Gnomes and Trees and Perth

Kate's block

Here we are Kate, my Trees and Gnomes for you! I hope you like it! Like everyone else it was a new technique for me. Don’t worry it’s not as yellow as this photo makes it look. I’ll be interested in seeing the finish… for this Christmas?

Since I didn’t come back and post last month I thought I’d tell you a bit about where I live this month. I enjoyed all your posts about your towns! Maybe one day I’ll visit.


This is Perth, Western Australia (as opposed to it’s namesake in Scotland). It’s a city that’s been built in spurts on the back of mining booms – first gold in the 1890’s and most recently iron ore for China so it is a mostly modern city.



We have long hot summers and beautiful white sandy beaches so Perth has a really strong beach culture.

swan valley

I used to live in a beachside suburb but now I’m further inland close to the wine growing, micro-brewery, distillery, chocolate making area. In fact the nearest winery is a 10 minute walk away from my house. I’m not sure how long it would take to walk home ;-).  Luckily the area is a tourist drawcard and is protected from housing development and it will stay that way forever – yay!

Fremantle is the port for Perth and probably the most historic area with buildings that show the beginnings of the state as a convict settlement. It also gives it’s name to the Fremantle Doctor, a stiff breeze that blows in off the ocean in the afternoons in summer keeping the place a few degrees cooler.

Kings Park

Perth also has the world’s largest inner city park, Kings Park. It has areas of botanic park and bushland. The first photo was taken from there since it overlooks the city, and this photo shows a boab tree from the Kimberley region in the tropical north (Western Australia is a big state) which was transported on the back of a truck to preserve it from destruction when they were putting a road through.


Perth’s other drawcard is Rottnest Island, known locally as Rotto. It’s a small island, about an hour by ferry off the coast, that is a short holiday destination for locals. There is a bus service but no cars and you get around it by cycling or by walking. It’s all about the beaches again here as well. It’s a good place for a day-trip but a great place to stay for a weekend. It’s claim to fame is that it is one of the few places to home the cutest little version of kangaroo ever – the quokka. They actually gave the island it’s name when the Dutch explorers mistook them for rats (I would hate to come across a rat that size!).

February Block Request for Sue

February Block Request for Sue

Hello everyone! It’s my turn to request our block this month – how exciting! I can’t wait to see what you all do!


For my block I’m requesting the Inside Addition block originally designed by Jessica (@alittlegressica) at 8″ unfinished.



I want mine to finish at 12 ½” (13″ unfinished). Upsizing it is fairly simple.

Here’s what you will need


4 HST units with an unfinished size of 5 ½̎  using background and feature fabrics

(I’m not including cutting measurements or sewing techniques here. I know everyone has their own favourite HST method. I like to make mine oversized and trim. Links to resources are included at the bottom of the post);

4 x 3″ squares background fabric

2 x 3″ squares feature fabric

1 x  3″ x 8″ strip feature fabric


Sew 2 background squares to either end of the feature fabric strip and sew two feature fabric squares to one background fabric square each; sew the HST units to the 2 square units; then the two sewn sections to the centre strip and admire! (That’s black arrow, then green arrow, then red

As promised, here are some links:

Blossom Heart Quilts triangle tutorials (with the maths!)

For focus colours I’m looking for a rainbow of mid to dark tones, something like those used in these two quilts from No Hats in the House and Carla at Grace and Favour. You can use solids or blender prints; hand-dyes and batiks are welcome. You can go as scrappy as you like with these just so long as the block remains monochromatic.

For backgrounds please use low volume solids or prints in white or cream.

You will note, if you check the two quilts above that the option for making the block with the low volume fabric as the feature has been used in some of the blocks – take up this option if you want to!

In the interests of keeping your postage down since I note that some of you only have very thin letter limits, this month I’m going to ask you to tell me about the area you live in when you post your block back on this blog. I stole this idea from Emily’s post in Stash Bee and I apologise, Emily, if you were intending to use it for your month. I’m fascinated by where you are and I confess to searching Google earth for some of you to find out exactly where you live and see what major town or landmark you might be close to, so tell me more!

