Sunday, September 30, 2012

Retreat at home - part 1

You know how sometimes everything just gets a bit much? You're working too hard, you have worries, you're waking up at 4 am after just 3 hours' sleep with your mind and heart racing, and you haven't had any time to do exercise or sewing in a fortnight thanks to crazy 11 hour work days?

Well that all happened to me, and so I put my foot down. This weekend, which happened to be a long weekend, was declared to be a "Retreat at Home".

Friday night Critron - approaching the finish line

On Friday night we caught up on some TV shows and drank copious cups of tea while I worked on the longest ongoing crochet project ever, my Critron shawl. I'm almost there, but not quite. I suspect I may actually never be there.

Backing for Monique's quilt

Saturday morning I sewed together the backing for a quilt. I like the harlequin effects of it.

Attempting to baste on the dining room table

Then I was a smartarse and tried pin basting the quilt sandwich on the dining room table. The middle section came out beautifully, but not so much the outer borders. Back to the floor, with a roll of duct tape, I go.

Hexy MF and the AFL grand final

The AFL grand final was on Saturday afternoon. A few weeks ago I finished all 72 Hexy MF flower blocks, and now I'm slowly sewing them all together. What a great game it was, too. Even if my team weren't playing.

Brunch at Pulp Kitchen

This morning was set aside for the traditional birthday swim with the girls, followed by a birthday brunch. I was thoroughly spoiled. Also Pulp Kitchen in Ainslie does the BEST BREAKFAST EVER. People! Streaky bacon! Lyonnaise potatoes! I was in heaven.

Back home, I pulled the vomitous scrap stash out and pressed it, then spent an hour or so cutting it into 2.5 inch squares for a Scrap Vomit swap I am part of.

Scrap Vomit - 25 down

 So much fun. I will never look at scraps the same way again. I've cut half (have to cut 49 for each swap) and I have heaps leftover for my own squares. I only stopped because a) I needed a cup of tea and b) my right leg was feeling more numb than it usually is (surgery side effect. Fun) from standing too long.

The best thing about my retreat at home? It's only half over! I still have another day and a half to quilt, baste, sew, cut, go to the movies and have another swim. Also, I'm getting more than 3 hours of sleep at night.

Hope everyone's having a fabulous weekend as well!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The wildflowers of the South West

In my last post I alluded to the magnificent wildflowers we saw and photographed while visiting Western Australia a couple of weeks ago. I thought I'd share some photos that I took with my DSLR camera. They are not perfect photos, mostly because the wind was wild at the time, but also because I hadn't done my Les Walkling course until the weekend after I got back. It was all pure theory, all weekend, but boy that man knows a thing or two about photography!

So anyway. Flowers. The following were the ones I came across on a drizzly day near Dunsborough, on a beach in Geographe Bay just near Toby's Inlet. You'll be able to see the names of the flowers if you mouse-over the photo.

Yes, I know this isn't a flower but it was just so darn pretty propped up on the sand dune like that!

Euphorbia paralias

Leucopogon parviflorus

Phyllanthus calycinus

The next day we headed to Cape Naturaliste. It was wildflowerpalooza down that way.

Anthocercis littorea

Clematis pubescens

Diplolaena dampieri

Whale lookout walk, Cape Naturaliste

Boronia Alata

This photo is not in black and white but in pure natural colour!

Melaleuca huegelii

And finally, the showcase of wildflowers of Western Australia, Kings Park on Perth. It was a magnificent place - next time I plan to spend at least a whole day there, and wear running shoes.

Verticordia grandis

Keraudrenia velutina

Eucalyptus kinsgmillii

Rhodanthe chlorocephala

Schoenia filifolia

Next time we go to Western Australian (because there will definitely be a next time!) we intend to travel further afield and visit different wildflower regions. There are just so many to see! (and photograph). In the meantime, I will try not to be jaded by Canberra's Floriade which is on at the moment. I know the tulips and daffodils mean well, but they are pretty boring when compared to a featherflower in the wild!

Verticordia sp.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

South West

Storm at Cottesloe Beach

We headed to Western Australia for a holiday, expecting to warm up a little. On our first day, Canberra's weather was sunny and 21 degrees. In Perth it was feral, windy, stormy and 14 degrees.

Busselton Jetty

By the time we headed to the south west of the state, it had started warming up a little, we could see the blue sky, and the wind was less likely to blow us over like it was at Cottesloe Beach.

We walked along a long jetty at Busselton.

Busselton Jetty

We climbed a lighthouse at Cape Naturaliste.

Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse

And a couple of days later when we hit Yallingup, Margaret River and Gracetown, we had gorgeous blue skies and the prettiest, bluest ocean you ever did see.


Surfing at Margaret River

Surfing at Margaret River


We went to a couple of wineries but as we don't drink wine we admired the views instead (and then headed to the nearest brewery).

Black cockatoo at Hay Shed Hill winery


We got back to Perth in time for a 28 degree day and a typical Australian view.

Cottesloe Beach

And finally I got to see my first Western Australian sunset. It was surprisingly boring. Thank God for Photoshop.

Cottesloe Beach sunset

We had a wonderful holiday. The best parts were being away from home, the beer, the beaches and the wildflowers. I took 825 photos and about 400 of those were of wildflowers. The worst parts of our holiday were ... nope. Can't think of any. It was a bit of a shame to come back home, actually.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


All the way back in August 2004, I made my friend Helen a small quilt for her birthday, and I fell in love with the framed square block that I used to make it. It's such a versatile block - you can use your precious fabric in the centre, as it certainly draws your eye in. And the beauty of the block is it allows you to make some really unique quilts, using the fabric as the show piece.

Happy Birthday Helen

Also - no points to match. I like that.

A year later I made a quilt, this time with a mix of batiks and shibori fabrics, for my friend Susan's birthday. She gave it back to me last month so I could sew sleeves on it so she could hang it on the wall in her brand new house. I also gave it a wash. Can I say that colour catchers are the best invention EVER? I was so worried about the batiks running into the paler Japanese fabrics, but three colour catchers in the wash was all it took and the quilt was undamaged. Last night I got to see it finally hung at her housewarming.

Susan's birthday quilt

Susan's birthday quilt

A couple of years later I made another framed square quilt with different sized blocks, this time for me.

Cobargo Square

And I thought I was done with this block. But I was on the Oakshott website one day earlier this year, and they had this lovely kit called City Lights, all framed squares in the wonderful Oakshott shot cottons.

City lights quilt

City lights quilt

I love this fabric very much, and I am enjoying the repetition involved in making this quilt. And no - I don't think I'm done with this block after all. It's a keeper.