Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Quilting a bit

I'm quilting the enormous scrappy one that I don't really like. Someone said it looked a bit christmassy so I'm doing a kind of modified holly overall pattern thing. It's meant to look like this but I'm not sure if I'm achieving it.

Such a wrestle to get the damn thing through my machine. Sometimes I really enjoy doing an allover pattern on a big quilt - it's nice and therapeutic and looks good. And sometimes it just irritates me and I wish it could be finished quicker ... this is an irritable one. The gaps between the quilting lines get wider and wider as I try to get it done faster. That's not a problem though, I don't like super dense quilting on a bed quilt.

I spent an hour slicing the leftover fabric into strips, which always feels good, so now I might just sew up some little blocks with them. I don't have a project at the moment that I'm burning to work on and it feels quite good, I might just potter for a while.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Merry Christmas

We had a lovely quiet Christmas - just the four of us (and the cat, the dog, and two rabbits) - hanging out at home, opening presents and eating yummy food. It rained on and off during the day so it was lovely and cool ... in the afternoon we went for a walk (not the cat, or the rabbits). Christmas Eve we went into town and looked at the lights.

It's a massive LED light display in the main pedestrian plaza that you can walk through. There were tons of people around just strolling (the shops had shut by then). There's also a carousel in the middle of town that is mostly quite neglected and sad looking but for once it was great; full with people and kids and all lit up. Like a carousel is supposed to be.

The dog is fitting into the family beautifully - she is very calm and seems happy to be with us. She loves food and sleeping, especially at someone's feet. She's decided my husband is pack leader (humph) and follows him around dotingly.

The cat is still absolutely outraged and has taken a couple of swipes; but the level of fury is diminishing, so we're hoping they reach some kind of detente. Mishka (the dog) completely avoids Zelda (the cat) whenever possible, but sometimes she gets ambushed from a sofa arm.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

So much going on

What is the perfect thing to do two days before Christmas? How about adopting a dog? Because we've got nothing else to worry about ... but sometimes you just have to roll with it. We have been talking about getting a dog for ages now, and had looked at a number of rescue ones, and then the right one came along, so we just went for it. Here is Mishka.

She is a seven year old German spitz (American Eskimo Dog I think in the US) and is cute, calm, middle-aged and friendly. It's only the first afternoon but so far so good (we'll see how she sleeps!). We're trying to ignore her this afternoon so she knows that we are the top dogs, and she seems to be settling in well. Anyway it has given us something to think about today .... we've never had a dog before so it's a steep learning curve of food and toys and beds and leads.

I will let you know how it goes ... she comes with a 14 day return policy. Just saying.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Time for one last trip

So this week was a very quick trip to Suva - the capital of Fiji. I had been to Nadi, but never to Suva, so it was very interesting to see what it was like. It's the big smoke of the South Pacific, and more of a commercial and government hub than a tourist town. But of course very beautiful with a harbour and perfect south sea island hills. I love pointy hills.

We went to the museum one day after work which was great - this is an ocean going canoe. An amazing feat of engineering but bugger that! Going to sea in something so precarious, even if you knew what you were doing. Hard to imagine they colonised thousands of miles of ocean.

This is a really useful trip and I'm glad we managed to squeeze it in before Christmas - but I'm looking forward to a weekend at home! (Remind me of this at the end of January when I have cabin fever and about to throttle the children).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I feel like I should put up some pictures of Palau because it was just so amazingly beautiful. We did get to go on a boat trip the day that the government offices were closed, and it was incredible. I'm no stranger to tropical seas, but the rock islands are beautiful, the snorkelling was awesome, and the jelly fish lake was mind blowing!!!

This is a rock island - there are hundreds of these little islands, where the sea has eroded the base and they look like they're floating. We stopped at a couple of spots to snorkel and I have seldom seen such a variety and number of fish.

This is where we stopped for lunch. There aren't many beaches among the islands so we shared it with a lot of other tour boats - but it didn't feel crowded. I just think good luck to Palau if they can get the tourist dollar ... I see so many places that would be so attractive to tourists if only there was decent access and infrastructure - it's nice to see a place milking it! And protecting their environment at the same time - they know that it's the key attraction and the Palauans seem to be very careful about maintaining what they have.

