Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Egrets visiting

I took this photo when we were walking at the Botanic Gardens yesterday. I hope when you click on it, the photo enlarges so you can see all the white dots are egrets coming in to next in the tree overnight. There are also quite a few cormorants. They are there all year round, but the huge number of egrets are only there in the winter months. All my bird books make no mention of egrets being migratory, but these ones vanish in the hot, humid summer months. They are lovely to watch late in the afternoon as great clouds of them swoop and swirl before coming to rest in the Albizia trees.

I have sneaked away to make this post, I have a huge mess in my studio/sewing room - I have got to the point where I have no room to move and can't find anything, so I decided to clean up!!! Now I have a bigger mess, but I have found some interesting stuff I had quite forgotten about. I really need a Tardis, but will have to make do with some re-organisation. A few more things may sneak into the next room I think, I am gradually taking that one over as well. Trouble is, when the family comes to stay, that just means I have to find safe homes for even more stuff as the two rooms become bedrooms for a family of six!! I do love having them to stay though, the grandkids grow up so fast and we don't see nearly enough of them. Everyone leads such busy lives these days that even a 5 hour drive is too far to do more than twice a year.

Glorious witner weather here, sun shining brightly and not too much wind. Might be fairly cold tonight, but not like the cold down south - I saw where there was snow in Lindfield in Sydney yesterday, also on the granite belt in Queensland - I am glad I live up here.

Oh well, back to the sorting, then I can start playing with some of the goodies I have found.

Saturday, 26 July 2008


I have managed to upload these images in the wrong order, and I don't have time to fix them up. We have a thunbergia mysorensis creeper growing in our garden, it has these lovely long racemes of flowers and the sunbirds love them. There are always at least three or four flitting around when the flowers are out. The males have a beautiful deep blue breast. They are nesting in our next door neighbour's garden with the sort of nest pictured above. The birds are completely fearless and will build their nests right where people walk! At Bill's workplace years ago a pair built right over the grinding wheel in the engineering workshop - the sparks didn't worry them, and when the place was shut up at night they just folded their wings as the flew at speed through the wire mesh doors!

Today has been a beautiful sunny winter day here, quite cool (for us), really lovely after the miserable weather earlier in the week - the rain was welcome though. Great day to be in the garden, especially while the soil is still damp. I didn't have nearly long enough.
I have been playing around with making some paper fabric from Beryl Taylor's instructions, I want to make some more bookmarks and spectacle cases, as nearly all my souvenirs have been sold. I have brought home lots of ideas from the forum, should have some to show soon.
I am off to watch Funnyface on ABC2 while Bill watches the rugby upstairs, I am not a fan of football of any kind and would prefer to knit somewhere else !

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Lifting trees and making paper

Last Saturday the Garden Friends had a fascinating excursion to a local nursery which grows trees to sell all up and down the east coast of Australia. They have about 10,000 trees growing on the property and they lift each one out of the ground every year, then replant it in the same hole with extra fertiliser. This machine pictured is lifting an 8 metre high hoop pine tree which was then replanted. That is as big as the nursery lets the trees grow before they are sold, ideally they prefer to sell to landscapers when the trees are between 3 - 5 metres tall. When the trees are lifted a wire cage is placed in the ground and lined with hessian, then the tree is placed back in on top of this. When the tree reaches its new home, the cage and all is planted.

Sometimes the landscapers decide they don't want the trees immediately, even when they have ordered them - these trees below are waiting for the landscaper to say he is ready. They can live like that quite happily for a month or two, provided it is not the middle of summer. All very fascinating.

After this excursion was out of the way, and another concert the next day, I finally had time to make a silk paper book cover for my son's partner who has a birthday this weekend. Iwas getting a bit panicked as I had to have it sent by Monday to make sure it reached Canberra by Friday.
I am pretty chuffed with this piece of silk which I dyed using Landscape dyes bought when I was at the Wrapt in Rocky Forum. I had never heard of them before Jacinta showed us what to do with them. I only took 20 minutes from starting to measure out the powder to hanging the silk on the line to dry!!! I used the microwave and it worked beautifully. I can't wait to do some more experimenting.
I hope this book cover fits, Nat has a ring binder she is keeping all the bits and pieces in while they are planning a wedding for the end of next year - this should look a bit more attractive than a black cover I hope. Again I used some techniques I learnt at the Forum, but I should have taken more extensive notes, or done more practising as soon as I came home............sound familiar to anyone?

We are in the middle of another large rain event here, absolutely revolting weather to be outside in, and unfortunately I had to make three trips out today, but we are now safely tucked up inside for the night. There were several predictions about this rain, from several long range forecasters in different parts of the country and also from the weather bureau, with estimates ranging from 50 - 500 mm for the amount of rain. I can tell you, many of the flood victims from last February have been packing death, hoping the same thing is not happening all over again. So far, we have had about 60 mm I think, but over a 24 hour period. Now we have a strong wind as well, but the garden is loving it.
I am off to bed to snuggle down and listen to the rain from there.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Some old stuff

I still don't seem to have anything new to show so thought I would post a picture or two of this bag I made for my sister some time ago. I had a lot of fun making this - a base of transfer dyed panne velvet covered with painted vleisofix and chunky threads, then covered with black chiffon and fused. I painted some xpandaprint over some areas, heated it and painted with halo blue green lumiere - I love that colour. I had previously made a flower button from shrinkit plastic (about my only success with that stuff) and attached some twisted cords for the strap.

I have got as far as choosing some silk rovings to make some silk paper tomorrow as the start of a book cover for my future daughter-in-law who has a birthday at the end of next week. I will need to work a bit faster than I usually seem to or I won't get it there in time.

My eye is feeling really good today, much to my surprise, perhaps the doctor is getting lots more practice! He took nearly twice as long to infuse the injection this time, I think that is the reason I have had no headaches or after effects at all. I am still not supposed to do anything much for a while after so I took the opportunity last night of watching Sabrina, the lovely old Audrey Hepburn movie which I had recorded last Saturday. I know ABC2 is showing all her old films over the next few weeks, what an indulgence that will be.

We have had a drizzly sort of a day here, hardly any decent rain, just a nuisance. The minimum temperatures have been a record for July - because they are so high! The minimum temp a couple of nights ago was 21 degrees. Last night was 20 minimum and today was 20 maximum, no change for 24 hours!!!

Time for bed, perhaps more to show tomorrow.

Monday, 14 July 2008

One spoilt dog

I think we have the most spoilt blue heeler in Mackay. Here is Jack outside, waiting for me to throw the ball for him - he never ever gets tired of chasing the ball - and the next photo is of Jack curled up asleep on the beanbags in the office!!!

He definitely likes his creature comforts, loves the cold weather and hates the heat. He barks at the door in the summer to be let into the airconditioned office, doesn't like coming downstairs at all, unless there is food involved, then that is a different story. We wouldn't be without him though, he is wonderful company, wouldn't hurt anyone, but looks and sounds very fierce, so that is still effective.

This next picture is a closeup of the flowers on one of the brachychiton bidwilii (little Kurrajong) trees in the Botanic Gardens. The tree doesn't look much but the flowers are spectacular.

