Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just when you want to lay in of a morning!

Sorry I haven't been around for a couple of days, I've been a bit green, think it was a tummy bug but don't know where I got that from! I don't normally catch things that do the rounds. So not much art type stuff getting made here.
However this guy decided to pay us a visit a couple of mornings ago, at 7 in the morning. I think he tries to get as close to our house as possible, although he is supposed to be top dressing the paddocks next door!
Here he comes!
These pics will give you some idea just how close he does get, I was standing on the decking of the house. Thought I'd get an "under" shot in case I wanted to ring and complain!

And here is a shot of the top of the plane which gives you some indication of how low he was! Dratted little noisy man!
Hopefully there will me more art to show you soon, but in the meantime hope you enjoy my blog on life!

Friday, April 25, 2008


Today is ANZAC Day here in New Zealand, a national holiday. It commemorates all New Zealanders killed in war and honors returned servicemen and women. However it is also the 93rd anniversary of the landing of the ANZAC's at Gallipoli in Turkey where 8500 Australians and 2721 New Zealanders were killed. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
These are photos of my grandfather, who flew spitfires during World War 2, a 'then' and 'now' comparison. I am proud of my grandfather.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Maddness is right!

Madness is certainly right!! This not-so-little gift was left at our front door this morning by a very proud kitten! It was a 'vermonus ratus' and just what you want when you're wandering round bleary eyed early in the morning! The little darlings were extremely proud of themselves, and I must say I really was quite impressed. I know living in the country you have to expect a few mice and rats, but wow! to actually catch them. Yesterday morning Wednesday caught a little mouse and proceeded to sit right outside the glass doors and eat it while we were eating breakfast! The kids thought it was a real scream! They don't get this sort of entertainment in the city!
On a more positive and interesting note, the mail bought a couple of nice parcels, above was a box of 250-300 daffodil bulbs and below 2 bags each with 250 daffodil bulbs in. We have a very long drive from the road to our house and I'm trying to work my way down it with daffs. I have planted half the drive so far, and last spring when they all flowered I received so many comments, they looked so stunning. But I must say, it is costing me a small fortune!! The ground is very hard at the moment due to a shortage of rain, so I will wait a couple of weeks and see what we get, then I will have to plant them. It will be hard going.
Last night we took the 2 kids (9 and 12) to see Dr. Seuss' Horton hears a Who! at the movies. We thought it might look odd 2 adults sitting watching, so kids have got to be good for something, right? We all enjoyed the movie, despite our ages! Go see it if you have a chance, even if it's just to see the animation.
Hope your all having a great week,

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Definate maddness!

Well first up, Hi Barb, thanks for the comments you left. I think you call the feijoa the pineapple guava in the states. They are grown here as either a hege plant because they are hardy to grow and make great wind breaks, or as stand alone trees. Either way the fruit is mmmm mmmmm! I use the fruit for cooking, desserts, they can be peeled and sliced and dried in a food dehydrater. I also like them because they are ripe and fresh in the middle of winter.

Well it's been a busy few days here at home. It is the end of the first term of school here in NZ and the kids are on a two week break. So my sister and her family have been visiting. The animals aren't used to kids running round so it's been a culture shock for them! However it's been great to catch up with them! Shelby took to her bed, mostly to keep a low profile, especially when there was no food on offer!
Buddy on the other hand was a little suspicious of anything that could run round the house faster than he could! He has spent most of the last couple of days outside!
Wednesday was happy to sleep it out, and seemed to cope with all the extra pats, cuddles and teasing!
Then it was off to pick mushrooms in a neighbouring paddock. Field mushrooms are just the best, I boil them in milk, add a pinch of salt and thicken with a small amount of cornflour, just enough to make a runny sauce, mmmmmm!
Here's Carson, he was busy concentrating on winning the game!
While Charlotte made herself an ATC booklet.... well I did help, but only a little bit!
Over the last couple of days I got some exciting mail too, on the left a bookmark from Heather in Scotland. It is really toooo nice to hide in a book! And the velvet bookmark with the yoyos is from Carol in the States. No more bits of ripped newspaper to mark the pages now!
I also got time to finish my P2P (permission to play) postcards for a swap on Fibre Art Traders. I was playing with tyvek and Neocolour ll water colour crayons on fabric.
And I also got to go shopping in Spotlight and found this mold! Couldn't believe my find! I have kept an eye out in the section where the clays are kept, as they stocked sculpey clays, but they've never had the face molds. Wow! still can't believe I found them!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A jungle in the middle of a paddock!

