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

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Weekend in the Country

Last weekend was spent with our caravan club friends camped at a local dairy farm.


Each day the cows walked along the cattle race to the milking shed,one after the other.  There were plenty of newly weaned heifer calves which came rushing over to the fence, just in case we had some extra food or attention to give them.  And what about this big fellow resting under the shelter – he is sure the Dad of these calves.


Baby heifers and a very large bull

As we were staying on a dairy farm, Rally Captain Dennis had organised a milking competition for us.  Just as well that a real cow was not used as some of the contestants certainly had rough hands indeed.  Poor old “Daisy” had four legs, a tail, and an udder made from a rubber glove – I’m sure she would be mooing in desperation from the treatment she received from the less than gentle townies.  The winners were Murray and Val, who obtained the largest quantity of “milk” actually water, in the allotted time.


Murray and Val, holding their winners cup, with Daisy

Sunday was Anzac Day – 25th April marks the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand soldiers – the Anzacs – on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. The aim was to capture the Dardanelles and open a sea route to the Bosphorus and the Black Sea.  The Anzacs were courageous and although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy. With the coming of the Second World War, Anzac Day also served to commemorate the lives of Australians and New Zealanders who died in that war.  The meaning of Anzac Day today includes the remembrance of all from both countries killed in military operations.  Our group attended a 5.00pm Service at Otaki Cemetery.


Anzac Day Service at Otaki Cemetery

The afternoon service was well attended , and many people wore their own or family medals, plus red poppies.  We watched as members of the Air Force Corps marched  to the flag pole, the flag was lowered, ceremonially folded then presented back to the Otaki RSA representative.  The haunting sounds of a single bagpipe, and a lone bugler playing The Last Post, together with the recitation of The Creed made it a very moving remembrance service indeed.

Our day ended with a meal out together at Curry Town in Otaki.  Have to admit that we are not great Indian cuisine lovers so this was an experience for us.  We checked through the menu and professed to our dining companions that we didn’t really know the difference between a Rogan Josh, Korma or Tikka.  Eventually we made up our minds and placed our orders.  The food was nice, and the surroundings were very pleasant, and it goes without saying that the company was wonderful.


Dinner at Curry Town

It was a great rally, and Anzac Biscuits were shared for Morning Tea.  Some went on the bush walk through a lovely stand of native trees, protected and fenced off from the stock.  Sadly, the pair of us decided against taking part, with Robin’s bad knees and my bad back it all seemed a bit too hard for us both.  Never mind, we had enjoyed this walk last time we stayed here.

The only stitching I have done lately is to repair the lining in my hand bag.  After searching high and low for my keys, I finally discovered that they had slipped through a small hole in the lining.  So I had to carefully retrieve them, then set to and repair the hole.  Has this ever happened to you?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Gemma, Phillip and Me

It’s hard to believe that our little Gemma turned three over the weekend.  No, we didn’t bake a cake, but she had her favourite “Jimbos” meat for dinner that night.


Birman cats are very playful, and she has been spending time with her “knitting”  a length of leftover yarn from a project.  She carries it around in her mouth, lays on her back and attacks with her feet, having a fine old time.


Gemma with her knitting yarn

I’ve just finished making her a belated birthday gift, aa little grey mouse.  This is obviously related to “The Three Blind Mice” as it has neither eyes or a nose.  But her new mousie has two cute little ears and a nice plaited tail, so I hope she likes it.  Gemma is tucked up fast asleep at the moment, so when she awakes I’m going to spray her new toy with catnip spray and sees what she thinks of it.  She often dunks her toys in her water bowl when she has finished playing with thhem, for whatever reason!


Gemma’s new toy

Gemma’s birthday coincided with Prince Phillip’s funeral service, so we spent some time in front of the TV watching that.  (Robin had our NZ flag at half mast as a sign of respect).  For those from overseas, New Zealand is a Commonwealth country and Queen Elizabeth is our Head of State, and we are governed by our own parliament.

And for an update on my back problem – I met up with the Neurosurgeon last week.  He told me that the more simple vascular treatment which was first discussed was not now an option, but instead I would need surgery – within the next four weeks.  I am so pleased that this will soon be taking place, as I have been told if this problem is left untreated I would end up in a wheelchair.  So it’s quite serious, no wonder I’m having trouble standing and walking.  At the moment I’m trying to take things easy and rest my back as much as I can, but you can't stay off your feet all day long, can you.  Luckily sitting doesn’t cause me any problems, so I can knit, stitch, read, and even spend a little time at the sewing machine, as long as I don't overdo things.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

More Blue Sewing

I’ve had a little time this week to do some more blue sewing on my RSC projects – blue is the chosen colour for the month.  Delving into my bag of batik fabrics, I found some pale blue to make several more Cobblestone blocks – these are very simple to cut and stitch.  And will be added to the green and pink ones previously stitched.


