Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year

Here we are in Wellington where we celebrated the new year with our son Richard and Kea his lovely wife.  We managed to see out the old and greet the new and then we were in bed by 10 past! Don't seem to handle late nights like we used to.
After a lovely brunch of pancakes with bacon,  maple syrup,  sugar and lemon juice to choose from, we went out coffee.  It  was beautifully cooked by the kids. 

Next it was off to Te Papa as it had begun to pour with rain by this time.  We were in Wellington after all! !

Last stop was another coffee at the Spruce Goose where you can eat, , drink, watch the surfers or the planes land and take off.  It is right on the beach front of Lyall Bay. Good fun. 

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Living the life of Riley!!

Just got back late yesterday from a trip down to Wellington.  We left on Sunday afternoon and stayed with our son Richard and his lovely wife Kea.  It is always so nice to spend some time with these two.
I should recap a little and say that last week was spent franctically trying to get the second Memory quilt done.  It was finally finished on Friday I thought, then on checking over it on Saturday, found I had missed a couple of short ditches and one whole block.  Used my trusty Janome 8900 to fill those in and then spent a few hours sewing ends in.  At last it was delivered to my lovely friend Colleen for binding and off I went to pack my bag.

Monday Richard dropped us off at Wellington Airport and we flew off to Auckland to visit our grandson Leslie.

This is the amazing Gollum sculpture hanging in the airport...incredible when you see it up close.

 Hired a rental car for a great rate through our AA membership and did some Chrissy shopping in Manakau!! What a life.

This is the view from The Coffee Club where we lunched and then did a bit of a zip around the shops.

Here is our plane waiting to take us home.  It was 15 minutes late, but it was such a beautiful day what did it matter?
Richard picked us up again at the airport and then we went out for a lovely meal.  I could get used to this!!

Tuesday was Kerry's birthday, so we tootled around the shops in Wellington, and loved walking around Victoria/Manners/Willis street.  It is such a pretty city and although busy, not overwhelming like we find Auckland tends to be.  We treated the kids out for dinner and then it was off to the Leonard Cohen concert, which was my treat to Kerry for his birthday.

We both enjoyed it and had great seats.  Bit hard mind you, but the view was good.

Wednesday it was back to reality.  Packed up after the kids went off to work (we all went out for breakfast coffee first) and headed back up the line.  It was great timing for my sister Joy who was finishing at midday and heading back home.  Picked her up and after a cuppa with hubby Bill we finally headed off home.  Here is a pic of my sister's new hair cut.  Joy has been through breast cancer and her hair is finally looking beautiful again, not that she is not always beautiful, but a woman's hair is kinda special.  I am so proud of her.

So now I am sitting here catching up on all the happenings and the cat is trying to fit into the box on the chair next to me...he had to give up in the end!!

The two memory quilts were picked up late yesterday and it was a very moving experience for us both.  I forgot to take some photos but will check in with the customer next year and see if I could get a couple.  An amazing journey, and not sure if I would want to go on another one.

One small little quilt to finish for a customer to pick up on Monday and that is it.  What a year.

Thanks for visiting and if you dont come back before Christmas I do wish you all the blessings of this season that celebrates the birth of Jesus. 


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Tinkerbelle and friends

There is something odd that happens during the month of December that has just happened again....a whole week has disappeared without telling me!!  I am sure it was only last week yesterday!  Oh my goodness see what the Christmas rush does to people.

So what are the happenings of this week that disappeared....well mostly it was working to get this second memorial quilt finished.  After a consultation with the young woman who ordered these quilts I had to add some extra pieces of fabric onto the back that I had made up. A major "lick and stick" operation, but it worked.  Kerry made up a template for the border to ensure it came out evenly and then (dear man) he drew it onto the borders for me.  Not that I was resting on my laurels I should say.  Basted and started quilting a wee quilt a customer bought in that was made in a few challenging ways.  I ditch quilted it on my Janome Horizon machine that has an 11.5" throat and then started doing some background work on the blocks.

