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Friday, June 29, 2012

Muddle of maths...

I recently posted this photo on my Facebook page with the rather facetious comment 'I hope this sign was not written by an ex student of mine!'

And then I got my self into a real muddle with the maths involved in some patchwork. I had put my name down for a pot-holder swap on the 'Down to Earth' forum. Obviously there are a variety of ways that a pot holder can be made; I decided to do pieced 'tops'. The swap required people to make 2 co-ordinating pot holders and I had found some 'food prints' in my stash, so I was set. I thought that I would make one with half square triangles (HST) and the other one perhaps a log cabin design with the same set of fabrics or something hand-sewn like hexagons.

First I started on the HSTs. I worked out that the squares I would be using would need 16. I cut the squares out of the fabrics and then wondered what solid colour I would use. I chose a green homespun from the stash and cut out some matching squares in the solid colour. I marked the diagonal and then started sewing pairs of squares together.

 After I cut along the diagonal I went to iron all the HST...that's funny! there seemed to be so many! then the 'penny dropped'...duh! I ended up with 32 HST not just 16!  :-/ This does tend to happen when you start with a total of 32 squares.

Sewing HST together

So I changed my mind about the second potholder being a different design. I used the HST left over from No 1 to make No2. But the drama did not stop there...oh no! I have sewn for many years; I have put many bindings on edges. But with these 2 small 8 inch potholders I had nothing but trouble sewing the bound edge. Eventually I wrote to my swap partner, Nicole saying that I would send one potholder and a small gift in the mail yesterday (had to be in the mail by June 30), that I would not touch the other one for a day or so and then I would unpick the binding (it's black and difficult to see stitching) and then re do it. Then I would post it to her.

This lovely lady wrote back:-
Hi Maria. Please don't worry! I Still haven't finished your potholders either! Between work being busy, staff being sick, getting organised for interstate visitors and everything else life brings up I haven't been in the right frame if mind either.
I firmly believe that gifts need to be made with love - not in a mad hurry - so we'll keep in touch & not get stressed
Xxx Nicole

Her last sentence says it all! I was getting quite stressed instead of enjoying the fun of the swap.

So this one went in the mail and is on its way to South Australia

This one is lying face down on the sewing table waiting to have the binding re done!

Now why didn't I just crochet 2 potholders? They would have taken no time at all to finish! lol

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Around the garden...

It's been raining for most of this week and the plants are just loving it!
The girls and Karl (the fiance) gave me Bunnings' gift cards for my birthday last month and I bought another raised garden bed. There was enough money left over to also buy bagged compost, garden soil, potting mixture, bagged manure and some vegie seedlings! The photo above was taken just after we put the metal sides together and put some old potting mix in the bottom of the bed. The plants in the bed were already in the vegie patch that we had in this space but the old patch was only half the size of the new bed.

This little bird came to check things out...

Some planting started

When we came back from Victoria, I started planting out the new bed. Since I took this photo, I've planted  some more carrots, some silverbeet and 2 zucchini plants. A seed potato that I planted before we went away has also come up since then. 

A tub of potatoes...

The last of the autumn leaves on the crepe myrtle

The camelia plant near the back steps

One of the day lillies in the front garden...
fruit on the lillypilly ( a plant native to Australia)
Luckily the white on the leaves is not powdery's tomato dust
Marigolds and another variety of lillypilly

A vine like plant originally given to me by a friend who grew it from seed.

New Zealand Christmas Bush or metrosideros excelsus
So what is happening in your garden now?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Some of my friends...

On Sunday I had coffee with a group of friends whom I originally met when my children started school. We call ourselves the Newmarket Mums and we meet for coffee the last Sunday of each month, except December.
Jenny looking through Margo's photo album of her  recent trip to Canada/Alaska
 I first met Jenny just over 25 years ago when she 'checked out' the After School Care Centre that I co-ordinated at the school. She must have liked what she saw because her son was then enrolled at the centre. Jenny and I were also regular attendees at P&C meetings and we worked on fundraising together for years.
Liz and Robyn
 I've known Liz for about 30 years. Her elder daughter was a student at the school when I had taught there before DD1 was born. Liz worked at a hairdressers near the school until she started a family with her second husband. Those younger children meant that Liz was again involved with the school. Robyn's 3rd daughter was in the same class as my DD1. Robyn and I both did tuckshop duty and, like Liz and Jenny, got involved with fund-raising.
Marie and Sandra
 Marie's DS was in the same class as my DD1 and she took an active role in Tuckshop and ...yes you guessed it!...fundraising. I've known Sandra for 23 years and I first met her when she enrolled her daughter  in After School Care. Sandra worked fulltime but still managed to play an active part in the fundraising team. Sadly, she has been widowed for a few years now. Her husband died suddenly of a heart attack, the first spouse in our group to pass away. It made us all aware of our own mortality.
Sandra and Margo
 I first met Margo when her daughter was booked into the Centre. Margo is a radiographer but also makes incredible we would get her to make her specialty for all our fetes and street stalls etc. Margo is originally from New Zealand and knows first hand the worry of having elderly parents living in another country.

Jenny and Maddie
I've known Maddie for 25 years and met her when she enrolled her son in the centre. This son was also in my daughter's class. She remarried a few years after I met her and has another son now who is in Year 12! Maddie was a bit late getting to the coffee shop on Sunday, but she'd had one of those weeks. You see her elderly dad died earlier in the week and with all the funeral arrangements etc, it had been a hectic and sad time for her and her family. So for a little while she was able to relax a bit, tell us all about her week and also her planned holiday north which is coming up soon.

