Tuesday 31 January 2023

January Wrap Up

I can’t believe that we are already at the end of January.  At the rate we are going, it will be 2024 before we know it.

So how did I go with my goals for January?  Firstly to my stitching goals.

My goal was to have my Swoon quilt top completed, ready to add to the “To be Quilted Pile”.  

I completed my black and white blocks and started on some split nine patches.  I had considered working on a third project, but it didn’t happen.  I think I will stick with just the two, as there are so many other things I want to work on.

My plan was to make the little Winnie the Pooh quilt.
Another tick.

The little donation quilt ended up being my first completed project using Monique.

I wanted to make some more progress on my kitten cross stitch, which I did.  I can only work on it for short times as it is so hard to seen the light colours on the fabric.  I’ve finished most of the top left quadrant, so am looking forward to moving onto the next section.
I also ended up stitching all the butterfly antennae on my 2022 RSC quilt.

I finished my socks.

Swoon was to fit the bill, but in the end my appliquéd butterflies also fell into this category.

My socks and the baby quilt both fit into this catergory.  

Not a lot to show here, but there are lots of HST tidied up and some have been stitched together.  This will be a slow progress project.  Every little bit helps.

I managed to keep this up for every day except one.  So 30 out of 31.  I would have liked it to be 31 out of 31, but I’m still pleased with what I did.
On the non stitching front…….

Two were read.

Two were tried.  One not so good, but the blueberry crumble was excellent.

We ended up having two.
I have been walking most mornings before the day gets hot.  I have missed some days, but a good start.

We knew that we wouldn’t get away in the van this month and motorcycling didn’t happen, partly because Mick did his back in and was not able to ride for a while, and we don’t tend to like riding in the heat.  Hopefully, later in the year we will do some.

In summary, I didn’t think I had done a great deal, but there is a bit there to show for it.  Mind you, being retired certainly helps.

I’m now looking forward to my plans for next month.

Monday 30 January 2023

The Last Week of January

Our week has been rather quiet, which has been nice.  
We did have a short outing on Australia Day to visit the old gold mining village of Sofala for their markets.
We arrived fairly early, before the main crowds.  The weather was perfect for having a wander around.
There are some interesting old buildings and it was nice to see the little businesses open for trading, in addition to the markets themselves, which were only small, but had some nice stalls.
We caught up with some friends for a chat and had a nice morning tea.
The little second hand book store had all their books at $2 each, so of course we had a look.  I was very pleased with my haul of vintage titles.  It turned out that the Abbey Girl books are duplicates of ones I already have, but at that price it was worth the gamble, and to find two Mary Grant Bruce books at that price was quite rare.  Once again, they may be duplicates, but worth the gamble.  The Ethel Turner was a nice addition to my small collection of her titles.
I just liked the name of "Bruce of Boonderong Camp".  I sat down the other night and read it.  It is a Boy's Own type of story, published in 1920, set in Melbourne and outback Queensland.  It was a lighthearted, stereotypical naughty boy makes good story.  However, reading it over 100 years after it was written, there were quite a few parts that are now considered politically incorrect.  It makes you realise how much has changed in that time.
I finally found another new recipe to try out.  It is a very simple blueberry custard crumble.  You just make a thick custard, sprinkle it with blueberries and top with a crunchy crumble.  
Definitely a success, although not all that photogenic when plated up.  The recipe has been saved for future use.
On the stitching front, things have been rather social.  There has just this month been a new patchwork group start up in Bathurst, meeting each Wednesday at a lovely old building that was formerly a convent.  I popped along for a couple of hours last week.  There were ten of us present, some handstitching, some using their machines.  
I just took along some hand stitching and it was a good time to start embroidering the antennae on my applique butterflies from last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge project.

No photos, but I joined in with the Chookshed Stitchers  for a Zoom get together or a little while on Saturday.  I was going to save embroidering the rest of my butterflies for next Wednesday, but ended up completing them all on Saturday.  It was lovely to catch up with the girls, quite a few of which will be together in just a couple of months.

I have continued to go into the sewing room for 15 minutes each day, except Australia Day, as after we went to Sofala we were at a neighbourhood barbecue. There isn’t a great deal to show for it at this stage, but every little bit helps. So I have missed just one day for January.  Not too bad.  

I'm going to link up with Kate at Life in Pieces.
In the garden, our elephant ears plant has decided to flower for us.
And, our little golden rain tree that we planted eighteen months ago, is growing nicely, now covered in yellow flowers and a few of the pretty seed pods that follow.
Mick went been out fishing at Oberon Dam with his brother and my brother on Sunday.  They had a lovely time, as the water was perfectly still.  They caught a few Redfin.  Hopefully they can get out again before long, if the weather is right.

To finish off, here are a couple more photos from my morning walks.

Monday 23 January 2023

Ta Da - Times Two

It has been a fairly quiet week this past week, but I do have two little finishes to share.

Yes, I have continued to spend at least 15 minutes in the sewing room or knitting every day.  That keeps my copy book unblemished for the year.  100% success rate.......so far.....  That will shortly change.

Anyway, most of the week consisted of just a short time knitting my sock and today I finally finished it.
Ta Da!

The stripes don't line up.  However, this was my first go at socks, so I'm pretty happy with them.  I think I may have to knit some for Mick now.  We'll see.

My second Ta Da is the little baby quilt.  What a drama!!!!!

My test quilting had been going fine.......then......

