Sunday 27 March 2022

One Monthly Goal Completed and Other March Happenings

It's time to check in with what I have achieved during March in the way of stitching.

Firstly, I did reach my OMG of completing my Ruby Cushion in time to take it to Baradine for Scrub Stitchin'.  This took way longer than it should have.  I really dilly dallied with it.

Just to recap, at the start of the month I had the EPP appliqued to the background fabric.  I then added the borders and was going to quilt it before adding the backing.  Remember that I am more of a machine stitcher than a hand stitcher.
Well, I came up with the hair brained idea that, as the EPP and applique was by hand, I should quilt by hand.  I know, hair brained.  I have done some hand quilting before - on the centre block of the first quilt I made in a 2003....... and none since. I did still have the hoop, and after a bit of a hunt, found the quilting needles.

It didn't take me long to realise I would benefit from using a thimble.
I had bought this little collection at the Wellington Swap Meet, but only the large blue one at the back fitted. I didn't realise how small most thimbles are.
I could always go to my collection and surely I could fund one there that fits.
I was truly delighted when this one did.  It is my most precious thimble.  You can't see it clearly in the photo, but it is monogrammed "FJ".  That is for Frances Johnson, better known as Fanny Johnson, who was my great grandmother.  My Dad's eldest sister gave it to me about thirty years ago, when she saw my thimble collection.  It would date from the late 1800s. You can see how much use this thimble has had, with some holes even developed in the sides.
I did a bit of the quilting with the frame, but soon switched over to pin basting and quilting with no frame.  I have never been able to get comfortable with frames.  I don't even use one with cross stitching. In the end, I just hand quilted around the applique wreath and machine quilted stitch in the ditch around the border seam.
Next, it was time to insert the zipper, using the concealed flap method. Fortunately, there was a zipper in my stash that would fit the bill.  Bonus! I have used this method a couple of times previously, but still had to go over the instructions again.  This was part of the dilly dallying. Once I got around to it, things actually went rather smoothly.
It was then the simple case of adding the binding and stitching down by hand.  

Chooky held an impromptu Zoom get together this morning, so that was the perfect opportunity to do the binding.  I'm rather pleased with how it turned out.
Here it is, sitting on Grandma's chair in my sewing room.  It suits it rather well.  I'm rather pleased that I actually completed a retreat project before the next retreat came around.

This was also my One Project a Month.

So what else did I do this month?  Not much. I already shared that I pretty much failed with Friday Night With Friends.

The Blue Quilt - At the beginning of the month I had selected the fabrics for the borders and started to trace the applique pieces onto their papers.  All I have done this month is make the changes to the centre block design that I wanted to make and trace the rest of the applique.  That's it!  

No progress has been made on Swoon either.

No, I didn't play any further with Monique.  Her time will come.

The only other stitching I have done is the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.
I have been thinking about Scrub Stitchin', which is in ten day's time.  Several years ago, like in about 2013, Chooky and I bought these fabrics to make a quilt each.  You can read all about it here.  Well, since then, we didn't get the chance to get together to stitch them, then Chooky couldn't find her fabrics, then I couldn't find mine and nothing has happened.

Well, we both have located our fabrics and are going to make the quilts, using our twister rulers, at Scrub Stitchin'.  I have actually started to cut the quilt out in readiness for the retreat.

I've also pulled a couple of other projects out to work on.

Now, onto my other monthly goals.

I didn't get around to reading a novel this month.  However, I did read a lovely book.
We went into our local book store to use up some overdue book vouchers and came home with this book.  It was a delightful read of their trip around most of Australia in an old Kombi van.  Beautiful photography and interesting to read about some of the places we hope to visit later in the year.  We also bought some detailed maps of the areas we will be travelling through.  We don't do much planning of our trips, but a good map does help somewhat.

No photo, but yes, we did try a new recipe.  I sometimes give an eggplant to one of my work colleagues who has Lebanese heritage.  She gave me a recipe for Baked Eggplant and also gave me some of the secret ingredient, Lebanese seven spice.  It was really tasty and even better then next day.

Part of the reason for not a lot of stitching, is that we have been having lots of fun days, as shared in previous posts.

Our weekend to Wellington ticked this box.  It was great fun.

So, all in all, we have had a great month.  March is always a busy time of year and this year it has been so nice to have things open up again and be somewhat back to normal.

