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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Love Continues...

Friday started off really well with the excitement of Christmas in July. And it continued its upbeat theme when the mailman arrived with two more parcels - wow!
I had won a giveaway on the Cottage Tails blog; Leanne is a fellow kiwi from further down the island.
This is what arrived in my parcel -
The beautiful wool is a lace weight; don't you think that is a most gorgeous colour? It came with a pattern for a lacy scarf - I am so looking forward to making it. {The pattern is written by Margaret Stove, the lady who made a shawl for Prince William when he was a babe and who also designed the shawl given to Prince George on their recent NZ visit.}{Little old me rubbing shoulders with royalty :-)}
As you can see Leanne popped in some other goodies, including a violet plant (after another little conversation we'd had) which got planted straight away as per instructions! Thank you so much Leanne!!

And I was also on the receiving end of a delightful 'smile' from Jacquie; a truly random act of kindness. Jacquie has been sending these cute pincushions out all around the world. What a lovely thing to do.
Thank you Jacquie, it does make me smile when I look at and use it!
Now to share what I made for Jan for our Christmas in July swap. I got the impression from Jan's blog that she disliked a lot of the commercialism in Christmas and also thought that the likes of Snowmen at Christmas were inappropriate for an Australian Christmas. So these impressions guided my gift choice.
To go with the pot trivet I shared with you a few posts ago, I made this
oven mitt and a decorated tea towel.
This was a fun little notebook. You can see I used one of
Michelle's (Rag Tag Stitchin) alphabet people to decorate the front.
This was a new type of notebook cover to me; it had a flap that
folded over from front to back. I also liked the pen holder in it.
This was a pattern I found on Kaaren's blog, The Painted Quilt.
I thought these sentiments were lovely and you can see I had
fun with the quilting! Blew a few cobwebs away :-)
It feels quite amazing with all these gifts too-ing and fro-ing all over the place! There's a lot of sewing I'm trying to do at the moment (more gifts and more projects!) but my days as a lady of leisure :-) are being curtailed by a few of these little critters -
Yes, calving has started so I'm a (nearly) fulltime farmer at the moment!
Spring is on its way!!
Thank you for visiting, have a happy day,
and happy creating,

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Christmas in July

The countdown was on this week, with Opening Day for the Christmas in July swap on Friday (the 25th of course!).
My parcel arrived nice and early  (even before the official posting date!) so I had Marcia from Daisy Jayne's gifts watching me and tempting me for quite a while!
I behaved myself and resisted the urge though, and it was very exciting to finally be able to open the gifts. Wow, what a wonderful parcel of goodies, just so beautifully made and packaged.
 As well as the three handmade gifts, there was a really lovely assortment of other goodies, all Christmas themed, red jubes, green buttons, cards, gift-tags, threads, notebooks, fabrics, threads....
The generously sized bag had this Santa on him - isn't he
the sweetest guy ever? (Yellowish photo sorry, the colour
is more true in the photo above).
Three Wise Men. Gorgeous stitching and I also really liked
that it was on quite a dark background.
This beautiful tea towel could only be Christmas! - a lovely rich red
with delightful appliqued Christmas trees. See the booklet to the right of it? It
was full of yummy looking Christmas recipes. Such a lovely idea.
 Thank you so much again, Marcia, your gifts were beautiful and generous. I was very lucky and look forward to using them in December ...and before...
Thank you also to Cheryll for arranging the swap. It's been a lot of fun. There is a link up *here* if you want to have a peek at what everyone else sent and received this July.

What I loved about this swap is that who we made for and received from were different - my gifts went to Jan. I will post about them another time, but if you go *here* you will see them.

Happy creating :-)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A flimsy and a (short) tutorial

While hunkering down with all the rain we've had recently I managed a little some sewing time, not much else to do once the animals are fed and the fire stoked!
I (finally) got Goodnight Irene, the scrappy sewalong hosted by Terry of Terry's Treasures, to the flimsy stage!! I am really happy with how she is looking! At this stage I have no idea how I will quilt her (any thoughts?) so I guess it's ok that she sits on the flimsy pile for a bit waiting her turn - it will give me some thinking time :-)
"Goodnight Irene" onto the flimsy pile :-)

I also had a little fun making this trivet/hot mat —
I had come across a video on YouTube, Potholders and Kitchen Quilts by Kaye Wood, and thought it would be nice to try it out. It was pretty straight forward to make, and a little different, too. So I don't have to watch the video again I started to take notes, and then thought that it could be a good idea to take photos to remind me and then I thought why not put them on my blog in tutorial form so I can easily access it all and so that others could make one too, if they wished ..... So here it is
(Full credit to Kaye for her YouTube instructions; there is a lot more information on the video, including variations, than what I am writing here, so do go to the link if you are interested.)

Step One; Start with a Hexagon. The ones Kaye used were 8" (measured from a straight side to the opposite side) but mine is 8 1/2" so I adjusted some measurements accordingly.
(Kaye talked in detail about fussy cutting the main fabric so a feature or detail ended up in the centre of the star. I didn't bother).
You also need a 5" strip of contrasting fabric. Because my hexagon was slightly bigger I cut my strip at 6" wide. To determine what width to cut if you have altered the hexagon size, go to step two and play with a square of paper.
Press the strip right sides together and sew LESS than 1/4" along the bottom edge...see photo below :-)

 Step Two; Slice the strip into 5" pieces.... if you have altered the width of your strip, slice it at that My strip was 6" wide so it got sliced into 6" pieces. You will want 6 pieces.
Fold the strip as shown in the photo below, pressing as you do it so that you have nice crisp edges to your triangle. Find the centre of each side of the hexagon and pin on the triangles, matching up the centres.
(*If you are altering the sizes, the bottom of this triangle should measure about the same as a side of your hexagon*).

