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

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,

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas my friends!

A little hello to wish you all a Merry Christmas. 
Whether your day is filled with family and friends or is a little quieter, I hope it is full of peace, love, happiness and goodwill. 

Our own pre-Christmas week has been fun with family staying (hence the lack of posts!) and we're looking forward to spending more time with them over the next few days.
[See you on the other side :-) ]

Bloggy hugs and love to you all,

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Some more Christmas...

This year I took part in just one bloggy Christmas swap - I love Chooky Blue's swap where we have no idea who is sending to us, and we send to someone totally different....
We're allowed to open the small parcel, a tree decoration, now. Here is the gorgeous little hanging sent to me.... don't you just love it?? I do ...thank you, mystery giver :-)
There's another interesting feeling pressie tucked away in a safe place - I'm sure I can I think I can wait till the big day to open it...!
Also made in felt is the one I sent to Sue....she's figured out that it's from me so I can share about it. The hanging rod is made up of cinnamon sticks... I'm so pleased the rod arrived intact as I had to hot glue 2 together to make it long enough!
This pattern is from an old Australian Homespun magazine
#38 Vol 7/6. The designer is Marg Low
Now Sue is pretty lucky as I got my swap details muddled and sent her 5 gifts not the 2 we were supposed to!!! Silly of me to do things from memory and not read the paperwork properly. Never mind, I had fun putting it all together!!
I've had some more happy mail recently with a parcel arriving from SewCalGal... I took part in The Year of Red and White challenges she ran.... SewCalGal arranged sponsors for the challenges and did a big drawing recently.... and I was the lucky recipient of some Aurifil thread and this gorgeous Martingale book - thank you to the sponsors and of course a special thankyou to SewCalGal for the year of challenges and also everything else she does to enhance the quilting world. I'll be looking to see if she comes up with anything special next year...
Lovely prizes, thank you Aurifil and Martingale :-)
Also finished and off in the post is this hanging. You may remember that Wendy of Sugarlane Quilts had a little stitchalong recently. As I progressed through the blocks I realised it would be perfect for a special friend so I was doubly motivated to finish it....
It did take me a while to put together as I went through two other border fabrics before I was finally happy with it... yes, they got to the sewn on stage too!!!
Haven't done feathers for a while, seemed like a good excuse to play!
One of the dangers of an open toed foot!!
Wendy's blocks are available through her Craftsy store here.
And one last little cutie; I sewed up this Libby Richardson design as a shop sample recently....such a sweetie; I can also imagine him on an actual stocking...but not this year...!!
It seems that Blogger has been playing up again... apologies if anyone has been annoyed with word/number verification on my blog recently...a friend let me know it was on but I checked all the settings and all seemed correct... thanks to Terry's post this morning which led me to Kathy's post *here*. Hopefully I have fixed the problem...please let me know if I still have it on!
Have a lovely day everyone, thank you for sparing a moment to read along... it is a busy time of the year, isn't it?
Hope a bit of creativity sneaks into your day,

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Christmassy day

Believe it or not there's been a hint of Christmas around here lately. This morning I gathered up this bag and a quiche and I was off out the door to a Christmas get together some friends and I have every year.
Ho ho ho here I am ready to go...
A friend has a beach house out at the coast so we always look forward to the day. The weather was a bit overcast but it didn't dampen our spirits.
Someone usually organises a fun easy craft activity. This year we poked 1" squares
of fabric into polystrene shapes. Then sprayed them with glitter glue. Cute.
And always a delicious lunch out on the verandah; everyone brings a plate pot luck style.
After some stitching time it was pressie time. This year's theme was Handmade OR Homegrown.
I got a bit of both...and look at the great use of selvedges on my hand towel!
Decorated hand towels are the flavour of the month around here
as that is what I made too! Plus a spice trivet.
 I was given a spicey scented trivet a number of years ago and thought it would be something a little different to do for today. I found a tutorial *here* at Wendy's Sugarlane Quilts blog. I did double the amount of spices and still wondered if it was smelley enough. Wendy used rice to fill her one; I think mine was filled with wheat, a friend said she has one with buckwheat and I also wondered if crushed walnut shell might be good too? If you want a gift you can whip up pretty easily this is a good one to do. (Wendy's tutorial is for a single piece of fabric as the front, I made a Log Cabin using my feature fabric.)

A lovely day all round, I'm grateful to have friends I can spend the day with like this :-) And looking forward to next year's one already!!

I hope all your Christmas preparations are going well? I've about come to the end of my Christmas crafting - I haven't done nearly as much this Christmas as I have a few other things to start focussing on - like our daughter's wedding next month :-) I've told myself I'm not to start any little gifts that will "only take a short time to make"! It will seem odd to not be sewing right up to the last minute but I hope I can keep this promise!
Happy Christmas month everyone and thank you for visiting,