Friday, November 30, 2012

Surprised by scraps

Our friendship goes back a long way.

We worked together in Australia and then she moved back to that States and I moved home to New Zealand.

Our communications are spasmodic but still the friendship is there.

She knows I love craft and especially patchwork.

If there had been a chance I would have loved to meet up with on this visit to the States but it was not to be.

She wrote to me and said she had a few 'scraps' she would like to send to me while I am in Seattle.

Something to tuck in my suitcase to take back home.

My goodness, the 'scraps' arrived - all in favourite colours and probably 5 to 6 yards in total - if they weren't going to be 'scraps' I wonder how much there might have been.

Thank you, Susan, for surprising me with 'scraps'.  Truly delightful and a lovely something to take with me as a happy memory of my visit.

Susan and I have birthdays within a day or two of each other.  She sent me this lovely birthday card as well.  I think kitty looks almost surprised as I was!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Love those pansies

Spotted in a supermarket in Seattle.

Pansy seedlings happily waiting to be sold and planted out to bring a bit of cheer in the garden through the winter months.

Yesterday, spotted in a window box at the front of one of the shops in Friday Harbour, San Juan.

Just doing their job - bringing a bit of sunshine and brightness into the world.

I really do love those pansies.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The bluest skies

The bluest skies in all the world are in Seattle - at least that is what Perry Como used to tell us in the words of the song.

For the most part the skies have been overcast since I arrived in Seattle and that is understandable for this time of year in these parts.

Yesterday afternoon the skies cleared to reveal that yes, we do have lovely blue skies in Seattle.

It was so nice I took a walk in the local neighborhood and captured a bit of the sky and some of those trees which are so prolific.

The many trees seem to add a charm to the city of Seattle and they give the impression of living in a holiday setting rather than everyday working life.

I really have been enjoying the landscape here.

The weather forecast was for more clear skies today and Tuesday but so far this morning we have mist. Maybe it will change later.  David plans to take me on a ferry cruise tomorrow so fair weather would be nice.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tacoma and the Museum of Glass

Yesterday we had a family outing to Tacoma and the Museum of Glass.

First, though, we took time out for a family breakfast.  What better to entertain a child while you are waiting for the food to arrive than a tablet.

Jackson is intent on explaining to James the intricacies of the latest game he wants to play.

On to Tacoma and the Museum of Glass.

We were in time to watch glass blowing happening at one of the regular workshops they have.

In addition a fascinating gallery with some amazing glass creations on display.

Not to mention the shop with more amazing bits and pieces on display and for sale including this Christmas trees adorned with beautifully created glass baubles.

Outside there is a walk across the Glass Bridge.

I had envisaged walking on glass but not quite.

Along one side of part of the bridge - glass panels enclosing a myriad of beautiful glass ornaments.

Further along the bridge there was these overhead panels encasing literally hundreds of glass sculptures in all shapes, sizes and colors in a seascape theme.

Thanks to David and Lisa for creating the opportunity to share this lovely exhibition.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Uncle James

Jackson has happy memories of visits from his uncles and he has been happily anticipating the arrival of James.

After watching one of his new (to him) favourite movies, Home Alone 2, this morning he wasted no time in getting into deep discussion about the games he likes to play.

This discussion was followed by several rounds of UNO and now David, James and Jackson have gone out for a drive.

Having an uncle around to take an interest in the activities of a young man can be such a fun thing.

James arrives

David and Lisa sent out the invitation earlier this year for his 3 brothers and me to come and share Thanksgiving with them.

I arrived last week and James, the only other one who could make it, arrived yesterday evening.

David and I went to meet him at the airport and this is where we found him, tired from the long flight and waiting for a connection from San Francisco to Seattle, but he is safe and sound and that is the most important thing.

We have another guest arriving today and so we are celebrating with our Thanksgiving Dinner one day late.  Lisa has done a lot of the preparation already and so we will enjoy a family time together today.

Thanks for coming, James!

Friday, November 23, 2012

'Tis the Season - for martinis?

Sister Linda said she was in need of a new t-shirt for the coming Christmas season and could I keep a look out for her whilst in the States.

I had not really seen anything along these lines until yesterday I paid a visit to a Walmart store and I found this one which was a must have.

If you know my sister, she loves to celebrate Christmas with lots of lovely food and a few martinis along the way never go astray.

Just another thing to pack and send.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A little bit of fabric

If you are a quilter and you happen to visit the United States you are bound to be tempted by the amount of quilting fabric available.  The price can be tempting too.

Yesterday I went with David to Bellevue where he works.

He dropped me off at Quiltworks Northwest which would have been any quilter's delight.
Lovely and spacious with a feast of quilting fabrics and beading supplies.

Although I don't have images they had lots of tuffets on display.  Anyone who knows the story of little Miss Muffet may have some idea of what a tuffet is all about.  They had similar product throughout the store, ranging from small circular pillows to large stools.

If this is of interest to you, you can buy patterns for tuffets here.

Of course there was lots else but these were new to me and they were done in such lovely bright colors and so appealing.  Great way, apparently, to use strippy scraps, but I can't imagine having to spend the time and effort stuffing them.

Lots of lovely goodies, and yes, I did succumb to the temptation and bought a little bit of fabric.

When I had finished indulging myself I went for a wander to look at the other shops in the mall and found a remainder outlet store called, Tuesday Morning.  I wasn't expecting it but some of their remainder items was quilting fabric, oh dear, some more fabric found its way into my shopping cart.

By the time David picked me up at 1pm I was quite ready for some lunch and so he took me to a lovely Thai restaurant and then home.  The first thing I did was pack a box of goodies to send on home ahead of myself.

I felt quite pleased with myself by the time I filled the box but today I went to the shops again and then some goodies I bought on line arrived and so I think a second box will have to be packed.  Such are the delights of travel.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Time to make Christmas cards

In Jackson's class there's 25 pupils including himself.

He has committed to making cards for each of his fellow pupils, teacher and members of his family.

Something he needs a bit of help with so Lisa, Jackson and I sat down the other morning and gave it our best.

Lisa and I had been to a craft shop and picked up bits and pieces of Christmas theme           embellishments.  Lisa already had cards, glitter, card stock and cutter and so there was a huge variety of options for us to have a go.

After a couple of hours we had completed 15 cards.

This was one of Jackson's creations - not bad for a 6 year old.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Texting gloves?

My sister Linda loves purple and she loves bling so when I saw these fingerless gloves today I immediately thought of her.

I took a closer look after purchase and they were tagged as 'texting gloves' - oh really!

I must really be behind the times.  I really thought these were known as fingerless gloves.

Maybe Linda will be able to text more efficiently when she wears 'texting gloves'.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Time to hug a snowman

Before I left home I started to research about craft/quilt shows that I might be able to go to in the Seattle area.

I found out about a craft fair in Puyallup and on Thursday Lisa and I set out to spend the day there.  On the way we saw a much smaller craft fair being promoted and kept it in mind for another day.

Again the scenery along the way was pretty with lots of tree lined streets.

We got there just after opening time armed with coupons to give us half price entry.  We were met by a lady who was wanting to give away complimentary tickets so we did not have to pay for entry at all.

I had envisaged the fair to be much bigger than anything I had been to in Australia or New Zealand but that was not the case.  There were demonstrations of new craft ideas as well as workshops.  We watched a few of the demonstrations but did not stay for any of the workshops.

Some of the stalls were wall to wall people and we did not even get to take a look but overall we had a good look around and a few quilting goodies were purchased.

One of the items being demonstrated was the bloc-loc ruler.  They came in a whole range of sizes but I bought just the 6.5 inch square ruler which I think Linda and I and our Sweet Pea sewing group will get a lot of use from.

Surprisingly we were finished in about 3 hours so we headed back to Bellevue for lunch and to spend some time with David.

On our way home we realised we still had time to go to the smaller craft fair and this is where I got to 'hug' the snowman in the image.

This craft fair was totally different to the first one.  It was all handcrafted items by local artisans.  The theme was Christmas and there was a huge variety of goodies.  Christmas candies, cookies, jams, ornaments, knitted garments, jewelry and much, much more.

It was a lovely experience to be able to go to two totally different craft fairs in the one day.  I came home with goodies from both.

Many thanks to my daughter-in-law, Lisa, for taking the time out to make my day.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Toffee Apples - lovely to look at

Yesterday David and I went to the Seattle CBD and spent a leisurely time at Pike Place Markets.

Before we even got to the market I found this store totally dedicated to toffee apples of every type imaginable.

I think if I bought a toffee apple like this I would not be able to get past the glorious topping - the apple would go to waste.
If the first selection was not decadent enough how about this chocolate delight?

