Friday, September 30, 2011

Pretty maids all in a row

Linda and I have been doing quite a bit of planting of annuals in the garden lately.

We have a tricky piece of garden on the south side which never gets any direct sun and is usually cold no matter what the time of year is. We have put pansies there before and they have survived quite well so this year Linda has made a planting en masse of pansies and violas. We look forward to seeing how they develop.

There is also a garden at the front of our house which gets lots of sun and our plantings there are beginning to reward us already. We have both been quite taken with the cluster of pansies in this image. The look so crisp and fresh and have beautiful colourings and markings and these three together put me in mind of one of my favourite nursery rhymes:-

Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

I even remember a nursery rhyme book we had, when we were growing up, that had this poem accompanied by a picture of a lovely garden with pretty pansies along the border.

Maybe, subconsciously, images like this may still influence the things we do in the garden today.

Monday, September 26, 2011

More Free Form Embroidery - Again!

Over the past few weeks I have been including my miniature free form embroidery pieces in my auction listings on Trade Me one at a time and they have been attracting some interest.

This past week I made two more pieces, different but in many ways very similar and so this week I decided to list both of them at the same time.

I am asking people if they can spot the difference - can you?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Linda's Give Away

[DSCF1481%255B17%255D.jpg]If you like give aways on blogs you may like to take time out to look at sister, Linda's blog. She is celebrating having written 100 entries on her blog.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Time for the vegetable garden

Now, that's not very exciting is it - just a plot of earth.

Needs must be - the compost we have been making needed to be dug into the garden in readiness for planting out some seedlings.

The compost efforts have not been the best, to say the least, but there were worms in the midst, so something must have been done right.

Hopefully the garden soil will be better for our efforts and the vegetables we harvest this year will be extra yummy.
To take away from the starkness of the earth, here and there in the vegie garden the faithful violas are popping up and they really are delightful.

We have a need for violas in our flower beds so I think that some of these lovely ones will have to be relocated in the near future.

We have several of these bushes around the vegetable garden and it is good to see the blue flowers out again as the bees just love them and we need the bees for the processes of life to keep happening in our garden.

I went for a walk this morning to our local mailing box and there was a lovely sense of spring in the air with all sorts of flowers coming into bloom everywhere.

Suddenly I noticed the smell of chimney smoke and it seemed a complete contrast, spring in the air outside but still cold inside somebody's home.

Something nice and homely about the smell of chimney smoke but something extra special about the look and smell of spring in the air as well.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Where it all started

I have written a couple of times lately about my interest in creating free form embroidery projects, and in particular, my enjoyment in making these in miniature.

I realise, when looking through items in my stash that this type of work has appealed to me for a long time, it has just taken me quite some time to get around to doing it for myself.

The first time I did anything like this was for a crazy quilt retreat I attended in Australia.

All participants were asked to make their own name badge with a crazy quilt theme - well I may not have done any crazy quilting, but I did do the embellishment part.

The badge looks a bit marked and aged by now but still a happy momento of the occasion and a seed interest for me in miniature free form embroidery.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Plum Blossom

We have two established plum trees at our place.

The first year we were here they were heavy with fruit and before the season was over we were well into making plum jam and plum sauce. It lasted well but sadly now, is all gone.

Last year we looked forward with anticipation of a similar crop but it was not to be. We had about six plums from both trees.

We were not the only ones who did not fare well with plums last year. When we told others what had happened to us they said it had been the same for them too.

This year the blossoms are there in abundance and so we wait and hope that once again we will have an excuse to get out the preserving pan so that we can make good use of the plums as they ripen for us.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ah, those camelias..........

Yesterday I talked about flowers on fabric, today it is the real deal.

If anyone asked me to list my favourite flowers I probably would not give camelias a second thought, yet the ones in our garden this year are particularly delightful.

Their vase life is short but they are so lovely it is worth cutting them and bringing them indoors so we can share their beauty.

The previous owners were good enough to plant a variety of camelias and we are really enjoying the fruits of their efforts.

This camelia bush is particularly abundant with blooms and for all the cutting of flowers you would not even know any were gone.

The inside of the petals is the palest of yellows and this seems to reflect the colour of the stamens and in turn this gives a translucent effect to the flowers.

A pleasure to have around the house in vases.

