Saturday, December 25, 2021

              Merry Christmas to All.

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Lots of Gardening.

 Plants are responding to the care and attention I have been giving them lately. Frequent dead heading with the roses, carnations pansies sweet peas and gazanias.. 

 My 2  Abraham Darby  roses are gradually gaining vigour but its taken 2 summers. The weight of the blooms when it rains  means they are better if I pick a lot. as the stems are not strong.  Very lovely perfume.
 The first of my coloured callas to flower,

and the first dahlia.
 Grandson gave me a packet of bee flower plant seeds some time ago and I put them under the grapevine. Most of the flowers are blue or mauve or white but there's a few red, purple, pink and lemon.

 Not all have flowered yet.
 This lily looks promising. It was spectacular last summer.
 I have been picking some tomatoes from my potted one and the garden ones are forming. Courgettes are best small and we are loving the first half dozen so far. Have put in plant # 2. The strawberries are responding to water and producing lots of large tasty fruit. More than I can eat so some jam got made.
2 young boys also help with eating them. Something is stealing the few blueberries as they ripen. I can't figure out how. Yesterday I baked and baked . Froze some of it.
 If you have a garden you have a job for life seems to be true.

 The quilting progress is slow.
 I have made some more alphabet blocks and am currently hand making a felt bird ( A  female bellbird )
 Stay safe everyone.

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Today I will start Quilting This.

 It's a rough and windy day in BOP. this morning  

Yesterday was lovely. Friends took us out to lunch which was pleasant. Here is a view of the rail bridge from where we were.

 So they picked the right day to be out and about.

 As it is all ready now, today I need to start simply quilting this.

 3 layers pinned together. The backing is a fabric that also appears in the front. As it is an extremely busy top I need to do something very simple like stitch in the ditch following the straight lines of the quilt. ( it is single bed size. I made it slightly wider than long so won't go over a pillow )
 ( I did consider hand quilting it? But decide maybe not. ) 
 Here it is pegged on the clothesline before I put the layers together.... but it was too windy that afternoon.

I better get started! 
 I have been picking repeat small vases of sweet peas which have a wonderful typical perfume.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Glorious Colours.

          There's lots of colour in the garden now.

 This is a raised bed behind a retaining wall. To the right wide steps lead up to the clothes line.
 It gets very hot so great for the lavender but the rhodo struggles . The rhodos also gets thrip damage on some leaves  giving them a white appearance. It's called Unique and stays a small rounded bush. ( lightly perfumed ) 

There are about 8 of this same rhododendron in the garden and the shaded ones do best.

Different light make this same lavender appear different colours. But whatever colour the bees still find it. ( see one in the middle below ) 
 By a narrow margin carnations are my favourite flowers. I am so pleased I have some established and flowering and pickable. This red is actually an even darker shade than it looks here. The clove like perfume is strong.

 This photo below was taken a few weeks ago and this display now finished but great while it lasted. Because I didn't plant it I am unsure which exact Pieris it is ( Temple bells maybe ? )
Would you believe my quilt is still continuing to get larger.
 I was given some more fabric by a friend and also had a trip to Spotlight.
 it has also been rearranged again! 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Kept Inside by Rain and level 2

       From the window at the top of the stairs I look out and there are no Kaimai Ranges today (or yesterday ). Looking the opposite way sometimes there is an estuary and stream, sometimes not. It is either raining or misty or pouring. Great for the garden but being BOPlenty  doesn't know when to stop. I normally don't go out much but that has reduced to even less.( So sorry for Auckland folk who really are locked in  on Level 4 still.) 

 Lots of sewing is being done. I thought I had finished enough blocks but when I tried the length on a bed decided I needed another row.

 So I am "magicking"  up more usable pictures . The ones I have enjoyed most are the black and white fabrics I have coloured with my pigma pens.
 I am still fiddling around with the final placement. ( considering light and dark, bold and less so )
 I also have to decide if I am going to put a border on.
 The outside  rows had to have plenty of surround fabric so the motifs don't get compromised by a seam or binding. Friends think I should put a plain binding in maybe blue? as it is very busy so I will audition some plain fabrics..
 I have been baking ( bread  - 2 sorts and orange cake and shortbread ) I have been reading but am limiting myself to a couple of chapters per day or I will run out of books again.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Sewing During Lockdown.

 Here in NZ we are now in day 10 of  Covid level 4 lockdown.

 Staying home the whole time has given me more incentive to get on with making my quilt, called "These are a Few of My Favourite Things.

 I have been using my Inktense pens to colour some black and white fabrics to make them more interesting for this particular project.
 I have been cutting out parts of fabrics ( fussy cutting ) to sew to background squares or strips. I had been through my fabric stash 3 times and was becoming a bit desperate what to use next. I mentioned it to my sister on the phone and she went through her fabric containers and popped some bits in the post.-  they got to me in less than 4 days.
 I am now probably going to break some of my self imposed rules. I don't really like cup cakes but I'll put them in anyway.
 I have drawn a few with my pens but they seem a bit pale. Otherwise it is coming along well. I think I may  be 75 % there now. That depends on the final size I decide on.
 Every night I sew more on while watching TV - cause that's not always very exciting.
 I missed the company of my Quilting friends today but made sure it was a sewing day for me.
 I hope you Kiwis are all well an doing as we are told.( for how much longer? )

Monday, August 16, 2021

Several Seasons in the Garden.


Over the weekend I finished pruning the roses so late  blooms like this ended up in a vase inside. ( Graham Thomas ) 

 In the same vase are Spring flowers like my favourites Burtoni Freesias and Hyacinths. A real competition for which has the best perfume.

 Outside the wind made  these daffodils  lean.
 A good year for daffs.

 The Valthemia in a pot is quite happy not being planted out yet.

 The 3 flowering cherries out at the moment continue to attract the birds. Such a delight to watch.
 There are 7 cherries altogether the others flower a bit later.

 The mandarins ( 1000s ) are finished now so today I picked the first Tangelos.

I have been sewing too. I laid some of them out . Some are joined in vertical strips now.
 They will get swapped around as I complete more.
 I am enjoying the hand sewing of the motifs.
 I have sewing group tomorrow so that will be fun. We do enjoy each others company.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

A Bright Spot.


 A bright spot in the back garden ( on a dreary day ) as the first of 7 flowering cherries begins to blossom.
 The Tuis and Wax eyes are very busy in the branches. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

A Great Series.

 I'm interrupting my previous theme to tell you about these books that I heartily recommend. 

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley.

 Sadly Lucinda died quite recently this year so that is a huge and sad loss.

3 of the covers.
 Each book is about 800 pages but I have just raced through them. 

 I have missed 2 but my local bookshop rang me yesterday to say my copy of book 1 has arrived. Another friend who introduced me to the series said they could be read in any order. ( true ) 
 If you google Lucinda's name their are several website that could give you more information.
 Do try and get hold of these if you haven't already I am sure you will be enthralled as I was.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

The Pantry , the Freezer, the Vege & Herb garden.

 Basically it boils down to I don't want items that come in plastic or are over packaged. Paper bags and boxes / containers are fine. Any fruit and veg I buy I use my own reusable ( string mainly ) bags. I try to buy whole items like pumpkin so no need for glad wrap across a cut. Best I like to pick straight from our  own vegetable or herb garden  Meat from the butcher's shop is okay but not supermarket trays with plastic covers.

 We make  and freeze a lot of our own spreads like pesto and capsicum dip so those are in small glass jars which get reused. We do however like cream cheese  and frozen peas etc  they come in plastic. When we freeze our own surplus veges we tend to put them in plastic bags or containers( sometimes glass jars )( glass jars in a freezer can become very slippery and heavy ) 

 I use a small amount of milk and cream mainly for baking/ cooking but can't find that in glass. ( we don't have milk in our tea or coffee)( but sometimes need it for guests )  Maybe milk suppliers  could go back to glass bottles that get recleaned and reused, ( I know glass breaks and therefore can be dangerous ) 

 Looking into the pantry cupboard in my picture I see glass jars, tins, al cans , paper containers but I also see large plastic containers that are in constant use - those I don't mind as I am reusing and reusing. ( for flour, sugar, baking needs and  home baked goods . At the bottom are containers to reuse.

 Looking elsewhere. Should I stop using biros and instead only pencils. Should I stop buying sewing thread on plastic reels - they used to be wood.  I use cotton or wool or bamboo batting in my quilts. 

 I use bankcards that are made of strong plastic, some are renewed every 2 years. The ones I think we could do without are pressy cards and plastic loyalty cards ( lots are cardboard so that's better ) 

 It seems to me I keep thinking we need to go back to a time before things were packaged this way.

 Next post I will start on about clothing, footwear, cars.

 * Thanks for your comments  I did find shampoo in a cake. Haven't tried it yet.   Any other good ideas Ladies? 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

My Little Changes.

 My little changes won't save the planet but my actions are the only ones I can change.

 Where I go, how I go, what I buy, what I throw out, what I reuse, what I do without, what I make myself  will make a difference. too small to measure in the greater scheme of things. I am prepared to try. So will others be, but not everyone. 

I wear makeup. I have done since I was a teenager. I believe it has protected my skin and I am naturally pale so it helps me feel better about facing the world or even looking in the mirror.

 I am now taking even more interest than before about containers and packaging. In the photo are 2 identical products to protect lips from the wind and sun. The round  tiny tub I can clean and reuse as a container for tiny sewing items - beads, buttons etc. so the push out type ( with 3 small plastic bits ) will no longer be my choice. Both have too much packaging.
 The foundation comes in a glass bottle so is okay but it has a plastic lid.
The choice of eyebrow pencil is clear the one that can be sharpened and has no plastic.
 Also with the lipstick. The lip crayon it is called ( is  3x fatter than lip liner )  is all useable and just needs sharpening when it gets blunt.. ( I also compare the amount in these containers the difference was huge.)

Some skin products I like come all in plastic am I going to change that....look for some in glass? ....not use them....make my own?
 Soap. I like Dove  sensitive ( not strictly soap ) for my shower. I buy it singly as the 4 together have an extra plastic wrapper. ( so more expensive for me  ) Shampoo seems to be all in plastic containers 
( possibly for safety ).
 Do any of you have any good suggestions for me?
 Next time I will look in the kitchen cupboards.

Friday, June 18, 2021

That's Rubbish.

 For the last 53 Years that we have been a household we have never had rubbish collection at our gate. Starting in July we are being forced into it. Why Forced? We have to pay  the W B Council for the service whether we use it or not. The bins have been delivered. The Transfer station in the city is being closed down so we will no longer be able to do our own recycling.

 Here are 3 new bins in our garage. The wooden lidded bins at the right used to extend right along the wall and had our own containers inside it. R built it when we moved here nearly 3 years ago. Now he has had to pull most of it out to make a space for the new Council bins. On a given day the bins have to be taken up our drive and along to the corner of the street for emptying.( Far more work ) The landfill bin has to have tags attached b4 it will be emptied. They cost $3.95 each.
 We are very used to sorting and cleaning our items and we have always had compost bins and I have a worm farm. All our garden rubbish get put under our big avocado trees. ( only town dwellers were given food scrap bins ) 
 It best to look at it as a new challenge! A challenge to see how little we can put in the bins.
 Next post I will talk about ways to reduce our use of plastic and other undesirables. and what I think manufacturers and food producers need to do to help with Zero waste!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Quilt Show.

 On Saturday I went to the great New Zealand Quilt Show in Rotorua ( at the Energy Events Centre ).

 My friend Jill drove a carload of us there so that was lovely. There was a lot to see. Mostly a very high standard of work. The ones I enjoyed best were the wall hangings of cities of the world.

 My favourites are these 3.

 The Arc de Triomphe in Paris France  by Jennifer Patterson of New Zealand.
 A close up showing how she used hand stitching and machine quilting to work the details.

 I also liked Marilyn Muirhead's piece of Strasbourg in France  Marilyn is a member of our Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters Group. She also paints and does mixed media works.

 This quirky view of Florence in Italy was by Emily Mathieu from France.

 I had an enjoyable time soaking up the talent and admiring almost all the work on display. I have only one comment that is negative and that was the lighting. Very favourable on some quilts  but really lacking on others. Some exhibitors must have been disappointed.

 My only purchases were 4 fat quarters to use in my current project. The merchants' area was rather crowded. 
 ( click on my images to enlarge them )

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Autumn Colours.


A Liquid Amber with seed pods. (On a neighbour's property.) There were also golden maples and pin oaks with great colour as I walked around our area. Some things are beginning to flower quite early - hellebores and paperwhites.
 Our 2 new persimmon trees have produced well for very young trees. I  removed lots of tiny fruit early on to not over tax the trees. The tree with just 4 have sized up a lot larger than the tree I left 15 on. All have got to a good size. I put bird deterrent netlon bags around some of the fruit and it seems to have worked. ( no bird pecking or wasp damage so far ) Persimmon are probably my favourite fruit. Each tree cost $50 so I am glad they are doing well. I will let most of the fruit get riper before I pick them. I prefer them still at the crunch stage not a bag of jelly.
 Looking up our driveway there is a tree on either side.
 Some lovely flowers I got given ( no perfume with  any of them unfortunately )

 We have had Arbor Barber here trimming back trees one afternoon. More light getting into the clothes line now. It doesn't take long for trees to get large in the BOP.

 I have had 3 lengthy sessions at the dentist lately - all good to go now ( hadn't been for ages ) But still have a sore lip that got damaged when I was numb. ( so didn't know it had happened till later ) 
 We are both wearing new glasses too. Mine quite a different style for a change.
 Today is drizzly - we need some steady rain.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Please stay Outside.


 This fellow ( I think a Nursery web spider ) had to be taken outside. He was a fast mover and quite large.

 This praying mantis came in on sheets from the washing line. He walked all over me, looking around.
 I took him out to the herb garden  to release.

Monday, April 05, 2021



                                             Strange clouds at sunset.

 Strange little capsicum folk inside the big capsicum when cut.

                             The strange fascination between small boys and sticks and water.

Not so strange 
that I found I can still make a reasonable Pavlova and adult guests loved it.
 I had stopped making them because of the sugar content.

Not so strange that 6 senior women can go out to lunch together and have a wonderful happy time. The food doesn't have to be fancy ( just have someone else prepare it ), but the coffee needs to be hot and aromatic and we can talk or sew for ages . We put the world to right but it doesn't make it so.
 We also meet to sew together at each other's homes . ( more talk ) 
 I have sewn together some of the smallest squares to stop them fraying.
 This is not the final arrangement just a progress look. Lots, lots more still to make. Most of theses are being blanket stitched by hand . A few raw edged on the machine sat flat but ones I zigzagged should have had a backing reinforcement layer to keep them absolutely flat ( and I didn't want to have to do that ). Lots more are in the pipeline. This piece already has a name. 
"These are a Few of My Favourite Things."