Sunday 31 January 2021

January Goals - It's a Wrap

Once again I am setting goals each month to motivate me with my stitching.  Otherwise, it is too easy to not bother going into the sewing room.  You can pop over here to see my goals for January.

I'm happy to report that I  have started the year on a positive note.  Let's see what I achieved.

My goal was to make five Block Heads 3 blocks.  I overachieved and made eight.  The final block for the quilt will be released on Wednesday and I still have four others I need to make.  I can't wait to see this one come together after working on it for just over a year. 

Pop over to Elm Street Quilts to see what the other girls have been up to.


See above.


My goal was to make some progress on the project bag from the first Scrub Stitchin' weekend in 2018.  I had barely started this and hoped to at least have the papers covered and the stitchery completed.
I achieved my goal and started to stitch the rows together as well.  It's good to finally get a wriggle on with this project.

Thanks Cheryll for giving us the motivation to get out these old projects and work on them.


My goal was "to make a start" on the quilt.
I definitely over achieved here, as the flimsy is finished.  I had hoped to take it over to my friendly quilting fairy today, but she is off on holidays until the middle of next month, so I have to cool my heels until then.  The binding is ready to go, so hopefully it will be finished before too long.  I am really pleased with how it has turned out.  When it is finished, I will do a separate post and show it in more detail.

Thanks to Rhonda Dort for making it possible.  Tomorrow she is revealing a second project that will be commencing at the start of March.  It will be interesting to see what it is.  I don't know if I will join in or not, we'll see.


My goal was simply to complete the ornament I started in December.  This is a little challenge Lou and I have, with a few extras joining in this year, which is nice.
It didn't take long at all, once I finally got around to it.


I'm so pleased that Kris is hosting this again.  I had a look back and I have been participating since 2009.
I just had two little finishes this time.  The Santa Christmas Decoration and the little pincushion that I made on a whim.

There was one extra thing that I achieved during January.  I stitched for at least 15 minutes every day.  Some days it was only just the 15 minutes, whereas other days it expanded into hours.  I don't want to join in any official challenge for this, but if every now and then I can manage it I will be happy.  It is amazing how much you can achieve by just doing a bit every day.  

And that's it for January.

I'm  looking forward to seeing what I get up to in February.  I always have a bit of an idea, but things change, which is half the fun.

Friday 29 January 2021

Friday Fun Day - From Last Week

Last Friday was our last chance to have a Friday Fun Day this month and it actually happened.  You can blame Spotlight.

You see, Spotlight put out a new catalogue last week which had a range of fabrics that looked like they would make a nice quilt.  I popped out to the local store on Thursday to buy half a metre of each of the eight fabrics, only to find that they only had five of the prints in stock. Blast!!!  I bought them anyway and then had a look online to see if the others were available.  To my delight, it said they were in stock in the Orange store, just half an hour up the road.  A quick phone call confirmed that, yes, they were in stock.

Therefore, on Friday, Mick and I hopped in the car and went for a drive.  When I got to the store I could only find two of the fabrics I wanted.  After quite a hunt by the assistant, the final one was found and I now have a nice collection of fabric ready for me to cut up into little pieces and sew back together again, as you do.

As this trip was totally unplanned, we then had a think about what to do next.  Firstly, we visited our favourite cafe in a garden centre for a late breakfast.
The food was delicious, as always.
And the setting in the courtyard is delightful.  It is always a very popular venue.

Next, we decided to have a mooch around the op shops in the never ending quest to find an orange mug.  No mug, but I did find a couple of huckaback hand towels, which have since been laundered and one has now been incorporated into the Vintage Linens quilt.

By then it was getting on towards lunch time....not that we really needed lunch....but we had packed a small picnic.  Cook Park is always a nice spot, so we sat by the duck pond to eat.

The park was looking a picture.  It was so good to see the garden beds full of colour.  Such a contrast to when we visited in November 2019, when there were no flowers and they were struggling to keep the mature plantings alive during the ongoing drought.

