Sunday, 13 April 2014

Busy doing nothing..........

From dawn - as this great photo by Phil, taken from Petone wharf shows, long exposure and just enough breeze to give a shot worth keeping [as he puts it]  to dusk!  Not really, just seems that some days I am chasing my tail - like a recent frustrating day trying to sort out the problems with my computer password - finally came to a head when I couldn't upgrade the maps on my Satnav.  I made an appointment with the guru at Yoobee in town, and after two visits, plus phone calls everything's working - sort of.  I now have to log on with a password, never done that before but each time I read through the notes of how to return to the old system of just switching on, I get cold feet.   It's not that bad really but there's a weird old photo of me showing - goodness knows where that came from, looks a bit like fooling around with the granddaughters.........

I mentioned  that two of my newly reupholstered chairs had different designs on the back, sort of Art Deco I think -

Funny thing, the other one is slightly different -

No doubt about it, the seats are so much more comfortable - I keep moving them around the table so they will wear evenly.

I've been doing some more tidying in the sewing room, and some sewing and to keep me company, I've been watching a favourite oldie -

Did you ever watch the series?  Great acting and writing, I'd like to know why Rob Lowe was written out/left the series; he was given top billing at the beginning.......

The baby type pastel top I've been working on is at the border choosing stage, which is giving me a bit of a headache, this was my initial pick for the border and binding -

but I'm having second and third thoughts - will fossick around a bit more and get back to you!

I did start this post by mentioning dawn, well here's dusk -

or, more accurately - sunset from Day's Bay.

The forecast is pretty dismal for the next week or so, so here's a thought to ponder on, "Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, and snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.", so says John Ruskin

Thanks for stopping by,
Back soon

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Right place, right time!

Just like this seagull - centre stage, right between the clouds!  Taken of course by Phil who was my driver on the recent Investiture ceremony at Government House when I was presented with my award.

It was such a great day, weather was beautiful and my family were all there to celebrate with me.  The official photos will be ready soon - the big names were televised, as they should be but it was great to rub shoulders with them both at the Investiture and on Friday evening at the dinner.

When I was rung and invited to the dinner I thought it was one of my friends having me on! but no, the invitation was for me and one guest so I asked Barbara Freeman who has been teaching with me at the prison for several years.

I have been blown away by all the attention; like the seagull I was there at the right time when we started the class at the prison and, once started, I knew I couldn't walk away.  It's the same with any teaching, seeing the look on a person's face when they "get it" and can then use that skill or information, is very powerful.

One of the women in my class has really got it, and I was thrilled when she said recently, "I haven't felt this good about myself for a long time" as she pinned and sewed on borders for a quilt for a family member.

At the Investiture dinner last week I noticed the chandelier above the table had real candles and mentioned that my granddaughters were disappointed that in one of the reception rooms, the chandelier had electric light bulbs.  The wife of the Governor General was one chair away and she suggested I take a photo to show my granddaughters!  A photo, there?!  Why not?, she said - so out came my iPhone, very discreetly, and I took a quick photo - then, a gentleman sitting opposite, insisted I have my photo taken.  He leaned over and took the phone - I really don't think he was familiar with it - and eventually when nothing appeared to be happening I put out my hand and took it back - and there were several photos of here's one -

oh dear, the heavy insignia is pulling down my top and exposing lots of camisole........ then, as we left the dining room, a quickie of the table and chandelier -

What an evening!  The food, the service, the ambience and the company, all so great - truly a night to remember!

To close, another photo taken during the recent fog - I've shared some Phil took at Baring Head lighthouse; Wellington hills and the sea are hidden... gorgeous colours.....

I've found a new word to use in the coming winter months to describe the bitterly cold wind - frigerifick -I think it sounds perfect!

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Over the hill!

No, not me - over the hill I mean :) a couple of weekends ago we, the family, went over the Rimutaka Hills into the Wairarapa to visit our only other relatives in NZ and celebrate with them the fifth birthday of their son.  Phil and I went together and he showed me this spot, near Featherston - you might recognise it from other photos I've shared.  The lake is shallow and this is all that remains of a pier the local yacht club built.

By the sounds I hear from outside, the much anticipated storm has arrived; we've had tropical type showers on and off all day, very warm temperatures and now the wind.  I've moved anything I thought might be at risk....

I've not done a great deal of quilting this week, but I have, finally, finished crocheting the bands of knitting to make a blanket for Africa, seventy inches long by about forty five takes quite a bit of knitting!

Well, they did say they wanted the blankets to be bright!  I just have the ends to finish off and it's ready to take to the next Pinestream meeting.

While we were in the Rapa we went to Martinborough where they are many good vinyards and interesting shops, one I wandered into thinking it was an antique shop, only to find it was an upholsterers - serendipity! I have been dropping hints to my sons for some while that my wooden chairs need re-covering and fixing up - they squeak so much when sat upon I was beginning to worry that one day one of them would collapse.

So now, I have eight fabulous looking chairs -

Not a matching set, four are oak, two kauri and two I'm not sure but they have interesting carving in an art deco style on the backs.  They are now unified by this beautiful fabric and are so comfortable to sit on.

At the last Capital Quilters' meeting, I told you I was presented with a different bouquet -

The delphinium is merging into the blue of the block, sorry,  - a most unusual bouquet, isn't it!   That block of the month was fun to do and I didn't win it.  In all the years belonging to three clubs I have only ever won one block of the month - I wonder what the odds of that are?  funny isn't it, how sometimes you get a run and one person wins several times......

I want to share two more photos from Phil, the first one taken at Baring Head on that extremely foggy day recently,

Just the hills rising out of the sea, and this one of a boathouse down at sea level near Eastbourne,

Phil said he often wanted to photograph this but the background was pretty 'messy' - the fog took care of that!

I've been very busy sorting more donations of fabric for the Shut-in Stitchers, washing piles while the weather held and trying to arrange it into some kind of order - no visitors at present, I can hardly get into my spare room - not that I'm complaining but it will be good when the redecorating is finished at the prison and we have access to our Fabric Storeroom again and there will be a place for everything and everything will be in its place!

Nice talking with you, thanks for stopping by - remember, "the surest way to be late is to have plenty of time", Leo Kennedy.


Monday, 10 March 2014

Jump right in!

Glorious photo, isn't it?  Another of son Phil's of course........ shades of 'silver linings', but perhaps a reminder of the weird - and not always, wonderful, weather we've been having lately.

Remember the fogs? Wow, Wellington isn't known as Windy for nothing, and fogs don't usually hang around.

Trust Phil to go chasing off after the unusual weather -

I love the way it looks like a wave - which I suppose it is, just cloud, not water.

Do you use Twitter?  I've started following a couple of interesting [to me] people; Stephen Fry, Anthony Horowitz, Alan Davies - and then recently as Shut-in Stitcher tutors we were invited to meet Ann Tolley, the Minister of Corrections, at a morning tea at Arohata.  As we left the Minister said she would be tweeting one of the photographs !!

This one -

That's me on the right, we're holding a quilt made by one of the prisoners - the postcard block is very popular, as are the paua colours.

We sat chatting and looking over some of our photograph albums before going into the classroom where several of the prisoners were gathered, along with their quilts.  The Minister spoke to each woman, both Janet and I are so proud of the lovely quilts they have made - my grateful thanks to everyone who has supported this programme.

I went along to Capital Quilters recently and the lovely ladies gave me a different kind of bouquet - it comprised three pot plants! which my h-a-h has planted.......

I'm looking forward to seeing them fill the spaces!

I have been doing some quilting, but bearing in mind that "the artist finds a greater pleasure in painting than in having completed the picture". Seneca - I'm taking my time...........

In the foreground is a block of the month for Wellington Guild which I forgot to take last month, then a pile of ironing and a glimpse on the design wall of my next quilt - I just fancied doing something with the pastel coloured five inch squares I came across when I decided to sort two large containers of them....

Thank you all again for your supporting messages,
We'll talk again soon,

Sunday, 16 February 2014


This is about how I feel inside - big ups and downs lately.  The publicity following the New Year honour has brought letters and cards from far and wide - friends from long ago including someone who had the flat under ours back in 1960! how great it was to make contact again!

There was an amazing ceremony at Arohata Prison when prisoners and staff showed their appreciation to all of us involved in the programme.  I was just so sorry that many of the quilting tutors work full time and couldn't come along to enjoy the speeches and singing of the kapa haka group - including members of my class who hadn't breathed a word on the Saturday, we had been told it was for afternoon tea with the Manager.......'s no good - I have lots more to talk about with you, but  I can't do it tonight - on Friday I had to make the call and ask the vet to come round to euthanase Floyd.  She was so kind and gentle, both with me and Floyd and I know it was the right thing to do but I miss him so much.........

