Central Plateau, North Island

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

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.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Day 8, where are the milking maids?

Well, not quite  milking, but  there is a calf here somewhere.

When I was growing up, we always had calves, and I almost always had one to enter at the local Calf Club Day at Te Hihi Primary School. We had Decorated Vehicle competitions, the push bikes had crepe paper intertwined through the spokes, some Dads had made little carts or trailers for tiny animals, and most of us had a calf or yearling. The tails would have been plaited the night before, hooves scrubbed and cleaned, ( Lux flakes were the very thing for a shiny coat and tail)  coats brushed every day for weeks before, and the practising of walking, stopping, walking backwards, and finally stopping before the judge. This was in a square roped off area. All very serious stuff!!

Here I am,  with  my yearling,  she has  a ribbon, or two,  outside the  yard at the milking shed on our farm.The top winners went on to compete at the Franklin A&P show in  Pukekohe.

Calf Club Calf, Te HihiOne yearling, after Calf Club Day at  Te Hihi Primary School

And here I am,complete with plaits, and freckles!!! Maybe about  1949 or 1950!!! Vintage years indeed.

No calf today

12 Days Of Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

Today, Day 8 of the 12 days blog hop, will see some more wonderful blogs to visit. You can start at

Katie Mae Quilts

I have an inkling that Katie Mae is very busy, but looking at her blog, know we will find something exciting.

Next up is  Paige at

Quilted Blooms

  Visit her blog and marvel at the wonderful project, all detailed for you. Enjoy it, I know I did so much.

Now hop on to to see Susan at


I scrolled down her posts, and there was a Innova long arm machine!!! So I am wondering what will be in store for us today?

One more day and I will be showing you something from my little corner of the world. Be warned, it is long, wordy, full of photos, so  make a coffee, or pour a glass of wine, and sit a while with me .

Quotation of the day , author unknown

“ Memories are treasures

that pop up when least expected”

Greetings from Jean.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Day 7, and One Swan Swam.

12 Days Of Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

Today dawned, as was normal, we had another frosty start,and the firewood was/ is …. getting used up by the barrow load.

Here is a solitary Black Swan on Lake Tarawera in 2011. The other 6 must have been far away. We lived here for some 25 years, and the mountain at the back sometimes had snow in the winter.

Black Swan

And this is  Muriel, Hugh’s Mum ,sitting at the top of Mount Tarawera ,in the 1980’s. She was always keen to go on any adventure, and this was one of them.I am sure if we had suggested a parachute jump, even in her 90’s she would have said “  When are we  going?”!!!

Muriel on top of Mt Tarawera 1980's

Today blog hops will take you to another 3 ladies.

First  is Cheryl at

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting

Cheryl has already given us  some of her suggestions , on a previous day, and  today will show us more of her projects, and Christmassy ideas.

Next on the list is Jennifer at

The Inquiring Quilter

And I can assure you there will be exciting goodies on her post.

The last blog hopper today will be found at

Selina Quilts

No clues yet, so we will have to wait and see.

The next round of really bad weather has begun further north, and we are hoping it is not so severe by the time the wind,rain, snow,hail, sleet and more reach us. At the other end of the weather scale, fires rage in B.C.

British Columbia, I have  friends in 3 different places, Princeton ( they have been evacuated ) Ymir, they are  still OK at home, and a little further north of there near  Valemount. I think they are still at home as well . No news is worrying, but sometimes there is no internet available . Thousands have been evacuated, millions spent already, firefighters arriving from overseas to assist the local men and women who work so valiantly to save homes, forests, buildings and more.

This was Kamloops airport in February this year. Now there is an evacuation centre in the town, and fires  are close by.

Kamloops airport Friday 3rd February 2017

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“When the winter season seems to be endless,

remember that Spring will always follow”

Greetings from Jean.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Day 6 dawned very frosty down here

12 Days Of Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

Day 6, we are halfway through this fantastic blog hop. Do you have any geese a-laying at your place? Occasionally, we see one nearby in the stream.

Have you been visiting, enjoying, saving those great innovative ideas for new projects? Down here, I edited, did more words, took some more photos, and saved it all diligently. This was amid visions of losing my Day 9 project!!

