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April 2011

I couldn't help myself

I wasn't going to watch the Royal Wedding, but, well you know the rest.    The TV coverage here and in NZ has been at saturation point.  One friend who has just returned from the UK said that there was nothing like it in the UK.  All the British decorations sold out and there were street parties, high teas and I think just about everyone was glued to the TV, including me.

That dress.  All that beautiful lace applique.  How did those embroiderers at the Royal School of Needlework keep the secret?

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

In an article I read by Janet Wickell  she says;

"Royal School of Needlework members who worked on the dress included current and former staff, tutors, graduates and students (the youngest was 19 years old). They pinned the shapes in place and then appliqued them to the fabric with hand stitches taken every 2 or 3 millimeters. Workers washed their hands every 30 minutes in order to keep the materials absolutely clean, and needles were changed every three hours to prevent snags from a dulled point.

Miss Middleton's veil is made from ivory silk tulle trimmed with hand-embroidered flowers, another task completed by the Royal School of Needlework."


The wedding service itself was beautiful.  The music, the homily the lot and those trees in the Abby somehow seemed just right.


I have spent most of the day trying to work out how to get my photos from one computer to another with no success.    My laptop has a much better program for making slide-shows so I have been playing around with that.  I had put my sewing machine in for service before I went away and it won't be ready until Monday so I can't do that.  Not a very productive day at all.

Playing with my photos I found that my little Sony point and shoot takes some great photos and when I put the panoramas into a slide show they worked like a video, which I'm really please with.  It was cold and wet in Dunedin but that didn't detract from the beauty of the place.  On one day I just wandered around the streets near my accommodation.  Here I found a little house I would love.  I don't think it is in a fashionable area but I like it.  It sits on the side of a steep hill, at the back of the brewery  overlooking the harbour.


It is vacant at the moment and opens directly onto the street at the rear.  You can see the view through the window.


The gardens is the surrounding houses are wild and unkempt yet the flowers are beautiful.






I found this link to a beautiful garden in London on the Guardian site.  Looks a lot warmer there than here.

Home Again

I am finally home in front of my own computer with WiFi access, you beaut!!  I thought that I was coming home to the warm but it is chilly here, though not as chilly as Queenstown.  Still I have my cardigan on and have had to put gloves on to warm my fingers.  The thing is we are set up for the heat not the cold.  I might have to look at buying a small radiator to warm me up.

I had a wonderful time at the Quilt Symposium, it got the creative juices flowing and I always enjoy the company of our New Zealand cousins.  (They are so cheeky, just like those Keas.)


I stayed with three other girls from Toowoomba in a unit next door to the Catholic Church.  The church had a postcard of the view, much better than my photo, showing the Remarkables behind covered in snow.  The snow wasn't this thick when I was there but it was as white and cold and clear.


After all the trauma of getting home, (I do not like travelling on standby),  I need to wash my clothes, organise my quilting purchases and get some sleep.  Then I have to workout how to transfer all my photos from the laptop to the desktop.  (I hope the more up to date photo editing program comes over with it.)  Oh the joys of technology.


I found some WiFi!!

I have not been able to do any thing with this blog for over a week now, the reception has been terrible.  Must be all those mountains.  And there is lots of snow on them.  It still isn't good enough to upload photos however, which is a pain.

I am wondering if I will ever get out of Queenstown.  I have a horrible feeling that I am going to get bumped.  I checked the flights and it said that they were all booked out until Saturday.  I have thought about going down to Christchurch but it is still shaking down there.  They had more aftershocks this morning.  The only other option I suppose is to go up to Auckland.  This is turning into one of those very expensive cheap flights.


It is strange going to sleep and waking up in another country.  The plane. rose out of Brisbane airport and the sky was dotted with clouds like you would see in a children’s painting.  Everything was bright and clear.  You could see the curve of the waves on the beach and the boats heading out fishing.  Then we turned left and headed out into the Pacific.  After a while the clouds bunched together until they formed a carpet.  It was as though I had passed into another reality.  Almost like losing touch with my life.  This is when I fell asleep.

When I woke I was looking down at the snow on the mountains and we were making our descent through the clouds into Dunedin.  But, those clouds weren’t giving up that easily.  They closed in again and rain ran across the windows.  Good thing planes has navigation because these clouds were hanging on like grim death and we didn’t break through until we were just above the runway.

Dunedin airport is only small with three customs officers.  We had lots of small babies on the flight who also slept all the way and were now ready for business.  I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to get into the city but found a shuttle bus at the front door.  The driver asked where I was staying and wrote this down.  I had expected to be dropped off at the depot in the city and then I would find my way to my accommodation.  But no.  All the passengers in the bus were dropped at their front door, for no extra cost.  I had a wonder tour all over the city as the driver dropped off his passengers one by one.

I am staying in a backpackers called Hogwartz.  It is in the old residence of the Catholic Archbishop at the top of a very steep hill.  It isn’t the Ritz but it is clean, I have a private room and bathroom and share the kitchen, lounge and dinning room with all the young travelers from all over the world.  A lot less stuffy than a hotel.  The kids all helped me carry my bag up the narrow steps, asked if I would like a cup of tea and then we started to swap war stories of our travels.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is the change in temperature.  It was 30 degrees C in Brisbane, 5 degrees C in Dunedin.  I thought I would freeze but I find that I am liking this chill in the air. 

The door is locked at 7pm and then you have a code to open the door after this time.  I lost  mine within the first 10 minutes and I would have trouble seeing the numbers on the keypad anyway.  (I have to have my eyes tested again as soon as I get home.)   I made sure that when I went out to dinner that I got back before 7pm.  Oh that hill!  (pictures when I have better reception)

Dunedin is so like Scotland only it is at the other end of the world.  The mists are the same, the trees, the colours of Autumn, the people, which isn’t surprising as this is where most of the settlers came from.  In some ways it is similar to Edinburgh.  It is a University town with that same feeling.  It even has a statue of Robbie Burns!


I tried to upload this entry last night but the internet is very slow and not cheap.  I went to bed fairly early but couldn’t work out how to shut the window so had this freezing little draft wafting over me all night.  Luckily the bedding is warm and I snuggled under the blankets.  I worked out how to shut it the next morning.

More Bottees & David Bromley

I'm in transit and trying to work out how to use my new laptop.  Nothing is the same as my desktop Apple but after a couple of weeks of this I'm sure I will adjust.  I tried to buy a new mouse but they had all sold out so I'm struggling using my  finger on the pad.

I managed to finish the tow pair of bootees for the new boys.  I think they look boy like.  Another job crossed off the list.



My neighbour Ross has the most incredible collection of David Bromley paintings.  I drool every time I walk in the house. Last night I took over a bottle of wine (bad move) to have a look at his latest acquisition, which is the largest of David's paintings.  (Wish it was mine.)


On a side wall I saw a small machine embroidered picture.  This was David's original piece that was used for the quilts being made in India at the moment.  He has stitched this himself  after painting the background fabric then signing the piece.


I have seen more stitching starting to appear in his work and will be interested to see where it leads.  Another Kaffe perhaps?


Toilet Pins

I just had to find out what they were.  Great explanation at Word and the bit that explained the term was:

Pins were sold to businesses as "bank pins," which came in lots of one half pound, and on cards as "toilet pins," meant for use by homemakers.

I also found some images on antique pages.

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I had to smile at the difference between Germany and New York about what large and small mean.

I'm off, I think.

Oh the joys of being on standby for my flight.  You can't really start anything because that call might come and I have to reorganise my packing as well.  I told my husband I needed to get some US and NZ dollars so was off to the bank.  "Let me see what I have", comes the reply.  He then proceeds to pull out a box full of plastic bags and in each bag is currency for different countries.  India, China, Vietnam, USA, England, NZ and some others I can't remember.  I always get rid of any notes and give my change to charity on the way home.  He has kept all his foreign left over money from everywhere.  Great for me I didn't have to go to the bank.

The other day at the Guild we were cleaning out a cupboard and gave a bag a last shake before it went into the bin and out fell a packet of needles, with "war time packaging pre-war quality" printed on the packet.


That makes them at least 65 years old so I opened the packet to check before I put them in the bin.  The back of the packet said they were made from Sheffield Steel.


I find that I use lots of needles because they rust in the humidity  but not these, they were in mint condition.


Other information on the packet said that they were warranted by the manufacturer.


I think that John James are the only needles being manufactured in Redditch today but there is a wonderful museum that I visited a few years ago called the Forge Mill.


And I also found this old advertisement for the company with the distinctive lighthouse logo. What are toilet pins?


I also found this small project for a "Painted Needle Case" .

It is based on one produced by the same company.


This small packet of needles in now in the Guild Collection.

JR Street Artist

I love street art.  Everywhere I go I photograph it and use it as inspiration.  This French Street Artist, JR, won the TED prize.  This video gives an insight into what motivates this artist.  You need a cup of tea and some time and no interruptions to sit watch and enjoy.


The story book

My little grand daughter, Monique, is now 3 months old and as cute as a button.  She loves story books and has just got her first library card.


Gosh they develop fast.  Grandpa has her on his knee and the book has her full attention.


Everytime the page is turned she gives a gasp and follows the story.


I thought it was just the colour, which are bright, but no she is really taken with this book.


I still have trouble coming to terms with a 3 month old baby having her own library card. Poor Chopper is completely put out by the whole thing.