Friday, August 31, 2012

A new strawberry bed

I have reclaimed the last bit of lawn that I am allowed. But all in a good cause - a new strawberry bed. I had forgotten how much hard work it is to dig up turf, do edging etc. This garden is 100% eco friendly, recycled and upcycled. The bricks are from various chimneys that came down in the earthquakes, The edges of the paths were from tiles already in the garden and just used in a better format. Then I dug out some of the chook pen and put all the lovely stuff on top of a pile of shredding I had done. Added some compost with loads of worms. A leftover 1.5 metres of weed matting from another job and viola a bed ready for a scrummy strawberry summer. (not to say sore bottom muscles from all the digging and brick moving.)

I still have to finish digging up the bed behind the strawberry patch, but at least it's edging is in too and as it will be a potato patch it is too early anyway.

The chooks are super happy as they have a new lawn for their run. I love the way they recycle things for me.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tea for family time

Today when Aaron came home we all had tea. I really felt like an English tea but did not have the omph to get all the food done. It was later than it should have been - 5.15pm. We had Earl Grey tea and fresh pikelets (for those of you who are American this is drop scones), with three jams and whipped cream.
The boys and I had been busy outside, I finished removing the turf for my new strawberry bed and was hungry and exhausted. Aaron is away for work over the weekend. I thought tea would be good as a family catch up. It meant I could go and have a rest for an hour and now I am preparing a late dinner.

We all enjoyed it immensely.

My Pikelet recipe 
This makes quite a thick mixture which results in lovely puffy pikelets
1 C milk with 2tsp white vinegar in it to sour it

In a bowl put 2 C flour, 6 Tablespoons sugar, 2tsp Baking Powder, 1tsp Baking soda, pinch salt. Sift it. Into that put 2 eggs and the milk. Mix to a smooth batter. Melt 2 Tablespoons butter and mix in. Cook on a gridle or heavy based fry pan. Spoon on and when bubbles appear flip them over. Eat warm.
Jakob cooking the Pikelets

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gap Filler Project

Awesome gap filler where our Church used to be

Well our church is now a Gap Filler Project.  For those of you that don't know - project gapfiller is a non profit organisation trying to pretty up some of the blank spaces left behind after the building sites have been cleared of Earthquake debris. Our church was one of the many buildings that were badly broken in the September 2010 earthquake. It was pulled down a while ago and lately it has been brightened. First the paintings went up and then yesterday a pile of people where there putting in and spray painting the tiles. It looks fantastic. So much better than walking past stones to get to the church hall where we now meet.

Aaron and I took Sunday school and considered using the gap filler site but in the end we went to the park as there were tables there. It was an amazing end of winter day at 21oC. Spring is only 6 days away (officially). Aaron took the lesson in the band rotunda and then I took the activity using the two tables. It was a great morning.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Recycled super soft Angora into new born beanie

Well, today was sunny and spring is definitely on the way. In autumn I bought a 100% angora (rabbit) jersey. Unpicked it, washed it and reballed it. (if you click on those words you will see it was not such an easy job). Then I knitted a new born to 3 month old hat. It has been sitting in my knitting bag ever since. Not sewn up and no tassel. Finally last night I pulled it out and finished it. Why is it that when winter is on the way out that I get around to all the winter jobs?

This is a pattern that I developed years ago from an idea of the sleeve of a jersey I made (it had the ribbed look). In the last few years I can see that lots of commercial patterns are using this kind of ribbing too. Just when you think you are original!!

Anyway I now have bundles of wool, knitting needles and patterns all kitted up with this supersoft angora.
I will be listing it in my shop soon, I just want Alex to model it for me first.

Today I have been busy reclaiming more of the garden for my vege patch. Looking good but would like it to happen faster!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy Chooks

I am loving the sunshine we have been getting. I have been thinking that the chooks could do more work for us in the garden. So my sister Anna gave me some old fencing she had. I put it around the dug out strawberry bed for the chooks to fossick in. Jakob got all uptight that the chooks would escape from it, Morris barked and barked, even when I put him inside, he was just too excited about the chooks being where they should not.
The chooks loved it!!! (But I did not own up to Jakob that two escaped in the two hours:). I will have to keep an eye on them and not just leave them in it). Anyway chooks are great at clearing out and fertilising gardens. When I look at the photo I realise that I it is a bit lackadaisical so will fix it up a bit tomorrow. So if the weather stays fantastic then I will fence another area off. Am starting to get the excited, ready for planting feeling!!!.
I had a lovely couple of hours out in the sun after work, starting mulching my big pile of clippings.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My PJ quilt got featured

Wow - here I was checking out other blogs I follow and one of them Domesblissity featured me on her link up blog today. Wow  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Make a patchwork quilt by just sewing straight lines

This quilt is just the easiest patchwork in the world to make. You only have to be able to sew straight seams. No maths involved and it looks amazing.
1. First cut out a pile of squares of your chosen material. These can be any size you want. The ones shown are 6.5 inches just because we had a ruler that size.

2. Chose 9 of the squares and lay them out to your satisfaction

3. Sew the squares together in the order you want. 

4. Cut through the halfway point of the centre row horizontally

5. Cut through the halfway point of the centre row vertically

6. You will then have four pieced squares looking like this.

7. If you want a regular pattern then always have the centre square the same. 
Once you have made a lot the blocks can then be sewn in rows and then those rows together.

There are some amazingly good examples and tutorials on Youtube for making this. It is called the split nine patch. My favourite quilting tutorials are done by the Missouri Quilt Company. Lovely clear videos and easy to understand. - they call this block the disappearing nine patch as they put it together randomly (as I have done here) Click here to link to their tutorial

Spring blooms

A bit of sunshine, some early spring flowers and I feel positive about everything. After 6 weeks of rain, cloud, rain, more cloud etc we have had a couple of hours sun. Oh spring is on it's way. I parked the car on our section after work and saw our first Iceland Poppy right beside the bunch of traditional daffodils that are out. Glorious colour, heralding spring. Oh I want to go camping!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday stitching

The beginning of Margo's first quilt

Today I had my mother in law over and she started stitching her first ever quilt. We did the cutting on Friday night and she started the blocks today. She is doing a split nine patch quilt. The great thing about this quilt is that you don't have to do a 1/4" seam to get it right. A lot of older machines don't have the quarter inch mark so you have to tape your machine or mark the needle placement. But the split nine patch will work perfectly so long as you stitch the entire patchwork top using the same machine and the same foot.

My totally recycled quilt
I made a random split nine patch for Hope Homes but Margo is doing a repeat pattern version.

I continued on with my 100% eco quilt. Great afternoon on a gray day.

The boys were all off having a game of street soccer and cricket at their old home. The power is now discommected so we are expecting it to be demolished anytime soon. They were in the middle of the horror area for the September 2010 earthquakes - see here.

Friday night sew in

The oozing lava cake

The caramel
My Friday night sew in was all about teaching my Mother-in-law how to use a rotary cutter and cutting squares. As well as eating Chocolate Lava Cake.

Margo has decided to make a patchwork quilt for her spare bed and asked me to teach her. So Friday night the cutting boards and rotary cutters were out in force cutting lots of 6.5" squares.

Amazing amount of cut squares
I had watched Rachel from The Little Paris Kitchen (my new most favourite programme) earlier in the day and made her Lava pots. Oozy caramel in the middle of amazing chocolate cake. Yum. I was proud of myself making my own caramel (I only had to discard one burnt lot!!!)

See my links page for the Friday linky parties I join.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A great Op Shop trip

I had a great 20 minute stop at the Salvation Army Opportunity Shop yesterday.
1. new gumboots for me - $2
2. new gumboots for Jakob - $2
3. new lunchbox for Aaron - $2
4. gorgeous hand embroidered tray cloth - $1
5. 100% wool green tunic for me - $2

One of the best trips I have had in a while. I have worn the tunic the last two days. I have stayed away from that fashion until now as have been worried that at a larger size tunics would either make me look pregnant or my rear view hideous!. But I love it. Yesterday I wore it with a white skivvy and today I had a cerise merino underneath.

I just could not get a good photo of me in the mirror! Ignore the hideously untidy room.

I have great plans for the traycloth - turning it into a zip bag.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Made - 1 Boys Merino Hoodie

The merino jersey before.
The finished product

Yes I am still in the recycling / upcycling mood. This merino hoodie was long in the making! The adage of measure twice and cut once was not adhered to. So a lot of unpicking and making do. It started as two ladies merinos. The light blue one was all stained down the front so only good for bits. The black one was a size 14!!! It was long enough in the body and arms but it would have to be a pretty skinny 14 as I did not need to adjust the width at all. I just chopped a bit off the bottom.

I measured the arms etc and thought they looked short - cut anyway and yes way too short. Thankfully I was doing new cuffs so that he could have the semi-glove look at the end of the sleeve, I just had to make that add on a bit longer than intended. The pocket was sewn and unpicked as I put it too high up the body, so had to take it down to a reasonable level. When cutting the polo neck off I mistakenly cut the shoulder seam too with the overlocker, so that had to be fixed. The hood was right the first time.

All that is needed is some domes on the placket.

Jakob loved being the model and has been pestering me for ages for one as he picked the colours in autumn, now we are only 2 weeks from spring (not that you would guess it from the weather we have been having).

