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

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Monthly UFO Night

My attendance at the monthly Friday  UFO night is always a bit “hit and miss” I’m sorry to say.  Quite often it seems to fall on the Friday night of a caravan rally weekend, so I can’t attend.  This month I was lucky – in fact June is the first time I have managed to attend this year.  I joined a small dedicated elite group of stitchers for great evening of sewing and companionship.

Our tasty shared meal went down a treat, with all sorts of goodies from home made sausage rolls, a big dish of macaroni cheese, a plate of egg sandwiches, quiche and cheesy toasted bread.  All washed down with tea or coffee, and generous helpings of liquorice allsorts and choccie to sustain us while we worked.

Mary brought along some of her early work to show some of the younger members.  She reminded us that she started her patchwork back in the days before rotary cutters, board and rulers were even thought of.  Shapes were cut with scissors using a cardboard template, all her appliqué and quilting was done by hand, and there were no dedicated patchwork fabric shops. This photo of  Mary’s ivy wall-hanging does not do justice to her beautiful appliqué, embroidery and quilting stitches.  I loved the harddanger cushion too, so pretty.  Something I’ve never been game to try, as I don’t think I could trust myself with the scissors to snip those threads in between the stitching.  However, I’m very lucky to have two pretty hardanger pieces stitched for me by my daughter, Nicky.


Kaye was working on a French inspired design in black, white and hot pink, with a touch of lime green.  Her “Ooh La La”  wall-hanging with lots of interesting appliqué blocks is going to look stunning.

P6270007 Ooh La La indeed!

Another stunning quilt was Sarah’s Autumn Leaves, a medallion style quilt in glowing colours.  Sarah is making her version in a range of batiks set off with black home-spun.

P6270010 Blocks from Sarah’s Autumn Leaves

Serious quilters will know of the wonderful Civil War Bride quilt which has had fans busy stitching the different appliqué blocks.  Vickie has completed all her blocks now, she told us, and it working on the appliqué borders, with a meandering vine, flowers and leaves, fruit and birds.  What an undertaking, and something that Vickie has loved every minute of. 

P6270009  Vickie’s appliqué border

And Leigh was working hard to finish the binding on a quilt for her grandson.  This has been made to keep him warm and cosy at boarding school.  It is a great pattern for a college boy, with a graphic pattern in black, blue and grey stripes, and nice and snugly with a brick colour polar fleece backing.

P6270008 Ready for boarding school

I spotted a cute sewing container on Leigh’s table.  The pretty tin was full of blocks for another project, an ABC quilt.

P6270011 How nice is that?

I worked on two of the three projects I had packed for the evening. Started stitching the seams on  my little kiddies jumper, then stopped working on that for our shared meal.  Then Leigh gave me some one-on-one tuition as I tackled my first ever yo-yo, after I had read the instructions but still wasn’t quite sure.  It should be easy, and it turned out it was, it was just a matter of interpretation.  Thanks Leigh, for your help.  Hopefully I'll get quicker as I get more practise.

P6270014 My yo-yo count for the night

We then had a very special little celebration, as we all wished Mary well on her 84th birthday.  Kaye had brought along a cream sponge as a surprise, and Mary was certainly surprised, and delighted too, with her birthday wishes.

P6270012 Happy 84th Birthday, Mary

It was a lovely finale to another great UFO night organised by the girls from Town and Country Quilters.  Good fun, and good company, thanks ladies.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Getting ready for UFO night

It may be raining and chilly, but that’s not going to stop me.  My quilt club has a UFO Night planned for this evening and I’m gathering up my things to take along.  I’ve decided that I’m not lugging my heavy sewing machine along tonight, so will concentrate on some hand work.  But what to take?  I’ve got several things to work on.  Like the little kiddies jumper I’ve finished knitting and just needs stitching up.  Then I’ve got some secret hand stitching for a birthday or two – hope to work on that as well.

And not forgetting my new yo-yo project.  My recently purchased Yuletide Yo-Yos pattern by Indigo Junction  features a Santa, a Snowman and a Reindeer.  I’m going to have a go at the reindeer first, and so far have cut out circular template shapes from heavy interfacing, and strips of cream/beige Christmas fabric.  I’d better get busy and cut out some circles all ready for tonight.  I think I know how to make yo-yos (also known as Suffolk Puffs)  but I’m hoping that one of the ladies at the hall tonight can give me a couple of hints.