I also loaded a small panel on my longarm that I wanted to quilt up for one of my granddaughters. This was on Saturday. I decided to have a play and really enjoyed myself.

All little girls love Tinkerbelle....don't they?  Now to get the binding done in time to send it off to the Waikato.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a figure like that!!  In my dreams....

Saturday was also the day of our local Christmas Parade.  The parade has been a little dismal over the last few years, but some wonderful person put up some great cash prizes...and lo and behold...our parade was revitalised.  After all, $2000 is an awesome amount to win.
This is the float that Epic Ministries Trust put in.  They are affiliated to our church.  Epic does an amazing amount of work with kids, both in church families and in our local community.  They are particularly good at working with troubled kids and now have a large staff working in many different areas.

So now it is Tuesday and I have at last started quilting the memory quilt.  The  challenges of jeans pockets (3 of them) all stitched together, tshirt fabrics with interfacing on the back and thick plastic paint on the front.  Never to worry. Almost a third of the way through.  I am doing much more minimal work on this because the format is quite different to the first one and the fabrics dont allow too much quilting.

Better go get some beauty sleep so I can get stuck into it tomorrow.  That's after delivering a bunch of new sewing machines down to the Dannevirke High School.  Great that more kids are going to learn about the joys of making their own clothes.

Blessings and thanks for reading this blog....I hope to come again soon.


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Quilting Together, Gwavas Homestead & other tidbits

It seems such a long time ago since I last wrote and it has certainly been busy here.I have finally finished piecing together the back for the second commission quilt and will load and get started on it tomorrow.  In the meantime I have been gadding around enjoying myself.

Sunday I went to Hawkes Bay Patchworkers Quilting Together which was held in the Waipukurau Golf Club on Sunday.  We all sat and stitched, chatted and then partook of the most amazing Christmas Afternoon tea. I was so overwhelmed with the amazing array of food I forgot to take any photos.  Managed to help out a little and consume one or two or three pieces!!! I was thrilled to win one of the Christmas Table Runner draws too.  We were invited to bring pairs of a red and green Christmas fabric 8.5" strip with a 2.5"square at one end. I ended up making 5 pairs because I did two greens instead of one of each!! Oh well.

Arent they just lovely?  I havent decided yet whether to make them up in the pattern supplied or I may just play around with them and do something a little different.

Yesterday I left home at 8.30am to pick up my friend Eve and head off to Otane where we were gathering for the Christmas Mystery Trip for the Otane Patchworkers & Embroiderers.  When we arrived at the club building (a fabulous old school house), we were put to work making 9 patch blocks for a charity quilt.  Every year the club does something for charity and this time it was making a quilt in honour of Janice Baker who passed away during the year.  I offered to quilt it for the club as I taught Janice in my Beginners Class a number of years ago.  She was a lovely lady who never ever complained about her ill health.

Then we were directed to head back to Waipukurau, have a coffee in one of our many lovely cafes, browse the shops for a while and report back to the carpark at 11.30am for further directions.  It was a trap!!  To receive our copy of the directions we had to sing three lines of a Christmas Carol!!!  A somewhat raucas sound emanated from my Ford Fiesta, but we four passed  muster and off we went with our directions. 

After deciding that the "turn right" should have been a "turn left" we ended up in the main street of Onga Onga.  After some discussion, the group leader confessed to having left the directions for the next stage at home, but Glennis came to the rescue as she knew her way to our secret destination. Oh my,...we have ourselves a convoy!!!  Our line of cars wended its way up State Highway 50 heading north.  Straight through Tikokino we went and continued on in the direction of Hastings.  After a few winding corners, our gallant lead car popped on her blinker and we turned into the magnificent oak tree lined drive of Gwavas Homestead & Gardens.

Oh my, what a maginificent place this is.  I have heard about it for the past twenty years, but never got around to visiting.  Take a look at this wonderful house (or should I say palace?)...

