Canberra holiday full of flowers and sculptures

We had a weeks holiday in the nations capital, Canberra during the school holidays.
A visit to the new Parliament House was high on the kids list of things to do.  Its not brand new, just that we outgrew the first building constructed in the 1920s as a nation, which now serves as a museum.  You cannot see it, but the area underneath the flag is all lawn and you can take the lift to the lawned roof and look at the spectacular view
Floriade  was on during our stay, and its simply a magnificent display of flowers, mainly tulips and pansies,  As the weather was so nice, all the displays looked great and it was hard to take just one photo!
I love tulips, but they dont multiple like some other bulbs, so I dont have many in the garden.  But the array of different varieties they had planted, was amazing.

The displays are laid out with precision planting and all the designs are based on a theme.  There is a ferris wheel ride, and that would be the best way to see the garden bed designs, but I didn't bother - it was over priced and I knew my phone camera wouldn't do it justice.
This sculpture lives at the top of the windswept hill above the Arboretum in Canberra and was just magnificent.  The Arboretum is still a work in progress, as they plant 100 rare trees each year, but greatly developed since we were there about 15 years ago.  And the Japanese cherry trees were in blossom which was very pretty.
This sculpture by Stuart Taylor resides in the small NSW town of Lockhart, which hosts a competition for metal farm art this October.  We love driving the back roads (as opposed to the freeways) and came home from Canberra via Wagga Wagga, Lockhart, Deniliquin and Wycheproof.  Great places, great Aussie named towns!  Wycheproof  is a compulsory stop as my husband has two aunties living here, so we had a lovely visit, with country cooking - homemade  lamingtons for morning tea and scones for afternoon tea!  The aunt who made the scones had to have her son deal with a very big brown snake on her back lawn before we arrived.....the kids were very happy to be fed, but apprehensive about playing footy on the lawn!

Pink HST and Australian baby birds

Rummaging through the orphan bin I found lots of scraps but very few orphan blocks.   The find that excited me the most was a bag of pink half square triangles.  Some were made and others were still in pieces, but there was a decent amount, so there was the temptation to do something with them immediately!  I tried to make a pattern but there wasn't enough, so went with random scrappy layout.
The squares finished at 3", so I managed to get a 24" square finished top, which is the right size for a neo natal top.  I am very pleased, but there were left overs and I am trying to get rid of scraps!  
Sew I made a little dolls quilt 12" square and quilted it straight away.
I found a scrap of flannel for the back and pieced some wadding left overs.  These little quilts give me a lift, because they are quick, scrappy and fun!  Who doesn't love hot pink dots!
We were  away a week and came home to discover the New Holland Yellow Winged Honeyeaters had nested in my white lavender, right next to the clothes line.  The fledglings are very cute, but very close to the ground, so hoping the neighbours cat stays away.
These are fledglings of Eastern Rosella and Crimson Rosella parents (it is unusual for the two varieties to cross breed in the wild), nesting in our purpose built nesting box on the rear of our 1 acre garden.  You can see the cuts in the box and  wire on the right, so the young can pull themselves up out of the box and peer out the entrance hole.  This is purposely built high, so they are strong and feathers matured enough to learn how to fly.   Otherwise they play Superman and might not survive. their first flight  
Happy quilting Sue.

Blue stars

I was sick and tired of coming across this lovely stack of blue 5" squares.  They were left over from a star scrap quilt I made ages ago.  Sew next thing I knew I am scrounging through the scrap bin looking for pre cut 1.5" sqares to make flippy triangles. 
I have nearly run out of neutral scraps and stash, but keep turning up bits and pieces to make the stars.  After a couple of days of flippy triangles though I was seeing stars!  This section had to get unpicked!
This quilt finishes about 64 x 55" which is slightly larger then the recommended size for teenagers, for my prefered kids charity.  
I am happy its done, but frustrated I have oodles of parts left over and still more 5" squares!  So I started another quilt (aiming for a smaller size) and in the process of rummaging through the parts/orphan box I found a little top already completed!
I do remember making this out of the left overs from a past kids quilt.  I think it got stalled because it was too small to use as a cot quilt, but too big to be a dolls quilt.  However it is  the right size to gift to my prefered kids charity (as a neo natal quilt), so bonus!  Sew now I have two tops to find backings, baste and make scrappy bindings for!  
Happy quilting Sue.

