Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year to you all

We are home again after a lovely Christmas visit with my sister in Buderim.  The weather was just right - not too hot and only a little bit of rain!  The company was most enjoyable and as we flew we were not tired arriving or tired when we came home - all good.

 This photo is of a corner of my sister's beautiful garden - it looks like a rainforest.  Buderim has very deep volcanic soil so it is very fertile - with this result.
 This photo does not do the plant justice, it is a climbing frangipani, no idea of its botanical name.  The closeup below shows you the flowers a bit better.  It has a beautiful perfume, especially late in the afternoon.
 This is a photo of an applique picture I made many, any years ago for Barb.  It should show up better if you click to enlarge.  I have moved on from applique these days and anyway I could not possibly see well enough to do that sort of sewing now,

I hope you all have a very happy New Year - and a safe night if you are out celebrating.  It will be a very soggy night here, but we will be tucked up in bed well before midnight.  One of our best Christmas presents was to hear there had been over 7 inches of rain here while we were away, so we came home to a green wonderland.  Unfortunately it has been too generous now and doesn't know when to stop!  We have had another 3 inches of rain in the last 24 hours.  That says we have hit the wet season I suppose.  Cheers.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A pictureless post

I couldn't find an image of Christmas I liked to put up at the top of this post, so there is no picture at all!
The pre-Christmas list of things to do has grown shorter, I think I have made most things.  The pudding today was a bit exciting.  I always boil my pudding in a cloth, which means you need to keep the water boiling well to prevent it getting into the pudding and making it a soggy mess.  Well, I have now discovered that my wonderful new hotplates turn themselves off every so often, presumably if the cooktop is getting too hot.  I opened the cupboards underneath and had a fan blowing, it didn't feel hot, but it still turned off occasionally - so I held my breath when I took the pudding out of the boiler - and it didn't fall apart!  Now it is sitting in a colander till tomorrow afternoon when I shall wrap it in clingwrap and alfoil and pack it in my suitcase to take to Buderim with me.
While we are away someone is coming in to water my pot plants so I have been making sure they are all watered with wetasoil  and the garden beds are well mulched.  A wonderful Christmas present would be some gentle rain, but the latest forecast is for below average rainfall till next March!!! 

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Christmas with everything you have wished for coming to you.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christmas in the Gardens and a birthday

Last night the annual event of Christmas in the Gardens was held, with beautiful weather and a very happy crowd of around 700.

 I didn't take many photos, I was too busy trying to keep up the supply of candles and song books and raffle tickets we were selling to raise money for Friends' projects.  These children have come to the front to do the Christmas hokey pokey - lots of fun.
 We start in broad daylight, going through till about 8.30pm when it is quite dark here in the tropics.
Thankfully we don't have daylight saving here, far too hot and horrible - I know it is great in the far south or far northern hemisphere, but not here thankyou.
Then today we had to attend our grandson Hamish's 7th birthday party, I can't believe he is growing up so fast.  He loves pirates so the theme was once again.....pirates!
 You can even get pirate inspired candles now, and a sparkler bent into the shape of a 7.
School holidays have started and many of his friends have already gone away so it was a small party.  The first present he opened was a pirate book with all sorts of foldout pieces and interesting pictures as well as good text.  I was so glad to see the kids wanted to go through every page of the book before any other presents were opened.
The fruit is soaking for my first pudding to be made tomorrow, then another one on Wednesday and we will be off to Buderim for Christmas on Friday, the days are vanishing too fast.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Along the Brisbane River

While my sister and I were in Brisbane we went for a ride on the City Cat ferry as far downstream as it went and then back to our starting point in the CBD - to late in the day to do the same in the other direction!  There were quite a few other tourists doing just the same, it is a lovely trip, as well as a very efficient way of getting into the city from the riverside suburbs.

 This was one of the other City Cats, I am not sure how many are in service
 The beautiful old Customs House, fully restored and now a restaurant I think, completely overshadowed by high rise offices.

 I was having fun with my panorama feature on  the camera
 The Story bridge still looks great.  When we were coming back under it there was a group doing the walk along the top of the bridge - a bit too steep for me now.
 This lovely old terminal must have been restored after the terrible flooding two years ago.  Most of the terminals were destroyed in the rushing water.
 When we returned we took a wander around the city centre.  This beautiful building is now a casino but used to be the Treasury building.
 Myers have their usual animated display over six windows, I have shown you two.  They have been doing this for over 50 years, except that it was Allan & Stark when I was at College.  Thank goodness Myer kept the tradition on when they bought out the company.  I love watching the little children's faces as they go from window to window.  All the characters move.

