Thursday, October 31, 2013

Adding another dimension

I know that I have a lot more curved piecing to do before I complete this quilt top but I could not resist completing just one of the blocks to see what it would look like.

Doing this has added another dimension with the fuschia pink in the sashings.

One of the secrets of success in making this block is the oversizing of the pieces during construction.

The oversizing allows you to cut back to the exact size required and gives a much better result in the final piecing.

I am impressed with the pattern and look forward to sharing more of the completed blocks even if it may be a day or two before I can report on more progress.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Loving the lavender

We have several lavender bushes at our place but this one reigns supreme in size.  It overhangs our property from the retaining wall and is just another of the plants in our garden that is really flourishing this spring.  It must be at least 6 foot from top to bottom.

The orange and yellow azaleas in the background make up some more lovely 'borrowed' landscape for us.
The rest of the garden continues to bloom vigorously.  The rock rose on the left is just amazing.  For every flower in bloom there must be at least four more buds waiting to bloom too.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Some improvement today

My ability to do curved piecing must be improving.

After only being able to complete five blocks on each of the last two days I had decided I would be happy if I was only able to complete another five today but somehow I managed eleven instead.  Very, very encouraging.

I only have four to go before I can move to the next stage.  There is still a lot more curved piecing to do in the next stage but I am sure it can only get better.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Slowly, slowly

Some more curvy nine patches completed today but not as many as I would like.

I have twenty five to make with five different colour ways.

I did five yesterday and five today - ten down and fifteen to go.

If I can get at least another five done tomorrow I will be happy.

Still mastering the curved piecing.  With all that is left to do I should have mastered the art by time the quilt top is completed.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

What, more nine patches?

After my recent foray into stash busting by making lots of nine patch blocks I thought it would be nice to take a break and do something different.

Not to be apparently.

The fabric in this image was purchased about two years ago on a visit to Sydney.

I had no idea what I was going to do with the fabric at the time but it was going out the door at a bargain basement price so I brought it home.

It has been patiently waiting for me to find a pattern to use it in.  One has been found but wouldn't you know it has nine patches.  They are different, but nine patches nevertheless.

Look what happened to them here.

They now have curved edges.

Never seen a nine patch quite like this before.

A lot of cutting involved in a project like this and it is just the beginning.

The cutting produced a lot of pretty scrap pieces - 100 like this across the range of colours.

Seems a shame for them to go to the scrap bag but that is most probably their destination.

They measure approximately 1.25 x 8 inches so if you are a scrapaholic and would like them you can e-mail me at

This is the next stage with the nine patches but there is lots more to do yet.

I managed to get 5 out of 25 of these finished today.

I will have to keep you posted.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sharing the love of quilting

Today there was a knock at the door.

A friend, and quilter had come to visit to show me that she had taken up the idea of magic binding that I have talked about on my blog on more than one occasion.

Fiona made this quilt at a Midnight Madness gathering hosted by our local Taupo Quiltmakers group.

She has completed it and is donating it to a local retirement village to be raffled as a fund raiser, something which she does on an annual basis.

The magic binding gave just the finishing touch needed.

So nice to share the love of quilting with others and to get feedback like this.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Grandmothers bonnets and quails

These grandmothers bonnet plants are faithful friends in our garden each spring.

They are especially prolific at the moment and are very good at self seeding and producing new plants for us.

A couple of summers ago I found this grandmothers bonnet at a nursery and thought it would be a welcome addition to our garden.

I also thought it might be as prolific as its less colourful cousins and give us lots of plants too.

I guess I must have missed the small print. Somewhere it probably said it was a hybrid.

We still have the one plant and it still brings beautiful flowers each year but it looks like I will have to be happy just to have the one plant.

Californian quails frequent our gardens but we had not seen them for a while.

Suddenly today they were back.

So sweet to watch.  The stay in pairs and are very protective when they bring their new born chicks to visit.

We look forward to seeing more of them this year.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Once again.............

 Once again it was so nice to gather with the ladies from our Sweet Pea group.

Seven of us met at Mary's house and we had a lovely time of sharing together.

Who would have thought that there could be so much show and tell from just seven of us.

Mary had been busy making quilts and I had the privilege of returning them to her after Linda had machine quilted them.

The caterpillar was a great hit with the ladies.

You can see better images of these quilts as well as Andreena's fish theme quilt at Linda's blog.

Rochelle also shared a couple of her projects.

The one on the left is a small wall hanging.  She had recently completed machine quilting it.  This quilt appears to have a ric rac trim inside the border.

Rochelle could not find the ric rac needed for the job so she carefully cut and machine stitched some fabric in place to make it look like ric rac braid - very well done.

The blocks on the right are from a block of the month project that she has been working on.

Moira's grand daughter put in a request for Nana to make a wall hanging featuring chickens.

This is a work in progress at this stage and looks very promising.

Moira is going to embroider wisteria flowers amongst the green leaves above the hens.

We look forward to seeing how this one comes along.

Debbie wanted to make a fabric picture featuring Lake Taupo and Margaret has been very generous in sharing her time, talents and fabric to help to bring this creation together.

