Friday, November 26, 2010

Not a lot happening here.

I did finish the not so secret Santa gift for swapping with my sewing group, actually on the morning of the swap (phew). Not so secret because we can all guess who made what but it was a lot of fun and we had a nice dinner out to boot.
The Hardanger heart is a pattern by Emie Bishop.
The gift I received is this gorgeous felt wool heart, all hand beaded which must have taken for-EVER. What a hoot to give a heart and get one back.
I got another wee gift in the mail, I love the look of the Zentangle on the card but I have no plans to start another addiction. If you don't know what the Zentangle craze is, where have you been? The ladybird bookmark is a cutie too, thank you friend, you know who you are.
I feel like I've been possessed by a need, an obsession to sort out how I would quilt the Stars and Sprigs before I've even finished the top. I'm killing two birds with one stone here and keeping up my practice on the machine. While I like what's happening here, I think not for the quilt. You'd think I could do something simple but no, not me, I have to try the fancy pants stuff, just because.
The truth is I may be in one of those sewing slumps, I haven't done any sewing in the evenings for the last three days. I must be sick or needing some battery recharging. Hopefully, I can get back into gear this weekend and get that applique going again.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm late for a very important date.

I was hoping to get back into some serious machine bonding until I was told the secret Santa swap for my sewing group was in a week. I've only had a whole year to make a small Christmas decoration to swap and I did think I still had a few weeks up my sleeve but it's been bought forward. Tick tock, tick tock, there's nothing like a deadline to get me going.
A quick but frantic search in the dark archives of the sewing room and I've found something suitable. You'll have to do with a sneak peek because who knows who might be lurking on my blog.
I still snuck in some time on the machine because I don't want to slip backwards on my machine quilting practice and get all rusty again, after all  how many times can I call myself a beginner?? I'm going for intermediate status here people.
Since I'm close to finishing that applique thing I've been working on for ages, I think it's about time I thought about how it's going to get quilted.  Grand ideas are brewing but I need a bit of guidance, not having that much quilting under the belt you know. Wendy over at Ivory Spring is a quilting goddess and  I want to stitch like her so I asked for some advice and she's sharing her wisdom over here.

My very first attempt at McTavishing is on the bottom and another wiggly worm filler on the top.
So I've learnt a lot just with this attempt. The stitching is a bit close together than what I'd like.
I have to pay attention to the puffy bits in between the stitches and I better practice some more, it's looking a bit busy so maybe I need to simplify it. I darkened the photo to show up the quilting a bit better.
While I was on holiday, I met  my daughter's talented friend Christine and gave her a very basic lesson on needleturn applique. What a quick learner, she got it pretty much straight away. This is what she made for me as a thank you, gosh I'm just happy if I can pass on anything useful. This pincushion was made out of New Zealand fabrics and has a metal pot scrubber inside which is supposed to be good for the pins. I love pincushions!
 I was pretty restrained and only went to a few patchwork shops on holiday. I can't get the lime green of this fabric to photograph the right colour. If you saw it in real life, you might need sunglasses.
 A few brights to add to the stash for future kids quilts cause I don't see many around here so grabbed a sampling of them. I found it interesting that not one of the shops had any reproduction style fabrics, not a one.
I guess that style is more popular in Australia.
Back to that Christmas stitching, I'll be able to show it next week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holiday snaps from New Zealand

Warning, photo heavy post. You can just scroll down through to the bottom if you want the quilty picture.

In New Zealand, you can see a lot of Maori art and these next two were part of a memorial for fallen soldiers. Maori culture is very strong and incorporated into everyday life in NZ.
My children, grandchildren and a sister and brother in law live in Auckland, near the top of NZ so that's where we spent most of our time. I was there for the first week by myself and Mr Quiltsalott joined me for the next two weeks.
There are lots of old character homes around Auckland that have been restored, I loved seeing all the decorative details on them.
We needed to travel to Wellington at the bottom of the North Island to see another sister, bil and my mum. My mother has just been moved into a home as she is at the stage of Alzheimer's where she needs to be safe and taken care of. The short term memory is not good but otherwise she's in great health and I was happy to see her and spend some time out and about for an afternoon to catch up.

It takes about nine hours driving from Auckland to Wellington but the roads are excellent so it wasn't too tiring and there is plenty of scenery to look at.
The native Kowhai trees were nearly finished flowering but this was was at it's peak.
These remind me of home as there were trees planted all down my street where I used to live.

On the drive back to Auckland, I took some photos from a moving car of the two mountains, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe in bottom photo. Both are active volcanoes.
This is such a stunningly green country, it's one of the things I miss about home.
When you drive, you will see farmland all around you and there were plenty of lambs and calves to stare at. If you click on the photos, you'll get a better idea.
Two of my favourite people, Sophie, 5 and Ella, 3.
Noah, born to be a gardener maybe. No photo of my 11 yr old grandaughter, not sure that she'd like that.
I celebrated my birthday while over there and my daughter made me a chocolate mud cake especially decorated in bling style by the three girls. It was a high fat one too, I loved it! I haven't had a birthday cake in years.
It was so great to see my Mum and Dad, three sisters, two kids and four grandchildren. Thank goodness they're only three hours away by plane.

As for the sewing,I did get the border on the left appliqued while I was away and joined it up to the top as soon as I could when I got home. It's shown over on the Glorious Applique blog as well.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's me, I'm back.

 Mr Quiltsalott and I just got back last night from our New Zealand holiday. Visiting family was great but it was a big three week break away from the computer and blogland so I have a bit of catching up to do.

I had to show you this, I bought myself this piece of contempory art at Auckland airport. A last minute impulse buy which I'm not known to do very often but I just couldn't resist.
The piece is in the shape of a Tuatara, an ancient reptile living only in New Zealand. I love how the found and recycled objects are represented. Many bits are uniquely New Zealand, what we would call Kiwiana. It's kitsh Kiwiana to me.
 I took a few close ups so you can see some of the objects. It's all covered with a decoupage type liquid.
The artist is Janice Napper. All photos are clickable for a closer look.

You probably want to see something quilty about now so while I was visiting with my 25 year old son, I managed at last to get a photo of this four patch quilt I made him some years back. It looks a bit faded and used now. It's the only quilt I've made that I didn't have a photo of. It's also the very first quilt that I ever quilted with perle cotton in the big stitch style.
While I was cutting out some basting threads, there was an accidental slip of the scissors which left a hole that needed patching. The cat in the hat was appliqued over the cut and I think it looks like he belongs.
I'll  admit to some other shopping, I have a small (?) amount of loot from two patchwork shops which I'll show next time. I have a few photos to share with you as well as a bit of sewing I managed to do.
It's good to be back, I'm waving out to some new followers (hi there) and looking forward to a big catch up.