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

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Sew Wot Tuesday

It’s good to be back in the swing of Sew Wot (fortnightly) Tuesdays again, after missing the last one while we tripped here and there in the caravan.  Today Heather was our hostess, in her rural hillside property.  Two of the household’s three cats deigned to put in an appearance – sometimes they just can’t be bothered with visitors.

Heather with her beautiful girl, gorgeous markings

The old boy Walther stretching out

There was some show and tell to admire, and a story behind this quilt.  Mary’s sister found these panels in an Op Shop over in Australia, and passed it on to Mary.  She made short work of assembling it, adding extra blocks, and quilting it, all in the space of a couple of weeks.  The quilt will be gifted to one of Mary’s grand daughters.

Pretty quilt made from panels

Moira had a pretty cushion to show.  Made with a pretty stitchery edged with cotton lace, it is lovely indeed.

Moira’s new cushion

There had been a bit of knitting happening too.  Carol knits little vests to go overseas to a charity, and this one is so cute made in such pretty colours.  And Heather had been busy knitting too.

Carols baby vest

 Heather had finished four knitting projects – hasn’t she been busy!

As well as a delightful morning tea, we all came away with some goodies.  Heather had been clearing out some of her sewing room “stuff” and there were patterns and other bits and pieces looking for a new home.  She also donated bags of feijoas for those of us who wanted them.  Mary had home grown goodies to give away as well, apples and peppers from her garden.  Thank you, much appreciated. 

I did a little stitching on my second Santa block, he’s coming along nicely.  It’s always great to spend an inspiring morning with the Sew Wot ladies, and it doesn’t really matter if more talking than stitching happens!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Rolling the Dice again

It’s been a long time while we have been away on our trip, but now we are safely home again it’s finally time to roll the dice again.  And the number is ……..6, memory blocks from our trip to England in 2008.  Goodness me, that is 11 years ago!  Here they are, put away neatly in one of my new project bags.

Prior to our trip, way back then, I spent many a night after work cutting and stitching HSTs to take away.  The idea was that I would get them signed as we traveled around, as a memory of all the wonderful places we visited. 

I know I had signatures and messages from Buckingham Palace, Tintern Abbey, Thames Clipper, V & A Museum, Sally Lunn Café, from accommodation and from the aircraft and trains we traveled on as well.  Lots of wonderful memories contained in these blocks.

These will be assembled as pinwheel blocks, I’ve decided.  Instead of another memory quilt I will make this into a quilt backing.  Guess I’d better get pin wheeling!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Safely Home

After 3 weeks, and 1515kms, we have made it safely home.  It’s always a relief that there was no trouble with the car, the caravan, or other drivers!  Our last couple of days saw us leaving Taupo and stopping at Waiouru for lunch.  The National Army Museum is a great place to stop with plenty of room in the large carpark for caravans and campers.  With a café and toilets available, as well as the marvelous museum, we often stop here for a break, and occasionally stay overnight.  

A sign on the door as we entered stated “Due to recent events in Christchurch the Museum Security will be conducting bag searches”.  A big burly guard did just that, it is certainly better to be safe.  After lunch I took a wander around the grounds.  The tanks out on the front grounds are a magnet for kids to clamber all over them.

Tanks outside the National Army Museum

Mt Ruapehu was looking great as we drove along

Our last stop on this trip was at Taihape - a lovely property had a previous life as a Catholic School and now welcome self contained campers.  We camped in the playing field, surrounded by lots of lovely large trees, and enjoyed sitting outside in the late afternoon sunshine.  It was rather chilly overnight with the temperature dropping quite low.

Staying at Taihape overnight

After a leisurely breakfast it didn’t take too long to hook up and make our way to the local dump station.  Then on the road again for the last part of the journey arriving home in time for a late lunch.  The caravan was unpacked, the fridge got a good clean, and a load of laundry was soon in the machine.  As the temperatures are dropping I found it rather chilly in bed with summer cotton sheets while we were away.  That has now been rectified – we now have nice cozy winter sheets on the bed, and my winter caravan quilt.  That should keep me warmer on our next trip.