Here we are gathered on the lawn, chatting and hoping our ticket was going to win one of the goodies in that lovely looking basket.  No such luck for Clare this time, but Eve's luck was in.  Actually, three out of the four ladies in my car won something....hmmmm something is not quite right here!!!
We then went into the homestead where we dined on ham off the bone, salads and new potatoes, followed by a delicious dessert.  Just when we were all full up, our Host invited us to have a cuppa and a slice.  Phew, there were plates full of yummies.

On the left is Otane's oldest life member.  Eve (another one) is 92 years old and as sharp as a needle.  She stitches, knits and sews just as much as she always did.  An amazing lady.

The wonderful stained glass surrounding the front door.  We were dining in the hallway...a very big hallway I might add.
Due to the heavy rain we had last week it was too wet underfoot to roam around the garden and large tree area.  We were therefore offered a talk on the history of the house and a walk through most of the rooms.  It was fascinating to learn of the history of this historic homestead.  The bottom floor was built in 1890, the second story being added in 1900, by the Carlyon family who were originally from Cornwall, England.
The hall and stairwell is made of heart totara and is incredibly beautiful.  There are matai floors and rimu fireplaces.  All beautifully crafted and very well kept.

I shall stop yakking and just put up some of the photos...I really did love this place and would highly recommend a visit.

One of the seven beautiful fireplaces left.  They were modelled on marble fireplaces back in the manor in Cornwall.
The tower had to come off after the owners noticed in swaying during an earthquake.  The conservatory on the right hand corner was removed also, most likely because times had changed.

The magnificent stairwell lined with heart totara.  The family crest is in the stained glass window.  It has slipped my mind what the words under crest mean.

You can stay at the Homestead as they offer Bed and Breakfast.  This is one of the gorgeous rooms have and you can sleep in this four poster bed.

This is the bay window of the same room....wow.
Looking out the window of one of the smaller bedrooms that used to be the Master's dressing room.  What a magnificent tree.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.  Thank you for reading this very long epistle.  Take care and come back soon.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Two huge quilts....one week

I excelled myself last week by quilting two massive quilts or should I say one massive the other huge?  I had arranged to go out to my friend Catherine's to use her gorgeous Hobby Quilter (that was my first long arm) as her frame is a 3.6m Hinterburg.  Mine is only 3m and my friend Colleen had made a quilt for her iron framed bed which seems to be about 3 metres off the ground judging by the size of this quilt!!  Therefore the quilt measured around 3.1m in length.

Ready to get started

We had to join the wool batting to make it big enough.

The beautiful border fabric that is the basis of this colour washed Irish Chain quilt.

Finished at last...it is only 8 o'clock at night!  By the way, did I mention that Catherine lives way out the back of Waipukurau at the end of a no exit dirt road after about 50 mins of driving.

I had such fun doing large and small freehand feathers all over the huge border.  It was a great way to practice.  On the body of the quilt it was mainly a large meander and a freehand flower in the light centre of the blocks.  I forgot to take a photo of that.  Was so pleased with the finished result though.

The next day a customer rang to say her sister was going back to Australia early and  was her quilt ready?  Well I had planned to quilt over Thursday/Friday but had to get it finished Thursday afternoon instead.  Although nowhere near as big as the above quilt it was a large queen.  Pantograph though which was good.

This quilt is all New Zealand fabrics and is a block of the month run by Quilt Works now in Lower Hutt.  The fabrics are gorgeous.
It uses that wonderful Hoffman New Fabric with all the native birds in the forest.

Finished.  A good week's work, but am I tired!

Now I am getting ready to quilt the second of the commission quilts and trying to decide how to custom this one.  The layout is quite different to the first.  Thinking cap is on.

Thanks for visiting.  Do come back soon.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Birthday High Tea

I woke up on Sunday thinking about my sister Joyce and had the distinct feeling that I should go have lunch with her.  Joyce lives 2 hrs away in Carterton.  Went off to church first as I had to do the projection (only messed up the words of one song this time) and glanced down at the bottom of the computer and realised that it was actually Joyce's birthday!!  No wonder I was thinking about her. Discussed it with Kerry, rang Joyce and agreed to meet in Greytown at "Catherine's" for High Tea.

