Monday, November 29, 2010

A mothers work is never done, wobbly bits and all.

I subscribe to the American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, which I find interesting as it isn't too hard core American - ie flags, thanksgiving, eagles etc (although they do have some sometimes which I can handle), and they always show the projects in different colours and sizes and give details and sometimes even patterns for the quilting design.  Anyway, I digress... there is a small article about a lady who has her own quilt pattern company, she only looks like a teenager but has three kids... and I think the quote for the day should be "I really love being a mum, but part of that job is doing things that need to be done again and again - cleaning, laundry, bath time.  When I quilt, it's something that can't be undone, and I see progress every day."

So far today I'm still up to the again and again bit - my laundry pile has taken over the sofa - no picture sorry, but you can imagine it (in fact, you probably have something similar somewhere in your own house!) - and I can hear the washing machine still spinning around and around.  BUT I have something in mind to play with, which if I'm good and get cracking with the rest of the mess, I can play before the kids come home.  Yipee.

On another note, I weighed and measured myself this morning.  At the beginning of this term I committed to trying to eat a bit healthier and practice some sort of exercise routine to increase my fitness and hopefully my wobbly bits would reduce and become a little bit less wobbly.  And, I haven't lost any weight pretty much at all, but my body fat has gone from being up around 32% to 28.5%, and my bust has gone from 40" to 38.5", waist still same, hips 40" to 39".  Cool - it must all be worth it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day from hell

You know your day is not going to be a good one when your son calls out before 7am and announces that he accidentally did poos in the toilet - not the bowl but the room.  So once the necessary bits and pieces had been stripped, washed, disinfected... the day carries on.  Go to feed chickens and round up escaped chicken number one.  Say good morning to dog.  Go back inside and look out window a few minutes later to find dog has broken dog run wire and is now wrapped around a flax bush (a nice one that was specifically planted to look beautiful).  Go and sort out dog.  Load daughters bike into car for wheels day at school.  Wash arms to get rid of dog and bike residue.  Notice dirt on freshly laundered and Ironed (did you read that - ironed!!) white shirt.  Grrr!  Make lunch for same daughter and do the school run thing.  Have kept Dylan home today due to the tummy business - so have spent the morning cleaning the bathroom and sorting the linen cupboard.  Coffee sounds good...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Great Escape

Spoke too soon... Houdini and her lovely assistant flew the coup (literally) and discovered the vege patch... it seems that onion and spring onion don't stand up well to chicken invasion - likewise beetroot seems to have taken a hammering.  My short wick is getting shorter!

Strike While the Iron's Hot

 A busy morning so far.  I have folded three baskets of washing!  Done another load and hung it out.  Well done Suzanne.  My work against evil continues...
I have also disappeared into my "shed" and cut out the Amy Butler tunic.  Size adjustments as follows: cut using size M for below the waist, which then merges into L up through the bust and top area, have added an extra 2" into the length at the waist which should bring the hips down closer to where my hips appear to be.  I must remember that doing this extra length adjustment requires a longer zip - not just adjusting where the bottom of the zip sits - as you still need to get in and out of the garment, and it is around the hips that the extra opening aids with this.  I have now done as much as I can do without getting the lining.  I also realise that it is almost impossible to take a photo of yourself!  There is still the sleeve to attach and doing the lining will finish off the neckline.  Satisfaction scale so far - OK - I like the way the skirt part sits, and this would make a nice straight skirt pattern with a yoke waistband - could do pleats etc falling from the princess seams in front.  The top part seems to sit alright, although it will depend how tight the sleeves make it across the shoulders once it is finished. The lining is supposed to me "muslin lining" but I think I'll use pongee lining so that is has a bit of slip inside.  The pattern required about 3 1/4 yards of fabric - so I bought 3 mtres - but I must have at least 1m left - hmmm, interesting.

I bought Snoopy (the cat) a flea collar yesterday, complete with bell!  She is not too fussed about the whole thing but as she is deaf I don't think it is the sound that bothers her, more just the movement.  The problem is that the dog now thinks that she is some sort of squeaky toy and there have been a few altercations!  Snoopy is coming up 16 - with possible altzheimers or at least dementia.  Close encounters with the dog do not feature in her calendar.  In case anyone was wondering  - she does still drink out of the fish tank.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Additions

Gosh, so much to catch up on.  We have had our two new girls since Friday.  Was a bit worried that there would be some angst with the three older birds we already had - but after quite a bit of cheeping and booking, Chicken Little and Mighty Whitey have settled in quite well.  Our 3 original chickens have never had names - partially because two are identical so we would never know which was which - and partially because I couldn't be bothered.  However, I am considering calling one Houdini as it keeps jumping the fence - as long as it stays out of my vege garden I'm OK with it - but it doesn't seem to realise that there is a real friendly Jack Russell over the other fence (yeah right), and if it wanders far enough - nothing survives the Why did the chicken cross the road - if the road is State Highway 1!

