Saturday, September 26, 2009

Inky's Cushion.

Yesterday I took Inky the cat's cushion I had finished to Club for Show and Tell. Unfortunately Helen who started the project wasn't there. I will show her another time;( or she will see it here .) Back at the beginning of this year when our pusscat Inky died I put posted  the photo of him that's on the cushion. Helen who sometimes looks at my blog had seen it here and as a gesture of friendship and caring she uplifted the photo from my blog and printed it out on fabric for me. ( since then I have got some of the printable fabric and made labels , numbers etc ) This is the finished cushion cover,  (just quilted in the ditch ) with a few of his favourite things on it - rabbits and mice!
He would have loved it, being a spoiled, but much loved, still often anti social ( he had a traumatic kittenhood till we found him ) wee fellow.
Yesterday we had yet more rain and some thunder, which sent R racing for the computer to unplug it! Glad he remembered cause I wasn't here.
During the rain he has been painting some of his firewood / log dragging equipment bright red in an attempt to stop them getting lost in the dirt all the time. I saw them as workshop ART!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I'm between ( not betweens they're needles ) big projects. I have finished lots of small things.( many for club... all the Ruel Foundation things; I've made my Greek Cross block ; I've made my sample Card Trick block and written up the instructions and photocopied 30 for other members ) I have started another quick project to show the ladies on Friday ( see below )and this afternoon I am working on my Inky Cushion.( Thanks Helen! )( will show when finished ).Why am I inside instead of getting on with my orchard work? When I got up this morning it was the time I got dressed it was raining and still is...good,  cause I've got sore wrists ( what's that about? ), but bad cause the work's not getting done........oh well! ( my newly planted seedlings are loving it and it is washing the fertiliser into the We can't have it all ways . )Lets face it I don't mind having to sew LOL!
Back when we had our Exhibition I selected this book for our P & Q Group's library, from the merchants mall.. 2 other ladies have had it out but I spied it being brought back last time and have had a turn. I have actually read it from cover to cover (a quick, easy read )and have selected 2 projects from it I wish to make.
 I have started ( and could finish today but I want to show my group it partly made, so they may see how simple it is. ) Quite a different sort of bag... LARGE and constructed back to front, as you begin with the backing and batting and add the fabric top - foundation piecing.
As it only requires 26 of the 40 strips in a jelly roll I have selected the very brightest from the JR I got with the gift voucher my son sent me last December. ( thanks Jim )The rest of the roll will be just right for another project I have fabrics to match in pastels.( pink even! )
The Moda Jelly Roll is called All About Colour - Cozy Quilt Design . # 3405 JR.

These are the lovely brights I am using. ( I didn't have a JR of servicable browns the picture shows ) Mine will be a BRIGHT bag.

I have sewn the first 3 rows on ( bottom of photo )and it is going well.The others are just lying ready. I'll show a photo when it's completed. It should be very useful. Now back to my cushion project.
* Note to Meggie. I hope you are feeling better today. I agree about garden photos making the garden look better - it's cause the photographer  selects the good part and cuts out the rest!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's the Weekend.

It's the weekend. Yesterday lots of cleaning got done...sheds, cobblestones then windows with both of us working at it we got so much done...just before the rain set in at mid day. ( we needed it ! ) Fresh flowers inside are giving off a wonderful smell as I picked some of the Viburnum Burkwoodii that is out, to put in a mixed bunch. 

It turned really cold again, but just for 24 hours. I made homemade bread that turned out really well - forgot the photo till it is half eaten. My Vogels that I buy and like to eat has been quite small loaves lately - I wonder what's going on?

 Now the sun is back and the garden jobs call.   3 of my 6 or 7 Viburnums are flowering. Here is Viburnum plicatum  tomentosa - my favourite and the bees!
I love the way it's bright green leaves un pleat.

There are lots of bluebells ( and mauve ones )flowering.

The Clivias are hiding in the shade, by the Pierris.

I haven't sewn a stitch all weekend...just looking back through some of my quilting magazines while watching TV last night. Still lots to do today so I  better get back to it. I hope your weekend is giving you some moments of pleasure.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Card Trick Block.

