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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Remnants Night

There was just a small elite group attending Friday night’s Remnant Night, and I was running late and didn’t make it in time for the shared meal.  And no wonder – after attending my daughter’s 50th Birthday lunch out of town I needed time to get back home, put my feet up for a while, and recover from that rather large lunch.  I enjoyed Egg Benedict with salmon, followed by a big piece of delicious lemon cake with the most amazing icing – no wonder I was full to the brim and needed a little time out.

Just to show that quilters haven’t lost the knack of sewing garments, Linda was busy unpicking her favourite nighty which she had “worn to death”.  She used then used these pieces as a pattern to cut out a new nighty in the same style.  And a couple of ladies were working away on the charity theme, with Janneke finishing off a whole heap of small toiletry bags to be donated to the Health Camp Kids.  Sandra was busy machine quilting another quilt for Ronald McDonald House.

P8280046 Sandra with a quilt for Ronald McDonald House

Pretty little Tea Cup Dollies really took my fancy, and Wendy was getting to be quite an expert on these after making a whole heap of them, with still more in the pipeline.  Everyone is different, she said, even down to their facial expressions.  This one had her arms and hair stitched on, but was still waiting for a face.  They are cute – but perhaps just a little too fiddly for me and my fat fingers.

P8280052 Wendy’s Tea Cup Dolly

Ute and her young daughter were both busy at their machines, and Ute was pleased to get the pieced border stitched on her pretty terracotta and green quilt during the evening.  That’s a job well done, so guess the next step is the quilting.

P8280050 Borders stitched on Ute’s quilt

And as for me – I took along my stitchery blocks I’m making for my ABC Christmas quilt.  This is my long term stitching project and I’m only up to “C is for Candle”.  I didn’t quite finish the block on the night, so nothing to show just yet.  Never mind, I’m sure if I just sit quietly for a while, I’ll soon get the last of it completed.

Another good Remnants night, and it is always nice to catch up with the regulars and see what they are working on. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Calicoe Garden – the Birthday Quilt

The big day finally arrived – surely it can’t be 50 long years ago since my beautiful daughter arrived?  Just where have those years gone, I wondered?  We were having a small family lunch at the rather grandly named Orlando Country Club in Palmerston North.  Before we sat down at our table, there were gifts to open.  I had organised one of those on line photo books and Nicky and her best friend Heather had a laugh looking through all the old photos.  Especially the one where she took part in a school play dressed up as a pine tree!
P8280034 Heather and Nicky looking through the photo book
Then the birthday quilt was unwrapped and studied.  Nicky had asked for dusky pinks and grey-green tonings, with plain cream calicoe on the alternate blocks.  I had decided to appliqué some leaves onto the plain blocks in various green fabrics, and am really pleased how it all came together. 
P8280037 Nicky’s husband Robert, Heather, and Nicky
P8280042Three generations - Grand-daughter Emma (I don’t like getting my photo taken so I’m I’m not going to smile), Nicky and me.
We had lovely tasty lunches – our choices ranged from Eggs Benedict, Burgers, Paninis.  And we couldn’t let the celebrations go by without a big piece of cake each, mine was Lemon Cake and was so delicious.  After lunch we went our separate ways, Robert and Emma went back to work, Nicky’s Dad (my ex) and his wife travelled on to Tauranga, Nicky and Heather were continuing on their girls day out with a massage each, and Robin and I made our way back home.
P8260009 Calicoe Garden
I was really pleased with the commercial quilting done by Paula of Rabbit’s Patch Quilting.  I had asked for each green leaf to be quilted with veins, and then left the rest of the quilting up to her.  Paula quilted a large flower in each of the nine patch blocks, did half a feather around the edge of the calicoe blocks and then stippled the interiors.  The outside floral border had feathers, and all the quilting was done free hand.  I think she did a wonderful job!
P8260010 Close up of the quilting
Now that the birthday quilt is completed and gifted – what shall I work on next?  I’ve got plenty of UFOs to choose from.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Getting Ready for the Big Day

The years have rolled by, and it seems hard to believe that my little girl was born nearly 50 years ago.  Tomorrow is the big day, when the birthday quilt will be presented.  But first I needed to stitch the label on the back.  It was such a lovely Spring day today  that I sat outside in the sunshine to complete this last task.  Muffy came outside to join me for a few minutes, but now she is such an old cat, really prefers the comforts of being curled up inside.

P8270021 Stitching the label on the back of the quilt

There were a few spare blocks left over so I added them to the quilt backing. 

P8270024The back of the quilt

P8270028All wrapped up for the birthday lunch tomorrow

There will be an extra gift as well.  I organised a photo book on the internet using photos from baby days, school days, teenage years, up to the present time.  A bit like “This is Your Life”, and it’s all about her, as it should be on such a big occasion.

P8270026   Photo book

We are meeting up tomorrow for a family lunch – I do hope she likes her new quilt!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Symposium Suitcase Exhibition at Levin

The touring Suitcase Exhibition has stopped off at our local Te Takere Library at Levin.  What a great opportunity to see a variety of small quilts selected from recent Symposium Exhibition.  I have been several times to feast my eyes on these lovely works of art, and here is just a taste of what was on show.  The overall winner of the NZ Suitcase Exhibition was “Opulent and Elegant”, by Valda Sutton, who adapted the design from the book Turkish Motifs, by Cahide Keskiner.

P8110027 Opulent and Elegant, by Valda Sutton

I love New Zealand inspired quilts and “Aotearoa Blooms”, by Nancy Neilson was inspired by her love of New Zealand flowers, showcasing five original machine appliquéd blocks of native plants.

P8110029Aotearoa Blooms, by Nancy Neilson

And still on the New Zealand theme, “Still Being Followed”, by Ruth Wheeler focuses on the plight of the Godwit population which sadly is in decline.  Ruth created her own pattern for the birds, inspired by a newspaper photo.

P8110025 Still Being Followed, by Ruth Wheeler

You couldn’t help but smile at “Bee Sunny”,  by Mathea Daunheimer.  A tiny appliquéd bee sits on top a beautifully machine quilted sun flower.  The design was inspired by a photo taken by her friend, who lives in Maine, USA.

P8260006Bee Sunny, by Mathea Daunheimer 

We are fortunate to have these quilts on show locally for the last few weeks, and they will be moving on to their next destination at the end of the month.  Keep an eye out – they might be coming to a town near you sometime soon.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Birthday Quilt is back home

I’m so pleased to have my daughter’s birthday quilt returned home from the quilter.  And I just love how Paula from Rabbit’s Patch Quilting has quilted it for me.  I had a couple of requests, but the rest was up to her. As it is for a gift, I can’t show the quilt in all it’s glory yet – but here are a couple of peeks.

P8190023 The back of the quilt – all freehand

My job today was to machine stitch the binding on.  I know I carefully measured it when I prepared the binding – but this quilt is big, and I was terrified that I would run out of the binding before I got to the end.  That didn’t happen, of course.  Now I have to fold it over, hand stitch it down, and add the label.  And I’ve got a week to get it done – so I should have plenty of time to get this last part of the process finished. 

P8190024Stitching the binding on

We are having a Birthday Lunch for my daughter’s 50th birthday next week, and I will present her with her new quilt then.  Nicky had some input with the colours and design so  I’m sure she will love it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Just a little Stitching

I’m slowly working on the front of  my bag which I started at the Nostalgia Class using doilies last week.   Perhaps I’ll add a few pretty blue flowers on this corner of the bag, I thought.  The flowers were machine appliquéd in place, and I added a button in the centre - then just a little hand stitching to link the flowers together.  The front of my bag needs a lot more stitching, and I’ll be doing “big stitch” quilting using perle cotton.


But I needed to take a trip to the quilt shop and buy some more thread for the couple of stitchery projects I have on the go.  This is what I bought yesterday.


I’ve also prepared the bag back and the straps so I’ll be ready to assemble the bag when I finally get the front finished.  So that’s another step done.  Being creative certainly takes time, but is most enjoyable.  I tend to flit from one project to another – guess most crafters are like that?


Monday, August 17, 2015

Fox’s Cottage

Fox’s Cottage is a cute little quilt shop newly opened in Foxton, about 20km up SH1 from our home.  Owner Robyn Blandford is a keen knitter and quilter and has finally achieved her dream of opening her very own craft shop. 


I received a very warm welcome from Robyn when I entered her shop in the weekend, and she was quite happy for me to take a few photos.   Her aim is to offer good quality products, from fabric, sewing threads, books and magazines, patterns,and lovely cosy balls of New Zealand wool. 

P8160001 Robyn behind the counter in her new shop

We had quite a conversation about knitting socks.  Although I have already bought sock wool, needles and a pattern, I have yet to attempt my first pair of knitted socks.  It is just that it seems so hard, with heels and toes to worry about.  Perhaps I need a sock tutor!

P8160002Knitting wool

And I couldn't leave empty handed, could I?   After looking through the fabric, and being drawn to lots of pretty colours, I gave myself a good talking to.  My next big project will be a quilt in blacks and greys, colours requested by my grand-daughter Emma.  So that is what I bought, a piece of black with newspaper text, and another of grey, black and white.  Much more sensible to get something I will actually use, rather than just adding to the stash.  Plus one of those pretty fat quarters too.  I wish Robyn well in her new enterprise.
P8160024 My purchase which will be used for Emma’s quilt

With my quilty fix taken care of, we went next door to the Foxton Villa Cafe for Sunday lunch.  And what a lovely lunch it was.  Seared scallops and King prawns for her, and slow roasted leg of lamb for him, both delicious.  With coffee and a chocolate profiterole to finish, we were certainly well fed.

P8160007 Our tasty lunches

After that delicious lunch we needed a little exercise, and went for a walk along the Awahou Bush Boardwalk.  This Boardwalk is a project of ‘Keep Foxton Beautiful’ and has been constructed with the help of many local citizens.  The ground is very boggy, and the boardwalk meandered over it through native bush and tall flaxes.  Birds were singing, and it was a lovely, peaceful walk.  Soon we arrived at the Manawatu River, and sat down in the sun on a handy picnic table for a photo or two, with the river behind us.  The boardwalk is only about 0.5km long, with plans to extend it in the future.

P8160015Selfie at the picnic table, next to the Manawatu River

What a lovely afternoon it was.  What with discovering a new quilt shop, followed by a delicious lunch, it was a great way to spend a Sunday - lucky me.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

All things Vintage at Woodville Pioneer Museum

What I love about these museums is the peek into domestic life of bygone years.  And vintage abounded at the Woodville Pioneer Museum when we visited a few days ago.  Lots of lovely old china, the table set for tea, interesting furniture, and beautiful linens – each room was beautifully presented.

P8120032 The parlour

P8120029 Bedroom

P8120033Beautifully stitched baby clothes and old feeding bottles

I even discovered a quilt.  And when the volunteer on duty found out I was a quilter, she unhooked the cord across the door and let me in for a closer look. The pastel squares seemed to have been made from satin, and  I wondered if it was a fund raising quilt, as there were signatures on the blocks.  What a treasure!


P8120042 5th Ruahine Battalion Band quilt, Woodville, dated 1903

There were treasures in every room, including cabinets full to overflowing with the Bessie Spinett Teapot Collection.  Bessie’s collection started as most collections, do, with a single purchase, a small one cup tea pot.  But it quickly grew over the years, with Bessie buying teapots throughout New Zealand, and on overseas trips.  Many were also received as gifts. 

