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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Still Traveling

We are still on a caravan trip and since collecting my quilt from Linda at Taupo, we moved on to Hamilton.  Want to see another peek of my beautiful quilt?  Linda quilted all around my simple candlewick blocks and really made them look special.

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Another peek at Linda’s beautiful quilting

The trip to Hamilton was to visit the “Motorhome, Caravan, and Leisure Show” where all the brand new vans and motorhomes are displayed.  There was free parking for vans at this 3 day event, and we joined about 900 others.  I climbed up the road to the top of the hill to get a photo over the site – and was I puffed when I reached the top!  Certainly worth it though, and walking back down was so much easier.  We went for a walk and saw vans parked all over the place, many at the back of buildings so not easily seen from the road.  And caught up with some old friends from different parts of the country whom we only see at these type of get-togethers.

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Looking at all the bright and shiny new vans was great, but I was also quite taken with a display of restored retro vans, all beautifully styled with accessories too.  This little cutie in particular.

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Pretty little retro van

Leaving the show, we traveled south at stopped off at the little town of Kihikihi – it was time to do some laundry.  Keeping up with the laundry makes me a very happy camper indeed.

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We are staying for the next couple of nights at Bell Block, New Plymouth, under the shadow of Mt Egmont.  What a great view we have from our caravan site.  Hopefully I will get a clearer shot next time.  There is a saying up this way – “If you can’t see the mountain, it’s raining, and if you can see it, it will be raining again soon”.

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Mt Egmont

I’ve only managed to do a little hand stitching while we have been away, and need to go and buy some more thread – I’m stitching a NZ native bird and  need blue for tail feathers and a red/yellow for the beak and feet.  We will be having a catch up with friends later for an evening meal, so that will be very nice. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Meeting the Sweet Peas

On our recent trip to Taupo to collect my quilt from Linda of Razzle Dazzle Quilter, she kindly invited me to meet up with her quilting group, the Sweet Peas.  What a lovely bunch of ladies – they made me feel very welcome indeed, and had brought of lot of Show and Tell to share.

Andreena had brought along a lovely basket quilt made in Japanese fabrics, very nice indeed.  Plus two lovely Christmas items, a table runner and Santa's Sleigh and reindeer.  I love Christmas quilts too.

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Made by Andreena

Stitching a Dear Jane quilt is a real labour of love, and Fiona kept on stitching until she had completed this mammoth task.  This was a Block of the Month, and several blocks were sent out each month from Stich’n’Heaven, in Texas.  Fiona told us that she kept up each month, quite an achievement as some of these little blocks have a huge number of tiny pieces.  This is another quilt expertly quilted by Linda.

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Fiona’s Dear Jane quilt

Terri had also been very busy and showed a lovely needle turn NZ Native Bird quilt she had made for her son.  And a very pretty little floral quilt she has decided to keep for when her first grand-daughter arrives.

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A couple of beauties  from Terri

I love NZ designs and really admired Hazel’s bird quilt.  “Tuis in my Garden” was designed by Diane Fussel.  With lots of thread painting on the tuis and 3D kowhai flowers, it was lovely indeed.

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Tuis in my Garden, by Hazel

Like most groups, the Sweet Peas have challenges now and again.  Rochelle brought along her Sweet Peas BOM “Blooming Flowers”.  Such bright and happy colours.

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Rochelle’s Sweet Pea Challenge

Linda has pieced “Social Butterfly” using Tula Pink’s fabrics from the USA.  I was told to look carefully at the fabrics to see if I could find the animals on the prints.  Sure enough, I found tigers galore hidden in the butterflies.

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Linda’s Social Butterflies

And lastly, I really admired Peggy’s pretty quilt which was hanging on the wall for Spring.  This was made while she lived in Australia, and many of the blocks were made by quilting friends for her.

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Peggy’s Spring quilt

Many thanks to Linda and Peggy for inviting me to their home to meet up with their Sweet Pea group.  It was so nice to meet all the ladies and get to see their lovely quilts – I really appreciated the kind invitation.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Collecting my Quilt From Linda

We are “on the road again” in the caravan and stayed for a couple of nights in Taupo.  And while there  had a very important visit to Linda of Razzle Dazzle Quilter who had quilted her magic on my Candlewick quilt.  Linda had been in touch to tell me it looked gorgeous, and although I didn’t doubt her for one minute, I was really looking forward to seeing it myself. 

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Hershey loves it too

And what a great job she had done, even the cat thought so.  I’m not showing too much, just yet.  The first job I want to do when we finally get back home from this caravan trip will be to attach the binding.  And then there will be photos galore, I promise.  The quilting is so lovely, and really sets off my simple candlewick blocks.   Thanks so much Linda, I am delighted again, with your beautiful quilting.

Monday, September 11, 2017

No Sewing Happening

We’ve been back from our holiday in Australia a week, and not a stitch of sewing has been done.  That’s not to say I haven’t been busy, though.  The suitcases have finally been emptied and carried back upstairs to our little loft.  It may be Spring here but the weather has been wet and cold, so that means winter cooking, as far as I’m concerned.  So I’ve cooked up a big pot of pumpkin soup one day, flavoured with bacon and a touch of curry powder.  Then I had a beef casserole simmering away in the crock pot, I do love winter comfort food.  And most importantly, we had a big day out with friends to celebrate Robin (almost) turning 70.  His actual birthday is on Tuesday, so maybe we will squeeze another celebration or two into the week.

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Happy 70th Birthday to Robin

The only thing remotely like sewing I’ve done is to pin some sashing strips onto my Australian blocks.  I know, some of you don’t bother to pin, but I really feel the need to.  When I finally get to sit at the sewing machine I can get started on these blocks, or maybe even use them as leaders and enders.

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Pinned sashings to Aussie blocks

Sadly, sitting at my sewing machine will have to wait as we are going away on a caravan trip for the next two weeks.  I’ll have to sort out some hand stitching to take with me.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Meeting with the Sew Wot Ladies

It was so nice to meet up with the Sew Wot ladies on Tuesday, after being away on holiday for several weeks.  There were two more finished quilts that our group was doing from the Moda Sampler Blocks recently offered on the internet.  Carol and Heather B brought along their finished quilts – it’s always so interesting to see just how different quilts can be using the same blocks.

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Carols Moda quilt (top), and Heather B’s (lower)

Mary had been very prolific – she brought along a Christmas Tree Skirt made to her daughter’s specifications, just as she wanted it.  And after our Sew Wot friend Pam passed away, Mary took home this lovely Iris wall-hanging kit, and stitched it in Pam’s honour.

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Mary’s finishes

There was a bit of knitting going on as well, both blankets, as it turned out.  Helen was stitching her grey and white squares together, and Carol was knitting herself a blanket in such pretty shades of extra thick wool.  Both blankets will be lovely and cozy when they are completed.

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Helen and Carol with their woolen blankets

Moira was embroidering her lovely fox design, and Heather E was appliqueing tiny hexies and dresden plates onto background squares.  As for me, even though I got my hand stitching out, I didn’t take a single stitch!  Too much talking going on, and I really needed to catch up on all the news, didn’t I?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Home Sweet Home

We were up bright and early with the alarm set for 4.00am on the morning for our trip home from Oz.  A quick shower, dressed, including a pair of long compression socks each.  I was recycling my white  “hospital operation socks”, if they were good enough last year for surgery, they’ll certainly do for a three hour or so flight home.  With bags packed, a quick look around the hotel room to make sure we didn’t leave anything behind, we were waiting downstairs on the footpath to be collected for our shuttle ride to the airport at 5.00am.   After offloading our cases, we went through Customs and I was selected as a “random” for testing for explosives.  The flight over the sea was uneventful, with just a little turbulence, and soon we were flying into Wellington, looking out over the harbour as the plane swung around to make it’s approach.

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We collected the car from the Long Term car-park, loaded the bags and headed for home.  We had a great holiday, but it’s always nice to return home safely.

