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

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Stitching in the Country

With our caravan hitched up behind us, we traveled away for a weekend in the country.  And I was pleased to find a little stitching time too.  I was sheltered from the hot Wairarapa sunshine, nice and shaded under our awning.  I didn’t do a great deal of stitching, but every little bit helps, doesn’t it?


We had a lovely weekend away with our caravan club friends, camped by a pretty little duck pond.  The pond residents got up to all sorts of ducky antics to keep us amused, quacking loudly when annoyed by their neighbours, then swimming serenely in the pond.

The resident ducks

There were horse events going on at the adjacent grounds – before they compete, they walk the horses around the course to get warmed up and orientate themselves.  We had the use of a meeting room overlooking these grounds, so had a good view from one floor up.

Checking the course

On Saturday we went out to a cafe for afternoon tea, and the owner also had a gorgeous Christmas Shop, chock full of all sorts of beautiful items.  I love Christmas, and although I was tempted by several lovely things, walked away empty handed.  Sometimes there is just too much choice, and I can’t decide!

A corner of the Christmas shop

As the weekend progressed, the weather changed and by the time we packed up and started the journey home, up and over the hills, it looked like this.

Misty rain on our journey home.

It was a lovely weekend away, and after our two hour journey, we arrived home to sunshine again.  The caravan was unpacked, a load of washing put on, and we can finally relax with our feet up, before we have to ponder the big question – what's for dinner tonight?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Little more Hand Stitching

A little bit of time here and there all adds up, and I’ve been working away on my second native bird stitchery while on our caravan holiday.  This one is a tui, a nectar feeder who loves to sip on the yellow kowhai blossoms in Spring.  Although not finished yet, the stitchery is coming along nicely.

Working on my tui stitchery

We arrived home safely from our two weeks away  - and I’ll share a few more holiday snaps with you.  We came home along a different route for a change, and driving down a steep hill, we caught our first glimpse of  Lake Taupo.  Although it looks lovely and peaceful now, Lake Taupo was actually formed by a huge volcanic eruption – read all about it here.

Lake Taupo

I love mountains, and managed to snap a picture of Mount Ngauruhoe as we drove along the Desert Road.  The beautiful cone shape tells of it’s volcanic beginnings.

Mount Ngauruhoe

Our last night away in the caravan was spent on a farm – and I got to see some pretty little (motherless)  pet lambs.  So cute – but very demanding, and they came in bleating loudly to see if their next meal was ready.  One of the little lambs decided to check out one of the farm dog’s kennels, and looked so sweet with it’s little head poking out.

Pet lambs on the farm

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Donna’s Quilt Studio and visit to Rose Garden

It’s always fun to find a “new to me” quilt shop while on our travels.  Unknown to me, Donna’s Quilt Studio is just around the corner from our favorite Jukebox Diner where we had a Big Breakfast after dropping our caravan off for the day to get serviced.  We had the day to fill in, so once I found out there was a quilt shop so close, I wasted no time at all getting there. 

Donna’s Quilt Studio

Donna Ward was the Best in Show winner at symposium with her quilt 'Fly' and owns Donna's Quilt Studio in Hamilton with her daughter Ashleigh.

I asked permission and Donna was quite happy for me to take some photos of her shop, containing all sorts of lovely things.  There was plenty to look at and admire, and I especially loved the great range of batiks on display.



There was a happy group of ladies who had come for a Sit and Sew day in the roomy classroom, so I popped my head in there to take a photo.


After I had looked at this and that, checked out fabrics and patterns, I made a few small purchases and went on my way, a happy quilter indeed.  Many thanks to Donna and her daughter for being so welcoming to an “out-of-towner” and granting permission for a few photos.

Next on the to-do list was to have look through the Hamilton Rose Garden.  We entered past the very colourful children’s play area – it was very hot and Robin took a breather on top of a very large caterpillar indeed.

Robin seated on a very large green caterpillar

The rose gardens were very extensive and we noticed a bevy of gardeners busy raking up any petals which had fallen overnight.


Dr Sam McGredy was New Zealand's most successful rose breeder.  The McGredy family of Ireland were internationally renown rose breeders for a century before Sam McGredy IV moved his business to New Zealand.  A special bed of roses is planted with some of the most influential roses of his career.

Dr Sam McGredy’s roses

We then took a wander along one of the many paths and ended up down by the river – so pretty, and nice and cool out of the hot sun.

Down by the river

The large extensive Hamilton Gardens are very pretty indeed and I’m sure we haven’t seen it all yet.  Perhaps we will have another visit next time we are up this way.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Kereru, Poppies, and Holiday News

It’s a busy life while on holiday in the caravan, driving here and there, staying at interesting places.  I found a little time to sit and stitch for a while.  Some stitching over several days and I’m happy to say that I have completed my kereru – one of two native birds I’m doing to hang in the caravan.  The kereru is a large native pigeon, with feathers in shades of green, and a snowy white breast, and gorge themselves on fruiting trees.    Please excuse the unpressed condition of the stitchery – I don’t have an iron in the caravan.

Kereru – native wood pigeon

Crochet in a Airfield Museum?  Why not.  I came across this lovely crocheted giant poppy displayed at the New Zealand Warbirds Museum in Ardmore, Auckland.  (Once more, apologies for the photo, as overhead lights were reflected on the glass).  400 crocheted poppies were made by a group of local ladies to commemorate the 2015 Centenary of the Gallipoli Landings in 1915.  This battle was a disaster for our troops and among the dead were 2779 New Zealanders, about a sixth of all those who had landed on the peninsula.  The red poppy has become a symbol of war remembrance the world over, and in New Zealand it is most commonly seen around Anzac Day, 25 April.

Poppies to remember the fallen

And now for a little news from our holiday.  As already mentioned, we visited the New Zealand Warbirds Museum, dedicated to the restoration of service aircraft.  All kinds of interesting planes were on display.

On view at the NZ Warbirds Museum

We spent the weekend at a caravan rally enjoying good company, a delicious Pot Luck meal, and we all gathered around the raging bon-fire on Saturday evening to celebrate Guy Fawkes night.  It was our wedding anniversary too, this year it is number 34!

Fine dining indeed at the pot luck meal

And while we were there we visited the historic local pub.  At 153 years old, The Riverhead is thought to be New Zealand’s oldest riverside tavern and holds New Zealand’s second oldest liquor license.  Nestled on the shores of the upper Waitemata, The Riverhead is steeped in local history and played a part in the development of early New Zealand, with thousands using the wharf and hotel as the gateway to lands in the north prior to the completion of roads and railway.  

The Riverhead, historic pub

We walked through to  “The Landing” bar and restaurant and settled down to enjoy a drink looking out over the muddy Waitemata.  Later a walk through the doors took us down onto a large deck surrounded by 100 year oak trees.  It was such a lovely peaceful setting.

Looking down from the deck

We are heading home this week but there is sure to be another adventure or too, and interesting sights to see.  And hopefully a little more stitching will be achieved too.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Coming along for the Ride

My pretty little African Violet is coming along for a caravan holiday too.  This was a birthday gift, and I couldn’t really leave such a pretty plant home alone for two weeks, could I? Goodness know what condition it would be in after all that time.


While in Taupo I went to my first ever visit to Lincraft, the retail chain specializing in craft, fabric, yarn, haberdashery, window furnishings, manchester and fashion accessories. First established in Australia, there are now several of these large craft stores in New Zealand, but not in my hometown.  I was looking for some thread for my NZ bird stitchery and found exactly what I needed.

Lincraft store in Taupo

We then travelled on to Arapuni to stay on a lovely peaceful rural property overnight.  While there we went in search of the 80 year old Arapuni Power Station.  Still in operation, this is the oldest currently generating, and the largest single hydroelectric power station on the Waikato River.  We read  the story of the power station being camouflaged to prevent it being bombed by possible Japanese airstrikes during WW11.  Masses of foliage was placed on top, and the building was painted in camouflage colours.  Japan did not invade New Zealand so the powerhouse remained unscathed – but it certainly is an interesting story, and one we knew nothing about.

Arapuni Power Station

Did you notice that very high swing bridge in the photo above?  This was built in 1925 for construction workers to reach the power station site, so of course we wanted to cross it.  At 152m long and 54m above the river, the walk across certainly gave spectacular views of the river, the power station and the gorge. 

On the swing bridge

How do you feel about crossing a swing bridge?  I know some people are too terrified to put a foot on one.  I’m fine as long as no one is being silly and making it bounce about.
This is a lovely part of the country and one we usually just drive through, so it was great to find these hidden gems. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Off we go Again

Patchwork projects have been put on the backburner once more as we are off again in our caravan for the next two weeks.  Starting with a visit to Hunterville, a small community on SH1, to spend time checking out the annual shemozzle.  This is a fun day that the whole community gets behind, and kids and adults  alike enter races, doing crazy things, and having fun. The town festival and market held on the first Saturday after Labour Day has a "Shepherds Shemozzle" – the premier race of the day with shepherds and their dogs  travelling from all over New Zealand to compete for the top prize.  We secured a good seat to watch the fun unfold.

Waiting for the fun to start

I purchased some Shemozzle merchandise too, a handy jute shopping bag and  tea towel, both featuring images of the iconic Huntaway dog.  These sheep dogs have great intelligence, agility and stamina needed for days of working on steep, rough country over large distances, driving very large mobs of sheep. Their bark is deep and repeating, usually with a short pause between barks, which allows the barking to be sustained for very long periods

Mementoes of the shemozzle

We are now slowly heading northwards to attend a Leisureline Owners Rally in Auckland next weekend.  Yes, I know, we are hardly ever home.  We had booked into Awastone Riverside Haven for the first night of this trip with our travelling companions, a great little camp beside the Rangitikei River.

Awastone Camp, beside the Rangitikei River

And yes, I’ve packed my stitching bag, although I haven’t actually done any stitching so far on this trip.  But I’m sure to get stitching shortly – I hope!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Birthday Wishes

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was lovely to be remembered by friends and family.  I wrote a message on our little blackboard (just because I could) which hangs in the dining room.

It’s that day again

It was so nice to receive pretty cards - and this pretty selection were all hand made.  It’s not just quilters who are good with their hands – there are some very talented people around doing all sorts of crafts.


The highlight of the day was a family lunch at the rather grandly named Orlando Country Club in Palmerston North.  There were three family birthdays to celebrate – my own, plus the two grand-daughters.  The three of us have birthdays within two weeks of each other.  And there was also another family birthday to celebrate, grand-daughter Emma reminded us.  Her foal Firedancer shares the same birthday as me and was two years old yesterday!
Café/restaurant at Orlando Country Club

Sadly, grand-daughter Megan was unwell and couldn’t join us, so that was a shame.  Gifts were exchanged, and it was nice to meet grand-daughter Emma’s boyfriend Shimon at last.  A very pleasant young man, he did very well with meeting the grand-parents for the first time.

Shimon and grand-daughter Emma

Daughter Nicky and SIL Robert

We took a while to check out  the menu and made our choices, then had to go to the counter to order.

Ready to order

There was plenty to chat about while we waited for the orders and soon plates of fish, burgers, and pasta were delivered to our table.  It was all delicious, and I was especially pleased with my choice of smoked salmon pasta, with tiny tomatoes and capers, so lovely and creamy, just yummy!  Have to admit that I’ve got a bit of a thing for salmon.

Fish and chips for him, and salmon pasta for her

GD Emma, Jenny, Robin, daughter Nicky, SIL Robert and Shimon

We all had a lovely time, and during lunch I received  a birthday phone call from son Michael, who lives in Christchurch.  So I was a very happy Mum indeed.