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

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Rain and Stars


(Month 1)
I've realised that I haven't shared (not even ONCE) about the star blocks I've been making this year.
At work, The Country Yard, we have had The Scrappy Star Quilt Adventure happening since February.

(Month 2)
Each month we receive some light coloured background fabric, four smaller pieces of coloured fabric and a set of instructions for a star block. The instructions give different block sizes and ideas for variations.

(Month 3)
I like the sort of sewalong/quiltalong where there is a sense of freedom; using guidelines and inspiration to create our own versions of a quilt. I'm not so keen on having my finished quilt identical to several others. So this style of BOM suits me well.
(Month 4)
I've decided to make all my blocks different sizes. I'll join them into sets/larger units and hopefully, one day, will have enough of those units to join to make a lovely big quilt!
(Month 5)
The photos below are the blocks in their size groups. Laying them out like this - all mixed up - gives me confidence that all those scrappy stars are going to mix in well with each other in the final quilt!
Three inch blocks - I need 6 of these for each 'unit' so I'd better get sewing more of these —
Six inch blocks —
Nine inch blocks —
12 inch blocks —

We had lunch out with the MOML's parents the other day. It was a beautiful day; I was a bit unsure when we were seated outside but it was warm and a lovely outlook!
And then we had this gorgeous sky yesterday morning —
But you know the adage "Red Sky at Night, Shepherds' Delight; Red Sky in the Morning, Shepherds' Warning", and with a forecast that predicted a LOT of rain we spent the morning making sure all the animals were high and dry. Making mud is not ideal for growing grass, nor is mud a good place for calves to be born!
We brought this one in after she went AWOL not long after being born. She had wandered until she found a cosy hedge or long grass to sleep in. We couldn't find her - about 9pm that night though she let everyone know where she was, bellowing for mum and a decent feed. She was very belligerent at first but calmed down once I got a few litres of warm colostrum into her. The photo doesn't show you how she was stamping her feet nor give any indication of the noise she was making!

With the rain forecast I thought I'd better freshen up my "baby" chickens' cage too. I haven't talked about them for a while...they started in a big box in a warm room downstairs, then moved to a Fort Knox cage in a big shed by the chookhouse and are now in a Safehouse within the chicken run. I've just worked out they're 3 months old. Next week I'm planning on amalgamating them with the rest of the chooks and hopefully it won't be long and they'll be laying! 
You can see here they are nearly as big as the older chooks —

In the end there wasn't as much rain as was forecast. Some heavy showers. The kids enjoyed getting the umbrella out —
And enjoyed meeting the calves. (Well, Lily did, George was more interested in opening and closing all the gate catches!) —

Time to be off, if I'm lucky I might squeeze in one more star block before 'cowtime' this afternoon!
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Monday, July 19, 2021

Getting there ------

Last Wednesday I had hoped to make a really good start on my next project, children's vests using these old blankets —
But this happened instead —
Oh golly, our first few cows calved. And it was the day before they were supposed to come home closer to the shed - which meant a 3km walk for these new mummas. The calves hitched a ride in the trailer so that made things a little easier all round.
And then I thought last Thursday might be the day to get the vests done (forever the optimist - how long can it really take?!) but all I got done was cutting out and a bit of a start  —
Of course there was these young 'uns to tend to —
Friday was work day but I thought that Saturday I would get a good bit of sewing done. Production line things started to happen —
And then this happened instead —
Child minding and happy little helpers. 
After sorting out the calves for me, they got busy drawing on my "keeping track of calves" whiteboard, something they did last calving season. Now that the girls are school kids, their scribbles make a lot more sense!
And on Sunday I finally got to this stage. Choosing buttons —
And suddenly two more 'pathfinder vests' have been made! (Size 6)
These are the sixth and seventh of these vests that I have made. They're all quite different (apart from when there are obvious twin pairs made!) and it's still a pattern I enjoy making and the kids enjoy wearing!

Today (Monday) I'm hoping to get this blogpost written but this is happening instead —
Young Odie is here for the day. He is currently asleep (yaay Ganma!) so I'm typing as quickly as possible while I can!

I'm quite happy to put all the children sewing away for now and get back to some serious quilty-type sewing. I have a pile of blankets and fabrics by the door of The Palace to take downstairs and put back into storage.

