Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Tambourine Mountain

On Monday we hired a car and drove out to Tambourine Mountain - an area of small villages, National Parks and stunning scenery.  It is roughly 40 minutes west of Broadbeach where we are staying.  The day was a bit gloomy, but we managed to stay dry.

There are a dozen or more fabulous places to visit, but we chose to start with a short walk in the MacDonald Rainforest in the centre of North Tambourine.

Huge trees...

With awesome buttress roots, which don't always manage to keep the tree upright.

We spied this plant on the forest floor.  I have seen plants whose leaves are spikes, and ones with spikes on the edges, but this one has spikes growing out of the leaves!  One way to protect yourself from predators.  But how would the flowers get pollinated? 

The Heritage Centre was across the road, but sadly only open on Sundays.  We skipped over the low fence and wandered around anyway.  The centre is a collection of old buildings, some brought from the surrounding country, and set up into a "village" atmosphere.  Internally they are furnished as they would have been by our pioneers.
This is the general store.
And an old petrol pump. 

Have you seen one of these?  I have.  One year when I was around 23-4 (that's ancient history.  LOL), we drove up to Queensland, and were diverted off the main road in northern NSW which was flooded, through some tiny hillside villages.  There was a pump like this in one village where we filled up.

This is an old wind mill for pumping water up.  You still see this type of wind mill all around the outback.  They are very efficient. 
This notice board was in front of the hall where the creative arts groups meet.  It caught my eye.  Isn't it lovely?
By this stage it was lunch time, and raining.  So we stopped at a cafĂ© in Curtis Falls and both of us had roast pumpkin soup.  Yummmm!  Mine came with Gluten Free bread.  The number of places serving GF products now is terrific. 
After lunch we headed for Cedar Creek Falls.  Not much water in the falls - there is a drought on here at the moment.

The Falls are actually a string of cascades and rock pools.  Very pretty.

As an afterthought we popped into the Glow Worm Cave before heading back to the coast.  First thing we saw was this fellow - an Eastern Water Dragon trying to get a bit of sun on a gloomy afternoon.  He wasn't perturbed by thumping great humans coming in close for a photo opportunity.

There is a lovely pond with a gazillion wild ducks.

And water lilies.

And more water dragons.  Baby ones this time.

No photos in the Glow Worm Cave - the flash is bad for them.  The cave is man made and the talk was very informative.  So glad we decided at the last minute to go visit this.  Apparently they are only found in Australia and New Zealand.  You can find out a bit more about the worms and their habitat here.  As we walked through the cave, in total darkness, following a red light, the glow worms were glowing all around, and particularly above us.  It looked all the world like the night sky.  Truly a spectacular sight.  We were even able to get right up to the worm on the walls.  The locate themselves into crevices, and built a little "veil" of silk thread which has droplets of sticky stuff on it to trap unsuspecting insects.  The veil is so pretty with the droplets backlit by the glowing of the worm.
That's all for now.

Monday, 24 February 2014


We flew into the Gold Coast on Saturday evening, and are staying in the Meriton at Broadbeach. 

The Gold Coast is a stretch of coastline about 25km long, which goes from Coolangatta at the extreme south very close to the NSW border, to Southport in the north.  It is roughly an hour to Brisbane from here.  Broadbeach to closer to the northern end and is a huge holiday destination.  The development hugs the coast, and is bounded to the west by part of the Great Dividing Range. (The Great Dividing Range runs along the eastern coastline all the way from the very northern tip of Queensland all the way down to the south of Victoria)

We come each year to play in the Gold Coast Bridge Congress.  It is huge - this year there are 196 teams in the Open section, besides which there are the Seniors, Intermediate, Restricted and Novice teams, which add another 227 teams.  Times that by 4 and you are talking over 1600 players!

We are in a high rise, on the 25th floor.  Stunning views in all directions.  This is Jupiter's Casino and the view west from our bedroom.

Scary looking down from the window - its a loooong way down to the ground! Surprisingly, the windows open.

Looking east from the balcony which opens out from our living area:

It was a fine day yesterday, but windy.  We wandered down to the beach, but the water was choppy and although the beach was not closed it had the "swim with caution" flags up.  I was not brave enough to go in.  This is the closest beach to us looking north.

and south....

Since the beach wasn't very nice to sit on because of the wind, we decided to walk along the beachfront path.  This path is a favourite for all, and runs quite a few kilometres.  Beach is to the left, just beyond the fence you can just make out.  On the right is a fabulous kids playground.  This one had a mock sandcastle complete with ramparts and crenelations, perfect for clambering on and make believe.

The next children's playground had this pedal train which ran on a rail.  That's yours truly helping a small companion whose legs were not quite long enough to reach the pedals.  Couldn't resist it, it was great fun!  They didn't make playgrounds like this when I was young.  We had to make do with a metal swing, a slippery slide, and an occasional round about.

On the way back I snapped a shot of the Meriton - the double towers in the back ground, dwarfed by these more modern high rises.

