Thursday, January 31, 2013

Production Begins Again

 I've had a very productive two days of sewing and crocheting with one single bed blanket finished, More scrappy nine patch blocks made to clear out the tub of 2.5 " squares, one top finished using donated 6.5: blocks and another top almost completed using the scrappy 9 patch blocks, and more QAYG blocks made and one QAYG quilt finished. I'll show that photo on my other blog later.
 I also received a lovely knitted jacket and knitted beanie from Ruth Crocombe and these will be donated with the quilts. I have several tops ready to quilt now so I plan on working on them next as well as more QAYG blocks.
  Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Love My Country

My Country
Dorothea Mackellar
(1885 - 1968)

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die-
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.
I do love my country but it is a very harsh place to live with its extremes of temperatures and frequent threats from bush fires, floods and droughts. We are experiencing many of these extreme conditions across Australia again with many people losing their homes to either fires or floods in 5 of our 7 States. These events are still unfolding so their impact is unknown at this stage but we do know that many of these people were just getting their lives together after the last floods and fires we had 2 years ago, only to have their homes and businesses severely affected again.What can we do to help? I will be making and donating as many quilts as possible to the  survivors of these events but I can't give definite directions about where these quilts will be distributed until I have reliable and trustworthy local contacts who will deliver the quilts and blankets to those in need. I never send to large organizations as they may stockpile them or even sell them to raise money and this is not how I wish these quilts to be used. They should be used to bring comfort to those who will return home to a stinking mess caused by the flood waters or to no home if theirs has burnt down. Of course many of these people will be homeless which will also impact on the available resources which are already stretched thin and I don't want to forget the many people who were already homeless or needy before these events. How can you help? If you have any time and some scraps of batting and fabric and are able to make some QAYG blocks to 10.5" finished size then I will be happy to construct the quilts and get them delivered. The instructions are still on the sidebar of my blog and even if you only have time to make 1 or 2 these will all help to make quilts to bring comfort to those who have experienced such loss again. Thanks fully the loss of life isn't as great as previous events but there have been deaths as a result of these natural disasters and I pray that there will not be more reported. As most Australians have grown up with Dorothea Mackellar's poem about Australia, she gives us a timely reminder that we live in a country of great beauty but also very harsh conditions and having endured drought for 10 years now we are back to floods and fires again. I was planning to work on some of my quilting projects but this is more important so I'll be  getting some of my UFOs finished to donate as well as making more, many more QAYG quilts. Does anyone want to help? My address for donations is on my sidebar too and I hope these communities recover and our support will bring some comfort and joy to know that they are not alone in dealing with these events again. Hugs, Jan Mac


grey-blue distance

Monday, January 28, 2013

From Halong Bay to Home

 We finished our trip seeing Hanoi and then had a relaxing couple of days out on a boat cruising around Halong Bay and a night at an eco-resort on Cat Ba Island. We loved having a restful time as we had been going non-stop until then. We also took a cooking class and learned how to make spring rolls which were very yummy.
   Our arrival home on Saturday night was a bit marred by the fact that our power had been off while were were away and the fridge and freezer were reeking with spoiled food. Since then we've been busy cleaning and tossing food and airing the fridge off before we use it again. Luckily that was our only problem and we're really feeling for those of you who have been affected by fires and floods again this summer. I'm still catching up on emails but have almost finished a crocheted blanket from squares I made before we left.
   We had a fantastic holiday with lots of great experiences and I'm working night duty again tonight and I plan to get back into quilt production in the next couple of days when sleeping patterns allow.
 I hope you are all enjoying some relaxing time or time for your quilting.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Good Morning Vietnam

We had a wonderful time in Cambodia although visiting the Killing Fields and torture jail in Phnom Penh was confronting and difficult for the guide as he had lost family members as did most of the country. We took a fast boat down the Mekong River to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) and we are now seeing some of Vietnam. We have left our group and it was sad to say goodbye as we had such a wonderful time with everyone and hope to meet up in Hanoi just before we fly home.
  We visited the Cu Chi tunnels just out of Saigon and Ray was able to shoot a Russian AK47 and an American M60 machine gun which he was thrilled about. I enjoyed an ice cream instead. It's been very hot and humid but we have enjoyed visiting silk farms and seeing the city sights by cyclo. The city traffic in Saigon is frightening and just crossing the road is an achievement.
 We fly to Hanoi tomorrow for more sight seeing and I think the weather will be cooler there, which will be enjoyable. So many things to see and do before we fly home at the end of next week. I hope to share more photos when the internet speed is better.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, January 14, 2013

Beautiful Cambodia

 We've left Thailand and have been traveling in Cambodia. We stayed at Siem Reap for 3 nights and spent 2 days seeing the spectacular temples. The largest is Anghor Wat and we finished with the Tomb Raider temple from the film of the same name.
I'm. really enjoying Cambodia but internet connection isn't great. This is the second time I've tried to load photos so this blog post will be short . We're loving the food and the culture is very interesting but it is a very poor country after alll the invasions and internal problems they have endured. We've just arrived in Phnom Penh and will be visiting the killing fileds tomorrow.
Take care. Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hello from Thailand

 We are having a wonderful time here in beautiful Thailand. We flew in on the night of the 4th of Jan and have been very busy with sightseeing. Internet access is a bit erratic so I'm loading photos when I can. We spent 2 nights in Bangkok and then took a 3 day/2 night tour into the countryside to Kanchanaburi. We stayed on a  guest house on the River Kwai which was basic accommodation with cold showers but it's so hot that it wasn't a problem. We visited the Bridge over the River Kwai, Hellfire Pass, Erawan Waterfalls, Tiger Temple where stephanie and I each held a live sleeping tiger's head in our laps, rode elephants and Stephanie bathed with an elephant in the river. It used its trunk to lift and throw her into the water and she had a very good workout and has some bruises but it was great fun. We rode on the Death Railway which was made by POWs, and also rode in a long boat and did rafting down the river. The food is great and we are having a fantastic time. We shopped all day today and have a day of tours around Bangkok tomorrow before leaving with a tour through Cambodia the next day.
 I hope you enjoy the photos and I'll check in when I can get internet access again.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac
 PS I also held a leopard cub!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome to 2013

 There is an old saying that whatever you spend the first day of a new year doing will be what you spend time on for the rest of the year. I don;t know if it's true or not but I decided not to risk doing housework. Instead I finished the zig zag 9 patch top and quilted it as well as quilting the other top I'd finished a couple of days ago. I have also made up lots more random 9 patches as I just want to use them up and get them out of here. The scraps aren't very pretty so I used a bright fun dotty blue fabric to give them a lift. They made a large quilt and I'm still making 9 patches from the bin of squares I have pre-cut so many years ago and I should have enough to make another large quilt.
  I may get the third top quilted tomorrow but if not I'm very happy to have 2 quilts ready to donate and it's only the first day of the year. I was very happy to bust some stash with the backings too so although I didn't clean I did clean out some fabric.
 I hope you are all ready to face the challenges of 2103 and I hope and pray that you are all blessed with love and joy in abundance. I also wish we could abolish poverty and child neglect but if that can't happen yet I pray we can bring some joy and comfort to those in need. I plan to donate at least 100 quilts again this year so who also wants to join in with making the world a brighter and warmer place for those in need.
 Thank you to all those lovely people who left very kind comments and I hope to show some more finishes very soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac