Thursday, December 28, 2023



Midnight on Christmas Eve, near the Red Cardinal Nest..

A strange sky indeed, forecasting a series of violent storms we have had over the holidays.

Fortunately, Christmas Day was hot and pleasant and we loved having family here for an exuberant Christmas Lunch..

For the amusement of three small children, I put little animal salt-and-peppers down the table centre.  

Here we are tucking into ham and chicken, with beautiful vegetable accompaniments prepared by my two talented daughters-in-law.

Later we sampled their extraordinary Trifle and Pavlova desserts:

Meanwhile, over in Canada, our daughter carries on our family tradition of making a steamed plum pudding to her Grandmother's recipe:

Better than mine ever looked!

In difficult times, world-wide, from pandemics to tragic wars, we are so very grateful to have our beautiful family, here and in Canada, and to celebrate with our presents under the tree and a Christmas feast...

I was very spoilt on Christmas morning:

Thank you, Mr Red Cardinal, well done...

For a number of reasons, I have done less sewing during the past year than ever since I began dressmaking as a teen.

However, I did manage to finish a linen dress which had been sitting about half-done for months:

Natural fibres are the only way to go in our hot humid Summer..

I wore my new dress to church on Christmas Eve, and it felt just right....

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year..

Stay safe this weekend


Friday, December 22, 2023


 Merry Christmas from the Red Cardinal Blog
 (if there are still some readers out there!)

Apologies for my absence, as I have been ill for quite a long time.

At last I have the Christmas tree set up, although the grandchildren are having a superb time re-arranging it from a three-year-old's perspective...

I love this silver Irish angel...

There was a time when the tree was up mid-October, and I was decorating the whole house.
And loved every minute of it.

This year, I only have a few child-friendly pieces on display...

The three little ones love this Lego Gingerbread house -
bought last year from K Mart..

In early November, we set out on an eight-day holiday, a bus trip beginning in Australia's National Capital, Canberra, in southern New South Wales...

It was an art and garden tour, with a visit high into the Australian Alps to see snow-covered Mt. Kosciusko, Australia's highest peak.

Unfortunately, on the day we flew home, I developed symptoms and tested positive to Covid 19, for the first time.
I had managed to avoid it for three years and nine months since the pandemic began, not by chance, but by being extremely careful and aware of my surroundings, and using masks in unsafe places and crowds.

But I dropped my guard when enjoying our tour among lovely fellow guests..

Covid 19 has not been kind to me, and it took a full two weeks before I tested negative.   Apart from the usual cold/flu symptoms, I experienced a frightening mental befuddlement, and extraordinary fatigue. My doctor advises sleeping when exhausted, with naps during the day.  She thinks it will be January before I feel back to my old self.

Christmas at the Red Cardinal nest is being rather thrown together at the last minute this year, but we really look forward to the arrival of our Australian families on the day...

The highest point in Australia - looking across a valley to Mt. Kosciusko.
This is in mid-Summer..

This area is snow covered many months of the year, and there are lots of ski resorts nearby.

Beautiful, stunted, snow gums which grow up in the snow country.e

Well, I am relieved that I have managed to get this far, because numerous attempts to do a blog have proved too difficult.  What a Very Strange Virus this is!

After Christmas, I hope to show more pictures of the beautiful gardens we saw on our tour.

Wishing you and your loved ones all the Blessings of the Christmas season, a beautiful Christmas Day, and a great New Year.

With love from the
Red Cardinal


Tuesday, October 24, 2023


 Hello from the Red Cardinal nest - as Summer really begins to bite..

The tinder dry countryside has seen bush fires these past few days.

We enjoyed our recent Symphony Orchestra concert very much indeed..

 We had dinner at the theatre restaurant, the Lyrebird.

I do love Tiramisu...

Small garden entrance to the Dvorak home

As well as the fabulous Mendelssohn Concerto for Violin & Orchestra, definitely a family favourite, we loved the Symphony No. 7 in D minor by Antonin Dvorak.  My mind went back five years to our wonderful European cruise on the River Elbe, from Berlin to Prague.

As we approached Prague, we visited the town of Nelahozeves, birthplace of Dvorak, whose music I always loved...

Birthplace of Dvorak

The house has been converted to a small museum, full of fascinating memorabilia:

Late in the day, we listened to music by the great composer as we cruised into Prague.  What a magical moment!

Today I went to my second meeting with my new Book Club.
As mentioned in a previous post, we read 'A Terrible Kindness' by Jo Browning Wroe.  Everyone rated it very highly, and enjoyed the complex layers of the story, and unusual subject and motifs.

Our November book is the popular 'Lessons in Chemistry' by Bonnie Garmus.  Have you read it?

Three small children we know very well, are Very Excited about next week's Halloween festivities.
I am even tasked with a little sewing job on a Princess Dress (how I have longed for a little granddaughter to stitch for).  I would, of course, sew anything she wished!

Halloween is also the birthday of Mr. Red Cardinal.
Some years we greet the rather alarming number of Trick or Treaters around our area, and hand out treats.  Other times, we turn off the lights, go down to our basement at the back of the house, have a quiet birthday drink and supper and ignore the whole business.

Time will tell what the birthday boy wants for 2023!

Stay cool, or warm, whatever suits.


Wednesday, October 11, 2023



Sometimes I don't know how to start a blog post... 
Writer's block, perhaps?
I know I am not as sharp as I used to be...

We have had a bit of rain, now and then..
The gorgeous red King Parrots came to shelter on our deck..

I have been busy writing tours for QAGOMA, at the rate of one per fortnight - and then going in to take a small group of visitors on tour around our beautiful galleries.  It is a rewarding volunteer position, which keeps me alert and thinking...

I like this large, bright, Contemporary Indigenous work by Qld. artist Naomi Hobson.  'When the Tide Goes Out' (2018), is a seascape inspired by her father's sea country.  Hobson lives in North Queensland, near the Great Barrier Reef, and here we look into the colourful underwater world of the reef.  A variety of crabs, coral, and Beche de Mer (Sea Cucumbers) cover the canvas, a riot of exotic life and colour. 

Jacaranda season arrived about two weeks early this year, covering the city in purple glory.

I finally finished the snippet roll I began stitching back in January.  It is two metres long, and is a random, hand made and embroidered creation made from bits of old fabric, lace, trims, embroideries, crotchet, buttons and odds and ends lurking in my sewing room.  Plus a few little watercolours I did on calico.

It is not easy to photograph but here are a few glimpses:

It is entitled 'Down the Garden Path'..

I found a little packet of red cardinal buttons when we visited a quilt shop in Almonte, Ontario, last May.  A couple of them made their way into my work..

We are off to a Symphony concert on Friday night - a violin concerto and a symphony: Bliss!

I am probably the last person on earth to join a book club, but I finally found one I could fit into my regular routine, and I am loving it.
Thank goodness for my trusty Kindle, so much quicker and easier to obtain the set books each month.
I loved English Lit at university, and am looking forward to similar discussions at our meetings.  I bought a notebook and am dutifully making notes as I go.  This month I am reading 'A Terrible Kindness' by Jo Browning Wroe.  Not sure where this plot is going, but don't tell me!

I hope all is well in your world.
We are all shocked by the events in the Middle East.  I pray for Peace, and a quick resolution of this and other Wars.

Take care