Monday, November 29, 2010

The Visit continued

 We are still on holidays and are back in Tweed Heads in norther New South Wales now.  
I have taken more photos than I can manage at present but I will include some each day if I think they are interesting enough.  
The plant featured here is a frangipani, a very popular plant in the places we visited.  Anyway I wonder if anyone can see the frog in this pic.   

I don't know the name of this plant but perhaps Laurel will let us know.  It is a really pretty little plant with gorgeous shades of blue.

The house and the formal garden are surrounded by tall eaucalypts and they form a truly Australian backdrop.  They also provide shelter to many birds and animals and tiny wildflowers.

Laurel & Neal have put in many hours of work building up the poor soil and creating wonderful areas of plantings.
I can tell that this is a labour of love and that although it is beautiful now, there is plenty more planned for the future.
The house is also a delight to see.  The verandas provide shelter from the heat and the interior is very inviting with lots of Laurel's needlework on display.
Sadly by the time I went inside my camera decided not to co-0perate so i can only show a couple of examples of her work.  I am sure you will agree it is beautiful.

Later I will share some more photos of our trip to Noosaville which is a little further north on the Sunshine coast of Queensland.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

sunday already

 I have just a minute to write a few words: yesterday we visited our friends Laurel & Neal at their beautiful home.  they made us so welcome and we had lots to look at: their garden is so fantastic and the morning tea was excellent.
I will write a little more after lunch. 

Friday, November 26, 2010


Although we don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia I do think it is a wonderful opportunity to count our blessings and meditate upon the good things in our lives.  So much of life consists of bad news and challenges.

 In this wonderful age of the world wide web we are able to share and keep in touch with like minded people throughout the world.  Through the internet I have made some wonderful friends.
For that I am thankful.

We live in a country that is relatively peaceful, prosperous and beautiful.
For that I am thankful.
 I have great friends, neighbours,  daughters, grandchildren and of course my husband.
For that I am thankful.

There is so much to be thankful for and while we are on holiday I am taking time to think on these things.

I have added some pics I have taken during the past couple of  days.  The plants here are big and bright and beautiful.

This morning I swam in the surf at Greenmount beach. It is so beautiful to feel the power of the sea and to taste the salt.  I could have stayed there all day: there is something about the sea that always makes me feel joyful.

Tomorrow we set off for Noosaville: bringing father-in-law with us.  We will stop on the way to see some friends for morning tea and to catch up with chatter and take a look at their beautiful garden.  It is a about 3 hours driving altogether and we have a lovely new ford hire car to travel in.

I had better stop writing and organize myself for the trip.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


 This morning we went to Coolangatta (Queensland) to take a look at the beach.  There were not many people about: the morning was cloudy but warm and the surf was quite rough.

 I didn't swim but I did manage to get pretty wet.
Coolangatta is at the southern part of the gold coast and is a family resort area.  As you can see there are plenty of high rise hotels to choose from and the beach is huge.

 This beach can be quite treacherous and the surf lifesavers are on patrol.  It is important to swim in the areas designated as they cannot cover the whole area.  This is one of the reassuring sights on many Australian beaches. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hot days and holidays

I am writing from Tweed Heads in Northern New South Wales tonight.  We are taking a short break and visiting Mike's dad.  The weather was really hot (30 degrees) when we left Melbourne and about 25 degrees when we arrived here.  It has the feeling of the tropics and the plants are so lush and bright.

There will be some time for some stitching and some op shopping while we are here.  Tweed Heads is very much a favourite spot for retirees and it is really relaxing.  The pace is much slower than in Melbourne which I find hard to adapt to. We will visit Coolangatta Beach tomorrow for a swim in the surf.  I do love the water.

I will take some pics tomorrow for those who are interested to see a little of the area.

It is more than two years since we were in this part of the country and flying seems to have changed a lot as well.  Of course fares are lower but I hate having to pay for extras.  Checked baggage costs $10; you pay for food and if you want to listen to the radio or watch something on the little screen you pay for that as well.  Too many decisions for my liking.  You can also book your seat and print your boarding pass from home.  The last option was to   " Offset Carbon" whatever that means.  oh dear I do sound old and grumpy.

I must check the web and see if there are any needlework places nearby:  I am sure there will be something I need.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

santa - the continuing story

Santa is coming along really well.  I  finished quilting the underskirt while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor.  Almost all of the lace is attached around the edge: each piece is secured with a crystal.  
I am so pleased with how this is coming along.  The grandchildren have given it the big tick of approval which is most important.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


This morning the birds were lined up on the rails of the veranda waiting for their breakfast.

First in line was this little baby butcher bird.

This little baby magpie was quite capable of feeding itself but as soon as mother bird appeared it started squawking until it was fed.  

I have made some progress with Santa.  I have a clear image of what he will look like now. 

I have hand quilted the damask skirt in the same colour as the overskirt.

I am using some of my dyed lace to trim the edges and he is wearing a straw hat which will be covered in felt.

These are some of the green threads I had to choose from.  It always amazing me that I can have so many shades of one colour but not be able to find exactly what I want. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010


At last I have made a start on my Santa.  These are just rough ideas at this stage but I am looking forward to how it works out.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


We are enjoying a lovely rainy weekend - this is so typical of MELBOURNE, yesterday it was windy and 32 humid degrees: today is still, rainy and 17 degrees.

