Friday, April 30, 2010

Autumn Tasks.

Yesterday's haul of walnuts ( plus a few macadamia nuts ) drying in the sun on Miss Dolly ( the trolley ). This is my 4th pick up this Autumn. I think a walnut tree or any nut tree gives very good returns. If you have the space it is a very rewarding thing to grow.
My hair appointment was  very  pleasant and they got it just right. Way more purple and dark foils than last time. Young Jess who did most of it is so tiny about the size of a 12 year old. In fact they are all very trim there and under the age of 30. I lay back in the vibrating chair as I had my hair washed and she was very good on the head massage .( so different from being in the dentist's chair! )
Autumn leaves are a feature. Some have already dropped. They are so lovely to look at and so annoying to clean up. The ones I can mow up make lovely compost with the lawn clippings but the others that swirl around the place and  have to be picked up are work. See how big this Pin Oak has got...I know soon I have to collect all those leaves...and that's just one tree!
Here are some other garden scenes at the moment.
Autumn crocus - I have hundreds of bulbs they multiply really fast. Any one in NZ who would like some leave a comment and I will send you some later when they are dormant.
Little Zinnias that have flowered all summer still look good.
A tiny flowered Cyclamen in the dappled shade of the big oak.
Nyssa Sylvaticus looks wonderful against the green of the Rimu, Gums and Ponga.
Red Hot Pokers just coming out.
A tiny spider lily. So small it is barely noticable but it is one of my garden treasures.The bulbs came from my late Mother's garden. When I was a girl we lived on a farm at Tutaenui in the Rangitikei ( 8 miles from Marton ) My parents were keen gardeners. My late Dad grew enough veges to keep us well fed. Sometimes whole rows of carrots, swedes etc were grown down the side of a crop planted as stock feed.  So these wee Nerines - spider lilies are precious and very old.( see how very thin the leaves are ) They don't seem to multiply rapidly like my red nerines do. I'm glad I kept them.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thanks and Even More Weird.

Firstly Thank you to Paula, Pam, Laurie and Meggie who came to my aid. Paula what you said I understood and was about to try but Hey Presto when I clicked the photo icon it was BACK TO NORMAL!( so it wasn't me! ) ( I would still like to know if Blogger changed something or was it a blip? )
Pam you are a sweety. Thanks, I had already read all that but just wanted reassurance I wasn't going to loose my other photo programme. Folks right at the very start of my "shared sites experience"  Pam  helped me with lay out problems and how to stuff, cause I was very green and she was a trained expert. That was 9 or 10 years ago I think....things have moved on. I am less green, but still green by her standards, but I am determined and always want to know and learn and that will never change. Also she is now on the other side of the world!
So now I seem to have possibly 3 options for uploading photos and Paula I now know what to try if that option appears again. THANK YOU.
The above photo (that positively leapt onto my blog page) shows the fabric I have left to cut out more little  butterflies from; that's it; total. There is quite a bit left of the 2 blue and one spotty jelly roll strips but I will need to cut carefully to ensure I have enough.
The 5 not yet sewn together parts of the quilt. There are also 4 borders and 4 corner posts to add later. It looks very long and thin but that is the photo angle on the floor.( I need a design wall! ) The small butteflies yet to be made are going to be flying across the quilt or alighting and  clinging to the sides.
No time for that now I have heaps of walnuts to pick up , feijoas to collect, a hair appointment and some shopping to do.
Friends are wonderful! 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Some Sewing.

Trying to solve my problem I went into Settings and I have changed back to the old way I used to set out photos. That seems a big step backwards.

Is everyone else out there using Picasa except me? Should I change?

For today I will stick with this . Here is a photo of the border fabric cut ready for the Butterfly quilt. I have added the corner posts to the top of the 2 long borders but as the quilt is still in 5 large pieces, this was just preparation. I have it in 5 pieces still as I am doing hand work putting on feelers, eyes ,designs on wings.
Thanks everyone who left amusing comments on the last couple of posts. - the hedgehog is not Mrs Tiggy Winkle as it was not wearing a white apron and mob cap. So Thimbleanna you could name it.
( Thanks Laurie and Meggie that is how I WAS doing it till it changed )
I would really appreciate more advice on what has happened when I try to upload photos. Why is Blogger not letting me go to my own computer and only giving Picasa or URL as an option.
Next silly question - can I have 2 photo editing programmes on my computer - if I install Picasa will it cancel my other photo programme out or will it give me the choice of both?

Can Someone Help?

