Saturday, August 31, 2013

The promise of things to come?

One of the enjoyable aspects of our first year here was the wonderful plum crop from our two fruit trees.

Since then the trees have hardly had any fruit at all.

This year we decided we had nothing to lose by giving the trees a severe pruning.  Over the last week or so blossoms have appeared.  Is it the promise of a crop of plums for us this year?  We certainly hope so.

We have an apple, apricot and peach tree planted last year and they also have blossom so we are hoping to be able to collect fruit from them too.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Our creative ladies

Once again, this Wednesday, our Sweet Pea ladies surprised us with their creativeness.

Lots of lovely show and tell to share.

Andreena had made this lovely wall hanging.

The circles feature oriental patterned fabric and look so good against the dark background.

Andreena has not been well and told to rest up by her doctor but that has not stopped her from being creative.

This small wall hanging looked very effective with the thin black strips giving the illusion of looking through a window.

A very bright and cheery wall hanging made by Debbie.

Linda and I are very fortunate to be recipients of a similar wall hanging.

You can read about it on Linda's blog.

Moira has been busy making a Christmas theme quilt to put over the back of a chair.

The centre of each block features a different Christmas image.

Fabric flowers also add to the imagery of the whole quilt.

Again we were surprised.

Trish shared her star block quilt top.

I was surprised how well the combination of black, grey and light green worked together.

Kaiser must have thought all of this show and tell had been going on for quite long enough and it was time for him to have some attention.

Mary brought along two quilt tops she has recently finished for grand children.

No shortage of creativity flowing amongst this group of ladies.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Block building to aid stash busting

Following on from the Arkansas Crossing and Split 9 Patch quilt tops I am continuing to make nine patch blocks in my endeavour to bust our stash.

These nine patch blocks are being made from 2.5" squares that have been in my stash for 13 years.

I am following a pattern called Nine Patch Rings published free online by Fons and Porter.

The pattern requires 111 nine patch blocks which means I will be using 999 x 2.5" squares and it actually means I can see a dent in this segment of my stash.

Of the 111 blocks required I only have to make 8 more before I can start putting the blocks together - maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What's a cat to do?

Anyone who owns cats knows that generally they are not fond of vacuum cleaners.

Ours manage to tolerate them but this week, for some reason, they wanted to head for the hills.

I saw Kaiser moving away and looking quite uncomfortable and a while later I found him on my chair.  He was squashed between my laptop table and my footstool which I had place upside down on my chair to be out of the way while I vacuumed.

The discomfort was still evident but at least he had a pool of sunshine to bask in until the agony was over.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I did it!

I wrote about our German visitor last week.

To make our visitor comfortable it had daily needs, either a good stir or the addition of flour, sugar and water.

I was concerned that I would forget and ruin the process but I did manage to make it to Day 10 so that I could make the Friendship Cake.

Cinnamon and fruit were included in the ingredients and the baking aroma was very tempting.
I put butter on my slice.  Delicious with a cup of coffee.

I think this is where the friendship comes in.  We need friends to help us eat all of this cake.

I used some of the remaining batter to make sour dough bread.

Lovely and crusty and nice with tomatoes and/or cheese.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sweet Violets

Today I wandered in the garden in search of chick weeds to give the hens as a treat when I collected the eggs at midday.

We have had some trees removed during the past twelve months and a lot of our grounds have been dug over and cleared.

Surprise, surprise this year we have an abundance of violets growing in many parts of the property.  We haven't seen anything like it in our previous years here.

Their green leaves are lush and these darling little flowers certainly do look very sweet.

Lots of chick weeds growing amongst the fresh spring growth so I was able to present them to the hens when I collected the eggs for the day.  They have now given us over 700 eggs and so a few chick weeds for them seems very worthwhile.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Split Nine Patch

Yesterday I completed a Split Nine Patch quilt top.

Another larger quilt for me - this one is 72" square so an outside location was appropriate for a photo shoot.

My ongoing challenge when making scrappy quilts is the background fabric that is required.

