Monday 31 August 2020

Sewing Achievements for August

I can't believe it is the end of the month and the end of winter already.  Therefore, it is time to do a bit of a wrap up of how I went with my stitching goals.  Pop over here to see what I planned to achieve this month

I'm happy to say I went rather well.  Here goes....


My One Monthly Goal was to make 60 Trail Mix blocks, which would have been half of the quilt top.  I smashed that goal, by making 132 blocks, or all the blocks for the quilt.  As you can gather, I really enjoyed making them.


There were four blocks released this month.  Happily, I have made them all.

The hearts are a six inch block.

This one is eight inches. A nice easy block for a change.

I have done each applique block as eight inches.  Each time I see the applique block I'm a little unsure if I will like it, but once I complete them in my pretty fabrics they turn out not too badly.

I was a little intimidated when I saw this one, especially as I'm not enjoying making my little three inch drunkard path blocks.  To make it easier, I went with the twelve inch block, so that the curves were much more gentle.  After watching the tutorial and following the pattern carefully it turned out well.  I'm very pleased with it.  We have now completed 33 of the 56 blocks.


Yes, this was completed early in the piece.  Have a look here.  Only two more colours before it is time to make my cushions.


My UFO for this month was to complete the blue striped tote bag that I had completely forgotten about.  It isn't how it was initially supposed to be, but in the end, it turned out not too bad and should be a good, practical size.  I posted about it here.


This month I decided to finally make some Christmas bunting from a preprinted panel I bought some years ago.  After some procrastinating (obviously why it wasn't made straight away) I got in and made a string.

It doesn't look all that colourful here, but every second pennant is red with a white design.  It should look great hanging across the doors into my sewing room at Christmas.  I have enough left over to make some more, but I have to work out where to hang it before I work out how long to make it.  Anyway, now that I have made one, it won't take long at all.

I have been dragging the chain with this one, so finally got in and did the final finishing.  I did the last few rows at Chooky's in the Zoom get together and then the final edging once we returned home.

This is the first item I have ever blocked.  The weather was nice on Friday so I lay it out on the table on our back verandah and it dried nice and flat.

I love the yarn and its subtle colour variations.  I don't own a scarf pin, so a vintage brooch does the job.  I'll have to keep a look out for one on our travels. I think it looks rather well on "Victoria".  It may just stay there.  And, it cost me a whole one dollar for the yarn at the op shop in Boorowa.  That is a good score.


Yes, I did join in and worked on the Trail Mix blocks.  I was quite productive for a change.  Did I say I liked working on them?  I think I may have.


I have three projects this month - my blue bag, Christmas bunting and Shawlette.  I'm pretty pleased with that.

I have to thank all the girls for running challenges and providing ongoing projects, as they work so well to encourage me to make progress through the year.  Otherwise, knowing me, they would often lanquish in a box or bag.

Now I have to start thinking about what I will work on next month.

Sunday 30 August 2020

We Had Our Weekend Away in the Caravan

On Tuesday a few weeks ago, Mick and I were having lunch in the park in my lunch break when the phone rang.

"What are you doing on the weekend?"  "Nothing planned" , was our reply.  "Do  you want to come up to lunch for Chooky's birthday?"  "Why not!" "Just don't tell her."

So, after lamenting that we probably would not get to go anywhere with the van, we started to plan our weekend away.

It was forecast to rain on the Friday and possibly on Saturday and Sunday too, but that wasn't going to worry us.

We left home on Friday morning and travelled towards Sofala. The mist in the valley was rather beautiful.

First stop was in the park at Mudgee for morning tea.  This is always a good place to stretch the legs. Yes, we had done some baking the day before in preparation.

There had been some mention on the radio in the previous week or so about the start of the installation of a new wind farm in the Crudine area and how the components were going to be trucked down.  This turbine was the only part we saw, but more than we had expected to see, as we hadn't expected to be in this part of the world at all.  As you can see, it was just starting to spit rain.

