Friday, 5 February 2016

Scenes from my Week

From the garden:
  • I'm not the only one enjoying my zinnias - they are attracting lots of monarch butterflies too
  • Scadoxus - Katherine Wheel/Fireball - four flower heads this year.
From the sewing room:
  • a small project in progress, because I am procrastinating over making a quilt back - pattern from here
  • after my holiday hand sewing session, I have one more cartwheel to finish, then this can be turned into a pillow.
From the kitchen:
  • vegetables and herbs prepped for my first Cook the Books recipe challenge
  • plums being stoned and chopped for a new summer dessert recipe too 
Wishing you all a fabulous weekend.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Redwoods

We took a day trip to Rotorua while we were away.  One of the attractions we visited was The Redwoods - Whakarewarewa Forest.  This grove of Californian Redwoods was planted in 1901.  It was quite a different type of forest to experience walking though, compared to the New Zealand bush I am used too.  Not really a lot of undergroth, dappled light coming though and just really tall straight tree trunks wherever you looked.  Very calm and peaceful, and beautifully cool after being in the sun. We did the Redwood Grove Memorial Walk, which is 2.0 km long and dedicated to the men of the New Zealand Forest Service who lost their lives in the two World Wars. Lots of walking, hiking and mountain biking trails run through this forest too, as well as a treetops boardwalk,  which Miss B and Mr J, had walked on earlier in the holidays with my parents.

Hopefully we will go back one day and explore one of the longer trails.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Huka Falls to Aratiatia Rapids

Huka Falls - looking south

Huka Falls - looking North

Looking out to Wairakei Thermal Power Station (R) and the Huka Park Activity Centre (L)

Aratiatia Dam and Rapids  - before the gates are lifted

Aratiatia Dam and Rapids - starting to fill

Aratiatia Rapids

View in front of look out point - before

View in front of the lookout point - filling
Well I am back from holiday, somewhat relaxed and rested.  We had the most glorious weather, in some cases almost too hot, but were able to get out and hike and play with the kayaks, and spend some days doing nothing but reading, and playing boardgames in the shade.

The hiking part of my holiday occurred on our second day away.  We decided to walk the Huka Falls to Aratiatia Rapids, both two of my favourite places to visit when I am in Taupo, the only difference is that we usually drive to them.  In reality this is an easy 7 km (4.35 miles) walk - one way, we decided to make it a return trip,  Starting at the beautiful Huka Falls, we walked through native bush, then followed a track following the Waikato River, not next to it mind you, inland and about 5km of it was in open flat land, hardly a tree in sight for shade, which made it very difficult on the return trip, as it was one of the hottest days this summer.  Needless to say we were very pleased to get to the shaded bush area at Huka Falls upon completion of our activities.

The Aratiatia Rapids were once a natural feature on the Waikato River, however once the Aratiatia Dam was built the flow was stopped.  Three or four times a day, depending on the time of year, the dam gates are opened to release the  water pressure, in doing so they recreate the famous rapids.  As this happens the Waikato River falls 28m in the space of 1 km.  We saw the empty gorge fill and the water flowed out the gates and down the narrow gorge.

Both the Huka Falls and Aratitatia Rapids are well worth a visit at any time of the year.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Hot Colours, Cool Flowers & Summer Holidays

I'm off on holiday for a few days with my family, fingers crossed the weather is good.  There is a little hiking, kayaking, reading, hand sewing  and lots of relaxing planned.

I'll leave you with some of the beautifully bright  summer flowers currently blooming in my garden.

See you in February.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Scenes from my Week

From the sewing room
  •  the scrappy sampler quilt top is finished, and I feel a lot happier about it, in fact I would even say I like it.  Now I just need to find or make suitable backing fabric and turn it into a quilt. 
From the garden
  • my zinnias are starting to bloom - I love the colours and having fresh flowers to pick for the house
From the artist
  • Miss B decided to immortalise those zinnias in water colour - she has done a wonderful job too.
From the broken house (proof that my house and life is not picture perfect)
  • the downside of living close to a golf course - it has now been fixed and  thankfully, at no cost to us
  • more repairs after the hot water cylinder leaked yet again - the builder has now finished his part, just the tiles to be relaid now.
From the kitchen
  • Courgette/Zucchini Cake from Digby Law's Vegetable Cookbook or here.  Note:  My recipe in the book used 1 cup of oil, the recipe I have linked to uses 1/2 cup.
From the book pile
  • I really enjoyed this book.  A rediscovered art masterpiece, lots of interesting characters, some history and a smidgen of romance.
What has happened in your week? Have you read any new and interesting books lately?  Is any one on GoodReads?

Monday, 18 January 2016

Cook the Books

This is only a portion of my cook book collection

It is no secret that I love cookbooks and food magazines.  I am always getting them out of the library, copying recipes, pinning them to my Delicious board on Pinterest.  I often ask for them as birthday or Christmas gifts.  Over the years I have accumulated quite a collection, and this doesn't include all the recipes I have ripped out of magazines and newspapers that are waiting to be glued into a large spiral bound book.

Much aslike looking through all my cookbooks, and marking recipes to try, I find that I keep returning to three or four favourite books, usually The Free Range Cook series by Annabel Langbein.

This year I have decided to set myself a challenge, to "Cook the Books".  Starting in February, I will emdeavour to try at least one new recipe a week from my collection of books, magazines clippings and pinterest board..  I am not promising gourmet meals here, it maybe a simple salad, using fresh produce from my garden, or a new soup or stew, and if my family are really lucky baking or a dessert. I also won't be able to promise photos of every new recipe I try either, only because food photos taken in the evening aren't always the best.

Hopefully, by doing this I will rediscover my love of baking and cooking, introduce new ingredients and flavours to my family  (who luckily aren't fussy eaters) and make use of all my wonderful books.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Wednesday WIP

So the Scrappy Sampler Quilt is still a work in progress.   I am still working on piecing together all the random  sized blocks with mainly low volume fabrics thus making larger blocks, which means they are easier to piece together.  No Y seams this way. I think that makes sense.   I am still not sure that I  like what I am creating here.  I think I am so used to sewing to a pattern, where I may add a border, or use different colours, to make it mine.  Improv sewing  is really a lot harder than I realised. A couple of blog friends, suggested adding some solids,to break up the busyness of all the different fabrics and patterns,  so I used some ash coloured shot cotton strips, randomly in some blocks, they seem to add a bit of  cohesion to this mess.

I am still aiming to get the top finished by the end of January, or else I think it will end up in the too hard box and never get done.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.
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