Monday, August 15, 2022

The Garden in August

There seems to be almost nothing in flower this August. I went back and looked at my post from the same time last year, and we seem to be significantly behind this year. 

Here's the first thing I saw in the garden today:

A swamp wallaby! Actually it isn't in the garden, it is just beyond the garden. You might notice a jonquil in flower in the foreground.

Now to the actual garden. Two hellebores, just because there isn't much else. Duke of Burgundy:

and an unnamed one:

Fortunately the leucadendrons haven't minded the frosty mornings:

But lots of other plants have been frizzled by over-night temperatures below zero.

Wattles are reliable at this time of year. Here's the leafless one:

And the Ovens wattle, with open flowers at the ends of the branches, and a million buds behind them:

Rosemary for a touch of blue:

An open daffodil, and a few about to open:

But many of the daffodils are only just emerging from the ground.

Camellia "Volunteer" has a flower, with quite a few buds to come:

Lots of euphorbias:
There were several different coloured cultivars here, but it looks like the plain green one has just about taken over.

Viburnum tinus:

and, slightly ratty-looking:


Then the sun came out for a few moments, long enough for this shot of the white flowers under my redbud (which has no buds yet):

and this hyacinth emerging:


Yellow flowers and leaves on this mahonia/berberis:


A few blossoms on the flowering quince, which almost don't count as it seems to have flowers all year. But at the moment there are no leaves, so the blossoms are more obvious:

And last of all a couple of cyclamens that I should have planted out but they are still in their pots:

The ones in the ground are flowering too, I just didn't photograph them.

That's it for August in the garden.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Life Goes On

Thank you to everyone for your kind comments on my last post.

Last Sunday we went on a orchid hunt, and for the first time in my life I saw helmet orchids in flower:

Two different species of helmet orchid.

They are teeny-tiny things, but fortunately we had a guide who know where to look for them.

Lunch among the trees:

It was a fantastic day out.

On Tuesday on my way to work I stopped to photograph these swans who have newly-hatched babies:

A couple of times in recent months I have thought I've seen a swan on this dam as I was driving past. But a lot of the water is hidden by an embankment and long grass, so I could never be sure. 

 On Thursday some heavy-duty machinery showed up:

to make a large delivery:

It was cold and rainy so I didn't stay out to watch how they managed it.

Yesterday I attended the quilt guild AGM and found myself with a new job for the next 12 months. It was good to see people again after a long absence. When I got home we tried to take the dogs for a walk, but we didn't get very far before we had to turn around and run home:

That's hail.
So I had to do most of my daily step count on the treadmill instead!

Tuesday, August 9, 2022


On 31st July my mother left this world as I sat beside her stitching and a CD of hymns played quietly. 

Here is one of the earliest photos on my blog, from 2009, on her 81st birthday:

I gave Mum the waratahs because they are the state flower of New South Wales, where she was born and raised.

I have had this post open on my computer for a week now, adding words and then deleting them, wondering what photos to add, which words. But this is it

Vale, farewell, my mother.

Saturday, July 30, 2022


This morning I learned from Pamela in Japan that 30th July is World Embroidery Day. So this afternoon this is what I did:

I worked on my Ukrainian bookmark (pattern here) while sitting beside my mother.  A quiet CD of piano music played in the background, and one of the staff had set up a diffuser (the glow you can see on the shelf) with a "calming" aromatherapy oil. The quilt on her bed is one she made. It was much brighter when I first took it to her in hospital in February 2020, when she was moved to palliative care. It was to brighten up the hospital room and make it feel more like home for her last few days. When she recovered the quilt went with her as she moved to the "complex care" centre, and then to the nursing home. It has been through the wash many times since then and is quite faded now. My mother is also fading. She is once more in palliative care, but she is not going to bounce back this time.

Purple Sprouts

Here are the purple Scrappy Sprouts blocks I have made this month:

They don't have stems yet as I haven't yet decided how this quilt will be assembled. How to do the stems is part of that decision.

I wandered round the garden to see if there was any purple to be found in the depths of winter, and the answer is "not much".

Hebe flower:

And the backs of the new leaves on a different hebe:

A few lavender flowers:

And then I remembered the most purple plants of all, the fringe flowers (Loropetalum):

Next month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour is orange, so it will be interesting to see what I find in the garden then.

I will link this post to the So Scrappy ScrapHappySaturday post when it is available. Here's the link-up.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

New Arrival

 What's this coming down the road?

And almost driving right past before I could get a photo:

This cute little caravan is a new part of our bushfire emergency plan.

I think I can find room for a small sewing machine in it!

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Brave Outing

It was minus 2 this morning. This is last year's baby magpie trying to get a bit of warmth from the sun, while standing on frozen grass:

By the time I got in my car to set off on a big adventure, the temperature had climbed to zero. At Ballan Station it was 3.

I was bravely catching a train to Melbourne, to attend the Craft and Quilt Fair. I must have gone to it in 2019, although I don't seem to have mentioned it on my blog. And then of course it wasn't held in 2020 or 2021. The events company that run it must have been a bit nervous that numbers would be low this year, because they gave away many free tickets, and lowered the general admission price to $15. (From memory it was around $20 in 2019). I had a freebie, but even up to yesterday I wasn't sure I would go.

The area devoted to the Fair seemed smaller than in previous years. There were fewer quilts on display, fewer vendors, and a significantly smaller sitting/eating area. That was the only part of the show that was uncomfortably crowded.
As well as the 2022 Victorian Quilters Showcase, there were the winners of last year's showcase (which was held online only) and another whole section called "Australian Quilt Show". That's a new competition run by the events company which had a $10,000 prize for best in show, as well as other prizes of cash and Janome machines. I wonder what effect that will have on the state guilds' competitions? You can see a gallery of all the prize winners here.

On Thursday the Vic Quilters awards are announced, so it was nice to be there for that. In the photo above, the ladies with the trolley were finding the prize-winners and adding their ribbons after the announcements.

You can see from my photos that the show wasn't very crowded:

Although part of that was me avoiding other people!

Here are a few close-ups of quilts that caught my eye.

For lovers of hexies, this is part of the 10,500 hexagons in Mary Hichens' The Geraldine Mary Fitzgibbon Quilt:

Keren Terrens' Finally Finished - A New York Beauty won a couple of awards. If you look at the bottom left of my photo you can see the edges of the ribbons - the colours of the ribbons matched the colours of the quilt!

This is just a small part of Robyn Cuthbertson's Circles in Bloom. Amazing quilting and interesting edge treatment. This quilt was runner-up Best in Show:

 Not a great photo though.

Another beautifully quilted piece was Desley Maisano's Starburst:

 More beautiful quilting in Wendy Blyth's Perky Pinks:

I liked the way she filled in the grey background with random rectangular quilted shapes (they seemed random, anyway).

And lastly, a prize winner from the 2021 virtual Showcase, Linda Crouch's Fibonacci Fandangle:

My photo doesn't do it justice at all! I'm glad I got to see it in person.

It was great to see the quilts in the company of one friend, and bump into a few others at the show. I had a very small shopping list of 2 items, neither of which were actually available from the vendors, so it was a cheap day for me. The trains each way were not terribly crowded, and almost everyone wore masks.

I wore my N95 mask all day except for when eating or drinking. Hopefully I didn't pick up the virus anywhere along the way!