Friday, September 30, 2011

9 by 12 Transformation Challenge

OMG! I have been notified by Leah Day that I am a winner in her Transformation Challenge with my painted Monarch Butterfly! How exciting is that? She gets to keep the quiltlet and I get to wait for the mail :-)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shopping in Wellington

This is a bit of a moan about customer service.
On Tuesday I had to spend my vouchers won at Tote and Gloat in May. My first trip was a 30 minute drive to Upper Hutt to Thimbles and Thread. Now, I don't shop there very often but have visited a few times in the past.
No-one spoke to me when I entered the shop, nor in the entire time (at least 30 minutes) I was browsing around! The lady behind the counter did not have any other customers! If I didn't have my vouchers to spend I would not have stayed. Considering that this is a craft/gift and quilting shop - most people would be keen to spend a few $$$ there - quilting fabric is not cheap!
Anyway I used the vouchers to just buy some thread.
My next experiences were in Wellington central.
At the French Art Shop, I browsed for 15 - 20 minutes, even picked up something and carried it around with me. Again no-one spoke to me or asked me if I needed help. The few people that were there obviously knew each other and were busy loudly talking about themselves. I could have walked out the door with a bag of goodies and they wouldn't have been any the wiser - except that I'm an honest person. No $$$ spent there!
A short time later I walked into Abstract Designs - again I was the only customer and there were 2 assistants talking to each other. Not one word was said to me and the only reasons I stayed as long as I did, was because I love the art work and I was looking for something for a present - sadly, I couldn't be bothered to spend any money if 2 people could ignore me in such a small store.
BUT! I did have a good experience across the road at Lavage where the assistant was very pleasant, welcoming and helpful! So money was spent there.
All right, so what's the point behind my frustration?
  • Times, are difficult. 
  • You are lucky to have a job.
  • In shops SERVICE should be the MOST important thing!
  • We have 1000's of visitors currently in New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup, they will have money to spend, especially if it is New Zealand made.
Business owners, you are losing hundred's of dollars a day because your staff do not have sell your products or business - and I don't mean following customers around or hard sell! I mean making them feel welcome within 90 seconds of walking in the door, asking them if they need assistance, then letting them 'shop'.
So not only have I told several people of my Tuesday experience, I have also sent it viral and listed the web sites - it is so easy to spread the word of both good and bad experiences.

More Birthday Food

On Monday, Derrick and I walked to the National War Memorial on Buckle Street. Wellington had put on a beautiful sunny day, so lots of exercise - well, we did have to walk off the chocolate from the evening before and get prepared for afternoon tea!
Anyway, here are a couple of photos from the Memorial:
Blue bird etched into the internal tiles
Flower shape etched into the internal tiles
I love how simple the decoration was used on the internal walls - I will have to use these on a quilt.
Bronze statue outside - Simpson and his donkey carrying a wounded soldier
Please check out the Ministry of Culture and Heritage web site (above) to see the official photos of the memorial and the information about the carillon. This was our first visit and was important for me because of the research and work I have been doing on the war history quilts.

Rebecca had booked us into high tea at the Wellesley Hotel - the interior has been refurbished and the oak panelling and furniture is to die for - not too overdone considering the place is not huge.
High Tea at the Wellesley
We got to choose our tea, which came in a silver teapot. All the china were the dainty bone china teacups and plates (Cloclough, Royal Albert, you get the picture), plus the tea cloth was hand stitched. So very lovely to take time out to enjoy company and a special afternoon tea - thank you Rebecca!

It Was My Birthday

Well that was Monday, but we went to Wellington on Sunday afternoon and stayed at the new Army Leave Centre (an apartment on Cuba Street - so central) for a few nights.
All the family enjoyed the Chocolate Buffet at the Amora Hotel - where incidentally, the Argentine Rugby team were staying - we had to ruck and scrum our way through all the supporters waiting outside for the players to bus down to the stadium for their game. Argentina won by one point against Scotland - what a nail biter that was to watch!
Ok, ok, back to the buffet!
Plus, there were some hot puddings. This feast is only on for a couple of weeks and you have to do it!
So that was the 'birthday dinner'.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Snapshots

Spring is here - so I've got some springy photos for you to enjoy.
Cherry blossoms
Kowhai and lady-bug
Some of the lambs
Tom's nose
Tom is our dorper X hogget ram - just love how black his nose is!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011 ...

.. has started.
Go here, here, and here, to see the opening ceremony at Eden Park.
And here, to watch the opening fireworks display down at Auckland's waterfront.
It was fantastic.
I'm so proud that we as a country have pulled off a visual feast for all nations of the world.
We also won the first game against Tonga (41-10).

Proud to be Kiwi!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Numbers 7 & 8

Here are some photos I managed to get this morning. Just in case you didn't know, the ewes pace and make noises and have pain just as women do when giving birth.
The first signs are: not eating, pacing and pawing the ground.
Here the 'bag' has come down, but the waters are not yet broken:
The ewe is 'arching' her back and using the back legs to assist with the lambs birth:
The lamb has slid out - you may be able to just see it!
The start of the cleaning - during this time mother is mewing to the lamb, which is trying to stand and find the teat:
It takes a few minutes to get the energy to try to stand! But mother is protective - even though she is still having contractions ...
... for the next one! This can be up to an hour or so later!
This is the first black lamb I have had born here :-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wandering in the 'Forest'

A dear friend has her birthday today, so 4 of us got together for lunch at her place to celebrate. We then had the tour of the garden and environs - she lives in the country in the husband's old family home. Here are some lovely 'spring' snapshots from the tour:
Starlings nesting in an old lantern in the workshop
Peaches and cream magnolia?
Violets in the shade
Lovely red leaf on the 'forest' floor

I Wasn't Expecting This - Just Yet!

2 sets of twin lambs - one set only a few minutes old!
This pair are already 'springing' around! They must have been born last night.

The Fish is Finished!

Finished sewing on the hanging sleeve at sewing group, sewed the binding and the beads while watching rugby games on TV over the weekend.
Very pleased with the end result:
Measures 16" x 24"What do you think?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Playing With the Nine-Patch

I wanted to use a simple traditional block in my Western Front quilt - the colours weren't so important, as I will be 'embellishing' after doing the quilting. But I wanted something more than the 9-patch.
This doesn't look very exciting does it? - and I haven't a lot of room to make an impact.
So I added a narrow border of stripes:
Then cut it into 4 (that's what you do as a patchworker, right?):
Then played around with the arrangement:
option #1
option #2
option #3
option #4
option #5
option #6 - my choice
Then I stitched the blocks on-point so they look like this:
A simple 9-patch, plus a narrow border, cut it up and look at the options!