Wednesday 31 March 2010

Just in the Nick of Time

Phew!  Just made it!

Here are my few finishes for this month.  I’ve made it with two and  a half hours to spare.

All the sewing I’ve done since we came home from  holidays is to use up the last little bit of the linen op shop skirt and the fat quarters I’d been playing with.  There was very little of the fat quarters left, so a pincushion was the answer.  It also used up the skirt button and a little bit of interesting selvedge from one of the fabrics.


So, this is the total of what I was able to make with the four fat quarters.

2010_0331March20100012I’m quite happy with that.  Nothing that I really needed, but a bit of fun.

I still had the two set in pockets from the back of the skirt to do something with.  I’d thought of using them in a bag, but didn’t get around to it so this is what I decided on.


Potholders!  I used the quilt as you go method and then added the pocket as the backing, like so.

2010_0331March20100007 Probably somewhat superfluous, but it used them up.

Here is the other potholder.  It was a test run of a block for a jelly roll quilt, but I don’t think I’ll use it after all, but it is just fine for a potholder.

2010_0331March20100003  They will be nice and cheerful in our kitchen.


There is none of the skirt left and only about a two inch wide by 6 inch long strip of the light pink fat quarter.  Therefore, now I can get stuck into something else next month.  I can’t wait.

So I have 3 finishes for the OPAM Challenge, two string pieced items and I used what I had.  You’ve got to be happy with that.

By the way, I’ve booked my seat on a coach going down to the quilt show at Darling Harbour in June. I can’t wait.  With a bit of luck some other bloggers will be there.

Monday 29 March 2010

Clever Girls

Saturday was our day for getting together for our craft afternoon.

I just thought I would share this, rather timely (almost) finish.

Our lovely hostess, Pam, started working on Anni Down’s Gardener’s Journal some years ago from a kit, but never finished it. A few months ago she got it out and finished the piecing.  It was then passed on to Val to do the quilting.

On Saturday Val returned the quilt to Pam.


As you can see, the girls were trying their best to hide.  Pam is on the left and Val on the right.  Pam stitches beautifully.  She has a large collection of porcelain dolls she has made over the years, and the work in their clothes is exquisite.  Here is a closer look at the quilt.

Val really enjoyed the quilting on this as she could play with some  custom quilting patterns in the different sections.

2010_0327March20100028It is a gorgeous quilt and all you ladies joining in the stitch a long should have a lovely time.  I’ll just cheer from the side line.

Sunday 28 March 2010

Treasures That Followed Me Home

Finally I’m going to show you my treasures from our trip, which means I can play along with Flea Market Finds this week.  Yay!

We found a gorgeous little patchwork shop in Narembeen, in the middle of nowhere, but unfortunately it is closing down.  I helped reduce the stock with this little parcel of Moda “Posh” fat eighths – you can always find a corner to poke them into.


I visited the quilt shop in Albany a couple of times and restricted myself to these.  The one on the left will be a cover for my journal that I kept and I have a very vague plan for a black and white quilt and these could be the start of the stash.

2010_0327March20100008 We only found op shop treasure at Hyden where I was very happy to find these little beauties at only $1 each.  You can always find room somewhere in the pannier.  They are books I have looked at often, but never actually got around to buying.


And that’s it.  Very restrained wasn’t I!

Now, to last weekend.  It just happened to be the church fete, and we didn’t really need to be at Lake Cargelligo until late afternoon, so we could just go past the fete and get something from the cake stall to have with our thermos for morning tea on the way, couldn’t we?

And, while we were there we could just have a look at the other stalls, couldn’t we?

Of course!  So these went for the drive to Lake Cargelligo and back.

This box isn’t old, but how handy for keeping “stuff” together on the sewing table.


I was delighted to find these.  I already have a few of the egg cups in different colours – red, brown, turquoise, aqua, brown, and I’ve seen that they also come in a dark blue, yet to find that one. So I was happy to extend that little collection. (I don’t collect egg cups, just happen to have quite a few a lot of them.) I also already had some of the cute dotty glasses.


Now I have a nice set.


This little hair clip is so cute and has no chips, so for such an exorbitant price it now sits on my brooch cushion.


Of course, I couldn’t leave these there, could I?  I now have lots and lots of knitting needles that I rarely, if ever, use.  But the box and needle size gauge had to come home.


I also bought extra wine glasses and dinner plates that match the ones we already have, as extras never go astray.  A couple of cushions also came home, but they are in the wash, so I’ll show later.

