Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Geraniums are Tough

Spotted growing on the roof of a shop in Moonee Ponds:
Or perhaps more accurately, between two roofs.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Took advantage of "cheap" Tuesday (slightly cheaper than other days, anyway, but not half-price like it used to be) to see this entertaining Hindi film:
I found it very funny, although I was probably in the mood for a laugh. If you took it seriously some parts were silly, others racist, and some jingoistic. And yet I had a great time!

Here's a reviewer who put it far better than I could:
 "...extremely erratic; there are few movies in living memory that ricochet between shockingly offensive comic business and utterly disarming hilarity as drastically as this one"
Danny Bowes at

Sunday, October 26, 2014

After the Garden Tours

Tiny flowers at Lal Lal:

A species of goodenia:

Tiger orchid, Diuris sulphurea:

Milkmaids, Burchardia umbellata:

A very tiny orchid, possibly hooded caladenia, Stegostyla cucullata:

Chocolate lily, Arthropodium strictum:

All spotted when we met a contractor to discuss clearing and earthworks for the building.

Over the years I have looked forward to watching these tiny plants bloom once I'm living there, and now I wonder if any of them will survive the process.

Ballarat Gardens in Spring

Five gardens around Ballarat were open this weekend, and we visited three of them today. Here's a few things that caught my eye.

An orchard with trees kept low - perhaps so they can be covered with bird-netting? And some vegies in poly-tunnels.

Do they feed them in winter, or is there enough for them to eat?

It looks like rhubarb thrives in the area:


Tanks everywhere, collecting water from the roof of even the smallest structure:

A plant spread widely in one of the gardens, and loved by the bees:
It is digger's speedwell, Parahebe perfoliata, or perhaps Derwentia perfoliata, or even Veronica perfoliata. One of those, anyway! It is the blue-ish flower in the next couple of photos.

Shady pergola:

Part of a garden bed designed to attract honey-eaters:

Loved the rain chain, loved the pebbles round the pond. But I can't say the same for that poor butchered treadle machine!

A seat with a view:

Echiums with room to spread, looking fantastic:

Berries under netting:


I'm not a great fan of hedges, but I loved they way they divided the sections of this garden:

A volunteer at one of the gardens turned out to be someone I'd worked with 20 years ago, which was a lovely surprise. We dropped in for a cuppa on the way home, and had a bonus tour of her garden as well.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Grand Illusion Preparation

Grand Illusion is Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt this year:

The mystery starts in about a month but Bonnie announced her colours a couple of weeks ago. Today I sorted through my fabrics to see what I had that matched her selections.

Medium to dark pinks:
Plenty of them.

I have a few.

Golden yellow:
Lots of them, although Bonnie used only one yellow fabric throughout her quilt. The only yellow I have lots of is the swirly one in the middle of the photo, which might have a bit too much white.

We also need neutrals and blacks. I have plenty of blacks, and I will use white for the neutral.

But this is the problem colour:
Bright, grassy green. That is all I have - a quarter metre of one, slightly less of another, and a tiny leftover from the border of last year's mystery. So, do I go shopping for some more greens, or change the colour scheme to suit the fabrics I have?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lemon Threads

As you walk towards this spot, the footpath appears to be covered in a pale yellow substance:
There are drifts of it on the road:
And cars parked nearby have quite a sprinkling of the thread-like substance:

Can you tell what it is?

Here's the source - a street tree in flower. It is a melaleuca of some variety:
The stamens are dropping from each flower once it is fertilised, coating everything in the tiny threads. By day the tree hums with bees, and last night I discovered that it attracts bogong moths after dark. It's an insect feast around the clock!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Surprise Package

The postie brought me Jane Monk's Tangle Stitches book today:
I won it in a giveaway on Jane's blog, but it had to come from the publisher in the USA.

I first heard of zentangle when this DVD featuring Jane was included with a Quilters Companion magazine a few years back:
I loved the look of some of the zentangle patterns, and actually tried out one design in the green squares on this quilt:
I'm not sure where that quilt is at the moment (in a box somewhere!), so I've had to just enlarge part of an old photo. Sorry it's a bit blurry! Obviously I need a bit of practice stitching this design, because I didn't quite achieve the spiral effect I was going for.

