Thursday, February 28, 2013

Red on Black Tea Cosy


One red on black tea cosy for my niece.

I have enjoyed making this and it could be a strong competitor to the purple on green one I made for our kitchen, however I think I will be happy to keep the one we have and send this to its new home.

Tea cosies can go on hold for now, there are other things that need doing like a baby quilt for my prospective granddaughter.
You may like to compare the two cosies.

Linking to:-

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop # 98 
Link a Finish Friday #56
Can I Get A Woop Woop
Find A Friend Friday 
A Favourite Thing #26 
Sunny Simple Sundays 
The Creative Home Acre Hop 
Let's Get Acquainted
Anything Goes at Stitch by Stitch 
Mama's Got it Together 
Sew Cute Tuesday 
I Have To Say 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Heath Robinson Affair

Now, doesn't that all look a bit strange and unusual.

Not the sort of image I usually try and use on my blog.

This is the continuing story of the apples we were given recently.

We stewed as many as we could but then it was on to making blackberry and apple jelly.

When I had finished combining the cooked blackberry and apples the quantity was too great to hang over the preserving pan so we had to resort to making something from where the jelly could drip, hence this creation.

We even felt the necessity to hang a tea towel over one end to warn of impending 'danger'.

If our Mum saw anything like this when we were growing up she always called it a 'Heath Robinson' affair.  Heath Robinson was a cartoonist who excelled in creating eccentric drawings of weird and wonderful make do and mend inventions.

My estranged husband was a great believer in the make do and mend philosophy.  In his estimation there was a lot you could do with a brick, some blue tac and glue - not necessarily together at the one time but he was often the recipient of Mum's 'Heath Robinson' comments.

The result of our efforts was a thick dark juice that dripped through the cloth overnight.

Linda added sugar and in no time at all we had blackberry and apple jelly - very yummy with fresh baked scones.

Dare I add that we still have apples to deal with?

Linking to:-

Tilly's Nest Blog Hop #26

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fabric Flower Frenzy Carries On

My fun with using the Go Cutter to make fabric flowers has not finished yet.

When I shared about my tea cosy project my niece said she had just had her kitchen renovated and there was a touch of red in and she thought a red and black tea cosy would be really nice, so what's a girl to do?

Stage one is completed.  I have made a front and back and now I just need to quilt the background and finish.

I will report back then the project is complete.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Living alongside nature

It has been a long hot summer and our dahlia bushes have thrived.

This one in particular has given us a multitude of flowers.  As well as the flowers giving us pleasure we always delight when we see bumble bees doing their business in and around the plants.

Yesterday I went to cut away the spent flowers and when I had finished the dahlia bush I also spent some time on the plants behind.

I had just completed and was stepping out of the garden area when I felt a sharp stinging sensation above the inside of my right ankle.

My first thought was that I had been bitten by a white tip spider and I wasn't very happy at the thought but when I lifted my trouser leg a bumble bee flew out.

He must have been in search of a flower but got caught between my socks and trouser leg and so gave me a sharp jab.

Linda administered some first aid and it was okay but an itchy sensation stayed with me for the rest of the day.

There is still some itchiness today but better than it was.  I will survive and I am glad it was not a spider bite.

I can't be mad at the bee, they do such a wonderful job for us in the whole scheme of things.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

When life gives you apples, start peeling

We were given a bag of apples this week.  About 20 kilos or 45lbs at a guess.

I stewed some to have with ice cream pudding which is a favourite of ours to have with summer fruit.  RazzleDazzleQuilter has the recipe for ice cream pudding on her blog.

Definitely cooking apples these ones.  I had a raw slice - very, very tart.

We still had heaps left so Linda and I sat down yesterday and peeled and sliced and peeled and sliced until we filled our preserving pan.

With water added we cooked them to a pulp and they are now stored in the freezer in bags for use at our pleasure.

We still have frozen blackberries in our freezer courtesy of our brother, Alan, picking them for us and so Linda is about to embark on making blackberry and apple jelly - another flavour treat.

Whatever is left after that we will stew and store.  Life is looking pretty good from where we live.

The simple things of life

When we were young Mum and Dad kept poultry as one of the means of bringing in an income for our family.

If one of the hens laid a double yoker Mum always made a fuss about what a lovely treat it was to have 'two for one' so to speak and you were lucky if you were the one got that treat.

Just a simple thing in the sum total of life but it has stayed with us and yesterday, when one of our new hens laid a double yoker we were most impressed.

Glynn, the man of the house, was the lucky recipient of our first double yoker.

I sent him a copy of this photo along with these words -

This is no joke,
It has a double yoke.
Served as a treat,
For our man to eat.

We have four hens and two of them are laying regularly now so we are getting at least 2 eggs a day.  It will be even better when the other two catch up so we can build a little surplus in the egg department.

Linking to:-
Mockingbird Hill Cottage - A Favorite Thing

Saturday, February 23, 2013

All visitors welcome

Our friend, Debbie, visited yesterday with her two year old grandson, Rex.

Could he see the hens please.


Some of you have asked if the hens have names.  Yes, they do -

Clara - the leader of the pack and the first to lay eggs;
Zara - mainly because she followed Clara in the laying eggs department and their names rhyme;
Henrietta - she was the first to be named by Linda and we thought she was going to be the 'head chook' but Clara soon showed us how wrong we were;
Penny - well if you shorten Henriette to Henny you get and Henny and Penny so we have two pairs of names.  Penny is shy and retiring and definitely at the bottom of the pile with Henrietta.

We are still waiting for Henrietta and Penny to reward us with eggs and feel sure that day will come soon.

Rex was fascinated with the chickens and he is most welcome to visit again anytime.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Only the best at Riverview on Robinson

Linda's husband, Glynn, loves fish and would eat it most days if he could.

We have problems sourcing nice, fresh fish locally. In the end Linda was able to track down an online source, Hawkes Bay Seafoods.

After placing an order the fish is delivered by courier within 24/48 hours depending on availability.  It comes in a polystyrene box and the fish is packed between layers of bagged ice.

We usually buy 1 - 1.5 kilos and even with courier charges it is comparable, if not better than shop prices.

Linda packs and stores the fish in the freezer and most Fridays we have home made fish and chips.  The fish fillets are cooked in bread crumbs.  The potatoes are par boiled then shallow fried in olive.

What more could we ask for?  Only the best at Riverview on Robinson.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Flower Power

I offered to cut the pieces for a quilt in this pattern but when I looked closer I realised it was using techniques that I had never done before and so before I knew it another quilt had been made.

The pattern is called Fab Five and it is from Abbey Lane Quilts. The sub heading says these quilts are 'fun, fast and flirty' and considering I only started cutting and finding out what it was all about I was surprised to have completed it this afternoon.

Definitely in the quick quilts category even including the four layer flowers where I machine button holed around each layer.

The flowers remind me of the 'flower power' days of the 60's.

The quilt pattern gives five interpretations of the one quilt so you could make many variations if this pattern holds appeal for you.

Linking to:-

Freshly Pieced Work in Progress Wednesday
Jaqs Studio Made By Me

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quilting does make a difference

Yesterday Linda finished quilting my blue on blue project for me and made it into a cushion/pillow cover.

What a difference the quilting has made to the whole project.

The flowers stand out more and the attention to detail, doing small pebble stitches between the stems, really has transformed this piece of work.

A filler has been purchased and so this will soon be forwarded to our sister Barbara as a gift.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Anyone for tea?

My fabric flower frenzy that I reported on last week has now become a teapot cosy, just finished this morning.

We have been needing a new one for our kitchen for some time and I thought this might be a fun new cover for the teapot.

The colours I chose for this project were more to do with the brownish bench colours than the red teapot.  I like the colours of the cosy but not with the red teapot.

We could buy a new teapot to match the cosy but what about an excuse for another teapot cosy project?

I think I could do better with the placement of the flowers - they would look better, I think, placed closer to the bottom of the cosy.

The other thought is, that if I did red flowers on a black background that could look really good on the teapot, regardless of the kitchen decor.

Linking to

Richard and Tanya Quilts Link a Finish Friday

Back to the drawing board for me.................

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Favourite Things

When Mum was still with us we found vases that were suitable for our bathrooms.

Mum loved gardening and she loved flowers but she was no longer able to garden for herself.

We liked to think that we could bring a little bit of the garden to her and we still try to keep this up to date as much as possible.

