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

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.


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. 


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!


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.


Pass the parcel

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


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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. 


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.


Our lunches

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Royal corgi

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


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.


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!


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!

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Sew Wot Tuesday

This week, our Sew Wot Tuesday was hosted by Helen, who lives out in the country.  I stopped off at Lewis Farms to pick up another kilo of lovely fresh asparagus.  Then on to Helen’s home.  It was a full house, with everyone able to make it, which was nice.

Carol started off the show and tell with four little baby quits she had made, to be donated to the local Plunket.  A nice grouping of little boy quilts featuring sports, frogs and turtles, dinosaurs, and pirates.



Donated to Plunket babies

Carol had also knitted four cute little soft toys, these were to be sent to the babies at the Neo Natal Hospital in Wanganui.


Look at these cuties

Heather had also been very busy.  She showed us a pretty  pillowcase she had made.  She found the very fine cross stitched piece of fabric in an Op Shop, reflected on the lady who had painstakingly worked on this piece, rescued it and turned it into a pillowcase.


Such fine work on these roses

Heather had done some beautiful baby knitting too.  A pretty blue jumper, and another fine 3ply baby cardigan.  She wanted to work on smaller  things, she told us.


Heather’s baby knitting

We all thought this serviette holder was such a clever pattern.  Heather stitched it up for a friend who loves pansies, using a piece of pink, purple and lemon pansy fabric.  Isn't it gorgeous!


Heather made this for a friend

Helen had been busy making pillowcases for her grandchildren for Christmas.  What little boy doesn’t like trains?  I’m quite keen to try this idea too, they are easy, I was told.


Christmas gifts

Not for Christmas, but for a young grandson celebrating a birthday in a couple of months time.  What a great quilt, full of trucks and trailers, road signs and road cones, this will a little boy’s dream quilt indeed.


What a great design

We were working on our various projects, Mary was stitching hexagons, and Heather was continuing on her boro stitching.  Jude was starting a new pair of socks, Sandra was knitting a cot blanket, and both myself and Carol were busy on our stitcheries. 

Helen was busy being the hostess with the mostess and served us a delicious morning tea.  We particularly loved the hot toasted asparagus rolls with cream cheese spread  on the bread, I’m going to try that idea too.  Helen’s husband says we should be called the Eat-a-Lots, not the Sew Wots – we certainly do enjoy our morning teas!


Morning tea time.

Then it was time to say our farewells and head for home, many thanks Helen for a lovely morning.  I drove home past a farm with the front paddock full of wrapped hay bales, so just had to stop and take a picture, it was a lovely rural sight indeed.  Then back home to suburbia.


  The farmer has been busy