Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Just to bring you up to date…

Did you hear that thud?  It was the sound of me coming down to earth after a fabulous holiday.

Two weeks ago I was sipping prosecco, and riding a bike around (mostly) sunny Ravenna in Italy – not at the same time!IMG_3846 IMG_7079 One week ago I was back in Australia curled up in front of a fire in the Blue Mountains, enjoying our final week of holidays reading a great book (more about that in a later post) and sleeping off the jet-lag.IMG_7121  IMG_7125 This magnificent view across the valley was shrouded in mist until just before we packed up and left for home. IMG_7123This week life has quickly returned to what passes for normal around here,  but for now we are feeling refreshed and have a new spring in our step.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Breast Cancer Raffle Quilt

At Paddington Patchworkers we're raffling a beautiful sampler quilt designed and made by all of us. It's predominantly soft pink and green, and very girly, and has been valued at $2427.00 by the NSW Quilters Guild. It's a double bed topper size, I'd say, but I can find out that detail for you if you like.

Leonie Klap of "Get it Quilted by Leonie" has done a wonderful job with the quilting, so it's all ready for you to win!

Tickets are $5 each, and the winner will be drawn on Monday 11th October at our Breast Cancer Breakfast. Most importantly, all proceeds will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

If you live in Australia and would like to buy a ticket, please just let me know in the Comments and I'll contact you with details of how to pay.

PLEASE NOTE: To protect the privacy of readers who request tickets I will not be publishing their comments.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

At last - a fabric souvenir!

There were squeals of delight (and quiet groans from someone who I’ll not name) when we discovered a fabric shop this morning, just up the road from our B & B.IMG_6974 So I’ve finally been able to find a small piece of Italian-produced fabric to take home.  I’m pleased I found this particular piece because there have been fragrant lavender bags for sale in so many of the places we’ve visited.  Australian Customs won’t object to me bringing in this lavender :-))IMG_7048 Here’s the friendly gentleman who helped me to choose my fabric.IMG_6973

Byzantine beauty

Ravenna has been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage area because of its early Christian and Byzantine buildings containing the most exquisite mosaics.  You can buy a combined ticket to visit them, and after a couple of days here we’ve almost covered them all. 

It’s hard to know where to look first.  Up to ceilings of pure gold mosaics like this…


IMG_6669 Or down to intricately tiled mosaic floors where thousands have trodden through the ages.IMG_6644 IMG_6655

It’s raining in Ravenna

Soft, warm rain. The first we’ve had since the afternoon we arrived in Rome almost 3 weeks ago.  We don’t care a bit because it’s given us an excuse to just sit for a while and recharge our batteries.

Breakfast on the ship on Tuesday morning was a rather subdued affair.  We’d mostly said our goodbyes the night before, so we could catch an early vaporetto to the station. Unfortunately they wouldn’t let me take Manuel, who looked after us so wonderfully.IMG_6580 IMG_6586 Five hours, two trains and a taxi ride later were were at A Casa di Paola in Ravenna. Paola herself is warm and welcoming and her B & B is beautiful.  It’s on the second floor of a sensitively renovated historic building, furnished with hand-painted antique furniture, soft chairs for the weary traveller and framed old prints.IMG_6710 IMG_6963 Just look at the size of those beams. IMG_6942 IMG_6961 There’s even a trompe l’oeuil on the stairs. IMG_6621 And this painting on the ceiling.IMG_6711

And did I tell you Paola has free wi-fi internet – Yes!!!!

And what about the Whirligig Quilt?

I haven’t been idle :-))  I’ve been stitching away on my borders at every opportunity, much to the amusement of fellow-passengers.  IMG_5400IMG_7051

In this hot climate, where day after day the sun has shone for us, the vivid colours of my Kaffe Fassett fabrics (and others like them) seem right at home, and I love the idea that this quilt will hold lots of happy memories of the places we’ve visited.

IMG_5398 IMG_5403 IMG_7050 IMG_7052 Perhaps this will give you a better idea of how I’m progressing with these two opposite borders.IMG_7058 IMG_7057

Arriving in Venice


Only the crew had access to it, but so many times during our cruise I’ve wished I could have stood up there at the pointy end of the ship – OK, so I’m not a sailor – and spread my arms like Leo di Caprio in ‘Titanic’.  Last Monday morning was one of these, as we sailed slowly and majestically into Venice. 

You could have just looked the other way and pretended you didn’t know me :-)

I was up at 5.30am to get the best vantage point, and undeterred by the chilly wind I stood my ground, taking in every delicious minute.IMG_6213 IMG_6198 The sky had that incredible saturation of blue that I’ve only seen in the Mediterranean, and the waters of the Grand Canal have never looked so clean to me in the early morning sun.IMG_6214 There were many, many ‘pinch me’ moments!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


1143 Temples Thinking I might have seen enough Greek and Roman temples by now.  Surprisingly though, just when I’ve felt a little jaded, each new archaeological site has brought unexpected delights. 1027 Selinunte Admiring the tenacity of some of our disabled and elderly passengers.  There’s so much walking, often involving hills and cobblestones, as well as climbing steps, but yet they somehow manage to keep up.

Visiting wonderful old Sicilian towns, most with histories dating from the 6th century BC.  Wow!1422 Taormina Regretting not wearing a hat yesterday just to avoid ‘hat (aka “flat”) hair’.  Waking up with a heat headache the next morning is not fun.  Goodbye vanity – hello hat!

Feeling so much better after an al fresco breakfast of fruit salad and muesli, orange juice, scrambled eggs and bacon eaten on deck.

Enjoying the cool sensation of the wind in my hair on deck (on my way to the Captain’s Cocktail Party).IMG_5749 Missing everyone at home … just a bit :-))

Searching for a wireless hot-spot every time we go ashore.  The ship is not equipped with wi-fi and it’s impossible  to upload photos via the computers provided for passengers to check emails.  Help!  I’m suffering ‘blog withdrawal’!  (Though if you’re reading this you’ll know I’ve had my ‘fix’.)

Stitching whenever I can find the opportunity to work on my applique border for the Whirligig quilt.IMG_5398 Discovering a few quilters on board, most of whom have identified me as a fellow patchworker by my selvedge bag.

Eating  often!  Gelato (by the tonne), freshly-caught fish, pasta, pizza, and all kinds of salads.

Walking great distances (hopefully burning off those calories!) and feeling fitter with each day.1163 Temple of Concord Reading Mary McCarthy’s "’Venice Observed’ as we cruise ever closer to ‘La Serenissima’, our splendid destination.

Listening to ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ on my iPod, usually while I stitch away at my applique.

Appreciating engaging lectures by entertaining academic Dr Richard Wilson (Oxford) on the history of the Mediterranean and passionate food writer Clarissa Hyman (author of ‘Cucina Siciliana’) on the various regional cuisines.IMG_5724 Looking out on Dubrovnik shining in the early morning sun and waiting to be called to go ashore by tender for another walking tour.IMG_5765 Loving the whole experience and thanking God for the opportunity to be here.

Dubrovnik in a morning…

…is better than no visit at all, but there is just so much to absorb in this beautiful p;lace.

Yesterday we woke to this sight as our ship sailed into Dubrovnik.IMG_5757 Though our time was short it was long enough to appreciate the wealth of quilting inspiration.   Day 16 Dubrovnik  The beautiful traditional embroidery.Day 16 Dubrovnik1 The charm of the town.IMG_5854 IMG_5898 And of the marketsIMG_5862 And the pretty marina.IMG_5908 IMG_3225