The book has lots more patterns than the DVD had, as well as a few stitching projects using the various designs:

I should have some fun exploring the possibilities!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wild and Goosey Times Ten

I now have ten completed "Wild and Goosey" blocks:
I've also made a few sections towards the next couple of blocks, but need to make a few more with different colours before I can assemble them into blocks.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hexagon Update

It seems like weeks since I touched my hexagon Flower Ball, (Geta Grama's pattern) what with all that house moving and everything. In fact I just checked, and the last time I showed it on my blog (which is probably close to the last time I touched it) was two months ago!
This afternoon I had afternoon tea with a couple of quilting friends, and stitched a little bit more together. In the photo I'm attaching one flower to a section I've already joined. The whole ball is now in six large sections. Click on that "two months ago" link above to see what the whole thing will look like, if you haven't seen it before. Maybe I can get it all together before I meet my friends again in a month?

I'm linking this post to Sarah's Help for Hexie-aholics, which this month is a special link-up because it also includes cats, and we all know that the internet is made of cats.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Seedlings Update

These are the TreeProject seedlings which weren't ready to be planted out in July:
Some were transplants, and some didn't germinate until winter. Some germinated in winter and then were transplanted. But now most of them are about big enough to plant.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Jeweller's Shop

A few weeks ago I noticed this sign near a unit I was inspecting:
"Blacksmith's Hole" and "Jeweller's Shop" didn't mean anything to me, and Google let me down on this occasion. But I guessed it had something to do with gold.

A week or so later the explanation was found at the Sovereign Hill lookout. Here's the marker, pointing to both localities, in the ESE direction:

A near-by historical panel about the gold-rush days states:
"...near the Canadian Creek were the famed 'jeweller's shops' which yielded up to 500oz (14kg) of bright nuggety gold for every foot (30cm) mined. This was perhaps the richest patch of alluvial gold the world has known. The crudely-sunk 'blacksmith's hole' nearby produced more than a ton of gold from a claim only 24 feet (7.2m) square."

I remember in primary school having to learn, "From wicket to wicket in cricket is 22 yards, 66 feet, or one chain." (And who would have guessed that was worth remembering? Last week I used the same memory to help me calibrate my step length on my Vivofit by walking and running up and down a nearby cricket pitch.)

So five chains makes 110 yards, or 100 metres. I've marked the rough position of the sign on this map:

Using the scale, you can see that 100 metres is pretty close to that property coloured orange on the map.

It seems I've just bought myself a gold mine!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vireyas in Flower

Of course I didn't leave my vireyas behind at the old house. Here's two of them flowering happily in their new surroundings.

Chayya has three or four open clusters of flowers:

Princess Alexandra has at least ten open clusters, with many more on the way:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Jack at the Dog Park

One kilometre from here there is an "off-leash" park. For the last few days we've been taking Jack there for a run in the morning after breakfast, and again late in the day. It increases my daily step count, and wears Jack out so that he is much calmer with the old dogs at home.

On Sundays the park is particularly busy. Here's some of the dogs Jack met and played chasey with this morning:

And this evening. This was one race Jack was never going to win - the whippet didn't have to even try:
Jack has a great time chasing and being chased. But he's not so sure about huge dogs like this husky:
After walking a kilometre, then running around for probably 2 or 3 more, then walking another kilometre back home, Jack is ready to sit quietly - at least for a while!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Quilts in the Barn

The theme this year is "Inspired by Antique Quilts". There are a few examples where the actual antique quilt is present for comparison, such as this "Sunburst" quilt, made by Michelle Yeo, and inspired by the quilt from the 1800s draped in front of it:
The antique version is very worn in places, but it was lovely to see it there for comparison with the new one. Michelle has published the pattern for this quilt.

The main quilt here is called "Looking Back", and was made by Lynne Mills:
She used a combination of English paper piecing and needle-turn appliqué.

The last photo is of possibly my favourite quilt in the show.
It was made by Jenny Bear. She hand-pieced the stars, creating amazing patterns by the way she carefully cut the sections. The original quilt that inspired this one is seen in a book called Quilts in Virginia. I might try to draft these shapes myself sometime in the future...