Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Toys

I have bought gifts for my older grandchildren, but made soft toys for the 3 youngest granddaughters -

a simple decorated cat for the youngest [18 months],

a dragon for the next one [4 1/2 years],

Mabel Monkey for the 5 year old.

I had a lovely time making them, and shopping for the other children. Hope they are loved on Christmas Day.

Momo, Nenek, Jan

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

QBSA and U3A

My December partner is Lori, from USA. Lori gave me 2 options for her block, but as I had never made either before, I decided to make both. They are simple but beautiful blocks and I hope Lori will be pleased.

bachelor's puzzle

and snail trail

I mailed these blocks at the very beginning of the month, but since my last parcel to America took 3 weeks to arrive, I'm sure these are still travelling.

I've also signed up for the Cushion Swap with Sue from QBSA. Since the last swap I've gathered many ideas for cushion covers and I'm really looking forward to putting these ideas together.

U3A - this is such a wonderful organisation - University of the 3rd Age - where like minded people get together to learn and to share their skills. I belong to the Tai Chi and the Folk Dancing groups, but in our district there are also classes in various forms of art [painting, sculpture, jewellery, etc], music of many styles - instruments, choir - drama, play reading, languages, gardening, touring, films, book club, etc, etc, etc.
A person could be busy every day of the week.
Yesterday was the end of year concert and afternoon tea. It was the best way to spend an afternoon, and the most wonderful, talented and entertaining concert!!

U3A folk dancers

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dragon Regatta

Yesterday DH and I went to a Dragon Boat Regatta at Forster. There were boats and paddlers from the Hawkesbury River to Coffs Harbour. It was an inspiring morning watching the races and I have definitely decided to join the local club, and to buy a couple of solid folding chairs for the boot of the car for every time we go out to somewhere like a park or the beach.

The days are forecast to get hotter all this week, so outside jobs will be done early or late in the day. Hiding away from the heat in the middle of the day will be perfect for sewing. I have my partner for QBSA and have already chosen my December fabrics. I am also planning to applique and stitch a banner for the Dragon Boat club.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November ...........

I have two swap partners this month and their blocks are already made and mailed.
For Beth - a friendship star on white -

and for Pam, a sampler style block in Autumn colours -

I was a guardian angel to two swap members this month, but did not photograph the blocks.

A huge umbrella tree was growing too close to the house and dropping its leaves and flowers in the gutters, so it was brought down with ropes and a chain saw - now it is my job to load the logs, and remove the lighter material to the bonfire. It has been so dry, windy and hot it will be quite a while until the bonfire is lit.

Sewing right now is for gifts for my littlest grand daughters - pictures soon of a cat, a monkey and a dragon.

My latest excursion is into Dragon Boat Paddling. I have wanted to try this for a long time and now think perhaps I should have started long ago. It is very hard on my knees [cartlidge breaking down] and a shoulder which is proving touchy. I probably try too hard to keep up with the more experienced paddlers and my shoulder muscles set like cement for a couple of days and keep me awake at night. My future as a paddler is still being assessed.

"At home" day today - it is too easy to go out most days of the week.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Spring has sprung .............

Now we have reached the Spring Equinox it is really Spring.
I love the perfume of the plants now flowering, the abundance of blossoms on the fruit trees, vege plants and the vines, all promising fruit, veges and nuts in the future. I love the happy warmth of Spring days that makes everything we do so much more comfortable. It is really good to put away the woolies and change to light, cotton clothing.

Here are some photos that celebrate the Spring Equinox -

shoots on the grape vine

masses of highly perfumed flowers on the macadamia tree

new leaves bursting open on the fig tree

plum blossom

port wine magnolia - divine perfume on a warm day

broad beans

quince blossoms

My favourite seasons are the gentle ones - Spring and Autumn. I fully appreciate the purpose of the cycle of seasons and celebrate them all, but I do tend to hide away from the extremes of heat and cold. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Family Visits

We travelled north for 5 days to visit two of our daughters and their families. At Sandy Beach we were entertained by our gorgeous grand daughters aged 1 and 4. Next week they are off overseas to spend time with their other grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbours.

At Nymboida we spent two cold and windy days with 5 grand children ranging from 13 to 5 years old. We met the chooks and chickens, had fun with the dog and went on a scramble along a dry creek bed to the site of a dam the children are building to make a swimming hole the next time it rains.

We came home tired after a very special time with most precious people in our lives. I will share photos with my mother, brother, sister, and the in-laws that don't have direct contact [and don't know these lovely people as we do.]

August Swap Block -
This is the churn dash block - black, white and a dash of red - that I made for Cathy. I have seen a picture of the block that is coming to me, on Cathy's blog. It is a new block design that I have chosen and I am so looking forward to it arriving.

I also made a small, reversible mug mat with the same fabrics.

Postcard Swap -
The theme for August is Flowers Galore - this is my floral log cabin for Diane. I have signed up for the next 6 months and am already looking for patterns and deciding on my designs for the topics.

Weather -
The last few days have been cold, windy and wet - too uncomfortable to do much outside - certainly unsuitable for croquet, mowing, gardening. What a great time to catch up these notes and get on with stitching!!!!

I think I need to cook a date loaf too.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Five Big Days

DH came with me to Maitland - for 3 nights - while I spent 2 long days with 3 other candidates in a Level 2 Croquet Coaching Training Course. So much concentration, thinking, playing, note taking etc. Just exhausting - I couldn't believe that I went to bed at 8.30 and slept through till sunrise.

Next day was a drive to Sydney to conduct a Laws day! Everyone seemed very pleased with the discussions and practicals. I was pleased with the thoughtful input from all who participated.

This was followed by 2 days of coaching. Association Croquet players attended and along with our trainer, the candidates spent 6 hours each day passing on techniques and styles and corrections that had been learned.
We still have to write up 3 x 1 hour lessons on our chosen topic, teach the lessons to willing players, write our assessment of the lessons and submit the written work to the Directors of Coaching.

There are moments when I wondered why I had taken this on, but I think it is a worthwhile effort and am looking forward to my accreditation as a Level 2 Coach.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sunshine ............

After what seems such a long time, we have sunshine today, and a good breeze. The ground is so wet that a light shower causes water to lie on the surface and make mud. Everything has been wet to touch - yuk.
Today the clothes line is full and the doors of the house wide open.

Tomorrow is enrolment day with U3A - I'm going back again for Tai Chi and Circle Folk Dancing although my right knee joint doesn't enjoy either.
Last term I taught Croquet to a class of seven for 9 weeks. Three of those beginners have chosen to join the Croquet Club, and four other newbies are learning the game.
I have been asked to be part of a Cooking class this term. I will do two sessions of vegetarian cooking. First one with an Asian trend - Tom Yum Soup and Rice Paper Rolls, second with an Indian flavour - Dhal, Samosas and Lemon Rice - yummmmmmmmmm.

In a way I am quietly looking forward to next week being finished. I am going to Maitland and Sydney to upgrade my Croquet Coaching qualifications from Level 1 to Level 2. Two days of training, 2 days of practical, a Laws day in between, then written assignments to hand in. It feels like I'm back in school.

My eldest daughter has a birthday next week. Can't believe how much time has passed since she entered the world. I made a pair of co-ordinating pillow cases [from All People Quilt] from some glorious, earthy, batik fabric, and a reversible tote bag from calico and a lovely Indonesian sarong. The four pockets on the bag each have a special treat in them.

This is a mug rug I received in a swap with The Patchwork and Quilting Cottage -
I love the purply blues, and adore butterflies.

Black and white is always safe when colours don't come together for me. This is the mat I made for my partner.

I have just finished 6 blocks for a Block Lotto event. I won the 'In My Garden' blocks, made a set of Owl blocks and Seaside blocks, and have just finished a set of Black, White and Red Blocks.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Christmas in July

I have joined a CIJ Swap Group, and my partner and I have decided to swap candle mats.
I am not happy with the commercialism of Christmas which tries to begin spending and celebrating about September. This completely puts me off the red and green colour schemes. I do not understand why so many still go with snow and reindeer and lanterns and all that Northern Hemisphere scenario.

I am happy to allow children to understand that Santa - in a Coca Cola red suit - is just a fictional character like so many others in so many other stories. But to encourage children to believe is irresponsible and wicked.

With all that off my chest and out of my heart, I will show the candle mat I made for my partner Bobbie. She asked for yellow and green with perhaps some burgundy.

The pattern is called Rotunda on the list of 9" blocks. It is stunning as a square block, and comes up well as a round block for a candle mat. I have requested a mat with purple included and am so looking forward to it arriving.

This month's Bundaburg postcard is themed "Postage Stamp". Instead of designing a postage stamp I made a mini postage quilt - 96 squares of fabric.

My cards for April and June have not arrived - I love making and exchanging fabric postcards, but may not continue if I am disappointed again.

Today's sewing is to finish the quilt top I am making with blocks I won in a Block Lotto with The Quilting and Patchwork Cottage. All the blocks are based on the theme 'In My Garden". The background and sashing is pale grey - I'll put up a picture when it comes together.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Block Swap Blocks ............

I have been swapping with quilting block swaps Australia for nearly a year now and, with a couple of blocks I made for myself,I have enough blocks for a quilt. Here are my most recent blocks -

from Chantell

from Helen

from Kerry

from Linda

from Lorna

from Sharon

In return I made and sent these -

for Chantell

for Helen

for Sharon

for Lorna

for Linda

for Kerry

I plan to sash my blocks in a crisp white and bind with a tiny print multi- colour that blends with the blocks - I'll have to wander Spotlight till the right fabric jumps out at me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chooks ....

Late last year my daughter had a broody hen.She gave her some eggs to hatch, kept one pullet and gave me a pullet and a rooster.

Hornsby and Hetty

I have a small flock of 13 birds. Now that we are past the Winter Solstice the days are gradually lengthening and the hens are laying with a new energy. I collect 7 to 8 eggs a days, definitely more than we can use, but I have eager customers who appreciate fresh eggs from healthy, happy, free-range hens.
Our neighbours on both sides keep poultry, as do others further down the road, and we hear the roosters trying to out-crow each other at any time of the night or day, specially when it is full moon. We are not distracted by the crowing but visitors tend to hear nothing else.

I love my 'girls' - and the boys Marcus and Hornsby.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

U3A - Tai Chi and Folk Dancing

At the end of January I enrolled with U3A in Tai Chi and Folk Dancing classes. Both are to exercise my body and my mind.
Tai Chi is a challenge - the individual movements are not difficult, but getting the sequence and repetitions in order is such a challenge. I am encouraged by the longer term participants who insist that it will all fall into place for me. Most sessions leave me relaxed and empowered. Love it.
Circle folk dancing is from eastern Europe. The rhythms, music and dances are old, traditional and specific to regions or peoples. They all tell a story. The challenge here is more for the body [my knee doesn't always like dancing]. Our teacher is wonderful and the others in the group are lovely, enthusiastic women.

It has been such a wet summer. The grass is growing like crazy. The drive belt broke on the ride-on and I have borrowed a push mower for 2 months. At last the belt has been replaced, and we have a new push mower of our own for the edges and small spaces. Both mowers are great.

Bundy postcard swap - I have been inspired and pushed ahead with my postcards - about 4 months ahead. Today I mailed my 'seashore' card to Pat.

This is a simple embroidery based on a quilting pattern, on my favourite beachy fabric.

Today my sewing machine went into the shop for repairs and service. It seized a couple of days ago, I cleaned out the stray threads but it still did not want to go. Why is it that all I want to do at the moment is sew???????????

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Keeping busy with my grand daughter

Following the weekend celebration of Mum's 90th Birthday - wow 90 birthday cakes - my grand daughter stayed here for 6 days. I would love to insert photos but I did not take any - can you believe it. We were busy and in the moment and I simply did not think of the camera.
Most of the week was very wet weather but we had plenty of fun and lots to do.
Sunday - we went shopping, had morning tea at Raw Sugar then a visit to the Art Gallery.
Monday -We  played Croquet in the morning, had early lunch then 2 games of Ten Pin Bowling. Later we sewed simple patchwork hens from fabric and felt.

It rained every day but we managed to do outside things between showers, or under an umbrella.
Inanna cut, chopped and stirred and was involved in cooking dinner every night. She managed to stay up fairly late each night watching movies with her grandfather.

Tuesday - really wet - sewing day making a patchwork chicken and a rooster with elegant feathers. Cooked a leek and spinach pie and a peach and cinnamon cake.
Wednesday - still raining - Billabong Zoo in am and on to Ricardo's Tomatoes and Strawberries - cooked strawberry jam in pm - 5 jars.
Thursday - Australia Day, the Saltwater/Freshwater Festival was washed out. Inanna sewed 2 patchwork blocks. She is very good on the machine and moved up from slow to medium when she felt she was in control. She has great endurance but I kept up. Late in pm we cooked a cake to take home to her family.
Friday - can you believe it, sunshine today.The train trip home was interrupted by water on the line and the last stretch was by coach.
It was a very special week, really busy as it should be, and a time to remember and treasure.
When they are ready and old enough and wanting to come, all of the grandies will be wecomed. Looking forward to other wonderful, busy visits.

Friday, March 2, 2012

March Block Swap Blocks -

It is very early in the month and my blocks are already in the mail. Just as well since my sewing machine is in need of a service.

This red and crean Anvil block is for Encara in Spain,

This scrappy Paper Pinwheel block is for Beverley in Queensland. I made a mug mat from each set of fabrics to go with the blocks.

Since IFQ closed I have also joined a Postcard Swap group - google Bundy Postcard Swap for information. Each month a different theme is interpreted on a 4" x 6" postcard, eg


love - laces, embroidery, old fabrics

glamour puss


I really love making and receiving these postcards.

During December and January I spent a lot of time training four wonderfully keen croquet players who were preparing for their Referees Exam. They passed with flying colours, as did thirteen others who were working with other Examining Referees.

My dear, beautiful mother turned 90 in January. Her children and their husbands, their children and their partners and children all gathered at Newcastle for a birthday lunch. Everyone travelled considerable distances and took the opportunity to gather with each other, so stayed at least 2 nights. This extended the birthday celebrations for a number of days and Mum had loads of contact with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

As the families all returned home 14 called in for lunch to break their journey. Our daughter and son-in-law with the youngest children stayed overnight to give the littlies time out of the car. Our eldest grand daughter, Inanna, now 12 stayed on for 6 days. What a special week - details tomorrow.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

so long since i've been here

I'll try to catch up over a few days - first with my blocks from Block Swaps Australia -

These are two pastel blocks I made for Tanya - a Morning Star and a Wonky Log Cabin.

Heather asked for any block in red and white - here is Balkan Puzzle in 4 shades of red plus white.

This month I made a red and cream Anvil block to send to Encara in Spain, and a scrappy Paper Pinwheel in purples and pinks for Beverley in Queensland. Pictures are still in the camera!!!