I’m glad we made the detour as there are always interesting bits and bobs to be found.  I believe that my Mum also found a couple of things for me before we got there, so that will be a treat next time I visit her.

Guess what? I hope you are sitting down.  I’ve actually done some stitching……I sewed a button on Mick’s work shirt and fixed a belt loop on his work trousers!!! (We just won’t mentioned the more major mending waiting to be done.)

I also started this:

2010_0327March20100025 All I have knitted is the tension square.  Hopefully, I’ll get stuck into it during my lunch breaks.  Last year I did lots of knitting of bits and pieces, so this year I reckon I will just concentrate on the one item.  It knits up fairly quickly and is a very easy pattern. Just as well, as I haven’t knitted a garment in, oh, probably 15 years. By the way, in all my knitting needles, and I do have lots, I didn’t have a pair of 7mm, except in quite a short length, so I had to go out and buy some.

I also have a small finish for OPAM, but still have to take photos, so will show that soon.

While I’ve been typing this it has started to rain.  Hooray!  Everything was starting to get crispy underfoot again.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Travel All Over the Countryside

Poor Mick.  He no sooner arrived home on Friday and we left again on Saturday morning to go to Lake Cargelligo to my Aunt’s 90th birthday party.  She can’t believe she is 90 and still has three elder brothers and an elder sister living.

Lake Cargelligo is about 400kms west of here.  Three weeks ago the Lake was empty.  Due to the ongoing drought the Lachlan River was being stopped at Condobolin and all people downstream had no access to any water from the river.  It was a dire situation and the first time the Lake has been empty since it was created in the early 1900s.

Fortunately, due to the recent good rainfall some water has been released down the Lachlan and the Lake is now about 40% full.  It looks spectacular. This was the view from our motel window very early on Sunday morning.


We went for a walk and this was the lovely sunrise. It was the start of a very hot day.


It is about 20 years since we have been out there and we could not have chosen a better time to visit.  Everything is looking lovely and green.  Quite a contrast to recent times.

On the way home on Sunday we were impressed with the lovely red soil of the paddocks ready for sowing the winter crops. Here’s hoping there is good follow up rain and a bumper yield is harvested later in the year.


Albany – Part 3 – Why We Went

The impetus behind our trip to WA was the Ulysses AGM.  We try to get to every second one.  This would have to rate with the best.  The events hosted by smaller centres always seem to be the friendliest.

The only rain we had on our way over was about 1km from the registration point, so we had to stand in line in the wet!  The camp grounds had lovely soft green grass (the first we’d seen for quite some time) on sandy soil.  Perfect for camping. With about 1200 campers on site, the organisers did a wonderful job.  The amenities were the best of any AGM we have attended, and believe me, good amenities make the world of difference.

We put up our tent with the group from Rockhampton.


Mick has been toying with the idea of building a camper trailer to tow behind the bike.  We saw lots on the way over and he was checking them all out and he reckons he built it 100 times in his head while riding.  We had a look at the display of camper trailers at the AGM and decided, blow it, let’s just buy one.  So on Tuesday we dismantled our tent and as Mick put it “We have an erection!”

Meet “Paris”. We are so pleased with her.  There was no shortage of helpers to put her up.  Here we are, all set up.


We had several day trips.  Visiting the Valley of the Giants.  We had our photo taken in this tree last time we were over.


We went across the Tree Top Walk.  That spot halfway across is me.


We visited Elephant Rocks.


And the beautiful bay where they are located.


We visited a Banksia Farm.  There are 78 varieties and this is the only entire collection.  We learnt so much about banksias.  We had no idea they were such a varied and clever plant.


Of course we had to visit Whale World which was the last commercial whaling station in Australia.  It is really well done and is still intact. The Cheynes IV was one of the chaser boats.


Another fascinating place we visited was Mt Romance Sandalwood Factory.  They are the only sandalwood processing plant in the southern hemisphere.  As sandalwood is becoming rarer, there is no waste and they are aiming for a sustainable industry with advanced practices.  They also did a delicious dinner of a regional tasting plate and collected you in a free shuttle bus.  How could we refuse?


The week was not long enough to see all the local attractions.  There were plenty more we couldn’t get to see.  The town itself has a thriving town centre, which I think did rather well out of the Ulyssians.  I know the patchwork shop owner was amazed at how many quilters there were among us and how much fabric found its way into already well packed panniers.  I know I brought some home.

On the Saturday morning we had our Grand Parade through the town.  The locals came out in force and the whole route was lined with spectators.  Everyone enjoyed it thoroughly.


On Friday and Saturday nights there were official dinners, with about 1000 at a seating.  The theme this year was Pirates.  So, of course, Garry and Linda and us had to play along.  Mick failed pirate school, so has to wear two eye patches.


A big storm went across during the Saturday night dinner and our camper handled it very well, phew!

We had a wonderful time in Albany and must visit the area again in wildflower season.

Then, sadly it was all over and time to come home.  Lots of farewells to new and old friends till next time. Funnily, it was also raining when we left Albany.

I flew from Albany to Perth and then then next day onto Sydney before driving the rest of the way home.


Meanwhile, Mick started the long ride home, getting here on Friday.  He had a hot trip.  The trailer towed well. 

Back at that sign again.


We seem to like photos of Cocklebiddy Roadhouse, this time at sunset.


I’ll share my treasures soon.

Friday 19 March 2010

Part 2 – Playing the Tourist in WA

Once again I’ve got lots of photos to share.

Norseman is the first town you encounter once you get to the west.  I loved these camels.  We didn’t see any real ones and actually saw very little wild life on the way over.  We saw 2 roos in our top paddock, a couple of goats, a few eagles, lots of crows, a couple of lizards and a few emus in the distance.  Apart from one section towards the west of the Nullarbor there was very little road kill as well.

Albany Trip 2010 JH 3 018

From about Norseman the landscape changes again and is dominated by salmon gums.  After the scrubby stuff on the way across it is just beautiful to see such majestic trees.  I just loved all their different forms.

Albany Trip 2010 JH 3 045

We visited the mining town of Kalgoorlie.  This is the “Super Pit” just on the edge of town.  It engulfed all the smaller mines.  If you zoom in you will see a tiny matchbox toy  truck.  Well, this is actually one of those humungous mining trucks. I’ll have to compare with photos we took in the late 90s.

Albany Trip 2010 JH 3 031

There were also excavators at the bottom of the pit.  They were also really tiny.  This photo might put things a bit more in perspective.   This is the bucket off one.  Mick is 6 foot tall and and it is 5 metres across.

Albany Trip 2010 JH 3 032

The main thing we wanted to visit this time was Wave Rock.  It is near the small wheatbelt town of Hyden in the middle of nowhere.

On our way there we went through a little town called Nerembeen which just happened to have a lovely patchwork shop.  Unfortunately, it is closing down, but I squeezed into my pannier a small bundle of fabrics.  I’ll show you when Mick brings them home.

Most of the small towns in WA were neat and tidy and looked like the locals really have some civic pride.  It was great to see.

Now to Wave Rock.  The “wave” itself is 100 metres long, but the granite rock itself covers 29 hectares. It came to international fame in the 60s after a photo of it won a competition and was published in National Geographic.


The pioneers of the area were ingenious and built a low concrete wall around the edge of the rock and dammed the water for their town water supply.

Albany Trip 2010 JH 3 078

Hyden could have been one of those rural towns that have died, but the locals have capitalised on the rock.  There is a great caravan park only a stones throw from the rock, a hotel motel in town with fabulous bistro and a new resort is being built.

There is a complex over the road from the rock which houses Australia’s largest lace collection.  Not what you would expect to see there.  I wasn’t sure if you could take photos so I didn’t.  There is lace dating back to the 1600s.  I tell you, I was drooling! It was beautifully displayed on the walls and in gorgeous jarrah chests of drawers.  There were beautiful vintage dresses displayed throughout the museum as well.  If you get the chance, visit this collection.

We had morning tea at the Hyden Bakery and got talking to some other Ulyssians.  (Yes, there were Ulyssians wherever you went.) We ended up there for nearly 2 hours! A lovely social day.

There is an op shop in Hyden to raise money to start a Men’s Shed.  No matter how much stuff we have on the bike, you can always add a little something from an op shop and I found treasure.  I’ll show you later as it is still coming home with Mick.

Just north of the  town there is also the most significant aboriginal art site in the south west of WA.  There are 450 hand prints. It is called Mulka’s Cave. If you go to the link, you can read the legend of Mulka.


Back in Hyden there is a collection of quirky sculptures depicting the history of the area.  They were really well done.  Many towns seem to have community art installations.



In the late afternoon we went back up on Wave Rock to try to get sunset photos, but the sun was not in a good spot.  However, the colours were lovely and golden and we had the whole place to ourselves.  It was so very peaceful and quiet.

