Friday, September 30, 2011

Waratah pollen is red!

Well who would have thought it but Waratah pollen is red.

I poked my fingers into the flower to have a feel, it is like plastic and when I looked my fingers were red. Amazing!
Well the flowers are going off now, getting a dark red colour, they have been spectacular and have lasted a good month so far and will persist a bit longer.
I wonder if it will set seed?

4 quilts leave home (I hope)

Hi everyone,
I have 4 quilts here that I need to move on, sad I know. So I thought I would share them with you. I love them but I have no room for them anymore.
I have just listed 4 items in my madeit shop - follow link.I am sad but they won't fit on my wall in my new house.
This is one of my fire and ice series (made 2). I went through a stage of trying all sorts of different techniques for making quilts. This one is machine piecing curves. Lots of fun and great results. Comes from a book by Vikki Pignatelli called Quilting curves. I have made a few things using this technique and find it very good indeed.
This is the second of the fire and ice set. This is made using the seminole technique, which I believe has its origins with the native Americans. Also called Bargello. You sew strips of fabric together horizontally, then cut through vertically then move the strips up or down depending on the effect you are looking for, then re sew them, adding a bit at the top or bottom. Cut and repeat. Heavily quilted, this one, which is always exciting.
This one I did for James but he left home without it and doesn't want it. Wishfull thinking on my part. I made it to hang over his desk while he did homework for UNI. The colours are supposed to stimulate mental activity and intelligence.
Anyway it was fun to make, Celtic ribbons is the design, I think I may revisit this design again.


Well I hope you enjoy looking at these 4 wall quilts, I enjoyed making them. And I hope they sell because then I can make some more. I would be pleased to hear what you think of these quilts.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Yay! Just sold another quilt!

Yay! I get so excited when I see an order come through from Madeit. Here is the link so you can see the item, it is really pretty if I do say so myself.

Here is one I am working on at the moment.
I haven't done the binding on this one yet, but it will be done by the end of the week.

This is the back. It is made of as whole piece of fleecy fabric, a blanket really. Light weight and very soft and warm.

A close up of the back showing the quilting.

A close up of the front. The fabrics used are a mixture of new fabric at a reduced price due to its being discontinued, Op shop bought and free stuff and upcycled fabrics -meaning cut out of other items like dresses or table cloths, stuff like that.
 I like to be frugal with my fabrics. There is so much stuff being chucked away by our consumer society, I just try to reverse some of the waste and keep it in circulation a bit longer. The fabrics are in good condition, nothing rotten.
I do get a great deal of satisfaction out of trying to live simply and frugally. I know it sounds weird and I am as surprised as anyone, but it feels good taking control of your own destiny! How can it not?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Birds singing in the Sycamore Tree

Dream a little dream of me!
Here is what we have been told is our Sycamore tree. Previous owners had been poisoning it in an effort to be rid of this environmental weed. And we have seen evidence of its self seeding habits as the ground is covered with little sycamores and a few across the road as well. But I will remove them with a little cut and paint of herbicide. I do live near a National Park after all and we have enough invasive weeds around without adding to the number.

Here is M pulling down the dead Jasmine, grape and wisteria vines that were also poisoned, out of the Sycamore. They are sprouting up again from the ground, not dead yet and the Sycamore is also budding up. Must take a lot to kill.

We are actually happy it is not dead. M assures me they are a beautiful tree, he grew up with them in England. Can't say I know what they look like up close as I grew up in Western Australia and there are very few decidous trees in gardens there, they just can't take the climate.

So instead of worrying about what to do with a rather huge dead tree in the middle of our new garden be can relax and watch it return to life. We found on the ground next to the tree some post holes where we think a gazebo of sorts must have been many years ago. The garden must be more than 50 years old. We intend to bring it back to its former glory and maybe put in a gazebo of our own. It is a beautiful private place surrounded by glorious shrubs, some little paths, a pond and a bridge. Here are a few of the shrubs.
This looks a bit of a mess, but we have magnolias, rhododendrons, holly (another environmental weed), Camelias, Azaleas, Jacaranda, treeferns (indigenous), Sequioa, Irish strawberry, pieris japonica and a few others I don't know and plenty of space for more low growing things that have been grazed off over the years by rabbits and sheep.

This shot is overlapping with the one above.


This rhodie is hidden in the middle of the garden near to the Sycamore, it is glorious.
These tree ferns just come up anywhere, they are so amazing and huge. You can just see the little white bridge in this one

Some of these shrubs have lost their shape due to growing too close to other larger more vigorous plants, like the sequoia. It has ruined the shape of the magnolia. We trimmed it back a little yesterday to let more light and rain into the magnolia, so it may bush up a bit. You can see the giant sequioa in the blog heading photo, this delightful garden is under its wings. It will be an ongoing project to restore this old section of garden. Would be nice to find some one who used to live here and could tell us a bit about its history.
Will keep you posted.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Meet Julia

Meet Julia. She is the top hen, the biggest and the most diplomatic and has the biggest bottom.She is a very good natured chook and always steps in to stop any squabbles around the hen house.
Here are the squabblers, actually they all get on really well. I have started giving them names, some thing I told myself never to do again as it hurts more when the fox gets them if they have names. But I think I have cracked it with the fox proofing.
This is where they lay their eggs. It is a converted kitchen cabinet. I took the doors off, pulled out the drawers and put in dividers between compartments and a strip of wood along the front to stop the straw coming out. They love it, especially since I turned it away from the sunlight. They like it dark and secret.

Here are the eggs. Delicious they are too. Got a double yoker this morning, always get excited when one of those comes along.
And here is the view from their house. Wonderful green paddocks just waiting to be explored by chookies looking for a juicy bug and fresh grass, no wonder the eggs taste so good.
All in all I think my girls are very lucky to have such a safe run. I have 11 hens of various ages. The other day we got 11 eggs but most days it is between 7 and 9. Which is loads for us. I sell a few dozen to my friends and that covers the cost of the feed I do have to buy. Laying pellets and some wheat and shell grit.
I have kept chooks for 20 years off and on and we had them when I was a child. I wouldn't be without them again. We love the fresh eggs and we love to sit and watch them busily scratching through the grass. Like brown sailing ships moving across the ground. They all have distinct personalities. Some more prominent than others, but I think some are still a bit shy of us yet.
I know sometimes I rack my brains as to what to give them for breakfast when I don't have any old leftovers or stale bread but I usually find something in the bottom of the freezer that has been forgotten. They like leftovers in the morning when I come to let them out. It is like a swap I do with them for their eggs. part of the deal. Recently I found that if I go down to the local bakery at 6pm and ask I can get a bag of that days bread for nothing. I got 9 loaves the other day, all full of seeds. I tore them in half and have frozen them, enough of 18 breakfasts. Sometimes I soak the half loaf in left over dinner sauce or marinade to make it soft and more flavoursome. Some times I just tear it up and throw it around for the girls to run after.
Recently a little butcher bird has come along hoping for a bit. I love the song they sing and he is a sweet looking bird, so now we play a game. I throw little bits of bread as high as I can in the air and he flies after them, always catches it in mid air. Such fun!
Anyway chooks are valuable to have around, they eat any leftovers (except onions and citrus), bugs and grass and convert it into eggs and manure . They have kept the grass down in their run so I don't have to mow. I am trying to find ways to avoid having to buy a ride on mower.
If you let them into your veg garden when most things have finished, in a week or two they will have eaten any peststhey find that are looking to build up in numbers and decimate next seasons crops.
Wonderful and entertaining they are, I thoroughly recommend them.
Oh! who am I going to ask to look after them when I go away for a few days?
This is a new azalea just coming out.

This is where I have put the blackberries (thornless of course) and blue berries.
Have fun.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

weed mat experiment

Hi there,
Yesterday I started a garden project that I read about in one of my favourite gardening books. Written by Jackie French (fabulous), called the Wilderness Garden. I just love Jackie's relaxed approach to gardening and her wonderful writing style is very easy to read, humorous and packed with info. Perhaps the only critic I could make is sometimes you need just a little more info on a few things, but don't let that stop you, just have a go and let commonsense come ito play. I have lots of her books, backyard self sufficiency is also another ripper!

Anyway I have a large area of grass which is getting longer and I only have a suburban push mower, I need a ride on mower for where we live now!
So what to do with this large area of work for years mowing it? It has a slight slope to the North, wonderful for the Southeern Hemisphere. A full sun aspect, wonderful deep soil and the grass is a pasture grass mix of rye and clover, not flowering so no weed seeds. perfect for growing vegies and fruits.

Jackie says to mow it and lay over some weed matting or shade cloth. Cut holes every so oftern and drop in a seed potato. That's it till harvest time, maybe some mulch to make it more sightly, peg down the edges so it doesn't blow away. When harvest time comes pull up the weed mat and move it to the next bit of grass and start again. The old area is not ready for carrots and onions, or whatever you like.
Sounds great doesn't it?! So yesterday I made a start.
This is only the start mind you. I mowed the grass down and put a path of sawdust in along the fence to keep the grass out of the rabbit proof veg garden. Then I laid out my 2 pieces of shade cloth. They seem rather small but a friend has some more I can have, thanks Jo.
As you can see I have lots of scope for more, could take me years.     Well this is a trial after all and we shall see what happens. I always like a new project!cheers Dayla

Friday, September 9, 2011

On My Mind

Here are my fabrics, my patchwork fabrics actually. I have just unpacked them with some help from my friend Dorothy. We had fun sorting them and stacking them and finding yet still more tucked away in another box used as packing. So on my mind is my sewing room, still being put back together after our move.
I am feeling the need to sew!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Good old Freezer

Hi there,
Rhonda from Down to Earth Blog was talking about Freezers today and how handy they are. Well I have to agree, my freezer is my best friend in the kitchen. I have had it since about 1981, an old Kelvinator, had a new seal and has survived being moved from WA to Canberra to Melbourne and then 4 moves around to where I am now.
I use it a lot, at the moment it has lots of containers of chook food and bread for the chooks I picked up from the bread shop. As we have only been in this house a month I haven't had a chance to build up supplies yet but I always like to have 1 person serves of various soups I have made, great for my lunch when I am alone. I have a quiche in there I made the other day, its a start.
I should like to tell you of something I did which I think was rather clever. Do any of you have one of those tall glass jars filled with macaroni and lentils and rice and beans and sealed at the top? Purely for decoration. You probably see them in op shops now.
Well we had one, given to us as a wedding present 20 years ago. The marriage is still good but my feelings towards this jar were tired to say the least. We moved it here to our new house, I don't know why and when I unpacked it I thought, you are going to the op shop.
But then an idea dawned on me!
Why not cook up the contents and feed them to my chooks!
Unfortunately if I had been on the ball I would have photographed the process like Rhonda does and made a very good story out of it. But I am still new to this blog world so forgive me.
Well here is where the jar is now, looking all ornamental in my garden and below are 4 of the chook food containers I made up. When I did it there must have been 20 tubs all up. The chooks have loved them and if I see another jar in an op shop I might buy it!
Oh and here is my old freezer, good old friend that.

bye for now.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fun things to do with doilies

Fun things to do with doilies

We had such fun buying a lot of these doilies. We were at the Claremont quilt fair in Perth some years ago, me, my sister and sister in law. There were lots of antiques for sale next to the exhibition, so we went and had a look. On one table were two largish boxes of old doilies. We started going thru them and had a few aside when the vendor came up with chairs for us to sit on and he proceeded to hold them up to us and tell us what each was worth. We sat back and said yes or no, waved our hands at those we didn't like and nodded for those we liked. We felt very grand, like the landed gentry, humming and haring at the various pieces he held up. We started to attract a crowd and soon we had more than 20 people watching the show. It was well worth the $40 we paid for around 40 doilies and such treasures we did find!

Here are 3 shots of my sisters Doily quilt, you can see she used lots of lace, braids and doilies, Silks, satins and some 3 dimensional fabric flowers. All overlapping for best effect. You can see one of my mothers wedding gloves slipped in there, I have the other one on my quilt which I can't find a photo of just now but will keep looking. I could take a new one but will need to dig it out as it is rolled up with all the other quilts I had out before we moved and is still there.