Friday, January 28, 2011

Rainy Fridays

Well, to start, I didn't get the job I applied for.  Had a wonderful interview yesterday, but some things are just not meant to be.  On the positive side, I pegged out two loads of kids washing yesterday (this filled up my entire line and used up all my pegs) when it was soo lovely and hot - and risked it and left it outside overnight (even though the weather report was dodgy to say the least) as it wasn't quite dry yet - and it didn't start raining until the morning, and I got it inside without it getting noticeably wet!!  Woohoo. 

I have also finished my round robin block - and have spent the morning removing the paper from inside the applique.  Which is not as bad as it sounds.  So recap the basic process.  Trace and cut out freezer paper pattern on the line, and iron to wrong side of fabric.  Cut around freezer paper  with skinny 1/4" seam allowance.  Use water soluble glue to stick seam allowance over to wrong side - trimming seams and clipping curves where necessary.  Glue all the elements together before finally gluing the applique design to the backing fabric.  Use invisible thread and tiny zigzag to attach applique to background.  Cut between all the stitching lines on the back to reveal the paper.  Lay face down (the applique not you) on a flat surface, and cover with damp cloth for 20min or so, to allow the glue to disolve and unadhere from the paper and fabric.  Basically use any method required to remove paper from the fabric - fingers, nails, tweezers... are all good.  Press until dry.

My block now gets sent to Australia... and hopefully I'll get somebody elses block arrive in the post one day soon.  It will be interesting to see how other people have interpreted the theme.

I plan to do some reading now, listen to the rain, enjoy the last few days of the holidays...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Woke up in a foul mood

No, not a post about my chickens - although my orange one looks like it is going clucky again, which just upsets all the other ones, and ends up with NO eggs.  Really, woke up this morning a bit grumpy and the day has just progressed in a steady downhill slide.  I am just grumpy.  Probably PMT - but on the upside, I have achieved a whole lot.  I planted some lettuce, onions, beetroot, carrots and dwarf beans.  I baked biscuits and a cake.  Roasted my surplus tomatos with some garlic and capsicum and whizzed it all up as a base for pizzas and meatloaf etc.  I have taken before, during and after photos - but my camera battery is being recharged so they will have to wait until next time.  I have tidied and rearranged Dylan's room and will start on Nadia's next... and pegged out two loads of washing.  I still have a mean as grumpy streak...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Today is Monday and...

Well, first off we went to Kerikeri to do Nutrimetics deliveries and get a few bits and pieces from the supermarket.  Also went to the op shop and bought a few other sort of bits and pieces.  I have been collecting sewing patterns that I think I should make with recycled clothing.  ie cutting up old clothes to make new clothes.  Sounds like a wonderful and simple idea - and although I think my Mum struggled with the concept, like Why??, I have discovered books, magazine articles, even entire magazines devoted to it... blogs... it goes on and on... eco friendly... saves money... are you getting keen yet?  But I have two problems.  1) I keep finding things that I like as they are, and fit... and look nice. 2) I don't find anything that I like the fabric of that is too big that I would like to cut up.  Hence, the following photos:  a aqua/lime tunic, a denimy long skirt and a brown/purple top that I all liked, and they all fitted, and they cost $17.00 all up... then of course Nadia got into the action with a denim skirt and short purply/pink top which added another $5.00.  I finally found a long tube skirt in grape made from a stretchy fabric, and a patterned top that sort of went with it that I am optimistic I can refashion... into something... maybe.  I must add that when I asked Nadia to model her outfit - I got the hands on hips, foot out, big smile... which was sooo cute but so scary.  Dylan has started doing the cross over legs model catwalk walk... maybe too much Fashion TV??

I have been making progress with my round robin, and have included a photo of the original 1/4 design of the whole - which I slightly changed once I'd cut all the paper pieces as the 3 stem fern didn't fit within the 12" square - so I chopped one of the korus off, and added it to the other side of it... I have almost finished turning under the seam allowances, and it will only take a few hours (hopefully) of machining it all down.

I also decided to just do it, and sent in a submission to Stitch Magazine for project instructions for Nadia's black/white and pink snuggle quilt.  They can only say no after all - and nothing ventured, nothing gained.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Onwards and upwards

Time is slowly ticking past, and there is only one more week of school holidays left.  I have applied for a part-time job and have an interview next week.  If that falls through, I have two months of temporary part time work to keep me occupied.  So the beginning of the school year will bring a lot of changes.

I think these guys are ready to start back at school again.

