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

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Sew Wot Tuesday

Our Sew Wot Tuesday rolled around again, and Heather was our “hostess with the mostest”.  It was good to catch up with everyone again. Our newest member Jude had just celebrated a birthday, and she had kept her birthday date to herself.  But a couple of our ladies had wind of it, and Jude had a lovely gift or two to take home.  And I’m sure the rest of us will make a note of the birthday date for next year.


Happy Birthday Jude

Of course there was a little “Show and Tell”, always fun to see, starting with some knitting.  Helen had brought along a jumper and hat, made for one of her grandsons.  And the cutest little baby singlet, just because she wanted to knit it.


Helen’s knitting

Carol had been knitting too.  A lovely baby jumper and hat for donation.


Made by Carol

And I had brought along my recently completed apron, with the saying “Be Grateful” stitched on the front.


My new apron

Heather then brought out a “Treasure Box” made by her daughter.  Mandy had used many of the special Birthday and Christmas cards Heather had kept, all too precious not to save.   These had been pasted all over the box, both the outside and the inside, and Heather has this beautiful box to store her special keepsake treasures in.  What a great idea!


.  Heather’s Treasure Box

So what we do all morning, between chatting and putting the world to rights?  There was some knitting going on, Helen, Jude and Heather were busy with clacking knitting needles.  Carol and I were working on our stitcheries, and Mary was busy stitching hexagons together.  Plus Heather had brought out a box of bits and pieces to look through, everything looking for a new home.  This did the rounds and most of us ended up with something interesting to take home.


Jude, Carol, Heather, Helen and Mary

As usual, we enjoyed a delicious morning tea.  Thanks so much Heather, for a lovely morning.


Home made baking

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Be Grateful, and Daylight Saving starts

Spring has sprung here in my part of Paradise, and last night was time to turn the clocks forward one hour for Daylight Saving time.  Our evenings will be  little longer, more time to enjoy the balmy early evenings.  It must be said that I love Summer.

I’ve been a bit preoccupied lately with several appointments in the lead up to Robin’s knee replacement, and his operation last Tuesday.  It went well, I’m pleased to say, and he was home within a few days.  He wasn't allowed home until he could get out of bed and back in unaided, attend to his ablutions, and walk up and down a few steps by himself.  Now he is home he is resting up, doing his exercises, walking slowly around, and healing.  I’m sure he will improve day by day.

This is something I finished earlier, but hadn't yet blogged about it.  My second apron using another lovely transfer from Stitcher’s Revolution.  Be Grateful is from the Cute Kitchen Sayings series.  It started off looking like this.


In the beginning

I’ve been stitching along bit by bit, and I’m really pleased how it turned out.  I do my stitcheries using Perle No 5 (no thin stranded cottons for me)  and the purchased apron is made with something like a drill fabric.



All finished

This is the second of these aprons I have made with stitching on the front.  The first was made for the caravan, and this one will be used in the kitchen at home.  I have made a start on another stitching project, so will work on that next in my slow stitching time. 

Have a great day, and happy slow stitching to everyone.

Friday, September 23, 2022

In on Tuesday, Home on Friday

It was an early morning start on Tuesday with the alarm clock set to 5.00am.  After Covid had disrupted the hospital surgery lists for the last two years, the day had arrived at last.  We departed from home at 6.00am, arrived at the hospital at 7.00am, and Robin was soon settled into his room.  Questions asked, tests taken, including the ever important RAT test, and then he was changed into his hospital gown.

Several weeks earlier the surgeon had told us, “Don't get Covid”, and remarked that several patients on the theatre list had to be sent home due to having Covid and their surgery rescheduled some months later.  Whew – luckily Robin passed the test so we were good to go.  The anesthetist came for a chat and tell us of possible side effects, horrible things which we didn't really want to hear.  Then the surgeon popped in with his marker pen and drew an arrow on the correct leg.


Ready and waiting

The operation went well, and I got a call to say he was back in his room.  The next day he had been helped out of bed several times, shown how to use the crutches, walked around a little, and spent some time sitting up in the chair.  Then back to bed again till the next time.  And yes, he does feel much better wearing his own pajamas, instead of that hospital gown.


Crutches at the ready

I travelled up to Crest Hospital  on the Health Shuttle on Wednesday and Thursday, a wonderful service indeed.  I got my knitting out, and one of the passengers related how his mother used to knit when the family were young, and asked what I was making.  It’s a dish cloth, I told him.  Never heard of knitting them, he replied.


