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

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Off on a Trip

Finally we are off on a caravan trip - the weekend was spent with our caravan club buddies, not too far away at Betts Farm.  Our previous caravan club rally had been cancelled due to Covid lockdown, as had our planned 3 week trip north.  So there was plenty of news to catch up with our caravan buddies.  The night ended with a lovely sunset, always so nice to see the gorgeous colours in the sky.

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Lovely sunset

The weekend rally seemed to be all about eating and a little drinking.  Glenys was celebrating her birthday on Saturday so she rushed home to bake some delicious scones for morning tea.  They were delicious, Happy Birthday Glenys.  We all love home baking, and the scones were delicious.  Lunch was at the Quarter Acre Café, and then, to top off our foodie experience, Helen and Owen had made some Mulled Wine for us all to sample at 4zeees.  I’m not really a wine drinker, but I found it delicious!

I got a real fright when I realised my wedding ring had slipped off my finger sometime during the morning.  We had searched high and low throughout the van, pulled the bed apart,and then I remembered I had leaned out the bedroom window to hang the towels on the portable clothesline hanging from the window.  Sue rushed over to our van to check and sure enough, there it was hiding in the grass under the towels on the small clothesline – she came back triumphant!  I was so pleased and thankful it had been found.

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Spotted by eagle eyed Sue, thanks so much!

Then it was on to visit the Studebaker Museum,  a place of heaven for American car lovers.  I found a little bit of heaven too – look who was inside ready to welcome me!  High on my Wish List is a visit to Gracelands, but that probably wont happen now, I guess.

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Who loves you, Elvis

There were plenty of Studebaker cars for the men to to drool over, and it was interesting to see a photo of the brothers who designed and made all these various models.

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Also on display was a dinky little retro caravan.  So cute!

After our weekend at Betts Farm we  packed up and headed to the “Naki”, Robin’s old stomping grounds.  We were traveling with Val and Bill, keeping them company as they wanted to finalise arrangements for a future ICA rally.  We hadn’t gone too far on our travels before our first stop, lunch at Viv’s Kitchen in Sanson.   Bill and Val couldn’t go past the world famous in Sanson Cream Horns, while we opted for Chocolate Eclairs.  As it happened, we didn’t manage to eat our cream delights with our lunch, so had them packed up to take away and eat later in the day.  And yes, our choc eclairs were delicious.

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Viv’s Kitchen

We stayed in New Plymouth at a former tamarillo orchard, a lovely pleasant place to stay, where we opted for power sites, very reasonable at $10 per night. Gemma was kept entertained staring through the windows at all the birds hopping around outside – she didn’t notice the rabbits though, wonder what she would have thought of them?

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Staying at New Plymouth

A visit to the laundromat was always going to happen, must keep up with the laundry.  Our visit was a little different in these Covid times, as we were not allowed to sit inside and wait till the cycles have finished.  I usually stay behind with my knitting, while Robin goes off and does other things which need doing, but not this time.  We put the clothes in the washer, went away, came back, retrieved the washing and put it in the drier, left once more till finally returning to collect it from the drier – that all took three trips!

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Happiness is clean laundry!

It wouldn’t be a trip to New Plymouth if we didn’t have a meal at Sun World Chinese Restaurant.  Being in Level 2 this was a different experience – there was smorgasbord as usual, but we were served by the staff as we made our selections.  The food is always very nice here, but we noticed the bookings were very light, perhaps the public weren't quite ready to venture out just yet. 

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Sun World Chinese Restaurant

The following day we drove to Urenui Beach, driving through a huge Motor Camp to get to the shore.  The camp was fairly empty at this time, but will surely be filled to capacity during Summer.  This looks a lovely place to come back to in the summer.

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Urenui Beach

So far on this trip I’ve only done a little secret sock knitting, so nothing to show.  I do have my stitchery with me as well, maybe I’ll get some time to sit and stitch, lets wait and see.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

More Orange Sewing

I’ve done a little more Rainbow Scrap sewing in orange this week, working on my four patch blocks.There’s not a great deal of orange in my stash, but I found enough to make these.  The idea for the larger blocks was borrowed from Academic Quilter’s blog.  The smaller blocks are simple framed four patches, and both these blocks will eventually find themselves in donation quilts.

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Orange four patch blocks

Call me crazy, but I’ve decided to start another RSC project.  There is a reason behind this statement, of course.  I seem to have an awful lot of strips and strings in a couple of big bags, which I want to pare down and dispose of.  Quite truthfully, I really don’t like working with strips less than 2.5in wide, and there are plenty of narrower strips in these two bags.  I found enough orangey coloured strips to make a string pieced block, so that’s a start, and I’ll do the other colours as they get their turn.

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Orange string block

Seems I’ve accumulated a whole heap of white and cream strips of various width too, all offcuts from various projects over the years.  So I’ve decided to make some neutral string blocks with these – they could come in handy for something or other.  I really want to just get rid of another bag or two of “stuff”.  Or maybe I’ll just shove it all it the bin when I  get sick and tired of looking at them!

In Covid news, most of New Zealand is now in Level 2, except Auckland, which still has Covid cases popping up each day so remains in Level 4.  We can get out and about during Level 2, so caravanning here we come!  Scanning the QR codes on entering business is now mandatory, as is wearing masks when going into shops, malls, and the like.  Libraries are now open, and we can go out for lunch, dinner or just a coffee too.  And no, we don't have to try and eat with out masks on,  although there are rules about spaced out seating and table service.  So things are moving along well here.

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Down to Level 2

The weather has been all over the place this last week, freezing cold days with heavy rain so we were quite happy to stay home and hibernate.  Then today the sun has come out and it’s starting to warm up again, a rather pleasant Spring day.  We even had a sprinkling of snow on the Tararua Ranges behind our village the other day, which always looks pretty.

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Snow on the Ranges

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Two Finishes to Show

Last week I did some slow stitching embroidering a camping theme design on a tea towel for our caravan.  And this week I’m pleased to say that it has been completed.  Camping in a wood, beside a lake, with a camp fire crackling to make the early morning coffee, and the sun rising over the hill – sounds idyllic, doesn't it?

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Although the stitchery is finished, I plan to add a band of coloured fabric to finish it off.  Shouldn't take too long, I expect.  The transfer is from Stitchers Revolution Camping Adventures.

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My other finish is a little babies jumper.  The knitting was finished a while ago, and I’d only just got around to sewing it up.  Many thanks to Dot who crocheted some button loops on the back shoulder seam for me, and thanks also to Eileen who gifted me the pink “eyelash” yarn some time ago.  This will be another one for my great-nana box  for future arrivals.

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Saturday, September 4, 2021

Taking a guess on Orange

I’m not sure what the chosen RSC colour for September will be, so I’ve taken a guess on orange.  Our RSC hostess Angela is understandably preoccupied at the moment with Covid raging in her school and community, and much too close to home for comfort.  We are all thinking of you Angela, get back to us when you can.

For my orange stitching this week I made three little orange birds, then sat and stitched their eyes and little stick legs on.  And I also started on some of the alternate blocks, using the different coloured scraps left from making the birds.  They look good together, I think.

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Birds and nine patch blocks

Three little orange boats will be sailing on the high seas with the rest of their colourful fleet.  These boat blocks are my own idea and so simple to whip up from 2.5in strips.  I really need to have a count up and see if I have sufficient to make a boys quilt, or if I need to make a few more.

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Three orange boats

So that’s my orange Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing for the week.  I’m still taking it easy sitting at the sewing machine so I don’t stress my back, but things are certainly getting a little easier now, thank goodness.  I now allow myself to sit and stitch at the machine for 30 minutes at a time, then get up to stretch and move around, a big improvement on my previous 10 minutes at a time. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Hello Spring

It is Spring here now in New Zealand, the days are slowly lengthening but we wonder if Winter is really over?  I found a few brave little hyacinths poking their pretty heads up in one of the pots – that's surely a sign of Spring, isn’t it.

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Time for a few Spring bulbs to appear

A change of season means a change of wall-hangings.  Down came my dark hued Maple Leaf quilt hanging over the sofa.  It was time for the kitties to come out to play.  Hanging in place are  the Colourpoint Cats, much lighter and cheerful for the new season.  This was a Rainbow Scrap Challenge finish last year.

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Colourpoint Cats

A couple of other changes were made to the sitting room décor.  Tane Mahuta is having a turn on the wall, as are my New Zealand Native Birds.  There, it looks much more like Spring now.

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Tane Mahuta and the birds


Sunday, August 29, 2021

Secret Socks and a little Stitching

I’m on a sock knitting mission to knit a pair of 4 ply socks for both granddaughters for Christmas.  And then……. my daughter mentioned that she would like a pair too.  Don’t know if I can get three pair done in time, but I’m coming along well with the first two pair.  I’ve completed a pair for granddaughter number 1 and just started on the pair for the younger granddaughter.  No, I’m not showing the socks, they are secret after all, but I’ll show the wool I’m using.  The girls have quite different tastes, not that they know exactly what they will be receiving.

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I’ve completed the purple, black and grey socks and just started with this colourful yarn

Also, I’ve been looking through my stitchery projects, with three already started and two more traced out I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.  Two are for gifts, and this one is for me.  It’s a tea towel for the caravan using the iron on transfers from the wonderful Stitcher’s Revolution Camping Adventures series.  I haven't got very far with this one, but I’m working on it!  So far I’ve done a lake, campfire and trees.  There's a caravan in there somewhere.

