Thursday, January 31, 2013


Water, falling from the sky! It is great to see. The gardens will be happy!
I was hoping to get home tonight before it hit, but that didn't happen. Photo is of raindrops on the tram window. Picture below is the Bureau of Meteorology's Melbourne radar after I got home and dried off a little:
As I write this, water is pouring into the water tanks that ran dry last week. Hooray!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Busy Day

My bees were very busy today, visiting lots of flowers in my garden.
This one is gathering pollen from a crepe myrtle. The largest lump of pollen in the picture is actually the bee's pollen sac.

I finished attaching hanging tabs to this wall-hanging,
so now it is officially complete. The pattern was designed by Margaret J. Miller, who called it "Whirlin' Dervish".  I thought of a good name for mine the other day, and I wish I had written it down at the time! This afternoon I made a few QAYG blocks to use up the excess backing fabric and batting I trimmed from this piece before binding it. Then I crossed this hanging off my list of unfinished projects, and tried not to look at how long the list still is.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Good-Bye to Spotlight

My local Spotlight is closing down at the end of this week. I popped in today to say good-bye to the place.
I worked in this store for a while back in 1990. Some of the staff I worked with then are still there. One lady I used to share my morning-tea breaks with has been there for 27 years. Fortunately she (along with many other staff members) is being moved to another shop rather than losing her job.

Good-bye Spotlight! I'll miss you.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nearly There

Almost no longer a UFO:
Finished quilting this wall-hanging (sorry it is a bit out of focus), then made and attached the binding and hanging loops. All that is left to do is the hand-stitching on the back of the binding.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pick Up

The car was back on the road just in time for the last TreeProject pick-up day:
Two kits this year! They fit in the car empty, but when they are full of trees it will be a different matter.

There's lots of variety, with seven different species, some of which I haven't grown before. One needs refrigeration before sowing, three need heat treatment, and three need smoke. One of the smoke ones also needs to be waterlogged! So they are already interesting before the first tube has been filled with soil.

Heading North

As we commemorate the arrival of the First Fleet, it seems Book Depository is sending us north.

Friday, January 25, 2013


There has been no rain for weeks. The street trees are drooping and the smaller ones are dying. Many people's gardens look parched, scorched, nearly dead. Without supplemental water my garden would be dying too.

Today the forecast said there was a 60% chance of rain. The sky was overcast, and looked as if it might send us some moisture. To tempt it, I washed and hung out some bargain fabric I picked up which will become the backing and border of my Easy St quilt.
But it didn't work. Still no rain here.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Scatterday - R

Scatterday (now fortnightly by request of the majority of participants) is here again. This fortnight Cinzia gave us the letter

and our categories are:
# mammal
# technology
# transport
# something red from your sewing room.

Sylvac rabbit figurine. Either my great aunt or my grandmother had one of these cute bunnies, but unfortunately it wasn't passed down to me. I had to buy my own.

My father was a radio technician, and as I grew up our kitchen table seemed always to hold at least one valve radio he was repairing for a relative or neighbour. This transistor radio is the first product I remember seeing on TV and desperately wanting. Not only was it a radio, you could wear it as a bangle! I was very happy when my parents gave me one for Christmas. Mine was blue. I don't remember how much they cost new, but I saw this red one for sale for $165 last week.

At dawn on the River Ganges at Varanasi, December 2008.

Something red from my sewing room:
Some red things from my sewing room.

You can visit other Scatterday participants from the links on Cinzia's blog.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Another purchase that arrived this week included the two front rulers:
I already owned the one at the back, which I purchased in a quilt shop somewhere in country Victoria over 10 years ago. I'm glad I bought it when I saw it as I have never seen it anywhere since. It is designed for cutting "half-square" triangles. Doing the Easy Street quilt showed me the usefulness of a "quarter-square" ruler, so I started looking for one in centimetres. When I (finally) found one, I bought the 15cm square one at the same time, as the one I already own which is that size has only black markings and they are wearing off.

These rulers are made in the USA. Then the German parent company distributes them in Europe. I purchased them from an online retailer in England, who don't normally ship to Australia but were nice to me because I couldn't find anyone else who would send them here.

I'll spare you a rant about the difficulty of obtaining metric rulers in Australia, and just say that it is a delight to  now be able to use a ruler which has my preferred seam allowance built in to it!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Outdoors and Indoors

Outside, basking in the sun:

Inside, sheltering from the heat:
Adding a few pieces to my EPP sunflowers while watching TV.

Later: Linked to Sarah's HeLP for Hexaholics.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Skip Rescue

Walking past the end of a R.O.W. I noticed an interesting-looking bit of greenery sticking out of a skip. I had to take a closer look:
A huge bromeliad! Why was someone throwing out such an amazing plant? I wanted to rescue it, but how to get it home without a car?

The answer involved a quick walk home to get my old shopping trolley:
Much easier than trying to carry such a huge plant all the way!

Later at home after a bit of a drink it looks pretty good:
Aechmea fasciata (fasciata - bound together, according to my new Latin book)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


This avenue of beautiful trees provided some welcome shade as I walked home on a sunny afternoon:
The trees were planted in August 1919, one for each soldier from this suburb who was killed in WWI. Each was planted by a relative or friend of the soldier. Nearly 100 years later we can enjoy the results of that act of hope for the future.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Latin for Gardeners

When the postie came today I was in the front garden doing a bit of tidying. He didn't notice me so I gave him a bit of a fright when I suddenly appeared to grab a parcel out of his hand:
Latin for Gardeners by Lorraine Harrison
The first part of my Christmas spending to arrive. Although it came from the UK, this appears to the the US edition. I don't know if there are any differences apart from the missing Royal Horticultural Society logo on the front cover.

Inside it is packed with lovely botanical illustrations as well as the expected Latin info. As it says on the cover; "Over 3,000 Plant Names Explained and Explored".
And I do love a book with its own ribbon bookmark!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Five Not-So-Easy Pieces

My Easy Street quilt top is now in five pieces. I'm intending to quilt each section individually before joining it all together. To get an idea just how big it is, I spread the pieces out on a queen-size bed:
It was a bit dark by the time I took the photo, and the flash couldn't really cope with such a large area. But at least I can see how big the finished quilt will be. I can also see that if it was going on a bed of this size, it probably would need a border as well...

(Just noticed this is my 999th post!)

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Lots of pressing and stitching today, as I worked on my Easy Street top. At the moment my plan is to assemble it in five parts, which I will quilt separately. Here is the centre section, which is made up of nine blocks:
The other four pieces are the corners. They are nearly together too, but it has been a slow process.

If I had known how the quilt would look, I might have made some different fabric choices. I think the design gets a bit lost in these fabrics. But not knowing where you are headed is part of the fun of a mystery.

To see how fabulous some other people's fabric choices look, check out Bonnie's final Easy Street link-up at Quiltville. It is amazing how different a quilt can look, and also amazing that some people have the whole top assembled, including borders!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Titan Arum Revisited

Remember the Titan Arum that flowered at Christmas time?

Here's how it looks now:
It's had bits cut off it, and what wasn't removed has died down. What you see here is the remains of the male and female flowers which were hidden within it, the male ones at the top, the females below. The female flowers turn into the fruits, but I didn't think to ask today if they form fruit even if they weren't fertilised.

Today I got to have a special look behind this secret door:
This door is at the rear of the tropical greenhouse. If you look back at the first picture, it is hidden behind all those people and the titan arum. It is off-limits to the public, and I've never even noticed it before, but today I was able to go through it thanks to a special tour for Friends of the Botanic Gardens.

And what is hiding behind the secret door?

Another titan arum flower!

This one opened on 3rd January, but has now closed and its tall spadix has been removed to become a specimen in the National Herbarium of Victoria. On Saturday staff at the Gardens attempted to pollinate this flower with pollen gathered from the first one, but they won't know for some time if that was successful. Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Blocks Done

I've assembled all Easy Street's blocks. Here's the last few in progress:
That's the makings of eight blocks; four that have been ironed, and four that haven't yet. I kept the block bits under control with the little plastic clips you can see at each end. I clipped the five strips for each block together as I made them, and they stayed clipped until the block was all done. Otherwise I think I would have been going crazy with so many pieces!

The next step would be to assemble the blocks into one whole quilt top, but I'm contemplating making it in sections for ease of handling. That will take a bit of thought and planning, so the blocks might stay just blocks for a while.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Scatterday - W

Welcome to Scatterdays!


Scatterdays is a game which has been initiated by Cinzia. Each week she will give the participants a letter and four different categories. We then have one week to find one thing for each category, photograph it and upload it to our blogs on Saturday (Scatterday). A bunch of people are "Scatterers" and you can see the full list with links at Cinzia's blog.

This week, Cinzia gave us:

And the categories are:
# Expensive
# Music
# Exciting

I saw this beautiful tropical waterlily for sale for $45 a plant this week. That's too expensive for me!

Actually this is not the most musical wind chime, but it is special to me because it was a housewarming present from a friend who died not long after. It seems to have been made by pressing real leaves into the wet clay.

Wollemi Pine
This rare tree was discovered growing in NSW in 1994. Before that, it had only been seen as fossils over 2 million years old. It might be old news now, but I still find it exciting!

Work in Progress:
"Whirlin' Dervish" wall-hanging quilt designed by Margaret J Miller.
It's close to being finished, but I'm stuck; I don't know how to quilt the green areas. It is a long time since I started quilting it, and I'd love to get it finished, so any ideas are welcome.

Head over to Cinzia's blog to check out the other Scatterers posting their W finds today.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Too Hot

Temperature this afternoon:

Now it's 11:30 PM and I have sweat running down my face and back. The indoor temperature has gone up a little since I took this photo, and the outdoor temperature is still 33.5. There is a cool change somewhere on its way. I'm hoping it arrives soon so that I can get some sleep.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Easy Street - Revealed

Easy Street is no longer a mystery. Bonnie released the final part of the instructions on Tuesday evening our time. I've added an Easy Street button to the sidebar that you can click on to go to Bonnie Hunter's site.

Here is mine so far:

It looks a bit brighter in real life. This is a quarter of the final quilt. It's not all that I've done, but it is as much as I can fit on my design wall at once. I do still have a few of the large blocks to piece. I haven't joined these blocks together yet, they are just pinned up beside each other. Once I've made them all, I'll decide how to proceed. I think I will be quilting it in sections, as there is no way I could quilt something this big on my little Lotus. The largest thing I've quilted so far was a single-bed quilt, and it caused me pain, but this just would not physically fit through the machine.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hanging Garden

Amazing hydroponic tomatoes at a nursery I visited this morning. Their pots are the dark things about halfway up the right-hand side of the photo. From there they grow horizontally across a steel mesh. I don't know how they taste, but they look fantastic!

And something else amazing 88 days before Easter:
Tonight in the supermarket; hot cross buns.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Easy Street - Step Seven

Happy new year!

With the clue that was released last night, Easy Street is starting to come together:
That is two of the 4 corners (at the bottom left and right of the picture), and one of the 12 side pieces (at the top) which are actually giant setting triangles. The blocks must be 15" square in the old measurements, and I suspect there are two alternating blocks. I won't have to wait long to find out, because Bonnie is releasing the final clue in a bit under an hour from now!