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

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

My Blogging Helper

Gemma is doing her bit to help me while I’m blogging.  As I’m tapping away on the keyboard she is keeping the lap top bag warm and secure as she stretches out on her back.   Basking in the sunshine is something that cats certainly enjoy.

A perfectly content kitty

Our road trip continues, and we took a trip to Kairakau Beach, a rather rugged coastline with plenty of good fishing we were told.

Kairakau Beach

Then stopped off at the local pub for lunch.  Fish Chowder was on the menu so that was what I chose.  So tasty, and served with garlic toast, yummy!

My lunch at the Patongata Pub

A visit to the historic Napier Prison had been on our wish list for some time.  This was the first prison to be built in New Zealand, opened in 1906  and held approximately 50 prisoners.   The historic prison is located on Napier’s Bluff Hill, close to the old quarry where the inmates used to work their hard days’ labour to build the walls that would keep them imprisoned.  Conditions were tough in the early days, and convicted murders paid the ultimate price for their deeds.  It is believed that there was a Circuit Judge who travelled around the country delivering the hanging judgement to convicted criminals.  He was accompanied by a horse and cart, several workmen and court officials, and the materials to built a kit set gallows at each destination.

Napier Prison

On a lighter note, we heard of prisoners making a break to freedom.  In order to aid escape one prisoner left his boots as a decoy in front of the toilet, and escaped down the drain.  This scheme was attempted later by a particularly fat prisoner who got stuck in the drain for three days.  He had to be rescued by the fire department using copious quantities of detergent to get him out.

Traveling on to Taupo, we stopped at the Lookout over the lake at this glorious view.  Looking across Lake Taupo at the mountains in the distance.

Lake Taupo and the mountains

Next stop was Rotorua, and I couldn't put it off any longer, it was time to find a laundromat.  It was another lovely sunny Autumn day and the laundry soon dried on the clotheslines in camp.

Happiness is clean laundry

Rotorua is a very active thermal area.  After doing a little shopping, we stopped off at Kuirau Park and joined the many tourists walking around admiring the hissing, steaming, bubbling vents.  Back in 2001 there was a hydrothermal eruption in Kuirau Park with mud and rocks the size of rugby balls flying in all directions. The rocks snapped branches off nearby trees like they were mere twigs and the nearby road and cars were covered in mud. Keep to the paths, the signs say.

Hard to see, but there is a boiling pool of water under this steam

I’ve only done a tiny bit more stitching, not enough to show really, so no photos just yet.  We will be moving on tomorrow to stay at Mt Maunganui over Easter, so I do hope the Easter Bunny comes calling.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Stitching and Traveling

Just a little stitching to show so far.  I’ve enjoyed several hours stitching away outside under the caravan awning.  Autumn weather here usually means quite warm settled days, so we are making the most of it.  Mind you, the nights are quite chilly now in the caravan.  Time to put my fluffy bed socks on!

Stitching Santa

Our three week road trip started with a weekend caravan rally on a farm in the hills of Otaki.  We had a real treat on Saturday night before our evening entertainment arrived – toasted marshmallows!  And not just any marshmallows, “Flamin Mallows” especially made for BBQs and extra long.  Dennis had made long toasting forks for us all, and we gathered around the fiery brazier toasting our marshmallows.  We were entertained by a musician in the evening - he played my all time favourite song, Ten Guitars, and we all sang along.  In fact, the group was in fine voice all evening, singing along to all those songs from years gone by. 

Toasting Marshmallows

Next was a trip over Gentle Annie, one of those roads not often travelled, from Taihape to Napier.  140kms of steep, winding road, up and over several mountain ranges with the scenery changing from steep grassy slopes, pine plantations, and National Parks.  Finally we arrived at our stop for the night, free parking at  the Springvale Suspension Bridge.  When the rain eased, we went for a walk to check out the bridge.   Opened in 1925, it was an economic necessity to open up more remote land for farming.  After 45 years the suspension bridge was considered unsafe for heavy traffic.  In 1970 the road was realigned and a new bridge was built alongside the old one.  Saved from demolition by Tony Batley, the bridge is now owned and managed by Heritage New Zealand.

Staying at Springvale Suspension Bridge

The next morning we set off along Gentle Annie to complete our journey, up and over even more hills.  What’s this on the road?  You know you are in the country when you encounter stock on the road, a  fine lot of black steers being moved along the road.  There was nothing to do but stop and let them walk around us.

We are now in Napier and have had a busy few days.  Took a trip along to nearby Silky Oak Chocolates to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate for afternoon tea – so decadent and delicious!  And buy a little chocolate too, of course. 

Yummy Hot Chocolate

We drove over to Hasting to see my sister Kathleen and her hubby, and catch up with all their news.  Sadly, both of them to not keep good health, but take one day at a time.  So it is very important to see them when we can.

Two sisters: Jenny and Kathleen

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Aqua for April

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour for April has just been announced, and it is aqua.  This caused a bit of mild panic to set in.  Why?  We are heading off on Friday for a three week road trip, not returning till the end of the month,  so many things to do.  Perhaps I wouldn’t get my RSC sewing done this month?  Don’t be silly, I told myself, you can sew them today.  So I did, and that’s one thing I don’t need to worry about.

I don't have a lot of aqua, so I had to raid the batik fabrics which I had put aside for another project.  I knew there was a bit of aqua hiding in the crate, so pulled them out and luckily found some which will work just fine. The four little Bow Tie blocks are very quick to make, and my little collection of small bonus HSTs is growing nicely.

Bow Tie blocks

Surprisingly, the Asterisk selvedge blocks take longer to stitch. It’s just straight sewing, but you know me, I like to pin, stitch and press so it always seems to take a while.  It’s always interesting reading the selvedges too, some are from my own fabrics while others were given to me ages ago.

