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

Wednesday, January 31, 2024


----comes to an end.
While it seems such a long time since Christmas and the New Year, I can't quite believe we are one month into 2024 already.
January has been a mixed month. We've had some long hot days, the odd cooler day, a lot of humidity and then none. We had a little rain at the start of the month but have missed out on much of what has fallen in Northland lately - even though we are only 45-60 mins west OR east to the coast, we have quite a different climate at times - they've had a good amount of rain this month. 
Which means things are drying out on the farm. The grass has changed and the MOML has started feeding out from our big stack of silage bales. 
(The kids have really discovered the bales this summer. The two older girls used to play on them a lot,  singing, acting and dancing.  The younger kids are now making their own games and fun on them.)
They'll be out of bounds soon as the bales will get moved around for the cows.
Soon the MOML will stop milking at night (just in the mornings) to reduce stress on the cows and the milker. Things change a lot in a month!

It's been a month of family busy-ness with visits from relatives and close family. We've child minded when parents returned to work. And dog-sat while their family went to the beach for a week.
The plums are never-ending, although I think, after this morning's pick, there will be just one more big pick of the main tree for the freezer. Add in the courgettes, cucumbers and tomatoes and I've made jam, pickles and chutney. The windfall apples are starting, and the Damson plums are ready to pick.
I've continued on with my daily hill climbs, just missing three days in January, and this morning I clocked over the 100kms mark for this month! Almost one seventh of my goal for the year.
It's always rewarding to get to the top of the first hill to see these great views —

I've fought with wee Tammy in the evenings trying to do handwork but have managed a few wee finishes. (She is slowly learning to do the cat-thing and nap in my lap instead of scragging and playing with everything I try to do!)
I had started this singlet back in November. A group of the ladies who belong to the stitching group at work are making singlets for a premature baby unit. 
It is my second one, and I have enough wool left for another, plus some beanies.

In my last post I shared that I started a wee Pin and Scissorkeep set, a pattern that I acquired up while at my Scrub Stitching retreat last April. I haven't yet made the scissor fob but when I get an empty night or two, I will 'whip it up' - it will be a fairly quick make.
My first make for this challenge was the pouch —
I had a big enough scrap left over from making the bag to line the scissor keep, so that was nice :-)
The pins are poked into the 'gusset' of the pin keep as the stitcheries are gathered around cardboard circles. I've filled it with crushed walnut shell. Check out those tiny cute scissors!
It was good to start the year well by meeting my Chookshed Chatterers challenge goal #6 of finishing these items.
I will link up with Deana's end-of-month link-up when I have posted this- there are a lot of people who have joined in so that's pretty exciting. 

There's been a bit of block sewing happening lately but I'll stop here as this is more than enough photos for one day!

'til next time,
happy stitches, 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

January's FNSI

Gosh, the weekend has really flown by and I'd best get myself organised to write a post... I signed up to take part in Friday Night Sew In with Wendy of Sugarlane Designs...and part of the deal is, you write a post by the end of the weekend. There's also a Facebook option but, although I have FB, I'm not really active there and rarely post anything. So it's the (less instant) blog option for me!
Last post I mentioned that I was stitching a wee scissor keep set. So I continued on with that on Friday night —
I suspect I should have used a single thread for my Xs but I'm not changing that now! 
These are the pin keep stitcheries. The thread isn't as washed out looking in real life.
I'll make these two items up and then stitch the third, the scissor fob.
Thank you Wendy for hosting us. Please visiting her blog *here* to see who else joined in.

I realise I haven't shown the Hugs and Kisses stitcheries I was doing earlier in the month. It was suggested we stitch one-a-day during December but that didn't happen!
This was what I had done last time I shared.
And this is where I am up to. I'll pick this up again when I've finished the blue stitcheries.

In the same post I showed you the Loon that Mum was stitching while she was here. It was very fiddly as she was using a tiny weave, and there are lots of similar shades of colour use, plus lots of 3/4 stitches. However she made good progress and when she went home she'd done this much —
Yesterday three of us had an extra day at work; it was sort of a sew day but turned into more of a planning day. I took, and set up, my machine but didn't sew a stitch! We had fabrics piled from one end of the work room to the other.
 It's always hard work going through shelves of fabric and dreaming of sewing, but it was a fun day! I came home with a new pile of fabric to sew, but that will have to wait for another post.

