Monday 26 January 2009

Australia Day Weekend at Kiama

We had a great weekend away. We travelled to Kiama on Friday evening via Wombeyan Caves. We knew this had some narrow, twisty, dirt road, but didn't expect it to last for 40kms!! Therefore, we didn't get to Kiama until nearly 10 o'clock! The bonus was encountering this tunnel on the way.
On Saturday morning we visited the monthly produce markets which had some lovely stuff.

We then went for a stroll along the sea front.

We had a look at the rockpool on our way to the famous blow hole, which wasn't blowing all that much.

We had a scrummy morning tea and then went for a swim in the surf beach. We worked out that it is 7 years since we swam at the beach. It was lovely. The water was so clear...........I got sunburnt.............oops!!

In the afternoon we visited the local show. It was terrific. There was such a big craft section. It put our local show to shame.

There was also a big spinning, weaving and felting section. There are some very creative people down the south coast. Don't you just love this hat with frogs.

And of course, there is the colour and excitement of side show alley.

It had been a stinking hot day, but in the afternoon a strong southerly blew up, so we went back up to the blow hole and it was blowing a bit more.

The lighthouse looked stunning with the clouds behind it.

Yesterday we started out by having a delicious breakfast of bircher muslei (me) and eggs benedict with smoked salmon (Mick). I wanted to take a photo, but thought I'd better not.
We then went for a drive into the hinterland visiting the Jambaroo Markets and the the new Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk. There is 500m of tree top walkways. The weather was a bit hazy, but it was still a great experience.

I'm not the greatest on heights, but I actually climbed to the top of the tower. The views were fantastic.

We had a "famous Robertson Pie" for lunch (all the pie shops we saw down that way seemed to be "famous") before visiting a mate with a sidecar on a bike like ours.
Then it was back to Kiama visiting a couple of more beaches along the way.

We treated ourselves to a "cold seafood platter for two" at the local seafood restaurant last night to cap off a great couple of days.
Today we came home through Berry, Goulburn and Taralga (where we visited a beaut little Old Wares Shop).
We didn't get to participate in any Australia Day events but were amazed at how many cars, businesses and houses were decorated with the Aussie flag. It was great to see.

We did make a couple of interesting purchases while away. I'll show them later.

Thursday 22 January 2009

I Have a Dream

Despite there just being the two of us rattling around in our house, I don't have a designated sewing area. The "Orifice" is set up as the office & has a big bank of cupboards full of my stuff. The spare bedroom is set up to be just that. I have always just sewn in the lounge room or dining room and tend to have power cords all over the place and a general mess.
In the back yard we have a series of sheds Mick built about 10 years ago.
From the left there is the blacksmith's shop, the wood yard, the garden shed and behind the tank at the end is the chook shed opening into the orchard.
Mick had good intentions of doing some blacksmithing after attending a course some years ago. The blacksmith's shop has the forge and anvil, charcoal and tools (and other stuff), but no blacksmithing has taken place.

The sheds are built out of recycled materials, have sloping dirt floors and are very rustic. The blacksmith's shop is intentionally dark so that you can see the glow of the hot iron. (The flash makes it look much lighter than it is.)

My Dream?
Mick is going to turn the blacksmith's shop into a SEWING SHED!!!

It will be left just the same out the front, except the verandah will be paved and there will be a paved path from the house.
Inside will be fully timber lined. We have enough floorboards left over from building the house to do a lovely timber floor. There will be a skylight and all will be painted nice and light. It will be fully insulated.
The best bit is that it is the next project after the old BMW outfit is finished. Hopefully that will be done in a bit over a month.
I'm excited!

Wednesday 21 January 2009

View from my Verandah

We had some storms in our area this evening (we were on the very edge and only got a spit) and then the sun came out. The colours were spectacular. This is the view looking east from our verandah. The photo doesn't do it justice.
The sun was streaming into our lounge room and the glass in my "grown up cabinet" (no toys, cars, sewing bits and pieces in here - only grown up collectables like glassware and china) was just sparkling.

By the way, I don't collect amber glass!

A little bit later the sun wasn't as bright, but a double rainbow appeared. Beautiful.

On another note, tonight I made a call to the Isle of Man and confirmed our accommodation in Castletown. All is finalised now except the hire car. I'll look into that fairly soon. It's only 4 months till we go. I can't wait.

A January Finish and a Sad Machine

I finally have something finished! This was May Britt's Christmas pattern.
I did the stitching on a white background, but in the end thought it was too stark, so tea dyed it. I just made a little hanging, now I have to find a nice hanger for it. As I really wanted to finish the project last night I cheated and didn't bind it but just turned it through and then top stitched around the edge. Naughty me, but I felt I could get away with it on this one. The fabrics are scraps from a table runner I made a couple of years ago and were also used in a Christmas cushion.
My machine started getting rattly in the bobbin housing last night (it had done it a little while I was doing the Red Delicious Blocks as well). I gave it good clean and checked what I could, but it is not better. It got very rattly just over a year ago and I had to have it repaired. There is a great repair man in Orange, so it looks like I might have to make the time to go up there and have it looked at again. Unfortunately, that won't be possible for a about a month.
I got the Verandah View block traced last night, so I should be able to start that in my lunch break today.

Sunday 18 January 2009

Fun Weekend - But no Stitching

Another busy but lovely weekend. Yesterday after doing the domestics I headed to town to collect my niece who starts school in two weeks and we went shopping for her first school shoes. She was all dressed up and carrying the cute little handbag I made her for her 3rd birthday (a great way to make aunty feel good). After we bought her shoes we went to Annie's Ice Cream Parlour and had icecream (bright blue bubblegum flavour for niece....uggg... and boring vanilla for aunty) followed by time at the great playground in the riverside park. I don't normally have an excuse to play in a playground and climb on things. We had a ball.
Last night some friends from Sydney came for dinner and to stay over. It was great to catch up as we didn't see them over Christmas and New Year. Some friends from in town came out as well. So, it was a late night, followed by a very leisurely breakfast this morning.
Then, this afternoon we attended our first run of the year with the Historic Car Club. We took the sidecar. We just went for a 100km drive, stopping half way at a country pub for a cool drink, and then back to town for a picnic tea in the park by the river. This run is always really popular - there were fifty seven people there for the picnic. Everyone was just happy to sit in the cool of the evening and chat.
I had plans of doing a bit of stitching after our guests left and before the afternoon's run, but by the time everyone left there was no time. Oh, well, through the week I'll do some.

Thursday 15 January 2009

It's Been Hot!

I have been reading blogs - Canada -50 degrees C, Minnesota -20 degrees C.

Here, today it was +40 degrees C!! For this part of Australia that is HOT. Mind you, we do get a few days like this every year.

A change with some storms came through late this afternoon and it has now cooled down to the mid 20's. Much better. This is what the sky was like when I was driving home this evening.

The only plus is that being so hot I took my lunch to work and also my Christmas Heart stitchery from May Britt's blog (no photo yet). I have completed the stitching but am still undecided whether to do an applique heart in the middle or just stitch it. Also, I've no idea what I am going to do with it as yet. I'm sure I'll finally make a decision. Anyway, I'm happy with how it is turning out.

Wednesday 14 January 2009

Thrifiting Again

I called in at an op shop yesterday (as you do) and came out with this little haul. I was most excited when I found the little house Christmas decoration. It matches another one I found at a church white elephant stall a couple of years ago.... and it was for the right price too..... "Oh, you can have that one, it's not worth anything".
The sweet little stoneware bowl will only hold about a cup - I've never come across one so small. It was a whole 50c.
The books are fascinating. "Standard Craft Ideas for Girls" was published in 1959 and has lots of sock toys and "kitch" is the only way to describe lots of the other projects. The children's sewing book is just giving tips and techniques, there are no patterns, but will be handy to have on the book shelf. The bottom three are just for fun. The centre book "Ribbon Straw" was published in 1967. I wonder how many things made in that style still remain. The other 2 are Japanese (but in English) and are for the plastic canvas that was so popular in the early 70's. If I went looking, I would be able to find the tissue box cover I made when I was about 8 using this technique.
Then, when we went to the Car Club meeting last night, one of the fellows gave me this. It was lovely of him to think of me. Now this is a UFO that has been around for a while. It was in a deceased estate he has been going through. There is a "Woman's Day" magazine from 1980 with a crocheted bedspread pattern, four completed blocks and 33 balls of Patons Gem 4-ply cotton to complete it. It is a lovely sage green. I don't know if I would want that colour for a bedspread, but it would be nice as a throw rug. I'll have a look at how involved the pattern day..... I don't think it will get finished for the challenge this year. There was also another vintage crochet pattern book to add to the collection.

Sunday 11 January 2009

A Busy Weekend

We've had a great weekend. Mick has been wanting to go for a ride on the bike as we haven't been on it since the beginning of November. We decided to go to the "Bronze Thong" bush races at Wattle Flat. We've heard they are good, but have never been before. There were some stalls, but nothing grabbed my attention (or money). There was the good old wood chop, and what better setting than in the bush.
This was then followed by the foot races - very comical. There were sprints (if you could call it that), piggy back races, wheelbarrow races, backwards races. All very good for a laugh. No, I did not have a go!

Then there were the horse races. As you can see, it is a really rough bush racetrack, but they gave it their all.