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A little slow stitching

I like these designs so I’m thinking of doing a couple of camping themed embroidered placemats for the caravan too. 

So I’ve plenty do do while we are in Lockdown for a few weeks.  Our planned caravan trip has been deferred, but Gemma enjoys us being at home, laps to sit on and plenty of cuddles.  She certainly keeps us entertained with her antics.  Deciding on a change of view she jumped up to the top of the wall unit, we didn’t even see how she managed that.  And getting down was no trouble either, jumping down from the top in a single leap.

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How did she get up there?

Gemma loves her colourful snakey too.  During the day it is usually wrapped around on her cat tower, but at night she pulls it down to play with.  And often leaves it in her water bowl – we are not sure if she is offering snakey a drink or trying to drown it!

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No, you cant have my snakey, she is saying

Friday, August 27, 2021

Goodbye Kathleen

This week we fare welled my elder sister Kathleen, who was bravely fighting cancer.  The end came very quickly, and she passed very peacefully, with her husband and two of her children there at her bed side.  Kathleen was only 15 months my senior, but still my big sister in all things. This is my last photo of her and her hubby Dennis, taken earlier this year.

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Kathleen and Dennis, with me being “piggy in the middle”

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Two little sisters, Kathleen on the left, and me on the right

Kathleen was quite crafty too, doing knitting and sewing when her children were young.  In later years she was an avid cross-stitcher, and stitched many rather detailed pieces.  And I can remembering her up to her arms in the summer season, bottling fruit, and making tomato sauce for her family.

Rest in Peace, we will miss you. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Draw String Bags

I’ve just completed stitching six little drawstring bags for the charity Foster Hope.  These are given for children in foster care, amongst with other items, and they use them to keep their toiletries or pens and pencils in.  Just so you don't thinks I'm Wonder Woman, I have to confess that the bags were stitched, bit by bit, over a period of several weeks – I’m still pacing myself sitting at the sewing machine after my spinal surgery.  Then I had to go and purchase some suitably coloured cord, and the final job was threading it through.  There, all done.  Mmm, it seems that I should be stitching a few extra, suitable for boys.

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Drawstring bags for donation

I had a bit of excitement the other day when I had to climb up the drop down ladder in the garage to get to our storage  space in the ceiling.  This always causes me a little apprehension, those wooden treads are rather small and then its a matter of clambering through the hole at the top of the ladder.  Not at all easy, I can tell you, not being young, fit and flexible any more!

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Up the ladder

The reason for my trip up the ladder was to put the two little blue toddlers cardigans I had recently completed away.  I have a crate upstairs which has some of my children’s knitting projects tucked away, ready and waiting for any new family arrivals.  There were several items in the crate which I had completely forgotten about!

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We are in our second week of lockdown, and we are both pottering around, doing this and that, and tuning in to the 1.00pm TV update every day.  As we have been told, the numbers will get worse before they get better, but the good news is that there has not been a single death so far in this current outbreak.  In fact, the pandemic deaths here in New Zealand have been minuscule, with a total of 26 since the pandemic started in 2020.

Keep safe and well everyone, and we are safely tucked up at home, obeying the rules.  Our planned three week caravan trip is not happening, but hopefully we will be able to get away soon.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Lock Down Stitching

Here in New Zealand the whole country was placed in Lockdown from last Wednesday as the Delta variant had finally arrived on our shores, only a matter of time, we had all been warned.  Robin and I had just enjoyed a trip down to the Hutt Valley to have lunch with friends the previous day.  What we didn’t enjoy on our day out was torrential rain resulting in slips which closed the main road and stopped a train in it’s tracks!  And of course the resulting traffic congestion when all these factors came together.

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Lunch date on Tuesday, lockdown on Wednesday

I've been doing a little more Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing, using the nominated colour of aqua, turquoise or teal for the month, and decided to work on my four patch blocks.  This is an extra RSC project which sneaked in a few months ago when I rediscovered a bag of four patches hiding away.  Although I didn't have any aqua ones in the pile, so had to set to and make some.

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I’d forgotten about these

So these are my aqua blocks.  The larger two are an idea I borrowed from Academic Quilter’s blog, thanks so much, and the smaller two are framed four patches which I had seen somewhere or other on blogland.

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Some for my collection

And here are some of the other four patch blocks I had assembled a while ago, the colours all look nice together.  These blocks will eventually be made into donation quilts.

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Some I prepared earlier

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching

It was a lovely day here in my part of the world for some slow Sunday stitching.  It may well be getting to the end of winter, but the sun was out, and our patio area was protected from the cool breeze.  What nicer place to sit outside for an hour or two and enjoy some stitching time.  Gemma kept me company outside for a while, she always takes an interest in any birds she can spot, likes to sniff around before settling down in the warm sun shine.

