Tuesday, April 30, 2019

More Concrete

The position of the walls and the door of the outdoor living area mean stepping through dirt or mud to get to the front of the house. So an extra bit of concrete was called for. This morning before I went out:
 This afternoon when I got home:
Next job will be to create a garden bed around the new concrete, with a stepping stone to get to the tap.

End of month stash figures for April:

One spool emptied
One spool purchased
Year to date - down 6 spools

Dress fabric:
Nothing used, nothing added
Year to date - down 2.25m

Quilt fabric:
Used 0.6m, nothing added
Year to date - up 2.3m

Monday, April 29, 2019

Farewell to a Nursery

A few years back I first visited Newlyn Antiques and Nursery, but it is now in the process of shutting down as the owners retire. They held an auction recently of all the remaining antiques, and now it is the nursery's turn.

We really don't need more trees:
 Although they have a huge range of fruit and ornamental trees to go.

We made a small contribution to the clearance:
Mainly shrubs this time. My selections included a white herbaceous peony "Lady Bird" and a couple of hellebores.

The property is going to be auctioned at the end of May, so the sale will continue until at least then. I suspect we might make further visits before it is gone forever.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Retreat - Sunday

Beautiful elms shade the grounds of the retreat venue:

I think it is a while since anyone had a barbecue:

After lots of laughter and interesting conversations and lovely meals and even more sewing it was time to pack up everything and head home. My main achievement for the weekend was making and attaching the 5th border on my Rajah Revisited:
The quilt has grown a little since the last time I posted my progress 4 months ago.

Group photo before we all departed:

I got home at about 5:30, where a couple of dogs were overjoyed to see me again. And I was happy to be home, too.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Retreat - Saturday

A chilly start!
Interesting frost designs on someone's car.

An early start for people setting up stalls for the Lancefield Farmers Market, as the sun appears at the end of the street:

On this pre-breakfast walk, I noticed that the nursery had a sale on trees. And right near the front fence I noticed a tupelo, Nyssa sylvatica. I first admired this tree in the Ballarat Botanic Gardens seven years ago.

Later in the morning I went back and bought one:
then popped it in the bathroom of my room to keep it safe for the rest of the weekend.

Here's our workspace:
Empty because this was before breakfast. That's my Elna Lotus in the foreground, and you can see the hourglass blocks I worked on yesterday. My first challenge was working out how to make them so that the seams would nest when I sewed them together, but I came up with a method that worked. By lunchtime I had made quite a few more:
In the afternoon I finished the binding on a charity quilt that had been giving me a few hassles.

I think this is my 14th charity quilt quilted. I intended to completely machine-sew the binding, but I forgot that the new machine has a different width foot than my old Elna, so I had too much seam allowance. That meant the binding couldn't nicely cover the stitching on the front, so I ended up having to hand-sew the front of the binding, and it was hard going. The whole quilt suffered a bit:

 I'm hoping that waviness will relax with time.

Here's the back view so you can see the quilting:

I also laid out the rest of the Bloom blocks to finalise which fabrics will go where,
then I prepared a few of the applique parts for the next blocks. Photos of those can wait until the next Bloomer Party next Saturday.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Retreat - Friday

My room for this weekend's retreat:
Just a fairly plain motel room, brightened up by my Carolina Chain quilt. The retreat actually started this morning, but I work on Friday morning so didn't get here until later in the afternoon.

Notice my computer optimistically plugged in. The "free wifi" didn't work in my room most of the time, and my phone had no signal for most of the weekend. "Emergency calls only" or sometimes, "No SMS connection". I was in a communications black hole! So much for my plans to blog as the weekend progressed. This and the following posts are being written after my return home.

I had asked for vegetarian meals. Here's tonight's dinner:
Definitely lots of vegetable matter! Roast veges, and salad. (Subsequent meals were more balanced, fortunately.)

I made a start on one of the projects I brought with me, photos tomorrow.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Case Moth

This morning I was checking over the TreeProject seedlings. Some of them are getting very tall, and would be ready to plant out if there was some chance of good rain to get them established. However, I found that a number of the eucalyptus seedlings had been decapitated, and this was the culprit:
The larva of some species of case moth. It has constructed its case of twelve or more sticks of equal thickness:
Unfortunately those "sticks" were the main stems of multiple eucalyptus seedlings. In the shot above you can maybe see the silk wound around the sticks to keep them together. You can also see the severed stem of the tree on the right-hand side.

