Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Snapshots: Monkey Quilt

Have you liked our "His and Her Hobbies" Facebook page? If not, click here!

Today we are linking up with Melinda at West Metro Mommy for Super Saturday Snapshots.


I started my first quilt last December and figured it would take a couple of weeks at most to complete. I kept the design fairly simple but it ended up taking a lot longer than I expected. (I wrote a post about my progress back in April which you can check out by clicking here) I am happy to announce that I have finally finished the quilt and in time for my niece's birthday later this month. The quilt is 3ft (91cm) by 5 feet (152cm) so she can use it in the living room or even on her toddler bed. I am very happy that I was finally able to complete it. Below are some photos of the completed quilt. 


The front of the quilt is a patchwork design with monkeys on it. I tried to keep the design fairly simple for my first quilt.

I chose this fabric for the back of the quilt.

The quilting pattern was wavy lines with leaves every so often. It is a nice effect without being too complex.

A closer view of both sides of the quilt.

Now that this quilt is done I have moved onto my next quilt which is a bubble/biscuit quilt for my nephew that is due next month. I will post pictures of it once it is completed.

Have you ever made a quilt?


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

His: Living in America: Field Trips/Excursions Part 2


Two weeks ago I started my story about the Central Australia field trip that I took when I was in 10th grade. If you missed that post you can read about by clicking here so you don't miss anything. Here is the second part of the story.

Day 6: After packing up our gear and hoping on the bus we headed to Kings Canyon. It was a few hours from Uluru but it was well worth the trip. The Sides of the Canyon towered above you on each side and in the bottom were plenty of gum trees and thousands of boulders that were perfect for rock hopping. Sadly I didn't make it to the top of the canyon but it still a great experience.
 There were boulders littering the valley floor and it was fun to be able to jump from rock to rock.

The canyon walls tower over you and make you feel smaller than an ant.

From Kings Canyon we headed to Alice Springs which was another 4 hours away. The road from the Canyon to the main highway was a dirt road and one of the bumpiest roads I have ever been on. We were all happy to see the paved highway after 2 hours on the bumpy road. We thought we were headed straight to Alice Springs but the teachers had a surprise for us on the way. We pulled over at what looked like someone's farm but it was a camel farm. We were able to take a short camel ride and we even able to get them to run. I was brave/silly enough to hop on the camel and let the handler run with it. The camel's bouncing made the dirt road feel smooth as glass but i had a good time and glad I had the opportunity to try it. We then hopped back on the bus and headed into Alice Springs for the next two nights.

One of the students and one of the teachers getting ready to try a camel ride.

Day 7: Alice Springs is a fairly small city by most standards but is the only city for hundreds of miles and is the shopping hubs for anyone who lives within a 6-8 hour radius. We spent a short time shopping in the town centre before we went out to see some of the sights around the city.We saw an old telegraph station that kept Alice Springs connected to the rest of the world, Stanley's Chasm and a big canyon with a big pond in it among other things. It was definetely parts of Australia that we would not have seen anywhere near my hometown. It was a long day and it was nice to get back to camp and get a quick meal then off to bed.

Stanley's Chasm has a narrow valley which is under shadow for most of the day.
 I found this Rock Wallaby near the trail at Stanley's Chasm. It was a little nervous so I couldn't get any closer.
An Ochre Pit. The Aboriginal people would use this chalky like material to create cave paintings and for face painting.

Day 8 and 9: The next two days were mostly spent on the bus as we headed north to Tennant Creek and then east towards the Pacific Coast. We were meant to stop at the Devil's Marbles but due to a delay we weren't able to stop. The highlight of these two days was the ceremonial pushing of the bus over the state line and visiting the hotel/pub that was used in the Crocodile Dundee movies.

  Source The Walkabout Creek Hotel
Day 10: We spent the morning at the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame in Longreach, Queensland. The Hall of Fame is a large museum dedicated to the people that made a living in the Australian Outback. It was really an unique experience and gave visitors a small glimpse on how difficult it was to live in the Outback. From there it was another long ride on the bus to Mount Isa for the night.

