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

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Show and Tell at the Laundromat

How often would this happen to strangers, I wonder?  While still on holiday, there I was, waiting for yet another load of washing to finish its cycle at the laundromat.  It was a typical very hot Hawkes Bay day so I decided to sit outside while I did a little knitting.  Along came young woman who had the same idea, it was so hot inside with all the machines, that we were pleased of a gentle breeze wafting around.  Her name was Louise, and she had brought her knitting along too, to while away the waiting time.


Knitting while waiting outside the laundromat

Louise's knitting  skills were obviously much better than mine, as she was doing clever things with circular needles and fancy patterns.  As we got chatting, I told her I did quilting.  “Would you like me to rush home and show you the  quilt I made which was part of an overseas exhibition?”  she asked.  Of course I would, and she was back in a few minutes.


“Survived Extinction” is an original design and was curated by Anne Scott of New Zealand Quilter magazine as part of a group to be exhibited in Seattle, in 2003.  The label reads:

“Imagine being the last of your species on earth. I am Tecomanthe speciosa.  I was the last plant of my species when discovered in the 1940s.  Found on the Three Kings Islands north of New Zealand, I traveled across the water to the Land of the Long White Cloud, where I am grown in your garden.  I have traveled around the world, I am now growing in other countries.  I am Tecomanthe speciosa, I have survived extinction”.


Survived Extinction

Louise also brought an amazing crochet rug to show me.  “Mandala Madness” was worked in the round, and is full of colour, texture, and different patterns.  I have tried to crochet but failed miserably, so I’m astounded that something like this could be made.


Mandala Madness

Such a delightful meeting with a wonderfully talented young woman, and so kind of her to go out of her way to show me her beautiful creations.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Holiday Knitting and Tripping Around

I’ve taken both knitting and stitching projects away on the trip.  Must admit I often do knitting in the car while we are traveling, and have finished two little sleeves on the toddler cardigan I’m making and have now started on the back.  I’m not in any hurry with this project, and I’m using up left over wool from my own jumper finished recently.

P1010793  P1010816

Knitting in the car, and two sleeves finished

After the Covid scare in Auckland we changes our travel plans are have been moving slowly southwards. We drove along the Desert Road and got a snap of my favourite mountain, Mt Ruapehu.  There was just a few streaks of snow on the slopes, but it is summertime, after all.


Mt Ruapehu

After our lunch stop  we continued on the last part of our journey, to drive over the Taihape-Napier Road, Gentle Annie. Known historically as Gentle Annie, it is now  lot more gentle on travelers than it used to be.  Some years ago the road was full of sections of rough gravel, but these days the road is sealed all the way.  Terribly narrow and full of bends,  with many mountain ranges to climb up and over, motorists must take their time and drive carefully.  Extra research has told us that “Gentle Annie is a long uphill road or trail without a resting place”.  Not named after real person at all, so now we know.

Our stop for the night was at the free parking site at Springvale Suspension Bridge.  We had to juggle around a bit to find a reasonably level spot each.  A lovely quiet place to spend the evening, but no cell phone or internet coverage out here in the middle of nowhere.  This beauty was christened Rangitikei River Bridge no 75 in 1926, and very few examples of this type of suspension bridge remain.  In 1970 the road was realigned and a new bridge built alongside the suspension bridge.  The replacement bridge is functional but very plain compared to it’s beautiful older neighbour.


Springvale Suspension Bridge, on the Gentle Annie Road

From here we moved on to Napier to the Erikson Road NZMCA Park for several nights.  It’s always great to catch up with my sister and her hubby who live in nearby Hastings, they both have health issues and have now moved into a rest home complex so there were forms to fill in, and a declaration to sign.


Kathleen and Dennis relaxing with me in the middle

Laundry always needs doing while on holiday, so we found a laundromat and took our big bag of washing for a ride in the car.  One of the regulars recommended we brush down the filter tray on the dryer, makes it work much better, we were told.  Makes sense, as we all do this at home, don't we.


