Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Zips

In the "Zips for Bags" workshop yesterday I made three of Nikki's six zip techniques. The idea was to take her standard "Large Tote and Satchel" pattern and customise it, but once you have learnt a technique you could use it in any project. Today I assembled the bag using the zipped sections I made in the workshop.

Here's a zipped gusset added to the top of the bag:

Inside there's an exposed zip on a pocket just the right size to hold a mobile phone securely:

And on the outside there's a "simple" exposed zip pocket across the full width of the bag:
I used polypropylene webbing for the strap, and attached it to the outside of the bag. This was inspired by one of Nikki's class samples. I was aiming for a "not girly" look for this bag. Did I succeed?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Zips Workshop

I did an all-day workshop with Nicole Mallalieu on "Zips for Bags", and didn't take any pictures of the bag-making activity! You will just have to believe me that there were about 10 of us having a ball, each trying out several of the 6 different variations Nikki presented.

However, I did think to photograph this:
An advance copy of Nikki's new book, which is going to be released very soon. When it is, I can show you the bag that is attached to this strap I made last year to test one of the patterns.

Friday, March 28, 2014

MIFGS 2014

A few moments from the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show today:

Wackiest idea:
Now you can have a plastic hedge to go with your artificial turf.

Loved this very old machine which grades bulbs by size by shaking them down a perforated slope:

Pretty new release:
Lewisia cotyledon, being marketed as "Little Fairies". A small plant which allegedly flowers from Oct - May. It was attracting lots of bees, so might be worth trying in the garden.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Not as Planned

The building site over my back fence has now had some concrete foundations poured:
But what they have done does not match up with the plans I saw three years ago. The plans showed four attached townhouses, with a driveway up the left-hand side of the block, and parking for four cars at the rear of the building. This looks like two separate buildings, with the second one much closer to my back fence than in the original plans. (Most of the trees you can see are in my back yard. My property ends half-way across the back of this one.) I can only assume that the original plans were rejected by the council, but I wasn't given any opportunity to view the revised plans.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Second Border

The pieced border is now attached:
The green fabric the quilt is lying on will probably become the final border. I don't think it is as dark in real life as it looks in this (flash) photo.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

First Border

It has taken me a while. First I wasn't sure which colour to use for the inner border. Then I visited a few shops looking for one fabric that would work, but I didn't have much luck with that. So today I finally decided I would just use the scraps of the neutrals I already have in the quilt:
And it really didn't take long at all to make the strips and join them to the quilt.

I've had the next border ready for a while, so the next step should be much faster than this one was.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Mystic Star

After getting off to a slow start last year when something ate them, my Mystic Star dahlias are looking good now:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

One Out of 96

It is the first time it has happened to this extent, but I've had a major germination failure with the TreeProject Yellow Box, Eucalyptus melliodora, seeds:
Just one seedling, in 96 tubes. Until today I thought there were none, but this one came up some time earlier this week when I was sick. They were among the first seeds sown this year, on 4th February.  I've already contacted the TreeProject supervisor, and he has had very poor results with this species as well. So we will have to do a lot of transplanting of other species to fill these boxes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wombat Town

On the way home from Daylesford today I stopped in Trentham, a town playing up its location near the Wombat State Forest:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Taking To The Streets

Jack is now out and about!
Sniffing his first street tree, as Auntie Sam looks on. His harness fits him well now, with a bit of room for growth.

The dog pack:
From the left - Sam, Scruff, Jack and Merle.

We only took a short walk, because: a) it was Jack's first walk and everything was very exciting, b) Sam can't walk very far or fast, and c) I've been sick for 3 days and it was my first trip out of the house.

Finally a little run at top speed, unhampered by the sick or slow:
After which he came home and slept like a log!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Trousers Take 2

Trying again with a pattern I sewed last September, but with a modification:
The front fitted well, but the back had issues. This alteration may fix the issues, or create more!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Damp Dog

Jacks dries off in the sunshine after discovering a gap in the fence around the fishpond.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

More Pink Flowers

It wasn't flowering at the beginning of March, but late today I discovered that my Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink' now has lots of flowers:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spider Babies!

I was watering some pots today when I noticed a crowd of tiny black dots seeming to hover between a couple of leaves:
Too tiny to see their legs with the naked eye, but the camera can see that they are in fact spider babies.

