Central Plateau, North Island

Central Plateau, North Island
View from a friend's farm

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Serious Design Faults and Pretty Pictures


The kitchen trolley might  be  good for the kitchen, but when it comes to having a 12 inch rotation cutting board on it,, or the ironing protective mat, there are faults galore. Too narrow, too short, handles get in the way, and even  with the legs adjusted to the full height, too short!!! 

But it can fit in the “ Laundry Day” quilt,  this is as far as I have managed this weekend. The grass needs some embellishment, a small shrub at the right hand side, where the pathway didn’t angle out, and the wonky  chimney needs reinforcing after the earthquake. Likewise the roof will have huge  “ Galvanised Nu-Fix roofing nails” ( Bernina pattern # 162)  to keep it firm again. And the clothesline rope arrived, from the LQS.!!! There had been flooding and liquefaction as well,  that  is the blue wavy lines on the road!!

Laundry Day  quilt

And before I went to have some pretty photos taken with the MRI scanner, the local quilt shop had a necessary visit. Some lovely golden yellows, a few more greens, and two swirly paler batiks, just in case I want to change the background again in the ‘Freefall quilt along” which you can see right here at this link,

mmm! quilts with Sandra

After all, every girl needs to have choices.

New batiks in March 2017

The ladies at Radiology were so kind, caring, and made sure I was as comfortable as I could be, my legs  were both  supported by a cradle? and the right one had another on top, probably with coils  in it. Ear plugs, and headphones, as they talked to me all the way along. And a squeezy hand piece, in case I needed help!!! Lots of noises, a bit like an orchestra tuning up.The only really uncomfortable part was the weighted bag below my knee to keep that leg steady, but a body wriggle as they suggested helped.

Photo courtesy of the internet,  I could not take my crutches inside,  but a lovely lady either side gave all the support needed, and  I thankfully answered all the questions with NO,  for Bullets, shrapnel, body piercings, eyelid springs??? metal anywhere, and more… and then came the height measurement. I have shrunk from my earlier days!!! At least 1.25  inches!!! Horror.

MRI knee coil

Next week I will get the results and find the answers.

Our son-in-law’s Dad passed away on Sunday morning , at home,  after a long illness. Russell Brown was a wonderful man, so respected and admired  in the Otago community and will be so sadly missed by Ann, their family, grandies, friends and relations. His farewell is tomorrow, and we will be there in our thoughts.Our love to them all , and specially to Ralph and Kaz.

Quotation of the day, as I  remember ,and say goodbye to Russell .

Godspeed, dear friend.


A limb has fallen from the family tree, that says,

Grieve not for me,

Remember the best times, the laughter, the song,

The good life I lived while  I was strong.


Greetings from Jean.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Fabric on a kitchen trolley!!!


I am still walking with crutches, but have been given 2 aids!! One is a shower stool, very handy, but the kitchen trolley on castors, and a bottom shelf is so handy. Batiks can be arranged for a photo shoot so easily. I want one here forever!!! Maybe Hugh can make me one in wood.

I decided a while ago to try and sew “  Quilter’s Laundry Day” designed by Jen Rosin. there are some small fiddly pieces, including a 4 inch square mini quilt to hang on the clothesline. This morning I found the applique that might just fit.

Laundry Day Mini Quilt to go on the clothesline

the motif can be ironed in place, and the blue fabric needs to be sewn,   quilted and bound or have a facing.  It looks large but in fact is 4.5 inches square now, leaving 1/4 inch for the seam to be turned over. It is a start. The gold metallic thread is for the stars in the Southern Cross, and will goon the darkest blue at the top. The clothesline posts, a bit of a problem there, as half-round or full round posts would be what we use down here. Tanolised pine, maybe I can put two twigs there instead, and sew them on top of some brown fabric. Nothing like being innovative, or accepting a challenge. This is not large, and finishes at  16.5 inches square.And there will be a bright pink house with a green door!!!

Laundry day quilt fabrics

Meanwhile Sandra at has a new quilt along called Freefall. You can find  all the details  on her blog. Click below for the link to open.

