Monday, 17 December 2007

Thoughts of a Consumed Mind

Hmmm at the moment my mind is as busy as Piccadilly Circus and as vast as the desert. The thoughts are weighty and focused and then .......... a breath of fresh air comes wafting in brought on the empty calories of CHOCOLATE as I stand there ironing yet another thing - DO NOT EAT CHOCOLATE WHILST IRONING. Don't ask how I worked this one out.

The tall blonde mice are terrorising the 'fridge and anything else that stands still. They are making cameo appearances at the sink to wash dishes. As with any cameo role, they look good, however they are as much use as 'tits on a bull'.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Scott or Oates of the Antartic

That great line I will paraphrase - 'I am going outside, I might be gone for some time'. To whom I should credit the previous quote (Scott or Oates) I have no idea. Undoubtedly there will be someone in Blogland who will know.
The lead up to Christmas is fraught with danger and excitement. I'm still here - just busy. Eeerrr, no the decorated house is not mine.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Faye Arcaro - Gardening Australia's Gardener of the Year 2007

The day started pretty quiet here on Saturday, I lay in bed and read until 9AM and then my Dad 'phoned and, really just as an aside, mentioned that there was an Open Garden, featuring Faye Arcaro's garden 'Botanic Obsession'with an aquaponic setup as part of it, and it was only open one day. Faye Arcaro is the winner of Gardening Australia's Gardener of the the Year for 2007. So after much thrashing around on the Internet and 'phoning Dad again to confirm that he wasn't mistaken, I found the information, assembled all the troops and got them in the car at 1pm so we would be in Jandakot for 2.30pm ish. Great garden and the aquaponics were inspiring. I liked all the corners that there were for sitting and hidden walkways through mini jungles. I have never been to an open garden before and it was odd to walk through another's garden that I didn't know. I felt very odd and very honoured that Faye was generous enough to open her garden to public. This is her website where there is information re domestic aquaponic setups -
These photos don't do Faye's garden justice. The soil is predominantly the black gutless sand that seems so prevelant in WA. One of its features is its water repellant nature and if it is anything like my soil, acidic as well.
What all the best dressed girls are wearing in the garden.

I ALWAYS forget just how big pumpkin vines grow. This one is a baby.

The very lovely, very showy West Australian Christmas Tree.

One of the nesting boxes.

Just more of the interesting spaces at Faye's.

Can you see the yabbi?

I am very interested in aquaponics - this is the reason why I am doing hydroponics as I have to start somewhere - the idea of integrating various systems ie vegetables/plants with fish/poultry/crustaceans/worms for a better outcome, appeals greatly. These systems are made up of many elements and the more elements that can contribute to a system the more chance of a better outcome and success. In fact it is an attempt to mirror nature.

Here are some more links to Australian Aquaponic sites

Backyard Aquaponics

Practical Aquaponics For Everyone
Integrated Backyard Food Production

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Bat Night

We had a big day on Saturday - up to Perth to visit a garden, and hopefully more on that in another entry, and that night we did a spot of bat watching. This Chocolate Wattle Bat was one of 13 that were captured, using friendly 'harp nets', measured, sexed and released. This adult female was extremely reticent to leave one of the Sweetie's coats. He was actually quite pleased to have the bat lodged there. These bats are known as micro bats because........they are so small. They are name so as they are chocolate in colour and have wattles. They also have the largest fleas I have EVER seen. Larger than those that occur on dogs, HUGE beasties.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Slight Hiccup

Well you know when I said that I had 26 quilt tops to quilt, well I miss counted and there were 28. Aaaagh. I have put it down to having the 'flu and able to only do one thing. That is breathe. So after that slight oversight, I think that there are 14 now. This week has been somewhat slower and I have done some cleaning and baked some cakes.

The first photo is of a quilt that was what I call 'overfriendly', it waved everywhere. It is so important to measure the quilt before sewing any sashings or borders and then cut them to fit. Measure, measure measure.

I cut and pressed three bindings for a friend's quilts. They were 8, 10 and 12m respectively. I really do love making bindings.

I using Deb Geissler patterns on all my friend's quilts. Very lovely patterns, however the rows take over an hour to quilt. Subsequently the donga has been tidied and I have moved my bicycle and wind trainer down there so at least I get a bit of exercise. This pattern is of motorbikes.

Last Thursday we went on an excursion to a place that grows and supplies plants for nurseries and large hardware conglomerates here in West Australia. A real eye opener. Masses of poinsettias ready for the Christmas markets and the chrysanthemums on their way for the Mother's Day Market in May. All these are grown hydroponically in their pots and then sold to the retail markets. Later that day we were at the large hardware shop, that in this family we call the 'hammer shop', and there were some of the grower's plants. Amazing. I know that I used to think of plants as kind of all soft and feel good, however it is a huge, HUGE industry that aims for certain markets, just like the supplying of spring lambs, and goes for massive production just like a crop of canola, wheat, etc. Hhhmmmmm. Very interesting.