Yesterday when I went to collect the eggs, there was a new one in the coup.  Definitely a new one as I've never had a brown egg before - and a different shape to the usual "roundie" and "pointie" ones.  Mucho excito!  One of my new "girls" has hopefully started a long life of egg producing...

I have also been making progress with my round robin project.  The guidelines were to represent where you're from in a 12" block.  My first instinct was the image of koru/spirals representing water/waves, family and bush.  And I wanted to have a link between the elements.  My original idea of doing the snowflake paper cutting didn't quite work as that gave a mirror image of the 1/4 design, and I preferred the design to flow around with each element pointing the same way.  I also chose fabrics from my stash that had the right "feel", and will suggest to the other participants to utilise their stash in preference to chosing purposely bought fabrics.  So I have chosen a batik motley sand, two blues and two moss fabrics.  I am using freezer paper for the template, using a gluestick to turn the seam allowances over - then using a machine stitch to attach to background fabric.  Once the design has been set on point it also reminds me of the whole southern cross thing... all in all, I feel very representational of my place in the world.

Sorry, not the greatest photo - it is a very gloomy day today,
and just enough glare to be a nuisance!
 I have also bought a few new fat quarters from The Powerquilter - quite what I plan to do with them at this stage is a bit of a mystery - but the chicken/bird fabric was just too cute to resist.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Quilt Exhibition

Well, the exhibition is now in full swing.  I have done my duty morning this morning, while David took the kids to watch Yogi Bear at the movies.  Worked out well all around!  I didn't manage to take photos of all my things on display, as usual it took me most of my shift to find them all.  However, here are the biggies...

I think the best thing about the show this year is that it is well balanced, with a good mix of big, little, wallhangings, bags etc - as well as a variety of styles and colours.  What an enormously talented bunch we are.  Hopefully the quilts will appear in the Kerikeri Club's blog - so keep an eye on that as well.  (If you click on my full profile it shows the other blogs I keep track of and you can just click it.)

Tomorrow is the last day of the exhibition, and we will need to go and help decamp.  Only takes a few minutes for it to start looking bare and unloved - although I know it takes hours to set up.  I have some other sewing projects which I am keen to get started on while they are new and exciting - and also need to refine my design for the Round Robin design.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Progress so far

Quilting sure does take it's toll on your body.  I spent two days doing relatively intensive machine quilting on my fat quarter quilt (the one with the machine blanket stitch applique designs).  Looks cool - but if I hadn't of had a deadline looming, well, it probably would have taken me two weeks.  So I have a back that needs adjusting (me, not the quilt!)  Yesterday and the night before, I completed sewing down the binding on my huge purple quilt.  So this morning my arms ache - simply from the weight of the quilt.  My day so far, coffee, weetbix, put out rubbish and feed chickens (collect yet another courgette and some tomatoes from the garden on the way back from the chickens), two Nurofen tablets, and another coffee!

And what is on the agenda for today?  Well, I need to bind the fat quarter quilt, and then hand sew the binding down, attach hanging sleeve, then trim all those pesky threads.  I also have two smaller projects that just need the last bit of their bindings sewn down.

Deadline tomorrow - about midday... wish me luck!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Swimming Pool Madness

We succumbed to the temptation of The Warehouse swimming pools - especially with them having 30% off.  So we did a bit of research and discovered exactly how much water it takes to fill up some of these pools.  Once we knew it was the difference between heaps, and most of our water tank - we went with the smallest pool option.  Still took about 2500ltrs, but after the rain over Xmas, we were not in such a dire water situation as we had been before Xmas.  The pools basically have a blow up ring that floats on the top of the water level - with relatively robust floor and sides.  Of course, we don't just do things the easy way - this required a fence, shade sail, ground levelling and fake grass (shop ran out so we need to get some more).  But we got there in the end!  And judging from the happy faces, it was worth all the effort.

This is what happens when your husband forgets that
there is a shade sail below the deck when you are throwing
goggles from that deck into the pool!
  I have also picked my first tomatoes of the season - planted Sweet 100's again, and although there was only a little handful of red ones, it was soooo exciting.

And I made my first beeroot picking into the recipe in the Edmonds book - adding sugar and vinegar.  My only memory of my mum buying a real live beetroot (ie not in tins) - involved boiling it and forgetting it - which resulted in a burnt lump of charcoal in the pot which stunk the whole house out.  So it was with a certain amount of concern that I put my beetroot in the pot of water - and set the alarm!  It turned out fine, and we all had some with our dinner that night - very nice!

On the creative front, I have purchased some back issues plus the current issue of Stitch Magazine, and have been pouring over the articles, patterns, advertising and need to go through them all again to take it all in.  One article that has grabbed my attention is about a group of people pledging to not buy new clothes for a period of time - say 6 months.  Instead sewing and refashioning second hand clothes.  So this will be one website that I intend to have a look around (of course, once I have finished those darned things for exhibition - counting down those days still, and getting scarier) -

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm having a break - from sewing that is.

I have started being good.  But my leg had pins and needles so I'm having a break from the dreaded machine blanket stitch that needs to be finished.  I have completed one whole design this morning, so that leaves two more to do.
This is one whole design.
I am simultaneously getting my washing pile back into normal proportions following the camping trip.  And we are almost back to normal as far as putting things away.  Almost, but not quite -
The Leaning Tower of Chilly Bins
I also have some belated Xmas photos to share.  I managed to leave the camera at home while we were camping, so you will all just have to use your imaginations.

Santa delivered new scooters - ones with big wheels
that can drive over grass and up hills!

This hairdresser set was one that Nadia chose with some Xmas
money from Nana.  Complete with blue hair extensions, apron and gloves,
water squirter and comb.  Apparently the hair changes colour when it
is wet, but we haven't tried that yet!

Dylan was pretty happy with the remote controlled car.  It
also just happens to be perfect for driving around
outside and when it goes over bumps flips onto the
extra wheel at the back.  Can you spot a bit of a trend
as far as the presents went this year?  Note: the car
remote was broken by the end of day one - however with a
bit of McGyvering all was fixed and dire warnings issued.

Of course he is watching TV, but in his new tshirt
from Poppa John, and he looks nice and quiet, just
the way I like them.
My head is also brimming with ideas for The Patchwork Studio International Round Robin which I seem to have managed to sign myself up for.  We just received instructions number 1 - and I'm really pleased that there was an instant response in my creative juices, and have the basic block plotted out - still in my head but at least it's there!  The gist of the round robin, is that we are in groups of four - spread around the world.  My team members are 2 from Australia and one from Florida.  We each complete a 12" block as the starting point, which is to relate to where we live - and then it gets posted to the next person on our list, who adds to the block following the next set of instructions and posts it on.  Once it has had all four of us work on the piece, it is returned to the original owner.  It is the first time I've attemped something like this, so we will see what happens.  Will post a photo once I have my block completed.  There is a time limit, so once I've got my exhibition stuff organised, I'll have to get cracking.

Oh, well.  Back to the grindstone...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Xmas and New Year

We had a lovely Xmas day at home with my Dad (Poppa John) with BBQ roast chicken and roasted veges.  We disappeared for a few days over New Years camping up at Waipapakauri Ramp and picked tuatua's on 90 mile beach, and went paddling and surfcasting at Houhora heads.  A bit of a mixture of weather but we did have some lovely hot days.  Came home with a bit of sunburn but nothing too major.  It is lovely to be home again and not sleeping on an air bed any more!  Very late nights and children do not really go together all that well and we had some spectacular behaviour once we got home.

A friend was feeding our dog while we were away - and said she saw "Mr Rat" running from the chicken coup to the vege garden.  We have since killed at least 5 rats in the vicinity.  Yuck.  On a positive note, on returning home from holiday, we picked about 6 courgettes, 15-20 potatoes (from 3 seed potato plants) and 3 beetroots which I will try to cook up tomorrow.  We still have 7 potato plants to dig up, and the courgettes just keep on coming!  The experiment with mixed planting beans, pumpkin and sweetcorn has had mixed results.  The idea is to keep roots cool from the pumpkin foliage and the beans and sweetcorn create a self supporting structure.  Unfortunately the beans have strangled the sweetcorn and it is very prickly ferriting through the pumpkin leaves to locate the beans.  BUT, the beans are growing well, and the pumpkins are also so far doing very well - so perhaps I should have planted the sweetcorn out once they were bigger??

Mysteries of Life: why is it when I go on holiday, my hair goes weird and my skin breaks out most unattractively?  I thought that the hair thing was because I normally blow dry it, and it sort of did it's own thing while we camped - but once returning home, it styled itself perfectly normally even without the aid of the hairdryer?

I have not done any sewing since my last post.  Although I am not Catholic, I feel like I am in a confessional box admitting my worst sin.  I am counting the days until the exhibition and realising that there are not all that many left, and will need to place bomb under a certain tush to get things finished in time.  My project list of things that I was hoping to submit will need to be culled.