Saturday, 23 January 2016

Hot Colours, Cool Flowers & Summer Holidays

I'm off on holiday for a few days with my family, fingers crossed the weather is good.  There is a little hiking, kayaking, reading, hand sewing  and lots of relaxing planned.

I'll leave you with some of the beautifully bright  summer flowers currently blooming in my garden.

See you in February.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Scenes from my Week

From the sewing room
  •  the scrappy sampler quilt top is finished, and I feel a lot happier about it, in fact I would even say I like it.  Now I just need to find or make suitable backing fabric and turn it into a quilt. 
From the garden
  • my zinnias are starting to bloom - I love the colours and having fresh flowers to pick for the house
From the artist
  • Miss B decided to immortalise those zinnias in water colour - she has done a wonderful job too.
From the broken house (proof that my house and life is not picture perfect)
  • the downside of living close to a golf course - it has now been fixed and  thankfully, at no cost to us
  • more repairs after the hot water cylinder leaked yet again - the builder has now finished his part, just the tiles to be relaid now.
From the kitchen
  • Courgette/Zucchini Cake from Digby Law's Vegetable Cookbook or here.  Note:  My recipe in the book used 1 cup of oil, the recipe I have linked to uses 1/2 cup.
From the book pile
  • I really enjoyed this book.  A rediscovered art masterpiece, lots of interesting characters, some history and a smidgen of romance.
What has happened in your week? Have you read any new and interesting books lately?  Is any one on GoodReads?

Monday, 18 January 2016

Cook the Books

This is only a portion of my cook book collection

It is no secret that I love cookbooks and food magazines.  I am always getting them out of the library, copying recipes, pinning them to my Delicious board on Pinterest.  I often ask for them as birthday or Christmas gifts.  Over the years I have accumulated quite a collection, and this doesn't include all the recipes I have ripped out of magazines and newspapers that are waiting to be glued into a large spiral bound book.

Much aslike looking through all my cookbooks, and marking recipes to try, I find that I keep returning to three or four favourite books, usually The Free Range Cook series by Annabel Langbein.

This year I have decided to set myself a challenge, to "Cook the Books".  Starting in February, I will emdeavour to try at least one new recipe a week from my collection of books, magazines clippings and pinterest board..  I am not promising gourmet meals here, it maybe a simple salad, using fresh produce from my garden, or a new soup or stew, and if my family are really lucky baking or a dessert. I also won't be able to promise photos of every new recipe I try either, only because food photos taken in the evening aren't always the best.

Hopefully, by doing this I will rediscover my love of baking and cooking, introduce new ingredients and flavours to my family  (who luckily aren't fussy eaters) and make use of all my wonderful books.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Wednesday WIP

So the Scrappy Sampler Quilt is still a work in progress.   I am still working on piecing together all the random  sized blocks with mainly low volume fabrics thus making larger blocks, which means they are easier to piece together.  No Y seams this way. I think that makes sense.   I am still not sure that I  like what I am creating here.  I think I am so used to sewing to a pattern, where I may add a border, or use different colours, to make it mine.  Improv sewing  is really a lot harder than I realised. A couple of blog friends, suggested adding some solids,to break up the busyness of all the different fabrics and patterns,  so I used some ash coloured shot cotton strips, randomly in some blocks, they seem to add a bit of  cohesion to this mess.

I am still aiming to get the top finished by the end of January, or else I think it will end up in the too hard box and never get done.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Weekending - Duder Regional Park

Today The Scout and I went to Duder Regional Park and walked/hiked the orienteering trail.
There was a lot of cross country walking through fields of long seedy grass (my socks will never be be same), there were stunning views, sheep and cows in paddocks we had to walk through, rabbits and native birds.  There were an awful lot of hills , which of course meant lots of ups and downs, and then back up again to eventually find the markers we had misssed.  My legs and butt may not thank me for this tomorrow, while I am standing at work, but it was a nice way to spend the afternoon, out in the fresh air, seeing new sights and just me and The Scout.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Sculpture in The Gardens

Waypoint by Garry Nash

Khulu by John Fergusson

Close up of Khulu 

The Learning by Lucy Bucknall

Ratiti Mya by James Wright

More of Ratiti Mya

Mr J in the Egg Chair (Big Bird) by Samantha Lissette

Titipounamu by Bing Dawe

Seek by Marte Szirmay

Bird Songs by Chris Moore

View out from Blind by Jonathon Organ and Jessica Pearless

The fifth Sculpture in the Gardens is currently on display at the Auckland Botanic Gardens.  There are 20 sculptures of various sizes and mediums placed around for visitors to look at, discuss, vote for and purchase should you have a surplus of cash and a large park like garden.  Over the Christmas/New Year break,  we went to have a look at these.

They definitely provoked discussion from Miss B and Mr J.  The Egg Chair was a big hit with Mr J.  My favourites were: Waypoint, Khulu and Tiitipounamu.

Of course no trip to the Botanic Gardens can be had with out obligatory flower photos.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Holiday Sewing

I have been enjoying time in my sewing room over the Christmas /New Year holidays.  Just before 2015 ended, I spent a day sewing and finished the top of my Bloomsbury Quilt.  It is a massive 81" square now, the original pattern was only 60" square.    I had a couple of hiccups with the purple solid, in that I cut the wrong size strips(twice), so had to do a slightly patchier border than I wanted, however you don't really notice it.  Now I need to acquire an awful lot of fabric for the backing, make it, then baste it.  I have this silly idea of hand quilting it, so I think this may be a long term project this year.

New Year's Day was very wet in Auckland.  The perfect day for sewing.  I didn't feel like starting any new projects, so pulled out my Scrappy Sampler Quilt blocks and started piecing them together into larger blocks.   Deciding that this project cannot work without a design wall, I pulled out my batting, and installed a semi permanent one in the room next to my sewing room.  I do have to admit, that I am finding improv quilting rather difficult, however I do like the blocks I have done so far.  It is rather like a very big jigsaw, pieces are continually getting shuffled around, so it will be anyone's guess as to how this quilt will turn out.

Friday, 1 January 2016

2016 - Happy New Year


Welcome 2016,  and all the new challenges, projects, and chances that come with you.

Happy New Year to you all - may it be  a great one!!