Sunday 31 May 2020

More Stitching in May

I can happily say that once again I have achieved all the stitching that I wanted to during the month of May.

My Pixie Shawlette has grown and won't take too much longer to finish.  This could have easily been completed by now, but there is no hurry.  I continue to love this yarn.  What a great find in the op shop for $1.00.

Not only did I complete my One Monthly Goal and WOOFA Challenge projects, I also continued to make my blocks for Moda Blockheads 3 and Splendid Sampler 2.

I've managed to keep up to date with Blockheads 3. The middle block is six inches, while the other two are eight inches.  This takes us to twenty blocks completed so far.  I must say I am really enjoying making these blocks.  Some are relatively simple, while others test your skills. The fresh colours also make it fun.

shared two Splendid Sampler blocks earlier this month.

When I started making the blocks for Splendid Sampler 2 back in June 2018 I knew that I wouldn't finish them in the time frame of four blocks a week in the stitchalong.  One block a week would be much more realistic, which meant that I would be plugging away for two years.  And, I've kept plugging away, not letting the project become a UFO.

Having said that, the few remaining blocks were becoming more intricate, or weren't appealing to me.  I was just about over it.

As the two years is up next month I considered making a few of my favourite blocks from the original Splendid Sampler, but they were going to take time too.  So, I kind of, but not really, cheated by making a couple of the bonus blocks that were released.

I decided to put my big girl pants on and get the last blocks made this month.

97. Winter Sun.  This is one of the original blocks and is EPP.

98.  Winter Beanie - one of the nice, easy bonus blocks.

99. Magic Square - another bonus block.


Drum Roll.....

Wait for it.....

If I have counted correctly.....

Block 100. - Lots o' Hexys - one of the original blocks.

It is a huge relief to have all the blocks made.

I have already added the green or white borders to 72 blocks, so now I just have to add the extra borders and sew all the blocks together into a flimsy.

Getting to this stage has re-energised my enthusiasm for the project.  Guess what I will be working on next month.

As I've said before, making these mini goals each month is really working for me.  Mind you, staying home due to COVID-19 has helped quite a bit.  If our planned trips away had taken place I don't think I would have kept up with everything.

Bring on next month.

Saturday 30 May 2020

One Monthly Goal and WOOFA Challenge for May Completed

My One Monthly Goal for May was to complete my Anni Downs Christmas Quilt, which made it to a flimsy last month.

I didn't even look at it until Sunday last week.  It was a bleak and cold day, so perfect for finally making  a start on getting it finished.  

I was lucky enough to find a batting off cut that I was able to join to create the perfect size and  I found that the quilt was just the right width for a single width of fabric for the backing.  In my stash I found a red ticking that worked well with the fabrics on the front.  I did some very simple quilting and added the binding. As I had made the quilt larger than the pattern, there wasn't enough fabric for the binding, but by adding a couple of small lengths from the other reds used on the front was able to make it all the way around.

Look how much binding I had left over.  I think it all worked out very economically, fabric wise.

It then sat until Thursday for me to finally stitched down the binding. Nothing like doing my usual leave it to the last minute job.  It was a gorgeous autumn day, so I sat out in the sunshine in the back yard and finished it off. 

I'm really happy with how it has turned out.  There are a few scraps left over from the kit, so with one of Anni's free Christmas stitcheries I should be able to make a matching cushion.......hopefully in time for Christmas.

My WOOFA Challenge goal was to work on my little sewing  bag from Girls Day in the Country in 2014.  I didn't seem to stipulate how much I wished to achieve this month.  I think I was keeping my options open.

I didn't even look at it until yesterday.  I thought I had better do something this month, so would cut out the fabrics to make the pocket, bag, lining and handles.

Well, I got that done and kept going.  I'd do a step, and then just work on the next, until by bed time it was completed!  I didn't expect that.

I did cheat by using machine applique for  the stitchery to the pocket, rather than needle turn, but it still looks fine.

As predicted, it didn't take all that much effort to finish it and I am so pleased that it is done.  Now to decide which UFO to work on next.

So, two goals met and two finishes for One Project a Month.

Sunday 24 May 2020

We Had an Afternoon Out

Restrictions on cafes were eased on 15 May, allowing up to ten patrons in a venue.  We saw this as the perfect opportunity to go for a short motorcycle ride on the Saturday (a week ago).

Our idea was to ride Olga the Old Girl out to O'Connell and have lunch at the little cafe there, before doing a short loop back home.  A quick call to the cafe informed us that they were still only doing takeaway. but that didn't worry us. We would get a takeaway  burger and go down to the park by the Fish River and eat it there.  That's the beauty of a sidecar, I can quite easily carry food and coffees.

