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

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Sew Wot Tuesday

The Sew Wot ladies gathered at Heather’s home on Tuesday – I had missed the last couple of meetings so it was lovely to catch up with everyone again.  A big bag of quilty donations came along with me, my neighbour had recently moved into a rest home and her daughter gave me several bags of “stuff” looking for a new home.  “Take what you want”, I said, as I laid the bits and pieces out on the coffee table.  What wasn’t wanted will be going down to the Op Shop.


Mary, Helen and Heather checking out the goodies

I had missed Carol’s birthday as we had been away  so wished her belated Birthday wishes and gave her a small gift.


Happy Belated Birthday, Carol

Then we moved on to Show and Tell, always a highlight of the morning.  Heather had been rather productive lately.  She had knitted Tom (from Tom and Jerry fame) and what a handsome cat he was.  The giraffe head collage was done in a class recently at the LQS Foxs Cottage.


Heather’s creations

Heather had also completed a pretty quilt top with patchwork hearts.  This will be sent to her niece who lives in Australia.  She had also been very industrious sewing goods for donations, wheat bags for the Hospice, and children’s pillow cases for the Shoebox charity.


Heathers heart quilt

Helen had been busy knitting nice warm woolies for her two young grand sons.  She was telling us about her exciting adventure.  Her and her hubby have just returned from the South Island after biking the Otago Rail Trail, they coped admirably on the bikes for five days and had a great time, she said.


Big and little knitting for the grandsons

I had taken along some Show and Tell as well, my two recently completed quilts and some drawstring bags I had stitched for donation.


My recent quilts and bags

There was some knitting going on during the morning, and some stitching too.  Mary was hand quilting her Lucy Boston quilt and Helen as stitching her Tula Nova.  You can tell this is a quilter’s home, just look at the lovely quilt on the back of the sofa.


Mary and Helen stitching away

As usual, we had a delicious morning tea, and then Heather offered us all a yummy chocolate caramel egg.  “Take I take one for Robin as well?” I asked.  Of course I could, we enjoyed them at home with our lunch.  Another great Sew Wots morning, thanks so much, Heather.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

A busy week

We have certainly had a busy week.  After our Caravan Club weekend rally we drove down to stay at Petone for several days.  With a couple of appointments during the week at Wellington Hospital it seemed sensible to stay here, then we wouldn't have the long commute from Levin to Wellington and back.

It was nice to meet up with friends during our five days at Petone.  Rae and Bruce from Foxton were also staying here, they had a family 21st birthday to attend, so they decided to stay on site for a couple of nights. They  travel around with a Birman cat too, a large blue 10 year old boy who is very laid back indeed.  Robin and Bruce worked in the same company some years ago, and the four of us enjoyed a meal in the club bistro on Sunday evening.  Then we had lunch with caravan club members Pamela and Don one day, and dinner with Helen and Owen the following evening.  All very delightful.

The alarm clock was set bright and early on Monday morning and we drove through peak hour traffic for my early morning hospital appointment.  Now that we are retired, I must admit that I found the busy traffic a bit of a trial.  But we arrived in good time, and were seen promptly.  There were lots of forms to fill out, I was weighed, height measured, blood tests done, had things explained, and I was good to go.

Our second trip to the hospital was on Wednesday afternoon where I was to stay overnight before my procedure the following morning – or so I thought.  After hanging about for several hours we were told there was no bed available, come back in the morning at 6.00am.  The alarm clock was set even earlier, we departed Petone at 5.00am and we arrived back in the hospital with plenty of time to spare.  Sadly, the same old story, no bed available, but they got me into a hospital gown, sat me down in a room to wait.  This sign on the wall made me laugh.  The Lazy Boy Chair (recliner) was nowhere to be seen, this was just the sort of situation it was needed for.


Ready and waiting

  A bed was finally found and I was wheeled down to the theatre.  But……. an emergency case arrived by helicopter so I was bumped down the list till mid day.  Never mind, this poor sick person was in greater need than me, so back I went to the waiting room.  My bed disappeared and when my turn came, the nurse walked me down clad in my fetching hospital gown onto the lift and down to the theater again. I went to sleep and a couple of hours later it was all over.  Luckily a bed was finally found to take me back to the ward.  I was having a diagnostic procedure  to check out my back problem.  Very treatable, I was told, and hopefully I will be called back soon for the problem to be rectified. 

