Floribunda #5, blocks 3 and 4

This is so dratted addictive.

I make a couple of blocks and think that’ll hold me for a day or so. Then I find myself standing at the cutting table, sorting colours and cutting strips for another block. Or two. Or three.

Which is why there are two more ready and the parts for another one waiting on the bench.

Turns out this quilt might be ready a fair bit sooner than I’d imagined, if I keep going at this rate. I really must stop and finish up a couple of other things.

Or not. My willpower may not be up to it!

Floribunda #4: the first two

I haven’t been totally idle on holiday.

I did manage to get the hexie cushion cover done for ScrapHappy, and here are the first two Floribunda blocks done, one pink and one green.

I’ve decided that hand piecing is going to be much, much too slow – I can’t wait that long to see the results! So, I’m going to be machine piecing this one, and with luck, I’ll get the 44 blocks I need completed some time this decade! Some of them are whole blocks, some are halves and there are a couple of quarter blocks, all needed to set this quilt on point, which is the current plan.

I really love how these two have turned out. Roll on the next 42…

The Travels of Mouse: homeward bound

Hello peeps, Mouse here again.

Just a quick one this morning, as Mum says she hasn’t got much time for dictation.

Lovely day yesterday. We went and fetched coffees and pastries for the humans, and met Mum’s blogging friend Aunty Kate in the Sanctum dog park, which is close to her home (Hi Aunty Kate, nose boop!). The sun shone, I ran and sniffed, the humans talked and drank coffee and in Dad’s case, sneaked me a bit of sausage roll. Then a couple of very bad mannered dogs turned up with their human which caused a bit of an interruption, but they moved into another part of the dog park so it was OK after that. Mum says you might like to know that the pastries came from Cédric Corre Patisserie in Hermitage Park, in case you’re ever passing through and in urgent need of a delicious tarte au citron or galette aux pommes – or indeed, some very respectable sausage rolls.

After that we did a bit more exploring, down to Bushland Beach, which is lovely and empty, with a very shallow sloping beach so no surprise drop-offs for unsuspecting doggos. The Bushland Beach Tavern has a motel attached and is right at the beach, and the outdoor eating area overlooking a lagoon looked pretty good too, so we’ve marked that down for next time. Mum spotted some really big old fig trees which Dad says would make very good sustainable, self-renewing fences!

Last stop was a drive up to Cape Pallarenda in the north of the city. We didn’t stop and get out; it was very hot, the trails are long and doggos are not permitted as it is National Parkland, but we could see the start of it. If you love walking trails, natural beauty, bird watching and amazing views, it would be worth a visit. The view across to Magnetic Island is startlingly close, and back towards the city lets you see just how tall Castle Hill is in the background.

Right, got to go. Mum has to get moving, she says.

The Travels of Mouse: an unexpected bath, and other adventures

Well, it was a full day yesterday, and no mistake.

We waved goodbye to Uncle Johnny in the morning, he’s heading south again. And then it was time for the day’s adventures. Mum said she thought it would be a good idea to investigate all the other Townsville off-leash dog parks, because although Sanctum is really, really nice, it’s the other side of the city. So we set off with Google and the SatNav to investigate some of them. First on the list was Murray Paw Dog Park in Annandale. It’s nice, not really big and not much shade, but there’s dog agility stuff if that’s your thing. Second was Riverside Dog Park in Cranbrook, which is lovely! Lots of trees and shade, and the river runs beside it to a weir. There are birds, and it’s very quiet and scenic. And here I had my unexpected bath.The ground slopes down to the water. I trotted down to sniff. Mum and Dad said “no, Mouse”. I waded forward a little and they shouted. I leaped out into the water and Mum screamed: I had submerged because there was no bottom, as I’d expected! My legs are a bit slender and I was having to paddle quite hard to stay afloat, but my hero Dad came and grabbed my collar and hauled me forward and then helped me back up onto the bank. It was a relief to be back on dry land. Mum made a big fuss of me! I was nice and cool, if a bit drippy, because it was already a very hot day. So I generously shared by having a good shake of water all over both of them. I was slightly surprised this was not better received, but there you go… After that, we looked at a couple of other places, but I’d sort of lost my enthusiasm for the project and preferred to stay in the air conditioning of the car back seat.

