Monday, June 29, 2009

Zigzag Quilt

Yesterday when I relaxed on the sofa, I was reading some APQ's (Australian Patchwork & Quilting). I know I have read these magazines many times, but there are not always I remember all the quilts, or not even noticed all of them. I came across a quilt that is strip-pieced on a diamond-shaped foundation (quilter's muslin), and by choosing fabrics by tonal value - from very dark to white - it gives the quilt a zigzag effect. It took me some time to figure out how the foundation was done, but when I "got it" I got so excited that I made 10 blocks last night! It's perfect for using up scraps. The strips don't have to be the same width - I've used 1", 1,5" and 2" strips - the variation of strip width gives interest. I can't wait putting it together, but still I have about 30 blocks to do.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What a mess!!!

For days & weeks I've intended organizing my "cave" (sewing room), but as usual I've been busy doing other things that have been more tempting. Yesterday morning I decided to dive into it! As you can see on the photos there were plastic bags with fabrics and fabrics in the sofa and on the floor. It really looked like a mess! DH is near to pass out every time he's scanning the room and stash-cupboard - and the question is always the same; "what the heck are you going to do with all the fabrics?! It'll take you years using it all!!!" I wonder if he never remembers my answer; "oh, you know, for a quilter it is very important having a variety of fabrics, like colors, fabrics that match..." etc... He just shakes his head and leaves the room! :)) I know he supports my crafting bug though... It's just that he has to say something - I believe! :))

Half of the sofa was covered with bags of fabrics, some magazines, knitting yarn and the extension table for the sewing machine (above).
Even on the floor and on the top of the sewing chest there were a mess (below).

I spent the entire day organizing the fabrics, mainly on colors or collections. There were even fabrics I had forgotten I have!

Here's the result! The stash-cupboard is filled to the brim with fabrics (above) and what I didn't have space for is stored on top of the sewing chest. Not that bad - huh?! :) Well, I have to confess there is left a tiny heap with fabrics on the floor, which is blue fabrics for the Colorado Star blocks I'm working on. That's allowed - isn't it?! You may ask if I did the sewing chest too? The answer is NO - not this time! I know I one day have to do that one too, but not today! :) It's going to be interesting to see what I discover there! :))

As you may understand I haven't done much sewing the last days. I've basted the place mats and the small tablecloths, but I'm waiting for some quilting threads I ordered the other day - so that job is stuck at the moment. I'll see what I'll make next....

NNC Bookmark Exchange 2009

Another exchange done. This time it was a secret partner bookmark exchange, and the organizer was Zarina from NNC. Since it was a secret partner exchange I had no idea who my partner was, which made it more fun. It took some time before I received the parcel due to some postal problems, but it was sorted out. Not even at the Post Office I could guess who my partner was, because my address was printed and there were no sender's name on the envelope. I was so curious I could die!!! :) I rushed home - open the parcel - and my partner was Anna from Malaysia! Here are the two lovely cross-stitched bookmarks she made for me:
This one has my name...

...and this one has lovely flowers shaped as hearts.

Anna was so kind to send some stash too; lovely flowers and red- and green silk ribbons. Thank you so very, very much Anna! I love the bookmarks! Since this is the first bookmark exchange I've joined - I'll treasure the bookmarks even more! :)
My secret partner was Paul. When I signed up for the exchange I already had in mind what kind of bookmarks I wanted to make. It was ages since I had done Hardanger and thought that would be a good idea. Here are the two bookmarks I made. The other one is appliqued.

I really enjoyed the secret partner exchange - and would love to join again. Thanks so much to NNC and Zarina for organizing the exchange!

Monday, June 22, 2009

My very first Award

OMG! I've got my very first Award - Have a Wonderful Day award from Sissel. Thank you so very much Sissel! You deserve it too! It was unexpected and therefore I'm feeling honored. Who dreamt of awards and such when I started this blog?! :) As my readers and followers may remember, I'm quite new in the blogosphere, and didn't even believe my blog could be of any inspiration to others. I'm so happy it is! :) Since I started this blog about half a year ago - and even before - I have seen so many inspiring and great blogs. There is not only quilting blogs, but also cross-stitching, crocheting, knitting, tatting etc. There's a challenge with awards, to give the award to eight quilting friends/bloggers that inspires you. It hasn't been easy picking eight only, but here they are:


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tea Cozy

It's "winter" in Mauritius! At least that is what the locals say... Of course it is not winter with tons of snow and freezing temperatures - how can it be - in the tropics? June, July and August are considered as "winter months", when the temperatures drop approx 10 degrees from the peak of summer. This morning - it was +13C (55F), which is very cold for the locals. You can often see them wearing leather jackets, which I find a bit funny of course - coming from a wintry country. :) I love this time of the year, because it reminds me of the Norwegian autumn.
Well, I was not going to talk about the weather... DH drinks tea every morning and has asked me making a tea cozy to keep the tea pot warm. I completed it yesterday. It turned out to be a little bit too tall - I think - perhaps I'll make another one smaller. The tea pot we use daily is a bit taller compared to the one on the photo, but even then the tea cozy is approx 5 cm (2") too tall...

Recycling pillow cases

Last year Johnny came to visit during Easter and brought some old flannel shirts, pillow cases and bed linen. I had asked him to do so, because I think recycling is a good idea. He wanted me to make two place mats out of the pillow cases, which I have worked on the last days. I believe these colors are from the 1970's? They are not "my" colors, hence a bit difficult working on... I didn't want to use too much of the pink and green for not making them too "intense" (sorry, I don't know the correct word for it), but I think all colors (fabrics) are beautiful - but in small pieces.
I didn't want to follow a particular pattern - and this is how it turned out.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rustic Retreat - Chest Cover

I haven't only celebrated my birthday this week, but completed another "Rustic Retreat". It looks like a wall quilt - doesn't it? It's not - it's a cover for an old chest. It measures 62 x 106 cm (24,5" x 41,5"). And the lucky one is Johnny! :) I have used another fabric for the binding on this one, and I think it looks a bit more "fresh" compared to the bed cover.

Visit to the botanical garden continues

Some of the vacoas trees and its fruit.

Roots of a very old tree.

A gazebo in "Grand Bassin".

And this is what caught my eye; an old abandoned house at the outskirt of the garden. Why can't it be restored? It pains me to see old abandoned houses. The island's history vanishes when these houses are pulled down. Isn't it an idea to save them?

We spent 3-4 hours at the garden before we took the bus back to Port Louis. I intended having a look at the shops in the "textile street", but I was not fit for that. Port Louis is always hot and stuffy and today was no exception. I always end up with headache going there due to pollution. We decided to go home, and bought a pizza on our way, to celebrate my birthday - and that was the end of a great day! :)

Visit to the botanical garden

Ever since I settled here in 2003 I have wanted to visit the botanical garden in Pamplemousses - Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden. It is not that I haven't been there before; I've been there twice, but never on my birthday. Either the weather has been nasty or my back has not behaved. This time I really wanted to go - no bad back and the weather was reasonable in the early morning. We left the house at 06:30 in the morning to catch the bus to Port Louis. We are both early birds, so no problem being out on the street that early. We hit the rush over; the bus took nearly one hour to reach Port Louis - usually it takes less than 30 minutes. In Port Louis we walked it up to Immigration Square where we caught a bus heading north. The garden is situated approx 11 km (7 miles) north of Port Louis, the bus ride didn't take that long and there were no rush over at that side.

Last time we visited the garden we didn't pay any entrance fee, but this time we had to. Mauritians pay 25 rs while I had to pay 100rs - as a non-Mauritian. I don't think that is fair - I am married to a Mauritian. I didn't think of bringing my "alien card" (residency permit), but according to the ticket officer it is only the National Mauritian ID card that is valid. Oh well - 100rs isn't a fortune though... I believe we were the first visitors that morning - it was so quiet and relaxing - pure solitude.

The garden's origins go back to 1729 when a French colonist acquired about half the present site, then called Mon Plaisir. Governor Mahé de La Bourdoonais bought it in 1735, and started a vegetable garden for his Mon Plaisir Château. The garden was also used as a nursery to encourage the growth of plants imported from Europe, the east and South America. In 1770 the garden became the private property of Pierre Poivre, the administrator of the island. In 1810 - when the British took over - it reverted to government ownership, but sadly the British neglected the garden. In 1849 the British horticulturalist James Duncan reinvented the garden as an arboretum for palms and other tropical trees. Today there are approx 500 species of plants, of which 80 are palms and 25 are indigenous to the Mascarene Islands. The entire area covers approx 93 acres (approx 38 hectares).

Morning atmosphere over the water lily pond - the huge Victoria amazonica lilies from the Amazon.

The flowers open for two days only, from the late afternoon to the following morning. The first day they are cream-colored with a heady fragrance, on the second day they are pink.

Lotus plants and flower.

I'm not sure about the name of this beauty - "Mussaenda"?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Birthday celebration

Yesterday was my birthday... I intended making the cake the day before my birthday, but didn't. Actually I did make the base - sponge cake - but didn't do the filling. Yesterday we went out very early and came home late in the afternoon, so I was too tired even thinking of the cake and decided doing it this morning. It's a very simple cake - very popular as birthday cake in Norway. The base is sponge cake, then sliced into two, filled with whipped cream & fruit cocktail (tin) and covered with whipped cream and garnished with cherries. We just had a taste now - oh so yummy! :)
I have received so many birthday greetings; snail mail cards, e-mails and sms, and I've received some lovely gifts too. Thanks to everyone!
It's not only my birthday I'm celebrating, but my 50th blog post too! When I started this blog back in January, I never dreamt of that many posts within a few months time! I wasn't even sure I liked blogging, but it has proved wrong. When I started this blog, I intended to make it quilting/patchwork related only, but my life is more than that, like other crafts, our house & garden, our pets, pen palling and of course this beautiful island. I'll share more photos and some history of the island with you later on, but be sure there will be lots of crafts too! :) Since I have reached post #50, I want to thank everyone who has visited and commented on my blog. Your wonderful comments mean a lot to me and encourages me to continue working on crafts I love the most.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rustic Retreat Bed Cover completed

