Sunday, June 30, 2013

I made a throne

From this

To this

From this

To this
A couple of weeks ago Aaron told me that the computer seat was too hard and his bottom got sore. Now I use that seat to do my day job and I have not found it to be a problem. Then I forgot about it. He re mentioned it on Thursday saying it had needed a cushion and why hadn't I made it yet.

So I looked, hmm it is a bit hard but I felt that it was a bit of a royal statement! So I ripped the old fabric off. Found some foam and wadding and stapled that on, then put on a layer of green velvet - that should be fit for a king's bottom. Stapled it all up and reinserted in the chair. It is not the most perfect redo that I have done, but I do have to say that it is more comfy. It got the royal seal of approval last night.         I link to these places

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A black and white quilt

Over the last week I have been working on yet another quilt for Hope Homes International. This quilt started as material and blocks donated by Julie (who comes to the quilting weekend in Living Springs each year). She donated this all in 2010 the year before the earthquakes. She had four blocks finished which I just had to sew together. I have then expanded it with all the left over material she gave.
Black and White quilt

As always I thought it would take me one night to do, but it took longer. I sewed and cut all the extra, plus I have the binding cut and made. The backing is hanging on the washing line today so I hope to sandwich it all together tonight.

Now I have four quilts to quilt and bind at my weekend away - plus 4 shirt aprons to make. A jacket to adjust, a hat to make, start a quilt for Eli etc etc etc. Hmm have I got too many expectations again??? Or maybe I just wont sleep when I am there!!

I link to these places and WIP Wednesday

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The good and the bad

I know we have been through a lot. I know that our household have been one of the luckier ones, only helping out and housing others, not actually losing our property. I know we have had over 10000 quakes and aftershocks and some had me saying that I would leave if there was another big one. I have sadly had to help businesses close down as they can no longer run.

A lot of awful things are still happening to people and places and sometimes it becomes too hard to take and you think you cannot take one more thing.

BUT - I love the changes. I love the thinking outside the square. I love the innovation, the creativity, the chance to try something completely new and not stick to normal formulas. I love some new businesses that have been created where they would never have had the opportunity. I love the opportunities my new job gives and how my kids don't have to go to afterschool care anymore.

I love pallets and so when I found this little garden in Sydenham I had to take photos. I love the positive message in huge mural on the wall, the new buildings being built to allow businesses to reshape and people to be reemployed.

I am choosing today to take the positives out of all that has happened as I felt so interested, uplifted and positive about CHCH when I went through the town yesterday.

Love and Light

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

What to eat and drink while watching the All Blacks

Well the All Black vs France - 3rd Test is on in 20 minutes.
The food is almost ready to go.

recipe1.Mulled Wine - it is so cold outside. This is made with a bottle of very cheap Merlot, 1/2 cup brown sugar, two star anise, 1 cinnamon stick and the juice and rind of a lime. It is warm and yummy

2. Greek chicken skewers - strips of chicken breast, zest of a lime, 3 cloves garlic crushed, 1/2 cup thick natural yogurt and some chopped mint. Mix all together and let marinate for 1/2 hour. Put onto skewers and fry quickly in the pan.
Serve with dipping sauces - we have Labneh (made by straining natural yougurt), tomatoe sauce and Sweet chilli sauce

chicken recipe3. Potatoe wedges - slice up potatoes, add 2 Tablespoons oil, sprinkle on paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Roast in oven 200oC fan bake.

4. Crostini - made from the leftover bread from lunch, slice thinly and bake in same oven for 15 minutes. Heat some black olives for an accompaniment.

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Hot Olives
Wedges roasting

The sauces

Cosy at home on this cold day.

After a lovely cruisey morning with coffee in bed I I went and started doing the glasshouse but my hands just got too cold. So back inside and made some Olive and Pesto Flat bread and had a family game of Monopoly - as usual Aaron had the monopoly on the game from the start. I was the first person bankrupt! But a great family day indoors.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Cold but no snow

Patchwork and QuiltingWell over the last couple of days I have wanted a snow day. So did the boys. I had visions of doing heaps of sewing in front of a roaring fire.

I have managed to get a lot more completed. I have pinned out one more quilt for Hope Homes International. (This quilt top was made by a group of us before the earthquakes occured) I have made the binding for the other two quilts that I pinned out.

Eli pulled a groin muscle and was finding it hard to walk so he really enjoyed being home from school today (and Morris was appreciative of a warm knee).

Another charity quilt

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Happy dog

Monday, June 17, 2013

Two quilt tops done

I wanted to label this blog post "Old married couple fulfilling their passions at night!!" but imagine what that would do to a search engine!!!!!!

Tonight I have been sandwiching a quilt top and Aaron has been Xbox racing. Both in the same room, not really talking to each other, but enjoying what we are doing with the fire on. Contentment.

double hourglass quilt
Double Hourglass block

The quilt is made of flannelette - being my usual recycled PJ's. I started it on Saturday night when a few of us had a wee get together, then finished the piecing last night. It is made from the left over blocks of this quilt.
A few extra rows around the edge make it big enough for a child's quilt. So this is destined for the Orphanage in Kenya that I support - Hope Homes International.

The other quilt was made by a group of us who came to my house about once a month to specifically make quilts for Hope Homes. But the earthquakes have put a stop to that and with all the stuff that goes on, it has never restarted.

I have just done a count up of the quilts I have. 5 single  or slightly bigger completely finished quilts, 1 completely finished cot quilt, 2 bassinet quilts donated. I also now have these two quilt tops done and sandwiched ready for quilting (I am already stockpiling my things to do on my big quilting weekend away in July). Plus there is another quilt top that I need to sandwich ready to go. I also have one half quilted top and some other blocks donated by Shirley that I need to stitch together. Jeanette was halfway through a gorgeous purple quilt when the first earthquake hit - hopefully that one will get finished too.

I am aiming to get quilts for every child in a house. There are currently 2 houses plus some kids being raised at the Missionaries house. So all up I need 30 quilts at the moment. So if any of you have any quilts you have made that you don't like. Or 1/2 finished that you don't want to do - I am keen to take them off your hands.

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Am I crazy??

Removed the rotten edging from this bed
Why is it that I always do massive garden reconstructions in the worst weather? It is almost that I have bad weather and realise that it would be sensible to stay indoors but that means I am just itching to get outside.

Today I was going to get on with all my quilt and UFO organisation. BUT instead I have had the sledgehammer out and pulled one garden bed to bits and am redoing the glasshouse.

A month ago Aaron told me that he would like to see the rather ramshackle garden beds looking a bit better. I have a wee pile of bricks so am going to make a brick bed. But sigh, he will not let me take over any more lawn so I have pulled apart a bed that was falling to bits.  I think he is a brave man telling me to brick. Goodness knows how that will turn out!!!!!

Cleared out the glasshouse
So today I pulled the bed to bits - I will put the chickens in it over the next couple of weeks. I used some of the edging that had not rotted and some edging from another bed Aaron has been demolishing and directed it to the glasshouse.

I am trying to make more of a walkway that will not have all the dirt slide onto it over the summer and it will also allow me to build up the beds.

All of this on a day that there are severe rain warnings out and I swear I thought it would snow!!!

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Cleared out these beds, planted spring onion and garlic
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My rather solid new edging to my glasshouse path

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Gorgeous scents wafting through my kitchen.

I have had several bits left over in my kitchen in the last couple of days, so tonight was time to get my A into G and deal with it.

The egg whites, that were left over from making Creme Anglais (Creme a la Vanille), I have made into little mini meringues. They look gorgeous and Aaron says they are yummy!!!

Then the Feijoas that have been hanging around - the little ones that were left on the tree and really aren't worth cutting to eat. (Last weekend I made some more Feijoachello but this time I used a little less sugar and added the rind and juice of two lemons to the pulp).

So I made Feijoa and Ginger Jam. I had tried this once before but did not put enough ginger in so you could not get that taste coming through. This time looks and tastes good.
Feijoa and Ginger Jam (recipe by me)
1kg Feijoas (I just used the flesh for 900g and chopped up 100g nice firm ones with the skin on)
100g crystalised ginger (chop up into a size to suit you).
                                                   Put those into a pot and add 
850g white sugar. Warm this mixture until all the sugar dissolves - DO NOT BOIL. Once the sugar is well dissolved then bring to a simmer and simmer until thick (it took mine only about 10 min)
Add 1 tsp citric acid and stir well.
Allow to simmer another couple of minutes while stirring.
Put into clean sterilised jars and lids.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

I am not a builder

Well lately I have been thinking that I am. I upcycled a chair and was thrilled. I have repurposed a drawer and turned it into storage on wheels, recycled some drawers to store lego.

But sigh. These skills did not go with me today. I build a wee shelter for the chicken food. I am sick of it filling with rain water etc. So two bits of iron that had been kept from a previous chicken coup and a couple of off cuts from the Dumpster at work. (Yes I actually dumpster dove - got into the thing and went fishing round - my boss thought I was bonkers at the time). I made a brace for where the iron joined. I hammered a bit of 2x2 hard up against the junction of the wall and the roof for the iron to jam into and stay in place.

It works!! It is very stable but not very tidy!! When hammering the wood into the ground I kept striking roots and instead of redoing all the bracing I just moved it and left the bits sticking out. So I am not a builder yet.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Learning to use the sewing machine

Learning to use the back button
Eli has been working hard on his first ever piece of patchwork.
concentration and excitement

Our School has a really good, optional, homework programme. If you participate then at the end of the year you get a badge. Eli, being the full on- into everything person that he is - decided he wanted to do it this year.

He had to choose 8 things to do through the year. One he chose was to learn something new, a new craft, sport etc. He chose to learn how to patchwork.

Over the summer when camping, I taught him how to do English Paper Piecing hexagons. So he would sit doing his patchwork in the evening in the caravan with me.

Now he wants to put those hexagon flowers onto a square to turn into a pad to put his MP3 player etc on in his room. So over the last few nights I have taught him how to use Vliesofix so that everything is stuck together and he is not using pins.

Last night was onto the sewing machine. Wow was I impressed. He has never used the machine before and his stitching was amazingly accurate, he did not run off but had the presser foot down so that the machine worked slowly but consistently. I have a Bernina with knee control, so he had to learn to use that to raise and lower the foot. He had to follow the line of his hexagons. This was not an easy, sew a straight line, for a first sewing project.

He LOVED it. He was really taken with the machine, made Aaron and Jakob come and watch him. Kept saying "This is an awesome gadget mum, you must love the sewing machine".
Look at that perfect stitching. Amazing for the first time ever

Keeping hands away from the needle

This morning his enthusiasm was obviously still up as now he wants to make more hexagons to put onto his bit of quilting.

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Upcycled blanket and buttons

Well I am really pleased with this. It's come out better than I planned. I used an old blanket from an Op Shop sold as a dog blanket a...