Checking out the selection of different teas available....I had African Autumn...very nice. The added bonus was my youngest brother Ian and his partner Kay were also there....Ian is taking the photos for  me and Kay is on the left checking out the menu.  Joyce and Bill's friends Kay and Garth joined us too.

There is only 15 months between Joyce and I.  It has been a tough year for Joy and I am very proud of her.

That's my brother in law in the green (well he's the only male in the picture really isnt he? lol). I forgot to take a photo of the gorgeous 3 tiered cake stands that our high tea came out on.  They were lovely, very well done and tasted delicious.  Lots and lots of variety and just small portions that enable you to try almost everything.

We had a great day.  On the way home we called into my friend Lorraine's and picked up some new pantographs she had kindly carted all the way back from the US for me.  Saved  me heaps on postage.  Another cup of tea of course and a quick catch up on Lorraine's trip to Quilt Festival in Houston while Kerry and Bryce talked about wood and other manly stuff.

Yesterday, I finished the quilt!!  I am so pleased with it but wondering about doing a little stippling around the motifs in the border.  Will ponder it while I put the next quilt through.  Cant post a full picture until I have checked with the quilt owner as it is a memory quilt.

My friend Colleen and I are off early to Catherine's to quilt Colleen's extremely large quilt - 3m x 3.1m.  It wont fit on my frame so going out to use my older quilting system that Catherine now has.  Going to do an all over freehand pattern.

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you will come visit again soon.


Friday, 15 November 2013

Guess What!

I was so excited when I spotted them.  I rushed off back to the house to tell Kerry what I had found!!  After nine long years at last we had BABY WALNUTS!!!!!  We are so ridiculously excited about these little green things appearing over our tree, but it has been a long wait.  See for yourself how beautiful they look...
We planted this tree a short while after we moved to this house.  The section was completely bare of trees apart from a scrawny privet tree which disappeared instantly.  (Our son Richard suffers from severe hayfever.) We planted lots of fruit trees and some natives and love seeing how they have grown and changed completely how the place looks.

Isn't it a beautiful tree.  No doubt once it becomes twice as big we may not wax quite so lyrical about it, but for now we love it.  Kerry has always wanted to have a walnut tree and it has taken 30 years to get to this point!!

It has been a busy week.  I have almost finished the memory quilt with just the two side borders to be done with the paisley motif.  It has been very intensive quilting.  I hope to get it finished tomorrow afternoon.
In the morning I am off to the Church Fair which is why I have been so busy this week.  On Tuesday night I decided to make a couple of loaves.  Then I decided to try out a recipe from a book I had bought in a little Amish shop in the middle of nowhere in Kansas, USA.  It took 7 cups of flour so I figured it had to make quite a few cookies!!  What an understatement. By 10.30 that night we had made 178 cookies.  It became like a factory as I would drop the mixture by the teaspoon full on baking sheets with two in the oven while working on the other two.  When the time went off it was off the tray with two, sing out to Kerry to slide the next two on the hot tray I was holding and into the oven...about a 15 minute turnaround I reckoned!  The kitchen smelled so good as it was a long time since any baking had been done around here.  Now most of them are all bagged up and ready to be sold tomorrow. Last night I decided to try out the "Holiday Breakfast Bread" which turned out to be quite delicious.  We would call it simply a  loaf, but that title sounds good doesn't it?

Thankfully the weather has just started to improve again.  These past three nights we had the fire on again as it was a nasty cold sou'easter blowing outside.  Tyson the cat thought it was a bit cold too and headed for my knitting basket...he just couldn't quite fit....lol.

Hmmmm....how can I make this work?

I did actually manage to do a little patchwork this week too.  I am trying to work on my newest granddaughter's quilt.  It is an Amy Bradley design with twelve appliqued farm animals.  Four down, four ready for lick'n'sticking and four yet to be traced out.  Christmas?  Not sure on that one.

Guess I had better go turn in so I am fit and ready for the crowds at the fair in the morning.  Have a great weekend everyone. Thanks for visiting and I hope you come back again.


Saturday, 9 November 2013

My Clever Hubby

I have just started quilting a memory quilt and was pondering what to do in the borders. Did a rummage through my templates and found my paisley shape that I had never actually used....well it's only a few years in  the drawer! However, I have not had a ruler plate to use on this machine as the previous one did not fit. I have done all my ruler work without one, but when I tried using this large template it became obvious that it was not only more dangerous, but would be extremely slow and hard to keep neat.  Upon airing my woes to Kerry, no problem he said and promptly went off and made one for me.  Why didn't I ask years ago!!

Of course I had already loaded the top before I decided to use this template and felt I needed to mark all the borders before I started to make sure it would fit properly and space them out right.  Off came the quilt, into the marking and then reload. I also decided to treat the outer and inner border as one for this design.

marking the quilt

I have finished the top border and am really pleased with how these paisley shapes have turned out.  This memory quilt contains all sorts of different materials including lots of bandannas with a huge variety of paisley designs in them so it worked really well to quilt these in.

Of course there was a huge area inside the shape so decided to put some feathers around the inside line and a loop in the middle.  I'm happy with the result.  Took a fair bit of time working it all out though.

To end on a pretty note, this is a photo of my rambler rose called "Clair Matin."  My mother gave it to me the first Christmas we spent in Waipukurau, and next month we will celebrate our 20th Christmas here.  I have carted it around the town with me (4 moves) and it has sat in a bucket for many a year.  Finally, we found a place for it last year and you can see how well it has settled in.  There is a possibility that we might move some time next year so this time I have taken a couple of cuttings to see if I can get them to grow.  That way the poor thing may be able to stay put.

A mass of beautiful flowers
A close up view

Well that's it for now.  I hope you are having a great weekend.  I am looking forward to watching the All Blacks tomorrow morning...should just be able to fit it in before going to church.

Thanks for visiting.


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

I want one!

Last Friday Kerry and I headed off to attend a Janome training and launch of their new MC15000 Sewing and Embroidery machine.  We spent Friday night in Te Awamutu with our daughter Rebecca and 4 of our gorgeous grandchildren. It was an extra perk of the trip as we dont get to spend as much time as we would like with our grandies...it is a 4.5hr trek from Waipukurau.
With the alarm ringing at 5.30am we headed off for the Big Smoke.  I must say the new bypass route in Hamilton certainly makes it a breeze getting through that city.  We arrived at our hotel out by the airport in time for a welcome cuppa before we began the training.

I have to say this is a fabulous machine to play with.  The MC15000 has the ability to talk with your i-pad and you can be somewhere else in your house while a design stitches out and keep up with the progress on your i-pad.  So incredibly easy to use too and it would certainly be fun to own one. Janome put on a yummy dinner and a grand time was had by all.  It was good to be able to meet up with other dealers from all over the country and have a chat.  The event finished with a breakfast together...wow a cooked breakfast lasts me all day!

With the help of my Google Maps we navigated our way to see our grandson Leslie over in Manurewa.  I just love the way my Google Lady sorts out all the wrong turns you make!!!  Kerry is really worried that I appear to treat this voice that comes out of my phone like a real person.  It's all good fun.

We then drove back to Te Awamutu, helped the kids finished cleaning up the house they are moving out of (sold) and was able to babysit my youngest granddaughter....3.5mths old and so cute and gorgeous. Olivia has a great smile and gorgeous carrot top hair. Left late afternoon for Taupo where we spent the night in a motel with the most delicious private hot pool out the back door of our unit. How wonderful for those aching bones.

wonderful dusk light at Taupo

Now to the extra good bit!! Next morning we had arranged to visit Linda Bishop from Razzle Dazzle Quilter to check out her new Innova Quilting machine.  I just loved this machine, it was so smooth and quiet.  The ease of use for a quilter of short stature was great.  Linda was so kind as to load a practice piece on for me to play on and I was very impressed.  The frame is extremely solid and the "dead bar" means you dont have to keep on raising up the bed of your machine.  I definitely want one!!!!  Now would be good too!!!

