Friday, January 30, 2015

Mystery Plant

Does anyone know the name of this plant? I've seen it in a couple of gardens this year, but my internet search skills haven't been up to identifying it.



It grows to about 40-50cms tall in the gardens where I've seen it. These flowers are past their best, but they were the only ones on the public side of the fence today as I walked past. When they finish, the "globe" part dries out, but stays on the plant for some time.

Please let me know in the comments if you can identify this plant for me!

Added later: Thanks once again to Dee, who has identified plants for me many times. It is a Silene vulgaris, or bladder campion. It is a weed in various parts of Australia, so while it probably would be OK to grow it in the city, it wouldn't be OK to grow in the new garden at Lal Lal!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fabric Gift

Today I received in the mail these two beautiful "Fabric Patches", a lovely gift from Maria at "The Next Stage". Because I didn't take them out of their cellophane wrapping, there's a bit of reflection in my photos which is detracting from their beauty. In real life they are stunning!

From the label:
"Artwork by Australian artist Gerhard Hillmann. Ideal for Patchwork, Quilting, Clothing and other creative projects." They are 15cm square photographic prints on organic cotton fabric, with 1cm of white around the edges. That is a nice touch, as it means the image won't get swallowed up in a seam.  Gerhard's website is here:  He has some amazing designs!

Thank you, Maria, for your generous gift.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Day at the Coast

On the way I stopped at Roraima Nursery in Lara, where these plants were for sale:
They appear to be the same as the crinums I have noticed around this suburb since rescuing a pot full last April, so I was interested to learn they are "Crinum x Powellii". I was also interested in the price - $20 each. That makes that pot full I rescued rather valuable!

In Ocean Grove I was happy to see this beautiful flowering gum (Corymbia ficifolia) in full flower:
as it is one of two we gave to the owners about 15 years ago. It is nice to see how they have thrived and become such beautiful trees. They attract several different honeyeaters to the garden.

We had lunch at the "Rip View Bistro" where you can watch ships pass through The Rip on their way to Melbourne or Geelong.

This is "Sentosa Leader", a vehicle carrier:
I've been in one of these, and they are like floating multi-storey car parks.

This one is a tanker, "Chang Hang Feng Cai", heading to Melbourne:
And this is "Ocean Future", a bulk carrier on its way to Geelong:
I really enjoyed watching the ships go by.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Spent the weekend getting a few things done at the unit, including installing some curtains on windows which felt a bit too exposed:
Now I can watch people go past on the bike track without feeling that they are also watching me inside my home.
And I can open this bathroom window wide, without feeling the people walking past can see right in.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Two Mystery Quilts

Met up with my quilting friends in the Melbourne CBD group today, and had the opportunity to "compare and contrast" with another Grand Illusion mystery quilt:
Mine on the left, and Jeanette's on the right. It was interesting to see how our different fabric choices influenced the final outcome. The same, but different! I was very impressed that Jeanette managed to make hers completely from her stash, especially given that she made the full size version. I bought a bunch of green fabrics for mine.

It was great to see them together. I think they both looked better in real life than they do in the photos.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Walking Into the Unknown

Spent a lovely afternoon at the Ballaarat Quilters "Sit and Sew" day. To find them I had to follow the sound of happy voices along several corridors in this old building:
This is where they have their regular meetings as well. It is only 20 minutes walk from my new place, so very convenient.

Somewhere during the day I passed the 1.5 million step mark:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Gaultier at the National Gallery

Went to a wonderful exhibition today at the NGV:

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

You are allowed to take photos inside (no flash, of course), but the light levels are so low that my camera wouldn't have been able to take an unblurry shot. Many people were taking pictures with their phones, though. The exhibition was busy, but not uncomfortably so. There are seven rooms in the exhibit, with a huge number of garments. But the animated mannequins are a bit freaky!

That's someone's video from the same exhibition when it was in Montreal in 2011.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Faulty Flamingo

Finished my flamingo block:
You can see other people's flamingos on Kristy's link-up here: Quiet Play BOM - Flamingo

I don't know if it will be obvious, but mine is probably slightly misproportioned, thanks to Windows 8. There is no "Print to scale" option on the printing dialog box, and I stupidly trusted that it must just do that without being told. Wrong! My flamingo is narrower than he should be, by about 2cm.

After a bit of internet searching, apparently the answer is to not use the PDF reader that comes with Windows 8, but to download a proper one. So I will be doing that now, but I will not be re-making the flamingo right now. I had to unpick and re-sew so many of his seams, that I can't face re-making him just yet.  Perhaps his incorrect proportions will be disguised by borders at the end...

Added later: Fixed by associating pdf files with Chrome, which was already installed. Its print dialog box has a "Fit to page" option which can be unticked to get a correct-sized printout.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

From C to B

The pick-up involved a bit of impromptu pruning of some of the neighbours' vegetation:
The drop-off was a little easier:
Except maybe for the heavy furniture which had to go upstairs.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Flamingo in Progress

The flamingo is the first block of a paper-pieced BOM (Block of the Month) for 2015 called "Zoo Animals", designed by Australian designer Kristy at Quiet Play.

