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Made It Back On The Road

first night

Heidi made it Back On The Road again. Not quite the trip that was originally planned earlier this year but is happy to have the opportunity to be out again.

We headed north from Brisbane along the inland route.

As we sit back and watch the day unfold around us, we tend to forget the forefathers who are responsible for the Australia as we know it today. I was reminded of this when we spent a couple of nights in Taroom. A quaint little town with a nice and neat main street and very friendly residents. The main highway runs through town and it was a continuous stream of cars, caravans, trucks and farming vehicles. Usually this is us, as we pass through towns but this time we stopped for the day. It was 1844 when German Explorer and naturalist Ludwig Leichardt made his way through the area on an expedition of Central to Northern Australia. He carved his name in the tree that is still standing. The town built itself around the now heritage listed Leichardt tree. There is a lovely river walkway that meanders along the edge of the Dawson River. It shares the sight of the bridge built in 1863 and remains of the second bridge as shown in the photo built in 1897. You can’t help but ponder the hardship of these explorers and pioneers way back them.

Continuing along a similar path as Leichardt, we came to Charters Towers. Gold was accidentally discovered here in 1871. By 1899 it had a population of 25,000. The town grew quickly and everything you needed was available here including the 65 pubs to drench the thirst of the hardworking gold-miners. The town was affectionately known as ‘The World’.

The first real highlight of the trip was The Undara Experience with it’s fascinating landscape. A series of Lava Tubes that were formed 190,000 years ago. The Undara Volcano oozed lava over a period of time. The top layer of the lava dried hard, leaving it hot and melting a continuous stream underneath. Eventually the hot lava ran out and left the rock-solid tunnels.


You can walk around the top rim of the nearby Kalkani Crater. The facilities at the campsite were top notch. The open-ended veranda was picturesque.

Our next two camps, along the dry and dusty Highway no. 1, were at Cumberland Chimney, Georgetown and Leichhardt Lagoon, Normanton. They were both at waterholes full of bird-life and beautiful sunsets, a real little oasis.

Cumberland was a miner’s camp, founded in 1872. The chimney is the only remains of a thriving small mining community for nearly 20 years. The lagoons are home to Bustards, Bronze Cuckoos, Finches, Bee eaters, Bower birds, Grey teals, Black Cockatoos, Wedge-tail Eagles, Kestrels, Egrets, Jacanas, Magpie Geese, just to name a few.

Karumba in The Gulf of Carpentaria was our next port of call. Famous for its Barramundi fishing and again, beautiful Sunsets. To support the local economy, we ate Barra every day and thoroughly enjoyed every bite. The sun sets over the section of ocean that forms the gulf, which only occurs along that part of the coast in Queensland. We really enjoyed a three-hour tour on the Ferryman, that took us down the Norman River. We were spotting the occasional crocodile sunning itself along the shoreline. The birds were a little bit cheeky, showing off for the boat of tourists.

We came back up to the mouth of the river to watch the sun set slowing into the ocean after a long, hot day.

We then drove down to Cloncurry and turned eastbound. That’s when we got the phone call that Heidi was gravely ill with kidney failure. She had collapsed and was in a really bad way, not expected to survive. Without any hesitation, we packed up camp and headed home, three days of driving. In the meantime, her carer took her to the Burpengary Vets then she went onto the Vet Hospital in Albany Creek – BVSC. After five days of constant treatment in the hospital, she was well enough to come home. We can’t praise the care that she got, highly enough. The staff were constantly phoning us with updates of her treatment and recovery. Heidi was very thin and quite fragile but with a lot of love and sunshine she started to get back to her old self. Unfortunately, there is a lot of damage to her kidneys and we don’t know what the long-term outcome will be.

Heidi is such a little character; we feel blessed to have her with us.

So that will be the end of our traveling for a while. We’ll just sit tight and ride out the remainder of 2020, the year that no-one will ever forget.

Keep well, keep safe

And Happy Sewing  

Heidi Ho

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One Week On The Road


With the restrictions lifted and a little bit of normality getting back to day to day living, Heidi managed to get away for a week. We had four nights in the lovely Bargara and two nights at Kandanga in the Mary Valley.

