Saturday, July 31, 2010


This is the little new lemon tree fruiting in it's second year. It needed some fruit  removing, to help it put it's energy into growing.(  The old tree has about 200 lemons on it! )         So......

 Lemon tart it is then. I'll have some for you Pamela!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Almost Done.

I have gingerly machine quilted my charity quilt and just have the outside border left to do now. I only got one little tuck on the back so can live with that. Mostly I stitched in the ditch but did shadow outlines around the appliqued shapes at both ends.( all using the walking foot ) I am not sure what to do in the borders. Thinking, thinking !
Congratulations are in order for 3 members of our Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters Group ( I say proudly! ) Last weekend at Cambridge at The Machine Quilters Conference  our members took out 3 of the 4 prizes! Sandra Bently won the Professional section;  Robin Dimmock won the Novice section and Jenny Allen of Stitchworks won Viewer's Choice.  Wow that is so good.( Jenny quilted the purple and green quilt in my side bar ) 
Another of our members, Faye Laing  who does beautiful embroidery, was the tutor of a young person who recently won a sewing machine as the prize for all NZ, at the Hamilton Embroiderers' Exhibition.
So aren't we lucky having that  talent in our group.
I didn't know about Biscornu. ( do you? ) I was selecting a gift for a friend who likes to try all sorts of craft and stitching. I got this kit for making the Biscornu in the photo. Hope she likes it. Biscornu is french and can be an object that is strangely shaped  ( odd ) or it has come to mean the method of making one of these. I googled the word and the images and was overwhelmed with wonderful little stitched strangely shaped objects. ( mostly pincushions or decorations I think )
I am sure you ladies who also embroider knew about these little wonders. Fascinating!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Shape of Clouds.

Appliqued clouds would look too heavy for the effect I want at the top of my challenge so I have just tried to pick out cloud shapes on this fabric.( doesn't show up too well in the photo )I may do more stitching at the quilting stage.
This part down by the water is looking okay but I am swearing at this thread.
Antique  effects, a DMC embroidery thread. I wanted the sparkle for in the light on water part but am finding it very challenging to work with. It twists on itself just like wire and won't turn corners well, so I have had to modify my stitch to suit .
2 fabulous sunny Winter days. Yesterday I ended up spending all afternoon gardening. Mainly pruning roses. These last few blooms  on Penelope had to come off and I couldn't throw them in the avocado mulch wool pack.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Some Local Scenery.

17 degrees C on a sunny, Winter, Sunday afternoon: I have just got to go somewhere pleasant for a walk. Come on, you come too!

We start here at Omokoroa ( which is not far from where I live.) We walk along this inner harbour sand and up over the tree clad rise at the end. From there we get views out between the trees.

White fluffies over Mt Maunganui
Gardened edges; careful it's a long way down and see there in the very far distance, past all the other land outcrops is the pale outline of the Coromandel Peninsula.

We go right through this grove of very old walnut trees, then down a few streets till we have gone full circle and are back by the water.

The car ferry across to Matakana Island is leaving at 4 oclock but doesn't come back today so I think we'll stay here and go for a treat instead.

I'm having my usual Long Black and a plum muffin. What would you like? We'll sit up here on the balcony and watch the kids playing down below.

Time to go now. Thanks for your company and it's great that you walk at exactly my pace. I'll ask you again sometime soon.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sewing and Planting.