Asterisk blocks

There was some emergency sewing to do as well, Gemma's poor little pink mousey had a hole in his tummy and the stuffing was coming out.  It was rushed straight into A & E for medical help.

Several stitches later and mousey was as good as new, till next time.  Gemma loves this little toy, carries it around in her mouth, and bats it around the floor and chases after it.  She is such fun to watch when she is playing.

Playing with pink mousey again

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Sew Wot Tuesday

Our two-weekly get together rolled around again, and this time we met at Carol’s home.  Carol lives down a long driveway, and I have to admit that I couldn’t quite remember which flat was hers, and knocked on the wrong door!  Silly me, I was lucky that Carol was keeping an eye out and rescued me.  Navigation is not my strong point - I’m the type of person who loses their car in the big car parks.  Please tell me that I’m not the only one who has this problem.

Heather, Moira and Carol

With a couple of our ladies away, there were just four of us.  We spent the morning chatting, catching up with news, looking through the pile of quilt magazines, and doing a little stitching.  At least, the others did, I didn’t even get my project out of the bag.  But I did have my two little cot quilts for Show and Tell.

Morning Tea was delicious.  We were the guinea pigs to try Carol’s new savoury pinwheel recipe and they were so nice and tasty, and hot from the oven. So tasty, that one wasn’t enough!

Morning Tea for the ladies

There was no more Show and Tell from the others, so Carol brought out several tops which she had stitched and tucked away, and were waiting for the next step.  The House Quilt was done as a “sew-along” group project, and will be going to a grand-son, I was told.

Carol’s tops, waiting to be finished

This will be my last Sew Wot Tuesday for a wee while, as we are heading off on a three week road trip very soon.  I’ll be sure to pack my stitching bag, but I may or may not have any spare time.  But it is better to have a hand stitching project or two, just in case, I always think..

Monday, April 1, 2019

Healing Hearts for Christchurch

I’ve been working away quietly making some healing hearts blocks for Christchurch, and reflecting on the terrible tragedy which took 50 lives a few weeks ago.  While these people were in their place of worship, men, women and children were shot dead and many others left injured.  Previously, New Zealand had never experienced a mass shooting like this, and now sadly,  Christchurch joins the list of cities where such a thing has happened.

Angels in Gumboots quilt shop put out a call for green hearts, and supplied a pieced heart block pattern.  Green is symbolic in Islam as relating to heaven, restoration, hope and life.  We were asked to surround the hearts in white, symbolizing purity and peace, and is the colour most wear when attending Friday prayers.

Understandably, Angels in Gumboots has had an incredible response, both from Kiwi quilters and others overseas.  Mine have been sent on their way to join the many other parcels arriving at their shop.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

A Successful Stitching Day

Yesterday was spent at All Comers Day, a casual monthly stitching day organized by my quit club, Town and Country Quilters.  I took some hand stitching along, my two little baby quilts, and got the binding stitched down on both, so I’m really pleased about that.  I photographed them once I returned home.

For the backings I had a piece of nice warm  Winceyette (flannel) for the blue quilt – I like to use this for backing on quilts for little ones.  It stops the quilt sliding off, and is nice and cuddly.  The pink quilt was backed with a piece of pink seersucker, picked up from the freebie box at club night recently.  These two quilts will be kept here for a while, you never know when a baby quilt may be required, and it's good to have a couple on hand.  Other wise, they may get donated sometime in the future.

Showing the backings

Madalyn, our club President had asked for people to help at the March All Comers Day. The Quiltfest Raffle Quilt needed some willing sewers to sew the donated hexagon flowers together.  Anyone who could spare  1/2 an hour, an hour or a couple of hours to come and help sew would be welcomed with open arms she said.  When I arrived the flowers were laid out on the backing, and pinned in place. And before too long a group of willing workers were sitting around the table stitching all those hexagon flowers together.

Hexagon flowers cascading down

I’d never worked with hexagons so brought along my own projects, plus my packed lunch, of course.  With the bindings hand stitched down on both before the end of the day, I was a happy quilter indeed.

Our groups meets in the Vintage Car Club Rooms, and there was all sorts of activity outside in the car park.   The members were gathering there before they went  off on a ride, showing off their wonderful cars.  I went outside to take a few photos.  I rather liked this one, a Model T Ford, the owner told me.  But he didn’t offer to whisk me away on a vintage car jaunt, so I went back inside to get on with my stitching.  I could just imagine me sitting there like someone really important,  with the wind blowing  in my hair!

How is this for a vintage car!

It was  lovely day out, chatting with club members, getting to know a couple of newer members I hadn’t met before, while we all worked on our favourite pastime.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Pink and Blue Nine Patches

It’s been a busy old week with several social outings to attend, but I’ve managed to do some work on my two little nine patch cot quilts.  These little blocks had been hanging about for ages and I stitched the rows together a while ago as leader and ender sewing.  I can’t even remember why I made all these little nine patches, but it must have seemed a good idea at the time.

An hour or so sitting at the picnic table outside on a sunny day and they were all pinned up, and ready to go.  And while I was thinking about it, I prepared the bindings too.

All pinned up and the bindings prepared

I admit I’m sometimes a bit slow with quilting ideas, but after reading about it for sometime on other blogs, I’ve just discovered that my machine will do a type of Serpentine stitch.  Mind you, it's not called that in the manual, so I didn’t even know I had this stitch variation.  Doesn’t it look pretty?

Pink nine patch all quilted

My hope is to get the blue quilt finished by Friday.  My quilt club has a casual sewing day organized for Saturday so that will be ideal for me to take them along and get the bindings hand stitched down.  I don’t usually bother unhooking my sewing machine from the cabinet and lugging it down to the hall on  these sewing days, and much prefer to take along some hand stitching.