Thursday 29 January 2015

Two finishes.

I couldn't let January close without at least one finish!
And now I have two. The smaller of these two table runners was made on Tuesday, the larger one, underneath with the white border was started last year, way back before we moved house.
The top was complete, it just needed to e quilted and bound.
It feels good to get that finished.
I have a third Kiwiana here on my cutting board, well when I say quilt....
You know I mean a pile of fabrics and lots of good intentions right?
I went to see my niece yesterday, look what she did for me.
OK, so the flowers are just stickers, but very creative and artistic, the way she stuck them on!
I love them.
Did you go and see Debbies blog yet?
She has put up a second post, showing some of her recent makes.
She was thrilled with the comments she received on her first post, thank you everyone who stopped to say hello.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

An almost finish

Cut, pieced, quilted and almost bound, all in a couple of hours!
What a happy little quilt. I'm delighted with it.
My back is feeling much stronger and I felt able to sit and sew today. I did all of the work here in my wee room, even the cutting, here on this table.
I'm still a little stiff and I need to continue to be careful, but I enjoyed my sewing time today.
Each time I walked out to the ironing board in the hall I could feel things loosening up.
Time now for a change of seats and a little hand stitching as I close the binding and add a label.
I have another Kiwiana table topper that still needs to be layered, quilted and bound, maybe that could be a task for tomorrow?
Did you visit my blog yesterday?
Possibly not, I haven't been posting much of late and you could be forgiven for looking in only once a week!
Well yesterday I told all about my pal Debbie and her new blog.
As you know Debbie is my new friend here in Timaru. She is a very clever lady. Life, family and work got in the way of her crafting and sewing endeavours, but our meeting has re awoken her talents. She has produced some lovely items and has a few UFOs which I'm encouraging her to finish, as well as leading her very easily along the path to true addiction!
Her stash is growing, as is her shopping list and the list of 'one day' projects!
Go along a visit Debbie, make her feel welcome to the land of blog.

Monday 26 January 2015

A new blogger!

You have all read in recent posts about my new pal Debbie haven't you? She is the lady who is sewing along with me on A Christmas Story.
Please go along and visit her and make her feel welcome.
Leave a comment and let her know what you would like to see on her blog.
Debbie is very crafty and has made all manner of things on her sewing machine over the last few months, I seem to have re awoken some of her talents which had lain dormant while family life and work commitments took over for a few years.
Welcome to the world of blogging Debbie. 

As you know life is also getting in the way of my own crafting endeavours at the moment too!
My back has made improvements though. The lightening strikes are fewer now. We had our weekly get together on Saturday and I must admit to drinking more than two very large barcardis!! I could feel my back loosening up as the evening wore on and had to remind myself to be careful.
On Sunday morning I lay in bed wondering if I would be able to move. In the end I could put it off no longer and had a try.
That was easier than it has been of late!
I wandered about the house for a while.
Oh my goodness, could this be true?
A favorite perch at the moment is here! To allow the sun to shine on my back and warm it. Lovely.
I was even able to help out some in the garden! The reclamation of a very much overgrown and neglected garden continues.
The silver pear tree in the picture below was our first target yesterday. It is sadly now gone. I may find a spot for a replacement, but that is a long way off, plenty more reclaiming to do, before we begin replanting.
Next to go was another tree on the North side of the house, it was crowding out this beauty. I'm not entirely sure what this tree is, It has very pretty variegated leaves and a lovely shape. There is also a variegated sycamore/maple leaved tree in this photo too, it was also overcrowded by the now chopped down culprit.
Try as I might, I just cannot get a good picture of this spot this morning, maybe on another less bright day?
After I had downed tools in order to go to work, Mother and Father in law turned up again. Things really got going. Tony and his Dad pulled out the stumps of the two trees while his mother set to having a good tidy up of the beds along the North side.
Sadly one or two items I had hoped to keep are now gone and one or two items that I planned to chop are still here! 
This pink creeper is gone. Shame, it is pretty.
Work will continue!
So, am I paying today for a weekend of fun and hard work?
Not really no. Yes my back is still sore, but it really is vastly improved on this time last week. I'm off to see the chiropractor again today before I go in for an extra shift at work.
Fingers crossed for a continued speedy recovery.
While I was poking about looking for photos hoping to find some 'before' shots of the garden, I came across this one and remembered that I hadn't shown my quilt inspectors since they were unboxed here at our new place.
They may or may not be staying in this spot in the corner of my room, we'll have to wait and see.
Hmm, my room, I did ask for help with naming this here room didn't I?
I even hinted that there may be goodies in it for one lucky commenter.
I haven't forgotten, I just didn't feel up to creating anything yet.
I'll get to it.
So if you're interested, comments here please.
Oh, my goodness, that was over a month ago!!

