Saturday, May 3, 2014

A friendship, a trip, & a Win

Hello dear friends & readers . . .& "welcome" to the month of May

When I found myself (at 27 years of age) living in strange town where I knew not a soul, with 2 small boys to raise on my own,  Carolyn was one of the very first friends I made.
We met through our eldest sons who, at 5 years old, became very good friends ... as did Carolyn & I.

Ours is a friendship that has endured through the decades as we have watched our children grow up with all the trials & tribulations that that brings with it.
7 1/2 years ago Carolyn moved to the beautiful seaside town of Kaikoura in the South Island ... we kept in touch but as each New Year rolled around I would promise her that this would be the year I would visit.
Last month I finally kept my promise - I flew down to help her celebrate a "significant" birthday.

From the airport Carolyn drove me into Christchurch City Centre to see the reconstruction of this beautiful city
I have always loved the very picturesque city of Christchurch

It is most certainly a city rising out of the devastation & destruction of the earthquakes ... there were lots of examples of the new alongside the old

We walked around the new Re:Start Container Mall - shops made out of old shipping containers - cosy & warm & inviting inside too...

A fantastic example of "making do & mending" ...

Where Carolyn lives now - Kaikoura - is very much a tourist town but at its heart is a great little community of people
She has made some lovely friends ... two of them, Jean & Marie, were undertaking a project to "revamp" the Public Loo's in the centre of the town - I snapped the mural they were busy painting on all of its walls

click on the pics to enlarge them

We did lots of things during our week together ... we walked way, way up high

We saw seals sleeping in the sun, right beside where we parked the car

Carolyn drove us out to Ohau Point to a baby seal colony where the seals swin upstream, away from their mothers, to play for several days at a time

It was kind of like watching baby kittens play . . .  you could watch them all day long & not help but smile . . . 

(apologies for all the seal pictures but they were just so adorable)

The water fall at the top of the stream was spectacular
On the way home we stopped at the colony where the "grown up seals" congregate & play & laze about on the rocks

Carolyn is a very talented mosaic artist ... her home is filled with many of her amazing creations

I especially loved the shoes on the "girl with bird" that sits on her decking steps

Carolyn even designed & mosaiced a splash back above her kitchen bench area which looked just stunning

 This was our constant canine companion for the week ...

dear old cheeko ... always one ear up in case she missed something  :-)

Just down the road from Carolyns is a house converted into a lovely little Patchwork Shop called A Patch of Country

Now as many of you crafters will understand, it is physically impossible to go into a Patchwork Shop & not buy 
(theres a distinct possibility ... that your arms may drop off!!!!)
 ... so (just to be safe) these few little bits came home with me ...

Thankfully I had handmade Carolyns birthday gift well before I even knew I was flying down, so I secretly packaged everything together once I got to her place

I had made up a little drawstring project bag using this free friendship stitchery design from  here. . .  
& also stitched a journal cover from the Natalie Bird book "from the heart"

For the weekend of Carolyns birthday 3 of us drove to Hanmer Springs to stay - this was the views from our chalet up in the hills

We had a most wonderful weekend, chatting, eating, swimming in the Hot Pools & sharing friendships. 
 All too soon it was time for my flight home again

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to win Michelles giveaway from her gorgeous blog ... "Rag Tag Stitchin' " 
I had quite forgotten about it so it was such a lovely surprise to come home to a package waiting for me all the way from Australia

I was rather spoilt ... 3 of Michelles patterns, fabric, buttons, thread & trim beautifully packaged along with the most gorgeous handmade card ... thank you SO much Michelle :-)
Michelle is such a kind & generous crafter & often shares free patterns on her blog

Thank you dear friends for staying with me through this lengthy post - wishing you all a wonderful weekend 
Thank you also for all your encouraging comments about little Bob in my last post - you will be pleased to note, he has advanced UP a step & will now sit on the deck watching me ... so long as I stay inside the kitchen that is ...

dear little Bob - such a sweet little face now that it no longer hisses at me  :-)
with love & friendship to you all,
Julie x0x0


  1. What a wonderful holiday and such a special celebration for your friend. I loved seeing all your photos...stunning! Love Carolyn's mosaic art. It is beautiful. Enjoy your goodies Julie and thank you for your lovely words. Hugs xx

  2. Lovely to see your wee holiday to visit your special friend, I bet you are glad you didn't wait another year. I must get to the South, I am loving the idea of a holiday there, although, it looks like the place I could live, so much to see.
    The bag you made Carolyn is lovely, I bet she was rapt! Gosh she is a clever lady too, no wonder you hit it off as friends all those years ago. I love the shoes she made, & her KITCHEN! WOW! Love it!
    Glad Mr Bob has the sense to see you & the MR aren't a bad lot after all.
    Congrats on your win, Michelle sure is generous.
    Happy weekendxxx

  3. What a lovely time you had with your special friend. Thank you for sharing your photos, it sure brought back lots of memories of holidays with my grandparents in the Christchurch Kaikoura area. Your birthday gift was wonderful. Congratulations on you rein, you will have fun making the patterns up.

  4. Dear Julie
    the poor people of Christchurch are always on my mind - what spirit they must have to cope with the devastation of their beautiful city.
    Your photos tell their story so well.

