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

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Sew Wot Tuesday at Fox’s Cottage

It was a Sew Wot morning with a difference today as we met in the classroom at the lovely quilt shop, Fox’s Cottage.  Situated on the corner of Purcell St and SH1 at Foxton it is a bright and busy shop indeed.  Owners Robyn and Luchelle always make their customers feel very welcome.

Fox’s Cottage at Foxton

With so many goodies to check out in the shop, not much stitching got done.  Several of us brought knitting along, including me, for a change.  I’m trying hard to complete my cozy woolen cardigan before another winter rolls by.  You really don’t want to know just how long this project has been hanging about!  Helen was the hostess today (she had arranged for us to meet in the shop) and brought along morning tea for us all.  We were joined by several other ladies who were also there for the morning.

Morning Tea provided by Helen

We gathered together in the class room

There was a small amount of Show and Tell.  Mary had brought along two pink and red bed runners she had made from large house blocks.  You can see some of the shop class samples peeping out on the wall behind her.


And she had a wonderful range of candle-wick pieces to show us.  These came to Mary via her sister in Aussie who found them in an Op Shop.  We presumed that these lovely blocks were given to the Op Shop by relatives  when the stitcher passed away.  They are all beautifully stitched and Mary chose a cream and blue floral print while at the shop to use when putting the blocks together. 

Just one of several dozen stitcheries

Helen had a quilt to show as well, made by Sew Wot member Rae who passed away a while ago.  This was given to Helen, who made a great job of finishing it.

Helen’s quilt, started by Rae

Most of us took time to look around the extensive shop, stocked with so many delights I didn’t know where to look first.  Just look at all that luscious wool – but I really must get my rather long winded project completed before I start something new.


Just a small corner of the fabric selection

We enjoyed another lovely morning together, many thanks to Helen for arranging this for us.

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Secret Life of of Cats

Our cat Gemma gets up to all sorts of mischief at night.  Mind you, she does this very quietly and we don't hear a thing.  Come morning however, we see what she has been getting up to while we have been sleeping.  Not content with dropping her little mouse toys into her water bowl, as reported last week, she has been inflicting the same punishment on her toy snake.

Toy snake in the water bowl

Gemma often takes a swipe at the small wall hangings too.  She knows there is dingly-dangly cord hanging behind each one and this is what she is really after.  The other morning we came out to the sitting room to find these two hanging at crazy angles.

Attacked by the cat in the dead of night

This is how they should be hanging

The picture of innocence

It’s Roll the Dice Monday again today, so I was keen to see which number on my list I would be working on this week.  Number four – my selvedge bag.  This is an old project I had forgotten about and I found the little selvedge blocks tucked away in a magazine.  I obviously wanted to use up some small selvedge lengths when I stitched these blocks.

Project number four, selvedge bag

I’d better get going and make a start on this.  Once again, it is another busy week (aren’t they all) with several social occasions, a medical appointment, and then we are off and away in the caravan on Thursday for the long Queen’s Birthday Weekend. Monday is a public holiday, but we decided we would go early and have Friday away too.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Stitching Day

It’s always the big question when I am going out for a day of stitching – just how many projects to pack?.  One or two maybe?  No I decided on three hand projects.  I could have taken my sewing machine if I wanted, but quite honestly, its rather a hassle to unhook it from my sewing cabinet, and quite heavy to load it in the car,and lug it into the hall.  So I usually take the easy way out and do hand stitching on these monthly quilt club get-togethers.

There were several Town and Country quilt club members already there when I arrived, with more arriving a little later. I settled down at a table, unpacked bag number one, and started carrying on with hand quilting on my New Zealand Botanical quilt.   Robin reminded me that I had stated quite emphatically a while ago that I would never hand quilt a quilt again.  (Although I can cope with small items, such as cushions.)  But since I spent so much time doing the stitchery blocks over the last eighteen months, I thought I would like to hand quilt it.  I’m doing Big Stitch quilting, and using a Sue Spargo thread, Perle No 8 in a pretty variegated pale green.
Hand quilting

After lunch I felt like a change of pace, so packed away the hand quilting and opened up bag number two, to work on a new stitchery block.  Not a great deal to show so far – just some stems and the beginning of green leaves on this Autumn block.

Autumn stitchery

There were all sorts of projects being worked on around the hall.  Sewing machines were humming along, hand stitching was being done, applique flowers were being traced and cut out, and fabric squares were being cut.   Marjorie was stitching the rows together on her very graphic black and white with a touch of red rail fence blocks.

Marjorie’s quilt

I loved Jackie’s bright and colourful Laura Birch quilt, she was busy hand quilting this beauty and it will be going to a grand child.  I’m sure I have a Laura Birch panel tucked away somewhere, wonder where it is?

Jackie was hand quilting too

I packed up and headed for home at 3.30pm, so bag number three didn’t even get opened.  But never mind, I had a lovely day doing some slow stitching on two projects, and catching up with other club members.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Rolling the Dice and Two Drowned Mice

Monday is roll the dice day (if we are home and not galivanting away in the caravan), and it brought up number one again, the same as last week.  Not that I’m complaining at all, I’m more than happy to keep working on my New Zealand Botanical blocks.  It seemed a shame to pack this project away last week, as I was not too far from completing the quilt top.

Number one again this week

So some cutting, pinning and stitching took place over the last couple of days and I now have borders on my top.  I decided on a dark green leaf fabric for the inner border.  Then the outer border used some pretty fabric printed with New Zealand flowers, which had been tucked away for quite some time.  It seemed just the thing to use on this project.

Completed top

While I was cutting and stitching, I also prepared the binding, so it’s always good to get that job out of the way. The backing is pieced too, I wonder why it seems that the fabric I have is never quite wide enough?  My next job will be to layer and pin the quilt sandwich. 

Binding is prepared

We are never quite sure what our Birman cat Gemma gets up to at night, as she doesn’t often come and sleep on the bed with us.  Although strangely enough, she always does sleep on our caravan bed when we are away.  Quite often when we get up in the morning we find her little toys in strange places.  Lately her two little mouse toys have been sopping wet, so we presume that she drops them in her water bowl, for whatever reason.  Poor little mousies!

Two very wet mouse toys

Monday, May 20, 2019

Camping and Embroidered Curtains

We spent last weekend at a caravan rally in Carterton, a 150km trip from home.  Passing through the town of  Featherston I noticed a new art installation.  The $600,000 Paul Dibble sculpture, designed to remember New Zealand's largest ever military camp, was dedicated late last year and is now on display in the town's centre.  Paul Dibble said the concept represents the WW1 soldiers'  marching from the camp through Featherston and up and over the Rimutaka Ranges  through the Hutt Valley and into Wellington.  Here they boarded the troop ships which took them off to war.  This is a wonderfully evocative sculpture, showing all those young men proudly marching off to answer the call, with so many of them not returning.

Sculpture in Featherston

Our weekend rally was held in Carterton School grounds and one by one the vans arrived and found a place to park.  Friday night was freezing!  You can’t say we weren’t warned!  The local campers told us that the overnight temperatures for Friday night would drop to minus 1 degrees – and it did!  Brr, it was certainly cold!  But a cold chilly night is generally followed by a nice sunny day.  Thank goodness for fluffy winter sheets on the bed and bed socks to keep me cozy!

Staying at Carterton School

Over the weekend the activities took place in the school hall, with plenty of room inside for us all.  I was intrigued with the embroidered curtains covering the windows.  Sadly, I couldn’t find any information in the hall about these curtains, when they were done, or who designed them.  They appear to be a snapshot of earlier pupils.

Embroidered curtains in the school hall

We all ate together in the hall on Saturday night, cooking and eating our own main courses.  This was followed by a shared dessert, with everyone bringing their contributions.  As always, there was a great selection on the table.

Desserts to share

After the tables were cleared and the dishes done, we played several games of “Card Bingo”,  with Harry doing a great  job as Caller.  Sadly, neither Robin or I had a win, so didn’t get rich with our gambling.  But never mind, it was quite a fun game to play.  We are not card players at all, but this game doesn’t require any great skill.

My cards for Card Bingo

It was quite a busy weekend,  so very little hand stitching got done.  Always great to socialize and catch up with friends. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

NZ Botanical Blocks

The dice rolled one this week, so I’ve been working on my New Zealand Botanical blocks, designed by Jenny Hunter. I’ve stitched them over the last year and a bit, with the earlier blocks stitched while traveling around in the caravan during our South Island holiday.  My first job was to trim them to size.  This is always a bit of a worry, hoping I get the stitchery centred correctly before I start slicing away. 

Then I had to decide how to arrange them.   This one went here and that one went there while I pondered and rearranged the blocks to my liking.  Then I stitched the blocks  together with cream sashing and pale green cornerstones.

It seems that every quilt needs a cat as Gemma decided that a photo of her on the quilt would make it look so much better.

Borders need to be added but this is as far as I can go on this project this week.  No more time for sewing – I’ve an MRI booked for Thursday in Palmerston North.  These are not painful but can be quite uncomfortable and rather noisy as the staff place you “just so” in the machine and you are told not to move!  Then on Friday we are heading away in the caravan for the weekend, must pack my stitching bag to take with me. 

Wonder what the weather will be like while we are away?  The temperatures have certainly dropped lately and the night closes in  so much earlier now.  Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

“At Home” Sew Wot Tuesday

It was my turn to host the Sew Wot ladies this time, and lovely indeed to have them in our home.  Gemma was not the least bit shy, poking her nose into the various bags to see what was there.  And when Mary and Helen got the knitting needles came out, she was in seventh heaven.  Surely this was a game, just for her!  Helen put her knitting aside for a while, and gave Gemma a cuddle.

Helen with Gemma

There was just a little Show and Tell this time, from Heather.  She had finished up this doll for her daughter’s birthday.  This sort of thing used to grace m’lady’s  dressing table in the old days, to hold her hat pins.

I was rather taken with Heather’s new bag, made from a panel, and just whipped up last week, she told us.

Heather’s show and tell, dolly and bag

My show and tell was my pinwheel top made from signed blocks from our overseas trip in 1998.  Plus the little grippy pad to help open jars which was a recent gift from Felicity.

My show and tell

Gemma eventually settled down and went to have a snooze by the windows, while the knitting girls continued clacking their needles.  Mary was knitting thick woolen slippers, and Helen had finished off a beanie.  Carol was doing embroidery, and I’ve got no idea what Heather was working on!  As as for me, I didn’t even take my stitching out of the bag.  But I had tried a new recipe for morning tea, a delicious rhubarb and sour cream cake with cinnamon sugar on top – so yummy!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Another Slow Stitched Santa, and Mother’s Day

Santa is sitting in his sleigh with the sack of toys, all he needs is to get hitched up to the reindeer and he will be on his way.

Santa in his sleigh block

This is the final stitchery block of four of the Christmas table runner.  The next step will be to piece the fabrics for the centre of the runner, then add the stitcheries to each end.  I’ll add this to my List of Six projects when I write a new list. 

But never fear, I still have several hand stitching projects to work on.  Including this Christmas stitchery which I had tucked away and forgotten about.  I’m going to do a little hand quilting on this, then make it up as a Christmas cushion for the caravan.  I’m not too sure who the designer is, perhaps someone will know?

Small hand quilting project

Today is Mother’s Day here in New Zealand.  Our Sunday morning started with our usual Sunday morning treat, of bacon and eggs breakfast, Robin’s specialty.  I like tomatoes with mine, and Robin gets two eggs.  Can you see the selvedge placemat under my plate?

Sunday morning breakfast

Then I opened my Mother's Day gift from daughter Nicky.  Wonder what it is?  Oh look, chocolate!  Lindt chocolate with fruit centres, doesn’t it look yummy.  Guess I’ll be sharing these with you know who.  Hopefully I’ll hear from son Michael?  He doesn’t “do” Mothers Day but a phone call would be nice.

Gift from my daughter Nicky

And Gemma wants to say hello to all the Mothers out there.  As she is getting older (she is all of one year old now) she is starting to do things differently.  Such as lying in the front of her play tunnel, to watch the world go by.  Not so long ago, the tunnel was just the thing to run through very fast, in one end and out the other at high speed, jumping  out at us as we walked into the kitchen.  She doesn’t have her “crazy times” so much these days.  Gemma is very loving and likes to keep close to us.

Happy Mother’s Day from Gemma

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Orange RSC blocks for May

This month the colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is orange.  This fun challenge is run by Angela of Sew Scrappy.  Orange is not one of my favourite colours, and is not a colour I would ever wear.  I found several orange fabrics  tucked away, and I made my usual four Bow Tie blocks and two more Asterisk blocks.

Four orange Bow Tie blocks and tiny bonus HSTs

Two orange Asterisk blocks

I’m always amazed at the number and variety of projects that some participants do.  Next year I hope to get a little more adventurous and have already decided on a couple of blocks which I want to stitch up.

Although the colour orange is not really my cup of tea, we have used this colour in furnishings.  In our former home, a Lockwood wooden home with lovely cozy internal wooden walls, we had bright orange curtains in our sitting room.  This colour looked wonderful and so warm against the timber walls, particularly in winter with the curtains pulled tightly closed across the large picture windows, and the fire burning.

It’s not quite winter here yet, but the weather is getting cooler and I made my first big pot of soup.  Yummy pumpkin soup, flavoured with bacon, onions  and a hint of curry.  So tasty, and just right for May, definitely orange in colour!

Delicious pumpkin soup

Friday, May 10, 2019

Secret Santa Sewing

I’ve been working on UFO project number five this week, Secret Santa Sew-Along.  First I had to finish stitching up those tiny nine patch block, some were already completed and some were just pinned together.  I have to admit that I don’t really enjoy sewing such small pieces.

Christmas red nine patch blocks

These blocks then got stitched to either end of a cream rectangle.  But…….I didn’t have enough, although I was sure I had made the correct number when I worked on this project before Christmas.  Guess I just have to get cutting and stitching a few more.

Of course, you can guess what happened when I pinned these pieces onto the green blocks – I found those missing nine patches.  Bother – but I guess I can use them later on the backing.

So this is where it is up to, and looking quite good, I think

I’ll leave this project here now, I've decided, and get back to it later.  Need to start on my orange RSC blocks next, and finish stitching a gift and get it in the mail.

While I was outside taking the final photo, I spotted this little plant in matching colours  bravely flowering away.  This was a gift from my daughter Nicky for Easter 2018.  After it had finished flowering last year I put it outside.  Pot plants have to be tough to live here, I don’t do pampering, and this one is doing quite well for itself.  I’m so pleased it’s still hanging on, and I didn’t kill it with neglect.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Another Week, another UFO

It’s been “roll the dice” again on Monday, which brought up number 5.  Which is the Secret Santa Sew Along from Temecula Quilt Company which started last November.  I should have realized that I probably wouldn’t manage to get it completed in time for Christmas. 

This project started as a “Quilt in a Jar”, from Sew Wot friend Helen.  One Christmas it was decided that we would each pack a jam jar full of quilting goodies, wrap it up, and these were distributed at our Christmas Lunch in December.  My jar came from Helen and she had packed it full of 5 inch squares of Christmas fabric.  Just right to make a start on the Secret Santa Sew Along, I decided.

Christmas gift from Helen

I did manage to make a reasonable start late last year, and stitched up the first couple of clues to make twelve green blocks.

Next I cut lots of narrow strips and started making tiny nine patch blocks in Christmas reds.

This is where Secret Santa got packed away.  Christmas was coming fast, we were going off in the caravan, no time to finish this project – excuses, excuses I know.  Until I placed it on my List of Six UFOs recently and it is finally seeing the light of day this week. 

So that’s my challenge – to get as much of Secret Santa assembled by the end of the week.  It doesn’t have to be finished, after all, how much can I do over a few afternoons at the sewing machine.  Every bit helps, and it will be good to be moved on to a different stage.