Sunday, April 30, 2017


It must be autumn, it is toadstool season again:
The introduced Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric.
Under the pine trees, a month earlier than last year.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Dark Sewing

After attending a sewing day in Geelong today, I have completed the hardest stitching on my Pentagon Sunflowers:
One third of the paper-pieced work is appliquéd to its background.

Seeing to sew dark brown fabric to dark brown fabric with fine dark brown thread wasn't fun.
But looking at the close-up on the computer screen I'm happy that I managed to keep the stitching almost invisible.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fabric Find

At my monthly meet-up in Melbourne, I found this green fabric at Morris & Sons:
It will become part of the background/border for my Pentagon Sunflowers. I did have another fabric selected for this section, but I think this one works better.

The same fabric in different colours already is in the quilt. Notice the tiny piece of orange in the top left of the photo? There is also some dark brown in the same design elsewhere in the quilt. (You can see the back of some in this post from last week.)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Early Pink Heath

This evening while walking the dogs past the little piece of land where pink heath grows, I was thinking that in a month or so there will be some flowers to see. But then I noticed that one bush already has flowers:
Pink heath, Epacris impressa, floral emblem of Victoria. Normally flowers from late autumn, through winter.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

ANZAC Memorial Park

Over the last few weeks there has been some activity in a small area in the centre of town. A picnic table appeared then disappeared, then reappeared. A shiny block of black stone appeared then was wrapped up in plastic before I got a chance to look at it. Then a flagpole was erected. And today we found out what it was all about.

Our main road was closed this morning, and a piper led the way:
Followed by various dignitaries including our local federal member in the light-coloured coat and very high heels:
Then the many invited guests and the students from the primary school. The procession ended at the new ANZAC Memorial Park. 
I had to watch most of the opening ceremony from the other side of the road, because Dot started yapping at other dogs in the audience.
Jack, on the other hand, was very well-behaved. He is at the bottom left of the above picture.

I had to wait until the ceremony was over to get a look at the unveiled memorial:

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Autumn Daylily

Beautiful apricot-coloured daylily re-flowering for autumn.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Australasian Quilt Convention

AQC time again! There is so much to look at, and it all becomes a bit overwhelming after a while. But what a wonderful show it was this year! And it was fun to catch up with a few friends old and new as I wandered around.

It was fantastic to see Kat Jones's "Bling" in person:
No one will believe me now, but one of the challenge pieces I'm working on this year is somewhat similar in concept to this. But I really did start working on it before I had ever seen pictures of Bling.

I found a podcast of an interview with Kat Jones here, recorded at Quiltcon. It was interesting to hear some details about how she created her masterpiece.

I loved the Mexican "Flora and Fauna" quilts. This Jacobean lily popped out at me:
But of course it is not a Jacobean Lily; in Mexico, where it comes from, it is an Aztec lily!

The Taiwanese art quilts were wonderful, although I don't have any photos of them. But the labels were problematic. I don't know if they were translated with Google Translate, or by a human who wasn't very proficient in English. It would have been nice if they had been edited by an English speaker somewhere in the process to improve the flow of the comments. Some seemed as if they may have been quite poetic originally, but the English was clunky and semi-literate. The same problem occurred a few years ago in a display of Japanese quilts. Better editing is required on future international quilt displays.

Elsewhere there were a few larger-than-life quilts like these beautiful Zinnias by Velda Newman:

But the biggest of them all was Norma Slabbert's Year 60 Quilt:
It is 11 metres long, so that's just part of it. It was displayed wrapped around an octagonal shape, so you could walk around it and see small sections at a time. Norma made one block every day for a year, starting on her 60th birthday. (Which I think would actually make it a "year 61" quilt but that probably makes me sound like a pedant.) Here's a close-up view of one small section so you can see the incredible amount of work that went into the daily blocks:

A couple of other quilts that caught my attention:
This is Vertigo, also by Katherine (Kat) Jones. In the podcast I linked to above, she talks about this quilt as well, explaining the colour graduation sections. Close-up of the quilting and the colour graduations on the sail:

And lastly, Modern Movement by Rachelle Denneny:
I loved the colour and the quilting in this. Close-up:
Rachelle used the same quilting design all over, changing thread colour for each column of squares:
I was not at all surprised to find out later that this quilt was awarded the National Quilt Award.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


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:

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


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


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:


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.