It had been a busy week with two days of work, two days of children, and visitors for a day. So this morning I was quite happy to potter and catch up on washing, tidying, cleaning etc. I cooked up some plums, and some courgette marrow so felt quite happy with all that.
I wondered where wee Miss Tammy kitten had gotten to while I was busy and discovered her when I sat down after lunch to do the farm accounts —
Hmm shame she didn't pay them for me while she was there!

'til next time,
happy stitches,

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Now what?

In spite of my flurry of my first (little) 2024 finish, I've still taken me a while to get myself sorted in The Palace. I've done some tidying, some sorting and some thinking.
How to decide where, what, how to start?!
I've decided to start with the decisions I have made already, and hopefully anything else will fall into place as time goes by ~
Firstly, my Chookshed Chatterers 2024 Challenge. Item #6 for this month.  Done and Dusted :-) (Featured in  *this post*.)
Deana has put a linky page up for a mid-month check in. Many of us were working on our Scrub Stitching Retreat bag but not everyone, so click *here* to have a peek at what everyone is doing.
However, I do have a couple of other Scrub Stitching projects that I'd like to do. So in the evenings I have been stitching this —
It is an older pattern but one I acquired last year when I was there. Pretty cute.

So that's one thing. The next thing is a young child's quilt I am making for the shop. I've made a bit of a start this week.
Although I may swap the colours so that one has a blue centre and the other has the yellow centre?

And I've decided on my (two) Leader-Ender projects for however long I need them.

First is the Churndash (or is it Churn dash?) quilt I started in 2022.
I think most of the group who started a Churndash quilt at the same time have finished theirs. Quilted and Bound. But of course I chose a slightly more detailed design (Barn Dance by Denise Russek) which has been abandoned for a while.
I need to lay it all out on the spare bed and see where I'm at. I also have scraps from my 2023 projects which I'm happy to put into this quilt so that will be a win-win situation.

My second Leader-Ender project will be making the blocks for the QAL I sort of started last year through On Williams Street. Each month we were to make an identical block, then a FMQ design was offered for it. By the end of the year there would be 12 uniquely quilted blocks which could be joined to make a quilt.
I got this far — 
(Not even quilted!)

I'm slowly working away at updating my blog. I've changed my profile picture, swapping a February 2013 photo for a July 2023 one - keeping it real! And I've added another challenge to my sidebar.
I think I've said recently that I have started my hill climbs on the farm again. It is a great way to get fit. Anyway, I've decided to see if I can walk 732kms this year. That only averages out at 2kms a day, but I know I won't walk every day this year. It will be interesting to see if I can reach that goal!
At the moment I can't get the image where I want it; blogger won't let me put it further down on the sidebar. Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow morning and it will be where I want it!!

And one more thing before I sign off. I've started doing my photo-a-day blog again. *Here* is the link if you are interesting in having a look.
Ok, that will do,
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Saturday, January 6, 2024

The First...

The first hugs of the year went to these two who decided that 4.26am on New Year's day would be a good time to wake up —
(I told them Gandad wasn't even up to milk the cows yet and sent them back to bed. But it's too exciting being at Ganma's so they didn't last long!)

First wearing of the year of my new (Christmas) t-shirt — 

First walk of the year —

First and most decent Fernbird (Mātātā)) photo of the year (and ever). These little-known birds are pretty non-descript but are quite common in the bush areas around us (they're a wetland type bird, I think). They are easily identified by their straggly tail and they appear to struggle to fly and get a decent lift off. And hard to photograph. They have a very cool tk-tk noise which I always enjoy hearing —

First bottling of the year. It's a case of Plums-Glorious Plums around here —

First sewing of the year. Hmmmppfffrrr not so happy about this as it was mending!!
(Farm overalls are too expensive NOT to mend!) (No frills with my mending as they all get thrashed anyway. If I can, I match fabric. No quilting fabric is harmed in the mending of farm overalls!)

First proper sewing of the year - 
I'm pleased that the first drawing of the Chookshed Stitchers 2024 Challenge was #6 which was my Scrub stitching Retreat project. It's an ideal project to ease me back into my sewing. Plus I want it done before I attend Scrub Stitching again this year.

AND First Finish Of The Year —
This was a cute wee bag by Anni Downs of Hatched and Patched. She put together a kit for us - as you can see it was personalised with 'Scrub Stitching 2023'.
There is no batting in this wee pouch but I decided to put a layer in the bottom to give it a little body. I looked around and saw, lying around, a test sample my Sewing Machine Man made when he serviced my Sweet 16. It just needed a little trimming, and then I inserted it between the main and the lining fabrics —
Which of course meant some extra stitches to hold it in place. I decided wee buttons would look cute —

'til next time,
 happy stitches,