Wednesday, May 28, 2014

headless chooks, creativity, seeds & kittens !!!

Good afternoon dear friends & readers

The phone conversation last week, went something like this . . .
 "yes of course Joss, you would be most welcome to bring your garden group ... when would you like to come??" 
. . .  inside my head a little voice was saying over & over repeatedly . . . 
"please say next spring, please say next spring!!!"

Joss's reply came back ... "Oh Monday week would suit us"
Good Grief!!!
a quick glance outside ... Oh yes, the garden really does look perfectly disgusting!!!
and so the rest of the week I ran around like a headless chook trying to get myself organised for the group . . .

and - of course - the gardening ladies were just lovely, plus because it was such an icy cold day & I had the heater on full, they spent most of their time inside the Cottage & barely looked at the rather messy garden :-)
(note to self .... never have garden groups in future after April)

Prior to their arrival I knew I was completely out of golly teatowels so one rainy afternoon I appliqued another five -

plus I noticed the doiley pincushions were down to one lonely soul left, so I ran some more of these up using some of my doiley stash

Also on the creative front ... I remembered that Nola had ordered a teacup teddy quite some time ago
"a plain bear but with touches of red" ... were her instructions 
(I seemed to recall she had a red china cup to sit it in)

This little treasure was fashioned from some mohair scraps . . . 

. . .  and I got to "practise" with my own red dotty cup  :-) 

One of my purchases while down at Carolyn's was this gorgeous wool felt pincushion pattern - a design from Anni Downs of  Hatched and Patched

I already had the wool felt colours so once I had cut it all out,  it was just so enjoyable to sit & hand stitch a little each night beside the fire

After shelling a large batch of walnuts I tried crushing the shells in my ( very ancient) blender, 
as the pattern required crushed walnut shells for stuffing

I was SO pleased with my "Alice Angel Pincushion" & now I think I would like to make another one, fill it with dried lavender, add a little string from the top & hang it on a doorknob  . . . 

Last week (while running around like a headless chook) I received a lovely package in the mail
Catherine & I originally met through our blogs - although we have met up once - due to geographical reasons (living on opposite sides of the island), we are more blogging friends & exchange emails & comments via our blogs 
Catherine had promised me some seeds last year & she sent me the most wonderful parcel including the seeds 
& along with a book to read that she had blogged about here
Catherine wrote in her message that "perhaps Friendship Bread might need to become a Pay It Forward book" ... & so I thought about the idea of reading it & then sending it on along with some seeds from my garden ... to someone else who might like to do the same . . . ??? what do you think ???
If you would like to receive the book when I have read it (+ seeds) then do let me know & I will send it on 
Perhaps we should just keep this within New Zealand due to all the strict rules & regulations for posting seeds overseas ???

Thanks SO much to Catherine for her generosity - the parcel simply made my whole week!!!

... and the kittens ...

The kittens are settling in well even though their mother takes them away frequently

this greeted me the other day when I had left the door slightly ajar - even Bob had ventured inside

And even though The Mr tells me every single day
(at least twice!!!)
we are NOT keeping those kittens ... 
I did notice that it was indeed him who had named two of them
this one he has named "little sickie" (yes I know!!!)

"Little sickie" likes the heater in the mornings & the fire in the evenings thanks very much ...  
"Oh & if you could keep putting the wood on without disturbing me too much, that would be great too!!)

this one is called "little socksie" due to his white sock feet.
Little Socksie is veery cute & also veery naughty - I just wish he would stop practising his star jumps into my potted flowers each evening!!! (Oh & now I see he is teaching the others how to as well!!!)

as you can see, they are all growing like little mushrooms . . .
Hurry up with the food in there can you . . .

Okay. . . no more kitten photos I promise :-)

It feels like we are in for a doozy of a frost tonight so best go fill the wood basket - thanks so very much for stopping by today - your visits are always appreciated
with much love & friendship to you all
Julie x0x0x

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hotties, Baskets & the "Bob Saga" . . .

Hello there dear friends & readers,

Whilst reaching for a basket way up high in a cupboard last week, a small "avalanche" landed on my head . . . 
... the "avalanche" consisted of 4 hot water bottles, the remains of some I had purchased last winter on sale.
I decided to make some hot water bottle covers as it was definately feeling like hottie weather !!!

I decided to use some more of the wool blankets I had cut into for the girls pinafores in my last post

Last time I made these up I didn't line the insides & I blanket stitched right around the top edges . . . 

However, this time I decided to line the whole inside & found that as well as it being much thicker & cosier, it was alot quicker to put together

My favourite was the blue checked blanket one with the Paris ribbon & the floral lining ... but The Mr much preferred the Kiwi one 

A lovely customer who often pops out to my Cottage is the Co-Owner of a popular local Bar & Eatery The Redoubt
She called in a couple of weeks ago & asked me if I would like the job of planting up all their hanging baskets that have become a bit of a "feature" as they are on a busy corner site in our town.
It was one of those situations where I opened my mouth to say "Thanks, but No, sorry"...
... & the next thing I knew ... I was standing in Mitre 10 Garden Centre choosing the plants for them !!!!!!!

I decided on a combination of pansies, violas & lobelia, & planted up a mixture of pastels & then some brighter ones. I really enjoy planting usually, but when it is a commissioned job I always worry that they will grow/flower/look okay... 

Her husband said to me that these baskets have become a real "talking point" around town now ... lets hope the talk is how great they look & not "who on earth planted up those manky looking baskets for you??!!!". . . 

These fine autumn days are spent outdoors raking up the endless supply of leaves & putting down a thick layer on the gardens ... I always like to think I am "putting them to bed" for the winter months

I thought the Nerines in my old wheelbarrow were a bit confused about the seasons but a customer informed me that No, they were in fact, autumn flowering bulbs  :-)

When I helped my friend shift shops some 18 months ago now, this was one of 3 antique Chandeliers that used to hang in the old shop premises ... they were promptly snapped up for purchase, but the lady that had earmarked this one never actually turned up to buy it ... (& so I was offered it for purchase)

This week it finally got hung up in my freshly painted bedroom ... I am so delighted with it

It had about an inch of thick dust sitting on it & after a gentle clean, it just transformed it completely :-)

This old piano stool was sitting in the sleep-out under a myriad of boxes - I hauled it inside as I needed a small bedside table.  I had originally planned to wax & paint it but The Mr wasn't at all happy as the Oak was in such good tidy condition.

In the end I just gave it a good oil & polish & decided to recover the top using an old embroidered table cloth which was very thin so I lined the inside of it first

Slooowwwly my room is coming together, but that light fitting just brings me SO much pleasure  :-)

And the ongoing saga of Bob the cat . . . 

I noticed a couple of months ago that Bob's mother had returned - the reason I knew she was his mother was because I remember when Bob & his sibling used to play in & around the Cottage. Read my post about them here
The Mr informed me that Bobs mother looked pregnant again!! Just prior to my visit to my Mums she gave birth to 4 tiny kittens in my front garden.  By the time I returned from my trip to Carolyns, the kittens had grown & ventured further afield.
Can you imagine my surprise when last week they took up residence in my old dogs bed - which I had never actually put away or disposed of.  I always used to tell myself I had left it out in case any passing (animal) souls needed shelter for the night.

Good grief . . .  I thought I was seeing things !!!
Early days . . .  just peeping out at me

more relaxed now several days (& several feeds) later
I am not sure what my old Mr fat fluffy would think of 4 kittens taking up residence in his bed !!!

Now one other teeny tiny point to note . . .  I have watched Bob looking after these 4 kittens (his half siblings) & by the way he licks them & cares for them (when the Mother is off hunting) & fusses over them ... I must confess I am ever-so-slightly concerned that Bob might in actual fact, be a Bobbi !!!

Thank You So Much for staying with me through this lengthy post friends
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend wherever in the world you might be
Beautiful Mothers Day Hyacinth that fragrances the whole house
with much love & friendship,
Julie ... (& Bob & Co ...) x0x0x0x

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Paying It Forward

Hello there dear friends & readers,

I have always firmly believed in the principle of Pay It Forward ... so when Wendy posted about it on her blog late last year, I put my hand up to join in . . .

I received an email to say she had finished my Pay It Forward gift & would like to hand-deliver it 
(as Wendy only lives half an hour away from me)
Although we don't get to catch up very often, I always enjoy Wendy's company as we are like-minded crafts folk ... I was very excited to see this parcel sitting on my dining table

Wendy had hand-made me the most gorgeous bag using thrifted & gifted vintage fabrics PLUS she had added in a wonderful little collection of doilies, buttons, trims & a new magazine that I hadn't come across before but it made my heart skip several beats !!!!

The bag is just stunning ... Wendy does the most beautiful stitchery & hand-work. 
It has already been on "an outing" with me to town & received lots of lovely comments   :-)

I think perhaps my photos don't do it justice ... you can see more of the inside of the bag on Wendys post here
I love that she put so much thought into what I would enjoy & added in the little vintage touches with the doilies etc ... as a girl can never have too many doilies I feel !!!!

ThaNk YoU So VeRy MuCh Wendy with all my heart


So now it is my turn to Pay It Forward to 3 different people . . . 
If you would like to receive a hand-made gift from me please let me know.  The rules are you must then Pay It Forward to 3 other people & you must also have an active blog to participate.
(Also, you have a year in which to make the gifts which makes it quite manageable)

The rain this past week has enabled me to spend some time creating rather than outside raking leaves.
These little knitted squares were fashioned from an idea rattling around in my head while down at Mums & fossicking around in her "odds & ends of wool basket"

I must confess it's all very well knitting little squares but then "what are you going to do with them Julie. . . ??"

As I didn't fancy using them as "mouse blankets" as my young visitor suggested, I decided to make them into little buntings which look just perfect hung from a small shelf

This was one of the Hospice Shop doilies that I found on my recent visit to Mums
I had been given some lovely glass beads awhile ago so I decided to make it into a jug cover

I thought it turned out rather pretty   :-)

My friend Carolyn that I visited in my last post, flew up to the Waikato to join her daughter & grandaughter over from the Australian Outback.
I had been looking at all my woollen blankets & wanting to try something different with them.  I had been tossing around the idea of making some girls pinafores & knew I had a pattern ... (somewhere).

Front View                                                                      Back View

This was the result of a couple of rainy days sewing - I used some of my vintage cotton fabrics to line them & doilies to embellish or to add a pocket to some of them

Nice & roomy across the back for crawling around the floor in . . . 

When Carolyn & Rose came to visit with dear little Isabella, she was only too happy to "model" them for me & help with my sizing queries ...

Ooohhh look at that pretty lacey flower on my dress Mum

I offered for Rose to choose one for darling Isabella (who is turning 1 soon) & she chose this one below . . . 

Ooohhh I like purple Mum - now if I can just reach that crafty thing over there . . . .

I am quite inspired now to make some more for the Cottage - I used to make children's clothing many years ago & had forgotten how pleasurable it could be. 

from Pinterest

A Very Happy Mothers Day to all the Mums out there - my youngest son Kayne was born on Mothers Day so this year his birthday again falls on the same day.
Tonight I am cooking dinner for all of my family - thank you So much for visiting with me today
Much love & blessings to you all,
Julie x0x0