Friday, December 18, 2015

Yip -- I sure did start another project

naughts and crosses quilt pattern.
 So it is the end of the year. I am tired. Do I finish one of the 1000's of projects I have? Definitely not, so much more interesting to start yet another thing. It relaxes me. 
All around the web and in magazines etc I have been seeing the naughts and crosses - XO - Tic Tac Toe quilt. So many different versions depending on the material you use.  
I have a great fondness for quilts that use a cross pattern so love that this puts the cross on point. I wanted one colour as the background and I love grey. Ros over at Sew Delicious has made the block and it looks so different to mine. And it appeals to the frugal side. The extra's you cut off every block, I sew a seam to make them into a half square triangle before cutting them off and it so each cross I make I get another block for yet another quilt!!! I followed the trail on her blog to find the pattern - you can find it here at Blossom Heart Quilts. They used it for a theme month against violence.
I was thinking of the red cross  and the fantastic job they do with the NZ Blood Service. So I made two blocks red. I do not have any other reds really, shame. My husband now gives blood and although the direct link does not happen, others who give blood in Australia are keeping gorgeous Kerryn well, alive and living a good life. 

It also looks a bit like Christmas colours.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Summer camping, something for everyone in the family

The boys finished school on Thursday and so Friday lunch time we headed out for the weekend camping. This is what Christmas and the holidays is about for us. There was a bit of everything for everyone this weekend.

Barkers raspberry jam
Lots of fresh produce from the Geraldine Farmers Market, the butcher and Barkers.
hiding in the bunk

Hiding in dark corners to keep the light of the screens, as well as swimming and lots of walking. 
 Family time talking.

Just what we needed. And we missed the hail, the tornados and rain. Well done I say!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Finally feeling like Christmas... The Elf arrived with the presents

After school last week we finally go down to the serious business of Christmas. I put Pandora Christmas station on and the boys and I got down to work.

Well.... the reality is Jakob was putting Pandora on as I needed help and Eli appeared out of the blue announcing Santa had arrived!! (first picture) so I was laughing. Then five minutes later all I heard was "quick quick it is itching like mad". I rushed to the lounge to see the tinsel, not on the tree as instructed, but on Eli. Took a quick photo before we all had to untinsel him and it must have been seriously itchy as it left him very red around the torso.

The tree was dressed - yes it is small but we figure that where Jesus lived it is mainly Olive trees to so we use that, with various decorations made over the years. Presents under, and may I say that Mr Aaron Schulz somehow has the bulk of them!! The nativity scene is up and it is one that is added to, advent calendar style, during the run up to Christmas.

Then it was onto making teacher and friend gifts for school. Lining up the candy canes, the kit kats etc and production line started. Then the last wee treat to show it really is Christmas came in the form of the first raspberry. Yummy yum yum

Friday, December 11, 2015

Family Food Friday - easy meals

Sometimes I just don't feel like cooking and I do not want takeaways. So I do super easy food but try to keep a bit of a health kick in. Today it was sausages. Everyone in my house likes them and these were another short life, half price bargain at the supermarket.
I had ciabatta bread in the cupboard so sliced that and toasted one side in the sausage pan. Picked greens from the garden, a bit of chutney and some yellow capsicum (pepper). Delicious, simple and a bit healthier than takeaways. 
I am also a big fan of teaching my children to cook and look after themselves. Eli is now very adept at making pancakes and will do that for breakfast on any non school morning.

I am the proudest mum and Auntie

Eli on the left and Jakob on the right.
Last night I felt that the awards my children and nieces won were all my effort. I felt that I won. I was so excited and hyped and and proud and ......

My son Jakob got Dux of the primary school! and my son Eli got academic top of class as well as receiving Distinction for the ICAS international exam in English. I could have burst. Not only that but Jakob and my two nieces also got academic top of their class. So when they read out the names for the 8 classes it went like this ....
name, name, Schulz, Schulz, Schulz, name name, Schulz - Wow it was a thrill to be there.
Jakob celebrating with some of his class mates. One of the things that occurred when his name was called was his entire year group and some other kids stood and acknowledged him very loudly. What an honour it was to see that.  
Eli receiving his certificate for Distinction for the international award.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

I actually had time at the sewing machine

Heading into Christmas and my grand plans to make everyone a homemade Christmas cracker. Why do I have such ambitious goals? Last four headbands done. So most females will have a home sewn hat in their cracker but the guys, hmmm maybe paper!!!

Nice to sit at the sewing machine for a change. Every week I make a resolution to spend more time on the sewing chair. But life seems very busy with travelling for work, embedding a new role, juggling school and boys and trying to get a new garden going well.

If you want to know how to make these I put a link into this post for the tutorial.