Suddenly today I can no longer up load photos to this blog. I have changed nothing. The tool bar above now has an icon to add videos,  that wasn't there before. Now when I click on the icon to add photos, getting them from my own computer is not longer an option Why?  That is the only place I have photos. Can someone tell me what is going on and how I can return to how it was 2 days ago. Am I the only person who was uploading photos straight from their own computer?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Smiling now.

My day, or should that be state of mind,  has improved considerably - I have had my visit to the dentist and it wasn't too bad this time at all. Phew! Tooth all fixed.
Moving on to something pleasant.
As you can see I had started eating before I remembered to take the photo . The first of our own Kiwifruit for this year - it ripened on the fruit bowl beside all the ripening feijoas - it was so sweet and juicy. Dry matter tests are being done on our crop today and we should be picking within the next week.

Yesterday I met this busy little hedgehog in the orchard - I think she posed for me.That's what you need for your garden Keewee, to eat slugs and snails.

By the time I finished my long walk last evening this is what I saw down at the beach. 
I am gradually working my way through the butterfly blocks ( and still don't like them ) putting in details and patterns on wings, sometimes using fancy stitches on the machine but each block should have had stabiliser like the centre panel .

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Feijoas for Isabelle.

 Isabelle in UK said she does not know what feijoas are. So here you are Isabelle.
They are fruit that grow very readily here in New Zealand. They also grow in California and Florida  (called guava pineapples or something there ) They start off like this.

If you look back 4 or 5 posts there is a photo of the inside, when cut in half.
Today I decided the feijoa supply was gaining on us so got out this.

I also looked on the net for other ideas then went to my own cookbook and finally ended up with this.

3 jars of feijoa and ginger jam and 2 walnut and feijoa loaves.
 ( while I was cooking the name Letia sprange to mind....The Vicar of Dibley... but luckily I don't keep fish paste in this house. I will give the taste verdict next post.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Patterns in Nature 2.

As well as the shape of the fruit or vegetable cutting in different directions reveals different patterns.
A lemon's best design.

The cross cut of a kiwifruit.

The cross cut of this apple shows just a tiny star core, but cut this way

shows a more usual view of half an apple with pips in the core and a stem.
There are lots more ideas brewing in my head. Patterns of clouds and waves and water and webs and rock strata and stones ...........

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Patterns in Nature.

I've always noticed pattern in nature and cutting open some feijoas started me off seeking them out with my camera.
In trees and grass. This bamboo is in fact a grass.
This may be a pattern in the bark of the Kahikatea or lychen.

The cones and leaves on a Chamaecyparis.

The growth tip of a Lancewood ( pseudopanax ) tree.
Even the varying shapes of a Eucalytpus tree once it is firewood.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Appliqued Butterflies.

Yesterday I got the first of my appliqued butterflies cut out and bonded to the background panel, ready to sew on and embellish.( legs ,feelers etc yet to be added ) I designed about 6 different butterflies of varying sizes and poses and will be putting more flying across other parts of the quilt. I have also been working on the other blocks with the big stylized ones but like this middle panel MUCH better. I am committed to putting it all together now and can do this middle panel again in different colous later as it is my own design.( for the butterflies I am trying to stick to fabrics already used in the quilt .)

Saturday, April 17, 2010


With a little bit of planning and planting this time of year can be quite fruitful. It takes time and my back aches for a short while BUT today I collected 643 walnuts; 73 feijoas; grapes that we have made into juice; and best of all some free mushrooms growing in the paddock. The secret there is saving the mushroom stalks and skins when they are prepared then taking them and scattering them where you wish them to grow ( even on your lawn ) - they are covered in spores- especially off the mature ones and hey presto, with a little shower of rain ( or watering ) mushrooms for free. We did plant the walnut trees; the grape vine and the feijoas bushes ; but the mushrooms, no,  just a little scattering.
White Niagara grapes are better for us as juice than as jelly or jam.

Monday, April 12, 2010

In a Tight Spot.

Cloudy and a bit chilly this morning. I am now sitting having a late morning cup of home made real coffee, some yummy crackers and a nice slice of brie. - My little reward for being good. I wonder if you can work out where I have been this morning from the photos . ( I sneaked my camera out of my bag while waiting alone ) You may have been somewhere that looks similar?
Particularly notice the doll partly obscured at the back.
Maybe this will help.

