Central Plateau, North Island

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

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Home Again, Home again, Jiggity-Jig!!!!

I have borrowed those words from Jenn in Canada, as Jenn, you so often use these after a hospital visit, I thought they were very suitable for  our last few  weeks down here!!!

The weeks since my last post have been action packed, if you can interpret that to be “ Filled with Hospital visits, trips by ambulance, and more”.

Hugh’s shoulder is improving slowly, he can dress himself, almost drive, manage to sit on the ride on mower, and a little more. However through this, he had severe pain in his right knee,  not able to walk, so once more off in the green and gold chariot, aka Ambulance. Blood test, X-Ray, possible fracture NO, possible gout? Maybe, overnight stay and home the next day.

Front lawn area

Now, all mowers need petrol!!! The lawn needed mowing,  The 20 litre can  was filled at the garage, they lifted it into the wagon, and when we arrived home I had to help Hugh lift it onto the back tray on the quad bike!!! This is so he can take it to the other shed past the driveway. That was something we had done together dozens of times, but previously when his right arm was good!!! My ribs ached afterwards, the next day, so painful. The following Friday, my turn to get carried off on a stretcher,  then an  X-Ray, maybe a fractured rib, NO, maybe a chest wall muscle sprain? Not sure. Home with a whole heap of medication. Lots of explanations to the OT lady and the Social worker about how this was absolutely necessary. One of them suggested we leave the lawn until it was SO high, indicating with her hands at least 10 to 12 inches. Well, we would then make hay.I am guessing she has no idea at all about how large a 3 acre area is.

Then Sunday, the pain escalated into “ where is it on a scale of 1 to 10?” Off the scale, so back to hospital again. More pain meds, an overnight stay, and home to take life very slowly and carefully. The Dr said maybe 4 to 6 weeks for it to heal.

Through all of this, I keep thinking of Irma, my friend in Florida , how her barn cats are managing, and all those in Texas and other states nearby.Stay safe are the usual words, but they seem so insignificant right now.

Before this I had managed to finish Blocks #3 and #4 for the QAL. They are bright and so Christmassy!!!

Santa’s Belt,  there are so many lovely blocks, on the Facebook group page.  with belts, buckles, and a fat tummy as well.

Christmas Block #3

Then Christmas Decorations, again all the group members have made this in their own so special way. Each one a delight to see. The green is sparkly and glittery, as a Christmas tree would be.

Christmas Block #4

Meantime, before all this, I was in a quilt fabric shop,  looking, as we do, and found this panel of elephants.It just  hopped into my hands!!! Not the best photos, it is just too hard to  find a good place with plenty of light.

panel of elephants

Elephant #2My favourite Elephant

Then I found this on the net, and have seen it before.It, too, just landed in my patterns. Paper pieced, not my favourite way to do it, but I might try with freezer paper instead.

Elephant and I pattern photoElephant & I cropped

This will have to wait till all things are back to normal,  for now  I can look and dream.

Quotation of the day. author unknown

“ Always  fall asleep with a dream

and wake up with a purpose.”

Greetings from Jean.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Snowflake was so lucky to survive!!

I had wonderful plans to have the snowflake block all finished, applique all done, and batting ready.I joined in the QAL, thinking I would so easily manage a block or two.

Week one, block one, is from Vanda who lives in South Africa. Her words were …..

Without further ado, here is block 1. A snowflake, I just could not resist making a snowflake. You see where I live in South Africa our Christmas falls in summer. And I would absolutely love to see a snow white Christmas……

I picked out some fabrics, dithered around, and finally chose a deep midnight blue with gold stars. In the centre is our New Zealand icon, a Kiwi, and in real life only comes out at night.

“ Starry,starry night” came to my mind.

Snowflake choices #2snowflake choices #1

Snowflake #3

The applique was started,  the background is a little darker to show the variegated Madeira thread, and a slanted stitch #23  on my Bernina  QE 440.

