Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Next Quilt.

My next quilt is underway. Another scrappy one, to use up all those I Spy fabrics I have left. I didn't have sufficient pastel plains for the background blocks though, so after P & Q last Friday I went to my local for the first time in months (been trying not to buy anything! ) to get a few.
This project came to mind while I was making the last quilt ( got the binding fabric for that too ) and is also a continuation of the hearts quilt I made last year. It uses the same basic ,very easy, technique.In the photos I have shown the steps taken.
1. Cut background 7 " squares in a variety of light / pastel shades.
2.Make a free hand template of a basic flower shape or outline.( I did 2 different ones )
3.Cut out, using the template, flower shapes of bright fabric you wish to use up. ( all different - but doesn't have to be )
4. Centre the flower shape on a background block; pin; machine sew around the shape about 1/4 of an inch from the raw edge.
5. Turn block over and from the back fabric carefully cut a circular shape from inside the sewing line - taking card to pinch the background fabric away from the front so you only cut the one layer.
6.When you have lots of blocks made, mix the circles up so they don't match the background and pin one to the front centre of each flower.
7. Sew the centres on - consider if you wish to leave them plain or do you wish to include some embellishment at this stage? I am going to use a variety of methods for different centres:-
Buttons ( sewn on at the end stage ); embroidery; ribbon; Angelina fibres ( see one in the photo ) and anything else I can come up with to jazz the flowers up a bit.
I am still making blocks at the moment so will show more as I progress. How many blocks I am making , I'm not sure yet....maybe enough for a single bed size.
Thank you to all those who left such lovely comments on my last 2 posts; I was very glad to meet some new bloggers - melinda; and mariajaan I tried to leave you a comment at your blog but my Spanish is extremely limited! I was also delighted that Viv hadn't vanished from the face of the earth or met with some awful happening. There is another friend on my side bar list, who has been missing for months - it does make one wonder if they are okay?
New Zealand is getting RAIN! In the far north far too much, causing flooding, but luckily for us in the BOP it is now steady, beautiful, replenishing, much needed rain. 20 mls by early this morning and another 20 mls since and still going. When you grow things ( fruit vegetables , trees or animals ) for your living it is the first requirement really. ( not too much or too little )
That's all I have time for now. I'll do the book meme soon okay.
I was delighted ( and also a bit worried - cause now I will have to be extra careful what I say ) to know the at some local P & Q friends have found and are now reading my blog! Sorry if I made you waste computer time (LOL) but hey that's why we blog ; to reach out to others and learn about them as well as communicating our own thoughts and projects. Keep smiling everyone! ( it's raining ; it's pouring )

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Where I'm From .

Part 1 - Pre My Memory. (from letters, documents and photos )

A 4th and 5th generation Kiwi, I am from brave adventurous ancestors who crossed the seas in sailing ships called, "Strathmore;" "Euterpe;" "Fernglen;""Halcione"and "Harwood," between the years of 1859 and 1877. From UK places called Lambeth and Middlesex ( London ),Stockton On Tees, Kent, Hertfordshire,Hornchurch( Essex ),Foresthill and Milton - Under - Wychwood ( Oxford ).

They sought a better life, a new start, these hardy folk with surmanes; Taylor;Ireland; Humphrey; Wheeler; Caush; Chown; Burson; Eden; Mann. ( paternal ) Or Price ; Lound; Lister ( of antiseptic fame ); Fox; Waterson; Burt and Richleau.

More recently, I am from an Anglican Mother and a Brethren Father who compromised and married in the Presbyterian Church just as WW2 broke out. Both lived through Depression Years and felt the Napier earthquake in Feb 1931.

Where I'm From - Part 2 - My Memory.

I am from the white house with the green roof, a huge neat garden, high on the hill surrounded by lush paddocks and pockets of bush. 8 miles from town, down a long drive, with a bodyguard of Lombardy Poplars, across a poostick bridge, over the misnamed stream that fed the town reservoir.There was sheep, and chooks, cows and dogs; fields of mushrooms, patches of blackberries good for pies. A wool shed , cow shed, barn and crops.

With just one, 3 year older, strong willed sister,( but 9 cousins ) I am from a small happy family; hardworking, self sufficient, green fingered, education loving; where no punishment was needed or given to me. Self reliance, helping others - early habits taught me well.

From a Mother with very poor eyesight, headaches and car sickness, who loved to read and knit. Patient, kind, encouraging, who didn't drive till late in life, then not well and not further than the 8 mile town.

From a Father, who worked on a farm, then bought the part with our house and 50 acres, who loved sport, a harrier till nearly 70, a tennis player, a cabinet maker and woodworker and an incredible gardener.

I am from cherry red handknitted cardigans over navy school gyms, ( later green cardigans and blazers over grey gyms with brown stockings and brown brogues.) catching the red and cream Bedford school bus every day till I left home. 12 and a half years of school which I loved with a passion. Happy, successful years.
From fun and opportunities, high jump frames, tennis racquets, hulahoops, skipping ropes, basketball hoops/ goals, knuckle bones and piano lessons- walked to in school lunch hour. Coloured pencils, paints and crayons, dolls and prams and teasets. Board games, cards, radio serials and quizzes. Sunny Stories then Girl Magazine, pink Auckland Weekly and orange Freelance, daily Newspapers and lots of books; some too difficult for me, till later.

Strength and fitness from pushing those bike pedals the 8 miles back uphill from town or working in the shearing shed.Fun and laughter from picnics almost every summer weekend at black sand West Coast beaches, rivers or lakes. Flounder netting, games and swimming. Annual summer holidays in small cars pulling Dad made caravans and tents to every far flung corner of the North Island.From fancy dress balls in country halls to dances and Inglesides. My own box brownie camera with photo album from an early age. Collecting stamps and cards and keeping them in albums. ( still have them )

I am from a time of change.Wood range, windmill, meat safe, hand milked cows; changed with power poles to water pumps and electric appliances of all sorts.From a new black hand cranked semi automatic 13 party telephone line. Short, long, long - that's us - answer it!