Pop over to Elm Street Quilting to see what the other girls have achieved this month.

Monday 21 March 2022

A Sunday Drive in the Country - Mount David

Autumn is arguably the nicest time of the year in our part of the world and our local council promotes the "Autumn Colours Festival".  Whenever possible, we like to participate in some of the activities.  This year we will be busy in other ways for much of the time, but plan to join in with a few events.

The first event we went along to was on Sunday.

Visit the small historic village of Mount David, situated in the Oberon LGA. The area is steeped in gold mining history and is also known for sapphires. Hear stories of the once thriving village of 3 general stores, a butcher, a baker and the Enterprise Hotel. A leisurely walk around the village will culminate in a morning tea at ‘Sunnyridge’, former home of the Hope family and pioneers of the region."

We were definitely going to take part in this outing, as Mick grew up on a property just out of Mount David, went to primary school in the one teacher school until it closed down in 1968 and the family attended the local church and events at the local hall.

"Sunnyridge", the home where we were to partake of morning tea, was actually Mick's grandparent's old home.

The village was founded after gold was discovered and the Mount Maude mine commenced in the late 1800s. There isn't a lot left of the little village, which is sad, but in its heyday in the early 1900s, there was a population of about 2000, with the mine employing about 130 men.

We couldn't have had better weather for our outing, as there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the temperature reaching the mid 20s C.
Chris, our guide and a few other locals shared stories and showed a few artifacts, such as the old sign from the entrance to the village.

When Mick was a kid, there was the school, church, hall, post office, manual telephone exchange and a small shop. There was also a building that had been the Enterprise Hotel.
It only survives in pictures today.  Mick actually watched it be bulldozed in the late 60s, or early 70s.
Next, we went up to the St Francis Xaveir church. 
It was built by the miners.  Previously, services were held in various homes of parishioners.  For many years, a priest would travel quite some distance to conduct the services, stay overnight with a local family, before travelling back to the larger centre, or to another outlying parish.  He would often stay with Mick's grandparents in those early days.

The church has not been operational for many years.  Mick and I would sometimes come for a drive out here when we were first together and the church was empty, but you could go inside.  The altar and confessional were there, but nothing else.  The last time we called in there had been cattle inside, which was sad to see.  It became a private residence about fifteen years ago, was then empty for several years and it, together with the old hall beside it, fell into a very poor state of repair.  
Fortunately, a couple of years ago, it was purchased by the current owners, who are undertaking the massive task of restoring it.  They have removed all the blackberries and other weeds that had taken over the property and are building lovely gardens.  The previous owners had commenced to build an extension to the side of the building, which the current owners are going to demolish.  We weren't able to go inside, as they are currently undertaking some major renovations. They have a lot of work ahead of them. We wish them well.
The old Mount David Hall was built from corrugated iron and sits beside the church.  It is currently used as a shed and looking a lot tidier than last time we saw it. When Mick was a kid there would be a dance once a month at Mount David, Black Springs, Rockley and Burraga, so every Saturday there was somewhere to socialise within a not too great a distance.  There were also many tennis parties, with a lot of rural properties having a tennis court beside their home.  For a relatively isolated community, there was a pretty good social life.  Mick talks of all the little kids being put to sleep up on the stage of the hall as the night progressed.  He even went to school here for a little while, during maintenance on the school building, just up the road.
The current owners are even establishing a fern garden along the south side of the hall.  It should look lovely in a few years time.
This sign has hung in our home for many years, given to us by Mick's Dad.  It was the quirky "exit" sign from the Mount David hall.
Our tour finished up with morning tea at "Sunnyridge", Mick's grandparents' home.  There was such a lot of lovely food, both savoury and sweet.  No one required lunch that day.  There were about fifty people on the outing, so a really nice roll up.
The house was looking so nice and fresh in the sunshine.  Apparently, it was built in 1913.  It is constructed from pise.  One of Mick's uncle's homes was built using the same method in the 1950s. Mud was mixed with river tussock, by trampling with horses.  It was then stacked up roughly to create the walls, before being squared up with a shovel.  Door and window openings were then cut out once the walls had dried.  The walls were then rendered.
The back view.
I loved how the concrete of the verandah and garden path had patterns inscribed in them.
Most of the outbuildings are gone, but the old chook shed still stands.  Most people had plenty of chooks.  There was originally also a cow shed for the milker, piggery for the pig or two killed each year and a meat shed.  Being farmers, they killed their own meat, mainly sheep meat.  Of course, there was also the long drop loo.  One corner of the house had a large pantry with the butter churn etc.  You had to be rather self sufficient back in the day.

I had only visited once before, over 30 years ago, when the house was standing empty after the death of Mick's grandmother.  It was interesting to see the construction. Having been empty for some time, it was in a run down state.  

A few years after that it was bought by the current owner, who has a passion for history.  Fortunately, he has preserved this lovely old building and uses it as a weekender.
These were some photos from when he purchased it.  
It was nice to see the old wool bale stencil on one of the walls, complete with Mick's grandfather's intials.

It was a trip down memory lane for Mick as he walked through the old house.  Coincidentally, two of his cousins were also there on the day, as well as one of his best mates from back in those days with his sisters.  It was a bit of a reunion for them all.

There were two rather special moments.
Firstly, we had to take a photo of Mick at the side gate into the back yard, holding a biscuit.  Why, do you ask?
To recreate this photo of him as a toddler, in the early 1960s.  Yes, he still likes his biscuits. It is a different gate now and bit further away from the house, but pretty similar. The clothes line is still there and the concrete going down to the back of the house. You can see that his Grandma had a beautiful garden.

The other special moment was instigated by a lady we know.  Once he retired, Mick's Dad and uncle did some gardening for her. When Mick's Dad moved into a smaller home in town and was clearing out his shed, he gave us the remains of his Mother's old bed.  Remains, because it consisted of four posts, three outer rails and two slats from under the mattress.  There was no head or foot board and one rail was missing.  Mick's Dad told of his mother cutting down the posts as they weren't fashionable and it taking her days.  He hoped that we might do something with it.  We never did.  

In the end, we put it out for sale when we had a garage sale.  Enter the lady Mick's Dad had worked for.  She is very much into antiques and history.  We told her the story, and, as she also grew up that general area, she bought it and hoped that either she or her son would do something with it.  They didn't.

When this event came up, she had an idea.  The bed would return to its original home.  Chris was thrilled to receive it.  With the help of the local woodworking club, he hopes to one day return it to its glory.  I have no photo, as I was videoing the presentation on the benefactor's phone.  
What she did have was a photo of what the bed would have originally looked similar to.  Wow!  It definitely predates the house.  We think it was made from ironbark timber, as each post is incredibly heavy.  The posts had been cut off just above the foot rail at the foot of the bed and about level with the top of the headboard at the head of the bed.  I do hope it gets restored.

We are so pleased we went along for the day.  We learnt a lot about the village, and Chris, who has done a lot of research and hopes to one day write a book about the village, learnt some more information and anecdotes from various people who attended and had a connection with Mount David.

Now we look forward to the next two events we hope to go along to.

Saturday 19 March 2022

March Rainbow Scrap Challenge

The colour for the RSC for March is yellow.  A nice and cheerful colour, and for those in the Northern Hemisphere, perfect for the start of spring.
I continued to work on my nine patch and butterfly blocks.  I only need 17 butterfly blocks, so only worked on one this month.

Now, last month, I pulled out my black and white leader and ender HST project.  When I played with layouts, I decided I needed lots more black and white HST blocks, but some pops of colour would look good.  So lots more HST blocks to complete and I have decided to add them to my RSC challenge for the year.

I caught up on January and February, as well as making a few for March.
This is how the quilt should look.  I think it will be a nice fun quilt.

I have cut heaps more white squares and marked them ready to stitch.  Now I need to cut a heap more black and white squares and the coloured ones, as each month comes along.  It will probably become a leader and ender project once again.

Other than this, I haven't done much stitching this month.  I need to get cracking, as time is ticking away.  

Pop over to So Scrappy to see what the other girls have been working on with their yellow projects.

Friday 11 March 2022

Weekend at Wellington - Saturday and Sunday

The reason for our visit to Wellington last weekend was to attend the Vintage Fair and Swap Meet.  We visited one year, probably twenty years or more ago, just to have a look, but have never had the chance to go again.  This was the perfect opportunity.

The schedule is a huge street parade on Saturday morning, followed by the Vintage Fair and Swap Meet on the Sunday.
I hopped up early to see the sunrise and was lucky enough to see a train coming across the railway bridge.  It was a very long train and they go very slowly over the bridge.

