Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The first block for the baby quilt

I've started sewing the blocks for our new grand daughters quilt! She's due in July so I've plenty of time.
But I'm not going to show any more than this, just in case her parents read my blog.

Sometimes I find that the old projects seem to block me from starting new ones. Once the old projects are finished, it's kind of like a door opens and away I go!

I've started on another project too, I'll show you soon.

Have you started any new projects lately?

Carole x

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

a little surprise arrives

I was asked today what my weaknesses were and it got me thinking. At the end of much deliberating, I'm inclined to think I have so many that I don't know where to start first!

But I do have a weakness for things that have have been loved and are worn with age. I especially love these millinery flowers which arrived in the mail a couple of days ago. Thank you Linda for that little surprise! x

What are your weaknesses?
Carole x

Monday, February 20, 2012

Last of the beach pics

Pakiri Beach
If you are thinking to yourselves that I'm drawing these beach visits out, you're right. Since we've been home again we've had terrible weather. Today it rained and the mornings are becoming darker. So I'm living the long hot sunny days as long as I can!

This next beach was one we stopped at on our way home. It's called Pakiri Beach, and it's a long open beach approximately an hour north of Auckland. During the summer holiday period (Jan) it is packed with holiday makers.
I was excited to be presented with a new pathway when I got out of the car. What is it with all these paths? lol It was too irresistible not to follow.
Pakiri Beach
Are you over beaches yet?
Goat Island
Well we then headed further south, following the coast back towards the city of Auckland, and stopped at Goat Island. A large portion of the sea around Goat Island is a protected marine reserve and hundreds of visitors come here every year to dive and snorkel in the waters around the island. There are even glass bottomed boats if you don't want to get wet.
If you enlarge this pic you may just be able to see some heads bobbing about in the water.
And then, guess what I found - yep another path! I'm beginning to wonder if all these paths have a meaning?
But, it was back in the car and we continued on our way home.
And then we arrived back in the city of Auckland. We joined the lanes of traffic heading into the city.
And as we drove over the Auckland Harbour Bridge I felt quite proud to see our flags flying from the top of the bridge.
Auckland Harbour Bridge
And there is the city!
Auckland City
Sky Tower - Auckland City
So no more beaches now for a while.
I'm going to miss them.
Hope you've enjoyed them too.

Carole x

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Another valentine arrives

A wee collaged fabric heart arrives from a girlfriend far far away......thank you Patty x

Friday, February 17, 2012

I hope you don't mind more beaches?

We did a fair bit of driving too while we were away and decided to explore some of the nearby bays. Not all of the roads were beautifully sealed, some left a little to be desired...
Some out-of-the-way roads were a little windy and narrow, but I think you'll agree, the journey was well worth the effort.
Teal Bay (Ngawai Bay)

I used to live at Teal Bay many years ago, it was strange coming back and seeing the changes. There were loads of new holiday houses, but it was still the same old beach.
Then we drove on to the next wee bay, Ngahau Bay. It had 3 houses on it and no one using the beach, except the birds :)
Ngahau Bay
Another isolated beach, too far from anywhere to be crowded with people. It's what I'd call perfect!
Okupe Beach
Our next stop was Mimiwhangata Coastal Park a little further south, and about 48kms north of Whangarei. Another beach that was deserted apart from 3 trampers hiking in the other direction. This beach was a large ocean beach and not very sheltered, but doesn't that water look tempting!
Okupe Beach
I walked to this end of the beach only to find another little secluded bay, inhabited only by the seagulls.
Okupe Beach
In the other direction it stretches forever. But over that green ridge is another sheltered beach known as 'Queen's Corner'. In 1970 the Royal yacht Britannia anchored off shore and both the Queen and Prince Phillip along with Prince Charles and Princess Anne all came ashore and spent the afternoon picnicking on the beach. There is a lodge nestled under the hills on the beach front, you can't quite see it in this photo.
What a glorious day to go on a treasure hunt, what a glorious day to find some!

Okupe Beach
Just look at the colour of that water.
In the distance you can just catch a glimpse of the Mimiwhangata Lodge. Along with a large amount of land it is administered by the Department of Conservation and can be hired out. They also have a cottage and a house for hire.
Phew, that's some dust! But well worth it!
Are you all beached out yet?

Carole x

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm taking you on holiday.....

After Rachel and Michael got married, we decided to drive north and look for hot sunny days and beautiful beaches. This is what we where after.....
Otamure Bay
And this is what we found. Come with me and I'll show you some of the best places to visit.....

Our holiday started off with quite a beachy theme to it, and it stayed hot and the beaches were all sun-drenched the whole holiday. We couldn't believe our luck.
We started our paddling at Lake Taupo and were surprised by just how warm the water was, it's usually very cold.
Lake Taupo
Then after the wedding at Whatipu Beach, we drove north to Owera where we stayed for a night. It's a long stretch of open beach and well used as it's very close to Auckland.
Orewa Beach
Then we found Otamure Bay. It's about 40kms north of Whangarei past Whananaki North on the East Coast.
We stayed in the DOC (Department of Conservation) run camp ground, which had running water on tap, cold showers and long-drop toilets. There was a motor camp at Whananaki North, but the DOC camp was so much nicer. They charged $8 per night which we considered a pretty good rate.
We set up our little tent, and Mr M&M got right down to business of catching up on all the news of the world.
The beautiful little bay is typical of beaches in Northland. It was a stunner, with a lovely sandy beach and was very safe to swim at.
Otamure Beach at low tide
 When the tide was right out, you could dig for pipis in the sand, but you needed to wade out into the sea until you were about thigh deep. Some of the campers were collecting them to eat. At high tide the fish come in and feed from the pipi beds. Some of the campers were fishing at night off the beach and catching snapper. 
Tauwhara Bay
What amazes me with Northland beaches, is that around every rocky outcrop, there is another little bay almost exactly the same. I climbed over the rocks at the south end of Otamure to find this little bay with 2 small baches on it. The baches along the beaches are usually only used during the summer months as a place to holiday. Sometimes you can find them on websites like Book a Batch.
And this little bay was just over the hill for Whananaki. It was a privately owned farm but the farmer let people camp by the beach, for a small fee.
We camped at Otamure Bay for the whole time, and spent our days walking along the beach, climbing over the rocks, and swimming. Early each morning there was a lot of seaweed washed up on the beach in a range of pretty colours.

Then  one night we had a wee duck visit our tent, asking for bread.
How could you say no? He came early every morning and each evening for a piece of bread, much to the disgust of the seagulls who were ever watchful and ever hopeful.
 And last things each night we went for a stroll down the beach, chatted to the men who were chancing their luck with a fishing rod, and enjoyed the moonlight.
Are you still with me?
I'll be back soon with some more beautiful beaches.

Carole x

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

having a happy valentines day

Hearts make me smile, and this little one is no exception. Made of paper, it winged it's way from Linda's to say Have a Happy Valentines Day. Thanks Linda!

Hope you all have one too!
Carole x

Monday, February 13, 2012

Back home after a fabulous holiday

Well here I am back home feeling fantastic and refreshed after the best holiday ever.
Thanks to all of you who dropped in and left wishes for the happy couple. The wedding went off without a hitch. What do you think of Rachel's bridal bouquet? Isn't it gorgeous! She isn't a flowery person so she had bouquets made from flax and dyed for the bridesmaids and the men all had little buttonholes to match. And she is thrilled that she can keep them for a very long time.

The weather couldn't have been nicer, it was extremely hot with very little breeze. The best place to be was lying in the cool shade of a tree, (which I did and promptly feel asleep!)

Here are some pics of Whatipu Lodge and the grounds. All the guests stayed either in rooms or cabins or pitched their tents within the Lodge grounds. The lodge is full of history and was lovely to wander round.
The very top window of the building on the right was our room. A room with a view...
Here's the other side of that building, and this is where the ceremony took place.
There were lots of lovely decorations taken from nature. And all the trims were a teal colour, including the table dressings which happened to match my dress, wasn't that nice.
Then as all the guests gathered around it was time for Rachel's Dad to give her away to Michael.
And the serious bits took place, under the heat of the sun and with the sound of the waves in the background.
And then it was all over and it was time for congratulations and hugs and lots of smiles and feeling proud of our son (and large quantities of wine!). I was pleased I'd taken my scarf too, as it saved me from lots of sunburn.
Then the party slipped away for some photos on the beach. The pics above and below were taken by Natasha, who took some official photos for them.
All the tables were set up on one end of an old tennis court, with the other end set up for the band and dancing, (which I did lots of because the wine was so nice, haha).
And that left the cake, and it was the best chocolate cake I've ever tasted!!
And just in case you're wondering about Rachel looking a little large, she is in fact pregnant, which means I am going to be a granny in July!!! We've all known about this for ages, but I never cease to get excited about it. Our very first grandchild!

And after such a wonderful couple of days with friends and family we said our goodbyes and headed off on an extended  holiday.

Now that's another bunch of photos.
I'll be back soon to tell you about it.
Carole x