I decided to pick some flowers for the house.  I rarely pick flowers but they wont survive well in this weather so we might as well enjoy them inside.

The vase is on my kitchen bench and you can see that the weather obscures much of the view.

The final photo is taken just in front of that window.  Not much to see really but I love the feeling of being enclosed by the weather.


 It is the beginning of the cherry season here.  Something I do look forward to each year.  We can buy cherries from the USA sometimes but the cherries here seem to mark the beginning of summer festivities.  They are always expensive but I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the $29.95 per kilo price.

The lady at the check out commented that she weighed ONE 
CHERRY this morning.  It turned out to be valued at 42cents.  Yes, that is 42 cents for 1 cherry.  I guess I shall have to wait.

Friday, November 12, 2010

How much is too much?

I have been thinking a lot about my work space lately.  I am very lucky to have a big room with lots of natural light at one end.  It has a sink and fridge and even a bathroom:  so I can loose myself down here for hours (if not days).  

Previously I have had lots of things around me.  Apart from the sewing machines and light box next to my computer & printer: all of which have to be out and at the ready, I also have lots of beads, threads, fabrics, magazines, books, shells and seed pods, etc etc etc on display.  In the past I have found all of these things helpful in providing ideas and inspiration, but lately I find it all a bit overwhelming.

I am gradually putting most things away in cupboards and only leave out things I "need".  Of course with Christmas on the way it is the season for clutter!!!!!  I wonder how others deal with their workspaces.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

stitching again

I have been working on my pleated piece of silk,which I think I have shown you before.  Anyway, I am using this as an excuse to try lots of different things.
This will be another needlebook of course.  The inside lining is a piece of fabric that I dyed earlier in the year.  The colour is a bit cloying but it looks good with pink so now I can include some very pink pieces of fabric and lace.  I managed to pick up some green felt in one of my favourite op shops and it is ideal to accomodate the needles.
On the inside of the back cover is a small square of fabric with hand made edging.  It was badly stained so I added it to a batch of dying.  It makes a perfect pocket to hold threads. 

On the front I added a piece 
of lace that had been on a very fine linen handkerchief which I used until it fell apart.  The lace was still lovely though into the dye it went and came out so soft and pretty that I had to use it somewhere special.

 On the inside I made this little pocket for the scissors: I had some tiny round doylies, one of them in a net and the other crochet.  Once they were folded together they looked so pretty and delicate.  I am trying to decide whether to add the bow.

 Goodness I have rambled on a lot about this particular piece but I am enjoying it so much.  It is more feminine and delicate than the things I usually do and has given me a chance to use some of my more precious pieces of vintage lace.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Good weather for gardening

This time of year in Melbourne is so lovely.  The weather is very changeable but there is a hint of summer in the air.  The roses are blooming and the border plants all put on a great show.

Yesterday we went to visit friends who live about 10 minutes away, by car.  They have quite a large block of land, about 3/4 acre I think.  Norma is a keen gardener and at 72 still spends many hours tending her beautiful garden. 
Her husband takes care of the pruning and the swimming pool and between them they keep there plants in good order.
Norma & I  spent some time looking at what was in bud and bloom and I took a few pics.  Among her favourites are her clematis and this one is such a pretty colour.  Of course roses feature as do the flowering trees such as the crab apple.  
In the vegetable garden the broad beans are ready to pick and the artichoke is looking magnificent.
We had fresh greens in the salad and fresh flowers on the dinner table.  Whenever I have visited these friends I come home with a renewed enthusiam for the garden.
We share a love of English drama and spend time chatting about the latest offerings on tv as well as bragging about our grandchildren.

This rose is a climber called Gold Bunney and covers a large part of the pool fence: in the background you can see the trunk of a very tall palm tree.  

I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into Norma's beautiful garden.  I certainly enjoyed it.
The weather has been quite warm for the last couple of days and I am a bit sunburnt on my face and arms: I forgot to use sunscreen.  Tonight the weather is turning stormy and the thunder is rolling in: we won't have much rain though.

Poirot will be on the TV and I can do some stitching.  Have a great week everyone.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

More colour and prize draw

I have been trying out some more colour combinations and now I have heaps of lace, fabric & doileys ready to play with.

Of course some will go to the winner of the October give-away.  My granddaughter is too busy to visit at present (just 13 and at secondary school) so I asked Mike to draw the winner.  First out was Jensters: Congratulations!!!  Jen please  email me your address and I will post some goodies to you.
I really appreciate everyone's comments on my blog and will have another giveaway before Christmas. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


 Last week I made a book holder for a friend's birthday.
I had a vinyl folder with pockets on each side so I thought I could recycle this into something pretty.
The fabric I chose is a piece I bought years ago and did not want to "waste" on just anything: there was more than a metre in the piece and I had resisted using it for several years.  My attitude to using my stash has really changed of late: no keeping "good" fabric, lace, beads for that special project.
My friend has just turned 70 and loves books and writing so I thought this would suit her and the fabric was perfect for the project.  

I also added some of my hand dyed lace and was so pleased with the effect I added a bookmark. There is such joy in being able to make something for a dear friend, knowing it will be  appreciated.