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

Monday, May 26, 2014

Another catchup post -

The weekend before we went to Pittsburgh for Quilt Market, a group of us had our annual retreat.
The peninsula of Whangarei Heads is beautiful, with lots of coastline, and the camp where we stay is a lovely spot with a gorgeous setting. Admittedly we are mostly heads down at our sewing machines but it is always nice to look up and take in the view. There are always some good walks to be had, as well, along the coastline.
Always something happening out on the water.
We had a full house this year (18), luckily most of us have Sew-Ezi tables so
we all fitted in (still setting up and waiting for later arrivals in this pic).
We decided to host a Pink Ribbon morning tea while at there to raise money for The NZ Breast Cancer Foundation.
Prior to retreat we needed to organise a few props -
Using 'breast cancer' fabric we sewed and sewed...
...and made this gorgeous table runner,
perfect for our tea party.
And for a bit of fun, can you spot the
special biscuits I made, keeping to the
theme of the occasion?
We also thought it would be fun to wear a quirky hat. For some reason this hat
won the  most votes as favourite!
This fundraiser carries on until the end of the month. I have a special fundraising page if anyone wants to donate a little ... this year the funds raised go to research. The link is in my sidebar or *here*. I was asked if it is possible to donate via PayPal, this isn't possible. They will only accept credit cards. I haven't reached my goal yet so any further donations, large or small would be gratefully accepted!

This year I took a lot of little projects to retreat so in a way felt that I didn't achieve much, but I guess they all add up!
I did start a new quilt, my new Red and White one for the SewCalGal challenge.
Lots of learning which I will share another time.
I made a recipe book cover for one of ED's friends.
..and decorated a hand towel as a gift for another friend.
A few of us decided to make this bag.
Very cute, a lovely shape.
This pattern is by Gathering Stitchers and can be
found *here*.
All so different!
It was a great weekend, lots of laughs and creativity. Of course we all took far too much food and too many projects. Looking forward to the next one :-)

Today was the first chance I have had to unpack my sewing machine since retreat  - I made a few simple blocks and feel whole again. The days are definitely cooler now so hopefully I can have a few more dates with it!
Have a great week and happy stitching,

Sunday, May 25, 2014

New Zealand to Pittsburgh and home again!

(Alternative title - The Country Yard goes to International Spring Market)
(photo heavy)
Our feet are firmly back on the ground now after a fabulous week away. What a great experience going to Pittsburgh for Spring Market!
On the way over there we went through 5 airports and clocked up a fair few hours in the air. Got there in time to have a good night's sleep before hitting Quilt Market running and not stopping for the three days it was held.
Talk about huge!! Hundreds of stalls, lots of people, plenty of walking, talking, stalking of our favourite designers and of course discovering new ones :-)
26 aisles of booths. Numbering of booths went from 101 to 2655 (some booths took up several spaces but that was still a lot of selling spots!)
We were lucky to be able to do classes on two mornings, these were held before the doors opened on the main area so meant a couple of early starts, however our body clocks were all out of kilter anyway so what's a little more confusion?! We both found these inspiring and gave us great ideas to bring back to NZ.
Eleanor Burns class on Saturday morning.
There were dozens of fabric houses at Spring Market; we looked at these a little to get an idea of what was coming out soon but as we are served pretty well by our NZ distributers we didn't get into too many conversations with them.
We were delighted to see a strong appearance by our neighbours the Australian designers - catching up with favourites and meeting new ones - their booths looked brilliant and they certainly held their heads up high amongst the dozens of other designers.
So much to take in, new patterns, products, and ideas. Many reknown and clever designers. We literally shopped until we dropped and are really pleased with everything we have brought back with us or ordered, plenty of goodies, inspiration and future projects and programmes .... we see many hours of sewing ahead of us :-)
Laundry Basket Quilts booth. One of many beautiful booths.
Special exhibit presented by the International Quilt Assn
We had two days to sightsee before we started the long haul home again. Monday after quilt market we needed a quiet, low energy day and went on a tour around the city. The guides were entertaining and the commentary interesting.
City tour in a WW2 Amphibus or Aquabus.
 Sadly we couldn't go on the water as the current was too strong.
A lovely taxi driver then took us under his wing and showed us a few spots we hadn't seen - without the meter on (but we were good tippers by then) and then we spent a few hours at a mall doing a little shopping.

446 bridges in Pittsburgh! 
 On Tuesday we had a private car tour booked to take us into Amish country. We visited Volant, an hour north of the city, which I think is the third largest Amish community in Pennsylvania. There were touristy type shops there but we also went along back roads and were able to visit some shops on private properties. With our connection to the quilting world, we found this to be a great delight. Buggies on the road, horses ploughing up paddocks, children potting plants, home made crafts. We loved it. So interesting to see the way of life the Amish people have, and we were full of admiration of how they continue to live as they wish in spite of this fast paced technoloigcal world we all live in.

Naturally we did our bit to support the local community... this rug was made by an Amish lad in a shed at his home. He has Cerebral Palsy and works diligently producing dozens of these colourful rugs. I had imagined it would be perfect by our fireplace, and wasn't disappointed. The pets already think it is great there too.
Love the texture!
And our goal was to find an authentic Amish quilt. On another property we found a quilt shop. It sold finished items, and had a great variety of quilts and other items, most of which were sewn with a treadle machine and hand quilted.
We were treated to a genuine bed turning - what a buzz. Our guide was also blown away by the beautiful queen sized quilts and all three of us were considering which one we would like to take home....!
We went for lap quilts in the end though - this is the one I purchased.
The first quilt I have ever purchased :-)
It looks perfect in our dining room. All the family approves!
And so ended a whirlwind 6 nights in Pittsburgh. The next day saw us starting the long trip home, only 4 airports this time. A relief to finally touch down on NZ soil, to find all our bags and drive up home to our loved ones. Now spending the weekend recharging our batteries. I look forward to going into work this week and unpacking all our treasures :-)
A favourite photo taken during the flight home.
Sunrise in Sydney, Australia.
Thank you to everyone who left 'safe and happy travelling' messages in my last post. I appreciated them all but just ran out of time to reply, sorry. I do look forward to seeing what has been happening in blogland and in your sewing rooms so hopefully I will get to visit soon.
Have a great day, and happy creating,

Thursday, May 8, 2014


For the significance of the keys and the passport, read on :-)
Excitement is building here in my house as two wonderful things are happening very soon...!
Tomorrow morning I am off to retreat with some lovely quilting buddies. 3 days of sewing - oh bliss. We go to a spot out by the beach and we always have a great time. I have done some pre-cutting so I have bags of part projects all packed into the car already. Of course I think I am taking far more projects that I will get done but never mind, no harm in being optimistic :-)
So that's the car keys in the above photo taken care of, what about the passport?!
I have a couple of days after retreat to unpack and do my washing and then I'm on the road again.This time it will be to hop on a plane (well, several actually) to go to Pittsburg! Yes, lucky me is accompanying my boss to Quilt Market.  This is a trade show so we will have to have our 'shop eyes' on -very exciting :-)
Sadly we aren't able to be away for too long but we do hope to squeeze a little bit of sight seeing in before it's time to come home again.
If I'm a little absent in blogland, you know why!! I will catch you up on my adventures when I'm back!!
Happy sewing!

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Last night I joined in with bloggy friends around the globe, having a little 'me' time with needle and thread.
I had intended to do some machine sewing but ended up spending most of the evening snuggled in my chair hand sewing (maybe it was the Apple Sponge pudding that slowed me down!!).
 I've been stitching away on this Rosalie Quinlan design lately, and made a little more progress —
It is so cute, and I love this Cottage Garden Thread I'm using :-)
I did get distracted on my way to bed and sewed up a few half square triangle blocks —
These are 1 1/2" blocks; a border for a mini I am making. Another lovely shade of blue.
Cheryll hosts Friday Night With Friends once a month, click *here* to see what others Friday Night sewers have been up to as well. Thank you Cheryll for hosting us all.

Cheryll is also hosting a Christmas In July swap.....the sign up for this (Australia and NZ only) is on the same post as the FNWF linky. I did a couple of swaps last year, and had a lot of fun doing them, so am joining in again (signup closes on May 7th so you have a few days to decide!)
And speaking Christmas, here is the block I made for this month's One Christmas Item a Month sewalong, kindly hosted by Narelle. It is for a little quilt out of the Quiltmania magazine - I have been hoarding this, wanting to make it, for a while; you can probably tell, as this fabric of Lynette Anderson's is a few years old now!

You will be thinking how organised I am posting so quickly after last night's sew in.... the truth of the matter is that I was hoping to carry on with my little HST and some sewing this morning but being Opening Morning of duck shooting season, I have a small dog clinging to me like custard.
I'm not moving off my Gan-ma!!!
The morning started quite early when the duck hunter arrived to go out the back to his maimai (hideaway) at the pond...barking galore, what else do you do when there is a strange vehicle arriving at 5am. Then the first shots went off just on dawn (about a km away, down the farm), and the little dog has been stuck to me ever since! I managed to stand up to take the first few photos for this post but had to take them one handed while holding a rather solid dog. Yes, I did try putting him down but he wasn't happy about that!!
So, my Saturday has started!!
Happy stitching everyone, have a fabulous weekend!