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Friday, December 31, 2010

Another Earthquake, Holiday Snaps, & New Year's Eve.

It is New Year's Eve today, & we arrived home from our short trip, to Christchurch in the South Island, late yesterday.

This is a small selection of photos of the havoc caused by the September 4th, 7.1 earthquake, which devastated Christchurch & surrounds.

Some photos are from the city centre and some from surrounding areas.

On Christmas Eve we had been shopping in the city centre in the Mall, pictured in the next photo.

This photo was taken on December 28th, after an earthquake of 4.9, which hit the city on Boxing Day, December 26th. The store on the left had shattered window panes, taped with huge pieces of sticky tape, all safely behind barriers to keep out the passing public.

This home was totally destroyed, along with the vehicle under the rubble in the driveway.
I didn't sleep very well until we arrived back in Wellington.
Although there are no guarantees the earth here will remain stable. So far so good, thankfully.

We had a lovely Christmas although we were not thinking we 'd experience an actual earthquake. One has to feel for the folk who have endured such upheaval, loss of their homes, income and, sense of normality.

Nicholas and Josh, full of expectation as Christmas festivities were being prepared. It was a very warm day with a cool breeze and they enjoyed being in the garden with the teenagers.

One day we spent at the Ron Mueck 'Super Real' Sculptural exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery. A touring exhibit from the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia. It was very interesting and amazing to see the way the sculptures were produced, being so life like. A great outing on a rainy cold day.

The next day was warm and sunny, more like summer weather. This is a photo on the way to the Gondola, for a trip to the top of the mountain to enjoy the views. It is eleven years since we first visited this scenic spot.

We drove through the tunnel to meet DD#1 who had ridden from Rangiora, up & over Dyers' Pass, to Lyttleton. We collected her & the bicycle and headed up the mountain on the north side of the harbour, to the Gondola.

Looking back down to Lyttleton Harbour & part of Bank's Peninsular, where most of the aftershocks seem to be happening.

The landslide from the top of the peak, in the photo below, we were told, is a result from the first earthquake.

The view from the cable car as we travelling up......

& looking back down, to where we started.

After we left the Gondola we went to Sumner where the children played on the beach, we indulged them with an ice cream, while we had a coffee & explored Cave Rock, in Sumner, on the coast, also suffered earthquake damage, below a few buildings, a cave, and the view of the inlet as we left.

Holiday Travel.

We had a very pleasant crossing of Cook Strait, to my delight on December 23rd. The weather was sunny and bright and the sea was calm.
The children were not bored and had lots of games to play to keep them occupied for the 3 hour trip to Picton.
We arrived a tad early in Picton and set off immediately for Christchurch.
It was interesting to see snow still on the mountains in the distance, the day proir to Christmas Eve.
We stopped at a spot on the coast before Kaikoura for lunch, although, the lunch I chose, was the worst Ceasar Salad I 've ever encountered. The three boys had a run along the beach and the adults enjoyed the scenery and the setting, before heading further south. A stop was made before, Kaikoura, for a couple of fresh crayfish. We had a quick look at the seal colony as some of them basked in the warm sunshine.

We took a break in Kaikoura, looking at the shops and checking the scenery. Kaikoura is a very popular spot for whale watching tours, not that we had time to experience one of those, this time.
This photo is from the south of Kaikoura, looking back to the north west. After a latte, we headed off to complete the 315 klm drive down the South Island to our destination. IMHO driving those klms, even only as a passenger along with the crossing, was about my limit for a day's travel.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Carol Evening..

Last Night was Carols Evening, yet another highlight to my favourite time of the year.
It was held in the beautiful Wellington Town Hall.
The ceiling is magnificent. Typical of the architecture of the period and the balcony extends around each side, including the centre back.

The music was supplied by the Salvation Army Brass band. They make a spectacular scene dressed in their Christmas Red Jackets, providing a wonderful foil for the highly polished brass instruments. Each year there is a guest choir in attendance.
This year, as you can see from the photograph, the tambourines were featured, giving a special rendition of a selection of Carols.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dinner at a Friend's Home.

We have just returned from dinner at a friend's home.

