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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Keeping warm in Winter

The winter chill is starting to make itself felt in my part of the world, so a change of bed quilt was called for. Out came my pink and grey pussy cat quilt made with nice warm New Zealand woollen batting, That will certainly keep us toasty warm tucked up in bed during the cold winter months.

DSCF3604 Memories of Misty - 2001

This quilt was made in memory of our previous cat Misty, a beautiful long haired grey half chinchilla cat, who lived to the grand old age of nineteen. This is a “friendship quilt” as I asked quilting friends and pen-friends if they would like to contribute blocks. I supplied the pink background, plus the pattern too, of course, and I received many signed blocks in various shades of grey. I had been collecting grey fabric for some time, so I had plenty on hand to make the remaining blocks.

DSCF3603 One of the cat blocks

The backing is a wonderful black and white cat print, and I had the quilt commercially quilted. It is certainly my favourite quilt to use in the middle of winter as it has wool batting.

DSCF3606 My Scottish Heritage - 1994

I like to ring the changes in the quilts I hang in the hallway over the linen cupboard door. The flue to our gas hot water heater goes up through the roof and we sometimes get a bit of a draught there. Today I have hung up “My Scottish Heritage” quilt over the doorway to keep the winter chills away. Being a single bed size it cuts down the draught we get. This quilt was made way back in 1994 and I made it to honour the Scottish ancestry in my family. When my granddaughter Emma was little she like to go to bed with the Scotty dog quilt. “Those dogs kept barking all night”, she would tell me in the morning.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The colours of Autumn

Look what I found nestled amongst the fallen leaves just by my place of work – several of these brightly coloured toadstools. They look so vibrant with their gaudy orange colouring and their white spots. They don’t last long though, the rain damages their tender flesh and makes them go all mushy. Some people like nothing better than giving them a good kick just to see them disintegrate into pieces.

DSCF3561 I wonder if the fairies come calling at night and sit on top of these lovely coloured toadstools? Wouldn’t that be wonderful to see?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Case of the Missing Bra

Where oh where has that missing bra gone? Haven’t seen it for several weeks now, and I’m running out of places to look. It is not some saggy baggy run-of-the mill bra that it getting near the end of it’s life either. Oh no, certainly not. A few months ago and went into a posh shop for a fitting and came out with 6 new pretty bras. At $NZ60 each, this was a major purchase, but luckily, the shop was offering “buy two, get one free”. I then came home and disposed of the old ones which had seen better days. But instead of 6 nice new bras I am now down to 5. I have looked everywhere, even pulled the drier out from the wall in case it had fallen into that little gap behind it. Then I had a brainwave – better check the caravan, we had a weekend away a couple of weeks ago so perhaps it is hiding somewhere it shouldn’t be. Nope, not in the drawer where I keep my undies. What about that small drawer underneath, where my woolly hat and gloves live? No, not there either. Maybe it’s fallen down behind the drawer? So…….. I pulled out the top drawer, then the bottom drawer. And wouldn’t you know it, there was the missing bra! Thank goodness for that. The case of the missing bra is finally solved!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stitching Group

I really enjoy attending the monthly stitching group organised by my club, Pinestream Quilters. The attendees vary, depending on what is happening in everyone’s life, but most certainly try to get there each month. It is fun to see what everyone is up to, and the progress made during the month on some of the more involved pieces.

DSCF3555Several of the ladies busy at their machines

I took along some labels to write on and sew on the back of several small Christmas Tree quilts. These will be going overseas later in the year so I am planning ahead. Silly me, I thought I would whip through this task in no time at all. Things always take longer than you think, and it took me most of the morning to stitch the labels on their respective wall hangings.

DSCF3557 My labels for Christmas Tree quilts

Barbara was busy stitching away on a very pretty floral strippy quilt for her daughter and son-in-law. The soft colours look rather like a garden full of spring flowers. There is still a bit more to go, but is is certainly well on the way.

DSCF3558 Barbara's strippy floral quilt

Children’s quilts are always fun and Jo was machine quilting this bright and colourful quilt for her little grandson. The striped binding really works in well with the bright and colourful tractor panels. What little boy wouldn’t love this as their very own quilt?

