Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Any Fine Day Now.

 The Eurofins fruit sample collector has been this morning and taken our 2nd 100 kiwifruit sample to test for dry matter. The higher the dry matter the more the grower gets paid. Whichever is the best result is the one that is used. ( we get one free sample and pay for any more we request )  The fruit sample gets taken back to the Katikati office where it is cut and dried to get the test results. That takes about 24 + hours.
 We have been told that we are the next orchard after the one they are picking at now, so tomorrow or Friday if it stays fine. A cleanup spray has to be applied and dry before picking starts.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Quilting Retreat.

Yesterday I spent the day ( a very cold one ) with some of my P and Q friends at Retreat. Some ladies stayed over Friday and Saturday night. About half like me just went for all day Saturday. I hope they were warm last night as it was our coldest so far this year.
 8 ladies made a quick jelly roll quilt. All finished their tops in the day.

 A pattern is not really required. Just join all your strips together across the narrow 2.5" ends. Either diagonally or straight. This makes a very long continuous 2.5" strip of fabric. ( One or 2 jelly rolls could be used.or you could cut your own lengths from scraps. )Some ladies added in a 2.5 " square of another bright fabric, just every now and then. You then take the 2 ends and lay the strips side by side and join down a very long seam. This is repeated cutting at the end each time.

The rest of the ladies worked on their own projects . Here are some of them having a tea break.

AM asked all the club members ( about 85 ) to make one or more of these 12.5" wonky blocks with a solid coloured square in the corner. She got the idea from a  tutorial on The Quilter's table  site. 
 Today I set to and made mine.
 All the blocks to be plain white and a black patterned with a coloured square.
 The blocks will be joined to make several quilts.
 I finished Grandson beanie and have seen pics of him wearing it .
 We are meant to be picking our kiwifruit later this coming week.

Sunday, May 07, 2017


I've been out foraging......... Well that's not strictly true as it was all on our own property and we planted the respective trees. Anyway I was well pleased to find the last few Avocados had dropped to the ground and were still usable. ( the birds had been into lots of others ) 
 The first sapotes ( custard apples ) looked ready enough to pick a few ( that's the green round ones at the back )
 The persimmons are now colouring up and I know the birds and wasps are into them so I picked some that will ripen inside.
 We are getting this bowl full of feijoas ( pineapple guavas to my Oz friends ) every 3 days . They are strange that 2 months ago I would have said we will get 50 total, but as they get larger and begin to fall there is a never ending stream of them ( I'm not complaining ).
 Of course the kiwifruit will be ready to pick when it's our turn - hopefully with in the next 2 weeks.

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.)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Very Talented Artist.

At Tauranga Patchwork and Quilter's Group on Friday one of our newer members Lois Parish-Evans showed and told us of her," ART QUILT JOURNEY."

 We have these talks from time to time; it is like a one person Show and Tell.
 We do not have a very suitable display space and had 49 ladies crammed into our room so my photos are not wonderful.
 If you have the time go to Lois's Website and look at the photos there. Look under Portfolio - Art Quilts to see her 2010 commission of 4 very large wall hangings she made for the Newcastle Calvary Mater Hospital Chapel. ( Australia ) You can also access Lois's Blog from the site.
 Here M is helping her show us the cloak that went over the Wedding dress she entered in the Wedding section of the World of Wearable Arts.(WOW )
 This Kangaroo paw inspired piece has just returned home to her after travelling the world.( see her blog ) 
 On a wall hanging of Australian flowers this orchid is a thread painting.
 This sea wall hanging has raw edge quilted applique; painting; coloured pencil work and thread painting. 
 Personally I was very impressed with her art work- the sketches and designs that happened before any fabric came into play.
Please go to her website and read her story and see her lifetime of creative work.
  As a group we are very lucky to have such a talented person in our midst. Australia has not lost her completely she has an exhibition happening there later this year - see her site.
 Thanks Lois!