I have to say I was happy to look not touch and move right along to Pike Place

where we saw the most unusual cauliflowers I have ever seen - and at US$7.00 each I hope they would be worth the price.

What about elephant garlic?

These were the size of extra large onions.

I wonder if the flavour would be as good their smaller cousins?

I was not the only one taking photos of these vegetables.  I could see others were intrigued too.

Fish vendors were there as well with handsome fare from the Pacific.  A salmon lovers heaven. David and I had a very nice lunch at a seafood restaurant which boasted sea views from every table.  Great food in very pleasant surroundings.

Pike Place markets abounded with food, craft and souvenir stalls of every type imaginable.  We were there on a Friday and it was quite busy.  I think I would be happy to leave the weekends for the many tourists I am sure would be there.

My first spotting of snow capped mountains, I think in the Olympic National Park.  Just a little reminder of those mountains I left behind way back in New Zealand.

Blog Give Away

I recently posted about a blog giveaway - pansy silk print and hand dyed silk ribbon.

Thank you to those who left comments.

Connie, I would like for you to have my give away but I cannot find a way to be in touch.

If you like to e-mail me at so I can organise to mail it to you.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


My six year old grandson, Jackson, loves playing chess.

He went to a Chess Camp on Monday and came home with a medal for winning four tournaments. He seemed very pleased with himself.

When David and Lisa relocated from Dallas to Seattle, David organised for Jackson to go to Chess Camp during the summer vacation and Jackson became convinced that the whole reason for relocation was so he could go to Chess Camp.

It worked in well for the family that he thought so.

On Wednesday afternoons he has a chess class after school finishes.  David and I picked him afterwards.  We asked him what he learnt at chess that day and he said, 'notations'.

When questioned further he seemed not to know what notations meant.

However yesterday, when Lisa and I returned from a lovely day out we found David and Jackson just finishing a game of chess and there was Jackson making those notations.

On your way, chess champ!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Snoqualmie Falls

Yesterday David and I went to Snoqualmie Falls which is a place of interest for tourist and locals.

The drive there was very pleasant with interesting terrain, trees, mountains and lake views along the way.

The weather was drizzly but we made the most of the day.

When we arrived I took this photo but it only revealed part of the falls.  David suggested we move along the walkway to get a better photo of the whole of the falls but when we got there it was so misty this was the best I could do.

Apparently in the summer months the place is awash with visitors but there was only us and two others to share what could be seen.

My first thought was of hydro-electric power and was the water being harnessed.  I turned around and there was a wall panel describing exactly this and how proud the State of Washington is to be using this type of renewable energy.

From here we wandered back to the small township of Snoqualmie to have a look at what was available.

On our way we saw this grand old train which is one of the ways of going to see the falls.  I did not see it in action but David said last time they were there they took the ride.

Across the road and back to the shops.  It was Tuesday and not much happening in a tourist town.  There was an old curiosity shop which I was curious to have a look in, but no, they close on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

We walked a bit further and came across this 'quaint' thrift store.

I just love the rocking chair look out the front.

We did go inside and have a good look around.  Everything was very well presented, clean and tidy but the prices were a little high so we left without making a purchase.

Eating choices were minimal but we had seen a cafe that offered home style meals and so we
opted to go there.

As curious as I was about the curiosity shop I was even more curious when I went to the ladies wash room and there by the wash basin was a stocked wine rack ready with glasses for drinking.  What was going on here?

Maybe if I had inspected closer I may have found the bottles to be empty but even so why locate this in the ladies wash room?

Leaving that behind I returned to our table and was pleasantly surprised to see David had ordered tea and it had been served to him in a pot.  Most unusual for this part of the world, I thought.

I had not had any tea since arriving in Seattle but the thought of tea served in a pot was enough for me to decide to do the same and I thought the teapot my tea was served in was very cute.

The tea was good. 

Apart from one other we were the only customers and we enjoyed a quiet, leisurely lunch with good food.  The drive home was pleasant and made even more so with the sun breaking through for the first time - yes, they do have lovely blue skies in Seattle.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Those autumn leaves

I don't seem to be able to get past my fascination for the color of the autumn leaves that the North American autumn brings.

At the moment part of the lawn at the front of David and Lisa's home is just a carpet of red autumn leaves.

I took these photos this morning about 8.30 and even though I was outside there was insufficient light for the camera so it defaulted to using a flash to take the photos so the images may appear more pink than in real life.  Very rich colorings nevertheless.

