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

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Sew Wot Tuesday

My turn had come up on the roster to host the Sew Wots, so that meant an afternoon spent in the kitchen the day before, whipping up some tasty treats for morning tea.  We all like to make an effort when the ladies come for our two weekly get-togethers, after all we are not called the Eat-alots by one of the hubby’s for nothing!  I made an orange cake and a batch of shortbread on Monday, and some sandwiches on Tuesday morning.  Robin helped with a quick run around with the vacuum cleaner while I did some dusting, and I was all ready to welcome the ladies.

Mary had been having a clean out of her stitching books and arrived with a big heavy pile for us to look through  and rehome, if we saw something that took our fancy.  Several of us spent a happy time browsing and made our selections.  This is what I wanted to keep.  The remaining books would be dropped off as a donation at the Op Shop. 


I decided on these three

There was not so much Show and Tell today.  Carol had been busy and had knitted some soft toys to be sent to the Wanganui Neo Natal Unit.  Say hello to Koala, Panda, Teddy and Piggy.  I’m sure the parents will enjoy selecting one of these toys for their little baby.


So cute

I had my two recently completed flag quilts to show, these will be donated to Foster Hope for children taken into care.


Two flag quilts, different designs

I had forgotten to take any further photos, but can tell you that we were all quite busy working away at our different projects.  Sandra was continuing knitting her lovely cream basket weave baby blanket.  This was her Sew Wot project, she told us, and when completed it will be donated to Plunket. Heather was knitting socks, Carol was starting another knitted toy, and I was continuing on my navy cardigan.  Mary was crocheting Peggy squares, and Helen was stitching EPP blocks together. 

Robin was a stay at home hubby during the morning too, he is having a medical procedure in several day’s time so wants to stay away from the general public.  He was busy at his computer for a while then took himself into the bedroom to watch TV.

It was so nice to have the Sew Wots here, and we will do it all again in two weeks time, at someone else’s home.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

A Knitting Finish

It’s always good to have a finish, and although this is only small, it’s still  a finish after all.  When we were preparing for our 10 week South Island caravan trip, I wanted to make sure I took a couple of knitting projects with me. I had two balls of the blue, and the purple was left over from knitting my daughter a pair of thick wooly socks.   Early in our trip, I cast on the rib, and ready to go.


Over the weeks while we were traveling around, this little boy’s toddler jumper started to grow. Because this project was small, I decided to knit the back and front at the same time, up to the shaping.


Two at the same time

Finally the little jumper was knitted, and sewn up.  A button was needed for the front band, and I was sure there would be just the right one here hiding in the button jar.


On a button hunt

I had intended to donate this little toddler’s jumper, put perhaps I’ll keep it for a while, just in case it’s needed.  Must say I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, using up some odd balls of wool which were  just hanging about.


All finished

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Family Wedding and Kakahu

This week we attended a family wedding.  The venue is so popular that Saturday bookings are not available for the next two years.  So Robin’s niece Hanah (daughter of Kaye and Jan from Nelson where we spent a wonderful Christmas) and her bridegroom chose a Tuesday wedding, followed by a casual BBQ lunch for all the guests on Wednesday.

It was a garden wedding, with guests from as far away as Ireland  from the groom’s side of the family.  When the ceremony was concluded, and the photos taken, we sat outside in the sunshine with drinks and nibbles, till it was time to go into the function centre for dinner.  Speeches were made, and the cake was cut.


David and Hanah cutting the cake

During the cake cutting ceremony Hanah was wearing a beautiful feather cloak – there is quite a story behind this.  The kakahu (Maori cloak) was a garment made in early Maori times and was generally woven or made from traditional materials like flax and feathers. They are worn as a mantle of prestige and honour.  Underneath the beautiful feather cloak was a woven flax cloak which previously belonged to Hanah’s great-grandmother and had been passed down the family to Jan.  Kaye received help and encouragement from the local Marae who advised her how to construct the feather cloak and attach it to the original family heirloom.  The bride was honoured to wear both her great-grandmother’s original cloak at her wedding with the beautiful feather overlay made by her own mother.


Kaye and the feather cloak, attached to the original woven cloak

Dinner was delicious – we had to select our main from a choice of three when we received the invitation way back prior to Christmas.  And we were wondering what we had ordered all these months later.  Luckily the catering staff had a list and brought out the correct meal to each guest – we had both ordered beef, by the way.  More speeches and then the dancing began.  We left a little early as Robin’s knee didn't feel strong enough to be up and dancing, not like the old days when we could dance till midnight!


Place cards at our dinner table

The following day all the guests were invited back to the venue for a BBQ lunch, put on by the bride’s parents, Kaye and Jan.  It was a beautiful sunny day and we all enjoyed sitting outside in the pleasant surroundings.  Must say that the stars of the show were a whole lot of crayfish which Jan had caught, cooked and frozen over the last few months especially for the big day.  The crayfish were halved with a big cleaver, and the tasty flesh removed from the tails and cut up into bite sized pieces.  For those who haven't tried crayfish, it is a real delicacy here in New Zealand.


Preparing the crayfish for lunch

The BBQ was cranked up and steak, chicken kebabs, sausages and meat patties were sizzling away.  With salads and bread rolls, and a helping or two of that crayfish, it was a lunch fit for royalty. Many thanks to Kaye and Jan for their hospitality, and very best wishes to the young couple Hanah and David.  It was a very pleasant afternoon and we got to chat with visitors from far and wide.

After two days of family wedding celebrations it was a real change of pace the next day.  We rook a trip up to Palmerston North, as it was time for my annual mammogram.  I am so thankful that I receive this free follow-up care after my breast cancer several years ago. The radiographer told me that they now had new machines, brand new this week!  I’m sure they came with a hefty price tag.


All done

We decided to go to the local Chinese restaurant for lunch to settle my nerves,  I’ll be waiting and hoping for good results now.  This place has lovely buffet food, and  very reasonably priced too, with dessert and coffee included in the price.


Lunch time

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Slow Stitching Sunday

My Noah’s Ark stitcheries have been on holiday down to the South Island with me, and have now returned home.  I’ve just completed the black and white Friesen cow blocks, complete with a rainbow, one of the girls is happily munching on buttercups.  Plus  another small rainbow block to go over the top of them.


Happy cows

In fact, I’ve completed six of the stitcheries so far.  I thought it would be easier for me to trace the designs on to one larger piece of fabric, and this way has worked out well for me.


Noah’s Ark blocks done so far

I’ve also stitched the frames for the second lot of blocks, so I’m raring to go again.  What one will I stitch first, I wonder?  Perhaps the penguins.


Ready to start stitching again

What other slow stitching have I done lately?  Hand stitched the binding down on my second flag quilt, that didn’t take too long.  And knitting of course – I’m a slow and steady knitter, but I’ll get there in the end.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

A busy week with RSC

I've been sewing green little bricks blocks this week, with two projects on the go using this nice simple little block.  First is my zig zag stacked bricks row, this is carried over from RSC 2022.  Then I’ve started stitching little bricks, to be put together in the original setting.  Gemma was ready  to give her opinion once I was ready for a photo shoot.


Little bricks in green

Then I started a new RSC project, two of them in fact.  I decided to carry on making Happy Blocks again this year, a quilt for a boy and one for a girl, as I’ve got plenty of child themed 5 inch squares which were donated to me.  I’ve caught up for the first few months and stitched green and blue for a boy, but no pink allowed.  There are pirates, dogs, snowmen, bunnies and creepy crawlies in this lot.


Then I stitched pink, blue and green for the girls blocks.  What's hiding  here?  Baking stuff,  ballerinas, and various critters.  These little blocks are fun to make.


Happy blocks

You may remember I was stitching boys happy blocks last year as one of my RSC projects.  That is now assembled and waiting to be quilted.  Hopefully I’ll get to it soon.

And I have a finish!  It was time to pin up the flag quilt and get quilting.  Of course, Gemma helped with that too, holding the quilt sandwich down to stop it escaping when I was having time out from machine quilting.


Working away

The binding didn't take too long to stitch down on this little cot quilt, then it was all done.


Second Flag quilt

Looking back on my blog, I started stitching these easy peasy little blocks back in August 2020!  The first quilt using these blocks was completed in late November 2022.  I had found this interesting design on the internet and decided, ”I can do that” and I’m pleased how this one turned out.  So that’s two small cot quilts using the flags blocks.  These two will be donated, I’ll drop them off at the Foster Hope collection site shortly.


Previous quilt using flag blocks

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Sew Wot Tuesday

It was time for another Sew Wot Tuesday this week, and Jude was the hostess this time.  Carol had brought along an assortment of paper back novels which we looked through, to see if any took our fancy, and two jumped in my bag to come home.  There were several interesting items for show and tell, always a highlight of the morning.  First up was Heather, with her braid donation quilt.  This is a nice pattern, one I haven't done before.


Heather’s braid quilt

Sandra had been putting a lot of work into community (donation) quilts.  The quilt club members stitch a block or two, and Sandra takes on the job of assembling them.  There were enough of these interesting  batik blocks to make two quilt tops, Sandra had showed us the first one last Sew Wot morning.  We were all intrigued how these blocks were made, quite easy once you know how, and so very effective.


Second batik quilt top

Not so many blocks were received from quilt club members for this one, so Sandra came up with quite a creative idea of how to put these blocks together.  When this one is quilted, it will be a stunning donation quilt indeed.


Black and grey donation quilt

Carol had a donation quilt to show us as well, a pretty little pinwheel baby quilt.  I rather like pinwheel, they always look so nice. 


Carol’s baby pinwheel quilt

As for me, there was nothing at all to show.  I have a couple of projects which are almost at the finishing line, but not quite there yet, perhaps next time.  As well as chatting, we were all quite productive though.  Now I’ve finished the back of my navy cardigan, I have started on the fronts, just like sleeves,  I like to knit the two fronts together.  Sandra was knitting away on her cozy cream basket-weave cot blanket, Jude worked on socks, and Carol was knitting teddy bear ears!  Mary was quietly doing crochet, and made several small squares for a blanket, she just sat there and churned out one after another.  Heather was unpicking, never a nice job, but hopefully made easier while sitting and chatting with friends.

In came the tea trolley for morning tea.  Of my, lots of goodies here, we are certainly well catered for, aren't we.  And on the bottom of the trolley were sweet treats, a bowl of soft marshmallows, plus another of locally manufactured licorice all-sorts, we all had a taste of them too.


Morning tea time

Jude didn't have any show and tell, but she did have some works in progress she shared with us after morning tea.  “Lots of Little Houses”  was a class started at Foxs Cottage a wee while ago, made up of teeny tiny log cabin blocks.


Lots of Little Houses

And Jude had another gorgeous start, called Sunshine, a BOM quilt.  We all loved this one, a combination of piecing and applique.


Sunshine BOM, so pretty

But wait, there’s more.  Jude had made a pinwheel variation donation quilt top to use up her small scraps, but honestly, does that ever work or do you end up with even more scraps?  This is a very pretty design indeed.


Jude's donation top

It was another lovely Sew Wot morning.  Many thanks to Carol for the books, and to  Heather for sharing her freshly picked green beans, much appreciated.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Weekend in the Country

Last weekend was spent with fellow caravan club members at a Park over Property (Pop) on a farm just north of Feilding.  This is where owners make their properties available to NZMCA members for a small fee, offering somewhere safe to park up, quite often a grassed or shingle area.  The owners of these properties are also members of NZMCA (NZ Motor Caravan Association). 


Early arrivals

There is a toilet available for the use of the campers, and the farmer obviously has a sense of humour.  The attached sign reads “Last Dunny for 240kms”.


This way to the loo

Staying at a rural property is full of delights for those of us who live in suburbia.  There were sheep in the paddocks, chickens running around, and the roosters made sure we all woke up bright and early.  In a neighboring farm we could hear the stags roaring, no doubt warning rival stags to keep well away from the hinds.  There were even some peacock babies running around, we spotted several penhen mothers and their gangly legged chicks trying to keep well away from the visitors and their caravans invading their farm.  The mums flew over the farm gate, while the chicks scrambled through the metal bars.  Sadly I didn't have my camera at the ready to capture their antics.

After lunch the club went out for Afternoon Tea at a local café, while we traveled on to Kiwitea to meet up with the family, and had a cuppa and a good catch up on their newly built deck.  The granddaughters are very keen horsewomen and Emma took me to the paddock to meet her Dad’s new acquisition, a pretty roan pony.  And to say hello to Emma’s two horses, mother and daughter duo Sonata and Fire Dancer.


I had to go and greet the horses

The farmer and his wife joined in with us for morning tea and happy hour, and told us that one of his sows was farrowing, and if anyone was interested, he would take us to see the babies the following day.  How exciting, I’m rather fond of these animals.  We tiptoed into the barn where Mum was laying down and the babies were suckling.  “They are at the milk bar”, the farmer intoned.  Then he picked a piglet up, what a racket that little one made, squealing at the top of its voice!



Just look at those cute little piglets

I spent a bit of time sitting outside in the sunshine while I finished off the back of my cardigan/jacket.  You may remember that I had knitted up to the armhole decreases while on holiday, found I had an incorrect number of stitches, so then sat to and unraveled the whole lot!  So I am pleased to finally get to the end of it, the second time around.


The back is finished at last

We had a lovely weekend away in the country, catching up with our caravan buddies, played a game of Battle Sticks outside one afternoon, and took part in a couple of quizzes in the evening to test our brains.  Met up with family, and then got to see those little piglets, much fun. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Looking back on our Adventure

Now we have been back for a couple of weeks from our South Island Odyssey, it’s time to look back.   We were away for 10 weeks and traveled 5220km, 3019km was towing the caravan, and the other 2201km was spent exploring while the caravan was safely on site.  All this travel cost us $1582 for diesel.  As well, we spent $226 on LPG (6 fills) to run the fridge, stove and hot water cylinder when we were parked on non power sites.  In fact, we were only on power at three of our stops.

