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I had shopped – found some great books at the local bookshop called Browzers; picked up some nice embroidery threads at the local craft shop; laid in some fuel for the body – and I had washed clothes and I had sewn.  I was ready to be a tourist!

My friends Elizabeth and Glen from Aussie Patches were also in town and they had suggested a trip down to see Menindie. We unpacked stuff from the back seat of Glen’s truck and squished me in the back!

It was a reasonably warmish day and the sky was gradually getting whiter and whiter and the visibility reducing as we drove south.  On our return, the evening news reported that we had had another dust storm, though not as severe as those the previous week.

We had lunch in the local pub and then took the drive along the river to Weir 87 and the old homestead ruins. Those of my readers who have been here a while will know I have a penchant for taking pictures of trees and this trip provided me with a great range of river redgums to add to the collection.

In the pictures you can see a white haze in the sky… this was the dust that had blown all day.

The Darling River is apparently in the background of a couple of the shots…it also had a white tinge to it….this part of the river appeared to have reasonable water levels, but then we discovered this was the part upstream from the weir… below the weir was an entirely different story.

It is hard to imagine that this river had supported a thriving river boat transport system in the past. It is devastating to see the manner in which the river and its ecosystem are fading and dying from the lack of natural water flow through the river.


For the 8 days I was staying in Broken Hill, I was staying in a restored Broken Hill style worker’s cottage.

Wilyama Cottage

Willyama Cottage

These old cottages are dotted throughout the town, on odd shaped blocks, tucked down narrow lanes and alleys.  They are clad on the exterior with ripple iron with the front walls and verandas often presenting a different ‘face’ to the street.

This little cottage had many of its original features and had been treated to a most sympathetic restoration acknowledged by the Historical Council in Broken Hill.

One of the most notable things about the Hill was the gardens….despite the heat and dust and restricted amounts of water, the gardens are lush and colourful.

I spotted a rare sight these days……

Something I haven't seen for a long time....a hose with a sprinkler attached laid out across GREEN lawn

Something I haven't seen for a long time....a hose with a sprinkler attached laid out across GREEN lawn.

The car was packed and Monday morning saw me set off up the Silver City Highway towards Broken Hill.  With warnings about kangaroos on the road ringing in  my ears, I was prepared for a trip that, although not all that far, would be tiring because of having to be constantly alert for animals on the road.

I was not prepared for the feral goats.  My last trip to Broken Hill (to and from Adelaide) had sightings of emus, the odd bedraggled sheep and a couple of ‘roos off in the distance.  There is a section of the Silver City Highway where the feral goats are just everywhere! Luckily I made the trip with no incidents… the goats stayed clear.

Feral goats

Feral goats

We had heard much in the press about the dust storm that blanketed Sydney but I had heard nothing about the impact elsewhere.  Passing through the path of the storm on the way north, I had noted a stretch of  forest where the trees were smashed, uprooted and tossed about.

Broken Hill's Main street

Broken Hill's Main street

My host in Broken Hill showed me the local papers from the previous week with the pictures and reports on the day that turned completely black in Broken Hill.  Storm damage had flattened five pylons in the main electricity transmission line to Broken Hill and the town was running on emergency power supplied by a diesel generator from the mines.

It was necessary to truck 24,000 litres of diesel fuel daily from Adelaide in order to keep the town powered up!  There had been miners trapped underground in mines but successfully rescued. I had known nothing of this before I reached the town….it never ceases to amaze me how much that happens in our country we never hear about because new services are so city-centric.

Mildura CraftAlive was held in a new location this year – the Sport and Community Centre at Irymple.  As the show was timed to coincide with the Country Music Festival, there were a large number of visitors in town, some of whom made their way to the show.

One of my students over the weekend was from Queensland….she had been away from her home base for several months and was on her way home when we met.  The fabric postcards concept really appealed to her as something she could do whilst traveling.

Del and her first postcard

Del and her first postcard

Del was hooked from the very beginning and now is very keen to become involved in postcard exchanges. I decided I would make and send her a card from Broken Hill if I wasn’t too busy.

Del's Card

Del's Card

Del’s card had a strip pieced fabric base, a layer of loose threads, braid and ric rac covered with black tulle  topped off with some machine stitched detail. She used a variagated thread that combined lime, yellow and orange which looked fantastic!

Time to get the car packed and on the way again.  This time I was not coming home between shows, so it meant I had to stock up and pack for an absence of just under two weeks.  How to judge just what to take?

Clothes are always a challenge as it is “average to cold” here in Melbourne, however Mildura and Broken Hill are another kettle of fish altogether.  The week preceding the show, I had noted top temperatures in the mid 30’s….aaarrrggghhhh! Not summer already!  Oh well… chuck a bit of everything in and what I haven’t got, I can surely buy if I need it!

Despite the previous week’s unusually high temperatures for Spring, it was cold and a little wet in Mildura so many of the stallholders at the show found they were under resourced when it came to warm clothes!

On the way up the highway, I stopped at Inglewood as the breakfast coffee had finally worked its magic….and I discovered off the main road this huge old house.

The Tivey's House

The Tivey's House

Built to house the local grocer and his 14 children, it certainly was a splendid home.  The gardens had a reputation of having been spectacular but these days show signs of age, neglect and lack of available water.


Its a nice change to see all the iron work on the verandas still intact.

In 2006 Loddon Shire surveyed, recorder and “labelled” all the significant buildings in the town.  I would have expected that this building would have qualified for classification by the National Trust.

Front Gate

You can see the glimpse of blue on the cast iron pillar fence post….. this is the Shire’s information plaque giving a small amount of information about the house and its history.

This delightful card arrived from Judith in the UK for the Rainbow Swap.  Judith, please get in touch by email as I don’t have a record of your address anywhere to send cards in return!

Orange Rainbow swap card from Judith

Orange Rainbow swap card from Judith

I love the needle lace flower on the top of the card – this really brightened my day when it arrived.  Thank you, Judith!

“I’ve been everywhere, man, I’ve been everywhere!’

It certainly feels as if I have – and there have been some gaps in me posting here of late. There have been some fun things happening so hopefully I will get back up to speed.

It is my intention to play catch up…..hope you find something to interest you amongst all the posts to come!

The tip of the iceberg.... actually the fence tip from a wonderful old mansion I found out on the highway!
The tip of the iceberg…. actually the fence tip from a wonderful old mansion I found out on the highway!

Over the past month there has been a flurry of activity on the Fabric Postcard front – I have dispatched a round of cards to friends taking part in the “Stitch Me A Rainbow” swap and I have also sent off my first “Birthday Swap” for a Stitchin’ Fingers  exchange.

In the mail I have received these cards from Rainbow swappers:

Al things Purple from Penny

All things Purple from Penny

Under the Blue Sea from Kay

Under the Blue Sea from Kay

Both of the above cards were made in a “how to class” – the base fabric was made using strips sewn onto a 13″ lightweight interfacing square and flipped…. then they were covered with a selection of knitting yarns and threads.

A layer of black bridal tulle was pinned over and free form quilting/embroidery using variagated threads then stitched. A layer of heavy weight iron on interfacing was applied to the back of the piece before the stitching was started.  The piece was then cut into six postcard sized and further embellished.  This was the first time either of the girls had made cards and I think both Penny and Kay are hooked!

This picture is the card sent to Peggy in the US –  the technique is similar but instead of capturing  the threads under tulle, I stitched each one in place – sometimes using a decorative stitch and/or sewing thread.  Some yarns were stitched in place while the piece was still 13″ square and others were added once the piece was cut down into individual cards.  Decorative embroidery stitches were added to each card individually.

Traces of Teal sent to Peggy

Traces of Teal sent to Peggy

The first card I was to make for the Birthday Swap needed to be into the post quickly as Allyson’s birthday was September 6 – however she is in South Africa and apparently there is a postal strike (at the time we were notified it had been running for two weeks)

Happy Birthday Allyson!

Happy Birthday Allyson!

This card was made using die cut felt pieces I found at OfficeWorks, believe it or not! Each felt layer has been machine stitched in place after the purple ribbon stem had been stitched down. The quilting is a very fine stipple using a Guterman Sulky variagated thread and the centre button hand stitched in place.  Plain Guterman Purple Sulky thread was used for the satin stitched edging.

In class, we plan to explore some Crazy Patchwork techniques over the next few weeks so our next postcard exchange will feature Crazy Patchwork.  It is planned that this exchange will take place by the end of October if there are any takers to join us for this swap.

Over the weekend I took myself into the NGV St KIlda Road to view the ‘blockbuster’ exhibition “Salvador Dali Liquid Desire”.

salvador-dali I am at a loss to explain or to describe this collection – it was so overwhelming.  The collection spans his entire working life; some of the early pieces on show dated from his teenage years.  Oh, what it would be to have been as skilled as he was at age 15!

Works range from early landscapes in oils to jewelry designs, photographic studies, film and theatre collaborations, limited edition artist illustrated books, sculptures, pen and ink drawings and, of course, his surrealist paintings.

I highly recommend this wonderful experience – tuck your preconceived ideas away and go with an open mind and allow plenty of time.  There is so much to see, it is almost too much for a single viewing.

The exhibition runs until October 4.

Sofie has posted on her blog about the swap …. and she has some pictures as well!  You can see here the cards I sent her.  I can’t wait to see what she will create to send back!  She has made some great ATC’s that are used for displays on the site so I am really looking forward to this.

She has also reminded everyone to have a look at the scrapmatts site as the new product for September is up…this includes the new nested shapes range (some of which I have used in my ATCs) and words!  I’m guessing this is what card makers are looking for!

Just in time for Christmas!

Just in time for Christmas!

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