Saturday 25 March 2023

Quilting and more preserving.

Finally my secret stitching is done, and I can show off what I'm up to.
A video chat with Janice yesterday regarding a quilting set up very similar to my own got me in the mood for some quilting, on the frame.
Lucy Blue has been on the frame for weeks, waiting. And yesterday she finally got her turn.
Just a simple meander, nothing fancy.
The lovely curving, flowing almost serpentine line meanders in and out of the patches beautifully.
I did not get much done as it was quite late in the day when I started, but I'm hoping to get more done today, before DS Joe and his family arrive. 
Preserving season is not yet over. This morning I turned the latest batch of ripe chilli in to Cowboy Candy.
Or Candied Chilli Peppers!
The lids on these reused jars tell lies! There are habanero and a Carolina Reaper chilli mixed in with the milder, but still hot Wild Fire chilli.
I know Tony will enjoy them and we have friends who are waiting for them too. But they will have to wait a while longer, like most pickles, they are better if left to sit for a while. 


Wednesday 22 March 2023

More preserves....

You could be forgiven for thinking my blog is all about food at the moment, particularly preserving! LOL I assure you, I do still sew and normal blogging will resume once preserving season is over and the secret stitching and sewing is completed.
Todays visual offerings include habanero chilli. Tony wanted a batch of evil chilli chutney made with habaneros so I spent some time slicing them all.
They look like such pretty flowers.
And they make a deliciously hot chutney.
He had to scrape the pan and smear it on a cracker to try it out.
He was very happy with the results.
I had traded a bag to tomatoes with Debbie, she brought me Rhubarb so as soon as the pan was cleaned up, in went a load of rhubarb, lemon juice and sugar.
And we have four jars of rhubarb jam.
Well he does, I can't stand the stuff myself. LOL
Sixteen sleeps until Tony and I fly to Sydney.............

Sunday 19 March 2023

Life is still getting in the way....

 I have managed to do a little sewing, all of the secret variety!

So I'll have to share some different pictures instead.
A new to me recipe.
Spicy Tomato Chutney
With apples and sultanas. The apples turn to mush and the sultanas plump up.
It's a very sweet and spicy chutney.
Which looks very dark in the jar.
Hmm, no matter what I try, blogger wants this photo this way round. 
The nights are longer and cooler and we have had some cooler days, but mostly we still have warm days so the chilli are still ripening out in the greenhouse.
Here you see a mixture of long wild fire chilli and the round Habanero.
Tony has requested another batch of Evil Chilli Chutney with this lot.
The Carolina Reapers are still very green.
At $120.00 per kilogram in the super market I wouldn't be making this one if we didn't grow our own chilli. Each batch takes 600 grams.
I've made a start on our winter garden.  There have been supply issues with seedlings at our usual outlets, so we purchased online. Our seedlings were couriered overnight from Christchurch. A two hour drive up the road, and look at what was delivered.
The box was clearly marked as fragile and had a big this way up arrow.
We ordered 6 each of broccoli and cauliflower, they were all mixed up with the two punnets of baby beets. Three of the broccoli and/or cauliflower are broken the rest seem to have survived once I got them back in to their punnets. The beets I put straight in to the garden, about half of them seem to have survived, the rest have given up. Lots of photos were sent to NZ Courier post and also the suppliers. Neither party has responded yet. I'm not a happy gardener.
And just to prove that I have done some sewing.
I have just over an hour before I have to think about work, so I'm off to do some more secret stuff. 
I hope you all had a great week and a better weekend.
Did you celebrate St Patricks day?

Monday 13 March 2023

Preparations and a different kind of walk.

 Preparations for my trip to Scrub Stitchin' are under way. I should say under way again as I already have one kit ready to go and had started this one a while ago, but it stalled in favour of other things. 
So anyway, I have all the blue grey fabrics cut for a second kit and have made a start on the back ground fabrics. 
I've also started to print and cut papers for my next EPP project.
This was the fabric that caused me to be late for the last zoom session Chooky organised.
I was inspired by the cover image on the latest Quilters Companion magazine.
There has been some work, life, garden and domestic chores getting in the way of what I really want to do, but I've made time here and there to pick away at some stitching as well as the cutting.
One very important chore that had to be done over the weekend, was to help move our cattle. As a family we keep a small number of beasties on Tony's parents property. They in turn share paddocks with a neighbour who does the same. The job this week was to move the girls from the paddock in the foreground, to the green one in the distance.
We were racing with the weather. A very dark and wet looking front was moving up the coast.
I was on gate duty and the three boys went into the paddock to convince the girls it was time to move.
It took a while, but once they decided to go.... 
They were off! I almost didn't have time to get a photo.
There was a fake electric fence set up in an effort to keep them on the berm and not have them wander all over the lane. Of course one did test it out and wandered along the outside of it.
In no time at all, they turned a right at the blue truck.
These girls have made this trip before, they know where they are going and they know the food is better when they get there.
There they go, turning safely and happily in to the green paddock.
The rain started to fall as we hopped in to the truck to leave.
Other distractions have included this young man.
Time for me to go and do some stuff.
Hope you had a great weekend.

