Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Very Horsey Day

Something weird is going on with Blogger, but I'll battle on. Sorry if this post ends up looking disorganised.

I had a super day today. I went out to the Butcher horse paradise and today was farrier day. There were three farriers working for several hours trimming hooves and hot shoeing. Johnny has decided that horses have stinky feet. I'm not so sure about that! I guess they do walk in some pretty nasty stuff, including their own poo, and the hot shoeing does involve lots of singed hoof and smoke. I know most people wouldn't think much of ferrying horses back and forward, and filling troughs, but it was my idea of heaven. I was sent off to use my horse whispering skills on Dolly, who belongs to the neighbour, and is apparently a real "bitch" of a mare and hates being caught. Armed with a bucket of food and a halter I was sent forth by Emily. I used my usual strategy, which always seems to work, and had her caught within about a minute. I think it was mostly the bucket of food, but she was so good for me and even snickered at me later on when I appeared. Dolly had her hooves trimmed and was then taken to the diet paddock because she is obese. She never gets ridden and was bought as a pet, but her nature is apparently not pet-like at all. I thought she was quite sweet once I got her settled. I guess she needs lots of cuddles and handling. Unfortunately she runs away from her owner.

The most exciting part of my day was my first Zanny ride. Viv took her for a spin first because she hadn't been ridden for ages. She does have a head flapping habit that is a bit disconcerting for someone who was thrown off by Sam (who was doing the same thing first). But we got along just fine. Viv took me on the lead rein first, then the lunge, and then, once I'd got trotting, on my own. It was great fun, even though it was a bit scary because of the head. She is very responsive, requiring the softest aids (instructions given with the body)and very gentle hands. I loved her trot which was very smooth, although I had to watch her speed and slow my rising to slow her. Viv didn't have any advice about my position, and said I looked great. Emily was pleased too. Yay! A bit of sad news though. Zanny was thought to be pregnant, but we took her over for a scan after my ride, and she unfortunately isn't now. Maybe she was and reabsorbed the foal. We'll never know. Anyway, she is being raced over to the West Coast for another date with her husband because apparently her follicles indicate that tomorrow is the day for action. Hopefully I'll get lots of rides in over the holidays. Viv says a few more rides and I can come and ride her independently.
The vegetable garden is busy growing well, although my lettuces look positively puny compared to the huge iceberg lettuces growing in pure rotted horse poo that I saw today. I seem to grow great onions here. These are my biggest yet.

The Three Sisters (plus weeds and single spud) garden is racing skyward, and there's already a pumpkin forming. I have to remind some of the beans where they should be going.

The tomatoes in the greenhouse are merrily forming fruit. They should be ripe soon.

Raspberries! It is worth having a jungle of raspberry bushes in the corner to be able to pick bowls like this.

Miss Dog! Stop eating my raspberries!

My dear Monty, I miss you so much. Gertrude Jekyll is planted on your grave. She is utterly beautiful and a fitting tribute to the sweetest boy ever.

I've only got one delphinium and it looks gorgeous at the moment. New Year's resolution- get more delphiniums.

And finally, Johnny found these very cool snowflake cutouts. Starwars snowflakes!

Poor Johnny just fell of his bike and has a grazed knee. He is having a great time with his bike and now he has the wound to prove it. I think I'll be getting a new bike soon so that we can go on adventures together. Shame it isn't a horse, but Zanny seems to like me, and lucky for me Viv and Emily are very happy to share her with me.

Very frustrating blogging today, but I think this post is ok. I hope the changes to the blog post writing template are not permanent because I will not be pleased.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Two wheels to Hell

Today we biked 14km. Yes, 14km. All the way to Lincoln, then a wee explore, then home again. I thought about horses all the way. I need to be fit to keep progressing with my riding. I actually didn't find it too hard, but had a bit of trouble afterwards because I had a massive mood swing down, which reminded me of the bad old times before my new medication. It took a long time, and rather a lot of tea and a decent feed to recover. In fact it took several hours before I was back to normal. Weird, so I guess I overdid it for the first bike ride of the holidays. Luckily I'm bright eyed and bushy tailed now. Usually I feel all alive and joyous after exercise. Not half dead.

