Fabric Sale 4th-11th April, 2014

We have just come back from a really wonderful holiday, but already it is starting to seem like a misty dream.   I guess if you had heaps of things go wrong on a holiday, you would not remember it as a misty dream!

Back to work at Achieve Australia’s Unique Social Enterprise: Fabric, Needlecraft and More. There is a lot of planning going on, firstly for a Fabric Sale which will give everyone the opportunity to purchase dress and upholstery fabrics for incredible bargain prices.   The fabrics offered can be used for any sewing requirement, but the really great thing about the offerings is they do two things, raise funds for Achieve services, and make it possible for people to maybe begin a modest manufacturing enterprise.   The fabrics on sale are very often very valuable, some fine ones are unobtainable today.   There are cut lengths, and rolls and you will not be disappointed.     For all kinds of sewing, making fashion garments, exciting cushions, children’s clothes, and fabrics suitable for all kinds of household sewing.   What is marvellous, is there is a huge range of patterns, buttons, and zips, once again all at bargain prices.  Costs today often make some ideas you may have beyond the reach of some, but this sale is a time to take advantage of the sale offerings and make your idea a reality.   This sale will be at 112 Bowden Street, Meadowbank, Friday, 4th April until Friday, 11th April.    Trading hours are 9 to 2pm, Fridays, Monday and Wednesday and the First Sunday of the Month, 9 to noon.

We are really ‘into’ the Social Inclusion program, and now have three young people with disability employed with us.   For me, it is just wonderful to have fast and energetic people doing my bidding, and doing all the things one’s tired old body can’t cope with.  

Apart from the exciting Fabric Sale, the other big news is we are now open on Wednesdays.    So, trading days are Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, 9-2pm and the first Sunday of the month 9am to12 noon.

This week we have been able to welcome two new volunteers, and should you be interested in joining this busy group, please phone Achieve Australia 1300 224 483, Fax 02 9887 3591, Or Level 1, Epping Rd, North Ryde  2113.      

Do not forget your diary date for the Big Fabric Sale.

                           Until next time,

                                    Best wishes,


Happy New Year!

Hello there!

It seems such a long time since I wrote to update you on the news of the new social enterprise, a first for Achieve Australia. This newly opened social enterprise is called “A Unique Social Enterprise – Fabric, Needlecraft and more… ” Truly unique in what it offers to the public, this social enterprise now employs people with disability who work alongside our very dedicated and committed volunteers. Welcome to the first writing effort for the New Year, and may it be a great year for all readers.

October 2013 saw us packing up and moving from the Crowle Home site in Ryde.  Achieve Australia held a farewell afternoon tea, followed by our very last sale a couple of weeks later.

The move went smoothly, but was a huge amount of work.   Planning the layout and fitting all the stock in its new home was a colossal job, all carried out by the incredibly hard working volunteers and dedicated Achieve Australia staff.    The result is stunning - more open space, good lighting to show the stock to best advantage and a storage area downstairs for receiving donated goods.

We held an official opening with distinguished guests including Patron of Achieve Australia, Bennelong M.P. John Alexander OAM, Ryde Member Victor Dominello, the Mayor of Ryde, Councillor Roy Maggio and Achieve Australia CEO Anne Bryce.

All speakers gave interesting talks, but the main theme of each of them was the about the support and generous hard work of volunteers, and embracing the future of organisations working towards social inclusion. This Social Enterprise is one of the many channels used by Achieve Australia to achieve social inclusion for people with disability. Mayor of Ryde, Councillor Roy Maggio stated that the Ryde Council is very supportive of this social enterprise and its benefits to people with disability.

So now we are settled down pretty well, and based on public demand, are now able to introduce another day of  trading, beginning on Wednesday 5th February.  This means that from this date ‘A Unique Social Enterprise: Fabric, Needlecraft and more…’ will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9am-2pm as well as the first Sunday of the month, 9am to 12 noon.  There will be no trading on Monday, 27th January due to the Australia Day public holiday.

This unique undertaking, offering wonderful hard to find items to needle crafters, is located at 112 Bowden Street, Meadowbank - a short walk from Meadowbank Station, the Meadowbank Ferry Wharf and a bus service along Bowden Street.  You can contact us on 02 9807 3770 for more information about our stock and donations (if you’d like to make one).

We have had some wonderful donations since we moved, with kind people finding us in the new location.   A huge ‘thank you’ to all the donors, volunteers and supporters who have made what was a small annual sale into a thriving business.

Until next time,

Best wishes,



New move and Garage Sale Trail

Hello, there!,

Have we got a wonderful needlecraft store for you!    Packed with stock, and after a lot of really hard work and planning, the volunteers will present something unique on Friday, 18th October.    Trading times will be as previous at Crowle Home, Mondays and Fridays, 9am to 2pm and the first Sunday of the month, which will be November, 3rd, 9am to 12 noon.    All proceeds from this new store go to the training and building services provided by AchieveAustralia, for people with a disability. The store location is 112 Bowden Street, Meadowbank, on the corner of Nancarrow Ave, not far fromConstitution Road.

The new store has a lot of features, (but to me, with now dimming old eyes) the light is just wonderful, and all the colours combine to create a wonderful spectrum.

I have been working in our storage and sorting area, which is downstairs and have stayed out of everyone’s way, but I did go up at a quiet time and had a look with our daughter fromNew Zealand.   To say I was impressed is an understatement.   The volunteers have done a fantastic job, and I know customers will be incredibly impressed.   As a parent and one who knows a bit about the needlecraft area, I can only say how grateful we are to these volunteers who have endured a difficult task which has ended up with the creation of such a magical place.   Needlecrafters will love it.

We may have a wonderful needlecraft store for you, but my goodness have we got a marvellous Garage Sale for you on Saturday, October 26th.   As a participant in the ‘Garage Sale Trail’ we will open at 8.30am, at Crowle Home.   The gate that is the first on the right in Porter Street, off Junction Street, Ryde will swing open then with early shoppers able to have a great choice of treasures, everything from some guitars (one a Suzuki needing new strings) to a set of left handed golf clubs, household treasures, super art pictures, books of all kinds to some fine china and antiques.   The fine china and antiques will be bargain priced, but everything else including advanced plants in Laurel Grove will be available for a  donation.   We have always had a marvellous selection of stock on offer for all our past events, and this will be no exception.

All proceeds go to AchieveAustralia, and this is a voluntary effort, with a huge thank you to people who have donated some fine goods.

Until next time,

Best wishes,


Vintage and Value is moving

Hello there!

Great News… I have enormous pleasure in announcing news of our moving.    We will be setting up the Needlecraft and Fabric Cave in Meadowbank during September.   The address is 112 Bowden Street,  Meadowbank, on the corner of Bowden Street and Nancarrow Avenue.   This is not very far from Meadowbank Station, and not very far from the Meadowbank Ferry wharf.   It is easy to find travelling by car.

There will be more details with regard to parking and telephone numbers soon, with opening in the new location on Friday, 11th October.

In the new site trading hours will be 9am -2pm Monday and Friday and 9am to 12 noon on the first Sunday of the month.  For any enquiries please phone Achieve Australia on 9034 1600 during ordinary business hours.

This move is really exciting, as we have come from a modest Annual Needlecraft Sale in 1998 to being able to create a ‘proper’ business with all the rules and regulations associated with such an undertaking.   The proceeds go to services and housing for people with a disability, and the whole creation is brought about by really great people, donors, volunteers and supporters.   I realise I am always ‘on’ about this, but to me the whole thing reflects the best of human spirit, and is to my mind, just magical.

We are doing a lot of forward planning, and would welcome new volunteers.  One plan is for extended days of trading, and to enable this to happen more volunteers would be warmly welcomed.    Maybe a couple of friends would like to team up and travel over for a day’s work,  and being reasonably close to the Meadowbank Station makes it easy to come without driving.    There are two definite areas of work, one is the retail side, the other is the sorting and packaging area.   As some of us are not as mobile as we once were, the sorting area work can mostly be undertaken sitting down.

We will have an orientation and training program, and while any knowledge of needlecraft and sewing techniques would be helpful, it is not a necessity as so many people have experience in other areas such as retail selling, advertising, systems and all kinds of business knowledge, while others have rich life experience which will all be a great help.   Have a chat to Vivien on 9034 1600.

My mind is so full of planning and sorting, packing and working out how to do things the easy way that I am struggling to find anything interesting to talk about, but I came across a yellowed article cut from a newspaper in a cooking book, the article called “Cookery Nook”.    On the underside of the page, it mentions a service in Wamberal so I guess it comes from a paper up the coast a little way.    “Cookery Nook” starts off with Current Coupons and we are told :  MEAT Black, 92 to 95, current to June 30. After six lines we find you can use Green C1 and C2 up to June 30.   TEA V1 to V4 ‘til Aug 25 (black and red only), SUGAR P1 and Q1 to Dec 15, BUTTER 40 TO 42 to June 30. PETROL June issues.   Final collection days:  Post Office June 26th, Fuel Board, June 29th.   This was the rationing that continued all through the Second World War and some time beyond.   We should reflect a little and appreciate how fortunate we are today.

