Saturday, March 28, 2015

More hearts . . . . & a "Suzy Golly"

Good morning dear friends & readers & a Happy Saturday to you all !!

This week has been all about hearts again ...
I have finished an order for my friend Christine
These hearts are from a pattern by Tracey North of "I Luv Country"

I have made this pattern for Christine 2 years ago, but in burgundy felt. 
She is now decorating her upstairs guest bedroom & requested this set in blue tonings   ... I particularly like the pattern made up in this denimy blue colourway

The pattern includes both the "fond hearts swag" & the "fond heart door hanger" stitched onto a background fabric of wool felt

Another little golly girl got completed this week .... this is Suzy, she is a pattern by Kympatti Bears, Australia  

She only stands 7 inches tall so is a real cutie ... I am gradually filling up my golly ladder in the Cottage again

I love the little pink shoes which match her dress perfectly.
The pattern said to make her some optional striped pink tights, but I found the shoes to be a snug fit without any extra padding.
I made her body from some black brushed velour fabric & her little gloves are white felt.

After the lovely patchwork group ladies I had last Tuesday, I noticed I had completely sold out of my herbal mothball sachets.
Luckily I had the ingredients on hand to make up another batch & managed to stitch & fill a dozen bags

Although I mainly sell them to the wool/fibre artists, the patchwork ladies were most keen to toss them in amongst their fabrics.
I have popped the recipe at the bottom of this post should you be inspired to make some of your own.

My daughter-in-law Nicole has her birthday next week.  Both my daughter-in-laws are "minimalist girls" so I would never wish to impose more "stuff" onto them.  I usually buy them a gift voucher for their favourite store & of course, the obligatory choccies.  However I do like to pop in a little something handmade.
Nicoles kitchen is based on her all time favourite colour scheme of black/white & hot pink.

I had this black/white dotty teatowel in my stash so I found some hot pink remnants & appliqued the word "cook" onto it.
I didn't have any bright pink braid or ric-rac on hand, so I used a fancy stitch on my machine to embellish the edges

I am certain I remember seeing flouro pink kitchen spatulas the last time I was at the supermarket, so one of these will be popped in with the gift  (providing I was not hallucinating !!!)

The Mr came home last week to find me weeding & having (yet another) little weep about my Jinxy girl. 
 I miss that little fairy so very much but I am definately getting alot better now.
The next time I checked my emails, this little "note" popped up in my inbox

It certainly bought a smile to my face & his timing was just perfect   :-)

Do you remember the suitcase planter I wrote about in this post ??? 
I took this picture just after I had completed it . . .

In my post I wrote   "viola ... one suitcase of flowers ready to grow & spill out ..."
As I was sweeping my deck yesterday I noticed that it had indeed, grown & spilt out ... so I took some pics to share with you ...

....  apart from the lobelia which got lost somewhere under all the Impatiens ....

Well dear readers I am off to make this "Julie special" for my lunch again today ...

Our beefsteak tomatoes were late ripening this year but are so fat & tasty
I have been enjoying having them on toast with some mashed avocado & basil this week ... my basil has also been prolific this summer.
I wish for you all a super weekend & thanks - as always - for your welcome visits which are SO appreciated
with much love & friendship to you all,
Julie x0x0x0

Herbal Moth Sachets :-
- 50 grams dried rosemary
- 50 grams dried mint
- 50 grams dried thyme
- 25 grams ginseng (I buy as a tea from Health Shops)
- 200 grams whole cloves.
Mix together & put in muslin bags (I also toss in a good handful of dried lavender)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hotties, Hearts & Wine . . .

Hello there to you all, lovely friends & readers,

When the dear elderly man rang to book his Vintage Car Club in for this Sunday, his enquiry went like this ...
"Oh I do hope you have some hotwater bottle covers in stock as my dear wife would like to buy one??"
"Ummm .... yes I think there's a small selection" I lied replied
(meaning there are precisely   ...  none !!!)
Thankfully, it only took a rainy afternoons sewing & I managed to complete 4 new ones for the Cottage

I find the pastel blankets are always popular with everyone . . .

. . .  and I loved this warm, cosy, red checked blanket in muted tones, 
as well as a bright cheery Golly one that could be suitable for either boys or girls.

... hearts ...

After the New Year came & went, I began the massive task of sorting through my "mountain" of  craft magazines!
I am sure many of you crafty readers can relate to this statement?
I came across an old Country Threads edition (Vol 6 No 7) in which I had long ago earmarked the "heart bowl fillers" pattern by Michelle Bentley.
I decided to make some for my prim pottery bowl ... unfortunately the magazine no longer had its pattern sheet so I just had to invent a primitive heart shape

These received a very rough coat of paint & left to dry on the deck table in the warm autumn sun
I followed Michelles instructions & ironed baking paper onto some calico & then typed out the words I wanted
(her pattern had used "Hope" & "Memories" but you could use any words you wanted)
The calico then gets fed through your printer ...

Realising - after printing it out - I had forgotten to tea dye my calico first, I simply dampened the fabric & tossed some coffee granules onto the damp area

When all my pieces were dry I cut out my words & then primitively whip-stitched them onto the hearts

It smells heavenly

I love the finished product ... my pottery bowl is filled with last years dried rose hips, some cinammon sticks, & scented with cinammon & clove oils

... & Wine ...

Our grapevines have been prolific this year ... last year we had good crops but they tasted tart ... this year they are lovely & sweet
The Mr announced he was going to make wine this year !!!!

Our grapevines stretch over half the length of our property
This is rather unusual for 2 main reasons . . .
- firstly : we have lived here now for 17 years & every single year when the grapes are ready he announces he is going to make wine . . .  but has never actually done this !!!!
- secondly :  The Mr doesn't actually drink alcohol of any kind !!!!

The vines are laden & heavy with fruit
We are now into week 3 of his "little project" ... this is currently what I have bubbling & plopping away in my sleepout 

Although he assures me he knows what he is doing ..... I seriously have my doubts  !!!!!
I shall keep you posted on this venture dear readers.

I asked my friend Jan if she ever came across any small size Agee Jars in her Op Shop travels to please let me know ... Jan very kindly offered me 6 jars she had sitting at home.

I was able to make some more string jars as had sold some of the ones I did last year for the Cottage.
I also made Jan a string jar as a "thank you" ... I was so grateful as these Agee Jars are becoming quite sought after now that bottling & preserving seems to be making a come back

I really enjoy making these - often they make a pleasant change from sewing 

Well dear friends - thank you all again for your welcome visits
I wish for you, a week filled with wonderful things
(well actually Julie, the week is almost over - haven't you realised this yet !!!???)
I shall leave you with this little collage of Blackie who, as you can see, continues to lead a rather stressfull existence here at my Threadbear life . . .

his absolute favourite pastime .... sleeping with one leg in the air !!!!
with much love & friendship,
Julie & Blackie x0x0x0

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Tale of the $2 Chair

Hello dear friends & readers . . .  & "Happy Tuesday" to you all

When I emerged from the Stratford Salvation Army Op Shop carrying this old wooden chair out to my car, I am certain my Mother sank down in her seat.
In fact I am sure that  . . .   if she had been able to manage - she would've hidden under the dashboard of my car !!!

I can't for the life of me imagine WHY ???!!!

I remember her comment well  ...  "Oh please tell me you have NOT just bought that hideous piece of junk??!!"
"Yes I have actually" I replied "for only $2"
On the half hour journey back to her house she did inquire if perhaps we were going via the Dump??
I ignored her ... my Mum has never been able to see the potential in anything & calls me "a junk collector"
(oh shock horror!!!!)

Oh lovely old chair . . . . . full of potential, potential, potential    :-)

The chair travelled all the way home with me & sat in a corner of our deck with my recycling bin on it for a good 18 months at least.
It was only last week when The Mr (who had dug a big hole at the farm to burn some rubbish in),  inquired if I wanted to toss "the old dilapidated chair" in??
I decided it was time it got a long overdue make-over.
(I must add too, that the chair was really solid & not rickety or wobbly in any way)

First up was a scrub, then a spray with kerosene (to kill any borer & yes, there were several holes), a light sand & then I began my painting with my trusty old household wall paint.

