Monday, 31 December 2007

Visitors from France

Remember back in July we enthused over attending a wedding in France? Well Caroline and Bruno saved their honeymoon up and are spending it in New Zealand right now this minute. And they spent a few days of it here in Wanganui with us. One of the things we did while they were here was a wander around Lake Virginia with Aimee and Jessica. Caroline took this photo of us feeding the ducks with the wonderful old pohutukawa tree (New Zealand Christmas Tree) in the background. Terry took the photo of Caroline and Bruno a bit further on around the Lake.

The other two photos were taken the next day when Terry, Caroline and Bruno travelled by jet boat up the Whanganui River to check out the Bridge to Nowhere. Isn't that fabulous photo Terry took looking down from the bridge onto the top of some tree ferns?
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Xmas Day at Nana's

We woke early! The girls had stockings full of gifts from Santa Claus which included a chocolate marshmallow santa... they ate those for breakfast. But we encouraged them to have some cereal before we sat down around the Xmas tree to open gifts from friends and family.

Aimee and Jessica's gifts included santa hats, pretty party dresses and a purple umbrella.

By 8.00 am we had opened most of the parcels under the tree and were preparing a cooked breakfast for 12 people, friends had started arriving by 8.15 and at 9.00 we sat down to: oranges in Grand Marnier, a variety of fruit juices, a frittata which included sun dried tomato, courgette and potato, crispy dry smoked bacon, and cannellini beans with tomato and basil sauce. This was followed by gluten free xmas cake and coffee. Unfortunately we didn't get any photos of the long table, we were too busy enjoying the company of our friends and family!

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Sunday, 30 December 2007

Xmas Card

Sorry for not blogging for a while... stuff was happening. Here is a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year greeting for you all!! I do sincerely hope you had a happy and enjoyable holiday season, whether it was with lots of family, a few select friends or in peaceful solitude.

Over the next few days, I will be posting photos of our family Christmas and the friends who visited. Tune out if you are only interested in quilty things, I haven't had much time for sewing. You can come back in a week or two :-)

But if you would like to know more about Whanganui and its surrounds there will be a few interesting photos for you.

PS - yes, I know Iron Mountain is in Oregon, not Washington, as I say, stuff was happening and once the card was at Frogprints it was too late. If you are interested in how I made the Xmas cards I posted (as in snail mail), I had that picture printed as a 7"x5" photo (30 of them at a $1.00 each) which I then stuck (with a glue stick) on an A4 sheet of gold calligraphy paper folded in half. And this year I managed to find A5 envelopes for the cards.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Aimee's Fairies

Progress on the Fairy Front - and back. I should have this on the quilting frame this week. This quilt has been shown previously here and here. The darkish green border makes the green more dominant, cools down the pink but the photos really don't show the colour properly at all, this quilt has been very hard to photograph. I just put together some of the other fairy and butterfly fabric that was left to make up the back.

I'm a bit nervous about quilting it on the Swiftquilter frame. I want to do some detailed quilting in the centre which will probably need to be done on the table. Do I just quilt around the centre and then take it off the frame and finish it on the table? or will that cause puckering if the quilt is not quilted evenly on the frame? Should I pin it and quilt the centre before putting it on the frame to finish the quilting on the rest of the quilt? Or should I try to quilt the centre on the frame? I want to quilt flowers and leaves in amongst the roses and birds and butterflies on the sky...

Please - give me advice if you have any!

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Dinner with Friends

Have I told you about our friend Anne-from-Canada? Anne and Anita came to work on our nursery in, oh, 2002 I think. They saw on our website that we offered the chance to work for a few weeks in exchange for board and sight seeing trips. (We don't offer that any more because the room we gave our holiday workers is now my sewing room.) And work they did! weeding and planting out and all sorts of back breaking tasks. And we showed them the beauties and glories of Wanganui. Anne and Anita live in Canada, the northern, cold part of Canada where there is snow on the ground for 7 months of the year! And, as Anne loves to garden, she came back to Wanganui the next year and bought a property here so she could both garden in our summer, her winter, and also indulge in her other interest, house renovation and decoration. Her ordinary house in Wanganui has been totally made over to something extra-ordinary and very beautiful - and Anne is only here a total of 2-3 months every year, the rest of the time she is at her home in Canada.

However, while she is here we make the most of her company and that includes at our regular Sunday evening dinner with Robert and Jennifer. As you can see, lately its been pleasant enough to have dinner outside. Last week Anne was here with us (Terry was taking the photo). That evening was a vaguely Spanish themed meal, with Anne bringing shrimp cocktails, Robert provided a tasty chicken stew and I made cauliflower and potato dishes. Jennifer made a yummy cassata with icecream, yoghurt, sultanas and apricots.

By this week's Sunday dinner, Anne had left to return home (Robert took the photo) but we promised to think of her and we did. We took photos of the food she had left us:the potato salad included potatoes, eggs and spring onions that Anne gave me when I picked her up to take her to the airport.

Jennifer made a green salad using blanched beans, broccoli and asparagus with almonds and gherkins and a red salad with tomatoes, radishes, red onions and smoked tuna - they were both worthy meals in their own right! But Robert had gathered the ingredients for a blue cheese sauce so I found some steak to grill... and then there was wine left over from the blue cheese sauce to drink so we drank a toast to absent friends. To you Anne - many happy returns to Wanganui!