Thursday 27 March 2014

Round Robin Needle case Round 1

I am participating in two Round Robins this year. In the last post I wrote about the 6" blocks that we are doing with the Southern Cross Crazies.
 I have also joined in a Needle case Round Robin. This is a much smaller commitment because we had to make a block that measured 6" x 4" and when we receive the block we only have to work on a third of it because there are only four in each group.

I received Helen's block first and it was made out of soft green and cream fabric.

I had missed over  2 weeks of sewing time because of being away on the cruise but I still managed to get the sewing done on the round robins and get them posted off in time.

I decided to fill in the back corner of Helen's Needle case.

My work on Helen's Needle case

Everyone seems to have done lovely soft colours for their bases, they are going to get a shock when they see my base! I went for a bit of colour!!

My needle case base block
I used silks in orange and peach tones, I can't wait to see what everyone in the group does with it.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Round Robin 2014-1st Round

I have joined in a couple of Round Robins with the online group Southern Cross Crazies this year. I wasn't going to take on another commitment but here I am doing them and it is a good way to get to know the others in the group and you get to see some wonderful embroidery as the blocks get passed around.  What is the point of being in a group if you don't join in?

This Round Robin is a bit different to the one I participated in last time. This time everyone had to make up 6 blocks that were 6" x 6" and you had to post them to the next person on the list. When the person receives the blocks they pick one of them and embroider on it. and then send them off to the next person.

The first blocks I received were from Patti and the 6 blocks were all very similar to this one in soft greens, pinks, blues and creams.

 Patti said she wanted all the blocks to have a spring theme, so I decorated it with some spring flowers and a butterfly. I put the butterfly on the seam line on the bottom left because I didn't like the way the two seam lines were angling towards themselves at the bottom, I thought the lines were too strong and would draw your eye straight to that point. I think the butterfly masks those lines well.

My block for Patti
 The 6" x 6" size is a good size to work on for a Round Robin, it is not too time consuming and handy for those times when you don't have any hand sewing yourself.
I have sent my blocks off as well, so I'll look forward to seeing what they look like in six months.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 18 March 2014

New Zealand

Last month I had the wonderful experience of going on a cruise to New Zealand because I was teaching on the Needlework, Patchwork and Craft cruise. The cruise ship was huge, like a floating city and I wrote all about it in my last post.

I'll give a really brief look at the ports we stopped at along the way.
Our first stop was Auckland and it is called the City of Sails and after two days of sailing it was lovely to see land again.

We had such beautiful warm weather in New Zealand and we were lucky that the Lantern Festival was on to celebrate the last day of the Chinese New Year and everything was open to 10pm.
We also went to their wonderful Art Gallery and the Sky Tower where we could see the lovely views of Auckland.
Our next stop was Tauranga and we went on the Hobbiton Village tour on the advice of Wendy who reads my blog. Wendy was correct when she recommended the tour. We had such a lovely look at the countryside as our bus took us there. I know why The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings was filmed in beautiful New Zealand.
I took so many photos of Hobbiton, the place where many of the outside scenes were shot in the Hobbit movie.

There were nearly 50 Hobbit Holes (Hobbit Houses) and they were all different and so cute.

Our tour guide us told us many stories about the filming and all the trouble and extreme detail that Peter Jackson went to for the film to be just like the novel.
Thank you for the recommendation, Wendy.

I really loved Napier, which was our next Port and it is known as the Art Deco town and I love Art Deco. Once again we went on a tour that took us all over the town to see the famous Art Deco landmarks and buildings.
When the ship arrived at the port there were people dressed up in Art Deco fashions standing next to old cars of the era.

 Here is a photo of the famous Tobacco building which is actually Art Nouveau styling but I love that style as well. There were ideas for quilt designs everywhere I looked.

We only had an afternoon in Napier and I really wish that we could have been there longer.

