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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lovely Lemons

Although I’ve got quite a sweet tooth, I just love the sharp citrus taste of lemons, and I’ve been given a whole heap of them lately.  So I’ve done a bit of baking and my favourite lemon recipes at the moment are lemon muffins with sugary lemon juice drizzled over the tops while just out of the oven, and lemon slice, made with a crunchy base incorporating rolled oats.   Kept telling myself that I really must have a go at making lemon honey, but I was a wee bit worried about how to do it.  I’m pleased to say I finally got around to trying it.  It’s such a simple microwave recipe, that I really don’t know what I was worried about.  Just sugar, eggs, butter, lemon juice and lots of lovely little curls of rind using my very handy little lemon zester.  Here it is just about ready to go in the hot sterilised jars.
DSCF8116 My microwave lemon honey
It just needed another short burst in the microwave and then I poured it into the jars.  These microwave recipes don’t make a huge amount but there was enough to fill two medium sized jars, (plus a little for me to enjoy straight away).
DSCF8121 Doesn’t it look yummy?
Luckily for me, Robin doesn’t really like lemon honey that much, so it is “all mine”.  It’s so delicious on a piece of toast for breakfast, wish I’d made some years ago.  Thanks to Dot for sharing her recipe with me – I’ll be sure to make some more before too long.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Material Art Show

The Material Art Show was a showcase of hand-made quilts, knitted baby clothes and Christmas stockings, all donated by talented crafts people of Wellington.  All items were hand-made by volunteers and are for sale with funds raised to support sick children and premature babies at Wellington Children's Hospital.  My friend Kathryn and I called in to “The Atrium” on Friday, the light and airy foyer of the recently rebuilt  Wellington Hospital to see what it was all about.
DSCF8143 Quilts for sale to aid Wellington Children’s Hospital
Volunteers were on hand, and as we were admiring a happy looking quilt made up of African animal faces, the young man on duty was quick to point out that this was his favourite quilt of the display.
DSCF8139 Our volunteer’s favourite
The quilts ranged in size from small to large bed size, in a great variety of styles and colours.  Here is just a small sample of a few which took our fancy.  They all seemed to be very reasonably priced too.
DSCF8141Fresh and pretty floral quilt
 DSCF8142 A tree full of parrots
DSCF8150Kathryn rather liked this dog quilt, even though she is really a cat person
DSCF8145Display of Christmas quilts and stockings
There were people in the Atrium looking at the quilts, like us.  Patients, visitors and staff also walked past as they all went about their business.  I hope that the sale was a success and that lots of money was raised for the Wellington Children’s Hospital.  We had a cuppa at the adjacent cafe and looked out into the courtyard.   During the recent rebuilding process the original frontage of the hospital was saved and stands proudly in the courtyard.  I can well remember climbing these steps and entering through the doors many times through the years.  Not as a patient, I’m happy to say, I can particularly remember when I was a young working lass coming to visit my Mother as she recuperated from one of her several stays in this hospital.  In those days visiting time was quite regimented, and I had to wait around for a couple of hours after  finishing work for the wards to open in the evenings.  Then afterwards,  catch a bus to the station, and a long train ride home, making it an extremely long day.  Visiting family and friends is so much easier these days.
DSCF8151 The original frontage of Wellington Hospital

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pinestream Quilters Christmas Meeting

