Thursday, November 29, 2012

Desperate Bees

Desperate for water, that is. As I was leaving work today it was 39 degrees outside. This potted plant had attracted large numbers of bees:
On some leaves they were on the top surface, and on others they were underneath. Were they gathering water? I thought so at first but maybe it was just that the leaves were cooler than the air and they were resting, because this was about two metres away:
A trickle of water from a drainpipe attracting hundreds of bees. Beekeepers make sure their bees have water available, but these may be feral bees. They need the water to cool their hive on hot days, to keep the internal temperature at 35°C. They spread water around so that as it evaporates it cools the hive. On a day like today, that takes a lot of work.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tiny Life

I noticed this rosebud had some aphids on one side of it, but this is what was on the other side:
There are also some tiny flower spiders which I couldn't see at all until looking at the photo on the computer screen. It's a whole world of little creatures!

Trying to identify the ladybird lead me to the fascinating site Ladybirds of Australia. I had no idea that most ladybirds aren't red or orange, and don't have spots! This one might be Hippodamia variegata, which apparently has variable numbers of spots, but whatever it is, it is welcome in my garden.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Step One

After quilting until my shoulders had had enough, I started piecing the first step of the Easy Street mystery:
Easy Street step 1
The full mystery calls for 192 of these 4-patch units. I'll probably make about 100 for now. So far, 23 sewn and 9 pressed.

Had to stop because my son and his girlfriend were coming for dinner to celebrate his birthday.
These helicopter crashes are getting more elaborate! This one even has a hovering news helicopter.

After dinner we watched the international space station zoom over, which was a lovely way to end the day.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Zygocactus (Schlumbergera truncata cultivar) in flower - perhaps it is confused. Often called a Thanksgiving cactus in North America because it flowers there now, it normally flowers in May here. But apparently they can flower twice a year.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, Bonnie Hunter has just launched her latest mystery quilt, Easy Street.
Bonnie runs a mystery each year between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. For a few years I have watched on, nervous to participate in making a quilt without knowing beforehand what it would look like, and each time I've loved what she has ended up with. So this year I decided that I will jump in and give it a go, even if I make something smaller than Bonnie does.

Today I pulled out fabrics which match the colour scheme she is using, just to see what I have:
Dark purples, aquas, lime greens, mid-grey and black-on-white prints. (As usual, the camera doesn't love the purple.) My purples are not as dark as those Bonnie is using, and my greens are not as bright. But I might just stick with these rather than choosing a completely different colour scheme. It's tricky when you don't know what it will look like!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Getting Better

My cough is actually improving, but it prompted me to look for this photo I took of a sign in Delhi in 2008:
The guy on the left says that his cough is still no good, and wonders what he should do. The answer is that a cough that continues for more than three weeks could be TB, so he should go and get himself tested at a free TB centre.

Monday, November 19, 2012

About Time

It's quite a while since I put all these pins in:
But today I finally started removing some of them.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Looking For Some Warmth

I was meant to go to an early Christmas gathering this afternoon, but my cough is still sounding disgusting, and I didn't think anyone would want it for company. So I stayed home alone and finished the Tessuti Lily dress.
Tessuti Lily linen dress
It should be comfortable on hot days, as it is a linen/cotton blend. And maybe some warm weather will help me get over this lurgy!

I think I like the look of the dress on. I had to make a lot of adjustments to the pattern to make it fit me and to make myself happy with how it looked. I've already mentioned the changes I made to the shoulder area. I had to place the pockets a good 5cm lower than marked on the pattern. Interestingly I made no change to the length of the sleeve, but it is much longer than the sleeve in Tessuti's pictures. If I make this again I might shorten the sleeve a little.
Close-up of the unusual pocket treatment:
Tessuti Lily pocket
I'd definitely do the pocket differently in a second iteration. But I thought I should make it according to the pattern this time to see what it looked like.
What happens when the wind blows:
Tessuti Lily linen dress
Looks a bit like a tent...

I also made the dress longer than the pattern, by 4cm. The pattern came to just below my knee, but this dress is meant to be longer than that. Even with the extra length, this is not as long on me as the picture on the pattern. However, even if I hadn't lengthened the dress, I would have needed 30cm more fabric than was specified.

I moved the pleats at the hem in by about 20cm, as the front and back pleats were too close together when I put them where the pattern said.

The last adjustment was needed to make the hem level. I had to trim off about 1.5cm from the centre back and front, tapering off to nothing at about 30cm from the centre. This was necessary because the hem dipped down too much.

So, overall, I'm happy with the dress, but the pattern has a few issues.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Not For Me

Earlier this year I picked up from the mark-down table an almost dead dahlia that a local hardware store had tried to kill. I've been waiting to see what colour the flowers are before planting it out.
Today its first bud opened enough for me to see the petal colour, but it wasn't what I was hoping for. So I gave it to someone with yellow flowers in their front yard.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fabric and Ice

Sewing the Lily dress while defrosting my freezer.
A little bit of stitching, then a little bit of chipping and mopping, but in the end only one job was completed.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I had to go into the city for a meeting after work, so took the opportunity to visit this construction by Patrick Dougherty in Federation Square:

Nice use of weeds!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Big Day

A bit of pre-breakfast fun trying to photograph the eclipse:
Pinhole shadow on a piece of guttering.

Then a trip to Ballarat, first to visit the "Capturing Flora: 300 years of Australian botanical art" exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Worth a visit if you can get to Ballarat before 2nd December.

After the gallery, a short drive to Lambley nursery and its beautiful gardens:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bluegum Quilters Show

A tripod might have helped with this shot of the Bluegum Quilters show at St James Anglican in Thornbury. Wonder what I rested the camera on last time?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Double Rainbow

Apparently there are figs at the end of the rainbow!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hungry Lemon Tree

It has a super crop this year, but my lemon tree is looking a bit sad in places. Gave it a feed today which hopefully will bring back some of its colour.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Damp Cup Day

Dietes bicolor looking less colourful than in real life. Really it's a pale lemon colour, but the conditions were a little dull today.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Been A Bit Sick

But I'm heading for well again.

Here's how I spent today:
Red glasses, red pen, and 75 exam papers.