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

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Raspberry Ripple

That's the name of my latest quilt – full of lovingly hand stitched  candlewick blocks. With splashes of bright pink which remind me of a big bowl of summer raspberries and ice-cream, how about “Raspberry Ripple”?  I agree it may sound a bit fanciful, but that’s the name that came to me.  What do you think?


I have to admit that this is a very old UFO indeed.  I traced out the candlewick blocks and packed them, my cotton thread, needles and small scissors away in my suitcase when we travelled around England for three months way back in 1999.  I sat and stitched them in the evenings after a hard day’s sightseeing. 


Twelve blocks surround “Ribbons and Lace” in the middle, a larger pre-marked mini which I stitched some time after we had returned home from our trip.


And the quilting angels were smiling down on me when Sew Wot friend Moira brought along some candlewick blocks she no longer wanted.  She was having a clear out and looking to pass them on, and I was so happy to take them off her hands.  I  used four of Moira’s blocks in the corners of the quilt top.

Gifted blocks from Moira

With the top finished it had to wait for a trip to Linda the Razzle Dazzle Quilter to work her magic, then another wait till we were passing by Taupo again to finally collect it.  We continued on our caravan trip up to Hamilton, and took a slow trip back, moving the wrapped quilt from pillar to post around the caravan.  During the day it was placed on our bed, out of the way, and at night it got moved down to the seating area when we went to bed.  I likened it to a very big swaddled baby – although Robin tells me it’s like moving a dead body around!


I’ve been diligently hand stitching the binding down.  It’s a large quilt at 90 inches square.  And at last I’ve finished so have taken some photos to share.  No, not quite finished, as Robin commented, I still have to add the label.  I’ll attend to that shortly.

After the morning showers, Raspberry Ripple is enjoying an outdoorsy photo shoot

And to say I am thrilled with Linda’s work is an understatement – I just love what she has done to transform my quilt top so beautifully. Linda has stitched feathers, pebbles, matchstick quilting, and her version of McTavishing - her work is superb indeed.

Linda’s superb quilting

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Home again

After two weeks away on a caravan trip, we are finally home again.  And after playing “pass the parcel” with my collected quilt (well wrapped in a big towel to keep it clean) from one end of the caravan to the other I was pleased to finally carry it inside to my sewing cabinet.  And at last I’ve found the time to sit at my sewing machine.  My first priority is to stitch the binding on, and luckily I had planned ahead and prepared the binding ages ago.  With the walking foot attached I was all ready to start.

The binding – something I prepared earlier

Here we go, stitching away

With that part of the job done, the next step is to hand stitch it all down on the reverse side.  I’ve started, but it may well take me a while to finish.  Hopefully I’ll get it completed in the next few days, all going well.

Perhaps you would like to see a couple more holiday snaps from our recent caravan trip?  We stayed in Wanganui for four nights at a lovely motor camp with our Caravan Club friends.  While there I climbed not one, but two towers!  So I’m really pleased with myself.  To get to the towers on Durie Hill we had to walk through a very long tunnel (205m) indeed.

Jenny and Dot at the tunnel entrance

The vintage elevator is at the end of the tunnel, and entering was certainly like was stepping back in time.  Zena has been operating it since 1971 and stands in front of a newspaper article when she started her job – although she now only works 3 days a week, she told us.  She must really love her job to have stayed there so long.  We were charged $2 each for the 66m ride up to the top and saved us walking up 191 concrete steps.

Zena at the controls

Several of us climbed the elevator tower first, up the windy spiral staircase.  Not too strenuous and there were great views from the top.  The much taller War Memorial Tower at 33.5m high was certainly a more difficult climb for me and I doggedly climb round and round, stopping to get my breath when I needed a break.   The tower is the official Wanganui Memorial to the 513 people from the district who died in the First World War and was unveiled in 1925, and is is 33.5m high.

