Monthly Archives: March 2017

Birthday treats

I was delighted then a bit concerned when I useuser-birthday-5656109189693440.4-hpd a popular search engine on my birthday and noticed an interesting doodle.
It was specially for me! So my date of birth is not a big secret after all. Check it out on your big day.

A little while after the exact date the occasion was celebrated with a delicious sushi train dinner at Sakura Kaiten Sushi in Little Collins Street. Then off to see The Book of Mormon at the Princess Theatre. This treat was courtesy of my son, and it was for his sister’s birthday too which was earlier in the year.

Lots of short back ‘n sides haircuts along with white shirts and black pants were in the crowd. After much discussion we decided the two sitting in front of us were fans in costume, the hipster beard was the giveaway along with the cocktails at interval.IMG_5568

Waiting for curtain up on a fantastic show that lived up to all the hype. The only negative was the laughter was so long and the singing so loud at times it was hard to catch the clever lyrics.


Embroiderers and Golden Textures

The broad skies that open up after crossing the Great Dividing Range are exhilarating. Endless blue and at this time of year golden stubble in the vast paddocks. Sunday was the perfect day for a long drive through Central Victoria, hot, still and little traffic on the roads.

First stop was the Castlemaine Golf Course, venue of Colour Magic an exhibition of the Castlemaine Branch of the Embroiderers Guild of Victoria. The setting was enough to make you want to take up golf, on this course more than a leisurely walk. At the entry was a work basket and chair created by Castlemaine Floristry. No photographs of the work inside was allowed, so just a general shot showing the retrospective display of Beverley Downie’s wonderful work across many techniques and genres. I particularly liked the crewel work on the stomacher of a replica 18th century dress and her landscapes of the local area in mixed media.

I was able to find Denise, the maker of the stunning cauliflower pincushion who gave her permission for a photo. It is a design by Julie Kniedl published in Inspirations, and according to Denise not for the faint hearted.

The second exhibition for the day was in Maryborough. I had two choices of road, north through Maldon and Baringhup or south around the back of Cairn Curran the vast reservoir formed by the damming of the Loddon River. I chose the second route along the Pyrenees Highway. This took me across the Moolort Plains, a beautiful almost treeless basalt plain dotted with wetlands and old bluestone buildings.

romulus-download2If you have seen the film Romulus My Father you will know this country.

IMG_5520I turned off at Joyce’s Creek where the now closed Maryborough-Castlemaine  Line crosses the upper reaches of Cairn Curran to take a few photos of the landscape.

IMG_5501Looking back down the side road to the water with Mt Franklin in the distance.

The Biennial Golden Textures exhibition in at the Central Goldfields Art Gallery is curated by Maryborough local Jenny Bacon and features many significant Australian textile artists. In a side room were a few works from the permanent collection including these two by Jenny Bacon.

No visit to this town is complete without viewing the station.  It is registered by the Heritage Council of Victoria and the plaque states it was built for the Victorian Railways between 1890 and 1892. The station’s distinctive design and scale make it one of the most outstanding railway stations in Victoria. The cyclists were pleased with themselves for reaching their destination.

I then took to the road again, back to the Moolart Plains then cross country heading south towards a plume of smoke in the distance. The back roads took me through wheat farms and into volcano country with Mt Mooroobyle to my right and Mt Kooroocheang to the left.  The smoke turned out to be a small stubble burn off, attended by a fire tanker.

Smeaton is a town dominated by poplars but I found the memorial drive at Kingston far more impressive, so did a little research when back home. Untitled1The 2.9 km avenue of 285 trees, mostly Dutch Elms, stretches from tiny town to the Midland Highway. It was planted for the Creswick Shire in 1918 and commemorates with individual trees the men and women from the shire who enlisted in WWI . Such plantings were encouraged by the State Recruiting Committee in 1917 so that intending recruits could be assured their name would be memorialised in an Avenue of Honour. 218 avenues were planted to commemorate WWI in Victoria.

On I drove, to Dean then through potato country, over the Western Highway and finally to Lal Lal and a friendly welcome and a delicious cup of tea.

The road home was not nearly so interesting, but it was a lot quicker.





Ever wondered what happened to the helium balloon after you accidentally let go of it? This morning I discovered Florrie resting on a small shrub next to the steps as I came in from fetching the morning paper.IMG_5477

It had been quite windy yesterday, so she could have spent time between the weekend and now stuck in the branches of the tree just above where she now rests.

After a little research I think by they way she has torn that it was the thinning atmosphere as she rose higher and higher that caused her demise.