You can understand that I couldn't resist this little scrap when he chose me at the SPCA way back, January 1998,

Taken just before he became so ill, rest in peace.

We'll talk again soon

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Just do it!!

This photo was taken by Phil on a recent visit to the South Island, what glorious colours of a storm approaching.

Three weeks since I last blogged - I am feeling like the queen of procrastination, so had a discussion with a good friend today who did some straight talking - I shall reinstate my black board [which is dark green] and list what I want to get done - and just do it!

Admittedly it's been a strange time in many ways; there was the excitement of being awarded the Queen's Service Medal and all the publicity around that - interviews and photo in the papers, then the television interview - and the really lovely part has been the letters and cards from friends, many of whom I haven't seen for a long time.

We've also been contacted by people wanting to donate supplies to the quilting programme in the prison, or who are interested in volunteering - it's been such a busy time but I don't feel I've accomplished much.......

But all that will change - I went for a walk today! I need to regain my albeit limited fitness and shed a few kilos.

Floyd likes to join me in my sewing room, he can always be relied on to find somewhere to curl up.

On a recent visit to the city I saw these items in a furniture shop - had to look twice at the chair -

As you can see it's a metal chair that has been wrapped with strips of fabric!  and nearby was a quilt

I'm not sure that it was actually three layers, but it definitely had big stitch quilting on it.   I wonder how much the maker received for her work?

The final photo for today was also taken by Phil near Kaikoura - 

The unsealed road reminds me of the roads back in the village where I was born, in the UK - the lupins too were in abundance, but not the rest of the vegetation!

I'll leave you with this quote from Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, "Seize this very minute; what you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

Wow, that's spooky........Off to the sewing room!
We'll talk again soon

Friday, 3 January 2014

More sunsets, strings and mysteries

Isn't this beautiful?, Petone wharf where Phil said this light lasted for about three minutes, it was very windy and not warm!

Here's another bouquet, posted especially for you Linda - my friend Karen brought this round to me

yesterday - she too is a fan of pink!  Actually it's a beautiful plant, quite tall and elegant looking - with a very strong perfume. I photographed it from the top to get the full glory of the blooms!

Do you read much?  This last year I've got out of the habit but I've made a few changes to my routine and am back into it.  I also decided it was way past time I had a big sort out of my bookcases - in such a small house I have four, mostly with double rows of books.

I've kept a book diary since 1972 when I joined the Doubleday Book Club - I've gathered them all together and put them onto the computer - there's a gap of three years in the mid eighties, maybe I'll find the diary when I do more tidying up but even so, the one I read this week - Morse's Greatest Mystery and other stories, by Colin Dexter is No. 1037.  I've loved the Morse television series and have several on DVD - but this book was a disappointment; I felt the stories tried too hard to be clever and complicated - however, I did learn a new word - steatopygous - used to describe the odd-job man.

I showed the start of my string quilt, made using pages from the local telephone directory; I sewed them chain piecing, remembering to alternate the direction of the strips.

With the large bag of strips beside my chair I pulled them out, one after another, and just kept sewing......

When they were all sewn and trimmed back to size, I auditioned them on the design wall -

Finally I had them all on the wall -

I tweaked it a bit to get better balance and then sewed them together - after that was the tedium of removing the paper - next time I shall remember about the seam allowance!

I've dithered about borders or not......... think I know what I'll do -

I like this fabric - one of my vintage remnants - as a large binding; I've cut it ready - but you can't rush these things!

The forecasters were right about the weather today, boy did it blow! and the rain!!  at one stage the chairs on the pebble garden by the front window were standing in several inches of water.  A couple of very good results though, I shan't have to water the garden for some time, and the windows are washed clean!  How's that for a bonus?

Here's another beautiful photograph taken by Phil, a different angle on the wharf,  and such a different mood....

I'll leave you with the thought, "Go out on a limb - that's where the fruit is."  Will Rogers;  and my gratitude for all the wonderful emails, phone calls, comments and visits; thank you.

Oh, steatopygous means fat-buttocked!