Friday, 31 October 2008

Can you name this plant? Specimen #3

I spotted this beautiful tree while taking the kids to school this morning. I have no idea what it is, but it is spectacular.
The most wonderful pink panicles, so pretty.
A small, neat tree.
Really hoping someone knows what this is because I think I NEED one!
Thank you to Gina, all the way from South Wales and Fran in Tasmania for identifying Specimen #2 as the Judas Tree (Cercis siliquastrum). Horicultual hero points to you both!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Just fiddling about ...

A little bit of this ...
and a little bit of that ...
a little Dear Jane ...
and a whole lot of nothing much at all!

From the archive

Fellow stitcher & rose-lover, Joy, left me a comment recently. She is the creative soul behind Joypatch, and the designer of a bag I made a couple of years ago for my Mum.
This design is appropriately (!) called 'Housework' and is a great pattern for charm packs.
The text is backstitched on cream sandcastle fabric & the charm pack I used is 'Anticipation' by Sandy Gervais for Moda. The cane handles were salvaged from an op shop find.

Monday, 27 October 2008


We were back at the farm on the weekend for a birthday camping sleepover (hmmm, more like 'talk-over'!) for my newly 13-year-old daughter. I made Princess Martha's White Chocolate & Strawberry Cheesecake as the birthday cake - oh, my! It was VERY good!!
Being back at the farm allowed me to catch with my beloved roses which are blooming profusely right now. Here are just a few of them, mostly David Austins:
The softest pink of Mary Rose
One of my favourites, called 'Othello'
'Othello' again, beautiful perfume, but the most wicked of thorns!
'Golden Celebration'
'Perfume Perfection'
If I could send the heavenly scent of these roses across cyberspace to you I would!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Poor neglected Dear Jane

My Dear Jane blocks have been languishing, unattended in their little box for weeks. I am far behind the group, & won't even count how many I need to do to catch up. But I will whittle away slowly at them when I can - they are always very calming & enjoyable to return to.
Fabric is 'Look & Learn' by Sandy Klop of American Jane by Moda.
Fabric is from an old Robyn Pandolph line, called 'Bed of Roses'.
Fabric is from 'The Merrimack Collection' by Judie Rothermal for Marcus Fabrics.

Can you name this plant? Specimen #2

Genius points to my lovely friend Belinda who identified Specimen #1 as Iris Japonica or 'Poor Man's Orchid'. The leaves are so different to any other iris I have seen.  I wonder if she will know what this is: Small tree, lilac pea-like flowers, prolific seed pods dangling from the branches, heart-shaped leaves.
I confess I found one of these in flower in a nursery today, so now know what it is, but I will test to see how clever you all are anyway!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Can you name this plant? Specimen #1

OK, all you cool climate gardeners out there - I need your help to identify some plants I found at the Botanic Gardens earlier in the week. Any ideas what this is?
It looks like some sort of orchid (?), knee-high with strappy leaves. Very delicate & pretty.
I have a few 'mystery-to-me' plants that I will post over the next few days. I'm afraid there are no amazing rewards for being clever enough to identify these - just the simple pleasure of discovering that you know something that someone else doesn't!!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Spring beauties

My wander in the Botanic Gardens yielded many spring treasures. 
The simple beauty of magnolias ...
... led to some stunning dogwoods in flower - pink ones ...
... and pure white ones.
And then came 
the showy, voluptuous rhododendrons ...
... such show-offs!
In contrast, the simplicity of tiny geraniums ...
 ... and the cheerfulness of common daisies ...
A stunning clematis rambled casually along a fence top ...
... and tall, graceful columbines nodded in the breeze ...
And here come the roses ...
... the first of many for the season.
A lovely, lovely walk in the warm Spring sunshine.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Taking the quilt for a walk

At last, I got to the local Botanic Gardens this morning, to take some photos of the 'quilt made in a week'. Thankfully, the gardens were quiet and there was no-one around much to notice the mad woman traipsing about with a quilt over her shoulder.
I said I'd try to drape it artistically over a tree branch ...
... or perhaps flat out on the lawn ...
or strewn upon a park bench?
The fabrics are mostly Amy Butler's 'Temple Flowers', a little bit of Heather Bailey's 'Freshcut', and a little 'Summer in the City' by Urban Chiks. The pattern is 'Le Jardin' by Lynne Wilson, Threads of Time. How pretty is this magnolia? And it matches so perfectly with the quilt! Oooh, & there is a gorgeous dogwood in flower over there ... at this point, I got completely distracted by beautiful blooms & went about wandering. Tra-la-la-la-la! Photos undoubtedly will follow!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Can a girl ever have too may bags?

Remember this fabric and this pattern recently purchased? Here is the result: The pattern is 'Candy' by Melly & Me, the fabrics 'Flea Market Fancy' by Denyse Schmidt & 'Summer in the City' by Urban Chiks. I really love the 1/2" grid stitching detail.
I made pockets from the left over stitched panel, as detailed in my easy-peasy pocket tutorial. I also added a template plastic bag base using this great tutorial from Nicole Mallalieu. Nicole is an Australian girl making the most magnificent bags & selling quality bag making supplies.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Mission accomplished

The "quilt made in a week" is done - well, almost. The bind is not entirely finished, but enough to be wrapped up & given.
So did she like it? Well there were excited & repeated 'wow!' and 'how cool!' statements, so you have to be happy with that from a 13-year-old! Thank you to everyone who left comments, urging me on to finish this quilt in the last week. I have NEVER made a quilt so quickly & I certainly would have given up, but for your enthusiastic encouragement! I am cautious about posting photos of my children on my blog, but I will email each of you who have commented with some photos of my 'teenage' (how did that happen?!) blossie. 
I hope to take the finished quilt over to the Botanic Gardens & drape it artistically over a tree or something for some photos to show you soon. Best wishes, Bloom.

Still stitching

Today is my eldest blossie's 13th birthday. We opened her presents this morning, & I quietly confessed that there was one gift that wasn't quite ready for giving as it wasn't finished yet. She laughed at me knowingly! Not because she knows what I am making, but that she knows I am always up late finishing birthday gifts at the last minute! So I have an extension on my deadline until after school today ... bind, bind, bind!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Deadline looming

Pin, pin, pin ...
... quilt, quilt, quilt!

Sew faster Bloom, sew faster!

The quilt top for my daughter's birthday is finished. Now I just need to quilt & bind it in 24 hours! Don't like my chances, but I've not conceded yet! Must pause though for a quick caffeine boost & a piece of this luscious chocolate & raspberry brownie (recipe here) made by my girls yesterday.  

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Quilt progress

My apologies for teasing you with the beginnings of a quilt and then going AWOL for days. We have been at the farm with no internet connection. Despite my absence from the blog, I have an update on the surprise birthday quilt for my daughter - some progress, but will it be enough? 
DAY 2: Whoops, no sewing at all! Spent all day in the garden, & fell in a heap in the evening, watched The Edukators - very cool movie!
DAY 3: More cut, cut, cutting. All the neutral brick blocks.
Lay out blocks & decide on placement. 
Days 4 & 5 : Sewing vertical columns of blocks together.
I've so far managed to keep this a secret from Daughter #1, sewing at nights after she is asleep. Her birthday is on Tuesday, & at this point, I really have no idea if it will get done. I will have all of Monday to work on it as she will be back at school. Anyway, it is a whole lot closer to completion than it was 5 days ago!
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