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

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mother-in-Law's Button Bag

My MIL passed away late last year and the family have had several working bees in clearing out the house.  Once the furniture had gone to new owners, we had to deal with cupboards and wardrobes full of bits and pieces collected over the years.  Robin’s sister does not sew, and neither do the other daughter-in-laws, so I claimed the big black button bag.  How exciting – not only does it contain heaps of interesting buttons, but also lots of buckles too.  In fact, I’m wondering if it may have belonged to Robin’s granny at some stage, and maybe she passed it on to MIL.

Family button bag

The weather is certainly getting colder so I can’t help myself -  I’ve been cooking up more soup.   Today I made broccoli and cheese soup for lunch.  This is made in the microwave and whizzed up in the food processor.  Yummy, I love home made soup.

Broccoli and cheese soup for lunch

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Still more Leaves needed

Goodness knows how I miscalculated, but I was still short of leaf appliqué blocks for my daughter’s birthday quilt.  So I’ve been busy this week tracing out leaf shapes, cutting extra cream squares, and fusing them together.  The next step, of course, was sitting at the sewing machine and button-hole stitching around the leaf shapes.  That certainly kept me busy for a while.

P5190009 Cutting shapes from fusible web

All my pink and green nine patch blocks were laid out on the floor so that I could check and see how many appliqué blocks I needed.  Hopefully I’ve got the numbers right now.

P5190008Nine patch blocks

The weather has got quite a bit colder lately – so I decided it must be time to make a batch of soup.  Two small pumpkins got chopped into pieces and simmered away in the Crockpot (slow cooker) all day.  These are my bargain buy pumpkins, I purchased five while we were on holiday and carefully carried them home.  With the addition of sautéed onion, bacon pieces, and flavoured with curry powder, it certainly makes a delicious, filling soup.  Just the thing for lunch on a cold day, and especially nice with a swirl of cream added!


P5200012 Tasty pumpkin soup for lunch

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Part Two – Kapiti Coast Quilters Exhibition

Continuing on – we wandered around the hall looking at even more wonderful quilts.  The afternoon got busier as more and more ladies had the same idea as us.  Now, what’s around the next corner?  It was a lovely 1930s quilt, called “1930s Stashbuster”, stitched by Robyn Burch.  Lots of pretty 1930s fabrics here, and the quilt featured a centre panel of flowers and bluebirds, and was nicely finished off with the soft spotty fabric used in the border.  I’ve got a few 1930s fabrics tucked away somewhere, but certainly not enough to make a lovely large bed quilt like this.

P5160035 1930s Stashbuster, by Robyn Burch

“Roses are Red” was listed as another stash reducing quilt, this one stitched by Robin Goring.  Made in red and cream to match the soft furnishings, and the couched rose was added to match the pattern on the border and duvet.  What a clever idea – that rose really adds a little something extra to the quilt.

P5160043 Roses are Red,  by Robyn Goring

And this one is what we have been looking for, made by our friend Shirley who was still on duty at the front desk.  Shirley was inspired by a book by Nancy Mahoney about combining different blocks in a quilt.  And, she proudly told us, it used up the blues and golds from her stash.

P5160053Star Crossed, by Shirley Morison

I’m a real fan of big bed quilts, but there were also several smaller quilts which caught my eye.  Such as the bright and colourful “Spotted”, by Sheryl Meech, full of cute looking cats on a bright pink background.  Just look at those happy faces!

P5160038 Spotted, by Sheryl Meech

I’m not generally a fan of orange, but “Wild Flowers” by Bobby Duncan is smart and sophisticated.  I loved the idea of the  different shades used in the background, with autumn leaves cascading down.  And the machine quilting is just spectacular.

P5160049Wild Flowers, by Bobby Duncan

And to finish our tour around the exhibition, I just loved looking at “Mrs Zebra”, by Judy Boyle.  Mmmm, wonder how hard it was to get all those stripes in the right place?  I think it’s great!

P5160055  Mrs Zebra, by Judy Boyle

My friend Robyn and I really enjoyed the exhibition, and it was interesting that we both really liked different quilts - all a matter of colour preferences, I’m sure.  Well done, Kapiti Coast Quilters.  Guess since I haven’t had a phone call, I haven’t been one of the lucky raffle winners?  One day I really will win one of those lovely baskets packed full of all sorts of goodies!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Kapiti Coast Quilters Exhibition

The organisers of the Kapiti Coast Quilters Exhibition must have breathed a sigh of relief that the weather was playing nice for the weekend of the quilt show.  After several days of torrential rain, local flooding and house evacuations, and roads closed due to slips, they must have been wondering if the show would go on at all.  Luckily, it all went well, and my friend Robyn and I joined the eager crowds at Southwards Car Museum to check out the quilts.  Our mutual friend Shirley was on duty selling tickets, with her club mate, another Shirley.

P5160015 Two Shirleys at the front desk

There was such a lot to look at that we decided on a planned approach so that we didn’t miss out anything – so it was up this way, and down that way, with no dashing off to check something that we spotted.  This worked well and we just loved this beauty.  “Crystal’s Quilt” by Sandra Killen was made for her daughter and took the coveted Best in Show award.  We loved all the colours, the piecing, and the simple quilting, and decided that it must have been a quilt-as-you-go quilt.


P5160019Crystal’s Quilt by Sandra Killen

I was amazed to read that “Dancing Stars” was hand pieced by Jenny Eager.  Goodness me, that’s certainly a job and a half.  It was a lovely indeed and those six pointed stars really do dance across the quilt in all their pretty colours. 

P5160023 Dancing Stars by Jenny Eager

“When life gives you a raw deal, make a quilt”, wrote Margaret Jones about her magnificent quilt Magnus Opus.  She stated that her quilt was started after her husband was diagnosed with a serious illness, hence the sombre background.  But the bright designs signify their joy, happiness and gratitude of their lives together over the years.  Such a wonderful quilt, and expertly machine quilted by Quilted-4-U.  Sadly, my photo with the lights overhead does not do the quilt justice.


P5160030 Magnus Opus by Margaret Jones

Lorraine Gaffaney’s grandson is the proud owner of “Stars are the Limit, made from a space themed panel.  It is great to see something for boys, as there are always plenty of girly quilts around.

P5160041Stars are the Limit, by  Lorraine Gaffaney

And these are certainly a group of “Sophisticats”, wouldn’t you say?  Made by Judy Boyle, they really are cats with attitude.

P5160063Sophisticats  by Judy Boyle

As we wandered around the hall, I met up with several members of my previous club, Pinestream Quilters – it was lovely to catch up with them again, thanks for stopping to chat.  Shirley was released from her duty on the front desk and we all went upstairs for a much needed cuppa.   It was great looking at all the quilts – too many for just one post, I’ll show a few more pictures tomorrow.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Town and Country Quilters May Club Night

It always seems to rain on our monthly club nights, especially once Daylight Saving had ended and the evenings get darker so much earlier.  But it doesn’t keep the keen members away, and there were the annual subs to pay too.  The new committee were called up on stage and introduced to the members, and outgoing committee members were presented with a small gift each.  After a few notices were read out, the raffles drawn (no, I didn’t win again) the ever popular Show and Tell took place.  Five quilts had been made to be donated to Ronald McDonald House.  It is great that our members regularly stitch quilts for this very deserving charity.  The  families who stay there have children with a wide range of illnesses and medical conditions - from cancer to premature babies, to children hurt in accidents or requiring surgery.   Every sick child needs the love and comfort of being wrapped in a quilt.

Sarah brought along her beautiful kingfisher, started at Symposium.  This is done with “thread painting” and wasn’t too difficult at all, she assured us.  (I don’t know if I’m convinced, it looks very complicated to me).  It is really beautiful, and came in for a lot of scrutiny later on.

P5130035 Sarah’s kingfisher

Made in another Symposium class was Karen’s landscape cushion, so full of interest from the mountains in the background, the river and different greens in the foreground.  I can see this sort of thing being made from a special holiday photo too, of a favourite view.

P5130039 Karen’s landscape cushion

  Marjory brought along her Houses on the Hill quilt, made in a class taken by our own very clever Luchelle.  Just look at those tiny little log cabin clocks – this is a very effective log cabin pattern. 

P5130036 Karen’s log cabin houses

Two other large quilts were well admired.  Maureen’s quilt was a Block of the Month and she pieced it with a creamy-gold background.  Just perfect as it is going to be  a Golden Wedding 50th Anniversary gift for friends.  Heather stitched the striking teal and white Churn Dash quilt.  The alternate blocks have very clever satin stitching in variegated thread, not applied cord  as I first thought.  

P5130037 Gold quilt by Maureen, and Churn Dash by Heather

There were oohs and aahs of wonder when Wendy showed the hexagon quilt top pieced by her Mum, containing more than 5500 hexagons.  What a wonderful work of art.  Hexagons seem to take over peoples lives, I’ve noticed, and most quilters cannot stop at one hexie quilt!