Until next time,

Best wishes,



PS    Thank you, Rowena for your kind comments.

A new era for Vintage & Value…

Hello there,

CORRECTION!!!     Last time I wrote about a sale to be held on the 10th and 11th of August, beginning at 8.30 til 2.30.   It was decided to open the sale a half hour later, allowing for a cold morning start, and closing at 2pm.   Apologies, and we hope to see you at 9am, Crowle Home – 76 Belmore St, Ryde (Porter Street gate – 1st on right from Junction Street).   We will have plants and all kinds of things, selling as we did last time with ‘help yourself for a cash donation’.   Many people were very generous, and this sale was a great success.

We found a whole collection of beautiful new Christmas decorations tucked away in a small unused room, and there are other cupboards and shelves to see what treasures we can find for you.   Apart from the plants, there will be a big selection of household items, books, with a collection of cookery and gardening, with both having titles of interest to the collector.

This sale will be of interest to everyone, and will be the end of an era.   We have been fundraising at Crowle Home for 55 years, and every event has been successful.   We ran an Opportunity Shop for 25 years and with the Vintage and Value enterprises we have raised much funds to support people with a disability.

A new era begins with the future completion of the Government devolution of the transition of residents of Crowle Home into community living, and Achieve Australia establishing the needlecraft and fabric cave off the site with planning and packing going ahead ready for the move to new site in Bowden Street, Meadowbank.

The old philosophy of past fundraising will remain the same, with donors, volunteers and supporters embracing this way of success for the future.

We will need volunteers for the retail and sorting and packaging areas of the new business, as we will be open 5 days a week and Sunday morning on the first Sunday of the month, as usual.   Any person who would like more information on volunteering could phone Vivien at  Achieve Australia on 9034 1600, and she would welcome your call.    It is all very exciting!

Until next time,

Best wishes,


Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend

Hello there!

It is June already, and the Queen’s Birthday holiday will be next week – Monday, 10th and we will not be open for sales.   I am lucky enough to have a few of Rabbi Brasch’s publications, and the one I am reading at this moment is “The Book of the Year” which is a fascinating collection about festivals and days of celebration and the meanings of them.   His writing about the Queen’s Birthday Holiday states the British sovereign has two birthdays, the day of their birth, and an officially proclaimed day.

The choice of the Proclaimed Birthday has very little to do with the actual birthday of the monarch, and the main reason for the choice of Proclaimed Birthday was so people could enjoy this day in June, as it falls during the summer season in the UK, and it is more likely that the sky will be blue, the weather pleasant so folk could enjoy all types of outdoor events, games and sports.

Another consideration was the timing of the traditional awards of titles and decorations published twice yearly, New Year’s Day and the middle of the year.

“Trooping of the Colour” forms a stirring climax of the celebrations, and attracts large crowds and the traffic to reach the Horse Guards Parade off Whitehall is not as heavy on a Saturday for visitors to travel to this area.

You may come across one of his books at a book sale, and you will enjoy reading whatever he was writing about…..he had so many answers to so many questions.

With the second day of June, we had a chilly wind and a certain reminder that it is indeed winter, and time for some winter activities.    One of mine could be catching up on the ironing, let alone a good old house clean…both of which I find hard in the heat as I get older.

However, there are people who are very keen knitters, and last year there was a huge increase of interest in knitting, which can be applied to everything from cushions, rugs to high fashion and incredible art forms.    The Needlecraft Emporium was open on the first Sunday of the month, and there were some very keen knitters buying wools and books.   For so early in the season, our wool stocks are low, and we would appreciate any donations of wool or yarn, any ply and any colour, it will all be welcome.     While the knitters were busy with choosing wools, a lot of our beautiful winter fabrics were sold.    The volunteers in the Fabric Cave are busy filling some empty shelves, and we do have a wonderful collection of winter fabrics, for pretty well any use.

We also have a grand collection of plants in The Folly.    These are now at clearance prices, and tucked away in Laurel Grove is a little bookshop with both gardening books and cookery books.   Both have some classic titles, and all at bargain prices.

Down that end of Laurel Grove are two cast iron bathtubs.    Both need a good clean, but both are in good condition and would make a fantastic water garden, be part of a water feature, a trough for water for horses and cows, or for a stunning herb or flower garden.


A Fantastic Game of Golf.     A grand way to celebrate the arrival of spring, golfing on the beautiful Pymble Golf Course on Monday, 9th September.

