Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Royal Wedding and Mail.

Our local Newspaper has put out a special section of the paper with photos of yesterday's Royal Wedding. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the whole coverage from The BBC. ( sorry NZ TV  1 and 3 your coverage was spoiled with commercial breaks and trivia ) I thought they did very well adding some modern touches to all the pom and traditional ceremony. I can't help being interested as it was part of my upbringing. I still have half a dozen Royal Family books in my cupboard that were given to me as a child.
      If you are interested in the flowers in the bouquet Leanne has covered it well on her blog.  I liked Kate's  dress but loved sister Pippa's better.( who ever designed that got it just right )I thought Kate and William's prayer was also well done. I think they both have a great future, I do hope so. The Mother of the bride also looked very nice - their whole family shone I thought. What did you think of all the hats? Weren't some of them ridiculous?

( I intend to check out some of the places I saw on TV in a few weeks time! )
This morning I got lovely mail. My 2 great nieces I made the pencil rolls for sent me Thank you cards / letters. My sister looks after them on Tuesdays and probably suggested they make them for me.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Autumn Garden.

Yesterday I notice the bright colours on Nyssa Sylvatica so went with the camera to record them. Of all our Autumn trees these leaves are probably the brightest. While the colours of Autumn are wonderful I shudder to think of all the work that involves. Anywhere in the house garden area that they fall I have to pick them up. On the lawn is fine I can use the mower, but that leaves large areas of path and gardens to deal with. R blows some away with the leaf blower. Maybe I am getting lazy...but I need to be careful where I stand and walk at the moment.
   That brings me to the subject of feet. Yesterday I went back to the podiatrist. My foot has healed fantastically, so we talked shoes and exercises and prevention of reoccurring. We talked shoe rotation ( not left to right, but pair to pair.) and not walking sideways on slopes. Not going bare feet or in socks especially on our concrete floors and not standing on cold surfaces.( so no ice skating then! ) I may resume my daily walking cautiously and build up the time. So it looks like I have to become a right fusspot over my feet!
         Last weekend the weather here in NZ was dreadful. We are lucky that we just got rain - 114mls of it. Other parts of NZ had flooding, wind damage and slips . It started the leaves afalling and washed garden plants very clean. See how the Aeonium schwarzkopf is all bright -  the cobweb  have been washed away.
There are a few bright spots left but only those with tough little flowers like these wee Zinnias.

Or ones protected by the house walls. This is a succulent in a pot.

There are a few patches of straggly old Chrysanthemums too which get no care but flower all the same.

I have (being VERY careful where I place my feet ), spent 2 hours each afternoon lately doing the last bit of Kiwifruit thinning I needed to do. I could not bring myself to throw the few great big fan shaped fruit  on the ground so have collected 2 buckets full. I am glad I did because the results of a 30 fruit sample came back telling us our brix level ( sugar level )is sitting at 6.1 % soluble solids. If it is 6.2% it can be picked for export. That is a real surprise as when I last checked it was 5.3%. So despite all the rain , which dilutes the levels, the colder nights have raised it quite rapidly. That means in about another week it may go on the list of orchards that are ready to be picked.( similar time to last year - and we thought it was going to be a late year. ) We shouldn't however get too excited because with SO MUCH WET WEATHER the picking schedule is way behind and packhouses don't have enough fruit picked to keep working. ( no body is allowed to pick wet fruit or pick in the rain. ) For one thing if it is very wet the tractors and bin trailers will get stuck and make a huge mess. So we need a breeze, lots of sun and cold nights please.
This morning in the mail I received a summons to do Jury service in June. ( why do they keep asking me? ) Last time I refused, so although it is very shortly before our trip I suppose I will have to consider doing it. It is no longer a novelty just a huge inconvenience.( the travelling in morning rush hour; finding parking and hanging around wasting time. )
I read a very disturbing book. Has anyone else read it -  if so what did you think?
"The Road, " by Cormac McCarthy.
 The only sewing I have done is a little handquilting on the only UFO I have. A blue and yellow trellis piece that is almost done. I need to get some home baking done today as we have finished almost everything.( no it won't just be Cucumber sandwiches )
Finally , are you going to watch the Royal Wedding this evening? I am. I will see lots of parts of London I hope. What really annoys me is that on National radio this last week almost all the men that have mentioned it are complaining bitterly that the women in their households want to watch and they are going to be deprived of their sport or whatever they usually watch on TV. To me that is incredibly selfish as there is so rarely anything like this for women to watch. It has got nothing to do with whether I am a royalist or a republican? I wish the young couple well. They seem sensible modern young folk who want to be more in the real world and that has to be good for UK and the Commonwealth.William may be the last King there ever is .( cost being a huge burden ) I think we should vote to skip Charles and let Will have the next turn. QE 11 could live another 15 years. The wedding is no bigger waste of public money than the Rugby World Cup or the Olympics.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Gifts made and Book Sale.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon finishing the crayon roll and making the coloured pencil roll. They are gifts for young great nieces I get to see tomorrow.The crayon one is for a 6 year old and the pencil one for an almost 9 year old. I am including some blank drawing paper and some puzzles and Easter colouring pages that I printed off free on line. As the weather so far has been mainly wet they can work on those either at lunch tomorrow or where they are staying in Taupo. We are having a small family lunch together ( my side of the family ) at a halfway point ( Taupo ) like we did last year. A good time for swapping gifts ( can give things you can't post ) and produce.
 This morning we went to the Rotary Used Book sale at the Mt. ( I didn't have to walk too far and am staying off my foot all afternoon to make up for standing on concrete for about and hour.) We came away with a selection, perhaps not as good as last year , but time will tell. Here is my lot.

6 Ficton; 3 nonfiction and some magazines. Once again the patchwork and quilting mags were 10 for a dollar. There must be some good reading or a project worth doing in that bargain!
How is your weekend going?   NZ weather is to be wet and more wet. Never mind feet up and read.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Going Nuts.

Evey day I have been working at shelling walnuts, for at least a couple of hours. Unfortunately late on Monday afternoon I put my foot to the concrete floor in the shed where I do the nuts  and was in immediate pain, in the area under the heel of my right foot. ( the same foot that misbehaved last October, but different place  ) Yesterday I went to the podiatrist and I now have my foot tightly strapped, new higher arch supports and strangely cut and glued in rubber part soles. I have torn the ligament that forms the arch in my foot. My foot must have been cold and did not stretch like it is supposed to. The strapping has helped immensely and the pain subsided. I am to rest it as much as possible, certainly no going for walks ( as if I could )and this morning I went off to town for new shoes. My walking / working shoes were becoming misaligned.  So I now have new walking shoes a whole size larger to accomodate all the extra soles etc and a pair of Teva sandals with 3 velcro adjustable straps.( that I can't wear at the moment but need for June ) The podiatrist said to throw out all my other shoes ( slip ons or even low heels! Boo hoo I love shoes )
 The problems this causes are these. It is very hard for me to stay off my feet, just by the nature of the things I do in a day. I have to gets this healed ( heeled )in time to go on holiday in June as I had great plans of walking a lot! The word springs to mind!
Last week I cleaned out my sewing cupboard and am still cutting and sorting scraps. I haven't had much  sewing time. My sewing machine sits in it's wheeled bag below these shelves when put away.( as it was last weekend when we had guests ) The rest of the time it is on the big bench in the dining area.

The only little project I am working on is making 2 of these rolls for crayons and coloured pencils for gifts.  More on that later if they turn out okay. This is the one for crayons. The next will have to have longer coloured strips, for pencils.
 Things I can do sitting down have suddenly gone to the top of my to do list.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More Foraging and Research Too!

Yesterday afternoon I was working in Kiwifruit Block 4 which is the far away one near the avocados ( for those of you who have been here ) That's where the chestnut tree is too.
I collected these fat beauties before I came home . They are the fattest ones we have ever grown. ( because of all the rain )
I have just been doing at bit of googling on Chestnuts.( they are a member of the same family as beech and oak ) They are low in calories but starchy. They have proteins; dietary fibre; are rich in Vitamin C,  B complex Vitamins, folates; have iron; calcium; potassium; magnesium; manganese; phosphorous and zinc. Chestnuts are gluten free and have only good cholesterol. So sounds like we should be eating them. I will freeze some too for the vegetarians in the family!
      On Saturday night we were out to dinner at some friends with 2 other couples  we are all very compatible; ( 8 in all - 5 of us used to be teachers ). All 8 of us are going on travels in the next 2 - 4 months.( which is partly why we met up to compare notes.) They are all much more used to travel than R and I am, so we got lots of useful tips and suggestions. We got lent a book on London so together with what we already had my research has been going well.
On Sunday afternoon I cleaned out my sewing cupboard. I sorted all my recently made scraps and am in the process of cutting them up once ironed into the biggest useful pieces I can to keep in my size bags. I like to do this before I start on any new projects. If I come across anything in the cupboard not finished it gets put to the top of the list. ( or unpicked or discarded- very rarely ) Mmy cupboard looks almost too neat to be a working space....but when you haven't got a sewing room or studio that's the way it works best for me.
 Thank you all for your comments. I have heard from folk who would recommend going to Bath and the American Museum .( about 1 hours drive from where we will be staying at one stage so that sounds very promising. )

Saturday, April 09, 2011

A Pile of Quilts.

