Sunday, 29 May 2016

Retreat 2016

Last weekend most of my Friday Quilters group (and a few friends too) set off for Lawson in the Blue Mountains.  We stayed at Kihilla, which is a beautiful 19th Century home, and perfect for our needs.

We had planned a challenge so everyone participating brought along a piece of fabric with the brief of "sand, sea, beach".  Here we are trying to decide how to group the fabrics. 

We split into 2 groups of 7 for this so we all chopped our fabrics and passed the bits on so everyone had a piece of fabric from everyone else in our group. And this is "it" partly made.  It will go to charity.

Unfortunately I didn't manage a photo of what every one was working on.  Sorry to those I missed!   There was such a huge variety, and such an inspiration!  However I did get some photos.
Di had been given a number of blocks by an aunt.  She had to finish a couple off, then she sashed them.

She got the top completed on the weekend.  The applique is stunning.

Evelyn got a couple of projects completed.  This is the first.

The fans are fussy cut and look fabulous.

Raelene was finishing off a couple of UFOs.  This one needed borders.

She framed the border with lace.  How cute!

Robyn was working on a Japanese quilt.  Its a completely original design.  The photo does not do justice to it - the work on the centre panel is very intricate.

She is planning to put dozens of tiny broderie perse flowers on the block on the right, on which she has appliqued the stems.
Fiona was making a Combi Van quilt.  It is such a fun pattern!

This is before she finished putting the top together.  She got the top done over the weekend.

And moved on to quilting this beauty.

Robin worked on this fabulous quilt.  There are a bazillion pieces in the centre panel and the outer borders.  She has fussy cut it all. 

And just look at these corner squares.

Jocelyn had to work on Friday so she was late getting there, but she still managed to get this quilt pinned and lots of the quilting done on it too.

Here is another of Evelyn's quilts.  This one is for Quilts of Hope, a charity which supports children and families living with cancer.  She was supplied with a number of blocks made by volunteers for the charity and had to put them together.

And here is another.  This one is for Stitching Hearts.

Here we all are, busy at work....

There is a lovely sunny corner where we have morning and afternoon tea.  Its a nice spot to do hand sewing too.
We were so lucky with the weather.  Glorious sunny days.  As you can see - most of us have tee shirts on.  Since then we have had a cold snap and I noticed that its only 9C at lunch time today.

Can you see the gardens behind us?  Off to the left side of this photo is a huge tree in glorious autumn tones, and a bank of lavender which you can just make out.  Behind that is a stunning view of the valley.

And what did I do??  I was working on my Scrap Dance Tango mystery quilt.
I was soooo behind on that!  I am now all caught up, but I plan to post about that next time.  If you'd like to take a look at the mystery, it is run by Carole at From My Carolina Home and you will find the link to the mystery there on her page.
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Revisiting Bow Ties

In the 2 weeks since we got back home from our holiday, there's been very little stitching done, and none of it in green.  Don't know where those days went!

But.... I have begun to put the bow ties I made last year for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge together into a little lap quilt for Stitching Hearts.

I have all the rows pieced, and several stitched together. 

I was inspired by Julie's layout which you'll find here.  She blogs at Julie's Quilts & Costumes.  Thank you for your inspiration Julie.  Hope you don't mind me pinching your layout. 
I was about to sew the 5th and 6th rows together yesterday at Friday Quilters, when I realised that I actually had two identical yellow blocks side by side.  If they had been spaced apart, I would not have worried, but I just couldn't handle a scrap quilt with two identical blocks adjoining one another, so I ripped the block out and replaced it.  The top will need a couple of borders to make it a bit larger, but I have no idea what I am going to do for those.
I have enough bow ties left over to make another little lap quilt.
The other thing I have been doing recently is some sewing for the Charity Day which our local Bridge Club is holding next week.  I just happened to have a large piece of fabric printed with cards & dice.  It seemed appropriate, so I covered a few "green" bags with it.  They have been immensely popular.

Do you have "green" shopping bags at your local supermarket?  Here all the supermarkets run a line of bags made from recycled plastic.  The bags come in a variety of colours, and are a great size, sturdy, and most people use them as storage bags or organisers, not just for shopping.  They last forever.
I also made a few in other fabrics, like this one.

The club is selling them for $10 each and if all 9 of those I made sell, then I reckon my contribution to Charity Day is pretty good.
Besides the tote bags, I made 3 little zippered pouches.

