Friday 30 January 2015

Sew Sew Modern 6 - Received

My parcel from the Sew Sew Modern 6 swap turned up the other day.  My inspiration for this swap was the following:

I have tried to create a mosaic that reflects those hot days at the end of summer, the sun faded flowers, dusky pinks, cream, golds and oranges, olive green and lavender, the feeling of crumpled linen, sand, dozy bees and butterflies, pretty sunsets,  faded denims and liberty dresses, cotton sheets and soft worn, well loved picnic quilts.

 My partner nailed it perfectly.  I was so spoiled by Vickey, with not one but three beautiful cushion covers.  The small butterfly one is currently stuffed with some towels for the photo, I just need to make an inner for it now.  She also sent me fabric scraps - always appreciated, some hot chocolate sachets (long gone now), some seeds for my garden - I had mentioned that one of my interests was gardening, and some beautiful handmade cards.

I am getting quite a collection of beautiful cushion covers that I am able to swap around and change the look of my chairs and rooms now depending on seasons and moods.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Starting off from The Mangatepopo Car Park end.

Mt Ngauruhoe, just as the cloud is lifting

Mt Tongariro's red crater

Descending on the scree track

Emerald Lakes

One of Tongariro's other craters

The descent with Lake Rotoaira in the distance

 That's me - slowly making my way down, with Mr J in front

While on holiday, The Scout, Miss B, Mr J and I did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.  This is one of New Zealand's great day hikes - almost 20km (12.4 miles) of stunning scenery, sheer hell on the legs as you climb the aptly named devil's staircase,  and an amazing sense of relief and achievement as you finish it.

Even though it is the middle of summer here at present, it was extremely cold and windy up in the mountains, we all had fleeces, goretex jackets and beanies on for most of the hike. It was amazing seeing how under prepared some hikers were though.

This is still an active volcanic area, and there are signs warning of the dangers, and pockets of steam coming from the earth at various points.  We got fabulous views of Mt Ngauruhoe, Ruapehu and the huge craters  of  Tongariro as we climbed - the highest point was at the top of the red crater - 1886m. I loved the view of the emerald lakes .

Descending the mountain was just as hard, from the top of the red ridge there is a scree track, that saw most of us slipping and sliding for about 20 minutes until we reached firm ground.  Lunch at that point was a very welcome respite.  The final 6 km of the track is all down hill too, with the last couple of kilometres, being a beautiful native forest track.  Needless to say, we had rather stiff sore legs the next day.

I loved all the different alpine flowers and plants I could see growing in all the differing terrains we hiked.  I will have to get a book from the library to try and identify them.

I feel really proud of myself for having accomplished this, and love that we were able to do this as a family.  Miss B and Mr J were the youngest people we saw hiking the day we did it, so as long as you are well prepared with good fitness levels, food, water and clothes for all weather conditions, anyone can do it.

Monday 26 January 2015

Scenes from my Holiday

  • the view over Lake Taupo from the beach at Kinloch - we had the most gorgeous weather the whole time we were away.  Each afternoon we ventured down to the lake to cool off.  
  • lupins on the beach
  • Mr J kayaking - all of us had a  lot of fun kayaking 
  • the games table - Sequence in progress, one of many board games enjoyed by us all.  No wifi, meant that  a lot of time was spent reading and playing games
  • from Mt Tongariro - looking towards the Blue Lake - more on this in my next post
  • My hand sewing in progress.
  • Mr J trying stand up paddle boarding
Thank you all for your kind wishes in my previous post. We had a fabulous holiday, beautiful weather, great fun when the rest of the family turned up for the long weekend.   Now it is back to reality and preparing for school again.

Friday 16 January 2015

We're all going on a Summer Holiday

  • the books are waiting to be packed, 
  • the hand stitching project is cut out ready to play with - love using all the lovely swap items to pack them in.
  • the hiking gear is ready
  • a zucchini cake made with my current surplus is cooking
Now all I have to do is pack the rest of my gear, do a little housework, and pick up Miss B and Mr J from their grandparents tomorrow.
Then I will be away on my summer holiday with my family. Fingers crossed this gorgeous weather continues.  