Ready for our next trip away.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Road Trip Continues

After wondering if the Easter Bunny would find us while we were away from home and ensconced in Mt Maunganui, there she was with a basket of chocolate eggs.  We enjoyed a pancake breakfast on Easter Sunday, cooked by fellow campers over BBQs.  Pancakes, bacon, banana, drizzled with maple syrup, it was delicious indeed.

Easter Bunny at Mt Maunganui

We won a raffle prize too

The local Dog Agility Club brought their clever canines along to entertain us is the afternoon.  We all took our folding chairs up to the end of the playing field to sit in the sunshine and see what the dogs could do.  My goodness, those dogs are fast, and not easy to photograph as they are put through their paces.  Except for a trio of toy poodles, who daintily went up and over the jumps, through the tunnels and weaving poles – they did things very well but wouldn’t have won points on the time trials.  The border collies in particular put their heart and soul into the exhibition.

I wandered up to the other end of the park and got some snaps of the dogs who were waiting their turn.  They were all such well trained dogs.

After the exhibition was over, the owners brought their dogs along for a meet and greet with the campers.  I got to cuddle one of those pretty little poodles.  Wonder what Gemma thought when I returned to the van smelling a bit doggy?

Looks like she wasn’t even interested.  Once again she was getting up close and close and personal to my laptop.  Snoozing on top of it on the bed. 

We are starting to head home now,just taking our time and stopping here and there.   Hora Hora Domain, looking out over Lake Karapiro, was a pretty stop for lunch.  This is a very popular freedom camping area, although we didn’t stay overnight, but moved on to our next destination.

R&R at Lake Karapiro

We overnighted in Hamilton was to get a leak checked in the caravan.  Luckily we could stay at the Leisureline factory overnight, so the servicemen can take charge of our van at 7.00am the next morning. So we took ourselves off for breakfast.  This was certainly  delicious and beautifully presented too.  Salmon and avocado for her, and pancakes for him, followed by a delicious coffee.  Sure beats our usual cereal and toast!

Yummy breakfasts

The caravan was ready for collection  mid morning so we hooked up and went on our, stopping off at Taupo Airport NZMCA Park for the next two nights.  This is always a busy place to stay, vans arrive and depart,  helicopters come and go, planes arrive and take off at the adjacent airport, and sky divers jump out of planes to land nearby.   And then I needed another laundry trip.  This laundry was much more modern than the previous one I visited, with plenty of large washers and driers.

Laundry time again

It had been a while since we had witnessed the Aratiatia Rapids at Taupo – in fact, Robin and I visited here all those years ago on our honeymoon.  Several times each day, spill gates from a dam are opened at the top of the rapids and the narrow gorge fills with water surging past at up to 90,000 litres per second.  At Aratiatia the Waikato River falls naturally through 28 metres in the space of one kilometre. This natural drop has been harnessed for environmentally-sustainable hydroelectric power - headwaters are diverted through a tunnel to the power station.  We stood on the bridge by the power station, the siren sounded several times and the water flow increased dramatically.

Normal flow

With the spill gates opened

Once the spill gates were closed, and the water slowly dropped to normal, we heard voices from the main look out site, and witnessed a canoeist into the water!    And here he comes.

He paddled down under our bridge, climbed out of the river and up the bank, pulling his boat behind him, then settled down to await his friends to collect him.  Oh dear, highly illegal and so dangerous.

Just a couple more days on our road trip, and then we will be back home.  I wonder if my sewing machine is tired of sitting idle?

Monday, April 22, 2019

Santa goes to Mt Maunganui

I finished stitching my Santa block in Mt Maunganui.  Here he is with his sack of toys, going off to gather us the reindeer and climb in his sleigh.

Hello Santa

We are up in Mt Maunganui over Easter attending a caravan rally, one of 50 vans and campers.  I discovered one of our neighbour’s  had a lovely quilt on her caravan bed and she kindly allowed me to take a photo to share.  Margaret loves dogs so was delighted to come across this quilt in a quilt shop, fell in love with it and just had to buy it.

Margaret’s dog quilt

We were gathered at Mt Maunganui College for the 25th CCNZ National Rally.  A double celebration as it turns out – with the National Rallies held every two years, we are also celebrating 50 years of the Association.  With the rally weekend declared open, and the cake cut, it was time for the various clubs attending to get their photo shoot done.  After a bit of arranging, we were finally in place, resplendent in our club colour of orange hats and tops, and handed our cameras over to a helpful lady of photographer duties.

25th National Rally

Our little Gemma’s birthday was on Thursday 18th April – hard to believe she is now one year old.  She is a real hit with the campers as they spot her outside on her lead.  Several of the campers told us she was the prettiest cat they had ever seen!  We know that, of course.

Happy Birthday to Gemma

Bill and Val invited us to join them for lunch at Bobby’s on Fisherman’s Wharf for fish and chips – highly recommended.  Our meals were delicious, and we devoured our fish, chips and mussel fritters as we sat in the sunshine on the wharf.  There was hardly a breath of wind and we looked out at the boats, occasional water skier and plenty of seagulls.

Lunch on the waterfront

The organizing committee have planned quite  weekend for us.   So far the weather has been marvelous here, so we are hoping that it remains so over Easter.  And could you tell the Easter Bunny we have gone camping so he will know where to find us?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

My Blogging Helper

Gemma is doing her bit to help me while I’m blogging.  As I’m tapping away on the keyboard she is keeping the lap top bag warm and secure as she stretches out on her back.   Basking in the sunshine is something that cats certainly enjoy.

A perfectly content kitty

Our road trip continues, and we took a trip to Kairakau Beach, a rather rugged coastline with plenty of good fishing we were told.

Kairakau Beach

Then stopped off at the local pub for lunch.  Fish Chowder was on the menu so that was what I chose.  So tasty, and served with garlic toast, yummy!

My lunch at the Patongata Pub

A visit to the historic Napier Prison had been on our wish list for some time.  This was the first prison to be built in New Zealand, opened in 1906  and held approximately 50 prisoners.   The historic prison is located on Napier’s Bluff Hill, close to the old quarry where the inmates used to work their hard days’ labour to build the walls that would keep them imprisoned.  Conditions were tough in the early days, and convicted murders paid the ultimate price for their deeds.  It is believed that there was a Circuit Judge who travelled around the country delivering the hanging judgement to convicted criminals.  He was accompanied by a horse and cart, several workmen and court officials, and the materials to built a kit set gallows at each destination.

Napier Prison

On a lighter note, we heard of prisoners making a break to freedom.  In order to aid escape one prisoner left his boots as a decoy in front of the toilet, and escaped down the drain.  This scheme was attempted later by a particularly fat prisoner who got stuck in the drain for three days.  He had to be rescued by the fire department using copious quantities of detergent to get him out.

Traveling on to Taupo, we stopped at the Lookout over the lake at this glorious view.  Looking across Lake Taupo at the mountains in the distance.

Lake Taupo and the mountains

Next stop was Rotorua, and I couldn't put it off any longer, it was time to find a laundromat.  It was another lovely sunny Autumn day and the laundry soon dried on the clotheslines in camp.

Happiness is clean laundry

Rotorua is a very active thermal area.  After doing a little shopping, we stopped off at Kuirau Park and joined the many tourists walking around admiring the hissing, steaming, bubbling vents.  Back in 2001 there was a hydrothermal eruption in Kuirau Park with mud and rocks the size of rugby balls flying in all directions. The rocks snapped branches off nearby trees like they were mere twigs and the nearby road and cars were covered in mud. Keep to the paths, the signs say.

Hard to see, but there is a boiling pool of water under this steam

I’ve only done a tiny bit more stitching, not enough to show really, so no photos just yet.  We will be moving on tomorrow to stay at Mt Maunganui over Easter, so I do hope the Easter Bunny comes calling.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Stitching and Traveling

Just a little stitching to show so far.  I’ve enjoyed several hours stitching away outside under the caravan awning.  Autumn weather here usually means quite warm settled days, so we are making the most of it.  Mind you, the nights are quite chilly now in the caravan.  Time to put my fluffy bed socks on!

Stitching Santa

Our three week road trip started with a weekend caravan rally on a farm in the hills of Otaki.  We had a real treat on Saturday night before our evening entertainment arrived – toasted marshmallows!  And not just any marshmallows, “Flamin Mallows” especially made for BBQs and extra long.  Dennis had made long toasting forks for us all, and we gathered around the fiery brazier toasting our marshmallows.  We were entertained by a musician in the evening - he played my all time favourite song, Ten Guitars, and we all sang along.  In fact, the group was in fine voice all evening, singing along to all those songs from years gone by. 

Toasting Marshmallows

Next was a trip over Gentle Annie, one of those roads not often travelled, from Taihape to Napier.  140kms of steep, winding road, up and over several mountain ranges with the scenery changing from steep grassy slopes, pine plantations, and National Parks.  Finally we arrived at our stop for the night, free parking at  the Springvale Suspension Bridge.  When the rain eased, we went for a walk to check out the bridge.   Opened in 1925, it was an economic necessity to open up more remote land for farming.  After 45 years the suspension bridge was considered unsafe for heavy traffic.  In 1970 the road was realigned and a new bridge was built alongside the old one.  Saved from demolition by Tony Batley, the bridge is now owned and managed by Heritage New Zealand.

Staying at Springvale Suspension Bridge

The next morning we set off along Gentle Annie to complete our journey, up and over even more hills.  What’s this on the road?  You know you are in the country when you encounter stock on the road, a  fine lot of black steers being moved along the road.  There was nothing to do but stop and let them walk around us.

We are now in Napier and have had a busy few days.  Took a trip along to nearby Silky Oak Chocolates to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate for afternoon tea – so decadent and delicious!  And buy a little chocolate too, of course. 

Yummy Hot Chocolate

We drove over to Hasting to see my sister Kathleen and her hubby, and catch up with all their news.  Sadly, both of them to not keep good health, but take one day at a time.  So it is very important to see them when we can.

Two sisters: Jenny and Kathleen

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Aqua for April

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour for April has just been announced, and it is aqua.  This caused a bit of mild panic to set in.  Why?  We are heading off on Friday for a three week road trip, not returning till the end of the month,  so many things to do.  Perhaps I wouldn’t get my RSC sewing done this month?  Don’t be silly, I told myself, you can sew them today.  So I did, and that’s one thing I don’t need to worry about.

I don't have a lot of aqua, so I had to raid the batik fabrics which I had put aside for another project.  I knew there was a bit of aqua hiding in the crate, so pulled them out and luckily found some which will work just fine. The four little Bow Tie blocks are very quick to make, and my little collection of small bonus HSTs is growing nicely.

Bow Tie blocks

Surprisingly, the Asterisk selvedge blocks take longer to stitch. It’s just straight sewing, but you know me, I like to pin, stitch and press so it always seems to take a while.  It’s always interesting reading the selvedges too, some are from my own fabrics while others were given to me ages ago.

Asterisk blocks

There was some emergency sewing to do as well, Gemma's poor little pink mousey had a hole in his tummy and the stuffing was coming out.  It was rushed straight into A & E for medical help.

Several stitches later and mousey was as good as new, till next time.  Gemma loves this little toy, carries it around in her mouth, and bats it around the floor and chases after it.  She is such fun to watch when she is playing.

Playing with pink mousey again