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  • 08/22/17--20:30: Scenes from my Week

  • I'm still adjusting to my new work timetable, so while I may not be as frequent at posting blogs, I am not planning on disappearing, just getting the work/home/me time balance sorted.  So here's a little bit of what's been happening the past few days
    • Miniature cyclamen still flowering in my garden, they are nice and sheltered, so flower from early autumn on.
    • Flowers from The Scout, given to me after a bit of a down week at work. Every time I walk into my dining room, they make me smile
    • Meat free Monday is definitely happening in my home and without to much grumbling from the family either.  This week it was Moroccan Red Lentil and Chick Pea burgers - recipe from here.  Also I have decided to stop my Cook the Books posts, I'll still link to recipes and show photos of some of my baking or more interesting meals, just not in a separate post.
    • More ice cream soda blocks - little bits get done during lunch breaks, or while waiting in the car during Miss B's archery sessions.
    • My current reading pile - lots of different genres and themes, some for the book club I am co-hosting at work, so I really need to crack into them.
    Hope you are all having a fabulous week.

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  • 08/26/17--17:42: Weekending

  • The past week has felt like spring is on her way.  We have had beautifully fine if somewhat cooler days.  Yesterday I repotted some pot plants, weeded the vegetable garden in anticipation of the compost I 'll be digging in soon, and had two loads of washing blowing in the breezey sunshine on the clothes line.

    Here's a rundown of the pretty parts of my weekend though.

    •  Black Velvet Cake - recipe from this beautiful book and also found here.  This smelled divine as the stout, butter, chocolate and cocoa gently heated and melded together. The cake itself was delicious, very rich, so pieces smaller than what are cut are in order.  
      • Binding a wee project for my MIL - more about this in Wednesday's Sew, Stitch, Snap, SHARE
      • Some more ice cream soda blocks
      • The Chosen Few by Gregg Zoraya.  This is a true story about a platoon fighting in Afghanistan, it read like fiction, I couldn't put it down.  Such a heartbreaking read though, and such courageous young men.
      Some beautiful, new to me blogs:
      Hoping you have all had a fabulous weekend too.  See you next week.

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      • 08/29/17--13:00: Sew, Stitch, Snap, Share

      • Lacey at the Circus, one of my Mother in law's award winning dolls
        Another project knocked off my to do list.

        My MIL (a porcelain doll maker) asked me to make an ironing caddy/portable ironing mat for another doll making friend of hers.  I had made my MIL one a few years ago, that she takes to  doll classes/conventions/competitions with a mini iron in it.  Of course I said yes.  She purchased the fabric and notions required and then posted them to me.  I duly procrastinated on starting it.  It is hard to sew for other people when the fabrics aren't what you would pick yourself

        Last week I finally started working on it, a little bit here and there. The part that took the longest was actually marking out all the measurements for stitching.  I used a white colour pencil for this, all my other fabric markers didn't show up on the heat resistant fabric.  Over the weekend just gone, I finished the machine sewing and then was able to work on the binding and buttons in the evenings.

        I haven't included a photo of the caddy unfolded,  it was very hard to photograph silvery fabric and get a decent photo.

        My "must makes" for other people are done, so now I can get back to my never ending wip list.

        Now, it's YOUR turn to share, by linking up your sewing and stitching projects, whether they are starts, wips, or finishes, following these guidelines.
        1. Link up from any post from the past week that features something you have been sewing or stitching,
        2. Somewhere in your post, please link to this post.
        3. Please comment on a couple of the other Sew,Stitch, Snap, Share links - it's fun to receive comments from new people, and we are trying to encourage people to read blogs and keep blogging too.

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      • 09/05/17--20:34: Slow Stitches

      • September already, this means it is officially spring in New Zealand.
        • The latest eight Ice Cream Soda Blossoms, this means that I have completed three months, still at least another 40 blossoms to go. 
        • My favourites from this month
        • All 24 together, maybe I need more aqua and perhaps some more black, or other deeper colours for the next eight.

