Sunday 29 March 2009

A Diverse Weekend

What an amazingly diverse weekend we had.

We escaped from work early on Friday and went down to the Abercrombie River (well, it was a series of waterholes) between Oberon and Goulburn and camped the night with a mate and his son from Wollongong who were on a bike and sidecar nearly identical to ours. It was the perfect night for camping, clear, no moon, lots of stars and satellites to watch. There was lots of wildlife in the area as well.

It was just chill enought to enjoy having billy tea on a campfire in the morning.

The reason for this adventure was that the “Tablelands Way” was being officially opened yesterday. This is celebrating the sealing of the final section of the road between Oberon and Goulburn, which makes a much more direct route to the south coast without going via Sydney and a really popular bike road as there are lots of curves.
There were lots of stalls, rides for the kids and the Ulysses Club decided it was a good excuse for a ride and there were about 250 bikes from all over the region there. We ran into so many people we knew. We had a delicious counter lunch at the Taralga pub before returning home yesterday afternoon.

Today was another early day as we and our friends Norm and Cath went to Hill End for their open day. Hill End is an old gold mining village which is now very popular with artists. This was a good excuse for a day out.

Two cottages are maintained by the local council and provided as artists retreats, which is very popular. This was made at one of the cottages.

There were lovely crochet cushions on some of the chairs at Rose Cottage where we adjourned for morning tea.

We played ladies and gents and had Devonshire tea on fine china in the orchard. (Don’t you love the yellow daisy teapot!)
There was some amazing handy work in Craigmoor. Craigmoor was built in the 1870’s and the interior has never changed. A spinster daughter lived there until 1950 with no power and the original fittings.

There are several utilitarian quilts throughout the house.
I fell in love with this cushion with lily of the valley embroidered with beads for the flowers.

We then adjourned to the park for a delightful picnic of antipasto nibbles followed by a salad of figs, grapes, blue cheese, lettuce, proscuito and chicken, all accompanied by a local rosé. Delicious.

We visited fragile old homes from the late 1800s. These buildings were never built to last and the fact that they are still standing is amazing. Most are built out of wattle and daub with canvas ceilings, poor footings and some still have the old bark roofs under the iron that was added at a later date.

We couldn't have asked for a better weekend - camping, motorcycling, fine dining, old houses, perfect weather and good company.

Friday 27 March 2009

Wooly Ripples

One of my favourite blogs to visit is Lucy at Attic 24, with her colourful crochet and cheerful personality.

So, inspired by her beautiful work, last Saturday I bought a range of colourful wool to try to emulate her "Ripple Cushion". I had a look on the net for a pattern, but they weren't quite the same and a bit difficult to follow.

To my delight, hopefully in the next week Lucy will be sharing a tutorial on her technique. I can't wait to start. In the meantime, I might look for another pink and a yellow to add to my colours.

Monday 23 March 2009


On Saturday we went to the church fete before Mick headed off for his weekend away. We love the church fete and always come home with a few treasures. This time we came home with LOTS!!! We are always happy and the church benefits.

We came home with:

Jaunty Jumper - This lovely fine woollen jumper looked quite drab hanging up, but when teamed with a red turtle neck top and my lovely warm red coat and scarf it looks great.

Cute China Cups - who could pass up the spots and the orphan cups will make nice pincusions, especially the coffee cups. I always shudder at using good china for this - but when they are no good for anything else, why not. (I've just got to work out how, now.)

Nifty Notions - more Singer attachments - in perfect condition with instructions (I'll have to have a play on one of my old machines). More bag handles and colourful knitting needles to put in an old jar.

Magnificent Matryoshka Dolls - for a song.

Beautiful Brooch - with a history. It will join my other old brooches.

Sweet Swiss Cotton Hankies - Have you ever seen any done up like a basket before? I haven't.

Bountiful Buttons - Zoom in to see the details. We are so spoilt to have these. I learnt to sew on buttons using a red bakelite sailing button. My brother and I sewed it onto fabric and Mum would cut it off, over and over again. The worst thing is.....I can't find it in Mum's button jars. I hope it turns up, but this is a consolation anyway.

