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!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rabbit on a Rampage

Well, not a rampage really, just a jaunt.  But I've had rabbits out on jaunts before, and it only ends one way! More rabbits!  A couple days ago we had howling wind and it was so strong it blew off the roof of the rabbit cage.  Mama bunny saw her chance and there she was the next morning, bouncing round on the lawn.

The ducks weren't quite sure what to make of her.  "She's white but she doesn't quack.  And whoa!  No waddle!  Definitely not one of us."

And looking at the background of that photo makes me realise I haven't pruned my fruit trees yet.....add it to the to do list.

Very shortly we will be getting some more of these wee sweeties.  It's serious calving time around here on all the dairy farms so it's the best time to get some calves that I'll then raise by hand.  A year or two later and they fill our freezer nicely.

I just witnessed the home kill of our last two big cows - which I kinda think is the right thing to do.  I've raised them, cared for them, shifted their paddocks every fortnight, chased them around when they've got out, and I like to see that they have as good an end as they did in life.  And they sure did.  Our home kill guy is great.  One shot and they drop like a stone.  No terror of trucks and abattoir, just contented grazing right to the end.

I used to be a vegetarian - kinda weird now when you think of what we do here: raise rabbits, chickens, sheep and cows for our freezer.  But my main complaint was the way they were raised and then slaughtered. I feel good about how our animals live and then die so I don't have any qualms about eating them.

But I have to be able to keep them in their paddocks/pens/cages first!!  So now I have to dig out the live capture possum trap and try and get that mischievous Mama Bunny back where she belongs.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fabric Painting on a Windy Weekend

I painted these yesterday.  Freezer paper stencils and fabric paint - lumiere and assorted others, on white 300 thread count cotton fabric.  Then today was howling with wind so I stayed inside and touched them up a bit.  Hubby took the kids for a jaunt to the shops to spend some of their pocket money so I had a couple hours of solitary painting time (aaaahhhhh!).

I'm pretty pleased with this one.  It is the kokako, or blue-wattled crow.  It is severely endangered, and has the most beautiful haunting call.

The keruru or wood pigeon. It has the most distinctive heavy wing beats when it flies overhead, and is known to get drunk and stumble around on lawns from eating fermented berries!

And the tieke or saddle back.  I'm pretty sure it survives only on off shore island sanctuaries.

I'm undecided whether to try and cut these out and appliqué them to my background, or paint them directly.  These were practice pieces but they've turned out so well that I'm tempted to try the cut and appliqué route.  If I painted them I think I'd have to paint the background white first.

And this is a background on which they will all be placed (the design wall is still under construction).  The majority of these fabrics are my own hand dyes or surface designed fabrics and there will the a nikau palm in the centre.  I better get moving on this quilt as I wouldn't mind exhibiting it at the Auckland Festival of Quilts (aka Calico Christmas) in November.  Chop chop!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Everything has it's positives and negatives.

Today we are inside hiding from the atrocious weather - rain and wind, which is always a fun combination when you combine it with five children.  Yes, I said five!

My sister in law and her three girls have moved up here from Hamilton for this school term (3 months or so). They want to spend time with my father in law, who is not well.  So they are living in our rental house, which is next door to the parents in law and so far the kids have settled into school well and are having lots of fun playing with their cousins.

But my SIL has to go back to Hamilton now and again for work and this week coming up is one of those now and agains.  Consequently I have five kids today and four for the rest of the week (one will be heading off to stay with the parents in law as we can't fit five kids in the car).

And then tomorrow is my little girls first full day of school!  My husband and I keep marvelling at how fast time has flown, how big she is now, how easy it will be with both kids heading off in the same direction on the same day etc etc.

So I haven't had much time to quilt today, but the electronic baby sitter has just been switched on (DVD player) and so I thought I'd squeeze in this post with a photo of a couple of wall hangings I'm making.  These are made with the positive/negative applique method and are patterns I've designed myself.  

Now I must go and start on the four school lunches for tomorrow!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Perpetual Soup

One of the best things about having a fire is perpetual soup.  This soup started as a bacon bone, split peas, celery, onion, and carrot.  We ate some of it, then added water, more split peas and split red lentils, some potatoes, carrots and leeks.  We'll eat some for lunch and then maybe add something else.  And so on.  Leftovers will go in, more veges, eventually it will need more stock or another bone (stock is an essential for good soup in my book).  It just bubbles away gently on the back of the fire all day and all night and feeds my kids for lunch and snacks.  Yum.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Studio Tour

So I'm all moved in (well almost, I'm still finding junk valuable supplies tucked away that I need to find a home for).  The photo above is of my front door taken from behind my sewing table.  You can see the kitchen door to the left of the picture.  There is a bookcase that my boy has mostly appropriated for his toys - you can see his castle set up in front of it.

Turning in a clockwise direction, there is a little alcove where a couch/sofa bed will live one day.  There is another set of glass doors at the front.  I got given an amazing moveable wooden screen made by a friend and it divides the area up into a couple of play areas at the moment.  That big empty wall will hold my design wall.  My husband gets 1.2 metre x 2.4 metre sheets of polystyrene at his work so I'll cover one or two of them with flannel and I'll be away. 

Keep turning in a clockwise direction and you come to my work area.  There is a big chest freezer in front of my sew-ezi table and it actually makes a great work surface as it's bench height.  I have a trestle table set up to the left of my sew-ezi table and it extends my flat sewing surface.  If I'm doing a lot of cutting, I transfer my big cutting mat to the freezer top and I'm thinking of  fixing it to the freezer with velcro dots so that I can still open the freezer while it's there.  The bookcases were a swap with a good friend and they are fantastic!  The thread holding shelves on the floor covered with a blue cloth will be attached to one side of the bookcases and onto the wall.

One more turn clockwise and you see down to the other side of the house.  There is the bathroom behind my sewing area and a laundry area opposite the bathroom.  I'm going to get a big stainless steel bench to go over the washing machine and dryer and some wall cupboards to go above that.  This will be my dyeing and painting area (and I might even do some laundry here too!).  Next to the bench is my big white fabric cupboard and then the doorway to the kitchen and the rest of the house.

And the best thing is that I have started and completed a project (the pics below) in my new room, so I've had a good try out and it all works!!

These two wall hangings were made from a friend who has breast cancer.  Unfortunately she has just discovered she has lung metastases and so we need to help raise funds for her treatment and just to generally make life easier for her and her husband and her three little boys.  We held a dinner and auction night last night and sold these two and lots of other donations and raised a really good amount for her.  If anyone wants to find out more:

Jaynie's facebook page
Hug your babies everyone.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Felt like some appliqué.

So it's been about two weeks since I last posted - gasp!

I've been busy moving into my studio, working a few extra shifts to pay for said studio, and generally keeping busy with kid wrangling (it's school holidays here for a couple of weeks).

The other exciting news is that I finally set up a Felt shop.  Felt is the New Zealand equivalent of Etsy.  I only have one thing on there for sale, but it's a start!  My dragon appliqué has made it's way into pattern form and is available if you have a hankering to make one for yourself.

I'll work on getting some 'studio in use' pictures up soon.  Happy quilting everyone!