Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year.

2009 is going to be an interesting year in many ways. I look forward to sharing it with you ALL!
Best Wishes to: Molly; Meggie; Joyce; Loulee; Helena; Gudrun; Sheila; Soozii; Kirsten; Tracey; Andrea; Deb; Lynda; Shirley; Janice; Helen; Dale; Laurie; Ayumi; Cher; Shasta; Joleo; Sarah& Lisa; Chookyblue; Alice; Paula; Valeri; Julz; Isabelle; Sally; Jane; Nellie; Anne ; Tazzie; Barbara ;Alice; Judy; Helen ; Leanne; Nic; Harmany; Yankee ;Holly; Julie; Suzi-k; Judy ;Brenda; Dianna; Rose Marie ;Mags; Nicola; Jane; Francoise ;Fiona; Vera; Frieda; and Jorja's Nana.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lovely Time to...

Yes, the final letters of my banner got stitched and were hung up by 11.45pm on Christmas Eve.( they turned out well )

Lovely Time to be lazy; to read; play games of Scrabble while we eat meals at the big bench on bar stools; to start my next quilt! ( or if you are DH; tidy your shed; put a new work top on your work bench; do things? ( lots of hammering ) in your clean work space - I love it when he has a project on cause we have time out so I can sew or blog or walk or garden or read )

* NEW Project ( QUILT ).* Some time ago DH said he would like a quilt with a large jewelled bird ( taken from the cover of a Wilbur Smith Book called "The Seventh Scroll." ). I have never made him a quilt of his own..... I had collected suitable fabric at the merchants malls at the exhibitions I went to in 2008. The 3rd photo shows the 7 colours for the jewels, lying on a gold fabric which will be the background, then the whole big stylized bird will be put on a back ground - he wants black but we will see when the bird is finished how it looks.

So far I have enlarged the outline shape onto a paper pattern: drawn it lightly on the back of the fabric; ironed on "Appi-kay Wonder" to the back of an A4 size piece of each jewel fabric; and drawn and cut out some of the feather shapes for the wings.
( this is a teach yourself how to do this project! )( do you do these? ) ( good way to learn - I hope ) So far, so good.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

December 24

It's 24 th December.

That means yesterday was our 41st Wedding Anniversary.....and we were so busy it was 10.30 am even before I remembered. I don't know if the other half would have remembered it all if I hadn't mentioned it. ( it often happens because of the busy time of year ) We got 35 mls of rain overnight , so gratefully received here....... also means I got the day inside! Of course I've been cleaning..... But this afternoon I sat and sewed bindings on the last 4 letters of my Happy Christmas banner. I hope to do the hand sewing on them tonight. I strung the finished ones up already to see how they look.The tree got decorated and we have had the lights on a couple of evenings.

Lovely things.

* my friend Sheila found me some tiny craft pegs I had been looking for and came around really early today so I could use them to hang my letters.

*Younger Son ( in UK ) remembered us and sent me a lovely voucher for patchwork goodies and DH a voucher for a meal at his favourite restaurant ( that means I get to go too! )

* Lovely letters and cards from friends and family.

* I have been enjoying your beautiful Christmas blogs.

* the 1st Pohutkawa tree has faded with the rain BUT the second big one is now out!

*Altho friends asked us out tonight we are staying in cause the roads are just too silly and I can't have anything to drink if I'm the driver. ( we have plenty to do here anyway )
* Thanks to all you dear people who reply personally to comments I leave - I really don't expect you to do that.

FINALLY I do hope you are all enjoying the Festive Season.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Types of Christmas Tree.

This lovely big Pohutukawa ( NZ native Christmas tree ) is flowering by our driveway and is making the best display of several we have out at the moment. ( we have planted lots on the property over the years )

Christmas is not far away and I am trying to keep positive, but it's a bit hard. To say it will be very low key around here is an understatment. We are working long and hard in the orchard and there is lots to get done.

I am pleased with the quilted letters I have got completed for my banner but I doubt it will be ready for this Feastive Season - won't matter I'll just work on it during next year and make lots of letters.

I didn't know if we would bother with a Christmas tree this year but then persuaded R to help me find one ( or 3 ) today. (It is supposed to rain at the weekend so get it done in the fine before then.) We always try and cut a part of a shelter belt tree or similar but ended up this time with 3 branches pruned from a native Rimu in the garden,. ( it needed them off anyway ) Looking at the photo you can barely tell it is 3 branches tied together. It has ended up quite a reasonable shape and has a clean conifer type smell. I will try and get it decorated later tonight.

So we have a tree. I have made a cake. I sent all the cards and letters and the few parcels I do send. We are a very small family so not a lot is involved. We will probably be seeing one son and partner after Christmas some time and the other one is in London so that's a bit far to come.( so it's just us! )
We are having some friends over for dinner tomorrow night and have been sent a couple of other invitations to meals in the next week so that may cheer me up.
Loulee sent me a Christmas joke that made me smile so I thought I might tell a simple one too.
The teacher looked at all the drawings the children had made of a Christmas scene. Billy had drawn a manger and put Mary and Joseph beside baby Jesus. There were 3 wise men and some animals and shepherds all gathered about. To one side stood a very rotund man, that puzzled the teacher." Who is this person?" she asked.
" Oh, that's Round John Virgin, " said Billy
( you need to know the words to the carol Silent night, to get this joke.) I used to have an illustration to go with this but can't find it now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An Inch of Rain.

Treats from the garden that is so grateful for an inch of much needed rain.

Busy doesn't seem an adequate word at the moment!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Kiwifruit Work.


This week we have been working hard at thinning the newly formed Kiwifruit. Pollination is over and the bees go home tonight. This work will go on for several weeks( in fact right up till harvest next May ). It is very, very warm sweaty and itchy work cause the dropping petals and stamens go down my neck. We are trying to remove any mis - shapen fruit; which is difficult when they are so small - but we don't want the vines putting nutrients into fruit that will later be rejected, so we start straight in. Here are some photo of what the fruit look like just formed.
In the 2nd photo you can see one fruit which is too wide and needs to be pulled off - only round normal kiwifruit shaped fruit are allowed. NO hearts, fans or hairy.......... I won't say what.
The 2 last photos are of fruit I carried home and put on the bench to photograph so you could better see the silly shapes.
Gudrun, a Feijoa is a fruit we have in NZ - it has smooth green skin and is a long oval shape with white juicy flesh. I will try and remember to show you one when they are ripe next year.
Hi Georganna and Tom, How nice to hear from you. Thanks for that info in the comments section - I will do more research.
Have a happy weekend everyone!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Fruity Things.

I ended the previous post saying I was off to pick the strawberries. Here they are with the biggest and smallest ones on top. For just a few plants they are rewarding me well.

We had a tiny fall of rain overnight which is just what I hoped( more would have been good but ) as I wanted to do other things today ( other than orchard work that is ).I was up early and had a large quiche for later in the day made before breakfast. Straight after breakfast I completed stage one of Christmas cake making. I got ready a double mixture ( because of my tin size ) and it's now cooling before adding the rest of the ingredients, then slow cooking. Over the years I have used many different recipes but the one ( quite simple - with home grown freshly squeezed orange juice in it )I like best now, I have made for the last few years and it is liked even by folk who say they don't like fruit cake. By making the double mixture I am able to fill my big tin and then put what is left into either a loaf tin or muffin pans for giving or pre Christmas cutting. ( if anyone wants the recipe I could write it out here for you ).
The other photo I had forgotten to show was of the goodies I purchased at Calico Christmas.( a lovely calendar; a Children's book I knew about - made from a quilt and tells the German folk tale; a couple of fat quarters and a wee bundle of matching squares of butterfly fabrics and contrasts put out by "Me and MY Sister." ( future project - hey it has pink in it - little girlie colours)

I haven't taken the little Kiwifruit photos yet but thought you might like to see Feijoa flowers. I don't think they are grown in many other countries but any Kiwis or those who have visited here might know and like them. ( you either love or hate them) YUM! (it always surprises me how alike Feijoa and Pohutukawa flowers and leaves are....could they possibly be distantly related ? )

Tonight is the AGM of my P and Q Group, so it's going to be a busy day.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Meanwhile, Down on the Farm.

