Friday, June 28, 2013

The "Befores" & the "not quite afters..." !!!

Hello dear friends & readers,

This past fortnight has seen me somewhat disappear into the land of winter ills & chills..
I have managed to fulfill my plan to paint my cottage walls,  but not without plenty of sweat & a few tears too

Last week the Mr very generously shared his nasty flu virus with me :-(

By the weekend I was feeling ever so slightly improved
so I ... very stupidly ... painted the Cottage walls - twice!!

The pics I am showing you above are the colour it was before.
The colour is Marzipan & was a warm yellowy toning which would take on different shades in different lights & at differing times of the day.
I did love it once . . .  but I wanted a fresh lighter look as it had been this colour for just over 7 years now
So I chose Clotted Cream - a rich vintagey deep cream colour

Just prior to painting - holes filled - all ready to go

Plus I wanted to remove the gollies I had stencilled all around the walls - you can just see some above the bear shelf 

You can see from the above 2 pics the very narrow channel I had to move around in

My photos do not really show up its true deep richness unfortunately.
And that dear readers .... is how it remains, as this week has seen me feeling so dreadful that I have had to take myself off to bed  & just rest & recuperate - which is exactly what I should've done in the 1st place!!

An indication of how I have felt this past week !!!
Painting the Cottage walls while running a temp & feeling unwell was kind of like . . .  well as I explained it to my friend Leeanne
"like trying to stuff an elephant into a walnut shell!!!"
Now for those of you that have done this before (stuffed an elephant into a walnut shell that is) then you will know exactly what I mean...
but for those of you that havent ...
well you can only imagine!!!!!

Above are pictured some of my lovely new displays in the revamped Cottage!!!!!!!!!

I am pleased to say I am now feeling on the mend :-)
I did learn two very important things throughout this past week ...
the 1st important thing I learnt was ...

(1) when you feel unwell you need to listen to your body & rest & go to bed (like your Mum used to make you do when you were little & then you got better real quick) & all the other stuff whirring around in your head "to do" will still be there waiting for you when you are well again!!!

the 2nd very  important thing I learnt was ...

(2) Our bedroom ceiling could really do with a nice fresh coat of paint :-)  !!!!!!!!!!

So as I sit & type this I must confess to fretting somewhat over all my poor ol' stock sitting stacked up in my sleepout ...

but I figure that can be next weeks job ...

Although I have done very little sewing while feeling like this (for some reason even the fabric felt heavy to hold on to) ... I did manage one completion before I caught the virus - when I made this lovely pink angel back in January I made two bodies ...

 So the 2nd little lady got dressed in blues - she is Charlotte Angel, a Rosalie Quinlan design - I love them both equally...

Her lace collar is a vintage treasure from my friend Elaine + her button is also from my vintage stash - a gorgeous deep blue glass button

Her basket was brown but I waved my paint brush over it + added a doiley
I have found (from experience) that it pays to paint the fabric wings with Stiffy to prevent them from curling forward when she is hanging up
(or even P.V.A. mixed with water would do the trick)

And lastly, this precious little treasure arrived in todays post - I had actually purchased her sometime ago from my friend Donnas shop after I did this post 
I had planned another visit to bring her home but life kinda got in the way of things ... so Donna kindly posted her down to me

I adore her :-)

She is the work of Juliet Novena Sorrel whom (I think) is a Dunedin artist
Her delicate face (& torso) are hand sculptured

She is fragile, exquisite & delicate - I thought I would name her "Petal" or "Rose Petal"   ... what do you think ????
I have to find just the perfect spot to hang her as yet.

Well folks I am off to make a hot lemon, honey & ginger-root drink & read the latest Good Magazine (a Mothers Day subscription from my son)

I hope you are warm or cool, wherever in the world you might be
thanks so much for stopping by my "pity party"
I look forward to showing you more Cottage pics next post.
Much love/hugs/friendship,
Julie x0x0x

Friday, June 14, 2013

Raggedies & Revamping

Hello dear friends & readers

A couple of posts back I wrote about the doll I had made for my friend Christine who was a mad keen teddy bear fanatic  -  you may recall ...

Doll order for Christine

Well Christine emailed me this picture of her spare room & requested a doll ... of medium size, a raggedy style but not painted stripes on her legs, & in blues please, were her specifications

Initially, a tiny bit of this went on  ...

painted dolly legs drying by the fire

I had decided to make her order + one for the Cottage, but somehow, a 3rd doll evolved too
The pattern I used is "Annie Lou" by Cheryls Country Treasures but I altered the hair 

Here are the completed 3 little Miss Raggedies

This was the dolly for Christine

note her bear button stitched onto the pinny ties

The sign was an op-shop find quite sometime ago & stashed away for "one day" - 
(it originally had an old magnet on the back which I removed & covered the back with felt)

another lovely blue girl with a touch of mustard
In true raggedy fashion I made the 3rd girl in reds

I particularly love her wooden "button" which again had been bought some years ago

I personally love all 3 girls - do you have any particular favourite??

We have had the odd day of sunshine & I have been trying to complete a few more revamps
The deck is perfect for painting on when it is sunny

Although the Mr has taught me to warm the wooden things up by the fire first 
(makes the paint adhere much better)

This old wooden box was on its way to the tip
It was missing its lid & just not very appealing
however, a coat of wax & paint & some nice floral scrapbooking paper .... 

a vast improvement dont you think ???

On my last visit to Mums my friend Claire gave me this lovely book that she no longer had any use for

I especially liked the idea of these "vintage teatowels"

So I found some white teatowels in my stash & trimmed them with some lovely vintage looking fabrics

the wooden ladder I was revamping (in the photo 5 pics above) was absolutely perfect for displaying them all on

I used some vintage crochet trim & found these beautiful buttons in my button jar which almost felt like they were bakelite - they were so very old

I think this mustard one is my favourite :-)

Next week I am hoping to close my cottage for 2 weeks & give the inside a repaint & a bit of a revamp
I have been tossing this idea around for sometime now & saw this little verse on pinterest...

"the absolutely perfect time to start something...
Never actually arrives"
   Yes I thought - that is exactly what I have been waiting for - the perfect time :-)
                                                                             Just get on & do it Julie !!!!

So wish me luck folks & I shall be back with - (hopefully) - before AND after photos in my next post

 Wishing you all a great weekend out there  
thanks - as always, for stopping by :-)
much love/hugs/friendship,
Julie x0x0 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Doing a very good thing

A rainy afternoon hello to you dear friends & readers,
Well where did May disappear to I ask you??!!

Over the long weekend I went out to visit with my eldest son Aaron & his lovely partner Sarah.
(they live out in the country on a block of land about 35 minutes away from me)

Last year Aaron & Sarah (after much homework),  began a "chook project" 
This involved them purchasing chooks from Battery Hen Farms & undertaking to "rehabilitate" them & then sell them on as free-range laying hens.
At approx 12 -13 months old the battery hens are considered to be past their best "point of lay" & so they are "moved on"

It is at this age that Sarah & Aaron are able to purchase them for $4.00 each - they arrive in varying states of health - mostly they have no feathers left & all need their nails clipping as they have grown around the wires of their cages
 The chooks do not know how to walk normally as they have spent their entire lives in cages up to this point
Once their nails are clipped, they then have to learn to walk properly (& out on grass), eat & drink, & generally act like a normal free-range chook does.
When they undertook this project Sarah & Aaron had commissioned a lovely large purpose-built chook house for them plus they fenced off an area of their land for the chooks to live in.

Aaron feeding them pellets

Once it became apparent that some of the chooks needed to be separated from the others as some came with very "special needs", then they fenced off another area & built a smaller chook house for these "special needs chooks"

slowly their feathers begin to grow back as their health improves & their combs turn from pale pink to red

Here is a picture of some of them - we have Hoppy (came with a broken leg), Dot (wouldn't mix with/ timid around any other chooks) & Karate Kid (very aggressive with other chooks) 
(yes I must confess to becoming slightly alarmed when they named them all!!!)

