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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Coffee and Cake with the Girls

Camping doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a “girl’s coffee date”, especially when Wild Oats Cafe is just up the end of the road.  So Dot, Pamela and I, together with Kathryn who was visiting for the day, took the short drive to the end of the street to indulge in a coffee fix.

DSCF3785  Wild Oats Cafe, Carterton

Lots of interesting goodies tempted us from the cabinet.  What to choose – that’s always difficult.  After a little dithering, our choices were made.  Two slices of chocolate gateaux, one  piece of banana cake, and a tasty looking honey roll.  All served with coffee, of course, except for Kathryn, who is a dyed in the wool tea drinker.

DSCF3782 Pamela, Dot, Kathryn and Jenny

DSCF3784Our afternoon tea

I had hoped to buy a loaf of freshly baked bread to take back to the caravan, but by mid afternoon it had all sold out.  So I will need to take an early walk to the cafe/bakery one morning – the cheese loaf is delicious.  We can vouch for that.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Holiday Bargain Buy

Looking for an old Singer sewing machine?  Come to Carterton and wander through the many second hand shops in town, there are plenty of old sewing machines just waiting for a new owner.  I wasn’t in the market for a Singer, but like to check out old linen in these sort of shops.  There is often a selection of hand embroidered doilies, place mats, table napkins and table cloths to pick through.  I found a pretty little table cloth yesterday, hand embroidered with a hand made crocheted lace edging yesterday and wondered how much it was.  What would I be prepared to pay,  I thought to myself - maybe up to $10.  So I was pleasantly surprised to find that the proprietor wanted $5 for it. 

DSCF3759 My $5 bargain buy

Although there are no holes, rips or repairs in this pretty cloth, closer inspection showed a few light stains.  So after an overnight soak in a bucket of Napisan, it is now hanging out on the clothesline at the back of our caravan.  Do you often wonder about the history of hand stitched items like this?  Someone has spent a lot of time working on this pretty cloth, and perhaps after granny or an elderly aunt had passed away, the household linen was just donated or sold cheaply to clear the house.   I’m pleased I found it to give it a new lease of life in an appreciative home. 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas from New Zealand

Father Christmas managed to find us and drop a few gifts off overnight.  My quilting pen-friend Glennis from UK sent me this pair of Jubilee tea towels, aren’t they lovely!  Almost too nice to use.  We got lots of munchie goodies from my daughter and her two girls, including some home made Russian fudge that I had been eying up for days.  At last I could try some.

DSCF3739 Royal tea towels

Christmas Day in camp was a very laid back affair.  Our biggest problem was trying to keep cool in the hot sultry conditions, and we seemed to spend all day eating.  We breakfasted outside under the gazebo on croissants packed with ham and cheese, served toasty warm from the oven, yummy.  Then we made a few cell phone calls to family members scattered around the country who were having their own Christmas Day celebrations.

Robin was in charge of  the BBQ as he kept patiently turning our chicken roll-ups over and over to ensure they were cooked to perfection.  And of course, they were.  Served with cool salads, they were delicious.  With a chilled boysenberry trifle for dessert, and a glass of bubbly, our Christmas Lunch was a campers delight.

DSCF3734 Robin in charge of the BBQ

Those tasty chicken roll-ups are just as nice cold, so we made do with some sliced up to make chicken sandwiches for our evening meal, followed by another helping of trifle.  No wonder we were feeling rather full.  As the day slowly started to cool down, we sat outside in the dusk, thankful for our blessings of health, family, friends, and a peaceful life. 

And many thanks to fellow blog writers, followers and readers of Romany Quilting, wherever you may be.  Very best Christmas wishes to you all, in your own corner of the world!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Busy in the Caravan Kitchen

It’s Christmas Eve, the weather is hot and muggy in my part of the world, and I’ve been working away like a busy little Christmas Elf in the caravan kitchen preparing for tomorrow.  Not that there is a great deal of room in a caravan kitchen, you understand.  We celebrate Christmas in summer down here in New Zealand, so the temperature is generally rather warm.  So while some Kiwis like to prepare the traditionally English Christmas Dinner,  with roast turkey and all the trimmings, ours will be much more summertime fare.

I’ve prepared some delicious little chicken parcels for the barbeque, my Christmas Day speciality.   Chicken breasts cut thin, rolled around a dried apricot which had been soaking in a bit of plonk, then wrapped all around with several rashers of streaky bacon and secured with toothpicks.  We cook these on the BBQ, and they smell divine as they slowly sizzle away.  This is a recipe from one of our famous cooking stars, Jo Seagar.  We visited her cafe in Oxford, just out of Christchurch, while we were on our South Island Odyssey earlier in the year.

Potatoe salad was next on my to-do list, that wasn’t too hard.  Then I made a boysenberry trifle, and it does look nice, if I say so myself.  Last on the preparation list was my Chocolate Cherry Delights. 