See you all in a week or so.

Thursday 15 January 2015

Sew Sew Modern 6 - Sent

Last week I posted off my Sew Sew Modern 6 swap package.  My partner mentioned that her favourite colours were grey, aqua and lime, and that she would like some placemats.

 For her large item, I made  her four of them, using a variety of 1.5" strips of fabric as a focal point, in the grey solid.  The backing is from one of her favourite fabric ranges - The Ghastlies.  They measure about 13" x 17", and were simply quilted with straight lines and bound in black.  I figure she could also reverse them if she wished too.

I decided to make napkin rings for her small item, this is a design I made up and both the interior and exterior are lined with firm interfacing to hold their shape.  They simply button  up with an elastic loop.  I am really pleased with how these turned out - the middle photo shows one in use. ( I should have ironed them before taking the photo)

The complete package contains a few ribbons and some paper napkins.  Now I am eagerly waiting for mine to arrive, and to hear that this package has arrived safely on the other side of the world.

Tuesday 13 January 2015

The Quiltmaker's Books

While I was checking in books at work, prior  to Christmas I came across these books:
The Quiltmaker's Gift and The Quiltmaker's Journey by Jeff Brumbeau.  I wasn't able to take them home that day (obviously popular books with quilters) however I did request them and a companion book - More Quilts from the Quiltmaker's Gift. They finally turned up just after Christmas. These are children's picture books, that share the story of a generous quiltmaker and how she became to be so. The  illustrations and stories are beautiful.  Both are well worth reading and if you are inclined you can make quilts from the companion book.


Sunday 11 January 2015


Relaxing and taking it easy is the only way to enjoy these beautiful hot summer days and nights we are having.  Friday night saw us enjoying dinner and wine outside with friends, Saturday, I took it easy and finished the Shirt Quilt, then read a book.   Sunday was pretty cruisy too. I keep thinking I should be making chutney and pickles with the surplus vegetables from my garden, but it is far to hot to stand in the kitchen.
  • loving all the colourful flowers in my garden
  • a little girly sewing and quilting
  • late afternoon/early evening at Maraetai - where The Scout and I enjoyed fish and chips on the beach for dinner
What did you enjoy this weekend?

Saturday 10 January 2015

Finished - The Shirt Quilt

Finally the Shirt Quilt for Mr J is finished.  I started collecting shirts back in 2013 for this and bought a couple of checked fat quarters to add a little extra colour.  Cutting strips started in  February2014, about 350 2.5" x 6.5" strips were cut, and the top was finally completed in August. Based on a rail fence block, I used charcoal and denim  strips from The Scout's shirts,as the middle strip in each block to tone it down a little and add make it less busy on the eyes.

Mr J wanted some shirt pockets included, so he has places to hide things  (note to self: remember to check these before washing it), so there are six pockets pieced on the front in random directions.

The backing is made from a charcoal coloured solid from Spotlight and has a strip down the middle made up of shirt backs and scraps.  Straightish line quilting was done a 1/4" each side of the block seams.  I had a lot of problems with this, I think maybe because of all the different fabrics and differing weights, so I am not really going to show close ups of the quilting.  Needless to say, there was  a little cursing and unpicking during this part of the process.

The binding is a cotton linen chambray from Robert Kaufman in Indigo. It measures 60" x 66", and I figure that this is one quilt he will be able to use for a long time, rather than growing out of the colours or fabrics used.  I had to give up on stitching the quote for the back, however my sister has finished it for me, and I am just waiting for it to arrive from Australia, so I can hand stitch it to the back. A co-ordinating pillowcase has been made too.  Apart from my disappointment with the quilting, I love how this has turned out.  The quilt and pillowcase have been rolled up and tied with ribbon , and are now put away, ready to be given to Mr J on his birthday.

My first finish of 2015 and first for the 2015 Finish-a-long Q1