Behold a Bright and Sparkling New Year

Back Yard View

I have spent this first day of the year doing very little except sit on the back deck with various members of my family, eating, reading and chatting. If you sit in the right spot, you can barely see any of the many surrounding houses, and it feels decadently peaceful.

I was unexpectedly distracted from wishing you, my readers and friends, a Happy Christmas, as gastro overwhelmed the kids in the days leading up to the 25th.  Thankfully they were all well enough on the day itself that we could make the last minute decision to join the rest of the clan for lunch in the countryside.  No one had been ill for a day and a half, (so we deemed it safe) and both Luke and I seemed to have dodged being infected.  This year was one where all 32 of us were present, which was lovely.


I have spent some of the lazy days between Christmas and New Year sketching.  Contemplating ideas for next Christmas, and tossing around another idea that draws inspiration from all the hand drawn lettering that I have been seeing on Pinterest, such as this, and this.Hope, a sketch for a new project

I have a friend that picks a new, inspirational word each year.  While not particularly looking for a word myself, I was contemplating “hope” and decided that it was really a word for every year, something that I hope will accompany me always!  I am itching to turn this into a fresh stitchery, but at the moment I must contend myself with drawing it carefully with Illustrator, until I can get my hands on the beautiful variegated Cottage Garden Threads that I plan to use.

Today actually marks 5 years since I started my blog.  I will return to my giveaways soon, to mark the occasion, but I am currently feeling too languid and relaxed to spend much time on the computer.  Summer so far has been mostly beautiful and mild, and I have another Kate Morton book* that is waiting to be read…

* pssst… Kate Morton’s first bestselling novel was released here in Australia titled “The Shifting Fog” but was renamed “The House at Riverton” when it was released internationally, and became a bestseller.  I have not seen “The House at Riverton” available for Kindle but “The Shifting Fog” is, and it is only $3.63.

Happy New Year, A sparkling 2013 to all of you!

Sleepy Koalas Quilt (and some native birdlife)

Sleepy Koalas Quilt

I finished making the Quilt that my sister Al, and her hubby Scott commissioned (if you don’t count a label, which requires a little more consultation).  Sewing on the binding, slowly, over a couple of nights was my tentative return to handwork following the flare up with my carpal tunnel syndrome.

Yellow Koala Star

I’m more than happy with how it turned out.  I quilted little curlicues around the inside edges of the stars, and lots of larger loops, with the occasional quilted star for the rest of the quilt.  I used cream, blue, brown and yellow thread in the corresponding places.

I have not seen any Koalas this week, but we have had plenty of bird life popping in, as well as sightings of our resident possum (who lives in a possum box on our property).

Juvenile Eastern Spinebill

This little character flew into our window on Monday, and spent about 10 minutes stunned on our path outside.  We think she/he is a juvenile Eastern Spinebill.  Thankfully he/she recovered, and flew off again.

Eastern Rosella

We also spotted a pair of Eastern Rosellas on the same day, but I wasn’t quick enough to snap them both.  I love looking birds up, and where possible, listening to recordings of their calls (so I can “connect the dots” between the birds I see and hear).  We have a lovely, treed backyard, and I take great delight in all the unusual visitors we get.

Do you keep a camera handy for your unusual visitors?

*If you would like to get some of my Koala fabric to use in a project of your own, you can find it here.

Australia Day


Our family is having a very quiet Australia day, but I thought I would mark the occasion by sharing these photos of some regular visitors, these Rainbow Lorikeets, a favourite Australian bird.  Surprisingly they have been coming to plunder a conifer out the front which I think is “Thuja orientalis”.  They have been eating the small berry-looking-things that I think are actually female cones.  It surprises me because the plant is certainly not native, (as the birds are) but the birds clearly love it – as they are very thorough, and return regularly.


These two systematically made their way around half the plant – occasionally one would disappear into the interior, and it would look like there was only one bird there.


These birds remind me that we are very lucky to have a house and garden in one of the leafier suburbs of Melbourne, and lucky to live here in Australia.

Have you had any interesting visitors this Australia Day?

Baubles and Unphotographed Crafting


These are not quite as clever as some others I have seen on the web, (featuring mini knitting and made up as tiny terrariums) but I had lots of fun filling these glass baubles with some buttons, and some tiny felt offcuts, which I have been collecting all year.  I have 4 more left, and I am thinking at that they will contain tiny pegs.

I think I will string these together, to hang as non-seasonal ornaments, so that I can enjoy them all year round.

There has been quite a bit of last minute crafting going on, which means no time to take photos before gifting.  This kind of means the gifts don’t exist, blog wise.  I thought I would show you other versions I have made of the same things.


This is “Thank-you Flower, which I designed in February 2008.  I made these for the three carers at Occasional Care, in three different colour-ways.  The spots you see are all french knots.


