Friday, September 30, 2016

Three Middle Children

My niece, 25 today. My mother, 88 next week. My sister, pretty much right in the middle of those ages.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Quilting the Flower Ball background:
these circular patterns remind me of Spirograph designs.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Demolition Yard

Took a trip to Lal Lal Demolitions to look for gates for our garden walls:
 They've got lots of possibilities
but no prices.

You can't help thinking that prices are made up based on how keen the customer appears. We asked the prices of a couple we weren't really interested in, and they seemed a bit steep. I was afraid to ask about the ones I really liked!

And if you are wondering how there can be a demolition yard in a small town like this, apparently this stuff did not all come from Lal Lal. They wreck houses all over the state, but mainly Melbourne.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Birthday and Anniversary

On this date last year, I was frantically unpacking moving boxes looking for essentials as 14 people arrived for a birthday lunch. Today just 3 of us had a quieter celebration.

That means we have been here a whole year. There's still things in boxes, there's still things to organise. But the garden is taking shape, and we are gradually settling in. I found the tablecloths last week! (Although didn't manage to put one on the table for lunch today.)

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Pin-basting this month's unfinished quilting object:
I've made very slow progress this month, but I suppose slow progress is better than no progress at all.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Rosellas V Roses

Four of the roses we planted recently have been attacked, presumably by the crimson rosellas. A neighbour warned us that they would attack the new red leaves, but that doesn't explain why this poor rugosa rose lost so many new shoots:

This rose did have red leaves, but only two green ones are still attached:

This one even had a flower bud, but the birds have removed all the new growth.
The roses are now covered in bird netting until they grow up a bit.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sudden Shower

Not weather, for once, but the name of an exhibition at Kimono House in Melbourne until 15th October, of works by the Bond family inspired by a Japanese woodcut, Sudden Shower over Shin-Ōhashi bridge and Atake (Hiroshige, 1857):

Information about the woodcut at this Wikipedia page.

Works on display include many traditional Japanese craft techniques, such as shibori, papercraft, sashiko, and this
collection of temari balls.

Fascinating exhibit, well worth a look if you are in the area.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Stuffing a Pin Cushion

Last year at the Ballaarat Quilters 20th birthday dinner, attendees received an "Everlasting Flower" pincushion kit designed by Leonie Bateman. I don't think I've shown it on the blog before, but I started stitching the appliqué design a couple of months ago, and finished it last Saturday.

The pattern said to fill the pincushion with "2-3 cups of crushed walnut shells". I already had one bag, which was 100g or half a cup. I found another half-cup bag at Gail's Patchwork in Sebastopol on Tuesday. Looking at the two bags, I was sure I wouldn't need 2 or 3 cups. One would do!

Getting the walnut shells into the pincushion would have been easy if I could have found a funnel. Here's what I tried:
The inside of the thread spool almost worked, but it was too slow, as I could only pour in a few grains at a time. The yellow Tupperware funnel was difficult to keep in place, and kept clogging up. I'm not sure why, as its hole is much larger than the ground shell pieces. I almost gave up, planning to wait until I went shopping and could buy a proper funnel. But an hour or two later I realised I had something that would do the job, a plastic thread cone!

And here's the finished item:

It was only as I was sewing it up that I remembered that I had been going to turn it into a glasses case because I didn't really need another pincushion! Too bad, it is now a finished pincushion.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Slightly Scary

Today I attended a new quilting group, which wasn't as scary as it might have been because I knew one other person there. This was the lovely venue:

Vivienne's Retreat near Gordon, which is about half-an-hour's drive away from home. It is a B&B which hosts quilting retreats, and also monthly sit and sew sessions. That quilted sign out the front says, "Quilters of the Big Room", and we were indeed in a big room which extends almost the full length of the house.

While there I finished appliquéing my flower ball to its background, so later at home I very carefully cut away the excess background:

Fortunately I didn't snip right through to the front!

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Frogs are taking advantage of this wet season:
Tadpoles in a puddle beside a nearby road. It's quite a few years since we last saw tadpoles in puddles around here.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Peony Progress

This is the peony which grew no leaves last year:
Definite leaves!

The Coral Charm herbaceous peony has a bud:
 For some reason the flash went off for that one.

The Vesuvian tree peony also has a bud:
Very exciting all round!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Water Water Everywhere

A few shots around the lower half of the block, which is rather wet:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


This seems appropriate lately:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Bit of Rain

We've had a few drops of rain. This is a little corner of our garden:
Our water tank is full to overflowing, the supplementary tank is full, and the ground is very very wet.

Everyone's dams seem to be full to overflowing. Low areas around town are under water:
There's a lot of water.

Almost the whole population of Lal Lal is here:

To see a rare sight
 and hear the roar
 of Lal Lal Falls!

Compare with last September here, where I was impressed by what now seems like a trickle, and how the falls look for most of the year:
Photo from January last year.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Christmas in September?

At the supermarket today:
Christmas puddings, cakes, mince pies... It has started.

Even the reindeer are shocked, they haven't grown their antlers yet!
(Spotted on our walk this afternoon. Probably not actual reindeer.)

Saturday, September 10, 2016


Warm is a community textile art project, currently at the Ballarat Art Gallery. "WARM reflects on why the earth is warming and what we can do to create a sustainable and safe climate future."

My very poor photo - taken without flash and obviously with movement!
Closer view of pink heath:
And red parrot peas:
If you would like to see much better photos of the piece, and read more about it, visit the Sustainable Environment Arts Movement (SEAM) website here. There you can also see a time-lapse video of the installation of the piece.

A list of the contributors is part of the display (Mary, if you are reading this, I found you on the list), and a couple of small display cases allow you a clear look at some of the component parts:

The gallery has a book of the knitting patterns for sale, if you would like to knit your own wind turbine or wildflower:
Or you can get individual patterns on Ravelry,

Friday, September 9, 2016

Walls Done

Yesterday the brickies completed their work on the walls. A couple of photos taken after they had finished:
The various openings will get gates. And once the walls are completely dried out, we can decide if they need painting. At the moment they are almost the same colour as most of the house.
Just as well they were finished yesterday, as today has been non-stop rain.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Dot's First Bath

This morning Dot found a little something probably left behind by a fox. She dropped her shoulder and smeared the stinky substance down first one side of her body, and then the other. Nice!

Unfortunately for Dot, we didn't want the revolting odour in the house, so this happened:

She did all she could to escape:

But no amount of eye-rolling was going to stop the wash!

But look how white and clean she looked as she dried off in the window seat:
I think she has forgiven me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Bright and early this morning the brickies returned to finish the garden walls. They braced the walls first:
Then spent the rest of the day mixing concrete in small batches, then tipping bucket-loads full into the core of the walls.
They still weren't finished tonight, so will be back again tomorrow.

I spent some of the day in my sewing room, finishing a top:
Trying out the pattern, using up some fabric that has been in my stash for a long long time. The purple is a warmer colour than it appears in the photos (as usual with purple).

This is the pattern:
Mine isn't any of the four "views" on the envelope. I made a few changes, in part dictated by the amount of these fabrics I had, and in part for personal preference. I made the whole thing on the 4-thread overlocker, except for the twin-needle stitching on the hems.

As the day finished, the dogs had an off-leash run on the "lawn" after finishing their walk: