Monday, 31 May 2010

WARNING: Quilting can seriously affect your health ..

No, it really can.  Last week my shoulder was sore, in fact it was more than sore.  I could hardly move it and when I turned over in my sleep the pain woke me up (you can imagine how happy I was!).  It was like I had pulled a muscle or sprained it but I couldn't think of anything I had done to cause it.  I couldn't sew for a few days (so that certainly didn't help on the happy stakes!) and then on Friday I thought I HAD to do something so I thought I'd just cut some scraps into 2" squares.  The second I went to cut I realised what had cause my sore shoulder - rotary cutting.  Not just normal rotary cutting - I've since figured out rotary cutting with a very blunt blade!!!!  So take the advice of Ms Lottie which I recently read over here and change your cutting blade.  It now feels like a hot knife through butter - bliss!

I managed to do some sewing yesterday and made up the blocks for Kellie for her month in the Australasian Bee.  She asked for a block, or two, of quilt as you go, as shown in the this tutorial.

You can see that I got so carried away with the lovely, gorgeous fabrics that I left very little room for the border - ooops!  Kellie had fussy cut the squares for the centre and then it was literally place and quilt.

A little tip for you if you are going to try this technique:

if you are using white as the border colour 
make sure you trim the second to last round of fabric very neatly and as small as possible 
so that it doesn't show through the white.  

Something I learnt the hard way!!!!!

And best of all for me?  The very lovely Kellie said we could keep the scraps - and she sent quite a bit of material.  Lucky, lucky me!

I LOVED making these blocks - very satisfying and quite quick (although if you were organising all the materials and batting it would take that much longer).  This is what I'm really enjoying about the quilting bees over on flickr - being introduced to new techniques and trying blocks and colour combinations you wouldn't necessarily do yourself.  You also get to 'meet' some great people!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

They're multiplying like rabbits!!

Maybe that's because they ARE rabbits!

It started with this one:

and progressed to this:

which became these:

Please let me introduce 
Bemble Bunny
Belinda Bunny
Lucy Bunny
Bella Bunny
Bertram Bunny
Bouncy Bunny.

(All naming rights go to Maia)

Thursday, 27 May 2010

It surely must be magical ...

but we couldn't decide exactly what it was!

Maia was convinced it was a fairy house.

Is that a door just behind the leaf?

Cassia thought it could be a fairy tramp (I see her point!) or it could be a fairy dining table

Maybe a fairy rain shelter?

What do you think? x

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Learning ...

it's well known that a lot of learning can occur through watching and imitation.  Well the proof is in the pudding!

My first hexagon flower in about 25 years!!!  I managed to make this whilst nursing Cassia through her tummy bug on Friday.  If I'm honest we had a lovely afternoon!  In the lounge, with the fire roaring and watching a film - with a bit of stitching for me it was great!

The following morning Maia made this:

A hexagon flower for Mum!

And, not to be outdone by her sister, Cassia then made this!

We've since 'sprouted' many more hexagon flowers at our house! x

Friday, 21 May 2010

Why do "yucky things" always come in the middle of the night?

In the pitch black?  And with no warning?

Yes I have a sick child!!!  Cassia was up in the night vomiting, or as she calls it "yucky things came out of me"!  Last week it was Maia and now it's Cassia.  It's just funny how it always happens in the middle of the night so everything in close proximity, especially the pillow and duvet, get covered!!!

I can't really complain though because neither of my girls are very "sicky".  Maia is now 5 1/2 and has only been physically sick three times and last night was the first time for Cassia at 3 1/2.

Good news from yesterday was that I received a lovely parcel of fabric to make this month's blocks in the Australasian Bee.  It's a quilt as you go type which I've never made before so I'm really looking forward to giving  it a go.  Although it might be a good idea to wait until tomorrow as I am very bleary eyed and heavy headed!

Wishing you a better start to the weekend than mine! x

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Maia made ...

On Good Friday we were given a very large bag of apples and I decided to stew them.  There were still some left on Easter Morning so I sat at the kitchen table to peel them and Maia sat with me.  She drew the picture she saw - how cool is that?!

An impromptu picture for Mum - the kind I love the best!

The bag that was started here is almost finished - the button is yet to be sewn on.  The girls were great and I thought they created really good bags.  It's quite amazing just what children can do when given the right environment and encouragement.

More sewing.  Amazing to think that Maia did all the sewing herself.  At first I didn't know whether I should sit there besides her but then I knew that I would find it VERY hard to stop butting in so I left.  Maia would call me when she had finished the bit she was working on and together we would look at the book and see what the next step was.  I sewed on the brooch fastening on the back  and cut out the small corners of the M but apart from that it is all "Maia Made"!