P8120036 Just a small portion of the teapot collection

There was a huge back shed filled to the brim with all sorts of machinery, tools, gigs, wagons, and even a fire engine – everything that blokes would drool over.  But I found plenty to get my heart racing too. 

P8120048Time to do the ironing

P8120050After the washing has been done, of course

P8120047Old sewing machines too

It was great to glimpse back into the past – but I wonder how I would have coped in those bygone days.  With looking after big families, milking the cow, churning the butter, and baking bread,  I guess the women just rolled up their sleeves and got on with it.    It must have been a very busy life for them.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Town and Country Quilters August Club Night

Our monthly meeting started with a “Special Meeting” where the Proposal presenting the Review of the Finance Committee was passed and adopted.  With that important piece of business out of the way, the meeting continued with notices, raffles, and Show and Tell.  I had taken along my Baskets of Blessings quilts with the spiral quilting done by machine to show, and everyone was interested in checking the back of the quilt to to see how it was done.  Kaye presented her beautiful appliquéd native bird quilt, featuring a tui sitting on a kowhai tree, surrounded by a lovely vine, finally completed, she was happy to say.

P8120005 Kaye’s wall hanging

This pretty Dresden Plate quilt was stitched by Sarah for her 90 year old aunt, and the machine quilting has to be seen up close to be fully appreciated.

P8120001Sarah’s Dresden Plate quilt

And this lovely floral quilt with embroidered blocks was done by Carol.  The embroidery patterns  were the old sort which are ironed on to fabric, Carol told us, the way things used to be done – instead of the more modern approach with tracing using a light box.

P8120004 Carol’s pretty quilt with hand embroidered blocks

Later we adjoined to the Supper Room for a cuppa and to check out library books, and interested members crowded around four of our club members who were doing demonstrations of various techniques.  I was quite keen to see how one goes about printing on fabric, and the secret seems to be to purchase packs of specially prepared fabric.  Demonstrations of Suffolk Puffs, and joining Quilt as You Go blocks created interest, as did Lynne taking the mystery of of several Mystery Blocks, which seemed to be the stitch, slice, and rearrange type of blocks.  They certainly looked nice and graphic.

P8120008 Lynne with examples of Mystery Blocks

Many thanks to Lynne, Cheryl, Diane and Sandra for doing the demonstrations – it made for a very informative finish to our meeting.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Nostalgia Class

Everything was ready for my all day class.  The sewing machine had been unhooked from my sewing cabinet and packed away in the case – remembering to put in the foot control and the power cord.  I’d gathered together my embroidered doily, various pieces of fabric, batting, calico, threads, pins, scissors, Vilene – did I remember everything?  Needed to take my cutting board and rulers too.

P8080002 Ready for my class

And I mustn’t forget my lunch.  It was a cold and wintery day so I took some tasty pumpkin soup in my small thermos, and made some tasty egg sandwiches.  That should do nicely.  Tea and coffee will be provided, so I didn’t need to worry about drinks.  Making a packed lunch reminded me of all those working years when I went out the door bright and early with my lunch in my bag.

P8080001Sustenance for the day

Arriving at the hall I soon claimed a space, set up my sewing machine, and cluttered up the table with all my bits and pieces.  Griet Lombard, our tutor was laying out her samples in the front of the room.  The class was all about using doilies and vintage linen and Griet had the most amazing examples to show us. 

P8080003 Griet, with Val and Ruby checking out the examples

After some words of wisdom from the tutor we were all keen to get started.  One lady had brought along her Mum’s wedding gown to cut up and use, but the advice was to do a practice block or two before cutting up such a treasure.  I needed a little help to get started, and had planned to use this doily, with the added stitched words,  on the front of a bag.  But no, you just can't plonk it right in the middle, I was told, it needs to be off centre.  Oh dear – I “don’t do” asymmetrical!  But perhaps this once I will give it a try – after all, we were being shown the ropes by an amazing tutor.

P7280003  Vintage doily

So I had a change of plan, and with a little help, came up with a different idea.  How about a leafy branch and a bird up here, and arrange the doily artistically  in the lower corner?  By the time I arrived back home, all I had to show for my day out sewing was this.  But the plan is to work away diligently  on my bag, otherwise it will get put away and join the ranks of UFOs already in residence in my sewing room.

P8090012 The start of my bag

Most of the ladies were doing much smaller blocks, using doilies, lace, and parts of embroidered linen.  Maureen decided to add one of our tutor’s signature birds too, and there is a block with another version of the bird pinned up on the wall behind her.

P8080009Maureen and her block.

The day ended, and we all packed up, locked up the hall and headed home.  I’m sure the others were just like me with their heads spinning with ideas and just raring to continue stitching.  It was a great class with a wonderful sharing tutor and good company.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Baskets of Blessings

That’s the name of my completed quilt.  You remember - the one with the spiral quilting which I laboured long and hard over, only to find at the end that I hadn’t inserted the walking foot properly.  I certainly learnt my lesson over that debacle, I can assure you.  We have had a couple of sunny although still cool wintery days in between the showers and I enjoyed a little time recently sitting outside pinning the binding down on the quilt.  With the binding securely pinned in place, it was hand stitched down, the label added, and finally, all done. As we have now passed the shortest day – roll on summer, I say!

P7250034 Outside in the wintery sunshine

The pattern was a gift from my quilting pen-friend Carol, who lives in South Dakota, USA.  She had even cut out all the pieces of fabric needed to complete this little quilt – how kind was that! 
  P8070031 The pattern arrived with the fabric

I wanted to make it bigger, so put the four baskets on point, adding some Debbie Mumm rusty coloured fabric from my stash, which I used for the inside border and binding.  And I purchased caramel fabric which was strewn with pretty rosebuds for the corner triangles and outside border.  All the colours worked well, I thought, and I finished it off with my first attempt of spiral quilting.

P8070032 Baskets of Blessings, now completed

To be completely honest, this quilt did take a while to finish, (like most of my projects, sadly).  The top has been completed for some time, sitting there waiting to be quilted.  But it’s all done now – and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  I’ll be taking it along to my quilt club meeting next week, for Show and Tell.  After that it will be hung up on the rod in the sitting room, replacing the one presently hanging there.   It’s great to ring the changes, isn’t it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Christmas all Year Round

There’s something about Christmas and quilters, isn’t there – some sort of great attraction.  So I was thrilled recently to discover a “new to me” gift shop which has a marvellous range of Christmas goodies which are displayed all year around.  Stepping through the doors of “Presence in Sanson”  was a real delight.  There were all sorts of gifts on show, and two lovely Christmas rooms packed full of twinkling lights, Santas and ornaments lovingly displayed.   The kind owner gave me permission to take a few photos.

P8020004 Christmas goodies galore

And I found just what I had been looking for – I was after another gold coloured Christmas tree to complement the two I already have. The trees have their own special place on the dining room window sill each festive season.

P8040028 My newly purchased tree which will be put away until December

Adjacent to this pretty little gift shop is Viv’s Kitchen, which had just moved buildings to the present position.  This shop is also a Sanson icon, whose motto is “to make food the way it used to be”.  With delicious cream horns being the cafe specialty, we decided we really should try one.  Viv’s Kitchen was busy with people “doing lunch” like us, so we found ourselves a table and checked out the menu.  We decided on something small and savoury from the hot cabinet, just so we could finally indulge in one of those huge cream horns.  And they were delicious!

Cream Horn0001How about one of these?

Tucked away in a corner of the cafe is “Nana Ruth’s Corner”, dedicated to the memory of Viv’s Mum.  What a lovely thought, and speaks volumes of Viv’s philosophy of life.

Nana Ruth’s Corner in Viv’s Kitchen

We had a lovely morning looking around Sanson – a tasty lunch and a Christmas Shop too.  What could be better?