Oh well I guess I will have to talk nicely to Father Christmas!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

It Was a Monster!

It's finished.  Leanne's quilt is very big and beautiful.  I finished loading it yesterday and started quilting just before lunch. Did the last row about 8.30 tonight. Phew! Back is killing me, eyes are blurred, but I am happy.  The pattern is lovely and complements the William Morris fabrics scattered throughout the quilt. I used a variegated Superior King Tut thread in purples on the top and a purple Bottom line on the back.  Looks good. Here are a couple of photos.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Scone Making Story....

Yesterday was our Anniversay Day in Hawkes Bay which means, of course, that we lucky people get a four day weekend with Labour Day on Monday.  It's a great reason to move here!!  So it was a slow start in the morning, and as we ( DH and I) were sitting up in bed gazing out on the garden and sipping tea, we discussed our plans for the day.  Then the phone rang and our friend Catherine announced that she would be around at 9am for a cuppa.  We leapt in to the shower (NO! not together lol) and then it was out to the kitchen to tidy up.  Had this great idea that I would make scones, so told Kerry to put oven on to heat up while I made myself squeaky clean. Cheese scones were duly made just in time for Catherine to enjoy and we had an unexpectedly delicious breakfast. 

I must tell you my scone making story though.  It was one of those homely, good housekeeping, efficient wife type things to be able to make delicious scones I thought.  However, my vain attempts at scones always ended up in disaster.  In fact, Kerry eventually asked me to refrain from even trying to make these strange, small hard things that he felt were more useful as fill in a concrete foundation than for eating!!!  I was, of course, quite put out with this and so said it suited me fine not to even try anymore!!!  It's called throwing a tantrum actually....lol.

However, as I matured in my life as a good housekeeping type of wife (NOT), I felt it was time to have another go at these delicious treats that other women seemed to have no trouble whipping up here and there.  A very kind friend (and excellent scone maker) gave me some good advice about how not to mix them and for the first time in about 20 something years of marriage...I mastered the art of scones.  Wowee, whoopie, and all sorts of great excitement type words.  My life as a wife (forgive the pun) was now complete!!

So there you have it...the saga of the scone making and my hard earned advice to all would be scone makers is...dont mix the life out of your scone mix....in fact, barely work the flour in before you chuck the mix on to your board, knead quickly and cook!!

Today it was back to the cereal and milk for brekkie. 

It was the most beautiful day again here in Waipukurau....hot, sunny and not a cloud in the sky.  The wind was bearable until about 3.30pm and then it blew like crazy. 

As our grandson is no longer staying with us, it has become a little harder for Kerry to keep up with everything, so I felt that I should offer to help out somewhere (drats).  I have very rarely mowed the lawns as there has usually been a handy kid or grandkid around that one could make good use of.  Now it was just us and the only one to be made good use of was yours truly.  Why did I open my mouth and say I would have a go at mowing the lawns...silly girl.  Well I did it!!  I am feeling extremely pleased with myself and consider I have been a most virtuous wife today...and I have the aches and pains arriving to tell me I done something stupid!  Reminder to self...do not volunteer for manual labour!  Seriously though, it was good to be able to help out, and Kerry would empty the catcher for me (some lifting issues) and that made the job a little easier.

We took a huge load of garden waste down the the Transfer station where they were having a FREE day for green waste.  Wow, what a treat.  I would have mowed the lawns again just to get another free trip!!  We now have another couple of spots for some extra gardens and tomorrow we will plant maybe some more tomatoes and those extra swan plants I couldnt resist.  We just love watching the monarch butterflies flying around the place and it is so amazing watching the caterpillars munch away, go into their crysalis and then....a miracle happens and out comes the most amazingly beautiful butterfly!.  Special.

Well it is time to stop this saga and go put my feet up.  Hope you have all had a great day too.  Here are a couple of photos just to show that I really did do some work...lol. 
See you again soon.

All spic 'n span

My favourite - pansies peeking through the straw

Thanks for visiting.