Monday, 19 November 2007

The Countdown

The youngest Sweetie keeps a firm eye on the countdown for Christmas as do I. However our counts are for different purposes.

His, bless him, is for THE DAY, less than 40, I believe and mine is for the number of quilts that I have to quilt before THE DAY.

12 days ago I was at 26 quilts, and I nearly went back to bed for the rest of my life, now as of late last night I am at 18 quilts. So it is much better, however the pace is mind numbing.

At times like this I ask myself 'why is it sooooooo bad?' Too many extracurricular activities with the boys, ie Monopoly games and card games and maybe too much chewing the fat with them. As always it is a juggling act, however it is okay and this too will end. If only it wasn't the Monopoly games and the chewing of the fat as well.

Sunday, 18 November 2007


One of my loves is redwork - this is for a quilt made from Bronwyn Hayes's Red Brolly designs. I admire her designs so much and I always make them bigger so that I can use stem stitch instead of the normal back stitch and I can make them into a quilt that is bigger.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Hydroponic Strawberry Update

The 'before' picture.

The 'now' picture and we are eating lettuce with every meal. The Hairiest Sweetie mumbles something about 'not being a %^&* rabbit'. I just smile vacantly and serve him dinner.

We have moved them from their original location to a newer better spot and all automated with their own pump as opposed to the gravity feed that I used to have to do as many times a day as had the energy for. There are tiny little strawberries. Today I'm planting tomatoes, pumpkins (or punkins if you're my friend Robyn), capsicums, cucumbers, rockmelons, watermelons, basil, mizuna, rocket, spinach. That'll do me.

When I started I was going to use as many growing mediums as I could find, however the coir blocks have many difficulties soooooo I have bisbanded with that idea and decided to use a perlite/vermiculite mix to replace the the coir in the final two dutch leach trays.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Stop Looking - I Found It

I have included some more pictures that are rather pretty.

Well after all the panic yesterday, re the quilt backings, I calmed down enough to take the washing in and there they were neatly folded and placed on the wire fence behind the washing line. As I said my last memory was of folding them up. I was pretty happy with myself after that although I was flummoxed with myself and felt that I was getting some early practice in for my dotage.

Yesterday was a day of hardly any quilting and much packing up of quilts to be sent to their owners. So the donga is looking much emptier.

The hydroponics set up is going along extremely well and we now have some strawberry flowers. The white fly moved in to the lettuce and set up their camp there and then just as they were becoming a major infestation the hover flies moved in and ate most of them. As I always say - calm down and wait, nature will take care of it. The birds are visiting the hydro as well so we might have to protect the strawberries from the birds, although I am loath to take this measure. One of the main reasons for growing strawberries hydroponically is to get them off
the ground so that the bobtail lizards don't eat them. They also like the locquats and grapes that we grow in the garden, and they are welcome to as many of those as they like, however strawberries.........well they are different. Maybe at the end of the season we might be tired of the strawberries, bring it on I say.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

FOQ 456 or it seems like it

Just some more eye candy from the FOQ

Well I'm back quilting and working to get all the tops to their respective owners before Christmas. My plans, this morning, have been postponed somewhat as I have 'lost' the backing that I washed for the two quilts that were to be done in the next couple of days. At the moment I am scratching my head in wonder as I remember washing them, hanging them on the line, watching them flap in the breeze and then folding them up when they were dry. The memory ends there at the moment. Tim, the hairiest sweetie, is watching me walk past things and then quickly turn and pick them up just in case they are tricking me and will suddenly appear somewhere where I have already looked. The next destination for my rather intensive, and yet haphazard searching, will be the donga - the place where all the quilting and swearing takes place on this property. The rules about swearing here are simple - it's either the shed or the donga. Tim doesn't swear very often and when he does we all know that it is REALLY bad. Anyway I am really 'pushing the envelope' and working CBD pace instead of my normal Darwin-in-the-wet-season pace. They took the girl out of Darwin, however they didn't take Darwin out to the girl. For all you out of Australia, Darwin in the wet season is a time of extreme humidity and temperatures in the low to mid 30s (Celsius) and of not moving very fast and drinking a lot. Mould grows on most things and fungal infections become very common. Even now I love humidity although I don't miss all the prickly heat rashes and the cracks behind the toes. It would rain at about 3 o'clock every day, fairly pelting down like stair rods and everything went 'aaaah'. The 'wet' was also a time when it wasn't safe to swim in the sea due to the sea wasps. I think their proper name is Portuguese man o' war. Great days.
I'll just run down the donga and see if those #$%^& backings have turned up.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Still Dancing

