Monday, 31 December 2007
" Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your own heart and intuition."
Wishing you all the best for the coming year - health, happiness, and inspiration for unique work, what ever it is you like to create.
Sunday, 30 December 2007
Saturday, 29 December 2007
I worked in the garden for a few hours from about 6.30 this morning, pulling weeds and cutting back the exuberant summer perennials that had been flattened by more than four inches of rain that fell in the storms of last week. We still need more rain as the garden is dry in patches and my trees look stressed. This was a shot of my 22,500 litre water tank overflowing in the rain - it was a shame to see it being wasted, but there is enough now to sparingly water the garden and save some in case of bush fires.
Benefits of the warmer weather? My raspberries continue to ripen and I have just picked a big bowl, frozen some and taken the rest to friends for their dinner. The big dog kept me company and ate any I dropped as well as gently picking those she could reach herself. So much for her being a raspberry guard dog!
The other good thing is that I have been working on the January Journal Quilt for the Aust - NZ Art Quilt group and am very happy with the way it is progressing. No photos yet, but it might be finished tonight and I shall photograph it tomorrow.
Delores the little baby chook is doing well. Her adopted Mother is now taking her out into the main hen run to show her how to scratch and find yummy stuff to eat, while protecting her with much clucking and ruffling of feathers, from the mean Gladys. It is very sweet to watch the chick stay so close, and the way in which the art of mothering has come so naturally to Dorothea and transformed her behaviour.
Thursday, 27 December 2007
One of my gifts was this gorgeous little chicken, a Rhode Island Red cross, who came from Vic Market on Christmas Eve in a shoe box - constantly chirping its little heart out. Already named Delores by friends of my daughter, she was gently tucked under her new mother Dorothea, the broody chicken on the page below, at night, and seemed to know exactly what to do despite having been hatched in an incubator. The plaster egg and golf balls were removed from the nest, and by the next morning Dorothea was behaving like a proud and protective mother, clucking at her new baby and anyone else that comes near. They have had a couple of days in the nest box, but today ventured out into the main run. Most of the chickens are not interested, but one is a bit aggressive and might harm the little one. I have installed an upended wire crate a few inches off the ground as a haven for the chick, and have seen her rush under it if she is frightened, so fingers crossed that she will survive this new big and scary world. Mother chook is staying very close, shepherding her around the pen, showing her what to eat and ruffling her feathers if she feels the baby is threatened. I shall keep you posted on her progress...
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
Imagine a scene from' The Bill' or 'CSI', where a squad of police are walking across a field in a line searching for clues at a murder scene. Now imagine the same scene with ducks instead of people – common Australian Wood Ducks - more than thirty of them waddling along, mumbling to each other as they raise insects ahead of them in their search for food and leaving copious quantities of dark green slimy poo where they have been. This is the time of year when families seem to gather together with their new offspring in large flocks and this morning they again visited me. Charming you think? Definitely not! Early this morning they traversed my vegetable patch, stripping young Broccoli plants to their stalks, removing the centres from the Sweet Corn and eating the lettuces. Secondly the Pink Dog loves to roll in their evil smelling green poo when I'm not looking, she did and she then needed a bath.
I have a 4 metre long row of Raspberry canes along a fence, and this year promises the best crop ever. Two days ago, noticing that a very few were beginning to colour, I immediately rushed to find the bird netting and quickly covered them thinking I had beaten the birds at last. Earlier today, my attention was drawn by the loud squawking of a young Currawong sitting on the fence, demanding attention. Its Mother was somehow getting Raspberries through the netting and had been feeding it for breakfast! I have since picked all the ripe ones and readjusted the netting. I'm thinking of tethering the big dog, who hates birds nearby to protect the rest of the crop.
Pathetic rather than pesky – Dorothea the Light Sussex chook has been broody for about three weeks, and is sitting with great determination on a plaster egg! She is looking poorly, missing feathers and very pale, leaving the nest box only to feed late in the day. Oddly the other chickens squeeze in beside her to lay their eggs and today I retrieved three from under her warm fluff. I know they were not all hers as some were white and she lays brown ones.
