Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Category: Little Adventures (Page 3 of 4)

Little Adventures #12: McClelland Sculpture Park. March 2022.

It’s an absolute bonus when I can bring the Little Woofs with me on a Little Adventure! This month’s Little Adventure was extremely close to home – it only took about 10 minutes to drive there. I’ve been here 6 years and have never taken the time to go and have a look, but yesterday was the day!

Now that I’ve decided to pick up a few days’ CRTing, I woke up Monday and thought, “What if I get work for the rest of March and miss out on my Little Adventure? I knew I had this day free, and though the siren call of the quilt with literally 5,000 pieces was calling, I decided to throw Poppy, Jeff and Scout into the car and go and see this park.

The McClelland Sculpture Park is set on 8 hectares of bushland. It also has an indoor gallery, but because I had the Little Woofs with me, I didn’t bother to go into that. There was plenty to see in the grounds alone.

We wandered around, with only a couple of other people that we saw from a distance.

The photos I’m showing are only a small sample of what’s there – these were the ones I liked the most.

This one is probably my favourite. I rounded a curve in a path and there it was. It’s fabulous.

I don’t know if you can tell in this photo, but the rocks aren’t sitting on the ground.

They’re suspended. So beautiful.

I took a photo of this because it reminded me of the Buddhist burial ground we saw in North Korea.

See? Obviously they’re not exactly the same but there’s a definite similarity. I took this on my walk when I was totally alone on the side of a mountain in the middle of North Korea.

Life offers some surprising things sometimes, doesn’t it?

I wish this came with a soundtrack, because this piece emits sounds.

The sculpture park has a boundary with a busy road, so at first there’s a constant hum of traffic as you wander through.

But as you meander further into the property and the bush surrounds you, the traffic noise fades and all you can hear are birds.

The Little Woofs loved it. So many smells! Kangaroos, wallabies, foxes… you name it, they were sniffing it.

There’s a nice blend of abstract and more naturalistic sculptures.

There are peaceful paths wending through the property, with artwork popping up, sometimes when you least expect it.

This one was tucked in a little glade.

This one reminded me of the Eureka Tower in the city.

See? Practically identical!

They’ve popped this poor guy on an island. Here’s a close-up:

This was a very time-efficient Little Adventure. All up, it took just a couple of hours from go to whoa.

I’m very sure we didn’t see everything that was on offer, but that only means that we’ll have to come back again.

Dad joke of the day:

I used to have a job cutting holes for trapdoors in theatres.

It was a stage I was going through.

Little Adventures #11: Heronswood. February 2022.

Last week my sister Kate rang and asked if she could spend the morning with me, as her car was being serviced and she couldn’t get a ‘loaner’ car. Of course, I made room in my hectic schedule (heh heh).

“We could go and grab a coffee and maybe take a walk around K-Mart,” she said.

Dear God in heaven. Does she not know me at all?!?

I decided to whisk her away to grab a coffee in a place that was far more interesting than sitting in a mall or on a city street. I hardly ever buy coffee when I’m out, but for her, it’s one of life’s pleasures. So we drove to Dromana, to the gardens of Heronswood.

Heronswood is one of the gardens that Diggers operates. It’s perched on a cliff overlooking the sea, with both ornamental and working vegetable gardens and orchards. They specialise in heirloom plants, which means that you can save the seeds from plants you grow and then use the seeds next year.

I’ve been a member for a while now. I don’t mind supporting them because I think they do really important work. Seeds should be able to be saved.

Lots of different sunflowers were planted around one of the veggie patches. Look at the bees in the middle of this one!

Along with the huge gardens, there were also little ideas like this planted around. I still think most succulents are ugly, but over time I’m warming to some. I thought these ones looked nice.

As we wandered around we came across this citrus orchard. The huge terracotta pots have rosemary planted all around them.

Here’s a close-up. I like the way the pots are positioned not in straight lines, but so they look appealing from the steps above.

We liked this espalier – it’s so well-established that the support wires have been taken off and the branches stand outstretched on their own.

The gardens are full of little outdoor ‘rooms’ like this.

Here’s Kate heading to the café for that much-anticipated coffee.

