Friday, 10 December 2010

My 60th Birthday

I turned 60 a few days ago. We had a fabulous family weekend - and the family joined together to buy me a kindle. Here are a few pictures of me opening gifts. I'll blog more about the weekend later but I know Nadeeka is keen to see my reaction to the gift she was part of buying.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Gluten Free Rosemary Scones

I made these the other day and took a couple to quilt club today. Ruth asked for the recipe. They are very yummy. I found the recipe on one of the gluten free blogs i follow and adapted it a little for New Zealand tastes.It is dairy free (because it uses soy milk but I imagine it doesn't need to) and egg free as well as gluten free but it is very easy to make and amazingly moist. It freezes well too. The applesauce replaces the egg.

1 c. almond flour (I used one cup of unpeeled almonds, ground in a little food processor so it wasn't really flour texture, more a mealy texture)
1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. tapioca starch
1 tsp guar gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
generous tbsp of chopped rosemary
2/3 c. soy milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce (I used stewed apple processed in the little food processor with a tbsp of soy milk)
1/4 c. rice bran oil (or whatever you usually use for baking)

Preheat the oven to 410-420 degrees fan bake.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together well. Mix lemon juice with milk and allow to stand a little. Mix applesauce with oil and cut into the dry mixture. Add the milk with the lemon juice and stir well. This is a fairly wet mixture, like a muffin mix. It may be put into greased muffin tins or scooped out onto a greased or lined tray. Bake for 12 min until nicely browned. Makes 10.

Now, because every post must have a picture and i don't have pictures of the scones, here is the little quilt I finished at quilt club today. It is about 8"x8" and I don't know what I'm going to do with it...

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Only just large enough

I measured the quilt when I had made the final trim, ready to bind - it was exactly 24" tall (if you use one of my rulers, its about 1/8" short with the other but we won't tell the judge). The rules of the challenge state that each edge must be between 24" and 36" and that it must use a recognisable amount of the challenge fabric. The tree leaves/flowers are cut from the challenge fabric.

The sky was partly quilted and then unpicked, completely quilted and unpicked again. So this is the third quilting for some of the sky. The grass under the tree was quilted and then quilted again over the top - so that is quilted twice. The faces have been quilted and unpicked too many times to count and I'm still not happy with them but I don't really know what to do about it now. Closer quilting helped as did using a smaller needle - it took me three lots of unpicking on the faces to realise that the stitches looked wrong because they were dark and that was because even though I was using a pale thread I was using a large needle which was leaving dark holes.

Apart from the quilting (which I am finally very happy with except for the faces), the biggest success was the small dark blue interior border. I made that by folding a piece of 1cm wide blue ribbon in half and sewing it down with a double thread and wide zig zag stitches. It made a big difference to the overall design. I'm also pretty happy with the silver nutmeg and the golden pear.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

I hesitate to post this

because the faces aren't finished yet... I've unpicked and resewn the shading on Aimee's face three times and its still not right. Jess's seems to be going more easily but I'm not so far down the track on her face yet.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Stones Finished

So, I've finished the small A3 size quilt I started in Chris Kenna's workshop on Saturday. I'm rapt with the quilting and now that I've learnt how to do these contour lines with a neat back to the quilt I will be using a similar technique to finally quilt my large Delphinium I quilt. Hopefully in time to submit for Symposium next April.

Chris taught us to start with five small (0.5 stitch length) stitches before starting the row and finish again with another 5 small stitches. This produces a much neater back than using the automatic stitch finishing on either of my machines. Chris also suggested using an envelope turn to finish the edges rather than a binding - bindings can be proportionally too large on such a small quilt. To do this you take two pieces of fabric each the same width as the quilt and each about 2" or 3" longer than half the length of the quilt. Put the quilt face up on the table. Place the pieces of fabric face down on the top of the quilt matching the sides and top and bottom of the quilt so that the extra lengths overlap in the middle. Fold back 1" on both overlaps so that the edges will be finished when turned.  Pin in place. Sew a 1/4" seam around the outside edge of the quilt. Turn to the back. Press, making sure the backing does not show from the front. Slipstitch the opening closed. Finish with a row of stitching 1/4" from the edge.

Another thing I learnt from Chris was the motif used on quilting the sky. I should have done it smaller and it definitely needs practice to make it smoother but I'm glad to know how to do it.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Workshop with Chris Kenna

I'm off today to the second day of a workshop with Chris Kenna. We are making landscapes from our own photos. I really enjoyed her discussion on *looking* at a photo properly, finding out the light source, working out what the colours really are.