Pesky bird story #4. When my fruit trees were covered with blossom there was a series of heavy frosts and no fruit developed on the pears, plums, cherries, quince and most of the apples as a result. One old Granny Smith tree seemed lucky enough to escape the damage and was covered with small apples a few days ago. I mean hard, green bitter apples less than 2 cms in diameter. I thought it would soon be time to net it, but I am too late. They are all now lying on the ground beneath the tree, many untouched but most with a small bite out of one side. I blame the beautiful but very destructive Scarlet Rosellas that abound in the area.
Sunday, 16 December 2007
Saturday, 15 December 2007
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
I have joined the Aust-NZ Art Quilters Journal Project as well as the Unique Stitching Art Quilt Challenge that will raise money for the NSW Cancer Council. I was too late discovering Sharon B's wonderful Take a Stitch Tuesday to participate, but will be doing her Take it Further Challenge and hopefully might be able to combine it with the Journal quilts. In addition, my niece has been promised a quilt for her January wedding and no doubt, other projects will pop up along the way, and then there is the garden .......2008 promises to be as busy and over committed as 2007, but would you want it any other way?
Today's photo is of Oriental Poppy seed heads - the poppies were self sown in my vegetable patch where I had planted peas. I did not get round to weeding them out so you can guess which plants won!
Sunday, 9 December 2007
Thursday, 6 December 2007
Monday, 3 December 2007
Recently I pulled down a series of tatty metal arches over which some equally tatty roses grew, in preparation for the construction of a much more solid timber pergola that will be more in keeping with the scale of this large block and garden. The sturdy upright posts need to be placed in concrete more than half a metre deep in the ground, so a mechanical digger was brought in to dig a series of neatly circular holes. This was to happen one day last week when I needed to be in Melbourne all day and I left the builders to get on with it, expecting on my return to see a sort of timber Stonehenge happening, and was somewhat puzzled that there was nothing to see except the holes, and a moonscaped area that looked as if wombats had been burrowing.
I needed to make a phone call on my return, but when there was no dial tone, I just thought it was due to was another power failure, water in the lines or any of a number of things that commonly happen in rural areas, and it was not until I had reported the problem to Telstra that the penny dropped. Sure enough when I inspected the holes in more closely this is what I found. The guys had severed both the water main and the telephone line with their very efficient digging machine. The water main had been fixed, but the telephone lines were flapping in the breeze.
Two and a half acres of garden, so what are the chances of hitting both water and telephone lines in the same hole? Should buy a lottery ticket?
Anyway - I have been without a telephone or Internet connection for five days, until half an hour ago when a lovely bloke from Telstra fixed it so I am once again in touch with the world!
Saturday, 24 November 2007
Having now mown this block many times, and knowing the most efficientway to do it, as well as the areas where I need to take more care, I was also able to think of other things as I chugged along. My thoughts turned to how similar it was to echo quilting, carefully following the lines of previous stitching, and going round particular bits on a quilt, or doing a clever swirly bit, just because you can, or want to do something a bit different to break the monotony. Then I started designing a quilt in my head, to be a map of this lovely place, the long drive way, curving up through trees to the house, using the many natural shades of blue, green and brown, the wonderful reds of the fertile soil, the mixed colours showing in newly restored garden and vegetable beds, the lawns, and the muddy silver of the lake edged in reeds, with the dense darkness of the state forest behind. The ideas just kept coming, and I hoped for the opportunityto try to do it.... If only the garden did not call me so loudly these days....maybe when it is finished....and when will that be I think, as I know a garden is a constantly changing thing, and that grass just keeps growing!!
This piece was actually written two years ago, during my first Spring in this country abode - I am still to do a quilt to represent it all, though I have done a couple of postcards!! The grass still grows inches overnight, like magic, and it took 4 1/2 hours of mowing today, but golly it looks good for now.
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Recently I have had the urge to sew for myself again, so yesterday cut out a shirt, thinking it would be quick and simple, a good place to practice my rusty skills before trying something a bit more complicated. After all, it must be like riding a bicycle, one never really forgets and all is fine after a little practice. Today, as it is cold and wet, and I ache from too much gardening earlier in the week, I began to sew. Intending to do it properly, I even unearthed and re-threaded the 25 year old overlocker which is tedious and fiddly because as usual, it had black spools on it, when I needed white.
I proceeded to sew, confident that it was going well, overlocked the internal seams before doing collar and sleeves and then happened to notice the shoulder pleats were going in the wrong direction and were in different places! No idea how that happened as I had carefully tailor tacked, marked and pinned before I began. Easy to fix I thought – just undo the seam and flip them over. Wrong! Not enough fabric because of the shape it had been in the first place, and then because it had been trimmed by the overlocker, there was even less. I could not see a way out of this mess, and feeling very cross with myself consigned the whole thing to the rubbish bin in time for tomorrow's collection. I'm just glad that the fabric was not the lovely Liberty my daughter found for me some time back.
Monday, 19 November 2007
Then later this afternoon, having decided it was just too hot to do anything outside and I would do something in the sewing room - there was a power failure and no electicity for a few of hours. So - today I have achieved very little except a successful riding lesson early this morning and the finishing of my current mystery novel. Perhaps tomorrow the technology gods will be in harmony and all will be well in my world again.
Friday, 16 November 2007
The purple Lavandula stoechas is also full of honey bees - blue flowers seem to be particularly attractive.
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
Monday, 12 November 2007
The good news is that there is a now flickr site with photos of pieces by the others in this online course with Jane LaFazio, so you can see how clever they are. Not everyone has posted all their work yet, but the last time I checked there were 22 quilts to admire. Click here.
Saturday, 10 November 2007
Thursday, 8 November 2007
Wednesday, 7 November 2007
Now - my site meter tells me that my Blog has received more than 680 hits and visits - they can't all be my children, in fact my daughter tells me she reads the blog via another site, so she no longer counts, and I don't think my son checks all that often. I know a few of you who are reading it, but would love to know a few more or where you are from. I'm delighted that what I write might be of interest to others, so please, feel free to leave a comment when you visit.
Monday, 5 November 2007
Saturday, 3 November 2007
Great excitement - I am being given a hive of bees. A friend keeps bees and when they swarmed recently the swarm was captured and dropped into a new hive. Next weekend, in the dark, this hive is being brought to my property and will be placed in my orchard at night time. The next morning these cosmopolitan bees will find they have had a tree change and are country dwellers surrounded by forest, fruit trees and other pollen laden plants. What yummy honey they will produce.
Another promised gift from a member of my walking group. Her husband has poultry and is currently has at least 60 eggs in the incubator. Some of them are from Araucanas, originally from Chile they lay blue/green eggs, and my friend has promised me a couple of hens when they are big enough. My chooks are already keeping friends and neighbours supplied with big brown and white eggs, so now I shall have green ones too!
Friday, 2 November 2007
The mail today contained 12 ATCs received through an online swap with people in Australia and NZ - all different, all clever and all individual. A great addition to my collection, and with some techniques I did not recognise and shall have to learn. This shot also includes a couple from my friend Kate as well, just in case you think I can't count!
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
They donate ten grains of rice to the poor people of the world thoughUnited Nations for every word that you correctly match to itsmeaning. The better you are the harder the words though.
Monday, 29 October 2007
I am about to begin this week's Joggles project - a quilt featuring a bird. I'm still not sure what I shall do, but have some ideas in my head and rough drawings in my work book. This is the finished painted one from last week - I did a second picture of my collie Bess in an attempt to make her colouring less realistic. After all it is supposed to be an Art Quilt! This one is just in shades of blue and silver - but to my mind she still looks almost real.