 Source The Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame

Day 11: This was another travel day and our last one before getting to the Pacific Coast and the Great Barrier Reef. There was nothing of note to see except a few termite mounds that were taller than us. After more than a week in the desert it was nice to see white sandy beaches and something other than red sand and salt bush. We also got to stay in a bunkhouse, rather than a tent for the first time in a week which made the long day on the bus worth it.

Come back next week to hear about the last few days of the journey including the Great Barrier Reef and the Gold Coast of Australia. What has been your favourite part of the trip so far?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Saturday Snapshots: State Fair - Midway

Have you liked our "His and Her Hobbies" Facebook page? If not, click here!

Today we are linking up with Melinda at West Metro Mommy for Super Saturday Snapshots.


Last weekend we went to the Virginia State Fair. We look forward to it each year and have been every year for the last few years. It is about 2 hours from our home but it is a easy day trip. I take a lot of photos at the fair and one of my favourite sections is the midway (Sideshow Alley). All of the bright colours help make some very interesting photos. Below are some of my favourite photos from the Midway.


The Giant Ferris Wheel dwarfs most of the other attractions in the Midway.

There are several different games including this basketball one. Its interesting that they have to post a disclaimer that the hoops are not a standard shape or size now.

Often they have some prizes that are from popular TV shows or movies like this Duck Dynasty one.

The Midway was pretty crowded even though it was mid afternoon and only gets busier as the day goes on.

Amanda and her parents enjoy playing some of the games. I am happy just taking photos of them playing.

Normally Amanda and her parents win something. Here is their victory picture from this year.

The Midway lights up even more during the night and makes for some great photos but they will have to wait for another week. Have you ever been to a State Fair?



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

His: Living in America: Field Trips/Excursions Part 1

A map of our route around Australia.
When I was in school in Australia we went on some great excursions (field trips). When I tell my friends in America that many of them were overnight trips they are shocked that that happens as overnight trips are not common in America. 

One of my favourite excursions was the Central Australia trip. This trip was a 2 week journey through the outback and down the east coast of Australia and was almost a rite of passage for many of us. At our school it was taken in 10th grade and most of the students took part. It cost $450 to go but that included all travel, food and entry fees. The only expense we had after that was spending money. 

Day 1-2: 
    Our bus left at 6pm and drove throughout the night to Broken Hill. After breakfast we went to nearby village called Silverton and saw an old silver mine and a few other attractions. We then hopped back on the bus and drove for several more hours to Port Augusta in South Australia. After a day and a half of traveling on a motor-coach it was nice to be able to pitch a tent at the local campground, crawl into your sleeping bag and get a few hours of sleep.


The ruins of the old silver mine at Silverton

Crossing over the border into South Australia.

Day 3: It was another day of spending many hours on the bus, as we headed north into the desert to Coober Pedy. This small town is well known within Australia as one of the main opal mining centers in Australia. Much of the town is underground as it much cooler during the day and is naturally heated to about 21C/72F no matter how hot or cold it is outside. After visiting some of the local attractions and learning about the opal mining industry we headed to our accommodations which in true Coober Pedy style was underground.

Our accommodations for the evening in a underground hotel.


The Desert Cave Hotel which is also underground but is a 5 Star Hotel.


Day 4: Even though we were in the middle of the outback we were a long way from our next stop, Uluru. Also known as Ayers Rock, it is one of Australia's most recognizable natural landmarks. Along the way we stopped at a salt lake and to view Mt Conner at a distance. After several hundred kilometres on the bus we pulled into the campground at Uluru for our first 2 night stop.
The edge of the salt lake. We were able to go out onto the lake but couldn't venture too far as you would start to sink.

Mt Conner. To the untrained eye it looks like Uluru but is a totally different mountain.

Day 5: Uluru was the destination for the day. We hopped back on the bus but it was only for a 30 minute trip to the rock. Uluru is one of the world's largest monoliths and towers over 1100ft over the desert floor. We had the option of climbing the rock or walking around it. I climbed the rock first and when I got back to the ground I had enough time to walk around some of the rock. I preferred the walk around the rock as there were several sign posts telling stories from the aboriginal people. We also got to visit the Olgas which was nearby before returning to the campground

Uluru at sunrise. I went up to the lookout an hour too early to get this photo and got really cold as the desert is really cold at night.

