Central Plateau, North Island

Central Plateau, North Island
View from a friend's farm

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

April 25th, 2017, Lest We Forget

 

Here in New Zealand, April 25th is recognized as Anzac Day,     (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) when services are held nationwide, to remember the servicemen and women who were overseas, who gave their lives, and the ones who returned to tell their stories. The Red Poppy is a symbol of remembrance , and  Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote of the poppy in his second to last poem “ In Flanders Fields”.

John McCrae was born in Guelph, Ontario, on November 30th, 1872, and trained as an artillery man at the  Royal Military College of Canada, at Kingston, Ontario. He  was a resident master of English and Mathematics at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph in 1894. He then returned to the University of Toronto and  completed his B.A. He later  returned to study medicine on a scholarship.

McCrae was appointed as Medical Officer and Major of the 1st Brigade CFA (Canadian Field Artillery). He treated wounded during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915, from a hastily dug, 8 foot by 8 foot bunker dug in the back of the dyke along the Yser Canal about 2 miles north of Ypres. McCrae's friend and former militia pal, Lt. Alexis Helmer, was killed in the battle, and his burial inspired the poem,  “In Flanders Fields”

In Flanders Fields

 

Poppy with morning dew

Quotation of the day

Lest We Forget

Greetings from Jean

Saturday, 22 April 2017

A Few More Blocks…

 

The QAL Freefall leaves are all falling into place nicely, and the ones on the paler background are all done. Then, I began to do the large ones!!! I had underestimated  the dark green batik by a mile or so… Out came what was my other choice, and some fussy cutting gave me fern curls in each one. Then I needed to match up that paler green, so had to do another block with the original dark green batik .

 

QAL freefall leaves on  pale background

While I was trying to decide whether another block was needed, Jenny and Robin called in. You can find Jenny here at         Romany Quilting  and see what her project will be after she rolls the dice for another week, or visit Robin at Romany Rambler and look at their fabulous caravan and see where their travels  take them. They are off further North, and I hope they have fine weather, sunshine, no flooding, and a great time with old friends and new ones as well.

Decision made,  I finished off the last one for this fortnight, ironed, and set them out. They are not all trimmed to size, but that will be done pronto . Some variations in the colours, as I had struggled to get them set out neatly, after juggling 2 smaller boards on the cushions!!!

QAL freefall large leaf blocks

 

QAL large leaf close up

Meantime, my knee is still painful, back on the crutches this morning. We have had some cold mornings, glorious warm sunny days, and the dry firewood is a worthy cause for all those hours earlier on.

Quotation of the day , from Richard P Feynman

“ Nature  uses only the longest threads

to weave her patterns,

so that each small piece of her fabric reveals

the organisation of the entire tapestry”

Greetings from Jean

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

8 QAL Freefall leaf blocks all done!!!

 

Hooray, ( **** Trumpet Call*** )  the first of 25 blocks are done, not trimmed, but I am so happy  with them.

Sandra, over at    mmmquilts ! has this fantastic QAL with another of her wonderful designs, this time it is for “ Freefall QAL” and already I see others have added their links.

I used the freezer paper method to do the actual leaf, drawing the square, then stitching on the lines, with no thread. That makes it so easy to turn back the freezer paper, and line up the outer  side parts, making sure that little dog ears line up. I iron one side piece on one side of the rectangle,  one on the reverse, that way they match up to the leaf sides.  This is OK for batiks, but for one sided cottons,  iron all onto the  wrong side, you need to do two rectangles, to get the 4 pieces needed facing the right way.

Side leaf freezer paper on either side of rectangleLeaf centre on freezer paper and sides cut outSide piece on leaf centre

 

Here they are!!!  I am so happy.!!! Can you tell???

8 QAL freefall leaf blocks not trimmed yet

We have had some more rain, but the Bay of Plenty is in a State of Emergency, Edgecumbe people who have been evacuated will be wondering what  will happen next. This was on 6th April. Photo courtesy of Internet.

Edgecumbe flood

 

Some homes need to be demolished, flooded off their foundations, other families have silt through their home, water rushed through in a raging  torrent, 1.5 metres high. They have lost everything.The SPCA has been rescuing animals and pets, going from house to house in inflatable boats or jet boats, wearing wet suits, and carrying pet cages.  Further away,  and here in Edgecumbe,  again today…residents have been told to be ready to evacuate if they hear the fire siren sounding continuously. I feel helpless down here and wish I could help. Maybe just having caring thoughts is the best we can do when so far away.  I feel sad  and guilty to be happy about my 8 blocks when so many families have lost so much.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Trying times need courage and resilience.

