Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's been happening?

We now officially have one more day of school holidays, then the weekend, then back to normality.  I have discovered that my grand idea of catching up on cleaning during the holidays (now that I am working during the normal school week and do minimal cleaning during the school term) - just does not work.  I think the problem lies with the actual act of cleaning - which I have never been that good at.

I have one more seam to complete on my log cabin stars quilt and it is ready to layer/quilt.  Wow!  I have batting in the pipeline, but no backing fabric at this stage.  I could buy something really nice.  But because the quilt is mostly made of Spotlight fat quarters, the quality of the fabric is quite coarse and I don't want to spent an enormous amount of money on it.  So I could do a patchwork backing from my stash - I just need to get over the fact that it won't "match" - I cringe because my work is not real matchy matchy - but I do feel that the back should be just as beautiful as the front.  And the front will be fun and contemporary - so shouldn't the back also be fun and contemporary?

I have registered for 2013 Taupo Symposium and booked our accommodation.  Another Wow!  I have missed Ms Lottie (get back and write a post!) and look forward to catching up on her adventures at Queenstown Symposium.

Today is the second time we have lit our fire so far this year.  Today is actually quite cold and wintery.  The morning was spent doing groceries... and mundane household stuff (wow, not!) - but I feel I am building up to doing some sewing - maybe that last seam, and I think I've decided what I am going to do about the big layer cake border situation.  Do you want to know, or wait until there is a photo?

I am feeling quite self sufficient at the moment, as we eat kumara's and pumpkins, onions, beans, beetroot, lettuce and capsicums from my little garden and every now and then we still get eggs from the chickens.  Due to not doing any grocery shopping last week, we have actually eaten mostly produce which we have grown at home.  At the moment, I have cabbage and brussel sprouts under a netting tunnel to keep them free from caterpillars.  I also have a "winter tomato" (no, I hadn't heard of such a thing either) which I have in a big pot in my growing house.  Hopefully there will be some tomatos over the next few months.  I have a spare bed and some seed potatos waiting for the eyes to bud and then get planted.  My grandparents on both sides were good vege gardeners, I don't know whether I have inherited any genes, or whether it has just been luck this season.  For the first time I have noticed that I don't need to buy things because I have grown them!  I am superior!  Great feeling.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Projects Underway

It has been a busy old time.  Firstly, hubby has completely recovered and has been digging up our carport in an effort to prevent water from flowing in rivers through it when it rains.  We happened upon some second hand pavers so this became the action plan for the long weekend.

The view from the laundry door towards the back of the carport.
The view back towards the laundry door.

This grated channel redirects the water into the stormwater pipes which run underground
alongside the carport.
  All nice and DRY!

On the sewing side of things, I have been busy beavering away with my log cabin stars.  I ended up being one fat quarter short of white on white fabric - so will have to leave the last block until I can get to the shops again.  But I placed this missing block at the bottom so in the mean time I have been busily putting my blocks together.  So far just the first lot of four patches sewn together... then I sew those together in four patches...

Did I mention it was big?  There are still another 3 rows so this will break my record
to date, and give me a quilt that I can tuck in over the pillows!
And it will have a nice overhang on the sides!

I have really enjoyed the process of this quilt so far - the happy, summery fabrics, the big easy blocks and the long stretches of sewing.  Friendship stars are just so cheery, and easy to piece.  Plus it is going together quite well without any real hitches (well, you can hide almost anything in a 15"block).

This is my second log cabin quilt - the first one was the second quilt I ever started.  And it was really only a half log cabin.  It has been on the bed for about the last 5 or so years - still uncompleted - as the binding is only sewn down on the edge along the top, and I still have one block to quilt.  Plus there are some finishing strips on the back that need to be sewn down.

Even after all this time, I enjoy all these different fabrics.

A view of the quilting on the back...

