Tuesday, 14 October 2014

 After the chairlift we got back into our car and drove down to the harbour to do a cruise up the Cataract Gorge.  We were the only passengers at 3.30pm but Jeremy was more than happy to take us round the harbour, telling us  lots of information and then up the gorge.
 These beautiful units on the harbour had been Jeremy's home until just recently.  They loved living there, with it;s restaurants and shops nearby but decided they needed more space when their grandchildren come to visit.
 The harbour foreshore on the Tamar River is being redeveloped now that the mills and silos are no longer used for their intended purposes.  They are being turned into a convention entre and residential buildings surrounded by parkland.  They will also rebuild the old Kings Wharf which used to service international ship but has not been used and let run down since WWII.
 Some of the impressive period houses along the Tamar River telling of a past prosperous time.

 The beginning of the gorge where sits an old flour mill which ran a sleuce down the rock walls of the gorge carrying fresh water for use in the mill.  The sleuce was installed by Welsh miners who came out to work in a mine in the 1800's which went broke while they were on their journey out here.  The money from building the sleuce paid for their return to Wales. 
 This house, the only one on the gorge can be hired out for functions.  There is a walking path all the way along the gorge back to the chairlift.

When we got back to the carpark we were amused to see a lady walking two ferrets on leashes.

Friday, 3 October 2014

On 9th September Jeff and I flew to Launceston.  We had last toured Tasmania in l971 when we took our car to Tasmania from Melbourne and hired a caravan in Devonport and toured down the east coast and up the west coast.  We were young and naive and had never towed a caravan in our lives before. 
This time we flew to Launceston and hired a car, a VW Jetta and after a look around Launceston headed off down the Midlands Highway to our first b and b, Rose Cottage, at
Epping Forest.
 Cataract Gorge was our first stop.  We walked across this suspension bridge 43 years ago and as the chairlift had been installed since then we decided to take it over to the other side. 

 We had lunch in this quaint little tea house we saw from the chair lift.
 The gardens on the other side of the Gorge were so pretty and we were so taken with the peacocks that roamed the garden.
 At the Cafe there were signs that said "DON'T FEED THE PEACOCKS".  They were very annoying while you were eating your lunch.  Jeff tried to totally ignore this one as he ate his pie.
 Downstream of the Gorge looking down towards the Tamar River.
 Beautiful rhododendrons.  We saw them everywhere in Tassie.  And Daffodils, even on the sides of the road and out in paddocks.  I was surprised to see daffodils planted into the Australian bush.
 The famous Tasmanian Tree Ferns.  Sometimes called Man Ferns because they grow as tall as a man.
 A cute little wallaby eating an apple some people threw to him.
 Downstream of the Gorge.
Our VW Yarris we hired.  We weren't particularly impressed with it.  I would have loved to have layed my backrest back a little but never ever worked out how to, after much trying on several days.  The blinkers and wipers were on opposite sides than we were used to.  But apart from that it ran well, fitted in all our bits and pieces and was nice and warm, as the weather was still quite cool in Tassie.  About 13c when we arrived.

Monday, 18 August 2014

What am I working on right now?
At the moment I am inspired by vintage linens.  I just love them and the fact that someone spent hours embroidering and crocheting them.  I feel sad when I find them because the original owners or crafters are now separated from their work and no one in their family cares to carry them over.  I like to give them a new life and either use them as they are, for their intended purpose or upcycle them into more useful items.  The long sandwich tray cloths I have been reworking into beautiful sewing caddies.  Some of these doilies have been stitched onto a cord to be used as bunting.  I do find it hard to cut up some of the doilies.  The easy ones are those which are damaged and I turn them into another object and make them live again.

How long does it take to create a project?
I like to finish a project in one day.  Or several projects on one day.  The little sewing caddies only take an hour or two.  The most time is spent in choosing a suitable fabric and vintage laces for the backing and little pockets.  I always find it hard to choose buttons from my pearl button collection.  They are absolute treasures to me and I selfishly want to keep them all.


