Wednesday 30 June 2021

End of Month Wrap Up for June

Time once again to do the monthly wrap up.  I covered just about everything in my Mid Month Catch Up. Due to our little trip north, not much more took place.

This is what I achieved:

My goal was to complete all the blocks in the Laundry Basket Quilts Mystery Quilt.  Happily, they are all here, ready to put together into a quilt top.  It doesn't look much for the amount of work involved.

Pop over here and see what the other ladies got up to.

My plan was to make bibs from a couple of pre printed panels I found hiding in one of my fabric drawers.  There was enough for sixteen bibs, but I have only made eight so far.  They aren't quite finished, still needing their snaps attached. I think they are rather cute.

Pop over here and see what the other ladies got up to.

Firstly, I have to announce that I was the lucky winner of Kris' random prize draw last month and received one of her cute patterns.  How fortunate am I!  Thanks Kris.

Now, onto this month.  I thought I would have loads of finishes with all those bibs, but that will be next month.......I hope.
In the end I made something totally unplanned.  I had this fun pencil fabric in the stash, so decided to finally make a couple of pencil cases.  I still have more fabric, so will make some more shortly.  I just have to be in the mood to deal with the zippers.  As it is, I made one with a over long zip and silly me cut the end off .......... including the zipper pull. Doh!  No worries.  I will rework it.

That's the only finishes this month, but better than nothing.


Fail!  I just didn't feel like hand stitching.  No other excuse.  However, Chookyblue is having a Zoom get together on Saturday, so there is a fair chance my stitcheries may make an appearance then.

I did join in, prepping blocks for the Mystery Quilt.  Now that the footy is back on the tele it is easier to play along.

I posted this photo in my mid month review.  I have completed one ball of wool and purchased a second.  No, I haven't worked on this at all since my last mention of it, although it has progressed from the stage in the photo quite a bit.  Hopefully, this will also make an appearance on Saturday during the Zoom get together.

As I shared in the mid month post, I had completed the five blocks I hoped to do.  Since then I have completed and trimmed the flying geese sections of the last five blocks.  It is getting closer.

So, there you go.  Not a complete success, but not too bad, considering we were away for a few days.  I'm satisfied with what I achieved.  I know I say it every month, but joining in on the little challenges really gives me the incentive to get things done.  Now to decide what to work on next month.

Sunday 27 June 2021

We've Been to Texas!

We headed off on an unexpected road trip on Wednesday morning.
Our route took us towards Mudgee and, as we didn't have the caravan in tow, I was able to stop and take a photo at my favourite spot.
It really was quite scenic.

As we had quite a distance to travel we only stopped briefly along the way. Our lunch stop was at Bingara, beside the Gwydir River.  
I was rather taken with this big old tree.  While we were marveling at it and commenting that it would be fun to play in as a kid, a man nearby told us to look around the other side.
What a tree. You can see right through the roots.  An older couple were walking past and the lady commented that she used to play in the roots of the tree when she was a little girl, and I would be guessing she was in her 70s.

From here we travelled on a new to us road.  We had been as far as Warialda before, but this time we then turned east towards the Queensland border. We had to complete travel declarations before being allowed into the state.
Ta Da!  Texas!  It is a tiny town on the border and we didn't even drive up the main street, as we still had quite a distance to drive and the day was marching on.  Hopefully, we will drive this road again in the future and have a bit more of a look in this general area.
This old hall had unfortunately seen better days.

We finally arrived at our destination of Toowoomba after dark.  It had been a twelve hour drive, covering over nine hundred kms.
The reason for our trip was to attend the funeral of my uncle.  He was in his nineties, so it was a celebration of a life well lived.  There are now only my Dad's baby sister and my Mum left in that generation.

Due to COVID restrictions several of his grandchildren were unable to attend the funeral, which was sad.  However, it was live streamed for them.
On an upside, my generation turned out in force.  There were 14 of us, with two sadly already gone, but of the remaining twelve, there were eleven of us there.  Due to us growing up and living all over the place, that is the most that have ever been together in my lifetime.
As we were on a time limit, we then headed back south.
I can't believe I took no other photos in Queensland.

Our next stop was to visit Mick's aunt and uncle before stopping for the night at Ballina, on the NSW north coast.

We had a delicious dinner at the RSL Club.

They had a really well presented little museum.

We had considered continuing our trip home via the coast, but due to the current COVID situation decided that we would head back inland.  However, as we were at the coast during the winter, there was a slim chance that we may get to see a whale, which is something that we'd like to do, but have never been in the right place at the right time.  Here was our chance.

I noticed there was a cafe overlooking the ocean at Lighthouse Beach, so we booked a table by the window for breakfast.

Before we went in we had a bit of time, so stopped at a car park overlooking the ocean to look for whales.
Looking north.
Looking south.

Guess what??!!  We saw a couple of whales........They were way out to sea, and were just a big splash and flash of black, but they were whales.  Definitely not something we could get a photo of, but better than nothing. We may have to take a whale watching tour one day.
There was even a lighthouse.
Built in 1866 the Richmond River Lighthouse is one of the oldest in Australia.
This was the view from our table at the cafe.  Hard to take, isn't it.
And how's this for a yummy breakfast.  It was so nice to have this little interlude that wasn't just driving.  It was interesting that our waiter was the Customer Service Manager of Qantas, prior to the pandemic.  How things change.  Yes, the customer service was excellent.
Back on the road, we passed the Big Prawn.  Aussies do love a big thing.

Last time we were up this way we were fascinated with the building of the new bridge over the Clarence River.  Now it is all finished and towers over the old bridge, which is still in use as well.

We had a brief interlude in Maclean to stretch the legs.

After a quick lunch in Grafton it was up over the Gibraltar Range.
It was good to see that the trees are starting to come back after the bush fires at the start of last year.
We always enjoy the view back towards to coast.
After breakfast at sea level, we were back in the high country and the temperature had plummeted.  It was 18 degrees C at breakfast and 7 degrees at Guyra.

There had obviously been quite a bit of rain during the day as all the little streams were running well and the paddocks were very soggy.  A perfect winter season.

We finished our day at the small town of Uralla, where we stayed in a nice motel and had a delicious meal at the pub.
Yesterday morning was rather fresh, but everything looked a picture in the golden light.
The Liverpool Plains were also looking wonderful.  Such a contrast to a couple of years ago.
We enjoyed a late breakfast a local cafe at Gunnedah. Yummo!
It was good to see the silo mural.  We had seen it while still being painted and briefly once completed, but in the rain. On Saturday it was looking lovely in the sunshine.

From there we just travelled the usual route home via Gulgong.

In summary, we travelled 2,200 kms in four days.  It was the first time we have taken our little Honda HR-V on a longer trip, as we normally have the caravan behind the ute.  We were impressed with how well it went and the fuel economy, using less than half of the ute and van.

While the reason for the trip was sad, it was good to catch up with family and we did enjoy the road trip.

Sunday 20 June 2021

A Mid Month Catch Up

It's been rather a topsy turvy month so far.

On the Tuesday before the long weekend I developed some pain in my upper abdomen and into my chest.  The pain in my chest scared me a bit, so I went for a little ride in the ambulance. After several tests, it was determined that my heart was fine.  The challenge then was to establish what was causing the pain.  In the end they found that I have several gall stones.  Great! Not!   At least it is better than heart issues.  I will meet a surgeon at the end of September to see what he wants to do.

We were supposed to go away in our van on the long weekend, but me not feeling well created some doubt about that.  Then, the day after I was in hospital, it snowed all around the district.  It didn't snow at our house, but the higher parts of town were white from Wednesday afternoon through until Friday morning.  There was rain across a wide area of the state, including the destination for our proposed trip.  We were going to have to travel on some dirt road, and all unsealed roads in that area were closed due to the wet weather.  Therefore our trip was cancelled.

In a way it was a good thing, as my job share colleague couldn't get to work on Thursday and Friday due to the snow, so I ended up going into work and Mick ended up working as well.

The weather has continued to be cold and bleak.  Winter has really arrived with a vengeance.

Despite all that, I have still managed to get some stitching done.
I have completed all my blocks for the Laundry Basket Mystery Quilt.  There are 225 blocks here.  Mind you, some are just a plain square of fabric.
I have completed my five blocks for the Jocelyn Proust quilt. (They are all the same.)
I'm making good progress on my bibs from the pre-printed panel.  I have eight ready to just add a snap and they will be done.
I've made a good start on my crochet scarf.  Joey is a great help, as you can see.  I had originally chosen a different pattern, but it had a four row repeat, and I like my crochet to be rather mindless, and therefore relaxing. This pattern fitted the bill nicely and still gave a similar effect. I have now completed my ball of yarn and purchased a second to make it longer.  I rather like how the pattern and colour flow is looking.

I've read two books as well.
The story is about the Warsaw Zoo during World War 2 and it's keeper. It's not often I say that I would prefer the movie to a  book, but I think that would be the case with this one.  The general story is good, but it goes into a lot of detail.  Excellent if you are a student of WWII Europe, but it did slow down the story.
The second is a good old whodunit.  Like most of the books I read, it was a random find at a op shop, or book exchange or something.  It is set is Sydney and the lead character is a female homicide detective.  Not a bad read.

