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

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

A Busy Weekend

Over the long three day Wellington Anniversary Weekend, our Caravan Club was running the bi-annual Regional Rally, and we were joined by Wairarapa and Wainuiomata clubs.  This was held at Naenae College, the weather was  hot and sunny, and we were grateful to have several large shady trees to sit under.


Some of the vans at Naenae College


Our caravan club members

The highlight of the weekend, as far as I was concerned, was the mystery bus trip to Taylorville – I’d never been there before so it really was a complete mystery to me.  The bus arrived and we all climbed aboard – we had been instructed to take a packed lunch, water bottles, and cups, hot drinks to be supplied. Taylorville is the dream collection of a workaholic retired transport operator with a love of early American cars on a two acre section.  Mr Taylor has collected and been given all manner of mementoes of the past.  The owner gave us a talk about how it all started, then we were free to wander about, admiring trucks, cars, and all manner of things which took our fancy.


Horse drawn transport

Oh, look what I found, a laundry from days gone by.  Not quite what I’m used to, with a big copper to fire up to boil water,corsets hanging on the clothesline, and a peg bag made from a sack.  No wonder it took our great-grandmothers all day to do the family wash.


Doing the laundry the old way

And then there was the diner.  With red counters and furniture, a jukebox, black and white lino on the floor, and Coco Cola emblazoned everywhere, it was like stepping back into Happy Days TV programme.  Look, there’s Elvis, waiting for me to get my photo taken beside him!  We sat for a while on the bright red seats, escaping from the hot sun outside, and soaking up the ambience.



The American Diner

Next I found a replica cabin, with a quilt on the bed, no less.  The tiny kitchen was choc-a-block full of old fashioned utensils, it was very nicely decorated indeed.


Little old cabin

We ate our lunch inside the cozy saloon, welcomed by one of the dancing girls.  Willie Nelson serenaded us and we admired the western furnishings – cartwheels hanging from the ceiling, calf skins scattered everywhere, antlers and western paraphernalia displayed on the walls, this place screamed “Wild West”.  This was my favourite place at Taylorville.



Taylorville Saloon

Back in the bus we climbed, and due to a couple of earlier road accidents the trip home was rather slow.  As we were crawling along the road we could look down onto the cars in the inside lane and were appalled at the number of drivers we saw texting on their phones.  Younger drivers, all of them, us oldies know better, don't we?

Back at the rally we had a free afternoon the following day so took a trip to Pete’s Emporium in Lower Hutt.  There I purchased some cord for the draw string bags I make and donate to Foster Hope.  The children taken into care use these bags for toiletries, or pens and pencils.  This cord should keep me going for a while.


Cord for drawstring bags

While I’m busy blogging away in the caravan, Gemma likes to help too, and takes her duties very seriously.  She lays in the lap top bag to keep it from escaping, what a clever girl.


She’s helping too

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Even the Cat is Vaccinated

Gemma took a visit to the vet recently for her annual vaccination.  We got the cat cage out early and left it in the sitting room, so she could sniff around and get used to it.  But there was no fooling our cat, in  her mind this cage is related to bad times ahead so she wasn’t at all keen being bundled inside and taken for a ride to the vets.


Hiding in the back

Her vaccination call-up had been delayed a few months due to Covid but it didn't matter too much, the vet assured us.  Only one “parent” was allowed in with the pet, due to distancing concerns, so I went in with her.  The vaccination for cat flu and whatever else went well, with not even a squeak being made, but getting the worming pill down her throat was a bit of a mission.  Poor Gemma, I did feel sorry for her, as it took several tries, no wonder she was stressing out.


The vet clinic

I'm pleased to say that Gemma was judged fit and healthy, her teeth are in good condition, as is her coat.  So we paid the bill, and took her home to get over her trying time.  Out of the cage, she went to hide in the wardrobe for several hours, to settle down.  Several hours later I found her much more relaxed, legs akimbo, lying on the chair in front of my sewing machine.  All was forgiven, what’s for my dinner, she wanted to know.


She’s happy and relaxed again

Gemma didn’t know it, but she is soon to have another holiday, this time for three weeks or so, traveling here and there around the country.  So its good that her vaccinations are up to date.  She travels in the car on a harness with her lead attached to the seat belts, so that nasty cage doesn’t come along on our caravan trips away.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

I Love Camping

I've enjoyed the slow stitching on my current project from Stitcher’s Revolution Camping Adventures, the iron on transfer is called “I Love Camping”.  This will be the middle section of  a pair of place mats to use in our caravan.  Featuring a cup of coffee, trees in the forest and the full moon rising over the mountains, it was very enjoyable to stitch.


Then they were trimmed to size, and borders added which features a leafy print.  I’ve had a rummage through my batting offcuts and will be stitching together two small franken-battings to suit.  And with some backing fabric at the ready, these two small pieces will soon be pinned up ready for quilting.  I did contemplate hand quilting, but no, it will be a simple job to machine quilt these two place mats, I decided.


Borders added

Gemma deserved a treat last night, so I put some of her little crunchies inside her mouse and called her over.  That was exciting, she could hardly wait to bat that little mouse around with her paw, and gobble up the treats as they fell out of the holes.


Gemma and her little mouse toy

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Still Sewing Red

I’ve often read that other quilters don't do mending – that’s not true in my case.  I’ve recently stitched a few buttons on here, fixed a neckline or two there, mended one of Robin’s polo shirts, and shortened a pair of three quarter pants into a pair of shorts.   It certainly is true, a stitch in time saves nine, and I can feel virtuous at the end of it.

After that mending stint, I did some more red sewing for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  And yes, there is a new project or two.  I’ve long wanted to make some scotty dogs, and decided to use some small pieces of tartan fabrics found in the bottom of the box I received from my neighbour Dorothy.  Just right for scotty dogs, I thought.  The applique  pattern is an old one I’ve had tucked away for years.  And here they are, five red Scotties, edged in black.  I don't have the whole rainbow spectrum in my little pile of tartan,  so will work with what I have.


Five scotty dogs

The other new project added to the list could probably be whipped up in no time at all, but I decided to stitch it month by month as the colours are selected.  Also included in Dorothy’s cartons of “stuff” was a multitude of 5in squares.  I picked out some to make a boy’s donation quilt, starting with this month’s colours of red, and added a border around each square.  It doesn't really matter, I decided, if it was the square or the border which will be in the colour of the month.  As I’m not in a hurry for this quilt, it will be interesting choosing blocks to suit each month from my selection.


Three framed blocks

I’ve been on a bit of a roll with red, and have to say it’s not my favourite colour.  (I often think of red as the colour of violence, probably because of all the serial killer books I read).  The final red thing I stitched was a draw string bag for Foster Hope, the charity I support, using a four patch block from another RSC project.  I had made three red blocks and decided two would be sufficient for the quilt, so recycled the extra one into a bag.  This is now put away with several other bags I made before Christmas, and will get donated when I have a reasonable amount of items to give away.


Drawstring bag

So that’s my stitching for the week.  We are currently making the most of the hot sunny summer weather.  It’s been really pleasant sitting outside after dinner when the heat of the sun has gone, and it is still pleasantly warm.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Time to put Christmas away

The Christmas quilts are down and put away, as are the other ornaments, so it was time to hang a fresh quilt over the sofa.  As the weather is nice and summery, I decided it was time to give my Aotearoa Blooming another chance to shine.  Designed by Jenny Hunter as applique patterns, featured in the New Zealand Quilter magazine some years ago, I decided to make my blocks as stitcheries.  The centre block showcases the pohutukawa, a large tree which bursts  into crimson red blossoms with yellow tips in the heat of summer, and is also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree.


Pohutukawa Wreath

The stitchery blocks were hand quilted, and I big stitched the NZ floral fabric used in the borders.  Yes, I admit it took me quite some time to complete, but I loved very moment of working on it.


Aotearoa Blooming

And folded over the other sofa is Our Aussie Adventures, made to commemorate our fabulous rail trips and beyond in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.  These little blocks (made with Australian fabrics) and their sashing together with my pigma pen came on holiday too.  Each evening I would write down our adventures of the day.  Gemma is giving it her seal of approval.


Our Aussie Adventures

Monday, January 10, 2022

The Year that Was

I’m a little late sharing my 2021 quilting progress with you, but then, I’ve only just returned home from holiday.  It doesn’t seem that I’ve achieved a great deal in the quilting stakes this last year, and a look back through the blog confirms this.  Guess my back problem, subsequent diagnosis, surgery and recovery had a lot to do with this.  But I did finish a few, and here they are.  First up were two donation quilts,one for a boy and one for a girl, and some draw string bags for donation as well.


Donation quilts

I really loved working on Teddy Darling,  it’s a small little quilt, only 25 inches square, and the pre-printed  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, then hand quilted it in big stitch quilting.  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

Later in the year I received a big pile of quilting fabric when my neighbour Dorothy was moved into a rest home.  Included in the boxes were two partially completed small quilts, which I finished as donation quilts.  And just recently I stitched Gemma a couple of cat mats backed with toweling  to place under her litter box in the caravan, using two pretty pussy cat fat quarters that I had tucked away.  These look nice, much better than the piece of matting  I was using, and wash very well indeed.