Snowflake #4 showing applique thread colours

Then the plan all fell to pieces, My husband had a fall, catapulted himself about 6 feet, fell onto a step on his back. How life changes in a flash. Rang the ambulance, rang a friend, finally ambulance arrived, single crew, he rang the fire brigade, and  then they used a body board that slides in two halves underneath, to get him onto the stretcher and into the ambulance.  Off to hospital, after a lot of pain relief, 12 X-Rays, up to the ward, and CT scans the next day. He has what is called “ an undisplaced fracture” of the acromion, a small bone at the back of his right shoulder. No surgery needed as they called it “smashed” so it will heal all by itself, but will be months rather than weeks.  Hugh’s right arm is no good, he cannot use it at all, and there is pain and bruising in lots of other places. I have just read that Turtles also have this bone!!! I wonder how they manage if it gets smashed.

Here are the 4 men and one lady ( not all in the photo)  contemplating the best way to move my man!!! What a gallant lot they were, and I am so thankful for all the help we had.

Fire Brigade, body board and Hugh, August 2017 #2

So if I am off the radar, and do not leave comments or do a post now or then, I will be doing a whole lot of other things here.

Quotation of the day, from Robert Burns

“ The best laid plans of mice and men

often go awry”

Greetings from Jean.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

New Zealand, both North and South.

Recently our grandson was on a Field Trip to the Nelson Lakes and Golden Bay areas  near the top of the South Island. The students were doing this as part of their second year Science Degree at Victoria University.  He has very graciously given me the honour of posting some photos here.Thanks Josh,  these are just a few of them.

Farewell Spit, at the very top of the South Island.

Farewell Spit, South Island,New Zealand

Golden Bay area, South Island.

Golden Bay, South Island NZ.

Limestone Rock, Golden Bay area.

Limestone ,Golden Bay, South Island, NZ.

After a week in this area, they went to Lake Rotoiti, in the St Arnaud and Nelson Lakes National Park area, as the second part of the studies.

Nelson lakes area, South Island, NZ.Nelson Lakes, Swamp  before Glacial Moraine.

Mount Robert in the distance, Nelson Lakes area.

Mt Robert, Nelson Lakes, South Island, NZ

Lake Rotoiti, as I remember from way back in 1986, the most sand-flies ever  all lived there. They followed you everywhere, in huge swarms.Mt Robert is on the right hand side, under the vapour trail.

Lake Rotoiti, Mt Robert on RHS, under vapour trail.

Lake Rotoiti, South Island, NZ.St Arnaud  #3 Lake Rotoiti Josh Lee

Back to the North Island, views from above Wellington, looking south.

High above Wellington,proof that they both rode there.High above Wellington, Cook Straight way out to the right.

The swing bridge is near Makara Peak,where the wind turbines are.

Swing Bridge, Makara Peak, Wellington area, North Island,. NZ

And for map lovers like Louise.. Here is one for you,  Fundy Blue!!!

NZ map places and arrows

And, as  ( in my opinion)  this post should close with  some snow, here it is.

Mt Ngauruhoe, from the Desert Road.

Mt Ngauruhoe, from the Desert Road

Josh and Hugh, near the Desert Road, in 2004.

Josh & Hugh July 2004 #1

Quotation of the day,author unknown.

“There is always an island of opportunity

in whatever we do and wherever we go ”

Greetings from Jean

Monday, 31 July 2017

And the Cold came in from the South

New Zealanders have shivered in the recent cold snap, having  in some places the coldest day of the year.

Those further North have huddled up and moaned miserably about the 4C, or slightly more, while those down south ( they breed very hardy folk there)  tell them……..

“  Swallow a concrete  pill, harden up, and wear more merino”!!!

In the South Island, Tekapo in the Mackenzie District  managed to reach –0.4 Celsius on Saturday!!! This was after an overnight low of –10 C.

Tekapo photos courtesy of the Internet.

Lake Tekapo with frost, ice and snow. July 2017

Lake Tekapo, 29th July 2017

Hoar frost near  Tekapo in  a previous year.

frost at Tekapo

The frost we had seems very mild in comparison. Our front lawn.

Frost in July 2017

I found one more owl languishing in the pile of batik fabrics, he needs to be ironed onto the background, and I need to reply to  the rest of the lovely bloggers who left a comment. Ruru is doing well.

Quotation of the day, from Mark Twain, and I wonder where he was  when he wrote these words…

“Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer

we’d have frozen to death”

Greetings from Jean.


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Day 12, DRUM ROLL for everyone.

Yes, Day 12 has dawned, and down here, almost ended. This has been an amazing event, and so many have commented, no doubt pondered over which beautiful item they will make first.

Some  morning sunrise photos at our home, North Island,  in New Zealand,

morning reflection

sunrise 2nd September 2

And as we end the 12 days, some sunsets. This was at our home,but  this view is looking  at the sky to the East.

Eastern sky  in the evening.

We were staying on a friend’s farm, and this is at  1005 metres above sea level, and looking to the West.

Night sky at 1005 metres asl

And to finish the picture entries, here are Ginger Boy, a stray, and Boris, also a stray, who arrived on Mother’s Day in 2015, only a few weeks old.  I gave this the title “ Are you my Dad?”

Boris and Max  June 2015,are you my Dad

Today you can visit Christina here.

Christina's Handicrafts

I have already popped over and  do like both her projects, blue fabrics, my favourites. 

Next you will so enjoy a trip to meet Aby at


Yes, I have been to her pattern page and saved  the designs.

Now,some earlier  bloggers have been  even busier,  and here are  extra pages for you to enjoy.

Kathy is doing an extra   posting with something exciting for the   younger ones. Be sure to see the fun they had.

  Kathy's Kwilts and More

Then hop over and  visit  Karen and see that full stocking again, even more full this time.

Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats

Then Michele at Crayon Box Studio has more instructions.

Visit her  right here where black changes to blue!!!      click here

Wendy is at Pieceful Thoughts of my Quilting Life and she gives us  the instructions to make that beautiful JOY garland.

Visit her …..here

Carole  of From  My Carolina Home  has more for all of us.

Visit  her blog at this link.

Jennifer can be found at her blog, The Inquiring Quilter,

and has given us some lovely ideas from previous years.

Hop into her blog right here.

Finally,  Jan at  The Colourful Fabriholic, has posted the  tutorial for that fabulous wall hanging Christmas tree.

Hop on to her blog and this will finish the

12 Days Of Christmas in July Blog Hop banner 

I have found the last 12 days to be exciting, fascinating, time consuming, challenging, and far-reaching as I read new posts, made new friends, and gathered so many wonderful ideas for later in the year.

A HUGE thank you to Sarah for all her hours behind the laptop, on the keyboard, sending and receiving emails, and through this,  being away for a family emergency. Thank you so much.

Quotation of the day,author unknown

“‘Believe in yourself

and so much more will be possible”

Greetings from Jean.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Day 11, 11 Pipers were Piping for the 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop

Well, here we are on the penultimate day of this wondrous event.

Sadly, two members  of the hop have had a heart-breaking loss of a family member and my heartfelt sympathy goes to Sarah and Meloney.

My Mum was born in Cambuslang, in Scotland, on 25th July, 1903,  and according to her birth certificate it was at #5, Smithfield Terrace, , words including “ father present”. That was what I think would have been called a miner’s row, and is no longer there.But no doubt my Nanny, my grandfather,  and their family often heard men piping for special occasions.

Photo courtesy of the internet, of  Main Street, Cambuslang  , circa 1904 .

Cambuslang,main street, circa 1904,.

The blog hoppers to visit today include  Anja over at

Anja Quilts

I hopped there, maybe a day early, and the first  fabric I see is tartan. How wonderful is that,so fitting to be there for the pipers. Call back later to see what magic she has for us.

Now travel to visit Judy here.


I am also a little early here , but the photos show some wonderful quilts, and so much more. I am calling back later.

Almost there, call into Jen here.

A Dream and a Stitch

She has been so busy, a new project, some gifts, and no doubt will also show us something we will all enjoy so much.

Can you believe that tomorrow, the 25th, is the last day of this fabulous stroll along a quilter’s street, across oceans, interstate and between countries?

For me, I have met so many wonderful quilters, saved quite a few…  maybe too many , projects for later in the year, and added some wonderful new  friends to my blog list. Then I found I also have some new followers, Thank you all so much for adding me to your list too. I am hoping you have all enjoyed this hop, and we will have one more day to gather up our fabrics , and find some last projects to add to our collection.

