As soon as we settled into our unit on the Campapse river we went for a short stroll to stretch our legs and breath the country air. We were staying a short walk from the historic section of Echuca. A bit tired from the drive, we decided to leave a full explore until the next day.
While walking around the town and port area you can hear the clip clop and low clatter of draft horses pulling carriages of tourists. The joy for me is to watch them as they pass and feel the peace of the olden days when a slower pace prevented life from becoming frantic. Our ability to hop in the car and rush to the shops at the last minute means we will but in the days of horse and cart, you made do with what you had and I guess, it was a calmer existence.
The whole historic shopping precinct of Echuca has lots of antique shops and boutiques. It's here we went the next morning. There’s a lolly shop that I am proud to say, I didn’t go into but I did pay a visit to the Christmas shop. This year it greeted shoppers with archways festooned with shiny ornaments. I cannot resist a archway. I was drawn in to discover the magical ornaments.
At lunchtime we drove across the river into NSW and through the town of Moama on our way to Morrison's Winery. We lunched on the deck next to the Murray but it was quite low and we couldn't see it very well. The food was amazing though and sitting under market umbrellas sipping apple cider in the warm sunshine was heaven.
It's so nice being able to take as long as you like over a drink and a meal and just enjoy being outside. I didn't feel like a glass of wine so I went for an apple-cider. It was delicious served over ice in a wine glass. I think I'll always drink it this way from now on. I love the name of it too, " My Mates".
We decided on a quiet evening in after enjoying a day out and about. The vote was for pizza for dinner. The next day we headed back home but stopped at Kilmore for some lunch at a cafe called Rose Cottage. It had a sweet garden on one side full of roses yet to bloom but the daffodils were putting on a lovely show.
We were really blessed with the weather. It was warm and sunny with a cool breeze that didn't make you cold, perfect for travelling.
It was lovely to be back home and that first night back in my own bed was magic. I guess that's the benefit of having a short break, you're happy to go and happy to come home again.
I can recommend Echuca as a place where there is a lot to see and do. I've barely touched on what's available there in this post. But if you want a holiday that you can mainly rest and just go for a wander when the mood strikes then this is a great place for that also.
As a romance author, I’m passionate about the magic of romantic love. But in my life, I’ve found that in friendship love there is magic also. Love is what makes any relationship a gift. In the past, I have shared my journey of finding romantic love with Sam. But I learned a valuable lesson about love in the weeks before I met him.
I went through a very testing time, both physically and mentally. My body and brain had crashed, and I was admitted to the hospital. Bouquets of flowers arrived, and my sister stayed with me every day from morning to night. There wasn’t much keeping me clinging on to life but love.
My sister's love gave me the strength to endure the pain and keep breathing. My friends came to see me, and I saw love in their concern for me. But what amazed me was that after the crisis had passed my close friends kept coming to see me through a slow recovery. Even when the weeks turned into a month, every day or two I had a friend arrive and sit with me. To me they're real life heroines.
In my addled state I wondered, why are they coming when I can’t be amusing or do anything for them. All I could do was smile and say a few words while they told me about what was happening in their lives. I always felt a bit better after every visit. I came to the conclusion that they must love me. That me - the person, was enough. I didn’t have to do anything to be loved. Even when I could barely speak enough to put a sentence together.
That profound thought amazed me. I hadn’t realized I’d held a belief that I needed to do something to be loved. I only needed to be myself, whatever that was.
I cherish those dear girlfriends who kept turning up and being a lifeline for me. Their empathy and patience and steadfastness is such a gift that I’ll treasure always. They’re still in my life turning up regularly, and I am now able to do it for them too.
Last night one of those dear women arrived for a casual pasta dinner while her husband was at the football. When I opened the door, Michelle surprised me with a bunch of sweet smelling, ruffly, pink stock. I was amazed. I told her she didn’t have to do that and she said, "Well, you ‘re giving me dinner, and I wanted to."
She’s the inspiration for this post. It’s not the flowers, it’s the giving spirit that fills me with gratitude for everything I’ve received from my loving friends.
As a craft lover I'm promiscuous. I really need to spend time doing lots of different crafts. In past posts I've talked about this but, I mention it now because even though I've been quilting since high school, I don't have much to show for it. I do, however, have a lovely stash of fabrics. It gives me great pleasure to get them all out. I view each fat quarter as a work of art. I think of my fabric stash as a gallery of fabric.
Besides this wonderful pile of pinks, greens and the odd blue is a few project patterns picked up at the numerous craft fairs I've been to over the years. I never got round to making these ones up. I have started others not shown here. One currently on the go is a very pretty quilt called Noontime. Using printed foundation paper, fabric is sewn together along the printed lines on the paper for an accurate placement of all the points. I enjoyed sewing the tiny blocks by hand in front of the TV. I still have to sew together the last block and then put it all together using the sewing machine.
I tend to sew smaller quilts because they are able to be machine quilted at home. It quite expesive to have them done professionally and I don't have the skill to hand quilt. The two I machine quilted myself are almost complete. They just need binding. The first one I made has buttons sewn on one of the blocks to cover the fact that I didn't line up my points very well. But I think I'll take them off and live with imperfection. The second one was done as a study in creating contrast and using all my absolute favorite fabrics.
I did start a large quilt, when I took a class in machine quilting. But as you're starting to notice, I've done a lot of starting and not much finishing of quilts. However, it was a revelation to learn how to draw with my sewing machine. I particularly like the lilies. It might make a nice center for a quilt hanging or a large quilt.
The block was sewn with the fabric layered on batting. My lines are very squiggly but I still love the effect and my quilts only have to please one person, me. I don't know if I'll ever get around to making it up into something. That doesn't matter to me because it's having something that I can get out and look at whenever the mood takes me and gives me joy.
I think of my boxes of fabric as boxes of possibility. They inspire me every time I sort through them. As a writer, they give me creative energy. The pretty colors and patterns jump-start my imagination.
So while I have justified my casual approach to sewing projects the situation is, I don't have any out where I can enjoy them everyday. Now I need to focus on completing quilts. My plan is to finish the binding on the unfinished quilts this month. When they're done, I'll post pictures on Instagram (which is also linked to my Facebook page) of them displayed in my shabby chic guest bedroom/study.
Romance author and lifestyle blogger
My whole life is inspired by romance. I write romance novels of course but also love creating DIY's and decorating in a romantic style. I'm rejuvenating an old garden, including rescuing a couple of old rose bushes and planting new ones.