DSCF3723 I’m getting chocolate everywhere

These are glace cherries wrapped in almond paste, then dipped in chocolate.  The only problem we have is trying to fit everything in the caravan fridge, as a lot of room is already taken with our Christmas ham.
DSCF3719 The cherries wrapped in almond paste, ready for dipping

So that is everything prepared for tomorrow, with just a green salad to prepared, and bottle of bubbly to chill.  I’ve got a Christmas Pudding and custard handy in case we are still feeling peckish, but I don’t think we will need it.  Hope your food preparations are gong well.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Coffee at Ruth Pretty’s

Our hostess Eileen was off to visit the Ruth Pretty Kitchen Shop, so I went along for the ride too.  Ruth Pretty is a big name in corporate catering and weddings  in the Wellington area and runs a cooking school as well.  The business is situated on 25 acres of  rural Te Horo property known as Springfield. The kitchen shop is full to bursting with all sort of kitchen equipment, jams and preserves, and Ruth Pretty’s famous Christmas cake.

DSCF3663 Ruth Pretty Kitchen Shop

Eileen found the perfect Christmas gift for a special friend while I had a good look around.  Plates, dishes, and all sorts of kitchen equipment is available.  The jams in particular looked delicious, as did the Christmas cakes.
DSCF3657 Inside the shop

We really needed a coffee and small cake combo (only $5 each) I decided, and this was served in the delightfully airy sun porch just a step or two through the shop.  This would be a lovely place to take any visitors with an interest in cooking for a coffee and show them the lovely countryside, or a girls morning tea.  Herb plants are grown for sale, and of course for those really keen cook, classes are available at the adjacent cooking school.

DSCF3662The cafe

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A New Quilt Shop in Town

Thanks to June of Junez Scrapz who alerted me to the new quilt shop in town.  Although we have moved away from the Hutt Valley, we had a few things to do in the area, so I took the opportunity to pop in to Quilt Works, at 517 High Street, Lower Hutt.  And what a lovely shop it is.  Adrienne was the friendly face behind the counter yesterday, and was quite happy for me to take some photos of this new venture.

DSCF3617 Lovely quilts on display

Quilt Works has a great range of fabric, from Kaffe Fassett, Japanese, black and whites, 1930s, batiks, Kiwiana, and I’m sure much more that I didn’t quite see.  Threads, buttons, trims, and a great range of scissors.  Lots of patterns and books too.

DSCF3618 Views of the shop

The shop plans to offer classes next year, and as well as being a Bernina Agent, also sharpens scissors, (that’s handy).  I didn’t leave empty handed and bought myself a stitchery pattern for a cushion.  I just might make this to go in my new sewing room!

DSCF3670 My new stitchery pattern

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Going Minimalistic

We are going minimalistic in our Christmas decorations in the caravan this year.  No flashing lights this time, no rope light Christmas tree to place in the awning porch, no Santa collection to stand on the shelf above the doorway.  Why – you may well ask.  Because my two large plastic crates containing the Christmas decorations are buried under boxes and behind the furniture somewhere in our lock-up.

Thanks to Maria (do check out Maria’s blog) for her suggestion to keep something Christmassy out for the caravan, I went back to the crates and retrieved my red-work Christmas cushion covers.  So now the caravan does look a little Christmassy, after all.

DSCF8164 Christmas cushions

Muffy is snuggled up against another Christmas red-work cushion.  Doesn’t she look perfectly happy and comfortable?  Cats have the very best life, I think, a little eating and a whole lot of sleeping. 

DSCF3616 Muffy snoozing in the caravan

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Farewell to the Friday Stitchers

My monthly stitching group, the Friday Stitchers, had an end-of-year get together at my all time favourite cafe, Fig Tree on Friday.  As usual, there were plenty of great food choices, and I decided to move away from my usual corn fritters and bacon and try something different.  The mushroom and blue cheese filo parcel was great, followed by a slice of Louise cake and a large latte.  And, as is the tradition in our household, I couldn’t leave without buying two Eccles cakes to take home for our supper.  Several of the other ladies followed my example and took home a little something for their husbands too.

DSCF3560 The Friday Stitchers at Fig Tree

Fig Tree Cafe is the only cafe in the Wellington region that has a unique setting within a charming restored chapel.  The dining tables are lovely vintage timber from yesteryear, as are the fine china tea cups, saucers and plates.
DSCF3562 Pretty crockery

I have been meeting with the Friday Stitching group for several years now, but with us moving out of the area it was time to say goodbye to the ladies.  No doubt we will cross paths from time to time at quilt shows.  So farewell ladies, and thank you so much  for your companionship at our monthly meetings of the Friday Stitchers.  I’m hoping that I can find another like minded group in the Levin area to fit into.  If any local ladies can help, please let me know.

Friday, December 14, 2012

And the Winner Is!

After a very “low tech” version of pulling a name out of a hat, so to speak, I am pleased to announce the winner of the 500 post Mystery Giveaway is Leeann of Quilt Whangarei.  Thanks for your kind comments, Leeann.

And many thanks for everyone else for leaving a comment, and following this blog.  As I said earlier, we bloggers often wonder if anyone else is interested enough to read our writing, so it is great to know that indeed some lovely people do.

There hasn’t been a great deal of P&Q happening in my life lately, with all the drama of moving house going on.  I’m starting to get withdrawal symptoms!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Wow - 500 Blog Posts and Give-away

My quilt blogging adventures started way back on 7th October 2009.  And this is how it all started:
“Once upon a time a quilter wanted to create her own quilting blog. The couple already had a blog, a travel, adventure, town and around type of blog. Not quite the place to share quilty news and show quilt photos though. The quilter was already quite an experienced blogger but was having trouble with all the technical setting up details. Thank goodness that the husband was a bit of a techno whizz and sorted it all out for her. And now, a couple of weeks later, all the bugs have finally been ironed out. Here we are, all set and ready to go.

Wife, mother, sister and friend, I am all of these things and cherish the relationships I have. But there is one more very important label, I am a quilter, and quilting is my passion. New projects, works in progress, UFO’s (unfinished objects) I love them all. I belong to my local quilt guild and enjoy being part of the Sisterhood of Quilters”.

Like all new bloggers,  I wondered if anyone would actually be interested and read it.  (And become a follower).  My first blog received a comment from the lovely Lis in UK.  We had the privilege of meeting up with Lis and Alan during their trip to New Zealand in April 2010, and it was great to meet them both. I have also met Miche’le of By Hoki Quilts earlier this year during our South Island Odyssey trip, who served us delicious home made scones in her lovely shop while we chatted away as quilters do.

So why do we blog?  I guess it’s because we enjoy our wonderful craft of P&Q and any other handwork we like to do.  It is so nice  to reach out and connect with other readers and bloggers throughout the world.  I like to read what others are getting up to, things they have seen, and find out about where they live.  I will never be an award winning quilter – but I have been honoured to meet a couple of these talented ladies who are members of my former quilt club Pinestream Quilters.
As we are moving house (our new house is yet to be built and we are currently living in our caravan)  I intend to join the local quilt group, and hopefully make new quilting buddies in the near future.

So, I need to do something to celebrate my 500 blog anniversary, wouldn’t you say?  So how about a mystery give-away?  Leave me a comment, perhaps about how you found out about Romany Quilting, or anything else you would like to say, and I will draw out a winner.  And Happy 500th to me!

DSCF2010 Muffy likes to help

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Muffy versus Tiger

The next part of our house building adventure begins and we are currently camped at our friends rural property in Otaki.  This household is owned by two cats, Tiger and Jingle.  Muffy was outside soon after our arrival, safely tethered with her harness and lead, and she came face to face with Tiger.  I watched carefully as Muffy made the first approach, ready to scoop her up and carry her safely inside if Tiger turned on her.

DSCF3508 Muffy approaching Tiger

As Muffy got closer, Tiger started making little meows, before turning tail and escaping from this very forward interloper.  I was  most surprised, as Tiger has a reputation as an excellent hunter.  This fit and active hunter often brings home mice, lizards, birds, rabbits, and the occasional rat to her owners.   Not bad for a 14 year old cat.

DSCF3509 I’m not playing with this strange cat on a lead

At 16, Muffy is an old lady now, and has never caught a thing in all her life.  She much prefers the indoors life, snoozing the day away in comfort. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Welcome, Summer

Today is officially the the first day of Summer, down here in our part of the world.  So I guess that means Winter has arrived for my friends in the Northern Hemisphere.  It’s not a perfect summer day today, with a grey sky and gusty wind, but the temperatures are certainly getting warmer.

Some cheeky little sparrow came calling today.  I had a few slices of bread to break up and scatter on the grass for them.  But as I had my washing pegged on the  clothesline I thought I would wait till I brought the clothes in before giving the birds a treat.  After all, I didn’t want any birdie droppings on my nice clean washing.  But the sparrows decided there was no reason for them to wait at all, and found the bread I had placed on top of handrail around the back decking.

DSCF3477 Lunch time for the sparrows

Our cat Muffy was not the least bit interested in the birds.  She is still quite upset with all this moving palaver, and she took herself into  one of the empty wardrobes yesterday.  It is upsetting for us too, that she is so distressed, and unfortunately things will probably get worse for her before they get better.  Muffy still finds it hard to credit that our bed has disappeared, although the three of us have been sleeping in caravan for the last few nights, and she is quite comfortable there.  The rest of our furniture is being taken to our lock-up tomorrow, so I think the best thing to do is to leave Muffy snoozing in comfort on the bed in the caravan while the house is emptied.

DSCF3473-001  Muffy hiding in the wardrobe

The kitchen is awash with cartons - I’ve spent most of today boxing up the contents of the pantry, after deciding which items are coming in the caravan with us.  We’ve emptied out the fridge and given it a good clean, boxed up the microwave, the bench oven, the kitchen whizz, toaster, and electric kettle.  Nearly forgot to empty the pot cupboard, but that’s done now.  It’s certainly been a busy day, and I guess it will be just as busy tomorrow.  Mustn’t grumble though, all this activity certainly makes us sleep soundly!

DSCF3479 Just a few of the kitchen boxes