On Thursday morning we had our first COVID-19 vaccination jab.  We both had the Astra Zenica version.  Funnily enough, on Thursday afternoon they announced that they now prefer to give the Pfeizer version to those under 60.  Oh well, at least I have had something.  We both felt rather doughy on Friday, so I was glad I didn't have to go into work and could just laze around the house. Our second shot is not until early September.

The rest of the month will still be a bit topsy turvy, as we have an unexpected little trip coming up.  Fingers crossed that the latest COVID -19 outbreak in Sydney doesn't get much larger than it currently is and prevents travel.

Hopefully, I will be back at the end of the month with all my stitching goals ticked and other random bits and bobs to share.
Mick just called me out to see the kangaroos over the road from our house.  There are sixteen roos in the mob. The photo doesn't do the scene justice.  The sky is inky black and the roofs of the houses sparkle. However, I don't think there is more rain on the horizon just yet.

Monday 7 June 2021

Some New to Me Treasures

As I mentioned in my last post, we found a few little treasures while at the Rylstone Swap Meet last month.

On the Sunday morning, after we had set ourselves up I suggested Mick go for a wander around and see if there was anything interesting.  He declined, so I said I would go.

Well......I only got two stalls up from ours when I found a little treasure trove.  There was an older lady and her husband and she had some vintage sewing bits and bobs for sale. My timing was perfect, as the lady was just unpacking her items for sale.  These few items came home with me..... and all at very good prices.  
I couldn't believe my luck when I saw this.  I never find such things, except at exorbitant prices.  Upon doing a little research I have learnt that it is a German made "Muller No. 4", probably made in the 1920s.  Such a sweet little toy sewing machine.  Apparently the lady had purchased it in England about ten years ago.
It goes well next to my Peter Pan.
I do have a shoe similar to this one that was my Grandma's, but this one has the original pincushion and shoe laces.
These pinking shears are quite large, more suited for a man to use.
Once again, I did a little research when I returned home and learnt that the "Pinking Shears Corp. N.Y.C." was the company founded by the man who invented pinking shears.  They would date from the 1950s. I haven't tried them as yet.  Hopefully, they are nice and sharp.
I had to buy this, as I had no idea what it was, and neither did the stall holder.  She had two more, which were a bit larger, about 5 inches wide.
I did a bit of Google research on this too, and finally discovered that it is the shuttle from a ribbon weaving loom.  I must say I've never seen one before, so it was an interesting item to add to my collection of bits and bobs.

She had some other interesting items as well, but I did have to leave something for others to purchase, didn't I.
For Mick, I found a metal figurine, to go with the other couple he has, and when he did finally go for a walk he found the little crane, to add to his collection.  This one is for a Hornby railway layout.
My other find, which I was pretty happy about, was this little item.  I have been half heartedly looking for one for a while now.  My best friend in early high school had one and I was always intrigued by it.  It is a Royal Worcester Egg Coddler. A little research here too, and the design on this one is "Bournemouth".

I could't wait to give it a try.  If I didn't like it, I would just put in on the next Swap Meet stall.
You grease the inside with a little butter, break in your egg and then you can season it with salt and pepper and maybe add a little grated cheese and chives, etc.  Then you screw the lid on and immerse it in a saucepan of boiling water to a height just under the metal rim.  It takes about seven minutes for the white to cook and the yolk to remain soft.  The beauty of this, is that you can take the lid off to check if it is cooked or not, unlike an egg cooked in its shell.
Then sit down to a nice breakfast of egg and avo toast.  Yummo!  I'll try this again. It is not going back on a stall.  Now I'll be keeping my eye out for another one.  I had a quick look on Ebay and they sell for about $40!!  I think I did OK with my $5 purchase.
I went to a garage sale recently as well.  It was advertised as having a lot of craft and patchwork supplies.  We arrived at the advertised start time and there were large plastic tubs of fabric being sold at $10 per tub - like about 20 of them!  There was next to no patchwork fabric.  Apparently, it had all been sold already - about 15 tubs of it!!!  There were tubs and tubs of crocheted rugs, and crocheted kitchen towels, and hand worked baby items.  I've never seen so much craft work or supplies.

There was a huge tub of crochet cotton that Mum could use, so I bought her a few balls.  There was a  big tub full of zips.  I bought a few, but they weren't all that cheap.  

I was very happy with two of my purchases though........
There was a bag of bias binding at $1 per roll.  I bought all of these.  The wide ones have the price of $2.99/metre on the roll.  They will be perfect for trying some quilt as you go and the others for trimming bibs.
For ages, I have been looking for some of this style of trim, to no avail.  You can only buy the cord, without the section for putting in the seam, at Spotlight.  Now I can go ahead with a project that has been sitting patiently for a few years.  The colour is even ideal. I was happy with the price of $5 for the lot.

I think I need to keep my hands in my pockets for a little while now, don't you?