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, August 30, 2010

Higgledy Piddledy Post.

Ta muchly to all who commented on my last post (and if you'd still like to give me your thoughts, I'd be most appreciative). 

Congratulations, Faye of fayesplace!  My bemused hubby drew out Number One from the little pile I presented him with.  I will be getting a little something off to you shortly.

And as a point of interest, I happened to be speaking to a friend on the 'phone the other night and she mentioned she had found rabbit in our local supermarket for.......$24.95 (NZ, of course) for one rabbit!  Gulp!!  Maybe I should look into marketing them a little more seriously.

Now, onto some quilting:

Two little bassinet quilts for the maternity unit at our local rural hospital.  I finished them today using my beloved no-snit machine binding.  And I just happened to be travelling past today and was able to drop them off together with the other three I completed a wee while ago.  The gratitude they showed really polished my ego!

These were made with some leftover batik charm squares from Tulis Textiles.  I am forever amazed at how half-square triangles can be put together in so many different ways.  Might just have to try some more.  And the binding is the border I was originally going to put on my MIL's quilt, but decided it looked better without it.  Waste not, want not.

This is the back, I'm attempting to show the quilting, can you see it?  I'm still trying to decide whether this fabric is cute, or a little sinister....?

And then, because I was showing off big brother's drawings the other day, I just have to show this.  The first discernible 'thing' my three-year-old has drawn.  And she named it, not me!

Aren't scanners fantastic machines?!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Population Explosion

Well, I can see how rabbit populations can get out of control in the wild.  At this moment I have:

5 breeding adults
5 almost ready for the table
19 two month olds
4 month olds
and a litter due any day.

Phew.   That makes 33 rabbits. 

The litter due now will be the last born for this year so they can be cullable weight before Christmas.  We want to go away camping over the holidays and it will be much easier to just have the breeding stock to sort out food and water for.

The rabbits are such good lawnmowers.  Maybe not if you want golf green smoothness, but I'm not that worried.  Plus they fertilise as they go! 

You can see at the right the 'mowed' grass where the cage was the day before.
It's probably miles too much red tape to ever think of marketing them, but just for interest's sake, if your butcher or Farmer's Market carried rabbit;

a) would you buy it and eat it?
b) would you know how to cook it?
c) how much would you expect to pay?

Ha!  I have visions of me at the Farmer's Market getting pelted with fruit by bunny lovers!  Yikes!

Sam's waiting for me to move the cage.  She's almost drooling - but it's for the the rabbit poop not the rabbits!  Gross. 

PS.  I do love my bunnies.  I stroke and talk to them and feed them special vege scraps.  I just eat them too.  Gotta be better than intensively raised poultry or pork from a sow crate.

PPS. I'll send a little rabbity artist's trading card off to one lucky commenter.  Go on, I'd love to know what people think about eating rabbit!  (I'll close off the giveaway on Monday evening, NZ time).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


We have some new additions at Windyhill Farm.  I was hesitant to look forward to these guys because we suffered a three hour powercut on day 11 of their incubation.  After two hours I put them on a hot water bottle.  Then I got worried that they were too hot, I was worse than a clucky mother hen!

  I set 15 eggs; ten Light Sussex and five Silver Laced Wyandotte.  I candled them on day seven and removed four on the Silver Laced Wyandotte eggs that weren't fertile.  And after the requsite 21 days,  all eleven of the eggs left hatched!

I'm especially excited because these were all eggs from my own breeding pens that I've set up.  I've put some more eggs in the incubator today.  Hopefully my Silver Laced Wyandottes have improved their fertility this round.

My daughter is especially excited because she gets to cuddle lots of little fluffy bundles!  My heart is in my mouth every time she picks one up, but she is really very gentle.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I was duck nest hunting today round the back of our shed.  I'm sure they are laying (they were and then mysteriously stopped) but I'm also sure they are hiding their eggs!  But peering into a flax bush, I found something else.  Look close....

Isn't s/he gorgeous!!  I've never seen a frog in New Zealand before.  This one is an introduced species called the Green and Golden Bell Frog.  And it kindly stayed put while I got the kids to show them and then took pictures of it.  (The kids wanted to take it inside for a pet, of course, but we left it where it was).

I'm hoping this means good things.  Frogs breath through their skins in a way and are very sensitive to chemicals and sprays.  I'm hoping this wee froggy reflects our mainly organic way of living and gardening.  There is no pond out where s/he was, just a soggy ditch and the water tank (that is currently overflowing every time it rains).  But I'm hoping in summer, it will find it's way to our dam (avoiding the ducks) and produce a few more little croakers.


Friday, August 20, 2010


The Dragon (yes, capitals) is cut out, fused and I have begun to applique him on.  I am trying something out - appliqueing and quilting at the same time, hence all the basting pins.  So it's a kind of a quilt as you go project.  I've never done that before, and I really wanted to quilt this well, and for me, that's easier in smaller pieces.  We'll see how it works. 

I haven't posted much this week.  I've had a bit of stuff going on that's been occupying my mind.  Way back in January, I spouted off about my goals for the year.  One of them was getting our subdivision underway.  Well, it has been underway, but it's opened up a big, fat, can'o'worms with our neighbour.  To the point where we are going to have to involve a mediator or (worst case!) lawyers.  Lots of people told us when we bought land as tenants-in-common that it could end in ugliness and they were right.  But I still don't regret it, because it allowed us to get where we are today.  I do wish, however, that compromise was a more familiar concept to our neighbour than it is!

