My quilting thoughts and inspirations sprinkled with a glimpse of life down on the farm

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Welcome to the New Year!

It feels a little late in the year for saying Happy New Year but here we are, 11 days into it and this is my first post - I hope your year has got off to a great start  
Ours is charging ahead at an amazing rate of speed... in these lazy hazy crazy days of summer we are thinking, talking and breathing weddings! In less than two weeks we will be celebrating the marriage of our YD.
— these are the only pre-wedding photos I will share for now —
There's been little time for sewing and making New Year's resolutions.... 
I have managed two little dresses —
Oops maybe this is another pre-wedding photo!
— and I found myself hemming 8 pairs of trousers for a neighbour who realised I'm a sewer and she doesn't have to put up with over long trousers any more....!
Chain sewing, using my rotary cutter and my clover clips all helped me get
through this totally un quilt related task!
As a bit of a sanity saver, I've used a quiet moment to sew up a couple of these blocks —
Sometimes a girl just has to sew quilty stuff.
In other quiet moments I've done a little thinking.....I've read and enjoyed many of your posts about resolutions and goals for the year, which of course got me thinking, what are mine...?
Many of you who know me well will know that I dive off in different directions with my sewing - I love exploring ideas and learning skills. So I'm not going to say I'm not starting anything new until my ufos are done and my flimsies are quilted.
You and I know that that. is. not. going. to. happen.
I will unashamedly take part in sewalongs, link ups and projects because being inspired by you all and socialising while I do it is what I love about blogland. I have discovered a whole new world and made awesome friendships while doing all this in the past so why stop now?!
HOWEVER there will be a goal or focus in mind when I sign up and join in - I do want to use my scraps (I am a hopeless scrap magnet; I can spot them at 20 metres), practise skills and move towards clearing out some ufos or flimsies.

An aside but related —
Last year I decided to take this thought of the Grinch's literally and challenged myself to put a little homemade love into all my giftgiving for 2014 birthdays. If you look *here* you'll see I came up with a variety of handmade goodies for various friends and family (Not everything shown on that page was a gift and there was baking and other non-sewn handmade gifts too).
While I really enjoyed making them all, by about October I ran out of steam and was feeling the pressure. I then realised this goal was at the expense of my other loves in my sewing and quiltmaking world.
Just before I sign off and get back to looking at wedding task lists, I want to share with you the beautiful day we are having today! This is the scene from The Palace window. I just love looking out and seeing what's happening in my world.
{The vege garden looks terribly overgrown - which it is, but not with weeds; I have tomato and cucumber plants having fun and games in there.}
It's now far too hot to be out there, I'm happily enjoying it from inside.
Have a wonderful day everyone!
Thank you for visiting and happy creating,

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Giftmaking and a spot of summer

*warning!!lots of photos*
I've just realised that as it's the last day of 2014 I'd best share the rest of my 2014 makes so they can be on my December OPAM list :-)
In my last post I shared what I had received in Chookyblue's fabulous Secret Santa Christmas Swap from Cheryl.
Here is what I sent to Sue —
A stocking with sewing goodies in it
And this table runner.
This was called Strawberries and Cream by Christine Book from Homespun #48.
A fun project. The red strips were sewed on to a foundation meaning it was
pretty much quilted all by itself!
[I also made Sue the ornament shown *here*]

Do you remember me saying in a pre-Christmas post that I was not going to launch into any last minute Christmas sewing, no matter what? Well, I did keep my resolve - NEARLY!! While packaging up a box of goodies for my sister I decided she needed a (decorated) hand towel in it to stop the bottles from rattling..... that's allowed, isn't it?
And then I thought it would be fun to send DH's nephew a Christmas postcard - homemade of course. He's the nephew (seen *here*) who comes and visits during calving and loves to make postcards at Aunty Raewyn's.. so I whipped this up and managed to get it into the post before the big day - phew :-)
I hoped he would appreciate the cow in Christmas garb!

My post title mentioned a spot of summer - here is a 12" summer hanging I made....

This may or may not have been inspired by my garden - it was looking lovely in early summer; the roses have been particularly beautiful  —
We don't usually have a summer holiday as the cows still need milking but we have just managed a quick night away while ED and her Hunter/Diver milked for us... we hopped in the car and headed north... the further north you go the less people there are but the beaches are just beautiful and cant be beaten, I reckon.
First of all we had to wave goodbye to two little dogs - don't they look so sad
that they cant come and frolic on the beach too?
Watching these two guys have a little chat while eating our lunch... the World Famous Mangonui Fish Shop - delish!
Beautiful beaches...
...and gorgeous Pohutakawa trees.
aka New Zealand's Christmas tree.
 You'll see the Pohutakawa on many of us kiwi bloggers' blogs over summer. I know I'm not alone in considering it a favourite NZ tree.
I'd like to end this year by thanking you for your visits, feedback and friendship. And I'd like to wish you all a happy, healthy and creative 2015. 
May your dreams be fulfilled and your bobbin always be full :-)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Kiwi Christmas and handmade pretties

Hello everyone!
I hope that you all had an enjoyable Christmas, celebrated doing the things you love to do.
We shared a lovely day, it was nice and fine and not too hot so we spent most of the day on the deck, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying each other's company.
Most people in Northland know someone who hunts, fishes or dives and a welcome addition to our Christmas ham, chicken and salads were some wild pork sausages, scallops and crayfish. The barbie came in handy for the last minute cookups.
Pav and berries are a must have dessert in our house at Christmas and of course a sprinkling of chocolate, gingerbread men and Christmas fruit mince tarts kept (and continue to keep) our sugar levels up.
Trying to work off a little of the Christmas lunch —
I hope they can see the rugby ball, as I sure cant!
It wasn't all eating though; we had fun with pressies. We're not big on gifts throughout the year so we always enjoy finding a perfect little something for each other now. And this was the first year since our son was born in 1986 that 'Santa' didn't come to our house (hehe our youngest is 23!!) - it felt a little strange at first but we recovered!
Even the pets get spoilt!
Anyway this was meant to be a quick post, not a ramble!
I really just wanted to share with you the handmade gifts I received this year.
Beautiful coathanger and jewellery roll.
(Lying on a piece of gorgeous silk from my sister)
These two photos show the beautiful gifts made for me by Cheryl in Chooky's Secret Santa Christmas Swap. They really are gorgeous and I love that they are practical as well - perfect! Thank you so much Cheryl :-)
The padded bit down the centre has a snap fastener at one end so you can slide
rings onto it - and 3 useful zipped pockets.
I think I'll be asking Cheryl where she got the pattern, I can see this as a
great gift for my nieces next year!
Here is the tree decoration Cheryl made me, which we
were allowed to open earlier on :-)
And this most gorgeous wee sock decorating the dog's chair was on the outside of a thoughtful little gift from Di. Again, thank you Di and Miss Gracie :-)

Finally, Mum made me this lovely set of goodies —
Sweet set of useful sewing things.
(Lying on another piece of silk from my sister)
 A cute little story behind the needlecase ... Mum and I were going through her 'orphan' embroidery blocks (more on them another day) and I commented that a particular one would make a lovely needlecase.. and what do you know, here it is! Sneaky sneaky! Thanks Mum :-)
This was stitched on very fine cloth. Look at the tiny little bugs and butterflies!
Our ED and her Hunter/Diver are still staying; it's so nice spending extra time catching up. I've been reading a little and sewing just a very little bit. Still very much in holiday mode!
Happy days to you all,