Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Special Day.

"Happy Birthday,  J." I hope London puts on a sunny day for you and that you get to spend lunch hour outside and also this evening. Enjoy your special day!
Winter is really here in New Zealand judging by what I can pick in the garden. Yesterday evening I picked these delicate Camellia beauties to bring in for vases. It will hasten their demise with the fire going but they give me pleasure. ( I have many cammellia trees so lots more still outside ). Also in this bunch are a few paper whites and jonquils that are filling the rooms with their own perfume.  Some of my camellias are seedlings that just popped up so are crosses of already planted varieties. In the photo are : Cinnamon Cindy;Transnokoensis; Japonica frimbrita.

While I was gardening yesterday I planted these Vireya cuttings. They struck while in a vase inside...must have liked the warm water. I wonder if they will grow? ( I have had previous success growing vireya rhododendrons from cuttings )

This little pot of Lachenalia pendula are looking bright by the back door, but notice how all the rain has made the concrete green.

Also ready for picking/ eating on our property at the moment are Kiwifruit; Avocados; Sapotes and a tamarillo off a seedling tree.
We have been doing our bird survey. Have you remembered Leanne, it's any time this week ?( more about birds on another post )
Today I am making some Panettone in the bread maker - never made that before. The lemons on are trees got used. ( juice and zest ) They look so bright at the moment.( free too Pam! )

Molly, if you go to Loulee's blog she has a link to a site with the pattern for the etui.
I have been writing Newsletters - boring job for P and Q Group. Also decided on 3 motifs for # 20 ball. I plan to continue with my garden clean up of leaves and some weeding this afternoon. It's sunny; wet underfoot but windy - still good for the washing to get dry.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Working on 3 Projects.

This is why I made a  tassel. ( out of embroidery cotton ) On Friday at P and Q , N provided us with instructions and a pattern to make this small etui ( or needle/ sewing case ). I find sewing on Friday quite difficult because I have lots else to be thinking about ( taking the meeting; greeting folk , etc, etc. ) and there is lots of talk, which I love, so mine didn't get completed till yesterday. I will be making some more of these as they are just right for little gifts. I can see some ways to improve on this one with top stitching and better cotton matching...so it was a learning process but I like that. Thanks N, you come up with some lovely small items for us to make.

Felt embroidered ball # 20 is also progressing in the evenings while we watch TV.( keeps me awake ) I did have to sew a black part in the daylight I just could not see under artificial light.
 It is being made for Poppy ( who is a baby who lives near the sea ) so has a capital P; a pink scallop shell; a bucket and spade; a seagull; a John Dory fish; an apple and a sheep, so far. 5 more motifs to decide on and sew.
I have also been working on my Challenge. I can't show it or somone from our group might see it.( not that they would want to copy ) So far I think it is going to be okay but I have tried for something a bit different ( as you do ) and am not at all sure how it will look. Eventually you will see photos of it but not yet. I think a lot of it will end up being raw edged applique as it is very pictorial  and curved.

Today I have mowed the lawns ( leaves ) and made bread but now I will get a bit more sewing my challenge done.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Need some Red.

I needed some new gumboots. They are not easy to find any more, so I got some expensive ones from the garden centre. They are made in USA and have good grippy soles so I won't slip. ( I hope )

Bright red Nandina berries.
Outside today is dull and drizzly. I have had my walk with the umbrella and have lots to do inside where it's warm.
Yesterday R got hearing aids. ( they are so minute they aren't visible ) He mainly needs them for listening to TV . He can't hear the higher pitched sounds. The electric jug sounds really loud now and in the truck he can hear every rattle.
My main worry is no more muttering under my breathe....he might hear what I say now! 
I just used my new bargin book to see how to make a tassle for something I am making tomorrow. I'll show you when it's finished.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Is This Finished?

My Homes for Hope quilt top got completed to this stage today. But is it finished? It is large enough for a topper for a single bed but no overhang.

I have been in the garden planting my garlic.( shortest day ) While there I decided to pull out this pathetic effort at a row of carrots. They will form part of our dinner tonight .  I/ we really can't grow good carrots in this area- compared to Ohakune carrots that  we get so cheaply. They look better washed than they did in the ground.
 While outside I had a wee visitor. ( a New Zealand fantail )
 It came right up to my shoe and didn't seem to be able to fly more than a few feet. Is it a baby?...very small...or is something wrong with it?....I'm not sure. I hope it survives.
 Now another question. I had an email from Amy who is the CEO of  Globalchange.me asking me to make blocks for a quilt ( 12 by 12 inch  or 9.5 by 9.5 inch ) to raise money for their cause. Have a look at their website and also Suture for a Living who is supporting this.
 Did any of you get the same request? Is it a legitimate cause? Still considering if I will do this.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I Got a Bargin.

( I'll come to the bargin further down this post.) While we had a sunny day I planted out my new gift( thanks S ) hybrid tea rose called Wise Woman.( named to commemorate the midwifery centenary in NZ ) As it says on the label it is a happy healthy Matthews rose. The instruction label is all written in the first person and made me laugh, and even says" talk to me if you like, then I will be a very happy healthy Matthews rose."

Yesterday R had to go to Grace Hospital for most of the day and I had to be driver and carer. ( he's fine ). While he was there I went shopping in the closest suburb Greerton ( I don't often visit these shops ) as I wanted to find some new embroidery cotton ( floss ) and found a few fat quarters to use in my challenge and a mag. That was all planned; the visit to a clothing shop less so, but I have never seen such a lovely range of woollies ( jerseys jackets, pants etc. ) So have added a few items to my winter wardrobe. Even less planned was the above book purchase. The bargin. It was sitting on  sale stand on the pavement. After browing through it for a good 10 minutes I decided at NZ $20 it had to be mine. Is anyone familiar with this book? The info all seemed accurate and good. It may even end up in our P and Q group's library.I am reading it first then I'll decide. ( I am guessing it was originally NZ $60, at least. ) I think I was meant to discover it !
Later I went for a big walk around a new subdivision It was a really dull day but there was lots to look at. We need a new backdoor so I have been studying them.
This is the one I like best so far. We have only a small space so can't get a big double door.

I found it a second time in a noddy house.( if like me you had Noddy books as a child you will know his house made of kids building blocks had a front entrance just like this....why do they do that?)
This whole subdivision has bird names ( Kakpo Pl; Quail Close; Tui Ridge etc. )
which brings me to another subject. Birds. If you live in NZ you might like to help with this:

These 2 pages can be printed off from the website and either completed on line or by ordinary mail. There are last year's results and some birdsong recordings. It only takes one hour to do. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hundreds of Them.

Hundreds of fungi in just one spot. I guess we have had lots of rain that encouraged them.They are growing so close together they are on top of each other. ( not mushroom )

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Warmth of the Fire.

Reading At the Good Life of Laura the Mother cat having her 6 kittens in front of the new fire I started thinking of all the uses we have for the warmth of our fire. It is not the most picturesque fire but very, very functional. It is after all a farm house - not a show home.
Over the last few nights we have wheeled in the trolley with damp walnuts on to dry them out. If you look on the ledge to the right I have my bread rising. Sometimes I dry and air clothes along the  same ledge. We can boil water, make coffee and at a pinch ( power outage ) cook on it.  During winter months because we have lots of our own firewood we keep the fire going 24 hours a day. We have to take care not to have too high a temperature inside this big room. In this picture  you can see the corner of the table on the right where I cut out and assemble quilt parts. To the right of that again is my big bench where I sew. The lounge is to the left in this picture. So it warms a large area and is multi purpose.
The bread is now cooling on the bench beside me as I sew on applique shapes - the smell of freshly baked bread is rather nice.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

12 Hours is Enough.

Yesterday was our usual Friday P and Q Group day with an extension for Midnight Madness. No body stayed that late; we we never do. I left home shortly after 9 am and was back by 10 pm. 12 plus hours was long enough for me.
One of the activities for the day was to help put together the blocks for this years Raffle quilt for our Exhibition in September .It is all bright batiks and for once I think I will like the quilt for the raffle.( glad it is not another pale pastel, muted colours ) At the front is a pile of 4 matched parts for each block; behind are the 3 stages of construction. The blocks are then trimmed and assembled by just a couple of sewers.
In the morning at Show and tell one of our newer members had completed her first quilt. She started it last year while having treatment for breast cancer( how many times have I heard that lately ) and needed something to take her mind off herself so tried making a quilt. She did so well.
After we finished the raffle quilt blocks some of us started working on some fabric we had been donated. This time we are making quilts for the local Homes of Hope.
 Here is what I started.
Today with some of my own fabrics I am adding to this quilt.
As is our tradition we all had bought Pizza for dinner. They were delicious and we have a lot of fun together. By about 8 pm I had packed up my machine and sat and hand worked worked on felt embroidered ball # 20.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Walking, walking.

