Saturday, May 30, 2009

Slow Saturday

Well, maybe not that slow, after half a dozen loads of laundry, a trip to the fabric store, then I sewed up a quickie skirt, worked on a quilt, walked the dog her couple of miles, hmmmm guess it wasn't slow after all!
About the skirt, I haven't sewn clothing in so long but I couldn't find one that I liked in my price range & I'm not sure I like the one I have made well enough to wear it, LOL.


I just want a nice flowy white summer skirt is that too much to ask? & under $200 or so please!! I'm afraid this one will require the addition of a lining slip- now after sewing the skirt it might end up at St Vinnies and then I'll be shopping again.........


JW stopped by for a couple of hours yesterday with the baby - of course I have the camera going & here are a couple of the results.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Finished For Friday

I have been wanting to join litandlaundry's Finished For Friday & now finally I do! If you want to see what other motivated bloggers have accomplished this week you can check on them from the above website.

This week I quilted & bound this QOV, it only needs the label & it will be on its way to another of our brave combat wounded soldiers at the LA Veteran's Hospital. This quilt top was pieced by 86 yr. old Ora Lee from Grand Junction CO. bless her kind heart & sent to me to complete. I wrote to her & sent pics of the finished quilt.
Using red thread I quilted a flag & star pantograph because I was too brain dead & lazy still from jet lag to do custom quilting but I am pleased with the result & some brave soldier will be very happy with it I believe!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vintage Thingies Thursday

After a 3 week absence I am back to join in the VTT. You can follow the other participant's offerings by checking out coloradolady's blog.

While visiting with my college friend in Brisbane I couldn't help but notice that she has these beautiful ruby [or are they rose] glass pieces. They belonged to MA's great aunt & I am not at all sure of their age, probably early 1900's. The aunt has long since gone to her reward so we would only be guessing when they were made. With all the knowledgeable VVT 'ers I am fairly sure one of you knows the vintage of this lovely glass!


I think they are really beautiful & I was so enthralled with them that it wasn't until later I noticed I had failed to remove the little koala clinging to the stem of the tallest piece before photographing! He is definitely not vintage.


My friend thought they showed best here in the sun but I think their true color is better seen against the light background so I took both photos. As fragile as they are they are in very good condition.
I now have ruby glass envy!

Meat Pies & Sausage Rolls!

I think I have one more post in me on our Aus. visit then it's back to quilting!
Aussie bakeries are found in every little town, many towns have more than one. Hot Bread shops too are common & many these days are run by Vietnamese families, they are great bakers. In fact the delicious scones we had at the Fighter World Cafe were brought in from a Vietnamese bakery 20 kms. away.

Saxby's is the local bakery about a mile from my niece's home where I bought coffee on my morning walks. Another interesting point, many places that sell "take out" food have espresso machines, even the small country cafes & this one is no exception. Of course the terminology for the various coffee drinks is quite different, an Americano is a "long black", "flat white" is cappuccino without foam etc!

The ubiquitous & famous Aussie meat pie is a fixture in every bakery as are the sausage rolls & here is a nice selection of the various pie flavors available, curried chicken, steak & kidney, vegetarian, potato etc.

Pastries too are wonderful & different from those we know in USA. Here you see a selection, Nenish & passionfruit tarts, vanilla, apple & coconut slices, cream buns, tea cakes and so on.


And if that isn't enough add in cream sponges, apple & pineapple pies & turnovers [with or without cream!] eclairs etc.
Did you just gain ten pounds?!

Well here's calorie -free food for the mind provided by the local Port Stephens Mobile Library!


And more brain food, the local Primary [elementary] school, don't you wish you went to school in this setting?


When in Aus. I always stock up on the things I can't get in USA. Above is a view of a few of those items. When I had to detail the food products in my luggage the US customs officer found my list quite amusing- Vegemite, Jam, Golden Syrup, Passionfruit, Pavlova mixes, chocolates, Billy Tea, four beers & a bottle of wine!
But unfortunately no meat pies or sausage rolls!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lest We Forget



They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
"For The Fallen" Laurence Binyon, 1914

Postcards from Aus!


The day before we returned to Sydney we made a mini tour of a couple of Colonial towns in the Hunter Valley region. I love this area with its many old towns & interesting buildings. No matter how often I visit I always find additional points of interest.
In East Maitland, old Town Hall shown above, Absolutely Quilts & Crafts was the first stop where I purchased an assortment of bargain priced Aussie quilt magazines.


No matter that they were older issues, I hadn't seen any of them!


Then onto Morpeth, a really quaint little town where every building has a story to tell & houses another unique store.


I spent some time & made a purchase in the Australian Alpaca Barn where many items are woven on site, & are made from alpaca yarn from Aussie alpacas. Some of the goods have a combination of alpaca, merino wool, silk etc, & some are also woven in Peru.


