Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Time out in the Barossa Valley

 Had a couple of days away last week relaxing at a nice, quite B&B near Cockatoo Valley called The Miner's Cottage. Did a bit of sight seeing, walking, wine tasting and catching up with my cousin.  It was lovely weather with some picture perfect skies. Hard to pick a few photos so I have made some collages.
There are many wonderful, huge gums around the region. The tree photos above show mostly younger trees, but they still looked magnificent especially with the afternoon sun on them. 

 The creeks were flowing and the reservoirs near to full. The lower 2 are of the Barossa Reservoir. Being a week day when we visited, it was not crowded and we were really able to hear down to a whisper at The Whispering Wall. This is a bit harder if there are more people around, talking back and forth. It is quite amazing to hear so clearly what is being said 140 meters away. There are a lot of arc wall reservoirs or structures around the world (this was the first such reservoir) but there are only a few where you can experience the phenomenon, possibly because of access problems.

Some of the less pleasant wild life - huge spiders, a swarm of bees, and we are wondering if the snakes at the Jacob's Creek information and tasting area (which is really pleaseant and well done) can read! We did see quite a few kangaroos or euros.

Some flowers including lots of splendid Easter Lillies, autumn leaves and brilliant orange lichen (in close up)...

... and some birds at Maggie Beer's Farmhouse Shop - the pretty ones to look at, the others for the table...

... and of course some wineries. There are a great many wineries and tasting areas, a mix of grand and modest, quirky and quaint, old and new. Here are views of Rockfords (2 top left) Chateau Tanunda (2 lower left) and the other 2, Chateau Yaldara (and me).

And back at home I am still working on the small fabric samples, and returning to work tomorrow.

Singing along with The Singing Quilter

I do sometimes sing along to her CDs when there is no audience but last night got to do the real thing...
Had a great time meeting up again with Cathy Miller and John Bunge. We have great memories of being shown around their home town Victoria (BC) a few years ago, and being intoduced to fish and chips Victoria style - with no less than salmon.
Last night was a new experience as we hosted a house concert and all went brilliantly. It is a great idea enabling performance for a small audience (and to get the house cleaned up!). The non quilters too, really enjoyed Cathy's relaxed but professional presentation. Her songs are both informative and fun - easy to listen to, and she doesn't mind us warbling along with the choruses. She has sung in Adelaide a few times now, and I recommend you see her whenever you can, or get her to visit.
Cathy showed some of her quilts too, quite inspiring and challenging, but the most amazing being the one she is just finishing off, with hexagons with 1/4" sides!!! It is not huge (she has the excuse of needing to keep her quilts small to travel with) but still appropriately named 'Insanity'

Sunday, March 13, 2011

the force of nature displayed again

Yet another unbelievable disaster this week with the earthquake in Japan. We have visited twice and loved it, and feel very much for the Japanese people. We travelled to Hokkaido by train 18 months ago, through the area affected, and in some parts in the north, the train line runs right beside the coast. The devastation we are seeing is heart rending, and the impact unimaginable. Here is a picture of part of the harbour in Hakodate, as we saw it under much happier circumstances.

I am still busily stitching little squares and strips, but yesterday had time out to attend the SA Quilters' Guild Country Forum. It was an inspiring day with Lyn Uppill talking about Japanese indigo and sashiko, Rachelle Denenney her World of Beauty winning quilt and Pam Holland about embellishment. If someone could hand out more time it would be good! Well done to the girls who ran it.

Visited Cape Coast Textiles today and had the very difficult, but enjoyable, task of choosing some of the wonderful fabrics from Ghana. No projects for them at the moment on my part, but some is for a vest for Max, and I have promised to revise some sewing skills to make a shirt - since discovering patchwork I have only made vests. Also couldn't resist a metal pangolin (an African anteater which grows to about a metre in length) made in Ghana. He will go with the echidna collection, which could more correctly be called the spikey creature collection. I will get around to photographing it soon, but thought instead today, I would show that I am not the only collector in the house -