Monday 28 February 2022

Stitching Goals Achieved for February and Zooming Along

It's time to check in with my stitching progress during February.

My One Monthly Goal was to complete another three of my Swoon Blocks.  I an linking up with Patty over at Elm Tree Quilts.  It is such fun to see what everyone gets up to.

Job done!  That's five down, four to go.  Hopefully, they will be done fairly soon, but there is no deadline for this quilt, so it will happen when it happens.

The fabrics are all Bonnie and Camille from a fat quarter swap I participated in years ago, so it has been a bit of fun working out pairing up of colours, as they come from several different ranges.  In the end they will look good together, as most of their fabrics share similar tones.
I made my few little Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks early in the month.
I have one tiny One Project a Month finish.  This was making the bunting Lou gave me suit the windows in my sewing room.

I had another play with Monique,  but was having some trouble with tension.  I was waiting for some machine quilting thread,  which has now arrived, so time to have another play with the correct thread and get the tension set to suit it.  However, that will have to wait for a little while, as we have a few things on in the next little while.
Saturday saw another Zoom day, hosted by Chookyblue.  It was so nice to have the day stitching, chatting, solving the problems of the world, and more importantly, hopefully solving my comments problem.  Fingers crossed. Thanks Jo.
The first thing I worked on was the Ruby cushion.  This probably doesn't look any different from the last zoom get together, but the wreath is now fully appliqued.  I'm not going to do the broderie perse in the centre, so now it is time to get out the pattern and turn it into a cushion before going to Scrub Stitchin' in April.

So, what to work on next?  It's always a challenge to find something to work on while joining in with the other girls.
This is a really old project.  Way back when, I cut two piles of black and white five inch charm squares.  One lot was sent to Lou, while she still lived on the Isle of Man, so I think it would be in either 2012, or 2011.  Lou used hers in a quilt for her son and mine sat in the drawer.

At the end of 2019 I decided to use them for a leader and ender project.  I even recorded the start here.  At the time, I stitched all the squares and they have sat there in the box ever since.  On Saturday I finally pulled them out, cut them in half pressed them open and trimmed them down to four and  a half inches, ready to use.  I have had a thought of how to use them, incorporating some coloured HST, which could be part of Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Whichever way I go, I think I will have to make some more black and white HST.

OK, now what?  Another Swoon block could always be started.
Surprisingly, it ended up being another finished Swoon block.  That wasn't expected.
Six down, three to go.  This is coming together much quicker than expected.
A little chat was happening about enabling and the conversation turned to a shopping day Chooky and I had a little while ago at Spotlight.  We bought a huge pile of pretty fabric for next to nothing and planned to make sort of matching twister quilts.  I never blogged about it, but Chooky went back through her blog archive and found the post she wrote at the time - November 2013!!! You can't rush things.  Mind you, she couldn't find her fabric, then I couldn't find mine.......  Well, we both know where our fabric is at the moment and have decided to make them at Scrub Stitchin'.  Hanne from Norway, was also listening to the conversation and she will be at a retreat on the same weekend, so she is going to join in as well.  How good is that.  We welcome as many to join in as would like.
So what now?  I thought it was time to finally pull out my blue quilt, that I have been wanting to get started for the last couple of months.

I have been quarantining my suitable blues and creams in a tub for ages. Now it is time to finally get started. This quilt is to be made entirely from stash, except possibly the backing.  My plan is to do lots of prep at the start and basically make a kit.  I have selected the fabrics for the various borders, which are in the pile at the rear right.  I do all my applique by machine blanket stitch, so the next step was to trace all the components onto fusible web.  I am currently halfway through that process.  Oh, and I have tweaked the applique design slightly, so that had to be done first.

This will be a very long term project, with no deadline.  Once  I have prepped, there will be quite a bit of hand stitching with lots of EPP and stitchery on the applique blocks.  They will be ideal for Zoom days and when travelling.

I finally signed off the Zoom get together at about 7.30 in the evening.  I had been on line for over twelve hours.  Such a lovely and productive day.

