Monday 30 April 2018

A wet Weekend.

Means a stitchy weekend.
There are jobs that Tony and I need to do in the garden, but they had to wait, as it was a very wet weekend, with over 4 inches of rain on Saturday alone.
So aside from a few domestic chores, there really wasn't much else to distract me from my stitching. 
I have tried over the last week to find a solution to my thread issue with the elephants, and eventually I put an appeal on a cross stitch page on facebook. Several people have offered to send me their old grey brown thread. Many assured me it was the old thread as it was their mothers or even grand mothers collection. What a wonderful caring sharing community we crafters are. Hopefully it will be here soon and \I can complete the picture for Debbie.
Meanwhile, I have spent the weekend working on my own project Spring Queen.
This first photo is the last progress shot I took before putting her away just before Christmas.
On Friday and Saturday I made quite a bit of progress on the right side of her dress.
It is difficult to see as the yellow is so pale and the need for camera flash washed it out.
And on Sunday I concentrated on the left side.
 The inspector/ supervisor takes her job very seriously, she sat up there behind me for most of the weekend and is in fact sat there right now, she knows I'll be in that seat soon.
But not just yet, although not as bad as it has been, the weather is still cool and wet, it is most definitely comfort food weather, so I have a pan of veg soup on the stove, and I made a start on a pie for tonight's dinner just a few dishes to wash before I settle to my stitching.
 And a testament to the cooler weather, our cherry trees are changing colour.
Next dry day we get I'll have to go out and rake up the leaves. They make a great mulch for the veg gardens.

Monday 23 April 2018

Produce and pachyderms.

Lets start with the garden this time. Below you see this weeks pickings. I thought there were just a couple of small courgette still out there and that they may not do much. When I went out on Saturday to pick them for the kitchen, I moved a leaf aside to get at one of them, I found this monster! LOL
As you can see the green house is still going too!  All of the red came from there.
We're starting to get frosts now, so things really will slow down.
Oh yes, all of this produce is on the inch side of my cutting mat.
On a crafty note, I have spent some time working on Debbie's Elephants. Though not quite as much as I would have liked. Anyway, I did remember to unroll it and get a photo of progress.
Above is where it was at on Wednesday morning.
And this morning it looks like this.
Here is why I didn't stitch as much as I would have liked.
I ran out of one of the grey/brown threads for the elephants.
 Debbie admits this project might be pre children, so possibly about twenty years old then....
Uh oh!
It's a grey green now!!
A dig through my stash revealed that I have the green toned thread.
A visit to the shop was no real help.....
I still have three elephants to stitch.
Green elephants?
I did a bit more investigating and I found a slightly darker grey brown in my collection and one of the newest DMC colours at the shop seemed to be just a little lighter,.....
So today, once the domestics are done, I'll experiment a little and see how things look, hopefully I'll come up with something pretty damn close.
I was enjoying working on this piece and hope to find that pleasure again.
Anzac day is near. 
Let's not forget

Monday 16 April 2018

Time for a change.

As you walk through my front door, there is the perfect spot at the end of the hall, just made for hanging quilts. You may remember, I persuaded himself to put up a curtain pole for me, so that I could do just that. Since Christmas, Spring Sprouts has been greeting visitors.
But the other day I decided it was time for a change, I'm not ready for anything wintry yet, so out came my itty bitty quilt. I'm not sure how long it will last. It is a rather wobbly wavery quilt, and all that wavering annoys me. But I do like the colours and seeing all those tiny bits of fabric.
Speaking of wintry, the weather has taken a cool turn this last week and someone has discovered the warmest place in the house!
For those who don't recognise it, that white box on the wall is a heater. And the black box was my aerobics step!! Now, it has become Belles booster step, it is just the right height for her to stretch out on and lie in the warm air that blows out of the vent at the bottom of the heater. She even puts her paws and her nose inside the vent!!
I wouldn't mind the life of a cat.
And staying with the keeping warm theme, Tony and I were invited to a 'pot luck' night at the weekend. More specifically a curried pot luck. Yum.
So how do you get your pot luck to your friends house without it cooling down too much?
In a casserole cosy of course.
I've wanted to make one for a while, and this gave me the perfect excuse.
Coordinating fabrics, some velcro and the very last piece of insulbright in the store.
And there you have it. One very cosy casserole.
 Oh! And an order for two more please. The hostess and one of the other ladies who attended were delighted by it and want their very own!
I forgot to take a picture of it, but I also took along a wee table runner for the hostess. I used scraps of my fruit and veg fabrics. 
Also last week I finished off the second farmyard quilt. Claire runs a craft stall at the local farmers market and also at some of the larger swap meets in the area. She has asked Debbie and I if we would like to help stock her stall. These will be going along to the next one.
Over the weekend I have been busy cross stitching again, working away on the elephant design that Debbie asked me to finish. No photo sorry. It's all rolled up as it is such a long thin design, maybe next time I need to move things along, I might remember to unroll and take a progress picture. 
In garden news, I think the beans have finally given up! There were only three when I looked yesterday. The courgettes also seemed to have given up. There are three tiny fruit there too, but I'm not sure if they will develop any further, the cooler weather is finally taking it's toll.
In the green house the peppers are still slowly changing to a red colour, but much slower than a few weeks ago. Many of the leaves are yellowing and falling off. Almost time I think to strip out what is left and get it into the freezer.
Here is yesterdays offerings.
They are slowing down, but only a little.
In an effort to use and preserve some of those wee red devils, last week I turned to the WWW and found a recipe for 'Evil Chilli Chutney'. I put two dozen habanero chilli into it, along with a mixture of the others, just enough to make it up to the 450g the recipe called for. 
We took a jar along to the curry pot luck. 
Tony says it is milder than he thought it would be.
I won't be trying it.
Right, a day off work, with the house all to myself.
Domestics, then elephants methinks!

