Tuesday, May 31, 2016


The forecast low temperature for last night was 1 degree, but it actually dropped a little lower than that. Here's the weather station when I woke up:
 Minus 3! Winter has arrived one day early.

Yesterday I was excited about a touch of frost. But today the bird bath froze solid:

The washing I had left out on the line froze solid:

And I was concerned to see how the garden fared. Other gardeners have told me they lost lots of plants in their first year in this part of the world, as they learned what could and could not cope with the cold.

My poor luculia is looking very sad:
I knew it needed to be protected from frost, but I wasn't expecting such cold temperatures last night. I've now moved it under the verandah, and hope that it will recover.

Geranium flowers don't do well in frost:
Although the leaves look OK so far.

Lewisii flowers turned to mush:
But the plants look like they are OK. I can't say the same for the larger succulent in the centre of that planter:
It had flowers forming, but the whole plant looks a bit cooked now.

The dahlias also look cooked:
But the tubers should be OK and re-sprout in spring.

I hope the TreeProject seedlings will all be OK:

Monday, May 30, 2016


For the first time, the temperature dropped to zero degrees overnight.

A touch of ice on the remaining pile of logs, before the sun hit it.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

More Toadstools

Over a month ago toadstools appeared under some nearby oak trees. They were probably Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric. But now, just around the corner from the oak trees, a new crop of toadstools has emerged under some pines:
They look like the same species, but if so, why didn't they come up at the same time? They are about 100 metres apart, so everything in the environment is the same except the species of tree they are growing on. Why might that make them fruit nearly six weeks later?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Waverley Quilt Show

It was a bit of a trek from here, but well worth the journey
to the Waverley Patchworkers quilt show. Due to work happening somewhere on the line, trains are being replaced with buses on the Ballarat line this weekend. That meant free travel for the whole trip, including the suburban trains:
That was a nice bonus!

The quilt show was up to Waverley's usual high standard. Lots of quilts, lots of variety, and all arranged thoughtfully. (Well done, Jeanette!) I didn't take many pictures of the quilts, and I'm not sure if is OK to show the ones I did. But the award winners can be seen on Waverley's blog here, for a taste of the more amazing of the quilts on display.

The challenge theme was "Carnival", and the tables in the cafe were decorated appropriately:
I ran into several people I haven't seen for a while, which was an extra joy.  So it was a wonderful day all round.

And now photos of the viewers' choice winners are on Waverley's blog here.

Friday, May 27, 2016


I was out for a lot of the day, but this is what I came home to:
Cement poured and smoothed on one side of the garden.

And on the other side:
Pour just starting.

Unfortunately one of the pavers that people noticed in my last post didn't survive being run over by a cement mixer:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Builders Are Back

Our friendly builder, Dan, and Ben the apprentice, are here
preparing the foundations of the garden wall:

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Geelong Quilt-In

Spent the day with quilting friends at the Geelong guild's annual Quilt-In. The entertaining guest speaker was Irene Blanck, who also showed lots of her quilts. One of her messages was to make quilts you love, and not "give a rat's" what other people think.

I compared binding tools:

Won a door prize:
The purple coaster was one of the gifts given to everyone who attended. The rest of the goodies were my door prize. That makes two door prizes out of three attendances. Not bad!

And I stitched down about two thirds of this binding:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Productive Day

Another use for the tractor!
Digging foundations for the wall which will surround the back garden.

Window seat taking shape:
It will be my job to make some cushions for it once it's done.

Meanwhile I was busy with my bias tape maker:
Although that is not actually bias tape, the fabric has a diagonal stripe.

Three small quilts finished with machined binding:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dogs and Plants

It's a little while since the dogs appeared on my blog, so here they are.

Dot relaxing on the couch:
Jack checking out the (under construction) window seat:
Dot is now slightly taller than Jack, but I haven't been able to get a photo that shows that yet. They don't stay still for long when they are together.

This afternoon we visited Avalon Nursery, which we haven't been to before. A few plants came home with us:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Third One

Another quilt, another ruler:

Monday, May 16, 2016

Quick Quilting

Quilting a couple of my recent small creations. Rows of waves across the watery one:

And a ruler experiment on this one:
The binding tool will get another work-out soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


Recently some very tall flower stems have formed on some of the mystery bulbs rescued from a house about to be demolished last August. (That seems so long ago. I can't believe it was less than a year.) The stems look a bit like gladioli, but they have branches of flower buds, not just a single stem. And it isn't normal gladioli season.