Yay for a finish though.
Linking to these places and crazy mum quilts

Friday, December 4, 2015

Family Food Friday - Labneh

Well my family food tip is this - make the most of the reduced price items as you can. Our supermarket puts most of them in one area for meat and another area for dairy products. I buy them all the time after checking the date. If it has a day to go I can freeze it or like yogurt, turn it into something gorgeous. Often for half the price.

Labneh is just a strained yoghurt. But it goes super thick and creamy and don't forget to keep the whey as it makes the most amazing pikelets or pancakes. Then I use it with fresh strawberries for breakfast as my protein. Or on souvlaki when making wraps and the list goes on. What I like about this is it saves money and gives variety.

Linking the these places

Monday, November 30, 2015

I am going to say it... I love my garden

8 Months ago we moved into a new house with a garden that had been neglected for more than a year. We know that because it was empty for more than a year before we purchased it. I knew when we looked around that we had some Peony's, Roses, a nectarine and two apple trees. The rest was a mystery. 
But what a fantastic mystery it has been. As each season has passed and we have added things into the garden, watered and pruned, slowly it is being revealed. The hellebores had me the moment they flowered in the middle of winter, peonies are amazing, the iris's stunning, the rhododendrons were spectacular and more things are just popping up.  
Every day I walk around and admire the garden and what is springing from it. I love the surprise, I love seeing what we are planting come to life and grow well.
I feel very fortunate to have such a stunning garden. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Victorian Festival and a weekend in Dunedin

Last weekend we took advantage of the Public Holiday to head off to Dunedin. This weekend always coincides with The Oamaru Victorian Fete. A great chance to roll out the costumes we made several years ago. (I know my costume is the wrong era but it is a costume I have so not point making another one).

In the gardens at Riverstone Kitchen

Not only were over half the people attending in costume, but Oamaru claims itself to be the Steam Punk capital of the world with Steam Punk HQ an amazing place to visit. So not only were there people properly dressed in Period Wear but there were amazing twists with the steam punk theme. A lady in a wheelchair had converted her whole chair into Steam Punk, with fake smoke coming out. It was fantastic.

Some of the crowd and the can can girls.
We spent the weekend with my sister and had a great walk down to Tunnel Beach in Dunedin. I was very worried about getting up the hill. But Aaron used that umbrella to tow me up. Could not have done it without him. Super Man!!
took a bit longer than that

The top of the tunnel

When we were there we found my niece's name carved in the sandstone from years ago. The boys spent a lot of time carving their names in too. 

The first night in Dunedin was spent at the brand new Distinction Hotel in Dunedin. The boys really enjoyed being posh. Within five minutes of being in the room they had the dressing gowns and slippers on and were clicking their fingers for service!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Anyone else knitting in Fiji?

knitting with Alpaca
Suprise surprise, when we were enjoying 28 degrees in Fiji no one else was knitting!!! But I have two Alpaca wool hats to knit for Christmas. Anyone following my blog will know that I am making home made Christmas Crackers as presents this year. So everything needs to fit into that size. Of course there needs to be a hat, a joke, a toy etc. This is a mini version of a hat pattern I have made for Eli and Aaron but this is for a much smaller head.

See the normal adult version here.
I did laugh quite a lot making a woolly hat when we were getting sunburnt. 
I then have one question - when we came home how did the dog get into bed - Aaron Schulz!!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

I have a weekend to get a quilt made

On Friday night I went to hear William Thompson from Hope Homes International talk at a local church. This is the orphanage where I sent a pile of quilts over a year ago (6 years work). When questioned William advised he had room in his suitcase for some quilts. But I only had one made!!
Not only that but as I am away for work this and next week, there was only this weekend to get more made. So I looked through all my half finished stuff. So Saturday I started at 10am. I found these cut - scraps cut into pieces ready for a Plus quilt. (I like to call then Cross quilts) 
I worked out the size and had to cut another 10. Based on a finished 4.5inch size. Selected fabric and cut. 
By 11am I was laying them all on the floor getting ready to sew in lines. 
1pm and I was starting to flag. Plus needed to go to the shop to get batting as the shop closes at 2pm. Organised the boys and did a bit of gardening.

At midnight I was pinning all the quilt pieces together. I was at the point of giving up as the quilting and binding takes a long time. Then Kerryn messaged me from Australia to see how it was going. When I told her she gave some excellent advise, that I followed. Just stitch straight lines to get it done.  
I thought about that overnight and realised she was right but was still not sure if I would get it done. So stitching around each cross. But that still left quite a space in the middle of each piece which would wear. So I freehanded hearts, stars, flowers etc into each centre.  
Cross Quilt
By 3pm I had the quilting done and the edges trimmed. 
Hope Homes International
Oh my goodness, I finished!!! Patched, Quilted and Bound - finished at 5.30pm on Sunday.
Now I am spending a day catching up on my housework etc. 

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....