Monday 9 April 2018

Aaaand it's finished!

The little foundation pieced Christmas tree I showed in my last post, got it's day on the frame yesterday.  I was dithering about how to quilt it then I saw a video on facebook. I follow Leeanne (Quiltmekiwi) on both blogger and facebook and the other day she was kind enough to share a wee video in which she was quilting a Christmas tree on her longarm. You can see that very same tree in the link above. I was inspired. and set about having a go myself. My machine is not a long arm and I had to quilt the tree in two sides.  I didn't think of loading it on to the frame the way you see it here until after I took it off the frame to do some un quilting, when I reloaded it, I decided to work this way. Loading the quilt this way meant a lot of stopping and rolling on every few inches, but the top lay much nicer loaded this way. When I had it loaded lengthwise on the frame I had issues which caused the un quilting.  Lessons learned.
 My companion was with me throughout. How on earth does she sleep there, with all the noise and vibration of the machine?
As you can see below, I backed this piece in beautiful bright yellow fabric. LOL It's a piece of bed sheet, which shows up all the quilting, good and bad. Yes there are some very wobbly wobbles in there. Some were intended, but some were not.
For the tree itself, inspired by Leeanne I quilted another tree! with two or three branches inside each actual branch, if that makes sense? 
The skirt is made up of 7 -8 pieces of red, so I endeavoured to quilt a wobbly line around each of them, in the creamy white background I had a go at a stipple with the odd star thrown in and the green border got the border treatment you see below.
It's finished.
 The final act, while the beef was roasting in the oven was to close the binding and add a hanging sleeve. Now I just need to find the right frame to hang it on, then make or find ornaments.
I'm not sure what I'll be playing with today, but first a turn around the garden to see what the weekends warm weather has produced. 
I gave Debbie a huge bag of beans the other day, but I'm sure there are more now. they hide you know, among the leaves, you think you have them all, then the next day you spot ten inch long monster beans! LOL

Friday 6 April 2018

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

Admit it, you were singing along, weren't you?
Well I wasn't! This little quilt is foundation pieced, and aside from some tiny pieces in my bitty row quilt last year, the only foundation piecing I have done so far, and it didn't go well!
There were a few sweary moments before I managed to get it to this stage. I was ready to throw it into a box and forget about it at one point, so I walked away and was able to pick it up again the next day. I continued to have issues, but it is complete and as I was sewing on the borders, I found myself enjoying the project again. I still need to quilt it and make some ornaments, but it is done.
If I can make a decision on how I actually want to do it, I'll quilt it later today. Or maybe it will hang there and wait awhile, til I make my mind up! LOL
I mentioned a couple of posts back, that there had been a girls day out, and shopping had taken place.
I had made up a wee pouch kit that I had bought.
This was the other big treasure of the day.
 The Story of My Day. 
An Anni Downs book.
I'm a sucker for Anni's designs and her quirky style and comments.
 Like most of her books there is a large project and many smaller ones made up of the elements in the large one.
The pattern calls for 17 fat eighths of fabric, but I'm sure this one could be made from scraps.
 Although such tiny amounts wouldn't make much of an impression in my scrap bucket.
Almost time for me to go and play, but first, for the non Kiwi readers, this is the flesh of a black boy peach. Isn't it a lovely colour?
My roasted chutney is a very dark purple almost black colour and I was right, it tastes great with cheese.
OK, cuppa tea, then it's play time.

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Smell o vision....!

I wish there was such a thing! My home smells beautiful this morning.
I traded some of my habanero chillies and some other assorted goodies from my garden, for a bag of black boy peaches. And right now, this recipe is in my oven.
It smells divine. I have made a similar recipe a couple of years ago, but cannot find it. This one smells better. I'm sure it will be amazing with cheese.
It's going to need another hour in the oven, so time to show off my latest finish.
I made this bag on Monday, the final day of our extra long weekend.
I've had the kit since we went to Auckland, just over a year ago! LOL
It does have handles, honest! I was just struggling to find the correct light by the time I was finished with it. One room was too dark, and another too bright. 
It's a nice easy pattern and I'll probably use it again.
The Bon Voyage Bag from Cushlas in Devonport Auckland. 
It's a lovely roomy bag at 18' square with an internal pocket and button closure.
In garden news.
 I'm still picking beans!!
And peppers in all sizes, colours and scoville ratings.
Oh! I gave away two more courgette!
But two more are almost ready to come off the plant. LOL
They are getting smaller and slower though.
Time to stir my chutney, then peg out the washing.
Have a great day.

Sunday 1 April 2018

Easter weekend

I had to work on Friday, but as it was a public holiday, we didn't have to start until 6.45 am, which is a nice change from 05.15 am! LOL I had planned to do some sewing in the afternoon, and made a start on this wee pouch. It was a kit I purchased on our girls day out on Wednesday. It was of course not the only thing I purchased, but in true Loulee style, I forgot to get photos. LOL
Any way, I finished off the pouch today, after spending most of yesterday in the garden. The Easter bunny called while I was closing up the binding. :-)
So after a cuppa and some chocolate, I got on with another quick project. This farmyard panel came to me in a fabric bundle, purchased from the internet. You know how it goes, some are hits and some are misses. This one was a mixed bag. The piece of fabric was big enough to make two wee cot size quilts and there are off cuts, which I did consider putting into the binding.  
That didn't happen. 
This one is very simply quilted, echoing the straight lines of the squares, both inside and outside. It is backed with a piece of off white homespun, which I also used for binding. The batting layer is a piece of off white fleece. The second quilt will be finished in exactly the same way, just as soon as I get my hands on some more homespun.  
Two finishes for today, not bad.
But I wasn't done yet. 
Some time ago, Maria and I exchanged emails discussing all those little triangles we save when we make flying geese and HSTs. What do you do with them? How can they be used?
I hinted at making something with them a little while ago, but as the colourful corners are usually done stitch and flip style, and I had ready cut corners, which would have made things a little tricky, it all got put away, while I had a think about it. Then, when I was doing the applique on the wee pouch, inspiration struck. Why don't I applique the triangles onto the corners?
 So today, out they came, all my beautiful wee scraps of batik fabrics.
 And out came a packet of the cafe au lait charm square fabrics, which have been stashed away in the drawer for quite a few years.
 I told my sewing machine I wanted a blanket stitch and pressed my wee triangles as some of them were a bit untidy, and this happened.
There were some triangles left....
So out came another packet of Cafe au lait and I made some more.
Now I'm trying to decide if I want to make a quilt, or some market tote bags?
What do you think?
I have two more packets of charms, but I'm out of triangles and would have to make more. Not a problem as I have plenty of tiny scraps of batik fabric. I find it very difficult to throw batiks away, even the tiniest pieces are saved. LOL
In garden news... 
The courgettes are still yielding fruit!! I picked four yesterday and was congratulating myself after giving two of them away to a neighbour, when I spotted another hiding amid the leaves! So including the two that were already sat in the fridge, I now have five courgette sitting awaiting my attention. And there are more out there, getting bigger by the hour!!
The climbing beans are still producing a good handful every couple of days and we seem to be having beans with almost every meal. 
The lawns need another cut and we plan to spread some of the clippings onto the cleared out veg beds, along with some well mulched leaves which I collected this time last year. 
The peppers and chilli in the green house are still changing colour, and like the beans, each visit yields at least a handful of colourful fruits and after a warmer day, a bowlful!
Yesterday I spent an age chopping habanero chilli ready for the freezer. Then I nearly choked on the fumes as the hot soapy water got to work on the oils they had released. 
Well that's my news. We have another public holiday here tomorrow, and Monday is my day off anyway, so I plan to sew some more.
I hope you are making the most of the long weekend.