Quotation of the day,author unknown

“ Everyday there is beauty in everyday things,

enjoy every one every day.”

Greetings from Jean.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Day 10, I am recovering and the 10 Lords are Leaping!!!

12 Days Of Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

Thank you all so much for the wonderful comments on the owls who sat in session at Parliament. I am so overwhelmed by all your words, and hope that sooner or later I get to see some of your own owls . I have one picked out to go on a cushion cover for Joyce, and then I might have a  sit down and a  rest. I will reply to each one of you, within the next FIVE to SEVEN  days..  There is a birthday to celebrate on the 25th!!!  So I have allowed for extra recovery time.

After all, the older you are, the longer it takes, for everything!!!

As there should have been a lady dancing yesterday, but the owls took up so much room, here is one today. I was maybe  15, and my Dad had it in one of his photo albums, with the words  “ A Duty Dance, ? ” This was maybe 1955, and the Maxina among other  dances was in fashion then.  Solemn as could be!!!

Nancy J and her Dad, maybe 1955

A little later, he had this photo, titled” In Happy Mood” so probably not at the same place!!! I am on the left, then my Dad and then my Mum.

Nan, Eric and Grace Appleby, maybe 1955

Dad was a whizz with words, and wrote poems or tales for every auspicious occasion or event that required some input. My Mum was a seamstress, a dressmaker, and a sewer of everything,  and as long as I can remember, she sewed. Cow covers, canvas with leather straps, working clothes, school clothes and uniforms,  wedding gowns, and all else. The modern machines today would seem like an unimaginable dream to her.

So onwards to todays blogs to hop to and leave another comment.

You will meet Meloney, and I am staggered at her “ July to do List” but am sure there will be time allotted for the  blog hop post. Visit her here.

Mel's Quilting Blog

Next is Mel, and as I scrolled through her blog, found so much to marvel at, and you all need to do that and see some of the knitting, crocheting and applique !!! Wow, they are all superbly stunning. Visit Mel here at

Resourceful Momma

Last for today is  Cheryl. You might have already met her, with her other post, and so many great ideas and projects to store away for later in the year.  Tune in again for some more inspiration.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting

There has been a slight change in the date for the comment tally. Sarah  has been called away , a family member is   very ill, so   the date of the giveaway announcement and the winners  is now Friday 4th August instead of July  28th. I am sure we all send Sarah, her husband and all the family a heap of caring thoughts and more.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ The most important things in life

are not  things at all,

they are Family and Friends”

Greetings from Jean.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Come and Meet Ruru and His Parliament Day 9 , the 12 Days Of Christmas in July

12 Days Of Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

A Parliament member is “ a blowin’ in the wind” today, as the others wait inside  where it is cosy and warm.

Owl #1, a blowin' in the windOwl #1 out in the rain

The Morepork or Ruru is New Zealand’s only surviving native owl. He is a watchful guardian, a bird of the night, and flies silently, with soft fringes on the edges of the wing feathers. His haunting  melancholic call “ Morepork” is  signified by the Maori name of “ Ruru” But more commonly, an owl is a symbol of knowledge and wisdom. A group of owls is called a “ Parliament”.

Here is an adult owl with a juvenile, photo courtesy of NZ Birds Online.

Adult Owl with a  juvenile, photo courtesy of  NZ Birds Online

Today, Day 9, is the day I have my turn to show you something to brighten up a bag, a wall hanging, or even a placemat. The little owl with his knowledge can be anywhere.

Join  in the fun and create your own owl .

Gather some supplies ………………

Start with a cup of good coffee, or a glass or two of wine, some chocolates or other yummy treats, and enjoy.Continue with……..

A4 paper, non stick baking paper, fusible webbing  of your choice, lightweight iron on interfacing, and batting,( if you want it to be a little puffier)   scissors, and fabric scraps or pieces, threads to match, and lots of time, hopefully with no interruptions.

owl  reversed with one inch test square

Here is the template, save, then  re-size if necessary,  and print so the one inch test square is one inch in size. Please  let  me  know in your comment if there is any problem downloading and printing, and I will email you the original document.

Then trace the pattern onto the paper side of the fusible web, with the glue side down. Most  have paper on both sides , so be sure to trace on the paper  side that has the glue underneath it . I had Steam a Seam, and Visoflex. and if you have a light box, this makes it easy, otherwise tape the pattern to a window and do it that way. The eyes do not need  a large  extra margin  around them, just a tiny margin, but where parts overlap, leave extra so they fit, as they  will get tucked in and  ironed underneath the top piece .  These will be where I have marked them with lines.

Owl Tutorial #3

Remember to leave a good gap where the lines are when you trace the pieces.

Owl Tutorial #1

Gather some scraps, the only piece of any size is # 11 for his body, 5” x 4” is ample. I used the same fabric for  the wings on either side, and his eyes.  Scraps are so good, and I save every tiny piece of every batik!!!

Owl fabrics in scraps

Decide on the fabrics for the eyes first, peel off the backing paper  and iron onto the fabric, if you are using cotton,make sure it is the  back of the fabric.And use the reversed pattern.  I used batik, and  didn’t worry about front or back.

Continue for the other pieces, audition them with the eye fabrics and see that they have a good contrast, if that is what you want, or  a subtle difference if you would like a muted owl.

Owl #1

Here, I was deciding on fabrics for the pieces #14 and #5.

This shows  the eye piece with the fusible already in place, and the paper backing  getting peeled off.

owl with fusible web peeling off

The eyes are done, and ironed onto the non-stick baking paper that I have put on top of the template and held in place with paper clips. I do iron the eyes onto the baking paper, at this stage , and leave all the other pieces until every one is in the right place. All you need to do is press firmly, and they will hold temporarily. The eyes will lift up easily to tuck the other pieces underneath.

This is getting better, bright blue and yellow, #14 and #5,  the dark one was also discarded in favour of a deepish red for  #11.

Owl #1, with more auditioningOwl #1, decisions made

Place them in order, the wings on either side according to their number,  Cut carefully around each piece, on the line, BUT  remember to leave a wider part where there are a lot of  lines, indicating it will get placed under another piece.  it can always be trimmed later on.

Peel off the backing paper and press by hand only  carefully onto the baking paper, following the lines. This is the temporary step. You can lift each piece to tuck another underneath, and these can easily be moved, to make sure the edges fit under. Fiddle lots, to make sure it looks OK.!!! I did!!! Some pieces will need trimming,maybe if you added too much extra where the lines are. I did.!!!

Owl pieces partly assembled

Owl #1 on non stick baking paper

When all the pieces are in place, press carefully with an iron, ( press in one place, then in another,  keeping the iron flat )  I used steam, read the instructions for your own fusible web to see if a dry iron is required. This will fuse the pieces together, but the whole owl will not adhere to the backing paper.This is the first step to having a finished owl, those pieces are now ironed and stuck together, but not to the paper.

Lift the owl off carefully and place onto the  background fabric. You can see I used surgeon’s forceps, they grip quite nicely, and help make sure the pieces do not turn back and stick together!!! ( some doctors will donate these to quilters, after they have had  day surgery,  if the patient asks nicely. )!!!

Owl #6, peeling it back off baking paper

You now have an  OWL. Hooray!!!! Or maybe  one more.  These are ready for applique stitching.

Owl #2 on fabric

Owl #3 on lemon fabric

This one is on fabric, the applique is done, but I have not echo quilted, and there is no batting behind him.

Owl with fabric, applique, no batting or top stitching around him

I audition several colours, for the background,  bright green, pale lemon, pale blue,  and found a plain fabric was better than a  patterned one. Marble batik, plain cotton, or shaded cotton all work well. I ironed on some lightweight interfacing, onto the reverse of the background fabric,  this gives a better finish for those applique stitches to sew onto, rather than 2 fine fabrics.

Find your owl ,place him on the background fabric, line him up to the centre, and press with the iron. Do not move the iron, hold in one place to set the sticky fusible webbing. This time it will be permanent.

