Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Fancy a Cuppa?

What a wonderful weekend we've just had.  Saturday was the annual village Santa Parade which was full of all the usual delights.  Bands playing, kids dancing, floats and of course it ended with Santa himself.  The girls thought it was really fantastic, I just don't see what they see, clearly.  Perhaps it's age!  Anyway speaking of age, I've just turned 29... well you can add ten years to that if you really have to, but my mind is still at 29 thank you! 

Fancy a cuppa from my fancy new teapot ladies?  Isn't she a beauty?  Oh yes that's a new CK cup too.  I've can even offer you a slice of birthday cake, it's calorie free of course for you ladies who were about to say no!   Seriously, what birthday cake isn't?!!  And because I'm so nice I'm going to let you eat my last mint chocolate - they are the best in the box.

After you've eaten we'll have a gander through my new craft books.  Gosh they are wonderful, full of lovely ideas.  I wonder what you'll want to make?

My thank you letters are going to look grand if I can part with these little CK treasures.  All the way from the UK just for me!  I adore the little envelopes and stickers.

And how about we plan a new quilt with all my new fatties?  I would think it would be very pretty in the lovely Sugar Flower range.  I must cut some squares out first so I don't get too excited and use it all up.  The others were especially chosen by my little girls.  Didn't they do well?

Gosh I do enjoy my birthdays.  Hubby excels himself every year.  I get so many thoughtful gifts, way more than I'd ever choose for myself.  I felt so spoilt all day Sunday, even though my birthday wasn't really until Monday, but who wants a regular work/school day on their birthday?  Hardly any time for pampering with the family out most of the day.  My parents put on a very lovely dinner for me with all the local family present.  Very nice with my favourite meal served - roast lamb!  Thank you dearest mother for my lovely pink peonys too - they are opening out beautifully.

I've managed to get all the girls to write their Santa letters already.  I find it a good thing to get out of the way early and it's great that Santa knows what they want in plenty of time so he can put the appropriate gifts aside.  We don't want the girls missing out now do we?  The littlest one wrote hers with my help yesterday.  She not into writing but it turned out alright in the end.  It was a little hairy for a while!  And the eraser she's asking for is the pricey sum of $2.50.  What else does a fourth girl need? 

Well I must be off now.  Got to do the kindy thing soon and then do a bit of shopping for my cookie exchange on Thursday.  Exciting times are ahead!  I'll be back soon with some new makes.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

This and That

I've not done much in the way of sewing lately.  Having a bit of a sewers block I guess.  Probably just need more fabric!  I do love a bit of new fabric to get me going again.  Maybe next week. 

Now I haven't shown you these little birdies I made a couple of weeks ago.  They were rather fun to make.  I just made them up as I went along.  No.2 is very clever and she showed me that she could line up the wings on both sides and iron them on for me.  I put all my trust into her and she came through with flying colours.  I like her helping me.

The wing fabrics are from that marvelous little charm pack I bought at the quilt show.  Moda Bliss.  Gosh I've love to get me another of those!  The white wing fabric is my absolute favourite one. It's so pretty and delicate looking. I see I haven't taken a photo of them with their beady hangers on.  What a bother!

What do you think about this pretty mat I found at the antique store?  I adore it, as does No.4.  We might have a fight on our hands.  Still I should be pleased that at three she already has super taste in home furnishings and antiques.

It reminds me of strawberry flowers.  So fresh and summery looking, just perfect for Christmas in New Zealand.  Speaking of that, I've finally realised that we do have Christmas in the summer and we should acknowledge that by using summery colours in our decorating this season.  We are not living in England with the snow, so traditional Christmassy looks and colours are not really right for us. 

You would not believe the decorating over here.  You have no idea how much we are fixed on the English way of having a hot meal, our fire places decorated, fake snow on the windows and even snowmen at Christmas displays.  Just crazy in the fabulous heat.  We should think ourselves lucky that we can send the children outside to ride their new bikes, make sandcastles with new buckets and spades and kick a brand new ball around, instead of huddled inside around the TV set. 

