Sunday 30 June 2019

A Finish for June

I was really disappointed yesterday that I wouldn't have anything to add to my One Project a Month tally for June, but I just didn't think there would be time to make anything today.

Today we had a trip to Sydney to visit a rather large Blue and Yellow Swedish store and got home in time for me to once again venture into the sewing room.

My plan had been to make another bowl cosy, seeing as the two I made in May ended up in the caravan.  I know, lofty ambitions........

Well, it's done!  The hardest part was choosing fabrics, so I just went neutral.  It took so very long....not.  However, it is a finish.  I'll be letting Kris know and be adding it to my side bar.

I do hope to add something a little more substantial next month.  Wish me luck.

Saturday 29 June 2019

My Sewing for June

When we returned from our holiday I was itching to get back into my sewing room.  To help along the way I set my One Monthly Goal to be completing eight Splendid Sampler Blocks.  I also wanted to get my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks completed and complete a project for One Project a Month.

Well, I didn't get back into my sewing room until last week.  We ended up doing lots of other things, which I will get around to sharing soon, but sewing just didn't happen.

So what did I get done?

The RSC colour this month was dark blue.  It didn't take me long to get my three blocks completed.  No, they weren't worked as leader and ender blocks, but that doesn't matter.  At least they are done.

On Friday I decided which SS2 blocks I would work on and pulled fabric.  My aim was to work solely on Foundation Paper Piecing blocks, as once I get the method embedded in my brain (which takes a bit) I can get on a roll.

I thought I would have all weekend to work on them, but in the end I only had today.  So it was head down, butt up and get stitching.

I'm very pleased to say that I met my One Monthly Goal and have eight completed blocks.  I had initially thought of making my goal either 10 or 12 blocks.  Believe me, I super glad it was only eight, or I would have failed.

Sadly, I don't have a finish for the month, so nothing to report for OPAM.  I was so hoping to have something to add each month.  I'll try to make it up next month.

I had taken my sewing machine to have a long overdue spa treatment before I went away.  It was the perfect opportunity while we were away.  There was nothing wrong with it, but I must say, it is running a bit quieter and seems smoother.  He also changed the light bulb over to an LED one. Very happy.  

I' now going to link up with OMG and RSC and then head off to bed.

Thursday 27 June 2019

Welcome to the final chapter of our holiday last month.  Yes, can you believe it, we have been home for four weeks already.  I'm not quite sure where that time has gone.

After our very enjoyable day at the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival we headed south with the intention of finding somewhere to free camp.  Wikicamps showed that there were plenty of options available to us.  Our initial plan was the little town of Wandai, but when we got there the camp area by the old railway station was pretty full and the ground not all that flat.  No worries, we would keep on our way.  The next town (more like a village) was Tingoora.  It consists of a school, pub, some houses and a nice flat cricket ground which is available to camp on. It was perfect.  Nice and quiet, with only a few campers.

It is right beside the Kilivan to Kingaroy Rail Trail.  This rail trail links several small towns, which are generally only 8 to 12 kms apart.  Being a rail corridor, the gradient is nice and easy and it is sealed all the way.  I think it would be great fun to do a part of it in the future. Yes, I think I could even manage it.  

On an aside, our pushbikes had a lovely holiday on the back of the van.  No, they never did come off this time.  Very slack of us.

Anyway, back to the trip.  We have travelled this road quite a few times, but we had more time this year, which was a nice change.

We had a wander around Kingaroy, but no photos. Of course we bought some peanuts from the Peanut Van.

  Nanango was the next town we visited.  It had a lovely old courthouse.

It was morning tea time and Mick was rather pleased with the decor at the local bakery.  Not bad coffee or food either.

Lunch was at Crows Nest and then it was on to the Toowoomba area to visit family and friends.  It is always nice to visit, especially as some of my family are getting quite old now and don't travel any more.  Once again, no photos.

After Toowoomba we had to make a decision. Do we head down to the coast or down the New England Highway?  We decided to stay inland.

The next town was Warwick.  We have driven through here a couple of times, but other than having lunch in a park, have never had a look around.  This time we had a lovely wander.  It really is a nice place.  We could easily have spent more time here. I know that there is a great patchwork retreat here, but patchwork shops weren't on the agenda this time. 

 The main street was lined with beautiful old buildings and one intersection had a rather impressive statue in the middle.  The subject was apparently premier - for a few months.

The town hall looked stunning in the sunlight.  

Back on the road, our next stop was Stanthorpe,

We were definitely noticing that the temperature was dropping as we reached the higher ground.  Toowoomba was quite chilly and Stanthorpe even more so.  Closer to home there had even been a little snow.