Johnny extended the desk in my workroom today. I'm very pleased indeed because I've got a bigger surface to do my sewing on. I must take a photo to show you. I'm going to get some pretty oilcloth to go on the top. I'd love some Cath Kidston oilcloth! Floral or spots, of course. I'm working on a project that I can't show you. Jasper is helping. Well, supervising in between snacks.

We've still got presents to buy. Sigh. I feel like I've been working on Christmas for months. Maybe everyone will get a voucher next year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Made it!

School broke up yesterday. It has been a long, long school year. We've been through so much. Earthquakes, snow, a very sick principal, exhaustion etc etc. My class has come so far. I'm so proud of them, particularly those that have learned so much about managing their own behaviour. Today, apart from my date with the gorgeous Navarro, I basically blobbed.
As you can see, Navarro was in a good mood. Me too.

I was a bit nervous because I hadn't ridden in two weeks. Navarro is a youngster and has a few tricks up his sleeve. He has been trying it on with the beginners by taking them where he wants to go, including rubbing them up against the fence. We had a bit of a steering negotiation initially, and once he realised that I was in fact in control, he settled into his work. I still had to stay vigilant and really ride him well. These holidays are going to be a time for me to work on my fitness, because I really need to have much more stamina when riding. It is not particularly helpful getting all floppy and weak once cantering work begins. Today he shied a little at canter and I tipped forward, which was a bit mad at speed. It made me laugh, actually. Thank goodness for the body protector.

Tomorrow I've got plenty of work to do in my craft room, plus we plan to bike to Lincoln for our exercise. My arse is challenging Navarro's in size - thank goodness it isn't spotty like his!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nearly there

We are so close to the end of the school year. As you can probably tell by my lack of posts, I've been very tired, so thank you for bearing with me. We finish at lunchtime on Friday, then have a yummy lunch and Secret Santa etc. Looking forward to driving out of the school gate for the last time this year after that.

I rode last weekend, and had a brilliant time on Mr Spotty Bum, Navarro. I worked on getting him to flex correctly, and did lots of steering practise, because he hasn't done much arena schooling or dressage work, and is rather stiff. Most of our work was at a trot, but we did one brilliant big canter circle, which Celine was very pleased with because I got him to go on the correct leg on the first try, which is tricky for him. I couldn't ride this week because the Christmas Cracker Showjumping Competition was on, and the Scarlett Oak team was competing. No trot pole event, so I was excluded.

Actually it was probably for the best that I didn't ride because it has been horribly windy. Yesterday I managed a good ransack in the garden. It has got a bit out of control, partly due to busyness and partly because of my back. No excuse now, as my back is better. Today I had to triple-peg the washing. We had brunch at Thyme Cafe and in the afternoon I worked on a Christmas present in my workroom. It was lovely to get back in there, and now I'm even more excited about the holidays.

Wish me luck for the last week of term. I hope our Christmas concert item goes to plan, and we don't have a shamefully embarrassing display in front of the parents. Anything is possible.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I'm so sorry. I meant to take lots of photos this weekend. I've had a lovely horsey weekend, plus I got loose in the garden. My roses are beautiful. Miss Dog had her friend Molly over to visit, while we had coffee with her parents. Molly yapped like a lunatic and the two of them darted all around the living rooms until I sent them outside to play. Miss Dog loves her, even though Molly is about 1/20th of her size.

Yesterday I had my riding lesson. I rode My Lovely Sam, the bay fellow. Navarro had been shod on Friday and was a bit sensitive around his hooves, so I couldn't ride him. I gave him a big massage, which he thoroughly enjoyed. MLSam was a fun ride. I practised my cantering. He has quite a bouncy canter, but was easy to get into canter, so that made my job easier than when riding grey Sam. I felt a bit unbalanced, but managed to get a few canters in around the circle. I also did trot poles, working on getting into the correct jumping position. I missed the fabric topped saddle I usually ride in, because leather saddles are much more slippery!