All the apparel is quite beautiful, luxuriously soft, warm, lightweight, elegant & altogether very wearable & the lady in the shop is friendly & helpful. In fact everyone we encountered in Morpeth was extraordinarily kind to us.
In the wine shop where there is a selection of Hunter Valley wines, I bought some local cheese made from yoghurt & flavored with herbs & olive oil, very tasty! The historic Sourdough Bakery had just closed- they were "sold out" unfortunately so I was spared that additional temptation!


Next stop was in Glendoon Cottage where I found a friendly proprietor & the only real Aussie fabrics I had encountered.


These are authentic Aboriginal designs & I have to tell you that DH encouraged me to buy not just one but two of these selections! I do plan to share some of these with my quilting friends.
This shop has a nice selection of quilting fabrics & a sale table too as well as patterns & other crafty items.


Our final night in Aus. this trip, we stayed in the beautifully preserved & restored old Manor House a few minutes ride from the Sydney CBD.

The home originally was built by the very first Lord Mayor of Sydney & the accommodations are beautiful, furnishings appropriate to the era & chandeliers galore!


This is the chandelier in our room showing also the elaborately decorative plaster ceilings common throughout the building.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lily


Australia has a wide & varied assortment of the parrot family, loud, raucous & brilliantly colored I think they have the most gorgeous exotic plumes of all birds.
I'd like you to meet Lily, the Scaly-breasted Lorikeet.
Above is how Lily should look, but Lily suffers from a fatal & untreatable illness called Beak and Feather disease. It is airborne & highly contagious & affects many of the parrot species, including the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo.
Here are a couple interesting PBS youtube videos on these fascinating birds & their survival in even the harsh climate areas of Australia.

My soft- hearted niece rescued Lily years ago from the middle of the road when she was just a normal-looking fledgling who had been evicted from the nest. It wasn't until sometime later when Lily began to lose her feathers that the vet diagnosed Lily's disease. In the wild Lily would have perished as a fledgling but she lives happily in a large screened -in porch in the lush Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. These parrots have a normal life -span of around 15 years.

By day Lily enjoys the surrounding bush & the sounds of all the local avians outside her safe perch & at night she comes indoors. Lily is fed a diet of fresh fruit & veges daily & a mush that is mixed up for her nightly. She is sweet,vocal & happy & very attached to her rescuer.
I find it simply amazing that this little creature has survived so long, she has beaten all the odds thanks to the careful attentions of my niece. Incidentally, no one is sure if Lily is actually "Lily" or perhaps "Lawrence", both genders of these birds appear the same.
The good news is that Australian researchers have been testing vaccines & they hope to be able to release into the wild, birds who have been treated & are now immune from this deadly disease.

On one of my daily walks in this beautiful area I came across these characters- they reminded me of Farmlady & her goats & these two were talking to me so of course I talked back & they came right up to the fence to say hello so I had to take their picture!

I suspect that the black & white one is "with child", she had an awfully fat tummy-either that or she had eaten a very large something- or- other, as goats are prone to do!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Beach

The nearest beach to our base.


It's called Birubi Point, I'm guessing an Aboriginal word.

SLSC stands for "Surf Life Saving Club". The white haired guy is my DH, not an SLSC member, lol!

One day I saw a Great White shark out just beyond the last breaker, it was maybe 3 meters[9ft.] long so not a small one. The reason I know it was a Great White is that I chatted with another guy, a regular on the beach & he told me so & added that just before we came the Surf Life Saving team was practicing & were driven from the water by three Great Whites! Yikes!

That same day I saw some windsurfers & snapped a few pics, they looked as if they were having so much fun!
I talked with one of these fellows & asked him about the sharks -his words "oh yeah, the whole area is riddled with Great Whites, you just have to keep your eyes open"! That & stay upright I'd add, and in my case not going any deeper than my knees!

I took a video clip with my camera & posted it below.
video

It was very, very windy & I sort of staggered as I walked, you can hear & see what I mean.


One other time I snapped a photo of this man working his horse in a "gig", that's what they call the sulky the trotters & pacers race in. We saw him here nearly every day, lucky horses!

Home Again!

Where to begin?! After two weeks internet absence I am suffering Blog Withdrawal. Now I have to catch up with everyone & see what you have been up to!
Over the next few days I will give a synopsis of our visit DownUnder. Unfortunately I took only a few photos & none from the time in Brisbane but I will show some of those events I did manage to capture on film.
In Brissie where we stayed with friends[from my College days] I was fortunate to meet up with an internet quilter friend Carleen who took me to the SewCo store in Mt.,Gravatt. There I purchased a half yd. of this lovely Hoffman & a panel of "The Sisterhood of Quilters". Both are no doubt available somewhere in USA but I had not seen them so I gave in to temptation!
Our hosts MA & DH were gracious & we were delightfully accommodated, fed & entertained in their lovely home in the suburbs of Brisbane.

