Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Few Green Things

I was right about the waterlily. By morning two of its leaves had grown enough to reach the surface, and by this evening six of them had:
We bought two more waterlilies today, and put them in the deepest part of the pond. They might take a couple of days to get to the top.

I packed away the last of the Christmas decorations today, and hung this orange and green quilt in the hallway:
This pattern is Whirlin' Dervish, designed by Margaret J. Miller, finished nearly four years ago.

But the most green thing that happened today was clue six of the Quiltville En Provence mystery!
Cute little hour-glass units, in green, lavender and neutral.
In these photos my lavenders look a lot like the neutrals, but in real life they are obviously different. It was good to finally get into the green fabrics. Now only the yellow remains uncut.

Happy new year, everyone!

I will add a link to the mystery link-up on Monday or Tuesday when it is active.

Added later: there is no link-up this week because of the early reveal. The link-up will be next week instead.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Pond Improvements

The reeds which were just lying in the top of the pond yesterday are now in pots. We've also added a water lily, which is just visible in the far corner. Its leaves almost reach the top, so I think by tomorrow they will be up to the surface:
The large concrete stone fish was in the pond back in the city, but he can make a bigger splash here.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fish Move Home

This morning the pond liner was put in place, and the hose turned on:
And a couple of hours later, the fish found themselves with a lot more room to move!
After living in a small round plastic pond for about 16 months, they seem very happy to have such a large space to move around in. We weren't sure how many fish there are. There are eleven in the previous photo, but after multiple counts as they swam past me, I think there are fourteen all together. Eight gold ones, and six multi-coloured ones. I managed to get thirteen of them in this photo:
Including the giant fish who wasn't in the top photo.

There is a bit of work to do on the surroundings of the pond, and lots of plants will be added to it. But the fish seem happy so far. They are covered with bird-netting for now, to keep them safe from kookaburras:

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Damp Daylilies

A beautiful daylily flowering for the first time:
It was purchased this year but the plant and its label have been separated so I don't know what it is.
Later: Found! It is All American Tiger.

This daylily came from a previous garden:
I think it is Stella d'Oro. It looks like a golden star, anyway!

As you can see, we had a little bit of rain this morning, but we haven't begun replacing the water lost when the pipe burst. There's been lots of rain around the state, but it has been passing us by.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Last Rose and My UFOs

Gina Lollobrigida is the last of the roses planted in winter to begin flowering:

She looks a bit pale as we have another grey day today. I'm sure she will be brighter when the sun shines.

This year I participated in an online UFO activity where our unfinished projects were numbered, and someone pulled a number out of a hat for us to work on each month. That helped me get seven projects finished, and a few others moved to the next step. But it petered out before the year did. I don't know if anyone else was actually working on their UFOs, and then the person running it seemed to lose interest as well. I did find it helpful, though.

So I've found a similar project for 2017, being run by Judy Laquidara at Patchwork Times. There are quite a few participants signed up already, so I hope this one lasts the whole year!

Our first requirement is to write a blog post showing the UFOs we want to work on, and then link that post to Judy's 2017 UFO list page. This is my list, and here's the link.

1. Berry Delicious - swapped to number 9
Red Delicious was Esther Aliu's first free BOM, back in 2008. Mine is Berry Delicious because I included purple as well as red, and has been a top since July 2010. I need to get this one finished by November, as my quilt guild will have a "Red and White" theme to their quilt show this year. This may not count as red and white, but I'm definitely not going to make another red and white quilt between now and then!

2. 36-patch blocks
Top assembled in October 2011. I'm not sure if it needs a border, or something else added to it, so I've done nothing to it since then.

3. Pentagon Sunflowers - swapped to number 9 number 1.
Started in 2011, and I'm not sure how long it has been like this. It may need some more pieces made, then I'll appliqué it to a background/border.

4. Easy Street
Bonnie Hunter's 2012 mystery. Has been a complete top since July 2016.

5. Summer Solstice
 Celtic Solstice was Bonnie Hunter's 2013 mystery. Was basted in February 2016.

6. Wild and Goosey
Started September 2014, top completed November 2016.

7. Grand Illusion
Bonnie Hunter's 2014 mystery. Has been a top since January 2015.

8. Allietare
Bonnie Hunter's 2015 mystery. It does have a border, but I don't seem to have a photo of  it since the border was added. Has been a top since January 2016.

9. En Provence - swapped to number 3
No photo yet, as this is Bonnie Hunter's 2016 mystery which I am still working on. But it will most likely be a top early in the year, and I would like to get it finished before Bonnie runs another mystery. I have too many unfinished mystery quilts!

As well as these I have a couple of ongoing projects that aren't really UFOs at this stage. One is a handwork project for doing in meetings, and another consists of blocks which I am making from the scraps of other projects, so I will continue working on them through the year. There are also a couple of other projects I would like to start, but I won't do that until the UFO list is shorter than it is now!

So, I have less than 12 UFO projects to work on at present. If the number 10 is drawn, I will work on my 1, if 11 I will work on 2, and if 12 I will work on 3. That way my oldest UFOs will get 2 months each, and will be that much more likely to be finished.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Sweet Things

A lovely cooler, grey day today, complete with rain! Very refreshing after the hot day yesterday.

Daylily Huckleberry Candy flowering:
The last time I blogged it was five years ago, and I really don't know if it has flowered in any of the intervening years or not. But it seems quite happy in its new home, with multiple buds developing behind this first flower.

Rescue daylily flowering:
The garden where it used to live is now under concrete, so it is nice to see it flowering here.

The first gladiolus to open is white:
Today I planted a few more that were part of a Christmas gift. They are supposed to be purple with white stripes, but it will be some time before we can know if they really are.

Vireya Chayya is covered in flowers:
There are nine trusses of flowers like this, and several buds still to open.

It occurred to me this afternoon that yesterday was Jack's third birthday, so here's the little sweetie a couple of days ago:
Perched on the back of an armchair, keeping an eye on the little lizards out in the garden.

Tonight one of our neighbours and his young son brought us a plate full of sweet things they'd made, including these really cute little teddies in cars:
Very sweet!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

My Christmas wreath wall hanging is hanging on the wall:

All the shopping that can be done has been done. The presents are wrapped and under the tree:

Tomorrow will be busy, but this evening is quiet and calm. Happy Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Surprise Clue Five

This morning when I woke up I was startled to see this:
Was this a bad situation? Was it smoke or mist? I quickly went outside to check, but fortunately there was no smell of smoke. Phew! That's one way to get your heart going in the morning.

Bonnie gave us a big surprise today, releasing the fifth clue to the En Provence mystery at about 3:00pm instead of 11:00pm as she has the other clues. I was hoping to cut into our yellow and green fabrics this week:
 Daylily blooming today.

But instead, it's more of this:
Purple and white salvia, which has just started blooming again. I wonder how long until the crimson rosellas find it and destroy it as they did last summer?

So, another week of purple and neutral units. Not the light purple:
First flower on the Lagerfeld rose open this morning.

But the dark purple:

Added  much later: Monday Link-up!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Piglet Potholder

This potholder has a piglet block on each side:
The piglet block is designed by Sally at The Objects of Design, who today has posted Kangaroo 2.0, a slight modification to her original kangaroo block (and also a few piglets).

I think that is enough potholders for now, although I'm not sure if it's the end of the gift sewing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Long Day

Today is the summer solstice. Shorter days from now on, although it won't be immediately obvious as the sun will keep setting later for another week or two. It is just getting up a bit later as well.

Blue Moon rose starting to open:
The other day I said there were four roses left which hadn't yet flowered, but I can't count properly. There are really only two more after this one.

I made a couple of potholders:
Anyone doing the En Provence mystery quilt will probably identify the inspiration for the one on the left. The one on the right was my test piece for the centre of my Hazel quilt, made back in January and kicking around the sewing room ever since. Both of them lost their points when I put the binding on, but that's too bad.

Speaking of inspiration, you should go and look at the amazing block Sally created after she saw my post from last week about the kangaroo outside the kitchen window.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Still Working

The fishpond is getting closer to being finished:
Notice that you now need a ladder to get in and out of it.

I'm still working on gifts, but there's nothing interesting to photograph today.

Monday, December 19, 2016


Today's new rose is Mr. Lincoln:
It is really a dark red, but the early-morning sunshine is making it look a bit pinker here. Only four rose bushes left to have their first flowers.

Is the the world's shortest sunflower?
That's a 15cm ruler, so you can see that the flower head is less than 20cm from the ground and about 10cm across. I don't know what variety it is, but what was meant to be a tall row of sunflowers along the back of a flower bed is actually a series of tiny sunflowers hiding behind everything else!

Two people have been busy today. The fishpond is almost its full height:
One more course of bricks like this to go. Then solid bricks will go across the top to finish it off. The photo is a bit dark because there is a tarp over the top to provide shade for the worker.

And I finished this:
I never found my box of bag-making supplies, so there is no magnetic catch, and no key-leash inside. If I'd found that box I might have made the strap length adjustable, but instead I just had to pick a length based on the recipient being about the same height as me. I also skipped the O-rings on the strap to speed up the process, but there are three pockets inside. The end result is very cute, and I think the intended recipient will love it.

Five more sewing days till Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Regretting This

In Spotlight the other day I found on clearance this "Easy to make" fabric panel,
 which is meant to make a small backpack:

It probably is easy to make if you follow the instructions. But as I started looking at the pieces, I realised that I would get  much better finish by using a lot more interfacing than the pattern called for. And then I thought I could use the pieces to make a shoulder bag instead. So after half a day yesterday, and a couple more hours today, I have this:
It's very cute, but it is still a long way from being a bag. The head is a flap, and that is completely made. But I've decided to make the bag shallower, and add facings, and re-purpose various other sections to make a gusset for it and a shoulder strap with O-rings. Plus use extra fabric to add pockets to the lining. And I know I've got some magnetic catches somewhere, but where? So I could have another whole day of work before it is complete. For one present, when I have so many others to do. And all the while I'm worrying that I will stuff something up and have wasted the whole effort! What was I thinking?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Mystery Step Four

Before breakfast I had all the pieces cut for this week's mystery clue:

Before lunch they were all sewn together:
I'm making half-quantity, but even so, these clues seem to be going together very quickly. Just as well this week, as I have lots of other sewing projects to finish before Christmas.

No new roses open today, but here's part of the garden bed of roses along the driveway:
There are still a couple of roses in this bed that haven't yet had their first flower open, but it is starting to look quite nice.

Linked to the Week Four link-up at Quiltville.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Amazing Daylily

Unfortunately I'm not sure what it is!

Added later: Found the label! It is Black Plush.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Today's Stuff

Finished assembling the table runner, and then got it quilted:

Today's roses:
Just Joey.

Perfume Delight:

Bricklaying for the fishpond has commenced: