Sunday, April 23, 2017


 Autumn crocus flowering now. After so, so, so  much rain anything that survived is doing well. A few late bright zinnias for the bees and butterflies.
 Apricot coloured ones are a bit more unusual.
 All the walnuts fell at once this year during the heavy rain and wind.
 We were without power for 19 hours at the beginning of Easter. I have collected 5 of these green bins full ; that's about 2500 walnuts.
We did our usual successful trip to the Rotary Used Book Fair.
 Laid out on sheets on the cobblestones to dry when the sun shines.
(also shallots drying on the trolley )
 This is the best tree they fall from.....lots roll down the slope beneath the tree. A lot land on the grass up behind the tree which stay clean in the grass.

 The young ones were with us over Easter. Here Grandson is wearing his new vest I got finished for him.

 Here he is defying gravity while building a tower with blocks. He loves the ""Crash, "  part naturally.

 Yesterday 14 ladies sewed and pressed blocks to make this quilt top which will be our Raffle quilt at our Exhibition in September.
 Dorothy D whose back you can see here pre - cut and packaged all the fabric , so that took her hours before hand.
 It made for a large ,very accurately pieced  group quilt.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Cushion Cover.

Earlier this week when it was SOOOOO wet. I had time to make my Millefiori Block into a 20 x 20" cushion cover.
 It is paper foundation pieced and was started last year when Chris Kenna taught a class with our Patchwork and Quilting Group. Some members are still working to try and make a quilt from their blocks. I knew I didn't have the time for that so opted for something I could achieve in the form of cushion cover. It is only lightly quilted in the ditch diagonally across the web and a few other lines. It might be a spider web or a target.

 The pattern and instructions for this Millefiori or cobweb block are on page 54 in Issue # 79 of the NZ Quilter magazine. ( do note thought that there is an error in the size of one of the pattern pieces given there - not Chris's fault but the printer who changed one part so it would fit in....he/she obviously did not understand the need for accuracy! )
 For anyone from our group reading this, I now have a top 5 item to tick off! Yipee!

 I have started another vest for Grandson using my favourite pattern again. It is easy to dress a little person in and has no right or wrong side, back or front. It is  4 ply pure NZ wool of course.

 I took the photo below last weekend in Auckland at the gardens around the summit of Bastion Point. Mass planting always looks good.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Fun With Grandson.

Recently Grandson has been to visit us and we have been to visit him ( and his Mum and Dad of course ). We played and read books and went on outings. 
     We also planted some daffodil bulbs.
 I had purchased the bag of 50 of these yellow daffodils. I have already planted some here and have more to put in still. Where  best to put them at their place? 
 We decided a large planter near the front door would be a good place for them. I showed grandson what was in the bag and asked him to help me plant them.
 He looked in the bag then disappeared inside and came back with an onion from the pantry cupboard and dropped it in the bag.
 ( he will be 18 months old that really amazed me. I know grandparents are easily impressed but I thought that was REALLY smart. )
 Any way we carried on, me digging the holes and Grandson selecting a bulb from the bag and popping it in the hole. His Dad then got some blood and bone from the shed and an extra top up of potting mix across the top.
 Grandson then got his favourite blue watering can ( used to be mine ) and gave them a drink.
 I wonder if the bulbs will remain undisturbed to grow or if they will get inspected at any stage???
 I suggested adding some blue bedding lobelia for over the top till the bulbs come through.
 As I was busy doing this I didn't get a photo.   Here is another one. His Mum has since found a better solution using an exercise hanger on the door jam to hang the swing, not to high off the ground.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Quilt Top Was Made.

Over the last weekend some of the members of our P and Q group spent 2 days sewing charity quilts. Some of the fabric was donated. My namesake and I decided to work together on a simple design for a quilt to later donate to Women's Refuge.
 We used a table in the back room to lay it out as we went so we could see the pattern emerging.
By the time we packed up on Sunday all the rows bar one were sewn together. One needed a little unpicking .
 The other A took it home and spent 1 more hour perfecting it and tidying the back.
 On Friday we will baste and back it and decide how we want to quilt it.
 It ended up 19 rows by 15 blocks  ( 4" blocks )  or 60 inches by 76 inches.
 We decided against a border and will use a dark blue binding.
 The other A took this photo on a bed but I can't get the pic to rotate so you might have to turn your head.
 The colours in the top photo are it's true colours. A pale lemony straw colour.
 Ill show a photo when it is totally finished.
 Some of the other members worked on boy 's quilts featuring appliqué clown blocks.

