Sunday, December 30, 2007

My baby

Here's Sophie in her reading glasses, working on her law dissertation and looking very lawyerly. Isn't she cute? I'll try to get some more photos when she and Erlo return from down south - they're off early tomorrow to spend New Year with Rachel, one of Sophie's good friends that we've known throughout her high school days and who now lives at the very bottom of the country. It's at least a 7 hour trip each way but they're not daunted. Oh and did I mention they're taking MY car? Gee thanks Mum!

I've been doing some monoprinting with thickened dyes, but still want to do some more surface design on the pieces, which I'll then cut up and reassemble. Photos coming soon.

Friday, December 28, 2007


It's that limbo time between Christmas and New Year. Because it's summer here, most people are on holiday. I have my daughter Sophie and partner Erlo staying for a week. I haven't got any photos of them yet but will post some. In the meantime, here's the DVD they gave me for Xmas. This is typical British humour - weird, smutty and very funny.

And in case you think I'm not doing anything crafty, here's the cardigan I'm knitting. Mine is in 4ply merino in a dark purple (the photo colour is a bit strange, it's darker than this). It's knit on circular needles from the neck down which I haven't done before - I'm now on the long rib and cable part at the bottom. Then I'll pick up the armhole stitches and knit each of the arms on circulars. That just leaves the front band. Then voila! it's finished. No seams to sew!

Today's Dumb Feng Shui quote: " It is bad luck to have two mirrors endlessly reflecting each other, as it might tear a black hole in space, stuff up the space-time continuum and suck your hallway into a parallel universe"

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Gues who......

...was visiting the family over the road?

Merry Christmas everyone!

It's 6am on Christmas morning as I write this. I hope all my readers have a safe and pleasant holiday season. I'll be spending today making stuff! Yay!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Moon

It's hard to capture the gorgeous colour of a rising moon with an ordinary camera - the sky is an elusive thing and seeing it through your own eyes is always so much more beautiful. This moon was a soft buttery yellow, not at all like the pale thing in the photo, but this is the best I could do. The photo was taken at 9.07pm, when it's still quite light outside here.

It's now Christmas Eve, and I am totally relaxed as I need do nothing for the next 2 days - except make some Cranberry & Chocolate Chip biscotti for the kids. My daughter and boyfriend arrive at lunchtime on Boxing Day. The hardest part of all this free time is trying to decide what to work on!

Today's Dumb Feng Shui quote: " Clear out the clutter in your life that is draining your energy - old phone books, messy cutlery drawers, clothes and relatives".

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hark! The herald poodles sing

The poodles and I wish all my lovely blog readers a happy and safe Christmas and New Year. May your fights with annoying relatives be few, and your presents be many.

Today's quote from "Dumb Feng Shui" - "Many homes suffer from Bad Winds. It's no use blaming it on the dog every time. They're all onto you".

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Amazon Christmas Fairy

Look what the Amazon Christmas Fairy has brought me! I've just found them on my doorstep. Yummy!

And in today's mail was this little book, a house-warming gift from my brother.
I'm going to quote from this one when I post. It is silly enough to appeal to my warped sense of humour.

Today's quote: "Your career can be enlivened by the introduction of fish to your living room. Eels can look very attractive bunched in a vase on a side table".


Monday, December 17, 2007

La Nina - not

New Zealand is experiencing the La Nina weather pattern this summer - apart from Christchurch and environs, which is having intermittent heatwaves interspersed with cool southerly interludes. Tomorrow's high temperature is forecast to be only half of today's, and in the meantime, it's too hot to work upstairs. I started to do some sewing yesterday and abandoned you can see.

On the plus side.....I can now officially reveal that I've been accepted again as a tutor for the NZ Quilting Symposium 2009 to be held in Wellington. I am totally delighted, for several reasons......firstly, I must have got good reports from my classes this year in order to be asked to come back again; secondly, I get to meet well-known overseas quilters like Sandra Meech and Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer, plus some I've met before, like Aussies Jan Mullen, Jenny Bowker and Gloria Loughman. Thirdly, it's just such FUN!

If you're interested, go to the website and register. It's not completely up to date yet, as many tutors (like me) aren't listed and much of it is still in the planning stages, but you can pre-register to get newsletters.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Rust Pot & the Jaffa Pot

I'm making the most of being stuck at home with no money, what with having both time and fabric in plentiful supply. Today I created another vessel, the Rust Pot, out of overdyed rust fabric. It's the same pattern as the orange Chinese Lantern one.
For this one, I made some changes. It may not be obvious in the photo, but this one has a rectangular base and the sides rising from the short side of the base have much less curve than the other two. It's also a bit taller, around 7".

The main refinement however, is that I've used one piece of fabric for the inside and outside of each side (no way to avoid saying all those "sides"). This means the top of the pot has a folded edge, unlike the others which are satin-stitched.
I haven't been totally happy with the look of the satin stitching around the top - it's easy to get wobbly, plus the loose threads make it messy. Here's a family shot - while the Chinese Lantern and Rust Pot are cute, I think the smooth lip of the Jaffa Pot makes it the best

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Trying to capture a rainbow

It's very hard to do justice to the Blended fabric with a photograph, but alas, it's all I have. If I photograph each 1 metre piece as a whole, they just look like blobs of colour on the fabric. It's only when you get closer, as in when I'm ironing them, that you get to see the wonderful colours.
So I've photographed pieces of the fabric, where the colours look the most beautiful.
Again, the photographs don't look as good as the actual fabric. The purple comes out blue, the green hardly shows and the yellow is dulled.

