Category Archives: Travel

Australia – Fabric and Friends

Oops, I meant to post in the middle of the week, but its was kind of busy around here this week.  I blame it on this little guy:

Thimbleanna: Winston

TheFirstChild and SweetiePie were gone for a week and we got to dogsit.  Cute little Winston is still a high-energy puppy and he took up all of my extra time.  We had lots of fun taking walks, playing with his cousin dogs, and taking a few pictures.  He did NOT want to wear those goggles, poor little guy!  (But, ever the gentleman, he’s always wearing his bow tie.)

Anyway, one last post from Australia.  I saved the fun stuff for last.  Kellie took me to some beautiful shops.  First up was Sunspun — not a fabric shop, but since I love to knit, just as good!

Thimbleanna: Australia

What a fun little shop — packed FULL of pretty yarns and samples.

Thimbleanna: Australia

Yarn shops confuse me.  I can’t buy yarn like I do fabric — maybe because I’m not a scrap knitter like I’m a scrap quilter.  I have to have a specific project in mind when I buy yarn.  So, in spite of all the beauty, I walked away with just a pattern book.  I’d like to chalk it up to self control, but confusion is the true story!  It was a wonderful stop though.

Thimbleanna: Australia

Then we were on to Amitie where we met up with Jan.  And I met Louise – SO fun!  Oh, and Judy Newman was there too, so it was really fun to meet her.  I know I’m forgetting someone else — I was in a fabric stupor.

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Look at all that gorgeous fabric — and all in Amitie style.  Shelves of Liberty!

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A pile of fabulous quilts, with our star, The Aunt’s Quilt on top of the pile.  I don’t know what I was thinking — WHY didn’t I get a good picture of THE quilt???  Or any of them, for that matter!

Thimbleanna: Australia

Here’s a shot of the lucious quilts in the front window.  I was so busy looking at everything and just enjoying it all and I’m sad that I didn’t get more pictures.  ;-(  It was SO amazingly inspirational though — I was overwhelmed.  Amitie certainly lived up to her reputation!

Thimbleanna: Australia

After Amitie, Kellie, Jan and I had a fun lunch catching up and then Jan took me for the afternoon and evening.  I have to stop here for a minute and rave about the food that Kellie and Jan made for me while I was in Australia.   We don’t eat much lamb (well, any, really), but in Australia they have it quite a bit.  The first night Kellie made delicious lamb chops (I bought some for TheManoftheHouse to try when I got back and they’re not called lamb chops but that’s what they look like — it’s more like a roast) and roasted potatoes.  Later in the week, Kellie also made lamb strapback (I hope that’s what you call it) with the most delicious fruit salad I’ve ever had — she drizzled it with some sort of basalmic molasses (that I sadly can’t find here).  Words just can’t describe those delicious meals!

Then, the night Jan took me to her house, she plopped this jumbo bowl of grilled pineapple and prawns in front of me.  I thought it was our main meal, but it was the appetizer.  And, being from the landlocked midwest, it was my first experience actually peeling the shrimp, which Jan’s girls thought was hysterical.  They were probably wondering how I escaped from my corn field!  Dinner was a delicious roasted lamb (which I thought was beef until the next day) with roasted pumpkin and vegetables.  And THEN, Jan had invited Meredithe to dinner and it was so fun to meet her.  We were so busy talking that I didn’t get any pictures of all of her beautiful quilts. (And trust me, that’s a tragedy.  Because, you guys.  These girls are all Australian quilters.  By default, all their quilts are beautiful!)   Since we were having an all Aussie dinner, Jan requested that Meredithe bring an Aussie dessert, and what’s more Aussie than Pavlova?  It was amazing — I LOVE bananas and raspberries — maybe I was an Aussie in another life!

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Such a fun night and I was sad to leave the girls, but time was short and there was much to do.  The next day, Kellie took me out to the country.  We had the best day and went to another beautiful little quilt shop.

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Mill Rose is just full of fabric.  Feast your eyes on all that Liberty!  There was some serious drooling and fondling going on in this room.

Thimbleanna: Australia

Another big room of fabric — behind that brown row of fabric is another double-wide aisle of beautiful prints.

Thimbleanna: Australia

Thimbleanna: Australia

What a fun little quilt shop.   After all that fondling and shopping, we were parched and hungry, so we went next door and had a delicious lunch in the Mill Cottage.

Thimbleanna: Australia

I didn’t buy much fabric.  It’s easy to be restrained — not that I didn’t LOVE all the fabrics, but we’re so spoiled with prices here in the states — we pay less than half of what fabric costs in AU.  I couldn’t resist buying just a little though, so, here’s a picture of my purchases.

Thimbleanna: Australia

From Mill Rose, the six prints on the left are Terra Australis by Emma Jansen.  Can you see the boomerangs, kangaroos, and Australian continents?  I had to have a little souvenir!  And the prints on the left and across the bottom are from Amitie — just some low volume prints that I loved.

So, that’s it.  Whew!  What a fun trip, made all the better because I was able to see Australia with friends.  Kellie is always so good to me, and I miss her and her cute little family.

Oh, one last picture. You can’t take all those road trips and fondle all that fabric without some sustenance. I now have two new candy favorites (which I can’t find here boohoo!) — The fantales are sort of like a big milk dud — caramel and chocolate, what’s not to love?   And the Babies are like Gummi Bears — only WAY better. Way, way better. And, in case you didn’t know, they’re pronounced “Baaayyyyybies” — as in “The Dayngo ayte mah Baaayyyyyby!”

Thimbleanna: Australia

XOXO,
Anna

Australia – Uluru and Kakadu

As I mentioned in my previous post, Kellie and her family invited me to go on their school break holiday (that’s vacation for us in the US!).  The holiday started out in Uluru where we spent 5 days, followed by 5 days at Kakadu — both National Parks, for those of you not familiar with Australia.  I debated giving you a blow-by-blow accounting of what we did, but one can only endure someone else’s travel pictures for so long.  So, I’ll just hit the highlights here, and, like I did with my Iceland trip,  I’ll eventually post more details in the travel section of my blog.

If you’re like me, I didn’t really know what Uluru was and I certainly didn’t know that Australia is mostly desert.  My Australian friends don’t live in a desert, so I didn’t really have any reason to suspect that such is the case.  Anyway, Uluru is a big red rock smack dab in the middle of Australia and it’s a sacred area to the Australian Aboriginal people.  We were in the area for five days and it was Oh. So. Hot!  We mostly did things in the mornings, hung out at the pool in the afternoons and then did things again at night.

We saw and hiked around Uluru:

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Went on a camel ride: (Did you know Australia has the world’s largest feral camel population?  I thought it was all koalas and kangaroos!)

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Had a dinner in the desert, watched the sunset and enjoyed a spectacular evening under the stars:

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Hiked around the Olgas:

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And saw a hat tree out in the middle of nowhere.

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What we didn’t see were kangaroos, in spite of the traffic sign!

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After Uluru, we flew to Darwin and spent 5 days in Kakadu.  Kakadu is at the northern end of Australia and if Uluru was Oh. So. Hot., Kakadu was Hotter. Than. Hades.  It was around 100 degrees everyday and because it’s pretty tropical, it was humid.  Our schedule here was much the same as in Uluru — afternoons near the pool!  A wetter climate in Kakadu means that there was a lot more wildlife to see, which I loved.
The first day we were there, we took a river cruise. There were two boats on our cruise — the other boat was full of cute little aboriginal children who were being taught about their heritage:

Thimbleanna: Australia

Thimbleanna: Australia

We saw LOTS of crocs in the water and on the river banks:

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The rest of our outings at Kakadu were hikes in different beautiful areas.

We saw a TON of bats hanging from trees:

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Amazing birds:

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Enormous termite mounds:  (Look!  Native Australian Children!)

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Stunning scenery:

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Warning signs everywhere:

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Aboriginal art:

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And, on our last day in Kakadu, I asked a park ranger where oh where could we go to see a kangaroo in the wild.  He said they only had wallaroos in Kakadu and they generally didn’t come out until dusk.  So, we headed to a billabong at dusk.  It. Was. Divine.  It was so fun to see all the wildlife that seemed to hide during the heat of the day — it was like a scene at an african water hole that you see on National Geographic (minus the big animals!).  We even saw a few wallaroos!

Thimbleanna: Australia

Whew! Tired yet? Thanks for sticking it out through all the pictures.  My pictures don’t even come close to doing justice to the beauty that is Australia!

Just one more Australia post left — Fabric — and Friends!
XOXO,
Anna

Australia — Melbourne

Ok kids, this is the part where I tell you about my trip to Australia and you very politely try not to nod off.  (Or, just skip it altogether!)

It’s so hard to even know where to start, but my trip sort of neatly divided itself into parts, so I’m going to follow it’s lead.

Some of you may remember that last fall, Kellie and her family visited the states and I met them in New York City for a few days and we had a blast.  So, when Kellie invited me to come on their Australian vacation with them, it was an offer that was too hard to resist.  I spent the first four days of my trip in Melbourne, seeing a few of the sights and just playing and having fun with Kellie and her family.  I was also thrilled when it worked out that I was able to spend an afternoon and evening with Jan (who came to market with Kellie three times) and an hour or so with Kathy (who came to market with Kellie once).  The best part of the trip was visiting and catching up!  So, I’ll tell you about the Melbourne part of the trip first, and save the vacation, fabric stores, and food for another day.

Kellie picked me up from the airport in the morning and immediately took me to a super cute little garden center that had a tea shop.  We had scones with jam and clotted cream and I was in heaven — I felt like I was back in the UK!  Did I take any pictures?  No.  I was too busy rolling my eyes over the delicious mile-high scone!

We did see a kookaburra right away though.  At least Kellie assured me that it was a kookaburra (and it sure looks like the ones on the internet) but I was skeptical.  I mean, does that look like an old gum tree to you???

Thimbleanna: Australia

After our morning tea, Kellie took me to Williamstown where we walked around and saw some beautiful views of the harbor and Melbourne across the bay.  We also had a delicious lunch of fish and chips while in Williamstown — fish and chips … scones … where am I???

Thimbleanna: Australia

Thimbleanna: Australia

I loved seeing all the houses — the architecture is so different from ours here in the midwest.  The only thing I knew about houses in Australia is what I saw decades ago on The Thornbirds (ha!) so it was fun to see so many verandahs with fretwork.

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The next day, we went fabric shopping and met up with Jan.  Jan then took me on a whirlwind tour of downtown Melbourne.  More confusion with the mother country — London style shopping arcades.

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Thimbleanna: Australia

And c’mon — tell me this doesn’t look like a European pastry shop.  Oh My!

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Lots of fantastic artwork in downtown Melbourne.  I didn’t get a lot of pictures — it was crowded and we were hustling.  I did want to remember the flying pig and the one-eyed monster though.

Thimbleanna: Australia

 

Thimbleanna: Australia

The third day was a fun fabric excursion (more later) and on my last full day in Victoria, we left Melbourne for the country to see some animals.  When Kellie asked me what I wanted to do while in Melbourne I jokingly said “Hold a Koala and see a kangaroo in the wild” (Yeah, yeah — you Aussies can make fun of me now!)   My wish was her command, although the kangaroo in the wild part proved to be a little problematic.

Anyway, I have no idea where we went (I really should have paid attention), but we went to a small animal park somewhere out in the country.  You’re not allowed to actually hold koalas in Victoria, but you can get close to them and pet them.  The picture below is my very favorite, even though it’s blurry.  (It’s a running joke with my camera — whenever someone offers to take a picture of me, the focus almost always ends up on the background.  If you’re the person who took the pictures (and you know who you are LOL), in your defense, the others were in focus but I look much better blurry ;-D ).

Thimbleanna: Australia

Lots of kangaroos — even if they’re not in the wild.

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And we think we have problems getting our kids to leave home.  This little guy was really crowded in that pouch — no room for his feet in the house!

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Is that an Australian Emu?

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Because this is what Americans think of as an Emu.  ;-P

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And sheepies.  Australian SHEEPIES!!!!  Look how cute.  That one in the front has a little curly top and the one in the back must be the male — he’s bald.

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The scenery in the countryside was beautiful.  Unfortunately I didn’t get very many pictures — I was always too busy talking.

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And back to Melbourne — I’d had no idea it’s such a big city!

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I know that doesn’t seem like a lot for four days, but there was a lot of fabric and talking tucked in there. More on those later. In the meantime, have a great weekend!

XOXO,
Anna

P.S. All you Aunt’s Quilt ladies should be starting to get your patterns in the mail. Use this week to gather your thoughts and fabrics and whatever else you need and we’ll get going in ten days or so. If you didn’t get a pattern and want one, don’t despair just yet — I still have a few that haven’t been claimed, so we’ll see what happens in the next few days.

Saturday Stuff

(…formerly known as Friday Five on Saturday LOL)

1. I’ve been on a little break — DidYaMissMe???? We took a quick little winter trip with some friends and TheFirstChild and SweetiePie to Park City, Utah. You know how I love the snow and we certainly weren’t disappointed — it. snowed. every. day.  I was in Heaven — it was Beautiful!!!

Thimbleanna: Park City

It was an almost perfect trip — I really need to learn how to ski. Headline: “Old Woman Learns How to Ski!”.

Thimbleanna: Park City

The girls pretty much summed up how I felt while we were there.

Thimbleanna: Park City

2. Since we were with friends I didn’t take any time to go to the usual places that I love. With one exception — I did a quick drive-by to The Wool Cabin to visit with Bonnie. Bonnie is such a sweetheart and we always have much-too-quick visits, but they’re fun. Bonnie has been knitting Little Cotton Rabbit’s fun bunnies and foxes with reckless abandon so I wanted to get a few tips from her and buy some yarn for some bunnies of my own. And look! Bonnie surprised me with a little lamb that she’d recently knit. Isn’t she adorable? I call her Lambie Pie and I LOVE her. Thanks Bonnie!!!

Thimbleanna: Lambie Pie

3. Speaking of lambs/sheep, I forgot to show you the adorable slippers that MyDadLovesMeBestSister gave me for Christmas. Aren’t they perfect? I wear them all the time!

Thimbleanna: Lambie Slippers

4. Speaking of footwear (how do you like these segues? haha) — while we were in Utah, SweetiePie and I found some wild shoes. The colors are so bold, we just couldn’t resist. You’ll be able to see us coming from a mile away!

Thimbleanna: Shoes

5. Now, back to reality. A dirty house and laundry. And the unfinished Tumbler quilt which is now to the quilting stage. Can’t say I’m enjoying zig-zagging my way down those tumblers, but it’s slowly getting done. Hopefully there will be a finish soon.

Thimbleanna:  Tumbler Quilt

And that’s it. Another few weeks blitzed by — it never fails to amaze me. Hope you’re having a great weekend!
XOXO,
Anna

A Mad Dash

Whew! I can’t believe it’s been over a week since I’ve posted! And here we are, knee-deep in September already — my VERY favorite month. ;-D

I do have an excuse. On Thursday of last week I zipped off to New York City for the weekend. It was a last minute trip (well, 2 weeks in the planning) and I went for a very good reason. To see Kellie, (Ms. Don’t Look Now) and her cute little family. When she first told me she was coming to the east coast and would I please come to visit, I just didn’t think I could swing it. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I really WANTED to go and I’m SO glad I did. I had THE. BEST. TIME. ever! When I got back home, I was appalled to look at my camera and find just how few pictures I had taken. IMHO, that’s the true sign of enjoying all the little moments and not worrying about taking lots of pictures. (So, these are just a few random shots.)

Thimbleanna: Piecing

Kellie hasn’t been to the last few quilt markets and I’ve really missed her. It was so nice to be able to catch up and visit. Kellie’s children are at such fun ages and we had a great time. I’m glad that I got to meet them when I did — who knows when we’ll have the opportunity to see each other again.

Thimbleanna: Piecing

We only had two days together. One day for Kellie and I to do some crafty/fabric shopping. And one day with the family. We walked, went to Times Square, talked, played in Central Park, walked, visited the Guggenheim Museum, talked, ate, took cabs, ate more, shopped more, walked more, talked more and saw Matilda. Which is fantastic, by the way, and I highly recommend it — especially if you have children. And then stayed up most of the night talking some more ’cause there just wasn’t enough time.

Thimbleanna: Piecing

My words really can’t do justice to how I feel about the weekend. I could gush and get all teary-eyed, but I’ll keep it short.   I feel so honored to have been included in a bit of their trip and to catch a glimpse into life with such a sweet little family. What a lucky, lucky girl am I!

I’ve been pooped today, but it was worth every little nod-off. Hopefully a little rest this week and then we’ll get back to some regularly scheduled programming. I have a Top 10 list to finish in just two weeks. Eeek!
XOXO,
Anna

P.S. I’ve really been enjoying the Camp the Pigeon Instagram feed. (@campthepigeon) I told you about him awhile ago, shortly after camp hatched from his little egg. He’s big and flying now and they’re letting him go outside. And he returns to his home! It’s really an amazing story and I thought you might enjoy it if you haven’t been following along.