Rolling Thunder part 6: Get the motor running…

Head out on the highway / Lookin’ for adventure / And whatever comes our way…

I don’t think I was exactly Born to be Wild, but I couldn’t resist the lyrics in this instance. And yes, I admit it, I may be slightly reliving my lost youth…

thunder-and-lightningSo, we’re packed, and ready to go. I think Miss Scarlett looks rather handsome with her follower, don’t you? I still need to do some touch up work when we get back, but the job is good enough for this trip.

I’ll be checking in while we’re away, and there are bound to be some nice photos I can share with you. First stop Townsville for a day and a half, then on to Atherton in FNQ.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a bit more Steppenwolf:

I like smoke and lightning / Heavy metal thunder / Racin’ with the wind. But observing the speed limit at all times, of course!


The Gardens of Chiconia 46: time for a little passion…

… fruit!

first-passionfruitThe Panama Black passionfruit vine I planted a year and a half ago has come up trumps – finally! These fruit are the size of huge tomatoes, a gorgeous glossy purplish brown. The first year, I watered and fed the vine carefully, trimmed and trained it. Nothing. It gave me lots of shiny green leaves. This year, I decided tough love was in order. It got watered some-times, mulched occasionally, and I allowed it to ramp through the adjacent shrubs. Mostly, I ignored it.

While I wasn’t looking, the sneaky thing has flowered, fruited, flowered some more, and there are at least 20 green fruit dangling there, being totally ignored by the grasshoppers (touch wood), with more flowers open and budding. I get the feeling passionfruit perform much better if you ignore and perhaps even stress them a little.

I don’t really expect much from the other fruit trees. Perhaps a mango or two, by the time the grasshoppers and rosellas have passed that way. Another basket of mandarins to juice and freeze (too many pips to make them fun to eat). The little custard apple tree is flowering, but I don’t believe I have any neighbouring trees to allow it to be pollinated, so I don’t think I’ll have any fruit there either. The avocado made a mighty effort with the flowering, and at one point I thought I’d get a solitary fruit. Nuh uh. Grasshoppers again. And the birds got all the mulberries.  One of these fine days, I’ll feel up to digging a hole big enough to plant the Ducasse banana tree I’ve grown on from a sucker off my original one. And then I’ll stand well back and watch it head skywards! Meanwhile, it’s looking happy and healthy in its tub, so all is well for now.

I must head outside to extend my irrigation system to take in the new water feature and surrounding plants. Being away over a week with the temperatures rising and not that much rain forecast will leave it dry and tragic unless I act.

Hmmm. Now, what shall I do with those passionfruit?

SAL 36: Another two

Another post where progress isn’t huge, but it’s still progress, right?

You’ll have noticed I have another rather large 3D project on the go, and being strenuous, it’s leaving me zonked in the evenings, which is when I usually embroider. But there’s no deadline for this piece, so I’m OK with slow and steady.

Where we were before:


And where we are now:


It’ll be time for me to work some more border soon, I think, and then the bottom half of the work, which has a bit more going on.

Do go over and see what the other ladies are working on, it’s always worth a visit:

Avis at
Claire at
Gun at
Carole at
Wendy at
LucyAnn at
Jess at
Sue at
Constanze at
DebbieRose at
Christina at
Susan at
Kathy at
Margaret at (our newest member, welcome Margaret)

Next SAL is on 6 November. See you then!

ScrapHappy October

Hurray, tis done, tis done!

Once again, it’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host  ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

And I’m extremely Happto tell you that the very Scrappy Grey Nomad quilt is completed. The scrappy sashing and scrappy binding are on, and here it is in all its magnificent scrappyness:

The front:


And the back:


It was actually ready over a week ago, but I decided to hold it back for this post to celebrate a shoebox and more of scraps used up. Now all I have to do is come up with another nice long project that will use loads of scraps. Thinks… I suspect it may be hand-stitched hexies for a good while. Bigger pieces – I’m using 2 inch hexie papers, which are 2 inches on each side – but still scraps. I’ll be making a good start on it when I go on leave in a week’s time, as it’s my travel handwork.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps – no new fabrics. It can be a random or formal quilt block, a pillow or pincushion, a bag or hat, a collage or rag rug. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address shown on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. You don’t have to worry about a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at):

Usually has a scrappy post:

Gun at (in Swedish and English)

Titti at (in Swedish only)

Heléne at (in Swedish only)

Sometimes has a scrappy post:

Eva at (in Swedish only)

Sue at (in English only)

Nanette at (in English only)

Lynn at (in English only)

Norma at (in English only)

Lynda at: (in English only)

Birthe: (in Norwegian only)

Turid: (in English and Norwegian)

Cathy: (in English only)

Debbierose: (in English only)

Tracy: (in English only)

Jill: (in English only)

Claire: (in English only)

Susan : (in English only)

See you again, same time next month!

F²F² October progress report

It’s October, and my month in F²F².

