Saturday, September 29, 2012

A week of .......

A week of busyness and business! Weeks where I don't even make time to blog are not my favourite, but today should allow for some down time.The young ones are down from the big smoke and a family birthday celebration will happen later today ( R's Birthday is on Monday )
 My 2 tone bag ( above ) was in the Exhibition but has been able to be used this week. On the stand also are 2 bags with clamshell pattern made by Ruth Wall. My bag perfectly matches a top I  like to wear. No doubt like all my other patchwork bags it will get grubby in time. They are washable but are best when new.
      Spring rains have been helping to water the garden and wash the fertilizer ( liquid fish and other ) into the kiwifruit.
One of my little Rata  ( NZ native ) bushes is just out.
 I have been growing successions of radish and carrot seeds in this bed in the herb garden. The 3rd lot is just up. The biggest radish has already been eaten ( cradle snatching ) but if you peer at the photo you can see promising red below some of the green leaves.

 I have lots of Hostas in different spots in the garden. Many of them used to live in another spot but had to be shifted when we decided we would shortly be replacing and extending a deck area.
 This is the earliest to come into full leaf.
 This one just unfurling ( Love Pat ) is the biggest leafed one and has spread into 3 sizeable clumps here.
 These 2 must have been masquerading as one when transplanted but were in fact 2 different tones which are now growing much too close to each other. ( job for next Winter if I remember )

 R has been working with the chainsaw clearing several different areas of banks  and shrubbery that needed attention. ( It was getting very over grown and had things that had self seeded there. ) . I now need to do some follow up tidying.
 There are lots of other lovely flowers and shrubs coming onto flower but I'll keep those for the next few posts.
 I have been planning my next patchwork projects but haven't had time to begin. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Quilt Exhibition Part 3.

Denise Lee made this small wall hanging  "Holy Cow," in a class at Symposium last year.
 Illusion by Rosemary Hancett.
 Melanie Martin made this very smart  overnight size bag.
 Ruth Wall made this bright small quilt from Australian fabrics.
 There are lovely colours in Nan Hawker's Disappearing  9 patch.
 Joan Waterson's lovely grey batik quilt actually called Twisted Ivy got nicknamed the bastard quilt, cause every time anyone mentioned that quilt to her she would say it was such a bastard to sew . ( we all know not to use that pattern! )
 This is the little display (of our charity work ) I put together out of the remaining quilts, wall hangings; soft toys; 30 clutch balls  ( in the hammock ) and  soft toys. We had to try and cover up some old toilet signs and awful markings on the wall.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Quilt Exhibition. Part 2.

Some of the wall hangings.
 Pohutukawa runner by Melanie Martin. (I loved the colours but not really Pohutukawa.

 By Denise Lee. ( mixed media ) Started in a class with Hazel Foot.

 Although 16 of us took the class only Denise and I entered our finished wall hangings. Mine was Mailboxes.

One of our most talented Quilters and needle workers is Jenni Scott. She made all these. She loves working in Taupes and pale shades.
 Closer detail. The box lid opens.
 More next time. I am on the door this morning so better get going.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Quilt Exhibition part 1

The first day of the Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters' Group Exhibition went well. 
 As promised here are some of the quilts I liked best.

                                     Arabesque Sampler by Rosalina Miller.

 Serendipity by Trish Souness.

Floral Fanfare by Jenni Scott.

 Circles of friends by Viv Heimann.

 This is the raffle quilt. $2 NZ per ticket. This was made by about 16 club members.

Roses and Ribbons by Jenni Baxter.

 More to come in the next few posts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Smart Followers and Exhibition.

