Sunday, March 31, 2013

Just for the record

I spy a 4 patch scrappy quilt
On March 22nd I wrote about the making of this I Spy A 4 Patch quilt.

Since then Linda has been able to machine quilt it and today I put the binding on it to bring it to a finish.

Linda did a loose overall pattern of loops and stars and this really complements the busyness of the front of the quilt.

We expect this to be a utility quilt, one you could use on the floor for a baby.

The backing fabric is a very sensible colour for this and Linda used a repurposed all wool blanket from an op shop for the batting.

Not only serviceable but very warm and practical for the winter months ahead down under.

Linking to:-
Richard & Tanya Quilts -  Link A Finish Friday

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Second cut

memory quilt for boy
Still working on the memory quilt.

Part of the clothing collection is two sets of bootees like these.

What could I do to incorporate them?

memory quilt for boy
Firstly I took a constructed a 4 patch block with fabric from the other garments.

Then I deconstructed the other pair of bootees.

I took the motifs from the top of the bootees, the 'baby patch' from the bottom of one of the bootees and the striped ribbing from the top.

I put fusible webbing behind the motifs and played with the items until I was happy with their placement on the 4 patch.

I love the 'baby patch' logo that Pumpkin Patch use on their baby wear (no affiliation).

Another block completed, more to share next time.

Friday, March 29, 2013

First cut

memory quilt for boy
Just over a week ago Linda and I met with a lady who would like us to make a memory quilt for her son.

She wants us to incorporate pieces of clothing from the first two years of his life.

This week I have been busy sorting and cutting and today was the first time I was able to proceed towards creating some of the blocks.

Each one will be 8 inches when sewn into the quilt and I need to make 30.  Today I was able to put together the basics for 25 of them.

I am revealing a sneak peak of some of the blocks that are still very much a work in progress.
memory quilt for boy

There will be few pocket patches.

The quilt is to be used by the young boy it is being made for.  A pocket with a velcro tab could well be an ideal place for him to hide precious treasures.

memory quilt for boy
Incorporating pieces from a little man's shirt is also on the agenda.

As a mother of 4 boys you can imagine that sorting through these items and making decisions has been a lot of fun for me.

I have lots of motifs from garments to work with as well so there will be more to tell as work progresses.

I hope you will enjoy the opportunity to follow my updates on this project.

Linda will be machine quilting the blocks when I have pieced them and we have a commitment to complete by the end of April.  So far so good.

Linking to:-

Farmgirl Friday # 102 
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
Find A Friend Friday
A Favorite Thing #  30
The Creative Blog Hop # 5
The Creative Home Acre Hop # 9

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Flowers for our vases

We usually like to have a few fresh flowers around the house for our Sweet Peas gathering.

I went for a wander in the garden yesterday morning and was surprised with how much there was still there for us.

The dahlias are still doing well but there was coreopsis, lavender, carpet roses and more.

A lovely selection to bring indoors to brighten our lives, not just for Sweet Peas, but for our family life over the next few days.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sweet Pea Gathering

Yes, today our Sweet Peas ladies gathered again at our place.

Once again lots of show and tell and happy chatter all round.

Debbie brought back her scrappy star quilt all finished.

As you can tell, she loves bright colours and especially lime green.  This quilt is super huge and will be very snug to sleep under during the winter months ahead.

At our last meeting we gave Trish her birthday blocks and today she brought back her completed quilt top.

It really was a delight to see how it all came together and Trish was pleased with the outcome.

We look forward to seeing how our future birthday quilt blocks turn out.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Domestic bliss

It was chilly first thing here today but then it cleared to the best of sunny autumn days.

From my bedroom window I looked out onto what seemed to me a scene of domestic bliss.

The hens were happily devouring the contents of their daily breakfast.

They have a regular diet of pellets and lots of clover grass but the contents of their breakfast dish is always looked forward to with great anticipation.

Any vegetable peelings from our meal preparations are chopped up and cooked for them along with any other left overs in the fridge that can be found.  Half a cup of oats, some water added and warmed through in the microwave and our hens can be kept happy for quite some time.

Seems our fridge does not have as much food stored in it these days - I wonder why?

Not too far away from the hens and in the full morning sun sat CiCi.

Her favourite spot of the moment in the mornings is here under the walnut tree.

It is almost as if she knows this bit of a sun haven will not last too long and she is making the most of it while she can.

Me, approaching with the camera, took away from her the sense of domestic bliss.  It was not long before she was up and away to some other sunny sport where neither I nor camera could disturb her.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Softly, softly

A bit of a contrast to my brightly coloured fabric flower frenzy from yesterday.