Robin clearing all the lint from the tray

Our Weber BBQ got a real work out on Sunday.  Robin cooked our traditional bacon and eggs for breakfast, then we had toasted sandwiches for lunch, that’s the first time we had cooked them on the BBQ.  Then for dinner we had BBQ belly pork in maple sauce, so yummy, with roast kumara, (sweet potatoes).  With a couple of extra veggies cooked inside the van, it was a great meal indeed.


Pork and roast kumara for dinner

It seems that our time in Napier really focused on food.  We We went out for a Fish and Chip and Oyster dinner at Takitimu Fisheries, our first visit there.  Certainly a popular place, with patrons queuing up and the waiting time for orders extended to 40 minutes.  It was a lovely evening so we took a drive around the coastline.  The marina was full of expensive looking boats, and there  were several trendy restaurants full with patrons enjoying dining with a sea view.  After all the Covid doom and gloom with hospitality venues, it was good to see these businesses booming again.


Marina at Napier

We lunched one day at Silky Oak Chocolates.  As it was such a hot day we both ordered an Iced Chocolate, so rich and decadent!  And of course a few hand made chocolates came home with us too.  Guess these items aren’t on our keto diet, but goodness me, did they taste delicious!


Our decandent lunch

The weather in Napier was glorious, hot and sunny and temperatures about 25C most days.  Just right for a trip to the iconic Rush Munro’s Ice Creamery in Hastings, a much loved institution dating back to 1926. With plenty of flavours on offer, it was hard to choose.  We both took a while to ponder the many possibilities.  And this is what we came up with, two lovely ice-cream sundaes.  The big one for him and the smaller one for me, so delicious.  We enjoyed them in the lovely shady garden.


Ice cream at Rush Munros

Gemma is not too keen on the car, but enjoys her time in the caravan.  As long as she is well fed, and gets plenty of attention, and gets taken outside now and again, she is happy.  Here she is, relaxing on the caravan vanity unit, almost falling off, it seems.  She is certainly well relaxed.


Gemma relaxing the afternoon away

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Stitching and Holiday Snaps

Have to admit that only a little stitching has been happening, but every bit helps, doesn’t it.  Packed away in my stitching bag is a set of 12 pre-printed small Christmas panels, designed by Bonnie Sullivan, my new hand stitching project.  This was a gift from my penfriend Carol from South Dakota, and has some felt pieces attached.  Here I am working on block number one.


My new stitching project

Our tripping around continues, and it’s always exciting finding “new to us” places  to stay.  We had never heard of Te Anga, a small rural community along SH37, past the world famous Waitomo Caves.  Our hosts were young farmers who made us very welcome at their property Awamarino, meaning “beside still waters”.  For such a tiny place, there was certainly a lot to see and explore in the surrounding area.  First was the beautiful Marakopa Falls.  Walking through beautiful native bush we soon heard the sound of rushing water, and there it was, breathtakingly beautiful indeed.  The 35m high falls are often described as the most beautiful in the country, cascading as they do over the undercut greywacke basement rock.


Marakopa Falls

Robin had heard about Tunnel Beach so that was the trip for the next day.  After driving up and over hills, along miles of gravel road, we finally arrived at our destination, Waikawau Beach.  The only access to the beach is through an 80m tunnel.  A couple of friendly locals took our photo at the tunnel entrance.



At the tunnel

The tunnel was dug through the sandstone cliffs in 1911 by three Works Department employees with picks and shovels.  It was made for driving cattle up the beach from Nukihatere Station on the hills above the tunnel and out to the road.  Now closed to vehicles, the tunnel is now used for pedestrian access to the beach.  Once through the tunnel, it is like stepping into another world, with the isolated black sand beach at the end.  A huge tree trunk had been washed up on the beach, we wondered where that had journeyed from.  Such a lovely place indeed.


Tunnel Beach

We have seen some lovely sunsets whiles we have been away, and this one was a beauty.


Our plans will be changing as some community Covid cases have been detected and Auckland had been placed into Level Three lockdown with the borders closed this week into Auckland.  There are daily TV briefings and we are awaiting developments before we decide exactly where we will go.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Off and Away

Our three week caravan trip away started off with a weekend rally with our caravan club buddies.  And what fun we had.  There was quite an adventure planned for Saturday, with a trip to Day’s Bay and back on public transport.  Originally we were to travel from Naenae to Wellington by train, but track maintenance was being carried out and the trains were replaced by buses.  Not such a disappointment, as along came a big yellow double decker bus to carry our bunch of OAPs into the big city.  It’s been a while since we were in the big city, and we didn’t even realise that Wellington had double decker buses in their fleet.


Our double decker bus

It was a brisk walk along the waterfront, or in our case, a quick taxi ride, to save the sore knees and back from  too much stress.  Then it was “all aboard” the Cobar Cat East-West Ferry to Day’s Bay.  It’s certainly a sign we are getting older when people such as doctors, policemen, and in this case, the ship’s captain, all look so young!


Cobar Cat

A big family group laden down with large packs and chilly bags full of supplies departed at Matiu/Some's Island to stay overnight.  Matiu/Some's Island is now a predator-free scientific reserve.   It may be a small island but its place in New Zealand’s history is huge. Its harbour location made it an ideal location for New Zealand’s first inner harbour lighthouse, a human quarantine station, an internment camp, military defence position, and an animal quarantine station over the years.

Map of Matua Somes Island

Leaving the ferry we walked along  Days Bay wharf, across the road to Williams Park and into the very popular Pavilion Café for lunch.  Plenty of great choices on the menu, and it was just as well we had a large table booked for our group, as the place was packed.  It took us two buses to return to Naenae, and we arrived back at the college tired but happy after our big day out.  Such a fun day, and we all traveled free courtesy of our Gold Cards.

On Sunday after our evening meal we went out for dessert to the Berry Berry Nice Café in Jackson St, Petone, formerly the old Post Office building.  What to select from this range, we wondered, as we contemplated the selection.  There was certainly plenty to choose from.  Most of us chose to sit in the rather trendy little half circular seating arrangements.  We all enjoyed our desserts, with coffee/tea to follow.  What a great weekend we had, full of fun things to do.


Dessert time

Then it was time to head off on our three week caravan safari, spending the first night in Wanganui, then moving on to New Plymouth where we stayed at a former tamarillo farm.  Such a well set up place to stay for a few days, with very friendly hosts.  While in New Plymouth, we always try to catch up with Robin’s school friend Gary and his lovely wife Glenyss.  They were off on a trip themselves the following day so it was lucky that they could squeeze us in before they departed.  Forgot to take photos of our visit, but quite by chance, their mutual friend John had sent through a photo showing four friends after a fishing trip. Just look at those happy faces, the boys are all in their 70s now.


Robin and his schoolfriends out fishing

On our last evening Robin took us on a little tiki tour before heading back to camp.  Would I get to see Mt Taranaki/Egmont before we left the area, I wondered?  There is a saying in these parts, if you can’t see the mountain, it’s raining, and if you can see it, it’s going to rain.  We certainly had more than our fair share of rain lately.  Robin drove up to Churchill Height's to see if we could get a view, and there the mountain was, unencumbered by clouds in the dusk.  What a great finale to our evening.


Mt Taranaki/Egmont

The weather was glorious the next day for our 77km trip which took us along the coast, and up and over Mt Messenger and through the Mt Messenger tunnel. The single lane tunnel as originally opened in 1916, later enlarged to provide two-lane access and to allow trucks with big loads to pass through. Mt Messenger is named after Colonel William Messenger, the commander of the garrison at nearby Pukearuhe redoubt during the 1870s and 1880s.  I love coming across these little historic tunnels, originally hewn by hand  through the mountain rock all those years ago.


Mt Messenger Tunnel

We were staying at Mokau for the next night.  This little village is “world famous in New ZEaland” for the Whitebaait Inn Café, serving giant whitebait fritters.  Although we  hadn’t been there before, two of our traveling companions always stop to indulge when passing by.  Seemed a great idea to us, so we all went for lunch.  Our orders arrived, a massive whitebait fritter each served with a slice of lemon and freshly buttered bread.  Goodness me, a feast indeed, its been a long time since we enjoyed whitebait.  The coffee was nice too.  This is a very popular establishment, with a steady stream of customers.  Whitebait is a New Zealand delicacy, and are the fry (young) of native New Zealand fish found in coastal creeks, streams, rivers and lakes.


Giant whitebait fritters for lunch


Sunset at Mokau

There hasn’t been much handwork done so far on this trip, just a little knitting so far while I was waiting for the laundry to finish the cycle.  Never mind, we’ve been traveling, eating out, socialising, and I’m sure there will be time for a little stitching sooner or later. And more adventures to come.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Yellow Birds and Boats

Luckily I had some spare time this week to get started on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour of the month, yellow, before we head away on a three week road trip.  I couldn’t find much yellow at all in my baskets, but luckily there were some small pieces I could use on my blocks.  Three yellow birdies got sewn, then I sat outside in the warm sunshine and stitched their little black legs on.  I laid them on the floor for a photo, and guess who arrived and plonked herself right down on top of those little birds!  If the birds were real they wouldn't have stood a chance with our big white hunter on the prowl.



With their feathered friends

How about some yellow boats?  These are nice simple blocks to stitch, and will eventually become a boy’s donation quilt.


Three yellow boats

As mentioned, we will be away on a caravan trip for the next three weeks, so I won't be doing any more RSC sewing till we return home at the beginning of March.  Here in New Zealand we usually enjoy nice settled weather in February, so I’m looking forward to a little stitching outside in the warm sunny weather in camp.  Some of the places we will be visiting are “new to us”, as well as some old favourites.  I’ll keep you posted.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Sew Wot Tuesday

Our group has just had our first Sew Wot get-together for 2021, and we met at Helen’s home in the lovely rural setting.  Carol’s birthday is coming up fast, and she had a lovely gift to open.  What did she get?  Looks like some fabric plus a pack of fancy fruit tea which she likes to drink.


Happy Birthday Carol

With such a long break over Christmas/New Year there was always going to be a great selection of Show and Tell.  Heather started off with her little dollies and bears tucked into pockets, and admitted it was started for her daughter 40 years ago!  Not to worry, good things take time, don't they, and it is finally finished now.


Finished at last

Mary had two lovely projects to show us.  First was her EPP top, in gorgeous colours.  And next was a lovely quilt made with squares with a vintage feel, with the blocks crocheted together.  This is rather special as Mary was using crochet cottons from our member Rae, who had passed away.


Mary’s beautiful work


Sandra and Carol admiring the crotched edge quilt

Helen then showed us her Lucy Boston hand pieced quilt, which has a lot of memories.  The fabrics were purchased in London from the famous Liberty shop, and she cleverly used the selvedges from these pretty fabrics in the label.


Helen’s Lucy Boston

Sandra had two quilts to show us.  First was a very striking braid quilt, and next was a log cabin variation.  Great work on both of them.


Sandra has been busy too

And guess who is going to be welcoming a new baby boy into the family?  Helen has been knitting up a storm for the new arrival, plus a warm cozy jumper for the baby’s big brother.


Helen’s baby knitting

I had taken along some finishes too, pink donation quilt, spools wall hanging at the cat quilt.


My Show and Tell

We all enjoyed a wonderful morning tea, scones with jam, afghan biscuits and shortbread, made with the recipe from our Sew Wot member Rae, who is no longer with us.  I make Rae’s shortbread too, and I’m always so pleased how well it turn out.

Then we said our farewells and started for home, it’s always so nice to catch up with the ladies.  Sadly, I won’t be able to attend the next couple of Sew Wot mornings as we will be away on a caravan road trip.  But I’ll have my stitching and knitting with me, in case I have some spare time in-between traveling and sight seeing.