Monday, June 24, 2013

New York Blooms - another angle

Well I have been playing around again today with my four blocks posted yesterday, tried with the "blooms" all towards the centre - didn't work, tried them horizontally that didn't look good either but vertically I love them! A couple of shots here - one just the blocks and the other with a folded piece of the subway fabric just pinned alongside, I plan to use that to surround them.

So some progress made today, certainly from my point of view. The finished piece won't look so long and skinny when I have finished working on the borders.



I have lots and lots of pieces still from Helen and our Scrap Swap over on 15 Minutes Play so should get really good borders from those.

Have to redo my design wall the flannel is way overdue for replacing and I may try some of the grey gridded fabric which I have seen advertised in the States.

Hoping to start on a quilt tomorrow for my daughter, her birthday is the end of August I have the pieces all cut just need to get it together and probably send it out to be quilted. Will post as it all comes together. 

Have a lovely week.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Still wet and windy!!

Well we're still having the bad weather here in NZ. Wet and windy here in Auckland but the snow down in the South Island is something else!!

I took a photo of the oak tree next door the other day just as the storms here were starting up, we had a double rainbow at one point but I only managed a shot of the single one.



You can see by the colour of the sky a hint of what was to follow!

After my last post with the two small blocks from the Scrap Swap, in which I said I wasn't happy with them, I had encouragement from Wanda and decided that I should persevere, so two more finished and I had only intended to make four and then add sashing/borders, so here is an up to date photo


Not sure if this is the way they will be set, will have a play around tomorrow.

We have just arrived back home from a birthday party for our eldest grand-daughter Beatrice, she turned fourteen yesterday, it seems only a short time since she was a toddler! Our eight week old youngest grandson was there and he is growing quickly too.

Short post tonight, very cold evening and we're going to settle down with a hot drink and watch TV - we have a few more episodes of House to watch from the last series (8) - very addictive programme and I just love Hugh Laurie in this.

Sewing time planned for tomorrow, probably work on the New York Blooms, and start  Quilt As You Go on my bright bargello style quilt, I think I can handle this sewn in two halves and then add the borders and quilt those. 

Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Quilting Weather

As Nancy J from All Points of The Compass tells us New Zealand is in for  an extremely cold spell.   It's a case of "batten down the hatches" keep warm and quilt. The wind is starting to blow here in Auckland and the sky has gone very grey indeed so I guess it won't be too long before the rain hits, maybe some hail in there as well. When the icy blasts come up from the South Pole it's quite a shock to the system.

I have been stuck in the house all week with a shocker of a cold and cough - in fact the whole box of tricks really! Not felt much like quilting or doing anything and the only thing I have done was to complete another small block for the Scrap Swap over at 15 Minutes Play so I now have  two  and I am just not happy with the result!! My intention  was to make four blocks and then figure out what to do with them from there, four together then borders or strips between each  block and so on. A shot of two together isn't doing it for me so might have to rethink. 


See what I mean?  The top one I am happy with but I think the bottom one will be a non-starter. They also don't look to be equal in measurement but they are, must be the angle of the camera. I think  because of my hand surgery and handling everything that came with my long time friend being so ill and then passing away two weeks ago I just haven't been in "the zone". Hopefully things will now begin to get better.

Bird watching at the feeding tables has been great and I get such a lot of pleasure out of seeing them all eating breakfast. For the third time in a week we have had a kingfisher sitting in the branches of the silver birch and he/she is so tetchy about being photographed! I did take two yesterday but they are not showing the beautiful colours.

In fact now I have inserted a pic I see that there is really no colour at all!!! However his lethal beak is much in evidence.

Now my moth orchid below is not short on colour - I look forward so much to the blooms from this particular one. 

I have had a few people emailing to ask about the photo of the Irish Setter on my page - this is my  darling Mollie. We lost her almost two years ago now to cancer.  Miss her so very much she was a honey, our four legged friends are counted as family. My husband still has regular doggie people stop him and ask what happened to her, one guy was so upset when told that she had died he said she was a real hussy!! We still have her brother Seamus and for old times sake I am posting one of my favourite shots of them 
down at the beach.











In fact here are two pics because these particular ones are two of my favourites even though Seamus is being difficult and not smiling at the camera.
Enjoy the rest of your week and happy quilting!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blooms, birds, batiks and fabric cutters



Following good advice from a fellow blogger (to try for ease of use) I finally found a shop here in Auckland which I was told sold GO! Baby but not the bigger GO! which I really wanted to buy. Turned out she had come back from Quilt Market having ordered two of the larger cutters to see what the interest would be over here, the order had arrived that morning. Dashed over and found it was the one with the "new improved roller system" with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims on the packaging. Tried it out and it really was easy to turn the handle, I had thought it may have been quite hard, but not so. After buying the cutter, three dies and mats and and a few pieces of new fabric I headed home, picked up two pieces of scrap fabric to try it out. Really happy with it! Can't wait to start using it seriously.


