Sunday, June 22, 2014

Finished and Given.

Yesterday I went to a baby shower for a very special Mum to be. ( we didn't have baby showers when I was expecting babies - did You? ) So now I can show you the completed little quilt and embroidered felt ball I made for my young friend.

 I printed the label using a new Brother ink jet printer and was pleased how well it did the job. I used "Premium" printable fabric sheets( ) which I bought locally. They are A4 size . (The  ones from USA  I have used in the past were smaller.)

 The only thing I don't like about the fabric sheets is how tough they are to hand sew through if folded over, so I machine stitched them to some of the backing fabric and hand sewed that on instead.
I printed out 4 labels while I was doing it so have some ready for the next quilts I complete.
 This is the felt embroidered ball I gave her. Each ball has 12 different coloured pentagons and therefore 12 little motifs.

 This was ball # 23 I have made. Ball # 24 for this young lady's sister as it happens, needs to be completed in 3 weeks time. It is well on the way. I will endeavour not to put any of the same motifs on it as I have on # 23.

 Although when I first started making theses balls I didn't take enough photos I am now taking a photo of each new motif I design. I have then all printed out in a clear file as a reference for myself, as well as keeping a notebook - I write down the entire details for each separate ball.
 Of course I have some motifs that always turn out well and are fun to do, but my challenge is to think up new appropriate ones to use. ( sometimes I get special requests like a  rugby ball on #23 and trout fishing for # 24.)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Quite a Sewing Time.

Over the last 3 days I have spent more time with my sewing machine than I have for ages. On Friday we had regular Patchwork & Quilting where I sat and hand stitched the binding down on my little quilt. On Saturday and Sunday we had our rooms for UFO days. ( unfinished objects completion. )
I made this little reversible apron for a gift I will be giving shortly to the big sister of a new baby.

 Each side has a pocket with ric rac inserted across the top.
 I also started the next little baby quilt  I am making.

 Here are some of my busy companions. It is also a very social time with many ladies bringing home baking to share and long chatty tea breaks being had.
 We had an audience as well. J makes these and likes to take them on outings with her.

 Today it is cleaning up leaves time for me. So many still to do after last week's storm.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Something Cheerful on a Stormy Day.

Wintersweet in my new Hogland Glass vase. 

 That was quite a storm NZ got in the last 36 hours. We were kept awake during the night with very strong gusting winds and heavy, heavy rain. We heard lots of arcing noises and sure enough we awoke to no power this morning.
 Fortunately for us we keep our woodburner going during the night so quickly had hot water for a drink. We also used the BBQ which sits in the car port under cover.
 Our power supply returned just on lunchtime.
 There was even a 2 hour fine spell after lunch so I got onto the cleaning up. Mowed up huge mounds of leaves and tree debris. We have only minor garden and the orchard  damage  - mainly a few avos on the ground.
 I am very grateful to have the power back on  - it reminds me how many things I do, work and play require it. ( Like machine sewing; cooking; computer; ironing; washing; seeing  - it's a very dull day.)

 Since I last blogged I have had a Birthday, and on the same day went to the 25th Anniversary Lunch of our Patchwork & Quilting group. Very pleasant occasion. I got some lovely cards and gifts and feel not one day older, let alone a year.

 I hope all my Kiwi  blogging friends are  safe and warm. 

Friday, June 06, 2014

Nelson Lakes and St. Arnaud.

 Another day we travelled from Blenheim,  up the Wairau Valley beside the Richmond Range ( there are other ways of getting there ) to the Nelson Lakes National Park . In the photo Lake Rotoiti . Note the snow.
 The Wairau River flows along side the road in several places.
 Like everywhere else we went it was mostly deserted but not quite.
 This is the jetty in the top photo....underneath live THESE!
 What brave ducks those are.The eels are the biggest and most in one place I have ever seen.
 It was snowing on the tops of Middle earth ( yes it really is this location ). It was really cold.
so we drove up the hill nearby to St. Arnaud to a lovely warm Café.
 That's the building on the right. On the left is a gift shop.

 We did not sit outside as they would in Summer.
 As I sat sipping a lovely hot lemon honey drink I got talking to 2 boys at a table nearby. One was reading ( The Faraway Tree ) the other was drawing. The waitress ( I suspect may have been Grandma ) brought the boys over a hot chocolate each. The youngest was the most talkative and told me about their school and what they did in St. Arnaud. I later went over to the gift shop which just happened to belong to the boys Mother. The youngest boy went and got his drawing folder and showed me his art. Very impressive for 8 years old. He then served me under supervision when I made some small purchases. 
 It was so delightful to meet kids who live in a tiny secluded place and to know how well and happily they would talk to adults they had never seen before. Very good ambassadors for the area I thought.
We enjoyed our time in the South .( I will leave it here .) 
 Meanwhile things are back to normal here. Leaves to clean up firewood to stack in the shed and general Winter chores for us.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Lochmara and Picton.

