Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Annettes SSCS gift

With Christmas Day now all done and dusted I can share what I made for Annette in Australia,  my partner in Chookyblues Secret Santa Christmas Swap...... this table runner using Rosalie Quinlans Little Patchwork Village design, and some  pretty Strawberry Fields fabric.

Annette has a lovely blog - Jindis Cottage - named for her much loved kelpie, Jindi, (sometimes you would wonder though - sounds like Jindi runs the house. lol) so I added the name to the house in the middle block...............

This birdie block was fun to stitch .......................

.......... and the big house with the Christmas wreath on the door seemed appropriate for this swap.......

So Merry Christmas Annette, I hope you like it .......... this is such a fun swap to do that I'll definitely be signing up next year ................. no pressure though Chookyblue .....lol

I'll be back in a day or two with some holiday stitching ................ Nicky

Monday, 26 December 2011

My SSCS gift .....

......... one of the highlights of Christmas Day yesterday was opening my Secret Santa Christmas Swap gift, sent to me by the lovely Chookyblue......... if I had known just what was inside there is no way I could have waited until Christmas morning.  But because I was trying so hard to be nice not naughty, I waited and boy was I excited at about 5.45 yesterday morning......... that's what happens when the girls wake you at 5.35am begging to get into their loot!    I have been so spoilt ............ this is the most gorgeous wallhanging - I absolutely love it - it is so me ........ and if I am completely honest I may have even shed some tears when I saw it!

I can't put in to words how much I love this........ the verse is SO true........ 

and the gorgeous little stitcheries are so pretty ............. here are closeups of a few ..........

I was going to email Chooky to tell her how thrilled I was, but decided to track her down in the online whitepages ............. first time lucky with the right number ........... her Book Worm answered the phone and yelled out to Mum that it was 'someone called Nicky and she's a Kiwi' ......... well spotted Book Worm, it's hard to hide my NZ accent LOL.  It was fun to catch up with you Chookyblue,  I hope all your plans for Christmas Day went well and that I didn't hold you up too long! And of course a HUGE thankyou for my fantastic gifts including these other lovely cards and notepads .........  isn't her photography cool??

Chookyblue does a wonderful job of organising the SSCS exchange, and there are lots of happy and grateful people posting about their gifts today, so Thankyou for organising the whole 'event'!

So Christmas Day was a very hot day here, we enjoyed a lovely Christmas dinner at home, before heading to the beach with Kelly for some cooling down in the water.  What  a lovely spot where the river meets the sea........... and then followed by an evening meal at my Dad's place.

I hope your Christmas was a happy one, enjoyed with family or friends and that Santa was as good to you as he was to us.   We have some busy days of farm work coming up, so we are making the most of a couple of days off to relax, hope you're finding some quiet time too ................I'll be back later with what I sent in the SSCS exchange.

Till then, thanks for visiting ..................... Nicky

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Meri Kirihimete .........

or.........Merry Christmas everyone........... 
It is Christmas Eve here in New Zealand, and we are almost ready for the big day tomorrow.  
I'd like to wish everyone who stops by here a wonderful Christmas and I thank you for sharing in my life in 2011..........  I have met some wonderful friends and look forward to meeting many more in 2012


Pohutakawa - New Zealand's native Christmas tree

With love and Christmas wishes .......... Nicky

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

A Gardener's Journal ........ the final block

Late last week the final stitches went into my last block of A Gardener's Journal, and it felt kind of sad to be finished.............. of course I still have to get the borders on and decide if I'm brave enough to quilt it myself or send it out to get a proper job made of it!  Once that's done I can get onto the new Stitch-A-Long project, another Anni Downs quilt, My Favourite Things from her Some Kind of Wonderful book.  I'm really looking forward to that!!   

Finally ......... the blocks are joined, almost a quilt top now!

Here are some pics of the kids vegetable gardens, they have their own little patch each, this is our youngest's below.........

................... and our eldest girls here ..........

And below is part of my potato patch...... some yams are in the tyre at the back.....

and some of the other goodies growing in our garden........