We were lucky enough to have all day in Wellington, so we started with the Lord of the Rings tour. Our tour guide had been in the movie and so we had a very enjoyable morning listening to his tales about the filming.
A lot of the filming was done in a public walking area and so if you didn't have a guide you would not know exactly where you were. He took us to various locations and described the scene and then showed us a big photo of the actual scene with the actors.
You can get the feeling of the movie by being in the forest.
Afterwards we were taken to Weta studios where all the costumes, armour and swords  are made. We were shown a film about how Peter Jackson met with other collaborators on the film and how it all developed. We were treated to a very welcome coffee and cake as well.

In the afternoon we took the cable car up to the Botanical Gardens and they were one of the most beautiful I had been to. I couldn't believe all the flowers that were out and I realised how much Australia's 10 years of drought had taken it's toll on our flowers.


We came across a section called The Quilted Garden and there were flowers set out in quilting block patterns.


There was also a 6 pointed star and hexagons, I don't know what other ones there were. What a novel idea though.
There was also a huge hothouse with the most beautiful begonias.

We left the North Island and sailed down to Dunedin which is where a lot of Scottish people came to settle and Dunedin has a wonderful Scottish flavour.
We went and saw one of the most famous buildings in New Zealand, the Dunedin Railway Station.

Inside the station is just as beautiful, covered in Royal Doulton tiles, mosaic floors and stained glass windows. I took many photos; once again there was inspiration everywhere.
After lunch we visited the Cadbury chocolate factory and then went to a beautiful Chinese Garden where everywhere you turned was a photo composition. It was such a peaceful place.

As we boarded the ship that evening, a group of bagpipe players serenaded us.
The only bad weather we encountered was when our ship spent the day floating through, Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sound. The weather turned cold, foggy and windy and all the animals and birds were hiding. It was still very impressive and beautiful.
Milford Sound
That was our last look at New Zealand and we spent two days sailing back to Australia for a day in Hobart, Tasmania. That was where we encountered the really rough 10 metres waves and I found out that I don't get sea-sick thank goodness.

We have a soft spot for Hobart because we had our honeymoon there 35 years ago. We didn't remember anything except for the Cat and Fiddle Shopping Centre that had really increased in size. Hobart has a famous Salamanca Market on Sundays and it wasn't Sunday but they staged a mini market for us as we got off the ship. I bought a couple of scarves but I could have bought more, it's funny how a husband can make you a bit more restrained!
As we were walking back to the ship that afternoon we came across the Town Hall just as a tour was being conducted by the deputy Mayor.
Inside was a beautiful ballroom that is very popular for weddings.

 Suddenly our two weeks of cruising was over, we felt very relaxed and a bit sad that our wonderful holiday was at an end. It was a great way to travel, no wonder some people we met had been on 35 cruises.

We arrived back in Sydney at 5.30 in the morning and I was hoping to get some beautiful sunrise photos with the bridge and Opera House but it was too cloudy. I got some nice shots with the harbour all lit up though.

I had got a few sunset and sunrise photos on the cruise though.

Napier Sunrise
Auckland Sunrise

That was a very brief look at our New Zealand cruise and our wonderful holiday.

Another Needlework cruise is planned for April 2015. This time it is Freemantle to Singapore and once again goes for 14 nights. I am not teaching on this one but it looks like a lovely cruise with many great classes. Click on this link to find out about it.

Bye for now,

Wednesday 12 March 2014

The Cruise Ship

I have been back from the cruise for over a week and it has taken me a while to get all my photos organised. I took over 1,100 photos and I wanted to label them all while it was still fresh in my memory. I also had to sort them out to show my family because they wouldn't have wanted to sit through that many photos. The photos that they were really interested in were the ones of the actual ship and so this post is about the ship and I'll save the photos of New Zealand for another post.

We sailed on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship called The Voyager of the Seas. It was huge and very opulent and we were treated to such luxury.