And also how I quilted in sections using different woven fabrics as my

One thing I did learn doing this 1/2 log cabin was that it is slightly too short to cover the mattress join where it sits on the base - and this annoys me intensely.  Lesson learnt - always make things bigger rather than smaller - hence the big brute above.  Everyone always assumes that I have some sort of king size bed, but it is only a queen - maybe just with a taller than normal mattress?  Not sure.  What have you been up to this easter/ANZAC weekend? 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Little bit different

When I went on my travels to The Country Yard a wee while ago, I picked up a pattern for a felt pin cushion by Hatched & Patched (I like it when patterns are less than $10), and also a small pack of assorted country colour felted wools.  So guess what I did last night? 

That's a ripple in the felt on the RH side which should
disappear once I've finished constructing the pincushion & stuffed it.
When I first looked through the instructions, I was sort of put off by the teeny tiny pieces - remembering long ago times of trying to accurately cut felt into shapes which never looked anything like what they were supposed to.  But, either I have improved or nice wool felt makes all the difference.  I also had to modify the colouring as my pack didn't quite have enough different colours of felt.  On the whole, I am very pleased and found the whip stitch used to attach the pieces quite soothing to do while watching crap on TV.  The fuzzyness of the wool does help to hide some of the less than perfect stitching! which is also a bonus.  I probably have enough felt to do about 100 of them, but maybe a matching needle holder would come in useful (says the lady who pokes her needles into paper bags).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Slowly coming back to normal

Hubby is still off work but seems to be past the worst of it, and now just coping with finishing off the last of his medication (which makes him sleepy) and that'll be the end of the allergic reaction saga.  Don't really want to go through that again in a hurry.  I feel a bit like I've been run over by a steam engine - but on the positive side, the washing pile which measured about 2m wide by 1m tall which was on my sofa has now been folded and put away!  Woohoo.  Should I tell you about the two piles still waiting in the kids bedrooms... well, they'll probably still be there tomorrow.

I have been plodding along with progress with the last instalment of the round robin quilt.  I received my new piece and contacted the maker by email requesting permission to show her quilt on my blog - and unfortunately haven't had any reply.  So I have photographed my work and the border done by Linda in Australia, and sorry there is a little bit of the original block, but not the whole thing.  So the instructions this month were to add the triangle borders to the block to turn it back to being square (as opposed to being on point).  The theme was something iconic from your country (where you live).  So I thought of kiwis, kauris, kiwifruit... OK, was getting a bit desperate - then thought of the buzzy bee toy which every NZ kid has at some point in their lives (to be honest - we never had one of these toys - but they are much more reasonably priced and available these days... as opposed to the olden days when I was a kid).  And this is the result so far... with the corners being different colours I'm planning to do something different on the blue corners (hubby suggested a tiki but I can't work out how it would fit attractively on a triangle - although a kiwi is the right shape, but I might just do a fern pattern), and may add a small straight border around the edge.

Raw edge fused applique so far - but I need to do some black blanket stitch
to (a) attach pieces permanently and (b) add some definition.  His eyes
turned out really impressive didn't they?

This cute wee star was foundation pieced by Linda in the preceeding border
- the pieces are tiny!
I have also been making great progress with my log cabin stars project.  As the blocks are so large I will end up with a queen size quilt very quickly.  I only have another 6 or so log cabin blocks to do to finish the 28 I need, and then there are 14 friendship stars (of which I've done one so far - but you've got to start somewhere). 

I should have turned the photo around first as it is laid out upside down...
does it really matter?
 It is very therapeutic doing the long stretches of machine piecing, and I love the fabrics.

This was one of the fabrics from the original fat quarter pack I bought.  Love it, had to
have it.  My theory is that if the colours work on a fabric - of course it is going to
work on your quilt.
Have I ever mentioned my sock fetish... don't you love these ones?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

As Promised

Nadia has always seemed older than her years (all five of them!) - but with this tooth missing, all of a sudden she is just a tiny wee girl.  Always a bit of a snorer - she now whistles in her sleep...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

First day of the holidays - survived... a particularly ghastly week

This week started badly and finished not much better.  To start, Nadia was unwell last weekend, which carried over onto Monday with high temperature and then developed into a very itchy rash.  Trip to doctor on Tuesday - possible infection resulting in toxins in blood causing rash.  Tuesday and Wednesday off school - very grumpy (daughter not me) - and also achy joints.  Early hours of Wednesday morning, husband wakes up with itches all over body but goes off to work and does a whole days work.  By the time he came home his face was seriously swollen up, eyes and hands - everything still itchy.  By this stage we are all quite grumpy - but even I can see he's not well.  When he starts to have difficulty swallowing, we phone the emergency doctors line who advise phoning the ambulance (who by the way take an hour and a half to arrive).  And off he goes.  Thursday is spent first off taking both kids to school, then a trip down to Kawakawa to visit not all that flash looking husband but improved from the night before, who is discharged and we come home to pick kids up after school.  That night his lower lip swells up until he looks like Bubba off Forest Gump.  He survives the night without getting worse and I attempted to have a normal Friday, but once again his throat becomes constricted so now it was my turn to take him into the doctors then hospital... and leave him there to stay overnight again, hoping that this time he will stabilise.  So today, we went to visit this morning then came home and had a very late lunch.  Shortly after finishing eating, he phoned up to say he had been discharged, so off we went again to pick him up.  I think I could find my way to the hospital in my sleep!

And I haven't even had a moan about my broadband service... well, after my last adventures with Telecom, and getting our connection working again, on Tuesday it all disappeared again.  This time, after numerous phone calls backwards and forwards with Telecom (not great when they say they are going to put you through to the advanced technicians and there is a 10-15minute wait) I was told "We have checked your line and there is a fault with your modem!"  So I duly ordered a new modem as suggested by this rather abrupt man, and waited for it to arrive so that we could find out if indeed it was our modem that was at fault.  You guessed it - modem arrived and installed and still no connection!  Once again, we needed a technician to come and do what he did on the weekend.  Finally by mid Friday morning we were once again connected to the world.  All in all, a very stressful week and I feel completely exhausted. 

On the home front - Nadia has lost her third tooth - so this is one of the front top ones.  Photo currently in camera which is having it's battery charged, so you'll have to wait - but it's a good one!  She is estatic and of course, looks so funny.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I'm Back!!

Well, for those of you who haven't known... my computer downloaded a virus on Sunday and has been at the shop - got it back on Thursday, and plugged it in to check emails and see what was happening in the world... and no internet!  Our connection had gone pfut and was no go.  After an extended conversation with two Telecom men I was to anticipate a visit from a technician on Saturday morning... which is today, and around mid morning I was all back and running again.  Whew!

We spent the better part of last Sunday rearranging our sleepout facilities so that my larger quilting activities could occur out there - and still remain available for unexpected guests as it is also our guest room.  End of long story, but it is really great to have some room to spread things out and play in peace and quiet.  Smaller things are still in my bedroom, but I can handle that - as it allows me to keep an eye (or an ear) on my kids.  I also have my book collection (well the quilting ones anyway) in one place - no more traipsing out in the middle of the night to then wrestle with the lawn mower to open the cupboard that used to hold the books.  I have also had some new book deliveries since my last post, so have been gobbling up Diane Gaudynski's machine quilting book and this morning (after the internet business) disappeared into my "shed" and pinned up a test piece.  Now, I don't normally do practice pieces (read that as never) - so I'm really thinking of this as a basinette quilt to donate to the local maternity ward, hence not a practice piece at all... and this will allow me to practice to my hearts content.  So I've been headbanding, bananaing and feathering.  If you don't know what this means... you need to read the book!

The front...

The Back!
 It is tiring doing this intensive sort of quilting... so I came in and had lunch and now I'm ready to do some piecing on one of my other projects... all set up in the bedroom - and I can leave my quilting all set to go for next time I'm in the mood... bliss!