The dog in the foreground belongs to Debbie's son.

Another project is already underway using the same techniques.

Back in September I talked about the birthday blocks we were making for Margaret.

They have been amazingly transformed.

The appliqued cats are to honour a ginger persian cat who was a very special member of their household.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Surprises in the garden

We have had lots of rain this spring.  In between we have had lots of mild sunny weather and it seems to be working wonders for the lovely flowers that continue to surprise.

The borrowed landscape from next door gives us much pleasure as well, azaleas, clematis and the red hot poker keep coming back year after year, but this year they seem more prolific than ever.

Such a delight to take a walk in the garden at this time of year before the weather becomes too hot.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Secret Projects

I read quite a number of blogs on a day to day basis and I often read about quilters who are making quilt blocks for a secret project.

Sometimes it may be for a pattern they are creating to sell, sometimes a quilt that is to be submitted for a quilting magazine or book.

The creator usually provides a sneak peek by showing an image of a small portion of the project.

This is my sneak peek of the secret project I have been working on for our local quilting group.

We only have a few meetings to go before we cease gatherings over the Christmas holiday period.

At the next meeting I am providing a raffle block project.  I provide instructions for people to make a block.  They can submit as many blocks as they wish.  Once collected names of participants go into a 'hat' and someone will be the lucky recipient of a collection of blocks.  If we get a lot of blocks then we may have two draws.

It is been quite pleasing working with the rich colours of Christmas fabrics and I am looking forward to reveal time at our next meeting Thursday week.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Our little sweetheart

For us living in Taupo, it gives us so much pleasure when photos of my grand daughter, Anna-Clara, come through on FaceBook from London.

She is nearly six months old and appears so healthy and happy.

We know she gives Mum and Dad so much joy and we are happy to see how she is developing as a little girl.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Not just your average meal at Riverview on Robinson

Everyday, regardless of what is on the menu, we like to eat our main meal at the dining table with views overlooking the Waikato River and the mountains beyond.

Table cloth and napkins are always a part of the scene and more often than not a glass of wine as well.

Today we had an extra special item on the menu at Riverview on Robinson.

Linda had been given rainbow trout as a pick me up gift for husband Glynn.

Linda has done some great step by step photos of how she cooked the trout.  You can see them on her blog.

The result was wonderful, enjoyed by all three of us.  Even better, we were given not one, but two of them, so we are saving the other for a future treat when we have visitors.

Monday, October 14, 2013

How many variations?

I am still enjoying the process of making my modern style quilt.

One of the reasons I am making this quilt top is my fascination with how this block came together.

Nine patch blocks have been around forever.  A Google search of 'nine patch variations' brings up a whole myriad of images of what can be done with this block of humble origins.

This particular nine patch I am making is called 'floating disappearing nine patch'.

I found it here.  Rachel Griffith has created a pattern called 'Impromptu' and you can buy it in pdf format so you can have it delivered almost instantly via your in box.

The pattern was designed for layer cakes of fabric and that would yield a greater variation of patterned pieces in the whole work.  I used fat quarters from my stash and only had six different fabrics but am happy even with less variation.

I have no affiliation with Rachel but if you like to browse her patterns she has quite a nice range of modern style quilt patterns.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Make it yourself

We went to the supermarket to do our regular fortnightly shop which included our favourite honey mustard salad dressing.  
Only problem with that idea was that it was no longer on the supermarket shelves.  Linda came home and wrote to the manufacturers about it.  The reply came back that they no longer make this product and recommended another brand not to our liking.

Linda thought perhaps we could make our own so based on an old condensed milk recipe so we did the following:-

We whisked together -

1 can sweetened condensed milk (400gm)
1 tspn sea salt
1 tspn mustard powder
1 tspn black mustard seeds
1 tspn yellow mustard seeds
1 cup spiced white vinegar
1/2 cup hot chili sauce

Very nice, even if a bit on the hot side.

We think we might only put 1/4 cup hot chili sauce in the mix next time but by then we may have become used to the hot and spicy.

The label on our favourite, now non existent sauce had some dubious inclusions in the list of ingredients, so apart from anything else, we feel we have a better knowledge of what goes into our new favourite salad dressing.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

What can I bring indoors?

It is nice to wander in the garden in the spring and bring a few items indoors so that we can enjoy them there as well.

This clematis is in full bloom and all too soon it will be gone but we are enjoying the moment.

At first I thought I would not be able to find enough to bring indoors but all too soon my basket was full.

I love the magnificent specimen of the waratah flower.  

I lived in New South Wales, Australia for over 30 years and this bright red flower is the State Flower.  I had always thought the New Zealand climate would not be warm enough for these grand flowers so was very surprised to see a waratah tree already established in our garden when we came here.  As an added bonus one of our neighbours had planted several on the border between our properties, so along with the birds, we get to enjoy this lovely flower year after year.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Back in the garden

We have had some lovely surprises in the garden this spring.

Along the drive there is this small rhododendron bush and to the best of our knowledge we have not seen in it in bloom before.

