Monday, 28 October 2013

Hard disc, hatchet and 7 am in Hagley Park

You can be pretty sure that anything happening at 7 am does not involve me!  Here's a self portrait of my son Phil when he visited Christchurch last week; he was working so not a lot of spare time but as his hotel was opposite the park, he couldn't resist taking a walk.

Do you know the administrator password for your computer?  Well, I don't, and that's why I've been searching the hard drive and the internet, google and apple - everything I could think of, even ten year old books!  Actually I thought I did know, but the machine doesn't like it, does a little wiggle and won't let me install the latest upgrade, grrrrrr.......

Apart from that, things are going well; Basil is accepting his new diet after being diagnosed with thyroid problems - slight difficulty with Floyd not being on the same diet - though he goes in for a check up tomorrow and I shall ask if it would harm Floyd to eat the same food.

I am progressing, albeit slowly, with the hand quilting of my white and bright string quilt - and I have tidied my sewing room.  Found more bits and pieces that made my fingers itch to start sewing them into another top, but I'm being strong and will finish the one I've started.

The block from my class is another version of the Sew & flip technique, it's just a question of using quite large pieces.  To the basic five inch square I used a 3.75 inch square -

You can see I used the dark red for the centre strip, four of the completed blocks look like this -

The strong diagonal makes for lots of variations of setting, and the resulting half square triangles are a good size for another quilt!

I've been enjoying watching the Aussie series, "A Place to call home" which is showing here on Sunday evenings and set me looking out my old Australian magazines, the Home Journal which were given to me by a friend.  I was still in the UK at that time - I just love these covers - the first one from 1954

And this one

from a few years later, the year I arrived in New Zealand, by which time the magazine had had a make over and a big hike in cost!

So, here's another photo from the south island, taken on the way down to Christchurch with a storm approaching near Kaikoura

And the thought today - with relevance to my battles with my hard drive - "Anyone who isn't confused really doesn't understand the situation", Edward R. Murrow

Nice chatting with you, be back soon.........

Monday, 7 October 2013

I went South!

Maybe that's not the best title, it could mean something other than my visit to the South Island! but first a visit to the south coast, and the evening sun at Wainui beach -

I'm planning to get lots of hebes for my garden, different sizes and colours, also flaxes - natives for me, none of these whimpy exotica that need watering all summer....

My trip south, well the publicity about the award given to the Shut-in Stitchers has resulted in a couple of invitations to speak about what we do and you know how reluctant I am to do just that!! apparently Arts Access has been approached by the prison in Christchurch about setting up such a programme, they contacted me, I contacted the Christchurch Quilt guild - invitations were made and accepted, and off I flew.

Years ago I was a regular visitor to Christchurch and was fairly confident I could find my way around but my hostess knew better and I'm so grateful to her and my other 'minder' for all they did to make my visit enjoyable as well as memorable.

For any non-New Zealanders reading this, a large earthquake did enormous damage to the city in February 2011; it was a Tuesday and I was at a stitching get together with friends when the news came through and we sat glued to the television - that day and many more as the whole story unfolded.

Nothing prepared me for the reality.

Here is the Smile for Christchurch wall [you can Google it to find out more] started by a Taiwanese who spent a year collecting all the smiles to support the city,  the building behind looks less than pristine but the little gardens add a brightness to the open spaces.

This is on the day I took a bus into the city and walked around the area where they are using containers for shops;

It was a pleasantly mild day, though not the 21 degrees forecast, the coffee was good, the shops interesting, people friendly and I loved the garden areas -

I'm on the lookout for some companions for my 'goat' of the iron constitution!, maybe penguins, or something a little more outstanding -

Can you make out her amazing eyelashes?  See, flaxes, grasses minimum care - equals more time to quilt, read, eat - anything but garden........

The block to share was in a magazine years ago,

It's a tulip [we're back to gardening!] but their instructions were very complicated, so I simplified them to this

Make a pair of half square triangles, then take another square of the second colour for the flower, and

turn the half square triangles into three quarter square triangles! join, and do a small sew & flip on the bottom corners - cut to whatever size is needed.  These are made with five inch squares, but of course any size will do - if you make the tulips from many different sizes you could have your own colourful garden........

After teaching at the prison on Saturday, a group of us [tutors] had lunch and then went to a nearby chain store to take advantage of their sale - I bought 5m of batting quite reasonably and saw this sign -

It took me a while before I realised what was wrong - maybe it's a better class of fabric??

While in Chch I couldn't resist buying a couple of books, one which contains 'bad advice for good people.  Keep calm and carry on is all very well, but life just isn't that simple.  Let's own up and face facts; we're getting older, the politicians are not getting any wiser, and the world's going to hell in a handbasket.  It's time to panic."

So I'll leave you with a photo [courtesy son Phil] of a corridor in the interior of the Embassy Theatre in Wellington, and the first quotation, "When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.", Robert A. Heinlein

Cantabrians, I take my hat off to you, thank you for everything - I shall return!