Archive for April, 2011

Big ‘n’ Bizarre

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

A road trip of Australia’s fibreglass monuments

The Big Fruit Bowl

If you meander east from Lithgow along the Bells Line of Road, you’ll eventually encounter the Big Fruit Bowl, located in the picturesque community of Bilpin. This is the ideal home for what’s officially “the world’s largest bowl of fruit”, as the area is the centre of prime fruit growing country, far more fertile than the larger, more touristy communities clustered around the Great Western Highway further to the south.

The Big Fruit Bowl has a major disadvantage over other more well known Big Things in that you can’t see it from the road. It’s located in the car park of a popular roadside business called The Fruit Bowl, which offers locally grown fruit at bargain prices. The owners, the Tadrosse family, report that the Big Fruit Bowl was already there when they bought the business back in 1985 from Gerry Harvey (of Harvey Norman fame), so no-one knows exactly when the structure originally appeared or who made it.

The 2.5m high structure is, however, a true phoenix of Australia’s Big Things, having been brutally vandalized and replaced several times in the last 15 years. As well as earning it a local reputation as a resilient survivor, this constant re-birthing has also provided opportunities for artistic additions to the collection of fruit it bears.

At the time of its first vandalism in 1996, the Fruit Bowl’s contents were modest – a banana, an apple and an orange – just enough for a very basic fruit salad, but not much variety. The pieces of fruit were all stolen while the bowl itself was actually ripped out of the ground and left lying on its side.

The Tadrosse family, took the opportunity to zhush the Big Fruit Bowl up a bit and gave it some strawberries and a big bunch of grapes to dangle artistically over the edge. The Bowl itself was also properly secured to the ground with a steel pole. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough to save it from a second incident of vandalism 10 years later, when the culprits actually pulled the Bowl clear out of the ground using a chain attached to a vehicle. Again, all the fruit was stolen. What the culprits were actually doing with these oversized fibreglass pieces of fruit is anyone’s guess.

Determined not to let the vandals win, the Tadrosses again replaced the Bowl, engaging the services of a local signwriter who also had some skill with fibreglass. The Big Fruit Bowl is now raised on a concrete pedestal and a reinforced steel rack so it would actually take a bulldozer or maybe an Ordnance QF 17 Pounder Centauro Hellfire II army tank to move it (although these days, anything is still possible). The Tadrosses have stopped short of fencing off the Bowl because, in true Big Thing tradition, people like to have their photos taken standing next to it. Given that each replacement has cost the family about $25,000 and extensive legal wrangling with insurance companies, the Big Fruit Bowl might as well be accessible for as much photographic joy as possible.

www.bilpinfruitbowl.com.au

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Show and Tell

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Show us the item and tell us the story

Judith Rowling’s gift of warmth to her sister

What was your inspiration for this quilt?

It was my sister’s 60th birthday and she lives in Victoria where it’s very cold. She specifically wanted a quilt made from flannel, so when I saw the pattern in a book, I knew it was the right one.

How long did it take you to complete it?

All up, probably a few months. I did most of the work in Susan’s Wednesday classes and did the rest at home. Having the deadline of my sister’s birthday certainly helped as well.

How was it received?

She just loved it. I took it down in person because I wanted to be there when she saw it for the first time. She knew I was making her a quilt but it still exceeded her expectations. It was a wonderful moment.

How long have you been a sewer?

About five years, but I did bits and pieces when I was younger as well, like the curtains for the house when I first got married.

What’s the next project?
I bought some material the other week to make my niece a wedding quilt. It’s in December, so I’ve got plenty of time to get it done.

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We’re back from the Australasian Quilt Convention

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

We’re happy to report that the Blueberries stall at last week’s Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne was a huge success, with many new friends being made over the four days. Jackie and Carmel were the face of Blueberries during the convention which located at the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, which has recently been heritage listed. Jackie and Carmel were thrilled to see friends both new and old and even the shared bout of acute nasopharyngitis (translation: sore throat and runny nose) hasn’t been enough to put them out of action, and are looking forward to doing it all again next year. Thank you to all those that visited the Blueberries stall.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers and customers a very happy Easter filled with lots of gorgeous chocky things (just don’t eat them all at once). If you’re travelling anywhere over the extra long weekend, please drive safely. Enjoy the break and we’ll see you next week.

