Thursday, April 20, 2017

Saffron

The bulbs have multiplied nicely since last year.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Evening Expedition

Misty evening in Ocean Grove:

Visiting at this time of day so that we could collect the two bee hives and bring them here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Little Progress

Actual stitching happening:
Those dark brown pieces were created, then added to my Pentagon Sunflowers, at a quilting day today.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pretty Green

Bought myself this beautiful Echeveria "Coolvue" today:
It has about 10 rosettes, so I have a few plans for it when I split them up.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Strathdale Quilters Show

Took a drive to Bendigo to visit the quilt show. Here are a few things that caught my eye:

This chair was bought at an op-shop for $1, taken apart and refinished, then re-covered with crumb-patchwork made from scraps thrown out by other quilters:
Amazing!

This quilt reminded me that I have Cathy Miller's Rose Window pattern somewhere:
 Great use of what seems to be a rather ugly batik fabric on its own.

The group's challenge involved making a 40cm square cushion cover to represent a season of the year. At least five fabrics had to be used in each piece.
The photo really does not do the array of finished cushions justice. Many different techniques were on display, including EPP, paper foundation piecing, felt, raw-edge and needle-turn appliqué, and every type of embellishment you could imagine.

 I had seen my favourite of the quilts before, Marj Gale's La Passacaglia, when I attended the Strathdale Quilt-In last August:
That's just a part of the whole quilt. It was nice to get a close-up view of how it had been quilted.

After the quilt show I visited a book fair and picked up a few bargains, so it was a good day all round. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lack of Progress

The month is half over and I haven't made much progress on anything yet. I've spent some of the time searching for a notebook which contains my original diagram for my Pentagon Sunflowers, this month's UFO. I have looked everywhere without success. It must be in one of the boxes out in the shed which haven't been unpacked yet.

Today I gave up looking for it. I attempted to re-create it by photographing the template grid, printing it out and colouring it in. But guess what else I couldn't find anywhere?

Coloured pencils! I don't remember seeing them in the last couple of years, so they probably are safely packed away with the notebook.

I managed with a grey-lead and a pink chalk marking pen to come up with something that will do. So now I know what extra pieces I need to make for the quilt, and I've found fabrics for them as well. Maybe there will be some real progress by the end of the month.


Linked to Sarah's HELP for Hexie-holics. Mine aren't hexies, but the link-up is all EPP no matter the shape. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Abstraction

Met up with a friend in Geelong to visit the exhibition "Abstraction: celebrating Australian women abstract artists" at the Geelong Gallery.  The works in the exhibition are from the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, somewhere I haven't been for a long time.

This work by Elizabeth Gower, Then and Now, intrigued us, as we initially noticed a couple of items depicted among what appeared to be random squiggles,
then realised the whole image was made up of every-day items stacked up. Identifying all the items became a challenge.

The exhibition is on until 7th May. It is free, and well worth a trip to Geelong.

Also at the Gallery we saw Luminous Relic, an amazing and moving collaborative artwork you can read about here. It is showing until 9th July.

Afterwards I was introduced to The Dome, the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, which has a deck at the top level with views across Geelong.

A construction which obscures part of the water view:

A crane with the You Yangs in the distance:

Some tall trees in the park beside the library:

On the way home I passed the aftermath of two bad car accidents, one of which included a fatality. A not-so-abstract reminder of the fragility of life.

Monday, April 10, 2017

It Was a Dark and Stormy...

The weather stats at 11:00 last night show some of the story:
We'd had 53mm of rain for the day. That's about a month's worth in one day.

Question: What's a good time to discover that although you own four oil lamps, you have no lamp oil?

Answer: Not when you lose power in a storm just before sunset. Fortunately we did find some candles, so we weren't in total blackness.

Without power during the storm I couldn't get this image:
That rain radar picture was on the ABC News website this morning. Lal Lal is only getting aqua-coloured rain here, but I'm sure we had red rain at times. The amazing part was how long that band of rain stayed in place. Normally bands cross over quickly and the rain is gone, but we had it pouring down for hours.

A picture of the weather station today shows that we got 60.8mm of rain during the whole storm (which it considers to have started on Saturday):

A screen-shot of the Emergency website taken this morning tells another part of the story:
If I had wanted to go and buy some lamp oil last night, I wouldn't have got very far. All roads out of Lal Lal were blocked by fallen trees. It was the sort of evening when you are very glad to have a warm dry house to stay inside! But those trees meant that some brave souls had to be out in the weather. 

Fallen branches, splintered and chain-sawed wood beside the road, are all that remains today:
But imagine the emergency workers out there last night in the wild weather, with tree branches whipping around overhead and threatening to break off and fall on them, while buckets of rain pelted down. All that to make the roads safe for anyone crazy enough to be out in the weather. Those brave souls deserve our gratitude!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Saturday

A friend's 60th birthday party at a vineyard in Waubra:

And because I haven't shown many garden pictures recently, here are a few.

Paintbrush lily, Haemanthus coccineus:

Cosmos:

Bees are enjoying the white salvia this year
and so are little thornbills (no pictures, they move too fast) because so far the crimson rosellas haven't found and destroyed the salvias as they did last year. (Although that was later in April, so perhaps I'm speaking too soon.)

Lastly, flowers on an echeveria:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Berry Delicious Finished

This afternoon I put the last stitches in the binding on Berry Delicious:
My version of Esther Aliu's pattern Red Delicious, her first block-of-the-month pattern, from 2009. It is the quilt I was working on when I started this blog. You can see a little bit of it in this post from October 2009. That seems like so long ago!

