Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reading Time.

( day lily )
I'm having the morning indoors today. We had overnight drizzle again and everything is wet in the orchard. Unfortunately that is all we got drizzle ; not enough to soak in and do much good. Since the family went home on Sunday afternoon we have been back working with the kiwifruit thinning and taking off rejects - there is just so much to do. I am so glad to have my old radio as company and have been very pleased with what I hear on National radio especially in the morning with Noel.
  While we have had extra bodies here and big meals needing the big bench ( my sewing space ) my sewing machine has been back in it's bag in the cupborad - for more than a week now; SO  no sewing and actually no time. I have however enjoyed some new books.
In a gift from my sister was a magazine called Taste with lovely holiday food ideas. I don't buy mags like that these days so it was a treat . I am now reading the book she sent called Kitty by Deborah Challinor set in NZ 1839. I finished Access Road by Maurice Gee in 3 days. ( I like his writing style. Also set in NZ )
At the bottom of the photo I popped in the machine embroidered glasses case Sooziii sent - Thanks Soozii you certainly have that machine mastered.
Only you quilters will understand this. Along with a gift that a family member gave me was a bag from a market stall she had spotted and grabbed for me saying there might be something you can use in there . How can you say that was the best thing I was given - in it a bag of old buttons and fabric scraps ranging from small to about half a metre of some - none I had. TO me that is treasure - I have ironed and inspected it all and added to my small stash. My mind has been planning some projects, so as soon as I get some me time the cutting board will be back on the table.
Thankyou all for the comments and Good Wishes. I have enjoyed seeing what you are all doing at this time of the year - some out playing in the snow, some with flooding, some with summer heat. 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pohutukawa Greetings !

*Season's Greetings to All .*

      Happy Christmas to You! 

This is Pohutukawa ( metrosideros excelsa ) or the New Zealand Christmas tree.
This is one of many NZ Christmas trees we have flowering on our property. They are beautiful throughout the Bay of Plenty this year.
The reason I could get close for the photos is that this is a young self sown tree standing with it's feet in the front creek by the driveway. Note all the lighter young new growth.

I hope all my many friends out there have some happiness and relaxation with friends or family at this time of the year. I do so enjoy conversing with you all. I hope those in the Northern Hemisphere are not being hampered by too much snow!
So wherever you are - New Zealand; Australia; Canada; England; Scotland; Wales; Isle of Man; Iceland; USA; South Africa; Belgium; Sweden or Finland - I want to say, " Thanks for being great blog friends this year.
Stay safe, be happy."

NZ Flax  Flower stem ( phormiun tenax ) Tui birds just love these.

More Pohutukawa because I couldn't decide which photo I liked best.
I better get busy as family arriving later today. Food to prepare; flowers to pick.( always a small branch of Pohutukawa flowers although they drop quickly ) I still like fresh flowers in the house as well as a few minimal decorations.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Unusual Decorations

Like everyone at this time of year we are busy, but because it is too easy to do nothing we took a long lunch hour and went out for a meal to celebrate our 42nd Anniversary. We went to the closest restaurant as it has reopened and we hadn't checked it out. Our meals were fine and we played our usual lunchtime game of Scrabble. Makes waiting go quicker.
There were just 2 spots decorated - a small simple tree at the entrance and inside by the fireplace this very hardcase Santa and 3 very modern Christmas trees.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stump Work.

Stump work; no not the embroidery kind; the removal kind.
This is a before photo. If you look really hard you can just see the side of a stump lurking  near the front. It was being camouflaged by large clumps of Renga Renga Lillies and a Sandpaper vine.

This is a view from the side. I removed everything but the border of blue bulbs which are dormant at the moment and I hope will survive under the ground.

Here is the stump of a huge 28 year old Gleditsia tree. ( We did NOT plant it here - the previous owner did ) Although cut down several year ago it would not stop sending up shoots and suckers with menacing thorns.
I suppose it could have stayed as it was in the top photo but the lillies kept overhanging the deck and the boards have rotted and now all need replacing. While that is done we are going to extend it out to the black upright posts and along under the eves.This whole area behind was mulched with large smooth rocks( several truck loads ) which we had to remove down to the creek.

This morning the guy arrived with his small stump grinder and set to.
And Now...just a pile of mulch!

It now needs cleaning up; some of the mulch removing and the builder can begin the deck job - possibly before the end of the year.
That will then be one less area to have to weed and we will have a much enlarged decked area for a few plants in pots and maybe another seat.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bright Colours.

