Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Trans Alpine train trip

Last week, we drove to Christchurch to pick up our eldest daughter from the airport and to go on the Trans Alpine Railway trip we have been longing to do for a while.  It was beautiful weather, sunny and clear, so good views of the snow capped mountains and gorgeous scenery.
The train leaves Christchurch at 8.15 am.

and you travel across the flat plains...I didn't realise that the Canterbury Plains are NZ's largest area of flat land...750,000 hectares!!!
The train follows the Waimakariri River, a beautiful braided river.  The colour of the water is often an intense turquoise blue but because of flooding it was a bit muddied.

cold and frosty with mountain views.

we journeyed through the tussock land and dry beech forests,  Arthurs Pass is the South Island's highest altitude settlement at 737m above sea level.

looking back towards Canterbury at Arthurs Pass station. Then down towards the West Coast.

On the trip there were high viaducts and lots of tunnels. The Otira Tunnel which is on theWest Coast side was very long ( when it was made in 1923 it was the longest tunnel in the British Empire) and evidently unusually for a tunnel has a gradient of 1 in 3 because most tunnels are level.    When you think that these tunnels and viaducts were mostly constructed by men without all the modern day diggers and machinery it is incredible.  Also with one of the highest rainfalls in the world and the cold temperatures, deep snow in the winters the working conditions must have been very miserable.

We got very close to the rocks at times, a bit disconcerting!!

We had a very happy day, Greymouth on the West Coast is a historic gold mining town, time for lunch then it was back on the train and back to Christchurch arrived about 6.30 pm.  a lot of knitting was done and the soothing motion of the train and no driving or traffic concerns made for a relaxing journey.

There were various stops along the way where passengers could disembark and spend the day then catch the train again on the way home.  We chose to go from coast to coast but another time would like to stop at Lake Brunner or maybe Arthurs Pass and do some of the bush walks.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tea Towels to cushions

Over the years I have been given some very pretty tea towels, much too good to dry dishes with!! So I have made them into little cushions, it is a quick and fun project.

These are some I have made that we have at Riverton.

Our Melbourne dwelling daughter wanted some NZ themed cushions so I was pretty excited when I found these tea towels at Spotlight.

To start with you make 3 or 4 buttonholes at one end of the tea towel ( I usually use quite big buttons and often they are mismatched thrifted ones)

Then you decide where you want your pattern to be -  some towels are all over and there is no repeat pattern.   These ones have the Tui and Kowhai at either end.
When you know where you want the fold, put the right sides together, pin in place and whizz down the sides.
I don't even cut off the neatened edges, so it's all done for you.

 As you can see enthusiasm levels were so high that no pressing took place...you really should!

Turn right sides out, sew on the buttons...Press

and there you go!!!!!!! finished already!!!!

This one is a bit baggy on the inner because I was sending the covers only to Australia and its just modelling itself for you on another inner.   Another quick tip:   to make an inner  buy a pillow , run 2 lines of stitching through it at the size you require then cut between the stitched lines and you have 2 ready made pre-filled inners.

yikes.. it really does need a press ...but the yellow and black looks very kiwi.

For my birthday a friend gave me a caravan tea towel (and very cute key ring) ..no way am I going to be drying camping dishes with this cute wee number!...next project coming up !!

A touch of red

RED :  a colour like blood: extended traditionally to mean golden, and by custom to other colours more or less near red.   (Chambers Dictionary).

What a gorgeous way to start the week!!!!  The sunrise on Monday morning was soooo beautiful! fiery, intense reds that turned to an unusual golden light...

Red in the morning...

There were touches of red the whole week....

...at work

......at home, I finished a tea cosy I made for a friends lovely daughter who got engaged.


There was a hint of red in the Helleborus plants I bought this week, so beautiful!! I got some new ones, a double maroon, a semi-double white, 3 lovely new ones called winter sunshine, green with a maroony red blush........a pink and some single whites....all planted and hopefully going to clump up into big healthy flower covered  plants.  I am stitching Hellebores too in my latest UFO and I am liking the colours and the pattern....there is a maroon in this as well!

I am not really a red loving person...having said that my favourite walking jacket is red!! so its funny that red has popped up all over the place this week....

I had a big tidy up out on the verandah the frosts have killed my geraniums which is very sad, so time for a change .

some pretty primroses. (there were a lot of temptations at the nursery!)

Last year I bought some galvanised buckets when they were on special at the hardware store, I love them and decided to use them as planters.  I use plastic pots inside them and to cover the rims a bit I make silver birch twig wreaths.  As the plants in the pots get past their best I just lift them out and replace them with other pots.  It's working really well for me.  I have pots of bulbs that I leave behind the shed for most of the year and just pop them in the buckets when they are near flowering.   I got some polyanthus plants so have put them in until my daffs, tulips etc come on a wee bit.

A few snowdrops are also kept in pots, when they flower I can have them inside or at the front door etc.  They are almost flowering in the garden....I just love them!!! Last winter a friend gave me some planted in a birds nest.....exquisite!

We had a night at Riverton last night

a cosy fire, cups of tea, stitching and reading as the weather was cold and drizzly.

it's always good to go to the sea to have your energy renewed and your spirit soothed.

We are very excited to have our girls coming home on holiday this week...yay!

PS just thinking...maybe I do like red.... I loved the British postboxes, Robin red breasts, chaffinches and goldfinches, the red shoes that my girls wore to Southland Girls High School, red roses, the red and white of radishes, beetroot, red apples, red berries....red hats in the winter....red geraniums in blue pots....

Saturday, July 7, 2012

birthdays come round fast!

I am sure the time span between birthdays is somehow becoming magically shorter, (and that appears to be the same with Christmas!). As a child looking forward to these major events in your life it seemed to take 'forever' ...not now!!! the days, months and years feel as if they are on 'fast forward'!
...however we should all  feel lucky and priveledged to have the chance to celebrate every year we are given, life is so fragile we need to treasure it.

So I had another birthday and it was fun, lots of pressies, the sun shone, family and friends called and visited.  I was spoiled in every way!

this tantalising  parcel ( arrived a few days prior to the 4th so patience was exerted waiting until the day!!) contained so many goodies !!!! lovely packs of Earl Grey Tea, also a very fancy stapler and staples for making little books and using as embellishments.

This parcel was prettily wrapped too but the pic is in another file and either me or my technology goblin won't let me put it here!!! it was in pretty pink tissue , pink and white spotted ribbon with a dear wee knitted rose on the top!

From the man of the house, lovely old kitchen scales that work and are accurate, they have been squirrelled  away since our Lawrence trip, also the lovely rose swag, large amounts of confectionary! and a big pineapple! perfect!
Some fresh flowers from daughter and her partner,

And this cool pressie , the wee bird on his book is so cute, will leave the cheesemaking until our girls are home( soon!) and make and eat some cheese together!

Such a lovely day and so spoilt...and we get to have another birthday when the girls come home in a couple of weeks!!!

Not a lot of crafting done this week, but did pick up a little watercolour I had had framed. Also did some crocheted flowers while visiting my Dad in Dunedin . He has had a big op and we are all so relieved he's ok and going to get back to the farm. It's been a worrying time.

Got to see my beloved hills again...

view from mum and dads
looking towards Brighton and Taieri Mouth.
Maungatuas .

......and the sampler was finished!!!! finito!!!! YAY!  ....onto the next ufo!