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 ).

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Sally Holmes Rose.
Life continues to be very busy - one should never complain about that as it means I am alive, fit and well and able to work and be useful.
Today is Election day in New Zealand. That means decisions. Our elections have certainly paled in significance in the shadow of USA elections. I will say I was quite delighted with the out come there and hope it changes some of the evils in the world. It is a start. That doesn't necessarily give you a clue to my political leanings - cause I don't really have any. I sit in the middle; a swinging voter ( I like that term ) because it means I am not set in my views; I am prepared to listen, read, think and consider and hence I get to polling day still undecided. (This has happened before ) I didn't sleep well last night.
2 things I dislike very much are people trying to push their political views or religious views down my throat. ( those are very personal things ) ( DH doesn't even know for sure who I vote for )
Things I have learnt about Elections.
* People think They know how you vote because of who you are or what you are or where you live or what you do.
* Spending election night when the results come out with friends can be a disturbing and risky things to do - ( hence we are staying in alone having our own wee special picnic in the lounge in front of the TV )
I don't usually eat pastry these days but have made an exception today. I heard this idea on the radio for making food suitable for watching election results by, so I am making Picnic Pie ( or Meat Loaf Pie ). ( never made it before ! ) I will tell you how it turns out next post; but basically if you have a nice meatloaf recipe use it as the filling in a pie with savoury pastry. We will eat it with salad and new potatoes and tasty extra nibbles and a few drinks. Our picnic will not be on a rug on the floor - more our usual positions for watching TV. DH slouched in his chair; me on the couch with cushions at my back my feet up under a quilt hand sewing...... ( I will be awake; he will be snoring and missing vital parts of the commentary! )
A couple of elections ago we were invited out to friends' place for dinner and the evening watching the election results. They had friends staying from another part of the country so there were 6 of us. Dinner was yummy and fun as it always is at this home BUT later as those not driving had a few, things got interesting. ( basically I was the only driver, so possibly saw the funny side ). The 2 out of town visitors, had voted very to the left; the 2 home owners voted to the right, DH voted slightly to the right and I was in the middle - no one knew how I had voted. As the evening wore on the home owners discovered results were not going their way. Eventually they got the huff and said " We are going to bed. Good night." And off they went. (Their house guest had to meet them over breakfast. )We stayed on, then let our selves out later. Strangely we are all still friends and the evening has never been mentioned but we decided to learn from it and stay home. If we want to disagree, we will do it just the 2 of us.
Lunch time now , then we must drive down to our nearest polling booth and cast our votes! I might walk the 4 kms back.
I have continued to hand quilt fish on J's quilt most evenings. Nothing else at all.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Appearances can be deceptive. How can anything that looks as appealing as those red radishes taste so dull - just a pungent peppery nothing much in my opinion. Still I grow them happily cause they give colour and variety to a salad. Aubergine are another veg that for me disappoint. DH would not agree they are one of his favourites.

We have had a week of windy fine days filled with hard work and many garden jobs. Things are growing like mad so that is good but it means meals take longer to prepare when beans have first to be picked then podded before cooking. The taste is superb so I guess it is worth it. I tickled a new potato and they are big enough to steal. Broad beans which many people don't like are so doing so well we are eating them as babies( that's by far the nicest way ) every second day. Silver beet and lettuces are getting ahead of me but any waste goes to compost to come around again!

The flower gardens are getting buffeted by wind but things are bright and pick able and the bees are in Heaven. Photos are of Irises, Roses and Red Rover Alstroemeria and the small purple flowers are on a Sandpaper vine ( it leaves are that coarse ).

The only sewing time I have had this week is after dinner at night when I am tired, but can manage a bit of hand quilting on J's quilt. I am using a seahorse motif in variegated thread to further the seaside theme.The purple binding went on better than I hoped and the whole little quilt ( 45"
by 45 " )actually lies flat - so I am well pleased with my efforts there. Enjoy your weekend everyone.