Last, but not least, we had some flowers (hidden under the table) ready to give to  Maddie 
I love this group of people. Over the years we've all had 'bad spots' in our lives but the group offers real support and friendship. We help each other through the  bad times and celebrate each others' good times...pretty good all round I reckon.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The colour green...

I'm again joining in with Evi over at Sister Sun for a bit of fun with the colour green.

Posing with Shrek and the Gingerbread Man

When Eduardo's pet carrier is stored away, I put it in a green plastic bag.  In this photo it's on the veranda ready for a visit to the vet

A set of cushions I made in 1981 for an art show

Part of the miniature village, Cockington Green in Canberra 

View from the Skyrail, Cairns to Kuranda

Knitted washer to match a set of towels for one of our girls

Some of our pea crop last year

An old green glass bowl that belonged to my mother
One of the 'older Diggers' at our local ANZAC ceremony

I used a lot of greens in this project

Another quirky sign in a toilet on one of our travels

Some of our vegie garden last year

A lovely green plate I bought in NZ, carried it around on holidays then dropped it as I unwrapped it at home :-/ DH glued it back together
fresh basil leaves in the mini chopper

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A cold snap here...

The weather bureau predicted it early last week and by this weekend, it had well and truly arrived...a cold snap! Well cold by sub tropical Brisbane standards; maybe southern Aussies would call us wusses but we reckon it's cold ! lol
Time to have thick soups simmering on the stove tops...

Some minestrone

And a casserole in the oven warms up the kitchen and living rooms...

Boeuf bourguignon casserole just out of the oven

and it's pretty good to eat too!

Last week I mentioned that I was crocheting 15 inch squares in indigenous colours for a mini challenge with one of my knitting groups. At the Knit and Natter on Wednesday, I handed in the 5 that I had already done. Sharon had volunteered to sew the squares into blankets and today she sent me an email to say that she had sewn up one blanket with some of the donated squares. The blanket is quite large, 192 by 155 cm and will keep its recipient nice and warm. Sharon also has kindly allowed me to use her photo from the forum page, on this blog. I have no real idea which squares were 'mine', but I did just one colour squares. I will continue to crochet these large squares as Sharon has indicated she considers it a work in progress. And a bit of crocheting is a nice wind down activity in the evenings.

One lovely blanket in indigenous colours
The house is all nice and warm, dinner is over, DH has tidied the kitchen, now it's time to grab a cuppa and  my knitting and sit down in front of the TV for an hour or two. Bliss...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Stanthorpe visit...

Last Monday DH and I drove to Stanthorpe to 'catch up' with old friends and to visit an exhibition in the Stanthorpe Art Gallery. It's about a 3 hour drive to the south and west of Brisbane.

We stopped for a break in the city of Warwick. A friend of ours, Rod, is the rector of St Marks so we dropped in to the Rectory to say hello to Dianne and him and share a cuppa. They wanted to hear updates on our family and of course we wanted to hear what their 3 were doing :-).

St Mark's Warwick

The rectory

An intersection in Warwick

Then we headed off again to Stanthorpe. Here's a few photos of the main street...

The grand old Post Office building is being restored and renovated

One of the old pubs

My father had farmed (orchards and vineyards) in the area (Ballandean) with my godparents way back before I was born. My dad sold out his share of the farm and had moved to Brisbane in the late 1940s. I spent many holidays on the farm with my godparents; it was like a second home. My godparent's daughters are like sisters to me. Eventually in the late 1980s the farm was sold and split up into 4 parts.

One of the daughters met us at our motel and took us on a bit of a tour. We went out to Ballandean; we saw the old saw mill where the old wooden fruit boxes were made, the old building where the old telephone exchange was, the old station etc. Dorrie told us that many of the farms were being broken up or orchards are being pulled out as those varieties of fruit are no longer wanted by retailers. The area is changing from fruit growing to more diversified cropping.

She then took us to the Granite Ridge Winery which is on one of the parts of the original farm. The old house is on this part and the owner of the winery very kindly allowed us to wander up to have a closer look. We saw the old outside laundry, the old garage is there (it was for cars, trucks and tractors), the fuel pump, the workers' hut, the chookyard is empty,  the packing shed is visible but is on another's piece of land. So it was quite a trip down memory lane!

Inside part of the winery

Dorrie (Dorothy) and DH

Looking towards the cellar door building of Granite Ridge Winery

On Monday evening we all dined together, shared memories and the 'girls' got great delight going through my dad's old photos as well as photos I took when I was a teenager on school holidays there.

Dad's photos

On the Tuesday DH and I went to see the photographic exhibition, 'Echoes of Italian Voices' which depicted the influence of Italian settlers (like my dad and godparents) on the history of the area. I had a great time looking at the photos and reading all the captions.

Dorrie very generously gave me a copy of this book

Then later on Tuesday, it was time to head for home. The length of our stay was determined by our commitments. The next day, Wednesday, was to be a very busy day with 3 commitments!

The next photo was taken in a public toilet in Warwick...this was on the back of the door of the cubicle. So no 'rearranging of clothing' etc as you walk out! lol
Part of the highway heading home