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Sunday, July 24, 2016

My Last Day in Australia

I know I know this is way late.  I've been home from Australia for a few weeks now and why am I just getting around to writing this blog.  Well I've been pretty busy as Mom and I and Juanita drove up to Des Moines to hook up with my friend, Twyla, at a retreat at Woodside Quilting.  More about that in the next post.  So I was gone from Thursday till late Monday and I finally got some down time for a few days which is my excuse for being so late.

Anyway, the last day I was in Melbourn Bre took the day off and we decided to go to some quilt shops I hadn't had the opportunity to visit until this point.  It was a rainy so shopping was a great use of the day.  All four shops were pretty close to each other which was good.

The first shop was Sewn and Quilted which is in the back of the owner's home.  But gosh she has a ton of wonderfulness packed into her shop.  A really nice selection of patterns, books and of course English Paper Piecing supplies.  Every shop I went into carried a large selection of EPP papers and templates.  The store was packed wall to wall and there were 8 or 10 customers there while I was there.  The clerk was very helpful and nice.  As I recall the fabrics were bright and happy and there were lovely samples all over the place.  I bought a little bag leather handle but there was a ton of other stuff I would have loved to have.  It really is worth a visit.

The second shop we went to was mainly an embroidery shop, Craftpaks, and they had samples of the most beautiful 3 dimensional embroidery that I'd ever seen.  Maureen Tarnok makes them and they are amazing.  She also teaches at Craftpaks.

I would definitely take classes at this place if I lived in Melbourne.  They had an amazing selection of embroidery floss and ribbon.  In fact, when the owner found out I was from Missouri she said she'd just shipped an order of floss there.    Small world!!!  I bought a really cute Christmas applique pattern.    They had some floss brands that I'd only seen in Australia and a really large assortment of ribbon.  Awesome shop.

After we left this shop, we were starving so we stopped at this French Patisserie shop and got a spinach pastry that was like a small quiche.  It was amazing!!!!!!!  They were small so we bought two each but they were so rich we could only eat one each.  So good.

Then we went to the largest shop of the day, Patchwork with Gail B.  It was a bizarre location for a quilt shop.  It was inside of a large tile shop.  (shaking head)   But don't be put off by this.  The shop had a ton of patterns which I purused for quite a while.

I didn't buy anything but they had patterns I hadn't seen at any of the other shops.  There were also two full aisles of notions and English Paper Piecing products.  There were aisles and aisles of fabric all very tempting.  They had some very nice smaller samples displayed but I did find the place a bit claustrophobic.

The last shop of the day was Lilly Patches.  The shop was small but cute.  The owner was very helpful and when I spotted a Doctor Who panel I'd never seen she climbed a ladder to take it off the wall since it was the last one.  Turns out there was a tear in the border section of the panel so she sold it to me for less than half price.  I had to have it!!!!
I loved my trip to Australia and hope to go back if Bre decides to stay.  I think winter is the time for me to visit as I enjoyed the cool weather even though it was a bit rainy.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Australian Observation

I've observed a number of interesting things while I've been visiting Australia.

1. They limit their election campaign to 8 weeks.  Brilliant!!!!!!!!!

2. It is a legal requirement that all people over the age of 18 must vote.  Brilliant!!!!!!!!!

3. Their ballots are pretty confusing requiring you to rank the candidates.  (I'm thinking that might confuse a lot of people in the U.S.)

4.  They have a store called Woolworth's.  It is a grocery store.

5.  They have a store called Cole's also a grocery store.  Don't confuse it with Kohl's in the U.S.

6. They have Target and K-Mart here but not quite the same stores as in the U.S.  They are more like Kohl's in the U.S.

7. Left turns are way easier in Australian than they are in the U.S.

8. There are a lot of old U.S. TV shows on broadcast tv in Australia.  When was the last time you saw "Jake and the Fatman" or "T.J. Hooker"?

9.  Sometimes the same language, English, is totally different.

10 Instead of going to France to learn to cook, people should come to Melbourne.  The food there is totally amazing and fresh.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Koala, Kangaroos, and Wallabies Oh My

Sunday was jam packed full of fun and games.  It was another early start as we were off to Phillip Island to pet a koala.  This was one of the things I wanted to do during my visit.  Did you know Koalas sleep about 20 hours per day basically because eucalyptus leaves which they eat exclusively have almost no nutritional value.   Just one of the facts I learned while we were waiting to pet the koala.  Moonlit Sanctuary was such an awesome little place.  We got there right when it opened and bought some food to feed the kangaroos and wallabies.

Besides the Koalas, Wallabies and Kangaroos there were a bunch of other animals that were up close and personal.  There was a bird that talked.

He said, hello, I'm a good boy, goodbye and did a wolf whistle.  That was a blast. There were a few Tasmanian devils and wombats and another little animal I can't remember the name of. 

This little sanctuary was so nice I really enjoyed it.  They even had an encounter that allowed you to walk a dingo.  How fun.

I was a little apprehensive when I saw the first wallaby but a little 3 year old was feeding it so I put on my big girl panties and fed some wallabies.

In case you didn't know, wallabies are much smaller than kangaroos so when I approached the first kangaroo I was again a little nervous.  They are big.  Bre encourage me to be brave.

How sad is that my kid is going "You can do it, you can do it, mom."  It was funny to watch the animals, one little wallaby was bullying the others to get more food.

Some of the birds around were bickering with each other to get more food.  Very interesting.  Both kangaroos and wallabies ate right out of your hand some mixture of food pellets and crushed corn.  Only one of the wallabies decided he needed to hold my hand when he was eating.  They have fairly big claws but they weren't sharp.  They were so damned cute.

 That is a kangaroo by this guy.

Speaking of cute, is there anything cuter than a Koala.  I don't think so.  Bre got after me because I only took a couple of pictures of her with the Koala but she took like 15 of me.  I told her why take a ton of pictures if the first one is good.  Nuff said.  Ask me about the lines in Australia, when you see me.

There were these wild birds around the sanctuary that one of the keepers referred to as free loaders since they hung around the sanctuary to eat the food that the kept animals dropped.  There was this odd goose with a neon green beak.

We left the Sanctuary a little after noon and headed down to Hastings to have lunch at Pelikan Société.  The weather was so nice we decided to eat out on the patio (by the heater).  It was lovely over looking the bay and a bunch of beautiful boats plus breakfast was amazing.

I had the almond granola which is not normally my cup of tea but it was so good with some fruit and custard and a bit of sprouts.  Yum, yum, yum.   Then we saw these unique pelicans.  Black and white.  Who knew?

We got back to Bre's place just in time to hope on the train to meet Emma at the footie game.  This was another thing on the list of things to do for Melbourne.  Bre asked Emma to go with us so that she could explain the game to us.  Emma took her assignment very seriously and printed out a chart and told us most of the major rules.  What a fascinating game.  Very fast paced and the stamina required to run that huge field almost nonstop.  Great legs and some awesome biceps as well.  Unfortunately Melbourne lost to Adelaide, not that I really cared all that much but it sure was fun to watch.

What a jam packed day of adventure.  I just love my daughter and Melbourne.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Super Saturday going to the Twelve Apostles

Well Bre did it again!!!!  She planned a great Saturday for us.  We got up relatively early to drive about 3 hours over to see the Twelve Apostles, which is this natural outcropping in the ocean.  However, before we jumped in the car to start our journey we walked down to a local cafe/bakery and picked up some brekkie (honestly that is what they call it here).  In this cafe, was maybe the most attractive man I've ever seen in my life.  Bre agreed and she described his dimples as big enough to swim in.  A very lovely way to start our day!!!!!  Sorry ladies, no picture of the hottie.  I would have been too embarrassed to ask, "hey you are so hot can I take your picture?"  I did get a snap of the lovely pastries.

Bre programmed the GPS and we were off.  About an hour into the trip, we discovered the GPS was taking us on the shortest route not the prettiest route so we turned it off once we found the Great Ocean Road.  OMG, OMG, OMG!!!!!!!!    So pretty.  It was sort of like New Zealand, you get to a spot and you think it can't get any prettier and then you go around a curve and it is even more gorgeous.  Bre was glad she was driving as it was very windy curvy and she has a tendency to get car sick.  She also played art director telling me where to take pictures as she was speeding down the road (although totally obeying all speed limits).  We did take a lot of moving car pictures which some of them turned out surprisingly well.

Did I mention my daughter likes to tell me what to do almost as much as my mother likes to tell me what to do?  But she does have a good eye for what will make a beautiful picture.

Our first stop was hugely successful.  We found very clean public toilets and the play ground had an adult swing that both Bre and I gave a try.  She even had me take a slow motion video which is one of the cool features on the iphone that I covet.  This is the normal speed video as she has the slow motion one on her phone.

 At this same stop was a beautiful light house which I wanted to take some pictures of.  Bre drove me to the top of this big hill dropped me off since there wasn't any parking and was going to come back and get me after I took some shots.  However, it was so pretty I told her she needed to come up and see it.  I thought it would take her a while to walk up the hill since it was pretty steep but no way my athletic daughter just runs up this giant hill.  I sometimes wonder how we can be related?  When we got back to the car the area was inundated with a group of Asian tourists which was sort of the story for the rest of the day.  Australia is apparently a tourist mecca for the Asian market year round.

Then we got back in the car to be enthralled with some of these gorgeous views.

Amazing, right?  We stopped for lunch in Apollo Bay and had this great meal at Sandy Feet Cafe and Health Food.  Bre had a wonderful bowl of soup and I had a delicious veggie frittata.  Both were very filling.  We finally arrived at the Twelve Apostles at about 2 p.m.  It was a long drive but so amazing.  When we pulled into the parking lot of the visitor's area there were about 5 buses of Asian tourists.  There were selfie sticks everywhere but then I was guilty of being photographing tourist as well.

I even made Bre take a selfie of us but it is on her phone.  Oh darn.  Here are some of the pictures I took.

Bre told me this wonderful story about the formations.  Apparently, until the mid 90s there was a natural bridge that went from the land out to one of the outcroppings.  A couple walked out on the bridge about 3 minutes before it collapsed forever.  They were stranded on the formation for hours until they could arrange a helicopter rescue.  Turns out this couple had been having an affair and now here they were all over the news.  I'm thinking it must have made the time they were stranded even longer.

On the drive back we took the shorter route and ended up at Vegilicious in time for an early dinner.  I wanted to have the Sexy Mushrooms again but Bre suggested I try something different.  See I told you she bossed me around.  I did order this wonderful veggie sandwich and had some delicious fries with it.  Life is good.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Delightful and Delicious Thursday

Fun fun fun.  To start the day we headed over to Sarah Hammond's, Bre's friend who rode her bike in the Trans America Bike Race and finished 6th.  Bre was dog sitting Flex for the month while Sarah accomplished the 4400 mile bike trek.  Sarah returned home on Thursday and Bre wanted to give the house a quick clean before she got home.

Bre decided to take Flex to the airport to meet Sarah.  It took him a number of kilometers to settle down in the back seat.  Before he settled down he breathed his big dog breath on my neck. Shiver!!!!!  Bre didn't think I could contain the 120 lb. beast so she stayed outside and I went in to find Sarah's other friends.  It was so joyful to see her greeted by family and friends after her monumental accomplishment.  She got a good slobbery hug from Flex, too.

After the little reunion we dropped Flex off at Sarah's and headed back to Bre's so she could change out of the clothes Flex drooled on.  Then we headed to get some sushi for lunch as it was about 1:30 p.m. or 2 p.m. and we hadn't eaten yet.    Starving!!!!!  We each got three veggie sushi rolls which were yummy.  I love sushi.  I'm going to need to start making it at home.  Then we went a couple doors down to another little shop for dessert.  Did I mention we were hungry?

We debated about what to do with the rest of the day.  We talked about visiting Phillip Island to see the animal preserve but that would be cutting it pretty short as it was getting late.  I remembered there was an exhibit at the Rippon Lea Estate which featured costumes from "The Dressmaker".  Marion Boyce designed the costumes for both "The Dressmaker" and "Miss Fisher Mysteries".  Last year this was the location of the Phryne Fisher Costume Exhibit.  The estate was also used as a location for Miss Fisher Mysteries several times including Aunt Prudence's pool

 and the home of the Andrew's in "Cocaine Blues". 
Oh gosh it was a lovely estate.  The grounds went on forever with a small pond, a tree house, a boat house, and a plethora of plant life including a fern house.  So beautiful!!!  We only had about an hour there before it closed.  I wish I'd had another hour.  I may go back if there is a sunny day again before I leave.  The estate is located just a few kilometers from Bre's office and she never even knew it was there.

Bre had a great conversation with one of the volunteers at "The Dressmaker" exhibit.  She showed the volunteer a video on how one of the parts of a costume was made.

Bre has seen the movie and thought it was very good.  We hoped to watch it that evening but it isn't available for rental yet.  I've put it on my list of movies to see.  The costumes were very pretty.  The beading on one of the gowns was exquisite.

After we closed down the museum, we headed over to cake street (Bre's name for the shopping area with all the great bakeries) to get some dessert to take home.  There were at least 3 stores with walls of baked goods in the front windows.  I think I gained weight just looking at them.   It turned out to be a really wonderful day.