Blue Cobblestone blocks

More simple blocks were next in line.  I made some blue four patches and some little “flip and sew” flag blogs to add to my collection, very easy stitching indeed.  I’m thinking about stitching four of the four patches together to make a sixteen patch – or maybe not, I’ll have to think about it.


Four patches and Flag blocks

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Sew Wot Tuesday

It was my turn to host the Sew Wot ladies this week, and there was a merry band of six of us.  Mary had brought along some freshly picked apples from her trees, so bags of apples were passed around to us all, many thanks Mary.  And I had some quilting goodies to give away and had them laid out on the table, thanks to the stash from my next door neighbour who has recently moved into a rest home.  I’m still slowly going through several bags of “stuff” which Dorothy’s daughter passed over to me when she was cleaning out her Mum’s sewing room.  Helen settled down to stitch, and everyone else was busy knitting.


Heather, Helen and Sandra

Gemma was really misbehaving when the visitors arrived, running around like a cat possessed, jumping up here and there, poking her nose into everyone’s bags, and chewing some dangling knitting wool.  It was rather like a naughty child when visitors arrive, showing off and getting in everyones way.  She attacked the dangly toy hanging from her tunnel, and pulled it right off, and eventually curled up in the box on her tower.  Usually she is very quiet and snoozes most of the day away.


Worn out at last

Of course we had show and tell, it’s always exciting to see what the ladies have been working on.  Helen had finished the little jerkin she showed us last time, it now has pockets and buttons.  She has made several of these over the years for her grandsons, she told us, and they are knitted in machine washable wool, so that is a bonus for busy Mums.  Its a great design for little boys, and will keep them warm as another layer over cozy winter clothing.


Knitted jerkin for Helen’s young grandson

Carol showed us her just finished quilt top.  She had seen a photo of this on the internet and sat down and worked out how to make it – that’s clever, I thought.  And then Heather showed her “Circle of Friends” finished with a pretty paisley border.


Made by Carol and Heather


And for something a little different, Sandra had some pretty cards she had made.

As for me, I had made two more draw string bags for donation, made from some of Dorothy's fabric, and both with a New Zealand theme.  The purply one features fantails, one of our pretty native birds, and the green one was made from a scrap of colourful sheep fabric.  We have lots of sheep on farms here, just not looking quite like these cheeky ones.


And I got to show my recently finished Checkerboard quilt.  And just to confirm how kind quilters are, the yellow spotty backing (and a whole heap of other fabric) was given to Heather some time ago to share with the Sew Wot ladies.  I thought it was perfect for the back of this quilt.  The bags and quilt will be going to Foster Hope charity, for children in foster care.


Checkerboard quilt

Morning Tea is always an important part of our get-togethers, after all, we are not called the “Eat A Lots” by Helen’s hubby for nothing.  Oh dear, I must admit that I had an oops in my baking, I’d made some chocolate Afghan biscuits (with cornflakes) but obviously the mixture was too soft and they ran everywhere.  Of dear, but I came up with Plan B and whipped up an unbaked slice to take the place of the Afghan biscuits.  Together with a fruit cake, and sandwiches, there was plenty of goodies to go around.  Sadly with my current back problem it is very hard for me to stand at the kitchen bench (and walking) so a lot of the food prep was done with me sitting down at the table, carrying ingredients over.  Guess my mind wasn’t quite in a baking frame of mind.  Many thanks to Sandra and the other ladies for helping with the hot drinks and clearing up afterwards.

It was so nice to see everyone here and catch up with all the news.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

RSC Finish from 2020

I’ve been working off and on over the last wee while machine quilting one of last years RSC projects, made with Checkerboard blocks.  This was a nice easy block to construct, and I enjoyed stitching several blocks each month in the nominated colour.  In between my quilting sessions, Gemma has been helping by holding the WIP down to stop it escaping.  Or maybe it’s just been a cozy place for her to settle down.


Gemma minding the quilt

With the quilting finally complete (it took me ages as I needed to pace myself) it was time to stitch the binding on.  But where was the binding – I knew I had prepared it earlier and put it away safely.  There it was, in the second place I looked, so I didn’t have to panic too much.  I always like to get the binding prepared ahead of time.    Then I settled down outside enjoying the mild Autumn weather and hand stitched the binding down.


Binding time

With that job complete I had to get a damp cloth to get all the cat hair off the black borders.  Hair from a Birman cat is extremely fine, and floats around in the air, and it is so noticeable on black fabric.  There, all done, now for a photo.  This quilt will be donated to Foster Hope Charity, and I’m going to ask for it to go to an older boy, or teenager.


Checkerboard quilt

Friday, April 9, 2021

And this week……

Its been another busy week – I’ve been doing a bit of this, and a bit of that.  I’m sure I've told you that it is Autumn here in my part of paradise, so it was high time to get my little hand stitched Autumn wall-hanging up on the wall.  It’s not new so no doubt you have seen it before.  The bald eagles from Juneau, Alaska,  also got a time out of the cupboard - I had purchased this kit from the local quilt shop in Juneau.  We enjoyed a week or so staying there way back when and we were astounded to see so many eagles around – they are such amazing birds.


