Monday 28 December 2015

Christmas round up.

Well, how did your Christmas go?
Santa and my family were very good to me.
 My DD arranged for this beautiful hamper to be delivered. Belle thought the ribbons might be fun, But they survived intact, which is more than I can say for the current state of the contents.
 There was quite a large pile of gifts bearing my name.
Among them were some wonderfully hand crafted items and one or two inspirational items.
 I'll need to find just the right space to put the dragonfly on the wall.
And his friend, the butterfly will go in my sewing room  think.
 I exchanged hand made ornaments with several people this year.
 Some of them make me wish I'd had a little more Christmas spirit and managed to produce more than knitted stockings. Janice sent the beautiful blue fabric ball above.
My Sil Lee made two ornaments!
 A pretty snowflake and a crochet angel.
 My penpal Maxine sent a cute wee yoyo Christmas tree.
Debbie also made two ornaments.
 A tea light snowman and a lovely letter L.
Which has given me an idea for next year.
I spent a little time yesterday browsing pintrest, looking for inspiration for next years ornament swaps. Maybe if I apply myself now........
Hope you all had a great Christmas.
Happy new year.
May 2016 bring nothing but good times.

Sunday 20 December 2015

It's beginning to look,

A lot like Christmas.
Even the weather feels right this year!
Overcast, cool and maybe a bit damp. Not at all like last year, very like the UK!
Anyhoo, my trees and decorations are up and gifts are wrapped and nestled below the trees.
Belle is being very good, though the latest additions have string and ribbons!
That may prove to be a little too tempting for her.
Meanwhile, she is blissfully playing with the packaging.
 Just like kids, it would seem that cats prefer the paper and boxes to the contents!
 She has hours of fun.
 Even my nails are looking seasonal. 
Today I plan to put the almond paste onto the cake and make mince pies.
Just in case I don't get back to you before the big day....
Merry Christmas everyone.
I wish you a safe, healthy and happy time.
May 2016 be the best year yet.

Monday 14 December 2015

Slow Sunday.

So what do you do, on one of 'those' Sundays?
You know the kind, where there are four seasons in one day.
When we awoke this morning, the sun had already heated the green house to way over 30 C.
But the cloud cover soon drifted over and by mid morning it was obvious this wasn't a gardening day.
Pretty soon the sky was threateningly dark.
Rumbles of thunder could be heard.
Then the rain came, first blown from the east, then from the west. And then straight down.
First it rained, and then it poured, and then there were giant hail stones. Then it poured again.
And then the sun returned.
And so did the rain.
Then the sun.
Then the rain!
So, what does one do on those days?
Cross stitch of course.
Oh, my goodness, what a difference a wet weekend can make.
Look at the picture in the previous post for comparison. 
I even caught myself dreaming about what I might stitch next!
LOL, a bit early for that I think.
But it was nice to spend some serious time crafting.
I've had a think about things since my previous post and realised that the rhythm of my life has changed. A lot. 
Although I do still work shifts, they are very different from the 08.00 - 15.00 and 15,00 - 22.00 that I used to work. Waking at 04.30 am  and leaving the house at 5.00 is draining. Getting home before 14.00 sounds great, like I should have plenty of time to craft and sew, but in truth, I'm usually too tired. I can potter about and do housework, but the moment I try to slow down a little, maybe settle in my chair to sew, I fall asleep! I've tried to get into the sewing room too, but inevitably end up making a mistake. Unpicking, (sigh) is ok I suppose, but measuring and cutting errors........
I can and do go in there on days off work, but progress has slowed, to a stop!
Maybe it's that one at a timer streak I have. Perhaps once Sleepy is finished I'll get back into my wee room and finish a project in there!
Or maybe I won't!!
*It's a day off work again today.
My sewing room is not calling to me, but sleepy is.
So I shall potter about, do a few chores. Then sew for a while.
Before I potter and do some more chores.
Then sew for a while.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Bad Blogger!

Oh, my goodness, it has been such a long time since my last post.
I have done very little of anything crafty!
Tony and I spend a huge amount of our time in our garden now. The lawn has been stripped and replaced. It currently looks like moldy earth, hopefully it will continue to grow and by Christmas we will have a lawn again. 
In the green house the tomatoes, capsicum and chilli peppers are doing well. We didn't get any irrigation sorted out yet, so I'm out there morning and evening with the watering can.
 The veg gardens are amazing!
I can't keep up with the spinach and silverbeets. I've frozen loads and even given some away.
My second crop of brocolli is coming along nicely as is everything else.
I planted seeds saved from squash given to me by my father in law. They are going along great too.
 And of course I'm still discovering new plants on the property. We have done a whole year here now, but our efforts to tidy up have revealed new treasures and allowed other plants to thrive. 
Including the weeds!
Crafty wise, as I said I have done very little. I had planned to make some gifts, but simply don't have the energy. I did manage to get some cute ornaments made and an hour here and there to stitch on sleepy.
Progress is slow.

Monday 19 October 2015

I sewed!!

As I mentioned in previous posts, I have been making a little time to work on Sleeping Beauty.
Progress is slow, but satisfying. I think I'm almost at the half way point now. :-)
 Lots and lots of time is spent out in the garden. We have been working hard out there.
Like my cross stitch, it is slow progress, with a looooong way to go.
I have harvested my first crop of broccoli and have more planted, along with loads of other things.
The second veg bed is built and I have half of that planted and more seedlings are coming along.
I've harvested beets grown over winter in the green house and twice have taken lettuce leaves.
There will be more of those tonight.
Back to the sewing.
Saturday was a wet and stormy day.
We don't seem to get many of those, so I made the most of it and spent some time in my play room.
I cut and added the thin inner border to my Christmas Story quilt.
 Next I cut and sewed together the pieced outer border, before fusing the applique pieces into place.
I cheated a little when it came to the medallions, by fussy cutting them from a piece of Christmas fabric.
 I even found time to make a start of the blanket stitch.
Maybe I'll have time to do more of that today.
With the Christmas Story being so close to a finish, I have started to dream about what might be next.
I pulled out a beautiful batik kit that Tony bought for me, lots of tiny pieces waiting to be appliqued into place, that would be fun to do. But I think something quick and easy first. 

Monday 12 October 2015

Men at work.....

Need close attention!
Belle has been watching very closely as the guys are re-glazing house.
She has followed their every move.

Monday 5 October 2015

Changing of the guard.

It really was only a short time ago that I made this blog post about my long awaited quilt hanger.
But, as spring has most definitely sprung here.
I decided it was time for a change.

This quilt was made from a kit many years ago.
There are things I would do differently now and indeed since hanging it, I have started to plan some maintenance for it.
But for now, it is a beautiful summery greeting for anyone coming through my front door. 
I have been finding/making time to do a little cross stitch, but most of my spare time at the moment has been spent out in the garden.
Remember the cherry tree I showed in my last post?
For the last few days working under that has been wonderful. It keeps me shaded from the hot sun and, it is a great attraction for honey bees.
There are so many of them, and so much busy buzzing you could be mistaken for believing you were very close to a hive.

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Tilt your head to the right side please!

Before I start, two apologies.
It's been a while, I know, but as you will see here, I have been rather busy elsewhere.
And secondly.
 He took some of the following pictures and saved them, try as I might, I cannot get them to sit up nicely. Hence the need to tip your head to the right. 
It was a public holiday here in South Canterbury New Zealand yesterday. (Monday)
So the weekend was go, go, go in the garden.
I had a good tidy up and pulled plenty of weeds.
 And got to get up close and personal with some wonderful flora.
I love the Helebores or winter roses.
I knew them as Christmas roses back on the Isle of Man as they flower at midwinter/Christmas time.
 My crop of brassicas that have been in all winter are now starting to produce.
 My broccoli are tennis ball sized.
No sign of a tennis ball in the Cauliflower though.
And would you just look at this cherry tree.
Now for the sideways photos!
After the weeding it was time for planting.
In went the lemon tree.
 I have spent almost a year digging over and weeding this patch in preparation for planting. I was hoping to have some raised beds, but got impatient, so made up these little plots with timber reclaimed from another cleared area.
On Monday I finally put in plants.
Leeks, Spring onions, cauli, broccoli, beetroot and spinach.
 Another small bed will be going in this coming weekend, to the left of it. (Or the top in this picture!!)
Plenty of room for some tomatoes against the fence, some beans and some squash.
I'm really looking forward to harvesting my own home grown vegges.
 The planting trend continued in the greenhouse.
The beets at the end have been there all winter, in fact we harvested some yesterday and ate them with dinner. The flavour was not as strong as I expected. We were told today that beets grown in a green house are not as nice as those grown out doors.
Newly planted are tomatoes, capsicums, chillis, basil and a second batch of spring onions.
While I was pulling weeds, and putting in veggie plots, he was destroying.
There was a ratty old pergola here and a raised bed.
Now they are both gone. His next task will be to take out an old wooden arch and another small raised bed, in preparation for removing this daisy, dandelion and weed patch er turf and laying a lovely new lawn.
We're getting there!
One day we will have a lovely garden.
I'm discovering lots of new growth popping up all over the place, some of it I recognise and some is new to me. I'll share pictures as we move through the year.
Crafty wise I have been doing a little cross stitch, but not much else.
I have threads to bury on the white quilt I was using as a practice piece in my frame, before I practice on it some more.
I have plans and ideas and of course the Christmas quilt is still whispering to me......
I gifted the caramel stars quilt to a colleague.
She likes it and wondered how she would keep her dogs off it!
Time to go sit with my cross stitch.

Sunday 20 September 2015

Quilted and inspected.

 As you can see I put the border around the caramel stars.
 Then set about quilting it!!
 Love this square design. Very simple to do.
 I wasn't so sure about what I wanted to do in the border. I'm not overjoyed with the loop- de - loops.
But that was what I came up with.
I have to say, it's quite difficult to quilt when the inspector is lying on floor at one end of the frame.
I think maybe she was inspecting it from the underside.
Or maybe she just wanted to play?
Time to go bury thread ends, while I mull over the binding....

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Having Fun.

Well I've been a busy girl!!
My Caramel coloured quilt is almost a complete top. I just need to add a border, then quilt and bind.
Speaking of quilting...
I loaded this quilt into my frame the other day. It's one I finished many years ago
 I was pretty naive back them and made many mistakes. 
It was also a QAYG piece. Over the years the Dresden plates have started to come off, at times I have re attached some of them using various fancy stitches on my machine.
Some of the hand sewn seams in the back had also opened up. I have restitched them by hand.
The quilting was always very simple and basic. Echoing the shape of the plates and in the plain squares a very simple heart.
Well, I had fun playing on my frame.
Some of the plates now have the flowery pattern you see below, not perfect, but better than it was and less likely to fall off!!
 Some of the hearts now have a tight little meander and all of the back ground has a wider meander.
It's not finished yet, but I decided to take it off the frame and bury some threads before I go any further with it and it frees up the frame for my latest creation.
I learned a lot in the short time I had it on the frame and thoroughly enjoyed myself too.
 One of the things I learned is just how many bobbins a larger quilt will require.
 Belle kept a close eye on the bobbin winder for me.
I need a quick trip into town to buy more bobbins!!
It pays to have several all wound up and ready to go!
Then later today I get to play some more.