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

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A Stellar effort and a few cows

I'm very pleased as, for the second month in a row, I've met my One Monthly Goal!
I've been fitting in a bit of star making over the last week or so, and have finished the 24 friendship stars needed to go around the centre of the mystery stitchery I am doing this year.
A nice pile of 3" friendship stars
I even got them sewn onto the centre block —
Thank you to Patty of Elm Street Quilts for running this link up -it's a great way of getting a little push to achieve a goal.

I took my camera out with me when we were doing farm work yesterday. It's calving season down on the farm and it was a lovely afternoon.
Aw shucks - what cuties
One mob of expectant mums. We draft out the cows who are close to calving
so they are in smaller mobs and are easier to keep an eye on.
A newborn to a first time Mum
Expectant Mums in another mob. Very full bellies of grass!
Taking the new Mums and their babies home to the milking shed...
...and the calf shed.
I'm now feeding about 50 calves and there are 62 cows calved.
What's this you ask?
—the chickens love the milk.
We store the milk we cant send to the factory to feed to the calves. The chooks
are always quick to appear when I start pouring it out!
Time to shut them away :-)
(I'm not complaining though, they've suddenly started laying heaps of eggs!)
 The weather suddenly changed and today was chilly with some cool showers coming through, even a bit of hail. Hopefully this weather doesn't hang around for too long and we can be back to sunny, dry days again.

I found a photo of this on my camera which I hadn't yet shown. My DIL made it for me for my birthday earlier in the month - isn't it special?!
All the grandies ♥
Oh and One Last Thing. I do have ONE finish for the month but don't have a photo yet - I gave Xavier his knitted slippers without pulling out my camera. Photo of proof next time!
'til then,
Happy stitches,

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Did I Sew?

When I signed up for Friday Night Sew In over at Sugarlane Designs, I forgot that I had a few things on over the weekend that would slow me up on crafting and blogging!
(And here it is Wednesday already, I hope I get this post written today!)
Yes, I did manage a few stitches, here's a taste of what I stitched on FNSI —
Thank you Wendy for hosting Friday Night Sew In. I'm sorry I wasn't a very focussed guest :-)
After dinner and before I sat down to stitch, I made a couple of Birthday Cakes. The next morning, another two—
A sunny morning in the kitchen. Four cakes (two in the tins) ready to go!
... and the rest of Saturday was spent at ED's where four of us got together for a fun time icing them for her two wee ones' first birthday!
YD has the process all sorted. Using my yarn swift which rotates smoothly
to get the layers of buttercream icing nice and even.
All the crevices in my cakes were well and truly covered up!
I had to leave before they were finished, but look how cute they turned out!
Hehe I loved the party hats ED made for the animals!
And for the record, here are five cousins eating cake at the party.

We had a busy party day on Sunday so the only other crafting I touched during the weekend was a bit more work on Lily's latest cardigan. I started this while we were roadtripping with Mum last week but haven't really touched it since.

In other sewing news, a wee while ago I tested another design for Juliet of Tartankiwi. You may remember that I love her designs and I always jump at the chance to help her out, providing (what I hope is) useful feedback. It also gives her a chance to see what her pattern looks like in completely different fabrics.
She has now released this pattern and I am able to share my version of it.
I adore this fellow - he is (officially) the Little Blue Penguin, the world's smallest Penguin and native to New Zealand. The pattern is available *here*.
As always, Juliet's pattern went together well. The only trouble I had was with the eye; I thought I'd picked out a reasonably suitable contrasting fabric for it, but because it was so little, it didn't show very well (and photographs even less well!).
I got out some grey embroidery thread and did a few straight stitches and I'm a lot happier with it now :-)

As the days go by where I don't get near my machine, I worry that I won't meet my One Monthly Goal this month! Those 24 friendship stars aren't going to make themselves!
However yesterday I had some time to myself and managed a pile of pressing—
 — and trimming.
Progress at last! I have a week until the end of the month so surely I can get them made!
Must away,
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Thursday, July 18, 2019

There and back

(and home again)
(Warning photo heavy and no quilty crafty snippets in this post!)

In my last post I mentioned that we were having a few days away while Mum was staying. Because she had never really explored the Far North, we headed up there.
From where we live, it's about 4 hours to Cape Reinga, the tip of the country. We meandered our way up north.
Obligatory tourist stop as you go through the mid north is the toilets at Kawakawa (!). Built by Hundertwasser in 1999 using recycled materials they are a must stop and one of the town's main attractions.
We stopped for lunch at the 'world famous' fish shop at Mangonui, eating out over the water :-)

We travelled further north and followed the coastline, along Doubtless Bay until we got to Awanui. Here we stopped at Kauri Kingdom, where recovered ancient swamp Kauri is carved/fashioned into tables, and other beautiful pieces. The trees have been preserved in swamps and are carbon dated to be about 45 000 years old!
This table was priced at a mere $49000!
Visiting here was doubly interesting to us this time as ED and her hubby have recently found some ancient swamp Kauri on their block of land. What they thought was the odd 'log' partially buried on the ground turned out to be big swamp Kauri logs mostly buried in the ground!
We headed up towards the northern tip of the country - up the Peninsular as I call it; until we reached Houhora which is where we stayed back in March.
Houhora Inlet on the East Coast
After a beautiful sunrise the next morning —
We headed north to reach the top of the country. The first time I went up to Cape Reinga it was mostly metal roads and not a very pleasant drive. Now it's all sealed roads! At times you could almost see the coast on both sides at the same time - the East Coast and the West Coast - it's not a very wide part of New Zealand!
Te Werahi Beach, to the west of Cape Reinga - the first spot where you see
ocean that is above the country!
First sighting of Cape Reinga, the lighthouse
The MOML and Mum looking for the Three Kngs Islands (visible on a clear day)
and picking where the South Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea.
We left Mum on a seat part way down, while the MOML and I walked down to the lighthouse. Took the necessary tourist photos —
After admiring the views, we set off back to Houhora for another night. We took a different route this time, turning off at the Te Paki sand dunes, driving a short way along the Te Paki River and onto 90 Mile Beach.
Te Paki Sand Dunes - there's quite a good little business going, hiring out boards
visitors can slide down these dunes (and climb up again to slide down again!)
Driving down the river
And along the beach —
90 Mile Beach is not quite 90 miles long. It's actually about 55 miles, misnamed by the settlers who miscalculated how far their horses could travel per day on the sand. We didn't drive down as far as the Bluff. We'd worked out where we needed to turn off to get to our accommodation.
Yep, there's our turn off!
On our way home, the next day, we decided to show Mum the Hokianga which is described as a large fjord-like inlet on the west coast. The harbour extends inland for 30 kms. We drove to Kohukohu and took the car ferry across to Rawene, on the other side of the harbour.
On the ferry, looking back towards Kohukohu
At Opononi we said hello to Opo the Dolphin - who was a friendly dolphin who captured the hearts of New Zealand back in 1955.
The big original statue was vandalised and replaced with this smaller one
a few years ago.
The sand dunes at Opononi
The mouth of the Hokianga harbour
We drove home down the west coast, through the Waipoua forest, well known for its large Kauri forest, including our largest known living Kauri tree, Tane Mahuta. There were a lot of people at the car park near Tane Mahuta and the weather was starting to turn so we didn't stop and walk to see it. We were saddened to see the amount of Kauri dieback disease in the forest as we drove down through the forest. Huge old trees reduced to bare branches.
A bit more of a drive and then we were home! We had a great couple of days away and it was interesting to show Mum some of the sights and scenery of this part of the country that we love so much. Lots of sea, sand, big spaces and not too many people :-)

I took Mum back down home at the start of the week (a day there and a day back) and I think she was happy to be back in her own bed!
Finally I've had a chance to sort and resize my photos and yaay finally a blog post is written.
Tomorrow night is Friday Night Sew In and I've just popped over to Wendy at Sugarlane Designs to sign up for it. I'm looking forward to a bit of stitching (perhaps). 
Thanks for putting up with all the photos and the geography lesson on the Far North :-)
'til next time,
Happy stitches,

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A new One Monthly Goal

After success last month with meeting my goal of getting a quilt top together, I'm keen to sign up with the Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal again. I'm hoping I can have success two months in a row!
I am taking part in The Country Yard's Mystery Christmas Stitchery, Not Even A Mouse. It has lots of very cute stitched blocks and I'm happy to say that I am keeping up with stitching those.

However there's a bit of piecing that also needs to happen and I'd LOVE IT if I caught up on that.
My goal for the month is to piece 24, 3" friendship stars.
The stars go around this centre stitchery.
The half square triangles are at the pressing and trimming stage, so there's a bit of sewing involved.
I'd be happy if I also caught up on the rest of the piecing for this project (there's no more small blocks like the stars) but we'll just have to wait and see about that...!
Such cute blocks
I'll be reporting on my achievement later in the month! Thank you Patty for this link up :-)

I've barely had the chance to sew lately; just a bit of invisible machine applique which I decided to unpick. I used Smoke monofilament when I really should have used Clear, and it wasn't as invisible as I would have liked! Unpicking size 1.1 zig-zag sewn in 'invisible' thread is not the easiest thing to do!

I've been knitting again in the evenings and have managed a pullover for George —
Being ably modelled by George
and (nearly) some slippers for Xavier.—
Had just enough yarn leftover from George's pullover
for these!
Mum is staying at the moment and she is busy knitting as well. ED requested some toddler sized Granny jerseys for her two.
She always knits in a pattern as she gets tired of stocking stitch
so every jersey is unique!
(The colours haven't shown up so nicely in this photo).

We're off on our Winter Holiday tomorrow - two whole nights away - such is the life of a Dairy Farmer! We're taking Mum up north as she's not seen much of the Far North before. It will be nice to get away and we are hoping for fine weather so we can enjoy the sights!
'til next time,
Happy stitches,