Sunday, December 30, 2018

Dog Days

We all survived the family Christmas get-together. The pizza oven was a great success, with people selecting their own toppings and then the master pizza maker cooking their pizza for them. Everyone enjoyed it. It was a great way to deal with all the different allergies, dislikes, preferences, etc.

As usual at family gatherings I didn't get my camera out, and the one time I even thought of it I couldn't remember where the camera was. So no photos from me!

However my brother-in-law did send me this photo he took of Dot:

Dot found the whole day a bit stressful, as 3 extra dogs as well as all their people wandered around HER house and property. Jack was calmer, but people kept sitting in HIS chair. When everyone had gone the two dogs breathed a huge sigh and settled down to sleep it off.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Not the Reveal

Clue six of Bonnie Hunter's mystery "Good Fortune" was released overnight, and it is not the end of the quilt:
Sewing together heaps of strips of neutrals, to make two different-sized units.

Bonnie is keeping everyone guessing this time. We have made so many different sizes of units, that it is hard to see how they all go together:
Almost every unit we have made has been a different size.

On top of that, if my maths is correct we now have made units which add up to more than the total area of the quilt! It is indeed a mystery.

Later: Added to the weekly link-up here.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Slow Day

Another day when it was too hot to do anything energetic. I pulled out my Rajah Revisited, which has been waiting in pieces for me to do the appliquéd flowers in the second border.
As you can see, I still haven't done the appliqué, but now the pieces are sewn together ready for it. I also attached the narrow orange strips, because the white fabric frays easily and I am hoping that the orange will protect those edges as I work on the flowers.

The next border is already assembled, and has been waiting six months for the flowers to be done.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Pencil Cases

Finished the last of the zip-up pencil cases:
Christmas might be over for most, but my family are getting together this coming weekend. That gave me a bit of extra time to get these done. I had a bit of fun trying out the decorative stitches on my new machine. Each pouch also has the name of the recipient machined onto it.

Inside view:
All the materials; the fabrics, zips, thread and twill tape, came from my stash. No purchases required. Which would make them free Christmas gifts, but they won't be empty when I give them away. I will put something small inside each of them.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018


This is what happens when two people go to a very interesting talk about native bees:

They buy the book for each other!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve

Lots of sewing today. I finished some gifts I can't show here, and then made the rest of the units for clue five of the mystery quilt:
As they came off the machine above, and after cutting apart and pressing below:
This mystery is getting close to the final reveal. We have now made a bit over 90% of the final area of the quilt. Will there be one more clue before the reveal? Or will the reveal include instructions for the last bit of piecing? Only time will tell! In the meantime you can check out everyone's progress on Good Fortune at the weekly link-up on Bonnie's blog here.

This afternoon I decided to set up the Christmas tree after all:

Happy Christmas to all who celebrate it, and best wishes for 2019 to all!

Sunday, December 23, 2018


The flowers on this buddleia are almost black in real life. It is living up to its common name of "butterfly bush". The butterfly is a "common brown", which are very common around here at this time of year.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Long Day

Happy summer solstice!

First item on the agenda was checking the next mystery clue. And then I had to make some to see how they looked:
And then I may have cut, and even sewed, a few more:

 After lunch we took a trip to Avalon Nursery:
 And a bunch of small plants came home with us, which were planted out once the sun dropped a bit.

Wisteria update:
Both wisterias have now climbed to the top of the pergola uprights, and are starting to spread along it.

Speaking of climbing:
I think this guy has reached the top of the weed he is on. Fortunately I noticed him just as I was about to grab the weed and pull it out, so I left it and him there.

Just as we were about to have dinner I looked out the front window and saw this on the grass out the front:
It stayed out there for nearly an hour. Amazing!

Jack and Dot were not impressed with having a wallaby trespassing on their property, though:

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Hyacinth Orchid

Seen while out walking today:
A hyacinth orchid, Dipodium, exact species unknown. There were several more in bud in the same area, but only this one with open flowers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Sign of Life

I'm happy to see this little shoot which has just appeared:
A week or so ago we were having a bit of a clean-up, re-potting a few plants, emptying out pots where plants had died, and the like. One pot I was emptying had had a Zanzibar Gem (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) in it, which  came from the mark-down table at Bunnings about 6 months ago. I think they had left it out in the cold, and the leaves were a bit limp. It was cheap so I bought it, but the leaves dropped off and nothing had happened since. I tipped out the pot and discovered that there was still a healthy tuber in it, with what appeared to be a shoot growing from it. So instead of going into the compost, the tuber was re-potted. And now the shoot has popped up!

I don't have a good record with this allegedly indestructible plant, having killed one already. So I'm very happy to see that this one hasn't met the same fate.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Morning Routine

This is me reading the internet:
Dot making blog commenting difficult by needing my right arm to protect her from Jack (who is lying in my lap). Just a typical morning!

Monday, December 17, 2018


In the course of looking for something else I came across a piece of fake suede upholstery fabric. It occurred to me that with my new sewing machine I could turn it into a few quick gifts.

The inspiration was my pencil case at the top of this photo. I made it in a workshop at AQC, longer ago than I remembered, in April 2012*. 
There was no pattern, so today I made a prototype based on the finished measurements and my memory of how the original went together.
It was quite an exercise in 3D thinking, but it worked pretty well I think. Everything except the zip was sewn on my new machine. I used the Elna Lotus for the zip, because the zipper foot is one of the feet that was missing from the Janome.

So now I will be using up the rest of the suede fabric making a few more over the next few days.