The actual applique stitching can begin. I used an open toe foot, it makes it so much easier to see the edge.  You can use a buttonhole stitch, as I did, or even do it all by hand.. My Bernina has them at  #23, this is a slanted stitch, ( I used this )  or #45, a plain buttonhole ( I  also used this one ) or  #46, a double buttonhole.Or you could straight stitch, if that is what you prefer.

owl #7, using an open toe foot

This owl has the slanted applique stitch .

owlwith slanted applique stitch

This one has the straight buttonhole stitch. The  width was 2.0 and the length was 1.6 on my Bernina  QE 440. When I almost reached the pointed ends of ears and  wings, I reduced the width slowly to zero, stopped at the very tip, then turned the owl around to continue up the other side, slowly increasing the width as needed until it was at 2.0 again.

Owl with blanket stitching

I used Guterman Skala 200, a grey  100% polyester fine thread in the bobbin for  everything , but did thread it though the bobbin finger, this seems to give a  better tension.

The top threads, a huge variety, and again I auditioned them, pulling off a metre or so,and dropping it in a coil onto the fabric, this seemed to give me a good  idea  of which depth of shade to use. I had some  King Tut, this gave a nice sheen,  Madeira, Guterman cotton, Guterman Sulky,  Mettler, Molnycke,  and a Polyneon in deep blue( shiny and slippery).  34 in total, but these were used on 5 owls!! With a variety of blues, I did all the blues first, then the teals, then the purples, and so on, making more than one is a lot easier as it saves changing the top thread often.

owl #8 threads

I echo quilted around one owl, with some batting behind, to give it some puffiness, the others have fusible batting in a  lighter  weight at the back, and will be pockets on bags.

Owl #12 with echo quilting

This one has a flange binding and triangles holders on the back, for a wall hanging. He is in very subdued colours.

Owl #10  with flange binding

this one was meant to fly away North, but I thought his eyes were too dark,He is saved for another bag. Here he is before the final applique stitching.

Owl #2 on fabric

And here is the one that started my sewing this week, a little fellow that will be flying North, as a pocket on a pale blue bag.

He is appliqued onto pale blue, but it doesn’t show so well here.  The bag is a secret, my  friend knows, but her friend has no idea, so a surprise will be off to Utah next week. Purple is the favourite colour there, so I  made  sure some purple was included.

Owl #11, for a bag to fly away

This one went to my  very long time friend Jeanette for her 70th Birthday, she named him “ Hootie” . We know that 1940 was a VERY favourable year.!!! We became friends in 1954!!!

Hootie  owl for Jeanette's 70th

This one went back to Australia with Pat, for a grand-daughter.Owl by Pat

And this one went to Auckland, a bag for Felicity, daughter of a dear friend.

Felicity's Owl bag

I hope you have enjoyed the stitching today, and I will wait to see how many owls will be in your parliament.  He can be on a bag pocket, become a wall hanging,or a placemat, or a table runner, or become a block in a quilt.Endless possibilities for the little owl, with all his knowledge.

Joyce has chosen one, I gave her a”Gift Voucher” for her birthday yesterday, with the words “ This entitles the bearer to a member of parliament of her choice, colour and style”. Her one will be on the front of a cushion cover. He is undergoing some alterations, with the deep teal removed, and  dusky pink  borders all round instead, there will be batting, echo quilting, and a back with a zipper opening.All in good time!!!

Owl with fabric, applique, no batting or top stitching around him

I hope you have enjoyed the stroll through Parliament with company, and soon will have one of your own .

The other blogs to visit today are

Devoted Quilter

Here you will meet Leanne. I have had a peep at her blog, and am waiting in huge anticipation to see what will be there today.

Next is

Kathy's Kwilts and More

Make sure you hop in to meet Kathy, and see some thing neat.

Then pop back to Sarah     HERE  and scroll down to see her latest post.

Very soon  a recess is planned , after  the  next 3 days  of the hop. Some wonderful projects have been saved for stitching later on, I hope you have visited every blog, hopped onto the next one, and left a comment.Remember there will be giveaways at the end of this fabulous event, see Sarah’s blog for all the info!!!

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Start your day with determination,

and finish it with satisfaction”

Greetings from Jean.