We packed ourselves up in the Caravan Park and headed into town.  Fortunately, we were able to park in the Showground, ready for the next day.  We were very pleased to even have power available, as it was very hot and muggy, so running the air con would be a nice bonus.

We were surprised to see lots of swap meet stalls already set up and trading, as we had been informed that we couldn't enter the showground until 2pm on Saturday afternoon.  We weren't going to set up then, as we wanted to enjoy the street parade and whatever else was taking place in the main street.

Time to go down the main street and see what there is to see.
The town band was playing some classic hits.
"Made in Wello", the local craft shop had a nice display of vintage items in their front window, including this bunting.
Cameron Park runs along side the main street.  It is well set out and maintained, dating back to the late 1800s.  I couldn't get over how tall these palm trees were.  They must be so very old.
A feature is the rather impressive war memorial.
Finally, it was time for the street parade, led by the highway patrol car, looking very colourful in its aboriginal art livery.
There were quite a few cute oldies.
And lots of Mokes.  This one was my favourite.  Apparently, they come every year from Sydney.
My Dad had a Holden ute identical to this when I was very little. I can only just remember it.
Mick's family had a Ford Fairlane like this, but in blue, when he was a kid.
I loved these Fiat X19s when I was a teenager.
The wagon set a clipping pace.
There were several tractors that had been on a Tractor Trek.
There were also several old trucks.
Finally, there were two steam engines.  This one was used many years ago to make the roads in Wellington, so it is nice that it has been bought by the local council some years ago.
"Sooty" is seen in several street parades around the area, but lives in Wellington.  They added a bit of coal to the firebox to make her live up to her name for the parade.  Later I saw her with next to no smoke coming out of her chimney.  She runs so much quieter than the other one.

After the parade, it was time to go back to the Showground and start to set up our Swap Meet stall for the next day.
It takes a bit of mucking around, but we got our stall all set up.  As usual, there are quite a few people wandering around shopping prior to the official start day.  We don't mind, a sale is a sale.  We just find it amusing when another trader buys something from us and then has it on their stall for a much higher price.  We have a chuckle when we see it on their stall, unsold, at the end of the day.
The weather forecast was for possible storms, and yes, a beauty came across.  It arrived very quickly and caught us all unawares.  We very quickly packed up anything that would be damaged by the rain and then started trying to cover other things.........then the wind picked up.  Mick quickly rolled up the awning before it was torn off the van.  There were gazebos flying and everyone trying to stop things be blown away.  All that setting up for nothing.  Oh well, that is how it goes.  It rained most of the night.
The following morning was very overcast, but dry.  Do we set up or not?  What the heck, let's give it a go.  The morning was overcast all the time, but the rain stayed away.  It ended up being a successful morning.

The event consisted of the Swap Meet, another section had market stalls and in the middle of the grounds there were the car, tractor and engine displays and other bits and bobs.  I'm not really sure what, as we never got to see that section.
We were watching the weather closely and the clouds got lower and lower...... and then another storm came through at about midday.  Fortunately, there was no wind this time.  Once again, all the things that could be damaged were quickly stowed and then the rest was moved into the van to be dried before being packed away in their tubs.  I suppose everything got a wash.  Fortunately, a lot of our things were china.

It wasn't worth unpacking that late in the day.  The rain certainly sent the visiting  public home.  It would have been disappointing for the food traders, as it was just coming towards the lunch time.

We had a few pieces of green depression glass for sale and several people came around with their blacklights, to see if they were uranium glass, which I could assure them it was not.  I noticed a couple of stalls did have some uranium glass at quite high prices, and I know it did sell.  As I wouldn't get to have a look around till later in the morning, I knew there was no chance that I would find any bargains......or would I?
I had a look over in the market section and noticed this little set on a stall.  It was the only stall over there selling old wares.  I asked the price, which was reasonable, and then got out my little blacklight.  I very quickly bought it.
Even with the torch it didn't glow a lot in the bright daylight, but I was confident it would glow.  When I had a better look at home I was very pleased with it.
A very nice addition to the collection, and the dealers missed it.

Once we were packed up it was time to head home, unpack the van and ute and get ready for another working week.  These little breaks are so enjoyable and we love learning more about the towns not too far from home.  The Vintage Fair was a good excuse.  Hopefully, in the future, we will have more of these little trips.