Musings  of a Menopausal Melon - mmm! quilts

So naturally ( why not, the crutches are a pretty accessory)  I decided to join this too. I have 2 choices for background, and also 2 options for the main leaf. One background is peachy, the dark green  is  like moiré taffeta swirls. The other is the grey/greeny/lemony batik I am using in the 150 Canadian Women Blocks, and the dark green is one with a stylised leaf frond, very New Zealand based.

For the smaller leaves I have selected a variety of rainbow colours, the only one missing is the Y in the  ROY B GIV list.


Freefall fabric choices #1


Freefall fabrics #2



freefall fabrics #4


Freefall fabrics #3

The background fabrics look a lot more pale than they really are. I welcome any suggestions or deletions.The pink background  picks up the red tones in the leaves, while the grey/green one has a similar watercolour wash effect to the plain green fabric.

Meantime…. I have had a visit to the orthopaedic  specialist, a MRI is next Tuesday and a follow up appt., to see him again on 29th. Slowly the wheels are turning. The possibility is ligament surgery, and a one night stay in hospital. I am not sure if I can manage the machine treadle with my left foot, guess there might be some hiccups on the way with that.

Quotation of the day from Lao Tzu

“ Do the difficult things while they are easy,

and do the great things while they are small.

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”

Greetings from Jean.

Friday, 3 March 2017

The Swap Goodies Have All Arrived!!!


Have you ever participated in a swap of any kind? This was a first time for me, and my envelopes went, from Rangitikei to Rotorua, to Auckland, to Vancouver via a suitcase of luggage in an AirNZ plane, then by plane to Kelowna, then  the staff at big White posted them!!! What a roundabout way to get my fabric swaps to friends in the 150 Canadian Women group.

This is the first part of the return trip, on the runway at Kamloops airport in British Columbia.

Kamloops airport Friday 3rd February 2017

Then  last Saturday the final ones arrived. Wow, it was better than waiting for Santa to  come .

Swap fabrics  for the 150 Canadian Women Blocks 2017

There are reds, in all shades,some plains, some patterned, some  with motifs,  and thank you all so much, Cindy, Christine, Dolores, Ingrid, Janet,  Melissa and Pauline . and yesterday one more envelope arrived, a piece that was part of the collection for the Vancouver Winter Olympics, in 2010.  This is destined for Block #15, to honour Elsie MacGill. Thanks so much Kate, I will make sure  when I sew this block, I look at the snowflakes and the Inukshuks and  think of others that have some of this fabric as well.

Elizabeth Muriel Gregory “Elsie” MacGill (Vancouver BC 1905-1980)
“Elsie, Helen Gregory MacGill’s daughter and suffragist Emma Gregory’s grand daughter, was the first female graduate in electrical engineering at University of Toronto, first woman to earn a master’s in aeronautical engineering and first practising Canadian woman engineer.

Blocks finished #37, #30,#35

Meantime sewing is still at a very slow rate. I think there are more pages of unsewn blocks than finished ones!!  The centre block #30 was a huge challenge.  And I used freezer paper for #37,  instead of paper piecing.

My knee is still very troublesome, I see the specialist next Thursday, maybe I should have some hand sewing ready in case I am confined to bed or  not allowed to walk for a while !!!

The garden is showing signs of Autumn, mornings are dark a lot later, and although days are hot, cooler times are already waiting at 6 a.m.

Japanese Anemones or  Windflower or Anemone hupehensis, Anemone hupehensis var. japonica, grow and grow, cut them down, dig them out, and they still grow. Tall, graceful and delicate.

Japanese Anenomes in early sunlight


Japanese Anemone

Josh’s second year at Victoria Uni in Wellington has started, a science degree in Physical Geography and Geology  has fascinating subjects , I cannot help wondering if he will get to visit Antarctica at any time. And Danielle continues to do so well with Joey, the jumps are getting higher all the time.

Quotation of the week, from Emily Bronte

“ Every leaf speaks bliss to me,

fluttering from the autumn tree”

Greetings from Jean

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Life in the Slow Lane!!!


Some visits to the Doctor, the X-Ray department, the physiotherapist, and another doctor, consensus is a sprained ligament in my right knee. By the time I finally get to see a specialist, in 6 to 8 weeks ( I have to remember there are 22 people ahead of me in the queue) it will either be better or NOT. So no driving or kneeling for a while yet.Just as well I can manage to sit at the sewing machine.

