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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Meeting up with the Sew Wots again

Being away on holiday for the past four weeks meant that I missed several fortnightly get-togethers with the Sew Wot ladies.  So it was great to catch up with them again.  Two of them had been busy sewing for that wonderful charity, Ronald McDonald House, and had quilts to show us before they were sent away to comfort sick children.  Mary had made a lovely kiddies quilt with teddies, trains and Donald Duck – some lucky youngster will love to receive this.  It was backed with nice colourful cosy polar fleece covered in dots.  Carol’s quilt was made with fun fabrics featuring chickens and eggs, and cute little chicken foot prints.

P4280018 Mary’s quilt for Ronald McDonald House

P4280021 Carol’s chicken and egg quilt

Carol had more show and tell for us, she had just completed a pretty lilac quilt as a gift for her sister.  With beautiful stitchery blocks designed by the very talented Bronwyn Hayes, and sprinkled with yo-yos, it is sure to be a treasured  gift indeed.


P4280023 Carol’s quilt made for her sister

There was a bit of knitting going on too.  Heather B was knitting socks, I was most impressed as that is something I want to do.  (I did try a while ago but rather unsuccessfully, I should add, so I should persevere).  Helen had a request from her young grand-son.  Could she knit him another vest please?  Of course she could, and this version is in shades of blue.

P4280032 Helen is knitting a vest for her grandson

Mary finished her Block of the Month quilt some time ago, and decided it really was time to start hand quilting it.  That might seem a big job for some, but knowing Mary, she will have the quilting done sooner rather than later.

P4280024 Mary’s Blue Jug quilt

Heather E loves making bags, and this one has a holiday connection.  The elephant panel was purchased recently during a holiday to see family in Australia.

P4280031Heather’s elephant bag

Moira was sitting quietly getting on with stitching another appliqué William Morris block, in pretty shades of cream, blue and grey.  And as for Pam, she was crocheting another row around her colourful knee rug.  She making it to take into the Rest Home, she keeps telling us.  And as we told her, she can’t go yet because she hasn’t made it big enough yet!

P4280027 Pam is not ready for the Rest Home yet.

And as for me, I did a little unpicking, a little stitching, and quite of a bit of chat catching up with what everyone had been up to while I had been away.  Thanks to Heather E for being the hostess today.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Friday Remnants Night

I enjoy attending  the monthly Remnants Nights.  But sometimes other commitments conspire to get in the way.  Like attending a caravan club rally at the conclusion of our four week holiday.  But, I decided, if I drive down from Himatangi Beach on Friday night, I can put in an appearance.  It’s a bit like enjoying the best of both worlds.  Eight happy ladies were enjoying the monthly Friday night stitching group, sitting around the tables together.

Both Vickie and Janelle were working on their own version of Lucy Boston’s English paper piecing pattern, Patchwork of the Crosses.  But interestingly, both were using different methods with their papers.  Vickie likes to tack hers down, while Janelle uses glue.  There is a lot of precise work going on with this design, but both girls love this type of thing.

P4240008 Janelle’s version of Patchwork of the Crosses

Sandra was hurrying to finish her quilt.  With a new grand-child expected in the next week or two, the machine quilting needed to be completed, then the binding stitched on.  There are lots of pretty hearts on this quilt to welcome the baby into the family.

P4240011For a new grand-child

Kaye was making a fabric book, she had found two of these panels in her stash, she said.  There was a wee bit of confusion on how exactly it all went together.  Read the instructions, she was advised!

P4240010Kiwi Counting book

And some little girl will be really happy to get a cute Minnie Mouse cushion for her birthday.  Prospective member Wendy is finishing off the buttonhole stitch appliqué on this lovely gift for her grand-daughter.

P4240009  Minnie Mouse cushion

As it was a fleeting visit I didn’t take any hand work to do.  But I caught up with what everyone else was doing, made a cup of coffee, and enjoyed a piece of Mary’s home made cream sponge, topped with whipped cream and passion-fruit.  Then I drove back to the motor camp to continue with our weekend caravan rally.  Hopefully next month I’ll be able to enjoy Remnants night in full.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Visit to Cottage Flair

One of the nicest quilt shops I had ever been to had moved, so a visit to Cottage Flair in their new premises was high on my list of things to do in Rotorua.  And I wasn’t disappointed.  The friendly staff welcomed me into the shop, and were happy for me to snap some photos too.  The new shop is just as nice as ever, but much bigger, with a lovely light and airy feel to it.

P4200023 Entrance to Cottage Flair, Rotorua

Just in the door was a great display of quilts with New Zealand icons, from sheep, flax, a kereru, and tiki.  A selection of NZ patterns and the fabrics for visitors to our country to make their own masterpieces were nearby.

P4200024 NZ quilts, fabrics and patterns

And look, just around the corner is a cafe where you can park your husband while you continue to browse this lovely shop. Called “Coffee and a Yarn”,  Robin was quite happy sitting reading the local newspaper while I continued getting my quilty fix of the morning.

P4200025Robin in the handy cafe

Fabric, patterns, books and magazines, there was so much to look at.  And all was so beautifully displayed.

P4200031  Fabrics and patterns

It’s no secret that I love Christmas things, so I spent a lot of time in  this festive corner.  As I looked at all the samples and patterns I kept thinking, oh, I like that, and that, and that one is so cute too!

P4200029Christmas corner

There was such a lot to see, and I especially loved the quilts artfully hanging from the ceiling, and the pretty bunting everywhere.  The shop has a great selection of wool, buttons, felt, and everything that you would expect to find.  Do check it out if you are passing by, or go to their website at www.cottageflair.co.nz

Friday, April 17, 2015

Looking for the quilt shop

Three weeks into our current caravan trip, and we arrived today in the town of Paeroa.  Imagine my delight when I spotted a sign above “Patches and Cream” quilt shop.  Oh goody – as soon as we are organised on site with our caravan, you can be sure I’ll be back to check out the shop.  I didn’t even know that there was a quilt shop in Paeroa!