I've also come to the conclusion that a clean and tidy house is not all it's cracked up to be!  Truly I spent the better part of a week, three hours cleaning per room and then living in fear of mucking it all up.  The girls weren't good at it either and I was so bossy about them keeping it tidy!  I'd rather live in a busy happy house than a show home - not that our house is even close to being of that quality!

The good part of tidying up each room, was the little rewards that I bought. Well why jolly not?!! Can you guess what Beatrice is whispering to Billy? She's saying that it's exactly a month until the BIG day!! Woo hoo, how exciting!!!

What do you think of our new cushions?  I think now we need to have the sofas recovered!  A nice warm beige would look very nice.  In wipe clean fabric of course!

I'm shortening this post now as it didn't save all my hard work before loosing connection!  I'm so annoyed!!!!!!  I have had to redo lots of it and I'm out of time now.  Oh well must be off now.  Lunch to eat, places to go.  Have a great week!

Monday, 22 November 2010

African Artists

Every year at our girls' school, the teachers organise an art show with a theme.  This year it was Africa.  Every class teacher decides what their class will make and each child makes a piece of art to show in the hall.  It's held over three afternoons and is always wonderful to go and visit.  This year was no exception, as you will see.

This is No.3's class display of shields, well some of them, there are actually 23 kids in the class.  These children have just started school in the last six months.  Lucky for them their teacher adores art and teaches it to gifted children as well.

Aren't these mosaic toucans so pretty?

The way the artwork is displayed is just as beautiful and it takes the teachers many hours to sort out.  Very dedicated teachers, every one of them.

Daughter No.1 made the zebra print at the top down here. It was sort of a lino print I think. 

And No.2 made the top left mask from papier mache.  This shot made it to the local newspaper much to her delight!  How exciting.  No not my photo, just similar!!

Blow up the frogs below if you like - they are amazing.  Some of it is paper mosaics, but look at the detail and the colour used.  Very beautiful.

But WOW, aren't these amazing?!  A Year 6 class so they are 10 and 11 year olds.  The black silhouettes are cut out of paper and glued on to the painted background.

And some more of the same...

I'm pretty sure these lions were painted by year 2 children - 6 and 7 year olds.  So artistic!

I adore this mural.  I think it must have been thirsty work putting this together...

Did you guess it was made out of these?!!  Pretty clever aye?  I never knew there were so many coloured tops out there.

And if you're still with me, well done!  Pretty good stuff wouldn't you agree?  We never did such amazing artwork when we were at school.  Painting was considered a yearly treat from memory.  Schools have to provide so many options these days, which is great for the kids, but so much work for the teachers.  We are very lucky to have such a fantastic school that always has something extra happening.  I can't wait for the next display!

Russian Doll Pillow

Here is the pillow I sent Michaja for the Pillow Swap.  I started with stitching the Russian doll, as I knew from looking at my partner's blog that she liked these dolls. And then I got stuck...

until I went to the craft show and found the perfect charm pack with the right colours in it.  And away I went, stitching squares together to make a border for the doll.  The blanket stitching was the work of my fab sewing machine.  I love being able to do that so easily and neatly.  It really does look hand stitched.  I couldn't resist adding a little yoyo to her hair!

I had a bit of fun with the pillow back.  I aways like to add a pretty back just in case the front isn't to someone's taste.  This way they have options, and options are always good.  And clearly my swap partner likes ric rac so that was a good choice.  A few blue spotty buttons to go with the spotty back and that was it.

Swaps are fun when they go well, but rather nerve wracking when they don't quite go to plan.  Anyway it turned out well in the end and I was happy to send off my pillow.  It's nice to think that it is all the way across the ocean living in a pretty French house with Michaja and her family. 

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Pillow Swap Unwrapped

Heleen and Corry from Dutch Sisters were kind enough to pair me up with Michaja who lives in France.  How wonderful is that?  I quite love France actually having visited it twice before.  I was very much looking forward to receiving my swap pillow and we ended up sending them the same day.  Mine arrived two days before hers, so go NZ Post!!  Don't you just love what she made me?