This would probably be a good exercise for my online journal to work out how to translate it into stitch. I am enjoying reading about the lessons, but haven't achieved anything much to show yet.
At least I have finally caught up with all the paperwork which accumulated while I was away - or I think I have, there may still be a few bits lurking. Oh help, as I type this I realise I haven't entered any of the indexed stories from the local paper. I put these onto a computer file which I send to the Local History section of our library at the end of each month. Then researchers have access to the search-online facility to know which papers they need to access. Interesting, but time consuming too.
I probably won't post tomorrow night as I have just discovered I need to have another round of Lucentis injections in my eye, starting tomorrow. It sounds much worse than it really is, but I sometimes end up with bubbles in my eye which take a couple of days to disperse and look like big black movable blobs. I have macular degeneration, which has turned wet in my left eye and is apparently still leaking. Thank goodness, these days something can be done to stop the leakage, and occasionally, even restore some of the lost eyesight. I had never even heard of the condition when I was first diagnosed about 6 years ago, but now you read about it all the time.
I am very glad to be able to report that my new computer is running very well, and I am finally learning where all the buttons are on the different programmes. I guess it is really just laziness, we get used to one system, then it all changes overnight. I still can't do too much with my mobile phone though!! And the controller for the DVD recorder is hopeless, why can't we have simple gizmos without all the so called wonderful extras which I can't work and don't want anyway.

Thursday, 10 July 2008


Oh dear, I have just realised that the first post I made after I returned home, I posted to the wrong blogsite - the one I used a couple of times when I was having so much trouble with my old computer. If you want to see lots of photos from the show and tell day at Wrapt in Rocky go to Tropical Robin

I hope you enjoy the photos, there was some wonderful work.

Goodies from swap

This lovely doll brooch was waiting for me when I returned from Rockhampton. She is part of a swap with Susan Shepherd which she organised when she was feeling blue quite some time ago. She also sent the decorated star below


and som goodies for me to use. Thank you very much Susan.

I have been out and about today, beautiful sunny day, but a cool breeze blowing. By the time I collected books, did my stint in the history section of the library this morning and then delivered books and did grocery shopping this afternoon, I wasn't sure if I was hot or cold. I did manage to book some seats for a series of concerts though while I was out. Opera Queensland is visiting in a few weeks with The Magic Flute, always lovely. Then the winner of the Sydney Piano Competition will be here at the end of August, closely followed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. We live in a provincial city, but we do still manage to have some quality artists playing in our entertainment centre. They all tend to come fairly close together in the cooler months which is a shame.
That's all for today, I need to get the dinner, then I want to watch a DVD with last week's episodes of Silent Witness and The Spooks - before tomorrow night's episodes come on. I hope to start on another wild woman for Dale's swap while I am watching. I will probably end up just knitting socks while Spooks is on, I need to concentrate fairly hard on that one.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

More from Forum

Just a couple more photos tonight. This is the front and back cover pushed together of the little alchemy book I made in the class with Jacinta. We fused tissue paper onto some felt then fused bits and pieces of fabric, threads, screwed up pieces of paper, foil - anything we liked to give some texture, then stitched everything down and painted over the top with some watercolours. Then stitched again, quite heavily so nothing stuck up too much. Added some metallic paints after that. I loved the end result.
I should have had a window in the front cover with some etched velvet behind it, but I stuffed that up, so redesigned with another insert and some glued on beads - everything becomes a design element then doesn't it!!!

These are some of the folded pages from inside the book. I can't take credit for the lovely look. Jacinta did them for me as she was demonstrating watercolour painting tips to us all. I love the end result, and will eventually attach some small doodads or something similar to each page.
I still haven't managed to sort and clean up my goodies from the Forum, and it is most frustrating, especially as I want to start on my online design journal class. I have downloaded two weeks of it and I can see that week three will arrive before I have started on the other two! While I would love just to ignore everything else and just play, this is a busy time of the year for both the Botanic Gardens and The University Library Society with which I am heavily involved. We are holding a large secondhand book sale at the University in about a month's time, I have to collect about seven boxes of books tomorrow. The good thing about sorting the books is that the sorters get first pick and sometimes some real gems come in.
Winter has arrived here at last, quite cold for us - expecting to go down to about 5 degrees tomorrow morning, but should warm up to about 19 maximum. I love it like that, but my husband absolutely hates it, and lets everyone know! Our blue heeler cattle dog just loves this weather and becomes so energetic, he thinks he is a young pup again I think.
I am off to bed, it's getting late and I have an early start tomorrow.