Monday 25 June 2018

The Splendid Sampler II - Milk and Cookies

Two weeks, two blocks.

This week's block is "Milk & Cookies" by Rebecca Bryan.

Needle turn applique isn't my forte, so there was a bit of fiddling to get nice curves.  In the end I'm happy with how it turned out.  Some of the ladies shared some tips on the block which were very helpful.

I added a few fabrics to my little stash last week, including the three circle fabrics.  I think I have a nice range now.

I wonder what we will receive next week?

I'm linking up over The Splendid Sampler II.

Sunday 17 June 2018

Baby, It's Cold Outside

The weather man forecast that this weekend would be a tad wintry - with a nasty cold front with snow travelling from Tasmania, through Victoria and New South Wales and even into Queensland in a couple of days time.  They were right!

As we had nothing planned for the day, after lunch we rugged up and hopped in the car to see if we could see some snow.  We decided to head towards Oberon, one of the highest towns in the area at 1100 metres above sea level.

We caught our first glimpse of the snow at the top of Oberon Mount, near Mayfield Gardens that we visited recently.  Doesn't it look bleak.

We were surprised at the number of cars coming from the direction of Oberon.  We like getting off the beaten track, so we turned onto a small dirt road "Faugha Ballaugha Road".  Don't you just love that name.  I've been told by a good source that it is pronounced "Fogga Bogga Road".  Anyway, we haven't been up there for several years so today was a good excuse.

As the road got higher the snow got thicker, especially in the scrub.


We enjoyed coming across these old relics of times gone by.  Imagine trying to keep warm in that little house.  It is built of pise (compacted earth and straw).  The walls wouldn't have been too bad, but so much heat would have gone out through the roof (yes, even when it had a complete roof).  Mind you the kitchen, around the fire would have been rather snug.

Another relic.

It was drizzling most of the time as we drove along, (which explains the spots on many of the photos) so there would have been much more snow to see earlier in the day.

We travelled a couple of little roads and by the time we reached Oberon we were ready to have a nice hot cup of coffee and some cake.  Well, it appeared that we weren't the only ones with that idea.  You were battling to find a parking spot in the main street!  I think everyone within coo-ee must have decided to go for a drive to see the snow.  All the coffee shops and cafes were packed out.  Not to worry, we would have a coffee and cake when we got home.  But, which way to go home?  Why not through the Dog Rocks Forest.

This route would take us through the village of Black Springs, which is the highest in the area.  It wasn't long before the snow cover increased.

Many years ago I worked with a girl who lived in this house.  She travelled all the way to Bathurst each day.  I didn't envy her in the winter time.  Yes, she had the occasional snow day when she couldn't make it to work.

Black Springs. Yep, that's high at 1210 metres above sea level. Time to get out and have a little play.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree.

Imagine how much snow would have been here earlier in the day.

How lovely.

Now, Mick is the first to tell you how he hates the snow, having grown up on a property in the snowy hills around Bathurst.  It meant being out in horrible weather looking after stock.

Who was it that decided to build a little snowman?

Poor dear, he looks a little cold.

We had to have a selfie with Mick's snowman.

He is just a baby snowman.

We came across quite a few snowmen in Black Springs, as it had by far the best coverage.  If you look closely, this is definitely a snow man.  Cheeky beggars.  We had a chuckle, as in the late 80s there was a really big snow fall.  We had a new 4WD car so with one of my workmates we came for a drive out here and went up into the forest.  We made a snow woman on that occasion.

There were quite a few people playing in the snow in the camping area. 

Ned was keeping an eye on proceedings.

After Black Springs we headed through the Dog Rocks Forest.  The pines looked lovely in the snow.

It wasn't long before the snow cover started to lessen.

Before we knew it we were back below the snow line.

All the time we drove along I was hoping that we would actually see some snow falling.  Just after Black Springs there was a tiny bit in the sleet, but that was all.  It was drizzly rain pretty much all of the rest of the time.  I wouldn't be surprised if they get more snow tonight.  So, what was the temperature?  Right in Oberon it was 2 degrees C. Most of time we were in the snow area it was 1 degrees C.  Back home in Bathurst it was a balmy 5 degrees C.

It is fun to go and see the snow, but saying that we were mostly in the nice warm car, just ducking out occasionally.  I'd probably have the same opinion as Mick if we lived on a property and had to be working out in it.

Saturday 16 June 2018

Stitching Update - Working on a UFO and a New Project

Now that winter has arrived it is time to hunker down and spend some time stitching.  This weekend we had nothing planned and the weather is somewhat bleak.  Snow is forecast for the surrounding hills tonight and tomorrow.

After I finished my June OMG nice and early I thought I'd better get out another UFO and make some progress on it.  After all, I do want to put a big hole in that pile this year.

This was our project at Nundle two years ago.  It is a design by Lynette Anderson.  I had hoped to have it finished by Easter last year......then Easter this year..... As you can see, I didn't do very well with either of those goals.  

There is just a tiny bit of stitching to go on the three bunnies.  I have simplified the design a bit, but am happy with that.  The stitcheries have done many miles with me.  I will do a tiny bit  every now and then, but I just don't seem to get that last little bit done.  Well, I made a start in my lunch break yesterday.  I will want a portable project next week, so I'd better get them finished and basted to their hexies.  Then I can start stitching them all together.  I'd like to have the project finished next month, well before next Easter.

Now, onto my start....

I have really enjoyed doing the RSC  blocks each month.  I also really enjoyed the Half Square Triangle Sampler a couple of years ago.  Can you see where this is going?  There are so many BOMs online that I never feel that I can commit to.  This month there have been two new ones start.  However, they both have a block released every week, not fortnight or month, as the others I have done. 

Splendid Sampler 2 and Moda Blockheads 2.  I like the look of both of them.   Splendid Sampler 2 has a 6 inch block released each week for 20 weeks.  There are actually 100 blocks and you have to buy the book to receive the balance of the blocks.  

Moda Blockheads 2 has 52 blocks - one released each week.  They range in size from 6 inches to 18 inches.  The variation of sizes appeals to me.

I want to do them both.  I also want to just use my stash if possible.

I have started Splendid Sampler 2.  As the blocks are small I have finally decided to use my little 1930s stash.  Its been sitting there for a few years waiting for the right project to come along.  I bought most of the fabrics at Braidwood a few years ago.  They were very reasonably priced.  Some of the other smaller pieces came from a scrap bag I bought at some markets once.  I think I may have to buy a few more fabrics to round out the variety of colours.  I'm keeping every tiny scrap, as I dare say they will come in handy for some of the blocks.

Considering the blocks finish at 6 inches, there was quite a bit of fabric for the first block.

Getting closer.

Ta da!  Block 1 done and dusted.  I'm rather happy with it.  Lots of little pieces of fabric in this block and lots of off cuts that have gone into the little scrap bag.  

I just hope I can maintain the momentum to keep up with this stitchalong, but I'm going to give it a red hot go.

Now for Blockheads 2.  Do I or don't I?  I have two piles of fabric that I could use.  I just need to have a bit more of a think before I jump in.  Mind you, what is the worst that could happen?  I would have some sampler blocks that I could build on at a later date.  We'll see tomorrow.

Wednesday 13 June 2018

The Last of Our Holiday

Finally, the last installment of our recent little holiday.

We were greeted with this wonderful sky on the morning that we left Lightning Ridge.

This van is a Lightning Ridge landmark.  The artist John Murray lived in it for the first few years he was in town.  When he opened his first gallery he turned it into a plane and mounted it on a pole to act as his sign.

Our first stop for the day was for a cuppa at the blink and you miss it locality of Cryon, between Walgett and Wee Waa.  There was plenty of room to park.

There were no houses, but there was a huge silo setup, complete with railway siding.

I'd say the hall would service quite a large area.  The sky continued to be rather lovely.

Even more silos.

Once back on the road we started to see cotton waste and evidence of irrigation dams.  Finally, I have a photo of a windmill.  Such wide open spaces.

Lots of bales of cotton and there was also many paddocks of cotton waiting to be harvested.

We arrived in Wee Waa, cotton capital of Australia, in time for a picnic lunch.

Notice the clock face.

The pub was a beautiful old building.

We were surprised to see this delightful garden in the main street.

Garry was happy to see he has a garage in Wee Waa.

The convent had lovely grounds.

We had a quick look in the op shop and Mick homed straight in on a little coffee perculator.  We had commented that we should bring one along for when we have no power.  It was a little cutie, looked like it had never been used and cost a whole $1.00.  Score! Yes, it works like a dream.

We had no booking for our accommodation that night and had vaguely thought of stopping somewhere near Narrabri.  We considered that it would be a good option to free camp.  However, when we checked out Wikicamps, which is such a wonderful app when camping, we came across the Old Baan Baa School.  It was inexpensive and the reviews were all very positive.  I called and yes, we could come and stay for the night.  

Firstly, where is Baan Baa?  I'd never heard of it.  Well, it is south east of Narrabri.

On our arrival we were met by Karen who had brought this site back from being very run down.

There is no power, but the bathrooms were spotless, even with bathmats and shampoos provided.  You really couldn't ask for more.

The school closed in 2005 and was left vacant for 5 years before going up for auction.  The owners live in the principal's residence and the rest is used for tourism.

Karen related its interesting history, from when it originally opened in 1885.

The grounds have been revived, new gardens planted, and old ones rediscovered and restored.  One building now houses a B & B and another is used for catering meals to various groups that visit.

Karen's husband makes quirky sculptures which are dotted around the garden.

Karen is a collector, especially of old irons.  One classroom is dedicated to a museum.  We were welcome to explore all of these buildings.  It really was a wonderful surprise to stay somewhere like this.  Her husband collects old tractors and engines, so there were some interesting bits and bobs in the yard as well.

We were warned that there would be train noise.  We weren't worried.  We reckoned that means the railway line is actually used.  We were a little surprised to see that a passenger train even goes through.

We wandered over to the little pub and came across the war memorial.  It is obviously new - wow!

What a stunning installation.

It was hard to photograph some of the panels due to the backgrounds, but they were great, covering the different forces and the different eras.  When we left the pub it was dark and the panels were floodlit.  The community should be proud to have such an asset.

Our final day on the road.

Mt Kaputar dominates the skyline in the area east of Narrabri.

We travelled through Mullaley towards Coolah.  There was a large herd of cattle on the road.  They looked in surprisingly good nick.  I actually thought we would see more stock on the roads.

A poor windmill that has seen better days.

What we did see was lots of cotton growing in the area, something we hadn't seen in this part of the world before.  They used to grow lots of sunflowers here at one stage.  There were irrigation pipes, but no flood irrigation.  The cotton looked ready to harvest.

We had considered travelling as far as Gulgong.  There is plenty to see and the showground has great camping.  However, the weather had taken a turn for the worse.  Where we had been wearing tshirts just the day before, there was snow forecast in the hills around home.

We arrived at Gulgong by lunchtime and found nice hot pies to eat.  It was really quite cold.  As we were so close to home we decided to have a quick look around and then keep on our way. It wasn't the weather to be playing the tourist.

Gulgong has some lovely old buildings  This store has a huge frontage.

The best bit though is underneath.  If you head down the hill to the left of the top photo there is an entry to the basement.  This is kind of like a $2.00 shop, but much better.  A real Aladdins Cave.  It is huge and stocks just about everything you can think of.  You can see how long the aisles are, and there are about ten or more aisles.  Yes, I found a silicone cooking spoon at a small price.  I wish I'd bought another.

We were delighted to see lots of hot rods around town.  The A Model Ford Hot Rod Club were holding their annual rally in town.  We saw some very rugged up drivers.  As it turned out, we would probably have struggled to get a camp site with so many visitors already.

Not long after we got back on the road it started to rain.

As we drove through Mudgee the sun came out and everything looked so bright and clean after the shower.

It was lovely to see a rainbow, even though it wasn't all that bright.

We felt like we were coming home when we started to see the golden poplar trees.  Until this day we hadn't seen any autumn coloured trees for quite a while.  There were even hills! I love the wide open plains, but I really do love to see the hills when we get close to home.

I think we had every reason to feel that the weather was wintry when we looked at the thermometer.

It was so good to get home to a warm house and have a big bowl of hearty soup for tea.

We had only been away for nine days, but we saw so much and had heaps of fun.  We really are blessed to live where we have access to such varied landscapes.

I'm not sure where our next road trip will be to, but I'm sure we can find somewhere.  In the meantime, our van has been cleaned and packed away in the shed ready for our next adventure.