Saturday, 30 May 2015

Last Week of Green

This year, the colour of the month for May in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge that Angela runs has been green.

Somehow, May whizzed past me in a blur.  For starters we didn't get back from overseas until the 5th.  Being away for a month meant a huge backlog of "stuff" that needed attention, and then last weekend I went on retreat. 

Nevertheless, I have managed to keep up with the challenge this month.  Firstly I made a handful of green Twinkler Stars the day before I left for the retreat, and made the rest last night.

 
While on the retreat, I got stuck into chain piecing my Bow Tie blocks one evening.  I had prepped them before I left, so it was easy peasy.

 
They came together quickly, and soon there were 15.

 
Looking at these photos has made me realise that the blocks are all pretty dark.  I am hoping that in the end when I put them all together, they will blend into the other rainbow colours and won't look too dull.
 
Also while on retreat, I put together the scrappy 25 patch blocks I made for the RSC last year.  Here it is ready to sew together.
 
 
I wanted to make it up in a 3 x 4 layout, so I had to make 2 extra blocks.  The extra ones are the pale blue top left and the pale pink third row middle. 
 
I got most of it done at the retreat - just 2 borders to sew on and I can show the completed top.  It will go with me on Thursday next week to Stitching Hearts, and is destined for Ronald McDonald House.  It will be the first time in 2 months that I've been to Stitching Hearts so I'm really looking forward to going.
 
Linking this post up to the link party at SoScrappy.  Why not pop over and see what other green goodies people have made this week.
 
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Germany - Final Part.

Its so long since we got back, that I feel bit of a fraud posting this, but the last couple of weeks have been an absolute whirlwind, and there has been virtually no time to blog.  Please feel free to skip this post if you are bored with travel posts.

Day two of sight seeing in Hamburg saw us start off at the St Michaelis (St Michael's Church).  This has been rebuilt 3 times since 1641 - it was struck by lightning in 1750; completely destroyed by a fire in 1906; and again in the bombings of WWII.  At 10 o'clock each day there is a bells & trumpet show from the bell tower, which we happened upon quite by accident.  It was pretty spectacular.  So glad we got to hear that, but I bet you'd get sick of it if you lived nearby and had to listen to it each day.
 
 
Down an alleyway nearby, was the Krameramstwohnungen (don't ask me to pronounce that LOL).  These are the remnants of some buildings built in 1620 as housing for the widows of members of the Grocers’ Institute.  They are tiny - basically one room on the lower floor, rickety stairs, and one room above.



 
From here we headed for the waterfront, and jumped on a ferry for a ride up the river.  A nice man took our photo when he saw me trying to get a selfie.
  
 
Hamburg is a port city, so not much in the way of pretty sights.  But I did spy this.  Can you see the lips painted on the prow of this cruise ship?

 
It was a cold, bleak day, so we headed home pretty early.  We were flying out the next day, but not til late in the evening, so we headed out for another day sightseeing.  We started out in a park called the Planten un Blomen.  It is crossed by several roads and runs all the way to the waterfront.
 
Behind the flower display is a rink for roller blades, skateboards and roller skates.  In the middle is the Museum, and there are loads of lovely spots just to sit and contemplate.  There is also a large lake which freezes over for ice skating in winter, and a huge playground for kids.
 
There are some interesting cascades and fountains.....
 
And a towering statue of Bismark.
 
 
This is the waterfront

 
Where there was a whole band of street entertainment.

 
Can you see the gold man - he is sitting on nothing, just thin air.  What leg muscles!!!  And those monster soap bubbles bottom left.
 
We walked the St Pauli Elbe Tunnel - a tunnel built in 1911 under the Elbe River to carry cars and pedestrians to and from the port.  You can read a bit more about it here.

 
There are huge lifts which carry vehicles down to the tunnel, and although it is still used today, the vehicular capacity is quite limited, and there are several bridges to use instead.  This is the Hamburg waterfront from the other side.