I'm very pleased with the strawberries I have grown!  24 big beauties here.
A few more hex stars got finished and I am still working on some as the others get popped in with presents.
My "Lists" have been invaluable this last week and crossing items off certainly motivates me. Orchard work is being fitted in around many other things needing my attention.
The weather has been hot and very, very windy! Right now it was forecast to rain but the wind is too strong and the clouds sailed over the top of us;  so keep on watering the new plantings! Some colourful spots in the garden are getting trashed by the wind.

These Godetias are low growing and okay but the blue delphinium wasn't staked so got knocked over. It's blue colour still delights me.
This group is rather in your face colour!

Tomorrow first thing the stump grinder is coming to deal with the big stump I have been clearing around which finally got finished in the heat yesterday morning. R took pity on me and gave me a hand - phew! ( photos of that tomorrow when the beast is working )
Amongst the things pulled out was a Poinsetia, so I salvaged the few flowers . ( a reminder of a Christmas past that started in a pot ! )
Finally more flowers. These lovely Calla lillies were getting spoilt so I picked a bunch for the coffee table.( note new blue cushion I finished 2 weeks ago )

* Happy Birthday Pam! Were you dreaming of a White Birthday?
*Well done Molly; I hope the ball turns out well ....please show when finished!
* We have been picking LOTS of green peas and shelling them and enjoying them but also freezing some for Christmas Day as I think they will be over by then. When friends have been here twice this week it was SO good to be able to serve up our own new potatoes; peas; lettuce; radishes  etc. WE also have an oversupply of courgettes so I think some fritters might be on today's menu.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lots of Show and Tell.

Yesterday was the final gathering for the year of my Patchwork and Quilting Group. We had shared fingerfood lunch and lots oF Show and Tell with a Christmas theme. Our rooms have lots of awkward things in the background when trying to take photos so please forgive the quality here.
5 fabric tress. Note the ones on the left are made from stuffed star shapes large to smaller( make easier to stuff than the big trees ) 
Another angle with Rae's lovely Santa.
Later he found a wee friend.You can see her lovely long legs better in this shot. ( helen made her - too cute! ) Ruth and Marie are holding up Anna's flimsy. I just love the colours in it which are outside her comfort zone, but I picked the jelly roll for her so naturally I like it ( thet's a nother story )
Rae's hanging all in gold.

A very bright hanging in Christmas colours.

Sue's lovely original design sunflower quilt for a present for a grand child.
Some different colour combinations here.

Finally a close up of Rae's Santa ( don't you love the beard and glasses? ) with Jill's quilt in the background - each section represents part of a Christmas Carol.
( Sorry ladies if I didn't get photos of everyones efforts. )

Monday, December 07, 2009


Everything is looking green around here. The rain perhaps. Green writing; green surrounds; green garden photos and green fingers! The sun shone yesterday so some hours were spent in the garden.
R's  row of peas are just ready. We pulled the row of giant broad beans out and have lots of lovely things coming ready.

From This to this......

SO Yummy!
Some answers.
 * Yes, Lou it was Pak'n Save. Not where I usually shop; I prefer New world, but interesting to check it out while there.
* Sal there was no honey involved  - that belongs to the bee keeper not us; we just rent the hives for a couple of weeks. They went home last night on the bee truck.( I saw the photo of you both in London. )
* Deb I'm useless as a sleuth......but if you are still looking for a gift I think last times was good except the fabric was too coarse and had to be swapped for something with closer weave.
*** Cheers have a busy week everyone.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A little Volunteering.

Yesterday some of the members of my Patchwork and Quilting Group manned the Waipuna Hospice Remembrance Trees in the foyer of a local supermarket. The time went very quickly as we mainly sat and chatted when not assisting folk. Really they only needed someone to guard the money and stop kids interfering with the trees.
I did shifts first with Dorothy seen here and later with Merle. Other good friends who took a turn were Alison, Faye, Nan, and Helen.

As a fund raiser this seems to work well,
as the trees, baubles and straightened paper clips used to attach the baubles and messages are all reused year after year. The messages are blessed in a service and buried in the Hospice garden. Similar trees are placed at Bayfair, Fraser Cove, Katikati, Te Puke and Palm Beach. Last year the trees raised $22,000.
Some folk were very generous giving much larger donations. Everyone knows what a wonderful job the Hospice does.  Some found this simple act very emotional.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Tree and the Bees.

It's been wet.( In November we only had 22.75mm of rain. ( very dry )) Already in December we have had 80.75mm ( 3  1/4 inches ) of much needed rain.  Yesterday it was cold as well as wet so we decided to light the fire to warm the damp feeling in the house. That was when the BEES ( you remember the ones who wanted to live with us ) got their revenge ( for us killing some of them )Actually killing a lot more of them than we knew at the time.......... The fire would only smoke - the chimney was blocked with these!....
How awful we feel that they all died - they are now fertilizing the vege garden. All their other relations who have been working so hard at pollinating our fruit are still here as it has been too wet for the bee truck to come and take them home. They have been hiding in the hives during all the rain, but are out back looking for flowers again today which so far is fine. No kiwfruit flowers left now they are all little fruit but there is lots else out for them to find including Feijoas Pam!

Now the tree. I wasn't happy with my fabric tree so have redecorated it and it now looks like this.

It needed a little green and yellow.

While the rain has spoilt some flowering things ( like my sweetpeas ) there is brightness still on my wonderful Kalmia bush.

There are some  happy yellow Gerbra faces in a pot near the back door.

With all the wet we are way behind with the Kiwifruit work BUT I have done shopping ,made Christmas cakes and am working on some presents so actually I don't mind...but the work still awaits. In an hour or so I am off to lend a hand manning the Waipuna Hospice Christmas tree  at a supermarket in Tauranga, for a couple of hours.Will try and take a photo and explain tomorrow.( girls from our P & Q group help each year, and it has to be manned every day in December - we just do today. )
Have a busy weekend friends - how could you have any other sort at this time of the year.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Fabric Stars and Rabbits

Rabbits are cute and fluffy  - Yeah right. They are also pests in NZ." They," have been getting altogether too cheeky and when they scratched out some of my just up bean plants R started tucking the gun under his arm ready, everytime he walked to the mail box or along the paths. This morning 4 were frollicing in one spot - he got 3; so one is still at large ( along with lots more I'm sure ), but those ones won't be eating any more veges! ( Well done R ! ) He laid them out on the grass in a clear space so the hawks will spot  them from the air and get a good feed.
I have planted 6 Cavolo Nero plants, which I had read about and not grown before. It may be too warm now but I want to see if we like them. ( black cabbage) ( cross between silverbeet and cabbage I'd say )Apparently they have been grown in other parts of the world for some time. Has anyone tasted it?
While I was checking something out on Kiwiquilts website I saw this free pattern for making a fabric star. ( very easy )( just one page to download or just read it ) I thought as I had all my hexagon templates I should make one. So last night I had it stitched up in no time. I am very used to working with hexagons, one of my favourite shapes for making all sorts of mats etc. Thanks Mary! Do have a look at her site;  lots of great things there.

The only suggestion I would make is pick 2 fabrics that really contrast, so the star stands out.
Finally, orchard things. * We had lovely much needed rain! *
*The avocados are packed and we got 85.66% export ; 6.98% for local market NZ sales and 6.42% went for making oil. ( which if you haven't tasted is fabulous ) That is a great result. *Kiwifruit pollination is finished ; it is now a mass of tiny new fruit - more on that later.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Post 400.

That's what it said.   Post # 400.   I think I'm good for a few more!
Last evening was Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters Group AGM. We decorated the rooms with some Christmas quilts, hangings and  little trees. The Committe got given a lovely little potted rose each and I was lucky to win one of the several door prizes. ( A small plate and a FQ.) Lucky me; that's lovely.   WE had Show and Tell and Liz from the Ruel Foundation came to speak to us and Thank us for all the wee things the group made for them. WE also saw a short video she had.
 Later we shared a lovely finger food supper and I helped Denise check the total library for missing books, DVDs etc. Hardly any missing - good ladies. We managed to get enough Committee in the end but no one wanted to take Tuesday night meetings. I am still to do Fridays, but want to job share. It worked this year and just makes the work load a bit lighter. Still there will be plenty for me to will be a busy year looking after about 90 lovely ladies ( who don't all attend at one time I might add ).

I am going to do a bit more work on my fabric tree- I think it can be improved.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The fabric Tree.

After an early start I got rained off so came inside and finished my fabric Christmas Tree.
I like to finish things I start. It will be able to sit on the Coffee table.