Thursday, December 30, 2021

Number Five

 I've just about finished Clue 5 of Rhododendron Trail, this year's Quiltville mystery by Bonnie Hunter:

Notice the neutral fabric at the top on the right? It is a fabric from 2012, but I bought it this year because it looked a bit like coronaviruses.

I'm making half the specified quantities. I've sewn everything for this clue, but these last ones still need trimming or "de-dog-earing". The next clue will be Saturday our time, or New Years Eve for Bonnie. 

In some previous mysteries, the reveal has happened on New Years Day. I'll be surprised if that happens this time (but then, it is a mystery, so it is always a surprise). I've been keeping track of the percentage of quilt top made according to the final measurements given at the beginning. And if my calculations are correct (always room for doubt), step five only takes us to 51% of the full quilt. So to get the reveal after only one more clue could mean a lot of sewing ahead in a short time.

Happy last day/s of the year, however you spend it/them.

Monday, December 27, 2021

An Afternoon Stroll

Took a walk this afternoon through a park we haven't visited before, at Kirk's Reservoir, which is part of Ballarat's water supply.

It is a lovely spot for a walk but dogs aren't allowed.

There are lots of ornamental trees that must have been planted many years ago, such as a huge cedar:

The cones seemed to be dripping sap. I don't know if that is normal?

On the way home we stopped to make sure this echidna got across the road safely:

It didn't just walk straight across, but at an angle which meant it was on the road much longer. Fortunately no other cars came along until it was off the road.
But I watched to make sure it was not going to turn back towards the road. I suppose it knew where it was going, but my heart was in my mouth until it headed off into the grass and undergrowth.

Thursday, December 23, 2021


This afternoon we took a drive to Daylesford. We took a walk around the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens.

Parked under giant conifers at the top of the hill:

An interesting (unlabelled) artwork:

The sun was intense (not surprising, the day after the solstice), so the shady fernery was inviting:

I found this amazing dragonfly hanging out under some brilliantly coloured lilies:

This flower was a puzzle:

I have no idea what it is. Anyone recognise it? I've got pictures of the leaves as well it that would help.

None of this was the main reason for being in Daylesford. There's a clue in this ornament hanging on my Christmas tree:

This has been the year of the vaccine. The government recently brought forward the wait time for third doses; we had been due to get them at the end of January, but suddenly we were almost eligible. We made booster bookings in Ballarat on New Year's Eve, but then came the announcement that due to the various holidays we could get them before Christmas if we wanted. Hooray! We just had to find a clinic with spots available, which is how we found ourselves in Daylesford this lovely afternoon, getting doses of the cutest-sounding vaccine, Moderna's Spikevax.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Slow Progress

 The fourth part of Rhododendron Trail, this year's Quiltville mystery, is taking me quite a while:

I'm making half the specified quantity but so far I have only about a quarter of them finished. Another quarter are sewn but need pressing and trimming (bottom right), and the remaining half are HSTs (on the left). Fortunately the next clue won't be released until after Christmas, so I might get these finished before then.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Early Morning Wildlife

 When I got up this morning, I glanced out the window and saw this:

A couple of kookaburras on the birdbath, and one of our family of magpies wandering past.

Two minutes later I looked out in a different direction, and saw this:

A swamp wallaby! Eating grass, not the daylilies, fortunately.

The pictures are a bit indistinct due to the low light. All this wildlife (and me) were up before the sun.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Garden in December

Yesterday was grey and overcast, so I waited until today to take photos of what is flowering in the garden this December.

As you will see, today was bright and sunny. Perhaps a bit too bright for taking photos, but at least it's not all grey and gloomy.

Starting in the backyard with the hebes.

My photo doesn't show it, but the hebes are buzzing with bees and full of hoverflies and butterflies. 

Sweet peas smelling gorgeous:

Citrus (lemon? orange? lime? one of those):


Some little begonia flowers on my way through the house to get to another part of the garden:


A gorgeous poppy:

Pretty-coloured cornflower:


Phygelius aequalis "Yellow trumpet":


Many daylilies have been moved to a bed across the lawn from the house, where it seems they will do quite well:

There's a bit of weeding needed there, I know.

What can we see here:

Mainly a mass of lamb's ear flower spikes, but also some echiums that have just about finished, maybe one of the roses just off to the left, and a big buddleia which has buds but no flowers open yet.

Anyone recognise this plant?

And a closer look at the flowers:

It hasn't been here in previous years, but we don't remember obtaining it, and there is no tag on it. (Thanks to Jeanette for recognising it as Isotoma axillaris!)

Time for a rose:

Just one to represent (not sure how many) rosebushes. 