Love making them.  And last time I looked, they've all been sold.
Next week is our Retreat.  I am so looking forward to 4 days away with nothing to do but sew and gossip and eat!  I'm planning to take along the Scrap Dance Tango mystery quilt which is being run by Carole at From My Carolina Home, and get all caught up.  I am so behind with that! 
I'm also planning to take another batch of  RSC blocks from previous years to put together into a top if I get caught up on the mystery.

Linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge tonight.

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

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Outback Trip - Final

This is the final leg of our recent road trip to Queensland.  If you haven't seen the previous posts you will find part 1 here and part 2 here.
After an overnight stop in Bell, we headed for the Bunya Mountains.  We had time for a short walk, and I'm so glad we did.  Its rainforest country there, so loads of lovely trees and shady, winding paths .......
And gorgeous views like this one at Fisher's Lookout (wonder who Fisher was??)

An interesting vine which has twisted itself.  There is no concept of size here, but it was about 30cm in diameter.

This was a tree which had a parasitic vine on it which had formed massive buttress roots.  The tree has now died, and the aerial roots have remained leaving a tunnel high enough and wide enough to walk through.   

We came across this fellow basking in the sun beside the path.  And walked very, very carefully past him.

For overseas readers who aren't used to our snakes, this is a Red Bellied Black snake and venomous, although not many people die from the snake bite.  I wasn't about to stick around to find out!  Much more pleasant friends were the dozens of quite tame wallabies that hopped around and sunned themselves quite near the camping area.  And the birds here were abundant too, although mostly hidden amongst the foliage. 
Leaving the Bunya Mountains after a quick lunch, we headed for Hervey Bay.  We had by far the best cabin of the entire trip for our stay there, and in a magic location to boot.  This was the view.

I identified 15 different species of birds in the space of about an hour in the morning.  It was very peaceful.

Purple Swamp Hen
There are a lot of flowers in this part of the world.  One of the most spectacular is the Bougainvillea, which comes in at least 5 different colours.  We passed this one on our walk around the streets, complete with grass hopper.

And these water lilies were abundant in the canal beside our cabin.

We took a walk out to the Urangan Pier, built in 1917 to export sugar, coal and timber.  Originally it was over a kilometre long, and carried a railway line.  It is now 868 metres and a fabulous place for a walk.  

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, but windy.  There was a kite boarder taking advantage of the stiff breeze.  He was doing lift offs whenever he turned.  Quite a spectacular sight.

We followed up with a walk on the lovely Esplanade, which runs for 14km along the waterfront.

I would have loved to stay at Hervey Bay a while longer, but it was time to move on. 
From here we travelled south on the homeward leg.  First stop was Maryborough, where we spied a little steam train.  The 'Mary Ann', is a full sized replica of the first steam locomotive built in Queensland in 1873.
We took a ride.  So fortunate - it only runs one Sunday a month and we happened to be there.  Most of the trip is through Queens Park....

and past the Mary River, close to the Port.  But some of the trip is along a busy road.  Our little steam train caused much merriment with lots of waving, cheering and tooting, as it chugged along the street.

After that little break, we headed on to Caboulture where we were to stay with a cousin I had "found" last year.
Monday 25th April was ANZAC Day; a public holiday to commemorate the participation of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in World War I.  Most towns have a parade, and we had timed our visit to coincide with the one at Caboulture.
"New" Cousins
All the armed forces were represented in the parade.

There were veterans in vintage cars....

And motorised scooters.

As well as many on foot and representatives of the scouts, schools, ambulace and other community services.  After the parade, we went to the memorial service, during which many wreaths were laid at the war memorial.

Our homeward journey included a flying visit to the State Archives in Brisbane where I managed to cram in a lot of copying with my Dearly Beloved's assistance on the microfilm reader.  Bless him.  He even said it was quite interesting.  Moving on we stayed the first night at Balina, and the second at North Haven.

We had an early morning walk to the end of the breakwater at North Haven before heading on home.  This is the Camden Haven River mouth.

And this is the beach on the other side.

On our walk that morning I came across a small glade where over night, spiders had woven perfect circular webs across the tops of the grasses.  I was astounded that my camera actually managed to capture part of the magic of the sight as I couldn't really get close to them. 

And finally we were home!