Friday, April 30, 2010

On to Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu

When I finished up in Auckland I took a bus to Rotorua, an area known for its geothermal pools. This area is quite a tourist destination, and for good reason it is fascinating, but now that it is fall and being off season it's pretty quiet. My hotel, The Princes Gate originally built in the 1890's, is in the heart of town a block away from the information center where I was able to arrange for buses out to several amazing locations.

On tuesday it rained all day, it was in the low to mid 60's and wasn't cold. Knowing my time was limited I headed out to Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters) to see the geothermal pools anyways. What a feast for the eyes. With so much volcanic activity the ground is literally belching steam and boiling mud.

This mud is supposed to be incredible for the skin and you see it sold in many shops. The mud is so hot it is boiling out of the ground in bubbles and sometimes big splashes.

The next stop was to see the Lady Knox geyser blow with the help of a little soap powder sprinkled down the hole.

At Wai-O-Tapu the earth and water are colored from mineral deposits and is has so many different colors.

This large crater had warm steam rising off it and had a pretty strong sulpher-y smell. Between the steam fogging up my glasses and the drizzling rain covering them with water droplets, I had to take off my glasses several times because I couldn't see.

The color was amazing, such vivid turqouise blue and orange ocher, it made my heart go pitter pat.

This pool of water is really florescent green, actually day-glo, it is hard to believe it is naturally this color, but it is!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Auckland workshops

This is a group shot of my first class with the Auckland Patchworkers and Quilt Guild teaching Tsukineko Inks. We had a great day with our class just down the road from Glens at a boating club.
The following day we moved to another part of Auckland to have the painted whole cloth fabric class.
These are just a few of the many wonderful paintings worked on Saturday.

It threatened to rain but held off over the weekend.

Hazel, my host for the second half of my stay in Auckland, is an avid gardener with the most beautiful flowers around her home. While admiring the many blooms we came across this large and dark golden bumble bee burying his head deep into each blossom.

This is a New Zealand Monarch caterpillar
and a round balloon shaped milkweed pod, so different from the ones in the states that I always thought looked like fish when you opened them up.
Here is Hazel next to her gorgeous award winning quilt hanging in a guild competition titled My City. Hazel had several Best of Show awards in her sewing room at home.
This beautiful group of butterflies hanging on the wall in Hazels house stopped me in my tracks. They are painted, stitched and beaded batting! Guess who's Quilting Arts article on painted batting inspired her? :-)
On Sunday Hazel and her husband Ed took me up to the top of Mount Edens, a volcanic cone, with a lovely view of the city.
Then we met up with Glen and drove over to a seaside suburb called Devonport with shops, galleries and outdoor cafes, it was sunny and warm. With such wonderful company it was a perfect day.

I was very excited to buy several skeins of possum wool. I first heard about Possum wool a few years ago, that it was supposed to be very warm and soft.

The possum in New Zealand, not like our rodent type one in the US, was brought over from Australia. Unfortunately with no natural predators its population has grown out of control and destroys the natural flora and fauna of New Zealand, it is considered a terrible pest here, much like the cane toad introduced in Australia.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day one in New Zealand

What an amazing introduction to New Zealand I had with my host Glen at her lovely home on the beach in Milford, a suburb of Auckland. This is the view from her balcony.
Just a little bleary eyed but happy to be on the ground again after 17 hours of travel.
 Glen and I took a walk along the beach to a cafe for lunch and saw so many wonderful things.
Because there are so many small volcanoes in this area the rocks along the beach here are all lava rock.
Glen and I on her balcony.
At night I was lulled to sleep by waves crashing on the beach, it was so soothing. In the morning I woke up to this glorious sunrise. That is mount Rangitoto across the harbor, an extinct volcano.
This sums it up perfectly!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Surviving the Runway 60's style Chicago

Here's our lovely host Pokey dawning a daisy chain to get the festivities started.

As you know this event always has music that makes you wanna dance, Melly and I have to join in with all the other participants and get our groove on too.

The Winners
Peace, Love and Happiness was had by all!


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