Saturday, March 31, 2012

Clear Blue.

We have had a week of amazing fine weather. Every day the sky has been this colour.These are tall gum trees growing behind the house.

 Today there are some white fluffies in that clear blue, but still a brilliant run of weather.
 This has meant lots of work, work, work. Yesterday I said, "No kiwifruit, I am spending all day doing garden things."
This included a trip to the garden centre, for a few punnets , some mustard seed, 2 new cyclamen and some more moth traps. (I want to protect the walnuts from moths when they are stored in the shed.) Last year's cyclamen is getting buds too I see. We are still picking lots of beans which I never tire of. Courgettes too.
 I worked really hard weeding and planting. Today I helped R take the tomato frames away to store for next year. He dug all the rest of the potatoes yesterday and is going to plant some mustard seed soon to try and cleanse the soil. All this outdoor progress has meant little sewing time, but I have cut out some flower shapes which I am trialling on a panel down each side of the quilt I am working on.
 The colour is right. I will make more and move them around. Do I want them free standing or attached to a plant? I quite like them just scattered . I'll play with it.
* Walnut tally = 537.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Long Time Ago.

Today was a warm lovely Autumn day as the photo shows. Rose hips, red leaves on the Viburnum  and bees all over the Japanese wind anemones flowering.
 For me the day was made all the nicer from receiving an unexpected email. This one was a blast from the past. I am sure the writer won't mind if I share some of it with you.
 It started :
Hi Miss T......,
 It was a bit of a shock to see that you are only 10 years older than me ( and younger than my husband.) When I was 9 you were all grown up. My husband gave me a tablet for Christmas and my grand children are teaching me to use it.
You were the first teacher I can remember having. You were gentle and kind. Thankyou. Coming from Palmerston North the country and the Maori people were all very new to me. My parents didn't mix much so you made life a lot easier for me. Now days I am a farmer and have some part Maori grandchildren.  Etc.

 The email was from a girl called Suzanne who I taught in my first year out teaching; during the 1960s; a std 2 and 3 class in a very rural Mill settlement in the Central North Island. 
 Wasn't that lovely after all these years for her to want to contact me. I was really thrilled. It is pleasing to think I  had a good  influence on at least some of the  kids I taught.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quilts and Harvest.

Only 23 members turned up for Patchwork and Quilting Group yesterday. Not sure why the numbers were down, but we had a pleasant very warm time together. Show and Tell had some great " finishes." We put the finished Mug Rugs on a table. At the back you can see my  black and white example used for demos on Tuesday night that now I will need to put together.
 M finished this lovely William Morris pattern quilt for her son. He chose the pattern! Considering M has sight in only one eye she did a fabulous job with all the appliqué.
 One of our newest members finished this lovely bright rose table runner.
 Ah yes, another quilt with legs!
 MB has a machine that does embroidery so she first made all the lambs, then used up scraps to make the rest. It turned into a lovely quilt for a little person in her life.

 Several ladies have already figured out ways to make little bags of varying sizes out of the Canteen bandannas. We then give them back to Canteen.
Here D is demonstrating how to cut one up then I am then going to turn this one into a bag...when I get time.

This morning we are busy harvesting.... butter nut squash and buttercup pumpkins.
 White Niagara grapes are ready too.
As it is such a repetitive job I have started counting the walnuts as I pick them up. A storm on Wednesday night shook quite a few down. The tally so far is 263.
 Wishing you all a pleasant weekend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quilt from the Parts Department.

It's damp today. We don't need more rain but I love catch up days! I've been to the supermarket and Farmers Sustainable Meats where I get lovely free range eggs and some meat. I have sorted books to go to the Rotary Used Book Sale at Easter and done some ironing, so now I am free to play on the computer and the sewing machine.
 Above is the little quilt I am making while I decide what bigger project I want to get into next.
 Some years ago I got a book called Collaborative Quilting by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston. I don't make quilts in their style but I did borrow from them the term, " parts department." This little quilt is being made of parts from  my parts department. ( mainly kept in sorted ziplock bags according to their size and shape.) They are all lying flat and neatly cut so are ready to go. That makes for some quite quick construction. The panel in the centre I won in a Chinese auction at club and I am using it to decide my palette. I have an unwell friend in mind who just happens to love muted pinks and greens so maybe that is who I am making a lap quilt for. She could use it when she goes for treatment. (I've got to finish it first. )
* How lovely to have some new folk visiting here. Welcome to Tina ( who I know ) and Ulla in Finland and Diane and Berenice in Brazil.

