Central Plateau, North Island

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

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A Birthday Surprise with a Difference


Earlier this year I found that Jenn from

                    Country Cottage Reflections 

would have a “significant” birthday on 26th December. As so often happens, those days are mingled into Christmas Day, and the special day gets left out. I thought I might make Jenn “ a little something” and post it over.  Subterfuge again entered the equation.

But then came the difficulties. This was to be a surprise…. so  I needed to find Caitlin’s email address,  ( Jenn’s daughter) , that was the first hurdle, finally found her husband’s email but this was a government one!!! Sent it off and waited, and waited. Finally  Jean-Luc checked his private emails, and Caitlin replied, and things were starting to go to plan.

Boris and a scarf

Boris checked out the scarf, and it was cosy and warm, but not quite long enough!!!

Joyce did some beautiful embroidery on the pocket of a folder for pages and pencils and crayons for Jenn’s drawing when she is out and about.

Jenn's folio folder  and scarf

I found out  that Jenn had an iPad, and her bag has a padded pocket inside for this, another pocket, and ties at the top.

Jenn's bag inside


Jenn's birthday goodies

Then I found that the birthday  lunch and party was postponed until today NZ time, as freezing rain turned the roads into slick ice.  I woke at 3.30 a.m. checked the time in Ontario, and wondered if anyone was online? No, so after a while went back to bed.After all, plenty of sleep must be good for my heart!!! I missed Caitlin’s reply by one minute. Never mind, when I woke next time, there is another message, and we were good to go at 2.30 p.m. Canada time in Ottawa. Some setting up with Skype, then an iPad contact to be added, and it was all action.

Do you have any idea how magical it was to see Jenn, and her family, then watch as she opened the parcels? This is what makes blog friendships so special.

Happy Birthday all over again, dear Jenn, and Caitlin and Jean-Luc, Isabelle and Josephine,  thanks so much for your part in all of this. Jo, I found out about your birthday just too late to send something off, so  at the end of 2017, it will be your turn.

Many, many thanks for everyone’s lovely caring words for me,  I treasure  them all , and to know you care from  close to home and so far away,  is very special to me . I am trying to go slow,  I treat  each day as a special one, and hope to see a specialist very soon.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Life is full of surprises,

the future is not set in stone”

Greetings from Jean

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Season’s Greetings to All


As 2016 comes to a close, I wish you all every happiness, much love, lots of laughter, and days filled with good health.

I have been so thankful for all your lovely caring words, comments, emails and prayers over the past few weeks.

Did you know that Santa has headlights on his sleigh? They shone down through the sky, onto the ambulance, as it whisked me  off to hospital, and as midnight struck in clock  towers, he travelled overhead. But on the way across the world, he stopped off with some goodies. Red batiks, for the “ 150 Canadian Women Quilt-along”.There they were, waiting when I came home this morning. This was another visit with the yet undiagnosed chest pain, I have been moved up  the list and now should see  a specialist very soon, and then have a  visit to another larger hospital for tests. Staff  wore  Santa hats, Reindeer antlers, and the breakfast was wonderful. For one wonderful nurse, this was the first time she had been in ED on Christmas Day, and ditto for me.  As we drove back though the front gate, home  looked truly wonderful.


Santa dropped these off this morning

More goodies were waiting, among them this fabulous piece. I can see something wonderful to be made with all those words, from round and about the far south . Thanks so much, Ann and Russell.

Another Christmas gift from the Far South

My video failed badly, so here are a few pics from the year.Whakapapa slopes with Josh

Dani  on Joey Oct 2016,

Hugh and his plane October 2016

sunrise  in December 2014


last sunrise

Quotation, author unknown

“ Happiness always comes from within,

and it is found in the present moment

by making peace with the past

and looking forward to the future”

Greetings from Jean

Friday, 16 December 2016

A few more Very Quiet Days


My words here might be few and far between for a while.  I had another trip to hospital at 1.30 a.m. on Wednesday, after waking at 1 a.m. knowing something was amiss, and chest pain began. Then the shaking. not an earthquake for sure. Woke  Hugh, rang the ambulance, ,they must think I like those trips.  My blood pressure was so high, yet the ambulance paramedic wanted me to try and tell her what was wrong, when I could hardly breathe. Then  she wanted me to walk out to the green and yellow truck!!! I struggled,  with her on one side and Hugh the other, I tried so hard, with suggestions “ Keep your eyes open,  Keep Walking !!!” Over and over. Guess she might have been a bit scared I would collapse. Then I think I almost yelled, well it might be called a snappy retort… “ I’m Trying”!!! Truly, it was such a long way, or so it seemed.

