Friday, 30 March 2007

An Early Start

I was up at 5.15 am. Terry was leaving early to spend the day at a Rotary conference in Wellington and by the time his alarm had rung, twice, and he had been in and out of the bedroom, twice, I was wide awake. I was looking forward to my day sewing with Helen so I decided to take advantage of the early start and get the sewing room cleaned up while I waited for it to be light enough to go for a walk. Unfortunately I didn’t get photos of the room in its clean and tidy state but here it is as we were working this afternoon. You can see the remains of its old function as a sleepout with the bed where visitors still sleep and the kitchen bench with the rice cooker and electric jug still stored up on the shelf and a knife block still holding knives on the bench. We don’t do any cooking out there anymore but it is useful for cleaning up after painting fabric, etc.

Helen’s sewing machine is on the right and mine on the left. Through the window you can see the washing Helen shamed me into hanging up. I had misjudged the day and left it in the laundry to put in the dryer at some stage but the day was lovely and sunny at lunchtime and Helen pointed out what a good day it was for drying the washing so I took the hint and hung it out!

It was a neat day. We had grilled chicken with lemon and a chickpea salad and a glass of white wine for lunch. Helen worked on a fractured landscape – she will be posting pictures on her blog I’m sure, but you can get a glimpse of it on the cutting table in the pictures here. I finished the top of the Orange Explosion. It’s been turned 90 deg at Nellie’s suggestion and I think it looks great.

I also did some more quilting on the community quilt that I need to finish this week. I had made a promise to myself that I would finish the two quilts (orphan blocks and community quilt) that were ready for quilting before doing any more work on the Orange Quilt – but I broke that when I couldn’t resist working on the Orange One this morning. So I now have 3 tops that need quilting before I can start any more quilts. And that is so hard to do!! But it was easier with Helen to talk to.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Finally, its LIVE!

I spent all day today getting the new Dowdeswell's Delphiniums Ltd website livened and running smoothly. It was an extremely stressful day and I really really wanted a nice cold glass of dry white at the end of it. But we don't have any in the house and it seemed a bit counterproductive to drive into town to buy any. Many things went wrong today, some, but not all, my fault, and the worst part was waiting for others to fix them. The best part was when I stopped waiting and sorted it out myself! One of the easy tasks that I enjoyed though was putting up the new picture for the week. Every week we have a 'What are we doing this week?" page on our website. Today's picture was this lovely photo of a parent plant for our Green Twist seedline. You can click on this thumbnail to see a much larger picture, big enough to save as your desktop wallpaper if you like. And we have more wallpaper photos on our website too.

Stacy came out after dinner for a game of Puerto Rico and one of Knights and Cities and Terry won both. That's about five games in a row he has won and I'm starting to get annoyed. Its selfish really I think. Don't you think its selfish?

Saturday, 17 March 2007

So, what have I been doing for the last week and a half?

It was mostly spent with Sarah, Aimee and Jess. They arrived on Saturday (after our club charity quilt sewing session, see Helen’s blog). On Monday all of us except Terry, flew to Auckland. Our mission was to take the little girls to visit my parents and Terry’s parents. None of them had ever met Jess and the last time they saw Aimee she was about 14 months old. Jess was very excited to be flying but it was not quite so exciting for Aimee, accomplished world traveller that she, is for she remembers flying to Australia a couple of years ago when she was 2 yrs and Jess was only 3 months old. A favourite memory of that trip is little Aimee, standing in the returning residents’ queue with us as we waited for our passports to be stamped. She had taken a little notebook out of her handbag and was standing there, holding it in her hand just like everyone else who was standing in the queue with a passport in their hand! My memory of this trip will be Jess, sitting across the aisle of the little airplane, telling me in a hushed voice, eyes very big, “we flying!”

We stayed with my sister Susan in Auckland. The photo shows Aimee and Jess helping Susan play nursery rhymes on her piano. It’s a bit of a sad story. I grew up singing with my parents around the house and in the car and can keep a tune reasonably well. I started teaching my two girls to sing the same way but our son John, third in the family, has perfect pitch, and he objected so strongly to the unskilled (and somewhat untuneful) singing of his sisters that we had to abandon that lovely habit. So Sarah and Emma can’t and don’t sing very much. Consequently, neither do Aimee or Jess, much to Susan’s distress! They were both quite happy to play the piano but left the singing to Susan…

To visit my parents on Waiheke Island we had an hour long trip each way on the vehicular ferry. This boat trip was another first for both girls. Aimee was a bit worried about the intended boat trip. She was imagining a much smaller boat with lots of wind and waves. And when we assured her that the boat was a big one, big enough for cars to be carried on it, she then worried that the cars would fall on top of her!

