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my life in the land down under


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Evening Expedition

We embarked on our second geocaching expedition this weekend (see this website for more information).

Last week while browsing the internet for local caches, we discovered that our first ever ‘find’ was being offered up for adoption by its current owner. We decided to take it on, so are now the proud owners of our first geocache! It had been placed a long time ago and was in need of some freshening up, so after a quick shopping trip we headed there first. The weather was quite different this visit; blue sky, sunshine and the tide was in. We put a new log book and some other bits and pieces in the cache and hope that it will be found again soon. We also took a ‘trackable’ that had been there since January, intending to move it on to another cache.

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Downward steps

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View from the bottom of the track – it looked different with the tide in

Then it was off to see what else we could find. We are choosing the ‘easy’ caches but being novices we are taking time to locate them, so only clocked up another two successes. In both cases we considered giving up and marking DNF (did not find) on the cache’s online log; but persevered and eventually were rewarded for our efforts. We’re still learning how to use the GPS well, and how to spot something subtly different in the environment which indicates where a cache might be hidden – a challenge to our observation skills.

Our first find was in an area with lots of pohutukawa trees and a good view from the top of a small hill. The early evening light was lovely, and we enjoyed exploring another local area we hadn’t been to before (or at least not for a long time). Of course we took a camera with us to record the visit, but also as a ‘cover’ should anyone not familiar with geocaching wonder what we were doing! We dropped off the Travel Bug trackable here, in the hope that it might be found by geocachers from overseas who would help it on its way back to the UK. There were quite a few people around but the cache was in a good hiding place, and we don’t think we were seen retrieving it.

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Pohutukawa shadows

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View from the hilltop, looking west over the harbour

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View from the hilltop, looking east toward the Pacific Ocean

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Late sun through the trees

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Pohutukawas growing on the hillside

Our second cache this trip was hidden very close to where I work. Saturday evening was a great time to visit this location as there were very few cars or people around. It was getting dark by now and we hadn’t thought to bring a torch, although it may have  drawn more attention to us. The only clues we had were the GPS co-ordinates – which get you pretty close but not to the exact spot – and the hint ‘under’, so we were pleased to finally locate the cache. 🙂

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Fence

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Evening sky complete with moon

Later, when we’d eaten dinner, we logged our finds on the geocaching website – including retrieving and dropping off our first trackable. Here’s to more adventures in the future!

Please note, none of the photos give away the actual location of the cache. 🙂


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Treasure Hunting

After acquiring a handheld GPS this week, yesterday we went on our first geocaching expedition.

For all you want to know about geocaching, see here . It’s like treasure hunting for adults – complete with GPS co-ordinates and clues – and people all over the world participate.

I’m still working my way through “Geocaching 101″… and learning how the GPS works!

On looking at the map to see where caches were hidden, I was amazed at how many there were in our area – right under our noses, so to speak – you just need to know where to look. For our first attempt, John chose two that were supposedly good for beginners to find, were located in easy terrain, and had been ‘found’ recently (so we knew they were still there).

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View from the top of the track – there’s rain on the way

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The track – not such easy terrain after all!

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At the bottom of the track – a place to rest

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View from the bottom of the track – the tide was out

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Our first find – signing the log book

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There’s treasure hidden somewhere down here – sorry, we’re not telling where!

Our first cache was easy to find – a great one to start with, and we loved the views from the track. The second one was a different story and we had almost given up when we found it. 🙂 Oh yes – and we were getting eaten by mozzies at the time.

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Now, which path did Little Red Riding Hood take?

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Success at last! – signing the log book for our second find

It’s a great way to explore an area and get some exercise with an interesting goal, as it can be incorporated with walking or cycling. There’s an element of secrecy as you don’t want to be seen finding the caches, and you never know what treasures they might hold. In some cases we’re advised to watch out for ‘muggles’, i.e. other members of the public who might not be in-the-know.

This seems to bring out the big kid in us – not a bad thing. It might be addictive, as we’re already planning our next outing. 🙂


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Postage Stamp Quilt Swap 2013: #1

In my last post I talked about building up my stash of quilting fabrics, so I could participate in the Postage Stamp Quilt Swap taking place this month.

I’m going to be using 2 1/2″ squares, and had just begun cutting when I thought I should re-check the instructions for the swap, just to make sure I was doing everything right. I came across this info on pre-washing… oh no, just as well I had only cut a few squares so far. I would really hate for someone on the other side of the world to sew my squares into their PSQ, and have them shrink or the colour run and ruin their quilt!! 😦

So I started again and hand-washed all the fabric I’d acquired recently, in several batches, around my work hours and other commitments. Its autumn here but we’re still having summer temps – mid-twenties C – so the fabric dried quickly. Then it was off to the ironing board, trim off the frayed bits and back to the cutting table – currently set up on the dining table to be more sociable – here’s hoping we don’t decide to invite people over for a meal this week. (Yes, we did – sorry Bryce!)

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Pre-washed fabric drying

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Ironing

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On the cutting table

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Some of the resulting 2 1/2″ squares

Have to go now, I have lots more squares to cut! 🙂


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Stash Building

Mid-February, this announcement of an upcoming Postage Stamp Quilt Swap made me think seriously about acquiring some more fabric so I could participate. You can only do the newbie thing once and that was me in October last year; this time around I wanted to do a proper swap – but to do that I needed to have some ‘stash’ to share.

In late February we spent a few days in Napier, where I gained some inspiration from John’s sister Joan who is a quilter, and browsed two quilt shops she recommended: JJ’s Crafts in Greenmeadows and Patch & Quilt at Riverside Winery, Puketapu. Patch & Quilt was first on our list, and when we got there John decided to set up a folding chair under some shady trees in the parking area and work on his i-Pad, telling me to take my time and buy / spend whatever I liked – dangerous talk! Rachel at Patch & Quilt was amused when I told her, and tried to sell me a new sewing machine, but I resisted the temptation and only bought fabric. When I reappeared outside after more than an hour, John’s response was ‘You spent what?!’ Tongue-in-cheek of course, as I’d been quite restrained! Well I thought so anyway. 😉

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Fat eighths and tenths (?) from Patch and Quilt

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Tenths in blue

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Pretty patterns

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Eighths in red and brown

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Multicoloured eighths

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Eighths in green

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Eighths in brown

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Last but not least – eighths in pink, yellow, green & blue

Then we headed to JJ’s and I found more to my liking, picking up several colourful fat quarters.

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Fat quarters from JJ’s

After we got home from Napier I visited the local Spotlight store, looking for novelty fabrics for another project (more to come on this later).

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Novelty prints from Spotlight

Joan had already started my collection of novelties by donating these bits from her stash.

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Novelty prints from Joan

When I’m free on Tuesday mornings, I’ve been going along to a ladies patchwork group that a friend from camera club invited me to. Last week they had arranged an outing to visit some quilt shops in our area. We started at Village Fabrics, Te Puna, where I did my beginner’s quilting class last year, then moved on to Patches & Cream in Paeroa and had lunch at the Courtyard Cafe. Then we headed back by way of Cushlas Village Fabrics in Waihi and Katipatch in Katikati, finishing at Te Puna and then home. I was still keeping my eyes open for novelty fabrics as I wanted around 60-80 different ones, but also had the PSQ swap in mind. Every shop had different goodies on display so it wasn’t difficult to spend some money in each!

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Fat quarters from Patches and Cream

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Fat quarters from Cushlas Village Fabrics

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Fabrics from Katipatch (0.3m each)

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Novelty fabrics and probable border from Village Fabrics

This was more than enough to be going on with. John’s comment when I showed off my purchases – ‘You’re really good at picking colours. I wish you were as good at sewing!’ 😉

Watch this space…