We were away for 77 nights and the average cost was $9.50 per night.  It was interesting to look back at the variety of places we stayed at, 36 in all for the 77 nights.  Of the 36 sites we stayed at, 21 were “new to us” on this trip.  We stayed at NZMCA Parks, POPs (park over properties on private land), parked up behind several hotels and clubs, stayed at one Motor Camp and spent Christmas with Robin’s sister and her hubby on their small holding in Nelson.  Gemma was terrified of Kaye’s chickens when they were released from their chicken coop and  ran around the property. She was enjoying time outside safely on her harness and lead when the chickens saw her, flapped their wings in fright and let out terrible squawks!  Gemma ran back quickly inside the caravan, no doubt wondering just what were those awful noisy creatures?


Jan and Kaye at Nelson

I went to four quilt shops as we traveled around, all very nice in their own way, and I really didn't go overboard with my purchases.  Annie's Country Quilt Store was particularly nice, set in a lovely old cottage in Ashburton.  So much to see there, I’m sure I didn't do it justice, well aware that Robin was waiting outside in the car, on yet another hot sunny day.


Annie's of Ashburton

And what about the laundry?  We all know that just because we are on holiday, the laundry still needs doing.  We went to the laundromat 17 times over our holiday, with prices ranging from $2 to $16.  If I could just do a wash and take the clothes back to camp to hang on the line, that’s what I did.  But often I had to use the driers as well, when it was drizzly or wet, or in other cases when it was inappropriate to hang washing outside to dry, such as when we were staying at hotels and clubs.


Knitting at the laundromat

Son Michael lives in Christchurch and we managed several visits with him, including two café lunches at the very interesting former “Rest Houses”, now cafes, built close to the walking tracks zon the Christchurch Hills.   I took him along a gift of a camera cushion, I thought he would like it as he runs a small photography business.


Mum and Michael

And we couldn't tour the South Island and not go to Dunedin to visit my old school friend Merilyn, we go back such a long way.   It’s always so nice to meet up again with old friends, things just pick up again, almost as if we hadn’t been apart at all.


Out to lunch with Merlyn and Colin in Dunedin

There’s no doubt that we had a marvelous time, saw wonderful scenery, especially on the West Coast, Southern Alps and Central Otago.  The weather was marvelous too, sure we had a few rainy days, but mostly it was warm and sunny, real “blue dome” days.  Highlights would be the Milford Sounds and Underwater Observatory Trip, Glowworm Trip, the Tree Top Walkway, Buller and Hokitika Gorges. 


Treetops Walkway and Buller Gorge

And the scenery – Pancake Rocks, and the setting sun, lakes and mountains.  Beauty was everywhere.



Gorgeous scenery

I took two knitting projects along, knitted in the car now and again, but put it aside when we traveled through some of that breathtaking scenery.  My Noah’s Ark stitchery was worked on occasionally, sitting under our shady awning on lovely sunny days.


Stitching at Manapouri

You may remember that while we stayed at the brand new NZMCA camp at Kaiapoi we were interviewed by a journalist for the local weekly newspaper.  And look, we are famous!  Our photo appeared and we are quoted in the newspaper as travelers from Levin, giving our good opinion of this lovely new camp.

P1020176Kaiapoi Photo

We made the local South Island newspaper

The only downsides were Robin having an issue with his leg, so we came home a couple of weeks early.  As it turns out, he doesn't have cellulitis after all, rather some type of vascular problem.  We just wonder what those two courses of antibiotics were doing, since there was no infection, hopefully he is squeaky clean after all those pills he swallowed!  And the never ending ferry problems which affected so many people.  On our trip down our afternoon  ferry was cancelled and we were rebooked on one leaving at 2.00am, take it or leave it, we were told.  Weeks and weeks of ferry problems followed, break downs, trouble with getting bookings, and by the time we were due to return home again, once again, the ferry was cancelled.  But, we were offered a life line when we were placed on standby with no guarantees, a little scary, not knowing if we would manage to get aboard.  Thank goodness we did, although now we are home the news items continue with stories of customers stranded for weeks, or boarding as foot passengers and having to leave their cars behind.  We certainly were lucky indeed to get home when we did.


On board the ferry

Thank you all for coming along for the ride, and sharing in our South Island adventures, it was good to have you along.  There is no doubt about it, the South Island is a fabulous place.