Sunday 31 May 2020

When plans go awry!

As I mentioned in my last post, this is a long weekend here in NZ. I had all sorts of wonderful fun planned. I was going to do sew much.
Then Mr H suggested a day out yesterday, so not much happened yesterday. Well, apart from the acquisitions I told you about in yesterdays post! LOL
Today I told myself I was going to play all day in my room, add some of those finishing touches to the flip flop scraps I keep teasing about, maybe do some more to Kaffetastic......
Then a good friend called and said hey Lou, I have empty jars, do you need them?
Well of course I always need empty jars! I'm still picking chilli from the greenhouse!
So I packed up a few full jars and we hopped into my car.
We spent a wonderful hour or so catching up with our friends, it was lovely, we sat around, had a cuppa and a chat. Then came away with a huge box of empties and a bottle of wine.
Once we were home and lunch had been cooked and eaten, I fiddled for a while in my room. I sewed together some Kaffe blocks, but wasn't really settled.
Eventually I sat down in my armchair and after a quick trip around my bookmarks in the WWW I settled to cross stitch.
I'm still working on Spring Queens bouquet. If you remember I said it was fiddly with lots of colour changes. This is where I left it last time I worked on her.
My companion was very well settled in.
She joined me again today, perched up in the sunshine on the back of my chair.
I carried on working on the bouquet and managed to get quite a lot done.
At some point the afternoon light fell away and Tony pulled the curtains behind me.
Belle was still sat up on the back of the seat. She must have thought I was cold and loaned me her fur boa.
Kept warm in her loving embrace I carried on stitching into the evening.
Taking a break to cook and eat a quick dinner.
That bottle of wine Tony opened for me was calling though and I stopped here at about 9pm.
 I have about two thirds of the bouquet done now, there is still an error somewhere over on the left.
I've ripped it out three times and restitched. I cannot figure out what I've done, or where the error is, I'll just have to live with it.
If you're wondering...
All those tiny white spots in the sash and ribbons will be filled with a gold metallic thread.
I'm off for a well deserved glass of vino and to contemplate what I might do on a public holiday tomorrow.
I know I do need to make a Louise cake and deal with a bunch of Chilli, now I have jars!
Someone traded us a box of our wildfire, for a box of reaper!!
Might leave those to him. I don't mind a bit of heat, but our wildfires are about my limit.

Saturday 30 May 2020

Life is getting in the way again!

Life and work seem to be getting in the way again.
But I still managed to get in those vital few minutes in the mornings.
 A minimum of 15 minutes each day before hopping into my car and heading off to work, has produced a whole colourful bunch of Kaffetastic blocks.
I may get a start on sewing them together over the holiday weekend. Monday is a holiday here in NZ.
Tony and I started our weekend with a trip out!
Our first in what feels like a very long time, though I'm sure it wasn't that long really. LOL
We drove through to Geraldine and walked along the street in the sunshine, to The Pin Tin. Where he helped me to chose the right fabric to bind my Frivol quilt.
After a visit to the butcher and the cheese shop, it was time to get back into the car and head further inland and climb into the foot hills. If I was a better blogger, like my pal Janice, I would have lots of lovely pictures of interesting properties and autumnal scenes along the way. The trees were beautiful copper and gold colours, but alas no photos sorry, you will have to take my word for it that it really was a lovely day.
Next stop Fairlie. Tony had hoped to get a pie at the famous Fairlie bakehouse. The queue was out of the door and along the street, for quite some distance. We opted instead for a quiet little deli bar around the corner. We sat on the balcony in the autumn sunshine to eat our lunch. 
 While we were in town, I visited a store that was new to me. Pollys patchwork.
What a pretty store.
Of course I had to make a purchase.
Two mini charm packs and matching fat quarters came home with me.
 (Table runners I think......maybe)
And a cute wee bookmark kit to cross stitch. 
On the drive home we passed by the home of a chap who used to work with Tony. We called in to say hello and I discovered that his wife is another quilter.
There was a very quick show and tell. I wish I'd thought to take photos.
Oh my goodness, her quilts are lovely.
Here is one I stole from her Facebook page.
And all quilted on a small machine with a 6.5 inch throat!!
She doesn't have even a small stash, so had to use her scraps during lockdown.
What a very clever lady....
I think we'll be keeping in touch. 
My cross stitch has made just a very small amount of progress this week.
Likewise my crochet.
No tripping about tomorrow.
Tomorrow is for sewing.
Tony did hint that maybe he could be persuaded to go for another drive on Monday if that's what I might like....
Hmmmm, maybe, or maybe I'll sew....
He also put in a request for a Louise cake....

Monday 25 May 2020

Slow Progress

Progress has slowed somewhat recently.
I have been very good at ensuring I get in my 15 mins before work each day, but it seems that is all I have been managing.
Thank you Kate, for urging us on and encouraging us to do that little bit each day.
 As you can see from these photos....
 Most of my minimal crafting time has been spent on my Kaffetastic quilt top.
 With three sets of blocks completed and a fourth ready to go.
That's not all I have done though. I made three tiny crochet squares. LOL
I didn't know if there was a sew along on Friday or not, but sat for an hour with my cross stitch for a while. Not much progress though as I have reached another one of those areas with lots of different colours and only a few stitches in each. All that changing of threads really is time consuming.
I have also finished closing the binding on the flip flop scraps quilt, but following a discussion with Tony, we have decided it needs something more....
I went to the shop on the way home from work today.
I actually walked in to a bricks and mortar store!
I got to look at and touch real fabric, not just pictures and was even allowed to carry it to the cutting table! (Sigh) LOL
So watch out for more about the Flip Flops soon...
And finally, we have a regular visitor to our deck.
I believe I have shown photos of Noah previously.
He's such a handsome boy and very sociable.
But I couldn't resist experimenting the other day and popped a box out there.
Obliging as well as sociable. LOL
I'm off to play with my cross stitch. All those fiddly thread changes won't go away, so I should just get on with it. 
How did your week and weekend go?
Did you sew or craft for 15 mins each day??

Monday 18 May 2020

All in a bind.

I have managed to stitch a minimum of 15 minutes each day this passed week and have thoroughly enjoyed every stitch. I plan to join in again this week, aiming to do at least 15 minutes before work each day. I get so much out of it.
Go here to Kate's blog see who else is squeezing in 15 minutes of crafting each day, and also to join in the fun. 
I got in my 15 minutes before work this morning, but not piecing some more of the Kaffetastic quilt as planned. 
Instead I was closing the binding on the Flip Flop Scraps quilt.
The courier delivered my thread on Saturday just after lunch time. Unfortunately I had kitchen stuff to do, so couldn't play until Sunday morning.
It was a beautifully sunny Sunday and it seemed to take very little time to finish the quilting on this very large quilt.
I even managed to talk Tony into having a go.
He was very nervous at first, convinced he would mess it up, but with a little persuasion he decided that maybe he would write his name. 
And here it is.
 No, he didn't mess up the quilt or spoil it in anyway. I'm tickled that he had a go. I had quilted both of our names into it already, and added them again later. 
Then it was time to bind.  I had it ready made and was hoping there would be enough as I hadn't done any measuring or real math, just a quick, 'two and a bit lengths per end, plus maybe three for each side?
She'll be right!!!
 I set off sewing. You know how heavy a big quilt can be?
I had it all bunched up on the armchair beside my table to stop it from pulling on the needle and someone thought it looked comfortable.
 She must have seen my 'try it if you dare' look, because after several turns around, and longing looks at the quilt, she eventually settled for the blanket on the back of the chair! LOL
While she was turning and settling, I was sewing and sewing and delighted to discover that I had the perfect amount of binding. Look, here is the off cut.
Pretty damn good. 
Restrictions and social distancing rules have eased a lot here in NZ and we had been invited to Debbies for a potluck dinner, so I didn't have time to close the binding, but I did bury a few threads and after some preparations to my contribution to dinner, off we went. I took the quilt with me and did manage to get in a little sewing while we chatted and caught up.
Although we have kept on touch electronically and on the phone, it's really not the same as being in the same room and of course seeing each others projects in person is much better too.
Debbie has made a beautiful quilt top, using Kaffe fabrics. 
 These pictures really don't show how much it glows.
Stunning. I want to make one!
I think I may be becoming a Kaffe convert. LOL
We are planning a wee trip to visit Cathy at the quilting shed, but didn't set a date or make an appointment yet. Debbie needs more fabrics to complete a second top. One each for the twin beds in her spare room. 
Well, that's my happy news, how did your weekend go?
I'm off to pop some dinner into the oven, then it's on with the binding.

