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

Saturday, April 10, 2021

RSC Finish from 2020

I’ve been working off and on over the last wee while machine quilting one of last years RSC projects, made with Checkerboard blocks.  This was a nice easy block to construct, and I enjoyed stitching several blocks each month in the nominated colour.  In between my quilting sessions, Gemma has been helping by holding the WIP down to stop it escaping.  Or maybe it’s just been a cozy place for her to settle down.

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Gemma minding the quilt

With the quilting finally complete (it took me ages as I needed to pace myself) it was time to stitch the binding on.  But where was the binding – I knew I had prepared it earlier and put it away safely.  There it was, in the second place I looked, so I didn’t have to panic too much.  I always like to get the binding prepared ahead of time.    Then I settled down outside enjoying the mild Autumn weather and hand stitched the binding down.

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Binding time

With that job complete I had to get a damp cloth to get all the cat hair off the black borders.  Hair from a Birman cat is extremely fine, and floats around in the air, and it is so noticeable on black fabric.  There, all done, now for a photo.  This quilt will be donated to Foster Hope Charity, and I’m going to ask for it to go to an older boy, or teenager.

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Checkerboard quilt

Friday, April 9, 2021

And this week……

Its been another busy week – I’ve been doing a bit of this, and a bit of that.  I’m sure I've told you that it is Autumn here in my part of paradise, so it was high time to get my little hand stitched Autumn wall-hanging up on the wall.  It’s not new so no doubt you have seen it before.  The bald eagles from Juneau, Alaska,  also got a time out of the cupboard - I had purchased this kit from the local quilt shop in Juneau.  We enjoyed a week or so staying there way back when and we were astounded to see so many eagles around – they are such amazing birds.

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A change for Autumn

This season is quite changeable, it can be very mild, or turn rather chilly - every day the temperatures can be different.  I’ve made my first pot of soup for the season, after making some stock from the remains of a chicken carcass cooked in the crock pot.  Then with the additions of veggies and a small handful of split peas and barley, it was a very tasty soup indeed.  I love home made soup for lunch, how about you?

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Home made chicken soup

We took a trip to hospital the other day as Robin was due to have a procedure done.  I left him in the capable hands of the medical staff for several hours and took myself off to the hospital café – such a long walk down this corridor and that one, and around several corners.  With my current back problem making walking difficult, I’m pleased I had the walking stick to rely on, I certainly needed the support.  I was soon comfortably settled with a sandwich and coffee, my book, and some stitching, together with the cell phone handy waiting for the call to return and collect Robin after his procedure was complete.  I was stitching away when a man approached me, commenting that his wife does cross stitch too.  My project was a stitchery, but I’m not sure if he knew what I was talking about.  This man was a Health Shuttle driver, as Robin is too, and the shuttle takes patients from our home town up to the Palmerston North Hospital for appointments.  And although they hadn't met he had seen Robin’s name on the roster sheet.  What a small world!

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Settling down to wait

Today was a nice sunny day and we spent an hour or so outside under the Archgola.  It’s so nice to make the most of these mild Autumn days before the winter weather arrives.   Now daylight saving has finished, the evenings get darker so much earlier – so we settle down to a bit of TV.  Gemma didn’t want to miss out either, she can keep an eye on the pair of us from up there.

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Sunday, April 4, 2021

Slow Stitching over Easter

I have to admit that I’ve been rather slow working on this project, “All Through the Night” by Bonnie Sullivan.  The first three blocks are completed – however I’ve worked on several more of these blocks when I had the correct coloured thread on the needle.  And I’ve also got a couple of other stitchery projects started, just can’t seem to help myself!

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Three blocks done

We decided to stay home for Easter this year instead of heading away in our caravan, I’m getting over my recent procedure and Robin has an appointment straight after Easter.  Reflecting back, we were home over Easter last year (2020), because of New Zealand being in lockdown.  Never mind, I’m sure there will be plenty more caravan trips to look forward to.   But I’ve been keeping creative,  spending time at the sewing machine, and doing a little knitting too.

The roads were very busy when we took a trip to Foxton on Saturday morning to visit the museum Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom.   Caravan club member Sue was taking part in an exhibition with her art group, so we went along to check it out.  And there she was, working on a commission.  All the artists had work on display and we had a lovely time admiring the different styles on show.  I particularly loved the New Zealand scenes, mountains, rivers, farmland and the like.

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Sue and some of her work

It was a lovely day indeed in Foxton, calm and sunny, and at Sue’s suggestion we had a light lunch at Sweet Dreams Café sitting outside under the sun shade.  This gave us ample opportunity for “people watching” as there were streams of visitors walking up and down the foot path, and coming into the café too.

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Lunch at Sweet Dreams.

