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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Continuing Saga of my Wellies

It was Robin’s job as “man of the house and eradicator of nasties” to retrieve my gumboots from the garage.  Large spiders and wetas hiding inside said gumboots do not frighten him one bit.  He turned each one upside down, ready to step on anything nasty which might have been hiding inside.  Thank goodness for my nerves, nothing came out to race around the deck!

DSCF2541 He’s not afraid of spiders

I gave my gumboots a good wash in the laundry tub, and put them out to dry in the sunshine.  Now, how can I keep them free of creepy crawlies?  I know, I’ll make a bag!  As any stitcher knows, there is always sure to be some fabric or other just lying around waiting to be used.  A piece of blue homespun will do the trick, I decided.  In no time at all I had made a very basic draw string bag.

DSCF2593 It’s not elegant, but it will do the job

Robin was aghast.  “Only a townie would make a bag for a pair of gum boots”, he commented.  Well, I am a townie, one who is scared of whatever might be hiding in the toes of my gumboots.  I only wear them once or twice over winter, so there is plenty of time in the rest of the year for creepy crawlies to settle in and make themselves at home.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Birthday Cushion

It’s Happy Birthday today to my daughter Nicky.  I had stitched this cushion for her and handed the parcel over to be opened on her birthday, when we were visiting a couple of weeks ago. 

DSCF2012 Herb Garden Cushion

When I saw this cushion design (Country Patchwork and Craft magazine, Vol 7 No 3),  thought it would be perfect for my daughter Nicky. She has been working at the Herb Farm in the Manawatu for several years, which manufactures 100% natural skincare and healthcare products. The company web-site says: “Nicky is our resident 'super-woman' and has worked in various areas of the business including accounts, labelling and now she heads our manufacturing department.”

This was a “travelling project” and most of the stitching was completed during our three month South Island Odyssey caravan trip. It is worked in Perle No 5 cottons, and I completed the cushion using a dark green fabric with a tiny white spot.  I just hope she likes it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

G is for Giraffe

I’m running late, I know, for my A-Z Challenge block this week.  What with a couple of day trips out in the car this week, and a visit to the doctor, the days have  just rushed by.  But better late than never, and I chose G for giraffe.

DSCF2582 G is for Giraffe

My giraffe came from a piece of African savannah fabric left over from a much earlier project.  Mr Google told me that the the giraffe is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant. The name is derived from the Arab word “Xirapha”, which means “the one who walks very fast”.  There are nine species of giraffes, and the average life span in the wild is 20-25 years.  Auckland Zoo is the only place I have been up and personal to a giraffe.  The zoo has been is the news lately as they have recently sent a young bull giraffe to Australia, and taken delivery of a young female,  to help with their respective breeding programmes. 

Now – about that doctor visit. The bad news is that the doctor confirmed that my cough and sore throat is viral, and is likely to last for three months.  The good news is that I’ve already been coughing and spluttering for six weeks, so the time frame is half over.  As there are no anti-biotics given for viral infections,  I’ve been told to sip lemon and honey drinks, gargle salty water to help my throat, and take Panadol to ease my sore head, which is probably caused by all that coughing.  Let’s hope I feel better next week!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pinestream Quilters August Meeting

This month’s meeting was a little bit different, as it was our “birthday and a half” meeting.  The official birthday month had slipped under the radar, so we were celebrating it several months later.  That didn’t matter, as we all had a fun night.  Instead of the usual raffles, each table played “pass the parcel” till the music stopped.  Then the lucky person ripped off the wrapping paper to find a small gift, and the parcel was sent on it’s way again.  No one missed out, and we all came away with a little something.

We were invited to bring along any special birthday quilts for Show and Tell, those we had made for others, and those we had received.  As any quilter knows, quilts made and given away far exceed those which someone may have made for us.  Linda showed us a birthday quilt she had made for her cousin.  Linda is well known for her love of paper pieced spiky patterns, and this quilt is beautifully shaded from light to dark.

DSCF2568 Linda’s quilt made for her cousin

Joyce is the proud owner of this birthday quilt, lovingly made by her sister, that’s two quilters in the family.