The weekend started with the most beautiful day yesterday, with a lovely summer evening. No such luck for tonight! It was blowing a gale, nothing new for this part of the world, it did n't dampen the spirits of the seven of us, or the mood of the evening. Always the perfect hosts, our friends wined and dined us well, with sumptuous strawberies, meringue, and cream to complete the meal. The dinner table repartee, was uplifting & sprinkled with much laughter.

The house was decked in appropriate trimmings to add to the expectation of the Christmas Season, about to enfold.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 2010..

Today is starting day for the afore mentioned Boo Club SAL I've joined with fellow stitchers, from home and overseas.
I've also had word that my orders, for beads for the next SAL, have been mailed, as of yesterday. Still waiting on the pattern for that one to arrive.
As it is the first of December, a Christmas photo or 2 might be appropriate.

This is a quilt I made in 1985, seems like a lifetime ago. It is rolled and carefully stored by Epiphany, each year, ready to be hung the following Advent.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Q and A.

Just checked out Terri's blog and she directed me to Andi's blog quiz. I've decided to particiapte in her questionaire, although I must say I am never bored! Thanks Andie, if you would like to participate you can find it here.


1. What are you stitching at the moment?

A Shepherd's Bush, Christmas stocking..or two.

2. How many finishes have you had this year?

Small? About 12.

Medium? Still working on the two above.

Large? None spring to mind.

Extra Large? Well past half way on my hexagon, king size, quilt.

Does that Count? :):)

Do you plan to have any completed between now and the end of the year.?

I hope to have the stockings done and the quilt top completed.

4. If you could buy 1 thing for yourself what would it be? (Doesn't have to be stitching) More time.

5. What is the best thing you have ever stitched?

So many spring to mind, they include quilts, cross stitch, embroidery and someone else's wedding gown.

6. Do you like making lists? When needed.

7. Do you stitch in rotation (how does it work?) or OAAT?
Usually one cross stitch at a time and other things, as they take my fancy.

8. What is the next thing you plan to stitch?

Starting LK Boo Club SAL on December 1st.

9. What is your fave ONS?

None in particular, just whoever has the what I want, yesterday & ebay. I tend to use those who send it out quickly.

10. Do you have a stitching chair?

Yes a couple. I tend to sit watching our view, in our sitting room, or in our family room where the light is great.

11. Do your children/pets get into your stitching things?


12. Do you participate in any stitching forums? On occasions. I try to leave a comment on the blogs I stop to view. I enjoying seeing and reading about other's accomplishments & hope to encourage them, as I would hate for there to be none to read.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fabric Aquisitions.

When we went home for a visit, three weeks ago, I stopped by one of my favourite patchwork stores. Although I felt like a small child in a lollie shop, with a tad of restraint, I only purchased three fabrics & another special thimble to add to my collection. The fabrics are totally different to what is available here, so one does have a multitude from which to chose, from both sources. I purchased these with a specific plan in mind however, the colours are so delightfully vibrant, I might have to consider using them in another way.

The week before last, our local Guild had a sales table evening. I was able to purchase a small packet of pretty beads, along with two fat quarters. No specific use at the moment, apart from adding this plain colour palette to my stash. Earlier in the year I was in need of this particular shade and I had nothing suitable.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Planning a Start.

I've joined a couple of SAL's with fellow stitchers from Home and O/S, and I've been gathering my fabric, threads, ordered a chart and beads.

The first one is for "Boo Club" a Lizzie Kate design, a fun stitch for Halloween. My LNS had the fabric stipulated, although I have ordered a second piece of fabric and have yet to make a definite choice, when I see both pieces 'in the flesh' so to speak. I purchased the threads

not in my stash, as I already had the charts and buttons for this one, from early last year, and the first fabric is now gridded, ready for the start date, the 1st of December.

The second SAL is for "The Twelve Days of Christmas" from Jim Shore.

I 've purchased, wound & labelled the required threads and, ordered the fabric. The beads are also ordered and winging their way down here. The start date for this, is January 1st, 2011, so all should be ready to roll, for that date..

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Patchwork Fabric Shopping

Today, a friend & I, travelled to an area 50 minutes from the city to fondle and buy patchwork fabric. My friend is relatively new to patchwork so was keen to learn where the patchwork stores in the area are located. We had a lovely time fondling many of the wonderful fabrics, checking patterns, buttons, beads and ribbon. We visited three stores, one was only opened from Thursday to Sunday, so naturally, that will require further investigation.

I found another store selling Cherry Ripes so, replenished my stock and introduced my friend to this particular favourite Australian Treat.
We had a delicious lunch before moving on to another store for similar perusal. We stopped for a very welcome afternoon tea , before we headed back. It was lovely to drive home along the harbour edge in the sunlight, as an afternoon departure of an Inter Islander ferry, headed towards the channel and heads.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas Ornament Exchange.

My Christmas Ornament Exchange gift arrived a couple of weeks ago, mine, to my exchange partner, has not arrived as yet. This exchange, for Christmas ornaments, has been something
I 've been priviledged to be part of and enjoy immensly, for several years. Thank you Julie, I love my sweet Angel ornament.

Below is the ornament I stitched for Julie. I mounted it in this ornament bauble, made of pine, I found in a local store. My gift parcel included
a cross stitched, stocking brooch pin, a Santa pen, with an Australian treat, a Cherry Ripe.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Exchange Has Landed.

I've just had word from my Halloween exchange partner, my gift arrived, so as promised here are the photos.

I dyed the fabric myself to get a suitable shade for Halloween, as I 've not seen many hand dyed fabrics, available in this neck of the woods. I was thrilled with the the way the colour was so clear and bright from a piece of white 32ct linen. I stitched the design from 'Cup Cakes Glorious Cupcakes' by the Cats' Whiskers. I stuck a cut out plastic bat to the cup cake holder, I used two orange beads for the eyes, DMC threads and attached a small initial to personalise, for my recipient.
I added a Cherry Ripe chocolate bar & a skein of DMC Luminous thread to the gift. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween Exchange

A couple of months ago I joined a Halloween stitched ornamanet exchange, a fun diversion from regular stitching for one's self. I was lucky enough to be teamed with April, who sent me this very sweet ornament gift, which arrived last Saturday. I am really thrilled to have such a lovely stitched gift. Thank you April.
It is from Pine Mountain Designs.
My ornament to her has not arrived as yet so, a photograph of that, when it is received.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Halloween Month.

It is the first of October today, a lovely warm, sunny, spring day, thankfully. The last few days have been wind, rain and thick fog. I am told, typical of Spring, here in New Zealand .

As it is the month for Halloween, a small completion, which dates back to late last year, & only photographed yesterday.

It is a Mill Hill Brooch of a witches hat. The title of the pattern is 'Wanda's Hat.' It was a fun stitch & I am looking forward to wearing it this year.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hexagons, Prior to Placement.

Here are the lose, covered, templates, ready to be selected for a permanent spot in the quilt. I really enjoy this placement part, as I chose which one goes where, then maybe move it to another place, next to a diferent colour choice.

I've noticed that the photos of my hexagon quilt may look a tad odd, to non patchworkers. So incase you are wondering, the paper templates are still retained within each hexagon, until it is all stitched together, in this particular application. When the top is completed, I will remove each template, before adding the batting, the backing fabric, then tacking all three layers together, before I begin the hand quilting.

So some are stitched for the outer edge then, the blocks of coloured hexagons go together to connect it all together.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Cuddly Companion While Stitching a WIP.