St John Ambulance

Whanganui Hospital E.D. has the best staff, from the cleaning lady who sweeps around the bed so quietly, or leaves it until the curtain is open, the nurses,  3 were waiting when I arrived, to all the Doctors from bottom to top. My medication has been changed, once again,  and the new tablets lower my B.P. to the very bottom of the scale.  I  now have a referral to a cardiologist, but am classed as semi-urgent!!! So am off to my G.P. next week, hope another letter might hurry things along.

Sewing is taking a break, as is quilting, baking, and housework. Perhaps in the reverse order might have been a better way to list them.

I promise, I am still reading all your news, admiring the photos, of sunshine, cats, dogs, waterfalls, lakes and the snow.Love that snow, wherever it is.And even  if I have not left a comment, I will have read every word.

Here is a collection of photos  from 2014.

December 2014 collage


Quotation of the day, a Chinese Proverb,

The miracle is not to fly in the air,

or to walk on the water,

but to walk on the earth.

Greetings from Jean

Friday, 9 December 2016

Goodies and a short Holiday


On Wednesday I strolled slowly to the mail box, and there it was. An envelope all the way from Kingston, Ontario, Canada!! The 2017 Quilted Kitties Calendar arrived. This is a project to fund-raise for the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project. I have been an admirer of Cheryl, Kate and their team for some time now, and this year supported their project with the  purchase of a calendar .Just a small panic at Kingston, as the post office told her postage to New Zealand would be $72!!!,Some checking up and it was altered to the original charge. Look at these photos of the delightful kitties in all their finery.

Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project Calandar 2017

And here is the page for December 2017. How delightful is that?

All the pages are designed and quilted by Cheryl. Visit her blog on the link below and see more of her drawings, cookies, and kitties.

December 2017 Quilted Kitties Calandar


This week, I had a short visit to hospital, a fast ride in the ambulance, after having the shakes, believe me ‘twas  like an earthquake in my body, then very high blood pressure. Two paramedics and a nurse, Lance didn’t want to stop when I suggested  ( not true, just a random thought ) that on the  straight stretch of the  road I might need a toilet stop !! “ You are out of luck, sunshine” was his reply. As always, the staff in the Emergency Department were so good, I was given the best care, numerous blood tests, and ECG  print outs. Transferred to a much better bed with all the buttons to push to get the most comfortable angles, at 11.30 p.m. , and maybe almost asleep when another Dr came in at 12.30 p.m. and told me the  second blood test was negative for cardiac enzymes and the chest X-Ray was all clear. Off to sleep, and the night staff started to do rounds at 5 a.m.  I am guessing that no-one there has heard the words   “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” !!  They could not find anything in all those tests to give a  positive diagnosis . So maybe there will be a trip to a bigger hospital soon for more extensive tests.

Here are the fabrics from Bryan Gaskin, but I am sure there will be another visit next week before he closes those door for the last time.

top left turquoise and navy  are the finest silk, 3 at the right are fine cotton, the others are lovely brights for bags.

An early Christmas parcel of goodies

Yesterday I made a huge effort, put on some  ‘glad rags”   and off we went to the Christmas Dinner for members of the Model Plane club Hugh has joined. About 30 there,  we met many of them for the first time, and were introduced as “ The Youngest Members”, not sure about the age, but definitely the shortest time there. A wonderful group of friendly men and ladies, but I did find out that there isn’t a lady  in the club who flies her own model plane, so I don’t need to  be sorry when I decide not to join in.