Pulling up pavers

Pulling the paved path up was a whole days work.  Hard to call it work when you make a big mess!  The original path did not run in the right spot now the gazebo is up.  The area of dirt on the left is the east end of our shade house, which hubby has pulled down. The floor of the shade house was lined with more pavers, which I had previously pulled up.  That big root ball is a hydrangea, don't worry I took cuttings!
I scraped all the dirt off the pavers and Dad brushed them clean and stacked them.  Now we are waiting for the landscaper to re lay them....fingers crossed that he comes.  I got the message loud and clear that he is busy and doesnt want my little paving job.  But pulling up the pavers was hard enough on my back, so I am leaving the laying part to the expert....if I can convince him to come!
While I am waiting for the landscaper I cannot do anymore gardening, so I started making a baby quilt.  I had this picture in my head that a Lone Star would be a nice idea.  I brought the fabric in  Ballarat, while I was waiting for Dad to have minor surgery.  I didn't have a pattern, just talked it through with the shop owner.  And I am two squares (24") short :( with only myself to blame!  I am not upset, in fact I am pleased so far!  Mainly because it looks better then I had imagined and because I got all the directional animal print facing the right way!  Because I have to order more background fabric (Grunge) then I might get extra to add a small border, so the star floats a bit.  Its already 48" square, so perhaps just a inch or two wide.  
Happy quilting Sue.

Mini Hexagon purse

I had my last job for three years and used to travel the 10 hour return trip to Adelaide about four times a year.  The bus trip takes longer than driving but I could read, answer work emails and calls and .... yep I used to sew!  These are tiny hexies and I had just a few paper templates that were given to me, so I was constantly taking them out and reusing them.  I just haphazardly kept sewing hexies (using pre cut 1.5" scraps) around the edges with little thought for design.  
When I finished work in May, I ended up with this strange shape and no idea what to do with it!  So it became a purse and the left overs got thrown away.  The stitching wasn't very good because the road is bumpy, but it now serves to remind me that even the smallest scraps are precious and can be used. 
I had this pattern for a appliqued purse from a sewing day out I did with the Quilters Harvest, its a Shelly Kelly pattern.  I appliqued the clams and basket onto some prairie cloth (pre quilted muslin)  I brought years ago.  
This little scrap purse is now a happy reminder of what is important in life. 
Sometimes we get distracted, but we can always get back on track with a gentle reminder.
Happy quilting Sue.

Back with completed Urban abacus

Urban Abacus, a Quick Curve Ruler pattern by Sew Kind of Wonderful was made into a top over a weekend in August.  This was my choice of pattern and fabrics, in answer to a request for a quilt for a 14 year old girl. 
The quilting pattern was chosen by my long arm quilter, Vicki Jenkin.  She is always right when she suggests a quilting pattern, so I was thrilled with the results = best seen on the  aqua backing.
I am really pleased with this finish!
a) it was a quick and easy pattern to make
b) I used two different lines of fabric and they melded well 
c) its modern but there isn't too much negative space
d) faster turn over for a quilt I have ever made = greater sense of accomplishment!
It has been safely delivered and I am contemplating how long before I make another!
Happy quilling, Sue.

Two new cushions and a mini that became a cushion

I just launched into a week of starting new projects with no rhyme or reason!

The bottom block is a Kim Diehl pattern from her book Simple Graces, and featured on the front cover as a quilt.  The book includes a pattern to make the block into a cushion cover and I justified the new start by telling myself it was better then making a test block which would never be used for anything. Plus I would have more cushions for the couch....because six cushions is not enough, right?!
I was able to use up some of the cushion inserts sitting in the cupboard and the zips I have purchased randomly...not sure why but I do that!  I also pieced the wadding scraps to quilt the top and did some new to me quilting patterns using my new walking foot - on the brown border I did a square spiral.  
This pattern is called Prairie Points from the book by Temecula Quilt Co, called Quirky Little Quilts.  The quilt in the book features lots of neutrals and solids but I wanted to showcase some of my shirtings.  I ended up using a lot of older shirting scraps already pre cut in my 1.5" strip container.  It was lovely to play with some old favorites!
I quilted the top using my new walking my other foot decided to die!  I honestly had no idea that I could wear out a foot, but my good friend Vicki (long time Bernina owner) talked me through all the issues my walking foot suddenly presented one afternoon (after being perfectly fine in the morning), and deduced the foot was no longer walking!  I borrowed Mums foot and presto the machine performed perfectly, so diagnosis was confirmed and I had to fork out serious $ to buy a new one.
It came with a stitch in the ditch plate, but after using it on the mini I am not super impressed. However prepared to give it another go on a larger quilt without so many seams. 
I started making this wool applique block about a month ago, so that I had some hand work.  Decided to add some pieced borders to make it bigger, then decided to turn it into a cushion.  Quilted the heck out of it, to a) use my new walking foot b) because I pieced the wadding from lots little scraps c) because I didn't cut the border pieces on the straight and they were wavy d) it filled in my day while the painter was in the house!  Very happy with the results., but did have to buy a zip to match, well close as I could get to this vibrant green.
So it was the Temecula Quilt mini that became a cushion, because I wasn't in love with the quilting, although I love the top.  
I will make another as a mini....someday!
Happy quilting Sue.

Canberra holiday full of flowers and sculptures

We had a weeks holiday in the nations capital, Canberra during the school holidays. A visit to the new Parliament House was high on the ki...