Taking the Health Shuttle for a couple of days gave me three hours at the hospital with Robin before it was time to leave again.  Plenty of time to see how he was getting on, catch up with recovery news, read the paper which each patient is given in the morning, and help him with his menu choices for the next day.  As every patient knows, the highlight of every hospital stay is choosing from the menu for the next day.  The food here seems great, his mains have been a choice of lamb shanks and gravy, fresh salmon, coq a vin, sausages and mash, all very tasty indeed.  I had time to do a little more on my knitting when he wanted a rest after doing his exercises and going for a short walk in the corridor.


Working on a dish cloth

And before we knew it, Friday came around and it was time to depart for home.  Once he was able to attend to bathroom ablutions, and walk up and down a few steps with confidence, he was cleared for discharge.  I packed his bag, collected the prescription and the nurse helped him get into the car, that was rather painful for the first time, but will surely improve in time.


Dressed and waiting to go home

After being absent from home for the last three nights, Gemma showed no inclination at all to welcome him home.  She was much too comfy tucked up inside her cat tower.  She is not too sure of those crutches, I think.


I’m keeping well clear of those big sticks!

Things always seem better when you are back in your own home, don't they.  With gentle exercises to do, ice packs for his knee, and pain killers, we will just take things one day at a time.  And there will be plenty of TLC too, of course.


X-ray of the new knee joint

Monday, September 19, 2022

Market, Museum and Vintage Gowns

Our caravan club weekend continued at Solway Park, Masterton.  The weather turned cold and wet, then back to warm Spring weather again.  With half of Robin’s birthday carrot cake still remaining from last week, I had frozen it to keep it fresh, defrosted it and there was enough to share with our caravan friends on Saturday morning tea.


Morning tea in the sunshine

Who doesn't love a Farmers Market?  This was being held just a short walk away behind the grand stand, so we wandered over to see what was available.  Mmm, fancy cheese, I couldn't go past that stall.  And not just any cheese, this is made from sheep milk!  We bought a few other bits and pieces as well, including locally grown mushrooms.  And I found a couple of items for future gifts, its always good to have something special tucked away for later.


Into the market hall, and cheese tasting

We had planned a trip for our club members to Pointon's Car Museum in the afternoon – this was a real hit with the men in our group.  Many, many vintage cars had been collected and restored over the years.   Look at these old dolls all nice and cozy in the back seat ready for a ride.  Oh my goodness, they are snuggled under a fur coat, as you probably did in those days.


We're ready and waiting

After a quick look around, I gravitated to the vintage gowns which had been collected by the lady of the house.



Ball gowns on display

There was a cabinet full of treasures too.  Old dress patterns and a selection of Home Journal magazines.  These sort of things are always worth a good perusal.


In the cabinet

I found these fur scarves/stoles hanging up, a couple of them had the little fox heads attached.  In my childhood elderly ladies all dressed up to the nines used to wear these around their necks, and I was terrified of those fox heads with their beady little eyes looking at me!


Fox furs

Outside behind the museum I saw some lambs in the paddock with their mums.  Nothing says Spring more than new lambs!


Spring lambs

Everyone was asked to bring a donation of a can of food to the rally, and I collected these and split them into two bags.  (I got this idea from a rally we had attended recently with a different group).  A lucky draw was held at morning tea on Sunday, with Helen and Val taking home an assortment of cans.  Thanks for everyone for taking part.

We packed up and left late morning.  There is a dump station at this camp, nice and handy indeed.  With that all taken care of, we drove down through the Wairarapa towns of Carterton, Greytown and Featherston, then up and over the Rimutaka Hill.  I remember seeing photos of this hill in much earlier times long before a proper road was built.  Then the only way to travel over the Rimutaka Hill was by bullock cart on a rather narrow track hacked into the hill.  Just imagine how long that journey would take, and you would feel every single jolt!


Rimutaka Hill Road

We had a great three days away.  Gemma bravely ventured out (with her harness and lead) one chilly morning and wasn't too impressed with getting her dainty paws wet.  And she was so scared when a dog barked and lunged at her that she didn't want to go out again at all.  The dog was on a lead, but even so, the owner would have known she would be frightened.  I always try to be very careful to see if any dogs are close by when we take her outside.

Arriving home, it was the usual unpacking and putting things away, and getting the washing done.  Wonder when our next trip will be?  Not for a while, I think.

Friday, September 16, 2022

She enjoys being a Caravan Cat

We are away for a three day weekend with our beautiful Birman Gemma.  Although she tolerates the car travels, she doesn't really relax completely. She puts up with going up and over the hills, along windy roads, laying down on the consul between our seats.  When I occasionally stroke her back she shrugs my hand off, as if to say, “I’m here, but I’m not really happy about it”.  Poor Gemma.

