Monday, May 22, 2017

Ah, this is looking better

Linda has been busy quilting and I have been busy binding and so our happy blocks are looking a whole lot happier.

A very enjoyable project.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Happy Bocks are Happening

A sneaky peek at a project Linda and I have been working on lately.

We are making some community quilts and have revisited an old favourite Happy Blocks.

I did the cutting, Linda did the piecing and then I sewed the rows together.
The pattern suggests 48 blocks and I soon realised that we did not have enough variety in our stash for the I Spy centre pieces for that many blocks.

We put a call out to our Sweet Pea ladies and soon our I Spy stash was looking a whole lot brighter and better thanks to them.

Once we started putting the blocks up on a design board we decided that 30 blocks would probably be sufficient so I cut out enough for another 12 blocks and we now have 2 x 30 block quilt tops ready for machine quilting and binding.

More pictures on completion.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A present for a granddaughter

A wee while ago I spotted this little patchwork bag online.

The little girl and the bag so reminded me of my granddaughter I felt I had to give it a go. has a tutorial for this here.

This was my end result.

I then realised my granddaughter had her 4th birthday coming up in May so I sent it to England for that occasion.

Anna-Clara's Dad bought her a pretty pink bike for her birthday and here she is sporting her new patchwork bag - very suitable for this little girl.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A little bit of different stitching

Winter is drawing close and it seems to be the time of year to have a bit of yarn in hand to be a bit creative.

I cannot knit like I used to so I decided to get out a crochet hook instead.

Haven't done any crochet for years but it did not take much to pick up on the tricks of the trade.

I don't really want to make any large items so I have embarked on making items for premature size babies.  This beanie is about 4 inches across and the bootees about 2 inches.

Nice to be able to add a little flower and trim to this little hat.

These seamless bootees were nice to make.  I need a bit more practice on these but they come together quite well.

I have been in touch with a couple of Nursery Intensive Care Units from different hospitals and will be forwarding them from time to time.

I have two bundles batched up and ready to go.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

A parliament of owls

At last, my parliament of owls has gathered.  Eight of them in total and they seemed to take a long time about gathering together to overseer with all their collective wisdom.

From the Fancy Forest quilt this is my third set of creatures and by far the most complex to complete.

I was not altogether happy with my colour combinations but I am sure, in the whole scheme of things, that all will be well.

Their eyes seem to give off a bit of a disgruntled look so perhaps I have disturbed their sleep to bring them together for their parliament.

I am now halfway through the blocks, with the firefly, the hedgehog and the thistle to do.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Those steadfast mountains

These mountains to the south of us remain steadfast even though we may go for days and days with them being covered in cloud.

We are going from warmer to cooler at the moment, including the first dumping of snow on the mountains.  Quite a few times recently, in the mornings, there has been mist rising from the Waikato River below us and with that and the low lying cloud over Lake Taupo, the mountains look like they are floating in the distance.

Even as I write the sky is changing all too quickly so it was nice to be able to capture the moment.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Elvis has left the building

I recently joined an online swap for butterfly blocks.

I made 8 in total and today they were set free to flutter their way to the United States so they can go to a new home.

In time 8 different ones will flutter their way back to me.

In the meantime I still had a yen to make a few more of these easy to make blocks and so I went to see if Elvis had left the building and I found -

this very old peg bag with Elvis theme fabric that I bought off an auction site.

It has served us well but

with a hole in the side like this it really made me feel it was time for Elvis to leave the building so we could give our clothes pegs a new home.

A few more butterfly blocks and suddenly a new peg bag too.

It has been interfaced and is double thickness so I am hoping it will last twice the distance.
It is fully reversible so could be used as a kitchen apron as well but we do have lots of them already so that will probably not be necessary.

Some of you probably use a clothes dryer and do not have a need for a peg bag but we still hang our clothes on the line and so this is a very useful item at our home.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Butterflies, again

A few days ago I wrote about a butterfly block that was new to me.

Today I decided to revisit the butterfly block and make a small bound quilted project for a small table in our guest lounge.

This room has a touch of yellow in the decor and so I make a yellow butterfly surrounded by a dusty pink.