Now it is time to tidy my sewing room, after all that.  I really want to try to keep it in some sort of order.

Friday 25 February 2022

Friday Fun Day - Times Two

We've ended up having two Friday Fun Days this month, which has been nice.

The first one was Friday last week and was rather impromptu.  How it came about was back in mid January, Rachaeldaisy posted how she and Mr Daisy went for a drive and enjoyed scones with jam and cream at the Megalong Tea Rooms.  You can read all about it here.

Well, that got me thinking.  It is years since we have been down to the Megalong Valley, like well over twenty years.  A visit to the Megalong Tea Rooms for some light refreshment sounds rather like a nice way to spend a Friday.  We had thought of going down towards the end of January, but the entrance of Monique had us slightly distracted.

We had nothing on last Friday, and the weather was looking OK, so we took the opportunity to finally go for that drive.  The weather was predicted to possibly be showery down there, but we weren't going to let that stop us.

So, where is the Megalong Valley?  It is at the western side of the Blue Mountains.  
You gain access from Blackheath, driving way down a very windy road through ferny rainforest.

It then opens up into a beautiful valley.
There are huge cliffs to the east and if you look carefully, you can see the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath sitting on the top of the cliffs. The valley runs under Medlow Bath and Katoomba.
We came across an information board, which was really informative.

Meanwhile, this is what we were looking for. We had phoned ahead to make a booking for lunch, only to be advised they don't take bookings, so we hoped there would be a table available.
We needn't have worried, as despite there being a lot of cars parked out the front, there was lots of room for everyone.  We found a table in the dappled shade.  As things turned out, there was no rain.  There was hardly a cloud in the sky and it was a nice warm day, without being too hot.  Actually, it was about the best day we have had, weather wise.
So what to have for lunch.  We decided to have a ploughman's lunch and "corner store milkshake" each.  It was delicious and the milkshake was huge, thick and served in an icy cold tin milkshake cup - just like you used to get in a corner store.  The ploughman's lunch was so big, that we didn't end up having any tea that night.  If we go again, we would just get one to share and then enjoy a serve of their scones with jam and cream between us.

After lunch we kept on our way, exploring further into the valley.
We stopped at "Old Ford Crossing".  There is a picnic and camping ground here.  Last time we visited, we had a picnic lunch beside this creek.
The Megalong Creek is so pretty and the water was so very clear.  A beautiful spot.

Not far past here, we turned around and headed back the way we came.  There is another road that heads off from Blackheath that goes to the west of the valley, with a lookout at the end of the road, but we will save that for another day.

On our way home we had a poke around the shops in Blackheath and were very strong, not buying anything.  As I said earlier, our lunch was huge, so not even any afternoon tea.
Finally, as you drive down Mt Victoria Pass, if you look in the right spot, you can see down into the valley.  As you can see, it is rather large.

It was a lovely day out.  I have a big, long list of potential places to visit for Friday Fun Day and Megalong Valley didn't even rate a mention.  I'm so pleased we were reminded of it.

Now for our second Friday Fun Day.  That was today.

Our plan for today was to drive out around the villages in the Blayney area looking for wild apple trees.  Last year, in March we went for a drive looking at hay bale art and along the way picked some wild apples.  They weren't pretty, but they were really tasty.  We thought we would do the same again this year and use them in some of the preserves we are currently making.

We were really surprised to see that hardly any of the apple trees along the roads had any apples at all.  All we can surmise, is that due to all the wet weather we had during spring, they didn't pollinate.  We finally found a couple of trees with fruit, but they are nowhere near ripe as yet, obviously, also as a result of the cool summer we have been having.  Everything seems to be late this year. So, sadly, no wild apples this year.

Not to worry.  The second part of our planned day was to call in at a nice little cafe in Blayney for an early lunch. We called in just before noon, which was opportune, as they close at noon.  Phew.
No photo of our main lunch, as we were too busy tucking into quiche and a chicken BLAT roll, but isn't the latte art on the coffee beautiful.
We saw these little lemon tarts in the display cabinet and couldn't resist.  So delicate and delicious.  A nice little treat.