We stopped at the nursery on the way out and I bought some Evening Primrose plants for my hanging baskets. According to the gardeners, this plant is “as tough as nails” so let’s hope they’re correct. Four of the hanging baskets are in full sun all day and the petunias all curled up and died.

I was happy with this Little Adventure. It was only a short one, but it was by far more memorable than a gallop around K-Mart!

Dad joke of the day:

There’s a new music band called 999MB.

So far, no gig yet.

Little Adventures #10: Miss Marple’s Tearoom. January 2022.

Cute café.

I know I said in my last post that I’d be devoting my days to reading the latest Outlander novel, Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone, but I knew that I was rapidly running out of month. I decided to wait until the kids went back to school on the last day of January and take myself off to Miss Marple’s Tearoom in Sassafrass.

If you’ve never been there, it’s worth clicking on the link and watching the video. It gives a really good feel for the place.

Quaint interior.

I know that the Little Adventures are meant to be places that I haven’t been to before, but Miss Marple’s almost qualifies. I’ve only been here once and that was when I was in my twenties.

I never forgot the scones, though.

Monster scones.

Look at the insane height of these things! I put the teaspoon in there for perspective. I remembered how filling they were, even from decades ago, so after I finished yoga this morning I didn’t eat breakfast. I thought I’d better treat this Devonshire tea as a brunch.

Devonshire tea. But with coffee.

I was starving by the time I sat down – at a table by the window; how delightful! – but I still couldn’t finish them.

So yummy though.

Page 469. Halfway there!

Even though I only needed one seat, I wasn’t there alone. I brought Claire and Jamie Fraser with me. I’m halfway through and I’m loving it.

But ohhh… I’m so very glad that I was born in an age that has discovered electricity. ‘Women’s work’ back then was hard work.

Red lillies in a vase.

The tearoom itself is full of pleasing little details, such as fresh flowers on every table.

Row of teapots above a doorway.

There’s also a row of fat teapots running around the room over the top of the doorways. The music playing was utterly in keeping with the whole vibe of the place, being old WWII songs.

The whole place was charming.

I thought of it as January’s Little Adventure because 2 people on Facebook went there. Both are completely unrelated – one was an ex-student and the other was an old school friend. It was a SIGN!

Outdoor art gallery.

After I’d finished my brunch and waddled out, I took a brief walk up the main drag, visiting a nursery and a couple of art galleries/gift shops. I would’ve liked to walk a little further afield, but I had in the back of my mind that this was Ryan27’s first day at his first job as a myotherapist, so I wanted to be back in time to wish him good luck and see him off.

It was a beautiful day for a drive into the Dandenongs. It was even more beautiful to think that if I hadn’t have found the FI/RE concept, instead of being out in the fresh air and sunshine, I’d be stuffed into a classroom with 28 kids, an air purifier and we’d all be wearing masks.

You know, I’m quite liking this retirement thing.

Dad joke of the day:


Strictly speaking, not really a dad joke, but gee it made me laugh!

Little Adventures #9: The most hilarious Little Adventure of them all! December 2021.

The last Little Adventure for the year was a very special one. My son Evan25 and his friend have written and performed in a show. Long term readers of this blog might remember when he went off to study an acting degree in Ballarat, when I wrote a post about what my second-generation FIRE kid has learned about money.

Long term readers of the Frogblog would know that Evan25 was that really interested 11-year-old bobbing around reading over my shoulder as I typed the very first post back in September 2007.

Now, 14 years later, I was travelling into the Melbourne CBD to see his first show. I snuck into the Tuesday night show on my own (and had a lovely long debrief with Evan25 the next morning) and I’d also got together around 15 people, family and friends, to see their closing night.

There’s a special kind of joy that comes from seeing your adult child doing the work that they love. Especially if that child is actually good at what they’re doing. Thankfully, their show was excellent. So very, very funny.

His girlfriend Jenna’s parents flew over from Adelaide on the weekend just to see the show. Both of my boys who are partnered up have been fully embraced into their girlfriends’ families, which is a beautiful thing to see. Jenna’s Dad said to me after the show, “At one point I was laughing so hard I got dizzy!”

The following photo gives the synopsis of the show:

As Evan25 said to us on the day we were all finally able to get together after the lockdowns, “It’s just two silly boys on stage. It’s not going to change anyone’s life.”