It was the last meeting of the year for my quilt club, Pinestream Quilters.   Christmas tablecloths, water, juice and fizz were on each table (no wine, as we all had to drive home).  There were Santa hats galore, Christmas earrings dangling from many ears, and this gorgeous dark haired angel sporting a beautiful pair of wings.  On closer inspection, that’s no angel, it’s Tricia!
DSCF8124 Tricia wearing her angel wings
As usual, there were lots of lovely quilts at “show and tell”.  Pat had made this pretty Oriental themed quilt for her daughter as a Christmas gift, and has quilted it with both hand and machine quilting. 
DSCF8128Pat’s  Oriental quilt
Rugby is our number one winter sport here in New Zealand, and June had made a rugby quilt for her grandson.  He has been selected to play for the Manawatu Representative team, she proudly announced.
DSCF8133 Rugby quilt for June’s grandson
The simple nine patch can make beautiful quilts, and this Wedding quilt was made by Ruth.  The photo doesn’t really do it justice, as the dark squares are made from a beautiful purple and blue floral batik.  Some of the lighter fabrics feature writing, I noticed.
DSCF8134 Batik nine patch made by Ruth
Another nine patch  brought along was made from tiny one inch squares.  Sandy’s nine patch quilt also had some square in a square blocks scattered throughout.  This design would help use up some of those smallest scraps that quilters often keep, just in case. 
DSCF8131 Sandy’s nine patch quilt
Fay was stitching the binding on her lovely jewel toned quilt on our last Stitching Monday, and here is the finished quilt.  I believe that Fay won some of the blocks at a club night and made some more to finish the quilt.  She added a pieced border around her quilt which really complements the design.  Those colours just glow, don’t they, and the quilt was beautifully quilted by Sue B.
DSCF8130 Fay’s quilt
Christine had been working away quite happily doing hand appliqué on this colourful child’s quilt not really knowing who she would be giving it to.  That all changed with the exciting announcement that her son and his wife are expecting their first baby.  The appliqué patterns were a free internet download from Susan Claire, and Sue B once again worked her magic on the quilting.
DSCF8137Christine is hiding behind her quilt
Jan brought two striking bags along to show us.  She made one for herself, and one for her sister.  Aren’t they great?
DSCF8129 Two bags for two sisters
As this was the last club night of the year, we all participated in a Christmas quiz.  After a great start of getting the first 9 out of 10 answers correct, sadly our team bombed out.  Some members took part in the Christmas Gift Bag challenge.  This was a little different, as the bags had to be made without using either Christmas themed fabrics, or Christmas colours.  Viewers choice was Gaye and her lovely embellished book bag.
DSCF8136 Viewer’s choice in the challenge
Our meeting concluded with a yummy supper with all sorts of special goodies.  Pride of place went to the most delicious Christmas cake baked and iced by Joyce.  It was so popular that I don’t think there would be any left for Joyce to take home.  Hard to believe that this is the last club night of the year, and Christmas is just around the corner.  Merry Christmas to all Pinestream Quilters, and your families.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lucky me!!

The lovely Lis, who writes the Piece’n’Peace blog, was offering several give-aways  recently to celebrate her 500th blog post. (We had to relate the story of our first ever quilt, so that reminds me that I should share that story here one day, I guess).  Thanks Lis, for sending me the wonderful “Inspirational Strippy Quilts” magazine, there is certainly lots of good reading in here.  Plus an extra gift of a pack of three hanks of Perle thread in bush colours, “Hand dyed in South Africa” the label says.  Thanks so much Lis, and many congratulations on your 500th plus blog posts,  may there be many more to come. 
  DSCF8112 My prize from Lis
We met up with Lis and Alan  in April 2010 when they were out here on their New Zealand holiday.  They were staying at Paekakariki on the Kapiti Coast, and after exchanging a few e-mails, we arranged to drive up and meet them in a local cafe.  You know what it’s like when quilters get together, even if they haven’t met before, it’s just chatter, chatter, chatter. The the two husbands weren’t doing too bad, either. We decided to share one of those delicious pizzas that the cafe specialises in as we got to know each other a bit better.
DSCF3382 Lis and Alan looking forward to a slice of pizza
   imageThe two of us together
Mmm, I’ve just checked “my” blog numbers, and this will be number 328, so I’m a long way from Lis and her 500th.  I’ll just have to keep writing!  Do pop over and visit Lis’s blog.  She is looking forward to an upcoming textile trip to Japan, so that will certainly make interesting reading.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November Stitching Monday

