Saturday, December 9, 2017

Another Christmas Do

This is part of the surroundings of the venue for my latest Christmas break-up lunch:
Beautiful, isn't it?

It is the Warran Glen Garden Centre and Café, which apart from having a large gift shop, a large café, a large garden area, and plants for sale, has a bonus just beyond the Japanese maples:
Can you see what is inside? Quilt fabric!

Clair's Fabrics is an online fabric shop, which has been open as a corrugated iron (rather than bricks & mortar) store here for just 5 weeks. Clair has a fantastic range of fabrics, and made us very welcome. I think a fabric shop in a nursery is just about the perfect combination!

A happy band of quilters sat and sewed, purchased some fabric, ate scones with jam and cream, had some show and tell, and just generally had a great time.


One of our number also made the Gourmet Quilter "What's in the Box Mystery" this year, and this was our first chance to see the two versions together:
Mine on the left, Shirley's on the right.

I was very lucky with my lucky-dip prize:
A beautiful book of garden info and pictures.

It was a long day. This wonderful venue is about 150km from my place, so it's not somewhere I will be visiting frequently.  I broke up the homeward journey by visiting my son, but I was very tired (and happy) by the time I got home.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Aqua Returns

This week does not look like summer:

It didn't feel like summer, either! This is week 28 of my temperature-based year quilt. Here are the daily maximum temperatures at our place, which determine the colour of each day's hexagon:

8/12/2017    17.7    green
7/12/2017    19.8    green
6/12/2017    19.6    green
5/12/2017    17.0    green
4/12/2017    14.0    aqua/teal
3/12/2017    12.9    aqua/teal
2/12/2017    11.5    aqua/teal

Nothing very warm about that, was there? However, after this return to cool colours, the week ahead is likely to include yellow, orange, and red days.

Not linking to Sarah's Weekly Weather Report, as she unfortunately has internet problems this week.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Seeds, Flowers, and Dead Branches

This morning I finished sowing the last of the TreeProject seeds:
We have quite a mixed batch this time, with a eucalypt, two different acacias, a hakea, a melaleuca, and one I've never seen before, Calytrix tetragona, common fringe myrtle.

My first dahlia flower is opening:

But the most exciting thing this morning was this:
Do those dead tree branches look like they have eyes? Zoom in for a closer look:
Definitely eyes! Eyes that follow you around without appearing to move. They belong to an adult (on the right) and baby tawny frogmouth, Podargus strigoides. The adult is a perfect dead branch, but the baby is still a bit fluffy to be convincing.

They were in a tree across the road from our place. Their nest may have been somewhere within sight without us ever realising. The birds are nocturnal, and can be very hard to notice during the day because they blend into the forest so well.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Challenge Revealed

Tonight was the Ballaarat Quilters' Christmas do, where our annual challenge pieces were revealed. The challenge involved making something using only the colours of the birthstone and flower associated with the month of your birth. As my stone is emerald and my flower is lily of the valley, that gave me only green and white to work with.

I decided to be quite literal, and make a representation of an emerald. Using a free downloadable program called Quilt Assistant and starting with this picture:

I created a paper foundation pattern for an emerald-cut emerald. And then at the AQC in April I saw Kat Jones's Bling, a giant cushion-cut diamond done by paper foundation piecing. In that post I wrote, "No one will believe me now, but one of the challenge pieces I'm working on this year is somewhat similar in concept to this. But I really did start working on it before I had ever seen pictures of Bling." There is really no comparison between Kat's diamond which is over 2 metres square and my 40cm x 60cm emerald. But as paper-pieced representations of precious stones, they are similar in concept!

Here's my emerald:
I used nine different green solids, plus white.  Here's a photo taken during construction, which I posted in June:

I quilted the whole thing with a variegated green and white thread. It is all straight lines, about 12mm apart on the stone, and 2 or 3 mm apart in the background:
This photo previously appeared on my blog in August.

I tried adding a facing to the quilt to give it a modern look, but it just didn't work with the matchstick quilting. I couldn't get a sharp edge when I pressed the facing back. In the end I removed the facing and added the binding instead.

It was fun to see how other people tackled this challenge. No-one else was born in the same month as me, so there weren't any other green and white pieces to compare with. The winning piece was a gorgeous cushion-cover in orange and aqua hexagons, which more than one person told me they thought was mine. But that quilter was born in December so had turquoise and narcissus (daffodils) as her colour source.

The winner gets to choose the next challenge. It  will be interesting to see what she comes up with!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Planting Preparation

A small scale working bee to get the TreeProject kit ready to plant. Two people (under the shade sail) filled tubes with potting mix:

Then I moved the filled boxes to their table, compacted the mix and topped up any that were a bit low:
With three of us working on it, it didn't take long to get all seven boxes ready for sowing. By the end of the day some also had their seeds, but I didn't get a photo before it got too dark.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Bright Spots

We now have the full shade sail in place:
But the sun has barely come out since it was installed! We sat under it with the neighbours and had a drink this afternoon, pretending it was summer.

Despite the wintery weather of the last few days, there are lots of bright flowers around the garden.

Daylily Black Plush
There are many different daylilies in the garden, but there are also a lot of slugs. The flowers are a bit munched before they even open. I am patrolling regularly, and picking off the slugs to feed to the chooks. So I hope there will be some nice flowers to photograph before summer is over.

This canna was a surprise bonus that grew out a patch of clivias we were given. It didn't manage to flower before the frosty weather last year, but this time it has started much earlier:

The abutilons are covered in flowers this year:


A white penstemon:


We have paper daisies in a few different colours:



My hanging baskets have grown a lot, but nothing is actually hanging from any of them yet:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Second Mystery Clue

I spent the day working on the second instalment of the "On Ringo Lake" mystery, making lots of flying geese.

Cutting everything took quite a while, but here are my pieces piled up ready to sew:

The right-hand triangle is sewn on first:

Adding the left-hand triangle to the pressed units:

And by the end of the day I had a whole flock of flying geese:
I still have to trim off their bunny ears. As I do that I'll check them for size. I wouldn't be surprised if I find that some are a bit wonky and that I need to make a few replacements.

When the clue 2 link-up happens on Monday I will add the link here.
Here it is! Check out the gorgeous colours people are using. This is going to be a lovely quilt.