I said, “That sounds exactly what we all need right now!”

There was one act where there was a jaded female butcher running through her wares, making lots of food jokes. This was Evan25 in an apron, with a shower cap on his head, miming sucking a ciggie. Then, in the middle of it, I hear, “$18.45 a kilo??? Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore.'”

The first thing I asked him the next day was, “Did I hear an Edgar Allen Poe joke in there???”

He laughed. He said, “When we were writing it Will didn’t want to keep that joke – he said it wasn’t funny and he didn’t get it. I said, ‘Trust me – my Mum’s going to LOVE it!’ I kept that joke just for you.”

He also had the $18.45 price there because ‘The Raven’ was published in 1845. “It’s just a little joke in there for me – no one will ever notice it but I know it’s there.”

He also played a character called Tim, who is a battered-around-the-edges sweet transvestite. Turns out that my boy can really rock a pair of 5″ heels and has a tuck to die for. He has long legs and they look surprisingly good in fishnet stockings. The audience laughed so hard each night when he emerged from behind the curtain in that outfit – I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud. 🙂

Usually, I bang on about being frugal, but this Little Adventure was the priciest one yet. Performers don’t make a lot of money from ticket sales – the venue takes the lion’s share. Where the people who actually produce the show make their money is from the merch. So, of course, I bought one of everything.

But that’s why frugality is so terrific. I save money on things I don’t care about so that I can spend on the things that are important to me, such as supporting my son and his friend.

The very best thing about seeing the show again on Saturday night was watching my family and best friend really see what Evan25 can do. They know him as the funny guy at family gatherings, cracking wordplay puns and one-liners, but they got to see him in all his glory. It was very special as a Mum to bask in their amazed joy at just how funny he is.

Dad joke of the day:

Did I tell you about the time I fell in love during a backflip? I was heels over head. 

Little Adventures #8: Enough is Enough. November 2021 catch-up.

Hooray! Live theatre is back in Melbourne! Next month my son will be performing in a play that he and his mare wrote together, which I already know will be hilarious, and his girlfriend will also be performing in a musical the following week. So I’ll be Kulture Vultured by Christmas, which is just the way I like it.

As a warm-up, on Sunday I popped along to see this play, Enough is Enough. It was sponsored by my local council and the price was definitely right. (The ticket was free.) It was held in a new-to-me venue a couple of suburbs over, which definitely makes it eligible for the catch-up Little Adventure I needed. (I missed October, due to lockdowns and putting my back out.)

Let’s hope we are never again in a spot where my Little Adventure for that month was taking a walk on the other side of the bridge. Oof. I’m all for living a quiet life but that was ridiculous.

Anyway, back to the play. The blurb said that it was about gambling and was written by an award-winning local playwright called Kieran Carroll, with Tim Costello talking afterwards. Sounds like a worthy way to spend a Sunday afternoon, doesn’t it?

Interestingly, it was worth it, but not because the play itself was fantastic. It was ok, but what really stood out was the talk that Tim Costello gave at the end of it.

One of the things he said was, “We all know how the rest of the world feels about America and its gun culture. We all think they’re crazy. But what we don’t realise in Australia is that the rest of the world regards our gambling culture in exactly the same way… they think we’re crazy.”

Apparently Australia has around 75% of the world’s pokies, and they’re all in local pubs and clubs on every street corner, except for Perth. In WA, all the pokies are at the casino, which is how the rest of the world does it. I’d never thought about it before, because I’m definitely not a gambler, but having the pokies all through the suburbs makes it very easy for a gambling habit to creep up on people. The accessibility is too easy.

Anyway, he spoke for about 10 minutes or so and it was very interesting. Afterwards, I jumped back on the train and took a look at the new stations and was home in time for dinner.

Home-made pizza… mmm mmmm!

Dad joke of the day:

I used to work in a shoe recycling shop. It was sole destroying. 

Little Adventures #7: The Archibald Prize. Nov 2021.

