Thursday, April 30, 2015


Yesterday the brick delivery guy tried to drop the bricks off at someone else's house, because he confused our lot number with their house number. Today I rang the council to sort it out, and now we have a street address:


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Brick Day

Today the bricks were delivered. Eight pallets of various colours:
and one special brick from a friend:
The lucky brick!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Seasonally Confused

Spring bulbs in autumn.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Patchwork Bricks

The new house will have a brick wall through the middle of it, to give it some thermal mass. I've looked at a lot of bricks recently, but the ones I liked most were these pallets of mixed bricks at one recycling yard:
Two pallets aren't enough for our wall. So I considered buying pallets of the various colours, and mixing them up like this. Like a scrappy quilt, only bricks! What do you think?

I hope it will look as good in real life as I am imagining, because the pallets with white paint dots on them in this photo:

will be going to Lal Lal soon. These colours look a bit brighter only because the bricks were wet after all the rain this morning. And I suppose if they end up looking dreadful, we can always paint or render them later!

Friday, April 24, 2015


The slab was already half wrapped by the time we arrived this morning:
But we can get an idea of the final colour in the areas which have dried out a bit overnight:
The colour is called "ginger". I love it so far, but we won't see the final result for months; as well as being wrapped in plastic, the slab will be covered with plywood to protect it during the rest of the building process!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Slab Day

We were notified early today that the pour had been delayed, and would start at 8:30. Apparently the concrete works is so busy at the moment that they had to stagger several orders today. Here's how everything looked before the first load arrived:
But it wasn't long before the first mixer appeared:
And it was all hands on deck:
Loads of grey concrete for the deep foundations:
And loads of coloured concrete for the visible parts of the slab:
And lots of hard work, from the kitchen end:
Through the middle of the house:
To the main bedroom, where a baby mixer brought the grey foundation:
And the final load of coloured concrete:
which arrived just as the guys were getting stuck in to the BBQ lunch. But they jumped back into the concrete; lunch would have to wait!

A few hours later, the formwork was removed:
And the "helicoptering" began:
They did three passes of the helicopter before we left for the night. We'll be back in the morning to see how it looks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Site Meeting

Having somewhere to stay only 20kms from the new house is specially handy when an 8:00am site meeting is called!

Just about ready to go:
There are a couple of minor adjustments to make, then even earlier tomorrow the concrete pour will be on. Another reason to be glad of the Ballarat unit (even if it doesn't have internet access yet.)

This afternoon I made a bunch of dog pyjamas:
The only photo I managed to get of all three dogs in their winter sleepwear.
Hopefully a layer of polar fleece will make the Ballarat nights (and days!) a bit easier on the old dogs.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Waiting for the NBN

When I first looked at my unit last June, there was a hole at the front of the property which I was told was "something to do with the NBN". (The National Broadband Network, for those not in the know.) At settlement in December, the hole was still there.

About 2 months ago (so at least 8 months after the hole was dug), a group of NBN workers arrived and installed a proper pit in the hole, with an official-looking "NBN" access cover. They then connected boxes to the sides of several units in the complex, but not on mine.

About a month ago, on the very day I rang up to find out why my unit wasn't connected up, this arrived:
My NBN connection! However, I knew not to celebrate immediately. I was told during that phone conversation that even once the point was attached to my house, it would be another week or so before the work was finished in the street. They said I would get a letter once I could connect.

Every time I arrive at the unit, I rush to the mailbox, looking for my connection letter. And so far, I've only been disappointed. And when I check my address at the NBN Co web site, it tells me:

The NBN is available in your area.
There may be an issue at your specific address.

No kidding.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


This week the concreters have been preparing for the slab pour:

It's not completely ready yet, but at this stage the pour is scheduled for Wednesday (I think).

The trench leading away at the back is for the electric connection. The electrician didn't show up this week, but hopefully he will get his bit done before Wednesday.

