Sunday, July 31, 2016

Rebuilt Wall

This morning I could get a good look at how far the brickies got last night:

Double skin, about half the final length, and almost the full height:

So they did a good job of rebuilding before they went home last night.
There will eventually be concrete between the two skins, so it will be a solid wall. The outside will be bagged, so you won't see the bricks.

Today was a beautiful day for working outside. Sunshine, no wind. But no sign of the brickies! Yesterday must have been enough for one weekend. But their tools are all here, so I guess that means they will be back some time.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Brick Wall

Since early June, our driveway has been full of bricks. A pile of sand was delivered a few weeks ago. A pallet full of bags of cement followed. But there was one thing still missing:


They arrived early this morning, and by the time we had to leave to attend a birthday party, they had this much wall:

The weather was cold and windy, but at least it wasn't raining.

The birthday party was held at the Mt Buninyong Winery. This was a venue for a wedding which had to be abandoned in the Scotsburn bushfire last year.
Scotsburn bushfire fails to ruin big day

Burnt trees with re-growth right beside the venue:
There appeared to be the remains of a building through there, too, but I couldn't tell if it had been a house or a large shed.

The fantastic cake was made by a family member:
You've seen Reg's real-life tractor on this blog quite a few times, such as here in March.

Notice the chook outside? There was a small flock of them wandering around out there:
With a couple of roosters to keep an eye on them.

When we returned home, the wall didn't seem lots bigger than it had been when we left:

The reason can be seen in these two stills from one of the security cameras. Here's the wall at 2PM and 38 seconds:
 And here it is at 2PM and 40 seconds:
A 45km/h gust of wind brought down one section, and the rest followed. It had started to move in the top photo. Fortunately all the workers got out of the way, and there were no injuries. Just a lot of wasted effort! Apparently because the bricks were wet from sitting out in the rain for weeks, they did not suck moisture out of the mortar the way dry bricks would. As a result the mortar was still very wet and sloppy, so the wall didn't have a lot of structural integrity when the wind hit.

The poor brickies first had to clean up all the bricks, then re-lay them. They worked until it was too dark for me to get a photo.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Getting Things Done

Finally hung this much-needed little reminder in my sewing room:
While I was up the step-ladder, I glanced out the window and saw this:
The first spring star (Ipheion uniflorum) opening! I don't know how many more there might be, but I know from my old garden that they turn into little clumps over time. This one is actually a warmer purple than the photo, of course. As are the purple parts (the feathers, the binding) of my feathered star:
Binding completed this afternoon. I still need to add a way of hanging it, but the quilt itself is done.

I even managed to re-assemble the bobbin winder, and wind bobbins of the threads I bought at the quilt show yesterday:
Much easier than anticipated, but now I need to find a place for this monster to live.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Craft and Quit Fair

Went to Melbourne for the "Jeff's Shed" quilt show, also known as the Vic Quilters Quilt Showcase:
The Craft and Quilt Fair is the real name of the event, but I wonder if anyone calls it that? There are lots of other crafts available and on display, but the quilts are my main interest.

This antique crib coverlet was one of a small display of antique quilts (the bottom right isn't missing, it was just behind part of the display). There wasn't much info available about it, just that it is typical of coverlets from the north of England, and it was hand-pieced, probably over papers, and is not quilted:
The red and white spool blocks created an optical illusion for me, where my brain would sometimes see them as alternating red spools and white spools all sitting up, and sometimes see them as either red spools or white spools in alternating orientation. Every time I look at it, my brain interprets it differently. The centre section also intrigues me, as it is quite irregularly regular. Or regularly irregular. So I may have spent more time looking at this one quilt than at any individual new one!

I watched the prize-giving, and was happy to see one friend collect an award. But sometimes the category a quilt was in was a bit puzzling. For example, none of the prize-winning "Modern" quilts struck me as particularly modern. And yet this one, which does look like a modern quilt, won a prize in the in the "Traditional - Two Person" category (this is a small section of the quilt): 
It is called Bay Leaves, and is the Bay Quilters raffle quilt for their show in October. I'll have to keep an eye out for ticket sellers for that one! Love the quilting, which enhanced the modern feel of the quilt.

Apparently there were floor talks on, "What Judges are looking for when they judge your quilt. Why this quilt won a prize and why this one did not win", which I'm sorry I missed. That could have been very interesting. I find it puzzling when a quilt wins an award for "innovative embellishment" when it used computerised embroidery digitised by someone else and purchased by the quilter, (which happened one year) or an award for "use of colour" when it was made from a pattern which specified the actual fabrics to use (so actually the designer's colour skills on show rather than the quilter's).

 My only purchase at the show was a colour card and two spools of thread:
I've been using pre-wound bobbins of this thread in my Sweet 16. At a previous show I did a joint purchase with three other quilters, where we each bought a box of 24 of a different colour, then swapped them around so we had 6 bobbins each of 4 colours. I didn't have anyone to do that with this time, and didn't want to buy a box of 24 bobbins of any one colour. (I haven't used up 6 of any one colour yet.) So I got these two spools, and will have to bite the bullet and, for the first time, use the intimidating bobbin-winder that came with the machine.

Anyway, it was a fun day out. The show is on until Sunday if you want to check it out.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Two Lakh Kays

Couldn't quite catch the car clicking over to 200,000 kms today:
I suppose I could have, but I didn't want to pull over to take the photo. For this one I was conveniently parked at the supermarket.

