Sunday, 28 February 2010

Still Stitching

I just wanted to say "hello" and assure you that I'm still here!
I am doing some sewing, although I'm finding it quite warm for working for very long at a time. I'm doing some sashiko in red on white and I'm making good progress with a journal quiltlet inspired by my time in Singapore - which I'll share when I've finished the top - and I'm reading your blogs but I'm not having a lot of time to post comments or join in all the fun that's happening in quilting blogland at the moment. 
That's not to say I'm not having fun myself of course, New Zealand is awesome and I'm getting lots of lovely quilty ideas from my travels.  I'm also hoping to meet up with some fellow bloggers in the near future and I'll certainly be posting about that and sharing the photos!

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Tsunami Warning

After the massive earthquake in Chile during the night we are on tsunami warning here in New Zealand.  There is very thorough planning for such events and excellent evacuation procedures for the coastal communities - NZ being in the "ring of fire" the Civil Defence department are trained for such eventualities .  The worst hit area is expected to be the Banks Peninsula beyond Christchurch in the South Island.  tvnz has regular updates and I'm sure we're far enough inland to be okay although the waves are expected in Auckland at 10.52 a.m.  Al and Terry are off to church this morning (good plan) and I'm catching up with Jude.  I'll be back to let you know how things turn out.  Love and hugs xoxoxox 

Been to the Big City

Just back from a great time in Auckland with Al's neice, Tina, and her family.  We had a very Kiwi evening on Friday - barbeque and watching cricket!  Just a shame that NZ were beaten by Australia.  They've pointed us in the direction of some good beaches and places to eat.  We'll be meeting up with them for a seafood platter at Swashbuckler's down by the waterside when we get back from Northland and hopefully heading out to Whatipu to enjoy the black sand beach.
We're all booked to go up to Kahoe Farms in Northland next week.  We stayed there in 2008 and Lyndsey and Stefano are just brilliant so we're really looking forward to a few days of beaches and wineries - life is hard eh?  They have some kune kunes on the farm who are just gorgeous. 
We actually had some rain on Thursday but it was warm rain!  Fine again now and the forecast is for a sunny week.  The locals are complaining of a slight chill in the air as autumn approaches but I can't say I've noticed, I'm certainly not searching frantically for a cardigan or bedsocks.
Hugs to you all xxx

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Say Hello to Annie


This is Annie.  She's a Honda Accord Stationwagon that we've bought from the local Honda garage on a guaranteed buy-back offer.  She's in pretty good condition and Al enjoys driving her.  Hopefully she'll get us around the South Island safely, and there's certainly plenty of room for all the stuff we tend to accumulate on our travels!  She has air-conditioning (essential) and is really comfortable.  The garage has always done her services so they know her which is reassuring.  Al wanted to polish her before I posted the pictures but I think she looks pretty good already so decided to go ahead!  We're going up to Auckland tomorrow, sorting out AA etc (there isn't a recipricol arrangement for UK members anymore which is a bit rubbish) and collecting loads of maps and then we'll sit down and decide where we're going.
Very warm and humid today, we walked home from town after I'd been to the quilt shop and the supermarket and were very glad of a nice cup of tea when we got back to Terry's.  And this is for Sam....we saw a beautiful butterfly (a very large Monarch).

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Congratulations to....

I'd like to say a huge
to everybody who has been following or who has visited my blog during my first 100 posts and for all your lovely comments, they mean a lot to me.
I've finally closed my 100th blog giveaway (it seems to have been running for a long while because of my travelling) and am delighted to announce that the winner is.....drum roll ....
So Teresa, let me have your postal address in wonderful Wales and I'll get down to the LQS here in Pukekohe and grab you some Kiwi goodies.  Congratulations to you and thank you to everybody else who entered, I hope you'll stick with me on my quilting journey.
Love and hugs from a gloriously sunny day here in NZ (sorry folks back home, I hear you have snow and minus temperatures, brr, sending you some warm....)

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Aotearoa - Land of the Long White Cloud

Another photo from the plane, as we approached Auckland airport.


We are having a couple of days of settling in and sorting things out, hoping to get a car tomorrow.  Thank you for all your comments, it's lovely to keep in touch.  Some of you are having difficulty getting the photos so I've made these ones smaller and I hope they work okay, all looks right at this end.  Al spoke to Ben this morning and we understand it is a bit chilly at home so I hope you're all keeping warm and cosy.  I have acquired two mozzie bites so far - I could just see them lining up for a nibble of a new taste from the other side of the world!!  Lots of love and hugs to you all xxxx

Photos - Sydney

These are a few pictures from our quick visit to Australia.  The first is from the plane taken over the amazing "red heart" of the country that goes on for miles and miles.