We were visiting Australia at this time specifically for my Dad's 98th. b'day.
Some family gathered for a fabulous lunch at the award winning The Deck Cafe/Waterfront Bar at Soldier's Point Marina, Port Stephens, N.S.W.

The staff here were very excited to see my Dad. They told us that my Dad looks exactly like their father/grandfather did, what a coincidence! So my Dad got very extra-special treatment! Here are the staff, wishing Dad happy birthday, the owner on the left his two sons & daughter.

We were all treated royally at this family owned restaurant & my Dad had his favorite "cream sponge" birthday cake complete with a sparkler & they even had those "popper" streamers! If you are ever in this area we highly recommend a visit to this terrific restaurant.
This was Sunday, the day before his actual b'day, so on the Monday we took Dad to the Fighter World Museum at Williamtown RAAF Base. Here we treated ourselves to a delicious traditional Devonshire Tea in the Fighter World Cafe.

This is a very popular treat, you may often be invited to "Afternoon tea" DownUnder. The scones[pronounced with a short "a" in the BE world] most often are served with strawberry jam & we indulged several times during our visit [next issue "The Diet", lol!]
Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of the Aussie Chronicles!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day, May 10th. 2009


In memory of my beautiful Mother & for all the Mums, especially those of my acquaintance, may you always be blessed with the love of your children.
And for all the bereaved Mothers, I send comfort & love.
I have heard it said that it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after giving birth to a child- people who say this do not realise that after giving birth life is never normal again!

Monday, May 4, 2009

All I Can Say Is Wow!

Two posts in one day is more than my usual, but I received two beautiful gifts today that I cannot wait to show.


This from Barbara Jean Simmons in Eugene Oregon, a beautiful "nest" with three tiny eggs - now to find a special place for it. Perhaps the guest room that is feminine-or no, maybe my sewing studio more feminine still & I would see it all the time.....no, better still the little powder room right off the entry where guests can enjoy it too! Thank you Barb it is indeed a treasure. Barb has a wealth of tiny to larger treasures, lots of "shabby chic", vintage, & dainty gifts galore.


The other is this lovely quilt top that makes me think of Provence. It is from the very creative & prolific quilter Linda Miller & if you have not seen her website you will be simply amazed at her productivity. Linda has an absolute plethora of quilt tops & her fabric & design choices cover the whole spectrum and her piecing is perfection on her trusty old Singer sewing machine! I am so excited to have this top to quilt, thank you Linda for your generous gift. It even came with the matching red binding. I will think about the quilting design while I am on holiday.

This afternoon I drove all the way to Chandler[that's quite a haul from our home in Nth. Central Phx] to Zoe's Trunk Quilt Shop. I was taking two quilts to Karen Housner for appraisal. Karen I have mentioned before & highly recommend as a quilt Historian & member of PAAQT.
If you have never had a quilt appraised it is a worth-while process for special quilts, you will be amazed at the insurance replacement value. I am carrying 4 quilts to Aus. with me & these two will not be flying with me in the passenger compartment so I thought it wise to get appraisals for that unmentionable awful possibility ! Qualified Quilt appraisers must study for years & are thoroughly tested before being certified by the American Quilter's Society. They are veritable goldmines of information.
I am very pleased that I did this, it is better to have it & never need it & so far that has worked for me!

Another UFO,done!

Here is my last finish for a couple of weeks until after we return from Aus.

It's an Asian stack & slash, pieced years ago & finally bordered, quilted & bound. I bought the fabrics in Japan nearly 10 yrs. ago, bought a set of blue & one of the greens. I had used up the blues & now all but a few little scraps of the greens.
It's busy so you can hardly see the quilting, short of using bright red thread nothing was going to show much. I quilted bamboo stalks in the main body of the quilt, leaves in the stop border & gingko leaves in the outer border.

Didn't have enough of either border for binding- a case of not thinking ahead- so I did two sides with each. I have seen this done before so I decided to try it- I am not impressed but I am also not invested sufficiently in this quilt to take the binding off & start over! It's a pleasant quilt but nothing wonderful, very monotone. Maybe I should call it "restful"![ In future I will stick to my usual method when short of matching binding & just scrap it.]
Our family gathered yesterday at oldest DS & DIL's home & baby Matthew was the hit of the day, everyone wanted to hold him!

GS's #1 & 2 were just as fascinated, it's been 12 yrs. since we had a baby in this family so he will be very spoiled/loved & guess what, I get to "baby sit" for a couple of hrs. today,woohoo!




I hiked the mountain again this morning with DS#1 & 2 & DH & of course Button who has just been bathed so she is clean & fresh for the house-sitter who comes Wednesday when we fly out to Australia.