Thursday 28 February 2019

One Monthly Goal - Orange Table Runner

This month I decided it was finally time to get my act together and make the table runner for our outdoor table that matches the place mats and coasters I previously made.  It has only taken me a couple of years of looking at the fabric to get around to it.

The first hurdle was to decide on a pattern - there are so many great ideas out there.  That was decided several months ago, but I still didn't get around to making it. 

Finally, coming up with a goal for this rather busy month was the push I needed.

Ta da!  I'm pleased with how it has turned out.  

It then took me a while to decide how to quilt the finished top.  Looking at several versions on Pinterest, they mainly outlined the design.  I tend towards simple straight line quilting, as the runners sit nice and flat.  Once again, I'm happy with my choice.

Now, doesn't every dining table need an old Willcocks and Gibbs sewing machine relic as a centre piece.  We bought this one years ago at a clearing sale.  We think they went and retrieved whatever they could from the farm rubbish tip in a wash away and painted them black.  It is a nice sculpture or door stop, if nothing else.  We do have a working version in the entry hall.

I'm linking up with Elm Street Quilts over here.  Pop over to see what the other creative ladies have achieved.  It is also a finish towards One Project a Month with Kris.

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Splendid Sampler 2 - Sailor Collar

Only one block finished this week, but I have prepped a few applique blocks ready to take to "Scrub Stitchin' Retreat" in April.

This week's block is "Sailor Collar" by Jenni Smith.  I was a little nervous about the small piecing, but by taking it steady and double checking the measurements after piecing each section, it came together easily.  I was being rather smug about not having to do any reverse stitching until I pieced the large triangles on the collar.  I drew the stitch line and then proceeded to stitch a quarter of an inch beside it, as I do in half square triangles.  Doh!  Easily fixed.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  Thanks Jenni for a challenge.

I'm linking up over at The Splendid Sampler.  Pop over and see the creations from some other ladies.

Sunday 24 February 2019

Rainbow Scrap Challenge for February Completed

The colour for February was yellow.

My three leader and ender plus blocks are all done.  I don't know why the photos have gone wavy, but the fabrics aren't like that in real life.  I'm not using much of the coloured fabric each month, but I think the end quilt will look good.

Now to wait for next month's colour and get cracking on it.

I'm linking up over at "So Scrappy", so go and have a look at what else has been created.

Saturday 23 February 2019

War and Pieced Quilt Exhibition in Cowra

In the local paper a couple of weeks ago there was an ad for an exhibition at the Cowra Art Gallery.  Cowra is a small country town just over an hour west of us.  It was rather unusual to have such an ad in our paper and the content of the exhibition was also rather surprising.

What a coup for Cowra.  The ad also mentioned that Dr Annette Gero would be giving a talk about the exhibition this afternoon.  We had nothing planned for today, so guess where we went?

Cowra is one of those towns that every time you drive through on your way to somewhere else you say "We must have a good look here some time". Too far to just pop up the road, but too close to go and stay for the weekend.  This was the perfect opportunity.

We had a lovely morning tea, sitting under an enormous, shady grape vine.

How magical is that!

There are two fabric shops in town, which I guess is sustainable, as there is no Spotlight within an hour's drive.

Mick sat in the "Patient Husband Seat", but I'm not too sure how patient he was.

We then found an interesting antique shop as well.

I did make a couple of purchases - some more 1930s reproduction fabrics for Splendid Sampler 2 and a rather nice vintage sewing machine accessories box, with a few accessories inside.  I just thought it was cute in the red.

So, after all that, we went to the art gallery.  The exhibition was wonderful.  No photographs are to be shared on line, so I'll just tell you a little about them.

Annette came across her first military quilt when she was searching for old Australian quilts, back in the early 1980s.  She has been an active collector ever since.  There are less than 200 documented world wide and Annette owns the oldest private collection.  This collection has just returned from an exhibition at the International Quilt Study Centre and Museum in New York.  It was voted one of the best 10 exhibitions in the USA that year.  I still can't believe that it is on display in Cowra.

