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

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Caravan Inspired Stitcheries

I always enjoy doing simple stitcheries and I've recently completed two designs from Stitcher’s Revolution Camping Adventures series.


With the stitchery finished, I just needed to add a band of fabric top and bottom of the teatowel, finished off with a row of green ric rac.  This was stitched for our caravan, and I’m very pleased with how it turned out.


Made for our caravan

The next item I stitched was a place mat for our friend Dot’s motor-home.  I finished this with New Zealand fabric featuring our great outdoors, and shows Dot’s  motor-home doing a spot of freedom camping.


Made for Dot

So that is my two finishes, but like many of us, I still have several stitchery projects on the go.  Quilting UFOs and knitting too, but then, I’ll never run out of things to do!

Saturday, October 30, 2021

RSC - One Step Forward

It’s been one step forward and two steps back this week while I’ve been working on my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects.  Firstly, I layered and lightly pinned my boy’s boat donation quilt on the floor, carefully picking it up and spreading it on the glass table out in the patio.  There I sat and put even more pins in it.  Sitting at the table was easier on my back instead of kneeling on the floor inside, as I had first started.  Even so, I still needed a little time out stretched out on the bed to rest my back when I had finished this job.  The joys of getting older!


Pinning the quilt outside in the fresh air and sunshine

It was a day or two later and I decided to start on the machine quilting – wavy lines, I had decided.  It started off well, but then I found that it was getting difficult pushing the quilt through the machine.   I should have stopped once I was having problems, but no, I carried on for several more rows.  Oh dear, just look at those puckers on the back!  There was nothing for it but to start unpicking.  Then I’ll need to smooth it all out again and repin I think.  Bother!


Puckers on the back

Enough was enough, I decided, and put the boats into time out for a while.  Perhaps I’ll work on my birdy quilt instead.  I’ve stitched enough of the little birds and laid them out on the bed, don't they look pretty.


Lots of little birds

I’d started making some nine patch alternate blocks and had a count up to see how many more I needed.  Still about a dozen it seems, so off I headed to the sewing machine.  But…….. what’s wrong now?  As I had appliqued the birds onto 6in squares, my 9 patch strips needed to be cut at 2 1/4in instead of the more usual 2 1/2.  I had forgotten this when I cut another batch of strips.  No wonder they wouldn't fit together, I had some with both sizes.  Bother again!  Out came the unpicker again, then a smidgeon was sliced off the offending pieces and the blocks pinned and reassembled once more.


Making nine patches

That’s enough for today, I’ll do some more stitching tomorrow, and hopefully it will all go together smoothly.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Camping Weekend and a Birthday

A three day weekend away with our caravan club buddies made for a fun weekend.  We traveled to Kaitoke Regional Park, Upper Hutt, a lovely natural area full of camping areas tucked here and there amongst the trees and down by the river bank. and had a very enjoyable and social time indeed.  Most of our caravan club members arrived on Friday afternoon, and we soon settled in to our chosen area.  There were plenty of other groups enjoying this camp too, caravans motorhomes and plenty of tents were erected, we noticed.  Lots of kids on bikes and plenty of dogs too, sadly many of the owners were not obeying the rules and were letting their dogs run free.


Here we are for the weekend

Our Beautiful Birman Gemma is very comfortable being a caravan cat.  When she is not snoozing, she loves to check for birds through the windows.  She spotted two mallard ducks waddling by and got rather excited.  Because of dogs running loose we only took her  outside for short periods and under close control with her harness and lead as we were sitting in our camp chairs.  My main concern was to keep a close watch out for any dogs sneaking around our caravan.


Gemma tucked up in the corner having a snooze

It was my birthday on Saturday so I had taken some goodies to share with everyone for morning tea.  Store bought fruit cake, and some home made ginger crunch slice.  I always double the icing recipe to pour over the ginger slice base, as I like it nice and thick, so yummy.


