Welcome to tales of my stitching life, home, family and friends.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Doing some Prep

It’s not as if I really need another project, considering all those UFOs I have.  And I must admit I haven’t worked on the quilt I’m making for my daughter for a while.  So what have I been doing lately?  Drawing shapes on the back of fusible web paper, cutting them out, and ironing them onto fabric – all for a new project.  I get in a bit of a mess with that fusible getting everywhere, little bits stuck on my ironing cover, and adhering to the plate of my iron.

However, after standing at my cutting board, then the ironing board, for absolutely ages, everything is prepared and stuck down, and I’m ready for the next step, the actual sewing.  It seems ages since I’ve had any quality time seated at the sewing machine, so I’m looking forward to it.  My appliqué is done the easy way, by machine.  I’ll show what I’m making when it’s all finished.  Here’s a little peep.

P7240030 Cutting and tracing

Muffy has been helping by keeping out of the way and not getting under my feet.  Sadly, she is suffering from a little bit of pussy cat dementia and some days she is more demanding than others.  She likes to know where we are, and keep us close by, usually tucked up on a handy lap.  Not always on our agenda when we have are having a busy day.   So I’m tip-towing around, leaving the sleeping cat lie.  Mind you, the more she sleeps during the day, the more likely she is to have a restless night.  Never mind – it’s all part of being a responsible pet owner, and unconditional love.

P7300002 Muffy is fast asleep

Saturday, July 26, 2014

July UFO Night

“The Remnants”  meet monthly for a Friday UFO night.  It seems that I’m a Remnant too – as is anyone from Town and Country Quilt Club who joins in with the friendly bunch of stitchers.   It’s usually Murphy’s Law that we are more often than not away in the caravan somewhere or other for the weekend so I have to miss.   But I’m feeling lucky as this is the second month in a row I’ve been able to attend.   I took hand stitching, plus my contribution to the shared meal.  And as usual with these “pot luck” meals, we had a good variety to share.  Delicious home made pumpkin soup and bread rolls to start, then sausage rolls, pizza and quiche.  Followed by home made chocolate slice, chocolate fish and pineapple lumps, (a Kiwi favourite) and tea and coffee.  Appetites sated, we all got down to our stitching.

There were only a couple of sewing machines working away last night, and one of them belonged to Kathy F who was looking for inspiration on how to machine quilt her daughter’s owl quilt.  All the owls had different expressions as they looked out across the hall at all those noisy ladies.  Kathy concentrated in machine quilting around each block to hold them in place, and around each owl.  She still wasn’t quite sure of how to tackle the alternate blocks, but was given plenty of suggestions to think about.  The other Kathy attending was busily using the club light box to trace out the appliqué pieces for her “Bordeaux Berries Table Runner”.

P7250049 Kathy’s owl quilt

Leigh was doing something completely different.  She was assembling needle cases to put in the goodie bags for the upcoming Quilt Symposium Manawatu as a gift to promote her new venture “Threaded Needle Retreat”.  Who wouldn’t want to go away for a weekend sewing?  Sandra kindly offered to help Leigh and together they assembled all that Leigh had brought with her.  Still a lot more to go, it seems.

P7250050 Sandra and Leigh working on the needle cases

Sara was working on the 9th and last block for her Chateau Hexagon wall-hanging.  This lovely design by Lynette Anderson features embroidery, piecing, and the tiniest little hexagons.

 P7250052 Sara’s lovely stitching

Vickie was working on the third appliquéd border for her sumptious Civil War Bride quilt.  She showed me a photo of the quilt on her Smart Phone (these phones have too much technology for me to cope with)  and it is looking stunning.  After doing all this hand work, Vickie has decided that the quilt really deserves to be hand quilted too.

P7250059 Appliqué pieces traced for Vickie’s third border

The other sewing machine was used by Vickie’s daughter, 12 year old Hannah.  Hannah is a member of our quilt club too, and was busily working on making colourful nine patch blocks  for her Susan Claire designed kitset quilt, Fish.  She loved her new woolly hat and it never left her head all evening.

P7250054 Hannah making nine patch blocks

Janelle’s “Afternoon Delight”  quilt is coming along well.  These appliqué blocks are prepared using glue stick with freezer paper – gets all those points nice and sharp.  (Not at all like my quick and easy preferred method of whipping around the edges with machine appliqué).  There are an awful lot of blocks in this quilt, just right for someone like Janelle who loves hand appliqué.


P7250055 Janelle’s latest blocks prepared and ready to appliqué

And as for me, I’m just about finished on making all the yo-yos for my Christmas Reindeer, only a few left to do now.  Guess the next step will be for me to get the pattern out, and read how to make his little reindeer face and legs.  I’m not even going to worry about how to put all those yo-yos together just yet, hopefully someone will give me some good advice if I find it all a bit confusing.

Thanks ladies, for another convivial stitching night.  I particularly enjoyed our discussion on the merits of Colin Firth as the best Mr Darcy to ever grace our screens, (swoon), and as for our further discussion on  Lee Child’s book character Jack Reacher, (another swoon or two), you can see it doesn’t take much to make me happy!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

99 Not Out

We are having another weekend away in the caravan – this time we are over the Wairarapa in Masterton.  The weather is rather wet so there hasn’t been any time spent sitting out in the sunshine so far.  But I have been busy doing a little knitting inside the caravan with the heater keeping me warm.  This is another little kiddie’s jumper using some wool which was given to me.

P7190014  Knitting in the caravan

I’ve also added to my yo-yo count and stitched up some more of these little things – all ready to get turned into a Christmas reindeer in the fullness of time.

P7170023 More yo-yos on the go

As we are camping at Masterton for the weekend, it was a good opportunity to catch up with my elderly aunt, who resides in one of the local rest homes.  Aunty Win is “99 not out”, has very firm opinions and tells us that she really doesn’t know why she is still alive and kicking.  She is not at all impressed with the fact that she might get a telegram from the Queen when she turns 100 next year.  “I’m not a Royalist”, she told us firmly.  And as for a telegram from the Prime Minister- Aunty Win doesn’t even know who the current one is.  It was lovely to catch up with her again, and she is always interested to hear about our trips away.  She is the last of four sisters, who all lived to a good age, but certainly can’t beat Aunty Win at 99!

P7180012With  Aunty Win at the Rest Home

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Slow Cooking Sunday

It’s been a day spent in the kitchen for me – no wonder I haven’t been getting much stitching done lately.  But it’s nice to be home for the weekend instead of gavilvanting around in the caravan, and there is nothing nicer than a bout of “slow cooking”.  The lovely foodie aromas make the wait worthwhile.

I’ve made a big pot of pumpkin soup with one of my $1 bargain buys from our last travels.  The pumpkin was cooked up in the crock-pot (slow cooker) yesterday.  Thanks to my friend Dot, I would never have thought of doing it this way myself.  Robin got the job of blitzing it this morning with the hand held wand, as I can’t be trusted not to get it all over myself, and the walls, if I lift the appliance out while it is still whirring away.  Then I added some chopped onion and bacon cooked in a little butter, with a spoon of curry powder to give it all a lift.  Served with a swirl of cream for lunch, it was divine, and there is plenty left for another lunch, and maybe freeze a container for later use.

P7130002 Pumpkin Soup for lunch

Dinner is all prepared, and waiting to go into the oven later in the afternoon.   We are having meatloaf (mixed and sitting in the fridge), roasted honey yams, and I’ve stewed the fruit for rhubarb and apple sponge pudding.  Mmm, perhaps some whipped cream will go nicely with that.  Other veggies are all prepared, so I just have to mix up the sponge topping for the pudding shortly.

I’m not usually one to watch cooking programmes on TV, but I have to admit that I’ve been enjoying watching “Save with Jamie”.  His idea is to spend a bit more on a family roast, then enjoy using the leftovers in creative ways.  Sensible recipes with a bit of a twist, some I’m quite keen to try, and I’ve picked up a few tips too.  Just goes to show that you are never to old to learn!

I’m going to sit down quietly now and do a little more on my secret squirrel birthday stitchery.  Robin is outside pottering about in his shed, and Muffy is dead to the world catching up on her beauty sleep, so I’ll make use of some quiet time.  Hope every one is having a lovely Sunday too.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Blissfully Unaware

scan0001 Wonder how many of us have made this mistake, and just not realised it?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Town and Country Quilters July Club Night

Circumstances have conspired to stop me from attending club night for a while, so I was really pleased to finally get there last night.  As usual, Show and Tell is always a treat, with a good selection of quilts from our very talented members on display. Lucky Noah will be getting this great little boys quilt for his 3rd birthday.  This is a pattern from the Cloth Shop in Palmerston North,  Cathryn told us.

P7090007 Noah’s 3rd birthday quilt

And yet another lucky little three year old will be getting a birthday quilt.  Joan has made her little grand-son Levi this stunning Roadworks quilt.  Isn’t it great to see such bright and graphic children’s patterns available these days?

P7090008 Levi’s 3rd birthday quilt

“Good things take time”, was Yvonne’s message about her Japanese Dolls quilt, as she has been working on it for a wee while.  And no wonder, with all that appliqué to do.  This stunning quilt is a Susan Claire design.