DSCF2575 Birthday quilt made for Joyce

Brenda received a birthday quilt too, for her 60th birthday, she told us.  Made in lots of lovely batiks, it was stitched by members of her quilting group.

DSCF2571 Brenda’s birthday quilt

I loved the bright and cheerful quilt Pam had made for a Tongan friend’s birthday.  The floral print is from a cotton sarong, and the quilt also features New Zealand fabrics.  Pam’s  friend wanted the quilt to acknowledge both her Tongan heritage and her life now in New Zealand.  Great job, Pam.

DSCF2572 Birthday quilt for a Tongan friend

My quilting friend Jenni F brought along the 60th birthday quilt she had made for her husband, complete with a rod and reel.  She named it “Caught”, and there’s no doubt that he is a keen fisherman!

DSCF2569“Caught” – 60th birthday quilt

I took along a couple of birthday quilts too.  “A Fishy Supper”  was a 60th birthday gift and was made by my pen-friend Rose in the UK. The label reads, “made especially for my friend Jenny and her love of sea food”.  This small quilt is beautifully hand quilted.

DSCF2492 My 60th birthday quilt from UK

Another 60th birthday quilt on show was the one I had stitched for my husband Robin.  This is a tee shirt quilt called “Memories of Work and Play”.  I used tee shirts, backed with non stretch interfacing, and logos cut from his former work shirts.  The border is a New Zealand design of silver ferns on a black background.

Robin's T Shirt Quilt Robin’s 60th birthday quilt

In keeping with the birthday theme, we had a special supper of dainty little decorated cupcakes, and other goodies.  Doesn’t the supper table look great!  We all had a lovely evening, and thanks to the committee for making it so special.

DSCF2564 The supper table

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Where’s my Wellies?

We have just spent five days at my daughter’s small-holding in Kiwitea.  The trip up was to help son-in-law Robert with his 50th Birthday celebrations.  These went well, I’m pleased to say.  But we can’t say that about the weather, it rained, and rained some more, and our caravan was parked in a sea of mud.  There was mud everywhere,  with the squelchy stuff oozing up through our rubber mats laid outside on the wet ground.  And of course some of the mud was getting inside too, but hopefully staying on the old washable mat which we keep just inside the door.  My white leather sneakers shout that I’m a townie loud and clear!  It was so muddy that Robin had to buy a pair of gum boots (known as wellies for those in the Northern Hemisphere).  Young Bounce the pup decided that these were a new toy just for him and took off with the mud covered gum boots while Robin wasn’t looking!

DSCF2424 Bounce the pup – gum boot thief

I’ve got a pair of gum boots tucked away in the garage somewhere, so I didn’t need to buy a new pair.  I’ll send Robin out to find them, because after all this time they are sure to have some creepy crawlies making a cosy home for themselves inside the toes of my gummies.  No way am I going to turn my gum boots up side down, give them a good shake, and see what comes falling out.  It might be a huge weta, or a big black spider!  That’s definitely going to be a job for the man of the house.  Once they are cleared of any live stock, I’m make sure they are safely stowed away on the caravan for next time we get stuck in the mud.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Daisies for my Daughter

I’m trying hard to get my quilt documentation up to date, but it’s a long slow job as I’ve been quilting for quite some time.  My current “finishes” over the last couple of years have been documented, and now I’m working my way through some of my older quilts, especially the ones given away.  Over the years I have taken photos of quilts I’ve made, and kept swatches of fabric.  One thing I didn’t always take care to record was the measurements, and several phone calls have been made to family members asking “What did I name your quilt, and will you please measure it for me”

One such quilt, size unknown, was the one I made for my daughter for her 40th birthday.  As it happens, we are spending the weekend at their small-holding for a few days to help son-in-law Robert celebrate his 50th birthday.  I was all set to write about Nicky’s quilt last week when I discovered I hadn’t noted the size – silly me.  Never mind, it’s a good thing I came armed with my tape-measure so that oversight was soon put right.

