My quilting thoughts and inspirations sprinkled with a glimpse of life down on the farm

Thursday, October 12, 2017

School Holidays - A Photo Story

Kids playing —
A continuation of last holiday's games
My night off!
Kids cooking —
Kids and Calves —
Many hands make light work
Kids and Lambs —
Young chickens laying —
Pick the young chicken's egg!
Stitching —
One more block done :-)
The holidays flew by,
peace and quiet again now!
Until next time, 
Happy Stitches

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Puppies, catching up, and pops of yellow

Karen of KaHolly recently put a call out for some Dog Gone Cute blocks as a way to help raise funds for Animal Shelters after Hurricane Harvey. I loved these blocks when Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts had a QAL for them a few years ago so I was more than happy to jump in and offer to make a couple.
Here are the two I've made, pressed and ready to send away. I hope they don't look too much like I dived to the bottom of my scraps ~ hehe ~ I'm sure they will work well with other blocks sent in!
*Here* is the link for the wee dogs I sewed...Dog One...they are fun to sew up :-)
As well as this I've sewn a few more hearts —

I got a little distracted when cutting the fabric for the lower block below, so had to remake it.....!
I've also completed some applique (if not the whole block) for September's A Holly Cottage Christmas SAL

And another bit of applique —
So I'm chipping away at my projects.However I want to chip away at some more so I'm going to be bold and join in with Patty's One Monthly Goal again this month. I haven't joined in for a wee while; a couple of goals I've had this year have obviously been too ambitious and resulted in no-shows! So this month I'll keep it straightforward. I'd like to add to my Scrappy Sprouts blocks! This has been my Rainbow Scrap Challenge project and the last time I joined in with this was June with the yellow blocks. This month is Pink, I should be able to find some of that!
The last time I added to these was in June..that was a few months ago...
The end of September is when we start keeping an eye on the bush out the back for the annual flowering of the Kowhai trees. There are pops of more accessible yellow all over the countryside but I do enjoy the trek to visit 'our' trees. 
Spot the Yellow!
You can see from these photos how tall and old these trees are..reaching up for light above the other natives. We fenced off this area of bush a few years ago and are starting to see young trees growing which is very exciting.
I had hoped for better bird life photos this year as I have a new zoom lens but because the trees are so tall, the camera is pointing directly into the sun still making decent photography difficult.
There are two tui here..they spent the whole time I was down here chasing
each other. The one on the right was being very terratorial.
There was some lovely bird song from the Tui though plus the whoosh of flight as the Kukupa/Kereru (Wood Pigeon) flew from tree to tree.
Rather than get at the nectar, the Wood Pigeon eat the whole flower. This one
(upside down) was having a real feast!
Just beautiful
As you can tell, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time ♥
(Blogging friends that I've swapped with and sewn for over the years may recognise this flower. I try to use it as a touch of special kiwiana.)

Time for bed now, till next time,
Happy stitches,

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September's flying by -

I surprised myself when I checked out my camera this morning and realised I had a couple of things I could blog about :-) My progress on any projects this month seems to have been so slow I was sure there would be nothing to share!
First of all, I have made a couple more heart blocks.
I started these *here* and am enjoying hunting out my reds - I'm sure there are many more where these came from!

In my last post I also shared the applique block I made for a Mystery SAL (Friday's Christmas) at The Country Yard.... we had the show and tell for the next round the other day. There are several options for this and so all the quilts will turn out quite differently. Here are some pics from it —
and mine.
There are three challenge fabrics.... at least one has to be used each time. And if you look carefully you will see the similarities between the three...the same but different :-)
Hmmm I wonder what the next step of this mystery will be......?!

And I've finished the August block for our Holly Cottage Christmas SAL...I'm loving how these are turning out ♥

Down on the farm we're sure we will soon be growing fins and webbed feet as it's been a soggy few months. With nearly 2 months of calving under our belts, we're both as physically and emotionally exhausted as we have ever been. And while the farmlife photos I usually share are cute or scenic pictures, we all know it's not always rosey.
Ahhh lovely!
 After a challenging week, I thought I'd share a little more of the realities of country life ....
The hot water cylinder at the shed blew its element. To have hot water for
mixing milk powder for my calves, the MOML got a good old fashioned
fire going!
(Better than earlier in the day when I had to carry buckets of hot water from
the house to the shed).
Getting stuck has become the order of the day. This was me, trying to get into
a paddock to feed my calves.
Step one was to jettison the milk and lighten the load (ie feed the calves)
.... then detach the feeder and wriggle the bike out (Low - 4WD - diff lock on)
...then pivot the feeder by hand so it was facing the other way
....attach feeder to bike and drive away.
The next day the MOML got stuck good and proper. Here he's trying to
winch himself out by attaching the winch to a post.
Both our bikes have winches at the front - life savers!
This shows how wet it is under foot ..these calves are busy around the feeder.
And before you ask, it's just not economic to have lots of barns/sheds and feed pads here - usually our NZ all-grass system works well. Occasionally it comes unstuck - or perhaps I should say, stuck!
But it's a fresh week and we're still smiling - maybe the rain will stop one day :-)
Here's to Happy Places. Quilting and blogland fit that bill♥  

Happy stitches!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

September Friday Night with Friends

On Friday night I joined in with like-minded cyber friends, thanks to Cheryll and Friday Night with Friends, and spent a happy evening stitching away on my current A Holly Cottage Christmas block.
I feel like I've been working on this for ages and really thought I was nearly done, with just a few more french knots to do —

— but then I realised the gingerbread man still needs some features!
So maybe another evening and I'll have this block done - I'm just loving this project :-)

I have really been enjoying my needleturn is a block I made for a new Friday mystery SAL at The Country Yard. It's an adaptation of a block I did a few years ago - and also one I did recently for my swap with Janet.
(Not the sharpest of photos sorry but you get the idea!)

On Saturday I pulled out some reds and made a few hearts... I used the tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew (and not for the first time!) which I find to be a really good way of making a heart block.
 I must say I always enjoy a good rummage through my scraps!
Maybe - just maybe - this could be the start of something new?!
This is turning into a very brief post - for me, anyway - so I'll squeeze in a couple of photos I took this morning while out feeding calves.
While these guys were all drinking milk —
This chap was thinking he was a hunting dog —
Totally dwarfed by the big old Totara.
And while there probably is a possom up there, I'm fairly certain it is safe!
I have 108 calves to feed now so that takes a wee while. 80 of them though are out on the farm and on once-a-day feeding, which I do with that big feeder towed behind the bike.

There's some more stitching calling my name so I'll sign off... I'll be back a bit later to do the rounds and see what the other ladies got up to on Friday night... you can visit Cheryll's blog *here* to have a look yourself :-)
Happy Stitches,

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Mini Swap and a Show and Tell

I was thrilled earlier this year when Janet of rogue quilter invited me to swap with her...I've admired her work and her blog for some time and we both have a love of teeny tiny projects.
How exciting it was when the BIG day arrived - we'd each received our parcels - and we could open them!
The rules of the swap were simple - the quilt had to be under 18" square - beyond that it was creative license to do what we liked and create something we hoped the other person would enjoy.
What a thrill it was to open Janet's package - it truely was a heartsinging moment - wow!!
Don't forget this is a mini - it's actually only 12" square!
Look at those tiny pieced pin wheels!
Janet's workmanship is exquisite! Love love love :-)
Just to show you the scale of things!!!
But wait, there's more - also in the package was this gorgeous pin cushion!!
Plus some mini-charms and a tumbler template, wee pin cushion kit, and a delicious cake-in-a-cup mix!
Janet also popped in some green scraps after I mentioned once that I didnt
have much variety in my greens!
Thank you so much Janet, this was a fabulous swap. I so enjoyed it, it was fun making for you and an honour to have your goodies in my home ♥

In my rush to post my package (yes I was running late!!!) I nearly forgot to get out my camera but I did remember at the last minute!
In exchange I made Janet this Granny Squares mini. I had picked up that this was one design she wanted to make but hadn't yet - 
This one finishes at 18" square.
I felt it really needed sashing -  joining the blocks would have been very
messy  - but to keep it under 18 " meant it had to be extra narrow!!
Last year Janet very kindly sent me a copy of a mini quilts magazine which I hadn't been able to get hold of, so I decided she needed a little something extra. I put together this notebook for her.

And I couldn't post something from New Zealand without a kiwiana
decorated handtowel.
Janet has written about our swap adventures *here*. If you don't know her blog, do is always an enjoyable and inspiring read.

There was more excitement this week when we had our show and tell at The Country Yard for our Friday's Village QAL. This was Moda's Be My Neighbour which we adapted to include wee pieces of challenge fabrics that needed to be included in each block.
I apologise for the poor photographs. We have too many workbenches and pieces of furniture - so it's difficult to see the whole quilts.
Three of the quilts have been quilted; the rest were tops. (And a couple of people haven't go their's completed yet).
Five of them...

...another two ( the one on the right is also in the top photo)
And one on another wall.
It was amazing to see how different they all looked, and how the challenge fabrics worked with different combinations of colours, etc.
I took a few quick closeups to show the different border treatments.
Kerryn on the left and Nancy on the right.
Kerryn's birds flew off her quilt and ended up on Nancy's :-)
Ngaire on the left and Bernice on the right.
Ngaire added lots of extra applique - flowers and cats. Her's was quilted,
look how she cut the corners off!
Noeline enhanced hers with some stitchery.
And came up with a different border treatment.
Liz did some fun fussy cutting for her windows.
Inthia's was given a cheery finish with the wee squares in her border and a
totally scrappy binding.

I previously talked about mine *here*. The quilting isn't finished yet but I've
made a great start!
So this week has had some good highlights!!
And a roast and the rugby (yaay go the All Blacks, whew!) at our daughter's last night was a great way to round off Saturday.
I've finished my outside jobs for this morning already and the weather's looking a bit grim....might be time to get some sewing out, I think!
Happy stitches,