Saturday, April 30, 2011


I haven't been getting enough exercise lately. This contraption was given to me to help me get moving:
(Sorry about the rear end of the dog.)
In theory I will now be able to ride my bike on the back verandah while internetting, koboing, or whatever, and in all weather. In fact I could be blogging from there now, but for all the mosquitoes outside.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Landscaped Garden Update

Remember this photo from March last year?

Here's what the site looks like today:

When I posted the photo originally, I expressed doubt about the "landscaped gardens". See how wrong I was? A row of Hebe buxifolia, a couple of diosmas, a grafted weeping tree of some variety, and some grass seed; you've got yourself a landscape!

And don't imagine that there is a garden behind that fence, because that area is paved.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Autumn Morning

Liquidambar glowing in the morning sunshine on my way to work.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Autumn Walk

Walking in the late afternoon sun.

Monday, April 25, 2011

More Quilting

Made a bit more progress with the pentagons, until it got too dark to really see.
I'm enjoying the fact that I can quilt with this foot without developing any horrible pain in my shoulder.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

On The Road Again

Another road trip, but this one included a few more interesting stops.

Koala on what appeared to be a Japanese kiddie-ride machine.

Lots to look at here:
And I suppose if you bought everything that appealed, that's what your home would end up looking like.

This old enamel sign might have been tempting, but not at that price:
Hard to see because of the reflections, but it is a woman in a sari using a treadle machine - in fact a सिंगर सीने की मशीन! (Singer sewing machine)

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Seven hours in the back seat.
I feel a little queasy.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Bravely started doing some free-motion quilting on one of my unfinished projects:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pretty Much Like The Picture

Today I made up the Kimono Purse kit I purchased last week at AQC:
It does look like the picture on the pack!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Right Tool For The Job

Despite the alterations I've made to my free-motion quilting foot, it still grips the fabric too hard, and makes quilting a real pain. I've got a few unfinished quilts backed up waiting for free-motion work, because I just couldn't get results I was happy with.

On Sunday, a friend who also has an Elna lent me her free-motion foot. That's it on the right:
I thought it was unlikely to be any better than the modified Janome one I've been using (on the left). It seemed as if it would also grab the fabric. In fact, lined up like this, the Elna foot looks lower than the Janome one.

On Monday, I got the chance to try it out on some scrap pieces, and discovered that I was wrong.  The Elna foot has a spring inside it, and the long arm sticking out of it is designed to cause the foot to pivot up when it is in use.  Thus the foot doesn't grip the fabric at all, and I managed to do some (not brilliant) free-motion quilting without fighting the machine! Amazing the difference using the right tool makes.

Now I need to find one of these feet.  I've searched through all my old boxes of random feet obtained from op-shops and the like, but I don't have one of these.  I've found a few for sale on eBay, but none in Australia. The Australian dollar is still up, so I might just be doing a bit of on-line purchasing soon...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nature Walk

Some sights seen on a lunchtime walk near La Trobe University.

Students relaxing in the lovely grounds of the university:

A family of Australian Wood Ducks (Chenonetta jubata) doing much the same:
The drake is very protective of his family, so we crossed the road to avoid being chased off by him.

Bees living in a nest box which is actually designed for sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps).

Eucalyptus with amazing spiralling bark:
I don't know what species it is.

A Meadow Argus butterfly (Junonia villida):

A huge River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis). which may be up to 400 years old:
Bark of that tree:

And lastly, a very rare tree.  Do you know what it is? In Victoria there are only four known examples, this one and three smaller ones at the botanic gardens:
It is Schinus lentiscifolius, a relative of the peppercorn tree.

What a lovely way to spend the middle of the day!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Seen From Above

This is not the normal view of buds forming on a tree dahlia (Dahlia imperialis):
The buds are usually 3 or 4 metres above the ground, but for some reason this year one stem of mine has grown more sideways than upwards, allowing this unusual viewpoint.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fuzziness in the Garden

Mexican sage (Salvia leucantha) flowers either have a lot of nectar, or bees have to work very hard to get to it, because this bee had her head buried in this flower for a very long time:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

AQC - Let's Try That Again

Limping rather than hobbling, I re-visited AQC at the wonderful Exhibition Building.

I saw the quilt displays I had missed on Thursday, and a few more of the retail outlets. In the afternoon I helped out on Nikki's stand, which was a lot of fun except for this:


The theft happened while I was working there - someone took advantage of the fact that we were so busy helping customers to grab the bag and go. If you see this bag anywhere, Nikki would love to know about it. The "Wanted" poster (created by Cam) is a link to Nikki's blog post about the day and this bag.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Souvenirs of AQC

This afternoon I headed into town to go to the Australasian Quilt Convention. Here are my souvenirs of the visit:
  • Souvenir pin - tick!
  • Map of the layout of the show - No - they had run out by the middle of the first day??
  • Kit to make a cute little Japanese purse - I was interested in doing the workshop, but apparently that books out in 5 minutes at the beginning of the day. The price of the kit was the same as the workshop, (although it includes No Batting) so I bought that instead.
  • St John cold pack and bandage - was not in my plans! 
On my way in to the show, I somehow pulled a muscle in my calf which severely affected my ability to walk.  A friend saw me hobbling around, and got me some first-aid attention.  But that was the end of my visit - I was wheel-chaired to the entrance, where some other friends collected me and saw me home. While I was waiting for them, a lady handed me the Quilt Show Tote pattern.

So it was not quite the afternoon I had planned, but thanks to everyone who helped!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Sometime after that sunset last night, it began to rain.

Then it kept raining.

Between showers this morning, here's the corner of my garden where once the Corymbyia ficifolia stood:
That is mulch floating on a couple of centimetres of water. You can see the poor little Callistemon viridiflorus I planted in its place, whose label said it could withstand waterlogging. This will test that claim!
(And yes, I noticed the weed, but couldn't get to it without paddling.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Walking Home

With daylight-saving finishing, and the days getting shorter, the sun is setting before I get home.
I don't like getting home after dark, but I do get to watch the sunset as I walk along.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Don't Believe It

Yesterday after I finished the council quilt, I looked through my own unfinished projects to decide which I will work on next. To my amazement, among them I found some more batting off-cuts. I was sure I had used every last scrap that I had, but I was wrong.

So today I cut some backing fabric, arranged the batting off-cuts, and then searched through the magic scrap basket. I had enough batting and backing for 12 more QAYG blocks, and found enough long strips to get a good start on them:
Will I be able to finish them without cutting any more strips?  I hope so!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Binding Done

Today I finished the binding on the quilt made of the blocks from the Council quilting bees.
I attached it the opposite way to my normal method, and did it all by machine. I sewed it to the back first, then folded it over to the front, and stitched from the front. I decided that all that visible stitching wouldn't matter too much on a quilt like this.

Friday, April 8, 2011

You Sew, Girl!

Today Nikki gave me a copy of her book, which will be in the shops on 1st May. How exciting!
I had my nose buried in it all the way home, so much so that I nearly missed my stop.

The book is full of great stuff (tips, projects and patterns, as it says on the cover) and there are quite a few things I'd like to make. But what I might try first is one of the pattern-free skirts:

Pattern-free sewing sounds intimidating, so it is probably something I need to tackle.  Nikki says in the intro to the pattern-free section, "These projects are all about discovering the freedom and flexibility of 'winging it'." I know she knows what she is talking about; see that black fabric I've photographed the book on?  That's actually a skirt Nikki whipped up for me, with only my hip measurement to go on, one day when I suffered a wardrobe mishap at work.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cute Little Sedum

I was given a piece of this plant by one of my students a couple of years ago, but this is the first time it has flowered.

It is Sedum sieboldii variegatum. You can see the pretty green and cream variegated leaves in the background.  They turn reddish before the plant dies down over winter.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Brighten Up

Today I picked up the last blocks to finish off the council quilt, then sewed them all up.

When I hung the quilt on the line to photograph, the shadows of my fruit trees didn't help:

So I had the bright idea to turn it around and photograph it with the sun behind it, but there wasn't quite enough room to get far enough back from it to show the whole thing.  At least the colours show up better this way:
Now it just needs binding, which I hope to get done on the weekend.

While I was sewing, I could look out of my window and see this:
Isn't it beautiful? It's a cymbidium orchid - according to the label, it's Peter Pan X Snow Eagle 'Malcolm'.  One flower spike is open, and another is getting ready to bloom. It was waiting for me with the blocks today, to thank me for my help with the quilt. Wow! Thank you, Paula, for this unexpected gift which brightened up my day.

Monday, April 4, 2011


The pile of blocks accumulating to be sent to Jan Mac.
Today I finished quilting and trimming the last of the UFO blocks, and added them to the pile. It looks as if the lower levels have been squashed flat, but it is mainly because they have thinner batting in them.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Miniature Forest

Today I did more seedling maintenance; trimming roots, thinning out, transplanting some, and checking for pests.
This is what the manna gums (Eucalyptus viminalis) look like now, just seven weeks after the seeds were sown.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Garden Show

A lovely day out at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. It was a bit of a grey day, but early in the day it was easy to get around and look at things.

The Exhibition Building seen from a "coastal garden" across the lake:

Some of the sculpture:

One of the display gardens:

It is nice to see the fountain working again.

By about 1:00pm the crowds had built up, and it was becoming quite difficult to get around. Tomorrow is the last day, so if you want to go, I'd advise getting there as early as possible.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Early Morning Texture

While I was waiting for the tram on my way to work, I noticed this unusual pink flowering gum across the road.
The low angle of the sun seems to be bleaching out the details of the flowers, but I like the soft-looking texture of the flowers and the foliage of the tree (sheoak?) behind it.