F²F² October round up

I can’t believe it’s nearly November already!

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 7.32.54 pmIt’s been such a great F²F² month for me, with fellow members emailing me photos of their gorgeous work, followed by even more gorgeous blocks arriving in the mail.  I’m so happy I chose a bright colour scheme, it’s making a brilliant display on my design wall 🙂

Two members have found real life getting in the way of the important stuff (sewing!) this month, so the gallery is a little short of images, but I imagine that will sort itself out very soon. If any of you has mailed off blocks but not sent photos, do get them off to me, so I can put them up in the gallery with the rest.

Next month, it’s Susan’s turn, with a lovely colour scheme of aqua and lilac on cream – take a look at her colour inspiration image to see what I mean. I’m happy about this, as I have lots of choice in all those colours. Now I just have to work out what blocks I want to make…

Till next time, and Happy Halloween to you all.


An antidote to laundry

So, we’re back, and I do wish we’d had a few more days.

This is despite the comfort of air conditioning and a huge and pillowy bed. If truth be told, we’re both a bit weary; trips on a motorbike are physically more demanding than travelling in a car. Also on the downside is the laundry… heaps and heaps of it. Clothes, bedding, towels and of course bike gear which has contained two hot and slightly sweaty people for about 2,040kms/1,270 miles. I wouldn’t have done without the armoured jacket and gloves and the Kevlar-lined pants, but it does make an extra couple of machine loads to deal with.

So you can imagine how delighted I was to receive a distraction, in the form of a fabulous squishy envelope from Lynn and Sandra in France, two of the F²F² participants. They sew together, so it seemed sensible to send their blocks out together. There were unseemly squeaks of delight as I opened the thing up. And then this morning, a second squishy from Moira in the US. I was literally forced to stop sorting dirty socks and open envelopes and photograph the contents… You can imagine my reluctance. Not.

So, having been inundated with all this fabulousness, I’ve created a bunch of collage shots.  Here we go.


Lynn’s three F²F² blocks, which are already up in the gallery,


As are Sandra’s lovely work,


And Moira’s pieces of gorgeousness!


Also in the parcel, centre and right, two Tealed with a Kiss blocks for a forthcoming Ovarian Cancer quilt from Lynn. At left is a block from Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl, who sent me this a while ago, but I hadn’t shown it, so a credit for this is well overdue.


And finally, the LOOT! A really beautiful piece of fabric Lynn thought would work well for my Hatbox Quilt project. She’s right! A really useful and strangely appropriate tote, also from Lynn. A seriously cute peg bag from Sandra (check out that teeny weeny appliqué on the front!), and finally, a gorgeous 3D pansy postcard from Moira.

And now, I really must go and fold clean towels, sheets and quilts. Anything but more socks… 😦

On the road again, part 3

It’s sad, but true. We’re homeward bound.

No, I’m not going to inflict another ear worm on you all by adding the Simon & Garfunkel video, it’s bad enough I have the sound track playing in my own head.

Here’s our camp setup, complete with yours truly slobbing about with feet up and laptop in play. You can blame the Husband for this one – I didn’t authorise an official portrait… You can see how dull the weather is compared with the previous couple of days. On the upside, it was much easier to sleep at night!


As the day was wet and cool, we were trussed up in our wet weather gear most of the time, all hi-vis and reflective bits. And hot! It had rained overnight and there were some distinctly damp patches in the tent, but no disasters. As a result of the poor weather, the things we had planned to do were put aside for another visit – no point going somewhere with a magnificent view if all you can see is thick grey cloud! We did manage to catch up with Ben, a fellow ST1300 owner, who works at Mareeba airfield as an aircraft mechanic.

But for me, the highlight of the day was a visit to Mungalli Creek Dairy, a biodynamic dairy which produces lightly pasteurised, non-homogenised milk, cream and yoghurt, some of which is also lactose free, hurray! They have a café, and as well as serving a mean Devonshire tea and a flourless chocolate cake with massive dollops of Jersey clotted cream, the café has viewing windows into the dairy itself, where you can see cheese and yoghurt being made and packaged. The Jersey herd is grazed on biodynamic pasture, and the cows are treated homeopathically for any problems. All I can say is, the happiness of the herd is quite apparent in the quality of the product… We did also indulge in a bit lots of wiggly-road riding, of course.

So now we’re on our way home. Tonight we won’t be camping, as it’s a one night stop, which means the trailer stays packed and only the bike panniers need to be excavated for a stay in a cabin or motel room. For now, the plan is to stop in Townsville again unless my back holds out well, in which case, we might try to get a bit further on and get home sooner on day 2.

One souvenir of the visit: lots of hexies!  I didn’t even open my Kindle or listen to the radio, so if the world has come to an end while I was away, it’ll have to wait till I get home. But of course, there will always be handwork… These are big hexies, 2 inches to a side, so whatever this is going to be will happen quite quickly. I’m going to make the flowers and then decide how it all needs to be joined together. Maybe more black, with brightly coloured single hexies in the centre.


Signing off for the rest of the trip. It’s not going to be very interesting to read about, and I hope to have some interesting squishies to investigate and share once I get home; I’ll keep you posted.