You might not know what this is!  Maia asked if she could have a couple of zips and off she went.  She made me a pencil case out of a zip, paper, felt tips and sellotape!!!

It now is now on my desk and houses a very special  thing - a piece of glass I saw blown at Poole Pottery just before I got  married!  Who knew I needed just such a pencil  case?!

Some people!

And now for something Mama made for Maia ...

I had found a linen/cotton shirt at the op shop that I never wore and, inspired by the creations over at Wardrobe Refashion, I thought I would make Maia a dress.  No pattern, no instructions just plain sewing.  I was really pleased with how it turned out, although I certainly didn't like using the bias binding (which I just happened to have in the same colour - amazing what op shops and hoarding can achieve!).  However, I have one small problem - she doesn't like it and won't wear it, in fact won't actually try it on .... and neither will her sister!  Oh well hopefully I'll have more luck next time. x

Monday, 17 May 2010

From the garden ...

Fresh from our garden we have beetroot and carrots and yams kindly given by a neighbour.  I've never had yams before, in fact I have never seen yams before, so that will be something new to try tomorrow.  I'm new to growing veggies so was very pleased when everything grew this year.  We had tomatoes, runner beans, dwarf beans, peas, rocket, lettuce, courgette, beetroot, carrots and strawberries.  The only thing that really didn't grow at all was the spring onions.   The first lot of beetroot we harvested I roasted with balsamic vinegar and then mixed with local feta and mint - absolutely delicious!!!!  These beetroot are now much bigger so it'll be interesting to see how they taste.  Especially this one:

Our plum tree had lots of blossoms and lots of fruit but they took so long to ripen that the birds got them first. I think Maia was the only one of us to have a plum from our tree.  Our lemon tree was moved, ultimately for it's own good, but I don't think it liked it very much!  We've had some blossom on it since the move but no fruit yet - fingers crossed!

The other fruit tree we have is the feijoa.  This is a prolific producer but I don't really like them - luckily Craig and the girls do!  Having said that I made some delicious feijoa muffins last year and we just looked up the recipe after tea tonight.  Craig said he couldn't believe that it's been a year already since we had them last.  There's something very reassuring about celebrating different seasons with the foods and looking forward to the harvests.  I can tell you that I'm already looking forward to next January/February when we can go and pick our own blueberries again!

We've also saved some seed this year.  Don't you just love Maia's label "MAGIC BEANS MAIA APRIL 2010"?!  Being new to growing veggies I have once again been absolutely amazed at the whole process.  You take a small seed/bean etc and then they grow.  I love seeing the first shoots of green and wondering what the leaves will look like.  They then grow and,  hopefully, bear fruit and will then give you seeds to plant again the following year to bear more fruit.  I know this isn't rocket science and I know that this IS what happens but it amazes me just the same - it's just like magic!!!!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Bush and beach

Otaki Gorge

We went on an outdoor survival course on Sunday.  It was run by the local home educators group and it was WONDERFUL!!!!  The location, the people, the weather .....  what more can I say it was awesome.

It was intended for 5-10 year olds but families, of course, were welcome.  Cassia became an honorary 5 year old for the day and did a great job of keeping up with the older children.

Otaki Gorge

The day's activities included finding shelter (whilst being a wolf!  Yes they really did go around on all fours with the guy taking the day!!), hide and seek, bush trails, drinking water from the river (as the aforementioned wolves!), drinking water from the river in bamboo cups which the children had finished off, lunch, hunting for hazelnuts and cracking them open on rocks taken from the rover earlier, making a fire and lighting it and then baking damper bread on sticks over the fire.  Sound tiring?  It was, but so great.  The children revelled in the freedom and responsibility they were given and did a lot of things for the first time (me too actually - first time I've drank roof water and first time I've baked and eaten damper bread.  We also were able to go inside the yurt that the people have just installed and are living in.  What a wonderful space it was.)  If you had asked me whether a 3 year old could make and light a fire I would have answered no.  BUT given the right circumstances they can - and the look on her face was wondrous!  

I took lots of photos but because there were lots of children around I didn't like to use them on this blog.

The Monday morning was spent lazily getting up and heading down the beach.  The surf was great, the sun was shining and there was no-one else on the beach - life doesn't get any better!

A rather large post sticking in the dunes that Cassia thought she could knock down

A little smiley crab face!

This is the first time that I've found one intact and I just love them!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

How apt ...

that I should find this book at a garage sale this morning when we are off on an Outdoor Survival Course tomorrow!  I know I should have been getting ready to go but garage sales are few and far between in this little town at the moment so I just had to go and have a look!  More goodies to show next week. Now we really are going ..... x

Friday, 7 May 2010

Life is great ...

when your 5 1/2!

