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

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

What we’ve been up to on our Travels

We’ve been away about a week now on our travels and starting to head for home.  After leaving our caravan at the Leisureline factory bright and early on Friday morning, we packed up Gemma, and parked the car under a shady tree for Gemma’s comfort, deciding we could safely leave her there for a half  hour while the temperatures were still relatively cool. Now, what’s for breakfast?  There weren't too many customers at that time of the morning, so service was very prompt.  We decided on French Toast for him and poached eggs for her, both very tasty.

Our next three nights were spent at a Park Over Property on a farm, not too far from the city.   Such a lovely peaceful place after the hustle and bustle of the city, and friendly hosts.  Our hostess Lynda has several horses, including two pure bred Arabian horses who had done very well when she competed in earlier years.  And her husband John, she told us, has a passion for plowing competitions, so that is why an old plow is proudly on display.  Lynda is a true farmer’s wife and commented on the number of rabbits around the property – she often takes her rifle out at dusk to keep the numbers down!  I’m sure Gemma would have liked to try her luck at catching one of those young rabbits bouncing around.

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Life n the farm

Robin got on with the task of firing up the BBQ and cooking sausages for the evening meal.   And our traditional bacon and eggs Sunday breakfast the next morning.  Gemma enjoyed some time outside with us during the balmy early evenings, keeping an eye on birds and any insects fluttering about.

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BBQ time

On Sunday we went to visit my nephew Shane and his wife Kirstie who live in Te Awamutu.  It’s been a while since we last saw them, so it was a good catch up, and to reminisce about the recent passing of his Mum, my elder sister Kathleen.  Shane and Kirstie had recently purchased an English  caravan, and proudly showed it to us.  Welcome to the club, we told them, I’m sure they will enjoy many happy trips away in their new van.

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Shane and his new van

Driving to another factory on Monday for even more work to be done on the caravan we passed this interesting church, so had to stop for a photo.  I think it was a Sikh Temple and it certainly looked rather grand in the industrial area of Hamilton..

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Sikh Temple, Hamilton

Arriving at the factory, we were getting work done on both the car and caravan.  While the car was being attended to, we were invited to sit in the office, taking Gemma with us.  She was not at all happy when she was bundled into the cat carrier – we keep this fold up one in the caravan in case of emergencies.

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Why am I in here?

And to add insult to injury, the office lady arrived at work bringing her two little dogs with her, as she usually does, it seems.  They pranced right over to see this poor cat in a carry cage, no doubt laughing in their little doggy minds.  We were most surprised that Gemma didn't start hissing and yowling at them!  Then, one of the little dogs demanded to get up on the sofa, sit on my lap, and be petted.  Don't know what Gemma thought of that at all.

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How could you, Mum, while I’m locked up?

As soon as the car was ready, we could get on our way, leaving the caravan behind to get an extra solar panel fitted, plus new batteries.  Where to now, we wondered, as we had the day to fill in.  We spent some time down by the Waikato River, such pretty surroundings,  and ate our lunch there.  And there were baby ducks too – this Mum had done very well to keep so many of her brood together, they often get taken while quite young..

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Down by the river

Next stop was to the large shopping centre, The Base, to get a couple of things.  If we needed to be reminded that Christmas is coming fast, just look at this  huge Christmas Tree.  It  looked wonderful, with the sun glinting on all the decorations, and would probably look even more festive when it was lit up at night.  We enjoyed a delicious mixed berry ice-cream here while we waited to the call to tell us the caravan was ready to collect.  Mind you, the weather was so warm that I was fighting a losing battle to eat mine before it melted away.

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Huge tree at The Base, Hamilton

So, have I been doing any stitching while I’ve been away, you are probably wondering?  A little knitting, as it happens, and I’ve also done some stitching too.  I’m stitching a design on a tea towel each for my grand-daughters, for when they settle down.  Just in case they get engaged one day and have one of those old fashioned “Kitchen Teas” as they did in my day.  I bet young ladies don’t do that any more.

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Stitching two at a time

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Oh no, not again

It was time to finally head up to Hamilton trip for work to be done on the caravan.  We had bookings made and were all set to go quite some weeks ago, when suddenly  Hamilton went into Level 3 Lockdown because of Covid cases.  That meant we could not travel into the Waikato, nor could businesses deal with the public.  So we waited, and waited, and finally the lockdown was lifted, our new appointments were confirmed, and we were almost on our way.  But……..as I was buckling Gemma’s lead through the seat belt I looked down and noticed that my wedding ring was not on my finger.  Oh no, not again, surely, this has happened to me before.

I rushed back inside the house to the sewing room.  Like a lot of cats, Gemma knows when something different is happening, and as we went backwards and forwards packing the caravan, she had hidden herself behind my sewing machine.  Perhaps the ring had slipped off my finger when I had to bend down and pick her up?  No, I couldn't see it there.  And I had been busy all morning, doing some laundry, made the bed, took the rubbish out, checked out a sewing project, the ring could be anywhere.  Although I knew when I had noticed it missing, I had no idea when I had last seen it on my finger.

