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

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,

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Friday Night Sew In deferred!

It's been a while since I have attended a class so I was excited this week to be able to do so. Ngaire Brooks, a NZ designer, was at my favourite quilt shop with Day One of a class to make a cute little thread holder pouch. The pouch is mostly of wool felt and flannels so it was good to learn some of her techniques for working with these materials. Something I haven't done a lot of before.
A busy group with bits everywhere!
I got to about this stage —
Below is what I'll be is very clever inside, I'll show you more as I work on it!

(As an aside - I was one of those annoying participants who arrived late - the reason? 
This poor girl needed help calving; it was nice to see mother and son 'back to normal' by the time I arrived home after lunch.)

Anyway, once I got home I put it down and didn't touch it when Friday Night Sew In rolled around I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the evening. Especially as we have homework that needs doing for the second class in (under) two weeks time!
I settled down on Friday night to sort though my wool felt and make some more hexagons. However we had an evening of thunder and lightening and instead I spent the whole night comforting a small dog. He was snuggled on my lap quivering and shaking....poor little guy.

So I made my Saturday night a Friday Night Sew In instead  - no thunder, no lightening and I made some good progress —
The rest of the wool felt hexies basted and ready to whip stitch together.
Thank you Wendy for hosting us!!

Apart from this, there's not been a lot of stitching happening here lately but I am making headway on the latest block for the A Holly Cottage Christmas SAL.
I"m enjoying these blocks, they're fun to stitch :-)

Hungry calves are calling!
Must away :-)
Happy stitches,

Monday, July 31, 2017

Christmas In July Swap

This year I decided to take part in Cheryll's annual Christmas In July swap..... I haven't taken part for a few years so I was excited to be a part of it.
I had a  'Boxing Day' unwrap as my parcel arrrived on the 26th and wow how spoilt was I??!!
Lyn (no blog) sent me the most lovely and generous package...can you imagine my squeals of delight when I first unwrapped this —
"Oh this lady knows my tastes" is what I thought!
Next came this hanging :-) —
But wait, there's more —
I love how the addition of a bit of ribbon and a bell make this into a perfect
Christmas gift!
— and more —
Hasn't this wee guy got the sweetest face?
- and body!
Hmmm not sure where the chocolates got to.......!
Once again Lyn, thank you so much. It really was a lovely set of gifts! I love them all :-)
Even though Lyn doesn't have a blog, she does comment as 'Linny', so if you receive a comment from her, just know that she makes the most beautiful things!

I love these swaps where we send to different people than we receive from. This year I sent to Anthea of Hibiscus Stitches . I was delighted to 'draw' her name as she sent to me a few years ago in a Secret Santa Swap and we have been blog friends ever since.
In my last post I gave you a sneak peek of this wee Gingie (from Michelle's Gingerbread Kisses book). Here he is in the hanging I made for Anthea.

One of the things Anthea made me last time was a 'Round the World' table topper. I knew straight away that I wanted to make her one the same (similar at least) —
The one I made for Anthea
This is a clearer look at the fabrics.
This is the one that Anthea made for me a few years ago :-)
It gets well used every Christmas.
This covered pad completed the trio of goodies I crafted for her.

[These three makes are my three OPAM finishes for the month too :-)].
A very big thank you to Cheryll for hosting this swap. Not many people took part but I'm pleased that I did!!
'till next time, 
happy stitches,