Tuesday, March 31, 2020


Last year my pink Japanese windflower didn't flower, but this year it is:
And there are heaps of buds to come:
Hooray! I hope the white one flowers as well. It would be nice to see them both at once.

Back in January Jo did a post about her broken herringbone table runner. I was quite fascinated by how it went together, and wanted to give it a try. Since then I have cut a bunch of rectangles out of fabrics in my scrap basket. Today after making my daily x-plus block, I set about starting to sew those rectangles together:

You might notice these are not all seamed. At the moment they are columns of arrow shapes pointing up; the downward v-shapes are not joined yet. When the columns are long enough they will be sewn together to make a flat surface which will become a donation quilt.

Because all those fabrics are out of my scrap basket, they don't count as stash use. But here's how the stash is going at the end of March:

No spools emptied, none added.
Year to date - no change.

Dress fabric:
None used, 1.25m added.
Year to date - up 1.25m.

Quilt fabric:
1.3m used, none added
Year to date - down 4.3m.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Bees in Dahlias

The garden was buzzing with activity today. The "Bonnie Fire" dahlias are very attractive to bees:
Sometimes more than one bee per flower:
The salvias are also attracting bees, and eastern spinebills. I haven't managed to get a good photo of the spinebills yet.

My X-Plus quilt blocks are helping to mark the passing of the days:
Eight done now. This should be enough for half a donation quilt, perhaps with a border around them. I'll decide on the border in another eight days.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Now Six

Six of the X-Plus blocks now:
Making one a day helps keep track of the time passing. Sorry it is a bit blurry - it was taken in low light with my phone, and I didn't realise how bad it was until I got it on my computer.

This afternoon on a lovely walk with the dogs, I photographed our state floral emblem:
Common heath, Epacris impressa. The pink form is our state emblem; this one is quite a pale pink, so I'm not sure if that counts. There are all shades from white to hot pink blooming near it though, just not as easily photographed. They bloom from late autumn to spring, so there should be lots of flowers ahead.

Friday, March 27, 2020

New Friends

Meet my new best friends:

Hearing aids! They are sitting in their charger, where they spend the night. I've had them since Tuesday, and since then I haven't had to ask anyone to repeat themselves once. Hooray! Too bad I can't test them out in meetings at the moment, but one day hopefully I will attend a meeting and hear everything that happens.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Slow Progress

The first of the zinnia flowers is opening:
Grown from seed collected from the Queen Red Lime zinnias I grew two years ago. I hope I get enough flowers to set some seed this year before the weather gets cold.

I now have 4 of the "X plus" blocks made:
I'm just making one at a time, rather than making a whole bunch at once.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Home Projects

While we are all staying at home I've got plenty to keep myself occupied. The ABC news website a few days ago had this article: "Coronavirus quarantine fine time to get out sewing machine and indulge in new hobby". Not a new hobby for me, but I will definitely be getting some sewing done. Maybe I'll even sew up some t-shirts I cut out months ago!

One member of my quilting group came up with a "Super, scrap-using, stay at home sew-along", making X-plus blocks. The blocks can be assembled into donation quilts, or used for ourselves. The point is to do something and keep in touch while we can't have our regular meetings and sit and sew days. Someone else came up with the idea of a WhatsApp group so we can share progress. That was a bit of a challenge for me as I've never used that app before.

Anyway, here's my test block made this afternoon:
I think the aqua I used is too light - it gets lost against the background. But maybe among a bunch of other blocks it will be fine.

Another new challenge is making a crochet pattern I bought after seeing pictures of the "Rainbow Barf Cat Scarf" online. Of course I don't have the yarn that the pattern calls for, or anything like it. Apparently the standard yarn in North America is similar to 10-ply in our system. All I have is 8-ply, so I will have to see if I can make it work somehow. I've also never done the stitch the scarf uses, so this was my test piece:
I wasn't sure that was how it was meant to look, so fortunately with a bit of googling I found that the stitch in the pattern is called "Cable stitch", and I found clearer pictures and instructions here. Both the pattern and that page are written using American rather than British stitch names, so that just adds to the fun. Anyway, I will try another sample before I tackle the scarf.

