Sunday, April 29, 2012

Creatures I've met Recently.

This little hedgehog was a fast mover. I heard her / him  outside the office window chasing crickets. There were 2 big black crickets and she cornered them and ate them both. This one tried to burrow down to escape but  she dug faster than it did.
 I went for a walk this afternoon and met Percy Peacock who I hadn't seen in a while. This is how he looks today all moulted and dishevelled. I said, "Hi Percy ! Are you hungry? If you wait here for 3 minutes I'll pop back to the house and get you a piece of 12 grain Vogel Bread."
He didn't reply ( funny that ,) but did follow me and wait.
Our young ones were down for the weekend, which is never long enough but J spotted this NZ preying mantis inside the house on the windowsill on this red glass.
 Maybe it was colour blind and thought it was camouflaged. It is now happily in my herb garden. 

 Walnut shelling has started for this year's crop. J did some to take back to the big smoke and this afternoon R and I both shelled this lot.
 Have you all had a pleasant weekend?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mostly Mundane.

Not a very clear photo but these are the( Californian ) quails who visit every day. 15 in this group. 13 are male and only 2 female, so that's not good for future growth.
Autumn jobs and repair jobs have been getting done. Mundane but necessary stuff.
The fire ( log burner ) is back in place and being used. It was a big struggle for just the 2 of us to get it out so R asked another younger R to come and help and with the 2 blokes lifting and me inserting the old skateboard underneath at various times we got it back inside and reattached to the chimney pipe quite quickly. It has new fire bricks and many reinforced parts all painted . This time the stove paint stunk us out, so all doors open to get rid of the fumes. It has been painted often before and never given off someone must have changed something in the paint formula. it's great to have the house warm in the evenings again.
These blokes came and sand blasted the rusty spots on the container.... it's quite a brightly coloured truck !
 This is R undercoating all the spots that got sand blasted.The photo was taken from up at the house looking down across one small kiwifruit block to where the container stands down off the driveway.Understandably he now has jeans and a shirt that are undercoated too. Never mind there is another coat of paint to go on sometime soon and another painting job.
 Meanwhile I have been writing the P and Q Newsletter as the Editor in is UK for 2 months. I am really better as the sub editor and proof reader but have managed and I guess I learn something when it isn't all plain sailing. I'm not a typist and always find it frustrating when things move or even disappear when I am not expecting them too.

The worst thing that happened yesterday when I was trying to quickly sneak in a bit of sewing...the machine wouldn't sew properly! Help! What's wrong? I resorted to the manual and after about 30 wasted minutes have it back working normally. Having fixed it, I'm not totally sure I know what was wrong but think the needle had come partly out. Anyway a new needle was inserted and many other things checked.The 2 coasters I was quilting a star design on only took 10 minutes.

 The kiwifruit is almost ready!
Walnut tally =  2088

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quilt Finish.

I have had time to sit in the sun and complete sewing down the binding on my lap quilt for my friend D. ( with 4 days to spare )
A friend from Canada rang up this morning to say "Hi, how are you all?" That was kind D. Thanks.
 There was enough of the big quiche I made yesterday to have for lunch today.

 There are still some late roses to enjoy.( Graham Thomas and White Flower Carpet. )
 Vireya Rhodoendron Shepherd's Warning.
* Thimbleanna, I know that tree and you are right they look very alike.
 *Rose Marie, that is not anything ancient but a carving done by a learner carver that R bought on a whim at an auction It looks old because it is covered in lichen..The other is a little troll. ( both ugly )
 Now there is more gardening to be done. I hope the sun is shining where you are today!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Making Labels and Shades of Purple.

I printed my own labels! ( one for D's quilt and one for the selvage quilt. ) It took ages, but only because I couldn't find the CD with the label designs on them. I did eventually locate it but as it is just in a paper envelope not a case; it was easy for it to hide. That is not like me.....I like to know where things are, so now I have put it with the printable fabric sheets packet in my sewing cupboard.( I need them both together so that seemed logical ) For the first time I used a new brand of printable fabric sheets, "Premium," made in Australia. I have a packet of 10 A4 size sheets. Previously I had used "Blumenthal Craft," made in USA,  Poly Cotton sheets that measured 8.5 by 11, which is not A4 size.  The new sort is easier in the printer and a much softer fabric for turning the edges under or hand sewing on. So that is for me a better product. Over the years I have made and attached labels in many different ways...this certainly gives the easiest to read results. It is possibly more expensive than making your own hand sewn ones, but a whole lot quicker ( usually ) and gives a more professional result.
 Both the Labels and Borders CD and the printer fabric are available from Alice's Crea8ive Embroidery Ltd at Mt. Maunganui.

I love the colour purple, in flowers. Tibouchina.
Velvety fluffy double Petunias.
 A bumble bee getting nectar from the Autumn Crocus ( colchicum Autumnale ).
 ( that's not their foliage behind. They have popped up between the leaves of a Filipendula.) Our free draining soil means most bulbs do so well and multiply so  profusely that they are growing everywhere. ( some that have got thrown out accidentally with my weeds are currently flowering under the Avocado trees where we spread the weeds as mulch.)
 This Hosta hasn't browned off yet so the mauve looks good beside the lime leaves.
 I do have flowers of other colours - red and white that I will save for another post.

 Finally just to make you a little homesick Pamela, it is Feijoa time in NZ.
 Our bushes have a very small crop this year, but enough for us to relish what we do tasted really nice!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Other Parts of our Property.

Yesterday afternoon I needed a walk so took the camera and went down through the bush to see what R had been working on. Along the way I spied some bright bracket fungi.
 This is what he had been doing...making a new culvert across the creek so he can more easily access a rough area that needs the weeds spraying out.The pipe you see in the creek was left over from another project many years ago. Percy Peacock used to perch on it where it was previously lying beside a shelter hedge. I wonder if he will miss it? R loves doing tractor work and still has more to do here. The bank to the left has to be bladed away to fill the crossing. I think many blokes enjoyed there childhood days playing in sandpits so this is a hangover from that. This is in an area of native bush and scrub that is on the un flat ( therefore unsuitable for orchard ) part of our land. The grass parts in this area are able to be kept mown and neat by R using the hustler mower.
 This area in a small clearing has some uglies who keep watch! I prefer the trees myself.
 This is the foliage of my favourite NZ native tree, the Miro. ( belongs to the pine family but has soft delicate leaves and a graceful growth habit.) Miros have small red berries that the native pigeons Koreru, love to eat. As far as I know this particular Miro hasn't yet started to berry but one close to the house has and we see the pigeons diving into it for a feed. Also on their menu are Puriri berries.
 There are plenty of ripe berries on this Puriri tress for the native pigeons.
 Next post I will show some very bright Autumn flowers that caught my eye.
 A small amount of sewing has happened. The words binding and hand sewing will give a clue as to where I am at with my little quilt.
Gardening has also been happening.
Walnut tally now =1735

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Onto the Quilting.

