Thursday, March 31, 2016


To thank the neighbour who has been helping to cut up our firewood, we offered to do some weeding on his block. Here's why:
That's bluebell creeper, Billardiera heterophylla, choking everything in part of his block. It's not easy to deal with when it gets like this.

Here's one little part I worked on today. Before:
That's a spindly acacia which was being strangled by the creeper, and a young eucalypt in front. I actually cleared the creeper from the eucalypt yesterday. Before I did that I thought it was just a huge clump of creeper, so there's no real "before" photo. As the creeper is removed, lots of small trees are being exposed to the light. That should give them the chance to actually grow, rather than being killed by the creeper.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


I've spent a couple of days working on a project that for various reasons I can't give too many details of. Here's a sneak peek anyway:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Finished Tree Skirt

I mentioned in yesterday's post that even with all the organising and unpacking I've done so far, I haven't found the containers of fasteners that I wanted for the Christmas tree skirt. But this evening while I was out walking the dogs, I had an idea. I could use a zip instead:

A separating zip:

I have a large supply of zips, but I only had two separating zips the right length. In the interests of getting this project finished, I chose one and stitched it down.

Rare Blooms

Paintbrush lily, Haemanthus coccineus:
It has looked like a dead thing in its pot ever since it came here, but it has burst into life with two flowers:
The leaves will follow later.

Cymbidium orchid - Peter Pan X Snow Eagle "Malcolm":
The first of nine to open:
I was given this orchid in April 2011. I'm glad it is happy enough to flower in its new home.

And even more gladdies:
There are two stems of these purple and white flowers. I think these were among the plants we rescued from a garden about to be demolished in Coburg last August.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

More Shelves

The sewing room is getting there:
Slowly getting under control. I'd love to do some sewing - I haven't made a lot of progress on this month's UFOs. The tree skirt is quilted and bound, but it needs some fasteners attached. And I know what I need is in a box somewhere, but I haven't found that box yet.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Great Walls of Wood

Part of the wall of wood:

More of the walls:
Do you think we will have enough firewood?

The latest addition:
The section in front is what the guys cut earlier this week.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Misty Morning

Waiting for the train to take me to Melbourne:
Looks rather like autumn has arrived.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Why, Ikea, Why?

I bought a couple of Ikea Bygel containers to hang from my cutting table to hold cutters etc. The internet is full of pictures of handy things people have used these containers for. But there's a slight problem. Each container has a label which covers nearly the entire surface:
The label is in Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Chinese, Thai and Taiwanese. Interestingly, there is different information included in each section. For example, the Japanese includes "100ÂșC", but none of the other languages do - I wonder what it means? Can it withstand boiling water? Or is it a warning not to put it in boiling water? The Chinese, Indonesian and Korean include the measurements of the object, but that is probably rather superfluous information if you are holding it in your hand to read the label. I presume each of these sections have information that is legally required in that country. The English just says "Made in China"! I presume that this label gets stuck on everything for the Asia-Pacific region. I don't have a problem with that, but what does bug me

is that the label is very difficult to remove! Why couldn't it be an easy peel-off label? And why does the glue have to be so irritating to the skin? After 15 minutes, I have very red and sore fingers, and still this much label on the first container:
I won't be tackling the second one for a while.


I sent this message to Ikea customer relations on 29/3:

"How can I get the label off the Bygel container?  I have tried hot water, picking at it (bad as I have an allergy to the glue you have used), and eucalyptus oil, but the glue is very stubborn and I now have very sore skin where-ever it touched me. Has taken me over two hours to get one looking OK, but I feel like just throwing the second one out as it is more trouble than it is worth."

Reply from Ikea 31/3:
"Thank you for contacting IKEA. In regards to your email, we are sorry to hear of the issue you are having with removing the stickers from the SOCKER Tin's. I have found the easiest way to remove these stickers is by peeling off the top layer and removing the adhesive residue with eucalyptus oil or alcoholic wipes. If you cannot remove the stickers, and wish to return your products you have 365 days from date of purchase with the receipt."

 Given that they mention a different product, I guess this is a copy and paste answer, where the sender forgot to edit the actual product. It suggests that I'm not the only person facing this difficulty. Maybe instead of causing this aggravation to people, they could just use removable stickers?

Sewing Room Progress

Next job for the day was to bring a ute-load of stuff from the Ballarat unit:
The kitchen island will now be my cutting table. There's also some extra shelves I bought at Ikea on the weekend and painted yesterday.

And here's the kitchen island in the sewing room:
And some of the new shelves in place. There's still quite a bit of organising to do. There are boxes of stuff hiding behind the island, which need to be unpacked onto the shelving. And my regular machine has to move to make room for the Sweet16. But it's gradually taking shape.

On one end of the island I hung this Ikea Variera box to hold my rulers:
All except the longest ones fit in it.

Men at Work

While I was still eating breakfast, the next door neighbour arrived on his tractor to help cut up some wood:
That involved one person lifting a log, and the other slicing it with the chainsaw:
They each had a turn at the fun bit:
They had a whole trailer load cut and moved before morning tea time.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Stopping the Leaks

Plumber finds leaking spot and repairs it (we hope):
That join in the roof flashing seems to correspond with the site of the leak inside. Let's hope he is right, and his repair work does the job. But he did suggest not repairing the plaster work until sure the roof is water-tight.

Saturday, March 19, 2016


We had over 24mm of rain in the last day or so. That's good for the garden. That's good for our water supplies. But not so good here:
Bulging paint full of water in my Ballarat unit. Looks like I need a plumber again.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Red Cross Quilts

Display of Red Cross signature quilts at Millrose in Ballan:
Quilts from the First World War to modern times. Like these ladies, I was quite taken with the "Help" quilt, but it is a modern piece. It was made by the Embroiders Guild in 2014, and is based on a WW1 poster recruiting nurses, designed by D H Souter. You can see the original poster on the linked Wikipedia page.

I didn't expect to see any names I knew on the signature quilts, but this giant quilt from 1991 proved me wrong:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Not a Toy

It's a TOOL, not a toy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Assembling shelving in the walk-in wardrobe:
Due to my miscalculation, some of these shelves had to be shortened. Fortunately the wood-worker in the family fixed that for me.

On the other side of the WIR, the same measuring issue meant that we ended up with a spot which looks like it was deliberately created for this vacuum cleaner:

I've also started putting up shelves in the sewing room:
Sorry it's a bit dark; it was getting late by the time I took that photo. This evening I added a few more shelves and stacked up more fabric boxes. I'm going to need more shelves, so am planning a trip to buy some in a few days. Then I can re-home all the boxes of magazines and sewing books that are still in the unit in Ballarat.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Spent a quiet afternoon painting more shelving bits:
They have been waiting for me to get to them for a long time. But now I am one step closer to being able to get my sewing room and wardrobe organised.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Begonia Festival

Giant lego begonia:
Actual live begonias:
And succulents in teapots:
They don't have drainage holes, so I guess you need to be very careful how you water them.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Around the Garden

White-flowered salvia on a misty morning:
Bromeliad (Aechmea fasciata):
Originally found in a skip three years ago.

Propeller plant (Crassula falcata):

And the first of the belladonna lilies:
We planted several from the old house on the 31st December, but I don't remember how many exactly, or even where I planted them. I had given up on them flowering as it has taken so long. I thought perhaps this year they were going to skip flowering, and would just develop their leaves soon. But there are three flower spikes. I think we planted at least half a dozen bulbs, so maybe the others are going to just wait and have leaves.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sixty Years Later


The scare quotes seem to imply that the people in the photo below are not really 60 years older than those in the first photo.
But I think they are.

This is why the three siblings were all together in yesterday's post. They travelled from far and wide for this occasion.
And here they are again, along with my son, who was the only grandchild able to attend.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fifty-One Years Later



I didn't expect these three people would ever meet again, but here we are. I last saw my brother nearly 5 years ago, but it's been 35 years since my sister saw him.


Binding the Christmas-tree skirt:
Easy on the straight, but a bit trickier round the hole in the middle:
Now for the hand-sewing to finish it off.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Growing Things

This morning the Acacia calamifolia, Wallowa, seedlings have started appearing:
Now there is only one species still to germinate.

In the garden, these pretty little orange flowers have grown from bulbs rescued from a garden about to be demolished:
so I'm not sure exactly what they are at the moment.

And one more gladdie has surprised me:
but I'm not surprised that it is white.