I believe it is the Year of the Horse. Happy Chinese New Year, perhaps it's not too late for some resolutions after all.
This little chap has been watching me from his brown paper bag while I have been making a quilt for him. Like the friendly monkey, a friendly lion should have his own quilt as well. The fabric collection is ROAR! From Robert Kauffman and I have a larger quilt cut out and ready to sew.
Every friendly Monkey should have his own Quilt and this has been made for one I know very well. I had half a yard of the sock monkey pattern and had already made a bib. This little quilt uses the rest of it. I am trying to use up supplies during my fabric fast, so half a yard down, countless more to go!
It has been raining steadily here for the last three hours and it is very welcome. Our trees dropped a lot of leaves during the recent very hot spell and I have been watering with the sprinkler. But, there is nothing like a good session of rain for the garden, the pasture and the crops.
The garden suffered a lot during the heatwave last week. Hydranga leaves and flowers are burnt and the flowers along the path have become quite frizzled. The heat doesn't seem to have bothered the dahlias, but most of the trees are showing signs of stress with yellowing leaves. My potted frangipani has finally started to flower and the fragrance is lovely. Fortunately I can use dam water for the garden and spend quite a bit of time moving the sprinkler around the yard.
All sewing has been on hold because my workroom has been too hot, even with my noisy old rattler air conditioner going full blast. Probably just as well because I was making too many mistakes with some half square triangle units, firstly cutting them from left to right instead of right to left and then unpicking some correctly sewn units and having to re sew them. It has been too hot to think straight.
The weather change dawdled in about 11o'clock on Friday night and it was a lot more comfortable getting sheep in at 5 the next morning than on Wednesday. Just as dusty, and, as my farmer commented, the flies were very friendly.
We have three tractors, one excavator, three farm bikes, three quad bikes and various other farm implements and garden machinery in varying states of repair. None of them, apart from my ride on mower, have been purchased brand new.
When I stay with our Daughter and her family and we are out and about there are usually road works somewhere. Daughter thinks I am checking out the workers, but I am actually quite interested in the machinery, especially excavators.
Recently our old David Brown tractor came out of retirement for hay making and I realised the floral seat cushion that has been used for many years was a little incongruous!
Bush fires have been very close to us in other years and there is no exception with the current situation. The smoke and distant glow of a bushfire is very unsettling and even though our farm is low risk I feel very concerned for those people close to the bush and existing fires. Our eldest son and daughter in law have a fire fighting unit for their property and our other son and daughter in law, like us, are reasonably low risk. They have a spray unit on the back of their Ute that could be used if necessary. There is a fire at Trafalgar north of the Princes Highway ( about 45 K from here) and we can see the smoke haze. Please stay safe everyone.
If you say it quickly it doesn't sound so bad. And it was hot at 5 o'clock this morning when we were out in the paddock getting sheep in and it was still hot AND dusty at 6.30 when we were drafting the sheep in the yards. Yes, it is 40 degrees and those wacky farmers are shearing! I have been keeping them supplied with drinks, chilled watermelon and orange wedges. They had pikelets with jam and cream for morning tea and lots more drinks with lunch. Tom will stop at 3 o'clock to go and milk and will finish the rest of the sheep tomorrow when it will AGAIN be 40 degrees. Crazy days!
I have been reading the "Fast Diet" and even during fasting you still need some nourishment. They recommend consuming only 500 calories on two non consecutive days a week and you will be sure to lose weight, improve your health and memory. Sounds like a plan and I can try it alongside my fabric fast which also needs some nourishment. That was acheived late last week with a vist to Gail B and a purchase of some Kona cotton, a cream blender and a blue and white stripe fabric for a binding. All for finishing two quilts that I am making at the moment. A lot of bloggers have made the same commitment as I have of not buying any new patchwork fabric this year and there are many groups you can link up with for encouragement. I don't need any of that, my daughter is keeping me on track.
The garden got away from me towards the end of last year, but since the Christmas fun finished we have been working on catching up. Lots of weeding, cutting back and mowing. Trailer loads of garden waste have been piled on the fire heap and hundreds of bulbs dug up where some trees were removed. The garden beds beside the new path to the kitchen terrace are doing well now. I had to put guards made from gutterguard and cable ties around every plant to protect them from the rabbits and then put in stakes with hay band tied between to stop the blackbirds digging everything out.
The cannas and the agapanthus are blooming well and the potted dahlias are flowering cheerfully. I even have two lots of buds on the frangipani . It hasn't been too hot yet and we have had some rain so I haven't had to water very much, apart from the pots. The weather has been just right for serious gardening.
Our round bales were finished by the contractors before New Year but the farmers decided to keep aside about 10 acres to make a few square bales. Tom brought the baler over from their farm and our old David Brown tractor was trundled out to rake the cut hay into rows. There were a few problems with the binder twine mechanism, but they ended up making 700 bales! The smaller bales are very useful to build a shelter pen for a sick animal, can be thrown on the back of the four wheeler to feed a newly calved cow and are easily managed by the girls to feed to their horses. Quite a few (hundred) square bales!
This Quilt is for a baby boy due to arrive during February, a first Great Grandchild and Grandchild for some lovely people in our extended family. Pinwheel blocks are so versatile and this is an entirely different quilt to the one I made for my Great Nephew in December. The stronger colours make a change from pastels and it has been washed so I am fairly confidant it won't run.
The fabrics are "Vroom" from Robert Kauffman.
I was reading in the comments on another patchwork blog about someone going on a fabric diet in the new year. I need to go on a total fabric fast! During 2014, I will NOT buy any new fabric from any source, including the internet and the Op Shop. Any quilts I make will use up what is already in my supplies, even the backing, although I may make an exception if I need a solid colour to complete a quilt or need to find the right binding. Then I will only buy what I need. But that is it. No more random fat quarters or new collections. Potentially I have more than enough quilt fabric for dozens of Grandchildren, Great Nieces and Nephews as well as any babies friend's children may have.
Finding the right binding can be tricky and I usually decide what I want when the quilt is ready. Also I don't have much in the way of blenders and solid colours, so purchase them as needed.
This is going to be harder for me than changing any other bad habits I MIGHT have, like not ever putting things away in the same place, drinking too much black coffee and a liking for a nice Merlot. Wish me luck with this challenge!! Happy New Year!