Friday 28 August 2015

Colourful Options

Grape colourway with AMH

Chocolate colourway with AMH

Sienna colourway with AMH

I have been having a play with some coloured solids for my AMH Irish Chain Quilt. while I procrastinate on how to quilt the SWAK envelope quilt.  Remember I said I thought I wanted it bright and jewel toned.  After taking a pile of my fabrics to Spotlight and laying them with some of their colours, I decided that the blues or greens I had envisioned  for the chains weren't right.  However the grape, chocolate and sienna colourways I quite liked.  I bought a fat quarter of each, came home and had a little play.

What do you think of these choices? - Do you have a preference - I am hoping to avoid using white or black.?

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Wednesday WIP

Finally I have found the backing fabric for my SWAK envelope quilt, thanks to a good special at Spotlight.  It is a linen weight cotton, from the upholstery section of all places, printed with french text and postmarks, reminiscent of vintage postcards - just perfect for an envelope themed quilt. I went with the natural colour way.

The backing has been made, and includes  a row of envelopes that weren't used in the quilt top, and has been spray basted  to the batting (then I ran out of spray glue) so the top is pin basted. I am itching to start quilting it,  but am just waiting for inspiration to strike as to how.   I am wondering about hand quilting it -  I was thinking of perhaps stitching circles in the areas where four corners meet, echoing the postmarks from the backing. If it gets machine quilted it will probably be my favourite method of late - cross hatch. Of course once the decision has been made as to how it will be quilted, the indecision starts as to what colour thread to use. Other ideas are most welcome, just remember I can only do straight stitch quilting with my machine.

Linking up to at WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Sunday 23 August 2015

Weekending - The North Head Trip

View across to Mt Rangitoto
South Battery which takes you into the volcanic tunnels

Cheltenham Beach


Sunday brought beautiful weather and a trip to North Head in Devonport with The Scout, Miss B and Mr J as part of a scout activity.

North Head is an old military defence fort sited on one of Auckland's many volcanic cones.  It dates from the late 1800's, when there were fears of a Russian invasion. North Head actually had three forts to defend different harbour locations, and during WW1 it was used a military barracks.  Auckland was not attacked in WW2 either and the base was later used for the Army's Compulsory Military Training Programme.  These days it is an historical reserve, with stunning views of the harbour and city, lots of tunnels and other  interesting fortifications to explore.  Most of the old guns were scrapped, but a few remain on site.

A really interesting place to explore and relax afterwards with a picnic lunch.

Thursday 20 August 2015

Scenes from my Week

From the sewing room
  • some new fabrics to add to the stash
From the book pile
  • a memoir with recipes from blogger Sasha Martin - this  book really made  me appreciate my pretty normal upbringing.  Check out her blog for her Global Table Adventures - love her picks for the New Zealand meal,
From the kitchen
  • Lumberjack cake - recipe from here
From my morning walk
  • snowdrops - definite signs that spring isn't too far away

Sunday 16 August 2015


from left: Gwyneth, Me, Mel, Rachel(Woodenspoon) and Deb - the other Rachael is the photographer

Another successful sewing day with the usual suspects, Rachel, Deb, Rachael and Gwyneth - also newcomer, Mel.  This time Deb was the birthday girl (we celebrated a few days  early) and she got thoroughly spoiled.  Deb had admired the Fractal Pillow I made for a swap way back here, and has frequently dropped hints about having her own, so I could not disappoint her . Again a rainbow ring with low volume background, a deep purple shot cotton backing and that prismatic rainbow fabric for the binding.  I think at some point I am going to have to make myself one too.  As usual a Liberty pincushion completed the package.  The Fractal pillow was  also the second finish from my Q3 Finish-Along goals.

Lots of yummy food again - I made a beetroot coconut soup - recipe from my Sarah Raven cookbook - again lots of similar ones on google.  Yes, margaritas were consumed - this time, they were frozen pineapple.  A beautiful chocolate Baileys mud cake  was made for the birthday girl.

All in all another fun day, great food and company  lots of laughs and oohing and aahing over projects and fabrics.  The perfect way to end a weekend.