Linda has been giving her fabric stash an overhaul and in the process found some unfinished projects.

I offered to help out and this resulted in me making a couple of traditional quilt blocks.

Linda had 14 blocks as a result of a block swap but really needed another 2 to make up 16 blocks for 4 x 4 rows to make a nice square quilt.

The blocks are cream, with soft pinks and greens and quite a contrast to my recent projects.

All good fun and a good experience for me in this quilting world.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

One thing leads to another

I have been busy since Monday working on my fabric flower frenzy.

I had envisaged placing all the flowers on the background, machine appliqueing them with fancy threads and then having the background machine quilted.

I stabilised the background fabric with iron on interfacing and some calico before fusing the flowers.

This was all fine but by the time I had placed all the flowers there was not enough background fabric for machine quilting.

I was relying on the machine quilting to give the project added texture.

Now I feel I have to add the backing before doing my applique stitching so I have made up the above sample block with added cotton batting and more backing fabric.  This has made a nice sized sandwich for me to play with before I have a go at the real thing.

Here's hoping I can come back with a good report of my experience.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Is winter really on its way?

One morning this week it was very chilly when we got up for the day.  We began to think we had even had a frost.  Apparently not but it was very close.

We were concerned that our tomato plants may have suffered.  We have a lot of green tomatoes and we are hoping for just enough warmth and sunshine to harvest them before winter really sets in.

I went for a wander in the garden this morning and took some photos of flowers that are still on show for us.

The long hot summer has taken its toll on some of the plants but with a return of rain over the last week the plants are managing to hold on for a little while yet.

All too soon, the frosts will be here and these blooms will fade away until we start all over again next spring.

At least these images can provide a record to remind us that they will be back.

Linking to:-

Mockingbird Hill Cottage Favorite Thing # 29 
The Creative Home Acre Hop # 8

Friday, March 22, 2013

Simple, quick, effective

Amazing what a difference a couple of borders can make in framing a quilt top.

This quilt top can be easily achieved in a day from selection of fabrics right down to piecing the borders.

The champion of scrappy quilts, Bonnie Hunter, has this pattern, I spy a 4 patch on her website.

With 40 different I Spy blocks within the quilt Mum and Dad could be kept quite busy sharing the delights of I Spy with their child.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stitchin' Time

Yesterday was one of those few and far between days (at least it seems that way to us) when Linda and I felt we could devote most of the day to stitching.

We have been wanting to make a baby quilt that is bright and cheery and serviceable; something you can put on the floor for baby to lie on without having to worry if it is too special.

This was to be a shop your stash experience and so that is what we did, raided the stash until we came up with some fabrics we thought would do the trick.

Four patches were the beginnings.

Then we added some I Spy fabrics.

Resulting in a scrappy I Spy quilt.

Borders were added last night so final result with where to get the pattern will be revealed tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


When I lived at our last property and was learning a lot about establishing a flower garden I planted out some godetias.

Linda said to me, 'Once godetia, always godetia.'

I didn't really appreciate what she meant at the time but after a while I realised that even though they died off in the winter, they faithfully returned every spring.

We have not really established them since living here but we did buy a pot of them in late summer and they have proved to be very happy in their new environment.

Such vibrant colours, I hope Linda is correct once again and that there will always be godetias here.

My thanks to PicMonkey for their wonderful free photo editing site - I have been having a lot of fun changing my header and putting different effects to the photos I use on my blog.

Linking to:-

Little Red House Monday Mosaics

Monday, March 18, 2013

Fabric flower frenzy with a difference

After my excursion into 'fabric flower frenzy' with tea cosies and cushion covers I got a fancy to do some more of this sort of thing.

I remembered a project from 3 years ago that I bought when visiting with family in Dallas and decided it was time to revisit what I had set out to do then.

Tracing and cutting out for applique is very unappealing for me and so this is why the project had come to a stand still.  Even so, I found I had already done a lot of the work and so with a bit of a push these past few days I am nearly done with the cutting out so stitching can soon begin.

The cushions and tea cosies were relatively small projects and easy to manage on my domestic sewing machine. The current project is 42 x 42 inches and so it remains to be seen how I will manage all that on the same machine. 

Still I hope to be giving a progress report real soon.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

One block, many variations

At our last meeting of Taupo Quiltmakers they announced the return of raffle blocks.

Raffle blocks is one of my favourite activities of the group.

A pattern for a block is issued by the club along with colour options.