Nicky's 40th Birthday quilt 2 “Daisies for my Daughter”

I made the quilt with appliquéd blue daisies with a yellow centre on a white background, with alternate squares of a blue, white and yellow daisy print.  Smaller flowers have been appliquéd around the plain blue border.  This quilt is still on my daughter’s bed and has been well used and laundered.  Believe it or not, I stitched another quilt for her 25th Anniversary a couple of years ago, but grand-daughter Megan has claimed it.  Perhaps the time is well overdue for yet another quilt?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

F is for Fish

This week’s block in my A-Z challenge is F for fish.  The brightly coloured fish fabric was purchased in Hawaii on our trip way back in November 1993. We visited three islands, Oahu, Hawaii (known as the Big Island) and Maui. The island of Oahu is the most commercial and we loved staying in Honolulu and visiting Waikiki Beach. Next stop was a short flight to the Big Island where large parts of the island are covered in black lava. We visited the Kilauea Visitor Centre, gazed in awe at the huge Kilauea caldera and walked through the 500 year old Thurston Lava Tube. Flying on to Maui the highlights were taking a ride in a submarine and dining al fresco at the Maui Hilton one steamy tropical evening.

DSCF2055 F is for Fish

I used some of the fish fabric when I made my Hawaiian Rainbow Fish wall-hanging in 1996.  The fish blocks were foundation pieced using graduated yellow and orange fabrics, on a pale blue background, then bordered with the Hawaiian fish fabric. I used gold thread to hand quilt around each fish, and quilted curvy lines through the background fabric to signify wave action.

DSCF2404 Hawaiian Rainbow Fish wall-hanging

Hawaii is a fabulous holiday destination, and we have been lucky to visit this island paradise twice.  Here are a couple of photos from our first trip, (when we both had darker hair).

Hawaii 10002 Under the Banyan tree

Hawaii 10001Procrastination – there’s just too much choice at Hilo Hattie’s

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stonestead Stitchers today

The weeks roll by and today was the two weekly get together of the Stonestead Stitchers.  I had missed the previous one as last time we were away in the caravan visiting my sister’s family in Hastings.  There was a good turn out, and the morning passed quickly with lots of chatter.  One or two of the talkers looked at their watches to check the time, and wonder where the morning had gone to, as they hadn’t yet  done a single stitch! 

Several of the ladies brought “Show and Tell”, with Cheryl taking the prize once again, for the most finished items.  She had help to hold up her “Scrawny Tawny Lion” quilt, which just needs the binding stitched down.

DSCF2361 Tawny Scrawny Lion storybook quilt

Cheryl had made a couple of little gift bags to go with her lion quilt.  One of the bag is full of happy little knitted finger puppets, and the other bag contains the story book.  These will be put away in Cheryl’s Granny Box for the future, I’m sure.


Cheryl and Caroline had been very busy making a whole lot of Stable Bags with a Kiwiana flavour for gifts.  These two by Cheryl feature our native Saddleback birds on the right, and a lovely Maori inspired batik on the left.

DSCF2358 Cheryl’s two Stable Bags

Caroline is off and away on an overseas trip and taking her bags with her as gifts.  I’m sure they will be much appreciated – there is a lot of work in making these great bags.  The fabric choices are pukekos, kiwifruit, sheep and buzzy bees.

DSCF2351 Caroline’s bags

Liz was working on an Ehrman tapestry in a rich paisley design called Indian Garden.  This really belongs to younger sister Bridget but she is giving her a helping hand, she told me.  Ooops Liz, don’t swallow that needle you’re holding in your mouth!

DSCF2356 Liz with the Indian Garden tapestry

Bridget meanwhile was working on some very pretty stitcheries from Chickadee Hollow Designs.  They are beautifully stitched and will be framed when completed.

DSCF2357 Chickadee Hollow stitcheries
Some little boy will love to get the helicopter Longstitch picture that Therese was working on.  She’s not sure who it is for at this stage, perhaps she can start a granny box too.

