Saturday, April 30, 2016

Steam Powered

Day out at the Lake Goldsmith Steam and Vintage Rally.
This was the 107th Lake Goldsmith Rally, although the first one I'd heard of! If the neighbours hadn't told us about it, I still wouldn't know anything about it.

There is no actual Lake Goldsmith at the moment, just a grassy plain. But beside the non-existent lake is a group of sheds owned or occupied by steam enthusiasts. Some sheds contain huge steam engines and other machinery, and some are decorated to display collections of vintage items.

A bootmaker's shop:

 Complete with treadle machine in the foreground.

A display of destination rolls from transport systems around the world,
 surrounding a large Lego train system.

A grocery shop:
 with some items, such as the lollies, actually for sale.

A haberdashery:

An invitation we couldn't resist:

After the refreshments it was time for the grand parade. A stream of vehicles from around the site travelled around a track, accompanied by expert commentary, for over an hour. To be honest, that was just a touch too long for me. But there were some amazing restorations. Here are a small selection of the steam-powered vehicles:

Who knew the Navy had a steam club?

Notice in the background of this shot, you can see vehicles from earlier in the parade travelling down the far side of the oval:
Who knew there were so many old steam-powered vehicles still running?

Fascinating as the whole day was, the highlight for me was this:
A steam-powered sewing machine! It is a Singer model 5-7, manufactured in the USA in 1918. It was used to sew cotton and leather belting at a factory in Footscray until the late 1940s. Instead of feed-dogs, rollers behind the machine move the fabric:

The stitch-length is controlled by the mechanism driving the rollers. An amazing machine, which we got to see operating for a few stitches.

There were a few other sewing-related items around the site, but this one was a bit sad:
 A sewing machine turned into a toy tractor!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Flowers and Flames

This morning I noticed that the bethel sage, Salvia involucrata 'Bethellii', is developing flowers:
I've recently discovered that Salvia involucrata is also known as "rosebud sage" and you can see why when you look at the flower. It hasn't grown very tall this year, but if it behaves the way it did in my old garden, each year it should come up more vigorous and taller.

Later in the morning, this happened:
Pile of bark and odd bits going up in smoke. Funny how a fire attracts the neighbours!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rise and Shine

The sunflower open in a patch of morning sunshine:
The tiny individual flowers which make up the centre of the sunflower will open from the edges in. But can it possibly develop seeds this late in the year?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Salvia Vandals

My gardening neighbour warned me that crimson rosellas would eat any red flowers or fruit in the garden. But today I discovered that they'll eat white salvias, too:
The photos aren't great because they were taken through the window without the flash fairly early this morning. The rosellas pick the flowers, and eat the nectar from the base. They haven't touched the blue ones, fortunately, even though they have been flowering longer, and are right beside the white ones.

It wouldn't be so bad if they just picked the flowers, but they bite through the stems as well,
killing off future flowers they (and the bees, and the humans) could have enjoyed.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Pin Basted

A bit more progress on this month's unfinished quilt project:
Now it is basted:
I've used a cotton batting, which I haven't tried before. I purchased it on sale to use for something else earlier this year, but I wasn't impressed with having to wash it first. Fortunately it is a small piece. How do you wash and dry a queen or king size one without stretching or distorting it?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saffron and Sunflower

First saffron bloom of the year:
And the brave sunflower is beginning to open:

Friday, April 22, 2016


Two of the Zoo Animals blocks needed embroidered faces. I probably should have done them before assembling the quilt top, but they are done now, anyway:

I pieced a back for this quilt earlier this week, so now the next step is basting.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Flower Surprises

I was very happy to see this flower open this morning:
It means that I managed to bring a tuber of the Mystic Star dahlias here. I dug up several from my old garden, but most of them got lost in the temporary garden last year. I dug up what I could find there, but until now none of them have flowered so I haven't been sure just what I had.

The crinum lily sent up several flower spikes in December, but here's another one:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Still Slicing

The wood-cutting mornings are still ongoing. From certain angles the piles of trunks to be cut up do look like they are getting a little smaller. But even loads like this
don't make a huge difference.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Gift from a Neighbour

A couple of hoya cuttings she propagated:
She doesn't know what variety they are, as they are cuttings from a cutting she took from somewhere. Any hoya flowers are amazing, so it will just be a nice surprise some time in the future. I'll have to find a nice sheltered spot for them.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Classic Toadstool

Emerging under oak trees not far from here:
Are they the introduced Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric? My book of fungi is somewhere still in a box. But the internet seems to think that's what they are.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Growing Things

A few things around the garden today:

Vireya Princess Alexandra is starting to bloom again after a few months without flowers:
While looking for other buds, I found this on one of her stems:
I presume it is some sort of wasp nest, but I don't know what. Or if the two holes mean that the occupant has moved out?