My best buys of the holiday were bargain priced indeed.  Such as the pair of jandals I purchased at the Night Markets in Cairns, and my lovely blue sunhat, also from Cairns – neither items I had thought to take with me.  The hat was really necessary in the hot sunshine – it may have been winter over in Oz but the sun was rather fierce, and then I could squish it up to put in my bag between times.  And after walking all day, it was so nice to take my sandals off once we returned to our accommodation, and slip those cool jandals on my hot feet.  And Robin’s favourite purchase was his Akubra hat.

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My new jandals and two new hats

I always need a book to read, even while on holiday, and I love nothing better than a book about the turbulent Tudor times.  Wolf Hall is all about the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and all the other major players of the times.

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Nothing beats a good book at bedtime

Although I never took any hand stitching with me, I did take my blocks made with Australian fabrics.  These may well look familiar, as I took them away last year to Australia when we went on the Ghan rail trip and only used half of them.  Each night I would get my Micron ink pen out and write down where we were staying, trips we had taken, and sights we had seen.  Even memorable meals – after all, a holiday is always about trying new and exciting food, isn’t it.  I can’t wait to get the blocks all stitched together

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Australian quilt blocks

We had such fun, travelled to new places, saw all sorts of interesting things and had wonderful adventures.  Australia is such a vast country, so very different to New Zealand.  We had a wonderful holiday, but it’s great to be home again. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Last Days in Brisbane

Our wonderful Aussie Adventure holiday is winding down, and we have spent the last few days here in Brisbane – a very, bustling,  diverse city indeed.  Our last few days have been packing in some sightseeing, and enjoying the wonderful warm weather.  We spent several hours on one of the free City Hopper ferries, which stopped off at all the handy terminals along the river - we just stayed put and enjoyed the ride there and back again.

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Enjoying the free ferry City Hopper

The following day we bought a package tour and  boarded another ferry, the Mirimar, which took us on a Koala River Cruise. A very pleasant trip indeed, and we enjoyed listening to the informative commentary all about Brisbane as we cruised along.

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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was established in 1927 with only 2 koalas; now with over 130 of these cuddly creatures as well as a variety of Aussie wildlife, it holds the Guinness World Record for the first and largest koala sanctuary in the World.  They are sleepy little creatures and spend their days eating for a while, then sleeping soundly.  Some of them had babies tucked up in their arms.

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Such cute little koalas

Then there were the kangaroos, just lolling about in the afternoon sunshine – they were in a large open enclosure and the public were allowed to get up quite close to them.  The kangaroos were very relaxed with all the visitors.   I had always thought that large kangaroos could be quite dangerous with their strong legs and sharp claws, but these are obviously well used to being the centre of attention.

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A very relaxed mob of kangaroos

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Time for an ice-cream

Then today I saw some “patchwork with a difference” at the Museum of Brisbane.  Artist Carol McGregor works closely with members of the local Aboriginal community to record their stories on contemporary possum skin cloaks.  They were wonderful works of art indeed.  As possums are protected animals in Australia, these skins were sourced from New Zealand.

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Contemporary possum skin cloaks, by Carol McGregor

And to finish off our time in the museum we had lunch at the lovely Shingle Inn, which looks for all like a little slice of England.  The original fixtures had been donated by the Bellchambers Family and installed into the City Hall by the Brisbane City Council.  Full of beautiful golden paneling, chandeliers, and old English style pottery and decorations, it was a lovely lunch experience indeed.    The table was set with engraved silver, together with the named crockery – so we enjoyed playing ladies and gents for a while.  We ordered waffles (with berries for her and bananas for him)  and coffee and enjoyed every mouthful.

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Waffles for lunch at the Shingle Inn

Today, Sunday, is the last day of our holiday so it will be another early morning wake-up call to get to the airport for our trip home.  We’ve had a great time, experienced all sorts of adventures and seen some interesting places in this huge country.  But like all travelers, it will be great to return home again.

And remember if you are interested in reading a fuller version of our holiday travels, log on to our Travel Blog at www.romanyrambler.com