Microwave oven mitts and a matching tea towel.
Embroidered and patchworked Sewing Compendium
All of the above mentioned as well as pretty colourful and retro fabrics.  I find it hard to break out of my old mould though.  I am getting better at culling my old country style fabrics.  I'm sure I won't still be around when they come back into fashion again.  I love the bright colours and patterns, the fruits and the flowers of the retro fabrics.  I guess it seems 'young and fresh' to me as they were around when I was a child.  And after WW2 women were looking for bright and colourful to decorate their houses with.  My sister recently gave me some scraps from my mother's kitchen curtain fabric from the l950's which I am going to mount into a bamboo embroidery hoop for the wall.

How does my creative process work?
I guess I am inspired by beautiful fabrics that catch my eye.  My main supply shop is Spotlight and sometimes when I go in nothing inspires me and I tell myself to go home and use up some of my own stash.  But other times I see fabrics that sets my mind racing as to what I can make with it.  I also frequent every patchwork shop I find as we are travelling around.  I find I work best with fat quarters as if I buy a metre or so of fabric I'm reluctant to cut into it in case I find something else I would like to use it for later on.  Sometimes I have to stop myself, as I'm cutting out a project, from looking at all the scrappy bits and thinking about what I am doing to do with those!!  I like to make useful everyday items so that you will have a smile  as you use the.

How do I become inspired and stay inspired?
Pinterest is a great inspiration.   I can trawl through Pinterest for hours.  I rarely buy patterns.  I like to see something and then make a pattern myself or just make up what it has inspired in me.  And encouragement from others also fuels me to continue on with my creativity.

What is my signature style?
I don't know how to describe my 'style'.  I sell my wares under the title of Simply Elegant, so I guess that's how I started.  But I seem to have evolved into pretty retro at the moment.  I have to create on a regular basis and  I sell my wares at an annual Craft Sale and Garden Party in our back garden.  Everyone loves the setting, being waited on by my 4 beautiful daughters and enjoying the company of their friends for a couple of hours.

Friday, 14 March 2014

HAWAII  -  FEBRUARY 3 - 16 2014
 Napili Shores Resort - Napili Bay , MAUI
 The view from our balcony.  the grass hut is the Gazebo Restaurant famous for its breakfast, with people lining up from 7am ready for it to open at 7.30am.  You could help yourself to complimentary coffee while you waited.  We had breakfast there one morning but used the coffee machine almost every morning.
Daryl and Julie overlooking the rocks and pools in front of the resort where we snorkelled with a giant turlte.
 Drafts anyone?  The draft pieces were made out of coconuts and carved into the shapes of monkeys.  There were quite a few families staying at the resort and they played with the giant draft board.  Behind Jeff is the shuffle board pitch.  We didn't play that either but enjoyed watching from our balcony and hearing the clicking noise when the mallet hit the wooden discs.
The gardens at the resort were lovely.  This was a replica outrigger canoe
Overlooking the lower swimming pool and across the straight to Molokai Island.  Whales passed through the straight daily.  It was exciting to see them wave their pectoral fin at us.  We saw them breach and those famous tails shots as they go down for the big dive.

The lower pool with the lineup for the Gazebo's breakfast.
Daryl and Jeff whale watching with Napili Bay in the background
 Snorkelling in Napili Bay.
 Natasha, Alda, Karen, Julie, Diane and me.
Daryl and Julie washing their feet after a walk along the beach.
Julie, Daryl, Jeff, Ray and Karen on Napili Beach
Snorkelling on Napili Beach
Our usual barbeque dinner gathering.
The Gazebo restaurant and free coffee.
Lovely Seahouse Restaurant at the other end of the beach.  We used this restaurant a lot for everything from coffee and cake for Julie and I to predinner drinks and entrees to two full meals, one being our farewell dinner with everyone.