P6270001 Strips cut for my reindeer

My plate of food to take along for the shared meal is all ready – so I had better get busy and start cutting those 75 circles out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ladies who Lunch, and Pete’s Emporium

The Caravan Club ladies met for lunch yesterday at Denny’s Restaurant, in Porirua, nine of us, so it was an excellent turn-out.  This was a first for several in our group who had not been to this establishment before.  I wasn’t the only one who had trouble making up my mind in choosing something to eat.  Mind you, the menus were quite extensive, and by the time I had read right through from from to back, I had forgotten what there was.  So I had to check it once again, and try and decide if I would perhaps like this dish more than that one.  Or what about over the page?  After a lot of umming and ahhing we all finally made our decision, and our lunch orders were taken. 

P6240001 The Caravan ladies all ready to eat their lunch

My choice was Salmon Benny – Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, and a couple of others chose the same.  Very tasty it was too.  Several chose the roast pork, and what a huge serving that turned out to be.  Dot decided that her pork crackle was much too soft and nowhere near crackly enough, and asked to have it replaced.  I took her original pork crackle off her hands and ate it up, no trouble at all.

P6240005 Now that’s more like it.

Those huge roast meals proved much too much for our ladies to finish, and a couple asked for doggy bags to take the left-overs home.  As well as the polystyrene box to put the food in, they were also given a branded fabric shopping bag to carry it in.

P6240006 Lorraine and her left-overs

After the meal I had a visit to Pete’s Emporium, an Aladdin's Cave of crafty goodies.  You could spend ages in here, there is so much to see.  I was after 10 metres of  heavy cream coloured cotton lace, and found just what I wanted, at a very reasonable price too.  This is for a project I’ve been planning for a while, so I’m keen to get started.

P6240008Lots of sparkly lace and braid

P6240010 Tiny dolls in jars

I don’t know about any one else, but with what I would like to make, plus my generous number of UFOs and WIPs, I need to spend a lot more sewing than I currently do.  Seems to be a problem for most of us,  I feel..

Sunday, June 22, 2014

50 Years Ago

50 years ago, The Beatles arrived in New Zealand, and  Wellington was their first stop.  As the band stepped off the plane, the shrieks of 7000 fans drowned out the noise of the turbo prop engines. Te Pataka concert party performed a haka, before doing a hongi (pressing noses) and presenting the band members with a  tiki each.  From the back of a Holden ute, The Beatles waved to fans who lined the roads from the airport to town. The crowds outside their hotel, the St George, were so large that the Beatles had to be taken in secretly through the bottle shop entrance of the hotel. Management rushed the band up to the third floor balcony so fans could see them and not crash the hotel.

It was mayhem.  Girls were screaming uncontrollably,  Police used dogs to clear crowds from verandas and other vantage points. Teenagers pushed, shoved, and carried on screaming – Wellington had never experienced anything like it before.  The band played two shows back to back in the Wellington Town Hall on 22 and 23 June.  But who heard the songs or the music, there was too much screaming going on.

The Beatles stand on the balcony of the St George Hotel, Wellington, shortly after their arrival in New Zealand on 21 June 1964.

And where was I?  Certainly not caught up in any of the screaming crowd. At 18 years old  I was safely home in Upper Hutt, married, and seven months pregnant.  There was no way I could have gone to see the Beatles in my condition, even if there was spare cash for tickets.  Having to miss the biggest thing ever to hit New Zealand during my teenage years, I thought my life was over.  And we didn’t even have a TV to watch it all unfold.  It was just the radio and newspaper for me.

Any other memories out there?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Home again after our Road Trip

We love travelling around in our caravan, but I always come down to earth with a thump when we return home.  The washing machine has been chugging away, load after load.  Must admit that I didn’t do any laundry while we were away on our last trip, most unusual for me, so the laundry bag was full to overflowing.  Then there were the towels and sheets to wash, another load – the bed to make up with fresh sheets, hang clean towels on the towel rail, so everything is ready for the next trip away.

While we were away at the Chocolate Éclair Rally in Ohakune (yes, we did get a delicious big squidgy chocolate éclair each)  we could help ourselves to some freshly harvested Ohakune carrots, parsnips, potatoes and swedes for a very modest cost.  So today I have used some of the veggies in a big pot of soup, and will be adding more to some Savoury Mince.  I’ll take some to my elderly next door neighbour too, I’m sure she will be able to make use of them.

Did I mention that we have recently changed our caravan?   The large bathroom right across the back of the van was what sold us on this version of Leisureline caravan.  Toilet to the left, separate shower to the right, hand basin and vanity unit, heated towel rail plus lots of cupboards.  Our previous bathroom was the size of a broom cupboard, with shower, toilet and hand basin all fitted in to the very small space, barely room to swing a cat, if we had a mind to.   It worked OK, but this is so much nicer, and so much roomier.

P6080015Inside our new caravan

New caravan cushions are on the “must make soon” list, and I still have a couple of cupboards to sort out and rearrange.  Most importantly, Muffy has settled down very well in the new caravan.  Now that she is getting on in years, she gets distressed quite easily, and likes to keep quite close to us both.  She doesn’t like to venture outside anymore, just likes to curl up and snooze the day away.

P6150018 Muffy enjoying the Ohakune sunshine in the window

P6140011And this was the view out of the caravan window

It's good to be back home - until our next trip.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Snow Bunny at Ohakune

Breaking news – a snow bunny was spotted over the weekend at Ohakune.  Or maybe it is a hoodie wearer sporting a pastel coloured bikie patch? 

P6140012 Is this a snow bunny?

That’s no snow bunny – goodness, it’s me!  It’s no surprise, I’m sure, that I’m no skier.  But my pretty pastel lilac and pink zip up hooded jacket keeps me nice and cosy when the temperatures drop.

P6140013 That’s no snow bunny, it’s only me

We are currently attending a NZMCA rally at Ohakune, and have been enjoying beautiful fine sunny days.  And just to keep us on our toes, cold frosty nights.  Just look at the view we get from our rally site.

P6140011 Mt Ruapehu

With 90 vans attending the rally, ours is not the only one with an animal on board.  We have seen plenty of dogs, all on leads as they should be, and several other cats.  Muffy is taking it all in her stride and likes to keep herself to herself these days, safely tucked up inside her own caravan.

P6150021 Muffy watching out the window

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Quilted Gumboot, Taihape

Why call a quilt shop “The Quilted Gumboot”, you may ask.  Because it is situated in Taihape, known as the Gumboot Capital of the World.  Read all about how this town got this name here.

P6120018 Step inside the Quilted Gumboot

Owner Pauline Baddeley has been running her quilt shop for several years now, but this is the first time I have called in
P6120008A customer made this for the shop

A what a lovely little shop it is, chock full of all sorts of interesting items.  Fabric, of course, with a lovely range of Kiwiana designs, knitting wool, notions, and patterns.

P6120012 Lots to browse through

P6120015 Knitting wool, needles, and kits

There was a range of lovely hand knitted tea cosies for the serious tea drinker, and I saw some beautiful knitted  knee rugs.  The Quilted Gumboot offers classes, and has stitching days too when Pauline provides home made cake and serves drinks in fancy tea cups.  Sounds like my kind of place, what a shame I don’t live closer.

P6120013 Pauline of the Quilted Gumboot

Of course I didn’t leave empty handed.  I found a fat quarter of special fabric to use in a memory quilt I’m planning, plus a cute Christmas pattern (Yuletide Yoyos) for a Santa, snowman and reindeer.  All I have to do is master the art of making yo-yos.  That shouldn’t be too hard, should it?  I’ve never made them before.

P6120017 Quilts on display

Do pop in if you are passing by, Pauline will make you very welcome.  The Quilted Gumboot is at 6 Tui Street, Taihape, around by the station.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Quick, the quilters are coming

It was my turn to host the Sew Wot quilting group, so I’ve been busy in the kitchen.  Muffy thinks she is helping too.  As soon as I opened the kitchen cupboard to get the mixing bowls out, in she jumped, as quick as a wink. Any open cupboard is a magnet to her.   “Scram”,  I told her, “I’ve got a lot to do!”  With the baking done yesterday, and a quick whizz around this morning with the vacuum cleaner, I was all ready.

DSCF5619 Muffy think she is helping

The Sew Wot ladies duly arrived and started chattering away.  Moira, Helen and Mary started working on their embroidery while the others just sat and talked.  Helen had lots to show us as she had just come back from her holiday in Adelaide, Australia.  Her book of holiday photos was passed around and admired.  Muffy decided that Helen was the perfect person to cuddle up to, and stayed on her lap all morning.

P6100029 Helen and Muffy

Three of the ladies had recently celebrated their birthdays and cards and gifts changed hands.  Pam received a a pretty set of hand stitched coasters to use in her new conservatory.

P6100028 Pam’s pretty coasters

Ronald McDonald House  is always in need of bright cheery quilts for young patients, and Rae was stitching down the binding on her quilt which will be gifted to this deserving cause.

P6100031 Birthday girl Pam and Rae with her Ronald McDonald quilt

Helen had completed some pretty stitchery blocks designed by the very clever Bronwyn Hayes of Red Brolly Designs to show us.

P6100030 Bronwyn Hayes designs

That reminded me that I had made a Christmas quilt a while ago using some Bronwyn Hayes stitchery blocks, so I brought it out to show everyone.  This Australian designer has her own particular style, pop over and see some of her work here.

DSCF8250 My Bronwyn Hayes inspired Christmas quilt

Cups of tea and coffee were made, and the morning tea set out, including a cream sponge in honour of the three birthday girls.  (Not a home made cream sponge, I must confess, making sponges is not one of my skills.)   It was another very pleasant morning spent with the Sew Wot ladies.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

And today I ………..

Oh dear – I’ve been busy and the kitchen has the smell of vinegar today.  Yesterday I purchased a big bag of capsicums (also known as bell peppers to those from other lands), sliced them all up with onions, sprinkled with salt and left the bowl in the fridge overnight.  Then today the capsicums were carefully rinsed and drained, and placed in my big soup pot with vinegar and sugar.  It all bubbled away for a while and this is what I’ve got to show for it.  Three jars of delicious capsicum chutney.  Yummy on cold meat, and spread on crackers with cheese.  Next time, I’ll buy two big bags and make even more.

P6070025 Capsicum chutney

It may be a lot of work, but I just love cooking up batches of jam, chutney, or suchlike.  Perhaps a batch of lemon honey will be cooked up next?  In my view, nothing beats homemade jam, and it looks so nice tucked away in the pantry.

I’ve just completed knitting another cotton duster, using up some of the knitting cotton I purchased from my op shop bargain find last month. 

P6070027 Another knitted duster

Then I played a game of pass the parcel with the laundry.  Hung it out on the clothesline in the morning, rescued it from the rain after lunch, and re-hung it all on the clothes airer in the garage.  Our cat Muffy was feeling left out from all my activity, and wandered around the house looking most unsettled.  So I picked her up, put her on my lap, and gave her coat a good comb through.  She loves getting groomed and helps out by licking a leg or two as I am wielding the comb.  There, now she looks prettier than ever.

P6070028 Our old girl Muffy

Now, when can I get back to my sewing machine?  I'm starting to get withdrawal symptoms.  Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pottering Around

It’s been that sort of day today – where no actual sewing gets done.  But I have been busy in other ways.  Did a load of washing, then a whole lot of ironing.  Washed out the fridge prior to doing a big shop tomorrow.  And most important of all, tended to the poorly one in the family.  Robin went to the dentist today and had a broken tooth attended too.  He was told it needed a very large filling to fix the tooth, and could well be tender for quite some time – ouch!  So I heated up some soup for his lunch, made sure he swallowed a pain killer or too, and generally tried to make soothing noises while he is feeling out of sorts.  With his painful knee, and now a sore tooth, he isn’t a happy chap at all.

Muffy is playing nurse maid too by jumping up on his recliner chair with him and settling down on Robin’s lap.  Hopefully, things will be a little better tomorrow.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Oops, how did that happen?

We are currently enjoying a caravan rally at Pahiatua.  There is a busy weekend planned, as we are celebrating our caravan club’s 40th birthday.  Lots of memories to look back on and plenty of reminiscing taking place.

The weather has been good for this time of year, nice and sunny during the day, but rather chilly in the evenings.  I took advantage of the sunshine earlier today, and took my knitting outside to work on.  What am I knitting?  A pretty pink toddler’s jumper to put away in my baby box for the next generation.  But I had a bit of an oopsie when the feathers yarn got all tangled up in my stretchy-curly shoe laces.  Had to take my sneaker off to untangle the mess I had got myself in. 

P6010022 How did I get in this mess?