Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Things Here Lately








Some of the random makes, happenings and finds from the past month:
  • My Carolina Chain quilt is progressing well, possibly some of my medium fabrics are a little bright, but I figure this will be a really cheerful scrappy quilt, with lots of interesting fabrics.  It's destined to be donated to my local Hospice when it is finished.
  • The other weekend I took advantage of one of my favourite fabric stores having 50% off everything and bought some fabric.  The top fabric is a silk/viscose and is going to be made into a top, the middle is a cotton/linen  is destined to be some shorts (pattern has been printed and assembled) and the bottom cotton print will be a dress of some description.
  • This large moth (about 2") was resting on my mailbox for a few hours one day - I haven't identified it properly but after some time on google, I am thinking it is possibly be a type of Kawakawa Looper moth.
  • Some pretty blooms from my garden - Dietes Grandiflora and a tropical Vireya
  • Pretty piles of quilting fabric make a good resting and hiding place for Meeka - not that there is a lot of room on my cutting table at present for her either.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Tiritiri Matangi Island

Calm waters upon our arrive

Bird feeding station for Bellbirds and Stitchbirds

Kereru/Native wood pigeon

Tui


The lighthouse was built in England and shipped in panels to New Zealand in 1864


Part of the ancient Pohutukawa tree estimated to be 800-1000 years old

Towards Rangitoto Island


Saddleback/Tieke feeding on flax flowers

Choppy whitecaps ready for our departure

Yesterday I had an mini adventure.  My aunt is out from the USA, so I caught the train into the city, met up with her and some other family and friends and we went to Tiritiri Matangi Island, You can only get there by ferry, so it was a little bit of an early start for a 9am sailing.

From the website:

Tiritiri Matangi Island is a wildlife sanctuary and one of New Zealand's most important and exciting conservation projects. It is located 30km north east of central Auckland and just 4km from the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. A hundred and twenty years of farming had seen this 220-hectare island stripped of 94% of its native bush but between 1984 and 1994, volunteers planted between 250,000 and 300,000 trees. The Island is now 60% forested with the remaining 40% left as grassland for species preferring open habitat.

In conjunction with this planting programme, all mammalian predators were eradicated and a number of threatened and endangered 
bird and reptile species have been successfully introduced, including the flightless takahe, one of the world’s rarest species, and the tuatara. There are few places in New Zealand where you can readily see and walk amongst so many rare species


We had the most beautiful weather after days of thundery cold storms.  We opted for a guided tour for the walk to the top of the Island.  The volunteers who do these are full of knowledge about birds, the island history and the plant life.  While I didn't get to see a Kokako, I did see lots of other birds, I had never seen before,including, Kakariki/native parakeet, Hihi/Stitchbird and Popokotea/Whitehead. Unfortunately not all were co-operative for photos.  

Fabulous views can be had from the top of the island and many of the coastal tracks, and it was just beautiful to be surrounded by native bush and bird song.  



Friday, 30 November 2018

Return of the Quilting Sewjo

 

 My Inspiration - image from here

Whilst browsing some of favourite quilt blogs the other day, I came across this wonderful scrappy quilt, made by Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches.  I have long admired her quilts, and her use of colour, but this one just spoke to me.  That night when I got home I drafted a block pattern and made a test block.

I am going to attempt to follow Jolene's guide lines using  only dark and low volumes for the centres and then medium coloured fabrics for the outer pieces.  My blocks are 8" square unfinished, I think hers are a lot smaller. 

This afternoon, I cut, sewed and pressed and have ended up with a nice little collection of blocks. So far it's looking very soft and feminine, and I'm having fun finding pieces of fabric that I don't normally fit my preferred quilting aesthetic these days.  I don't know how big this quilt will end up, but I am thinking it may be a nice quilt for a little girl.

Here's to a weekend of sewing.