The bed cover is completed! This is what I have been working on the last days. The quilting is done in the ditch around the trees, around the tiny houses, the horizontal- and vertical seams and the binding. For the quilting I used red- and green Madeira thread and brown thread for the binding. The size is 112 x 210cm (44" x 83"). Today I'm working on a tablecloth in the same pattern with the same fabrics. It's for Johnny too! :)
Debbie Mumm designed the pattern as a wall quilt. I had to increase the length - not the width - to make it fit Johnny's four-poster bed. I love Debbie Mumm designs and like working on the fabrics; the colors appeal to me - the feeling of rustic country.

...and here is Johnny's four-poster bed waiting for the bed cover! The bed dates back to the 1890's and belonged to his great grandparents - Louise and Karl - who came to the farm in 1875. Isn't it wonderful to be in possession of such an antique treasure?

I completed something else this weekend; a Hardanger table runner! I found it in a box while I was looking for something else. I had completely forgotten about it and that I had left to do the hem... I stitched (with the sewing machine) around the hem and then cut around it. I can't remember when I started working on it, but I believe it must be more than 10 years ago... Time to complete it - wasn't it?! :)

I've bought myself a birthday gift! The pattern is a combination of stitchery and quilting - and it is done in black and cream! Wonderful! It's not so easy to see on the photo, but the stitchery part shows a family traveling in a horse drawn sleigh through the snowy woods, across the river to grandma's welcoming farm house - hence the name; "Over the River and Through the Woods" - designed by Crabapple Hill Studio.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Colorado Star blocks progressing

Here they are - the Colorado Star (as they are called) blocks - and what I did during the weekend. There are 18 blocks, and as you may recall from earlier posts I had done 18 - 4 of them with the last rows. I did the remaining 14 this weekend. I struggled a bit with the yellow pieces for the stars; it was a bit tricky adding them together in the corners, but after using the seam ripper and some brain work it went well! :) It's always a challenge and fun trying new methods, and this is something I'd never done before. Tomorrow - I'm too lazy doing it now - I'm going to measure the sofa and figure out how many blocks I need for one cover. I think I have already mentioned each block is 18" (46cm) square, so "fortunate" I don't need that many for one sofa! :)
A well deserved trip to Curepipe - wasn't it?! :)

Curepipe Botanical Garden

The blog owner trying to be brave climbing a very old and huge tree that most probably was blown down by a cyclone. Look how big the trunk is!

Curepipe Botanical Garden was created in 1870 and nowhere near as large or impressive as the one in Pamplemousses, but it is a nice and quiet spot just a few minutes walk from the cacophony of the town.

Part of the garden.

My beloved bakery not far from the garden... Waiting in vain for it to open - we thought it was closed during lunch time - but got to know it is closed Mondays. I dare say this bakery makes the yummiest cakes on the island! :) ...We have tasted a lot of cakes in different places... :)

One of the still kept and well maintained colonial houses on the island. It costs a fortune to restore these lovely wooden houses, and sadly many are abandoned.

Trou aux Cerfs

Trou aux Cerfs - the vulcanic crater.

After a busy weekend sewing log cabin blocks, a trip out was well deserved. Actually I'm looking for more shelves for my fabrics, so we decided to go to a furniture shop just outside Curepipe. I know what kind of shelves I need, but the furniture shop didn't have what I'm looking for. It was too early to go home, so we decided playing tourists in Curepipe.

Curepipe is the highest town on the plateau - approx 550 meters (1800 feet) above sea level. A malaria epidemic hit the island in 1867, which caused thousands of people to flee infested Port Louis for the healthier uplands. Curepipe is cool in the hot summers, but the town is often swathed in clouds. According to lowlanders, Curepipe has two seasons; the little season of big rains and the big season of little rains! Always bring an umbrella - it can rain without warning! :) Mark Twain described Curepipe as "the nastiest spot on earth".... But he has also written; "You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius"....

Trou aux Cerfs (approx 650m - 2130 feet - above sea level) is an extinct volcanic crater. It is approx 100m (328 feet) deep and 1km (0,62 miles) in circumference. It is one of the "must see" places on the island, and yesterday morning there were already quite some tourists there.

Panoramic view from the crater.

Trois Mamelles - seen from Trou aux Cerfs.

Sorry for the bad quality of the photo. I used the zoom on the digital camera, which didn't turn out very well. The dates on the photos - 31/05/2009 - don't correspond with the day we did the trip; it should have been 01/06/2009, but I didn't change the date when I added the batteries after loading.