Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I'm baaaak! Actually, I've been here all along..........

Hey all!  Don't know if anyone is still following me since I've been off the blog since March, dealing with many things, but life is getting back to normal, and it's gonna get real quiet soon, as my daughter is less than two weeks away from leaving for college! Sigh, I still can't believe it!

At any rate, I promised a recap of my Shepherd's Bush retreat last September, almost a year ago now!
This set is part of the group sessions, and we received the tote bag (pre-made) the first night. It included a group of small motifs to stitch in the band insert, our choice as to which ones and what order.
 On subsequent nights we had other little sessions on fun techniques using felt and surface embroidery, including the Christmas accessory case. The wooden hand painted thread pallet was included.

 The sampler below was stitched and inserted inside the case, along with several other felt pockets, all of which was assembled by hand. I made the sampler into a pocket for threads, and added a small pair of scissors. I thoroughly enjoyed making this and will use it when traveling.

During the daytime, we had three classes. I took the track that included Chessie & Me, Jeannette Douglas, and the R&R ladies. I have finished stitching the Chessie & Me design Shepherd's Christmas, below. The other two are started but not completed enough to warrant pictures. I'll post when they are completed, hopefully this year.
After the trip, I pretty much spent the rest of the year working on designs for my young nephew and nieces in New Zealand, since we had the upcoming Christmas trip there. My husband's sister is married to a New Zealander, and my daughter had been accepted into a study abroad program in the high school in her town for the fall term, (remember it's summer at Christmas down there!) We had a lovely trip (long too) and experienced a summer Christmas, which was quite nice! First the three designs, then a few travel pics!

The first design, a Janlynn kit by Suzy Spafford, is called Dogs of Duckport, for my dog loving niece Alex.
It's not framed yet, because it traveled in my carry on bag, as did the others.
Next, for niece Eva, Elephant Calfs....from the leaflet Endangered Young'uns by Gloria & Pat.
Finally, for nephew Ryan, Eagle, from the leaflet Nature's Kingdom by Graphworks.
 And now for a little travelogue of our trip to Middle Earth......hubby Matt and I visit Hobbiton, no comments on my hobbit stature please!

 We visit Huka Falls with Matt and his sister Ann....the falls are an awesome turquoise blue!

 Sunset at Lake Taupo, a super-volcano caldera on the North Island, awesome again!
 The view from SIL Ann's deck.....
 The approach to Tiri Tiri Matangi, a native bird preserve island across the bay from Auckland.
 Looking out into the bay from the island trail.....
 Taking a break on our hike up the island.....
 Pohutukawa Tree, the New Zealand Christmas tree, because it blooms at Christmas time!
 The Hoover/Sorensons at Tiri Tiri Matangi....
 Tiri was once a sheep station and lighthouse, which is now automated.
 The view across the bay toward Auckland on the right. That mountain on the left is actually an old volcano!
 My favorite of the many endangered birds at Tiri, a pair of rare Takahe and their chick. They are as big as a goose, with beautiful peacock colored feathers.  Next time we go, I'm determined to spend the night and try to spot some Kiwi birds! Also want to finally get to the South Island, to see the Southern Alps.
 View of the skyline of Auckland on the way to the airport.....too short a time to see all that there is to see,