Bali 2013: 15 to 18 September

19 09 2013

Most days were spent lazing by the pool (under shade) or in the pool, having delicious fruit smoothies at the swim-up bar, reading, sleeping… We went out each night to a different restaurant — Queens of India (REALLY good curries!), Laguna Garden (very disappointing this year), and Bali Cardamon (see below), which was excellent. I love how the restaurants will send a car to pick you up and will drop you back at your accommodation for free.

Mum and I didn’t get to go shopping until Tuesday 17 September. We had a lovely young chap for our driver, and as I hadn’t seen Seminyak, Legian, or Kuta, we headed there first. Unfortunately, unless you’re staying in a resort or hotel with direct beach access, or are prepared to walk some distance, viewing the beaches from the car is impossible (same for Nusa Dua, Benoa peninsula beaches etc.).

However, we did stop at the Discovery shopping centre in Kuta and had a smoothie at a restaurant with a bit of a view of the beach from the outdoor area. (Click on a photo to view it in a larger size)

(For non Australians, some of the Ketut/Rhonda TV commercials are on YouTube:

We visited the Seminyak Square market area and the Kuta market area, where I bought two tops (AU$16 each), two pairs of sandals ($20 each), and a capacious handbag ($20). Next stop was the DFS Galleria shopping centre, where I bought two Max Factor long-lasting lipsticks ($9 each; and yes, they DO last a long time — about 24 hours!). Our final stop before heading back to the resort and a welcome swim in the pool was Bali Collection shopping centre in Nusa Dua. I bought a couple of gifts for my quilt retreat friends, and had the fish nibbling foot treatment!!!

What an experience that was! The first 30 seconds were REALLY weird as the fish started nibbling on the dead skin on my feet and lower legs, getting in between my toes etc. Fortunately, I didn’t freak out as the treatment was for 20 minutes ($10).

After a most refreshing dip in the pool, we headed out for a scrumptious dinner at Bali Cardamon. It was my last night in Bali 😦

Bali 2013: Peninsula Bay Resort

19 09 2013

I spent most of my week in Bali staying in a 2-bed timeshare apartment at the Peninsula Bay Resort. These photos are of the HUGE air-conditioned apartment (the views from the balcony over one of the pools and the bay are here:

Click on a photo to view it in a larger size.

Living area:


Main bedroom and bathroom:

Second bedroom and bathroom:


Bali 2013: 12 to 14 September

14 09 2013

This will be short as I’m trying to write it from my tablet and it’s my first time doing that. Not sure I can upload pictures either… But we’ll see how we go…

First, let’s try some pictures. These first photos were from the first place I stayed.

Click on a photo to view it full size.

The next set are from the second resort we moved to on the Saturday.

Activities day 1, after arriving after 10 pm the night before: swim, read, eat, drink, swim, read, sleep, read. Went to the Bumbu Bali restaurant for a fabulous dinner:

Day 2 Saturday: move from resort A to resort B, 30 minute back massage, pedicure, swim, read, laze by the new pool. Dinner tonight is in the new resort.

Tomorrow I’ve booked another back massage and facial (they’re about one tenth the price we pay in Australia!!!), then it will be more pool time;-). Mum and I will go shopping on Monday (dad’s hip is pretty bad so he’ll stay by the pool while we go out and about).

Navigating the new Yahoo! Groups

11 09 2013

A few weeks ago, the Yahoo! Groups web interface underwent a redesign. Some people on one of my Yahoo! Groups are having trouble finding the uploaded files and how to search for archived messages. So here are the instructions for the members of that group — they apply equally to other Yahoo! Groups that have this new — but less user friendly — interface.

Here’s a screenshot of the new interface; I’ve used numbers to mark the areas I discuss below.


After logging into Yahoo! Groups, you’ll see all your groups listed in the Groups Home panel on the left (#1 in the screenshot above), and your Yahoo! ID will show in the top right corner (#7). Click on the group you want to see.

