Central Plateau, North Island

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

Monday 30 May 2011

Shopping and other goodies

While I was on holiday( as I usually do) I bought something to take home as a memory of my wonderful time.
The first was a silk scarf in my favourite colours of blue,green,mauve,purple. This happened because... I was so lucky to get a haircut on the spot without a prior appointment.The young man was very  capable and also very polite.He suggested that I  would benefit if he applied the product called " FAT HAIR".There was some discussion if in fact it was called that and maybe it was 'FAT HEAD" I preferred the first name, and it was duly used. The gentleman declined to have his name or photo posted here, but my haircut was superb, the product equally so, and I sallied forth into the cold southerly wind. Next door was :" Trade Aid" with all wonderful things to look at, dream about and finally buy.The scarf just said " Buy me now" so I did.
Later in the week I was at an emporium and after getting the required block out fabric for curtain linings I browsed. There were fancy buttons, fabric,cord,ribbon, and this.A tagging gun. WOW. I could  see all sorts of  possible uses for this, attaching curtain linings just like the professional ones, tacking cards to gifts, and tag  basting quilts. I was given a lesson in the use, the safety procedures, and told of the huge number of tags in the other box. I bought it!! I thought that it would surely fit in the already overloaded case. The gun is $5, and the box of plastic tags also $5,if you want one of these, please email me for the shop and address.
Now as if this wasn't enough,(there  were already some batik pieces hidden away)Grandson and I visited the Sunday Market by the Lake front.Music, singing, stalls galore, feast your eyes  and open your purse, it all said.
Then I saw the little bead dolls, different styles and colours, and this one pleaded ' Please take me home" so I did. G-son said " It's Cool' High praise indeed, so I hope to be able to add to the collection next time.

Finally the day came to return home. The wagon seats were put down, and cases, cartons, bags of fabric, spare curtains and machine were loaded. A short stop at Taupo, to find the fabric shop I really enjoyed visiting had closed. Off to  Turangi, the Desert Road and down a side road to the Rangipo Substation,with plenty of warnings. BEWARE.   ELECTRIC FENCE..DO NOT TOUCH OR CLIMB.  I did not touch or try to climb!!! The barbed wire was enough to put even a determined opossum off.
This was the next stop and Hugh was so sure I would like to see the Pillars of Hercules. The sign should have warned me.. viewing bridge.. what else do you do but view.  so I looked at the swing bridge, took a few steps, asked him " Please stop making it sway' He wasn't. Those 5 steps were enough, I froze and it took all my courage to  turn around and get back to terra firma.
It looked very safe, made with strong wire ropes to hold it to the ground either side, good planks for the feet, and netting sides to make sure said feet did not slip over the edge.even a good rail for  shaky hand to hold firmly onto.Sadly I didn't get a photo of the pillars, and will have to use one from the man's previous visit. look at a later blog this week to see just what I missed out on viewing.
Mt Ngauruhoe had a little snow at the top, a cold wind blowing the clouds over, so not the clearest view.
I arrived home to find my favourite Tibouchina still in flower, and just managed to get this  last photo, before  all the petals fell off. The shrub has had a colourful life,  it began as a small shrub in the garden that is the first one seen as you come down the drive. After one year it was thriving, then came the frosts. It fell prey to the minus 5 Celsius, and I though  it had had its short life. We dug it up, trimmed severely, and covered it with frost cloth for another 2 years. It is blooming quite late this year, normally the flowers are at their best in February.

I came home with more donated fabric for the " Bags for Japan", bags of bags had arrived in the post, bags had been collected from Dianne   Southey in Palmerston North, and today a parcel is waiting at Post Shop, too large for the letterbox.
More pics and tales from my holiday will get  posted later this week
Cheers from Jean.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Away from Home

,Mokoia Island at Lake Rotorua. Maori Legend tells us that Tutanekai, who was living on the island with his older brothers, and Hinemoa who was a high ranking maiden,  and lived with her family a little distance from Rotorua township as it is today, had feelings for  each other. Hinemoa, the daughter of an influential chief, was not allowed to visit Tutanekai. One evening she took 6 calabash( dried hollow shells of very large gourds) and using them as floats, swam to the island.When she arrived she was so cold, she went into the hot pool there.After some time Tutanekai found her, and as with all good  love stories, they lived happily ever after. 

This photo of Mokoia Island on a sunny day is courtesy of the Internet.

The Black Swan posed for me on that cold morning, waiting for food to be dropped down.

The  giant trees in The Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, are Coastal Californian Redwood, the tallest standing at 219 feet ( 67 metres) tall and 66.5 inches( 169 cm) in diameter.  170 tree species were planted  there from 1899, it was the first exotic forest in New Zealand. The outcome of this was to find that Radiata pine  had great advantages and is grown widely in this area today. At the heart of this forest  is 6 hectares of Californian Redwood trees, planted in 1901. The area is much valued for the walks, tracks for cycle rides, areas that people can walk their dogs,  horse riding, orienteering and  the many explorer trails.Altogether a beautiful natural place to visit.
These people did not have much to say,but impressed me with their silence, their fixed pose, and the beautiful use of the wood,a superb entrance display as you  drive through. The day I visited there, it was wet, the ground sodden with overnight rain, but to my delight I met a friend from some years ago when we lived at Lake Tarawera.  The unexpected can be  a huge surprise, and that was so when I was recognised,I did so enjoy the family photo, Wendy.Cheers to you Andy as well.
The day continued with more rain, and I left there to go and do the after school  pick up  at Lynmore and Lakes.
More Photos another day, now home again after  a wonderful time with the family at Rotorua.
Cheers from Jean 

Sunday 15 May 2011

Too Windy for Me

The boot was almost full, when Hugh said,"Is that everything you need? How long will you be away?" Well, his gear was on the back seat so I guess I did have quite a lot of "STUFF"
In just these last  few days the Chestnut Tree has lost almost all of its coloured leaves, the grass has a carpet of  what was once that lovely golden colour now turning dark brown and getting blown with the wind.
The Desert Road had the predicted gale force winds, making it impossible, unsafe and quite scary to even think about getting out in the open to get a photo. Windscreen ones were the best option, unless the door was to be forced off its hinges. We couldn't stop at the usual places, too exposed and  I didn't dare even open a window to avoid raindrops  on the photos!!

sEven the tussock grass was blown flat, and the rain was horizontal and battered the windscreen. The only respite from this attack was when we reached what is called ' The Three Sisters" , a group of 3 sharp corners, and there is high bush at the sides. Once through there, the wind started again, quite relentless.Lake Taupo was not filled with the usual quota of fishermen and women trying their luck at the favourite spots at the  rivers and streams. I did see one brave person, but he was just standing, I'm sure not brave enough to cast his line, with that wind it would have come back in his face. 

Tomorrow might bring  a better day, off to Hamilton, so more news and views from  the Bay of Plenty.

Cheers from Jean

Saturday 14 May 2011

Bags from North and South

There is a huge box of bags from Queenstown, thanks Ann and Russell for collecting the box, and Kaz for bringing it up with her from Dunedin. The bright coloured lovely  bags will be just great for the tiny tots, just labels to be attached. Likewise another large lot I collected from Dianne Southey today, many thanks for being a " Drop-Off" place. many different styles, colours and sizes.
  Great sewing everyone, a lot of time and thought into the designs and sewing. Thanks so much. Children and adults will all be so happy to get a "bag of their very own",Photos of all these to follow later
Tomorrow there will be bags of a different sort as I go to Rotorua, the list,in no particular order is...
Machine,Laptop,Fabric  (don't forget matching threads),Patterns (make sure the pins and scissors are in as well),Clothes, Raincoat,Camera,Medication, Do I need the cutting board and rotary cutter? How much will I get sewn while I am  away? I always seem to take too much, but the thought of running out of material, new patterns, books to read is scary,better to have too much . Hugh is already  looking at my collection and wondering just how long I will be away???  Do you really need all this???.
 What do we do when Blogger is down? Read ,catch up on emails, sort  out photos, hope that it is not just on my laptop. Then the eventual relief,huge relief, to know it is not my fault at all.
This week the news and views will be from Taupo,Rotorua and Hamilton.
Cheers from Jean

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Pics from the Past

South of Waiouru the barren land is often covered with snow, and the frosts linger all day in the shady places. In September the  tree waits for spring and the summer to show its real colours.
Come summer, the grass is green at last, the leaves have arrived, and Hugh's brother Des is posing by the same old shed  which looks as though it is on its last legs. Maybe b-in-law was the same after some long hikes in the bush.
On the main road going to Palmerston North this shed had a flock of birds  flying away from their safe place inside.This was a moment that was just that, a single moment to get the shot, as one second later the birds had all gone, and the next week the shed was demolished. I guess it had been a wonderful  little home in its previous days, with a warm fire blazing on cold winter nights.If only it could tell us some stories of its life.

 The Purakaunui Falls, south of Dunedin, is a favourite place for photographers.The day we were there some overseas people bravely walked out onto the very slippery stones to get the best shots.One man was almost acrobatic in his manoeuvres to get out to the middle of the water, to lean on a perilous angle, and finally manage to capture that special picture. When we came home, I later saw the same Falls in a huge picture on canvas at Levin.No doubt that photographer had walked on water to get his shot. No overhanging leaves or branches, just water and the falls.

Latest bag updates. A  huge box of bags is at Queenstown(, not sure but probably from the sewers and quilters who were at Symposium and read a flyer ) and will  come up on Saturday .
 On Sunday I am going to Rotorua for a week,   so will take lots of "Tourist Photos'. When we lived at Lake Tarawera, the beauty of the scenic lakes, mountain, and other areas was no doubt taken for granted, we could see it every day.Now when I visit I look at it with a different view. I will be able to meet old friends,share  memories of days together at the lake, and hope they recognise me after many years away.

Photo courtesy of the Internet, of Lake  Tarawera, and it looks just the same as it did  almost 40 years ago when we first visited the area.  The home of huge trout,  many secluded bays, and one area with natural hot water perfect for a mid-winter dip. This time there will be no swimming  or fishing, just wonderful family time together.                Cheers from Jean

Saturday 7 May 2011

A full bag of fabric

The bag was full of soft toned fabric, just perfect for some more ladies' and also mens' bags this time. Many thanks Dianne and Mike, your own bag is added to the collection. the pale green combines with the darker grey, so combinations of materials from this lot will work so well together.

Thanks also to Dave and Ken from Warehouse Stationery, the pale green card is just the right colour for the cards that go with each bag.                Another mixed bag of bags is ready to go to Wellington then Tokyo, some fabric and others felted wool, something for everyone.   There are also some bags that have been sent to the recycle-bin, doomed for permanent deletion. Disasters that do not warrant  even  a  small or large repair.Patterns that are in the too-hard basket and banned from the cutting table.How can anyone pull a bag inside out  through a tiny gap in the strap? I used a wooden needle, pliers, then brute force. The bag does look good, and luckily no lasting damage after  extreme measures.  It is a sad fact of life when grocery shopping, meals, laundry and housework all interrupt the more important issue of bags.

Cheers from Jean

The Dream of a Full Bag

The Pukeko, native to New Zealand, is sometimes called the  purple swamphen. The colours seem to shimmer in the sunlight.Today they would have been extra cautious, as would all other water-fowl .  The opening  of the duck shooting season in our area was  heralded by the noise of guns,pom-pom,pom-pom, and occasionally a short silence. The bag limit depends on your area, and the  type of bird.  The shooting season opens at  different dates in other areas.
 A full bag is the shooter's goal, and this morning low cloud would have delighted them as the birds  flew lower. I am glad my man did not bring home birds of any sort, especially the ones that need to be plucked and cleaned.

Just after 4 p.m. today we had a very short storm, with noisy wind heralding the arrival  of equally heavy rain. I was outside taking photos, and the flash activated automatically in the darkening sky.Thoughts of Albany and the sad outcome after the tornado made me rush inside to safety. 15 minutes later all was calm, and the sky colours ranged from pale blue, dark grey to a delicate salmon pink when I looked south.

The pale mauve flowers on this shrub reflected the flashlight,as the sky darkened.

The flower heads on the Miscanthus( or so I was told when we bought it) will be dropping soon, they are so delicate waving in a breeze, but after they are gone the leaves can stand tall   and attractive on their own.

