Tuesday, 27 February 2007

The Orphan Block Quilt

So, how's it looking now? The top is finished and hanging in our lounge while I consider whether to put a final border on it or not. The outside blue border in the picture has been added to the photograph but I think that must definitely be the colour of the binding. My question is whether there needs to be a border that colour as well and if so how wide. Its already a lot bigger than I had intended but these things take over and tell you what to do next. I'm quite pleased with it.

I'm also very pleased with my new hanger for 'works in progress' in the lounge. My sewing room is an outside room so I can't just leave WIP on the design wall for consideration in the evening or when walking past as some of you can. I have to bring them inside and hang them in my lounge, at the foot of the stairs. Up until today I had a length of small diameter dowel and clothes pegs but today I bought a piece of black cafe curtain rod, a couple of finial ends and some cafe curtain clasps. These are gold rings which hang on the rod and they have sort of alligator clip on the end. I've pinned folded fabric tabs to the top of the quilt and clipped the rings to those. So easy!

Do you see the cunning trick I used at the corners of the last border? My plans went astray when I added the striped turquoise border because then the edges were 47" not 45" so the 5" squares didn't fit so well. And anyway, because the 5" squares were from a lot of different sources they were all quite different sizes - amazing how different 5" can be from one person to another... and I didn't want to stand and recut them all one by one. By using the half square triangles in the corners and a long piece of matching fabric at each end of the sides I was able to adjust the length to match the 47" after I had sewn all the squares together and disguise the not quite 5" square size of the blocks at each end of each side.

Catch Up

A catch-up post because I was sick AGAIN this weekend. What a waste of a perfectly good weekend. All I managed to do was to make two batches of plum sauce from the plums off our tree. Lovely rich dark red plum sauce. Its a wonderful colour. And I can't find any corks to cork it with...

But the reason I'm playing catch-up is that I wanted to tell you about Friday night, Fries on Friday with our friends. Often its just Robert and Jennifer who meet with us to talk about the week just gone but sometimes others join us and this week Judith, a semi-regular and her daughter Clare joined us. Then Jeannie, Alex, Aaron and Miles arrived followed by Stacy. What a party! Terry and I just sat and enjoyed the camaraderie, all unsuspecting that it was in fact a party. Even when the singer, Johnny announced that there was a couple there celebrating their wedding anniversary we didn't 'get it' until, that is, he said they were celebrating their 37th Wedding Anniversary. And then we clicked - he was talking about us and he asked everyone there to join in singing a song, composed by Judith and Clare. Here are a couple of the 8
!! verses sung to the tune of "She'll be coming round the mountain" and they allude to the fact that Terry has often described his job as similar to that of a bumble bee, pollinating flowers:

And Terry, he has sex with the flowers

And Terry, he has sex with the flowers
And Terry, he has sex
And Terry, he has sex
And Terry, he has sex with the flowers

And Janice she don't care, no she don't
And Janice she don't care, no she don't
And Janice she don't care,
And Janice she don't care,
And Janice she don't care, no she don't

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Today's progress

I've been able to spend a good few hours at the sewing machine today and made excellent progress on the orphan block quilt. I have admitted defeat on that last border of half square triangles though... they were too big a challenge with all that black and have been put back in the orphan block stash. I've pulled out some of my lovely bright 5" squares to use instead. After sewing all the middle together with some odd sized coping strips the finished size of the centre piece will be 45" - perfect for a border of 5" squares. Then one last border and the quilt top will be finished.

A Present from Aimee

Yesterday I had an email conversation with my daughter, Sarah. She told me that our grand-daughter Aimee, (4), had made me, Nana, a present and that Jess (2) had made the wrapping paper. And that, after posting it, Aimee was concerned that it would get lost or delivered to the wrong person so could I please ring her when it arrived. Aimee had also decided after packing it up and posting it that it could be for Grumps too. But that didn't matter because Nana was a good sharer, so would I please share it with Grumps. I said of course to both requests. Well, its arrived this morning - a beautiful pink and orange heart shaped brooch!! Here I am wearing it and Grumps just can't wait for his turn. The paper that Jess decorated is very beautiful too.

