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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Kangaroos, Koalas and a Wombat

You know you are in Australia when you can get up close and personal to these iconic animals.  We’ve spent a busy day on board a big blue Adams Coach, doing a full day trip.  First stop was to the Caversham Wildlife Park where the tour guide took us around to check out the animals.  The morning was a bit drizzly so we were pleased we had taken our rain jackets.  Some of the kangaroos had Joey's in the pouches so we could see legs or heads sticking out as Mum hopped around. 


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Kangaroos galore

Next stop was the wombat enclosure where one of the keepers was sitting with a male wombat on his lap, and we were invited up to have our photo taken.  The wombat was perfectly content and didn’t move at all, as one after another, the bus passengers filed up for their photo opportunity.

Time with the wombat

Then it was on to the koala enclosure, where, sure enough, a young koala was waiting with the keeper. As we were allowed to gently touch these animals, we  had to use hand sanitiser as we entered each enclosure, to protect the animals.  

With a young koala

Our whizz bang tour concluded, we boarded the bus again and went on our way.  Our lunch stop was at the Lobster Shack, on the coast at Cervantes,  where we had a tour through the processing factory, then on to the dining area for lunch.  The price for our coach tour included fish and chips for lunch, with the option to upgrade to a lobster meal for an extra cost.  And why not, I thought, it isn’t often that I get an opportunity like this! Robin was happy with his fish and chips, as long as I gave him a little taste of my lobster.   The rock lobsters are fished off the coast, and we would call them crayfish back home in NZ.

Yummy lunch

Next was a visit to the amazing Pinnacles at Nambung National Park.  It seems that the experts cannot agree how these formations came to be, and there are several theories trotted out.  Whatever the real answer is, the Pinnacles were certainly amazing to see, stretching out into the desert as far as the eye could see.  We read: “Rising mysteriously from the sand dunes are thousands of limestone pillars up to 4m tall, a landscape in eerie contrast to the surrounding heath.  Some are jagged, sharp edged columns rising to a point, others resemble tombstones”. 

Just some of the Pinnacles

Our last stop was to the gorgeous snow white sand dunes at Lancelin.  We changed vehicles to a 4WD bus and were invited to have a go at sand boarding down the dunes.  Not for me, at my age, with middle aged bones I’d be worried about falling off and breaking a hip!  But some of the younger people had a go, and seemed to enjoy themselves.  It was fun enough just to stand by and watch then as they trudged up to the top of the dunes, and whizzed down on there dune boards. 

Sand duning

It was a long day, with the trip covering 500kms, but fun, and I’m sure that most of us nodded off in the coach on the return journey.  Certainly the easiest way to see these amazing sights, it was a most enjoyable day.   

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

What I’ve been doing

Its been rather busy lately, and I’ve had no time for my usual “Roll the Dice” Monday.  With our holiday fast approaching, (goodness me, it’s tomorrow), the only time I’ve spent at the sewing machine is to stitch up a few little house blocks.  All the pieces are cut, pinned,  and sitting on my cabinet, just waiting to be picked up and run through the machine.

A few more house blocks

So what else have I been doing?  Checking the fridge to make sure all the perishables have been taken care of.  I managed to plan our last few meals using up most of the veggies and fruit.  Of course, if we were going away in the caravan it wouldn’t matter, as we would take the food with us.  But we are flying over to Australia so it all had to go.  I cooked up the last of the apples and popped then in a container in the freezer, we will probably enjoy them with our breakfast cereal some time in the future.  And the head of broccoli in the fridge veggie compartment was turned into (microwave) broccoli and cheese soup, which we ate for lunch.

Broccoli and cheese soup

I’m sure our cat Gemma knew something was up with all this rushing around.  And sure enough, she was scooped up this morning, bundled into her carry cage, and driven to the local cattery.  She wasn’t very happy about that!  It probably seemed like she was being sent to prison.  After all, Gemma is a caravan cat, and usually comes with us on our holidays.  But not this time, sorry Gemma, but she does have an outside run where she is staying.  She will enjoy being out in the sunshine, and keeping an eye out for any birds flying by.


