Central Plateau, North Island

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

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Springtime is Blooming


The gardens here and elsewhere are in full springtime swing, with tulips, Sparaxis, pansies, freesias, azalea bushes, and more, all in glorious colour.

Yesterday Joyce came home with these gorgeous flowers from Daphne.I tried to photograph them  against the wallpaper, but decided  that was not the best angle. The freesias have a perfume that is so individual to them, the tulip opened today, as did one darker Dutch Iris.  They are beautiful, how lucky was I ??

Flowers from Daphne #2

In our garden more bulbs are flowering, the delicate bluebells scattered  among iris, Dutch Iris, and daffodils, dainty little flowers.

One Bluebell flower

Purple  variety of Sparaxis

On the quilting program, I have taken on another new project, the Midnight Mystery Quit, (( OOPS, that is meant to spell “ Quilt”  )) with

Meadow Mist Designs

Cheryl, another very talented lady ,  is sharing her skills with us. Generous, helpful, lovely comments that make us all feel so good with fabric choices and squares finished, suggestions, and so much more. There is a Facebook group, and we share our photos there.

This is a lengthy assignment, over many months, and as I joined in late, have fast-tracked August and September, to finish in time!!!

Whew, a huge relief all round, as I was down in the office, roller cutting, ironing, then back to the trusty Bernina for some hours on end. Maybe it was a miracle that Hugh had his dinner on the table!!! I am using the batiks from my stash, and slowly it is getting less and less. So much so, I had to use several different fabrics for each of the 4 colours. These are the first two sets. Flying Geese, then Square in a Square.  The purple is the same in each of these, but I used maybe 6 different shades of blue. And with the squares, 2 different greens, and many more of the purple/pinky/orangy colours.

Flying Geese in rows

Midnight Mystery Flying Geese

midnight Mystery geese and sias

Midnight Mystery combinations

Mystery Midnight blocks #1

Geese and squares in a circle, squares by themselves, and  squares combined with a goose!!! I work better when I have a deadline to meet, the next set  will be published on October 1st, down here it will be the 2nd, and we are all waiting to see what comes next. I need new roller  cutter blades, I  might order them online,  as they are a lot  more reasonable in  price than the original Olfa or Fiskar ones. ( 10 NDK blades 45mm for $22.70)  Do you know, do the brand ones last longer, or do you re-sharpen your blades?

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ She who dies leaving the most fabric

is not sewing fast enough”

Greetings from Jean

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Cryptic Clues


I have for so long been a total fan of cryptic crosswords. Last week I mentioned to Cathi, of   Quilt Obsession that among other things I so enjoyed cryptic crosswords. Well, so does her Bob, and I  scanned, copied and sent him the latest one from the NZ Listener. Bingo, there it was in  Toronto for Mr Q.O. to solve.Before  long, Bob had sent me one from The Times. Well, as you are accustomed to your own sewing machine, car, or kitchen appliance, so you are used to the way a crossword compiler thinks. This was so different for me, and I sent Bob a few lines…

I took the cryptic times to bed

Should have left it alone , I said,

So different from the usual one

Words just didn't seem to come

So I left it  to do later or after

Resorted to the online masters

2 clues was all I managed to do

Then when I read the solution, Bingo!!!

Bob duly read this, and emailed me the link for solutions to solve this. Then he replied again.

A fair maid, a Kiwi it’s said

Took crosswords with her to bed

The “Times” they are tough

She said “That’s enough.

Darn it …I’ll count sheep instead."

And just so you all know how DIFFICULT these clues are, here is 10 down, September 17th.

Swede served with mint over fire for people, ( 3,10).

and Bob kindly  said he thought I would enjoy this one.

2 words, the first word began with N, the last one ended with S, that was all I  had to go on, but I looked and wondered if it was “ New Zealanders”. It was!!!

On the sewing table, the beautiful charm squares have been joined into a larger set of 4, and I have the white and dark marled greeny black for the shadow box strips. The other week I was in an Op-Shop, and there were quilting magazines, make an offer, The cover photo  on one was a whole quilt, with segmented circles surrounded by trails of other segments,In the paper pattern I found one whole circle. The batiks I chose were from stash, the border fabric is also on the back, and I lined it with a blue  batik, with a wire netting design.

This is going by  post  to a very special friend. I don’t think she reads my blog, but we are both on Facebook. She has returned from staying with family in  Australia, much needed time together, and is now in her new home, by herself, a new life  after some  55 years of being one half of a couple.. We do not get together very often, in fact,  very  seldom, but lots of times with phone calls, and emails, we caught  up, for a short time when I flew to Auckland for Trev’s funeral. Recently on Facebook, someone asked how did friends meet? We met at High School, and as my maiden name started with “A” and hers with “B”, we were always next to each other in lists, in lines, and in classes. True friendship, I phoned her today, not mentioning the bag, I hope it will be a welcome surprise. In the photo the top looks wavy, but, believe me, it is a circle. I can scan and email it if anyone would like to try/sew, manhandle, fit together… take hours to finish this . The pattern says 16 circles, but in the photo, there are 25!!!

Down Under Quilts cover

The Bag!!!


Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Believe you can and you are

halfway to the finish line”

Greetings  from  Jean

Sunday 13 September 2015

Just the Two of Us


The garden is showing signs of spring, with one freesia, snowdrops by the dozen, daffodils almost finished, grape hyacinths in deep blue, and then there were                                   TWO…… Tulips.

Two tulips

It was so hard to get the right setting, with shade and bright sunshine in the next photo.  The barrows have grape hyacinths, there are more tulips, with Dutch Iris in the tubs, pansies scattered amongst them.

Barrows of bulbs

Lots of patches of tiny violets, near the wheelbarrows.And so many lupins are shooting again.

A patch of violets

Boris follows Ginger Boy, and is so daring, adventurous, almost to the scary level. Ginger goes past our place, through the neighbours, skirts along a narrow dangerous( in my opinion) ledge of dirt and stones, and is then 2 doors along. Boris tries to follow, but I managed to grab him, at least this time. I guess, like having a teenager in the home, I will have to ignore this and just let him find out the hard way, it is a long way down the the stream below!!! Boris is on the right, Ginger Boy in all his glorious winter fur, is on the left. This is the area we grandly call “ The Gully” really just a tallish bank,  where we can leave cuttings, rubbish from shrubs and trees, to compost down, but some rampant plants  do  take over.

Two Gingers on their way

And, in case you all think I spend my days following the boys, I have managed to sew 2 borders on the Wiggle-me quilt, The final darker one still to go, and I found a wonderful tutorial for a binding with a flange, sew on the back, turn to the front, and stitch  on the edge of the flange . I am not sure if the binding will be the same as the final border, with a lighter flange, or a total contrast. Any suggestions will be so appreciated. 

Wiggle me with 2 borders

The last border has some blue/green tonings in it, and links everything together nicely ( IMHO). ( In my humble opinion)!!!

Wiggle  me with 2 borders sewn, final one to  measure and cut

Now all I need, thinking of John Masefield, is a huge table so I can spread it out, and baste the back and batting more easily than the kitchen floor.  In the photo above, it is on the lounge carpet.Tall ship and a star, that would suit any sailor or mariner to a T.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ A happy ending does not mean everything is finished, as a new beginning is on the horizon”

Greetings from Jean

Thursday 10 September 2015

The Mail Arrived on a Wet Day


The yellow parcel arrived,marked

“From  Sew Sisters Quilt Shop, 3961 Chesswood Drive, Toronto, On.”

What excitement, I was on my way to get a haircut, but that had to wait!!! Visit them here at this link,……    Sew Sisters Quilt Shop

Thank you so much for your generous sponsorship in the “Wiggle-me-sew-along”, and to Sandy at Upstairs Hobby Room , for her wonderful challenge, as she encouraged, inspired, and helped each  one of us with her lovely comments.

The Parcel

Parcel from Sew Sisters, Toronto Canada

The Charm Packs

Kaffee Fassett Glorious charm packs

The Glorious Colours

All those glorious colours, a pack of blues, one of reds, and one of greens . I can see these will be on display, looked at often, re-arranged, and  then put into a pattern, that I will treasure always.


Glorious BluesGlorious redsGlorious greens


Quotation of the day, from Ruth Ann Schabacker

“ Each day comes bearing its own gifts,

untie the ribbons”

Greetings from Jean

Sunday 6 September 2015

Life through a lens

When I started my blog way back in 2011, with the “Bags for Japan” project I had no idea how it would go. Slowly, I received comments,  and gradually I found other blogs to follow. I cannot truly remember how I found each one of you, my very real friends, but here we are some 4 years later, I have found so many interests that amaze me, as I do not have a dog, a horse, or a farm.But every day I read of your family life, travels, trips to other countries or in your own, and know how much this has added to my life. This week I had a heart-warming email from Julie, you can find her here,  at
 My Quilt Diary.
As I read her words, these ones came to mind. They are in a page in my Dad’s autograph album, (have you one of these), and I found this on the internet.
Life is mostly froth and bubble
On the home front, I have upgraded to Windows 10, and all smooth sailing so far. My gift voucher from Sew Sisters, after I finished the Wiggle-me-sew-along quilt top in the allotted time,  I chose charm packs of Kaffee Fassett, and they are on the way.Photos as soon as they arrive, and a pattern is (sort of) decided.
Down south, snow is predicted to sea level,  Metservice details courtesy of the internet , Accuweather earlier gave data of temperature of –1C, real feel of –12Celsius,Too cold for  those new born lambs.
Showers, with snow to near sea level at first, gradually easing and snow levels lifting. Strong or gale southwesterlies easing. Issued: 11:22am 6 Sep 6°CHigh4°C Overnight --------------------------------------------------------------------------- We have had hail here, the warrior Boris played with some, then one hailstone flicked him on his ear, and a rapid retreat to the safety of indoors.
Quotation of the day, from Eli  Khamarov
“ The best things in life are unexpected ----
because there were no expectations”
Greetings from Jean