The months of the year are galloping by, and it was the second to last Stitching Monday of the year.  With the silly season just around the corner, it was no surprise that several of us were working hard on our Christmas projects.  Petronella was stitching the binding down on her Christmas table runner.  This is a gift for her sister and she is hurrying to get in finished, and posted away to Holland.
DSCF8102 Petronella’s Christmas table runner
Serviettes for Christmas Dinner were being cut and hemmed by Pamela.  She had bought the white with gold fabric several years ago in a sale and thought it was time to make something with it.  Pamela commented that sewing these simple items took so much longer than anticipated – that’s usually the way, isn’t it.
DSCF8104 Pamela sewing Christmas serviettes
I was doing some Christmas sewing too.  As this is to be a gift for my daughter I can’t show anything just yet, but I was using these fabrics. I just hope she likes her gift.
 DSCF8101Fabrics in my Christmas secret sewing project
Gaye was all set to spend the day free motion quilting her grand-son’s Solar System quilt.  Here she is warming up and getting some practice in before tackling the quilt.
DSCF8100 Gaye practicing her free motion quilting
Joyce seems to work very quickly on her projects, and has a new one underway.  She is starting on a striking black, while and yellow quilt for her grand-daughter’s 21st birthday next year, using an off centre square in a square pattern.  It’s nice and easy to sew, Joyce said. 
DSCF8097 21st birthday blocks
Two ladies were sitting together by the window, hand stitching and chatting the day away.  Fay was sewing the binding down on her beautiful jewel toned quilt and will take it along to “Show and Tell” at our next club night.  Maureen was appliquéing some figures onto the backing for her latest creation.
DSCF8105 Fay and Maureen stitching together
I saw Margaret down on her hands and knees during the day as she laid out the blocks for her little grand-son’s “I Spy” quilt.  She is making two of these nice bright quilts, one each for the two little brothers who live down in shaky Christchurch, and this is number two.
DSCF8106  Margaret’s I Spy quilt
Once again, Heather has been working wonders.  She is in the middle of her “Great Shirt Project”, and has been collecting cotton shirts from op shops to use in charity quilts.  Nothing is wasted: the fabric is used in the quilts, and buttons are passed on to a friend who knits tiny woollen garments for the hospital.  Margaret used the collars and cuffs in her fabric art, and even the French seam strips have been re-purposed!  These go to a friend who chops them up and adds the pieces to her worm farm. 
 DSCF8098 Three of Heather’s recycled shirt quilts
DSCF8099Heather with quilt number four
It was a wild, wet and windy outside but we were safe and happy tucked up inside doing what we love.  I ducked out between the showers to have a look at the trees that had been felled recently on the property.  The wood-choppers were no where to be seen, in such bad weather.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fabrications Quilt Display

I thoroughly enjoyed my morning at Fabrications yesterday looking around all the vendor stalls, and chatting to fellow quilters as I moved around the two adjacent halls.  An added delight were the number of quilts on display.  This was not a quilt show as such, so there were no programme printed listing the quilt makers names and the quilts were not judged.  The colourful quilts hanging on the frames were a delight to see.  Some I remembered seeing from earlier shows, and some were quite new to me.  So without further ado, here are some that took my fancy, although as they were not named the makers will have to remain anonymous.  Maybe someone local knows who these quilt makers are?
DSCF8039 Buxom bathing beauties
DSCF8040Colourful strippy quilt
DSCF8048Log cabin quilt with machine embroidered blocks
DSCF8049   Close-up of embroidered kowhai blossom, and leafy quilting motifs
DSCF8050A striking medallion style quilt
DSCF8060Narrow log cabin variation
This was just a taste of some of the quilts on display.  It is always inspiring to see the work of others, and I came home with my head spinning with ideas. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fabulous Fabrications

What is Fabrications?  Fabrications is Wellington's first event focussed on textile arts of every kind, a day event for everyone who loves to play with textiles.  The idea came from a group of ladies from Capital Quilters, Lower Hutt, who realised that quilters are interested in all sorts of textiles and techniques.  So the idea of Fabrications came about, a fun day of 30 vendors, raffles, a quilt display, and a cafe.  I went along to see what it was all about.  This big event needed a lot of space, and covered both the Horticultural Hall and Town Hall.  (These halls were very much part of my social calendar in my teenage years.  During my High School years I attended the local Youth Club on Sunday afternoons, rock’n’rolling the afternoon away in my full skirted dresses held out with my stiff petticoats.  And when I started work I enjoyed many Saturday night dances here.  Those were the days!)  I arrived early, paid my $5 entry fee, and bought some raffle tickets.  How great it would be to win one of these big baskets full of goodies.

DSCF8038   Raffle baskets

The hall was buzzing with vendors selling all sorts of things, fabric, wool, books, buttons and beads.  Several quilt shops had stalls with their own unique style of fabric and notions.  Here’s Yvonne from one of my local shops Sawmillers Quiltery, giving me a cheery smile.

DSCF8041 Yvonne from Sawmillers Quiltery

The Wellington Quilters Guild had a stand and I stopped to talk to Sharon who was busy with some of her friends stitching small blocks.  The aim was to sew enough blocks to make up into a charity quilt.  What a good idea, and it shows non quilters just what is involved in cutting and stitching a quilt block.

DSCF8045 Happy in their work

The Wellington Embroiders Guild had a stand close by and I came across Kim working on a lovely piece of silk ribbon embroidery stitched on teal blue fabric.  The ladies on this stand told me that their group make and donate Christmas Stockings to the Neonatal Unit in Wellington Hospital each year for all the little babies.  They also make quite a range of items for the hospital shop to sell to raise funds.