It was the perfect day for a picnic.

While we waited for our burgers to cook we learnt that the cafe has been coping quite well during the lockdown.  The cafe is only normally open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the proprietor works as a chef at a pub on the other days.  He has now been opening the cafe every day and has been well patronised.  On the Friday before we visited, his takings were up on a normal Friday!  He is only doing takeaway, as that is all he can keep up with.  The added work of extra wiping down etc, would be too much.

There was a group of three motorcyclists from Bathurst also getting takeaway and then another three motorcycles turned up.  We chatted, as motorcyclists do, (at a distance) and we learnt that they had ridden up from Penrith!! So much for no regional travel at that stage.  While we were having lunch at the park, another couple walked by and commented on the bike. They too, were from Sydney!!  And here we were, feeling guilty about going to O'Connell, a whole 20kms from home.

We used to live not far from O'Connell for nearly twenty years, and in all that time, we drove this road most days and never once stopped at the park and went down to have a look at the river.

It is a popular swimming and fishing spot in the warmer months.  The river was named the Fish River by surveyor George Evans in 1815, as there were so many fish in it.  Things have changed somewhat since then.

The river flows towards Bathurst and joins up with the Campbells River to form the start of the Macquarie River, just south of Bathurst.

After we had finished lunch we headed on our way, detouring to have a look at a little pise cottage that has been falling down for as long as I have known.  There were lots of them in the O'Connell Valley, but very few survive.  There was an article in the local paper about how they are restoring it.  I found a little article showing a "before" photo.  There were people working on the cottage, so we didn't stop to take a photo.  Needless to say, is it a stark change from what it was.  There are walls, doors, windows.  It looks like a cottage again.  

As we would have to turn around and backtrack from the cottage's location, and it was such a beautiful day, we decided to keep going along the road we were on and take a slightly longer loop back to town.

It is some years since we have been on this road, as it was still gravel when we were there last, and the tar didn't look new.

It wasn't long before it turned to gravel, but it was in perfect condition.  The countryside out this way is looking gorgeous.  It is such a good feeling to see it green, even though there isn't a great deal of length in the grass.

There are some lovely, secret valleys hidden out here.  It was one of those days when you could just poke along, stopping for photos along the way.  We only saw one other car for most of the way.

Not to mention an old pretty bridge.

We ended up not all that far from where Mick grew up.  It is quite high and you can see for ever.

It's not clear in the photo, but you can see Mt Canobolas, which is at Orange, about 70kms away.

As we wend our way down from the high country to the locality of Charlton we always are intrigued by these ancient old buildings.  If COVID-19 hadn't come along we were booked in for a tagalong tour of this historic rural property as a part of the Bathurst Autumn Colours programme.  It was to have been on the very first week of the lockdown.  Fingers crossed they will reschedule it for next year's events.

At Charlton we crossed the Campbells River.  This is the source of our Bathurst water supply.  It doesn't look much at the moment, but it has quite a large catchment and our dam is usually very reliable.

Next stop was Ben Chifley Dam, our town water storage.  The level is still really low.  It is currently 34.6% of capacity.  It was down to 28%.  

Unfortunately, not a lot of the rain this year has fallen in the catchment area, so we are still on extreme water restrictions.  However, our usage has dropped along with the temperatures and we have had enough rain in town to make everything lovely and green and keeping our gardens and lawns going.  Hopefully it will be a lot fuller by next summer.

It was lovely to see two black swans on the water.

And then it was back into town.  We ended up being out and about for four hours, although were were never far from home.  

It was lovely to get a nice, leisurely ride on the bike and once we left O'Connell, we hardly saw a sole or vehicle.

Mick also went for a ride on Monday, this time taking Sophia the Moto Guzzi.  That ride was with the Panorama Motorcycle Club, who have now resumed their rides.  Normally on a Monday ride they only get a very few bikes.  On Monday they had nearly 20!  Everyone was itching to get out again.  They rode in a very similar area to where we went on Saturday, having lunch in Oberon.  Everyone was very careful to keep their distances.  Most bought takeaway in Oberon, but Mick took a thermos and a packed lunch.  Much simpler he reckoned.

There was another ride scheduled for today, but the weather wasn't all that appealing for motorcycling, so we stayed home.

Now our next thing to think of is where to take the van for a weekend once we are allowed to travel, after 1 June.  We have an idea brewing, but have to do a bit more scheming first.  It won't be the first weekend in June, as that is the long weekend and we reckon there will be too many people out and about for our liking.  We'll wait till it is a bit quieter.

It's good that restrictions are starting to ease a little.  Fingers crossed that we continue to have low levels of infection.

