Saturday, August 31, 2013


Today, September 1, the first day of Spring, and Father's Day in Australia...

Mr C and I , like all modern parents, were up early for him to receive Father's Day wishes via phone calls from the other side of the globe -
one from Canada, one from Ireland where our Sydneysider son is currently travelling...

Later we joined our second son, the Rocket Scientist, lovely daughter-in-law and her family, for brunch at the Chow House - Mr C resplendent in his new shirt...

Some-one who rarely eats meat was seen chowing down the bacon...hmmm

These light fittings looked interesting..reminded me of some woven indigenous sculptures I have seen recently..

Here's to Spring:

Primavera, or Allegory of Spring, by Sandro Botticelli, c.1482 -
The Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
There are 500 identified plant species, including 190 different flowers depicted in this complex composition. (Image: Wikipedia)

And to finish, Sinding's Rustle of Spring, played by Daniel Sabbah.
With thanks to Perpetua, of Perpetually in Transit for her brilliant instructions on uploading from YouTube.

Happy Father's Day to all Australian Dads - this is your day -

Have a great week everybody!


Thursday, August 29, 2013


The short but delightful season which passes for Spring in Southern Queensland seems to have arrived a trifle early this year.

The Red Cardinal Garden of Neglect is doing its best ...

Long-term readers of the blog might remember that last year we cleared out the old family home, after my father retired to live in the local luxury hotel with lots of fun outings and nice menus .... er, I mean, Retirement Village.

Anyway, at that time I brought home a piece of his stunning white orchid (other pieces going to my siblings)... tied it to a tree ..

and, Viola, look what we have today:

It not only survived, but has produced two gorgeous white fronds!

Michelle is continuing to wear yellow, and with the arrival of Spring I am happy to join in this fad.
Finished making my yellow dress, and found a crazy cat lady scarf to go with it:

Then it was on to the fabric purchased recently on our trip to Emerald:

A new season McCall's pattern, M6792, purchased from Club BMV -
 {they have been having lots of sales lately}

It should have been quick and easy, but despite checking measurements it was huge when I tacked it together.
Much later, and after taking in the sides about three times, it finally did fit!
I'm done with colour blocking and graphic prints ....

On another subject entirely, since my surgery in 2012, at times - and particularly when flying - I need to wear a compression sleeve on my left arm.
I was measured and fitted for one last year and the only colour I was offered was a sort of bleah shade of pink/grey masquerading as 'flesh tint'.  
I know the sleeve is essential and I can cope with that idea, but I really have hated the look of it.

This week I visited a lovely lady, another breast cancer survivor, who has a home business called LympheDonna - and she imports wonderful sleeves called Lymphedivas in the most incredible array of colours and designs.

I now have this:

White lace, for Spring and Summer ...

and I am putting this one on my birthday wish list:

Van Gogh Irises - how pretty is that?
Unless I go for his Starry Night which is also available ...

There are animal prints, denim, floral, hearts, spots, stars, paisleys, tattoo and snakes... and plain black, which could be useful.

They are not cheap, but they certainly make an unfortunate medical side-effect so much easier to live with.

Take care, and never forget your health checks..

Enjoy the sunshine xxxx

Sunday, August 25, 2013


On 5 April, 1841, the convict ship Rajah set sail from Woolwich, England, bound for Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania, Australia), with 179 women prisoners on board.

Life on a prison ship was cramped and difficult...

Yet, when the ship docked in Hobart four months later,
the women had produced something magical and beautiful:

'The Rajah Quilt'

The woman behind this story was Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845), English prison reformer, social reformer, and Quaker.  She began her work with a visit to Newgate prison, and horrified at the conditions devoted her life to the improvement and reformation, particularly of female prisoners.
Fundamental to her philosophy of reform was rehabilitation, and the art of sewing, particularly in the form of patchwork, was integral to this.

Elizabeth Fry

On the recommendation of Fry, Miss Kezia Hayter joined the journey on the Rajah, acting as Matron and given free passage in exchange for dedicating her time to the prisoners.  A Convict Ship Committee sourced supplies from Manchester merchants, and on departure each woman was given the following:

Ten yards of fabric,
Four balls of white cotton sewing thread,
A ball each of black, red and blue thread,
black wool,
24 hanks of coloured thread,
A thimble, 100 needles, pins, scissors, and two pounds of patchwork pieces.

At least 29 of the women are believed to have worked on the quilt, which was made in sections and joined together at the end.
They contributed small amounts from their stash, knowing that the quilt would be an example of their industry and skills, and would lead to better conditions and later employment in Tasmania.

On arrival in Hobart, the quilt was presented to Lady Jane Franklin, the wife of the Lieutenant Governor, with the following message embroidered along one edge:

To the Ladies of the Convict ship committee:  This quilt worked by the Convicts of the ship Rajah during their voyage to van Diemans Land is presented as a testimony to the gratitude with which they remember their exertions for their welfare while in England and during their passage and also as proof that they have not neglected the Ladies kind admonitions of being industrious. June 1841.

I can't photograph the quilt but this is a card I purchased at the current exhibition Quilts 1700-1945, at the Qld. Art Gallery.
The quilt is very large, 325 x 337 centimetres.  The centre section is broderie perse (appliqued chintz) with twelve frames radiating outwards.  The applique of flowers and birds is stitched down with the most delicate herringbone stitching I have ever seen - I can only think that must have been done above deck on calm and sunny days!

The Rajah Quilt now belongs to the people of Australia, and usually resides at the National Gallery in Canberra.  It is on loan to Brisbane to accompany the Quilts exhibition which has come from the V&A Museum in London, and makes a worthy addition and finale to the exhibition.

At some point the quilt was returned to England and its whereabouts for the next ninety years remains to be revealed.  However in the 1930s it came into the possession of a Scottish family with Australian connections and later came to the notice of the National Gallery of Australia when recorded by British quilt historian Janet Rae for her book Quilts of the British Isles.

The Rajah quilt has miraculously survived time and climate to provide us with a tangible link to our colonial society and the women who came by ship to the ends of the earth, stitching something beautiful along the way.

If you live in Brisbane, and enjoy textiles and history, don't miss this one!

and the pop-up shop at the end is great too...

Happy stitching, and have a great week


(Black/white images by Google and Wikipedia)

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Spring is just around the corner ...
and we celebrated with lunch beside the Brisbane River ..

That's the Story Bridge, a Brisbane icon ...
Bridge Climbs an available option ..

and I was going to pass on dessert, too ...

The Red Cardinal Garden of Neglect has excelled, and produced three iris blooms ...
simultaneously ...

and I've been seen hanging about in toy stores again...
a certain little boy will be turning 4, very soon..

Did you know that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - those 80s dudes with the Renaissance artist monikers - are back in fashion?
Thought not..

Today we visited the Japanese Garden, a part of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens..

The azaleas are just beginning to bloom ..

I took a photo of a duck, only to find I also captured a lizard on a rock -
well, I hope its not a little crocodile ..

It was Japanese cultural day, with calligraphy, ikebana, tea ceremony,
 and rice cake making:

We had a little sample later - quite a tasty little morsel of dough..

Can you see the spider?
What a great web he/she has spun...

Wishing you sunshine and roses, wherever you be ..