In this case the block is Jacobs Ladder and we were asked to do brown and cream blocks.

You can do just one block if you choose or as many as you like.  Your name goes in the hat for each block made and the person who's name is drawn out gets to take home all of the blocks.  Sometimes they have so many blocks returned they do two draws.

On this occasion I have made 4 blocks and have been playing with variations on a theme.  Sure would love to win the blocks so I could play some more.  Of course, I could just make some anyway, but receiving a whole batch ready made somehow seems more appealing.

I have been the lucky recipient of these blocks before.  We had the disappearing nine patch blocks and these lovely blue and white blocks.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chooks in action

Ever since the first day we brought them home our hens have been busy winning over our hearts and lives.

We brought them home in our car and gave them some pellets.  They fell on them with such enthusiasm you would have thought they hadn't eaten for a week.

They are very good at falling on fresh food with great enthusiasm - we have found that out, especially when we take them a selection of household scraps for breakfast each morning.  Our scraps are gourmet delights to them.
Even when we let them out to forage in the evening they still have an expectancy that we are there just for the sole purpose of giving them extra treats.

Once they get past that idea the foraging begins to happen.

Clara, the leader of the pack, loves Linda's rose garden and regular visits to give the root areas a good working over.

Zara prefers to take things more in style and loves to relax in the dust bath, tossing and turning to make the most of the dry earth that has resulted from our extended dry weather.

Goodness knows what they will do for a dust bath when the wet weather finally comes - maybe tomorrow.

We have settled into a daily routine with the hens and they are rewarding us with 4 eggs a day which is a nice amount for us.  We keep on thinking we will have a surplus but it has not really happened yet. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cup Cakes and Polka Dots

It has been a few months since I last talked about cup cakes and polka dots but just recently Linda has been busy on the quilting machine and now I am in the midst of hand stitching the binding and then it is all finished.

No home has been found for this one yet but we can be enjoying it while we wait.

In the interests of stash busting and frugality Linda used a re purposed 100% wool cot blanket for the batting and a cotton fabric remnant from an op shop for the backing.  Very nice and cosy.

There was no pattern for this quilt, I just made it up as I went along.

The cup cakes in the centre were meant to be a feature but, with hindsight, I realise I should have used a stronger contrast in the fabrics.

However, Linda worked some magic with machine stitching a border around the blocks as well as doing some tiny stitching around the cup cakes.

I really appreciate the work she put into it.

This quilt was made in the interests of stash busting, as well as having a bit of fun along the way, but considering I have since been given some more cup cake fabric it is back to the drawing board for me.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Sweet Peas are gathering

We did not realise when we bought this property how handy the large courtyard and lawn area might be.

Most Sweet Pea mornings we have 5 to 6 cars parked in this area and it is nice to think they ladies can gather without having to look for parking anywhere else.

As usual, there was lots of chatter and laughter and much interest in new and completed projects.

Debbie brought along this scrappy quilt which is still a work in progress.  The lovely bright colours and the way Debbie has mixed them is just magical.

I talked before about a change of direction in our birthday gifts for each other.

I made this block and yesterday we got to see what the others had made.

Trish loved the collection and it was not long before we were all gathered around as decisions were made about how all the blocks should be placed.

This is what we came up with.

A lovely assortment of stars with a common background.

Trish is going to make a quilt for the back of her living room sofa and we look forward to seeing the completed project.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Design board

Our design boards are large sheets of polystyrene with polar fleece pinned on them - pretty basic but they work for us.

I have spent a lot of time over the last week or so playing with the blocks in this quilt top.

When I completed the granny square quilt top I had a lot of 2.5 inch strips over from the jelly roll that had been given to me.

I also had surplus of the reddish background fabric and so I commenced making a whole lot of scrappy four patches and then playing with placement of blocks ensued.

After trying several options this was my final solution and so I now have another quilt top to add to my pile.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Last of the summer roses?

Come summer the roses bushes are in full flush and bring so much enjoyment.

The season wears on and with a bit of pruning at the right time you will probably get a second flush.

Then they seem to die away but there usually are one or two bushes that like to surprise with a last minute flourish.

This small yellow rose is a perfect example of this happening.  There is one small bud on the bush to follow.

In another part of the garden I have seen one pink and one white bloom and then that is probably it until the seasons pass and we start all over again.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Self sufficiency?

When I was in my 20's I used to read a lot about self sufficiency.  I dreamt a lot but it never became reality.

Even though those dreams are long gone I still retain an appreciation for anything that has a home grown flavour about it.

