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

Friday, May 25, 2018

Summer Kites–quilt top finished

Colourful kites and their fluttering tails dance across my quilt top.  I won ten of these blocks in a block swap quite some time ago, and stitched up two more.  The suggestion was to use stripes, checks or spots if possible, and most people did.  With the kite blocks stitched together, today I added the dark blue with splashes of colours as a border.  I then prepared a length of binding – it’s always good to get this job done and out of the way.

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What to use for backing, I wondered?  My original choice wasn’t long enough, so I had a rummage around through a couple of plastic crates and found a length of mid blue fabric.  That will work great but I decided that the backing fabric needed to be washed to freshen it up, after languishing in the crate for ages.  It is now drying off on the clothesline in the sun shine, then will get ironed, and the quilt layered and pinned tomorrow.  I may even get the machine quilting started, hopefully.  We’ll see what else tomorrow brings.

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Summer Kites

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

New Week, New UFO - Summer Kites

Its good to “Roll the Dice” this week, after it not happening the previous week at all.  The dice rolled to number three, a new UFO recently added to my list.  It is blocks to make a baby quilt of Summer Kite blocks which I won way back in 1995 -  I’ve always admitted to having some rather old UFOs!

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I had entered a “Block of the Month” competition at quilt shop “Stitches Plus” in Wellington,   sadly no longer trading.  For a small fee we were provided with the pattern and sky blue background fabric.  The requirements were to make a colourful kite or two, using stripes, checks or dots in one of the fabrics.  Once we had returned our blocks there were two draws and I was one of the lucky winners.

These ten blocks were rediscovered recently, my goodness, they had been hidden away in a plastic crate for such a long time.  Luckily I had some extra background fabric tucked away too, and today I stitched up two more blocks.  12 blocks are so much more useful than 10, after all.

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Two more kites

I’m hoping to get all the blocks stitched together this week, and maybe even layered and pinned ready for quilting.  That’s the aim, anyway, I’ll just have to see how I go.

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Right Royal Weekend

We have enjoyed a three night weekend away in the caravan, staying “over the hill” at both Masterton (for one night)  and then on to Carterton.  It was very pleasant autumn weather, a little rain, but mainly fine.    In Masterton we camped under lovely large mature trees, which had dropped a carpet of golden leaves onto the ground.

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Solway Showgrounds, Masterton

Then we drove a short distance to Carterton Holiday Park, to meet up with our caravan friends for a weekend rally.  This is a lovely camp, and we enjoy coming here.  Now the weather is getting cooler, it’s nice to be on power again.  There were pretty little yellow birds in the small aviary, and some friendly sheep came to greet me as I walked past.

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Pleasant grounds at Carterton Holiday Park

I had taken my stitching bag with me for the weekend, as I always do, but sadly didn’t even open it.  There was too much going on, and of course the highlight of the weekend was the Right Royal Wedding on Saturday night, our time.  Eileen was so excited she dressed up in her finery and put the rest of us to shame.  I knew I should have packed my tiara!

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Dressed for the Royal Wedding

Some members weren’t interested (such philistines) and took themselves back to the vans, but most stayed in the hall in front of the TV and watch the momentous occasion unfold.  There were plenty going on before the service as happy royal watchers were interviewed, and the big question, who designed “The Dress” was discussed at length.  With the time difference between UK and New Zealand, it was going to be a very long night for us.  I took myself back to the van at about 10.00pm, settled down in bed with the TV on, and watched and waited as important guests arrived, and the ceremony finally began.  It was a long night, and we finally turned the light out and went to sleep at 1.30am.

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There’s no doubt about it, the Brits certainly know how to put on a show, full of  all that glorious pomp and ceremony.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Friends to Stay

We have had friends to stay for a few nights, hence the recent flurry of baking going on.  And perusing recipe books – what shall I cook for the evening meals?  Don’t know why I get in a tizzy, after all I cook each day, but you always want it a to be little bit special when friends came to stay, don’t you?  Needless to say, there's been no sewing happening this week, although I did show off my latest creations.  My friend Merilyn is not a quilter, but she knits, spins, and has dabbled in stitcheries and candle-wick work over the years.

For the first time in ages, my sewing machine cabinet was closed up tight.  And the “wardrobe” went from this to a double bed.  Its a very clever piece of American designing, and we love that the bed folds up neatly and disappears into the cupboard when not in use.  It folds down to a double bed, with an excellent mattress, much more comfy than the pull out sofa our visitors had to use previously.