The chair needed 3 coats all up, to cover the old brown paint that was on it.  It also needed some filling of gaps & holes, but I chose to give it 2 thick coats before doing this as often the paint itself will fill alot of the holes.  
I attempted to fill the large missing section in the chair back but I wasn't being too fussy as I had other ideas in mind for this particular area.

A light sand after the filling, then I added my third coat.  When dry I lightly sanded the edges to give it the shabby chic look that appeals to me.  You could still see faint outlines in the chair back where the wood had been missing 
. . . so my next plan of action was . . . 

. . .  Yes,  you guessed right !!!
I mod-podged on the 3 cute little crochet doilies that I had been saving for this very project.
Then I decided to make a thin squab for the seat of the chair & found the lovely piece of tea-dyed looking fabric that I had also earmarked for this project

I was happy with the finish but - as with lots of my projects - I like to walk past them for a day or two 
(or 3 sometimes) ... & yes, I felt it needed "something else" to complete it

Yes, that was it . . . a small plump cushion to finish it off.
I used some of my wool blanket scraps & another crochet doiley, then I appliqued a small heart from the squab fabric.

A bit of a transformation don't you think dear readers??
Now tell me .... would you have agreed with my Mum & dumped this chair ??

Another small revamp in the Threadbear house this past week was this little wooden box/container purchased for 50c from Hospice
(it had been $1 but was in the half marked price basket)

While I was busy painting my chair, it was no effort to slap some paint on this wee cutie, though a little tricky doing in between the narrow slats ...

I added a padded base lined with some pretty Cath Kidston fabric.

A lovely customer to my Cottage, Sheila, was finding it difficult to get any accessories in orange to compliment her new kitchen.
She asked if I would make her an oven mitt set with gollies appliqued on it.

As I had the two orange tea towels in my stash, I appliqued on the same gollies while doing Sheilas order.
Her lovely daughter-in-law Vicky, collected the order, saw the teatowels & bought them as a gift for Sheila.

My dear friend Carolyn was up from the South Island on a visit so I decided to make the Raspberry & White Chocolate shortcake recipe that I had been obsessing over for several weeks now, but never actually attempted

 A neighbour had given me some fresh raspberries which inspired me to give it a try
You can find the recipe I used HERE

After dusting with icing sugar & serving with freshly whipped cream I have to say . . . it was divine !!!!

And Carolyn bought me a gift .... a piece of her beautiful mosaic work

I had been wondering about how to mark little Jinxy's final resting place & this was just simply perfect

She is laid to rest under the old Plum tree that she so loved to climb
Every few days Blackie & I pick fresh flowers for her grave . . .

Let me rephrase that a little - I pick fresh flowers for her grave - Blackie would rather observe me from the garden ...

. . . sniff the dried seed pods . . .  Or . . .
. . . lounge about & watch me from the deck with one leg in the air !!!!

Thanks so very much for stopping by today folks & listening to my - rather lengthy- "tale of the chair",
I hope this has inspired you to give those old chairs a second (or third) glance now ?? 
I hope the rest of your week is filled with cheery things,
with much love & friendship to you all
Julie & Blackie x0x0x

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pincushions .... from trash to treasure

Good afternoon/evening dear friends & readers

I have been away for several days to attend a funeral & upon return, decided it was high time I tackled the "ever-growing mountain" of Op Shop treasures, waiting to be re-vamped in my sleep out.

These 3 wooden bowls seemed like a nice simple first attempt  ... they were from the Sallies Op Shop ... in a box with those favourite words on the side ...   "half price bargain bin"

I gave them a good scrub & then a rub over with my wax candle, then I simply coated them with 2 coats of the cream wall paint I had in my shed  - (Dulux Cottage Cream)
When dry, I lightly sand the edges to give them that shabby chic/distressed effect

I think this smallish heart shaped one was my favourite ... it was in the worst condition of the 3 but is such a cute size & came up beautifully with some fabric & trims

I embellished this little cutie with a miniature antique scissor charm

This plain round, medium size bowl was in very good condition, but I am still really happy with how it turned out ... 
I used some of my treasured Tilda fabric on this one & some pink pom-pom trim

This was the largest one - a good 5 1/2   inches in diameter - I really love the shabby chic look of this one too

How about you . . . do you have a favourite??   Do let me know which one you prefer the best.

