Sunday, January 31, 2021


Because I finished January's project early, I gave myself permission to start another one, and work on it for the rest of the month. So after two days, here is the background for what will become Alex Anderson's Birdhouse quilt:

Alex is running classes in various applique methods on YouTube for this quilt. Hers looks like this (although I think this is a progress shot, rather than her final layout):

I'm making mine portrait orientation, so I can hang it in my hallway once it is finished.

Today also involved some unpicking:

This is a project that has been hanging around in my sewing room for I'm not sure quite how long. It is a try-out of a summer dress pattern, that I was making in some inexpensive fabric. I made a mistake in putting in the pockets, and stopped. The issue was that the invisible zip in the side of the dress had to extend past the top of the side-seam pocket. I didn't know how to fix it so did nothing. However, I recently found an amazing Russian YouTube video on how to do this. (If you are interested: it's here.)

I'm not sure there is enough seam allowance for me to do the Russian technique. I might just remove that pocket altogether. But either way, I needed to unpick the very securely sewn on pocket bags. It took me about an hour, but it is now done and the dress can proceed.


This afternoon we visited a new (at least to us) nursery that our next-door neighbours told us about. 

It has a great selection of indoor plants, as well as interesting native plants, a coffee/snack van and lovely gardens to enjoy.
It is called Birdsong Nursery, and is apparently in Smythesdale, although Google maps says it is in Scarsdale. Apparently it has been open for a year, but as it is not on a main road we never would have found it on our own.


Friday, January 29, 2021

WOOFA - Oops

Thanks to Cheryll and her WOOFA encouragement to make some progress on unfinished projects (Working On Or Finishing A ... UFO), I have finished my Frolic quilt! I completed the binding this afternoon, then took the quilt out to hang up and photograph:

Fortunately there was a little break in the rain for me to do that. 


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

As I photographed the back, I noticed something that was not quite right... Look between the circles at the top right.
I missed quilting this bit! How did I do that? 

No worries, it is done now, and the quilt really is finished. Hooray! Linking to Cheryll's January WOOFA Party.

I guess now I need to choose a February WOOFA project. I'll post about that on Monday.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The Week So Far

On Monday Dot returned to the vet for a check-up on her eye. It was still looking bloodshot, and it turned out the reason was that there was still a large grass seed in her eye. Poor Dot! We are continuing with the same medication regime for a bit longer, but after only two days her eye looks normal - not bloodshot any more.

My car when we got home:

I had my camera ready to take a photo when it clicked over to 100,000 (after pulling over to the edge of the road, of course!). I'll probably forget about it next time I go out, so this might be it.

I don't know what to say about Tuesday's breakfast:

Someone has bought a lot of quirky stuff online recently. 

Today I moved one step closer to meeting my sewing goal for the month. I finished quilting Frolic yesterday, and now I have machined on the binding:

If I hand sew down one side each day, I could just get it finished by the end of the month.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Bucket Head

Dogs enjoying the sunshine:

Poor Dot has her head in a bucket because she scratched her eyeball while we were out walking on Sunday. Hopefully the combination of a drug for the inflammation once a day, antiseptic ointment three times a day, and wearing the bucket so she won't rub her eye, will all do the trick and her eye will heal OK. In the meantime, she is not impressed.

Friday, January 15, 2021

The Garden in January

Let's start with a plant that really shouldn't be blooming at this time of year, clivias:

That might be a clue that this is a very strange summer. Today was cool and rainy. The sun came out in little patches, then another shower would come over. Some of these photos look like they were taken on a warm summer day, but in fact our top temperature was 16.4, and I think it only touched that briefly and then dropped. These photos were taken over quite a period of time, as I had to keep going back inside to avoid the rain.

Here's something more summery, a dahlia:

Some of the dahlias haven't flowered at all yet though.



And around the edges there is a hint of the green kangaroo paws. I completely forgot they were there and didn't photograph them.


This plant, xDisphyllum 'Sunburn', is a hybrid with Australian and South African parents:

Glad I finally remembered to work out what it was, as previous times I've included it in my garden round-up I've just said that the tag was hidden under it somewhere.

Red hot pokers seem to show up every month:


An eremophila:

Melaleuca nesophila, which I bought at Kuranga Native Nursery in February last year, flowering for the first time since:

Although it looks a bit bedraggled with the rain.







Lots of salvias are flowering, including this one which I love the colours of:

While I was trying to find a nice fuchsia to photograph, I noticed this dragonfly hanging out on the bush, sheltering from the rain:

And then I completely forgot to get a flower photo.

In previous months I have said that the abutilons are always flowering, but today there are no flowers on a couple of them, and only 2 on this orange one:


And I missed a few, between dodging the rain showers. There are a few roses, gladioli past their best, lavender, and probably a couple of others I didn't notice. But it is interesting that January is not a great time in the garden. Last January was also not very floriferous.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Actual Large Branch

Four and a half years ago a large branch snapped and fell in a storm. It didn't make it all the way to the ground - it ended up balanced between two trees quite high up:


It has been up there, and I've been avoiding walking under it, ever since.


Until now!

Saturday, January 9, 2021


Not a new project - just yet. These pieces are not sewn, just pinned up for me to see how they would look:

Not my own idea, this is Plaid-ish, a free pattern you can get from here: Kitchen Table Quilting. I may have done some cutting out, but I've put it aside for later when I want some simple piecing to do. It will become a donation quilt at some point this year.


My only actual sewing today was joining the strips for Frolic's binding. I was planning to use this dark blue fabric for the binding:

It was given to me from the stash of a lovely quilter who is no longer with us. I used some of it in the blocks of Frolic, and was saving the rest for the binding. However, you should always put the binding fabric with the quilt, so that this doesn't happen:

Oops! I obviously forgot I was saving it for binding when I was making masks last year. 

Fortunately there was still enough for me to cut the required binding strips (note to self: I cut the binding 6cm wide). They are now joined and pressed and ready to be attached once the quilting is complete.



Friday, January 8, 2021


 This year I am participating in Cheryll's mutual encouragement WOOFA challenge. What on earth is "WOOFA"? It stands for "Working On Or Finishing A ... UFO". Read all about it here:

 MonTHLy CHaLLengE


My project for this month is to finish last year's Quiltville Mystery, Frolic. The quilting needs finishing, then it will need binding.

You can't see what still needs quilting very well in this photo. I took the quilt outside to photograph it, and there was a march fly sitting right on the clothesline waiting for me, so I gave up on that idea! These indoor flash photos of it draped over some furniture will have to do.
Basically, the border is unquilted, and there are empty sections at the block corners that need more work. I have 23 days until the end of January to get the quilting done and bind it.


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Seasonal Changes

Piinpi is an Indigenous word used in parts of far north Queensland to refer to the changes of seasons. Piinpi: Contemporary Indigenous Fashion is an exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery (for another week or so). A friend asked if I would like to go and see it with her, and I jumped at the chance. 

When I left home this morning it was 10 degrees, drizzly and overcast. Our weather station tells me our top was 16.6; not quite summer temperatures. (I'm not complaining, I'd rather have a cool summer than bushfires.) Somewhere on the road to Bendigo we crossed into another climatic zone, where summer has already arrived. In that northern part of the state the land is dry, the sun is strong, and the temperature was nice today (top of 23.4) but will be far too hot in a few days.


This beautiful silk gown designed by Lyn-Al Young is called Towera (Fire). My phone picture doesn't capture the fire colours of it well.

There is a nice report of the exhibition with better photos than mine here:

This linen dress and accompanying fascinator feature one of my less favourite creatures:

Ithitha (Bullant) designed by Suzanne Atkinson and Eva Ponting. (The label didn't make it clear if they each designed one piece, or if they designed the whole outfit together.)

There are several other interesting exhibitions on at present, including the Paul Guest Contemporary Drawing prize. This entry, COVID Dis-Comforter by Nicole O'Loughlin, caught my eye:

You need to enlarge that photo to see some of the details of her observations of covid life, or you can read all about and see some good close-up photos of it on Nicole's website here:

This little section echoed my experience of last year!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

New Arrival, and Too Much Stuff

 Apparently one tractor is not enough.

So now this one lives here too.

Here are some boxes. This is my stuff which has been in the shed since we moved in, because there wasn't room in the house for it:

But now the new (old) tractor is in that shed. I could just throw all this out without even looking at it, as it is stuff I haven't touched in over 5 years. But I know that some of it will be things that I have wondered "whatever happened to my [item]? ", or, "I'm sure I have a [something], where is it?" in the time it has been boxed up.

On top of that, I currently have a heap of stuff of Mum's, including a sewing machine, an overlocker, a hand-quilting frame, and bags and boxes of other sewing stuff, piled in the hallway. My father suddenly decided that he needed to get rid of everything, and was going to put it out for the hard rubbish collection. I think I need another whole sewing room to house all this stuff!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Large Branch

This morning I was contacted by the estate agent regarding some maintenance issues with my unit. One was that in recent storms some large branches had fallen. The agent asked if I wanted to have their garden person cut up the branches and take them to the tip. 

I didn't want to pay for potential firewood to be cut up and taken to landfill, so said I would go and look at the situation before letting her know.

Looking into the back yard from the pathway behind the unit, I had trouble seeing a "large branch".

Zooming in:

There it is.

Not much firewood, unfortunately!

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Happy New Year?

Our end of year celebrations were somewhat dampened by the news late on the 30th that after 61 days of no local virus transmission, Victoria had some positive cases. My heart sank. The authorities are doing everything possible to contain the outbreak, isolating close contacts and contacts of contacts. So far all the cases found (18 so far) are linked to a meal in a restaurant on 21st December. Who brought the virus to that meal is still unknown, but genomic testing shows that it is the same virus that has been causing problems in Sydney recently.

So for the last few days I've been back to watching the daily press conference, reading all the bad news, and vowing to avoid restaurants, and other people generally!

I've been reading lots of people's year-end summary blog posts. I guess this is mine, but between family upheavals and the pandemic, last year was not a productive one for me. My only finished quilt was a small broken herringbone made totally from scraps, finished in August:

It was donated to the guild's "Quilts of Love" program. We were all isolating at the time, so I dropped it off on the front doorstep of the coordinator. I wonder how long she left it there to decontaminate before taking it inside?

I did finish a few tops, including Trail Mix, also made from scraps and for donation: 

Frolic, last year's Bonnie Hunter mystery, which I am currently quilting and hope will be my first finish for this year. And a smaller Frolic. I made X-Plus blocks, one a day for 16 days back in March/April, which will also be a donation quilt when it is finished. Possibly my favourite was the Edyta Sitar mystery which I made after I had seen the final quilt, making one block a day over 100 days between April and July:

So my list of unfinished projects is longer at the end of the year than it was at the beginning, and my focus for the first part of this year will be to finish last year's tops (while resisting the temptation to start any new projects!).

One thing I really enjoyed last year was discovering iNaturalist. The field naturalist group we belong to set up an iNaturalist project that members could contribute to, as we could not have our regular meetings or field trips. Finding new things to photograph and add to iNaturalist became a focus for our daily walks during lockdown. I ended the year with 758 observations, of 364 different species. We are lucky to be somewhere where there are lots of things to see even without leaving home. This kookaburra looking at me through the loungeroom window this morning just before sunrise for example:

Or this rather amazing butterfly seen in the garden this afternoon:

It is a monarch butterfly, famously the butterfly that migrates between Mexico and the US and Canada each year. So what is this one doing in our garden? Apparently monarchs have been in Australia since about the 1870s, but I haven't seen one before. I thought it was only present much further north than here, so finding it here was amazing.

Best wishes to everyone for 2021.