When I was having this email conversation with Sarah yesterday I suggested that Aimee must have known it was our 37th Wedding Anniversary. Of course she didn't and as it didn't have a zero we didn't really celebrate it greatly. I cooked a scotch fillet steak each, we had carrot, celery, tomato and avocado salad with it and for afters, we really indulged and had TWO mini muffins (almond flour and white chocolate chips) each that a friend had made me a few weeks ago. I had frozen them at the time to keep them for special treats so we felt that was a suitable occasion. Then we had a game of two handed Knights and Cities and I won! And don't believe him when he says he let me win, he didn't. We have developed our own rules for playing two-handed Knights and Cities and it makes a pretty even game and its difficult for one player to get too far ahead of the other.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Yayy! I've been sewing!

I got up early this morning and worked on the website until 10.00 am then said, blow it, I need to sew. I spent the rest of the morning CLEANING UP the sewing room and I even vacuumed (I mentioned that bit for you Frances). Now, when I do get a few minutes to sew it will be a much more inviting prospect. I do love to get out to that room, turn on the National Programme for something interesting to listen to and sew.

I spent a few more hours on the computer this afternoon designing the challenges for our next club Quilt Show. (I
can't show them to you yet, they haven't been discussed by the committee). And then I got some time on the machine. I decided to ease myself back into it slowly and do something not too complex. I had my orphan block quilt still up on the wall so I put some of that together, working from the centre out. You can see the progress in this photo compared to the one in my previous post.

And if you are wondering what the quilt to the side on the wall is, here is a photo of that - another ufo, a snippet quilt. I started this as a trial of the snippet technique. It won't take much to finish now. I really just need a reason to finish it. Mmm, who needs a gift...? what challenge would it suit...? where can I hang it in my house....?

When we were at symposium a month ago, Helen found an excellent bargain. One of the merchants had packets of offcuts from her die cut motifs for $2.00 a pack. Each pack was a bit larger than a can of beans, packed tight with fabric. The motifs had been cut from plain coloured fabric with vliesofix adhered to the back. So the offcuts already had vliesofix - perfect to cut up for a snippets quilt!

Sunday, 18 February 2007

My Weekend

I had a great weekend. How was yours? It started with our regular ‘Fries on Friday’ date with our friends Robert and Jennifer Gaskin. We meet at the local pub on Friday at 5.30 for a bowl of fries and a debrief on the week that was and to plan the weekend to come. It’s something we all look forward to and a date we break only rarely and reluctantly. One or two of us (that’d be me since Christmas and Jennifer is thinking about it) have recently started to order carrot and celery sticks instead of fries but we still have garlic mayo with them... some things are sacrosanct.

My lovely weekend continued on Saturday morning with a visit to the local farmer’s market held on the river bank in Wanganui. I bought venison, eggs, zucchini and coffee. Since I ordered venison at a restaurant recently and found out that my diet programme (Fitday) gives it such a low fat to protein ratio I’ve been very pleased to find this market stall that sells it at such a great price. And the coffee there is locally roasted and freshly ground so I buy 500gm at a time for our espresso machine.

On Saturday afternoon I baked a birthday cake (apple, walnut and cranberries) for Helen, iced it with melted dark chocolate and then lazed around for a bit. We had dinner at a restaurant that evening with Helen’s friends and took the cake back to her place for dessert and coffee. A very pleasant evening!

I woke up on Sunday with a sore throat and chest so did some more lazing around most of the day until late afternoon when I was feeling better. Robert and Jennifer came round about 5.00 pm to install our new stair lights. It was a big production – a very tall ladder and a lot of instructions issued but its all done now and looks fantastic! Jennifer and I cut some carrot and celery sticks and made a batch of garlic mayo. Terry cooked a bbq (venison sausages, lamb steaks, beef rissoles, zucchini and potato slices) and then we had a couple of games of crib. A win each and we decided to leave it at that...

So, yeah, I had a great weekend. How was yours?

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Life in the Fast Lane

Thursday morning is usually a good sewing time but not today. We had two vehicles to take to the panel beaters this morning, one each to drive into town. Terry drove the old truck that needs to have some rust removed above the windscreen before it can get its Warrant of Fitness renewed. I drove the Citroen that had had a minor altercation with the garage door a couple of weeks ago. Apparently automatic garage doors are good business for panel beaters. We keep the door opening gadget in the ash tray of the car and, when we got into the car, the garage door was open. Terry threw his pda into the ashtray and backed the car out of the garage. The pda hit the garage door button and, because the car was going we didn’t hear the door coming down. We lost the radio aerial off the roof of the car and it is lightly scratched and dented.

Next on the agenda was to sit and play a hand of crib at the Rutland. We had arranged to wait there to meet some customers from the USA who were driving up from Wellington to visit our nursery before travelling on to Ohakune and National Park. We had lunch at Indigo before leading them along the scenic route to our place. They had The Tour and a cold drink and carried on a couple of hours later. Thus passed the working hours of my Thursday. What was my biggest achievement today? Probably hopping on the scales for my weekly weigh-in and finding that I had lost 1.2 kg since last week...

I did get a little bit of sewing done before I left this morning. Last week I laid out a new quilt on the wall. I collected all my orphan blocks and arranged them in a medallion style. I'll put it together with plainish borders between each round that will pull all the colours together. That's the plan! This morning I added a border to one 7" block to make an 8" block. That's the block that's missing on the bottom 8" block border.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Time to Quilt

Over the Christmas and summer holiday period, which in New Zealand lasts from 1 December to 28th February, we have had a lot of time with our family but I did manage to spend a week at the New Zealand Quilt Symposium in Palmerston North. I *needed* to be there because I had two quilts entered in challenges! One of the quilts, After The Party, was a collaboration with my friend Helen. Helen designed and ‘drove’ the making of the quilt which told her story. I helped to make the quilt and clarify the design to give it impact. This challenge was sponsored by the Human Rights Commission asked quilters to collaborate on a work that would speak to the issue of violence against women and children. Our quilt was one of the two joint first prize winners.

The other quilt challenge was the New Zealand Hoffman Challenge 2006. My quilt, A Butterfly Fantasy, was the overall winner in that challenge.

This was all very exciting but very tiring too. At Symposium I started two new quilts in two different workshops but I haven’t had time to do any more on them since coming home. This picture shows the quilt started in the Jane Sassaman workshop. I now have THREE unfinished delphinium quilts started in workshops… I think that must be one of my goals for this year, to finish at least one of them! The second photo is another unfinished delphinium quilt started in a Ruth B McDowell workshop last year. The centre was started in the workshop and the borders were subsequently designed in EQ5 and then added.


I haven't had much time for quilting lately. For the last six months I've been working on refurbishing our website. We grow, hybridise and sell delphinium seed. The website we use to sell the seed has been slowly evolving over ten years and had many inconsistencies, uploaded but no longer linked photographs, outdated information and such. It was also a bit dated in look and format (although that has been changed a number of times over the years). So I’ve been completely reworking it from scratch with new templates and new navigation, new format and fresh photographs. Its been a major time sink but we’re nearly there. Our daughter, Nadeeka, who lives in Sydney (and who is the mother of our three grandsons) has been working on the complicated coding of the new website order forms. She is nearly finished with her part of the project so launch date should be scheduled very soon!! I love my computer work, I don’t like a day without some time spent in my lovely office – but I also need to spend time in the sewing room and I’m looking forward to getting back to that.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

I'm fifty-seven

And I'm wearing a striped t-shirt and a spotted skirt out tonight. Terry, my husband, and I are going out after dinner to play The Settlers of Catan with friends. This last weekend we drove to Wellington to be at our grand-daughter Aimee's fourth birthday. Terry was also there to cheer our son-in-law to the finishing line of his first half marathon run (I was looking after the two little girls). A couple of weeks ago I won two quilt challenges. During winter this year we will be travelling in USA, Canada, Germany and France. And now I'm telling the world all about it on a blog, using a digital camera and a pc. Life is very very good!