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting terry’s dad in the nursing home where the sight of the little girls playing their game of chasing each other around the room brought all the old guys to the lounge area to watch. Next stop was the playground at One Tree Hill in Auckland where I tried very hard to get a smile from any of the mothers watching their children there but didn’t quite manage it – must have been my haircut I guess – or maybe its colour!

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Yay for Thursday Morning!

Thursday morning is usually sewing morning and look what I’ve been doing today! I won the new book lottery at quilt club last Saturday and my prize was the chance to be the first to take home Collaborative Quilting by Freddy Moran & Gwen Marston from our club library. This is a great book – both authors preach my style quilting and its very inspiring. Freddy loves bright colours with black and white to give zing and Gwen loves improvisation in design, and together they have been designing on the design wall from ready made blocks and strips that they call The Parts Department. They preach “if its too big, cut it smaller, if its too small add a bit”. Yeah! I really relate to that!

I had the basket weave square of this quilt already lying around and it seemed to fit Freddy’s colour scheme. I decided to make some of the blocks from their Parts Department section just as a reference for myself really as I will need to take this book back next month. So I studied the basket weave piece and decided to carry on with the main colours of orange and yellow/orange and black and brown/black with just touches of purple and green. I made the purple and green four patches and then cut orange ¼ square triangles as they recommend to set the blocks on point. I cut them a little too large but after I had sewn them on the four patches I decided that I liked the way they now floated in a sea of orange – a happy accident. But I hadn’t made enough to turn the corner, and anyway, Gwen says don’t worry about turning corners, just cut the border off in the middle of a block if you need to so I did! But I needed something for the corner so I made the black and orange pinwheel – isn’t it stunning?

But, fun as it was, I really don’t have time to do any more of their blocks so I made the brown and orange four squares to break up some long strips of other fabrics to make borders to complete the quilt. I’ve almost finished playing with the placement of them now. What do you think?

We’re going overseas later this year and this will be a gift for our hosts at one place we visit. I was going to make them something from New Zealand fabric but I might just put that fabric on the back of this now as while I think its pretty special and deserves to be gifted to the right people its VERY ORANGE and needs people who can appreciate an Orange Explosion!

Sunday, 4 March 2007

What a disaster

We needed to buy a new computer for our manager to use in her office which will soon be built in a corner of the packing shed. I ordered one from the Dell website and it arrived last Thursday while Terry was out. I spent a couple of hours that afternoon setting it up for her, installing programmes and making sure it could access the files she would need on our network. Then Terry came home and saw this lovely spiffy new machine with Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 and a 19” monitor (internet ordered special) and decided that it would be better if his old machine was put in the rather dusty environment of the shed and the new one was put on his desk. That way if the dust overwhelmed the computer too quickly it wouldn’t matter so much. Fair enough.

But as I’ve written before, I’m still trying to get the new website finished and I begrudge any work time not spent on it. So I asked him the next morning which had priority, getting the new machine ready for him and his old one ready for the shed or working on the website. He decided I should work on the computers. Oh, dear. It was hot, I was tired, I was working on two computers at once and it was a disaster. I clicked on the wrong button and managed to delete ALL of our email from the last ten years! That email has followed us from machine to machine, from Eudora to Outlook to Pegasus to Thunderbird and we haven’t lost any til now… fortunately we had a back up, unfortunately it was 3 days old and it wasn’t easy to restore. it took me four hours to get things back to nearly normal and we had lost 3 days worth of email including some seed orders. Oh Well.

It took all Friday and all day Sunday to get the new machine set up for Terry and the old one set up for our manager. I backed-up all the data off the old machine onto an external hard drive and wiped all unessential programmes. It certainly zips along now. And I found mention of a dust filter for pcs in New Zealand PC World so we’ve arranged with our handy computer tech to install one for us. So maybe the computer will last a while in the shed after all.

One thing we did on Saturday was to install the curtain rod and tie back for the new curtain over the ranch slider. Don’t you love the fabric?