Thursday, June 30, 2011

Beanie Take Two

Finished another beanie today. That's it on the left, and the previous one on the right.
This pattern is definitely much better. I think the pointiness on top may have been my mistake rather than the pattern, because I've started another one and it isn't so pointy. Apart from that this one is much more human-head shaped, although it is still smaller than I would want. Not such a problem, as it is not for me, but I think I was worrying about making it too large and stopped too soon.

I learnt from this pattern how to start with a "magic ring" instead of a circle of chain stitches:
It gives a much nicer closed centre instead of a hole in the middle. If like me you've never heard of the magic ring before, you can find instructions here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

That's Not Meant To Happen

Came home to discover there had been a little bit of excitement in the neighbourhood.
No-one seemed to really know what happened. According to neighbours, the car was stationary, a woman got out of it, and then there were flames.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Baby Acacia

Acacia seeds are still germinating four months after they were planted:
This is a blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon), which I will transplant as there is already a well-developed seedling in this tube.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Beanie Weather?

Today I crocheted a beanie. The pattern was for an adult, but I think my beanie ended up smaller than the picture in the pattern.
I put the ball of wool and the crochet hook there to try and give some idea of the scale. The beanie might go on the head of a toddler. Maybe. The hook I used is one size larger than the pattern called for; if I'd used the specified size the end result might not have even fitted a baby.

I'm also not too keen on the shape of the finished beanie; it doesn't look quite like a human head to me. Can anyone recommend a nice crochet beanie pattern using 8-ply?

Wasn't this a lovely sunny weekend? Didn't it feel like a bit like spring? Well look at this:
Blossom. In June. In Victoria. Amazing!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lonely Banana

Bananas are indeed in short supply at the supermarket tonight, bringing to mind the bi-lingual joke:

What did the lonely banana say?
I'm a kela.

Apologies to those who don't get it.

I was amazed to find that if I google that joke it gets 12 million hits, but Why did the chicken cross the road? only gets 1.5 million! If you have a moment to google those two questions, I'd love to know if your results are very different to mine - consider it research into how google tailors results to what it thinks you want to see.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hottie Exhibition Invitation

Consider yourself invited!

Please click on that image to get the details. I tried to have it show up large enough to read, but then all the important info was cut off on the right. One day I will have to sort out the silly wide margins on this blog that take up most of the screen...

Actually if anyone has some clues on that, I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I was going to post just this picture today—jewel-like balls of rain on a nasturtium leaf.

But I met some friends in the city today and everyone asked me how Mum and Scruff were going. Mum is much better, thanks, and here's Scruff:
She's enjoying a brief respite from the bucket collar while I brush her neck and ears. As you can see, she is looking much better. The main challenge now is getting her to swallow her antibiotics, but so far the humans are proving smarter than the dog 90% of the time!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Winter Solstice

The grevillea John Evans is covered in flowers about to pop open:
That should provide lots of winter meals for honeyeaters.

Here's something I'm finding fascinating at the moment. A couple of weeks ago I listened to a BBC podcast about the British Trust for Ornithology fitting five cuckoos with tiny solar-powered transmitters so that the cuckoos' annual migration could be tracked. Already the birds have surprised everyone because they didn't expect them to leave England until August, and three of them have already started their journey to Africa. So here's a link to the page where you can find out more about the project, and track the Cuckoos.

Monday, June 20, 2011


A few nice things in my garden at the moment, to make up for recent not-so-nice posts!

A bee in the rosemary:

Bergenia in flower:

Fringe flowers (Loropetalum chinense):

And the Crassula ovata is beginning to flower:
A few other plants are in bud as well, getting ready to pop open despite the cold.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Resting Up

Merle checks out Scruff's stitches:
Scruff spent most of today just lying around, perhaps feeling a bit sorry for herself. Will she think twice before barking at a large dog next time? She's not known for being a fast learner. However by the end of today she had worked out how to negotiate the dog-door while wearing her bucket, so perhaps she is smarter than I thought.

In other news, Mum also spent the day resting up, and is also much improved!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Medical Situations

Last week I had planned to go and visit Mum on Tuesday, but ended up going on Sunday instead. It is just as well I did, because by Tuesday an outbreak of a contagious gastroenteritis in the rehab centre meant Mum was not allowed to have visitors and was confined to her room. She wasn't sick, and the quarantine measures were in place to ensure she stayed that way. Mum was happy when she was discharged yesterday! She was looking forward most of all a good night's sleep in her own bed.

Unfortunately during the night she was struck by gastro symptoms. We don't know if it is the gastro from the rehab centre, or if it's because she ate something Dad had kept in the fridge too long. I got Dad to call Nurse On Call and talk to them. They suggested taking Mum to Emergency and getting her checked, but Mum didn't want to go. I think she has had enough of hospitals for now, and on top of that getting into and out of the car is still quite difficult for her.

