Monday, September 30, 2013

Strange Find

I often find bits of rubbish in my garden as I am weeding, but this was rather unusual:
It was under some thick plants right in the centre of a garden bed. It may have been there for weeks or since earlier today; no way of knowing. Most of the watch is wrapped in plastic. The band has never been unclasped by the look of the plastic seal over the buckle. A quick search on the internet found the company website, where this model is priced at $75.

So, it seems likely someone threw it into my garden, but you wouldn't do that if you had paid $75 for it and never worn it. So I'm assuming it was stolen, but then why throw it into a garden?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pretty Green

My Callistemon viridiflorus is flowering for the first time:
Planted in February 2011, then almost drowned in April that year. Fortunately it survived that, and it is now about waist-high with lots of flowers opening. The flowers look a little greener in real life than in the photo.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pants and Plants

Popped a few little plants in this planter:
This planter actually came from the same garage sale as the fabric I've been making trousers from this week.

After the planting and a bit of weeding the rain drove me inside, where I finished the trousers (picture once the weather is warm enough to wear them, maybe). All afternoon I tried to avoid hearing anything about the football. However I did find out who won at about 10:00pm when someone mentioned it in an email. I had been hoping to get to tomorrow without knowing!

Scatterday - O

I don't know where Cinzia found that O; are those guys wearing prisoner-of-war uniforms? At least they look happy, whatever their situation.

Here are today's categories:

This one nearly got away from me, as I only remembered on Thursday that this was the Scatterday Saturday. Don't know where the last fortnight went!

I found this opal amongst some buttons someone discarded three years ago.  I did give it back to her!

Not my workplace, although it is quite close to somewhere I've been doing some casual work recently. The Melbourne Observatory was once a very important astronomical site. You can read about it on Wikipedia.

Is this art? Wall sculptures of owls made of old kitchen junk. $75 each if you want one. Spotted at Bulleen Art and Garden yesterday.

This fragment of hexagon patchwork included papers dated from 1793 to 1803. That sounds old to me! It is thought to have been made by Mary Ann Spring, (born 1799, London). On display at Quilts in the Barn yesterday.

There aren't a lot of us still able to continue with the game, but to see what the remaining few found for O, go to Cinzia's blog here.

Friday, September 27, 2013

In the Barn

Trip to Wonga Park for Quilts in the Barn, which this year is "All About Chintz":

Lots of interesting quilts old and new.
My photos make it look a bit empty, but in reality the barn was very full of people enjoying the show and doing some shopping.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Avenue of Elms

Elms looking very spring-like, covered in green flowers and seeds, but no leaves yet.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In One Piece

Spent a bit of time at the sewing machine today, and now my trousers are in one piece:
This is much closer to the real colour than the picture in my last post.

There's still a bit of work to do around the waist. Once that's done all they need is hemming and they will be ready to wear.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Cut out a couple of warm-weather garments today, and started working on one of them:
This is one of the Ottobre patterns I traced off on Saturday. The real colour of the fabric is lighter than it looks here. It's a linen blend, I think, but I can't be sure as I bought it at a neighbour's garage sale.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Vireyas

Vireya Chayya has her first flower this year:
I love the colour of this one.

Meanwhile, Princess Alexandra which started flowering a month ago, is now covered in blooms:
There are twenty-four open flower heads, and more buds coming. Fantastic!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Traced a couple of patterns out of the latest Ottobre Woman pattern magazine:
Following the correct line through the tracing paper can be tricky at times!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Beautiful wisteria-covered structure in the Domain Parklands today.
So what would you call this structure? Is it a pergola? Is it an arbour? Is there a difference between those two? (Wikipedia thinks an arbour and a pergola are the same thing. Do you?) Is it something else?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Extra Room

Six frames of honey were removed from my bee hive about a month ago. Today when the hive was opened again, the bees had almost filled the empty frames. They've been very busy during the blossom season. So it was time to give them some room to expand into:
An extra super added to the hive today. That's eight empty frames for them to start work on.

Monday, September 16, 2013


On 16th of September last year, I planted some seeds.
This is one of the red valerian, or kiss-me-quick, (Centranthus ruber) plants that grew from those seeds. I planted three in my front garden, and all of them appear to be forming flower buds now. I'm looking forward to seeing what colour the flowers are, as I collected the seeds from plants with pink and with white flowers, and avoided those with red ones.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


I finished sewing down the facing yesterday, but couldn't get a good photo. This afternoon I attended a quilting group and two nice people held the quilt up for me to photograph.
Hooray! Started piecing in November 2009, but now it is complete and removed from my list of unfinished projects.

The quilt is 190cm long and 160cm wide. This is a sideways view, because I don't think either of my helpers would be tall enough to hold it vertically.

The pattern is "Leap Frog", downloadable from here. I did re-draft the blocks to measurements I wanted to work with.

Things I learnt making this quilt:

  • It's the first time I've used a facing instead of a binding. I will definitely do that again in future.
  • I should have trimmed off the "bunny ears" on the outermost pieced blocks at least. In a few places the dark seam allowances are visible through the white of the first border. This could have been avoided if I had cut them off at some stage before I basted the quilt.

Bring on the next unfinished object!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Scatterday - J

It's that time again, and this time we have the letter:

Our categories are:

  • Holiday
  • Dancing
  • Toy
  • Japanese

I found these a bit tricky, and rather than take photos specially as I usually do, I've had to have a bit of a dig through my old photos.

View of the Jantar Mantar in Jaipur. It is a collection of huge astronomical instruments built in about 1730. You can read all about it on its World Heritage List page here. I was there in December 2006.

A performance by the Jhoom Bollywood Dance School in November 2006 during the filming of Chak De! India in Melbourne.

Knucklebones - Sheep
Jacks. Not my photo, this one comes from the Museum of Victoria. They have two sets of jacks in their collection, one from the 1880s, and these ones from the 1990s. The difference is that the older ones were probably actually played with, whereas these ones were deliberately collected for the Australian Children's Folklore Collection. I am old enough to have used real bone jacks when I was in early primary school. I don't think anyone at my first school had plastic ones. In searching for this photo I came across a site with the rules of the game, although they list far more complications than the version I knew.

(Added later: Actually the museum seems to have many sets of jacks. I also found these from 1955, and a comparison with the plastic ones here.)

I made this little Japanese purse a couple of years ago from a kit purchased from Mariko Japan at the AQC. Later that year I made a bunch of them as gifts for various friends. This week I've been using mine to hold the bits and pieces I'm using to finish the facing on a quilt; the thread, point-turner, clips, etc.

So that's J done! We still have C, F, G, K, O, P and Y to go.

As usual, you can visit the other Scatterday participants to see what they found for this challenge by following the links on Cinzia's blog. I'm looking forward to seeing what they found!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Exceptional Spear-Flower

Gymea Lily, Doryanthes excelsa, flower beginning to open today in the Domain Parklands.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Eighty Percent

It is taking a while to get this facing stitched down, but today I turned the last corner:
I estimate I'm about 80% of the way round.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sustainable House Day

Today was Sustainable House Day, and houses all around the country were open for inspection. We visited three new homes in the Lal Lal region, to look at things that might work on our block.

This one has some lovely features inside, but is way larger than we need:
I did like their polished concrete floor, which has lots of coloured glass embedded in it:
It looks nicer in real life than in the photo, though.

This one was mainly interesting for their waste-water treatment system:

This one which is still under construction has an interesting worm-farm waste treatment system, which is large enough to dispose of a sheep!
Construction is a mixture of strawbale and weatherboard, with some internal walls made of mudbrick for extra thermal mass:
The third one felt the nicest, although I would put the strawbales under the windows as well, to make window seats. They had one room with windows on two sides that I thought would make a perfect sewing room.

Meanwhile at Lal Lal, where all the trees have been looking green and lush with new growth because of the rain we've had this year, everything has turned brown. It didn't take long to find the culprits:
 Every leaf of every eucalypt seems to have one or more painted cup moth larvae (Doratifera oxleyi) rasping and chomping their way through the green growth. Millions of them on our block and adjacent ones. The smaller larvae chew off the surface layer of the leaf, as in the photo below, and when they have grown larger they can chomp through the full thickness.
 This particular leaf also has a gall of some variety. I've found similar photos, but no-one with an identification of the cause. Here's another leaf with a lot of the galls:
 I presume it is a reaction to some other insect invader. But if you look closely you might notice that there is a cup moth larva at work on the back of this leaf as well. You can just see the tip of it near the bottom on the left-hand side. The larvae have stinging spines that they erect if threatened. Birds don't usually eat them. Some flies and wasps do prey on them, but apparently viral diseases are the main limit on their population.

Apparently the trees will survive unless there are 3-4 successive years of cup moth attack. Some smaller trees where all the leaves are brown are already making a comeback:
Let's hope the trees win in the long run.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Federal Democracy Day

Voted early today, before breakfast. I took the dogs for a walk in the sunshine to the polling booth I discovered at the last state election. This lovely blossom tree has been trained to shade one of the covered walkways around the garden I showed last time:
There was a small queue, even at 8:15, but the wait was short. Filling in all those boxes from 1 to 97 on the senate ballot took longer than the queuing time!

Friday, September 6, 2013

No Binding

Changed my mind about binding this quilt, and I'm using a facing instead:
It's not at all obvious what's going on in this photo, but those added pieces will be turned to the back and stitched down.

This is a technique Jenny Bowker taught in the workshop I did with her in July. It's the first chance I've had to try it out. So far I'm liking it because it is easier than traditional binding; there's no tricky joins or mitred corners.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Quilted three sides of the border today:
It is hard to see what I've actually done from the front. It's a bit clearer on the back (right-hand side of the photo).

I'll have to choose fabric for the binding now. This quilt will be off my UFO list very soon!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dress Day

In an afternoon at the machine, I finished quilting the body of this quilt and the inner border. Only the outer border to do now, but my shoulders had had enough for the day.

Meanwhile, spring has definitely arrived. Here are leaves bursting out of a crepe myrtle:

It was warm enough to wear a dress, and tomorrow will be even warmer: