Central Plateau, North Island

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

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud……..


‘Twas not a soul in sight,

5.30 a.m., I walked to the gate,

And  thought the world was quiet!!!


I went out at 5.30 a.m. this morning, in  ‘jamas and gumboots ( the grass was wet and it was cool) to turn on the tap for the water sprinkler, and in the  gate came a courier van.At this time??? And me, not dressed for this or any occasion? He put the parcel in the letter box and reversed out the driveway. Whew, not sure if he did see me in the almost dark, but with headlights  glowing, I wasn’t so sure!!!!

Sandi, it arrived before New Year. It is beautiful, It is hanging on the wall in our dining room, so I can see it every time I walk through.Thank you,  thank you soooo much. Pop over here…  to see Sandi’s blog ……            Kwiltnkats                                

This is a Christmas Tree Ornament, from Block of the Day, Quilt-Pro Systems, pieced by Sandi and quilted by Kerry Marksbury, Santee, Ca. I am so honoured. The quilting design echoes the pattern on the pale cream fabric, and is truly outstanding,  and  the red in the flying geese has the same pattern too. A treasure for always.

Christmas Decoration, from Sandi Delman, San Diego

I had a few more goodies made, but could not put in any photos till after they were given. Joyce has a wall hanging on the wall by  her laptop, with the words. Gratitude, Harmony, Beauty, Grace, and two verses for Earth Blessing. The binding was finished very late Christmas Eve.

Joyce's wall hanging Christmas 2015

Hugh has his laptop, 2 printers and a laminator on his desk, and they needed new covers. I made 4, with various cat applique pieces, deep red  striped fabric, and fawn striped fabric for the borders. He wondered what they were for!!!

Hugh's cat place mats

Our family from Rotorua arrived on Boxing Day, and on 27th, a very, so much appreciated ,working bee took place. A mini-tornado, workshop walls, spouting, guttering, the smaller shed, and then the solar panels and the end gable, so sparkling, I need extra sunnies when I go outside. Thank you all so much, that extra height is a HUGE bonus when  using  a broom to reach the tall parts.

Normal menus have taken over, after ham, cheesecake, and chocolates, the quilting is continuing, the garden is wilting, and the hoses are working overtime.

This is written with Open Source Live Writer, and with no Spell-check, a bit  of a challenge to proof read  it all. Hopefully there are not too many spelling mistakes.

I wish you all a Very Happy New Year, with good friends, a loving family,  happy times at home or elsewhere, fine weather, snow when you want it, sunshine in summer, and safe travels. For me, this year has been so special, with new blog friends, quilting challenges, and long time friends that always, I am sure, held me close when the times have been tough. Thankfully, Hugh’s health is so much better, not 100%, and maybe never will be, and I again thank you all for your love, support, prayers and messages, they kept me going, when I could so easily have fallen down.

Quotation for today, and for all of 2015, from Kahlil Gibran

“ To be able to look back upon one’s life in satisfaction, is to live twice”

Greetings from Jean

Thursday, 24 December 2015

The end of another wonderful year in Blogland

This year has seen many new friends, challenges in the quilting arena, , deadlines to meet, and joy when they were met. The batik stash has been almost depleted. Bags were made and posted  everywhere . The last one is for a friend who lives close by.

Hugh had his spinal surgery, we welcomed a new ginger boy, calling  him Boris, ( The Warrior in Slavic language), Felicity is still the  matriarch of our family, at 17 years old. We visited That's Frankie and her 12 hour old  foal Crazy Daisy, Ginger Boy came, had his breakfast, and left for the day,   Our family had adventures , Josh on his  bike or  Danielle on her  horse, Fire at first, then Joey, Josh received his NCEA level 2 certificate and  is off to Victoria University in 2016.The tall trees grew, the firewood pile looks good for next winter, and flowers bloom in all their glorious colours.

I thank you all for your wonderful friendship, care, prayers, and support through the hard days and months over the last 2 years, this has meant so much to me and I have been so grateful and thankful,  and for each of you, my hopes are for happiness, good health, love and laughter, and may 2016   be kind and generous to each and every one.

I finish with the quote from Jake Bailey,  the Head Monitor of Christchurch Boys High School . His inspiring  words embody  the qualities of  love and strength , and he has gone from giving this speech.... to a long stay in hospital for treatment.... to win the  Massey University Quote of the year 2015.

"  Here's the thing - none of us get out of life alive.  So be gallant, be great, be gracious, and be grateful for the opportunities that you have"

Greetings from Jean

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Goodies, Edible Ones

These are my favourite recipes that never fail. Last minute baking that doesn’t need weeks to mature, and can be eaten the next day. Or the  same day for the shortbread. I am going to add some lavender flower petals to the next batch, crush each one a little and add to the mixture.

Baby Christmas Cakes          Perfect for a gift to a single person

175 gm mixed fruit, 1/4 cup whisky, brandy, rum or sherry      100gm softened butter,  75 gm soft brown sugar.2 tblespoons treacle or golden syrup  , 1 egg, 75 gm flour, pinch baking soda, pinch cinnamon 2 tblespoons milk.

Put the fruit in a bowl with the whisky and soak overnight.Heat the oven to 160C, Beat butter,golden syrup, and brown sugar till light, add egg. Sift dry ingredients, and add with the milk. Put into 12 patty pans, paper cases or silicon muffin pans, bake 20-25 minutes, They will be flat and sticky when done. Brush with a little more whisky, and leave to cool.

Christmas Fruit Cake       No sugar, butter or eggs

1 kg mixed fruit , 2 cups orange juice , ½ tsp vanilla

Soak for several hours or overnight  .  Add 2 cups S R flour, or use plain flour with 1 tsp B Powder to each cup                                                         1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp mixed spice     

Line an 8 inch square tin with greased then baking paper.

I use a tin that slides to make it larger than the 7 inch square one.

Can be cooked in a ring tin as well.

Oven 170 degrees C, 1 ¼ hours.

Favourite Shortbread   This is for a double batch.

10 ounces butter, 5 ounces icing sugar, 5 ounces cornflour,10 ounces flour. Cream the butter and sugar well, should be light and fluffy. Add flour and cornflour. Knead well, roll out  1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, cut into squares, and prick with a fork. Place on greased try, or use baking paper, and bake for 30 minutes in pre-heated oven at 150C( 300F).

Apricot Fudge Slice  , Decadent delight.

250gm packet wine biscuits,( any plain sweet biscuit will do) 1 cup dried apricots, then chopped finely or whizzed into tiny pieces, 1 and 1/2 cup coconut, , 1 can  Sweetened Condensed Milk, 125 gm butter. Put condensed milk and butter in a pot, stirring all the time till melted.Add the other ingredients,  mix well, ( I do it all in the large pot)  I use a large wooden spoon, and press into a slice tin, 27cm x 18cm ( 11” x 7”). Put into the fridge till set. This can be iced for extra garnish. Yummy to the extreme.

The new Open Live Writer has no spell check yet, they are hoping to add this soon, so although I have proof read this, there may still be mistakes.

The lawn has been mown, all of it,  some, well, all  the  outside windows  and some inside windows have been cleaned, almost all the sewing is done, one bag to finish, and some table place mats to do, and Whew!! just the presents to wrap.

Quotation of the day, from Bing Crosby

“ Unless we make Christmas an occasion

to share our blessings,

all the snow in Alaska won’t make it WHITE”

Greetings from Jean

Friday, 18 December 2015

The NEW Open Live Writer has arrived


Here it is, the new version, and I hope it will be as good as WLW. We will see.Aha!!! No spell check!!!

The first photo went in OK, This is Ginger Boy asleep on his favourite place, a padded black cushion bed on the settee in the lounge.He sleeps there most nights, and looks at  us with one eye as we turn on the TV, walk through, and make a lot of noise in the  kitchen. Not too bad for a stray boy at all!!!

Ginger Boy, one eye open

Late afternoon sunshine on the day lily garden.

Late afternoon sunshine on the Day Lilies

July 2009, Finn at the end, Tom by the Teddy Bear, the beautiful  blanket was knitted by Muriel, Hugh’s Mum, in a pattern called The Leaf.

Finn and Tom,  July 2009

Quotation of the day, by William Faulkner

“And sure enough even waiting will end…

if you can just wait long enough”

Greetings from Jean

The last Bag has Flown Away

This year has been the one where I made bags,  so many bags, they have been posted, given, some still to be sewn, some  have flown North, the very far North, the far  South, and this is not the last one, 2 more to do for Christmas gifts.
This one is for the grand-daughter of a dear friend who died earlier this year.it will fly to Auckland today. Tonia, Joyce and I think of Jeanette so often, and remember our days together with much love and happy memories.

 Our place is Cat Heaven, they come, they stay, or visit and leave. Right now we have had ,at various times, Jerry, who might be the brother to Boris, Toby, the new boy on the street, Arthur,Arnold, and others with no  names , One huge grey and white, one even larger black and white, one black one, and a few tabbies. But our own Felicity, Boris, and Ginger Boy remain happy. After our shopping, we stopped at the farm that sells water lilies. Two were selected, but these boys with their fine feathers took my eye.

With Live Writer finished, the solution for me is to do the post in WLW, copy and paste to blogger, then insert the photos, That way, I can  choose the font, it is familiar, and seems, for me, to be easier. The alternative is not working yet, and will not be  supported  by Microsoft, it is an Open Source program.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Take a chance, because you never know how absolutely perfect something could turn out to be”
Greetings from Jean

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A bit of this and a bit of that

Life continues here as usual, some shopping, some sewing, some blogging. I know that I can post directly to Blogger, but cannot have a choice of fonts I like, and the photos take  a long  time to insert. So this is a trial again, using Word, and hoping the photos will go when I copy and paste into Blogger. No, they didn't so just pasted them in while in Blogger.

