Sunday 31 March 2024

The Rest of March

We are now well into autumn and are still experiencing rather warm weather for this part of the world, with most days being in the mid to high 20s C.  We aren’t complaining, as it has been lovely to sit on the back verandah or be out and about.

The other morning we were treated to a pretty spider’s web in the back yard.  It didn’t stay this way for very long and later in the day I noticed that a bee had been captured in its clutches.

Despite the warm days, the mornings are starting to be cooler and we have had our first couple of foggy mornings.  That is a sign of things to come, as Bathurst is renowned for its pea souper fogs.  At the moment they are still rather atmospheric and disappear quickly.

Our street trees are starting to change colour.  Some further down the street are already fully yellow and losing most of their leaves.  It is funny how the same species of tree varies in the rate of the colouring.

We had a nice outing Saturday a week ago.  Our local visitors centre and council coordinate the “Autumn Colours” program of events.  Many are heritage related and we like to join in on something each year.  This time we took part in a historic walking tour of the village of Rockley.  It is out towards where Mick grew up and he knows the area very well, but thought it would be interesting to learn more of the history.

The tour started in the early afternoon, so we decided to partake in lunch at the Rockley Pub, now owned by the chef Matt Moran.  

Our lunch was delicious.

I’ll just share a little bit about the village.

The war memorial features a clock that has an inscription under it which doesn’t make much sense.
It turns out that it was originally positioned on the wall of the original Abercrombie Shire Council chambers, which is now a private residence.

“Calais Villa” has an interesting history.  It was built in the 1880s by one of the prominent early settlers, William Brownlow.  He was a Nottingham lacemaker who had moved to Calais in France and married Sophia over there.  In the mid 1800s the French Revolution made it difficult for foreign lacemakers, so many returned to England, but there were also problems there, so a large number were offered free passage to Australia, but had to make the commitment that they would not use there trade over here, which is rather sad.  Anyway, he went on to be a very successful farmer.  Their house has a beautiful garden that we have visited a couple of years ago during Rockley’s open garden weekend. 
You can read about it in more detail here.

Both the churches were designed by Edward Gell, a well known colonial architect.
The Anglican Church is a lovely building and had beautiful windows.
We weren’t able to enter the Catholic Church, but it is another lovely building.

The old post office building is also now a private residence.  The manual telephone exchange was housed here and we both remember having to speak with the operator to connect to people out that way on the phone.

The School of Arts hall has recently been upgraded to meet modern standards. Built in 1890, it was the first commission of early Bathurst architect John Job Coleman, at the age of 20.

The tour finished with a delicious afternoon tea at the museum, housed in the original flour mill building.  It capped off a very enjoyable afternoon, hosted by the lovely ladies of the museum.

We took the scenic route home, which is always something we like to do.  We really are blessed to have such a labyrinth of quiet country roads in the area. By the time we arrived home we were driving through some nice rain and ended up receiving just over an inch of gentle rain overnight.

I had a very social time that weekend, travelling out to Oberon on the following day to catch up with a good friend for lunch.  

I have to share a photo of the chocolate mousse we treated ourselves to.  Isn’t the presentation perfect.  It tasted pretty good too.

Yesterday, we actually went for a motorcycle ride.  The Vintage Club from Sydney hold a week long rally in Bathurst each year in the week leading up to Easter.  We often join in on the Good Friday ride to Oberon.  Yes, back to Oberon.  I have been out there four times in the last two months.

Sadly, we had a little off on the bike.  We overshot a turn and when attempting to do a u-turn, at no speed at all, Mick lost his footing and we toppled over.  The only damage to the bike was a broken brake lever, but while lifting the bike Mick tweaked his back just a little.  Not too bad, but enough for him to decide that we will not ride a solo bike two up any more. So, an end to an era after many thousands of miles travelled together on Sophia.  

From now on, when we go together, which is most of the time, we will take Olga the old girl BMW sidecar and Mick will keep Sophia for riding on his own.

We still completed the ride yesterday and still both love being on the bike.

On a happier note, today is Easter Sunday and our neighbours over the road have their three young granddaughters visiting.  Mick drew a little map of our front yard and we gave each of them an individual treasure map to find one of the Easter rabbit bags I made full of chocolate.  It was a bit of fun.

It appeared that our Easter egg collection on the dining table had been breeding like rabbits before we filled the bags.

Happy Easter.

Saturday 30 March 2024

One Monthly Goal - Another Ta Da - Moda Love Completed

The thing with One Monthly Goal is that I can generally leave it till towards the end of the month to get it finished before the cut off…… long as nothing untoward crops up.  Fortunately, nothing did this month and I have another completed quilt to report. That’s three for the month, which is a good feeling.

This is yet another UFO, but a relatively new one, being pieced at Scrub Stitchin’ last year.

Having kitted it up before the retreat, I had the centre section pieced on the Wednesday that we arrived.

The next round was pieced by lunch on the following day.

Then it was time to play on the design bed in the caravan to set out the final round.

I had that section pieced by the end of that day.  And that is as far as it got at the retreat, as I came down with the dreaded COVID.  Blast!

I added the final grey border once I returned home and that is how it has sat for the best part of twelve months, as I still wasn’t all that confident to quilt such a large quilt on Monique.

The wish to take the completed quilt for show and tell this year was the push I needed to finally quilt  and bind it.   I love it!   It is such a dramatic quilt and rather different to my usual style, whatever that is.

I used the “Scrollworks” pantograph with a dark grey thread, so that it just provided texture without detracting from the bright fabrics and am really happy with how it has turned out. It has finished at 76 inches square.

I’m linking up over at Stories From the Sewing Room.  Pop over and see what the other ladies have been working on.

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Finally Finished

 It all started back in 2013 when Chooky and I went shopping at Spotlight.  You can read about it here and here.  The plan was to each make a Twister quilt from the fabrics, as we both had the ruler.  However, life got in the way, then one or other, or both of us couldn’t locate our pile of fabric. 

Anyway, in early 2022 we both knew where our fabrics were, so decided to make the quilt tops at Scrub Stitchin’ that year.

You can read about that here and here.

The centre of the quilt top was as far as I got on that retreat.  As I was getting ready for retirement and our three months on the road it was put away until another day.

I finally added the borders in February 2023 and once again it was put away.  This time the reason was that it is rather large and I wasn’t game to quilt it myself, as I had only quilted my first cot quilt on Monique the month before.

I am on another big push this year to finally complete several of my UFOs and the Twister quilt was high on that list.  It is rather big, but I am now confident enough to tackle it and I really like the pantograph I used.  It is a nice flowing design. I finished the quilting  a week and a half ago and attached the binding by machine.  At least I had previously prepared the binding, all ready to go.

Over the last week I have gradually hand stitched down the binding, finally completing it today at my patchwork group. We have had some lovely weather, so it was nice to sit and stitch some of it sitting in the sun on the back verandah.

I’m so pleased to have finally completed this quilt.  It has only taken ten and a half years from when the fabric was purchased.  You can’t rush these things. Now onto the next UFO.

Thursday 21 March 2024

The Third Week of March

Yesterday was the March Equinox, so in my opinion, autumn has now commenced, and the weather has confirmed that.  Our temperatures have dropped to the low to mid 20s C with minimums now dipping below 10 C. I have noticed that some trees are starting to get a tinge of yellow, orange and red.  We are now entering what I consider to be one of the nicest times of the year.  

It has been another busy week, starting on Friday.  I missed Stitch and Chat, due to helping set up the church fete.  However, I still caught up with some of the stitching ladies for lunch.  You see, quite a few of them adjourn for lunch after our morning stitching and are currently working their way down one of the streets in town, trying each of the eating establishments.  On Friday they were going to the flashest restaurant in the street.  There were just five of us, but we enjoyed a delicious lunch special of grilled barramundi and salad, together with a nice glass of wine, and all for about the same price that we would have paid at a pub.  A rather nice treat.

On Saturday, Mick and I both helped out at the church fete, which was very successful. (I’ve borrowed this photo from one of the other ladies.)  I was working on the white elephant stall there in the middle of the hall.

Saturday also saw Chookyblue host another of her Zoom days.  I was able to join in briefly in the early morning and then again once I returned home from the fete.  I felt rather happy at the end of the day, as I had completed my final spiked granny square, making that 30 squares completed.

I also stitched down the final half dresden plates on the border of the Blue Quilt.  It always feels good to finish a section of a project. That is the final border prepared.  Now to get it attached, but that is a job for another month.

