Thursday, November 27, 2014


Like many Australians in the post-war years, I lived in a fibro house during my childhood ...
although ours had a nice garden, was painted pale pink, and was a bit bigger than this randomly chosen Google image...

Use of fibro (asbestos cement) as a building material is now banned in several countries, including Australia.
Unfortunately, a component of the original product was asbestos fibre, used to reinforce the thin cement sheets.
As we now know, asbestos is related to life-threatening diseases, including asbestosis, pleural mesothelioma (lung) and peritoneal mesothelioma (abdomen).

We played outdoors a lot, in the Queensland sunshine.
And we played making cubby houses - with leftover building materials, which included odd pieces of fibro.
There were six of us, so there was always a lot of energetic activity.

In the light of current medical knowledge, I have wondered if any of us will suffer as a result of the inhalation of asbestos fibres which must have occurred.
Only time will tell.  Asbestos fibres that are inhaled through the mouth and nose can become embedded in the lining of the lungs, causing inflammation of the pleura and thus mesothelioma or asbestosis.  

(This is me, with my fifth birthday cake.
Loved cake then; still do...)

A reader of this blog has informed me that November is Lung Cancer Awareness month, and has asked that I write a little about mesothelioma, which she has sadly contracted.

While asbestos exposure most often occurred in people who worked extensively with asbestos materials, asbestos-related mesotheliomas have been diagnosed in spouses or children of those exposed to asbestos.  Workers brought home fibres on their clothing, hair, or person.
Asbestos is still not banned in the United States.

Help your lungs:
Avoid air pollution and exposure to toxic substances, and do not smoke tobacco.

Get fresh air, and enjoy nature...
I found this pretty pink flower in a forest at the mountains, where we took my Dad for a picnic.

High up in a palm tree, in the Red Cardinal garden, we have found the nest of one of the marauding possums ... 
who have now totally demolished all parsley, pansies, petunias and geraniums.
The deck is bare...

We had a fierce storm today - no damage here, but parts of Brisbane were inundated by enormous hail.

The possum left the nest and went off to find a better hiding spot, possibly in the trunk of a tree.

Been sewing again, something involving polka dots.

Be good.  You know why.


Saturday, November 22, 2014


'Future Beauty: 30 years of Japanese Fashion'
the first major exhibition to comprehensively survey avant-garde Japanese fashion from the early 1980s to the present, is currently on show at GOMA, Brisbane.
I went this week with my friend S, and we loved it!

In the late twentieth century, Japanese fashion came to display its uniqueness, when Kenzo Takada, Issey Miyake and others began to attract attention.
Then Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto made their debut in Paris in 1981, with designs completely devoid of the traditional aesthetics of Western fashion.
The exhibition features dozens of amazing fashions, sculptural, dazzling, and extremely clever.

No photography is allowed in the exhibition, so I could only take pictures from the introductory display.  However, these garments are in the exhibition.
The look, shape and texture of fabric is explored to a wonderful and fascinating degree, for a viewer who loves textiles, fashion and the art of sewing.

 I came home possessed of the urge to sew, and with another heat wave upon us, decided a cool maxi dress was an essential:

I bought this fabric in Sydney last year, when I went fabric shopping with the lovely Val, of Valerie's Sewing Blog.

It is a border print jersey knit, and due to some confusion re pattern repeat, lost in the mist of time, I ended up with two pieces, intending to make a top.
However, inspiration for how to make the most of the interesting fabric has eluded me.

Until this week.
Suddenly I had the idea of butting the two pieces head to head, and joining them together.
This put the striped border in the middle instead of at the hem and gave me enough length to cut a maxi dress from my TNT pattern.

I used the maximum amount of width available to get some fullness around the bottom of the skirt by judicious pattern placement, front then back.

I bound the neckline and armholes with a scrap of black jersey, and voila:

A cool dress for a very hot day.

About once a year I attempt a selfie -
 here we go with the wind blowing the hair awry...

My lovely friend M recently gave me the fixings for a sweet and quick Christmas craft:

This is her Christmas cake frill, tied around my empty cake tin..

And this is how you make it:

The red is M's finished frill, the green is the work in progress.
I am working in inches because my quilters tools are in inches.
Cut a piece 42" long and 5" wide.

Sew a neat double hem along sides and ends.

Now sew a length of white insertion lace along the centre.
   Thread a length of narrow ribbon through, leaving enough at each end to tie a bow.

And here is the finished ruffle, ready for the Christmas cake.

I re-arranged the Tree, just a tad..

Welcome to the new ornament, direct from Notre Dame, Paris.