Bargara is a little coastal destination out from Bundaberg, 3 ½ hours north of Brisbane.

Bargara is a perfect place for young families or the more mature adults.

We stayed at the northern end of town, Nielson Park in the beautiful Bargara Beach Caravan Park. Nestled under the tall trees and soft green grass.

We wondered over to the beach at sunrise and watched the surfers hoping to catch a big wave. It is peaceful at first then as the sun rises so do the joggers, walkers and dogs out for some daily exercise.

Unfortunately, the mornings started of a little bit rainy but cleared up to the sunny days typical of a Queensland winter. Perfect walking temperature. Heidi made the most of the 12km walking path from Kellys Beach through to Burnett Heads right along the coastline. Easy walking, nice and flat.

One day, Heidi hired a bicycle from the caravan park to enjoy the path more quickly. Hay – Heidi, are you hitching a ride.

Heidi had a round of golf at the Bargara Golf Course. They hire clubs and buggies but she did assist on walking.

There is an extensive coastline with rocky beaches but Kellys Beach has sandy beaches and calm ocean waves.

The best beach for a quiet dip, or building sandcastles on the shore. It’s fairly sheltered there but at one end is a rock pool and the other end is an inlet, either one is perfectly safe for the little ones.

Just a little bit further north is the Mon Repos Turtle Centre and Conservation Park which is home to the largest population of nesting Loggerhead Turtles in the South Pacific. Every year, from November to late March, you can join the Rangers at Mon Repos Turtle Centre on a guided Turtle Encounters tour, to watch the big turtles make their way up to the dunes to lay their eggs. Later in the season you can catch all of the little guys hatching out and scrambling back to sea. Although, it was the wrong time of year this trip, Heidi has seen the laying on a previous visit. A fascinating site to be seen.

What Bargara has to offer is simple and pleasant. With accommodation that ranges from cabins to luxury apartments, numerous dining choices, plenty of playgrounds and pristine picnic and BBQ areas, it suits Heidi and me right down to the ground.

We hooked up the caravan again and drove to the quaint little township of Kandanga in the Mary Valley. We stayed in a camp, right in town and all that they were asking for was a donation.

This became our base for exploring the valley. In other words, we had a drive in the country. We meandered down past the Borumba Dam, Imbil and stopped at Kenilworth for a delicious lunch. Kenilworth is most famous for the Dairy & Cheese Factory and 1kg Donuts from the Bakery. Yum !!

A section of The Mary Valley Rail Trail runs between Imbil to Brooloo. Very popular with the Mountain Bike community.  We walked along a section (again with the walking-Really Heidi) A great way to enjoy the Australian Bush.

Home again for now but planning the next trip north for the winter.

Happy Sewing

Heidi Ho

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In My Sewing Room and Not On The Road

sewing room

It has been nine weeks since Heidi’s Trip On The Road was cancelled.

However, since then, Heidi has returned to her happy place – The Sewing Room.

A place where Heidi can leave the world behind. A place where she lets her imagination run wild, play around, experiment and creates the beautiful patterns that she has in her range.

The view out of the window is peaceful, overlooking nothing but trees and the birds.

While sitting in the room, she is surrounded by all the things she loves. Photos of her favourite people on the wall, the trinkets that she cherishes up on the shelf, her beloved sewing machines and overlockers and meters and meters of beautiful fabric just begging to be sewn.

Any sewer can tell you that after a while, you become a collector of gadgets. Gadgets that make sewing easier. The first trio you must have is a rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat. Then you need to gather more rulers to cut different shapes, more rotary cutters in different size blades and more mats, one bigger and one smaller.

The four gadgets that Heidi can’t live without and always at her finger tips are probably the simplest and least expensive of them all.

Sewing Gauge

The Sewing Gauge – is a slide ruler that will measure the precise increment accurately. It is a no-fuss tool, less awkward and more accurate than using a tape measure for the small things.

You can set the marker on the exact measurement that you need and the measurement will be the same all the way along.