Not like this classic spider baby:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Next Stage and I

I just met an internet friend in real life, and as usual with internet friends, she was just as nice as I expected! Maria from The Next Stage is in Melbourne for the Let's Get Stitched weekend. Today she had some free time, so we visited a few Melbourne landmarks together. It was fun to act a bit like a tourist in my own town.

This wall of vintage machines is at one of our early stops, the place where Project Runway Australia contestants buy their fabric, Rathdowne Fabrics and Remnants.

Another stop - the beautiful reading room of the State Library of Victoria:
I spent a few hours studying here in the days before the domed roof was turned into a skylight.

Later in the day we almost gate-crashed a wedding being held under another beautiful dome.

Here's Maria and another happy shopper in the gorgeous L'uccello vintage haberdashery shop:
Would you believe I have never actually been to this shop before? Today I bought some needles and some trim, but I'm sure I'll be visiting again.

Thanks for being a tourist with me, Maria!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Blob in a Gum Tree

Seen on the block at Lal Lal today. The first evidence:
An area of a couple of square metres covered in these droppings.

Second piece of evidence:
Something has been disturbing the bark on one trunk of this tree. Something with claws, climbing.

Look up. A long way up.
It's a blob in a gum tree!

It moved a little, but not enough to get a nice clear picture:
My very own koala! (If it is on my land, it must be mine, mustn't it?) I was very happy to (almost) see a live koala again.  The last time I saw one here a bit over two years ago, it was dead.

A kookaburra sat in another gum tree:
It caught a couple of things - probably skinks - as we wandered around spraying weeds.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Did a little green appliqué:

On a hot day, shade makes walking much more pleasant:
Beautiful Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus) trees providing almost continuous shade for an evening walk.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Ones I Missed

In yesterday's post of everything flowering in my garden, I missed the most obvious, my crepe myrtles.
There are two lilac-coloured ones, which started flowering in January, and one deep pink one, which is just starting to flower now:

As I was taking those photos, I noticed that there are still a few flowers and buds on the penstemon which has been flowering since December:
So maybe that is everything!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What's in Flower - March

This post is a record of everything that is flowering in my garden at the beginning of March. I think my garden normally looks its best in February, but if I do this each month it will be interesting to make the comparison.

Warning: There are lots of photos in this post, and rather a lot of them are pink!

Lilly Pilly (Syzygium smithii):

The bees love the mint flowers:

Bromeliad (Aechmea fasciata) rescued from a skip last year, flowering again:

Vireya "Princess Alexandra" has been blooming since August last year:

The Pink trumpet vine (Podranea ricasoliana) is covered in flowers:

Verbena "Candy Cane" from the mark-down table is still growing and blooming 2 months later:

The gazanias are still looking good:

The bees love the dahlias (Marie Antoinette again):
It is interesting to compare the colour of the pollen she has collected with the pollen from the mint flower, which is much paler.

Salvia "Mystic Spires Blue" started flowering in June last year. It is just about finished now. Also in this picture red valerian, or kiss-me-quick, (Centranthus ruber), which I grew from seed and which has been flowering since September:

Salvia "Indigo Spires" looks pretty similar but has more flowers coming:

My fringe flowers, (Loropetalum chinense var rubrum), have a few blooms, but will do most of their flowering in winter:

The belladonna lilies (Amaryllis belladonna) are a bit later this year, but a few have opened so far:
Just caught that bee as she was flying out. She was gathering nectar from deep inside the flower.

I thought the lavender was finished, but a few more flowers have appeared:

Rosa "Queen Elizabeth":


Mexican sage (Salvia leucantha):

Rosa "Charles de Gaulle" is more lilac-coloured than it looks here:

Sedum "Autumn Joy" is also flowering a bit later this year, but it is just beginning to open:

Whirling Butterflies (Gaura lindheimeri). I do have a pink one as well, but it hasn't flowered yet this year.

Lastly, "4 o'clock plant" (Mirabilis jalapa), which actually opens between about 5 and 6pm - I guess it doesn't know about daylight saving time!

That was a lot, so congratulations if you made it to the end! But as I loaded these on the computer this evening, I realised I had forgotten to photograph the most obvious flowers; the crepe myrtle trees in my front yard. So this is not quite all the flowers in bloom right now.