Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I've had this pattern for a year or two, and I've had this fabric for a while. Now I'd like to put them together and turn them into a summer dress.
Lots of people on Pattern Review have made this dress, although no-one has done what I want to do and used the sleeve from view A (the beige one) and the neckline from view C/D (the white and pink ones).  I like longer sleeves. Looking at the pattern pieces, I'm sure that will work.

Reading lots of reviews probably doesn't help much anyway, as everyone has different fitting issues. Some people say that the bodice is too short, others say it is too long, when really it is just their own body that makes it seem that way. I know I will need to lengthen it, but first I need to work out which size to make. Most of the reviewers said there was too much ease in the pattern, so for my first trial bodice I used one size smaller than my measurements suggested.
I could put it on, but it was too closely-fitted, and getting it off wasn't easy. For comfort, I will go with the size I would have made if I hadn't read any reviews! The next trial will involve altering the length and the princess-line shaping to more closely match my shape.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Not Hiding

I don't normally work on a Monday, but this morning I went in for a few hours before quilting. This little moth was taking a ride in my bus:
It looks like it would be beautifully camouflaged sitting on a tree. On the laminex wall of a bus? Not so much.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dual-Purpose Trip

A trip to the Geelong area, firstly to visit the Geelong Patchwork & Quilters Guild Exhibition. This large quilt-covered globe stood at the entrance:
The exhibition was enjoyable, and it was good to see quilts made by a few friends.

Then it was on to Ocean Grove, to check on the bees:
This is the hive formed from the second swarm from my bees. They've been in Ocean Grove for about a month now, and they seem to be settling in quite well. They've just about filled the hive so we added a super to give them room to expand their honey stores.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Where the Fledglings Went

All three of the babies were in the vegie garden early this morning, although the one which found its way inside the bird-netting around the berries might be encouraged to move along:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Launch Day

Twenty-six years ago today my son was launched on the world. Happy birthday!

And today it was time for some other young things to face the big wide world:

The young blackbirds were very restless this morning. There was lots of flapping of wings, and walking around the edges of the nest.
Suddenly at about 9:00am there were only two. Where was the third?

I don't know how it got there, but it was on a different part of the verandah. It stayed there all day, with regular visits from its parents bringing it food. Then at about 5:30 this afternoon, it left this perch.

Only a couple of minutes after the first, a second baby jumped. It landed somewhere in the shrubbery. Then there was only one, which seemed reluctant to take the leap. The parent birds seemed to be calling encouragement to it, but it wasn't in a hurry.
It sat alone checking out the view of the backyard for over half an hour:

Eventually, it took the plunge, and nestcam became obsolete.

Thanks for the entertainment, blackbird family!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blackbird Update

For anyone who is wondering how the blackbird babies are going:
They are getting larger! This morning I thought another one had disappeared, but it was hidden behind its siblings and came into view when Mr Blackbird arrived with a worm for them.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Back To Ballarat

My father is in hospital in Ballarat, so today I went to visit him. The first part of the day went to plan. I caught the train heading west:
I amused myself on the train with some sewing:

When I got to the hospital, I was relieved to find Dad sitting up in a chair, reading the newspaper. He is making a good recovery from a bout of pneumonia. In fact he looked in pretty good shape for someone who is hospitalised.

During the after-lunch rest period, I wandered around the town. I walked past the house which featured in last night's episode of "Who's Been Sleeping in my House?", which was interesting. I sat beside this fountain until the rain forced me away.
There were a lot of bees enjoying the flowers. I think the plant is some sort of Nepeta (catmint). It looked fantastic mass-planted like this.

After lunch, I had a frantic afternoon running around trying to get hold of a couple of drugs Dad had run out of which the hospital pharmacy doesn't stock. If only someone had mentioned it before the enforced 90-minute break! Finally got the drugs, but in doing so missed not only the train I was intending to catch home, but the one after that. I ended up having to either buy another ticket to get home on a coach that wasn't stopping at the station I had a ticket for, or waiting in Ballarat for another 2 hours to get a train to the station I did have a ticket for.

Here's part of the ceiling at Ballarat station, which I've never noticed before.
I had time to sit and look at it while I waited for the coach.

On the coach I read my Kobo most of the way back to the city. There was no room to sew. About half-way home I looked up and noticed this sign, which I had to read a few times to work out what on earth it meant:
I think my brain was rather tired by then. But did whoever approved that sign have the same excuse?

Monday, November 21, 2011


Dietes bicolor blooming in my backyard. It looks delicate, but it is pretty tough really.
Sometime after 7:30 last night, one of the blackbird babies disappeared. The youngest and least developed is gone. I don't think it would have been able to jump out of the nest, so perhaps it was pushed, or maybe someone sat on its head and suffocated it. Whatever happened, now there are only 3 hungry mouths to be fed.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


The three largest baby blackbirds are well-covered with feathers now:
The one at the back is their mother, doing a bit of nest maintenance.  Between eating and sleeping, the babies spend a lot of time preening their new feathers.

I'm amazed by how fast they are growing.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wet Saturday

The rain fell steadily.
The garden didn't mind the rain.
It was a good day to stay inside quilting.

But what about those with hungry mouths to feed? Mr and Mrs Blackbird had to keep flying in the rain.
Here Mrs Blackbird takes a bit of a break under cover. There's no room for her to sit in the nest, the babies have grown so much. Can you see their feathers? There's even been some wing-flapping action today.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Whose Mouth Is Big Enough?

Mr Blackbird showed up with a berry of some sort. (Just where did he get that from? I think all the berries here are safely bird-netted.) Which of the baby birds has a mouth big enough to hold a large berry?
He tried to put it in each of the baby beaks, but it was just too big. What a shame! He had to eat it himself.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Still Quilting

Back to the machine today, to do a bit more quilting:
For the hexagon kaleidoscope blocks, I'm quilting following the fabric design. I'm nearly half the way through this part, then I have the border to do. I'll have to get a bit more creative in the border, because there is no design to follow on that fabric. These might help with ideas:
"72 Ways Not to Stipple or Meander" and "72 MORE Ways not to Stipple or Meander", which arrived today in the mail. I bought them from the author, Dijanne Cevaal. They are both packed with ideas for quilting designs. More quilting practice coming up!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Looking, Looking

We look at the birds:
That's the webcam and the nest viewed from below. Note the grapevine branch which has been across all the previous pictures has now been pruned.

The birds look back:
It might be a bit hard to see unless you click to enlarge the picture, but there's a baby on the left with its eyes open, looking as if it is looking at the camera. Three of them seem to have their eyes open now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Surprising Day

Today I had all sorts of plans, but a phone call asking me to come in to work changed all that. When I got home, there was another surprise:
I was given these two stunningly beautiful books!
Botanical Riches, and The Garden of Ideas, both by Richard Aitken

Monday, November 14, 2011


Mr Blackbird checks on his four offspring.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


A skipper butterfly, Green Grass-dart or Yellow-banded Dart (two names for the same butterfly Ocybadistes walkeri sothis) in my backyard this afternoon.

Same butterfly, different pose:

Saturday, November 12, 2011


First daylily flower of the year. This one is Ginny Mitchell, which flowered in late December last year.
Something has been nibbling at it unfortunately, but it is nice to see it flowering again. There are lots of buds still to come, so I'll be enjoying this one for a while.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Blackbird Babies

There are definitely three hatchlings, although I haven't been able to get all of them in one photo yet.
It will be interesting to see how they grow. Their mother has no tail, and therefore cannot fly. She has been hopping around the backyard for about a year, and obviously found a male blackbird who was happy to mate with her. But there are probably not a lot of backyards where a hopping bird can live safely, so if the babies don't grow tails I don't expect them to live very long.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Multiple Birds!

This morning when I checked out the bird-nest camera I was amazed to see Mr Blackbird for the first time. And look what he is doing:
It may not be easy to see in the low-resolution picture, but he is feeding a baby bird! I mentioned that on Tuesday Mrs Blackbird seemed to be listening to her eggs. Some time since then at least two have hatched. There does seem to be still one egg in the nest, but we probably won't be able to get an accurate head count until the babies grow a little.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

400 Pins Later

A friend asked me to show this quilt to her patchwork students tonight, so I took advantage of the opportunity to use the large tables in the computer room next door to get it pin-basted.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bird Watching

I've been spending a bit of time lately watching this blackbird.
She built her nest under the back verandah, and now a little camera is mounted beside it so we can keep an eye on her. She's been there a couple of weeks, and today she seemed to be listening to her eggs at times. Is something about to happen?

Monday, November 7, 2011


Just a brief stop for me!
An attractive gazebo in the Melbourne General Cemetery, where I stopped for a rest in the shade. I was walking to the cinema to see Midnight in Paris. 8.4km according to Google maps. 14,000 steps on my pedometer (17,000 by the time I got home again).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gardens at Heide

Trip to Heide Museum of Modern Art.

The kitchen garden at Heide I is still in use, supplying vegies and herbs for the café:
But I'm glad I don't have to try and weed Heide II's kitchen garden:
It's a little overgrown.

It was a very nice day for a walk around the gardens, quite warm but the cloud cover kept the heat under control. Here's part of the ornamental garden at Heide I:
The bees were going absolutely crazy in the purple rugosa rose at the end of the garden bed.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What Made This?

While looking at the flowers on my Eucalyptus leucoxylon (yellow gum) today, I noticed this:
I presume it is a cocoon of some variety, but I haven't seen one like it before. Can anyone identify it?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Floral Gift

Cute little collection of Leucospermum flowers I was given last night:

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Today I did some quilting on the next part of the "pink triangles" quilt, but I don't want to show too many progress shots as they would not be interesting to anyone but me. I will say that I'm happy with how it is looking, though.
To minimise pain and suffering, I interspersed quilting and time in the garden. The weeds have been growing very well recently, so there was plenty of pulling out to do. I also dead-headed my roses for the first time this season, but there are still lots of buds coming on. Here's one just about to open.

And I promise that when I saw this friend's post for today, it was already too late for me to photograph something different. I wasn't copying, really!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Concrete Stump

How big do you think a tree might be now, if it had been planted in 1968?
Rather than plant a replacement tree, someone (presumably the council) erected this concrete stump. If you can't read the plaque, it says:

This plaque is to record that on this site stood a stately old gum tree. Local residents claim that an Aboriginal canoe was cut from its trunk. Because it became dangerous it was removed on 9.4.1968

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

For The Neighbour

A week or two ago I saw one of my neighbours waiting near my gate as I walked home. As usual, he wanted to tell me that something in my garden was too big (it's the only reason he ever speaks to me). I wasn't sure which plant in particular was worrying him, but I had noticed that the lemon-scented teatree (Leptospermum petersonii) was sending a branch towards his house, so I think it was that one. That sounds like I wasn't listening but the problem really is that his accent is very strong and I understand very little of what he says.
So today, the branch was removed. I hope that means he won't have to talk to me again for a while. A couple of the callistemons are spreading past the fence line as well, but I want to wait until they finish flowering before pruning them.