Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Shop Counter Revamp . . . . (shortcut)

Greetings dear friends & readers & Happy Thursday to you all !!

When I set up my little Craft Cottage 14 years ago it was done on such a "shoe string" budget !!
In fact, it was more like a "broken rubber band" budget to tell the truth !!
I needed a shop counter so my son's old desk was to serve the purpose until such time as I could afford a 
"proper counter" . . . . . .

The desk got a speedy lick of paint ("marzipan") leftover from the cottage walls  ... & some stencils were hastily painted on the front.

Fast forward 14 years later & that old desk was still in use & has never been upgraded !!
It was looking tired & tatty -  rather like the shop owner!!!
I had neither the time nor the energy to spend repainting it so I bought it inside & decided to cover the top with some oilcloth that I had rolled up in a cupboard
First I glued a covering of thin wadding to the top of the desk to give it a slightly padded effect

The Mr helped me staple the oilcloth tightly to the top
Then I ran a length of curtain wire along the top & made up a curtain using the green polka dot fabric I had leftover from making the baby bag for Sid

Luckily I had just enough fabric to make a nicely gathered curtain
After 14 years of being behind the door, I have moved my counter so it is more on display now

I often make curtains up to quickly hide or disguise the backs of units that are facing outwards in my Cottage 
You can see below I have done the same with a small wooden shelf that faces end outwards
Though this fabric looks like Sanderson, it is actually an old thrifted duvet cover that resembles a Sanderson print

And then the little apple box revamp that I showed you in my last post just sits perfectly on the end of my counter 
to use as a small shelf for the things I need to keep on hand

I hope plan to re-open my Cottage next week so I look forward to showing you some snaps in my next post as some of you have asked for photos of some displays in the Cottage.

Frequently throughout the year I keep a large cardboard box on hand & randomly toss things into it as I clean, tidy & sort cupboards etc ...
When the box is full I make a trip to the Op Shop to deliver it.
I had tossed 2 tall red spotty coffee mugs & this small matching lidded dish into the box while Mum was with me.
I had an idea the other night & retrieved the mugs & the dish back out of the box again
I found 2 red teatowels in my stash & appliqued them with the words "bake" & "cook"
Then made up a soy candle in the small round dish, scented with orange & clove fragrance

These few little items made up a lovely bright & cheery vignette in my Cottage 
Changing displays & coming up with fresh new ideas is constant & ongoing in the Cottage

 I like to start each new season with a fresh order of soaps in different fragrances ...... usually I take any leftover soaps for The Mr & I to use up, but these stragglers still smelt beautiful so I decided to run up some fabric bags to pop them into using my Tilda scraps

I thought they looked so attractive presented in their little fabric bags & they smell divine .  .  .  .

I hope the week is treating you kindly dear readers & you are managing to keep warm or cool where ever in the world you might be?
Our spring temperatures here have been so bitterly wet & cold that we ordered more firewood at the start of the week.
It was the kind of day that made you want to just tuck up somewhere cosy & let the world pass you by . . .
.  .  .   rather like a certain little fairy that I know !!!

Thanks so much for your visits today 
Be kind to yourselves & to each other
with much love & friendship,
Julie & the furry ones x0x0x0

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Five Small Projects .......................................

Good Wednesday Greetings dear friends & readers
Five small projects have been completed this past week at Threadbear Cottage .........................
I mentioned in my last post that my neighbour Lea had gifted me a large pile of junk unsold items left over from her Garage Sale
This cute wooden "what not" & the tray below were two of the items .   .   .   .   .

.   .   .   . as were the two oval frames below .  .  .  .

After I had given them all a scrub & a warm up by the fire, I then gave each item 2 coats of pale duck egg chalk paint.
When dry, I lightly distressed the edges of the "what not" & also gave it a good coating of wax

I think it looks rather "french country"perhaps?

In my scrapbooking bits & bobs I found this string of cute paper butterflies & circles which I modpodged onto the tray.
The inner base of the tray was given 2 coats of modpodge to make it wipeable & then I thoroughly waxed the outer & underside 

The frames were also lightly sanded & then I mounted some wallpaper remnants left over from the 
 fifth project below ... 
This wallpaper is Cath Kidston, which I purchased last year from my dear friend Catherine's trademe store

All these items above are going for sale in my little Cottage.

The grubby old apple box above was pinched acquired from Mums shed on my last visit ... it too needed a really good scrub & a warm up by the fire

Last week the sun made a brief appearance for a few hours so I was able to paint it outdoors while Miss Pippi slept on the table beside me.
I only painted the inside edges as I planned to line it with some Cath Kidston wallpaper ..... the same wallpaper as I used in my nail box upcycle in this post here

Miss Pippi very kindly warmed the interior of the box up for me before I lined it with the paper !!
Miss Pippi's help is unfortunately - entirely non negotiable - in other words, she is there whether you want her to be or not !!!