My cymbidium orchid, Peter Pan X Snow Eagle "Malcolm", is fully open:
And has another flower spike developing:

The zygocactus (Schlumbergera truncata) are starting to flower, even though traditionally this one hasn't flowered until late in May:

And finally, the last of the TreeProject seedlings have started to appear:
Totem poles, Melaleuca decussata. I was beginning to think they would never germinate.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Tops Done

Here's the two tops I assembled for the guild's "Quilts of Love" program:
They were assembled as disappearing 9-patches, (as per these instructions) but although that method has some novelty value, I don't think I would do it again unless I could solve this issue:
Because of the way the blocks were made, pressed, and then cut apart, many seams had to be re-pressed to face the opposite way when I came to the final assembly. And a few just couldn't be. See the right-hand seam between the green and white? It was pressed to the green, and has been stitched over so can't be reversed. Unfortunately the seam below it, between the white and the dogs, has also been previously stitched over and can't be reversed. But it is pointing the same way.

All that double pressing, and the frustration of seams that just could not nest, was enough to negate any advantage for me of the initial 9-patch construction. I would rather have just stitched the whole thing one row at a time, pressing everything to the dark. That way nothing would have needed to be re-pressed, and it would have all nested beautifully. Next time!

Friday, April 15, 2016

AQC 2016

After a good sleep I was ready to tackle the trip into town and the crowds at the Australasian Quilt Convention. And it was very crowded. I enjoyed the quilt show, but spent nothing in the vendors area. I was a little tempted by a couple of books at the Quiltmania stand, but I resisted. Lisa Chandler's new range, Melba, had a stand all of its own. There was some rather lovely things, but I didn't take any photos. And she doesn't seem to have any good photos of it on her website. So here's someone else's blog post which shows some beautiful items made from the new range:
Falling in love with Melba.

I didn't take any general photos. I mainly concentrated on quilting that grabbed me. And because one is not meant to show photos of the work without asking the maker, I can't really put any of them here. However, I am going to make an exception: 
This piece by Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Luminous Views, is a great example of a trend I noted for breaking up background areas with quilting designs. (The quilting is by Lisa Sipes, I found on Victoria's website.) And the reason I don't feel guilty about putting it here with attribution, is that Victoria, in her blog post recapping QuiltCon last month, published a photo she could not have got permission for as she doesn't know who made it. See the blog post here:QuiltCon Recap, and scroll down to the last quilt.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Slow Day

Recently I've felt the need to do some easy, stress-relieving sewing, but I really didn't want to start a new project. Last night at my quilt guild meeting, the "Quilts of Love" coordinator was looking for people to stitch up kits she had prepared. She had cut up squares to make small "disappearing 9-patch" quilts, which we were to assemble according to the instructions on this blog post:
 Disappearing 9-Patch I-Spy Quilt.
 I took two sets.

Today I had been planning to go into Melbourne to visit the Australasian Quilt Convention, but I was just too exhausted for that. So I stayed home and relaxed with my easy sewing, getting both kits to the "webbed together" stage. Here's one on the new design wall, as I played with the fabric arrangement:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Steam Clean

Spent the morning cleaning floors, walls, ceilings, tiles, mirrors, you name it in the upstairs of the unit. Then the carpet cleaner arrived:
He had a very shouty voice, and I think I know why. His machinery is very, very noisy, and he wore no hearing protection. I think he is a bit deaf!

The carpet looks better than ever, though:
I did take my shoes off and sneak upstairs for a look as well. It's all good! Apparently the way tenancy agreements work these days, you have to leave the carpet in the state it was in when you moved in. So getting it steam-cleaned now means that the tenants will have to get it steam-cleaned when they move out.

When peace was restored, I spent more time cleaning everything downstairs as well, and filling the car with the last items from the kitchen. My last act was to mop the floor on my way out.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Time Pressure

Time to empty the unit. The removalists said they would arrive at 8am. I had trouble sleeping, because I was worried I would sleep in. So at just after 4am I got up and drove to the unit to be sure I would be there when they arrived!

So now all the items that were too large for me to manage are out of the unit.

Time pressure of a different sort:
This is a sunflower which has grown as a volunteer at Lal Lal. Summer was over before it started growing. It is now about 40cms tall, and is trying to flower before winter. I will be surprised if it manages that.

Elsewhere in the garden, these soft-looking bulbs have emerged:
I don't know what they are, but I hope they know what they are doing, coming up as the weather cools down.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Design Wall

Last month I bought two "acoustic pinboard" panels at Bunnings:
and four Ivar hooks at Ikea:
With a few holes punched into the panels and the addition of some cord I already had:
Instead of my boxes of fabrics being exposed to the light
they are now in the dark behind my new 1200 x 1600 design wall:
The cord allows me to fold the panels together if I take them down to get at the fabrics.

All the parts have appeared in previous posts. The hooks could be seen here, the panels here, and the top panel was hanging up here. But it was only today that the holes were punched and the lower panel was actually attached to the top one.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

White on White

I emptied out the fridge in the unit, and got ready to take all the cold stuff home. But I forgot one thing:
You can't just turn off a fridge and walk away. Or if you do, it will be sitting in a big puddle of water next time you see it. So now I'm defrosting the freezer!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

UFO Progress

I've made some progress on UFO No. 11, the Zoo Animals BOM from Quiet Play last year:
Still contemplating borders.