No one really likes being in hospital, but one thing which impressed me was that every person who came to deal with me, specialists, doctors, nurses and even the porters, introduced themselves to me and informed me what would be happening.  Of course, I didn’t remember their names, but I thought it was a nice touch.   So it was quite a busy week, traveling in and out to the big city for four days, returning to the caravan on Friday, then finally returning back home in the late afternoon.

On Saturday I felt well enough to attend the local knitting group for a couple of hours.  Such lovely ladies, with most of them knitting for charity.  There was a bit of a celebration too and one of the ladies had brought along some cream sponges to share for morning tea.


Gemma posing with my knitting

Monday, March 22, 2021

Visiting Family and Pets

Over the weekend we stayed with our caravan club buddies at Mt Lees Reserve, a beautiful place surrounded by native forest.  But we did wonder where this elusive mountain was.  Mt Lees has an elevation of only 95 metres, barely noticeable as you drive around, and I couldn’t really find any info on why the area was named Mt Lees. The reserve was created by Ormond Wilson, who inherited 320 hectares of what was part of Ngaio Station.   The homestead was built first, then he set to and planted a huge number of trees.  In 1972 he gifted the land to the Crown.  There are walkways through the extensive bush, self contained camping is permitted, toilets and water are available.  Eight vans from our caravan club enjoyed a weekend here in the lovely setting.  In the Spring the grassy paddock where we were camping is a mass of beautiful daffodils.


Weekend camping at Mt Lees Reserve

We had lunch out  on Saturday with my daughter Nicky.  She hasn’t been at all well lately, so I was pleased that she is now looking so much better than she did before.


Nicky and me at lunch

Then we drove back to Nicky’s home to catch up with grand-daughter Emma and see the new kitten.  They call the kitten PK (Physco Killer) as it was from a feral litter and still has some wild instincts, it seems.  The kitten spent some time trying to kill her cuddly toy dog, and doing quite a good job, biting the poor doggy's face with all her might, and lashing out with her back paws.  Seems the hunting instincts are well ingrained.


Emma and PK

The family dog Noodle was a little apprehensive of us visitors and spent some time hiding under the table.  When we first arrived he barked and growled, being his protective best, and finally settled down


Noodle the dog

Then we had to go and meet the chickens.  They have a nice big fenced area to live in, with plenty of bushes and grass  to scratch under, and a chook shed where they hopefully lay their eggs.


Here, chook, chook

Back inside the house I spotted a stitchery cushion I had made Nicky for an earlier birthday.  She is very fond of growing herbs and veggies so I thought the pattern was just right for her.


Birthday cushion

It was so nice to get to spend the afternoon with Nicky, and catch up on all the family news.  On the way back to camp we spotted some purple wrapped hay/silage bales, so had to stop the car and get a photo.  Around New Zealand, hay bales in pink, blue and purple are increasingly common thanks to different initiatives designed to raise money for charities. The coloured wraps cost farmers about 10 per cent more than the standard mint green ones.  The pink silage bale wraps support Sweet Louise, a  breast cancer charity while the blue ones raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. And the  purple wrap is part of a worldwide project launched to support children's charities, which includes Starship Hospital.  Such a great idea, and some of  these were adorned with smiley faces too.


Supporting Starship Hospital

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

It’s a Girl Thing

Today was “that” day, I was due for my annual mammogram.  Since I was diagnosed in 2016 with breast cancer, and underwent subsequent treatment, as a follow-up I have been called up for an annual mammogram.  A little momentary discomfort is a small price to pay for such great care.  Most hospital care is free here in New Zealand, and I have been very impressed (and oh so grateful) for the cancer care I have received.


As a bonus, I was treated to a mini quilt show in the breast screening rooms.  This beauty was hanging in the waiting room.  A Mariner’s Compass quilt with all those tricky points, stitched in nice restful shades of blue.


Mariner’s Compass quilt

Then further round by the changing rooms there were more quilts on the walls.  Such a feast for the eyes, and both of them glowed with colour.


Two more lovely quilts

I’m not sure if these quilts were gifted to the Breast Screening rooms, or if local quilters come and change them periodically, either way, I certainly appreciated seeing them hanging up.

Procedure over, it was time to rest and recover over morning tea, so we went to one of the local cafes.  Coffee and a scone each, cheese scone for me, and date and orange for Robin, nice and tasty indeed.


Coffee and scones for morning tea

The results will take a couple of weeks, I was told, so fingers crossed that all remains well.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Teddy Darling

I’ve been slowly working away on my Teddy Darling stitchery, which was a pre-printed gifted panel.  Teddy was stitched, the flower garlands were done, and then I big stitch quilted along the blue dashed lines.  Added some simple wavy big stitch quilting in the floral borders and I was almost there.


Quilting in the borders

Binding was next, and I had just enough of a pretty soft pink stripe to do the job.  There, all done.


I’ve so enjoyed all the time I’ve spent “slow stitching” this little treasure.  It’s a small little quilt, only 25 inches square, and the panel was a gift from my quilting penfriend Carol from South Dakota.  Must admit I've had it tucked away quite some time before I finally started stitching it.  And of course, after all my hand work, I’ll be keeping Teddy Darling at home with me, perhaps one day we will welcome a little great grand-child into the family.  Won’t that be wonderful.


Teddy Darling

Saturday, March 13, 2021

More Green Stitching

The colour green comes in all different shades, and my Rainbow Scrap Challenge Cobblestone blocks were of the paler variety this week.  I’m using batiks for this project, a big pile which have been gathered up and waiting for ages in this large bag.  Not many greens were hiding in there at all, mainly purples, teals, creams and pinks.


My big bag of batiks

But after a good rummage around, I came across a little green fabric, and made three blocks.


Three cobblestone blocks

I’ve also been busy this week making several draw string bags for the charity Foster Hope, children placed in foster care use these bags for toiletries or pencils.  Two of the completed bags were very green indeed, they turned out nice and bright I thought.   The last lot of bags I’ve stitched up were all made with gifted fabric.   


Two drawstring bags

I did wonder if I would have trouble purchasing some cord to tone in, the fabric used was a very bright lime green instead.  I buy my cords from a local manufacturer Cordall and the manager is well used to me popping in for various colours of cord for my bags.  After choosing some blue, rosy red and navy, I commented that she probably couldn't help me with lime green cord.  No trouble at all, she located a big spool, and cut off my requirements.  How is that for service with a smile!


Just some of the stock at Cordall’s

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Special Deliveries

Its been a busy old day today with deliveries.  First was some more  “happy mail”, all the way from Germany.  Postmarked 8th December, it's now early March so it was a long time coming.  Christmas wishes from Judy, and she had enclosed a cute little Christmas Stocking, with the hope that we will find a place in the caravan to hang it over Christmas.  I’ll sure we will, thanks so much Judy.


Merry Christmas wishes from Germany

Our other delivery was a new fridge.  While we were away on our three week trip, our fridge died and we arrived back home to find a stinking mess, particularly in the top freezer compartment.  Frozen berries, home cooked meals in containers, and some salmon filets, they all got chucked out, together with whatever had been left behind in the fridge, mainly sauces, pickles, cheese and butter.  The smell was awful, and we had to set to and give the fridge a good wash out with hot soapy water.

Then came the job of finding a replacement fridge, not at all easy these days.  There was stock on the wharves, on ships in transit, but not so in the stores themselves.  Robin managed to talk the local manager into selling us one “off the floor”  as we were desperate.  But we still had to wait 10 days till it could be delivered.

The best option for us was to move the caravan into the car park in front of our home, (it is usually in the motorhome park around a corner or two) plug it into power and use the caravan fridge.


Before each meal we loaded up the chilly bag with whatever was required, and then did the return trip to replace the items back in the caravan fridge.  At least it wasn’t too far to walk.