From there, it was just back home to spend time in the kitchen.  More on that soon.

I'm off now to prepare some stitching for tomorrow, as Chookyblue is hosting another of our fun zoom stitching days.  I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday 12 February 2022

This That and the other

As the title suggests, this will be a mixed bag post.

Firstly, we put a finishing touch to the sewing room.
Way back in 2018, my good friend Lou sent me some pretty bunting for a Christmas gift.  As my sewing room has several narrow windows, it needed a little bit of tweaking before it could be hung.  To my shame, it has been sitting on my sewing table ever since, waiting for me to get my act together.

This rearranging of the room was just the kick in the butt I needed.  Oh, it was such a huge took soooooo long.......... like about half an hour.  I don't know why I hadn't got around to it before now.  Anyway, here it is, the big reveal.
It suits everything so well.  I'm so pleased to have it up.
Our garden is being really productive, considering it is rather small.
This is just one day's picking.  I see that Joey is doing some photo bombing.

After fighting a battle with the snails in spring to get the beans started, we have had such a bumper crop.  I have thirty meals worth in the freezer.  I was never really keen on green beans, as Mum used to freeze so many and we seemed to have beans with nearly every meal.  I'm hoping that I still like them by next summer.

This is our first two eggplants.  There are loads more coming on, so we will have to find lots of yummy ways to use them.  These two became eggplant curry.  It is such a yummy and easy meal to make.

Our one zucchini plant is huge and just providing a zucchini every couple of days.  It is the perfect amount for us.  

The tomatoes are really only starting to ripen.  However, now that they have, we are getting loads. The smaller ones, in pots aren't doing all that well, but the big ones are making up for it.  Tomorrow will see the three bowls full turned into either some relish or frozen.

Our basil is huge, so there will be lots to have with the tomatoes.

We have never had much success with capsicums, but this year we have a few green ones on the plant.  We just have to wait for them to turn red.

Finally, our raspberries won't be too far off.  They are quite late, as it has been such a mild summer.  We still have quite a few in the freezer from last year, so we will have to get cracking on using them up.
We were rather surprised to have all these naked lady lilies pop up in  the pots in front of our little potting shed.  We have no recollection of where we obtained the bulbs.  Obviously, we planted them last year, but it was a rather nice surprise to have them appear.

Also, look at the size of that rhubarb plant!  There will be some rhubarb and strawberry crumble made tomorrow, as we still have lots of strawberries in the freezer as well.  I sometimes make a rhubarb crumble cake, but I have just found a recipe for rhubarb and custard cake.  I think that may need investigating.
Remember last week we bought a little fuchsia at the Rydal Show.  Well, it is now in a hanging basket and the flower buds are starting to open.  Isn't it pretty.
Mick has been fishing in his kayak out at Oberon Dam again and came home with four redfin perch fish. Two were actually big enough to eat. (They are a pest fish and you aren't allowed to throw them back, hence the littlies.)  We've never tasted them before, but had been assured that they are good eating.  Some say better than trout.
We thought about cooking them whole, but decided to try to fillet them.  That is something neither of us have previously tried.  It was quite comical, as we watched the Youtube tutorial and then had a go.  We reckon we didn't do too badly.
So, there wasn't a lot of meat and quite a bit of waste, but we had a taste.  We just pan fried them, as is.  They are a nice white flesh and were really nice.  Very different to trout. (Trout is the main freshwater fish we eat, as Mick grew up on a property with trout streams running through it, so they often went fishing.)

I have told him that he has to go fishing again and bring home some decent sized ones.
We love finding silo art, water tower art and murals as we travel around.  Finally, Bathurst has its own mural.  It was only hung last weekend and is on the Post Office Building.

The artwork was carried out by a local Wiradjuri man with some assistants and depicts dreamtime stories of our local area.  The main feature is a depiction of a blue banded bee.

