Saturday, December 24, 2022


Giotto, 'Nativity' c. 1311-1320

Wishing Christmas blessings of Peace, Joy and Happiness to all the dear Readers of the Red Cardinal blog.

Patricia, Red Cardinal


Thursday, December 22, 2022


 Christmas approaches, and traditional rituals are being observed...
perhaps a little less of this or that, as we grow older....

The pansies are still in bloom.  It appears this year I have won my competition with myself to keep them going until Christmas.
Despite a few short burst of intense heat, the weather has remained relatively pleasant lately, with temperatures hovering around 30c.

The pile of presents for our children and grandchildren is growing beside the Pink Christmas Tree...

I put on my ancient Red Cardinal apron, and made a hasty Christmas cake.  This recipe is for non-cooks like me who left it until the last minute.  

1kg mixed dried fruit
2 1/4 cups apple juice
2 cups self-raising flour

Boil mixed fruit and apple juice for three minutes.
Leave to cool to room temperature.

Add 2 cups flour.

Bake 2 hours at 160 c.  

Naturally I decided to add variety, and put in some cherries and flaked nuts, plus cinnamon and nutmeg.

The cake is moist and delicious, and probably will not last very long.

We will sing carols at church, celebrating the First Christmas..

I made this cross-stitch about 20 years ago, when my eyesight was much keener :)

My dear friend V made this little pink paper Christmas house for our pink tree..
Isn't it gorgeous?

On Saturday I will be baking a leg of ham, a family favourite.
The glaze is made with ginger marmalade, brown sugar, mustard, and ginger ale.

It is decadently delicious as part of Christmas lunch with our family...

Looking forward to a visit from the grandies on Saturday..
They are such fun to have around.

I hope your preparations are going well.

Remember the reason for the season...


Monday, December 5, 2022



The Great Barrier Reef, one of the Wonders of the World, lies parallel to our Queensland Coast in the tropical waters south of the Equator.

Concerns have been raised for many years about the condition of the Reef, the effects of pollution and/or global warming.  While opinions may differ, we all agree that the Reef must be protected and cared for into the future.

Indigenous Women of the Great Barrier Reef have been training women over the past four years, to be Rangers bringing together ancient knowledge and modern conservation tools to better protect the Reef.

It was quite a thrill to learn today that this organisation is the winner of the 'Revive our Oceans' section of the Earthshot Prize Awards, announced in Boston this week.

Well done, fellow Queenslanders!

The Awards are a personal project for Prince William, and the Prince and Princess of Wales have been warmly welcomed in Boston.

Princess Catherine looked stunning on the green carpet in a rented, chic green gown.  For the first time, she is seen wearing an emerald necklace favoured by the late Princess Diana.

Australians will remember this night in Sydney in the 1980s:

Diana surprised us by wearing the emeralds as a headband - which better suited her one-shouldered gown.

 Those were happier times for the Prince and Princess...

Christmas is fast approaching....

Have a good week....


Monday, November 21, 2022



And just like that, Christmas is around the corner..

(Warning: this post is heavy on Christmas festive cheer).

It has been a busy, and slightly different, year for the Red Cardinals.

Our son and his family moved from Sydney to Brisbane to be near us.  We have been delighted by the arrival of our first granddaughter, and love spending time with her older brothers, the boy twins as well.

We seen them all once or twice a week for 'play' time..

and are still trying to keep our 'other lives' going as well.

Last week the Christmas tree went up..

I made it pink to celebrate our little grandie girl...

I have collected the occasional pink ornament for years, but never made a big feature of them before.

Selfridges, London, 2004

Ottawa, Canada, 2010

Made for me by my dear friend M.

All the fragile decorations are not coming out this year..

Instead, we are having a child-friendly theme including this fabulous Lego Gingerbread house.

The little boys love it!

Jacarandas continue blooming in their purple glory..

and our Agapanthus have arrived in force:

So what does one do when feeling just a little tired from the busyness, the round of medical appointments, commitment to the community, home and family?

Well, I have begun a 'slow stitching' project, using all my stashed fabric scraps, bits and bobs, to make my 'Roxy's Christmas Journal of Stitchery', a group sew-along on Facebook and Youtube.  Prompts are given every couple of weeks, and stitchers create their own visions.  Many are published on Facebook.

Some of my works in progress..
I am incorporating vintage bits of bobbin lace and tatting, made by my late mother...

Most of these fabrics are left over from quilts made 20 or 30 years ago.

Will I ever actually finish the book?  
I have no idea, but the stitching is soothing, and the creation is fun.

Enjoy the Season, and have a great week.


Friday, October 28, 2022



October is the month of storms: so said my mother...
and right on cue, we have had our first Summer thunderstorms.

October also sees our annual display of purple Jacaranda trees, all over Brisbane.  Our little tree, only a few years old, but now as high as the house, is getting in the spirit of things and the blooms are busting forth.

'Under the Jacaranda', R. Godfrey Rivers, 1903.  QAG

This is the most popular painting in the Queensland Art Gallery, an impressionist painting of the first Jacaranda tree introduced into the Brisbane Botanical Gardens in the late 19th century from South America.

As night follows day, the blue Agapanthus follow the Jacaranda.  These are the first of a large display we have each year in our garden.

Our annual Hippeastrum has arrived - always a treat..

Lorikeets visit every day..

Along with the storms, yesterday was our first scorching hot day, 33c. 

I do not have a photo, but a neighbour came to tell me a large Eastern Brown snake (they love the heat!) had been seen crossing the street and going into the hedge at the side of our house.  Well, it is snake season, but I wish they would stay away.  I am avoiding the garden area, and sending Mr. Cardinal outside with the garbage for a few days.

A couple of years ago, one of these snakes took up residence on the far side of our swimming pool, and was seen several times over a few weeks.  Fingers crossed the latest visitor will go on his way and not move in.

I have been getting all crafty lately, working on a Christmas stitchery, getting out a UFO (unfinished object), a Christmas quilt, and working on getting it finished.
And painting a few rustic watercolour Christmas cards...

Have you begun Christmas shopping?
I have not done a thing.  
The pandemic, followed by our repressed Economy in Australia, is not conducive to spending.  I am thinking a more pared down Christmas might be appropriate for 2022.

Have a great weekend.