Friday, September 29, 2006

From My Window.

What a sight to wake up to!
In the garden outside my bedroom window this beautiful 11 year old Viburnum ( plicatum tomentosa) is at its glorious best.

I have several different varieties but this one is always the first to flower. The bees are in Heaven. The yellow ranunculas in another garden bed are also a delight. The kiwifruit vines are now getting little green leaves so another season begins.

Score for the I Spy Hexagons is 118 so far.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What Do You Want for Dinner?

"What do you want / fancy for dinner?" is often the cry around here. I enjoy cooking but often find deciding what to have the most difficult part. " Go and look in the freezer is usually the next thing said. After getting the reply, lamb chops, last night, I thought I know just the thing to go with those. I went into the garden and tickled ( felt around in the dirt without digging )those potatoes that might be ready. Too my surprise they were huge! So DH dug the first couple of roots. In another part of the garden ( a big tub actually ) there was a head of broccoli just ready to pick.
So a simple meal was made with steamed new potatoes with mint of course (from the herb garden) some steamed carrots, the broccoli and little lamb chops fried in a smear of olive oil surrounded by onion rings.
Individually we can't do a lot to save the planet but growing some of our own veges and nurturing the soil ( with compost )is a small way to try. We certainly know that the veges couldn't have been fresher or more natural; as it is Spring the bugs that come with Summer have not yet arrived so veges are pest free.
The photo shows Heather variety potatoes and broccoli.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

So Much to See and Do.

Oh gosh, I'm getting all behind with what I want to say.
Last Friday a carload of 5 crafty, quilty ladies from around here went across to Hamilton the Claudelands Events Centre to the National Craft and Quilt Fair. The youngest one drove her husband's big car and we did the usual stop in Cambridge to have a coffee so we could hit the ground running on arrival at the fair.
There were 3 exhibitions of quilts. NZ ones, Australian ones and Japanese ones.
The photos are of Best in Show of the NZ ones.( Quilts Aotearoa had 120 quilts) Each circle had swirled handpainting on the fabric with hand work embellishments. Old coins were tied to it. I don't think the photos do it justice.
Also on display were the Best of Australia Quilts- the best in each state during 2005.(many of you in Oz will have seen these works on display or in magazines.)
The Japanese quilts ( 50 ) which were not allowed to be photographed , were amazingly varied. It was the first time they had been shown outside Japan, so we were priviledged to see them. There were a few traditional hand dyed and woven cloth ; lots of dark blue. There were also every other type of quilt imaginable - some with influence from the US, others with modern and abstract features which I really liked. Even a Japanese version of Crazy Patch. I looked at the quilts twice during the day; first and last. ( still didn't take them all in)

In between of course was some retail therapy. I arrived with a list of 4 things and went home with 3 of it kept me focused. Several other bloggers had recommended the book "Collaborative Quilting," by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marsden which I purchased after seeing it and have read half of it already. I found plastic hexagons ( had to get 2 size packs) to use on my I Spy Hexagons....I now have 15 different sizes, starting at 1" going up in 1/2 inch sizes. I'll never wear those out! I found more fat quarters of fabric for that quilt too....I tried to select colours I needed and ones that had several objects to fussy cut on the one fabric. The thing I couldn't find was more of my backing fabric ( cause I want to make it bigger )....but selected 2 other star on black background that I will intersperse may even prove to be a good look.

The count is now over 100 finished hexagons and still going strong!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Still More Quilts.

Here are some more of the quilts exhibited at our recent Show.

The colours in the Grandmothers Garden quilt didn't do it but Yoshie's quilting is beautiful.

The quilt with the scalloped edge is by my friend Denise and was the first quilt she had ever entered in a show. She had wanted to join a Patchwork and Quilting group but it wasn't till after I had been going for a while she was brave enough to join. Even now she only goes if she knows for sure I will be there. I must be a different personality type cause I wanted to go especially to meet some new quilters and extend the number of interesting people I know. I guess we are all as different as our quilts!!! That's fairly diverse.

( Please note these quilts were not made by me.) That will be all I am showing and telling about Our Exhibition as I have been to another once since then. Busy Busy.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Wall Hangings.

The top pic shows the articles made from the fabric challenge. Some were extremely innovative. Only 9 entries - that was disappointing.
The wall hanging of the flowers was done by reverse applique using just one fabric. Very effective .

Beethoven used a selection of music fabrics ( pre printing), and would be useful for displaying in a music room or similar.

The other 2 funny wall hangings were very cleverly done with the addition of loads of embellishments...real fishing line , sinkers and hooks. The 2 dear friends had real jewels and feathers and buttons.( note their stockings ) These 2 had great appeal especially to the children that viewed them.
The person who made these 2 works plus one other large quilt caused much discussion and controversy. She comes to our group once a year and pays a sub just to be able to exhibit her work at the Annual Show. This has got some members in a lather. I think there will be some new rules a the next AGM. Does this happen in other groups ??? and what do you think / do about it? Does it matter? ( there was only viewers' choice by way of judging but this also carried a monetary prize. ) Most of us entered quilts to make up the show and were happy to do so. Many of us would not enter a judged show.

The other laughable thing that happened of the members who also runs a Quilting Business, was coming and going, over the 3 days of the show, putting votes in on her own quilt that she wanted to win. That's getting a bit desperate! I'm a bit new to all this sort of thing so just quietly laughed and thought I would wait and see what happened about it all. Maybe all groups ( 120 members in ours ) have their little moments!

Please note all the work photographed here today, is by other people ; ( members of the group I belong to ) not me! ( I'm just sharing it with you) Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Quilts A Plenty.

A selection of the 108 quilts and wall hangings our members had on display. I can't show all of them, just some I liked.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Guest Exhibitor.

At our ( Tauranga Patchwork & Quilters Group) Exhibition over the weekend one of our own members was the Guest. Gladys Jones does exceptional and varied work. She displayed work other than quilts ( beading, bags ) .The photos show her display and I have taken closer shots of some items. Everything here is her work.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

230 Year Old Quilt.

Now isn't this special. On display at Our Exhibition is this incredibly old quilt...230 years old ...from the American Civil War era. It's owner who lives nearby at Mt.Maunganui generously lent it to us to display. It is faded most on the top but one photo of a side part with the most colour left in it shows what colours it might originally been. Click on the photo to enlarge it to see the handquilting detail. It was also hand pieced. What a privilege to see this. ( I also got to spread it out on the table and dust cover it at night.)
230 years old; now there's a thought!!!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Phew !

Quilts, quilts, quilts. I'm dreaming quilts. I'm surrounded by them, but the Exhibition our P & Q group is having is going well. This is a photos of the Raffle prize. The 4 patch squares on it were made by several members including me ( in colours I never use ) , the applique was done by another member and 2 more put it all together and another one who does professional quilting did that part. Yesterday was a challenge hanging all the quilts; you'll all know about that ( some just don't hang do they?) 108 entires plus the fabric challenge, plus a Guest Exhibitor who was from our own club this time.
Today I've made coffee and tea; spent 2.5 hours on the door, and even had a turn with the white gloves on.( hehe.) I must be really scary as I didn't need to tell anyone to stop touching I just walked towards them and they pulled back.
I start the day on Sales Table tomorrow so need to get to bed...did fit in a little retail therapy during some break time today....only fabric for my Eye Spy quilts....well I didn't have those ones did I! Very happy day all in all. But tiring Phew!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I Can Never Resist.

Every year it is the same. I think I have got lots of photos of the Awanui Flowering Cherries growing on the driveway and every time I end up taking a new set of photos. Every year they are a little larger of course.The photos show them from both ends of the drive coming and going. If you look really closely you may see bees in the enlarged shot, they were really humming! Their cherry beauty is short lived so we enjoy them while we can. Wind or rain (or both) is surely just around the corner waiting to mar their looks.
Today I have been putting the hanging strips on my quilts for the Exhibition this weekend. Our group has an interesting way of doing this. Instead of putting a sleeve along the top of each quilt we make removable 2" wide strips of fabric that has the fluffy side of velcro sewn on to it. These strips are then firmly safety pinned to the top of the quilt just below the binding. All our display / backing frames have the loopy rigid part of the velcro attached, so the quilts hang by velcro strips. You can reuse the strips later. ( next year )
Tomorrow will be a long day as I am helping get the quilt display ready. We booked the Race Course venue for today too but somehow they double booked it so now we have only one day to hang a large number of quilts........and put up displays....... ( no time for fannying about! ) The Exhibition runs for the following 3 days Friday 15th; Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th. September. It should be fun; there is always a large crowd and we have 2 halls one for the Quilts and one for retailers from all around the area. Photos of it all will surely follow!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Herb Garden.

Fragrant herbs......ummm...I love working in my herb garden as the smells that waft as I touch the plants are so yummy. This morning I cleared out many spent plants and cut back others. I left a few of the muzuma plants ( a mustardy tasting salad green ) some in seed, others still flowering as the bees are loving the yellow flowers so. I let them seed down so I get lots more free plants. It is a bit difficult to rotate the plants as the Mint has its own bed and the Thyme is well established in it's section. I gave all the little beds a good dressing of Blood and Bone .
I planted new Coriander; Oregano; Sage and Curry plant ( Helichrysum Angustifolium). I have Rosemary in 2 other parts of the garden as it is very vigorous, and would over run things here. The photo doesn't show the parsley to the right. The herb garden is situated only a few steps from the kitchen which means they are within easy reach. Of all the herbs I think I still use Mint and Parsley the most frequently.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Fabrics to Fussy Cut.

I'm making great progress with the Eye Spy Hexagons. When I was out last Friday, I went to another little sewing store and found a few more useful fabrics that can be fussy cut for the motif on each hex. The very best value ones have several different objects on the same fabric like the animal print in the photo. (I already had some others that I think may have been designed specifically for that purpose). At my P & Q Group on Friday several ladies said they thought they had some fabrics I might not have so we measured up that a 4 1/2" square was all I needed to cut this size hexagon from; so that would be wonderful if they bring me some. I am happy to swap or pay for them but most of the generous ladies say, "no we're glad to help." I demonstrated how to make them so many times and I found the ladies were as keen to play and look and touch as the kids had been the week before.
I know there is a website especially for Eye Spy quilts and the members swap fabrics but I'm not going there as not all folk are fair about what they is just a bit too random and unreliable. I have plenty of other options to explore for more fabric first. ( 2 exhibitions / fairs over the next 2 weeks for a start!! ) I am in no hurry to finish the quilt either so can even wait till more fabrics appear, as I know they will. ( Over 60 hex finished now.)
Forest Jane, the kids loved the animal motifs; the little black and white puppy being the most popular one, closely followed by the jelly beans and racing cars for the boys. It is proving to be a fun project!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Untold Story.

Today I have 2 topics. I'll start with the pleasant one then if you don't wish to read the second you can miss the tale of wanton destruction which follows.
Good progress is being made with my I Spy hexagons. They are fun to make and quick to sew.( 49 finished to date ) The children at school last week proved that the I Spy game part worked very well and that each little hex was tactile and nice to move around and fiddle with.There were more games to play than just I Spy, the most popular one being , "Which one do you like best, ( and want to take home )?"
Monday was a fun day. A friend traveled up from near Taupo where she lives to have a days shopping in Tauranga. She has 2 weddings to go to in Oz over the next few months and needed some lighter clothes. As we hadn't seen each other for a while there was plenty to talk about over coffee and then lunch. She found what she wanted and I discovered some shops in the city I didn't know were there. When she took off for the nearly 2 hour drive home I went back to Barnhouse Quilts (my local) and selected some new fabric that has lots of possibilities for my quilt. The best fabrics are those that I can fussy cut more than one object from ( better value ). (I also need to strive to get a full range of colours and a variety of values, light to dark.) I have been entertaining the idea that the quilt could be put together rainbow fashion. The photo shows a random layout which I know will work equally as well. I will play with them when more are finished and decide then.

If you are squeamish don't read on!

I haven't been telling this story as it happened because the subject matter didn't really fit this blog ; but have decided now it is over ( I hope) to air it briefly. Our neighbourhood has been being terrorised over the last few weeks by 2 dogs. We don't have a dog or any stock but many of our small farm neighbours do. DH is one of the only blokes around with a gun and the licence to use we had to get involved. At night sheep and lambs have been mauled and some killed by 2 dogs.( Sometimes seen fleetingly in the daylight but mostly attacking at night.) Then more recently just the one dog has been killing. We live with boundaries to the bush and have some bush ( forest ) on our property which gives cover. The ranger and DH had set 2 traps and yesterday afternoon we heard one close and a dog start was caught. DH ,with gun, quickly put an end to it. A mastiff mongrel cross, weighing only about 18 kilos, had killed all that stock. ( we have photos; for the record and as evidence ; of it; and the sheep, but I am not putting them on the net ! )
It had roved over several kilometers around here and the tally we know of is: 41 sheep and lambs killed or injured; 1 goat killed; 1 pig injured; several chickens eaten; 2 guinea pigs eaten; and 3 people have been frightened and rushed at on their own properties. The remaining sheep are so traumatized they stand staring wide eyed poor things. Some may recover - only time will tell. Last night we got a full night's sleep with no neighbours sounding the alarm or needing help. I do so hope for their sake that this is and end to it and we can all sleep easy and get back to our own work. ( we don't really know what happened to the 2nd dog...Maybe it belonged to someone and just got led astray ) The killer dog had obviously been let go by someone a couple of months ago and was living rough...not really it's fault!!! The dead sheep are worth NZ $95 each. So it is a financial loss too.