There was nothing else we wanted to see or do in Orange so we decided to have a wobble tour on the way home.  There is a veritable labyrinth of little roads in the area, so we went on a route we haven't been on for probably over twenty years, through the locality of Byng.
I mentioned to Mick that I was surprised that we hadn't been out this way on any motorcycle rallies.  I understood why, once we hit the dirt road.
When you look on the map, Byng shows as having a few little streets, but when you arrive there, there is only the one road going through.  What  are shown as roads no longer exist.  There are only a few scattered farm houses and this gorgeous little Uniting Church.  The notice board tells us that it was built in 1872 to replace an earlier 1840 Wesleyan Chapel.
Even the gates were cute.
Across the road there was a small pioneer cemetery, with more lovely old gates.  There was even a small section of tarred road in front of the church.
We were wondering if Byng had been founded as a mining village, but when I had a little google I read that it was settled in the 1830s by Cornish Methodists, so predates mining.  It was always a farming area.
As we continued on our way we noticed how much things have dried out in the last few weeks.  The countryside was looking decidedly summery.
I love this expansive view as we headed towards Bathurst.  The clouds were nice and fluffy.

It was a nice, scenic, detour for our return trip and we were back home just after 2 o'clock. 

We do enjoy these little Friday adventures.  I wonder what we will do next month?  We certainly have no idea at this stage.  It is always a nice surprise.

Thursday 28 January 2021

One Project a Month for 2021 and my January Finishes

Kris from Tag Along Teddies is once again hosting One Project a Month (OPAM) which I have been joining in on since 2009. It is such a good motivator for me and I'm very happy it is continuing this year.
If you would like to join in as well, click on the link above, read all about it and then contact Kris to join the fun.

I have two small finishes to start off the year.
Firstly, I finished off the little Christmas decoration I started last month.  This is also my Christmas make for the month - little, but better than nothing.
My second finish was a spur of the moment make.  This cute pattern popped up on my screen and I decided to make it there and then. It is made from 2 1/2 inch squares and took no time to make.  I needed two buttons.  I was looking through my buttons with no luck when I remembered a cute jar of buttons my friend Lou had given me a few years ago.  How perfect are the fabric covered ones.  They were made for it.  It was fun finding some of Mum's old cotton reels that matched perfectly as well.

I have done plenty more stitching through the month and will share in the next day or so.

Friday 15 January 2021

Our December Travels - Inverell

The next destination on out trip was the town of Inverell.  Why?  Well, we saw a program on ABC TV, "Restoration Australia", which featured a property in Inverell.  There were some views of the town shown and it looked nice.  We have been there very briefly before, but have never had a look around.  It is a town that isn't on our direct route to anywhere we go.

I read a bit on line before our trip, and there appeared to be lots to see and do.  Therefore, we booked in to stay for three nights.

As a result, we timed our arrival in the town for Sunday morning.  Why?
Markets!  The town lies on the Macintyre River, and these terrific markets were in a nice shady park that ran beside the river.
Apparently, this was the first time they had been held since the onset of COVID -19.  Markets are always good in the lead up to Christmas.
There were a few different musicians playing througout the area.

And after that, all I bought was a sage plant and a couple of old Uncle Toby Oats bags.

Our next port of call was the tourist information centre, where we collected maps and info on what there was to see and do.

We stayed at a caravan park that was quite central in town, right beside the river.  Wow!  What a beautiful park.  It had the most up market amenities block we have ever come across.  Our afternoon was quite lazy, and as the weather was still stinking hot, enjoyed a nice swim in the pool in the late afternoon.
When it cooled down a bit, Mick and I went for a walk by the river.
I even picked some weeds to put in a jar in the van. 
Mick and I actually got our push bikes out early in the morning and went for a ride.  The tourist office had provided a map showing the town cycle way. The path runs along the river and then lets you pretty much complete a lap of the perimeter of the town. The best bit was that it was relatively flat.
I loved this mural underneath the main bridge across the river.
On the second day we mainly mooched around the town.  Overnight a weather front had come through and, thankfully, it was much cooler and there was even a little bit of rain.  The town has some beautiful old buildings.  The tourist office provided a little booklet on the history of the town, giving information on most of the old buildings.  It was really interesting reading, and was fun to then find the actual building and have an idea of its background. 
For a town of 12,500 people, the shopping centre was impressive.  What was also nice, was that there was no shopping mall.  All the shops were on the main streets, and there were very few chain stores.  There were also very few empty shops. There was a big supermarket complex, but we didn't even go in there. I suppose it is the main centre for quite a large area and the nearest large regional centres are quite a distance away.
It was interesting seeing the new Police Station, currently under construction.  Quite different to the ornate Court House next door.  I'm sure there is lots of controversy over the design.  However, in my opinion, as much as I love old buildings, modern architecture still has a place in towns, as we are not living in a museum.
When it was morning tea time, we headed into this store, as it looked rather nice through the window.
The window displays were rather lovely.
What a beautiful old building.  The story goes that "Nesbits" was one of three major department stores in the town.  The front section is a very popular coffee shop, complete with French bistro style seating.
The rear is a very up market retail area.  If you were after the special gift for someone, this would be the place to come.  I could have bought some gorgeous things, but was very restrained.

