Saturday, 31 December 2011

Group Christmas Lunch

I can now share with you the teapot cosy I made for my group's (Connected Quilters) Christmas lunch "Kris Kringle". There were a lot of steps but it wasn't hard to make. The pattern is "Afternoon Tea Party" by Nancy Green of Pink Sand Beach Designs.

We had a nice bunch of gifts, crowned by Colleen's masterpiece Christmas tree made from fabric and decorated with sweets, a lovely lunch and lots of laughs.

Lisa, our host and the collector in our group, had recently found a magnificent lounge suite and my newly finished snowball quilt looked great photographed on it.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Treats

I saw these little mini Christmas puddings on another blog (Wendy's) and made my own version. Aren't they cute? We are having our quilting group's get together today for lunch. The puddings are made from Dark Chocolate Royals biscuits, royal icing, Jaffas and sliced green "musk" sticks. *Another version I have seen uses red M and Ms and snipped mint leaves with white choc melts instead of icing.

I aslo made a fruit cake for each of my friends from a recipe gleaned from the Glen Innes CWA or Anglican Church catering ladies (many of whom are, or were, one and the same!). They are steamed in "soup" tins, not baked.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Snowballs Quilt all finished!

The day has finally come ... I have completed my son's Snowballs Quilt. I re-basted the quilt and changed from invisible to cotton thread and voila the machine quilting worked and stayed flat without puckers. The Kaffe Fassett fabrics and design are just so lovely and he will like it a lot I'm sure.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Gippsland Visit

My husband and I just had a few days away in our van in Gippsland, Victoria. We stayed at the Buchan Caves Park with as many as three other campers at any one time ... beautiful trees, peace and quiet and grazing kangaroos. It rained heavily two nights but the days were fine although steamy!

We enjoyed the walks around the park especially the track to the Spring Creek Falls.

Buchan is not far from the Alpine and Snowy Mtns National Parks and we took a day trip to see the Little River Falls (swollen by the heavy rain) and Gorge and the Snowy river at Mackillops Bridge.

The Gorge (up to 500m deep in parts) is the deepest in Victoria and an amazing and unexpected sight. The road into the Snowy River is not wide enough for cars to pass for about 11km and it's quite scary to look at the drop out the window ...

Little River Falls:

 Little River Gorge Panorama:

Snowy Mtns National Park:

 Snowy River:

Monday, 28 November 2011

Group Art Quilt

Our finished group charity quilt was languishing folded up in a bag waiting to be raffled or sold ... so I hung it up in our living room for the time being and it looks fabulous. It is for sale if you know of an office, boardroom or home that would love to have it. It is 85 " (216 cm) wide by 59 " (150 cm) deep and has a full width hanging rod pocket on the back.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

More Rock

This is my latest find - a 16 x 18 x 1 cm slice of Spherulitic Rhyolite - the same material and process that can form thunder-eggs. I got this from a Sydney Rocks area gift shop (how appropriate!).

I particularly like the variety of colours and shapes and see the little blue one that looks like Australia except Tasmania is on the wrong side?

This piece comes from the Mt Hay area near Wycarbah in Central Qld. The little town is famous for its Mt Hay Thunder Egg Park. There is a large rhyolitic lava flow at Mt Hay. The process is that gas bubbles were trapped in the lava flow during solidification, creating pockets which were later filled or partially filled by lava flows of siliceous material which may be agate, jasper, quartz or other materials. The rhyolite may be varying shades of green, brown and red, while the spherulites encased may be many colours including blue, red, brown and amethyst.

Note for Quilters: Some of Kaffe Fassett's fabrics have been inspired by geology!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Interesting "Rock"

Recently some friends commented on my interesting volcanic agate "bomb" or "thunder-egg"so I thought I would share it with you. Thunder-eggs are produced by volcanoes and look very nondescript on the outside but hide beautiful colours in the middle. While the structure of the whole “eggs” are remarkably similar, their interior agate, opal and quartz cores– along with inclusions of rhyolite shards, moss, and plumes– provide an endless variety, no two being exactly the same.