Perfect for measuring hems when folding up and pressing, measuring the distance between two marks e.g. buttonholes or snaps or the distance and depth of pleats.

I keep one by the ironing board and one on my cutting table.


Fabric Control Tool

Fabric Control Tool – This tool, as the name suggests, controls the fabric as it goes under the foot and close to the needle. It goes where fingers don’t dare and I never sew without it by my machine.

The main reason that I use it for is when I sew three or more layers of fabric together, like binding on a quilt. Often in this case, the top layer will move as it goes under the foot. Simply lay the tool down on the fabric and guide it under. When sewing with an open toe foot, you can hold the fabric right up to the needle. This method will also stop the fabric from stretching if it is cut on the bias. It will hold the gathers in place when attaching them to a straight fabric.

Another amazing use for this tool is when you are using a hot iron. It’s steel and won’t melt when it comes in contact with the iron. If you have ever been pressing an applique, you will have discovered that the heat from the iron can move the pieces just as the iron is about to touch. You can hold the piece in place and touch down with the iron. It is also great for fusible bias, e.g. stained-glass windows. With the point of the tool, you can fold a mitre corner in the tape and then press it flat with the iron before you remove the tool.


Curved Snips

Curved Sewing Thread Snips – Snips are designed to trim threads after sewing. These snips are my favourite, they have a small, sharp, curved blade. This enables you to cut away the thread very close without the risk of snipping the fabric. Perfect for machine embroidery if you have visible threads. Great to trim away frayed edges in small sections.

The sharp points and fine blade also make it easy to unpick stitches.

I also use mine to clip notches in seam allowances. This is probably a bit naughty but the high quality of the steel stands up to it.

I keep them in front of my machine at all times.


Wonder Clips

Wonder Clips – the wonderful little clips that replace pins. You can use wonder clips in replace of pins in any situation. Some ladies like them for the simple reason, they don’t spike you. 

Pins can cause damage and leave holes in fabrics like vinyl or laminated fabrics or pull threads in soft silks.

Wonder clips don’t leave a mark. Plus, they are quick and easy to put on and pull off when sewing.

The times when you definitely do need to use the clips are when you are sewing a project like a bag. This could mean that you need to hold together two layers of foam or heavy batting with a layer of fabric on each side. Pretty serious pins are needed to hold that together or just pop some wonder clips on instead.  They are especially great for holding the binding in place before sewing.

Always have my box of clips handy.

I hope you enjoy your Sewing Room as much as Heidi does!!

Keep Smiling and Happy Sewing

Heidi Ho

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Looking Back On My Trip On The Road

Looking back on my trip, as short as it was, we still covered a lot of ground from one side of the country to the other. This has left me pondering – Do Australians live up to the reputation that we have developed over the years from overseas visitors??

We are known for our true heroes like Steve Irwin and fictional characters like Crocodile Dundee. Products like Vegemite and the fact that kangaroos are boxing our streets. Our coast line consists of beautiful sandy beaches like Bondi and Bells and high rocky cliffs like The Great Ocean Road in the south and the Kimberley Cliffs in the north. This surrounds the vast, dry, harsh dessert of the Simpson, Gibson, Great Sandy, Great Victoria and the Chanel Country. These deserts makes up the majority of our land.

The answer is simply “Yes”.

I’m not saying that we don’t have heroes in our cities, you only have to visit somewhere like a hospital, a police station or a school and you’ll find plenty. I’m talking about the iconic true blue, dinky di, she’ll be right mate kind of Australia that the foreigners love. It became more apparent the further into the outback we drove. The harsher the land, the tougher it is to survive.

We drove through a lot of little towns. Each little town tells its own story. You often get a clue as to the character of the town by their Welcome signs.

Other signs will tell you exactly where you are or the population of the town.

Nowhere else in the world will you find an enormous Kangaroo with Vegemite or a giant Cockatoo.

The architecture can vary from the grand to the humble but all made by hand. The stonemasons and timber workers must have worked long, enduring hours.

You will find a pub in every town. Sometimes it is the only building in town.

