Saturday, May 21, 2016

It Must Have been Hiding.......

It must have been hiding in my fabric cupboard  - my Mojo - Not a word I usually use but others do - My inspiration ...my enthusiasm to sew. ( maybe it had something to do with time or other distractions like knitting....  kiwifruit .....maybe it was just time to start a new project.)
Many of my fellow quilters from our club are off at Papamoa at Retreat. As I am not, I am allowing myself almost all day today and yesterday and maybe tomorrow to sew ...make parts for my new Garden Hex idea. The more I do the more ideas keep springing to mind. That's good! Already my original vision has morphed into something else.

 The first flower hex I made I backed with a green fabric...from there I moved to backing it with its own fabric( as in poppies above ) . I have made various blocks that might give the impression of being stems and leaves by joining strips. I will be doing both those ideas. I will also be making joined fabric flower hex, that way when I haven't enough of a fabric I can use what I have.
 What I really like about this is when I lay out the hex if one really doesn't look right it can be removed and become a mug coaster or jug cover. It's far too soon yet to tell which are keepers and which aren't.
 I did discover there are very few leaf / foliage fabrics available in the shops at the moment.( I have looked on line at my 4 favourite shops too )  I have more in my cupboard...mainly from the bias strip stems I made for my big Kim McClean quilt.
 I will be on the look out for more florals ( real flowers ) and more green vegetation fabrics.
 These are unsewn ones with joined flower and greenery.
 Any way I am on a roll with this project.

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 Here is my dehydrating experiment before and after.
 Kiwifruit; feijoas ; banana; persimmon and apples.
 Apples are the easiest and stick to the trays less.

 All are a success .

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I have to show you this. Grandson in his buggy early in the morning wearing his new blue v neck cardigan, tucked under his green blanket. Both made by me.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cutting Out parts.

 ( pile of unsewn parts )
It's a wet day and I have been cooking and sewing. For a while I have been mulling over a new project and decided today to start. It's an old favourite with me. Hexagons - but NOT English Paper Pieced ones .I suppose it's a form of Quilt as you go. The backing fabric which folds forward over the batting and feature fabric is in this case 9.5" and the feature fabric and batting is a 7.5" hexagon.
 Way back in 2006 I did a child's quilt ( which Grandson is now using as his play mat at his place )  in this method with much smaller hexagons.I did another the year after . Since then I have used the same method to make coasters and place mats.
 This is going to be garden themed. Only actual flowers not generic ones and backings in green fern or leaf fabric.Some will be repeated to give a larger block of one flower. I will show you as I progress. The project will involve hand stitching, machine quilting and hand sewing together.


 Today I have dehydrated more apples and persimmons, made Winter Bean Soup and this Walnut and Apricot loaf.
I altered the recipe a bit today but will put my original recipe below.

Walnut and Apricot Loaf.
* Soak 1 cup of chopped dried apricots in a bowl with a cup of boiling water. Leave for about an hour to plump up.
* set oven to 180 degrees and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
*In a large bowl beat 2 large eggs with 3/4 cup of sugar.
* Sieve in 2 tsps of baking powder and 1 tsp of baking soda and 2 3/4 cups of flour.
* Stir in the soaked apricots fluid and all. Mix till combined.
*Fold in 1 cup of fresh chopped walnuts.( can be quite chunky )
 Spoon into loaf tin and bake for 1 hour at 180 ( 350 F) degrees Celsius.
* Check if cooked using a toothpick or skewer.  Cool before cutting. Freezes well. Can be buttered.

 ( today I used I cup of almond meal in place of one cup of flour. )

The big Luculia tree is in full bloom. Bees, ladybirds and bumble bees are all enjoying it when the sun is out.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Finish & a Quilt.

Yesterday I got Grandson's V necked cardigan sewn up and buttons on all ready to send off to him. It is size 6-12 months in Zarina merino  4 ply.  The Pattern Sublime 6100. It also has the same garment as a waistcoat ( sleeveless ). The Pattern  goes up to 3 year old size. It was lovely to knit.  My least favourite part is the sewing up.
 I have started a dedicated hard covered book for Knitting only. So ALL my notes are in one place. There I record every detail I think may be relevant in the future. I managed to look back and put in some of the knitting I have done since the beginning of 2015.( all Baby knitting ). Hopefully then if another garment is needed in the exact same size I will have the correct details. ( At the moment there are pics on this blog and in my pictures and notes in my diary and on Ravelry .)

