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

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Another week....another month...

At the start of the year I made a quiet resolution to myself to blog more frequently. Blogging remains my favourite form of social media. I enjoy the more indepth 2-way conversations, the stories and the friendships forged.
And because I mostly only use my PC for 'internet stuff' it's the easiest thing for me to do too.
But I am failing in my bid to blog more often.... January was only 3 posts and here I am only just squeezing in a 4th for the month...maybe I can kid myself that because it's a short month I'm doing OK's just the way the cookie crumbles I guess!

So what have I been up to?
With the warmer evenings, the MOML and I have been sitting up a bit later this month and I've chewed through more stitching than I usually do  —
I've finished the hand stitching on the Fig 'n' Berry project I started on retreat.
This will get sewn up into a wee pencil case which will be very pack pencils and markers for retreat I ended up using my rotary cutter case..... it was not easy to get the pencil sharpener or rubber out of the bottom!
I've finished up a few more blocks for Ruth's Quilt, a Leanne Beasley design, which we are doing here on the No Fuss Sewalong blog. These are lovely wee stitcheries which don't take too much brainpower and nice to do in moments where my fingers would otherwise be idle.
Here is a close up of one of the blocks. I think the petals are supposed to be done with backstitch but I decided I'd rather do (the very much quicker) lazy-daisy stitch!
And I've completed my first block for Woodland Wonderland mystery quilt. I couldn't resist signing up for this one; something I told myself I wasn't going to do...!
(Sorry the colours aren't showing very well today!)
Daytime sewing feels like it hasn't been nearly as productive but I do have a few photos to share so I guess I've done better than I thought!
I've completed the pig block for the Barnyard quilt I am remaking for work. I performed a bit of surgery to improve the snouts I'd initially done and am a lot happier with them now.
Eyes will come after it's quilted.

And lately I've tested some patterns for Juliet of Tartankiwi... I've done a fair bit of testing for her in the past but not for a while. Juliet designs foundation pieced patterns of all shapes and sizes; a lot, but but not all of them, are animals. I find her patterns well designed and written and I've enjoyed putting these wee birds together for her.
This is the NZ Rock Wren
This is the Red Backed Fairy Wren.
Another Red Backed Fairy Wren...I thought I'd try it with the different background.
The whiter more snowy looking one didn't seem to suit an Australian bird so well!
They form part of the On the Wire Pattern Club she is running this year.

One reason I want to blog more often is so my posts don't get so long.....oh well, thanks for seeing me through to the end,
Best be off,
Happy stitches,

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A retreat among the Gumtrees!!

A couple of friends and I just spent the last weekend on retreat. Two full days (return journey) of travel for two days of stitching retreat may sound a little crazy but when the combination of Lisa Cantlay of fig 'n' berry creations and Katie Dawson of Cottage Garden Threads was advertised we just couldn't resist! We decided it would be quite nice to have a wee trip to Mooroolbark, Victoria, Australia to join in.

Lisa and Katie had each organised a project for us to work on (if we chose to) —
This is what I worked on
The two projects.
Hmmm, maybe I was too busy chattering; I didn't get it finished!
In the past, the retreats I've been on have been with a small bunch of friends. At those we all worked on whatever and we all helped with meals. This time there were about 70 of us (I think) and we were provided with 3 square (delicious) meals a day :-)
It was lovely to meet new people and spend time with them. Everyone was so friendly - all just loving being away on retreat!
Although it looks rather long here, it was a good sized room, fitting us all in comfortably.
Our table mates :-)
Kerryn and Bernice receiving some expert advice from Katie ....

.....and showing the foxes they stitched with Katie in her Inky Stitches SAL.
(These are adapted from an Adult Colouring Book and have a variety of stitches
and colours in them - lovely).
I may or may not have done a little shopping...
...the wee lamp was my other purchase; the other bits and bobs were
gifts and prizes (including the cutting board!).
Lisa's right hand person Hazel kept us entertained with games and activities. Quite a few laughs were had.
Katie's Mum, Pam (who does all the dyeing at Cottage Garden Threads) kept us entertained with stories and her tips for successful stitching  - even more laughs were had.
I didn't pull my camera out very often. Below was the only wildlife photo I took —
— and I'm not even sure what it is!!
HELP! please my Australian friends...if the photo is even clear enough for
you to identify the bird!
The crochet below was my flying project; just a wee baby blanket.
One ball on the way to Australia and one ball on the way home!
I reckon I need one more trip 'over the ditch' to complete it!
Maybe we were a bit crazy but we had a great time  - and it was well worth it!