 Although I was out of action for two weeks with hand surgery I was able to order a package of batiks from Batiks Plus and they arrived yesterday and they're just gorgeous, can't wait to start using them, here are just two pics, I have a whole lot more!












What have I been doing whilst waiting for hand to heal and bandaging to come off? Lots of reading done, catching up on videos and watching the birds feeding out the front. I've mentioned before that we have the Malaysian doves in abundance around here and this morning there were around 50 all pecking at the feed on the ground. They have to share with the mynahs, blackbirds, starlings and of course the sparrows.

We have two quickly put together bird tables in the front garden just in front of the kitchen window so I normally make bird cakes with fat (beef dripping), honey, seed, nuts and fruit and stick them on a blunt spike on one table and maybe half an apple on the other. The greenfinches and wax eyes just love this for breakfast, even gave them a half avocado yesterday and that disappeared in record time!


The garden is now closing down for Winter but still I have a few things flowering, we have had an awful lot of rain and the blooms are so easily marked and then rot and fall off. One of my favourites at this time of year is the Wintersweet, always labelled as having an insignificant flower but a delicious fragrance, and yes it does have an amazing scent, one small piece can scent the whole room, but I went around the garden this morning and I reckon the flower is not insignificant when you have a close look. The yellow outer petals of this one below have faded to white with age but you can just see a new one about to open which is soft buttery colour.


There are two new camellias blooming and the pink one has a perfume, and of all things a rose still flowering. This is a David Austin rose Sharifa Asma which he reckons is one of his best, and I agree!
The magnolia stellata is also flowering, what a sight  when the whole bush is in flower.


I love to take closeups of the centres of some flowers, blown up they are amazing.
I think I will have to get a shot of the centre of this magnolia.



This pink frilly camellia has the perfume and I had a look for the plant label to check the name but that seems to have disappeared.




The one below is about the last of the Sasanqua variety which we grow as a hedge.
Next week I desperately want to get back into sewing mode - I need a bigger room! My computer really should be in my sewing studio but there just isn't enough space so it is sitting in a corner of the living room for a few days which is not ideal. We have a couple of ideas to shuffle things around and give me a larger place, my husband paints and he also needs a dedicated room for this so all these plans are works in progress. However as I am due to have a small exhibition in February next year the pressure is on to get things out for this as well as working on my present "bits and pieces", should hopefully have something to show next week.

Hope you all have a good week and happy sewing!! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Surgery and a sad day

Had my surgery on Monday of last week for carpal tunnel release on my right hand, all went well and I had this done with local anaesthetic, which was great for the fact there is no drowsiness as with full sedation and no totally numb arm which is the case with a full arm nerve block. Surgeon did warn me that when they put the local in the area to be worked on that it would sting. Not to worry said I, had locals before for things like a punch biopsy, not the same she said by sting she meant REALLY sting! Wow, was that an experience and for good measure she put three lots in! Usual procedure with a tourniquet on for a set time so that it would be easier to do the surgery dry rather wet, and within 15 minutes I was reclining in a great chair with a cup of tea and bikkies. I am still padded and bandaged but sutures are due for out on Thursday, looking forward to that. Nightmare with my right hand out of action and can not do any quilting. Told no lifting anything heavy for four weeks.

The good side to all the above is no housework, no cooking and once I had better use of my fingers was able to order some gorgeous batiks from BatiksPlus - they are currently on their way to me. I have also decided, more or less, to get a hold of an Accuquilt Go cutter. We have access to the Go or Baby here in NZ so have been researching the Go, if any of you out there have a Go would you mind telling me what you think of it please. I am hoping that by using one I could cut down on hand stress. I would be probably using squares, half and quarter triangles and of course strips, probably go for a 1.25", certainly a 2.5" and maybe one in-between, also maybe a tumbler and I haven't yet looked to see if they have the dies to make the kaleidoscope pattern.

Three sets of Kaffe Fasset sampler strips from Terri at Quilternity's Place are still sitting on my table whilst I decide what to start with some of these




On a sad note, those of you who have been reading my blog from when I first started may remember a quilt which I was making for a friend, I said she was unwell, the quilt was called "Vintage" from a Kaffe Fasset book. She was actually fighting metastatic breast cancer (she had been clear for 13 years until 3 years ago) and the secondaries had spread to very many organs, but she was thrilled to be able to use her quilt for two months whilst undergoing more chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I was with her two weeks ago and had arranged to visit again Thursday last week but she deteriorated quickly and went into the hospice that day and  passed away on Saturday. She was a darling friend for 33 years and I and our little patchwork group will miss her dreadfully. She loved to wear pink in all it's various shades and decreed that the flowers on her coffin should be nothing but pink! So in memory of her I have two pics of flowers below from a small group which my husband bought for me last week. 







Hopefully back to my sewing machine next week as I am really getting withdrawal symptoms now, I need to be working with yummy fabrics which is great therapy!!!!

Have a great week