* I didn't remember what brand of machine the original pencil-case workshop was for, until I found that linked post today. Funnily enough that Pfaff model was one I considered in my recent hunt for a new machine. However there are no Pfaff dealers nearby, and I eventually decided it would be more economical to buy a second hand machine.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Mystery Week Four

This week's clue didn't take too long:
Lots of strips of green fabrics stitched together then sliced apart.

I really wonder where this is all going, given that there are pieces of two different basic dimensions. Maybe the smaller ones will be sashing, or a border, or the block includes unevenly sized sections? It is a mystery! I'm also wondering how this colour scheme is going to resolve. Now that every colour is in play, I laid a few of the previous weeks' pieces on the green to get an idea of the final look:
The next 2 or 3 weeks will be interesting, as this quilt heads to the reveal!

When the weekly link-up is available I will add the link here. Here it is!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Things Falling Down

We've had a lot of rain over the last couple of days. This morning I looked out the window and something was missing. The echium has collapsed:
Whether it was the weight of all the water on it, or the soil softening because of the rain, I don't know. But it was probably close to the end of its flowering anyway. Bees were still visiting it though, later in the day once the rain stopped.

We went out this morning, and when we came home we met this just up the road:
The ute wasn't going to fit under that, even if it was safe to drive under.

It's another job for the tractor!
That's the ute at the far right, behind the leafy part of the branch.

Hard to see, but here a chain has been put around the branch:
 Then the tractor took off, and the branch came down:

and was dragged off the road:
Then I could drive the ute home.

I don't know when the branch came down. A woman drove up behind us, and told me that she had driven her car under the branch 3 hours earlier. She hadn't reported it to anyone, but thought "someone" would do something about it before she got back home. I wonder how many other people drove under it in those 3 hours?

Friday, December 14, 2018


First dahlia flower of summer:
With a fly, not a bee.

The portulacas in my garden bed are spreading and becoming colourful:
The daisies in the pillow area still have a way to go.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mystery Week Three

After my frustrations with this "half chevron" unit earlier in the week, I decided to cut and sew them differently:

Diamonds and triangles cut with the Easy Angle ruler, chain piecing with ease.

Ready for pressing:

First side pressed, ready for the second triangle:

And after the second triangle was added:

They still need their bunny ears trimmed off. As I go through them, any that are not quite right I will cut down for the HSTs we need this week. Because I haven't started that part of the requirements yet! I will use the "magic 8" method when I get to them.

Hopefully it is not too late for me to join the link-up. It is here, anyway, so you can check out everyone else's fantastic progress on Good Fortune!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Finished Item

The final step:

And the KitchenAid cover is complete:
End panels in co-ordinating print:
A bit saggy because there is no actual mixer inside - that's just the cover standing up by itself. It can do that because I quilted the fabrics before cutting out and assembling the cover.

Slightly naughty story of these fabrics:
For the quilt guild Kris Kringle we had to provide 2 FQs of a current range of fabric. I bought half-metre cuts of these two fabrics, (which are from a new release by Nutex called "Leafy Meadow") keeping half of each piece for myself. Some time on the day of the Christmas dinner I realised they would be perfect for this project I wanted to make for a friend's birthday. But now I didn't have enough. What to do? When it was my turn to choose a gift my parcel was still available. Was it wrong that I grabbed it? Is that against the spirit of KK? I don't know! I do know that I was very happy with my KK gift, and that the same can't be said for everyone on my table.

Forgot to add: I got the idea and the basic instructions from here: Heart of Mary - How to make a KitchenAid cover

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Awkward Sewing

The new machine had no difficulty with this awkward job:

Sewing a straight edge of a quilted piece to the curved edge of another quilted piece. The walking foot and the needle-down stop made the job go very smoothly. If I had thought to attach the knee-lift, it would have been even easier.

This strange construction is a cover for a kitchen mixer. The fabric you can see is the inside, and I will try to remember to take a photo of the outside of it between finishing it and wrapping it up.

Monday, December 10, 2018

New Arrival

Today I went to Geelong, and this came back home with me:

It is a Janome Memory Craft 6500P. I've never owned a computerised machine before. I read lots of online reviews of this model before I went to look at it. This one was originally purchased in May 2010, but sadly its owner's sight has deteriorated to the point where she can't sew, and in fact has had to go into care. Her daughter was selling the machine. I took a few bits of fabric and some thread with me to test its functions, like buttonholes, some fancy stitches, and sewing binding on a quilt (those off-cuts from my challenge were handy for that). The machine did everything beautifully, and very quietly! A couple of the feet are missing, but are easy to replace.

It is very solid, so I won't be moving it around once I get it set up in my sewing room!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Things to be Happy About

It's no State Rose Garden, but the garden bed along the driveway is finally filling out and the roses are all starting to bloom:
And the echium is still standing! The lambs ears flowers are full of bees, and the daylilies are starting to open, too.

Just Joey in the rain:
 Rain is good!

Another of the lucky-dip roses:
I couldn't see its tag clearly - will have to have another look at it, because it doesn't match pictures online of what I thought the tag said.

At least one of the strange caterpillars spotted on our citrus trees nine months ago has made it to adulthood: 
A dainty swallowtail, Papilio anactus.

And from the front:

The Field Nats final excursion for the year was to the Gong Gong Reservoir Park and the Kirks Reservoir Park. We missed the second part, so will have to visit it again on our own. My raincoat got a good work-out when a huge thunderstorm struck, but before that we saw an echidna:
 And a wallaby:
And many birds and interesting plants.

Including a completely unexpected grove of