Wednesday, August 31, 2011


It was a Dark and Stormy Night .... cold too, last night.
Warm, Comfort Food was required, so I made a Fisherman's Pie:

A great new Weight-Watchers recipe -
Delicious, and it reminded me of similar Fish Pies enjoyed in pubs in England
on wet cold days.
Culinary Memories: The Duke of Cumberland Pub, Barham, near Canterbury.

The jasmine is suddenly growing wild around here. 
Funny how you don't notice it for about 11 months,
 then one day you look out and see this:
Jasmine all over the fence..

Jasmine going all tropical and climbing palm trees ...

Jasmine attempting escape by climbing over a neighbour's tree...

My mother kept this little piece of velvet animal print in her fabric stash
 for nearly 50 years ("It might come in handy one day").
Well, the cushion mania struck again this week, so here it is,
enjoying life on the Outside.

Then this bird emerged, too.

Are you going to the Henri Cartier Bresson exhibition at QAG?  

Me too.

Friday, August 26, 2011


The sweet peas are Blooming!!!
In a triumph over hope over experience,
I have succeeded in nurturing a couple of plants from Seed to Flower -
after a lifetime of failed attempts.
Admittedly, they are in a balcony pot, not a garden bed,
but in our vicinity, such delicate little blooms find survival in the wilds of our backyard a considerable challenge.
There are far too many predators - from overbearing self-sewn unwelcome little trees,
to scrub turkeys, possums, neighbourhood cats, and even the Mower and Whippersnipper guy.
By the way, the Sweet Peas smell Delicious.

I've been to see the lastest movie adaptation of Jane Eyre.
Reader, I LOVED it.
OK, I stole that line from Jane herself, but
she could hardly say Reader I Married Him in the movie, could she?
And I just had to get it in somewhere.
Now, getting back to the film....
the cinematography was gorgeously gothic;
almost every frame could be taken and hung in a frame, so beautifully crafted is this work.
Very few liberties are taken with the original story, and the cast are terrific.
Good old Judi Dench makes a perfect Mrs Fairfax.
Charlotte Bronte would surely approve.
Ten Stars from me.

I have been Decluttering this week.  Twenty year old cookbooks are gone, and a lot of other stuff we no longer use.  As the inspirational Faux Fuchsia often says, Decluttering is very liberating and satisfying, and it is.  Why is that, I wonder?

With all the blossoming flowers about, Spring can't be far away.
And with Spring comes the Wardrobe Declutter and the fun of the new Summer Fashions.
I love Michele Obama's bright colours and style.
Even though she is tall and slim with killer shoulders,
and I am, well, not...

Source:  Mrs O.
I love this great colour block skirt, which just screams Summer in Queensland. 

Rain is forecast for the weekend - keep cosy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


It's been raining cats and dogs here for the past 24 hours -
The garden is totally loving it.
This iris bloomed today and is having a delicious time drinking up the raindrops.

I like these orange blooms - I think this shrub is called Browallia,
(or something like that.)

Our Princess Mary went to a garden show the other day:

Mary always looks just perfect. 
Straw hat for summery outdoors garden wear,
leaf green trench, perfect pink roses.

Look at the little princesses of Spain, off to meet the Pope:

Sweet and adorable, in their pink floral dresses with roses on their shoes.
They wouldn't look out of place in a garden either.

Pansies are good value - tough as nails, cheerful colours, funny little faces,
and survive even when you forget about them for weeks (who? - me?)

August is Daffodil month.  Buy a bunch to contribute to Cancer Research,
and enjoy their nodding trumpets:

Asparagus only $3 for 2 bunches at Coles.  Guess what we're having for dinner?

Friday, August 19, 2011


La Vie en Rose and The Hours-
 TV movies this week.
 Both films won Best Actress Oscars for their leading ladies
and utilise the theme of angst in the Artistic Genius.

Marion Cotillard was great as the legendary French chanteuse
Edith Piaf:

Source: Edith Piaf's Paris.

Poor Piaf lived a life of neglect, abuse, tragedy, car crashes, addictions..
But of course, that is what gave her voice that heart-rending, distinctive and arresting quality.
I always get the shivers when I hear her sing La Vie en Rose.

My Blue Rose is blooming these days,
and has the most heavenly scent.
Blue was the mood of Virginia Wolff, as portrayed by
Our Nicole Kidman, in her Oscar-winning movie The Hours. 
Wolff's great novel Mrs Dalloway, is of course the basis for a fascinating film,
interlinking three story threads:
Virginia in the hours leading to her suicide in the River Ouse,
and two fictitious and interwoven tales utilising themes from Mrs Dalloway -
 so clever.
I loved this book when I studied it at uni, and wrote enthusiastic essays about it, Virginia Wolff, and the whole Bloomsbury Group.
Years ago we were in Brighton, UK,  for a conference, and I was able to organise a wonderful afternoon visiting Monks House, the home of Virginia and Leonard Wolff in Rodmell, near Lewes, then Charleston, home of her sister Vanessa Bell, played by Miranda Richardson in the film.
This is Monks House today:

 Here is a peek into Virginia's dining room:

I love that 1930s green, and the paint effects courtesy of her sister Vanessa and Vanessa's lover,
the artist Duncan Grant.  They had a little girl, Angelica, who is featured in
The Hours.
It was beyond exciting to investigate Virginia's writing lodge in the back garden,
and too sad to look across the fields to the River Ouse where she drowned in 1941.