P4170017 Sign spotted as we drove through Paeroa

The caravan was soon put on site, legs wound down, plugged into power, and it was time for lunch.  We checked out where the facilities were, for future use, including the ever important laundry room.  Then we took the short drive downtown, looking for that quilt shop sign.  Mmm, the shop should be around here somewhere, I thought to myself.  But although I walked up and down the street,  it was nowhere to be seen.  So I crossed the road, and soon found that sign.  But underneath the sign, the shop was long gone, taken over by a sports shop, it seemed.  What a shame – no quilty fabric fix for me today.

Although Paeroa doesn’t have a quilt shop any more, it does have a claim to fame - home to the  “world famous in New Zealand” Lemon and Paeroa drink, known by everyone as L & P.  It all started with an underground spring of mineral water and by 1907 commercial bottling was started, with the addition of lemon flavouring.  This product remains an iconic Kiwi soft drink to this day, and visitors to the town like to stop and have their photo taken with the “Big Bottle” standing proudly at Ohinemuri Park.  As we did, with help from a friendly young Mum who agreed to take our photo for us.

P4170024Posing with the Big Bottle of L & P

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bronwyn, the Bag Lady

We called in to visit caravan friends who were camping alongside the Opotiki estuary.  “You must meet our friend Bronwyn”, Andrew said, “she is a quilter too”.  So Bronwyn and I got together and enjoyed a little quilty talk together and some show and tell.  Bronwyn is a self professed bag lady, she told me, as she brought out a wonderful black and white bag to show me.

P4100003 Bronwyn’s lovely black and white bag

Bronwyn and her husband have a motor-home and has two quilts covering the squabs. This pattern is particularly suitable for those who buy jelly rolls, as it is all made from 2.5in strips.  More strips used on the other quilt in tones of soft blues and pink,  and  I particularly liked the hand appliquéd  vines and leaves.


P4100004 Two quilts in the motor-home

It is always so nice to meet up with a fellow quilter.  We talked about our respective quilt groups, UFOs, and quilt shops too.  Great to meet you, Bronwyn, and thanks so much for sharing your lovely work with me.

P4100006 Bronwyn the Bag Lady, camping at Opotiki

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

On holiday in Gisborne

The days have rushed by and we are now in sunny Gisborne.  Easter was spent at a speck of a place called Putorino – I’d never heard of it before, but we had driven past this tiny place before and never noticed.  After five days camping there without power of an internet connection, it was bliss to settle into the Waikanae Beach Motor Camp and reconnect to life again.  Not forgetting the laundry room – I had a whole heap of washing to attend to!  The beautiful Waikanae Beach is just across the road, it is indeed a lovely place to stay.

Surprise, surprise, a trip up town today led me right to the local Bernina Sewing Centre, which I just had to check out.  I checked with Chris, the helpful sales assistant, if I could take a few photos of the shop to share on my blog.  The shop is nice and bright, with a good variety of quilt panels hanging on the wall.  Not just for babies and toddlers, some for boys too, I noticed.


Making a bee-line to the patchwork fabrics, I saw a great selection of New Zealand inspired prints, including some new ones which I hadn’t seen before.  There was a good selection of patchwork fabrics too, and dress fabrics for the home sewers.

P4080003 Patchwork fabrics.

Buttons and threads, trims and laces, everything you would need.  Plus a huge selection of knitting wool and patterns.  In fact, my only purchase was extremely modest, a pair of knitting needles.

P4080002  Spoilt for choice

It is always so nice to discover a “new to me” quilt shop, and I am so lucky that I have the opportunity to do so as we travel around our beautiful country, towing our caravan behind us.

Captain James Cook is honoured in Gisborne, and statues seem to pop up everywhere of him and his ship, Endeavour.Captain Cook and his crew came ashore seeking fresh food and water at Kaiti Beach, Gisborne, and met up with the Maori chief Toka a-Taiau.   Things did not go at all well, and the traditional Maori challenge was unfortunately misunderstood by the English.  Shots  were fired, killing some Maori men and the ship hurriedly sailed away without the badly needed provisions, and Poverty Bay received it’s name.   From here the Endeavour circumnavigated New Zealand, and Captain Cook plotted the first map of this country.
 P4080013 Statue of Captain James Cook on Waikanae Beach, Gisborne

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Visiting the Rellies

We have just spent several days up here in sunny Hawkes Bay.  The weather has been great, and we have been able to spend some time catching up with rellies.  My sister Kathleen and her family have recently moved house, so it was nice to see their new home.  And it was great to see some of my hand crafted gifts which I had made for Kathleen some years ago in the new home.  Like the “Hargreaves Family Tree” which I made to celebrate Kathleen and Dennis’s 45th Wedding Anniversary.  The fruit on the tree signifies their four children, and each leaf has the name of the grandchildren.

P3290055 Hargreaves Family Tree

Folded across the foot of the bed was the Healing Heart quilt I made for my sister ten years ago when she was suffering ongoing health problems and was in and out of hospital.  I machine appliquéd all the heart blocks then sent them to family members for them to write a message on.  When I received the heart blocks back from everyone, the nine patch blocks were added, and I appliquéd hearts onto the border. It was so nice to see these things used and appreciated.

P3290054 Healing Heart quilt for Kathleen

The four of us went to the “world famous in Hawkes Bay” Rush Munro Ice-cream Parlour where we all enjoyed an ice-cream sundae sitting outside in the courtyard.  It was great to catch up with them again and spend some time together.

P3310004Kathleen and Dennis at Rush Munro’s