But..... there is more. I just ran out of time to photograph it. Keep posted for the second instalment.
After I left the fete I went into town and met my friend Cath and we visited "The Little Black Dress" exhibition at the local art gallery. It is part of the Darnell Collection and showcased black dresses and accessories from the mid 1800's till now. Beautiful dresses, exquisite workmanship from famous and unknown makers. I didn't know if I could take photos, so thought best not.
By then it was lunch time so we enjoyed lunch al fresco at a lovely cafe before I went to my patchwork group.
The lovely Pam is feeling well enough to invite us all back into her home. It was lovely to catch up with everyone. I think we all really missed our afternoons stitching and nattering.

Sunday 22 March 2009

Aahhh Autumn

This morning I sat on the verandah, eating my breakfast, soaking up the sun and couldn't think of a better place to be.

The sky is a deep blue, there was a slight mist in the valleys, the gentlest of breeze, bird calls for accompaniment and the dog and I just sitting quietly.....bliss.

It was so nice to be able to just sit and enjoy, not be rushing around.

Autumn is the most perfect time of year here on the Tablelands. We are blessed with experiencing the four seasons, unlike much of Australia.

Our dahlias are still putting on a show. They have flowered all summer.

There are still a few other spots of colour in the garden.

This dahlia has the most delicate colour.

The leaves are just starting to turn.

We still have a few late roses.

And I love being able to pick a fresh apple each day off the tree when I go up to feed the chooks.

However, back to reality.......the house needs cleaning, the washing and ironing are to be done and the garden needs weeding/watering/trimming/tidying.
Mick has been away this weekend on a Poker Run organised by a local motorcycle club to raise money for a local lad recently severly injured in a bike accident, so yesterday I had a girly day. I'll post about that later today. Suffice to say, I had a great day.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Cross One Off The List

I have, for once, finished something ahead of time!!!

This is for Mum's Mother's Day present, which isn't required until May. I secretly measured her sewing machine, so I hope it fits. Her current cover (for her 1980's Elna Air Electronic) is a fabric cover (unpadded) that she made to fit her Singer (one with the curved timber case) in the 1950's and it looks quite sad as it doesn't fit. Mind you, when she retires it, I will probably ask her for it for the fabric....I'm impossible....

I did the stitchery in about September last year and it has languished on the "To Do List" since then. It feels so good to actually cross something off. (The only problem is I don't know how to get it to display as crossed off.....I'll just have to delete it:o)

St Patrick's Day

Happy St Patrick's Day. These shamrocks are on a marcella quilt on one of our spare beds. We are lucky to have old marcella quilts on all our beds. They are timeless and all came from Vinnies over the years.

There is a real nip in the air this morning, it was down to 3 degrees C. I had porridge for breakfast.

Autumn is upon us. The mornings are quite dark, a few trees are starting to turn, the sting has gone out of the days. It is just lovely - my favourite time of year.

I worked on Mum's sewing machine cover again last night, so it should be finished tonight. Woohoo!!

Sunday 15 March 2009

Iron Drama... and other more mundane stuff.

We have had a rather relaxing weekend. I just pottered around yesterday while Mick was at work. I worked out how to make my own last...using It was really quite easy to follow. I've wanted to do this for a while for when I create a journal of the quilts etc I've made. (We'll believe when we see it.... it is pie in the sky wishing at this stage). Anyway, the font isn't too bad. It spaces the letters more than I would when writing but is quite acceptable.

We went to a friend's 60th birthday last night which was great fun. There were a lot a car club members there and we always enjoy ourselves.

Today Mick rode the old BMW for the first time - just up and down the drive - but it went well. Of course there is still plenty more to do on it but it is getting closer. It should be a great bike to take on Club runs, just poking along and taking the picnic basket etc.

My plan was to sew today. Well, I finally got to it this afternoon and worked on something that has been hanging around for a while. It was to be Mum's birthday present in October, then her Christmas present. Well now I hope it will be her Mother's Day present in May. It is a sewing machine cover and is coming together OK.
All was going well ......until Mick noticed we had blown a power fuse. This was finally traced to the iron. Blast!! Can't sew without an iron. Need to iron clothes for work tomorrow. I WAS NOT GOING TO TOWN THIS WEEKEND!!! Oh well, the best laid plans of mice and men....... off I went and bought a new iron. It is very similar to my old one, except this one has a cordless feature. We'll see how it goes.

After a 2 hour delay, I was back into the sewing. Here is a sneak peak. Hopefully it will be finished in the next couple of days, unless life gets in the way:>)

Monday 9 March 2009

More Journal Covers

I've fallen in love with these journal covers and keep thinking of other variations that could be done. These are from a heavier cotton furnishing fabric. I used a 4 inch wide strip of the contrast fabric for the spine and just 2 rows of top sewing (although it doesn't really show up, I could have used a thread the same as the tan in the main fabric).

These have a hard covered spiral backed book which gives a much nicer finish. The others were soft covered, which just didn't have the same crisp finish.

It would also look good with a tan spine and a patterned main fabric. I think that style with a fabric suitable for a travel journal would look great. Or, what about an Australian design, either Aboriginal or Australian flora or fauna. What about Prints Charming, or Amy Butler, or........... The possibilities are endless. The only problem is I don't know what I'd do with them all. You can only use so many and not everyone would appreciate them as a gift. I'd better not get too carried away.

Mick found the book on bobbins, so he has been having fun identifying all the different styles. I'll have to have a bit of a look too.

Sunday 8 March 2009

Sunday, Sunday

Another fairly full day today.

We got up early and went out to the Oberon Swap Meet. We usually come home with some treasures from there.

This year there was a lady who had old stock from when she had a craft store. Her fat quarters and bias binding were cheap, so into the bag went a selection.

Another lady had this beautiful vintage cretonne and the brand new cheerful little tablecloth. Very cheap too!

The coathangers were on another stall and in excellent condition. Mum has several like this which I guess date back to the 50's and are nearly worn out from constant use.

Then, my find of the day..... I asked the fellow "How much for your bobbins?" meaning the different sizes....He replied "For the lot?" Me: "Well, not really, but tell me how much for the lot, or for the different sizes." Stallholder: "$10 for the small ones or $20 for the large ones or $60 the lot." I didn't haggle, I took the lot. There is a great variety of sizes and styles as well as an old timber shoe last. Very happy:>)

I love bobbins. I already have 2 on the bookcase that I bought last year and have a book all about them (I just can't put my finger on it at the moment which is frustrating) and we visited the Stotts Bobbin Mill in the Lake District in England when we were there a couple of years ago. I'll have a lovely time sorting these out and finding somewhere to display them. I love the turquoise ones and the red one.

After the Swap Meet we went into Bathurst to the Show. It has been a bit lack lustre for the last few years, but we think it may have turned the corner. The pavillon exhibits were definitely a big improvement, which is wonderful to see.
When we got home I decided to try Bloom's Tutorial on Journal Covers. I just used a strip of fabric rather than doing a patchwork strip and I'm really happy with the result. The instructions were easy to follow. Then I tried one with a horizontal stripe as well. It worked well too. One will go to my friend Cath to take on her trip and I'll use the other for mine. Now I'll have to make a cover for the recipe book.

Saturday 7 March 2009

A New Addition

How exciting!! We collected our new car today from Orange. It is a Subaru Forester. It is lovely to drive and has that unmistakable new car smell. Sorry about the photo, but I left it till late in the afternoon before I got around to taking it.

It was sad handing over our old Forester as we had if for 9 years and just over 200,000 kms.

The only stitching done over the last couple of days has been on the project I started last Sunday. Today was to have been our patchwork day, but Pam is still unwell. Hopefully she will be much better for next fortnight's afternoon. With a bit of luck next week will be a bit quieter and I'll achieve a bit more.

Tomorrow will be an early start as we are going out to Oberon for their Swap Meet to see if we can find any treasures. Then it will be back into town to go to the Bathurst Royal Show. Show season is in full swing in this part of the world, with one on every weekend somewhere in the district. This will be the last we go to this year. So, that will fill up another busy weekend.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

Random Thoughts

This is what we woke up to this morning. Isn't it beautiful. They say every cloud has a silver lining. It was certainly silver today.

The lovely Peg from Happy In Quilting made scrummy looking slice to take to her quilt group on Saturday and kindly shared the recipe, so, as I had all the ingredients in the cupboard, I thought I'd better give it a try. We have had a success and they have passed the Mick Test. As Peg also collects green depression glass, I thought I'd better show off one of my plates. My photo is nowhere as apertising looking as Peg's though :^)

We are off to the Isle of Man in May and our good friends Norm and Cath are off to tour the British Isles and France including joining us for 10 days on the Isle of Man. I will be needing a Journal to take with me and want to give Cath one as well. I really like the style of the ones Bloom has in her tutorial so have bought the fabric and journals and just have to get started.....soon!

Which made me think of covered books and all the lovely versions out there at the moment, and that made me think of the precious version in my bookcase. This was my Granny Johnson's Recipe Book. After she passed away it was passed on to my Aunty Rose, (who happens to live just near Cheryl from Willowberry Designs -it's a small world). Whenever I used to visit in my teens and early 20's I would ask to look at Granny's Recipe Book. One time Aunty Rose told me I was the only person to show any interest in the old book and that I may have it as a gift. It is very precious to me.

Granny Johnson married in 1914 on the Solomon Islands, as my Grandfather worked there for a few years as a plantation manager, before they returned to Australia. I am also the lucky owner of her Trousseau Box, which has a lovely worn patina from their many moves over the years. It is camphor and has a musical lock. I'll post a photo another day.

Anyway, I guess the Recipe Book would date from when she married and has lovely simple embroidery on it. The fabric is a natural linen with a thick execise book to write up her recipes. As you can see, it is quite fragile now, but in surprisingly good condition for its age and the amount of use it must have had as she raised her 9 children.

Which made me think of my Mum's recipe book which is also an exercise book, but as she married in the early 60's it is covered in a grey plastic with a wave like pattern embossed in it. Hers is falling apart from constant use over 40-odd years.

Which made me think of my recipe folder, as I was making my slice. Mine is a mid-80's version, and I was determined that it would not fall apart, or more importantly, get all food stained, so I have always used a red 4-ring binder and put my recipes in plastic sleeves. It has worked really well. It has stayed clean, having the 4 rings stops things from sliding around, and it is easy to add another recipe in the correct section - like Peg's slice recipe.
But, it is just red plastic on the outside.......Wouldn't it look nicer with a fabric cover as well!!! Now there's a thought. Add that to the to do list.

The To Do List seems to be growing.

The On the Go List seems to be remaining the same.
I seem to be starting more things. Something is wrong here, I'm supposed to be reducing the lists. There are just too many things in blogland that I want to do.
But, I have been doing some sewing. I started something new....I know!!!
But, the lovely Pam who hosts our fortnightly patchwork afternoons has been in hospital for a couple of weeks and I want to make her a little something to make her feel better.
I sewed all Sunday afternoon. I did all the machine work, and now I have to do all the hand stitching, and there is quite a bit, so I'd better get cracking.
Here is a peek. It will be finished soon, so won't be lanquishing on a list.

Sunday 1 March 2009

A New Light Box, A Dust Storm & A Flower

I've always used a window as a light box, but as I am doing some more stitcheries now I decided to use some Christmas money and treat myself to a light box. I ordered one early in January from Leanne and was told at the time it wouldn't be in until February as the warehouse was out of stock. Not a problem.

Mid February I made a little follow up call, only to be advised there are still none in the country, but would I like to borrow hers for the weekend. This kind offer was gratefully accepted and I traced what I needed. What a difference it makes working on a horizontal surface. No, my fine brown pigma pen is not running out as I had thought. Light box, please hurry up and arrive.

Well, today the latest Verandah Views block was released and I wanted to trace it straight away, but didn't want to go back to the window a little Aussie ingenuity came into play.

An old towel, 2 bricks, a sheet of glass I found in Mick's shed and our camping light and ta da!! Meet my new (but temporary) light box.

It is not ideal, but will do for the moment. The new one will be much more convenient to set up and store, but I can wait patiently for it to arrive. In the mean time I have the stitchery ready to start. Mind you, I don't intend starting this yet. It will be a nice portable project to take with me to the Isle of Man in May.

Now to the dust storm. We only rarely get dust storms, but there was a beauty yesterday. The wind blew all day from the west, not really strong, but constant and this is what our place looked like yesterday afternoon. (That's our house tucked away down in the hollow.) Normally you look onto the western side of the blue mountains, but not yesterday.

I haven't been very creative through the week, but last night I whipped up a little crochet flower. It was quick and easy to do. The pattern is on Attic 24's blog. She has the most colourful, cheerful blog around.

I took the photo with my embroidery scissors to show how small it is. The pattern uses 8-ply, but I used 4-ply cotton. This was my colour selection, as it is the only colours I have. I will buy a clip to put on the back and should then have a cheeful brooch.
Mick is working this weekend, which is a pity, but this afternoon I hope to get a bit of sewing done. That was also the plan yesterday, but you know how it is, I got sidetracked :o)