Inspired by the pincushions I dragged out these 2 wooden trays

The top one had already been coated in a lemon paint so I planned to give it one coat of cream & then a light sand for the lemon to still show through slightly

My photography doesn't show it up very clearly but it is a lovely soft, slightly buttery colour.  I decided to embellish it with two lacey paper doilies  ... so I mod podged these on with 2 coats

The black tray needed 3 coats of paint to cover it, but turned out really well ... I found this beautiful piece of scrap booking paper fitted on it perfectly ... I mod podged this also, as it ensures the trays remain wipeable

While away for the funeral I popped into the Hospice Shop & picked up these little china butter dishes - they had just been put out & were only $3 each.
I have a "bit of a thing" for small butter dishes (Yes Julie, along with the "bit of a thing" you have for nice soaps & small china jugs!!!***)

I would like to take a moment to say THANK YOU to you all from the bottom of my heart, for your kind, thoughtful, & heartfelt comments on the loss of my dear little kitten Jinxy.
Your comments "wrapped their arms around me" & gave me comfort & I am so very grateful for this.
Bless you all for the kindness you showed at such a difficult time

Thank you to the friends that sent me the little "care packages" - your thoughtfulness is so appreciated.
A customer that has recently started coming to my Cottage - a lovely girl called Vicky - came across my blog post on the internet & rang to read me a poem she had written about Jinxy.  I couldn't believe that, although Vicky had never met Jinxy in person, or even heard me speak of her (now there's a wonder Julie!!!) she still managed to compose the most beautiful poem that covered her short life in exact detail.  I would like to share it with you if I may ... 

Mummy Cat, she had it tough
Out there all alone
She was ready with a litter
She was searching for a home

She came upon a garden
It was pretty and serene
The loveliest of places
That her eyes had ever seen

She settled in to birth us
There were four of us in all
My siblings were all healthy
But I was Oh so small

My Mummy tried to do her best
To keep us warm and fed
She tucked us up all safe and sound
In a big old doggy bed

A lady came from time to time
I knew that she meant well
Mummy didnt understand
You were helping, I could tell

Sometimes she would take me
Inside her lovely, cosy house
I'd get toasty by the fire
And stay quiet as a mouse

She called me "Little Sickie"
A title true to form
The lady helped me grow so strong
She kept me fed and warm

As I became much stronger
She changed my silly name
It suited me no longer
And so "Jinxy" I became

I looked upon the lady
And my heart felt full and strong
She had become my human
I had loved her all along

I was happy with my lady
See, she had become my Mum
I loved it when she stroked me
From my head down to my bum

Nearly a year had gone by
I was such a happy girl
My lady mum was always there
To me she was my world

But then one day I was playing
And I strayed away from home
I saw a light then all was still
And then I was all alone

I was sitting on a rainbow
And as I looked around
I saw my sister, Whitey
She was lost, but now was found

We looked down from there together
And we saw her, looking sad
Her eyes were full of tears
So we knew that it was bad

Soon I came to understand
Those tears were shed for me
I said "don't cry I will wait here
My beautiful Mummy"

And so we stay here playing
And I will await the day
That she comes to me on Rainbow Bridge
And once again, we'll play.

I can just about - almost - get to the last verse now without weeping
I hope you enjoy the poem dearest friends & readers
Vicky, thank you So much for your very kind gesture which brings me great comfort
I am planning to make a little photo book of Jinxy & frame a copy of the poem inside it

Little Big Blackie is settling slowly - he likes the tune that The Mr's i-phone plays, it lulls him to sleep
(yes I know, we are a pathetic lot aren't we!!??)
In the meantime I read this little verse to Blackie each day  . . . (& try very hard to remember it myself!!)

Thanks so very much for your visits today & reading all the way to the end of this lengthy post
with much love, friendship & blessings to you all
And THANK YOU all again for your kindness & thoughts
Julie & little quite big Blackie