Friday, 26 October 2007
Thursday, 25 October 2007
Monday, 22 October 2007
Sunday, 21 October 2007
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
On the local scene, not a pub with no beer, but I now live in a town with no pub! Sadly one of them closed following a fire some months back, another is in the process of being restored and will open again next year under it's original name, but now the last remaining legal place to get a drink in this town went into recievership this week. Perhaps it will reopen with new management, but in the meantime it means loss of jobs for all the staff, and no where for the local lads to quench their thirst, or local committees to hold their meetings over dinner. How bad is that??
Sunday, 14 October 2007
Saturday, 13 October 2007
Friday, 12 October 2007
Firstly an old friend brought two of her sisters to stay and use my place as a base for exploring and shopping around the local area, they returned in the afternoon to show and tell what they had purchased or where they had been, and to share a meal together. My visitors are Irish, two have been here for some years and one is just visiting for a few weeks but the three of them had not been together other for several years. They come from a large and boisterous family of four boys and five girls, my friend was the eldest and the two others are at the younger end of the nine. It was truly great. They were funny and witty, the Irish lilt was a joy to my ears, we enjoyed good food and wine and all the Irish music I possess, there was much laughter, chat, reminiscing, teasing and tears as they caught up with each one's lives and compared notes about other family members. It was a privilege to be included and I have to admit to a little envy of their close sisterly relationship as I have only brothers.
No sooner had they left yesterday, I went to collect my gorgeous and clever daughter from the train from Melbourne. I waited on the platform as the train came in and left again, but oddly there was no daughter visible. Somewhat puzzled I returned to the car planning to ring her and find out why she had apparently missed the train, when she whizzed into the car park on a wonderful vintage Raleigh fold up bike. She had taken this new treasure on the train and vanished quickly on the other side of the track before I could see her, then ridden down the road to the car park with the biggest smile on her face possible. A gift from a generous friend, this bike was something she had hankered after for a while, for it means she can ride with her dog beside her more easily, and transport the bike in cars and trains with much less difficulty.
It also meant that this morning, bright and early and in the drizzle, the bike was unfolded and my ancient bike retrieved from the garage so we could both go for a ride down to the village for coffee and then a gentle trundle round the streets. For a senior citizen who has not been on her bike for a while, I think I did quite well! After this excursion we had a great day, visiting a specialist nursery, fossicking in Op shops, checking book shops, searching for appropriate work clothing for a new job, having coffee and lunch and then finally dropping her at the station to return to the big smoke.
It has not finished yet - friends have just rung to invite me for a celebratory drink as they have sold a property that has been on the market for several months. Ain't life grand??
Wednesday, 10 October 2007
Monday, 8 October 2007
I rang Robbie their owner immediately and offered to help her round them up and get them home. My offer was refused as she said it was easier to do it on a bike, and that she would get her neighbour Al to help. Now Al is legally blind, with tunnel vision - he does ride a bike around town, in straight lines on roads - but chasing cows through gardens? This I had to watch! By the time they arrived, the cows had moved next door to my neighbour's immaculate garden and I watched as Robbie and Al shepherded them over the grass and out the gate, then rode gently behind them as they ambled home - it was all quite simple and without further ado.
About an hour later, I recieved a phone call from my immediate neighbour with the immaculate garden, who had been out when all this was going on. His garden was immaculate no more - hoof prints through garden beds, bike tracks and cow pats on his grass, plus it seems the cows had unfortunately been loose for a while before I noticed them, and had trampled his vegetables and eaten his cabbages. He was not a happy fellow.
Saturday, 6 October 2007
The best bit happened after I returned home - there was a loud noise on the horizon and then the RAAF Roulettes appeared overhead. As I'm only a kilometre or so from the oval, it was almost as if they were performing above my house. They flew back and forth in formation, and performed a few other special manouvers that I can't name, but it was most impressive. I imediately thought of my Father who was a pilot and flying instructor in the Royal Air Force and how much he might have enjoyed it.
