Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year everyone

I am late with a Christmas Greeting, but I will share one of the photos that I used for the Christmas cards I made. While out walking I happened upon a New Zealand Christmas bush coming in to bloom in November, quite close to home. It took three visits (three walks had to be good for me!) to get several good shots.
I didn't use this for a card - it is a close up of a bee, one of hundreds enjoying the pollen which was plentiful and a obviously a better option than stinging me as I took the close ups of them.
The last few weeks have flown by with Christmas preparations and a last minute decision to make a small quilt as a present from a ufo - a wall hanging kit top I put together about 10 years ago. I added the border outside the boat fabric, just managing enough blue squares out of my stash.
Max hasn't been well and we bought another car that is easier for him to get in and out, and I have also been gardening. It was exciting to pick the first beans on Christmas morning, and have them for lunch. They are the interesting purple ones, that start green, turn purple as they grow and ripen, and then turn green when you cook them. I like to have a small patch of flowers near the front door, and tried some portulaca this year. They too have been looking good this week - this one had an unusual purple flash/petal.

Our magnificent pepper bush, now in its fifth season, is covered once again with peppers. We still have a few left on last season's ristras to last until they ripen. I thought the other day that the old ristras looked like they could pass for a piece of art...
Had a very nice Christmas - quite relaxed with family, with 4 for lunch and 8 for dinner. I have only had the public holidays off but did manage to complete my 'annual' 1000 piece jigsaw. I dare not start one at other times as I don't want to stop until I finish them! Back at work at the moment is very busy. While we have some staff on leave, being near the beach we have lots of customers with holiday houses in the area, and we only see them at this time of year.
I have quite a few quilt projects to get stuck into for the next few months, for our friendship group, and coming shows and exhibitions. I'm feeling that I will be very busy, but I have just read Michele Hill's blog and looking at her prioritised list of things to do over the next few months, mine should be a breeze! I don't know how she gets it all done. I also have jug and echidna catalogs to update and family history to do...

The weather forecast for New Year is hot, hot, hot, so we may be sitting tight at home rather than celebrating too much. I wish everyone a happy and healthy year, and one of my resolutions will be to make some changes to this blog and post a bit more often. See you again in 2012.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Who called them gum trees?

 I have always loved gum trees - their size and grandeur, bark colourings, strange shapes, the eucalyptus smell, blossoms and so on, and I have been thinking more about them in the last few weeks. Who was it first referred to them as gum trees? I have tried to look it up, but can only find why (the extrusions of gum they often have), not who. Why do I ask?
My brother and I are working on our family history, and I had a great 'find' recently. Our great, great grandfather was one of the first settlers of South Australia, coming 3 months after (1837) the first ship (1836), the "Buffalo' - he married a lady who came on that.
I was searching the digitised newspapers on Trove, the great National Library resource at where I have found quite a bit of information (some revealing, some quirky) about Oscar and several other family members, when I thought I would try his name in the Diaries and Letters section. I found reference to letters stored in the UK but copied under the Joint Copying Project, and available in 3 locations in Australia, one of them being Flinders Uni here in Adelaide. I tried to read the microfilm (a story in itself) but it was fairly hard going so I contacted the source record office in Luton in the UK to ask about copies and found they have more documents relating to his/our family in the UK.
The 6 copied letters are between Oscar and his mother, and are very interesting and informative, hers and his, describing events, the scene, the people, prices, labour shortages and so on. In 1852 Oscar visits the gold fields in Victoria. On the way to the fields from Melbourne he says they slept under the stars, 'under a gum tree'. Presumably he has described them before for his mother, or that name was commonly known? I will have to keep looking - all very interesting and enjoyable, but it does cut into my quilting time!

