Wellington, or There & Back Again

NOTE: hover over the photos to show captions!

A couple of weekends ago, we took advantage of a gap in the Tag schedule and flew down to Wellington for a quick getaway. We left Auckland in horrid squally weather (Mase & Si looking at the nearby planes gives it away as to how bad it was) but when we landed in Welly it was much clearer. Perfect for outdoor breakfast watching the seabirds catch fish at Oriental Bay, walking around the city centre & meeting friends for lunch (hello Catherine & Kerry!!).

We took in the Lego exhibit at Te Papa – huge masterpieces with some very clever detail. Si found Jeremy Clarkson’s Robin Reliant next to Big Ben – if you haven’t seen that episode, please PLEASE stop reading now, go to YouTube and search it up. It’s freaking hilarious to see people’s reactions & he even made a live news broadcast! The Mona Lisa is fully made of the 1*1 blocks – like a plastic cross stitch. The boys even made their own addition to the exhibit with a pokeball (I don’t know the name, can you tell?!).

We’d signed on to relocate a car back to Auckland – a dollar a day, plus insurance waiver, 900 free kilometres plus a tank of gas. I’d do it again, but I wouldn’t use Budget purely because of the customer service at Wellington airport. I actually made a complaint & I don’t normally go that far.

The end of day one found us at the Hacienda Lodge in Palmerston North. I do recommend this place; the hosts were lovely, full of useful recommendations; it’s clean & tidy (we ended up with the end unit which is also wheelchair friendly).

Day two & we chose to drive up the lesser roads as far as we could. I found a church I’d love to relocate! Then five minutes up the road, one I wouldn’t – it was one of those 1920’s concrete ones and to strengthen it the contractors had obvs removed the stained glass windows & replaced with plain aluminium, ick. At least it was in use!

We stopped at Waiouru Army Museum (Te Mata Toa) as we do nearly every time we travel SH1. This time they had a new temp exhibition, which consisted of photographs taken in the tunnels under the WWI battlefields in Arras, France. We couldn’t do the Passchendaele exhibit as we were warned that it was too graphic for Mase, but the kids loved the games and graphics in the Food Glorious Food exhibit, especially the game where you caught the ingredients as a rat knocked them off the shelf.

Late lunch in Taupo, then a quick drive to the rental depot at Auckland Airport. It cost me more than either the Jetstar tickets or the car rental to park our car for the 48 hours but we’ve got lots more in our memory bank.


The Hux Part Deux & WIP-yesterday-was-Wednesday # 214

About this time last year, I climbed the Hux with the BBM crew. This year, as a family we decided to do it again, opening up to whomever wanted to meet us but not letting the lack of “me too” hold us back.

The Hux, or Hakarimata Mountain summit climb, can be divided into two portions. There’s the relatively easy walk to the site of the 1922 dam (nice waterfall is just past this) or the more strenuous climb to the summit. 1K almost straight up, 1349 stairs.


Because I haven’t been very active, my personal goal was halfway plus two flights. I kind-of bullied Karl into the same (he originally had halfway) but then we just kept on moving. And moving. And after about an hour, we were there (Si & Mase had done it 1.25 times by then & Louise & her friend A were a little behind us). Woot!

On the way up I’d seen part of the Tuakau and some Rewa league boys & on the way down, some of the Hamilton BBM crew. It’s nice to see familiar faces but even more so, nearly 99% of everyone else on the Mountain is also doing it tough, no matter how you measure them from yourself. There’s a lot of encouragement & good vibes.

On the WIP front, my work/travel piece is still Little House Needlework’s Bethelehem. I’ve finished with the lettering as of last night and YAY it well fits into the fabric with plenty of room. And I got some progress in on Fairy Idyll – not visibly much as it is such a big piece, but counting & double-counting has got me to the far right. Sorry for the crinkles – I am also stitching this one in hand.

Music wise I am slow to the party & have just discovered Sam Hunt. Gorgeous voice and a STORY in the song? Yes please. Also Do Right by The Glades – she has a beautiful voice.

WIP Wednesday #213

Look at me, blogging on the day I should! Almost a grown-up.

Stitching wise, I haven’t got much done at all. I took a half-day Friday feeling unwell, and have been this way since. I’ve been to the GP and have tablets, spray & ear drops – she thinks a combo of inner ear infection & sinusitis, yum – and blood tests for thyroid & iron & other stuff. I’m slowly getting better but it’s 11am & I’m desperate for a nana nap. So slow is the word for today.

20180124_110030.jpgOn Ashley I finished the blend in the bow, the apricot roses and the greenery in her bouquet. Maybe 250-300 stitches? And I didn’t do anything more on Bethlehem.

I did go to the Corsini exhibit on Saturday with Lou & #masetheace. He was pretty awesome for his first classical art exhibit, lots of questions but he was quiet, respectful & didn’t try to touch anything. More than I can say for some other kids. What is up with letting your child TOUCH a 500 year old fabric wall hanging (close up of the stitching below)? Or letting your child scream in an echoing room & ignoring the 50-odd other people who paid to see this exhibit? Rant over. Take in some of the gorgeousness – and if it ever leaves Florence again, take the chance & view. Well worth it.


WIP (cough) post-Wednesday #212

Apologies for the lateness but – yeah. Life.

This past week has been really odd, frantic busy & I haven’t had much stitching time at all. I finally started Little House Needlework’s Bethlehem & this is all I have managed, in between swearing & work, while in my little office.

We finished the work at the MIL’s on Tuesday, just in time to run home, clean up & shoot into town to see Jimmy Carr at the Aotea Centre. Another night without eating (trying to get parking & pre-pay so we didn’t get towed ate up the time) but it was so worth it. I know he’s crass & non PC, but his humour is on multiple intellectual levels. And his reaction to hecklers is spot on. I laughed until my cheeks hurt & very nearly at crying point. And we had a late night visitor – those stripes look odd!

Last night MIL and the boys arrived home – hooray! She kept on saying she’d loved what we had done, but then spoiled it a little by commenting about our wanting to sell it. For the fifty-fifth thousandth time – it’s not us thinking about selling. Grr. She has a lot of trouble just being grateful & that is getting to me. After all, that space was original 1979…it was well past due!

I don’t see much stitching in the next week either – I want to go to the last days of the Corsini Collection at Auckland Art Gallery. It closes Sunday but I plan on going Saturday with Mase in tow.

Blurb: From the private collection of the eminent Corsini family in Florence, Italy, comes this fascinating exhibition featuring Renaissance and Baroque painting by artists such as Botticelli, Andrea del Sarto, Caravaggio and Pontormo.

The exhibition provides a window on the family’s continuing passion for collecting art, their support of artists, and their ongoing loyalty to the city of Florence, which has prevailed through the devastation of WWll and the inescapable forces of nature during the flood of Florence in 1966.

Portraits, landscape, mythological and religious paintings, as well as sculpture, works on paper, furniture, costumes, embroidery, games, kitchen equipment and a lavish dining room set for six, will portray the life of this family at the Palazzo Corsini and their patronage of the arts.


WIP Wednesday #208

It’s been a busy week. My mind is alternating between frantic & lazy, so I know I’m about to reach the end of all my tolerance.

Since last Wednesday, my Twitter #nzsecretsanta parcel has been checked into Santa’s warehouse, & bonus! The one that is coming to me is also checked in. Mase won Player of the Day at Tag; and celebrated finishing Goldfish #3 at swim school with “play” day, or what the teachers would call survival skills. Ben, his teacher, is off to Massey Uni next year as he has been accepted into Veterinary school. Mase’s sentiments? Hmm. I finished the last colour of Believe – and would you believe it, going back thru my planner I saw that I started this in January. That is how much I have hated stitching on a big piece of perforated paper! We had the school concert last night, finished painting the bathroom (I can hear Elizabeth’s “about time!” comment lol) and I am nearly done beading the second of the Jamaica Santas.

There will be a #FFO dance this weekend, folks.


