Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I love books

Today I survived our last trip to the supermarket before Xmas.

I also received a new book in the post - and I love it when you read through something and go, "ohh, I can do that..." and you go off and do it.  And that's what happened today.  While I have decided it would be cool to buy some new flash pens to do it - we survived with the kids colouring pencils, plain white A4 photocopy paper, cheap cards and coloured paper from The W.  And I've solved the problem of what to do for Xmas cards this year.
Nadia helped with the colouring in on this one.

Also had a lot of fun!

I had also succumbed to the temptation to buy a clothing/sewing book:
Which has a variety of skirts based on the same simple pattern...

 Plus tops, tunics and dresses based on another pattern...
And lastly a variety of coats... but it's way too hot to even think about those.

Hmm, I have started another shopping bag, and I really should be finishing those things for exhibition... but I can see some more clothes sewing on the horizon.

Garden update: our 6 carrot plants have disappeared - tops, roots and all - nothing left.  Quite possibly a bunny invasion.  I have some more seedlings ready to plant out, but will need to think about some sort of fence.  We have also eaten courgettes grated into meatloaf and bacon n egg pie.  Still have a backlog in the fridge and more to pick on the plant... more ideas required!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Not another BAG! Almost as good as a bought one

I had downloaded a market bag pattern from the BurdaStyle website and have been contemplating it for several weeks now.  Finally on Saturday, it all came together and I used some of that stash of mine that had no purpose, and have now after the finishing touches to the binding today, ended up with a great little, well, not so little, bag.

As I had 1/2 yard lengths, I needed to join the pieces to be able to cut the full size pattern, and used the join line as a sort of feature.  What I think is really neat about this pattern, and could be used on any other bag is the little pocket inside which allows you to stuff the whole bag away, and can be carried neatly contained in your handbag.  I admit I do pretty well at taking my reuseable grocery bags with me when I go shopping - but only at the supermarket.  If I call in anywhere else - I still get those annoying plastic bags, or alternatively end up having to carry awkward little things because the shop doesn't supply bags any more.  Now I will have no excuse.  And it is a pretty big bag. Big enough that the handles fit comfortably over your shoulder.  I chose to make a bias trim to face the handle edges, and next time I will make the pocket a bit bigger and I'd probably make the inside of the pocket more attractive and durable looking, perhaps with the bias binding. 

Just a simple folded pocket which is sewn into the side seam inside
the bag, with the wrong side of the pocket showing.

When it is turned through, the pocket ends up right side out,
with the bag tucked up inside it - a bit of a squeeze,
but it does almost fit!
I'm not sure if there is enough time to make some for Xmas presents - but what a good idea that would have been if I'd thought of it about 3 months ago.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Is it February yet?

Day Three.  I'd never own a cafe, I get too frustrated when people (I really mean my children) keep asking me for food.  Yesterday, honestly, every two minutes "is it morning tea time yet?", then "I'm hungry" - went on all day.  Yet, give them two sandwiches and half a dozen crackers to take to school and they bring half of it home again.  One of the mysterys of life.

We have had rain the last couple of days - off and on - good for the ground and OK for the tank - but hell for school holidays.  I ended up turning a blind eye to wet weather antics on the trampoline (too scary to watch), and sanctioned wee's on the lawn rather than have wet children inside - until it was time for a shower and jamies.  Did help to get rid of some of the boundless energy my children seem to have although I'm not sure they inherited it from me - as I seem to have lost the last of my energy the last few days.  Perhaps it has run away with the last of my patience...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday survival guide

This wee rocking raindeer was a project from a few years ago,
which turned out quite well I thought.
I have survived the first day of the school holidays!  I've been too scared to work out exactly how many days there are until school starts again... but I know it's heaps.  Our day yesterday was all planned out, then got turned upside down when Davey phoned up and announced that he had been rained off his job, so for us to wait until he got home before starting our adventures.  So we wasted half the day waiting for him to come home - no, I'm not bitter but I did start getting a bit pissed.   We visited The Warehouse and it's half price kids clothes sale and the kids also chose a new Xmas decoration each for the tree, then it was a treat at the Cafe, books at the library and groceries at the supermarket.  What an exciting day!  But we did get the Xmas tree decorated and while the photo doesn't do it justice - it looks adequately festive.

