what the picture on the packet showed. I followed it up and complained to Fiesta bulbs ( have a look at their website ) where it originally came from.
 Fiesta Bulbs came good.....look what arrived by courier for me yesterday. Not one replacement BUT 4 !  Thank you very ,very much Fiesta Bulbs . I will continue to buy your bulbs.
 As soon as the rain stops I will go and plant them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Some of Everything.

There has been a mix of wet and fine days so I have made 2 more flower blocks when inside.
 This is # 17 ( of 24 ). I have made all the small size  ( 12 x10" ) , all the large size (20 x 10" ), all the (14 x10" )  then this one is 18 x 10" and  there are a few 16 x 10 " to do yet. I have now made 18 out of the 24.
 Yesterday the electrician came to do quite a few jobs we had been saving up. He put surge protectors on the computer plug and one on the metre board. He fixed the flex on my hot water urn ( which gets used about once a year when we have big crowds here - it is very old - it was my MIL before me ) but still heats a large quantity of water and can be set up outside or in the shed. He replaced 3 down lights in the kitchen over the sink, which have given trouble ( individually ) ever since they were installed 10 years ago. They don't use that sort any more  - I know why!
 These look good ( but what about that for a boring photo? ) They showed me I need to get up and wash fly spots off the ceiling!  Hopefully these will not fall down and hit the dish washing person on the head!
 Anyway I am grateful for the 2 hours work he did and hope things are safer round here now.
 Arctotis flamingo did the best of all the ones I planted in this sunny but windy spot at the top of a steep bank. They open when the sun is on them.( and keep on and on  flowering as long as they are dead headed )
 Also pretty at the moment are these very small delicate flowers which came from a cottage garden mixed seed pack I was given. I don't know what they are? They  seem to seed readily so are popping up in a few places.
 Meanwhile in the garden shed my tray of zinnias have ALL come up and are doing so well. None of the larkspurs in the tray next to them have appeared ( yet - I am still hopeful )
 Down in the wild flower triangle some have appeared. I am going to have to change the bird netting cover as it is too thick in places and squashing the seedlings - have to work on that...but it is encouraging that at least one variety I planted have germinated.
 Speaking of encouraging results my radish seeds that pop up in about 4 days have to be the speediest ones yet.
 R has got a head cold.( He went for a medical appointment last week and came back with a cold - he hasn't been anywhere else ) I am going to great lengths to try and avoid catching it!
We need to spend the rest of the days doing office work so that's exciting.
 I haven't mentioned what I have been reading for a while. Having struggled my way through 2 ( hard to digest ) books of a historical textbook nature ( Limeys by David Harvie  and The Victorians by A N Wilson ) I needed some light relief so am reading Blue Eyed Boy by Joanne Harris.( anyone else read it? ) I find it interesting that certain authors have recurring themes in their books. With Joanne she has characters who have unusual or extra powers or senses. This time it is synaethesia. I have seen TV programmes on this subject too and I imagine it must be hard for folk with it to realise others aren't  seeing or smelling what they can. I am halfway through this book so don't know if I am recommending it yet or not.
 The 3 books I have mentioned are all ones I got from the Used Book Sale at Easter time.
 Oh, there it is raining again. Just as well I spent all afternoon working in the orchard yesterday as I won't be today.  I better get to doing the banklink I guess. Then I have some even more boring kiwifruit reading, sorting,  filing etc to tackle. What fun!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

On the Bench.

Though not as perfumed as my white Burtoni  freesia these are lovely on my kitchen bench. They have spread everywhere around the garden and are all flowering en masse.The one that is a lighter shade ( in the vase ) must have crossed with the cream Burtoni ones I think. They certainly multiply.( I have a few mauve and cerise ones too. )

 This is the next completed flower ( stem yet to sew down ).
 I don't have a light box but the ranch slider works just as well, for tracing the patterns. I have this next flower cut out ready now.
 Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours down the track here.
 ( the patch of soil  just visible in the mid right )( neatly pruned kiwifruit vines in block 2b in the background. )
 See the freshly worked soil .... This photo from the opposite direction )
 This little patch has been used as my extra vege patch for the last 4 years but it is too far from the house and the rabbits and pukeho eat too much from it......SO this year it is going to be a wild flower patch ( I hope. ) Since R set up his walled vege garden we don't really need the space either.
 Here the soil is weeded and worked over ready for seed scattering.( it looks like I missed some weeds but they are self sown pansies so I left them )  Notice also in this photo how covered in blue flowers the rosemary plants are. The bees love them.

 Here it is blood and bone spread ,seeds sown and bird netting over most of it, held down by big stones. I didn't seem  to have enough seed so will buy more and scatter over the top. If I have any success I will post some photos in the coming months.
 It's a lovely sunny Spring day here in BOP.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Something Yummy.

 At the weekend I made this yummy Vegetable Jalfrezi. The recipe came from the September issue of the NZ Healthy Food Guide. ( page 63 ) ( web site here. )
 The first time I try a new recipe I try to stick reasonably closely to the original recipe ( to give it a fair chance you understand ).After that if I have liked it I begin to put my own mark on it according to what ingredients I have available. R had picked this from his walled garden and I knew immediately it was one of the main ingredients.
 I can't print out the recipe as it is not mine to do so but involves a spicy curry paste; thick  tomato mixture; onion; cubed pumpkin; cauliflower; capsicum; sultanas; chick peas and coriander ( not my favourite  herb and quite dominant in this ) but ok.
 The dinner turned out scrumptious served with pappadums and  long grain rice medley.
 On the same page of the mag is potato and spinach curry so that is the next to try. 
 The next flower is pink tones and was supposed to have leaves made all of bias strips ( I presume from the picture. ) as that idea didn't crab me I found a fern like fabric and am adapting that. It is quite tricky to sew on but I like the result so that's all right.( did you others who have made this use all bias strips? )
 The next flower is also cut out and adhered. It is bluey green with a round orange dot in the centre. . It was the one that caused me grief when I cut it out the first time as it stuck to itself as I was peeling the backing off and had to be binned. That was a good lesson and extreme care is now being taken at that step of each flower. (It was a bit octopus like with about 8 petals and hard to hold all at once )

 Clearing the old dead leaves off my strawberries took ages and I found thrips on some leaves. Most of the plants are only one year old but look a bit scruffy - I will give them a chance but will have replace them next year.
 I still have spaces in the herb garden for further planting but the back bed ( right ) has become a self sown place for parsley and coriander and muzuma.
 The alyssum flowers are also self sown and will come out as I need their space.
 Thank you to Jennifer; Molly; Dianne ; Raewyn and Sue. I really enjoy hearing from you ladies and enjoy reading your blogs too.

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 .
 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.
 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.
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.
 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 . 
  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.