My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Red and Black

I have an idea *.... lets all wear red and black (Canterbury sporting colours) next Tuesday 1 March - a week after the terrible and fatal earthquake, to show our heart-felt support for Christchurch people and to give Cantabrians the message that "we love you, we feel your pain and we are all with you".

Imagine walking down the street and seeing red and black everywhere - New Zealanders showing support and solidarity for fellow New Zealanders.

Imagine being a visitor to NZ and experiencing this country-wide expression of support.

Imagine being a Cantabrian and seeing and feeling this big wave of kiwi support.

Get out your red and black clothes, scarves, hats, bags and shoes next Tuesday 1 March and show you care for Christchurch

Share this with your family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours

Let’s show Christchurch that we care for them and are thinking of them now.

*This is not actually my idea - post is copied from an e-mail sent to me - but you can be sure that I'll be wearing red and black tomorrow.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lessons learnt today.

 Don't try and take photographs of quilt tops in the breeze.  It's frustrating.

 This lesson was learnt by hubby:  Don't leave three-year-old daughter alone in the car with zinc sunscreen.

 If you go to the Opua Regatta, you WILL buy something.  Even though you say you won't.  But doesn't it suit our rustic house?

I did eventually get a picture of the quilt top.  This is what I did with my 'recession' quilt blocks that I didn't particularly like.  It will get a simple backing and be donated to 'Quilts for Kids' who donate to Women's Refuge and will also be organising quilts for Christchurch.

I haven't much felt like blogging over the past week.  It seemed flippant in the wake of the huge tragedy that was unfolding before us, and still is.  There were many other bloggers who were letting the world know what was going on, so I just pulled my head in and shed tears in the evenings after the children had gone to bed.

Kia Kaha Christchurch.  There are many people out there thinking of you and doing the little things that we can to help.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Negotiation gets you everywhere

Our gender roles have changed dramatically over the last few decades.  Mums used to stay at home and look after the children, cook, clean and 'keep house'.  That's just what they did.  Dads used to earn the living in whatever way they could.  Nowadays there is so much more flexibility within society.  Sometimes this is great, but sometimes it makes a family unstable as everyone has different expectations of their own (and everybody else's) roles. 

This was happening in our own family to an extent.  I expected certain things of my husband, he expected certain things from me.  We both thought the other person could mind read and so resentment was brewing.  But now we are working on negotiating our roles and tasks more and we are back to happy. 

Weekend mornings were a sticking point.  But now they are working wonderfully.  Hubby gets to sleep in for as long as he wants.  I get up when the children wake and feed them and get them occupied with something (and work on keeping them fairly quiet).  In return, Hubby cooks dinner both nights.  Fantastic!  We both got something we wanted out of the deal and both conceded something.

And when my children rolled me out of bed early on Saturday morning, I got something extra out of the deal.  I got to see this serene and spectacular dawn.

I think the pinks and purples and oranges (which the photograph does no justice to) stayed in my mind, because when I sat down to make a block for our upcoming guild block game (more on that another day), this is what appeared from under my sewing machine.

I love the sheer boisterous femininity of it!  My husband would probably choke if I tried to make a whole quilt like it and put it on our bed....but then again, all things are up for negotiation!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Saga of Windyhill Farm.

In the beginning was a block of land.  Some wide-eyed innocents came along and imagined the space for kids to run around, room for chickens and vege gardens, a place for a shed for the man to tinker in.  They bought it.

They built the shed.  The did some fencing.  They bought a few cows and would visit every weekend to potter around and dream.  Then one day they decided that instead of dreaming about a house, why not live in the shed?

Work began.  A floor went in, walls followed, old wooden windows too. 

A house was born!  (A kinda funny looking, functional-not-beautiful house.)  And then the man realised that now.....he had no shed.  Planning and dreaming began again.  The woman dreamed too, of a studio, a deck, a veranda to shade her when she relaxed in a chair with a glass of wine the children when they played outside.

And so.  The man got his shed, the woman got her veranda.  The house looks more balanced and will be a more enjoyable place to live in.  They celebrated.  But they are not finished.  Now they plan a deck to protect their children's feet from the gravel and mud.  And best of all (in the woman's point of view) they plan to enclose the last bay of the shed and turn it into a quilting studio (although the man persists in calling it a rumpus room).

The woman wants her quilting studio to be roomy, comfortable and gorgeous.  After all, the man-cave is big enough to fit a concrete truck in!

Stay tuned for the next installment.  However, it may be some time away (unless I win Lotto this weekend).

And Little One was pregnant.  She is a very proud and protective Mum of nine new babies.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Garden Harvest

I rummaged around under the jungle that is my garden and dug up enough potatoes for dinner.  I love digging for spuds, revealing hidden treasure.  However, I LOATHE putting my fingers through the half-rotten original seed potato.  Urrrrgh.