The start to the climb to the summit of Uluru. From the base to the summit is an elevation change of 1148ft/348m.

A view of the desert from the summit of Uluru.


The end of the walk at the summit of Uluru. There is a guestbook here that you can sign. 

 The Olgas. They are made out of the same type of stone that Uluru and is only a short drive from Uluru.

We are only half way through our trip but it's too big for one blog post. Come back next Tuesday to see the rest of the trip, including Kings Canyon, Alice Springs, Walkabout Creek and more! Happy Travels!

Monday, September 22, 2014

His and Her Travel Review: World's Steepest Railway

Located a couple of hours west of Sydney is the town of Katoomba. It looks like an ordinary little town but it is home to the world's steepest incline railway. The Scenic Railway at Scenic World takes passengers on a short but exciting journey straight down into the valley below. I had been on the railway a few times as a child but I wanted Amanda to experience it when I took her to Australia in 2006.

     Most train journeys wind slowly down hills so the incline is fairly small. The togography of the mountains near Katoomba did not allow for this as they were mostly sheer cliffs. Since the mountains were so steep the  railway was built at an extremely steep angle (some parts are 52 degrees). The track from top to bottom is just 1350ft but you descend almost 800ft into the valley. It was originally built as a way for miners to send coal out of the valley but was turned into a tourist attraction when the mines closed. The ride is a little bit like going down the first hill of a rollercoaster but a lot steeper and slower. It is a unique experience and is a fun way to get down into the valley where you can choose from a few different walking trails. It is a fun way to try something new and is an easy day trip from Sydney by car or train.

A short video of the Scenic Railway

I am afraid of heights so when Sean started telling me about this railway I was instantly nervous. I made sure that he and his sister sat in the front seat so that his dad and I could sit in the back seat. I braced my legs on the seat in front of me and held on for dear life. I loved the history of the railway and I loved the ride itself. It was scary but not terrifying. You travel almost straight down and it was intense, but I would do it again if we were near Katoomba. It was a unique and fun experience, for sure!

Sign of some of the stats of the railway.

I figured if Sean and Shellie were in front they would catch me if I fell out of the seat.

It's a lot steeper than this photo shows. Parts of it feel like you are going straight down.

You have the option of riding back up in the train, but we took a glass bottom gondola instead.

Would you be brave enough to ride the Scenic Railway or have you ever been on a railway that has gone straight up a hill or mountain like this?

Happy Traveling,

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday Snapshot: Random Photos I

Have you liked our "His and Her Hobbies" Facebook page? If not, click here!

Today we are linking up with Melinda at West Metro Mommy for Super Saturday Snapshots.


I tend to take a lot of photos on my travels and once in a while come across some signs that I feel are photo worthy. Here are a few of my favourites.


This weather rock is in a McDonalds carpark in my dad's hometown.

This sign is at the top of the Katoomba cable railway (which is one of the steepest railways in the world. Come back to the blog on Monday for our travel review for this attraction)

If it is open, how do i get in? Taken in Boston, MA

Have you ever come across any interesting signs in your travels? Which sign is your favourite?





Saturday, September 13, 2014

His: Saturday Snapshots: Bar Beach in Newcastle

Have you liked our "His and Her Hobbies" Facebook page? If not, click here!

Today we are linking up with Melinda at West Metro Mommy for Super Saturday Snapshots.


The beaches near our home in Virginia don't get a lot of surf normally. Unless there is a hurricane nearby the waves are usually fairly small. Australian beaches usually have good surf so I took a ton of photos last years of the various beaches we visited. Below is my favourite photos of Bar Beach in Newcastle.

Having cliffs by the ocean is much different to the coastline in Virginia where there is not a hill in sight for miles.

The surf was a little cranky this day. You may notice the red flag on the beach indicating that the beach is closed for swimmers.

It was nice being able to see some of the beaches in the Newcastle area as each one has its unique appeal. Where is your favourite beach?



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