 Some quirky street art, I hope the pictures enlarge with a double click so you can see the detail better.
This is the People's bridge, a pedestrian bridge across the river to take you over to the Cultural Centre precincts on the southern side of the river - home for GOMA, State Library, Queensland Art Gallery, Museum, then across the road to the three theatres in the Queensland Arts Centre.  It is wonderful having everything grouped together like this.
Now I need to chase some hoses, we still have no rain and a very strong breeze blowing.  At least that is cooling.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A fantastic weekend

I have finally had time to sort out some of the myriad of photos I took while I was away.  The whole weekend was wonderful and my sister thoroughly enjoyed celebrating her birthday.
The Asia Pacific Triennial exhibition opened at both the Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Art Gallery on Saturday.  It is massive and an incredible experience.  We only made it to GOMA, we ran out of puff after that.

 I should start with a photo of Graham, my nephew from New Zealand, with two of his paintings.  He does traditional interiors in oils and I have to admit the ones on display are not my favourites, but who am I to say.  I think it is a huge feather in his cap to be represented  in the gallery.
 You should click on all the images to enlarge them to have a really good look.  I loved the little woven figures hanging on the wall, part of the Sepik collection.
 I can't remember who did this textile, but I liked it.
 Looking down at the Papua New Guinea section from the second floor.  On the left (on the second floor) you can see a collection of representations of baskets, all made from found bits and pieces, barbed wire, bed springs, galvanised iron etc.  The artist is an Australian of indigenous descent
 This is a closeup of the galvanised iron one.  She has punched holes and woven the pieces together with fine wire, what an effort that must have been.
 This exhibit was by an artist from Vietnam, who commissioned a glass artisan in Ho Chi Minh City to make 4,000 blown glass sculptures of birds and animals.  She has arranged them all on this table.  I heard it took a year to make all the animals, but I would love to know how long it took to pack them all up, then unpack and arrange them on the special table!  Graham wondered how you would dust the exhibit, probably a legitimate concern as the exhibition is open till mid April next year.  They did look lovely.

This picture is out of context, but is a giant elephant made of brass, especially for the children to play on.  GOMA is the most child friendly gallery I have ever visited.  There are descriptions especially for the children for each exhibit (which I often found more enlightening than the adult one!) and there are lots of places for children to touch exhibits.  Photography is allowed almost everywhere.  I really find this a most exciting gallery.

 This huge timber sculpture is supposed to represent the fear of gold!  the artist is Indian (I think)
 These are full body masks worn by an Indonesian tribe for special ceremonies.  the weaving is wonderful.
 These rods are made from cords wrapped and dyed later, I am not quite sure how. The artist is a Tongan living in New Zealand
 These are Sepik sculptures, I can't remember what they are meant to represent.

You must be tired of photos by now, I will show you some others I took when on a ferry ride on the Brisbane river tomorrow.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Kitchen happenings

Not much is happening in my work room these days, lots of half finished projects while other stuff takes over my life!
We had a flying visit from our Canberra based son a couple of days ago which was lovely.  He was in town very briefly for work.  That doesn't happen very often so we dropped everything else and made the most of it.

 I have made my second Christmas cake, one more to go.
 Our little orangequat tree has had another crop of fruit - all 15 ripe ones!!
I couldn't let them go to waste so this morning managed one pot of jam from them, and a little bit more!  There is another wonderful flush of flowers now, as well as some small fruit on what is still a very young tree.  You can see the grass is very dry around the bush, we have had no useful rain since early July so everything is very crackly around here.  Thank goodness we are not getting the hugely hot temps most of the rest of the state is having.  Mt. Isa in western Queensland has had 10 days so far of temps over 40 degrees, and it is not over yet.

My nephew from Dunedin in New Zealand is arriving in Brisbane tomorrow with his wife and small son.  They said they are looking forward to some warm temps, but I don't think they were banking on 39, which is the prediction!
He is part of the reason I am going away this week.  He has had three paintings bought by the Gallery of Modern Art to be shown in a new exhibition opening this weekend and they are coming over for a week.  We are all thrilled Graham's work is good enough to be chosen, and as we haven't seen them for over two years, we will enjoy catching up.
My sister celebrates her 70th birthday this weekend, so as I did not go down to look after her after the shoulder surgery (which was postponed) I am going to Buderim for a couple of days, then we will both go back to Brisbane for the weekend, with a special family lunch on Saturday, and another lunch with Graham on Sunday.  He will then then escort us around the exhibition - what fun! 
Hopefully I shall have some photos to share next week, not of the exhibition of course, but there should be a bit of sightseeing along the way, and hopefully a ride on the Brisbane river on the Citycat ferry.  That is a wonderful way of getting around and lots of photo opportunities.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Busy, busy, busy

Somehow the days are vanishing faster than I know without my getting nearly enough stuff done!  We had a lovely morning tea at the library this morning to farewell a very long serving volunteer who has been volunteering there for over 33 years.  Unfortunately she has gone almost blind with macular degeneration so can no longer see to do anything,  The library staff presented her with a lovely cushion, heavily textured, and a very soft throw, also quite textured, so she can feel as much as look at them in her room in the aged care facility into which she has recently moved into.