Some tomatoes I found today.  These are Latimer Beefsteak.  I have totally neglected them and yet they still give me this bounty!  Last season I didn't plant any because we were late getting the garden started etc etc.  This year I planted them but then didn't tie them up before I left for holiday and came back to sprawling triffids.  So I'm all fired up for next year.  If I can get this sort of crop from total neglect, what can I get with tender loving care?!

And for dinner - lovely, lovely kingfish.  (Can you see Hubby's fat left hand?  He got a paper wasp sting and it didn't agree with him.)

I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  We have been busy building boxing for a concrete retaining wall in the new shed, moving the chicken enclosure, relaxing and trying to stay cool.  Now onwards and upwards to Monday.

Friday, February 11, 2011

An apple a day...

Three Mama Bunnies - enjoying an apple treat for breakfast.  Does the grey one (Little One) look pregnant?  If she is, then she's due in a week or so, and will soon be taking vacation to a smaller run where I can keep a closer eye on her.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Where I confess I am a dork.

So last post, I talked about how I was frustrated because I wanted to work on my big blue and white WIP (work in progress) but couldn't find a few pieces.  See the missing sets above? 

To make a nice square quilt I was missing two sets of three blocks.  My good friend Sue suggested that maybe I had never actually sewn those sets and would have to sew some more.  But I knew I had finished every block for the quilt!  So I searched my WIP pile.  Then I searched my boxes of miscellaneous fabrics.  Then I searched my scrap box.  I was even contemplating searching my fabric stash.  Grrrr.  Then I looked through my old pictures to find one of my layout to convince Sue (and myself by this stage) that I had actually finished all the blocks.

Oops.  It's not a square quilt.  It's a rectangle and I had all the pieces in my hot little hand, I just couldn't see how to lay them out.  Doh.  Sorry Sue!

I'm off today to find some white on white print fabric to match for setting triangles. 

And this pic is for Cathy from Cabbage Quilts who is also doing a paper pieced quilt with diamonds and squares, but a different layout.  She wanted to see my layout and a picture says it better than words.  Cathy's is a beautiful Kaffe Fasset pattern and she has the most delicious sense of colour.  Go check her out.

Monday, February 7, 2011

More Little Projects

This year I said I'm going to work on one UFO/WIP/PHD (unfinished object, work in progress, project half-done!) a week and try and get some of them out of the way using little baby steps.  Well the baby steps got my three bassinet quilts all done.  They are for the maternity unit at our local rural hospital.  My daughter REALLY wants to keep the colourful one.

 This week I'm working on these blocks.  They were started in a 'Recession Quilt' class.  Hmmmm.  Not my kind of colour combinations, so I've put them away again and again, lost for inspiration.  But I think I'm getting somewhere now.  I'll show you a finished shot when I'm done.

I was meant to be working on a big blue and white quilt that I've had half sewn together for ages.  However, on laying it out, I'm missing several blocks.  Grrrr!  Frustrating.  I'm hoping they'll turn up as I work through other projects.

It's also the time of year for Christmas themed fabrics to be on sale.  And since I can now buy fabrics again (!!) I have in my possession nine metres waiting to be turned into gift bags.  I ran out of bags at Christmas time and they save so much wrapping paper and time spent wrapping that I'm determined not to run out this year.  I've made eight new ones so far.  Several more metres to go.

I'm snuffling today with a summer cold.  Not pleasant in the sweltering heat and humidity we are having.  Plus the builders are banging and crashing outside, but I'm not going to complain about that at all.  They are putting on cladding so I'll take a few more pictures soon.  Almost finished!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Little Projects.

A while back I signed up for a Round Robin with The Patchwork Place.  A good friend of mine takes classes with them and told me about it.  I've never done a proper Round Robin before so I thought I'd give it a go.  I've finished my first block and am ready to post it off - it's flying away to Aussie.  Our instructions were to make a 12 1/2 " block, on-point, representing our favourite feature about where we live. 

Mine represents the bush gully with the creek flowing through it that hides at the bottom of our block of land.  The colours are for the NZ bush and the dawn skies that I love and the koru has four buds on it for the members of my family.  The green border symbolises the greenness that surrounds me everywhere I look. 

Looking forward to receiving the next set of instructions!

I'm also going to admit that crumb quilts and me just don't go.  I made a start, and that's about as far as it got.  So I've found a new way to use my scraps (maybe not teeny crumb scraps) and have a handwork project to do in those moments as well.  I'm paper piecing a square and diamond quilt.  Because I want to organise a colour wash layout, I'm basting everything first and will then stitch them together when I have them laid out how I like.  So it might take me a few years, but all good things take time right?