Now those flowers have begun to open:
You can also see in this photo flowers on the lavender grown from a cutting of the plant that self-seeded in my old garden three years ago.

Fantastic orange colour:
 It seems they are gladioli, just a different species. Gladiolus dalenii. A family member called them "winter gladdies", but the internet calls them "parrot gladioli".

One page I found referred to them as weeds: Wish I had weeds like this.  But the Victorian Government listing of invasive species says, "This weed is not known to be naturalised in Victoria", and that, "the plant is unlikely to establish as the climate, soil or landuse is not presently suitable", so it sounds as if growing them in the garden here will not cause problems in the local bushland. If they even survive in the garden!

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Few Flowers

Around the garden this morning:
 Bethel sage flowers opening. Salvia involucrata 'Bethellii'.

 Three of the four lewisia, Lewisia cotyledon, plants in flower:
I bought the four as marked-down plants which had finished flowering. Since then they have never all been in flower at once, so I haven't been sure what colours they all are. However, as they are now in one planter and can't move around, I can know for sure that there are two with light pink flowers (at 3 o'clock and 6 o'clock), and one with dark pink. I have previously photographed one with pale orange flowers, so that must be the one at 9 o'clock with no flowers at the moment. 

Treasure flower Gazania rigens:
These were all over the front yard in a previous garden, and this cutting from there is starting to get going now.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Binding Tool Experiment

Time to test out the cryptic binding tool.

Step 1: Marking each end of the binding:
I've put pins in at the marking line. Here's a closer view:

You can see there is quite a gap between the two pins. So after a bit of playing around to figure out what was required to make the ends meet, I cut the ends like this:
The upper right and lower left are the off-cuts. The upper left and lower right are the two ends of the binding which will be joined.
Closer view:
Making these cuts would have been easier if the tool was transparent. You have to align the "marking line" on the tool with the mark you made earlier (a pin in my case).

And here's the result once those two diagonal edges are sewn to each other:
The binding matches the space! (I know it looks like I have added the border in the middle of the quilt. But the backing fabric I used was a bit small, so I have to trim off a chunk of the front to make it the same size as the back.)

So the binding tool does work. The instructions are not the best. The tutorial on the website doesn't really help because it doesn't show clearly where the cuts should be made. But now that I've figured it out, I might just find this tool handy in future!

After I finished this one, I thought of another way the tool might work. But I will have to wait until I have another binding to apply to test that idea.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Queen Victoria is Not Amused

She doesn't look very happy, does she?
Statue of the "Queen of Earthly Queens", erected by the citizens of Bendigo.

But she doesn't seem impressed with her new neighbour:

This queen of the screen is currently getting more attention than Victoria. And I'm not sure Her Majesty would approve of people taking selfies looking up Marilyn's skirt. (Also not sure that statue looks much like Ms Munroe.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

UFO Progress

This is a UFO that wasn't even on my list of unfinished objects:
It's over a year since I started quilting it. But now the border is quilted, so it only needs binding.

Then I started quilting the Zoo Animals quilt:
It feels good to be making some progress.

Monday, May 9, 2016


This large moth was clinging to the fly-wire door this morning:
It is very hairy, and if you enlarge the photo you can see its amazing antennae. I don't know what species it is.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Quiet Day

The last couple of weeks have been a bit traumatic, so I spent today in my sewing room, making stuff from scraps.

First up a small quilt top which will become a "Quilt of Love", a quilt given to a family who whose baby is stillborn or dies shortly after birth:
The 4 panels were left over from a quilt made 4 years ago.

Then I made some QAYG blocks to send to Jan Mac:
It's a bit hard to tell in that photo, but I made 8 blocks.  They are made from almost nothing. I had to cut squares for the back of each block, but the fabrics I used were given to me by people clearing out their stashes. For batting I used the edges cut from quilts before the binding goes on. So each block has two or three strips of scrap batting in it, but the stitching holds them in place. The fabrics for the front of the blocks came from this basket: 
This is my "magic pudding" basket of strips that is always full not matter how many QAYG blocks I make from it. And in front of the basket are the three empty thread spools, which had various amounts of thread on them this morning, left over from other projects. So the thread, the batting, and the strips were all off-cuts and remnants. And the backings were all other people's scraps.  I now have quite a stack of blocks to send to Jan. Most were made a few years ago, and have moved house with me 2 or 3 times. But now Jan is making quilts for a refuge and needs blocks again, so soon I will send off my contributions.