Gemma’s having a holiday too

Luckily our passports were just where they should have been, so that’s good.  We’ve been to the bank to buy a few Aussie dollars, and would you believe it, we even had a few left over from our last trip.  It’s now time to pack the bags.  I’m taking my pretty little “holiday” toilet bag with me, a gift from Sew Wot friend Heather.  This was a Christmas challenge for our Sew Wot group a couple of years ago, we all made one, and got one back, and I love mine!  It’s so much prettier than the one I use in the caravan, it really deserves to be taken on an overseas holiday, doesn’t it.

My pretty toilet bag, thanks Heather

We are only away a few weeks,  with the highlight being a trip on the Indian Pacific train from Perth to Sydney.  There will be plenty of sight seeing happening, so I’ve decided not to take any hand stitching with me.  But I’ve got two (new to me) paperbacks to read on the flights and at night, so that should keep me occupied.  Our holiday starts tomorrow morning, with our first flight up to Auckland, then over to Australia.  Toodle-pip – it should be a fun trip!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Finding new homes

Sometimes you have a quilt (or top) which just needs to leave home and move on.  Such as the star quilt top I made from HSTs.  I didn’t really like it once it was finished, neither did my daughter or grand-daughters, so what to do with it?  Blogging friend Maria of Life on the Block suggested I send the top over to Jan Mac in Australia who does such a wonderful job with her charity work.  So I did.


Jan Mac posted on her blog:  “I have such wonderful blog readers who support these quilt projects and I really appreciate all that you do to help the needy. This beautiful quilt top was donated by Jenny B. from New Zealand and it will make a treasured gift quilt for Peter Mac  so I plan on quilting it very soon.”   The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, commonly abbreviated as the Peter Mac, is an Australian oncology research institute, cancer treatment, and professional oncologist training centre located in Melbourne, Australia,  and Jan supplies many items to raise funds in the associated shop.   Pop over to Jan’s blog Sew Many Quilts – Too Little Time to see just how much this very busy and generous lady does to help those less fortunate.

Quilt top now in Australia, soon to have a new home

I also had a quilt with a music theme looking for a new home.  Originally made for my son’s 40th birthday, he told me he didn’t want it and wouldn’t ever use it.  Rather than have it end up in the rubbish, it came back to me.  The colours, black with orange and yellow,  weren’t really us, so once again, what to do with it?  Caravanning friend Barry is a musician so I offered the quilt to him and Diane at a recent caravan club weekend.  And yes, they were happy to give it a new home.


Music Star quilt now rehomed

I’m so pleased there have been good results for both items, now I can relax.  And maybe get on with stitching another  quilt or two, as we quilters like to do!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Secret Sewing Finished

My secret sewing project is now finished and given away.  You may remember seeing it like this when I was hand stitching the binding down.  This quilt was being made for my friend Eileen’s older grand-daughter.  I had previously made a piggy quilt for her younger sister.

Binding time

I had a pile of bright blue and pink floral squares, so I made a whole lot of pin wheel blocks, adding fabrics from my stash, pale pink, blue, cream.  The pinwheel blocks were then sashed in white and I bordered the quilt in bright peacock blue.


And here is the quilt, hanging outside, blowing in the breeze.

The quilt was commercially quilted using a butterfly and flower pantograph, nice and girly.  Being a large king single quilt, it was too big for me to quilt at home.  I do hope she likes her new quilt.

Butterflies and flowers

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Pink Ladies and the Thimblelinas

Yesterday I met up with my Pink Ladies group for a lunch out at a local cafĂ©.  Pink Ladies is a support group for those experiencing or have had breast cancer and is aligned to the Breast Cancer Foundation of New Zealand

The Thimblelinas were invited too.  This group of local ladies have been busy making lap quilts for  ladies diagnosed with breast cancer in the community.  There were plenty of quilts looking for homes so our members were invited to put their name down on a quilt they would like, if they hadn’t already received one.

A lovely selection of quilts

And here are the quiltmakers.  Some of them I knew – Carol is a member of our Sew Wot group, and several others are members of Town and Country Quilt Club.  This is a very busy group.  They also make quilts for Ronald McDonald House and Prem babies in hospital.  Knitting too keeps them busy and they knit items to send to several charities.

Thimblelina Group

The ladies got up and spoke about the group, where they get their supplies from, and showed one of their quilts.  Carol was the co-founder together with Pam, a former Sew Wot lady who has sadly passed away.  Janneka houses all the supplies and spoke how they often get donations when quilters pass away – usually the family are not interested in all those bits of fabric.

Carol and Janneka

Two more lovely quilts proudly displayed

Our co-ordinator Margaret then thanked the Thimblelinas for all their lovely work on our behalf and made them a presentation.  We really appreciate their kindness and it was lovely to see some of our Pink Ladies clutching the quilt of their choice, ready to take home. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Sew Wot Tuesday

It was my turn to be hostess to the Sew Wot Ladies today, so it was nice to welcome the ladies to our home.  Heather arrived with some lemons for us to share, and some pretty jonquils for me from her garden.  Heather was also the “Birthday Girl” with an upcoming special day and she was delighted to receive a few birthday gifts.

Happy Birthday Heather

There were several items of Show and Tell to admire,  Moira had made a pretty little baby donation quilt to show.  This was made with a design which Mary showed us a while ago, very striking, and used up bits and pieces from earlier projects.

Moira’s baby quilt for donation

Mary had recently finished a pretty little quilt with a family of mice getting up to all sorts of stitching adventures.  Just gorgeous, this will be tucked away in the Granny Box till a new family member makes an appearance.

Mary’s stitching mice quilt

I had finished stitching the miles of binding down on the Horse Quilt for grand-daughter Megan, so that got a showing as well.  As you can see, there is not much room in our little home to show off a large quilt!

Horse quilt number 2 for grand daughter Megan

In between all this activity there was a little bit of knitting going on.  Heather was making socks for her hubby, and I had my knitting out too.  And Mary, Moira and Carol were busy doing stitcheries.  Carol was working on  a set of Sun Bonnet Sue Days of the Week, this is going to be gorgeous when completed.  This one was Monday is Washing Day, I can relate to that!

Carol’s Sun Bonnet Sue block

Mary had our Christmas Challenge ready to hand out to us all.  We were each given a name, and have to make that person an “Upcycled Pin Cushion”.  To be made from anything 2nd hand, even the stuffing!  That will certainly get us thinking, wont it.

So nice to catch up with the Sew Wot ladies again, as I have missed the last couple of get-togethers due to other commitments.  And it will be a month till I get to attend another meeting, as we will be leaving on our Aussie holiday next week.  

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Two at a Time

I’m pleased that I can show not one finish but two this week.  First, was the horse panel quilt which I’ve been working on.  This is what it looked like last time you saw it.


I decided to add another border, to bring the quilt top up to single (twin) bed size. This will eventually be a donation quilt for an older child.  I rushed out between the showery rain to take some photos.  The next stage will be to layer it and pin it, ready for some of my simple machine quilting.

Horse panel top finished

At the same time, I was adding borders to a little boy baby quilt.  I had previously stitched the centre panel together as leader and ender sewing.   I used the same green fabric in both quilts, but different creams.

Baby boy quilt top

In my stash I had found a fat quarter of both the digger fabric and stones.   I’m sure I didn’t buy these fabrics, so maybe I won them in a raffle at the quilt club?   So to use them up I decided to make a baby quilt for a boy.  Little boys like diggers and big machines, don’t they? 

Big boys toys

So that’s been my week, sitting at the sewing machine.  Plus I’m feeling virtuous, I also did a little mending.

This weekend is going to be cold and wet, a good weekend to stay home and do some stitching.  Perhaps I’ll be able to finish hand stitching the binding on my grand-daughter’s horse quilt.  It will be great to get that finished.

Friday, August 16, 2019

I Remember that Bag

We met up with grand-daughter Emma for coffee this afternoon and she had her “work bag” as she called it, slung over her shoulder.  I remember that bag, I thought to myself, and when we returned home I checked out my book recording items I had made.  The bag was stitched for her for Christmas, way back in 2013.  The pattern was purchased in Hokitika during our epic three month South Island trip.  Emma was obsessed with horses, still is, as a matter of fact, so I made her bag from a horsey print.  I’m so pleased it is well used and well loved.

Emma’s horsey tote bag

And the conservation centred around, you've guessed it, Emma’s horses.  Certainly an all abiding passion for her.  She is quite excited to be receiving training for Dressage, both for herself and her young horse.

Jenny and Emma

We had earlier  met up with the rest of the family for lunch in Palmerston North.  With our trip to Australia fast approaching, together with daughter Nicky’s birthday it was time for a long overdue catch up with the family.  We arranged to meet Nicky for lunch at Speights Ale House in Palmerston North.  Son-in-law Robert organized his  work day to come along too, and grand-daughter Megan took some time off work and joined us a little later.