Only three of us climbed this tower, two male caravan club members who were much fitter than me and arrived at the top with no trouble at all.  I was much slower, but really pleased that I made it all the way to the top too, huffing and puffing all the way.   There is a heavy safety frame on top of the tower to stop any accidents.

Durie Hill Tower and War Memorial Tower

We saw quite an assortment of padlocks attached to the safety frame.  It seems that these “love locks” as they are known, fastening a lock marked with lovers’ names to a public place and the key thrown away symbolizes everlasting love.  Wonder if they come back and cut them off if the love match turns sour?

Locked in Love padlocks.

The view from the top – Wanganui River and City

Now we are home safe and sound, I hope to resume “rolling the dice” next week, and see what number comes up from my “List of Six”.  But first, I’ll keep working on that binding.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Traveling on

We have been slowly making our way southwards over the last few days.  And before we left New Plymouth  Mt Egmont rewarded us with a glorious cloud free photo – and that doesn’t happen very often.  Isn’t it a beautiful sight?

Mt Egmont

We traveled down to Stratford - named after the birthplace of William Shakespeare and many of the streets bear the name of the characters from his plays.  Stratford's glockenspiel stands in the main street, Broadway, and is unique to New Zealand.   Romeo and Juliet, emerge for the balcony scene, reaffirming their vows of love, four times a day.    Well worth the time to stop and listen, if you are there at the right time.

Glockenspiel at Stratford

I called in to a “new to me” quilt shop, “In Stitches”, Stratford to make a few small purchases, as you do while travelling.  The very friendly owner showed me a commission quilt she was making for a man who told her he wanted to sleep under the mountain.  And what a great job she is doing.  The mountain has been appliqued and is surrounded with an assortment of New Zealand prints.

Commission quilt featuring Mt Egmont

Inside the quilt shop

Our next stop was to “The Cheesebar” at Eltham  to buy some cheese and hopefully pick up a bargain or two.  There was some delicious Kikorangi Blue on special, so I made sure I got some of that, plus a few other cheeses.  I’m a real cheese lover, so always like to stop here when we are passing by.

Lots of yummy cheese

Remember my candlewick quilt which I collected from Linda at Razzle Dazzle Quilter recently?  Well, the quilt has been traveling around with us too, of course.  I have it wrapped up in a big bath towel to keep it clean, and it gets moved around the caravan.  During the day it is placed on our bed, out of the way, and at night it gets moved down to the seating area when we go to bed.  It’s rather like a very big swaddled baby – although Robin tells me it’s like moving a dead body around!

When we return home in a few days time the quilt will be taken into my sewing room to get the binding stitched on.  Then I’ll take some more photos and show it off in all it’s glory.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Still Traveling

We are still on a caravan trip and since collecting my quilt from Linda at Taupo, we moved on to Hamilton.  Want to see another peek of my beautiful quilt?  Linda quilted all around my simple candlewick blocks and really made them look special.

Another peek at Linda’s beautiful quilting

The trip to Hamilton was to visit the “Motorhome, Caravan, and Leisure Show” where all the brand new vans and motorhomes are displayed.  There was free parking for vans at this 3 day event, and we joined about 900 others.  I climbed up the road to the top of the hill to get a photo over the site – and was I puffed when I reached the top!  Certainly worth it though, and walking back down was so much easier.  We went for a walk and saw vans parked all over the place, many at the back of buildings so not easily seen from the road.  And caught up with some old friends from different parts of the country whom we only see at these type of get-togethers.


Looking at all the bright and shiny new vans was great, but I was also quite taken with a display of restored retro vans, all beautifully styled with accessories too.  This little cutie in particular.

Pretty little retro van

Leaving the show, we traveled south at stopped off at the little town of Kihikihi – it was time to do some laundry.  Keeping up with the laundry makes me a very happy camper indeed.


We are staying for the next couple of nights at Bell Block, New Plymouth, under the shadow of Mt Egmont.  What a great view we have from our caravan site.  Hopefully I will get a clearer shot next time.  There is a saying up this way – “If you can’t see the mountain, it’s raining, and if you can see it, it will be raining again soon”.