This is the great view of Sydney harbour bridge and the opera house as we approached from the coastal walkway.
Then in the Royal Botanic Gardens a few flying foxes had set up their roost!  I didn't count but apparently there are up to 8000 of these in the trees (and they're doing some damage as you can imagine).  Extremely noisy but amazing - to think we'd been impressed by the few at the Night Safari in Singapore and then we see thousands in the wild in Sydney!

Photos - Chinese New Year

A few photos of Chinese New Year in Singapore, firstly the street market in Chinatown and then some pictures of Rive Hongbao.

Arrived Safely

It is a gorgeously sunny day in New Zealand and we have arrived safely, unpacked and done the washing!

After my message from Changi things got very eventful but first the good news...the fish spa was brilliant!  I went for a 20 minute session but the spa was quiet so they said I could stay as long as I wanted and I met a lovely girl from Perth who was just back from travelling in India and was terrified of the fish - her squeals could be heard across the airport I'm sure!!  So, with apologies for my feet, here goes:

I started with the baby fish in cool water and then moved up to the fish with more suction in warmer water and it was amazingly soothing and my feet were actually softer afterwards and for a few days.  The fish are supposed to be good for eczema and other skin complaints and were discovered in Turkey!  Surreal but nice!!
Sadly things took a bit of a nosedive after that as there were plane problems.  We all boarded and as the plane was taxi-ing a warning light came on so we went back to the gate.  Eventually we all had to get off!  This happened a further two times with the result that we were seven hours late flying and actually lost a day in Sydney.  We arrived at 5.15 p.m. absolutely shattered.  Actually the worst bit wasn't even the delay, it was the fact that Qantas saw fit to feed us with food from BurgerKing while we were waiting!
Anyway, we did eventually get to Sydney and our hotel was lovely.  We explored the Royal Botanic Gardens and followed the waterside walkway to the Opera House where we enjoyed lunch in the sunshine.  We then had an early start for our flight to NZ yesterday and it was only a short flight of course.  It seemed strange that such a short flight on a small plane could get us to NZ.  When we boarded Al's seat was taped up with a "do not use" notice!  Fortunately the steward was able to re-seat us both and we ended up with emergency exit seats, good one!  Terry picked us up at Auckland airport where he was dropping off Laurie who'd been staying with him for a week and was just about to fly back to Brisbane.
I've started to catch up with messages and emails and I've downloaded our photos to Terry's computer so I'll add a few to my previous posts later.  To keep you going though here's a gorgeous one:

Blogging from New Zealand, shopping in Singapore and a Friday Night Sew-In by air

At last I have arrived in New Zealand and so this is your last chance to enter my 100th post giveaway.  I shall close it tomorrow and go shopping on Monday for goodies to put in the post to the lucky winner.

I have a lot of catching up to do with blogs, and also emails but I thought I'd check in here and post about the Friday Night Sew-In.  I made it!  I got some sewing done on the plane and then I spent some more time thinking and planning about the projects I'm going to do while I'm here.  This is what I stitched:
The bag came as a kit which was sent to my by Ros and I really enjoyed doing the sashiko on it.  I'm now going to use it to keep my various sashiko needles, thimble and current project it.  Thanks Ros, it's lovely.
Writing of sashiko, this was waiting for me when I arrived in New Zealand.  Isn't it the most gorgeous thing?  Nat sent it to me after I became her 100th follower.  Thank you Nat, I am over the moon with it and have to confess I did hope when I saw it on your blog header that it might be coming my way!  Do pop over and take a look at Nat's blog, she does some gorgeous things at
These are the things I bought in Singapore, all from Quilts'n'Calicoes in the Tanglin Mall.  I also bought some FQs for some friends' birthdays but I can't show those as it would spoil the surprise.  The shop has a lovely selection of fabrics, a lot of their own kits and is well worth a visit if you're lucky enough to be in Singapore.  They have a website too: and you can see a whole Twelve Moons quilt there.  There was a lovely quilt on display featuring Chinese lanterns and a goldwork dragon in the border but sadly, although unsurprisingly, they had sold out.  This is the Twelve Moons panel, it's by Robert Kaufman

The knotted Chinese good luck charm was made by a lovely lady at Changi airport.  They had a series of stalls and demonstrations for the Chinese New Year (of the Tiger, which started on 14th February) and along with painting, calligraphy and some very yummy sweety treats there was a demonstration of knot making.  I was delighted to be given this one and I shall use it in the Singapore panel of my journal quilt.

While I was in Singapore I visited the Changi Museum, a remarkable place that illustrates how war and bad times bring out the very best and the very worst in people.  On display was a replica of one of the four Changi Quilts and I was delighted that it happened to be the British one. The original is in the British Red Cross museum in London.  A lot of information on the quilts can be found at Australian War Museum site and it is possible to see a close-up image of each block.  I think I would like to include a similar block in my quilt as a tribute to the bravery of the women internees who undertook these projects with such inventiveness.
Well I think I'm about caught up.  Please visit my travel blog and don't forget to enter my giveaway if you haven't done so already - at the moment I have 106 entries in total so the odds are quite good but I'm going to a random number selector tomorrow evening!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


We are currently at wonderful Changi airport, on our way away from Singapore and onwards to Australia.  We have plenty of time to enjoy the facilities here, I think I might go and get a fish foot spa....I think it might be like the fish nibbling us when we were in the Red Sea Saz, do you remember?  I'll let you know whether I give it a go.
We have an overnight flight so I shall attempt to keep cool, relax and sleep and not do anything dramatic!
We have made a list of things we want to do when we return to Singapore and made notes of the great suggestions some of you have made.  We didn't get to Newton to eat but did enjoy some other hawker courts and brilliant food.  I had a roti prata version of a pancake today, it being Shrove Tuesday!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Night Safari

Last night we had a great time at the Night Safari and here are some crossword answers for those of you that like such things:
Deer of various sorts - Sambar, Axis, Barking, Mouse, Barasingha, Thamin, Bongo, Lechwe and Oryx.
We hope that is helpful!
Although the deer were nice the most thrilling animal was the tiger, up close and stunning.  We also had a good view of otters and an amazing time with the enormous fruit bats.  They are about a metre across, very noisy and seem to love bananas!  A cross between cute and very worrying.
Today we had a lovely time, in very hot sunshine, at the Botanical Gardens, visited a quilt shop that was closed (it's a public holiday here) and we're just about to head out to find something to eat.  We're all checked in for our flight to Sydney tomorrow.
Singapore has been fantastic again, so much to do and see and such a safe and friendly place - we'll be back (all being well).

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy New Year!

It's the Year of the Tiger and Valentines' Day here today - lots of celebrations.  We had a great time in Chinatown on Friday and the River Hongbao  festival was very exciting - click on the link to see what was happening.  We enjoyed some yummy Chinese food and enjoyed the party atmosphere down by the river.  Singapore looked fantastic all lit up and it was a bit cooler (but not much) by the evening!
We went to the Changi museum and memorial yesterday morning which was both shocking and inspiring - how the best and the worst in people is triggered by such situations is amazing.  There was a quilt!  Pictures to follow but try this changiquilts
I'm feeling much better now, no ill effects after the excitement of the flight - looking forward to the next one on Tuesday and I'll try to behave.  Thanks for all your messages, it's lovely to read them (especially to hear about the chilly weather at home).
This morning we're going to be a bit quieter, maybe a gentle stroll around an art gallery or Little India, we haven't decided yet, but tonight we're going to the Night Safari again as we enjoyed it so much on our last visit - and we've got to see tigers after all.
I'll add some photos to these posts when we get to Terry's in NZ - too much to try and do it on this hotel computer - can you believe we're sitting outside on the "verandah" using the computer and listening to the traffic and the occasional mynah bird?
Still love Singapore, it's an amazing place.  Loads of love to you all, Valentine kisses and hugs,  Lis and Al

Friday, 12 February 2010

Steaming in Singapore

Hello everybody from steamy Singapore where it is currently sunny and 29C!!  We're about to go and explore Chinatown to see what's going on for Chinese New Year, expecting crowds, food and fun. 
We got our seats etc sorted out with Qantas after problems checking-in online but, alas, no seats anywhere near the pilot!  Good flight on a new A380 but I managed to be a drama queen and pass out!  A nice lay down in the aisle, a good dose of oxygen and electrolytes and then a good sleep and I'm feeling much brighter!  What a palaver.  Al was seated next to Emily, 19 years old from Portsmouth, travelling on her own to Australia and NZ after falling out with her friend who got herself an undesirable boyfriend (in Emily's opinion) and decided not to travel after all.  Emily seemed confident and we helpd her on her way at Changi.
Quite happy with Qantas, good food and pleasant service but no hot towels!  I watched "Amelia", about Amelia Earhart and Al enjoyed "Australia" and the Ricky Gervais "Man who told lies" film. All good.
Four more days here in Singapore and lots to do.  Our hotel is fine although we have a (fake) leopard skin headboard which is little surreal to say the least.
Lots of love to you all, will be in touch again soon.
Hugs, Lis and Al xx

Monday, 8 February 2010


Today, 8th February, is Hari-kuyo in Japan, which I posted about earlier and Debbie has a great article about this Japanese broken needle festival, with photographs, at stitchtress Well worth a look.