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With several projects to choose from, I decided to spend a little time on my “All through the night” panel by Bonnie Sullivan.  These small panels have not been stitched one at a time, I decided to complete all the leaves and branches on each one, then went back and added all the red berries.  A few of them have been completed some time ago, and I finished off these two today.  Slow and steady – that’s me, but I’ll get there sooner or later!

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Two more stitcheries completed today

My other slow finish has been my pair of thick blue wooly socks, there will still be some chilly winter days left I’m sure so I’ll get some wear from them over the next month or so.  I like to have nice cozy feet.

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Thick blue winter socks

My other sock knitting is secret socks for number 2 grand-daughter, and then I decided that I would make a pair for the elder grand-daughter as well.  And when we were visiting family last week my daughter mentioned that she would like a pair too!  Goodness me, that’s three pair of 4ply socks!  We will be away for several weeks very soon on a caravan trip, so that should give me an opportunity for plenty of sock knitting in the car as we travel.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Teal/Aqua Cobblestone Blocks

I’ve been busy this week making cobblestone blocks for my RSC project, knowing I had several pieces of this colour in my “big bag of batiks”.  So during the week I cut, pinned and stitched, finishing up today with the pressing and trimming.  Sitting at the sewing machine  may take a while as I pace myself after my spinal surgery, but I get there in the end.

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This quilt will eventually be for our bed, and I like the way all the colours go together.  Except for a couple of bright pink blocks which I made some time ago, I’m having second thoughts about them.  Will wait till all the blocks are done and see what I think then.

Our beautiful Birman Gemma has a new favourite  toy.  This is a freebie shopping bag I got from the supermarket which folds up into a bright orange carrot.  Gemma loves to play with it, holds the carrot in her front paws and beats it to death with her back feet!  Here she is in one of her favourite places, enjoying the morning winter  sunshine coming in the front windows.  As the sun comes round during the day, this is a very sunny room indeed.  

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Gemma subduing her carrot

Thursday, August 12, 2021

In Bed with Elvis

Where did this happen, you are probably wondering?  My neurosurgeon had requested an MRI of my spine to check on his handywork.  So I presented myself bright and early for my appointment to Pacific Radiology in Palmerston North.  What music would you like, I was asked?  After thinking about it I decided on Elvis, after all, I fell in love with his wonderful voice when my girlfriend’s brothers used to buy his records way back then in  years gone by.

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So there I was, laying on my back, headphones on, cocooned inside the MRI machine for an hour, listening to Elvis.  I particularly like his ballads, although he had to compete with the very loud noises, rather like a jack hammer I always think.  “Love me tender, bang bang bang, love me true, click click, bang bang”  you get the picture, I’m sure.  I know a lot of people don't really like being enclosed in an MRI, in fact I remember my Mother calling it the big gobbly machine!  I have had several of these procedures, and personally don't have any problems having it done.  The time didn’t seem like 60 minutes to me so perhaps I nodded off for a while, I was certainly warm and comfy. (Not so much in previous times when I had to lay on my tummy with my arms outstretched over my head.)   And I’m just so grateful that this procedure is funded by the Health Dept., as it is very expensive, I believe.

I had a few donations to drop off in Palmy, first stop was to the Hospice Shop with a bag of assorted patchwork bits and pieces.  Unwanted fabrics, reels of cotton, patchwork blocks, a bag of selvedges, all looking for new homes.  Then it was time to drop off my donations to the Foster Hope charity-  I hadn't made a donation for some time and thigs were mounting up.  Knitted beanies, blue scarf, draw string bags, and three quilts, they are all sure to find good homes.

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Donations for Foster Hope

By this time, it was lunch time, so we made our way to the mall.  I was gasping for a coffee by this stage as I had to be “nil by mouth” for my early morning appointment.  Finding a car park in the mall was not easy, as the top parking area had been closed off.  Because it was not stable we were told!  What’s to stop it falling down on us below, I asked Robin?  Remember – we live in an earthquake prone country.  Hopefully the problem will be resolved so I won’t have to worry, or maybe we will just park outside in future.    While waiting for our lunch orders to arrive, I enjoyed my first coffee of the day.  Robin decided a chocolate milkshake was more to his liking.

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A chocolate milkshake for Robin

With a couple of of things ticked off our list, it was time to head home, and we arrived back to find a courier parcel on our doorstep, from grand-daughter Megan.  Wonder what it is?  Inside was a jar of honey, with a note saying it was made from the hives on the property where she is staying.  How kind is that!

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Honey from Megan

It had been a lovely day for a drive, calm and sunny after some previous bad weather.  And just look at the snow on the Tararua Ranges behind our home.

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