Sunday, March 31, 2019

Not Blooming

Cheryll had an extra Bloom link-up yesterday, but I had nothing to show as I had done nothing since the last one. Well I've done lots of things, just not any Bloom blocks.

So today I made a start on blocks 9 and 10. Now I have all the pieces prepared, and have sewn down the green parts of block 10:
Both will be finished before the next link-up.

Also not blooming:
The tree dahlia. Will it manage to flower before the frosts arrive? No sign of buds yet, and we had an overnight low of 1 degree last week. I know last year I had the same worry when the flowers started opening in May, and they did get to flower for a while. Hopefully they will manage it again this year.

A few things which are flowering:
Sedum "cherry tart" in a hanging basket.

Tiny flowers on my spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) which has grown a bit since I got it.

And speaking of growth - when I planted the concrete pots at the front door six months ago,  I said I hoped the little plants would fill the pots, but this is beyond what I imagined:

I put one echeveria in this pot. It has grown massively, and multiplied prolifically. It has been flowering for several months, and still has new buds forming. Spinebills visit the flowers, which is lovely to see but hard to photograph.

Stash reduction progress for March:

One spool emptied
Four spools came in and then went out again
Year to date: 6 spools emptied.

Dress fabric:
Nothing used, added 1.75m
Year to date: Down 2.25m

Quilt fabric:
Used 2.5m, nothing added
Year to date: Up 2.9m

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

More Building Progress

It is a while since I showed the progress on the outdoor living construction project.
Since the last post, the builders have added the steel cladding. Now the frames for the insect screening are being made in-house. Once they are complete the builders will come back to add the doors.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Test Block

If you have been around any quilty blogs or social media in the last week, you may have seen this announcement from Angels in Gumboots, a quilt shop in New Zealand:

It is a request for heart blocks to be made into quilts for people affected by what happened in Christchurch. If you can't read this, or want more details, they have a dedicated facebook page here:

The full postal address is:
101 Cambridge Avenue,
Ashhurst 4810,
New Zealand

Today I made a test block using the pattern they provided (although heart blocks can be made any way you like as long as they are the right size):
That worked out OK, so I have prepared a little pile of blocks which I should be able to chain-piece together quite quickly.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Wind Farm Tour

The company building our local wind farm arranged a bus tour of the work so far, plus the opportunity to get close to one of the turbines. They had free food and real coffee, and face-painting for kids. They chartered a 55-seat bus for the tour. How many people do you think wanted to attend?

I rang up to book seats the day I heard about it, and the person I spoke to was surprised that at that stage they had over 100 bookings, so would have to run the bus twice. So we made it onto the second bus load,
and after us the bus made a third trip. And beyond that there were people who missed out all together, and will have to wait until the opportunity is repeated some time.

Since I showed the first turbine assembled back in January, a few more have been erected:
Mount Buninyong in the distance. Of the eventual total of 38, 13 turbines are up so far, with one more like this:
Unfortunately we didn't get to see a blade being lifted, as it was too windy today! Wind farms have to be in windy places to generate power, but they need still days for the construction cranes to work.

Highlight of the tour was getting out of the bus and standing under one of the completed turbines.

It is tall! The tip of the top blade is 160 metres from ground level.

It was a very interesting tour, with the chance to ask questions as well as see the work up close. The turbines are all on private land, so these events are the only chance to get up close to them.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Flowers Like Me

Belladonna lilies, Amaryllis belladonna, white

 and pink

and paintbrush lily, Haemanthus coccineus

hide away in summer. They hide underground, I hide inside. Then in autumn we all start appearing in the garden again.

How do these plants know that summer is over? It can't be day-length or water that triggers them to start growing. The bulbs are underground, and we haven't had any rain. Is it temperature?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Maybe This Time?

Last month I showed a newly germinated seed which I said was a baby banksia:

As these seedlings have grown, I've been puzzled as they do not look like the banksia tree the cone came from. Eucalypts can have very different juvenile leaves to their adult ones, but do banksias?

Today I discovered that these seedlings are not banksias at all! They are actually californian poppies. D'oh! This seed-raising soil mix included compost, which obviously also included some poppy seeds.

This is what caused me to investigate more carefully:
A seedling like the original seedlings on the left, something new appearing on the right. And in another tube, one of those same new things after it has popped off the seed covering:
I would like to say that these are banksias. But I am going to wait until their next leaves appear, just in case it turns out they are actually pumpkins!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Bloom Seven and Eight

Another Boom instalment! Again I have made two blocks this fortnight.

I've refined my technique for these curved shapes:
In her introductory video Lori Holt said she doesn't do any trimming of her seam allowances on these shapes. I ignored that advice for the points; I've been trimming away a lot of fabric from the points right from the start (as seen in the green shapes on the left of this picture). Until now I have left the curves intact, but I wasn't happy with how the curves looked without any clipping. A bit bumpy, a bit lumpy. So this week I dug out my pinking shears, which I have not used in quite some time, and pinked all the curved areas. I was much happier with the results I achieved with this technique.

Here's block seven
and block eight
before they had their sashing added.