Mt Egmont

I’ve only managed to do a little hand stitching while we have been away, and need to go and buy some more thread – I’m stitching a NZ native bird and  need blue for tail feathers and a red/yellow for the beak and feet.  We will be having a catch up with friends later for an evening meal, so that will be very nice. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Meeting the Sweet Peas

On our recent trip to Taupo to collect my quilt from Linda of Razzle Dazzle Quilter, she kindly invited me to meet up with her quilting group, the Sweet Peas.  What a lovely bunch of ladies – they made me feel very welcome indeed, and had brought of lot of Show and Tell to share.

Andreena had brought along a lovely basket quilt made in Japanese fabrics, very nice indeed.  Plus two lovely Christmas items, a table runner and Santa's Sleigh and reindeer.  I love Christmas quilts too.

Made by Andreena

Stitching a Dear Jane quilt is a real labour of love, and Fiona kept on stitching until she had completed this mammoth task.  This was a Block of the Month, and several blocks were sent out each month from Stich’n’Heaven, in Texas.  Fiona told us that she kept up each month, quite an achievement as some of these little blocks have a huge number of tiny pieces.  This is another quilt expertly quilted by Linda.

Fiona’s Dear Jane quilt

Terri had also been very busy and showed a lovely needle turn NZ Native Bird quilt she had made for her son.  And a very pretty little floral quilt she has decided to keep for when her first grand-daughter arrives.


A couple of beauties  from Terri

I love NZ designs and really admired Hazel’s bird quilt.  “Tuis in my Garden” was designed by Diane Fussel.  With lots of thread painting on the tuis and 3D kowhai flowers, it was lovely indeed.

Tuis in my Garden, by Hazel

Like most groups, the Sweet Peas have challenges now and again.  Rochelle brought along her Sweet Peas BOM “Blooming Flowers”.  Such bright and happy colours.

Rochelle’s Sweet Pea Challenge

Linda has pieced “Social Butterfly” using Tula Pink’s fabrics from the USA.  I was told to look carefully at the fabrics to see if I could find the animals on the prints.  Sure enough, I found tigers galore hidden in the butterflies.

Linda’s Social Butterflies

And lastly, I really admired Peggy’s pretty quilt which was hanging on the wall for Spring.  This was made while she lived in Australia, and many of the blocks were made by quilting friends for her.

Peggy’s Spring quilt

Many thanks to Linda and Peggy for inviting me to their home to meet up with their Sweet Pea group.  It was so nice to meet all the ladies and get to see their lovely quilts – I really appreciated the kind invitation.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Collecting my Quilt From Linda

We are “on the road again” in the caravan and stayed for a couple of nights in Taupo.  And while there  had a very important visit to Linda of Razzle Dazzle Quilter who had quilted her magic on my Candlewick quilt.  Linda had been in touch to tell me it looked gorgeous, and although I didn’t doubt her for one minute, I was really looking forward to seeing it myself. 

Hershey loves it too

And what a great job she had done, even the cat thought so.  I’m not showing too much, just yet.  The first job I want to do when we finally get back home from this caravan trip will be to attach the binding.  And then there will be photos galore, I promise.  The quilting is so lovely, and really sets off my simple candlewick blocks.   Thanks so much Linda, I am delighted again, with your beautiful quilting.

Monday, September 11, 2017

No Sewing Happening

We’ve been back from our holiday in Australia a week, and not a stitch of sewing has been done.  That’s not to say I haven’t been busy, though.  The suitcases have finally been emptied and carried back upstairs to our little loft.  It may be Spring here but the weather has been wet and cold, so that means winter cooking, as far as I’m concerned.  So I’ve cooked up a big pot of pumpkin soup one day, flavoured with bacon and a touch of curry powder.  Then I had a beef casserole simmering away in the crock pot, I do love winter comfort food.  And most importantly, we had a big day out with friends to celebrate Robin (almost) turning 70.  His actual birthday is on Tuesday, so maybe we will squeeze another celebration or two into the week.

Happy 70th Birthday to Robin

The only thing remotely like sewing I’ve done is to pin some sashing strips onto my Australian blocks.  I know, some of you don’t bother to pin, but I really feel the need to.  When I finally get to sit at the sewing machine I can get started on these blocks, or maybe even use them as leaders and enders.

Pinned sashings to Aussie blocks

Sadly, sitting at my sewing machine will have to wait as we are going away on a caravan trip for the next two weeks.  I’ll have to sort out some hand stitching to take with me.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Meeting with the Sew Wot Ladies

It was so nice to meet up with the Sew Wot ladies on Tuesday, after being away on holiday for several weeks.  There were two more finished quilts that our group was doing from the Moda Sampler Blocks recently offered on the internet.  Carol and Heather B brought along their finished quilts – it’s always so interesting to see just how different quilts can be using the same blocks.


Carols Moda quilt (top), and Heather B’s (lower)

Mary had been very prolific – she brought along a Christmas Tree Skirt made to her daughter’s specifications, just as she wanted it.  And after our Sew Wot friend Pam passed away, Mary took home this lovely Iris wall-hanging kit, and stitched it in Pam’s honour.

Mary’s finishes

There was a bit of knitting going on as well, both blankets, as it turned out.  Helen was stitching her grey and white squares together, and Carol was knitting herself a blanket in such pretty shades of extra thick wool.  Both blankets will be lovely and cozy when they are completed.

Helen and Carol with their woolen blankets

Moira was embroidering her lovely fox design, and Heather E was appliqueing tiny hexies and dresden plates onto background squares.  As for me, even though I got my hand stitching out, I didn’t take a single stitch!  Too much talking going on, and I really needed to catch up on all the news, didn’t I?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Home Sweet Home

We were up bright and early with the alarm set for 4.00am on the morning for our trip home from Oz.  A quick shower, dressed, including a pair of long compression socks each.  I was recycling my white  “hospital operation socks”, if they were good enough last year for surgery, they’ll certainly do for a three hour or so flight home.  With bags packed, a quick look around the hotel room to make sure we didn’t leave anything behind, we were waiting downstairs on the footpath to be collected for our shuttle ride to the airport at 5.00am.   After offloading our cases, we went through Customs and I was selected as a “random” for testing for explosives.  The flight over the sea was uneventful, with just a little turbulence, and soon we were flying into Wellington, looking out over the harbour as the plane swung around to make it’s approach.



We collected the car from the Long Term car-park, loaded the bags and headed for home.  We had a great holiday, but it’s always nice to return home safely.

My best buys of the holiday were bargain priced indeed.  Such as the pair of jandals I purchased at the Night Markets in Cairns, and my lovely blue sunhat, also from Cairns – neither items I had thought to take with me.  The hat was really necessary in the hot sunshine – it may have been winter over in Oz but the sun was rather fierce, and then I could squish it up to put in my bag between times.  And after walking all day, it was so nice to take my sandals off once we returned to our accommodation, and slip those cool jandals on my hot feet.  And Robin’s favourite purchase was his Akubra hat.

My new jandals and two new hats

I always need a book to read, even while on holiday, and I love nothing better than a book about the turbulent Tudor times.  Wolf Hall is all about the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and all the other major players of the times.

Nothing beats a good book at bedtime

Although I never took any hand stitching with me, I did take my blocks made with Australian fabrics.  These may well look familiar, as I took them away last year to Australia when we went on the Ghan rail trip and only used half of them.  Each night I would get my Micron ink pen out and write down where we were staying, trips we had taken, and sights we had seen.  Even memorable meals – after all, a holiday is always about trying new and exciting food, isn’t it.  I can’t wait to get the blocks all stitched together

Australian quilt blocks

We had such fun, travelled to new places, saw all sorts of interesting things and had wonderful adventures.  Australia is such a vast country, so very different to New Zealand.  We had a wonderful holiday, but it’s great to be home again.