Friday, 29 November 2013

Christmas Stockings

For the last couple of years my sister Janine (who lives in Australia) and I have done a Christmas Swap.  We have always tried to make at least some of the swap consist of handmade items, something edible, Christmas fabric, a decoration and a Christmas themed magazine.  This year we had  'The Twelve Days of Christmas' as our theme, with the provisio that gift number 1 had to be a handmade stocking, and the other 11 small gifts would be numbered and be able to fit in the stocking.  Most of the gifts do. We were also meant to start this on December 1, but last night we decided to open the stockings - those boxes of wrapped goodies were to tempting.

The top stocking is the one I made my sister, from Jingle fabrics by Ann Kelle.  The beautiful red and white stocking is the one my sister made me.  Funnily enough,  unbeknown to each of us, we both used the same stocking tutorial from Imagine Gnats.

So the next few days will be very exciting as we get to open some special little gifts from each other.

What do you do with your family in the lead up to Christmas?

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Wednesday WIP



Inspired by this fabulous quilt , which I stumbled across while wasting time on Pinterest one day, there has been
  •  a furious spurt of chain piecing 
  •  a start on making four patch blocks
I still have
  • lots of squares to cut and HST to make from these shot cottons in ash and charcoal colourways
  • lots more four patch blocks to make 
I was beginning to doubt my colour choices for the sort of scrappy patches,  when I happened to glance at an artwork my sister had  made for me.  Sub-consciously it seems I had picked out colours to tone with this, which is lucky, cos this quilt is destined for my bedroom, where the artwork hangs.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013


I have been ...

Making :   Lots of 2.5: squares for my next project
Drinking : Gin & Tonics with a splash of lime - perfect in the evening as I'm cooking dinner
Reading:   Back to the Land by Lynda Hallinan
Wanting:   Fine  warm weather on Christmas Day
Looking:   At cookbooks - trying to find Christmas recipes
Playing:    Trivia games on Sporacle
Wasting:   Time  - usually on the computer
Enjoying:  How well my vegetable seedlings are growing
Whittakers white chocolate and L&P

My vase of freshly picked Sweet William flowers
Watching:  Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
Marvelling: At how tall Miss B is growing and how quickly

Smelling:    Star Jasmine - my plants are a mass of white stars
   Shorts and singlet tops - I love summer weather
Feeling:     Proud of Mr J's motivation to train for the Kids Weetbix Tryathalon
Admiring:  Lydia Ko - New Zealands's youngest female professional golfer
Buying:   More lettuce seedlings, a black cherry tomato plant and  a bag of sheep poo
Getting:  A wee bit stressed over money - dental bills play havoc with the savings account
Bookmarking: Well pinning really - lots of gift wrapping ideas for Christmas (I've wrapped two)

What have you been doing lately? Leave a link to your list in my comments - I'd love to catch up and see what you have been up too.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Scenes from my Week



From the wardrobe:
  • trying to decide what to wear to a job interview tomorrow - I have been a full time mum for almost 12 years, so this is very nerve-wracking
From the kitchen
  • chocolate icing on freshly made banana cake
From the sewing box
  •  a felt mitten made from this tutorial , embellished with lace, beads, embroidery and a crochet flower,
From the table
  • morning tea - the above mentioned cake, caramel latte and the lovely new book from one of my favourite Kiwi authors
From the fabric box:
  •  playing with fabrics for a new quilt I think I want to make - what do you think of these fabrics together
From the garden
  • the vibrant pinks of a Sweet William in flower
What has happened in your week so far?

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Sculptures in the Gardens

Currently the Auckland Botanic Gardens has it's Sculpture in the Gardens exhibition on.  Twenty three large sculptures are set on a two kilometre trail throughout the gardens.  Same strange, some beautiful and all very unique and creating some interesting conversations.  Mum and I went and looked at them before she left to go back home yesterday.  These are some of the ones we saw.  My favourite ones are:
  • the ant
  • the horse
  • the rusted umbrellas suspended from gum trees
  • the tree man
What interesting sculptures are in your town?

Monday, 18 November 2013


Wedding Day Rose

This is the view from the deck and pool of one of the gardens we visited

My mum came to stay with me this weekend, and on Sunday we had a trip over to the North Shore to Greenhithe, for the annual Greenhithe Garden Tour.  It was a beautifully fine and warm day, there were 15 lovely gardens open to look through - all beautiful, all different.  Some very big hills to walk up to get to them.  These are a few of the images from our day.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Scenes from my week


From my book pile - three books I have enjoyed this week:
From my kitchen:
  • Afghan biscuit slice in the making - I think I prefer it as a slice instead of as a biscuit (cookie)
  • Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam - some more for the Christmas hampers and some for us
From my sewing room
  • Some Christmas ornaments

Have a fabulous weekend whatever you do.  

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Ideas that Work

Don't you just love it when ideas that pop into your head while you are trying to get to sleep, actually work when you try them the next day.
  • Hand stitching and beading - done - now just to figure out what I'm doing with the rest of it.
  • QAYG scraps backed with fabric and turned into Christmas trees - just some ribbon, buttons and beads to add.
Linking up to Made by Hand today

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Green & White

  • the fresh verdant green of these leaves, which will lose their vibrancy as they get older
  • the mass of star jasmine just coming into flower in my deck garden - in another couple of days the scent will be just divine, especially at dusk.
  • these beautiful single roses found on my walk
  • finding  the right colors for a little Christmas idea

Monday, 11 November 2013


A quiet weekend with all my family home.  Everyone taking time out to do their own thing this weekend.
My thing was sewing.
  • a scrappy quilt as you go (QAYG) block
  • a lining cut to match
  • finally sewn up into this cute dumpling  (or as Mr J says a small taco) pouch from this tutorial, small enough to keep in my bag, and stop the lipsticks from rolling around.
and when that was finished my sewing space had a big clean up and was re-organised.  Already for my next project and no doubt the mess that will follow.

What did you make this weekend?

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Scenes from my week



From my birthday
  • family tradition has presents being opened in bed before  7am when everyone is  rushing to get ready for to work and school.  Yes I did receive a hippo - made by my sister.  Lots of choccy goodies, an ornament, garden art and jewellery too.  Now I just have to bake a birthday cake for tonight.
From the kitchen
  • mother-in-laws pickle from this book - made with lots of  zucchini (not from my garden yet).  Some for me and some will be part of Christmas hampers for my dad and father-in-law.  The name may have to be changed on this one.
  • strawberry mousse from my new Annabel Langbein Summer Annual - pureed strawberries, jelly and plain yoghurt - deliciously refreshing and sweet without being excessively rich.
From a bedroom
  •  a crochet owl cushion for Miss B, again made by my very clever sister in Australia. Pattern from here.
From my garden
  • crimson canna
  • lovely colours on the leaves of tropicanna.