Each month she will provide the pattern for one animal free. I thought I would get the flamingo made today, but I had a few other things I had to do, and I had a bit more trouble sewing it than I expected. A few of these seams had to be sewn twice - my fault, not the pattern! I wasn't concentrating properly. So this is about a third of the flamingo.  It will be a couple of days before I can get back to him, but at least I got his eye done. It has the teeny-tiniest pieces!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Dahlia Bargain

The local hardware barn had a table of Mystic dahlias marked down. If I'd been travelling by car I might have been tempted to buy more than one.
This one had the loveliest flowers, but had no tag. I'm not sure exactly which one it is. Another orangey one on the table had a Mystic Haze tag, but looked a little different. Whichever one it is, it is beautiful!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Completed Mystery Top

Here it is, photographed this morning while dodging the rain:

Posted with difficulty, as I am learning a new operating system after my previous laptop died in the hot weather. I'm now trying to work out how to get Windows 8 do all the things I used to do!

Added (much) later: Bonnie has another link-up for the mystery. I haven't made more progress, but as I didn't have the borders on for the last link-up, I've added this post to it. Check out all the finished quilts here: Final Grand Illusion Link-Up

Friday, January 9, 2015


Attaching the borders:

All done this evening, but not before it was too late to get a photograph.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

More Babies

This morning I found that all seven of the TreeProject boxes now have seeds germinating. Here are the five new ones today.

Grey box, Eucalyptus microcarpa:

Manna gum, Eucalyptus viminalis:

Messmate, Eucalyptus obliqua:

Red stringybark, Eucalyptus macrorhyncha:

Yellow box, Eucalyptus melliodora:

Last night we had thunder and lightning, and today seeds are popping out of the soil.  It may just be co-incidence, but I've noticed this happen in previous years, too. Thunderstorms seem to be followed by bulk germination. Or perhaps all these seeds would have popped up overnight anyway!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Spent some time assembling the borders of the mystery quilt:
Maybe I will get them attached tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Welcome Home

This huntsman spider was on the wall of what will be my new bedroom:
His legs look quite dusty there. He didn't look that hairy in real life - or perhaps I just didn't get close enough!

This spider was at Lal Lal later in the day:
Fortunately I noticed her before I walked into her web. Possibly an enamelled spider.

Several of these were growing beside the road:
Presumably some type of puffball fungus, but I found it interesting that it was only growing in the gravel at the side of the road, and nowhere else that I could see.

A quick stop-off at Lal Lal Falls, where we can see that nothing is falling at this time of year:

Monday, January 5, 2015

First Trees

On Wednesday last week I sowed the seven boxes of eucalyptus seeds in this year's TreeProject kit. Today I noticed that two species have started germinating. They are difficult to see yet; the leaves are smaller than the grains of sandy gravel mulch.

River Red Gum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis:

and Red Box, Eucalyptus polyanthemos subsp. vestita:

It is exciting to see them start popping up so quickly!

Mystery Finale

Yesterday I got the mystery quilt to the stage where the blocks and sashing were webbed together:
Here it is draped over the ironing board last night. You can see that the horizontal seams haven't been sewn yet.

Today I got those seams done, so here it is hanging on the clothes line, a bit hidden by the garden:

I couldn't get a straight-on shot because of where the plants are:
I've done a 3 x 3 arrangement of the blocks, which gives me a top of 120cm x 120cm, but as you can see I haven't added borders yet. Because my quilt is smaller, I can't just do Bonnie's borders. If I add the narrow inner border, I will end up with a measurement that isn't divisible by the size of the outer border units. I can see three options:

1. Don't add the inner border:

2. Add the inner border, and extend it to the edges of the quilt:

3. Add an extra something in the middle of each side to make the border fit. For example, adding a 5cm-wide piece (ie half the width of a border unit) to the centre of each side would allow for narrow borders of 2.5cm.

I'd be interested to know what other people think. Which option do you think would look best? Or can you think of a different option?

When Bonnie posts the final link-up for this mystery, I'll add the link to this post. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone's tops, especially those who chose completely different colours.

Here's the link-up!

And that brings us to the end of another Quiltville mystery. Thanks, Bonnie, it has been great fun!

Saturday, January 3, 2015


I got some more of my quilt assembled before I got too hot to sew. All my blocks are sewn together in one direction, and the sashing units are sewn into pairs:
Now they need pressing before the next bit of sewing.

Friday, January 2, 2015


Spent almost all day today in my sewing room, making extra units for the mystery quilt, and ignoring the heat outside.
I still need to make 11 of the double-diamond units from week 2, and then I can get the main part of the quilt top assembled. Maybe tomorrow?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

Spent this afternoon visiting a friend, doing some hand-stitching:
My hexagon flower ball is now in three large pieces. We also played with my Grand Illusion units to see if we could come up with a nice arrangement.

When I got home, I discovered that Bonnie had posted the reveal a couple of hours earlier - probably right as we were scratching our heads about how it was going to work. Bonnie's quilt is a 5x5 grid. I spent some time working out how many extra pieces I would have to make to create a 3x3 grid, given that I made only a quarter of the requirements for each clue.

After dinner I had to start putting at least one block together. Here is it with only the seams in one direction sewn:
I didn't feel like getting the iron out to press it before doing the other seams. I expect I will be spending the next two hot days making components, and stitching blocks together, while using the iron as little as possible. And hoping I like the finished quilt!