Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas presents and a piece of history

When my mother moved into a nursing home about twenty years ago, we found a tablecloth which she had partially embroidered before sh was married and had never completed.  The threads were all still there with the cloth so I brought it home thinking one day I would complete it!  that was wishful thinking, but finally my sister took it to a specialist on the Sunshine Coast who suggested she cut out the two completed corners and frame them.  Here is the result, now hanging on my kitchen wall - a reminder of my mother every day!

Barb also added this cushion cover to the present - she made it up from a panel we did in a workshop with Lesley Riley earlier in the year at Textile Fibre Festival in Brisbane.

This is hard to see in the photo, but the buttons she added for the closure are enamelled and I seem to remember they were in Mum's button collection.  Buttons were never thrown out, they were unpicked and saved for future use.  We divided the collection between us when we packed up the house, and I have contunued to save buttons as well.
I hope you all had a very happy day yesterday.  We had a lovely time with our family, the weather was perfect, sunny and not too hot.  We even came home mid afternoon and had a snooze for a while without even needing the airconditioning on in our bedroom - the first time I remember that for many years.
Today I plan to do some stitching, listening to the cricket, then maybe relaxing with a book.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Carols and a birthday

Well, Blogger has finally let me load some photos - this is my third try in 24 hours!
Last Saturday night was the annual Christmas in the Gardens event and you can see the crowd was enjoying it.  The weather was balmy - till we were about to draw the raffle when there was a quick shower that sent lots of people home.

This is a very blurry photo but you can see the effect of all the children waving their glowsticks madly in time to the music - magic.

Two small boys were thrilled when the reporter asked to take their photo to appear in the local paper - and this featured both here and in the Rockhampton paper published by the same company.  We had several texts from friends down there who saw it.  They are becoming real media tarts, always seem to be in the right place at the right time. 

Hamish turned six at the weekend as well and of course had to have a party - and present opening is very important.

As is cutting the cake!
Christmas is looking good, even though I still have lots to do.  I had photos of my eyes today after the latest injection last week and there is a definite improvement, yippee.
I also had a session with the physiotherapist today - lots of massage and heat and some funny strapping on my leg.  My leg, and especially my knee feel so much better I am tempted to try for a short walk again.
If I don't get back before Christmas, I hope you all get everything you wish for, have a very happy time and we will be in touch again after the festivities.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Grandkids' activities

The two boys attended an activity session at the Botanic Gardens yesterday morning to make Christmas cards and decorations with Maya, the Education Officer.  She always has full classes and the kids have so much fun.  They were all concentrating very hard, in fact there was almost no talking - how amazing is that!

This photo does not really show how good the decorations looked - all the gold paint and glitter is on the sides of the leaves not visible!

Then there was a lot more concentration as they decided where to put decorations on the tree.  This was in the very early stages, LOTS more went on the tree after that!  They thought it looked beautiful when they had finished, so of course we did too - and I am sure they will not be visiting when I have to pack it away!  That is not nearly as interesting.
I have discovered the tree which I thought was a miserable specimen of the Hymenosporums with which I grew up is not that!  It is actually a tree ixora, I have no idea of its Latin name, and I don't know where it originates, but it has a glorious perfume.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

What's flowering in the Botanic Gardens

I was on roster today at the Gardens and ventured out of the air conditioning for a short time to take these photos.  The Cassia javanica is putting on a lovely show.  It is immediately below the cafe so the patrons have an extra special view.

This is a slightly closer picture of the flowers - I was going to get really close but the ground is very uneven and I could feel the knee protesting! 
I love these Christmas orchids (Calanthe Australasus) - and I only know the Latin name because I read it on the label!

This is not a very good photo of Hymenosporum flavens flowers - a very strong northerly wind was blowing so you can see I was trying (not very successfully) to hold it still.

If you click on the photos to enlarge you should be able to see this miserable specimen of a tree with the flowers on it.  they have the most heavenly vanilla custard sort of scent which carries for a long way.  We had these trees growing in our garden when I was growing up.  The trees are native to the coastal ranges behind Mackay, but this tree does not look nearly as strong and healthy as our used to look.  The flower clusters are bigger, but the flowers themselves are only about half the size as those on the trees in my home town.  I find that interesting as the climate there is supposed to be all wrong for them.  I remember seeing dozens of them when we were in Adelaide a couple of years ago.  I haven't heard thatthere are different varieties, so shall have to inquire further.
Huge storms all round Queensland for the last day or so.  We had a massive electrical storm last night, but only 36 mm rain and thankfully no wind so no damage.  Jock couldn't care less thank goodness.  More storms everywhere today - I hope they all vanish before next weekend.  We are scheduled to have Christmas in the Gardens next Saturday night and we don;t want it washed out for a second year

Friday, 9 December 2011

Cards sent and received

Our fibre Fever group has a Christmas card exchange taking place.  The card above is the one I received from Margreet and the one below is what I sent to Janny.