My friend brought this Nativity scene back from Peru.
Isn't it adorable?

Be good:
Santa's coming....

Have a great weekend and stay cool.


Sunday, November 16, 2014


President Obama with his retinue of helicopters flew over our house early Saturday.
Woke us up - caught a glimpse but no time for the camera...

Here he is with our PM Tony Abbott and his wife doing the cocktail party rounds - in the Art Gallery where I guide.  Exciting. 
 Hope they all enjoyed it there.

The G20 is now finished, and was held without major incidents or violence - 
for which we are all extremely thankful.

Perhaps another record-shattering heat wave helped with this.
It was 42 deg around here on Saturday, unknown for November.
We have had so many record weather events over the past year -
something is definitely changing.

The POTUS visited my old University, where he gave a landmark speech to students.
Combating climate change was emphasised.
Which is surely a good thing.  

To escape Saturday's searing heat, we went to a long movie at the Mall.
'Interstellar', a space adventure about a future when earth becomes unlivable due to crop failure and gigantic dust storms.

Man goes searching the universe for another home.
Relocation has become the only hope for mankind.

A bleak but pertinent message, and a cracking adventure story.

After a very hot night, we faced extreme heat again on Sunday.
The skies were not blue, but white with heat.

It was 41 deg when we picked up my Dad from his residence.
Took a while to convince him it would be hot outside and to take off his jacket.

We drove to the mountains, where it was a benign 35 deg.
These photos are looking out over what is usually a pretty view but the heat drained all the colour from the landscape - just a bleak white shimmering haze out past the trees.

Over in Canada, our grandson the Little Bebe turned 2.
He is in love with Thomas the Tank Engine. 
Here he admires his cake, made by his Mum, our talented daughter.
I had the fun of joining in via Skype - the laptop sat on the table to the right of the cake, and I could see everybody, sing Happy Birthday, and wave greetings.

His older brother loves Star Wars.
Looks like quite a party over there...

And Happy Birthday to Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, who turns 66.
This is Charles as a baby - 
now we know who Prince George takes after, don't we?

Cooler weather forecast for tomorrow.

Have a good week.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Google image
Are we ready?  I think we are...
Unless you have been hiding under the proverbial rock, you probably know that our city, Brisbane, is about to host the G20 Summit this weekend.

Preparations have been going on for months...

Google image

A lot of these have been flying over our house..
(Can you see the jacaranda trees in this image?)

and a lot of these have been erected in the inner city exclusion zone.

There are lots of cultural events, in the streets and around the town.
The city is looking its best.

The security is overwhelming, the like of which we have never seen before.

South African President Zuma has arrived, the first of many leaders over the next few days.
President Obama will come on Saturday, and speak at my old University.

Let us hope all goes well, and the visitors enjoy our balmy, sub-tropical 
City of Brisbane.

Little Aussie has been visiting...

We had our own Summit Discussion re the Christmas Tree...

I gave him carte blanche to decorate as he thought fit:

Deep in thought..

Uniquely rustic version of the Red Cardinal Christmas tree.

My sewing room was turned into a cubby house for Pinocchio..

and of course, there was swimming every day...

I have been cultivating succulents -
seems only sensible since rain is now hard to come by..

Remember a few weeks ago I mentioned the possum which was visiting to eat our parsley?

     Super sleuth Mr C rose at midnight to catch not one, but two,
naughty possums.

Score for the night:  all parsley decimated, two geranium buds consumed, and several pansies and petunias apparently eaten.

Mr C declined to use the flash in case it frightened them.

Mrs C will be up with the flash camera next time...
Sorry chaps, but I like my flowers.

I made a new cushion today, based on one seen in a store window in Rome.
The Roman one had a blue ribbon. 
 I sketched the idea in my travel diary.
It is made with an overlapped opening like a pillow case, then the two ribbons are stitched one on each side and simply tied together in a bow.
I think it looks very Summery.

Over the weekend, Blogger visited a new affliction on me.
I have been receiving an 'Error 400' message, when trying to comment on other blogs, or post replies on my own.
The message says an illegal request has been made,
together with the unhelpful remark 'That's all we know'.
Apologies to those whose posts I have attempted to comment on, only to have my comment rejected.
Today the problem seems to have abated, but Fingers Crossed.
Has this ever happened to you?

..and in the 'one that got away' department,
my neighbour tells me that, while I was typing the beginning of this post, the helicopters I was listening to, flying over our houses, were those belonging to the United States, to be used by President Obama this week.
They are doing practice runs over the city.
I have since seen them on TV, quite large and unusual aircraft.
Something we will never see again, and I missed the chance to get a photo!

Keep well,