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New Zealand


My husband and I traveled to New Zealand to find out what AmeriCARna (emphasis on those three capital letters) was all about. From Auckland, we drove approximately 500 miles to pick up the event organizer's newly restored 1932 Roadster in Lower Hutt. From there, we drove with another couple (they were in a 1961 convertible Corvette) to New Plymouth.

Each day, about 600 American cars (vintage, hot rod, sports cars, convertibles and trucks) convoyed throughout Taranaki to arrive at a nearby town (with highway & main streets closed) then parked and visited with locals - even the school children attended as a field trip. We people-watched and enjoyed the local entertainment, ate, shopped the craft stalls and got a closer look at all of the cars. It was an amazing display by the locals of their love for anything American. We were met on the side of the road by large groups of people - pre-schoolers to retirement home residents, an occasional farmer sitting on his tractor at the side of the road, to blocks of neighbors who had picnic tables, lawn furniture (even living room furniture) with barbecues set up for the day. Many were waving American flags, some were wearing red, white & blue and most shared a friendly cheer as we drove by.

We visited local outdoor garden art displays, art galleries and cafe visits and an occasional craft/sewing shop find. While in Taupo, we visited Huka Honey Hive - New Zealand's largest showcase of honey products, as well as on-site bee hives with educational displays, informative videos with extremely friendly and knowledgeable staff. The lovely "bee" quilt at the entrance can be seen from the very popular dining area.

The whimsical garden artwork at L'Arte Cafe, Garden & Gallery, showcases the ceramic work of Judi Brennan and other New Zealand artists.

Wandering through the pathways of creativity and artwork are displays of unique mosaic creations.

Truly, a visual feast - it was absolutely spectacular!

During the trip, I was putting the finishing touches on a thank you quilt for the car event organizer, and realized that I had left extra fabric at home for the label. I thought that I would be able to find a fabric shop and purchase supplies to finish the quilt. A special thank you to Bev & Bernie Smart, of BJs Quilt Finishing in New Plymouth, for creating the perfect label for my AmeriCARna Quilt. I went online and found them listed in the Quiltique Directory. Bev's piecing and long-arm quilting is exquisite and Bernie provided a gracious tour of their workplace and information on local points of interest, fishing lures and local deep sea fishing.

Fabric shops displayed buttons in an organized and artistic manner. And, Tania Thomas had several button creations displayed at the Fritz Reuter Gallery.

Our final quilt find was the Aotearoa Quilters 2011 biennial quilt challenge ON THE SURFACE. Quilters were challenged to interpret the theme as literal or abstract, traditional or innovative and use any technique they considered appropriate. (19.68" high x 39.3" wide) The exhibit received 53 entries and is traveling the country with twenty lovely pieces.

The winning quilt: "Marks on the Surface of Time" is by Di Partington.

Others featured in the traveling display included:

"Skin Deep" by Debra DeLorenzo

"Rags to Riches" by Judith Ross

"It's a Beautiful Day - Isn't It?" by Catherine McDonald

"Pounamu" by Kathleen Burford.

How can we love Art without loving Whimsy?!

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