Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Farewell 2014!

Look what got my heart going this morning:
Pictured sitting on the door mat after I got it outside, but found on the jeans I was carrying to the bathroom and planning to put on after my shower! You can't tell the size in the photo, but it was about 3cm long. Last seen scuttling under the rubbish bin after I shook it off the door mat. I've been bitten by a white-tailed spider before (the nastiest awakening I've ever had), and it was very painful and the site remained tender for months. It's not an experience I wish to repeat!

Let's look at some nice things now. The first buds on one of the salvia cuttings from my old garden:
This one is "Mystik Spires Blue", which should flower most of the year once it gets going.

And flowers on my pink rosemary:
Strangely looking more pink than they did on the plant the cuttings came from!

A couple of vireyas are in flower. First this unnamed hybrid, Rhododendron (vireya) lochiae x macgregoriae, which has flowered in December for the last four years:
And Princess Alexandra, who has been flowering for months:

I spent most of the afternoon setting up and sowing seven boxes of Treeproject seeds:
This year there are seven different species of eucalypt. It's now a race to see which germinate first.

So we say good-bye to 2014, and hope for a wonderful year ahead!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Hanging Around

Lots of vacuum and steam cleaning at the unit today. A locksmith came and sorted out a few issues. And my hammock was given a place to hang:
Not very elegant getting in!
But once there it is a very nice place to lie and look up at the trees and watch the birds.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mystery Step Five

This week the main challenge was working out how many units to make. I'm making a quarter quantity of the blocks, but this week I couldn't just divide by four.

The clue says to make four of this unit:
If there are only four, they are possibly for the corners of the quilt, so I made four. Every quilt will have four corners, no matter how large or small it is.

The next unit was more interesting. Make 25 of these:
Well that's an intriguing number. An odd number seems to imply an odd number of blocks in some way. If there are 5 x 5 blocks in the whole quilt, these could be centres of blocks. Only Bonnie knows! I made only 7 of them, but they don't take long if I need to whip up a few more in the end.

By my calculations, if the measurement Bonnie gave originally was without borders, there are 40 more units this size required to complete the whole top. So we are close to the end.

Here's all my units so far:
I can't imagine how they go together, but I'm looking forward to finding out!

I'll add a link to the Week 5 Link-Up once Bonnie posts it tomorrow night.

Here's the link-up!

Somehow I managed to be number 1 again. That was a surprise. I just got back from a walk with my dogs, and was amazed to see it was 9:00pm. So I checked my blog reader, and Bonnie's link-up post was right at the top of the list, having just been posted. And no-one had linked-up yet.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Cat is OK

Another Christmas lunch, this time in the new unit:
An almost picnic style lunch, with the Sweet 16 table and a borrowed card table, and various chairs.

My son enjoyed setting up the Christmas tree, which I haven't bothered doing for the last couple of years. But it was nice to reminisce about the various decorations, some of which are as old as him. The tree itself is a couple of years older than him:
It seems not very long since he couldn't reach the top of the tree, and now it looks tiny next to him. At this point my camera batteries died. And I hadn't brought extras because I don't learn from my mistakes.

After everyone had gone home, I took the Sweet 16 table upstairs and set up the machine. But I was too worn out to actually do any sewing!

Everyone who was concerned (as I was!) about the cat abandoned by the previous tenants, will be glad to know that it is alive and well. It is being cared for temporarily by the next-door neighbour. She has been feeding it since it started hanging around her door after its owners disappeared. She has also managed to make contact with the sister of the old tenant, who is apparently going to come and collect it. So I gave the carry-box and the cat food to the neighbour, and hopefully the cat will soon be re-united with people it knows.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas

And happy first birthday to Jack:
He wasn't too impressed with having to get dressed up for the occasion.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

My digital advent calendar is just about finished:
A friend in Canada has sent me one of these each year recently, and I really enjoy them. This one is based on a European Christmas Market. There are lots of nice touches, such as if you look at the calendar at night, the scene changes to a night-time scene like this. But this screen shot was just before 7:00 this morning, when it was already bright and sunny outside in this hemisphere!

Later this morning I discovered that one of my dahlias is flowering:
This is "Marie Antoinette", who came with me from the old garden. Last year her first bud opened on the 1st day of summer. I don't know when this one opened, as I've been running around all over the place the last few days. This was a nice surprise, and there are lots more buds coming. No buds on the Mystic Star dahlias yet, though.

I hope you all enjoy the holiday tomorrow, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Behind the Orange Door

Welcome to the house with the orange door!
I took possession of this property today. There's not much inside yet, but I brought along the table for my Sweet Sixteen machine:
The machine itself is still in its box at home. Next time.

Then it will go up the stairs:
And be set up in this room, which will be my new sewing room:

But one thing I am unhappy about. In the garage I found a few items:
Cat food. A cat carry-box. And a note from the tenants who moved out over the weekend, saying that they hadn't been able to wait for their cat to come home! And they asked me to take it to the RSPCA, or keep it myself. I am very upset that they have dumped an animal, and expect me to deal with it. I don't know if the cat is somewhere in the neighbourhood, or if it has been hit by a car, or if someone else is feeding it, but there was no sign of it at the house today. It will be a few days before I am there again myself. I feel dreadful that the poor thing has been abandoned like that. Why on earth didn't they keep it confined for the last few days before they moved out? Cat people, what should I do?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Summer Solstice

I posted a picture of these a couple of days ago, but as they were sitting on my ironing-board cover, which is pink, they got a little lost.

Here's part four of the mystery:

And here's the link-up so you can see how everyone else is going:Week 4 Link-Up.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Busy Day

Before breakfast I started cutting strips for the next mystery clue, which was released last night. This was a very quick one to do, particularly as I'm only making 25% of the quantity:
All done by lunchtime.

Then I set up out in the back lane to paint some shelving units:
The first coat on the first batch of quite a lot I want to paint. But I will be smarter and set up on the shady side of the lane next time.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jack's New Toy

Aldi had squeaky dog toys for sale this week, so Jack got a "squeaky pig":

When he pokes it with his nose, or picks it up and bites it,
it makes a funny noise which you have to hear to appreciate. And you can, because on YouTube I found a 10-second video of the same pig:
This one is from Wal-Mart, but it looks like it came from the same factory as the Aldi one. And if you love that sound, apparently you can get it as a ring-tone as well. Don't think I will, but it does make me laugh when Jack attacks his pig.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wild Geese

Between mystery clues, a few more Wild and Goosey units:
You might notice that a few pink and aqua scraps from the current mystery have made their way into these blocks.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mystery Step Three

Bonnie made it tricky for me this week! The first two clues were easy to convert to metric measures, as they finished at 4", so I made them 10cm. But this time there are squares which finish at 1.5", which is a bit messier to construct. The strips had to be cut at 5.25cm, and only one of my small rulers has quarter-centimetres on it. I would never normally make a cut like that; I would round up the block size so that I could cut half or full centimetres. But that's the risk with a mystery!

Anyway, despite my initial concerns, the strips weren't too hard to cut, and this step went together quickly:
How will these pieces, based on a 1.5" grid work with the ones we've already made which are based on 2"? Only time will tell!

I had to have a little play with all three parts we've made:
If you are wondering, some of the double-diamond pieces are upside down so that they point in the opposite direction. I didn't make them the wrong way round!

I will be adding a link to Bonnie's link-up later today when she activates it. Visit it and check out the beautiful blocks being made all around the world.

Added later: Here's the link-up  - and I'm the first link this time.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Sewing

Now that various little gifts have been distributed I can post some pictures here.

These little quilted mats could be table centres, place mats, pot-stands, mug-rugs, or whatever else you can think of. I made them from a pattern found here after seeing the very pretty one Marly made.
They look much nicer NOT in Christmas fabrics, I think. But anyway, that's what time of year it is. These are what I was trying to quilt when my walking foot decided to stop working.

I played with different arrangements of the fabrics, but the ones below possibly weren't the best I could have come up with:
Rather less star, and more Indian good-luck symbol which we generally try to avoid due to unpleasant associations... Oops!

I also made a few aprons from panels. Here's one recipient modelling hers:
Sorry it's a bit out of focus, but I was laughing so much as she strutted her stuff, that I didn't get a good shot!

Friday, December 12, 2014


Some years ago a friend gave me a pot full of Christmas lilies in flower (Lilium longiflorum). I'm not sure how long ago that was, but it must have been before I started my blog. This year, for the first time, they are flowering again:

The rescued crinum lily is also flowering:
Most of the others in the local area are flowering now as well. So this one was obviously just confused when it tried to flower in winter.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Four years ago this was the back yard of one of the houses over my back fence:

A patch of grass and a few fruit trees. Some open space. Photo taken the day I discovered there were plans to build four townhouses on this block.

Then in January this year, everything was flattened:

In April the second storey was about to go on:

Today I was in the area and noticed that the protective fence around the building site was gone, so I wandered in to have a bit of a look:
 Almost ready to occupy. Some "landscaping" is in progress, which you might almost see if you look very closely.  Here's the extensive garden at the front of the units:
One magnolia and one ornamental pear, with a few low strappy-leaved plants. I wouldn't expect any of them to be alive for long.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Metric Mystery Challenge

When I decided that this year I would do a metric version of Bonnie Hunter's mystery, I was confident that I could cut any shape that she could use. But for part 2 of Grand Illusion, she gave me more of a challenge than I was expecting!

Cutting half-square triangles from strips is easy with the Omnigrid metric HST ruler:
This will cut a HST which will finish at 5cm. No worries there.

But the diamond shape we need was a bit tricky! I will admit I didn't do any maths to work out what was required. I drew the shape, drew seam allowances around it, then measured that. And it turned out that what I needed was a strip the same width as for the triangle, from which I would cut diamonds 5cm across:
I didn't make a template, because it was easy to line up the 15cm square ruler so that the 45deg line was on the bottom cut edge of my strip, and the cutting edge of the ruler was 5cm from the diagonal edge of my strip.

Lining up the first triangle to sew:
 Pressing it back after sewing:
 Lining up the second triangle:
Measuring the result:
Success! It measures exactly what it should.

So far I've only made two complete units, but all the other components are assembled and trimmed:
They will be sewn together tomorrow.

Check out the link-up at Quiltville here to see everyone else's part 2. There's hundreds of them!