Monday 29 May 2023

Finally, A Stitching Update

I have been a bit all over the place with my stitching this month, so not a lot to share until now.  

At the beginning of the month I was a bit up in the air as to what to work on.  Now that the weather has turned decidely cold I am wanting to sit in front of the heater rather than go into my sewing room.

The simplest thing to start with was the Rainbow Scrap Challenge with the colour orange.  
I made my black and white blocks in no time.
However, I needed to cut the split nine patches and there wasn’t sufficient fabric in my scrap tub.  Now, where are the orange fat quarters?  Not where I expected.  No worries, that can be sorted later in the month.  Eventually, I had another look.  Yep, in the tub that I thought.  I’d obviously had a boy look earlier. That was then easy to tick off the list.  I’m linking up over at So Scrappy, where you can see what other orange creations have been worked on this month. 

My One Monthly Goal was to complete the appliqué blocks for my blue quilt.  I was off to a rather slow start on this, as my sewing room is cold unless I have the door open for quite a while  to warm up, and then we went on our impromptu caravan trip for a week.  
Anyway, I plugged away and ended up taking my machine to our patchwork group last week and now they are all done.  That makes me really happy.  
I was playing bobbin lotto one day and actually won.
That’s sixteen small blocks all done.

I still have the large centre appliqué block to complete, but that won’t take too long once I get started. I’m linking up over at Elm Street Quilts.  Pop over and see what the others achieved this month.

Now that I mention my patchwork group, I was a bit stuck on what to take along, now that the Dresden wedges are stitched together.  
On the first day, I just grabbed a couple of redwork Christmas designs that I had already traced.  I have once completed, ready to turn into a tree decoration at some stage.
Finally, I had a brain wave and decided to work on the circles for the Dresden centres.  I cut them all out and then gathered the fabric over the papers.  I wasn’t sure how I would go at stitching them to the dresdens while the papers were still in, but it was OK.  I have two stitched down, just 30 more to go, so that is something I can work on in the next few weeks.

Our patchwork group has had a change of venue.  The old convent we were at has been sold.  Our new venue is the Holy Trinity Church Hall, which is the venue of the fete I help at.  It is very handy to home and has much better facilities and access from the car park, therefore has been a good move.
I didn’t have any knitting on the go at the start of the month and wanted something to take with me when we went away.  I quickly grabbed a pattern I had bought quite some years ago and grabbed the required four balls of wool I had bought at the time.  
The pattern called for 4.5mm needles, so that is what I took with me.  Shock horror, I then worked a tension swatch!!!  Just as well, as my tension was way too loose, so I needed 4.00mm needles.  I have plenty at home, but that wasn’t much use when I was in the middle of nowhere in western New South Wales.  We called in at a little gallery/craft shop/information centre in the small town of Hillston, and lo and behold there were some second hand knitting needles and there were a pair in the right size.  Happy dance.  
A new tension swatch and we were ready to actually start the project.
I enjoyed doing a little knitting sitting beside Lake Cargelligo.  
I finished the first ball and decided to measure how long my work was……..It was less than a quarter of the length required.  I had bought the wool ages ago, so no chance of getting more.  Blast! Blast! Blast!  There was nothing for it other than to frog what I had completed.
Next to find another pattern.  I came across Simple Yet Effective and decided that would do.  
I decided that it could be modelled on Victoria, rather than me.  It was a quick and simple knit.  I still have to wet block it, as the cast on and cast off are rolling.  It doesn’t drape as well as in the photo and is quite close fitting around the neck.  It will be nice and cozy in cold weather, and it can be pulled up over your mouth and nose if really cold.  I’m don’t think this wool is ideal for the pattern, but it will just have to do.  I still have a further two balls of the wool, so will knit a beanie for Mick.
I had a really fun day on Saturday.  Chookyblue was celebrating the 11th birthday of her Chook Shed.  She is having some friends visit next weekend, so we zoomed a week early.  She signed on at 6.00am and finally wrapped it up at 9.30pm.  Silly me was on nearly all that time.  It was fun catching up with the girls from all the various locations as they popped in during the day.
It has become a bit of a tradition that Mick and I bake a birthday cake and eat it on Chooky’s behalf.  This year it was orange poppyseed. Thanks for the photo, Karen.

I finished the knitted cowl, while chatting away and then went looking for something else to work on.  Chooky was working on some Sashiko, so I went looking for a panel that I have.  Mmmm, not quite sure where it is.  That may be telling me something.  No worries, there are plenty of other projects waiting patiently for their turn.  
I decided on a quick little bookmark kit that I bought in New Zealand in 2015.
This is how far I got in the day.  It won't take me too long to finish.  Just a bit more black and red cross stitch and then quite a bit of black back stitch.  It doesn't have a finishing kit, just suggesting you fringe the ends of the fabric.  I will back it with felt and make a tassle.
Now for the moment of truth.  How did I go with my 15 minutes a day?  Well, quite a few days only had about 15 minutes, while others had several hours.  Surprisingly, I did manage to do a bit every single day, even when we were away.  I'm really happy with that.  It is about the best result so far.  It's just a pity there isn't more to show for it.