DSCF3560 Jo’s tractor quilt for her grandson

Now…. what were the others doing? Maureen and Margaret were both working on little quilts to donate to Special Care Unit at Hutt Hospital. Maureen loves to make little Christmas quilts and was sewing the bindings on several that she had just completed. Margaret was pinning up a couple of pretty little quilts, getting them ready for machine quilting. Joyce was sewing half square triangles together, and everything was going well until she sewed one on the wrong end of the strip. So out came the unpicker – where would we be without these handy little tools? Pamela and Christine were both working on long term projects. Christine’s hexagon quilt still isn’t quite big enough and needed more hexagons added. I really admire all the work that goes into hexagon quilts, don’t think I would tackle one. Pamela was making a pieced border for her daughter’s Lone Star quilt. It will look rather stunning when it is completed. Thanks everyone for a great day, we all got a bit further on with our projects.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Capital Quilters Quilt Show

The Lower Hutt Horticultural Hall was hung with colourful quilts over the weekend for the Silver Threads Quilt Show, with the club celebrating its 25th Birthday. With over 170 quilts on display, there was something for everyone. It was nice to see a discounted entry price offered for Gold Card holders, I can look forward to that for their next show.


DSCF3546 Views of the Hall

After stopping to take my tickets in the raffle baskets, and the blue and white raffle quilt, I wandered around the large hall. First in the hall were these two beauties, large bed quilts just bursting with colour. Then just around the corner, I came across a dramatic red, black and white quilt, which would certainly bring any bedroom to life.


Quilts featuring stitcheries are still very popular and there were plenty of examples on show. I was quite taken with this “botanical” quilt which featured large machine embroidered blocks of New Zealand plants set in string pieced sashing, called Nature’s Garden, by Sandra Kennington. And the very pretty hand embroidered Flower Fairies “For Violet”, by Noreen McGavin, was lovely with it’s pastel palette.



This fan quilt had an intriguing name, it was called “For the Protection of the Complexion, made by Jeanie O’Sullivan. Graced with four ribbons, it took away prizes for Best Pieced Quilt, Best Hand Quilting, Judges Award and Life Members Award.

DSCF3541 Fan quilt, awarded 4 ribbons

I love to see the quilts made for children and there were two examples of Holly Hobbie, a quilt with trains, and another with diggers. There was a small selection of wonderfully warm looking quilts made from woollen fabric and quilted with “big stitch”quilting. A challenge to make a bag from a bra made for very interesting offerings. Up on stage were quilts made by Life Members. As usual, I had to decide on which quilt took my quote for “Viewer’s Choice”. My criteria was, which quilt would I most like to have on my bed at home. This lovely Baltimore with pieced sashings in the gorgeous colours of paua shell took my vote. The quilter told me it was ten years in the making, and was hand quilted by Heather Harding, a quilter par excellence.

DSCF3550“Ultra Violet” by Debra DeLorenzo was my Viewers Choice

As I returned to my car a lady going into the hall asked me, “Is it worth going in?” I was incredulous, surely she wasn’t serious. “It’s wonderful”, I told her. Capital Quilters are to be congratulated on such a marvellous show, I had a great time there.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Every Santa needs a nose

Stuffing the Santa's was last weeks job. Today I stitched their arms on and made two little noses. The noses may be little but it took me ages. Cut a circle, do a running stitch all around, add a tiny bit of stuffing, then pull it up tight. I slip stitched all around the nose on to the face, then took long threads from the middle of the nose right through the face and came out at the back of the head. Ouch….. sorry Santa, but that is what the instructions told me to do. Then I drew a couple of eyes with the black marker. That was the first one done, then I had to repeat the process for the second Santa.

DSCF3517 They are coming along slowly

My two Santa's are made from different patterns. The one in the front is from a kit I purchased ages ago, with everything supplied. The Santa hiding at the back is a legless, no he’s not drunk. This type is known as a pedestal toy, with pellets in the bottom to give extra stability. They will both look better when their clothes are done, won’t they? And their beards too, of course. I haven’t made many toys, so this is a learning curve for me.

The weather today started off wet and miserable, soup weather I decided. So I soon had a pot of pumpkin bubbling away to turn into soup. I like to add some bacon, onion, and a little curry powder to my pumpkin soup for some extra flavour. Served with a swirl of cream on top it is delicious.

DSCF3508 Pumpkin soup

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother’s Day

There is quite a difference of opinion between my two children about Mother’s Day. My daughter, bless her heart, always sends me a little something with a card to acknowledge Mother’s Day. Probably because she is a mother herself, I expect, and appreciates recognition from her own family. This is what she sent me this year, some lovely Spring bulbs. I will certainly get years of pleasure from this gift.

DSCF3497Spring bulbs for Mother’s Day

My son, on the other hand, tells me that Mother’s Day is a load of commercial clap trap and he is having nothing to do with it. At least he is consistent with his views, he hasn’t sent me a gift or a card for many years. I usually make a point of phoning him just to say “Happy Mother’s Day” to him!

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Better late than Never

Nearly two years ago we were busy planning our UK trip. I just knew that I had a “little something” put away safely that I wanted to give to our friends Dot and Derek when we stayed with them aboard their Narrowboat Gypsy Rover. But……. I couldn’t find it. And then, tucked away in the bedroom, I finally came across it at last. D & D are home in New Zealand for a month’s holiday and joined us all on a caravan rally, so at last I could give them a little bit of Kiwi Christmas. Better late than never!!

DSCF3477 New Zealand Father Christmas with his Kiwi

I know it’s early, but I’ve been working on Christmas things. I’ve been busy stuffing not one but two Father Christmases. (They look a bit rude without their clothes on). And I decided that I have room in the caravan for one more Christmas cushion. Done the stitchery and now I’ve started hand quilting the cushion cover. I just love Christmas, don’t you?

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Itching to Stitch

It’s been a busy week and I’ve only done a little stitching so far. We are looking forward to a weekend away in the caravan, joining our Caravan Club friends at the Greytown Motor Camp. Packing the caravan for a weekend away always takes longer than you think. In and out, in and out I walked, all this exercise must be good for me. It’s amazing how many trips it takes. Our cat Muffy is coming camping with us this weekend and while I was packing everything away she was busy snoozing on our bed. She probably thinks she’s helping me by keeping out from under my feet.

DSCF3473 Just resting before we go camping

I haven’t forgotten to pack my stitching bag – I just may get a bit of time to sew a bit more on my Heart blocks.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

How many UFOs did you say?

My friend Carol from South Dakota wrote to me in a bit of a state. She decided to compile a list of projects started but not completed. She said, “When I got to eighty one I quit and did not look any more. That is a terrible amount and I am surprised I have so many”. Carol’s quilt guild is encouraging everyone to bring their list along, and hopefully they will work on them during the year and whittle the number down a bit.

I’m not going to have a count up of UFO’s, I decided. I’m not really sure how many I have but……..there are those two large bed quilts in sitting room that I’m still assembling, black and whites for my daughter and burgundy and cream for my niece. The cot sized Angel quilt needs the border finished. Then there are the two bed quilts hanging on my quilt stand still only half machine quilted.

DSCF3464 Two quilts waiting for me to complete the machine quilting

Oh, and I nearly forgot, my exploding stars quilt with all those lovely signed blocks from our UK holiday two years ago is still only half put together. That’s just what I have in the sitting room.

DSCF3466 Exploding stars quilt still in pieces

My sewing machine lives in the dining room, and I have a corner jam packed with bits and pieces. What’s there, I wonder? A summer nightie I’ve smocked and have yet to stitch up. Healing Heart blocks I received when I was undergoing chemo and radiation, thanks everyone who sent me a block, receiving them certainly brightened up those dark days. A Father Christmas body waiting to be stuffed, and I’m stitching a new Christmas cushion for the caravan. There’s that apron I started, and those pretty floral blocks I was going to stitch into a table cloth. Not to mention all those lovely New Zealand fabrics that I was going to make something with. Anything else in that corner can just stay hidden.

I have to admit that I have a little secret. Tucked away under the computer desk in the spare bedroom is a large basket full of different bags of blocks, collections of fabrics, goodness knows what else. I’m certainly not going to investigate all those bags at the moment, that’s much too scary. What exactly is a UFO anyway? Does the fabric I’ve put together to do a quilt “one day” count? I’m sure I’ve got several lots like that. And what about all those swaps I’ve taken part in? And I know I’ve got several patterns with the pieces cut out, all ready to start stitching. Goodness knows what else I have hidden away! And then there is a couple of half finished things in my knitting bag. Ahhhh……. where does it end? But there is no way my UFO’s reach Carol’s number of eighty-one. Do they? I’m never going to count them to find out!