Thursday, September 08, 2016

Strawberry House

After we moved house in January life threw a few lemons my way, and I didn't stitch for quite a few months.

The first thing I stitched when I got my mojo back was Strawberry House by Tanya at the Scarlett House.  I think this is quite possibly my favourite design ever.  I just love the design and the thread colours.  I had put it off for ages because I didn't have the exact fabric called for or anything similar (such a silly attitude!).  I eventually decided a piece of WDW Cocoa fabric would be just fine.

When I won the generous gift voucher on Sharon's blog back in May the main acquisition was the fabric, threads and chart for La D Da's  Honeysuckle Birth Sampler.  Although I stitched a couple of things for Annabelle before she was born, I never got around to a birth sampler.  It was a pretty quick stitch, but has been languishing unfinished for a little while as I have yet to decide on the lettering for this piece.  Unfortunately, I don't like what is charted and I want to fit her full name in the middle portion not just her first and second names.  (I've just spotted I missed a honeysuckle flower on the vine!).

Annabelle has become very interested in my crafting lately.  "What are you making me today?" she asked yesterday as I was rifling through my crafty drawers.  Then this morning she asked "Are you needle-ing me a hat?".  lol.   Her and I started making her a scrapbook yesterday - she really enjoyed rummaging through my supplies and spreading them all over the floor.

At the end of July we said goodbye to my bunny Milly.  Obviously I was sad, but I believe she was probably old in bunny years as she went blind with cataracts soon after I got her (here she was the first day I adopted her from animal rescue).  I had her for a little over two and a half years.

My other bunny Cola is getting on in years, I've had him for about four and a half years and he was also a rescue bunny (so real age unknown).  He will have to make do with our company as, as much as I love bunnies I don't plan on getting anymore.  However, I may take him to see my Mum's bunnies on occasion for something different.

It is a miserable, cold day here with lots of hail and sleet.  Parts of the country have been really battered by storms and snow.  Winter is giving us a final farewell, as it gives way to spring.  Wahoo!

Sunday, September 04, 2016

National Parks Birthday Club

Thanks for the warm welcome back to blogging everyone!

This weekend I managed to finish up part 1 of The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's National Parks Birthday Club.  Part 2 will be released at the end of September.  It will be interesting to learn about US national parks.  New Zealand has many too, my favourites being Fiordland (awe-inspiring/jaw dropping/out of this world beautiful in my view) and Tongariro (a few hours north of where I live, with a couple of active volcanoes).

Some of you might recall that last year we moved house and totally made a big mistake in doing so.  In January this year we moved back to our old neighbourhood.  One of the things that attracted us to our current house is it's lovely large garden, which even has it's own stream. It is a great time of year to see what is popping up in the  garden.  Fortunately the previous owners liked spring bulbs and there are many, many yet to bloom.   I can't wait!

We also have some unique garden visitors, including this endangered New Zealand falcon (Karearea). Annabelle and I were home alone one day and there were a lot of banging and crashing noises.  I could not understand what was going on at all.  We went outside and found a white dove which we sat and talked to for a while, before noticing the falcon in the tree watching all of us.  We had interrupted the falcon chasing its lunch!  First things first I got the camera (as you do!), then I rang my husband to see what he thought I should do - either let nature take its course or save the dove from becoming lunch - however before I told him the whole story the dove flew off with the falcon in hot pursuit.  I don't know how it ended.  Maybe that's a good thing!

Back soon with part 2 of the local sampler history.  I am glad that some of you commented that you enjoyed part 1!

Friday, September 02, 2016

Local sampler history - part 1

Earlier in the year I purchased  'New Zealand's Historic Samplers' by Vivien Caughley .  I had borrowed the book from the library several times, so figured I must quite like it so I may as well just buy my own copy.  :-)

I was surprised that there were so many samplers stitched in New Zealand.  The few samplers I have seen in person all have their origins overseas.

As I was reading the book one sampler in particular caught my eye because it was fairly local to me. It was stitched by a young girl called Jane Tonks (age 8).  Unfortunately, she died aged 22 in 1867 and is buried in Bolton Street Cemetery in Wellington.

I am quite familiar with the cemetery, as it forms part of the botanical gardens which Annabelle and I frequent.  I particularly like to visit the cemetery at this time of year because I love to see the spring bulbs blooming amongst the historic graves.

Anyway, back in March Annabelle and I headed out on a little mission to see if we could find the grave of Jane Tonks.  We had to veer off the main path a little but eventually found her headstone.

Unfortunately, the headstone does not mark the grave of Jane Tonks.  Her remains were disinterred from her original resting place in the 1960s to make way for the construction of the motorway.  Jane's remains now lie on the other side of the motorway in another part of the cemetery, along with the graves of many others.

A little while later I was again reading the book and found an even more local to me connection.  I will save that for the next post.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Back to blogging

For a while now I have wanted to start blogging again - so here I am dipping my toes back in the water.

As Annabelle gets older I am starting to find a little more time to get back to stitching.  At the moment I am working on Merry Christmas, My Deer from Country Cottage Needleworks.  I was lucky enough to win a very generous gift voucher on Sharon's blog back in May and this is one of the designs I purchased with it.

A few days ago I saw the hashtag #nationalparksal on Instagram, which picqued my interest.  A quick search and I found a sneak peek of the National Parks Birthday Club from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, and immediately knew that I was going to sign up.   The first part was released today.  I have the majority of threads required, but still need to decide on the fabric.  Annabelle has already claimed it as her own.  "What is it Mummy?" she asked.  I told her it was a cross stitch chart and she said "Thank you... thank you".  

Annabelle turned 3 in July.  Definitely the fastest three years of my life! She's now going to kindy a few days a week.  The kindy has a farmyard theme, so she even gets to ride the pony and feed the chickens.  Such fun for her.  Three is such a fantastic age, and I love the funny and sweet things she comes out with.  Every time I pick her up from kindy she says "I love to see you Mummy".  I never tire of hearing that.  I always enjoy it when she brings home her creations too - this one last week was quite different than the usual paintings.  A 3D tree!

The weekend is finally here.  Hope you have a stitchy one!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Bluebelle Samplings - competition

Hi everyone

If you'd like the chance to win a copy of my first reproduction sampler (Margaret Jagger 1824), please head over to -

Bluebelle Samplings blog

Bluebelle Samplings on Facebook

Bluebelle Samplings on Instagram

Please share, like and let others know to help spread the word about Bluebelle Samplings for more chances to win.

I am going to draw a winner on Monday 28 March.  Good luck!

Also, I now have an Etsy shop which can be found here - Bluebelle Samplings on Etsy

A more personal blog update to follow! :-)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bluebelle Samplings Chart No. 1 - Margaret Jagger 1824 - NOW AVAILABLE

Chart information -
'Margaret Jagger 1824' is a beautiful reproduction of a 192 year old sampler.  I purchased the original sampler in 2015, and have reproduced and stitched it to look as close as possible to the original.

The reproduction has been stitched using DMC threads on Weeks Dye Works 30 count Cocoa fabric.

The stitch count is 174 wide by 170 high.

Charts are now available in hard copy or in PDF format.  Hard copy charts are printed on high quality paper and will be sent in a protective sleeve.

Costs -
PDF file - NZ$15 (approx AU$13, GBP 7.00, US$10*) sent via email
Hardcopy - NZ$25 (approx AU$22, GBP 11.50, US$16*) plus postage (NZ$3.60)

*Currency conversions are approximate only and subject to daily exchange rate fluctuations

Payment information -
To order your copy, please send me an email at stating whether you would like a PDF or hard copy.   If you require a hard copy please include your mailing address so I can mail your chart promptly.

For overseas customers I will send you a Paypal invoice.

For those ordering from New Zealand I am happy to accept payment via direct credit or Paypal.

