Friday, May 31, 2013


For some reason this pincushion hakea Hakea laurina in a nearby street is sprouting flowers all over its trunk:

I hope it is not because it is desperately trying to reproduce before it dies.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Reading Huckleberry Finn, and watching Huckleberry Hound, it didn't occur to me to wonder what a huckleberry might be. But these goodies made me look it up:
So now I know! Haven't tried the chai mix yet, but the jam is very yummy.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Beautiful Sturt's Desert pea (Swainsona formosa) between golden barrel cactuses (Echinocactus grusonii) at the Botanic Gardens today.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Another Year

A few special items for me:
Clip-on LED light (for reading my Kobo in bed) illuminating a lovely, all hand-made (including the dowels!) thread rack, and some sewing-themed fabrics.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Last Stage

It's been a while in the making, but this quilt is nearly finished:

I started hand-piecing hexagons some time in the second half of 2010. Here's a picture someone else took of my progress in November that year:

Then in November 2011 the top was pin-basted:

The binding was machined on this afternoon, and will be hand-stitched down over the next day or two. Then I'll post a picture of the finished article!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Scatterday - M

M is today's sinking letter, and the categories are:
modern quilt.

Sport is not my thing. I'm stretching the definition to include games:
Monopoly. I was given a set by an aunt when I was in 5th or 6th grade, but it wasn't long before Mum banned it from the house because of the fights that arose. My son bought this Star Wars set when we were in the US in 2000, but he tired of it quickly after being thrashed by someone who played not just to win, but to destroy everyone else. So it seems Monopoly is not suitable for children or adults!

Movies! Even better, movies that all start with "M". This selection are all classics, for one reason or another.
Mughal-e-Azam - a quality classic from 1960.
Mard - a "so bad it's good" classic from 1985.
Mujhse Shaadi Karogi - very funny "leave your brain at home" comedy.
Main Hoon Na - the first Hindi movie I saw, which indirectly lead to me studying Hindi and travelling to India.

Merle. One of my imaginatively-named dogs! Merle is a blue-eyed merle.

Modern Quilt:
I haven't made any quilts that fit the definition of a "modern" quilt yet. So here's something that isn't modern at all! I picked it up for a couple of dollars recently. I love the title: Every Kind of Patchwork. It was published in 1978, although this paperback edition is from 1983. It doesn't include anything involving rotary cutting, which is probably the basis for just about every patchwork technique these days. But some of the designs are quite timeless, and would look like modern quilts if they were in modern fabrics.

As usual, you can check out all the other Scatterdayers via Cinzia's blog here.

Friday, May 24, 2013


As I walked under this nearby street tree today, I was surprised to hear bees buzzing.
The bees had noticed something I had missed; the tree is covered in tiny flowers:
It's only a week to winter, but when the sun shines like it did today there is plenty of food for the bees to gather close to home.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Seedlings Update

It's about time I posted some photos of the TreeProject seedlings, as I haven't since they started germinating in February and March. (You can click on "TreeProject" in the label cloud over on the right to see the previous posts).

Here's the blackwoods, Acacia melanoxylon.
Some are nearly ready to plant out, while others are still germinating or have recently been transplanted into tubes where nothing germinated.

The messmates, Eucalyptus obliqua.

Woolly teatree, Leptospermum lanigerum.

And the ones I don't like working with - the hedge wattles, Acacia paradoxa.
Perhaps a close-up of one of these will explain the problem:
Those spines are sharp!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Waste Time Exploring the World

I love Google Street View. I've used it to wander around random places I'll never see in real life. I've used it to show students the places they migrated from 40 or 50 years ago. I've looked at places I lived in as a child. But this week I found a fun way to waste a lot of time, Geoguessr. It's a game that drops you somewhere in the Street View world, then you wander around to try and figure out where you are. Once you think you know, you click on a map to make your guess. A game consists of 5 rounds, and your score will be higher the closer you are to the correct spot.

There are all sorts of clues you can gather - what side of the road is the traffic on, are the speed limit notices in miles or kilometres, are the roads well-maintained, how big are the vehicles?
The type of vegetation helps, and if it is sunny you can check the direction of the shadows to work out if you are in the northern or southern hemisphere (you are told where North is). What do the people look like? As well as looking around, you can look up and down, which might reveal mountains behind the building in front of you. But the best clues come from signs. You can zoom in to look at them (but not if you play on an iPad, I'm told). What language are they in? The longer you spend exploring, the more likely you are to find a sign telling you the name of the place.

In my early games I was happy to guess somewhere in the right country, but soon I wanted to be more exact. Today I got my best score so far, 30971. If you want to try and beat that (play it a few times to get the hang of it first), follow this link to the challenge: Beat my best score.

And speaking of signs, today I saw this:
This is a tattooist you would not want to go to. Misspelt signs can be repainted, correcting tattoos might be more painful!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Over 250 quilters gathered today at the Geelong Quilt-In
for a fun day filled with sewing, and talking, and listening. Yummy morning and afternoon teas sustained the participants, while traders displayed tempting fabrics, books and equipment.

I enjoyed catching up with some friends and meeting some new people, while making progress on my sunflowers quilt. And on top of all that, I was lucky enough to win one of the door prizes!
Meredithe Clark Feathered Star template set (retails for over $30), two spools of lovely cotton thread, and a very cute pig tape measure.

Thanks Jenni for breakfast and the ride to Geelong, thanks to whoever donated the door prize I won, and thanks to the Geelong guild for putting on a great day!

Friday, May 17, 2013


Tree dahlias flowering in my garden:
They provide lots of food for the bees, but it was a bit cold today for them to take full advantage of it. Here's one brave worker out on her own:
I followed the bees' example and stayed inside most of the day, keeping warm by doing some quilting.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Morning Sun

These beautiful eucalypt flowers near the tram stop on my way to work were providing breakfast for honeyeaters and parrots before the rain moved in for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Mr Meccano Man and his dog are excited about Frank Hornby's 150th birthday.

Monday, May 13, 2013


While out walking today I came across this empty block:
Nothing unusual about that around here. Often I can hardly remember what the house looked like, but in this case I remember it well. I tried to buy it when I was house-hunting in 1997. Here's what it looked like, courtesy of Google Street View:
It had some quite nice art-deco features inside. I wonder if any were saved? At least this time there was no garden to mourn.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Finished Shirt

I started this blouse a couple of weeks ago, and today there were only the buttons and buttonholes left to do. It took me all morning to build up enough courage to tackle them.
Then it took me all afternoon to make 13 buttonholes and sew on 13 buttons.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Scatterday - V

This time it's for Vireya.

Our categories, as set by Cinzia, are:
# colour
# pointy
# weather
# and of course it has to be a vibrant quilt
A couple of easy ones, but weather? I will be fascinated to see what people came up with for that one!

Vermilion leaf on my persimmon tree.

Vreisea has pointy leaves.

This week's warm sunny days have felt more vernal than autumnal. But the truth about all the Victorian weather is available at the Bureau of Meteorology.

Not such a vivid quilt, but it does have one vivid piece in it:

As usual, you can find links to the other Scatterday participants on Cinzia's blog.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Trying to capture this morning's eclipse:
Each patch of light filtering through a tree shows the shadow of the moon in the top left section. Not quite as spectacular as the pictures from Tennant Creek!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Another Fern Rescue

Would you believe I found another one?
Birdsnest fern, probably Asplenium nidus. This one was also on a nature strip, but half covered in dirt and rubble. I might not have noticed it except that a couple of fronds were sticking out of the top of the pile.

As you can see, the fronds on one side have all been chopped off, but there are lots of new ones on their way:
With a bit of a tidy-up, it will be looking fantastic in no time.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Autumn Flowers

A couple of flowers in my garden today:
Diascia with lots of flowers, and plenty of buds to come.

Bethel sage (Salvia involucrata 'Bethelii') just starting to open, with a lot of flowers ahead.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Biological Control

I was horrified to discover a few gorse (Ulex europaeus) plants on a different part of the Lal Lal block from where we have been trying to eliminate it for 10 years. However this is a welcome development:
Gorse spider mites (Tetranychus lintearius) on one branch.

The spider mites were first released in Victoria in 1998 to combat the spread of this horrible weed. (Details here.) I'm happy to see that the mites found this plant before I did!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fern Rescue

Out walking today I saw this large bird's nest fern that someone had dug up and left lying on a nature strip along with other garden waste. I had to take it home with me!
Probably Asplenium nidus. The fronds are up to a metre long, although they have been hacked a bit in places. There are spores on the fronds, so it has been happy where it has been living. There are new fronds forming in the centre:
Why someone would throw out a plant like this, I can't imagine. Especially when they have obviously had it for a very long time. I hope it will be happy with me!