Well I've just realised that I haven't posted for a while. I was away from home for a while attending PULSE WA Regional Arts Conference. Very interesting and held at Denmark Agricultural College in Denmark on the South coast of West Australia. I came home and the very next day went on school camp. I then came home and to cut out all the details of sickness and other crap, I'll just tell you that I opened my fourth box of tissues last night. That means that I have used an awful lot of tissues in a week, all on one nose. My nose is holding up well as I slather it with Pawpaw ointment at every opportunity - looks a sight, but hey, I'm not going out much.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Field of Quilts YES

My friend B********less Kathy made this lovely wallhanging when I moved into my studio (affectionately known as 'the donga'. It sits there reminding me of our friendship. Thankyou Kathy.I've quilted a few of these. They are quite cute.
Lots of applique.

Field of Quilts VIII NOT

I'm getting good at Roman Numerals. That's just another thing that I have difficulty with - although I'm finding as I getting older things are easier. Roman Numerals were difficult, Italian was diabolical. My early years of Primary School were in Darwin at a great school called Larrakeyah. One of my class mates was called Peter and he was of Italian descent soooo Mrs La P. (Peter's mother) decided that as we were children and she was Italian that she would offer her services and we would learn another language. Well not this little black duck. I have since found out that I do not do languages well - English is at times difficult - although my Mother was brilliant, it didn't wear off on me. Her youngest Grandson, Henry looooves language and it fascinated by anything in a foreign language. Ever watched Harry Potter in other languages, Henry has.

I'm writing this as I always find that it takes a little while for Blogger (bless it) to upload, download, just for ******** sake LOAD. After all that Blogger (I'm now calling it Bugger) has decided that it can't load. I'll try again.

I was very lucky where I grew up, however I think(hope) that most people think that. We moved to Darwin when I turned five. We travelled up from Sydney to Darwin via road and on that Australian icon called the Ghan. Although I think that the Ghan has undergone somewhat of an overhaul and is no way like it was when we travelled on it over 30 years ago. I remember having to sleep in the bottom bunk with my Dad, topped and tailed, with his rather big feet very close to my face. I had my fifth birthday in Alice Springs on the way up and my favourite present was a pair of frilly lavender knickers. They were sparkly and scratchy and had rows of frills on the bum. They were gorgeous and I felt so lucky having a pair of knockers like that, that I just used to wear them on their own. I could do that in Darwin.

Oh well B***** isn't playing so I'll just have to publish w/o pictures and save them for another day. Have a good one.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Field of Quilts VII

Time for some more pictures of the FOQ - just when you thought that it was safe to come back - there's more. These are the photos that I have stockpiled while I wait for me to get my act together to sort out the camera situation.
I thought that this was very interesting as the floral centre pieces had been stencilled and then surrounded by all those triangles. Little pieces of pieced fabric impress me. I know, I don't get out enough

A lovely blue and white lover's knot with some exquisite applique in the borders - very tasteful.

I think that these are all the rage at the moment. There were two at the FOQ. Living where I do, I am not really up with all the latest trends in patchwork and quilting. However these seem quite nice.

I have to wrote this as Blogger wouldn't allow me to upload pictures earlier this morning. Yesterday Roland and I went to a Reserve just south of the Serpentine River where it crosses the Albany Hwy. A bit of a trek ~40kms to see an old baiting camp. Now what they baited I have no idea and as our local historian bloke didn't come, we undoubtedly missed lots of hysterical facts. We found an old well cover up with pig mesh so that we could see the rock lined walls and the diameter. This well would have been dug by hand either by convicts or Chinese. Either way very hard yakka. The river at that point is a delta, forgive me I'm improving on my geographical terms SLOWLY, so there is ample opportunity for tadpoles and froglets(tadpoles so very nearly frogs however just slightly impeded by a tail that is as long as them. The melaleucas are fairly thick on the ground and kangaroos have made very thin tracks through the river to the other side. We stopped as the water was steadily climbing up our boots. The wildflowers were simply gorgeous - very understated, however so beautifully made and minute at times they were breathtaking. All this is to try and make people understand the exquisiteness of all that we saw and a few photos would clinch the image perfectly.

I have just had a bit of a cruise around and read other blogs and at times I feel that my blog is but a 'ppffft' of wind. Heavy issues of the environment are discussed, with great detail, and people with disabilities that govern their every breath. And I rabbit on about the beauty of some flowers and the generalness of my life. I'm sounding slightly Monty Pythonish so I'll stop. It's all relative.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

How Time Flies

Our adventure to Hyden and surrounds was TWO WEEKS ago. My word the days have just blurred, it's like being on one of those spinning playground toys that were all the rage when I was a kid. Heavy as buggery to turn, however when they eventually got going they would spin forever.

This is Henry, the youngest Sweetie, 'surfing' on Wave Rock just like he had to do.

And this is the fantastic snake(dugite) that we encountered at the Chook (chicken) display at the Wave Rock Zoo. We were fortunate to walk in the back door of the enclosure and not the front as we would have walked straight into this marvellous, although dangerous creature and the Wave Rock epic might have ended differently and somewhat quickly. The snake was more interested in getting into the chook pens, not for the chooks, but for the mice that opportunistically live there feeding on the spilt grain. We dispatched Henry to get help, and Roland and I watched and were there to stop people from entering through the front. The snake oozed ever so slowly through the smallest gap under one of the wire doors and then proceeded to find a mouse by digging in the sand. A snake digging, what a sight. No hands, but designed so that they can stick their head forward and then bend their head and then hoick the sand out. AND then again and again and again until there is a way for them through the soil. It's tail was the true barometer of what it was doing. The snake entered about half it's body length into the hole, at that stage it's tail was twitching in anticipation, and then it went straight when it struck and then began twitching again as it, I presume ate the mouse. Unfortunately the snake died - I was hoping for the environmentally friendly calico bag and then relocation away from humans. God knows there are enough uninhabited hectares out there.

Just another Mother and Sons Adventure. Got to have them.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Travelling in the School Holidays

We went to Wave Rock just outside the town of Hyden in West Australia. On the way we went through Crossman, Williams, Narrogin, Wickepin, Jitarning, Kulin onto Hyden and then Wave Rock. On the way home we went through Kondinin, Corrigin, Yealering, Pingelly and then Crossman and HOME.

I judged the quilts at Kulin for the Bush Races that were being held that weekend.

The Rock is totally and utterly awesome and we were just so delighted to be there. We explored every nook and cranny and discovered that there is a GOLF COURSE on the south side of the rock. Which is fine, however one of the tees has been set low down on the Rock. So I did my indignant chook (chicken) rendition to my oldest son, who has developed the glazed look really well after only a few months practice, about taking away from the rock, and need I say more. Well I did, but it didn't get me anywhere. I also discussed the golf tee with the oldest Sweetie, when we were back home, and he said (wait for it) that some of the aura of the rock had now been given to the golf course. I had the glazed look then. !@#$$%%^

Henry had always wanted to 'surf' the wave. Unfortunately I have downloaded the wrong photo. Just pretend that he is there 'surfing'.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Field of Quilts VI

Three more to keep your interest up.
This is one of a pair that I made for my sons. Aptly called 'Toy Story I' and 'Toy Story II'. The boys are now so over Toy Story and find anything to do with it embarrassing. The stories that I concocted, to make piece and quilt these two quilts in the lead up to Christmas, were creative. They (the youngest Sweeties) said that they were for them and I replied that a mother had paid me an amazing amount of money to make these two quilts for her extremely precious boys and that I couldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. They seemed happy with my reply and then when I gave them on Christmas day Roland, the oldest tuned to me and with a steady gaze said 'I knew'. They loved them for a while and that was all that mattered.

This one was interesting in that cathedral window effect was created by placing a square of wadding and fabric in the middle of a circle and then sewing the curves of the circle down. The resulting squares were then whipped stitch together on the back. It was very heavy but created a lovely effect.

I just thought that this was a striking Irish Chain away from the normal fabric choices

Friday, 12 October 2007

Field Of Quilts V

Another taste of the FOQ. This quilt was rather pretty and the applique was well done.

This was a quilt that I made a while ago and quilted it one my shortarm quilting machine. It is a photo quilt that I made for Roland, the middle sweetie. There are some great photos on it - gee he was a lovely toddler and he has continued it through. I'm a little biased as you can guess.
This was the one that was meant to be in the previous post. I don't know if the maker made it out of scraps, however it would be a great pattern that could use those strips up quickly.

Blogless Kathy came down on a bus with another 11 quilters. I know so many Kathys, and the two favourites are known as Kathy Here and Kathy There. Blogless Kathy is Kathy There. I treated all the Sweeties to lunch at the FOQ - it was just great to see them and for them to wander round the quilts and see some of our family quilts hanging up in the fresh air. Anyway there I was sitting selling the food vouchers to all and sundry, I had already had a chat with Kathy There, and the middle Sweetie comes running up with great excitement and says 'Kathy There's HERE'. It was great to see her in the flesh and have a natter and a little walk around the stalls and some of the quilts. All too soon Kathy was on the bus and on her way home.