The weeping silver pear tree bears no fruit, but is a lasting legacy to my dear father-in-law. One year  there was a mass of tall red poppies underneath, the flowers as high as the lower leafy branches.  The dark red and pale green were a perfect compliment to each other. When we quilt, what better place to look than nature to select colour choices.The leaves are just turning a delicate pink. As with all our trees, the leaves on the northern sides turn colour first.
Soon all the flowering cherry trees will be bare, and the lawn a mass of colour.When we were in the South Island  in Autumn some years ago, the leaves totally covered the  grass at  Lake Benmore near Twizel.No green colour, just a carpet of gold,yellow and deep orange turning to brown and tan.Maybe one day I will put those shades in a quilt, so different to my favourite blues,greens and purples.
Cheers from Jean

Thursday 5 May 2011

Necessary Appointments

Today was the Doctor's visit day for both of us.New tablets, a flu jab each, weight and height duly recorded, told we were good for another 100km.I hesitantly,( well, I like to think I was not too rude or outspoken), mentioned my blog as our Dr's mother is a quilter. no, he doesn't look at quilting blogs. No surprise there, neither did Hugh, or my 2 B-in-laws in Australia, but I hope to change all that very soon. Gentle Persuasion, it is called.
Each Monday the Diplomatic Bag can take many more bags, this week I thought that the 37 might just be too many, but I have been assured that there is room for more each time.
I  have more donations of fabric to be collected from generous people, and along with the VISIT, posted off some patterns etc to ladies who have slow broadband, or none at all.  Good timing, after Easter, Symposium and school  hols to be able to sew again without so many interruptions.

Cheers from Jean

Wednesday 4 May 2011

The Trees in May

This is not the NEW TREE. that is still to be chosen.This Chestnut Tree was here when we came and looks so superb as it changes with the seasons.
It has suddenly changed colour, and the mustard yellow is turning to gold each day. there is still some greenery to be seen.It provides a quiet shady spot in the summer and there have been many people enjoy just this so often, when Ken was here, and  people came for dancing on the lawn.
The line of  New Zealand  Cabbage Trees (Cordyline) display their colourful bunches of flowers, and when they flower early, so the saying goes, it will be a hot dry summer. The possums enjoy climbing up and hiding in the rosettes of leave at the top, then laughing loudly to say " Catch me if you can"

The ,local Tutaenui Stream is clear, and the stones at the bottom are just covered by water now. When it floods, debris of all description gets carried down so fast. The grandchildren enjoy  the many places to ford, build stone weirs and then dismantle again.Last week I was walking down there, and looked across, and there was the smaller of our female feline family,Poppy, just getting into the water from the other side.I immediately thought of the film " Milo and Otis", as I watched her start to sort of paddle, then as she got into a bit of the current and about 1 metre of water, I could not say silent any longer and  called to her.LOUDLY.
" Poppy, come here"
She looked up, floated to this side and scrambled up the bank so fast. Not happy at being quite wet,   she raced off home.Enough excitement for one day.

The blog comment part has had an alteration, and now comments should be able to be entered. Something the Blog Guru didn't mention. I needed to alter it to "anyone" it seems. Happy commenting from now on. All a bit of  learn as you go

Happy Autumn Days
from Jean

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Fabric by the Metres

There have been so many generous people who have donated fabric,cord, and the good people who put  numerous free bag patterns on the internet. You could search all day, and find something truly suitable,  something complicated but lovely when finished, bright and beautiful, or just plain and simple.
We have a hot sunny day here, so time to get into the garden and clean out an area ready for a new tree. The old cherry tree was getting very woody and past it's use by date. So again the internet provides a great place to search and find.Big trees, small trees, evergreen,deciduous, weeping,upright, native, imported,  you name it, there it is.
Decisions,decisions. Watch this space for a photo of  " The New Tree.

A selection of material from Cottage Curtains Express,the muted soft colours so suitable for Japanese people, ladies and men alike, as I'm sure that the men there will appreciate a bag as well . For all those still in evacuation  centres, this will be their very own, and so useful as well as pretty,  practical  and personal.

Another lot of fabrics again from Cottage Curtains Express, some lovely plain ones for linings, and the colours all blend well together, they can be different patterns for the back and front, just to make a variation. The parcels  of material were so heavy, there were 3 trips to the wagon, and so many thanks, this is so much appreciated. it will all be  put to the very best use, and just watch for photos of the finished bags. It is so satisfying to see  a length of material turn into a  creation that will please the receiver so much.
Bags are coming from North, the far South, Central Otago, South Auckland to name a few places, so the days of looking in the mail box for letters has been replaced by eager anticipation in opening parcels.
Cheers from Jean

Monday 2 May 2011

More Photos

This was the frost in 2005, fairly severe for here, but nothing like the ones in the far south. Beautiful days and clear skies make the cold seem all so worthwhile, and what better way to spend a day like this than to walk outside, look at nature's wonder, then carry on with the mundane house work. This was done in a class by Anna Williams and  the tibouchina flower from  a plant that was a birthday present. Maybe the wall hanging I like best,  but as it is in one of my favourite colours, that probably lends some weight to that decision. Colours tend to play a big part in how we choose favourite quilts, fabrics or clothes, maybe  it even goes as far as when choosing a car, if we are so lucky. The men would be so much more practical, and look at size, cc rating, 4 WD or a station wagon, can it hold the golf clubs, will it tow a trailer and many more necessary  factors.However last year we both visited a quilt show, but alongside it was vintage farm machinery on display, and we had both seen many of them on our respective parents' farms. so we both had great enjoyment that day.

Hootie Owl was made for my friend's 70th Birthday  in March 2010, we were foundation pupils at Papakura High School in 1954, and have been friends since then. He seemed to represent our days together, the library duties, the tuck shop, sharing our grief when a classmate died a few years after we left school.So he sits ,with silent wisdom staring from blue eyes.
Cheers from Jean

The Photos are Here

 Here are the lovely bags from Mary- Ann Kane,  what a great delight to get the parcel in the mail-box. pink stripes,green stripes, patterned and just lovely,Thanks so much
More bags from Rangitikei Country Quilters, they have all been very busy and so generous, as they asked me to be a "Guest Speaker".My family have grave doubts in my ability to have a speech that is only 2 minutes long.Impossible Mum, you just wouldn't get it done in that short time.Well, the speech was short, but the talk afterwards was lengthy. Thanks for listening.

Here is a wonderful selection from Bryan Gaskin Fabrics,  one of many who have been so generous in their help.Thanks again,  these are well on the way to going to Japan, the bags look so pretty in the floral fabrics and the New Zealand one is waiting for that "Special pattern"
Bags from Rangitikei Country Quilters, what a wonderful selection in all shapes, colours and styles.They will be so happy to get one each.
More photos to come, this is a real autumn day, with cloud, and drizzle, heavy rain forecast for later on.Such a good day to be inside and look at fabric,patterns and choose .
Cheers, Jean

A mixed Bag of Bags

Yesterday Sara-Jane collected a huge bag of bags to go to Wellington then to Tokyo via the Diplomatic Bag from MFAT. There were striped ones, pink ones, fancy patchwork ones, drawstring ones for the children,ones with hearts,all sewn with thought and put together beautifully.
The fabrics donated have been put to such good use, and there is more to be collected this week. Everyone has been so generous and very quick to respond to the "Bags for Japan from New Zealand' project.
There will be photos posted, but I had some problems loading them, it all turned to webscript!!!
So keep looking, the good things will be there soon.

If you need patterns, suggestions, drop off points or collection dates please let me know.

Cheers, Jean

Sunday 1 May 2011

Mariner's Compass

The photo is the Mariner's Compass I made for my old friend Walter Drake for his 91st birthday. It is now at the Felixstowe Museum in the UK, where memorabilia of the Coastal Forces are kept.
He has been an inspiration in my life, the wonderful support and care he gave to me in 1997,when I was away from my own home and in Auckland for some long 6 weeks, his continued friendship from then until his death in April 2010, his many letters which slowly became harder to decipher as his eyesight diminished to almost nil,and his determination in the face of all obstacles,to carry on and write his "MS",so the name of my blog came about from our friendship, remembering his days in HMS in World War 2, and some great help from a friend in Auckland, who just adjusted the words perfectly. Thanks, Marj.
I started the project "Bags for Japan from New Zealand" after reading a comment on a American quilter's blog, and it snowballed from there.The response has been wonderful, and the bags are arriving in the letterbox already.There have been very generous offers for freight from where I live, to Wellington, from NZ to Tokyo, from there to Camp Zama, all people I did not know before this, but thank them so much.
I have learned to condense my lengthy words to 2 minutes. One daughter said this would be impossible for me to get my message across in that time. Well, watch me, if that is the time limit, I will try. I did!!! Cheers, Jean (Nancy J)