Today we went to do a little bit of shopping, then this afternoon I got to visit Zanny. I couldn't ride her as she hasn't been shod, but I helped to bring her into the yard then groomed her. She was pleased. Zanny got good news today- she is pregnant! All that tarty behaviour around her stallion husband has paid off. She doesn't look like a brazen hussy, but the mare she went over with has come back foal-less because Zanny did her best to keep the stallion away from her.

I ransacked part of the vegetable garden today. The ground is getting very dry already. Weeds seem to have superpowers to overcome terrible conditions. I should start eating them. Vegetables are feeble in comparison. I got Johnny to put the grass clippings into one of the raised beds and topped it off with horse poo and spare soil. The two garden beds with nothing but bought-in compost are now hopelessly lacking in nutrients, so I'm working on building them up again. One of the glasshouse tomatoes is nearly as tall as me now. I'm impressed!

We've only got three weeks to go at school. I'm feeling a bit panicked about Christmas. Time is rushing by.

Sorry for the dull blog post. I'll do better next time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Summer is coming

We had a hot day today. So hot, in fact, that I couldn't spend any time outside during the middle part of the day. My skin is exceedingly displeased by heat. My weird red cheeks are super red today.

This morning I decided that it is now time to work towards my first one day event, so Miss Dog and I got out for a brisk walk. Naturally, there was something very tempting at the other end- foals and their plump mummies at the Standardbred farm down the road. I had another spooky horse whispering experience - they are adding up, so I'm starting to think there might be something going on. There were two mares in a paddock close to the fence. When they saw us coming they tore around their paddock. I stopped and talked very quietly to them from a distance. They came over towards the fence. Miss Dog and I wandered on past them and admired the babies for a while. Then we went back to the other mares, who made a very determined effort to get close to me. I stood as close to them as I could and they were fixated on me, totally ignoring Miss Dog. I felt sad to leave them behind without being able to touch them. There was an electric fence and I didn't want to entice them too close to it.
The roses are magnificent.

I want some more bearded irises. Mine are rather common types. I want spectacular!
I love foxgloves. They are a mainstay of the cottage garden, in my opinion.
Lettuces are a large part of my one-day-event fitness regime.
I've never grown yams before, so these are keeping me entertained.
And look at this exquisite artichoke. Too pretty to eat.
The Three Sisters Garden is growing well (apart from the poor corn I squashed when I fell over backwards pulling out a huge parsley plant that had gone to seed). Can you spot the pumpkin, corn and bean plants?
In the glasshouse the tomatoes are getting very busy flowering and starting to fruit.
I do have one worry at home. Mr Jasper doesn't seem 100%. I think he will need to visit our friendly vet.
Here's my body protector vest. Miss Dog thinks it is rather interesting. I guess it smells horsey already.
Johnny says it looks like an anti-stab vest. I'm thinking that your average horse doesn't have the intent to stab me, although I guess one could kick the crap out of me, to put it crudely. It says the vest will not protect against "severe torsion or crush injuries." Not very encouraging.
Here's my larger collage. Not finished. It needs a binding.

Must go. We are popping in on the neighbours for a beer. Well, it wont be a beer for me.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Meet my new boyfriend!

Oh my goodness, I'm in love! Meet Navarro, my newest horse friend. This photo is of my riding instructor, Celine, riding him at Scarlett Oak Equestrian Centre.

He is an appaloosa quarter horse cross, and has the classic tail and mane of an appy- very thin. Appaloosas were bred by American Indians to be easy care, apparently, and a nice thin mane and tail causes less tangles and requires little grooming. In fact his mane is like a hogged mane but soft and wispy. His tail looks much thicker in this photo than in real life. It is his "blanket" that made me so excited - he has a spotty bottom. His spots are mostly brown, but some are black, and he is roan everywhere else. I have a passion for spotty horses. So when I saw Navarro it was love at first sight.