After a week or so of glorious spring weather the rain has set in and so the flowers will drop or their petals will brown.

However, the sun will return, and with so many buds on the bushes we will have lots of camelias to pick before the season is over.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

More Free Form Embroidery

My latest favourite thing to do is to make these little blocks of free form embroidery.

The other day we had our quilting group, Sweet Peas, here and my intention was to make a quilt block. When I discovered that I did not have enough of the necessary fabric it seemed a much easier thing to do to make one of these.

The background lavender silk is approximately 5 x 3 inches. I backed it with fusible webbing and quilters muslin.

I found a strip of hand dyed lace that I had been carrying around in my stash for years and used that for the foundation. I then got out my silk ribbon scraps and threads and with a bit of stitching, mainly french knots and a few silk flowers my little picture was complete. Did not take too long at all really.

These finished blocks can be incorporated into crazy quilting, could be an embellishment for a handbag or framed for enjoyment.

A lot of fun and achievable. I am really enjoying making them.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Sunday, Sunday

Spring is in the air and with lovely weather forecast for Sunday Linda and I rose early to make the most of the day.

With breakfast done we prepared vegetables for our main meal of the day which was to be roast pork.

Linda also cooked up a batch of mince for freezing to make into pies at a later date while I hung washing out in the fresh spring air.

Then a visit to local plant shops to seek some instant colour for our garden. Three shops later and we came home with lots of plants and potting and compost mix.

Time for a quick cuppa and popping roast in the oven and we were out in the garden. Linda did preparation work in the garden and I followed up with planting.

We have two large green pots at the front of the house and Linda tidied these up and planted fresh pansy and lobelia plants. It all looked pretty sharp by the time she had finished and I can't wait for the flowers to start blooming.

By midday we had done our dash for the day and came indoors to finish off cooking the roast pork. By this time it was smelling pretty good and very tempting.

At last - reward for our labours - our midday meal was truly delicious.

A glass of red wine was enough to make a bit of drowsiness set in and make us have a quiet afternoon but not before I made a double batch of meatballs for freezing for a later date and Linda brought my washing in for me.

It was a lovely, rewarding day - here's to many more.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Hearts and other things for Christchurch

It is a year now since the first of the big earthquakes hit Christchurch.

I have written before about the heart quilts that many have been making for families affected by the earthquakes but today I thought I would share another point of interest.

About two years ago, Countdown, one of our local supermarkets did a month long drive for people to make beanies and booties for newborn babies in the Wellington area.

At the time I knitted quite a few and after the drive was over continued to do more of the same. They were small projects and easy to do in the evenings while watching television with Mum but at the time I did not have somewhere to send them so they accumulated and ended up in my stash.

Recently, when our Sweet Peas quilting group met, one of the ladies shared that a local radio station was doing a drive for booties and beanies for newborns in the Christchurch area and so I felt, at last, I had a specific use for my knitting efforts.

I contacted Canterbury District Hospital and in turn received a nice thank you letter for items sent.

About a week ago our brother, Norman, sent us a box of carrots and parsnips from his garden and when I was putting the box out to the rubbish I happened to notice an article about hand knitted beanies for babies in Christchurch. Nothing specifically to do with the beanies I had made but lovely to see that this was a news worthy effort by the people of New Zealand.

You can read more about knitting beanies for the hospital and the internet abounds with free knitting patterns for newborns so if you have the urge apparently the Christchurch hospital needs about 500 beanies per month to keep up with the demand.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Kaiser Kraft

Yesterday sister Linda invited Kaiser to write an entry in her blog:-

Kwilting was for yesterday, kraft was the activity for today as he tried his best to help me with my activities.

Versatility is the name of the game as far as Kaiser is concerned.

Free Form Embroidery

The image in my last blog entry took a lot more time to complete than the image on my left.

This one is about 3.5 x 5 inches and was completed in a couple of evenings.

I so enjoy doing little projects like this but, again, what to do with them when finished?

Anyway, I have enjoyed receiving your comments about my other piece of work and 3 people, Cherie, Upinak and Julie all said you thought I should frame it and so, unconventional as it might be, I have decided to send each of you a set of the pansy silk prints.

I have more miniature free form embroidery in the pipe line so will share more as I make progress.