More when I get a chance.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

A Quick Pink Post

Its been a long day today.  We have spent 7 hours of it travelling - only one hour in the air, but getting to the airport and then hanging around for a couple of hours was a bit chunk of that.  But we have free Wifi in the hotel at Broadbeach, so I thought I would put together a quick post to show off my pinks.  I have posted about most of these before, but I thought I would recap on what I have done this month for the RSC.

First up there are 8 Road to Oklahoma blocks:

And one scrappy 25-patch block:
And 4 Road to Tennessee blocks:

And last of all 2 Jacob's Ladder blocks:

I initially envisaged putting the blocks together in solid blocks of colour, but on Friday I laid some of them out, mixing up the colours.  It looked terrific, so now I can't wait to see what they will look like when all the other colours are done.

I am linking this post up to the Rainbow Scrap challenge linky party at SoScrappy.  Do pop over to see what the others have done.  There are some great creations going on.

We have a free day tomorrow.  We are close to the beach, and to the shops, there might even be a long walk on the beachfront too.  Monday we are planning to hire a car and go inland to visit a National Park.  Then it will be 3 days of full on bridge.  More about that later.

Enjoy your weekend.

A Week in Review

This week has vanished at the speed of light, yet I can't really say that I have done much.

Monday was the Dearly Beloved's birthday, but we actually celebrated it on Sunday night.  The family came over and we had a good old Aussie roast lamb dinner, followed by a pavlova dessert/cake brought by my daughter.

It was a splendiferous Pavlova.  It was an absolute hoot, because the candle we put on it was a "singing" candle which played an appalling rendition of "Happy Birthday".  We all broke up into gales of laughter.
And now for a proud Grandma moment.  Here is the birthday card made by Miss10 - sketched, not traced.
I would also like you to meet "Evening in a Summer Garden Maze".  The weather has been dull and raining, so photo opportunities were few and far between this week.

There were lots of suggestions for a name:
Bouquet of Stars, Garden if Stars, Maze of Stars, Autumn Garden, Summer Garden Stars, Starry Garden, Spring Garden,  Midnight Garden, Evening Garden, Stars in the Garden, Starry Night, Evening Stars.
Thank you everyone who took the time to leave me a message.
I liked the word maze, which reminded me of the centre. Garden featured heavily and so did night/evening.  So I amalgamated several of these suggestions to make up "Summer Evening in a Garden Maze".
Border detail:
I made a huge mistake in this quilt.  I often used to use a lead pencil when marking applique designs, which generally works OK if you are following a pattern, but I modified this design heavily, so the pattern didn't really work, and I mad a big mistake in one of the corners.  Now I don't know if the pencil lines will come out in the wash. 
The outer border is the same green as in the centre.  Look how it blends with the foliage of the Pencil Pine.

The quilt originated as a class in 2008 with Karen Cunningham at my not so local LQS, Blueberries. I was a bit sick of creating quick, quick charity quilts and needed something with a bit of a challenge.  Here is a photo of Karen's sample quilt "English Autumn".

Gorgeous quilt!  But I wanted to use the fabrics in my stash, and my fabrics are all much darker than these.  So that was the first modification.  I soon realised that I had Buckleys of finishing a hand pieced queen sized quilt, so being practical, I made modification No. 2 - made it much smaller with the intention of having a single bed quilt.  That of course meant that none of Karen's pattern for the applique fitted, so then came modification No. 3 - realigning all the applique.  Then I made modification No. 4 - the outer pieced border.  And modification No. 5 is that I sewed the straight border on by machine.  So my end result is totally different from Karen's.  I do love the end result.  I am aiming to enter it into the Central Coast Quilt Show which is scheduled for the end of April.
A couple of weeks ago, while in town, I visited Tapestry Craft in York Street.  It was basically the first craft shop I ever went to some 35 years ago.  The business is now Morris & Sons, but the signage is still there.  It has an enormous range of knitting wool and embroidery supplies, and while there I was very tempted to buy a cross stitch.  I did resist though, as I knew I had at least one kit at home.  This last week, in ferreting through the dimmest darkest depths of the craft cupboard, I found this:
Isn't it sweet?  I can't remember buying it, so I probably didn't.  My daughter has made 2 of these, which are in my hallway, so perhaps she bought it?  It may also have been amongst one of the many donations I receive for the charity group.  But of course we can't use a cross stitch, so I would have kept it.  Who cares!  I have opened it and begun it. 
Not much there at present, but it will eventually join it's two mates in the hallway.
We are off in an hour or so for a week to Queensland to play in the Gold Coast Bridge Congress, which we do every year.  We have taken Tibby to the cat boarding kennel we use this morning.  Had to endure the most heart rending, soulful meowing you have ever heard!  It is NOT what you want to hear when you are taking your beloved animal to the boarding kennel!
Catch you in a week or so.  I may manage to do a blog post while we are away, but the week is usually pretty full on. 
So til then.....Keep on stitching

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Saturday Night In

I am so excited!  I have nearly completed my hand pieced quilt.  Not showing you the photos until it is done. 