Wednesday 12 August 2015


Making : a list of things to take to my sewing day
Cooking : porridge in the mornings for my breakfast
Drinking :  Earl Grey tea and hot chocolates
Reading:  all sorts of books at present - lots of new authors have been recommended to me lately

Wanting: the housework fairies to visit
Looking: forward to my sewing day on Saturday with my friends
Playing: AlphaBetty on my son's ipod
Sewing: secretly for my next sewing day birthday club recipient (photos this weekend)

Wishing: more people would use tissues or handkerchiefs rather than sniffing all the time

Enjoying: sewing random blocks for my sampler quilt
Waiting: for summer
Liking: my shorter haircut
Wondering: what to cook for dinner tonight
Loving: my new pendant from KP Beads

Hoping: we don't have a frost tonight
Needing: chocolate and maybe a walk
Smelling: Daphne flowering in my garden

Wearing: layers of clothes to keep warm
Following:the debate and discussions on the possible new flag designs for New Zealand

One of these 40 designs could become New Zealand's new national flag.
Noticing:that it is staying light a little longer in the evenings now
Knowing: that there is only one more day of work for me this week
Thinking: it must be nice to be a cat sleeping in the sun
Feeling:  very proud of Miss B and Mr J for their results in different mathematics competitions
Bookmarking :this blog, which details the stunning costumes from the Outlander TV show
Opening: and emptying packets of ingredients into their storage cannisters

Sunday 9 August 2015


Reading - two books on the go at present
  • Hot Pink Spice Saga - ritten by two New Zealand chefs, this part travelogue and part cook book, makes me want to pack up and explore India, taste all the food, hike the tea plantations and shop for scarves, jewellery and fabric.
  • Marriage of Opposites - a fictionalised account of the life of Pissaro's family, more importantly his mother, I am enjoying this read, especially all the descriptions of tropical colours, beaches and forests. (Can you tell I am over winter by any chance)
  • a few more little blocks for my quilt
  • some progress on my slow EPP project
Baking - such a nice way to keep warm on a cold winter weekend
  • Cheese and Fennel scones - I used a recipe from a Sarah Raven book, but there are lots on the internet if you google it
  • Lemon and Chia seed cake - recipe from here
  • Louise Cake - a recipe similar to mine here
Hope you all had a great weekend and have a fabulous week.

Thursday 6 August 2015

Sewing with Scraps

The results of some weekend and evening sewing sessions.  Scrappy blocks for my sampler quilt - these range in size from 3.5" up to 6.5".

Some patterns are from the book, 500 Quilt blocks, the triangles are Rachel's Sugar Loaf block, and the others are just blocks I found while browsing pinterest and made to my own dimensions or just little 9 or 4 patch blocks.

Again lots of mess in my sewing room, but the scrap basket has gotten a little lower.

Sunday 2 August 2015

Dreaming Of an Anna Maria Horner Quilt

Made by Adrianne at on the Windy Side
Irish chain quilt. Look at the black back! A great complementary contrast.
Made by Sarah Major

 Made by Cindy at Hyacinth Quilt Deaigns
Made by Cindy at Hyacinth Quilt Designs
Made by Megan at Jaffa Quilts

Even though I still have  my scrappy sampler quilt to complete, my SWAK envelope quilt to finish and my  Christmas place mats to bind, I am already thinking of a new project.  I know I am not the only quilter to do this.

Over the past couple of years I have gradually been adding to my Anna Maria Horner fabric stash, through online purchases, swaps and gifts (thanks Janine).  Recently I have begun thinking I need to make a quilt from these fabrics.  They deserve to be seen and enjoyed, not left in a container under my cutting table.  I know my husband isn't to impressed with the idea - I think the combination of all these clashy bohemian  colours and patterns is to much for him, but he realises that a happy wife means a happy life.

I have a pinterest board for AMH inspiration, but seem to keep coming back to this pattern.  It is pretty simple but looks so effective and I think it will show off some of the larger prints best.  My next dilemma is what colour to use as the chain, I think I want something really rich and vibrant - maybe a deep red, gold or jade.  Luckily there is no hurry for this to be completed and I can keep looking for the perfect pattern and fabrics, and maybe even add a little more to the stash.

Do you have a special fabric stash that you are saving for that extra special project?