I have been making progress with my other more interesting activities - and am now doing the machine quilting on my totally over the top floral applique table runner.  Even though I have changed needle and tried a topstitch needle, I am still having trouble with my thread shreading.  It also has a tendancy to miss stitches so even though the needle goes up and down and goes through the motions, the bobbin thread hasn't connected and formed the stitch.  It's the sort of thing that just drives you mad!  I have added a hanging sleeve to the curved pieced flower and almost finished handsewing the binding so that will make two projects complete.  Roll on exhibition!  No, that may be slightly premature as there are probably three or four other things I need to finish, but you get the idea...

Oh, almost forgot - we have actually eaten things from our garden - well, other than lettuce.  So yesterday I found two courgettes (yellow ones) and about 6 bean pods - which were sauted up and eaten by almost everyone.  I must confess that I tend to grow things that I don't really like, with the understanding that I will probably never buy them - so if I grow them, there is more of a chance of them getting eaten.  It sort of works - and when you eat courgettes with coleslaw, you can almost not taste them.  Dylan ate all of his, and declared that they were nice - Nadia on the other hand tried and did not like, but that is OK too.  We have a lot of bunnies this year so I feel a bit like Mr MacGregor - but they are so cute.  Poppy (aka the Jack Russell Bunny Terroriser) almost sniffed her nose off this morning following the scents - which went all over the lawn.  We are getting two to three eggs at the moment, so hopefully the chickens will continue to behave.

I have already had small people making demands for food, so it must be morning tea time...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One more day of school

The kids had their prizegiving last night which was very entertaining.  Nadia got an award for achievement in literacy which was very exciting.  But we are all feeling a bit tired today - and the extremely hot weather doesn't help.
We have been and raided the roadside for our Xmas tree this year.  So far no decorations - but I have been reminded that I announced last year that the first day of the school holidays could be tree decorating day - so I guess we'll be doing that on Thursday.

We had artfully arranged sticks last year - plus a little ballerina girl!
The shelves in Nadia's room have finally been finished and they have helped to give her more space in her room.  Of course, getting her to put everything away in it's proper place will be another thing.
The top bit

The bottom bit

All a bit much for this little princess
 I have been and shopped and bought all of the bits and pieces I need to finish my list of projects.  So no excuses!  I have already quilted and added binding to my dragonfly tablerunner and the curved pieced flower so now I just need to tackle all those other projects.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Today, Snoopy (the cat) and I have been banished to the sleepout while our lounge and bedrooms are fumigated for fleas.  I am blaming the previous owners and the long dormant period that flea eggs can remain tucked away in all sorts of remote places - not obviously the fact that Snoopy probably has had fleas and hasn't had enough flea treatment over the course of the last year.  But then, I keep expecting her to die, so I tend to ignore some things incase she has died in the meantime!

I have been quite industrious in the last couple of hours, and have started sorting part of my hoarde of scraps into rainbow piles to be filed into little bags.  I have discovered that I have hardly any yellow fabric, and also quite an alarming pile of various blacks - even though I have only done two quilts with black in them!  I will also need to buy some bigger bags!  On the down side, I have only emptied one shopping bag of mixed scraps - there is still a box or two lurking...  I have also started piecing the basket block (see earlier post) - which is working out quite nicely.  Will have to wait for a photo - as I have just risked fumes to come and get an emergency coffee (and check emails etc) and need to evacuate for another hour or sew... I mean, so!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I did not resist

The weekend has been and gone.  We had planned to visit the Whangarei A&P show on Sunday - but Dylan was sooo naughty on Saturday, when I got given the option of staying home, and dear husband taking the kids for the day, I leapt at the chance for peace and quiet.  So what did I get up to?

Well, it all started when I bought two random fabrics from Calico Xmas.  You know the ones - just fell in love with them but not really sure what their purpose was...

And I also bought two other fabrics from The PowerQuilter along the same lines - you look cool and I quite like you...
And low and behold a baby was born...

Just with a little bit of help from my stash... and there are two more blocks to make a very pretty table runner...
Yes, those are my feet standing on the chair to get high enough to try to fit the entire thing in frame... I really must get some sort of design wall happening.

I also straightened and put borders on the curved pieced flower I did some time ago...
So I have quite a few things piling up that will need quilting once my machine has returned.  Can't wait. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday morning madness

Well, Saturday already.  Had a bit of a sleep in and breakfast in bed while I read my Nora Roberts library book.  Chickens fed - have started to enjoy our quiet time together in the mornings when it still feels crisp outside before the humidity hits.  Have pegged out the kids togs and towels from the weeks school swimming... and put on another load.  Organised slave labour to fill up my saved toilet roll tubes with potting mix, to sow carrot seeds into.  I really dispair about my seed sowing enterprises - don't believe the books that say carrots are one of the easiest crops to start with - I have never had a successful carrot grow, in fact, I usually can't get them to do anything!   (I did splash out on the seed tape one year, which the cat then proceeded to dig up).  So, when I decided to do my big seed thing back in October, and filled up my little grow house with all sorts of things - I did eventually end up with 6 small sproutlings - which have now been planted in the big garden, and are watched and loved, uncovered when the dog decides to dig holes... you get the drift?  However, 6 carrots do not a salad make - so with my handy helpers occupied filling the cardboard tubes up, we will plant some more seeds, and hopefully have another 12 or so to plant in a few weeks time.  So OK - I'm not going to be famous for my massive carrot production, but it would be nice to have a few fresh from the garden.

I am pondering my next sewing mission.  Progress report so far: dress has had one sleeve attached and fully finished, second sleeve attached but handsewing required to finish hem and to tack lining around zip - then it just needs hemming and finished!  I am in the process of adding borders to Dylan's no longer needed snuggle quilt - and have ordered some backing fabric from Needlecraft who have a big sale going on at the moment... more about that later when my package arrives.  I have a couple more inches of blanket stitch to complete around a flower and then I will have done one quarter of my humungous floral applique quilt.  I try not to think about the entire picture with that one - just one shape at a time!  My actual quilting progress has been hampered by the fact that my sewing machine I do my freemotion and blanket stitch stuff on is presently getting serviced, so I am doing other projects on my smaller workhorse machine.  I can't wait until it comes back and hums!  I will also be trialling my new supreme slider and hoop on the next thing I freemotion so will keep you posted on these experiments.

It seems to have been a busy week but there is little to show for it.  I keep wanting to cut up new things, but I MUST RESIST!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My productive garden...

When we bought our house, there was nothing on the section apart from grass.  We put up a fence to keep our dog in, and cut off the back of the section to make the fence smaller and more financially manageable.  I always had the intention of making it an orchard/kitchen garden - and even bought some books about such things. 

Well, we finally got some fruit trees planted and put in some raised beds.

This is the chicken enclosure.  We used the old fence that we had removed - put our chicken house inside it, and ended up putting mesh over the top to keep Houdini from escaping.

We have potatoes in the lower bed, kumara struggling along in the middle bed, and every thing else in the top bed - tomatos, capsicum, lettuce, beetroot, spring onions, perennial spinnach, sweetcorn, pumpkin, zuchini, and beans.  Check out "One Magic Metre" for planting schemes where you squeeze it all in!

Nothing to do with gardening - but aren't they cute?

I am enjoying the fact that everything is growing, even after the chicken invasion.  We are already tucking into the lettuce, and the tomatos, pumpkin, beans and zuchini all have flowers.  The corn have whatsits growing - what are they called?? - I feel like a little farmer.  We also have teeny tiny apples and peaches, and the mandarin, orange and lemonade all have little fruitlets (you know, the little green bit that looks like a wee fruit).  Will have to see how the summer progresses - we got through last years drought with moderate watering, so fingers crossed that everything survives this years summer.

I made a list of jobs to do before January's patchwork exhibition.  Last year we moved house which upset all my plans for finishing quilts, and really I'm not all that much better organised now that we've been here for over a year.  But, if I'm good and follow my list - I should have several things finished in time.  So far, I've tutu-ed around doing other things, so must keep on track!