In just a few days we drove through a contrast of conditions that all require the determination and hard work to survive. At first there were drought-stricken regions where the ground had turned to dust and there was little life left. We then drove through an unrelenting downpour causing flooding. This too can come with dire consequences by washing the soil away, damaging crops and the destruction of the livestock’s well-being.

We continued to drive through lush green pastures where just the right amount of rain had brought it back to life but around the corner, we saw the bush that had been ravaged by a bush fire, destroying everything in its path then slowly coming back to life.

It was quite the adventure and reinforced that the Outback Aussies are bred tough, hard working and can survive when mother nature throws all that she’s got at them. They have that larrikin sense of humour and dry wit that keeps us laughing and the strong bond of comradery that holds us together when the chips are down.

I am proud to be Australian and feel very lucky to live in this great country.

Keep Smiling and Happy Sewing

Heidi Ho

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One Month On The Road


Heidi started out in a blaze of glory and travelled down from Queensland to the centre of New South Wales, cut across South Australia then across the famous Nullarbor Plain to Western Australia. We drove big miles per day so we could start our adventure in the west.

First extended stop along the way was Broken Hill, NSW. It was a fascinating town. Known for the huge mines and where BHP started and grew to the multi nation company it is today. It is amazing to see the evidence of the sheer hard work and endurance of the old-time miners that still continues today. Pro Hart was one of those such miners before his love of painting raised him to great heights. Broken Hill and surrounding areas with it’s raw and rugged landscape make for a perfect movie backdrop. In which many great Aussie films have been made. Among the many, Priscilla, Last Cab Out Of Darwin and Mad Max 2, the Mad Max Museum is well worth a visit.

As we flew across South Australia, we drove passed many country towns. Each with remnants of days gone by and great stories to be told.

The Nullarbor lived up to the reputation it has gained. It’s long and straight and not much to see on either side. Fortunately for us, we love the sun burnt Australian countryside so it suited us fine. The country is harsh and the people are survivors. True Blue Aussies, as we are well known. Heidi thought she had found some playmates at the Nullarbor Roadhouse but it is frowned upon to be playing with the wild Dingo’s that stroll around looking for a scrap of a pie or burger left from the many tourists or truckies stopping in. We found a little gem of a campsite along the way, Bunda Cliffs. It was on top of a cliff on the edge of the Great Australian Bite

Finally made it to Western Australia. Meandered down to Esperance and along the beautiful coastline of the Southern Ocean, before heading back up the long way through Bruce Rock to Kalgoorlie. Kalgoorlie is another place that is rich with history and many stories to tell. Unfortunately, we were unable to hear them.

That’s when our journey ended as it was. Covid 19 had closed the country and we were to head home. Our eight-month holiday around Australia was to be a one-month 9000km marathon to the west and back.

Needless to say that Heidi didn’t get much sewing done but is quite excited with the way it is starting out.

Hopefully we will all be able to be On The Road again soon.

Heidi wishes you all to keep safe, keep well and keep Sewing

Heidi Ho

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Getting Ready To Hit The Road

Heidi getting ready

Heidi Ho is about to get out there, on the road. Traveling around Australia in a caravan is a dream that is about to come true. Leaving in a few days’ time and will probably return home sometime in November.

There is so much to see in this amazing country. Such diverse landscapes from flat baron desserts to high snow-capped mountains surrounded by rivers rushing then onto the most spectacular beaches in the world. Along the way, Heidi will share with you all of the interesting and beautiful scenery, the quirky little idiosyncrasies of the townships and the lovely fabric and patchwork shops with their own little personalities.

Heidi couldn’t go that long without sewing so she has been planning a new project to keep her hand in. A project that will be perfect for her fellow travelers as well as those to sew from home. It will be a set of twelve applique blocks. This photo shows some of the backgrounds Heidi has prepared already.  They will be constructed into a lap quilt using the Quilt As You Go method. For the free camper, you can sew around the appliques by hand or you can sew it all on the machine if you’re lucky enough to have packed one. Both techniques are perfect for the nomad in their downtime. It will be a work in progress so follow Heidi on her travels to watch it all unfold.

Happy Sewing

Heidi Ho