And here they are, with their sashing, completing the second row of the quilt:

Last time a couple of people commented on the sashing. I should have mentioned that this was not my own original idea. I googled for sashing ideas, and found a few at Alida Tweloq Designs. Alida published a few interesting sashing ideas (which she called "Smashing Sashing") for a quilt-along she was running in 2017, and this is one of them: Gemstones Sashing. I've used her idea, but rather than doing all the sashing in the same fabrics or in random colours as she suggests, mine will create a rainbow effect across the quilt.

Linked to Cheryll's Bloomers Party #5. Check out the progress!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Unexpected Item

In a hardware store?

Mitre 10 in Maryborough.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Begonia Festival

The Ballarat begonia festival was on over the long weekend, but I didn't attend it. However, the day after is a great day to be able to look at the begonia display in the greenhouse without all the crowds.

The floral display is amazing:
 This one in a hanging basket was probably my favourite:

But it is not just about the flowers, and there was a large section showing the range of different foliage begonias can have:

I have one like one of these, which I purchased at a market stall last spring. I wonder if mine will ever be as lush as these ones?

Friday, March 8, 2019

More Construction

I came home this afternoon planning to spend some quiet time relaxing after a stressful morning. But I was surprised to find this happening:
Builders at work!

They had lined the previously seen framework, and were adding the gold-coloured insulating layer. That will at some point be covered in colourbond steel to match the rest of the house. Also note the concrete base for the walls is in place. That was done earlier in the week but I forgot to photograph it in progress.

Thursday, March 7, 2019


The first belladonna lilies (Amaryllis belladonna) are opening:
There are many more that are just starting to come out of the ground. They are later than they ever were in the city, which is not surprising, but are also later than other gardens in this area, which is surprising.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Unusual House and Garden

Last night we had the opportunity to tour a rather amazing place.

"The Old Curiosity Shop", built by James and Caroline Warwick in 1855, and decorated with "stuff" for the next 40 years.

The view of the outside today:
The oldest part of the building is covered in mosaics of shells, glass, and broken crockery. The temporary fencing in front is for safety reasons. The actual fence is a bit fragile at the moment.

This is part of the inside of that fragile fence:

I've turned up the contrast on this shot, so you might just be able to make out "1855 WARWICK" in light stones in this corner of the garden:

The original shell mosaics are looking a bit sad, with many lost and broken shells, and all looking rather grey:
But the glass mosaics have kept their colour:
Some fascinating pictures taken in 1913 when everything was much newer can be seen here: State Library

This plate advertising the Coles Book Arcade caught my eye:

The Book Arcade closed in 1929. You can read about it here: The incredible Coles Book Arcade. Don't you wish you could visit a book shop with "a menagerie featuring a monkey house, a fernery, a toyland, a stationery department, a second-hand book department, a glass and china department, a refreshment room, and a confectionery department." Plus comfy chairs and a sign saying, "Read As Long As You Like – Nobody Asked To Buy."

The current owner of the house has added lots of her own whimsical touches to the garden:

One of several places to sit and enjoy the atmosphere:
Note the quinces ripening on the tree visible at the top left. That is one of two giant quince trees in the garden.

Another shady spot to sit and relax:

We went through the house as well, but I didn't feel comfortable taking photos because the owner actually lives there. But there is a newspaper article which includes better pictures than mine, and some inside the house, here: Warwicks Old Curiosity Shop.

It is an amazing place, and I'm very glad I got to see it!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Under Construction

Building work commenced today on turning this verandah-like area into my screened outdoor living room:

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Meet the Makers Quilt-In

Fortunately the hall where the Lions Club Quilters held their Quilt-In today was air-conditioned:
Otherwise there may not have been nearly 90 attendees. I wouldn't have been there, anyway! It was a hot day outside. I was happy to sit and stitch in the aircon, and finish the binding on my Good Fortune quilt. That's it on the chair at the bottom right of the photo.

In stitching down the binding I managed to empty another spool of thread (Hooray), but I won a door prize which added 4 more spools to my stash (Oops)!

The main event of the day was a talk by Susan Mathews, about her artistic journey. I love her work, particularly those based on Australian native plants. I've shown one piece of her Banksia series on my blog previously, at the Golden Textures exhibition 2 years ago.

Today this piece, Ode to Banksias 7, was unveiled as the latest acquisition for the Quilt and Textile Collection the Lions Quilters are putting together:
This quilt has been awarded Highly Commended, Art Quilt Australia 2017, and Best Use of Colour (Innovative), World Quilt Competition 2018.

Susan used lino printing and screen printing to create the design, then added amazing quilting. A couple of close-ups to show how her quilting adds to the depth of the design:

Unfortunately I didn't catch the name of the thread she uses for her quilting, but its beautiful sheen adds to the sense of light in her quilts.

All in all it was a great day out, with good company, yummy morning and afternoon teas, refreshing aircon, and a finished quilt to show for it.

Bloom Five and Six

I've decided to make two blocks a fortnight, so that I can get this quilt finished in time for the Ballaarat Quilters exhibition later this year, which has a garden theme.

So here I am making pieces for blocks five and six:

And here is block five:

 And block six:

Since our last Bloomers Party I have finalised my sashing plan for my quilt. Here's the first row completed:
And the first half of the second row:
Which may look a bit weird so far, but I hope will start making sense once I have a bit more of the quilt made.

Linked to Cheryll's BLooMeRS PaRTy #4