Before I finish, here is a picture I took when I went to Flinders Uni. Your guess is as good as mine. From a distance it looked like a small sculpture on the wall. Close up it looked like a pile of chocolate coated sweets melted together!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Drifting in Second

What a nice surprise to find my Challenge entry in the  Festival of Quilts (SA Quilter's Guild) won Second Place!
I finally have a photo to post. I was flat out getting my entries finished in time, and didn't manage to take any photos. Then I didn't see it hanging at the exhibition until Sunday.
The Challenge was to make a triptych. This is Continental Drift - a representation of the different textile and fabric styles and traditions across the continents - north to south and east to west. Left is Europe and South Africa. Middle is Asia and Oceania. Right is the Americas. It was quite a challenge to find representative bits to maintain a colourwash effect.
This one I entered too - Round and about in red - using the traditional Drunkard's Path block

It was another great exhibition - thanks to the hard work of a wonderful committee, and great support from the Guild. Another well deserved win by Michele Hill (you can see all the winners on the Guild website  ). I congratulate all the winners and everyone who showed their work. Without them all their would be no show.

I intended to put this up Sunday or Monday, but have spent each evening trying to deal with modern technology glitches - a TiVo that won't work, an astronomical automated (and wrong) mobile bill, an overseas online ordering system which won't accept the Aussie postcode in the zipcode field at the last step, and having finally got around that a new (safer)Visa authentification requiring long forgotten account details. I spent 2 and 1/2 hours trying to reboot the TiVo, finally gave up and contacted the support people. Their response suggested among other things, 'watching recorded programs' to see if it crashes. This after they have got me to do a complete delete, and I can't reboot it!!! I have fingers crossed at the moment, because, unbeknown to them, it did later reboot...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

what message in the flowers?

The beach has been a bit cleaner recently, but that will probably change as the weather warms up. I took these shots of the remains of roses and day lilies. I couldn't help wondering if they were there as
a token of affection, maybe from a wedding,

or evidence of a sad and angry encounter  - perhaps flung over the cliff to show 'you can't win me over 
 with flowers'

The colours here were quite brilliant, and a clear statement that blue and green go together -
 - these rocks aren't always uncovered.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Second spring

I love the blossom in spring time. It is so delicate and beautiful, and I wish it lasted longer. We have a pink flowering prunus, a white Manchurian pear, and this is our apple blossom. The deep pink buds open to white with just a hint of pink on the edge.

 And this is our unique apple cropping...

We were surprised last year when our apple trees had a second flowering giving a second crop of apples, and they have done it again! Max grew up on a fruit orchard growing apples, and hadn't heard of it happening, but this is the proof. There was a small flowering and  a few fruit set. Then suddenly there was a second blossoming alongside the developing fruit from the first. The crop was looking quite poor at first but it is looking good now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beautiful blooms

I can't believe I haven't posted since August. What have I been doing? I do seem to have been busy - getting the garden ready for spring/summer planting and getting some vegetables in, finishing entries for our Festival of Quilts in 10 days, 'acting up' at work while the boss was on leave, making some interesting family history finds and I can't think what else. I shall try and make amends and write a few posts to fill in, over the next few days.

You may have noticed that I like colour and flowers. I was very pleased with my first flush of roses. I only have 10 bushes and the blooms were huge and splendid. Perhaps it was that I gave them more fertiliser this year, or the fact that it was horse manure...

These are Peace and Mr Lincoln. I still have a lot to learn about roses though - we get a reasonable second flush later in the season, but don't seem to get the continual flowering that many of the gardens round about seem to have. Perhaps I need more bushes!
I put in some sweet peas and have had a better result than my previous attempts.

Apart from loving the fragrance of them, sweet peas have special memories for me from my childhood. My father was a Freemason, and the annual installation ceremony and ball for the new Master was held in early spring. The wives decorated the Town Hall for the occasion and the new Master's wife planned the decor/theme. The sweet peas had to be planted about February to be 'ready for the ball' - there seemed to be a bit of one-upmanship for the lady who got it right each year!

