Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 30: Yay!!!!

Yay, I did it...30 days with a new post every day for National Blog Posting Month.  And very appropriate to finish today as I finished the binding on my Kiwiana quilt last night. I love how this turned out, and as it's my first finish since I have gotten back into quilting, it's even more of an achievement.

I am off to Melbourne in 3 days for a long weekend. I am counting down the hours.  Can you believe this is my first girl's weekend ever. And we are hardly "girls" as all of us are well past girl years!!  Still, it will be fun to get to spend a few days with some good friends, shopping, eating and drinking.

I popped by Elizabeth Hartman's shop last night. Even though I have ordered her book, I do like her design style so ordered 3 more patterns as she had 25% off...New Wave, Rec Centre Picnic Quilt and the Simple Baby Quilts. Will use this last one to make a quilt for my friend who is expecting a baby that I mentioned a few posts ago.

Monday, November 29, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 29: Breast Cancer and Pink Cupcakes

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among New Zealand women, with more than 2500 new cases expected this year - also approximately 20 men will be diagnosed.
  • More than 600 women will die from the disease this year - making it the leading cause of cancer-related death in females.
  • 1 in 9 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.
  • 90-95% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.
  • Getting older is the most common risk factor: over 70% of new cases are among women 50years and over.
  • Women of all ages, especially those over the age of 40 years, need to be ‘breast aware'.
  • Early detection of breast cancer increases a woman's chance of survival. Today, close to 85% of NZ women diagnosed with breast cancer will survive 5 years or more, and the death rate has decreased by nearly 24% between1995-20054.
  • New Zealand's free, nationwide breast screening programme, BreastScreen Aotearoa, checks women with no breast cancer symptoms - ‘well' women - for early breast cancer between 45-69 years of age with a screening mammogram every two years.

Source:  NZ Breast Cancer Foundation website.

I am sure most of you have been affected in some way by breast cancer whether it is from personal experience or you know someone who has or has had the disease. The Breast Cancer Foundation does amazing work and raises the profile of breast cancer in NZ.  It relies totally on grants and donations so we try to support them each year by having a pink cupcake week. We have no problems selling them at work...the hospital is a pretty big place and there are always hungry staff!! In fact last year, we had so many pre-orders we couldn't keep up! All proceeds go to the Foundation. 

I have been baking cupcakes all day and here is a little sample of what they look like.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 28: Giveaway at Stray Stitches

Linda at Stray Stitches is having an amazingly generous giveaway of a year's worth of Thimbleberries BOM.  Head over to her blog and let her know what your favourite movie is to enter.  

Image source: straystitches.com

Saturday, November 27, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 27: Summer vegetables

With all the gorgeous weather we have been having, the garden is flourishing. I grow all my own vegetables as you can't beat going and picking a fresh lettuces, aromatic herbs, sweet tomatoes and tender cucumbers to throw together to make a quick salad.

Unfortunately, we are in dire need of rain. Being on a lifestyle block is awesome, but it means we rely on our own water supply which consists of a large water tank and nature being generous with its rainfall! Last year, I forgot I had the sprinkler on the garden and it drained our tank dry overnight. Yikes!!! Had a  fab growth spurt in the garden though !

My zucchini plant goes into overload every year. I have become very inventive in the use of zucchini...Zucchini Chocolate cake (moist and so so delicious). stir fries,  zucchini and feta fritters with freshly made salsa, grated and added to meat dishes, zucchini and potato soup that I freeze for the winter months ahead.  And if they suddenly turn into marrows overnight, then the chooks love pecking at them.

Mmmm, strawberries....it's a race to get to them before the birds do. They only have to have a hint of pink and them and that pesky starling can spot it from a mile away! Lots of flowers on the plants and a few green berries...a few more days and I will be eating fresh strawberries and home made ice cream.

Lemon thyme and marigolds

Broccoli...my favourite vegetable. So good for you too with its high level of vitamins and antioxidant properties.  It's been regarded as a superfood as it has so many health benefits.  

A new type of telegraph cucumber I am trying this year. I swear it doubles in size every day!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 26: Yay, Kiwiana quilting done

I thought this would never end!! Because it was black I found I couldn't do too much at night on it so it meant having to do it after work. I am pleased with how it turned out. Will do the binding tonight and over the weekend.  Each square represents something from NZ that is uniquely New Zealand. It was supposed to be a wallhanging but might be too big for that now!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 25: Giveaway.

Samelia's Mum  is hosting a giveaway on her blog to celebrate her 100th post. A gorgeous Bronwyn Hayes tote with fabric and 3 Christmas fat quarters.

Image source: http://sameliasmum.blogspot.com/
Image source: http://sameliasmum.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 24: RIP Pike River Coal miners

Image source: lisaglanville.com

Today is a sad day for New Zealand.

