my life in the land down under


Quilting Lesson #2

I attended my second quilting lesson last week, and find it hard to believe I’m a third of the way through the course already!

In Lesson #2 we were challenged to cut and sew straight lines. You have to be pretty exact with cutting to size and sewing 1/4″ seams. Its funny how at least one other member of my small class also has problems figuring out which way round to place the ruler and cutter on the material. I think its a spatial thing – the same problem women supposedly have with maps, where you have to turn the map around to face the way you’re travelling… 😉 Anyway I think I finally have it worked out. Just as well, as there is a lot more cutting to be done.

This week our tutor likened the blocks to a jigsaw puzzle, as you have to sew the pieces together in a certain order so they fit together correctly.

After some sewing homework, here is Block #1 – in three stages. There are some imperfections, which I won’t point out – suffice to say I’m learning from my mistakes! 🙂

Each of the twelve blocks is unique, but the borders and ‘squaring-up’ borders will be the same for each one.

Quilt Block #1

Quilt Block #1 with borders

Block #1 complete with squaring-up borders


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Bad Day for Butterflies

Not a good day for butterflies today…

Two butterflies successfully emerged from their chrysalises and we expect to release them outside tomorrow, weather permitting.

However the third to emerge had difficulty holding onto its chrysalis, fell, and although rescued immediately, we found one of its larger wings had not developed properly (in the chrysalis?). This one will not be flying away either.

We had brought a caterpillar inside last night that had formed into a pre-chrysalis ‘J’. We were expecting low temperatures overnight, and thought it might not survive if we left it out. It formed a chrysalis today but is very misshapen.  Not a good look.

And another caterpillar ‘J’ we attempted to bring inside today, fell from its branch while being moved.

I’m not sure if we are having more problems because we are seeing more chrysalises than last year, or because its late in the season and getting too cold for them to develop properly through all the stages. Either way its sad. 😦

On a brighter note, here’s one from earlier in the season.

Monarch Butterfly (Male)

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I had wanted to sew my Made with Love quilt as much like the original as possible. I’m using the same colour scheme (but that’s because I like it, and thought the hearts needed to be red). However my eyes are being opened to lots of other colour possibilities – each one of us in the class is using a different palette and they all look great.

I had also planned to use the same stitched words as the original – it hadn’t occurred to me to change them. Then Vivianne – the friend who is doing the class with me – shared how she was choosing different words, words that meant something personally to her husband and herself. I started to think about this. What words could I use that were more meaningful to John & I on our quilt? I read the verses in 1 Corinthians 13 (the ‘love chapter’) about what love is, and the verses in Galatians 5 which talk about the Fruit of the Spirit. How could I incorporate some of these into the quilt? I also talked with John about some other (positive!) words that either described our relationship now, or were qualities we aimed for. We have been married almost seven years, and it hasn’t always been easy.

One of the qualities we have, and would like to have increase in our relationship is a sense of humour. The first block ‘Rapture’ then became ‘Laughter’.

When I took my first stitched piece to last week’s class, I joked with the tutor that it was a good choice for the first word, as that’s what she would do when she saw the quality of my stitching! I really didn’t think it was very good – I could see all the crooked stitches – but had resisted the temptation to unpick it and start over. Our tutor looked surprised, and both she and my fellow quilters were complimentary about my piece. Maybe it was better than I thought!

Positive and encouraging words are important. We all need to give & receive them. 🙂

First Word

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Butterfly Release

An update on the monarch situation at our house:

All but one of the eight chrysalises we had inside have now ‘hatched’, most of them successfully. If possible, we have been watching them more carefully now when we know the butterflies are due to emerge, as several have fallen from their chrysalises.  If not rescued quickly their wings don’t form properly and they won’t survive.

On Friday, a chrysalis hatched that had been slightly damaged.  We had noticed a small split low on one side a while ago, and I wasn’t sure what effect it would have on the butterfly developing inside. The butterfly emerged and fell, and thankfully we were there to help it, as we later discovered one of its front legs was deformed and of no use to it. Other than that it seemed fine. When its wings were fully formed and it seemed strong we put it outside in the sunshine. It was gone later when we checked, so we think it did fly away.

Yesterday we had three butterflies emerge, two girls and a boy. The male was considerably larger than the other two. I’m not sure why the size difference; there seems to be a range of chrysalis size too. We have very little in the way of flowering plants at our place (nothing that would serve as butterfly food) and are expecting more wet weather over the next few days, so this morning we took all three of them out to a local butterfly garden to release them. There were masses of monarchs flying around and feeding from a large plant with daisy-like white flowers – I haven’t been able to identify it yet. We did not wait to see ours fly today.

Yesterday afternoon I brought the last seven chrysalises inside and am about to tie them to our little stand. We still have around ten caterpillars feeding on our swan plants outside, so may have more butterflies despite the season.

Male Monarch Feeding

Our Three Monarchs (male at lower left)

Monarchs on White Flowers