Monday, April 24, 2023

April Bits and Pieces

More than 2 weeks since my last post. Here's a bit of what has been happening in that time.

These tubs of someone's unwanted fabric arrived at my place:

And a cardboard box of thread cones. Now I have the fun task of sorting through them to see if there is anything useful, and disposing of all of it appropriately. And then the donor wants the tubs back. 

Early one morning I looked out and saw two wallabies munching grass shoulder to shoulder. One noticed and looked at me:

And then her big baby noticed she had stopped eating and stood up to see what was going on:

Too cute!

I assembled this top:

The pattern is called "Simply Woven". I made a couple of blocks some time during a lockdown, then put it aside and forgot about it until I was doing some tidying up a few months ago. Now it is on my list of tops to be quilted.

I went to the Australasian Quilt Convention, which was back in Melbourne this year. The trip to Melbourne involved buses for part of the way due to track works, but was cheap because the regional fares have been reduced since my last trip a few weeks ago. I had been asked to buy some fabric for a friend, but when I found the retailer's stall they hadn't brought the particular line of fabric with them. For myself I bought a spool of thread and an irresistible panel from New Zealand.

I got my 5th covid vaccination.

I've managed to break both my hearing aids this month, although not both at once, and not in the same way. At the moment the left one is off being fixed.

As my sister was packing up her house to move last year, she asked me to rescue a dahlia plant which was dormant at the time, but which had some sentimental importance, (I don't remember now what that was so must ask her again):

Well when I dug it up I thought, that's not a dahlia, there was no tuber. But I potted it, and it grew, and is now flowering (as well as being covered in aphids I see), and it is a chrysanthemum. So maybe it was a Mother's day gift one year? It is a beautiful colour, anyway. I'll have to find a good spot for it in the garden for next year.

We had the opening of our miniature quilt exhibition. Here's a taste of what that was like:

It is on at the Mercure Hotel and Convention Centre, 613 Main Rd, Ballarat until 14th May if you are in the area.

I've been making these blocks, now I have to work out how to sew them together. Which arrangement do you prefer?

The pattern is "Pickle Dish Variation". I made the first components last November, and have been making one or two every so often since. Do you like them all facing the same way, or alternating?

Friday, April 7, 2023

Purple Things

Purple is April's Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour.

So far I have made two purple hearts using Ivani's Hearts pattern:

Pictured sitting on a project board made last month after reading Jo's post about making some.

And here are a few purple things around the garden at the moment. Firstly, Nepeta:

Dark purple salvia bracts:

 Melaleuca nesophila:

and chives:

I will link this to the RSC weekly link-up on Saturday. And here it is!

Monday, April 3, 2023


A whole month has gone by with no blog posts. Here's what I remember of it.

Inspired by Jo's post in February, I made myself a couple of project boards. Here's one of them with 2 hearts I made for the March Rainbow Scrap Challenge:

The boards are A3 size, and were very useful for the heart blocks.

A sad thing happened in the garden. The largest of my crepe myrtles, which was just beginning to flower, blew over one very unpleasant hot and windy day:

It snapped off at the base. It is very disappointing. My imagined row of lovely crepe myrtles along this part of the garden is just not working. Of the 5 trees, 3 haven't flowered for the last couple of years, and are struggling to look like trees. None of those three are taller than a person yet. The two that have grown taller and did flower have now been reduced to one. They also flower very late here - they are almost ready to drop their leaves before the flower buds open. So I need a re-think.

In the background of that photo you might just be able to see the very first dahlia flowers of the year: 

They have been very slow this year, too. And some from previous years seem to have given up and not grown at all.

I've finished the piece I posted about in January. If you look at that link, you might notice that there is a significant difference between the starting point and the finished piece:

There are various reasons for that, which I won't go into, but at least I have a finished piece for the show.

Late in the month our very good neighbour who has helped us with so many projects around the house was seriously injured in an accident. We wish him well for his recovery journey, which will probably involve many months.

One morning as I was eating my breakfast, I looked out and saw this bird looking back at me:

It is a sacred kingfisher, a bird I have never actually seen before!

I had a few outings in March. We had a field trip to Melton Botanic Gardens, a family get-together in Ocean Grove, and I went to Colac to see a quilt show. In Colac we also went for a walk around a wetland bird sanctuary and saw several new species.

I ventured into the city one day and met up a friend to visit the Rone exhibition, "Time":

 It was an amazing installation, and quite an overwhelming experience.

There are sounds and lighting effects in each of the 11 rooms of the show. So many details, probably more than you can take in at one viewing. Windows along the corridor were covered with newspapers from the 1930s-50s, which also made fascinating reading and triggered childhood memories for the two of us.

We booked some weeks ago, and this was the first time since the pandemic began that I have planned something weeks in advance and have had it actually happen!

So that was March in one blog post. 

Sunday, February 26, 2023


February's Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour was pink. Here's a pink wildflower I saw earlier in the month, the spotted hyacinth-orchid, Dipodium pardalinum, which is an endangered species:

Here's some pink birds I saw today:

A few pink things from the garden, starting with a pale pink hoya:

A deep pink hydrangea:
A bright pink penstemon:

I made two of Ivani's scrappy hearts this month, 

I know that is four, but the bottom two of them are left over from last year. Speaking of last year, this month I sandwiched last year's hearts
And now I'm quilting them.

Linked to the final pink link-up at So Scrappy.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Surprise Birds

This bird surprised us when it showed up at our place last week: It was quite a surprise when it jumped on someone's shoulder as they walked across the back yard!

It isn't a native parrot. It was obviously someone's escaped pet, as it wasn't fussed by people. One of our neighbours has an aviary full of exotic birds, but it didn't belong to him. He posted a "Found pet bird" message with no description on the local area Facebook group, and the owner of the bird got in touch very quickly. She lives only a kilometre or so away, and came straight away to take her bird home.
The next day we had another bird surprise, when we looked out during quite heavy rain and saw this:
A pair of Australian wood ducks, with 12 ducklings! I have no idea where they suddenly appeared from. There is a pair who hang around our garden all the time, but they have no ducklings. These ones didn't stay long. They walked off into the rain, perhaps heading for a neighbour's dam.

A couple of days ago I discovered our resident kookaburras have a baby:

The bird on the right is the baby. It has a much shorter bill, and different colouring to the adult who had just given it a feed before I took the photo.

The final bird surprise is this panel I never ordered:

Late in January I ordered a template for cutting the diamonds for the EPP project I wrote about in my last post. The next day, before I had received any notification or acknowledgement of the order, I realised I already owned a template I could use. It was one that had belonged to my mother. So I sent the seller a message asking them to please cancel my order. I never got a response to that request. Instead, 2 days later (so 3 days after I placed the order) I got a message saying my order had been dispatched. That was disappointing, but my own fault I suppose for not keeping better track of what is in my sewing room! When the package arrived, this panel was included in it. I don't know if it was an accident and someone else is annoyed because their order was incomplete, or a gift because they didn't cancel my order, or what. But it is one (or two) more bird surprise for the month.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Not a New Project?

 I know I said I wasn't starting anything, but...

My quilt group will be having a display of miniature quilts at a hotel in Ballarat in April. Quilts have to be 40cm square. I don't have anything that size, so need to get sewing!

I hope I am not being too ambitious, but this is my starting point:

Design 3734.6 in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. I printed it from Blockbase, and have had it pinned up on my noticeboard since 27th November, if you can read the small print on the next photo:
Yesterday I went to a sit and sew day and made the first two stars, just as a test. I think it will work, although I'm not looking at the diamond circle border just yet...
A few more diamond stars prepped. I need to decide on a background soon.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

The Garden in January

We've had a few hot days, with a few more to come, but fortunately today is quite nice. Here's what is flowering at the moment.

Christmas lilies, which were only small buds at Christmas, are now open:


Kangaroo paws, and in the background some roses and if you look hard, some gladioli:


 Leptospermum "Rudolf" didn't get here by Christmas this time:

Lots of buds on this Melaleuca, but only one flower head opening so far:

Yellow buttons, Chrysocephalum apiculatum:

Buddleia with bonus common brown butterfly:
Red hot pokers:
Lots of gladdies, although they tend to fall over in the heat:
Echinacea with bonus common brown butterfly:
Sunflowers looking sunny:

Philadelphus, or mock orange:

In the back yard, one lot of hebes have finished so need pruning, and the next lot are flowering but looking a bit parched. They should be fine after a drink:
Hanging basket of pansies:
And last of all, the sweet peas are lasting well. I'm sure they would normally be finished by now:
That's it for the garden in January, although I know I missed photographing a few things.