Sunday, March 28, 2010

Now in Colour.

Here is the feature panel for the centre of the Butterfly quilt. For someone who doesn't usually use pink this was a big leap - but I like my "happy flowers." Now I need to add butterflies to the top part of the panel. ( and probably escaping out into other areas around the quilt. )
I think the butterflies  may be the aqua blue and white fabric already used. I shall play around till I'm happy. I think I am headed in a whole new direction with drawing with thread.
 (What do you think Tracey ? )

Saturday, March 27, 2010

P and Q Group.

Yesterday we had a really successful day at P and Q group. About 40 ladies were there some for only part of the time. Where we meet is not really condusive to taking good photos of work or to seating everyone so they  can see easily. Yesterday I set the tables and chairs differently which helped ( although we were in front of an exit that is supposed to be kept clear ) for watching a demonstration and Show and Tell and Quilt Journeys. When we are all just working in groups around tables the seating is fine. When we all need to set up machines we have to have a different arrangement again...but guess you all have similar difficulties with your groups. Here you can see quite a lot of my friends watching a demonstration.
You can see on the walls all the things that get in the background of photos plus about 6 doors, a clock and a fire extinguisher. Most of the time that doesn't matter and we hang some things over the top if they have sleeves or's really only annoying for taking photos.
The Quilt Journeys we have been having where a members tells her journey since she started quilting ( or sewing ) and shows us some of the quilts; hangings and other treasures she has made, are being really successful and an idea other groups might like to try. It is much better than just writing about it because we get to see the actual objects. Yesterday N told us her journey and showed her first quilt made back in 1970! She has been prolific and does beautiful work.
I just have to show you this next photo..B made this  "The Fish Wife," at a 2 day class at Cottage Flair with NZ  tutor Jill Maas. Isn't it hilarious. The fabric used for the 4 different types of fish were just right.Her hair was combed out chenille. Bev was rightly proud of her effort and Jill's classes always have good results.
Thanks for the useful comments about eyes for my butterflies, Jennifer &  Meggie& Molly. Tracey I am thinking what if the paper pattern looks better than the coloured fabrics for my centre panel - sew on the paper??? or do it all in white fabric with black outlines? I hope to find out during the weekend.
Bubble I give quilts to family and charity things and as presents. I have mostly only sold smaller things like aprons and my felt balls....but if I keep on sewing soon I may have too many ( haha ) too kept and may wish to part with some. One can never really charge what quilts are worth!  
Greetings to new readers here and thanks for your email and kind comments Helen in Canada and Mama Bear. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Butterfly Quilt.

Today we had a little bit of much needed rain ( 10mls ) and some thunder. We are hoping for more over night and tomorrow.  Rain that is - not thunder.  So I sewed!
This shows me drawing out a design for the middle panel on my butterfly quilt; which I am designing as I go along - sort of.  There will be more leaves, flowers and butterflies in this .The panel is long and skinny so needs careful balancing. I'm still fiddling with it.  This panel sits in the middle of this - seen here on the floor.( without borders just corner stones.)

This is using those butterfly charm squares Loulee. The butterflies in this part are very stylized so I could place a square in the middle of each one.( it is also seen  upside down here.)

This is what the haberdashery was for. Butterflies' abdomen! The green is good, the white and cream are okay the pink is the wrong pink so may not get used....and those expensive buttons for eyes look strange and too black so they may not get used either. The butterflies seen here are still works in progress and will get more detail. So Gudrun that's what I'm sewing.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Phew , what a busy week. Today I had to get in supplies as I hadn't got there during the week , so while heading towatds the city I thought I would pop in and get some cotton ribbon ( tape ) and some tiny buttons for what I am working on. I had checked out what I had in the cupboard and it wasn't quite what I wanted so decided to buy . After searching the extensive rows of ribbons I choose a few I thought would work then decided to get some of those very, very tiny buttons for eyes.
 I should have asked how much they were I guess but was gobsmacked to discover when I got home and read the docket that I had paid 60 cents each for those little buttons. Gosh! I probably could have come up with a cheaper option. Hope they look good where I use them. ( is that the normal price....or did I get ripped off ? )
The rest of the day is to be spent catching up with correspondence and maybe some sewing. Also watering if none of the clouds bring us's getting so dry!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Record and Recipe.

The Avocado picking has just finished! ( 4 pm ) We set a record for the number of bins we have ever picked in one season. ( you remember we did our first pick in November and these are the fruit that were left on the trees to get bigger. ) So that is all one crop. Next season's little fruit are also hanging on the trees. We got 10 bins more than our previous best ( about 3 tonnes  more ). So we are thrilled. We have never had such great pickers ( in their hydraladas ) friendly, hard working,  careful with the fruit and the trees and the next crop of little fruit. Do you know why....they are all avocado growers themselves. Husbands and wives or partners - both able to drive the hydralads. ( Well done ladies !) We have left some on the trees for our own use too.( possums get lost! )
 A storm is coming ( according to the forecast ) so I've been out picking all the tomatoes, courgettes etc. ( guess what is happening here tomorrow ! )
Look at these little beauties.

Little year pear tomatoes - they glow with goodness and sunshine.

I have already given some tomatoes away to the pickers. ( less to do tomorrow )  I have just made a Courgette Bake; it smells so good. Recipe below.
Courgette Bake.

( uncooked )

500 grams of grated courgette (  zucchini );         1 cup grated tasty cheese ;
1 onion finely chopped ( fry or cook 3 mins in the microwave );   1 cup SR flour
  4 beaten eggs;   seasoning  (s & p or thai spice );  1/4 cup chopped parsley 

 How : set oven to 200 degrees C.  Grease dish.   Grate ingredients and mix all in a large bowl. Make sure flour is mixed in. Spoon into a large flat oven proof dish. Smooth out. I added a little extra cheese on the top. Bake for 30  or 40 minutes  till lightly browned and firm to touch. ( eat hot, warm or cold )

This same recipe works with grated carrot or a mix of carrots and courgettes.( probably any gratable tasy vege ) the carrot makes it sweeter and a little drier. Chopped cooked bacon or ham could be added. Rice flour or other could be used instead of flour.   As with any good recipe make it your starting point to experiment.   Enjoy.     Here it is cooked already!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Still Picking.

Still picking avocados today. 16 bins went to the packhouse last evening; here they are being loaded onto 2 small trucks.

I took a few to weigh. As you can see that is heavy! ( 424 grams )

This next photo is for you Meggie. Do you see who has spent all day here  - hiding in the garden;  browsing the herb garden for rocket and mizuna; looking ashamed cause he now has a bare rear except for the last 2 long feathers to fall out. It is windy and I think he is feeling the cold chill you know where! Maybe he is just supervising and counting the fruit bins. 8 at lunch time .( so that is 24 so far.)

Between jobs I am sewing. it is all just spread on the work table.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Avocados and Pincushions.

My yoyo pincushion is finished. I stuffed it with scraps of wool batting and pins and needles just glide into it which is important for keeping points sharp. ( I don't care for yoyos but made them because that is what this pattern required. If I make another I think I will design some leaves rather than those petals.
Today we are picking avocados. This pick unfortunately is only local market ( New Zealand ) which is a crying shame as the fruit is beautiful...but lucky for the local shops and customers. It may end up making as much for us as the export crop did earlier.( here's hoping ) My job today is easy. As we do not need ground pickers ( me usually  ) the 3 hydraladas are picking the high up fruit and R is transporting the empty and full bins across to the avocado blocks (some distance away ) and back to the house. Once  the fruit has  been picked it must be kept out of the sun, so we stack the bins up in the shed ( having taken the truck and 2 tractors out ) till the end of theday when all the full bins will be taken by truck up to the packhouse.  My job is too check the bins and take out anything not suitable( damaged or too small or possum bitten )and level the top of the bin so none is sticking up to get damaged when the bins are stacked on top of each other on the truck. I wear gloves to not damage the skins.
( just to tempt you all!)
R stacking bins.
So far 6 full ones are in the shed...there will be more. We are very pleased with the 3 blokes with their hydraladas. ( better than the last couple of times...we will try and get these men next time ) .
I need to get busy now;  more on final tallies tomorrow.
 Our broad band is so slow at the moment something's wrong tho telecom says their isn't! 
 ( I'll save you some avos Laurie ).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hanging on the Wall.

This may not be it's home but for photo purposes the completed Agapanthus wall hanging is here in full view as we walk by.
I am pleased with the finished project which just requires ( and will get ) a label on the back. ( it is actually brighter than the photos show; perhaps I should take it outside for a photo shoot.)
Yesterday I tried to post but the internet was playing up - possibly due to high winds....anyway I have it back today.
Why are all these ladies so busy?
We had a wonderfully busy day at P and Q on Friday. N had templates for us all to make wee pincushions. About 30 of the ladies all made them. In every colour ...all cute. ( see a large cardboard circle on the table - that is the middle of the pincushion which gets gathered up and stuffed.) 
This is mine half finished...showing the base. I might get it done today.
Other things.
*Thankyou for your comments; I know I am not alone missing grown up kids.
* He is 36 Gudrun and has been in UK 9 years so really I am well used to it. His partner V is 30 and has been there 4 years .( she's a Kiwi too! )
* Julieq...yes, I do keep busy  and it helps; you are right. 
* Thanks Thimleanna.
*Sal the park with the ducks is the swamp just across the main road from 195 -  S and M's place . I think you looked at a house section in the area just above this. You would certainly notice some changes around Tauranga.