Albany Trip 2010 JH 3 169

049 We really enjoyed our day in the area.  And, to top it all off there was a free concert in the caravan park that night.  Bonus!  The music was fabulous, but finished all too soon.

Albany Trip 2010 JH 3 172

From here we travelled south to Mount Barker where we met up with our friends from Rockhampton.  It was really good to see them again.

Then it was in to Albany for the start of the AGM…but that is another instalment.

Thursday 18 March 2010

Head West Young (well not quite) Man & Woman – Part 1 – Getting There

I’ve just come home from a fantastic trip to Western Australia.  We are members of the Ulysses Club – a social club for motorcycle enthusiasts with junior members starting at age 40. They held their AGM at Albany last week.  Not many attend the actual meeting, but about 3,000 motorcyclists made the trip for the week long rally. (This was a small one!)

Get yourself a cuppa, as I’ve got lots of holiday snaps to share. 

We rode “Snubby” the modern BMW and sidecar over.  (I’m sure Peg won’t mind that I “borrowed” her photo.) We were loaded to the gunnels with all our camping gear.

Us at Narromine

It took us a week to get there, we had a week there and then I flew home (never enough holidays accrued at work).  Mick is still on his way home.  He should arrive tomorrow afternoon.

I was especially excited about our first day.  I had arranged to meet fellow  bloggers Peg and Dale in Narromine and then Jodie in Cobar.  We had a lovely morning tea in Narromine, it is amazing how much you can talk to people you have never met before and just hit it off.  All because of blogging.

007 Peg, me & Dale.

Jodie and Connie popped into the Cobar caravan park to visit. We were spoilt as Jodie brought some bickies, cheese and best of all some of her home made zucchini pickle.  Yummo!  We sat and chatted for about 2 hours and the time just flew.  Connie had a great time playing on the bike.  We forgot to take a photo which was a pity.

It was a pretty special day.  I would have liked to try  and meet some more bloggers, but time just wouldn’t allow.

The scenery travelling across this big wide land of ours is stunning.  People say it is boring, but it changes all the time.  Yes, it is a long way, but never boring.

It was so lush and green in western New South Wales, but was extremely dry from then on.  I never tired of watching the changing sky and took a photo each morning.  They are all so different. We were lucky to have relatively cool weather on the way over, although there was a cross wind most of the way.


The historic buildings in Wilcannia, although mainly derelict, must have been stunning in their day.


You have to take these border photos, just as proof.

Albany Trip 2010 JH 2 005

We travelled by the Eyre Peninsula and near a little town call Elliston we noticed a sign “Scenic Clifftop Drive”.  It was a 5km gravel loop and had lovely views with sculpture all along the way.  This one entitled “Headlands” was our favourite.

Albany Trip 2010 JH 2 164

We started to see other bikes from Cobar and after that every time we stopped at a Roadhouse there would be a big group of bikes and we would have to wait our turn in line.  It was all very social.  Apparently this had already been going on for a week before we left home.

Albany Trip 2010 JH 2 204

At one stage the road goes right next to the Great Australian Bite and the cliffs are stunning.  The water was a gorgeous colour. Aren’t I just the glamour puss in my bike gear (not)!

Albany 2010 Mick 038

Another of those must have touristy shots.  We took a similar one when we rode a different bike over in the late 90s.

Albany 2010 Mick 041

Of course, we had to visit the old Telegraph Station at Eucla.

Albany 2010 Mick 044

The true Nullarbor Plains. Not a tree in sight.

Nullarbor Plains (2)

Cocklebiddy Roadhouse at dawn – just before we made a start for the day.  The roadhouses were all excellent, offering camping, accommodation and food.  They did well to cope with the volume of bikes travelling across.

Albany Trip 2010 JH 3 001

At the end of this straight  there is an S-bend in the road.  For the life of us we couldn’t work out why.  We reckon the grader driver must have fallen asleep or was bored.

Albany Trip 2010 JH 3 006

We saw lots of 3-trailer road trains and a couple with 4 trailers.  There was a sign near Kalgoorlie advising that the maximum length was 53.5 metres!  Imagine that, longer than an Olympic pool!

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The first traffic light in over 2,000 kms and we had to get it!  Norseman, the first “Town” you reach in WA.

Albany Trip 2010 JH 3 014

Next I’ll show us playing the tourist in WA before getting to Albany.