29 miners lost their lives after a second explosion today at the Pike River Coal Mine. 

I know we were all hoping for a miracle after the first explosion last week and that these miners would be able to be rescued. The youngest, just seventeen, at his first day on the job and the oldest 62.

My heart goes out to all those who have been affected by this terrible tragedy.  Such a catastrophe and so, so sad...


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 23: Nearly done!!

Oh I am so close to finishing the quilting on my Kiwiana quilt I am not even going to post anything tonight.   I am so wanting to finish this as I have just ordered a ton of Bliss form a couple of online stores and want to be able to tackle my next project when it arrives.

Back to the machine.....

Monday, November 22, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 22: A house without books is like a room without windows. ~Heinrich Mann

I love books and reading and cannot resist buying books.  I seem to have a weakness for cookbooks, quilting books, and good novels.  So when I saw this below on a friend's facebook page today, I had to nick it for myself and just see how well read I really am!! I was very surprised...there are so many books I have not read. I often buy books at the op shops or second hand stores and pop it in my library for a rainy day!! I have shelves of books I need to read

And if I start a book, I stick it out even if it is boring the pants off me. The Time Traveller's Wife was one of those books. All my friends raved about what a fantastic book it was, but I just kept persevering as I thought it's gotta get better!!  It took me like THREE months to get through that darn book!

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.
Instructions: Copy this and bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt. 

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (I have this in my library to read!)
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (haven't read any of the HP series yet)
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Bible
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell 
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (Have this on my bookshelf too!)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk (also in my library!)
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens 
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (have this in my library)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery 
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood 
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding 
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel (in my library)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert 
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck 
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce 
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl 
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 21: Orzo Salad

You know summer's coming when friends start dusting off their BBQs and inviting people over.  It's kind of a mystery as to what will be lurking under the BBQ cover when winter finally disappears and the days start to get longer. We haven't had our first barbie yet, but I think Tony is planning to attack the BBQ tomorrow and see what awaits him!!

We went to a friend's place last night and as in the Kiwi tradition, we were asked to take a salad or a dessert. I almost went the lazy way and piled up a plate of strawberries with chocolate dipping sauce, but thought probably half the others going will have the same idea, I'm sure!! Delicious but there is only so many strawberries a gal can eat.  So I decided to go with an old faithful dish that always gets rave reviews and I always get a heap of requests for the recipe.  Orzo Salad is a bit like the frittata, where anything goes and it changes every time I make it. 

Orzo Salad
1 cup of dried orzo pasta
½ cup finely diced salami, finely diced
1 red capsicum (or yellow), finely diced
1 avocado, sliced or diced
big handful of cherry tomatoes. halved
spring onions, chopped finely
100g feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup toasted almonds 
handful of coriander or parsley, chopped finely

I also use vegetables such as asparagus, cucumber, zucchini, peas, grated carrot, red onion, broccoli etc. Just depends what is in season or in the garden. I don't always add the salami. I also might add pumpkin seeds, pinenuts or sunflower seeds instead of the almonds

Cook pasta until al dente. Mix some olive oil through it to stop it sticking together and when cool, add the remainder of the ingredients.

1 garlic clove, crushed
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
splash of sesame oil

Shake well and stir through salad.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 20: Mining tragedy

Dominating the headlines in New Zealand today is the terrible explosion in the South Island at the Pike River Coal mine. The explosion happened yesterday and there are 29 miners and contractors trapped underground until conditions are deemed safe for rescuers to start the rescue operation.

NZ Herald has a good summary and time line of what is happening.  My heart goes out to anyone affected by this terrible tragedy and thoughts and prayers today have been with the miners and their families.  This is such a tragedy. I am holding hope that there is a miracle and that they all make it out safely.  Chile gives us hope....

Friday, November 19, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 19: TGIF

Image: http://www.onlyfunnyjokes.com

Oh I am so glad it is Friday and I can have a sleep-in tomorrow.  Weekdays, the alarm goes off at 5.45am and I can barely drag myself out of bed.  What are the odds though that tomorrow I will wake up before my alarm goes off, I will be all bright eyed and bushy tailed and won't be able to get back to sleep. 

Murphy's Law!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 18: Ric Rac Jazz

This is one of the patterns I picked up at Calico Christmas a couple of weekends ago.  It also featured in the exhibition in more pastel colours and was one of my favourites from the start.  (Katrina, if you're reading this, it's the same designer that designed the bolster cushion).

So I have been playing tonight with fabrics and have found a few that would work well with this design. I thinkI do need to go fabric shopping this weekend though to get a few more greens ...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 17: Fourteen!!