I have a bit of a soft spot for rocks ... at school I wanted to do Geology for my HSC but my school didn't offer it, even though my Physics teacher's major had been Geology, and then I considered doing it at Uni .... but was dissuaded by the fact that in the late 70's females weren't allowed underground in mines so that would have seriously limited my employability. I chose textiles instead. I wonder how my life would have been different if I had chosen the other path? Lapidary and fossils instead of patchwork? A remote country home instead of city one? I like to look around me at rocks and landforms when we get out travelling and orienteering and plan to visit volcanoes on our travels whenever possible. I am a sucker for gift shops and museum shops with polished stones and fossils!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Best Ever Lemon Meringue Pie

Yesterday I made what I reckon is my best ever lemon meringue pie - how high is that meringue - and it was nice and lemony tasting too. Fresh lemons from our tree. I confess I didn't make the pastry as I had a pie case in the freezer. Looking forward to another slice tonight.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Sydney Visit

We have a Canadian exchange student staying with us for some five weeks and I took the boys up to Sydney sightseeing on the Melbourne Cup "long weekend" - how great is it that you can make a 4-day weekend out of a horse race ...?

We stayed at the Sydney Rocks Youth Hostel that Geoff and I discovered while walking round on our lovely weekend earlier in the year. Brand new, modern, great location and amenities, even views of the Harbour from the spacious terrace! We had a family room with ensuite and all linens and towels supplied. How easy is that!? I would recommend it to anyone. The ferries and buses are a breeze to get around on too.

We visited Circular Quay, Opera House, Manly, Watsons Bay, Darling Harbour Aquarium and Wildlife Centre, caught up with my nephew for dinner, went to a play - Julius Caesar - at the Opera House, did some shopping, and even had a swim at Bondi Beach (well the boys did, I had to mind our valuables ...) where the water was reported to be "not cold at all". The boys tried kangaroo and crocodile for dinner and pancakes were a treat one morning.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Gifts from Osaka

My husband has just returned from a short business trip to Osaka. He has been buzzing with interesting observations about the city and culture. One novelty that he brought back was this water bottle - read the label below! It is actually bottled TAP water from the city Water Board.

He also brought a selection of gifts - lacquered rice bowls, chopsticks, the most fancy package of teabags ever seen (from a department store) and a furoshiki (wrapping cloth) from the City of Osaka. His major purchase was a new camera but that was from Hong Kong.

Alas he had no luck finding a shibori item, despite many time consuming enquiries I fear.

He did come back keen to visit Japan again ... which definitely suits me fine!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Workshop at Vickery Retreat

We have just completed another successful Lisa Walton workshop at Vickery Quilt and Craft Retreat. This one was a 2-day Luscious Landscapes class where the participants used a landscape photo for inspiration and built up a collage of fabric scraps in various textures on a piece of backing fabric.

They then sandwiched this with wadding and backing covered it with a sheet of soluble film and machine stitched all over. When the film was washed out and the quilt dried it could be further stitched, beaded and bound. Lisa also taught hand dyeing of threads and small pieces of fabric which could be used in the landscapes or other projects. The ladies were enthusiastic and productive (top marks to Sarah) and Lisa again proved to be a very encouraging and attentive tutor.

We will be holding another of Lisa's workshops next year (19-20 November, 2012) - the very popular "Textured Treasures".

Monday, 10 October 2011

Australian Orienteering Carnival

My 16 year old son and I have just returned form the Australian Orienteering Carnival. He was representing the Victorian Schools team, me I was just keen. It is a good sport for all ages as anyone can compete in the "nationals" - in their own age class and they even have shorter distance classes for those who are less inclined to run and prefer to walk or jog/walk (me). You still get all the fun of challenging navigation and experiencing different terrain all round the country! It was combined with the Oceania Carnival so we had a team of new Zealanders along too (great at running hills ....).

We visited Wangaratta, Rowdy Flat near Yackandandah, Warby Ranges, Murraguldrie State Forest near Wagga Wagga, and "Gaerloch" a sheep grazing property near Badja State Forest east of Cooma.

We both made a few errors here and there but had some very satisfying results as well. 5th in the W45 AS Australian long distance event was my best and I also was happy with 10th in the Sprint and something like 4th female in the 4.7 km event that was the same as the schools junior boys event mid-week.

After so many years of drought the countryside was picture perfect! The drive across the Snowy Mtns Hwy to Cooma was interesting with wildlife such as kangaroos, emus and brumbies seen and I stopped at several lookouts and to visit the Yarrangobilly Caves and  Thermal Pool.

The town of Talbingo reflected in Blowering Dam.