The finished apple box .... which is going in my Cottage as a free standing shelf ... I will show you in my next post.

A longtime customer Paula, dropped out two of her childhood bears for repair while Mum was still with me .  .  .

I am annoyed I forgot to take a before photo as they were indeed a sorry sight .... no eyes or noses, one was arm less & many holes & tears in them both!
Here they sit waiting for Paula to collect them & take them home.

My friend Sally arrived for a cuppa last week & presented me with this cute little box of goodies

 "Happy Belated Birthday" Sally announced !!

Beautifully wrapped inside was one of Sally's handmade dreamcatchers, which I just adored
along with two vintage pomanders to add to my collection

I remembered about the vintage tray I had purchased on special from Ethel Anne's so I gave it a polish with some Brasso & sat my collection of china pomanders on it .  .  .  

 *** Just simply perfect ***

 Though it is now spring here in our hemisphere, the weather is telling us this is not quite so just yet !!!
I hope the week is treating you kindly - thank you so very much for your visits today dear friends 
with much love & friendship to you all,
Julie & the furry ones x0x0x  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Good Neighbours, Mums & Op Shop Treasures

Greetings dear friends & readers 
Just trying to squeeze in a post before we wave Goodbye to August . . . I did not mean to be gone for so long !!!

After 16 years of living across the road from me in our rural community, my neighbour is moving to town.
Lea has been a good neighbour ... the kind that is always there if you need them but doesn't live on your doorstep.
Immediately after selling her property, she left on a trip to her homeland of Holland ... she issued an urgent plea for some kiwiana teatowels to take with her as host gifts

 Luckily I had a good stash of brightly coloured teatowels & was able to embellish some for her ... I do love the kiwiana fabrics, especially the native bird ones.
Wrapped in cellophane with some ribbon embellishment, these were ideal as they sat flat in the bottom of her suitcase.

Lea held a Garage Sale two weeks before moving & I was able to lend her a bit of a hand in setting it all up.
She presented me with a stash of unsold junk treasures when it was all over ... these two items below were some of the treasures ...
Lea had made this ceramic casserole dish herself many years ago at a night school class
I decided to plant it with some small succulents I had in my garden .  .  .

In the $2 shop I found tiny wooden mushrooms which I hot glued onto some wooden skewers .... I felt they complimented the mushroom theme

Lea was going to toss this wooden frame with no glass or back - but I grabbed it instead !!
I removed the wire, painted it pale duck egg & then lightly sanded the edges
I screwed a tiny hook inside the frame & added a $2 shop glass tealight holder
I found a scrap of white vintage lace which I dunked in my cold cup of tea !!! 
Then I popped some dried lavender & a scrapbooking butterfly into the jar . . .

These two items are going for sale in my Cottage
(if I ever manage to get it open again that is !!!!)

A surprise package arrived in the mail from Kiwikid Sue - gorgeous doilies & thread - totally unexpected & SO delightful !!
Mum .  .  .
 After Mum had been living with us for a few weeks & she begun getting good food, rest, love, care & the right medication, her health began to improve dramatically.
This improvement in her health, naturally bought with it her desire to return home again.
Mum has lived in the family home for 55 years, it was her greatest wish to return there to live.
I began to make inquiries with the appropriate agencies to see if I could implement this for Mum
The short version of a very long saga is that I have taken Mum home again.
I stayed with her for a week to ensure that all the help I had organised was put in place
Although I came up against some strong opposition within my family, I feel in my heart I have done the right thing

A small highlight of my week down at Mums came about when I took her for a hair appointment
Knowing I would have a 1 1/2 hour window of time available I contacted my friend Carolyn who travelled down to meet up with me
I gave her the choice of us going for a coffee or a meander around the Op Shops . . . thankfully she chose the Op Shops !!!
This little outing with a friend was such a bright spot in what was definately a difficult week . . .

These items above were some of the treasures I found on our jaunt -
the small glasses to use for candlemaking were just 4 for 50c.

The tablecloth above was definately my bargain of the day!
 Huge in size, handmade with dresdens appliqued onto it, in immaculate condition .  .  . & all for the princely sum of $2.50 at the S.P.C.A shop !!

My last bargain to share with you (again at the S.P.C.A shop) was this bag of teeny tiny hexies ... someone had lovingly handstitched all these tiny hexies - 26 of them.
This find made Carolyn & I stop in our tracks & have a bit of a discussion about whether or not our handcraft stash might very well end up someday in an Op Shop ??!! Doesn't bear thinking about !!!

Finally friends, for those of you that asked for the hedgehog instructions in my last post .... as I am unable to get my scanner to work I have photographed it for you - just click on the picture & it will enlarge

If you wish to give your hedgehog some knitting as Miss Pink has in my photo below .  .  .
.  .  . just cast 8 stitches onto a pair of small size needles, knit a small square until you are happy with the size, then slide the piece onto a pair of toothpicks to which you have glued a wooden bead to each end.
No I do not attempt to knit the piece using the toothpicks!!
Please don't hesitate to contact me should you have any difficulty with this pattern.

Antique Pansies planted at Easter time happily flowering away on my deck.
Have a lovely rest-of-the-week dear friends,
Thanks so much for your visit today - I am slowly getting around to visiting you all at your blogs again !
with much love & friendship,
Julie & the furry ones x0x0x0

Friday, July 28, 2017


End of Week Greetings dear friends & readers,

 Very early in the New Year a lovely lady (Jean) rang to ask if I would be interested in teaching a craft class?
The class was to be part of a Rural Womens Institute Craft Day, held yearly in the middle of winter ...  the ladies would learn card making in the morning & I was to take the afternoon class.
I jumped at the chance & said "Yes - definately!!"

As she ended the call Jeans words to me were "the class is months away yet so you have plenty of time to think what to teach"
Me - being me .... promptly forgot ALL about it !!!*!!!

Just before I had to go down to Mums Jean rang & asked me if I could "drop off my samples please"
"Oh yes, nearly finished" I lied replied
Rummaging through my craft cupboard a large bag of dried teasel thistle heads fell down .... perfect !!
I hadn't made teasel hedgehogs for about 17 years .... now might be a great time to give them another whirl !!

I quickly ran up my samples using fabrics I had plenty of in my stash 
 I named them "Miss Pink" & "Miss Lavender"

Last week, before my teaching day, I spent a rainy day working at the table with Mum & Miss Pippi's help, putting together my kitsets 
 As there were no sewing machines at the venue, I sewed the lace onto the bonnets before kitting them up

When I was almost finished, Blackie & Pippi had a brief conference to make sure I had everything in order & meeting with their approval .  .  .

Jean asked me to bring 13 - 15 kitsets in a mixture of both colourways
My kitsets all ready to go
I also had to type up a pattern & instructions, & then fill my car up with all the paraphenalia we might need to complete our hedgehogs, pretty much including the "kitchen sink" !!

The mornings class had made two cards & then each decorated a candle using hessian, bark & miniature cones ... the ladies work looked wonderful
I had originally put my name down for the morning class but decided to pull out when Mum came to live here as I felt the entire day was too long to leave her on her own.

The day was stormy & wintery so several of the ladies didn't turn up & I only ended up teaching 9 ... what fun, delightful ladies they all were too.
Though I forgot to snap pictures while they were all working on their hedgehogs, I did remember to get a photo at the end ... 5 Miss Pinks & 4 Miss Lavenders
I took along my lavender & cottage rose oils & the ladies got to scent their bonnets at the end ... the classroom smelt rather heavenly.

Let me know if you would like the pattern for this little sweetheart & I can scan & copy it, & add it to my next post?

On an earlier visit to Mums - last March in fact - I brought home a large cardboard box filled with all Mums knitting wools & oddments
Mum can no longer knit due to her macular degeneration so she asked me to give the wool away for her.
I decided to gift it to my friend Joyce for her crocheting & then Joyce could pass on any unwanted wool to the Church Op Shop where she works.

To my surprise & delight, Joyce turned up last week & presented Mum with this beautiful knee rug she had crocheted from all the oddments of mohair wool that was in the box.
It is beautiful & light but Oh So Warm & Cosy.

My lovely friend Carolyn was up this way & we caught up for a coffee at the Hummingbird.
Carolyn gifted me this cute little knitted vintage golly ... I thought he made a perfect companion for the golly 
Carolyn sent me in this post

We had a family lunch last Sunday when my brother & his wife travelled up to visit with Mum, & my boys & their families came to join us.

I love this photo of Mum playing with Alec on the floor ... & then this one below is my older brother with Sid.
It was rather special because my brother (who lost his arm in a motorbike accident at 20) doesn't hold babies Ever!!
And yet both He & Sid looked most comfortable with each other ......

Have a wonderful weekend dear friends - it looks like a wet one here - July has been such a wintery month
Thanks so much for your visits today - you bring some sunshine to my world.

with much love & friendship
Julie & the furry ones x0x0x