Please feel free to email if you have any queries.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

My Mother Margaret 1828

Hi everyone

Thank you for your supportive and kind comments on my last post.  We are currently making very fast progress on some improvements to our house in order for it to go on the market in the coming months.  Hopefully we'll be able to move on and find a sense of home again in the nearish future.

I remembered recently that I hadn't yet shared my third antique sampler with you all.  It is not the prettiest sampler, but I fell in love with the verse which says 'Who fed me from her gentle breast and hush'd me in her arms to rest and on my cheek sweet kisses prest.  My mother Margaret 1828'.  When I chart this one I think I will play around with the colours and see if I can joosh it up a bit.

I finished charting my first antique sampler (Margaret Jagger 1824) tonight, so although there is a way to go (checking, stitching and printing) I am feeling quite pleased with myself.  I have really enjoyed the process so far and I'm excited about charting future samplers.

Hope your week is going well!

Friday, August 28, 2015


Hi everyone

I haven't managed much stitching lately, but I am back on track with charting for my antique sampler 'Margaret Jagger 1824'.  I am about half way through putting it into PC Stitch.  Here is Bindi trying to help me out last night!

Progress stalled with Bluebelle Samplings when we moved house.  Unfortunately, DH and I are not at all happy in our new location.  It's a tough pill to swallow when you realise you've made a big, expensive mistake!  Even the park across the road hasn't been wonderful (we've only been three times in two months and each time an unpleasant experience involving weirdos and dogs!).  So we are looking to move back to the area we came from which is a more family oriented area, rather than a mixture of the weird and the wonderful which you find in city locations.

Our holiday to Fiji rolled around.  I would like to say it was a wonderful, relaxing holiday but little Annabelle was out of her comfort zone.   It was a struggle getting her to eat different foods, and dealing with the friendly people of Fiji (who love paying lots of attention to little ones) was too much for my shy little girl.  She did love digging in the sand, paddling in the water, the frogs which came out at night and sniffing the beautiful, tropical flowers though.  Even though we were only away for 11 days it seemed like a long time, so we felt quite refreshed upon our return.  It was certainly a beautiful island we were on!

Hope you enjoyed the Fiji photos!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July musings

Woah, hang onto your seats it's another update from me :-)

First of all, my apologies to those of you I still owe emails to.  So much has happened in the last four weeks.  We've moved house, Annabelle had a nasty virus for 10 days, we went away for a long weekend, we celebrated a birthday and welcomed a new furry family member to the clan!

The house move went well.  To our surprise Annabelle settled right in straight away with no problems.  Mum (i.e. me) not so much.  It's starting to feel more like home now though.

My baby turned TWO!  Here's a cute snap I took of Annabelle a few days before her birthday, with her cousin Phoebe (now 6 years old).  I am still in disbelief, it seems no length of time since these two gorgeous girls were both babies!  That poem about babies not keeping is so very true.

Last Saturday we threw Annabelle a little birthday party.  I decided to make the cakes from an idea I saw on Pinterest.  Rose shaped icing with edible butterflies.  The icing may look a little more like camellias, but I was fairly pleased with my first cake decorating efforts.  Annabelle had a fantastic time with lots of extra people to chase her around.

My Mum who volunteers at animal rescue was telling me about a beautiful ragdoll kitten that had been surrendered last week.  I didn't think much more of it (she tells us stories about lots of animals) and I was certainly not looking for any more pets.  Then she rang up one night and suggest we come and have a look at it, and she'd adopt it for Annabelle if we agreed.  So we went on Sunday for a look at her and she ended up coming home with us.  Things have gone well so far, so she's here to stay.  Her name was Daisy but as we already have a cat called Petal, I wasn't keen on any more flower related names.  Annabelle kept calling her Beanie (the name of my sisters cat) so we chose something similar - Bindi.  She's nearly six months old, and is very affectionate and laid back.  I love her blue eyes and silky coat.

Earlier in the year I had fallen in love with this little kitten my Mum was fostering.  Her name was Louise and I was working on my husband as I was keen to adopt her.  Sadly, it wasn't to be though as she passed away quite suddenly for an unknown reason.  I was very sad, I think she'd have been full of character!

On to happier things.  For those of you interested in my other antique samplers I mentioned in my previous post, here's the second one I purchased.  It's Olive Smith 1831.

The verse says 'There is beyond the sky, A heaven of joy and love, And holy children when they die, Go to that world above.  Olive Smith 1831'.

I will save the third one for another post, so I have something to share (as I haven't managed any stitching since the house move!).

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bloggy update

Hi everyone

It might seem like I have abandoned the blog ship, but I haven't been a very productive stitcher in recent times so don't feel there's much to share on a regular basis.  I still stitch when I get time and I haven't given up blogging, it's just a little slow on those two fronts right now.

I do have some stitchy news to share though.  I recently purchased three antique samplers which I am going to reproduce (under the name Bluebelle Samplings).  I was hoping to have the first one released this month, but then we put our house on the market and we are moving in two days time!

Here is Margaret Jagger 1824 which will be the first release.  I really love the colours in this one and thought it would also appeal to other stitchers.  It is wearing thin in places so I would like to get it framed in the very near future. The other two I purchased are already framed, and I will share those in future posts.

Of course, I only planned to buy one sampler and get it charted, stitched and released - but then I couldn't stop looking and over the course of a few weeks bought two more.  A very dangerous hobby!

Annabelle is doing great and growing like a weed!  Can you believe she will be two years old next month?  (I certainly can't!)  She's at a really fun age and knows lots of words and their meanings.  She loves animals, books, bubbles, a TV show called Baby Jake (she'll say "mote" and plonk the remote in my lap and then say "Jake") and scribbling on paper.  She had started grunting at us when she wanted something, but we taught her to say please so now we get "peas... peas... peas" all day!  :-)

As mentioned earlier, we are moving house in two days time.  I'm a little sad because I love our little corner of the world.  It is on the outskirts of town, surrounded by bush and birds (I love seeing the hawks glide over the wee gully below us, low flying Tuis and wood pigeons wooshing over our heads and the little fantails flitting around the backyard), is relatively quiet, has lots of memories attached and is and has always been 'home' from the time we moved in. However, our house has also seemed very small since Annabelle came along.  So where we are moving too is far more spacious (for everyday living and for when we have guests), more modern and it has a huge park across the road which also leads to a nice stretch of river where we'll be able to go for long walks.  Hopefully we'll settle quickly and enjoy living there as much as we have in our current home.

Here's our little house that we are leaving behind (the one and only time it has snowed in my lifetime).

Thanks to the lovely and talented Lee for the blog award back in April.  As I have taken so long to do it I won't nominate anyone else (you've probably already been there and done that), but here are 7 facts you may or may not know about me

1. I met my husband online in 1999!  He lived in Northern Ireland, and I was here in New Zealand.  We eventually met up on his birthday in 2001 when I travelled to the other side of the world to meet him (the thought of it fills me with dread now, I'm lucky it all turned out OK!)

2. My two sisters and I all had (separate) car accidents within the space of a year.  None of us had ever had one before.  I had bad dreams about crashing into the back of someone for months after my incident.  Funny now (the dreams), but not at the time

3. When Annabelle was five days old we were hit by a series of large earthquakes.  The first few didn't scare me, but they continued to rattle us for months and I am jumpy about them now

4. I have worked at the same firm for all of my adult working life.  They currently allow me to work from home while I look after Annabelle growing up.  I am very grateful for that!

5. I would one day love to walk the Tongariro Crossing and the Milford Track.  Two of New Zealand's great walks

6. I currently have two cats (Meg and Petal) and two rabbits (Milly and Cola).  Milly my bunny is sadly losing her sight due to cataracts

7. I've had this blog for 10 years!!

Well, this is probably the longest post on my blog in that 10 years, so I will finish up here and hope to be back in the not too distant future.

Happy stitching!