A few hours later it was complete - so nice to do small projects sometimes.

Yes, there it is, in the corner of our guest lounge adding a touch of colour that harmonises with the other colours of the room.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The herd is complete

Having completed my skulk of foxes for my Fancy Forest quilt, it was time to complete on my herd of rabbits.

I had to make 16 of the fox blocks but the rabbit challenge was easier as I only had to complete 8.

Oh no!  There's only 7 in this image.  One of my rabbits has run away.

It turned out to be the grey rabbit with the white ears.  He had decided to stay behind at the sewing machine but he has now returned to the herd.

I don't usually give names to blocks but this rabbit was made from a fabric with an overall floral design and so I have called her Rosie Rabbit - she may well be the herd leader.

Rabbits completed, I am taking a break from this project until next month when I will be doing the owl blocks - probably the most complex of all the blocks so I will be glad when I have completed.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Butterfly Blocks

With my daily musings on the internet it never seems hard to find quilty things that inspire, in fact, much more than I could ever contemplate completing in my lifetime.

The butterfly blocks featured here came my way via a swap group It Seams Unlimited on Facebook.

All the piecing (except for the yellow centres) is oversized so that the components can be trimmed back.  This makes for better accuracy in the completed block and makes them look quite sharp, at least I think so.

The butterfly blocks are 9" square when complete.

The current swap (block pattern included in this link) is for the butterfly block if you are interested in participating.  You would need to join the It Seams Unlimited group first to tag along.

Georjah is looking for swaps of a minimum of 4 blocks.  This is a centralised swap with Georjah receiving and mailing all blocks so return postage needs to be considered if you live outside the USA.

I have decided to give it a go, so it will be interesting to see what comes back to me as a result of the swap.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Gifts for Wwoofers

This April it will be two years since we first welcomed Wwoofers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) into our home and hearts.

They come to us to help maintain our property and in return we provide accommodation and meals.

Through this organisation we have met people from Japan, Switzerland, England, Austria, Germany, Sweden, USA, Canada and France.  It has always proven to be an exercise greatly appreciated on both sides, if return visits are anything to go by.

At the end of this month we have two German girls coming who were with us a while back.  They have travelled the South Island and on their return have requested to come back to us.  We will gladly receive them.  They, among others, have proved to be very willing workers at our place.

In appreciation of their time with us we like to send Wwoofers away with a small gift that won't take up too much room in their baggage but will provide a memory of their time in New Zealand.

We make them mug rugs - something to have their coffee or tea on with a snack.

We like to think that when they return to their home country and resume their work or study life they will use these and remember their experiences in New Zealand.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Op Shop Fabric

You never know when some fabric might come in handy.

I bought some yardage of this pink cat fabric from an op shop more than 12 months ago at the right price.

There was no purpose in mind when it was purchased but I felt sure there would be a use for it one day.

Recently Linda had the opportunity to make a couple of community quilts.

The pink fabric has found a home at last.

I framed the panel for her with orange fabric and when she finished the machine quilting I finished it with magic binding.

The cat fabric is brushed cotton.  Along with the batting it has become a soft cuddly quilt.

Some of the pink fabric remained and Linda thought it would be a nice idea to make it into a dolly blanket - so that is what I did.

Not a bad use for some fabric that had been sitting in our stash for a while.

Linda still had some time to make a second community quilt and so I used the rest of the orange fabric to border the panel.

We had some grey polar fleece for the backing.
Cotton batting was used and again we have another snuggly quilt for a young person.

When using the orange fabric I had to resort to adding some 4 patches to make it all fit.

In turn this meant that the magic binding I like to use would not be suitable as it is wider and extends more into the border, therefore losing the effect of the 4 patch.

Back to regular binding which was nice to do for a change and it worked well in this instance.

P.S.  I have not shown the quilts in their entirety.  Linda made them and I am leaving it for her to blog about them if she wishes.

Friday, February 24, 2017

My Skulk of Foxes

When I referred to groups of foxes having different names on a recent post, cousin, Cheryl, said she liked the name - a skulk of foxes, so skulk it is.

