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

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Working away

Remember this?

Animal ABC quilt

I’ve been working away during the last week or so my Animal ABC quilt.  When I last left it last time, the layers were pinned together and I had stitched in the ditch around each block.  So now was the time to machine quilt around each letter and corresponding animal. 

Q for Quokka, R for Rhino

I’m not  a machine quilting expert, by any means, and don't find machine quilting easy or relaxing – so don’t like to spend too long at the machine each session.   Doing it in short bursts suits my back and shoulders better, an hour at a time, then going back to it again during the day.  The middle blocks have been finished, so I’m working my way around the edges of the quilt now.  

Some cats like to sit up close to their owners to watch this quilting business.  Not Gemma – she’s always ready for another afternoon nap somewhere comfy.

Sleepy time again

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Caravan Weekend away

Although I had packed my stitching bag, there wasn’t much spare time for hand stitching over the weekend – we were away in our caravan at Sanson.  This was a combined rally joining in with members of two other clubs.  We weren’t too sure what the weather gods had in store for us.  Although the weekend started out fine and sunny, heavy rain and gale force winds were predicted for Sunday.

Gemma came too, of course.  She is very much at home in the caravan and did what cats like to do, lying down sleeping for most of the time. 

It’s tiring being on holiday!

She enjoyed some time outside (safely on her harness and lead) and played a game of hide and seek with Robin while hiding under the caravan step.  Here she is, poking her little paw out of the holes.  It’s just like she is saying “You can’t catch me!”

Hide and Seek with Gemma

Over the back fence we could see the colourful Blokarts from the Manawatu Blokart Club  as they were put through their paces.  Some of our group walked over to have a much closer look and came back declaring they would love to have a go at this sport sometime.  The carts really sped along in the wind as they tacked this way and that around the course.

Nifty little Blokarts

Being so close to Viv’s Kitchen, “world famous in Sanson” a group of us pooled cars and drove there for afternoon tea.  (I’m sure I’ve waxed lyrical about Viv’s Kitchen before).  Most chose a very large cream horn, and for a change, I tried a (new to me) Matchbox pastry, which took rather a lot of eating, I can tell you!

My Matchbox, and Robin had already started his Cream Horn.

There were several quizzes to test our brains over the weekend.  I did very well in the “Royal Brides” quiz, coming up with the most correct answers.  Such as:  who designed the wedding gowns for Diana and Princess Elizabeth, which royal bride had the longest train, and why weren’t Prince Phillip’s sisters invited to his wedding.  Luckily I had watched a couple of royal programmes on TV recently so remembered these facts.  

The expected rain arrived just in time for packing up on Sunday morning.  Luckily the gale force winds which had been promised never arrived, so we really got off lightly.  There is nothing worse than towing a caravan in heavy wind.   The rain had eased to a drizzle when we arrived home and unpacked the van, so that wasn’t so bad.  Next rally – three weeks away and we will do it all again.

I plan to spend some time seated at the sewing machine this week – watch this space. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Sew Wot Tuesday

The Sew Wot girls came calling today, it was my turn to be hostess.  With a couple of them away we still had a nice little group.  Some stitching, a lot of chatting, just the usual Sew Wot morning.

Heather E, Moira, Carol and Helen

Everyone made a fuss of Gemma, she has grown so much since the last time the ladies were here.  We had to make sure she didn’t run out the door as people were arriving, and then she spent the rest of the morning snoozing on top of her cat tower.

Gemma snoozing the morning away.

Helen had a pretty little cot quilt to show us – the only item for Show and Tell.  She was finishing stitching the binding down, and then the quilt was going to be put away in her “Grandma Box” for the arrival of a grand baby in the future.  Its such a pretty quilt,  made from a 30s Jelly Roll and backed with soft flannel.

Helen mae this pretty baby quilt

While Helen was working on the quilt binding the others were busy too.  Carol was knitting, Moira was doing her tapestry, Heather E had more hexagons on the go, and I did a little work on my stitchery.  Then I produced my Christmas gifts from pen-friend Carol in South Dakota to show, a little pouch she had made me, complete with small pin cushion to fit inside, and a pair of Fons and Porter thread snips.

Christmas gifts

So nice to catch up with everyone again, and lovely to welcome them to our home.

Monday, February 18, 2019

New Zealand Clematis Block

I’m pleased to say that I’ve just finished stitching another of my New Zealand Botanical blocks,   designed by Jenny Hunter as applique blocks.  This one is Clematis Paniculata, also known by the Maori name of Puawananga.  As the white flowers tended to merge into my background fabric, I decided to outline around them.  This is block eight of nine blocks in the series, so I feel the project is  coming long nicely.

Lately I have been enjoying the hot sunny weather and have been stitching outside.  Mornings are better under our Archgola before the sun gets too hot.  Even though the roof is made from  tinted Nova roof and the sun is filtered it can get very hot in the heat of the day.  Our weather has been hotter than usual lately, but then, the weather has been crazy all over, hasn’t it!

Some afternoons I have been  sitting in the shade at the back of our house where it is much cooler.  Gemma gets some outdoors time too and has taken to having a snooze in the middle of the rhubarb patch.  The large leaves keep her nicely shaded and she is quite happy relaxing in the garden while I do a little stitching.

Gemma in the rhubarb patch

Puawhananga flowers (Clematis paniculata).jpg
NZ Clematis

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Stitching Yellow RSC blocks

This month the colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is yellow.  This fun challenge is run by Angela of Sew Scrappy.   I didn’t have a lot of yellow in my stash at all, it’s obviously not a colour I use a lot of.  But I found enough to stitch up four Bow Tie blocks to add to my collection.  As an extra I’ve been stitching up my bonus triangles to make tiny HST blocks too, so these will be saved till the end of the challenge and I may be able to use them somewhere when the blocks are assembled.

Yellow Bow Tie blocks this month

Then I made two yellow Asterisk blocks, using up a few more selvedges.I wasn’t sure about continuing with these, but they have been growing on me and now I quite like these blocks.  Perhaps they will become something for me eventually.

Asterisk blocks

Gemma was very interested in what I was doing as I was laying the blocks on the carpet to take photos.  “What about me?”, she seemed to be saying as she lay down on top of them.  I’m pleased she takes an interest in my sewing!  Gemma is certainly feeling the heat on our hot sunny days.

Me too!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day

Gemma has entered into the Valentine’s Day spirit – I discovered her having a snooze on our bed on top of my “Hearts of Love” quilt.  This quilt was made for our 25th Wedding Anniversary, and features hearts and stars.   This is the quilt I like to use during our wedding month of November, then again in February for Valentine.

Gemma on top of Hearts of Love

We don’t go “all out” on Valentine’s Day usually, but like to mark it in a small way between the two of us.  Today was a little different, and we shared with friends, meeting up at our friend Trish’s home for a delicious morning tea in her beautiful garden.  As you can see, it was another lovely sunny day in paradise here in New Zealand.

Trish had arranged for us all to travel around the coast to Day’s Bay where we had a booking for lunch.  Whitebait was on the menu, a real delicacy in this part of the world, and I certainly considered having this.  In the end I chose prawns in a creamy sauce, and Robin’s lunch was a bacon butty, sharing a bowl of curly fries.  Everyone enjoyed their meals, with several ordering the whitebait omelet.

Enjoying our lunch

We had a great view from our table out to the beach outside.  Shall I let you into a secret?  Day’s Bay Beach was where Robin and I had our first date, way back in 1982.  We had met the previous night (Saturday evening) at a dance, and he asked to take me out the following day, on Sunday afternoon.  So our first date was sitting on the beach in the hot sun eating an ice-cream.  I couldn’t eat mine fast enough, and I remember it dripping down my arm – not very romantic at all.  Luckily me getting in such a mess didn’t chase him away, and we married the following year.

Days Bay, our first date was here all those years ago

Happy Valentine’s Day, and I do hope you shared it with someone you are close to.  And maybe a little chocolate too, that always makes the day seem special.   

Monday, February 11, 2019

Another step Closer

I’m another step closer to the completion of Horse Quilt No2.  Yards and yards (or should that be metres?) of bright blue binding strips have been cut, stitched, pressed in half and wound onto a cardboard roll.

Plenty of binding prepared

The backing is finally completed too.  I don’t know what happened to my calculations but I had quite a few black and grey blocks left over.  At one stage I thought I had carefully worked out just how many I needed but I obviously made an error.  Never mind, surplus to requirements they may be, but they go very well on the back.  These blocks were edged with a strip of the blue fabric I had been using as sashing.  Then I used up all of my plain black fabric to surround the centre – still not wide enough.  Luckily I had some dark grey to add to the sides to bring it up to the correct size.

Backing for the horse quilt

As this is a big queen size quilt I will be taking it to get commercially quilted sometime – it’s much too big for me to handle.  I’ve done all I can at the moment with this project, so it is finally off my list.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

First Meeting of the Sew Wots

It’s been simply ages, but finally we have had the first get-together of the Sew Wots for 2019.  We met at Heather's  who lives out in the country and up a hill.  I often miss the turn off on the busy road and once again drove right past it.  Never mind, I turned around further up the road, back tracked a little, then drove up the narrow dusty road, getting higher and higher, it seemed.  It was lovely to meet up with everyone again, and catch up with news.

As to be expected after a long break, there was some interesting Show and Tell.  I had taken along my Horse Quilt top as well as the Kitchen Bunny I had won over the weekend.  Our hostess Heather started the ball rolling and showed us her latest quilt Pole Dance, her own design.

Heather and Helen holding Pole Dance

She had also completed a Victorian Workbox.  This was one of our lovely member Rae’s projects, sadly Rae passed away a while ago and several of her projects were passed around our group.  Rae had already started the box, and machine embroidered the many panels.  Heather was so pleased she could finish it, and now has it in memory of our friend Rae.

Victorian Workbox, completed by Heather, in memory of Rae

Mary showed us a lovely bag, with big bold flowers appliqued on the front.  Helen had completed an Apple Core quilt, beautiful glowing colours, and I know she has done this interesting design before.

Helen’s Apple Core quilt

Meanwhile Carol had been doing a little knitting.  She is knitting tiny vests for the Neo Natal Ward in Wanganui Hospital and had finished this little darling.

Carol’s neonatal singlet

Moira has been extra busy, and moved house just a few weeks ago.  We all know how busy that can be, so many things to do, sorting and packing, disposing of unwanted items, and trying to tie up so many loose ends.  Heather had arranged a little gift from us all, which was duly presented after our morning tea.

A moving house gift for Moira

It was a lovely morning and as usual, a scrumptious morning tea.  Great to see everyone again, and many thanks to Heather for being our hostess.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Weekend in Masterton

The temperatures were still hot when we packed the caravan and headed over to Masterton for a four day weekend.  It’s so nice when we can sit outside in the evenings enjoying the cooler evening air.

Gemma always enjoys her caravan trips as well, there is plenty to explore outside.  She loves  being outside investigating fluttering leaves, and sharpening her claws on the tree close by. She was rather perturbed when a large magpie landed on the ground not too far away, and carefully peered around the tree to make sure it didn’t get too close.

I was after some Perle No5 thread and found a wonderful local shop, The Embroidery Shop.  Packed to the brim with threads, knitting wool and notions, it certainly was a delight.  Yes, I found just what I was after several skeins of burgundy thread, and picked a few extra colours that I’m sure to be wanting sooner or later.

I’ve done a little stitching and finished up two reindeer blocks.  Looks like I have another Christmas project on the go, wouldn’t you say.

There were a few games n the hall on Saturday night, and Robin and I came first in the General Knowledge quiz.  We received chocolates (yummy) plus this cute little Kitchen Bunny as a prize.  The attached label stated “I am a Kitchen Bunny, I’m here to help you out.  Just untie my ribbons and I become two dish-clothes and a towel”.

We had a lovely four days away catching up once again with our caravan friends.  The camp was delightful and the weather was hot and windy.