Central Plateau, North Island

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

Monday, 22 September 2014

Around the World Blog Hop


Sunrise and sunset at our place, but the same sun is the one you see at your place, no matter where you are in the world.

Morning sunrise in Januarysunset August 25th 2014

        And, unless one of my wonderful blog friends accepts the

“Open invitation to be the next hopper!!”

this is where the hop stops. I know  how busy we all are, and understand why you cannot participate, but if you could even do a small hop,I would be so happy. There are some questions to answer, or if you really do not like the ones listed, make up your own.

Kathy from  http://andladybughugs.blogspot.co.nz/ invited me to be  on the blog hop. Kathy is the most loving, caring generous soul, and with a maiden name of “Valentine” truly so, she quilts, sews,  and more for friends, family, specially those who have had sadness in their lives. I “met” Kathy when  she posted about  the New York 200 mile running relay. She  flew from Florida to New York, and joined other women to be a team of 12 runners, taking part  in a run  through the Adirondack Mountains from Saratoga Springs to Lake Placid. They were in 2 groups, and after the second group started news came back that Shelley, a young Mum had collapsed and passed away from a heart attack.  Total dismay and sadness, some went home to be with their families ( these ladies were from all over US), others comforted each other, then the decision was made to continue the run in honour of Shelley. To me, this was the ultimate in remembering a team-mate. Loves and ladybird hugs in huge amounts.

Kathy is a prolific quilter, and loves to write. I looked at some of her past posts, and see the one where she had photos of how to T pin a quilt, to backing, batting and more..
” Let the journey of a thousand pins begin”

So when Kathy invited me, I said yes, Then worried, I did not have many quilts to show, WIP, well,way to ashamed to say how many, so my hop will be about my camera and what I see through the lens.

#1… What am I working on??

Well, there is always the firewood, heaps of it, some still logs, some in rounds, and that ever growing pile. Not that this is creative, just a necessary task for next winter’s warmth.

Rounds cut and ready for splitting

The grain fascinates me, and I have a plan to make a table mat, printing the photo onto fabric, stitching, and Bingo, a place mat out of wood on fabric!!!

Inside the cut log

On the quilting side, a few stitcheries, that need to be backed for Christmas, a small quilt design wall in the shape of a table easel, and some blocks from  “ The Cloth Shop” Saturday sampler, last year I realised they needed more, so added some nearly matching fabric, and chose a deep blue for sashing and borders. Then a friend said the blue was too deep, and I needed a purple!!! So that is still very much in progress. And with my camera, the panorama application fascinates me, I am learning that slowly, taking the photos in landscape mode, stitching together, and making sure the tripod is level, the photos overlap by the required amount, and waiting for the finished pano to come up on my screen. Delight when it all fits together seamlessly.

These blocks have languished forlornly in a box, waiting for more to be added, the original 9 would not be enough, even with blue between, or purple, as a friend suggested was better than the deep bright blue.

Saturday sampler blocks  #2

Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu, the group is in the Central Plateau, North Island, about 3 hours north of where we live.

Mt Tongariro,Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Tongariro Panorama


This is very much a prototype, suitable for small pieces, or tiny blocks, but it stand firmly on the table, as it should. Card, covered with batting, then a pillowcase type with white flannelette on the outside, fabric on the inside, and a piece inserted to keep the ‘legs” staying where they should ,

“ Table easel design wall for tiny pieces”

table easel design wall #1

#2 How does my work differ from others of its genre??

I see everything through the lens now, and marvel that I didn’t see them this way sooner. The tiny daffodil bud, still tightly closed, skies so red, both morning and night, water rushing down a tiny stream, that I can PP to make it milky, start trails still a mystery to me, need one more accessory for that, and with my quilting, that is where the real HOP comes in, I have never been a stickler for a finish, and years ago my Dad gave me this… he was so right in knowing my tendency , and I think once in my life I have not procrastinated. I was secretary for a Pistol Shooting Club, and minutes had to be typed the next day ( or else the unreadable shorthand might be totally misinterpreted).So even now,I like small items, start and finish easily, and most will be for gifts for friends or family. So I do not have a “genre” as such, lots of small categories that vary a lot. 

Reflections on the Otaki River, lower North Island.

Reflections on the  Otaki River

Red, white and blue from our garden.

Red Alstromeria


White Winter Rose


Blue Grape Hyacinth

#3  Why do I create??

I have always enjoyed writing, and my family would say I write as I talk

“ A Lot”,

when I had a birthday for my 70th, they said “ Mum, you have 2 minutes, that’s all” and probably thought I wouldn’t say  everything  in that short time. I did. I love the written word, researching quotes, and seeing a photo I have played with, altered, or one SOOC ( Straight out of the camera) is a huge delight.And I find that using my laptop is so much easier than writing, the words seem to almost write themselves. Quilting, I do enjoy, but  the hardest part is selecting colours together. I look at other blogs, and marvel at the stunning quilts, bags, wall hangings and more, and wish I had started this years earlier.

#4 How does my creative or writing process work??

I take a photo or two or more, and then the words seem to fit around that, generally the photos are of our outdoor times, New Zealand  landscapes, or family pets, I am in for a huge challenge soon, our  granddaughter will be taking part in the Manawatu Pony Club National Showhunter Championships. Now this will be something I haven’t done at all, so some practise is very necessary for trials with shutter speeds, focus points and more.So my creativity will be tested to the extreme.

Taken at 1005 metres asl, from a friend’s farm, high up in the Central Plateau

Night sky at 1005 metres asl

Mount Tongariro, the most northern in the previous photo.

Ash  Plume from Mt Tongariro


Taken on one of our camping holidays, near Taumarunui, in the King Country, late afternoon at the end of summertime.

Late sunshine on the hills

I have always enjoyed numbers, research, and like the challenge of a quote to go with each post. I have 2 books of quotations, but that dear friend Google, is so much faster and has lots more to offer.

And I guess I learn so much from other blog friends, look at their WIP, finished quilts, their stunning photos, and this spurs me on to do and learn more. My blog friends have opened up my world, and from NZ, north to Alaska, down through US, over to Japan, and in Europe too, friendships have blossomed, not to forget those in NZ too. The photography forum “Ugly Hedgehog” is a source of inspiration, and also friendships. Just  yesterday  I “met” a fellow/fellowess hedgehog member, and from a comment, I feel I know her already.And this is how it has been with my blog, over the years.

For a few years, I have been so wanting to do a “ Diploma in Digital Photography”, an online course from Southern Institute of Technology, based in Invercargill. And each year, there have been so many obstacles in my way, Hugh’s Mum was living with us, Hugh had his heart attacks, he now has spinal problems, there have been so many out side jobs I now help with, but next year, this will be my creative work in process.


level:   5       Dates:   2015 intakes start 02 February, 30 March, 22 June, and 17 August

Applications close 21 days prior to the intake start date - please check the enrolment form for exact dates.    Intakes are 17 weeks long

SIT2LRN Distance Learning     Credits:   120


There, I have put my goal in writing, so this will spur me on to start and finish it, and of course the fees I have to pay are a huge incentive in this.

Now, friends and all who are reading this, here is the

DRUM ROLL………………….. tadatadatada!!!

“Open Invitation to Anyone At All”

who would like to be part of this. The questions can be  the same as mine or Kathy’s, or make your own. ideally, 2  friends will take up this challenge, and post their hop on 29th September. I would be so sorry to see the hop stop here. But I understand if it does.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Know your own weaknesses, and your strengths, and use your ability with each , to make a life full of purpose and happiness”

Greetings from Jean

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Feathers in Technicolor


We have been having some quieter days, unlike the politicians who are so busy, in the last few days before the 2014 elections.

An email from a friend highlighted the stunning colours that nature provides, here are a few that were captured  in stunning beauty.I have no names, just a slide show of beautiful birds.


coloured feathers #3

coloured feathers #2coloured feathers #1


coloured feathers #4

coloured feathers #6coloured feathers #5

coloured feathers #7

Quotation  of the day, author unknown

“ 7 colours make a rainbow, 7 chords make music,

7 days  make a week,

7 continents make a world, and 7 lovely letters make us


Greetings from Jean

Monday, 15 September 2014

I Can Dream a Little, can’t I???


Copied from  Air New Zealand’s latest promotion. Dream on, girl, we would  need Business Premier, room to stretch out,lie down, have a sleep on the 12 hour flight, and more thinking of all those internal flights across US and Canada, from Alaska to Florida and all in-between.

But I can still dream a little.

Airfares ex Auckland, Wellington & Christchurch


AIRFARES - One way, internet price, per person from








Los Angeles                Economy Fare         $789

                              Premium Economy $1,599

                              Business Premier  $3,599






San Francisco          $789, $1,599, $3,599clip_image0015







Vancouver               $899, $1699, $ 3,699clip_image001[2]





Las Vegas                  $919,  $1,759,  $ 3,959








Chicago                     $ 1.069, $ 1,929, $ 4,459






New York             $ 1, 099, $2,059, $ 4,809








We are having a few days off firewood, Hugh had a short visit to hospital, with the dreaded  Gastroenteritis. However this was not the worst, his Blood Pressure dropped alarmingly, nurses and doctors rushing in, well, trying to look calm,  but walking so fast,  I knew they were concerned, not quite a panic, after all in ED I guess they are trained not to look panicky!!! and  you only run in cases of fire or haemorrhage. Drip line adjusted, and slowly it came up to still well below normal.Not one of them said very much at all. until things were  improving.

Dreadful, scary thoughts went through my mind, as I looked and saw my man so unwell.

Finally a decision made to keep him in overnight. I came home, and slept!!!

Today, the first day for over 3 days he has eaten anything, and looking lots better. I was not going to even write these words, but dear Jim reminded me that to  put it into words means we are better able to accept the situation.Thanks Jim.

All is well, sun is shining, the rain has stopped. and like in Pippa Passes, by Robert Browning.

    The year's at the spring
    And day's at the morn;
    Morning's at seven;
    The hillside's dew-pearled;
    The lark's on the wing;
    The snail's on the thorn:
    God's in His heaven—
    All's right with the world!


Greetings to all, Jean

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Working Week that Was


The days slip by so fast, between housework ( minimum hours and wage), shopping ( necessary food, petrol, and library books), cooking meals (totally necessary with high carbs for working man and woman), and the firewood that goes on and on.

A few snippets from our place.

Daffodils from along the fence line.

Daffodils in a crystal vase








Tree #1 waiting for the chop.

This tree is first in the queue

Oops, this wasn’t the plan, tree #1 fell slightly to the left, maybe 2 inches., but enough to knock this one right out of the ground and down into the stream, over the steep bank. And over the chain-saw sounds, I thought I heard some words that will not be repeated here!!! This photo was taken after the trunk was sawed off from the huge root system that pulled right out of the ground.


tree over the bank #2


Here it is after being cut into smaller lengths,but one huge log is still there, right along the bank edge.

tree in the stream #4

This log against the bank is the one Mike hauled up with the huge machine. Have the expert do what looks impossible, and all is well right here at our place.

the log in the stream

Mike arrived early yesterday, and this huge machine did the work so easily, thanks Mike, a man who knows how to lift those logs up and out of the stream below.

The yellow monster arrives

The first log was taken with video, that will be here another day. Lots of turning, getting in just the right place, and soon the excitement was all over for one day.

in place for log#2
This is the huge trunk that was lifted up by the “ Yellow Monster”, ready for some more work.

Log #2 up the top

firewood rounds

And now it is Thursday, life is good, days are warm, frosts are few, and sunshine arrives so much earlier.My video skills have really been put to the test, as I took a lot in portrait view, and those dreaded black bars are at the sides. I’ve tried so many ways to edit them out, so any help, suggestions, or editing skills you can  suggest will be so happily appreciated.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Life needs good days for happiness, and an occasional bad day for experience.”

Greetings from Jean

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Spring is in the Air


The starlings are nesting, daffodils are blooming, the sun has shown us his face earlier every morning, and warm days have arrived.

The daffodils along the fence line were planted by Neil, Hugh’s Dad  in 2003, they bloom more every year, and the King Alfred are almost finished, the ones with a pale orange trumpet are flowering now, The other day I picked well over 60, and could not see where they came from.

Daffodils on the fenceline

The firewood heap is growing, and on my wish list is one of these, of course there is a better machine, that does almost everything, but at $39,000, maybe a bit much for Hugh’s pocket. Meantime this will do the trick.

My wish list  is a firewood machine with conveyor

I always marvel at the tree rings, indicating the age of that tree, early rings are at the outer edge, next to the bark, narrow, wider, concentric, uneven, these all indicate growth patterns, drought, spring rain, or overcrowding on any side. This one had some variations.

Pine tree rounds

Quotation of the day, by John Muir


The clearest way into the Universe

is through a forest wilderness.

Greetings from Jean

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Table model design wall easel


After I covered the two foam boards, cut the last in in half, covered with batting, and made pillow slip type covers.I added a flap at the top, and bottom, and at the bottom another piece each side, so they can overlap and Velcro, making a base. The top flaps, I sewed together, like a hinge. Then there is a covered board, that sits in the bottom and holds it firm.

This is small,  18” tall, 13.5” high, and the board is 8 “  deep. Next time I would make the bottom pieces that Velcro go the whole width, and maybe do the top all in one piece. However it works well.

I struggled to get good light so early in the morning, sunshine too bright outside, lounge too dark inside, maybe the table was just right, a bit like Goldilocks!!!

I am off  for another day working at the coalface, oops, I meant firewood, sunshine, a slight breeze, juice and choc bar compulsory to keep inner strength going till lunchtime.

table easel design wall #1table easel design wall #2 sideways

table easel design wall #3 with insert to hold  firmtable easel design wall #4  with owl block

That is all for today, see you tomorrow with hopefully a video, and a HUGE pile of wood ready for the splitter. No matter how hard this is right now, when winter comes again, we will be so thankful for the warmth of a fire every day.

Quotation of the day from J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan: Fairy Tales

So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned.

Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land!”

Greetings from Jean

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Design walls for small blocks


Last week I sent Julie a small parcel, she thought it would be only the 6 inch ruler. But there were some small blocks, a piece of NZ fabric, and a small design wall, well really a tiny design sheet. I tried it first to make sure it would work, it did. Here it is on trial. I sat it outside in a gentle breeze, and they stayed put. Success!!! Now the parcel has arrived, and I received the loveliest email from Julie, I can post this.

patchwork block tree for Julie

So then I thought, I needed one here, so Richard at  Leader and Watt in Marton very kindly gave me some foam board sheets, , two  I left in the original size, one I cut in half, taped them to white thick cardboard for more support,  covered the front with batting,  hot glue gunned that, then made a sort of pillowslip cover, with white flannel on the front. Progress is underway.

foam boards taped to thick cardboard

board covered with batting

quilt design wall #1

quilt design wall #2

I had some trouble with the lighting, and none of the blocks looks straight at all. but these boards/walls/ mini size,  might work well for me, rather than a larger one against the wall.

Firewood is next on the list, another 6 trees felled yesterday, a video to be edited soon.

Quotation of the day, by Eleanor Roosevelt


Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.

Greetings from Jean