This plump pregnant mantis was on the wall directly above my head when I woke up...I don't know where she thought she was going to make an egg raft but I quickly took her to the herb garden and suggested that wall might be a better choice.( cute eh? )

I found this on the orchard floor on Thursday. I tried putting it back up in the vine but don't know if the mother bird will return. It is so finely woven; look at the back of it .

Tomorrow we do the final pickof this season's avocados- just for local market sales as the export season has closed.The bins and hyraladas are here ready.
Now I need to go and process some veges. Excess tomatoes, beans and courgettes. I was thrilled to be able to swap some with a neighbor for eggs.
Autumn is really setting in the nights are cooler ( I can sleep better )and the daylight hours noticably shorter.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Trying to keep My Chin Up.

It was great while it lasted but the young ones have left to make their way up to Auckland to fly out Saturday. We have had a happy, fun, sunny 10 days with them and are so sad to say good bye, as they go back to the UK. BUT we have made plans....more of that in the future. So it is back to mundane routines and work around here which for me started with lawn mowing before breakfast to beat the heat.( mainy seed heads on the grass needed removing before they seed down and a general tidy up )The washings all done just the spare bed to remake.

The silverbeet is very healthy at the moment and was yummy as part of last night's dinner.
The quilting is making progress but is taking ages. About 2 thirds done now.
Some random photos taken in the last few days.

Bumble bee on Sedum.

Gallardia looking lovely

Rosehips mean it's Autumn.( on Complicata rose )

I visited these tame water birds when I had a walk on the way back from the supermarket.
D and N if you are reading an email with photos will be there soon.
Today I am a Mum trying to be brave, but also a mum very, very thankful that my J has found such a lovely partner to live with , love  and travel with in the future.( they intend returning to NZ at the end of 2011 ) After 2 years they are still happy to be together, so long may it last for them ( sniff sniff )

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Fabulous Weather.

Plenty has been happening around here with J and V home...the one constant has been the amazing sunny ( read as too hot yesterday ) weather. BOP is excelling itself. We have walked around the Mount and along Tuapiro Point beach and up in the busy two secluded.

They have been out visiting and doing things with other friends and family while we catch up here. We have had lots of games of Scrabble and Bobble in the evenings...they are both very good and at the moment are probably ahead on score - lots of fun. The olds challenging 2 very smart young things!
Today R is helping me make a huge batch of tomato sauce...the young ones are on a picnic. Rain is predicted for next week and we know that will ruin the as we didn't grow them to waste, sauce it is.
Fabulous colur !
This is stage 1.   Then I have sieved it and am reboiling it to thicken it at the moment. As we skinned and cored the tomatoes what I have sieved out is being kept to put into winter casseroles or a tart even ( tastes yummy )
Since I am talking about tomato sauce these echinacea are called tomato soup -  it's just the right name .....and a new variety.

They are more orange than the photo makes them.
This evening we are all going to see the film Alice in Wonderland in 3D.
There has been a little progress with the Agapanthus wall hanging...I got a sore neck and I think quilting this is to blame....I'm pleased with it though and the end is in sight.

Two Answers:
* Molly the felt ball is slightly smaller then the clutch ball.
* Gudrun - no the waterlilies have no smell ( that's a shame ).

I'm off to Bottle now. ( I am behind reading your blogs but will catch up soon. )

Monday, March 01, 2010

Family Time.

J and V arriving at 7.50 pm on Friday evening, on a Bombadier Q300. The sky was prettier than it looks in the photo.
Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day in BOP we had 19 friends and family here. 9 young ones ( aged 5 to 16 ); 8 were boys! They played ball games, swing ball, went on walks of exploration and ended up playing board games on the carpet. All were happy and well behaved.
I nearly forgot to mention a yummy treat I was given as a gift by J and V.  I hadn't had them before. They know their Mum's tastes..... only really dark chocolate and sharp citrus, yes! I did share and still have some left.....making them last! ( they look like a sea creature of some sort in the picture )
I added this final embellishment ( a skink ) and have done a bit more quilting on the top half - mostly successfully I more small area of reverse sewing....I want this right.
We are still cleaning up after yesterday; the young ones have gone into the city then later we are all going to walk around the Mt. ( Mauou - Mt Maunganui ).