I loaded the little quilt on the frame, changed the colour of the thread and stitched the first partial row.  I had a look and it had skipped a few stitches.  Not enough to undo, but still not good.  I changed the needle, although it was very new, and the problem went away.  Yay!
Then, I quilted three rows and after I wound it on I discovered that the bobbin tension was too tight!  Aaaaah!  At one spot there was a birds nest as well.  There was nothing to do but unpick it all.  Not that it was too hard with the tight tension.

Let's rethread top and bottom and see if that makes a difference.  Tested and no.  I then put my previous test quilt back on and fiddled with the tension until it looked OK.  I hadn't touched the tension, but let's hope that does the trick.
It ended up OK.  I know that it is fairly rough and ready, but as my Dad used to say "A blind man would be glad to see it".
I used a free pantograph called Flower Power.  The texture on the back looks rather nice.
In other happenings, Mick has been plugging away with the mechanics of the BMW motorcycle he purchased while we were away.  There was more needing to be done than initially expected.  He would fix one thing, just to find another problem.  He took it for a little test ride today and he thinks it is ready to get registered on historic plates.  It's been quite a journey to get to this point.  Mind you, it has kept him occupied.

The other thing Mick has done is remove his company name from his ute.  He has decided it is finally time to wind down his business and be fully retired. It's a bit sad, as it is the end of an era.  He worked for himself for 23 years.
Now you see it...
Now you don't... It looks rather plain.  He may have to have a decal of some description added.

And that’s about it for the past week.

I’m going to link up over at Life in Pieces.

Sunday 15 January 2023

Last Week

Time for another weekly report.

The highlight of our week was a Fun Day Out.  We have friends who stay at the Narrabeen Caravan Park, on the northern beaches of Sydney, for a few weeks each January. They invited us down for the day to see where they hang out and also check out the park in case we wish to stay there in the future. Neither of us have ever been to that part of Sydney before.  

Our original plan was to travel down on the train, but an 18km length of the railway line over the Blue Mountains is currently being replaced due to a freight train derailment in mid December.  The line won’t be open again until 21 January.  Therefore, we decided to drive down.  That way would also see what the route was like if we take the van down there.
Wednesday was a good day, as it was going to be very hot here, but only 23 degrees C in Sydney.  We could see the cloud cover over the Blue Mountains not long after we left home.  It proved to be cloudy all day, but no sign of any rain.
The caravan park is located alongside Narrabeen Lake and just over the road from the beach and rock pool swimming baths.
We went for a little walk around the headland to check out the view.  Not bad at all.
The track continued through the bush to further beaches, but we only went along for a little bit.  It was nice being in the bush, but still close to the city.

Our friends then took us for a drive around the area.  The lake is lovely and surprisingly large and would be perfect for taking the kayak out.  We then enjoyed a delicious pub lunch nearby.

The caravan park is large and despite its location, still has a really relaxed holiday feel to it.  Who knows, we may go down with the van one day, but definitely outside school holidays.  It was a very enjoyable day out.  

When we thought about it, we have not been to Sydney since January 2019.
At home things have been rather quiet, which has been nice.  I did manage to read a book.  It was a murder mystery set in the West Australian goldfields.  Not too bad.

I did try a new recipe for a date slice.  It was OK, but not the best, hence no photo.  I had been given the recipe, after liking the slice, so I will have another go at making it and see if it was just me.
We had a couple of rather noisy thunder storms during the week.  On Tuesday there was a lot of lightning, but not a lot of rain.  We were sitting on the front verandah and saw one strike on the side of Mount Panorama.  I made the throwaway line that this would easily start a grass fire.  A couple of minutes later we noticed a plume of smoke from the site.  The lightning struck a power pole which started a grass fire.  We had no rain here, but fortunately there was rain over there which extinguished the fire.  Phew!
On Thursday we had another storm.  This time it started with lots of hail about the size of marbles. Fortunately, no damage to cars and the like.
Then the rain came.  What a downpour.  Only 9mm in the guage, but the hail wouldn’t have gone in, so it would have been more.

On the stitching front I have not got a lot to show.  Yes, I have been keeping up with my 15 minutes every day, not missing a day since the start of the month.  Some days it was only just 15 minutes, either doing a little knitting or pressing and trimming HST for my leader and ender.  
I did manage to get one of the little cot quilts stitched together.  Jo will be pleased to know that I used the webbing method and didn’t get too confuddled.  Now to get it quilted.

On that front, I have had a little play around with pantographs.  I came across a YouTube tutorial by Whirls and Swirls.  It was so helpful.
In her tutorial she has a large plastic cover over her panto, so that she can add markings for borders and advancing the quilt to line everything up.  Coincidentally, I had a big roll of plastic that has been hanging around for years.  Cut in half it was the perfect size to use on my frame.  Bonus!  Plastic over the panto and the roll of plastic gone.
Here is my first attempt.  A bit rough around the edges, but on a patterned quilt would do at a pinch.
And my second.  Once again, a bit rough, but I think I can use it.

I have made a couple of more Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks.  These finish at six inches, so I will need quite a few.  I may make some more later, or it may carry over to next year.  Who knows.  At least they are a start.  They are nice and easy.

I am making slow progress on my sock.  I’m currently working on the gusset.  The hold up was me sitting down to watch the tutorial again for the heel section.  I still expect to be well and truly finished by the end of the month.

Mick just asked how I can type so much when we did nothing, but when you look at it, there was a bit of this that and the other.

I’m going to link up with So Scrappy for RSC and Life in Pieces for 15 Minutes a Day.

I’ll finish with this little girl I saw on one of my morning walks.
Initially, she sat looking at me as I looked at her.  Normally, they hop away immediately.
Then off she went.