15 minutes day/week = 7/7
15 minutes day/May = 28/28
15 minuets day/2023 = 137/148
Success rate = 92.57%

I'm really happy with that.  I'm sure I can maintain it for the rest of the month., being a whole three days.

One final thing I have to share.  I know I definitely don’t need another new start, but what the heck.
This is my fabric pull for the Spring Mystery Quilt by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts.  It all starts on 31 May.  You can get all the details on her blog and youtube channel.  I made her mystery quilt in 2021 and it was a lot of fun.  Edyta gives such clear and detailed instructions.  Her colours are always terrific and I have pretty much followed her suggestions this time, but all the fabrics are from my stash.  This year is a little different to her previous mysteries, as there is a little appliqué and some hexies.  Also, unlike the previous ones, not long after the final section is revealed, she is going to take down the posts, so it is important to download them straight away.

Now that life seems to be settling down a bit i will try to be more regular with my updates.

Friday 26 May 2023

A Garden Update

There have been lots of bits and bobs going on in the last couple of months that I haven’t had a chance to blog about.  One of those things is the garden.  Autumn is one of the best times to get things done.  Mick really enjoys spending time gardening, now that he doesn’t have to go to work.
Firstly, at the beginning of April, our street trees started change to their autumn colours.  They have grown so much in the seven years we have been here.  They tend to lose their leaves very early in the season.
I bought a Jacobean Lily bulb a while ago, as Mum always had one growing in her garden.  It was just popped into a pot and forgotten about. I was delighted to see it in full bloom.  They are rather striking.
As most of the back garden is settling in for winter, the climbing rose provided a cheerful pop of colour.

A couple of years ago, Mick removed some overgrown shrubs from one section of the garden and since then one lonely strawberry plant has spread and spread until the whole area has been covered.  This provided loads of strawberries, but looks rather unruly.  We knew that something had to be done to both tidy it up and make the area more productive, either as a flower bed, or for veges.
Mick has put his thinking cap on and come up with a plan.  Firstly, to lay it out with sticks to see what it may look like.  There are two dwarf plum trees there and Chinese star jasmine to grow up the frames at the back.  The dahlias add a pop of colour in the autumn, but are now sadly, all finished once the frosts started.
In the corner there are two fiejoas.  They will screen the tank and provide lovely flowers for the small birds to visit.  Oh, and maybe some fruit.
Once he had the plan in place he used his metal working skills to fabricate some garden edges.  It’s handy having a tradie for a husband.
Then a trip to get some pine bark for the paths and it is all done.  It looks so different to what was there before.  We have elected to retain the brick garden edging that was already there, despite it being curved.  We will continue to grow strawberries under the bird bath and both fruit trees.  There are now onions planted under the mesh to the left and broad bean seed under the mesh at the right.  We have birds that love to either dig up or nip off new plants, so hopefully the mesh frames will protect them.  Ongoing, we should now be able to grow some corn and other larger crops that we haven’t been able to grow in our raised garden beds.  We’re really pleased with how it looks.  Mick has done a terrific job.
And here has a wider view of the back half of the back yard.  The raised garden beds and house are to the left of here.  The raspberry hedge is both sides of the arch.  After Mick lifted the matted plants last winter, they did not fruit this year.  We look forward to a crop once again next autumn.
While he was going and making garden edgings, he also made an edging for around the crab apple on our side lawn.  As it is a low spreading tree, it is always a pain to get the mower underneath.  Now it will be much simpler and still looks tidy.  There may be a garden planted underneath, but not just yet.
I always like to take a photo of the yard when we get our first frost.  This year that wasn’t until 6 May, which is rather late.  We won’t complain. As you can see, the vege beds are pretty empty.  There are just a few onions and we have planted some beetroot.  The spinach is the only productive plant at the moment.

Once we returned from our latest jaunt to Lake Cargelligo, Mick was itching to do even more in the garden.  The garden along the back fence, that you can see in the above photo is also looking rather untidy and straggly.  
We have already removed an overgrown grevillea and the remaining shrubs are splitting, due to the heavy rain last year.  We have been waiting for them to finish flowering before removing them.
Here is what it looked like a couple of weeks ago.  We were pleased to notice that there were actually new shoots growing from the base of the two shrubs on the right, a pittosporum and a red bottle brush.  Mick had already cut some of the apricot bottle brush back and it was already shooting, so the decision was not to totally remove the plants, but give them a really sever cut back and see what happens.