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      • 09/06/17--17:28: Anna Maria Horner Sewalong

      • So even though I have a few WIPs on the go at present, I have started a new quilt.

        Currently happening on Instagram, is the  #AMH Sewalong, which is being hosted by Isabel and Monique.   This is a no pressure sew a long, basically make a quilt using whatever pattern you like, but using your AMH stash. I have been watching from the sidelines as all these lovely quilts are being started and in some cases finished,  and decided that I need to use this as the impetus to actually make something using my Anna Maria Horner fabrics, rather than hoarding them

         Goodness know I have enough of it, and I have long been talking about making an AMH quilt.   I did start a Magic Stars quilt last year, but am not feeling the love for it, so I think I will recycle this fabric for my Ice cream soda blocks, and I  wasn't really happy about  going back to my  original plan of an AMH Irish Chain quilt which I have been talking about for the last two years.

        However while trawling through my Flickr faves, I came across this quilt, which means I can use all sorts of colours,  which really appeals to my inner bohemian, I don't think i am really a white fabric in quilts girl.

        So last night, I took myself off to my sewing room and started cutting and sewing,  I was going to only use solids for the accent pieces, but have decided I am also going to use some blender fabrics too, in an effort to 'sew the stash' and hopefully not buy colours I'm lacking in.

        These are a fun quick block to sew, fingers crossed it won't take too long to get a finished quilt top.

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      • 09/09/17--19:19: Here & Now

      • Loving //spring blooms, blossoms and lambs (these lambs are on the farm where Miss B's archery club meets) Though it's back to feeling more like winter this weekend!!

        Eating //tamarillos - gosh I really hope my tree fruits next year

        Drinking //water, cups of tea and hot chocolate

        Feeling //more positive about my new job, maybe the new vitamins are helping too.

        Making // blocks for my Anna Maria Horner quilt 

        Thinking //that this pile of mulch is going to take a lot longer to move than I thought.

        Dreaming //of summer, warm days, long cold G & Ts, open doors, bare feet, light clothing,  summer fruit and vegetables (can you tell I'm over winter)

        Hoping you all have had a fabulous weekend.

        Linking up to Here & Now at Say Little Hen

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      • 09/12/17--13:00: Sew, Stitch, Snap, SHARE

      • I'm still working on my AMH quilt, I worked out that I need about 130 blocks. After my weekend sewing effort, I have accumulated a nice little pile of pretty, but still have about 75 still to make.  I was hoping that I wouldn't duplicate any fabrics, but I think a few favourites will be repeated.  Luckily they are quick and easy to make.  I think cutting the fabric ready for sewing takes longer.

        To stop me starting too many new projects, I made a little list of my outstanding WIPs:
        • Seaglass Sampler Quilt - turn blocks into a quilt top
        • Midnight in the Tulip Garden Medallion - finish the last two or three borders
        • No.7 from the Twelve Days of Christmas decoration swap with my sister
        • Bird Dance is currently at my quilters, so that needs to be bound upon it's return.
        • Ice Cream soda Blossoms - ongoing EPP project
        Once the AMH quilt top is completed, I'm going to be good and start working on these again.

        And to finish off, a photo of an honest sewing room, mid project(s), that pile down the far end of my cutting table is all my WIPs, not shown are the ones on my ironing board!

        Now, it's YOUR turn to share, by linking up your sewing and stitching projects, whether they are starts, wips, or finishes, following these guidelines.
        1. Link up from any post from the past week that features something you have been sewing or stitching,
        2. Somewhere in your post, please link to this post.
        3. Please comment on a couple of the other Sew,Stitch, Snap, Share links - it's fun to receive comments from new people, and we are trying to encourage people to read blogs and keep blogging too.

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      • 09/16/17--18:43: Weekending

      • Making me happy this weekend
        • Friday morning yoga class (I don't work Fridays but have to work every second Saturday), so I try to get to my Vinyasa class each week,  I have only been doing yoga since February, but I love it.
        • A pile of pretty in the mail - this beautiful Liberty collection from Ava & Neve
        • More completed Ice Cream Soda blocks for month 4
        • Hand stitching with variegated threads and wool felt - testing an idea
        • Reading a long waited for book and working on another Ice Cream Soda Blossom.
        • Another garden has been weeded and mulched, the pile has diminished oh so slightly
        • Pretty new nail polishes for summer toes.
        • Not having to cook dinner, The Scout cooked dinner last night and currently has a roast slow cooking in the oven for tonight's dinner.
        What has made you happy this weekend.

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          It probably doesn't seem that long a go, that I posted about finally completing my Liberty Bloomsbury Quilt, however I'm linking it up for the first time to Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall edition 2017.

          Back in 2015, I had been looking for a special project for my Liberty fabrics and when I came across Bijou Lovely's, Bloomsbury pattern, I knew I had found it.  Not wasting any time I downloaded the pattern and started having fun making beautiful Liberty dresdens.  Gosh it was hard to cut into those beautiful fabrics,  Once the dresden plates were completed they were hand appliqued to the background fabrics.  These were no quiet subdued choices, I went for a gorgeous periwinkle shot cotton and a very vibrant magenta.

          Because I wanted my quilt to be able to fit my bed I had to add a border.  After a little trialing and sketching of different border options I went for a simple scrappy liberty strip and solid  all the way around.

          A Tula Pink fabric was the perfect colourway for the backing.  My machine, I decided was a little too small for quilting this 80" square quilt, so I chose a variety of cottons for simple  hand quilting. I love the texture of the handquilting on the back, not that photos really do it justice. Liberty fabric was used for the binding.

          I love how this has turned out and am so pleased that two years after starting it, I completed it just in time to use on my bed,  and to add a beautiful splash of colour to my  bedroom over the colder gray winter months.

          Now that warmer temperatures have arrived, I'm carefully putting away till next winter.

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        • 09/23/17--13:23: Weekending

        • 52 and Others by Anne Bell

          Oma's Garden by Willie van Florestein

          c1960, made in Birmingham, Alabama, assorted fabrics, edged with broderie anglaise

          These will be pieced together and turned into quilts for Women's Refuge and neo natal wards

          A Bit of Blue and Green by Gloria Davies

          Flower Garden by Jean Groves

          • I attended the Project Hexagon Exhibition at Nathan Homestead, a heritage arts, culture and events centre.  Built in 1925 it has beautiful grounds and gardens too.   Over 30 quilts in varying colours, styles and sizes were exhibited all made from hexagons.  The majority of quilts on display featured hexagons based on the book, The New Hexagon.  Some quilts were hand pieced and others machine pieced.  Over 1000 pre-quilted loose hexagons have been donated, and these will be stitched together to make quilts which will be distributed to Auckland Women's Refuge and the neo natal ward at Middlemore Hospital.
          • Enjoying some vicarious garden visiting through this post and for those who really want to experience colour, craft, food and friendship, check out this beautiful post.
          • A little retail therapy - some for my AMH quilt, some for Ice Cream Soda Blocks, and a tiny rotary cutter for easier fussy cutting.
          • Meeka, was she sheltering from the sun or trying to camouflage herself under the rhubarb leaves?
          Hope you have all had a lovely relaxing colour filled weekend too.

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        • 09/26/17--12:00: Sew, Stitch, Snap, SHARE

        • I have been busy cutting squares and strips and sewing them together for my AMH quilt, which I am working on as part of the #AMH Sewalong.  Currently I have completed 100 blocks, so the end is in sight.  Of course this is where the enthusiasm starts to wane as well.

          I was hoping to not have any repeated prints, but to get to the number required, I will need to double up on a few favourites.  Thanks also to Linda for sending me some of the new Retrospective range to include in this.

