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

Friday, April 5, 2024

Easter Weekend in Napier

 You know what it's like when you set off on holiday - you seem to have all the time in the world and then it's all over.  We were attending our caravan club rally in Napier, with plenty of plans, people to see, things to do, plus a little shopping.  It didn't all fall nicely into place though.  On my "must do list" was a visit to Skeinz, a local company which spins their own wool.  I had found a pretty 6ply cardigan pattern for myself and was after some yarn.   Of course there were several lovely colours available, but I couldn't resist this soft blue, nice and squishy in big 100gr balls.  Call me predictable but I really can't go past blue.

A new garment for me

My other purchase there was a ball of knitting cotton in a nice burgundy shade.  I'll be knitting a couple of cotton dishcloths for the caravan from this, our caravan upholstery is in this colourway.  Not that it really matters just for a dishcloth or two, but whatever makes me happy, I guess.

I can see a couple of dishcloths coming

My other purchase was a tea towel for the caravan, very cute I thought.

We had a busy five days in Napier, and had planned to meet up with my late sister's daughter Lisa and her adult children one day for lunch.  Sadly that didn't go as planned as Lisa was sick and the lunch date was cancelled.  But we slotted in a lunch with our caravan friends at Silky Oak, a wonderful chocolate cafe instead.

Robin enjoying his iced chocolate

We took our caravan buddies Helen and Owen to Birdwoods, a "new to them place".  There is a lovely little cottage on site and we had often mentioned this cutest little lolly shop to them.  Oh no, they said, we are not buying any lollies! And guess who walked out the door with a bag full, firmly clutched in his hands?   We were in need of a coffee after all this excitement, so went into the rather posh Birdwoods cafe.  We were escorted to our table, and a friendly young waitress came and took our order.  We noticed a group of ladies partaking in High Tea with the gorgeous tiered tray full of delectable morsels.  But when we inquired the cost per person, we gulped and decided no, it would have to be a really special occasion to warrant that price.

Jenny, Robin, Owen and Helen

Another morning we went to the local market.  What a crowd there was, families with kids, people with dogs and plenty of golden oldies like us.  My aim was to purchase some fresh seasons apples, found them easily enough.  Then we did some cheese tasting, and three lots of cheese jumped into our bag.  Some nice fresh bread rolls for our lunch, and some beef from the meat stall, and that was our lot.  We came away feeling quite pleased with our purchases.

Farmers Market

Our caravan club members shared Easter Buns for Afternoon Tea one day, and Easter Eggs another day.  And I'm pleased to report that the Easter Bunny tracked us down in the caravan to deliver a delicious Lindt Golden Bunny to us both.

One for him, and one for me

Gemma had a fine old time relaxing with us outside the caravan when the weather allowed, firmly contained with her harness and lead, of course.  She loves popping into any open lockers she can find, here she is checking out Owen's locker, which was handily left open.  

Wonder what is in here?

Napier City suffered a devastating earthquake in February 1931, with 256 deaths and many thousands injured.  The city was levelled, and fires burned in the city for 36 hours before finally dying out.  The sea floor and beach rose 2.7m and the present Napier Airport  stands on land which was once part of a lagoon.  When Napier was rebuilt, the streets were widened, services improved, and the building style used was Art Deco.  Napier has a world renowned collection of Art Deco buildings.

National Tobacco Company building in the Art Deco style

This row of houses, known as the Six Sisters, are among the few survivors of the 1931 earthquake.  They were built by an architect who wanted a two storey house for each of his daughters.   Some of the  houses are now owned by commercial businesses, with a few  reverting back into family homes.

The Six Sisters
As Monday afternoon wore on I started to feel unwell, coughing, sneezing, head aches, I was certainly coming down with something.  We left for home a day early, and after helping unpack the caravan, I fell into bed.  Youve guessed it, I had caught the dreaded Covid.  After several years of feeling rather smug that we had never succumbed, it had now caught up with us.  Robin tested positive a couple of days later, and neither of us feel quite so smug now.  To be honest, my ribs are so painful with all the coughing, not pleasant at all.  So we will be staying home for the next week or so, rearranging appointments, and resting up.  

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Knitting on a Caravan Trip

What sort of handwork to take on our caravan trips  was the question.  With no stitchery project on the go at the moment, it had to be knitting.  I usually have a pair of socks on the go, so they were packed.  This pair is going to be for my daughter, she requested a fine 4ply pair this time, and selected the sock yarn from my stash.  I often knit socks on car journeys, nice easy knitting once I'm past those tricky heels.  I knit my socks flat, two at a time, then stitch up the side seam.

Socks for my daughter

My other knitting project is a cardigan for baby Jack, our niece's new baby.  This is a completely new pattern for me, as the garment is knitted in one piece, starting at the back.  I've knitted the back, one and a half sleeves, and now I'm continuing down one of the fronts.

A new baby pattern for me to try

On our travels we called in to the historic village of Ongaonga, named for the Maori word of the native stinging nettle.  The village was founded in 1872 when Henry Hamilton Bridge subdivided his farm.  The general store and tea rooms opened in 1899 and is still in business.

Historic village of Ongaonga

The village is full of interesting old buildings, and the wind was blowing a gale and buffeting us around as we wandered around.  There was an old bush settlers hut, and a tiny jail.

Bush settlers hut from days gone  by

Tiny jail

But the most interesting building, in my view was the old Coles Brothers building, recently repainted.  Not only did they work as builders, joiners, ironmongers, painters and plumbers, they were also undertakers as required.  Obviously the Coles Brothers were a  very talented family indeed.

Coles Brother's building

And look........ the Easter Bunny found us in our caravan at Napier and delivered two lovely Lindt Gold Bunnies for us to enjoy!

Happy Easter

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Chookshed Challenge for March

 My Chookshed Challenge for March, number four on the list, has been completed.  Some of the participants had chosen to work on a panel for their number four, and I was happy to do this as well, as I had a couple of panels waiting for me in a bag.  I chose to work on my wild horses panel, and mid way through the month  I had added borders simple borders.

The finished top

The next step was pinning the layers together, and luckily I found a piece of cream calico just the right size for the backing.  I safety pinned the layers together out on the patio table, making the most of the warm Autumn weather.  I decided to do something a little different with the quilting and remembered I had a book about Walking Foot quilting designs.  I chose to do gentle Echoed Curves across the whole quilt.  Sorry, but three photos later, Blogger still won't let me turn this photo around.

My practically unused quilting book

Gemma always likes checking out the quilts when I'm working, and I had to chase her away several times.  Using the screw in seam guide to keep the lines the correct width was a first for me.

Busy quilting

And a couple of afternoons sitting stitching the binding down, always the best part I think, and it was all done.

Binding time

All done

This will probably be a donation quilt, but I think I'll hang on to it for a while.  With two grown up granddaughters who are keen horsewomen, I'm ever hopeful of a great grand child one day.

I had mentioned that I had previously used a large horse panel from this range to make a birthday quilt for my granddaughter Megan a few years ago.  After a lot of searching, I finally found a photo.  Made with nine patch blocks, and blue sashing to pick up the colour of the sky and the river, I was very pleased with how it turned out.  This was commercially quilted, as it was much too big for me to deal with

Megan's birthday quilt from several years ago

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Movie Date Night & Autumn Equinox

We are not great movie goers, but now and again a film grabs our attention, and we just have to go and see it. 

The Great Escaper, starring Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson was such a film.  This film is based on a true story about pensioner Bernard Jordan, who absconded from his Care Home in Sussex, UK in 2014, to attend an event in France marking the 70th Anniversary of the D Day Landings.  Bernard missed out on getting a pass to join one of the official groups, so decided to go it alone.