    My Bluebells and mauve bells (? ) are looking great .
 I even picked some.
 Now you ladies are smart! ( Nicky; Deb; Helen and Deb ) but I liked your idea better Jennifer. Unfortunately they were off Brussel sprout plants - not sure if they qualify to be called Brussel Sprouts Brussel peas perhaps. Some months ago I planted out 6 cauliflowers; 6 broccoli; 6 cabbage and 6 sprouts.
 The broccoli has been wonderful and as I left the plants in after harvesting the main head I am still getting side shoots. The cauliflowers have been great -  4 of them - 2 are still getting there. The cabbages are all sitting and growing very slowly not ready yet, but ah the Brussel Sprouts. About 3 weeks ago the biggest plant had marble sized sprouts but I could see it was bolting so I picked them before they got too woody and bitter. I was hoping the remainder would perform better. NOT SO. They too all started to go to seed, so my only option was to pick every tiny one and serve them as peas. In fact they tasted right, but not exactly value for money. ( imagine eating 120 sprouts of ordinary size! )They are not my favourites never will be. I prefer them hardly cooked at all in a stir fry.   It might be a while till I wast space growing them again.
 Yesterday R was available with the tractor and blade the chainsaw and truck so we got stuck into clearing the shrubbery area around the front creek. I was too busy to take any action shots and spent some time working from in the creek and am glad to say my gumboots, now about 3 years old, don't leak. Something made 2 large flax bushes die...  ( wet feet? flax should like that. But it is the only thing I can think it might be ) so they came out first. . The half that is finished looks so much tidier. A few gaps to replant but as all the camellias there are flowering it looks okay. Today R has a Drs.  ppointment so I will go to the Garden Centre while out ; I have a list ready. ( photos later when all complete. )
 I will have a busy 4 days as tomorrow is hanging day for our Exhibition. ( so watch for quilt photos coming soon! ) I am in charge of the Charity work display.I hope I can make it look okay. 
 In the exhibition  have entered my selvage quilt, my mailbox wall hanging and the last bag I made. We have about the same number of entries as most years. So anyone in or around BOP might like to visit our Exhibition.

           Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters' Exhibition   2012.
                          at QE 11( Memorial Park ) in Tauranga.
                                        10 till 4 daily;
Friday 21st; Saturday 22nd  and Sunday 23rd September.
 $2 entry.  6 merchants Stalls.
 Refreshments  available ( by Save the Children Fund caterers )
  Sales Table and raffles too.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Worth Doing.

Today, it's been wet so  we have both spent quite awhile taking photos of valuable items. ( these aren't but I wear them anyway )
 Last Friday at P and Q one of my special quilting friends who turns 80 at Christmas time made me promise to go home and take photos of all my jewellery and valuable items. Last week she was robbed of hers and didn't have photos of them so has found it difficult trying to remember them all and describe them all for police. Some had more sentimental value than monetary but she was of course quite upset that someone had been in her home! So my plea to all my bloggy friends think about doing the same ( if you haven't already )
 At 4pm the rain stopped so I went for a walk in the fresh air with the camera.
4 cherries on the driveway.
 Awanui up close.
Golden elm flowers.
Rain on kingianum orchids.
There are lots perched on this old ponga trunk outside the dining room door.

 Now would you like a laugh on me?
 What are these?
 If you can't guess I will tell you in the next post. There were about 120 and we ate them.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Good the Bad and the Frustrating.

Firstly. Good Morning Everyone.
Here are some camellia flowers to bring you a little pleasure Meg.
 Camellia japonica  "Jean Clere" an Aspasia macarther sport first found and propagated in NZ.
  All the camellias are flowering well after a wet Winter.
 I think I mentioned on Monday that our kiwfruit had been taken out of the Controlled Atmosphere coolstore where it had been since picking time in May and got packed into trays and boxes ready for export. We are very pleased to find that we got our 3rd biggest packout ( out of the 30 times we have grown for export ) and the fruit size was 31 ( which is big ) so that was a good result. They did find some soft fruit in the line but it can't have been too many and after all that time some softs or rots can usually be expected.
 We have started the next ( weekly ) round of checking our vines for psa disease and still no sign of it ( fingers crossed. ) so that is a second good thing.
 But now I want to rant.
 This morning I went to the phone to transfer some money from one account to another...something I have been doing successfully for at least 10 years or longer. But in it's wisdom our bank, one of the largest ones in this country has made some changes. Yes ,we did get a letter saying changes would be happening but not what the changes would be. It seems because our main working account of our orchard business is set up that both of us have to sign cheques ( a security measure when we set it up many years ago ) we can no longer use phone banking. So now we have to both go into the city next week and change how our accounts are set up as I wish to be able to continue to use phone banking which I find really convenient.  We will have to change to just one signature. How can that be more secure for us? ( it wasn't broken so don't fix it ).  I could however transfer money between some other accounts ...but that is where i wanted to put the money........I do get the feeling banks manipulate us to do what they wish not the other way around.
 rant over back out to the garden before the rain arrives.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I was out taking a photo of these lovely polyanthus  ( primroses ) when I spied this little helper.
 An iridescent blue ladybird. Apparently it's proper name is steel blue ( halmus chalybeus ). It was eating little aphids - not scale as it is supposed to eat if on citrus trees. There were in fact 2.  Perhaps I will have a family of pretty little garden helpers soon.