One thing the Little Adventures thing has taught me – don’t leave it too late in the month to go off and do/see something new. We were coming out of lockdown in late October, so I bided my time, thinking I’d sneak October’s Little Adventure in just as things were opening up again. But then Jeffrey put his back out. As I was getting out of the car at the vet’s, I turned to speak to him and I put MY back out. We both hobbled in together and I had to ask a vet nurse to lift him back into the car when it was time to go home. Thank goodness Ryan26 is a remedial masseuse! It took a week for my back to get better and by then November had well and truly rolled around.

Monday morning was a good one. I was sitting on the couch with a coffee, little woofs asleep beside me, when 2 ads came up on Facebook. I know, normally it’s just annoying when that happens, but one ad was for a play the local council was supporting… (ticket price was free – my favourite price, so I snapped one up) … and the other one was for a gallery in Sale, which was showing the Archibald Prize paintings.

The Archibald Prize is a portrait competition that has been going for 100 years. The subjects are preferred to be notable Australians in some way and have had to have had at least one in-person sitting with the artist. It’s WAY famous.

Sale is MILES away. It’s buried deep in the Gippsland countryside and it’d take 2.5 hours to drive there. I know because I googled it. But… what if I went to see the exhibition on a weekday, just because I can? Also, the tickets are $17, so that’s definitely affordable.

Because of covid, they’re limiting the number of people who can go into the gallery at any one time, so I had to scroll through a few days to find a time that would work. So Thursday morning at 11:45 it was.

I left with plenty of time to get there, which was just as well. If I ever see another sign saying “Road Works – detour” I won’t be responsible for the consequences. Got there with seconds to spare!

The following photos are the portraits that I particularly liked. Some have the info card in the same frame, others don’t. There’s interesting stuff on those cards – well worth zooming in to see what they say. 🙂

The first thing I saw when I walked into the entrance foyer was a school group. How many times have I followed a school group around the National Gallery in St Kilda Road? But one thing I know from having done this for so long… if you discreetly attach yourself to the group, the guides tell you a lot more about the paintings than you’d otherwise know.

I loved the shirt on this guy and I liked the story behind the painting, too.

This was the first painting I saw and I loved it. The man gently protecting and nurturing his inner creative person is so great.

It’s not just the fact that we have the same hairdo! I like that this is a reflection from her window – see the bottom left corner?

This is the card that goes with the painting at the top of this post. It was the winner of the whole competition. Honestly… not one I would’ve picked, but I guess the symbolism of it being of a 100-year-old man and the competition was also in its 100th year was hard to beat.

This portrait of Kate Ceberano was right next to the winner. This painting won the Packing Room Prize. This is when the people who unpack all of the paintings as they arrive vote as to which one they like the best. It seems like a bit of a poisoned chalice – to date, no one who has won the Packing Room prize has gone on to win the Archibald.

I think it’s stunning.

This portrait of Rachel Griffiths is the size of an iPad. It was painted using a brush with only one bristle. I can’t imagine how long it would’ve taken to finish this painting with so much detail in it.

I liked this one because her face is so interesting. I could easily imagine her wearing a medieval bonnet or something. There’s something timeless about her face.

I absolutely loved this one. The sea was incredible, as was the story behind it. Over the past year, who hasn’t had moments when they’ve wanted to wrap themselves up in their favourite blanket – or quilt – and take a break? I also like how, if you look past the tumultuous water to the right, you can see that things will eventually become calm again.

How could I not like this one, considering I’m reading my 115th book of the year?

Such a brave young woman.

The play of light from the fire was extraordinary. The more I looked at this, the more was revealed.

This was the portrait I chose as my “people’s choice” award… though, thinking back… if I had my time over I might’ve gone with the sea one. But even so, it’s a wonderful painting. The light! It almost glows.

How cleverly is this done? So muted, yet so perfect?

And finally, this one made me laugh.

Then in the gallery just outside where the Archibald exhibition was, I saw this one. Oh My God! I LOVE it. In real life, it’s much darker than this. You could look at it all day and see new things emerging. I’ve put this here so I don’t forget.

After I’d finished, I bought some lunch from the adjoining café and took it outside to eat by the river. There were too many people without masks inside as they were eating and drinking. It might be ok for the Gippslanders, but it was a little bit much for this Melbournian to see without feeling weird.

Then, on the way home I went to a nursery and bought a couple of plants and a terracotta pot for the front yard, then popped into a quilting shop at Rosedale and bought a couple of things. We’ve been asked to spend our money in the regional areas so I did my bit. Then home I went!

Ryan26 had a couple of friends around so he cooked dinner and made strawberry daiquiris – all in all, not a bad day!

Who knows? Maybe because I missed October I should go on another Little Adventure this month, just to even things up? We’ll see…

Dad joke of the day:

What do you call a fat psychic?

A four-chin teller. 

Little Adventures #6- The Frugal Friday way! Sept 2021.

Melbourne’s still in lockdown. Yet September still needs a Little Adventure. Actually, Wednesday’s earthquake might have covered that, except I only jiggled around on my front verandah while the house swayed behind me and the earth was noisy. I didn’t actually go anywhere.

Mum and Dad live a fair way away, but when the travel bubbles were widened last weekend it meant that our bubbles crossed over into one suburb. So we agreed to meet up for a little walk along the beach at Mordy.

Mum suggested we meet at the Yacht Club. I’ve never been.

*gasp!* Fortunate Frogdancer strikes again.

My Little Adventure for September was saved.

After months of lockdown it was so strange to see so many people out and about. When we started to turn off Nepean highway onto Beach rd, Ryan26 gasped, “Look at all the people!” They were everywhere. Most were wearing masks, thankfully, but there’s always a few who think that the laws of basic biology don’t apply to them.

We arrived before Mum and Dad so we went down towards the beach to look for them.

The first thing I noticed was that the sand here is much more golden than on our Backyard Beach.

You also can’t see Melbourne from here. There’s a jutting out bit of land in the way.

After a little while, Ryan26 saw Mum and Dad making their way towards us through the crowd. I’ve never seen so many people having picnics in my life! (For those not in Melbourne, having a picnic is one of the few ways people from different households can see each other at the moment.)

There’s a concrete path by the beach that runs all the way from the city down to Mordialloc (I think.) We didn’t even consider going down on the sand, mainly because Mum, while she’s so much better on her feet than she was a year ago, is still not totally back to normal with her balance. We stuck to level, stable ground.

We were trying to remember when the last time we saw each other in person was, but we couldn’t decide. It’s been months, though.

After a little while, I saw a spare bench and we sat down. Mum was laughing at all of the seagulls congregating around that family. A little while later 3 kids from there started running along the beach, followed by a crowd of gulls. One of the girls was squealing in delighted terror while a boy kept throwing chips behind them to keep the gulls coming.

The foreshore was stacked with tea tree, with bees thrumming everywhere. I really love the flowers and would definitely have a tea tree in my front yard to help bring the bees, but I’m worried it might grow too ugly and scraggly.

Decisions, decisions.

There were also a couple of volleyball courts set up.


We turned and started slowly walking back the way we came. The place was full of family groups enjoying the sun, people walking their dogs and friends walking side by side, busily catching up on the goss. It was a real people-watchers’ delight.

Just to demonstrate that bureaucracy is the same the world over, here is a directive painted on the path.

And right beside it…

… is a drinking fountain for humans with a doggy bowl down the bottom. Talk about mixed messaging!

We didn’t bring the Little Woofs with us.

On the way back to our cars, Mum pointed and said, “Ooo! Look at the banksia flower!”

I don’t know if it’s a banksia or not, but it looked spectacular in the bright sunlight against the dark pub.

All up, this month’s Little Adventure cost us a bit of time, a smidge of petrol and that was it. Today’s weather is very grey and moody, with rain expected later on. It’s been nice to write about this day drenched in sunshine and good humour.

Everyone was happy, wherever we looked.

If there’s one thing that living through the world’s longest lockdown has taught people, it’s that there’s beauty in the simple things.

Little Adventures #4 – The other side of the bridge. August 2021

Suburban path over bridge.

With only one more day to go before August finishes, I knew I had to think quickly to tick off this month’s Little Adventure. We’re still in strict lockdown in Melbourne, so I could only travel within 5kms of The Best House in Melbourne. Where could I go?

Then it dawned on me. The little woofs and I have walked along the river many times. But… was there a track that went under the bridge and kept going? I decided that we should explore. I drove to the top of the bridge, then we jumped out of the car to do just that.

Fork in the path.

Look at this! My memory hadn’t deceived me. Flushed with the spirit of adventure, we set off under the bridge.

River under bridge.

As we walked under one set of traffic, the sound of running water was pretty loud.

Then there was a set of footsteps behind me. A guy in a tracksuit was walking near us. he kept back on our left, then suddenly walked quickly forward to veer off towards the river off the path.

Hole in wire fence.

Then I heard the jangling of a wire fence. He’d jumped through this hole so he could walk beside the river. Meanwhile, like law-abiding citizens, we kept walking on the gravel park, with a chain-link fence between us and the river.

End of wire fence.

Until, no more than 20 steps later, the fence ended. Made me wonder what the point of jumping through the hole in the fence was.

Grass and trees.

On my right was this view.

Low building on the other riverbank.

On our left. This is a water sports centre, I think.

Deserted gravel path.

The sun was out and the wind was blowing. This side of the bridge path was pretty well deserted. I kept looking back to keep tabs on the tracksuited guy. He’d stopped on the riverbank opposite the water sports place and was doing some sort of callisthenics. I didn’t want him to sneak up on us unawares… I’ve listened to too many episodes of Casefile! Better be safe than sorry; it’s not as if I’m walking with guard dogs, after all.

Bent tree with yellow flowers underneath.

I thought this tree was pretty.

Sparkling water.

The sunshine was making the river sparkle. It was all very quiet and serene.

Poppy and the path.

Judging by the tyre tracks in the gravel, walkers aren’t the only people who use this path.

Then, just as I was trying to get the little woofs to stay still so I could get a decent photo… WHOOSH!

Bike, path and dog.

We were overtaken.

Bridge and river.

After around half an hour we turned to head back to the car. This bridge is a lot lower than I ever realised when I was driving over it.

Jeff beside the path.

There are signs warning of possible flooding on the path, which isn’t surprising as you can see how close it is to the level of the river. This is Jeff giving a happy look back. He loves his walks.


And there’s the river leading back towards home.

I’m pleased I snuck this Little Adventure in – just in the nick of time.

I wonder what else I’ll discover within 5kms of home while lockdown exists?

Little Adventures #3 – Endeavour Fern Gully, July 2021.

Track leading into the bush.

I was looking at the news, seeing New South Wales’ covid figures soaring to over 100 cases from their bungled “lockdown” and then news came of 3 covid cases in Victoria due to removalists breaking the rules. That decided it! July’s Little Adventure had to happen quickly just in case we all go into lockdown again.

For any new readers; my Little Adventures are day trips. Once a month I take the freedom I have now that I’ve retired and I explore a place close to home. A place I’ve wanted to see but never really had the time for when I was working.

I looked at the weather forecast. Tuesday was cold but fine. Wednesday would be rainy. Decision made!

Tuesday would be “Little Adventure and Planting Asparagus Crowns” day.

Wednesday would be “Shopping at Costco For Dog Food In Case We Go Into Lockdown Again” day. We can go without many things in this house if we have to, but dog food is definitely not one of them.

Big gum tree.

Ryan26 is on his L plates and was at home, so he leapt behind the wheel for the 44km drive to the Endeavour Fern Gully. This is a property in Red Hill owned by the National Trust. The Mornington Peninsula was once a temperate rainforest and they’ve preserved a little patch of it with a walking track through it. Blogless Sandy discovered this place when she was with her walking group and told me about it.

I was interested to see that it’s a National Trust property. My plan is to buy a membership, once covid lockdowns settle down. They have a few old buildings that I haven’t seen since primary school and they’d be perfect for Little Adventures. The fern gully is free, so my membership plans can wait.

Big tree fern.

Ryan26 and I were the only ones there. There are definite advantages to being retired.

Tree trunk covered with moss.

All we could hear was the sound of birds, the gurgle of water as we walked near tiny creeks and the sound of a farmer a couple of paddocks over as he was riding his tractor. Fortunately, he was quite a way away so it wasn’t too intrusive, more like a low burring noise underneath everything else.

Another gum tree.

It was crazy to think that the Peninsula was once covered with dense vegetation and ferns like this. At one point the walking track skirted the side boundary of the property. On my right side was a paddock of green grass – nothing else. On my left side was a wall of tree ferns way taller than me, blocking out the sky.Really demonstrated how settlers have changed the landscape.