Thursday, 22 November 2018

Eva Dress









As a birthday present to myself, I took myself into Auckland City and to The Fabric Store.  It was my first trip here, and definitely won't be my last.  I was after some linen to make the Tessuti Eva Dress , and they are quite well known for their selection of colours and different weights.  After deliberating over weights and colours for a while,  I ended up buying a midweight linen in vintage brick colourway.

I didn't enjoy pinning and cutting out the pattern, mainly because Miss B had taken over the dining room table with all her study paraphernalia, so my knees and back were over this dress before I even sat down to start sewing it. Of course any time I work on the floor, Meeka is there casting a watchful eye over the proceedings.

Sewing the dress itself was actually not hard, and I was pleasantly surprised at how little the linen seemed to fray with all the handling it had whilst being sewn. The pattern provides photos, links to online tutorials and clear instructions.  Some areas were a little fiddly, especially when attaching all the bias binding.  My only problem was that after attaching my beautifully bound sleeves to the bodice, and then trying it on, I realised that my shoulders were just too broad for it to fit comfortably.  At this point I moved onto making the skirt, which has pockets.  Once I attached it to the bodice , I tried it on again and decided the sleeves were going to have to come off.

Tessuti's description of the dress is as follows

 " This loose dress features a bodice that sits at high waist and a panelled, lantern-shaped skirt with side pockets "

I think after a couple of washes, the linen will soften a little more and the lantern effect will not be as pronounced. I made the XS size, but am wondering, if I made it again, to make the skirt in XXS so it's not so full. It could also be nice made in a heavier weight fabric for a winter dress too.

So while it is not quite the version of the dress I visualised, I still have a lightweight comfortable (perfect for indulging on Christmas Day) dress for summer.

**Photos courtesy of Miss B

Friday, 16 November 2018

Things Here Lately










It's a busy time of year at present.  Miss B and Mr J are sitting exams, summer sports have started, the lawns and weeds are growing faster than I can maintain them.  Sometime very soon, I seriously need to think about Christmas shopping and menu planning too.  Anyway, here's a little snapshot of what else has been keeping me busy lately.
  • Taking the time in the evening to head down to the little beach, near where I live and appreciate the sunset.
  • Garment sewing plans- the Eva Dress from Tessuti in vintage brick linen, the only downside to PDF patterns is the cutting of lots of pages, fitting them together, then cutting out all the pieces again.  Hopefully I can make a start on it this next weekend.
  • A gorgeous inspiring pile of gardening, (it's nice to dream) cooking and sewing books from the library.
  • Loving this simple 16 patch quilt from the book - USE SCRAPS, SEW BLOCKS, MAKE  QUILTS.  Maybe this is what's needed to get my sewjo back for quilting - a nice simple pattern and lots of colour.  though I think I may need to buy a few more solids first.
  • My summer vegetable garden is coming along nicely - lettuce, beetroot and cucumber with African marigolds on one side of the tamarillo tree - the other side of the tree are my tomato plants.  Fingers crossed for a prolific haul.  
  • Summer colour is starting to clothe my Canna lilies now and bring some much needed colour to my garden, and my star jasmine is just starting to bloom.
Wishing you all a fabulous weekend.

Monday, 12 November 2018

A Surprise Garden Ramble


Last week I celebrated a birthday.  I was starting to feel a little peevish with my husband, because he hadn't given me a gift.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I arrived home from work on Saturday afternoon, to see my Mum sitting on the sofa, while my husband gave me my gift, which was tickets for us to take part in the Franklin Hospice Garden Ramble the following day.

Sunday dawned, warm but drizzly (mum brings wet weather with her, any Australians needing rain should get her to visit them), we donned raincoats, walking shoes and carried umbrellas, and had a lovely day visiting large scale country gardens.  I think we managed to visit 11 of the 18 that were open.

The following are some of the gardens, vistas, plants and plantings that caught my eye.








 



 




Meanwhile, I've got a trailer of mulch to spread on my gardens, so that will stop me from thinking I need a house in the country with wonderful views, and perhaps a gardener to help me maintain my dream garden.