Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Did you have an enjoyable Christmas?
It's been Hot, and Humid, here in the land down-under...

We have feasted, and travelled around visiting family...

from the oldest: my Dad, 94, and loving his gift of a magazine about Holden cars - [he used to buy a new one every year, way back in the day...]

to the young - Little Aussie with his very own camera from we proud Grandparents.. he has wanted this for a long time.
He's been practising, on any camera we will let him near,
and within the hour was in command, issuing directions to 11 adults and several other children for group photos, individual shots, his new toys, selfies.
Quickly he learnt to delete the unwanted, and soon he had Uncle W connecting the cable to the television and was checking his enlarged images.
Best $38 I ever spent...

He was also thrilled with his bird-in-a-cage, virtual pet.
It sings a few tunes, chirps merrily, and will repeat your commands.
That went down a treat, and
this Grannie is still smiling ...

Mr C gave me the highly desirable Absolutely Beautiful Things, by Anna Spiro.
I read it every night; the text is lovely, but the photos of Anna's divine decor are the best inspiration: I study them over and over.
Ready for my January re-arrange, after the Christmas stuff goes back under the stairs for another eleven months...

Mr C also gave me this bright happy, light cotton, casual beach dress..
which shouts "It is too hot for anything that is not thin, loose, cool, natural fibre and tropical in a Queensland Summer"

I gave him a shirt which says much the same thing..

Meanwhile, over in Canada, our other five-year-old grandson has become the world's leading exponent of exactitude in colouring:

He sent us individual cards - for Grannie and Gramps!

These trees have had quite a workout, several meals a day,
and will be looking forward to being packed away under the stairs for a rest..

We played Settlers of Catan (any fans out there?)
I like to win ... and thanks to the Largest Army, I did, he he

Suddenly, after months of torrid dry heat, the day after Christmas it rained.
For several days.
With more to come.
Our lorikeets were found in the morning, head under wing, wondering what it all meant..

Even the cockatoo looked a bit concerned..

The roses are loving it.  
In five days this bush has become covered in buds and blooms.

Yellow cosmos are having a party..

Well, that's it for 2014.  Thank you for reading my blog;
my stats tell me lots of people come by, and I love that you do.
If you comment, I like it even more, and try to reply to everyone who drops in.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year, and health and peace for 2015.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014


New stocking, sewn and hung...

Festive table...

Greenery from the Red Cardinal garden...

Finished cushion, from Michelle Ridgeway pattern..

Petunias blooming by the front door...

Snowman by Suzy, of Rustic Vintage Country...

Been to choir rehearsals...

Organized festive food...

Time to be calm, to think about the reason..
Christmas is here, and we are thankful for another year in our lives,
a year of happiness and joy, friendship and a few tears.

Thank you to all my dear blog readers and friends from near and far.
You make my heart sing, and I appreciate every one of you.

I wish you all a Very Happy Christmas.
Have a joyous celebration with family or friends, at this special time.

Merry Christmas from the Red Cardinal!


Friday, December 19, 2014


The week before Christmas...
and I have been out Gallivanting, as my mother used to say..

I received this golden angel at the Sewing Sisters Christmas party,
look at her graceful arms above her head, made from fine wire; 
they also form a halo.
She was hand-made by the talented R, who does amazing things with assorted paper, stamps and lace.

I have to show you V's beautiful necklace, which of course she made herself.
The talent of these girls is amazing...

Mr C and I lunched with colleagues at the Wild Canary..

to give thanks for a good year in our business..

The food is beautiful, organic and fresh, with herbs grown right outside the restaurant, which is located at a garden centre.

 I visited the lovely M for an iced coffee:

Look at the tiny Christmas house and tree on the tray, and beautiful hand-embroidered napkins...

M gave me this beautiful lace fan, the perfect accessory for choral singing on a hot Christmas night...

I have been to lots of choir practise, singing carols for the season.
These days I prefer the lesser known, and medieval, carols for their beauty and simplicity.
The half dozen most common carols, constantly rearranged with a modern beat, pierce my hearing at the shopping malls.   
I shudder...

My sister and I went to see the Queensland Ballet performance of
The Nutcracker.  
It is performed every year at Christmas, (not that I go every time), and is a special treat for the season.
The sets and costumes were brilliant, like a Victorian Christmas card.

We loved the snow ballet at the end of Act 1, all frosty and white with snow falling on the scene.
Then the curtains came down, and snow fell down on the audience.
It disappeared when you tried to catch it, but seemed to be a type of soap suds, or bubble mix. 

We have had a few more dramatic storms this week.
There has been no steady rain, but the storms have revived our garden, and at last we have green grass once again.

The strong wind of this storm reminded me of an Australian Christmas carol,
 'The North Wind'...

Forgetting about snow, here are the words of a carol set in our own brown land:

The North-wind is tossing the leaves,
The red-dust is over the town;
The sparrows are under the eaves
And the grass in the paddock is brown;
As we lift up our voices and sing
To the Christ-Child the Heavenly King;

The tree-ferns in green gullies sway;
The cool stream flows silently by:
The joy-bells are greeting the day,
And the chimes are adrift in the sky,
As we lift up our voices and sing
To the Christ-Child, the Heavenly King.

(Words by John Sheeler, Music by William G James)

Enjoy the season,


Sunday, December 14, 2014


A Christmas parcel arrived from Canada, covered with all these stamps:
Hello to Her Majesty...

When I send parcels to Canada,
 Australia Post prints a boring white sticker to go on it, with no stamps.
Just saying...

A few storms, a bit of rain, and the Red Cardinal Garden of Neglect threw up a gorgeous white gladioli...

I hunted through the old books, and found The Christmas Book, c. 1980s,
and well-loved by our children.
Baby Jesus has a particular 80s baby look about him.
It is time to read it to a new generation of little people...

We went to Flannerys and bought lots of sulphite-free dried fruits,

soaked it overnight in good old Bundy Rum, like a good Queenslander should,

and poured more rum over the finished cakes.

The house smelt quite frankly delicious throughout the afternoon...

I spent a good part of the weekend making a cool Christmas outfit,
a floaty long white skirt, and a cool blue top:

The pretty skirt fabric, $12 metre at Spotlight, cool cotton voile with frills, pintucks and ric-rac:

 No pattern was used; I made a 5 inch yolk to fit my hips, with elastic waist casing, and gathered the 2 metre length of fabric to fit.
Easy Peasy.

The top, from a length of old cobalt blue lace, over a piece of lining fabric,
was made from my TNT pattern, which I know will be quick and will fit.

I added angel and snowflake pins found in Vancouver between flights, a few years ago.

Only twelve days to Christmas, and lots of carol singing for moi, this week..

How are your Christmas preparations going?

Don't work too hard.