Elsewhere on the block, what was a 2 metre deep hole, now looks like this:
That's what $12,000 looks like when you bury it in the ground! It is actually the waste treatment plant. "State-of-art Japanese engineering technology" according to their website.

Friday, April 17, 2015

AQC Day 2

For 90 minutes before classes start, the participants get to see the quilt displays and do some shopping before the doors open to the public.

It is peaceful at this time of day. For comparison, here's the view at lunchtime:

I did a little bit of shopping, mainly for thread, and had another good look at all the quilt displays.

I enjoyed being able to get a quiet and unobstructed view of them. Here's the scene at lunchtime:
 Not quite so relaxing!

I did another full day workshop with Debby Brown.
You can see how absorbed everyone is in their stitching! That's Debby in the blue top. She is a delightful teacher. You can see her pictures from today on her blog here.

And here's my piece of work for the day:
Very wonky in places, but lots of ideas to try out and expand upon.

It has been a wonderful couple of days. I am sad that my experience of being a "delegate" at AQC is over, but so exhausted that I don't think I could have handled doing the full four days of workshops.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

AQC Day 1

Our lovely tutor, Debby Brown (in the pink top), and our room full of Sweet 16s.

A small piece of Debby's own work, to either inspire or intimidate us! It looked fantastic, but she pointed out that there were irregularities. You just don't notice them when you look at the whole piece. Let's hope the same thing applies on our own work! The thread Debby used for this is one she designed for Wonderfil, which will be released later this year. I can't remember its name, now. Something-lux, I think.

After a full day, I was so tired I couldn't remember what letter my name starts with (which was important for a giveaway Debby had for one of her patterns). Here's what I achieved before my brain stopped working:
Still a bit of space to be filled, but I was pretty happy with what I got done. I can finish it off on my own machine later. The white lines of chalk dots are guidelines which will come off, and then the stitching lines should be a little more distinct.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Goodie Bag

This is (most of) the bag of goodies I collected at the AQC (Australasian Quilt Convention) registration desk this evening:
A few things got left out of the photo. There is also a lanyard, a badge, a water-erasable marking pen, a little template and pattern, and of course a bunch of advertising brochures. I'm glad I picked it up tonight so that I won't have to carry it all around with me at the show tomorrow.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


It may not look like it,
but the spirit level says it's level.
It might be the way my tired legs are standing, it might be the irregular hill behind it, but I'm sure it only LOOKS like it slopes downhill.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Eight Cubic Metres of Gravel

A cockatoo in an autumn tree in Ballan:

We were passing through Ballan on our way to the block.

Here's what we are doing this weekend:

That's two truck-loads of gravel which have to be spread and leveled over a circle 8.5 metres in diameter, to form the first part of the pad for the water tank. Eight cubic meters. Probably at least 10 tonnes. To be moved by two humans without mechanical assistance. In two days.

Here it is after the first hour of hard work:
You will notice that some time in the first hour we realised a wheelbarrow would help with the task. Fortunately the builders had left one in their lock-up container, and even more fortunately, we have a key!

Here's how far we got before we stopped for the day:
There's still a long way to go.

Friday, April 10, 2015


The saffron has started flowering.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Work In Progress

Suddenly things are happening:
Vehicles and tradesmen everywhere!

Today the plumber put in the pipes which will be under the slab:

It feels strange, as if the block has been occupied by a lot of strangers, and isn't "ours" any more.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Australian Garden

Took advantage of the public holiday to zip down the empty freeways to visit the Australian Garden of the Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne. It is a few years since I was last there, and the plantings have filled out beautifully since then. Here are a few things that caught my eye.

I had no idea there was a prostrate casuarina:
Swamp oak, Casuarina glauca.

This crowea was thriving in a pot:
Willow-leaved crowea, Crowea saligna.

"Peaches and Cream" grevillea:
Beautiful, and bees like it too.

Collection of natives in pots:

And what Australian garden would be complete without a tyre swan or two?
I haven't seen one with a wooden head before.