Friday, 5 October 2007
Wednesday, 3 October 2007
I planned to submit a piece for this challenge, but sadly did not get it finished by the deadline required to send it to the United States because I became hooked doing more and more embroidery of the garden outside and inside the door. It was completed though and I shall probably enter it in my Quilt Guild's exhibition next year. I called it "Gateway to the Garden", and although these photos make the edges look a bit wonky, it is due to my poor photographic skills rather than uneven sides to the piece! It is A4 sized , made with painted fabric, applique, hand and machine embroidery, and is both hand and machine quilted.
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
A great time was spent with quilting friends this weekend in Castlemaine, and we even got some sewing done. I actually misjudged the amount of time we would be working, and ran out of things to do by Saturday night. There were eleven of us and we took over a small hotel that was built in the 1870's - a little bit shabby by today's standards but full of character and the occasional echo of Fawlty Towers. Mine host and his wife could not do enough for us so we were very comfortable. The breakfasts were extraordinary, one hardly needed to have anything else during the day - but of course, we did! We ate out a couple of times, did some shopping in the town and at the wonderful quilt shop there, nattered, sewed, laughted, exchanged ideas, admired each others work, ate cupcakes made by one of our number and generally had a splendid time. We plan to do it all again, next year if not before - in my opinion the best possible way of spending the AFL Grand Final day.
Thursday, 27 September 2007
A bunch of various daffodil varieties picked from my garden to be given to friends last night. The show this year has been spectacular and is now finishing - to be replaced by a gentle greening of the deciduous trees, frothy blossoms on the fruit trees and vigorous spring growth of perennials, roses and everything else. It is a constantly changing canvas - a joy to behold and a job forever!
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
It began in February with four days at the Australian Quilt Convention where I did classes with international tutors, learnt a lot, viewed fabulous quilts, made some new friends, spent a few dollars on essential fabrics and supplies for my stash (of course they were!) and did a special deal on the purchase of a wonderful Bernina Aurora. In April I attended the Southern Cross Quilters Retreat in Bendigo having been on the planning committee for a couple of years. It was fantastic to see all our work come together in a weekend that seems to have gone down in history as one of the best retreats ever. Add to that monthly meetings with my quilt guild, regular attendance at a historic quilt study group where we can admire and gently handle vintage quilts, the establishment of a sit and sew friendshop group locally, and membership of two online textile groups. This coming weekend will bring a weekend away with the Committee from the Bendigo Retreat so you can see I have been trying hard to achieve my goals!
The best thing is that it looks as if I might be doing it all again next year. Previous delegates to the AQC ( www.aqc.com.au ) recieve the program for 2008 a week earlier than everyone else, and have priority in bookings for classes. I recieved mine last Thursday and sent my registration the following morning for the full four days and for classes with Lessa Segal and Gloria Loughman - I just hope I get my first preferences. Watch this space.
Saturday, 22 September 2007
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
Monday, 17 September 2007
I was telling her a while ago about quilts my guild regularly makes quilts for young people who are being cared for in a kid's home, as well as another person who works with female prisoners teaching them sewing skills and quilting. Jenny muttered that she had some old patchwork fabrics she had purchased years ago in the anticipation of one day having time to learn how to quilt herself, but that arthritis in her hands now prevented her from doing anything by the most basic of sewing repairs to her clothes, so that she would be happy to hand them over if they could be put to a good cause. I thanked her for her generosity and waited until she could unearth them from a shed, all the time thinking it would be just a few fat quarters or scraps of fabric. I was very wrong.
Jenny gave me a garbage bag full of fabrics, mostly in yard or metre lengths, mostly fine cottons of 70 - 80's vintage and mostly in shades of blue - a total of over 45 pieces. She told me that she would often walk past a certain large and well known discount shop in Richmond and would purchase bits of fabric that appealed to her, then put them away for future uses. While I knew that the groups to whom these would be given would appreciate the gift and make good use of it, I also felt that this woman's life-long generosity needed to be marked in some way. What better way than the quilt she would never make for herself, so I made her this. I barely made a dent in the big black garbage bag of fabrics.