Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Quartered Squares

I made some test blocks:
From instructions found at "Film in the Fridge" here. I'm trying this out as a way to get people involved the guild's "Quilts of Love" program. I thought if everyone made at least one of these units, in given colour families, we could have a sewing bee day to put them together. There's a couple of nice examples at "A Bright Corner" here, using donated blocks in either cool or warm colours.

The blocks are quartered then sewn together:
I chose to make green and blue sample blocks, because my box of green fabrics is so full that the lid won't go on. I'm not sure how many blocks I would have to make to get that lid on, but it is probably a large number!
Six re-assembled blocks. I will take these samples with me to our next meeting, to see if I can interest anyone else in making a block or two. If they don't like the idea I'll keep working on my blocks, and make a quilt to donate elsewhere.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Summer Flowers

Crepe myrtle:
I think it is "Sioux". It has been the first to flower for the last 2 years, but this year has masses of blooms.

"Queen Lime Red". This is the same flower I posted a few days ago, showing more of the "red" shades as it opens further.

"Mystic Star", looking a lot darker pink this year than in some previous ones.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Finished Mystery

First finish for the year:
On Ringo Lake, the Bonnie Hunter mystery which started just 2 months ago at the end of November.

A section of the back so that you can see the quilting:
The final link-up for this quilt is next week, so I will add the link to this post then.

Here's the final link-up! Check out some of the amazing interpretations of Bonnie's design.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Warm Week

Here's week 35 of my temperature-based year quilt (not actually stitched together yet):
A lot of warm colours, because there were a lot of warm days:

26/01/2018    31.3    red
25/01/2018    31.4    red
24/01/2018    27.0    orange
23/01/2018    26.9    orange
22/01/2018    29.8    orange
21/01/2018    35.1    magenta
20/01/2018    28.0    orange

It has also been very dry. The garden is looking parched. Late this afternoon a thunderstorm brought some quenching relief, although not all the rain ended up in the tank:

A little happy spot in my garden:
The zinnia plants which grew from the seeds that germinated back in November are just starting to flower.

Linked to Sarah's Weekly Weather Report.

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Today was the first meeting for the year of my CBD quilting friends. Lots of people made it into town, and it was fun catching up with everyone. A highlight for me was seeing another version of Ringo Lake:

You can read about the changes Jeanette made to the pattern to get this fantastic result here, as well as see a photo that represents the colours more accurately. The shop lighting today has given the quilt a slightly yellow cast.

Here are the two versions spread out for comparison:
 Mine underneath, and Jeanette's on top in the foreground.

If  I do another mystery I might take a similar approach - make a small quilt at the end of the mystery, controlling the colours and fabric placement to produce a quilt with impact, rather than another over-all scrappy look.

Another highlight of the day was seeing Jenni's photo book of her trip to Morocco last year. And discussing year quilts and temperature quilts (and mood quilts, would you believe?), and trips to India and Sri Lanka and Thailand and Cambodia that people have just taken or are about to take. It was a good day of catching up, but I was glad to come back to the quiet of home after all the city noise.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Binding And Concrete

I've finally finished quilting the mystery quilt, and it is binding time. I can never remember how wide I should cut the binding, but after asking for advice online, and doing a bit of a test, I'm recording it here that for this quilt I have cut the binding at 6cm.

And here is just over 6m of binding, joined, pressed, and wrapped around a small cutting board to keep it neat:
I gave myself an extra headache by using a stripy fabric. That meant the joins had to be sewn carefully so that the stripe matched. Several seams had to be sewn more than once!

To avoid the problems I've had sewing binding on straight in the past, I took the machine out of its cabinet and placed it on my cutting table. That gave me a much larger surface to support the quilt, although it did mean that I had to sew standing up.

But it did give me a much straighter seam, so I will do this again in future.

While I was sewing, outside this was happening:
A cement truck. And men doing manly things with concrete.
Apparently we need a pizza oven.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Dot in a Quilt

It is hard to believe, but it was a bit cool this morning. Dot was shivering, so was happy to be wrapped in a quilt. Coolness inside was due to all the doors and windows being open overnight to cool down the house, and the temperature of the air wooshing through the house being about 12 degrees! The good part of that was that I could spend some time in the garden before breakfast, dead-heading and tidying and watering, before it was warm enough for the march flies to get moving.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Parent and Child

I think this is the same adult and juvenile crimson rosella that have been flying around the house recently, with the young one regularly flying into windows. It is still being fed by the adult (in fact that's what was happening just before this photo), but I think it is learning about the house. There haven't been any of those horrible bangs for a few days now.

Friday, January 19, 2018


Another week, another purple day. We did start the week with a few mild days, then built up some heat at the end:

19/01/2018    41.8    purple
18/01/2018    39.1    magenta
17/01/2018    33.9    red
16/01/2018    24.6    yellow
15/01/2018    21.8    yellow
14/01/2018    19.5    green
13/01/2018    18.0    green

Linked to Sarah's combined Help For Hexie-holics and Weekly Weather Report and birthday celebration. There you can see a couple of rosettes where purple represents a very very cold temperature. I moved it to the top of my range because we just don't get such cold temperatures. And also check out Turid's amazing La Passion, which has 15,500 hexagons so far, and is nearing completion.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Just over a year ago our fish moved into their new home. I carefully counted them at the time, and we had 14 fish; 8 gold ones and 6 multi-coloured ones. This is a photo from their first day in the pond, which includes all but one of them:

I said at the time that the fish seemed to be happy in the big pond. I think we have the proof now.
Unfortunately my camera would only focus on the wire mesh rather than the fish, but in this photo you can see one of the original fish at the bottom right, and towards the top in the centre, a tiny new fish!

