Saturday, November 30, 2013


The snow has arrived in Ottawa ... very early this year.
Here is our daughter's backyard: a Winter Wonderland for December.
Grandson H will be out there throwing snowballs at the Little Bebe ...
while his Mum has been digging the car out of the drifts because Dad was away working.
It happens.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all North Americans.
DD sent me these thanksgiving decorations, so I spread them round the fireplace.
The pretty leaves are made of various materials, felt, silk, and paper.
Added a few red cardinals for atmosphere..

The Cardinal nest may be a bit confused with all the theming around here..
We have Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a birthday going on simultaneously...

Long-term readers of this blog may remember I have an annual garden competition with myself, in which I attempt to keep pansies blooming, despite heat, droughts and floods, until my birthday at end November.

Two tiny little white blooms made it -

onto my birthday sponge cake!

Mr C's card: pink stuff with little red birds... clever man ..

Among other special items, he gave me this Paris themed, vintage silk scarf.
Well played, Mr Cardinal (Faux Fuchsia 2013)

Having watched, at least in part, many of the JFK docos this week, I had a look at one about his successor as President, Lyndon B Johnson.

His background was very different from that of the Kennedys..
They showed his boyhood home, in Johnson City, Texas, including the swing seat on the front porch.

Reader, I have sat on that seat!

This is Mr C's photo of the house, taken in 2006 during our visit.
You can just see the top of the swing seat in the porch to the left.

Johnson City is in the very pretty Texas Hill Country, West of Austin, and North-West of San Antonio which we were visiting.

This and the following: Google images

Here are LBJ and Lady-bird in the area.  She was very active in encouraging interest in, and preservation of, wildflowers.  The LBJ ranch was not far from his boyhood home.

The family home, while not impoverished, was certainly neither luxurious nor ostentatious, and his early life must have shaped his interest in social justice and welfare.

I can remember when he came to Australia, and our then Prime Minister, Harold Holt, declared that Australia was "All the Way with LBJ"!

The Garden of Neglect has excelled and thrown up this hippeastrum lily (amaryllis), which unfortunately will not last until Christmas.
But looks good near a Santa.

It's all happening around this nest!

Have a great week


Sunday, November 24, 2013


Patiently waiting for me to put out the morning seed...

Yes, Mum, Dad, and those crazy twins still hanging out here every day

The kids are as big as their parents, and in a still photo it is difficult to tell which is which..

The clues lie in their squawks - they have yet to learn to trill or sing..

and behaviour - they are the babies heads down, tails up.
Parents are grimly hanging on trying to eat the seed, and some beak to beak feeding still occurs.  I have tried, but am unable to catch that because it is so quick.

I come from a family of bird lovers.
My Dad is a real expert, and even with a bit of dementia has a vast knowledge of Australian birds.  For many years he did monthly reporting for a national register of native birds, going to appointed places and noting the calls and sightings of all species in the area.

His six children all have a passing interest and most of us have 'bird-books' for quick research purposes.

Today we took Dad for one of his beloved bush drives, past newly green pastures (there have been a few heavy storms this week)..

a sweet country church and graveyard..

and on to the foothills of Mt Lindsay, part of the border ranges between Queensland/New South Wales.
Mt. Lindsay, as I learnt in childhood, looks like a lion in repose, and can be seen from a hundred miles away.

The object of our quest was to listen to a colony of Australian bell-birds..

They were still there, where I remembered!
Their call is like a tiny, crystal bell and I made a little recording, but can't upload it successfully.
So here is one from uTube:

My Christmas Cross-stitch of - what else? - cardinals in the snow!
The lovely Sheri, from Red Rose Alley, asked me the other day why I called my blog Red Cardinal, which seems a perfectly reasonable question.
I have always been intrigued by the idea of a beautiful bird which is completely red, such a joyful, happy, and, it must be said, Christmassy colour.

Many visits to the North American continent later, and much stalking of the neighbourhood wherever we go, but to this day I have never seen the elusive Red Cardinal.

