Sunday, 26 October 2014

Meeting of the Oceans

After a couple of quiet days I have started a new piece of stitchery today.  
We are at BiL for the weekend, which includes Monday as it is a public holiday, and then we are heading south to explore Wellington. 
We have never spent time in Wellington during past visits other than going to Te Papa, the wonderful museum of New Zealand, and having an overnight stop prior to or after crossing between North and South Islands on the Interislander ferry.  As Wellington is the capital city of NZ this seems rather remiss so we are going to stay for a while and enjoy the city and the culture.
Back to the sewing.  
This piece is inspired by the "meeting of the oceans" off Cape Reinga in the far north. 
It will be a turbulent swirl of threads and stitches by the time I have finished.  The piece of embroidery I started at Kahoe is resting!  The next step is to add a tui bird and I am having difficulty getting the outline just right.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Textures on the Beach

I thought I'd take the opportunity to publish another post while I have some wifi.  Today I visited a great beach in Kuaotunu and was taken with the textures of the various rocks and this tree trunk, there's got to be a piece of embroidery coming out of these somewhere, sometime!
And Al found this urchin shell, French knots anyone?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Tourist Trip

Today we have been to more of a touristy place than usual but it was brilliant and we had a really good time, especially Al who spent ages and ages speaking engineering to the main man.
The place was the Driving Creek Railway, just north of Coromandel.  Here are a few pics.  
Note: the creator of the railway, Barry Brickell, is a potter and, as well as his own creations, the railway is punctuated with those of potters who come to work with him.  

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Northland Craft Trust

On our wet journey down from Kahoe we decided to stop in Whangarei.  We have previously visited the Town Basin which is full of cafes and interesting arts and crafts places but the Quarry Arts Centre, a craft collective, tempted us.  As fortune would have it, it turned out that yesterday was an open studios day so there was a lot happening in addition to excellent coffee and cake. As I couldn't be at Angela Daymond's Woad Weekend it felt good to be supporting other artists.

The centre is, as the name suggests, sited in an old quarry.  
A treasure trove of native plants and bird life filled the space and it was sometimes hard to judge whether what we saw was the recent installation of an artist or the remains of the space as a working quarry!
I spotted these great NZ themed printed prayer flags but unfortunately the textile artist was not in her studio.
All around were exciting sculptures, adding to the atmosphere of the quarry.
A resident potter was setting up a raku firing in an old bath.  It will be opened on Tuesday, I shall be sorry not to see the results.  
Meanwhile, I am making progress with my own work:

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Relaxing and Stitching

I have made myself at home in the Kahoe farmhouse where we are staying in the far north of NZ.  A combination of days out and about exploring the area and blissful days at the farm stitching, sitting and relaxing in the sunshine.
The Spring mornings are a little misty before the sun burns through.  My sewing can't compare with the work of this spider.
This is my collection from a beautiful beach we visited yesterday.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Crafts and Plants in Auckland

At the Botanic Gardens in Auckland there are always interesting sculptures to enjoy.  The ones that caught my eye particularly on my most recent visit were "Caught in the Act of Losing You" by Colleen Ryan Priest, inspired by the giant cane rush, Sporadanthus ferruginous and "Splayed" by Regan Gentry, a botanical specimen made from a collection of shovels (and framed by glorious Sakura).  In the Potter Children's Garden was this mosaic in pebbles by John Bottica, "Frangipani".

There are always events taking place and the current one is a celebration of harakeke (phormium/flax) used by the Maori for their weaving and fibre qualities.  It is used for matting, clothing and containers.  I was unable to join a weaving workshop but enjoyed the examples of work on display.  The photographs were taken through glass cases, apologies for reflections etc.

These bags (kete waikiro) were made by Janie Randerson.

This seed capsule and the bag decorated with peacock feathers were woven by Kerry Gillbanks.

The fan of the harakeke plant represents the family (whanau), with the central shoot being the baby and the outer leaves, the parents.  There is a strict protocol to growing and harvesting the harakeke and cultivars are selected on the basis of their strength, quality, durability and colour.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Travelling Longhaul with Humira

This is not the subject of post that most of my followers would expect to see on Piece'n'Peace.  It is, however, the post that I searched long and hard for when planning my trip to New Zealand so I thought I would write it for anyone else who is searching.

I take Humira, (Adalimumab), in a fortnightly injection, to treat my Crohn's Disease.  The ready to go injectible doses of 40mg are delivered to me every couple of months by refrigerated van and I pop them straight into the fridge.  This is because the medication needs to be kept at between 2-8C at all times.

This isn't usually a problem, except when I wanted to travel to New Zealand, with a stopover in Singapore, and was planning to be away for two months.  That was four doses of Humira and no fridge en route  (my pharmacy explained that the airlines do not have the facilities for things like this).

Firstly I contacted the hotels where I would be staying at Heathrow airport and in Singapore.  Yes, I could put my medication in their fridges and re-freeze gel packs in their freezers.  In New Zealand, although I would be travelling around, I would have a base with my BiL and arranged to be at his when my medication was due, it could therefore stay in his fridge for the duration.

That just left Heathrow to Singapore, Singapore to Auckland, about 23 hours in planes plus transfers and check-in times!

My medication is supplied by Healthcare at Home and one of their pharmacists was very helpful in advising me on carrying the Humira correctly.  He recommended a case, the iCool Prestige storage bag, which has been tested to maintain the correct temperature for 24 hours.  He said I don't have to check on it or anything, just fill it properly and that's it.
So, I ordered an iCool bag (sounds as if it's made by Apple, which appealed to me!) and my journey unfolded like this:

09.15  Tuesday -  Humira and gel packs into the iCool bag, leave home

14.30  Tuesday -  Arrive at Heathrow hotel, Humira into their fridge, gel packs into their freezer

09.15  Wednesday - Humira and gel packs into the iCool bag, leave Heathrow hotel, fly to Singapore

Keep iCool bag on the plane with me, not in the hold

12.00 noon local time Thursday - arrive  at Singapore hotel,  Humira into their fridge, gel packs into their freezer

14.00 Friday - Humira and gel packs into the iCool bag, leave Singapore hotel, fly to Auckland, New Zealand 

Keep iCool bag on the plane with me, not in the hold

13.00 local time Saturday  - Arrive at BiL's, Humira into his fridge, gel packs and iCool bag cleaned and put away for another adventure.

Calculating the time differences the Humira was out of the fridge for 5 hours 15 minutes for the first leg of the journey, 20 hours for the second leg and 18 hours for the final leg, all well within the promised 24 hour capacity of the iCool bag. 

There were a couple of notes to add to that account, good news and not so good news.  The not so good first:

On arrival in the hotel in Singapore I had to be very explicit and repeat my instructions about the gel packs going into the freezer and the Humira into the fridge, initially it seemed likely the whole lot would end up in the freezer. One member of the reception staff then refused to put the Humira in the fridge saying they couldn't store food and medication together but that there was a fridge in my room.  I went to my room and discovered that the fridge was nowhere near cool enough. Returning to Reception a different member of staff happily popped my Humira into the kitchen fridge.

And the good news? On boarding the plane at Heathrow I asked a crew member where would be the coolest area around where I was seated to put my iCool bag and explained about the medication.  Her reply was to put it in the fridge in the galley, returning it to me just before landing.  Got to love those "Singapore Girls", well done Singapore Airlines.

So things could have gone pear-shaped in Singapore, but I think I would have gone along to a nearby hotel or restaurant and hoped they would help.

The Humira would have been fine in the iCool bag on the planes but was even better off in the fridges.  

And, just to show that you can never think of every eventuality - on arrival in Auckland I discovered that a large part of the city was without electricity after a substation fire!  Fortunately my brother in law still had power!

If you are hoping to travel with Humira, good luck and I hope this account has been helpful.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Open Day at Country Roads Quilters

I think a good time was had by all at Country Roads Quilters' Open Day on Tuesday.  In addition to our usual programme of coffee, chat and stitching we had a visiting trader, Pippins Patchwork, and a talk from Karen Parry about John James needles.  As you can imagine, members and guests enjoyed the opportunity to shop and the expression "bees around a honeypot" was coined more than once in my hearing!
Karen brought a good selection of John James' needles for sale (at very good prices) and told us all about needle sizes and types and about the manufacturing and distribution of needles.  The company used to make the sweetest etui sets of needles, scissors etc, I imagine they would fetch a pretty penny in an antique shop.
Pippins Patchwork brought a good selection of fabrics and notions, including a lot of Christmas goodies.  Is it really that time of year already?
After lunch we had a super "show and tell", a lot of members had been very busy over the Summer break, and then we held our AGM.
As a result of Karen's talk I have a question for you:

How often do you change your needle (hand or machine)?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Elderberry Results

Here are the pieces I dyed with elderberries and elderberry leaves now they are dry.  I am really pleased with the results. The black spots on the bottom left cotton piece below are the result of a mould growing in my dye bath. Oops. I think they look interesting but can anyone tell me if the mould could be nasty, even though the fabric has been washed?
This last one is my favourite, the fabric is very fine recycled kimono lining silk.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Nature's Riches

I rinsed out all my elderberry dyeing this morning, leaves and berries on various fabrics. 
The leaves gave a woody green, much paler on the silk. The berries gave a rainbow from pink to purple.
These are still wet, I'll post pictures of the best results when they are dry.