Balloon burst at approx 91,470 ft over San Francisco

Reminds me of the whole school balloon launches that were popular about 30 years ago. Sent off with optimism that the attached postcards would be returned after the seeds secured to them were planted. Some did come back, mainly from farmers in Gippsland happy to oblige the kids. Then there was the card that came all the way from Europe via the travelling friend of one of the teachers.

Since then we have learned of the harm all that stray latex and string brings to the environment, particularly sea creatures, so no more balloon launches.

Florrie tried a new life as a kitten toy, with limited success.


Friday Update

Thinking like Vireya that Florrie came from a significant birthday celebration, I did some searching. Instead of a centenarian I discovered that Florrie is the name of a new venture located in High St, Armadale about 50 min away by road. The business sells a fancy doll and also hosts birthday parties. They sent me a lovely reply to my email.

I am very sorry to report that one of your balloons has flown all the way to Warranwood. It did not survive the trip.


Hi Jeanette,
That balloon sounds like it certainly went on an adventure! I am sure some little girl was very upset when it slipped from her grasp and began it’s journey.
Best wishes

Melody Sole
Head of Marketing and Online

Numerate Nelumbo

The lotus plant that grows in a water bowl is beginning to die down, it will be back again next summer. In a bit of a tidy up I cut off the seedpods and look at how they have grown. None are missing, this in the entire harvest.IMG_5401

Before you say anything, the one with five seeds did not have a sixth one, that flower did not form completely.

Taking to the hills

Another hot day, so I headed to the Monbulk Quilt Show in the Dandenong Ranges. It is a great community event with a market outside including a very tempting CFA Sausage Sizzle.

The show is organised by a group centred around Mrs Martin’s Quilt Shop with all proceeds going to the Monbulk CFA. There was a wide variety of quilts on show, lots based on block of the month and other kits. Most were made for family members or just because.

img_5351This simple but striking blue and white quilt Anne and Carole’s Weekend Quilt is from a pattern by Maybeth Oxenrider.

I’ve chosen some of the many animals to be found featured or hiding in corners to give you a taste of the show. Perhaps because it is so close to 1 March, there are plenty of rabbits.

After leaving Monbulk I drove along the winding roads over and down the mountain, past many gardens, nurseries and tea rooms. Again I resisted all temptation and instead enjoyed the cool serenity of the tall trees and ferns as I drove steadily on and did not stop until I reached Bayswater.

There a small sign among the yarn bombed trees pointed me in the right direction. The 43rd Knox Art Show included a afternoon tea, a small quilt display and a few shops.


And it was here that I finally gave in and bought delicious freshly cooked scones and some equally delicious threads from new ranges by Cottage Garden Threads from the lovely Marilyn of Patchwork Teahouse.


You probably worked it out, the typography range are named using the NATO Phonetic Alphabet.

A hot day in Cranbourne

img_5275The sign says it all. Once again Leesa Chandler has brought together quilts and fabric to celebrate Australian flora at the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne.

This year a bag challenge was added to the mix. Participants used the same pattern shape and make a bag of any size with an Australian theme.  The lively Blue Wren was by Sue de Vanny and Lauren of Ballarat had some fun with her Playschool’s Humpty visits Uluru. The one I would happily take home Coober Pedy Opals made by Chris of Eltham.


Sue de Vanny is the featured textile artist, her appliqué technique really brings the subject to life. You may remember the remarkable quilt Tram Route No 10 which won viewer’s choice at  AQC in 2014.

Beginning True received an Honourable Mention at the same exhibition in 2015.

Here are some of other quilts that caught my eye in the downstair display, but were difficult to photograph because of the sun streaming in the windows.

The exhibition is open every day until March 5.

Even though the day was extremely hot I went out into the gardens looking for some planting ideas. The red sand garden seems to go on forever and the tractor just added to that vast vista.img_5306

The Swamp Lily Crinum pedunculaqum had a subtle perfume and is now on my planting list. I didn’t venture away from the main path after passing this sign, so the lily is the only new idea from today’s visit.


Although I really like weeping trees, these two Acacia cultriformis ‘Cascade’ are a bit extreme.
After seeing the prop on the venerable Grass Tree Xanthorrhoea johnsonii, I don’t feel so bad about the post holding up a branch of my weeping acacia. The foliage associated with the supported branch is at the top left. Before the branch was hefted up by two of the burly tree loppers allowing me to put the post underneath, the leaves were scraping the ground and the path below was blocked.

img_5318On the way out I spotted a wallaby enjoying the deep shade, it is usually Southern Brown bandicoots that can bee seen under the casuarina beside the path to the carpark, but not this day.

Finally, in the middle of nowhere, also known as Bullarto Rd West, some naked ladies. I always got these confused with Nerines, but thanks to Weednstitch I can correctly identify the Amaryllis belladonna growing beside the road.img_5321