.............we've been eating lettuce, salad greens, radishes and silverbeet for a while now, and lots more is nearly ready now ....... I've had a terrible time getting carrot seed started this year, the first lot I think the seed was too old, and it's been pretty dry since I sowed the new seed.  We are desperately short of water, we are only on our own rainwater supply, and there is no rain forecast till at least the end of the month......... so I need to convince hubby to help me pump some water from the creek for the garden.  

So now there's only 5 more sleeps to go, I'd better behave myself so Santa stops by ........

Till next time....happy stitching

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Chookyblue's SSCS ..................

............. and I really do mean Chookyblue's SSCS, because when I visited my mailbox this afternoon while out checking some sheep, guess what I found?   Turns out my own Secret Santa is the one and only Chookyblue herself, aren't I the luckiest girl around?.   So Chooky's parcel had a ride on a different kind of sleigh all the way home with me grinning from ear to ear......... it was all I could do not to tear into it at the mailbox, but I didn't want to lose anything on the bike ride home!

I had a feeling 'in my bones' that either Chookyblue or Maree would be my Santa swapper this year, don't know why, I just did!   When I saw Maree was firstly flooded out and then flooded in at her home and couldn't post her SSCS parcel yet, I decided it must be her, and figured that was why my parcel was taking the long way to my house.  Seems I got that theory wrong.  LOL

Just look at these goodies, isn't that sweet little bauble ornament the cutest, complete with a lovely little bell button........ I love it and it is now hanging on my tree.  Chookyblue has sent all those other lovely goodies in the pic above, so I'm going to be naughty not nice, I mean nice not naughty and wait till Christmas morning, though you can bet they won't stay unopened for long on the 25th. lol  

So THANKYOU for making my day Chookyblue, I've had a big smile on all afternoon, and I know so many others are grateful too for all the effort you make in organising this wonderful swap.......Thank you my friend xx
Till next time.................Nicky


We have spent several days in the last week weaning our lambs.
Here are a few pics of what we got up to ........

The ewes and lambs have no idea what you're up to when you first get to the paddock, all is innocent and they don't know this is the last day they'll be together.........

but they soon work out that something is going on and they start running........

We couldn't muster and get them home without the help of the dogs........

and of course the kids help out too!   Christmas came early for this lucky girl, a new motorbike a week ago......... and it's already got so many hours on it, it needs to go back to town for it's first service. lol   She has been a big help though..............

Nearly there now though ......... just a little bit further up the hill .........

and round the corner and down into the yards...........

By now the ewes know what is up and they don't want to go into the yards.  This was two paddock of ewes and lambs, and we weaned about 8-10 paddocks each day.  We muster them all home early in the morning while it's cool for the sheep and dogs to travel and then we wean the whole lot through the sheepyards.

This is Phoebe with her lamb, she was a pet lamb a couple of years ago.  Most of the pets in our flock are still friendly, which can be a pain when you're trying to chase a mob of sheep in one direction and out of the middle one comes up to you wanting a pat or a scratch on the back.

I don't have pics of the next stage, cause it was all a  bit dusty and busy in the yards from then on.  Basically we just draft the ewes one way and the lambs the other, and it is very hot, dusty, smelly, noisy and dirty work.  We were definitely looking forward to a hot shower and a cold beer by the end of the day!  I do feel sorry for the ewes and lambs, seems like they've had a lovely life together for the last 3 months and then we hop in there and split them up.  Pretty mean, huh?  Mean, but necessary though.........

This is the ewes going across last years crop paddock after weaning.  Can you see the straight lines they're walking in, following one behind the other?  

We've had a heat wave here since the start of December,  a nice change from the constant rain in November, but we're getting very low on water, so only using what we must.

Well, I'd better go and move a couple of mobs of lambs, and check some ewes.  Hubby is busy on the tractor getting paddocks ready for crop and regrassing.   Thanks for stopping by, hope you're enjoying some busy and rewarding days too, and hope your Christmas plans are falling into place .........
.....  till next time, happy stitching ...... Nicky

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Schools out ...........

