Monday, August 29, 2011

First Border

Still working on the hexagon quilt.
Today I finished the first border.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bronze Rambler

While doing some weeding and enjoying the sunshine today, I found a few flowers on my Grevillea "Bronze Rambler".

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Trip north to see some white dresses.
What a perfect time of year for this sculpture! Folly (Themeda triandra syn. T.australis) by Sebastian Di Mauro.

Added later:
I've been told that this post is a little confusing. To clarify, the green structure in the middle is the sculpture. Here's its label:
It's not topiary.

The part of its name in brackets refers to kangaroo grass, which doesn't look at all like turf, artificial or otherwise.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Eating a banana in the sunshine.

I think the prices are coming down; this one only cost me $1.35.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

360 Degrees

The hexagon quilt has four 90° corners now, and is ready to have a couple of borders added.
And today my hottie cover came home. All covers which weren't sold during the exhibition were marked down 50% afterwards. I decided I'd like to have it back, so grabbed it at the bargain price.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Half Sprung

Some of the branches of this tree think that spring has arrived; others aren't convinced.
Interestingly it is the northern side of the tree that is less sprung.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

One of these things just doesn't belong...
In my change today I noticed that one of my 10c pieces had a different design, which surprised me as I haven't noticed a commemorative 10c before. Then I flipped it over and discovered it had a different head on it as well:
That's not Queen Elizabeth II.

Some years ago I had a less-than-honest boss, who on his frequent trips to the USA would take along bags of 10c pieces to use in parking meters, newspaper vending machines, or any other machine that took quarters. At the time, an Australian 10c piece was worth only about a quarter of the US quarter.  The profit he made on those transactions helped him end up on the "Rich List" published by a certain magazine, I suppose. Whoever spent this quarter won't end up on that list; 10c Australian might be worth more than a US dime, but not that much more.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sorry You Can't Smell This

Spent some time today just sitting in the garden enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful perfume of the jasmine (Jasminum officinale).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Top Row

Finished the last of my extra hexagons, then spread it all out on a friend's couch to arrange the top row.
That's my friend's quilt on the wall.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Forest On The Move

This morning the trees were collected by the landholder they were grown for. He was very happy with their progress. Here they are all loaded into his truck:
They will have a couple of weeks getting acclimatised before the planting day.

See you in two weeks, trees!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More Hexagons!

Last week when the not-quite-finished quilt top was presented, we discovered that one fabric which should have been included had been left out (the tool fabric in photo). Since then I've been pondering how to include it, considering a few different options. Today I finally decided to add another row of hexagons to the top of the quilt. I'll need eleven.
The hand-pieced hexagon at the bottom left was made a while ago but not included originally. Today I made the rest of these, and now I need one more of the hand-pieced ones before I can arrange them and join them to the rest of the quilt.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another Double Blossom

Last September, I posted a picture of a double blossom on a street tree. Maybe double blossoms aren't so unusual, because here's one in my own backyard today:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Right Angle

Proof that I'm still working on the birthday quilt. This is the first 90° angle in the whole thing so far:

Completely unrelated, but today I learned that Indian actor Shammi Kapoor died yesterday, so here he is being a yahoo in 1961, with subtitles (hope this works, I've never tried inserting a video before):


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Nearly Time To Leave

It is nearly time for the TreeProject seedlings to head off to be planted, so today I spent some time with them, getting a final count, trimming roots if necessary, and just generally making sure they are OK.

Here's what the manna gums (Eucalyptus viminalis) look like now:
They are quite tall, but it is interesting that after having their roots trimmed a couple of times, most of them have stopped growing roots outside their pots.

Here's how the wirildas (Acacia retinoides) are going:
It's like having a forest in your back yard. But soon they will leave to be planted out somewhere in central Victoria. I'm hoping to go with them and see them settled into their new home.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Close to Home

Today I finished putting the body of the hexagon quilt top together, but as it doesn't look any different to the un-stitched version I showed you on Wednesday, here's one of my bees in my rosemary this afternoon:

The bees are visiting a few flowers in the garden at present. The lavender, spring stars and the John Evans grevillea are all offering them food close to home. And soon the plum tree that the hive is under will be in blossom, and they won't have very far to travel at all!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Writing on the Wall

I didn't need this message from a previous traveller at the tram stop this morning:
I could tell.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WOW - Unfinshed Quilt

This post is my first chance to participate in Esther's WOW - Work-in-progress On Wednesday. Normally I work on Wednesday, so don't have time for blogging, much less working on projects.

This is a quilt that was meant to be finished by today, for a special birthday. Here it was on Monday this week - not a completed quilt, not even a completed top. Just strips of hexagons, some of which were sewn to other strips.
At that stage I knew I wouldn't even get the top finished by today - there are meant to be a couple of borders on it after the hexagons are together. But I did hope to get all the hexagons joined. Then yesterday, on my second-last join (each of which took an hour, I might add) I made a slight mistake.

You can't tell, but right there I was sewing two incorrect hexagons together, and I didn't realise until I was half-way across the quilt. I couldn't believe I'd done it, and didn't have enough light left to start unpicking, much less complete the piecing.

So today the birthday celebrant received bits of his quilt top, and a promise that I would complete it. He kindly said, "Well, I'll be 50 for a year." So I guess that means I have 364 days left to turn this Work-In-Progress into a Finished Quilt. And because I won't have to be working on it in secret any more, it should be easier to get it done.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Stitching Away

Took my machine to my quilting group today, to get some stuff done.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Still Going

The third flower spike on the orchid I was given in April is now fully open.
Four months of beautiful flowers is pretty good value!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dancing Jonquils?

"When the daffodils dance in the sun and the rain, then you know that the springtime is coming again."
"Tra la la la la la, tra la la la la la, then you know that the springtime is coming again."

I remember singing this song at school, perhaps in first grade. But it has stuck in my mind, and pops out every year round about now when the jonquils, and then the daffodils, start to open. A bit of googling tells me there is more to the song, something about bees in blossom trees, but I have no memory of that. If we sang any more of the song it hasn't stuck with me.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Three Stars

The lighter purple spring stars (Ipheion uniflorum) are now opening, a month after the darker ones started.
No, these aren't the white ones, it's just the camera. I haven't seen any white ones yet.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hot Pink!

First week of August; still winter, in other words. Top temperature today of 22 degrees! Blossoms popping open all around.
These ones were looking fantastic in the early morning sun on my way to work today.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rotating Cutting Board

This is the story of my only purchase at the Craft And Quilt Fair. I've been wondering about getting a rotating cutting board for a while, mainly for ease of cutting tricky shapes, but also for squaring up blocks. Over the last couple of weeks I've tried to research them and had difficulty finding much information, so this post might be useful to someone else one day.

I've seen the circular board which is available, but I was particularly interested in square boards. The round shape limits the size of square that you can fit on it. I found two brands of square rotating boards available in Australia; Olfa and Fiskars. My regular cutting board is an Olfa, and I've been very happy with its performance over the last 20-odd years. When I discovered that Olfa make a rotating board with metric markings, which is 30cm square, I decided that was the one I wanted to buy. However I was not so happy when it came to trying to find someone who stocked the metric board!

Several retailers note on their website the availability of the Olfa 30cm board, but I only found one who had it listed for sale. I sent them an email to ask if they had one in stock, but am still waiting for an answer nearly 2 weeks later! Not great customer service. However, I did get an answer in a roundabout way, because when I looked at their website again, they had removed the listing for the 30cm board. I guess that means they didn't have it in stock. Amazingly enough they have also removed their email address from their "Contact Us" page, so I guess they don't want pesky potential customers bothering them!

At the show, I found a couple of stands selling the Olfa 12" rotating board, but neither of them stock the metric version. And both of them priced the inch version much higher than the people I mentioned above (who didn't actually want to sell me one though).

So I decided that if I had to have inch markings, I'd buy the Fiskars one which is less than half the price of the Olfa. But was it good value? More on that later...

Firstly, how do they rotate? That was something I had tried unsuccessfully to find out, so here's the answer:
Both the Olfa and the Fiskars work this way. They are in two parts. The base (the black part) has a round hole in it. The top section (white in this case) has a circular piece glued to the back,
which fits into the hole in the base. The two surfaces that touch are smooth, and the movement is quite easy.

Today I tried out the board. It was fun using it to cut out some triangles. In this case I was using a regular ruler and a paper template - if you were using a plastic template it would be even easier, as you wouldn't need to move the template the way I needed to move my little ruler. Just cut, then spin...
and cut,
and spin, and cut.
All done! Much easier than either moving the fabric and losing the position of my template, or tying my arms in knots trying to cut the shape without moving the fabric or template! So I can see myself using the rotating board for lots of jobs.

However, I was a little unimpressed with one aspect of the Fiskars "self-healing" board:
That damage was visible after only about 20 minutes of cutting. It seems the cutting surface is extremely shallow. In a couple of places, the cutting surface has lifted, and here a tiny piece has actually broken off, leaving a scar which is not going to "self heal". Compare that with the worst damage on my Olfa board after over 20 years of use:
OK, that extreme close-up looks a mess, but even in this deep(ish) cut, I still have cutting surface. And because the board is solid material, I can just turn it over and probably get another 20 years wear out of it.

I don't know how thick the "self-healing" layer on the Olfa rotating board is. I didn't think to look at that at the show. But if you are thinking of buying a rotating board, I'd suggest you look at that aspect.

Added Later: The cutting surface of the Olfa board doesn't look any thicker than the Fiskars one. I think the secret is to only use these thin rotating boards for straight cuts - don't twist the cutter to go round corners, or you damage the surface!