* I have a question about Go Baby  (die cutters.) Our club might buy one and I am assigned to looking into prices etc. for one and the dies. Does anyone who already has one have any problems with it? I think there are other brands but maybe not in NZ yet.

* I have been making Lavash again. I was calling them Lavosh as that is what Annabelle Langbien called them in her book. I was doing a little research on line on making your own cracker type biscuits and found the correct spelling there.

* Jennifer. Hi Wombat! You asked how much land we had. 27 acres or 10.98 hectares. Some is in native bush and scrub and streams, some is orchard, some is large garden and house and quilte a lot is in surrounds shelter hedges and service lanes where we drive around blocks of kiwifruit ( have to have good access to the fruit blocks for tractors when picking and spraying. )
 Someone sent me a very useful email telling a story of neighbours who did exactly the right thing when a bloke got badly burned. After cooling the area with clean cold water( sprayed on ) they slathered his burnt face in lightly beaten egg white. It has lots of collagen and forms a seal over the burn keeping the air out. Ambulance staff praised their action when they arrived. Apparently firemen are now being trained to do this. It takes the pain away and seals the next time I get even a small burn I am going to try it out.
 Off to sew now!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Making a Raffle Quilt.

Yesterday 16 of our Patchwork and Quilting Group got together to make a quilt for our Exhibition later in the year. Our usual rooms were not available so we sewed in the sewing room at Aquinas College. One of our members is the teacher there. It was a lovely light roomy place to work.

 Some ladies only spent a short time there but many worked from 9.30 till 5 and it's still not finished. It takes a lot of womanhours to make a quilt, even when.the parts for the block were already cut out. There remains  a little more sewing on the bright pink appliqué petals ( that coloured thread ran out ) and for the blocks to be assembled. Of course it still has to be quilted but we have an expert in our group to do that for us.
 This shows how the 49 blocks ( 7 X 7 ) will fit together. I like the bright colours and I think it will make a popular raffle. Thanks to all the ladies who helped and to P who wasn't present but sent along a tray of muffins for morning and afternoon tea. They were delicious and much appreciated. I had a rhubarb one in the morning and a blueberry one in the afternoon. It helped the day immensely.
 I will show a photo of the quilt when it is complete.
In the vegetable garden we have had to pull out the finished corn plants which I mowed into submission with the lawn mower then put in to the compost bin and the tomato plants all got carefully removed and destroyed to try a confine the spread of blight.
 My capsicums are ripening . I have red and yellow ones.  I am still picking beans, courgettes, cucumbers potatoes, sping onions and  silverbeet and of course we have hardly started on the 2 pumpkin varieties. When I went for a walk last evening I noticed the first walnuts have dropped, so that's another job for me over the next month - one well worth doing despite the bending.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Used My Mezzaluna.

Over the weekend it was wet so the kitchen was a good place to be. I decided I wanted to try and make Lavosh using rosemary instead of sesame seeds. We have loads of it growing. My  (hardly ever comes out of the drawer ) 2 bladed mincing rocker knife was idea for finely chopping it. It is a ( stainless steel ) mezzaluna which means half moon.  and has very, very sharp blades. I keep it's plastic covers on it while in the drawer just in case.
 R was making the second batch of pesto so the air was pungent with basil trying to be bolder than rosemary. I liked the new Lavosh flavour but was cautious with how much  rosemary I put - it  can be over powering. Next time I will put in even more.
 I sewed a little. But will put that in another post. I have started just a little quilt while I think what I want to do next!
 Today R had to go into the city for a medical appointment and was not allowed to drive home so that meant both of us going very early. ( he would have been fine to drive in my opinion., but the huge bandage might have slipped down over his eyes....I think they have a sense of humour or the absurd. ( Driving Mr. Daisy! )
 I was in the city before it hardly awoke.
 Only cars on Grey Street.
 The hanging baskets and little tree gardens were bright.
 I saw something I had never noticed before. The jewellers shop must put all their window display in the safe over night.
 I sat and drank a long black as the coffee shops were open, but, not the bank or PO or other places I had planned to be while waiting. After 9 am the place ( Tauranga )  slowly came to life but mostly it was rather deserted.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Autumn Bulbs and Patchwork.

