Friday, 21 November 2014

vacation photo journal

“A picture paints a thousand words” so I hope this gives a small indication of our time away from home (in Australia, we call this ‘holidays’). Warning: as the title suggests, this is a photo heavy post.

We spent a weekend catching up with friends that we haven’t seen in seven years, except for DD’s wedding and my dad’s funeral. They live in a small town called Bellbrook, a community of 360 people. We spent most of our time talking but WM got up early and took some photos. Here is a photo of their house and part of their 18 acres. The second photo is taken over their dam as seen from their back patio.

Bellbrook Homestead Bellbrook view

We spent a few days with my mother – she spends most of her time reading.


WM did a few small jobs while there; including getting up on the roof and turning on the evaporative air cooler. Can you see him up there?


From mum’s, we drove east to the coast, passing through the town of Grafton the weekend they celebrated the Jacaranda Festival. I took these photos out the front window while WM was driving. Jacarandas are an imported species; the tree with gold flowers in the first photo is Grevillea Robusta ( common name: “Silky Oak”) which is an Australian native.

Grafton 1 Grafton 2 Grafton 3 Grafton 4  Grafton 6 Grafton 7

Our ‘real’ vacation began when we took possession of a beachside cabin at Woolgoolga, just a few minutes drive from DD’s home.

 Woolgoolga cabin

This was the view from our front veranda early one morning:

Woolgoolga beach view

We had lots of walks on the beach.

Woolgoolga beach

Both grandsons were fascinated with these little balls made as the sand-crabs made little holes for themselves.

crab balls

The seagulls didn’t take any notice of us – unless they thought there might be some food on offer! WM took a great photo; I love the reflection.


We went whale spotting up on the headland and were rewarded with seeing whales every day. The whales were travelling south; returning to the cold waters of the Antarctic Ocean after going north for a few months to while away the winter in warmer water. The return journey is usually slower and more in-shore, given that there are calves to be taken care of, and therefore better for whale spotting.

looking for whales

They were much further out than WM’s camera could capture so don’t expect professional photos.

The first indication that there is a whale is the sight of a spout as they surface to breathe.

whale spout 2 whale spout 3 

Sometimes you catch a glimpse of some body part out of the water, like this faraway tail!

whale tail

And sometimes, they jump out of the water. We saw several whales breach but they were always too far away to get a clear photo. This was WM’s best shot of a humpback breaching.


Our best experience was when a mother humpback and her calf came in relatively close to the shore. They were close enough that, with the onshore wind, we could hear the mother slapping the water.

mother and babe mother and baby

On our final day in Woolgoolga, we made Christmas puddings. Both boys love to cook so they were very excited when we arrived at their house. “Did you bring the ‘gredients?” was our greeting!

Our Christmas puddings have threepences in them; an old English tradition from my mum’s family. Threepences are part of Australia’s pre-decimal currency – they contain a large amount of silver so don’t harm the food as modern coins would. These photos show some members of the family throwing their threepences in (and making a ‘wish’). Next year we’re going to add the threepences to the dry ingredients to make it easier for the boys to stir.

puddings 1 puddings 2 puddings 3 puddings 4 puddings 6 puddings 7 puddings 8 puddings 9 puddings 11

SIL came home from work just in time. We ended our holiday/vacation with a family lunch at a popular tavern nearby which has a great play area for the kids – it was much more crowded than we expected; we forgot it was Halloween (a ‘tradition’ that is only just taking on in Australia) and celebrated here mostly for fun and dressing up in ghoulish costumes!

WM and I had a good trip home. With the boys, the trip is nine hours; we did it in seven and a half!

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite photos from our holiday – Younger Grandson doesn’t usually wear his hair like that; we’d just come in from the beach and Grandad had towel-dried it!

YG alias spike

Thursday, 13 November 2014

photo journal

There has been a lot of this as I continue to take control of my sewing room:
crumb sorting
small containers to hold 'crumbs'  (anything under 2") sorted by colour
scraps in waiting
scraps waiting for my attention

square sorting
moving from open baskets to lidded storage -- this stack is for squares from 2' - 4.5"
and some of this in preparation for a workshop (on using coloured and variegated yarns) I am facilitating on Saturday
two samples of 'stacked pooling'

while listening to this on a continual loop in preparation for a worship service I am leading on Sunday
and a vast amount of this (we spent most of the last week of WM’s annual leave gardening)
top garden
native hibiscus in foreground, buddleia in middle ground;
clivea and camelia in backgrouns
advanced seedlings
verbena seedlings

cosmos seedlings sown five days ago!
 There has been a daily dose of this (can’t resist that view)

and tomorrow is forecast to be 40°C ( 104°F) so there will probably be some of this:

Unfortunately, there never seems to be enough of this:

And, yes, I do know I owe you a post about our time away!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Something Old, Something New – November edition

Never too hot to Stitch!

October was a mixed bag (both good and not-so-good) for me, with not much sewing got done.

First I was away at the beach with my mum, sister and her family, as well as DD and the Grandboys, for a few days. When I came home, it was a long weekend so WM spent some time together and I also found a little time for sewing.

On the Monday of the long weekend, I got hit with some kind of gastric attack which lasted five days. I didn’t feel like doing much except reading or watching YouTube videos. One can still be inspired and taught, even when one is feeling poorly, right?

We were supposed to go away for ten days on 21 October but our friends were unable to host us on the planned weekend – she had been offered a last minute chance to go to India on a missions trip – an opportunity not to be missed. WM was on annual leave and we had nothing planned for the weekend coming up, so we caught the train to the nearest station to their place (a seven hour trip), stayed for two days (three nights), then caught the train home again.

We were at home for one day (two nights), before we took off again: this time to visit my mother for a few days then to Woolgoolga, the town where DD and the family live. We returned on Friday with three hours of October left! I will write a separate post about our time away; this is not the time nor the place! ;-)

My sewing time amounted to a few snatched hours on the long weekend, plus two three hour classes. It’s my experience that one achieves a lot less in class than at home with the whole sewing room to oneself! Because we were away most of the month, my sewing machine also had a ‘vacation’, she has gone away for her annual service. I hope she’s back when I go to LQS for my Monday morning class.

So, all that to say: neither of goals for October were met, nor were they even touched.

For some reason, I thought my “Something New” project was learning how to join my braids with every other braid inverted.

 sashing meets braids

See how the braids line up on withwer side of the sashing? That was much more complicated than I thought and I managed to join just two lengths of sashing in a three hour class!

sashing meets braids detail

My goals for November, therefore, remain the same as those for October:

Something Old is to unpick the stitches that were previously quilted into my Country Houses quilt and, perhaps, even get started on the applique to replace it!

side panel house too subtle

Something New is to make at least one snap bag following this video (the same video I embedded on my previous Something Old, Something New post. I include it here for those who missed it last time).

So, what about you?
How did you do in October with your Something Old, Something New projects?
What are your plans for November?

Link up here with the URL of your specific blog post so we can visit and see what you're up to!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Relaxing Robin "progress"

Several weeks ago, in this post, I mentioned that the second round of the Relaxing Robin had opened on Dawn's blog, sewyouquilt2.

The first step was to choose a block from your UFO pile to work with. I actually chose two pinwheel blocks, and decided to build my quilt around those; one in the top portion of the quilt, measuring 24" x 48"; the second in the bottom portion of the quilt, measuring 36" x 48". Unfortunately, I don't have photos of both blocks to show you; the other block is the same but with pinwheel 'spinning' in the opposite direction.

The second step was to  add a small border and to try and use a colour not used in your block. There was no green in my original block so that was an obvious choice. My cordless iron never got hot enough, so this block needed a good pressing but I've never retaken the photo.

 The third step was to add applique. I have not done this yet; I know what I want to do but have not decided on the placement so this will come later.

 The fourth step was to add some triangles. I've taken this step and was still playing with it before the rest of my life interrupted my sewing program! ;-)

Firstly, I found another block called "pinwheel" and made three of those.

Next time I make this block, I will change the placement of the colours.

I also made use of ten small blocks I had made in a HST workshop by joining them together with a thin navy strip between each block. It's amazing how colours look very different when one stands away from them, or when one photographs them -- I hadn't realised how dark these strips were. Hopefully, once the quilt is put together, the dark will be a lot less obvious. This strip of blocks will go between the top and bottom portions of the quilt; bring the total dimensions to 64" x48".

I had two of the 4" blocks left (deliberately set aside) because they were also pinwheels. I have framed one of them in yet more triangles but have not yet decided what to do with the second one.

As you can see, all of this doesn't go far towards making a twin bed topper so I have a long way to go! I will probably continue making more triangles before moving on to the next step.

Here are the rest of the steps - if you'd like to join in, Dawn and I would be happy to have you join us.

5. using some of the fabric in the first border make another border of your choice

6. make a border that has squares in it; 4 patch, checkerboards etc would be welcome here. again have fun

7. finish as you wish. this can mean another border or if you think you are done, quilt and bind up the baby.

For now, I'm linking up over at Dawn's blog. Why not pop over there and see what she is up to? I believe she is still working on her quilt from the first round as well as having started another!

See you when I get home from holidays/vacation!

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