Fascinating as the case moth is, I couldn't really allow it to continue munching its way through the seedlings, so I carefully removed it:
That's it sitting on my gardening glove. I took it to a young eucalypt about 3 metres tall elsewhere on the block. The tree has plenty of thin branches that the case moth can use to extend its protective cocoon without endangering the life of the tree. When I checked back a few hours later, it had moved off, so I hope it lives out its life happily in the bigger tree.

Monday, April 22, 2019

GPS Beanbag No-No

Warning: Do not do this!  It is not legal in this state. The GPS has to be attached to the car.

My new GPS has a window mount, but the windscreen on my car is a long way forward - too far to reach from the driver's seat. So today I made a little beanbag for it to sit on:

Side view so you can actually see it:
I filled it with crushed walnut shells, so it has a bit of weight to keep it in place. To test it out we went for a drive this afternoon. The beanbag held the GPS at a good angle and didn't slide off the dashboard, so I think it is a success. And the dogs enjoyed our trip to the Ballarat Botanic Gardens:

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Bloom Eleven and Twelve

Block 11:

Block 12:

Which finishes the third row, and now the top is 60% done!

Linked to Cheryll's Bloomers Party, even though Cheryll is away at the moment. She is a dedicated host who scheduled the post before she left on her travels.

Friday, April 19, 2019


Last spring I posted this picture of a gorgeous pansy I had planted last autumn:
At the time I said I wished I had made a note of the variety, so I could buy some more this year.

It turns out I didn't need a note because recently I found them for sale again:
So today I planted them out in the same garden bed as last year. I hope they do as well as their predecessors did!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

More Nurseries

The Friends Nursery at the Geelong Botanic Gardens opens on Wednesday mornings. We were looking for a particular plant, but it turns out that they had a big autumn sale a week or two ago, and stocks of everything were low or gone. They had none left of the plant we had gone to buy.

I bought these instead:
Two hippeastrums of unknown variety. This morning over breakfast I was reading some blogs, including this post at NeedledMom, featuring some amazing hippeastrums in flower (called amaryllis in the US).  Many years ago I had some I bought at a garage sale in Coburg, but I don't know what happened to them in the end. I've been wanting a replacement for a while. Now I just need to work out the best way to care for them here. They might be candidates for living in the outdoor living area in winter to protect them from frost.

We met a family member and had lunch at the kiosk in the gardens, then on our trip home we stopped off at Roraima Nursery in Lara. The gardens there are fascinating, with all sorts of rusty bits and pieces used as planters or as sculptural decoration.

I like this ball of augur bits hanging in a peppercorn tree:

And the combination of plants in this rusted-through box:
Lime green and pinky-grey:
Just gorgeous!

These ball-shaped succulents are beautiful:
Agave victoriae-reginae. The nursery had tiny ones for sale for $15 and $20 dollars, so I have no idea what this massed display of basket-ball sized ones would cost to emulate. Nice to look at, anyway!

I think that might be enough nurseries for a while. It must be time to just do some work in our own garden.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Lambley and a Fire

Last Thursday my GPS kicked the bucket. I got a new one yesterday, and today wanted to go for a drive somewhere to check it out. I decided Lambley nursery would be a nice spot to visit. The gardens there are always a treat, and we wanted to buy some of their vegetable seeds after attending a talk on vegetable-growing by David Glenn (the owner of Lambley) a couple of weeks ago.

It was a very bright sunny day, (and much hotter than you might expect at this time of year) which is not ideal for photography, but here are a few views around the gardens:

And in the nursery:
Sun-loving plants in the foreground, and shade lovers behind.

On the way home we could see a lot of smoke from a fire which turned out to be quite close to my parents' retirement village. I was almost home when I received a call from Mum's home care co-ordinator telling me that the village had been evacuated to Buninyong. I rang the village's main number to confirm exactly where people had been taken, and was given the address of the recreation centre which was being used as the fire relief centre.

