Thursday, October 29, 2009

Golden days

We are having a spell of lovely warm 30C (85F) days, and the roses are flowering their heads off; the whole garden is perfumed with them at the moment. This is the eerily-named Crepuscule (Twilight) the most spectacular plant in the garden.
Beautiful coppery-apricot flowers, strong perfume, hardly a thorn - every garden should have this one!
This is the 'Melbourne Cup' rose - if you watch the race on the TV next Tuesday you'll see long hedges of Crepuscule growing beside the track. The bushes are pruned in late August (with hedge-clippers) and specially fertilised to ensure a glorious display on the Day.
Here's a close-up. Thanks to the rain we had last month, the flowers are the largest ever, though mine have been neither pruned or fertilized.
And across the path, another beauty, Just Joey, is coming into bloom.
Around by the carport, the crab-apple is covered in frilly pink and white - a display to rival cherry blossom, I think.
This is Malus ioensis 'Plena' - no fruit to speak of, but pretty autumn leaves.
This spring is the best we've had in years, everything is so green and fresh, I'm trying to store it all up before the hot winds of summer arrive to turn everything dry and dusty.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I saw something like these in an Etsy shop a while back, and decided to see if I could make something similar. It took a while to figure out a pattern, but I finally came up with these.
This was the first one, very Russian in colouring, I made a little stand for her.
But I prefer them in pastels,
soft and pretty and cuddly
They only take a few scraps of fabric - the backs are different prints
They are about 6" high. I sent them off to the trading table at our Quilt-in, and I'll find out at our meeting tomorrow if any of them sold.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gazanias galore

I've been admiring brilliant displays of these cheerful daisies all over town.
They mostly colonise nature strips, and are considered 'weeds', but the gardener at the Uniting Church obviously likes them; combined with pink succulents they make a happy picture.
Closer to home, these are growing outside my fence, some of them are lovely soft colours,
others a bit more strident.

Very little progress with the current Bauble, I just couldn't keep my hands off the Noro wool, and have begun a scarf. Pictures soon.

And I'm reading this
a most useful little book, which gives calorie/kilojoule values for absolutely everything you could imagine eating, including lots of brand name products + fat, carb & fibre contents.
I bought it here, and my copy arrived speedily. It's a useful site, with lots of helpful information and dieting tips - and all free.

Why? Because one of the results of my lovely weekend, was discovering just how unfit I really am!
I actually struggled to climb all those steps up from the beach, and was uncomfortably breathless at the top. Not good.

Unfortunately, when you like to sew, embroider, and crochet you don't move around much. So I've started walking, just short distances for a start. I took the dog with me yesterday, and found that, though pathetically grateful, she's nearly as unfit as I am! Clearly regular walks will do us both good.
I'm seriously considering getting a pedometer, to keep me motivated, because clearly this needs to be a permanent regime. 'Regime' sounds a bit off-putting, doesn't it? But I hate newspeak like 'lifestyle change'.
I'd also like to shed about 10 kilos, hence the calorie counting. Wish me luck, won't you?

Monday, October 19, 2009

I do like to be beside the seaside

We had a wonderful weekend at Point Lonsdale, my 4 daughters and I.
L. to R. Susie, Janet, Liz, Katie

We watched the ships squeeze through the Rip (the narrow, treacherous entry to Port Phillip Bay).
This was a huuuge container carrier

We spent hours on the beach, collected interesting 'bits' along the sands,
inspected William Buckley's cave,
Buckley was a convict who escaped from an early penal settlement at Sorrento in 1803. Making his way on foot around Port Phillip Bay, he arrived at Barwon Heads, where he was adopted by a local Aboriginal tribe, and lived with them for 30 years. He is thought to have lived at some time in this cave in the cliffs under the present light house.

We checked out the gift shops - I bought this Paul Ropp bag as inspiration for further experiments in fabric embellishment
and I just had to have this gorgeous Noro wool, a scarf for next winter I think.
On the way down, I finished crocheting this scarf, and wore it all weekend.
At night we played Scrabble and cards, and stayed up far too late. And oh, how we ate - tapas, fish'n chips, brunch, dinner, coffee and cake; we didn't cook at all! It was the best holiday ever.
Katie took hundreds of photos, which will appear on Facebook in due course, hopefully I can borrow a few for the blog.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My birthday present

The actual birthday was back at the end of August, when I received this card -
on the inside was this -
why, goodness me, that's this weekend! Woohoo!

Such wonderful daughters, are they not? From several conversations with one or another daughter in the last few days, I think they are nearly as excited as I am.
Although we see each other often for birthdays and such, this will be the first time since they were teenagers that we have spent so much time together. It really is an inspired birthday present, especially as we are going to the beach.

Not Phillip Island, though - we discovered that the Motorbike Grand Prix is happening there this weekend, far too noisy for us! So we are going to Point Lonsdale, near Geelong, instead.

We are taking Scrabble, and Georgette Heyer novels, and plan a lovely lazy weekend with the Age crosswords and lots of eating out - and walks on the beach, of course!
I'll report back next week.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's hard to kill a rose

My garden was planted 10 years ago, when I built my current house. I planted nearly 50 of my favourite roses (it's a big garden, far too big as it turns out.) For the first few years they were watered every summer, using a dripper system. Then the drought really set in, and with it came severe water rationing.
For the past 5 years they have had to rely on rainfall alone, and by the end of summer, they look pretty sad. But amazingly nearly all have survived, and this winter and early spring we've had better rains, and the roses have responded with lots of new growth.
So I've been waiting for the first flowers.
The lovely old-fashioned Mme Alfred Carriere is always the first,
closely followed by the little climber Pinkie, bravely budding despite some dieback from last summer. I have 3 bushes of Mme Alfred, all grown from cuttings from a friend's garden.
It's so nice to have some roses to pick at last.
Quinces belong to the Rosa family too, and my tree is a joy - maybe I'll even get a crop this year.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oriental berries

Finally finished this, it speaks to me of Chinese brocades
Worked in three shades of gold, with a deep tangerine for the berries, on dark green linen.
The little cushion it sits on is my solution to the issue of display, inspired by this picture
of a dorodango, or Japanese clay ball.
Here it is unburdened, with a flower embroidered to make a hollow for the Bauble.
From the back, not quite so neat, but you can see it's made from a simple square of fabric.

On a different note, I'm still thinking and studying about the future of this blog. I invested in a couple of e-books from Diane Gilleland, over at CraftyPod. I think they are going to be really helpful; I've only read the first book "Making a Great Blog" so far, which covers topics like blogging goals, content, eye-candy, and blogging ettiquette, with lots of handy hints. I plan to take a while to study and use her work sheets to improve my blogging skills.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lazy blogger

It's been six weeks or so since I last posted, and I really have no excuse. I just sort of fell by the wayside. It's so easy, I've discovered, to fall off the blogging wagon, and quite hard to climb on again - and the longer you leave it, the harder it becomes.
The main reason for stopping was that I had no new Baubles to show you (although there is one on the way, almost finished.) The previous one wasn't completed because I fell out of love with it, almost at the finishing post :-(
Then I fell out of love with cotton stuffing, too; and then I spent a week or two refining the basic pattern, to make it less prone to unexpected distortions. I learned a lot about fabric grain and stretchability in the process.
The new bauble finally begun, I succumbed to a crochet attack, made a scarf or two, and began a new ripple rug. And all the while, in the back of my mind, that little accusing voice "but what about the blog?"
The truth is, I didn't plan ahead when I began this blog, intending simply to tell the world about my Bauble journey. But as I've discovered, the Bauble production is far too slow for a sustainable blog - if I want to keep going, I'll have to find other things to write about - in short become a Better Blogger.
I want to continue, I enjoy blogging - but I need to think about my future direction in the blogworld. So please bear with me, I'll be back soon.
Now every blog needs some eye candy, so here are a few pics of of some of the other 'round things' I've found online.
Made from Canson paper, picture from Flickr, I saw it a while ago, sorry I didn't record the maker's name and details.
Made from a LOT of rubber bands, don't you love it? Also from Flickr, and again I have no idea who made it. (If you belong to either of these pics, and are not happy with my use of them, please let me know and I'll remove them.)

By an artist named Jamie Lee Byars, I can't find out anything more about him