Tuesday, January 29, 2013

At the zoo

Yesterday we went to Melbourne Zoo to visit a very special (and very cute) new baby.

Being a public holiday, hundreds of people had the same idea, so there were loooooong queues for what turned out to be a five-minute viewing time of the latest addition to the zoo's growing elephant family.

His mum and big sister Mali, who was born at the zoo in 2010, were so protective it was a little difficult to get a good view of this endearing little chap - so small and so precious. Meanwhile, his dad, who is enormous, wallowed in the pool, away from his family.

Seeing the as-yet-unnamed little elephant was definitely worth the drive and the queues. I loved seeing the giraffes, too - they are so stately and so inquisitive - but wasn't impressed with the dusty enclosure they shared with a couple of zebras. In fact, most of the enclosures seemed to me to be too small for the large, majestic (and snoozy; it was a warm day) animals they housed.

Now I'm interested in visiting the open range zoos at Werribee or Dubbo - much more doable than seeing animals in the wild in Africa, which I imagine would be an incredible experience (or maybe I'll just have to watch more David Attenborough programmes on telly).

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The year is up and running...

January is nearly over - that was quick, where did it go? - and unlike previous years, I have a few things to show off. You see, after the big rush of making things for Christmas (and don't get me wrong, I really enjoy it) the urge to craft usually has a big sleep in January. But not this year, thanks to the super-organised Chookyblue and her latest Stitch-A-Long. I joined up because I needed something to kick-start my stitching year and because I liked the projects and because I already had all three of the books involved (Red Home and Tis the Season, both by Natalie Bird, and Anni Downs' Some Kind of Wonderful). January's projects - Anni's shoe bag, with its quirky applique, and Natalie's easy and fabulously useful thread catcher, were completed a few weeks ago and I've made a start on the stitchery for the bag which is the next project.
Two simple drawstring bags were made in response to an appeal from the ladies at the Quilted Crow in Tasmania for library bags to be filled with books donated by a local bookshop and given to children affected by the awful fires in that State. What a lovely thought, and since books and reading are dear to my heart, and I once lived not far from the area worst affected, I was happy to take part. Unfortunately, only one of the bags was posted; I lost the other one in the local shopping centre carpark on the way to the post office and only found it after it had been run over many times and was covered in oily tyre-tracks. Note to self: be more careful in future.
The highlight of my year so far was last week's meeting with Teresa from All Things Vintage. Teresa is from Queensland and we have 'known' each other in Blogland for several years now and for a time belonged to an online stitching group. She was in Melbourne for the tennis and last Sunday she, her brother and partner had a road trip to Ballarat and beyond. It was so good to meet her at last; she's every bit as lovely as I knew she would be. We had a delicious breakfast in a quirky little cafe in the main street, chatted non-stop about all sorts of things and afterwards stood in the sunshine while my husband Peter took a photo of us. I hate having my photo taken because I usually look smirky or sullen, but it turned out so well I've pinched it from Teresa's blog (I'm the short one). So that's January - come on, February, I'm ready for you.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

I've been patient...

... which is not like me at all! But my patience was rewarded when FINALLY a rather battered parcel turned up in my letterbox in yesterday's extra-hot weather. It was from Grace in South Portland, Maine, USA, my partner in Chookyblue's SSCS swap. The "C" stands for Christmas, and Grace had posted it in plenty of time for it to sit under my tree ready to be opened on December 25. Meanwhile, I've had plenty of time to admire what other participants in the swap had made, while keeping my fingers crossed that mine wasn't lost in a postal black hole. And this is what I received: :
a gorgeous little quilt - just my style and colours - a gorgeous selvedge needlecase, a tapemeasure and notebook from the New England Quilt Museum, a card from a museum in Lancaster, Philadelphia featuring a very fancy chook, a sweet handmade pinwheel ornament and a cross-stitched Tree of Life sachet, because Maine is the Pine Tree State (I didn't know that either!) And these are what I sent to Andrea in England
A Phoebe handbag (free pattern online; should be easy to find) and a flex-frame purse in the same fabrics; a little drawstring bag, a felt brooch I made and the pattern for some cute little birds, a locally-made cupcake button and two cute Christmas ornaments. Once again, I really enjoyed taking part in this swap. Many thanks to Grace for my gifts, to Andrea for being such an appreciative partner and to Chooky, for all your hard work in putting the swap together.