I will be back later to report more on my day's outing to Snoqualmie Falls.                            

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Early days in Seattle

My blog journey started in December 2005 when I visited with David and his bride, Lisa, in their home in Lewisville, Dallas.

With the approach of Christmas I was rather intrigued with the number of blow up theme items that decorated the neighbors' gardens.

Yesterday, upon arriving in Seattle I felt like I had gone full circle when I saw this lawn decoration of Pilgrims for Thanksgiving.

Oh the memories all the little things that are different from regular life give us.

Probably the comparisons that come to me on this visit are more the differences between Dallas and Seattle rather than between the United States and New Zealand.

Dallas is pretty well flat - not too many hills found in those parts.

Quite different in parts of Seattle and whilst this picture does not fully reflect this, the road is quite steep with an equally steep incline on the other side.

You might notice a touch of autumn in the color of the trees and from the leaves under the trees.

I am really enjoying being back in Seattle.  I was only here overnight a few years ago.  I had hoped I might have the chance to return and find it hard to believe it has actually happened.

Nice to think I will be here for three weeks to absorb all that there is here for me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

San Francisco

Just killing time at San Francisco airport, waiting for my connecting flight to Seattle. About another hour before boarding time.

I had tried to get a standby upgrade from Auckland but that did not happen.
However I happened to be sitting in a row with empty seats and being able to lie down was a bonus, even if airline seats are not built for that purpose.

Apart from listening to squeals of a fractious child behind me and an adverse reaction to coriander in my evening meal all is well.

More from Seattle real soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Blog giveaway - just because I can

Recently I made up an order for some hand dyed silk ribbon but when I completed the order I realised that the ribbon was the wrong width.

I have decided to have a giveaway of the hand dyed silk ribbon along with a lovely pansy silk print.

If you would like to have a chance to be the owner of this giveaway just leave a comment and I will pick a winner after I arrive in Seattle on Monday.

This prize is lightweight and will fit in a regular mailing envelope so I am happy to bear the cost of international postage.

The silk print is approximately 4 x 5 inches and there is more than 2 yards in each of the bundles of silk ribbon. They are dyed in the softest pink, cream and blue.

Love to hear from you if you would like to make this your own.  You could even claim it so you can give as a gift to friend who loves making craft items.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The flowers that bloom in the spring

The flowers that bloom in the spring tra la,
Breathe promise of merry sunshine —
As we merrily dance and we sing tra la,
We welcome the hope that they bring

Gilbert & Sullivan - The Mikado

I probably think of these lines from The Mikado every new spring season when the different flowers start to bloom.

Claudia from Mockingbird Hill has once again invited participation in her 'Favourite Things' Saturdays and what could be more favourite than having poppies growing in your own garden.

These ones are particularly special because of their unusual apricot colourings with soft yellow centres.  The petals have folds in them like concertinas and that adds to their specialness. I can spy them from my bedroom window and watch their progress and that is rewarding too.

Thanks, Claudia, I look forward to linking up with other bloggers this way.

Friday, November 09, 2012

My bags are packed..........

My bags are packed, well they should be, but they are not.  However preparations have begun and that is good.

I was out the other day and when I came home I found that my lovely sister, Linda, had been making a travel present for me.

A pair of fabric luggage tags and a suitcase handle sleeve.

I just love items for luggage that make them easily identifiable amidst the many others coming off the plane.  These will be absolutely ideal.

I leave for Seattle, WA on Monday to spend Thanksgiving with my son, David and his lovely family.  I am really looking forward to it and I really had better get those bags packed!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

A little bit of excitement

In recent times I have had a bit of a blitz on using up Kiwiana theme fabrics that have been given to us.

There was the strippy one, the midnight madness one and the lasagne quilt.

I still have another one tucked away in the cupboard waiting to be quilted but in the meantime I had designed and made this quilt top and was showing it to some of our quilting friends, when one of them asked me if she could buy this quilt top to send as a gift to friends in England.

At that stage it still needed to be quilted by Linda.  She has now completed the task and you can see close ups some of her wonderful quilting abilities here.

Another project completed and I am just a little bit excited to think that this quilt is winging its way to England and to a new home.

In the meantime we have been given more Kiwiana fabric scraps - the imagination continues to be stretched.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Secret Project Revealed

 Our secret project was revealed today.

The recipient, our dear friend, Maxie, had her 80th birthday today.

Instead of having our Sweet Peas meeting at our home we all met at a local cafe for coffee and muffins and had a lovely time shared together.

Maxie was totally oblivious to her friends in our group collaborating to make this quilt for her.

We each made different blocks for the quilt then I pieced it together and Linda machine quilted it.

Maxie loves handbags and we called this quilt "Bags of Love".  She was a little overwhelmed but very appreciative that we should have made this for her.

The original pattern comes from Green Fairy Quilts and you can buy it here, if you are interested.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I actually did some crazy quilting

Been a while, but yes, I actually did a bit of crazy quilting recently.

I wrote about our secret project recently and tomorrow is revealing day.

It has finally progressed from quilt top to being machine quilted, bound and label in place.

Embellishments have also been added where appropriate.

We are amazed and pleased with the outcome and feel sure you will be impressed to when we let you see more images.

This is a group project and participants were asked to make this particular block in colours of their choice.

No surprise that I should have made one in autumn colours.  I pieced it crazy quilt style and Linda did stitch in the ditch for me when she machine quilted the block to give it texture.  I added stitching, sequins, hand dyed motifs and a cameo I just happened to find in my stash.

Been a while since I have done some crazy quilting and I'm happy to say I was pleased with the outcome.

I am looking forward to posting the image of the finished quilt once it has been presented to the recipient.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Spring Fever

Yesterday we had a touch of spring fever and spent quite a bit of the day in the garden.

The weather was lovely, a touch of coolness in the breeze to stop us from getting too hot.

Linda wrote about all the lovely plants we bought at a local church fair and yesterday, with some help from our friend, Debbie we all set about various chores to bring our garden into order.

I dug up pansy plants, pruned them and Debbie gave them a new home in another part of the garden.  The place vacated by the pansies is waiting now to be planted out with flowers for summer, cosmos, marigolds, petunias and livingstone daisies will mingle with the grandmothers bonnet, alstromeria, dahlias and daisies that are already established.

Linda was busy preparing a vegie garden and planted potatoes, beans and titivated the edges with replanting of more pansy plants.  The pansies volunteer in our vegie garden every year.  Popped in around the edges of the garden they make everything look very pretty.  Plans are afoot for lots more vegies to find a home there as well.

My photo today of banksia roses does not do justice to all the work that has been happening.  These lovely miniature roses are another of my favourite things - perfection in miniature - so pretty.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Always a favourite with me

Thank you, Claudia, for inviting us bloggers to participate in your Favourite Things Saturdays.

One of my all time favourite things will always be these mountains.  We can see them from our house (except on overcast days) and there's always somthing about them that adds interest to our lives.

These mountains are to the south of us in Tongariro National Park in New Zealand.  They have had particularly good snowfall this year and even though we are into late spring the snow is holding on.

I am going away for four weeks shortly and by the time I come back most of the snow will be gone.

My favourite mountains will be missed but they will also be something I can look forward to coming back to.

Friday, November 02, 2012

In Between Quilts

This is the quilt top that CiCi was busy cat scanning for me recently.

I call it an 'in between' quilt because it somehow came together between other quilting projects.

While working on other projects I have been sewing together 2.5 inch squares at the end of every seam.

Every time I need to stop to iron I iron these as well and put them back in the pile to be sewed into 4 patches.

By the time the main project is finished I have a pile of 4 patches for another sewing project.

In this case I added fabric from a couple of fat quarters from my stash I was able to put together this generous size lap quilt.

It has been a nice little stash buster and is destined to be a community/charity quilt.

Best of all sister, Linda, said she will machine quilt it for me.  Can't wait to see how she is going to fill in all of the spaces with her magic style of quilting.

In the meantime I have more 2.5 inch square awaiting my attention and quite a bit of stash left to be busting.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Who doesn't love surprises?

Yesterday I went to the letter box without any expectation of there being anything special inside.

However, I was in for a surprise.  A nice brown paper parcel marked to my attention.

Back to the house to share the contents of this mystery parcel with my sister - 11 fat quarters of yummy fabric, some with a definite cupcake theme.

Somebody must have been reading my recent blog entries, I think.

It wasn't until after I opened the parcel that I noticed the Christmas stickers.  Maybe it was an early Christmas present?????

Thank you to Paula, for your kindness in sending me these lovely fabrics and for giving me such a wonderful surprise.

Now my challenge is to work out something very creative to do with them...............