Birthday morning tea

The Saturday evening bonfire on the river bank was the highlight of the weekend, I thought.  A couple of the men had been down early and manhandled a lot of large rocks to build a fire pit, and we had several bags of  firewood to keep it burning.  And what would a camp fire be without marshmallows to toast?  So delicious!  And ours certainly wasn’t the only fire crackling away, there must have been a dozen or so right along the river bank. As the evening drew to a close I was serenaded with a chorus of Happy Birthday!


Robin toasting some marshmallows

We were all up bright and early the next morning to drive to Aston Norwood for Sunday breakfast.  Very tasty it was too, bacon, eggs – cooked as requested, fried, poached or scrambled,  toast and the best hash brown I had ever encountered! 


Jenny and Robin, Murray and Sue

A while ago we had purchased a container of rather fancy tea, Russian Caravan Tea, which seemed rather fitting.  About time we started using it, I thought, so I brewed a small pot for our breakfast one morning.  Must confess that we generally use tea bags, but this loose tea was delicious.


We had a very busy weekend with lots planned, but I still found time to do a little handwork.  Not much, to be honest, but every little bit helps.  Did a few rows of knitting, and hand stitched the little stick legs and eyes on my latest bunch of  birdy blocks.


More colourful birds

As often happens it started raining on Monday when it was time to pack up and head for home.  Not too hard, just fine misty rain.  We said our goodbyes and off we went on our 110km journey home.  And waiting for me at home were several nice birthday cards, two of them including gift cards to buy myself a birthday treat, and another one with some pretty blue patchwork fabric.  With special phone calls as well, I was well and truly spoilt.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Whisk me Away

It’s Sunday today so you know what that means, Slow Sunday Stitching.  Last week I was enjoying stitching outside in the sunshine, but today it’s wet, rainy and cold, so I’m working away  indoors.  With the heat pump on, and nice and cozy in my Lazyboy (recliner chair), I’m a happy little camper indeed.  I really should be working on my little Christmas blocks  as they are almost done but…………  You know what it’s like, I wanted to start something new.  My plan is to stitch two of these rea towels, one for each (adult) grand-daughter, perhaps they will settle down one day.


The transfer pattern is from Stitcher’s Revolution “Cute Kitchen Sayings”.    There are lots of fun transfers here, and I have seen some done in blogland, including several stitched by Kathy who hosts our Slow Sunday Stitching link-up.


There’s been a little knitting happened during the week.  I finished my half done yellow baby beanie, then cast on a blue one, that got finished two.  So I’ quite pleased with that.  These will go in my donation box.  As it happened the wool was gifted to me as the lady from my knitting group knew I did a little knitting for charity, so I was grateful to get some part balls of yarn for this purpose.


Two little baby beanies

My secret sock knitting is coming along well, so I’m really pleased with my progress on them.  I’ve also some other socks on the needles, and I’m up to the heels on these, so I’ll have to sit quietly and concentrate – heels take a bit of doing, for me, at least.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Sailing the South Pacific Ocean

It was time to assemble my Rainbow Scrap Challenge boat blocks so I decided to try the “webbing” technique I had heard about some time ago.  To begin with, I couldn't get my head around it, so I was a bit late starting this “new to me” idea.  After a bit of pondering, I had it worked out.  Instead of pinning and stitching each long row, as I was used to doing, this way takes in two rows of blocks, folded over, stitched  and not cutting the threads.  I started off vertically, and then stitched across, the webbing holding all the blocks in place.  Hope this makes sense, and I’m sure there will be detailed instructions on U Tube videos.  I certainly found this to be a much easier method and will use it again.


Webbed together vertically, now to stitch each row together

More stitching took place, sewing stints of little and often works well for me and my back at the moment.  But I got there in the end, attaching the borders – all done.  How about a photo shoot on the clothesline outside?


The top completed

With a simple pieced backing made, all I have to do is prepare the binding.  Then get on with layering, pinning and quilting.  One step at a time and it will slowly but surely get done.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Lunch Date and a Finish

Wednesday was Lunch Date.  Some friends had given me a pretty card with some cash as a Get Well gift after my spinal surgery.  To do what I wanted with it, perhaps buy a little something to cheer myself up.  I had decided I would use it to buy lunch for Robin and myself as a treat.