I have also received a very early birthday card from Margreet (wrapped separately) with instructions not to open it till 14 January!  Margreet's cards are always so lovely I am going to be sorely tempted long before then!
There is not anything else I can show you yet - I am still struggling to find my way with this wretched fibromyalgia, I was fine a couple of days ago and today I can barely move, no idea of what is different.  Very frustrating, I want to work on Lynda's book some more and I desperately need to get out into the garden to attack the weeds!  We have finally had about 16mm rain so everything is looking lovely and green again.  Just showers and storms in our area, if you were lucky enough to be underneath one.  Some people recorded anything up to 60 mm! 
No Christmas decorations up yet, the grandkids will be with me for the day next Tuesday so the tree will go up and be decorated (or overdecorated) then.  Last year it was way over the top, but who cares - Christmas is for children and they thought they had done a beautiful job!  I will post a photo when they have finished.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

It must be Christmas

These wonderful Flame trees, one of the Brachychitons, are in full flower along the footpaths around our area.  They are making a magnificent display.

Also the poincianas are a blaze of red all round Mackay

and even the Cassia Fistulas are coming into flower - nearly a month earlier than they used to.  I love the brilliance of the summer flowers.
I have been off to see a specialist and have at last come up with a diagnosis, I have Fibromyalgia.  It is incurable, so I will live with it for the rest of my life, but at least I can understand the aches and pains and work around them - just another fun (?) part of growing older!!!!
I received my copy of Lynda Monk's scrumptious new book Fabulous Surfaces yesterday and now I am sorking out whether to start on that or her article in Workshop on the Web this month - that is fascinating too.  Lynda is such a talented lady, we are spoilt for choice.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Not much happening

This is the November page I received from Helga in Germany.  If you click on it you will see the embroidered cat 'Paul' which belongs to her neighbour.

She also sent me this postcard with the explanation of the page on the back of it.  Both very nice.

My November page had to be about a Van Gogh landscape, which I needlefelted, using both the embellisher and a hand needle.  You can see the picture I was trying to depict in the photo below! 
There has not been a lot of activity around here lately.  I seem to have spent my time going to doctors trying to get my legs to work properly!  Shall just have to put up with everything for a while, the soonest I can get in to see the next specialist is mid February.  Christmas activities are going to be minimal this year I suspect - too hard to walk far, so everyone will get gift vouchers to spend on what they want.  Actually the older grandchildren will get cash in the hand - they like that better than anything as they are always saving for some project.  I remember when our boys were small they used to spend half the year working out what they were going to buy with the money they knew they would get from their grandparents at Christmas - the priorities changed frequently, but they had months of fun planning!
We actually have a bit of cloud cover today and managed 2 mm rain!  This October/November had been so dry and with strong northerly winds blowing the garden is desperately dry.  At least we can water and save plants - the hinterland has quite a few bushfires burning, some lit deliberately.  That is so awful for the landholders trying to keep fodder for their stock.
Now I am off to my workroom to see what inspiration I can drum up.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

More flowers - and Jock

the Leichardt trees are starting to flower at the Botanic Gardens.  I just love the golf ball sized flowers, especially looking up through the canopy as in this photo.  Looks even better if you click on it to enlarge.  Whenever I hear the name Leichardt I always think with amuzement of the directions being given on my sister's GPS system.  We were driving around Brisbane and were directed to go down 'Leechart' street.  It took a few minutes to realise the young girl reading the directions had no idea of the pronunciation!!  I know she was young as she comes from Mackay and obviously did not study history of any kind at school.

I brought a cutting of this shrub home from my sister's garden in Buderim a couple of years ago and have struggled with it ever since.  At last I think I am doing the right things by it and this lovely bloom has appeared.  I am driven to distraction as I cannot remember the name of the shrub and I can't find the article in a gardening magazine - when I know it is there somewhere!  Does that sound familiar to any of you?

This is a not very clear photo of our crazy dog, who then got into trouble for pinching my new 'feet seat' which he was sure was a new toy for him to play with.  He was running around the room and trying to toss it into the air.  We have been having words about it ever since, I think I am winning but I am not too sure, it is place out of reach when I am not using it.
Now I had better get a cup of coffee for my hard working husband who is putting up some guttering around our greenhouse.

PS.  I have finally found the name - Ruellia Chartacea, a native of South America.  I googled it and I am now going to buy a larger pot and keep it in that.  I had been planning to plant it into a garden bed, but apparently I will do better with the pot.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Some birds at the Gardens

I have finally managed a short walk in the Gardens again taking my new camera along with me.  I am really thrilled with the zoom in this coolpix camera - much improved on my old camera, but no doubt that is because it is newer!

The ubiquitous white ibis were there.  they are such a pest in lots of places, but I must admit that they like to eat baby cane toads, so I am quite glad they are around!  Some Pacific black ducks were sunning themselves as well.

This is much better when you click on it to enlarge.  The tree in front of the deck is not really dead - trees in the tropics tend to lose all their leaves in the spring, this one will be covered in new leaves and beautiful pink flowers in another month or so.

This egret is stalking its food in a carpet of a terrible weed - water hyacinth.  The gardeners fight a continuous battle against this, at the moment the weed seems to be winning, but there are weevils trying to eat their way through the weed.

I really love this desert rose - can't remember its proper name.
Not sure when I shall be back walking again as my right knee has packed it in once again and my left hip has decided to get in on the act as well! Just old age and arthritis I know, but I wish it would go away.  We have suddenly got some hot and very sticky weather which I don't think is helping.  I shall have to hide in the air conditioning and do some stitching instead.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

And still no stitching

Some day soon I hope I get back into my workroom to do some stitching!  The painters have finished, yippee, but there are still heaps and heaps of boxes of china and crystal to wash and put away - after I have taken it out of its paper wrappings.

It is interesting to see some of my collections all together though.  Many years ago I bought a beautiful blue glass bowl - which I subsequently shattered, muchto my distress.  Since then, my family and friends have continued to give me blue glass. 

Bill bought the jar/vase on the front right in Isfahan when he was working in Iran for  a short while.  It is supposed to be very old, but who really knows - it makes a good story and brings back memories.

I really had to make sure this was all cleaned before it went back on the shelves.  Many of these pieces have come from Bangladesh - Bill also worked there - or were given to us by visiting Asian sugar consultants - so they all have a story. 

The two large copper plaques came from Bangladesh, the one on the left was supposedly buried during the independence fighting.  Bill's first trip to Bangladesh took place just after  the assassination of the President at the time - early 70's and I can't remember his name.  Martial law was in place, but the aid mission went ahead - the wives were not very happy about it!

This is a different collection - from my mother-in-law.  She had so many beautiful lace doilies and runners.  I am not sure what I will eventually do with them, probably cut them up and use them in stitching.  None of the younger ones are interested in them.
I have tried to show the very pretty blue the living room has been painted, but the colour has not come out properly at all.  We are thrilled with the painting - and very thrilled not to be having to get out of the kitchen by 7am in the morning!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

New Camera

I have a new camera as my old Canon would only take photos on very rare occasions and that is worse than useless.  I debated between another Canon and a Nikon Coolpix, eventually choosing the Nikon.  I am having second thoughts now - too late of course - as the Nikon is noisy.  It beeps when it is focussed and ready to shoot, then makes a very loud click as you take the photo!  I have discovered on the pet portrait setting it doesn't do that but I haven't experimented with many photos to see how they turn out.
I have just uploaded 4 photos and blogger has put them all above the text - it is being very contrary today, I do wish they wouldn't keep changing the way it works.
I was experimenting with macro and zoom photos - I love both on this camera.  The first photo is of the lovely Cape York Lilies in the Botanic Gardens.  I was very worried till I came home and checked that mine are still growing.  I had dug them up a couple of months ago by mistake as I had completely forgotten they were there.  I replanted them immediately, and sure enough, I have spikes appearing.  I am sure mine usually flower after Christmas so I have no idea why these ones are in flower now - mine came from the Gardens.  The yellow flower is such a glorious yellow and the leaves are a very dense, very dark green to make a huge contrast.  It is a Golden Guinea tree.
The next two photos were using the zoom, the first one about half way and the next one almost full.  they are incredibly sharp.  Now of course I need to study the manual - at least I have a paper one as well as the CD - and take lots and lots of photos to learn how to make the best use of the camera.
Our oldest son turns 42 today - where have the years gone - so I shall take some night shots when we go out there for dinner.  We were going to have a BBQ but the weather is horrid, blowing hard with gusts to 35 knots, and the occasional shower, so I suspect Nikki is having a rethink.
I think the painters will be finished in two days, that will be wonderful after three weeks!  We have moved the furniture back into the main rooms, but only a few books back onto the shelves so far.  All the crystal and china is still in boxes, too hard to get to while we don't have much access to the kitchen.  I will get done in time.