This story gets even better. I got to ride Navarro for my lesson today, and by the time I finished I was even more in love. He was fun to get ready. He just drifted off to sleep when I groomed him, although was a bit tense when I did his hooves. I forgot to say I got my new body protector vest this morning, so, feeling a little like I was wearing a stiff life jacket, I mounted up. Navarro was an absolute pleasure to ride. He was super laid back and lazy. Fantastic. We worked on circling in and out (using the leg yield technique) which was a bit dodgy because Navarro's steering is a bit of a challenge. We trotted and trotted and I got mad with myself because I kept rolling my hands inwards. I think we used to ride like that all the time- palms down - as my hands naturally return to that position every time I think of another body part. The vest made it tricky too. I'll get used to it. Then we cantered and cantered. It was so easy because he was sooooo smooth, both at trot and canter. My bottom didn't leave the seat at canter. I also did some trot poles, which I loved with my new vest on. It really made a huge difference to my confidence, and so did Navarro. I hope I get to ride him lots and lots. Celine even said now we've got the horse for me to do pre-pre-pre baby eventing on. Now there's a goal!

Zanny arrives back from visiting her randy lothario tomorrow, so I hope to have my first ride on her very soon. I hope she likes me!

Garden and crafty news tomorrow.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Popping in

Just a quick visit to let you know I'm still alive and kicking. Well, sort of. I had such a busy weekend that I'm about ready for bed, and its only 7.30pm. On Friday we had a holiday as it was Show Weekend. We were planning to go to the A and P show, but it was so windy and horrible that we decided to stay home. I wrote reports. We had a party to go to in the evening. Then on Saturday it was wet. Apparently Celine still took lessons, but Sam was in a foul mood as a rider came for the first time and was all rough and kicky on him, which he did NOT LIKE at all, and tried to throw him. So then he tried out one of the other horses and got bucked off. Serves him right. I can't stand rough people around horses. Celine said to come on Sunday so I was pleased not to have to get wet.

We had Indian food for tea with the Crafty Neighbour and family. Mr Crafty Neighbour gave Miss Dog a horrible leg to munch on (wallaby, if you must know). Miss Dog loved it, but we weren't so keen when she piddled and vomited heaps in the garage overnight. Johnny was a treasure and cleaned it up, thank goodness, as I was making hideous gagging noises when I smelled the aftermath. He was trying to keep me sweet because he wanted me to go with him to a pot luck dinner with strangers (to me, not to him). I zipped off to my riding lesson. Poor Celine was ill in bed, but Erika did a wonderful job with my lesson. I started out quite anxiously, as I'm still working on rebuilding my relationship with Sam. After a fair bit of coaching, I realised that I needed to really get bolshy with him, so I pretended he was my most frustrating student, and got very growly. The nerves slipped away and I did some amazing serpentines. Well done Sam!

After my lesson Johnny turned up too late to take some photos of me in action as he had been cycling and it took longer than expected due to the company he was keeping. No problem because he then came with me out to the Butcher residence to visit Ben, who had been colicky during the week. He was exceedingly grateful to receive lots and lots of scratches and brushes. He moves himself around so that you can get to his favourite scratchy spots. He shoves his ample bottom in your face, which is hilarious. Oscar came over to have a look. He only ever allows Emily and Viv near him in the paddock. I put my hand out and he snuffled it and let me stroke him. I slipped under the electric fence and he let me give him a good stroke and brush on one side. Fantastic. I also gave Johnny (horse) a good scratch on the neck - it is his last week of box rest and he is desperate for love- and he poked his head way up high and poked his flobbly lips out with enjoyment. Frazer is looking even more grown up. It won't be long before the vet will be paying him a visit and he will be a colt no longer. Zanny is coming home soon as she has been a real tart and the stallion is tired. Hopefully she has been knocked up, and if not, it won't be for lack of trying, apparently. I'll be having my first ride on her soon, I think. Viv seems to think so. Exciting. Plus Celine almost has two new horses, one of which is quiet and free moving, and the other who is quiet and super lazy. Sounds excellent. Also, the Twilight Eventing starts this Wednesday, and we are helping again.

This post has been longer than I expected. I didn't even get onto the pot luck dinner. James May is blowing things up on Man Lab, which is a brilliant programme, and has Johnny gripped. Bye for now.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

More horses

It wasn't quite like this:
But I had my first jump lesson yesterday! I couldn't ride Sam because he had lost a shoe, so I rode Celine's other Sam (aka My Lovely Sam). He is a homely looking bay fellow with a (usually) quiet nature. He has one quirk- he spooks and shoots forward when he gets a fright. He did a tiny one while we were having our lesson. I spent time during my lesson just getting used to him as he felt quite different than Sam. He has a bouncier trot, and carries his head high. I didn't canter this week, but instead did trot poles. We went bounce bounce bounce over three poles. He just steps a little higher, but it took a bit of getting used to. I can't do that on Sam because he takes poles like they are a flaming pit from the bowels of Hell.

