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

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Scrappy sprouts, houses plus an Otter.

This is another one of those times when I say - where have the days gone, it's feels like it's ages since I last posted?! It's been busy here at our place, you know how it is, trying to squeeze everything in to days that I am sure are getting shorter all the time (well actually that's probably true as autumn is here and we are rapidly approaching winter!).

I was going through my photos this morning and realised that I had a few things that I could share.

The RSC colour for May is Green so over the weekend I spent a bit of time playing and making some green scrappy sprout blocks. I recycled some that Sue of Mother Patchwork had sent me. I had to do some unpicking and rearranging as hers were all left facing leaves and I needed some for the other side of the stem too! After playing with Sue's scraps, I did actually manage to use some of my own. Here are the resulting blocks.
Sorry about the glare. The sun has distorted the colours a bit much.
These greens are all quite dark and olive-y so if I get a chance I'd quite like to add some lighter greens to the mix.
As you can see I got a little impatient and just had to join some colours together - time will tell whether this was wise or not and whether or not the stitch ripper will be called into action - I quite like the purple on top of the green for now anyway :-)
This is the year's efforts so far.
This week I am linking up to Scraphappy Saturday. To see what others are doing with their greens visit the blog *here*.
I realised that I haven't shared my Friday's village blocks for a while (I initially talked about them *here*). I've been able to join a few blocks together. I'm using small floral-type scraps for these and I know some work better than others but in the end I think it will be ok! We have some challenge bits of fabric which I have to use as well, some of these are a little brighter than others so I've decided to put a bit of everything in this quilt - once again a good chance to rummage and play with my scraps.
These rows are incomplete and don't go on top of each other!
The blocks are nice and big which makes a change from the small sewing I often seem to do!

From time to time I pattern test blocks for Juliet of Tartankiwi...she has such fun designs and I enjoy sewing them up. (The mouse and squirrel cushions I completed earlier this year were blocks I had tested for her).  Recently I had some more fun with pattern testing an Otter block .... I love how this little chap came out - it took me about a week to decide on my fabrics but I am pleased with the decision in the end!
Most of Juliet's patterns are foundation paper piecing; I find her's go together well. I don't think the Otter is released yet but if you like it, I'm sure you won't have too long to wait.

Last post I offered an impromptu giveaway of a book and a few goodies. The random draw has taken place..... the winner was Janet of Carabou Crossing Cronicles..... congratulations Janet, and thank you to everyone who wanted to take part.

I have a fun few days ahead of me, something to do with hopping on a plane and seeing some wee girls :-)
Happy stitches

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Friday Night and Weekend Sewing

By the time I got home after work and a big grocery shop on Friday it was nearly too late for any Friday Night with Friends sewing. I was determined, however, not to post until I'd sewn the binding on the Round Robin quilt I've been working on lately.
Finally this morning I got it finished and now, this afternoon, I've have a moment to sit down and write my post!
Yahoo, the quilt is nearly done..... just a bit of playing with the hanging tabs and writing a label and it will be done!
Thank you Cheryll for hosting Friday Night with Friends. I hope there was enough slice for all 30 of us who joined in...!

There's not been a lot happening in The (sewing) Palace this weekend; instead rather a lot happening in the kitchen.
We've had a fabulous feijoa crop this year; we pride ourselves on being good feijoa eaters but this year we're having trouble keeping up with them!
So yesterday I froze at least 6 kgs of pulp. This morning I cooked up some more into chutney...looking forward to trying this batch, it had dates and apricots in it too :-)
And YD did something with her chillies...they look good in the jar...

Last night I finished reading the second of two books I've really enjoyed lately; one, The Promise Girls by Marie Bostwick, and the other, My Secret Sister by Helen Edwards and Jenny Lee Smith. Co-incidently both about families and sisters in particular. (The one by Marie Bostwick is a stand alone novel not connected to her others and not about quiting).(But enjoyable all the same!).

It reminded me that I have had a book sitting here that I was going to Giveaway here on my blog. I acquired a second copy of 'From here to Texas' (also by Marie Bostwick) which is connected to her Cobbled Court series. I have a soft spot for Marie after meeting her years ago on one of her book tours. She was a delightful lady whom I really enjoyed meeting.
Let me know if you would like to win this book...!
So if you haven't yet read this book and would like your own copy, let me know in the comments below. If there is more than one person interested, I'll do a draw for it at the end of the week.
I am happy to post to anywhere and maybe, just maybe, I'll pop a few other goodies in with it :-)
[I've been the lucky recipient of blog giveaways in the past, as well as kindness from blog friends so am wanting to keep the blog love circulating].

Happy stitches ♥

Friday, May 5, 2017

A new goal and a little progress...

I had a lovely peaceful day in The Palace yesterday and managed to tick a few things off my list. One of the things to-do was to hunt down a long forgotten project for this month's One Monthly Goal. Last month's goal still needs the binding but I did sort that yesterday and I'm so excited about finishing it that I know it will be done soon :-)
{I don't know about you, but when I go for a hunt in my sewing room, it's a lovely rummage through cupboards and boxes - it can take some time as I get lost in all my dreams!}

A few years back I led a 3-D cushion class...the sample was finished but I started on another one to demonstrate the blocks and techniques during the class.
I brought it home and worked on it a little, then stowed it away.
Now it's time for it to see some daylight!
Here is the centre
Some 3-D flying geese for the border
Have to find the pattern - cant remember if I need more of these bow-ties or not.
And definitely need more of the pinwheels.
Luckily the fabrics were all stored with these blocks, plus a small bag of bits - hopefully it won't take me long to work out where I am at with it and get a finish. This year seems to be turning into the year of the cushion for me!

Proof that I'm also making a little more progress on last month's goal.
I'm linking up to Elm Street Quilts for the OMG link up and to the Finishing Stitches link up over at Days Filled with Joy.

Yesterday I also assembled a couple more borders of my Evandale quilt... there are two more large-ish borders to go on this. The next border is the main event, I have a couple of blocks made for it but cant find a photo of them to share this morning so you'll have to wait and see!
At this stage it measures about 46 inches square.

As I'm hoping to start A Holly Cottage Christmas soon I thought I'd better catch up on last year's BOM, Anderson's Farm. The end of the year came so fast I didn't quite get it all finished. Close enough, but not quite! So I completed one more wee block that I'd missed :-)

This was one photo I shared last year but I haven't taken a more recent one.
I have it all up on my design wall and am gradually filling the gaps. I have a foal's head to find - I know I made one at the time but it dropped off before I could sew it on - and then the top panel to make. A friend and I realised it had no cows on it so thinking about adding one or two of those slowed me down a bit!
Tonight is Friday Night with Friends - I'm popping over there now to sign up... I know I have plenty to do for it, deciding on exactly what is my problem!
Happy stitches,

Monday, May 1, 2017

April scraps and almost a fail —

As seems typical with me, I breeze in at the first of the month (here in NZ) with a last minute post about my monthly goals for the previous month!
I sort of failed with the One Monthly Goal I had for April; to finish a Round-Robin quilt from Years Ago...... but I'm happy that I am a few steps closer to finishing it as the bulk of the work on it is now done.
I did get the quilt top quilted, here it is trimmed in the photo below —
— but I didn't get it bound...hence the sort of fail but not quite! Quilting this brought back all sorts of good memories for me, thinking about the friends who contributed each row, and also the scenes depicted. Here's a couple of sneak peeks but I'll show more when it's properly finished.
This was Mr Piggy, who we no longer have, but we do have a Miss Piggy!
I did a very small amount of ruler work but it was mostly random fmq-ing.
Hehe - different pig - same pose!
I'm linking up to Patty of Elm Street Quilts - thank you Patty for hosting us - click *here* to see how other bloggers went with finishing their goals.
I'm also linking up to Joy of Days Filled with Joy, for her monthly Finishing Stitches Challenge. Thank you Joy for encouraging and hosting us. 
Since I had only a partial success I hope I qualify for joining these link ups!

In April I also sewed up two blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The month's colour was Multi; rather than make a multi-coloured sprout block (My RSC block for this year) I added two new blocks to the Great Granny squares I started a few years ago.
Obviously it was a bright glarey day when I took these pictures so I apologise you cant really see the colours very well.
I now have 9 of these blocks - I had wondered if it might be a good place to stop but now that I see them together I think I will carry on - maybe a 4 x 4 setting will be nice... if I plan a bit better with my scrap colours for the rest of the blocks I may even end up with a cohesive looking quilt!
I'm linking up to Angela of soscrappy - thank you Angela for motivating us to rummage in our scraps and use a few up!

[EDIT; And I've just linked up to Freemotion by the River, for Linky Tuesday. Thank you Connie.]

The school holidays have ended and the girls have gone home. We had two busy fun weeks with them here. We are gradually turning them into farm kids and I love this photo I took one day while we were out the back doing some stockwork.
See them leaning? They were singing their hearts out!
Ok, gotta go - I have a quilt to finish!
Happy Stitches,

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bunnies, sheep and a sew along -

Here I am, back fresh as a daisy after an enforced break from it all due to computer woes.....I didn't know how to get my camera to talk to the temporary set-up I had so I just forgot about it and kept myself more than busy doing everything else ♥
[Apologies if you have already seen this post over the last few days... I did something odd when I edited it to add the Sew Stitch Snap and Share link up. Surely it was Blogger playing up and not me...??!!]
So yaay for being in the habit of taking photos so at least I can remember what I've been doing!
Easter came and went. We had some nice family time over Easter. And we sent the girls off on an epic egg hunt which lasted all day....Yes!! All. Day!! Longer than we expected but loads of fun.
If you enlarge the photo you may be able to tell they had a good sized area
to cover!
I made two wee bags using this tutorial on the we all sew website. A quick and easy sew and a perfect size for yummy chocolate eggs.
I didn't make the faces which the pattern suggested and I made a slight change to the way I put them together so that all the raw edges were hidden (like we do when making a standard bag).

I've also sewed up the sheep blocks I had prepped in my last post...these will be for two row-by-row quilts.
Now to make some pigs to go with them on the same row...cos pigs and sheep go together, right ?
They do at our place!
Sorry for the poor photo.

(At this stage I'm calling the quilts Farmkids Vintage..).

Last week I also sewed up a storm and completed this quilt top.
It was a sample for a mystery jelly-roll class we held the other night at the shop. Half square triangles that can be put together in a variety of settings, this is the one I chose. The class went well, there's always a sense of adventure sewing away into the night with family left at home fending for themselves :-)

And now, a grand announcement —
I'm very excited as I'm joining forces with Fiona of bubzrugz to host a Stitch-A-Long which will be starting soon! Lots of us fell in love with Michelle's quilt 'A Holly Cottage Christmas' when she first shared it and released the book for it. Lots of us bought the book. Lots of us banded together to make her a replacement quilt when her original was stolen. And lots of us haven't yet made our own versions of the quilt.
So to motivate us all, we're having a stitch - along... if you're interested we'd love you to join in with us. We're not starting just yet, so people will have time to buy the book (or find it if it's misplaced in the sewing room somewhere) and gather some fabrics.
Here is Michelle with her new quilt made for her by friends from around the world.
All the details for it can be found on the Stitch-A Long blog and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask me (or Fiona).

I had some happy mail last week. The very talented Julie of My Threadbear Life had a giveaway and I was the lucky winner! When it arrived I had a selfish session and savoured the opening of each little package.
I knew the stool was coming - but not the rest!
Thank you so much Julie, I love it all. The pin cushion now has pride of place in The Palace ♥

ED had a birthday recently.... she said she wanted something for her horse.... so as a little joke, I made him a carrot bag!
By the way, the Ed here is her horse's name.... although I guess it could
also be ED for Eldest Daughter.
Sigh, so confusing!
Boxed corners and free motion quilting - too flash for a horse, surely!
I'm linking up to Linda and Julie for Sew, Stitch, Snap and Share - thank you ladies for hosting this :-)

Just one last photo to share... the epic (yes, the second time I've used this word in this post but there is no other word that works) birthday cake we made for ED's birthday. YD gets all the credit for the total chocolate overload decorating but I did bake the cakes for the base! (And for those of you who know my family, yes, it was all gluten free!).
I'll leave you drooling ....
happy stitches,

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sew Stitch Snap and Share

Linda and Julie have started up Sew, Stitch, Snap, SHARE; a new regular linky party for us to share our WiPS and finishes.... and a way to help us keep on track with our projects.
All we do is do a bit of sewing and stitching each week, take some photos and share them on their link-up post. Easy! 
(Click on either of their names above to go to the link-up page if you want to join in, or simply just want to visit some new blogs and be inspired by others' work!)
I haven't done a huge amount of actual sewing this week but I still managed to snap a few photos of things to share.
This was some sewing —
The Flying Geese for my Evandale quilt.
And then I spent an afternoon prepping. When I'm in an organising mood, I like to do this; sorting and cutting several blocks so when I get a chance to turn the machine on I can just plough ahead and sew.
Three blocks prepped, and layered on scrap batting.
You may be able to tell that two of those blocks are some more sheep for the quilts I started in my last post...a re-make of some of the Farm Girl Vintage blocks.
Last weekend's completed block above, one partially sewn and a prepped one
I find that if I lay them out on the batting, the piecing process is so much easier
and logical.
The Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour this month is multi-colour...anything goes... I'm not sure I want those colourways in my scrappy sprouts but remembered the great granny blocks I was making a year or so back as part of the RSC. I found them difficult to do in the rainbow theme but thought it would be perfect for this month.
That's the other prepped block you can see a few photos above. Below are the great granny blocks I've already made.
So this will give me eight - one more will be nine - I've been wondering whether to call it a day there or carry on.....? I'm thinking that perhaps adding more blocks will make the mis-matching ones gel together a little better? Or maybe after this latest block is sewn they all might get put back in their box for a while....... :-)

For the last few evenings I've pulled out a bit of stitching - something I haven't done for quite a while. This is my Country at Heart Alphabet (by Michelle Ridgeway). Can you believe I just had one letter of the alphabet left to do! 
Now I've been busy planning layouts for putting these together so that's fun!

As Easter and winter approaches, it's Happy Pants season. (PJ pants). Today in town I stocked up on brushed cotton/winceyette for our resident family.
[Just as a little aside... including this post, in the last three posts I have mentioned/worked on EIGHT different projects!!!] [Gulp].

The talk of New Zealand at the moment is Cyclone Cook which has been hurtling towards the country, and had threatened to be one of the largest storms we've had in 49 years. And destined to hit areas that are still sodden and damaged from last week's (ex) Cyclone Debby. 
While we've had plenty of rain, it seems like it's mostly missing Northland where we live. Naturally we're very relieved but we're now anxiously waiting to see what happens with the rest of the country.
I went for a walk down the farm this afternoon, the MOML had warned me that the river was swollen but I don't think it had come up any higher than he described. He had to kayak across this morning to move the water pump to higher ground. (Apparently it was quite a challenge, the water was moving very quickly!)
Our swollen river; nowhere near a flood here. Under the water is our bridge.
There's a large tree banging against the bridge rails
 so we are hoping it doesn't wipe those out.
Hoping all my fellow New Zealanders stay safe and dry this weekend.
♥ And to you all, Happy Easter ♥