Tuesday 27 February 2018

Ta Da - The Modern HST Sampler is Finished - At Last

I did well for quite a while and then life got in the way and the wheels fell off......until November 2017, when I got started again.

I was determined to get it finished.  I had the top completed early last month and my OMG goal for February was to get the binding on.

Ta Da!!  I did it.  Happy dance!

The backing is primarily the light blue floral, but with a pieced strip from offcuts down the centre.  My friend Val did the quilting.  It  is a nice, soft design.

I had to do the bed test.  Yep, that test passed as well.  I am always amazed at how a different quilt on the bed changes the whole look of the room.  I think this will be a summer quilt, as it looks quite cool.

I'm happy to say that my February OMG was completed on time, I have ticked off another UFO from my list, I improved my HST block skills and that all the fabric in the quilt was from stash.  You have to be happy with that.

I'm linking with Elm Street Quilts.

Monday 26 February 2018

It's Personal

On Friday I had a couple of bananas sitting on the bench that were getting a bit old, so decided to make some banana muffins.  I haven't made any for a very long time and had to think about where I had my recipe.  I got thinking that Mum made them quite often so there would be a recipe in her recipe book.  Now, I just happen to have two plastic bags sitting on the floor of my sewing room that contain Mum's collection of recipe books. I still have to go through them and work out where I'm going to keep the ones that I keep - you can't rush these things.

I opened up the book, and sitting front and centre was the recipe for Banana Muffins, funnily enough, written out by me.  It reminded me that many years ago, when muffins first became fashionable, I had given Mum a muffin pan for Christmas and included several muffin recipes and tips.  I made my muffins and the turned out just fine.

However, it got me thinking.  To me, a lady's cook book with those handed down recipes, those provided by friends and those clipped from magazines and papers are one of her prized and most personal possessions.  We always speak of jewellry and photos as being things you would take in case of evacuation, but imagine losing all those special recipes.

I am extremely lucky to now have in my possession a few of these.  

The most recent I've received is Mum's.  Hers is the grey one.  She would never profess to be a great cook and I don't think it has generally been something she enjoys, but she can make a mean slice and was an expert at making preserves and old fashioned puddings.  The old Commonsense Cookery Book was Dad's from before they were married.  He was a bachelor until his 40s so found this useful.  He has added hand written recipes and cuttings.  There are a couple of recipes that he use to pride himself on making, as they were a little finicky.  I'll have to give them a try one day.

The first one I received was my paternal grandmother's.  She married in 1914, so this dates from then.  My aunt had it and used to use it.  I would request to have a look at it when we visited and one day she gave it to me, as I was the only one who showed any interest in it.  The embroidered cover is very fragile now.

This one was Mick's paternal grandmother's.  It is more recent and doesn't hold all that many recipes, but it is nice to have something with a sample of her hand writing.  That is another feature of these lovely old books - to see the beautiful writing from another era.

Finally, I have my maternal grandmother's, dating from the late 1920s.  However, it is packed away at the moment.  It is a black exercise book.

On Saturday I decided to make some plum jam, seeing it is the right season.  As making preserves is something Mum has always enjoyed she came over for the day to give a hand and supervise.

The first thing she said was that she needed an apron.  Well, fortunately, her aprons are also sitting in the sewing room waiting for me to work out what to do with them.  You should have seen the smile on her face when she was presented with one of her own aprons.  Mum always wore an apron at home and I suppose I just don't realise the joy this simple action could bring.  

It makes me realise that although common sense says to declutter and cull a lot of these things, I will have to keep some.  If that is all it takes to keep an old lady happy it suits me.  

We happily sat  at the bench chopping and chatting away and I didn't get much of a look in when it came to the stirring. Yes, we were using her jam pan too.

We ended up with a nice batch that should keep us going for a couple of years. Mum took a jar back with her for her breakfasts.  Apparently she slept very well that night.  It was a big day compared to her usual day at the aged care facility.  I think she had a great time.  I know I did.

 If I get a chance we will also make some tomato relish, as we've just about run out.

Sunday 25 February 2018

Another Purple Block

Last week I made the throwaway line that I would probably find more purple fabric once I had made my three blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Well, guess what!!! A nice little stash was located.  Fancy that!

