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

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Birthday Cushion for Dot

It was our friend Dot’s 75th Birthday today and a several of us were meeting her for a birthday lunch.  Now, where was that parcel I had wrapped and carefully put away?

P1000840

All wrapped up and ready for gifting

We met in a local café, four of us.  Dot as the guest of honour, Thelma, Annette and myself.  Sadly,I forgot to get a group photo of us all.  Here is the birthday girl with her goodies.  Dot was a little overwhelmed but as I said to her, turning 75 is certainly something to celebrate!

P1000845

Happy 75th Birthday, Dot

So what was in the parcels?  Annette had given her a pretty lace covered coat-hanger, just the thing to keep those slippery clothes hanging nicely.  It was interesting that most of us commented that we had the knitting pattern for this, but had never got around to knitting one yet!

P1000849

From Annette

From the size and shape of the parcel, Dot had guessed that I had made her a cushion, but didn't really know what the design was.  It was a cat cushion depicting her Birman cat Honey – this was made for her to use in her motorhome.  Honey is a seal point Birman just like our Gemma.

P1000847

Birman birthday cushion

This is the same design I used in my Colourpoint Cats quilt, and had the idea to make an extra block in dark brown for Dot’s upcoming big birthday.  I completed the cushion a few months ago so it has been ready and waiting for a while.  We had a lovely lunch together, and it was wonderful to celebrate Dot’s big day with her.

These cats were stitched each month during 2020 as part of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing.  They were a little tricky and time consuming,  but stitching one each month made them achievable.  My quilt was beautifully machine quilted by Linda Bishop, and I just love the texture of her wonderful hand guided quilting.

P1010355

Colourpoint Cats

Sunday, December 4, 2022

It must be in the Genes

I’m delighted that my daughter Nicky has taken up sewing with a vengeance lately, and also enjoying doing some hand work.  Now that she as a light airy dedicated sewing room she has been doing such a lot.   She is happy to take any sewing related items off my hands, she said, so I have passed over all sorts of things, buttons, beads, lace, balls of crochet cotton I had accumulated, even feathers which I had purchased for goodness knows what, some time ago.  Plus quite a few crochet hooks which I had gathered up over the years and never ever used.   She likes to make dress up items for Art Deco weekends so I’m sure she will find a use for these items.

While rummaging around recently I came across four white hankies with fine holes stitched around the edges (I'm sure there is a name for this) to do a crotched edge.  Nicky recently taught herself to crochet so I asked if she would be interested in taking them off my hands.  My mother used to do this many years ago and I was always going to learn…… someday.  Within a couple of weeks the hankies started arriving in the post.  Here are the first two, such beautiful fine work, and she is self taught by watching videos.

P1000776

Two hankies done

And seemingly in no time at all, number three and four arrived, with the message that she had really enjoying doing the edges.  I’m really thrilled that she did this for me.

P1000806

Edging on four hankies done

But that’s not all, included in the items I had passed on her her a while ago were four stamped cross stitch table mats.  Once again, something I was going to get around to doing.  Probably highly unlikely as I have only ever attempted one cross stitch item before, and that was about 30 years ago!  At our pre-Christmas family lunch last weekend she presented these table mats to me, all finished.

P1000807

P1000808

Four cross stitched table mats

If I’m honest I would have to say that Nicky didn't inherit her crotchet and cross stitch skills from me.  She does some dressmaking these days, but is not interested in knitting or quilting.  In her younger years she made gorgeous smocked dresses for her girls, and stitched me a lovely smocked nightie for my 50th birthday.  She has tried her hand at Hardanger, woodwork, and stained glass too, and makes her own soap and cleaning products.  OK, I’ll admit it – she is much cleverer than me!

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Happy Blocks for RSC

During the year I’ve been stitching the easy Happy Blocks using a pile of donated squares from my neighbour.  Dorothy had such a lot of 5 inch squares that I sorted them into colours, and separated any designs I could use for donation quilts for children.

This quilt features blocks which would appeal to a young boy – wild animals, dogs, sport, music, boats, travel, that sort of thing.  I had to find a few extra squares from my stash to give me the required number of squares.  Each month when the Raibow Scrap Challenge  colour of the month was announced, I selected suitable squares, rummaged around to find some co-ordinating strips, and soon had them stitched up.

P1030381P1030776-640x480

Red and yellow/gold Happy Blocks

This week I’ve had all the blocks laid out on my design bed, rearranged them several times, then got stitching.   For once Gemma didn't jump up on the bed to help, she must have been snoozing somewhere and didn't realize what I was getting up to. I really like using the webbing method, I know it’s been around for a while, but as usual, I was late to the party.  In fact it took me a while to get it clear in my head, but now I know what I’m doing.  With the blocks all webbed then stitched together, I added borders, and the top was complete.

P1000825

The top is done

I always like to get the binding done early so it is ready and waiting.  Scrappy brown and tan binding I decided, using up a fat quarter of an unloved cream and brown print which I knew I would never use.  Then I added several scraps and strips to make it long enough – a good way to use up some of those small pieces hanging about.  The binding is pressed and neatly rolled up, joining other bindings in a basket till required.

P1000839

Scrappy binding done

I've really enjoyed making these Happy Blocks this year, and have found enough kiddies prints to make one for a boy and a girl next year for my Rainbow Scrap Stitching sewing.  I’ll be starting a little later than usual next year as we will be doing a long caravan trip and I won’t be taking my sewing machine with me.  But I’ll certainly be reading the RSC link-up each week in the New Year to see what projects everyone else is starting.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Sew Wot Christmas Lunch

It’s that time of the year when all the end of year functions happen.  We gathered at The Emporium for our last Sew Wot get-together of the year, our Christmas Lunch and gift swap.  The Emporium has a pretty little gift shop in front of the café, so we all had a browse around, looking for a bargain or two.

P1000810 P1000811

Lots of gift items on display

It was so nice that everyone could make it on the day, and we also welcomed former member Moira who joined us for lunch.  The menu was studied, we made our choices, and there was plenty of chatter going on while we waited for our meals.  Helen had brought along some Show and Tell, made from a kits she purchased at Symposium.  These clever little race tracks had pockets for little cars and rolled up for ease of carrying.  She had made two, one blue and one green, just the thing for the little boys to take on a car journey, Helen declared.

P1000812

Helen’s race track and cars

Then the food arrived – as usual I had dithered long and hard over what to order, should I have the hot cakes, macaroni cheese, or maybe the quiche?  Why oh why is it so difficult for me to decide?  In the end I chose something completely different, leek and potato soup, plus a piece of chocolate cake.  My reasoning was if I was “only” having soup, I really needed a piece of cake too!  As it happened, my soup was so nice and thick, and served with toast, I didn't have any room for the cake at all.  That came home with me to share with Robin after dinner. 

P1000813

My lunch, soup and toast

Not so Jude, she had no trouble at all eating her ice-cream sundae.She didn't let it beat her!

P1000814

Just look at that!

With our meals over, it was time for the gifts.  The basket was passed around ad we each chose a parcel, how exciting!  The theme this year was to make a serviette holder.

P1000815

Pass the parcel

And this was in my parcel, made by Sandra, thanks so much.

P1000817P1000823

Thank you Sandra

Heather picked my parcel, I made the little pouch from a black batik fabric and found some pretty floral serviettes to pop inside, plus a little chocolate, just because.

P1000689

For Heather

Most of us used the same pattern, but with our individual fabric choices, they all looked quite different.  I gathered them up and put them on a side table for a photo op.

P1000820

All beautiful

Our friendly café owner came and took our photo for us, I always appreciate café and restaurant staff doing this request for me.

P1000821

Standing – Carol, Sandra, Helen, Heather, Jenny

Seated – Mary, Jude, Moira

Mary handed us each a calendar of our Sew Wot meeting for next year, starting again in late January.  Robin and I will be on a long South Island holiday so I won’t be joining the ladies till some time in March.  We have all enjoyed a great year of friendship, show and tell, and tasty morning teas, thanks so much ladies.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Pre Christmas Family Lunch

Last Sunday we drove up to Palmerston North meet the family and exchange gifts.  We will be away on a long caravan trip at Christmas so won’t be able to see them during the festive season.  But first we had a stop at Lewis Farms to buy some fresh asparagus.  With only a short growing season of this delicacy, we like to buy it from the grower when we can. 

P1000796

Shop and Packing Shed

As well as purchasing some asparagus, we needed a little something extra.  A usual, it was a coffee for me, and an ice-cream for him.

P1000794

Sitting outside while enjoying our morning treat, we noticed a steady stream of customers.  They came out with boxes of strawberries, bags of asparagus, ice-creams and coffee too.

P1000798P1000795

Very tasty indeed

Back in the car again, and we continued on the Palmerston North to Joe’s Café.  It may have been Sunday morning, but parking was in short supply.  We drove slowly around the block, and lo and behold, a car was ready to pull out just a few spaces from the café.  That was a lucky find.

The family were seated inside, waiting for us, daughter Nicky, her hubby Robert, and the two grand-daughters Emma and Megan. 

P1000800

Robert, Megan and Robin

We had dined here before so knew the food was great.  A quick look and the menus and we were ready to place our orders.  I chose fried potatoes, eggs, smoked salmon, and spinach,and it was delicious.  Robin enjoyed a beef burger and chips.

P1000799P1000801

Our lunches

The friendly waitress saw my camera on the table and offered to take a photo of us all, how kind was that.

P1000804

Here we all are

When it was time to go we swapped parcels and gift bags, with instructions they were not to be opened till Christmas Day.  The exception was a jar of Nicky’s home made Russian Fudge, which needs to be kept in the fridge, and home made fruit mince pies from Megan.  Wonder what's in the other parcels?  It was a lovely day out catching up with them all.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Hello Spring

My slow stitching lately has been working on Hello Spring.  I wanted to stitch a small seasonal wall-hanging – I already had one for Autumn and another for Winter and they hang on the wall by our front entrance.  The words were originally stitched in a springy yellow colour, but it didn't really show up enough.  Nothing for it but to remove them and re-stitch with black thread.  The stitching is done on a pale green fabric, which doesn’t really show up in the photo at all.  This design is an adaptation of something similar which I found on the internet, but I changed the words to suit myself.

P1000638

Just started

It was fun to chose the different colours for the tiny flowers, and it didn't really take too long at all to get these stitched up.   Now then, what shall I choose for a border fabric?  Several colours were auditioned, and I chose a sunny yellow sprinkled with lots of pretty flowers.  Then I machine quilted this small project in a diagonal grid, using a very pale variegated thread, and finished off with a striped blue binding.  It measures 16 inches square.

P1000778 

Ready to hand stitch the binding down

And ta-da, here it is all done, both the hanging sleeve and a small label have been added.  Spring is just about over here in the Southern Hemisphere, with Summer knocking at the door, so this will be put away until Spring clicks around again, next year.  So to my mind, I’m not really late, just nice and early for 2023.

P1000780

Hello Spring

Saturday, November 26, 2022

A RSC Finish!

Its taken a wee while, but I’ve finally got a finish to show you all.  Gemma held things up when I had the backing and batting on the floor, then was trying to lay the Flag top down and smooth everything out. That looked so much fun she wanted to join in.

P1000697

Gemma thinks she is helping

Once it was all pinned up, I’ve been working on the machine quilting, which took me longer than anticipated.  This could well be because of medical appointments, and much more fun, early Christmas get-togethers.  And when I wanted to get on with a bit more machine quilting, I had to move Gemma again.  Goodness me, this cat certainly thinks she is in charge of this household!  Guess I should be pleased she takes such an interest in my quilting life.

P1000781

Time to move the cat again

With the machine quilting finally finished, I added a scrappy pink binding, and finished hand stitching it down today.  All done, another donation quilt.

P1000791

Rainbow Scrap Challenge finish

Monday, November 21, 2022

Weekend at the Red Barn

This was a big weekend for us, it was Robin’s first time towing the caravan since his knee replacement.  We weren't going too far for the weekend, about 60km or so each .  He managed very well, of course, as well as driving, there was the hooking up to do, the legs to wind down, a bit difficult with his knee not bending very well.  He was on his feet quite a bit for this first trip away and was quite sore and achy when we returned home.  The Red Barn was a “new to us” venue, camping available on a farm, and we were joined by our caravan club friends.

P1000748P1000750

Our caravan parked beside the Red Barn

What a weekend of strange weather we had at the rally, it was warm, wet and thundery.  Generally, the days were fine, but by late afternoon the clouds would roll in, thunder would rumble, and the heavy rain would fall, and fall, and fall.  Although we didn't sight any lightening, Mr Google tells us these two always come hand in hand,  and it is not possible to have thunder without lightning. We certainly didn’t notice any, but the lightening would have been flashing somewhere in the sky.  Gemma was happy cuddled up inside, mostly. She has practically outgrown her favourite place on top of the sofa, but curled up tight can can just about squeeze herself into the corner.

P1000756

Gemma is snoozing

Our group was offered the use of the implement shed to gather in for our morning teas and 4zees, but the resident swallows were not at all happy with our presence – I think they were busy building nests inside the shed.   The birds  were rather agitated and flew about, swooping from corner to corner.  Gemma came on her lead to join us one day  and really enjoyed the interesting smells everywhere, until one of the swallows swooped low and buzzed her!  People were bad enough, but to bring  a cat as well, just too much!

P1000759

Happy caravanners nice and cozy in the implement shed

Pat planned a little 4WD adventure on Saturday, he was told that he could drive through the farm and reach the Manawatu River.  So off we went, three 4WDs in a row, with the front car opening the gates, and the back car closing them, as you must do on a farm.  The grass was so thick and lush we remarked it was rather like driving over the African  savannah.  Instead of being attacked by lions, we were set upon by a bunch of steers who galloped up from the adjacent paddock. Just as well there was a fence between us.

P1000770

Here they come, thundering towards us

One of our newer lady members brought our a quilt to show the ladies.  I remarked that I didn't know she was a quilter.  Oh no she said, she doesn't sew, but got it made for her bed in the caravan.  We all oohed and aahed over it, it was full of caravan prints.  She has a vintage style caravan and this quilt looks right at home on her bed.  I know I took some photos of the quilt but goodness knows where they went, how frustrating!

I can show you this though.  I cleared the mail box when we returned home from the weekend, and there was a small parcel from my daughter.  I had sent her up some handkerchiefs which I had tucked away for several years, the type which have tiny stitched holes around the edge to add a simple crotchet edging.  I knew I would never get them done, as I  don't know how to crochet and it really seems too hard for me to learn.  Low and behold, she had done these two in no time at all, different edging on each, and said in her message that she really enjoyed doing it.  It is such fine work, and I’m very proud of Nicky as she has taught herself to crochet, something that I couldn't manage.

P1000776

Such lovely work


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Something to Celebrate

We spent the day in Palmerston North,  with a long list of things to do.  First up was a visit to Spotlight to purchase a cushion inner.  While I was there a lady wearing  a rather stylish 50s dress stopped me to comment that she loved my dress!  (It was a newish blue denim dress with embroidered flowers on the bodice and skirt).  Such a surprise, and not something which happens much, I must admit.   Of course, I had to return the compliment, as she really looked stunning herself.  A random compliment certainly makes your day and lifts the spirit.

We continued on our way, list in hand.  One of the stops was to the Op Shop to drop off some donations.  It was very busy at the back of the store, with several drivers doing the same thing.

We had an appointment with Robin’s surgeon to see how his knee replacement operation was coming along.  Very well, as it turned out – the surgeon was pleased with his handiwork, and Robin’s recovery.  The aches and pains will slowly go, and are all part of the healing process.  He was cleared to drive, and also to attend the local pool for low impact water exercise.

P1000745

Aorangi Orthopedic Centre

Prior to this appointment we had a celebration lunch at Speights Restaurant, presuming that there would be good news to celebrate.   Speights is a New Zealand beer brand and there are several of these restaurants dotted around the country.  The décor is suitably rural inspired with a nice homely feel.   A range of Speights beer barrels were artistically arranged on the wall.

P1000738P1000741

Our chosen meals were very tasty.  Robin had a lamb shank, with the meat so tender it was falling off the bone.  I decided on fish of the day, bubble and squeak and roasted tomatoes, very nice indeed.  Bubble and squeak is a British dish made from cooked potatoes and cabbage, mixed together and fried. It has been called  one of the "great peasant dishes of the world".  Here in New Zealand other left over vegetables are usually added, roast pumpkin or kumara, (sweet potato) and other greens too.  It is a great way to use up extra veggies after a Sunday roast dinner, and is not often found on restaurant menus.

P1000744

Robin outside by the mural

With our lunch over, and the appointment with the surgeon, we completed the chores on our list, and it was time to wend our way home.  We were very happy indeed with the surgeon’s report, and with our celebration lunch.  And Robin is pleased he is driving again. 

Sunday, November 13, 2022

A Royal Corgi, and Socks

My slow Sunday stitching got a bit of a hurry-up today as I really wanted to finish this small corgi stitchery.  I had already stitched two of these to put on a secret Christmas gift, so no pictures just yet.  Then I thought, why not make one for me as well, I’m sure I’ll use it some time, perhaps on an apron pocket or a tea towel.  This lovely free pattern is from https://jacquelynnesteves.com/blog/ and she designed this stitchery in honour of Queen Elizabeth when she passed away.

P1000732

Royal corgi

Over the last few months I’ve been busy knitting two pair of socks at the same time. 

P1000371

The first to be completed were my burgundy Franken-socks, using up the ends of the Zauberball 4 ply Sock Yarn.  If these socks looks familiar,   its because I have already knitted two pair from this yarn.  I had enough from these two balls to do the rib tops, then used up other odds and ends in similar shades of left over yarn to complete the feet.

P1000675P1000696

Burgundy socks – completed

Then just last week I completed my thicker 12ply pair.  This time I used 8ply double knit together with left over purply shaded sock yarn.  To be honest, I prefer knitting these thicker socks, they are so much quicker!

P1000723P1000725

Another pair of thick socks, ready for next winter

So that’s three things ticked off my “must finish” list.  Last month I received a gift of some gorgeous hand spun cream double knit wool, and I can’t wait to cast on and get knitting again.  Then there are all my quilting projects too.  As I tell Robin, I’ll never run out of things to do!