Friday, August 31, 2018

End of Winter

First apricot blossom open on the last day of winter:

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Nearly Done

I have made most of the blocks of Amanda Herring's Friendship quilt, but before I do the last ones I wanted to see how it was looking so far.
It really doesn't photograph well, at least with a flash. Maybe it will look better in daylight when I can take it outside. Maybe!

I think I really needed more value contrast in my fabric selections. I don't particularly feel like re-making any of this, but there are one or two blocks that maybe need it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A New Low

Minus 4 this morning!


Looks quite pretty on some plants:

But the bergenia looks like cooked spinach:

The daylilies don't look happy:

Red hot pokers are not looking too hot:

And there's ice on the duck pond:

Monday, August 27, 2018


Glowing in the sun:

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Trees Going and Coming

The chainsaw guy was back across the road today. I couldn't bear it, so we took the dogs somewhere out of earshot of the crashing trees; Lal Lal Falls.

A re-vegetation project in part of the Falls Reserve:

A number of very large old pine and cypress trees were removed from the reserve in 2011. At the time the council said landscaping work and re-planting would happen the next year. A newspaper article from the time: Anger at Lal Lal Falls Reserve tree culling.

This is the first sign of any re-planting, and it is only in one small part of the reserve. The picnic area has had no landscaping or re-vegetation.

The falls with Mt Buninyong in the background.

If I enlarge one corner of that photo:
You can just see where the new planting is in relation to the falls and the picnic area. And you can see some of the large stumps remaining in the bare picnic area.

Saturday, August 25, 2018


There are two houses about to be built on neighbouring blocks. One has done a lot of clearing and earthwork and has the electricity connected already, but no sign of building yet. The other, which is closer to our house, is still in the tree-felling stage.
Today the chain-saw guy was there again, bringing down more trees. I went out for a walk with the dogs, but could still hear the regular booming crash as each tree was felled the whole way.
There's a huge gap in what was a tree-covered block. I hope that is the end of the felling.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Almond Blossom

Almond flowers open on a beautiful spring day.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

New Project

Not that I should be starting a new project, but this one just sort of happened:
The colours look pretty weird because of the lighting where I took the photo. I'll have to try again in daylight.

These are blocks from Amanda Herring's Friendship Quilt Along. It actually began in June, but I only started making the blocks this week. There are two more weeks to run in the quilt-along, but I have made the blocks for 6 of the weeks in the last few days. I started with the pieced blocks, but now I'm moving on to the appliqu├ęd ones. I'm using Vliesofix and then machining with a zig-zag, because it is a quick project for a gift. I'm using stash fabrics, in roughly the colours of Amanda's original, which can be seen in this screen grab from the Fat Quarter Shop:

I hope it all hangs together! It is a bit of a gamble doing something like this from stash rather than using a coordinated range of fabrics.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Second Blossom

The almond tree still hasn't any open blossom. A plum has become the second tree to begin flowering:

Another little touch of spring elsewhere in the garden:
Snowflakes (Leucojum) in the rain.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Local Event

It looks like it would have been a nice day to walk down to the hall for the annual photographic exhibition:
But that sunshine is deceptive. The top temperature was only 8.4, the wind was freezing, and rain showers went over every half hour or so. So we drove instead.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Creswick Market

I haven't been to Creswick Market before, so it was interesting to check it out today:
You can tell that it is not your average country market by the fact that almost everyone is wearing black.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

First Blossom

In previous years the almond trees have been the first to blossom in spring, but this year it is a nectarine:

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Why Branches Fall Down

Lots of trees and branches have come down in our recent wild weather. Here's one we found on a tour of the block this afternoon:
 A branch which was growing out to the left from low to the ground has broken off.

When the branch hit the ground, it shattered:

Inside the branch you can see that it has been eaten out by who knows what sort of insects:
No wonder it was lacking in structural integrity!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


A pair of Australian Shelducks, Tadorna tadornoides, spotted in a nearby paddock:
A bit hard to see, I'll admit. What about if I zoom in a bit?
The female is the one facing left, with white around her eye. I wonder if they will breed in this area, or if they are just passing through.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Christine Lethlean Workshop

Yesterday I had the fun of attending an all-day workshop hosted by Ballaarat Quilters. Christine Lethlean of "The Margie and Bert Studio" in Clunes taught Making Art with Textiles. I don't think I could say I made "art", but I did have a great time playing with fabric.

Some of the inspirational pieces Christine had for us: 

Happy people surrounded by piles of fabric:

We had been given a list of requirements, and I had everything except the first item on the list, an idea!

The first part of the day involved layering many small pieces of fabric, then stitching them together in some manner. This becomes the background of your piece. I had taken some denim to use as background, but I didn't use it. This is what I ended up with:
It was one of those activities that you can enjoy without having a clue what you are doing or where it is heading. This piece is up to four or five layers of fabric, from upholstery weight to chiffon. I stitched them together with three different threads, although that is not at all obvious in the photo.

There were people who had brought along ideas. One person's foreground was to be large colourful chook, another's a picture of an outside toilet. Having no ideas of my own, I went for the default: a vase of flowers.

Flowers roughly cut out and arranged:

Vase shape cut by Christine from one of the fabrics I had brought along:

Then you have to deconstruct everything you have done, to start sewing the parts to the background individually. The previous photo is a guide to where to to place the pieces as you progress, but things moved around a bit as I worked. And I was so caught up in the process that I didn't think to take any progress shots. This is what I had by the end of the day:
I was stitching down the blue and brown flower in the centre (which hadn't even been in my initial arrangement, but I ended up with a bigger gap to cover in the middle than I had expected) when my bobbin thread ran out. It was about pack-up time anyway, so I left it at that.

The second half of the workshop is next month.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Week Without Posts

Lots has happened this week. There's been a birthday, illness, wild weather, some gardening, some sewing, some working. And through it all I took no photos, and blogged no blog posts.

Here's a photo of one of the trees that came down in the wild weather. The worst of it was cleared up before I took the photo:
But if you enlarge the photo you might be able to see the damage caused to the wire covering the orchard, and also notice that part of one branch is still up on top of it.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Indigenous Plants and Stormwater

An outing today to a non-commercial indigenous plant nursery, and to a stormwater harvesting project.

First up the nursery, where volunteers grow indigenous plants for Ballarat Council, for re-vegetation projects, and the like:
 It was interesting to compare with our tree-growing experiences for the TreeProject. The nursery has the advantage of shade houses and green houses to give their plants the optimum growing conditions:
 Most of the plants looked a bit sad for winter, but will perk up again once spring arrives.

One plant that was looking good is this native storksbill, Pelargonium australe:
It has been allowed to self-seed and spread in an area at one end of the nursery, and is growing there very happily. It has flowers just about all year apparently, and forms a nice round bush. Will have to see if we can get hold of some for the garden.

The second part of our excursion was to the North Gardens Wetlands.
Not an easy sign to read, but basically stormwater is collected, goes through gross pollutant traps, then several basins where sediment can settle, before the water ends up in Lake Wendouree.

The settling basins have provided areas frequented by many waterbirds, and although I didn't manage to photograph any of them,

 about 30 species of bird were identified by members of the group on our walk around the project.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Signs of Spring

Flowers around the garden today.

A profusion of red hot pokers:

First daffodils:


More jonquils:


And the first sign of one of my peonies:

Friday, August 3, 2018

Rose Lucky Dip

End of season bargain box of bare-rooted roses:
Quite a range of rose varieties, a few of which I haven't seen before. Poor things have been in the box at the postoffice for a couple of days, but they all went into the ground today.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Layers of Tulips

Last year we saw a clip of Monty Don planting a deep pot with three layers of tulips. He had early, mid-season and late-flowing tulips, which he said would give a long-lasting display as each variety came up in succession.

I can't find the video now, but here's a clip of Monty demonstrating a similar concept only with different bulbs: How to plant a multi-layered pot of bulbs.

That seemed like a good idea, now that we live somewhere with a climate suitable for tulips. We ordered a selection of tulip varieties and planted them in three layers in a large pot (about 60cm tall). A few weeks ago the first half a dozen began to appear. But look what has happened now: 

I'm pretty sure that all three varieties have now reached the surface of the pot! If they all flower at once it will be a colourful display, but not long-lasting.