It was an excellent film, with plenty of early scenes  when the young couple met.  Flash backs to  war years happened, and the tradegy of losing family and comrades.  The brave old men, plenty of them on walkers and sticks, who gathered in France to remember those dark days, all proudly wearing their medals.  Bernard escapade at 90 years old  made the news and he was welcomed back to his Care Home as an adventurous hero.  What I realised from this film, was that no matter how long ago people experienced the horrors of war, or indeed any other great catastrophe, the memories are  put aside to get on with  everyday living, but the trauma is just under the surface and often triggered.  I can certainly recommend this film, funny, sad, and yes, I shed a few tears, and based on a true story.

We received a movie gift card from my granddaughter Emma for Christmas, and I had been saving it for such an occasion. And we ate at the cafe before our movie commenced, so it made it a lovely night out.  Robin had a pizza and I ordered some dumplings, plus a nice hot coffee too.

Our movie snack before the film

Our Autumn Equinox has rolled around, so it was time to ring changes and get my little Autumn wall hanging out.  We have noticed that the morning and evening temperatures are getting cooler, but the days are still mostly warm and sunny.  No need to turn the heating on just yet, but a cardigan and warm slippers have been making an appearance some evenings.

Autumn has arrived

Monday, March 18, 2024

Donation Drop-off, and Lunch with Friends

 Over the last several months I have been stitching away, and had accumulated a bag of donations for Foster Hope charity.  The nearest drop off point was on the way to where we were heading for lunch, so that worked out well.  I collected the bag, and we were ready to go.

Ready for the donation drop-off

So what did I have ready to donate?  A red and blue boy's strippy quilt, featuring helicopters and planes, and road construction machines.  As well as some draw string bags for the foster kids to put toiletries or pens and pencils in, beanies, and a little baby's striped jumper I had knitted.  All to be given to children in need.

Donations for Foster Hope

We were meeting our friends for lunch at the Paekakariki Hotel.  The meaning of Paekakariki is "pae" for perching and "kakariki" is a small native parrot.  The local cafe just across the road from the pub is called "The Perching Parrot".  

Paekakariki Hotel

We took some time choosing our meals - I was after soup as it was a chilly day, but no soup on the menu just yet, I was told.  Eventually, we placed our orders, and the food arrived.  I tried corn fritters for a change, and Robin enjoyed his sweet and sour pork on rice.  Having a nice meal for lunch means I don't have to cook another meal for our dinner that night.

Corn Fritters for my lunch

There was  plenty to chat about as usual, including mentioning our friend Trish who was about to embark on an overseas adventure, how exciting for her.  We certainly wished her well, and safe travels.   As we sat at the table by the window, we remarked at the railway barrier arms coming down across the road, stopping traffic as a train went by.  This happened time and time again while we were enjoying our meal, passenger trains arriving and departing regularly, and the occasional freight trains too.  This is a very busy rail line indeed.  

Enjoying our lunch

There was an interesting print of an old painting (painted in 1868) on the wall by our table,  showing the local Maori people and their waka (boats) on the beach, with Mana Island in the background.

Paekakariki Beach in the 1860s

We had a lovely time together, and then it was time to say our goodbyes and we headed home.   And no trip along the coast is complete without a stop to admire Kapiti Island, is it.  This really is my favourite island, I have to say.

Kapiti Island

Kapiti Island was the base of the warrior chief Te Rauparaha for 20 years back in the 1820s, using muskets to defeat traditionally armed local tribes.  He and his men also launched devastating attacks on the South Island tribes.  These days Kapiti Island is a bird sanctuary, however access is only available through licenced tour operators, to keep visitor numbers within acceptable limits.  We have done this trip several times in the past, and the bird life is amazingly abundant on this predator free off shore paradise.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

More Purple for March

 I've finished all my RSC blocks for March, but I found  another purple project to work on.  When I received several boxes of fabric when my neighbour Dorothy was moved into a rest home some time ago, I came across a pile of nine patch blocks she had stitched.  These blocks sat around for a while, and I finally assembled them into a quilt top, using white sashing.  A length of lilac floral fabric found in the boxes became the borders.  And there the top sat, waiting, and waiting.  I laid it on our bed to check it out.  It doesn't look too bad for a donation quilt, I think.