I chose the tone on tone, as it was the most purple, if that makes sense, and made an extra block for the Squared Away Sampler. It will look a bit better for the rainbow and I now have a spare, which will either be used to make the quilt larger or get incorporated on the back.  Who knows.  That's half the fun of this project.

I'm linking up with Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Friday 23 February 2018

A Weekend of Motorcycles....and Flowers

Last Saturday we attended the Bathurst Street and Custom Motorcycle Show.  This was hosted by the Brotherhood Christian Motorcycle Club and has been running for ten years.  We've never been able to attend before as it has always clashed with the Bathurst Swap Meet, but the date was changed this year so we went along.

There were several motorcycle related events on the weekend so Mick decided that he would take in both of the sidecars, so there would be something to look at.  There ended up being five sidecars on show. The red one between our two really took our eye, as it was a Moto Guzzi.  It turned out that it is locally owned and this was its first time ever to be shown.  Not surprisingly, it won best vintage bike of the show.

There were so many bikes, which was really pleasing to see.  The majority were Harleys, but it was wonderful to see all the different variations and the love that goes into them.

This trike was definitely different.

This little one was about my favourite.  The name says it all.  It comes from Orange and the owner obviously had a lot of fun putting it together.  It sounded very crisp too.

There was only the one rat rod on show.

The day was hot, but not oppressive and most people were happy sitting in the shade listening to the band after lunch.

It was only after they finished playing that we realised that the fellow on the left of the stage was a mate of Mick's from way back.  As Mick said, the last time he had seen him they were very drunk together as young bucks.  Den Hanrahan has gone on to have a very successful musical career.  It was nice to catch up after all this time.

At the end of the show there were trophy presentations.  Mick was a little shocked when his name was called out.  The class was "Best Adventure or Off Road Bike".  "Snubby" the silver side car won, as there weren't really any others in the class.  Just the same, it was very nice and at least there was something on show in the class.

Now for the flowers.......

The show was right in the centre of town and the park gardens were looking very colourful.  

The best thing was that the local paper had just recently announced that the Begonia House in Machattie Park has just opened for the year's display.  As we had plenty of time to kill we went along for a look see.

They really are a treat.

So many different colours and varieties.

Right next door is "The Fernery", which dates back to the 1880s.

Another lovely feature in the park.

On Sunday we took "Olga" the old girl out for a run.  We joined the Panorama Motorcycle Club late last year as they have a section for old bikes.  It has taken us this long to actually get on a ride with them. Our destination was The Rockley Pub for a breakfast run.  They have converted their dining room into a cafe and they do a very tasty breakfast.  I think the gourmet egg and bacon roll was the best I've every had.  A sentiment echoed by others as well.  It was a great run and very well attended.  As it turns out, we knew a heck of a lot of the other members, so it was very social.  Hopefully, we can join them on some more runs this year.

Monday 19 February 2018

The Home Leg

The final two days of our trip were just for getting home.

Mick always likes to see Mount Warning, which is the first place in Australia to see the sun each day.  It is just near Murwillumbah, where his Gran lived for many years.  He has climbed it several times and I have climbed it once.

There is a lot of road works happening on the Pacific Highway for an upgrade between Ballina and Woolgoolga, near Coffs Harbour.  Mick was asking me to take photos of all the cranes.  I don't know how many cranes we went past on our drive, but there were lots and lots of them......and they were BIG.

They were working on this when we came through in July.  At the time I took photos of the start of the bridge works on the Clarence River near Maclean. The above photo is from back then. Check out what it looks like now.....

More cranes.

They certainly have made some progress during the last seven months. 

See the men in the cherry picker basket.  It gives you an idea of the scale of this build.

I'm looking forward to seeing it all finished.

We had planned to have fish and chips for lunch by the river in Maclean, but with all the roadworks we missed the turn off.  It actually was a happy turn of events.

There is a little town called Ulmarra just north of Grafton.  It is an old river port on the Clarence River.  We had visited many years ago, but ever since we have just driven past.

There were lovely old weatherboard buildings in the main street.

We were looking for a cafe for lunch, but the only place to eat was at the pub.  You can see why.

How's this for a beer garden.  Rather pleasant it was.

Right on the bank of the river.  See that gum tree on the right of the photo......there was a bit of a racket coming from it.

It was full of bats!  Only this one tree.  They weren't in any others.  Odd.

We were kept entertained while we waited for our lunch by this fellow.  There were loads of water dragons.  They weren't the slightest bit shy.  I think they were hoping to receive a tit bit from the table.

Lunch was well worth the wait.  It was such a relaxing way to spend some time.  I can imagine spending a very nice afternoon here, but we did have to keep moving.

On the corner opposite the pub there was a book shop.  So many books.  

Here is a panorama view of the shop.  It was almost overwhelming, as most shelves were two deep.

However, when I requested a certain book, that isn't all that easy to obtain, the owner put his finger straight on it.  I have been looking for this book for several years.  Yes, I could have bought it on line and I have seen it in a book shop, but I normally just buy at op shops, church fetes, book fairs and the like.  This volume was an early copy in excellent condition and all his books were 50% of the marked price.  Sold!  I'll share soon.

Once we went through Grafton we headed inland again, towards Armidale.  We have only been on this road once before, several years ago.  It is narrow, rough and windy, but we took our time and it was rather pleasant.

We had no firm destination, but had read that the Ebor Hotel had camping out the back and a good feed.  We had expected an old pub, but it was more modern.  Apparently, the owners have only taken it over in the last few months and have had to do some major upgrading.  Well, what they are doing is working.  There was a good crowd there on a Friday night and the food was good.

There were three of us camped out the back.  It is set up just like a caravan park.  We are enjoying finding little gems like this to stay at.    Don't you just love the little cream vintage van.

We didn't realise at the time, but there is a walking path to Ebor Falls from the pub and it is only a very short distance.  We drove there the following morning.

Ebor Falls are rather well known and consist of two separate falls.  The lower falls are smaller.  It was hard to get photos with the sun and shadow.  It would be better in the afternoon.......maybe we will have to have another night here.

The upper falls are wider.  We were surprised to see how much water was in the river.

There is another waterfall closer to Armidale.  We had to travel in a little way off the main road, past these chimneys.  It must have once been a substantial house.

Wollomombi Falls are one of the highest in Australia at 260 metres.  It was rather small when we visited, but there were photo boards showing it in full flood when it really must be impressive and loud.

It is always nice getting into the northern tablelands.  The scenery is rather similar to home.  I loved the shape of this shearing shed.

What I did notice was that there were just a few trees starting to change colour.  I've noticed it here at home too.  A reminder that it won't be long until the hot weather will have passed.

We stopped in Uralla to stretch the legs when we saw another BIG thing go past.  This was the generator for a wind farm.  You don't realise how big they are when you see them on the top of a tower.

As we headed towards Tamworth and the Liverpool plains the landscape changed dramatically.  Any rain has not travelled west of the ranges. It was very dry and very hot.

Just on the outskirts of the village of Carroll, between Tamworth and Gunnedah, there was a small bushfire.  The traffic was stopped for a little while, as they extinguished the fire just beside the road.  Fortunately, they seemed to have things under control.

The obligatory windmill photo.

Once again, we had no real destination planned.  We ended up at the little town of Coolah.  They have the best little caravan park.  It is a caravan park and "Home Base".  There are quite a few relocatable homes owned by grey nomads.  It is a small home for them when they aren't on the road.  They seem to have a lovely community and it has brought extra people to a small country town. A great concept.

Dinner that night was the first real meal we had cooked since we left home.  Mick had made a very low tech pull out table for the tunnel boot of the van and it was time to test out the new Weber barbecue.  He was happy to report that both worked well....and the steak tasted great.

There is a book exchange in the camp kitchen.  I grabbed this book, after having seen a few Agatha Raisin series on TV, which are rather absurd.  It was a quick, easy read and I was able to return it to the book exchange before we left the following morning.

And one final photo of the Coolah valley, which had received a couple of storms and was looking lovely with a little green tinge.  

We were home by Sunday lunch time, which enabled us to get the van unpacked and start on the washing that always is a legacy of a trip away.

It really had been an enjoyable time away.  We packed in so much in a short time.  As I said earlier, not a chill out and do nothing holiday, but they will come another time.