Thursday, October 31, 2013


I once saw him described as a "Smarmy Git" by a (no-doubt jealous) print journalist ..

Kevin McLeod, of Grand Designs fame, was in town.
For one night only.

I admit nothing, but my friend S was keen to go, and I was more than happy to accompany....

much to Mr C's amusement:  

Mr C: "What will he do on stage"?

Me:  Does it matter?

As my friend N said, Maybe he will take off his shirt?

Here's Kevin, building his crazy 'man-shed' ...
just because he can..

And so the essential question arose:
What does one wear, to sit in an audience of probably thousands of women, bearing in mind the remote possibility that for one nano-second, Kevin's eyes might glance across in our direction????

And would we learn anything about how to build or decorate our own personal spaces, or would we simply bask in the radiance... 
but I digress...

After some musing, I came up with this:
cream/black graphic print crepe harem pants, black tee with gold studs, black blazer, blush wedges and clutch, $12 giant chains from Forever New, tossed on with my gold belcher chain...

It was Mr C's birthday, so I made him some cupcakes to keep him company while I was away...

The Lyric Theatre was packed with an audience of thousands,
right up to the top balcony...

and Kevin, it transpires, is really very funny -
in fact, quite the stand-up comedian...

and very energetic - he spoke for over two hours, and quite rapidly at that.

In front of a giant screen, he showed bits of particularly memorable Grand Design episodes, discussed history of architecture and the show generally.
He hates the theme tune, which is universally loved..

and demonstrated some principles of building and construction using jelly, toast and vegemite.

Did I learn anything new?  Not really
Did it matter?  Not at all

I had fun, and so did everybody else.

And no, he did not take off his shirt...

Nice to see you, Kevin.

Happy Halloween everybody


Monday, October 28, 2013


While you in the Northern Hemisphere are enjoying the beauty of golden leaves a'falling,
I whipped out my folding paper Halloween pumpkin, my fake autumnal leaves, baby pumpkins and a scarecrow from darling daughter ... thank you Canadian themed ephemera...

and got on with Pink Ribbon Day:

Mr C bought me this tiny sparkly angel, who holds a sweet pink ribbon emblem, at St Joseph's Oratory in Montreal last May:

Bought this pink pen - another small donation to the Breast Cancer Research cause..I have much to be thankful for, in the development over the past 20 years of better methods of diagnosis and treatment..

For me, 18 months on, and still going well..

A pink rose blossomed on my deck today, with perfect timing.

The other night I put on this dalmation print dress, and took my sparkly clutch to the Opera...

but first we devoured these at the Theatre cafe :

I know, I know: and I did two walks today...

We were celebrating the 200th Birthday of Guiseppe Verdi, 

at the Opera Queensland production of Otello..
It was quite wonderful!
Dramatic, intense, tragic - every superlative you could throw at this modern incarnation of the original Shakespearean tale..
Frank Porretta as Otello and Cheryl Barker as Desdemona brought the audience to rapt silence as their tragedy unfolded..

What made this really different was the setting - on an aircraft carrier, somewhere in the Middle East, in contemporary naval uniforms -
which all worked wonderfully well.
The story and the music are timeless.
Happy 200th, Verdi!

My father will turn 93 this week..

We kicked off the week of festivities with afternoon coffee at this French-themed eatery -

Dad and his favourite Cappuccino.  

Got my special copy of Hello!

Isn't this photo lovely:

Could be the best 'royal smiling baby' photo ever recorded..

and this is what I did with the Star Wars material - one library bag!

Have a great week


Thursday, October 24, 2013


Our friendly pair of daily visitors, the Lorikeets, brought their two fat babies today.
It was pandemonium!
The usual one baby bird is noisy and demanding, but TWINS!!

Eventually mother and father sent the children down to play on our deck, and managed to have their own breakfast.

This baby has much more princely manners...

Apparently little Prince George remained beautifully calm during his Christening - what a bonny boy he is...

I don't know which cream dress I like the best:
The copy of the original Royal Christening gown, rich in old lace,
or Kate's beautiful Alexander McQueen frilled number and sweet hat...

