This blog is a bit of a ramble through my life. There's a lot about quilting and textile arts, a sprinkle of my family life and some of my thoughts and ponderings. We currently live aboard an old wooden 1945 Navy boat, called MV Cerego, so you'll find me writing about that too. Welcome aboard!

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Day Sailing on the Bay


The R Tucker Thompson is a tall ship that works out of Opua, where I live.  During the summer season they take paying guests for day and evening sails and they use this money to help subsidise youth training trips the rest of the year.


I was lucky enough to have a voucher for a Day Sail for two adults and two children so last weekend my Mother in Law, myself and the two kids made sail!


What a fantastic day!  The crew gets the guests really involved in the sailing of the ship.  The kids hauled ropes, climbed rigging and sat out on the bowsprit like pros.  To give you a bit of perspective, the top of the mast is 20 metres from the waterline.


The morning was spent sailing out through the Bay of Islands.  They gave us yummy cream scones for morning tea and then we anchored in a little bay and spent some time on a beautiful beach.  

I've taken the photo above from the dinghy, the person halfway up the rigging is my 8 year old daughter and my son is up on the yardarm - but you can't really see him.  I had the other guests commenting how brave they were but the kids just thought it was fun!


The Bay of Islands at it's best.  The beaches out in the bay are just gorgeous.

The Tucker is a traditional gaff-rigged schooner.  She's so pretty when you see her sailing around and sitting at anchor.


There was swimming and swinging to be done before a wonderful barbeque lunch.  The fresh air gives you a great appetite.  And they have drinks available for purchase, so you can have a glass of wine if you wish.


I was intrigued by the 'boat bits' as I called them.  Lots of weathered wood and copper and complicated knots, pulleys and bits and pieces.



My son is particularly keen to get back on board and go for one of the youth training week-long trips.  He has to be at least two years older, and he can't wait!  After he's done a trip like that, he can be a volunteer crew.  Because the Tucker is run by a trust, they use volunteers when they can.  One of our crew this trip was a 15 year old that the kids knew from their school.  And he was confident and competent - great to see.


Oh yeah, did I mention we saw dolphins too?!  So lucky!  We had a good breeze that was great for sailing, we had nice weather which made it pleasant and everyone had a fabulous time.  What a perfect day.

So, if you are ever up this way, check out the R Tucker Thompson and book yourself a day sail.  I would thoroughly recommend it

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Interview with Mary Hawke - Best of Show Winner Auckland Festival of Quilts 2015

Mary Hawke was the proud winner of Best in Show at the Auckland Festival of Quilts 2015 with her quilt 'Dear Jane'.  A big thank you to Mary who spent half an hour of her time chatting to me about making 'Dear Jane', her love of small blocks, how she gets things done and lots of other quilty goodness.


'Dear Jane' was made from the book written by Brenda Manges Papadakis.  Brenda drafted the 225 block patterns from the original design of the 1863 Jane A. Stickle quilt and it has been immensely popular in the quilting world with hundreds of 'Baby Janes' being made in as many colour combinations and block arrangements as you can think of.

Mary stayed true to the original design of 'Dear Jane' and she also tried to keep the colours as close as possible to the original.  Her quilt was professionally quilted by her friend, Colleen Burr, who made a wonderful job of it.

Here is a link to the Dear Jane book on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Dear-Jane-Hundred-Twenty-five-Patterns/dp/1881588157

Here is a link to the Dear Jane website - there is so much information about making the quilt along with email lists for 'Janiacs', links to photographs of finished Dear Jane quilts and much, much more:  http://www.dearjane.com/newbie_info.htm

Here is a link to Linda Franz' instructions for scalloped borders and binding that Mary used to help her achieve such a perfect quilt: http://lindafranz.com/index.php?sectionId=38


This is Mary receiving her prize of a brand new Bernina sewing machine. Yay! Bernina!  Mary will make good use of this as her second machine, but she also loves her handwork.  Mary confesses to having made two Farmers Wife quilts from start to finish! 

The interview starts about half way through the audio.  To begin with I give you a run down on what's been happening in my quilting adventures, so if you are only interested in the interview with Mary, skip the first 30 minutes or so.

Here is the link to the tutorial on half-rectangle triangles that I talked about: http://athousandneedles.com/2014/05/tutorial-half-rectangle-triangles/

I hope you enjoy our interview and if you have made your own Dear Jane quilt, please give us a link in the comments so we can all admire your hard work. 

(I've been banging my head against the podcasting wall this week, and I can't get an audio player to embed and actually show up in my blog post - sorry!  So I've included links to listen in Podbean instead.)



For the love of books


I thought I'd share a few of the books that are gracing my bedside table at the moment.  


I've been searching for ways to capture light in my art and when I opened this book at my library I had to take it home.  Louis Comfort Tiffany - Masterpieces of Art, by Susie Hodge, describes the life and work of Louis Tiffany and then has pages and pages of images of his beautiful works in mainly stained glass.


I knew about Tiffany glass and lamps of course, but to see a whole collection of them in one book was eye-opening and inspiring.  If I can do just a little of what he does I'll be happy.


Te Hao Nui - The Great Catch.  Edited by Fiona McKergow and Kerry Taylor with photography by Michael Hall.   This is an intriguing book about the museum collection at Te Manawa, Palmerston North.  There are some delightful objects that have a history you'd never guess at.


And this pendant is just so beautiful.


This book was another in my search for light in my own work.  Light and Landscape, the New Zealand photographs of Andris Apse.  It is just glorious, page after page of wonderful photographs - sigh.  


Do you use books like these for inspiration?