Monday, March 13, 2017

More Rain Than We Need.

Since last Tuesday night we have had 276 mls of Rain. That's almost the length of an old school ruler. ( 12 inches  - I don't visualise mls as easily as inches ) That is way more than we needed. 
 When we have heavy rain we have drains and creeks that need constant monitoring. If they get blocked then flooding happens. Behind  and above our property is the Te Puna Quarry Park.( a large catchment area )  It has a large gravel carpark  which drains down into and through our property.
 This shows the water entering our place yesterday afternoon. The top photo shows the  large vertical pipe that redirects the water underground through our place. There is a metal grill ( top rail just visible ) to stop debris going into the pipe  If debris blocks this grill, as it frequently does, flooding then starts across our orchard. The debris which is usually long strips of gum tree bark, big rocks, rubbish, old footwear etc. has to be manually picked out of the top side of this grill which then can be lifted up to let small stuff wash through.To do this one must stand legs apart on the concrete side  facing the big pipe and bend forward to pluck stuff out meanwhile the water rushes by sometimes filling ones gumboots. Or if it is already flooded one has to plunge ones hand down into the unknown to get stuff out.( not good if there is glass hidden in the rubbish ) 
 Normally this is not a huge job and we are both adept at clearing it . When the velocity of water increases as it has these last few days it becomes quite a scary task. ( don't slip and don't have anything loose in your pockets- phone or glasses etc that could fall out; you'll never see it again ) 
 The other night it blocked and overflowed towards this kiwifruit block leaving a trail of rocks ,grit and bark ( mainly wrapped around the posts here )  This grass gets mowed so before that can happen all the rocks have to be cleared or the mower would be blunt or broken very quickly.
 The water runs underground for about 50 metres and reemerges at our front creek, runs under the driveway and exits our property here.
 If we are way over night we always need to nominate someone to check for us if there is heavy rain to do the unblocking .
 We are now hoping for some sun, to dry everything up and let us get back to orchard work.

Other folk in Auckland and Coromandel had lasting flood damage so we feel for them.

 ( Up side ....I got some  more sewing time )

Thursday, March 09, 2017

A Finished Block.

Torrential rain yesterday allowed me time to stay inside and do amongst other things sew awhile.
 I have now completed all I am doing of my cobweb block project. It was started back in September last year when Chris Kenna was our tutor. Mine is stopping at this stage and will become a very bright cushion cover. I could not make a whole quilt in this design as some have done. It is just too busy for my liking. (Too time consuming as well. )
 Below is a photos I showed before of Chris Kenna's quilt.
 The white paper shows the area I have done.
 So my next stint at the machine better be to make an envelope cushion back and also quilt this block.

Monday, March 06, 2017

May Contain Vegetables.

Whatever size of tomato you prefer we probably have grown this year.
 We really, really love growing our own fruit and veges and nuts but it involves lots of work.
 Having grown them we hate to waste any so spend hours eating them, freezing them, processing them or giving them away.
 For those of you who also grew  vege plants from the New World free seeds  last year the wee tomatoes at the top came from those seeds ( planted back at the end of October ).
 R's  large tomato in the pic weighed 608 grams . Beefsteak or Bigbeef. It is a very fleshy tom and not too many seeds. We do have medium sized ( normal ) ones as well.
Last evening's dinner plate. Every veg on it we grew.
 Beans ; corncob; egg plant; potato; courgettes green and yellow and tomatoes.
 R BBQ-ed steaks and sausages but I didn't really have space on my plate or in my stomach.
 Tomatoes are easy to make into various sauces, pastes, soupsand  juice which then freeze well... Cucumbers and courgettes less so. For them it has to be soup or pickle or loaves.
 Apparently cucumbers cook okay in curries?? Must try it.

 Elsewhere in the flower garden I am having an ongoing  battle with rabbits eating my young plants. Some newly planted seedlings totally disappeared as did my young cress seedlings. We have seen various sizes of rabbits but shooting them is proving difficult. But I am on the War path.( and covering small things with netting.)