I unintelligently left my phone at home so Ryan26 took these photos for me.

Lots of gum trees.

The walking track is around 2kms or so and it winds its way through banks of tree ferns gathered around creeks, as well as stands of trees. Don’t you love the sound of running water?

Every now and then we’d hear a bellbird, or a galah would fly screeching overhead. Ryan26 is a quiet soul, so we didn’t chat much. We just walked in silence, first him and then me, quietly taking it all in.

The smell of the air was utterly different down there. It’s hard to describe. It was a clean, ancient smell of vegetation. Of things rotting down to provide new plants with the nourishment to grow. That may sound unpleasant but it really wasn’t. It’s a place of lush growth and renewal.

Boardwalk through tree terns.

I was glad we came. It’s an easy drive from Melbourne and we were home for lunch.

After a revivifying nap on the sunny spot on the couch, I went out to the garden and planted 7 more asparagus crowns. I can’t touch them for around 3 years but after that, I’ll have asparagus for the next 20 years or so!

Little Adventures #2 – Cutting Cloth, June 2021.

Back during the heyday of craft blogging in the late 2010s/early 20teens, there was a group of us that read each other’s blogs, met up for blogmeets at cafés and generally encouraged each other. Most of us had young kids and between us, we created a warm, friendly and utterly creative corner of the internet. Over time, most of the blogs gradually dwindled as kids grew, we went back to work and all of that.

One of the most creative of us, Kellie from ‘Don’t Look Now’, decided 5 years ago to follow her passion for fabric and open a quilting shop. Unfortunately, it was over the other side of town in Fairfield, where I never go. It was also when I was in the middle of my Europe trip and then buying The Best House in Melbourne. I was busy, busy, busy. Still, I filed it away as a place I’d visit ‘one day.’

The shop front. Wow.

Fast forward to this morning. I realised that, due to the 4th lockdown, June had almost gotten away from me and I hadn’t had a Little Adventure. Basically, now that I’ve retired, I’ve set myself a challenge to go somewhere new every month. Being June 30, it had to be today!

Fortunately, I had all 4 boys and their partners over for dinner last night and the 2 who live in the Western suburbs needed a lift back home. Yarraville isn’t exactly close to Fairfield, but it’s a darn sight closer than my side of town! So once I dropped them off, I fired up the Tomtom and headed on over.

Shopfront detail. I saw this quilt when I visited her once, many years ago.

This shop is utterly exquisite.

It’s also where I found the pattern I used for the Vintage-look baby quilt. I actually saw the original! Sadly, Kellie wasn’t in the shop that day, but once I regaled the other women with the tale of how I made mine, then unpicked it all and made it again, the conversation flowed and I had the best time!

Remember how I bought a painting in Hahndorf when I was on my holiday to South Australia? On my way over there, I decided that I’d buy the fabric for a quilt to begin bringing the colour-scheme from the painting into the rest of the room.

How cute is this?

I was probably there for an hour. I pulled up a photo of the painting on my phone and then the pulling of fabric bolts from the shelves commenced. I learned a lot, just listening to Liz talking about why each fabric would work. She was really clever in how she mixed and matched colours, which is something I need to learn more about.

We were walking up and down the shop, pulling bolts out and putting them in a stack and then stepping back to see that they’d be like.

I’ve been following this place on the blog and Facebook since it opened, so it was a thrill to see the incredible quilts in real life that I was so familiar with.

While I was there I also bought a little reading lamp. Sometimes the guest room/sewing room gets a bit dull. It’s on the south side of the house and I’ve been meaning to fix this problem for ages.

Look at how Liz packaged up my fabric! I kept glancing over at it all the way home.

Here’s the photo I took of the painting after I’d unwrapped it. You can’t really tell from this photo but it has a 3D effect – the flowers and fallen petals are made from layers and layers of paint, so they stick out. So much so that I have to keep an eye on anyone who sees it for the first time. A surprising number of people try to touch them.

In different light during the day the painting changes as the light moves across it. It’s really quite extraordinary.

So there’s the colour palette. I also bought a hexagon template so I’ll be learning a new skill when I’m making this.

I’m glad I thought to do these Little Adventures.

« Older posts Newer posts »