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

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Display of Tivaivai

Yesterday our group of friends met for lunch followed by an outing to the adjacent small museum.  I was delighted to find an exhibition of tivaivai, traditional bed covers (made without batting)  and cushions stitched by  Cook Island ladies who now reside in New Zealand.  These brightly coloured bed covers reflect the way of life in their home islands, and are similar of those made in Hawaii.



In the islands the tivaivai are either traditionally made by one woman or stitched in groups called vainetini.  The vainetini use this time together to bond, sing and catch up on village news. Tivaivai are valuable in ritual exchanges which mark family ‘life’ events, and other gifting events which draw people together through family and social networks. 


Taku Mama” exhibits the work of Pacific women in the Community, keeping their island culture alive and passing on their skills to younger women. The Tivaivai depicts personal narratives that have been shared and passed down for generations.

Photo courtesy of Pataka Museum

Monday, May 28, 2018

Pink Ribbon High Tea

We were invited to a Pink Ribbon High Tea on Sunday, and I was requested to “please bring a plate, Nana”.  Organised by grand-daughter Megan and her land-lady Jane, it was a very swish affair indeed.  Megan met us at the door and ushered us inside.



Megan and Jane had been busy all morning, in the kitchen, and decorating the house with balloons and ribbons.  The table was groaning with all sorts of delicacies, most with a hint of pink.   Other guests arrived, dropping their contributions on the table, and we settled down with a hot drink.   Then the hostesses  brought out sausage rolls, and tiny quiches, hot from the oven, it was time to start on this wonderful spread.

There were about 20 people, friends and families of Megan and Jane.  Dave entered into the spirit of the day, and after a morning doing he-man stuff like duck hunting with his trusty dog, was happy to slip  a sparkly pink tutu over his hunting gear.  And Jane looked a picture as she passed food around to the guests.

Dave and Jane

It was a lovely morning indeed.  We all know someone who has been touched with breast cancer, and it was great to gather together in celebration of Pink Ribbon Day in May – this year is the 10th Anniversary of Pink Ribbon events.
Dave and Corrina, Jenny and daughter Nicky, grand-daughter Megan and Robin

And as a bonus I have just received my MIR scan results (for breast cancer) from the specialist last week, clear with no sign of cancer, I was told.  So that’s a relief – let’s celebrate and get on with our plans!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Summer Kites–quilt top finished

Colourful kites and their fluttering tails dance across my quilt top.  I won ten of these blocks in a block swap quite some time ago, and stitched up two more.  The suggestion was to use stripes, checks or spots if possible, and most people did.  With the kite blocks stitched together, today I added the dark blue with splashes of colours as a border.  I then prepared a length of binding – it’s always good to get this job done and out of the way.


What to use for backing, I wondered?  My original choice wasn’t long enough, so I had a rummage around through a couple of plastic crates and found a length of mid blue fabric.  That will work great but I decided that the backing fabric needed to be washed to freshen it up, after languishing in the crate for ages.  It is now drying off on the clothesline in the sun shine, then will get ironed, and the quilt layered and pinned tomorrow.  I may even get the machine quilting started, hopefully.  We’ll see what else tomorrow brings.

Summer Kites

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

New Week, New UFO - Summer Kites

Its good to “Roll the Dice” this week, after it not happening the previous week at all.  The dice rolled to number three, a new UFO recently added to my list.  It is blocks to make a baby quilt of Summer Kite blocks which I won way back in 1995 -  I’ve always admitted to having some rather old UFOs!


I had entered a “Block of the Month” competition at quilt shop “Stitches Plus” in Wellington,   sadly no longer trading.  For a small fee we were provided with the pattern and sky blue background fabric.  The requirements were to make a colourful kite or two, using stripes, checks or dots in one of the fabrics.  Once we had returned our blocks there were two draws and I was one of the lucky winners.

These ten blocks were rediscovered recently, my goodness, they had been hidden away in a plastic crate for such a long time.  Luckily I had some extra background fabric tucked away too, and today I stitched up two more blocks.  12 blocks are so much more useful than 10, after all.

Two more kites

I’m hoping to get all the blocks stitched together this week, and maybe even layered and pinned ready for quilting.  That’s the aim, anyway, I’ll just have to see how I go.

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Right Royal Weekend

We have enjoyed a three night weekend away in the caravan, staying “over the hill” at both Masterton (for one night)  and then on to Carterton.  It was very pleasant autumn weather, a little rain, but mainly fine.    In Masterton we camped under lovely large mature trees, which had dropped a carpet of golden leaves onto the ground.

Solway Showgrounds, Masterton

Then we drove a short distance to Carterton Holiday Park, to meet up with our caravan friends for a weekend rally.  This is a lovely camp, and we enjoy coming here.  Now the weather is getting cooler, it’s nice to be on power again.  There were pretty little yellow birds in the small aviary, and some friendly sheep came to greet me as I walked past.


Pleasant grounds at Carterton Holiday Park

I had taken my stitching bag with me for the weekend, as I always do, but sadly didn’t even open it.  There was too much going on, and of course the highlight of the weekend was the Right Royal Wedding on Saturday night, our time.  Eileen was so excited she dressed up in her finery and put the rest of us to shame.  I knew I should have packed my tiara!

Dressed for the Royal Wedding

Some members weren’t interested (such philistines) and took themselves back to the vans, but most stayed in the hall in front of the TV and watch the momentous occasion unfold.  There were plenty going on before the service as happy royal watchers were interviewed, and the big question, who designed “The Dress” was discussed at length.  With the time difference between UK and New Zealand, it was going to be a very long night for us.  I took myself back to the van at about 10.00pm, settled down in bed with the TV on, and watched and waited as important guests arrived, and the ceremony finally began.  It was a long night, and we finally turned the light out and went to sleep at 1.30am.


There’s no doubt about it, the Brits certainly know how to put on a show, full of  all that glorious pomp and ceremony.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Friends to Stay

We have had friends to stay for a few nights, hence the recent flurry of baking going on.  And perusing recipe books – what shall I cook for the evening meals?  Don’t know why I get in a tizzy, after all I cook each day, but you always want it a to be little bit special when friends came to stay, don’t you?  Needless to say, there's been no sewing happening this week, although I did show off my latest creations.  My friend Merilyn is not a quilter, but she knits, spins, and has dabbled in stitcheries and candle-wick work over the years.

For the first time in ages, my sewing machine cabinet was closed up tight.  And the “wardrobe” went from this to a double bed.  Its a very clever piece of American designing, and we love that the bed folds up neatly and disappears into the cupboard when not in use.  It folds down to a double bed, with an excellent mattress, much more comfy than the pull out sofa our visitors had to use previously.

Hiding behind the wardrobe doors is….

A comfortable double bed

Our friends Merilyn and Colin live in Dunedin and we spent last Christmas with them.  Merilyn and I are old school friends from way back, and yesterday we caught up with another old friend Robyn, and met up for morning tea.  Robyn and her husband has recently moved up to Levin from the Hutt Valley, like we did, and I met up again with her at a meeting a couple of years ago, thinking, I know that lady.   She hadn't changed a bit!

Me, Merilyn and Robyn

In fact, the last time Merilyn and Robyn had met was about 50 years ago, when we gathered at the wharf with other school friends in Wellington to wave her goodbye.  Merilyn and her parents were moving down to the South Island to live in Dunedin.  Robyn had brought along a photo of this sad occasion as we waved our friend goodbye, would we ever meet up again we wondered?  We had all recently started work and were about 16 at the time.

Pam, Robyn, Merilyn, Jenny, with Sally in the front at the wharf to say goodbye

Our guests had more friends to visit, and a family 80th Birthday to attend in the weekend, so packed up this morning ready for the next stage of their adventure.  It was so nice to catch up again and have them come to stay – we always have so much to talk about, it’s just like we have never been apart.

Merilyn and Colin

Monday, May 14, 2018

A Small Finish X 2

While we were travelling around the South Island over Summer I quietly hand quilted these two New Zealand birds in-between working on my New Zealand Botanical stitcheries. The green Kereru, also called the Wood Pigeon, and the Tui, known as the Parson Bird because of the white feathers at the throat, are both beautiful native birds.  The pattern is from Katy Buck Designs -  New Zealand Birds.

Kereru and Tui

The green kereru is a large bird with iridescent green and bronze feathers on its head and a white vest. The noisy beat of its wings is a distinctive sound in our forests as they fly about looking for berries to eat.  And the tui are  medium-sized bird equally at home in the forest and suburbs, and feed on the nectar from the kowhai blossoms, when they are in season.  They look black from a distance, but in bright sunlight their feathers have a blue, green and bronze iridescent sheen, and distinctive white throat tufts.


Once we returned home from our trip it was just a matter of finishing the binding, and stitching the hanging sleeves on.  I made them to hang in our caravan so the birds join us on our trips away, they usually need an adjustment to straighten them up when we arrive at our destination. 

Hanging in the caravan

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day, one and all, to all those wonderful women out there.  Hope you had a lovely day.


My daughter Nicky had sent a parcel earlier in the week, so I put it away until this morning  to open it. Wonder what’s inside?


Inside was a selection of Nicky’s hand made soap, and a Mother’s Day Card.   Looks like she thinks I’ve done a great job as a Mum, as she has turned out “awesome”!

From Nicky

On Saturday evening we went out to a Mother’s Day Dinner with a group from Pink Ladies, (Breast Cancer Support Group).  About 20 of us dined at Pipi Point Restaurant at Waitarere Beach where we had tables set up for us decorated with pretty pink tablecloths.  We all found a seat and settled down.  It’s not surprising that this restaurant specializes in fish meals.  I enjoyed a Fish Basket which included tasty seafood wontons, very yummy, and Robin had Fish of the Day.

At Pipi Point Restaurant with the Pink Ladies

The food was great, and very large portions indeed.  I noticed several taking a doggy bag home as they couldn’t finish the meal.  There was plenty of chatter going on around the large table, and once again, it was amazing to find out from a couple of our table partners that we have friends in common.  And Robin discovered that he and another man who looked vaguely familiar worked at Post Office Headquarters together many years ago.  New Zealand certainly is a small place.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Baby quilts gifted

I was wondering what to do with my recently completed 1930s cot quilt.  Although I enjoyed stitching it, it was made with the idea of passing it on instead of keeping it for my two grown-up grand-daughters to finally start their own families.  They have told me quite plainly that they are not ready for babies yet, if ever, thank you Nana!

1930s cot quilt

I also completed a smaller baby quilt, made from cute little farm animal blocks, and backed in cuddly pink flannel. Just right for a floor mat to place a baby on to kick her chubby little legs in the air.

Baby quilt with farm animals

They have now been gifted to baby Hadassah, daughter of Robin's niece Sharon,  so happily both these quilts have found a new home.  Sharon would love to have a baby quilt, she said, so they will be going to Auckland very soon when Sharon’s mum travels up to visit the new family.

I’m happy to pass them on to Sharon and her baby

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Taking things Easy

It’s been a quiet week so far, with not too much going on.  I’m trying to send my sore throat and hacking cough out the door and far away.  Things are not too bad during the day, but once the day draws to a close, they come back with a vengeance.  Needless to say I didn’t feel up to “rolling the dice” this week, so have just been pottering around instead, with a couple of afternoon naps thrown in.

Even though I didn’t want to spend time concentrating on machine stitching, I’ve tried to do the “15 minutes a day” minimum at least.  It’s amazing what can be achieved in such a short time.  Sorting out fabrics for another project, pinning, a little tracing on the light box, and hand stitching.  I’m pleased to say that I’ve cut, stitched and pressed the binding all ready for my Animal ABC quilt.  And rolled it up nice and tidy.  Just need to get back to the machine quilting on that project.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

A Week of it

After having a fun weekend away last week, sadly I’ve been feeling a bit miserable this week.  Presumably picking up a bug which has left me with a raging sore throat, coughing and sneezing the week away, with thumping headaches too.  So I’ve been self medicating with these two, plus Strepsils for my throat and Panadol for my headaches.  My goodness, sorry to sound such a misery, and luckily after a week it’s starting to ease.  My symptoms seem to clear up during the day, but sadly that nasty cough is just waiting for me to lie down on the pillow and try and get to sleep, then it pops up to say “remember me – I’m still here”


I hosted the Sew Wot ladies on Tuesday and do hope I didn’t pass any bugs on to them to take home.  If I had, I’m so sorry, ladies.  And we had a couple of appointments we couldn’t get out of during the week, had to attend, coughing and spluttering my way through them.  It would have been nice to stay at home, but that’s not always possible.

So there was not too much happening on my ABC Animal Quilt this week.  I’ve managed to complete stitching in the ditch around all the blocks to keep the quilt stable,  so any further machine quilting will have to wait till next time.


I do think that sometimes we quilters are much too hard on ourselves when things don’t go to plan.  We may have hoped to get so much done each day or week on a project, but when that doesn’t happen, why should we beat ourselves up?  All sorts of things can conspire to keep us from our stitching, nice things such as social activities, friends and family, and not so nice such as sickness or emergencies.  Sometimes you just want to sit and relax, read a book, or potter about in the kitchen, and there is nothing wrong with that.  After all, our hobby is meant to be fun, not a nine to five job waiting for us to clock in every day.

In the interests of sharing, I seem to have passed on my sore throat to Robin.  It took a few days, but I guess he couldn’t really escape from the germs.  But I’m looking after him, and cooked up some tasty broccoli and cheese soup for lunch.  With roast lamb for dinner, so that should put me back in the good books.

It’s green, so it must be healthy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

My Turn to be Sew Wot Hostess

Yesterday it was my turn to host the fortnightly Sew Wot get-together.  After a weekend away, it was a bit of a rush, but some baking got done for morning tea, I flipped the duster here and there, and Robin whizzed around with the vacuum cleaner. Whew – just in time before the ladies started arriving.

They all look very serious

Mary was away on her trip to Australia, and she had several quilts to take over for family members.  The rest of us settled down to stitch, knit, and chat the morning away.  Just a little Show and Tell this time.

Remember  Helen’s quilt top from last month, stitched from long forgotten blocks she started making for her baby daughter about 30 years ago?  It is now machine quilted and Helen spent the morning hand stitching the binding down.  Then it will be put in her Granny Box for future babies.


Helen with her 30 year old quilt 

Carol brought along a pretty baby quilt made with feed sack reproduction fabrics.  This will be donated to a worthy cause as a donation quilt.

Carol and her cot quilt

Although not new, I was rather taken with Heather B’s selvedge bag.  I still have a bag of selvedges to deal with, so perhaps I should be starting  new project to use them up.

Heather’s selvedge bag

I had another finish too, a small baby quilt with cute little animals.  Turned out well, I think.

Baby quilt

It was lovely to meet up with the Sew Wot ladies again, catch up with all their news, and see what projects they are working on.