Tuesday, 31 December 2013

SSCS gifts

Now that the dust has settled on our Christmas celebrations I want to share the beautiful gifts given to me by Cheryl in the SSCS exchange organised by Chookyblue and her very able assisant Googy girl.  In my last post I showed you the sweet little angel ornament Cheryl stitched for me and here is my beautiful Christmas stitchery piece, isn't it lovely?  I love the pretty variegated thread Cheryl has used, and the festive fabrics too.  Not only did Cheryl give me some of her beautiful stitching, but she also gave me a kit for another of Marg Low's cute Santa ornaments, I've seen some of these around blogland lately and they are lovely!  Thank you Cheryl, I have been thoroughly spoiled....

My SSCS partner was Maria in Australia, and I made her a Shepherds Bush cross stitch design into a Christmas pillow.  I made a few modifications to the pattern to make it the right size and shape.  I included a hexagon bag pattern and a few fabrics for Maria, a little blog spying told me that not only did she like the colour purple but she was a hexie fan too!  

A big thanks to Chookyblue and Googygirl for the time and skills they put into organising this swap, it's the only one I've participated in every year since I started this blog, and I love it, it wouldn't seem like Christmas morning without my SSCS parcel to open!  

Well the year is rapidly drawing to a close, I wish you all a Happy New Year and hope all good things come to you in 2014.  We are going camping with friends for a couple of nights to see the New Year in, so I will see you all again early in 2014.......... till then, take care ...... Nicky xxx

Monday, 16 December 2013

Where do I start?

So much has been happening here over the last few weeks, I have finally made it to the blog to check in..... 

Firstly my Secret Santa Christmas Swap gift has arrived from Cheryl in Australia, just look at this beautiful angel ornament she made me, it is adorable, thankyou so much Cheryl, I am waiting very patiently(OK, not so very patiently) for the big day to arrive when I can tear into the other parcels!  A very big thanks to Miss Chookyblue and her team for organising this lovely swap....

My SSCS gifts finally went on the sleigh and were delivered to Maria in Australia, where she has now opened her ornament.  From my stalking of Maria's blog I knew that her favourite colour was purple, so it may not be the most 'Christmassy' of colours I wanted to make her a purple ornament, though it shows blue in the picture.

Recently I was thrilled to receive my Scrappy Trip quilt back from Linda at Razzle Dazzle Quilter. Earlier in the year I won the quilting of a quilt in a generous giveaway by Linda.  The quilting Linda has done for me is nothing short of beautiful, and I plan to get the binding attached over the Christmas break, and then I will take some photos of the finished quilt.  So excited about this one!

We've had a busy few weeks of weaning lambs, cultivation work, school concerts and prizegivings. Our Miss 11 has finished at primary school and was rewarded for her hard work this year with a trophy for Diligence for her class at the Leavers celebrations.  She is super excited to be heading off to the college next year.  And Miss 13 received the General Excellence prize for her class with firsts in 5 subjects, we are just so proud of her and her hard work this year.  Two very proud parent moments! 

Christmas shopping to be finished this week, and the aim is to get our crops all sown before Christmas, and hopefully the old ewes shorn, and about 2 weeks of blog posts to catch up on, so if someone could find me a few extra days in there somewhere that would be much appreciated.  

Hope all your holiday season plans are coming together for you and that there might be some time for stitching in there too......    Nicky x

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Garden tour

The girls and I went for a little drive the other day with my Dad and brother, through some local districts that had lots of significance to my family.  We drove through the farming area where my Mum's grandparents farmed and then on to this beautiful garden called Maple Glen.  The farm that this garden is situated was once owned by my grandparents and Dad spent his earliest years there until 1954.  He assures me it didn't look like this then, it was a small farm, not the magnificent garden it is now....... if you click on any of these pics they should enlarge for you. 

This is a stunning garden, beautiful in all seasons, and there is a wonderful nursery with plants for sale too. It is an absolute credit to almost 50 years dedication by the family who own it.  I hope you enjoyed this little garden tour today........see you later..... Nicky x

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Hello November

Oh dear, yet again it's been a while since I posted, but here are a few things I worked on in October.  Firstly my Fresh quilt, from Camille Roskelley's book Simply Retro.  It's made from five different Bonnie and Camille fabric collections, I love how their fabrics all work together so well.  

This is my Sugar Dish top completed for a friends gorgeous little girl.  A design my Cluck Cluck Sew, I made this top using Posy by Aneela Hoey, and I discovered that I love dresdens!!  They are so cute!  Now to decide on backing fabric and how to quilt this......
Last month I was also lucky enough to win a giveaway from Leeanne at Quilt Me.  Isn't the quilty wrapping paper and card adorable!  A full set of Lynette Andersons H&F Wagtime patterns and a lovely Cottage Garden Thread.... thank you so much Leeanne, these musical cats and dogs are adorable....

There has been some building happening in the vege garden, my hubby has built some new garden beds and planter boxes, it is a work in progress but I have some planted and things are growing quickly now.  This is the before shot, the old glasshouse will eventually be replaced with a poly tunnel when the big trees in the back have been cut down.  My little mini greenhouse was well pinned down with stakes, as a few days before this it blew over the fence and right across the paddock!

I've been waterblasting the outside wooden fence in preparation for painting.  There are two more boxes to be built yet beside the first two.....and decisions to be made about what material to use for pathways..... any suggestions....? 


I had to keep a big secret recently, and it was not easy!  My big brother planned a surprise trip out to visit from the UK, to spend some time with Dad who's been having a very rough year healthwise.  I had to tell a few fibs about plans and sneak off to the airport to collect him a couple of weeks ago.  The look on Dad's face was worth it though!  So we have been having a lovely time together, I miss my brothers lots as one lives in Perth, Australia and this one in London, I wish they were both closer to home..... 

During the last week or two I've been working away on my SSCS gift, it will be time to mail it off in a couple of weeks so I need to get a wriggle on...... I'm off now to finish waterblasting my fence....... fun times.....hope you have a lovely weekend planned.....

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Nothing to see here

Apologies for those who have popped by to see my Friday Night with Friends efforts, 
there really is nothing to see here today....
About 4 o'clock on Friday afternoon we headed down the road to pick up our daughter from the friends she had enjoyed a sleepover with.... one thing led to another, and before you know it we were feasting on a takeaway fish and chip dinner, a very pleasant night catching up over a few glasses of wine.  So I guess it was Friday Night with Friends, just not the sort in my original plan!

So of course I thought I will sew on Saturday night, and virtually the same thing happened.... some friends phoned at 5pm to see if we would join them for their first BBQ of the season, and so that's what we did!  SO we have had a great weekend being social butterflies, now who knows what will happen tonight.........??

But of course it isn't a blog post without a pic or two, I found these lake reflection photos taken on Lake Te Anau in beautiful Fiordland National Park back in May, in fact I think it was on Mothers Day......

.....so I'll catch you again soon, maybe when there's  
been some sewing finally done...... Nicky x

Friday, 4 October 2013

A Fresh quilt and kind friends

I have been busy with some machine sewing in the last couple of weeks any chance I've had.  I bought Camille Roskelley's Simply Retro book a while back and her 'Fresh' quilt is the one I kept going back to look longingly at.  So I gave in to temptation and decided on a kind of controlled colour palette using all my Bonnie and Camille scraps and a new charm pack of their beautiful Scrumptious range.  This is going to be a big quilt, it was meant to be a 4x4 block layout which finishes at 96" x 96", but I've decided to trim one row off and will end up at 72 x 96, plenty big enough for a single bed.  I have never trimmed Half Square Triangles down to size before, and it is rather tedious, but boy does it make a big difference when sewing them together and matching seams etc, love this technique now!  So this picture is half the quilt top, I have one more row complete and I hope to finish the last three blocks tonight when I join in with lots of friends around the globe for Friday Night with Friends.... maybe you'd like to join in too and sign up over at Cherylls blog here.....

Earlier this week I got a lovely surprise in the mail from dear Deb, who after I mentioned in my last post my lack of hand stitching due to the state of my hands, went to the trouble of doing some research and found this wonderful Aromatherapy Co Hand Cream and sent it to me...... it smells divine, such a sweet citrus scent and it feels amazing, won't be long now and I'll be back with needle and thread in my hand, maybe over the weekend if I'm lucky...... thank you so much Deb, your kindness is so sweet and I have been smiling all week thinking about you and your lovely gift.

Finally I had just the one little OPAM finish for September which was this little mini quilt for friends who have recently built their first home.  They have little twin boys and so this was my loose interpretation of them with their little guys..... my first attempt at the sketchy raw edge applique, and as my friends favourite colour is pink, that's what I chose for the binding....(taken on my own ugly wallpaper, not their beautiful new wall colours...lol) I kind of wish I had done some quilting in the background but didn't know where to start!

Right, had better get myself organised for a quick and easy dinner tonight so I can get sewing like a madwoman once the dishes are done....... have a lovely weekend....... Nicky x 

Saturday, 21 September 2013

September FNSI

Last night I joined in Friday Night Sew In along with many other ladies around the land of blog.  It was a night for machine stitching only as after several weeks of lambing, and feeding pet lambs, the constant wet/dirty hands and the ensuing washing of those same hands, they are in no state for hand stitching.  Isn't that a great reason to continue with a new project I started a couple of weeks ago...LOL... the plan had been to complete a block every day on the Flower Girl quilt kit I purchased some months ago. This quilt is designed by Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms, and uses her Bonnie and Camille fabric range called Marmalade.  Like all good plans, it had to be subject to change, and I only got two blocks finished then, but managed another three last night for FNSI.   If you joined in with FNSI, I hope you too had a great night, the family gave me the evening off feeding lambs last night so that also contributed to me getting something done... thanks team.....