I love the little bird fabric, I'm sure I've seen it on someone's blog before.  I also love the pretty ribbon through the centre of the pillow, pretty little flowers.  And see what else she sent.  A cute Russian doll keyring which will be very handy. I love the card too.  I have a thing for pretty, stylish cards don't I?  I really do love them very much, they are not wasted on me, I keep them for years.

And how about the back of the pillow?  Cute little touch don't you think?  I'm sure someone will be able to tell me what the fabric is called.  Anyway it's found a bed to call home and is very happy over here in little old NZ. 

Thank you very much Michaja for my wonderful swap parcel and thank you to you Heleen and Corry for matching me up with a lovely new friend.  And that's that for my swaps now.  All finished and no more to do.  It's quite nice really as it's going to get busy around here in the next few weeks with end of year activities and Christmas just weeks away.  Over here we finish school for the year a week before Christmas so it's all go with end of year concerts, graduations, goodbyes for teachers, summer fun etc.  Very busy but all good fun. 

Well I must go and find something to sew.  I've been a bit slack in that dept lately.  I'm working on a wall hanging but it's slow going.  Not sure about it at all.  Don't you hate that?  Perhaps I'll move on to something else for a while.  Perhaps one of those unfinished quilts?  Nah!!  OK I'm off, have a good weekend!

Oh if you were wondering where those lovely Chocolate coins are from (yesterday's post) BHS in the UK apparently. 

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Stocking Swap Parcel Opened!

Looks like I might be able to get a quick post in before the computer craps out again.  The third photo was looking a little iffy but it's come through.  Hooray!  So quickly, before the connection fails, here is my wonderful Stocking Swap parcel... 

Dear Jille, who I've not known until a few minutes ago, sent me this beautifully handcrafted stocking.  It's made from a lovely off white wool and she has hand beaded the cute Christmas tree.  I do love it very much.  The little gingham pot is a very special touch.  Gosh I am looking forward to Santa filling it up this year.  It's been ages since he left me pressies but now there's no excuse Mr!!

Just look at the pretty little bits Jille popped in the parcel.  I adore that robin card, so perfect in every way.  It's one of those glittery ones that children always love.  And just look at the pretty gingham heart with raffia.  What a sweet little gift.  But what really excites me are the colourful chocolate coins.  The ones in NZ are so boring in plain gold.  I adore these so much and every one of them is still here as I won't let the girls ruin their beauty.  Well who would? Love the gingerbread man lip balm too, so cutesy.

And that is the end of another swap.  A wonderful swap where I have ended up with two new friends.    You have to love that about swaps don't you?  Next time I will show you what was in the other swap parcel.  Sneaky sneaky!

Thank you very much Jille for all the thought and effort that went into making my special stocking.  I'll enjoy following your blog now and thinking of you every Christmas from now on.

Friday, 19 November 2010

What's Better Than Receiving a Parcel?

Getting two of them in the same day!!  Both swap parcels too.  Yoo hoo!! 

Just what I had been waiting for as well.  Now as much as I am dying to show you what was hidden in between the folds of brown paper, you will have to wait until our stupid computer connection sorts itself out.  Gosh aren't computers the most frustrating things when they are not working?

So that's it for now sorry.  I'll be back to show you all when it is all sorted.  Who knows when that will be.  Now must publish this before it collapses once again.  Loving you and leaving you now!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Charming I'm Sure

What a busy few days I've had.  It began with a very lovely outing on Friday to a quilt show over the harbour bridge.  I took my mother with me and No.4 was invited as well.  The other three went off to school feeling rather left out.  Well actually No.3 would rather have had it that way, she's not the going out sort of girl. 

Now I must tell you that I met my second ever Bloggy friend at the show.  We had planned to meet and managed to eventually.  What a lovely lady Lisa from Lydias Treasures is, and I still have dreams of the very lovely bag she was carrying.  Yes she had made it, from fabric she had won no less.  It was so nice to meet up with you Lisa, we must do it again sometime.

Now I happened across a rather lovely Moda Bliss charm pack on our outing and made the appropriate purchase.  I'm quite pleased with it and have used quite a few charmettes already.  Might just have to get another pack or two! As you do!!

No.3 had been hinting rather bluntly lately about the lack of a sewing bag.  She has a perfectly lovely basket, but as her big sisters have a bag for their sewing kit she felt left out.  Well, since she loved the charmettes as much as I, I let her pinch nine of them, her own choice too I might add!  There was only one I would not allow her to use. 

And every new sewing bag needs a new matching pincushion does it not??  Again she chose all the bits for it.  Quite nicely chosen too I think.  Isn't this charmette just perfect for a circular pincushion?  I love it!

Here's the leaflet of the show we attended...

Not sure about the retro theme.  Didn't really notice anything much suiting that description, BUT I did happen to purchase the most fab bit of retro fabric that I've completely forgotten to photograph.  Shock horror!  I will show you another time though, it's worth it. 

Now what do you think of these next quilts?  I'll just leave you to look at them for a minute then I'll be right back to continue our session.

Lovely weren't they?  The truck one was my mother's and my favourite quilt so we voted for it.  No idea who made any of them.  Very nice all the same.  And here is a selection of fatties I purchased.  There were three others that were gifted upon the girls as they came home from school.  Yes I did let them have first pick!  Gosh sometimes I am sooo nice. 

And this morning I was going for the title 'Housewife of the Year.  I'm quite sure they will be gifts and ribbons bestowed upon me as the family return home.  Yes the whole lounge is sparkling clean and my sewing corner is looking proud.  I've added my new fabric storage containers and ribbon boxes to the arrangement and am feeling rather pleased with myself. 

And if you have a few spare mins or even hours, please have a seat in my sewing corner and we'll have a natter about upcoming projects.  I do love some new ideas and I have a few to share too if you have the time.  Hexie quilt made by my Gran years ago.  Clearly she has much more patience than I.
Until next time, have a happy time.  I'll be back with some lovely Christmas ideas next time.  Bye!!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Once Upon A Time...

...there was a little girl called Sophie.  Well that's what No.4 insists she's called.  She also thought I should write her name at the top of the quilt and hang it in her room!  And the little girl called Sophie should have a face too.

Can you tell I'm having a whale of a time with this new-to-me free motion quilting stuff?  My goodness it's fun drawing a picture and then seeing it come alive.  So fun that I'm going to have to make some more mini quilts I think.  I'm planning a Christmas one next.  Not too sure who is going to get this quilt, or even if I will sell it.  Who knows.

What I really love about this type of sewing, is that it's very random.  You just make it up as you go along.  No lines to follow, no rules.  Just going for it.  And when your little assistant bumps you once again, it's OK, bumps are character adding!

I thought you might like to see how I began this quilt.  Cutting up tiny bits of fabric and suitable colours.  Making little trees and window shutters.  Ever wanted a white picket fence?  Maybe one a little straighter than this one!!

The square background bits are now stitched on and the house is 'glued' into place.  This stage is so much fun because it takes you right back to when you used to make paper collages at kindy.  Completely fun and childish.

Oh and my favourite part, the binding, was a complete nightmare!!  I had quite a few joins in the binding and would you believe I ended up with a join in three corners!  Just the worst thing imaginable.  So an unpicking we went.  And now it's nicely hand stitched in place and looking nice and neat.  I do love a bit of hand stitching.

I really should be making real sized quilts, but I do love to do something really fun sometimes.  I am itching to get started on my doily quilt too.  Oh so much to do and so little time!  It seems to be a shame to be inside when the sun is blazing down too.  But it's meant to be fun, we should remember that more often.

OK ladies, I must be off now.  Places to go, people to see, school in particular where the big girls are having their athletics day.  Hope they have a fun day today.  Always something on!  I hope you are all well and enjoying your creativity today.