Linked to Esther's WOW Link-up for this week.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Identifying a Succulent

Last November at the Creswick Garden Lovers weekend,we bought an unusual succulent at the plant sale. Although it has a label in it, the label is blank - whether worn off or never written on, I can't know. The lady selling the plants didn't know what it was. Google searches hadn't given me any clues. But last night I found out what it is.

Front view -
These leaves have only just grown - the ones it had when we bought it all shrivelled up soon after.

Side view -
You can see the thick succulent stem better from this angle. The plant is obviously getting too much light from only one direction - I need to turn it around regularly, or move it into a well-lit area.

Last night the guest speaker at the Ballarat Horticultural Society was an expert on cacti and succulents, so I took this mystery plant along. (That's how some of the leaf stems got broken.) He identified it easily as a member of the Senecio family. With that information I was able to find it easily once I got home - Senecio articulatus. And then be reassured that it is normal for it to lose its leaves over summer and grow new ones in autumn.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

UFO Progress

Today when I saw the number Judy had listed for April, I felt like an April Fool. So far this year I have re-numbered my list twice, because I wanted to work on a particular project rather than the number Judy announced.

In January my Pentagon Sunflowers were the lucky project, but I wanted to finish En Provence, so I re-numbered my list.

In February, lucky Pentagon Sunflowers was selected again, but I had started work on Berry Delicious and wanted to keep going, so I re-numbered my list again. I have now finished quilting Berry Delicious, and attached the binding, but only about a third of the binding is hand-stitched to the back:


In March, Celtic Solstice, a Bonnie Hunter mystery from 2013, was selected. I have quilted through all the four-patches that surround the blocks:
But that's probably only about 15% of the quilting completed.


For April, Pentagon Sunflowers have been picked again! April Fool!! I can't put it off again, this time I will have to tackle it. But my cutting table and design wall were covered with bits of my current scrap project, Bonnie Hunter's Carolina Chain. That is not on my UFO list, but I needed to get it out of the way, so today I stitched together all the pieces which had been pinned up:
Now I can safely put it away and not forget where I'm up to.

So here, at last, my Pentagon Sunflowers pinned to the design wall:
And some time this month I will either:
  • cut it back to a regular shape, 
  • add some more pieces to straighten up the edges, or 
  • appliqué it to a background as is.

Here's Judy's Link-up where you can see what progress others have made with their UFOs in March.

Friday, March 31, 2017

West of the Walls

This morning it was only 2 degrees when I got up - a sign that summer is over, and hopefully the end of the march flies! I really enjoyed doing a bit of work in the garden without the fear of blood-sucking insects.

While I've been hiding inside, stuff has been happening outside. Today the second and third of these bench seats were finished and attached to this wall:
The plan is that this part of the walled garden will have a pergola over it, with wisteria and other climbers shading the seats and the path. For now those pots need some greenery in them.

On the western side of the other wall, the first bed has a nice brick edging:
So now it is time to get planting. This bed will be hot and dry in summer, so should be ideal for succulents. You can see we have quite a few in pots ready to be planted out.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

MIFGS 2017

It has been three years since my last visit to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.  Here are a few of the things that caught my eye today.

I loved these elephants. I'd probably even have room for them:
 Just probably not the bank balance.

I still don't understand this sort of thing:

Or this:

The over-the-top Indianness of this made me smile:
I've never seen a display by ISKCON here before.

There were a couple of things on this stand that I might have liked for the garden:
But they were a bit pricey. Those succulents are spiral aloe, Aloe polyphylla, and were $200 each. And one of the planters I liked, which is right on the left of the photo, was $400. Of course the only reason I didn't buy either of them is that they would have been too awkward to bring home on the train.

Of course the Show Gardens are inspirational
 and interesting
 But here's what it is really like trying to get a good view of them:

Lastly a few quirky entires in the hanging basket competitions.

A hobbit house under a bonsaied oak tree:

An Asian gentleman fishing under a bonsaied fig tree:

And a succulent helmet? hat? hairstyle? created by turning the hanging basket upside-down:
It was a great day out!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Good-Bye, Old Car

After 14 years of faithful service, it is time to say good-bye to our old car:
It is no longer registered, and not road-worthy due to a cracked windscreen, but today, (with a special permit) it left our property, and drove down the Midland Highway to Geelong. This was its destination:
YouTurn is an educational establishment for kids who are disengaged from regular schooling. Here they learn literacy, numeracy and trade skills.
Donated cars are used to teach skills such as servicing and repair, panel-beating and spray-painting. Some cars are fixed up and given to needy families, others are used for parts and recycled as much as possible. Whatever happens to our old car, it is better than it sitting here rusting away.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Dot and the Kangaroo

Not just one
But two kangaroos
Hopped past our windows this evening.

Dot kept a close eye on them until they hopped away:
(Note that the Monstera which took seven months to grow one leaf, now has ten of them.)

When the movie of Dot and the Kangaroo came out, I wanted to see it but didn't have the confidence to go on my own. So I took along a young girl I used to babysit. But if I'd waited until now, I could just watch the whole thing on YouTube!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Making a Start

I couldn't really put it off any longer:
Celtic Solstice finally under the needle. It's a bit of a handful. I have the ironing board set up beside me to take some of the weight, and the suspension system is helping too.

For starters I am just doing this design through all the four-patch units:
Once that's all done I'll work out what to do with the rest of it.