Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Beating the heat

Spring has skipped on by and it feels like summer is well and truly here, with temps in the low 30s C(80s F), so I've been walking Mirrhi very early, heading out as the sun lifts over the rim, and then working in the courtyard garden until the sun moves up higher and eats away the shade and it's too hot to stay out there.

I've been working on this patch of dirt next to the newly paved area, and under a very old, tatty pine tree.  I've since removed the little fence, it made the garden look like a cemetery plot!




Edged with stones instead....much better.


I found that nice old piece of wood on a vacant lot while walking Mirrhi, so lugged it home,  I like how it looks here, with an agave and a pretty nemesia tucked behind it.
Up close....rocks, wood chips and seedlings.
From the top of the driveway side

I've started to plant it up with heat loving colour.......this area gets sun all day from the north and then the west.......so there's cineraria, pig face and verbena here.  I'll continue this combination around to the other side as well.   Bromeliads will get some shade tucked against the tree trunk.  It's all heavily mulched with bark chips to keep moisture in and the roots cool.  I picked up a pair of big cement pots at the tip shop for $5, one is painted that soft orange, and the other's waiting to be painted. It'll go on the other side of the path, and they'll be planted up with blue/petunias and blue lobelia.

I have a day of sewing planned now, so until next time.............












Saturday, September 16, 2017

ScrapHappy September


...........with two lots of scrappiness this month


Firstly, red and blue scraps, lots of handstitching and buttons to finish.........

  You might remember back in June I posted about the quiltlet I made with scraps I found after the flood, here.  I had put the quilt in the Murwillumbah Art Trail "Big Flood" Exhibition and a friend who saw it wanted to buy it, but I wasn't keen to sell.  She was setting up a new studio for her paper and print making as hers had all been washed away, and so she asked me if I'd make her something 'nice and bright' to go in it.  She said she loved reds and blues, but would leave the rest to me.


And this is the result, cheery red and blue bunting.


***
And secondly, woolly scraps

Ooh what a mess
 I turned some of those tangled bits into these tiny Christmas stockings. They'll be going to Knitting for Brisbane's Needy, who are asked for thousands of these every year by charity organisations around Queensland.  They're given out at Christmas lunches, with a few sweets inside, to homeless people and those doing it tough.  For some, it might be the only gift they receive.
Waiting to be sewn up


Check out the links on Kate's blog  to see what others have done with their scraps this month.

......till next time

Update to add these links in case anyone wants to knit little stockings.  It's a free Jean Greenhow pattern here.  Scroll down past about 8 other patterns.
And here's some info about Knitting for Brisbane's Needy.  I'm doing these stockings for a  Knit4Charities charity of the month, but you could make them and send directly to K4BN, the address is on the contacts page of their website.  Or you could find a local group to make them for. 
Happy knitting. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

New beginnings

..............in the garden

I've been absent from here, mainly due to illness,but also spending a lot of time reclaiming my garden.  The flood waters left soil behind that's contaminated very badly with e coli, heavy metals and chemicals, and although I've been scrupulously careful, I've ended up with nasty bugs and infections that linger on for ages.  It's taken me ages to write this post, it was harder than I realised to go back and look at the photos from the flood.

So, there's lots of *then* and *now* pics, and they pretty much speak for themselves.

This is what greeted me the next day when the water had started to go down .....fences gone, debris and mud piled up everywhere...... 



That black and white splodge is a magpie, flying low, not stuck there.  My roses are under there somewhere!

They haven't suffered from being drowned under water, mud and debris though and are looking beautiful.


And now,  with the debris and mud cleared away, new fences up and the beginnings of a garden it's looking much better .... 

Still a way to go replacing all the garden but bit by bit it's happening
***

The side of the house has gone from looking like this


To this 

Looking a lot better

New paving put down, using bricks that surfaced all over the yard when the water was gone.  No idea if they were already  buried in the yard, or were washed in from elsewhere.
I've put woodchips right along here, not wanting to do a lot of in-ground planting, but also to give Mirrhi her own place to sleep in the garden, and so she can see what's going on through the fence and talk to passers-by, without getting into trouble for being on the garden

A work in progress......photo is dark, I took it at 5.30 this morning

This is looking back towards the new courtyard, it ended up looking worse than this, as it's where all the mud that was cleared from the paths and under the house was shovelled to.  That tangled mess of green to the left was my greenhouse, full of seed trays and seedlings ready to be planted. 

 

The mud set like cement and was impossible to dig and 60cm to1 mtr (2-3ft) deep in places
A man driving past one day saw me struggling to move it, went home and got his shovel and pick, and came back and dug it all out for me.  

He came back the next day with these snapdragons his wife had bought for me.  The generosity of strangers after the flood was heartwarming and their acts of kindness just wonderful.

A strangers kindness brought the beginnings of colour and life back to my garden
And here's that 'mud heap" today



So that's it, the beginnings of the tale of reclamation and growth.

I'll be back tomorrow to join  Kate and others for ScrapHappy Day.

See you then.........





Sunday, July 23, 2017

Days away and back again


The 4 days away in Caloundra were wonderful. What a busy town, and such a lot going on,   particularly on a Sunday, when the main street was blocked off, and a great variety market stalls were set up, mainly food and arts and crafts, and all manner of interesting passers-by.





We were staying quite close to the beach, so escaped there as much as we could, either enjoying the boardwalk, the rocks and the sand, or having a coffee close by at one of the little cafes and eateries off the boardwalk.  We watched people braver than us swimming and fishing......although the weather was quite warm, the water was freezing. I ventured in just once, paddling my feet, and that was quite enough.











Away from the beach,  we found this pretty garden area to wander through on our way to the art gallery, which had already closed and we missed visiting by about 5 minutes.  It was worth the walk though, with it's sculptures with coloured lights embedded, and the tactile old tree trunks.  We spent ages looking at this amazing wall mural, with it's many interesting and intriguing details. 







There were cloudy sulky sunrises, not like the ones I'm used to, where the sun rises up from the rim, hot and fiery and ready to go.



and then the vibrant glow as the clouds cleared a little and the taller buildings across the way were painted gold
  

This balcony looking out to sea was a favourite place to sit and drink tea, and while there, I managed to cast on and knit about three quarters of a premmie beanie.


The sunsets were worth watching too.......clouds away to the south, choofing along towards The Glasshouse Mountains..........


and a fiery glow to the west


We had a few stops on the way back.......Woodford for breakfast, Somerset Dam for lunch...where we'd planned to have lunch on the way there, but as we got lost coming out of Ipswich  there was no time to stop.  



This is Peak Crossing, between Ipswich and Beaudesert, where we had afternoon tea.  This dry countryside was such a contrast to our vibrant and green sub-tropics.

 And that's it, home again........and no prizes for guessing what I've been doing since I came home!


We have a neighbourhood picnic today, one of the initiatives that has sprung up following the flood.  There was such a strong sense of community then, with people helping out in any way they could, with cleaning up, making meals and donating freely to those who'd lost everything, that many have been keen to keep that spirit going and get to know our neighbours better.  I burnt the eggs I was boiling to make sandwiches to share for lunch while I was writing this, so I'd better get away and organise something else.

......till next time.