The main menu for the selected group sits under the banner photo — the active view has a dark blue line underneath it (Conversations [#2] in the screenshot above). When you’re in the Conversations view, you can change the subview from Topics to Messages to Trending. Messages is selected in the screenshot (#3) — when selected, the text changes to black and a tiny pale white indicator shows beneath it. Yes, that indicator is very hard to see!

How to find the files

  1. Click More on the menu bar immediately below the banner picture (#4 in the screenshot).
  2. Select Files.
  3. Click the folder you want to view.
  4. Click the file you want to open. Depending on your browser window settings, the file will either open in your browser, or open independently in the applicable application (e.g. Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Word).
  5. If you want to download the file to your own computer, right click on the file, then select Save Link As (for Firefox) or Save target as (Internet Explorer) (I can’t give you the options for other browsers as I don’t have them installed).

How to search the messages

  1. Look ABOVE the banner picture! (yes, it took me a while to find it too!)
  2. Enter your search text in the Search Conversations box (#5 in the screenshot).
  3. Click Search Groups (#6).
  4. Once you’ve got your search results, you can either scroll down, or continue on and do an advanced search (that box is just above the start of the results list).

Spring has sprung

8 09 2013

I spent part of this gorgeous spring Sunday morning in the garden (spraying weeds — not much fun) and I noticed how lots of the plants are bursting into flower. The bees are hard at work too!

Oh, and we have some ancient plant species in our (mostly) native garden.


Green and black kangaroo paw


These orange kangaroo paws are ready to burst into full flower


Something (I suspect birds) is chopping off the new flower heads of some of the kangaroo paws


Yellow kangaroo paws ready to burst into full flower


I think this is a NZ Christmas tree. Magnificent red flowers, though the camera doesn’t do the red justice.


NZ Christmas tree?


One of several varieties of proteas we have in the garden. The flower heads are bright orange, but again, the camera didn’t capture the true colour very well.


Protea flower heads


Closer view of those proteas


Grass tree sending forth its spear. Soon this spear will be about 2 metres long and covered with tine white/yellow flowers


No idea what this one is, but suspect it’s part of the aloe/agave family


Yellow strelitzia


Orange strelitzia


I think this is a cycad of some sort. I’ve never seen that centre ‘crown’ before. The others I have of these don’t have such a dominant crown yet — perhaps they are less mature?


No idea 😉


Also no idea 😉


Kangaroos basking in the spring weather

8 09 2013

On my drive into town, I pass by a few paddocks that are home to several mobs (perhaps just one mob?) of grey kangaroos. These are wild roos, but they eat and laze in the paddocks, sometimes close to horses and houses. They rarely come onto the road, though you may see one on the road at night. If it’s too hot or too cold and wet, they hide up in the bush behind the paddocks and you can’t see them, but most days you can see some along about a 2 km stretch.

These ones were lolling about an empty block of land that’s for sale. The driveway and pad for the house have been established, but the roos have definitely taken over 😉 I’m not sure I’d like to build on that block — the garden would likely be FULL of kangaroo ticks.




See also:

Population explosion

8 09 2013

It’s several years since we visited Gnomesville (Ferguson Valley, Western Australia), but we were out and about in the valley on Saturday after voting in the federal election. After having lunch at a brewery, we continued driving along Ferguson Road to the end where the big roundabout is — and where Gnomesville is. And the first thing we noticed was the massive population explosion!

From several hundred gnomes (at a guess) the last time we visited, the population is now in the thousands and extends quite some way along the road verge, down into the creek, up trees, on top of logs, under logs, and there were even some ‘outer suburbs’ some distance from the main settlement. There was even a bird 😉

And while I was there taking photos, some classic cars turned up, including a GORGEOUS 1951? Buick!













Living on top of and beneath logs







Living in the outer suburbs






Thread tension on the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen

5 09 2013

On the Yahoo! Group for the HQ Sweet 16 (and now Babylock Tiara), Mary asked about tension and threads.

Here’s my response:

Threads are unlikely to be your problem (except at the very thick and thin ends of the thread spectrum). The main problem with tension is getting to know your machine. For the first few weeks, I got very frustrated with incorrect tension, and then it seemed to click.


Many factors affect thread tension:

  • thread path to the needle – I use 1, 2, or 3 of the little holes after the thread mast or horizontal spool, depending on the thread
  • incorrect needle size – thick thread = larger needle; thin thread = smaller needle
  • tension knob – don’t be afraid to turn that baby several times when testing tension. The better the result, the smaller turns you need to make to get it perfect
  • possible lint/fluff caught in the top tension disks
  • incorrect thread path – did you ‘floss’ between the top tension disks or did you miss them and the thread is in the spring? Have you put the thread through ALL parts of the thread path?
  • thread caught on thread path – thread on the horizontal spool can come off and get caught on the spindle and wrap around it, causing tension to go wacky. I’ve now put one of those felt pads from my domestic sewing machine between the spindle and the spool to help prevent this
  • thread getting twisted — the three holes at the top are meant to prevent this, but some threads don’t go through all three holes, or just don’t behave. I use a thread net for those
  • not getting the bobbin tension right – Jamie Wallen’s excellent video on bobbin tension: You should not have your bobbin tension too tight

Keep a practice sandwich next to the machine to test the tension every time you change threads or bobbins – even if the bobbin was wound at the same time with the same thread and settings as the previous bobbin.

The only threads I’ve haven’t been able to use successfully (yet!) are 12 wt Egyptian cotton threads (my needle sizes only go up to 18, so I need to buy a bigger needle size for that thread) and 100 wt threads (my size 14 needle is probably too big for that and so I may need to buy smaller needles for that thread weight). I’ve used two 40 wt rayon threads going through the needle at the same time, and I believe you can use three threads (using the horizontal spool holder too) if your needle size is big enough.

Tension is a matter of time and patience. Threads are only one part of the story.

See also:

Community Quilt 106

1 09 2013

Ah! My first french braid quilt!

How to quilt it? Well, it needed to be stabilised first, so I stitched ESS… (every stinking seam!) in a beige/tan Rasant cotton. A few hours later, I was ready to look at what design I’d use. I was thinking straight line ‘modern’, but instead decided to try out a fleur-de-lis motif that I found the other day on the internet in the peach-coloured setting squares. I quite liked how they turned out and will likely use that motif again, perhaps in sashing or a narrow border.

I was still struggling with how to quilt the main top. But after taking a very close look at the fabric — which was mostly leaves and some flowers — I decided on an all-over, continuous line leaf motif, using a variegated thread in green, pink, yellow and very dark green (I think!).

(Click on a photo to view it larger)





Threads used:

  • Top: Fil-Tec Glide ‘Peach’ (40 wt, trilobal polyester; colour #50473); Superior King Tut ‘Old Giza’ (40 wt, variegated cotton, colour #941)
  • Bobbin: Bobbinfil (70wt, cotton, white)


Community Quilt 105

1 09 2013

This was a nice bright quilt, but the bias edges of some of the blocks meant that there was some ‘wonkiness’ and puffiness that wasn’t going to settle down with some serious stitching to beat it into submission 😉

How to quilt it? Well, I wanted to soften all those straight edges and disguise the wonkiness as far as possible, so I decided to stitch it in an all-over, continuous line spiral motif. That helped tame the wonkiness a bit, and created some circular puffiness that hid the puffiness of the blocks caused by the bias.

I didn’t quilt the small black borders; had they been bigger, I probably would have. I didn’t want to stitch them by extending the same design as the main quilt top as I thought the orange stitching would dull the bold effect of the black.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)






Threads used:

  • Top: Robison-Anton (40 wt, rayon, orange)
  • Bobbin: Bobbinfil (70wt, cotton, white)