Thursday, September 27, 2012


The hot hazy days of summer are fast approaching, and with it a wardrobe stocktake and assessment.  No more hiding under winter sweaters and jackets for me.
This week I made this plain shift dress, an exercise in fitting and some new techniques.  As a result of my surgery six months ago, my shape has changed a bit, and I needed to get back to basics with pattern fitting.

One of my all-time favourite bloggers is Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic.  Carolyn sews all the time and her posts are full of useful information and sewing tips.  Inspired by Carolyn, I carefully made the necessary adjustments to this basic shift shape, including taking some fullness away from the front armhole, and re-aligning the bust darts. 

I tried one of her tips, ironing 1 inch strips of interfacing into the back seams to stabilise it before inserting the zip.  It works like a dream!  I'll certainly do this in future - just thinking of a lifetime of zips placed slightly askew makes me shudder now.  Instead of my usual habit of cutting facings for the armholes, I tried another tip and use bias binding instead.  Quick and Easy.

My next project, and one I have been looking forward to for ages, is to make Vogue V8805.
I have bought a pale pink linen for the top section, and am trying to match its weight in navy linen for the centre/main body of the dress.  What colour do you suggest for the skirt panel?
I have something in mind, but it will depend on what I can find.

Before we know it, it will be waaaaay too hot to wear jeans, coloured or not.
But in the meantime, I bought a yellow knit ....

and a minty green lace top, both from friendly Chain Shops at the mall.
Currently they work well with my bright pink jeans.
Maybe later on with cool white linen.

I think there are some important sporting events this weekend.
While Mr C and my brother-in-law are busy watching, possibly drinking beer and consuming - oh, maybe some gourmet pies, - my sister and I will be doing Important Womens Business.

Anything we can think of, really ...

Have a truly great weekend


Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Yesterday's blog post by the lovely Val, of Val's Alentejo blog reported on the welcome arrival of the storm season in Portugal, where it has not rained since May.

Well, it hasn't rained here since June, so
I wished for the storm to come to us!
and later in the day the sky turned dark ...

The winds whipped the trees ...

The skies opened, lightning and thunder cracked and boomed,
 and the rain came down in sheets.  
 For about 5 minutes.
But at least that is a start to the storm season.

Thanks, Val, you have magical powers!!

Yesterday, too, I had this tub of pansies happily blooming on the deck ...

But during the night, there came a visitor:

Source; Google images

Possums are partial to flowers, especially purple pansies, apparently.
Just look at the mess he left, little blighter!

Pansies are off to sit somewhere else now.

Mr Cardinal brought me these when I was in hospital last week.
Pink and pretty, just how I like them ...

Might rain again tonight ..


Friday, September 21, 2012


The wonderful exhibition Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado,
continues in our lovely QAG.
While photography of the paintings is rightly forbidden,
there are some large reproductions set along the glass atrium at the gallery entrance.

Looking over the courtyard, you can just see the shapes of yellow tables and chairs in the dappled sunlight,
which beautifully tone with an elegant Still Life with Fruits and Vegetables.
Painted by Juan van der Hamen in 1625, with a typical Spanish dark background,  a gathering of apricots and plums in a wicker basket, with a squash to one side and cucumbers and aubergines to the other -
elegant and restrained, and stunningly effective.
The scene is bathed in a golden light undimmed by the fact the painting is nearly 400 years old!
There is a whole room of these gorgeous still-lifes in the exhibition...

Another view of the courtyard, looking across the waterfalls and ponds, to the outdoor cafe under a tree.
And a detail from one of the many religious paintings:
 The Assumption of Mary Magdalene, 1670, by Jose Antolinez.
Look at the pretty colouring in this work.

A large section of the exhibition is devoted to the monarchs of Spain, and life at court.
This detail is from Don Tiburcio de Redin y Cruzat, 1635, attributed to Juan Andres Rizi.
The lace collar is richly decorated and fabulously painted, as is the rest of his outfit, fitting for the Field Marshal and General who fought in various Spanish conflicts.

Let us not forget Francisco de Goya, up there with Picasso as one of Spain's most famous artists.
Here a detail from The Pottery Vendor, 1778, a very large work which was a cartoon for the creation of a large wall tapestry.  Goya was of course a great social commentator, and the complete painting is rich with detail of various social types and metaphors.  Here see the rich lady in her coach, both unattainable to those outside and imprisoned in her own wealthy world.
And so it goes...

I have been in hospital the last few days, having tests.
All were good and clear, which is very reassuring.
Except for one thing:  they looked in my brain and said there is nothing there ....


Adios Amigos!


Monday, September 17, 2012


Kate has been showing a distinct interest in Yellow this week.
And rightly so, yellow looks great on brunettes and is the perfect colour for
 a hot tropical summer's day.

Today in Tuvalu she is wearing a pretty broderie anglaise dress in a light shade of pale yellow -
Love the pink fan helpfully provided by the local hosts.

Tomorrow the Cambridges pass through Brisbane on their way home.
Spoilsport officialdom refuse to disclose times, and have firmly told us the royals will not be in any part of the airport which can be accessed by the public.
So There...


After all, they may have wanted to meet some of the local wildlife.
Like, say, this varmint (FF 2010-12) seen today at the back of the Red Cardinal garden.
Guess not.

Jasmine may be pretty, and smell divine, but it is Tough as Nails.
Look at what a sneaking jasmine vine has done with a great big palm frond.

Continuing on the path of strangulation ..
I could pull it off, but the sick side of me wants to see what will happen.
It's a jungle round here.

Browallia bush (one whose name I actually know) is going brilliantly this year.
Apparently it likes Very Dry Spring weather.
Oops, that is the grave marker of our dear departed little Silky Terrier.

Browallia is not subtle, but then neither is a big orange glass jug!

I'm off to make an orange cake now ..


Saturday, September 15, 2012


My two favourite roses came back into bloom this week,
the Yellow and the Pink.  I don't know their names;
 they were like that when we got here!

Nothing says Spring like a pretty rose in crystal ...

except perhaps little pansies nodding in the breeze.

Our local plant nursery is a veritable feast of Spring blooms ..

and runs to a hilarious collection of kitsch statuary!

Hello David - Michaelangelo would turn in his grave!

On the When You're Onto a Good Thing basis,
I bought more pots of pansies for the deck.
I have a little garden competition with myself every year,
in which I try to keep pansies blooming in our scorching heat right up until Christmas.  Most years I fail.

Are you enjoying watching Kate's tour outfits?
I think it is all beautifully thought out - Kate-style with a touch of the orient for Malaysia.

 I like this dress, with its unusual lace overlay.
Can't wait to see what she wears in the Solomon Islands.

Meantime, back in the Cardinal nest, I am giving Pastels a whirl:
made some pale yellow sateen pants this week to line up with a mint green scarf and bracelet.

Happy Sunday

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


We took my nearly-92 year old Dad for a drive in the country the other day.

Spring may have Sprung, but it is terribly dry out there,
after no rain for a couple of months.

I have seen three dead snakes on the roads in two days:
another sign of change of season, as they come out of hibernation and start to move about, with a fatal attraction towards warm bitumen.

Our destination was Tamborine Mountain, a pretty touristy spot not far from Brisbane.
With its rich volcanic red soil, the mountain is famous for growing flowers, avocados and rhubarb.
I came home with a huge bunch of fresh rhubarb for a tiny price.

There were beautiful Wisteria and May bushes all around the Mountain.

Back at Dad's Aged Care Village, I noticed a garden brilliant with red poppies ...

and other assorted pretties ...

He is certainly living in lovely surroundings.  After nearly eight months there, he has settled in beautifully and does not mention his old home.  He goes on all the outings, often to malls, markets, fetes or fairs.
To my amusement, just as we have been clearing out the house and disposing of a lifetime's worth of antiques and collectables, he has started collecting again.  Little objects d'art are turning up in his room; this week a couple of antique English plates!  Another week, a group of little watercolours! 
Then there is the bird ornament, and the pretty kitten plate ....

I wonder who I take after .........

Enjoy the Sunshine xxx