Welcome to tales of my stitching life, home, family and friends.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Looking for the quilt shop

Three weeks into our current caravan trip, and we arrived today in the town of Paeroa.  Imagine my delight when I spotted a sign above “Patches and Cream” quilt shop.  Oh goody – as soon as we are organised on site with our caravan, you can be sure I’ll be back to check out the shop.  I didn’t even know that there was a quilt shop in Paeroa!

P4170017 Sign spotted as we drove through Paeroa

The caravan was soon put on site, legs wound down, plugged into power, and it was time for lunch.  We checked out where the facilities were, for future use, including the ever important laundry room.  Then we took the short drive downtown, looking for that quilt shop sign.  Mmm, the shop should be around here somewhere, I thought to myself.  But although I walked up and down the street,  it was nowhere to be seen.  So I crossed the road, and soon found that sign.  But underneath the sign, the shop was long gone, taken over by a sports shop, it seemed.  What a shame – no quilty fabric fix for me today.

Although Paeroa doesn’t have a quilt shop any more, it does have a claim to fame - home to the  “world famous in New Zealand” Lemon and Paeroa drink, known by everyone as L & P.  It all started with an underground spring of mineral water and by 1907 commercial bottling was started, with the addition of lemon flavouring.  This product remains an iconic Kiwi soft drink to this day, and visitors to the town like to stop and have their photo taken with the “Big Bottle” standing proudly at Ohinemuri Park.  As we did, with help from a friendly young Mum who agreed to take our photo for us.

P4170024Posing with the Big Bottle of L & P

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bronwyn, the Bag Lady

We called in to visit caravan friends who were camping alongside the Opotiki estuary.  “You must meet our friend Bronwyn”, Andrew said, “she is a quilter too”.  So Bronwyn and I got together and enjoyed a little quilty talk together and some show and tell.  Bronwyn is a self professed bag lady, she told me, as she brought out a wonderful black and white bag to show me.

P4100003 Bronwyn’s lovely black and white bag

Bronwyn and her husband have a motor-home and has two quilts covering the squabs. This pattern is particularly suitable for those who buy jelly rolls, as it is all made from 2.5in strips.  More strips used on the other quilt in tones of soft blues and pink,  and  I particularly liked the hand appliquéd  vines and leaves.


P4100004 Two quilts in the motor-home

It is always so nice to meet up with a fellow quilter.  We talked about our respective quilt groups, UFOs, and quilt shops too.  Great to meet you, Bronwyn, and thanks so much for sharing your lovely work with me.

P4100006 Bronwyn the Bag Lady, camping at Opotiki

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

On holiday in Gisborne

The days have rushed by and we are now in sunny Gisborne.  Easter was spent at a speck of a place called Putorino – I’d never heard of it before, but we had driven past this tiny place before and never noticed.  After five days camping there without power of an internet connection, it was bliss to settle into the Waikanae Beach Motor Camp and reconnect to life again.  Not forgetting the laundry room – I had a whole heap of washing to attend to!  The beautiful Waikanae Beach is just across the road, it is indeed a lovely place to stay.

Surprise, surprise, a trip up town today led me right to the local Bernina Sewing Centre, which I just had to check out.  I checked with Chris, the helpful sales assistant, if I could take a few photos of the shop to share on my blog.  The shop is nice and bright, with a good variety of quilt panels hanging on the wall.  Not just for babies and toddlers, some for boys too, I noticed.


Making a bee-line to the patchwork fabrics, I saw a great selection of New Zealand inspired prints, including some new ones which I hadn’t seen before.  There was a good selection of patchwork fabrics too, and dress fabrics for the home sewers.

P4080003 Patchwork fabrics.

Buttons and threads, trims and laces, everything you would need.  Plus a huge selection of knitting wool and patterns.  In fact, my only purchase was extremely modest, a pair of knitting needles.

P4080002  Spoilt for choice

It is always so nice to discover a “new to me” quilt shop, and I am so lucky that I have the opportunity to do so as we travel around our beautiful country, towing our caravan behind us.

Captain James Cook is honoured in Gisborne, and statues seem to pop up everywhere of him and his ship, Endeavour.Captain Cook and his crew came ashore seeking fresh food and water at Kaiti Beach, Gisborne, and met up with the Maori chief Toka a-Taiau.   Things did not go at all well, and the traditional Maori challenge was unfortunately misunderstood by the English.  Shots  were fired, killing some Maori men and the ship hurriedly sailed away without the badly needed provisions, and Poverty Bay received it’s name.   From here the Endeavour circumnavigated New Zealand, and Captain Cook plotted the first map of this country.
 P4080013 Statue of Captain James Cook on Waikanae Beach, Gisborne

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Visiting the Rellies

We have just spent several days up here in sunny Hawkes Bay.  The weather has been great, and we have been able to spend some time catching up with rellies.  My sister Kathleen and her family have recently moved house, so it was nice to see their new home.  And it was great to see some of my hand crafted gifts which I had made for Kathleen some years ago in the new home.  Like the “Hargreaves Family Tree” which I made to celebrate Kathleen and Dennis’s 45th Wedding Anniversary.  The fruit on the tree signifies their four children, and each leaf has the name of the grandchildren.

P3290055 Hargreaves Family Tree

Folded across the foot of the bed was the Healing Heart quilt I made for my sister ten years ago when she was suffering ongoing health problems and was in and out of hospital.  I machine appliquéd all the heart blocks then sent them to family members for them to write a message on.  When I received the heart blocks back from everyone, the nine patch blocks were added, and I appliquéd hearts onto the border. It was so nice to see these things used and appreciated.

P3290054 Healing Heart quilt for Kathleen

The four of us went to the “world famous in Hawkes Bay” Rush Munro Ice-cream Parlour where we all enjoyed an ice-cream sundae sitting outside in the courtyard.  It was great to catch up with them again and spend some time together.

P3310004Kathleen and Dennis at Rush Munro’s

Monday, March 30, 2015

It’s a Three Label Quilt

The labels on the back of my caravan quilt Romany Stars tell the story of the changes we have made to our “home away from home” over a ten year period.  I stitched the quilt  in 2004 for our Australian Golf caravan.  Made with 8 pointed stars and plain alternate blocks, and a double HST border, it was commercially quilted by Barry Scott.  Below is a picture of a younger version of me standing beside the quilt when it was hung in the Pinestream Quilters exhibition.  I made a photo label for the back showing the pair of us proudly standing beside our brand new caravan.

Romany Stars Romany Stars hanging in Pinestream Quilters exhibition

Two years later we changed our caravan to a locally made Leisureline caravan  .I kept with burgundy for the upholstery, so that I could continue to use my caravan quilt.  This new van had the added bonus of a bathroom - what luxury – especially in the middle of the night.  Another photo label was stitched on beside the original one.

Then in the middle of last year we upgraded again.  The selling point of our new van was the full width bathroom across the rear of the van, with a separate toilet, shower and vanity unit.  Once again, I chose burgundy for the upholstery.  I find it a lovely warm colour, and of course it goes with my caravan quilt.  I’ve only just got around to making a third photo label for the back of the quilt.  Muffy decided to add her input too, and she sat and watched as she made sure I was doing it correctly.
 P1220128 Muffy is the supervisor as I stitched yet another label on the quilt

And here they are, three photo labels stitched to the back of my Romany Stars quilt.  Now the weather is getting a little cooler I have replaced the lighter weight quilt I use over the summer months with this much warmer one.  Freshly washed, and ready to keep us cosy and warm during the colder months away, especially when we are camping off power.  No power = no electric blanket!

P1230135It’s a three label quilt

We are currently away in the caravan for a few weeks, up in Hawkes Bay over Easter, and then doing a tiki tour on the way home.  Keep up with our travels on our Travel Blog www.romanyrambler.blogspot.co.nz to follow our adventures.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Floating Four Patch Blocks and Chocolate Fish

Friday night was Remnant night – when quilt club members gather together for a fun social stitching night.  It is always interesting to see what everyone brings along for the shared meal.  Mary made one of her famous sausage pies, there was quiche, curried sausages, a dish of home made chocolate balls, and bread rolls.  I took along a plate of cream cheese, and chopped dried apricots and crystallised ginger sandwiches.  “Yuk”, said Robin when I was preparing them at home, “nobody will eat those!”  He was wrong – the ladies loved them!  And there is always a bowl full of chocolate fish to dip into, just the thing for a pick-me-up after a bout of sewing.

Some of the ladies worked on the charity quilts our club is making for needy people.  The members had stitched up a whole pile of floating four patch blocks, requested with light and dark backgrounds.  These were laid out on one of the big tables and we all gathered around to check out the colour placement.  Helpful comments abounded as the light and dark blocks were shuffled around the table until everyone was happy with the arrangement.  The blocks were pinned into rows, Vickie and Leigh had their sewing machines humming, and Janelle and Kathy were on pressing duties.  They really worked hard and by the end of the evening two quilt tops had been stitched together – they just need a border added.

P3270013 Floating Nine Patch quilt top

P3270006 Leigh and Vickie stitching all the blocks together

There was lots of other stitching going on.  Kaye is starting an exciting new project, and was busy preparing a block for the heirloom quilt she has signed up for in the local quilt shop.  And I was tracing, cutting, then fusing more appliqué leaf blocks for my daughter’s birthday quilt.  That took a whole lot longer than I anticipated, I can tell you.  Janelle showed us her latest needle-turn block in traditional green and red.  It is so lovely, and she only needs to make nine of these large blocks, she told us.

P3270009 Janelle’s appliqué block

Prospective member Ute came along for the evening and happily helped with some of the pressing.  She had brought along this striking quilt she is making for her young grand-son and wanted some advice on how to quilt it.

P3270012For a young grand-son

Lois was another lady working on family projects.  In this case, the grand-child number 5  has not quite arrived yet.  Lois is making this lucky little one a lovely soft blue knitted jumper, and wanted advice as the best way to go about making a double sided merino blanket.

P3270007 For Lois’s grand-child number 5

It is always a good night, catching up with fellow Remnants.  There is plenty of room to spread out, and always a lot going on.  Everyone is always willing to share their expertise and offer friendly advise.  Nice food for our shared evening meal, tea and coffee as required, and as mentioned earlier, plenty of chocolate fish to nibble on.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cross Stitch Beauties

I attended the Coffee Club Support Group morning run by the Levin Branch of the Cancer Society, and our we had a very interesting speaker. Marion, from St John’s told us all about St John’s Medical Alarms.  Most of the ladies present had a personal alarm and we ourselves are St John’s Supporters, which entitles us to emergency call-outs and ambulance transport to hospital if required.  As we now live outside the Wellington Free Ambulance district, becoming  St John’s members now gives us peace of mind.

Sharon is one of the very busy Cancer Society volunteers who helps out at our Coffee Club mornings.  She is a very talented needle worker and brought along her framed piece of black work embroidery to show us.  She proudly told us that this lovely piece had recently won a silver plate at the Mana Embroidery Group meeting.   And we could see why, it is so beautiful, elegant ladies stitched with black thread with just a little touch of gold.

P3240053 Sharon’s winning black work embroidery

And Sharon has almost completed her latest creation, full of cute teddies and bunnies with their very own quilt.  I don’t do cross stitch myself, I tried once but failed miserably!  But I can certainly appreciate all the hard work which goes into making one of these beauties.

P3240055 Sharon with her teddies and bunnies

My quilt club, the Town and Country Quilters, supply a never ending supply of quilts to be displayed at the Cancer Society rooms.  The quilt on show this month had quite a New Zealand flavour.  Designed and stitched by Luchelle Cottrell, it was inspired by NZ artist Shane Hansen and the 10 cent New Zealand coin.  

P3240051  “Myth”  by Luchelle Cottrell

Visitors to Winchester House,  the Cancer Society rooms, always enjoy looking at the quilt on display each month.