I have recently returned from 2 weeks’ holiday in Cairns. How lovely it was to sit on the beach and soak up some warmth (not too hot or too humid just yet) and forget about Melbourne’s grey, cold and miserable winter weather and all its attendant ailments.
Holidays are an opportunity to indulge in some handwork and a selection of projects always accompanies me to the locations we visit. I think I am an unusual sight…. propped up on the sand or under a tree with my sewing or knitting, while most people are swimming, fishing or doing the “tourist thing”. Actually, I was knitting by the waterfront at Port Douglas when I was approached by a lady who wondered if I might also be a quilter and did I know of any quilting shops nearby!!
Holidays are also a wonderful source of inspiration, in lots of different ways. The things we see, both natural and man-made can inspire our creativity. While in Cairns, we visited the Botanical gardens. Here we joined a tour led by a volunteer, to learn more about some of the plants on display, as well as following some of the self-guided tours. The tropical flora is amazing, both in its vivid colouration and lush growth, but also in its unusual forms and habits.
One form of Medinilla
This is such a dainty little flower in pastel tones. But if you prefer stronger colours there is plenty to choose from.
Heleconias were everywhere in many different varieties. It is not surprising to learn that these are related to cannas, bananas and gingers, all of which are well-represented in the gardens.
One of many Heleconias on display.
One of my favourite flowers is the Pink Torch Ginger. This has such an array of warm pink tones from the palest blush through to coral, and its form when fully open, reminds me of a Warratah.
This bud is not fully open.
When I returned to work, I actually had a little play with some Aurifil Threads to create a similar colour scheme.
Aurifil Ne 50 Pink Torch Ginger!!
And for something quirky….
Not sure what this tree is, but it is definitely not one for climbing!!
These trees which were growing by the side of the road are commonly called Canonball trees, for obvious reasons.
Photo opportunity with a Canonball Tree.
Some of the flora is just plain sinister. The Stinging Tree or Gympie Gympie is one such species. If you look carefully, you will see that each leaf is covered in hundreds of tiny hairs. Each one delivers a sting which can cause excruciating pain which can last for months. If you want a spinechilling thrill, google Gympie Gympie!
The dreaded Gympie Gympie
Some of the fauna can be sinister too. Everywhere you go there are signs erected, alerting visitors to the danger of lurking crocodiles. At one beach where we picnicked, crocs had recently been sighted. My husband is as keen on fishing as I am obsessive about quilting, and frequently tried to catch our dinner (and was successful on 2 occasions). Fortunately he did not become a picnic lunch himself!!
Of course, no holiday is complete without a purchase of fabric to add to the stash. This time I was extremely restrained and only bought one piece. I will use it to make a bag using a pattern by Virginia Enright which I purchased some years ago. Since my return home I have purchased the felt and other fabric I need to make the bag, and collected my matching Aurifil threads (50 weight for piecing and 12 weight for embroidery), and put all my items in my patchwork pantry ready to begin.
The blue floral fabric was purchased in Cairns.
Now I just need a little more time to actually make my bag. Another holiday would be good!
Other Always Quilting staff members are also holidaying over the next few weeks. I wonder what holiday inspirations they’ll find?