 I was wrong about the wind not getting us. Yesterday was a shocker. The wind swept short blasts of  heavy rain again and again. In between the sun tried to emerge. Today is very chilly....I know they got snow in the South - I hope your animals are okay Nicky.
 We couldn't really work for any length of time out side yesterday so made a quick dash to the city to do a few chores and while there remembered to go and buy a shredder... Recently when doing lots of cleaning out of documents I decided having a shredder might be a good way of on the spot recycling of personal / orchard documents.
 This is what results. I am going to mix it with the garden rubbish and put as mulch under the avocado trees.I think it will need heavier green waste on the top so it doesn't blow around. A bit of experimenting will tell if it is worth doing. It is however a slow process - taking staples out and feeding the thing. Maybe once I have got rid of the back log it can become an every few days job. Paper does build up around here. We recycle newspaper and crap mail at the recycling depot. This is more for A4 size and old accounts. Looking at it I think it could be used as packaging too. Maybe I should have a  worm farm as well as compost bins.They like eating paper. Thinking, thinking. 
 See how tidy my herb garden is looking. if your eye sight is good you might see lots of mint at the back, newly emerging radish and carrots, thyme and sage and in the front strawberries and parsley.( lots of moss to get rid of in the little paths )
 The sun is out so back to the garden effort straight after lunch.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spring Progress.

The weather hasn't been wonderful but Spring is all around. Some parts of the garden are very bright. Both  Rhododendron Rubicon are  just out on the driveway.
The climbing blue pea on the woodshed trellis is just opening.
 Viburnum tinus Eve price has heads of bloom of tiny, tiny flowers. It doesn't have as much perfume as some of my Viburnums.
 I made progress too.
 Another apron finished for the sales table. This fabric has a quilting theme.
The pink mug rug got finished too. Not totally happy with some of the mitred corners on the binding.  Does anyone  have some tips? My corners seem sharper on the back then the front....I wonder if there is a better way?. Making mug rugs there are a lot of corner per unit size wise - in fact they seem to be all corners. I am much better on the corners of these coasters. Here this shows the steps involved in making them
 Top left and Mid top are just pinned ready. Top right is half pinned.
 Bottom left is hand hemmed. Bottom right is just positioned ready.
 They all get machine quilted next to make them really strong.( all NZ fabrics with a blue theme.)
 When it was pleasant outside over the weekend I did lots more gardening too. My thumb ( a bit cracked ) has to be plastered before I start now - that's a sure sign I have had it in the dirt too much.  Lots of weeding; cutting back plants / shrubs; replenishing soil in my herb garden with compost and other goodies. Planting more radish and carrots.
 We got a phone call at 4.30 last evening ( Sunday) from the pack house to say they had just started packing out our Kiwifruit ( which have been in Controlled Atmosphere cool store for 4 months since it was harvested.) We were a bit surprised as there was no fore warning.We didn't even know the coolstore room had been opened. It has about 5 growers fruit in it. R went for a quick trip over there this morning and said it is going okay. Quite a few  soft fruit but also quite a  low packing reject rate. So by the end of the day we may have some packout figures. ( who know how many more crops we will have to harvest with PSA spreading fast all around us. ) This was the 30th crop we have had packed. I hope they market the soft fruit locally as it is very sweet. ( but they will probably dump it or use it for cattle feed. )
 It's a cloudy day today - we luckily didn't get battered too much by the wind like other areas of NZ  over the last few days
* Thank you Meg I will try dental floss - good idea. Hope you like the flowers here today.
 * Nicky I am glad someone else keeps well stocked. I hate special trips out for just one or 2 items. I try to plan best use of a trip and do as much as I can each time the car goes out.
* Jennifer, thanks but I think that might be too much work...especially as things get sold so cheaply.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Another Finish.

I put the finishing touches to this bright apron this morning. The fabric has Tuis ( NZ native bird ) on Pohutukawa flowers. I am back to sewing items for the sales table at our Exhibition which is now only 2 weeks away. 3 years ago we had a sales table of only aprons and the sold very fast. I can't remember how much we charged for them but  it was cheap ( as most sales table items seem to have to be.)  I have another mug rug (pink ) ready to sew the binding down tonight. Yesterday I spent time trying to find a way to package the mugs and rugs for the sales table. I tried cellophane, it curled the mats and plastic bags looked awful so it has come down to sewing the mug handle  to the rug and price tagwith thick cotton. They could easily get broken so I will have to cover a box for them or something  I think. ( any bright suggestions anyone ?)

Here they are laid out - some already successfully matched with their mug. I learnt when buying these mugs  -do it the other way round. First buy the mug them match fabrics to it. ( the sets of coasters are much easier to package.

You know it's a windy day when thick bath towel on the clothesline are dry by lunchtime.

 I have been out gardening ( no kiwifruit work today)  I have just planted in 2 small spaces some snap peas . R grows the main crop ones a bit later ( usually greenfeast ) but I wanted to try something different. The packet says they can be eaten small, pods and all. I now have 3 small areas of vege/herb garden to look after and grow different things to R in the main garden. Last year my beans were by far the best - mainly I think because of the open exposed to the sun and wind spot they were growing in. They grew slower but stronger and didn't get any damping off. Although I still love my flower garden I seem to want to plant more food crops. R even think he might dig up a new patch of paddock down by the bell for the potato crop this year. It will be a fight with the pukekos all the way I think. But a new area is always good and less chance of disease. Maybe this urge to grow more food is because we both read an article in the Coast and Country paper that gets put in our mailbox; an article by Dan Fraser, stating that world wide there is at the moment only 3 days of food for the world's population.( probably 3 months in this household  if you count deep freezers and store cupboards. ) He states there is a looming food crisis, which will have devastating economic and social affects the world over.
So you all better get on with the gardening. I better get back to work as my tea break is well and truly over.  

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Finished in Time.

It has binding. It has a label. You know what that means. Phew, it is ready with time to spare. Although I don't like the brown particularly I think the backing fabric makes the quilt interesting on both sides. Vegetable just might be something wee kids in the Philippines would recognise and know the names of. This little quilt to be donated to the Ruel Foundation after it has been part of a samll display  of Charity quilts & balls at out upcoming Exhibition.

 It was a surprise when this Daff opened in the middle of all the yellow trumpets. It came with the bulbs I bought loose for 20cents each from the daffodil garden that is being turned into sections...(such a shame.)
 These I planted.

 These I got for free. I let both a parsley and a coriander go to seed and have seedling now of both. Far more parsley than I need but surplus just  get pulled out. I potted some earlier and they are looking strong. I gave a couple away. I love to be able to do that.

 We are walking the rows of kiwifruit vines checking carefully for any signs of PSA disease. None found so far here; BUT it is spreading to many other areas ( Waikato and  Coromandel now )

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Embroidery and Chocolates and Discoveries.

I'll start with the discoveries. Threaten your PC and tell it it is about to be usurped by a laptop. Then give it the tune up of it's life. Even get out it's manual ( HP -  PC troubleshooting and maintenance Guide ) and do all the maintenance jobs it can possibly do. Dump the shortcut icon for blogger on the desk top and get into Blogger via the internet search engine and replace it with a new icon.
 Spend the whole evening on the couch with the laptop and do research. Read everything on Bloggers Help. Read everything on Picasa's sites. Realise that everything that happens with Picasa , be it buying more storage or deleting photos on your blog  takes 24 hours to take effect.
So today by deleting many photos and some entire blogs from 2006 and 2007 yesterday  I seem to have freed up some storage space! Yippee. Yes, Pam  thanks I am now only uploading small ( resized ) photos. ( I do have a photo programme that will crop and resize to 2 smaller sizes ) ( I wish I had known about the storage limit way back when I started out - I am not sure photos were being stored on Picasa then? A lot has changed on Blogger since 2006 ) I feel a little better informed - it is always good to know more ( especially if you are me - a need to know person. )

See that yummy photo at the top. It is a Thank you gift from the Pack house - for being so obliging about the audits! Ha ha. It is a lovely gift and was so beautifully  packaged ( all recyclable ). In it's own little black paper carry bag with red tissue paper spilling out the top with  wrappers and information. A local NZ product I didn't know about.  Yum yum yum. ( that's for you Isabelle ) It was made at Chocolate Brown in Warkworth. Ours was the praline selection.( all good so far - just starting the second layer - only 16 chocs all up )

 Now back to the embroidery from last week. Christine Knowles and several other had made these fabric pieces where bits are burnt away.

 Laurie has some photos of what she liked on her blog.
 This box was my favourite - by the same person
 Faye's Poppies were very modern using tinfoil over sewn.

 Finally what about this quilt. ( not really my colour but the story behind it is mind boggling.)
 I like how it was displayed. It is a bears paw pattern made by hand by Florence Mainwaring between 1994 and 2012. It is entirely hand pieced made using paper stencils and scissors ( no rotary cutter ) and is all hand quilted. For her grand daughter Joanne. That is dedication in this day and age but she love stitching so I understand her delight in making it. ( time must be a factor )
  The first day of Spring here in BOP New Zealand is superb. I must get back out there!
I hope you  have a happy weekend!
* Something which has been making me laugh on the blogs that still require verification is the way spell checker pops up and underlines the garbled letters with a red line as a spelling mistake!