DSCF2352 Longstitch design

And what was I working on?  A “Secret Squirrel” present for someone or other that I can’t show just yet.  Never mind, I’ll just keep stitching away.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

E is for Elephant

This week I have chosen E for elephant for my A-Z Challenge. 

DSCF2056 E is for Elephant

Some years ago I made a small elephant wall hanging for a friend’s 50th birthday, and had a spare elephant for this block.  Denise had a “thing” for elephants and I appliquéd mother and baby elephant, and finished the wall hanging off with echo quilting. 

Elephants 2 Denise loves elephants

Wellington Zoo was always an exciting place to visit.  As a young Mum I can remember taking my two children to have a ride on Kamala the elephant. How excited we were as we climbed up the steps to the platform, then slid onto our seats way up high on Kamala’s back, hanging on tight as we lurched about as the elephant took us for a walk.  Watching the elephant take her bath was always a big event too, for children and adults alike.  Those were the days, but on reflection it is a good thing that such practises have ceased.  It must be such a thrill to see elephants in the wild.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Great Kiwi Icons Challenge

The Bernina inaugural challenge had stitchers thinking long and hard about their own personal version of a Kiwi Icon, then translating this idea into fabric.  The challenge is travelling around the country and came to rest for a while at my local P & Q shop, Thimbles and Threads.  Kiwi icons of all sorts were depicted on the small quilts, most of which were attractively displayed upstairs in the class room, with a few downstairs in the shop area.

DSCF2336 Kiwi Icons on display

Flora and fauna, and the holiday themes of beaches, baches, and caravans were displayed, as were the All Blacks.  I noticed bungy jumping, sheep (we have millions), cheeky pukekos, and buzzy bees, icons all.  Here is good ole Wal being chased by one of those killer pigs in the Footrot Flats comic strip.

DSCF2343 Run Wal Run, by Jenny Skudder

The beautifully stitched Tuatara earned Rosemary Rush a new Bernina machine.  The reptile sits on quilted pebbles, surrounded by wonderfully quilted and appliquéd fern fronds.  This one would be my favourite and like all these small quilts, has to be seen up close to be appreciated.

DSCF2341 Tuatara, by Rosemary Rush

I guess that a kiwi icon to me would have to be holidaying on our beautiful coastline.  There were several quilts that I loved which depicted this sentiment.  The bach was framed by embroidered pohutakawa blossoms, and the iconic Combi Van was a holiday home from home for generations of Kiwis.

DSCF2342 The Bach, by Clare Smith
DSCF2344 Kiwi Cruisin, by Sarah Wright

Just Buzzin Around, by Susan Woolhouse features some of our famous buzzy bee toys.  Who can’t remember Charles and Di’s visit to New Zealand with toddler William all those years ago when a buzzy bee was presented to the royals?  Our buzzy bees gained international stardom overnight!

DSCF2339 Just Buzzin Around, by Susan Woolhouse

And what could be more kiwi than wearing a pair of jandals to the beach and feeling the warm sand slide over our toes?  They may well be known as flip flops or thongs in other counties, but to a Kiwi this casual mode of footwear is known as jandals.

DSCF2340 The Bach Decoration and Insulation, by Karen Benton

This is just a small selection of the quilts on display.  Do go and check them out when the travelling exhibition comes to your part of New Zealand, they are all wonderful little works of art.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Label Cushion

My friend Kathryn was turning 65 and as an official pensioner now qualifies for the Gold Card.  We don’t usually do birthday presents but I had some special labels and buttons to utilise.  These were from a Memory Quilt I had made for her a while ago using pieces from her partner Graeme’s clothing, putting the unused labels and buttons aside for another project.  Turning 65 was quite a big deal, I thought, and a cushion seemed a nice way to use up the labels and buttons.  The cushion fabric was cream with a white strip to tone in with Kathryn’s furnishings.  There is no way I can do “random” so everything had to be set out neatly in rows.

DSCF2304-001 Kathryn’s label cushion

The Caravan Club ladies gathered at Kathryn’s home for lunch, and to wish her well for her birthday.  Happy 65th Birthday, Kathryn!