my life in the land down under

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Quilting Lesson #6 / Words IV

Our final beginners quilting class was held more than a week ago – I find it hard to believe the course has finished already. There will be one last get-together for our small group at the end of August, when our tutor will give us some instruction on putting the blocks together and finishing the quilt. Meanwhile we are welcome to attend a Thursday afternoon stitching group if we would like to – this is just an opportunity to meet with others over a cuppa and work on whatever project we have underway, either machine or hand-stitching.

I still have lots to learn – for example how best to finish off my blocks so the back is neat, not a mess of cotton threads! – and there is room for improvement in my appliqué stitching skills.

I was feeling encouraged at the last class, even though I haven’t progressed as quickly as I would have liked to, having only made it to the fourth block. I’ve tried a couple of things to ensure the blocks end up the right size, and have decided to sew the 1/4″ seams a little smaller – along with checking the measurements very carefully as I go, this seems to be working well. It was a challenge sewing the eight small strips together and ending up with the correct size – would you believe I over-corrected to start with and made them too big! I had to re-sew the seams, and compromised by making the two end strips smaller than the others. I also had difficulty getting some of the other seams straight, so I admit there was some unpicking and re-doing to get the (near) perfect result you see below. 😉

I’ve unpicked the stem stitch words on the previous blocks, and am replacing them with back stitch; unfortunately it takes some concentration on my part to get the stitches really straight, which makes it difficult to do while watching TV or when tired, so I’m making slow progress.

Block #4 uses the word ‘cuddle’ and I have left this unchanged, as its something we like to do. 🙂

Quilt Block #4 – First appliqué panel

Second appliqué panel

Quilt Block #4 – stitched word

Appliqué & Stitchery

The completed block

The Quilt Project – progress so far:

1 – Beginnings

2 – Quilting Lesson #1

3 – Attempts at Appliqué

4 – Words

5 – Quilting Lesson #2

6 – Words II – To The Bride & Groom

7 – Appliqué  Again

8 – Quilting Lesson #5 / Words III

More to come!



Christmas in July

Last weekend the weather changed, and Christmas came at our local Historic Village.

Christmas Wreath

Christmas Tree Baubles

Complete with snow…

… a brass band…

… mulled wine (or should that be ‘cider’)…

… twinkling lights…

… and a choir singing Christmas carols. There were lots of children present, but I was asked by more than one parent/grandparent not to publish photos of their children online, so I haven’t.

Somehow I missed seeing Santa Claus, but was able to photograph the reindeer. 🙂

I also used the movie function on my Nikon D7000 for the first time. I want to learn how to incorporate a short movie into an audiovisual presentation with still photos; this (aka ‘Fusion’) being the current challenge in our camera club AV group.

Christmas Lights

Night Lights

Merry Mid-Winter Christmas, everyone!

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Last of the Season

This was probably the last monarch we will see this season: it emerged from its chrysalis on 15th July and we released it from our back yard a couple of days later.

I say ‘probably’ because we still have one chrysalis inside, and one caterpillar outside on a swan plant. The chrysalis seems to be well-formed but is very small. The caterpillar is only medium-sized and doesn’t appear to be progressing – its not eating and has stayed pretty much in the same place for several days. We will wait to see how they do.

We have had some nice sunny days with low overnight temps recently, followed by some extremely wet weather. We were glad to wake up this morning and find the rain had stopped!

Monarch female

Monarch female, preparing for flight


Morning Mist

John is a morning person; I am not.

He believes that if I get up early and get on with things I’ll achieve a lot more each day. I tend to be a slow starter, becoming enthusiastic about projects in the evening, when he is winding down and thinking about heading for bed.

I do occasionally get up early though (other than for work); the promise of a photographic outing is a good incentive, such as a mass ascension of hot air balloons, or something calmer like trees in the mist along the riverside.

These were taken near Napier a few weeks ago. I loved the combination of trees, mist, water, and the warm morning light.

Trees in Mist #1

Trees in Mist #2

Approaching the River

River View #1

River View #2

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Trees I Have Known

As we were about to leave for Napier a few weeks ago, John let me know the council had arrived and were in the process of planting a tree. So at risk of annoying him (because we were already running late), I stopped packing for a few minutes, grabbed the camera and rushed outside to record the moment. I’m sure some of the people who turn up at our place must think, who is this crazy woman? In this case, why is she so excited about a tree?!

When we married almost seven years ago, we had mature camellias and rhododendrons flowering close to the house. Unfortunately they blocked a lot of light from the living area so when we cleaned up the section with intent to renovate, they were among the first to go, along with several citrus trees from around the back.

Camellia & Rhododendron

There was a Himalayan Cedar, aka Cedrus deodara, a huge tree worthy of its own post (see The Saga of the Cedar).

Our next-door neighbours had a small, prettily-shaped kowhai which we could see from our main bedroom. This was very attractive to tuis when it was in flower in the springtime; I loved hearing the birdsong as they enjoyed the nectar, and had to laugh when I saw one chasing other birds away so it could have the tree all to itself! Last year the neighbours chopped the tree down; I’m not sure why, maybe the dropped flowers made too much of a mess on an otherwise pristine section. I was disappointed enough to put a status update on Facebook (I don’t update very often).


Then there was the variegated pohutukawa. Planted on another corner of our section and effectively on council land, it was initially surrounded by other trees and shrubs. Council workers came to give the area a tidy-up and removed most of the other trees, leaving a tall and misshapen pohutukawa on its own. It gradually filled out and flowered and was looking good. Until it grew too close to the power lines; then it also was removed.

Variegated Pohutukawa in flower

Its been a while since we lost the other trees and we had almost forgotten the council’s promise of a replacement.  Until the arborists arrived…

And now we have a Prunus amanogawa. It’s a type of flowering cherry, otherwise known as ‘flagpole cherry’ or ‘lombard poplar cherry’. Results of a quick google search also indicated that the flowers are attractive to birds, including tuis.

I’m looking forward to spring this year. 🙂

Prunus amanogawa newly planted

Prunus amanogawa (flowering cherry) in bud