    There's nothing nicer than spending time with a dear friend such as Carolyn.
    You packed in so much during your time together and you now have such precious memories.
    She is another talented soul I can see!
    Oh the patchwork shop - it's so cute and I love all the goodies you bought.
    The patchwork drawstring bag and the journal cover you made for her birthday are beautiful gifts Carolyn will treasure always - there's nothing like hand made! that paisley fabric is so attractive!
    Hamner Springs looks such a pretty town - my father spent time there convalescing after the war - he often spoke about it - I would love to visit one day too.
    I'm sure you came home from your trip full of ideas and inspiration after being with the talented Carolyn - I spied those shoes on the mosaic girl too!!!
    I'm having a day in the garden - cutting back and pulling out - everything is looking so tired!

    Wishing you a happy May dear Julie!
    Shane xox

  5. Looks and sounds like a wonderful holiday, Julie, so much to explore and lots of catch up I bet! Aren't crafty friends the best - they understand us so well! Lucky you to win Michelle's giveaway, I can see you enjoying those patterns. Nice to see Bob is becoming domesticated!

  6. Unusual for me l know....But, l'm a little lost for words....! :).
    What a lovely...Lovely...and moving story...! And, the photos
    are really great...I've had a look/read through three times
    now...It's nearly seven over here, time for my first lemon tea,
    of the day...So! off l go to make it...Be right back for another read.

    Looks as though Bob...Approves of it al, as well....
    Lovely....Thankyou.....! :>).

  7. Congratulations on your win - those lovely goodies have gone to a place where they will get best use as you have so much creative talent! Your trip looked fun,I like your friend's mosaic kitchen. It's great that you have maintained that friendship. Betty

  8. A lovely holiday and a lovely friend.
    Jacqui x

    1. Hi Jacqui - thank so much, yes it was a wonderful time & over too quickly, Carolyn is one of those friends that you just kind of "take up where you last left off...." if you know what I mean.
      Thanks for stopping by & your lovely comment, Happy Sunday to you, Julie x0x

  9. Hi Julie, lovely to read your post, just like travelling in parts of your beautiful country again, bringing back wonderful memories, we saw seals lazing and playing from one of the tourist ferries in the Fiordlands your photos gorgeous. What a lovely trip and visit you had with your dear friend, very special and lovely to see all the beautiful crafts and materials, very inspiring. Also love the doilies you found on your recent visit to your Mum's that in itself makes me want to return to NZ and take a more leisurely trip and make sure I visit as many op shops etc as I missed out on most on our trip with a schedule and travelling with friends were unable to stop but I did notice many pass us by and they looked so interesting, so very different to suburban Sydney. Could easily do another 3 week trip and see different parts and places of your beautiful country. Now if i could drive wouldn't I be popular with my fellow travellers,(namely the males), with all my stops, but perhaps then I wouldn't notice all those interesting shops along the way, oh well. Enjoy seeing your lovely craft work and thank you for sharing. Happy crafting and week ahead. Jude :-)

  10. Your trip South looks amazing Julie. Thrilled to bits it was filled with all things wonderful. Yes - Christchurch our beautiful city is still looking very sad, but slowly the reconstruction is starting to take place. Did you go see the CTV site. It's been done beautifully - a place for people to remember there loved ones!

    Isn't Hanmer Springs breath taking especially when the Mounts are snow capped. And the seals……… baby seals, medium size & big seals everywhere. Ohau Point is amazing especially where the baby seals lay & frolic by the water fall. Stunning walk to the water fall. Carolyn's mosaic work is amazing. Love the kitchen splash back & colours.

    The Patchwork shop looks to die for. It must be on a side road as I missed it when we stopped in March. Next visit……….
    Bob looks very happy to see you home…. bless him!

    Happy Mother's day next weekend : )

  11. Hi Julie... The container mall is really quite something isn't it and great fun to explore... We did a family trip down the South Island over a year ago now and I loved it... Have you ever been to Arrowtown? That's one place I would like to go back and visit again... Oh and Akaroa... Looks like you won some lovely goodies from Michelle.

  12. What a wonderful post Julie.
    So fabulous that you got to meet up and have such a marvelous time with your dear friend.
    And hello...her mosaic work is AMAZING. Such beautiful shots, I can't even imagine the sights of beauty.
    Those seals are a sight, too cute!
    But BOB, oh the bit about Bob warmed my heart. Eventually he will be sitting on your lap :)

  13. Thanks for the trip Julie. I have not been to the south Island but totally want to go some day. I love the painting on the wall by the broken Cathedral. Looks like you had a fabulous time away and I would have taken masses of photos of those seals too. Obviously I missed something, is Bob a stray? He looks like a beautiful boy.

  14. Looks like you have had a wonderful week, lovely photos. The gift you made is beautiful, I'm sure she loved it. So good to hear Bob is getting a bit friendlier! See you tomorrow, hugs Wendy

  15. Hello Julie,

    Kaikoura is such a lovely town. Carolyn's home with the mosiac's is just so lovely. Glad you were able to catch up and spend some time together.

    Happy days.

  16. Love all the treasures you won! Holiday looks fab!

  17. Well, what a lovely time you had away! Aren't good friendships so precious. So nice for you to be there for the birthday celebration & as always you took along such sweet & lovingly made gifts What great mosaic work. Isn't the kitchen wonderful.. So interesting for you to see Christchurch up close like that. And the cool was that! Bob looks like he'll settle in eventually. They take a while when they're thoroughly wild & seem to retain a certain quirkiness in the process. If you're anything like me, you've had to do a bit of watering again since you've been home. Strangely dry here. Much love, as always Catherine x0x0x


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