Quotation of the day, from Jake Bailey


“So be gallant, be great, be gracious,

and be grateful for the opportunities

that you have."

Greetings from Jean

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Early Morning Sunshine at 6 a.m.


Suddenly the sunshine is here so early, Rising a lot further to the East, and shining above the roof to brighten up the tall gum trees. This was taken at  6 a.m., outside was  about 7 Celsius,  the fire was lit a little earlier.!!!

Gum trees in early morning sunshine December 2016

The Tibouchina has flowered almost all year, One bloom is  here on the sheltered side, new ones waiting .

Tibouchina December 2016

The pink Alstromeria are prolific, and shadow the few red ones. This is a lot deeper colour in the sunshine later on in the day.

Red Alstromeria December 2016

On the concrete steps, this poppy seed found enough nourishment to grow, and it is one of the very ruffled ones.

Red ruffled poppy 2016

The secret sewing is all finished, more fabrics are waiting, Bryan Gaskin Fabrics in Palmerston North is closing after 50 years in the “ rag trade”. We will miss this fabulous place to visit, browse, look at  those rolls of fabric all over again,  and purchase. I wish Bryan and Barbara a very happy retirement. So if any of my readers are near Palmerston North, visit and find all those fabulous   fabrics reduced!!! Silk, georgette, lawn, cotton,  satin, buttons, ribbons and threads!!!  And more!!!

Bryan and Barbara were one of the very generous sponsors when I started the “ Bags for Japan” project in 2011. Thanks again so much. Your fabrics,  stitched into bags,  winged their way to Japan, and  were so appreciated by those in the earthquake area and at Ronald McDonald House.

Photo courtesy of the Internet.

Bryan and Barbara  Gaskin

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Nature uses fabrics and threads of every colour, to sew and weave beauty everywhere”

Greetings from Jean

Thursday, 17 November 2016

The Mailman Delivered some Goodies!!!


Here we have been so fortunate, with no damage, after the massive 7.8 earthquake on Monday morning at 12.02 a.m. … a few aftershocks,  our roads are open, businesses open as usual,  the mailman can still drive on our roads. Some buildings in Wellington which is  2 hours south of us , are cordoned off as further checks are taking place.

The parcel arrived from Australia, look at these fabrics from The Strawberry Thief,  Thank you, thank you ,so much .

   Go here to visit their web page  ,……    and see more Liberty Lawn  that is overwhelmingly beautiful.

Liberty Lawn from The Strawberry Thief

This was what I won in a give-away at Molli  Sparkles  .

  Go here to visit 

another fantastic quilter who will give you laughs, love and sparkles on his blog. Thank you Molli, I am sure all the other winners have enjoyed their goodies as well, we have all been so blessed to have you and Robyn combining for a fantastic give-away.

Thank you both so much, this has given me a huge boost after a worrying week. ( my spell check didn’t count the number of “thanks”)

I will look at this beautiful, soft as silk, Liberty Lawn fabric each day..well, many times a day, touch it, rearrange it, and leave it for a while till I find the perfect pattern to do it full justice. I am so happy to have won this. THANKS again.

The earthquake has been upgraded from 7.5 to 7.8 magnitude, the aftershocks continue, building, roads, homes and businesses are damaged, some totally beyond repair. The army has arrived in Kaikoura, our Navy and visiting ships from other countries have assisted in a huge way.

This is all about 300km to  400km south of where we live, Kaikoura is nearer, the epicentre is further away.

After more data has been analysed, it appears that multiple faults have ruptured.




All information  courtesy of the Internet.

A newly released map reveals the extraordinary complexity of Monday morning’s monster magnitude-7.8 earthquake. GNS Science earthquake geologist Nicola Litchfield explains what we’re looking at.

The map at the moment is showing where the aftershocks are, and the green circles, or ovals, are showing places where we observed fault rupture, when we flew in a helicopter on Monday. We saw, as you can see, multiple fault ruptures.

Already, it looks as though parts of well-known faults such as the Hundalee, Hope and Kekerengu Faults have ruptured (broken) and also parts of less well-known or unknown faults around Emu Plains, The Humps Fault zone and Waipapa Bay have also ruptured. Such a sequence of earthquakes occurring on different faults in such a short time-frame has not been witnessed before in New Zealand. There will be many types of data and days of collection and analysis required to make sense of what happened and what the implications of this earthquake sequence are for the future.


Onto other news, Max is continuing to do well, the lawns are growing, weeds have followed, ( why do they behave like sheep ) , Hugh has been busy on the mower, and new rules mean that if you are on a quad bike in a public place,like a beach, a helmet is mandatory!!!

Some of these tall trees are now felled and cut into firewood, the weeping silver pear at the right hand side is graceful with drooping branches, and along the fence-line the daffs have all finished their golden glory.

December tall trees #4Golden  daffs 2016

My secret sewing is going well, more cut out this morning, and some  more fabrics are in the waiting/processing line.

Quotation of the day, from Roald Dahl

“ And above all, watch with glittering eyes

the whole world around you

because the greatest secrets are always

hidden in the most unlikely places.

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”

Greetings from Jean

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

A few… or more….words to say…..


Thank you all so very much for caring, asking, sending emails or making a comment, or finding me on Facebook.

They are a  very big comfort as I see the devastation further south,  homes gone, roads impassable, people stranded, others worried as there would be no cell phone coverage. The clean-up will be massive down south. Evacuations are in full swing,  the elderly, frail, sick, and families with young children had priority, tourists who needed to get to connecting flights, and then in came the  rescuers , by helicopter and by ship.   Hundreds of locals, tourists, and families  were isolated at Kaikoura, a town near the coast and popular for tourists with whale watching, and the yummy crayfish delicacy.Massive slips have cut off all roads to the north and south.

The earthquake on Monday morning has  been upgraded to 7.8 magnitude, after further data has been received.

Did you know that at the moment warships from other countries are here at Auckland, taking part in the celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

 United States,  Canada,  Australia,  Japan and  Singapore

have all offered assistance to New Zealand to assist with help needed in the South Island areas devastated by the 7.5 magnitude earthquake early Monday 14th November.These offers have been accepted with huge gratitude.

The  fleet of international warships is bypassing Auckland's historic naval celebrations and heading for Kaikoura to assist with the earthquake response.

The HMCS  Vancouver from Canada, the USS Sampson from US, the HMAS Darwin from Australia, and a United States Marine Corps P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft will join the relief teams. Our own HMNZS Wellington, HMNZS Canterbury have arrived, and will assist with supplies, and evacuation of hundreds of people still there, who have not been transported by helicopter( or small planes that have been privately chartered ).




HMNZS Wellington Patrol Ship


New Zealand is a small country, about the same size as Colorado in the US, or  we would fit 4 times into Ontario. We live in the North Island,  and the earthquake was  near Culverden in the  South Island, a straight line distance of 400km.

After-shocks continue ,supplies are coming into the isolated areas, and after severe flooding in the Wellington area and further North,  we are wondering when will life be back to normal.

For all those who love their animals, the news is that Max is doing well, and out and about once again. Better than that, pets in the Kaikoura and surrounding areas will be evacuated with their owners.A team from Wellington SPCA will oversee the rescue. Pets will be microchipped if necessary to prevent them being misplaced. And they will go to Christchurch by sea, it is being  called “ Noah’s Ark” and is the largest  marine evacuation of animals  in New Zealand .

Red poppies and white Dutch Iris in the garden , just to show how nature can give us beauty amidst huge turmoil.

Red Poppies and White Dutch IrisPoppies in the sun

Quotation of the day from Oscar Wilde

“The smallest act of kindness

is worth more than the greatest intention”

Greetings from Jean


Monday, 14 November 2016

The News travelled far and wide.



Thank you, so much, for asking if we are safe.  We are .

The 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck at 12.02 a.m. this morning. It was centred 400km  in a direct line south of us,  and has  caused major damage to roads, homes and businesses.There have been Tsunami warnings, some have been downgraded to a coastal and marine watch. People have been told to stay away from all coastal areas.

Now, at 12.23 p.m. there have been 73 quakes  and many more classed as   after-shocks.


Courtesy of the Internet, details below.

UPDATED 10:10am --- Significant tsunami waves which hit around Kaikoura after midnight's M7.5 earthquake have now started to ease and warnings for *land* are being lifted. Kaikoura recorded waves of 2.5 metres earlier this morning, Christchurch 1 metre and Wellington half a metre.

WeatherWatch.co.NZ says this is a historic earthquake and tsunami event for New Zealand.



We are about 400km ( 250 miles) in a straight line from the earthquake epicentre. We felt it, it rolled, it shook, I couldn’t stand or walk for a  minute, they say it lasted for 2 minutes. There is massive damage to roads in that area, houses reduced to rubble, and 2 people have died.

It was felt from Invercargill, in the far south to Whangarei in the far North, 800 miles or 1300 km from north to south direct line.

The map and photos below, courtesy of the Internet.

South Island with Earthquake centre

This is near Kaikoura, close to the coast  in the South Island. Directly to the right  and  some km.  north of where the red circle is on the map above.

Road damage near Kaikoura

this is closer to the epicentre, near Mt Lyford’

Road damage near Mt Lyford

Here is the map ,courtesy of the Internet. An interactive site that shows the depth of each quake.

Site concept and development: Paul Nicholls (Christchurch, New Zealand)

Christchurch Quake Map today

For those who have experienced this at a higher level, my thoughts are with you. Be brave, stay strong, for those who have  stolen property, you are a coward and a thief. Face up to what you have done and return those goods you took , from others in a very vulnerable position.  I hope you get caught and punished severely.

Thank you all again, the emails, Facebook comments, and phone calls  are  so  much appreciated. I am so grateful, thankful  and fortunate to have wonderful, caring, loving ,friends and family.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Be prepared, it might not happen today,

or tomorrow, but someday it will”

Greetings from Jean.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

This and That and a little Stash


First, so many thanks to

Molli Sparkles     and to

Robyn at   The Strawberry Thief .

Bundle coming to add to my stash

My stash has increased. I was one of the Australia/New Zealand winners, and here is the fantastic bundle of Liberty Fabrics.And to think it just has to fly over the ditch, so to speak. And look at those blues, my favourite colours all there.

Update on Max, he is VERY slowly improving, cat flu was the diagnosis, the account equal to about 5  metres  ( or  6 yards )  of batiks!! So an injection, eye ointment ( 4 hourly ) and more chocolate paste each day. He is in a room now called  ‘ Max’s Room” , complete with a  food bar and an ensuite!!! I have to remember he is a stray who came to us 3 years ago, had never been in a cat cage, never ( probably) visited the vet clinic, never been in a vehicle, and… WAIT for it, never used or seen a cat  litter tray. He has done so well, and is now more tame than before he was ill. So quilty things have been on hold, until I knew he was getting better. Probably another 2 weeks before he will have made a complete recovery. I have fabrics sorted out for a present to be posted soon, Christmas things to be done, a cake or two or more to be baked.

But to see those fabrics, my heart did a little dance, and I sang, silently.

Ginger Boy and his winter coat

Here he is with a winter coat, and as we think he might be a part Norwegian Forest Cat, has that huge ruff, and big tufts in his paws.

So many thanks for all your lovely comments on my last post, I truly so appreciate them all. Blog friends are so important.

Do you remember when I posted about Jake Bailey in November 2015,                 The Week that Was

Jake  is back in New Zealand for a brief visit, is in remission,and in a public speech recently at an Australian Cancer Charity Dinner at the Tour De Cure Snow Ball in Sydney, on 18 June 2016 , received a standing ovation from the 1000 who attended. They were in tears as he spoke of how the diagnosis changed his life  and his perspective on each day .

Here are some excerpts from his speech, courtesy of the internet. He began his 20 minute speech by asking all the audience to please sit down.


Embrace each day. I was dying to get home from school. I was dying for the weekends. I was dying for the school holidays, and then before I knew it I was dying in Christchurch Hospital.