Back to the professionals. Emily probably did her first trot poles before she was out of nappies. She has come a long ways since then. I went and groomed for her at the one day event at McLean's Island today. She had a happy day with all of her horses doing a good job. She got some placings. Lewis looked very happy and powerful on the cross country course.
Introducing Evie. She is being schooled by Emily at the moment. Em doesn't usually speak highly of mares as they can be moody creatures, but she thinks Evie is something special.
She is a stunning lady.
This was her first big outing and she took everything in her stride.
She was a pleasure to work with today, and I'm looking forward to following her in the future.

Another new friend- Molly came for a visit yesterday. She reminds me of a bumblebee.
She looked so funny zipping along the windowsill.

We had to move Jasper's bed as on her last visit she ran across it and he was so offended that he wouldn't sleep on it until it had been thoroughly washed. He was rather septic for a few days too. I'd hate to see what would happen if they met face to face. Jasper would probably take her down.

It is bearded iris time. Divine.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rose Time!

Oh how I love roses! This year's first rose is this sweet yellow climber - part of my English Rose collection, but its name is long lost. Could it be Teasing Georgia? I bought several roses at the same time about five years ago, and planted them in my old garden. I bought them here with me, and I am very glad I did, given the state of my former garden now. This lovely rose is just outside the dining room window, in the same garden bed as last year's winner, Kathryn Morley.
The good news is that I'm sure there's lots more room around here for more roses in my collection. This garden seems to be very encouraging and kind to my roses. The aphids are rather too welcoming, but I intend to have some strong words with them asap!
A little friend bought me a bunch of flowers from her grandmother's garden. Strangely, I gave another friend a bunch of flowers today, then received my own gift. I love giving bunches of my own flowers. In fact I'd love a cutting garden just for that purpose.
Look, the bearded iris' are coming out. My first yellow one is out, but I couldn't get through the thicket of rose bushes to take a photo. There are some spots in my garden (not many) that require a certain element of "suck it up and take the pain" when I want to weed. Some of my rose bushes are a unhappy about intruders in their territory.
I've had a couple of people say these are their favourite flowers in my garden at the moment. Ranunculas. Does anyone know if they have a pretty common name?
The Dutch iris' are spectacular. My favourite ones are the blues. I have clumps of mixed ones, and they go through a succession of colours- white, yellow then blue.
Blue is my favourite colour in the garden. These corydalis make me very happy. My lovely friend, Lulu, gave me another clump on Friday.
Not the best of photos, but the artichokes are tall and fabulous, surrounded by a rampant forest of flat-leafed parsley.

Today I had my ride. I'm a bit sad that I am now more frightened when riding my big boy. He didn't do anything alarming today, but Celine had to push me to challenge myself. I did work on cantering today, and did get some lovely transitions, but I had trouble getting him working for me today, and when he isn't paying attention, I worry about what he might do. I did have a lovely time, but I hate being frightened because it makes me feel weak, and reminds me of the anxiety disorder I have under control. On the very happy side, I spent some time grooming Jake. Poor Jake has a huge, ugly scar under his mane, and currently has a healing wound on his back leg, which is making progress, but is still covered in a large, protruding scab. He obviously has a less than happy past, but is a smoochy, cuddly big boy. He is an unpredictable ride, and will be going along nicely, then suddenly shoot backwards until he hits something. Alarming even for Celine. He is going to see the horsey chiropractor as the farrier thinks his hips are not aligned. Anyway, he and I had some lovely time together, and he enjoyed a good brush and stroke. He even let me do his hooves. I might make time to give him some extra attention when I visit.

