Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fabric Stash

It is Melbourne Open Weekend, and the most amazing place I visited today was Phillips Shirts. I was surprised to find that a business like this still exists in the heart of the city:
Still employing a few machinists and other staff. They still make some shirts in this building they've occupied for 50 years or so. The machinery was interesting, but what caught my eye were the rolls of vintage fabric around the room:
I'd love to get my hands on some of these beautiful silks:
But then beyond the sewing area is the fabric storeroom:
Where bolts of fabric are piled up to the ceiling:
Rack after rack after rack of fabric:
Some of it dates back to the 60s and 70s, and still has the labels showing its origin. I was a little jealous of the woman who showed us around. She is their designer and gets to play among these fabrics every day!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Took a trip to Werribee Park, for a heritage fruit grafting day. Wandered around the orchard and the gardens,
but not into the mansion. However its verandah did provide convenient shelter during a patch of heavy rain.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Nice-looking lecture theatre, designed by Peter Corrigan:
Not too intimidating when it is like this. But next Wednesday could be a different story. Imagine those seats filled with students, waiting for you to inform and entertain them.

And what do they get up to in the dress circle?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lunch Time

Nom nom nom...
Saw these sparrows during my lunch break. I presume posters are stuck up with a starch paste? Are the sparrows eating the paste, or finding insects that are eating the paste? I don't know, but looking at the state of the posters, this seems to be a regular hangout for the sparrows.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Winter Rose

I started pruning my roses this week, but I left the last bud alone:
The last rose of summer.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Flying Again

Sunshine and a neighbour's almond blossom:
The bees are happy. There have been a few days recently when they didn't venture outside at all.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Seedling Check-Up

In just under a month the TreeProject seedlings will be going to their real owner to be planted out. Most of them are looking ready to go:
Black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) with the usual wattle leaves in front, wirilda (Acacia retinoides) with more vertical leaves in the middle, and swamp gum (Eucalyptus ovata) with rounded leaves at the right rear. Behind all of them, manna gums (Eucalyptus viminalis).

Today I started pruning their roots for the last time. It was also an opportunity to have a close look at each plant. I found (and removed) two different varieties of aphids:
Sorry the photos aren't clearer, but these insects are absolutely minuscule. I would not have seen them at all if I hadn't been wearing my glasses.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Walking the Dogs

One of the dogs can't walk quite as far as she used to. Today when she started hanging back, she was popped into a shoulder bag so everyone else could get the exercise they need:
She doesn't seem to mind too much, does she?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Charity Sew Day

A friend invited me to attend a charity sewing day today. It was organised by one of the staff at GJ's Fabrics, and held at the shop. About a dozen happy sewers spread ourselves out in the large and bright teaching area upstairs. The big tables are great, although the chairs are very low. We made blocks and small quilt tops (about a metre square), which will be turned into quilts and given to kids being treated at the Peter Mac Cancer Hospital.
It was nice to meet some new people, to learn some new tricks, and to share a couple of tricks of my own. I put this top together using a panel I was recently given as part of someone else's stash clearance:
So that's a bit of fabric gone from my stash, and I even managed to leave the shop without buying any more. I left before the raffle was drawn but I haven't had a phone call; someone else won the lovely prizes. It it was a nice way to spend a Saturday, and if they run another one I'll be a bit more organised and do something a bit more planned.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

To Market, To Market

Took a trip to Vic Market for some fruit and veges. The stalls seem to have moved a little up-market in recent years.
The colourful signs, awnings, bright lighting, and wrought-iron display stands are new, but shopping at the market is still good value. It also brings back lots of memories of trips there as a child.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wonky Compass

I pulled apart the centre of the mariner's compass block I made last week, in an attempt to get it to lie flat. That created a gap in the centre, so I had to add something to cover the gap. At that point the block was almost flat, but then I added the circle border:
It might not be obvious in the photo, but the whole thing is bulging out from the border. Maybe it will be OK as a cushion cover, with a very fat cushion in it?

 I'll definitely try this again, using my own machine for the whole thing. I hope that will be more successful.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Forest of Fungi

Everything is wet at Lal Lal. There is water running across the block for the second time in ten years. The trees are green, and full of birds searching the bark for insects.

Everywhere you look there are fungi. Here's just some of them:
Pushing up through a patch of moss.

A collection of tiny umbrellas.

Pushing soil and leaf-litter aside.(Russula sp?)

A pretty golden one.

The remains of a coral fungus (Ramaria sp?).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ready to Shop

Got back to my sewing machine this afternoon and finished my test shopping bag. Then I rushed it outside to try and get a photo while there was still a little bit of light:
I hadn't even finished off the ends from the last bit of stitching. Because the light was so dim, the colour looks a lot less intense than it is in real life.
The green is more like the tab you can see in this photo, or the picture I posted two days ago. This one was taken with the flash once I had tidied up those hanging threads, and rolled the bag up into its handy built-in zip-up pouch.

Now I just need to do some shopping to really test it!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hit The Road!

Today I went to see a financial advisor about my superannuation options. I was amused by the selection of magazines in their waiting area:
It seems the only option is to become a grey nomad.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pattern Testing

I'm testing Nikki from You SEW Girl's latest pattern. This is how far I got today:
 Doesn't look much like a shopping bag yet, does it? But it will! I'm up to attaching the zip, which is definitely a challenge, as Nikki says in the post I linked to. The biggest challenge for me is keeping my fingers out of the way of the iron while fusing bits and pieces into place. Unfortunately I had to stop before I finished it today because of fading light, so you'll have to come back later in the week to see the finished shopping bag.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


The first day of July was cold, dark and wet.
Not surprising, really! This is a bergenia flowering in my garden, but I stayed inside most of the day.