Friday 23 January 2015

Creaking along!

Thank you to everyone who has sent healing thoughts and get well wishes.
I do appreciate all of your comments.
I'm getting there, slowly, very slowly. Too slowly! LOL
The chiropractor says she is happy that I went to see her as soon as I did, rather than leave things any longer.She is also pleased that I intend to try to keep on working, (something that would have been impossible in previous jobs) I just hope my colleagues are as supportive while I work my way through this. 
As well as continuing slowly at work, I'm also still doing things here at home too, albeit at a reduced pace. 
On Tuesday after posting here I did as I suggested and took all that I needed through to the kitchen and worked on the higher surface in there. I think I possibly spent a little too much time on my feet, but just look at what I achieved.
The first blocks of A Christmas Story are all ready for sewing. I even got on my wee scooter and scooted off to Sandy's to get threads for machine appliqué.
I don't think I'm quite ready to sit at the machine yet though.
Soon hopefully.
So far, today is a good day. I managed to rumble out of bed without the lightening strikes in my back!
I pottered about getting a cuppa and basking my poor back in the warming morning sun.
Then after a very long and HOT shower, I was able to continue slowly with the usual routine of dressing me and the bed still with no lightening strikes. (Have you ever had a trapped nerve? I think lightening strikes is the best way to describe the intense tweaks of pain that come amid the dull aches and burning that is all the surrounding muscle tissues trying to cope with what is going on) Then I pottered on outside to see what my little garden is doing. The tomatoes are huge, they are taking over the sunny back porch, so I tidied them a little, trimming a few leaves that are being brushed by the doors. I watered them, then went outside to see my beans.
Oh I know, it's only half a dozen, but they are my beans, I grew them.
Hopefully this time next year I'll have a proper little veggie garden and be able to grow more than a few beans.
I know I have told Tony this and friends and family, but have I mentioned to you just how much I love this life that I'm building here in New Zealand?
Time to move, I've sat here for too long and can feel things seizing up!

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Can't sew, will stash!

That pinched nerve in my back means that I still can't sew, it's too uncomfortable.
All the upping and downing from the sewing machine to the design floor to the work table and back to the machine is just too painful.
I can stash though! 
Yesterday I called in at Sandy's. Each time they get a new batch of scraps in they sort through them and put the foody pieces aside for me.
 This time I got cupcakes and oranges. Yum!
There is also a fat quarter of cheese!
While I was at the shop there was a particularly heavy rain shower, so I stayed put for a while chatting with Claire, while I chatted I browsed and I came across these pretty charm packs.
They are quite low volume and very very pretty. As there are only 25 pieces per pack I just had to have two packs. You know how it is.
I have a series of stitchery patterns that I collected some years ago, they will adapt beautifully to these colours. Now I just have to kit it up and move it up the list.
Not that I don't have plenty to do already. I still didn't finish the Batik chain quilt or even make a start on my Christmas story BOM that I'm doing with Debs. So glad we agreed on taking to the end of Feb to finish the first block! Deb has all of her appliqué pieces prepared and is ready to stitch them, she is dithering about hand or machine stitching, but after chatting with staff at the bernina centre in Ashburton on Monday. I think she has settled on machine.
I'm really not sure what to do with myself today. Yesterday morning I had to get about and do a few things and my back was OKish.In fact it seemed to ease a little. Later in the day I found a comfy spot and rested, which didn't help, it seized up and it was excruciating when it came time to move and remained so throughout the evening. Today I need to just keep on with the gentle moving I think. I'm just unsure at this time what exactly that will entail. I did think about starting the day with a walk, but it doesn't look very nice out there. If the table in my sewing room was just a wee bit taller I could happily potter in here, perhaps cutting and preparing the Christmas story pieces, but alas it is a just the wrong height. Maybe I'll move the cutting mat onto the kitchen worktop?
I'll get my gentle walk in tripping to and from the ironing board, which is set up pretty tall from yesterday, as I couldn't manage to take it down.
What ever I do, it's time to get out of this chair!

Tuesday 20 January 2015

A girly day out.

Yesterday Debs and I headed out for the day. We visited three different quilty stores.
First stop was Annies Country Quilts in Ashburton. I have visited several times but this was a first for Debbie. I picked up a few bits and pieces, well most of what you see here in this photo. Debbies pile was much larger! 
After that we went on to the Bernina center also in Ashburton. That was a first for both of us. It is also where I found the red quilt hanger in the photo.
The last stop was a chance find.
Material Time used to be in a building we would not have seen, but is currently in a temporary home and we spotted it just by chance and had to stop and call in.
They had a great selection of fabrics and we will be making a return visit. 
It was a lovely day out, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Work in the garden continues. Tony and his dad have managed to pull out a good sized tree stump.  
The front garden is slowly clearing.
I have a pinched nerve in my back, which is preventing me from doing the things I want to do, like sewing! But I am enjoying the rest and doing a lot of reading.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Patchy progress

Very slow progress I have to say. It took two sessions to get just 16 blocks made into two thirds of a top!
I seem to remember thinking as I made the blocks that the jelly roll wasn't a very good one and I needed to slow down and pay more attention to what was going on. I wish now I had listened to myself. I might have less tweaking and tidying up to do now!
I got fed up wrestling with the batiks yesterday and spent the afternoon cross stitching with sleepy. 
No such frustrations there, she was a dream to spend time with.
Sadly no sewing time today, I spent the morning doing chores and writing a letter. There are still one or two quick jobs to do, then off to work.

Monday 12 January 2015

A Tale of Four Projects!

First up, one you have all seen before.
Sleepy has slumbered quietly pretty much since we moved in here, just over a month ago!
I did get to spend two brief afternoons with her over the holidays and hope to find more time for her soon. I'm still working on the first page of six. 
The next project is from Anni Downs book, a Christmas Story.
I'll be working away slowly at this one during the year as Debs and I planned a block a month project.
Following the block system in the book.
Block one is in the top left of the picture below. So, the Partridge, the Angel Choir, the three baubles and the candle holder. Along with all the little joining/sashing squares.
 Debs is waaaay ahead of me and has all the appliqué prepared and ready for stitching!
Our fabric selection has needed a bit of tweaking. We shared a fat quarter bundle of neutrals for the back grounds.
 And a fat eighth bundle for the images 
 And we have both added other elements from our stash.
 And our scrap bins!
 Although our projects are the same pattern and use pretty much the same fabric collections, there will be differences. 
It will be fun to work on a project together. I just need to find the time to get on with it.
Of course I've had time to shop!
I've been back in to Sandys quilt shop and found some more foody fabrics, for my third project. This one is still very much in the plan and collect stage! The plan changes almost weekly and the collection is growing slowly.
Chocolate, coffee and a bountiful harvest! 
My batik quilt remains as you saw it last, all spread out on the floor behind me here!
Maybe now that Tony has gone back to work, I'll find more time for some stitchy pursuits.
I still have two weeks of extra shifts to get through, before I go back to my normal shifts, I have to say, I'm looking forward to that.
Two hours before I have to get ready to go into work today. What can I get up to?

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Creativity and destruction.