Dorothy's nine patch blocks

With the backing fabric and batting ready, I took it outside onto the glass patio table, and pinned it up, ready for quilting.  Not sure how much of this I will be able to do this month, as we will be away in our caravan for ten days or so over Easter.  But I should be able to make a start on the machine quilting, and hopefully finish it the following month.

By the time we return home there will be a new RSC colour for the next month, and a new number chosen for the Chookshed Challenge.  So I'll be busy sewing again in April.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Mid Month Chookshed Challenge

 It's mid March and time to write about my progress on Chookshed Challenge No 4.  For number 4 I decided to work on a panel, as are several others taking part in the challenge.  I had a couple of panels hiding in a bag, and decided to do something with my horse panel.  Which has been sitting there waiting for the horses to be liberated for quite some time.

Opening the panel up, I remembered that it had four large horse panels, plus two more strips showing multiple horses on each side.  These smaller strips were cut off and added to the top and bottom.  I then added a strip of dark green to the top and bottom to give it a little more length  and some cream/brown dotty fabric for the borders.  No fancy pieced blocks anywhere, the idea was to keep this project simple, and achievable.

The top is done

The next step was to pin the layers together, always a bit of a challenge in my small home with not much clear floor space.  What I do is lay it on the floor between the sitting room and kitchen, put a few safely pins in to hold it together.  Then I carefully pick it all up, and lay it over the outdoor glass table in the patio.  There I can finish the pinning sitting down, without putting too much strain on my back.

Pinning the quilt layers together

The quilt binding has  been prepared, always a bonus in my book, and I have just started the machine quilting, so it's coming together quite well.  I'm looking forward to seeing what other panels have been worked on this month by fellow Chookshed Challengers.  I appreciate the organisors of the challenge for keeping us all motivated.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Sew Wot Tuesday

 Mary was the hostess for this Sew Wot Tuesday, and we met in her new to her home.  I had a slight navigational error as I hadn't been there before - I was in the right street but was confused what number her hose was so had to phone and ask.  As it happened, I was parked right outside a block of two flats, so I was almost right.  Nest time, I'll know exactly where to go.

Mary welcomed us inside and after we were settled, we were shown the tablecloth she had been working on.  This was an Op Shop find, and Mary completed the embroidery and added a border in a pretty floral fabric which picked up all the colours she had been working with.

Mary's completed tablecloth

As well, Mary had been knitting up a storm, making several pairs of wooly slipper socks for a friend to wear.  Carol also had been knitting, and had completed a couple of baby vests and matching hats for donation.  With all the chatting going on,  I omitted getting photos of these projects.

Carol and her hubby had recently been house sitting, and while away, had been extra busy, there was a whole bunch of donation quilts and quilt tops for show and tell.

Lovely Log Cabin

I love the blues in this one

This is a pretty design

This one is full of pretty squares

Heather had been busy too, bringing a couple of completed quilts.  This pretty pussy cat quilt has a cozy fleece backing and will be donated.

Cat quilt for donation

And Heather made this pretty teal blue quilt for her step-granddaughters birthday.

I had brought along my two purple pencil pouches to show as well.

We spent a delightful morning, knitting and chatting away, and then it was time for morning tea.  Wonderful toasty smells were coming from the kitchen, and Mary brought out toasted asparagus rolls and cheesy toasts.  Together with other delightful home baking.  We never go hungry at our Sew Wot mornings.

Tasty Morning Tea

Thank you Mary, for a lovely morning, it was great, as always.