Wednesday 8 March 2023

A new sewing accessory.

Every year at about this time, tins of ANZAC biscuits appear in the super markets of New Zealand. Each year there are a series of collectible designs on the tins. And each year a tiny portion of money per tin is donated to the RSA, or Returned Services Association. The tins usually depict war scenes, but someone must have told them that it is generally us women who do the shopping and that we like pretty tins, we use them for all manner of things, like sewing projects....As soon as I saw this years I knew I had to have one, and as soon as I got it home I decanted the biscuits in to another container, so that I could use the pretty tin for a sewing project.
I can't show you what it is, as it's a secret. LOL  
I thought I should buy one for Tony too. 
I've done a little stitching on St Nick since last time I blogged, but mostly I have focused on secret stuff, so don't have much to show. So I thought I would take you on another walk instead.
Just outside of town there is a tiny scrap of native bush. The whole area used to be bush, but settlers way back in the day cleared the land for farming, so only tiny pockets remain. Tony opted to walk in one of them last weekend.
Claremont bush is accessed via an unfinished road winding through farmland.
It was a beautiful sunny day, with morning cloud burning off fast thanks to the kiwi sun.
We went through the gate and walked in to the forest.
We were soon joined by a cute wee native.
And he brought a friend.
Fantails or Piwakawaka as the Maori call them like to accompany humans as we disturb the insect life as we pass and the little birds get a feast.
These two stayed with us for quite some time, getting very close, I though one was going to settle on Tony's shoulder at one point.
This little patch of land is in a small ravine and you have to be part mountain goat to follow the path at times! Our legs got a good work out and we were glad of the steps when they were available.
It was difficult to get photos once we got well in to the forest as it was quite dark. I don't know the names of many of the plants, shrubs and trees that we saw, but I do know ferns when I see them, they were everywhere in many varities.
This image was supposed to show how steep that climb was, hmm, didn't work out that way. LOL
And this image gives a clue as to how old this place might be.
We were joined by another pair of Fantails as we climbed higher.
We could hear many other species of birds all around us as we walked and climbed but could see none of them. It was a short walk and after about 40 minutes we popped back out in to the sunshine. 
It was a lovely walk and we vowed to return again.
That's all from me today, I need to move myself and get some stuff done.
Also an early start at work as we have a staff meeting.


Monday 6 March 2023

A milestone was reached....

Well two actually! 
One that is secret so can't share and I turned the page on St Nick.
Two of three pages are completed.
So it's official, both projects are two thirds done. 
I have a busy day planned, so better move myself off this chair. 
Hope you had a great weekend.

Wednesday 1 March 2023

Hot Stuff!

Todays post is brought to you from the green house and the kitchen.
I think I mentioned that our chilli are beginning to ripen. Tony likes the hot varieties, here he is checking out his habaneros. 
They are beginning to change colour, but we still need some more warm weather.
The Carolina Reapers are a little further behind.
The wild fire, which is the variety we usually see in the supermarket are doing well, I've had quite a few turn red already and have cooked with them. There are so many fruit on the bushes that we had some broken branches. I cut them off and saved the fruits.
Putting them on a tray in a sunny window helps some of them to ripen a little more.
Just as you would with  tomatoes.
Today I gathered together all of the ripe chilli and also a few green ones to make up the correct weight and made my first batch of 

Evil Chilli Chutney.

I discovered this recipe on Pinterest a few years ago when we had a huge chilli harvest. Tony loved it we also have a few friends who rather like it too so every year we grow chilli hoping for a bumper crop.
There is not a huge list of ingredients, I'll pop the recipe at the end of the post.
The obligatory shot of the cauldron bubbling away. 
It stains everything it touches.
For the final step, out comes the trusty blitzer.
And then in to the jars it goes.
It even looks evil!
I'll hide it away for a few weeks as it improves with age.
Here's the recipe if you're interested.
My chores are done for the day.
Time to sew.
I'm still busy with my cross stitch, that is what is calling the loudest, so that is what gets attention.