Time to upgrade

About 5 years ago my 35 year old Singer Sewing Machine just wanted to retire. I couldn’t get the tension sorted, it started sewing like something with hiccups. At that stage I couldn’t afford much more than the cheapest machine on the market and I bought a little  cheap Singer. All plastic, and the guy who sold it to me tried to encourage me to buy at least the next model up, but I couldn’t afford it.

I have made many smocked dresses with that little cheapie, I even made quite a few quilts and bags and curtains – and it sewed like a champ. I often pull it back from the other side of the table as it moves with the fabric, and jumps up and down when I use the serger on the same table.

When I made dress on Saturday I struggled with bird’s nests under the fabric, and thread breaking in the middle of sewing, especially the moment I hit more than two layers of fabric. It was frustrating – but the dress is pretty 🙂 (no buttonholes and buttons yet – will now wait to do it)

As I am an external marker for Ministry of Education, and the National exams are starting this week, I knew I have some money coming in early next year as I have about 2000 Computer Science papers to mark. With this knowledge I decided to delve into my savings and buy a new sewing machine

I did research for a whole day, reading reviews. To start with I didn’t even have an idea which brand to buy. I started with Singer, as that is my trusted brand, but the new Singer machines can not really compare to other brands any longer – or that is my opinion after a day of research. I looked at Brother (my embroidery machine is Brother), at Bernina (for no specific reason), Singer (because it is my preferred brand) and Janome (as my serger is Janome). I also asked on FB groups for recommendations. The majority of feedback was in favour of Janome

By accident I found out the Quilt shop in a nearby town deals with Janome and I drove out there yesterday, to chat with a real person. There is a special deal with Janome until the end of October (big bonus!). She gave me some brochures and prices and a demonstration on her machine

Another day of research and I have decided to buy the Janome Skyline S3. Well, I actually just transferred the money so that the machine can be ordered 🙂

It should be here by Friday – as well as the exam papers to be marked. Very bad timing, for both to arrive the same day. I guess I will have to mark first 😦 (Maybe, just maybe, I’ll sew the buttonholes for the dress I made)


Fatigue and lots of nothing

Fatigue has been a problem for a few years now, but it has been getting better. I am not sure what triggered it this time as I am very careful and listen to my body. So I am taking things very slow this week and sitting around a lot.

I received a photo of the two little girls wearing the dresses I completed last week. They are very happy with their dresses


I have also now completed three rows of the Splendid Sampler 2 quilt. I love it

The last weekend was a long weekend, with Labour Day on Monday. Saturday we made our way to an old coal mine site about two hours from us, here on the West Coast, the Denniston Mine. I cannot imagine working and living in those circumstances, so many lives were lost. The only way to and from the site, high up in the mountains, was on a steep rail track and mine trolley

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Time is flying

I cannot believe it is nearly Christmas again. I can’t believe I have been back home after my trip! Time is flying and it is time to take stock in my sewing room. Unfinished and forgotten projects must be taken out of their hiding places and I need to list and plan and get it all done – I’ll do this next week and also tidy the sewing room a bit

I have been quite busy with needlework the past few weeks. I made a little dress that I smocked in July, but never made it. The whole front bodice is smocked with beads and these beads caused a bit of a headache. I kept on postponing sewing it as I had to cut the bodice to get the correct shape and I knew the beads were going to be a problem. And yes, I was right. But 5 broken machine needles later the dress has been finished

Recycling wool blankets is the ‘in’ thing here in NZ this year and of course I had to give it a try too. I used lovely fabric which I bought in Japan for the lining

A friend of mine, who lived and taught in  Japan translated ‘I am allergic to shellfish’ to Japanese and wrote it out in Japanese. I used this little piece of paper a lot in Japan as we had to order from pictures s many times, and I had to make sure I didn’t eat shellfish by accident as this could have caused a lot of medical issues for me. It was quite funny because my son asked me what actually happens when I eat shellfish and what he was supposed to do if it happens! Luckily the note worked and i made my friend a bag to say thank you. This was mailed to her today, with the little blanket coat for her granddaughter

Another friend loves Pokemon and when I saw the fabric in Hong Kong I bought it to make a bag for her. She loves it


Earlier this year I promised my husband I’ll make two little dresses for a work colleague. These were finished and delivered yesterday. I measured a bit wrong and the placement of the bird appliqué is not 100% right, but it still looks pretty


Another dress I have bee planning since the beginning of the year is now also finished and I am so happy with this little dress


I do not enjoy knitting, the sizing is always wrong but, once again, I knitted. This time I made sure to use thinner needles than those recommended in the pattern and I have to say the sizing is a bit better. I knitted a little top to go with smocked bloomers – an idea I’ve had in my mind for many months. It looks really pretty and I might make a second set for the twin baby granddaughters of a friend


In the meantime I have also caught up on the Splendid Sampler 2 blocks, as well as the Honeybee Cloths QAL. I bought the Kindle edition of the Splendid Sampler book and made 3 of the blocks I really liked today. Hopefully I can make one more this weekend and crochet around the newly completed blocks – that way I can add another row to the quilt. At this stage I hope to make the quilt with 49 blocks and maybe start another, in another colour way, for a second quilt. The photo was taken before I made the three blocks today



You know you are back in New Zealand when……….