This one has a blend of light scrappy fabric for the background so had a big appeal for me even though I was running out of cream fabrics to use towards the end.

The scrappy stash busting challenge continues.

I am working on a nine patch quilt using 2.5" squares at the moment.

Linda is also working on a scrappy 4 patch quilt but still our scrap piles are mountainous.

This was not helped when, today, I discovered a basket of quilting scraps that need to be harvested.

We hope one day to see a dent in our stash.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

We were having a salad for our main meal today and I made a self crusting quiche to include in our menu.

Herbs are an essential ingredient of this particular dish and it was nice to be able to go to the garden to find some.

The rosemary is in full bloom.  At this time of year there is plenty of tender green growth and worth spending time to snip the newest of growth.

Our sage bush has thrived since we brought it with us from our previous home.

Tender young leaves of sage are also a welcome addition to the herb selection.

Ah, thyme, one of my favourite herbs.

Like the rosemary, it is full of fresh new growth and worth picking over for the freshest tips.

I love the aroma that is released as the thyme is cut.

The parsley is a bit sparse on the ground at the moment but enough there to include in the mix.

We are so fortunate to be able to have our own fresh herbs on hand to include in our cooking.

Needless to say the quiche was delicious.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A visitor from Germany

The other day our friend, Rochelle, popped around to see us and left us with a visitor from Germany, Herman the German Friendship Cake.

Well, not an actual cake but a sour dough mix that will eventually, we hope, become a cake.

My maternal grandfather was German so maybe I should have known about such things, but no.

The sour dough mix goes through a ten day process during which needs to be stirred and have food added.

We are up to day five and so far I have been able to keep up with instructions.

On day nine I am supposed to divide it into four segments and share three with friends and make a cake from the remainder on day ten.

Have you ever heard of a Herman the German Friendship Cake?  It would be a bit hard to share portions with my blog followers but you can find out heaps about this fun idea on the Herman the German website.

Lots of recipes, ideas, starter recipes, including gluten free.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Scrap harvesting

I have had 2 bins of quilting scraps sitting around waiting for attention for some time now.

A few days ago Linda offered to go through them to see what could be harvested for future quilting projects.

The Go-Cutter came into action and was very useful in bringing the oddments into shape.

A couple of days of winding through the machine and cutting into strips and squares and Linda has finished.  Quite an achievement.

Linda has these tray baskets with different size squares in different trays.

This basket is full of 2.5" squares.  My humble effort was to help trim the 2.5" squares and to colour sort them.

Each stack is probably at least 3" deep.  Quite a few potential quilt projects in this one basket alone.

Linda and I still have squares to colour sort as we watch TV tonight.

It is very satisfying to see the results of Linda's hard work and it will be so nice to have a 'go to' selection of pre-cut fabric squares and strips for when the next quilt project urge arises.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

More scrappiness

I enjoyed the process of making the Arkansas Crossing quilt top so much that I decided to continue in scrappy mode.

My next project is based on the Split 9 Patch block.

In the midst of making this Linda has been embarking on harvesting more scrappy squares from our stash and I could make a lot more quilts like this.

So many quilts, so many ideas but this has to be one of my favourites.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Time for a photo shoot

 Linda and I both recently completed quilt tops that are a bit bigger than our usual style.

What better place for a photo shoot than the bean frame in our garden.

The weather here is not warm enough yet for planting runner beans so the frame provided a perfect backdrop.

Linda has made a very impressive star quilt.  I love the way the big blue star pops in the middle.

You can read more about this quilt top on Linda's blog.

My quilt top is the Arkansas Crossing scrappy quilt that I wrote about here.

I am so happy with the outcome of this scrappy quilt that I have embarked on another one based on the Split Nine Patch block, but more about that another day..........

Monday, August 19, 2013

Paper pulling completed

Today I laid this quilt top out for a photograph regarding 'paper pulling' being finalised, and what did I find?  One last errant hexagon paper still in place.

Some might have counted the papers to see how many there are but I don't worry about doing things like that.  I did do a bit of a calculation based on the number of flowers and I estimate probably approximately 400 pieces.

I have been asked about the age of the quilt top and I would have said about 30 years but I did find pieces with advertisements relating to 1993 so it looks like it is about 20 years old.
When I first saw the quilt I did not really like the background cream colour.  I thought it looked a dirty cream.

Now the paper pieces have gone so has the 'dirty' look and I am quite pleased with the colour combinations.

The hexagons are 3 inches and there's over 40 flower shapes in the whole quilt which is big enough to be a coverlet for a single bed.

What quilt inspection would be complete without a 'cat' scan.

This time it was Kaiser's turn.  He was there within minutes.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chicken gourmet delight?

When we go to collect our daily eggs around lunch time we always take the hens a treat.

The other day I crumbled up some stale fruit cake and added some vegetable shortening.

I remembered that I had seen a chickweed growing in the garden so I added that to the mix.

Henrietta was first on the scene to experience the chicken gourmet delight of the day.

Worth the effort?

Yes, when we get eggs like this every day.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Will the real cat please stand up

From time to time I have written about CiCi, the cat who adopted us when we moved to our current home.

She hung around our home and it took a good 12 months to convince her it was safe to come indoors and make herself at home.

At the moment she is blissfully asleep on my lap as I write.

We have often wondered about her background and I always felt sure she must have come from a good home.

This afternoon there was a knock at the door and one of the neighbours from our street was looking for a missing cat and wondered if we knew anything about her.

We spent an interesting time talking to this lady and finding out some of the history of this cat who was originally named Tickles.  She had one litter of kittens before being desexed and her owners still have one of the cats from that litter.

CiCi (aka Tickles) disappeared from their place about 4 years ago, somewhere near the time when we moved to this location. 

It would appear that as well as being well fed by us, CiCi regularly visits another neighbour who feeds her every evening.  She seems to be living well as she rotates the neighbourhood - who know how many other places she may call 'home'.

We are happy for CiCi to go back to her original owners but just not sure how you can convince a cat to do that if she is happy where she is.

I don't think there is any doubt they will try to reclaim her and expect to hear more from them in this regard.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Spring fever?

We like to have cut flowers around the house but as winter has continued there has been less for us to be picking.

Yesterday I went for a wander in the garden in the early morning to see if there was anything for us and I was pleasantly surprised.

Camelias, lavender, blossoms and more.  It was lovely to linger and hear the bird song as well.

Yes, apparently spring is in the air.

 Must be time for spring fever.  Linda has revamped the kitchen sideboard and it makes a lovely home for fresh flowers.

We talk a lot about the hens in the yard and it would seem they have influenced our life indoors as well.

Lovely happy hens picked up by Linda at garage sales accompanied by the tiny polka dot hens in the centre that I bought in Brazil a couple of years ago.

I don't mind the cold of winter but there is always something special about the sense of spring being in the air.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Birthday blocks

Today was Sweet Pea day and it was lovely to share with our group of ladies once again.

We never know what might turn up by way of show and tell.  Today there was an unexpected emphasis on birthday blocks.

At a previous Sweet Pea meeting Linda shared the requirements for making her birthday blocks.

This is a selection that she has already made up and today the others returned theirs to be added to this group.  This is going to be quite a spectacular quilt when completed.

Andreena brought along her birthday blocks completed.  She put them together, bordered them and machine quilted and bound them.

The quilt is going to be used to go with their lounge room suite.

Andreena did an excellent job of machine quilting and it will make a lovely addition to her home.

Debbie has pieced her birthday blocks together and added a pink border.  There is still a lime green border to go before it is ready for machine quilting.

Very bright and cheery the piecing has a stain glass look about it when held up to the light.

Debbie loves lime green and this quilt highlights her love for this colour as well as other brights.

We look forward to seeing this quilt again once quilted.

All in all another enjoyable and refreshing group visit - thank you Sweet Peas.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Just because I can - again

This image came up on Facebook the other day.

Anna-Clara is all dressed up and ready to go for a walk with Mummy.

Just 3 months old and she looks so happy with the joy of living.

I have no doubt I will be sharing more images of my grand daughter as she continues to grow.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Papers, papers and more papers

Last week I wrote about winning some unfinished quilting projects in an on line auction.

The hexagon project will make a lovely bed cover but before anything can be done the paper pieces need to be removed.

I have been doing this in the evenings while watching television and although the pile of papers is growing it will take a few more evenings before the quilt top becomes paper free.

Once machine quilted the pink and blue hexagon flowers will pop and look very pretty.  Still a fair way to go, though, before we get to see an end result.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Doing things backwards

The quilt block I made yesterday was inspired by this quilt top made by Deb at A Simple Life Quilts.

In turn Deb was inspired by the book, Quilts from the Heart by Karin Renaud.

It was only after I made the block that I went back and found out that its name is Arkansas Crossing.

Deb made her blocks with 2 inch squares - I am making mine with 3 inch squares.

I decided to Google Arkansas Crossing and it is a traditional block.

 If I had approached the project from the original block which is a quarter of the one I made, I wonder if I would have been so inspired.

I had to see the end product to get me going and even then I constructed it in a totally different way to what I would have if I had known about this traditional block called Arkansas Crossings also known as Arkansas Cross Roads.

Thanks, Deb, for sharing on your blog.  I hope you have been an inspiration to others as well.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Back to the design board

After a couple of days indulging in stash building it is time to get back to serious stash reduction.

Using existing pre cut 3" square pieces and adding some cream for the background I was able to create this 20" square block.

It will take 8 more blocks this size to complete and I can't wait to get them done.

This scrappy block really pops and I am really happy to be in the process of making more.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Confessions of a Fabric Stash Buster - Take 2

Yes, more confessions today.

Yesterday it was partly finished projects won at an auction.

Today it is new fabrics.

I just happened to see a set of 7 fat quarters for less than US$10.00.

In shades of pink, green and purple the temptation somehow took hold and I not only bought 1, but 2 sets of these fat quarters, I liked them so much.

As if that wasn't enough I also 'needed' to buy some background fabrics in pink and grey and the fat quarters are covering up on the several metres/yards of fabric required for stash busting.

Today I made a 20 inch scrappy block from fabrics I have had for more than 10 years.  I wonder if my recent purchases will have to wait that long before they get used?

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Confessions of a stash buster

 Oh dear, our routine has been a  bit different over the past few days and not much stitching has been happening.

Last week Linda saw an auction of unfinished patchwork projects she thought I might be interested in.

Next thing I had hit the Buy Now button and the goods were on their way.

Linda and I always did have a soft spot for hexagons.

These have come to us complete with papers in the back - big enough to cover a single bed.  I will be pulling out papers for a few evenings to come.
Hexagons were not the only projects in the pack.

A variety of sets of cathedral windows in various states of completion.

Dresden plates too - not many of these but I like the red and white ones.

Lastly a stack of super size hand pieced hexagon shapes with circular centre pieces and papers included.

Not sure how all of these oddments are going to help me bust my stash but I will give it my best shot.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Chickens on vacation?

Our brother-in-law, John, has been visiting with us over the past few days.

He has been making a fuss of our chickens as you can see on Linda's blog.

We have 4 chickens.  Their home is relatively small but portable so we make sure to move it twice a day and we also let them out in the afternoons to roam until sunset.

Linda recently bought some portable chicken fence which we have been using to section off areas of the property where we don't want them to go.

John thought of an even better use for the fencing and created an annexe for the chickens so they can have extra room to roam whilst contained.

Their reaction was that of curiosity but no complaints.  I think it looks like an annexe on a caravan so maybe our chickens think they are on vacation.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Fabric flower frenzy has struck again

When I discovered cutting flowers with my Go Cutter I never thought I would be making any other sort but this past weekend fabric flower frenzy has struck again.

With our two sisters visiting this past weekend we have been having some craft fun and I ended up making a fabric necklace for one of them.

We did more than this but I will save that for another day.  It was fun to make these flowers and to incorporate them into this fabric necklace:-