 
And that dear peeps was the end of that trip.  Thank you for sticking with me.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Germany

After 4 days in London, I flew to Hamburg, Germany.  My paternal family is from there, so I wanted to see where they came from, and also do a bit of research at the archive.  And yes.  I did score a few goodies in the archive.  Yay!

The Dearly Beloved joined me 2 days later, and we had a few days of sightseeing.  We stayed in a nice apartment in Wandsbek. We were on the first floor above the red car.


Until the Second Schleswig War in 1864, Wandsbek was a part of the Duchy of Holstein and under the rule of the King of Denmark.  It then became part of the Prussian province Schleswig-Holstein until 1937, when the city of Wandsbek joined the city of Hamburg.  It is about 6 or 7 km out of the Hamburg CBD.

The weather was much colder than in England, and I was very glad to have my woollies.  Although the sun shone sometimes, there were many clouds, and it was always cold.  This was from our window - sunshine overhead and darkest, blackest clouds just meters away.

 
Wandsbek has a weekly Farmers Market which operates 6 (??) days a week.  LOL. 
 
A wonderful array of plants, fruit and vegetables, and meat and and just look at that display of cheeses. I would love to shop like that on a regular basis.

There is a pretty little stream running through the town, a tributary of the Wandse River.

 
Hamburg is an old city.  A castle was built there in 808AD by the Emperor Charlemagne.  However a major fire in 1842 destroyed most of the city and the bombing of World War II finishing off what survived the fire, which means that there are few buildings of any age.

Our first stop was the Rathaus, or Town Hall if you don't speak German. 

 
The city is built on a bazillion canals, some of which have locks. 

 
We watched this boat come through one of the locks, close by the Rathaus

 
There are quite a few Lutheran pastors in my ancestry.  Most of which were pastors at the St Nikolai Church, originally built in 1135.  It was destroyed by the fire in 1842, and rebuilt with the spire completed in 1874.  This is a photo taken at the time of its completion.

 
Sadly, this (and the spire) is all that remains after the bombings of WWII.

 
The spire was bombed too, and is a ruin surrounded by scaffolding.  We went up it, but with the bad weather and the scaffolding, there was virtually nothing to see.
 
This is the other church which features largely in my ancestors' lives; St Petri (St Peters).  This church was also destroyed by the fire of 1842, and rebuilt 1844-49 on the same site.

 
These two imposing statues were on either side of the Trostbruecke Bridge over one of the canals.
 
 
St Angsar, Hamburg's archbishop (801 – 865AD) on the left and Adolf III of Holstein (1160 – 1225) on the right.
 
In the warehouse district the buildings are right on the canals.
 
 
I always wonder if buildings like this are damp.  And look at these interesting turrets and towers and carvings.

 
We were puzzled by these padlocks on the Wilhelminen Bruecke (Bridge) down in the warehouse district of Hamburg.  Having taken this photograph, I realised that many of the bridges in Hamburg were festooned with these padlocks. 


A search on the Net when we got home revealed that these are love locks or love padlocks which sweethearts lock to a bridge, fence, gate, or similar public fixture to symbolize their love.  Typically the sweethearts' names or initials are inscribed on the padlock, and its key is thrown away to symbolize unbreakable love.

Hamburg is the major entry point for hand woven carpets into Europe.  The other interesting thing about this bridge is the thousands of pieces of coloured stone reproducing the design of a Persian carpet.  Can you see it in the photo?

Here are some interesting modern buildings I spied in my rambles.
 

On the left is the circular Cosco building; in the middle is a Docklands Office Building; and on the right are the Dancing Towers, on the Reeperbahn. 

Now I have to crow.  I had no idea what two of these were, and I found out be Googling the image.  You upload the image and search.  Hey presto!  Some suggestions are returned.  Totally blown away by this.

