My quilting thoughts and inspirations sprinkled with a glimpse of life down on the farm

Thursday, July 18, 2019

There and back

(and home again)
(Warning photo heavy and no quilty crafty snippets in this post!)

In my last post I mentioned that we were having a few days away while Mum was staying. Because she had never really explored the Far North, we headed up there.
From where we live, it's about 4 hours to Cape Reinga, the tip of the country. We meandered our way up north.
Obligatory tourist stop as you go through the mid north is the toilets at Kawakawa (!). Built by Hundertwasser in 1999 using recycled materials they are a must stop and one of the town's main attractions.
We stopped for lunch at the 'world famous' fish shop at Mangonui, eating out over the water :-)

We travelled further north and followed the coastline, along Doubtless Bay until we got to Awanui. Here we stopped at Kauri Kingdom, where recovered ancient swamp Kauri is carved/fashioned into tables, and other beautiful pieces. The trees have been preserved in swamps and are carbon dated to be about 45 000 years old!
This table was priced at a mere $49000!
Visiting here was doubly interesting to us this time as ED and her hubby have recently found some ancient swamp Kauri on their block of land. What they thought was the odd 'log' partially buried on the ground turned out to be big swamp Kauri logs mostly buried in the ground!
We headed up towards the northern tip of the country - up the Peninsular as I call it; until we reached Houhora which is where we stayed back in March.
Houhora Inlet on the East Coast
After a beautiful sunrise the next morning —
We headed north to reach the top of the country. The first time I went up to Cape Reinga it was mostly metal roads and not a very pleasant drive. Now it's all sealed roads! At times you could almost see the coast on both sides at the same time - the East Coast and the West Coast - it's not a very wide part of New Zealand!
Te Werahi Beach, to the west of Cape Reinga - the first spot where you see
ocean that is above the country!
First sighting of Cape Reinga, the lighthouse
The MOML and Mum looking for the Three Kngs Islands (visible on a clear day)
and picking where the South Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea.
We left Mum on a seat part way down, while the MOML and I walked down to the lighthouse. Took the necessary tourist photos —
After admiring the views, we set off back to Houhora for another night. We took a different route this time, turning off at the Te Paki sand dunes, driving a short way along the Te Paki River and onto 90 Mile Beach.
Te Paki Sand Dunes - there's quite a good little business going, hiring out boards
visitors can slide down these dunes (and climb up again to slide down again!)
Driving down the river
And along the beach —
90 Mile Beach is not quite 90 miles long. It's actually about 55 miles, misnamed by the settlers who miscalculated how far their horses could travel per day on the sand. We didn't drive down as far as the Bluff. We'd worked out where we needed to turn off to get to our accommodation.
Yep, there's our turn off!
On our way home, the next day, we decided to show Mum the Hokianga which is described as a large fjord-like inlet on the west coast. The harbour extends inland for 30 kms. We drove to Kohukohu and took the car ferry across to Rawene, on the other side of the harbour.
On the ferry, looking back towards Kohukohu
At Opononi we said hello to Opo the Dolphin - who was a friendly dolphin who captured the hearts of New Zealand back in 1955.
The big original statue was vandalised and replaced with this smaller one
a few years ago.
The sand dunes at Opononi
The mouth of the Hokianga harbour
We drove home down the west coast, through the Waipoua forest, well known for its large Kauri forest, including our largest known living Kauri tree, Tane Mahuta. There were a lot of people at the car park near Tane Mahuta and the weather was starting to turn so we didn't stop and walk to see it. We were saddened to see the amount of Kauri dieback disease in the forest as we drove down through the forest. Huge old trees reduced to bare branches.
A bit more of a drive and then we were home! We had a great couple of days away and it was interesting to show Mum some of the sights and scenery of this part of the country that we love so much. Lots of sea, sand, big spaces and not too many people :-)

I took Mum back down home at the start of the week (a day there and a day back) and I think she was happy to be back in her own bed!
Finally I've had a chance to sort and resize my photos and yaay finally a blog post is written.
Tomorrow night is Friday Night Sew In and I've just popped over to Wendy at Sugarlane Designs to sign up for it. I'm looking forward to a bit of stitching (perhaps). 
Thanks for putting up with all the photos and the geography lesson on the Far North :-)
'til next time,
Happy stitches,

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A new One Monthly Goal

After success last month with meeting my goal of getting a quilt top together, I'm keen to sign up with the Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal again. I'm hoping I can have success two months in a row!
I am taking part in The Country Yard's Mystery Christmas Stitchery, Not Even A Mouse. It has lots of very cute stitched blocks and I'm happy to say that I am keeping up with stitching those.

However there's a bit of piecing that also needs to happen and I'd LOVE IT if I caught up on that.
My goal for the month is to piece 24, 3" friendship stars.
The stars go around this centre stitchery.
The half square triangles are at the pressing and trimming stage, so there's a bit of sewing involved.
I'd be happy if I also caught up on the rest of the piecing for this project (there's no more small blocks like the stars) but we'll just have to wait and see about that...!
Such cute blocks
I'll be reporting on my achievement later in the month! Thank you Patty for this link up :-)

I've barely had the chance to sew lately; just a bit of invisible machine applique which I decided to unpick. I used Smoke monofilament when I really should have used Clear, and it wasn't as invisible as I would have liked! Unpicking size 1.1 zig-zag sewn in 'invisible' thread is not the easiest thing to do!

I've been knitting again in the evenings and have managed a pullover for George —
Being ably modelled by George
and (nearly) some slippers for Xavier.—
Had just enough yarn leftover from George's pullover
for these!
Mum is staying at the moment and she is busy knitting as well. ED requested some toddler sized Granny jerseys for her two.
She always knits in a pattern as she gets tired of stocking stitch
so every jersey is unique!
(The colours haven't shown up so nicely in this photo).

We're off on our Winter Holiday tomorrow - two whole nights away - such is the life of a Dairy Farmer! We're taking Mum up north as she's not seen much of the Far North before. It will be nice to get away and we are hoping for fine weather so we can enjoy the sights!
'til next time,
Happy stitches,

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Ticking the Box!

Just in the nick of time I am able to say Yaay, I have met the goal I set when I signed up for Patty's One Monthly Goal at the start of the month.
I had hoped that the mystery stitchery I did last year would be put together by the end of today.
Yes it is :-)
I had all the blocks stitched, some of the piecing done, but plenty more to do on it and I'm pleased that joining in with Patty gave me that extra push of motivation to get it completed.
A couple of closer shots since you cant really see what's going on in the full-quilt one —
The eagle eyed amongst you will notice the trailing threads that need trimming and also suspect that it really should have a final outer border. Yes, we are supposed to add two inch strips around the outside. I've run out of the cream solid as I made it bigger to fit on a single bed. I need to go shopping but this is where I wanted to be so I'm happy.
We celebrate at the end of the month by linking up our completion posts - click *here* to see who else achieved their goal. Thank you, Patty :-)

Lily's (sheepskin soled) slippers were in a semi-completed state last time I showed them, so here they are finished.
And here she is modelling them for you —
Both her and her brother's slippers have needed the cord re threading so they've now been securely attached at the back (!!).  ED now ties the bow around the back of the slipper to minimise temptation and more cord pulling!

Today was the first of the birthday celebrations for our family this month. In the space of 29 days there are 9 family birthdays! A simple lunch and a cake with most of the family gathering (weekend sport took precedence for some) was a lovely way to spend a few hours.
I hope you've had a happy weekend too, 
'til next time,
happy stitches,