Tuesday, January 30, 2024



While my daughter and her family are skiing each weekend at their local ski mountain venue in Canada...

we Red Cardinals continue to experience the hottest, wettest, and most humid January for many years..

Trees and hedges are growing in the Garden of Neglect at a rate so fast we can almost stand and watch.  The grass grows six inches each week!

Hedges are going wild and at the lower end of our back yard, two uninvited trees have shot up from the gully below.  They are most unwelcome and the tree man is coming this week to deal with them.

Tropical vines, not native to Australia, have also popped up everywhere.
The noise of tree and hedge trimmers, chainsaws and other equipment can be heard around our neighbourhood every day..

This giant root appeared under a hedge - and we do not know where it comes from.  It could be a tree some distance away.  We hope some expert advice will help.

There has been another cyclone in North Queensland, and heavy rain here in the South East this week, with local flooding.
I filmed this today in the park where I walk:

(I hope this video works.  Blogger makes things tricky these days)

Our old-style pink rose is in full bloom again.  I know, roses do not like hot, humid conditions and lots of rain, but it is a trooper and carries on regardless.  

As odd things spring up everywhere, it seemed right to purchase these salt and peppers at the Fairytales exhibition.  Mushrooms do have a habit of populating fairytales...

Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz 'Traveler'263'  2019

Carsten Holler 'Flying Mushrooms' 2015

When the rain eased today, I ventured out to the only remaining haberdashery store on our side of town.
'Spottie' is the store which frequently disappoints.  My list had only three items: a deep pink invisible zip, a new blade for my rotary cutter, and a pattern to make a dress for a little girl aged one.

The supply of invisible zips has been reduced to about five colours only, and pink was not one of them.  I resorted to the old-style zip which I will insert by the lap method.  

There were no blades in the popular sizes for rotary cutters, only a few empty pegs where they should reside.

I discovered the Big Four pattern companies have largely discontinued dress patterns for little girls.  And where there was one in the catalogue, it was not in stock.  I am having a think about what to do next.  Patterns are very expensive in Australia, and more so if purchased online when postage must be added.

As a home sewist, I think I am part of an endangered species!

The pink zip is a match for this fabric, purchased from my previous favourite store Sckafs, before they closed last year.
As the heatwaves continue, I need another sleeveless dress.  I have only two in rotation, preferring to wear sleeves most of the time. 

This week we return to regular routine after the Summer holidays.
The Sewing Sisters meet this week, and I am busy with my Slow Stitching projects.

The Book Club returns soon: I have read our holiday books, 'A Gentleman in Moscow' and 'Daughters in Law' and am now immersed in 'The Princes in the Tower' by Philippa Langley (the lady who found the lost King Richard III in a carpark a few years ago.)

Hope you are all well and busy - and not too hot or cold.


The Mad Hatter costume from 'Alice in Wonderland' 2010

Wednesday, January 17, 2024



Hello from Decoy Duck..
Just an update on the duck I brought back from Canada last May.
We launched him into the pool, with the help of the Twins and Little Miss One, and there he has sailed ever since.
Not Summer storms, gale force winds, nor passing wildlife have disturbed our Decoy Duck from life in the Red Cardinal swimming pool.

I have to admit I am surprised he is still there....

Australians were thrilled this week when 'our Mary' became Queen of Denmark, with a simple proclamation in a simple white dress of impeccable elegance...

and rubies!

Here she is with husband King Frederick X and they do look happy, and perhaps relieved that their 'time' has come..

There was a carriage ride back to the Palace, naturally..

after their family joined them on the balcony.

Next morning they went to Parliament House for another Proclamation, Queen Mary wearing a regulation large, feathered, Queen hat, and walking through lightly falling snow...

How utterly fairy tale this all is.....

It seems timely to give you another look at this carriage.
'Mother-load', by artist Timothy Horn, is made of crystalised rock sugar, plywood and steel.
It is a half-sized rendering of an ornate sedan chair, as popular among 18th century Neapolitan elite.
The work references a 'rags to riches' tale of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels who rose from humble beginnings to become a renowned North American art collector, philanthropist and socialite through marriage to a sugar baron, Adolph Spreckels.  
It is possible the term 'sugar daddy' may have originated here..

'Mother-load' is inspired by Alma's antique coach, and presents an impossible fantasy of wealth and opulence, as seen in many fairy tales, including Cinderella.

And just to round things off, here are a couple of Queen gowns:

Costumes worn by Julia Roberts as Queen Clementianna in the film Mirror Mirror, 2012.  (Tarsem Singh (director), Eiko Ishioka (designer), Carelli Costumes.

These and many other exciting pieces can be seen in 'Fairy Tales in Art and Film', currenting on exhibition at QAGoMA, Brisbane..


Friday, January 12, 2024



We are told that after the recent heat waves and floods, we are to enter a Monsoon Season.

We always had a rainy season when I was a child, but Monsoons have not been mentioned since global warming began to be noticed....

I remember when we moved into our first house, it rained continually for eight weeks.  That was fun....

Ten years later we built another house, moved in, and it rained for eight weeks again...

That was even more fun as we had three small children and there was a Lot of Mud.

  Who knows what will happen this time?

We have had a few days of medical business this week, which seems to be the norm at our age.

While I did not watch the Golden Globes, I looked at the fashions...

concentrating on the Mature Aged, which gives us all hope:

Helen Mirren, 78.

I love the frilled sleeves and the contrast of pale pink and lavender. Glamour for a girl nearly 80...

Meryl Streep, 74

Who does not love a sequin, and a whole sequin suit is even better.

I'm thinking of pulling out my old black sequin pencil skirt and giving it a turn.  With a crisp white shirt.

Well played, Meryl.

Oprah Winfrey, 69

Wow, Oprah looks better than she ever has.

I do not know how she does it, but I'm impressed...

the perfect gown for 'The Colour Purple' movie, and how happy she looks.

And a shout out for our own Queensland golden girl, Margo Robbie, in Barbie Pink...

She is having so much fun with that movie.

Love her tulle boa which gives her fairy wings...

Stay dry, or cool..

or warm and cosy, whatever applies.

Has the snow started in Canada yet?

I hear they had a Green Christmas this year.


Wednesday, January 3, 2024



Happy New Year, dear Readers..

Today I visited our Gallery of Modern Art, where I volunteer as a tour guide on a regular basis.

The Summer Blockbuster exhibition this year is 'Fairytales: in Art and Film'.  There were hundreds of excited children there enjoying a variety of contemporary artworks which engage with Fairytale themes, as well as a great collection of costumes and props from various Hollywood films, both old and recent.

Henrique Oliveira, Brazil 'Corupira' 2023

From becoming lost in the woods...

Timothy Horn 'Mother-load" 2008

to riding in a gilded coach..

Tricorne Costumes (costumiers), dress worn by Lily Collins as Princess Snow in 'Mirror Mirror' 2012

in fabulous gowns,

Timothy Horn 'Glass slipper (ugly blister) 2001

wearing glass slippers..

All the familiar tropes are there, and there is plenty for adults to contemplate as well.

Fairytales do come true, sometimes:

This week Australians are excited to hear that our own Princess Mary, Australian wife of Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, will become his Queen when Fred (as we like to call him) ascends to the throne on the abdication of his mother, 83 year old Queen Margrethe II.

This will happen on January 14.

Here they are this week stepping out on New Year's Eve...

and at Christmas, on their way to church...

The royal couple met in Sydney, at the 2000 Olympics, and romance began.  After a year or so, Mary moved to Denmark (note, the home of Fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen) and discreetly began to learn to speak the difficult Danish language.

They married in 2004, in a Fairytale wedding:

and over the next few years produced four perfect children, including a cute pair of twins..

By all accounts, Mary has never put a foot wrong.  The Danish people have come to love and admire their Aussie Princess, and she works on many humanitarian platforms.

And my goodness, she keeps herself slim...

Her fashion sense is chic, elegant and refined.

We like to think Fred, I mean His Royal Highness, is lucky to have her...

Stay warm or cool, whatever applies.

Have a great January