Monday, 27 August 2007

A Settlers of Catan Dinner

Terry had a fraught day fighting off alligators as he tried to drain the swamp up at the nursery so I suggested we had a game of Knights & Cities and a finger food dinner before he spent the evening catching up on the office work that hadn't got done during the day. The picture shows our dinner table set ready.

The rose in the vase (and ribbon) was one of four that Terry presented to the four ladies (Judith, Jennifer, Val and I) who attended Fries on Friday last week - just because he had been walking past the flower shop.

The Settlers of Catan (3d version) is on a board made from two layers of corrugated card laid at right angles to each other for strength, covered with quilt batting - its supposed to be a temporary board until I get a perspex one cut - or until I cover it with fabric. We've been using it for a couple of years now I guess...

The plate is from France. Christine, Caroline's mother, bought it for me in Lyon. On the plate are: venison gluten free sausage from our local market, sprouted blue peas, grilled chicken breast, plum sauce from plums from our tree, carrot sticks, hummus mixed with garlic mayo, roasted almonds, tomato, kiwifruit. On the side plates are gluten free rice flour waffles which I make without sugar so they can be used as crackers with savoury foods.

Rice Flour Waffles
Put the following ingredients into a blender in this order:
2 eggs, 1/2 cup oil (I use rice bran or light olive oil), 1 & 3/4 cups soy milk, 1 cup white rice flour, 3/4 cup brown rice flour, 1 tbsp gluten free baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt.
Blend all ingredients, scrape sides and blend again. Leave to sit while waffle iron heats. Cook each waffle for 5 min. Makes 10-12 large waffles. These freeze well and can be defrosted and crisped either in the toaster or 5-6 min in a hot oven.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Nearly Finished

I've only got the label to do now. I've used a very thin batting as I wanted it to be suitable for use as a table centrepiece. I won't attach any hanging system but I will include three little rings that could be sewn to the back for hanging if my partner wishes. I'm quite pleased with it. The colours work and, even though I changed the right-hand border from the original design, its still balanced. Want to know why I changed it? Well, I cut the strips, sewed them together, cut the 45 deg angle for three of the border pieces that make up the bottom and right hand borders - and then cut the fourth border piece out of one of the others! I pieced two more borders and made two more mistakes (in size and then in colour)! So I gave up trying to make the border as designed and started fresh. The quilting is fairly basic, just a meander in variegated thread that suggests air flow or a windy day.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Fabric Sorted

Here are my fabric choices for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap and you can also see the roll of embroidery thread that Helen gave me as a thank you for letting her use my quilting frame while I was away. Its a lovely maroon with a slight brown mottle - perfect for the autumn colouring I'm aiming for.

And you can see that I also intend to use some orphan blocks left over from making my daughter's Plenty-o-Pockets bag shown in the making here (I didn't get a photo of it finished). When you make snowball blocks using this method you get two triangles cut off each corner. And I'm sure you all know that if you sew them together BEFORE cutting them off the snowball while its easy, you get a bonus bunch of small squares made from half square triangles. That's what I'm using for the Tree of Life block in the middle of this Four Seasons Quilt.

Stuff from Abroad

I brought lots of 'stuff' home from our trip - here is the quilt related stuff. I showed most of it to Frances and Helen when they came to lunch on Saturday but I forgot to show them the Fons and Porter Half and Quarter Triangle Ruler. Which is a pity because I'm sure they can explain how to use it, its a mystery to me.

I love using the little purple Fiskars snips - they are very sharp and excellent for cutting out shapes that have been vlisofixed (wonder-undered).

And yes, I know the sewing maching fixit set is PINK and that I don't like it but there was no choice, it was pink or nothing, because we are women, right? so our tools HAVE to be pink...

Look what I got today

My stash of hand-dyed fabric was running a bit low so I found my favourite supplier and ordered a few (36 actually) fat quarters - total cost $77 including postage - not bad for 8 metres of pre-washed hand dyes. I've never had any dye run from Shelley's fabrics and they are excellent quality. They come tied with string and wrapped in cellophane which is a Very Good Thing because when you are opening the package at the table while drinking coffee and you drop the opened package on your cup of coffee and the coffee splashes on the contents of the parcel - you can just WIPE IT OFF the cellophane!

I also like them because the darker ones have some mottling which makes for interesting patches in the quilts. I have always used them for the skin of people in my quilts: see here and here and here

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Four Seasons Swap

I've entered my first internet quilt swap - this one here. I've to make a small quilt and send it to my designated giftee and I will be sent a quilt by another participant. We can freely blog about the quilts we make as no-one knows whose quilt they will receive. We also have our partner's preferences as guidelines.