Today, Sunday, it is quite a bit cooler, so much so that I’ve decided that wearing three quarter length summer trousers is not a good idea any more.  So it’s long trousers today, and my feet are keeping warm clad in my hand knitted blue wooly  socks.  Mind you, our Daylight Saving Time has just finished, so the nights will be getting darker much earlier.

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Warm feet make me happy

The Easter Bunny didn’t come calling to our home this year, we obviously weren’t on his list.  So  we have missed out on marshmallow eggs and on a recent trip to the supermarket we couldn't track down a single Crème Egg.  Just as well we have a packet or two of Hot Cross Buns to enjoy, plus an iced gingerbread bunny each.

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We nibbled on these gingerbread Easter Bunnies

Happy Easter to all, and if you are traveling on the busy roads this long Easter Weekend, safe travels.



Saturday, April 3, 2021

Little Blue Birds

It’s time for some more Rainbow Scrap Challenge stitching organised by Angela of So Scrappy, and the colour this month is blue.  I’ve several monthly RSC projects on the go and so far I’ve stitched my allotted blocks for two of them which will eventually be donation quilts for children.  Firstly I appliqued three little blue birds, then sat and stitched their legs and eyes on.  “Look how skinny those birds legs are”, Robin commented – well, I told him, they are tiny birds so skinny little legs are fine for them. 

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Three little blue birds

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The little blue birds couldn’t wait to join the rest of the flock

Next I worked on boats for the boy’s quilt, and made four of these.  I also altered the three green palm tree blocks I had stitched last month, and the trees are now standing at the edge of a South Sea Island.

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Boats and palm trees

Our Birman cat Gemma is rather partial to birds too, and spends a lot of her time looking out the window just in case some birds appear.  When she spots any birds outside on the grass, she makes funny little chirruping noises in excitement!  We leave the venetian blinds lifted up off the carpet so she can peep out unhindered, or relax in the window as the sun streams in.  Cats certainly have a great life, don't they.

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Any birds out there?

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Sew Wot Tuesday

The Sew Wot ladies gathered at Heather’s home on Tuesday – I had missed the last couple of meetings so it was lovely to catch up with everyone again.  A big bag of quilty donations came along with me, my neighbour had recently moved into a rest home and her daughter gave me several bags of “stuff” looking for a new home.  “Take what you want”, I said, as I laid the bits and pieces out on the coffee table.  What wasn’t wanted will be going down to the Op Shop.

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Mary, Helen and Heather checking out the goodies

I had missed Carol’s birthday as we had been away  so wished her belated Birthday wishes and gave her a small gift.

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Happy Belated Birthday, Carol

Then we moved on to Show and Tell, always a highlight of the morning.  Heather had been rather productive lately.  She had knitted Tom (from Tom and Jerry fame) and what a handsome cat he was.  The giraffe head collage was done in a class recently at the LQS Foxs Cottage.

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Heather’s creations

Heather had also completed a pretty quilt top with patchwork hearts.  This will be sent to her niece who lives in Australia.  She had also been very industrious sewing goods for donations, wheat bags for the Hospice, and children’s pillow cases for the Shoebox charity.

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Heathers heart quilt

Helen had been busy knitting nice warm woolies for her two young grand sons.  She was telling us about her exciting adventure.  Her and her hubby have just returned from the South Island after biking the Otago Rail Trail, they coped admirably on the bikes for five days and had a great time, she said.

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Big and little knitting for the grandsons

I had taken along some Show and Tell as well, my two recently completed quilts and some drawstring bags I had stitched for donation.

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My recent quilts and bags

There was some knitting going on during the morning, and some stitching too.  Mary was hand quilting her Lucy Boston quilt and Helen as stitching her Tula Nova.  You can tell this is a quilter’s home, just look at the lovely quilt on the back of the sofa.

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Mary and Helen stitching away

As usual, we had a delicious morning tea, and then Heather offered us all a yummy chocolate caramel egg.  “Take I take one for Robin as well?” I asked.  Of course I could, we enjoyed them at home with our lunch.  Another great Sew Wots morning, thanks so much, Heather.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

A busy week

We have certainly had a busy week.  After our Caravan Club weekend rally we drove down to stay at Petone for several days.  With a couple of appointments during the week at Wellington Hospital it seemed sensible to stay here, then we wouldn't have the long commute from Levin to Wellington and back.

It was nice to meet up with friends during our five days at Petone.  Rae and Bruce from Foxton were also staying here, they had a family 21st birthday to attend, so they decided to stay on site for a couple of nights. They  travel around with a Birman cat too, a large blue 10 year old boy who is very laid back indeed.  Robin and Bruce worked in the same company some years ago, and the four of us enjoyed a meal in the club bistro on Sunday evening.  Then we had lunch with caravan club members Pamela and Don one day, and dinner with Helen and Owen the following evening.  All very delightful.

