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

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Little more Hand Stitching

A little bit of time here and there all adds up, and I’ve been working away on my second native bird stitchery while on our caravan holiday.  This one is a tui, a nectar feeder who loves to sip on the yellow kowhai blossoms in Spring.  Although not finished yet, the stitchery is coming along nicely.

Working on my tui stitchery

We arrived home safely from our two weeks away  - and I’ll share a few more holiday snaps with you.  We came home along a different route for a change, and driving down a steep hill, we caught our first glimpse of  Lake Taupo.  Although it looks lovely and peaceful now, Lake Taupo was actually formed by a huge volcanic eruption – read all about it here.

Lake Taupo

I love mountains, and managed to snap a picture of Mount Ngauruhoe as we drove along the Desert Road.  The beautiful cone shape tells of it’s volcanic beginnings.

Mount Ngauruhoe

Our last night away in the caravan was spent on a farm – and I got to see some pretty little (motherless)  pet lambs.  So cute – but very demanding, and they came in bleating loudly to see if their next meal was ready.  One of the little lambs decided to check out one of the farm dog’s kennels, and looked so sweet with it’s little head poking out.

Pet lambs on the farm

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Donna’s Quilt Studio and visit to Rose Garden

It’s always fun to find a “new to me” quilt shop while on our travels.  Unknown to me, Donna’s Quilt Studio is just around the corner from our favorite Jukebox Diner where we had a Big Breakfast after dropping our caravan off for the day to get serviced.  We had the day to fill in, so once I found out there was a quilt shop so close, I wasted no time at all getting there. 

Donna’s Quilt Studio

Donna Ward was the Best in Show winner at symposium with her quilt 'Fly' and owns Donna's Quilt Studio in Hamilton with her daughter Ashleigh.

I asked permission and Donna was quite happy for me to take some photos of her shop, containing all sorts of lovely things.  There was plenty to look at and admire, and I especially loved the great range of batiks on display.



There was a happy group of ladies who had come for a Sit and Sew day in the roomy classroom, so I popped my head in there to take a photo.


After I had looked at this and that, checked out fabrics and patterns, I made a few small purchases and went on my way, a happy quilter indeed.  Many thanks to Donna and her daughter for being so welcoming to an “out-of-towner” and granting permission for a few photos.

Next on the to-do list was to have look through the Hamilton Rose Garden.  We entered past the very colourful children’s play area – it was very hot and Robin took a breather on top of a very large caterpillar indeed.

Robin seated on a very large green caterpillar

The rose gardens were very extensive and we noticed a bevy of gardeners busy raking up any petals which had fallen overnight.


Dr Sam McGredy was New Zealand's most successful rose breeder.  The McGredy family of Ireland were internationally renown rose breeders for a century before Sam McGredy IV moved his business to New Zealand.  A special bed of roses is planted with some of the most influential roses of his career.

Dr Sam McGredy’s roses

We then took a wander along one of the many paths and ended up down by the river – so pretty, and nice and cool out of the hot sun.

Down by the river

The large extensive Hamilton Gardens are very pretty indeed and I’m sure we haven’t seen it all yet.  Perhaps we will have another visit next time we are up this way.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Kereru, Poppies, and Holiday News

It’s a busy life while on holiday in the caravan, driving here and there, staying at interesting places.  I found a little time to sit and stitch for a while.  Some stitching over several days and I’m happy to say that I have completed my kereru – one of two native birds I’m doing to hang in the caravan.  The kereru is a large native pigeon, with feathers in shades of green, and a snowy white breast, and gorge themselves on fruiting trees.    Please excuse the unpressed condition of the stitchery – I don’t have an iron in the caravan.

Kereru – native wood pigeon

Crochet in a Airfield Museum?  Why not.  I came across this lovely crocheted giant poppy displayed at the New Zealand Warbirds Museum in Ardmore, Auckland.  (Once more, apologies for the photo, as overhead lights were reflected on the glass).  400 crocheted poppies were made by a group of local ladies to commemorate the 2015 Centenary of the Gallipoli Landings in 1915.  This battle was a disaster for our troops and among the dead were 2779 New Zealanders, about a sixth of all those who had landed on the peninsula.  The red poppy has become a symbol of war remembrance the world over, and in New Zealand it is most commonly seen around Anzac Day, 25 April.

Poppies to remember the fallen

And now for a little news from our holiday.  As already mentioned, we visited the New Zealand Warbirds Museum, dedicated to the restoration of service aircraft.  All kinds of interesting planes were on display.

On view at the NZ Warbirds Museum

We spent the weekend at a caravan rally enjoying good company, a delicious Pot Luck meal, and we all gathered around the raging bon-fire on Saturday evening to celebrate Guy Fawkes night.  It was our wedding anniversary too, this year it is number 34!

Fine dining indeed at the pot luck meal

And while we were there we visited the historic local pub.  At 153 years old, The Riverhead is thought to be New Zealand’s oldest riverside tavern and holds New Zealand’s second oldest liquor license.  Nestled on the shores of the upper Waitemata, The Riverhead is steeped in local history and played a part in the development of early New Zealand, with thousands using the wharf and hotel as the gateway to lands in the north prior to the completion of roads and railway.  

The Riverhead, historic pub

We walked through to  “The Landing” bar and restaurant and settled down to enjoy a drink looking out over the muddy Waitemata.  Later a walk through the doors took us down onto a large deck surrounded by 100 year oak trees.  It was such a lovely peaceful setting.

Looking down from the deck

We are heading home this week but there is sure to be another adventure or too, and interesting sights to see.  And hopefully a little more stitching will be achieved too.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Coming along for the Ride

My pretty little African Violet is coming along for a caravan holiday too.  This was a birthday gift, and I couldn’t really leave such a pretty plant home alone for two weeks, could I? Goodness know what condition it would be in after all that time.


While in Taupo I went to my first ever visit to Lincraft, the retail chain specializing in craft, fabric, yarn, haberdashery, window furnishings, manchester and fashion accessories. First established in Australia, there are now several of these large craft stores in New Zealand, but not in my hometown.  I was looking for some thread for my NZ bird stitchery and found exactly what I needed.

Lincraft store in Taupo

We then travelled on to Arapuni to stay on a lovely peaceful rural property overnight.  While there we went in search of the 80 year old Arapuni Power Station.  Still in operation, this is the oldest currently generating, and the largest single hydroelectric power station on the Waikato River.  We read  the story of the power station being camouflaged to prevent it being bombed by possible Japanese airstrikes during WW11.  Masses of foliage was placed on top, and the building was painted in camouflage colours.  Japan did not invade New Zealand so the powerhouse remained unscathed – but it certainly is an interesting story, and one we knew nothing about.

Arapuni Power Station

Did you notice that very high swing bridge in the photo above?  This was built in 1925 for construction workers to reach the power station site, so of course we wanted to cross it.  At 152m long and 54m above the river, the walk across certainly gave spectacular views of the river, the power station and the gorge. 

On the swing bridge

How do you feel about crossing a swing bridge?  I know some people are too terrified to put a foot on one.  I’m fine as long as no one is being silly and making it bounce about.
This is a lovely part of the country and one we usually just drive through, so it was great to find these hidden gems.