The Knee Brace!!!


The 150 Canadian Women blocks are so interesting,  and as well there is the Canada 150 Birthday Logo. I have sewed in random, not in the methodical #1 to #150, but have managed to do the difficult #30, the card block, and # 37, with freezer paper, and points that magically all lined up.

this is a little darker than the actual fabrics.

Blocks finished #37, #30,#35

Blocks 23,24,31,32,33,34 finished

Canada 150 logo Block E

There was a competition for the  Canada 150 Logo, and some dissension after the winner was chosen.  Some of the group have sewn this in colours, some in reds, and another did this and the Canada 100 Logo, on a bag, It was stunning. Mine will be in reds and purples, as white batik is not in my stash, and quite hard to find

Canada 150 Birthday Logo

Image result for Canada 100 birthday logo

Image result for canada 150 birthday logo

As a New Zealander, I feel very honoured and humbled to be accepted into the group, and to take part as a sewer and quilter  in this celebration. A tribute to all my friends throughout Canada.

Each week as I scan the weather in US and Canada, I realise how little I know about the snow, freezing rain, ice on the streets, Yaktracks on your boots, and roofs that have to be shovelled clear of snow!!! Maybe I  might just stay down here.But lately my Geography knowledge has improved beyond what I ever managed at High School.

This week, our daughter’s best man Stephen Allpress passed away ,  in Rotorua, and in Auckland,  my dear friend Jeanette, their best man also passed away. Life is fleeting and fragile.

Quotation of the day,  from Bob Perks ( copyright)…….


I wish you enough

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how grey the day may appear.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.


Greetings from Jean

Monday, 23 January 2017

Baby Bird and Little Blocks


Late yesterday Boris was on the lawn, paying much attention to a bird nest that had blown out of a tree. I wandered over, and it felt heavy, but sometimes nests do have a base of dirt and mud. Lots of white wool fleece inside, feathers and soft moss.  I left him, then a minute later huge squawking, and a baby bird trying so hard to hide, as the nest was slowly being untangled. A rescue, and brought it inside. I couldn’t identify it, and rang our local bird rescue lady, Dawn.

She arrived, and was so excited. This was a  Shining cuckoo chick, the first she had rescued. Altough there had been adult birds, not a baby.  So after a photo shoot, off they went, and today she is taking it with her to Massey University in Palmerston North, where you can study   with  a 5 year course for a Bachelor of Veterinary Science. The wee chick will get the once-over to make sure all is well and Dawn will give it heaps of TLC, and  round the clock feeding, until it is old enough to survive out in the open once again.


Shining Cuckoo baby #1Shining Cuckoo baby # 3 JPGShining Cuckoo baby # 2 JPGShining Cuckoo baby # 4 JPG

This is courtesy of the Internet , both the data and photo.

Shining cuckoos are brood parasites, laying their eggs singly in nests of grey warblers (mainland) and Chatham Island warblers. Eggs are laid mostly in November, after which the adult cuckoos take no further part in breeding. Young cuckoos are dependent on their foster-parents for several weeks after fledging.

The tiny Grey Warbler feeding the much larger Shining Cuckoo chick.

Grey Warbler feeding a Shining Cuckoo Chick.

The 150 Canadian  Women Blocks are progressing, I am a long way behind, but finding all  the information about these amazing women so humbling, and interesting.

150 Canadian Women blocks January 2017

A few more are finished,some of the group have chosen to use blue fabrics, others a variety of colours, and when I reach the #75, might switch to blues and greens.

150 CW., Blocks 18,19, 20, January 2017

We have rain, it is cold, the fire is lit, and this is our summer time. The family finally arrived in Vancouver, after an almost 3 hour delay on the runway with an engineering fault on the plane!!! 5Celsius over there, and one more flight to Kelowna.  A very long day or night!!!

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Electronic communication across

oceans and countries

gives us all that sense that

we are still so close to each other”

Greetings from Jean

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Do not turn your back when working !!


The Birthday Celebrations continued, with the most delightful evening out, a yummy meal, at Bulls, and here we are. Thank you so much Jeanette, this was Hugh’s  birthday present , but we all enjoyed it so very much.