I went on a bit of a nostalgia trip at the fete when I saw an old, somewhat ratty, version of the board game Battleship for sale for $2.  I used to enjoy playing this in the library at school in my late primary school years.  Mick has never played it, and I’ve never played it since then.  Despite the box being ratty, the game itself was in great nick and all there.  We had fun playing it on Saturday night.  Hopefully, we will play it again, but if not, we had more than $2 worth of fun on that night.

It started to rain late on Saturday, and by Sunday morning we had received 16mm, which was very welcome.  It meant that Sunday was a very grey day and quite cool.

On Sunday we stewed our motley crew of tomatoes, such that they were.  They were big, small, red and yellow.  Once stewed, they were blended and some were used to make soup that night with the remainder frozen for later use. It was the first pot of soup for the year and rather suitable, considering the weather.

I have finished quilting my quilt and added the binding by machine.  No photo yet, but it is the Twister Quilt I stitched at Scrub Stitchin’ two years ago. It isn’t finished, as I have only made a small start on hand stitching the binding down.  I’m kicking myself that I didn’t do it all by machine, as this is a rather large quilt, coming in at 77” x 86”.  I’m taking it to Stitching tomorrow to make some progress.  I’d like to have it completed by the end of the month, but won’t stress too much if it doesn’t happen.

I once again used the Plumeria pantograph, with a light pink thread, which suited it well.

Now that St Patrick’s Day has passed, it was time to put away the leprechauns and bring  out some Easter decorations.  This didn’t happen last year, as there was far too much else going on.  Firstly, the little shelf in the kitchen.

Next, the mantle piece with the vintage rabbit moulds.  Everything here has been collected at various op shops, white elephant stalls and the like.

Last year on the way to Scrub Stitchin’ I found this sweet little couple at the op shop at Coonabarabran.

I seem to have accumulated a nice little collection of  vintage egg cups, so they come out at this time of year.  I was running out of display places, so they are in the sewing room.  I made the calico rabbit wearing a straw hat at the back about 30 years ago and have just found it languishing in a box.  It’s nice to have it out again.

On the table we have far too many small eggs, but the bowls needed filling, didn’t they.  The eggs will be nice to nibble on over the next few weeks.

Now that all the granny squares are made, it is time to add a final round of cream before joining them together.  The cream tones down the bright colours nicely.  It doesn’t take long to do the round.  I’ll thread in the ends once they are all crocheted.  I have three balls of cream yarn that were in Mum’s and my stash.  However, they are all slightly different thicknesses.  I’m working with the middle one at the moment, but I’m sure there will not be enough for all the blocks, so will just go with what I can.  Hopefully, it will still work out.

Remember I was starting the Octagon and Square mystery project.  Well, it turned out to be a pincushion in a fabric tray.  Very sweet.  However, I don’t really have room for that in my sewing room.  As you know, it is already over filled.  So, I decided to just make the pincushion.  I made it yesterday and think it is rather cute.

The fabric was ideal for fussy cutting for this little project.

As well as being out and about and stitching I have read a couple of books.  That’s three for the month, rather unlike me.  

The first was “Blood on Snow” by  Jo Nesbo.  Mick enjoys reading this Scandinavian author, but I have never read any of them.  This was a very quick read and not too bad.  I read it in an afternoon.  Not one I’d rave over though.  Mick is currently reading it and says it is different to his other books.  

After recently reading “Scrublands” by Chris Hammer I was on the lookout for the sequel “Silver”.  The lady at one of the local op shops said she’d keep a lookout for it and I was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from her on Tuesday morning to advise she had a copy for me.  As I’ve said before, I’m a binge reader, so I had it read by Thursday morning.  I really enjoyed it, so I’m now on the lookout for “Trust”, the third book featuring the main characters.

Today, it was lovely to catch up for lunch with fellow Chookshed Stitcher, Jennifer of Bronze Wombat, as she and her hubby passed through town.  We had a very enjoyable time chatting about this, that and the other and the fellows found that they had quite a bit in common to chat about as well.  Hopefully, we will see them again in the future.

So that finishes another week.  As we only have a bit over a week left in the month I think it is about time that I started working on my One Monthly Goal of finishing my Moda Love Quilt.

Yes, I managed to stitch for at least 15 minutes each day.