So it was with a heavy heart that we started off on our trip.  It looked like I would have to pull the house apart when we returned home.  In the meantime, I decided, I would “think about it later” and just enjoy our time away.  Gemma agreed with this sentiment, she is quite at home being a caravan cat, and likes to relax, as cats do.

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Relaxing on the caravan bed

Arriving in Hamilton, we spent the night staying at the Leisureline factory in Hamilton.  It is so handy being able to stay here overnight, and on power too, meaning we don't have to drive through the busy city traffic to arrive early for the service, and any other work which needs to be done.

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Here for the night

As we are on power I decided to get my power hungry lap top out and write a blog.  Goodness me – what's this tucked away in the bottom of the lap top bag?

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There’s my wedding ring in the bottom of the bag, I couldn't believe it!  Thank goodness for that, I wasn’t looking forward to searching the house, and my sewing room in particular,  for such a small item.  It is now safely tucked away, and I have been firmly instructed by Robin to take the ring into a jeweler on our return home to get it resized.  Seems a good idea to me, I really don't want to go through all this trauma again.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Sew Wot Christmas Lunch

It’s that time of year again when all the Christmas get-togethers are coming fast.  Today was the day of our Sew Wot Christmas lunch at a local café, and we all tootled along, with our secret gift in hand.  These were placed in a basket, ready to be opened after we had enjoyed our lunch.

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Gifts in the basket

What's for lunch, is always the question.  I chose pancakes, along with several others who had the same idea.  Quiche and ham steaks were also ordered and delivered to our table.  All the food was delicious and nicely presented.  One  of the friendly young waitresses took a photo of our group for me.

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My pancakes with fruit and cream

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Moira, Helen, Mary, Sandra, Carol, Jenny and Heather

This year we were requested to make a needle case, our choice of size, style and  colour, to suit the member who was our secret recipient.  A piece of wool fabric was provided for the interior.  As well we had to write a short piece about our first experience with needle and thread, or knitting.  The needle cases were all gorgeous, and as expected, all quite different.  Moira had been unable to attend our regular meetings, so decided not to take part in this gift swap, but brought along a pretty felt needle case she had made for herself, to show.

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Helen, Carol and Sandra

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Mary, Heather and me

We were all thrilled with our individually made needle cases.  Such a lot of thought went into these gifts.

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Lots of special ideas here

I received an extra parcel, a birthday gift from Mary.  Many thanks for the hand towel with a crocheted top, this will go nicely with our caravan décor, and I also received two fat quarters.  Thanks so much Mary.

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Happy belated birthday to me

Mary is an avid gardener and had brought each of us a potted tomato plant to take home plus some peppers from her garden. Thanks again, much appreciated.  It was a lovely lunch out, great to meet up before things get too hectic with the silly season.  I really appreciate all the fun and friendship this group has provided me over the year.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Away for the Weekend

We spent last weekend away with our caravan club friends, just a small group this time with four caravans and four motorhomes staying at the Coach House Museum.   A visit to the museum while staying here is always a must.  Inside the museum was a treasure trove of all thing to do with farming and agriculture.  A grand selection of carriages, gigs, carts, plows, all sorts of horse drawn implements.  Even a few early cars which would have been the envy of all in the area at the time.   Shearing, milking, and blacksmith tools, and a great array of John Deere tractors.  As well, there were several displays aimed at the female visitors too.  Such as this huge display of dolls.

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Dolls on display

As well as the quilt displayed with the dolls, I spotted another one draped over a horse, black, white and red.  This appeared to be made to celebrate Anzac Day, as it was festooned with red crocheted poppies.

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Quilt or horse blanket?

Another intriguing display was the  ‘Kerouse’ hawkers van that plied Manawatū district roads for about 60 years, selling everything from a needle to an anchor, has a special place in the history of the Coach House Museum.  The van was built in Wellington in 1900, and was used by Peter Kerouse, a Syrian, until around 1957.  He travelled the districts’ roads selling anything and everything. Peter has lived on, as one of the district’s colourful characters, and was also known on the East Coast.

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Hawker’s Van

Another visit was arranged for us during our stay in Feilding, this time to the beautiful Bloomsberry Cottage, built in 1877, just three years after the town of Feilding was founded.  This has been a labour of love for the current owners, painting, renovating, and transforming the house and huge garden.

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Bloomsberry Cottage

The lady of the house gave us a tour through her home, downstairs first then up the beautifully carved kauri staircase.  Kauri trees do not grow this far south, so all the timber was  transported from Northland by boat then overland from Foxton by bullock cart.

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Beautiful kauri staircase

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Views of the garden

We had a very pleasant weekend indeed catching up with our caravan friends.  And family too, who live locally.  Older grand-daughter Emma and her boyfriend came for a caravan visit, as did our son-in-law Robert.  And we had lunch in a local café with younger grand-daughter Megan and her boyfriend My daughter Nicky was having a girls weekend away.  There were 4zees and morning teas as usual with our caravan friends, nice sunny weather and plenty of time to catch up with each other’s news since the previous rally.  All good fun indeed!

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Our caravan with vintage machinery displayed outside

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Past and Present

We enjoyed lunch out with friends yesterday, thanks Trish for planning the day for us.  This entailed a drive down to the Hutt Valley, about a 90 minute drive.  But of course we had to allow more time, in case our trip was slowed down with the ever present road works.  I was born and brought up in Lower Hutt, and lived there in a former life with my first husband and two children.  Later when Robin and I married we moved further up the valley to Upper Hutt and resided there for 30 years or so. So you can see the Hutt Valley holds a lot of memories for me.

After lunch out in a very nice cafe we went back to Trish's home for coffee and cake, a nice finish to the day.  This group of friends – we call ourselves the Super Leisure Group,  enjoys monthly outings which we all take turns organising.  Each year we have a draw and choose a folded paper out of a bowl, and that is our month for the new year.  So it will be thinking hats on when our own turn comes around.  Believe it or not, we have been doing this for 25 plus years now!  In the early days we were much more energetic and planned long walks with picnic lunches, tramps up and down hills and along the beach, trips to museums, exhibitions and shows, and visited many stunning gardens.  These days, as age, bad backs and legs aand other medical problems have caught up with us all, we tend to “do lunch”

Look what I spotted on one of Trish chairs, a Shamrock cushion I had stitched many years ago – that certainly brought back memories.

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Tom’s Shamrock cushion

I stitched the cushion for Tom, an Irishman of course, and Trish’s special friend, way back in 2001 for his 75th birthday.  And I asked all our group to add their names to the label.  Sadly, Tom passed away several months later and Trish has being looking after Tom’s Shamrock cushion ever since.  It was quite sad reading the label as a number of our group who signed it have since passed away too.

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Ours numbers have dropped from 12 to 7, but we still meet up each month, enjoy each other’s company, plan our new outings each month for the group and reminisce about the adventures we have had over the years and our of friends, gone but not forgotten.

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Yvonne, Ashley, Robin, Trish, Calvin and Helen

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Robin and me

We had a lovely day out, a tasty lunch at a local café, plenty of chat and putting the world to rights.  We will meet again next month, December, and it will be my turn to host the day.  It’s already in hand, I’ve made my plans – no long walks involved.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Hand Work

Like most quilters, I also enjoy doing some hand work.  And I’m pleased to say that I’ve finally finished knitting my secret socks in good time for Christmas.  That’s three pair of 4ply socks, so I’m feeling rather pleased with myself.  No photos yet, till after Christmas.  And my not so secret pair of thicker  12ply socks is coming along well, I’ve done the heels so it easy knitting till I get to the toes.  With Summer on the way, I won’t be needing this pair till next winter. I knit my socks on two needles with a seam up the side, not the traditional way but it works for me.

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Warm 12ply socks coming along well

And my slow stitching this week has been to finally finish the stitching on my “All Through the Night” Christmas stitcheries.  This has taken quite some time, as I’ve only been working on them periodically.  Some of the little stitcheries have felt pieces added for extra interest.

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Christmas stitcheries

This project can be finished as small ornaments, or as a wall-hanging.  I’d already decided that mine will eventually be a wall-hanging.  Not for this coming Christmas, too much of a rush for me.  How about for Christmas 2022 instead, that sounds much more doable!. 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

More RSC Stitching

 

I’m having a break from working on my Rainbow Scrap Challenge project, that pesky boat quilt which needs to be beaten into submission.  So I’ve dug deep into my big bag of batiks (yet another RSC project) and I’ve been stitching more Cobblestone blocks. I don’t have all the colours of the rainbow in these batiks, just shades of purple, aqua, green, blue, pink and cream, so I do hope the blocks all go together nicely.

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More blocks made

What I really need to do is lay all the blocks out on the bed and see how many more I need to make.  I may be surprised, there could be enough, or then again, maybe I need to cut and stitch a whole lot more.  Luckily I’ve still got plenty of fabric left in the bag.

Mending has also been attended to, and I often wonder why on earth I put this chore off.  Usually, it takes such a short time that I could have finished it weeks ago.  Another job I’ve done is make the binding for the afore mentioned boat donation quilt – I usually prepare the binding when I get the backing done, but I’ve been a little slow this time.  But it’s all ready to apply when the quilt is finally quilted, whenever that may be.

Today it’s pouring with rain,  typical Spring weather here when Mother Nature really cant make up her mind what to do. Some days lately have been nice and warm, some have been rather windy, and others like today, pouring with rain.  Which makes it a perfect day to stay home and stitch, doesn't it.