I am thinking that I should use some large pieces that i particularly like, maybe half-metres, and quilt them in the piece in some way so as to highlight the shading. What do you think? How would I best do that?

Healing hearts in the heat

Nearly 9 years ago, I was bored over the Christmas/New Year period, as my children were at their father's and I was home alone. And bored, as I said. To cut a long story short, I set up Kiwiquilters, which is an online email list for quilters in New Zealand. Or other places, as some of the 475 members live overseas.

One of the things I've adopted for KQs is Healing Hearts - I think I've mentioned these here before. Any member can call for hearts for their family or friends who are suffering serious illness, trauma or tragedy. Sometimes it's for a child in the news who has been severely abused. Members send a heart or 2 to whoever is co-ordinating the appeal, and they assemble the quilt. At present, a member's husband is terminally ill and she is staying with him in the hospice so I'm making her some hearts, and also a few extra to have on hand. I hand sew the blanket stitch around the hearts, as I enjoy doing blanket stitch.
I also had to dye some fabric today (on the left) so did some more for myself as well. Today is very hot for early summer - it was 22 degrees C (72 degrees F ) overnight, and has gone officially above 30 (86F) this afternoon. Here at home, in the sun outside, it was over 40C (104F) which is waaaaaaay too hot for me.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Vessels part 2

I enjoyed making the first one so much that I made a big sister for it. I wanted nice curves on the sides, but this made it quite fat, like a little pumpkin. Two sides are striped commercial fabric, two lime green hand dyed, with matching blue hand dyed interior. It was easier sewing around the top as it's larger, but I'm not so happy with the way the sides sit, so I prefer the little orange one.
Here they are together so you can get some idea of the size.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I have been interested for some time in fabric vessels. This is my first attempt at making one. I looked at some photos and drew myself a pattern, which I copied onto heavyweight Vilene. I then ironed this onto an inner fabric (yellow) and an outer one, the orange hand dyed one above. I stamped a few stars and hearts and things in a toning metallic paint, then sewed the two pieces of each side together with random curving lines using a variegated brown thread.

Then I stitched the 4 sides together using satin stitch and the same thread, then attached the bottom square. Sewing around the top was the hardest part, and I'm not sure whether it might be easier to do on each piece before assembly. I may try that next time. The vessel is 6 1/2 " high (17cm) and the base is 3" (8cm) square.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Counting My Blessings we should all do on a regular basis. Today, I'm enjoying these things:
This lovely needlecase from Annica in Sweden, which she has sent me as part of the PIF (Pay It Forward) that we were doing recently. It's like random acts of kindness, only with us, we made something by hand and sent it to other crafty bloggers. This is felt on the outside, with hand embroidery and threads as ties.
Inside, it's fabric with a pocket on each side. I could keep my business cards in this, Annica - it's gorgeous!
And here are some lovely yellow roses from my garden. I grow mainly David Austen and old-fashioned roses as I love the multi-layered look of the flowers, but mainly I love the scent!
This one is Aotearoa (the Maori name for New Zealand). It's a modern hybrid tea, but I always like to have one in my garden because, unlike many modern roses, it has a stunning scent.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007


This is Seven (currently perched on the back of my chair). She is a small Manx (tailless) cat - though in her case, she is a "stumpie" - she has a little fluffy stump like a rabbit's tail. Her daughter Grizabella is also tailless, and she is a "rumpie" with no tail bones at all. She is also odd because in cats, colours are sex-linked and normally only males are ginger. You would think that Manxes are disadvantaged by having no tails, as we usually assume tails are used for balance.

Not at all.

Seven (who was actually the seventh cat in the household when she joined it, thank you for asking) is one of the most agile cats I've owned.
This is the view from my upstairs bathroom window. That is roof ALL the way down the ground, garage in the background, with the roof of the dormer window on the right hand side. Daunting, eh?

And here's the roof view from the outside. An A-frame has one heck of a roof.

While Cass and Hattie were here, Cass was using the bathroom when he heard a miaow and Seven's head popped up through the open window. I have a flock of starlings living on my roof and she'd been out to investigate. I had seen her running down the roof on another occasion, but it didn't occur to me that she'd climbed out an upstairs window to do it. She is full of surprises.
And here, for creative content, is the lovely set of beads that Hattie made for me. She works part-time in a bead shop when not studying. What a clever girl!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Very hard to get decent photos of these two!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

It's That Time Of Year Again....

...steeped in tradition, and fun for everyone. I refer, of course, to the time-honoured annual ritual of my son Cass bringing home his munted jeans to be repaired. By me. Oh, you thought I meant CHRISTMAS? No indeed, this ritual is more of a ....moveable... one, depending on exactly when he comes to stay. But nevertheless, it has been a tradition since he left home to go to university 9 years ago. No, that isn't a typo. He HAS been at uni that long, and will do another year to gain his Masters. He already has 2 other Bachelor's degrees, so he hasn't been wasting his time.

During the Jeans Festival, this sort of thing:

..becomes like so:...and the jeans live to be worn another day. The patches are always done from the inside so as to be as inconspicuous as possible. Cass certainly gets the most out of his jeans, some of which return for several years. This is the Second Patching of this pair. And no fit healthy jeans are harmed, as I only cannibalise pairs that will never be worn again. Recycling at its best.