I have one more travel post to do.  Hope you aren't all bored to tears by these posts. 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

WIP on My Hand Sewing Projects

I thought it was time I shared with you my progress on the hand sewing projects I took with me on my recent trip overseas.  I first talked about them here.
 
I had little time to sew while I was away.  By the time evening came around and I could sit down most nights I was exhausted.  However, I did get the applique done on these little jobs. 
 
 
These hexagons are quilt as you go, so the next job is to put the backing on them, and then they will be 5 little coasters for my daughter to add to those I have already made for her.
 
The other item I took was the nightmare cross stitch kit.  This is not even weave linen, and the colour of the vine around the outside is very light so it blends with the background fabric.  It has been very difficult to stitch.   

 
I am close to finishing the embroidery, then I will need to make it up into a little pillow, the makings of which are part of the kit I bought.
 
Linking this post up with WIP at Freshly Pieced when the link goes up.
 
 
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

One Lovely Blog Award

A few days before we left Europe to come home, I was surprised to hear from Christine, who blogs at Patchwork Allsorts, that she was nominating me for the "One Lovely Blog Award".    She always comments on my blog posts, even the ratty ones, and always has something nice to say.  Thank you Christine, that was so sweet of you to nominate me.




The purpose of this award is for bloggers to nominate fellow, mostly newer, bloggers that they wish to recognize. The goal is to bring attention to blogs that we think are 'lovely' and enjoy reading.  We hope others will enjoy reading these blogs also.

In order to accept the award the nominated blogger must:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers for the award.
Here are my seven facts:

1.  I have been crafting since I was very young, starting with doll's clothes, then sewing clothing and knitting for myself.  I also learnt embroidery at school, which I loathed.  Since then I have sewn clothes for family and friends, curtains, and other soft furnishings.  Nowadays I tend to stick to patchwork, sometimes a bit of embroidery and almost exclusively for charity.

Some of the charity quilts I have made in the last 12 months

2.  I have always wanted to travel.  When I was a child and people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, the answer from a very early age was "travel".  So there must be some gypsy in my genes somewhere. 


I have just returned home from a month in the UK and Germany.



3.  I am really interested in family history, and have traced mine way back to beyond the early 1700s. 


Meet my great great great grandmother, Maria Ivanovna Scheele nee des Fontaines, who was born in 1800 in Archangel, Russia.  This is the oldest image I own of a direct ancestor,


I do research at the Mitchell Library (main state library) into early Australian History for an on-line database called the Biographical Database of Australia (BDA), and I have been involved with that organisation since its earliest stages.  Almost all of my trips interstate and overseas involve a visit to an archive, and the current one is no exception.

4.  My Dearly Beloved and I have one adult daughter, a son-in-law, three beautiful grand daughters and a 7 month old foster grand son.  This is my family and the reason for my existence.  We also have a beloved feline fur baby, called Tibby.



5.  I have taught my daughter and all three grand daughters to sew.  Love to help them create and I encourage them as much as I can.  Love it when they "shop my stash" or ask if they can come over to sew.


6.  I grew up dual language, and speak, read and write Russian.  Sadly, no longer very fluently as I don't get to use it these days.

7.  I worked in the computer industry for 25 years, mostly as a consultant, and specialised in testing software for medium to large companies.  Loved it.  I have been retired now for 12 years.

Now for the fun part.  I have chosen some of my favourite blogs for you to visit.  I have a rather long blog list, so please don't be offended if I have omitted yours - its only because it was really hard to choose.  They are in no particular order.

 
 
 
 
 
Christine at MacDonald's Patch
 
 
 
 
 
Now if you have enjoyed this post, please pop on over to some, or better still, all of these blogs and introduce yourself.

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

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Saying Hello to Green

We got home from Germany on Tuesday and I finally got to sit at my machine on Thursday afternoon for the first time in 5 weeks.  Yay!

I decided to do some blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Green is the colour of the month for the month of May, so I chose to do the Crossroads Block.