* Jennifer thanks for your offer. I have completed the Card Trick Block to my satisfaction ( but would be interested if your book tells of another way to make it ?? ) ( not using templates )
* Gudrun I don't know why they are called Gum trees ( they do have a sort of gum resin in them - but no more than many trees ) Their real name is Eucalyptus - in Australia they have millions of them. Yes they are wonderful for firewood.
*Tracey snow ( and mountains ) is  about 2.5 to 3 hours away from here - but we aren't really snow people.
Now I think I will practise on you readers before I write up my final instructions for my group for The Card trick Block.
This block is basically a 9 patch, made up of half square and quarter square triangles. Accurate cutting and stitching is essential.  To make a 12 inch finished ( 12.5 till it's sewn to the next blocks ) block you need :
* 4 contrasting fabrics for the cards and a lighter coloured background fabric. 

*From each  card fabric cut a 4 7/8 inch square ( four and seven eigths inches )
*From each card fabric cut a 3 3/4 inch square ( three and three quarter inches ) aligning one side to straight grain of the fabric. ( so one big and one smaller square in each colour )
* From the background fabric cut 2 of the big and 2 of the smaller squares ( same measurements )

Now taking care not to stretch the fabric cut each of the 12 squares in half diagonally using a sharp rotary cutter and ruler.  ( there are now 24 triangles )
* Lay out the pieces to form the block using this photo as a guide.

Now begin to assemble the 9 patches ( 3 rows of 3 patches ). Pick up only the the parts you wish to sew and when done return them to their place to ensure you join the correct parts. Use a scant quarter inch seam, pin carefully right sides together, and above all do NOT stretch. Trim off the dog  ears. ( the excess part of the seam allowance ) 
(You will notice there are just 3 types of patch. The one in the centre is joining 4 quarter square triangles. The others are either joining 2 half square triangles or joining 2 quarter square triangles first to form a half square one then joining the  2 half square triangles )

When you have your 9 patches sewn begin to join the 3 patches across the top row. Press the seams to the outside edge. Then join the middle row and press the seams inwards. Then join the bottom row and press those to the outside edge . This way when you join the 3 rows, to each other, which you do next, the seams should nest into each other.

That's it .
Now a few tips:
- Pressing ( not ironing which will stretch )at each stage will give a good result. Use the lip/ side of the iron to push the seam you are presssing completely open.
-To ensure your points are going to be sharp, and meeting , insert a pin through the tip your sewing line has made on the wrong side and connect the pin to the second point. Leave that pin there while you put pins in normally to hold it there. ( then remove before sewing )
- If the tail of the triangles you are sewing pulls away at the end hold it with a long pin or stiletto.
-if you are sewing a seam with a point at one end and square at the other start with the point end.
I hope that makes making this block easy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Separate Blocks.

 Firstly some answers to comments.
* Meg I will take a photo of those same buds when the Firewheel tree flowers come out.
* Molly I will see if I can get the 2 templates needed for making those grippy balls. You will note there is a lot of stuffing about literally to make one. ( that will be sometime after the 25th which is the next time my group meets. )

This little pastel coloured block is the only thing I have completed in the last few days. It is my contribution to one of 2 quilts that our group is making for the family of our dear club member Marie who died earlier this year. Her husband wanted the fabric used up so the group is making 2 quilts for their  Grandchildren to use. One of pastel shades , one of brights. Our bright, lovely, youngest member of our group, Helen, sorted the fabrics into 2 sets for the quilts and worked out a suitable easy block for each. That way all the ladies may make a block towards the 2 quilts. I think it is great that the youngest is doing something special for the someone who was our eldest member. ( about 45 years difference in their ages. ) She called this block a Greek Cross, but I think it is the same as a Churn dash, just with the 4 outside rectangles in different colours. ( same layout anyway ) It wasn't a block I had made before.
Something else I am working on which I am trying to get totally simplyfied and correct is a Card Trick block. This I have made successfully once before ( a long time ago ). The reason I am being so particular is, it is my turn to do the BOM that our group is supplying instructions and a sample block for throughout the year. Each member of the Committee is making a different block for new sewers or others, who want a variety of blocks and techniques to learn from. On every site or book I have used as reference, I feel it is made unnecessarily complicated using templates. Smarty here is trying using squares cut to half square and quarter square triangles which requires no template. I haven't finished yet but am hopeful it's right so far. Otherwise I'll be starting again from scratch. I quite like a challenge. I'll show eventually when it is finished one way or another.
So far, for BOM,  the group has made a simple 9 patch; a log cabin; a churn dash; a flower applique block; a 2 coloured star and a drunkard's path block. At the end the person making all the blocks will have the best part of a sampler quilt. We will then have a session helping the quilt construction if needed.
Out in the orchard I am finding it hot work now as there is no over head shade ( till the vines get their leaves )The buds are at the fuzzy stage and easily knocked off or damaged so much care is required. Glad I have my radio to keep me company. R is still working on the felled gum trees. He has a great wall of stacked rings. He also has a lot more to do.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bag is Finished.

My bag is finished. ( not sure what to call it.  Midnight Madness bag?; Denise's bag; Poppy bag? )  I didn't want a bow so did some fabric folding instead. It is lined with the gold fabric and has pockets inside and a magnetic fastener. I think it took longer to make than any other bag I've done or maybe I was very tired when I started. It's turned out well so that's what matters.
While I had the camera in hand I went to the garden and took some rain enhanced shots.
The Firewheel tree ( Stenocarpu sinuata ) flower buds always look fascinating.
There are white , red and every shade of pink, Azaleas.
I hope your weekend is going well.       Now next project!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Well Done Ladies.

Yesterday was a long, busy day.

 During the day our P and Q Group had our usual Friday session , plus extra time that went on till about 10.30 pm  when I locked up the building and came  home - no body wanted to stay till Midnight even though that's what we call it "Midnight Madness." ( That was more than 12 hours ! )Some ladies joined in after work at 6 pm and we all shared pizza for dinner - kind of an annual tradition now. Robin even made fabuolous light Cinnamon Oysters for dessert , not that we needed any. Yum! Dorothy made a plate of fruit loaf to keep those there all day,  going during the afternoon. Luckily we all had healthy lunch!

In the morning we set up a display so I could take photos of all the items the ladies have made to donate to the Ruel Foundation. One lovely quilt has already been handed in and all these items are ready now. There are quilts, sheets,  a wall hanging, cloth books and bags, soft toys and lots of lovely grippy baby balls.
Later during the evening session Denise,  aided by lovely daughter Portia, took a class making this bag.

 That's what my brown and black and gold poppy fabric was for. Mines not quite finished- I'll work on it over the weekend. I don't have a bag in those colours ar anything like this style, so it will add to my such thing as too many hand made bags.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Poppy Show.

There are many varieties of Poppy, but the one I like best is the Iceland Poppy (papaver nudicaule ). Last year I asked Gudrun if they had lots of them there as she lives in Iceland. She has just left a comment on yesterday's post saying she remembers me asking last year and YES they do grow there. Thanks for finding out Gudrun.

Often they are orange so it's not the colour that attracts me, I think it is the simple form of the flower, it's fleeting life span; it's delicate petals and it's beautiful open simple face. ( the part that attracts bees )It does have a smell but not one I'd rave over. Usually my favourite flowers are those with wonderful perfume- ( carnations;violets; freesias; roses )
The photo above is the 2nd one to flower - I prefer the colour of the first one I showed back on 29th August. ( I won't be showing every single one that flowers! ) I also love it's hairy buds and stem. They pick well too.
I just looked on  and they have Oriental; Shirley; Californian; Peony; Corn poppies and one variety of Iceland Poppy. ) The ones flowering for me now I bought as plants   but I also grew a whole packet of seeds - it took forever ( over the past few Winter months ) and I only planted those out last Saturday - still very tiny, so hopefully I may have poppies all summer.
Now to fabric.
The 2 fabrics on the left are for a bag I am going to make this Friday. Denise is taking a class at our  P & Q Club's Midnight Madness. The fabric on the right I just could not leave in the shop - Does that happen to you? There wasn't much left on the bolt so I bought it all. Yes, I already have one other red and black oriental poppy fabric in my small stash, but I have plans as well! ( a poppy Quilt or wall hanging ) Both these fabrics have outlines in gold and are from Robert Kaufman "Spring Hill,"  line, screen print #8465 - made in Japan.  
photos enlarge with clicking ).

Monday, September 07, 2009

I had to Coax.

