Saturday, April 28, 2012

"The flowers they bloom in the spring tra la..."

While sorting out the other day, I came across this little wall hanging. I made this for a special friend of mine and have no recollection as to why I have it here at my house when it should be at hers!

Anyway I thought that I would share it with you before I return it to its rightful owner. This is a Kirsten Duncan design and I made this after a workshop here through the Whangarei Patchwork and Quilters Club. The label says that I made it in 2003 - thank goodness for quilt labels!

I really enjoyed making this little quilt, especially as it was for a such a special friend!

Thanks for visiting

Friday, April 27, 2012

Useful sleeves...

I thought that I would share these with you. These are probably the only things that I completed during the three years that I was studying.

I made this computer sleeve for my hubby for Father's Day and I used some of the ties that he doesn't wear anymore but just couldn't throw away. It is really nice seeing him use it whenever he brings his laptop home. It also goes a little way to saying thank you for all of the support that he has given me throughout my studying. This sleeve also meant that he could carry his laptop in his briefcase instead of in a separate computer bag, which made life much easier for him to and from the office everyday.

This little sleeve I made for my external hard drive and I made this for several reasons. I took my hard drive with me to Uni every day and I was concerned with it getting knocked around. The bright colours also made it easy to see in my bag and instantly recognisable, and I knew that nobody else would have one like it!

I just need to make one for my ereader now. Somehow nearly everything in my handbag is black including the lining of my handbag - don't have any idea how that happened, as I didn't set out to have everything in black. This makes it very hard to find things when you are searching in the depths of your bag.
Funnily enough I am a visual person and like things colour coded, so if things in my handbag have different colours, I will know instantly what they are. Anyway watch this space for the completed ereader sleeve.

I used the stitch and flip technique with both of these sleeves and have also taught my mother and my sister to make usefull sleeves for their items using this technique. My mother has sewn all of her life but isn't a quilter, my sister hasn't sewn a lot of things but has always owned a machine. They both really enjoyed the session and found it very easy - the hardest part was putting the binding on the edges. It also pays to remember to attach the velcro before sewing the sleeve together.

Anyway that is all for now so until next time

Thursday, April 26, 2012


ANZAC Day was a quiet affair in our house this year with nobody attending the dawn services as we have in past years when the children were involved in Scouts and Girl Guides. This year we watched the dawn service from the comfort of our bed supping a cuppa.

The above photo are the biscuits that I made especially for ANZAC Day which I have never done before. I was considering why this year and not other years and all I can come up with is that my appreciation and understanding has shifted somewhat and that I wanted to mark that somehow. So we had an ANZAC biscuit or two with our cup of tea following our lunch. I have to say that it is years and years since I have made these biscuits. 

I don't recall ANZAC Day being a big thing when I was younger. It was something that my father was involved in, as he was a driver in the Air Force but not something that as children we were involved in. I don't recall any special attention to it at school either. 

I then started to wonder about the history of the biscuits and how they came to be and why they were called ANZAC biscuits. I had figured that there were no eggs or milk due to the fact that they were in short supply because of the war and totally understand the need of making nutritious foods go a long way.

So of course I had to do a little research and isn't it amazing what we can find out when we google it. They were originally called 'soldier biscuits' - check out the info by clicking on this link - ANZAC Biscuits. The recipe that I used has similar quantities of ingredients to the one on the website but mine came from the Edmonds Cookery Book and uses a different method which I prefer. Here is the recipe that I used:

125g plain flour
150g sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup of rolled oats
100g butter
1 Tablespoon golden syrup
2 Tablespoons boiling water
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, coconut and rolled oats.
Melt butter and golden syrup.
Dissolve bicarbonate of soda with boiling water and add to butter and golden syrup.
Make a well in the dry ingredients, stir in the liquid.
Place spoonfuls of biscuit mixture onto a greased biscuit tray, allowing room for spreading.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in preheated oven to 180 degrees Celsius (or approx 375 degrees F).
Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking tray.
Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy and thanks for visiting.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

School holidays at an end...