For now she doesn't seem to be improving, but then she's not getting worse either. Dad says he will call an ambulance if she does seem to be sicker.

To take my mind off these worries, and to enjoy a bit of sunshine today, I took my dogs for a long walk.

When we were almost home, Scruff was attacked by an alsatian which was in a backyard we were passing (but which could get its head out under the gate). She was bleeding quite a bit from an injury on her snout. I could show you a picture, but as it makes my stomach churn I think I better not! We managed to walk home, but our regular vet had closed by then. We hopped in the car and went to another nearby vet who is open on Saturday afternoon, but they just sent us to the emergency vet at Essendon Airport.

So that's where Scruff is now. She will have an X-ray to survey the damage, then surgery to clean up the wound and stitch it up. She may have to stay in overnight, I'll know that in a few hours.

For for now I'm sitting at home, worrying about my Mum and my dog.

Update 7:30pm: Scruff is now home, with added stitches and subtracted teeth. It is too late to ring my parents now (they're early to bed, early to rise types) but I'm assuming no news is good news at this stage.

Update 7:00am Sunday: Mum is much better this morning.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hottie Completed

Finished my hot-water bottle cover for the Hottie Challenge.


The cover opens at the top, and closes with press-studs. Today is so cold I feel like filling a hot-water bottle and putting this to use immediately!

You can see lots of other completed entries in the Flickr pool here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Almost There

Some quilting, some binding, and the hottie cover is nearly done.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Winter Sunshine

A touch of sunshine in the garden.
My jonquils (Narcissus tazetta) seem to bloom earlier every year.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Sublime and The Ridiculous

You decide which bits were lovely and which were laughable.

Happy birthday to my sister if she reads this!

Foggy start for a trip to Lal Lal and Ballarat:
I think we're almost at the turn-off...

Moisture droplets on spiders' webs looking like strings of pearls:

A tenacious acacia at Lal Lal:
A large eucalypt has fallen, taking down a couple of smaller acacias at the same time. The acacia roots are sprouting new growth in mid-air.

A forest of tiny fungi growing on the stump of a tree felled long ago:
Visited Mum for a while, and someone may have taken a cutting of that rare tree dahlia. (No photographic evidence.)

And finally, I couldn't resist snapping this:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bits And Pieces

I started quilting my hottie cover today. Here's how part of it looked from the back before it was sandwiched:
It's getting there. Maybe it will be done by the end of this long weekend?

I also tried out this KeepCup reusable coffee cup which I was handed on my way through the city on Monday:
I like freebies! This one was part of an expensive advertising campaign for a new retail development in town, which I am never likely to frequent, but I was happy to take the free cup. And the coffee shop around the corner from me was happy to fill it. But I wonder if the cup will get enough use to justify its existence?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Walking Home

It took 90 minutes, but tonight I walked home from work.
Photo near the beginning of the journey, before it got dark. While it was still light I enjoyed a closer look at gardens and buildings I normally only see from a bus. The walk was quite pleasant, and I felt better when I got home than I normally do after standing around on cold bus and tram stops.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Daylily Number Three

Last September, at the Mt Macedon Plant Lovers' Market, I purchased three daylilies. Two of them bloomed in December (and one of them has started dying down for winter), but this one obviously works on a different timetable, as it is just starting to flower now:
This is Dragon's Eye, which is supposed to bloom from mid through to late summer. Is it very early, or very late? There are about 10 buds, so I hope I will catch one of them fully open!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Another Day in Ballarat

Paid a surprise visit to my mother, who is much improved. Her room at the rehab centre has a nice view of the garden.

The tree dahlias in the gardens are a lovely purple shade - although as usual the camera doesn't capture the purple accurately:
They are much darker than the regular tree dahlia (Dahlia imperialis). It is actually a different species, Dahlia tenuicaulis. I wonder if there's a chance of getting a cutting...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What I Found

Today I finished some major parts of my Hottie Challenge entry. For the next part I need some bias strips about a centimetre wide. After reading a few blog entries about the handiness of bias tape gadgets, I thought I'd get hold of one, but hadn't seen one the size I wanted. Fortunately before I went searching too far afield I found this in my own sewing box:
Well that saved me burning any fossil fuel on World Environment Day! I don't know how long I've had this, as I have no memory of buying it, and I'm just about certain I haven't used it before. But it was exactly what I needed for the next step of my Hottie cover.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Winter Rose

The last rose buds of the season are opening.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Still Hasn't Grown

In a nursery recently I saw that they had Hebe "Orphan Annie" for sale again. I bought one two years ago, and in May last year I wondered if it would ever grow. Here it is 12 months later:
Still no bigger. No flowers yet. Nice foliage, but is it worth keeping in the garden?

The ones I've been watching in the neighbourhood this year have had a 75% survival rate (which is better than the previous year's 0%), but none of them have grown either. Maybe I'll give this one another year to fill the spot I planted it in...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First Day of Winter

And here's what I saw on my way to work:
Frost! Brrrr!