When the taxi arrived at Circular Quay in Sydney I thought that we had parked next to a building, I was completely shocked to find that it was the ship. I'll show some photos to help show how big it was.
Voyager of the Seas by the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Cruise Ship at Circular Quay
Here is another photo of the ship in Tauranga, you can see how little the people look; look how close the ship gets to the side of the port. Sometimes the ship went in front-ways and sometimes it reversed in but Captain Charles had a round of applause for his excellent parking.
Cruise ship at Tauranga
My husband came with me on the cruise and we were upgraded to a cabin with a port hole.
Our Cabin
It wasn't very big but quite roomy enough for us. Here is the other side of the room.

Of course we had a little en-suite but I forgot to take a photo of that.
Our steward cleaned our room twice a day and every other night when we came back to our room we would find a little animal that he had made out of towels for us. We were delighted. There was also the Cruise Compass letting us know the weather, the port, the dinner dress code and the activities for the next day

The ship was enormous and here is a photo of the main street on deck 5, this was where the duty free shops and bars and cafes were. There were often musicians playing as we walked through as well. As we wandered through we would often see people we knew and would catch up with what they had been doing. There were about seven ladies I knew from Waverley Patchworkers doing the cruise as well as the other tutors.
Main Street
View from above
The windows you can see above the Pig and Whistle hotel in the photo above are promenade cabins, so those people had an interior view rather than an ocean view. I spoke to some people who were in one of those rooms and they said that there was no sound noise that got through to their rooms.
Entrance to the Casino
There was a casino and a gym and spa and pools and rock climbing and mini golf but I didn't do any of those activities. I did use the hairdresser a couple of times though and it was fantastic not to have to bother doing it myself.
Johnny Rockets hamburger bar

Basketball court
Overlooking the pool area
Every night we had dinner in the Carmen dining room on deck 3 and we were treated to a 3 course a la carte menu, we always had the same drink and food waiter and they would make their recommendations to help us order. We still miss Eric our waiter.
Carmen dining room
There were three levels of dining and ours was the bottom one and twice during the cruise all the waiters walked through the room waving their serviettes and sang a song for us.
Waiters song
After dinner we would go to the La Scala theatre and watch a show, sometimes a singer, comedian, or orchestra. What a life!
La Scala Theatre
 So we didn't lose track of time, every day the sign on the floor of the lifts would change so we would know what day of the week it was.
What day is it today?
The ship was so beautiful with no expense spared in all the decorations, there was food available 24 hours a day, as well as a cup-cake shop, pizza and ice cream bar and a huge buffet up on deck 11 where you could sit and watch the ocean.

There were discos and leaving the port parties, dance lessons, scrap booking and bingo and all sorts of activities. I didn't participate in them because on the sailing days I was teaching my crazy patchwork classes and I didn't want to stay up late partying when I had a class the next day.

There were about 3,500 people on the cruise and over 1,500 staff.
There were about 320 women doing the needlework lessons and about 50 husbands came along to enjoy the cruise as well.
On the first sailing day the Needlework organisers Simon, Maureen and Clare gave us all a bag, beaded lanyard and an embroidered name tag.

The classes went well but were very busy and I forgot to take any photos. We had classes on the fifth floor of the dining room and were treated to wonderful views of the ocean all day.
Finally on the last day of teaching I remembered to take a photo of my Journal cover class, it was late and some had already left so it is not a photo of the entire class.
Journal Cover class
At the farewell event, Susan came up to me and showed me that she had finished hers.
Susan and her journal cover
At the Needlecraft farewell event we were honoured that Captain Charles came and spoke to us and said how he enjoyed having us on the ship and our work was just as important as the craftsmen who made the ship. He made a few fans that day. There were 3 sewing machines given out as prizes by Pfaff, so there were some very happy women.

Well that's a snapshot of my first cruise. What I haven't told you is that between New Zealand and Hobart, as we crossed the Tasman Sea we had very rough weather, 10 metre (30 foot waves) and the ship was really rocking side to side. Many people suffered from sea sickness including a couple of the teachers.
The good news for me was that I didn't suffer at all, in fact I loved watching the big waves. The only sickness I was in danger of was from overeating all the wonderful food.

I will tell you all about our New Zealand adventures in the next post.
Bye for now,