Saturday, December 27, 2014

Global Santa

It has always been a bit of a mystery how Santa manages to travel the globe and deliver presents to all the children of the world within the space of 24 hours.

This year my son, David, captured an image of Santa at their home in Seattle, WA.

Then, when my son, Aaron and his family got up in London on Christmas morning they found Santa had left goodies at their place as well.

Santa was even clever enough to deliver my two younger sons, James and Rick to me here in New Zealand.

What an amazing Santa we have and how nice it is to have a part in all this goodness.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The gift of flowers

Last week one of our Sweet Pea friends popped in to see us and brought a gift for Christmas.

These lovely gerberas have been placed near our front door to add a touch of colour for visitors.

Last year another of our Sweet Pea ladies gave me these lilies as a gift for my birthday.  They have really come into their own this summer.

This Christmas Lily is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

My sons gave this to me for Christmas when they came to visit in 2007.

It has had a few changes of location but it keeps coming back each year - never fails.

In addition we have been given a number of other plants over the past five years and they have all enhanced our surroundings.  We have been very fortunate to be beneficiaries of the gift of flowers.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Our friend, Bailey

We have a new cat at our place, at least new to us.

Bailey is about two years old and the youngest cat we have had around in a while.

He has been very timid but gradually getting used to life at our place. 

From the photo I think it would have to be said that he must be pretty happy here to be so relaxed.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

A pleasing result

Yesterday I put the binding on this quilt and the end result was quite pleasing.

It was July 2013 when I made this quilt top.

It has been maturing like good wine in a cupboard and now it has been transformed by Linda into a lovely quilt top.  She also wrote about this quilt on her blog.

One of the good things about the time lapse between completed quilt top and machine quilting is that it feels like you are being reunited with an old friend.

The stars she worked into the border area are so appropriate, and, once again, I felt this was a good opportunity to use Magic Binding.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Our Sweet Pea Group

This week we held our last Sweet Pea meeting for the year.

Linda made a Christmassy centrepiece for our table with chocolates in a crystal bowl surrounded by Dublin Bay roses and angelica.

I made the most of showing off the cake that Debbie made for my birthday (or what was left of it) and managed to get a better photo this time round.

We have had quite a bit of 'secret sister' business going on this year.  We all participated in a row by row project - each making rows for the others in themes and colours of the recipients choosing.  These are just two of the projects that have come together so far.  Haven't even started putting mine together yet.

Much chatter and laughter throughout the morning and a fair share of show and tell.  These two items are what I managed to capture.  Both projects are by Andreena.  The one on the left has an oriental theme and is going to hang in her home.  Andreena loves all things Christmassy and has completed an Advent Calendar in time for this Christmas.

We have had some great meetings this year and look forward to more to come in the New Year.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Ice Cream Swirls

There's more to share about this quilt but I just wanted people to be able to see the lovely quilting Linda has been doing for me.

The feathers and swirls on the white background make me think of lovely creamy ice cream - so beautiful.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Birthday Surprise

It is my birthday today but, as sometimes happens, I was invited to a birthday lunch by our friend, Debbie, yesterday. 

Lunch was lovely, shared with friends, but  the surprise of the day was this lovely birthday cake, made and iced by Debbie. 

My photography does not do it justice but the detail on the cake was pretty amazing right down to threaded needle and thimble. 

The 'relaxed' cat represents my cat CiCi. 

My congratulations to Debbie on a job well done and for contributing to a very special birthday, thank you. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Napkin ring tutorial

We like to use cloth napkins and napkin rings at our place.

The ones we were using were beginning to look a bit tired and I had it in mind to make some new ones.

They happened this week.

The napkins are easily achievable with a a few small pieces of fabric, some braid, if you wish, and a scrap of batting.

You will need:-

2 pieces of fabric 6 inches x 3 inches
2 pieces of braid each 6 inches long
1 piece of batting - I find cotton batting works best for this project - 5 7/8 inches by 2 7/8 inches
1 piece of matching fabric 2 1/2 inches by 2 inches

Take one of the larger pieces of fabric and mark across the length two times at one inch spacing.

You can use a permanent marker as this will be hidden.

The braid can be pinned along the line if you wish but I found that putting a strip of stick glue along the reverse side of each strip was effective for me.

Place the braid along the marked lines and top stitch either in a matching or contrasting thread.

I knew I was going to stitch the rest of the napkin ring with a variegated thread so I used that for the braid as well.

The smaller piece of fabric (2 1/2 x 2 inches) is needed as a tab to assist with joining the napkin together.

Fold it in half lengthwise and stitch at each end.  1/4 inch seam allowance - lock seams at beginning and end.

Turn out the tab to the right side and press.

Time to layer up all the pieces.

Place the braided piece on top of the batting, right side up.

Place the tab at one end of braided piece raw edge to raw edge.

Lay the last piece on top right side down.

Sew right around through all layers leaving a 2 to 2 1/2 inch gap.

Clip corners and turn to the right side.

Once turned out press.

For texture and firmness I stitched across the length at 1/4 intervals with variegated thread.

Fold and make a ring shape and pin together using the tab to secure.

Hand stitch from the edge of the napkin ring, around the tab and then  to the other end of ring.

After stitching tab in place, turn out and slip stitch along the right side seam line.

Secure thread and your napkin is ready to use.

We have these napkin rings in daily use. You may like to make them for yourself, other members of your family or to give as gifts to friends.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

A Special Request - completed.

On the 11th October I wrote about the small beginnings for my quilting challenge.

With the addition of some scrappy 'I Spy' blocks in bright colours the small stars exploded into a large half star.

Children of the world fabric made a surrounding border for the half star.

Not quite finished - the other half of the star needed to be made.

This was the result.

My son had requested two individual quilts that somehow connected together for when the babies involved might be together.

It is my hope that the inclusion of bright and cheery scrappy fabrics together with the conversational 'children of the world' fabric will add interesting elements for the children and their families.

Linda's machine quilting added an extra special touch to this special request.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Time to stop going round and round

Sometimes when I finish making a quilt top I like to look back on my blog to see when I started.

That can be a bit of surprise as it was in this case - I made the first block in May of this year.

Then I took time out to make a baby quilt using the same block pattern.

I like the way you can make the large quilt or by putting a frame around a singular block you can make it into a cot or lap quilt.

I am fascinated by the concept of this block, the way the stars go round in circles.

Very aptly named Round and Round - you can buy the pattern here.

So pleased I finally finished the large top and it will be even nicer to share with you the quilted top, one day.

Lots of 'spaces' here to let Linda loose with her quilter's creativity.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Much to be thankful for

Yesterday afternoon, as I walked to the bottom end of our property to let the hens out for a run, I just had to stop and take in the view.

It was a beautiful spring day, the weather is beginning to warm but it was not too hot.

Lots of fresh blossoms around bringing a smattering of colour to our surroundings.

The peacefulness of the rich blue of the Waikato River, Lake Taupo in the distance on the left and the snow capped mountains on the far right.

When we moved here nearly five years ago, there was four of us and three cats.  Linda and I have since had to say goodbye to two of our much loved family members, Mum and Glynn and everyone's friend, Linda's cat, Kaiser. In spite of the 'cycle of life' playing a big part in our lives, we still have much to be thankful for in what we are able to do, for our family that remains, for our circle of friends and for our wonderful, peaceful surroundings.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

What in the world?

Yes, what in the world is going on here?

I had a special request to make two baby quilts.

Between the four parents there's four different nationalities so I was asked to incorporate something that alluded to this in the quilts.

I managed to find a fabric with an overall design representing children from all around the world in national costume.

With a little bit of fussy cutting it has been fun to watch these stars come to fruition surrounded by little children.

Still a work in progress, there is more to report on this before I am done.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Small scrappy projects

I do love playing with fabric scraps so when Linda needed to stock up on her supply of business card holders I was only too pleased to take up the challenge.

It makes a nice change from making larger quilt tops.

I am enjoying the opportunity to mix and match scrappy strips in our fabric stash to make bright and cheery card holders.

If you are interested in creating some of these yourself the following tutorial will give you the guidelines:-

The link says to use interfacing but I have left that step out.

A close up so you can see how the holders look inside and out.

It is nice to take the opportunity to use variegated thread for the top stitching.

If you or your friends have a favourite coffee shop you may like to make some as loyalty card holders with appropriately themed fabric.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Crazy quilting delights

Yesterday Linda and I shared on our blogs about a visit from a group of ladies from Tokoroa.

I said there would be some more regarding crazy quilting and here it is.

One of the group, Rayna, excels in crazy quilting and this is just a little of what she has created along the way.

Isn't this framed purse just delightful?

What we did not know until Wednesday is that Rayna is an accomplished bear maker and has taught, made and sold teddy bears overseas.

One of the items she brought was a crazy quilt memory book she had made of the teddy bears.

So inspirational to be able to have and hold these beautiful items at our place.

Thank you ladies for giving us such a lovely day.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

A delightful visit

Have you ever thought it might be fun to try your hand at dyeing lace, or ribbon or motifs?

Yesterday we had a delightful visit from a group of ladies we know who live in Tokoroa.

They meet at home and share all sorts of craft activities together but more especially patchwork and quilting.

They have been to visit before to share our common interest in crazy quilting.

Part of our shared interest is dyeing bits and pieces and so I asked them if they would be interested in participating in this with me when they came to visit.
Some of them had already done this sort of thing but we did have one lady who hadn't so this was of real interest to her.

These Ozecraft dyes are fun and easy to use.

If you have reason to be in Taupo and would like a demonstration you would be most welcome - individuals or groups up to six people.

We are happy to provide morning or afternoon tea.

You can contact me at for further information.

The ladies had some lovely show and tell.  If you like to head on over to Linda's blog she is sharing some of their quilted show and tell and tomorrow I will share some of the crazy quilting show and tell.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The little things in life............

Yesterday Linda and I had a very pleasant day out.

In the morning we went to a regional quilters' gathering in Rotorua followed by lunch and a browse in some shops in the downtown area.

One of the shops just happened to be an op shop (thrift store) where I spied these lovely little doilies featuring crinoline ladies.

Not that we really need to add to our doily collection but these were far too nice to leave behind. The ribbon bows have been done in the tiniest satin stitch and the crocheted border is in pristine condition.

Just a little thing in life but something just a bit special to have at our place.