So while I can, I'll finish here.
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Sunday, July 4, 2021

This weekend —

It's been a full and happy weekend here. 
I took part in Friday Night with Friends (thank you Cheryll!) and pulled out the knitting that I've been working on lately.
Before we went on holiday I put together a whole bag of stitching and crafting that I thought I would work on while away....the knitting was the only thing I pulled out!
I had already done the ribbing for the second sleeve, and I made some good progress up the arm on Friday night.
Here is what I have previously done. I am hoping that a couple more long evenings will see this completed!
The pattern is a Sampler style cardigan I have seen on Karen's blog (*here* in Ravelry). There is a multi-coloured version but I chose to stick with just one colour for a quicker and less complicated knit!

Saturday passed by in a blur of children and hockey.....in the afternoon we looked after Odie while his mum played hockey. So pleased both of us went in to do that; he's an energetic chap and 'owns' the hockey stadium. Both the MOML and I saw half a game each as we took turns to watch him!

On Saturday night I had a quick visit to Chooky and friends, who had been zoom-sewing all day. They were looking a little tired but had achieved lots! 

First thing this morning I finished two Pixie Pea Coats I've been making for Lily and George.
This is yet another Twig and Tale pattern, found *here*.
The pattern is for a lined coat but I used Soft Shell, which has a waterproofed outer and a fleecy inner. It feels lovely and was quite nice to sew. One of those fabrics that doesn't fray so at times I just turned the edges over once, rather than doing a proper hem.
I'm not sure if it was me, the fabric or the machine but I couldn't get a buttonhole to sew properly on the test fabric so used studs instead. I'm pleased with that decision, they worked well.
This photo was for fun, showing the two different hoods - pixie and standard —
Being modelled —


It was my Birthday weekend so the family decided to visit with cake today. YD did a grand job of the cake and even managed to find 21 candles for it!
The two older girls were away this weekend, but all the littlies had a great time  doing what cousins do best at Ganma's (making a noise, making a mess and having fun together!).

Whew! It's now Sunday night and bedtime,
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Holiday time

(A non-quilty post.)
Dairy farmers are notorious for having their holidays in the wintertime.....it's when the cows are dry (not being milked) and it's generally an easier time to leave the farm and stock in someone else's hands. 
My dairy farmer is notorious for not having a decent holiday, be it winter or summer. The odd weekend away here and there is all he's had for Years.
However, recently we managed a whole six nights away. In spite of some wet days and cooler temperatures it was lovely and a much needed break. 
When we get away we like to head for a coast. For a weekend away we stay in Northland but this time we ventured south and visited a few different places.
(I didn't take a lot of photos while we were away, just enough to show where we went!)
First stop was the relatively local Matakohe Museum. The Northland region has a rich history of the Kauri tree - gum digging, swamp kauri, and felling all being important industries in the past. These days the Kauri forests are protected and treasured. This museum is very big and one of the best, I reckon, with plenty to see. It was a good way to while away a few wet hours.
None of my photos show it, but there were some life sized busts carved from the Kauri gum. Fascinating. We're always looking out for gum on our property - the photo below shows the biggest pieces we have found so far —
(Relating to this, previously we have visited the Gumdiggers Park in the Far North [my photo *here*]. That was also a very interesting place.

We stayed at Muriwai. The rain cleared for us to enjoy a nice evening walk on the beach (a lot of the west coast beaches have volcanically formed black sand).

Thames/Coromandel, across the island on the other coast was another stopping point. We always enjoy walking along the main street of Thames and checking out the shops. 
We drove up the coast to Coromandel. Being winter time there wasn't a lot happening but we enjoyed a nice lunch and explored some bays.

We also stayed at Taupo for a couple of nights. The region is well known for its geothermal activity. We had hot water pouring into the lake just outside where we stayed. Underfloor heating and the hotel pool also used the geothermal water.
I could put my hand in the water - but not for long!
The most energetic part of our holiday was a long bike ride 'around the lake' (as NZ's largest lake going around the whole lake wasn't an option!!).
It started to rain just as we finished the ride so we timed it well.
We had decided we needed a holiday where we rested and went at our own pace. It's been a busy time on the farm and we had both been crook the week before our holiday. However there was no avoiding people when we got to Mum's for our last night at Papamoa! It was nice to see my sister and aunties/etc for a lovely shared meal.
And so ended our holiday. Mum came up north with us for a week. A good chance for her to see her grandies and great-grandies. Whoops no photos so a quick (unsuccessful) selfie at the airport before she left was in order!

[I have had a message that Feedburner will no longer be sending out my posts as an email. I have downloaded the list of subscribers as advised and in the next day or so I will switch over to either Mailchimp or FollowIt. They seem to be the main two outfits who offer this service. So, if you are a subscriber who follows by email, you may receive an official sort of notice in the near future. Does anyone have an opinion on which is best to use? I have received emailed blog posts from both and cant decide which way to jump!]

'til next time
happy stitches,