Yesterday, Christmas shopping, a huge new cutting mat, and a bobbin holder, a plastic case with foam insert, cut out slots for 28 bobbins. A great day, but so busy, and didn’t get everything done, so out again today. Gift vouchers, socks (yes, boring but that is what they want). I am doing most of the driving again for a while,

Here are some lupins; the colours have ranged from white, pale cream, mauve, purple, pink and more.

Quotation of the day,
“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age,
 and dreams are forever"
Greetings from Jean

Windows Live Writer has ended

The latest news for those who use WLW, is that it has finished as we knew it, and Open Live Writer has taken the place. But there are glitches, we cannot log in, it will not accept the user name, and the time lapse between the old and the new is unacceptable to everyone,  So many comments are out there. It seems so many are very unhappy about the change.
What are you using instead? I liked the  Live Writer, as I could do a post, save. edit, and all offline. Does anyone have their favourite alternative.
Quotation of the day, author unknown

" Don't be afraid to change, you may lose something good
but you may gain something better"

Greetings from Jean

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Just In Case You Thought

Life here is   all Beer and Skittles, in fact none of either frequent our place..Lawns need mowing,  meals need cooking, and fabric needs sewing.
The One Block Wonder for December, with Sandy at  Upstairs Hobby Room   HERE , told us the magic words….
Well December is upon us and everyone will be getting busy with  shopping, decorating and food preparations, not to mention gift making and extra family and friends dropping in. So this month's block  is super easy, and all about paper piecing..... So I sorted out some batik, and thought a bag would be the way to go.Well, the blocks were a little big for a bag, so it morphed its way to a quilt.
These are all batiks from my stash, and the supply is getting a little thin!!! These 36 blocks are pinned on the design wall, and now I decide to either QAYG, Quilting each strip as I go, or to sew all together and quilt it  as one piece,   and take my courage to a new level.!!!
In the garden, all the plants are blooming, foxgloves  are  in tall spires, one lone cosmos in a pot, and all else is looking good. The red plane spins with the wind, and tells the direction. Made by Hugh. One visitor asked him if he was a pilot!! No, just very clever with wood and timber, and  so much more.

I am having problems with Live Writer and Blogger, so had to paste and copy this to Blogger, the photos seem to be so slow to add, so none of the garden and wind plane. Maybe next time when the post goes as normal.

Quotation of the day from Steve Jobs
“ Don’t let the  noise of other people’s opinions
drown out your  inner voice”
Greetings from Jean

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Deception , Subterfuge, or just plain “ Research”?


Recently   I was so lucky to be a part of Kimberly’s mug rug swap. You can find Kimberly here,    at    Camp and Cottage Living

and if you scroll down, Kimberly has  photos of the mug rug swaps. My partner was Tiff, in Maine, It is a small world, we have friends in Maine, they stayed here some years ago, and live about 4 hours from Tiff and her family. I did some looking up, research, LOTS, through the posts and the years… and scrolled through so  many of her posts. Tiff is the most amazing lady, they have a family of 8, one son is in Hawaii, and with sadness  some years ago, has compassion and love in huge amounts. Gradually I found their names, it all happened when I saw the post with her bracelet, a beautiful gift in May this year. So I made them all a key ring holder, with New Zealand motifs on the fabric square. And Tiff’s mug rug, that  is a story all by itself, It was going to have a strippy Christmas Tree, I did several, and they were just plain boring and wishy-washy. So I googled the rainbow colours, how could I forget the acronym of  ROY G BIV. More research done..And it was in Red, orange,yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. I liked it so much more than a pale tree.

When my  mug rug arrived, there were 2, one for Hugh ( He claimed the Gingerbread man)  and one for me,  “ My Moose”some delightful fat quarters, deep reds and green, and some special buttons. I was so excited to get a parcel from Maine, and thank you Tiff, so much.You can find Tiff here at   Folded Gingham   .

My Mug rugs and more from Tiff, Maine,USA

The online quilting is still going on, the December ones are done, A marathon few days sewing and ironing,  last week slipped by with   almost 3 days laid up with back pain. They are done, and photos taken. My design boards need to be taller!!! the lowest 3 blocks are drooping on the carpet. I don’t know if they will have sashing, but I can see the paler ones will need some  moving to a different place,  to balance it out.And what looks white is really a paler blue.

Midnight Mystery on the design boards

Did I ever say that I write as I talk? My Dad would certainly say so if he was here.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Rainbow colours brighten the day,

after rain brings them out of the sky “

Greetings from Jean