Eli's one last year - here- only took me 1 1/2 hours. This took me two nights with a gap of three in-between as I got frustrated with the mistakes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Quilt made from 8 business shirts

The big quilt and the cushion cover
The shirts before cutting.
I was in the Op Shop a few months ago and they had all menswear at 1/2 price. In the rack all coordinated and calling to me were 7 business shirts. I had no idea what to do with them, being very plain bold fabrics, but had to have them for my stash. At $2 for 100% good quality cotton how could I resist?

Then I started the remodel of Jakob's room and realised that the colours would fit perfectly. Then the pattern decision. Well I have seen a few cross patterns out on the internet, all made from squares, and thought that would do. Of course I did not do what everyone else has done and that is to have squares so that each cross takes 5 squares to do. I just cut big strips and then cut some into squares and some into longer rectangles that are the equivalent to 3 squares. Why have more seams than you need? I cut heaps out and just used my eye to guess how much I needed. I was worried that I would have enough fabric but I actually have way too much.

Then it was just a matter of laying it all on the floor and sewing it. The laying and sewing only took me about 31/2 hours. I started at 9pm and finished at about 12.15pm. But was so awake that I then started cutting smaller strips for a matching pillow!

So what you see is just the patchwork top cut in 6.5inch strips and the matching cushion cover which was cut in 2 1/2 inch strips. (And I have way too much fabric left over!!!).
Jakob's remodeled room

Once I get around to sandwiching it then I am going to practice quilting by doing each cross in individual patterns. (that is the plan at the moment anyway).

And doesn't it match the colours in Jakob's room!!! I am thrilled with it, especially as it really looks more boy like.

Linking up here.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Crazy kids and quilts


After a busy morning with soccer and present buying we trotted off the see Mieke, the birthday girl. Well the boys had been amazingly good all day. No arguments, no worries, occupied themselves outside with lots of fun while putting all the pruning into a pile for us to put through the mulch-er. But we got to Jess and Stephens and then it all went riot. Mieke had an amazing party in the morning and then only slept about 1 hour so she was getting hypo, which encouraged my boys. They wanted to play in her pink tent. Eli practically tried on every bit of fairy princess gear that Mieke had. First he came out with a headband, then a necklace, then some lacy thing, then wings and on it went until he was quite done up. Mieke thought her cousins were crazy. But good old Alex just slept through it all - model child trying out his new quilt.
I was lucky to have him sleep on me for about 3/4 hour till we had to go. There is NOTHING that can compare to having a new baby sleep and snuggle into you. Bliss.

Jess insisted that I not take her photo - just Alex. Sorry Jess. (nah not really). But I as the boys were today's photographers they obviously didn't listen to that instruction.  The picture of the megasketcher was what Jakob was writing. He followed Mieke around and wrote down everything she said.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A boy's quilt - from recycled Pj's

The front
 Finally I have finished the quilt for Alex. Oops 9 weeks after his birth and it was meant to be his coming home from hospital present!!!! Hmm. Funny timing too as tomorrow is Mieke's birthday party (his big sister is turning 2) so I have finished a gift for him but not for her.

I do seem to have things a bit back to front at the moment. I have had to sneak the finishing of this in while my boys are asleep because I promised them that I would not sew anything else until I had sewn their merinos. Goodness those were meant to be made in Autumn and it is nearly spring.

Anyway this quilt is made from a myriad of second hand pajamas. All purchased from second hand shops. If there is not a matching set I find I can pick up a top or bottom for about 50 cents. The blue is new though as I had to find something consistent to put with the variety of patterns. It is just flannelette sheeting from Fabric Vision for $7 per metre.

The block pattern is called a few things - quarter square triangles, hourglass etc etc. I made the quilt top, backing, sandwiched it together and quilted it, all at my weekend away. The backing was made from a bit of Thomas flannel that I had bought to do something for my boys, but I did not get around to it and they are well over Thomas. I quilted it by just doing stitch in the ditch on every seam, that gives it enough holding power to go through the washing machine and retains the great geometric pattern. I pulled it out yesterday to show Steff and was surprised to find that I had not done the binding. So a late night job and it is done.
The back


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fabulous second hand shop finds

Today on my way home from meeting Aaron at work for a coffee, I stopped by one of the Op Shops I frequent. They had boxes of brand new toweling dressing gowns and pj's. I immediately thought of the girls and called Dawn to see if they needed them. Bought four. Got a gorgeous orange bag for me - Nearly considered buying it for my cousin Christine, who is orange mad - but it is so amazing I can't give it away. The last purchase was a waffle weave pink dressing gown for me.

So Dawn and the girls came for afternoon tea. I pinned the sleeves of the gowns to fit and will fix all that in the next two days. Eli was gutted that I did not get one for him!!!

A gorgeous break in Rarotonga

Woo hoo, A holiday with no kids for 11 days. Bliss, relaxing and warm! BTW it was an early 20th wedding anniversary present to ourselves....