Sometimes just talking to folk presents some lovely surprises, as was the case when our waitress suggested to us there was a lovely place in the Sounds called Lochmara  to visit, if we were spending time in Picton. We located the office easily near the jetties and discovered we could leave that afternoon at 3.15 pm and stay over night. Only reached by their own water taxi or by walking in via the Queen Charlotte track, we took to the water with Sean the owner. Just the 2 of us and a pack of mussels for the restaurant.

 The journey by water taxi usually takes 15 minutes but there was a couple walking the track to the next bay along so we agreed to an extra long ride to pick them up as they too were staying the night at Lochmara. 4 guest in the whole place! As so often happens  in NZ we later discovered we knew a whole lot of people in common and had plenty to talk about as we took our meals together over the next 24 hours.

Lochmara Lodge from it's jetty.

 This is Lochie who greeted us and showed us to our room ( and jumped straight up on the couch and said. " I like this room, I'll share." ) In the photo he is taking a nap outside thoroughly exhausted after chasing sticks - his favourite game.

 At night and in the morning this kept us warm in the restaurant.
 There was a lovely waitress and a chef still on duty with just 4 of us to feed.( blue cod  for me ) The lodge closes over the Winter months so we were some of the very last guests for the season. During the Summer months it is a very popular place to stay for walkers, day trippers, canoeists, yachties and longer term guests.

There are many walks and things to see and do. We gave the rope swing into the sounds a miss and the flying fox as there was no operator. We viewed many art forms - some we liked others not so much. What about these....
 ...and this 
 and this is a rather large lump of Pounamu ( green stone )
 We would heartly recommend spending some time here.

 Back in Picton we walked the waterfront and checked out the boats ( all sizes. )

 I liked these beautifully painted old boatsheds.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Vineyards, Art and Aeroplanes.

 This was the only bad weather day we had but the colours still shine through. There a vineyards everywhere around Nelson, Blenheim and the Wairau Valley. The ends of the rows here have I think Cherry trees with the bright Autumn leaves.
 On a bright day in a different area the vines look different. Look at those hills!
 We did spot the odd kiwifruit orchard too.

In the Blenheim Millennium  Art Gallery we saw some lovely art. The exhibition was called Speed and Colour and was a selection (on loan from Te Papa ) of lino cut prints from Britain in  the 1920s and 30s. 
 The 2 we liked best were both by

 Ethel Spowers of Australia in 1932. We liked them all.

 This is by Don Binney one of my all time favourite NZ artists.and is of the Marlborough Sounds.

Still another surprise. There on the wall looking so good was a painting by my cousin's son Michael Hight a well known NZ artists who often uses beehives as his subject.
 Note the hills in the background the same as in my photo, but a bit more pointed.

 We of course went to Omaka .
 Now I appreciated all the old WW1 planes but ( did not take photos of them all R did ) was most impressed by this exhibit.
 Called the snow scene   a plane crashed into a tree top with German soldiers looking on and taking all the warm flying gear the pilots was wearing. The snow was Epsom salts. You could tell by the quality and detail of the figures Peter Jackson and Weta  Workshop had been at work here.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Top of the South ( Is. )

Nelson in the South Island of New Zealand was our first stop. Lots of lovely places to visit here. All side by side are the Suter Art Gallery, Queen's Gardens (park ), the Huangshi Chinese garden and the Suter Café.
 This is a shot through the moon-gate in the Chinese garden, which was opened in 2007.
 The paths are formed from pebbles lying on their sides.
 Weeds take advantage of the little gaps.
 The Autumn colours added a light touch.
 The Suter Café got my tick for the best place for coffee or lunch. Delicious food.
The places we enjoyed most for evening dining were The Harbour Lights Bistro and Fords. I had Blue cod at 2 different places and love it's delicate texture - not a fish we get here too often.

 Did I mention that I am being quite selective here?..... as I took 180 photos and wish to only share a few.

 In the Art Gallery one of my favourites was this portrait of Huria Matenga painted in 1909 by Gottfried Lindaur. I am now familiar with the story of her bravery and the lives she saved.
 We saw beautiful stained glass in the museum
 and in the Nelson Cathedral.

 including the Rose Window by Beverly Shore Bennett.
 We visited Hogland Glass factory and shop. Again beautiful coloured glass. A small blue ( useful ) glass vase travelled home with me.
R was suitably impressed when he saw the WOW - The World of Wearable Arts Collection. He only wanted to look at the Classic cars which are in the same building.( but changed his mind ) 
 No taking photos in the wearable arts section - they don't do it justice,but taking photos of the cars was okay. There were some wearable arts beside the cars anyway.
 All the garments on display were worn at the wearable arts show which started here in 1987. It is an amazing selection and it's so good that they have been kept and this amazing display (moving ) created. 
 More tomorrow.