That will be when your strength is tested,

not when days are  calm and serene .”

Greetings from Jean.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Freefall QAL, I dithered, I dallied, finally I decided.

 

Sandra  at          mmm! quilts   (Click on the link to follow…)

is hosting a quilt along, with a delightful pattern of leaves, on a darker leaf and on a paler background fabric. I searched, then I shopped ( more fabric thought Hugh!!!), and finally decided. I hope the rainbow colours will go well with the marble green batik and the paler background.

These are not arranged in any order, but the paler ones will go onto the green,  the intermediate ones onto the half and half blocks, and darker leaves onto the paler background.

Freefall leaves and background fabrics all cut

Life continues, the MRI scan was all clear!!! Hooray, no surgery at the moment, just a cortisone injection, so a lot more pain for that first 24 hours, still using crutches ( just try and balance and use a roller cutter!!!).It must surely improve, and if not with time, then with age.

We have had dull days, then lots of sunshine, the lawn gets mown regularly, the weeds grow, and flowers bloom.

Quotation of the day, from Nelson Mandela

“ May your choices reflect your hopes,

not your fears’”

Greetings from Jean.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Serious Design Faults and Pretty Pictures

 

The kitchen trolley might  be  good for the kitchen, but when it comes to having a 12 inch rotation cutting board on it,, or the ironing protective mat, there are faults galore. Too narrow, too short, handles get in the way, and even  with the legs adjusted to the full height, too short!!! 

But it can fit in the “ Laundry Day” quilt,  this is as far as I have managed this weekend. The grass needs some embellishment, a small shrub at the right hand side, where the pathway didn’t angle out, and the wonky  chimney needs reinforcing after the earthquake. Likewise the roof will have huge  “ Galvanised Nu-Fix roofing nails” ( Bernina pattern # 162)  to keep it firm again. And the clothesline rope arrived, from the LQS.!!! There had been flooding and liquefaction as well,  that  is the blue wavy lines on the road!!

Laundry Day  quilt

And before I went to have some pretty photos taken with the MRI scanner, the local quilt shop had a necessary visit. Some lovely golden yellows, a few more greens, and two swirly paler batiks, just in case I want to change the background again in the ‘Freefall quilt along” which you can see right here at this link,

mmm! quilts with Sandra

After all, every girl needs to have choices.

New batiks in March 2017

The ladies at Radiology were so kind, caring, and made sure I was as comfortable as I could be, my legs  were both  supported by a cradle? and the right one had another on top, probably with coils  in it. Ear plugs, and headphones, as they talked to me all the way along. And a squeezy hand piece, in case I needed help!!! Lots of noises, a bit like an orchestra tuning up.The only really uncomfortable part was the weighted bag below my knee to keep that leg steady, but a body wriggle as they suggested helped.

Photo courtesy of the internet,  I could not take my crutches inside,  but a lovely lady either side gave all the support needed, and  I thankfully answered all the questions with NO,  for Bullets, shrapnel, body piercings, eyelid springs??? metal anywhere, and more… and then came the height measurement. I have shrunk from my earlier days!!! At least 1.25  inches!!! Horror.

MRI knee coil

Next week I will get the results and find the answers.

Our son-in-law’s Dad passed away on Sunday morning , at home,  after a long illness. Russell Brown was a wonderful man, so respected and admired  in the Otago community and will be so sadly missed by Ann, their family, grandies, friends and relations. His farewell is tomorrow, and we will be there in our thoughts.Our love to them all , and specially to Ralph and Kaz.

Quotation of the day, as I  remember ,and say goodbye to Russell .

Godspeed, dear friend.

 

A limb has fallen from the family tree, that says,

Grieve not for me,

Remember the best times, the laughter, the song,

The good life I lived while  I was strong.

 

Greetings from Jean.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Fabric on a kitchen trolley!!!

 

I am still walking with crutches, but have been given 2 aids!! One is a shower stool, very handy, but the kitchen trolley on castors, and a bottom shelf is so handy. Batiks can be arranged for a photo shoot so easily. I want one here forever!!! Maybe Hugh can make me one in wood.

I decided a while ago to try and sew “  Quilter’s Laundry Day” designed by Jen Rosin. there are some small fiddly pieces, including a 4 inch square mini quilt to hang on the clothesline. This morning I found the applique that might just fit.

