F²F³: October round-up

October was Moira’s month in F²F³.

Moira’s colour palette combined creams and various shades of brown, with a touch of greyish light blue, based on a décor fabric she’s selected to use in her home. It features beautiful barred feathers combined with delicate pale blue speckled eggs, and the effect is lovely.

This month everyone was a star and got their blocks off in good time.

November is Robin’s month. She’s chosen cerise and a darkish royal blue, with a touch of orange, and white backgrounds if necessary, and she’s also put up a block she’s already made in the Gallery to give everyone a bit of colour inspiration. She’s happy with any shade of those colours, whether it’s vivid or muted, so I’m happy, as I have plenty of bright pink and orange fabrics left over from my current quilting project!

If you want to see the finished blocks, go to the F²F 2018 gallery here, and if you want to check out the colour palettes, go to the Members/ Colours page here. F²F reference and finished block images are now maintained on a separate blog due to their image-heavy nature, and the home page is here, if you want to bookmark it or follow it. The galleries are a useful library of colour and block designs, and the previous session is also stored there.

Pink and orange: tick! Now, time to rummage for a bit of blue…

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What happened there?

I’m feeling a bit puzzled. OK, very puzzled.

What was that all about? Why did I suddenly get 268 views to my home page, all from the US, all referred by Facebook? I’m not on Facebook, so as far as I know, my blog wasn’t linked there. It wasn’t even a particular post they were interested in, as that would have shown unusual traffic for that post. That other big spike back in September is ScrapHappy day, when I always get a lot of traffic, but this time, I didn’t even have a new post up when all this was happening.

Has anyone else ever had something like this? Any ideas? Did someone post a link and forget to tell me? I obviously don’t mind, all visits are good, I just want to know why!

I’m in the dark…

A sense of belonging

Today, it’s five years since I started blogging on WordPress.

And this is my 1,119th post.

Seriously? I can’t believe that I’ve been here that long. It seems such a short time ago that I made my first tentative steps into the blogging world. Prior to that, I’d sent out weekly newsletters of my doings to lots of friends and family far away. Blogging seemed like an easy next step that didn’t involve the occasional blocking of my emails by various servers, suspicious that I was spamming. And I could put in photos, and choose a format that looked nice.

By this point I was already following a few blogs, and dipped my toe into Blogger…. and hastily withdrew it, when I realised I hadn’t a clue how to make it work. WordPress was the next attempt, and I found it friendly, easy and accommodating. I’ve learned a few things since those first tentative steps, most important of which is that the world is filled with friends you haven’t met yet, that you can become close to people you’ve never seen and most likely never will, that you can care deeply about the doings of comparative strangers, and that you can belong to a community whose members stretch around the globe. Blogging is a journal, a place of friendship and support, a creative outlet and a never-ending source of interest, fun and delight. I know that its popularity is waning somewhat as people tend to the more instant and abbreviated pleasures of Instagram and its like, but I love words (no, really?) and for me, a blog post will always win over a photo and a hashtag.

A few stats… 1,119 posts, 830 followers, viewers from 142 countries, 131,647 views (46,727 from the US alone), 30,303 comments. One of the things I love about WP is the ease of accessing these figures. I do love a nice statistic…

Anyway, I just want to say thank you for following, sticking with me, commenting and liking. Thank you for being out there for me to talk to. Thank you for allowing me to belong in your lives in some sense ❤

Here’s to the next 5 years.

Colours of Happiness 6

Progress is being made.

I have three of the four chequerboard sides assembled, just the last one to go. So I took the opportunity of having a clear cutting table to work out what I was going to do with the corner squares. I got one assembled, and I’m pleased with it. I took a bit of a left turn with the colours, and as well as the gold/brown and orange fabrics and the floral prints I’ve used elsewhere, I’ve included some of my favourite shot green, which ties in perfectly and adds an acid note amongst all those pinks and oranges and yellows.

It’s probably a bit fanciful, but I think these corner blocks look like lotus flowers turning their faces up to the sun radiating in the centre. I’ll make the same block for each corner, identical except for pattern variations in the fabrics.

I also scored with backing fabric. I found the perfect orange/ yellow print, and then discovered there was only a metre left on the bolt. This lovely orange print alternative will look great with the hot pink hand quilting thread I’ll be using. Yes, that’s the plan. I decided I have plenty of time to do the quilting by hand even if I have to stop and let my paws recover for a day or so here and there. In the central starburst section I’ll be doing some kind of round multi-pointed mandala-type motif, yet to be designed.

On the corner squares, I shall outline the quarter-Dresden flower shape, do something wiggly in the straight strips, and in the chequerboard I shall do a fish-scale clamshell motif. Imagine a round top clamshell, but with a small upwards point at the centre of the top. Here’s the template I made for it. It’s the same sort of idea as the hand quilting for the Bonnard quilt.