We're at Mummy and Daddy's now with three more sleeps until we're leaving on a jet plane.  There have been lots of quite sad farewells over the past few days, it really seems to be having a strong effect me this trip.
At the moment we are watching enormous snowflakes falling outside and it is rather chilly.  Al has braved the weather to set up the car battery with a solar panel to keep it charged while we are away (last time we had to have a new battery even though we'd used a "trickle charger" intended for the job).
We are all packed and ready to go - just hoping there's not a substantial amount of snow at Heathrow over the next few days!  
We've been discussing whether to buy or rent a car in NZ.  Last time we bought one, our lovely Mazda Lantis, "Alfie",  and it worked out really well although the process took up a few days of our holiday.  Has anyone used to cover excess on hire car insurance or hired from a2b?
Time for coffee and stitching by the fire.

Snowing and Sewing

With only three more sleeps until I jet off to New Zealand via Singapore and Sydney I am currently looking out on a grey garden where the most enormous snowflakes are falling.  I think a day of sitting by the fire and stitching is in order.  I'll do some more work on my Norfolk wallhanging and finish preparing my sashiko panels for sewing on the plane (I hope).  I won't be able to keep up with all your lovely blogs as often as I'd like to while I'm travelling but I'll check in when I can and I'll be writing a holiday blog at Australasian Adventure, please join me.

Friday, 5 February 2010


Lara is having a lovely giveaway of some "It's Snowing" fat quarters (by Deb Strain for Moda) and some other lovely things, including a copy of New Zealand Quilter magazine which I can promise you is a really good read with eye candy too (I've got my copy as I subscribe to it).

While you're feeling lucky don't forget my 100th post giveaway , you could end up with some lovely quilting goodies all the way from New Zealand.

Clever Boy

This is my lovely daughter, Sara, and grandson, Sam, during their farewell visit to us today.  Golly, I'm going to miss them. Sam will have changed a lot by the time we get back and I wonder if he will have finished reading Pride and Prejudice by then?

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Norfolk Quiltlet

I had hoped to get this little wallhanging completed before leaving for New Zealand.  That hasn't happened but I thought I'd share my progress with you.
I've finished the sashiko-style quilt stitching and am appliqueing (is there such a word?) marbled green bias tape to suggest reeds.
My 5 year old grandson, Wills, saw it tonight and pronounced it "pretty" and then "like a meadow with different heights of grass" - I'll take that thank you Wills!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Good To Go

I've at last picked up three months' supply of my prescription medicines and I've seen my consultant today and been checked out so I'm good to go!
Getting the medicines was a bit of a nightmare.  We put in our request in plenty of time, in writing, and when we went to collect our drugs on Monday Al's were there but mine were not.  A quick chat with the pharmacist established that several items I'd ordered were out of stock.  Here comes the scary bit:  she asked whether I'd like her to order them in!  I was (very slightly) tempted to say,
"No, don't worry, I'm only going to the other side of the world for three months, I'll be fine without my prescribed medicines."
I didn't say that of course and today I was able to collect a boxful of stuff that is going to totally spook customs in Singapore if we're unlucky.
We were all packed but now Al is re-packing and has his luggage spread all over the sitting room floor and keeps asking me random questions about toothbrushes and waterproof trousers.  I'm going to check my case tomorrow, in the daylight it will all look better!  Most of the room in my case is taken up with the aforementioned pills and potions which is quite exciting because that will equal space for fabric and goodies on the way home.
It's snowing here at the moment so it's pretty amazing to think that in just over a week we will be in Singapore, currently 32 degrees Celsius, 94% relative humidity!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Holiday Quilting Part IV

Heidi and Bobbi's next Friday Night Sew-In will be taking place on 19th February, please take a look at the details here and have a lot of fun joining in.  In January about 150 people all over the world took part, there are nearly 90 people signed up for February already so I think the Sew-In is like Topsy, it will "grow and grow".
I will be on a plane on 19th February and then probably feeling a little weary but I'm determined to join in (even though I'm unlikely to manage a Saturday morning post but you never know).  
Unless I get my needle confiscated by security officers I am going to do some sashiko on the plane.  I'll have my thread pre-cut into 18" lengths and I have one of those concealed blade thread cutters that I hope I'll get away with on the plane, if not I'll do all my end trimming later.  I have some fabric marked out with the Ganzezashi (sea urchin stitch) which I'm planning to work in red.  Sea urchins are a delicacy and in Japan this pattern was made to ensure a good catch by the fishermen.  I find working sashiko very calming and therapeutic and so it will be ideal to do while flying.
Please don't forget to visit my 100th post giveaway and I'd like to recommend a blog to you, go over to Bronwyn Hayes' glorious blog and enjoy a nice cup of tea or coffee and a look at her fun and fantastic stitchery designs.