Saturday, June 30, 2012

Quilters At The Showgrounds

But not many of them.

The walk from the tramstop was long, and the showgrounds seemed deserted.
I kept going past the Pie In The Sky sculpture, and eventually found the Mad Quilters' Gathering. Unfortunately for the people who had stands there, very few people actually attended today. There were lots of different businesses, many of whom I haven't seen at the larger shows. I wandered around and looked at everything, but didn't buy much. I spent some of my time doing a workshop to make a 3D mariner's compass, which was done using a pattern and tool designed by Cheryl Phillips.
During the workshop we only made half of the compass. The problem with that was that it was very difficult to get exactly the same seam allowance on my machine at home, so my two halves were not exactly the same. The full compass might look OK:
But believe me, it is far from flat! I bought the pattern so I can make it again. Reading the pattern at home afterwards showed me that there was a point early in the construction when I should have fixed one of the issues that lead to this not sitting flat. Even with that knowledge, I think I'll probably need to make it a couple of times before I try it with precious fabric!

Friday, June 29, 2012


When the curtains opened this morning I saw black clouds looking threatening.
A minute later the sun made them beautiful.

Later in the day there was pouring rain and cold wind, but for a few moments the sky was lovely.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In Melbourne Today

Went into the city to meet up with some quilting friends. But first I walked past this landmark, which is closing tomorrow after 60 years:
I glanced inside, but the dark, mouldering heaps of fabric are far from inviting. It is hard to imagine that there is anything still worth buying inside.

For a colourful contrast, a rainbow of umbrellas decorate the Australia on Collins Arcade:

And the Myer windows have a preview of Mali in the City, a herd of 50 elephants, decorated by artists, which will be installed around the city in August.
This particular elephant was decorated by Mali herself! I'm looking forward to seeing them all around town.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Amazing Insect

Checking the TreeProject seedlings today, I noticed that the recent damp weather has not helped the powdery mildew on the the swamp gums (Eucalyptus ovata). However, I wasn't planning to spray them with anything this year, even before I found this little guy:
It is a fungus-eating ladybird (Illeis galbula)! Both the adults and larvae eat fungus, so I'm very happy for this one, and any relatives it wants to invite over, to feast away on the powdery mildew.

And for proof that the sun shone for a while today, see the blue sky reflected on the ladybird.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Citrus Gall

In 2009 my lemon tree was so heavily infested with citrus gall wasp (Bruchophagus fellis) that I cut off every branch.

It has grown back into quite a nice tree, and thanks to the bees, it is covered in fruit. But today I noticed that the wasp is back:
I've pruned out all the galls I could find, but will have to keep a close eye on it to keep removing them before the adult wasps emerge towards the end of August.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


One of my favourite shops in the city is Tokuya, the Japanese "everything's $3.50" shop. Trying to guess the use of some of the products is a challenge, but I think this one will be useful:
Fortunately there are diagrams on the back:

I do have a bit of elastic to thread, so this could be handy.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Yesterday was the shortest day of the year. It was also very cold! I didn't venture outside much, but I did try to photograph some fluffed-up sparrows in the next-door neighbour's trees.
As you can see, I didn't manage to catch a sparrow. And that's the last possible picture of any of the trees.

This morning as I headed off to work the neighbours had a wood-chipper parked in their front drive. Tonight when I got home, all the trees were gone.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Last June my mother spent time in a rehab centre recovering after her broken hip. Outside her window was a purple tree dahlia, and during one of my visits to her, someone may have gathered some propagation material.
Here it is, probably Dahlia tenuicaulis, a year later and 100km away, looking great and giving the bees a treat close to home.

Monday, June 11, 2012


I spent the afternoon in a friend's warm sunroom,
doing a little handsewing over afternoon tea.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Yesterday was apparently International Yarnbombing Day (and apparently also World Wide Knit in Public Day!), and a few people I know were involved in a local project. Today I went to have a look at their handiwork:
That's a bird hanging from the sign. There are lots of other birds nearby, some of which can be seen on this blog post: Don't feed the birds. There are more details of the process here.

Not your normal wall graffiti:

Cute family in another section of the installation:

I hope that potential vandals will enjoy the whimsy of it all, and leave it alone.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

To Daylesford

A day trip to Daylesford, to see this:
And a touch of autumn colour on a wintry day.

On the way, a quick stop to experience the turbines of the community-owned Hepburn Community Wind Farm:
They were turning slowly but it was very difficult to hear them until there was a break in the traffic on the road nearby.

Here they are from 10km across the valley in Daylesford:
As you can tell, it wasn't a day for generating solar electricity!

After the quilt show, I wandered round the town a little. This bush caught my eye in someone's garden:
There were a scattering of buds and flowers over the bush, but most striking were the masses of lovely pink medlar-like fruit. Does anyone know what it is?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Two More Potholders

Finished these today:
I was asked for traditional-style blocks, with a botanical theme. On the left is a maple leaf block, and on the right a churn-dash made of botanical(ish) prints, including kangaroo paw in the centre.

So that's last year's Christmas presents caught up with!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Teacher For A Night

Or three, really.

I'm filling in as teacher for a patchwork class for three weeks. Tonight I took along a few quilted items to show the students:
Some of these I've shown here before, such as the hottie cover and the potholder closest to the bottom. In the background is my "friendship star" couch quilt, which I made quite a few years ago. On the left is my uneven log-cabin Christmas wreath wall hanging. I worked out the pattern from a photo seen on the internet, and then after I'd made it I discovered I actually had the pattern in an old Burda magazine. The yellow daisy is another potholder I made earlier this year, which I don't seem to have blogged. The block design is "Daisiez"by Jan Mullen. For this potholder I used one layer of the Thermolam batting, and one of cotton, which seems to be a good combination. I'm making a couple more potholders with the same batting combo. (Pictures to follow).

Sunday, June 3, 2012


I've had a quiet weekend, recovering from the week. I haven't gone out, or done anything much. But I did notice this caterpillar as I was hanging out my washing:
Unknown caterpillar on a buddleia. I suppose it is not too surprising that a butterfly (or moth) might lay eggs on a butterfly bush, but it seems to be very late in the season for it to still be a caterpillar.  The temperature was only about 7 degrees when I took this photo, and neither the caterpillar nor I was moving very quickly.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Surprise Flowers

At work today I had a surprise visitor who brought me these flowers:
She had just read my blog post from last Sunday, so she popped in with this gift. I was very touched, as well as surprised.

Thanks, Chris!