Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm Having My Weekend Today.

WE worked hard all weekend picking avocados. 4 Hydraladas and drivers and R and I ground picking with R driving the tractor with  full and empty bins. In fact I was so busy this is the only photo I took this year.  ( The photos would look the same as previous years anyway. )
It truly is hard work. I was the ground picker which means I suddenly "become pregnant," and walk that strange wide legged waddle that happens usually at about 8 months - the difference being the weight goes on gradually when pregnant; when it is a picking apron full of Avos it happens too suddenly and is the equivalent weight of 10 babies. Actually my neck is the part that takes the worst strain. I was too tired to sleep properly Saturday night so was a mess by last night BUT I am recovered today. The good part is we got 32 bins of beautiful big fat green avocados which are now at the packhouse being sorted into trays and bins to be exported . Any with marks etc will be put on the local market and the misshappen or out of grade will go to the oil factory.The smallest fruit got left on the trees and will size up till about February when we willl have a second pick. 
Last Friday at P and Q we had a class to make Christmas decorations like this.
 Not at all my thing I might add but the lady was coming to take the class and as the numbers doing it were small I joined in. I enjoyed the company as we takes heaps of stuffing... here is mine being sewn up after stuffing.

Yes mine is a blue tree.  ( my lounge is blue and yellow and it might end up there.)
It has yet to be decorated.

I have been picking lots of sweetpeas and roses.

This is Charles Austin ( a David Austin rose named after his father ) and  has the MOST fabulous smell of any of my roses.

This photo of some full bins of avocados, was taken another year, but this weekends pick looked just like these. 32 of them so that is a lot of individual fruit. YUM YUM YUM!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This is a First!

As if having 20 beehives at a cost of $163.75 each wasn't enough! ( $3,275  total) This year we are having a first! Artificial pollination by Quad Duster! ( if you have read this blog over the past couple of years you may recall hand held sprayers and dust busters and the like but this is the best so far ) Note all the female flowers open in the top photo.
See the pollen blowing in the air.( looks like dust )

This is Joanne on the beast. She was such a cool, clever girl. Wow! She is one of 3 female and of course lots of males doing this particular job at the moment. One you have to be smart, able to ride a quad bike well, be strong,  methodical, partctical, drive a car with a trailer, back a trailer, secure a bike on a trailer after riding it up onto a trailer etc etc. I am in awe. I love it when someone proves girls can do almost anything!

A side view of the Quad duster, with it's trailer just in view.

Front view. These machines can do this job so accurately. Using our orchard GPS map, a computer on the bike; a GPS  reader on the bike , and regulated speed the pollen is applied evenly over the whole orchard. She arrived with 5 seperate measured  jars of male pollen for our 5 blocks. ( scans the bar code as they are used )

 They are then poured carefully into the spreader.

 Enough excitement for one day; I better get cautiously back to the orchard and to the job I am doing while being very careful to keep my mouth shut as I work amongst the bees. We are friends but I respect them!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Meanwhile Down in the Orchard....

Our weather has been warm then chilly and windy..... I am surprised the plants know what to do.( typical for NZ  November I guess )  BUT it is this time again. Kiwifruit flowering and pollination. The bee hives are not in yet but will probably be brought in tonight or tomorrow.  20% of the flowers open is the best time. If we bring them in too early the bees will go fly about and find the Rewarewa trees to gather pollen from instead.
If you enlarge this photo by clicking on it you will see a small insect in the front flower. It too will be pollinating. We have one beehive in the avocado blocks and a beekeeper has hives stock piled across the road SO there are plenty of FREE insects around to begin the pollinating for us.

Buds and open female flowers.
It is difficult to estimate the percentage of flowers open as every vine is different and every block on the orchard just a bit different.The flowers stay viable for about 8 days so we have some leeway.
These are male flowers.( not as white )

A bee gathering pollen from this male flower. Yes the flower looks white when freshly open but will get a apricot hue as it ages. Hopefully this bee  will then fly to a female flower and leave some male pollen on the stigma of the female flower ( to form a fruit ) remember your basic biology here.   If you go back and enlarge the top 2 photos you can see how the female  flowers are different . The female flowers have quite a round carpel in the middle which will develope into a fruit when pollinated.  If you look vey closely you will see the female parts of the flower are quite different from the male .

Ideally we would like the wind to die down, the sun to come out and warm the air, so the bees have easy flying and want to work.  (these photos were taken when I was working yesterday; where I have been everyday this week ) We have lots of fat buds so have the potential for a bumper crop. (I forgot to mention the smell over the last week! Kiwifruit have perfume all their own - quite pleasant - I would know it anywhere ! )
I am not going near them over the weekend but intend to garden and sew some new cushion covers.   How are you spending your weekend?    Enjoyably I hope !

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Baby Ball Tutorial ( for Molly )

Tutorial for Cloth ball that is easy for a baby to hold.This could be made of scraps but looks better in just 2 colours ( fabrics ). The finished size could be adjusted once you understand the pattern.
1/3 yard fabric A;   1/8th yard fabric B ( approx );   scissors; sewing machine; needle and matching thread;   soft fibre washable stufffing.
( for template : card, pencil, compass, ruler; scissors )

1. make the template:
Start from a Rt angled corner of the card ( or draw one ). Put the compass point in the extreme corner and extend to 4" length along one straight edge. Scribe an arc to the other side of the card. ( don't shut the compass! ) This is part A for fabric A.
 Next using the same arc draw both side of a straight ruled line to make part B for fabric B.  Cut out accurately.  ( to check your parts are going to match up lay part B over part A ; the curved side should match. )

2. Cutting fabric: Lay template A economically  on fabric A and cut 24.
Lay template B on fabric B and cut 12.

3. Sewing. Make 12 identical shapes each consisting of 2 parts A and one part B.
Thus; With right sides together lay one part B curved edge to part A curved edge. Pin. Sew 1/4 inch seam beginning and ending 1/4 inch in from point ; backstitching at each end.
Now with right sides together lay the curved edge of other side of part B to a second part A.   Pin .   Sew with part B uppermost so you can see your first seam. Now sew the arc around to meet up with your first seam.
4. With right sides still facing in, pin together the 2 straight sides of the 2 A parts. (the piece still looks like the shape of part A with part B like a gusset in between. )
5. Start sewing along one straight side; turn at the right angle cornerand  sew about an inch. Stop backstitch. Leave a gap of about 2" ( for turning and stuffing ) sew the rest of that side to the corner backstitching at each end ( so it won't undo while it is being stuffed ). Trim threads and corner off.
6. Turn shape right side out.

7. Having made 12 the same and turned them through now stuff all 12.( not too firmly ).
8. Pin the gap shut and hand stitch closed.

9. Assemble ball. Take 3 parts and hand stitch the pointed ends together. Repeat 3 more times. So 4 bunches of 3.

Now join all the bunches together at the pointy ends.

(That is part way there ) getting all 12 parts joined in the centre is the trickiest part of the project.

10.Finally group the parts into 4s, like a cross pattern and firmly stitch 2 opposite parts together then the other 2 parts together.

 With some twisting involved do this again with 4 more and a third time with the final 4. Now all 12 parts should be secured to each other and hopefully you will have a ball looking like this.
or this
Any questions gladly answered.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Book and Answers.

Thanks all for your comments. Here's some answers.
* No tolls on the new bridge Sally.
*No Deb I don't know how the blackwork went but I saw it when it arrived. I will try and do some snooping for you.........when are you back here?
*Laurie, sorry you didn't get to Calico Christmas - we can't do then all ...I didn't get to the Hamilton  Show this year.
*I love the idea that I was stimulating the'll need a bit more than that! ( Did I mention we just purchased 2 new black leather 3 seater couches....moved the 42 year old, old, old one into the room by the phone - that lasted well but is so faded ! ) SO yes we have been trying!
I have been enjoying the first of my new books. Although the quilts look like bookmarks on the cover each is actually 40" x 10".

The author is English and has visited here twice. This is her impressions of different aspects of NZ life and scenery and how she has interpreted them. She gives materials for each, work  instructions and patterns.It is very well done apart from a few typo howlers.( deep friend scallops  - fried surely? ) Gail has a website and sells patterns and books.
Lots to do outside now. I don't remember when there was so many different plants in flower. So much colour and perfume aaaah!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Some Shopping Too!

Part of the fun of our Big Day Out is of course shopping in the Merchants Mall, which in this case was in the middle of the quilt display. Many of the stalls have completed examples of quilts, bags etc to tempt the buyer. When we were all back on the bus others have found things some didn't even see but that's cause it was busy and time was short. No body had made the same purchases as anyone else - amazing but good.

Starting at back left: " Landscape in Contemporary Quilts, " by Ineke Berlyn;  a new roll of Appli-Kay Wonder ( fusible Webbing ); "Glimpses of New Zealand," by Gail Lawther ( UK visitor ); a whole pile of die-cut iron on shapes from Susan Claire ( these are great for adding to labels ) and the shape for a fabric gift box which folds up ; a little kit for a coffeee heat mat ( I've already made that up on Sunday for in a gift; my free gift from Minerva books( some lovely cards featuring NZ quits ); a FQ with Avocados  - new( as a grower I had to have that! ); a bundle of 8 Blue Christmas FQs;  and 5 other FQs. (  to make cushions for on our 2 new black leather couches.)                                                  --------------------------------------------------
This photo is for Pam and Deb and Sally and Meg and anyone else who knows Tauranga. This is the new ( and second ) harbour bridge now open but being used for traffic both ways till Christmas time. The older bridge is being upgraded and then in the New Year one bridge will be for each way. This new one has a neat wave pattern in the concrete edges, a cycle and walking lane.( it is right beside the other bridge )As well as the bridge there is a long fly over off the bridge,  ending down on route P which will make traffic flow so much easier. It has changed the whole appearance of this area of the city.

Monday, November 09, 2009

More C C Quilts.

More beautiful quilts on display at Calico Christmas.

The use of colour here was stunning. With the black setting the colour just jumped off this quilt and took Grandmothers garden type blocks to a whole new level. Note the quilting in straight lines right through the blocks. This quilt I would have happily taken home.

Scenic New Zealand by Gloria Scanlan captured some NZ beauty.
Quite unusual colours and just a little different this was made of wool.
Donna and Ashleigh Ward's,  Pacifica. Donna's  style is easily recognised and the colous subtle and beautiful.

Stitcheries in the form of well known quilt blocks were a feature on this quilt.

Setting sampler type blocks on point, interspaced with blank blocks  and diagonal sashing gave this crisp looking quilt a whole different look.

This is a very familiar quilt design and I'm not sure which of the 2 exhibitions I saw it at but the colour use was so vibrant I had to include it in my photos of quilts that attracted my attention.
Tomorrow I will show what I purchased.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Girls' Big day Out.

41 ladies travelled by bus to "Calico Christmas - 2009 - A Garden Party." It is the Annual Exhibition of members' work of the Auckland Patchworkers & Quilters Guild Inc. That left only a few spare seats for our chilly bins and on board refreshments.( Thanks Denise) Nobody complained about the early start as we all wanted as much time to see and shop as posssible. Along the way we had prizes - my job, then a stop of half an hour at Ngatea. ( for coffee and toilets and there was that areas quilt exhibition on in the hall. ) The look at their exhibition was rapid but we thought there was some lovely work.  
Standing on an artist easel in the foyer were these lovely pieced irises.

This quilt had some good ideas, as some of the flowers were fussy cut squares, some appliqued, but certainly gave the bright overall garden feel; but I would have loved to see some of the flowers overlapping at the edges.

This wall hanging used the theme of the NZ native Clematis and had thread and bead embellishments that are hard to see in the photo.

This quilt appealed because of the angles created and accentuated by the quilting stitches. It was bright and fresh.
Back on the bus and reaching the North shore in Auckland before 11 am. There was so much to see and much shopping so I'll show a few of the quilts that took my eye and tell you why.The space was crowded so trying to get far enough back for good pics was tricky.( the lighting also created shadows )

Flowers Love Company by Chris Bailey was in the Challenge section. I liked the colours shape and texture.

The workmanship and quilting were amazing and I think the very reduced pallette drew your attention to the detail. By Ansa Breytenbach.( sorry couldn't fit it all in ).

Wendy Johnson's Christmas  wall hanging was bright and the Noel hanging part added something.

Usually the little ( school ) house block is one I dislike.This is just one block on a large quilt - each block had used a different block set in as one wall in the house - certainly a different way to display a sampler.The quilt was browns and fawn and cream and only the blocks had colour.
I'll have more quilts from Calico Christmas to show you tomorrow.