This is yesterday's work - Terry's photo on the right, my pieced version on the left. Today we layer and quilt it before adding an appliqued focus piece. My focus piece will be the stones with their dark shadows. Others will add branches or trees to their landscapes.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

I had a little nut tree

I'm making progress. Here is a link to the original posting on this quilt

Saturday, 4 September 2010


Next year is the National Quilt Symposium - these happen every two years and next year's is in Queenstown, one of New Zealand's premium tourist destinations. I registered my interest directly after the last one as I have for the last three but I didn't really think I would be able to go. I didn't get to the last one in 2009 either. However, the cards fell right and my good luck was to be invited to join Helen in the motel room she had booked months ago. So I'm going! and I'm very excited about it too :-)

We thought that it would be a good idea for the girls from Wanganui to have a t-shirt so we shopped yesterday and found a red singlet tunic that suited us both. NB: we don't know of any other club members attending symposium but if you are reading this and you are attending and would like a t-shirt - please let me know!) The shirt we chose has a picture on the front (black, silver cityscape) but it was getting difficult to find exactly what we wanted so we decided that we could put our logo on the back. We chose a singlet tunic so that we could wear other t-shirts under it and hopefully could wear it every day. I played with our Cotton-On Quilters logo on the design programme and came up with something I thought was fairly decent. I printed a couple out on to transfer paper and ironed them onto plain white cotton. Here is mine, sewed on with two rows of (stylishly) careless heavy black stitching.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Quilt Show Challenges

Our club, Cotton-On Quilters is having their bi-ennial quilt show in March 2011. We have three challenges - two of them are open challenges so if you are interested please contact me and I will sent you the information. One of the open challenges is Make Us Smile - size to be A3 size (12"x16").

Here is my entry for that challenge. I know its not stunning. But I made the background as a demonstration of weaving at our club one Saturday. It was a large weave so that it was quick to demonstrate. Then I wondered what I was going to do with it. This is the result - and its an entry!

Did it make you smile?

The second challenge I am working on is only for club members. We are to use this fabric:

and make a quilt that is no larger than 36" on any side and no smaller than 24" - Any subject. My quilt is going to illustrate the children's song: "I had a little nut tree, nothing would it bear, but a silver nutmeg and a golden pear. The king of Spain's daughter came to visit me and all for the sake of my little nut tree".

Here is my working drawing with a piece of tracing paper on top. The tracing paper has the lines for my background pieces and the tree. The working drawing was put together in an art programme on the computer then printed out full size:

And here is the background and tree pieced. The flowers have been cut from the challenge fabric and placed on the tree but not sewn down yet. I will quilt the background before I sew the flowers, golden pear, silver nutmeg and girl's faces on the top. I am going to use photos of my grand-daughters for the faces, not the clip art ones shown in the working drawing.

I will put a border around this part before I put the faces on and I'll stitch the words of the song on the border.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

A Finished Boat

All finished apart from the label which I will do on the computer this morning. The quilting would have been a bit smoother if I had taken the Juki off the Swiftquilter but I didn't, I used the Pfaff instead. Also, if I had tidied my sewing table and spread some silicon around it might have slid a bit better too...

Oh, well.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Further Development

I had another happy few hours in the sewing room today, working on the boat I started in the unstructured piecing workshop. Here is progress. I have pieced boat sails down the left side and across the bottom using the method we were taught for the stars.

The top and bottom borders are not yet completely pieced or sewn to the rest of the quilt top. In fact the medium triangle in the top right hand corner is just folded and pinned to the dark one. I am in two minds about that, whether it should be a light one with the dark as in the bottom left hand corner. I welcome your comments :-)

Sunday, 25 July 2010

A Weekend Workshop

I've spent the weekend at a quilting workshop run by our club, Cotton-on Quilters. Griet Lombard taught 16 of us how to piece blocks without a pattern or a ruler! Check out the club blog in a day or two. I'm sure there will be pictures of all the blocks made by the class.

Griet showed us how to make a star, house, tree, boat, cat and girl and boy figures. But I didn't get that far, once I had made the boat I got stuck on it, making a frame and more stars to go with it so I didn't make the boy and girl figures. I intend to make another border or two for the boat before I'm finished. I was really pleased with how the colour palette turned out on that. And yes, I know the flag on top of the mast is flying the wrong way and the prow is at the wrong end of the boat - I was all set to rip and resew that but they persuaded me it was ok to be wrong....

Monday, 28 June 2010

Dressing Up

We love an excuse to dress up. We check out our favourite second hand clothes shops, we buy cheap accessories from the $2.00 shop and we hunt down the perfect pair of shoes or shoelaces or wig. We have shirts printed with logos! Because there are four of us we are very brave about walking down the street or entering a venue looking ridiculous - why should we care? We've had our fun, putting the outfit together!