The buds are the most beautiful shade of dark pink but when the flowers open the pink is so pale they are almost white.

Very special as we do not have another rhododendron in this colour.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Something a bit different and modern

After playing around with 2.5" Y2K squares for quite a while I really wanted to do something a bit different.

A few months ago I bought some fat quarters from the same fabric range.  At the time I did not even know what I was going to do with them but I think I found a pattern I am happy with.

Lots of background fabric is required for this one, so much so that I have run out.  I can keep going for the moment but may have to wait to bring this to a conclusion while I wait on more white fabric to arrive.

So far so good.  Looks very promising.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Once again, Sweet Peas

Our last meeting of the Sweet Pea ladies did not happen so it is four weeks since we had a get together.

Today we gathered at Andreena's and she has been busy making a large quilt block called Carpenters Star.

Lots of chatter and nice yummy food for morning tea.  Thank you, Andreena, for hosting the morning.

Margaret had some lovely items to share.

She made this larger than life teddy bear for one of her grandchildren.

There was a large purple polar fleece rabbit as well but unfortunately I did not get an image.

Margaret had also made a wool quilt.

This is one of the blocks from the quilt.

She did say the wool was very difficult to work with. Even so she had a pretty good result.

What about this little kitten?

She has captured the cat dilemma very well.

Rochelle and her husband recently bought a caravan (trailer) which they have completely renovated inside.

A retro quilt was what Rochelle thought might be suitable for life on the road.

This is just a sampling of the thirty six floral blocks she has made.

A lot of work has gone into making those retro flowers and they are looking so good.

Monday, October 07, 2013

A special little quilt

Last week we had a special request to help to finish a baby's quilt.

This is not your regular size baby quilt - it is 18 x 24 inches and has a light weight batting.

Its intended use is for the baby to hold it and make it his own.

From previous experience the grandmother knows that those 1 inch prairie points will be popular.  Babies just love to find the fold in the fabric and tuck their fingers in there.

Our task was to create the name and year of birth as a finishing touch to the quilt.

I was able to create and fuse them to the quilt today.  Tomorrow I plan to stitch them in place and then this quilt will be able to be sent to Australia for baby Aaron to enjoy.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

On the same wave length

I took a break today from stitching after my mammoth effort yesterday to complete my Y2K quilt.

I thought I would take another walk in our garden and capture some more of the flowers that have come into bloom since spring has come our way.

Unbeknown to me, sister Linda thought she would do the same.

I wasn't able to capture them on camera but the bees are buzzing in the garden.  So lovely to see.  If it wasn't for the bees and their faithful return each year we would not have the enjoyment of all these blossoms.

The above collage was created after taking photos by using PicMonkey.

Yesterday, as a result of wandering in blog land I found out about another collage application for use with your iPhone or smart phone.

It is a freebie called Multi-Lens and means you can create a collage as you take your photos.

This is my first effort at using my iPhone with this particular application.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Finally, finally

It was August 29 when I first started talking about this project.

There were times when I wondered whether I would make it to finishing point.

It took 111 nine patch blocks, so with the border pieces it took over 1,000 pieces to complete.

A lot of pinning and piecing was required to finish and I definitely have to do something quite different for my next project.

That said, I am actually very happy with the outcome of the quilt.  I like the way the nine patches are captured within a wide floral border.

I placed the signature blocks towards the centre of the quilt.

I had my doubts about how they might look but they seem to blend in with the whole scheme of things and so I am glad I found a use for them.

Linda had given me some floral fabric when she was having a clean out a while back and I think it is ideal for border.

The pattern for this is free from Fons and Porter and is called Nine Patch Rings.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Meanwhile in the bathroom..............

I have been busy pinning and stitching and pinning and stitching but completing my last Y2K quilt is still eluding me.  Nearly there, so maybe tomorrow.

In the meantime we have been having some lovely spring weather and our garden continues to surprise us with fresh flowers.

These images are from recent arrangements that we have in our bathrooms.  How fortunate we are to have such a nice selection of blooms to choose from to bring into our life indoors.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Is there no end to these nine patches?

As I near the end of my 2.5" Y2K squares I am wondering when I will finally say goodbye to the nine patch blocks I am making.

Yesterday marked a major milestone.

I completed the number of nine patches required for the scrappy quilt I have in mind.

I even progressed to cutting the fabric for set in triangles and borders.

125 nine patch blocks take quite a while to sort out on the design board but I achieved that today.

In addition I started piecing the blocks together so hope to share the finished quilt top real soon.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Nine Plus Four Versions 1 and 2

It seems quite a while since I last talked about my 9 Plus 4 scrappy projects.

I guess 19th September is not that long ago but we have had so much inclement weather since then I have not had a chance to take a photo of both finished quilt tops.

Both quilts are constructed with 9 patch and 4 patch blocks and finished with four patch borders.  The only difference is the layout of the 4 and 9 patch blocks.

I thought I would have a definite preference for one over the other but I find I like each in its own way.  It has been an interesting exercise and a great way to use up my Y2K fabrics.