Made for Gemma

I did complete two caravan themed stitcheries, a tea towel for me, and a place mat for my friend Dot.  I quite enjoy doing this sort of thing, and have several more stitcheries on the go.  They are so easy to pick up and do a little stitching, usually while I’m away in the caravan.


As for knitting,  I completed a pink and white baby jumper, and a blue toddler sized cardigan, both are now residing in my baby box, waiting for my grand-daughters to produce…. sometime.  I knitted a small rug out of selvedges to use in my laundry, and some baby beanies.  And socks galore, four pair of thick 12ply wool socks, and six pair of 4 ply socks!  I have to admit that I’m really proud of this achievement.  And believe it or not, I’ve two more pair that I’ve started this year, but there’s no hurry on these.  I did a lot more knitting this year, probably because I found it very uncomfortable to sit at the sewing machine  for quite some months after my spinal surgery.


Socks made for Christmas

I like to send some donations to Foster Hope Charity, and according to my notes have sent four children’s quilts (two of these were my neighbour Dorothy’s which I finished), baby beanies and a knitted scarf, about a dozen draw string bags for the children to use for toiletries, or coloured pencils and such.  Some of these had been waiting to be delivered for quite some time, because of lock-down, so I’m pleased I could finally pass them on.

So that’s my year, Covid lockdowns  kept us home for a while, but we managed to get away in the caravan for club rallies and other trips.  And I enjoyed meeting up with the Sew Wot ladies when I could, that’s always fun.    One thing I have missed is listing my UFOs and rolling the dice to see what I should be working on.  Perhaps I can resurrect this again, I know I have several Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects which need finishing.

Many thanks to all of you who read my blog, and all the other bloggers out there.  I really do appreciate your interest and friendship.  May we all have a better year in 2022 keeping Covid at bay, and may lots of stitching happen.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

First RSC Sewing of the Year

We arrived back from holiday yesterday, and last night I could hardly wait to investigate my proposed RSC for the new year.  And today, I did make a start.  Late during the year I had started stitching some string blocks, so this will be carried over in 2022, until I catch up with the colours, or decide I have made enough.  It didn't take too long to make a red string block for January.


Red string block


Six done so far

I received a bag of butterfly fabrics when my neighbour was moved into a rest home.  There were three multi coloured strips with a white background amongst the collection, so that's what I started with.  Four patch blocks with coloured strips, and the butterflies are all sort of colours will work as the months go by when the other colours are announced.  The blocks turned out quite pretty, I thought.   At the moment I’m thinking of white sashing when all the blocks are done for the year, but then again, I may well change my mind.


Three butterfly blocks

Before I get too carried away on my 2022 RSC plans, I should really check the status of my 2021 projects.  The boat quilt is almost finished, just need to complete quilting the borders and add the binding.  As for the others, maybe I’ll just leave them in their bags without peeking at them for a little bit longer, after all, the weather here is so nice, I still feel I’m in holiday mode!

Friday, January 7, 2022

It’s a busy time on holiday

On our last couple of days in Napier we called into the cutest little sweet shop around, visiting here is just like walking back into yesteryear.  Remember all those boiled sweets from days gone by? Lovingly displayed in large glass jars, every type of sweet imaginable.   We replenished our supplies of blackballs for him, and acid drops for her. 


Birdwood's Sweetshop

Where to next?  It was time to purchase some tasty fresh cherries.  I love them and we knew there was a roadside stall reasonably close by.  Robin doesn't care for them, so they are all mine!  And just to finish off this particular shopping trip, the next place on our list was  Silky Oaks for a delicious Iced Chocolate.  Completely decadent, probably a million calories, but oh so tasty – and the weather was scorching hot, so we really deserved one each, we told ourselves..  This place has a cafĂ©, a chocolate shop, and a gift shop, but we were rather restrained and didn't bother purchasing any more chocolate, I'm sure there is some left over in our Christmas gift bags.


Cherries and Iced Chocolate

Moving from Napier to Norsewood Domain we took the hot weather with us and did a drive around the area.  Then we drove on to Norsewood township, originally part of the 70 mile bush, and this area was settled by nearly 1,000 Norwegians between 1870-76.   Norsewood seems to have a thing for trolls, and I sat beside Father Norvirke, Mother Margit, and Son Ormvah mythological Scandinavian creatures which are said to populate the northern-hemisphere homeland.  They are considered good luck and stand guard over Norsewood, their beloved new town.


My new friends, the Trolls

It has been pleasant to sit outside under the shady awning an do a little more work on my stitchery projects.  I'm working on two caravan themed stitcheries, which will become a set of place mats for the caravan.


Stitchery time

Our last stop was at the newly opened Foxton NZMCA park.  This is set in the grounds of the Foxton Race Course.  Why not stay here for a couple of nights, we decided, before heading the last 20km or so home.    And just look at this glorious Foxton sunset.


Sunset over Foxton

We may still be on holiday, but the next morning we decided to drive into Levin to the walk-in vaccination clinic at the Events Centre for our booster shots, as long as there wasn't a huge queue snaking out the door, we decided.  There wasn’t, so we walked in the foyer, registered, and were shown where to go and sit while we waited.  After a short wait, we were both ushered into one of the cubicles, and the nurse told us the facts, made sure we were well, and got our verbal consent.  Then a quick painless jab, and we went to sit while we waited our recovery time, and we were good to go.  The whole process was quick and efficient, our nurse took the time explaining  everything and asked if we had any questions.  Go home, rest, and drink plenty of fluids, we were told.  We can do that, we’re still on holiday!  Maori Wardens were outside in the carpark directing the traffic, and one was inside the hall bringing people inside in the correct order.  Congratulations to all involved.


We’ve had our booster shots

The Foxton Race Couse is a training racecourse, so if we get up early enough in the morning we may well see some race horses being put through their paces.  There goes one, quick, get the camera.



At Foxton NZMCA site

We are safely home now, the caravan has been unpacked, and the first two loads of laundry have been done, with more to do to tomorrow.  We had a lovely time away and traveled about 884 km during our trip.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Family Quilt Show

We were lucky to spend some more time with my late sister Kathleen's family before we moved on from Hawkes Bay.  After a lovely lunch of home cooked roast leg of lamb we retired to the sitting room for coffee.  There I spotted a cushion I had stitched for her some years ago.  Kathleen was a real homebody, and devoted to her family, so I thought the wording was quite apt.


Made for Kathleen

Then one after another came a parade of quilts from the bedrooms.  The burgundy and cream cobblestone quilt was made for my niece  Lisa’s 40th birthday.  Sad but true – the burgundy fabrics came from a stash of a log cabin quilt I’m making for myself, and still haven’t finished!  Perhaps I can put it top of the list for my 2022 projects.


40th  birthday quilt for Lisa

Kate then appeared with two hexagon quilts she has been stitching.  The pale one on the floor  she picked up from an Op Shop and has been adding to it, and the more colourful one she has been making from scratch.  Covering the papers, stitching them together, she finds it all very calming, she said.  Such a clever girl, I told her, I've never tacked hexagons myself, and I’m not sure if I would have the patience for it.


Kate and her hexagons

The Adam came proudly bearing the train quilt I had made him many years ago now, when he was a boy.  It’s still going strong, I’m pleased to see, and yes, he does still put it on his bed during the winter, he said.  I remember carefully machine quilting around each and every train on that quilt, twisting and turning as I went, free motion quilting was unknown to me back then.   Perhaps I should offer to make him another one now he’s all grown up?


Adam’s train quilt

When I was making the train quilt for Adam all those years ago, I was thinking that his young sister Kate could do with a new quilt too.  I already had a pink and black quilt I had put together from some blocks I had won, so decided to use that and add some  appliqued pink cats to it.  So here it us, well loved and washed, and  rather faded after all this time.


And Kate just happened to have a photo of the time she was gifted this quilt.  Here she is, looking as cute as a button, all those years ago.


Kate and her cat quilt

Next to appear was a Healing Heart quilt I had made for Kathleen, as she had many trips to hospital over the years,  I sent the heart blocks to family members t write on then assembled the hearths with nine patches.  I was rather moved to hear that Kathleen had this quilt with her during her final months.


Healing Hearts for Kathleen

Another special quilt I had made for Kathleen and her husband Dennis was to celebrate their Golden Wedding.  I had done this using an assortment of floral fabrics and green, with golden yellow flowers to signify their special anniversary, to signify the garden of life.  It was made raggy style.  Oh dear, all that seam snipping took me ages!


Golden Wedding quilt

Even more items came out, some I had forgotten about.  The baby quilt I had made for Kate, so faded through many washes.  Then there was the Family Tree wall-hanging I had stitched for the family, with all the names (at the time) written on the leaves.  And two specially birthday cushions, a white lace one for Lisa for a major birthday, and a 21st cushion for Kate with blue hearts, as she requested.  So many items stitched and gifted over the years, and I was heartened to see them so loved and well used.  That's all a quilter can ask for, isn't it?