Friday, April 29, 2011

Today I am thankful for.....

After 4 days of rain I am making the most of the sunshine and fresh winds to dry four loads of laundry. I could  show you a picture of sheets blowing in the breeze but these pink pegs in a vintage basket are much prettier don't you think.
Family and friends sharing their autumn bounty of walnuts and feijoas with us. You can't beat fresh walnuts in baking and the lovely fragrance of  feijoas. I just might be baking feijoa and ginger muffins this weekend.

The US and NZ postal systems for delivering these pretty bliss fabrics so I can finish my Bliss quilt, which I'm also hoping to work on tomorrow. These fabrics were purchased on Etsy here and here.
Tonight the girls and I will be staying up late to watch 'the wedding'. Wisely my husband is going out to watch rugby and basketball so it will be a nice girls night in.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Love a good page turner....and a classic

Thanks to my bookworm nearly 14 year old daughter I have found another great book that I am enjoying so much that it is way too hard to put it down especially when I should really be doing other things. We saw the film last year  and loved it although it is very sad and I thought Cameron Diaz was wrongly cast as the Mother. I think the  film was well done and portrayed the story well but as is always the case the book has a lot more in it. So Amelia got it out from the library for herself along with "The Clan of the Cave Bear" and I got out.......

......this book because I love the author's more well known series "The No.1 detective agency" and I thought maybe his other series would be worth a go. Unfortunately I got rather bored reading this and gave up which I hate to do but I have better things to do than read a book that I am not enjoying. So now that I'm 2/3 of the way through "My Sister's Keeper" I am interested in trying out her other books and hoping some of you will be able to recommend some of her other titles???

Since it is school holidays here Caitlin and I are reading this book together. This is a classic children's series that I absolutely adored  as a child so much so that I wanted to be Heidi or at the very least have her pretty little Swiss dresses, but to my disappoint I have never been able to get Amelia to read them, although she's probably a little old for them now. Maybe its because the writing is a little too old fashioned I'm not sure but Caitlin seems to be really enjoying having it read to her and I am definitely enjoying reading it all over again. Plus its nice to spend a little quality one on one time with Caitlin.
So what children's classics can you remember as a child that you loved and read over and over, please do share with me. As you can tell we love to read in our house where you will find books on every floor :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Easter weekend was spent...

...clearing our garden and deck of leaves from recent autumn winds ready for the next storm due to arrive tonight, weeding the veggie gardens and picking the last of the tomatoes...

...working on this little pile of crochet squares...

...sewing these blocks - 40 completed and ready to sew into a quilt top!

...playing with block layouts- I think I like the look of this one...

We also...
  • ate a Good Friday lunch with my parents in Waihi
  • had a visit from my parents for afternoon tea on Easter Sunday
enjoyed a visit from friends who delivered a dressing table for Amelia's new room, took a double bed back with them and surprised us with there good news of their first baby being due in September :) I'm now  looking forward to sewing lots of baby items for them, that they never knew they needed ;)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter traditions...

Just popping in to wish everyone a lovely Easter weekend. As is tradition in our house we bake our own Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday. I do love making these buns and they just fill the house with the most delicious yeasty, spicy aroma. Caitlin was my assistant today, helping to roll them into round little buns then piping on the crosses before they went into the oven. Sadly they are now all gone so we just might have to make some more tomorrow....

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Progress is being made

Just dropping in quickly to give you a progress shot of my bliss quilt. I had first intended to sew these 6 1/2 " blocks all together but they weren't sewing together nicely at all and also weren't giving me the overall effect I had first envisaged. Sooo onto plan B which is to frame them all in a different solid fabric which I'm really liking now. Phew! Hoping to get them sewn all together by Sunday!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Birthday gifts

This is a post I should've done last week but I've been having trouble downloading photos from my camera to  my computer.  I think I've got it sorted now although my head is now swimming with information on how to use the software that came with my camera. I won't bore you with any more details suffice to say its a learning curve that is giving my brain a good workout.
Anyway on Sunday a week ago it was my Mothers birthday which is always a good excuse for me to make her something handmade that she needs/wants. This year I made her a plastic bag dispenser for her kitchen and a Shopping list holder to go in her handbag using fabrics from my stash which always makes me feel good. I had recently had a bit of a sort out and had put aside some pretty florals that I thought would be perfect for projects to make for Mum.

As well as holding a shopping list pad I made a place on the other side to hold a wee note pad and also a place to hold the pen.

For the plastic bag dispenser I used a great tutorial written by Rashida Coleman from "I heart linen" in one of the "Stitch" magazines . If you haven't seen this particular magazine I can thoroughly recommend them. They are packed full of sewing inspiration, informative articles, tips, how-to's, and tutorials with full size patterns to to pull out and use. 

This tutorial was really easy to follow and so much nicer than the plain dispenser that I was originally going to make. I love the addition of the tag at the top for hanging which was also a great way to incorporate my label.

Even though school holidays are now upon us here  I am still managing to get a little sewing done on my Bliss quilt and will be back here soon to show you some more progress now that I've got my photo downloading problem sorted. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

This week....

....I have had a sick child home from school and have made use of this lovely old wooden tray a lot. Caitlin developed "Croup" on Wednesday morning although the good parents we are we sent her off to school anyway. That afternoon she had completely lost her voice and her appetite, was very tired and had the tell tale "Croup" cough. This is the second time she has developed "Croup" in a year and she now has an 'inhaler' for when she can't breathe so well. In a way it was a welcome relief to have Caitlin not feeling well as it reminded us that her and her older sister do really love and care about each other no matter how much they argue and fight. The empathy and concern on Amelia's face when she came home from school on Thursday, and asked how Caitlin was, was plain to see. Today they are back to themselves, teasing, arguing and fighting over the little things in life.
In between looking after Caitlin and doing housework I have managed to snatch some time to sew some lovely 'Bliss' together. I was originally going to sew these 6 inch blocks together into 12 inch blocks but they just weren't looking that great so now I think I'm going to frame each one with a different coloured solid fabric. I have completed another 12 blocks since taking this photo and hope to get whole lot more sewing done tomorrow in between acting as the peacemaker for my daughters who in times of need do actually help each other out :) 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A work in progress....

A sneak peek of a quilt I'm working on at the moment. I'm using a jelly roll of Bonnie & Camille's "Bliss" fabrics with the addition of some yardage of 4 solids. This quilt incorporates 3 things I have not worked with before:
  • Designing a quilt for a jelly roll.
  • Using only 1 fabric line. ( I usually like to combine fabrics from different lines)
  • Incorporating solids into a design. The only solid I've ever used is white!
I'm really enjoying the process and just love this Bliss line which seems to be increasingly hard to find online. I love the challenge of designing a quilt from scratch as well which really gives my brain a workout.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Indie Biz Launch Party !!!!

Welcome to the Indie Biz Launch day celebrations!! Here's the list of participants broken down into 5 categories of  'Newly launched shops', 'Newly launched blogs', 'New Products', Giveaways and a list of  who is hosting a blog party as part of the celebrations. In honour of all these lovely new blogs, shops and products I would like to offer a 25 % discount of all products currently in my shop. Please help me clear my shop of it's current stock in preparation of my new product line coming soon!! To get the discount all you have to do is apply the code INDIEBIZ30 at the checkout page. This code available to use for 2 weeks :)

Have fun and enjoy browsing all these lovely newly launched shops, blogs and new products!!!

Indie Biz

Sadly our class officially ended this last Friday. For the last 6 weeks we have been working hard to get our shops and blogs created/updated. My shop is still a "work in progress" as I am in the midst of creating a new line of products that I'm really excited about! 
The indie business course was full of extremely useful info and I still have lot's of work ahead of me to implement everything learnt. Thank you again to the AMAZING ladies that taught the course.
With the help of this class lot's of ladies have created some lasting relationships and started their journeys to reach goals as bloggers, Etsy shop owners, designers, artists, writers and so much more. Please come back here later on today when I will be participating in our "Indie Biz Launch Party" where you will find a listing of brand new Etsy shops, some pretty awesome giveaways and not to mention a list of great new blogs to check out. 
See you soon!!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

This weekend.....

......was spent catching up on chores around the home that didn't get done while I was away last week. I finally got on top of the washing which is now nicely ironed and folded and ready to get dirty again ;)  I don't know how some people get away with not ironing, it just wouldn't work for me. There's a quote I found on Pinterest recently which says "A clean house is a sign of a wasted life" and I can certainly agree with that, as there's only so much cleaning you can do before you really need to get out there and live your life. 
However if there are things that obviously need doing like a mountain of laundry then I just can't seem to concentrate fully on the task I really want to be doing, something to do with that whole guilt thing we women are often afflicted with I think because this doesn't stop my husband from doing what he wants to do.

I did however manage to get out into the garden to search for some flowers for picking and arranging. This old milk bottle holder and bottles is a relic from my childhood when at around 5pm everyday the milkman would come around and exchange empty bottles for filled ones. Since acquiring this milk bottle set from my parents I have always thought it would look good filled with a few simple flowers. I think it makes a lovely centre-piece on our outdoor table.  Nice and rustic!  For further inspiration have a look at these arrangements, here, here, and here. And how about this idea when flowers are hard to find.

Filling the tins for the coming week was also on my 'to do' list so yesterday afternoon I made some 'Oaty Chocolate chip biscuits' which is a great recipe because it makes a lot, and I also tried a new Banana bread recipe that I stumbled upon somewhere in blogland. Whilst I do like my usual Banana bread recipe I liked the sound of the combination of peanut butter and bananas in this one. It turned out to be quite yummy and next time I think I might add chocolate chips. I'm sure my girls won't mind me adding chocolate to a recipe :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Camping scenes......

Thought I'd share some photos from the school camp I went on last week with Caitlin's class. It's taken me a couple of days to catch up on the lack of sleep that you get when camping with a class of  10 to 12 year olds and its also taken that long to catch up on the washing and ironing but I'm getting there. 
The above photo is taken at a track junction 10 minutes away from the Pinnacles hut that we stayed in on the first night. I had opted to go with the faster group but ended up with 2 slower boys at the back of this group who's fitness wasn't really up to the faster groups level. They were moaning and groaning for the last 3rd of the tramp so were very pleased to see this sign which confirmed that they were nearly there. It was a good 2 1/2 hour tramp up hill most of the way zig-zaging across streams, some of them bridged and some not, with beautiful views if you remembered to look behind you. Just after we arrived at the hut which was initially empty 2 older ladies arrived. After introductions we learnt that they were 'teachers' on holiday from the Netherlands. We felt so sorry for them having to stay in the hut with a class of noisy kids when they were probably hoping for a quiet night in the bush. There were also 4 young men from New York that arrived later on who after seeing the hut full of kids wisely decided to camp in tents a wee way from the hut.
This photo shows the track up to the actual 'Pinnacles' peak which we did after a rest at the hut first. It was a pleasure to walk without our backpacks weighing us down.

Taken from halfway up and looking down towards the hut which is just to the right of this photo. It is a steady climb up with lots of stairs then a bit of rock climbing at the very top.
The climb is worth the effort though with these spectacular vistas to take in. This photo is looking out to sea beyond the small coastal town of Tairua.

This photo is taken at the very top looking out towards our town of Whangamata. You can literally see for miles in all directions especially in the beautiful clear sunny weather that we experienced all week. 

I took this photo a wee way down the rock face and it shows just how rugged and remote the bush covered hills are that we were tramping in. 
This lovely creature was the 2nd one we encountered on our tramp. It is a bush Weta and is a native insect of New Zealand. We had stopped for a rest on our decent down the following day and Caitlin's teacher and I had been laughing at the kids squealing  at something when one of Caitlin's friends came over with this Weta in her hand to show me which made me squeal with fright. It was about the size of her palm but thankfully didn't look too alive. I have bad memories of these creepy insects from my childhood. I remember climbing a tree in our backyard once and looking down to see one of these climbing up my foot. I squealed so loudly and so much that I think my Mother thought I'd fallen out of the tree. 

The last 2 days were spent down at a DOC camp site in the valley below with this lovely tranquil stream nearby. DOC camp sites are looked after by the Department of Conservation and are a real back to nature camping experience with what we call 'long drop' toilets, no running water and basic barbecue/fire places. This stream was beautiful but very very cold which I found out when I had to wash my hair and myself although afterwards I felt very refreshed and clean. 
This camp definitely challenged some of the kids and took them out their comfort zones but was so good for their self confidence. I feel grateful to be able to live and bring up our girls in such a beautiful part of our country with these experiences being right on our doorstep.
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