Sewing which is all Charlotte's Fault

Where has the time gone.  It is already at least a week since my last post and (you'll be glad to see it is now Monday and my post say's it is Monday - thanks Charlotte) I'm wondering what I've been doing since then.  Well, since viewing Charlotte's sewing enterprises - I have wasted an enormous amout of time looking at free sewing patterns online - some of which I have downloaded.  I have also pulled out my Amy Butler pattern for a long tunic which I have always drooled over, but have never found any fabric I could really imagine using.  So with bad weather predicted for Sunday, we traipsed down to Whangarei and sent hubby off with both children so I could browse in leisure at Spotlight.  And I actually found some fabric that I like.  Also another pattern for a dress which could be resized into a top or tunic... can use either woven or stretch fabric for this one so thought this was quite flexible.  So today I have spent my morning firstly doing groceries, which unfortunately are necessary every now and then, and also pegging out washing (which is also unfortunately necessary).  Then I spent a few hours photocopying my pattern so I could cut it out without disturbing the original and trying to decide what size to make.  According to the instructions, my waist is almost Medium and my hips are slightly smaller than Medium, however my bust is more like Large.  Oh, and my waist-back measurement is at least two inches longer than the pattern sizing.  So this all requires adjustment before any actual fabric cutting occurs.  Is this why I have long since ceased sewing clothes??  But I have faith and I will wash my fabric first because my pattern says so, and then I need to remember to buy some lining fabric because although I have read through the instructions I had not noted that a lining was required and maybe another day I'll tackle the rest of this one.
While in Whangarei we also visited Bunnings, and have started buying the bits necessary to make a desk/organiser/wardrobe for Nadia's room.  All sounds a bit complicated but when we moved into our much smaller house, she was the one that lucked out on the smallest room (something to do with being the smallest).  So she has no wardrobe and very little space.  So this was the big idea.  We will add more shelves now that we sort of know what it looks like - but she has some hanging space, a desk and some room for books... all tucked into a little alcove in her room so looks very flash!  Although we did have to have the "thou shalt not draw on the walls" discussion... fingers crossed!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Does anyone know why my date shows as yesterday?  The last post was done on Monday, 15th Nov so not sure why everything shows the day befores date?

A bit of everything

Well, we've survived another year at the Waimate North A&P Show - extremely hot, but friendly faces everywhere and it's exciting to see the kids artwork being displayed in the hall.  I bought a handmade pair of leather sandals at a very reasonable price, and didn't get sunburned - so came home very happy.  I am in kitchen mode at present and I should share that although Dylan expected me to enter MasterChef when it comes to NZ - my cooking skills are adequate at best (although I did burn our sausage rolls on Friday beyond being edible).  So, when I look at my Soda bread (recipe c/- Rachel Allen's website) - I do feel like gloating a wee bit.  I am a bit Dough-a-phobic and tend to make a big mess with very dodgey results.  However this bread which we had with our dinner on Thursday was a masterpiece!  Basic recipe: 3 2/3 cups flour, 1tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1tsp baking soda - put in bowl, make well, add 425ml sour milk (I add a good splosh of white vinegar to my ordinary milk at the beginning so it has gone all lumpy by the time I've done the dry ingredients), mix very roughly, then sort of pat into shape - scone like or flat like foccacia, and bake at about 220C for 15-20min.  The website also gives you all sorts of variations.  I sprinkled finely chopped onion and cheese on top with some tomato slices... YUM!

I think this is my favourite one??

I have also finally finished all 6 of my placemats - 3 of which have been finished for months and months, and the rest have laid forgotten in my "will come back to at a later date" drawer.  I am so chuffed!!  Here are two all of them (I have now worked out how to make my pictures little-er) - made from 6 fat quarters, with each placemat having 5 of the fabrics in it.  One day I'd like to sell this in kit or pattern form... one day.
I have also made jelly this morning - no not the real kind - just the one in the packet that you add boiling water to.  This was as a result of tidying up my pantry and wondering about the life span of jelly crystals as they don't seem to have an expiry date?  And finally, I have an Apricot and Date Loaf in the oven as we speak, looking suspiciously like afternoon tea.  Can't wait!  I have also washed the cat, which was not enjoyed by either of us, done a load of washing and plan to do a little reading before the kids come home.  Ah, Bliss.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Solar System, Calico Xmas & Garden

For his birthday, Dylan got given a solar system kit - this makes it sound as if I could blame some other parent for buying something that requires real effort on my part to end up with a result - however it was actually me that bought it in a moment of insanity forgetting that I have practically no patience what so ever when it comes to spending "quality time" with my son.  After some particularly bad behaviour on Saturday, we spent about an hour covering the sun and saturn with tissue paper - paper mache style (technically only half of the sun is covered - but we're getting there).  I'm using the colours suggested in the instructions although I'm not sure whether there are actually any planets that are pink?? (guess Nadia will cover that one) and quite a few seem to be orange.  I'll keep you informed of how we get on...

On a more exciting note, we spent a total of 6 hours driving to and from Auckland to go to Calico Xmas on Sunday.  Managed to leave the camera in the car so didn't get any photos - but as my lovely husband took the kids to Albany shops and bought a total of 3 pairs of shoes which were desperately required (how did Dylan end up with 1 pair of jandals, plus two shoes one black, one white - but both for the right foot??) - and I could just wander around the displays and merchants to my hearts desire...

Now that summer is approaching, my flowers are once again doing their thing... the colours make me happy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Not a Honey Bee to be Seen

So OK, it's not a honey bee block - but I have also been gazing wistfully at a particular basket block - a little bit of imagination required as there is also a handle to applique on each basket (for those of you who don't realise it - the bit with all the triangles is a basket) and it does have the three tearshaped flower petals (resembling the corners of the honey bee thing) which peek up from the basket between the handles.  I spent about half an hour with my children looking at the block and creating different colourways as well as different layouts - Dylan's version had halloween fabric with green bats, ghosts and such things which was very interesting and certainly different.  Then we came across the exact fabric that matches Nadia's book bag fabric... certainly something to think about.  Best thing was that Dylan piped up some time later and said "I like your quilt Mum!" 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm feeling almost saintly

Well, I have been in the shed, and returned from the shed.  Have I achieved anything in the shed??  Well, probably not quite as much as I had hoped.  But, I have finished (well finished in the broad sense of the word in that a quilt top has been created) a project that was started maybe 6 years ago and has since layed dormant in a box all pinned together, having long since lost it's "nowness".  So, the grand reveal - spot the different between the unfinished and the finished:

And the big bonus, I now have a heap more pins in my pincushion!  Decisions, decisions - what do I do with this particular piece.  I could add borders as it is still a bit small, however this would require the purchase of fabric.  When it was planned, Dylan was probably about 1 - and would have appreciated the colours and pictures, but not so much as a 7 year old - so really it no longer has a purpose.  So I could finish it and sell it, or repurpose it as something else?  Any ideas??

Back to the shed/fabric reorganisation.  The only other grouping of fabric was one that started with the remnant from Nadia's book bag - to which I could add one metre of white on white, plus assorted oddments and fat quarters of semi-matching (good enough) prints.  What do you think?  I am thinking honey bee blocks - mostly white with some prints and three little teardrop shapes appliqued at each corner.  Will need to find my book that has something along those lines... WATCH THIS SPACE!

Meanwhile, while I don't think the Pope will be phoning in a hurry - I shall pat myself on the back for achieving something, and carry on with a positive frame of mind tomorrow.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sorting through the Stash

Decided over the weekend that if I emptied out all my containers with fabrics in, and assessed the whole pile as a complete unit, there may be a quilt hiding within.  This was the result - can't decide whether it is good or bad!
Also had a bit of a look through some of my unfinished projects... this one was my bright idea to reduce left over bits from other projects, and I sewed it as a leader/ender while doing another project.  I think there is enough sub-blocks to make two large blocks, so ideally would make at least another two blocks to make it "quilt" size.
This one started with a fat quarter bundle and was earmarked for Nadia (back when she was only a few months old - PS she just started school!)... usual story, took a lot longer than anticipated and ran out of fabric for the sashing. Have finished the other 6 blocks, but need to assemble into the quilt as you go format.

This one was started a real long time ago - so long ago I can't even really remember when.  First part of it went together pretty well, first attempt at needle turn applique, and then came the paper foundations... what a bore!  Still have 23 or something blocks to finish off which form a border around the central unit (see 3 completed along one side).
Last one for today... once again started as a bundle of fat quarters which I then pulled huge amounts of my stash to go with it.  Very satisfying!  This is unfortunately only about 1/4 of the quilt design, every intention to finish it one day.
Why have I decided to share these with you?  In the hope that sharing will encourage finishing.  Or at least help me keep track of what is going on.

Taking the Plunge

Well I've done it - signed up for my very own blog... wish me luck.