The library has a wonderful service providing home deliveries of books to over 150 clients who are housebound and today was the last delivery for this year.  I deliver to about a dozen people in an aged care facility near my home and I have made some lovely friends over the years.  Sitting for a chat is as much a part of the  service as delivering the books I think!  Sadly I shall be away this year for their Christmas party to be held next Friday.  Helpers bring most of them into the one of the libraries for a bangup morning tea and lots of entertainment.

 I have managed to go for a couple of walks and saw this beautiful Tabebuia tree the other day.
 This is a closeup with the sun shining on the flowers.
 You know Christmas is close when the Poincianas are all in flower!  I couldn't get close enough with the traffic to take another photo but click on them all to enlarge.
I have done a little bit of sewing - finished this little bag and I have another couple under way, but not ready to show yet.  I have made one Christmas cake and cut up fruit to soak ready to make another one on Saturday.  I need to spend some time in the garden mulching everything at the weekend.  The weather is still very dry and quite hot and I am going away for four days next week, leaving Bill to do the watering!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

I haven't quite vanished!

It seems an age since I have had anything worth posting about, but I have finally made a few items worth showing.  Most of my time these days seems to be taken up with health appointments of one sort or another - boring and time consuming but necessary.

 I have made some birthday cards and one Christmas card for my Fibre Fever group
 This will be the end for me with this group as I am retiring from it at the end of the year.  I have really enjoyed the interaction, but the pressure of producing something  at a given time about a given subject has got beyond me.  I am not nearly as talented as the wonderful artists in Europe!
 Today I received my Christmas card from Margreet, with beautiful hand sewing as always.
I have made a couple more glasses cases and bookmarks today, with some more in process.  I have finally had a whole day at home without having to poke my nose outside the gate - wonderful.

Jock was not happy though, we did not go for a walk this afternoon as I spent the time in the garden instead - he still had plenty of exercise chasing toys while I was there.  Tomorrow is our bin collection day and as we never have much rubbish to put into it we fill it up with garden rubbish, so Wednesday afternoon is pruning time - or weeding time.  It had to be watering time as well.  We have had very hot weather with strong northerly (very drying) winds and no rain.  Now I hear the forecasters saying we are likely to have a hotter and drier summer than usual in the northern part of Australia.  Looks like I shall be chasing hoses all summer.

Monday, 12 November 2012

High Tea and heritage

Last Saturday the Garden Friends had a special event exclusively for members - high tea in the cafe followed by a walk to the heritage Garden and a talk by a very knowledgeable local historian on the people and businesses which were in the area in the early days of settlement in Mackay.  Mackay has been settled for 150 years so there have been many celebrations throughout the year.

 This is a sample of the high tea.  The cafe specialises is local indigenous ingredients so there were some unusual flavours but all very yummy!  There was a selection of very unusual teas - Australian eucalyptus, macadamia, lemon myrtle etc - or if you were not game to try them you could have coffee!
 We were all supposed to come dressed for the occasion, but most of us didn't.  Kevin and Maya really got into the spirit and looked magnificent!
 While we were walking to the heritage garden I saw this fantastic skink in the pond.  It was about 9 - 10 inches long, and is the biggest skink I have ever seen.
 We were sitting next to the lagoon so I took a snap of all these birds while I was listening.  Click to enlarge and you will see them all, pelicans, ibis, a spoonbill, some black duck, a black swan and a moorhen - all busy feeding.  I hadn't realised the black swans were back till I took the photo.
 I took this photo because of the two shelducks which are in the picture.  We don't have them visit very often so it was lovely to see them.

Friday, 9 November 2012


We have seen the specialist and had a very satisfactory report.  Bill has some badly squished vertabrae in his lower back which have of course pinched the nerves, but he is recovering well with physio and hopefully will not have a recurrence.  I was hoping the doctor would say he was not to climb ladders and get onto the roof etc, but he only told Bill to be careful - one man to another!!!

We went for a slow walk today in the Botanic Gardens and I took my camera.

Lovely shade along the lower path now the trees have grown.
 Steps leading to another level
 Livistona palms line the path on one side and she oaks the other.
 The whistling ducks were having a ball.
 A very pretty bottlebrush from Eungella National Park in the hinterland
 with a closeup -
 and I have taken the vine arbor from both ends.  All the photos should enlarge if you double click.
I need to start collecting before and now images to show at events next year, our tenth anniversary. Everything has grown so much.