The roses will be very happy with my huge bags of horse poo that I brought home today. There's plenty more where that came from.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Three Sisters

Today I planted a "Three Sisters" garden. Sorry no photo, as the light is going and I've just come inside. I went to the doctor this week and I have a diagnosis of a lumbar sprain. Ouch! The best medicine for my injury is to keep moving, so I've been doing the right thing trying to carry on. I've managed OK with bursts of increasing activity, interspersed by sedentary activities. Today I biked with Johnny for about five kms. I was ready to stop on the approach to home, but did better than I thought.

Anyway, back to "The Three Sisters" garden. In Native American traditional gardens, some tribes relied heavily on maize, beans and squash as the basis of their diets. These three vegetable friends (or sisters) can be planted together in a very clever way. Traditionally a mound was made and planted with a group of maize or corn. When this was about 15cm high, corn and squash were planted around the corn. The beans scrambled up the corn, feeding the soil with nitrogen, and the squash plants crept along the ground, limiting weed growth, and helping to shade the soil, keeping moisture in. Of course the Native Americans had some sweet legends about "The Three Sisters" explaining that although different, the sisters loved each other dearly, and worked together to the benefit of all.

To make my "Three Sisters" garden I used one of my small raised beds, popped two baby bear pumpkins in, planted the corn I grew earlier from seed, and surrounded these with assorted climbing bean seeds (some a bit out of date, so I'm crossing my fingers for action). Plenty of moisture, and some upcoming liquid feeds, and my "Three Sisters" garden is hopefully going to be a successful experiment. Actually, I've got a fourth sister, a rogue potato has come up in the raised bed as well, and I'm sure that shouldn't present too many problems.

I've got a riding lesson tomorrow, plus LOTS more gardening, and some more work on my bigger fabric collage. I'd better take some photos too!

Monday, October 24, 2011


We've had a fantastic weekend! Meg, Ryan and Henry came to stay. I love to spend time with my sister and her family and we made the most of our time together. Before they arrived, I spent the morning horsing. First I went to visit Southern Ben to spend some time grooming him and giving him a good scratch. He was so pleased, and I laughed so much at his facial expressions when I hit the good spots as I scratched him. He poked his top lip out and quivered it. I took Johnny Horse out to eat some grass too, as he is restricted to his loose box while his stifle fracture gets better. He was thrilled to be out, and while he was munching I found a four leafed clover, so I gave it to him to eat to help give him luck to get better.

After visiting Ben, I went and had my riding lesson. This week I had Erika as my coach for the first time, and she was fantastic. She took me through all of the things Celine usually does, and we worked hard on getting Sam into a good outline (body shape) and to ride around the dressage arena correctly. I got a big fright when he got spooked by a naughty horse in the jumping arena, and it took a bit of time for my heart to stop beating like mad. He is a drama queen and always makes the most of a fright. He shot forward with a huge scrabble and his head flailing. Anyway, I took a moment to walk around, then carried on. Erika was so sweet and called me a "good girl" several times, which was lovely considering I am at least 15 years older than her. Celine had Kate Cavanagh training two of her young horses in the jumping arena. Kate is another of Canterbury's top riders. She was really friendly.

It is great fun hanging out with our little nephew Henry. He is just two, and is chatty and busy, mostly super well behaved and really interested in everything. It was amazing to see how pleased he was to see us. Huge smiles. On Saturday we went shopping. I got a tunic with horses on it (yes, you can roll your eyes, everyone else did), a skirt and spotty leggings. Henry got some little cars to add to his collection, plus a bike helmet now he is a daring speedster on his trike. Johnny and Ryan both got sneakers, and poor Meg got nothing. We watched two movies, which resulted in my vivid imagination giving me nightmares.

On Sunday the weather was perfect, and as Henry loves animals, we visited Orana Park. His favourite animals were in the farmyard. He was running around everywhere. The adults loved the tigers, especially seeing one of them being fed. He had to jump up onto big upright logs to get his chunk of rather sinister looking hairy meat. The giraffes were divine, as always, but the huge line of families waiting to feed them caused us to walk on past. We had a great day. Then we watched the All Blacks battling with the French rugby team. Thank goodness we won! I was in bed as I was so tired, plus my nerves couldn't take the trauma of the second half. Yay for the All Blacks, world champions!!!!! It feels a bit like all New Zealanders are world champions.