See you in 1080km/671 miles.

On the road again, part 2

Between Townsville and Atherton, our most northerly stop, lies something I’ve wanted to see for years.

It’s called Paronella Park, a sort of fantasy romantic castle and grown up playground, built by Spanish immigrant José Paronella and his family in the 1930s. And it’s unlike anything else. For years it was abandoned and neglected, but has been slowly restored to some magnificence, and a condition safe for visitors to the buildings and the superb gardens around it.

I’ll leave you with first my photos, and then a link to a YouTube video. I’d recommend turning the sound off, the commentary is a bit treacly.










The promotional video for the place. Go to full screen if you can, it’s worth it.

Paronella Park is not supported in any way by the state or federal government, but by volunteers and visitor entry fees. It’s totally remarkable, and I have a pass to return any time in the next two years, because believe me, I’ll definitely be wanting to… It really is quite magical. If anyone out there gets the chance, do yourself a huge favour, and visit.

I just wish my photos did it justice.

On the road again, part 1

So, Day 1 was 410kms/255 miles of solid highway riding with a few breaks to unkink.

That night, we rolled into our campsite at 5pm and were set up by 6pm, just in time to sit down to a well-deserved drink.


Next day, we’d arranged to meet up in the morning with another Kate, of Manic Mumdays blogging fame. I really enjoy meeting fellow bloggers, and Kate was no exception. She’s the 5th blogging friend I’ve met in person, and I find the experience is just as rewarding each time. Half the fun is in meeting people life would never turn up otherwise 🙂


Townsville was scorching hot that day, as you can see from the photos below. The first is an image I’ve stitched together from two photos. Townsville is on Rose Bay, and the city is dominated by Castle Hill, a volcanic plug nearly 300m/984ft high. You reach it by a winding road which is bliss to all motorbike riders, and the view from the top is spectacular. Out there in the bay is Magnetic Island, so called because it sends all compasses wild; they point to it, instead of magnetic north.


After Castle Hill, we headed out of town to Mt Stuart, another mini mountain 0f nearly 600m/1,960ft high, reached by a wonderful winding road. This one has TV and radio transmitters on the top, and provides very much the same view as Castle Hill, but higher, wilder and further inland. In the foreground, you see Laverack Barracks, then the Bruce Highway heading north, then the city, then Castle Hill and finally, Rose Bay and Magnetic Island.


The next morning, we were up early, packed up and were away by 9am. But that’s a story for another day!

Rolling Thunder part 6: Get the motor running…

Head out on the highway / Lookin’ for adventure / And whatever comes our way…

I don’t think I was exactly Born to be Wild, but I couldn’t resist the lyrics in this instance. And yes, I admit it, I may be slightly reliving my lost youth…

thunder-and-lightningSo, we’re packed, and ready to go. I think Miss Scarlett looks rather handsome with her follower, don’t you? I still need to do some touch up work when we get back, but the job is good enough for this trip.

I’ll be checking in while we’re away, and there are bound to be some nice photos I can share with you. First stop Townsville for a day and a half, then on to Atherton in FNQ.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a bit more Steppenwolf:

I like smoke and lightning / Heavy metal thunder / Racin’ with the wind. But observing the speed limit at all times, of course!


The Gardens of Chiconia 46: time for a little passion…

… fruit!

first-passionfruitThe Panama Black passionfruit vine I planted a year and a half ago has come up trumps – finally! These fruit are the size of huge tomatoes, a gorgeous glossy purplish brown. The first year, I watered and fed the vine carefully, trimmed and trained it. Nothing. It gave me lots of shiny green leaves. This year, I decided tough love was in order. It got watered some-times, mulched occasionally, and I allowed it to ramp through the adjacent shrubs. Mostly, I ignored it.

While I wasn’t looking, the sneaky thing has flowered, fruited, flowered some more, and there are at least 20 green fruit dangling there, being totally ignored by the grasshoppers (touch wood), with more flowers open and budding. I get the feeling passionfruit perform much better if you ignore and perhaps even stress them a little.

I don’t really expect much from the other fruit trees. Perhaps a mango or two, by the time the grasshoppers and rosellas have passed that way. Another basket of mandarins to juice and freeze (too many pips to make them fun to eat). The little custard apple tree is flowering, but I don’t believe I have any neighbouring trees to allow it to be pollinated, so I don’t think I’ll have any fruit there either. The avocado made a mighty effort with the flowering, and at one point I thought I’d get a solitary fruit. Nuh uh. Grasshoppers again. And the birds got all the mulberries.  One of these fine days, I’ll feel up to digging a hole big enough to plant the Ducasse banana tree I’ve grown on from a sucker off my original one. And then I’ll stand well back and watch it head skywards! Meanwhile, it’s looking happy and healthy in its tub, so all is well for now.

I must head outside to extend my irrigation system to take in the new water feature and surrounding plants. Being away over a week with the temperatures rising and not that much rain forecast will leave it dry and tragic unless I act.

Hmmm. Now, what shall I do with those passionfruit?