Monday, December 21, 2009

Advent.



So, here we are in Advent . I am keeping up to posting, although rather infrequently, only my third post since starting, in August.













Christmas time is my most favourite time of the year. I love decorating the tree, hanging the green boughs and wreaths, the Christmas lights and generally making our home look festive and welcoming. There are gifts to chose or make, then wrap, for loved ones and friends, always a special treat to find the perfect item. There are the cards to write and baking to to do, while the Carols are playing. Then the special Carol Service in the city. It is held in the beautiful, Wellington Town Hall, built around 1906 in the exquisite architecture of the period, also with superb acoustics. The Salvation Army bands' vibrant red blazers, are a great foil for their sparkling brass instruments. The music and the singing are so very uplifting, adding to my spiritual experience of Christmas.


As we await the celebration, joy and family togetherness I have been contemplating a different type of Christmas. Perhaps a white Christmas would be the perfect backdrop for me, however living in the southern hemisphere, it would be a rarity in summer although, today's temperature was only 12C. I am accustomed to searing summer temperatures, cloudless blue skies and sometimes, raging bush fires at this time of the year. In Australia, I would expect to have a floral arrangement of Christmas Bush & Christmas Bells, both native flora, adding touches of blue from Hydrangea and Agapanthus, along with the white of Shasta daisies. These flowers are all reminiscent of wonderful Christmas times, shared at my Grandparent's home, with extended family. Here in New Zealand, there may be Hydrangea and Agapanthus, but they usually bloom after Christmas. The Shasta daisies will certainly not be out for a couple of weeks. The beautiful New Zealand, native Pohutukawa, also known as a Christmas Bush, is bursting forth all over the city. The rich red blossoms and two tone green foliage, will provide a perfect floral greeting for family and friends. I wish for you all the joys and blessings of the Christmas Season.
On Christmas morning, we welcomed family from near and far being blessed with a visit from our DD#2 from Sydney. Later our friends arrived to share lunch and we all enjoyed a happy day.
Photos below in order,
DD#1, DD#2, Gingerbread House made by Nicholas & Joshua with the help of their wonderful Au Pair Christin, from Germany, along with the entre of fresh avocado topped with succulent prawns. Last, but not least, our Christmas pudding, a marinated fruit and berry delight sandwiched between layers of pavlova, an Australian specialty.












Thursday, October 22, 2009

Garden Cherubs

Keeping a diary was never one of my strong points, as evidenced here.

During the last couple of months I have investigated many wonderful blogging sites and have been inspired by such beautiful and varied work. I enjoy seeing all the creativity and now need to add to my 'to do' list, logging other blogs of interest, I would like to follow.

During August I completed the afore mentioned, Roman Blinds for both the kitchen and family room. Perhaps a photo here may be of interest, I need to remember to do the photo.

I made a bag for a very kind friend for her birthday. The lovely motifs on the fabric indicate my friend is a keen golfer.


Gift- Carry Bag

Also on the completion list for August, is 'Snow' fob from Shepherd's Bush,

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along with a start on a piece from the Sampler Girl. titled,
'My Everything,' a quote from W.H. Auden. I completed this piece by the end of September. It is a gift for my husband on our wedding anniversary, in October.

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'Spooky' fob by Shepherd's Bush another completed item for my collection of stitching paraphenalia.

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In early October, with a smoking needle, I worked on my hexagon quilt. I managed quite a decent amount of progress putting the large hexagon blocks together. When the top middle section was joined, I was unhappy with the colour of the combining hexagons. Those hexagons are a tad too bright, IMHO. A tea/coffee dye wash may work the trick.
Experimenting continues, two small hexagons have had a tone down however, extra toning is still needed for a more subtle appearance.

Preliminary construction



For the Australian, Victorian Bush Fire Appeal, I made a few Christmas ornaments. These are for distribution among victims, who lost all possessions, in the fires earlier this year. From what I have heard, nearly 500 ornaments have been collected so far. These were generously made and donated by kind folk from around the world.
Here is my humble contribution for the ornament collection, followed by a cross stitch square I stitched for a quilt, to be donated to the same cause.
Ornaments for VBF Appeal



Australian Possum in Gum Blossoms.

Australian possum in Gum Blossoms


I have two Christmas ornaments almost ready to post to my exchange partners for this year. Photos of those, later.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Memories Quilt.

Un jour.

A new adventure.

Although I have contemplated a blogging site for over twelve months, today seemed to be the day to start. My dear husband, has been following along as I wallowed through the instructions. . We both have been on a learning curve this afternoon.
I need to be more disciplined with my 'Sublime Pastimes' in order to share some of my sleeping beauties/WIP & completions, in this medium.
I am currently working on a small cross stitch piece, a Shepherd's Bush scissors fob, "Snow" a quilt which has been in and out of packing since 2001 and a large Roman blind for our family room window.

Today is our DD#1's birthday. We had a lovely luncheon at a restaurant, overlooking the harbour. It was a beautiful warm winter's day to celebrate with family.

My " Memories" quilt is a particular favourite and was completed a few years ago. I gave it that title, as woven within the stitching of the quilt are memories and events surrounding three very special folk, who shared and enriched my lifes' journey, during its' construction. The quilt was started in 2000, when I enrolled in a class, just so I could have the pattern I had long admired. Around that time, our DD#1 announced her engagement to a New Zealander. I also invited a very dear friend to join me in the quilt class and, my dear Mother gave support & inspiration as I planned & stitched the quilt. My friend Marg, was new to patchwork, keen to learn, certainly captured by this inspirational pastime and recently had moved to Sydney from Adelaide. The class was not really for beginners however, I was more than happy to help and encourage my friend to complete the task. As you can see by the variety of small blocks there was much work involved, and then, the quilting. We shared many stitching hours together working on our quilts. My friend managed to finish her quilt, long before mine was anywhere near ready for completion. We had a trip to New Zealand near the end of the class. It included a relaxing week in the Marlborough Sounds, along with a tad of stitching time. I planned to stitch many of those blocks while on holiday. Before we left I cut out each four inch block while my dear Mother packaged each one in separately labelled bags, along with the pattern and my stitching notes. One of the blocks was a small horse shoe. I adapted the block to be two entwined horseshoes, to commemorate our daughter's engagement and forthcoming marriage. Another member of the class generously shared her horseshoe fabric with me. Yet another block, was an American flag. Naturally, I changed that block to be our very own, spectacular & beautiful, Australian Flag.
Since then, I have lost my wonderful Mother. We had a special relationship, I am an only child, and she was not only my Mother but also, my very best friend. She & my maternal Grandmother, played a major role in my passion for needle & thread. I am so grateful to them both, for the wisdom they imparted.
I also lost my very dear friend, to breast cancer. She had a marvelous sense of humour, making quirky comments along the way. I remember her with great fondness and, also great sadness. Hug a friend or loved one, whenever you can &, whatever you do, never hesitate to see them anytime you can, even if you have to jump on a plane and travel to another state or country. On several occasions, I have hesitated too long.
I understand why another name for a quilt is 'a comforter'. There is nothing quite like wrapping yourself in a quilt for a nostalgic interlude.