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Mick's Gone Potty

This all started back in January when we had some friends stay with us for about a week.  The boys decided they needed a project, so built a mezzanine floor in Mick's shed.  They finished that and still had more time, so went looking for another project.

We have a very deep garden bed around the back yard fence with lots of shrubs. It was here when we bought the house.  The corner of the garden is really deep and the shrubs so thick that they were impenetrable. We only realised there were two crepe myrtle trees in there when we wondered what the pink flowers were that we could see in the corner! 

During this last summer a few of the shrubs died, so the boys decided to remove them.This left a bit of a hole, so what to do? By the way, that is Mick's NBN Tower with the bird feeders hanging off it.  The bird bath was my 40th birthday present from Mick, so is rather special. 

We had a bit of a think and an idea started to eventuate.  We started to trawl Pinterest for inspiration.  We went to "The Junktion", which is the recycle shop up at the tip.

We bought a door - the perfect door - and a piece of matching glass to fix the cracked pane for the princely sum of $10.

Mick  removed a couple more messy shrubs at the back of the garden bed.

He dismantled his NBN Tower, moved the bird bath, leveled out the ground and made a frame.

He then made a floor 3 metres x 2 metres with footings in the corners.

Lots of scribbling took place at the kitchen table.

He played with timber on his shed floor.

He's not very good at asking for assistance.

Ooh!  Now that is giving an idea of the shape.

This took him until the end of February.  Then he had to wait for supplies to arrive.

Once his materials arrived he clad the back wall before installing it in its final place.

It was fun coming home from work each day to see what he had achieved.

Now things were really taking shape. Mind you, designing was still taking place on the fly.

Plumbing for the gutters.

Building completed, except for a final strip of flashing.

A beautiful old padbolt that has been kicking around in the shed for many, many years has finally found a use.

Inside has storage on one side.

Green house on the other. The bench was made from marine ply left over from a job Mick did a while back.  He is glad to get it out of the shed.

The final delivery arrived to finish off the project. You can see in this photo that there is a long, narrow, high window at the peak of the roof that opens for ventilation.

Ta da!

Neither of us know anything about growing plants in a green house, so hope to learn as we go along.  The aspect isn't ideal, as the fence is on the north side.  We just have to make the most of the eastern light and the roof.  The garden is much more open now and you can even see the crepe myrtles.  The tank is on the western wall, so hopefully will keep the worst of the summer heat off that wall, while maybe providing some thermal mass during the winter? Time will tell. The windows and roof are 8mm polycarbonate with a hollow construction, so hopefully will provide some insulation during winter and by opening the top window, the door and window beside the door enough ventilation will be provided during the summer months.

 You can see that he has built a raised garden bed inside as well. Under the bench is a great place to store potting mix, blood and bone etc.

Plenty of storage for pots etc.

This took him up to the end of March.

Mick has been having fun sprouting seeds.  He has carrots doing nicely in the raised garden bed and lots of poppies and lavender seeds on the way.  We have self sown parsley seedlings doing nicely and have potted up some chives, hoping they will still be productive during winter, while the ones outside die down.  The dust pan is hanging on a flower pot hook my Dad gave me many years ago, but we have never used.  It is nice to now have a home. The little flower pot man came from Mick's Mum's garden. 

Tomatoes that have been growing in pots and have been fruiting since early December are still going strong up here, although they are getting close to the end of their life span. 

The top shelf for pots was a recent addition Mick has added.  The tin tray on the bench was left over from a job Mick did and is idea for potting things on.

There was now some space beside the potting shed, so we thought it would be an ideal spot to add a couple of compost tumblers.  Aldi even had them in their catalogue the week we thought of it.  However, it happened to be at the height of the COVID-19 panic buying and they didn't get them in.

Not to worry.  Mick would make his own.  He had some signs left over from a job that were kicking around in the way in the shed, so folded them up.

Next he built a marine ply box around them.

After cladding with more weathertex from potting shed scraps and adding covers from left overs he has a tidy two bay compost set up.  We have had the plant stand since we were first married.  It was originally in Mick's childhood garden with each slat painted a different colour.  It looks like it is about ready for another make over, as we painted it over thirty years ago. You can't see it, but we have moved our worm farm to next to the compost bin as well.  Everything fits in rather nicely.

The pine bark path just finishes it nicely.

Just when you think he has everything finished, he adds an extra feature.

Now there is an internal shade cloth blind ready for the summer months, when the sun will be way to fierce without protection.  Apparently, I have to put a hem on it and he will then add some eyelets to attach it to some hooks at the other end of the roof.

This wasn't a COVID-19 project until the last part, but he has had lots of time since our semi-lockdown to play with his new toy.

Now that we have started to experience some frosts it will be interesting to see how it goes.