We had a great wander around Stanthorpe as well.  We were still having fun looking for op shops.  Google was very helpful in directing us to the ones that were tucked away down side streets.

Did you notice the mural in the background of the above photo. There were fairy lights all around as well. Wouldn't it be fun having dinner in this courtyard in the summer months.  

We stumbled across this mural down a side street.  I thought the style was similar to the silos at Portland that we visited earlier this year and also the water towers we saw in Charleville and Cunnamulla. Yes, there was the signature "Guido".  He is a very busy artist.

We loved this sculpture.  There were all sorts of Australian birds and animals carved around the rock.  So much to look at.  The surprising thing was that the sculpture was positioned in a car park!!  I thought it should be somewhere more prominent.

It wasn't long until we crossed back into New South Wales.  I'm going to have a little whinge here - I do wish New South Wales would put up more vibrant signs at the border.  Other states generally have much brighter signs.  Okay, I'll get off my soap box now.

We had a quick wander around Tenterfield, but as the day was starting to get away on us, we didn't spend very long.  This building was made famous by the Peter Allan song.

There are some lovely old shops lining the main street.

The evening light was making the New England look rather lovely, if not a tad chilly.

Our destination for the night was Glen Innes, where we arrived just before dusk.

It was rather chilly overnight.  Quite a change from what we had been experiencing only a few days previously.  Something that we were going to have to quickly adjust to as we headed home to winter.

In the morning we went wandering the streets. Once again beautiful heritage buildings.

Glen Innes holds a Celtic Festival at the start of May each year.  All the garbage bins in the main street feature tartans of various Celtic nations.  We were happy to see that The Isle of Man was featured.  What was also interesting is that each year they feature a different country at their festival.  Next year  Ireland and the Isle of Man are to be featured.  Maybe we will have to make the trek......if we remember.

Just south of Glen Innes is this amazing balancing rock.  It is regularly photographed.

We were surprised to see that there were still some trees sporting their autumn colours.

As the day progressed it got increasingly windy.  Not fun towing a van in this.

It also became apparent how desperately dry it still is in this part of the country, and now that winter has arrive there will be next to no growth of pasture until spring.

We always like to call in at the little town of Uralla.  We noticed a new business down a side street this time.  It is housed in what was once an aircraft hanger and was then a car dealership and mechanic's for many years.  It now houses a collection of small businesses selling all manner of arts, crafts, antiques, vintage etc.  Rather a lovely space. No, nothing came home with us this time....but it was tempting.

We say plenty of truck loads of hay on the road.

Our final overnight stop for the trip was at the Murrurundi Caravan Park.  Isn't that the best letter box.  We have stayed here in a tent many years ago.

Murrurundi has severe water shortages.  They have five semi trailers of water trucked in to their water reservoir each day!  We learnt that Stanthorpe and Tenterfield are also about to run out of water and could soon have to truck in water.  Scary stuff.

It was another chilly night so we had some soup for tea.  It was a good chance to use my little souvenir from the Dinosaur Museum at Winton.  They had a fantastic souvenir shop and I had to buy you do.  This ladle was inexpensive, but oh so cute. Not only that, it is useful and now lives in the van.

We heard a couple of trains during the night at Murrurundi and started to see more as we travelled south.  A few went through Scone while we were there.  We continued to see quite a few in the Hunter region.  All carrying coal.

It was good to see they are refurbishing the Civic Theatre in the main street. I don't know what it will be.  Something to see next time we pass through.

Don't you love the display of vintage aprons in the window of their Vinnies.

This was a cute building for an op shop.

This may seem like an odd photo, but we saw so many of these identical little canisters in op shops.  They were in nearly every one we visited. Funnily, I'd never seen one before this trip.  Yes, they are even in the op shops here at home.  Obviously not very popular nowadays. No, we didn't buy one.

Lunch on our final day was at Denman.  It seems to be a little more up market each time we call in.  They are currently putting the finishing touches on revamping the main street.  It is now one way.  There is still parking on both sides but the foot paths are wider.  It looks great.

The final op shop we visited.  This one is community run at Denman.  What a lovely old building, with that rustic brick wall.  Once again, no mug that we were searching for.  It is an orange mug with white spots from the Maxwell & Williams "Sparkle" range.  We will track one down eventually.

To finish off the trip we drove through my favourite Bylong Valley.  It was looking terribly dry compared to usual, as it is usually fairly green compared to other areas.  We do hope it decides to rain soon.

So that is the end of our trip.  We arrived home on the last Thursday in May.  We were away for four weeks, which is our longest stint in the van so far.  We travelled 6,347 kms in that time.  Not too bad.  We really enjoyed it and could have happily kept on going.  We were really happy with our timing.  May sees the tourist season started up north, so everything is happening, but we were a few weeks ahead of the main influx of tourists.  The sting had gone out of the heat, but was still nice and warm. Yes, we had to come home to the depths of winter, but that is OK, as we have to manage the garden through the cold times.  Hopefully we will get to do some more longer trips in the years ahead.  We're champing at the bit.

Friday 14 June 2019

Goomeri Pumpkin Festival

Before we left for our holiday we had been reading one of the caravan magazines and it has a section on what events are on around the country each month.  The only one that lined up with our trip was the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival.  That was rather opportune, as not only was it on our way, the timing was even right.  Add to that, we knew where Goomeri is and had heard of the festival and that it is fun.  Of course we added it to our very loose itinerary as a must do.

So, Goomeri, is a small town of about 650 people, a bit north of Kingaroy, and west of Gympie.  We have friends in that area, so have called into the town several times, even camping in the showground on one previous trip.  It is a lovely little town, with nice antique and other interesting shops.

Apparently, on the day of the festival there was an estimated 17,000 visitors!!!  This is the 23rd year the event has run.  The highway was diverted around the main streets of the town this year for the first time.  It worked really well, from our perspective.

We knew it would be hard to get a camp spot in the town, which is why we stayed at Biggenden the night before, an hour and a half north.  We are so glad we did, as there were caravans and motor homes everywhere in the showground and sports ground.

Any self respecting festival needs a street parade and of course it needs to be led out by a brass band.  We arrived in town just in time to find a possie at the side of the road to enjoy the spectacle.

Here are some highlights.

And a pipe band to bring up the rear.  The parade was really well attended by spectators as well as participants.

After the parade finished it was time to wander around the streets and stalls.

I didn't really take photos of the stalls, but apparently there were about 200!  There was so much to see and do.

There was definitely no excuse to go hungry or thirsty.

We chose to support the local community stalls.  Lamb and pumpkin sausage in a pumpkin bun for me and pumpkin quiche and salad for Mick.

Followed by pumpkin damper and cocky's joy (syrup) for sweets.

The day ended up getting quite hot, so while Mick watched the pig races, I went back to the van and changed into a cool sundress rather than my jeans.  How convenient.

The Fairy God Pumpkin was so cheery throughout the day and was happy to pose for photos.

I think the Toowoomba Morris Dancers would have been rather warm.

They popped up all over the place to perform.

The crowd was happy wandering around and taking it all in.

Naturally, the local shops were making the most of the increased foot traffic.

We can't resist an antique shop.  This one had so many interesting things and at reasonable prices.  There were heaps of lookers (but Mick happened to snap this photo without them) but I'm not sure if there were many buyers.

The aerial artists were good to watch.

The main feature of the afternoon is the Pumpkin Roll held on Policeman's Hill.

Funnily enough, the country Police Station is at the bottom of the hill.

So, how it works......

You pay $10.00 to enter.  You may bring your own pumpkin, or you may purchase one for $3.00. Your entry number is written several times on the pumpkin, to take into consideration that it may get smashed on the way down the hill.

You then roll the pumpkin down the hill and hope it stops in the marked circle at the bottom of the hill (or at least part of the pumpkin does).  If it does, you win $1,000.00.  At the start of this year's event no one had ever won the prize in its history.

Firstly, the kids roll their pumpkins down the hill, and there were lots of kids having a go.

To everyone's delight, an eleven year old boy had his pumpkin land just inside the circle.  You should have heard the cheer go up.

I have it on video, but unfortunately missed getting a photo of it.

Then it was the turn of the adults.

Or should we say "big kids".

Hundreds of pumpkins get rolled down the hill.  Many hit the gutter, some smash, others go too far and believe me, those protective fences are needed.  Some get quite out of control.

Sadly, right towards the end of the event a pumpkin came barreling down the hill and knocked the pumpkin out of the circle. The smallest pumpkin to the left of the circle is the one that had been on target for the prize.  You should have heard the collective moan go up.  Everyone reckoned the prize  still should have been paid out.

The whole thing was a great bit of entertainment.

After the pumpkin roll, everyone started to go home, as it was now after 3 o'clock.

As we walked back to the ute, we noticed that the chainsaw artist had finished his sculpture.  So clever to do this just with a chainsaw.

How empty the streets now looked.  I bet there were a lot of very tired people after the day.  It was a resounding success and we are so pleased that we were able to go along.

We still had a little drive ahead of us to find somewhere to camp, but more on that soon.