School is out for the year for our girls, today is their first day of holidays, and it does feel great to be done with school lunches and homework for the summer.    Yesterday the girls took their teachers some end-of-year thankyou gifts ...............  home-made vanilla essence and some sweet Candy Cane peppermint bark. 

(Oops -I forgot to take another pic of the essence with it's labels added)

Yesterday I received some very exciting mail, this is my finished Stitching Round the Block piece home from Leanne.  She had a kind friend who did the stitchery part of the final round, and they both made a wonderful job of the hexies and the butterfly stitchery.  We all stitched our own centre block, Janis completed my Round 2 and Raewyn Round 3, followed by the final round by Leanne and her friend.    All the girls made a beautiful job of my block, so thank you ladies, and now I must decide how I'll finish it.  This is the project I showed the hexies for on my last post, which I have been terribly behind on getting done for Janis.  But it is a lot closer now than it was a few weeks ago Janis, I promise!

Just look at those teeny tiny stitches!

I heard from Annette from Jindis Cottage a couple of days ago that my SSCS gifts had arrived safely at her house.  So here is a pic of the little ornament I sent her, this is French Country Star by JBW Designs from the 2010 JCS Ornament Issue.  I stitched this over one and it is tiny.  Can you see the little motifs within the star - reindeer, trees, stars and hearts?  So that is the first half of the SSCS revealed................. I'm still waiting every morning at the mailbox for my own exciting parcel to arrive. lol
And a side-on view to show how I finished it..........

As I am finishing this post, the girls have almost got the Christmas tree up, they've been begging me for a few weeks to get it put up.  I've made them wait, as we've had builders here for the last three weeks, and I wanted to have a proper clean-up before we got all the Christmas decorations out.  So, tonight is their lucky night and it's starting to feel a little like Christmas round here!

I hope you're all enjoying the festive season ...... till next time ........happy stitching ..............Nicky

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

No excuses

There really are no excuses for why I've not been here, just seems like life got in the way this month.

Here is a little of what's been going on .......................... I finally got these parcels on their way to a mystery destination for the fabulous SSCS exchange.........

And the next step on the first of my pinwheel baby quilts for our friends twins......... the blocks are pieced for the second quilt, but still need to join them together and ponder those prairie points.

I'm happy to say that the final block of my A Gardeners Journal quilt from the original project at the Stitch-A-Long blog is getting closer to finished, still a hand, some feet, arms, two eyes and some greenery to go............. but progress is being made!
A couple of weeks ago I dug out a long neglected project, Stitching Round the Block, this round I am so behind on is for Janis, who probably thinks it's never going to make it home.  I have set myself the goal of having it done by Christmas, and have most of the hexies made now.  This whole project really scared me....... but now I really wish I had just got stuck into it when it arrived!    Making the hexies wasn't so bad, but I'm very worried about taking the papers out and stitching them onto the background.  Any tips would be gratefully received...................?

So that's about it from me to sum up November on the crafting front, there is lots of farm work happening, weaning some lambs in the next few days, then shearing old ewes, crops to get sown, grass paddocks to be sown, it's all go round here!  The girls have had swimming lessons in town after school every day for the last two weeks, I am SO looking forward to some days at home, what a joy it is to have a day where I don't have to leave the property!    Not to mention the fast approach of Christmas ............. I can't stay in denial for much longer I don't think. LOL

Till next time(hopefully not quite so long though) .............. happy stitching..........Nicky

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

What happened to October.............?

Oh boy, so today is the 1st of November, and I'm not quite sure what happened to October.  School holidays, trip to RWC, lots of illness for me and the kids, and busy days on the farm might be part of the answer.

By now I'm sure you've heard that WE WON the Rugby World Cup 2011!  Didn't the All Blacks do so well, but there's nothing like keeping us in agony until the final whistle blew.  It was such a close game and I did feel for the French, to lose by one point is cruel!  However, rugby fans all over New Zealand have been rejoicing to finally have won the Webb Ellis trophy again, it feels great!!!