 Step Three; Sew down the centre of each triangle (where the folded edges meet)to secure it. This is indicated by the pin in the photo below.

 Step Four; To complete your trivet you need some Insul Bright and some cotton batting (this absorbs condensation), both cut the same size as the hexagon. Make the hexagon for the back about 7/8" bigger all round. This will be folded to the front as binding so use a fabric you like for this!!
Lay the background down, wrong side up, then centre the cotton batting, the Insul Brite and the top piece (right side up) on top of it.
Pin through all layers to prevent them from moving, then press over the edges of the backgound twice to form a binding. Pin in place.

Step Five; Carefully machine stitch the binding on. Sew around the outside of the folded triangles (but not on them) to add more definition to the star.
Tada! One finished trivet! These don't take too long to make and I think they would make nice little gifts :-)
I'm keen to make some more...these would be fun as coasters and placemats too..... Maybe they will inspire some of you too.
And thank you to Kaye Wood for her video.
Happy creating everyone, and thanks for visiting,

Saturday, July 19, 2014

It's OK to eat cake for breakfast....

...when it's your birthday!
Naughty, huh, but oh so good!!
(warning photo heavy post)
YD cooked dinner for me the night before my birthday (near the start of July), which I decided was a really good idea as it meant that I was able to have cake for breakfast ON my birthday!! One time during the year when you can get away with something like that!
Here's another delicious pic... it is a luscious lemon cake with lemon curd filling, I still drool thinking about it and highly recommend it :-)
Selfie of mother and daughter while out one night.
In amongst the lovely thoughtful pressies I recieved for my birthday, there were a few handmade goodies;
Leeanne created this 'pin cushion' - a high end model I reckon —

...and Barb made me this cutie; now this is embarassing, as I'm not sure what it is called, but it hangs around your neck, with the pin cushion/ needlecase at one end of the tape and the scissors at the other end - both are within easy reach and saves time hunting for them —
And finally, this beautiful shawl came from Joanne. Delicious knitted lace with beads knitted in throughout.
Thank you lovely ladies, I love them all :-)

Also on the home front, and to change topics completely, last week was a wild, windy and wet one for our region, Northland, the northern end of New Zealand. Damage everywhere, people without power for days, flooding and roads closed everywhere. Because the rain went on all week, the accumulative effect of so much water was devastating for many.
I always like to dress up dry and go for a walk, see what's been happening!
We have a river running through our farm, and this came up and went down like a yo-yo. Here are some pictures (and apologies to those of you who have already seen them (or similar) on facebook or my photo blog.)
All our stock were on high ground so were all safe.
Saturday - this was the worst flood.
Showing that the house and buildings are high and dry.
There's no way we can get over the bridge (not seen for days) to any pastures that may be there!
Great if you are a duck, and fun if you are a dog!
And after the water is gone, there is the mess to clean up!
Fencelines full of debris, wires everywhere, broken posts!
This paddock WAS full of lovely feed, ready for calving. Now it is covered in silt,
too dirty to be palatable.
So it has been an interesting time! Being shut inside in the warm and dry (we didn't lose our power for too long) meant a bit of sewing time :-) but I think I will save that for another day!
Thank you for visiting. Have a happy weekend and I hope you find some stitching time,

Monday, July 7, 2014

Friday Night with Friends

A late report from my Friday Night with Friends, sorry. One good thing about my Friday night was that I didn't have to cook tea - for the third time this week, that must be a record! I hadn't been sure what we were doing but we ended up going into town to the Dairy Company store where we buy a lot of our farm goods (RD1). They invited all their suppliers in for a meal (Spit roasts, very yum) and a bit of fun. 

However I joined my fellow bloggers and FNwF-ers while in the car on the way there ...
40 minute trip, you can get a fair bit done.
...and once we got home I pulled out this...
40 minute trip means the wine had worn off so I could stitch :-)
Just Takes Two block.
I've been feeling the urge to do some needleturn in the evenings lately but haven't had the time to pull out my 'little people'/Quiltmania project - sorting colours etc takes me an age. Instead I decided to work on some more of my Just Takes Two.
I started this back in 2012, when the blocks were released fortnightly (I think). I pull it out from time to time then put it away again. This is the first time I have had all the blocks out for a long time
Unpressed but you get the idea!
The two blocks I've been doing lately are in the foreground.
Another angle. A lot of the blocks are foundation paper pieced, which
I enjoy doing but find I get a little tired of them after a bit. I need to EQ7 some
and convert them to normal piecing.
My whole weekend seemed to be one of snatching moments to sew... because it isn't long until the silly season starts (calving that is, not Christmas), I'd really like to have some more decent sewing sessions  before I'm floundering in the mud with cows and calves!
And speaking of Christmas, on Saturday (when I know it was still Friday Night elsewhere in the world!) I did manage some more on my Christmas in July swap, *here* or *here*. Posting day is just a few weeks away so I was pleased to finish this one....
54 people signed up for FNwF this time round - so I have some visiting to do! Thank you to Cheryll for hosting FNwF and also the Christmas in July swap :-)
Thank you for visitng, I hope you have a happy, creative week,