Wet, but nice and cool

So the Staff decided it’d be fun to pay a visit to Mount Stuart, which is not only completely dry, but has some spectacular views over the whole of Townsville. It’s 584m high, or 1,916ft, and you can see a huge distance from the top. From one side, there are 180° views over Townsville from the Rotary Lookout up there, and you can look across the bay to Magnetic Island.

From the other side, you can see the Ross River Dam, which supplies water to the city. It’s looking a bit low, Dad says… Unlike last year, when the city was badly flooded due to the Dam reaching 200+% capacity and the floodgates had to be opened to release water or it would have given way and the city would have drowned completely.

There are some really good views to be had all around Townsville, and if you want an idea of what’s there, Mum says you should click on this link for a idea of what you can see and do.

We were all a bit zorsted in the afternoon. The Staff had stayed up late for Uncle Johnny’s visit, and I’d had a rather too ’citing adventure, so we all had a nice afternoon snooze and a quiet evening.

Today, Wednesday, we’re catching up with another friend, but more on that tomorrow.

The Travels of Mouse: just a quick one

Yesterday was very, very long.

Not the travelling part, I might add, that was just the usual 370km. No, it was the early start and late finish and the disruption to My Routine.

Packing up was nice and quick; the Staff really do have that down pat now, and I watched Mum stow all the stuff inside the caravan with an expression of alarm (which I always assume at times like these in case of a treat opportunity), while Dad did all the outside stuff like rolling up hoses and power cords and winding up the legs. Once the power was off, the air conditioning stops working, so Dad turns on the car, Mum makes up my bed in the back seat and I transfer myself into my Backseat Driver Position. We hook up the car, hand in the key and away we go. This morning was extra good because there was a Breakfast Opportunity for me too, and I got bits of bacon and sausage!

We stopped for an early lunch at Cardwell. Yes, you guessed it. There was a crab sandwich! Mum said the crab was an inch deep, but it lacked something; the wedge of lemon and large amounts of black pepper were apparently not enough. Finally, after much discussion the Staff agreed that tartare sauce, or at least mayonnaise and some chopped dill pickle would have achieved perfection. I hope Mum remembers pickles for the next trip… I got to sample some crab. It’s OK, I suppose, but give me chunks of Dad’s meat pie any day. All the food was enjoyed in a shady park beside the beach, and I had a nice sniff around and left some messages for later doggo visitors.

On the leg between Cardwell and Townsville, Mum got a message on her phone to say that Johnny, a friend from the Staff’s  OzSTOC motorbike club, was going to be passing through. He arranged to stay the night at the same caravan park as we’re staying at, as he’s travelling with an RV instead of his motorbike and trailer. Dad bought beer, Mum made Mee Goreng with chicken, we all sat around in the dusk and then the dark, and talked. It turned into a very late night, for me at any rate, and Mum and Dad were yawning hard by the time the party broke up.

He came for coffee again in the early morning before he left. Luckily he had to leave at 10am, because I have plans for the Staff to take me round all the Townsville fenced dog parks to investigate how suitable they are for a good run. I’ve been cooped up in the car and then the caravan for 48 hours now, not counting short walkies, and I need to run! I expect the Staff will report on the parks as usual, for the benefit of anyone else who might chance to pass through with a doggo.

It’s going to be a hot few days. The sun is bitey, the wind is scorching. Thank goodness for my comfy bed in the air conditioning…

The Travels of Mouse: so long – for now

It’s time to say goodbye to Far North Queensland again.

“Farewell to the wide, empty beaches, the rainforest sweeping down to the sea, with its tightly knotted dark green foliage fringed by palms and pale sand.

Farewell to the Coral Sea and her endless variations on blue, aqua, turquoise and indigo, the sudden colour changes as the clouds fly over, the white lace edging where the waves break on the reef.

Farewell to the joyful tropical vegetation, the stately trees with their exuberant foliage and flowers, their fringes of fern, the sword blades of the palms and strelitzias, the paddle blades of bananas and taro and the outrageous colour of cordyline and croton, frangipani and hibisicus.

It’s back to the dry tropics, also beautiful, but maybe a little less lavish, lush and luxuriant!”

Mum does that descriptive stuff well, doesn’t she? I could talk about the smells and tastes, but imagery’s not my bowl of kibble. You can’t ask too much of a dog; after all, we see blue and yellow but not red and green. Keep it simple, I say. Mum says it’s called Dichroic Vision… It has been a nice restful sort of a day, except for socialising with some doggos in Henley Dog Park this afternoon (there was one there who was a cross between a dachshund and a pit bull, a quite strornery combination!), and and then a short drive out on the Captain Cook Highway heading north  towards Port Douglas, just so Mum could get her ‘sea-dose’, without which it seems no holiday is complete.

They’ve started packing stuff up, which I hate, because it means Disruption and Change. To be fair, the Staff do try and keep my disturbance to a minimum, and any overt show of distress quickly generates treats. Oh well, I suppose I wouldn’t be a Well-Travelled Dog without it, so I’d better learn to live with it.

We’re heading south again tomorrow, turning our faces for home, but not in any great rush. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Townsville, and then home to my own bed on Thursday. Or should I say, Mum and Dad’s bed, which is considerably larger and can I just say, softer…

I suspect there will be reporting on crab sandwiches tomorrow. Watch this space.

The Travels of Mouse: quiet pleasures

Hello people, Mouse here again.

I think I’d find mad excitement every day of this holiday a bit too fatiguing. I am, after all, a greyhound. Almost by definition, I need to snooze at least 80% of my day. Whether this happens in the back of the car or in my bunk doesn’t really matter. But I do like days when we don’t have activities actually planned. Yesterday was one of those. Mum hijacked the blog back to write about bits of fabric, so I wasn’t required to dictate an entertaining account of what we’d been up to, either. But there were two highlights.

First, doga.

No one can do a downward dog like a greyhound. No one. I was demonstrating to Mum what a proper back stretch looks like. She spends several minutes each morning wriggling about trying to relieve her back after lying immobile all night. Apparently something has to go clunk before she’s out of pain and it can take a while. I thought I’d show her how I deal with back stretching. It does of course take up quite a bit of space… the humans are required to wait and watch since there’s no room for anything else to occur at that end of the caravan…

And secondly, dessert.

I think it speaks for itself, and the fact that I don’t actually like strawberry tarts doesn’t negate the fact that Mum didn’t buy anything for me. OK, I might be fibbing slightly there. I know for certain there’s suddenly half a kilo of chicken necks in the freezer, and they are definitely not for the humans. Mum says they last me longer and are more chewy when they’re frozen… They’re not nearly as photogenic as the tarts, though.

It’s raining today. Or, as Mum would say, it’s fabric shop weather!

 

ScrapHappy October: A hexie cushion

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

I needed a handwork project to take on holiday with me. I had quite a bundle of hexie flowers left from the Days Gone By quilt top, so I’ve separated them into to projects: a cushion cover and a table runner. When Days Gone By is finished and goes into the prize draw, I wanted to have a second and third prize to go with it. The cushion cover will be third and the table runner second, being larger.

And here’s the finished cushion front, all the hexies stitched together. It’s not stylish or carefully considered, but it is very scrappy and cheerful. I need to tone down the pale yellow and pink ones in the middle which jump out too much, and I’ll straighten the outer edges, sandwich and quilt it. After that, I’ll add a backing in a nice colour. Next month, I hope to have the table runner top ready to show you.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date. Joanne has asked to be removed from the list due to time constraints, and we have a new member this month, so say hello to Ann and hop over to look at her work in the galleries on her website.

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire,
Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette and Ann

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

The Travels of Mouse: a grey day…

This is not a post about weather, humans.

Although while we’re on the subject, it did start gloomy and wet, clearing up later. No, this post is about doggos, and specifically, the greycious hound. Mum and Dad said it was going to be a lazy day, but frankly, it was mostly like any other day for me. Breakfast, then a snooze, then a little sniff about, then demand a tummy tickle, then lie in the sun a bit, then a little walkie, then beg for a snack… well, you get the idea. I did get a quick trot about off-leash in Touch Park after Mum had done the grocery shopping. But the most exciting part of the day came just before dinner.

I demanded to go outside. Mum just wasn’t getting the message. So what if I’d been out only 17 minutes earlier? Anyway, I stood there staring at the door till she gave in. And so we were walking down one of the paths in the caravan park when a lady came out of her RV and asked to pet me. Turns out, she and her husband are retired greyhound trainers, and they travel with 3 doggos, a lab and two greys! Out came the greys to say hello.