I'd like to be able to say I did something really exciting yesterday, but alas that wouldn't be true. Instead I had to coax, persuade, cajole and wheedle myself into digging out agapanthus. I spent all afternoon at it till my back said, "Hey no more today!" ( no photos of that; I was too busy ) Unfortunately I have done about one sixth of what needs doing; but hey it is a good start.
Somethings I am pleased about;
* lovely sunny days after cool nights.
*things are growing now ( my little red Coral Mizuna has doubled in size and we have eaten one lot on a salad. Doesn't it have delightful leaves? )

My little sweet peas are at last starting to climb.
The Ligustrum Rotundifolium hedge is sprouting and looking really lush. It is a fabulous plant for a compact hedge if frequently clipped. ( the plants were really expensive but I choose it cause I hate the smell of Box hegdes. )
Now I'm out to work. Tomorrow there will be a Poppy Show here. ( no not that sort ) I will show the lovely poppy fabric I have got to make a bag and the next poppy that is out in the garden. What is it about the wee faces of a poppy that inspires me ?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Something to Cheer.

Veltheimia  looking bright ( South African bulb like a very large Lachenalia )
Possibly my favourite daffodil flowering it's called Tahiti. ( that's what I thought yours might be Carole )
Some mauve Freesias.

We ate this broccoli last night. It grew in a raised tub ( get extra warmth that way - grows quicker ) and was the biggest of the batch.
We have in my opinion a very ugly backdoor , but can't really change it so I always try and keep the pot plants there looking good. I rotate them when looking ugly. Here the wee Kingianum orchids are just starting to flower and see how lush the leaves on the pink Alstromeria are looking - hope they flower soon.
* Gudrun, no I don't think taking the stalks off makes any difference to how many fruit will grow next. I take them off for 2 reasons. So new fruit won't rub on them and get marks and therefor be rejects and also in case there are any tiny passionvine hopper eggs on them ( they are our worst pest ).
* Our overnight temperate plummeted, very cold again. So glad our new potatoes weren't up get. It wasn't quite a frost luckily. Spring frosts are not good for new shoots on anything.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Joy of Learning.

I'm glad some of you are having to wipe sticky lemon bars from around your mouths!
 The joy of learning never deminishes for me - I thrive on it. I want to Thank Chookyblue for information that has helped me update what I was doing with photos on this blog. I also found she has photos on another shared site which are beautiful , have a look.
These are some of the fabric pages I am making for a larger picture book for the Ruel Foundation. I cut them all the same size then sewed 2 side by side. When 4 were sewn I laid them right sides together and sewed around the edges leaving a couple of inches to pull them through to the right side. I then top stitched as close to the edge as possible closing the turn through gap at the same time. Then pressed. I will then sew the double pages together down the spine. These should be really servicable and totally washable. ( many of the children are babies and toddlers )
Now some orchard content. The sap is rising in the Kiwifruit vines ( Springtime ). I am going around removing all the old fruit stalks and broken plastic clips from the tied in canes. ( very boring neck aching job! )
This is a stump graft. The old vine had a problem, so rather than pull it out 2 new canes with growing spots ( buds ) has been firmly inserted in the old trunk and water proofed ( bandaged ) till it starts to grow/ sprout from these small pieces of wood. It will grow quickly as it has a fully developed root system already.This is a normal graft. A new rootstock plant was grown for 2 years then wood with 2 growing buds, from an older vine was grafted in and taped / bandaged up. The tape will be removed when the graft has taken ( joined ).  I will show progess photos of this as it happens, over the next few months..

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Lemon Bars.

I'm really a savouries person but I need to take a supper plate so decided to use some of our bountiful supply of lemons and make this recipe.
Lemon Bars.
* set oven to160 degrees C.
*Line a sponge roll tin with baking paper.
* For the base - in a bowl mix together 1 cup of flour with 1/2 a cup of icing sugar. Rub 125grams of butter into this.
*Press into tin and bake for barely 20 minutes. ( watch it doesn't brown too much )
* while it is cooking make the topping.
* Topping. In a bowl break 3 eggs, add 1 1/2 cups of caster sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour. With an egg beater beat till all combined ( not too long )( should be quite thick ).
*Add the zest and juice of 3 lemons. Mix in.
*Pour this over the hot base crust and return to oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.
* it should be set but not too browned ( I nearly over did mine in the photo )
* cool and dust with icing sugar, then cut into small bars. Keep in the fridge if not been eaten straight away. It is sweet but if your lemons are good it should have a lovely sharp tang to it. Enjoy.