Saturday 16 May 2020

Another Friday Night!

That's three Fridays in a row! I am getting good.
I spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening busy stitching on Spring Queen. and made lots of happy progress. This first picture is where I left her the night before, all ready to add her left arm and her flowers.
 During the afternoon I made good progress adding her arm and a pretty sleeve.
 After a break for dinner I was able to get in another  two hours and did a little work on the edge of the bouquet, most noticeably that big green leaf. I also did a little more work in her bodice, just filling in a few stitches here and there. It was slower going as I had a few colours that only required 5 or 6 stitches. All that stopping and starting and changing threads takes up a lot more time than the larger area in two colours on her arm.
In spite of all the chopping and changing I'm really pleased with my efforts and will hopefully get back to her later today.
So that was my Friday (Afternoon) Night Sew In.
To see who else joined in and what they achieved have a look here.
Queenie wasn't the only project to get my attention yesterday.
In the morning after a few chores, I put together my I stitch block.
 I made a mistake!!
But opted to leave it as is. 
After I had tidied away that project box, out came the RSC. I had selected the dark greens a few days ago and was all set to cut and sew.
It really doesn't take long to make up these blocks. I now have 15 butterflies in 5 different colours  hibernating in my box. 
None of them have their bodies yet, maybe some time soon I should have a day of adding the little applique bodies.
It was after I had completed the butterflies, that I turned my attention to Spring Queen.
But, before leaving my wee room I pulled out the binding fabric for the Flip Flop scraps quilt. It's all ready for cutting, and the next bundle of fabrics for the Kaffetastic quilt top are also sitting neatly awaiting the attention of the roller blade.
I was hoping that my quilting thread to finish the Flip Flops would have been delivered bright and early this morning, but sadly it's not yet arrived, so I'm off to fiddle with something, while I wait, impatiently.
How did your Friday go?

Friday 15 May 2020

It's all fun and games....

