Sunday, July 28, 2013

Eight Triangles

Today I tried out a design Jenny Bowker showed us in the workshop in Ballarat. Part of it involved making sets of half-square triangles, eight at a time:
You draw diagonal lines across your squares, then stitch a seam-allowance width either side of those lines. The lines both drawn and stitched might be visible in the photo if you enlarge it. Once the sewing is complete, you start cutting the square into triangles. First a "north-south" cut as in the photo, then an "east-west" one across the middle, and finally the diagonals. My rotating cutting mat came in very handy for this!
I'm happy with how they turned out. I'll show the whole thing when it is all together.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Craft and Quilt Fair

Went to the Craft & Quilt Fair. Saw lots of friends, and enjoyed seeing a few of them presented with prizes for their quilts.

Once the awards had been given out, it became very difficult to get close to the winning quilts. I was glad I had looked at them during the morning, because this was the crowd in front of the "Best in Show" winner in the afternoon:

I did not buy one thing in the "fair" section, although I did have a little play with this wonderful but very expensive machine:
That's Helen Godden's blurry hand, not mine!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Farewell to the Seedlings

Today it was time to farewell this year's TreeProject seedlings. First a last check for weeds and pests, which revealed this little fellow munching on a Woolly Teatree, (Leptospermum lanigerum). 

Then it was time to load everything into the car. I wondered back in January how we would transport fourteen full boxes, but I had forgotten this handy piece of equipment:
Seven boxes in the car, and seven in the trailer.

They didn't have to go far; just a few streets away. The Landcare group they are for will collect them from there, so it looks like we may not get the opportunity to be involved in planting these ones out.

Goodbye, trees!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Scatterday - Z

Z! Another letter we have been dreading. And look at the obscure categories we had to try and fill:

The Zimmermann Telegram. Details at Wikipedia here. Governments eavesdropping on private communications? Surely that wouldn't happen these days.

Picture from Google Street View - an Arabic grocery in my suburb, which is the best place around here to buy zaatar "pizza". Zaatar is a Middle-Eastern herb mixture which includes oregano, thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac (everyone's recipe differs). Cooked on flat-bread in the pizza oven, it is very yummy.

This flower once belonged to a genus called Zygocactus, although now it is in Schlumbergera. OK, so a genus is not a family, but it should be obvious round about now that this week was quite a challenge.

No words required!

Phew! I'm glad Z is out of the way. As usual, you can check out everyone's Scatterday posts via Cinzia's blog.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Kookaburra Family

This afternoon at the botanic gardens.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

More Signs of Spring

Around my garden today:
Jonquils in bloom, actually later than last year when they opened in May.

Cosmos seedling. About a month ago I gathered a dry seed head from a plant growing on a nearby nature strip, and scattered the seed around in my garden. It was nice to find this little plant today as I was weeding.

Unknown little volunteer. It looks like it could be a garden plant of some variety, so I didn't pull it out. Can anyone offer a suggestion of what it might be?

Forecast of a top of 21 degrees tomorrow. That definitely doesn't feel like winter!

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I seem to have brought a cold home with me, so have done almost nothing since I returned home. But apparently outside spring is on the way:
Sprig of golden wattle, Acacia pycnantha, which is Australia's floral emblem.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Heading Home

All packed up and ready to go:
The scribbling on the bag at the left is because I can't show you details of that bag yet. It is a pattern in Nicole Mallalieu's second book, which will be published next year. Once it is, I will post some proper photos of the bag.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Last Day

In our last day of workshops, I made a marigold garland using fabric I painted yesterday and some raw-edge appliqué with free-motion stitching:

The 10x10 and 15x15 exhibitions were dismantled, and we took possession of our purchases:
At the top, a piece by Helen Godden, who was one of the tutors this week. In the middle, a piece by Maria Cook, which has been a little washed-out by the flash. At the bottom, a piece by Jeann Clark, a fellow student I got to know during the week. I didn't know it was her work until after I had bought it, but once I knew that made it particularly special.

After the workshops we had a special candle-lit dinner:

Then an exhibition of everyone's work for the week. You can see photos of the exhibition on the Fibre Arts Australia facebook page here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Secret of the Straw

I had wondered about a piece of plastic drinking straw Jenny had taped to the top of her machine. Today the secret was revealed:
It is a carrier to hold yarn in exactly the required position for couching! It seems even the most advanced computerised machine can be improved with a bit of masking tape and a drinking straw. Later Jenny also showed us how to use a drawing pin and a piece of masking tape to sew a perfect circle, and amazed everyone with tips about loading spools of thread onto the machine.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

More Frost

Overnight lows of the negative variety result in some rather lovely mornings.
An unidentified small plant becomes an icy jewel.

The dry seed head of a limonium (statice, or sea lavender). Ice still covers the shaded side, but has melted in the rising sun on the right.

An iced echium flower bud.

Meanwhile in the workshop, Jenny showed us the simple strip-piecing method she used to construct the cross shapes which feature in a few of her works, such as the Egyptian desert series:

Monday, July 8, 2013


A touch of frost this morning. Who would stay in Ballarat for a week in July?

Today the "10x10" works (10cm square) were for sale in aid of cancer research. I snapped up one piece by one of the tutors.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Missing my morning chai and evening hot chocolate, I had to take a quick trip to the supermarket for suppllies.
I'm sure neither will be as good as homemade, but hopefully they will be acceptable.

On the way I saw several rosellas apparently enjoying silver birch catkins:

At morning tea the "15 x 15" works were for sale. These were 15cm square art pieces which were sold to raise money for scholarships to future events:
I bought a piece by Maria Cook (of the blog A Pieceful Life).

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Strange Room

Not my normal surroundings!

Added later: I'm in Ballarat for a week, to attend the Fibre Arts Australia "Quilt @ the Winter School" event. I'm doing a workshop with Jenny Bowker.

Scatterday - N

It's Scatterday again, and this week we have the letter

and our categories are:
* medical
* celebration
* ocean
* notion from the sewing room

Neem toothpaste from India. The neem tree is native to the sub-continent, and traditionally people there chewed on neem twigs to clean their teeth. Many medical claims are made for neem, particularly on the internet, but I don't know if there is any scientific basis for any of them.

This is me on my ninth Christmas (or ninth Noël, to keep the Ns happening). My parents used to take a picture of us with our presents each year. That year all I wanted was a watch, and there it is! I still have it, too, although the mobile phone's time display has meant I haven't worn my watch for a few years. What is quite strange to me now is the resemblance between this picture and my son at a similar age.

This is not my photo; hover over it for attribution. Years ago I found one of these on a beach on the Bass Coast. From a distance I thought it was a sheep's horn. In fact it is the egg case of an argonaut octopus, and is commonly called a "paper nautilus".

A few years back I had the notion that I would make something using the faux chenille technique. I purchased this (rather expensive) gadget which has remained in its packaging, and the faux chenille project has remained merely a notion.

As usual, you can check out everyone else's scatterday posts via Cinzia's blog here.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Not So Smart

I've been a little busy this week, so haven't looked at the seedlings since Monday. That wasn't smart, because this week there has been a couple of sunny days, a very windy day, and no rain.
Most of the seedlings are fine, but the poor messmates (Eucalyptus obliqua) haven't coped. They've since had a thorough soaking, and I hope they will all survive this mid-winter drought.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


My smart meter was installed while I was at work today:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Declare Your Love

These two ads faced me on the tram this morning:
Are they part of some larger "Declare your love" campaign I am unaware of? Or are they, like "the cure for the common [fill in the blank]" on Mad Men, evidence of a copywriter who has run out of ideas?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Teatree Forest

Forest of Woolly Teatree Leptospermum lanigerum seedlings. They've come a long way since they were 2mm long seeds (here).