Thursday, March 29, 2007

Quilt Shop Spending Spree.

Yesterday afternoon was dull and showery so the opportunity arose for me to drive over to Ngongotaha to "Cottage Flair," to use my voucher my son in London sent me last Christmas. I needed some notions so now was a good time. I got quite a variety of things as it was a generous voucher. I told the ladies at the shop that my son found them on the net as they had a good website when he googled 'Quilt Shops Bay of Plenty- NZ .' He paid on line and they posted me the voucher. ( Great Gift, James thanks! )

At our P & Q Group in April we are going to be making button bags ( a bag with buttons on it ) and I want to do 2. One to keep and one as a gift, so I got needle punch( stiff batting ); some clear plastic handles; cotton; a new blade for my rotary cutter as I have just put a new one in and like to keep a spare; some little refills for my chalk marker; 6 buttons; and six fat quarters. As well so I have something to keep from the gift I found a book I thought had useful ideas in it.

Its called "The Quilter's Edge,"( Borders, Bindings and Finishing Touches ) by Darlene Zimmerman. I started reading it last night and I think it will be a great reference and inspiration. There are chapters on: Quilt sizes; Setting Options; Formulas; Borders; Bindings; Edge Finishes; Prairie Points; Knife Edge; Ice Cream Cone Borders; Hanging Sleeves; and Finishing a Pillow. 125 lovely pages!
Today the weather has deteriorated to heavy rain so I'm off now to wash the new FQs, cut my 3.5" squares, cut the batting and get ready for 2 interesting projects I have ahead of me in April.
Yay - wet days do have a silver lining.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


On a happier note than the last entry, here are some kiwifruit shots to show you what we are currently working on.
The 1st photo is a close up of some good sized fruit.
The 2nd shows the sort crop load we are carrying.
The 3rd show what I threw on the ground at the beginning of the row ( leaves, tangles and some defective fruit ).
The 4th shows what I am pruning out. Can you see a tangle where the vine end is climbing and twisting around a cane. ( that has to come out carefully.)
The 5th shot shows a selection of fruit I put on the ground to show you the fruit with defects I am taking off and throwing under the vines to be mulched up. All the fruit on the right have things wrong with them - compared to the one on the left which is acceptable. ( he he - not now cause I picked it to take it's it will miss it's overseas trip! )
The fruit still have maybe 2 months before picking so will get a little bigger, but are vulnerable to the wind and weather.
Note: the fruit looks different colours in some of the shots - that's cause the flash went off with some and not others.The tangles one is the real colour.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Memories of a Lahar.

Yesterday at 11 am. there was a Lahar ( or mudflow ) from the crater lake on Mt. Ruapehu in the central North Island of New Zealand. It was expected ( scientifically ) some time this month or next. This time there was no loss of life!

For me the news rekindled memories of the last time this happened.

For me Christmas Eve 1953 will always be remembered, as this was the time a lahar occurred on that same mountain unexpectedly at 10 pm at night and came roaring down the Whangaehu River taking out the Tangiwai Railway bridge just as the train from Wellington the Auckland was approaching. 153 people lost their lives! My little friend Glenis Benton and her 2 sisters and both parents were among those 153. Glenis had red curly hair and freckles all over her pretty face. We sat together at school and we played together as little girls. That's her on my right in the photo. )
I didn't know she had died till a couple of weeks later in January during the school holidays. Of course we had heard all about the tragedy but it took some time to know and trace all the folk who had been on that train. I found out the awful truth on what was otherwise a happy also memorable day. Queen Elizabeth 11 was visiting NZ at this time and we all got collected by school bus and taken to the race course at Marton Junction to walk to the nearby railway station to meet her. We were lined up for roll call and were given our commemorative medals on the blue ribbon with the Queen's head on one side and a flag to wave. ( still have mine ) Miss Bailey our dear teacher from the previous year had the horrid job of explaining to us kids that Glenis wouldn't be coming back as her whole family had died in the tragedy. I was devastated as she was a close friend. I probably didn't register the finality of that at the time....but she didn't come back to school that next year........ or ever again. It was my first experience of someone close to me dying. We were just 8 1/2 at the time.
Back then there was a pink cover weekly magazine called the Auckland Weekly News which we got and of course it had black and white photos of the disaster. Bad things weren't so freely discussed with kids back then and of course it wasn't on TV in our living rooms.
The next summer when our family went on summer holiday we stopped the car where the new railway bridge had been built. I stared at the river and wondered how Glenis could have drowned in that trickle of water. We could swim! Why didn't she swim? I did so hope that Glenis had been asleep in the train. It was then I learnt what a lahar was and what force it had unleashed on the bridge.
I have a book with many diagrams and photos. There is also a website and memorial where all the names are recorded.( Google search Tangiwai disaster and there is lots to see and read )
Years later when my elder son was at school I met his teacher's wife. She had brown curly hair and lots of freckles. I discovered her maiden name had been Benton. She was Glenis's first cousin. As she was younger than Glenis she hadn't known her so I was able to show her photos and tell her what I remembered of her cousin and my little friend. Glenis Benton. I will never forget you Glenis. You guessed it; even after all this time I am sitting at the computer with tears rolling down my face.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Quilting - a little production line.

The inclement weather has gone and sun has returned to the BOP. I've done 2 gardening stints today, to make up for several days inside.

While it rained and blew I used my time well making a little production line machine quilting my blue hexagons. I stacked them next to the machine and one by one proceeded.

I begin in reverse for about 5 stitches then change direction and proceed along each side of the hex till I meet where I began and do another 5 reverse stitches. Cut and throw to the table behind me. (Leave in reverse ) Grab the next one and repeat. Pretty soon there is quite a pile of hex waiting to have the cotton tails closely trimmed and that's it done! ( I stand up to do that part as I find it good to change position often .)
Sorry I stuffed up the link to your site Joyce, careless typing ( I hate doing that ! ) I have been trying to think what else to add to my tree and chicken panel further along...... Quirky flowers perhaps. Not houses. Or something else....still wondering.
Thanks for all the comments lately girls..........I love hearing from you !
WOW Dale! The Chiefs won their first game - Convincingly!!! NZ also beat England in the cricket!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sudden Change.

I guess it had to happen....a sudden change in the weather...from warm and balmy to colder squally showers with dashes of sunshine then more showers. You know what I mean.... put the washing out; take it in, put it out again till sense tells me to bring it in and forget it for today...... hang it in the laundry or iron it dry. Get on with some sewing - makes more sense. But wait...rush out and pick beans then the tomatoes...showers; so rush back in. I guess it's good exercise! I have got things done but in a very stop start sort of way.
When I saw the wind coming I went and rescued some of the lovely red Nerines that are telling me it is late Summer, and Autumn will soon be here. They look so bright in the blue vase on my work bench.
I suppose influenced by Joyce ( and all her chickens )and maybe Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston, I had a go at making a fun block to be part of a panel to go between blocks in my Quilt as You Go effort. First time I have tried anything like that. Somehow it has more personal appeal than perfectly matched points on block after block.Cute little chickens eh.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wetland Walking.

Swamp = wetland.
Sunday's walk for us was across the board walks and tracks that now cross the swamp on the out skirts of Tauranga (in our direction.)The track wends it's way from one new subdivision at Bethlehem to the highway ( up and over that using the footpaths ) and into another new subdividon. The low lying swampy parts were not suitable for housing and have been mostly cleared and New Zealand Native Flora planted. The planting is from 1 to 6 years old and bird life abounds in the creeks and small ponds. The high areas are gravel paths the low bits are wooden board walks. The wood is very springy and makes me walk jauntily - march almost. Along the way we meet pukeko,mallard ducks, paradise ducks, black swans and a heron. I enjoy the meandering perspective lesson the board walk gives as I look forward or back.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Quilt as You Go Method.

Yesterday at my P & Q group we had a lesson on one method of quilt as you go ( or joining pre quilted blocks ).


- All the blocks you wish to join must be quilted through top, batting and backing fabric.

- All blocks need to be the same size.

- Each block needs to be sewn around the outer edge as close as you can. ( trim all excess )

2 sizes of joining strip need to be cut. ( can be same fabric or 2 different )

- Top strip 1 1/4 " wide ( and the length of the blocks )

- Back joining strip 2" wide and length of block. Fold this in half right side out and iron.

- if the order and direction of the blocks matters, lay them in place, right side up and number them.


- Pin then sew the back joining strip ( the folded one ) to the right hand side of the back of block one. Raw edge to raw edge. (see pic ) make the seam just less than the usual 1/4".

- turn this block and now sew the narrower strip down the same hem line ( on the other side )this time making the sewing line slightly wider than the usual 1/4". ( this stitching line should cover the first line of stitching. ( check )

- place block 1 and 2 right sides together and pin the unsewn edge of the narrow strip to the left hand edge of block 2.

- Turn both blocks to the back side and pin; then hand sew down the folded edge of the joining strip.


- Using the same sequence continue sewing your blocks together, till you have the desired number in a row. Then another row etc.

- Now using the same method join 2 finished rows together horizontally. Just like you do if you are joining blocks with sashing.


If you have the fabric available cut the joining strip in a long length and cut off after each seam, less wastage and they are then all the correct length. You can even use a string piecing system once you have sorted the method out.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Bit Saucy!

Can you smell that? After 2 batches of chutney we started making sauce. DH helped by finely chopping the onions while I did the tomatoes. Later we both sieved, till our arms fell off but look at it now; yummy! 3.5 litres of red sunshine. Eldest son put in his order when I last spoke to him on the phone, so we may need to keep making's quite time consuming....but we do have tomatoes coming out our ears this year! I need to replenish the stocks of vinegar first.
I've been sewing too. See the 1st 4 piles of 10 hexagons, ready for me to machine quilt. I'm still getting blocks ready for Friday's P & Q meeting as well. Just as well it rained so I don't have to be in the orchard this afternoon.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Yesterday as I was cruising fairly rapidly around the supermarket I noticed these! Serviettes ( or paper napkins or table napkins ) with New Zealand Pohutukawa, our Christmas flowering tree . Hadn't seen those before. Had to get some. I'll keep them till next Christmas. In my deep table linen drawer I already keep a stash of special use serviettes. ( not every day ones ) Some are here in this photo. There are some beautiful ones available now. I think it might have been Dale who used similar as the background or starting point for embellishing over. Do any of you enjoy finding these table setting beautifiers? As a little girl one of my jobs was to set the table and along with cutlery, cruet and glasses was always table napkins; fabric ones that were ironed( good to learn on) and kept in serviette rings. I still have some of those ones but don't use them ....these tissue paper ones are prettier and easier. Good restaurants still use linen ones.

Now the blue fabric you asked about Helen. It is Pottery by The Erlanger Group Ltd. Patt#2888. and I purchased it at Barnhouse and Embroidery in Tauranga.