Monday, October 29, 2012

Surprise Package

On Friday I found in my letterbox a notice that I had missed a courier delivery. I had the whole weekend to wonder what it might be, as I hadn't ordered anything and wasn't expecting any deliveries. This morning it arrived:
Sustainable Food by Michael Mobbs
A fascinating book that hasn't even been published yet. It is due out some time in November. So why did I get an advance copy?

The answer is on page 143:
That's my picture of a citrus gall, as seen on this blog in June. The publishers asked if they could use my photo, and the book (which will retail for $45) is my reward.

This is the second time one of my photos has been published (the previous one is here). It is a fun side of blogging that I never anticipated!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


A couple of months ago I saw the Lily dress on the Tessuti blog and loved the look of it. However, when I made a toile to test the neck and sleeve fitting, I wasn't happy with the effect on me. On the model, it is obvious that the shoulder seams sit high up on the shoulder, but perhaps because my shoulders are fairly broad, on me that meant lots of excess fabric bunching up under my arm and vertical wrinkles on the outer part of the sleeve as the top of the sleeve was pulled up over my shoulder to meet the bodice. When I tried to take a picture of that I discovered how difficult it is to photograph your own shoulder!

To test how much extra fabric I needed in the shoulder area to cover my shoulders comfortably, I unpicked the stitching and let the fabric sit without pulling. That gave me a gap of about 3cms between the seam-lines. Here's a blurry shot showing that this is another thing that is very difficult to photograph:

I adjusted the pattern based on this experiment. I tried various options for adding the missing fabric, but in the end I split the difference, adding half to the bodice pieces, and half to the sleeve. You can see the added bits on the pattern pieces below:

And here's the best shot I could get of what that looks like when they are sewn together:
Not exactly like the original in look, but much more comfortable, with no bunching or pulling. I'm not sure about that wrinkle on the front, it may have been due to how I was standing to take the photo. Of course I didn't notice it until I saw in on the screen.

After two toiles, I think now it is time to jump in and cut my linen fabric.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Local Democracy Day

Queuing at a local primary school to vote in the council elections:
Getting into the school wasn't easy. There were twenty-four candidates, and each of them seemed to have at least two people handing out how-to-vote cards gathered around the gate.

Baby magpie as proof that it is spring even though it was so cold today:

Later I did a bit of weeding and tidying in the garden, and finished my shirt.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Not Broken

Chickened out of doing the buttonholes on my shirt today, when this happened on the practice one:
I've broken needles, but I don't remember ever bending one quite like that before!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sleeves In

Just the buttonholes and buttons to do.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


After dark tonight, one of the captured swarms took a short car ride and was placed on top of the hive in my back yard. The existing hive has no queen in it, so all the bees will eventually die out.
When that happens, the new hive on top will replace it. For now, you might just be able to see a few of the new bees venturing out once their entrance was re-opened after the journey.

Monday, October 22, 2012


The blouse I'm making is nearing the final stages.
I just need to set-in the sleeves, then it will be time for the scary buttonholes.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Too Many

I've lost count of how many swarms there have been so far this spring. Six? Seven?
And here's another one.

Whatever the total, it is too many! However, a couple of the hives have swarmed once too often, and now appear to have no queen. So the swarms we've caught will take over the queenless hives, and not add to the total number of hives. We're fine as long as there are no more swarms...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Quilts Loved and Used

Took a trip to with a friend to attend the Eastern Palliative Care fundraising show, "Quilts Loved and Used", at the Uniting Church in Nunawading.
It included a lovely collection of about 120 antique and modern quilts, along with some welcome refreshments and a handful of traders. We spent a couple of happy hours soaking it all in. It's on again tomorrow (10 - 4:30) if you want to check it out.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It is a Dud

In May 2010 I asked the question, is Hebe "Orphan Annie" a dud? It had been in my garden a year or so then without growing.

In June 2011 it still hadn't grown.

Here it is in October 2012, more than three years since I planted it:
Still no sign of growth, and now a few of its puny branches are shrivelling up.

I was reminded to do this update on its progress when I saw these for sale this evening:
Marked down from $16.98 to $6, but it would be a waste of $6. They already have shrivelled branches. Every "Orphan Annie" in this suburb that I've been watching over the last three years is now dead except mine, and mine looks like it might be starting to go the same way.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Seen in a garden while out walking:
Surrounded by appropriate-looking plants such as cycads, cordylines and fan aloes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Grass Parrots

Red-rumped parrots (Psephotus haematonotus) eating elm seeds in a park I walked through on my way home from work.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Gladiolus carneus in my garden:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Getting Reacquainted

With my sewing machine:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blue in the Garden

Tiny blue:
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’.

Big blue:
Bearded iris

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Good-Bye, City!

Heading home after my last day of work in the city again:
Last time it turned out that it was only my last day for a couple of months.
This time, who knows?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Garden Sight-Seeing

Seen while enjoying a long walk:

Fascinating peony seed pod:

Gorgeous balls of orange (probably Melaleuca fulgens "Apricot delight"):

Charming wisteria-trimmed cottage:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Red And White

Quilts In The Barn this year is inspired by the Infinite Variety exhibition of red and white quilts in New York last year.
This quilt is called "Infinite Variety Revisited". Linda Collins designed it, based on a quilt in the New York exhibition, and had the pattern available for sale today.

The barn was full of quilts old:
and new:

Every corner was filled with quilts
The quilt in the background appeared to be from the 1920s or 30s; those in the foreground are a lot more recent.

This is a block from one quilt I was fascinated by:
The block is apparently in Ruby McKim's "101 Patchwork Patterns". I have a copy of the book, but I don't remember ever seeing this block before. I'll have to dig it out and have a closer look.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mission Accomplished

My backyard has a selection of native plants I planted a few years ago, in the hope that native birds, particularly parrots, would one day come to feed on them. Three of the eucalypts died when the clay soil became waterlogged, but one, the Eucalyptus leucoxylon (yellow gum), has survived. I often see wattlebirds and white-plumed honeyeaters in this tree and the shrubs around it, but I was excited to see who dropped by for a visit today:
A pair of rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus)! They screeched to each other constantly as they ate, then suddenly went silent. They remained still and quiet for several minutes, as a hawk cruised far overhead.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Purple and Gold

A paulownia in full bloom, at sunset.
Heading home, after my last lecture.