I was relieved to think that the village had an emergency evacuation plan, and that my parents were somewhere well away from the fire.

Back in the car and off to Buninyong, where I found that there was no sign of my parents, or of the village bus. There were a number of elderly people there, and various cats and dogs in boxes and on leads. There were people handing out cups of tea and coffee. There were fire officials and police, but no-one knew where my parents might be. Eventually I was directed to someone who was the representative of the company which runs the retirement village, but she also had no idea where my parents might be. She made a phone call, and eventually I discovered that my parents were out on the street in front of the village.

Here is a news article about the fire in The Age. They don't mention in that story that a big part of the "massive amount of evacuations" was a retirement village. Or that the evacuation involved moving immobile people out to the street and leaving them there for over three hours.

Basically anyone who could drive was told where the relief centre was, but those without cars were just told to get out of the village, then left to their own devices. The village bus, which I had imagined had taken such people to safety, was parked blocking the driveway to stop anyone entering the village. My parents don't use mobile phones, so couldn't ring anyone (me) to come and get them, or even tell me where they were.

I asked the village manager why people were just sitting out in the street, and he said that it was safer for them to be there than in their units, in case the fire turned towards the village. I can understand that, but I think it would have been even better for them to have been loaded into the bus and taken to the air-conditioned relief centre, with access to toilets and refreshments, and well out of danger.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Autumn Colour

A few touches of autumn in the garden.

My ginkgo is turning gold.

A deciduous azalea:

The liquidambar doesn't have much colour, but it is starting to turn:

The stars at the moment are the crepe myrtles:
 They are looking the best they ever have.

Saturday, April 13, 2019


All the screen panels for the outdoor living area are now in place:
There's a door to go in the opening next to the pizza oven, just visible inside the screens.  Neither of the doors have been installed yet.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

AQC 2019

A couple of pictures of the quilt display area at the Australasian Quilt Convention:

Those windows on the left often make viewing the quilts a bit difficult as the sun streams in, blinding the viewer. You need something to shade your eyes. What you can't see in these photos is the absolute crush of eager quilters elsewhere in the building. The vendors area was impassable in places. I spent most of my time looking at the quilts, and running into friends. I did do one circuit of the trading area, but my only purchase was a couple of pairs of snips. (I regularly break them by dropping them on our concrete floor.)

For all the time I spent in the quilt displays, I took very few photos. Here's a handful that I did photograph.

I loved the use of colour in this quilt:
"Blurring the Edges" by Beth and Trevor Reid, won several prizes including Best of Show in Canberra in 2018, so appeared in the "Best of Australia" section of the exhibition.

Another from "Best of Australia":
"The Collective Language of Trees" by Cindy Watkins, winner of Best of Show and a couple of other prizes in Tasmania.
Close-up showing how Cindy created the trees with free-motion stitching over a collage of batik fabrics:

I seem to have been particularly attracted to circles this year:
"When the Sun Goes Down" By Jungeun Tark. This quilt was in the "Korean Style" section of the Exhibition. I always enjoy the displays from other countries that feature in this exhibition.
Close-up of the technique:
A confetti of fabric, held down by tulle then stitched over densely with fancy threads.

Lastly a quilt from the "Magic" challenge:
 "The Wish" by Neroli Henderson. Most of the quilts in the "Magic" challenge left me rather cold, but this one at least had a little magic about it. The top photo is taken with the ambient light. You can see that there are some sparkles here and there (Swarovski crystals), some painted effects, and heavy quilting everywhere. But you have to use a flash to see Neroli's wish:
You might need to click on the photo to enlarge it to read the wish, but it says, "I wish for a world where the darkness brings no evil". The piece is dedicated particularly to 3 women killed in Melbourne in recent years while making their way home at night, "and all the other women who never made it safely home". So it is about a very dark and sad topic.

A friend and I couldn't decide for sure how the glowing writing was done, but later I heard from someone who spoke with Neroli, who confirmed that it is the thread used for the quilting which reflects the camera flash.

Obviously this is only a tiny selection from the whole show. The whole thing is rather overwhelming and I would probably need several days there to take it all in. But it was definitely worth the trip to the city.