Last Saturday night was the Rotary Club's changeover night and the theme was Better, Bolder Brighter Blue. SuperRotary Man, the Bold Blue Bustier, Blue Freak Hair and I would have taken prizes for the best costumes if such had been on offer! You might have noticed that I am not as brave or as bold as the others, but man those blue shoes had the highest heels I've ever worn! Terry is standing on tip toes in the photo of us together!

Roll on Thursday - another Rotary Changeover; theme this time - midwinter Christmas!

Monday, 21 June 2010

A Global Quilt Project

I received a letter from Amy Allen, The CEO of Global Change Inc, the other day asking for a couple of quilt blocks to be made for a fund raising quilt. These are the two I have made, 9.5" sq and 12" sq. They both have New Zealand birds in the centre and are surrounded by fabric from a New Zealand fabric jelly roll my son gave me for Christmas. The darker one is the larger, both blocks have 2.75" centres.

The quilt is being made to be auctioned in conjunction with World Toilet Day on November 19th and squares are to be received by August 31st. If anyone is interested in being part of this project, email me and I will pass on Amy's letter. My email is not clickable unfortunately, as it would be harvested by spam bots, but you can read it and type it in :-)

Sunday, 6 June 2010

A trip on a jetboat

For Christmas last year we gave Sarah, Aimee, Jessica and my father, vouchers for a jet boat ride on the Whanganui River. We booked the Havoc trip to the Flying Fox with Brent Firmin of the Spirit of the River Jet Boat Tours. This is a one hour trip up the beautiful Whanganui River, one hour at the Flying Fox for coffee and muffins and a little tour around and then another hour back on the river. Unfortunately it rained on the day we went this time. That only meant we didn't get many photos, we still enjoyed it and it did let up a bit while we were at the Flying Fox.

The two girls and Sarah were given a ride on the flying fox - half way out over the river. There is no road access to the house, all people and supplies are brought by boat or by road to the other side of the river and then winched over on the flying fox.

And why am I just showing you these photos now? 4 months after the event? because the camera we used to take these photos was, um, mislaid, until very recently. Until I had to get the backpacks out for our trip to Sydney actually. Last time they were used was, oh, in January for a trip on the river I think!

Shoot for the Stars

I have been giving all the little ones in my family a bed quilt on their fifth birthday. Andrew happened to get one much earlier in his life plus he has the quilts his brothers were given when they turned five. So I decided he could have a wall hanging instead. I asked what his passions were and heard about rockets and spaceships. I am still experimenting with woven quilt backgrounds and spots look like stars so this has lots of woven spots and a spaceship - and the globe shows Australia as that is where he lives. Happy Birthday Andrew!

Andrew's mother Nadeeka has blogged about his reaction to the quilt.

Two Excellent Trades

Terry and I celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary in February this year.
 We decided to treat ourselves to a red table setting - red for a ruby wedding and red for a large family gathering at Christmas. We found a lovely red tablecloth and  red and cream runner but although we searched for a long time we could not find the table mats that we wanted. I decided I would have to make some but I haven't had much time for sewing over the last year or so and I wasn't hopeful I would get them made any time soon.

Then a lovely lady from Canada wrote asking if we would consider a trade. She wanted some delphinium seed and wondered if we would like to take something from her Etsy shop in exchange. We don't normally do this but she asked at the right time, offering the right thing. Elizabeth of Lilybeth Goodies has made me 12 table mats and 12 napkins. I chose the fabric for the mats from an online source and Elizabeth took it from there. (Oh, and before you tell me that I've set the table wrongly, the small knife and fork are on the inside because they are for dessert - pancakes with feijoas and almonds and greek yoghurt).

They are beautifully made - Jennifer and I spent ages last night trying to work out how the mitred corners on the napkins were done. Just imagine it - 48 tiny little mitred corners on those 12 napkins! Amazing! I'm totally happy with the trade. Thanks Elizabeth! I hope you get as much pleasure from your delphinium seed as we will from the work you've done for us.
 And this is our dining room with the table set for Sunday night dinner. Can you see the other new addition? Yes, the doors have arrived from France - but they haven't been installed on the cabinet yet, that's for another day :-) Aren't the colours perfect? It was very exciting when they arrived all beautifully packed in a wooden box.I will show you more and better photos of the doors when they are installed on the cabinet.
Here is a picture of the quilt in its new home - Christine writes that its perfect with the colours of her room. So that was a happy trade too!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Woven Quilts

I bought a new book recently, Simply Stunning Woven Quilts by Anna Faustino. So I treated myself to a play in the sewing room since I have now finished the most pressing of my UFOs. I still have UFOs and I intend to work on them before starting any other major project, but a little little quilt for the charity quilt auction at our club's next show was a 'refresher' before getting back to work. Here is the woven background and the finished quilt. It is called "Dusk over the Valley" and is A3 size (about 12"x 16")