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

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Noah’s Ark, and a New Start

It’s another step forward with Noah's Ark – it is now pinned up and awaiting its turn to be quilted.  I went to a sewing day on Saturday and used one of the handy tables for this job. It sure beats crawling on my hands and knees on the floor at home.    Jude shared some of her batting off cuts with me, so one long piece was cut in half and Frankinbatted with my sewing machine.  And low and behold, just the right size.  The navy gingham for the backing was donated from my neighbour Dorothy’s stash when she moved into a resthome.  The three layers were smoothed and pinned, and is all ready for the next step……..sometime soon I hope.


Noah’s Ark quilt

With that job out of the way I settled down to work on my new stitchery project.  I’m starting a set of New Zealand themed Christmas designs from MillyMac Supplies.  This one is a kiwi bird camping with his iconic VW Kombi van.  


New stitchery started

Although these stitcheries are Christmas themed, I'm certainly not aiming to get them all completed for Christmas this year.  Maybe next year instead?

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Batik Blocks

Hiding away in my big bag of batiks were some Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks I had started in January 2021.  Originally I had planned another project, don't remember what after all this time, only that it  didn't go ahead, so I started making Cobblestone blocks each month instead.  They had been tucked away for a while, and I had almost forgotten about them.


MY big bag of batiks

Are there enough blocks for a quilt for our bed, I wondered?  I laid them all out on my design bed, and had a look.  Nope, still need some more, I decided.  So I set to work, cut extra strips, and stitched some more blocks.  Hopefully, these will be enough.


Extra Cobblestone blocks

I still need to assemble the quilt top, and then decide if I want a border or not.  That will be my next task.  I’m so pleased that this project is progressing again.  Sadly, there are several more RSC unfinished projects from the last year or so.  Seems like too many starts and not enough finishes have been happening here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Sew Wot Tuesday

Helen was the hostess this time, she lives out in rural country surroundings, a nice little drive away.  Most of us were there, but Mary was unable to make it.  There were some older quilting magazines looking for a good home, so we looked through them and I took several home.  The rest will be donated to the Op Shop. 

As I was the birthday girl this week some lovely gifts were presented to me, how exciting!  I received fabric, fancy soaps and a pretty soap dish, hand cream and an interesting parcel with a bright green handle sticking out.  This turned out to be a lint remover, just the thing for removing Gemma’s very fine hair which floats around in the air and gets all over my quilting projects.  Believe it or not, despite having a cat who sheds fur, I’ve never had one of these handy tools.  Many thanks to my Sew Wot friends for the lovely gifts. 

Of course there was some show and tell.  Helen started the show with a selection of very nice baby knitting.  She had certainly been keeping busy working on these pretty little garments.


Helen’s baby knitting

Jude was pleased to report that she had finally finished the pair of socks she had been working on for a while.  These are for her son.


Jude's socks – done

Sandra had finished her knitting project too, a little baby blanket. This is a lovely design, and much quicker than the previous pattern she had knitted, she said.


Sandra’s baby blanket

Christmas is coming up fast, and Carol is ready with her Christmas table cloth.  It certainly is nice and festive.


Carol’s Christmas table cloth

The next quilt shown certainly had a story with input from two Sew Wot members.  This is to be a shop sample for Foxs Cottage. Mary made the boat blocks, then it was assembled and quilted at Foxs Cottage, and Helen will be doing the binding.  This is such a nice design.


Boat blocks

Morning tea was served, and goodness me, look what was carried out from the kitchen.  Helen had made some delicious carrot cake muffins, and carried the tray out, one with a birthday candle, just for me!  That was such a nice surprise indeed.


Happy Birthday to me

It was such a lovely morning, and I really appreciated the gifts, its always such fun opening up these small parcels to see what delights are hiding under the wrapping paper.  Thanks so much ladies, for making my birthday so special.  Sadly I wont be attending the next two Sew Wot mornings, as we have a couple of caravan trips planned.  But I will be back in time for our Christmas outing.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Good News, and a Birthday

There was excellent news for Robin at his appointment with the orthopedic surgeon last week to check on his knee replacement.   There were x-rays on the monitor showing the replacement pieces, and everything looked nice and straight, we were told.  The wound has healed nicely and Robin’s knee movement is excellent.  We were told that slow improvement will happen over the next year or so, but everything looks fine, and he can do away with the sticks.  Yes, he is cleared to drive, so a caravan trip will be happening in the near future.  Yippee to that!


We had planned to go to Speights Ale House for a celebration lunch.   A Speights beer for Robin and a bubbly for me while we checked out the menu.  What to choose, that always takes a bit of thought.  I had pork belly, no surprises there, and Robin chose a big juicy lamb shank.  We hadn't planned on dessert, but a cinnamon oyster each with coffee afterwards was just a mouthful and so light and  tasty.  After such a big lunch, there was no evening meal for us that evening.


At Speights for a celebration lunch

Recently I spent some time at the hospital having a “new to me” procedure – a Nuclear Medicine whole body bone scan.  This was rather like an MRI but without the infernal noise and took a hour for the machine to do its thing.  The nurse kindly  let me take a photo.


I have getting back pain for some time, and as a cancer survivor, was quite concerned.  But the report came back clear of anything nasty – such a relief, only showing arthritis in my spine.  So as you can imagine, I was so relieved, and will no doubt need a doctors visit  on how best to manage with my back.  Get more exercise, he is sure to say!  I am so grateful to my lovely oncologist for organizing this appointment for me, it has certainly put my mind at rest. 

My birthday has rolled around again (how old, you are probably thinking?)  Old enough to have a major birthday coming up in a couple of years, but we will worry about that later when the time arrives.  The pair of us had a nice lunch out at a local café, the food is great here and it is always a busy place.  I had my camera on the table and the young waitress spotted it and asked if we could like a photo taken. Yes please, I said, it’s my birthday lunch.   How’s that for customer service!


Birthday lunch at Salt and Pepper Café

I had beer battered fish and Robin had a very large steak.  And I succumbed to a little something extra, just because it was my birthday.  We had a huge piece of the cafes famous carrot cake each, that took some eating, and neither of us quite managed to finish our piece of cake.


Look at that cake!

Robin was pleasantly surprised when he went up to pay the bill.  Because it was my birthday, the café gave me my coffee and cake for free!  And as well, they gave me a couple of extra stamps on my coffee card to accumulate for a future free coffee when the card is full.  Goodness me, I didn't know they would do that.

So it’s good health news for both of us, and  birthday celebration too, how lucky are we.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Off to the Quilt Show

Its been such a long time since I’d been to a quilt show.  My (non quilting) friend Dot and I went up to Palmerston North to “Celebration of Quilts” put on by Rose City Quilters.  Entry was a very reasonable $5 and we took a ticket in this striking star  raffle quilt hanging on the wall.  There were also more raffles featuring gift baskets, one for quilting supplies, one for gardeners, and a gourmet basket packed with interesting goodies, so of course I needed tickets in those as well.


Entry to the show and the raffle quilt

Of course, there were all sorts of quilts on display, large, small, pieced, appliqued, and several made with panels.  As I mentioned to Dot, all these quilts would have been made for a purpose, to suit the maker’s own home, as a bed quilt ort to hang on the wall, or maybe a gift for a family member or a special friend.  Colour choice is  very personal,  and everyone sees colour and design differently.

Best in Show was this poignant small quilt by Erilyn McMillan and was taken from a photo showing a child amongst the crosses in a field of remembrance.  The different shades of grey and black have been achieved by countless little embroidered  seed stitches.  This little quilt has to be seen to be fully appreciated.


Best in Show by Erilyn McMillan

Another neutral coloured quilt which caught my eye.  By Dianne Southey who used a hand embroidered table cloth laid over grey fabric and extensively quilted.  It was made double sided by adding beautiful lace on the back.


Made with a table cloth

Of course, there were plenty of colour in the hall as well.  Such as this trio, giraffes and a zebra.  And three attentive cats checking out the birds on the tree branch.  Sorry, didn't check the labels for the makers names.



Safari animals and cats

We bumped into our caravan friend Thelma and her daughter Sally Anne who had a quilt on display.  So of course we wanted to know which one it was.


Mary Anne with her quilt

These two really appealed.  Our beautiful native bird, the Huia, was much prized for its feathers and is sadly now extinct.  This seemed to be  created from a panel, I think.  And the motor bike quilt was a birthday gift to a grandson.  Once again, I didn't take note of the makers names.


Two more beauties

After being on our feet for a while, I really needed to sit down at the small café run by the quilt club.  A sandwich, muffin and cup of coffee revived us, and it was great to sit down for a while.

Then there was the Challenge to check out, the entries were based on the makers interpretation of a flag, and were to be 12 inches square.  Ooops, no photos of these challenge quilts.  Then I checked out the quilt vendors and was very restrained, only buying one fat quarter!  Dot was amazed to see the variety of fabrics, quilt kits and patterns on offer.  She has actually made one quilt some years ago, and has another on the go, but quilting is not really her thing.  Instead she is a very talented card maker.    It was nice to have her company as we walked around the exhibition, and enjoy a girls day out.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Shopping and Voting

I’ve got a very important quilt to make, so I took a trip to my local quilt shop, Fox’s Cottage.


My daughter Nicky has a big birthday coming up, but not for a while, so I’ve got plenty of time to think about it.  After I made her a birthday quilt for her 40th birthday, then her 50th, I presumed she would like another when she turns 60.  Yes she would, she replied excitedly.  We had talked colours and designs, and she had sent me several photos she had found on the internet.  Nothing sharp and pointy she declared!  Nicky would like nine patches, she decided, and rather liked pinks, greens, not too bright and garish, with cream, and would leave the rest up to me. So it was time to go shopping and make a start on gathering some compatible fabrics. 


Shopping trip

A check through my stash should find some smaller pieces which would work well, and I’ll probably need to buy some more later, but these will get me started.  I’m pleased I’ve got plenty of time, so I wont need to be in too much of a rush.  I'll have to decide between alternate blocks and/or sashing and then borders, but that will all fall into place once I start making the blocks.  So exciting to be starting such a special project.

On the drive back home  I stopped off at Lewis Farms to buy some new season asparagus.   The grading machines were busy, clatter clatter, keeping the workers on their toes as they sorted the different grades.  At the height of the season, this place is packed full of workers, busily doing all the various jobs as required.   Many of the seasonal workers come and stay in their motor homes and caravans and park up on the grounds for a small cost - no travel time to work when you are staying on site. 


Grading the asparagus

The farm shops stocks other locally made goods as well, honey, pesto, free range pork products, bread and crackers.  Lewis Farms also grow strawberries and raspberries, and real fruit ice-cream is available, as well as freshly ground coffee.  The shop was bustling with customers so I had a little wait for my coffee fix.


Asparagus and coffee

Saturday was Election Day, time for everyone to have their say and go and vote.  We had voted early, but many people like to enjoy the atmosphere and cast their vote on the actual day.  We watched the TV coverage in the evening, and it was obvious people thought it was time for a change.  Labour was trounced and National will be the new government.  The Special Votes still need to be counted, those from Kiwis overseas, in hospitals, and those who voted outside  of their electorates.  There may well be changes to a few seats, but it seems that overall National will form a government with one or two coalition parties.


Robin’s Monday morning physio classes are going well, and he is noticing improvements to his knee each week.  As I'm still the nominated driver, its coffee time for me while I sit and wait for him to do his exercise circuit.  And a little more sock knitting to pass the time.  We are looking forward to seeing the orthopedic surgeon on Thursday who will hopefully clear Robin to drive again.


Waiting till Robin has completed his physio

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Sunday Slow Stitching

Today is a great day for some slow stitching.  It’s cold and windy outside, a typical Spring day, just the right sort of day to stay inside and do something creative.  I’m working on my rather old clam shell quilt, started quite some years ago.  It had been tucked away in a fabric covered hat box, a gift from my daughter.  Of course, I knew it was there, and occasional got it out from time to time, just to check and fondle the fabric.  Finally I decided, why not just get it out and finish it!  So I did, and now I’m big stitch hand quilting around the clam shells.


Purple clamshells

Remember my mystery knitting project from a couple of weeks ago?


What was I knitting?

It’s now finished – and is called a Bunny Blanket Buddy.  Nice easy knitting with a stuffed head.  This was knitted in quite thick acrylic type yarn, and will be added to my Foster Hope donation box.


Who is a cheeky bunny?

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Sew Wot Tuesday

I was the Sew Wot hostess on Tuesday and it was nice to welcome everyone here.  Jude’s birthday wasn't quite over, and she received two more gifts to open.  What was inside, I wondered?  Pretty fabric and fancy soaps, we discovered.  It’s just as nice watching the gifts being opened in anticipation from the sidelines, I think.


Happy extended birthday, Jude

I received an early birthday gift from Heather, plus a pretty little hand picked posy from her garden.  Can I keep this gift till my birthday, I inquired?  Of course I could, so I will look forward to opening it up in a couple of weeks time.


Gift and flowers from Heather

Gemma also received a gift from Heather – a cute little fish toy made by Heather’s fair hands and stuffed with catnip. She didn't quite know what to do with it at first, and then I saw her playing with her fishie later in the morning.


Here, fishie, fishie

Because there were visitors in the house, Gemma decided to play up, just like kids do.  She jumped around everywhere, then took a mighty leaf onto the top of the wall unit.  Probably thinking, “you cant catch me!”


It’s no trouble to get up here

There was only a little show and tell.  I showed my boy’s Happy Blocks donation  quilt and the Noah’s Ark embroidered top.


My show and tell

Carol had been busy making some more knitted toys, and a little singlet and hat set.


Made by Carol

And Heather had made a little applique zip pouch/purse, the kit was a recent birthday gift.


Made by Heather

Most of us spent the morning knitting and chatting.  Heather was knitting the prettiest lacy socks for one of her girls. Morning tea was served, I was too busy to take a photo of the food, but the cheese rolls were very tasty.  Southern cheese rolls, as they are called, are a South Island thing, and the cafes in different towns have their own secret recipes!  They consist of slices of bread, slathered with cheese filling, rolled up and baked/toasted in the oven till piping hot.


Heather’s lacy socks


Sandra and Carol, and the morning tea is almost gone

Mary was the only one not knitting, she was busy adding stitches to her pretty op shop find, an embroidered tablecloth.  Such lovely colours in this.


Mary’s op shop tablecloth

Gemma settled down after a while, and took quite a fancy to Heather.  She spent the rest of the morning snuggled up to Heather’s bags.  “you are very honoured”, I told Heather, “Gemma is very particular who she pays attention to!”


Heather’s new best friend

We had a lovely morning, as always, and we will do it all again somewhere else in two weeks time.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Noah’s Ark

I’m pleased that my Noah’s Ark stitchery blocks are now a top.  They were such fun to stitch, and this project traveled with us during our two months caravan trip around the South Island.  Stitching at lovely campsites after a day of sightseeing over the summer months, it was a very enjoyable project to work on indeed.  Not that they were completed during our holiday – but were slowly worked on when we returned home.  The designs were stitched on two large pieces of fabric, then  cut apart and bordered in different colours. 


While on our caravan trip I visited a quilt shop in Blenheim and found a great fabric to use for the border of this quilt.  It reminded me of the colours of the rainbow so I just had to have it, in fact I purchased the last on the board, just short of 2 metres I think.  And to think I only went shopping for black Perle no.5 thread, I did very well indeed. 


This fabric took a bit of finding last week, I had put it away safely somewhere – but where?  Luckily I found it and stitched up the quilt top.  And here it is, the completed top. 


Noah's Ark quilt top

Lynette Anderson-O’Rourke designed these lovely blocks and I found it as a freebie on the internet.


Noah's Ark on top of the mountain