A change for Autumn

This season is quite changeable, it can be very mild, or turn rather chilly - every day the temperatures can be different.  I’ve made my first pot of soup for the season, after making some stock from the remains of a chicken carcass cooked in the crock pot.  Then with the additions of veggies and a small handful of split peas and barley, it was a very tasty soup indeed.  I love home made soup for lunch, how about you?


Home made chicken soup

We took a trip to hospital the other day as Robin was due to have a procedure done.  I left him in the capable hands of the medical staff for several hours and took myself off to the hospital café – such a long walk down this corridor and that one, and around several corners.  With my current back problem making walking difficult, I’m pleased I had the walking stick to rely on, I certainly needed the support.  I was soon comfortably settled with a sandwich and coffee, my book, and some stitching, together with the cell phone handy waiting for the call to return and collect Robin after his procedure was complete.  I was stitching away when a man approached me, commenting that his wife does cross stitch too.  My project was a stitchery, but I’m not sure if he knew what I was talking about.  This man was a Health Shuttle driver, as Robin is too, and the shuttle takes patients from our home town up to the Palmerston North Hospital for appointments.  And although they hadn't met he had seen Robin’s name on the roster sheet.  What a small world!


Settling down to wait

Today was a nice sunny day and we spent an hour or so outside under the Archgola.  It’s so nice to make the most of these mild Autumn days before the winter weather arrives.   Now daylight saving has finished, the evenings get darker so much earlier – so we settle down to a bit of TV.  Gemma didn’t want to miss out either, she can keep an eye on the pair of us from up there.


Sunday, April 4, 2021

Slow Stitching over Easter

I have to admit that I’ve been rather slow working on this project, “All Through the Night” by Bonnie Sullivan.  The first three blocks are completed – however I’ve worked on several more of these blocks when I had the correct coloured thread on the needle.  And I’ve also got a couple of other stitchery projects started, just can’t seem to help myself!


Three blocks done

We decided to stay home for Easter this year instead of heading away in our caravan, I’m getting over my recent procedure and Robin has an appointment straight after Easter.  Reflecting back, we were home over Easter last year (2020), because of New Zealand being in lockdown.  Never mind, I’m sure there will be plenty more caravan trips to look forward to.   But I’ve been keeping creative,  spending time at the sewing machine, and doing a little knitting too.

The roads were very busy when we took a trip to Foxton on Saturday morning to visit the museum Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom.   Caravan club member Sue was taking part in an exhibition with her art group, so we went along to check it out.  And there she was, working on a commission.  All the artists had work on display and we had a lovely time admiring the different styles on show.  I particularly loved the New Zealand scenes, mountains, rivers, farmland and the like.


Sue and some of her work

It was a lovely day indeed in Foxton, calm and sunny, and at Sue’s suggestion we had a light lunch at Sweet Dreams Café sitting outside under the sun shade.  This gave us ample opportunity for “people watching” as there were streams of visitors walking up and down the foot path, and coming into the café too.


Lunch at Sweet Dreams.

Today, Sunday, it is quite a bit cooler, so much so that I’ve decided that wearing three quarter length summer trousers is not a good idea any more.  So it’s long trousers today, and my feet are keeping warm clad in my hand knitted blue wooly  socks.  Mind you, our Daylight Saving Time has just finished, so the nights will be getting darker much earlier.


Warm feet make me happy

The Easter Bunny didn’t come calling to our home this year, we obviously weren’t on his list.  So  we have missed out on marshmallow eggs and on a recent trip to the supermarket we couldn't track down a single Crème Egg.  Just as well we have a packet or two of Hot Cross Buns to enjoy, plus an iced gingerbread bunny each.


We nibbled on these gingerbread Easter Bunnies

Happy Easter to all, and if you are traveling on the busy roads this long Easter Weekend, safe travels.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Little Blue Birds

It’s time for some more Rainbow Scrap Challenge stitching organised by Angela of So Scrappy, and the colour this month is blue.  I’ve several monthly RSC projects on the go and so far I’ve stitched my allotted blocks for two of them which will eventually be donation quilts for children.  Firstly I appliqued three little blue birds, then sat and stitched their legs and eyes on.  “Look how skinny those birds legs are”, Robin commented – well, I told him, they are tiny birds so skinny little legs are fine for them. 


Three little blue birds


The little blue birds couldn’t wait to join the rest of the flock

Next I worked on boats for the boy’s quilt, and made four of these.  I also altered the three green palm tree blocks I had stitched last month, and the trees are now standing at the edge of a South Sea Island.


Boats and palm trees

Our Birman cat Gemma is rather partial to birds too, and spends a lot of her time looking out the window just in case some birds appear.  When she spots any birds outside on the grass, she makes funny little chirruping noises in excitement!  We leave the venetian blinds lifted up off the carpet so she can peep out unhindered, or relax in the window as the sun streams in.  Cats certainly have a great life, don't they.


Any birds out there?