Fourteen years ago today I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Look at her now!!! She's 2 inches taller than me, and the same size as me. This was taken just before we out to tea tonight with her younger brother and sister.

We always celebrate birthdays with a tradition of going out to tea at a restaurant.  When the children were younger we used to cook a special meal at home and have a birthday cake. They would get to choose their favourite meal and we would make it a party atmosphere.  As they have gotten older, (and their table manners have gotten better lol) we now go out for a meal. Tonight we went to a local Indian restaurant and I can hardly walk now due to eating copious amounts of butter chicken and lamb korma!!

Does anyone else have anything special they do as a birthday tradition??

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 16: Eggs-cellent idea!

The girls have been extremely diligent in their egg laying lately, so much so I just cannot keep up with the production!!  Over the last few weeks we have had omelettes, eggs and soldiers, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, egg korma, gado gado, quiche, egg sandwiches, stuffed eggs, scotch eggs and lots of baking! Unfortunately, Tony is not a big egg eater, so I need to make meals appear like they don't have eggs in them!!  However, last night I was in the mood for something easy for tea and remembered a roasted vegetable frittata that he actually loves. That would also use up a great deal of my eggs.

Roasted Vegetable Frittata.

Dice a selection of vegetables cut into 1-2cm cubes and coat them with a tbsp or 2 of good quality olive oil. I used potatoes, golden kumara, carrots, and pumpkin. Bake at 180 degrees C until soft. Add onion chopped into wedges about half way through the cooking time, along with softer vegetables such as broccoli, capsicums or cauliflower.   I sometimes roast a couple of garlic bulbs and squeeze out the cloves as well.

Break eggs into bowl. I used about 12, I think. Depends on how many I am feeding!! Whisk eggs together. 

Add 500 grams of cottage cheese and 2 tbsps parmesan cheese to eggs and mix well. 

I also added some gruyere I had floating around and sometimes I add feta.

Add fresh herbs. I use whatever is in the garden so last night it was parsley and lemon thyme.

I also added a tsp of sambal oelek for a bit of heat, but you can leave this out.  Add seasonings such as salt and pepper if you want.

Once vegetables are cooked, spread into dish and pour over the egg and cheese mixture.  Flatten it out and sprinkle with a couple of tbsps of parmesan cheese. Add a handful of pumpkin seeds sprinkled over the top as well. Bake for about 45 mins.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 15: Summer strawberries

Take one bowl of strawberries

Add a splash of Heilala Vanilla Syrup

Finish it off with a scoop of vanilla icecream.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 14: Melbourne

Image: http://www.sydney-australia.biz/victoria

In 3 weeks I am off for a girls weekend in Melbourne, Australia.  I love Melbourne, and used to live about 3 hours north of there, so spent a fair bit of time in the weekends down in the "big smoke".  I haven't been there for years and years, so I am sure it will have changed somewhat.  I guess out of all the Australian cities, it probably remind me of NZ the most.

Anyway, does anyone have any recommendations for good shopping or quilting shops in Melbourne?? We are going for 5 days so should be able to fit in some shopping amongst the drinking and eating!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 13: Christmas Projects

Someone told me today that it is only 6 weeks until Christmas. Yikes!!! Where has the year gone?  I had great intentions of being very organised this year and having all my Christmas decorations done by now.  All I have done is sew 26 yo-yos so far for my Yo Yo Santa!

I have several Christmas projects I want to do before December and I have a feeling unless I get a wriggle on, none of them will see the light of day.  I bought this Christmas kit at the Craft Fair in September from Tirau Quilt Cottage as I loved the glitzy festive look of it. So I will start this tomorrow...

I seem to get waylaid by spending far too much admiring other people's work on their blogs and perusing and drooling at the online shops! I wonder if anyone else has this problem??

Friday, November 12, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 12: Rosalie Quinlan Giveaway

I just adore Rosalie Quinlan's fabrics. Leanne Beasley uses them in the Down in the Garden design that I am working on at the moment and I was VERY disappointed when the store supplied different fabrics for the BOM.   It was the freshness and cheeriness of Rosalie's fabrics that drew me to this quilt in the first place and I do like the antique pastels that the store supplied, but I really, really wanted Rosalie's fabrics.

Anyway, just guess how excited I was when I found this Rosalie Quinlan giveaway of Sweet Broderie fabrics.... Oh my, how luscious are those fabrics???

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 10: Baby Quilts

I just found out a very good friend of mine is having a baby. She has been trying for two years so it is fantastic news.  So, I have been wasting lots of time looking for appropriate baby quilts.  She is not finding out the sex so I need to make it so it will suit both genders. He is a typical Kiwi bloke so if it is a boy, I couldn't even have a hint of pink in it I am sure!!