'What you really need to do is be grateful for the people in your life and for your ability to live that normal life.'

'It is no excuse to not appreciate life fully. You owe it to the people that are unable to.

"I did not pray to live. Instead I asked if this was going to be the thing that killed me, that I faced it with strength.

"If it was going to kill me, it would do it on my terms, and I would not die a coward. Not wanting to let fear dictate my death anymore than it had dictated my life.

"But no, no way, there was not a chance in hell that I was going to die of this."

"Every day starts with me not being dead, and what a fantastic way to start each day,"


Quotation of the day, from Marcus  Aurelius

“When you arise in the morning,

think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive-

to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love”

Greetings from Jean

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

This and That, and No Stash at all


I looked at my last post and was dismayed. way too long since I wrote some words. Gardens, life, fabric selections and cats intervened.

The pumpkins and leaves  were made, with help from Boris, the next instalment  arrived with details to make a table topper, from  Carole , you can find her here.          From My Carolina Home


Pumpkins and leaves

So I looked at all my pale batiks, nothing there. I looked at the LQS shelves, last Friday nothing there. Today was to be the day for “SHOPPING’

Max  after his breakfast


My schedule was all sorted,a bit of this and that,

Hugh went off to fly his plane, but then there was the cat

Max was really very  ill, so first catch him,  and hold him tight

I’m not sure, but think he didn’t have strength to fight

One injection, then some paste,  the wallet was quite hurt!!

Home again,  and realise, no fabric would be bought !!!

So not a fat quarter,  a scrap, a metre or a yard

This was a day when it was all just way too hard.

I need sashing for those blocks, to fit round pumpkins and  a leaf

Pale blue or cream will do I think, with orange in between.

So that’s my story for today, it ends with skies so grey

Tomorrow a different story ,the rain is on its way.


This was some of the batik stash a while ago, and all that is left is the  green on the middle left  and top right, with a New Zealand  Fern leaf motif on it.

Choice of Batiks

Hugh’s cousin and I are thinking of getting a ruler foot each,  for our Bernina machines, and some quilting rulers, after seeing how much easier it makes the FMQ. The one we need isn’t available in New Zealand yet, so are trying to find where they are available overseas. #72, will fit  both our machines. I see they should be available in the last quarter of the year, we are there now, so hope for news very soon.

Quotation  of the day, author unknown

“  True friends are like threads in a special fabric,

tightly interwoven to give beauty

and to last forever”

Greetings from Jean

Friday, 14 October 2016

Have you ever COUNTED ???


The seams sewn, the seams pressed open, the threads trimmed,and the times you cut blocks to the right size?

I read Carole’s post on Autumn Jubilee, you can read about it   HERE

and thought this would be something easy for me to attempt. 24 blocks, and I have lots of batik strips, so off I went and started to find suitable fabrics. Easy, well some parts were, but doable in the allotted time, finished today, as the  next instalment arrives tomorrow, NZ time!!!Batik strips and scraps

I sorted, cut, pressed,  and did so many HST. Then the plain squares, and the ones with a wee strip for a stem. Purples, naturally, blues, greens, and all shades of oranges and tans.

Autumn Jubilee HST

Autumn Jubilee HST finishedAutumn Jubilee stems and HST

Gradually things all came together, Boris wanted to put in his opinion, and ventured across the small design board.

Autumn Jubilee #1Autumn Jubilee #7

Autumn Jubilee #6


Autumn Jubilee #2Autumn Jubilee #3

Autumn Jubilee #4

Autumn Jubilee #5

Sitting, waiting for that morning coffee.The morning light was not bright, a faint glimmer of sunshine helped.

Autumn Jubilee Waiting for coffee

The sun is rising so much further to the East, and we get those shadows on a different part of the lawn. I know there is a huge amount of work to mow the lawns, fell the trees,split the wood, but in reality we live in a beautiful place.

Sunlit trees, October 2016

Quotation of the day , for my friends further North

“ Autumn,

the time when nature colours the leaves with

red, gold and orange,

showing that a leaf can be as beautiful

as any flower”

Greetings from Jean.