Now I would like some help here.  The design began in a class with Karen Cunningham, and her name for the quilt is "English Autumn", by I have modified the design quite significantly, so I can't call it that.  My mind has been pondering what to call it.  Got any ideas?  Please leave a comment with your suggestions.  If you follow by email, you can always email me by clicking on the link in my profile. 

Here is a photo of the quilt a week or so back.  It now has a border of stars around it, echoing the centre medallion.

The last time I was at Stitching Hearts, we had a huge donation of stretchy fabrics.  (Have you taken a squiz at the Stitching Hearts blog?)  Our local Hobby Sew shop runs a monthly meeting where the ladies put together bandannas for cancer patients, so I took the stretchy fabric to them during the week.  They are always looking for donations. 
While I was at Hobby Sew I found this:

It is a tiny, rechargeable, bendy LED light, which, when folded up is about the size of 3 stacked up mobile phones.  It has 3 levels of brightness, and is super light - great for travelling.  So that had to come home with me.  No fabrics.  Wasn't I a good girl?
Yesterday, I put together the last of the blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for this month.  I will be leaving on Saturday and will be away for the whole for the last week of February, so I needed to get these done sooner rather than later. 
Here is the Road to Tennessee: 

And the Jacob's Ladder which I pieced at Friday Quilters. 

Fiona kindly pointed out that the 4-patches are supposed to have two dark, two light squares, and that the dark ones are supposed to follow up the ladder.  (Thanks Fiona!)  Well I didn't think of that did I?  Certainly didn't achieve it with the blue blocks, so I made an effort to set the pink ones in the right way.  Oh well.  My "Modified Jacob's Ladder" blocks will have to do, I am not unpicking them all. 
Also during the week, I started on the first of the blocks for the NewFO and Lets Book it challenges for this month.  I blogged about that in this post.  Here is what I have achieved so far.  64 x 3" blocks used.  Tick.

Why not go on over and take a look at what others are making for the RSC14?

But for now, back to the sewing machine to finish that quilt!

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Broken Dishes completed

Hello.  How is everyone this fine afternoon?  Hot and dry here.  We need rain desperately.  My poor garden is gasping and we have lost a few things.  All of them natives.

I took my Broken Dishes quilt top outside to photograph as it is quite hazy at the moment.  Couldn't do that if the sun was out as the colours would all be washed out.  You can see how bad the grass is in this photo.

It is difficult to see on the grass background, but the border I chose was a dark green fabric with a cabbage rose print.  I think I have just enough at a stretch to bind it in that too. 
I cut the very last strip for the border 1/4" too narrow.  So what does a girl do?  There was a strip that varied in width from 1/4" to 1/2" wide left over from that fabric, so I couldn't recut the last border strip.  I ended up skimping on the seam allowance on the narrow piece of border, and the other side of it is now 1/8" narrower than its' mates.  Oh well, the binding will hide that. 
I also wanted to show you the pink Road to Oklahoma blocks I have made for this months RSC.  I am so loving this block!  There are at least 3 designs in that block - squares, stars and "roads".

Tibby was very interested in the proceedings.  She wedged herself onto the Mondo grass, and observed me cavorting around trying to battle the breeze while taking photos, much to the consternation of the Noisy Miners.  They were dive bombing her and shrieking til I waved at them to leave her alone. 
"You aren't taking another photo Mum!"

"Nope.  Refuse to look up"

"I said I wasn't going to pose this time!"

"Oh. Won't you just Go. Away..."

I have been going through some more books for the Lets Book it Challenge at Vrooman's Quilts.  My choice for this month is from this book:

"Quick Colourful Quilts for Beds" by Rosemary Wilkinson.  I had great plans to make heaps of stuff when I bought the book, but guess what?  It has sat on my shelf for years!  This is the project I have chosen to do:
"Squares & Stars" designed by Alison Wood.  You can rest assured though that my quilt will look nothing like that.  I simply don't do 1930s Reproduction fabrics. 
Now I have bored you all witless with my descriptions of the humongous bag of scraps given to me by Jan-Maree who runs Aussie Hero Quilts.  If you are a new follower or have forgotten (we can't have you forget can we), I blogged about it here and here.  And, just in case you are interested; No, I haven't completely finished chopping those scraps.  Anyway.  There are a gazillion 3" squares, which I have been merrily using all over the place (such as in the quilt "The Colour Brown"), but there are still a gazillion and one hanging about.  So I plan to use the greens.  Here is the pile of green 3" squares.

Not sure what colour I will do the stars - possibly yellow, or perhaps purple.  I will do the sashing in white.   It will be a lap quilt for Stitching Hearts.  I will also use this quilt as my project for the NewFO challenge.
I am really enjoying these challenges.  They are directing my creativity along slightly more structured paths, they are making me think and plan before creating things and the deadlines are ensuring I stay focused.  And they are fun.
This afternoon I need to prep a new project I can do by hand.  We are off to Queensland for a week to play bridge in the Gold Coast Congress, and although it will be a busy week, there will be bits of down time, so I'd like to have something to work on.
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.