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 7.32.54 pmNormally, I’d wait and see what everyone else has made before I made my blocks, but I’m too excited about this colour scheme to wait! I’ve picked out some paper piecing blocks I love – I’ve made them all before, and I think they’ll work well in the gorgeous juicy colours I’ve chosen🙂

We’re doing well so far, four sets of blocks are on their way Down Under. Do please send me your photos when you send your blocks off, as I’m quite happy to see what’s coming and post the images in the gallery. I hope some of them come before I go on holiday, to spread the joy a little…

I’ve put a couple of my blocks up in the F²F² gallery page too, so anyone who’s hesitating about colours can see what I’m using. There’s a third to come, and I may still make a fourth block, I’m loving these colours so much…

My F²F² quilt is going to be brilliant – literally!

Rolling Thunder part 5

More spraying. More taping. More masking. More spraying.

After the third and final coat of black, the next job was the silver swoosh up either side. Leaving the first mask in place, I created and taped around a template and then masked off the black that needed to be protected when I sprayed the silver. It took 3 hours in all to tape the swoosh top outline and then mask off the rest on both sides. I gave my back a break after that lot… I’d started at 6.30am, when it was cool, there was good light but no wind for the final black spray. By the time that coat was dry and I’d finished the masking it was 11.30am, the sun was high, the temperature was 28°C/82°F and the wind had risen, making further spraying impossible for the time being. So I took my extremely hot and bothered self inside for a period of recuperation.

After lunch, it was time to start the silver. The wind was intermittent, so I sprayed and waited and sprayed and waited. And next morning, after the final silver coat, here’s how it looks. The silver calls itself ‘chrome’, and it does have a good sheen and reflectivity, but it’s definitely not a chrome finish!  Still, it looks pretty OK.


There’s a fair bit of adhesive residue to clean off before I can attack it with the clear lacquer. That’s the problem when you have to leave the tape on for a while. Hmm. Wonder what would be best for that, without making a mess of the new paintwork. Time to consult Mr Google, unless anyone out there has a good suggestion?


There were a couple of small patches of over-spray to clear up/spray over. A couple of places on the swoosh where I hadn’t bashed the tape down hard enough so there’s a minute bit of black creeping through, and the same for silver. But having taken care of the worst bits, I’m not anal enough to get in there with a teeny weeny paintbrush and take care of the tiny stuff. I’m also not totally in love with the shape of the top edge of the curve, but see comment above! It’s fine…

We have 10 days to go before our trip. Before anything else, I have to remask the rear lights; I took off the old tape, which was getting very thickly caked in paint, just to make sure it still would come off! I have to do at least 3 coats of clear lacquer over everything. Then it’ll be time to restore the hardware: catches, handles, registration plate, etc. I’ve resprayed the tray that sits at the front of the trailer and holds the cooler; that needs bolting back on too. We’re running a strip of hi-vis reflective tape around the back of the trailer – in red, of course! – and above the mudguards on the wheel arches. Hopefully it’ll make us even easier to see in the event that we reluctantly have to ride at night.

In the home stretch now. It’s good to know I can still do this stuff, but perhaps not too often…


Rolling Thunder part 4

It’s been a bit of a grind, this job.


First coat of red. Everything that’s not red will be black

We got the first coat of red paint on, and it was immediately apparent it was too dark. Still, having had two cans of it mixed, I put it all on. We tried again, a brighter red. Yikes! It was almost fluorescent, and didn’t get any better as it cured. Third time lucky. This time we went to a paint specialist rather than an automotive parts store to get the paint mixed. It’s still not a perfect match for the bike, but it’s a whole lot better than the other two.  The motorbike is what’s called a ‘candy colour’: silver undercoat, multiple layers of transparent red dye, a coat of gold flecked lacquer and a final coat of clear lacquer. The colour is lively, it shifts in different light, the layers of dye give it a depth and richness that can’t be achieved with a flat colour, and the gold fleck gives it the final brilliance. I’m not a spraying specialist, and I wasn’t going there… So we’ve gone with a sort of intermediate, neither the brightest nor the darkest.


Paper masking. Not very flexible…

Once the multiple layers of red paint were dry, I took the template I’d made of the curve we want for the silver swoosh on the side, applied it to the side and masked off the curve with flexible blue masking tape. Over that went wide regular masking tape and paper on one side, plastic dropsheet the other. Paper’s easier to manage but not very flexible, the plastic flaps more and is hard to peel tape off if you want to reposition. Just thought you might like to know, in the unlikely event you’re ever mad enough to take on a project like this yourself….


Red paintwork safely covered while we spray the black.

On with the black, on top, at the front, the draw-bar and up the sides as far as the masked swoosh line. Two black coats later, I’m thinking a third coat might be a good idea to make it more hard-wearing. The lid will take all the weather, and the front and draw-bar will get a lot of stone-chip action, even with the clear lacquer we’ll be adding as the final coat.

Still, after a fairly gruelling day, I can confidently say we’ll be ready in time for our holiday!