The alarm clock was set bright and early on Monday morning and we drove through peak hour traffic for my early morning hospital appointment.  Now that we are retired, I must admit that I found the busy traffic a bit of a trial.  But we arrived in good time, and were seen promptly.  There were lots of forms to fill out, I was weighed, height measured, blood tests done, had things explained, and I was good to go.

Our second trip to the hospital was on Wednesday afternoon where I was to stay overnight before my procedure the following morning – or so I thought.  After hanging about for several hours we were told there was no bed available, come back in the morning at 6.00am.  The alarm clock was set even earlier, we departed Petone at 5.00am and we arrived back in the hospital with plenty of time to spare.  Sadly, the same old story, no bed available, but they got me into a hospital gown, sat me down in a room to wait.  This sign on the wall made me laugh.  The Lazy Boy Chair (recliner) was nowhere to be seen, this was just the sort of situation it was needed for.

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Ready and waiting

  A bed was finally found and I was wheeled down to the theatre.  But……. an emergency case arrived by helicopter so I was bumped down the list till mid day.  Never mind, this poor sick person was in greater need than me, so back I went to the waiting room.  My bed disappeared and when my turn came, the nurse walked me down clad in my fetching hospital gown onto the lift and down to the theater again. I went to sleep and a couple of hours later it was all over.  Luckily a bed was finally found to take me back to the ward.  I was having a diagnostic procedure  to check out my back problem.  Very treatable, I was told, and hopefully I will be called back soon for the problem to be rectified. 

No one really likes being in hospital, but one thing which impressed me was that every person who came to deal with me, specialists, doctors, nurses and even the porters, introduced themselves to me and informed me what would be happening.  Of course, I didn’t remember their names, but I thought it was a nice touch.   So it was quite a busy week, traveling in and out to the big city for four days, returning to the caravan on Friday, then finally returning back home in the late afternoon.

On Saturday I felt well enough to attend the local knitting group for a couple of hours.  Such lovely ladies, with most of them knitting for charity.  There was a bit of a celebration too and one of the ladies had brought along some cream sponges to share for morning tea.

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Gemma posing with my knitting

Monday, March 22, 2021

Visiting Family and Pets

Over the weekend we stayed with our caravan club buddies at Mt Lees Reserve, a beautiful place surrounded by native forest.  But we did wonder where this elusive mountain was.  Mt Lees has an elevation of only 95 metres, barely noticeable as you drive around, and I couldn’t really find any info on why the area was named Mt Lees. The reserve was created by Ormond Wilson, who inherited 320 hectares of what was part of Ngaio Station.   The homestead was built first, then he set to and planted a huge number of trees.  In 1972 he gifted the land to the Crown.  There are walkways through the extensive bush, self contained camping is permitted, toilets and water are available.  Eight vans from our caravan club enjoyed a weekend here in the lovely setting.  In the Spring the grassy paddock where we were camping is a mass of beautiful daffodils.

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Weekend camping at Mt Lees Reserve

We had lunch out  on Saturday with my daughter Nicky.  She hasn’t been at all well lately, so I was pleased that she is now looking so much better than she did before.

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Nicky and me at lunch

Then we drove back to Nicky’s home to catch up with grand-daughter Emma and see the new kitten.  They call the kitten PK (Physco Killer) as it was from a feral litter and still has some wild instincts, it seems.  The kitten spent some time trying to kill her cuddly toy dog, and doing quite a good job, biting the poor doggy's face with all her might, and lashing out with her back paws.  Seems the hunting instincts are well ingrained.

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Emma and PK

The family dog Noodle was a little apprehensive of us visitors and spent some time hiding under the table.  When we first arrived he barked and growled, being his protective best, and finally settled down

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Noodle the dog

Then we had to go and meet the chickens.  They have a nice big fenced area to live in, with plenty of bushes and grass  to scratch under, and a chook shed where they hopefully lay their eggs.

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Here, chook, chook

Back inside the house I spotted a stitchery cushion I had made Nicky for an earlier birthday.  She is very fond of growing herbs and veggies so I thought the pattern was just right for her.

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Birthday cushion

It was so nice to get to spend the afternoon with Nicky, and catch up on all the family news.  On the way back to camp we spotted some purple wrapped hay/silage bales, so had to stop the car and get a photo.  Around New Zealand, hay bales in pink, blue and purple are increasingly common thanks to different initiatives designed to raise money for charities. The coloured wraps cost farmers about 10 per cent more than the standard mint green ones.  The pink silage bale wraps support Sweet Louise, a  breast cancer charity while the blue ones raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. And the  purple wrap is part of a worldwide project launched to support children's charities, which includes Starship Hospital.  Such a great idea, and some of  these were adorned with smiley faces too.

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Supporting Starship Hospital