Saturday, November 28, 2009

Home Again

After 26-1/2 hours of travel, I am safely home in Iowa again. I left Sydney at 3:30 in the afternoon on Friday, November 27. I arrived at home in Des Moines, Iowa at 6:05 p.m. the same day. I know it's all about the international date line and 16 hours time difference, but it's still tough to get one's mind around it.

This is my last photo of Sydney, taken at the airport.
I desperately miss Sydney, my family (Jill, Maher, Celina, and baby Tay), my friends (Di and Di, in particular), and the climate!

When I arrived at the Des Moines International Airport, I was met by these...
...being offered to me by my handsome husband. He'd dressed up and had a big smile on his face. How much warmer of a welcome can a wife of 37 years expect than that!? He was looking very fine and trim, having lost 12 pounds (5.5 kg) while I was away. I too lost 5 pounds (nearly 3 kg). It seems we were pining away for one another!

Since returning to Iowa, I've made these observations:
  1. A person can cry off and on for 26-1/2 hours.
  2. I prefer Sydney's 85 degrees (29C) to Des Moines' 45 degrees (7C)
  3. It's dark in Des Moines at 6:00 p.m!
  4. Sydney has lush greenery and palm trees; Des Moines' trees are bare.
  5. Americans are really into glitz when it comes to decorating for Christmas. From the air, Des Moines fairly glows with holiday lights.
  6. Washing and drying a load of laundry in Des Moines takes half the time it did in Sydney.
  7. I miss my Sydney family. I miss my Sydney friends.
  8. I'm glad to be back in Des Moines with husband Dan, and dog Hogan. I'm looking forward to seeing my Des Moines friends.
I thank God for the blessing of getting to visit Australia once again, and for a safe journey back home. God is so good! Praise Him!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Friday Flaunt - Tay's Bambino

A couple months ago I made something similar to a "Bambino" for Tay. It has a koala head and arms, and a Minkee body. Here's three-week old Tay with it, when I first arrived in Australia.Tay's mum purchased a "Bambino" kit and asked me to make it. I did so this week. Bambino has been named "Blue."Eight week old Tay had a chance to play with Blue. He said, "Thank you, Nana! I like it!"
Each Friday, bloggers who belong to Quilting Down Under chat group post a flaunt of their productivity. Visit Cinzia's blog to find links to all 19 Friday Flaunt-ers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Manly Outing

My grand-daughter, ten year-old Celina and I had an all day outing today that began in the Sydney Central Business District (CBD).

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, even in this warm, sunny city. This Christmas tree is eight metres tall (26 feet) and assembled with more than 7,000 recycled cola bottles. A sign indicates that the tree is lit at night. Very neat! An outing isn't complete without a ferry ride, and yet another picture of the Sydney Opera House.
And another picture of Sydney's impressive CBD.
Today's destination was Manly, a half hour ferry ride east of the CBD. Interestingly, long ago, a colonial governor visited the area and chose the name Manly Cove because the indigenous men had "confidence and manly behavior."

At Manly Wharf, this bookmobile is handy for commuters who might want to pick up a good read for their ferry ride.
From the wharf we walked the Corso to Manly Beach. At the time the beach was overcast with just a few surfers.
We followed the bicycle/pedestrian path along the ocean and then looked back toward Manly Beach. Beautiful!
Celina and I hiked through Sydney Harbour National Park,
heading to
and this gorgeous cliffside view toward Sydney.
This was our favorite ocean-viewing spot. California is a l-o-n-g way northeast of here.Catch Celina's reaction to being here.
Using binoculars, we did a thorough job of watching the water. As we hoped, we managed to spy some whales, but I don't have any photos as proof. They were too far away and too fleeting, but we definitely saw spouts. Those prompted squeals of delight.

After catching a bus back to Manly, we snagged some Mackies (McDonalds) to eat along the beachside esplanade. Then it was off to Oceanworld where we saw all types of Australian-native tropical fish, sharks, stingrays, and various reptiles and venomous spiders.
I thought it was novel and nice that Manly offers several locations for refilling water bottles.
It was a glorious day, though I'm beat from all the walking, and I had too much sun. Such a small price to pay to see this beautiful country.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Australia - Friends and More Pressies

Sunday was the last Stitchin' Mission class at St. Mark's Church in Darling Point (Sydney). The entire series of lessons have couldn't have gone more smoothly, nor have been any more enjoyable to teach.

These two beautiful women, Di Bracey (left) and Di Jobbins (right) made it so. They are not only organizationed, generous, and extremely spirit-filled, but simply put, they are nice people! I am blessed to call each of them "my friend." They gave me this... No, not the Opera House, but a beautiful card full of sentiments from Stitchin' Mission participants. I cherish every remark it contains.

And then, there were these unexpected pressies. Oz quilters will surely know what's inside this tin... ...a beautiful pair of scissors. These are the Australian version of stork scissors, with a kangaroo!
But the gift that knocked my socks off - Okay, not really. After all, it was 98 F (37 C) on Sunday, so I wasn't even wearing socks - is this book, "The Fabric of Society: Australia's Quilt Heritage from Convict Times to 1960" by Annette Gero. I'd previously browsed through the pages, and longed for a copy. Those two thoughtful Di-s knew I would love it. It's a weighty tome, so if it taxes my luggage weight restrictions, it will be protectively carried home in my arms.
And thoughtful Cath, a Stitchin' Mission participant gave me this bundle of 20 Moda Marbles. Thank you, Cath!
All I can say is, these quilters make it even more difficult to leave Australia. Certainly not for the pressies, but for the welcome and friendship they've extended to this American stranger.

Being here has made me more cognizant of, and grateful for, our bonds. Quiltmaking of course, but also Christianity. Faith in God is what makes us one, no matter where in the world we live. I thank Him for His magnificent orchestration of our lives. Particularly for the technology that led Di Jobbins and me to swap emails; to Skype; and to arrange a Stitchin' Mission, and other quilt-related outings during my five week visit in Sydney. As a result, I'm blessed to count many new friends. It's been awesome.

Thank you, thank you! Hugs to everyone I've met. You are wonderful!

Monday, November 23, 2009

This, That and Hexies

Last Thursday I enjoyed another outing on the Paramatta River. Here's the Rivercat ferry coming into Abbotsford Wharf to take me to Circular Quay, once again! These ferries run a regular service and transport commuters into the CBD (Central Business District) every day. The ferries are larger than you might think with a capacity of 250 people. I've found that it's mostly the tourists who sit outside on the front deck. Why not? On a beautiful day it's the best way to take in the sites. On this day I ferried from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay.
From there I walked 2o minutes to Gail's house where "The English Group," a small group of quilters, was meeting from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM to socialize, lunch, and do handwork.

To get to Gail's I climbed the Marathon Steps.
The steps weren't too bad, and they were definitely in a pretty place.Once at Gail's house, the quilt talk and quilting began, and was pretty much non-stop!
Di, Gail and WendiRae and Lyn
Anne and Wendi
This darling hexie table runner was on Gail's coffee table.
Lyn made this quilt from hand-dyed wool, following a Sue Spargo design. We enjoyed our salad lunches in the back yard, A swimming pool is out there too.
Jillian shared her hexagon quilt with us. She's English paper-piecing it.
The layout she's following is similar to the Frederica Josephson quilt found in the book "The Fabric of Society."
She's made some beautiful blocks.
Gail is also English paper-piecing a hexie quilt.
The hexie quilts I've seen in the past two weeks are great inspiration. I've taken lots of pictures that I will reference, in hopes of making my already-started Candied Hexagons quilt even better.
The day couldn't have ended more perfectly than with ferry rides back to Abbotsford.
Sydney's CBD (left) and the Harbour Bridge (right), a hazy distance away.
You know, a person could get used to living in a place like this.


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