Thursday, 28 August 2014

Mystery Stars is Quilted.

I finished off quilting Mystery Stars this afternoon and galloped outside with it to photograph it before the sun disappeared over the horizon.  So nice to see some sun after days of rain!

This quilt is a collaborative quilt made by a number of Aussie Hero sewers and I told you about it here.
I did lots of loop de loops on this with random stars.  Tried to get a star in the centre of each block, but it didn't always happen.

I used a rayon embroidery thread in royal blue in the needle and a dark grey in the bobbin, which blended quite well with the backing fabric.
I am getting better with the loopies.  Not showing you the dodgy ones LOL.

On the wording I did naïve outline around 1/4" out, and an occasional tiny star for interest.

I also quilted the recipient's name into the quilt, but I am not showing you that for privacy.  I generally do that when I quilt one for AHQ to personalise it.
I have chosen a royal blue and black striped fabric for the binding, and will be making the binding on the bias so the stripe is on the diagonal.
As it is the first time I have quilted in ages, I thought it was appropriate to link in to Pretty Bobbins for I Quilt Thursday.  Take a peek at what others have done.

Do you follow Red Brolly?  I wanted to share with you that there have been a couple of great posts lately, full of information.  The first was on how to store quilts and the other was on preparing fabric for embroidery.  Hope you find them interesting.

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

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Sewing for Aussie Heroes

Jan-Maree hosted another sewing day for Aussie Heroes at her house today.  There were three of us worker bees.  And boy did JM crack that whip!  LOL

Gail started off ironing quilts that need to be delivered to a long-arm quilter.  (If you check tonight's post on the AHQ blog, you will notice that this is the first quilt on that post.)

And then moved on to making laundry bags.
Robin and I were detailed onto making a pink elephant quilt.  We decided to go with a simple layout with scrappy squares.  Here it is on the design board.

And a strip with appliqued elephants.  Papa & Mama elephant with their naughty baby elephant who was refusing to go the right way.  I pieced the blocks while Robin did the applique. 

We then put a border on either side of the applique panel, and by home time the quilt was done.  Love it!

Here is a close up of the baby elephant and the cute border fabric; it has giraffes, elephants and rhinos on it.  Can you see them?

Jan-Maree made time in her hectic schedule to sew with us.  She was making a laundry bag.

And here it is finished...

If you haven't already visited the Aussie Heroes Quilts & Laundry Bags blog here, do take the time to have a look.  There's always heaps of inspiration there, and the thank you's from the troops will give you an idea of just why we do it.  If you feel like getting involved, there are loads of ways you can help - all the details, including contact information, are on the blog.
On the way home, I took time to stop and take a photo of the Triffid that has been flowering for several week on Avoca Drive.  Have you read the "Day of the Triffids" by John Wyndham?  I read it when I was 13 and had nightmares for weeks after!  LOL

To give some perspective, it is growing on top of the retaining wall which is well over 2 metres tall.  The Triffid towers up a further 2 meters.  You can see the wire fence behind it, which isn't even half way up the length of it. 
It started flowering with masses of tiny little yellow flowers at the base of that stalk, and I have watched it week by week as the flowers have crept up and up and now it is flowering on the very tip of that stalk. 

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

Saturday, 23 August 2014

First of the Light Greens

What with being away to Moree and a few other things, I haven't had a chance to play with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for weeks.  This month we are revisiting green, but this time it needs to be pale green or bright.

I remedied the issue this afternoon, and decided to tackle the Road to Tennessee block.  I love all the RSC blocks I am making, but on balance I think that this is my favourite.  This is what I came up with:

I couldn't believe how hard it was to find 16 different pale/bright greens!  I mean I have an obscene amount of scraps - everybody gives me theirs.  I ended up having to cut into some yardage to get the variety I needed, which really peeved me when I looked at all those bits and pieces of fabric I have. 
Getting much better at piecing this block - got all the seams ironed in the right direction this time.  'Bout time too, only 8 months into the challenge!  LOL.
To see what everyone else is getting up to with their greens, take a look at ScrapHappy Saturday.
Til next time.....Keep on stitching

Friday, 22 August 2014

Coolah Tops National Park

Its a week now since we returned from our trip, so I thought I had better get  a wriggle on and tell you about our little side trip to the Coolah Tops National Park.

We spent the last night of our little holiday at Coolah, central NSW, and about 4 hours north west of where we live.  The highlight of the drive between Coonabarabran and Coolah was seeing a couple of emus on the side of the road. 

The reason we chose to come home that way was so we could go to the National Park, which is about 30km from the village, and where we diverted in the morning.  The road up is a bit of a hairy scary drive on dirt with hair pin bends and steep, unfenced drops on one side and cliff face on the other.  The views are spectacular!

We decided to walk the Grass Tree track, which was only a short distance, and really only as much as we could achieve in the short time available.  The walk was beautiful.  Early morning, dappled sun and a lovely flat, grassy track.

There were a lot of birds serenading us as we walked.  But high in the trees, and I wasn't clever enough to spot many.  This one stayed still long enough to pose for a photo.  He was a long way up and I am pleased with the shot.

This is an adult Crimson Rosella.  If you wish to find out more about him, there is info here.
It wasn't long before we came upon first one, then a whole stand of Grass Trees (Xanthorrhoea glaucca).

Don't they look like someone's bad hair day?  LOL  I had never seen one in the wild, and here there were heaps of them in little groups and in various stages of development. 
According to the information boards, they are incredibly slow growing, and can go for years without seeming to grow at all.  Then within the space of a few weeks they throw a shoot up to 3m (9 feet) tall, which erupts into a spray of tiny little flowers.  They can live for up to 1000 years.  Yep.  Not a typo.  One thousand years!
Here is a baby, short enough that I could take a photo of the centre spike.
And here is one where some of the bark had broken away.  I assume that those funny spine like structures packed densely on the edges of the tree are the bases of old leaves.

Here is a close up of the spines

And a funny double sided one.  Definitely a bad hair day, but not mine!

Along the way, we spotted lots of this....

Scratchings with a little pile beside them, or in the centre of the path.  Some years ago, I had done a course on "Scats and Tracks", so I knew immediately that there were a lot of wombats around.  A sure enough I found a lair very close by....

That hole is roughly 18" to 24" wide.  Wombats are mostly nocturnal, so we didn't see any.  They are huggable looking little fat, squat animals who dig monumental burrows, and carry their young in a pouch.  Wiki has lots more info here.  Sadly, because they move slowly, they are often seen as road kill.

On the way out I noticed that the wattle has started to bloom.  A reminder that spring is just around the corner (and hay fever!).  But its so pretty.  Sweet little puffs of yellow all down the branches, and lovely feathery leaves.  Such a shame it causes runny noses, sneezes and itching.

We enjoyed that walk, and are determined to pay another visit to Coolah very soon.
From there, we reluctantly headed home, but stopped in Newcastle to have a cuppa with the Dearly Beloved's cousin.  We don't see them too often, so this seemed an opportune moment. 
When not stitchin'.....Keep on travellin'

Monday, 18 August 2014

The Mystery Quilt

A couple of weeks back, I put my hand up to make some blocks for an Aussie Hero Mystery Quilt, and I offered to put it together.  I put up a post about it here.
The brief was royal blue background, and stars made with a centre feature of sport or Australian theme.  The stars were made from the block of the month tutorial on the AHQ website (here) (towards the bottom of the page).  The last sewing day at Jan-Maree's I made up 5 blocks as there weren't sufficient sewers put up their hand to make a block.  The rest came in the post over the next few weeks.
Here are some of the contributions: 

Last week I laid it all out and got it sewn together.

I then took it on Friday to get it pinned for quilting.  Disaster!  It wasn't long enough.  We make Aussie Hero quilts at 72" long - some of them are big boys!
I had made the assumption that since I was getting the blocks, there would be sufficient sent to me for me to make the quilt.  Silly me.  Should have measured it eh?
So back home it came and I put my thinking cap on.  I decided to unpick the seam between the second and third rows and insert a 6.5" strip with an appliqued Aussie saying.  While thinking about this, I picked up an absolutely hilarious book called "Lost for Words" by Hugh Dunn, which is all about Aussie slang and sayings.  Totally distracted, I flicked through and read bits here and there, which is really the only way to read that book. It made me realise that we are losing our identity.  With all the immigrants here and the television shows from the US & UK, we are becoming less Aussie in the way we speak.   I try hard not to use a lot of Australianisms in this blog because I know a lot of my readers are from overseas, but reading it, I realise that in normal conversation I tend to use quite a bit of slang.  Not a bad thing I guess, we are Aussies! 
I have come up with this.

Tibby was most interested as I laid it out to photograph.  It was so hard to get the photos without her in it.  LOL  Didn't quite manage it here.

This afternoon I did some of the lettering using the buttonhole stitch on my machine.  Love that machine!!

With a  bit of luck I'll have it all done by Friday and the quilt sewn back up, so then I can take it to pin on the trestle tables.

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

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Moree to Coolah

On Monday morning we set off on our way home.  There are several ways to get to the Central Coast from Moree and we chose to go via Narrabri and Coolah, as we had not been to Coolah before and it sounded like a good idea.
Most of the country towns in NSW have nice little rest areas for drivers to stop.  Lots are by the river through the town.  Narrabri was no exception.  This was the lovely stop by the Namoi River, where it was a pleasure to get out and stretch the legs.
And here is the Namoi river itself.  Very peaceful.

There was a stand of bull rushes growing by the river.  They were so pretty with their fluffy, feathery seeds gently swaying in the breeze.

The next section, from Narrabri to Coonabarabran, was dead boring.  110km of straight road, through the Piliga Scrub with scrubby vegetation on both sides of the road.  Nothing interesting to distract you as you are driving.  Although we did see an emu in this section, there was no wildlife visible along the whole route, other than the road kill.  That is really something I noticed on this trip - just how much road kill is around.  I find that very distressing.  It has been so dry that the animals are out and about searching for food and water, and end up on the roads.
We stopped for lunch in Coonabarabran, and I decided to support the local economy.  I found Hi Fi Fabrics just off the main road, and what is a girl to do, but wander in with wallet at the ready??  LOL.  The shop was in a cavernous building, built around the late 1890s I should think, thick walls, and freezing cold when I went in!  But I bet it is a relief to walk into that store in summer time. 
I bought two pieces of novelty fabric - Spiderman and Star Wars.  I have earmarked those for laundry bags for Aussie Heroes.  Things like that seem to be very popular with the troops.

And a panel of galloping horses.  Also earmarked for Aussie Heroes, but a quilt this time.

Now for a funny.  In Australia there is a saying "beyond the Black Stump", which basically means way out beyond all civilisation.  On the way into Coolah, we came across this sign, which cracked me up.

Just a bit further on, there is a rest area called the Black Stump Rest Area.  Apparently this area is claiming the rights to the coining of the phrase, because of a document which shows land boundaries declared by Governor Darling in 1826, called the Nineteen Counties. These were in the areas where settlers were permitted to take up land. This boundary line passes through the centre of a property known as ‘Black Stump Run’. The local Aboriginal name for the area is ‘Weetalibah-Wallangan’, meaning, ‘the place where the fire went out and left a burnt stump’.   So now I can claim to have been "beyond the Black Stump"!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Hello Moree

We got to Tamworth on Thursday afternoon.  Lovely dinner with friends we met at a bridge congress in Forbes many years ago.  We see them around and about a few times each year.

Yesterday was another glorious day with miles upon miles of this

and this....

We drove through a section where the road was unfenced and there were cattle grazing on the side of the road, and wandering all over the road itself.  You can tell the townies, because they stop to take photos of the cattle on the road.  LOL

We stopped for a break at Bingara.  We'd been there before many years ago, to meet with friends of the Dearly Beloved who were living in Ashford at the time.  We met for a picnic in the pretty park beside the river, and had a chat while the kids played, then they went on home, and we kept going to our destination.

Dinner last night with the usual crew at the Tub Tim Thai in Moree.  Great food, good friends.  What more can a girl ask??

Didn't notice though, that the DB managed to absent himself from this photo!
Bridge today and tomorrow, so that will keep me quiet for a while.
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

On the Road

We are on the road to Moree. 

The country is SO dry!  Bit of a worry so early in the year.

Dinner with friends tonight in Tamworth.  So nice to catch up with them.

Back on the road again tomorrow......

Meantime, take a look at the fabulous quilts here.  The blog is for what appears to be a magazine called "Wonderful Moments", which is celebrating its' 10th anniversary.  It is in Russian, but that does not matter.  What I found interesting was that the quilts on display are quite different in style to what you see in Australia, and also the US.

See you soon.