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

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Winter Solstice

It’s the winter solstice here – the shortest day and the longest night.  You know what that means – it’s time to change the seasonal quilts.  Down came the Autumn wall-hanging, to be replaced with Welcome Winter.  I know we don't have the hardship of snow on the ground where we live here in New Zealand, but I rather like this little wintry piece.  It was a kit sent to me by my quilting penfriend from South Dakota.


Welcome Winter

International Maples has been hung over the sofa, and the black background makes it a winter quilt in my eyes.  This was a block swap I took part in, with blocks arriving from Australia, Canada, USA and Indonesia, with two stitched by me.  And I machine quilted this quilt.


International Maples

And across the back of the other sofa is another Maple Leaf quilt.  These blocks were received during a birthday block swap I took part in some years ago.  We were put into a group of twelve, and stitched blocks for each of us as the appropriate birthday months arrived.  We could request which particular block we would like to receive.  I wanted maple leaf blocks and supplied the background fabric, and machine quilted this one as well.  This sofa is right under the heat pump and Gemma often arranges herself along the top in the winter.


Gemma on the Maple Leaf quilt

On the bed is my winter House Cats quilt, nice and cozy with wool batting.  This is a real oldie, and the first quilt I ever got commercially quilted.  I love this photo, Gemma is asleep on the cat quilt, which was made to honour our part chinchilla cat Misty when she died, with her head on the cushion which has a picture of our previous Birman Muffy. The three cats were not related, but this seems like a three generation cat picture to me.


Gemma on the cat quilt

After some glorious weather winter has decided to make it’s presence felt.  Today is cloudy, windy, and definitely chilly.  The heat pump has been on all day, it’s been a good day to stay tucked up inside doing a little knitting.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Sew Wot Tuesday

These Sew Wot Tuesdays always seem to roll around very quickly.  This time we gathered at Jude’s home, just a reasonably short drive away for me.  Mind you, I still like to have guidance from the Sat Nav, just on case.  I’ve got a reputation for being navigationally challenged, you know.

It was a nice crowd, with only one of our members unable to join us today.  The fire was lit, and we sat and chatted while we organised our show and tell.  Sandra had completed a quilt top, using Jude's pattern of a pinwheel variation.  Lots of little bits and pieces in this, and I rather like the pieced border.


Sandra's pinwheel variation top

Heather then showed us a gorgeous fair isle jumper she had just completed for her great grand daughter, just in time for winter.  I really admired the yoke, so clever to be able to knit in the round like this. 


Beautiful knitting by Heather

Carol had quite a pile of knitting to show us.  Three sets of vests and matching hats, plus two little knitted toys, all for donation.  I really don’t know how she gets so much done, what with the sewing up and stuffing to do as well.


Carol’s lovely knitting

After seeing Mary’s lovely grey and white  crocheted blanket, Jude decided to make one as well.  Here is  her version using a pretty variegated yarn.


Beautiful work by Jude

As always, there was plenty to chat about, and news to catch up.  The tea trolley was wheeled out mid morning, brimming with goodies, as usual.  We certainly don't go hungry, do we.


Thanks so much to Jude for being our hostess today, I always so enjoy these mornings together.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Noah, Giraffes, and Family Visits

Sunday mornings here always start with a cooked breakfast, which is Robin’s task.  This morning he cooked up some bacon and eggs.  Always a good start to a lazy Sunday morning when things aren't too rushed.

My stitchery block of Noah and his giraffes needed finishing, so I sat and stitched for a wee while today.  There, that’s one more block from my Noah’s Ark stitchery completed.  I had a count up and there are only two more blocks left to do.


Hello Noah

I’ve also been plodding away on my navy cardigan, I’m not a fast knitter at all, but I’m OK with that.  The button bands on the fronts have now been finished, and I’m almost up to the underarm shaping on the sleeves.  So it’s moving along slowly.


Two sleeves at once

My son Michael flew up from Christchurch to photograph a dance competition in Wellington over the weekend.  WE last met up earlier in the year when we were traveling the South Island on our caravan trip.  He borrowed his Dad’s car and drove up to see us on Friday.  Michael was lamenting the fact that next year he is having a BIG birthday, where have all the years gone?


Michael and his Mum

I didn't realise that my daughter Nicky had also traveled to Wellington for the weekend.  She had come down to take part in an advanced sewing class and called in to see us on her way home today, Sunday.


With daughter Nicky

So how about that – a visit from each of my children.  Adult children do lead busy lives, it was so nice to see them both.  It doesn't take too much to make a Mum happy, does it.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

More Blue Stitching

There was one more Rainbow Scrap Challenge project to work on this week, my Horizon blocks in blacks and greys.  I'm making this donation quilt to suit an older boy, and adding splashes of colour as required each month.  These are nice simple blocks, so very suitable for RSC blocks.


Horizon blocks with blue

With these blocks out of the way, I had time to work on another blue project.  This one started with a fat quarter of Artic wildlife, which came from my neighbour’s Dorothy’s stash.  Much too nice to cut up into smaller pieces, I decided..  A few borders, and there, a cot quilt size.  The internal cream border features happy looking polar bears cavorting around, a long ago gift from Canada, and I’m pleased at last to have a place to use it.



I’ve already got another donation quilt pinned up ready to be machine quilted, so this one will have to patiently wait it’s turn.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Flitting from this to that

Although I always seem to be busy with my projects, I have to admit that I’ve been flitting from one thing to the other over the last week.  So consequently, nothing really gets finished.  With my knitting, I've been working on the sleeves of my navy blue cardigan, then also on the button hole bands as well.  Then I’ve two pair of socks on the go, sometimes I work on one set, later I work on the other.  I've been doing a little machining here and there, working on a couple of projects.  So nothing much to show at all.

And then, with the weather being so nice and mild lately, I’ve been sitting outside on the patio to work on my Noah’s Ark stitchery.  Sure, the temperatures are lower, but the days have been sunny without any wind, so it’s hard to imagine that Winter starts next week.

We had a day out in Kapiti the other day, with a list of  several things to do. I dropped off another quilt for Foster Hope, this one is for a girl and I’m sure it will find a good home before winter starts biting.


Donated to Foster Hope

The sun was shining, and it was a beautiful day. With the chores ticked off the list, and lunch time fast approaching – fish and chips on the beach sounded rather appealing.  So that’s that we did.  Robin used to eat his lunch in his truck on this beach occasionally when he was driving for Toops, back in the day, so knew just the spot to drive to.  That’s Kapiti Island off the beach.  Those greedy demanding sea gulls didnt get a single chip from us, our lunch was so delicious we ate them all.


Lunch on Paraparaumu Beach

What was happening, we wondered, as a workman started laying a line of traffic cones down the beach.  It all became clear when he started up a yellow digger.  He was going to cut another channel for the stream which dribbled into the sea.  Goodness knows how long that will last once the tide comes in.  All this activity kept us interested for a while.


Digging at the beach

I really fancied a hot drink after our lunch on the beach, and the best place to get one in Kapiti was Butlers Chocolate Café in Paraparaumu Mall.  So decadent and delicious, plus they are served with hand crafted chocolate as well.  What a lovely conclusion to our lunch.



So delicious

Saturday, June 10, 2023

RSC Sewing Blue

It’s blue again for those taking part in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) stitching.  No problem for me, I’ve got plenty of blue fabric here, so I got busy making some Little Bricks.  I'm working on two different quilts using the little bricks pattern.   I stitched a row of my zig zag bricks in dark blue, then made six of the original design in lighter blue.


Little bricks

Then came the Happy Blocks, such a fun and easy block to make.  Once again, I’m making blocks for two kiddies quilts, one each for a little boy and girl.  This time I found 5in squares featuring some comic looking insects, an elephant, pukekos, and an aeroplane for a boy, and cup cakes and flowers for a girl.  I really enjoy making these, selecting the appropriate coloured square and fabric to frame it.  My pile of boys squares are just about finished, but I have plenty for girls, enough for another couple of quilts at least.


Happy Blocks for children

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Sew Wot Tuesday

There were two Sew Wot birthdays to celebrate this time, Mary and Helen were the birthday girls.  I was running a little late so the gift opening was well underway by the time I arrived.  What was in those two big parcels we wondered?  So exciting to see them opened simultaneously.  Inside were plastic baskets and lids holding two big balls of yarn each.  That will keep them busy for a while.


Mary and Helen opening their gifts

Of course there was show and tell as well, sadly none from me this time.  Helen had recently been on holiday in Perth, Australia, but that didn't stop her from knitting up a storm in the evenings.  She had made two baby singlets and a beanie, well done.


Helen’s holiday knitting.

Our hostess Heather had been busy.  First up was a quilt top made with digger panels, made for her daughter and partner.  Rather significant as he is in the construction industry.  Just look at that wintry sun shine was streaming through the windows behind – making the panels a little hard to see.


Big boys toys

Secondly was a very pretty pinwheel quilt which Heather was making for her niece.  Nice and bright with such lovely colours.


Made for a niece

Of course Carol had some knitting finishes too.  There was a doll and an assortment of knitted toys – the soft toys will be donated to Neo Natal for the babies.


Made by Carol

Sandra also had some knitting to show. These baby tops and singlet have all be made for donations.


More baby donations

Heather had something very special to show us – her very first bed quilt, made before she even knew what quilting was, she said.  Made from scraps of gorgeous Japanese brocade, the offcuts from fabric used for smoking jackets. Heather remembers that she got the fabric way back in 1972, and finished the quilt in 1992! 



Heather’s beautiful brocade quilt

Our wonderful hostess had set such a pretty table to celebrate the two birthdays.  We donned our party hats and joined in the fun.



Jude, Carol, Heather, Helen, Sandra and Mary

Heather related how she had a small issue with the cake, but she certainly fixed it with a liberal soaking of American Honey Bourbon!  No wonder the cake tasted so nice.


Way to go, Heather.

It certainly was such a lovely Sew Wot morning, thanks so much Heather, we all had a wonderful time.

Monday, June 5, 2023

A busy Weekend

It seems a bit strange to be talking about going away on the King’s Birthday Weekend, I find.  Especially after 70 or so years of the Queen’s Birthday, but I’m sure we will get used to it.  The particular date is staying the same, and we had a caravan weekend away planned.

But first, we had the firemen come calling.  No, not for an emergency, thank goodness.  They were coming to do several smoke alarm assessments at our village, and we were on their list. And here they come, the fire engine was parked a few doors away from us, and three burly firemen came calling.  They checked and replaced our current smoke alarm as it was out of date, and installed an extra one as well.   Such pleasant young men, and so helpful.  This is a free service, and much appreciated.


On their way again

After lunch we hooked the caravan up and drove away for the three day long weekend.  We were staying at Himatangi Beach Camp, always well maintained, with lovely clean facilities.  Just a small turnout this time, with just three of our vans attending the weekend.  The weather was fine, but that wind certainly had a bite to it, so we enjoyed the first 4zees of the weekend  inside our van.  Being a long weekend, there were plenty of arrivals during the afternoon, and beach buggies rolling in and out of camp visiting the nearby beach.


Staying at Himatangi Beach

How about a visit to Viv’s Kitchen at Sanson on Saturday, we wondered?  That sounded great, but then there was a big decision to make, shall we do morning tea, lunch, or afternoon tea?  We all agreed that lunch sounded a great idea so off we went.  Viv’s Kitchen is well known for Cream Horns which the others enjoyed, but we prefer the big squishy chocolate eclairs.  Two  came home with us for dessert that evening.


The staff at Viv’s Kitchen are dressed in 50s full skirted dresses and are kept very busy in this popular café.  Our helpful waitress very obligingly took a photo of us all, insisting she cleared the table first.  Oh, she said, she hadn't used a camera for a while, young people generally use their phones these days.


Our lunch table cleared away

For lunch the next day I cooked up some tasty little treats.  These are breakfast sausages, wrapped in bacon,and baked in the oven for half an hour or so.  We had some hot for lunch, and they were just as nice eaten cold for lunch the following day.


Bacon wrapped sausages

After lunch we took a drive to Foxton Beach.  The beach was busy, beach buggies were driving around, some people were paddling, and we noticed one brave family sitting on the sand having a picnic.  Goodness me, the wind would have been rather cold down on the beach, I imagine.  Vehicles are allowed to drive on this beach, but at their own risk, I imagine.


Foxton Beach

What better way to finish off our afternoon than an ice-cream back at Himatangi Beach  Store. 


Ice-cream time

At the centre of Himatangi Beach village, by the beach entrance, sits the town’s mascot, a giant sculpture of a buoy, covered in a mosaic-tiled scene of sea life. Each year, the buoy wears a giant Christmas hat to embrace the festive spirit.


Mosaics sculpture at Himatangi

The name  Himatangi stems from a legend about a famous warrior chief, Matangi, who fished and killed a taniwha that was eating his relatives. The verb "Hi", meaning "to fish", was added to create the name Himatangi.  In Māori mythology, taniwha are large supernatural beings that live in deep pools in rivers, dark caves, or in the sea, especially in places with dangerous currents or deceptive breakers, similar to a serpent or water dragon.

Although I had taken both my knitting and stitchery bags with me, neither project got worked on over the weekend.  Obviously we were keeping busy and having too much fun!