On the weekend Linda gathered eggs from our hens; fresh tomatoes, lettuce and chives from our vegetable garden.

Every now and then, on our menu, we have what we call a 'rustic lunch'. Linda makes focaccia bread and that along with these lovely home grown ingredients made a real treat for us for our Saturday lunch.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

One bush, three flowers

With the change of season and the long spell of dry weather we are seeing changes in the flowers on the hydrangea bushes.

We have a bush just outside my bathroom window and yesterday I spotted the large soft purple blooms and decided I would bring them indoors for show.

When I went to the bush I discovered the other colours on the same bush.

One bush, three different sets of blooms - how good is that?

Linking to:-

A Favorite Thing at Mockingbird Hill Cottage

Thursday, March 07, 2013

More than just a sneek peek

The other day I gave you a sneek peek at a scrappy chevron quilt top I was working on.

The quilt top is finished and really does look bright and cheery.

It is destined to become a quilt for a little girl and so I will get back to you when it has been machine quilted and bound and before I send it on its way to its new home.

These scrappy chevron quilts are so much fun.  I am sure I will be coming back for me on this design.

Linking to:-
Jaqs Studio - Made by Me Link Party

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Free Motion Quilting

Today Freemotion by the River is having a Linky Tuesday and so I am linking about the transformation on this quilt by the addition of freemotion quilting.

I found this quilt in an op shop when I was staying in Tauranga in January.  I wrote about this find on the 15th January.

The quilt is wall hanging size and and in very good condition.  It had quite basic machine quilting which was okay but Linda felt it could be enhanced some more so this week she set to work on it and we now have a totally new, textured quilting masterpiece.

You can read more about Linda's work and see more photos at Razzle Dazzle Quilter - enjoy!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Love those marigolds

An all time summer favourite for our family.

Marigolds are a sturdy annual that brings such lovely colour and vibrance to the flower garden during summer.

In recent years we have even been known to put some in the vegetable patch with basil as a companion plant to hopefully keep away unwanted insects.

This summer Linda planted some pom pom marigolds en mass in one of our patio pots.  We had to patiently wait for a result and now that it has come it has been a very impressive result.

We look forward to more and more of these fresh blooms until the first frosts of winter.

Monday, March 04, 2013

This one is for Aaron

When your children grow up and leave home you hope they will take some happy memories with them.

For my oldest, Aaron, apple crumble would be one of those and whenever we have a chance to meet these days if apple crumble is on the menu he is more than happy to come to the table.

We still had stewed apples in the fridge from our big apple cookathon and when I spied some blackberries in our freezer I decided it was time to do something with the apples.

I combined the blackberries with the apple and with some topping we soon had apple crumble for a treat.  Hot custard completed the picture.

We still have some left but as we are in New Zealand and he is in London I don't think he is going to make it to polish off the leftovers.  Would be nice if he could.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Surprised by Scraps

My latest work in progress has made me scrappily happy.

Based on Jen's In Color Order Chevron Quilt featured at Moda, it really is a very easy quilt to make.

I have already made one of these in Kiwiana fabrics and I enjoyed the process so much I thought it worth making another.

I have chosen modern brights for the nine patch component of the quilt.  Included are stripes and spots - fabric designs I usually avoid but in this structure I am really pleased with the way they are taking shape.

With all the best intentions in the world to complete the quilt top today, it was not meant to be - maybe tomorrow?

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Time for a change

We are into the third year of meeting as the Sweet Peas sewing group.

For the first two years we celebrated birthdays by each giving the birthday girl a fat quarter of fabric in colours of her choice.

This year Linda came up with the idea of us making traditional quilting blocks for the birthday girl.

Linda did the research and found a selection of quilting blocks for us to choose from and most have made their choices already.

The first birthday belongs to Trish and she settled for a block called Sisters Choice.  Trish provided the background fabric, Linda gave a lesson on how to make the block and so it is up to us to do the rest using any colour we like except bright orange.

This particular block is 15 1/2 inches and so by the time we collect all nine of them Trish has the makings of quite a substantial quilt.

My birthday is not until December but I am already looking forward to getting mine.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Lovely Lilies

When we purchased our property there was an existing irrigation system but it did not cover all parts of the garden.  We have added to it a couple of times and this year we put some in the garden along our front drive and suddenly this white lily plant has come into bloom.  Amazing what a difference some regular watering can make.
I started thinking about the other different lilies I had taken photos of in recent years and so I did a search of my images and came up with these.  What a wonderful variety of flowers there are within the lily family alone and even then these are just a few.