Then we have the lovely Beaky . . . 

You can see how she got her name - she was born with a deformed beak & has struggled to eat properly all her life - so Sarah discovered she likes her pellets made into a sloppy mash & she has her own special chair so she can eat up away from the others . . . 

Beaky has absolutely thrived & gone from being such a scared timid chook - to being so friendly & always right there looking what you are doing . . .  quite the nosey parker.
(since starting this post Beaky has found a lovely new owner & is very settled in)

I must confess that I simply imagined that the chooks would all arrive, settle into their new homes & think "wow - this is what heaven must feel like - green grass, food on tap etc etc"
However ... this has not been the case ...
They are quite traumatised when they arrive & often very aggressive & pick on each other & I guess, are so used to just fighting to survive
Often they come with lots of illnesses that have gone undetected til now - or if detected, then left untreated
This involves often a course of medication & so they have to be kept that much longer before being able to be rehomed
The treated ones eggs cannot be sold either - at least until they have finished their medication

(this pic was taken last year when Mum was visiting)

Aaron & Sarah both have careers that involve long working hours - so I asked Sarah why she undertook such a time-consuming project?
her answer was simple . . .
"everyone should do their little bit to make the world a better place"
She is sooo right :-)

Why - hello there !!!!!

There are some other "folks" that I very much enjoy visiting with when I go out there too

Little Feebie in her basket (an abandoned dog Sarah rescued a few years ago)

Aaron & Sarah have 4 female dogs & 1 male cat (Sonic)
Let me put it this way ....  if I had to be someones pet ...  please Lord let me get to live at their house...

I know you are not supposed to have favourites but this girl in particular,  melts my heart
Mina is a Neopolitan Mastiff

this is Mina (ming, she is sometimes called) - I just adore her & have known her since she was a tiny new puppy

such a sad face but such a happy life

she frequently has slobber over her

there are other stars too ...

They have 2 Black Russian Terriers - Mischa & Nika - I can hardly tell them apart but they would not pose for a photo together for me (I have known them since tiny new puppies also)
& Sonic the cat was asleep in the hot water cupboard & not posing for the camera that day :-)
Nika was always the "runt" of the litter but she has grown up to be an incredibly intelligent dog & so protective
This photo greeting was in my inbox the other morning & quite made my day

Look at those beautiful brown eyes :-)

Its always a pleasure visiting with them all - adults + pets alike :-)
I always drive home with a smile on my face & a warm feeling in my heart
I am so proud of the "difference" they are making in their little part of the world.

And as for craft related pursuits . . .
I managed to top up the old leather suitcase that I display all my wool blanket cats & rabbits in this past week
(I have sold a few lately & it was looking depleted)

I very much enjoy making these wee critters

Sometimes I have runs on selling mostly cats ...
then other times of selling only rabbits !!!???
I also made 2 cushions while I had the wool blankets out...

the larger size one was only intended to have a ruffle across the top
but I decided - when finished - it looked too plain so I added the red  wool heart which I blanket stitched on by hand

the stripey blue one was the result of a picture I had seen awhile ago on pinterest
& really loved the tiny buttons stitched in a heart design & framed as a picture
So I put my own version together, stitched them onto Osnaberg & made up into a cushion

Both cushions were meant for the Cottage but I am finding myself rather partial to the blue one & rather like it sitting on my couch with my other 2 blanket cushions . . . 

Incidently the blue striped blanket was bought from the Op Shop in the "pet blankets bin" for $3.00!!!  In a filthy state but its amazing how a good soak in Napisan & some sunshine can do wonders :-)

I hope you have found some creativity or some me-time in your week folks as winter sets in here in our little corner of the world.
Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by & "see me"
I do so appreciate your visits.
Wishing you all a great week ahead
much love/hugs/friendship,
Julie x0x0x