I also made a version of one of these (which I first designed in 2004) for the Kinder assistant – I have made her a different one every year, which together make up a set.  This year’s one was gold, and said “Family” on it.  Others have been “Love”, “Peace”, “Hope” and the “Joy” one you see here.


The officially started the long summer school holidays yesterday, so we are going to have lots of time at home.  Thankfully it is not too hot yet, so we are really enjoying relaxing in the garden around our new house.  This little fellow (or gal) has been hanging out a lot in our yard too – a juvenile kookaburra.  He/She is often in the tree outside Rory’s window (where I took this photo) waiting patiently for his family to feed him/her.

I think if we ever named our house, it would have to be called “Kookaburra Hollow”.  Does anyone out there live in a house with a name?



After a spell of very hot, dry and unseasonable weather, we had a thunderstorm this afternoon and some big heavy drops of rain.  One of the locals decided to take a rain shower on my back deck .


There was lots of fanning out of wings and tail, and lots of shaking.  It was tricky to capture through the rain, and the window.   I know these are not the greatest photos, but what a thrill to be living up close with the Kookaburras (Which belong to the Kingfisher family).  You can read about the Laughing Kookaburra here, and down at the bottom right there is a link to listen to the laughing call.


In this very blurry photo you can kind of make out the pale “robins-egg-blue” coloured spots on his/her wings.  I wish I could think of a more accurate name for that colour, it seem rude to be mentioning Robins to describe a Kookaburra.

Matching Pegs has a new home among the gum trees


We have made it to the other side of the move!  We are still feeling a little chaotic, but the space is pure heaven.  The garden is much more native than our previous one, as we are surrounded by gum trees (eucalypts).  There is plenty of scope to put in ground-covers, shrubs and flowers.


The kids are loving having their own bedrooms – this is the one that Amelia chose, which is actually the smallest, she fell in love with the paint colour.  I think it is a little strong, but it does go well with her quilt and fairy wall hanging.


Some areas of our home are looking more set up than others – there are still lots of boxes everywhere – but it is so lovely to finally be able to display some things that have never seen he light of day.  This is a quiet corner of the lounge room that we are going to use when we want to get away from the hubbub to do some work on the laptop, or some quiet writing.


The lounge room also boasts the ugliest lights ever, strung low enough that several members of the extended family are going to have to wear hardhats to enter the room.  See those little specks of light on the ceiling? They are being thrown by the lovely mosaic bowl in the previous photo, which I was given by a dear friend for my last birthday (thank-you Leigh).  We are now calling it the reverse disco ball.


You can see it here with some beautiful roses that my Mum bought from her garden this weekend.  I believe they are “Henri Matisse” Roses.

Our new home is a symphony of those 80’s colours – pale apricot and mission brown, with quite a bit of woodwork thrown in.  Even the ceilings and doors are painted pale apricot -the same strength as the walls.


The meals area is the only living area in the house with a slightly different colour – a feature wall of textured dusky pink.  It is kind of growing on me, but Luke doesn’t think much of it.  It sure makes a nice backdrop to the beautiful flowers that our friends Rowena and Mark gave us to celebrate moving into our new house (thanks guys).


On Friday we were reunited with Lotta, who spent the week at my Mum and Dad’s while we moved.  She is also loving the new space, and we are all happy to be together again.

I will be back to show you more as the house is unpacked.  Hopefully I will have a sewing area to show you soon, once we have created a cutting table – we have great plans that involve 2 kitchen cabinets from IKEA and a door.  Stay tuned.

Last Oklahoma Roses


When Amelia was born (over nine years ago) I planted this beautiful rose to commemorate the occasion.  When later we moved (twice in 9 months) the rose came with us in a large tub.  This time we are leaving it behind, as it will be a little complicated to extricate, and there is no obvious place, in the sun, to plant it at the new house.

Today I cut these, the first roses of the season, to enjoy them in our last days in our little house.  Their scent is divine.  If I end up finding a suitable spot at the new house, I will track down an Oklahoma (A rich, dark, red, hybrid tea) rose to plant again.

If not, I will still be able to enjoy them, we will pass the house daily on school days, I just won’t be able to pick them.

We move in 8 days – I am not sure when I will post again – this moving business is hard!  Perhaps when I next post it will be from our new house.

First Tooth Photoshoot


Rory lost his first tooth today, with very little warning.  Unlike the way his big sister deals with loose teeth, I think he helped it along a fair bit.  It is amazing how much the loss of one tooth changes his appearance.  I took this photo of Rory in front of our Scarlet Oak, which matched his school shirt perfectly.

I often take photos of my work, using the foliage in the garden as a backdrop.  Inspired by this practice, Michaela decided to direct a little photo shoot of her own.



This is her Angel-teddy in two of her poses.

I had a fabulous Mothers Day on Sunday – I was spoilt with a wonderful breakfast, (bacon and eggs, toast and tea) and a delicious afternoon tea of banana cake and choc chip cookies – all made by my wonderful family.  The kids choose presents from the school Mothers day stall that they had really put a lot of thought into, and Michaela ate me some lovely chocolates.  That’s right – Michaela made me some chocolates at kinder which were hidden in the house with her big sisters help – chocolates I knew nothing about.  I learnt about them when she appeared and told me……

“there are only 2 left Mummy”

“2 what Michaela?”

“2 choccies”

Either there was only a small amount of milk in the chocolate, or Michaela may be starting to grow out of her milk allergy, as she seemed to have no adverse effects from her surreptitious snack.  Oh well – it is the thought that counts right?


Another great thing about Mothers Day was that the sun was shining on us, and our washing – I have been a mother for almost 9 years – I have maternal priorities that I just can’t hide.

How was your Mothers Day?

Visitors and Drama

Life has been moving at full tilt here in the Matching Pegs household, as we move on towards the end of the school year, and Christmas.  We have had lots of visitors, both human and avian, and several dramatic events.  The past week included a car accident (single car) out the front of our home, which would have resulted in a car in our bedroom, if there was not a crash barrier on the nature strip.  The occupant was not injured, but was clearly suffering the effects of drugs or alcohol, and rapidly drove off in a barely drivable car – despite offers of assistance.

On this Saturday past, the wettest day of the year, there was a large fire in a house in the street behind us.  There was so much smoke (you could hardly see the back fence of our place) that I started to get pretty nervous about the precise location of the fire.  I would have guessed it was only about three houses away (it was more like 10).  I keep thinking about the people that live there.  I don’t know much about them, but I know that they were not home, and the fire was electrical.  It turns out a friend of ours saw the flames, stopped his car and called the fire brigade.  From the look of the house and the amount of smoke I would imagine that they have lost pretty much everything.  It would be so devastating.  I keep imaging that it might have been Christmas Tree lights, and  I am glad we do not have any.

On a cheerier note, here are some of our avian visitors.

The Rainbow Lorikeets are frequent visitors, especially while the prunus is covered in fruit.

We also have a lot of noisier visitors……….

One of our human visitors was a friend of mine from school, who I had not seen in about 10 years.  It was great to catch up and meet her brand new baby.  I whipped up another bunny for baby Charlotte, (see top photo) slightly larger than the first.  As soon as Michaela saw it she asked to have one for her in green.  Instead of making more softie friends for Michaela, I have been sewing Christmas bits and pieces, including these little present bags – my alternative to wrapping paper.

None of the kids are getting enough sleep as Christmas excitement reaches fever pitch.  We have seen every stalling tactic in the book at bed time this week.  Michaela is so wrung out from the pre-Christmas excitement that she fell asleep under her bed the other afternoon – I felt like going in there to join her.

How is your family coping with the pre-Christmas excitement?

Getting into the Christmas Mood

Thank-you so much for all the lovely comments about my quilt, the whole experience has been quite a thrill.  I am not sure when I will ever get the time to write up some more patterns for my things, but it is definitely something I would love to do.  All I really need is a housework/dinner/washing and homework fairy, and I will design up a storm.

Today I decided that it was high time to start getting ready for Christmas – after all, Rory has been practicing his narration for the prep Christmas concert for about a month now.

The kids have been hounding me for some time to decorate the outside of our house for Christmas, (to keep up with one of the neighbours).  While I am not really into the whole flashing lights thing, (or large blow -ups of the big man in red) I thought I had an achievable idea to try.  Thing is, I am not really sure I pulled it off.

I bought some purple tissue paper, and florists wire to make Pom-Poms to hang out under our front verandah. I have made these pom-poms before, they remind me of our red geraniums, which flower in ball shaped clusters.  I chose purple because it was the regal colour associated with the baby Jesus, and also because it would show up well against the red brickwork, and the green plants.

I know the paper in these photos looks blue, sadly it is not a photographic trick or a problem with the colour settings on your monitor – once I separated the layers of paper (which were labeled purple, and looked purple in the pack) it turned out they were, in fact, blue.  Not a Christmas colour at all.

But I digress, I made 9 different Pom Poms following Martha’s helpful instructions, and hung them from the beams of the front verandah.

They look quite nice swinging in the breeze, even if they are distributed in a slightly lop sided manner – I didn’t want the ones on the edge to hang too low, where they could get wet from some occasional rain – however, they do not look Christmassy, in any way at all.

Something that will look Christmassy is my Christmas Angels that I am making to give to the kid’s teachers at the end of the school year (in two weeks time).  I cut them out yesterday, and now I need to start working the child labourers, and get them stuffing the small bodies and limbs.

Finally, here is a purple that really is regal, an Ivy Pelargonium called “Royal Night”.  I have been on the hunt for a nice purple “geranium” for a while, and I was very happy to see this one at the nursery today.  This one has a cascading form, that is suited to hanging baskets and window boxes.  Perhaps I will hang it up in a basket on our front verandah, and then something out there will be purple.