The main stitching around here has been of the secret variety, my gift for my SSCS exchange partner is well underway, and I have a few ideas kicking around in my head for the Christmas ornament part of the exchange too.  This morning I had a play with one of the Ruby charm packs I've been hoarding, and decided to try pinwheels, something I've never had much success with, all those points usually drive me crazy.  So far they are coming together well, I'm going to work on a couple of baby quilts for some dear friends who've just had twin girls recently.  I found this tutorial over at Moda Bake Shop, and thought I might try one in 'Ruby' and one in 'Bliss' fabrics. They will then be similar tones, but with enough of a difference for each of the babies.   I'll also be attempting prairie points for the first time ever in these quilts ....................... which could go one of two ways!

I planted out some vegetables over the weekend, the girls and I had sown lots of seeds earlier in spring, and they are all planted outside now, we are starting to enjoy some yummy fresh salads, it's so nice to have grown some of it yourself.  The girls each have their own patch in the vege garden, some of their sowing is a bit hit and miss, but they are enjoying it and learning lots by trial and error.   They did learn that a late visit from Jack Frost can sneak up on you when you least expect it, the girls have some rather blackened potatoes to prove it!  They should have been slack like me and only planted them a couple of days ago. LOL 

I hope you're having a great week ...................till next time ......................... Nicky

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Abracadabra 'Bliss' quilt

I was on a bit of a roll with stitching down binding by the time I'd finished my Tis the Season quilt, so I got stuck in and finished this one for our dear little niece, who turned two last Sunday.  And for once it was finished before the birthday. lol  
I thought I'd get a bit clever with the backing, and put in a row like the ones on the front.  I realised once it was half made that this would make the quilting a bit tricky to get the lines matched up exactly.  It was quite a performance, but I did get it lined up OK, not perfect, but at least finished! 

This is the small quilt from the Abracadabra design by Bloom, and is purchased as a pdf file.  It is a great pattern, very easy to follow instructions and you get two quilts from a layer cake.  I hope to make the larger quilt with the remainder of the layer cake for one of my girls.    This is probably the biggest thing(and it's not even that big!) that I've quilted myself, I'm not brave enough yet to try free motion quilting, it's just straight lines for me at the moment!

It's Friday Night Sew In this week(link in my sidebar), I'm not joining officially this time, not sure if I'll be stitching much on Friday night, I've come home with another rotten flu and will probably have a quiet few days.  If you are joining in though............... Happy FNSI!
Will catch up again after the big final on Sunday night - GO THE ALL BLACKS!!!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

What a weekend.......

I've made it home again after the most amazing weekend in Auckland for the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.  Myself, my two brothers and our Dad all flew up together on Friday.  We checked out the Fanzone, The Cloud on the waterfront and had a wander around the viaduct harbour.  We were supporting the Welsh on Saturday night(like most of the kiwis in the crowd were) against the French, but they were unlucky to lose by just one point.  And of course our All Blacks played Australia on Sunday night.  That game would have to be the most exciting game I've ever seen live.  I think most Kiwis would admit to being very nervous about the game as the Wallabies are a great side, but the AB's were awesome!!!   And now we're in the final, this Sunday night against France ................................... I'm going to be a very sad girl when this is all over.

 The French and Welsh warming up before their game

Teams lined up for the Australia and New Zealand National Anthems

The first (and possibly only) time you'll see a pic of me here on this blog LOL

This is the four of us at the All Black game in our black gear and wearing our Silver Fern flags............... it was fantastic to spend some time together, brother on the left lives in London, Dad lives down South near me, and brother on the right is in Perth, Australia.  We are all mad about rugby, so what a great excuse to all get together........... these 3 are all going to the final this Sunday ............. wish I'd decided to now too.

I have lots of blog reading to catch up on, and I am seriously behind on replying to email so I will get that caught up in the next couple of days, and hopefully some stitching time at the weekend. 

Thanks for stopping by today.............................. Nicky

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