"an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas)



Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Hello Canada!


We made it to Canada! yay! After a long day's flying (2 days actually due to crossing the date line), and a brief visit to Venice Beach while in transit in LA, we finally got to our Hotel,  truly a welcome sight. We liked Venice  beach, although it's more delapidAted than quirky these days. And some rather shady characters hanging about! Still, a nice beach to while away transit time. Vancouver looked splendid with the sun on the snow capped Mountains. It almost felt like coming home! People are friendly, one lady gave me her trainpass, which she wasn't using any more. There's a train from the airport to the city. I wish Melbourne had that . Well, it's off to breakfast soon, and then we head for the ship. Sailing out in balmy spring weather . All I need to make my day is seeing orcas or seals or other assorted wildlife. 





 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Signs of autumn

 All around the garden, autumn is making itself felt. Beautiful tree colours, drifts of leaves, flocks of birds heading north, the acrid smell of burning from nearby properties.
A good time to start working with wool again, and OMG! there is some awesome wool around!
Managed to get to Tylden last week and found some gorgeous yarns at the wool shop. I was very restrained among all the glorious wool; supersoft merino, fat multicoloured 'cakes', glittery novelty wools (at $26 a pop!), fuzzy mohair, all made up into scarves and samples, plus knitting and crochet paraphernalia, luridly coloured needles, bamboo
hooks, scissors, buttons, scarf pins...oh, a girl can dream!
I did invest in a couple of beautiful balls of  Bamboo Blooms Handpaints; half the fun is finding just the right pattern for it. Good old Patons 8ply was on special at our supermarket, always good for a blanket.
And I just finished this mens scarf for a friend, such a simple pattern and it knitted up in no time.
Managed to capture a couple of visitors, one was a black yellow tailed cocky, who was having a rest on the ground (quite unusual). And a pretty beetle, but I'm afraid he's an ex-beetle....
 Saw two good movies this last week. One was the "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" (what a mouthful!), set in Guernsey in the late 1940s. Excellent movie, I highly recommend it. And I'm told it's just as good as the book. I never knew Guernsey had such a dramatic landscape.
The other was "Peter Rabbit", of Beatrix Potter fame. Cute kid's film, and just as much fun for adults. I was very happy the voices were appropriately British. Cannot imagine an American voice coming from Peter and his friends.



Saturday, April 14, 2018

Some finishes

 Yay! It's not often I get to finish projects, but this week I surprised myself!
First off, here's the hexie quilt the Friday ladies made, finally done and modelled by the lovely Ann. All hand pieced and quilted, and it will be either raffled or put to silent auction via the Rotary Club. Congratulations, ladies, great job!
It'll make a lovely table topper for a lucky person.
Next, I went back to this scarf I had made many moons ago. Although I loved the wool and the colour, a beautiful dark teal, it always looked a bit 'blah'. It was made for a person in mind, but she likes colours and crafty things, so I sat down and added arty-farty bits of different yarn, quite simple really. And hey presto - now it doesn't look blah any more! It's a bit hard to see but there
are quite a few shiny and even glittery threads crocheted on.
Another gift - and I hope the person it's intended for isn't reading this! - are the four place mats I made with this beautiful Australian-themed fabric range from Material Girls (via Mary's). I hope the recipient will enjoy them, since she's a fan of our bird life.
And here's some wool I came across in Lincraft. I was looking for exactly that kind of multi-coloured, multi-textured wool after seeing a shawl pattern on Pinterest. I downloaded the pattern, and my next job is to translate the (US) stitches into the UK/Australian version. That'll keep
 me out of trouble. Well, for a while at least.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

April happenings

 April - my favourite month. Balmy days, beautiful autumn colours, morning fog, just perfect. I only wish we had some rain. Wayne is trying to keep some of the more vulnerable trees watered, but it's difficult to keep up. Maybe I'll have to do a rain dance...
Sherman is feeling the cooler temperatures too. I had the heater on last week while working on the computer. And there he was, His Fluffiness soaking up the warmth while having a leisurely bath.
Yesterday I met my friend Susan at AQC. We had lots of fun looking at all the quilts. And they were magnificent! This is just a small selection

(see more on my FB page). The quality was unbelievably high. There were several Judi Niemeyer designed quilts, always spectacular. People were also quite adventurous with colour, which was nice to see.
I really liked Meri Wahl's quilts of India. They are so colourful and intricate, even depicting a smiling Dalai Lama. I must look out for more of her quilts; maybe we'll see some in Canada.
Gillian Travis' "Journeys in Stitch" quilts were another highlight, so colourful and interesting use of different media.
Caroline Sullivan had a retrospective of her art quilts. They were amazing, with a variety of textures that made us wonder "How did she do that??"
Another highlight was the Cherrywood Van Gogh challenge, from the USA. VanGogh's Stary Night was interpreted in interesting ways. The collection had quite an impact en masse.
I had an interesting experience meeting a fellow quilter. We chatted and exchanged first names, and after she left, I noticed she had forgotten one of her
 parcels. I left it at Lost&Found, and after posting an alert on 3 Facebook pages, she was found within the hour! And now we're Facebook friends! You never now what pleasant surprises the day holds.
Overall, a fun day, even though it felt a little overwhelming at times, with so many people, and so many things to see. I did not buy all that much, but splurged a little on Liberty prints (yes, I succumbed...) and another couple of fabrics.






Friday, March 23, 2018

This and that

It is 10:30pm, and I've been scared out of the kitchen by two LARGE spiders! I don't mind spiders in their place, that is, outside, but inside, THEY'RE DEAD! So I got a spray against creepy crawlies and applied a deadly dose, but do you think they would just curl up and die? They just keep marching on. Meanwhile, the husband is snoring away and Sherman is no use either. I've barricaded myself in the guest room, and might as well post something.
Here's a little lady brush bronzewing; she and her husband have been hanging out at our place 
the last few weeks. Cute birds.
I got the camera out and took a few photos of stuff in the yard. I love patterns and colours, so the aggies and fence remnants gave me inspiration.  My neighbour scratched his head when he saw what I was doing, so I yelled to him "It's arty-farty!" He just rolled his eyes...
I had a finish this week, the crochet baby blanket, a secret project to take to Canada. I so loved crocheting this - NOT the tidying up of the danglies though.
The weather was so nice this week, we thought we'd go for a drive. Daylesford and Hepburn Springs were the destinations, always a fine
 drive. Captured the Lake from another angle, and the italianate villa in Hepburn with its Mediterranean gardens is always worth a photo or two. We stopped for lunch at the Himalayan bakery and I had a yummy curry pastie with a fresh salad. Wayne was impressed with his turkey and cranberry sandwich. Loved visiting the gallery next to the bookshop in Daylesford, they had some fantastic pieces by Mats Jonasson, a glass sculptor. Must visit their larger gallery on the other side of Daylesford next time.






Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mixed bag

March is moving right along; I feel like Mr. Rabbit - "I'm late! I'm a late!"
No rain still, but a lovely sunset the other day. The sky was on fire! The kangaroos are also enjoying the late summer days, had around 15 here the other evening, including 3 large males and a couple of joeys in the pouch. They observe us as much as we observe them.
I drink a lot of soda water but was getting sick of all the plastic waste, so I invested in a Sodastream machine. It makes perfectly good bubbly water in seconds and uses tap water. I flavour it with pure lemon juice, which is my drink of
choice, and the CO2 bottle can be re-filled and exchanged. Now, what other plastics can I get rid of?! When you look around, there's WAY too much plastic in the household. I'm also thinking of getting a Bokashi tub, but not sure what to do with the compost; might give it to the neighbour.
On Sunday, I had Marg, Tracee, and Sue here, showing them how to make a Ricky Timms quilt. The one in the photo is mine; if you want to see more, go over to "Kiwikids" blog. Next step is to put the borders on, then to quilt it. Great fun, and I loved how each one was just amazing!
On Tuesday, some of us went to Ballan for sit n sew. We had a lovely day, and the credit card got an airing too! I fell in love with the bear fabric, and plan to make a bag with it and the dotty fabric.
The multi-coloured fabric will go perfectly with an African quilt that's in the planning stage. It's scrumptious! No idea what I'll do with the magenta fabric, I just had to have it!  I have a picture of something with silver grey in my mind...
And of course, a few KF fabrics had to come home with me. Given the entire WALL of Kaffe fabric at Ballan, I was very restrained....





Saturday, March 3, 2018

March musings

 I'm quite excited about our new paving/landscaping! It all happened last week, and the guys did a great job. Now we can walk around the house without having to watch our step, and it all looks very neat. I've planted herb seedlings and sown radicchio seeds in the planter box, and DH is in the process of planting a variety of shrubby things in the low garden bed. the centre piece is a 'Pierre de Ronsard' rose given to me by a friend last Christmas. It's a lovely rose, pink, apricot, cream in various stages of flowering, and it smells divine! Looking at the studio wall, I've just had an inspiration - it's a great spot for a barn quilt! Hmm...

 On another floral note, this was block No. 12 of my Kim McLean quilt. I'm finishing about one block a week, so I have about 12 more weeks to go. But I'll have to get a move on some other sewing, to get ready for Canada. Secret projects!

Finally, we had a gorgeous big full moon this week, and I managed to capture it with my little camera. Not bad for a hand held shot I think.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Visitors

Things are happening! First, this little Brush bronzewing came to visit. Hadn't spotted one of these before. He's got very pretty markings.
Then the landscapers arrived and have been busily transforming the area near the house, adding a pathway around, a garden bed and a high planter box. It's very satisfying, seeing things happen, and it will be nice to walk around the house without having to watch where you step! The garden bed will be home to a few roses, the bird bath, and a rosemary bush. I'll fill the high planter with herbs and possibly
some lettuce. I've always wanted to grow radicchio. I can already smell the basil, mint, and thyme...
Wayne cut down some of the old Virgilia tree, which had split in half and was obstructing the driveway. These trees don't usually get that old, and ours have lasted nearly 20 years, so we'll soon have to plant some replacements.
I'm looking forward to seeing the Friday ladies here today, and to catching up with the Saturday ladies tomorrow, for some fun and quilting.

Friday, February 16, 2018

More florals

 Following on from the last blog, here are some more floral shots. My Blue Moon rose blossomed nicely this summer - even whilst under threat from DH's chainsaw. He's a bit trigger happy!
The sunflowers lasted well; I just love close-up shots of these cheerful beauties.
And an African violet whose grandparent plant I received from a former colleague many years ago, has decided to bloom again.
The pretty orchid I bought for $10 last year has done very well too.

On another floral note, I'm half way through my Kim McLean quilt blocks. At the moment, I'm preparing more stems, which I'm finding tricky.
I've decided not to make the border which will hopefully reduce it to a hanging quilt.
I'm looking forward to the Geelong Quilters' Guild meeting tomorrow. Just keeping my fingers crossed that no kangaroos jump into my car this time...

 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

More happiness

Among the things that make me happy are flowers. DH used to bring me gorgeous Singapore orchids for years, which were kindly given to him when he worked at the airport. That finished when he retired, although he does occasionally come home with a bunch. So unless dear friends drop by with lovely blooms, I buy my own. This week it's been sunflowers, such cheerful things, gorgeous big yellow suns smiling at me when I enter the kitchen. Lovely!
And more happiness - I finally found my sashing fabric for my Kim McLean quilt! It appears to be a new-ish one by Kaffe Fassett, so I 
got onto it quickly. It has a rainbow of colours and will go well with my blocks, I believe. I've decided to make only the inner part of the quilt, not the borders, as it's huge (89x90"), and I'd rather it was a wall hanging than a bed quilt. This is block No. 10, 14 to go. Woohoo!
After several weeks of mooching around at home, I was heartily sick of it and decided to go out for lunch with DH. We went to Canteena and enjoyed their fare as always. I'm still in pain when walking or standing for any time, so will be interested to hear what the surgeon will say about that next week.
At least I've had time to read some amazing books. I especially enjoyed "We care for you" by Paul Kitcatt. One of those book you start and then can't put down! It's about a nursing home, its residents,  and a new concept in care giving. Fiction, but scarily pertinent.
Another good one was one of the latest Elizabeth George "Inspector Lynley" novels, called "A banquet of consequences". It's a door stopper, but kept me hooked. George is brilliant in creating a character who is mentally ill, highly disturbed, and manipulating everyone around her. One feels quite claustrophobic. The only criticism I had was a very unkind portrayal of DC Havers, more so than usual.
Lastly, I very much enjoyed delving into Phil Rickman's latest "Merrily" novel, "All of a winter's night". He's back on form here after a mediocre offering last time. I just wish Merrily and her bloke would finally get it together. You just want to bang their heads together! Do you get involved with the characters of the books you read? Maybe I need to get out more, haha!
Oh, and I read another Donna Leon mystery, "The waters of eternal youth". As usual, Inspector Brunetti is on the case, this time an old (cold) case. And as usual, the private Brunetti and his family are almost more interesting than the crime. I really think Brunetti needs a cat.