Here in Australia, it’s the first week of the school holidays! (Similar to a mid-semester break!) So today I took my two oldest nephews into the city to visit the Powerhouse Museum and to see a fun and interactive Minecraft World that they have there at the moment!
Both boys loved it, especially the oldest one, Caleb who likes to play Minecraft a lot! At the exhibition they had a room full of cardboard Minecraft blocks for the kids to stack and build their own worlds, colour-in stations, interactive game play, green-screen photo sessions and a petting zoo (full of the cardboard animal characters!). Even Steve was there!
While we were at the museum we also had a bit of a look at The Wiggles exhibition, a beautiful Jewellery display along with all of the other permanent favourites that are there like the big Spaceship, the old steam trains and interactive science labs. So much fun!
However, although the day was super fun, this poor Auntie is now struggling to keep her eyes open as she types this post out! Gee, I’m pretty sure as soon as my head hits the pillow, I’ll be out to it!
Tomorrow is back to normal for this quilter! I’ll be uploading my Mountain Block tutorial for you to watch (the edit has taken so much longer than usual!) and I’ll reunite myself with my sewing machine and get the inspirational juices flowing again! Yay!
Last night, as you may know, I took a trip into the city to see Anything Goes at the Sydney Opera House!
The show, one I’d never seen before, was fantastic! The music was wonderfully jazzy and melodic, the story line funny and engaging and the dance numbers were absolutely first class! It was really great and a perfect birthday treat from my parents!
And of course, while I was in the heart of my beautiful city, I captured some photos for you of the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the sparking harbour surrounding them!
Today has been a busy editing day, getting the Mountain Block tutorial polished and all shiny ready to upload for you in the next few days! I am sorry that it is a little later than usual, the past few days have thrown my schedule all out of whack!
I hope you’re all having a splendid weekend and are pursuing all of your quilty plans and dreams!
If you’ve been scrolling through my Instagram feed, following my weekly uploads on YouTube or reading this here blog lately, then you might know that I’ve recently come back from a very long-awaited holiday/cruise to Fiji!
Over the past few weeks or so I’ve been promising to share with you some photos from my adventure and have spectacularly failed to follow through with that promise! So I’ve set today aside to organise, edit, collage, write and publish this post for you. (And yes, it really does take me a whole day to write, edit and perfect a blog post because I’m a hardcore perfectionist who pretty much needs everything to be perfect before hitting that Publish button!)
So I’m not going to bore the living-daylights out of you and document every single thing and every single port that we visited. Instead, I’m just showing you the highlights, the places that I loved the most and the cherished moments I spent with my parents sailing the South Pacific.
Lifou / Loyalty Islands
Lifou, a little island town within the Loyalty Islands was our first port of call. Both me and my parents have been here twice before but have never visited the little beach that is right near the island’s pier. For a few hours we drunk up the South Pacific sunshine, dug our toes into the cool white sand and observed the cultural uniqueness of it’s people. I didn’t swim at this beach but instead took the opportunity to film a few clips for my vlog.
Port Denarau / Fiji
Our first stop in Fiji was Port Denarau where our ship, the Sun Princess was anchored just out side of the bay. From the ship we were loaded onto a super-sleek catamaran and whisked off on a pre-organised tour to a private island called South Sea Island. As we approached the island we were welcomed with traditional song and numerous shouts of ‘Bula!’, which is Fijian for ‘Hello’!
There we did our best to avoid the horrid humidity by swimming in the crystal clear blue water, gently bobbing up and down while watching soft waves roll and crash onto the coral ridden sandy shore. We peacefully watched other people snorkelling, kayaking, swimming and doing their very best to conquer the challenge of the painful coral underfoot. (We didn’t think to bring along any reef shoes so we suffered painfully with them!)
The locals on the island then made us a big BBQ lunch and treated us to some awesome traditional songs and dances as we ate. (You can see more of this in the vlog at the end of this post!)
The time came for us to say our farewells and thankyous for their generous hospitality and entertainment. We all hopped back onto the catamaran where we were safely jetted back to our ship.
SavuSavu / Fiji
This was the only photo I took when we visited SavuSavu. The majority of the time I filmed for my vlog. But, apart from the thick humidity and looming storm clouds, I really liked this little town. The locals seemed friendly and welcoming and there were stalls upon stalls upon stalls of people selling souvenirs and locally handmade crafts. (I’m such a bad tourist, as I didn’t buy anything.)