It was a two hour trip on Thursday to get to our campsite, and as we didn't leave till late morning, I took our lunch with us to eat on the way.  Once we were up and over the Pahiatua Track, going over the Ruahine Ranges, I opened our handy little lunch container which is kept in an small insulated cover.  Mmm, very nice indeed, bacon and avo sandwiches, a kiwifruit muffin and hot coffee each.  Actually the coffee was a bit of a disaster, the insulated mugs didn't really keep the drinks as hot as I would have expected, and mine had developed a nasty leaking problem, so I had coffee dribbling all down the front of my top!  These cups need to be replaced, I feel.


Lunch on the go, something I prepared earlier

For Gemma, it’s a different story once we arrive at the campsite.  She can’t wait to get out of our Jeep and  inside the van.  I make sure she has water and crunchies available, and that the door is opened in the shower where her litter box is stored.  But all Gemma wants to do is jump up on our bed and relax.  Later in the day Robin put his fleecy jacket on the bed.  That’s nice and cuddly, she thought, thanks for that, and in return I’ll leave you some of my beautiful white cat fur.


It’s so much nicer on this jacket, she decided

Robin put the club flag up, and there were four early bird vans which arrived on Thursday.  The weather was fine but chilly with rain promised.  


Early bird arrivals on Thursday

As expected a little house work needs doing in the caravan, including the seemingly never ending dishes.  I got a clean  tea towel out for this chore, and found my Haworth tea towel had come to the top of the pile.  A lovely reminder of our visit there during our first UK trip.  Wuthering Heights would be one of the classics, in my opinion, and I was thrilled to visit both the church and the parsonage and where the Bronte's lived.  A favourite tea towel, funny how little things make me happy!


Bringing back memories

A peek out the window early on Friday morning and what did I see, a beautiful glowing sunrise.  This is looking like a great start to the weekend.  But sadly, the rain set in after lunch.  A shame really, as there is no hall or meeting place available for us to use here at the camp site.  We will just have to work around it and hope for sunny weather.


Looking good so far

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Happy Birthday Robin, and a Zoom Call

Robin has just turned 75 so of course he needed to celebrate.  We had a family lunch on Sunday, and both of his brothers and wives were able attend, as did my younger sister and her partner.  Daughter Nicky and her hubby, Emma and Megan our two granddaughters, plus Emma’s boyfriend.  Quite a crowd in our little house.  We were so lucky with the fickle Spring weather, it was warm and sunny so it was very pleasant out on the patio with  extra seating, sheltering under the archgola.  The blokes joined Robin for a beer or two outside as he tended to the lamb on his Webber BBQ.


Two small legs of lamb

Our casual lunch was very tasty, if I do say so myself.  I decided I didn't want to go to a cafĂ©/restaurant for the birthday lunch, and was happy to do it all at home.  Dessert was a selection of sweet treats, many thanks to my sister Karla for making some delicious chocolate eclairs. There was plenty of food, which also means plenty of tasty left overs to enjoy later as well.

Then came the cake cutting time, and we all sung Happy Birthday to the birthday boy.  The carrot cake was delicious – but we didn't bother with 75 candles.  Glasses of bubbly were raised to wish Robin Happy Birthday and many more.



Happy Birthday Robin

Our poor cat Gemma is used to a quiet life with just the two of us at home.  So she was getting a little anxious with so many people in the house.  I put her in our bedroom and shut the door, but she wasn’t happy with that turn of events either!  Many thanks to the family for coming to share Robin’s special day with him.

As for that zoom call, it was only the second one I had ever done.  Luckily Robin remembered that he had set up zoom on my tablet, and once the code number was phoned through from the hospital, I was good to go.  Oh no, I had the picture, but no sound!  That was soon fixed, and I settled in to talk to Mr Woon the neurosurgeon about the recent MRI taken 15 months after my spinal operation.  He wanted to know how I was getting on, and if my previous symptoms had abated, yes they had, mostly, so he was pleased with that.  Then he showed me pictures of my spine, and pointed out in the earlier one how the spinal cord was swollen from being compressed.  Luckily the current MRI confirms that the swelling has now gone, I’m so relieved about that.  And to keep an eye on things, and to make sure the problem doesn't return, he will order me another MRI in two years time.  I was very pleased to be  zooming with Mr Woon, and to receive such positive news!

Sunday, September 11, 2022

It’s not Finished till the Binding’s Done

This is a cute little boys quilt made from pictures cut from a small panel and framed.  The top was constructed “leader and ender” style, and it was layered and pinned, ready for machine quilting.  The binding was made, and I was set to go onto the next step.


Ready to start quilting

I stitched in the ditch around the plain sashing and used simple Serpentine stitch in the diagonal quilting lines, extending them right through to the borders.


Easy machine quilting

Then quiet time doing slow stitching, I enjoy sitting down hand stitching the binding down, especially when the weather is warm enough to sit outside on the patio..


Binding time

All finished.  This will be donated to Foster Hope to bring a little boy comfort and warmth.  It features tractors and trucks working on the farm.


Ready for donation

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Little Bricks in Blue

It’s time for some more Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing.  I only have one project still going, believe it or not, the others are complete.  Not properly complete, I hasten to add, but a series of blocks sitting in their project bags.  Little Bricks was started late, and will be carried over to 2023.  I cut out eight blue blocks and got to work stitching.  Well pinned, as I like to do.


I like to use plenty of pins

While I was up at the ironing board,pressing the blocks, Gemma decided to join me at the sewing machine.  After snoozing the day away, I think she was looking for some company.


I’m here to help you, Mum

The blocks were stitched together in a zig zag line, with a sashing strip added to each end.  There, all done – this will join the purple and orange strip now.


Blue strip complete

Our Spring here in New Zealand arrived a couple of weeks ago.  Looks like our native kowhai tree has got the message, as the tree is now festooned with pretty hanging yellow blossoms. 


Our kowhai tree in blossom

I have just come back to  writing this blog post as  I had to stop and sit in front of the TV to watch the “Ascension of King Charles 111”.  Full of pomp and ceremony, 200 members of the Privy Council met to hear King Charles make his declaration.  Later heralds gathered on the balcony at St James Palace, and the Proclamation was read out from the balcony to those members of the public gathered below.  This is the first time this ancient ceremony, dating back to 1600s has been shown on TV. 

Friday, September 9, 2022

End of an Era

We awoke to the news this morning that Queen Elizabeth had passed away, so it really is an end of an era.  New Zealand is a member of the Commonwealth, and although we are governed by our Parliament, our Governor General is the Queen’s representative.

I can remember the Queen’s visit here in 1953.  As an 8 year old, I lined up with all the school on Waiwhetu Road, my flag in hand, waiting for the Queen and her entourage to drive past.  I’m not sure, as a youngster, if I expected a queen dressed in a sparkly dress with a crown on her head, travelling in a golden coach.  She was conveyed in a large black car, regally waving to all the school kids, as we excitedly waved our flags back at her.

Another highlight was on our trip to England in 2008.  We were staying in London for a week or so, exploring all the wonderful  sights.  Luckily for us, Buckingham Palace was open to visitors and we purchased tickets for a tour. Sadly the Queen was not at home so we didn’t get invited to meet her over afternoon tea.   Here are our thoughts (taken from our 2008 blog) of the visit through the palace.

“What can we say? The state rooms that are opened for public viewing in the summer season are just mind blowing. We had purchased our (timed) tickets the previous day and queued up with a huge crowd waiting to get in to this London landmark. After going through security we collected our audio guides and started our tour. We went up the Grand Staircase and into the Green Drawing Room, with  walls hung with pale green silk. From there we went into the Throne Room and the long Picture Gallery, the Silk Tapestry Room, the East Gallery and into the Ballroom. This magnificent room was set out as it would be for a State Banquet. On the tables were silverware, the beautiful dinner service, crystal, and flower arrangements, it really looked superb.

The State Dining Room was dominated by a huge highly polished mahogany table, and our audio guide informed us that is is not covered with a table cloth when used as the table settings look so wonderful on the rich timber. The Blue Drawing Room, the Music Room, followed by the White Drawing Room were just as wonderful to view We then went through the Marble Hall with it's collection of marble statues and lastly into the Bow Room which overlooks the gardens.

Our impressions are: wonderful red carpets, beautiful domed ceilings, and a colour scheme of (mostly) white and gold. Add to this priceless paintings, marbles, works of art, tapestries, wonderful pieces of furniture. There was just so much to look and admire. We were not permitted to take photos inside, unfortunately, so we can not show you any of the treasures we saw. Guess this photo ban ensures that paying guests purchase a souvenir guide!!”


The official guide

At the rear of Buckingham Palace

So what happens next?  I’m sure things are well in hand behind palace doors, and all the protocols will roll out like a well oiled machine.  I’m sure Charles will step into his new role with confidence, with his family right behind him.