I have been back in New Zealand for a few days now. It was a bit of a struggle with jet lag, but all good now

After arriving in Auckland, from Vancouver, I managed to get an immediate flight to Christchurch, instead of having to wait for 6 hours for my booked flight. The lady at the luggage drop-off counter was wonderful and made a huge effort to change my flight. Without asking me for a cent, I might say

Of course this meant I was arriving in Christchurch just after 8am, instead of 1pm as planned. We live nearly 3 jours from Christchurch, which meant I landed in Christchurch before my husband arrived there. But he made good time after rushing out of the house for a much earlier drive than expected and I didn’t have to wait too long

We popped my bags in the car, he took the trolley back and off we went – to a cafe for breakfast with my eldest son who lives in Christchurch. Again I had a lovely time with another child – it felt like a bonus seeing all three in one week

My hands felt dirty and I went to get a wet wipe in my handbag. DISASTER!!!!!!!! My handbag was nowhere to be seen. We searched the car, the restaurant, everywhere. NOTHING! I went in panic mode as not only my passport and wallet and bank cards and iPad were in the bag…….but also just over $7000 cash! My son gave it to me to pay his student loan. When I say I panicked, I mean I REALLY PANICKED!!!!!! I knew I still had my handbag at the airport as I put my passport back into it after arriving in Christchurch, when I looked for some NZ change to buy a coffee

We rushed back to the airport. I jumped out before my husband stopped the car properly. We quickly searched the car again and I made my way the the security man at the pick up/drop off area. Told him I think I left my bag in the trolley. He smiled and asked my name, when he asked my name I juts relaxed and KNEW they found my bag. He said he saw the trolley with the handbag in the foyer. No, we didn’t put the trolley in the foyer. Some very honest person saw the bag and trolley and pushed it to the foyer, without touching my bag. Of course, because of the strict security and the fact that an unattended bag could be a risk, the bomb squad was called out. They cleared the bag, opened the bag and found my passport. The bag was then taken to the security offices where I collected it about 4 hours later – not a single thing was missing, not even a single dollar.

I am thankful and grateful to live in this country, where people still respect the property of others, where people are honest and wonderful. I am grateful things worked out this way, that my holiday ended on a high note, instead of a disaster. New Zealand is simply the best!!!!!

What a holiday!

I am back home again after millions of plane rides and taxis. What a holiday! It was ‘all rush’ from the moment I met my son at Hong Kong airport, until I set foot in Canada. I had a wonderful, peaceful time with my daughter, her partner and 3 fur babies. We slept in, ate chocolate, binge-watched Downton Abbey. I sorted her sewing machine out for her, made them aprons and cushions We went axe-throwing – true, we did! And it was wonderful 🙂 We went luge riding. Visited an amazing old-fashioned candy shop. We visited the huge mall in Edmonton, had beaver tails in Banff. I even sat in the sleigh used in the Cool Runnings movie (that was one of my favourite movies!)

I had a wonderful and relaxing time and loved every moment I was given with my daughter

After just over 3 weeks with her it was time to catch a plane again. This time to Vancouver. I booked the flight to Vancouver so that I could meet my son there, as he was scheduled to fly to Vancouver and had a 52-hour layover

Yes, my plane was delayed. The delayed more. And more. Eventually, about 6 hours later, we boarded the plane and even started moving. We nearly made it to take off. Then the flight was cancelled due to a mechanical fault and we made our way back to the terminal. Yes, it happened to me……..again!!!!! Luckily, this time, they said another plane was scheduled to leave and had enough seats left for all of us. This time we made it. We even landed in the correct city!

And immediately it was all-go again. We walked, ate, walked, explored…….we bought tickets for Flyover Canada and it was excellent. We went to the market. Took a ferry ride. The next day we rented bikes and cycled through Stanley Park. Afterwards we sat at a restaurant and talked non-stop for several hours, as if we haven’t seen each other in months 🙂

After six weeks, visiting Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, New York, Canada I caught the last taxi for this trip and made the flight to New Zealand. I had fun, I loved the time I could spend with my children. I missed my cats and home, and it is great to be home again