Picture: David Kirkland/HotSpot

We went to jellyfish lake which is absolutely incredible. A freshwater lake in the middle of a large rock island, that has about 20 million jellyfish (allegedly) which have evolved not to sting, as they have no predators. It's a beautiful setting and, swear to god, it's just like this photo. I didn't take any photos because I only had my iphone, but we were snorkelling away through an absolute soup of jellies. And they are adorable! Big ones sort of sedately go past, and the little ones pump / squish themselves past at twice the rate. You're not meant to touch them but I figured a few gentle pats on the squishy bits wouldn't hurt. It's a national park and the Palaun government charges $100 US per person for a permit to visit ... but it was worth it.

And then we went to one place between two rock islands which has a sea floor of white mud (with alleged beauty benefits, sure ....) So we caked ourselves in mud then jumped overboard and washed it all off. It was magic. The wind got up at the end of the day so we had a rough ride back to Koror where we stayed, but it was a great day. And, thanks to the miracle of USA over the counter medication, (Australia is very narrow minded about what its citizens can buy) I found a motion sickness pill that actually stopped me being sea sick! I bought a big big pack.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Finally, some gardening

We've had a lot of rain in the last few weeks and the garden is getting out of control. Better than the usual December dust bowl but we spent a happy few hours this morning chopping. Well, I spent a happy morning chopping, pruning, dead-heading and trimming ... my husband planted new things. We each work to our strengths. I like to see a wheelbarrow full of no-longer-living plant material. Is this wrong?

The roses have been beautiful this year so I'm carefully dead heading them to try and encourage them to keep flowering. They tend to go into shock when the real heat arrives, but so far so good. This orange one in particular has been gorgeous. I am in charge of dead heading and tip pruning because I have a System ... and if anyone criticises it I tell them it was taught to me by My Dear Departed Mother and she grew beautiful roses but feel free to tell me how I'm doing it wrong. That tends to end the conversation.

We also have a plum crop this year! First time for a few years. The king parrots and crimson rosellas like to work their way along the tree when it flowers, eating the blossoms. So we don't usually get fruit, but this year they must have forgotten about it and we have masses of plums. However the parrots are now having a go at them (one bite, then chuck it on the ground, they are such mongrels) so we're going to try and pick as much as we can, even if they're not perfectly ripe they'll ripen off the tree.

This is what is still left to plant. Someone (not me) has a certain fondness for ordering plants on-line and may, perhaps, sometimes, when left to himself, get a bit over enthusiastic. This is mostly pig face which we have had success with - beautiful carpets of flowers and we can't seem to kill it - always a plus.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A scrappy one

So this is what my scrap blocks I was working on a while ago turned into. I'm not super enthralled with it - I made it lots of colours but with an emphasis on green and cream - and I don't think it is either lively or coherent enough. But I will quilt it in something random and use it to cover a bed....

Other than that the week is passing by in a peaceable fashion. Some huge summer storms but we think we have the roof leak fixed now. Famous last words! The only roof we've had that didn't leak was our first house - a little square brick cottage built in the 1950s and solid as a rock. The next two were 1970s with fancy roof lines and they leak like buggery. I spent yesterday racing around on various errands but I feel as though I've got it slightly under control after being away. Not Christmas though, that's not even close to under control. But who needs presents? No-one in my family.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Still running around

I made it back home and I've been enjoying it all week,  although I feel like I haven't really stopped. I got back Monday night, went into work Tuesday then to the carols by candlelight at the local shops. The school choir were singing - including number two son - it's not really by candlelight because it doesn't get dark until nearly 9 at this time of year.

Wednesday I don't work so unpacked and did four hundred loads of washing then worked Thursday and Friday before loading the boys into the car and going down the beach. It was very nice to be back at our patch of the Pacific Ocean ... although it rained and rained and rained on Saturday. Not the usual evening storm but proper set-in rain. We went for a walk during the only clear spell and it didn't last long.

Luckily Sunday was lovely weather and we had a couple of good swims before coming back. So with this kind of week there is not much going on in my sewing room at the moment. I am staring at this pile of red and blue drunkard's path blocks I did before I went away. I don't like them much, but I will keep sewing them together and see where it takes me.