Wednesday, January 30, 2013


The winds howled and roared, wave after wave of awful, eerie wailing and moaning swept across the valley below while the rain pounded the window above our bed.   Sleep eluded me as I waited for the old oak gum tree to crash into our house ...

Last Sunday night I thought I was in Wuthering Heights ...
but no, the trees were whipped and lashed by the storm known as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald, the little cyclone who refused to give up or give in.

And he's still at it.
Up and down the eastern coast of Australia, towns are drenched by the deluge, thousands of homes and businesses going under rising floodwaters,
and in Brisbane about 250,000 people lost power.

It may be my own fault of course.
In the comments section of a post last week, I mentioned that cyclones rarely come to Brisbane ...

We were lucky; we live on a hill safe from the creek below, and our damage is restricted to water coming through the roof and ceiling of one room only.

On Monday morning, after fitful sleep, we awoke to a strange silence.
The wind had subsided, there was the patter of light rain, but no white noise in the neighbourhood.  
The electricity had gone, and did not return for 50 hours!
It is the longest blackout I have ever experienced ..

In our local park ...

No driving that way today ...

Spare a thought for the many people who are still without power after 4 or 5 days (50,000 just in Brisbane, plus many other towns) those who are now homeless, or have lost crops, farm animals and businesses.

We have learned one thing from this experience:
We are really Bad at disaster preparation, and need to lift our game.
When the authorities gave due warning on Sunday, I went out for more food.
Loss of electricity did not occur to me.
We had insufficient batteries for the one battery radio in the house, and by the time we went shopping there were no batteries and no ice to be had, anywhere!

Monday, lunchtime, standing in the rain, attempting to barbeque chicken and salmon, and boil water for cup of tea.
Result: poor to medium.

Yesterday we had 37 degree heat and high humidity.
Today, I had to empty a freezer and two refrigerators, and take the contents to one of the food dumping stations, helpfully provided by Brisbane City Council.
Result: wasteful.

On Monday night we had our annual Australia Day barbeque for all the families in our court.  Everyone (except me) has a white dog...
Drizzling rain was ignored, and we had plenty to talk about!

It is wonderful to be safe, secure, and survive!


Friday, January 25, 2013


Australians All Let Us Rejoice.... the first line of our National Anthem.
Today, January 26, is Australia Day, and we celebrate our nationhood..

The lovely Golden Wattle is our National Floral Emblem...

 Australian artist Sir William Dargie painted a portrait of Queen Elizabeth in 1954, to mark her first Royal Tour to Australia ...

and her gift from Australia was the Wattle Brooch of yellow diamonds:

Her Majesty has worn it on many subsequent tours, usually with a sunny yellow ensemble, a tribute to our Australian sunshine and wattle.

Albert Namatjira, Google Images

Albert Namatjira (1902-59), the first Australian indigenous artist to achieve national recognition, met the Queen during the '54 tour.
Namatjira's vivid watercolour landscapes of Central Australia caused great excitement when first exhibited during the 1940s, and by the 50s, prints of his work hung on the walls of many Australian homes (including my own).
Later, as happens, his work went out of fashion (it was essentially figurative) but these days there is a renewed appreciation of his painting and his ability to capture the heart and soul of the red centre of Australia.

Google Images

Margaret Preston (1875-1963) was a modernist artist with an interest in the development of a national style for Australian art.

Margaret Preston Self Portrait 1930.  Google images.
She sought to blend the motifs and colouration she observed in the art produced by indigenous Aboriginal Australians, with a modern aesthetic with influences of print-making and cubism.

Some interesting work resulted:

Flying over the Shoalhaven River, 1942.
A landscape with a hint of the aerial perspective frequently seen in indigenous Central Desert art, and areas of scattered dotting, another aboriginal motif, and of course the ochre colour.  But it is not a copy of anything produced by the indigenous community, and neither is it conventional European Modernism of its time.
Margaret Preston was inventing her own pictorial language.

The Brown Pot, 1940, features tough, native banksia flowers,
painted in 'native' dots and dashes and ochre colours.
There are elements of cubism in this work.
Preston was trying to infiltrate Aboriginal art into the domestic and fine arts of the era.

Aboriginal Still Life, 1940, features two Rainforest Shields, an indigenous painting genre from North Queensland.

Ultimately, Preston's brave attempt to forge a national style for Australian art came to nothing.  The designs meant nothing to the Aboriginal people, because to them they were meaningless oddments and references.
The paintings, attractive and of museum quality, have found a place in the history of art but they are a curiousity of their era.
Like the Government's policy at that time, Assimilation of the indigenous into the European community, it simply did not work and the nation has moved on.

Australia is now multi-cultural, and we celebrate our differences - in art as well as everything else.

and have a Wonderful Weekend!


Thursday, January 24, 2013


HALLELUIA, the rain has come!
It has rained solidly for 24 hours, and the garden is sending up thanks.
And I am enjoying a cooler respite from the heatwave.

Look at what our front lawn became over the past few months...

The most exposed parts have become a despicable shade of murky grey/brown..

Sadly, the rain has come at some cost.
Cyclone Oswald is wreaking havoc in northern and central Queensland.
There have been swift water rescues, and flash flooding is predicted.

It's Australia Day tomorrow, but with 200-300mm of rain predicted for Brisbane over the weekend, festivities will be restrained or cancelled.
Water is being released from the dams tonight, to avoid serious flooding.

I finished Vogue V8786, the bright summer floral..

While the seaming doesn't really show up in the busy print,
it gives it a good fit when worn...

Blue earrings to pick up the accent colour ..
I've been searching for ages for a jacket pattern with raglan sleeves.
Behold what arrived in the mail this week:

Vintage McCalls from the late 1950s, found on ebay for $8.00!!
I'm not sure what fabric I'll use, but I can't wait to start this one.

The blog hit another milestone today:
15,000 page views ..

Don't forget the Red Cardinal giveaway, a red bird brooch from elk accessories.
All Followers go into the draw ...

I'm baking cookies -
What are you doing this weekend?

Stay warm or dry, according to your hemisphere!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Post No. 200 - I never thought I'd see those words when I started the Red Cardinal blog back in 2011.
Little did I know, Blogging is Addictive!

To celebrate, I have found a Red Bird brooch, by elk accessories of Melbourne, Australia.
Elk works with small family manufacturers utilising traditional crafts and skills, and supports small communities with consistent, sustainable work.
The brooch is made of timber sourced from sustainable plantation trees, and the piece is made from all natural materials.

The bird can be yours!!

To go into the draw for a chance to win this lovely brooch, all you need to do is be a Follower and leave a Comment on the blog before the 1st February.
Not a Follower?
If you are one of the many silent readers, and don't want to reveal your identity, make one up!  Grown women have been known to call themselves Perfect Princess or Hidden Gem - it's all part of the fun...

Lovely International followers of the blog are included in the draw.

Popular posts over the past two years have featured:
Bird Life round the Cardinal Nest...

Our cute grandsons, Little Aussie ..

the Petit Garcon in Canada ..

and his new brother, Little Bebe..

Sewing ...

Holidays ...


Hobbiton, New Zealand

The Art Gallery ..

and of course, the Red Cardinal Garden of Neglect ..

And we love a bit of royal or celebrity gossip on this blog.
Been watching the Inauguration, and loved the choir's rendition of 
The Battle Hymn of the Republic  .. sigh, would love to have been there singing with them!

The girls all looked good ..

and Michelle wore Ruby Red ...

Bye now xxxx