During the week we have had one wet day and 2 damp nights which gave us 2" of needed rain. It also gave me time to baste and begin quilting the lap top I am making for my friend D. On the right in the photo is the backing fabric I got last weekend. It has similar colours to the patchwork.
 Things can start to get really scruffy and untidy in the garden during Autumn but there are still some great coloured flowers for me to pick.
This Vireya Rhododendron has really healthy glossy leaves and lots of colour.
I have been giving some grapes away, and we are eating lots, but still the wasps have started into them and many then rot when hollowed out. But they are not necessarily a bee and a red admiral butterfly are getting the probably fermented juice from the rotting grapes. Also in the photo a 3rd insect - a pest to us - can be seen down in the bottom left corner.( the passion vine hopper that puts honeydew on our kiwifruit which then grows sooty mould.) ( you may have seen them on beans if you grow them, the teenage stage of this insect we call fluffy bums for obvious reasons; cute maybe but a pest all the same. )
 Within the next 3 weeks our kiwifruit crop should be ready to pick.
 Many have got to be a good size, so we hope we get a reasonable pack out, but I know amongst the fruit there are lots that are quite square shaped and might be in or out...time will tell. If  we have already thrown them on the ground they stand no chance, so I have left lots of borderline ones .The graders in the pack house have to have something to pull out and decide about.
 Isabelle we have that very blue sky back again...much chillier nights but beautiful days.
We have both been standing in the kitchen, this morning,  peeling and cutting up buttercup pumpkins for soup. To our dismay we are discovering some are not storing well. Some are still on the plants growing but some picked and stored in the shed need lots of pumpkin soup..and mashed and roasted and fritters. It's okay J and V there will be lots left for you.
Thank you for your comments on the last 2 post about the quilts. All the ladies at my P and Q group, who I saw yesterday,  that got to see them last weekend agreed it was a fine display of beautiful NZ quilts.
Walnut tally = 885

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quilts and Books.

Many different Patchwork techniques were seen at the Quilt Exhibition from the previous post. This is a small part of a quilt called Blue Delft. It was started by Rinny Gordon and finished after her death by Sandy Green. It is done using reverse appliqué. If you look closely you can see how the layers are on top each other.The top fabric is cut away and turned under.
I thought this clam shell design was really effective by using the black dividers.

Grandmother's Garden has never been one of my favourites but I like hexagons. When the colours are carefully chosen and their is a design, I start to like it.

 The leaves on these vines appeared to be hand appliquéd and the colours were lovely. I think this was by Bev Dyke.
 Hot Flash by Sue Spiegel, was simple but interesting the shot fabric catching the light from different angles.
 As well as the quilts on Saturday we had a great time at the Rotary Used Book Sale ( held every Easter for the last 25 Years. ) it is the largest used Book sale held in NZ. So good that it is near us! We had donated books so had room to stock up on some great bargains. Magazines were 5 for a dollar, so I selected 10 Patchwork and Quilting ones I didn't have! I got 15 books and R got about 10 so that should keep us reading for a while. Some we will both read . Some I saw and Knew R would like them so got those. Once we arrived at the sale we split up and each look on separate tables as there is a lot to cover. This year they had 100,000 items. ( books, magazines, sheet, music, videos, tapes, DVDs and Jigsaws. ) this included kid's books and some valuable items. The limiting factor is you have to be able to carry what you select.The bags get heavy!
 All the books were marked with a coloured spot and were between $1 and $8. It is a huge fund raiser for Rotary and also a lot of work but very worthwhile.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Fabulous Quilt Exhibition.

Yesterday we had a wonderful day out. One high light was going to the NZMCA Easter Rally at Bay Park Tect Arena ( never been there before, only seen it on TV ) to see a quilt exhibition called One Couple's Quilts, featuring some of NZ's best quilters.
 Proceeds were in aid of the Cancer Society. Many of the quilters or their husbands had died of cancer.The Exhibition was in 3 parts.
 Quilts made or purchased by Rinney and Peter Gordon.
 The second part was quilts made by NZMCA members or  friends and Cancer Survivors. The 3 rd Section was by Guest Exhibitors: Mary Transom; Lois wine; Susan Claire; Bev Dyke; Gwen Wanigasekera and the late Barbara Bilyard. There were 82 quilts, so I can only show you those quilts that appealed most to me. Some quilts I had seen before and that was like meeting old friends. ( They will have featured on my blog somewhere in the past few years so I won't repeat those. ) I really like it when I can know who has made a quilt without even looking at the name tag! ( Yes, you have your own style - but sometimes you surprise! )
 # 53 above was a small hanging by Bev Dyke called Morning Sunburst.

 #1 was a 1991 Award winning quilt  by Gwen Wanigasekera entitled Putanga O te Ra ( Birth of the Sun )
 # 44 was Dawn Chorus by Lois Wine.
 # 45 That Japanese Doll Quilt by Susan Claire has travelled the world.
 # 77 William Morris by Linda Evans.
 # 43 by Lois Wine entitled Ballerina of the Highway, was painted on silk from a photo. The colours were stunning.
 # 2 , Autumn Cloak was a small 5 panel hanging by Gwen Wanigaskera made from satin and silk neck ties!

I think New Zealand has some amazingly talented Quilters. I might be biased but everyone I spoke to quilter or not agreed. If you are anywhere in the area of this exhibition it is on till 5pm today Sunday and well worth the visit!
 Tomorrow I will tell you about the Used Book Sale; some fabric purchases and maybe even some more quilt photos.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Wee Blue Egg.

I had not really thought of this wee blue egg as an Easter ornament till Isabelle showed her lovely eggs on the table with the beautiful cloth, ( Thanks ),but I suppose it is.  Selvage blog had a paisley egg and a very clever lady Holly @ Twisted Poppy makes and sells beautiful eggs.
 My little egg belonged to my Mother in law. Not sure where she got it from. Does anyone else have lovely eggs that aren't chocolate?( not that some of them aren't lovely .)
I have finished the knee rug quilt that I am making for my friend D. I hope tomorrow I can pick up a nice piece of backing for it then get on with quilting it. I don't have exactly the right piece in my cupboard! ( you know how it is.)
The port wine magnolia stump made by R cutting out the dead tree has now become a plinth for one of my big blue pots that used to be on another stump that rotted.
 I am well pleased with that.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Change of Activities.

Yesterday R chainsawed out a dead port wine magnolia tree. It took 3 truck loads to remove. Some was large enough for firewood. After he finished that I ressurrected the garden around the stump and then cleared the whole length of the shell path beside the driveway. Needless to say we were both tired. Today was the start of the firewood shed being filled.The logs have been cut into rings and stacked to dry for months so R then has to load the truck with big rings ( heavy ) and drive to the log splitter where it takes him about 90 minutes to split the lot. ( the truck hold about 3.6 cubic metres ) He then drives home to the woodshed where we both work at unloading the truck and stacking the shed.. ( good for my upper body strength! )
The truck is backed in, the hoist put up and the tailgate dropped open so that makes for easy access.The photo shows what we see standing in the shed behind the truck. You just reach out and grab the wood, turn and stack it in neat rows.
As we empty the deck the hoist is raised further so the wood rolls down towards us. ( look out ) This year we have gum; cherry and some port wine magnolia ( never had that before -  I wonder if it will smell nice like it's flowers? )
Tomorrow we will do another load then another load till the shed is completely full.We use heaps as we have the fire going all winter. There was a little left over from last year too as we were away for 6 weeks.
 But there is no hurry as you can see in this photo the fire has disappeared.
It is still away at the metal doctors having some repairs.
Today I have also been making bread.
I sat across the bench and sewed; that way I can look right into the oven.
 I am pleased with the  dark maroon borders I have attached next on my quilt. Then will come some mid green ones. So just a little progress there. I can't believe how well it is all coming together.

    * It is still fine and windy here. ( 26 degrees yesterday )( sorry Isabelle ) My washing was dry in an hour and a half.
 * Kiwis there is a good deal on petrol ( 25 cents off ) at NW  if you spend $150 this weekend. (The opposition may well match that - they sometimes do.)
   * We have some outings planned. Easter Saturday is now a tradition for us ; must go to the Used Book Sale.  There is also a Quilt Exhibition on I want to see.

* walnut tally = 680

Wishing you All a Happy Safe Easter weekend. 
 I am sending Meg an extra Greeting. Stay strong my friend.