Monday, 31 January 2011

Holiday's over....

The kids go back to school this week and next depending where you are, of course if you're Australian you know when the kids are back, the weather gets hot as soon as they have to put their uniforms on. Two of my grandies went back today, three start at a new school on Friday and two will go back to high school on Monday next..
Tomorrow I'm taking Miss Emily out for the day, she had her 9th birthday on Jan 2nd and we decided that we would wait until they had moved and spend the day doing what she wanted. Emily's choice, lunch, shops and shopping, needless to say she's very excited. It really is amazingly good to have them back in Victoria, to be able to pop in and see them *just because* is lovely and I haven't really got used to it yet...!
I'm trying to get back into sewing mode, just before I finished Sarah's quilt I got what I thought was food poisoning...!! Turns out it was actually a side effect from a spider bite, yep, spider! More precisely a white tail spider. I've been on antibiotics for over two weeks and yes, it's healing, slowly. The medics tell me it could heal straight away or it could take months, I'm taking the early option. Positive thinking is the phrase of the day, it will heal quickly, but it did knock me around a fair bit and it's hard getting back into things..

My patchwork group doesn't start meeting until the 17th of Feb, so the girls are coming over here on Thursday, bringing lunch, I'll make a bit of a cake with a couple of candles as it's Norma's birthday on Wednesday...sshhh, don't tell her..! Food, chatter and maybe a bit of sewing, it will be lovely to catch up again after the summer break, it's a busy time of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, school holidays, Christmas, summer holidays, heat, Australia Day celebrations, then back to school for a new academic year.

Our second eldest grandson, Ryan, is off to Thailand next monday for 8 weeks. His school has a campus there and they have the opportunity to go to Chang Mai, work for the local community, at the local school helping with building even staying at the baby elephant orphanage and working with them. An amazing opportunity I know but I will miss him terribly, I shall miss his *what's happening dude?* when I see him..!

I did make the January block for my Bee Balm group today....

This is Tara's block, lovely block and easy to do too, last month was Sue's and she asked us all to make her some tree blocks, any kind of trees, just trees, so this was my contribution...

Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter..

It has been hot here for the last couple of days and they say it will stay like this for the rest of the week, about time too...! Time for some summer weather, dry up all that moisture from the big wet! Miss Martha is off to the groomers on Wednesday and Molly is going for the first time, that should be fun..! Photo's of her when she's looking all clean and cute I promise, she's growing like a weed and I can't believe that she was 4 month old yesterday, feels like she's been her forever.....

Thursday, 27 January 2011

This is how we spent the day...

Son-in-law Tony, The railway man, grandson Ryan and youngest grandson Matthew...

Granddaughters Samantha and Caitlin
Daughter no 1 Bec, GD Emily, daughter no 2 Sarah and GD Eden...

Yep, Mum and Dad. They actually stayed all afternoon, Mum had a good day even if she thought all the kids belonged to us, at one stage there were 15 kids of various ages in the pool and she thought they were all mine..!

This cracks me up, Dad was having trouble with the flies so Tony lent him his iconic Aussie bush hat.....

This is my favourite shot of the day, the two eldest girls, cousins, best friends and gorgeous granddaughters...

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Happy Australia Day....

I'm off to throw a shrimp on the barbie, eat more lamb and enjoy our national celebration with family and friends sitting next to the pool, watching the kids competing to splash the most water outside the pool, the adults trying to avoid said splashes, the women talk about the kids and the men burn the sausages whilst consuming large amounts of liquid refreshment............
All in all it should be a great day, enjoy your Australia Day everyone...

Monday, 24 January 2011

Home to stay...

Today was a lovely day at this house in the country, both my girls came up for lunch with six of our grandchildren, we had a very big lunch topped off with a home made  Black Forest Cake...yummmm. I haven't made one for years, very 70s, but so delicious. Sarah took the last piece home for a late night snack I suspect..!

We had our Christmas present swap and the children were very impressed with all their presents, it really felt like Christmas again with wrapping all over the floor and Christmas stockings full of chocolate and lollies. Sarah brought me these.....

..from her trip to the USA, all wonderfully nestled in this..

Isn't it just fabulous....? I love it...
I know, I know, if you're one of my gorgeous American friends you're going to say what's the big deal about a recyclable bag from Jo-Ann's...? The big deal is that we don't have them, you know, the grass is always greener and all that jazz!! Now I have to get one of you to buy and post me some, they would make great presents for my quilting friends...
Just one more shot to make you all envious...

Look at all those gorgeous blues and oranges, scrumptious...
Sarah said when I opened my present that the gorgeous box of stash builders would make a wonderful quilt *wink* *wink* Mum..!! This was minutes before she opened her own parcel which was of course her quilt, her immediate reaction was "well you can keep the stash builders now, I'm happy"..! Very gratifying isn't it when they love what you make..?

They left a while ago to go back to Geelong, the children all very tired from the big day leaving Perth yesterday, late nights and excitement..
All that is except this one...

..she's staying for a couple of days with her Nana, we'll take her back down on Wednesday when we go to Becs for the Australia Day 'Spot the Aussie' BBQ (most of Bec and Tony's friends are English, Scottish, Irish etc) and probably swap her for another grandchild I dare say :o) You won't hear any complaints from this grandparent I can tell you..!

Auction For Queensland...

 Auction Closed, thanks for all your bids and support for Queensland and congratulations to Jen on the highest bid..

I'm post dating this for the 24th so it will stay at the top of the page...hopefully!

A small change in the finishing time of auctions, this taken from Toni's blog....
So my auction will finish at 9pm Australian Eastern daylight savings time, Monday January 24th...

Please remember to leave your email with your comment, if I can't contact you at the end of the auction it will go to the previous bid.

I am auctioning this complete set of BOM kits...

(sorry about the photo quality, it's still raining here too)

..I took these out of the delivery envelopes to photograph them, aren't the fabrics gorgeous..?
There are seven beautiful bundles of gorgeous, vibrant Japanese fabrics and the patterns for each month.
Email me with any questions you have...

OK, so this is how this auction works:

 Bidding will start at $50 (Australian). 

You can place a bid by leaving a comment on this blog post with your bid amount and email address. 

Postage is FREE within Australia, $A35 International.

The auction begins NOW and will END at 9pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time on Monday 24th January 2011.

At the close of the auction, I will contact the winner (please make sure your bid comment includes your email address).

The winner will pay the winning amount directly into the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal and send me proof of payment via email. The link for donating is at the top of the page, left hand side.

Lastly, thank you, it's a win/win situation, the money helps and you get a gorgeous quilt kit.......

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Ta Dah............

I love ta dah moments, don't you..? I finished Sarah's quilt this morning (I still have to stitch the label on) despite suffering for the last two days with the worst case of food poisoning that I have ever have..! Don't ask, it's not a pretty picture, I'm much improved and 3 kilos lighter, but not the greatest way to spend the weekend...

I stitched the last side of the binding on at 7 this morning, threw it in the washer for a quick rinse, I don't usually wash my quilts before I give them away but I had done a fair bit of unpicking on the black border so I needed to wash the marks away..!

There's nothing really straight about this quilt, well except for the borders! I know she will love it because of all it's imperfections, that's just like my youngest girl, she loves things that have an individuality about them....

I was trying to get a couple of shots to show you the backing I used......

..and the camera hog had to get in the picture too! Would you look at that tongue..?

She sees a camera and she sits (vbg) truly, it's so funny. It's all 'look at me I'm so cute', really....??

...just about to lift her back leg and scratch, isn't it funny how they close their eyes when they are having a good scratch...or is it just an idiosyncrasy of my dogs..?

Anyway, I really like it now. I'm so glad I persevered and did something with it instead of letting it sit in the cupboard as an unloved UFO..! I know she will love and cherish it for a long long time...

Don't forget to check out Toni's auction master list,  (I don't know why my links are small, they just won't increase, strange!) only a day left to get your bids in! The raffles are open a bit longer I think, I've done my donating and left my receipt numbers on the raffles I want hope to win :o) and I've been outbid on a few things but the one I really, really want to win I'm in the lead I think, fingers crossed..!