Maybe you have been up close and cosy with a machine like this.
Anyway the results were clear. My you know what take very clear easy to read x rays. So that is me for another 2 years.The assistant couldn't have been more professinonal or  more pleasant and she smelled lovely which to me is important. ( I have had a less pleasant experience elsewhere in the past, as I bruise very easily. )
Now I just have to get a dentist's appointment out of the way in a fortnight.....I'd much rather repeat today's procedure - strange how different things effect different people.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Patterns and Colour.

Patterns and colour in nature at the moment.
Patterns in cut feijoas - can't eat one without thinking of you Pam! ( so that is often..they are yummy as usual )

Patterns in the firewood we are stacking in the woodshed.

Colour in the maple tree,

and the purple petunias

 golden vireya,

and red nerines ( there are pink ones too ).

Green and red in the Nandinas,
white little balls in the Japonica and green palmate leaves.

This one is for you Meg. Last year I showed you the buds of this firewheel tree ( stenocarpus ) and said I would show you the flowers and I never did till now. They are really amazingly designed flowers.

Things I forgot to mention.
* Last week I finished all the Kiwifruit work I am doing on this crop till just before picking time which I think will be early this year due to the lack of rain. So that means I can catch up on tidying the garden. Last Thursday I spent in the front creek; as it is so low I didn't get my feet wet, while weeding.
*R is splitting a trailer load of firewood each day now and I help stack it in the woodshed. Leanne would Brent and James like to see some photos of our big splitter? ( with their welding skills they might be able to make one similar )
* I am tackling the fabric challenge like this. Make a list of EVERY idea that comes to mind however bizzare. Browse through my magazines and books at every spare minute or while watching TV. Keep looking at the fabric from different angles. Think curves - the rules say it must have curves. Think, think, think......

Friday, April 09, 2010

Fabric Use.

Today at P and Q Group N demonstrated 3 different fabric gift wraps. As I am always busy at meetings I only had time to complete one sort( but have the patterns for the other 2 ) This shows the top. I have put a cake of soap inside for the photo. It was very simple to make. This is the back.

You have seen these fabrics before, as I used them on my pincushion recently.

Today we also got the rules and fabric for the challenge quilt ( yes, has to be a small quilt or wall hanging with curves ) for our Exhibiyion later this year. It is Kaffe Fasset fabric. I probably will regret entering but we shall see...lots of time ; so I hope lots of ideas spring to my mind.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Inside Journey.

Carriage H that we travelled in was the last one going and the front one coming home. The engine changed ends and pulled ( towed ) us back. The rules say 25kms an hour going backwards and 70 plus forward. This carriage was 100 years old! My seat was in the extreme left corner in this shot. They should not have booked out all the seats as the musicians were very cramped...within inches of my face.They changed around during the journey. In carriage G was pianist Braydon Jeffrey - he had them rocking.
Many folk including me spent time out the back of the train taking photos. Some travelled there most of the way - which eased things inside.
Tickets please!
It's just as well the banjo player ( who has taken off his striped waistcoat cause it got warm ) was a nice guy cause he was so close to me we accidently kept playing footsies. During the breaks we chatted amicably. I learnt quite a bit about their musical instruments, cleaning strings, and his family. What surprised me was how they managed to keep their rhythm steady as the train LURCHED. They could also play in the dark in the short tunnels, no problem. Here is this same trio outside playing while the engine swapped ends.
Here's the bass. ( great curves! )
The Moonlighters were very cramped for space. This is my seat Margaret has her arm on, so we decided to flip the seat over facing the other way which helped except I was still right up CLOSE!.
I didn't use it ; just took it's photo....a young boy went by when I was taking the pic - he thought it hilarious to photograph a loo!
Now a couple of shots for any train buffs.
Here the engine is hooking in to pull backwards.
Railway lines give a wonderful lesson in perpective and vanishing points.
The engine was built in 1956 in the railway workshop in Wellington and worked mainly in the South Island between  Invercargill and Dunedin. It then spent time in a shed as a stationary boiler / steam cleaner.  It has been lovingly restored by enthusiasts and travelled up from Paekakariki near Wellington
 for this occasion. They take it all over the country...when they are allowed to use the lines !
Here you can't feel the rhythm or smell the steam and smoke or hear the hiss of steam or best of all the whistle blow.  ( I might try and upload one of R little ipod clips with that on ) As we travelled there were onlookers everywhere; folk waving; many gesturing to blow the steam whistle, which the engineeer did quite frequently. This morning it was still and  we heard the train in the distance leaving our area to go home.  ( we both really enjoyed our journey and we aren't Jazz enthusiasts or train buffs.
We have had some mist and gentle drizzle this morning and may get more - we hope so.