I've just popped back to link up with Linda and Julie's fortnightly Stitch-sew-snap-SHARE. These lovely ladies are doing their bit to keep the blogging world alive and interesting. Visit them *here* or *here* and spend some nice time discovering what other bloggers are up to ☺

Till next time,
happy stitches,

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Our New Year's Launch

About this time each year we get busy at The Country Yard, sprucing up the shop and announcing new programmes and classes. On Saturday we had our New Year's Launch; our day to introduce all that we've been working on lately.  We had spent Friday hanging new quilts, freshening up areas and reorganising the shop. 
At the front door, this is the sight that greets you.
Although it had poured all night and it was still raining on Saturday, we had lots of keen ladies visit to see what we'd been up to.
Every time we change the shop around we think it's the best it's been...but then next time we do it, we think the same!
Below is the work room. On these walls are some of the classes we'll be offering and works in progress.. we didn't get everything sewn up that we wanted to but we have made a good start on most of it.
You may remember some sneak peeks of cute applique from my previous post.  Here is a little more of what I was doing —
And below shows the 'block' (row, actually) in its entirety. It's forming part of a Row By Row quilt. I completed the applique using iron on Applique papers, a glue stick and invisible machine applique.
My row is just one of many in the quilt, and the only applique row.
There is a much loved and faded old quilt we used to hang at the front door of the shop. For years we have said we'd like to re-make it and finally we have made a start. I volunteered to make this one, I figure it's right up my street.
Here is the cow block... you can see part of the original quilt to the right.
I just love her 3-D ears...and had a lot of fun getting them right!
The pigs were next.
I think I'm going to change those snouts and make them a little more pointy
and pig like!
I'm looking forward to working some more on this quilt!

I mentioned the rain earlier on ... this February is surely going to be remembered as one that had plenty of heat, humidity and rain. There's been flooding in several regions but we are thankful nothing severe has happened here. (It's not often NZ dairy farmers say "we've had enough rain" in the middle of summer!)
At the start of the month we were spending time in the river; all of us cooling off.
Lately we've been able to see the same river from the house..which
is not normal.... here at least 5 metres above the usual level!
Cooling off now consists of paddling in the 'floodwaters'.
You can just see the wooden railings on the right leading to the bridge.
The bridge itself is completely covered by water! 
It's great fun being a dog when the river's up as there are all sorts of smells not normally found.
I wondered what was going on here —
Two dogs trying to climb the tree......
Ahhh... there's a wee possum just out of reach.
It wasn't there the next day -  it had found a safer hiding spot!
So there's plenty keeping us out of mischief at the moment. More rain is forecast for later in the week and I see more sewing on my horizon too!
Until next time,
happy stitches,

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Weekend Report

I've just realised it 's nearly the end of the weekend and I haven't done a write up for Friday Night Sew In - whoops!
By the time I got home after work and the supermarket on Friday I didn't have much stitching time.
I stitched a few flowers on a secret project.....
Here's a little more of it with some more hand stitching.
(This applique is turned under machine applique and it all needs a good press!). So that was my Friday night...not too much to show really but at least I got to sit down with my feet up for a bit! Thank you to Cheryll for hosting us and to the 23 ladies who sewed along with me.

Today I spent the day at my machine, busily and happily quilting away —
— and making some progress.
I really needed a stretch and a good dose of fresh air when I stopped so went out for a bit of a wander—
 —Shut the cows away in their paddock —
— Walked through their paddock to a bushy area behind it.
Had a good explore through this....wandered till we found
a fence and came home a completely different route. 
Closer to the river the undergrowth was all weed... the poor
wee dog could barely get through it and depended on my
footsteps to trample a path for him!
We got home in the end after a good little workout...blew a few cobwebs away! It was a nice way to end the day.
This has been quite a quick little post for me.....thanks for stopping by, 
'See you next time,
happy stitches,