An Addition to the (Janome) Family

This year I decided to concentrate on finishing some UFO’s (quilt-speak for unfinished objects) and to help with that task, treated myself to a new sewing machine – so meet my Janome Skyline S6.

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Loads of new features, two of which I’m very excited about – being able to raise and lower the presser foot with the knee lifter (great for patchwork and quilting) and the auto thread cutter (what a timesaver!). So when I should have been doing other things, I’ve been disappearing into my craft room to play with my new toy!

Not that I’m parting with my other sewing machine (even though she is at least 15 years old). She still sews perfectly and I have some other plans for her. So I thought the least I could do was to make her a nice cover and this was my first project on the S6.

From the many patterns online, the closest I came to what I had in mind was a free pattern from Sami Dolls on YouTube. However I didn’t want to turn the cover right side out at the end so instead, I sewed the cover and lining wrong sides together and made my own binding to finish off the bottom edge. A lot easier and I think it gives a better look. The embroidery designs on the pockets were sewn on my Janome MemoryCraft 350E.

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I love machine embroidery; it’s fascinating to see the designs take shape.

Fabric choice for my cover was easy – the local quilt store had just gotten in a new range of Kaffe Fassett. The hardest part was narrowing it down to one fabric- I loved them all! This one is called Japanese Chrysanthemum. Isn’t it gorgeous?

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So here is my old machine – resplendent in her new cover – and ready for action!

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Land of Extremes

Drought, heatwaves, floods and fire – we seem to have experienced it all in Australia so far this year, and so it was with great relief that we welcomed the rain the day after my last post.

This is my citrus that I posted last time, with its leaves curled up in the prolonged heat – and here is the transformation the following morning, looking like a completely different tree.  There were even a few blades of green grass that popped up during the night.

 

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Before the rain

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and after!

So now our tanks are overflowing and it has been raining on and off ever since.  Amazingly, the grass, which was brown and so dry that it was painful to walk on barefoot, is lush and green and needing to be cut.

I love the sound of the rain falling on the roof and to have some relief from the heat at last.  Blue, cloudless skies are all very well, but for now, my favourite colour is grey!

Summer Catch Up

So the summer is over and I am pleased to say that the tasks that I set myself for the New Year are underway or have been done.  Much crafting has taken place, but more on that later.

More important has been the gardening that I started in January.  Up and out each morning for a couple of hours’ work, mostly weeding and mulching, before the temperature started to soar.  By mid morning it was just too hot to keep going.  Temperatures in the mid to high 30’s have been pretty constant, with some days topping 40 degrees Celsius.  Not much fun when the pool is too hot to swim in and it takes several minutes before the water coming out of the hose is cool enough not to burn.

 

I have gone from gardening for pleasure to gardening for survival – survival of the plants.  One of our two water tanks is empty which we use for watering the gardens.  Lucky we have town water and not reliant on them for supplying water to the house but it has made it difficult to keep the water up to the trees and shrubs.

We’ve hardly had any rain this year and each day we have our hopes up, only to be disappointed when we see another cloudless sky.

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This is one of our poor, sad looking orange trees.  I am watering them when I can but unfortunately citrus like lots. The rest look about the same with their leaves curled up.  Citrus is not a good choice for this region, but as they were already here when we moved in I have been trying to look after them as best I can.  Our grass (I could not even loosely describe it as lawn) is so dry it crunches underfoot.  However the frangipanis, petunias and most of the other plants are surviving.

We are supposed to get rain today and it is looking very overcast  Is that thunder I hear in the distance?  I hope so.

Denali – the Mountain

Friday, 17 August:

The trip to Mt McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge only took about 2-1/4 hours (still in Denali National Park) and we set off mid-morning for our final stop. Arrived to find yet more spacious, comfortable lodge-type accommodation and very attentive, friendly staff.

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Denali, once called Mount McKinley, is North America’s highest mountain and you need a very clear day to be able to see it. In fact, we were told that in summer there is only a 30 percent chance of seeing this mountain, due to clouds and changing weather conditions. It was quite cloudy while we were there, so no chance of getting that “30 percent club” tee shirt! But that didn’t stop lots of us gathering around with cameras at the ready, looking for that elusive mountain – in all directions!

 

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In the afternoon we checked out a list of things to do and there were several free activities offered by Princess. We decided on a nature trail hike with a naturalist with a very wide knowledge of all the plants and berries we discovered along the way, some edible and some not.  We had a fun time exploring the area.

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When we got back, we caught a presentation on everything you could ever possibly want to know about moose and later a very inspirational talk by Todd Huston, an amputee who holds records for climbing mountains. It was an amazing and very humbling experience to meet him and listen to his story.

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Our bags were collected for the last time that night and we spent Saturday morning relaxing in the sun on the deck of the lodge, drinking coffee and enjoying the amazing mountain scenery for the last time.

All too soon it was time to jump in the coach for the 3-1/2 hour trip back to Anchorage for the night and Sunday morning to the airport for the 14-1/2 hour (!) flight home.

We really had an awesome time and enjoyed every minute of our time in Canada and Alaska.