Here is a pic of the quilt I have decided to make, which I designed in EQ6. I have chosen to challenge myself by making it all pieced (which I don't like to do generally) and the pieces will be pretty small as its going to be 18" square. I will starch the fabric to heck before making it and then wash it when its finished. The finished colours will be slightly different to the pic as I received my partner's preferences after finishing the design.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

8 Random Facts

Helen tagged me with the 8 Random Facts meme while I was away – ok, I’ll play – up to a point…

  1. Post these rules before you give your facts. OK.
  2. List 8 random facts about yourself. OK – see below
  3. At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them. Nope – sorry, I know it probably means I’m a grumpy old lady- but I don’t pass on chain letters or email jokes or poems or inspirational power point presentations either…
  4. Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged. Not necessary, see 3 above.

1. I have difficulty answering the question “How many children do you have?” because it depends on how interested you really are in the answer. Often I just say 4 and leave it at that. The full answer is 4, two natural, one adopted and one sort of absorbed. Between them they have given us 5 grandchildren (so far).

2. I love colour. I love to make art and decorate our life with colour. I think I quilt because the colour in quilting is easier to control than when you are painting – its discrete, can be held in your hand, measured (auditioned) against the next piece, exchanged and replaced to get it exactly right. My wardrobe and my house are also full of colour. I get bored very quickly with black and white photographs…

3. A memory foam topper for your mattress is the height of luxury – if you are considering getting one don’t hesitate for a minute longer. If your mattress is uncomfortable, consider one.

4. I have, over the years, worked as a: shoe shop assistant, motel cleaner, radish grower, strawberry picker, packer in a lingerie factory, nuclear radiographer, gherkin jar packer, chrysanthemum grower, children’s camp cook, petrol pump attendant, photographic retoucher, kiwifruit quality control inspector, office administrator.

5. I’ve worn glasses since I was 14 – and when I was younger I loved the feeling of being able to hide behind them. Then when I had babies, I loved to hide behind the babies – you remember when you were a young mother? Everyone focussed on the baby and ignored you? That gave me the sensation of hiding behind the baby – just as I had previously had the sensation of hiding behind my glasses.

6. I think the internet is the biggest revolution in communication since the printing press – and we are lucky enough to see it happen.

7. My favourite meal (which we are having tonight) is grilled scotch fillet, microwaved broccoli with hollandaise sauce and tomato salad.

8. I don’t like the colour pink – pink-pink, salmon pink is ok, old pink is ok even but not that real pink with the blue in it, you know the one I mean? Barbie pink and all its friends and family, the ONLY colour, for goodness sake, that you can buy anything that is meant for little girls in – all their clothes, shoes, toys, bags and all are this horrible PINK! And the garden when we moved to our present house was all planted in pink, and the curtains, and the KITCHEN were all pink. URGHH. Now you’ve got me started – has anyone else objected to the fact that the only clothes you could buy over that last few winters were black, white, grey or red? Or PINK if you were LUCKY??

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Life Goes On

Well, I haven't been blogging because I've been sick. I still am. I got sinusitis in France and finally saw a doctor in Singapore who gave me some antibiotics and painkillers. I finished those last Saturday and the pain that night was terrible so I saw an emergency doctor in Wanganui on Sunday and got a couple of courses of different antibiotics. One of those is making me nauseous and the pain is still bad. My top teeth on one side of my jaw are numb and I'm wondering if I should see my own doctor (or my dentist). I can't concentrate on work but I'm getting some done in between naps. I've put all the plant orders that arrived while we were away and that will go out next month onto the database - and I've done the first row of the Row by Row Quilt that our club is doing over the next 7 months.

The owner of the quilt sets the theme and colour, does the first row and hands it on. Five more people will add a row, each 8" x 48" and we of course, will add a row each on five other quilts, always following the theme and colour set by the quilt owner. Here is the picture I have used for my theme and colour scheme and the first row of my quilt. The appliqué blocks are original blocks drawn from photos taken by my husband and the picture is an original painting of Poppies by a Wanganui artist, Rob Chamberlain.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Home and back to work

Well, we sort of left you in the middle of the wedding - it was so difficult to get internet access without our own computer. We won't go without one again. We didn't take the laptop because it is so heavy to carry around and so big to find somewhere safe to leave it - but most of the hotels had free broadband access for your own computer but charged heaps to use their computer. The didn't have card readers or available usb ports either which is what made it so difficult to upload photos. And in France and Germany the keyboards are different which made typing very slow - all of these added to our frustrations with keeping the blog going. However, we are home now - so some photos of the wedding: Terry the photographer; Terry and Caroline's Dad, Roger; Caroline and Bruno after the church service with bubbles blown by the children; Janice at the wedding; Janice, Caroline and Caroline's mum, Christine, shopping in Lyon.