Thank goodness for Penny's comment on Doreen's blog - I have managed to get rid of that slideshow, much nicer just being able to clidk on the photos and have them enlarge!

Thank goodness for technologists in the family.  Dougal took away the sounds in the camera with no trouble at all.  Now I can use it in concerts or wherever without interfering with the programme!

Monday, 10 October 2011


Whoo hoo, the arthroscopy seems to have been a great success - I can walk without that telltale swinging limp!  My other foot has stopped hurting too, I am amazed, especially as the surgeon did not seem to hold out much hope - he was talking in terms of a knee replacement sometime next year.  I am being careful not to stretch my luck, just glad to get my life back again.

Look what wonderful goodies arrived in the mail today for me - I was lucky enough to win Dale's giveaway of black and white (and red) threads.  What a gorgeous selection, very hard to see all the lovely colours and textures, I can't wait to start using them - just have to get sorted for those pesky painters first!

Again this photo does not do the page sent from Helina justice.  All the pages are so different, I will have a wonderful variety by the end of this swap.
Very hot and dry here today with a horrid northerly wind blowing - probably blowing up a storm.  We could do with the rain, but I have polished furniture stored on a verandah where the wind could blow in - another couple of days yet before I can move it back inside, then the painters move into the kitchen - and I would love to move out!  I hate the thought of being completely out of the kitchen area by 7am - especially having to be dressed ready to go out for the day by then as well, because they are doing the hallway into the bedrooms and bathroom as well.  Ugh!  I know it will all be worth it in the end, but..................
One thing is certain, this is the last time we will be going through this process, the previous paint has lasted 35 years - I don't think we will still be around in another 35, and certainly would not be worrying about a coat of paint.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Cezanne and some flowers

This is my October page for Fibre Fever - an interperetation (?) of the Cezanne picture below.  Some of the swap partners choose very difficult subjects I must say - however they make me stretch so that is a good thing.

Still no camera, but thank goodness for my mobile phone.  The ardisia is flowering magnificently this year, the little begonia beside it looks pretty also.  Everything has been shoved together to get out of the way of the painters.

This pandorea was planted after the tree disaster last year - we started off with two of them, but one died - thank goodness - we need to chop back half of this one it is growing so profusely!  Won't happen for a few weeks yet as I am not chopping while it is flowering so well.
We have been packing boxes frantically all day.  The painters should be spraying the roof tomorrow but the forecast is not looking promising so they will probably be in the living dining room instead - we are just about all clear in there but can hardly move anywhere else!
I am off to day surgery tomorrow morning too for an arthroscopy on my knee to see what is really wrong with it.  The doctor is not hopeful of a quick fix, but at least he will have a picture of what the inside of my knee looks like and can see what to do next - I am still hoping for the quick fix!  Not sure when I will be back to the computer - it is a desktop and up a lot of stairs.

Monday, 3 October 2011

More Brisbane photos

One of our visits was to Roma Street Parklands on the site of the old Roma Street railyards in the centre of the city.  What used to be an eyesore has been turned into a very beautiful and much used area with lots of water features as well as exhibition lawns. Click on all the photos to get a better view.

I loved these pots of petunias

This water dragon is real - we came across 8 of them basking in the sun together a bit further on.  Some of the overseas visitors get very frightened, but they are completely harmless and not a bit frightened of all the foot traffic!

We also visited Mt. Tambourine Botanic Gardens - formed in 1982 and planted and maintained completely by volunteers. they have done a superb job, clearing lantana infested land and deveeloping a blend of sub-tropical rainforest and carefully planned exotic species.
I love camellias, but I have no idea which one this is.

there are many endangered species of palm here.

I have never seen this fringe flower before, the photo doesn't do it justice - too much very bright sunlight.  Thebotanical name is awful - loropetalum chinense 'rubrum'.

The contrast with the wisteria, bromeliads and tall gums in the background was wonderful

I had to show you this yellow clivea - another favourite of mine, probably because it is too hot to grow them here!
My camera gave up taking photos after this - maybe just as well or there would have been lots more photos!  I am really cross though and haven't solved the problem yet, it may be terminal and I shall have to get a new one.  Our washing machine died two days before we went away - that was really devastating, but thank goodness we could get another one and have it delivered that same day so I could wash everything in sight.
I am just wondering what will be the third thing to give up - the bank balance does not like any of this!