Especially when your space hopper has just been fully pumped up again!

Even when you're hopping so high that you lose your hat!

Maia has gone through a HUGE stage of development recently.  The other week she was riding her bike, with training wheels.  We went round to a friend's and on the way home I asked her if she would like Daddy to take off the training wheels and take her up the school to have a go on the playground.  She did.  However, before her dad had even stood up from taking the training wheels she was off riding.

Yes, I'll write that again - SHE WAS RIDING.  She was riding her bike around the garden.  Not just in straight lines, she was riding and turning and going around things.  We asked her how she had done it and she just said her feet knew what to do!

How does this happen?  In the past I have always been somewhat sceptical when I have heard people say "Oh, little Billy just did x, y or z" you always think "Yeah, right sure he did!".  But I give you my word, Maia DID just ride her bike!  And she hasn't stopped since!

Jokes are also featuring a lot in our household.   Most of them of the "knock knock" variety and not making much sense to mum and dad but cracking up the girls!  However, Maia came out with this beauty the other day:

Why did the banana go to the doctors?

Because he wasn't peeling very well!!!!!!

Well it had both her dad and I laughing!

We're away to the beach for a couple of nights and an outdoor survival course on Sunday.  Wishing you all a great weekend. x

PS I've also managed to cross another of the undone quilt projects of my list but no photos yet so will share next week. x

Thursday, 6 May 2010

It's all about quilts ...

I took a night class in patchwork and quilting at the end of last year and I am now officially addicted!  How do I know?  Well last week we had a get together of the class at the tutor's house to see what we had done and to continue sewing.  I jokingly said asked the tutor how many quilts she had on the go (Answer: she couldn't quite remember!) but then realised the joke was on me when I counted up patchwork/quilting projects I have on the go (not even mentioning those I have in my head!).  Answer: 7 (and I only started in October!).

So this week I have been doing a lot on the quilting front.

I was lucky enough to sneak a place on the ANZAC Bee, run by the lovely Amy over at Seven Stitches, after someone had to drop out and so these are the blocks for Margaret.  They are going to be made into a Paintbox Quilt inspired by this one over at Oh, Fransson!  So now I have another one to add to that list in my head!

Having enjoyed my first two months of the ANZAC Bee so much  I felt I needed to join another one.  I was  happy to spot another Aussie/Kiwi alliance run by Jo at Sparkly Green Knickers (don't you just love that name?!) and so the Australasian Bee was formed.  Last month Viv set us this challenge and having made my blocks for her I was keen to make some for myself.  So a variation on a theme resulted in:

One is destined to become a wall hanging and the other cushion cover.  Pretty cute eh?  

So lots done but obviously none of the aforementioned quilt projects!  Well I have now got one of them crossed of my list.

I was browsing the web one day (as we are all prone to do) and saw this tutorial for a crazy nine-patch on Oh, Fransson!  I had to give it a go and I had to give it a go there and then.  The top was cut and pieced in a couple of hours and then sat on the shelf until this week.  The end result:

This is only the second piece I've quilted so I was pretty pleased with it.  You can see it's got a border on it because I didn't quite measure the initial square quite right and I've just done outline quilting along the seams and then echoes the triangular shape of the pieced blocks on the plain blocks.  I love the way the original is quilted all over but I thought if I was going to get it finished at any stage this year then it would have to be straight lines!

1 down 6 more to go - watch this space!! x

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The day started with making this:

Inspired by a bag I received in my first ever swap I wanted to make a pattern suitable for children for the homeschool sewing group at my house today!

Pattern decided, people arrived, 3 adults, 4 girls, 2 toddlers and 2 babies later we ended up with these:

Maia was the youngest girl who wanted to sew and I was so surprised at what she could do although I guess she's seen it enough times!!! It was great to see all three girls working at the bags. Lunch called and so we decided to leave the finishing off for next week when I think we'll have 3 very proud little girls. x

PS The other thing I'm all about at the moment is quilting - one of my blocks even made it onto someone else's blog today - check it out!!! From one very proud newbie quilter!

Monday, 3 May 2010

I want to come back if I may?

It's been quite some time but I think I'm ready to come back here.

I tried a few other places but never got into my stride so then I thought why not go back?

So much has been happening but if I dwell on that I'll never get a post done. So I'll start today. The blog page needs some work but why let that put me off - if I do nothing will ever get done.

I have to admit I have got so much more done since I haven't been blogging but then someone mentioned that they kept up on their blog reading by google reader (thanks Amy!) so I've decided to give that a go and start up mine in the process.

It's going to be lovely to catch up with some old faces (no offence intended) and see what they and their families are doing and making.

So that's it - no pictures, no fanfare, just a return. x