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

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Blue Cobblestones and Sea Creatures

My sewing machine came back from it’s service so I’ve done some RSC stitching this week, just taking my time over several days.  My cobblestone strips of blue and cream were cut one day, assembled over the next day or two.  Nice easy blocks to put together, and they always look so good, I think.  I don't have all the colours of the rainbow in my big bag of batiks, so I'm just using what colours I have.


Blue and cream cobblestone blocks

You may remember that I’ve also been stitching simple little boat blocks for a boys donation quilt for RSC as well.  This time, instead of stitching more blue boats, I stitched some sea creatures instead.  After a look on Mr Google, I found a design to trace for a whale and dolphins frolicking in the sea.


Applique blocks to go with my boat blocks

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Cutting and a Camping Trip Catch Up

So what have I been doing lately?  Cutting some strips to work on my RSC Cobblestone blocks.   Blue is the nominated colour this month so I dug into my bag of batiks to see what I could find.   I do my cutting out on top of the chest freezer, which is just the right height for this job.  But like most jobs these days I have to pace myself so that I don’t affect the muscles on my back.  Just a little at a time and I get there.


Cutting strips for cobblestone blocks

Now for a bit of a catch-up about our caravan trip the other weekend.  Not too far away, just up to Foxton Beach with the caravan club members.  On Friday evening we went down town to view the light show celebrating Matariki, the Maori New Year.  According to the legend, the star Matariki is the whaea (mother), surrounded by her six daughters. Matariki and her daughters journey across the sky each year to visit Papatūānuku, their earth mother.  During this visit, each of the stars help the earth mother to prepare for the year to come, and  they also learn new skills and gain new knowledge from her, which they guard and pass on to others.  Matariki has different names around the world, it is also known by its ancient Greek name, Pleiades or the Seven Sisters.

Crowds gathered in the courtyard surrounding the Dutch windmill, lit up with ever changing colours.   We found some seats and sat and watched, thankful that we had our winter coats on during the chilly evening.  There was also a slide show playing on the large windows of the museum, showing scenes of the early days of Foxton.  The food trucks were doing a roaring trade, and we indulged in some tasty donuts covered in cinnamon and sugar, so warm and tasty.  WE finished our evening stopping off to buy some fish and chips to eat back in camp.


Light show at Foxton

The Rally Captains had organised a busy afternoon for us all the following day, we met at the the local museum, “Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom” for a guided tour.  This museum is a collaboration between the Maori people, the Dutch immigrants and the Council, and has displays on both the early Maori settlement and information about the Dutch immigrants who arrived to settle in  New Zealand after WW11.  This is the only facility in the country which has info boards in three languages, Maori, Dutch and English, we were told.


Maori Meeting House

Foxton was a thriving town in the early years.  With flax growing naturally it was harvested and made into rope, sacking and mats.  Prior to the Europeans settling, the local Maori people used the bounty of flax to make all sorts of items for daily use, including baskets and sleeping mats.  The river (now silted up) ran alongside the town and was a hive of activity with ships coming and going.


Flax cutters

Our guide then took us around to the Dutch area of the museum.  The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman is officially recognised as the first European to 'discover' New Zealand in 1642. Nazi Germany overran the Netherlands during WW11, nd the country and civilians were devastated.  At the end of the war housing was poor, the economy in tatters, and people left in droves for a fresh start, mainly settling in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.  The new immigrants brought what furnishings they could with them to start their new life, to remind them of home. 



Treasures from home

I was delighted to find a gorgeous cross stitch “Months of the Year” hanging on display.  Such a lot of work but is was sure to bring a lot of comfort to the maker as she stitched away.


A beautiful piece

The weather worsened during the weekend, the rain came down and the strong  wind buffeted the vans all night.  We would just nod off and then, shake rattle and roll, more gusts hit us, it was not a pleasant night at all.  The ground was sodden as we packed up after morning tea and headed for home.  But the company was great, and there was plenty to keep us busy during the weekend.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Sew Wot Tuesday

How long has it been since I was able to attend a Sew Wot Tuesday, I wonder?  Not sure, but much too long.  So I had a lovely morning on Tuesday, meeting up with the ladies again, this time at Helen’s home in the country.  And I got to thank them in person for the texts, phone calls, cards and visits I received when I returned home from hospital.  It was Sandra’s birthday, and she had presents galore to open, so many exciting parcels.


Happy Birthday Sandra

There were all sorts of goodies for us to pick through, and take home.  I had brought along several small bags of bits and pieces I had received when my neighbour moved into a rest home.  And Heather had received a box of donations, including many hand made doilies,  to share with us.


Looking for new homes

It’s always nice to see the Show and Tell.  Both Helen and I had been knitting beanies.  Helen’s tiny ones are going to babies in the Wanganui Hospital Neonatal Unit, and my two larger ones will be sent to Foster Hope charity.


We’ve been knitting beanies

Several of the ladies had been taking part in stitching a mystery quilt, organised by Mary.  Carol chose brown and yellow, and Mary’s version was in purples.  Then Helen showed us her pink version, this one is going to her friend in a rest home.