Laundry Day Mini Quilt to go on the clothesline

the motif can be ironed in place, and the blue fabric needs to be sewn,   quilted and bound or have a facing.  It looks large but in fact is 4.5 inches square now, leaving 1/4 inch for the seam to be turned over. It is a start. The gold metallic thread is for the stars in the Southern Cross, and will goon the darkest blue at the top. The clothesline posts, a bit of a problem there, as half-round or full round posts would be what we use down here. Tanolised pine, maybe I can put two twigs there instead, and sew them on top of some brown fabric. Nothing like being innovative, or accepting a challenge. This is not large, and finishes at  16.5 inches square.And there will be a bright pink house with a green door!!!

Laundry day quilt fabrics

Meanwhile Sandra at has a new quilt along called Freefall. You can find  all the details  on her blog. Click below for the link to open.

Musings  of a Menopausal Melon - mmm! quilts

So naturally ( why not, the crutches are a pretty accessory)  I decided to join this too. I have 2 choices for background, and also 2 options for the main leaf. One background is peachy, the dark green  is  like moiré taffeta swirls. The other is the grey/greeny/lemony batik I am using in the 150 Canadian Women Blocks, and the dark green is one with a stylised leaf frond, very New Zealand based.

For the smaller leaves I have selected a variety of rainbow colours, the only one missing is the Y in the  ROY B GIV list.

 

Freefall fabric choices #1

 

Freefall fabrics #2

 

 

freefall fabrics #4

 

Freefall fabrics #3

The background fabrics look a lot more pale than they really are. I welcome any suggestions or deletions.The pink background  picks up the red tones in the leaves, while the grey/green one has a similar watercolour wash effect to the plain green fabric.

Meantime…. I have had a visit to the orthopaedic  specialist, a MRI is next Tuesday and a follow up appt., to see him again on 29th. Slowly the wheels are turning. The possibility is ligament surgery, and a one night stay in hospital. I am not sure if I can manage the machine treadle with my left foot, guess there might be some hiccups on the way with that.

Quotation of the day from Lao Tzu

“ Do the difficult things while they are easy,

and do the great things while they are small.

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”

Greetings from Jean.

Friday, 3 March 2017

The Swap Goodies Have All Arrived!!!

 

Have you ever participated in a swap of any kind? This was a first time for me, and my envelopes went, from Rangitikei to Rotorua, to Auckland, to Vancouver via a suitcase of luggage in an AirNZ plane, then by plane to Kelowna, then  the staff at big White posted them!!! What a roundabout way to get my fabric swaps to friends in the 150 Canadian Women group.

This is the first part of the return trip, on the runway at Kamloops airport in British Columbia.

Kamloops airport Friday 3rd February 2017

Then  last Saturday the final ones arrived. Wow, it was better than waiting for Santa to  come .

Swap fabrics  for the 150 Canadian Women Blocks 2017

There are reds, in all shades,some plains, some patterned, some  with motifs,  and thank you all so much, Cindy, Christine, Dolores, Ingrid, Janet,  Melissa and Pauline . and yesterday one more envelope arrived, a piece that was part of the collection for the Vancouver Winter Olympics, in 2010.  This is destined for Block #15, to honour Elsie MacGill. Thanks so much Kate, I will make sure  when I sew this block, I look at the snowflakes and the Inukshuks and  think of others that have some of this fabric as well.

Elizabeth Muriel Gregory “Elsie” MacGill (Vancouver BC 1905-1980)
“Elsie, Helen Gregory MacGill’s daughter and suffragist Emma Gregory’s grand daughter, was the first female graduate in electrical engineering at University of Toronto, first woman to earn a master’s in aeronautical engineering and first practising Canadian woman engineer.

Blocks finished #37, #30,#35

Meantime sewing is still at a very slow rate. I think there are more pages of unsewn blocks than finished ones!!  The centre block #30 was a huge challenge.  And I used freezer paper for #37,  instead of paper piecing.

My knee is still very troublesome, I see the specialist next Thursday, maybe I should have some hand sewing ready in case I am confined to bed or  not allowed to walk for a while !!!

The garden is showing signs of Autumn, mornings are dark a lot later, and although days are hot, cooler times are already waiting at 6 a.m.

Japanese Anemones or  Windflower or Anemone hupehensis, Anemone hupehensis var. japonica, grow and grow, cut them down, dig them out, and they still grow. Tall, graceful and delicate.

Japanese Anenomes in early sunlight

 

Japanese Anemone

Josh’s second year at Victoria Uni in Wellington has started, a science degree in Physical Geography and Geology  has fascinating subjects , I cannot help wondering if he will get to visit Antarctica at any time. And Danielle continues to do so well with Joey, the jumps are getting higher all the time.

Quotation of the week, from Emily Bronte

“ Every leaf speaks bliss to me,

fluttering from the autumn tree”

Greetings from Jean