DSCF8046 Kim and her silk ribbon embroidery

Hand made lace speaks to me of the timelessness of an age old craft, and the romance and beauty of this most wonderful of trims.  I love the look of lace and spent some time watching the Faultline Lacemakers working their magic. One lady was working on Milanese lace, and another on Tonder lace.  It’s quite easy they assured me, you just follow the pattern, as they deftly moved their lace bobbins around.

DSCF8043   Making Tonder (Danish) lace

DSCF8044Hand made lace pieces on display

Crafters love buttons, and Ruth Meier, known as the Button Lady, had lots of old and interesting buttons on display.  Ruth has worked selling buttons all her life, and is extremely knowledgeable about this simple little item.   I noticed military buttons on sale, plastic, bone, and all the colours and styles imaginable, and nice little mixed bags on offer at a very reasonable price.  Definitely something for everyone. 

DSCF8058 Buttons galore

After looking at all the stalls, and admiring the quilts on display (photos of these next time), it was time to rest my weary feet and relax in the cafe corner.  I joined my fellow Pinestream Quilter members Joyce and Gaye at a table and contentedly consumed my coffee and cake in good company.  Thanks to Jane from the Kapiti Coast Quilt Guild for happily agreeing to take our photo.

DSCF8053 Enjoying morning tea with Faye and Joyce

I had a lovely time at Fabrications and have my fingers crossed to win one of those wonderful raffle baskets.  The organisers did a great job and are to be congratulated.  Here’s hoping this turns out to be a regular event.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Great Unveiling at the Friday Stitchers

There was an air of excitement at our monthly Friday Stitchers meeting today.  We had all been taking part in a block swap over the last six months or so.  Each of us decided on what block we would like, and stitched a couple to show our preferred colour palette. Instructions were included and any fabric (if any) that the maker wanted repeated in each block.  The bags were then rotated around the group, keeping it all very secret.  And today we got to see just what was in those bags.
First to see what we had done to her blocks was our hostess Christine.  She had chosen the “Disappearing Nine Patch” block in black and white, and provided the turquoise fabric to tie it all together.  Black and white always looks good together and the turquoise added just the right touch of colour to the blocks.
DSCF8027 Christine’s black and white blocks
Margaret wasn’t sure of the name of the block that she chose, and it incorporates a centre nine patch and rail fence blocks with a square in each corner.  The criteria was for this to be made using both warm and cool colours in the prescribed placement to blend in the the floral sashing fabric.
DSCF8028 Margaret’s blocks
Everyone loved the beautiful underwater hues of Anne’s blocks.  She supplied the centre square fabric and the block was to be made using turquoise, purple and green. 
DSCF8030 Anne’s blocks
These blocks and border strips for Judy came together very easily.  She asked for the blocks to be made with bright fabric either patterned or plain and supplied the dark blue fabric for the sashing.
DSCF8029Judy’s blocks and borders
Unfortunately neither Linda nor Audrey could make it to our meeting, but we still got to peep in their bags to see the blocks made for them.  Linda provided a paper pieced pattern and asked for her blocks to be made in purple, cream and burgundy batiks.
DSCF8032  Linda’s paper pieced blocks
Audrey had asked for her Sunshine and Shadow blocks to be done scrappy, any colours at all, just adhering to the light, medium and dark placement.  There is certainly lots of variety in these small blocks.
DSCF8033 Sunshine and Shadow blocks for Audrey
When I received the bag containing the Drunkard’s Path blocks for Joyce I wondered how I would cope with those curved seams.  But I’m glad to say that they were not difficult at all to sew, and came together very quickly.  Joyce asked for a soft palette of florals and creams, and has stitched a whole lot more of these at home, she told us. 
DSCF8034 Drunkard’s Path blocks for Joyce
Another soft and pretty block was Fay’s choice, and once again, very easy to put together.  Don’t those colours look lovely together?
DSCF8035 Fay’s pretty blocks
It was so exciting to get to open my own bag full of blocks.  I had chosen Log Cabin, and supplied McCalls printed tissue paper patterns.  My blocks were to be done in shades of burgundy and cream, and I am so thrilled with how they look.  I have also sewn more blocks at home, so will have to lay them all out to see how how many more I’ll need.
DSCF8031 My burgundy and cream Log Cabin blocks
It was fun to see this “great unveiling” and we all had such a lovely afternoon.  Wonder who will be the first of us to turn our blocks into a finished quilt?  It won’t be me, I’m sure of that!