It was a nice day, not too hot, pleasant breeze, not too dusty. We had a nice picnic salad (we picked at it with our fingers as yours truly forgot the cutlery - but not the hand wipes) and then it was just nice to sit in the dappled shade (with the eyes shut).

We didn't stay for the end of the races, but went up some very narrow, rough, stoney, corrugated roads/tracks and ended up in Sofala for a milkshake. Then we high tailed it home as we could see storms brewing. We got home and the washing in just before a downpour with a bit of small hail. Good timing.
Also, I tried out my new summer bike jacket and it is perfect.

Yesterday our patchwork group started back after Christmas. It was nice to catch up with the girls after the break. While I was there I did the hand sewing on Red Delicious, so now Blocks 1 and 2 are completely finished. Bring on the 15th.
I then started the embroidery on May Britt's Christmas Heart. I don't know what I'll do with it, but at least it is started.
When I was finishing off all the ends on Red Delicious I was quite taken with the back of the blocks, with the outline in blanket stitch. It would look lovely in redwork.

The finished blocks don't look much different to my previous post, but here they are anyway.

Yesterday afternoon I finally treated myself to a friand baking tin and had my first go at making raspberry friands. I was very happy with the result. Now I have a good use of the eggwhites when I make lemon butter.

Friday 9 January 2009

Happy Dance!

I have my car back!! Yay!! Finally, after delays and the wrong radiator being sent, my car is fixed. What apparently caused it was me crossing the river through water a bit deep. The last couple of times I crossed the river to get home it was up a bit. Apparently, if you go through deepish water and the car's fan is going, the pressure of the water will cause the fan to be sucked up against the radiator. Well, that's a trick for young players. I will now watch the water level a bit more closely, and only cross if it is very low, otherwise I will go the long way round, or make sure the air conditioner is off, so the fan is not going.
My second reason for a happy dance is that last night I booked accommodation at Kiama on the south coast for three nights on the Australia Day long weekend. We haven't had a few days at the beach since 2002!! We've been on a beach, but not to actually have a swim. We have been "going to" go to Kiama "one day" for a few years now. Some friends recommended a motel, but it was booked out. We found another one in a good spot. When I phoned the lady (another Janice) she said they only had one room left. It is upstairs with a balcony with ocean views, only it is a bit dearer - would that be OK? Well, what do expect on that weekend?? Of course we are happy with that. Anyway, her "a bit dearer" was actually less than I expected to have to pay. We will decide closer to the time whether to take the car or the bike. I can't wait.

Tuesday 6 January 2009

Too Much Choice

Now that the New Year has commenced there are heaps of new blocks of the months, swaps, mystery projects and challenges. I'd love to do lots of them but as I want to simplify things a bit this year, I will be restrained and just stick to Red Delicious and the Redwork Cushion Swap.

Capricorn Quilts has an interesting block of the month, I've just found that Helen at Hugs'n'Kisses has a holiday mystery and it looks like Willowberry Designs will be having a stitchery block of the month. I might just have a look at that one. The first sample looks interesting. We'll see.

Monday 5 January 2009

The Holiday is Over

It was back to work today. Back to reality. I could quite easily get used to liesurely starts of a morning and then doing a bit of housework and a bit of sewing, then relaxing.

It's a pity life isn't like that. Today was the first day back for our office. We opened at 8.30am and the phones started straight away ... and of course nothing was simple and everything had to be done NOW.

Not only that, the local bakery and the place where I normally get my morning coffee are still on holidays and are closed.

I've had my winge now......

We made it through the day & I'm sure that by the end of the week we will be back in our usual routine. It was nice to catch up with everyone after the break.

Bring on the weekend.

Sunday 4 January 2009

Dad's 90th Party

Dad's party is over and was a great success. We had over 70 people attend. Dad is one of nine, and eight are still going strong. There were four of them at the party. Two travelled from Towoomba and one from Lake Cargelligo. Not a bad effort for their ages. The other four all live in northern New South Wales or Queensland, so it was just too difficult for them to travel.
My generation consists of fourteen cousins. One passed away a few years ago, but ten of us were there. Once again, not bad considering the distances involved. One cousin did not reply to the invitation and has never attended a family event before. Just as we were starting to eat lunch he walked in. We were gob smacked and so pleased to see him. I had only met some of my cousins once or twice. Some cousins were there that had never met each other!! My brother and I are the babies of the generation, so it is amazing that first cousins in their mid 50s are meeting for the first time. It was great getting to know them a bit more.
I did a bit of a talk at the party on Dad's life and lots of people want a transcript. Unfortunately I don't have one. It was just stuff that I knew. I think I might have to write it down, and hopefully get Dad to flesh it out a bit. I still don't know whether to raise the subject of his time as a POW or not. We'll just see how it goes. Getting his life down on paper might just have to be a project for the coming year.
I wore my new black and white skirt and was happy with it. It was nice and comfy.
Mum and Dad are involved in their local church, so we held the party at the church hall and the church ladies catered. They did an absolutely marvellous job. The hall was decorated beautifully and the food and service were great. One of the ladies did the most amazing floral arrangements. It was also good to be able to involve their friends this way.