(Lakh - Indian for 100,000, although there it would be written as 1,00,000)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


This winter has been quite wet. Our 80,000l tank is full. There is water pooling in places down the block:
And almost flowing
right across the block.
But the soil underneath is still quite dry.

In the garden, the white salvia which the rosellas stripped back in April is trying again to flower:
Good luck with that!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dog Perch

Jack climbed up on my shoulder and sat there to get a better view out the window:

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Nearly Done

The feathered star wall-hanging dried completely overnight. Here's a view of the back of it, where you can sort-of see all the quilting:

Today's job was making and attaching the binding:
I got about a quarter of it hand-stitched down before it got too dark to see clearly.

Begun in February 2009(!), and very close to being crossed off my list of unfinished projects.

Friday, July 22, 2016


Today I visited a quilter who has quilts hanging throughout her home, held up with wooden clips. When I asked about them, she showed me one:
The back part hangs on a nail or screw or whatever, and the quilt is held between the back and the curved front piece by the tightening of the screw. These clips come from America, where they are probably quite common, but they were new to me.

While I was there I finished the hanging sleeve on my Zoo Animals quilt, meaning that it is crossed off my list of unfinished projects. But I didn't get a photo of it.

Back home I decided to block my feathered star wall hanging before adding the binding. The quilting left it a bit wavy round the edges, and it was also a bit grubby as it is 7 years since it was first pieced. I gave it a gentle wash by hand with some eucalyptus wool wash (the batting is wool), then spun it in the machine for a minute or two. Here is it pinned out flat to dry:

I'm not sure how long that will take, but it is in the loungeroom not far from the heater, so it might be reasonably quick.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Logs, Lines and Llamas

Two tractors at work breaking up the last pile of tree-trunks:
This pile has the potentially usable logs, so rather than being cut up for firewood, they were cut into 3-metre long sections. They could become garden structures like arbours or gazebos. Just not close to the house!

I stitched some lines on my June UFO, a feathered star wall hanging begun in 2009:
After that I stitched some more in other parts, and now I might have finished the quilting. I've hung it on the design wall to consider if it needs anything more or not. Either way, it was good to make so much progress.

Earlier this week the dogs and I met some llamas. They sniffed each other through a fence. But I didn't have my camera with me, of course. So this afternoon we took the dogs and the camera to try to recreate that moment, but it just wasn't happening. There were llamas,
but they kept their distance:
It seems that having sniffed the dogs a few days ago, they didn't feel the need to come close again today.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


This arrived today:
 It's the book of this year's Great British Sewing Bee TV show. It includes patterns for some of the challenges the contestants made. I particularly wanted this pattern:
The asymmetric skirt. I really want to try my hand at it!

The book has lots of general sewing info in the first chapter. One of my nieces apparently wants to learn to sew, so perhaps I should have ordered two copies. However I did notice a mistake in the diagram "Anatomy of a Sewing Machine" where one part is mislabelled. The patterns each include a few pages of instructions with diagrams, and they come in wide size ranges, (8 to 20 for the women's garments), maximising their usefulness. The end-papers have photos of the contestants from this series, and the judges and host. It is a lovely book, and makes me wonder if I should try to get hold of the books from the previous three seasons as well.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Winter Flowers

A sunny winter day reminds me that spring isn't far away. Yellow flowers glow in the sunshine.

Mahonia (Mahonia aquifolium):

Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox):
Not the best photo, but they smell nice.

We have three different jonquils starting to flower. A regular yellow one:
A creamy double form:
Or maybe actually a triple.

And lastly, an elegant plain white one:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Borders Done

Attached the last two border sections. Photos don't quite show the true colours of this quilt, because there is quite a bit of purple which the camera turns blue, and the greens also seem duller in the photos than they are in real life.

Earlier today I discovered I do have enough batting to make a piece big enough for this (enormous) quilt, which is good news!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sit and Sew

Another guild "Sit & Sew" day gave me the opportunity to do more work on my UFO for this month, Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street:
I added the inner border and two sides of the outer border, so it is nearly a complete top. I have the fabric for the backing, but no batting large enough, so I will have to go shopping before I can baste this quilt. And is it is 244cms square, I can't use the regular 240cm-wide stuff, so I'll need to find somewhere that sells the wider batting.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Things in Trees

A pair of wedge-tailed eagles surveying the world from the top of a dead pine tree near Buninyong a couple of days ago:

Earlier this week we had some very windy weather. We knew that down our block a tree or large branch had come down, but I forgot to go looking for it until yesterday:
It is balancing on smaller branches of a couple of other trees. I won't be walking under there while that's up in the air!

For the last couple of days there have been fresh koala droppings under two or three trees down the block. I've spent a bit of time wandering around looking up trying to find the koala, but it has eluded me so far. I wondered about the dark patch in the middle of this photo for a while:
But it is actually a large nest. It will be interesting to keep an eye on it and see who owns it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Winter White

I was up before the sun this morning, but about an hour later as it began to lighten outside, I looked out a window and was stunned to discover that there was snow outside!

Queen Fabiola bulbs Triteleia laxa, peeking through the snow:

Don't sit down here!

There wasn't a lot of snow on the ground here, but most things around the house had a good layer:

The internet connection dropped out a couple of times. Perhaps the disk didn't like being snowed upon:

I had to wait until there was a bit more light to get a good photo of the solar panels:

The snow stayed on the mulched areas of the garden for quite a while. Roses in the snow:

Jonquils about to open:

I think it is really winter now!