Gift card

So we went out to the local Cossie Club.  The chef was offering a “Covid Lunch Special”  three courses for $16.00 a head.  Excellent value, and I knew it was good as I had dined there the previous week with our monthly Rangeview Ladies lunch group.


What’s on the menu

We enjoyed a bowl of lovely rich tomato soup to start, delicious.  Then I chose pork sirloin and Robin had a home made pork belly pie.  Desserts were from the cabinet, I chose cream caramel, and Robin fancied an apricot and custard tart.  With a beer for him, and a coffee for her, we lunched very well indeed.  Many thanks to my friends for your thoughtful Get Well gift.

I have a finish to show.  Last weekend I was hand stitching the binding down on this donation quilt.  It didn’t take too long to complete this job.


Almost done

There is a story behind this quilt.  I’ve mentioned previously that when my elderly neighbour went into a rest home, her daughter donated me a a couple of cartons filled with Dorothy’s fabric and other bits and pieces.  Inside one of the many plastic bags I found 11 four patch blocks made from Kiwiana fabrics, plus extra pieces.  So I made the last remaining block, assembled the quilt, using some of Dorothy’s batting, and machine quilted it, making use of some variegated thread also from Dorothy’s stash.  The star fabric on the back was also gifted to me, this time by Heather of our Sew Wot’s group, who received a bundle of fabric from a friend of her to share with us.  I think it’s wonderful that all these donations find new homes and get used!  I will be donating this to Foster Hope Charity.



Dorothy’s Kiwiana quilt

I’ve shown this next quilt on a previous blog but forgot to mention that this was another of Dorothy’s creations.  Tucked away in one of the cartons was this little quilt top made of nine patch blocks and hand appliqued hearts.  I added two borders, layered and machine quilted it in a spiral design, as I really wanted to be sure that those heart blocks were secure.  This will also be donated to Foster Hope.


A little girl’s cot quilt

Included in the fabric I received was quite a lot of kiddie/juvenile fabric, so handy for donation quilts and bags.  It will keep me going for ages! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Sew Wot Tuesday

There was just four of us on Tuesday at our Sew Wots get-together at Helen’s rural property.   Not that it mattered, there was still plenty of chatter going on.  When I arrived, she was showing Heather around her garden.  The wind was howling, but it couldn't blow away all the glorious bird song.  Helen has several kowhai trees laden with hanging yellow blossoms,  and they certainly attract the birds with their nectar, she said.

There was an array of goodies laid out on the coffee table, give-aways donated to our Sew Wot ladies to look through and take home.   I decided to rehome a book on applique quilts for children, this will come in handy for a donation quilt or two, and I also spied a pretty little applique and embroidery pattern.   I had taken along some give-aways too, some crotchet cotton which I will never use, and a bag of partially assembled  nine patch blocks, and was pleased to see both of these items going to a new home.


My selection from the “please take me home” table

Helen was working on her hand pieced black and white quilt top, which was looking good!  She certainly has more patience than me don't really think I would be trying this at all.


Heather knitting socks and Helen with her hand piecing all ready to work on


Helen’s hand pieced beauty

Sandra had a huge ball of wool and was busy working on a cozy blanket, and I was knitting too.


Sandra knitting a blanket

Morning tea is always an important part of our Sew Wot mornings, and was delicious, as always.  It’s not as if we are starving hungry, but once it is put in front of you, we have to have a taste test, don't we!


Time for Morning Tea

I had mentioned when I arrived that I had driven along Helen’s rural road with a truck right behind me, always a bit daunting when you are in a little car.  Luckily I had no such issues on my return drive home.  Thanks so much Helen, for hosting a lovely morning.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Knitting and Stitching in the Sunshine

Sunday morning looked promising, blue skies and sunshine, so I decided to spend a bit of time outside on the patio.  Perhaps a little knitting to start with, I thought.  My secret socks are coming along well, but no photo opportunities for them.  Instead I did some knitting on a pretty yellow baby beany, using some yarn gifted to me recently.


Another baby beany

My hand stitching consisted of stitching the binding down on a child’s donation quilt, so I happily sat outside and worked on that for a while.  But then the wind got up, and the temperatures dropped, so I moved back inside.  Spring weather is rather temperamental here in New Zealand.


Hand stitching the binding

I hope to have this job finished soon, then I can show you the front of the quilt.  The green and gold star fabric used on the back was a donation looking for a good home, brought along to the Sew Wots by Heather one morning.  Thanks so much Heather, it looks good on the back of this quilt.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Green Stitching for RSC

Its time to do some green stitching this week on my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects.  Not necessarily lime green, as suggested, although that polka dot fabric looks suspiciously limey, but other various shades as well were  in my 4 patch blocks.  Two large blocks and two framed blocks were completed today.


4 patch variations

Next I stitched two strip blocks, and found a little lime green to add to the green block.  A burgundy one came into being as well, purely because I had found a handful of burgundy strips in the bag.


And this is what I have made so far, five blocks in all.  Don’t they look nice together!


Five string blocks so far

I mustn't forget about my other RSC projects, the little birds and the flag blocks.  I’ll have to check them out soon.  And then……. I know I’ve still got some unfinished RSC 2020 projects hanging about in bags – oh dear, so easy to start these projects, but harder to finish!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Donations, Lunch and Hospital Visit

We had a busy old day last week, heading off to Palmerston North, clutching a “To Do” list in my hand.  First on the list was was to drop off my current donations for the Foster Hope Charity, which looks after children in foster care.  The drop off point is in a lawyers office in Palmy where one of staff is the local co-ordinator.  The office is situated on the 1st floor, with no lift available, so I had to struggle up the stairs with my walking stick, goodness knows how really old and infirm people get on when they want to visit this office.  I handed my bag of donations over to the receptionist, (girl’s cot quilt and 10 draw string bags) then hobbled back down the stars again, job number one done and ticked off the list.



Donations for Foster Hope

With a couple of other jobs done we then went for an early lunch, a Chinese buffet at Chinatown. Always good value for money, and plenty of choices.


Lunch at Chinatown

Then on to the main reason for the trip, my follow-up appointment with the neurosurgical team after my spinal surgery back in May.  I had been for a MRI several weeks ago, so they had an up-to-date picture of my spine.  Things are progressing well, I was told, so well that they won’t want to see me for another 12 months, and will order a further MRI prior to this appointment.  They showed me a picture of my spinal cord prior to surgery, and I could clearly see the fistula snaking forwards and back across my spinal cord about six times in a row, this was putting pressure and squeezing causing me all kinds of problems.  I am just so thankful this condition was finally diagnosed and the surgery was so successful. 


In Palmerston North Hospital

Saturday, October 2, 2021

RSC – new month, new colour

The months are running away, September has disappeared and now it is October, and before we know it, Christmas will be here.  That’s a scary thought, isn’t it?.  With a new month comes a new colour for those taking part in Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects.  This month the suggested colours are lime green or neutrals. 

I had a count up of my little boat blocks, laid them out to see how I was going.  Mmm, I need five more, I decided, to give me a nice sized boy’s donation quilt.  So I made one extra whale tail block, and four more neutral coloured boats.


Five more blocks required

Then I made two more string pieced blocks, trying to use  up some of those never ending strings which seem to accumulate and multiply.  I stitched one block in neutrals and one in black and white – these will go nicely with the orange block I made last month.  This project is a late starter and will carry over to next year.


Two more string blocks

So that’s what I’ve done this week.  Perhaps I’ll stitch some green four patch blocks next week, or then again, I’m sure I need to make a few more of my birdy blocks,  I’ll wait and see how that works out.  Many thanks to Angela for hosting this link-up each week, I always enjoy seeing what the other participants have been getting up to with their RSC stitching.