Friday, June 30, 2017

Conquering the garden - another section completed.

This section of the garden goes down the East side of the house. So it gets morning sun but quite a bit of shade. As it is under the eaves it was really dry and the only thing growing were dahlias.

The great thing about conquering the garden for me is that it is free!! I knew when we moved that I would be wanting to do things so every time I cut something, I just stick it in the ground to see if it will grow. The photo on the left is one of 4 gooseberry plants just grown from pegging the branch to the ground. The plant on the right has a gorgeous root structure (you can see if you look hard) and is one of many many many rosemary plants.

The photos left to right show gooseberry's planted at the back and rosemary to hedge at the front. The middle photo is Ugni berry (in New Zealand people call it NZ cranberry) as a hedge to be. I have left the dahlias in the back to deal with the dry conditions and have moved a struggling miniature rose in at the left. It should do better there. I have been careful not to put prickly plants around the hose access.
Then further up are two white currant bushes, again from cuttings that I just stuck in the ground when trimming and some very large rosemary plants as I want to have it hedge at least half way up this brushwood fence. What I do need to do yet is to move a beautiful red climbing rose into the rosemary hedge area. It is in the shade and not doing well where it currently grows. Then it will cover the top of the fence. I am going to purchase one thing though. A pear tree. As I have decided to make an Arch into the back garden from two pear trees.
The lovely gooseberries grown from cuttings.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Crafting day with my sister.

My finished boots
Cutting and planning

My sister and I spent a day making Boots / Slippers from the woolen blankets that I dyed and the leather I got from the dump shop. The pattern is amazing and is from Twig and Tale. They are New Zealand designers and makers and their products and patterns are amazing. Very clear and easy to follow and these slippers stitch up so fast.

My sister 

My sisters finished boots. She finished first!
My finished boots
In progress

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Baking up a storm

Lately I have been trying out a lot of new recipes. Some of this is driven by the fact that I am bored with making the same thing all the time. I am also trying to use what is in the cupboard and fridge etc. Plus we are having a Midwinter Christmas Fair at school and I am on the baking stall.

This first slice is Chelsea Winter's peppermint and chocolate slice. Wow it is yummy. One lot I topped with blocks of peppermint chocolate and one lot I topped with Creme de Menthe sticks that were in the cupboard. For the recipe - Chocolate Peppermint Slice - click on the name. It has fresh mint in it too. Some process photos are below.
When I was visiting my parents I also popped in to see my cousin. We had a walk and talk and then came home and she gave me some muesli slice with a cup of tea. It was yum. So I made some of that.
The NZ House and Garden magazine had a lemon and custard slice in it. I lost the recipe but adapted one that I already had. It uses 1 cup of lemon honey (lemon curd) and I found an old jar of lemon curd in the fridge, so decided to make it. Gorgeous!! I doubled the biscuit base and made half with the lemon (on the left) and half with condensed milk into caramel, to make a recipe we call Tan Square.
The peppermint filling

Fresh mint chopped for the mint filling

The chocolate base.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Strip patchwork quilt top finished

I finally added a few more strips to make this new patchwork big enough for a single bed. I have the batting purchased and now just need to sandwich it together. This will be another quilt for the orphanage - Hope Homes International.
charity quilt
This quilt has now emptied one of my scrap bags, finally!! The bag was for strips of material only and now, with three quilts for the orphans, it is finished. I love being able to say that!
When I was out and about recently I found these gorgeous leather pieces at the dump shop. Exciting things to make with these. Am already channeling the thought of leather and wool! 
Linking to these places and Crazy Mum Quilts.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wool blanket dyeing day.

Having finished work and with a few weeks before study started, I set out for a day of craft fun. I went to Hanmer Springs and had a day with Jane from Stash Palace. I wanted to learn how to dye wool blankets. Wow did it make a mess, but what an exciting process it was. Watching blankets turn into gorgeous coloured felted wool was just inspirational. 
wool blanket dyeing
This is the blankets drying all around the Stash Palace studio. Jane has a special room all set up for the dye splatter which makes it fun being creative without having to worry about staining the carpet, the walls etc.
All the gorgeous pieces. I dyed the equivalent of about three blankets and got half of them dry in the day.

The trip up to Hanmer Springs was slow. I traveled behind a 3 bedroom house being relocated to Waiau for temporary housing, post the earthquake. 
A random photo of a river walk we did after church recently. Gorgeous winter day.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Upcycled cot mattress, now a bench seat

Bench seat from recycled materials
Woo Hoo - Thrilled with the finished project.
Quite a while ago I made a seat from a bed head and end. But I just had a pile of cushions on it for comfort.
At the Op Shop (Thrift store) I found a really good condition, thick foam cot mattress. I could immediately see that this would work as a cushion for the seat I made, with a new cover.
bench seat from upcycled materials
About 20cm had to be cut off the end to make it fit. Then as per usual, I procrastinated about recovering it. No reason as I knew I would make a patchwork cover using all the furnishing fabric scraps I had.
So it sat looking like this for ages.
The finished cover.

Just a little bit of sewing required (well it took me about two hours all up) to make the patchwork top and then turn it into a box cover. It is removeable so I can wash it. The underside is just one material - an old Laura Ashley furnishing fabric that I picked up from somewhere.
Linking up to these place and crazy mum quilts and Sew, Stitch, Snap and Share

This uses the scraps from other projects like my hall seat and my ironing board cover. This did not use all the fabric ends I had in furnishing weight. So need to think of another project!!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Conquering the Garden...bit by bit

Sometime I have been feeling that our section and garden is just too big and too much. That is when I am tired or not feeling so well. Then when I get time in it I start to enjoy it again. What I have discovered to stop me feeling overwhelmed I have to just think about bits of it and not the whole. 
So I have been concentrating on fixing up the area in front of the hot tub. I have grown the two Feijoa trees on the left and middle from cuttings and the one on the right I bought. I am slowly making a Feijoa hedge here. At the end of next summer we will be able to remove the two tall trees that do not fit with our style. I also rounded out the garden bed as it had a weird kink in it.

Now I am working on this side just a wee bit further round from the bit before. I have  pear on the left side (just past the rose) that I am going to stake forward and start making a pear arch. I will plant a pear on the left to join it. This is my next "bit" of the garden. By doing bit by bit I feel I achieve something.
Winter has well and truely set it and this is the look in the TV room most days after school!!!

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....