Grace before meals, prayers before bed, Sunday School with new patent leather shoes, singing "Hear the pennies dropping, listen to them fall, every one for Jesus, he may have them all." Little verses to learn and stickers to keep in your book.( see photo )Later Bible class and Bible class teas followed by Church and twice, bible class camp at Easter, all good opportunities to be with friends and boys.

I am from a maternal widowed Nana, in the town 8 miles from us where 2 teachers boarded, who'd let me 'help' them. I stayed there often. A home with different things, books; a treadle Singer sewing machine, an Queen Anne Chocolate box full of buttons and old business docket books with carbon paper that I could fill out and draw in.The lav around the back corner of the house with a high rough caste ceiling and a very long pull chain.This Nana went many places with us.

I'm from my own small bedroom, sharing it with the sewing machine , with my own proper writing desk with drawers and shelves and secret places and cubby holes. With a small, before it's time, walk in wardrobe. With windows looking out to fruit trees and strawberry beds where possums cackle in the night and the moon shone on the concrete path to the outside loo. Fond memories, happiness and achievemnet were my early years. Where money gifts were saved for me from birth and I was encouraged to continue to save and bank my birthday money or money earned from the pet lambs I fed. The wool and dag man would come around and unroll a big wad of notes to pay the farmer( and me).We also got pocket money, but did lots of jobs, inside and out teaching us to help and work and be responsible.
I am from happy times where work was rewarded and life was mostly safe and fun.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Too Tired.

Sometimes things just catch up with me. By the end of yesterday I was exhausted, so after making tasty dinner I went to bed with a book really early and slept the sleep of need. I'm not always a good sleeper so luckily my body has a way of insisting I slow down .( Slow down, you move to fast). Today I feel much better but am trying to take things at a leisurely pace. After racing to the clothes lines ( LOL) as a sudden shower dropped in, I have even more excuse to not exert myself today . (there is no point in going slowly to the line to grab the near dry washing is there? doesn't wait ) WE WANT the RAIN so MORE PLEASE!
Molly I'll take some time to work on Where I'm from. I don't like formulas or painting by numbers , so I'll figure my own way around it. One programme I have enjoyed on TV ( and they are few and far between lately ) is," Who Do You Think You Are?" Some countries have such extensive records it makes tracing Family History really intriguing. I know quite a lot of mine so may go back as far as I can, and do, Within My Memory and Before my Memory.
Todays photos are of 2 pots seen within the photo of the area of my red seat. One a pretty succulent that has put long stems of flower down onto the lime chip below ( hope the plant doesn't die off now after that big effort ); the other is a small Vireya Rhododendron called Saxon Blush my elder son gave me 2 years ago. It is a little sweety and I really treasure it as he made the effort to find me something he thought I'd like. ( and I did....I repotted it in a terrocotta pot and it seems very happy, this is about the 4th time it has flowered )
Books I've been reading.
I eventually finished "Alaska," by Michener and enjoyed it and learned so much. I then read "Wyoming Stories," by Annie Proulx. She writes well but the characters annoyed me intensely and most of the subject matter too, but I finished it. Now I am reading"Chasing the Chimney Sweep,"by Selwyn Parker, and laughing a lot so will soon have it's 250 pages devoured.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Quilt Back.

Yesterday was drizzily on and off all day which was wonderful. Although it only amounted to 5.5 mls it washed the dust off everything and gently soaked in.The blue water lily bowl always reminds me how dry things are getting when I need to fill it up.( Normally the rain does that for me.) During the mist I raced outside and cleaned out the birdbath so it could fill with rain, but any bird washing there today will have to jump around, no ducking under like they usually do ( a sponge bath perhaps ). Clouds are still looming so we may get more.
All day Saturday I gardened like a mad woman cause rain was forecast for Sunday and I had lots of jobs that needed doing. Very tiring but I got there eventually. So when it was damp yesterday I felt well able to take time to SEW! I have backed the little scrap quilt ( yes, it is small; just 41 by 43 inches ) and have machine quilted a grid in the middle by stitching in the ditch and a few rows in the seams of the borders. It is still not lying totally flat but I redid 2 seams but know the centre stretch was the real problem. It will be okay; I can live with it. Now in the wide space of the outside purple border I am just starting to do a circle pattern by hand with variegated green and yellow thread. I am doing it by hand as I need hand work. I know it is a bit bit strange to do both machine and hand quilting on the same article but I make my own rules.
Late yesterday I started pulling out fabrics and scraps for the next scrap quilt (I have in my head) - the idea is a continuation on from this quilt.With a flower theme. More soon! As It is not yet raining again it will be back to the kiwifruit vines - but I've had a wee break which was restorative for my muscles.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Time in the Garden

I cut back / dead headed lots of roses and picked some pink ones for the coffee table, on Staurday evening in the cool. Yesterday was overcaste and much cooler so I spent a good part of it weeding, watering, tidying and admiring. Bumble bees fought each other for the spikey Echinops heads ( globe thistle ). I noted the contrast between those spikey heads and leaves and the smooth round leaves of the Ligustrum hedge.

Although I thought I was being careful one of the tiger lilies put pollen on my trou - it stains.

About a month ago the Alstroemeria almost dried off, with the dry, so I gave it extra water for 2 or 3 nights and it has rewarded by covering itself in those lovely red blooms again.

The strange berry / flower is on a NZ native Astelia silver spears.