 These little Autumn Snowflakes ( Leucojum autumnale ) are about the smallest flower I have in my garden. ( compare the size to the geranium behind them .)

They have been here a long time and came by accident when years ago my late Mum gave me some of her little spider lily bulbs, that had come from the farm garden at Tutuaenui in the Rangitikei, ( where I lived as a child). The conditions obviously suit them because over the years they have multiplied. I could hardly complain that they take up too much space. ( they are white tinged with pink small bells on delicate stems just 4 - 6 inches high.The leaves are rush like. )
 A few posts back I showed a red Nerine up close. I have been picking these for in a vase. Up this bamboo fence in a messy part of the garden it gets very dry and is clay based. But the bulbs love it and because they get sun baked, which they like, they flower first. Some in other parts of the garden will flower over the next month so it gives on going colour. These in the photo are interspersed with orchid plants and some daffodil bulbs, so the different things flower at different times of the year.( just beyond this photo is where we have all the butternut squash and buttercup pumpkins growing on a big heap of composted wood chip - they are doing well and we have been using some.) The disaster this year has been the water melon. The plants rotted off just before the melons were ready so this is what the one I picked looked like. See the rot pits forming on the dark green skin area. What a disappointment V.
 Yesterday those who wished to, made mug rugs. One lady, a new member to our Patchwork and Quilting  Group  has never sewn anything patchwork before. Another  not a confident sewer had not made anything for months. She was able to take home her completed project , to give as a gift to her daughter and was pleased with herself.
M's mug rug had a certain Japanese look to it; it was  fabrics and colours she used. She has nice rings too doesn't she?

Percy Peacock has started taking dust baths.


Monday, March 05, 2012

It Must be Monday.

  Already Monday has me with more sense of accomplishment than the weekend did. I know what I sewed during the last 2 days  was useful and for a good cause but I think because it was just pale green and not lovely fabric it was a bit boring. Never mind a whole stack of little fitted sheets are now ready to go to the Ruel Foundation hospital. I was also able to spend quite a bit of time talking with a friend who is currently having Chemo for multiple myeloma. She is doing so well at this stage, but is really thin.
    This morning by 11 o'clock I has cut out the above 2 coaster parts from the scraps of the heat proof batting to make ( by hand) over the next few evenings. I had done the house work and  cooked a batch of pasta sauce from some of the many many tomatoes needing using. They are going off rapidly now.
 It has tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, black olives, lots of ground black pepper, half a teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Tastes pretty good.
       I am now off out to plant these 3 packs of bulbs that jumped into by trolley last week when I was at the Garden Centre. The 2 mixed packs had a dollar off but the front pack of frillies was quite expensive. 

 No we did not get bad storm damage here. Some of the male kiwifruit vines have a lot of growth blown out but the kiwifruit crop seems okay. Not so our rellies down in Patea and Waverley area.. Yes, you did see some of the young rellies on the TV News with their milking herds and the transportable generator. 50 homes in the area where we used to live have lost their roofs. We are really surprised you saw that in Canada Dawn and Neil,.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Harvesting and Sewing.

Today I have been in at our rooms helping make bed sheets for Ruel Foundation ( in the Philippines ). ( it is one of the charities our P and Q group like to help. )The material was donated; it just needed us to sew it. D measured and cut . I sewed hems. She was then making the fitted corners for some. 
 A S  was there finishing off a lovely apron she is making for a gift. We have all made lots of aprons from this pattern. It is a good one for featuring a really nice fabric.( like this grape one )  It still needs a pretty button added.
 Yesterday because of the storm warning that had been issued in NZ I was out harvesting flat out.
I am so proud of the large number of beans I have got off my plants in my little extra piece of garden. The soil is not so good there but it is very free draining and once the plants get established they seem to go on and on. We also have another row in R's garden and some climbing scarlet runners. But my lot have produced far far more and haven't finished yet.Yesterday there was a whole colinder full.
 We have also started using some of the butternut squash and buttercup pumpkins.
 The tops are now dying off rapidly. There are at least 30 possibly far more. We will keep a tally as we pick them. I also picked the biggest watermelon as it was going spotty ( not sure we can save it for you V ).( still another left but the plant is dying. )

 We have got off very lightly in the current storm. Not so where we used to live in South Taranaki. The towns of Patea and Waverley has had an incredible bashing.