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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Costco...

Over the years I have heard people talking about a giant wholesale warehouse chain called Costco. For an annual membership fee, members of the public can shop at Costco. Friends who had visited the Costco in Melbourne raved about how wonderful/cheap it was. Well not long ago, Costco has opened at North Lakes, a community just to the north of Brisbane.



DH and I weren't really interested in paying for a Costco membership as buying in bulk is not imperative when you live in a 2 person household. Also bulk buying needs some sort of storage space...I'm a knitter and a stitcher...any space is filled with fabrics and yarns thank you very much! lol. (Many people we know have joined as the discount on petrol is considerable...but not if you have to drive a fair way there and back to get the fuel!)
But then my SiL, who is a member, suggested that perhaps Costco might have lollies in bulk at good prices which would be handy to fill those mini Christmas stockings, gift bags and boxes for K4BN. So that's how come DH and I accompanied his brother and SiL, as their guests, to Costco last Thursday. (If you are not a member you cannot even get in the front door of the warehouse, unless you are a guest/visitor accompanied by a  member. 

The trolleys are large! And we saw people with 2 or 3 filled to the brim trolleys at the checkouts!

Technically DH and I couldn't buy anything but we were able to have a look around. It's strange how items that went into our relatives' trolleys ended up at our place later on????
Most of the confectionery was bulk packaged chocolates which are not suitable for filling the mini stockings with our summer heat here, but we did find 2 varieties of sweets that would be suitable. 


DH bought a new 'surge protector' power board, a big tub of yoghurt and a few other things that were definitely cheaper than supermarket prices. You need to know 'your prices' as when you calculated the price on some items, they were not as inexpensive as at first sight.
We thought these were a good buy...
DH takes muesli bars for a snack at golf...this box of 2 dozen have saved quite a bit on supermarket prices. 
When the North Lakes Costco opened, my friend Sue wrote about her very positive experience as a business member at Costco here.
The place is huge and walking around with my SiL, we seemed to walk for 'miles'! lol.
(DH and I won't be paying the $60 membership of Costco as our circumstances don't really warrant it but now we can say we've been and had a look!)


Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Night Sew In...

Yes last night was FNSI here. I signed up but left a comment saying that as it would be a lot of 'secret sewing' as I continue to finish off projects for the various Christmas swaps...there would be not much I can show...:-)
So...
There's a clue in that photo...I'm using a little adhesive thimble pad which suggests stitching...could be EPP? or some hand quilting? Or even some embroidery? 
It could have been all three...or even something else? 
Unveiling of the projects is still a while away I'm afraid! Lol.
Best of all though, last night I got a lot done...great progress...that adrenalin is kicking in as deadlines get closer? 
Why not use the links on Wendy's blog post to see what others worked on on Friday night? There were 47 of us according to the Linky widget.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thinking 'outside the square'...

I've mentioned in other posts the mini Christmas stockings that the knitting group that I belong to, make each year. These stockings are filled with sweets and distributed to the various community groups and other charities who then distribute these little gifts to the needy. From the original request for a 'one off' 150  stockings the demand has grown and grown! 
At a recent  'stocking filling working bee' at a Knit and Natter, I noticed that some mini stockings that had been made by members of our group, were being discarded/set aside, as they were too small. It was basically impossible to fit more than 1 wrapped sweet in each. 

The photo below shows a wrapped sweet's size in comparison to the little stocking...
So I went away and gave the problem some thought...I hate waste and by not being able to use these stockings we were wasting the time and effort of some of our members who had taken the time to make them. So...lightbulb moment! I organised to get the bag of discarded stockings...some sewn, others knitted or crocheted. 
A few of us had been experimenting with placing sweets in cellophane bags...this had been successful. I wondered if we could tie the tiny stockings to the cello bags as a decoration? 


Then I tackled the problem we had had with some sweet little crocheted stockings...the sweets fell through the spaces between the treble clusters...so these little stockings were filled, then each was placed in a cello bag and tied with curling ribbon. 


And that worked so well that I started putting one lolly in each of the tiny sewn stockings that hadn't been used to decorate the bags (and there were a lot left over!)  and then put the stocking in a cello bag with some more sweets. In some bags I eventually placed 2 little stockings with a lolly in each as I had run out of lollipops. 



All in all, I used up over 100 teeny tiny stockings that had been discarded...and I like that idea :-)

Bagged up sweets ready to hand in...
All this endeavour took place yesterday evening. This morning I headed off to a Knit and Natter and guess what we did there? Lots of nattering but very little knitting/crocheting! Yep! Many of us were filling stockings and cellophane bags! Lol


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Christmas Swaps...

I've been a bit slack lately writing posts for the blog. But it's that time of year when suddenly it seems that the posting dates for the various Christmas Swaps that I have signed up for, are soooooo close! 

So I have been stitching...and stitching...and having fun despite the rising feelings of panic that I will run out of time...gasp...horror! 
Tonight I wrapped up one lot of gifts ready for posting...one swap can now be ticked off the list! 

One gift to go under the tree and the small one, my swap buddy can open straight away...it's a decoration/ornament...
The teddy fairy button was one of the Christmas buttons I bought from the Quilters Store in Salisbury (Brisbane)...it looks cute in the centre of the hexagon flower. 

Here's a glimpse of the other gift...yeah, I know...more hexies! Lol

Now my swap buddy doesn't live in Australia so that was a great excuse to use some great 'koala' fabric that I bought at Fantazia in Tweed Heads South a month or so back...


The next due date for posting swap items looms next week and I still have some stitching to do for that...so I'd better get busy :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Murwillumbah and Margaret Olley...

After our little visit to Chillingham last Sunday, we headed to Murwillumbah to visit some friends and then go with them to the Tweed Regional Art Gallery in this town on the Tweed River.
Driving into town...

 Being Sunday morning, the streets were quiet...
 A glimpse of our friends' charming home...

As we had planned to have lunch at the Art Gallery our friend rang to check whether we needed to have booked a table. Good job Trish is well known at the Gallery as the cafe staff were able to book us in but not until 1.30...the cafe was very, very busy! The Gallery is in a lovely setting; it has had extensions added since last time DH and I visited.

 In the middle of the photo, Mt Warning can be seen beyond the trees...

 A bit of a 'zoom in' on Mt Warning...



 Apparently an average of 800 people per day attend the Gallery...many are in bus tours. 
So what is the attraction? One name...Margaret Olley. The late Margaret Olley was a much loved Aussie artist and some rooms of her house in Sydney have been recreated in the Margaret Olley Centre in this Art Gallery. As well as the rooms, there are paintings of hers on display that have been borrowed from private owners...these change on a fairly regular basis. The story goes, according to locals, that Margaret Olley offered the nearby town of Lismore  money to set up the Centre but their gallery was too small and they apparently were reticent to extend or build a new complex to house it...so Murwillumbah 'jumped at the chance'... Olley chose Lismore first, as it was where she had been born. 
The Sydney home of Olley consisted of a terrace house and an old hat factory. She did not have a studio as such but prefered to paint in locations around her house...




Recreation of the outside of her home...


The rooms...
This photo is looking through glass...lots of items which were used in many of her paintings...
Lots of books, artificial flowers, ornaments, china...every space and surface filled!


Many of the flowers were in her paintings

Many of the jugs, green glass etc, featured also in her paintings...

A beautiful statue
There were containers holding tubes of paint all over the place :-)

The smaller room in the exhibition was known as the Yellow Room and was Margaret Olley's favourite room. It features a lot in her paintings...

Apparently Olley liked to buy art posters when she travelled...

Lots of these posters in the Yellow Room
 Not all my photos of the kitchen turned out but I have a few...

Margaret loved to cook for friends...she also painted in the kitchen and hopefully the tubes of paint never ended up in the meals! It all looked a bit of a jumble! lol

From the Margaret Olley Centre exhibit we walked out on to another balcony to admire the view...
DH with our friends Peter and Trish.