I hope you have fun with this and don’t forget to read my post on sending blocks cheaply before you post!!!!!




Before signing up for two international bees where posting quilt blocks to the rest of the world is going to be a monthly activity I did some research into postage costs. Here’s what I found:

  1. Cost variation between parcels and letters is immense!

As you can see from the image below (taken from the Australia Post website) the starting cost for sending a parcel from Australia is $15.85!


Compare that with the price of letters – much better!


  1. Weight matters

That’s the weight of the contents not your personal weight – if you’re happy and healthy then have that slice of cake! As you can see keeping the weight under 50g gives the cheapest option and then there’s a big jump to the next cost scale.

  1. Variations occur across the various countries

so check on your local postal websites. Stash Bee had some resources for US postal services that I’ve included here.



One of the variations I found was in the size limits for envelopes. In Australia our largest size is 26 x 36cm (10″ x 14″) with the maximum thickness being 20mm (just over ¾ inch). In the US the maximum size is just over 6″ x 11 ½” and ¼” thick (US Postal Information on Letter Sizes). That’s still plenty of room for a quilt block though!



Stash Bee has two good articles on packing blocks for posting that I highly recommend reading

The Inside Scoop on Lower Postage Rates

Best Practice Tip For Mailing Blocks

I packaged my block inside a zip lock bag. In the end I didn’t close the zip because it fills up with air and I wanted it to sit as flat as possible, and I taped the zip down and added a label with the address as suggested in the second Stash Bee post above.



And here’s what I included for my test run up to the post office (I ditched the crappy homemade gift card before posting the real block and replaced it with something of similar size but way better). When I weighed this on my scales at home it came in very close to 50g and I forgot to ask how much leeway was left, but rest assured that it came in under the weight limit. When I put 50g (0.05kg) into the US Postal Price Calculator it came up with a cost of $2.10 for posting to Australia which isn’t too bad!

Hope you all find this helpful!

January Block for Sharon

sharons-bee-blockI loved making this block, Sharon. I love a paper pieced block anyway so I was over the moon with that and the block was simple and easy to put together. I actually think it took me longer to choose the fabric for this than to sew it – I deliberated for days and had fabric strewn around the lounge. I’m still not sure but I hope you like it!

It’s all packed and ready to post!




G’day from Orstralya

I’m Sue and I live and work full-time in Perth, Western Australia. It’s summer here at the moment so while the rest of you are shovelling your way through snow we are sweltering through a forecast top of 42°C which, in my opinion, is just unnecessarily hot!


I generally avoid posting photos of myself but, for you… this is a photo I took on my camera when I first got it. It has a selfie mode where the backscreen folds up so you can see yourself and I was playing around with it to see how it worked. It was never meant to see the light of day as you can see from my paint spattered gardening t-shirt but it has turned out to be one of my best photos, perhaps because I’m not trying too hard. And those reading glasses – I think I’ll wear them more often!

I’m from the generation that learned to sew as a youngster which I pretty much only dabbled in up until my late 30s when I decided I wanted to do a bit more. My garment sewing needs much improvement and is frankly disheartening. Enter quilting which I discovered when I visited a few local fabric stores that were converting from hybrid dressmaking sewing stores to quilting only as the popularity for the craft picked up in Australia. I was filled with the enthusiastic obsessive passion of the beginner quilter which wore off and then returned when I discovered modern quilting. I love the simplicity of the minimalist designs and they really suit the amount of time I have available to sew as well.

This year will be my first time for participating in a bee and I got a place in Hive 1 in Stash Bee as well. I’m not the type of person who leaves deadlines till the last minute so you can expect your blocks on time!

I’m up in February but before then I’ll post a bit of info about keeping postage costs down for the long trip out here, I just need to double check my facts first.

I’m so excited to get started!

Sue xx