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

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Bow Ties, all colours of the Rainbow

I’ve been busy behind the scenes, working hard to finish my second Rainbow Scrap Challenge project, Bow Ties.  This is a cot sized quilt and will be donated in due course.  Each month I dutifully stitched four Bow Tie blocks in the colour suggested by Angela of Sew Scrappy.  With all the blocks stitched into a top, I took it outside to use the large picnic table to pin all the layers together.

Pinning it all together

Gemma kept the quilt under control in between my machine quilting sessions.  It was all folded up neatly so she didn’t get caught up in the pins.

Gemma thinks she is helping

Binding came next, and I used up some cut strips to make some scrappy red binding.  And I used flannel on the back to make it nice and cuddly.

Binding time


All finished

Must admit that I enjoyed making these blocks.  Maybe someday I will make myself a bed quilt,  perhaps not in rainbow colours.  I rather like the look of these blocks arranged in circles – perhaps I’ll add this design to my futures Bucket List. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Sew Wots Christmas Lunch

It was time to meet up for our Sew Wots Christmas Lunch, enjoy a meal together and swap our hand made pincushions.  Unfortunately, I would be a little late as I had a hospital appointment to attend, and you certainly can’t turn those down, can you.  I must tell you about the unexpected compliment I received as I entered the Medical Centre.  There was an elderly gent sitting outside, waiting for a ride perhaps.  As I walked towards the door he called  – “Don’t you look lovely dressed in blue”, he said.  Oh, so sweet, his comment really made my day!

With my appointment over, I drove to the café for lunch, not too far away, luckily. The others had already eaten, as I had told them not to wait for me, as I wasn’t sure how long I would be.  My lunch order was Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, and we chatted as I ate my late lunch.

Jenny, Helen, Mary, Moira, Heather and Carol

All the gifts were place in a basket at the end of the table.  The instructions were to make our pincushion out of recycled items, so that was a bit of a challenge.  We had already drawn a name out so we knew who we were making the pincushion for.

Basket full of gifts

And here they all are, quite different and all lovely.  Helen made my pincushion from a pocket from her old jeans, and Mary made Moira a very elegant velvet chair pincushion.  Heather stitched Carol two pincushions, a sweet little chicken sitting on a crazy patch cushion, and I made Heather a tiny little owl, remembering that she really doesn’t like pins stuck into pincushions in the shape of animals.  Moira’s gift to Helen was a pincushion on top of a cute little watering can, and Carol’s pincushion for Mary was made from a recycled black bra!

Such a variety of pincushions

Heather had been busy in the evenings, she told us, and presented us each with a cute little elf.  The story was that she kept making them until she had used up her ball of green wool, and made about a dozen.  And here’s a close up photo of my very special pincushion.  Helen tucked a note inside, writing that the stuffing came from an old cushion, the tape was a birthday present, the tiny doily was made by Helen’s Mum some years ago, the embellishments came from her collection, and the two old buttons were from her button jar.  And tucked inside were a packet of needles, tape measure and pins from an Op Shop.  Truly all recycled, thanks so much Helen, I love it !

Hello, little elf, and my Jeans Pocket pincushion

That’s the end of our Sew Wot get togethers for 2019, it’s been a great year sharing stitching time with this group of lovely ladies.  And we will all be raring to go again in February, after we have all enjoyed a Christmas break.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Slow Stitching on holiday

A little slow stitching is always an enjoyable thing to do while on a caravan holiday.  The weather was hot, hot, hot, so it was much more comfortable to be sitting outside under the shady awning, with a tiny breeze to cool us down.  I’ve been doing a little hand quilting on my Autumn stitchery.


After enjoying several days on our own in Taupo, we traveled up to meet the members of ICA (International Caravan Association) to join them in their Christmas/50th Birthday Rally.  Our site is a privately owned area on the banks of Lake Ohakuri, and the ICA group were fortunate indeed to have this site offered to the group.  What a magical place it was.


Lake Ohakuri

This was our first rally with this group and we were made very welcome indeed.  Although we were a bit of a rarity having the only caravan amongst a sea of motor homes, rather like the “lonely petunia in the onion patch”. There is good fishing here, we saw one of the members coming back from the lake side with a large trout.  It was wrapped in bacon and cooked on his Weber BBQ for lunch, sounds delicious.  Gemma was a real hit, with several cat lovers coming to visit.  One couple had previously owned Birman cats so they were particularly keen to see Gemma.

After two days at this idyllic spot we moved on, spending the following two nights at club member John’s farm in Putaruru. 

Rolling farmland

Everyone decorated their tables all ready for our Christmas Lunch – ladies from the local Girl Guides were doing the catering, and what a great job they did, feeding us all.  Cold cuts, salads, veggies and bread rolls, followed by a selection of desserts.  And then, goodness me, Santa and his helper arrived, carrying a couple of bags stuffed full of gifts, that was exciting!

Thank you Santa

Gemma dealt with the heat in her own way.  Settling down under the bushes in the garden worked quite well, and there were bugs and other little creatures to stalk in the undergrowth.

It’s cool under the bushes

Or then again, she liked to stretch out on her back on the bed, waiting for a breeze to waft in through the windows.

How cats cool off

We have had a great time at our first ICA Rally, meeting new people, and enjoying wonderful venues.  Now the rally is over, it’s time for us to head homewards.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

After the Rain – Sightseeing

Yesterday it rained, and rained, then rained some more.  We spent the afternoon tucked up cozy inside the caravan, and I kept busy doing a little hand quilting on my NZ Botanical quilt. This is not easy going at all, because I think the backing fabric is quite “hard” and not at all easy to quilt.  But I’m halfway through, so I’m persevering.  Today, Tuesday, the rain has stopped, the skies are blue so we decided to make the most of it and go out and about.  But first, Gemma helped me make the caravan bed.  You can just see her little face peeking out beneath the quilt.

Where’s Gemma hiding?

We are staying at Taupo, which is part of the volcanic area in the North Island of New Zealand that has been active for the past two million years and is still highly active. So today we took a walk through the “Craters of the Moon”, a geothermal wonderland, full of steaming craters and vents, roaring steam fumaroles, and bubbling mud. 

Craters of the Moon landscape

Boardwalks and graveled paths made walking easy.  It was interesting to see birds and insects flitting around and the ground cover was mostly flowering manuka bushes.There were information boards dotted around, and for the weary (or elderly) plenty of seating to sit and enjoy the views.



Walking around the track, we heard the roaring of boiling hot steam escaping, and peeping over the edge of the large crater, we could see small pools of liquid mud, plop plopping away. A reminder of just how active and unstable this area is.

This boiling steam was coming out with great force, and noise!

Hard to see, but there is boiling mud in those small pools

It had been some years since our last visit, and it was certainly worth a return visit, especially since we qualified for senior discount.  There were plenty of tourists wandering about, and it was great to hear their travel stories, where they had been and where they were heading to next.  They seemed to be interested that Kiwis, like us, also like to visit these attractions.  And why not, we are always in awe of the power of volcanic activity so close by.
Lunch was next, and we took another return visit, this time to Lava Glass, glassblowing, gallery and café.  No photos were allowed to be taken in the gallery, so many beautiful pieces of glass on show, but well out of our budget.  We enjoyed a nice relaxed lunch, then made our way back to the camp.


We are currently camping at the National Equestrian Centre, just out of Taupo. 



There is a huge indoor arena so I went to see if I could take a peep inside.  No horses being worked inside today, but I’m sure it would be a very busy place when competitions are taking place.  Tomorrow we are moving on to meet up for a Christmas Rally.  

Monday, November 18, 2019

Christmas in the Caravan

I know its early, but we are away for a week in the caravan,  heading off for a Christmas Rally.  There has been a tiny bit of caravan Christmas decorating done, and Gemma is making the most of it.  Such as sprawled out on the bed on top of the Christmas quilt.  She is such a poser – I’m sure she just settles down and waits till I get the camera out!

Gemma snoozing on the bed

Our trip up was relatively easy, but Robin commented that with our new van being a little taller than the previous one, it does tend to catch the wind more.  We saw some of Mother Nature’s beautiful colours while driving up to Taupo.   Stopping in Taihape to top up on fuel, I saw this glorious tree, glowing with colour.  Isn’t  it gorgeous.  Neon yellow broom was in flower on the road side looking rather spectacular as we drove into Turangi.

Seen on our trip

I thought I was well prepared for our trip away and packed my knitting bag – I often like to knit in the car while traveling.  But…….I didn’t check it out properly, I’d forgotten to pack the pattern!  So the knitting will have to wait till we return home.

Who didn’t check the knitting bag properly?

But I’ve got a little stitchery I’m working on, plus some hand quilting, so I’m sure I’ll have enough to do.

Birdy stitchery

And here she is again, snoozing again, this time with a couple of Christmas cushions for company.  Made by me, of course.