Having said that, yesterday I was able to complete on my 16 foxes for the Fancy Forest quilt, so my skulk is complete.

Now on to the rabbits.  I have already completed 2 and have 6 to go to make up my 'colony' or 'nest' of rabbits.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The foxes are gathering

We have visitors at the moment so there has not been much in the way of stitching happening for me.

Today, there was a window of opportunity so I set myself the task of completing the 16 fox blocks required for my Fancy Forest quilt.

I had made a start on block 14 before I had to finish for the day.

A bit of trivia from Mr Google - group of foxes is referred to as a skulk, leash, or earth. Not sure what title I should give mine.

The foxes seem to endear themselves to me as each block is completed.

I especially like these red and grey fox blocks.

I wanted to keep within the autumn tone theme I had set myself so that meant 16 different fabrics needed to be found.

To achieve this I had to add extra seams to some pieces.

I could have chosen to repeat some colours instead but preferred the challenge of finding 16 different fabrics.

Worth it to succeed in using my stash rather than buying more fabric, which I am trying to avoid.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bloom Quilt

Last year our Sweet Pea group embarked on a cheerful scrappy quilt called the Bloom Quilt by Lori Holt.

Lori has made a special set of templates for the floral blocks.

We have enjoyed seeing the results as the quilts are being completed.

 Fiona is talking to Rochelle about her quilt as you go finish.

I didn't manage to capture all of Andreena's quilt but the vibrancy of the colours she chose are very evident.

Debbie has been busy quilting Trish's quilt for her.

As with all of our group projects, I am always fascinated by the different results according to individual colour preferences.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sweet Pea Sewing Group

Our fortnightly Sweet Peas sewing group has started again this year.

Usually, when we meet, there is quite a bit of show and tell, but this time nothing.

However, Fiona brought us a bunch of lovely roses, fresh from her garden.

Maybe no show and tell but we are really enjoying having these flowers at our place.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Recently we had bush fires in the Taupo area and in the morning we had an unusual sunrise.

I took this shot from my bathroom and when I looked at it I thought maybe I had sighted a UFO (top right hand corner) but it turned out that I had caught the reflection of bathroom lights.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Learning, always learning

For a while now I have been wanting to learn a little about stitching down raw edge applique with a very small zig zag stitch.

I have been making some table runners for around the house and Samelia's Mum had done a table runner that was the inspiration for my attempt at this form of stitching.

I used Invisafil 100 wt thread for the zig zag stitching and set the stitch to 1 wide by 1.5 long on my Janome.

As a beginner in this form of stitching I was quite pleased with the outcome.

I did match stick quilting for the background and ended up with a runner that was just the right size for a chest of drawers in Linda's bedroom.

Some Laura Ashley sheeting fabric made a nice, colour co-ordinated backing for this household item.

Monday, February 13, 2017

More on Fancy Forest friends.

 There are 6 different blocks in the Fancy Forest quilt and I have now completed at least one of each.

Our forest friends need a little foliage as well and so we have a Thistle Plant block.

Last but not least is the Firefly.

What fun I could have with this block, with all the different colour combinations that could be used for the wings.

I have since made two more fox blocks and I need to make at least 12 more for the full size quilt so we should be firm friends by the time I have completed on this challenge.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Something special

 When we heard that the mother of a good friend of ours had passed away, Linda asked if she would like us to make a memory quilt using fabric from some of her mother's clothes.

Lesley Anne had to be very patient once she gave us the clothing as I pondered which garments might be suitable and what pattern to use to show them off.

The pink fabric featured in the inner border and corners was cotton but all the others were stretch fabric so stabilisation was required.

Another good friend of ours, Trish, had lent us a pattern of hers which featured ladies dresses and so, in the end, this is the result.

One example of what the dresses look like.

I tried to use features within the fabric where ever I could.  In this one I used the bolder white stripes as a highlight within the skirt.

This was one of the stripey stretch fabrics I used in a number of ways in the different dresses.

We had some fun sewing theme fabric that would have been from her mother's era that we used as backing for the quilt.

A bit of cream binding and some of Linda's lovely quilting to finish it and we were finally able to present Lesley Anne with her long awaited quilt.