Sunday 26 February 2023

Another walk and progress on St Nick.

Ok, so since blogger has reorganised my pictures, we'll do St Nick first.
The top image shows my progress since last time, and the lower image shows todays progress.
He is progressing nicely. I'm also working on a secret project, so that is taking time.
Another thing that takes up time  is creating in the kitchen. Tony's dad brought me a bag of apples, so I made a new to me recipe, an apple bakewell cake. A delicious concoction of sliced apples and a fatless almond batter for the sponge.
It's yummy!
The remaining apples have been stewed and frozen for future baking. I've also been busy with more tomatoes and finally the chilli are beginning to ripen, soon I'll be busy with those.
Yesterday was a beautiful day so Tony and I went for another walk. This time in the scenic reserve. It was used by settlers as a quarry, with much rock and stone removed to help build the town.
There are open meadow areas with paths, a creek and a duck pond.
A road runs through the reserve, making it easy for all to access this popular beauty spot.

There are many trees offering shade to cyclists and walkers.
Even apple trees!
You can tell we have had very little rain here, the grasses and shrubs are bone dry, we could hear crickets and cicadas chirruping away on either side of the path.
Off the road there are walking tracks and mountain biking paths that many people use.
There were signs that Autumn is coming, who remembers playing with 'helicopters' as a child?
Some of the trees are beginning to change colour, taking on the beautiful golden hues of Autumn.
Of course I had to collect a pretty pebble for my jar.
And that is another weekend over.
I hope you had a good one, like Tony and I.

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Something a bit different.

If you have cats, you will know that they love to climb and also love to scratch.  Belle has two cat castles that she loves to climb to the top of. One of them has scratching poles and she just loves to rip those to bits. I'm grateful she sticks to those and leaves our furniture alone. That said I have to keep an eye on them and carry out repairs from time to time. Yesterday was one of those times.
I'd made a start before I thought to take photos. First I trim off as much shredded sisal as I can. Then out comes the trusty hot glue gun and I start wrapping the new sisal. I try to keep the glue in the areas that she does not dig her claws in to. 
The replacement sisal is not quite the same, but Belle does not seem to mind. She happily shreds that too!
20 meters of sisal does not go far.
Belle plays games of tag with Tony, wrapping herself around the platform and wriggling through the gaps, trying to tap him on the finger tips, (No claws) before he can tag her. On cold days I sometimes find her asleep in the wee house, our grand daughter Charmaine put that blanket in there for her a few years ago.
Like I said, something a bit different.
And if you want to see stitches, here is a before and after of St Nick.
The above was taken on Feb 12th and the lower image is where I stopped stitching this evening.
I am very happy with progress, especially as I have been working on a secret project and also keeping up with preserving and freezing. That said we did not grow a huge amount of veg this year, but I think we will be planting a winter garden soon, as the cyclone has caused huge devastation to the crops that much of the country relies on. Already there are shortages and I'm guessing there will be more. 
That's it, that's all I have to show this evening and now it's time for bed.
Good night all.

Sunday 19 February 2023

Unexpected Adventure.

I had to ask Chooky for a late pass for yesterdays zoom session.
I had been chatting to Tony about a closing down sale that is happening and how I would like to purchase some fabrics for a new project and he said, well lets go then. I was shocked, surprised, delighted and unsure all at the same time. But he was sure, yep! Lets go, let Chooky know you will be late.
The store is open by appointment only, so I contacted Cathy the owner and arranged an early appointment. We set off from home before 8am, but after I had put a chilli into the slow cooker. Gotta make sure to feed such a lovely generous man. The day was beautiful and the road was fairly quiet, with quite a long stretch having work done, so no surface which slowed us down a little but in just over an hour I drove in to the yard at our destination.
Who would have thought that a quilting store would be in a shearing shed on a working farm?
But it is. You really have to want to find this place and even when you do, you question if you are correct, then you see the sign.
Once you step inside......
After asking permission I left Tony in charge of photos, while Cathy and I set about finding just the right fabrics for my intended project.
Even though she is having a closing down sale, Cathy still has the largest collection of Kaffe fasset fabrics in the South island, possibly the entire country.
Never ask a man to photograph a fabric store, he will only do a quarter of the job.
He missed the Tula Pink section, the vast collection of batiks,
The Anna Maria Horner fabrics and the other miscellaneous collections all tucked along the wall by the Nolting quilting machine and frame.  
Oh and the Sue Spargo stuff didn't get a look in either.
Sigh, maybe if I get another trip before she closes I'll see if I can get better photos.
Here are the fabrics Cathy and I pulled from mostly the Tula Pink collection and two from Kaffe. I want/needed/desired them for the cover project on the latest issue of Quilters companion.
I had told Cathy that I would be blogging today and she was happy for me to post images of the store, she laughed and said she might get some more customers. She is happy to mail fabrics, so if you are interested in 25% and in some cases more discount, go here ...The Quilting Shed.
If you don't see what you want, just ask, many of her fabrics are not on the website and you just never know what she will find in response to an enquiry.
Then it was time for the drive home.
I asked Tony to drive my wee car and sat back to enjoy my fabrics and take some photos of the journey.
It was a truly beautiful day, with huge blue skies.
And still very little traffic on the road.
Although the North has been hit by two cyclones and much of it is still under water with so much damage and misery, here in the South we have had near drought conditions, look at the hill side compared to the irrigated paddocks..
New Zealand is a beautiful country, I'm so happy that I came to live here.
Once I got home I zoomed with the girls for a while and even pulled out my zoom project to work on and I'm happy to say I made good progress, but more about that at another time.
I had to go to work at 3pm, so pulled on my poppy top and hopped back in to my car and look at what my colleague was wearing.
Can you tell that Alison is another sewer? She does a lot of dress making. 
Another colleague Liza wanted a picture of us both in our Poppies.
Hmm, I'm not accustomed to be the tall one. LOL