          Over the weekend I installed a very basic design wall in my living room using a flannelette sheet, so I could see how it was looking.  Nothing is in it's final place, these were just whacked onto the sheet as I pulled them off my pile of blocks

          It's definitely bright and bold,  (or as my sister said "looks good, a hot mess") and now I can see what colours I need to add in the way of solids to it.  It has been quite interesting too, seeing how the quality of some of the fabrics has differed over the collections, the newer ones definitely have a nicer feel to them.  Have to admit I am not looking forward to sewing them altogether now.

          Now, it's YOUR turn to share, by linking up your sewing and stitching projects, whether they are starts, wips, or finishes, following these guidelines.
          1. Link up from any post from the past week that features something you have been sewing or stitching,
          2. Somewhere in your post, please link to this post.
          3. Please comment on a couple of the other Sew,Stitch, Snap, Share links - it's fun to receive comments from new people, and we are trying to encourage people to read blogs and keep blogging too.

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        • 09/28/17--19:42: New Inspiration
        • When I was a stay at home mum I used to spend a lot of time reading blogs, all sorts of blogs, quilt blogs, craft blogs, food blogs, lifestyle blogs even wooden spoon making blogs. They connected me with other like minded people, inspired me and provided some escapism from my life.  Over the past few years a lot of my favourites have disappeared, so I thought I would find some new inspiration.  Here's a little list of  mostly new to me blogs and what I like about them.

          The most beautiful photos, the gorgeous colour palettes, her regular posts, in fact she is almost inspiring me to totally change my style and colour palette.  Lots to drool over here.

          This is a Finnish blog,  (a translate option is available) again beautiful creative colourful quilts.

          I have been reading this blog pretty much since I discovered the world of blogging all those years ago,.  Kate an Australian writes about her family, their lives and their organic farm. Lots of lovely photos of food, knitting, family and everyday life.

          A Tennessee quilter who likes colour, very textured quilting and just creates amazing quilts.

          Another Australian blog,  Interesting posts discussing all sorts of crafting topics and people, gorgeous photos of stitchers, knitters,  food and foliage.

          Quilts, cats, yoga, sometimes books, interesting places and food too.

          Another Australian quilter, EPP fanatic,  Beautiful photos and colours, always inspiring.

          Plants, flowers, beautiful gardens - lots of colour and beauty

          Happy reading everyone.  Hope that you all have a fabulous weekend, let me know if you have any favourite blogs too.

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          • 10/01/17--20:56: Eight More

          • Well that's another month completed, bringing my total of Ice Cream Soda Blossoms to 32 now.

            I never realised how many floral fabrics I had in my stash, I haven't used the same fabric twice yet, I'm trying not to use solids in these blossoms, but am finding the inner kites hard to work out sometimes.

            I bought some fabric (Jennifer Paganelli's Austin in green) to use as part of their quilt backing over the weekend - it just seemed a perfect match, and a pretty box to store them in, much better than the plastic bag I had, now they stay flat.

            I'll be having a little break from these now, I must make my felt Christmas decorations in time for Christmas and finish my AMH quilt top.  October goals!!

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          • 10/07/17--16:30: Weekending

          • Saint Andrea Corsini c1630 by Geurcino.  Bullet holes courtesy of  a soldier in 1944.

            Maffeo Barnerini c1597 by Caravaggio

            • We had a wind free day, so I managed to get a group shot of all 32 Ice Cream Soda Blossoms.
            • Tin Man by Sarah Winman, a  charming bittersweet novel of love, life and friendship, that's easy to read.
            • Colourful stitches on felt for my Christmas decorations - pattern from mmmcrafts
            In the Garden
            • My lemon tree is just covered in clusters of buds, they'll be opening properly and perfuming the air soon.  Looking forward to lots of lemons for baking and summer G & Ts.
            City Tripping
              • Miss B and I went into the city, to see The Corsini Collection at Auckland Art Gallery.  Beautiful portraits and pictures from the Corsini Family focusing on the Renaissance times.  The colours and workmanship was amazing, as were the personal family stories relating to the portraits.  Many of the frames were just as impressive.
              Hoping you have all had a lovely weekend and have a fabulous week ahead.

