Sunday, June 26, 2016

Small Pleasures

It is their soft, excited chatterings which first alert me to their presence. I notice a group of about five female Superb Fairy Wrens flittering through our yard at some point most days. These wrens rarely sit still for more than a second. We sometimes call them Jenny wrens. The males are a splendid blue as in this older photo below and here, hence they are also known as Blue Wrens. Irrespective of the colours of their feathers, it is always a delight to see these wrens, and other small birds, enjoying our garden each day.

Sharing at Our World Tuesday, Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Always Changes

Enjoying the sunshine and also the rain which has been a wonderful blessing after our long dry summer. All around town the lawns and trees are beautiful shades of green with the occasional show of autumn tones on the few deciduous trees. The camellias are bursting into flower, as they do here each winter, having endured summer, protected on the shady southern sides of homes. There is a pleasant satisfaction as I admire the pristine petals of the white camellias I planted several years ago. Also rewarding us well is our lemon tree which is younger than our camellias. I don't think I've picked a lemon as large as this one today. 

Homeschooling, sport, visiting the library (yes that's Miss E and Miss E on the banner in the foyer), annual homeschool sports day, having Master J home for a few days and stitching more hexie flowers as the days quickly turn into weeks. More changes ahead as Miss N finishes work this week and prepares to move to the Sydney for the next chapter of her life journey. We all have mixed feelings as each new season brings challenges and great opportunities - choosing gratefulness and optimism. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Ordinary Lovely

I love how a photo can capture joy, beauty or particular moments in time with their associated emotions and memories. Here are some of the ordinary lovely moments of the last week or so, ending with a 'golden oldie'.

Yesterday we were visiting some new friends who live out of town when this Red-necked wallaby with her joey hopped by to leisurely graze on their front lawn. Wallabies are similar to kangaroos but much smaller. Our friends pointed out how the wallaby's pouch is at the perfect height for her joey to graze while the mother is also.
Our neighbour's zygocactus is a beautiful sight as the afternoon light catches the many blooms. It grows outdoors all year round, in a hanging basket under their macadamia tree just over our back fence, looking rather plain - until it flowers!
Now that the weather has cooled down it's much more pleasant working in the garden. Master T (16) has chopped down some small trees, breaking two brand new wooden handles axes in the process. The third axe bought this week (after receiving refunds) had a fibreglass handle and stood up to the job at hand, however the effort required appears to have been greater than anticipated, judging by the sign which appeared on the fence! 
Miss E (8) cleaned out her garden bed and sowed fresh seeds, labelling each area with a marker stone. I had to laugh when I discovered the label above. She later showed me the seed packet - 'Mesembryanthemum', yes, I guess they deserve the marker she gave them.  :)

A ruffled pansy on the back deck, a neighbourhood hedge scene, early morning calm on the river after a hot winter's day (30C/86F - crazy), a few more hand sewn hexie flowers for my long term quilt project. Last but not least is a family favourite, taken in October 2008 as Miss E reached out to her older sister's new baby doll - the similarity in their profiles is striking and so cute! Yes, I DO love the wonders of ordinary lovely days and photos....

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Time Marches On

We took a trip down to the seaside village yesterday, for my mother-in-love needed to collect some winter clothes (yes, it's winter here already). The wall calendars may be two or even three years out of date, yet she still loved spoiling her grandchildren with a fresh takeaway fish and chips for lunch. Some of the grandchildren had not been back to the house since both grandparents (grandfather passed on three years ago) moved into aged care in our town over three years ago.

Stepping back in time, yet moving forward, always with much to be grateful for. Being low tide at the bay, the Light-blue Soldier Crabs were scurrying around in their thousands, unless you came too close, in which case they quickly buried themselves. The Rainbow Lorikeets were happily enjoying the nectar from the Grevillea 'Honey Gem'. The banksia tree along the path holds it large seed heads high. The children/grandchildren mark the changes and have a fresh desire to return for a holiday and linger longer where they once played often. I think all of us may be ready to anticipate a new season of holidays in old familiar places.

Sharing at SkyWatch Friday.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Peaceful Night Complete - Again


October 2014

Have you ever put countless hours of thought and effort into a special project only to later discover that it had a 'fatal' flaw?  Every time we air or wash the twin's Musical Stairs quilt I berate myself for having used a soft polyester batting (middle layer) as its fibres gradually work their way through the quilt front and back and make an increasingly ugly furry, pilled mess. Quilters refer to this undesirable attribute as 'bearding'. It was some months later that it dawned on me that I had used the same batting in my treasured Peaceful Night quilt - the one I designed, carefully cut the papers for, painstakingly hand stitched together and proceeded to hand quilt with precious silk threads! I triumphantly finished Peaceful Night over 18 months ago, with the two photos directly above shared in October 2014, as the jacarandas bloomed.

After trying to ignore the bearding issue, hoping it wasn't really true, I contemplated not using Peaceful Night, instead keeping it pristine, as a one-day wall/display quilt. But that wouldn't really do. I want my quilts to be used and loved for decades, not hidden away or thrown away due to becoming an ugly bearded mess. With great reluctance I finally acknowledged this quilt deserved to be remade with organic cotton batting, ready to confidently face being used and loved.

The hardest part was actually beginning to undo all those beautiful stitches..... I knew the backing fabric wouldn't quite fit again, I had questions about the binding and wondered if I even had enough silk threads for a second round of hand quilting. I plunged in, determined to cross each hurdle in time.

I found a beautiful fresh piece of organic fabric in matching colours for the backing, a length of Nancy Mims' Pick a Bunch which I had bought from the US back in 2011- a very happy realisation! I also discovered I had bought extra silk threads in my favourite colours back in 2014, plus I still had a little more of the binding fabric on hand. As I tucked the 'old' backing neatly away on my fabric shelf for another project, I quickly fell in love with the 'new' quilt, hand quilting with silks all over again.

It has actually been quite a pleasure to spend time with this treasure again. The binding needed extending by about an inch when it was reattached - I guess the quilt top must have relaxed and stretched just a little through the remake process. The quilting is exactly as before except that I added a round of single stitches to the centre of each star, like little spokes, to help secure these diagonally cut pieces for long term durability.

This afternoon Master T served patiently as quilt holder in front of my favourite local Moreton Bay fig tree which is close to the centre of town, while appearing to be a million miles away in the domain of gnomes and hobbits.....Wishing everyone a Peaceful Night! I know I sleep a little easier knowing Peaceful Night now has the happy ending it deserves.

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