Sunday, 28 October 2007

Learning to use the close-up facility on my camera

Last weekend I had a bit of a wander around the garden with my camera. It has a macro facility for taking closeups but I hadn't really used it before. Here's some of the results. The first photo is my favourite. It looks like an insect with its wings folded but it's actually new leaves. I don't know what the tree is - I've never seen one like it before.

first quilt for someone else! (and saturday skies)

My friend Prue asked me to quilt a top she'd made out of fabrics she bought in New Zealand. I've been looking at it for a while and no brilliant ideas came. Hmm... I read somewhere that if you keep an art journal you should just write something (anything) on the first page because a blank white page can be so intimidating that some people are scared to start. I decided to translate that idea to quilting. I loaded the quilt and just did a bit of a squiggly line in the small inner border, then I got another idea then another one, and ended up finishing the quilt in 2 days. Good worked! It turned out okay, but of course I thought of some different ideas after I finished that I didn't think of before I started.

Here's a couple of photos.
The sky on Saturday was grey all day. A couple of showers but not much. Murray was playing bowls and they were able to finish the game. Some friends of ours came over for a couple of hours after tea and we played cards. Murray and I normally play crib but they wanted to play 500's, which I have never played in my life. It was a bit of fun though.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

another scrap quilt!

The main part of this quilt top was made quite a few years ago, using scraps saved since I started quilting in 1983. Murray issued a challenge for me to pick something out of the ufo box and finish it all the way to the binding, so this is what I chose to finish. I put the borders on last weekend and quilted it during the week. The binding has been machine stitched on, so now all that is left is to hand stitch it down on the back. It may even get a label! The quilting is a pantograph called 'Fay Feathers' which I really like. My panto'ing is still wobbly but I think this is as good as it's going to get. I think the tremor in my left arm is permanent and my right arm spasms, causing the first 2 fingers to twitch. (This is most annoying when mucking about on the computer coz I keep right-clicking on the mouse when I don't want to...grrr.) Anyway, here's some photos.

healing hearts (and flowers)

All the hearts and flowers are beautiful, but I couldn't post photos of all of them.

healing hearts

A wonderful tradition has developed among quilters in recent years - if someone is going through a bad time in their lives, other quilters make a 'healing heart' block and send it to them. Last year at the state guild's annual retreat I was unwell. I'd just had a bit of a flare up of my MS which resulted in a 3-day course of intravenous steroids at the local hospital. On the Saturday afternoon I went back to my room for a few hours sleep. During that time the other retreatees (is that a word?) appliqued a heart block each, put borders on each block and stitched them together into a quilt top! Aren't quilters lovely people?!!

My quilt group back home wanted to contribute as well, so they made flower blocks for the border. All I had to do was quilt it. This quilt is a very special one. Here are some photos so you can share it with me. I'll put some more photos in a separate post.

saturday skies

Today is a perfect spring day - sunshine and no wind. Yesterday the wind would have blown the milk out your tea! Tomorrow it's supposed to be showery I think, but today there is hardly a cloud in the sky. As you can see, Trev is making the most of it...

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Saturday skies, and flowers

Cold today, and threatening to rain. We've had a few showery days recently, interspersed with some sunny days so the garden is thriving. We're still discovering things in the garden, which is always fun. There are lots of native plants and conifers, and daffodils seemed to pop up everywhere in July/August. Isn't having a new garden fun?

We have three boronias - 1 yellow, 1 pink and 1 brown. I love the smell of boronia! We picked some and put in a little vase so we can smell it inside. The vase is one of two hand blown glass ones that we got in New Zealand. It was a little glass blowing factory with a shop attached, and I think it was outside Taupo. We carried them back wrapped carefully in quilt fabric! I knew there was a reason I bought all that fabric!

We've got some lovely azaleas in flower at the moment. Also some rhododendrons but I forgot to take photos of them.

We were really happy to find a gorgeous waratah near one of the studio windows! It has quite a lot of flowers right now and I look at it every day. It's probably about 7ft tall at the moment, and quite beautiful.

PS Murray's head is healing up very nicely. He said getting the staples out was the worst part!

featuring...Trev the Wondercat

Friday was bath day for Trev the Wondercat. (Doesn't everyone bath their cats?) We've done it eveer since he adopted us 11 years ago. He's such a tolerant cat - he just stands in the wash trough while Murray pours water over him then lathers him up with cat shampoo and rinses him off. We tried it with one of our other cats once. Whoa, big mistake! Poor thing chucked such a tantrum we didn't try it again. He was a short haired cat though and didn't seem to get as messy as Trev does.

I didn't think to get a photo of him having his bath. Afterwards he went out into the warm sun and dried off a bit. Murray took Trev's brush out and gave him a good brushing, which Trev just loves.

There is only one piece of carpet in our house and that is under my longarm machine. Every chance he gets, Trev runs out to the studio and lays down on the carpet. Ah, bliss!

One time last month we caught him on the desk with the computer. He said he'd just been playing games, but this is what he was really up to. He was printing some paper to wrap around a block of Rum and Raisin chocolate for Murray. Clever boy, huh? Darn, the photo is sideways. Oh well...

Thursday, 11 October 2007

hand dyed homespun

Some photos of some of my fabric - pastels and brights. The 6 pastel fat quarters are the only ones I have left. Most of what I have is bright or earthy type colours. I have some fat eighths as well but none in pastels. The fabric is homespun. I might take some more photos of some of the others and put them up here too. Not today though coz the batteries in my camera just died, darn it...

what do use your spare bed for?

We've just bought a single bed for the third bedroom. I could say that is for guests to sleep in, but the truth is that it is now covered in quilts - about 10 deep! Most are wall hanging sized but there are a couple of bigger ones and some journal quilts. It was nice to re-visit them when I got them out of all their little hidey-holes. I'm trying to figure out which ones to hang up on the walls here, but keep putting it off. At least our three beds here have all got a quilt on them now.
I took these photos, then put a bed sized quilt over the top so that the light wouldn't fade them. The one on top is a quickie I made out of older fabric and I don't mind if that fades. Didn't take a photo of that one though.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

saturday afternoon

I was reading a couple of blogs on saturday, and one blogger takes photos of 'saturday skies' so I thought I'd go outside and take one of the sky here. That led me to wander around some of the garden and take photos of some of the plants that are flowering at the moment. A couple of them I don't know the name of. Anyway, here they are. The first one has the prettiest little flower, and has the most putrid smell! There's a story here that I'll put in after the photos.
We had two of the shrubs with the little flowers on them in our courtyard outside the back door. The previous owners of the house put an extendable clothesline in the courtyard and one of the shrubs had grown up under it to a height of about 5ft, which meant we could only use half the clothesline. We decided to get rid of the shrub, which also opened up the courtyard visually. Murray had a bow saw, secaturs and various other tools and got rid of most of it. The thick trunk had to be attacked with an axe though. He was doing well until he hit the clothesline on the up-swing of the axe, knocked the clothesline of it's bracket and the end of it hit him on top of the head. Thank God he was wearing a hat! There was blood everywhere. I drove him to the hospital (which was an adventure - I don't drive any more except in the case of emergency) and we sat there for about 3 hours. When we were finally seen, the doctor thought it was just a graze at first. After they cleaned it and shaved off some hair, we could see it was a cut almost 2 inches long but not very deep. Poor Murray came home with 6 staples in his head. He said he didn't even get a headache from it AND he went back out the next day and finished cutting out the shrub!

scrap quilt finished

I have finally finished my scrap quilt. I took a photo of it on our spare bed, then noticed that there are still 2 pins marking some ends that need darning in. I suppose I should say it's almost finished then.