Jeanette, Kaz, Ralph, Hugh , then  I am on the very right. All prettied up!!!  Look carefully, as you might not recognise me further down the page!!!

Dinner out for Hugh's birthday

Jeanette left for home the next morning, a long 6 hour drive with extra time for stops along the way. It was so good to talk to her after she arrived safely back in Auckland. I am hoping she will have a short flight for her next visit and a longer stay down here.

Property maintenance was on the list, so out came the weed-eater, or weed-whacker, or whipper-snipper, depending where you live. Long grass in difficult places was quickly down to ground level, and all is looking great.Then the fence railings, a bit grimy, so out came the water-blaster. Hugh cannot manage to stand for very long, so I donned gloves and a hat, and started. I didn’t know he had the camera ready!!!

Next time, I will NEVER turn my back!!!

Jean waterblasting #2


Jean waterblasting the fence railings

Jean waterblasting #3

It looks so shiny and clean.

One of my blog friends, Joanne, has  very interesting words today.

  She found a blog a while ago called “ word365”  when you choose a word to use through the year, to turn to, to use  and to be guided by.

  I gave  my own choices much serious consideration, and after weighing up so many possibilities,  decided on Keep”.

I will keep hope in my heart, keep family and friends close in my thoughts, and try so hard to keep only what I need,  I will only keep positive thoughts, and keep on giving thanks for so  much goodness and happiness  in my life every day.

Finally, I thank each one of you who sent Hugh a birthday greeting . He was so thrilled and really appreciated and enjoyed every one. 80,  there are so many good reasons to celebrate, to be thankful, and to keep on living each day as a bonus, never to be taken for granted.

And , finally, again, thank you all for loving and caring messages and words for me, I am keeping well, new tablets are working so far, and I am so happy to have my feet on the floor at home  every morning.

Quotation of the day , from Omar Khayyam

“ Be happy for this moment .

This moment is your life”

Greetings from Jean.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A Birthday Surprise with a Difference


Earlier this year I found that Jenn from

                    Country Cottage Reflections 

would have a “significant” birthday on 26th December. As so often happens, those days are mingled into Christmas Day, and the special day gets left out. I thought I might make Jenn “ a little something” and post it over.  Subterfuge again entered the equation.

But then came the difficulties. This was to be a surprise…. so  I needed to find Caitlin’s email address,  ( Jenn’s daughter) , that was the first hurdle, finally found her husband’s email but this was a government one!!! Sent it off and waited, and waited. Finally  Jean-Luc checked his private emails, and Caitlin replied, and things were starting to go to plan.

Boris and a scarf

Boris checked out the scarf, and it was cosy and warm, but not quite long enough!!!

Joyce did some beautiful embroidery on the pocket of a folder for pages and pencils and crayons for Jenn’s drawing when she is out and about.

Jenn's folio folder  and scarf

I found out  that Jenn had an iPad, and her bag has a padded pocket inside for this, another pocket, and ties at the top.

Jenn's bag inside


Jenn's birthday goodies

Then I found that the birthday  lunch and party was postponed until today NZ time, as freezing rain turned the roads into slick ice.  I woke at 3.30 a.m. checked the time in Ontario, and wondered if anyone was online? No, so after a while went back to bed.After all, plenty of sleep must be good for my heart!!! I missed Caitlin’s reply by one minute. Never mind, when I woke next time, there is another message, and we were good to go at 2.30 p.m. Canada time in Ottawa. Some setting up with Skype, then an iPad contact to be added, and it was all action.

Do you have any idea how magical it was to see Jenn, and her family, then watch as she opened the parcels? This is what makes blog friendships so special.

Happy Birthday all over again, dear Jenn, and Caitlin and Jean-Luc, Isabelle and Josephine,  thanks so much for your part in all of this. Jo, I found out about your birthday just too late to send something off, so  at the end of 2017, it will be your turn.

Many, many thanks for everyone’s lovely caring words for me,  I treasure  them all , and to know you care from  close to home and so far away,  is very special to me . I am trying to go slow,  I treat  each day as a special one, and hope to see a specialist very soon.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Life is full of surprises,

the future is not set in stone”

Greetings from Jean