Out in the garden there is lots to be done. Today I made a start on cutting back the lambs ears dead flower stems, so that the plants go from this:

 to this:
Much neater! I got two clumps done, and there are quite a few to go. There are several other plants that will benefit from dead-heading, as well as lots of weeding to do, so I don't think I'll be running out of things to do in the garden for quite a while.

Hope you are managing to be productive while not going out!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Smaller Frolic

Today I didn't visit Mum, for only the second day since she was admitted to hospital nearly 7 weeks ago. I used the time to finish assembling my Frolic made of the left-overs of the first one:

I rang the hospital to clarify the new visiting arrangements, and they had changed their mind since yesterday. Today's rules are that family members can visit, but no more than two and for only 10 to 15 minutes a day.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Visiting Hours

Today when I went to visit Mum I was told that from now on only people who are listed as contacts for patients will be allowed to visit. The listed contacts are Dad and me. Earlier today my niece had come to visit and was turned away. Grandchildren are apparently banned (even if they are in their 20s, not children.) I hope we can arrange it that my sister and brother can alternate days with me, as it just wouldn't be right to stop them visiting. And it is going to be awful for Mum if she can't have visits from anyone other than Dad and me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020


Sliced beetroot, anyone? There's eight tins left:
The paper notices warn that bulk purchases are being restricted. "We want to ensure all customers have access to our products". But when there is almost nothing on the shelves, the signs are just a joke.

Despite all the empty shelves, I managed to get 5 of the 6 items I had on my shopping list today. The best find was sugar for jam-making, which I have been seeking for a week.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Wombat Planter

This was the purchase I mentioned making at the Begonia Festival (a week ago already!):

A wombat with personality.

He is made by the Crow's Foot Pottery in Panmure. I first came across their cute planters a few years ago, in open gardens around Ballarat. This echidna was an example:
I've seen Crow's Foot Pottery at a couple of markets since then, but never when it was convenient to make a purchase (such as when walking 6km around Lake Wendouree at Springfest). So I was happy to snap one up when I saw them at the festival, and very happy that we had a parking spot close to the market as he is quite a heavy wombat.

Now I just have to decide what to plant in him.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Garden in March

Just like last month, it was a rainy morning so there are a lot of damp flower photos here. Many, many flower photos. Skip if that's not your thing!

Let's see how far we can get around the alphabet.

Abutilon with bee:


Yes, our first spring flower, and we are only half way through autumn.

Apple blossom!
Now I am really confused. It is definitely autumn, apples should not be flowering.

Belladonna lilies:
Pink ones, and a white one.



Crepe myrtle:
Only one of the five trees has any flowers, and this is all of them!

"Bonnie Fire" above, "Mystic Dreamer" below.

Eschscholzia californica, Californian poppies, are out but because it was cool and dim when I took these photos, they were all closed up. Also there are some eremophilas, but I didn't get a shot of them either.


Several geraniums, but somehow I didn't photograph any.



Looks like I have nothing for "I" or "J".

Kangaroo apple:

Kangaroo paw:


Lemon tree:

Nothing for "M" either!

Here's a strange one. We were given some nerine bulbs by a friend, but this is what has come up:
One large red flower, and two smaller weird-looking pink ones.

There are flowers on the orange tree, but they look just like the lemon flower above.

Paintbrush lily, Haemanthus coccineus:


Propeller plant, Crassula falcata:

No "Q".

Red hot pokers:


And heaps of roses, of course.

One of quite a few different salvias:

No "T" or "U". The Viburnum tinus is flowering but I didn't manage to get an in-focus picture of it.


No "X" or "Y", and only buds on the zinnias.

So a few letters of the alphabet missing,  but we covered most of it.

Thursday, March 12, 2020


The African violet bud I posted about last Thursday has opened:
and it is pink with purple freckles!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Sixty-Four Years

We didn't think Mum would make it, but today is my parents' 64th wedding anniversary:
We had a gathering and some cake in Mum's hospital room this morning, before I had to go to work. This is the first time we have seen Mum out of bed since 3rd February, although it is apparently her second time in the wheelchair.

Both of my parents have aged a lot since the last time I posted about their anniversary, 4 years ago.