My daughter eventually settled in Canada, and we visit regularly.
I live in hope!

Looking for a blog title, it just popped into my mind as something I like..
(and I had a perfect pair of little china cardinals to photograph as my calling card).

Dear Sheri, I hope I have answered your question!


Thursday, November 21, 2013


 I ventured forth to Brisbane's own Paddington Antique Centre ..

admired the green depression glass 

and birds 

and came home with a little bit of kitsch:

Two bird plates, and four metres of fine vintage crepe de chine, in a delicate powder blue not done justice by photography -
(cool summer nightdress coming up - I hate hot nights)

Meanwhile, I had another delightful catch-up with a fellow blogger:
Michelle Ridgway who designs charming stitching projects, under the name Rag-Tag Stitchin'.  Pop on over to her blog to see her cute and whimsical collection of characters..
I knew Michelle back in the day when we met at a Quilting Group. 
It was lovely to see her again and hear about her work - especially how she has developed her business.
Her designs are published in all the best creative craft magazines!

The lovely Michelle, generous always, gave me one of her excellent project patterns, and the sweetest pink 'n white felt Christmas tree decoration,
 made just for me.

Uncannily, it so happens that I am conjuring up a pink/white/silver theme for this year's decorating - how did she know?

Enjoying the Christmas edition of Country Style?
Me too..
especially the instructions for making Christmas bunting from vintage lace doileys:

Fun and quick to do - but I am unsure how to use it now ...
could look like washing on the clothesline - hmmmm
(note my white agapanthus blooming out there)

And so, today, remembering the day the changed the modern world -

I bought this pen-on-a-rope at the Texas Book Depository, back in 1999 -
It is difficult to to believe it's been 50 years ...

Peace and Blessings

Monday, November 18, 2013


And so, the Cardinals flew off to Sydney once again.
 Bridge was still there..

and good old Circular Quay with the ferries..

While Mr C did 'business', I went off on my much-anticipated, blogger meeting and tour of the fabric shops, with the talented Valerie, of

Reader, I loved it!

Valerie was a lovely and charming guide, with an adorable European accent which caught me by surprise!
Our sewing synchronicity is quite perfect, and we chatted like old friends, 
non-stop, for well over three hours.  
Is it always like this when we meet a blog friend for the first time?
Pop on over to Val's blog and you can read all about it...

I am seriously in love with pastels this summer..

Linen, my favourite hot-weather fabric, in white, navy, minty green and lilac..

and a pink polished cotton - you can never have too much pink -

plus an interesting jersey, reptile/stripe combination.
Quite a haul, you must agree.

I notice I never stray far from my preferred colours of choice ...

Thinking of Jackie this week ..
She is one of my all-time style icons - and she loved pink too...

and a nautical navy stripe,

and white

and here she is wearing something which might be lilac, when the Mona Lisa came to town ...

She wore delicate mint green to daughter Caroline's wedding.
Not that I thought of any of this when I was shopping..

I have been watching many of the documentaries about the Kennedys -
even though I have heard it all before.  
There is certainly a lingering mystique about the Camelot time of the Kennedy presidency.  

But I digress - Thank you Val, for a lovely day in Sydney, and the best fabric binge I've had in years..

When we came home, Little Aussie was here for a visit..
He is now 4, and quite the little man...

Aussie, his Dad, and Mr C, are becoming poetic architects in lego these days..

I mean, we all love a giant chicken on the roof, OK?

Aussie loves to cook, and asked me if we could make cup-cakes ..
As luck would have it, we found a packet of sugar dinosaurs in the pantry.

We followed with a unique banana and Milo muffin recipe, of Aussie's own devising. 

He went home happily clutching a paper bag of his cooking achievements...

And we were left tired but happy after a Very Busy Week!

PS: the Red Cardinal Garden of Neglect has excelled, and produced a host of white gladioli - all by itself!

Have a great week, dear blog friends