Category Archives: Travel

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:

Thimbleanna: Australia

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!)

Thimbleanna: Australia

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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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.

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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 ).

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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.

#10 Visit the World’s Greatest Aunt

Check another one off of my 10 Things this Summer list.  Woohoo!

I’m back from a wonderful trip to Utah to visit the World’s Greatest Aunt.  We had so much fun — I wish family didn’t live so far away.   The trip kicked off with a bang — fresh off the plane, I stopped to have lunch with the fabulous Nanette.  I always love catching up with Nanette and this time I asked her to bring her British quilt along so I could SEE it in person.  Nanette is working on a new version of the quilt with a pattern and I can’t wait to see it.  (Sorry for the blurry picture — it was taken with my phone.)

Thimbleanna: Utah

Nanette, her daughter Shelbie and I had a fun visit and she gave me this super cute little zipper “cookie”.  Isn’t it adorable?  She also gave me a cute real cookie but I ate it before I took a picture — Nanette had more restraint than I did and she took a picture of it.

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I spent several days with cousins and the World’s Greatest Aunt and we had lots of fun.  We painted a bedroom and played lots of hand and foot.  One of the highlights was visiting a nearby little town and meeting with Bonnie.  We had lunch at a local little restaurant and then Bonnie took us on a tour of the rock (I know you guys in the  Eastern part of the US call them stone, but in the west, they call them rock) house that she and her hubby have restored.  It’s. Absolutely. Gorgeous.  Words and pictures just don’t do this house justice.

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We also got to see the famous rug that Bonnie recently finished.  I was surprised to see that it has more of a checkered-type pattern than a braided pattern.  Bonnie has promised to teach us how to make these pretty little rugs on a future trip.

Thimbleanna: Utah

And Look!  We got to see the famous feedsack quilt too.  Pictures DEFINITELY don’t show the beauty of this quilt and now I really want to make one.  Bonnie did such a gorgeous job on the stitching — it’s all hand quilted.  Bonnie has much better pictures Here.

Thimbleanna: Utah

What a treat to tour this beautiful home.  We all felt so special and Bonnie is just as warm and wonderful in real life as she is on her blog.  Our afternoon ended too soon, but not before we had a little excitement.  We were standing outside Bonnie’s kitchen door saying goodbye when a gust of wind came along and blew the door shut — leaving Bonnie locked out.  After a little searching, and by some miracle, Bonnie found a window that had a screen that hadn’t been fastened all the way.  After a few attempts with a ladder, we tried the simple tactic of me climbing through the window head-first and Bonnie giving ye ol’ rear end a shove from behind.  We laughed and laughed but didn’t manage to get a picture.  I can’t say for sure (being on the other end of the event), but I imagine it looked a little like this:

Thimbleanna: Utah

It’s a good thing I was wearing jeans LOL!  What a fun day we had!

I could go on and on about the rest of my trip, but I’ll spare you.  Here are just a few highlights.  A visit to Big Rock Candy Mountain for some white water rafting on the Sevier River.  It turned out to be more like a float-along due to the low river levels, but we still had a fun time.  And Big Rock CANDY Mountain — what more could you ask for?

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Lots of bike riding — one of my favorite places was in an old pioneer cemetery.

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A visit to the Golden Spike National Monument.  In all my Utah years, I’d never been there.

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It’s the site where the Union and Pacific railways were joined in 1869.  Very Interesting!

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A tram ride at Snowbird Ski Resort.

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The views from the peak were spectacular.

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Lots and lots of other fun and memories and the stuff of which vacations are made. And don’t worry, the World’s Greatest Aunt and I did manage to hit a few of Utah’s awesome quilt shops — nowhere near all of them, but enough to provide some inspiration. If you’ve never been to Utah and you’re a quilter, you’re definitely missing out!

It’s good to be back home — now, back to that summer list and catching up on lots of work around here.
Have a great weekend!
XOXO,
Anna