This day starts early with a great breakfast and later a delicious lunch, with an exciting auction and raffles.    All proceeds go towards AchieveAustralia’s sustainable homes, purpose built for modern liveability.

A call goes out for donations of any goods suitable for the auction or raffles.    Your help would be very much appreciated.   Please contact Vivien at vngo@achieveaustralia.org.au or 9034 1600.


Until next time,

Best wishes




May Mega Sale Is ON!

Hello there,

Last time I wrote, I mentioned how excited I was about our forthcoming ‘Help Yourself for a Donation’ sale.   Well yesterday was our first day, and it was the most beautiful weather, with lots of friendly, happy people, and it was indeed a day to be excited about and a day to remember.   It was also the 14th anniversary of our first needlecraft sale.

While in the needlecraft emporium, I saw a box for entries for suggestions of a new name for our fundraising enterprise.   The current name of Vintage and Value covered all the activities on the Crowle site, such as Fashion Clothing, the Bookshop and the Laurel Grove and Folly nurseries, as well as the Needlecraft Emporium and Fabric Cave.

As many of you may know we will be moving on one day to bigger and better things, as the old song goes, ‘don’t know where, don’t know when’, but be assured we will let you know the moment there is anything happening.     The exciting thing is, we will need a new name, and we would love everyone to come up with suggestions.

For many years, we had the Annual Crowle Needlecraft Sale, and quite a lot of people refer to the Fabric Cave, the Needlecraft Emporium or a combination of both, sometimes known as Crowle Needlecraft, or maybe you can come up with something quite different.   The suggestion box is in the Crowle Needlecraft Emporium just waiting for your entry, or you can email Vivien at vngo@achieveaustralia.org.au.

Our ‘Help Yourself Sale’ continues til Sunday 12th May, from 9am to 2pm with some really great stock coming out every day, so come and say hello and pick up a bargain.

Until next time,

Best wishes,


Value and Vintage May Mega Sale

Hello there!

The Fabric Cave’s 50% off Sale was a great success, and the sales in the Needlecraft Emporium reflected the numbers of customers who came and took advantage of some really super bargains.

Now,  have we got a Sale for You!!!    Over so many years working with various fund raising events at Crowle, and for some years very involved with the Opportunity Shop, I do not think I have been more excited about a sale as this one.   It is indeed the Sale you cannot miss, and for this reason we are stretching it over a week…..we do have enough stock.

I will digress for a moment to tell you about the Opportunity Shop we started, as we are pretty sure it was the first one in NSW.    One of our parents came to a meeting with a cutting from a Queensland newspaper sent to her by her mother about something called an Opportunity Shop.   I thought this a fantastic idea, but with no budget, how to get a shop for free so we could see if this new fund raising would work?   Top Ryde was being redeveloped, and the old shops that were near the site of the demolished Rialto Theatre were empty.   Who owned them?    (we were so naive then!)    So, my sister- in- law bowled into a shop and found out it was Lend Lease.

As Jamie would say, ‘easy peasy’….one of my girlfriends was married to an executive of Lend Lease.     So, we did up the shop and opened on the 22nd February 1968.   It was right at the bus stop, and people would put notes under the door for us to hold something displayed in the window for them.   First day we took $51. and the next day $72.   I will always remember the ‘Easter Parade’ of hats I did in the window at this time 45 years ago….we sold them all!  That was in the days when one still wore a hat, high heels but the gloves were not as popular. We had wonderful trading there until the bulldozers arrived, we knew we could ‘do’ it, and then moved to the next location in Graf Avenue, West Ryde.

Writing about this time makes me more determined than ever to write a book or something, recording fund raising, not only at Crowle, but in Australia…….does anyone know if such a book exists?    This is a part of our history that should be recorded, as the voluntary work of grandparents, parents and people today, creating so many organisations that have done incredible work, and part of such a subject is the voluntary work done in wartime.

Back to The May Mega Sale We Have For You…….what is exciting is that we can go into all the nooks and crannies where we have stored stuff that has never seen the light of day…..put aside for the next event, but not used for various reasons.    I know of two red parade umbrellas….we used them for decoration at one fete, and never got around to using them again.    We will be bringing out new things every day and starting on Sunday morning, 5th May, then each day until Sunday, 12th from 9am to 2pm.

This will be a sale with a difference………it will be a “Help Yourself for Cash Donation” sale and will include all the nursery stock in Laurel Grove, all the gardening and cookery books in that bookshop (there are collectors items there) there will be fine china,  crockery, art work, books, toys, jigsaw puzzles, craft items, handbags, fashion goods, kitchen equipment, but no furniture and no electricals.