I love Elizabeth Hartman's  quilts so her blog was one of my first stops. Nice clean lines with modern colours and simple designs. Found a couple there that would be suitable. Then I remembered Melly & Me. I love the clutch diaper change pad she has in her video...And her stuffed toys are adorable.  I think a quilt and something from Melly and Me would be perfect!

Now off to look for fabric online....I am so out of touch with baby stuff. My youngest is 9 going on 19, so I  haven't looked at baby stuff for years!! Hope I don't get too clucky :-)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 9: Quilting magazines

After Calico Christmas the other day, I went to Borders, which is a fabulous bookshop. I can spend HOURS in there, and I usually do. I love the fact that it has a cafe in there as well, so you can sit with a nice latte and peruse books and magazines at leisure.  Heaven!

Anyway, I spotted a Fons and Porters Magazine 

And there were lots of quilts in there that I loved!  I *had* to have this mag. Well, then I looked at the price. Gulp! NZD$25 (which is about USD$20).  OMG!!  Hmmmm, but there are 3 I would definitely make and most patterns are about $25 here, so with the rationalisation that I was now getting 3 patterns for the price of one, I quickly handed over my credit card before I changed my mind.

I have since been to their website and seen how much this retails for in the USA. Crikey, I can't believe I paid about 3 times as much as it sells for there.  I am now thinking about subscribing to a magazine, but wonder what magazines you all think are worthwhile.... Any suggestions?

Monday, November 08, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 8: Calico Christmas Part 2

 So here are a few more of the quilts that were on display at Calico Christmas....

Margaret Reid made this giant dahlia with Judi Schon doing the quilting.

A giant scrappy quilt made by Robyn McKenzie-Dobson

Pam Groube made this gorgeous quilt from American Civil War fabrics

Patricia Durovich made this eye popping quilt. The camera does not capture the colours at all.

Sally Smith made this to showcase Kaffe Fassett's cabbage fabric. I loved this one.

Donna Ward made this using Judy Neimeyer's pattern "Tumbleweeds"

Maree Duffelt's Floral Fantasy. She won second prize for best Amateur Large Bed Quilt.

Jane Bennett was inspired by a Chizuko Crazy Patchwork bag when she designed this scrappy quilt.

Heather Sokol did this quilt at a class in Te Puna. It was adapted from Fractured Crystals Simply Quilts by Fran Cameron.

This is an original design by Robyn Croft. Gorgeous! The colours were amazing. I love quilts like this as orange is a colour I would never use, but am inspired once I see a quilt that uses it so well.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 7: Calico Christmas

I am home again, albeit several hundred dollars poorer!! Calico Christmas was amazing. It is the first time I have been. so was not quite sure what to expect.  It was an absolute feast for the eyes and even if you were not a quilter, you would have to admire the creativity and inspiration behind the quilts.  I have loads of photos, but won't put them all in this post as there are about 200!!

I had several favourites and these appealed to me for their use of colour and their design. There were others that were gorgeous. and I could admire them for the work that had gone into them, such as the Baltimore quilts, but they are not "me".  Some of my favs....

This was designed by Wendy Oswin at Quilter's Dream.  It was called Ric Rac Jazz and she also had the pattern for it in her store in turquoises, hot pinks , purples and limes. I just had to have this! It was gorgeous.

A close up of the ric rac around the petals.

This was made by Joanna Baynes using Kaffe Fassett fabrics from his book Quilts in the Sun. 

This was made by Gea van Holst. I loved the colours in this and how she had pieced all her hexagons. The points all matched so perfectly as you can see below.

A mystery quilt by Natalie Murdoch and made by Jean Ramsay.

Justine Jones made this quilt for her daughter who stated quite firmly she didn't want anything traditional. I got talking to both Justine and her daughter and the inspiration came from a postcard and the daughter picked all the colours  to go with their bedroom. It was quite stunning up close.

Carol Mahoney made this circle quilt.  There were a few circle quilts there and the more I see these, the more I want to make one.

"Judith Bremner made this called "My Bedouin dress no longer fits" The fabric had been bought from the Spice Market in Istanbul and the dress from the Old City in Jerusalem.

Glenys Quinn made "Sawtooth Cats". It took me a while to figure out where the cats were!! Duh!

Sybil Lightbourne took a class with Hazel Foot and this was her first amazing effort in machine embroidery and free motion quilting. It is called Pacific Themes. A close up of the middle panel is on the right.

This is a design from Kaffe Fassett and won Best Use of Colour. It was made by Alison Haines and quilted by Susan Trendall.

I can detect a wee purple and turquoise theme going on in the quilts that I like. Will post more piccies tomorrow.


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