Enjoy our photos from AQC.

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Pattern Princess

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

What’s hot in the House of Blueberries

Well my loyal subjects, this week we’re looking at the jelly roll series of books by mother and daughter team Pam and Nicky Lintott. The books are published in association with Moda and contain a total of 70 different patterns throughout the four books.

The four titles are Jelly Roll Quilts, published in 2008, Jelly Roll Inspirations (2009), Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts (2009) and Two From One Jelly Roll Quilts (2010). Each pattern averages out at about $2.00 each, so you can’t get better value than that. All the patterns are unique with no repetition between the books.

These books give you the perfect opportunity to actually make use of those jelly rolls that looked so seductive in the shop but which you haven’t touched since buying them. And if you find it difficult to put the time aside, come to Jackie’s Cake Clubs which are held every fourth Tuesday at Blueberries.

The books retail at $35.00 each. Click on the book titles above to order.

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Big ‘n’ Bizarre

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

A road trip of Australia’s fibreglass monuments

The Big Miners’ Lamp

This is our first stop on the way back to the coast from last week’s visit to Bathurst’s Big Gold Panner. This week we’re in the old mining town of Lithgow to check out its contribution to Australia’s roll call of Big Things – the Big Miners’ Lamp.

This Big Thing is a rarity in that it’s been constructed without using a single piece of fibreglass, which is usually a staple ingredient in the creation of Big Things. The Big Miners’ Lamp is made of concrete and glass with aluminium for its conical roof and is attached to the Lithgow Tourist Info Centre, a spot that certainly ensures it has maximum exposure with visitors.

The Big Miners’ Lamp was the brainchild of a creative local with the wonderful name of Snow Vanderbelden. It seems Mr Vanderbelden (okay, let’s call him Snow) had lived in Lithgow all his life and wanted something to put the town on the map. Something that paid homage to Lithgow’s rich mining heritage while simultaneously acting as a bit of a tourist attraction. I can feel a Big Thing coming on.

Snow decided that a big miners’ lamp ticked all the right boxes and took his idea to Council for approval. Council loved the idea of Lithgow getting its very own Big Thing and enthusiastically gave the project the green light. Additional funding was provided by the Tourism NSW Gateway scheme, which was a state government initiative to promote and connect areas along the same transport corridor, like the Great Western Highway.

The Big Miners’ Lamp was officially opened by the Mayor of Lithgow and the NSW Minister for Tourism in 2005, making it one of Australia’s most recent Big Things. In the years since, it’s become an affectionately regarded local landmark, but has struggled to retain a true sense of purpose. Part of the problem is its size. While it’s certainly big for a miners’ lamp, it’s still way too small to accommodate anything useful like a café or gift shop. The most people can do is walk into it and gaze out of the glass windows like bugs caught inside a real miners’ lamp.

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Class Report

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Where the pupil writes the report card for the class and tutor

Pupil: Rosalie Gessey
Tutor: Kaye Haerland
Class: Magic Mushrooms, Tuesday 5 April 2011

What did you do in the class?

We all made a mushroom each. Kaye also showed us some techniques that a lot of the ladies wouldn’t have seen, like burning fabrics with a heat gun, and techniques to enhance a plain mushroom.

How did you find the class?

There was a lot to listen to and apply. We really had to be on the ball the whole time. About half way through the class my confidence wavered a bit, but I think I was just having one of those “bad machine days” that we all experience every now and then. It was a very full seven hours, right from 9.30am. We certainly got our money’s worth.

What was the best part of the class?

Kaye brought in a big board decorated with mushrooms in different stages of completion, a kind of “here’s some I prepared earlier” thing. It was very well displayed and she let us take photos of it.

What, if any, suggestions would you make to improve the class?

Maybe a smaller list of requirements and if we actually used the requirements during the class. Also, maybe fewer demonstrations throughout the day that sometimes interrupted the workflow (but then again, I was having a “bad machine day”).

Following are some photos from the Magic Mushrooms class. Rosalie is in the first pic, on the left.

By the way Congratulations to Kay Haerland for winning Best of Show Quilt at the Australasian Quilt Convention.

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Show and Tell

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Show us the item and tell us the story

Cosima Bardy goes over the rainbow


What was your inspiration for this quilt?

It was the wonderful colours. I saw a similar pattern and I wanted to make one for my grandson. I asked him what colour he wanted and he said lots of colours, like a rainbow.

Did you stick to the pattern or did you customize?

The blue was my idea. I saw the fabric in Blueberries and thought it was just lovely. I also decided on the idea of putting the rainbow into the pattern.

How long did it take you to complete?

That’s a bit hard to say because I did a little bit at a time. I suppose all up it took about two weeks.

How long have you been sewing?

I’ve been sewing for close to four years now. I started not long before Jackie opened Blueberries. I’d never done much before, only little things, but not quilts. I started doing quilts as something different and because it’d be a challenge.

What’s the next project?

I’m not sure what to call it. It’s a small wall-hanging about 84cms across, just lots of colours put together.

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Big ‘n’ Bizarre

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

A road trip of Australia’s fibreglass monuments

The Big Gold Panner

This week we’ve left the coast behind us and travelled inland to the historic gold mining town of Bathurst to meet the Big Gold Panner, a five metre high wire and fibreglass structure that’s locally known simply as “The Man”.

Balanced on one knee and with his head bent forward hopefully over his pan, this persistent bloke has been trying his luck with the same pan and the same pond of water since 1979, which probably explains his blank, slightly comatose expression. His location on the front lawn of the Gold Panner Motor Inn at the eastern approach to Bathurst has ensured him a high degree of visibility and iconic status among locals, while also paying homage to Bathurst’s heady gold rush origins.

When The Man was first constructed, the fact that he had only two stabilizing points of entry into the ground (the knee and foot) led to concerns he could easily topple over like a common drunk. Historically this wouldn’t have been entirely out of place, as many amateur prospectors in the gold rush days were quite partial to a bottle of rum, but in 1979 this wasn’t considered to be an appropriate message for tourists or locals. To keep him respectfully upright, The Man was therefore given a third stabilizing point in the form of his fossickers’ pick ax (or mattock), which leans casually against his right hip as if he’s supporting it, when it’s actually supporting him.

The pond he’s working in is actual running water, thanks to a complex underground pumping system and pipework that runs up his leg and down his arm into his pan (another reason, perhaps, for that awkward expression on his face).

Like any modern, self-respecting bloke in the public eye, The Man has had several outfit changes over the years and can accessorize himself according to the season and events on the local calendar. This tradition began in 1991 when the then owners of the motel had The Man’s outfit painted in Bathurst 1000 motor race colours. A true metrosexual, he’s also not averse to exposing his legs once a year when he’s dressed up in a kilt and Tam O’Shanter for the Highland Gathering Sports Day held by the Scots private school. He also wears a red nose on Red Nose Day and sports a Santa hat in December.

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Gypsy Bandana

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Gypsy Panel 4608A Pink – Pictured is 50cm by the width of the fabric. Click here to purchase 50cm to recieve the two panels pictured.

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Gypsy Panel 4608B Blue Periwinkle – Pictured is 50cm by the width of the fabric. Click here to purchase 50cm to recieve the two panels pictured.

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Gypsy Panel 4608C Red – Pictured is 50cm by the width of the fabric. Click here to purchase 50cm to recieve the two panels pictured.

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Click here to see more Gypsy Bandana.

Go-Go-Gadget Girl

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

She loves her quilting toys

What: Quickthru Needle Threader

This wonderful little gadget is put out by Sewline and it’s specially designed to help threading very fine needles.

As you can see, it looks a bit like a lipstick, which means it fits neatly into your sewing basket. The needle sizes are from 9 to 12, which are generally the ones with tiny eyes.

The Quickthru Needle Threader is very easy to use and even has a little magnetic square on the bottom of it to help you pick up the needles. There’s also a little storage compartment in the bottom to hold your needles.

All in all, it’s a very cute, girly little thing, lovely and compact. It retails for $20.00, which is money well spent, considering the frustration it will save you (not to mention your eyes).

Click here to order the Quickthru Needle Threader.

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