Dad has been having bad back pain for the last few months and yesterday had a further injection in his back. This provided great relief, so he was really able to enjoy his day. He is really fit and well for his age and was in his element among all his family and friends.

A lot of the family are having dinner together tonight, but Mick and I have just came home after it all. I don't have much in the way of photos as yet, as I didn't really have the chance to take any. A family friend took a lot and is giving me a disc tomorrow. Once I get some I'll post a few here.

Saturday 3 January 2009

Red Delicious Started

I've finally made a start on Red Delicious. Yesterday I traced all the pieces for Blocks 1 and 2 and fused them to the background. I'd forgotten how time consuming this is, thank goodness I am on holidays. I am just using machine blanket stitch applique and have completed most of Block 1. I will try to get the rest of the applique on both blocks done today. Then I will just have the hand stitching details to complete, which shouldn't take too long. At least they will be finished before Block 3 is released on the 15th. I'm looking forward to seeing what "Love Apples" looks like.

Our two cats have been hastled most nights lately by a feral ginger tom cat and as a consequence have both had trips to the vets with abscesses. We have borrowed a cat trap and after just two nights have caught the cat. It was a monster..... and cranky!!!! It has now been disposed of and the local pet cats and native wildlife will be much better off for it's demise.

We have done the last of the organising for Dad's party and today will see most of our relatives arrive in town. They all have quite a distance to travel. Many will be traveling over 1000 kms for one day before returing home. It will be good to see them all. A few cousins are coming that I have only met a few times in my life and probably won't even recognise. We didn't expect as many to come, so are delighted.

Thursday 1 January 2009

A New Year and a Finish

Happy New Year. Let's hope 2009 is good for everyone.

We had our 70's party last night and it was great fun. Everyone got into the spirit of the era. I think full marks have to go to one couple who came wearing their own original 70's gear. John had a body shirt, maroon velvet bow tie and pale blue jacket (he just couldn't do up the jacket). Shelley wore her going away outfit and she is still as slim as she was then.
Another friend came in a caftan she bought in Fiji in 1975 while on a cruise. It is a lovely fabric, printed on the islands and it still looked really stylish.

We had bikies, hippies and Hawaiin shirts. Mick was in his Goodies t-shirt and wore an afro wig all night. I was in my bright yellow dress. Sorry, no photos of us were taken. Unfortunately our record turntable wouldn't play, so we had to resort to CDs, but we still had plenty of 70's stuff.

Today, after the last visitors left we did the big cleanup and then I made another skirt. I used the same pattern, this time in black and white. I'm once again happy with the way it turned out. I made this one a bit longer and took the waist in a bit. It fits nicely. I'll definitely wear this one to Dad's party.

On Tuesday afternoon I went into town to meet up with the lady organising the catering for the party. My car sounded a bit rattly when I pulled away from the traffic lights and then the "Check Engine" light came on and the temperature guage showed "HOT". I pulled over straight away and called the NRMA Roadside Assistance. When he got there he informed me that there was no fluid in the radiator, but he didn't think the engine was ruined. A tow truck had to be arranged. Of course, my mechanic is on his annual holiday until the end of January, so another mechanic was arranged and my car delivered. Apparently the radiator is ruined and another is on order. With a bit of luck it will be there tomorrow, otherwise early next week. There couldn't have been a worse time for me to be without a car, so Mum to the rescue. I have borrowed her little Corolla. Hopefully I can return it to her tomorrow.

While spending time browsing blogs yesterday I came across Happy In Quilting. I enjoyed this blog and was delighted to see she collects green depression glass. The number of comments from other ladies who like green glass was great. Here is a sample of mine. There is much more. I don't really go looking for it now as I have no more room to display it. Mind you...... if I come across something special.......

My grandmother had a cake plate and vase that I always liked as a kid. I received my first pieces as Kitchen Tea gifts back in 1986, when it cost about $2.00 a piece, after I had shown a friend a photo of a collection and commented how much I liked it.

People keep asking how many pieces I have and who manufactured it etc. I can never answer either question. There would be over a hundred pieces and I am not a technical collector. I just like it and put it on a shelf.

The sun was shining nicely on this dresser yesterday. This was my grandmother's dresser and she embroidered the runner in the 1930's. It was passed on to us as a wedding present.