Friday, February 26, 2010


It's been a busy week so not much more progress, but a little. I am happy with the stamens in the agapanthus and butterflies but not too pleased with my attempts at quilting. I think the first part I did ( which is now unpicked )puckered more than I like so I have used a larger stitch length. That has helped. The batting is quite thick and I think it was pulling the stitches down, especially when I was sewing across the width. My inexperience with machine quilting may ruin this - I hope not.
We had a lovely P and Q club day today, more than 40 ladies all happy and joining in. I was pleased with how it went. 4 new prospective members. 2 had belonged at some time in the past, 2 were brand new; one from the UK. It was very hot by afternoon!
Today is also exciting because later on we go over to the airport to pick up younger son and his partner (who we have yet to meet.) They are both here for 3 weeks holiday         from UK. J has lived in London for more than 9 years now - it's 2 since he was last home. V is also a Kiwi and they have spent the last week up in Northland with her family. So a busy week or so coming up for us. I hope it all goes well...we are trying to plan vegetarian meals for them.( I'll discuss that another time. ) Now I am off to do some last minute cleaning and pick fresh Flowers.
Any helpful hints on machine quilting would be appreciated.( especially free motion ).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

More Progress.

Tonight I can sit and start to embelish my wall hanging. Do I want to put 2 large red lady birds on it as per Mary's pattern? I'll start with the stamens in the flowers and try a few ideas.
 At the moment it is hanging on 2 skirt hangers and yes it is square; that bottom corner has just curled a little. I am cooking roast dinner and did do 2 loads of washing ;got it dry on this lovely day and watered some garden and a few other things. I laughed when I read the comment that I would stop in the middle of a class to blog. Please note the class was one day - yesterday .Today I have been at home all day.

Agapanthus Wallhanging.

By lunchtime today this is where I have got to with my wallhanging.
It has sewn really well using non iron on vilene as stabiliser on the back. I have ( as always ) used Gutermann thread; a green varigated on the top with dark green in the bobbin and a pale blue variagated on the flowers with a dark blue in the bobbin. The background fabric is actually a pale green moda marble, it looks very pale in the photo.

Here is a close up of the stitching - I chose to just straight stitch the applique with a stitch length of 1.9 on the Bernina.

And the back now looks like a sketch!

Later I will start on the saw tooth under border then the next 2 borders and then the embellishments. ( so far I am liking it ).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mary's Class.

Today was our class with Mary Transom making an Agapanthus wall hanging. It was hot so we worked with every door and window wide open. What a great day! I couldn't spend too long taking photos as I was busy, as were we all. There was a large number of pattern parts to trace and cut out. Here is S really concentrating.
Here is my effort laying out the basic leaf and stem positions.
Here is H well on the way with hers. She had a pieced background.   L had a lovely slat fence on her background.
Not everyone did the same. Heather decided on white on a balck bacground.
Lynda is doing orange flowers not agies.
At lunchtime  Mary laid some of her other hangings on the ground for us to see.
That's my work on the table in the right corner, when I am trying out placement of the flowers.
I have now sewn on all the green fabric leaves and stems and have started on the flowers and buds. More photos and progress tomorrow. Mary was a lovely Teacher and nobody had any major problems and worked very happily. I  can't wait to see all the ( 15 ) hangings finished soon. They will all be similar but none the same!
( so yes thank you JulieQ, I did do something fun this weekend )

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Waterlilies and Butterflies.

Late yesterday in the afternoon sun  I spied these 2 beauties flowering away in my big blue water bowl.
They were partly hiding behind an overhanging shrub so I'm glad I didn't miss them.
Today again is drizzly....but I don't mind...I've just baked two big fruit loaves from fruit I had put aside to make another Christmas cake. So packets of red and green glace cherries have been calling to me from the fridge for a while. As the other cakes are finished this will be useful now.

This is what is spread out on my table.  My next quilt! I am making it up as I go but writing it all down too so if I like the result I will have a pattern and instructions at the end. It all started ( haltingly on the 3rd  audition of the fabrics ) to use up the Moda Butterflies 5" pack I had and encorporate the left over jelly roll pieces.

These stylized vague butterfly shapes will go in the larger blocks around the quilt with a larger still appliqued flower and butterfly block in the centre.

Thanks for your comments everyone. You had me laughing loudly!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wetas and Chutney.

Yesterday this NZ Weta  (hemideina thoracica )( size 5-6 cms )was on the concrete in front of the shed and not making any attempt to get away. It seemed lethargic, so I carefully ( brave me ) picked him up on a piece of cardboard and carried him to the herb garden for safety.
 Unfortunately my first aid was not enough cause today he is dead and being swarmed over by ants.I think Wetas are wonderous creatures.
This was just one picking of tomatoes. They are versatile and so don't cause a problem. But the embarrassment of beans and courgettes continues and meant I spent this morning making another big batch of Chutney ( pickle ). We are starting to put some of the courgettes that get too big back through the compost to come around again.
*Before I forget, Yes, Gudrun the corn cobs can be just microwaved for 2 or  2 and a half minutes in their own skins.  We had them for lunch again today.
The felt embroidered ball (# 18 ) is now finished and ready to go to the UK. ( maybe the dog's eye needs a bit more brown around the white, it doesn't stand out very well.)The other side got a star to complete it.
Yesterday was my P and Q Groups first Friday back together. It has been a long break this year. I had missed all the ladies. 2 new ladies who had belonged many years ago, before my time, rejoined so that is wonderful. One has just retired and the other has been living in Tasmania for 10 years. All the new committee are keen and doing a great job so that makes things easier for me, although I still finish the meeting feeling like I have talked too much, so will try and get others to take parts for me.
Later in the afternoon I went and purchased the extra fabric and stabilizer etc for next Saturday's class.Then went to the supermarket and was very tired when I arrived home as it was a hot day. I think I find that mental responsibility makes me more tired than physical work.
Today we are getting odd little showers and the humidity is about 98 % !
This is the large fruit platter that sits on the kitchen bench. Note the huge size of the avos R just picked. I thought it looked beautiful when I added the Yummy NZ plums I bought yesterday. (we  must get a plum tree; I don't know why we haven't had one ) 
I'm going to try and get some sewing done now.
I hope you all have a pleasant weekend Friends.
A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a  breathe of kindness blow the rest away.
 ( an Arabian proverb )

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Do You Hear That?


              Country Sounds.
   I sat and sewed on the deck in the shade
   The warm still air was filled with sounds
   The cicada orchestra played a common song
   Keruru took a solo turn close by
   Changing his diet from Miro to Puriri.

Close up view of Puriri berries ( Vitex lucens ) About the size of small cherries.
I have never seen so many berries on our trees. The native wood pigeon - " Keruru" gorges on them. (I'm  still trying to get a really good photo of one )

Still some Puriri  flowers too.

The cicadas are pests to us. They pee and sooty mould grows on the deposit.
 Which matters when it is on the Kiwifruit as sooty mould  is not allowed. 
Skins where the grubs have crawled from the soil (after as many as 7 years, depending on conditions ) and clung to anything they can find while they emerge as an adult Cicada.

Look closely there is an adult Cicada drying it's wings on the branch.
They are doubly insulting things cause they pee as they fly along and sometimes it lands on me!
( it must be the season for there to be abundant Puriri  and Miro berries and millions of Cicadas. In the South Island of NZ the red Rata trees are flowering better than they have in years ( partly the pest control  of the possums but partly the season )

Sunday, February 07, 2010

My Choice.