Questions are being asked: who does he most resemble?
I think he looks a lot like Her Majesty the Queen.

The Choir of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal sang, including this anthem which I enjoy singing with my choirs - The Lord Bless You and Keep You (John Rutter)

This performance was recorded at the 60th Wedding Anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip.

Our Agapanthus are coming out, working up to their annual Show-Off!..

which heralds this:

and this:


Have you begun your Christmas shopping yet?


Sunday, October 20, 2013


"The Artist's Wife", 1934-35, Melville Haysom, 1900-1967 
It rained last Friday!  
One storm, and about three more hours of moderate rain, enough to at least give a drink to the poor parched Garden of Neglect...

The above painting is by a Brisbane artist, Melville Haysom.
This is his wife, Yvonne, who was of French descent (and I think that shows in her style).
Don't you love the way the curve of the struts of the umbrella take your eye back up to her elegant face - I think he admired his wife very much.
For local readers, they lived on Gregory Terrace, and the background is Victoria park and the hills of Mt Coot-tha, where they later purchased a dairy farm.
After the war, Haysom set up a private art school on the farm, and later became Senior Instructor in Painting and Drawing at the Central Technical College in Brisbane.  He was also Art Critic for the Brisbane Telegraph newspaper.

The Cardinals enjoyed lunch at the home of my dear friends J and P ...
J, chef extraordinaire, made the world's most perfect hamburger and fries -
following the recipe of Heston Blumenthal...
It was amazing!  
I had no idea the humble burger and fries could be elevated to such a mouth-watering art form.

Then there was the trio of desserts -
the little chocolate tart combined passionfruit with the best chocolate -
a match made in heaven.

After finishing the pink linen dress, I needed a quick sew
and made dress using the same pattern, just eliminating the front seams.

The unusual fabric was sourced from Emerald Fabric Boutique,
the super shop discovered on our trip to Central Queensland back in July..

and while we are in the sewing room, here is the little pile of bits I bought at the Craft Show - the pink with navy spots is a metre of frilling, to do something on a top I plan from the left over pink linen.

I could not go past a panel of Star Wars fabric..
A certain Young Man in Canada loves the Star Wars characters with all the passion only a pre-schooler can muster for superheros..

Here he is catching the yellow bus to French School -
he has started Kindergarten, and it is all in French!
By the end of the year, he will be fluent in French conversation -
would I lie to you?

Meanwhile, his brother the Little Bebe has learnt to walk -
at barely eleven months - cheeky tot!

Have a great week


Friday, October 18, 2013


Well, I finally finished my pink linen dress ...
under trying circumstances...

Do the sleeves look a little large?
That's because they are - (I am having a little medical trouble in the department of arm)

What really put me to the test was the demise, several weeks ago, of my trusty Overlocker (serger) machine - 
after only about 25 years of constant hard work ....

Knowing the local Craft Expo was coming up, I decided to wait until then, to test all the usual brands in one location, and hopefully get a Show Special.

And I did - yesterday - and await delivery of a lovely new Bernina machine next week.

I decided to sew ahead on the pink, and telling myself that Coco Chanel didn't have an overlocker when she started out, and look where she ended up,
I thought back to the sewing lessons of the past.

For the stitched detail on the front of this dress, I did this:

Folded the seam edges inwards, and stitched down on the outside:

The pattern is the shift dress in Butterick B5821, with a centre front bodice seam, and dropped waist.

The dress is lined with bemsilk, and sans serger, I finished the lining edge with lace, and used purchased bias binding to finish the linen hem.
I put fusible hemming tape inside the linen hem to give body.

The dress is cool and comfortable to wear, and feels very feminine...

OPI have a special for October: Breast Cancer Awareness...
Called Pink of Hearts, a percentage of the sale goes to breast cancer research.

You get a pretty pink polish, plus glitter and decals.
I'm not really a decal kind of girl, but love the pink polish:

Have a perfectly lovely weekend in the pink!