Meanwhile down on the farm / orchard; life is full on. It is always a busy time with plants of all kinds GROWING. We have been having very, very hot days last week and still over the weekend which is ideal for the bees pollinating the Kiwifruit and Avocados.
As I have written about pollination in detail in previous years I won't go into too much detail this time.... (but if any readers are interested you could look back in the archives listed on my right border for Nov 2007 and 2008 ) .
( the close up photo is of female Kiwifruit flowers )
We have had 15 hives of bees in the Kiwifruit blocks since last weekend ( and longer for the Avos.) As well we have had 2 rounds of male pollen blown by leaf blowers .This is very expensive but helps to get really good coverage especially in any shaded areas along shelter belts ( as the bees tend to like being in the sun ). The male vines begin flowering slightly earlier than the females and gangs of pickers come around picking the male buds that are almost open - the pollen is then milled and stored then reblown later on. ( keeps well in the deep freeze )
The flowering is all but over now so I will take some photos next week to show the progress of the little fruit forming and growing which happens really quickly.
The avocados are quite different and much slower. They take a year to grow ( from pollination to picking ) their flowers are minute and about one in 1500 actually sets a fruit. At the moment ours have fruit set smaller than a pea. ( Our small crop for this year has not yet been picked, so 2 crops are hanging there )( that is quite normal! )( we are already eating some of them - they are LOVELY ! )
So all week as we have been working in the heat under the vines still tying in and thinning fruit we have had hard working little bees all around us. That can be a bit freaky but we get used to it. NEEDLESS to say I have been carrying a deodorant in my pocket just in case I get stung...which luckily I haven't ( maybe it works as a deterrent too ! )
I have been working on some little sewing projects if I get a chance - like this morning when we sat and watched the ALL BLACKS play ENGLAND (rugby ). Sorry Anne B - did you watch? (there will be a lot of coverage, as usual of male sport in NZ, over the next few days. ) It was lovely to see the new Hillary Trophy being presented by Lady Hillary in person.
Our group has been making little Christmas stockings which we fill with sweets or tiny treats which we are giving to the FOOD BANK - which is really struggling this year with so many more folk than usual needing a little help. I had forgotten to take photos before but took one of these 3 extras I just made. Also in the pic are a couple of coasters for a gift - all made using the lovely Laurel Burch fabrics from my 5" jelly roll.
The other photo shows work in progress with the latest thing I am making. letters of the alphabet each as a 6" quilted square to hang on a line as a banner. So far I am working on the letters for HAPPY CHRISTMAS, but intend to make enough to spell out BIRTHDAY ; NEW YEAR ; and maybe ANNIVERSARY.
I need to get out and pick my strawberries which are producing lovely feeds every few days for me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Quilt Exchange.

At Calico Christmas there were about 40 small quilts on display that were the result of an Exchange between about 20 members of the Auckland New Zealand Patchworkers and Quilters and 20 members of the Victoria, BC, Canada Guild.

Each participant was given 20cm strips of 8 fabrics ( 4 NZ and 4 Canadian ). 6 had to be used on the front and other fabric could be incorporated. Other media was also allowed.( there were other rules too )

These were the 5 that most appealed to me.

This same display will be travelling to Victoria Canada in January 2009.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Even More Quilty Treats.

These 2 small sample quilts were on the wall in the area where Bernina were demonstrating. The 2 ladies there made one each of these. I am a big Laurel Burch fan so had a good close look. The pictures in the block centres are embroidered using I guess a CD with the motifs on the Embroidery Artista machine.( Australian ladies - you might see these over there too )

I just couldn't keep that camera trigger finger still!
Next post will feature small quilts made for an exchange between Auckland, NZ ladies and Victoria, BC, Canada.

Monday, November 24, 2008

More Quilty Treats.

The wee string of dolls had been pinned together so it reminded me of the strings of paper dollies we cut out as kids. They were made as a group challenge. They were displayed right down at floor level so many people missed seeing them.( not that person down on the floor with her camera tho )
The other photos show both close up and distance shots of some quilts. The Christmas one was the maker's own design and looked so different because of the fabrics used.

Black and white with a hint of red always pleases me.

I thought the little mouse would please many of the handwork folk out there . Too cute.
( all photos click to enlarge )

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Quilty Treat.

Yesterday was our group's big day out - a bus trip to visit "A Child's Christmas."

It was the Auckland Patchwork & Quilters Guild - Calico Christmas 2008 - Annual Exhibition.

Over the next few posts I will show you a sample of the Eye Candy on display and the quilts that took my fancy, ( some to keep as a starting point for future projects perhaps. ) To fit the theme for this year there was a display of old toys, so I'll show you that too.

(All photos enlarge with clicking on them )

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Sad Week.

It's been a sad week. Our well respected Mayor died then a (younger than us ) friend and fellow orchardist killed himself by coming off his quad bike on his own sloping driveway ( we are not sure what happened. ) The whole district is in shock.He was a very respected well liked guy; too awful.
I gave my nose a treat - I picked this bunch of Charles Austin Roses from my 2 bushes I have of it. It is looking so splendid I could go out and pick another 10 vases full at least. Those early flowers are a delight. I hope the smell fills the lounge for the next few days.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tiny Fabric Basket.

Thanks for your comments. If I find out anything more about the paper making I will put it here. Paula has put the URL for a site ( look in comments on the previous post ) on Cotton Linter and there is quite a bit of information available if you do a google or similar search.

I mentioned I was sewing a tiny fabric basket by hand. Here it is finished. I only sewed the 1.5 inch squares together by hand - all the rest is done by machine.The other basket in the photo is the size Pink Penguin used in her original tutorial, so you can see how tiny this new red and green one is. I won't be going any smaller than that. BUT it is SO CUTE!
If anyone want to try this size the parts were 24 x 1.5 inch squares.
7" x 5" plain fabric for base.
1.5 " x 9 " for handles ( cut 2 )
9" x 7" lining fabric.
To day I saw a Tui ( NZ bird ) getting nectar out of a Kangaroo paw flower - I've never seen one at that plant before. ( you would have loved it Meg! )

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just Scraps.

This may seem a strange photo to put on my blog...but what do you do with your scraps - the really little ones? I used to throw them out; but not lately. I collect them all in a bag for a lady who uses any cotton thread or fabric scraps to make paper. Quite nice thick quality writing and note paper.
I just had to show you this photo of a tree I see sometimes when I walk on this nearby road. The village Smithy could definitely stand under this one; a very old large Chestnut.
Other scraps.
*I handed in the quilt I finished for my friend J. ( with the starfish and fish quilting )One of the ladies is going to deliver all the finished quilts to her at Tamihere.
* I have just updated the Security protection on this computer, for another 2's like watching paint dry - but if you don't watch, it throws in curly ones if you turn your back.
* A nerd writes a column in our local paper and he was warning against putting too much STUFF in your Blog side bars, as it takes folk especially those on dial up far too long ( if at all ) to be able to open your web page. I have very little compared to some other blogs so I hope I am not wasting any one's time ( LOL ).
*As I am getting so little sewing time at present I snatch a few minutes to cut out hand projects for sewing at night. I have just completed a set of 8 little Christmas fabric coasters to go with 2 larger ones in a set. I am working on a really tiny fabric basket ( smaller even than the original ) and am sewing the 1.5 inch squares by hand.( also part of the don't waste scraps strategy.)
I'm off for a walk now. Yesterday was a huge, huge garden ( tree cutting etc ) effort here. Whew. Today I have to have some time out and do some sedentary jobs. Gosh the weekend disappears fast. Enjoy yours!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Garden Walk.

I have just mowed the lawns but not finished the weeding....but come for a walk around my garden anyway. These are the parts nearest the house. It's cloudy so quite good light for photos. ( all photos will enlarge by clicking ).