It was so sad when the visitors left this morning. They left a little gift behind- Johnny is miserably coughing and sinking into a mire of misery with a cold. Thanks Henry. We still love you! Hope I don't catch it.

I did a bit of weeding today, but am incapacitated again by my riding injury. I've got pain in my hip, backside, and thigh when I weight bear, and the more moving and bending I do, the worse it gets. So I gave up on the moving and tried something new in my workroom. I am inspired by Bari J. Ackerman's fabric collage techniques, so had a little go today. Firstly I got into some scraps (thanks Fenella :) ).
Then I cut and put together some pieces. I layered it like a quilt, although I don't think Bari does for all of her work. She doesn't always add a batting layer. I like the puffy effect. Hmm, not particularly promising.
Meandering with my embroidery foot. I used cerise and leaf green threads.
I zipped around the outside with satin stitch then trimmed.

I think it looks better in real life. I'm not sure what it is. Possibly a coaster. Mostly an experiment. Anyway, as soon as I had made this one I got stuck into making a much bigger creation. You'll have to wait to see that one.

School starts again tomorrow. I have to go to the doctor so I'll see what she thinks about my pelvis. Annoying. Have a lovely week!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Loving life

Today I headed out to do one of my most favourite things. I visited Stitch Playroom. Check out the Stitch website by linking from the shopping sidebar. But just visiting the website is not enough. You HAVE to go and see all of the fabulous fabrics, yarns, haberdashery items and creative books, plus the inspirational class samples. I absolutely love Fenella, who owns Stitch with her mum. I'm sure I've told you many times before how much fun I have when I visit her in the shop. Before I knew it today I had a cup of tea and was thinking of a million possible projects. I can't show all of the goodies I got because some may or may not end up appearing as Christmas presents. Henry won't mind if I show you this absolutely awesome wild animal panel that I am currently cutting out to make him his own zoo. He hasn't got a present from us yet and when I saw this I thought if I did a bit of frantic sewing, he would have a little set of animals to play with. They have a bit of a vintage toy feel to them. I'll show you when I'm done. So far I've only cut out Mr. Cobra.
I have plans to make an advent calender this year, and I found this wee bundle of modern, but pretty, Christmas fabrics. There are lots of gorgeous Christmas fabrics to choose from. I love the divine owl fat quarter, which will become this year's Christmas cushion. I think I will make it a tradition to make one new one each year. I made a sweet one last year that I never put away because I loved it so much.
I could spend hours at Stitch as I have so much fun chatting with Fenella, planning new projects, trying to keep breathing when I'm looking at all of the glorious fabrics. I've decided that next year I will focus hard on learning lots of new quilting skills. Right now I've got to get the Christmas present projects finished.

This afternoon my lovely teacher assistants came over for afternoon tea. That was fun and I was pleased that my front garden is looking so pretty at the moment. When they left The Crafty Neighbour came over and bought me a new friend:
Meet Molly! The newest Crafty Neighbour family member.
Actually, she is weeing in this picture (just continuing the theme from yesterday). Good little lady! She fell asleep wrapped around the back of my neck. She has a lovely gentle feel about her, and hopefully she will be a super sweet dog when she grows up. She has the most gorgeous tiny wee nose and bright little eyes, with whiskery eyebrows.

Johnny has been very busy building spaceships. He found this fab (yes - just the right word) cardboard spaceship kit at another great shop The Toy Tree over in Papanui. A fair bit of fiddly but fun gluing and he had five brilliant creations to hang in his office.
Space robot 1.
Space robot 2.

I think they are a great project and I know Johnny had fun making them. He has had them outside to take portraits.

Tomorrow is another exciting day because Meg, Ryan and Henry are coming to stay! Apart from some minor child-proofing, we don't have much to do to get ready for their arrival. That means I've planned a busy morning. First thing I'll be going to visit my dear horsey friend, Ben, to give him a good groom and lots to cuddles and scratches. Then I've got a date with Sam for a riding lesson. I'll be cantering tomorrow, I think. Once I have sorted him out after our ride I'll head home to work on the zoo for Henry. It won't be long before I head for bed. XXX