The batik chain is still lying spread out on my floor, however, I have whittled away half of the blocks and played around with those that remain.
I'm happy at last with placement and just need to neaten them and get them stitched together.
Not too sure when I'll get time for that, but hopefully soon.
I finally remembered where the photos were, that showed more of my Christmas gains!
Still on the SD card!
My pal Maxine is South Australia sent me this collection of kits and patterns for Christmas.
My Hunney not only bought me the quilting frame, he also picked out a kit for me.
 I wonder if it will be stitched before next Christmas?
I've been spending a few pennies here and there over the last few months and have collected together some rather delicious looking fabrics.
Fruits and Veggies. Yum.
Some are fat quarters and some are off cuts.
I have a plan......
Speaking of edibles, when we first moved in, Mother and Father in law gifted two tomato plants to me. I opted to keep them in our side porch rather than outside.
 That seems to have been the correct decision as they are growing like mad, there is plenty of greenery and flowers and even a few fruits appearing too.
 Another gift also from the in laws is this beginners herb garden. I plan to expand on this, but need to do plenty more clearing out before that plan can take shape.
 And beside the herbs, another gift, I don't recall the name of this bush, Tony's mum says it will attract Monarch butterflies as they like to eat the nectar.
Oh good!
 More edibles, my beans are also producing!
Hopefully it will be worth waiting all that time for them to germinate.
Well, that's all the creation, now for the destruction!
While I was at work the other day, Tony and his folks got stuck into the back garden.
This huge pile filled two trailers to be carted away.
But under the trees at the back of the property now looks so much better. There is still a lot of work to do and they only managed one half.

 The other side, beyond the gravel (Where we plan to put in a green house and a raised bed) has not even been touched yet.
See why I have so little time for sewing?

Sunday 4 January 2015

The week that was!

Phew! Time to sit and rest!
I intended to get back to my blog before now, I have so much to show and tell, but we have had such a busy week!
As you know I scooped up a bunch of extra shifts over the holidays, (There are plenty more of those in the next couple of weeks too) and we have had more gatherings and get togethers with special people. It's been wonderful.
I think Joe is enjoying the new lifestyle too!
 As well as all the working and partying we have been busy in the garden. Remember how overgrown it is? 

Especially around the sewing room window?

 I didn't ask him to start here, he just decided.
 An hour made a huge difference.
I went off to work shortly after taking these photos.
But the Mr kept on going.
 By the time I got home after an early shift the following day there were more huge changes.
 Look, you can see my window!
You can see all the way down the drive!
Tonys Dad came along with his truck to cart everything away to the green tip, where it will be mulched and composted. There were two loads, and that is just one small area of the garden partially tidied!
 There is still a lot of work to do, we have more to dig out on the other side of the tree and several big stumps and roots to remove, before we lay a new path, install a flag staff and replant.
A job I couldn't help with was the cleaning of the gutters and soffits. Bruce came to help with that one. The two of them took seven hours taking turns, scooting up and down the ladder to clean everything. They said it hadn't been done for a long time. Lots of things were growing up there.
 We are so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful, loving and helpful people.
Speaking of lovely people. Debbie and I have gotten together and planned a sew along. 
We both want to do 'My favourite things' by Anni Downs, but Debs particularly asked if we could do the Christmas Story quilt first. 
No problem. 
She went online and sourced the fabrics, we ordered a lovely fat quarter bundle which we plan to share, then we will stitch a block a month.
Hopefully by the time we finish it, we will both have had a chance to get in plenty of practice on my new quilting frame and feel ready to tackle something special!
So, while I'm on the subject of quilts and quilting.
Do you remember this one? I have posted it before, it was in a similar state at the time. Spread out all over a floor back on the Isle of Man! Well I spread it out here about a week ago.
I let it soak for a day or two here then a plan formed.
Instead of making a quilt that is too big to go in the frame, I thought I might make it in two halves then join them. But then had another think and decided on a smaller quilt for now. At first it was to be double sided, with both sides the same, then that plan changed too. So now only half of the blocks are currently on the floor, the other half went back into the box. Hopefully some time soon I will get a chance to finish squaring these up and get them put together, then I just have to make up a back.
All of which of course will lead to having to watch the instructional video and read the manual that came with the quilting frame, and actually getting on with it!!
I must admit to being a little nervous about using it!