I decided to do a tad more work on my cross stitched, commemorative piece, this afternoon. This is the piece I am doing in memory of my very dear, late, Mother. Another languishing WIP I haven't touched since March. While I sat enjoying the view of the harbour I soaked up the sunshine protected from the blustery wind outdoors. It reached around 120klms, ph last evening although it's not so bad today, so far. My companion Holly, was not averse to joining me in the warm glow of the sun through the bay window. Since she returned from her stay at the vet hospital for 4 days, she is keeping tabs on me & has changed allegiance. DH is no longer 'numero uno,' well, for the present anyway. I can hear her yowling at the moment, LOL, she must have realised she is now alone in the other room. :).
If you look closely at the photo, you can see the shaved area of her upperarm, where she was attached to the life giving, re hydrating, drip. That, along with the expertise of our wonderful veterninarian, are things for which I remain extremely grateful this week.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Today was my turn to host stitching. Although only a small group, it is always pleasant to share times with other stitchers. Surprise, surprise! I did manage to cover more hexagons as we sat and chattered, watching the weather close in with lightening and several loud claps of thunder. The front passed over very quickly, it did drop the temperature rapidly and we are in for a nasty weekend, weather wise. Great for stitching IMHO.
Before everyone arrived, I managed to prepare a casserole for dinner, for the slow cooker. The delicious aroma wafted from the kitchen during the afternoon, making for a comforting meal, on this very cold Spring evening.
Earlier this week, we had a very sick cat. She did not respond after the first day at the vets, but seemed to be better on the following day. We brought her home and she was rather subdued & very clingy. Next morning she seemed to be worse, so back to the vet we went. The vet admitted her again and she was re hydrated & given a nausea shot to last for three days. We brought her home last night & she is back to normal, thankfully. After all the blood tests, urine analysis, kidney function and white cell count, there does not seem to be anything of concern. Even pancreatitis was eliminated. This happened two years ago at the same time of the year, so perhaps it is an allergic reaction to a spring flowering plant. The vet does not know what caused the problem, however she was very thorough.
Although not a photo of our Holly, the picture above depicts a beautiful cat, amongst the flowers. This is a wall plate given to me, because I am a cat lover, as a birthday gift some years ago.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Something Else, For Which To Be Thankful.

This is the latest progress photo on my hexagon quilt top. The RH corner is finished. Yeah!!
As it comes together, with each segment, the feeling of accomplishment is very rewarding. Everything else seems to be on hold, when I get involved in this stitching. I love the rythym of piecing it together with tiny stitches, after chosing which coloured hexagon goes where, and sorting them with the other colour strands. When I need to stitch and have no inclination for thinking methodically, covering the hexagons is also rewarding. It requirs no major effort, as I watch the collection increase. I do appreciate being able to indulge in such a pleasant pastime.
As you can see I am well past the 1/4 done, almost to the half way point for the quilt top. I hope you can share in my delight, as it grows to completeion.
Keep checking as I am sure I will construct a further segment this weekend, although the two boys are about to arrive from school, I may not get allot done until tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First Attempt at Fabric dyeing.

With the horror of an earthquake in this country over the weekend, I did n't think about taking or posting photos. Yesterday, while playing Mah-Jong, we were interrupted after afternoon tea, with a quake of 4.1 a few kilometres off the coast. A very scary feeling for someone who is used to stable ground under foot, at home. I really feel for the folk in Christchurch, who have endured such trauma over the last four days, with constant after shakes.

I 've been dyeing cross stitching fabric this morning and as a first attempt, I am rather pleased with the result. Not quite as patterned as I had hoped, however the colour is exactly what I had envisioned. I am so enthused, I sought the popular drinking crystals, I have read about, to try their effect. I had hoped to try several colours, (flavours), to have a great selection of pretty coloured fabrics to add to my stash. Unfortunately, that particular product is not available here, so with limited variety available, I could only purchase two flavours/ colours locally. I will try those in the next few days to see what I can produce.

I have a couple of cross stitch exchanges to get together at the moment. One to post in the next couple of days & the other to put together later this month for postage. Photos of those after they have been received by my exchange partners.
I resumed covering & constructing hexagons sections last Thursday evening. They have been added to the quilt to have it completed to half way, on the RH side. It will be exciting to reach the half way point on both sides. Last week I returned to one of my stitching groups, after missing it for several weeks. We meet usually once a fortnight or, three weeks. It was great to return & enjoy all the current projects. It is my turn to host this group on Friday week, so by then, I hope to have the LH side, also completed to the half way point.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Re-assessed & Progress.

Last night I had a change of thought & decided to unpick the entire stitching on the present piece of Floba. After all, I can get started faster with most of the gridding already done, with a few repairs.
In the meantime the photo promised from last week.

The light is not good on the second hexagon row, although this photo is better than the one I took earlier, which had too much colour reflection from the walls and curtains. It is getting harder to capture a full shot as more is stitched. Perhaps now would be a good time to install my Flannel board in the sewing room, for future photos.