R had an appointment at Bay Audiology late this afternoon but also wanted to swap some mower blades at Barkes Corner and take some recycling to the R station. So we went in the truck. To prove that senior people can be fit I walked from Marleme St at Barkes Corner back up Cameron Road to 1st Ave. Judging by the time it took I think it was 7 or 7.5 kilometres. I was rugged up as it is cold today but was overdressed by the time I got there. I had my camera in my pocket. Theses are 3 of the 4 most interesting things I saw.

A maori gateway into the Gate Pa Church.

A crane lifting materials for renovations on the Tauranga Hospital.
Late afternoon sun on the Hoop Pine in Hillsdene ( Tauranga Boys College Grounds. )
The 4th thing I wasn't quick enough to snap. A man on a small wheeled bike arrangement being towed by 2 dogs ( huskies ? ) at high speed .

Monday, June 07, 2010


( Not Mt. Ruapehu but my dessert - Lemon baked Alaska. I couldn't eat it all - too sweet and too big )
Yesterday we travelled down to Taupo as planned. The weather was as awful as fore casted.This was the only photo I took of the scenery as it was so dull and wet - Lake Taupo at it's dreariest.
Inside it didn't matter we had a lovely family lunch; they let us sit there for 3 hours which was most accommodating of them - they weren't busy!
It was a multiple Birthday celebration really. I showed you what I had got for my sister who is 3 years my senior  - her birthday is on June 18. Mine is today ( I get a National Holiday ) and my sister's partner D, was about 10 days  ago; he was the same age as me. My niece and her husband and 2 lovely girls 5 and 8 were there too.  So a good opportunity to exchange gift and produce. We took Avocados and Kiwifruit for their 2 families and were given some home grown Waygu beef and freshly caught Hapuka ( Groper )( fish ).
We travelled home via Hamilton and spent a couple of hours at elder son and his partner's place where he cooked us dinner. R drove all the way through wet conditions - we saw 10 traffic officers cars (one even guarding a boat on a trailer with a flat tyre for someone*  )and I am pleased to say we saw no dangerous driving.
I have been very spoilt with lots a lovely gifts and cards and a funny email message from a former school friend with whom I correspond from time to time he wrote this:
"Greetings and felicitations on your Birthday.A national holiday on which to celebrate. Not only a national holiday but a fortnightly payment deposited to your bank account by the rest of us appreciative taxpayers. I do wish you abundant Good health and Great joy. Kind Regards etc."
 I had a good laugh.    Today I smell of new perfume, have 4 new books to read; some fabric to admire and some assorted small items to use. It all certainly is helping easing my way into - well being a slightly older person. The sun is even trying to shine and dry up the 49 mls more rain we got. 

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Cards and Gifts.

This is the necklace I bought for my sister. I liked it because it is quite understated when on; looks great over black and is not too long. For an older person not too flashy is nice. Hope she likes it.
While shopping in that particular shop I found some cards I really liked, so stocked up. They are by 2 artists living in NZ. One card is for my sister's partner who has just been on a fishing trip in the Sounds. The card shows a typical bloke with 2 big fish he has just caught, very simply drawn. It was by Nick Fedaeff. ( blog in Russian but art good )
The other cards are by Mike Mayhew and I love his stylized work, of NZ scenes.

Friday, June 04, 2010

The Colour Red.

I felt compelled to take this photo of my rubber plant. This bud covering will fall off shortly as the new top leaf emerges.
Now dear readers when I asked for helpful suggestions for a birthday gift you let me down...not one bit of advice.......well I shopped anyway...didn't really have an option. Usually I have to post gifts to my sister as we live 5 plus hours apart, so some things are not suitable. Well this time can be different as we are meeting up half way this year for lunch on Sunday at Taupo. My niece and her hubby and 2 little girls just happen to be staying the weekend there too so we will all have lunch together. ( the weather fiorecast is foul ). My sister always gives gifts that have multiple parts( she just can't help herself ) I really prefer one good item. I had got her a nice necklace ( photo tomorrow ) but when I saw this red potted begonia I just had to get it for her. I wish it was staying at my house.

Kiwicarole , yes it was me having difficulty making scones to my satisfaction a while ago....I now suspect that batch of flour may have played a part. In my bread making book I read good advice about flour,how  temperature effects it etc when making bread ( which I do well ) and I think it probably applies to scones too. The scones made with  cream and lemonade do indeed freeze well - I just thawed one for my afternoon tea by zapping it for 40 seconds in the microwave and it was as good as freshly made.
Thimbleanna, yes you read correctly. My Driver's Licence is for 10 years - cost NZ $44.30. So that works out at NZ $4.43 a year so that is fine by me. When I am really old the time it is issued for will be reduced and medical test may be needed....but not yet thank goodness.
We have a 3 day weekend here in New Zealand starting tomorrow so Kiwis have a great Queen's Birthday weekend. (if you are out driving, be very careful - we have been warned that speed limits will have nil tolerance .

Thursday, June 03, 2010

One Task Completed.

Today the Sunshine is back.
Compared with some other parts of the country we are lucky. No major rain/ flood damage ( this year! ).
My felt embroidered ball # 19 is finished.

Tonight I will start #20. So that is half my order done.
Some days not a lot seems to get accomplished, BUT today is not one of those. I have been to the city and renewed my drivers licence for another 10 years. I now need to wear my glasses when driving but I had decided that for myself some time ago. I've been to the supermarket and now I am off outside to soak up some Vitamin D.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Books and Answers.

Answers first. The scones had 4 cups of selfraising flour ; I  x 300 ml bottle of cream and enough lemonade to mix to the right consistency. ( a small can or bottle maybe, but as I don't keep those in the house, I poured out of an opened large bottle )  I put in several handfuls of sultanas but dates would be fine .( or plain )  I barely mixed the dough (  quite wet ) and just dropped spoonful lots onto the baking tray, and put into a very hot oven 220 degrees C. ( about 12 minutes ) ( don't over mix and stretch the gluten )
I watched and got scone baking tips from Camp Mother when we went at Retreat, a few weeks ago. She has lots of different recipes ( does catering ) but said if I wanted to freeze them this was the best recipe to use. She also said she soak dates before putting them in so they are not hard.
I have just finished reading this book. A kids' book really, but I enjoyed it. It is written by a local Tauranga ( NZ ), author. ( Phyllis Johnston ) I have met her and back when I had younger kids and was teaching I went to a couple of her book launches. She was good at coming to the classroom and telling and enthusing kids about reading and writing.  I found this copy of the book at the Used Book fair at Easter and as I didn't own it thought I needed to, as I have copies of her other 5 books ( some signed ) They are delightful stories of life in NZ in the last 100 years and are based on her own family. This was about her mother as a teenager living in Hamilton and Piopio. Some fictitious characters are added to make the story but her own family members have told the stories her books are based on. I would heartily recommend them to good readers of about 11 upwards. ( great for reading aloud to kids or classes too. )
We have had even  more rain. During fine spells I have weeded some of R's vege garden cause the weeds were almost knee high. A row of carrots I planted are sparce and struggling ( we don't grow carrots well here ). A row of Spring onions are looking bonny and we are using them. I pulled out the last row of beans and the last 2 courgettes - the rain did them in.The capsicums are still colouring up and the silverbeet is great - using lots of that. R pulled out the tomtoes last weekend and although they still had tomatoes on them disease was getting into them and to protect the soil below it was better to pull them out now. I am getting a spot prepared for a few garlic saved from my last small crop. R uses lots of it when cooking. I like just a hint. Apparently it takes about 3 years for the size of self saved garlic to be really large.
 I have weeded my small strawberry patch and have 4 replacemnets to add to the runners that rooted. Some of the older plants should probably go.
 The machine quilting on the butterfly quilt is making progress. I am very pleased with it so far. I found a new trick. As I was having trouble seeing the small butterfly outline I had drawn on with chalk I cut the shape out of some sticky backed white paper, and stuck those on as a guide. If carefully removed they can be used again and again and are so easy to see. It's the same idea as using masking tape to do long straight rows of quilting.
Sometime between now and the weekend I have to buy a Birthday gift for my only sister and don't know what to get as she has everything she needs but is very much into gifts....so I will have to try and be original...... not easy after all these years! ( any original or unusual suggestions gratefully accepted )