Next stop was Gulgong to visit "Stacks Down Under", an Aladdin's cave of a shop in the basement of a historic building.  The local supermarket is housed in the upper section.  We were on the hunt to replace a silicon spoon I had bought here a couple of years ago, but sadly they didn't have any in stock.  They did, however, have some lovely alpaca blend yarn and a small battery operated milk frother.  We have been on a quest for the best way to make cappuccino with no electricity.  The frother was tested on the weekend and worked beautifully.

As we continued on our way, the countryside looked a picture, even through the rain.

There is nothing more picturesque than a paddock of canola in full bloom.  We saw lots as we neared Dunedoo.

I was really looking forward to reaching Dunedoo, as the silos have only recently been painted.  The subject is the jockey Hugh Bowman on the racehorse Winx.  Hugh is a Dunedoo local.

We reached our destination on Friday afternoon, but headed straight for the caravan park to keep a low profile.  We didn't want Chooky happening to see our ute in the street.  That would have somewhat given the game away.

As we had all morning to kill, we did a bit of a wobble tour.  We were somewhat surprised to see this wonderful mural down a side street, towards the silos.  It was only painted in 2018.

The railway station is boarded up, but at least it hasn't been demolished.

 Another surprise was this gorgeous timber church up one of the side streets.  It is quite an unusual style to be seen in a country town.

The river is renowned for flowing under the sand base.  Previously we have chuckled at the no fishing and no diving signs when all you see is sand and tyre tracks.  It was a nice change to actually see water in the river.

Finally, it was lunch time and we rocked up to the pub.  Chooky had expected to just have her immediate family attend, so was a little surprised to see a slightly larger gathering (subject to COVID rules) and us turn up.  Miss Jules was also in attendance, so we had a nice catch up.

It was planned that we would leave our van in town and just drive the ute out to Chooky's to stay the night.  As it turned out, that was a really good plan.  There had been a storm pass through while we were at lunch, which left her road a tad damp and it gets rather sticky.

The best thing though, was the stunning rainbow we were treated to for ages as we drove along.

The wild canola looked a picture.

The scenery was in stark contrast to my last visit back in October last year, when I took Lou and Tony out.

Not only has grass grown, it has gone to seed and grown again.

Who'd have thought back then that things could have turned around so much.  It just goes to show how well the country responds in the right conditions.  We just need more of those right conditions.

We enjoyed a nice relaxed evening out at Chooky's. Fairy Girl cooked a nice, simple meal, which we all made short work of.  It was so nice to get to visit them again. We were all in bed at a respectable hour, as we had an early start in the morning.

The early start wasn't to get on the road. No, it was much more important.  Firstly, feed the lamb and then adjourn to the Chook Shed for another Zoom get together.

I've borrowed this photo from Chooky, as I forgot to take one.  It was fun to actually be in the Chook Shed for a get together.  I just did a bit more on my crochet shawlette.

However, we really did have to get on the road, so I only joined in for a short while before we had to head home.

There had been another shower of rain overnight, so the road was even stickier in the morning.  Once we reached the caravan park Mick spent half an hour hosing mud off the ute.  It was piled on the running boards and there was a thick coating under all the mud guards and chassis.  I so wish I had thought to take a "before" photo.  It was definitely worth taking the time to clean the worst of it off.

Our drive home was just down the main highway and rather uneventful.  I did briefly join in with the Zoom get together again at lunch time, but unfortunately, the phone reception, even on the main highways out west, is still rather sketchy.

Anyway, we had a wonderful, unexpected weekend away and it was so good to catch up with good friends.  Thanks for the invitation Mr Chooky.

Sunday 23 August 2020

Woo Hoo! I Have a WOOFA Finish

I was struggling to decide what UFO to work on this month and finally settled on this long forgotten bag. It is supposed to have a jagged linen top of on the blue strips, but silly me accidentally had the bag upside down when I was cutting out the corners to bag out the bottom. I then put it away in disgust. I thought I may repurpose it, but never decided how. 

In the end, I decided that this month I will just finish it as it is.  I still had some of the same linen for the handles and used stash for the lining./

It didn't turn out too badly, did it?  It is nice and roomy, so will be quite practical.  I'm very happy to have finally done something with it.  Another project box is now empty, waiting for a refill.

Now to dig even deeper to find another UFO to work on next month.

Thanks, as always, to Cheryll for the encouragement to work on these dinosaurs.

Monday 17 August 2020

My Treat to Myself

We travelled through a Gulgong on Friday and I found some scrummy yarn in “Stacks Down Under”.  It is the most interesting shop in the basement of an old building. They sell everything. 

 It is 4 ply alpaca and acrylic blend. So lovely and soft. Only one ball of each colour as they hardly had any left. Who know what I will make, probably a scarf of some description. It will be a project for next year. 


Thursday 13 August 2020

Our Weekend Away in July

It's funny how you don't visit somewhere for many years and then you visit twice in a month.  Our second visit to "The Lake" wasn't planned.  

In my post about our visit to Lake Cargelligo in June, I mentioned that I had an aunt and uncle who had lived there and that my Aunty Helen turned 100 just before the COVID-19 lockdown.  Well, sadly, she  passed away in mid July and we travelled out for her funeral.  It was a relatively small affair due to restrictions on travel, but was a true celebration of her long and interesting life.  It was nice to briefly catch up with a few of my cousins, as we are spread far and wide.  Her passing leaves just one of my Dad's siblings, as we lost another of my aunts, who was 95 back in April.  He was one of nine, and the baby of the family, who is also my godmother, is ninety one and the only one left.

Seeing as we were travelling out for the funeral on the Saturday, we decided to make another weekend of it.  We left on Thursday and travelled out via a different route to our previous visit, this time through Parkes.

It was a rather frosty start to the morning, but ever so pretty seeing the frost right up into the trees near Orange.

Parkes is the home of the Elvis Festival in January and there are a few art works appearing to celebrate the theme.

This quirky mural by Lightning Ridge's John Murray seems to be new.  I love it.

We had our lunch at Bogan Gate, a small village west of Parkes.

Our destination for the day was Condobolin.  On our last trip out, we just called in briefly to buy some meat at the butchers, before checking out the Utes in the Paddock.  This visit we had time to have a proper walk up and down the street.

We saw a sign for a craft shop and book exchange, so of course we have to pop in.  It turns out the building is the old Commercial Hotel and was closed in the 1970s.  The local Council purchased the building and it is used as a community centre.  The craft shop is in the old main bar, complete with old beer mirror and the original bar.  

Out the back in what was the old dining room is the book store.  It was in chaos when we visited, as they had been freshly painting it.  We didn't go upstairs, but apparently they have yoga classes and a function room.  The building is also used for their patchwork group as well as other craft groups. I was surprised to see the original old range in the kitchen and the old vintage telephone hanging on the wall.

There are some beautiful old buildings in the main street.  The butcher's has a lovely painting on the glass windows at the front.  It looks really old.

We were delighted to find a small garden between a couple of buildings.  It has shady vines and water features.  It must be a lovely, cool oasis in the very hot summers they experience.  The hotel next door is on the site of one of the original coaching hotels from Cobb and Co days.

We camped overnight at Gum Bend Lake, just out of town.  This is a man made lake that was created as a Bicentennial project back in 1988.  It is filled from the Lachlan River.  However, due to the ongoing water shortages due to the drought, the lake is only a small puddle.  No one will be going water skiing here for quite some time yet.

The free campground was a nice area and there were about 20 caravans and motor homes there.  It even has free hot showers.  It can get really busy at times.

This is what the lake looks like now.  We do hope to visit again when it is full.

We went for a walk in the late afternoon.  This is Gum Bend on the Lachlan River. It is just near the lake and where the water is pumped from to fill the lake.

It was still rather lovely in the afternoon light.

The night was really cold, getting down to minus two degrees.  That isn't ordinarily too bad, but as we were free camping, we had no electricity and therefore, no heating. Brrrrr!  We were toasty in bed, but had a rather early night, as it was too cold to sit around. We now have a diesel heater for the van on order.

We woke up to a really thick fog, which lasted most of the way to Lake Cargelligo.

There were a few spots where the sun came out and it was a glorious morning.

The season is wonderful this winter.  It is so hard to imagine that this was just bare earth and dust at the beginning of the year.  The farmers are now hoping that there are no late frosts to damage their crops.

It was still quite early when we arrived at Lake Cargelligo and this time we camped at a different spot beside the lake.  This was "Frog Hollow" camp ground.  There was a thick fog over the lake and it looked quite eerie, but stunningly beautiful.

It didn't take long to burn off to a gorgeous blue day.  This was the view from our camp site.

The reason we arrived early was that we had to be at Larne Draught Horses by 10 o'clock.  We had hoped to visit last time, but they weren't open on that day.  We were really looking forward to it, as we had heard so many good things about Steve and Jan and their beautiful horses.  Well, all I can say is that it lived up to the hype.

Steve and Jan have been breeding working draught horses for over forty years.

There were six of us on the tour on the day.  After an initial talk, we were treated to freshly baked scones with jam and cream and cake by Jan.  Very civilised.

As well as the horses, they have a really interesting museum.  They take their horses to various events, including the Royal Easter Show.

Yes, even little sewing machines.

The van in the left of the photo is their horse drawn caravan, which they regularly use.

This is just some of Steve's old hat.

There are lots of old wagons and implements, as well as a shed full of working wagons, sulkies and carts.

We had a demonstration of how a horseworks works.

Steve does all his farm work with the horses and makes  hay with the old varieties of wheat, which are getting harder to source, and makes stooks in the traditional manner.

The horseworks drives a chaff cutter, pump and grister.

At the end of the tour we visited his leather working shop, where he makes all his own harnesses.

Steve is determined to pass on the trades he has learned along the way before they die out.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and believe it or not, we were there for four and a half hours.  Steve is passionate about his horses and everything related to them and loves sharing them with his visitors.  Such a treat.

We had a lazy remainder of the afternoon.

On our previous visit we had noticed an antique shop, but it was closed.  This time it was open, so we popped in.  I was so happy when I found the little glass with blue peanuts playing cricket.  There were a series of them in different colours and they were a promotional peanut butter jar.  I had the identical one as a glass beside my bed when I was a kid and it was broken. I have an orange one I came across, but this is the first blue one I have found in years of searching.   I also bought the sweet little kitty with its wool.

And an overview of the campground.

The following morning I was up with the lark to get sunrise photos.  How good is that view from our bed.

After we had breakfast, all of a sudden there was a huge number of birds descending on the lake, just near us.  There must have been a huge school of fish, as there was one almighty feeding frenzy going on.

The little jetty looked quite different without the fog.

After the funeral we went for a drive to find the Lake Weir.  The lake is natural, but the weir was added in the early 1900s to regulate it.  The stones form a fishway.

The lazy old Lachlan River.  There we a few local families up there fishing.  It was nice and peaceful.

We went exploring around the lake, which was quite different from down near the town and were delighted to see a few pairs of black swans.

Another morning, another beautiful sunrise.

A nice Sunday breakfast was definitely needed.

And, finally, the ever changing view across the lake before we headed for home.

We did a loop up through Euabalong West on the way back to Condobolin.  The road followed the train track and we saw a couple of goods trains along the way.

Don't little country churches pop up in the most unexpected places.

So that was our unexpected weekend away.  We were blessed with beautiful weather once again, but did come to the realisation that we definitely need to invest in a diesel heater if we intend to free camp during the winter.  We still want to visit the area again, particularly when there is water in Gum Bend Lake.

I wonder where we will venture to next?