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 At my Patchwork group on Friday there were lots of finished quilts to show off in Show and Tell.
 This was my favourite. Made by Rae.( she is happy for me to show you this photo ) 
 It is a Ngaire Brook's pattern. Ngaire is the NZ designer of many lovely patterns . Some of you saw a quilt on this blog back in 2011 that you liked called Winter Maze . I didn't make it a friend did, But many of you have been requesting the pattern from me. I am trying to get more information for you as Rae who made this quilt is her cousin.

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Our kiwifruit is still not picked, but is now ready ( mature enough to taste good and store well )
 This is a data logger I was asked to hang in the orchard that is recording temperature. Lots of orchards are doing the same. Fruit will be sampled after picking to see how temperature and pre cooling and cool storage  relate to taste and keeping ability.

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 Last weekend this lovely Anthurium  ( Flamingo Flower ) was delivered to my door. That was a pleasant surprise.
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 I am off now to slice persimmons  and experiment with dehydrating them. Never tried that before, but I have a surplus and this might be a way to keep some long term?


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Perfection.

Unblemished  Camellia japonica Fimbritata is a delight on my kitchen window sill.
 No perfume unfortunately.( note the edge of the petals )

 Windows 10 has made things so slow one photo only today.

 It is drizzling here so I am knitting and cooking and catching up reading all your blogs.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Is it Autumn ?

 Is it Autumn ? Some plants are very bright like this azalea.

 Some deciduous leaves are red but not all. This dogwood is and the oaks.
 But the nights have been mild and so kiwifruit harvest is delayed for all orchards in our area. Even the usually early ones. ( we are normally mid to late ) 
 We got our test results back and our kiwifruit are almost ready. The dry matter is good for this year but not as good as some other years. No ones' orchard is. The pack houses are struggling to get ready fruit.
 Still that's Mother Nature being different.

 ......
Things are still growing.

 White butterfly caterpillars are appearing daily on my new seedlings so I am inspecting and squashing.

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 I only just updated this computer to Windows 10 and am coping with everything OK but photo down loads from my Samsung phone. Any one out there who can help? .....or give useful advice. It was working OK  on 8.1 but not any more. As I take lots of photos this is a big time waster and hugely frustrating. I'd be glad of your suggestions please. 





Thursday, May 05, 2016

A Good Read.

I needed something light and gripping to read. It's awhile since I read a can't put down novel, This one, The Trespass by Barbara Ewing fits that bill. I got it at the second hand book sale at Easter.
 I was well aware of Barbara Ewing as an actress but not as a novelist.
 I am glad to find she has written 8 novels so I have 7 more to  track down and read.
 NZ born and educated she knows Wellington well and UK where she mostly works, 
This novel starts in London in 1849, during a Cholera epidemic. Her characters are very real as she is able put her acting ability into forming each of them.
 If you like historical novels I am recommending this read.

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The little v neck button up cardigan I am knitting for Grandson is taking shape well. It's a good pattern to follow. ( Sublime -  4 ply - Sirdar Spinning Ltd. ). The colour blue here is not accurate. It is actually a darker shade.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Soup Time.

 This year's crop of Butternut squash has been very successful. There are still over 40 of them to pick.
 I am currently making lots of things with them in.
 Roasting brings out the best flavour. Soup can be made from lightly roasted butternut but on this occasion I boiled it.
 My recipe.
Finely chop then sauté 1 large onion, in a little oil, over a low heat..
Add 1 knob of finely chopped or grated root ginger.
 Add 2 tsps of ground tumeric  and 2 tsps of ground cumin.
 Add 1/2 tsp of garlic flakes .
 Now add 2 kgs of peeled chopped butternut squash, and just cover with vegetable stock or hot water.
 Boil till butternut is soft. Cool slightly and blitz with a blender stick. Reheat. Serve in heated bowls with sour cream, parsley and a crusty roll.( add cracked pepper & salt if liked )
Very tasty. Adjust  herbs and spices & seasoning to your liking.

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Yesterday was a beautiful clear day so I walked up and over the Quarry park track, puffing ever so slightly on the steep part. I had photo opportunity stops as well. ( I should make time to do it every day , but usually take a quicker option. )
 In the butterfly garden Colette dahlias were attracting lots of Monarchs.
 I waited till this one opened it's wings. Note the round tag on it's  right wing.



 The Mt in the distance with one of our kiwifruit blocks directly below.( mid left ) 
 This is the sensory garden designed for wheel chair access and has plants at hand level for blind folk to smell and touch.

 At one point in the Quarry is a clear view down through the trees to our house. Notice the red leaves on the Viburnum tree behind it. ( all the kiwifruit blocks are obscured from this angle . )
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 On Saturday we spent time  spreading 1 year old pea straw over the  house vege garden,
 to break down more and suppress the weeds, over Winter.
I hope you  have a productive week everyone.