There were several stores of this calibre throughout the town.
My purchases actually were made at op shops, as our never ending quest for an orange mug continued.  I found this vintage Christmas wreath in an Inverell op shop for the prrincly sum of one dollar, and it suited the caravan perfectly.  I also found some vintage doileys, which have been incorporated in the vintage linens quilt that I am currently making.

The following day we headed out of town.  You see, Inverell is known as "The Sapphire City".  Of course we would have to have a go at finding some sapphires, or crystals.  After purchasing a sieve at the camping store, we headed off with our fossicking sites map and leaflet on how to search for sapphires and crystals.
We found this  nice little creek and had a go.  

Sapphires are found out near Oberon too, and Mick used to go fossicking on his uncle's farm.  They found a few good ones back then too, but he has no idea what became of them.  As kids, they just put them in a little tablet bottle.  They were probably thrown out at some stage.
It was a bit of fun, but we won't be giving up our day jobs any time soon. 
We headed off to find another of the designated fossicking sites, at this pretty creek crossing.
It was nice to have a paddle in the cool water, but we weren't really all that interested on doing more fossicking.

It was, however, a nice place to have a picnic lunch, before taking a further detour back to town, travelling via the small town of Ashford.  It is touted as "Cod's Own Country", as there are good fishing spots to the north.  The town has a population of about 500, but we were surprised at what a sad main street it had. 
Even when you read about the town on the website, it says that it is struggling. The website lists the few remaining businesses, but it is out of date, as most of them have closed as well.  It looks like the only businesses trading were the chemist, rural supply store and an op shop on a couple of days a week in what had been the general store.
The church looked tidy, as did the local hall.
Even the pub has been closed for some years, which is a pity, as it is a lovely old building and a pub is often the main place for locals to gather.

I suppose, not being on the main road to anywhere goes against it.  The website does mention a national park just to the north and some limestone caves, so it may be worth exploring further at some time in the future.

Our visit to Inverell came to an end all too soon, with us leaving the following morning.  We did a quick visit to one more place on our way out.
Lake Inverell is just upstream on the Macintyre River.  Until Copeton Dam was constructed, this was the water supply for Inverell.  Now it is a beautiful recreational waterway and home to loads of birds.

It was nice to see the lake nice and full after the drought conditions of the previous few years.
In the last few months there have been some major upgrades to the facilities, with an accessible walkway constructed along the foreshore and a pontoon to launch kayaks, as well as upgraded barbecue and picnic facilities.  It's a pity we didn't have time to make the most of it.  The town cycle ways also continue all the way to the lake.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Inverell, with the town having so much more to offer than we had expected.  We didn't get to see nearly as much as we would have liked, as there was a fair bit of sitting around talking, eating nibblie and drinkies with our friends.  We don't see them often, so it was just so nice to hang out somewhere roughly half way for us to travel.  

Apart from what we saw, there is Copeton Dam, a Pioneer Village and a Transport Museum, as well as National Parks in the area.

Mick and I will definitely return to do some more exploring one day, maybe in the springtime. 
After bidding our friends farewell, it was time to start the next leg of our journey.  More to come soon.

Thursday 14 January 2021

Our December Travels - Bingara & Sawn Rocks

It's time to share more of our trip in December.  I shared the first installment here.