P5130034Made by Wendy's Mum

Five of our clever members had set themselves up in the Supper Room to show some techniques.  Everyone crowded around to check out how the experts do bindings, English Paper Piecing, and hand appliqué, Lynne, Vickie and Janelle showed us how.  I was particularly interested to see how twisted cords are made.  Dianne demonstrated how to use the bobbin fill mechanism to get these twisted together.  And our club has an Accuquilt cutter which members can borrow.  Kathy showed the cutters available, from squares, triangles, hearts and stars.  It was a very interesting evening, and I’m sure we all picked up a few tips.
 P5130045 Janelle showing her glue basting method

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sew Wot Tuesday

The heavens opened and the rain came pouring down as I made my way to the Sew Wot stitching morning.  It was a matter of grabbing my rain jacket, can’t remember the last time I got it out of the wardrobe.  Then I drove through the heavy rain and received a warm welcome from Moira, our hostess for the morning.  Although I have driven there several times, I still like to get my local map out to check the route, so I am absolutely sure which streets to turn down.  I’ll let you into a secret - my well known lack of navigation skills and abysmal sense of direction is the reason we have a Garmin Sat Nav in our tow car for when we are travelling around with the caravan.

Mary had been very busy since our last get-together and brought along two boys quilts she had made for Ronald McDonald House.  One featured animals and tractors, and the other was made with the ever popular Thomas the Tank Engine fabrics.  With super cosy fleece backings, both are sure to gladden the heart of a sick little boy and ease his time in hospital.

P5120016 Animals and Tractors quilt

P5120017Thomas the Tank Engine quilt, both made by Mary for Ronald McDonald House

In between all the chatter, there was plenty of hand work taking place.  Heather was hand quilting her hexagon quilt, Carol was working on another stitchery, she loves doing these, and Moira was busy stitching her latest hand appliqué block.  Moira loves quilt books, so her newest ones were passed around for us all to check out – I’m sure we all found a quilt or two we would love to make.  And as for me, I spent the morning sewing in the ends from my appliqué blocks – that kept me quiet for a while.

There was the click clack of knitting needles too, in the room.  Mary was trying to use up her old wool and had started a white baby’s cardigan.  But she must have been too interested in the general conversation and wasn’t concentrating on her pattern, so off the needles it came to be unravelled.  Helen had finished the vest she was making at our last Sew Wot morning for her grand-son, and was now knitting him a matching blue beanie.

P5120018Helen’s knitted vest for her grand-son

More beanies were duly admired – Mary had made these pretty ones for her two young grand-daughters.

P5120019 Pair of beanies made by Mary

It was a bit like a lucky dip when Moira asked if anyone wanted to give some of her scraps a new home.  The bag was passed around the group, and we all had a dig and a delve inside to see if there was anything useful.  I pulled out some neutral strips which will come in handy for one of my UFOs – which still needs a number of strip pieced blocks in beige or white.

P5120020 Moira’s bag full of scraps

Morning tea was very tasty, as usual, especially Moira’s delicious Ginger Ale Fruitcake – we all rather liked that.  And some of us left with a bag full of feijoas, freshly picked from the tree in Moira’s garden.  And in case some readers haven’t yet discovered this delicious fruit, this is what a feijoa tree looks like – you may just make out some of the green fruit growing amongst the leaves.

P5120024 Feijoa tree in Moira’s garden

It was another pleasant Sew Wots morning, spent in good company while we stitched, knitted, chatted, and generally put the world to rights.  Thanks to Moira for being the hostess today.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sewing – at last!

It’s hard to believe that it is now two weeks since we arrived home from our last road trip.  And it has taken me all this time to finally spend some quality time with my sewing machine.  Mind you – the machine had a holiday too while we were away, so Robin had to take a trip to collect it for me on our return home.  Barry, “you sew on them, I’ll fix them” checked my Bernina out,  poking and peering at all the important bits and making sure everything worked as it should. 

But it has been a very busy two weeks – what with catching up with the Sew Wot ladies, a Probus meeting, and spending the day with family on their property out in the country.  A visit to the hairdresser, and baking for afternoon tea with friends took care of another couple of days.  Not forgetting the flu jabs, a hospital visit, and several visits to the vet with Muffy.    Then there is my new job – as Newsletter Editor for my Quilt Club.   I had to write and produce my very first newsletter, always a bit scary using a different computer system, but I made it.  Hopefully, the next one will be easier, and I had good advice along the way too.  Whew – with all that going on, no wonder I didn’t have time to sit and sew.

I eased in to my sewing a few days ago with just a little mending, stitching up a hem here, and a small hole there, sewing small hanging loops tags on to a couple of hand towels which had lost theirs.  Nothing to major at all.  Then I spent a little time tracing and fusing appliqué blocks for my daughters birthday quilt so that when I finally got to sit at the machine, it will be all systems go!  And that finally happened today, I’m pleased to say.

P5100009 Sewing at last

I’ve been happily stitching blocks to my heart’s content.  Green leaf blocks in different fabrics and patterns.  They will go nicely with the pink and green nine-patch blocks I’ve already made.  But the big question is – will I have enough?  Once I’ve finished stitching the pile I’ve got prepared, I’ll need to lay them all out to see if I counted the number of blocks correctly.

P5100010 Machine appliquéd leaf blocks

Saturday, May 9, 2015

New Quilt Shop in Palmy

There’s nothing like a new quilt shop opening up to get the local quilters excited!  Aimee’s Homestead Quilts is in rural Palmerston North, and we took a trip up that way recently.  After attending to an appointment or two in the area, and an enjoyable lunch date with our grand-daughter, I was pleased that we still had time to check out the new quilt shop before heading home.


P5080029 Quilty goodness through these doors

Aimee herself was not in residence, she was busy setting up as a merchant or the popular “Tote and Gloat” show over the weekend.  But Aimee’s Mum was only too happy to tell me how the shop started, and show me around.  Yes, I could take photos, but keep her out of them, she told me!

P5080023 Quilt on the wall with a Pacifica flavour


P5080028 Views of the new shop

Several smaller rooms open up from the main shop, chock full of threads, haberdashery items, all sorts of things a quilter could need.  A nice range of batiks caught my eye, and there are a range of aprons and place mats which would make a nice gift.  Plus a handy area to park your husband, complete with comfy seating, with a TV and blokes magazines for him to flick through while you give the credit card a bit of a work-out.  Do check it out if you are driving by.

P5080026 Waiting area for husbands

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Luscious Lemons

I was kindly given a big bag of lemons from a friend recently, and have juiced some and frozen the juice in an ice cube container.  I like to keep a container of water, lemon juice and a couple of sprigs of mint in the fridge to drink during the day.  But I kept several of the lemons to make some delicious Lemon Honey.  It’s such an easy microwave recipe, and always seems to work – which is a bonus!

Tucked away in MIL’s kitchen cupboard was a handy plastic gadget.  Probably called a “jam funnel” or something similar.  Robin insisted we give it a new home because I always seem to get in such a mess when I’m filling hot jam jars.  It certainly worked well when I was pouring the lemon honey into the jars.

P5040007 Using the vintage jam funnel

The lemon honey recipe only makes a small amount, I got two jars plus the left over in a jam dish.  Yum – that will be tasty on a piece of toast at breakfast time!

P5040008 Luscious lemon honey

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

From Fleece to Garment

We attended our Probus Club meeting yesterday and the speaker was Allison from the Levin Spinners and Weavers Guild.  Allison told the meeting that she started spinning in the early 1970s.   Living as they did on a life style block, she was startled to discover one of the sheep on their property was born with a partially coloured fleece.  Great for spinning, she was told, so she offered the fleece to a spinner she knew.  The spinner then offered to teach Allison how to spin her own fleece, and that is how her love affair with all things wool started. 

P5050011 Allison with some of her creations

Later on she tried her hand at felting, and with adding extra threads and fibres, it was just like painting with wool, she commented.  Allison passed around several lovely examples of her felted items, from scarves, handbags and jackets. 


P5050015 Two felted handbags

The lovely subtle shades of this hand spun, hand woven sleeveless jacket work so well together.  And being a master craftsperson, all the items are beautifully finished inside.  Allison commented that she finds it such fun to work with a fleece right through to a finished garment – so satisfying, I imagine.

P5050017Asymmetrical sleeveless jacket

Youngsters weren’t forgotten either, as we saw several pairs of cosy woollen knitted booties with hand felted soles.

P5050018 Shades of purple - felted scarf and baby booties

Allison also buys plain white silk scarves and changes the colour to autumn tones using rusty nails and onion skins!  I’ve never heard of that before! 

P5050014Silk scarves

It was great to see how she starts right at the beginning with using her own fleeces, spinning, weaving, knitting, felting, cutting out patterns and finally stitching her silk lined garments.   It was a very interesting talk of how Allison  creates such unique and individual  works of art. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Four weeks on the Road

After four weeks travelling 1500kms around our beautiful country, it was nice to arrive home again.  We are so lucky to be living here in such a beautiful country, lovely scenery, and a country free from strife.  While we have been travelling and seeing lots of beautiful sights, caught up with rellies and friends, and I got to check out two “new to me” quilt shops on our travels too.  But sometimes it is the little things which bring a smile to my face.  Let me share some with you.

P4190008 Talking to this little piggy at Fitzgerald Glade, with a face only a Mother could love
 P4160065  A line of washing drying in the sunshine – a necessary job even while on holiday

P4150020Dining out with our travel companions

P4120007 Walking up to the Tarawera Falls

P4208797 Getting up close to a New Zealand Falcon

P4210103Rail Cruising in Rotorua

P42700175 pumpkins for $4, purchased at Whakatane, and carefully carried all the way home

And just check out this wonderful scenery

P4230059Mt Ruapehu from Waiouru
 P4020012 Lake Tutira

P3298660Boardwalk through the Pekapeka Wetlands

P4210086Our caravans on a misty morning

P4170009The shear cliffs of Karangahake Gorge Road 

P4160050And to finish – a silly sign