We were very fortunate that Trish is a volunteer guide at the gallery, so she filled us in on a lot of background to not only the Margaret Olley Centre, but also to the works of Rew Hanks and his clever linocuts with their clever satire and parody. We also saw the finalists' works of 'Faces from the Future' a competition opened to local school students and we also checked out the Caldera Art Exhibition.
One little bit of background that Trish told us was that Margaret Olley's nieces were asked whether the recreation of the rooms in their aunt's home were an accurate representation. They said no...they explained that the exhibition was much tidier than their aunt's home :-) 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Chillingham...

This post nearly didn't 'happen'...well if I had written this post it would have been minus the few photos. In my previous post I wrote of the horror I felt when I discovered that the photos that I took on Sunday and Monday, seemed to have disappeared from the SD card. I resigned myself to the fact that these photos were gone...but then I got the staff at the Fuji shop in Byron Bay 'on the case' yesterday. Even though, when the contents of my SD card were displayed on the shop's computer, and none of those 2 days' worth of photos were anywhere to be seen, a mere 2 hours later, the missing photos were on a CD...what magic software I ask! lol.
So...on Sunday morning DH and I went to the Chillingham markets because it was the second Sunday of the month...we'd never heard of Chillingham before this...

  1. Chillingham is a small village approximately 14 km northwest of Murwillumbah in the Tweed Valley, New South Wales, Australia. The Rous River, a tributary of the Tweed River, flows through the town. Chillingham Post Office opened on 28 May 1923. Wikipedia
We wandered around the markets for a while but didn't stay long...we headed back along the road to the Chillingham General Store that we had noticed on the drive out of the town to the markets.


We ordered coffees and DH also ordered a piece of old fashioned date slice. While we were sipping our coffees I noticed a little bird sitting on the sign...

 A couple sitting on the other side of the veranda suggested we come and have a look from that side of the veranda...

What a surprise this vantage point gave!


A little swallows' nest with chicks. Both parent birds were taking turns to feed their babies...


And that's not all...on the front steps of this General Store were some plants for sale...hippeastrums for $8...DH groaned but I bought one any way! 


I would have liked to have bought another one, which was more of a pink with white stripes...but I wasn't pushing my luck so to speak. The plant is on the front porch of our rental at the moment and I have a small wine carton that the plant can sit in for the ride back to Brisbane...there is always a way to take plants home but men don't seem to see that! Lol

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mug Rug a swap..

I had planned to share photos of the wonderful recreated rooms of Margaret Olley's house which is part of an exhibition at the Murwillimbah Art Gallery...but all the photos that I've taken over the last few days seem to be irretrievable. There appears to be some sort of 'reader error' and a bit of searching via Google seems to suggest I will have to find a Fuji dealer and hopefully they can help. Both DH and I took a lot of photos using my camera today as well as yesterday so there are a fair few that I hope can be saved. 

Any way here is my Plan B for a blog post; my partner in the recent Quilting Gallery mug rug swap has received my parcel so now I will 'unveil' what I sent to Kristen, who lives in New York State.
We had to make 2 mug rugs and when we signed up we received the patterns...'Cottage on the Hill' and 'Butterfly Cottage'...a mixture of embroidery, appliqué and patchwork.


I added a couple of extras to the parcel...'bits' of Australia....


A storybook for Kristen's son, some Cottage GardenThreads, and one of Nature's Face  cotton printed squares...with rainforest and a wallaby peeping out of the foliage...


I got a lovely message from Kristen after she got my parcel and I believe her little boy loves his book. He will learn so many Australian animal names from this book and it's lots of fun! 
Kristen has posted the mug rugs she has made for me, so pretty soon I will have the pleasure of opening up my parcel from her. The little glimpse of her stitching that I saw on the Facebook page of the swap, I reckon I'm getting some special mug rugs soon :-).