We spent two nights at the little town of Bingara. Mick and I have been through here several time and I had thought it would be a nice place to stay, with the caravan park by the river.
We went for an early morning walk and the river was looking a picture.  We loved these huge old trees.
The original old bridge is still in use. The water level was quite high and I assume there was a water release for irrigation from Copeton Dam, upstream, as the water was quite clear.
There appears to have been quite a bit of money spent lately, with a new walkway along the river and this new pontoon.
The swimming pool, next to the caravan park, has been upgraded during 2020 and looked amazing.  As the weather was still very hot, with temperatures in the high 30sC each day, it was being well patronised by the locals.  Apparently, the caravan park is next in line to be upgraded.

A place we wanted to visit was the art deco Roxy Theatre.  Mick and I have visited here some years ago, but wished to share with our friends.
The story goes that two Greek men came to town and established a restaurant on the other side of the street.  They eventually built this stunning theatre, opening in mid 1936. There is speculation as to why they considered building such a grand building in Bingara.  It was a small town back then, much like it is today, and there was already a cinema operating in the town.

The cinema operated until 1958 and the building stood empty for many years, but was still basically in its original condition.  The building, together with the Peters Cafe next door on one side, and the two shops on the other side were eventually purchased by the local council.  In the early 2000s the council gained a government grant and proceeded to restore the buildings, with a grand opening in 2004.

 Let's have a look at what all the fuss is about.
The council have completed an addition to the back of the building with all new facilities for performers as well as a large commercial kitchen and a courtyard to the side of the building.  A wonderful asset for the community.
There were several Peters Cafes throughout the state, generally operated by Greek families.
Many original or contemporary fittings were able to be used in the restoration of this cafe.  The beautiful travertine floor is original.

When Mick and I first visited, shortly after the restoration, they were looking for someone to operate the cafe.

Apparently, it has been operating as a cafe, but sadly, the COVID-19 shut down during 2020 caused the operator to close down.  They are now, once again, looking for someone to run the cafe.  I was really looking forward to visiting, but it was not to be.  Hopefully, next time we pass through we will be able to call in for a milk shake or meal.
In the foyer of the theatre there is an interesting museum on the history of Greek cafes.

After an early lunch, we headed west towards Narrabri, through some beautiful countryside, to find the "Sawn Rocks". This is part of the Kaputar National Park.  Mick and I visited Mt Kaputar a few years ago, but did not have time to visit Sawn Rocks.

The weather was in the high 30sC, so we were pleased that it was  an easy walk of just under a kilometre along a sealed path to reach the rocks.
We were a bit surprised to see vegetation reminiscent of a rain forest in this otherwise dryer environment.
It was interesting to read on an interpretive board that there are remnants of rainforest in some gullies, where a microclimate exists.  It didn't photograph well, but there was a huge area of maindenhair fern.
Finally, we reached a viewing platform where you had a great view of the Sawn Rocks.  What a spectacular sight.  They are formed in a similar way to the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.
If you can enlarge the above photo, you can read about how they were formed by volcanic activity.  They extend 40 metres high above the ground and also 30 metres below the surface.

After the nice and easy walk along the path, there is a small set of stairs down to the creek at the base of the rocks.
At the base of the valley it is a jumble of rocks that, over time, have fallen from the rock formation.
This gives you an idea of the scale of the organ pipes.
At the base there was a little creek trickling away.
There were quite a few yellow faced honey eaters enjoying the cool water, on such a hot day.
When you look down, you can see the shape of the organ pipes, which extend deep into the ground.
As we were leaving we noticed that there was even a little tree growing out the side of the rocks.

We really enjoyed exploring this wonderful natural formation.  We think we may try to revisit the area in spring for the wild flowers, visiting here and also Mt Kaputar, which is so high that it has alpine plants at the top.  Something to scheme on.

After such a hot, strenuous activity (well, not really strenuous) we drove on to Narrabri to have an ice cream.  Sadly, being Saturday afternoon, there weren't any cafe's open, so we settled for a cool drink, before heading back to Bingara.

We enjoyed a delicious meal at one of the pubs to finish off our visit to the nice little town.