All proceeds go to services for people with a disability at Achieve Australia, www.achieveaustralia.org.au.

Enter the first gate on the right in Porter Street, off Junction Street, Ryde, and we look forward to seeing you. I’m sure you will not be disappointed.

Half Price Sale, Laurel Grove Nursery and Campbelltown Embroiderers Guild

Hello there,

Three weeks of holiday just went so fast, but we did enjoy it and we had time to catch up with family and friends which seems harder to do with the ordinary day to day activities everyone has. While we were away, there were two trading days of the Half Price Fabric Sale. I was there on the third day, on the first Sunday of the month, and it was just the most marvellous day, starting with visitors from Campbelltown and Wilton. The rain just stayed away, but it was still too wet for our fledgling ‘mini Market’. Jane sells some books then and there are all kinds of other treasures.

Talking of treasures, we have two cast iron bath tubs for someone who can find a use for them, such as using for a water feature, for water plants, for on the farm water trough, or for reconditioning (they are in pretty good condition) for the original use, in the bathroom. Just ask for Don or Robert if you are interested. Both Don and Robert can be found at the Needlecraft Emporium, or in Laurel Grove.

Laurel Grove is now our only plant nursery location. When we closed the Bookshop owing to safety concerns, we moved the plants located next door in The Folly down to Laurel Grove. This is a pretty extensive area with a lot of interesting plants in good condition. Tucked away down there is a small bookshop, specialising in cookery and gardening books. For the cookery book collector there are some very interesting titles, including some of the early Margaret Fulton Editions.

To locate this treasure trove of plants and gardening and cookery books, the hours are the same as the Needlecraft Emporium and Fabric Cave. If you come in from Belmore Street, the entry is directly on your left inside the gate, and if you come down the ramp at the Porter Street gate, just walk across the oval and the wire gate will be open. These plants are all at bargain prices, and now I must tell you about a time years ago, when we had the really big garden stall at the Annual Fete, we were incredibly busy and this Dear Lady came up to me and told me she had been buying plants from us for twenty years, and hadn’t ever lost one. I was quite chuffed and said “That is marvellous, we do try hard and it is so good to hear that.” She replied, “Oh no, dear, it is just that they have to be tough to survive what you lot do to them!”’ In actual fact, that was probably true, as with automatic watering some got too much water, and at times others got too much sun, and not enough water, but somehow we always came up with some incredible looking almost top nursery standard. One thing in all the years of growing plants, we almost never used any kind of chemicals, except for osmocote, a light spray of white oil, blood and bone and if desperate a little bit of household fly spray. We always used the organic garden mix from Australian Native Landscapes and we feel this mix, while being a bit heavier was excellent as it held the water.

The Campbelltown Branch of the Embroiderers Guild were welcomed on Monday 10th March. We do enjoy these visits, and should you belong to a group who might like to come and see the Needlecraft Emporium and Fabric Cave, just phone Vivien at Achieve Australia on 9034 1600. She will arrange a time to suit your planning.

We will be closed over the Easter Holidays, that is no trading on Good Friday and Easter Monday but we will be back to normal times on Friday the 5th April, and open on the First Sunday of the Month, Sunday 7th April which is Sleep in Sunday…. the end of Daylight Saving. Maybe see you then,

Until next time,

Best wishes,




Greetings for the New Year

Hello there, greetings for this New Year of 2013.

I do wonder if this year will pass as quickly as the last one?   Already there are appointments for the second month (why do we have to have skin and dental work?   Talk about high maintenance!)

So, we are now off on a busy time, with Vintage and Value.  We held our first ‘mini-market on Sunday, 6th January, and while it was very hot, the sales were very good.   There were all kinds of stock, some unusual, and Jane had a good selection of books available.   She also had cold drinks for those who needed one.

Our next Sunday sales will be on Sunday, 3rd February, 9am to 12 noon, and we have some really great stocks in both the Needlecraft Emporium and the Fabric Cave, and as well, some really interesting things in the Mini-Market.   TheFabricCave and Needlecraft Emporium are open usual hours, Monday and Friday, 9 – 2pm, phone 8878 3353.

Diary Dates….

Please take note that we will not be open on Monday 28th January due to the Australia Day long weekend. Trading will resume on Friday 1st February.

And…not to be missed!    There will be a half price sale of  fabrics in February.    Sale Days are Monday 25th February, Friday 1st March, and Sunday morning, the 3rd March.

Until next time,

Best wishes,


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