Then finally today, two nice young men delivered our new fridge, and took away the dead one – we had worked out that it was about 12 years old.  And the new one has a sign saying “10 Year Warranty” so appliances are not really built to last these days, are they.


New fridge delivered at last

I also had time today to do a quick sewing job for Robin.  He had recently purchased two new pairs of shorts, one pair had belt loops attached and the other hadn't.  “I can add some for you”, I declared.  So I cut and stitched some navy drill fabric into lengths, checked the other pair of shorts for placement, and got stitching.  Just about ran out of navy thread though, but the job got done, and Robin is very thankful.


Making belt loops

Monday, March 8, 2021

Clickity Clack and Earthquakes

I’ve been busy with the needles over the last wee while, and have two knitting finishes to show.  Firstly, my latest pair of socks, this is the first pair I have knitted using 4ply wool (left over from an earlier finish), so I’m really proud of myself.  I used plain burgundy, together with the patterned sock wool, knitting in stripes. 


Stripy burgundy 4ply socks

All my other socks have been made with 12 ply wool (or equivalent) and this is the pair I knitted earlier, knitting together 3 balls of 4 ply wool (burgundy, grey, and multi coloured sock wool) to bring it up to 12 ply for the thicker sock pattern.   For my just finished pair of socks I used the last remaining part ball of  plain burgundy wool, plus the multi coloured sock yarn, knitted in stripes.  How lovely to squeeze another pair of socks from the left over yarn.


Thicker cozy socks, 12 ply

My other knitting finish is a small mat knitted with selvedges on very large needles, a design from Amanda Jean who sadly no longer blogs.  Not easy knitting at all and quite hard on my hands, so I had to pace myself.  I had previously made one of these, and it sits in front of the laundry tub – thought I’d make another as well to ring the changes when the mats gets tossed in the washing machine.  Plus, it was a way of using up some more selvedges.


Knitted selvedge mat

Here in New Zealand we have had some “shake rattle and roll” recently.  Three strong earthquakes took place on Friday– all within less than 8 hours.  The largest quake  was an 8.1 magnitude earthquake whose epicenter lay in the ocean, about 600 miles (965 km) north of New Zealand. It followed two less-strong but still powerful earthquakes – a 7.3 magnitude quake and a 7.4 magnitude quake – in New Zealand.   The earthquakes all took place on the Kermadec Fault, which passes east of New Zealand and stretches northward. Tsunami warnings were issued, and people were urged to “walk, run or cycle” to higher ground to avoid the chance of being stuck in traffic. Many aftershocks occurred, and the evacuation warnings were not lifted until some hours later.  We are so thankful that no damage occurred, it was quite a worrying day, spent glued to the TV news, just in case.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Going Green

This month the colour for those of us working on Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects is green.  After being away on holiday for three weeks, I was more than happy to sit down at my sewing machine and stitch up some RSC blocks.  First up was some easy-peasy flag blocks, to add to my collection.  I started these midway through 2020 so I’m just stitching the colours not already done. 


Green flag blocks

Three pretty little green birds were sewn next, and I enjoyed stitching their little black stick like legs on outside while enjoying the balmy weather.  Believe it or not, our Summer has now turned into Autumn, how did that happen?  Never mind, the Autumn days here are generally warm and mild, with cooler temperatures in the early mornings.  So no need to get out the winter woolies for a while yet.


Three green birds


A colourful flock of little birds

Lastly there were boat blocks to stitch.  Plus some extra blocks this month, as I had a piece of batik fabric featuring green palm trees.  I thought they looked like little tropical islands popping out of the sea,  ready to welcome the sailors ashore to rest under the shady palm trees!  I’m debating with myself whether to add some sand under the trees, above the sea line?  Perhaps I will.


Boats and palm trees

So that’s my green stitching this week – wonder what I’ll do next?

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Happy Mail

The postman delivered me some happy mail today, so much nicer than advertising brochures and bills.  Mary from Mariposa, California, had contacted me recently (through the blog) with a request.  No problem, I was happy that I could help.  A “thank you” note from Mary arrived today, and enclosed were two small hand made gifts – a bookmark and a small scissor pouch. 


Book mark and scissor pouch


And here they are in use, thanks so much, Mary