This is Charleston, not far from Monks House.  In the early 20th century Charleston was the scene of the most amazing country house parties, gatherings of the famous Bloomsbury Group of artists, writers, and other luminaries like economist Maynard Keynes.
The menage included Vanessa Bell and her husband, famous Art Critic Clive Bell, Vanessa's lover Duncan Grant, and his lover David Garnett, who eventually married Angelica! 
They were quite the eccentric bohemians, and exciting artists.
My favourite period in Art History is Post Impressionism/Early Modernism, and I just love their style.
Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant were founder members of the Omega Workshops,
formed in London in 1913 to promote post-impressionist designs in furniture, textiles and household accessories.
They delighted in decorating every available surface in Charleston with their modern designs:

My purchases, from the gift shop in the outbuildings, were prints of two of Vanessa's flower paintings.
People often confuse them with Matisse:

and my treasured wooden coathanger, painted in the Omega style:

If you are still reading this, you can imagine my excitement early this year when, breakfasting at a B&B in New Zealand, we shared a table with a lovely English couple on their 40th Wedding Anniversary tour. 
It emerged that she had worked as Duncan Grant's secretary, at Charleston, sorting his papers in the years just prior to his death in 1978, aged 93.
She knew Angelica, who is still alive in her 90s, and another gifted artist.
I was trembling as I shook this dear lady's hand.

Art Historians are like that.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Look at this amazing wedding cake.
It was sculpted in icing by my incredibly gifted and talented friend J.
Naturally, she won a Gold Medal for it, at the
Salon Culinaire Competition in Brisbane recently.
The Eiffel Tower is made from Royal Icing,
and J handmade 250 fantastical roses.
Ooo La La!!! Magnifique!

Last year clever J made this dear little pony to top the
Christening Cake of our little grandson.
Isn't it delightful?
She also sews like a dream, and is a True Artiste.
Congratulations, J!!

The other day I decided a change was required in the Cardinal nest.
After rounding up the white collection,
the hutch was changed.
From this:

to this:

Don't you love collecting items with history and meaning?
The tiny cup and saucer came from the Guggenheim in New York.
The white chook I found in Echuca.
My mother-in-law owned the white jug.
The shells I have owned for so long,
I don't remember when or where they came from.
They have spent a lot of time in bathrooms, in our various nests.

This should keep us going until the
Great Annual Christmas Decorating Bonanza.

Little Prince Christian of Denmark, the firstborn of Our Princess Mary,
has started school.  Hasn't time flown?

Source:  MY ROYALS

Too, too cute...
Like proud parents the world over, Mary and Fred took their boy to First Day at School.
Christian looks very self-possessed and grown up, with just a hint of Australian small boy about him.

Au Revoir

Monday, August 15, 2011


Like many other Queenslanders, I wore red today,
as a sign of sympathy and support for the Morcombe family.
As a mother of grown children,
 I can't begin to imagine what this brave family have endured,
since their son Daniel disappeared from a bus-stop in 2003,
while wearing a red T-shirt.
While the drama unfolds with the breakthrough they have long worked towards,
the family have asked the public to wear red not only in Daniel's memory
 but to keep the issue of child protection before the public via the
Daniel Morcombe Foundation.

Friday, August 12, 2011


I've been in to the GoMA twice this week. 
Surrealism is attracting lots of interest,
and large numbers of school groups.
Wish we'd had outings like that when I went to school, way back when.

The garden decrees that Spring is coming,
so I bought these shoes:

I like to spend time in my Sewing Studio:

Aren't these paper dolls fun?
I found this book in Paris, and love to have it on display.

Paris as stitchery - an old tapestry, part of the Studio Collection.

There was a thunder-storm here yesterday -
has the world gone mad?
August is the time for dry Westerley winds, not lightning and thunder!!

I hope the weekend is peaceful...

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Source: My Royals
Are these two finally developing a little bit of rapport with each other?
Look at Charlene's expression - she is looking quite fondly at Old Albert.
There were at the fabulous Monaco Red Cross Ball.
Naturally, there was dancing.
Looking very cosy here, too.
Charlene is wearing Albert's wedding gift,
the Convertible Tiara/Necklace, with the hundreds of diamonds.
Isn't her gown gorgeous, too?
I'd love to own Princess Caroline's multi-patterned dress.
This photo says it all - the two Princess Sisters, have been pushed to the side.
Charlene is very much the First Princess these days.

I saw Dr Zhivago, the stage musical, last night, and thought it was terrific.
But then, I am biassed as I have such an affection for the story and the movie,
which came out when I was a young romantic, way back when.
With modern staging, World War I and the Russion Revolution came to life with horrifying reality.
Everyone sang wonderfully,
and the tragic love triangle was as painful on stage as on screen.
Ten stars from me.

Source; Wikipedia

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Dear old Margaret Olley died last week -
I really liked her and her paintings of interiors and flowers.
She was a National Treasure, and a wonderful Bohemian Eccentric,
loved by everyone.

Can't afford one of her flower pics,
but I make do with this poppy painting:

and a print of a beautiful painting of pink roses by
Nora Heyson:

Here is Margaret's portrait by Sir William Dobell, 1948,
which won the Archibald Prize.
(Art Gallery of NSW)
Like bookends to her career, another portrait of Margaret by Ben Quilty,
won this year's Archibald -
just in time for her to see it before the end.

I've been making cushions again -
Thank you Beach Vintage for the fabric on the left - love it.
Off to see Dr Zhivago, the Musical this weekend -
Do I have something Russian to wear???