Yesterday I worked all the given hours. I mowed and dug and weeded and planted. I achieved some neatness and tidyness around the garden that pleases me. This morning a windless night has left it that way. I was a very tired person by nightfall. I worked  hard so today it would be My Choice all day to just do just as I please - a rare thing.  R left early to go across to the airport to the Airshow . I will get to hear and see anything that flies over head here which started yesterday when they were all practising. I hope he has a satisfying day.
     Mine is going well....I have sat eating my breakfast and scrolling through your blogs. I intend to sew.This is the fabric that would not behave as I wished the first 2 times I tried it out. BUT I thought I must be able to make it please me, cause individually I like the fabrics. I also am incorporating left over strips from a jelly roll so have started by using 2.5 inch squares. I know they would look good on black or white but I am trying any darker plainish fabric that I have sufficient quantity of ...this is one...but is it slightly too busy and bright? .....stll playing. I will show progress when there is some.
The ball has just 2 motifs left to decide on and make. So, sewing by hand outside I think and machine piecing these squares. 
Women make up more than 50% of the population, but in some ways still don't get a fair share of things. Nor do young people and children. What am I on about ??? One of my pet grievances.....TV time. All programmes, but in particular NEWS coverage.Take yesterday for example was Waitangi Day ...New Zealand's National Day.....the news naturally covered celebrations ( men making speeches, men rowing Waaka, men singing at concerts etc .) The news as always had a huge section on sport - men's sport...Rugby Sevens, men's golf, motor racing etc etc.  Where were women and young people yesterday?  Watching men do their thing????? Oh yes, a woman read the news and another lovely young Karen forecast the weather. ( the criteria here being pleasant on the eye. )
       Sometimes, as the night before the Halberg Awards ( for NZ sport ) were on and women did feature - well too, but we are talking about the elete of sport in this country, which for women is a tiny percent of the population.
   For the first time in 60 years a woman had won the top producer for a film....well done, but that illustrates just how far we still have to go in many areas. Why are so many of the things women do and are good at still not considered newsworthy ? Why do young people only get coverage for the wrong reasons - when they stuff up. Why do we have so much coverage of crime -  men shooting each other or abusing females or children.( does testoterone have so much to answer for ? )  
      Someone else mentioned on their blog how it was okay for mature males to read the news or forecast or front programmes but the women doing these things had to be young and attractive and have the latest hairstyle. Intelligence and experience are not the's how they look.
       With other programmes on TV, only the Living Channel has alternative and hobby items  often at wierd hours. Women are supposed to be happy with cooking programmes or restoring houses or buying property. It's time for something new and stimulating I say.
      Luckily on the radio programme I listen to ( National radio ) women do get coverage. Some doing amazing and unusual things ( like breeding queen bumble bees for export to countries where they have disappeared  - this young lady is the only person in the world with this particular job). The front person ( on national radio ) in the morning is female and in the afternoon male; that seems fair. There is less balance with political broadcasting as we have now returned to a very much male dominated arena.( At least when we had a woman prime minister she got some air time. )
       What can we do to make things more equitable.... (would I have been a suffragette? )Women (who rock the cradle ) do have influence, but maybe not enough. Young people and children and older people matter in this world - give them a positive voice!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Over Ordered.

I think I may have over ordered on the rain!
This long holiday weekend for us was very wet.

We have had 140 mls ( 5.5 inches ) of rain in the last 3 days.. Blocked spouting had to be cleared by R in the worst down pour. We have metal ( gravel ) washed off some of the tracks but nothing more moved in the landslide debris in the creek , altough the creek itself was up and the spillway barely coped. Others about the country were not so lucky with Hawkes Bay and Gisborne areas getting severe flooding and slips.
I did some cutting out but the minute I sat down at the sewing machine the power went out. Not for too long but dinner was a bit late.The ball made some progress and one hemisphere is complete and the other has the last 3 to fill with motifs.

This morning is fine but cloudy but one of the main things I am doing is harvesting veges that haven't been picked for a couple of days. The wet has split some tomatoes.

I have the other beans still to pick and courgettes, but as family are popping in while passing for lunch I better get going. Some pikelets are my next job.