But then look at this:
The fish I've drawn the yellow ring around is bigger than the baby in the first photo, but much smaller than the fish that have been in the pond for a year.

I couldn't get decent photos of them, but there seem to be three different sizes of baby fish. And there are now many more than the original 14 fish.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

For Sitting and Sewing

A couple of weeks ago amongst the junk mail that arrive in my inbox was a review of a new product called the "Lap App". It is a little table for your lap. It has spool pins, and a magnet for holding pins and needles, and a few other features. Here's the link for the details: Lap App Road Test. Here's a photo from that review:
I thought it was a cute idea, until I tracked down the price and found it was $130 (and with a 4-week wait for orders).

However, there is a handy woodworker in the family, so I showed it to him, and today at a sit & sew day I made a cover for my very own portable sewing table:
I used Jodie Carleton's "Sewing School" fabric for the cover.

Notice the extras: I have 5 spool pins, not just three. And 5 magnets, too!

I noticed that another Australian retailer is now selling an unfinished, uncovered version for $59, plus $12 postage. They will probably pop up everywhere now.

Monday, January 15, 2018


 First block quilted.
Back view.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


Cleared off my cutting table, used it to iron the quilt top and backing, then basted this quilt:
I had the quilt half done when I realised I had forgotten to trim the setting triangles and the corners:
Too late! I can trim them once it is quilted. I'll just have to remember not to quilt too close to the edges.

And because I know my progress on this quilt is really not that interesting to anyone else (although I like being able to check that last year I basted the mystery on the 16th January so I'm ahead two days this time) here's a honeysuckle flower in the back yard:

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Slow Sewing

Today I had big plans to get the mystery quilt basted. It was the first sit & sew day of the year, so I took along my quilt top, the backing, and a bag full of large batting offcuts to piece together for this quilt.

I had hoped to be able to make the "frankenbatting" with just two offcuts, but the pieces weren't quite as large as I had hoped. I ended up needing 4 pieces, which meant hand-sewing three joins across the width of the quilt rather than just one.

Doesn't that make an exciting picture? Doing the three joins took almost the whole day - from 11 to 3, anyway, with breaks for lunch, chatting, cuppas, stretching my back. But after I finished the last seam I had no energy left to tackle the actual basting. And everyone else was packing up for the day, so I did the same.

And just because it is more interesting than the top photo:
Crinum lily flowering again under the back verandah.

Now my job will be to clear off the cutting table so that I can baste the quilt on it in sections.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Week Thirty-Three

This week started off hot, hot, hot:
My first purple day! Although, of course, my camera doesn't like purple so this isn't an accurate representation of how that centre hexagon really looks. You may remember last week I was in two minds about wanting to reach 40 on Saturday. And although it was an unpleasant day, with high winds and extreme fire danger, I was secretly happy to make a hexie in a new colour. There is one hotter colour, but I won't mind if I never use it - black for days over 45 degrees. The poor Sydney-dwellers reached 47 this week, and I don't envy them at all.

After that purple, the rest of the week was quite mild:

12/01/2018    26.2    orange
11/01/2018    33.1    red
10/01/2018    24.1    yellow
9/01/2018      20.9    yellow
8/01/2018      26.6    orange
7/01/2018      23.9    yellow
6/01/2018      40.8    purple

This week completes another row of my quilt. Here are all 33 weeks so far:

The top row is still not attached, as I'm still considering my options for the corner squares.

Linked to Sarah's weekly weather report, where some other participants have been experiencing a "snow bomb".

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Young Rosellas

A couple of young crimson rosellas:
They will be crimson when they get their full adult feathers. For now they are a bit patchy. These ones seem to have left their parents, and are flying round with a group of juveniles. But for the last couple of weeks there has been a younger one flying around with an adult bird, and the youngster is constantly bouncing off our windows. With a loud "bang". I don't know if there is something wrong with it, of if rosellas are generally slow learners. But I think it has hit every window, some more than once. If there is something wrong with it, continuously flying into windows won't be helping.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Big Moth

Moth found on a post today:

A rather large moth:

How big?

That big!

It is probably a Wattle Goat Moth, Endoxyla lituratus. The larvae are borers in wattle trees for a number of years. The moth never eats, and only lives for about a week after it emerges.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Protecting the Edibles

Over the last month or so, there has been a lot of work going on around the orchard and vegie garden.

First a lot of poles were erected, but I don't seem to have any photos of that stage.

Then chicken wire began to cover the whole thing:

So how do you cover a construction like this with chicken wire?

Cut a length of wire, and attach it at one end:

Then with the help of a ladder and a rake, spread the wire across the supports,

and when you get to the other side,
use the tractor to pull it taut!
Then there's lots of clipping it all into place.

Once the roof was finished, the sides were wrapped in chicken wire too:
The chooks had been confined to a small area while this was all happening, but on the first of January they were finally allowed the run of a section of the orchard:
Which they enjoyed immensely! It was also good when we had the hot day on Saturday that the chooks could find themselves spots in the damp soil under the fruit trees to keep themselves cooler.

On Friday the very last bits of wire were secured:
And the orchard and vegie garden are now almost bird and possum proof. Almost, because there is one last job to do:
The area above that gate is still open, so a larger gate is required. The gate was going to be enlarged today, but we had a few other things to take care of instead. Maybe tomorrow. And once the gate is enlarged, it will also need chicken wire, because those openings are large enough for a rosella to get through

I haven't shown much of the vegie garden before, so here's a few shots of it:

 Lots of lovely edibles growing!