Thankfully in the afternoon, we had a pre-organised tour to join where there was a very welcoming air-conditioned bus that took us on a short ‘sight-seeing’ tour of the town before taking us to visit a traditional Fijian village called Nukubalavu. As we pulled up outside we were greeted with a traditional welcoming song sung by the village elders, leaders and children. Our village guide showed us a few of their homes, chatted to us about their Catholic beliefs and then allowed us to tour their little Kindergarten that has been set up in their village for the children to learn how to read and write.
We then had the privilege to watch some of the villages do traditional dancing and singing, perform a sacred ‘Kava Ceremony’, weave baskets out of palm tree leaves and witness a man climb a very tall coconut tree!
Dravuni Island / Fiji
Dravuni Island was definitely the biggest highlight for me! It was the place that came the closest to what I had imagined a Fijian beach island to be like… Tall gentle swaying palm trees, cool crystal blue water, soft smooth sand and a laid back quiet atmosphere. Ahh, bliss!
We came ashore on a delightfully sunny Sunday afternoon (which possibly explains why the place seemed so quite and tranquil!) and had a look around the little Kindergarten and school that had been built for the local children before making our way back onto the beach opposite to where our ship was anchored. There we spent about an hour taking photos, relaxing under the palm trees and soaking up the experience of our last Fijian port.
Here are just a few happy snaps I took while we were onboard. We don’t really go crazy when we cruise… We don’t drink or visit the casino nor do we stay up and attend all of the parties (bore, I know!). We’re the simpleton type who like to read (or embroider in my my case) all day, do the occasional deck swim and sunbake, eat and drink tea as many times as possible during the day, watch all the shows and entertainment in the evenings and generally enjoy our holiday away from reality!
Photos from left to right, top to bottom – 1&2: Posing for photos with Mum and then Dad, 3: Selfie on deck before sail away from Sydney, 4: Sun Princess Atrium, 5: Mum and I having a silly-smile selfie before dinner one night, 6: Mum and Dad ‘relaxing’ on deck while anchored in SavuSavu, 7: Mirror Selfie in our stateroom, 8: Towel Toad sporting Dad’s reading glasses, made by our cabin steward, 9: Father and Daughter selfie in Lifou.
Home / Sydney, Australia
Unfortunately, like all things, our holiday had to come to an end. I had mixed feelings about wanting to come home… I just felt like I wasn’t quite ready to let go of that brief period of time where you don’t have to worry or stress about the realities or responsibilities of life. Yet on the other hand, as we begun the slow heading into Sydney Heads I couldn’t wait to savour the moment of gently sailing past one of the most beautiful harbour cities in the world. Sydney, my home, quiet, still and delicate, only just beginning to wake to another busy day. Honestly, the whole thing makes me feel all a bit emotional… My city, quietly welcoming me home in the gentle cool hours of the morning, the breeze whispering, ‘welcome back’ and the familiar sounds of cars, trains, ferries and planes soothing my suburban soul. It’s a moment in time that I will never tire of.
As I mentioned throughout, I filmed quite a lot of the things I experienced and only just recently uploaded the finished vlog to my YouTube channel. So here it is if you wish to see more of my adventure!
Also, here’s a list of the filming equipment I used to record my holiday if you’re interested…
After such a busy and hectic month of May (new job, farewell parties, congratulation parties, birthday parties, and long awaited trips into the City) I finally got around to making my Craftsy’s May BOMs (with three days to spare until the end of the month!). I vowed to let my sewing machine sing again this past weekend and I did to my much satisfied delight!
Based on the Log-Cabin block design, these little babies have that modern scrappy twist which I’m all in to! One is more traditional in design, yet modern and the other is known as a crazy Log-Cabin block design – you sew in any and all degrees with stripy bits of fabric.
I really enjoyed sewing these blocks up as it involved a completely spontaneous method in how they were constructed – which in turn is always a nice change from having to measure and cut pieces out exactly while making sure you sew a ¼ inch seam allowance etc. I was so giddy with excitement and happiness when I had them complete, I was dancing around the lounge room with a smile ear-to-ear!
This weekend I’m hoping to visit the Regeneration Contemporary Quilt Textiles Exhibition at Manly Art Gallery and Museum (the last weekend it’s on!).Hopefully it’s a nice day as it’s a ferry ride from Circular Quay to Manly and they’re never fun trips when the weather’s rainy and yuck (maybe yes, when the harbour is choppy and the boat is bobbing up and down, back and forth like it’s nobody’s business!)
But visiting Manly is a highlight in anyone’s day whatever it is that you’ll be doing there – swimming, shopping, browsing, picnicking or (like me) for the ferry ride!! The shops along the Corso sell the best fish and chips, pizzas and award winning ice cream!
I also hope to check out the weekend Markets at The Rocks, something I’ve wanted to visit in a very long time! Plus, there’s this awesome button shop where the walls are packed with 1000’s of different buttons! A crafter’s heaven!! I always spend way too much money in that store – as one does! There are so many other crafty stores there like: Craft NSW Store, The Ken Done Shop, Parkers – Sydney Fine Arts Supplies and lots of little boutique art and textile stores as well as fashion, food and souvenir stores.
Gosh, I love visiting The Rocks!
Over the weekend I bought a new quilting book – Modern Blocks, compiled by Susanne Woods with well known quilter’s contributing their extrordinary talents in sharing new and modern quilt blocks. There are some really great designs in here that I can’t wait to get stuck into!
I particularly like this Union Jack one – Just Jack – as it satisfies my current obsession with all things British. I think it’s the whole Queen’s Diamond Jubilee fever that’s in the air, along with the Olympics as well as the fact I’m now saving to travel over there! Plus I have extended family in the UK who I’m dying to meet!!
This block is made with the paper-piecing technique – something that I’ll have to learn before I tackle this little jem. I can image a beautiful ‘Ode to Britain’ quilt being constructed with this block; maybe with a Pop Art colour palette or more subdued traditional colours. Hmm…the mind ticks over!!
I’ve just spent a wonderful week cruising on the Dawn Princess from Melbourne to Tasmania (Burnie and Hobart) and then back up to Sydney. It was slightly chilly in the isle state – 10C most days! But the beautiful scenery, gracious locals and an abundant stream of history and facts cancelled out the cold bitter winds and left me wanting more!
So this holiday came with many firsts for me, starting with my first ever aeroplane ride and I was slightly and inwardly freaking out – the fear of the unknown I think – but it wasn’t so bad. To be honest, I actually enjoyed it! The fast rush of take-off, the g-force pushing you into your seat, the roaring of the engines AND the free cookies and Coca-Cola! I luckily had a window seat and was able to watch as we circled out of the Sydney Domestic Airport and over the city of Sydney it’s self – over the Pyrmont Bridge, Centrepoint Tower, Circular Quay and Bondi Beach and then soared up above the mountains and clouds. It was just spectacular!
Another first was visiting the beautiful city of Melbourne and experiencing my very first Tram ride! We saw and did all the touristy things – a City-Circle Tram ride, Fitzroy Gardens and Captain Cook’s House, Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, the Yarra River, Edihad Stadium, Crown Casino, a life-endangering taxi ride and then visited a beach at St Kilda in South Melbourne where, we boarded our big boat the Dawn Princess!
The third first thing I experienced was travelling to Tasmania and discovering the awesome landscapes, lay-back attitudes and bone-chilling cold of this isle state. Autumn was everywhere – leaves and trees were turning golden and amber blanketing the grass at their roots, acorns littered the paths and the sun shone brightly in the sky. Perfect.
This wasn’t my first cruise, it wasn’t my second cruise. This was my fourth and I loved every minute! Food! So much food! Tax and Duty Free shopping – new perfumes!! And stateroom fun!
But every holiday must come to an end and nothing beats the feeling of sailing into your home city witnessing the city buzz on as if it never missed you like you did it. We quietly sailed past the Sydney Opera House, under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and glided into our final port at Darling Harbour. Home.
So back to reality and my loyal sewing machine, waiting patiently to be switched on and sweetly chug along as I get back into my endless projects. I completed my April Craftsy’s BOM’s featuring a new technique that I’ve never done before – English Paper Piecing – and I LOVED it! It requires a lot of hand sewing which is just my kind of thing. I’ve also made about a dozen little purses for an art and craft stall this weekend at church – hopefully they sell well!
More sewing is on the way; I’ve got three quilts on the go, all at different stages and two others waiting to be started along with some more mini-blocks, embroidery projects and maybe a softie or two. Let’s get to it!