 Yesterday we ate the first corncobs for the season. Delicious. As Grandson was not here to help me I had to pick and eat the few ripe strawberries. They are just finishing for the Summer . Tomatoes ( large and small ) , courgettes, beans and  aubergine  are all producing well.The corn and capsicum are just starting. My chillies are beginning to turn from green to red.
 All the glorious rain gave growing things a boost .

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Plenty of Much Needed Rain.

 When the bird bath in the garden fills and overflows with rain it saves us a job.
 Over the last 3 days and nights we have had 5.5" of much needed rain. Now as the sun is back out it is a bit sauna like as it evaporates off again.

 Son and DIL and Grandson have been to visit for 2 nights. His Dad pulled him around the garden on the old red trolley and they see all sorts.
 Luckily son pulled his phone out for this next shot when a Monarch butterfly landed on the bent over by the rain, head of the tiger lily.
 Grandson takes a keen interest in birds, butterflies and bees. Bee now being one of his first words.along with ball so "B" must be an easy sound to make. 

 The only sewing I have done in the last few days was adding a lower case "e" to my quilted letter collection.

 I happen to think ( as a ex teacher ) that a little person should learn to recognise his name ( when a bit older ) and write his name using a capital at the beginning and lower case letters for the rest.  I will continue to make more indestructible 6" fabric letter for play at a later stage.
 I have quite a bag full already which spell Happy Christmas and several other words.

Now I'm off for a walk in the sunshine.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Summer is Here.

Finally hotter days have arrived. Over our long weekend I spent hours tending young plants in the garden keeping the water up to them and delighting in the growth.
This is the first of 4 little tomato plants  I grew from the New World give away last year. I first showed photos of "my little garden , "pots back on a blog on September 14th.
 Usually we grow our tomatoes from bought plants - and R has done that again this year in the fenced garden but has encountered rot problems. These wee plants of mine ( now 5' tall )  are in the vege garden beside the house and are looking bonny. This is the first truss ( of many ) to start to ripen. I do hope they taste good. - I'll let you know. Many of the other little plants/ pots are long since consumed . Every single one performed - that is amazing.

 In other parts of the flower garden there are some bright spots. Look at the face of this dahlia called Arabian Nights - it's close to black and velvety.
 A group of yellow gerbras are feeling the heat.and the hosta which prefers shade has sunburn but it still grows happily.
 On Monday which was a holiday here ,I was determined to have some time out so I spent all afternoon sitting outside in the shade of the gazebo and the mighty oak tree. 
A cooling breeze wafted through from time to time. I wasn't just sitting there sewing hexagons I was watering the garden at the same time. I devised a timing  system. Each time I got to a mitred corner I hopped up and moved the hose along. 4 hexagons with 6 corners each meant I covered quite a bit of ground literally! 

 On Saturday evening I went to the 80th Birthday dinner of one of my older quilting Buddies. Her family ( from Whangerei ) had got this cake made and iced with a quilting theme. A bit bright but quite clever. Very nice chocolate mud cake inside.

 While on food . Chooky Blue here is the recipe  as I 1st received it.
( I couldn't make your email work ) 

 You should be able to Rt. click on it and send it to your device. Use it as a starting point. I did it frying the spice and curry at the beginning which is how I normally would do it. and didn't bother with the milk.
 Now a bit of a rave.
 I had to get myself a new indoor watering can as I gave my old blue plastic one to grandson because he loved it so..
 I couldn't get one the same as they had sold out ( but I will when they get some more ) as this one IS NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE!
It is called A gardener's Delight ( not this gardener ). made for Bell and Curfew in UK but manufactured in China.
 Care instructions say keep out of sunlight - done that. Empty when not in use - well I tried but the stupid design means the lip of the long spout  which sticks out inside the can prevents the last of the water from being able to get out of the can. Even when it is tipped upside down and shaken it is quite difficult. It is supposed to be kept dry inside to prevent rusting! 
 Already after 1 month 's use the green powder coating is cracking.
 What a BAD design. NOT fit for purpose in my opinion. I would warn anyone else against purchasing one. I shall also be passing on my concern to the local Palmers where I bought it. It wasn't cheap!