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!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Episode 16 Hand Dyes and Holidays

It's a relatively short episode and I'm all by myself for this one.  Basically I'm practicing my podcasting voice in preparation for Symposium (I'm leaving tomorrow!!!!).  I'm hoping to squeeze in some interviews while I'm down there, but it's busy, busy, busy for everyone.

You'll get to hear a summary of my summer holidays with camping and boating and lots of sunshine (see my previous blog post for pictures).  And I tell you all about my bucket loads of hand dyeing that I did.

Here's my useful or beautiful link for this episode:

Blendoku is a game for android or iOS mobile devices.  You use colours to fill in a grid of squares, some colours are given to start with.  It really increases your colour theory skills and knowledge of tints, tones and shades.  And it fills in time when you are in a waiting room and you forgot your hand stitching...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

We're all going on a.....

....summer holiday.  No more working for a week or two.

Christmas and New Year's in New Zealand is shut down time.  Schools break for their summer holidays and there are four days of public holidays so lots of businesses close their doors for a week or two as well.

We traditionally break out the tents and sleeping bags and go camping in an Uncle's paddock.  The extended family all come to stay and sometimes friends too.  At one stage this year we had 13 kids running round.

Now that our house is portable, we decided that our maiden voyage could be combined with our Christmas camping expedition.  We cruised up the river and anchored for a couple of nights before Christmas and then motored out into Manawaora Bay where we had organised to borrow a mooring in Jack's Bay.

Borrowing a mooring was the best thing ever.  It let us spend nights camping (it was a short dinghy ride up a tidal creek to get to our usual camping site) without worrying about Cerego dragging her anchor.

This is the little creek at high tide.  I learnt how to operate the dinghy so I could zip back to Cerego if I wanted to.  Living tied up to a dock meant I hadn't needed to use a dinghy yet and it hadn't even crossed my mind that I should learn.  The first day we were up the river, Hubby took his runabout sized boat to work, leaving me on Cerego with the dinghy.  Fat lot of good that was because I didn't know how to use it!  I had my freedom curtailed and I didn't like it one little bit.  I made sure I had my first lesson that afternoon, and actually, it's pretty simple.

The weather before Christmas was a bit grey and dull but it slowly got better and better until we were having the most beautiful days.  The temperature would get up around 27 degrees Celcius, hardly a cloud in the sky and the water temperatures went up too.

This is our sixth year camping in this spot.  The kids look forward to it so much.  There is so much for them to do and now they are getting older and older, they require less supervision and have an even greater range of mud bathing.

And horse riding.  That's my Uncle in Law leading the horse.  Marshall is a bit of a famous horse whisperer in the area and there are ten or so horses on his property.  It's very relaxing in the evenings watching the horses graze on the hill behind our tents.

This year was the year of the flounder.  The kids discovered they could find flounder in the creek during daylight (usually you go flounder spearing in the evening with lights) so they made or found flounder spears and went hunting and they were surprisingly successful!  And it's the funniest thing to see half a dozen kids crowded round a frying pan devouring a freshly cooked fish - gone in seconds and none left for the adults.

It's becoming a tradition to build one of the Aunties a birthday cake on her birthday.  I say 'build' because we pile up pre-made goodies like pavlovas, eclairs, fruit and we've even tipped out a whole container of ice-cream to use as a base.  That whole tray got eaten with none left for seconds - our annual sugar fix!

Whipped cream shenanigans!

If we needed respite (from noise, kids and hard mattresses) we would spend a night on the boat.  The incredible peace and beauty when we would sit up on the top deck in the evenings was totally soul restoring.

And the top deck was also the perfect place to jump from when swimming!

The water was warm and clear.  

And everyone swam.

Now we are back home safe and sound and restored.  

I am preparing for my next adventure which is a week away at the Manawatu Quilt Symposium.  I have a four day class with Texan quilt artist, Sue Benner and I'm totally excited.  I intend to use mostly my own hand dyed fabrics and the requirements list says to bring 40-60 different fabrics.  I needed to restock my hand-dyes so I used my lazy days in the paddock to dye about 25 yards of fabric all in fat quarter sized pieces.

So hopefully I'll be back to a more frequent style of blogging, and I'm hoping I'll manage to squeeze in some interviews at Symposium for my podcast - watch this space!

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!