The Blue Hour quilt, finished

Here it is at last, all done.

I’m really pleased with it, and so, more importantly, is the Husband. It’s been quick, enjoyable and fun to work on, all highly desirable qualities in a quilt. It has used quantities of my dark blue scraps, and comparatively small amounts of new fabric, mainly for the back and sashing. I decided on very narrow binding for the quilt, which was a bit more laborious to attach, but I love the effect.

Without the distractions mentioned in my last post, I’d have had it finished a week ago, but it’s done in good time for our next trip, which is next week. I think it unlikely in the extreme that I’ll have mine done in time, but I plan to make a start!

Now, I wonder what that one will decide to call itself…

Flitting (and riding)

I love that word.

It so beautifully describes the butterfly motion of darting from one thing to another. Which is what I’ve been doing the last week or so, only less beautifully and gracefully 🙂

We’ve been spending some fun time with ST motorbike-owners-club friends from south east Queensland, who are passing through Mackay with their caravan and their Honda ST1300 on the back of the ute. Now that’s a sweet setup! Deep envy, to have both their big motorbike and their caravan along! We’ve done a couple of half day rides with them around the local sights, which has reassured me that I can cope and my back won’t fall apart under the strain when our own time comes to do the big ride south for the bike rally later this year in October. No lavish Miz Lizzie caravan comfort on this trip, it’ll be Rolling Thunder towed behind the Scarlett Thunderbolt, and a tent for a few nights.

We had part of the back yard landscaped and a hard surface put down. We can now get Miz Lizzie under cover without the need for 25-point reversing to get her between the posts of the patio roof. Straight in, bish-bosh, no messing about. Bliss! We can use our new turning circle to get the car in and out in similar style. I have a hard, dry surface to stand on when I hang out the laundry instead of being ankle deep in wet grass and green ants. It will not turn back into a swamp the next time we get a serious amount of rain. Oh my word yes, I love that new surface! And the Husband, let’s face it, is not heartbroken about having less grass to cut…

A few days before the work commenced, Sir Horace and Lady Laetitia Bush Stone-Curlew went off somewhere for several days. We rejoiced in a slightly guilty fashion, but it was very pleasant to have quiet nights, unbroken by their harsh screams. We thought they’d moved on, finding the modest bustle of our back yard insufficiently tranquil for raising this year’s family. Regrettably, they have now returned from their vacation and are back in their original spot, glaring at me every time I set foot outside the back door, and in full song at night. Oh well. At least we didn’t drive them off with the landscaping work…

I’ve been doing some secret sewing for a friend who is visiting from the States. As it’s a secret, I won’t be posting photos till she has it, around the end of the month, but it’s fun, pretty and useful, so I hope she likes it. I’m sure if she doesn’t, she won’t feel compelled to tell me so!

And finally, I’ve got the Blue Hour quilt two thirds assembled, just one big seam and the binding to go, so I’ll be able to do my ‘tah-dah’ post for that soon. And yes, start thinking about my own! I haven’t forgotten that I also have the Sea Glass quilt to sandwich and start quilting, but it’s a big job and as usual, I’m procrastinating furiously…

So while there’s been scant news from Chiconia recently, as you can see, I have not been idle!

L’heure bleue

The Blue Hour is one of my favourite times of day.

It’s that time between twilight and full night when the sun is below the horizon and the world is coloured a soft shade of deep blue and other colours start to leach away. It’s a time when I often find myself in my sewing room, pottering about; it’s not long enough to start anything big before I have to go to the kitchen to make dinner, but it’s too good to waste doing nothing.

I’ve at last begun, appropriately enough, a mostly blue and white quilt for the Husband’s bunk in Miz Lizzie. So far, all the blocks are from my sorted scraps and smaller stash pieces, but I suspect I’ll need some more fabric soon, some bits of dark blue.

Also included in the line up are pieces from Granny Maud’s Girl; she sent me leftovers from the quilt she made for her father from his old shirts, and I’ve made entertaining use of the patches featuring pockets! I’m getting along nicely, a couple of blocks here, a couple more there, and making good use of my Blue Hour time. This early layout is most of the dark centres with light out-sides. Coming soon are the light centres with dark outsides…

And because of course all colour has a sound track, I leave you with Acker Bilk and the marvellously and appropriately named Bent Fabric, playing The Blue Hour.

What do you do with your Blue Hour?

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Here at last…

It has been a long few days…

Mackay to Cania Gorge, Cania Gorge to Toowoomba, Toowoomba to Mt Warning, Mt Warning to Nambucca Heads. About 1500kms in 4 days. We also seem to have had an unerring instinct for choosing spots with little or zero phone and internet signal. Lovely and peaceful, but not conducive to posting!  We finally arrived last night trailing a tyre on Miz Lizzie which has a big gouge out of it, one of the steel bands in the tyre has been cut by something (probably one of the many savage potholes on Mt Warning), and the tyre is bulging dangerously. One of today’s first jobs is to replace that with the spare and buy a couple of new ones.

We’ve had lovely sunny weather the last 4 days. Of course, last night it started to rain… Not torrential, just steady. This morning is damp but the rain is clearing. I hope for some photos! Here are some from last night, to give you an idea of just how crowded and built up our holiday beach is… The sand is almost white and very fine silica sand, it squeaks underfoot, not like the coral sand up north. The images are small so I could get them all in side by side, but the files are larger so you can click on them if you want a closer look.