It is Saturday already, where did the week go?

Term two begins on Monday and our youngest daughter and my husband go back to school and work and the house will be quiet once again. Actually it won't be, the builders returned on Thursday after a long absence and I tried really hard to embrace the noise, but I am struggling.

I didn't get any sewing done this week much to my disappointment. I did start some knitting last night though. On our way to the retreat a few weeks ago we called into a few quilting shops. One of them had an interesting wool shop next door that we couldn't resist visiting. While there I ordered some wool, actually it isn't wool at all but is 70% kid mohair and 30% silk. Just inside the door they had a sample of the most beautiful scarf I have ever seen, so I decided that I deserved one of these. Due to the multi colouring of the yarn I thought that I would get a lot of use out of it as it would go with a lot of things. The yarn is so fine and it is knitting up nicely and won't be big and bulky.
Here is what I have knitted so far, I wonder how long it will take me to get it done. There is motor racing from Hamilton on tv this weekend, so I imagine I will get quite a bit done.
Soccer started for our youngest daughter for the 2012 season today. I found it hard getting out of bed to get to the Farmers Market before getting to soccer. I didn't manage it, so we dropped Georgia off for the warmups while we went to the market and we returned just in time to see her game. This is a new team and club for Georgia this season, lots of changes. The first half was a little hairy but they improved immensely in the second half and won the game 5 nil with some awesome play. I think we are in for an interesting season this winter.

Talking about winter, I am not looking forward to the cooler temperatures. The last few evenings have been several degrees cooler than what we have been used to. I have put an extra blanket on my side of the bed as I feel the cold more than hubby does. I think I will be grateful for my new scarf before too long.

Anyway that is all for now, until next time, happy stitching and thanks for visiting.
Cheers Donna-Maree

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Club Day

Saturday was our club day for Whangarei Patchwork and Quilters Club. We meet on the second Saturday of each month at the Maunu Primary School Hall.

Saturday was a treat for me, as I haven't been able to attend Club Day for several months due to family commitments. I managed to catch up with people that I haven't seen for a while as well as those that I was on retreat with just a few weeks ago. The club has a fantastic library and it always amazes me how you always seem to see the books that you need right now to help you through the next phase of your patchwork and quilting.

I haven't quilted for a while and my skills are a little rusty, funnily enough I saw two books perfect for assisting me through this experience. I have been reading them and are looking forward to the opportunity to practice some of the suggestions and techniques shown and getting some of the flimsy's finally quilted, bound and labelled.

We often have a speaker at our meetings and this month we had Bruce Sowry who collects sewing machines. In his talk Bruce took us through the history of the sewing machine, the information that Bruce has on this is incredible but it was his passion that shone through and spoke volumes. He has been fascinated with sewing machines since he was a boy and he purchased his first machine when he was 16 years old. The variation in sizes of the machines is as much as the machines themselves. You can catch up with him on Leeann's blog Quilt Whangarei as I forgot to take my camera.

Some club members had taken their older machines for us all to see and it was fascinating the age of some of these machines and who owned them. The stories linked to some of these machines are very interesting and the machines were a delight. I got to see my first featherweight in person and I was impressed!

Anyway that is all for now, so happy stitching everyone and thanks for visiting.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Stitching group with the girls ...

Last night was stitching group night, we meet once a month on the second Thursday of the month. I was really looking forward to last night as for a change I had some show and tell!

I haven't achieved much stitching in the last three years due to making a commitment to study. However, I have been stitching whenever I can since then and I have something to show for my effort.

So here is my progress so far:

This is my version of the Log Cabin Quilt from Quilt along with Emilie Richards - Lover's Knot Book 7. 
I had completed the top at some stage last year, but finally made a decision about the border and added it last week. It is now however waiting to be quilted.

I saw the pattern to this quilt on the front of a magazine and liked it immediately. I made this quilt using 2 Jelly Rolls plus extra lights and are quite pleased with it, another waiting for quilting.

I took this quilt last night for some advice on borders. This is Bonnie Hunter's pattern Pineapple Blossom, isn't it great.

This one is another Bonnie Hunter pattern, Weed Wacker which you can find here:
This one is waiting for borders and was another one that we discussed the border options on last night.

These are my Barrister Blocks that I have completed so far.  I read about Randy and these blocks on Bonnie Hunter's blog and couldn't resist making a few myself. I do need to catch up though as I am way behind.

The first block is Jacob's Ladder and the second one is Bears Paw and are the first two blocks that we are doing in the stitching group this year. Each person in the group got to choose one block each. The maker can use whatever colours and size that they like, they can also make more than one of each block - the choice is theirs. These are my blocks. The Bear's Paw will have tramming around it. The next block is a house block - this can be pieced or appliqued. The block after that is a star block - any kind, again your choice.
So watch this space to see what I do for those. I keep changing my mind with the house block ...

Check this out ...

This morning when I was checking the emails there was one with a link to Patchwork Set to Music, here is the link. It is about 7 minutes long but well worth a look.

This is a little film made by Gaye Thomas about the beautiful world of patchwork patterns, set to music. This is the site of the National Film Board of Canada.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How was your Easter Weekend?
Easter Weekend is over for this year and the weather was just glorious with the exception of one afternoon when we had a little rain. As we are nearing autumn the mornings and evenings are getting a little cooler but the temperatures through the day have been fabulous.
We have had quite a busy summer here at our place and so we just had a quiet Easter with my hubby and son painting the roof of the house. They have made amazing progress and the roof is looking great. The guys being busy on the roof left me with the opportunity to carry on with my current patchwork project which is my Orca Bay Quilt pattern by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville. Classic hits had a retro 80's music weekend which meant that we could all enjoy the music while doing our respective tasks.
Last night I got a couple of blocks put together and so then decided to lay them out on the lounge floor so we could see what they are going to look like. There were no cats in sight until we stood back to admire the blocks and then ....
Hello Bentley was right in the middle. Bentley is our daughters five month old kitten that is staying with us at the moment. He has been with us for two weeks and until he came here, he had never seen a quilt before. So why is it that cats in our household go straight to a quilt?
I am a little focused on this quilt at the moment working on it at every opportunity, I so want it done!
Best I get busy then.
Good morning

Well here it is, my very first blog. The family are a little bewildered as to why I could possibly want to do this. Well it isn't like it is something I just thought of. I did set the blog up in 2006 and it has sat until now, maybe a hint of procrastination. I have been thinking about sorting it for some time now, however some things just take time.

Life is a journey and we never know where it will take us. That is precisely why I wanted to do this blog. There are a couple of blogs that I read everyday and some I check every week and some when I find the time to squeeze them in. I get a sense of connection with people who are interested in similiar things as myself from engaging with these blogs. The sharing of ideas as well as techniques is amazing, but the glimpses into others lives helps create and maintain those connections as well. The inspiration that I get from checking out other peoples blogs inspires me with mine and maybe the things that interest me might interest others as well.

My family are very supportive of my hobbies which include patchwork and quilting, reading, knitting and gardening. However sometimes they just don't understand the complexity of some of the things that I do and therefore can't totally appreciate my creations the way that a fellow patchworker and quilter can.

The final reason is to document my journey. My memory isn't what it was and I struggle to remember things at times, so having somewhere that my journey is documented will help me keep a record of what I manage to achieve. I want to celebrate my completions, whether it is the completion of a block, a flimsy, or a completed quilt.

I went into the shops yesterday and saw a camper bus with the name 'stolen moments' and I thought what an appropriate name for a camper bus. It also occurred to me, that often the times that I sew are indeed stolen moments and for those I am grateful.

There is no place better that I can share the results of my stolen moments than here with my friends and family.

Thank you for visiting.