So, one more chequerboard side and three more corners to make, and the piecing is done. Then I’ll cut the backing pieces and spray-baste the quilt sandwiches. And then quilting can start. The final stage is assembling the quilted pieces and binding. But that’s still a way off.

Onwards…

 

At last….

A little rain.

On our way into town last night

Not a torrential downpour, with the heavens opening and the gutters running and the water running wastefully off the parched, hard soil, but a steady, moderate soaking rain from early evening until the early hours of this morning.

That lovely sound of the rain on the metal roof… Such an Australian sound, and I’ve missed it in our three months of no rain. Everything smells fresh and clean, the dust has settled and colours are brighter. The birds are splashing in the small puddles. In the large land drain out the front, there’s a little standing water. If it lasts, or if we get a little more, there will soon be small fish flickering about in the water.

The grass will now jump out of the ground, of course, which means mowing 😦 but the cane farmers will be delighted as they won’t have to irrigate for a while now 🙂 It hasn’t broken the drought or relieved the terrible hardship of farmers in the west of this state and further south, but I can rejoice at the small blessing all the same.

It’s going to be a terrible bushfire and storm season, and a harsh, hot summer. The Wet has come later and later the past 5 years, and when it has arrived, has brought cyclones in its tail.

But for now, I’ll enjoy a cool, mild, damp and overcast day 🙂

Miz Lizzie Adventures: trial by fire

We’re on our way home.

Another beautiful dawn chorus woke us early enough that we were fully packed and on the road by 8.30am. We were not in a hurry to leave the places where we’ve been having fun, but by early lunchtime, we’d reached Cardwell, one of my favourite small towns on the road north.

It’s on the Hinchinbrook Channel and faces Hinchinbrook Island, one of the largest in the Great Barrier Reef chain. One of Cardwell’s claims to fame is its delicious fresh mud crab sandwiches, so no prizes for guessing what we had for lunch and what we looked at while we ate. The photo makes the sandwich look rather dull, but what it lacks in good looks it completely makes up in flavour and freshness. I could have eaten three of them! We only did it in the spirit of scientific enquiry, you under-stand, to ensure that a  ride destination we’re suggesting to motorbike friends would be suitably rewarding in the gastronomic stakes. We’d never voluntarily eat mud crab sandwiches otherwise… ahem!

Onwards from Cardwell. The highway wasn’t too busy and we were making good time until we spotted a wide plume of smoke ahead. They’ve been doing hazard reduction burns at the roadside here and there all along our route so we weren’t surprised by that. What did surprise us is that it got thicker, and darker, and closer, until we were finally all brought to a halt.

For an hour and a half, all traffic movement on Australia’s main north-south highway ceased, while the smoke swirled closer and closer. Eventually, it started to clear and we were allowed to creep forwards past fire fighters, emergency vehicles, ambulances, fire appliances from all over the region, and even the RAAF water cannon from the nearby base at Townsville.

Flames were still licking at the roadside trees, and for hectares on either side, there was black devastation. Graders and bulldozers reappeared from the undergrowth where they’d been clearing firebreaks, the asphalt on the road was black and sticky, and the huge water pipeline from the dams in the mountains above the city was blackened and blistered. We were very lucky to have been stopped before the fire got behind us, or it would have swept across all the vehicles in the road as well as the trees and vegetation.

It made the rest of the day seem rather mundane. We collected the overlocker, and we had a meal out with friends. The Husband and I both had a rare ‘proper’ drink; I think we both felt the need to settle our nerves a little. Tomorrow morning, we’ll start the final stage of our homeward journey, and I hope most devoutly that it will be completely uneventful!

Meanwhile, I’ll just count my blessings once more…

 

The gang

Sorry it’s been so quiet around here…

These guys are why there has been radio silence in Chiconia for the past 5 days. They’re the members who attended our annual motorcycle club National Rally, lined up under the casuarinas by one of our beaches, enjoying a spot of ultraviolet. For the southerners (from Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales), the beautiful warm weather and perfect riding conditions have been a bit of a revelation, considering it’s winter. Down there, they’re getting frost, in some cases snow, and it’s cold and gloomy. Up here? Well, you can see for yourself.

I won’t lie. It’s been exhausting to organise and host this event, but we’ve received a lot of thanks and appreciation for the hard work that went into it, everyone has had fun, there have been lots of interesting things to do, and enjoyment of what our lovely region has to offer. More today, a morning tea in a tropical garden, another ride, fun and games with jetskis on one of our local dams, and finally, the traditional Straggler’s Night pizza party.

And then the Rally’s over. Quite a few of them are staying on to make a holiday of it. We ourselves are having a big tidy up on Monday, on Tuesday we’ll pack the caravan, and on Wednesday we’re off on holiday ourselves. But you’ll be coming along with me 🙂

Till then, I must get back on two wheels!