I used all dark greens in this block.  That way, if I need to make an extra block or two I can make a light green one and they will look different.

Flushed with success, I made a purple Crossroads block.  It was the only RSC block which I didn't manage to make last month before we left for overseas.

 
In this photo, all the fabrics have a distinctly blue tinge.  They are however, very purple, and the light squares are white.

Yesterday was my morning at Friday Quilters.  With dozens of things that I could have done, I needed to pick up something that didn't need planning to take with me.  So I grabbed these fabrics and made up 2 laundry bags for Aussie Hero Quilts.

 
They came together quickly because I had done all the prep work.  This lot look blue as well!  You probably can't see it very well, but the one on the left has hundreds of little black skeletons on a yellow gold background.  I worried a little with these as the cord channel and the surround on the name block are purple on both bags.  I hope they aren't seen as too feminine, but they are a good match for the main fabrics and pick out an existing colour in both bags.

Linking up with Angela at SoScrappy for the RSC linky party.  Why not go and take a look at what the others have created this week?

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

Sunday, 3 May 2015

London - The Tower of London & the Tower Bridge

On my next day of sightseeing in London I chose to visit the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.  I had been to both before, but decades ago, and to be honest, I couldn't remember much.

It was another glorious day.  Stepping out from the tube, directly in front of me was the imposing fa├žade of Trinity House.

 
 
Directly behind me as I am taking this photo, is a memorial to the men in the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who died in the two world wars.

On the left, the walls of this pavilion are covered with plaques with the names of 12,00 men, while on the right in the sunken garden the plaques commemorate 24,000 men, including 50 Australians.  The numbers are huge and when you look at the plaques it sinks in just how many died in the two conflicts.

Crossing the road, you come to the Tower.  Here is the bridge across the moat.

 
Yep.  They are all waiting to go in.
 
I decided to join a tour led by a Beefeater.  Here are two of them at the end of the tour.  Just look at that splendid uniform!  But gee it must be hot in summer.
 
 
 
Our tour guide told us that you had to have completed at least 22 years in the Army before being accepted to train as a Beefeater.  So no young things allowed.  LOL
 
The Tower is actually not just one building but a conglomerate of many, and all of them from different eras.  This little group of Tudor buildings caught my eye.

 
In front of them is a marker to commemorate the spot where the gallows were originally located.  Its where Henry VIII's wives met their fate as did many others.

 
Very difficult to see in the photo, but around the rim are the names of the more famous people beheaded here.  You might make a few out if you click on the photo to see the enlargement.
 
On either side of the entrance to the building which houses the Crown Jewels is a Queen's Guard.  This one was cute (and young too!  LOL), not that you can see much of him under that hat.
 
 
 And this is as close as you'll get to seeing the Crown Jewels unless you go to the Tower yourself.  No photos allowed.

 
I liked this view.  The Tower Bridge looming over the Tower Wall, and in front is a portion of the late 1230s defences built by Henry III, called the Coldharbour Gate.  I've also squeezed in the lovely lamps which are everywhere.  The people on the stairs on the bottom left are going into the White Tower, originally built by William the Conqueror as the keep.

 
And this is the Traitor's Gate.

 
Leaving the Tower, I wandered along the banks of the Thames to the Tower Bridge which you can see behind me.

 
As I started across the bridge, there was a ear splitting wail which sort of confused me, and next thing there was a gate being shut in front of my nose.  How lucky was I to be actually the first person at the gate when the bridge went up?  Thirty seconds earlier and I would have missed this sight.

 
Crossing the bridge, I walked along the river bank towards the tube station to head home.  Here is the Tower from the other side of the river.

 
And then I came across these two buildings on opposites sides of the street.

 
That is the Shipwright's Arms pub on the left and the complete opposite, a modern glass building, the City Hall.  What a contrast.  But that is SO London!
 
The following day was my last full day in London, and I had lunch with some cousins at their home.  Lovely to see them.   And then it was off to Germany.......