The display consists of quilts mainly made out of fabrics used in military uniforms.  The fabric is a very finely woven wool that was felted at the time of manufacture and therefore doesn't fray.  There is no modern equivalent.  The method is "intarsia", which means the fabrics are just butted up together and whip stitched.  There is no turned over seam allowance like the usual quilt.  Some date back to the Napoleonic Wars in the early 1800s and one even to 1766.  Most seem to have been completed by men from the Prussian area in Germany.  There were also a few more modern ones.  There was even a wagga made from old army blankets.

Some had beading.  These mainly seemed to come from India.  A couple had tiny circles of fabric, about a quarter of an inch in diameter, stitched on with a bead or just a stitch.  The circles were cut out of button holes.  A few had the finest button hole applique that I have ever seen.  The details were incredible.  They think that many would have been made by regimental tailors, as they would have the skill and access to fabrics.  There is a popular belief that they were made by convalescing soldiers as occupational therapy, but the historians now don't believe this to be true, as the workmanship is too good for someone injured and the designs are all unique. 

The colours were so rich - reds, yellows, blacks, whites.  One, which they think came from the Czechoslovakia area, even had pinks and purples.  Surprisingly, most were in excellent condition.  A couple were a little moth eaten, but that is all.  The colours don't appear to have faded at all.

After we visited the exhibition we attended the talk.  Annette was very engaging as she chatted about the history, techniques and the research that has taken place.  This was followed by a beautiful afternoon tea.

You can see some of the USA exhibition herehere and here.  Not all those quilts were on display in Cowra, and some ones that Annette has only recently acquired were in the Cowra exhibition.

I am so glad that we chanced across the ad in the paper.  If anyone is in the area, the exhibition is open until 28 April 2019.  It is definitely worth visiting.

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Splendid Sampler 2 - There's Always One

Just one block this week, aptly named "There's Always One".

This block came together nice and easily using my Creative Grids "Ultimate Flying Geese Tool".  It really works well. 

Now to prep another block.

I'm linking up at "The Splendid Sampler", so go and see what that other ladies have created this week.

Sunday 17 February 2019

Visiting the Big Smoke - Part 2

After our day of playing the tourist in Sydney we went to dinner and then to the State Theatre, the reason for our trip to the big smoke.

Over the years Mick and I have been to many concerts in Sydney.  We had it down pat.  I would work through my lunch break, Mick would pick me up at 4 o'clock and we would drive the three hours to the Sydney Entertainment Centre.  We would then grab a quick McDonalds for tea before taking our seats to watch the place fill up, all in time for the 8 o'clock start.  After the concert finished at about 11 o'clock we would then drive the three hours home, getting to bed at about 2 o'clock in the morning before fronting up to work the next day.  No worries........but as the years went on, it became harder and harder until we stopped doing it.  We had another advantage back then too.  Bathurst had its new Entertainment Centre, which was a Ticketek agency.  When people queued for three days to buy tickets to Paul McCartney's tour, or waited on the phone for ages, Mick turned up at the Bathurst Entertainment Centre at five to nine, walked straight in and got fantastic seats.  It still remains one of the best concerts we have seen.

Back to the present.....  We have seen most of the big bands that we have wanted to.  However, I like Supertramp.  The band is long gone, but recently I noticed an ad for a concert by Roger Hodgson, the singer-songwriter and co-founder of Supertramp.  What the heck, let's go.  We had no idea what it would be like, but if nothing else, it was a good excuse to go to Sydney for a couple of days.

The State Theatre is such a beautiful venue. (Yes, it did fill up completely before the start.)

Even the ladies' powder room was stunning.

So what was the concert like?  Fabulous!  It was fairly intimate and the music was just how the albums sounded.  All the classics were played.  I think it rates way up there in the concerts we have seen.  It was certainly worth the gamble.

We still had the full following day to play the tourist before catching the train home, so what to do?

Firstly, go for a stroll through Hyde Park, seeing as it was just over the road from our hotel.

The Shrine of Remembrance.

We haven't seen the bullet sculpture before.  It is a fitting memorial.

After breakfast in Macquarie Street, surrounded by lawyers and barristers, we walked down to Circular Quay again.  Another day, another cruise ship, this time Celebrity Solstice.

 .........and hopped on a ferry in the opposite direction.

Past Fort Denison.

Across the heads to Manly.  We haven't been here for years.  On my first trip on the Manly Ferry when I was little I got sea sick.  I really am not a good sailor.  Happily, there has never been a repeat performance.

Our ferry was the Queenscliff.  We had saved our trip to Manly for the second day hoping that the sea breeze may make things a little cooler.  No such luck.  It reached 38 degrees at Manly and was 40 degrees in the city!  We did everything at a rather leisurely pace.

The famous Manly Corso has some beautiful buildings.

There weren't too many people out and about.  I think it was just too hot.

Of course we had to visit the beach.  Lots of swimmers.

And quite a few surfers.

Yes, although I wasn't dressed for swimming, I did get my feet wet.

As always, when you are at the beach you have to have fish and chips.

We went wandering up some side streets and popped into the Lifeline op shop, as you do.  We were blown away by the counter.  What a clever use of old books, which I'm sure they have a plentiful supply of.  We've never seen anything like it.

"Market Place" had some fun murals on the wall about Manly.

Mick was quite taken with the old signs on the pub.

Then it was time to head back to the city.  What a contrast it had been, breakfast among the corporates and lunch by the beach with everyone in holiday mode.

Past Garden Island Naval Base.

Nearly back.

Once again, we had nothing planned so just walked.....slowly, as it was too hot for anything else.  We were surprised to find a little green park in among the skyscrapers.  We enjoyed just sitting on the soft, cool grass for a while.

This is Jessie Street Gardens.  Mr Google came in handy again.  It was only created in the late 1980s when the Gateway development was created.  Jessie Street was a feminist and peace activist.  

There are two statues, the first pays tribute to the women who were in the military services in WWII.  My Aunty Helen was in the WAAF, so this is rather poignant.

I love the expression on her face.

The second is the Pioneer Women's Memorial.

It wasn't long before we came across another tiny park.  This one was Macquarie Place Park.    Apparently the Governor and other officials lived fronting this space.  We were intrigued by the obelisk.  It turns out, this is the exact point that all distances from Sydney were measured.  

I always knew that Bathurst was 137 miles from Sydney, but I have no idea how many kilometres we are.

There was also an anchor on a plinth.  It is the anchor from the ship "Sirius" which came out in the First Fleet.  I have two First Fleet ancestors, neither of which came to Australia on the Sirius.

The "Sirius" and the "Supply" both sailed from Sydney to Norfolk Island  in early 1790 carrying a cargo of convicts and provisions.  Unfortunately, the Sirius was wrecked on a reef just off the island coast.

When I returned home I consulted Mr Google again.  It turns out that my ancestor  William Boggis  was one of those convicts who travelled to Norfolk Island on one or other of those ships in 1790 and would have been involved in salvaging the cargo.  The anchor was salvaged in 1905.

Another obsure piece of history that we stumbled upon.

We still had a bit of time to fill, so headed for the air conditioned shopping arcades.  There were heaps of fun pig decorations to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Pig.

Finally, we sat down in Hyde Park with an iced coffee and watched some chess.  A very relaxing way to finish off our day of exploring.

We thoroughly enjoyed our couple of days in the big smoke, and especially the ease of travelling by train.  This was our first real use of the Opal Cards.  You spend a maximum of $15.80 per day, so all our travelling on the trains and ferries for the two days cost the sum total of $63.20.  It would have cost more than that for petrol and parking, let alone the hassle of negotiating the traffic and road closures due to the building of the light rail.  The best thing is that you don't have to drive home when you are tired.

I can see us trying to sneak down there more often, even if for just a day.