The hops today will include Jan, in St Louis,Missouri,


The Colorful Fabriholic

I am waiting to see what magical project she has woven.

Next is Kate.

Smiles From Kate 

is her blog, and I have already hopped there.

Oh My, this is fantastic, and a wee girl is going to be so thrilled with her gift. Be sure to visit Kate.

Not much else happening here, I am gearing up for my presentation… Wow isn’t that a fancy word!! A trial run with word and photo proofing  will assure me that it all runs as it should.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Dare to go on a wild goose chase,

as that is exactly what wild geese are for”

Greetings from Jean.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Five Golden Rings.

12 Days Of Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

Day Five dawned, cold and crisp, frost on the lawn, and a few hints of sleet in the air. It did warm up later on, and the shadowy areas lost the white sparkles.

A golden ring or two, how many of us have a wedding ring? an engagement ring? or an eternity ring? They are a symbol of love, and how well we in the quilty blogland know of love that stretches across  countries  and oceans.

So todays hoppers will share some more goodies with you.

To start the ball rolling, here is Marian at

Seams To Be Sew.

I had a wee peek at her projects and tutorials, and I  am sure  she will have something  wonderful  lined up for Day Five.

Marian has lived in USA, and in countries in Europe,  ( now back in USA) and I am sure that the overseas time would bring  wonderful  ideas to her sewing and quilting.

Now you can hop to Cindy, in Ontario ( Canada) at

Stitchin at Home

Take a look at  the heading “ Quilts I’ve Made” and find the Canada 150. This is a fantastic set of blocks, and superb layout. I’m waiting to see what Cindy has for today.

The final hop for you is to Anita.

Domestic Felicity

is her blog page, and I scrolled down to see so many quilts, blocks, a bag of scraps that was quickly sorted and made into more  quilts for little ones. So a little more time to wait, we are already well into the 18th July, mid afternoon, sunshine galore, and hot enough to sit outside with a coffee. Sound Good???

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Distance is just a test

to see how far love will travel”

Greetings from Jean.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Will Four Birds Call You Today?

12 Days Of Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

Accordingly, there will be 4 calling birds coming to visit today. Not here, as we have more rain, and they want to stay dry.

A few years ago we had a tiny baby blackbird on the bark garden, Felicity was so interested, slowly getting closer and closer, until it pecked her nose. She leapt up, it hopped  away ,and all was well.

Felicity and the wee  bird

On the main road to Palmerston North, this old home leaned on a drunken slant, and looked as though it might be home to many birds. Hugh stopped to take a photo, and all the birds flew up. Not long after this, the wee home fell down. Another piece of history gone, I hope someone recorded the stories.

birds out of shed

In the red bird bath, a little baby landed, fluttered, and spread his wings. Finally he managed to flutter enough and fly off safely. Maybe a baby Finch.

 Baby bird in the bird bath

Today there are three more wonderful bloggers on the hop,   visit them  and get some more great projects to add to your sewing lists. Remember to leave a comment and be in to win those fabrics.

First up is  Karen at

 Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

Her home in summer is in North Dakota, but I read that when the snow is knee high?? they travel to a warmer place in Arizona. A Mum, Gran,and very busy lady, so later you will read about her secret.. No revealing until the given date and time!!!

Next, hop on to visit Wendy at

Pieceful Thoughts of My Quilting Life

you will find her and her trusty companion Fred, and lots of colourful fabrics.

today’s third hop will take you to

Crayon Box Quilt Studio

Michele has a new Long Arm machine, just a peek so far. Their family includes  Sunshine from China and Jammer from Vietnam . What joy to have a daughter and a son. Then you can read how Michele’s quilting journey began.

My Gammill machine has the motor away at a friend’s workshop, a new power lead and connector cord will be fitted. 6 new self levelling feet are also ordered. Fun is on its way, but I am happy to wait till the hop is finished.

Quotation of the day, from Charles Stanley

“Our willingness to wait reveals the value

we place on what we’re waiting for”

Greetings from Jean.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Are There Three French Hens on Day 3?

12 Days Of Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

Welcome to Day Three of the 12 days of Christmas in July Blog Hop. Some  more wonderful blogs to hop to, and see what ideas they will give to you.

And to see the giveaway details again and all the blog hoppers, visit Sarah   here  at    this post   and there is a list  of  all the blogs to hop to.

Then visit Sarah here  at

 Confessions of a fabric addict 

each day to get the next steps.

The blogs to visit today, in no particular order of where they are…

Amy will be at

 Swimming in a Sea of Estrogen 

and her sewing is all done!!! A fab project, and I will be sewing some of these for sure.

Next is   Joanne,in Northern Ohio, and at

  Everyone Deserves a Quilt

you will find a neat  tutorial, No, I am not telling what it is, as the 16th might not have arrived up North quite yet.

And the third blogger  for today is Cheryl in Illinois. She has been extra busy so make sure you hop over and visit at

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting

According to the Christmas Carol, day 3 had 3 French Hens. I couldn’t find one, far less a French one, but found a photo from several years ago.My dear friend Maryann always had  a rooster or two, hens, white and brown,  and some special fluffy legged ones. Maybe they were Pekins.  This was Mrs White Hen, and I was looking after her and her eggs, soon to be hatched, when Maryann and Guy were away for a few days. All went well, until one egg was left and Mrs W,H. abandoned it.   I took the egg inside, kept it warm, and in due time,another wee chick hatched out.

Jean and Mrs White Hen

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ The rooster may crow the loudest,

but the hen delivers the eggs”

Greetings  from Jean.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Two Turtle Doves flew in from the cold

12 Days Of Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

Welcome to Day 2 of the 12 day blog hop. There are three more fab bloggers  to  meet, and here is  a more detailed list of the goodies, and how this fun hop  will continue. This is a little early for you in the North, but down here>>>>> we are already in the 15th day of July!!!

   This year there is something extra special!  The lovely folks over at    Free Spirit Fabrics     have donated not just one item for a giveaway, but THIRTEEN!  And it's pretty drool-worthy stuff, too - it's Tula Pink's new holiday line, Holiday Homies!!!   Look at those fabrics!!!

Free Spirit Fabrics for 12 days of Christmas in July

Sarah has six design rolls, six layer cakes, and one fat quarter bundle to give away - and here's how she's going to do it!

Visit each stop on the hop, including Sarah's, and leave a comment on each post for the day.  At the end of the hop, she'll do a giveaway for each day by putting everyone's name in the hat who commented that day (from all that day's hop-blogs), and draw a winner for that day.

There will be twelve winners, the design rolls  and the   layer cakes.  Then she'll put all the names from all the days in a hat and draw out a grand prize winner for the fat quarter bundle!

Only one prize per person, though - let's spread it around a bit!  So  make some spare  time to visit all the blogs and comment.  The giveaway is open to all, so international comments are welcome! Great news for any readers down below the equator, where winter mode sits on us with heavy snow, closure of many roads, 10,000 without power, and skiers revelling in the huge dump in their towns. Where else could you ski down the main street when all nearby roads are closed!!! The skimobiles waiting on the Ohakune Access Road, July 2017. Photo courtesy of the Internet.

Ohakune access road, July 2017

And with a drum roll  or  the coo of the doves, here are today’s blog hoppers. The links are all in BLUE.

Hop down and visit  Grace at  


where I am sure you will find  another page of exciting things to do.

Second on the list is Vicki  in Minnesota, at 

 Vicki's Crafts and Quilting .

I had a sneak peek and a table runner with a very snowy theme is up there.

The third blogger  today is  Pam, and you will find her at  

Quilting Fun.

Her garden  is so full of goodies, garlic,  and berries, and then along comes  her quilting. Enjoy it all.

We continue to be in the cold, no more rain, but from our back door in the far distance I can see a peek of snow on the top of the ranges .Meantime, a memory of August 2011 at our place.

Our home with snow,August 2011

And near Masterton, in the Wairarapa, in July 2011, the Tararua Ranges with a good covering.

Tararua ranges near Masterton 26th July 2011

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Live life like a quilt, 

and  show those true colours

that  give warmth and love”

Greetings from Jean