The black going grey is Crazy and the fawn is Rex. They’re both retired racers, very fast and twice my age. I was very polite and respectful. Mum told me later I had nothing to feel awkward about, I’m a healthier weight, I’m much shinier, my teeth are amazing compared with theirs, I’m not all scarred and my ears are in much better condition. So I felt better after that. It’s like meeting your sporting idols, only to find out they have broken noses and arthritis and dodgy backs and need to wear glasses.

Their Mum and Dad live in their RV and are travelling around Australia, only their home base is in Victoria, so they’re staying in Queensland for the time being to keep away from the Covid-19-thingy. I wondered, and it seems Mum did too, where two people and three large dogs put themselves inside a not very big (7.5m/25ft) RV all year round. Must get rather cosy in there…. And the humans have been here for a month but have never taken their doggos to any of the three perfectly good fenced dog parks, didn’t even know where they were.

So Mum and Dad and I are going to show them tomorrow. I hope Crazy and Rex will enjoy many nice zoomies in the future, after being shut up in that RV for so long except for short walks. Mr Lab is old and has bad hips, and so doesn’t miss the running.

That’s my good deed for the grey…. (Sorry, I couldn’t stop him. He’s picked up the pun bug from me – Mum)

The Travels of Mouse: Full day, full belly

Well, we certainly packed in the activities today.

And, as Mum has pointed out, we also filled our tummies to the point of needing a bit of a lie-down. Today was the day we went back to Mungalli Creek Biodynamic Dairy. After a sad experience last time, Mum had been having some email conversations with Michelle, the marketing lady at the Dairy. So we went back this morning and the Staff had an absolutely delicious morning tea of scones, rainforest jam and thick lactose free cream. And naturally I had my usual! So yummy was it all that the Staff bought takeaways: LF heavy cream, creme fraîche, banana choc chip ice cream and espresso ice cream. I can’t help noticing that none of these delights appear to be designed with Me in mind…

We took a fairly scenic route home, across the Tableland via Mareeba, and took the curly-wurly Gillies range down the mountain, one of Dad’s favourite motorbike rides. It’s not my favourite mainly because of all the bends, which I find unsettling, and the Staff were lucky I didn’t make my displeasure smelt felt.

We took a short break from zooming around so that I could snooze and the Staff could have a drink and catch up with a few things. And then Mum said why didn’t we go up to Copperlode Dam? This is one of the main water-storages for the city of Cairns, and is a natural bowl in the mountains above the city which has been converted into a dam, or reservoir. It’s also known as Lake Morris.

Mum also saw a sign about the gigantic electricity towers on the mountain.

At 75m (250ft) high, they were built extra tall to keep the wires clear of the rainforest canopy with minimal environmental impact and placed so that they can be serviced without disturbance to the local ecology. Where this is not possible due to location, the towers have a landing pad built into the top of them so that the repair crew can be flown in by helicopter without touching the ground. Isn’t that good?

The views from the 16km (10 mile) road up the mountain are amazing, says Mum. You can see all of Cairns laid out below, surrounded by rainforest which sweeps on up the side of the mountain. I didn’t like the road much, too much sliding about in the back of the car. Would this wiggly road torture never end…? I’m talking to you, Dad!

The last part of the day was all about Me. And about time too. We went to Goomboora Park, which is a large mixed leisure space, combining rainforest, creek and open grassland where families and children and Staff with their doggos can all go to have fun.

There are barbecue areas, a shallow creek where children can swim and doggos can join in and paddle, open grass where doggos can run about, socialise with their friends, chase balls and retrieve things, and Staffs can stand about and chat or sit at tables. It’s wonderful, and the only downside is that it isn’t fenced, so the Staff are concerned about letting me off the leash in case I get over excited and disappear into the distance before they can call me back. I think I may be able to persuade them to start small and work up to longer periods off leash. It all looks too much fun to miss out on…

Blue Quandong (Elaeocarpus angustifolius). The fruit were lying around everywhere. They look artificial, don’t they? You can eat them, but they’re a bit tart, so best made into jam or pickles, etc, apparently.

Mum says she hasn’t retouched the colour of this image at all, that’s the true colour.

There was curry for dinner for Mum and Dad. It smelt interesting but not altogether enticing, something a bit too exotic there for me, although the humans woofed it all down like they were worried about where the next meal was coming from. Also, it was not photogenic, according to Mum, so no, there won’t be a photo of that.

All in all, it was a great day, but very busy and I’m rather glad we don’t have so much planned for tomorrow.

I’m tolly, tolly zorsted.