It can be difficult towards the end of winter to find something suitable but, for most of the year, we seem to be able to add a touch of difference to our bathrooms.

The dahlias in our garden are doing extremely well this year and these orange ones are blooming in abundance in our front garden.

Nice that there's enough of them to be able to have some indoors as well.

Linking to Mockingbird Hill Cottage Favorite Things - thanks, Claudia.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sweet Peas

On Wednesday our home was full of lots of chatter as our Sweet Pea sewing group got together again for the first time after the Christmas break.

It was so nice to meet up again in this way.  Show and tell was on the agenda and Moira had some charming applique blocks she has commenced making and we look forward to seeing how these develop.

Rochelle also had a work in progress to share.  Excellent job so far.

Machine quilting next before the project is finished.

It will make a great wall hanging.

Linda at razzledazzlequilter has shared more images on her blog from this meeting.

In past years we have given each other fat quarters for our birthdays.

This year we are going to make themed quilt blocks for each other so that should make for some lovely show and tell to be sharing.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Almost forgotten

Recently I have been writing about my red, white and blue granny squares quilt top.

I was looking through our quilt tops the other day and realised that this granny square quilt top had not been given an update.

September 16, 2012 I wrote about commencing on this project.

I am not sure when I actually finished piecing the top but I know it was before I left to have a holiday break mid November.

I had a bit of trouble completing the quilt because the burgundy fabric I chose for the sashing was becoming increasingly hard to find but fortunately I was able to buy enough to complete.

Still very summery here but I am hoping to have this one quilted with wool batting to keep me warm during the winter months ahead.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fabric flower frenzy?

I have now embarked on my third fabric flower project and so some of you may be inclined to think that I am having a bit of a fabric flower frenzy.

This project is in two pieces - each 200 x 275 cm (11.5 x 8.5 inches).

So far I have cut out all the flowers and fused them to the fabric.

The next stage is to get into the free motion quilting.

The end result will be a serviceable item for our home.

Can you guess what I might be making?

I will let you know when I report next time on this project.

P.S. I am enjoying working with these colours.  Totally different from the pink cushion cover and the blue on blue cushion cover.

Linking to:-
Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Scrappy Chevron - update

A few days ago I wrote about my work in progress on my chevron quilt.

Since then I have been able to piece all the blocks together and so now it is already for machine quilting.

This pattern is so easy and gives quite a stunning result.

A great way to use up scrappy fabric.  I have more variations in mind already.

In the meantime this chevron quilt will wait its turn to be quilted. I am sure that will be worth reporting on too, when it happens.

Monday, February 11, 2013

We have action!

Just over two weeks ago I wrote about us purchasing four hens so that we can have our own free range eggs.

Twice daily we have been visiting, cleaning, feeding, letting them out, penning them up for the night and generally making friends with these lovely young ladies.

Today we were rewarded for our efforts.

One solitary egg in the nest.  Small beginnings but a promise of things to come.

It was a lovely surprise at the beginning of our day and we are sure to have many more to come.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

We were supposed to be at the market

but we had heard that there was to be a swimming race leaving from the lagoon below our place.

We stopped at home until it got underway - so nice to be able to observe a fun event from the comfort of our home surroundings.

The market came next.  We needed some free range eggs (our new hens are still not laying) and some fresh fruit, apricots, peaches and plums.

Then, our brother took us to a plant shop and we came home with a whole stack of plants for the garden. 

Guess we were are going to be this morning before the sun makes it too hot for us.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

It all began........

when Linda decided to make a lightweight lap quilt for her husband, Glynn.

She even went out and bought special fabrics but in the end she found a scrappy pattern on the net that she liked and this is the result.

Very suitable for a man, bold, with nice warm colours flowing through.  You can see more images of this quilt on Linda's blog as well as the link for making this chevron quilt.

It is a very easy quilt to make and another good way to use up scraps.

I still have Kiwiana fabrics and so with 141 x 3.5 inch squares of patterned fabric and some black to alternate I now have a work in progress on the same quilt design.

Linda's quilt has 5 inch scrappy squares and mine 3.5 inch squares.  Linda's has a much more dramatic effect (especially with her lovely quilting to accent) but the smaller chevrons have their place too.

Chevron quilts are now a new favourite for me and I am linking to:-

Quilting in my Pyjamas Friday Favourite Things 
Confessions of a Fabric Addict Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
Sew Many Ways Crafty Link Party Week

Friday, February 08, 2013

Op shop treasures

Not necessarily everyone's cup of tea but op shop treasures can be nice.

While I was traveling overseas Linda spied some white fabric that had been quilted but not finished.  She cut some of the best out of it and made this square pillow for my bed.

We have a houseful of visitors at the moment and I was running short of clean pillow cases and then I remembered these battenburg lace ones that had been found at an op shop.  They had been washed and ironed but never used by us.

Time to bring them out for a spot of bedroom decoration.

Ernest Bear, from our Mum's collection, is taking care of the clothes peg doll, a souvenir from a visit to the United States.

Op shop treasures can be good and have their uses.  Most welcome at our house.

Linking to:-

Mockingbird Hill Favorite Things Friday 

 Self Sufficient Home Acre

Blackbird Has Spoken Op Shop Finds

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Child psychology?

If Linda and I want a treat we can think of nothing better than morning coffee at our local favourite cafe - Piccolos.

Some people like to do a little bit of housekeeping each day but we like to get it all done in one hit if we can.

Tuesday is our day for this task and sometimes we drag the chain a bit so recently we have been promising ourselves that if we get the housework done by, say, 10am, we will take ourselves to Piccolos for morning coffee.

It really does work for us.  Not bad for a couple of 'girls' in their 60's to still be impacted by child psychology.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Granny squares update

My red, white and blue granny squares have now been sashed and are waiting their turn to be machine quilted.

I really like the floating effect of sashing with the red.

Red is really quite out of my comfort zone, being an autumn girl at heart, but I am happy with the outcome of this project.

I look forward to seeing the enhancement that machine quilting will bring.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Anyone for a bird bath?

From my bedroom window (once again) this morning I spotted this thrush sitting on the hose sprinkler.

Not only was the thrush sitting there but it was hopping over and under and every which way to take advantage of the gentle shower the sprinkler provided.

Generally speaking the land in the Taupo area is becoming very dry and so the birds seem to be appreciating any water supply that can be found.

Linda took a panoramic shot of the river below and wrote about it on her blog the other day and you can see how dry the land has become on both sides of the river.

This morning we have gentle drizzle.  First rain we have had in a while.  It is supposed become a lot heavier and we hope this will be the case.  It would be really nice to see the land return to green once more.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Our silk tree

Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage is asking us to share our Favourite Things for her link party.

This silk tree over our patio is one of my favourite things about where we live.

Well thought out by the previous owners of the property, it provides lovely umbrella coverage in the summer.  In the winter it sheds its leaves so the winter sun can keep this area warm.
At this time of year the tree has the most beautiful delicate pink blossom.

Against the backdrop of the light green foliage, these are the sort of colours that could make one want to do some lovely old fashioned stitching, crazy quilt style, of course.
When I went under the tree this morning to try and capture some close up images I was surprised by the buzz of bees.

Oblivious to us human beings below the bees are up there, doing what bees do it keep us in honey and to assist with the absolutely necessary process of pollination.

Keep up the work, you bees, we really need you.

Saturday, February 02, 2013


Anticipation can play such a big part in our lives.

This past winter we planted this flatto peach tree with fruit that has lovely white flesh and is an unusual doughnut shape.

For our first season we have six peaches we are eagerly anticipating eating.

We were also waiting in anticipation of the blooms on this lily plant.

It needed a bit of nourishing with water.

What a beauty to behold.

Linda planted a whole lot of marigold plants for us a few weeks back and we have been anticipating them coming into flower.

In just the last few days this has been happening.

On the other side of anticipation, we had been expecting a call about our brother-in-law, Bryan, and sadly it came today.

He passed away in the early hours of this morning.

Thank you, Bryan, for making our sister, Barbara, so happy in the short time that you were together.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Spot the difference

Last time I reported on this project I had only placed the flowers.

Now I can say I have not only done the machine applique but am in the process in putting beads in the centre of each flower.

The machine applique seemed to come together quite quickly but I am dragging the chain on the beading as my hands don't like too much of that sort of thing anymore.

Can you spot the difference in the before and after photos?