P7090009 Yvonne’s Japanese Dolls

Chloe made Scrappy Batiks to use up her batik scraps from an earlier project.  I love the way the colours flow across the quilt.

Scrappy Batiks

Our speaker for the evening was one of our own club members, the very talented Griet Lombard.  She spoke about the relationship we have with our own quilting,  taking things slow, and putting something of yourself into your stitching  which makes each quilt unique and special.  She is a great Op Shopper, and loves finding cast off pieces of hand worked textiles and reflecting on the women who quietly sat and stitched them in years gone by. 

P7090004 Griet Lombard

Griet’s own work certainly has her soul captured in the stitches, and she brought along some of her hand stitched master pieces.  They have to be seen up close to truly appreciate the work which goes into each and every one.

P7090005  Some of Griet’s glorious work

Griet then took us for a quick trip around the world and showed us some of the exquisite hand embroidered pieces she had purchased on her travels.  She had pieces from her native South Africa, a woven and beaded cloth from Vietnam, a white embroidered blouse from Mexico, and several pieces from Guatemala.  I was very taken with the embroidered Mayan Calendar, heavily embroidered in glowing blues onto a light mustard coloured background.

P7090003 Embroidered Mayan Calendar

It was a good night out, an exceptional speaker, and great to meet up quilty friends again.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Stitching beside the Apple Orchard

A long weekend away in the caravan is always good.  We are currently staying in Hastings parked up in an apple orchard. Today I enjoyed a couple of hours sitting outside in the warm winter sunshine doing some stitching.   It was very pleasant, out there on the fresh air, with the apple orchard just over the fence.  I’ve been doing some secret stitching for a birthday gift, so I can’t show exactly what I’m up to.

P7060052 Stitching in the sunshine

And I’ve managed to make a few more of those little yo-yos.  I need to make about 70 of these little ones, and the count is growing slowly.

P7060054 Getting there slowly

The trees in the apple orchard are mostly bare.  Most of the apples have long been gathered and sent away, but there are plenty of windfalls under the trees.  Hastings is often called “The Fruit Bowl of New Zealand”.  The weather has been beautiful while we have been up here in Hastings, let’s hope it stays fine when we head home tomorrow.
P7060030  The apple orchard

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Birthday Cushion

It’s my big sister Kathleen’s birthday today, and quite a special one at that - she is now the ripe old age of 70!  So we have travelled up to Hastings for the weekend to join in the birthday celebrations.  Mmm, what to give a special person for a milestone birthday celebration?  I pondered about this for a while, then came up with a good idea.  I made her a cushion.  It featured an embroidered panel with a verse from Bronwyn Hayes, of Red Brolly fame, which I adapted slightly.    And I used a dark blue print for the rest of the cushion, so it would tone in nicely with Kathleen’s favourite chair, her navy blue recliner.

P6290001 70th Birthday cushion

With family and friends invited around for a birthday lunch there were lots of gifts to open.  Several pots plants too, and a lovely bouquet of flowers.  Various family members had travelled to be with Kathleen, including a couple of cousins I  only seem to catch up with at funerals.
P7050011 It’s hard to read the words without glasses!

P7050012  Yes, I think she likes it.

As I said to Kathleen during the day, there was only one thing wrong with her turning 70 this year.  With only 15 months between us two sisters, it will be my turn to celebrate turning 70 next year!  (I’m not going to think about that just now, I’ve decided).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Just a little Knitting

The click-clack of knitting needles have been making themselves heard in the evenings lately. I’m using up my Op Shop bargain bag of knitting cotton and have completed three over the last few weeks.  It’s nice mindless knitting, which leaves my mind free to concentrate on our favourite TV programmes.  The knitting pattern calls them dishcloths, but I use mine as dusters and bathroom cleaning cloths.  Some I have done as the pattern states, and knitted them  from corner to corner.  But when I’m not too sure if I have enough cotton in the part balls, I have been knitting them as a rectangle, like the purple one.  They turn out different sizes, but that doesn’t matter at all.  I got the idea from Wanda who writes her Exuberant Color Blog here:  Do check this very busy lady and see what she gets done every month.

Three new dusters

I’ve also completed knitting a pink toddler sized jumper, but I’m not really happy with how it turned out.  Think the problem is that the yarn I’m trying to use up is too thick for the knitting pattern I chose.  Never mind – I’ll probably donate it to the Op Shop, and someone is sure to give it a new home.  I have some double knit wool in my basket so will chose the next pattern more carefully.