WIP Wednesday #207

So. Here we are again, heading into the silly season. We’ve had a busy week. There’s been a lot of Tag going on (tag is the summer version of league, no tackling but it’s very, very fast flowing). Lou turned 23, & we had a family lunch at hers. Being in retail, work is ramping up so I’m trying to find moments of peace. Like looking at the Pohutukawa (or New Zealand Christmas Tree) at the supoermarket carpark. I even took some stitching into the Shine assembly at school last night – Z was rewarded for having already banked a merit NCEA credit going into year 11 (which is when most NZ children start NCEA/GCSE type standards). He’s got 7, being assessed for another 5 & needs 80 in total by the end of next year.

Stitching wise, it’s been good when I look back. Still too many things for my liking are in the WIP phase, but I got a mini finish – Rose of Sharon for Becca’s RR. I have this one in my stash & Simon has asked to add it to my list – does 2019 look good for you hon?

I have started (at Becca’s noted disappointment that it wasn’t finished) to complete Ashley’s Roses. It took a few hours to mark what had been done on a copy of my chart (yeah, another in my basket of Mira), then floss check to make sure any batch changes wouldn’t affect the overall look. I’d rather frog at this point than later! So this is my start point, I only have a few additional stitches in so not worth showing any progress. I do want to get this way to Melinda in January, so she remains my at-home focus piece.

Also not worth showing any progress on is Jamaica Santa – pathetically I’ve managed only another thread length of beading. But Believe only has one more colour to do before I bead that, and the Honey Pots (work) are taking shape also.

My 2018 plans are starting to come together also – but you’ll have to wait until Jan 7th, the opening WIPocalypse post for that. Are you joining us for year seven? ANNNND Stitch From Stash is opening for sign-ups for the first six months of 2018. Look for the group entitled “Stitch From Stash 2017/2018” to be included in the ongoing saga. There are other groups as well, but Stephanie is such a good admin & this isn’t a pressure point, so I’m continuing where I am.


WIP Wednesday #206, WIPocalypse & SFS

WIPocalypse is a monthly check-in SAL hosted by Mel over at measi(dot)blog – click the icon on the right to be taken to her blog. You can now also find us on FB!

Stitch From Stash is also a monthly check-in, hosted on FB by Stephanie, Ms Oh Sew Crafty on IG, blogland & YouTube.

So let’s get the shite part over with – I am officially well in the hole and very unlikely to get out this year. I *may* be fine in 2018, as I have fabric or kits now for a number of starts I want to do, plus I am in total love with Fairy Idyll. I am definitely more aware of what I am spending and doing a lot to avoid impulse buys, which I guess could be counted as a success.

Allowance $25.00
FB Dreamer/Watergarden -24.96
Hospice – JCS pile -2.00
Rollover -$56.97
Total Available Budget -$58.93


IMG_20171101_054205_092.jpgThis month’s stitchy focus was Fairy Idyll, altho I also wanted to finish the two Jamaica Santas as my travel pieces. I started beading last night on those, & I’m happy with my progress on FI so far also. Those pinks, while they look like the charted pinks, aren’t. But the lightest colour, a blend of 819/blanc, looked too pale on the Applemint fabric, so I’ve increased the intensity. And I used my stash for that (bonus point, Stephanie? LOL)

I am still waiting to stitch on two of the round robin pieces – which would increase my SFS balance but take away from FI. I should chase those up – I believe they are both in Scotland.

November goals:

  • Leave Fairy Idyll as the focus piece
  • Bead & FFO both Jamaica Santa pieces
  • Bead & FFO Mill Hill Autumn Harvest Honey Pot pieces (started yesterday at work)

Question of the Month – How did you begin stitching? Both my grandmothers were crafty, especially Nana, as she was a farmer’s wife, but a big influence was Auntie Mick. She’s not my “real” aunty, but a great aunt a couple of times removed, but she was huge in the needlework world at the time. Te Papa, our national museum, has some of her work archived. See this post: https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/5m51/mills-marjory-hinemoa

Next posting date: November 26, 2017

Topic for next time: What finishing style have you never tried but would love to do?

As an additional blogging question this month, I pose to you:  Do you have any plans or instructions for your stitching projects and stash for after you’re gone? Not really! I don’t have a local stitchy buddy and none of my children are as focused on stitching as I would like. Hopefully the stash will go to the local rest home & the finished pieces will be kept by the kids in memoriam.