Ah, well, it will get sorted one way or another.  But if you don't hear from me for a little while again, it's because I'm trying to avoid bleating on about the conflict.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Challenge Number One.

So the first challenge of not buying any more fabric this year has occurred.  I needed a big piece (30 1/2 inches by 24 1/2 inches) of a sky blue fabric for the background of the applique dragon I'm making for my son.  Did I have such a piece?  No.  But I did have two smaller pieces.  Problem was, they were slightly different shades.  Solution:  piece them together in curved strips. 

I didn't realise it when I made my decision, but not allowing myself to buy any new fabric is providing challenges.  I haven't done a lot of curved piecing.  I know the theory, but just don't really do it.  So I got to practice and it was good for me.  I wonder what my next challenge will be.

This is the completed background with a few of the applique dragon bits laid out on top.  I love this part - seeing it take shape bit by bit is exciting!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Work Finished Thursday.

I didn't get around to posting a picture of this quilt top in progress yesterday, so today you get a picture of it finished.  Actually, I don't think it is finished.  I'm contemplating adding a border or two.  Just to finish it off a bit - frame all those colours and patterns - and make it a little bit larger.

This has to be my favourite block.  Of course photography doesn't show it, but there are lovely subtle colour graduations in both fabrics.  The setting triangles are in a mottled black.  I was thinking purple origianally, but none of the purples I had were right (and I'm NOT buying anymore fabric till next year!).

These two are my next favourite.  I like the design and I love the colour combinations too.

My Mother-in-Law's birthday is in early September.  I better get cracking on finding a backing (from my stash of course!) and deciding how to quilt it.  If anyone has any brilliant ideas on quilting - feel free to share, I've a few, but none of them are making me dance with glee.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jumping on the Wagon.

My name is Ms Lottie. 

I am a Fabricaholic.

To save my family from bankruptcy (and my cupboard shelves from bowing under the weight), I pledge not to buy any more fabric this year.

The thought makes me very nervous - what if I NEED fabric?  What if I see a piece that will be PERFECT for the next quilt I'm going to make?

Well, I will be strong!  (And I will dive into my scrap box to see if it will yield any treasures.)

(Ulterior motive that I didn't tell my husband:  if I don't spend any money on fabric now, I just might be able to save some so I can spend it at the Remarkable Quilt Symposium next year.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Mum! Look what I drew!"

My son will be six in a couple of months.  I have to show his latest drawing, I think it's just awesome.  (In case you can't tell, it's a castle!  There's a fight going on outside, you can see weapons and heads poking up above the dust cloud.  There's a couple of men falling off the top and one little chappy climbing a ladder.)

For a long time he wasn't willing to draw.  As a baby/toddler he would scribble away a bit, but wasn't really interested in paints and crayons like some kids are.  Then when he got big enough to want to draw a 'something', he refused to try - I think because he thought it wouldn't look like the 'something' he wanted it to be.

This one is a volcano, with three little velociraptors running around the trees and bushes at the bottom.

We got him over his perfectionism eventually and now he's keen as a bean to draw.  Sometimes he'll come back over and over to the same drawing adding more.  It's great to see him exercising his creativity like this.  (And it's a damn sight quieter than leaping round on the couch, hissing and roaring, being a Tyrannosaurus Rex).

The ultimate dino any kid wants to be - T Rex!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Weather Window.

I took these pictures after the rain stopped yesterday.  It was early evening and the light was glowing yellow.  You can see the overflowing stream in the paddocks of the first picture if you look hard.

It was a lovely fresh feeling to see sunlight after so much water from the sky. 

Today we have had a few showers but I managed to get a handful more trees planted and a grapevine too.  Tomorrow I have a kid-free morning and I just checked the weather forecast - a blue sky day.  I'll be working hard, trying to get the last of the trees in the ground because the weekend weather is not looking flash.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wet, whiney, work-in-progress Wednesday.

I'm officially blurk.  No mojo.  Rain, rain and just a little bit more rain.  Oh, and a good dose of wind.  Toddler has been home all week with snotty nose and cough, so no kid-free sanity time for me.  Got lots that I should be thankful for, heaps actually, just haven't got the spark to appreciate it all.

Okay, I'm kicking my own butt!  Ouch!

I'm thankful that I got my daughter's quilt finished.  And I'm thankful that she is now 3, which makes daycare cheaper!  I'm glad the birthday party was a success ie no black eyes or broken bones, and the only sulk was from big brother not birthday girl.

I'm grateful it's raining, because that means there is no drought.

I'm glad the dam's full now, in fact it's overflowing, so we will head into spring and summer with plenty of water.

And I'm really grateful I live in a house right now and not a tent!

But I just can't work up any gratefulness knowing that I have to get out in this weather and pick up my boy from school in a little while.  Hmmm, finger's crossed I CAN get out and there is no flooding!  (And I'm trying not to think about having to feed the animals later, slosh, slosh.)

Right, onto Work in Progress Wednesday.

I've got a few quilts that I want to do this year for certain dates.  My little girl's one was the first.  Tick. 

Now I'm working on my MIL's.  I'm up to laying it out and stitching blocks together. 

After that comes a dragon one for my boy.  I've designed the dragon block, now I'm picking fabric for the applique. 

And last but not least, I'm planning a quilt for my FIL for Christmas.  He is currently having six weeks of chemo and radiotherapy so I reckon he deserves something special.  I'm thinking positive/negative applique again - with a stag head, boar, native trees, birds, fish - he's a hunter, can you tell?  I'll keep you posted on how I go.

(And did anyone pick the typo?  Copy writer's block!)