Carol and Mary’s quilt tops


Helen’s version in pink

Heather was working on a special quilt, stitching the binding down on a 21st birthday quilt for her grand-daughter, who loves polar bears.  She also made a lap quilt from the leftover pieces of fabric.



21st birthday quilts

There were two more quilts being worked on, the same but different.  Both Mary and Helen were hand piecing “Where’s Wally” a pattern found in a quilt magazine. Mary’s version is being done in pinks and purples, and Helen chose black and white.


Two versions of Where’s Wally

While we were chatting away, stitching and knitting, and doing show and tell, Carol’s grand-daughter Sarah was quietly sitting cross legged on the floor (you can tell she is young and flexible) assembling a model telephone.  Lots of small pieces which slotted in together, and there we go, all done!  Doesn't it look great!


Sarah and her creation

It was so nice to be back with the Sew Wots again, “we’ve missed you”, they said.  And it goes without saying that we had a wonderful spread for morning tea, thanks so much Helen for a lovely morning.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

A Couple of Firsts

It was an exciting morning today, when I drove the car down to an appointment, after not driving for several months because of my back problems.  Just a short drive, but very successful.  I had an appointment with my oncologist as a follow up on my breast cancer five years ago, all remaining well, I’m pleased to say.  And I’m forever grateful to the wonderful Dr Claire, as she was the one who ordered me an MRI which pin pointed my compressed spinal cord condition, and then referred me to the neurosurgical team.

The other first was a trip to the supermarket, something I hadn't been able to manage for quite some time.  All I can say is that I’m pleased I had my walker to get around on, and I really needed a cuppa and a lie down when we got back home!  While I had been absent from supermarket duties over the last couple of months the shop has had quite a makeover, with all fridges and freezers replaced.  And just to keep the shoppers on their toes, many items are not where they used to be, now placed somewhere completely different.

I decided that now was a good time to get my sewing machine serviced, as I was having a little trouble sitting comfortably at the machine.  So my Bernina has been away in the care of Barry, and will come back soon as good as new after the annual service.

So while it has been away, I’ve been cutting fabric for a couple of new projects, and done a little more knitting.  There are a couple of cot quilts I need to get pinned up reading for machine quilting, but I don’t think my back is quite up at all that bending and stretching just yet.  I’ve also rediscovered my stitchery projects – there were four of these tucked away in the bag.  Two for gifts and two for me, so I really should get busy and get the two gift projects finished.

Another trip was to get our second Covid vaccination.  We were warned that some people will get a reaction, rather like flu symptoms, but both of us were fine.  There, all done now but…….. we heard on the news that maybe a third dose will be needed later on, we will have to wait and see.  Not that we will have a problem with that, in fact, I imagine the Covid jab will probably become an annual vaccination, just like the flu jab we get each year.

After long last we are going away for a weekend caravan club rally, it’s been a while since we were able to attend.  Robin is champing at the bit, he really enjoys his time away in the caravan.  And it will be a nice change of scene for Gemma as well, she is a well seasoned caravan cat indeed.  Meanwhile, she has been tucked up inside  keeping herself warm while the rain is coming down in buckets.


Curled up on her cat tower

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Little Blue Birds

This week for RSC stitching I made three more little birds, this time in dark blue.  In an effort not to strain my back I’ve been sitting at the sewing machine for 10 minutes only at a time.  And trying hard to remember not to lean forward but sit up straight with my back hard up against the seat back, not easy after leaning forward  into my machine for all these years.  With the little birds done, it took just a short time stitching on their legs while sitting comfortably in my Lazy Boy chair.


Three blue birds

Then it was time for the new birds to mix and mingle with the other colourful members of the flock.  It’s growing nicely.


Being mid-winter, the weather has been rather chilly so its been good to spend time inside as I have been pottering around.  It’s taken a while, but Gemma has just decided she rather enjoys curling up on top of the “faux” polar bear throws on our recliner chairs.  Her colour is  almost blended in as she has a little snooze.


Nice and cozy

Sunday, July 4, 2021

A Little Slow Stitching

It’s been quite a slow week all round as far as slow stitching goes.  All I’ve got to show for it is working on my Bonnie Sullivan pre-printed Christmas designs.  I’ve been stitching lots of little red holly berries along the panel.  When all the stitching is complete I have to decide whether to assemble each one as little cushions to hang off a wreath, or maybe make a small wall-hanging.


Stitching red berries

I’ve also been doing some sock knitting, and have two pair on the go.  A thick blue pair for me, and a much finer 4ply pair of “secret socks” for my grand daughter.  Today I’m wearing my favourite pair of hand knitted socks, pretty in pink and lilac, they are keeping my toes nice and warm.  This sock wool sells for about $30 a ball here in New Zealand, so they are not cheap at all.  But I loved knitting them and seeing the colours emerge, and love wearing them too, so it was well worth the cost.


My favourite socks

It’s just as well I had plenty of hand knitted wooly socks in my drawer last week when the polar blast from Antarctica  rolled up the country.  This week we have had some lovely calm and sunny days, cooler temps starting with frosty mornings.  Thank goodness for the heat pump.  There is a sprinkling of snow on the Tararua Ranges behind our home, no doubt there will be heavier falls as the winter season continues.