 

 

 

We met up for breakfast yesterday with Nanette, a fellow blogger whose town and home have been devastated by the floods that followed Cyclone Debbie. It was great to catch up with her, and we’re lost in admiration at the resilience and spirit of everyone affected so greatly by the flooding.

With luck, I’ll have slightly more interesting things to show you over the next few days, now that we’ve stopped hurtling down highways for a while.

Miz Lizzie: Cushion creatures

Miz Lizzie has a couple of new adornments.

In addition to sorting out temporary hacks for fitted bunk sheets (aka strategically placed quilting safety pins to hold them tight), and in lieu of making the 4 sets of curtains I’d promised myself, and which the cyclone clear-up cancelled due to lack of time, I’ve managed to get a couple of cushion covers done. We have one each, same fabric, different binding. They’re the perfect plumpness for leaning on while we’re reading or doing something online.

Don’t you just adore that fabric? Mostly Australian birds and butterflies, and it’s a really nice weight of cotton/linen blend dĂ©cor fabric. I just couldn’t resist it when I saw it, and a metre was plenty for these two. The colour scheme is not exactly right to match the curtain fabric, but close enough that it doesn’t clash visually. And I needed a tiny bit of pink in the future ocean of blues and neutrals…

The process of making them was not without its moments… Originally, both cushions had a zipper in the back. However, as I was inserting the cushion pad into the pink-bound cushion, the zipper pull self-destructed. I couldn’t face the prospect of removing the binding, taking the cover apart and extracting the zip so I could replace it.

So I thought of buttons, and that’s what I’ve got, holding the opening closed with elastic loops. I’d probably have replaced the zip if it was for someone else, but this was my cushion, and although it’s not perfect, I find it quite OK; the buttons blend well with the colour scheme and they do a good job of holding the cover closed without gaping.

Just a few days now before we go away. And still so much to do!

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Waterfalls, Weather and Walsh’s Pyramid

We knew we were in for some rain today.

We were right. It’s been soggy on and off all day. But it didn’t stop us, and indeed, we decided to add still more water to the equation by doing the Waterfall Circuit, a 15km loop drive which takes in three of the Tableland’s more notable falls. Without further ado, then, I bring you Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls and Ellinjaa Falls.

millaa-millaa-falls zillie-falls ellinjaa-falls

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the cloud and downpour got too heavy for us to enjoy the scenery, and we descended from the plateau down to sea level and into sunshine.

En route, we saw some pretty amazing evidence of just how fast and how heavily rain in the tropics can develop, as a thick roll of dark cloud built up out of nowhere above Mount Bartle Frere, teetered briefly at the top and then tipped itself over the edge. You can’t even see the top of the mountain, and it’s the highest in Queensland!

weather-1

Rolling down over the mountain top, having appeared out of a clear, innocent blue sky….

weather-2

… and dropping its load in a sheer curtain of water.  Ten paces from the cloud’s edge, the ground was dry!

On our way into Cairns for a bit of shopping and a bloody fine curry at our favourite Indian restaurant, we passed the peak which is the ‘gateway to Cairns’, known as Walsh’s Pyramid. Well, you can see why, can’t you?

walshs-pyramidThis remarkable peak is the location of one of the most gruelling mountain runs in the southern Hemisphere. It’s 922 metres or 3,025 feet high, and the run consists of 6 km (3.7 miles) of road and 6km of sheer mountain; up, and then down again at headlong speed. If you’re interested, you can go here to read the history, stats and records for the race. And why do they do it? Because it’s there….

We did a fair bit more than I’ve documented here, but it’ll have to wait for another day.

 

 

A whole different way of camping

Up to now, camping has been a balancing act.

You balance the things you want and need against the space or carrying capacity available. I’ve backpacked; I don’t enjoy the weightlifting involved. I’ve camped with a bicycle and panniers, a motorbike and trailer, and with a car. In all these cases, you have to discard things because there’s no space for them, often things you later wish you had. It’s mostly a case of cramming things into every available corner.

laundry-bagsMiz Lizzie has changed all that. I have places for things, permanent places. One of the most refreshing changes is clothes and laundry. We have a wardrobe, and drawers, for goodness’ sake. When I realised this morning that dirty laundry no longer had to be hung outside the tent in a skimpy plastic bag till I could deal with it, I made us each (drum roll) a laundry bag! To hang inside the wardrobe door on a hook, and corral all the mis-matched socks, used underwear and sweaty shirts, so that Miz Lizzie stays tidy, clean and pleasant-smelling.

pocket-hangingAnd remember I said I’d tell you another time what I did with the pockets from the jeans I cut up for rug yarn? It’s another ‘stuff’-corralling item, some-where to put all those bits and pieces that otherwise get put down, forgotten and lost. It’ll hang inside by the door, or possible on the back of the door itself, so you can find the torch easily in the middle of the night when you have to go to the loo, or you need your car keys or sun-screen before you head out. It’s not especially beautiful or straight – old denim can be a bit baggy to work with – but it is useful, and made from a recycled pair of jeans and a fabric remnant for which I paid $3.

Our first outing is on Saturday. I’m in a frenzy of list-making now that I have space to play with. With the bike and trailer I knew what I had and could take. This is a whole new ball game – does anyone out there have any gems of good advice or experience I could benefit from?

But it’s still better to take too little than too much, wouldn’t you say?