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Hiding behind the wardrobe doors is….

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A comfortable double bed

Our friends Merilyn and Colin live in Dunedin and we spent last Christmas with them.  Merilyn and I are old school friends from way back, and yesterday we caught up with another old friend Robyn, and met up for morning tea.  Robyn and her husband has recently moved up to Levin from the Hutt Valley, like we did, and I met up again with her at a meeting a couple of years ago, thinking, I know that lady.   She hadn't changed a bit!

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Me, Merilyn and Robyn

In fact, the last time Merilyn and Robyn had met was about 50 years ago, when we gathered at the wharf with other school friends in Wellington to wave her goodbye.  Merilyn and her parents were moving down to the South Island to live in Dunedin.  Robyn had brought along a photo of this sad occasion as we waved our friend goodbye, would we ever meet up again we wondered?  We had all recently started work and were about 16 at the time.

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Pam, Robyn, Merilyn, Jenny, with Sally in the front at the wharf to say goodbye

Our guests had more friends to visit, and a family 80th Birthday to attend in the weekend, so packed up this morning ready for the next stage of their adventure.  It was so nice to catch up again and have them come to stay – we always have so much to talk about, it’s just like we have never been apart.

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Merilyn and Colin

Monday, May 14, 2018

A Small Finish X 2

While we were travelling around the South Island over Summer I quietly hand quilted these two New Zealand birds in-between working on my New Zealand Botanical stitcheries. The green Kereru, also called the Wood Pigeon, and the Tui, known as the Parson Bird because of the white feathers at the throat, are both beautiful native birds.  The pattern is from Katy Buck Designs -  New Zealand Birds.

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Kereru and Tui

The green kereru is a large bird with iridescent green and bronze feathers on its head and a white vest. The noisy beat of its wings is a distinctive sound in our forests as they fly about looking for berries to eat.  And the tui are  medium-sized bird equally at home in the forest and suburbs, and feed on the nectar from the kowhai blossoms, when they are in season.  They look black from a distance, but in bright sunlight their feathers have a blue, green and bronze iridescent sheen, and distinctive white throat tufts.

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Once we returned home from our trip it was just a matter of finishing the binding, and stitching the hanging sleeves on.  I made them to hang in our caravan so the birds join us on our trips away, they usually need an adjustment to straighten them up when we arrive at our destination. 

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Hanging in the caravan

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day, one and all, to all those wonderful women out there.  Hope you had a lovely day.

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My daughter Nicky had sent a parcel earlier in the week, so I put it away until this morning  to open it. Wonder what’s inside?

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Inside was a selection of Nicky’s hand made soap, and a Mother’s Day Card.   Looks like she thinks I’ve done a great job as a Mum, as she has turned out “awesome”!

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From Nicky

On Saturday evening we went out to a Mother’s Day Dinner with a group from Pink Ladies, (Breast Cancer Support Group).  About 20 of us dined at Pipi Point Restaurant at Waitarere Beach where we had tables set up for us decorated with pretty pink tablecloths.  We all found a seat and settled down.  It’s not surprising that this restaurant specializes in fish meals.  I enjoyed a Fish Basket which included tasty seafood wontons, very yummy, and Robin had Fish of the Day.

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At Pipi Point Restaurant with the Pink Ladies

The food was great, and very large portions indeed.  I noticed several taking a doggy bag home as they couldn’t finish the meal.  There was plenty of chatter going on around the large table, and once again, it was amazing to find out from a couple of our table partners that we have friends in common.  And Robin discovered that he and another man who looked vaguely familiar worked at Post Office Headquarters together many years ago.  New Zealand certainly is a small place.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Baby quilts gifted

I was wondering what to do with my recently completed 1930s cot quilt.  Although I enjoyed stitching it, it was made with the idea of passing it on instead of keeping it for my two grown-up grand-daughters to finally start their own families.  They have told me quite plainly that they are not ready for babies yet, if ever, thank you Nana!

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1930s cot quilt

I also completed a smaller baby quilt, made from cute little farm animal blocks, and backed in cuddly pink flannel. Just right for a floor mat to place a baby on to kick her chubby little legs in the air.

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Baby quilt with farm animals

They have now been gifted to baby Hadassah, daughter of Robin's niece Sharon,  so happily both these quilts have found a new home.  Sharon would love to have a baby quilt, she said, so they will be going to Auckland very soon when Sharon’s mum travels up to visit the new family.

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I’m happy to pass them on to Sharon and her baby