Until the thread runs out!!
I was making great progress over the last couple of days quilting my Flip Flop scrap giant. 
Just a loopy meander, nothing too fancy. I worked at it all morning on Wednesday, and yesterday.
I'm about three quarters done and was all set to finish the quilting yesterday in the hopes of adding the binding today. But I ran out of thread.
 I have enough on bobbins to get the back to the end, but not enough for the top!!
Damn!! Luckily the shop where I purchase my quilting thread is open for mail orders, in fact as of yesterday, she will be properly open by appointment only. Small parties welcome for up to 3 hours. (It's not on a high street. The Quilting Shed is on a working farm and could be considered as a destination, you have to want to go there, it's very out of the way.)
Anyway, I missed the post collection yesterday, so will have my thread on Saturday. 
I was hoping to get this one finished before I go back to work on Monday. I guess it depends on what time the courier calls on Saturday. 
Hopefully the sun will be shining again.
With my plans for the day ruined, I mumbled and grumbled for a while, really not sure what to do with myself, I looked at my crochet, then at Spring Queen, got in Tonys way and eventually went into my other room.
I thought I might put together my I stitch block, or maybe make up the butterfly blocks for RSC, but Kaffetastic was spread all over the work table so I settled down to put all the rows together and completed part one.
That done I had a good tidy up and prepared what I need for the I stitch block today.
That's the plan, but first I wanted to write about my progress and frustrations and I must do a couple of chores. Then it will be playtime. My crochet is progressing slowly, I've started to fill a third little container with pretty squares.
 It's slow progress on Spring Queen too, I have added more beads, giving her an earring, necklace and detail on her sleeve,
Next time I sit down with her it will be back to cross stitching. I have to stitch her left arm and her bouquet of flowers. 
Maybe later today.
But first, I stitch and RSC.
Restrictions in NZ have lifted a little more. Stores are allowed to open, but numbers in stores must be limited and you must register your contact details at every store you visit. Stores must sanitise regularly throughout the day. We can travel and move about in our own region to visit family, friends and access services and shops. So I could if I wanted to, book a visit to the Quilting shed and take a drive to see Cathy.  Although we can reconnect with family and friends we are encouraged to keep gatherings small and we are also encouraged to stay home and continue to maintain social distancing.
Some people are making an issue of the guidelines calling them contradictory and pressing for more freedom, but the way I see it, we didn't get rid of COVID, it's here to stay, all we have done is flatten the curve, if by taking these precautions it means that the hospitals and services can cope with a few cases should they arise, rather than be swamped by 100s or 1000s of cases, then we are doing the right thing. 
Mother Nature has spoken, she has seen to it that the world is never going to be the way it was and we are going to have to find a new normal. If that means I have to book an appointment in order to visit my favorite craft stores, then so be it. 
I hope that didn't come over as a rant, it's not meant to be a rant, just a reflection on the current circumstances and speculation on what may be ahead. 
Take care all.
Be mindful of where you journey, with whom you mix and wash your hands.

Tuesday 12 May 2020

An Old Friend.

Things have not gone as planned over the last couple of days. I had hoped to finish my Christmas ornament on Sunday, but one thing and another got in the way and I barely got half an hour to work on it. Never mind, I had a lovely day, with a surprise visit from DS Joe and his family. Yes, we are finally allowed to expand our 'bubbles'. 
I was able to complete the ornament on Monday though, so that is done for another month. Always a good feeling.
Having  a week off work I had planned to get the big Flip Flop scraps quilt onto the frame and quilted. I made a start on that today. It's so big Tony had to help me move the couch out of the lounge room, so that I could layer everything on the floor and make sure all was ok.
The inspector helped, after she got over the fact that her couch moves!!
 After a good inspection and some trimming....
 It went onto the frame.
 It seemed to take an age to get it all lined up and settled into place. The inspector was present throughout, sitting in all the wrong places, eventually she took herself off to my other room and into my batting off cuts tub. Somewhere else she knows I don't like her sitting. Undisturbed she settled in for a very sound sleep!
After a break for a lunch of left over stroganoff used as pie filling in my trusty pie maker, Tony decided he was going to play a game and asked if I was joining him in the lounge after he had put the couch back. LOL Have you heard of a PlayStation game called Assassins creed? There has been a whole series of games, set at different times in history. The game he opted to play today is a favorite of mine. I don't actually play, but enjoy the story lines and I'm good at telling him which way to go and where to look! LOL
So, I opted to join him, but what to do? I can't sit and do nothing while he plays. 
An old project has been whispering to me recently. I have seen others stitching her in a Facebook cross stitch group. Seeing the progress others have made has made me want to have another go at my own project. 
Do you remember Spring Queen?
She is like an old friend, I started stitching her back in August 2017.
I've worked on her here and there every year since. I did think back in January I may finish her this year, but didn't want to commit. 
I took a few moments to get my bearings and I was off.
Most of the stitching is done and it didn't take me long to complete the stitching needed for her hair and some gold metallic thread for her crown. Then it was time to start adding beads. 
LOL That slowed me down a bit.
It was nice to spend the afternoon and evening working away on her.
Maybe the quilting on flip flops will have to wait a little longer.
Time to go and supervise the game player, while I shop for a needle threader. The eyes on my beading needles are so fine, I need help sometimes and I have destroyed two needle threaders today, I had to disturb the game player to re crimp them for me. One has been super glued. Tony suggested I look about for something a little more sturdy.
A sanctioned shopping spree!!
Can't turn that down. LOL

Sunday 10 May 2020

15 Minutes, FNwF and Slow Stitching.

So my 15 minutes a day before work took a hit this week. In the past if I miss out on a morning, I make up for it later in the day, but Wednesday this week that didn't happen. Not a single stitch was sewn, stitched, knitted or hooked. Like today, I had one of those very early starts, I was awake just after four and gave up trying to get back to sleep so got up at well passed five!! (Same thing happened today).
So, Wednesday I was just tired, I didn't even pick up my crochet, after work I just curled up in my chair, with a cosy quilt and didn't move. Tony cooked dinner and brought it to me in my chair. A big bowl of pumpkin chilli in a big bowl cosy. It was nice to be looked after.
I slept well that night and refreshed I was back to my usual self in the morning and made sure I put in some sewing time before work.
To see what others are doing with their 15 minutes, look here. 
I'm still pecking away at my Kaffetastic project, with part one almost complete.
On Friday evening, for this months second FNwF I went into my room to prepare for the next step, then got carried away and began sewing blocks together.
After dinner Tony suggested a Tolkien weekend. we are both fans of his books and enjoy the movies made here in NZ. We started at the beginning with part one of the Hobbit collection.  I sat in my chair, with stitching in hand and  made a start on the stitching for Gail Pan's I stitch/ Wish You Well BOM project
 Such pretty projects.
I had just the French knots left to stitch on this piece when I decided to switch to crochet for the rest of the evening.
Go along to here to see what others got up to for their FNwF.
I was enjoying watching and stitching so much that yesterday,  I opted to keep on going and have a slow stitching Saturday. French knots done, I set about the honeycomb block. We finished watching all of the Hobbit movies and switched to Lord of the Rings.
I didn't notice until I had completed it, my fabric had moved or distorted while I was tracing the design. The word' kind' is a bit off. But I can live with it. The flower hexie on the right is not off, I just didn't press it yet. (It's still very early here and I don't want to wake Tony. My sewing room is right next door to our bedroom and he is not having menopause disrupted sleep!)
So, stitchery completed and movie marathon still going I picked up my secret monthly ornament project and made great progress on that. I really am very happy with how these are turning out. After dinner of home made quiche and about halfway through The Two Towers, I switched from stitching to crochet.
 Another ball of leftovers all used up and a new colour started,
and a second wee plastic tub filled with little squares.
Although I am using left overs from a previous project, I did order new yarn to be able to finish it.
It's coming from the UK. Very slowly, the tracking tool tells me it has been in transit for 22 days. I know these are strange times and everything, especially international post is moving slower than usual, but at what point do I decide it is taking too long and start to make inquiries regarding it's whereabouts? I do wish this particular yarn was available here in NZ. I did recently find out that there are stockists in Australia,I wish I had known that a little sooner or maybe I should try to find an alternative brand here at home....? Those of you who follow Lucy at Attic 24 will know that there really is no substitute.....
Yarn concerns aside, today will be a slow stitching Sunday. I'm hoping to get the ornament finished today. We have a little of the Two Towers left to watch, then it's the Return of the King and the movie fest will be over. 
Also, one of us will have to brave the supermarket, we need to top up on a few things.
Well I'm off to see what everyone else did on Friday night with Friends.
Hope your weekend is going well and that you are all safe and healthy.
Stay home and sew if you can.
Oh! I forgot to mention. I have a week off work.
We were supposed to be going on a week long fishing trip to the North island. I had a reminder on my phone to catch my flight on Friday......
Air New Zealand have credited our flights, maybe later in the year.........