I didn’t get a photo, but there was a huge pile of prunings.  By chopping them small and borrowing green bins from two of our neighbours, he was able to get them all collected without having to make a trip to the tip.
It looks rather bare right now, but hopefully, in spring they will start to take off. 
In the meantime, I picked the remaining bottle brush flowers and we enjoyed them inside for a few days.

I’ll finish off with just a couple more photos.
Our Japanese wind flowers have been putting of a show and this was just before they were all frosted.
The first sign of the new season has already appeared.  Mick planted some mixed daffodils under the raspberries last year.  I was surprised to see this one already blooming, while most haven’t even appeared or are just sticking their first shoots out of the ground.

I hope you enjoyed your little walk around the garden.

Thursday 25 May 2023

Ford Falcon GT National Rally

This last weekend seemed to be vehicle focussed.  On Saturday we ventured to Mount Panorama to see the well turned out Ford GT Falcons.  The National Rally is held every second year and tends to come to Bathurst occasionally, as we are home to Australia’s most famous car racing track.  This year there were over 400 cars entered from all over Australia.
I must preface this by saying that I am a Holden girl, not a Ford girl.  Growing up in Bathurst as kids, we were probably more aware of car racing than some.  Back in the 60s and 70s I think most families had either a Holden or Ford in the garage, both makes being built in Australia.  There developed a real Holden v Ford rivalry within the Bathurst 1000 car race.  My parents couldn’t care less about racing, but we just happened to own Holdens.  Hence, I’m a Holden girl.  What about Mick?  He couldn’t care less and his family has owned both makes over the years.

The rally had a Concours d’Elegance event on Saturday that was open to the public.  Of course we had to go and have a look.
Most Ford owners just had a stock standard Falcon car, station wagon, ute or panel van.  GT Falcons were the performance vehicles.  The first GT was the XR, which commenced production in 1967.  It appears that gold was the main colour, going on those in the display.  Note the round tail lights.  This was followed by the XT, which had a simply appearance.
Next came along the XW and XY, commencing production in 1969.  These are the most recognisable and the most collectable. Note the squarer shape and tail lights.  This white one was the last made of its particular model.
We got chatting to the owner of this car.  He has only owned it for a few years, but had been trying to buy it for the previous 40 years from his old boss.  It is in original unrestored condition and is his pride and joy.
Mick likes orange, so thought he would like to take this one home.  The only problem is that he doesn’t have a few hundred thousand dollars sitting around,  Yes, they bring huge money, with the rarer examples reaching into the millions.
This particular car participated in the London to Sydney race in 1968 and came 6th. What a beast. There were three Falcons and they won the team event.

The next models had another change of shape, being the XA and XB.  These were manufactured from 1972 to 1976.  Mick has owned an XB ute and panel van in the past, but just the standard version.
These came as a four door Sedan.
Or a two door coupe.  The colours are very 1970s, aren’t they.  I was surprised that there weren’t any of the Cobra versions of the coupe on show.  They were white with a blue stripe over the roof and rather collectable, even when they came out.  One of my classmate’s parents had one.
There have been more recent versions manufactured from 1992 to 1997 and then again from 2003. This orange one won the event two years ago.  The judges were busy appraising it when we wandered past and Mick asked what they looked for.  Mainly it is cleanliness and keeping them in top condition.  They are really anal in their inspections.  Apparently they go through the engine bay very thoroughly.  We saw another group of judges assessing another car and they were lying on their backs looking at the underneath of the vehicle, noting that there were a couple of marks under there.  Way too particular for us.
When they started the more recent runs of GT Falcons they resurrected the Cobra colours and there were a couple of examples of those on display.

Ford no longer make vehicles in Australia, with the final Ford Falcon rolling off the production line in 2016.  The last Falcon GT was manufactured in 2014.

Although cars like this don’t particularly interest me, it was great to see a display of such collectable vehicles and such passionate owners.  We are very lucky to have Mt Panorama on our doorstep, which attracts such events.

Wednesday 24 May 2023

The Things You Find

While I was packing away things from Scrub Stitchin’ I came across something rather special that came home with me.

One of the original Scrubbers, Diddles, passed away a few years ago and her stash has been shared at Scrub Stitchin’ over the last couple of years.  This year there were smocking items, which were used in a very creative way, and some threads.  In amongst those threads I found two that I was happy to bring home.
If you look closely, you will see that they are hand dyed silk threads from Gumnut Yarns. So, what’s the big deal?  Well, we purchased our current home from the lady that creates Gumnut Yarns.  My sewing room was her work room.  Those yarns would have been hand dyed in my laundry and packaged in my sewing room.  They have now come home to roost.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy.