This blog is a bit of a ramble through my life. There's a lot about quilting, a sprinkle of my family life and some of my thoughts and pondering. We are currently renovating an old wooden 1945 Navy boat and intend to live aboard, so you'll find me writing about that too. Welcome aboard!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Portholes, Pantomimes and Pukekos in Ponga Trees

The pukekos are a reference to a New Zealand themed version of The Twelve Days of Christmas.  You can read it and hear it here (or sing it in your brain - do you have an ear worm now?!).

This is the time of year when I typically go a bit awol around here, just because life gets a bit full.  I'm not one for going mad, crazy busy at Christmas.  I think there is only so much stress a girl can take and still enjoy the season, so I pick and choose what I'm going to do and where I'm going to turn up to.

Of course, there are some things I just can't get away from.  We've had our kids school prize giving , and the gymnastics display and prize giving.  We've got two pantomimes to go to - Robin Hood and Puss in Boots, one amateur and one professional.  There was the Christmas Parade float to help with (I helped paint kids blue and pin blue dreadlocks in their hair) and work functions to make an appearance at.  More than enough.

The portholes bit of the title refers to the other bit of busyness in our lives.  We typically go camping on my Uncle-in-Law's farm for a few weeks over Christmas (read about last year here).  This year we are doing the same, but we are also steaming the boat out of here and we'll be mooring her in the bay close to the farm.  It's only a short trip, but this will be our maiden voyage apart from the quick sea trial we did when we moved her to this dock.  There are lots of things that need to be done to enable us to go to sea safely, and getting them all done is keeping our weekends full.

One of the biggest jobs is fixing the portholes in our forward cabin.

The portholes were corroded and some were seized and wouldn't shut.  They all need removing, sandblasting, painting, new glass (acrylic), and new pins made.  We are also cutting the holes around them a bit larger for window sill purposes.

This was the one I looked up at when I lay in bed.  I quite liked the verdigris - all that interesting colour and texture.

This was the state of the original bolts.  We need the portholes to be able to shut when we are steaming or in bad weather or we risk everything getting wet in our cabin and, worse case scenario, sinking the boat.

This was the view of the outside of a refurbished porthole.  I had to hold the bolts with a screwdriver while Hubby tightened the nuts on the inside.  Then all the excess sealer get wiped off, we wait till they are all done and dry (and we have more time), and then thy'll get a final coat of paint.  And if you need to get sealer out of your hair, turpentine works.  Ask me how I know!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Podcast Episode 15. Interview with Trisha Downie, President of the Auckland Quilt Guild 2014

Trisha Downie is the President of Auckland Quilters Guild.  Trisha leans heavily towards mixed media and three dimensional quilting.  She is hugely supportive of new quilters and quilters wanting to move in different directions and I was excited to interview her about all things quilty.  I hope you enjoy our discussion.  Thanks Trisha!

Trisha and myself at Festival of Quilts in front of Trisha's entry in the most recent Dorothy Collard Challenge.
Trisha's entry in the mixed media section of Festival of Quilts, titled 'Copperplate'.

Detail of 'Copperplate'
Here's Trisha's lemonade recipe that we talk about:

Homemade Lemonade 
6 washed Lemons
50gms Citric acid
750gm sugar

3lts water
Peel rind, no pith, of two lemons, add 2 cups of sugar in to food processor. Process until the sugar is yellow and oily. Tip this into a large saucepan adding the juice of the 6 lemons, minus any pips. Add remaining sugar, the citric acid and water. Over medium heat stir until the sugar has dis- solved. Cool, bottle, and store in the fridge. To drink use 1 part concen- trate to 4 parts water.

It’s delicious, Enjoy. 

And my useful or beautiful link:  
Alexis Robin is a life-coach who puts out a 15 minute radio show that you can subscribe to in podcast form.  She's not overbearing or airy-fairy and I've really enjoyed listening to her.



Large Bed Quilts Single Maker 
Highly Commended - Gay Jaques Times and Seasons
Second Prize - Marie Harrison A life on the Ocean Waves 
First Prize - Beverley Naidoo Love Birds

Small Bed Quilts Single Maker 
Highly Commended - Dianne Dowd Made to Measure
Second Prize - Jenny King Moonlit 2
First Prize - Val Williams
Caravan Quilt

Small Wall Hanging– Single Maker – Group One
Highly Commended - Lynne O’Donnell – Woodland Escape 
Second Prize - Susan McRae Altered Fabrics 
First Prize - Marie Harrison Hexagon Obsession

Small Wall Hanging – Single Maker- Group Two
Highly Commended - Alison Hartley Perseverance 
Second Prize - Annie White Road Block 
First Prize - Lyn Winkel Pacific Dream


Bed Quilts
Highly Commended - Judi Schon Inside Out
Second Prize - Chris Behersing
First Prize - Ansa Breytenbach
Desert Flower

Wall Hangings
Highly Commended - Carole Sorrell Tiger Tiger Burning Bright
Second Prize - Robyn Croft Gradations III 
First Prize - Sonya Prchal True Bliss


Small Bed Quilt Multiple Makers
Highly Commended - Chizuko Hoy & 19 members of POP group Crocus Wreath 
Second Prize - Carolyn Van Wonderen & Bee group Cheery Canary Bee Quilt
First Prize - Ngaire Fleming & Leeanne Hooper In Memory of Ruth

Large Bed Quilt Multiple Makers 
Highly Commended - Barrie Ashton & Judi Schon Summer Days
Second Prize - Carolyn Van Wonderen & Carol Fearon- All about Bears 
First Prize - Betty McLean & Linda Young Ribbons & Roses

Wall Hanging Multiple Makers
Highly Commended - Jean Ramsay & Carol Fearon Wisteria Maiden
Second Prize - Lorraine Simmons & Witches in Stitches Group In Tune 
First Prize - Betty McLean & Linda Young Instruments of Praise

Kit Quilt
Highly Commended - Susan Wade My William Morris Garden 
Second Prize - Helen Harford Zigs and Zags
First Prize - Vimla Govender - Shanandoah Baskets

Mixed Media
Highly Commended - Val Williams Beauty from Beneath
Second Prize - Marj Ussher Joy of Trinkets 
First Prize - Jean Singleton Butterfly Flight

Junior Quilts sponsored by Kids Quilts
Nicholas Gadams, age 9 Animal Crackers
Anna de Boyett, age 12 Crazy Cats in the Garden 
Emma Kelleway, age 16 Yoko

Out of the Blue sponsored by Auckland Quilt Guild
Best Use of Challenge Fabric Carol Fearon – Let’s Go Fly a Kite
Best Use of Embellishment Pauline Coates – A Sudden Gust of Wind
Best Interpretation of Theme Mary Metcalf – For Moi? What a Surprise! 
Most Quirky QuiltVal Williams – Fabric Sale
Best Use of Colour Lorraine Moser – Colour of New Zealand


Best Hand Applique or Embellishment
Marie Harrison Hexagon Obsession

Best Use of Colour
Donna Cumming The Art of Two Minds

Best Hand Quilting
Rosemary McGowan Summer Stroll

Best Modern Quilt judged by Robyn Burgess
Judi Schon Inside Out

Best Machine Appliqué or Embellishment
Betty McLean Instruments of Praise

Best Domestic Machine Quilting Award
Lyn Winkel Pacific Dream

Best Professional Long Arm Machine Quilting Hand Guided
Linda Young - Ribbons & Roses

Best Professional Long Arm Machine Quilting Computer Guided
Judi Schon Inside Out

Judge’s Choice – Jenny Bacon Alison Laurence Faceless Comrades

Judge’s Choice – Judith Ross Lynne O’Donnell - Dragonfly in Autumn 

Judge’s Choice – Catherine McDonald Chris Behersing The Ayes Have It

Julia Vazey Windmills of my Mind

Alison Laurence Dockside Reflections 

This is a link to the gallery of the 2013 winners.  Hopefully the 2014 gallery will be available shortly.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Half-inch Hexagons

Incy, weency, teeny, weeny hexagons.  Cute, huh?  I'm pretending that the fiddliness is good for my dexterity.  Luckily I don't have to make too many.  And it's a secret project so I can't show you much more than that.  Tease, I know!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Welcome Swallow Quilt

It's come to my attention that I've been remiss in not posting one of my quilts that I finished earlier this year (thanks Carol!).  It got lost amongst life I guess.

I love Welcome Swallows.  They are a small bird with a forked tail.  They make mud nests around human habitation and seem curious and lively.  I love the colour palette of their plumage too - indigo blue, grey, and burnt sienna.  I thought I might make a quilt using their colours and silhouettes of Swallows.

Here's how it started on my design wall.

I pieced a background using flying geese and half-square triangles and then began auditioning for hills as a foreground.

Eventually it morphed into this - dark indigo silhouettes of the Swallows, indigo and grey hills with touches of burnt sienna and mustard and burnt sienna barn.  I used discharge paste to create a line of trees that receded into the distance and this is about where I stalled.

I put it away for ages.  Eventually (and in a Spring kind of mood) I pulled it out, removed the hills, unpicked some of the sky to make it square and added grass and flowers to the foreground instead.  I added some colour to the bird silhouettes and added one larger fully coloured one in the foreground.

I free-motion quilted and appliquéd at the same time as I like to do and then free-motion quilted a flowing pattern in the sky using my domestic Bernina Aurora 400 QE.  I changed thread colours from  mid-blue at the top of the sky, light blue in the middle and cream near the grasses.

The grasses and flowers were free-motions appliquéd and quilted with matching thread colours.  I decided to bind it in similar colours to those in the quilt to have a border, but one that worked with the quilt.  You can see my scientific way of measuring those chunks of colour in the picture above.

And here's the finished quilt.  Once again my colours have been extra-saturated (I'm beginning to think it's the watermark program I'm using - time for an experiment I think).

Detail of the sky quilting.

Detail of the foreground Swallow.  He was done with coloured pencil and fabric medium on white fabric then cut out and appliquéd/quilted on.

And the pretty flowers, done in my hand-dyed fabrics.  I think the whole quilt has a completely different feel to it now - Spring rather than Autumn.  But I'm still interested in re-visiting my previous colour scheme.  However I won't be using those hills, I cut a few strips from them and used then in my Cerego 12 x 12 Purple Challenge quilt, the little pops of orange came from here!

And because I had to dig it out to photograph it, now I have this quilt hanging next to my sewing machine here on the boat.  Both Hubby and I love it, so I think it will stay for a while.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What'cha working on Wednesday

I could kick myself!  I was in such a hurry this morning to get my 12 x 12 Purple Colour Challenge entries into the mail (they have to arrive by Friday, I think I'll make it) that I didn't take a photo of my heron one.  I called it Dawn Ghost and now we are all going to have to wait until January, when I will see the exhibition that it will be hanging in.  I'll take a photo to share then.

In the meantime, this is what I'm working on:

I'm putting together a fabric palette for a new project.  Blogger is doing something to the saturation of my images, bumping it up a few notches, and I'm not sure how to fix that.  So if you mentally turn down the colour just a tad...  

I'm also doing some article writing, which is a new thing for me, but I'm enjoying it.  It's a bit more intense than blog writing (break out the grammar police!), but I think I'll get into a rhythm soon.

And I'm being watched over by these little guys.  They had a nest this spring under the dock where we are moored.  I could never see it, just hear them, and see Mum and Dad flying in and out.  The noise has ceased so I'm presuming they've all fledged, but I still see them around, zipping fast and free.  Beautiful.