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            • 10/10/17--12:00: Sew, Stitch, Snap, SHARE

            • This weeks Sew Stitch Snap Share from me  is all about the stitch.

              I have been very good and actually completed both the swans I needed to for my Christmas decoration exchange with my sister. We are doing mmmcrafts: 12 Days of Christmas ornament collection, I make the odds, she make the evens.  We both make two each,  so at the end we will each have a full set.

              Every year I put off doing these, thinking they'll take a long time to do. In reality they are quick and fun to make.  Admittedly the neck was a little faffy to stuff, and there is a reason you are told to prewash your felt before soaking off the sulky fabric solvy.  They are starting to get trickier now with people and clothes to make in the last four patterns to be released.

              These swans just need to be threaded for hanging, and one of them packaged up for my sister ( I think she'll get the pale pink one).

              Now, it's YOUR turn to share, by linking up your sewing and stitching projects, whether they are starts, wips, or finishes, following these guidelines. 
              1. Link up from any post from the past week that features something you have been sewing or stitching,
              2. Somewhere in your post, please link to this post.
              3. Please comment on a couple of the other Sew,Stitch, Snap, Share links - it's fun to receive comments from new people, and we are trying to encourage people to read blogs and keep blogging too.
              Thanks  for linking up
              Julie and Linda

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            • 10/14/17--16:01: Here & Now

            • There are not a lot of flowers blooming in my garden at present, one old spring faithful though, is my Corydalis Blackberry Wine - I love  the fresh green leaves and mauve flowers, although I have never been able to smell the fragrant scent it is supposed to have.

              Other things making me happy this weekend are:

              Loving // This blog post

              Eating// Home made chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, the joy of having Miss B and Mr J do the baking in the school holidays.

              Drinking // Water, earl grey tea and hot chocolate.


              • Pampered, I spoiled myself and bought a beautiful new hand cream and shower cream.  
              • Excited, cos my Bird Dance is being quilted at present - see here for a sneak peak.
              • Pleased, I have mulched all the gardens now, it has been a big job, but they look great and hopefully will retain a lot of the moisture from all the winter rain we have had, as well as keep the weeds down
              • Surprised, when I received some lovely mail from a friend in America
              Making // The last few blocks for my AMH quilt, - the design sheet is up again and providing it doesn't become a toy for Meeka, this can stay up until next weekend for sewing.  Another ice cream soda block (lunchtime sewing only)

              Thinking // It is all very well, when all the books you have been wanting to read arrive at once, it's just hard to find the time to do it.  Maybe I'll ignore the house work for a while ....

              Dreaming // of what I'm going to plant in the flower and vegetable gardens this coming weekend.

              Linking to Here & Now at Say Little Hen.

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            • 10/17/17--13:47: AMH Quilt in Progress

            • Under the watchful gaze of Meeka, sewing has commenced on my AMH quilt - I really need to think of a name for it.  (I mentioned that to my kids, and Mr J, being the funny guy suggested Jenny - there's always one in a family).

              I had a minor disaster the other evening, I came home to find that my design sheet had  fallen off the wall, the pins had come out and all my carefully placed blocks had fallen everywhere. Luckily Meeka was outside, so I couldn't blame her.  Yes I had a photo of them all laid out in my previous post, but I had reshuffled a lot since then, and not taken another photo.  Sigh!

              I laid it out on the floor this time, put them back into a semblance of order and then labelled and clipped the rows together ready for sewing.  Hopefully I have the colours fairly evenly spread out, every time I look at it I want to change things.  Since taking this WIP photo, I notice I have the same fabric in two colour ways next to each other - guess I need to decide if it really bothers me and unpick and replace it,  or just keep sewing and finish it.

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            • 10/19/17--20:45: Bird Dance - Completed

            • Meeka thinks any quilt is for her.

              My sister Janine's Bird Dance Quilt.

              On Wednesday last week,  I received a parcel at work.  Lots of happy jumpy claps followed.  It was my Bird Dance Quilt returning from being quilted by Leanne otherwise known as Quiltmekiwi.

              Leanne also quilted my sister's Bird Dance quilt, so I knew she would do a beautiful job.  Every bird block has been quilted differently using Leeanne's free range doodling skills. The birds just POP.

              My quilt differed from my sister's, in that I omitted the berries that were appliqued and embellished on the border, so I asked Leanne to do feathery flourishy quilting on that.

              Batting is a wool/poly blend provided by Leeanne.  The backing was a fabric from  Laura Gunn's Cosmos Collection, and because I had plain borders, I felt that I could get away with a bright multicoloured binding so used a Philip Jacobs print called Tree fungi which picked up a lot of the colours.

              The last photos shows both my sister's and my Bird Dance quilt, completed in colours and styles that are individual to us.

              Now we're trying to decide on a project for next year, the cushion I had originally picked has fallen off the want to make list.

              Have a fabulous weekend.

              **To see the story behind us making this quilt see here  and here**

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            • 10/24/17--12:00: Sew, Stitch, Snap, SHARE

            • I've been busy!!

              I cleaned up my sewing room on Saturday, which meant that I felt inspired to sew. Because I had room on my cutting table for pressing a lot of seams, and laying out strips of blocks, and pinning strips of blocks to quilt halves, a lot more sewing was done.  Which then leads to my big show off moment - I have finished my AMH quilt - well make that the quilt top. It measures approximately 60" square.

              This has to be the fastest quilt top I have ever completed.  It was such an easy block, yet it looks so effective, and I guess you could make them any size you like.  Measurements for my block were:

              1 x  5" square, and then two strips of solid 1 x 5"x 1.5" and  1 x 6" x 1.5".

              This will be carefully put away for now, and the more subdued Seaglass Sampler Quilt pulled out and worked on,  I'm aiming to get this turned into a completed quilt top by the end of the year.

              It's your turn to share now.  It doesn't matter if it's embroidery, a quilt, applique or epp, or some other stitched or sewn project.  It can be a start, a finish or just a wip.  All we ask is that you follow these guidelines when linking up:
              • Link up any post from the past week that features  a sewing or stitching project you have been working on.
              • Somewhere in your post, please link to this one.
              • Also please take the time to read and comment on some of the other linked posts, it is always nice to know that people are reading what you have written, and we are trying to encourage people to keep blogging and reading blogs.
              Thanks  for joining us.
              Julie and Linda

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              1. 10/28/17--18:30: Weekending

              2. Loving
                • This  velvety berry toned pelagonium I am trying to grow from a cutting,
                • this quilt at Houston Quilt Market
                • Fiction and non fiction.  The Words in my Hand was a lovely read, set in mid 17th century, Netherlands.  It is a fictionalised account of French philosopher and mathematician, Descartes and his relationship with a young woman.  Beautifully written, you can almost imagine yourself there.  Code Girls is about the unknown American women who were code breakers during the wars.  A really interesting read so far.
                • Inspiration and Instruction, Kaffe, Liberty and embroidery
                  • Lemon Squeezy Slice - recipe here.  I made mine in an 18cm x 30 cm tin, not the 20cm x 20cm tin recommended - I think the icing to base ratio was just perfect this way.
                  • I know I said I wasn't going to work on my AMH quilt, but I had a brainwave for the backing while trying to sleep the other night, so the fabrics have come out again, and cutting has commenced.
                  Happy weekending to you all.

                  ** *Also, due to a lot of spam comments I have been receiving, I have had to enable comment verification on my blog, I hope this doesn't stop you from commenting.***

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