Friday, December 31, 2010

Beyond Piggling Bland's Garden Gate.

Today I was thinking about my brother Matt, as I was weeding the garden. It's New year's day here, and also the birthday of "she who is proficient at separating eggs".

Three years ago on a very hot New Years Day Matt had lunch in my garden.It was to be the very last time.

It was so hot we had to put the umbrella up over the clothes line to use it for shade.

SO I decided to make a new shady garden for eating in, beyond the gate to Piggling Bland's Garden.

Three years on, on the anniversary of that birthday lunch, i found myself weeding in the shady garden.

And thinking about that day.

In memory of Matt. 1970-2009.

Happy Birthday Sarah.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Confessions of a Christmas Shopper.

Hello Blog Chics. Nice to see you back.
I trust you all had a fantastic Christmas and Santa left you something nice under the tree. Or your nearest and dearest did.
This gorgeous mannequin was given to me by "she who is proficient at separating eggs", and her significant other. I love it. I had to rush down to the bedroom with it as soon as the Queen's message was over - even before I did the vacuuming (yes it is ok to be a little OCD about the carpet on Christmas night - all that glitter - and wrapping bits everywhere!)
I knew exactly where to put it, and how to adorn it.
I was so pleased with myself i spent about 20 minutes working out how to take a picture with my cellphone and send it to "she" who was in New Plymouth by then.
Hubby gave me Annabell Langbein's fantastic new cook book, which i had been coveting for ages.
I found a Christmas wish list thingy in a magazine, so I availed myself of it and added Annabel's book to the top, and stuck it to the fridge. It could not be missed!
I was also in receipt of the most magnificent weather vein to adorn my garden.
It has been a source of great consternation to me over the last 28 years that one of Hubby's most interesting idiosyncrasies is the need to know from which direction the bleeding wind is blowing.
In fact his whole family are mildly obsessed with it - and the wind doesn't even blow in Nana's garden!(According to Nana anyhow).
And there's no excuse. It's not as if they are farmers or anything.
The roads are well sign posted, it seems hardly relevant.
So I found it very sweet when he informed me later that he had chosen it because he thought I'd love it, and not because he needed me to be more accurate about the direction of the prevailing wind.
And I do love it. And I still have no idea which way the wind is blowing because I haven't the foggiest if it's the way the cat is coming from or going to... and he's never going to get that mouse!

So now I'm getting to the confessing part. There was another book I really wanted. Cath Kidston's Stitch. But writing two books on the list would have looked a tad greedy don't you think?
Si I bought the book myself. Boxing day is close enough i figure, for it to be legitimate. A prese from me to me.
You see Blog chics, it's the Cowboy. I love the CK cowboy with a passion. He just epitomises what i love about 1950s stuff. He's so masculine. It kind of amuses me, him stuck there with his lasso amongst the cabbage roses. So now I'm going to have him in a tapestry cushion for my very own.

This is inside Annabel's book. It's such a lovely book. The photography is wonderful.

Here's the CK Cowboy cushion photograph from the book.

But wait, there's more... I have a further prese confession. If I'd seen this fab shabby painting before Christmas I'd have definitely wanted that for Christmas too.
By chance I only happened upon it today, in my favourite shabby chic/retro shop in
New Plymouth - Faded Fancy.

The colours just jump out at you. It's in perfect condition. No fading, even the frame isn't chipped. Not that i mind a bit of chipping.
So now i just have to assist Hubby to hang it, facing in the direction of the prevailing wind!
See ya!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Piccies For the Rellies - Happy Christmas.

When boys wear silly hats and antlers and play guitar, you know it's Christmas Day at the Wagstaffs.

Dan and Callum even wrote a special Christmas Day with the Wagstaffs song, but it doesn't really bear repeating. Sung to the tune of Snoopy's Christmas anyhow.

I nipped in and out of the festivities to baste the turkey, which unlike my gingerbread house, was a great success.

"She" finally saw her cross stitch framed.

It comes but once a year.
Peace to all and goodwill to all men - even those who wear reindeer antlers and play guitar.

All the Nanas and Grandads arranged themselves for the pressies.

And the reindeer played guitar. Nirvarna, Guns n Roses, and other such Christmas classics.

The Goblins sat in the cheap seats and muttered to themselves quietly over their "scratchies".

The marzipan mice looked on.

No animals were harmed in the making of this production.
Not even any Goblins.
Hope you all had a lovely day.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Vignettes of a vintage Christmas.

Hello. It's only four sleeps till Christmas today.
Tonight I made the pieces for my gingerbread house. I didn't measure the dimensions, too tired. Just guessed and hope they all fit together ok.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas.

I have two boys, three guitars and a drum set in my back porch!
It's lovely to have them all here.

We will have all the oldies for Christmas Day.
Pressies at eleven, because that's the earliest we can get the olds here from Wanganui (an hour away).

The Magpie Cat will enjoy all the extra attention, secure in the knowledge that it's all about her!

Enjoy it all Blog Chics. Be posting about Christmas Day.
Mostly as a way of sharing our Christmas with all the rellies in Australia and other foreign parts (like the South Island).
So everybody else is allowed to find it very boring, like holiday snaps.
Have a lovely day.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Quilt Binding.

Yesterday I picked up my beautiful "pretty in pink" quilt from the machine quilting lady.

There is so much detail in it, she's done little clouds mostly, which is perfect for the "bitsyness" of the pieces.

So I thought I might do a little tutorial on quilt binding; the Magpie Chic method.

Might not be how the experts do it, but it's a way that I've worked out over the years that works for me.

I start by trimming off the excess wadding, which is easy when it's been machine quilted right round the perimeter.

I auditioned a few pieces of fabric that I thought would suit as a border.

I chose this one.

I cut 4" strips for my borders usually, along the length of the fabric if i can, but width ways if that's the only way i can make the fabric eak out. It takes quite a lot of fabric. About a metre- ish - for a quilt this size. Just measure perimeter of quilt to work out how much you'll need.

Then add up how long you can make your 4" strip by sewing all your cut strips together.

Add about 10cm for overhangs and foldovers. If it's a bit longer than the perimeter of your quilt, then you have enough fabric.

Press the strip in half, right sides out. Pin to wrong side of first corner with about 1cm overhang.

Sew with usual quarter inch seam.

Then press both sides of seam flat.

Use a 1cm overhang at each new corner so that you can turn raw edge under like a 1cm hem when mitering the corners. I mitre the corner like folding gift wrapping paper.

Press all the seams flat as you go, and the mitred corners.

I find pinning one side at a time, then hemming that side and that corner before moving onto the next one is the best method.

The Magpie cat finds sleeping on the pin cushion the best method.

Then just hem stitch each side as you go, on the wrong side of the quilt. Make tiny stitches, so they are not visible.

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