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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

After the Rain – Sightseeing

Yesterday it rained, and rained, then rained some more.  We spent the afternoon tucked up cozy inside the caravan, and I kept busy doing a little hand quilting on my NZ Botanical quilt. This is not easy going at all, because I think the backing fabric is quite “hard” and not at all easy to quilt.  But I’m halfway through, so I’m persevering.  Today, Tuesday, the rain has stopped, the skies are blue so we decided to make the most of it and go out and about.  But first, Gemma helped me make the caravan bed.  You can just see her little face peeking out beneath the quilt.

Where’s Gemma hiding?

We are staying at Taupo, which is part of the volcanic area in the North Island of New Zealand that has been active for the past two million years and is still highly active. So today we took a walk through the “Craters of the Moon”, a geothermal wonderland, full of steaming craters and vents, roaring steam fumaroles, and bubbling mud. 

Craters of the Moon landscape

Boardwalks and graveled paths made walking easy.  It was interesting to see birds and insects flitting around and the ground cover was mostly flowering manuka bushes.There were information boards dotted around, and for the weary (or elderly) plenty of seating to sit and enjoy the views.



Walking around the track, we heard the roaring of boiling hot steam escaping, and peeping over the edge of the large crater, we could see small pools of liquid mud, plop plopping away. A reminder of just how active and unstable this area is.

This boiling steam was coming out with great force, and noise!

Hard to see, but there is boiling mud in those small pools

It had been some years since our last visit, and it was certainly worth a return visit, especially since we qualified for senior discount.  There were plenty of tourists wandering about, and it was great to hear their travel stories, where they had been and where they were heading to next.  They seemed to be interested that Kiwis, like us, also like to visit these attractions.  And why not, we are always in awe of the power of volcanic activity so close by.
Lunch was next, and we took another return visit, this time to Lava Glass, glassblowing, gallery and cafĂ©.  No photos were allowed to be taken in the gallery, so many beautiful pieces of glass on show, but well out of our budget.  We enjoyed a nice relaxed lunch, then made our way back to the camp.


We are currently camping at the National Equestrian Centre, just out of Taupo. 



There is a huge indoor arena so I went to see if I could take a peep inside.  No horses being worked inside today, but I’m sure it would be a very busy place when competitions are taking place.  Tomorrow we are moving on to meet up for a Christmas Rally.  

Monday, November 18, 2019

Christmas in the Caravan

I know its early, but we are away for a week in the caravan,  heading off for a Christmas Rally.  There has been a tiny bit of caravan Christmas decorating done, and Gemma is making the most of it.  Such as sprawled out on the bed on top of the Christmas quilt.  She is such a poser – I’m sure she just settles down and waits till I get the camera out!

Gemma snoozing on the bed

Our trip up was relatively easy, but Robin commented that with our new van being a little taller than the previous one, it does tend to catch the wind more.  We saw some of Mother Nature’s beautiful colours while driving up to Taupo.   Stopping in Taihape to top up on fuel, I saw this glorious tree, glowing with colour.  Isn’t  it gorgeous.  Neon yellow broom was in flower on the road side looking rather spectacular as we drove into Turangi.

Seen on our trip

I thought I was well prepared for our trip away and packed my knitting bag – I often like to knit in the car while traveling.  But…….I didn’t check it out properly, I’d forgotten to pack the pattern!  So the knitting will have to wait till we return home.

Who didn’t check the knitting bag properly?

But I’ve got a little stitchery I’m working on, plus some hand quilting, so I’m sure I’ll have enough to do.

Birdy stitchery

And here she is again, snoozing again, this time with a couple of Christmas cushions for company.  Made by me, of course.

Another Christmas photo

It’s not very Christmassy weather at all, currently the rain is pouring down and it’s getting rather chilly.  So we’ve put our sight seeing plans on hold today.  No point in going out in this heavy rain, is there? 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday Finish

It’s good to have another finish, especially something which has been in the wings for a while.  The binding is now stitched down on my Christmas Mystery quilt.  I quite enjoy this final part of the quilt making process.

Hand stitching the binding down

This quilt should really be called “Quilt in a Jar” as most of the fabrics used were Christmas fabrics squashed in this jar.  A couple of years ago our Christmas Sew Wot gifts had to be something or other – the choice was up to us to put what we liked in the jam jar as a gift.   Helen had packed a whole lot of Christmas fabric squares into her gift jar so I used them in this quilt, adding extra fabric as required.


This project was added to my List of Six and is now finished, in time for Christmas.  Here it is on the clothesline, I had to wait for the gusty wind to die down to take a few photos.

Blowing in the wind

And this one taken out on the patio.  Can you see the tiny pink rose?  The rose bush is called “Precious Pet” and was a gift from a friend when our elderly cat Muffy passed away a couple of years ago.


Precious Pet rose

I don’t know about you, but I quite enjoy doing the ironing, plus of course it is used with my sewing.  But my old iron got dropped on the floor and fell to pieces.  There was nothing for it but to go and buy a new one, and luckily they were on special so we got a good deal. 

New Iron

And then, would you believe it, I had another mishap.   I was using my stick wand to puree some soup and it went bang in my hand – looks like I blew it up, so that will need to be replaced as well.  They say things happen in threes, so I do hope that nothing else will be dropped, blow up, or stop going!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Sew Wot Tuesday

This week our Sew Wot get-together was held at Helen’s home, out in the countryside.  I’ve been there before, of course, thought I knew where I was going, but got myself lost!  Quite upsetting really, but I backtracked and finally found myself on the right road, although running late after my misadventure.  I arrived to find a wonderful selection of Mary’s Heart Challenge blocks laid out on the floor.  A glorious array of colour indeed.  Some in pinks, reds, purples, and Christmas fabrics as well.  I’ve only done my first two so far, so I’ve got a bit of catching up to so.

Heart blocks galore

Heather brought along some Show and Tell.  This lovely giraffe head was made in a Mosaic class recently, and all the little pieces are glued down, then stitched in place.  And isn’t that an interesting background fabric?  And then she showed us a cute little pin cushion made from an old sock.  Not just any old sock, but these special “quilting” socks were a much loved pair from a friend. 

Mosaic giraffe head and her cute sock pin cushion

Helen had been busy, and had recently stitched up a set of red, grey, black and white place mats.  And being the hostess, had been working in the kitchen to give us all a wonderful morning tea.  Helen’s husband doesn’t refer to our little group as the Sew Wots, but instead calls us the Eat Alots, and he could be right!  There is nothing better than home baking.


Delicious Morning Tea

Our next Sew Wot get-together will be the final of the year, our Christmas Lunch.  We have all made our pin cushion gift from recycled bits and pieces to bring along, so it will be interesting to see the variety we are sure to get.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Selvedge Quilt Finished

This is my first year taking part in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and I decided to make two different blocks each month, one of them being selvedge Asterisk blocks.   Each month I stitched two selvedge blocks in the suggested colour, except for black and dark brown, which I didn't fancy.  After sewing the blocks together, moving them from here to there till I was happy with the colour placement, I pinned the top to a fleecy backing and stitched in the ditch between the blocks for stability.  Then I decided on spiral quilting across the quilt.  I was a little worried about the slight stretchiness of the fleecy backing, but I didn't have any problems at all.

Machine quilting the spiral

The binding was scrappy dark blue strips left over from another project, so I was pleased to use some of them up.  It’s always nice to spend a little time outdoors sitting under the Archgolo during some hand stitching.  With the binding finished, it was time to add the label.  My cozy Asterisk quilt was made for  my car.  We don't suffer from snow, ice, and cruel winter weather here, so probably wont be needed for warmth, so it can sit on the backseat looking  pretty.


And here it is, my very first Rainbow Scrap Challenge finish.  I’m really pleased with how it turned our as I only had a glimmer of an idea when I started stitching the blocks each month.  Many thanks to Angela of  Sew Scrappy for encouraging quilters worldwide each month, and providing her Linky Party.  It’s always fun to see what others are making with their RSC blocks as the months progress.

Selvedge Asterisk quilt

Friday, November 8, 2019

Running Free

Granddaughter Megan had a big birthday this week – I can’t believe she is now 25!  Like all grandmothers I can remember when she was born, a toddler, going to school, then college, now working, haven’t the years just flown by.  We met up during the week for coffee to hand over her new quilt for her special birthday.

Birthday girl Megan with her Nana

Just like her older sister Emma, Megan is a keen and proficient horsewoman, taking part in all manner of horse events, from competitions to hunts.  So a horse quilt would be just the thing for this birthday celebration.   With a whole pile of dark grey and black nine patch blocks left over from Emma’s horse quilt,   I decided to utilise them, introducing a bright teal as sashing between the blocks.

Nine patch blocks

These blocks were set around a horse panel I spotted in a quilt shop while on our travels some time ago.  The sashings picked up the touches of blue water in the panel.  The top was assembled some time ago, you can see how tiny our kitten Gemma was back then.  And as often happens, the project was put away for a while, but not forgotten.

Working on the top

The quilt was finished earlier this year and I took it to a local quilter to be commercially quilted.  Much too big for me to cope with, it measures 87 inches by 95 inches.  I remember sewing the miles of binding down, that took ages. 


With the label added, it was just a matter of waiting for the big birthday to roll around.  Now both granddaughters have their own special horse quilts.

Running Free, for Megan

Monday, November 4, 2019

Autumn Stitchery

I’ve loved doing the slow stitching on my Autumn stitchery piece, a pretty free design from Crabapple Hill Studio.  When I finally completed all those brown knots representing sunflower seeds, it didn’t take too long to trim the piece to size and stitch the borders on.  The Autumn leaves fabric I had tucked away finishes it off nicely, don’t you think?

Autumn Stitchery

This is quite small, so I’ve decided to layer it together, ready to hand quilt.  I’m already slowly hand quilting my New Zealand Botanical quilt, which seems to be taking me ages, but it might be nice to do a little quilting on this smaller one now and again.  It’s Summer here now in my part of the world, so maybe I’ll get it completed to hang up next Autumn, wouldn’t that be nice.  This will be a nice little project to hand quilt outside under our shady gazebo, listening to the birds as they busily go about their birdy business.