My hand sewing ( the balls ) is finished so I needed to return to an on going hand sewing project - a trellis pattern table runner for the lounge coffee table. I have made this exact same one before in the same 2 colours but it has faded really badly over the years and had the odd thing spilt on it - generally needs replacing. I must have hand sewing for the evenings, as others of you have said in your posts.This is really easy small inch and a half squares. I use backstitch as I have a thing about secure hand stitching so can make the stitches really close together.( yes, I know it would be far quicker machine string pieced but that defeats my purpose )
We have been planting.
We had on order a double grafted ( 2 varieties on one tree ) Nashi and a Plum tree. Palmers Garden Centre rang during the week to say they couldn't supply what we had ordered but there was a different single graft Nashi there if we would take it. This morning we went  there in the truck and came back with a Nashi Hosui ( which is only partially self fertile ); a Plum -  Hawera which sounds yummy ( red flesh and free stone ) and is self fertile and for me a Royal Gala Apple - cause I love apples. It was the best eating apple on offer. We have never grown any of these in this area so it will be interesting to see how they do.
The new plum tree. You can see in the photo how close the bush is so the possum trap will have to spend time here if and when we get any fruit. Already planted in this little orchard patch are the 3 feijoas, a lime; 3 blueberries and a persimmon.  It is near one kiwifruit block and the patch of orange trees. So very tempting for possums. We are allowed to kill them in NZ as  they are a REAL pest to our native bush. We already run a poison bait station up in the avocado block. We wouldn't get any undamaged fruit if we didn't have that there.
The last 2 books I have read ( see list on side bar ) have been depressing and not pleasant reading so I am starting Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
 It has had good press and I hope will have me laughing.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Finished Sounds Pleasing

"Finished, " sounds pleasing to my ear.  Felt embroidered ball # 20 is done. This one is for a wee baby called Poppy.
A friend asked  me to make 2 balls for each of her grand daughters; one  aged almost one and the other just a few months. As these 2 girls are cousins I made sure I didn't repeat any of the motifs on the balls. A's has a farm theme. P's has a seaside theme.
While I was photographing the balls I decided ( as you do...well I do anyway...have bright ideas that usually involve work!  ) on another helpful idea. I would take a photo of each of the motifs I have designed and put them all together in a catalogue so it helps me ( and maybe someone asking for a ball to be made ) when trying to decided what to put on a ball. That would add to my photos of the finished balls and the written note book I keep.That is a computer and printing project for myself.

I think the balls look quite good when in the company of other balls!
Now I need to hear the word finished for that fabric challenge. I have done some more but the end seems distant still!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunset .

This photo taken very late yesterday afternoon while walking around the Mt. ( Mount Maunganui ). I needed the walk with a friend and fresh air as I have a couple of annoying pressing problems I am trying to resolve. Not "my own problems" but those thrust on me by others, but I am at the moment the person responsible, so have to guide and be very tactful. One way or another they will get sorted but meantime I don't sleep too well.
Driving home into the sunset after the walk, was just magnificent. Unfortunately I was alone and driving so just had to look and admire.( no photos ) There are some wonderful vantage points going over the new fly overs and bridge that now cross the harbour to Tauranga. Driving northeast towards Te Puna the pink and orange sky against the dark blue Kaimai Ranges got better and did my mood.
Progress is being made with my fabric challenge. little by little stitch by stitch. I hope to take a little time to do more today.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bright Colours.

Thanks for your comments on my last 2 posts. It seems everyone likes birds, especially the singing, rare and native birds. I have another fun Pukeko mural for you Deb. Found not far from my other sign in part of the reserve where many, many water birsds live.
Also while out walking (in the city on Thursday ) I saw these municipal plantings looking bright.

Pretty Polyanthus and Pansies en masse .( My own plantings just need to be bigger! )

The first blossom I have seen. ( almond? )

In my own garden the Magnolias are just breaking into flower. A lovely sunny day here in NZ after our coldest morning so far this winter. Just 3 degrees C.  Hot soup ready for lunch. Lots to do!
Just one more motif and Ball # 20 will be done!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Challenging Work.

I 've been working on my entry for our fabric challenge. I showed the fabric once before, but here it is before I took the scissors to it.

I photocopied the fabric first and worked on a paper version before cutting the are the rules.

My entry is pictorial, a river and bush scene. here is the background I have been working on.

That is a small section  - I can't show it all yet.The pink sections of the fabric are proving the biggest challenge. I have only been able to use pinks in some tree trunks and my lady not seen here. In some parts as there was only a fat quarter of fabric I' ve used the tiniest pieces to make enough in some colours. A lot of the greens are blue green which is not really grass or tree colour but I am trying to make it work.
 This is all raw egde applique and I have so far just used a straight stitch. Embellishing and maybe fancy stitches will happen nearer the end of the process. I have wool and beads put aside that may work.The work itself is leading me and the process. Amazingly so far no major problems or mistakes. ( plenty of time still ).
I'm not really sure why I decided to do this - it is taking hours of work.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

New Zealand Birds.

This is my favourite sign. I see it when walking or driving in the Bethlehen swamp area ( on both sides of the road in this photo.) In NZ we call them Pukekos.( known as swamp hens other places I think ).
Pukeko have a very individual way of walking that makes me laugh.
Last week I posted about a survey that was being held of Birds in NZ Gardens.It was to be taken for one hour of our choice, during this week. We did ours starting at 8 am one morning, as at that time we see families of Californian Quails walking across our lawn.
A male seen here. They have real personality and I love the way they post" lookouts," while the rest of the group feed.
I have reservations and concerns about a one hour survey. Yes, it gives a snap shot but not a true indication of bird populations. We saw 12 different species in our hour but when compared with the 32 known birds we have seen on our property it leaves a lot out.
Here is our one hour result.
[Californian Quails =25; Silvereye ( Tauhou) =12; Tui =1; Greenfinch =2; Fantail =1; Eastern Rosella =2; Bellbird( Makomako )=1; Blackbird = 2; Thrush = 1; Pukeko =2; Harrier Hawk ( Kahu )=1;Wood Pigeon ( Keruru ) =1  ]
This is one of our rarer NZ birds; a Shining Cuckoo.( it flew into a window and was stunned - hence this photo ) One died once doing the same thing and we were able to see it's beautiful striped tail underneath.
Our "on going" List of Birds seen on this property is:
[Pukeko; Harrier Hawk; Paradise Duck; Kereu; Mallard Duck; Kaka; Morepork( Ruru); Tui; Shining Cuckoo; Kingfisher; Fantail; Bellbird; Grey Warbler; Pied Shag; Black Shag; White Faced Heron; Silvereye; Peacock; Ring Necked Pheasant; Thrush; Blackbird;  Californian Quail; Indian Myna; House Sparrow: Starling; Magpie; Welcome Swallow; Yellow Hammer; Chaffinch; Greenfinch; Goldfinch; Dove.] 
That list of 32 has been compiled over the 32 years we have lived here. I wonder if we will still add more to it. Being beside native bush helps us see lots of birds, but we also grow trees and plants we know attract birds as a food source.

*Many of my fellow blogger post about the birds they see and feed and I enjoy seeing birds we don't see here.
* I enjoy birds  compnay; little Fantails follow me about to pick off insects I disturb. We also both love the birds that sing for us.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Pretty Polys.

Most afternoons lately I have been gardening. Yesterday I planted out these lovely new polyanthus, and 3 miniature white cyclamen, near some from previous years. I tucked them in with blood and bone under the big oak tree which has now dropped all it's leaves. The leaves  are so thick on the ground and so wet that I remove lots of them, into either the compost bins or into wool packs to be mulch under the avocado trees. If the thick layer is not removed from on top of small plants they get bleached white from lack of light then rot and die. I also planted some more iceland poppies.  6  large in bud plants and some wee ones for later. A punnet of lemon snap dragons beside them should look good. With a large garden there is always more to do then time available, but it is good exercise and a place of perfume, birds and little bright delights. I often get a surprise when something I hadn't noticed is suddenly flowering brightly.
This is a very poor photo but all I have. The Panettone turned out to be yummy.  I substituted crystillised ginger for glace cherries and with lots of lemon zest and juice it is richly flavoured. I certainly will make it again. One of the  2 small loaves has been is  eaten already )
Today I have a huge cauldron of vege soup on the stove.It will make several lunches.