OK, I'm off to make a cake now, Sarah and the four grandchildren are spending their last day in Perth today, yesterday they had a farewell party on the Rockingham foreshore......

(sarah on the left)
hugs from great neighbours and friends... 

(Eden is second on the right)
..time for a last swim with school friends..

(Sam is facing)
...last tearful hugs...

..and reluctant ones too from a five year old Matthew...

(Sam and her very best friend Lauren)
...smiles too for best friends and friendships that will last thanks to email, texting and Facebook and Skype, it's a small world now....

It's hard when you're a kid to uproot and move away, but for this Mum and Nana it's a good time, I'm happy my girl will be home amongst family, I'm happy that I will have all but one of my gorgeous grandchildren in the same state, I'm happy we will be able to help in any way we can and I'm happy that in February her divorce will be final and she can move onwards and upwards.....AND I'm happy that tomorrow we're having Christmas all over again...!!

Sunday, 16 January 2011


....I was going to Ouyen. I was up nice and early as it's a trip of about 4.5 to 5 hours on a good day...! 
It wasn't!! 
A good day that is!
Started off really well, left home at around 6.30am, a beautiful sunrise amidst thick moist mist.....
So much moisture in the air has given us here in the hills wonderful ground mists in the morning for the last couple of days. There has to be something beautiful come from this dreadful week..?
I drove on roads edged with water, lapping onto the road in a few places, huge gum and oak trees down and pushed off the road by big machinery no doubt. Roads pitted with big potholes where the water has rushed over and taken the bituman with it..
Not too bad really, a pleasant drive in the welcome sunshine, the air getting warmer as I drove North West and over the Great Divide. I got to St Arnaud about 8.15am, looking for breakfast by this time. Found the public loos and thought it was a bit strange they had no lights..?? Couldn't find anywhere open in the town for coffee so decided to keep going to Donald which is only another 30 odd Kilometres away. Driving along listening to an excellent story, round a big sweeping bend and.....

(about 10Ks out of Donald, I think at Cope Cope)
Hmm, certainly can't take the little Mazda through that....
Turn around and drive back to St Arnaud and to the BP service station and into the line of cars waiting. The amount of locals filling containers with fuel and buying ice should have made me think, but no, I was having a lovely time looking forward to my weekend away on my own, no man, no dogs...Just me visiting an old friend, giving her a wonderful quilt and watching her get a lifetime membership from the Sunraysia Patchwork Friends, then having afternoon tea with all of them in the hospital....! These were the thoughts filling my head..!
When it was my turn at the bowser the fabulous guys actually pumping my petrol and washing my windscreen (I just love country town service) told me the power was out right across the whole area, had been since 11 the night before. They weren't sure that I would be able to get through to Donald, they were pretty sure that all roads were cut by flood waters....! OK!! Perhaps I can get through via Sealake...?? Err, no, Charlton is under water, that's where the substation is for the power!! I should have figured that one, it's a river town...DUH!! In the mean time my tummy is saying 'give me food', no breakfast yet..! A bottle of warm Pepsi (no power remember) and a Mars bar (energy) gave me power to try the Wycheproof road. Driving, driving, pretty  bl#*%@y big areas of water but still driveable, lots more trees down and strike two........ we are again..! While I was sat there talking to the Railway Man on the mobile and taking photo's a couple of SUVs (one pulling a boat, I was tempted to do a deal..!) edged very cautiously through the water, it was past their bumper bars, no way was I trying that! I might be desparate but I'm not stupid!! This water was flowing too, the flooded road at Cope Cope was still, but this was going at a fair rate...

..this was the flow under the road where I was parked..

Turn around again, back to St Arnaud. I think this was around 10.30am, I'd been driving around St Arnaud since 8.15, over two hours! Time to make some decisions! According to the locals at the Information centre the biggest worry, apart from lack of power, was that the rivers would flood higher as the water came down the systems..
I was worried that even if I got through, I might not be able to get home for days. I could stay an extra night but no more, I had to be back by Monday at the latest..! Decision made, I was going home, I wasn't happy but it turned out to be the right one in the end. Sue's daughter Meg was also driving back to Ouyen yesterday, she made it through by being a bit adventurous and using back roads (thanks to the gps on her iphone), as she was eventually driving through Donald the river was breaking it's banks and homes were being evacuated. Meg doesn't have to come back though, she's taking a year off to help her Mum and Dad through..

So that was Saturday, this was Friday...

so warm and wet that we couldn't see out of the windows..

not happy...

the paved courtyard outside the lounge room..

constantly being dried because we love the big puddles..

..and finally, what to do when it's pouring rain and you have no power...? Sandwich a certain quilt..
Thanks to all of you for your input on finishing this, I decided to call it finished and bind it in the black, loving it....

Friday, 14 January 2011

My Country................

This has been running around in my head all week, thinking of flood ravaged Queensland, Western Australia battling bush fires, cyclone watch in the far north and my state of Victoria on flood alert today. Even here in my little village where today a young boy was rescued from a flooded drain after becoming trapped and almost losing his life. I have to keep remembering that we will come out of this stronger......we always do...!

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

My Country
by Dorothea McKellar

She really knew what she was talking about didn't she.....?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011's straight....

Phew! I was really beginning to think that I wouldn't be able to get it straight, one of you ( hi Jennie :o) said it would make an awesome floor cushion and I was starting to make plans for that I can tell you! But anyway, I kept going and it's finally starting to look OK....!!

I do like the black border, (I so love Moda's basic jelly rolls, so quick and easy to make a plain 2" border) I think it just gives the eye somewhere to rest a little.

What do you think, honest opinions only please? I was thinking of putting a 3" or 4" border of the green but looking at it in the photo's I think I might just finish it and bind it in black..
Decisions, decisions......! Help needed please, all suggestions gratefully accepted...

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Lets do this....

You know, when Victoria was burning and lives were lost, everybody dug deep. People from all around this wonderful world sent help in one form or another, they are still helping. I didn't need any help, we weren't personally affected by the fires but Victoria is my home, it's where my parents, brothers, children, grandchildren and local friends call home and I love it dearly. When tragedy happens in our state and in our country we all hurt..! Right now our friends and countrymen and women in Queensland are hurting! A short time ago my youngest son and his lovely lady lived in an area of North Queensland that is flooded now, it could so easily have been my son and his little family that needed help..
Toni from here is co-ordinating an online auction with all proceeds to go to the Queensland Flood Appeal...

A couple of short years ago, my state was in trouble, now it's my turn to give back..! I've decided to join in and auction a complete set of BOM kits (pattern and fabric) for a quilt. I ordered this kit about a year and a half ago, paid for the kit each month and of course it's still sitting in the original envelopes it was posted in. It's called 'Geisha in the Moonlight', the fabric is amazingly gorgeous, I'll do the photo's this week and as soon as I hear back from Toni about how it will work, I'll put the photo's up..

So, come on, lets do this.... Lets show our friends we care....

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Caught in the act.........

...and pleased with herself too..!
(in her defence I had thrown it on the floor during major rearranging, more on that later..)

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


...of a sort anyway..!

It's still listing in the top corner but that's just the way I put it on the wall this morning..!
I've cut off the bottom section, cut 12" squares from the cut off bit, framed them in the paisley on three sides and it's ready to sew back on to the bottom which may become the top....or not!

It's still not straight I know, but I'm hoping to be able to rectify that somehow before I put the borders on, in the meantime the girl it's probably destined for is on her way to the airport in the falling snow, to begin the long trek home to Australia from Minnesota. Back to the heat of Western Australia then the big move back to Victoria and family in less than three weeks...yaaaay! I can't wait to have them back here again. But I had better get serious about this quilt hadn't I? Not today though, I'm going on a picnic with some local bloggy friends. OK, I have to say that a picnic in Ballarat today is going to be somewhat cool, right now my fingers are frozen, the temp this morning in my part of the world was only 8C when I got up..........sigh! Summer in Victoria, always unpredictable but this year even more so...
Gotta go make picnic food :o)


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