Yesterday afternoon after we had finished up at our Patchwork and Quilting Group my Friend Dee came with me to help carry the 3 big bags containing the first assignment of the finished bandanna quilts from our group for Canteen. ( that's them all folded up in a pile above.) 2 of mine are in that pile. I sat sewing the last 2 sides of the yellow and green binding on yesterday during our meeting. My friend Dee liked the idea of a disappearing 9 patch so she did hers that way too. Here it is finished .
Another quilt that got finished yesterday, not actually made of bandannas but going to Canteen was this one Helen made. Another member had donated this panel with the map of the world on it. (very bright and colourful.) Helen quilted it by following the lines of latitude and longitude that were printed on it. Here it is during Show and Tell.

 Also in Show and Tell was a quilt Nan had finished making from last year's Block of the Month. She filled it out with some extra blocks.( the reason I have cut the bottom of the photo off was a table was protruding into the picture. )

Something else the group is doing is making a friendship quilt for a member who is in hospital.       It was to be 9.5" block using New Zealand fabrics. This is my donated block.

One afternoon last week when the sun appeared for a couple of hours I went and collected this many walnuts. You can see why I need to take the tractor with me to carry them home.

They are now drying in the sun, which has returned yesterday and today....back to Autumn instead of the few days preview of Winter we had been having.
Yesterday I happened to be talking to one of our members who had lived and worked in UK for several years ( working as a technician for Elna sewing machines ) and she said the best quilt display she saw the whole time she was there  in UK was in the American Museum in Bath. A little later a newer member of our group came and spoke to me and said, " I couldn't help over hearing your conversation and I want to endorse that that quilt display is worth seeing."  She had lived for 21 years in Bath so gave me full instructions ( which I have written down in my diary )  on how to get there. Sometimes serendipitous things happen. I would like to know if any of you reading this have visited the American Museum in bath. What is your opinion of their quilt collection Please? 

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Especially for the Quilt Police.

For the last 4 days it has rained ( 4" ) and been quite no orchard work, but lots of sewing; cooking; blog reading; foraging and cleaning. Now you don't want to know about the cleaning;  the cooking is more interesting  - the second lot of soup for the chillier weather is on the stove now and the cookies are just done.The soup has an unusual ingredient to see how it goes - Chestnuts.( they are especially plump this year because of all the rain ) R cooked  lamb shanks the other night for dinner and put some chestnuts in that and they were yummy ( like kumera ), so I decided to try some in today's vegetable soup. Which brings me to the foraging. Yes, collecting chestnuts, walnuts; a few mushrooms(  loads of toadstools that would have been nice if they had been mushrooms )(we don't eat them ) and a handful of blackberries I found - enough to stew with one large apple.
      More interesting is the sewing....both sides of my bandanna quilt are finished. Some bandannas are common to both sides so that sort of ties it together. I was freaking out about how I was going to ensure the strips on the back lay perfectly straight and parallel to the outside edge. The top photo shows I made sure the corners were totally square using my 12.5" ruler. Knowing how the backing of a quilt ( well mine anyway ) can get slightly askew when layering all 3 layers ( this doesn't happen if you own a long arm quilter with rollers ) I devised a method to use that I am sure the quilt police would frown upon. I used the idea that is similar in theory to the way the layers are held on a long arm quilter or roller system . I started at one straight edge. I sewed the backing fabric and the quilt top together with a large stitch down the edge thus ensuring that side was totally straight. I then sewed in the batting along the same hem line just a smidgen away from the first row of stitches. I turned the layer through with right sides out, lay it on the floor and proceeded to baste it moving outward from the sewn edge.
 When I had put in sufficient pins to ensure it would hold together I then lifted it onto my big bench and continued to pin and smooth, turn adjust the pins,  turn again etc till I had both sides as flat as straight as I thought they were ever going to be.

The above photo shows where I am at today; the corner of the quilt is flipped over so you can see both front and back and you can see how some fabric is common to both sides. I am about half way with the quilting. it's not very adventurous. Some diagonal lines, some stitching in the ditch and some shadow quilting around some of the shapes. It was really hard to decide what pattern might suit both sides??? ( only one small annoying tuck so far ) Overall I am pleased with my progress. What Binding I will use I don't know. Thinking ,thinking.
I few posts back I said I was trying to get a close photo of the little fantails who were visiting. One decided to be really helpful and come inside to see me. ( no I am not superstitious about that ) . so I shut all the doors to contain it in the big room and he spent some time flitting from light fitting to window sill. My trying to help him out didn't work so I let it be and when I next looked up it was gone out an open ranch slider.

Everyday we are eating huge numbers of feijoas. They also are big and juicy because of lots of rain. Here are the 2 biggest we have ever grown. The one at the front is the winner so far at 175 grams.

 I did managed to find a nut picker upper. Made in USA and someone in the South island is importing them. About $150 NZ plus P and P . I am considering getting one. Thank you for the helpful hint.
 Thank you to those of you who have taken the time to email me about Quilty things ( Exhibitions; Show ; Shops in UK ) I appreciate it.
R has just come home from giving blood ( he has a type they like and need ) It was his 25th donation and came home bearing gifts. A certifcate, a badge, a pen and a lovely red and white umbrella !  Well done!