Another Christmas photo

It’s not very Christmassy weather at all, currently the rain is pouring down and it’s getting rather chilly.  So we’ve put our sight seeing plans on hold today.  No point in going out in this heavy rain, is there? 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday Finish

It’s good to have another finish, especially something which has been in the wings for a while.  The binding is now stitched down on my Christmas Mystery quilt.  I quite enjoy this final part of the quilt making process.

Hand stitching the binding down

This quilt should really be called “Quilt in a Jar” as most of the fabrics used were Christmas fabrics squashed in this jar.  A couple of years ago our Christmas Sew Wot gifts had to be something or other – the choice was up to us to put what we liked in the jam jar as a gift.   Helen had packed a whole lot of Christmas fabric squares into her gift jar so I used them in this quilt, adding extra fabric as required.


This project was added to my List of Six and is now finished, in time for Christmas.  Here it is on the clothesline, I had to wait for the gusty wind to die down to take a few photos.

Blowing in the wind

And this one taken out on the patio.  Can you see the tiny pink rose?  The rose bush is called “Precious Pet” and was a gift from a friend when our elderly cat Muffy passed away a couple of years ago.


Precious Pet rose

I don’t know about you, but I quite enjoy doing the ironing, plus of course it is used with my sewing.  But my old iron got dropped on the floor and fell to pieces.  There was nothing for it but to go and buy a new one, and luckily they were on special so we got a good deal. 

New Iron

And then, would you believe it, I had another mishap.   I was using my stick wand to puree some soup and it went bang in my hand – looks like I blew it up, so that will need to be replaced as well.  They say things happen in threes, so I do hope that nothing else will be dropped, blow up, or stop going!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Sew Wot Tuesday

This week our Sew Wot get-together was held at Helen’s home, out in the countryside.  I’ve been there before, of course, thought I knew where I was going, but got myself lost!  Quite upsetting really, but I backtracked and finally found myself on the right road, although running late after my misadventure.  I arrived to find a wonderful selection of Mary’s Heart Challenge blocks laid out on the floor.  A glorious array of colour indeed.  Some in pinks, reds, purples, and Christmas fabrics as well.  I’ve only done my first two so far, so I’ve got a bit of catching up to so.

Heart blocks galore

Heather brought along some Show and Tell.  This lovely giraffe head was made in a Mosaic class recently, and all the little pieces are glued down, then stitched in place.  And isn’t that an interesting background fabric?  And then she showed us a cute little pin cushion made from an old sock.  Not just any old sock, but these special “quilting” socks were a much loved pair from a friend. 

Mosaic giraffe head and her cute sock pin cushion

Helen had been busy, and had recently stitched up a set of red, grey, black and white place mats.  And being the hostess, had been working in the kitchen to give us all a wonderful morning tea.  Helen’s husband doesn’t refer to our little group as the Sew Wots, but instead calls us the Eat Alots, and he could be right!  There is nothing better than home baking.


Delicious Morning Tea

Our next Sew Wot get-together will be the final of the year, our Christmas Lunch.  We have all made our pin cushion gift from recycled bits and pieces to bring along, so it will be interesting to see the variety we are sure to get.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Selvedge Quilt Finished

This is my first year taking part in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and I decided to make two different blocks each month, one of them being selvedge Asterisk blocks.   Each month I stitched two selvedge blocks in the suggested colour, except for black and dark brown, which I didn't fancy.  After sewing the blocks together, moving them from here to there till I was happy with the colour placement, I pinned the top to a fleecy backing and stitched in the ditch between the blocks for stability.  Then I decided on spiral quilting across the quilt.  I was a little worried about the slight stretchiness of the fleecy backing, but I didn't have any problems at all.

Machine quilting the spiral

The binding was scrappy dark blue strips left over from another project, so I was pleased to use some of them up.  It’s always nice to spend a little time outdoors sitting under the Archgolo during some hand stitching.  With the binding finished, it was time to add the label.  My cozy Asterisk quilt was made for  my car.  We don't suffer from snow, ice, and cruel winter weather here, so probably wont be needed for warmth, so it can sit on the backseat looking  pretty.


And here it is, my very first Rainbow Scrap Challenge finish.  I’m really pleased with how it turned our as I only had a glimmer of an idea when I started stitching the blocks each month.  Many thanks to Angela of  Sew Scrappy for encouraging quilters worldwide each month, and providing her Linky Party.  It’s always fun to see what others are making with their RSC blocks as the months progress.

Selvedge Asterisk quilt