Friday 17 February 2023

More kitchen goings on!

 I've been very busy in the kitchen again and also out in the garden. More about that soon, first here are the meeces all framed and on the wall. The Fan above them is another piece I made and gifted to my lovely Mum. It was quilled with strips of black paper, and took quite some time to complete. It was difficult to get all of those tiny curls of paper to sit nicely.
And the meeces. I think they like their new spot in my sewing room.
Now, back to the kitchen. Last time I wrote I mentioned that I had a good harvest of tomatoes and planned soup for the freezer.
And here it is bubbling in the pan. I was able to make about 8 portions for the freezer, so very happy about that.
Todays job was to get all of the undersized onions in to pickling mixture. We didn't have as many as I thought we would, only 5 jars worth. (And if you look near to top of the image, another load of tomatoes. LOL)
Tony and his dad both like the recipe I usually use, a mixture of malt vinegar, sugar and spices. Each jar gets a dried chilli and a bay leaf.
Last time I made one jar with a big spoonful of black molasses, this time I tried something a little different.
Just one smaller jar of each, just to see what Tony makes of them. 
My secret stitching is progressing well as is St Nick.
Chooky is holding a Zoom tomorrow, she has collaborated with Jude who is celebrating.
This one is open to non bloggers, but there are other criteria, go along to either blog to see the rules and let one of them know if you wish to join in. There will be lots of lovely people there and lots to talk about and see. I will be late! I have asked Chooky for a late pass as Tony and I have plans for the morning, but I will join in as soon as I can. Hope to see you there. 

Monday 13 February 2023

This n that.

I didn't do much stitching on St Nick this week. I did get a start on the next page though. He has a Christmas tree over his shoulder, so lots of swapping between greens.
I also finished the secret project, but plan to begin a new one today.
In my last post I mentioned making a Stirabout Rhubarb cake for Tony.
I think he likes it. He ate a quarter of it in one sitting!
If I make it again I need to tweak the oven temp and timing, it was getting a little dark around the edges, but still a bit moist in the middle. 
I really do not like rhubarb, so it is just for him. LOL
I do like tomato relish though and made another batch of that.
Looks like I need to get busy again, this was yesterdays pickings from the greenhouse.
Maybe these tomatoes will become soup for the freezer. 
Back to work today after my three day weekend. Although Friday and Saturday were both very busy days and we were out on both evenings I got to spend a lot of Sunday resting and sewing, so that was good. I do feel rested and ready to return to work.
If I want to play before I go to work today, I had better shift myself and get on with the chores. 

Saturday 11 February 2023

Saltwater Creek, wetlands path.

It's been a very busy weekend so far.
Tony and I went for a walk yesterday.
As you can see it was a beautiful day.
We walked along side the creek.
The path was lined with native plants.
Lots of little birds were flitting about.
Over the creek.
And in to the wetland area.
Then off the path and over the railway line.
For beautiful ocean views.
The sea defences are made from cooled lava.
We walked along to the beach.
And spied an old broken down jetty.
Then walked back under the railway line.
The beach is not quite sand.
Seems to be a popular spot, some one had built a shelter under the railway bridge and collected a lot of firewood. There was evidence of past fires.
Once back on to the wetland path we found this chap.

And this sign. No dog with us, so on we went.
It was quite difficult to get photos of the birds, but I tried.
There were lots of ducks and geese and that lonely chap at the bottom of the image is a pukeko. (Clicky for those who need to know about Pukekos).
The little lagoon was busy with lots of birdlife.
The tide was out and we could see their foot prints in the mud flats.
Did I mention that it was a beautiful day?
The rowing club use the creek as it is very sheltered.
We saw three other tracks that we could have followed, and agreed that we would come back another day to explore.
I collected some souvenirs for my pebble jar.
That was Friday afternoon, after a busy morning of chores.
In the evening we went out with friends.
Today, Saturday has been very busy. I've made a slow cooked lamb curry as we are off out again tonight to a pot luck curry night. While looking for some lunch in the pantry I came across some tomatoes that really needed to be used so a batch of relish was made, along with onion bhajis and naan to go with the curry. I've repaired the kitty cats scratching pole. She had ripped off all the sisal cord, so it has been replaced. 
It feels like two days of non stop.
Maybe tomorrow I'll have a slow stitching Sunday.
After I do something with the rhubarb I was given last night.