Robin and Jenny, Nicky and Robert

Nicky is looking well after her earlier health issues, and tackled her meal of lamb’s fry and bacon with gusto.  Robert and Robin both ordered “Pie of the Day” and I chose roast pork.

Pork for her and pie for him

It was great to catch up with them, and give Nicky her birthday gift, as we are starting our trip to Oz on her birthday.  After we had finished our meals, grand-daughter Megan came breezing in, bright and bubbly as usual.  As it was getting later, she made do with just a coffee.

Megan arrived later

The conversation was all about horses, this family lives, breathes, and talks about horses and competitions.  All except Nicky, who really doesn’t want anything to do with them, especially when they get into her garden.  The two girls are excellent horsewomen, and Robert was a former jockey, so has been around horses for most of his life.  We said our farewells and went our separate ways, and we drove to Feilding to meet Emma.  It was so nice to be able to see all members of this family before we head away.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Time to Roll the Dice again

It’s been a slow to start to my sewing week, with one thing and another, but now the dice has been rolled and I’m raring to go again.  This week I’ll be working on number three from my List of Six.  Which is – the Horse Panel Quilt.  You may remember that last time I worked on this, it didn’t progress much at all.  But never mind, I’ll try and do better this time around.

Horse Panel

I’ve been working of strippy borders with nine patches in the corners.  Spotted on Pinterest, this idea seemed a great idea to border a panel.


Sadly, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.  You know what they say “measure twice and cut once”.  Goodness knows how I got the measurements so wrong but I cut several strips of cream much too short.  Just as well I have plenty of this fabric to spare.

I’m also doing a “new to me” leader and ender project at the same time.  I wanted something simple and easy to use up some of the 2 1/2 inch strips I have hanging about.  So I sewed a little house, to see if it would work.  With 2 1/2 squares to make a door, flip and sew corners to create a roof, it is quick to sew, especially with a pile of pieces all cut out ready to go.  My little houses don’t need windows or chimneys, I’ve decided, they are fine as they are.  They  will sew up nicely into a child’s donation quilt in the future.  Perhaps I can find an easy pieced tree block pattern to go with them as well?

Little house blocks

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Slow Stitching with Gemma

It was time to start stitching the miles of binding down on “Horse Quilt number 2”.  Made for grand-daughter Megan, a keen horse woman like her older sister, the quilt had recently been collected from Deborah of Country Life Quilting.  So began the long job – sitting and quietly stitching away, a job which I quite enjoy.


Our young Birman cat Gemma didn’t want to be left out, so she burrowed into the folds of the quilt which was nestled on the floor.  This looks good, she was thinking, another hidey hole to relax in.  The only trouble was that as I continued stitching around the edge, I had to keep tugging it towards me and disturbing her on the floor.

Gemma made a nest in the folds of the quilt

She eventually got sick of the quilt being moved this way and that, so the next best thing was to jump up on my lap.  Hoping there wouldn’t be so much movement up here, and she could relax again in comfort.

Cuddled up together

The slow stitching isn’t finished yet, but’s that’s OK, I’ll get there sooner or later.  And I must think of what to do for a label, and a much better name for the quilt than Horse Quilt number 2.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Donation Time Again

I had another bag of items to drop off for Foster Hope,  a charity working with children in foster care.  Children were arriving at foster homes with their belongings in a plastic rubbish bag.  To change that, Foster Hope provides backpacks with pajamas, underwear, toiletries and other necessary  items  for each child moving into care and other donations are welcome, such as quilts, drawstring bags, knitted items and toys.

I had made three lined drawstring bags - the first was a girly one with pretty butterflies.  Then I had a piece of horse fabric which I used to make a bag, and the last one is for a boy and features diggers.  The bags are quite easy to make and it is good to put the smaller pieces of fabric to good use.


Three drawstring bags

Then I had made an assortment of “softies”, cute little raggy bunny toys.  Hopefully they will find homes with some little ones.

Raggy bunny toys

And lastly, I packed the neutral string quilt cot quilt  I had recently completed.  With plenty more of these string blocks in my stash, I plan to make another donation quilt or two to use them up.

Neutral string cot quilt

My plan is to keep sewing drawstring bags, plus children's quilts from time to time to donate.  Hopefully these will bring a little comfort to youngsters going into care.