Finally, we had a delicious dessert last night.  Plum Clafoutis.  I haven't made this in years and years.  I actually used a different recipe this time, and it worked perfectly.  There are leftovers for tonight as well, which is always a bonus.

Sunday 6 February 2022

Saturday Fun Day

It may not have been on Friday, but we had a nice day out yesterday.

We went to the Rydal Show.  

Rydal is a little village down near Lithgow.  We often visit in spring when they have their Daffodil Festival, but have never visited the show, as it always clashes with the Bathurst Swap Meet.  Well, there was no swap meet this year, so we finally were able to attend the show.

Rydal Show is always known to be a beaut little country show, so we were looking forward to it.

It is still very much summertime, but today was rather wintry - especially down there.  When we arrived it was drizzly and 13 degrees C!  Just as well we took coats with us.  There was a really good roll up of people attending.
First, we had a general wander around outside.  All shows, even the tiny ones, have to have the clowns. It just wouldn't be a show without them.

We thought we would have a nice warming coffee, but the queue was so long we changed our mind.

Next we popped into the pavilions.

There was a good selection of wool fleeces and some nice veges, but what blew us away was the display of flowers and floral arrangements.
The Royal Bathurst Show barely gets any entries in the floral art section these days.  For quite some years there were really only two ladies that competed against each other, but they don't even enter now.  Little Rydal had a wonderful display, with lots of different classes for adults and juniors and there were several entries in each class.  There was even a class for a buttonhole arrangement.  It was so good to see.  I do need to qualify that our Bathurst show is in late autumn and there aren't nearly as many flowers available at that time.
I loved this section for the juniors.  It was an arrangement in an egg cup.  So cute.
The succulent section was also well supported.  Aren't the gladdis on top looking good.  I wish mine would sit up straight like that.
Next to the arts and crafts pavilion.  Isn't it a nice old building.
This first thing I noticed was this beautiful piece of blackwork.  It doesn't show in the photo, but it is worked in a variegated thread.  It was stunning and I straight away thought of Fiona and her blackwork.  I wonder if this design is by the same lady as her sampler?  There were a few other examples of blackwork on display from the same exhibitor.
Mick then spied this cutey with a definite Clarice Cliff feel about it. I did a little google to see if I could locate a pattern, but no luck.
There was some lovely work on display, and a nice quantity too, for a small show.  It doesn't show well in the  photo, but the quilt with the dark blue border was from vintage linens.
There was some lovely fine knitting and crochet.  I wouldn't like to have been the judge.
The champion crochet rug was beautiful.

Next it was time to head outside again.
There was a really large dog section under way.  They had three rings going.  It was a lovely setting, in among the gum trees.
The sheep dog trials were also under way.  It is interesting seeing the different dogs work and the different methods the owners use.  

We went to watch the horses for a bit, but they were at the far side of the arena and it was so cold, that we gave up on the idea.

We didn't get to see any of the wood chop, as it wasn't underway while we were there.
The sheep pavilion was a lovely old rustic building.  Most people would have had to duck their heads to go in, but not me.  There are sometimes advantages of being a shorty.
There was another rustic old pavilion, which had a sign "Wool Pavilion" but appears to be unused at this stage. I hope they can get it restored.

At this point the rain started to set it, so we decided that it was time to continue on our drive.
We just made two purchases at the show.  A jar of home made pickles and this beautiful fuchia.  We have just the place to put it in a hanging pot.
Rather than join the long queue in the rain to get a coffee and sausage sandwich, we decided to drive to Tarana and have lunch at the little cafe opposite the pub.  The burgers were huge, the chips nice and fresh and the coffee good.  It's nice to be able to support little businesses like this.  Oh, and we were inside out of the drizzly, mizzly weather.  That was a bonus.

It is so good to see the little country shows starting to be happening again.  We were really surprised to see how many visitors there were.  The carparking areas were full and there was a long queue of cars coming in as we were leaving.  Oberon Show is next weekend.  A fortnight after that there will be Sofala Show and then in mid March there will be the Blayney Show.  Let's hope they are all a resounding success.