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

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Christmas WIPs

Now that things are easing on the farm (for me at least; the MOML is still as busy as ever) I've miraculously found more sewing time!
Back when there were still 100 days left until the end of the year, I came across a WIPS-B-GONE (2021) challenge being run by Leanne, the Devoted Quilter.

In the last year or so I've been very good at signing up for things and not following through😟 
I thought that maybe this challenge would give me an extra push to complete a few projects and therefore redeem myself. With that in mind, I remembered that a few posts ago, I had sort of challenged myself to finish three Christmas quilts by the end of the year.
So that part was easy - identifying which 'Works In Progress' to work on!
Progress has been slow but I have tried to keep these three projects at front of mind.
I've made another reindeer for Juliet's Sleigh Ride Sewalong
I'm a bit late for the sewalong but that's how it goes. You can see below how it's starting to take shape. I have two more to make, which won't take too long once I put my mind to it.

My evening sewing has picked up a bit. For a while there I was too tired to think about much after dinner, but lately I've been continuing on with The Santa, The Tree, The Turkey and Me. 
When I'd left off, it was at this stage —
But I spent an afternoon prepping some more for the evenings —
I've since stitched these areas; the reindeer now have their harnesses and Santa just needs his beard and some trims on his suit. Then I'll be ready for the stitchery elements of the block.

Most exciting of all is that I am back to my Scrappy Christmas Ornaments!!!
The lack of a decent sized design wall means that this project was laid out on the spare bed in the guest room. I'd had it on a sheet which I quickly rolled up (way back whenever) when some extended family needed a safe place to live for a month, then Mum stayed for a bit, and then, not long after, our bathroom remodel started. The contents of the 'old' bathroom were upended into the guest room (just across the hallway) for safekeeping and sorting. Whew.
One completed bathroom later I can now access the bed so have unrolled the sheet and started working on joining the blocks into rows.
It's always been my vision to have the ornaments 'randomly spaced' around the quilt, so while I'm joining them into rows, I'm offsetting them so they all hang at different heights. 
I soon realised the small blocks need a bit more background around them so they don't look lost. That has grown the potential size of the quilt by a few inches but that's not an issue.
Here's the mess on the bed, I've joined nearly three rows and am nearly half way there.
The WIPs be Done challenge is mostly being run on Instagram. I thought it would be a good way for me to get back onto that again so maybe I'll have a look at that when I finish writing this (unless I get the urge to sew instead....!)
I mentioned that my calf duties are slowing down. We finished calving about two weeks ago (just under 3 months from start to finish). And some are weaned.
I put the youngest ones out into the paddock last week and spent an enjoyable time watching them run, which they always do with great gusto when first put out —
And another time I caught these handsome fellows being curious —
I took this one gorgeous morning —
And here is the herd another, very foggy, day —

OK, must be off, 
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Cut Short —

The MOML and I with our feet up, enjoying a change of scenery the other day. 
Each year we try to get away for a weekend between the end of calving and the start of mating....a very narrow window of time...and when our son-in-law offered to milk for us recently, we jumped at the chance!
We headed up north as we usually do; this time we went to Omapere, at the mouth of the Hokianga Harbour on the west coast.
Even though it was school holidays, it was very quiet (it usually is, but more so this time) as only Northlanders can access Northland at the moment.
The view from our unit —
Looking down into the Hokianga Harbour —
The huge sand dunes across the water really dominate the view —

Unfortunately Northland suddenly went into Level 3 lockdown on Saturday night after two Covid infected people forged their way through the border and spent 4 days out and about. One person went into hiding, and they were both very uncooperative about their movements.
That meant we had to go home early, after just one night away. We did have a very full 36 hour holiday though! We had a good couple of walks. This walk was a 4 hour one (one-way) but we just went 40 minutes to an accessible beach. It was beautiful. — 
Some trickier areas —
We had taken a small picnic and had a wee rest before heading back —
Barely a soul around! —

So back home again, earlier than intended, I decided I needed a Sunday-Sewday! The next best thing to having some time away.
I really wanted to catch up on my star blocks for The Great Scrappy Star Adventure. I'd done the instructions for Month 9 but had only sewn the star 'spike' units as part of the writing process. 
I needed to check that it actually worked!!
I got carried away, making a whole lot of units, and then working out which ones would go with what—
The resulting stars (just 9" ones this time) —
A closer look at some of the fabrics —
And not yet shown, the Month 8 stars —

And quickly before I go, I have done a little more on my Squirrel project, the 2021 Laundry Basket Quilts mystery quilt.
Last time I shared, I had done the centre of the quilt —
The next lot of blocks have moved more to the reds, rather than the deep reds —
And this is where it is now; I have done another two rounds. (It's not designed as a round quilt but that is how I am sewing it.) Sit back a bit and squint at it; it looks pretty cool, I reckon!
(It looks elongated because I have only joined horizontally. I can't join the rows together until I have worked my way out to the outside edge, which is another three rounds. Getting there!)

There's plenty more to talk about but that's it for now, as it's well past my bedtime, 
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Sunday, September 19, 2021

A bit of this, a bit of that —

Well it seems that when I told myself that I would try to blog at least weekly, the message didn't get through!! So here I am a good two three weeks since my last post. 
However it feels like I don't have a huge amount of creating to share. I'll get writing and see what I find to talk about!
A wee look through my photos reminds me that I blinked and the Oak tree was in leaf - all of a sudden it was spring!
Spring and September for us here can be wet, but in between showers there are a few beauties.
I grew Crocus for the first time —
Another first, I planted some Rununculus bulbs and they are flowering too! It was a gorgeous day when I took these photos —
When I planted the bulbs, I also sowed a packet of wildflower seeds in the same barrel so it will be interesting to watch the changes as the year progresses.

On the farm it's easy for the MOML and I to only notice the muddy gateways and and soggy pastures. However our daughter in law sent this fun photo through of the kids (and pets) rolling down the hill - doesn't the farm look great from there?!
Ha! the next photo she sent though brought us back down to earth with a thump - yep, the kids' favourite puddle, apparently!!
September is the month when the kowhai flower and I always look out for the first yellow blooms. I took this photo when feeding calves this morning. These trees in the bush are on the other side of a swamp so this is as close as I got today. 
This is a photo I took another time, such lovely flowers.

Calving has slowed right down and the end is nearly in sight, with approx 20 cows left to calve. The last ones always drag on for ages....70-80% of the cows get in calf on their first mating so we have an almighty rush of calves in the first 4 weeks. Some cows need a second mating, or a third or.... you get the picture. We've sold a bunch of calves, I currently have 103 that I'm feeding. Lots of delicious brown Angus cross in the photo below —
I always love seeing all the different shades of brown —
After being housed in various sheds and so on, most of the older ones are out on grass and getting milk-fed once a day, so that has eased my workload a lot.
Which gives me time to get back to my normal pursuits. 
A little childminding (Odie loves his Gandad's farming magazines!) —

And a little sewing —
I've had a bit of brain fog lately that's upset my apple cart so I've avoided anything that requires too much thinking and decision making.
Evenings has been basket making, with a straightforward design. Just the background fabric and one other —
The pattern was kindly provided by Michelle - she has now finished her Basket-case quilt, it looks lovely.
I didn't realise that I'd amassed such a pile of these - so it's motivating to keep going with them and aim for a decent sized quilt.
I've done a little sewing during the day, enough to keep my hand in!
I have made another one of the Reindeer blocks for Juliet of Tartankiwi's Sleighride sewalong. Details *here*. Again, once I'd decided on the fabrics for this deer, there weren't too many decisions to make, just the foundation piecing process, which I have down pat, to follow. 
(I showed my first blocks *here*)
I think the fog is starting to clear now so I'm hoping for a bit more creativity in the future :-)
And, just right now, there's new calvers to get to the shed and calves to be fed!
'til next time,
happy stitches,