We recently purchased and planted an orange leucospermum because I didn't think we had any. But this yellow one surprised me as I had forgotten we had it and I don't think it has actually flowered in previous years:

I've never photographed it before, anyway!

This eremophila was elsewhere in the garden and wasn't thriving at all:

But as you can see, it is much happier in its new position.

The next two are surprise flowers that couldn't be seen until some pruning happened recently. This is a yellow Calothamnus, which not only has these flowers and buds, but seedpods from previous year's flowering which we have never seen.

And this amazing banksia flower is not the first one, as there is a dried-up pod on the plant. But it is the first one we've seen:


Echevaria in a pot, in front of a shade screen on an east-facing window.  The ones across the front of the house aren't up just yet.


Here's a tulbaghia, in front of a nepeta:


And I'll finish with a chincherinchee just because I love the name:

Its scientific name is Ornithogalum thyrsoides, which is not as much fun to say.

Hope you've enjoyed this floral tour in the southern hemisphere sunshine. I haven't included everything that's flowering. I missed a few such as the geraniums, the red-hot pokers, and probably others I've forgotten. A lot of things that were flowering this time last year just haven't started yet this year. Our cold wet spring has delayed them. But summer is here now, and maybe they will all be out for my January round-up. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Heading off the Trail

For week three of the Rhododendron Trail mystery quilt, I have wandered off the path to do my own thing.

Rhododendron Trail is this year's Quiltville mystery. For this clue Bonnie asked us to add triangle wings to the HST from the first clue. I wasn't interested in cutting and sewing a bunch of triangles, so I've done it this way instead. Rectangles are added to each of the HST squares, then sewn to another unit to make a larger rectangle. The method is sometimes called "Mary's Triangles", and you can see a nice description of it here.

Back view - see how the seam allowance has to be clipped in the middle to allow this unit to be pressed flat?

The next step to make this look like Bonnie's would be to cut these units apart into two triangles. But I'm not going to do that just yet. I'm going to wait and see what the week 3 units get joined to, because it may just be possible for me to do that joining BEFORE I cut them apart, avoiding even more triangles.

Once I had finished sewing all of these, I re-read the instructions and found I needed a bunch of neutral squares as well, so I had to go back and cut them too:

More or less ready for step 4 on Saturday!

Monday, December 6, 2021

Geese Done

Geese ready to trim. And they did need a bit of trimming as I deliberately cut them over size. 

Here's how they looked when done:


Ready for the third part!

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Geese in Progress

 I've half-made the flying geese for the second Rhododendron Trail mystery quilt clue:

I'm using the "4 at a time" method. I made one set first to make sure this would work. The final geese have to have yellow and neutral triangles. My practice blocks showed that if I did all the yellows first, then added the neutrals for the next step after this, I'll end up with the colours arranged as per Bonnie's instructions:

Half will have yellow on the left, and half will have it on the right.

I had more sewing time today than I was expecting, as visiting has been cancelled at Mum's nursing home again. Someone who visited earlier in the week later tested positive for covid, so the residents are being tested, the home is being "deep cleaned", and visitors are banned until they are sure there hasn't been any transmission of the virus. So far all the initial tests are negative, but they are planning to do a second test of everyone on Monday.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

November WOOFA

This is the last WOOFA (Working On Or Finishing A ...) report for the year

In November I finished my Plaid-ish quilt and donated it, made, finished and donated a Christmas placemat, and did a bit of pinning:

This is my Scrappy Mountain Majesties top, which was my Lockdown #5 project, started in July:
I hope to get it quilted and bound by the end of this year.

Thanks to Cheryll for her WOOFA encouragement through the year. Here's this month's link-up: The Last Hoorah.

Monday, November 29, 2021


 Over the weekend I attended a "stay at home" retreat. We hired space in a local school where we could sew and talk and eat and generally catch up on nearly two years. 

Saturday was also when the first clue of Bonnie Hunter's new mystery, Rhododendron Trail, was released. So that was the first thing I did at the retreat.

This is before they were trimmed. I'm making roughly half the quantity again this year.

The placemat challenge entries were displayed and voted on:

We had a competition to guess who made each one, as well as voting for our favourites. The winner is in the second photo - the Santa with the falling-over tree and presents. Second place was the one in the foreground of the last photo, with the reindeer and tree.

On the second day of the retreat I did a bit of hand sewing and a lot more talking. I attempted to pin baste a quilt, but I will need to do it again at home, due to wrinkles.

There was so much talking. Everyone had so many stories to tell from 2020 and 2021. And I must have done too much talking, as I ended up with chapped lips and a slightly hoarse voice!