Here are the five so far, another 15 to go...... 

If you joined in with FNSI, I hope you too had a great night, the family gave me the evening off feeding lambs last night so that also contributed to me getting something done... thanks team.....

My focus for the rest of the month will be to get the final hand stitching done on my Sugar Dish dresden blocks(when my hands improve) and to finish the bag for my July Stitchalong project.  I have had to abandon my August and September efforts for the Stitchalong, I am sorry not to have been able to get the last two projects done, but there have been some unplanned interruptions to the last month or two. There are some wonderful needlecases popping up over at the SAL blog, why don't you head on over and have a look....? 

I have signed up for the 4th year to Chookyblue's fantastic Secret Santa Christmas Swap(SSCS), I've been doing some sly 'research' on my mystery partners blog so I can learn a little about her.  I have always enjoyed this swap and this is one that I just couldn't miss! 

It's a gorgeous spring day today, might have to get into the garden this afternoon.... have a great day..... 
 Nicky x 

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Spring is here....

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring in Southern parts, and we have enjoyed a mild winter, particularly August has been warm and great weather for lambing, which got underway for us during the last week.  A tiny vase of pretty little flowers is just the thing to say 'Spring'.......

In my last post I mentioned a retreat I had been on recently, and here are a couple of things I worked on while enjoying uninterrupted sewing time, what a treat that was.... two and a half days of it!!  This is a little Dresden pillow that I finished at retreat, and was part of the birthday swap gifts I sent to Leanne recently.  Without even discussing it, we ended up both making each other gifts from Bonnie and Camille fabrics, great minds think alike right?!

I also made Leanne a table runner in a kind of sampler format using half square triangles.  This was so fun to make, I used some of the bonus HST's left over from my 2012 FQS Block of the Month quilt, and added some more from the Vintage Modern range for variety. I did include some little extras but forgot to take a photo of them.

One of the main things I worked on while I was away was to finish up the Designer Mystery BOM, I have now made it up to this red border, I am unsure about the next white border with the pinwheel corners, I may try something different, or even leave it as is, it's already plenty big enough for me. This means that now I can start the 2013 BOM.  I have three blocks sitting waiting for me already!
A better pic of the colours - hanging on the clothesline late this afternoon.....

There were a couple of other projects I worked on, but one of them is still a little surprise so I will share it when it is done.  Since I've returned from retreat, I haven't really achieved much crafty-wise, but I will try and get a few stitches done some evenings during lambing(if I can stay awake that late!)

I am going to use my 'free pass' this month for the Stitch Along blog, I am still working on July's bag, so I don't think I'm going to get the August one done in the next few hours.....   

Thanks for visiting with me today... hope you're getting some stitching time in your day..... Nicky x

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Another year older

A couple of weeks ago I had the good fortune to celebrate another year above ground.  My lovely stitching friend Leanne and I are sharing in a birthday swap this year and I was so excited to open my parcel from her on my big day.  Just look at all these goodies Leanne made me, and all in some of my favourite Bonnie and Camille fabrics.  

                                             A sweet little pillow with bluebird stitchery

A needlebook with a matching stitchery. The second photo shows the lovely spotty flannel on the inside of the needlebook and the felt inner for storing all my needles and pins.

There was also this sweet project pouch made in 'Bliss', which Leanne has beautifully quilted....

 And all of my gorgeous goodies together, see those cute crochet flowers and Leanne's House postcard, aren't they sweet!!  
Disclaimer:  There may also have been some Caramello Chocolate in this parcel, no prizes for guessing why it didn't make the photo shoot!  Thankyou again Leanne, I was spoiled rotten, and am so thrilled with my lovely handmade gifts.  Leanne's birthday is coming up soon, so I hope she will enjoy her goodies from me too.

I was lucky enough to attend my first ever retreat last weekend, I had a wonderful time, and worked on lots of projects(no new starts for me, wasn't I a good girl...lol).  Once I get some pics taken I will be back to share soon.  In the meantime I have over 200 blog posts to catch up on and see what everyone's been up to.      Till next time...... happy stitching........ Nicky x

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Friday night fun

I joined with lots of others  on Friday night for Friday Night Sew In, which is being temporarily hosted by Wendy at Sugarlane Quilts.  Thanks for hosting us Wendy!

Some of my sewing was of the secret variety, but I did start to join my 1 inch hexagons together for the front of a bag, which will be my SAL project for July. I love these Double Chocolat fabrics designed by 3 Sisters, I got a charm pack and some yardage from The Art of Craft in Gore.

And for the cross-stitchers among you who thought I had crossed over to the dark side quilting side, some stitches were even added to my Christmas Garden piece.  I've been working on this a little lately, the bottom pic is where it was at way back in December.

It's a stunning winter's day here in the Deep South, a day to throw all the windows and doors open and enjoy some beautiful sunshine....prune some more roses, and maybe get some time in the sewing room later too. Thanks for stopping by today....... Nicky x

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