Thursday, April 29, 2010

The English Group

Thanks to the lovely Di J., I have an in with The English Group. They're quilters who meet from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., once a month for tea, lunch, handwork, and chit-chat. It was an honor to be invited to join everyone at Gail's house on Thursday.

In photos, here's my day that began with a 15 minute walk to the Abbotford Wharf where I caught a Rivercat ferry into Sydney...
...and changed ferries to get to Double Bay.Then I walked past this... ...and get to Gail's house......where I saw these gorgeous, hand-pieced hexagon quilts.
Gail and Jill have finished hand-piecing and hand-quilting their quilts since I visited last October!
Jill and her quilt.
This is a quilt of native Australian flowers and plants that Jill's hand-quilting,...these hand-pieced Whirlygigs (a Sue Ross class) belong to Di...and this quilt top (another Sue Ross class) belongs to Gail.Robbie was hand-appliquing. Lyn's English paper-piecing hexagons.
I feel confident saying they all have a thing for hexies!Mid-morning, we had tea and coffee.The French pressed coffee was delicious, especially with a TimTam biscuit...on the balcony with these friends (L-R) Gail, Jill, Anne, Robbie, Lyn, me, and Di.
By 3 p.m., it was time for me to walk back to the Double Bay wharf ...and catch the ferry back to Sydney...and again be amazed by the Harbour Bridge...and wonder anew at the nerve of the people on top (below the flag)...and finally walk back home to Abbotsford and my family.
It was a perfect day.
I've invited The English Group to my house for the August get-together.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Coming Soon

While I'm in Australia visiting our daughter and her family, our son and DIL expect to deliver their first child. They live in Tampa, Florida, and "Eric" is due Saturday, May 1. Family on both sides are placing bets as to the actual birth date. I picked Sunday, May 2 at 2:30 a.m.

Today we received this ultrasound photo of Eric. Isn't it absolutely amazing what technology reveals these days? The doctors even know that he weighs about 7 pounds 8 ounces (3.4 kg)! As much as I'd like to be close by for Eric's birth, Eric's parents have asked for three weeks of family bonding time before anyone visits. Since our DIL's mother has first dibs for a visit - and rightly so - I probably won't meet the little man until the second week of June.
It's a good thing I'm getting lots of baby snuggles from Tay while I'm in Oz. They have to last me for many weeks!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friday Flaunt - More Candied Hexagons

It's a good thing I had lots of time for handwork during my flights to Australia! Family has captured all my attention since I arrived in Oz last Friday morning. But certainly traveling is the best for handwork! Just pop in iPod earbuds for a listen to a good book and pick up your hand project. Hand sewing while waiting at airport gates and sitting through interminably-long flights... a bit of heaven.

One of these row pairs came with me to Aus, already joined. The other two joined pairs of rows were stitched over US western skies and the Pacific Ocean! Interestingly, Kerry Dear, whose Candied Hexagons pattern instructions I'm following, has you sew together a row of hexies, then join a second row of hexies to the first. Makes complete sense.
Then, she says to put down those two rows and pick up another row of hexies to join and add a second row to. So it's pairs of rows for now. After row pairs are made, they're stitched to one another.

Perhaps Kerry was also traveling when she decided to assemble the quilt top this way. It's lap size hand-piecing - just the right size.
Please pop by the Stitchin' Mission blog for a look at my Thursday afternoon activity. It was wonderful. I am blessed to have such very special friends in Australia.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

We All Scream for...Nana

I'd like to believe this effervescent joy and squealing is because I'm visiting.
'Nuf said.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Celina Day

On Tuesday Celina returns to school from fall school holiday. So Monday we spent the day together, ferrying to Circular Quay and wandering through the Royal Botanic Gardens.

We walked about 20 minutes to Abbotsford Wharf where we boarded a ferry for the half hour ride to Circular Quay. It was a gorgeous, partly cloudy day, perfect for sitting outdoors on the bow.
The ferry passed beneath Iron Cove Bridge.Approaching Sydney's CBD (Central Business District), ferrying toward Darling Harbour
....and a ferry stop here.After Darling Harbour, we headed to the last stop, Circular Quay. We passed under the enormous, and famous Harbour Bridge. Those little specks below the flag are people! For a hefty price, you can pay to climb into a bright orange jumpsuit that hooks to a safety cable, so you can walk across the top of Harbour Bridge!Whether ferrying into or exiting from Circular Quay (the central place for ferries, trains and buses), you pass by the Sydney Opera House.Once we disembarked, we headed toward the Royal Botanic Gardens.Even though we'd been there before, we found new gardens, greenhouses, and walkways to explore.

There's a Palm Tree Centre (I especially loved that!) with many varieties, identified with tags, to admire.In the fern hothouse we saw this unusually beautiful bloom. Ibis wander throughout the gardens.
And there are bats! Hundreds of flying fox have become a park nuisance. They damage the trees where they roost.Another view of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Celina and I had packed a picnic lunch, so we found a shady park bench where we could sit, admire the views, and find lots to talk about!
The Royal Botanic Garden grounds include the historic Government House. It was built in 1789 as the home of the first governor of New South Wales. We'd like to visit on a day when the house is open for tours.
On the west side of the house is a large formal garden with walkways that once led to the water. Along the path we came across this gorgeous frangipani tree. It smelled wonderful! We found a fallen bloom that we could sniff and marvel over.After hours of walking, too much sun, and ice cream, we headed to Circular Quay for the return ferry home.
The size and grandiosity of the Harbour Bridge cannot be overlooked.
Or the beautiful water views.
That's the ANZAC Bridge (Australia/New Zealand Army Corps) in the background.
Nearing home, we again passed our own Abbotsford Cove. Interestingly, this townhome and apartment complex is on the grounds of the former Nestle's Chocolate factory. The grand home in the center, with the lawn rolling down to the water's edge, was first built as a private residence in the early 1900s. In 1912 it was sold to Nestle's for use as a factory with the house becoming the administrative offices. Since 1985, when Nestle sold the property for the Abbotsford Cove complex, the mansion has become a conference center and is occasionally the site for beautiful weddings. Abbotsford Cover residents refer to the manse as "The Chocolate House." What a wonderful day Celina and I spent together. I think we made some great memories.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Stuff

These are a few pictures of my beautiful Sunday morning walk to church.

My family lives in this complex of townhomes and apartments called Abbotsford Cove. It's right on one of Sydney's dozens of bays.
Sydneysiders are accustomed to being on or near water. Boats are everywhere, and it's different for this Midwesterner to see waterways used commonly as a form of transportation.

I know I'm not in Iowa anymore when I get to see unusual vegetation. This is just one of many varieties of bottlebrush. After a pretty, 15 minute walk, I arrived at my destination, St. Andrew's Anglican Church. The people are very welcoming and friendly! I arrived a bit early but had the pleasure of meeting and visiting with several members. After the service I met a woman from Michigan married to an Aussie. I think I've made another friend who I'll see in church next week! On Sunday afternoon, Celina and I did a little project together. While at Paddington Market, she got a handmade, bound and painted journal that she'll use for scrapbooking. To go with her new journal, she wanted a case to carry her drawing pencils and pens. At Spotlight we purchased a ready-made placemat that we turned into the perfect case.

First, we cut off several inches of the height of the placemat, and resewed that edge. We folded up about an inch along the bottom of the placemat to make a pocket. Then, we measured pencil and pen sizes and at intervals, sewed vertical lines through black elastic layed across the width of the placemat.

To finish, on the front side of the placemat we added a piece of wide ribbon, sewing it to the middle of the case.
Celina is very happy with her new journal and matching pencil case. Me too!


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