A couple of other memories from these balls back in the 60s and 70s, are us kids going along for a while to sit in the balcony and watch the dancing, until someone took all the kids home. They began with a Grand March which filled the floor and was usually led by Dad - from pairs, to fours, eights and sixteeens, into a snail and through the arches before waltzing at the end. The colour and movement of the gowns and the way all the dancers moved in unison was magical to watch - so unlike a jittery, jumpy dance floor these days. The ladies 'made it' if their dress was written up in the local newspaper, and the biggest nightmare was to have gone to Adelaide and bought a dress and find that someone else had bought the same one! That didn't happen to Mum as she made her own. Mum and Dad loved to dance, and went to balls in many towns round about, going as far as 90 miles, driving there and back the same night.

Well that has been a little bit of history, not what I have been up to in the last few weeks. I will get back to that soon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Off to see the Wizard/US

I'm feeling a little excited at the moment knowing that my Off to see the Wizard quilt is currently on show in the US as an entrant in the World Quilt Competition. I would love to be there to see it. Congratulations to Julie Haddrick (from SA too!) who won the Best Of Australia with her Beauty of Life 2, and to Marlene King who won 2nd Place Innovative with her quilt Travels. You can see the winners at

Sunday, July 10, 2011

it's cold and wet and winter

Time for a post. I am on leave at the moment and it is a good job that I only planned to go away for a few days, because I seem to have lots to catch up on. It is a while since I posted and I have just realised that I didn't put up the other 'tea time' quilts or my tea cosy 'for the Mad Hatter's tea party'. The exhibition still runs for another week. I have had to go a couple of times to check it out with friends, and try the lovely Red Poles food! Here are the 6 small quilts (top l-r) Regulari-tea, Chari-tea, Special-tea and (bottom l-r) Formali-tea, Festivi-tea, Informali-tea.  Below is "Cupcake", my tea cosy.

This last week has been quite cold and wet for Adelaide. I am trying to fit in some of those long put off appoinments and outstanding jobs (like the dentist and cleaning) and to work on something for the SA Festival of Quilts in November. As usual I have had bright ideas, but sourcing the fabrics/textiles is not proving easy. Why do we never see any textiles from South America? Mostly what we see is from Central America - Ecuador and Guatemala. Went up to Hahndorf one day to checkout the Alpaca shop. They sell wonderful alpaca and wool hats, scarves and jumpers etc made in Peru (from Aussie wool). Thought they may have some clues on where I might find something. Of course I am only wanting a few scraps. I bought a small wallet made in Bolivia to use - when I have cut it up!
It was cold and we were dodging the rain showers, but Hahndorf is always a lovely place to visit, with great  craft shops and galleries. Found a cafe with an open fire to warm us over a tasty and generous lunch including German sausage. Here is the  lichen covered old waggon in the main street. 

 Although it has been cold and wet and generally fairly bleak, I found a few delights to photograph while visiting Myponga yesterday. There are always kangaroos around the Reservoir, and there were a few behind our friend's house. There are 3 in this picture but I don't have much zoom on my camera...

 After an early fall the rain held off, but everything I took had rain drops on it. This is a spider's web on a gate latch.
This is 'training the cherry tree'. If you live in a farming area bale twine (from hay bales) is re-used everywhere.When we were farming bale twine was all black. Now it seems to come in all colours. There was pink, orange, yellow, blue and green on these trees.
 Next season's gladiolus bulbs
There was more colour too - yellow lichen, purple hardenbergia, orange red Chinese lanterns, pink daisies and these...
 Arum lily

Monday, June 6, 2011

what to do next?

After finishing my 6 pieces for the Red Poles "put the kettle on" exhibition early last week I turned the sewing room/studio back into a bedroom for Rachel who was home for a few days before heading off overseas yesterday. Now I'm deciding what project to tackle next - the ufo promised to complete this year for Fleurieu Quilters? - something for the Guild Festival of Quilts exhibition in November - one of the many ideas in my head? - create something incorporating the face I painted in a Bonnie McCaffrey workshop recently?

One idea requires some fabric or textiles which read South America - traditional fabric, braid, lace, or fabric with print suggestive of the area. I only need small pieces, and they can be recycled, but I am having a hard time finding anything at all. What we do see associated with South American usually turns out to be Central American. Anyone got any ideas?

While I decide (ie procrastinate) I'll get in a bit more family history research. I have made a few interesting finds on the National Library (of Australia) Trove website recently, and have been contributing corrections while searching the digitised newspapers. A couple of incidents little known (ie read not spoken of) to our generation were written up in the daily papers...

There are some really clever and very imaginative works in the Red Poles exhibition which is by 19 artists. It opened on Saturday and runs until 17 July. Above is my formali-tea, and this is informali-tea
They were fun to do.

Saw the following photos again tonight and was reminded of the lovely, rich colour of aubergines, which we have been seeing in the fruit on our second year bushes. The splendid, treasured specimen below, resting on my machine quilted cushion was snapped by the proud 'father'.

I took this photo in the garden - a wonderful rich and beautiful colour. Eggplants weren't something I grew up with, so didn't really appreciate the colour until recent years. They seem to go darker as they age and are picked
... but they taste good! They usually end up in 'moussagne' - a cross between moussaka and lasagne.

Monday, May 23, 2011

celebrating, recovering and exhibiting

Always a bit to celebrate in our household in May, with my husband's birthday, Mother's Day and then our wedding anniversary. Our 40th (hard to believe) this year, so an excuse for more red/ruby around the house than usual. I seem to like red these days. I think it is a backlash from being unable to wear red as a child, because I had red (actaully copper coloured)  hair. Above and below shows the inside of the lovely red tulips I was given.

 But it hasn't all been great - the recovering is not from too much celebrating. I had a couple of days off work with a cold which started to get better and then turned into bronchitis - so more days off. In between I have been working to finish some small pieces for an exhibition at Red Poles Gallery It is all very exciting - a bunch of artists, showing 6 pieces each on the theme 'put the kettle on' from 4 June to 17 July. Here, to tempt you is part of one of mine. You get to see the rest later.

I have just been catching up on some blogs. Congratulations to Michele Hill for selling out the Morris tour so quickly. I saw a second tour was being arranged - I wouldn't be surprised to hear that is sold out too. It looks like a wonderful trip.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

an intellectual cat?

This is Harley, who feels it is his duty to interrupt when you sit down to read outside. He looks you in the eye and
sits on the paper - probably in protest for not being allowed inside to make himself at home on the quilts. Not sure how smart he is though as the text is generally upside down...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good and bad tales from the gardens

Discovered the other day that I wasn't the only one to admire the giant cyclamen leaves. Found it decimated by loopers. Not happy...  (They look like little sticks, but when you touch them they curl up into a loop.)

Have just enjoyed the five day break to celebrate Easter and Anzac Day. It has been superb weather, with warm days and bright blue skies. The days leading up to it were a mixed bag of great pleasure seeing the Singing Quilter again at Victor Harbor, and great sadness as my sister-in-law lost her battle with cancer that same evening.

Over the weekend my sewing room / office converted  to spare bedroom for the visit of a long time friend from England - much catching up to do, so no time for stitching. Went sightseeing on the Fleurieu on Sunday and managed (pure luck) to turn it all on for her at Goolwa - a market, the Oscar W steaming up and setting off, above, and the Cockle train steaming in. Walked on our local beach yesterday, and loved this touch of colour on the sand...

Visited the Botanic Gardens, Mortlock Library and Art Gallery today - all admired and appreciated by Diana, our visitor who suggested that South Australia's features should be better marketed. We were all pleased to see the recently restored Botanical Museum at the Gardens - could easily spend hours in there. The paper mache apple varieties from the 1880s are amazing, and look just like the real thing. Below is an old favourite - The Palm House ...


This last picture is of our Manchurian Pear tree, which has some lovely autumn colouring but seems a little confused - there are buds on the branches already.