Central Plateau, North Island

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

Saturday, 20 May 2017

All The Leaves are Falling


Suddenly leaves are changing colour,  and branches  are  looking bareAutumn Leaves May 2017

The Final 6 blocks for the  Freefall QAL with Sandra at

mmm ! quilts 

are finished. How could 2 blocks give me so many problems? I undid 2 rows of stitching so many times, and still the last TWO points did not meet properly.One more row undone, measured, it might have been a smidgen over the correct  2 inch size. Trimmed, and all is well.WHEW, a huge sigh of relief.

The difficult one!!!

The H3 block that gave me some trouble

The final 6, with green and background fabrics reversed, and the last 2 blocks with half and half.

 QAL Freefall final 6 blocks

this is not the final layout , but they are all there.Hooray!!!


QAL Freefall layout, this might be changed again

The top blue half and half will be swapped for a yellow leaf, the lower row green and blue will be  placed on the left, and the top left changed to lower right, ( I think ) Meantime it can sit and play happily on the design wall, and tolerate a visit each day till I am happier with the layout.

Mother’s Day was quiet, until I received an email from Sandy over at

 Upstairs Hobby Room 

to say I was chosen by Rafflecopter, and have won the most amazing book by Carl  Hentsch,…. New York Beauties and Flying Geese.

How wonderful is that, I am sure Sandy heard my words of joy way up North. Many thanks to Sandy, for hosting this, to CT Publishing, and to Carl Hentsch.

Those batiks are going to be looked at, and no doubt added to, for some of these wonderful projects.

The eBook has arrived, and I will be off to the printers to have it printed onto really good quality paper, and spiral bound.


Courtesy of the Internet….

And the winner is...


Jean M.

Do you run giveaways, too? Try Rafflecopter! It's free.


Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Use every colour in the paint box,

and there will always be beauty”

Greetings from Jean.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

An Autumn Day in our Garden


Cherry Trees along the driveway

Come with me as we have a gentle stroll though the flower gardens  and trees.The Cherry blossoms have all gone,and golden/bronze leaves are glorious.

Cherry tree branches and blue skiesthrough the Cherry Tree branches

The ornamental grass has tall feathery flowers, and  sparkles like ice crystals in the sunshine.

Another feathery grass, with flower heads that sprkle in the sunlight

One deep purple snap dragon, all by itself, self seeded in the front garden.

snap dragon, a lonely one that self grew.

One of the many pink Alstromeria plants, a bee is in the centre flower. Buds still show a promise of more to come.

 Alstromeria providing a bee with some food

Last year a dear friend brought me a huge display of Luculia flowers, this is their photo,  and I fell in love with their beauty.So much so, we bought a small shrub. It is frost tender, so all last winter it has been protected, with a huge bucket. The odd leaf was burnt, but now it is thriving, and has stems covered at the end with so many buds.

Luculia flowers

Here  is the small shrub, that can grow to a tall tree in years to come,  hidden from any early frosts, the purple Tibouchina on guard on the left,  a tall handsome tree now, and the graceful red sage  taking its rightful job as a shelter on the right.

Tibouchina, Luculia, and red sage

Closer up, those buds are beautiful already.

Luculia buds close up

The Tibouchina shrub was a birthday gift some years ago.We planted it out in the open, it struggled with any cold morning, so it was moved, nurtured, covered each night in the winter, and now well over 8 feet tall. This is one lingering flower straight out of the Canon Camera.Sunlight and shadow in the afternoon.

Tibouchina close up ,SOOC


Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ The flower bud unfolds, showing so

gradually the hidden  beauty  within”

Greetings from Jean

Monday, 1 May 2017

testing #2!!!

owl  reversed with one inch test square
Here it is with a one inch test square.
Testing #1 was deleted, as this one was slightly better. The one inch square is for correct printing size!!! And the owl is for something later in the year, but I needed to know now if it would be printable. It is!!! Thanks for all your comments, I am not that keen on one inch quilting pieces.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

April 25th, 2017, Lest We Forget


Here in New Zealand, April 25th is recognized as Anzac Day,     (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) when services are held nationwide, to remember the servicemen and women who were overseas, who gave their lives, and the ones who returned to tell their stories. The Red Poppy is a symbol of remembrance , and  Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote of the poppy in his second to last poem “ In Flanders Fields”.

John McCrae was born in Guelph, Ontario, on November 30th, 1872, and trained as an artillery man at the  Royal Military College of Canada, at Kingston, Ontario. He  was a resident master of English and Mathematics at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph in 1894. He then returned to the University of Toronto and  completed his B.A. He later  returned to study medicine on a scholarship.