See what I mean! We have been living here for just over 3 years now, and when we bought the place there was a house in the middle of a paddock, nothing else. Since shifting here we have built fences and seperated out the land into smaller paddocks. I have also attempted to establish a vege garden which will have all the veges and flowers and fruit trees in. The idea was to keep them all fairly close together so that they are all easier to look after! Unfortunately being in the middle of a paddock means the area is pretty exposed to wind! So it is slow going to get things established. We have planted trees as shelter, and I am soooooo impatient waiting for them to grow!
The photo above shows my tomatoes! It's just one big 'free-for-all'. My aim this weekend was to make some headway into clearing some of this. I picked most of the tomatoes, (and made a large pot of soup last night, mmmm). But there are also cape gooseberries growing in there too!
I did manage to find some raspberries ripening while I was exploring. These vines are growing in my strawberry garden, and I think I need to dig them out and plant them in the ground somewhere else. I have a funny feeling they may just want to take over the strawberries!
Last spring I planted 9 fejoa plants as a hedge along one end of the garden space. They have struggled to grow, but are growing some fruit! I love fejoas, one of my favourite fruits, and they are ripe in winter. I checked my plants and I have 6 fejoas coming. This is amazing, and I should pick them off now so that the goodness goes into growing good strong trees, but I love the fruit toooo much!
Finally this is my strawberry plot. I found one strawberry yesterday, but basically they are finished now. I have lots of runners everywhere, and am not sure what I should do. I think they are usually happy to stay in one plot for 2 or 3 years and then need throwing away and starting new with the runners. I did think that I should plant some of the runners up into planter bags, as these might make nice gifts? Last year I planted 2 peach trees an apricot and a necterine tree. They are all looking well, so this week I am going to order 2 plum trees, an almond tree and a manderine tree for spring delivery. I can't wait to be able to pick our own fruit!
I hope you are all having a great weekend!

"Bacon and eggs. A day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig!'

Friday, April 18, 2008

Charity quilt takes shape

Much excitment as I got the latest issue of QA in the mail! I always keep it in a safe place until I can set aside time to read every inch of the mag! Then I have to go thru and wipe all of the drool off it! hahaha!
Remember this pile if 1½" squares of scrap material I showed a few posts back? Well my talented friend Dawn and I have finished sewing them into blocks of 4, then adding sashes to them. Then we cut 4½" plain sqares and here we have them all laid out to see what they look like.

We considered that they looked ok so Dawn has sewn all the blocks into strips. We like how it is looking so far! We have been trying to make the quilt out of scraps, and so far we have done that, but we want to add a wide sashing, which we will have to buy, and we have lots of 1½" squares left so they will get used round the outside. This quilt, when it's finished will be donated to a charity here in Palmerston North.

Also in the mail was my copy of The NZ Quilter, mmmm the weekend is almost on us, so should be able to get in some quality reading!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hosting a trade on FAT

Hi everyone! This is a little 5"x7" art quilt that I have made for the trade I am hosting on Fibre Art Traders. I am very nervous about this upcoming swap. It's the first time I've ever done anything like this, and I'm suffering all kinds of worry. I mean, what if no one wants to do the swap? What if I'm a really bad hostess? Any way I have had fun thinking up the idea and making the item.
Here are the instructions for this mini quilt I've made. It's a little fiddly, but I really like the effect.
I got some freezer paper and did a plan of the pattern, the window frame in the middle and the stone wall round the outside. This on the flat side of the paper. Then got my craft knife and carefully cut out all the stones. You have to be careful and work slowly as sometimes the paper will rip.
In the photo above I ironed the yellow square of fabric onto the centre of the fabric and then I ironed the freezer paper onto my piece of fabric. Then I used Xpandaprint and painted it over the cut out holes quite thickly. Then I peeled off the freezer paper carefully while the Xpandaprint was still wet. On the left side of the mini quilt you can see I have started to sprinkle very fine sand over the Xpandaprint. I sifted the sand first to make sure it was fine.
In this pic I have used the heat gun to puff up all the Xpandaprint, and I am just touching up some of the "stones" with a little grey paint, you don't need to do this if you don't want to.
Now I filled inbetween the stones with cotton, I used a brown/black cotton about 5 strands thick. You could use ordinary tapestry cotton. I then added some batting and started to work on the window frame, which is made from store bought felt
I have added and stitched the whole window frame in place, and added the people inside.
Then I trimed it to size and stitched a climbing vine into place on the outside wall, adding leaves and flowers and finally a backing fabric.
Then I added a matching felt binding for it. I hope you like it, it was fun to make! I wonder where it will end up traveling to at the end of the trade?

Oh, and I must say thanks to Lisa for your nice comments. If you scroll to the March postings on the blog and look up a post called "Bits of this and that" you will find a photo of the complete header and an explanation of how it came to be. Oh and I checked your blog hoping to find a pic of a village and BINGO! there it was! It looks fantastic, you must be really pleased with it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Today saw the return of this ewe and her 2 lambs. And they didn't look anything like what they do in the photos. Of course they are nearly 12 months older than when these pics were taken.
I was not sad at all, not one little bit. This ewe is called 'Baby' and she was given to us as a wee lamb and although she looked very cute, she was the devil in disguise! Believe me, if there was one sheep out of our small flock who would choose to get into trouble it was Baby. Before we had fences round the house she would walk round the house raming her head against the large glass folding doors, wanting to come inside. If one sheep escaped the paddock it was always Baby. If one sheep was going to escape the paddock and ring bark the new cherry trees we planted - yep you guessed it, it would be Baby! Then she produced lambs, and she was a very doting mother, but these two lambs started to grow up with Baby personalities! They didn't mix and mingle very much with the other sheep and lambs, they were always the hardest sheep to pen when we wanted to shear them or drench them or check their toenails. Then if we managed to get one in the pen Baby would always escape through a fence, and she didn't care if it was electrified! She would then take off with a resulting chase right round the whole property.
They were a very cute family unit, but at the end of the day it just pays to suck up to the owners, those friendly sheep all escaped to live another year. But today Baby and daughters of Baby arrived at our place as chops, roasts and sausages! And they look darn good too!! Here's to winter nights, family roasts and mint sauce! mmmmmm!

Things in and out

I received this sumptuous block from Cindy for the 8x8 quilt block swap, I think I've got them all now, must check. I have absolutely no idea as to how I'm gonna put these together! Each block is so different, even tho they have the same colour tones.
I've just finished this Arch for Annette, oops I hope you're not reading this Annette! Anyway here is a bit of countryside for you. I am really taken by these accidental landscapes, as you can probably tell. This one is for an arch swap so it has been made in the same way you might make a post card. But I quite like the ones made with batting and 3 layers.
I was very excited yesterday to find that I had won a piece of artwork made by Fannie! This is one very talented girl!
Have a great day everyone!
"Don't take life too seriously; no one gets out alive."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Running out of hours in a day!

I didn't post yesterday as I simply ran out of hours! Does anyone else have this problem?
My niece Charlotte has her 13th birthday coming up, so guess what I made for her? Yep, wasn't hard was it! I made her a journal. I bought the wee book from the booksellers and made the cover. Sewed on a page marker, and on the cover I sewed on an envelope and flowers. I decorated some of the pages inside with stamps, (rubber and postage) paint and stickers. I gave it to her a few days early and she loved it, but the only problem is, that now I'll have to make one for her mum and one for my SIL!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A glimpse of our neighbourhood

First of all let me welcome Julie to my blog! Hope you enjoy your wander and thanks for the nice comments!
Yesterday I had to drive down to The Bent Horseshoe Cafe at Tokamaru, about 10 mins drive south on state highway 57 from where I live. These 2 shots give you some idea of the view from their lawn looking right then left. During summer this river is a very popular swimming spot and it's usually crowed with people having bar-b-ques and swimming. Notice how things are starting to green up again after only a few showers.
This lovely pile of 1 ½ inch fabric squares were cut up in aid to make a quilt for a charity. My friends Dawn and Chris are helping me to make it. Last night we got together to sew them into blocks of 4. Then it will be my job to do the ironing. Dawn is designing the pattern as we go, she is very clever and I just know it will look totally stunning when it's finished! I'll keep you updated with progress as it happens.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

From my creative closet!

First off I must say hi to Morningdove! Thanks for the lovely comments you leave!
Also hi to Judy from Western Michigan! Welcome to my blog, you left me such a lovely comment and I'm pleased you enjoyed looking through the photos! I did visit your blog, your hand work is stunning, especially the piece you used in your header!
The above pic is of a couple of curtain samples. I discovered a place here in Palmy where you can purchase their old samples for $1 each! What a bargin! My friend bought quite a few which she was going to turn into cushions, but these 2 samples will be put to good use on other things. The sample on the left has pieces of approx 10" square of a range of colours and the sample on the right has several panels with this vine printed on it. Hmmm I think this has the potential to be turned into something, just got to decide what! I'm open to ideas if you have any!!

This is a piece of wide fabric I bought from Grandmothers Garden on my trip to Auckland. They have a nice selection of wider fabrics ideal to use as backings.

I also bought these fabrics. A cotton and a chenille, which reminded me of the old bedspreads, (in fact I still have a couple on my linen cupboard inherited from Mum!). Anyway, I couldn't resist the colours. The staff had made a cushion in vibrant blues and it was stunning, even tho blue isn't my favourite colour. So I'm making a couple of cushions, will post a pic when they are finished.

And finally here are some stamp thingys I've made just lately. I saw this technique somewhere and filed it away in the brain for later, but thought I would use them on my ATC booklet I'm making? Anyway, for those who aren't familiar with this, you get a stamp, one that is fairly open, and then a roll of toilet paper, a paint brush and I used some white PVA glue really watered down. I placed a segment of paper over the stamp and wet it, then placed another over the stamp and wet it, I just repeated this until I thought it was thick enough, and of course the paper molds to the stamp. It takes a couple of days to dry, I left mine on a window sill in the sun, but it could take longer. When it's dry, peel it off the stamp and trim it to how you want it and give it some colour. My daisy was painted with pink lumanire and then gold was added over top. I thought these would make neat embellishments! They are also quick and easy to make! Give it a try and let me know how you got on!