A little over four years ago, I met Stacey Day in a quilt design forum called Quilt Design a Day.  A small group of us created daily quilt sketches inspired by photos and color palettes. Not long into the group, Stacey sent a short message to group of us asking advice about a business logo. We fast became friends - five gals from different backgrounds living on different coasts in different countries. The group is still going strong and four years later we are celebrating the launch of Stacey's new book Child's Play Quilts.

I couldn't wait to get my hands on an early copy. When I did, I instantly found myself a blubbering mess...

I've never been included on an acknowledgement page before!

Once I pulled myself together, I took in Stacey's 20 applique and pieced designs.

February's bee blocks got made quite quickly. I was lucky that both Rachael and Stacey chose fun blocks to make. For the Bliss circle of do.GoodStitches, we made scrappy blocks based on a Christa Watson pattern in American Patchwork and Quilting. It was great to dip into my scrap bin. I pulled out some of the last scraps of a few favorite fabrics for these blocks. I quite enjoyed making them and could see myself making more in a large scale for a cushion.

When you haven't sewn in a couple of years, your skills start to slide. Points drift. Lines slip. Add a small dog nudging your pedal foot, and you're in for quality time with a seam ripper. These two blocks are for the Bliss circle of the do.GoodStitches charity bee. We were asked for green, blue or teal doublestar blocks using Blossom Heart's tutorial. I'm a light on fabric at the moment, so pairing monochromatics proved to be a challenge.

Sometimes the horse bolts and you aren't sure if you'll ever ride again. Then one day, you see that horse standing out in the pasture and you say "hey old friend. let's give this another go."

To reclaim my lost mojo, I joined two quilt bees this year. The first is called Stranger Bees - a Second Home for Wayward Sewists. For January, we made Swoon-style blocks using Cotton & Steel prints and basics. John sent along an Essex chambray for the background which was a joy to work with.

A couple of weeks ago, this little guy sweetly stared his way into my heart. Meet Peter Parker, the newest member of my family.

Parker was adopted via NKLA (No Kill LA), an organization that partners with many local rescues with the aim of reducing the number of animals put down each year in greater Los Angeles simply because they have no home.

This sweet little guy was found at a local shelter where he was being held as evidence in trial.

Three months later, my boxes arrived in Los Angeles. My sewing machine presented a bit worse for wear. Her frame is now warped. She wobbles a lot. I sewed with her anyway. I added some backs to these cushions I started in Wellington.

...picking up where I left off, like no time has passed.

I've have long been a fan of the Googie architectural style and the signs from that period that dot the skyline in Southern California. You can imagine my delight when across the street atomic ovals and rectangles called out about yardage, cottons and silks. In its heyday, I would have loved House of a Thousand Fabrics. Today we're left with deteriorating signs, remnants of shop long-closed.

North America was calling, so I packed up my house and took the biggest risk of my life. I've left New Zealand without a job, without a home base and without a solid plan. I put faith in myself that it will work out, shipped my boxes to North America and hopped on a plane in December.

I'm in the US now, with the aim to make a new home either here in the US or in Canada. In the mean time, I'm enjoying everything this beautiful country has to offer. I started on the rails.

Two weeks ago, I took a ferry ride from Wellington to Picton and then a train from Picton to Christchurch. As the photos waited on my memory card, I was mentally writing a blog post. That blog post was to tell you what an amazing journey it was and that you must come over and experience the open air train car.

This isn't that post.

Four nights ago, we were roused from our sleep by a prolonged shudder. I knew instantly what was happening and I knew it was big.

I had never been to a broken city before.

With its abandoned buildings and piles of bricks, Christchurch was confronting. It had been five years since the major quake that shook their buildings and liquified their soil. I'm not sure what I expected. It wasn't this. The city centre still mostly vacant. Lots where buildings stood reduced to rubble. Yellow tape howled about asbestos.