McCrae was appointed as Medical Officer and Major of the 1st Brigade CFA (Canadian Field Artillery). He treated wounded during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915, from a hastily dug, 8 foot by 8 foot bunker dug in the back of the dyke along the Yser Canal about 2 miles north of Ypres. McCrae's friend and former militia pal, Lt. Alexis Helmer, was killed in the battle, and his burial inspired the poem,  “In Flanders Fields”

In Flanders Fields


Poppy with morning dew

Quotation of the day

Lest We Forget

Greetings from Jean

Saturday, 22 April 2017

A Few More Blocks…


The QAL Freefall leaves are all falling into place nicely, and the ones on the paler background are all done. Then, I began to do the large ones!!! I had underestimated  the dark green batik by a mile or so… Out came what was my other choice, and some fussy cutting gave me fern curls in each one. Then I needed to match up that paler green, so had to do another block with the original dark green batik .


QAL freefall leaves on  pale background

While I was trying to decide whether another block was needed, Jenny and Robin called in. You can find Jenny here at         Romany Quilting  and see what her project will be after she rolls the dice for another week, or visit Robin at Romany Rambler and look at their fabulous caravan and see where their travels  take them. They are off further North, and I hope they have fine weather, sunshine, no flooding, and a great time with old friends and new ones as well.

Decision made,  I finished off the last one for this fortnight, ironed, and set them out. They are not all trimmed to size, but that will be done pronto . Some variations in the colours, as I had struggled to get them set out neatly, after juggling 2 smaller boards on the cushions!!!

QAL freefall large leaf blocks


QAL large leaf close up

Meantime, my knee is still painful, back on the crutches this morning. We have had some cold mornings, glorious warm sunny days, and the dry firewood is a worthy cause for all those hours earlier on.

Quotation of the day , from Richard P Feynman

“ Nature  uses only the longest threads

to weave her patterns,

so that each small piece of her fabric reveals

the organisation of the entire tapestry”

Greetings from Jean

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

8 QAL Freefall leaf blocks all done!!!


Hooray, ( **** Trumpet Call*** )  the first of 25 blocks are done, not trimmed, but I am so happy  with them.

Sandra, over at    mmmquilts ! has this fantastic QAL with another of her wonderful designs, this time it is for “ Freefall QAL” and already I see others have added their links.

I used the freezer paper method to do the actual leaf, drawing the square, then stitching on the lines, with no thread. That makes it so easy to turn back the freezer paper, and line up the outer  side parts, making sure that little dog ears line up. I iron one side piece on one side of the rectangle,  one on the reverse, that way they match up to the leaf sides.  This is OK for batiks, but for one sided cottons,  iron all onto the  wrong side, you need to do two rectangles, to get the 4 pieces needed facing the right way.

Side leaf freezer paper on either side of rectangleLeaf centre on freezer paper and sides cut outSide piece on leaf centre


Here they are!!!  I am so happy.!!! Can you tell???

8 QAL freefall leaf blocks not trimmed yet

We have had some more rain, but the Bay of Plenty is in a State of Emergency, Edgecumbe people who have been evacuated will be wondering what  will happen next. This was on 6th April. Photo courtesy of Internet.

Edgecumbe flood


Some homes need to be demolished, flooded off their foundations, other families have silt through their home, water rushed through in a raging  torrent, 1.5 metres high. They have lost everything.The SPCA has been rescuing animals and pets, going from house to house in inflatable boats or jet boats, wearing wet suits, and carrying pet cages.  Further away,  and here in Edgecumbe,  again today…residents have been told to be ready to evacuate if they hear the fire siren sounding continuously. I feel helpless down here and wish I could help. Maybe just having caring thoughts is the best we can do when so far away.  I feel sad  and guilty to be happy about my 8 blocks when so many families have lost so much.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Trying times need courage and resilience.

That will be when your strength is tested,

not when days are  calm and serene .”

Greetings from Jean.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Freefall QAL, I dithered, I dallied, finally I decided.


Sandra  at          mmm! quilts   (Click on the link to follow…)

is hosting a quilt along, with a delightful pattern of leaves, on a darker leaf and on a paler background fabric. I searched, then I shopped ( more fabric thought Hugh!!!), and finally decided. I hope the rainbow colours will go well with the marble green batik and the paler background.

These are not arranged in any order, but the paler ones will go onto the green,  the intermediate ones onto the half and half blocks, and darker leaves onto the paler background.

Freefall leaves and background fabrics all cut

Life continues, the MRI scan was all clear!!! Hooray, no surgery at the moment, just a cortisone injection, so a lot more pain for that first 24 hours, still using crutches ( just try and balance and use a roller cutter!!!).It must surely improve, and if not with time, then with age.

We have had dull days, then lots of sunshine, the lawn gets mown regularly, the weeds grow, and flowers bloom.

Quotation of the day, from Nelson Mandela

“ May your choices reflect your hopes,

not your fears’”

Greetings from Jean.

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 moirĂ© 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