Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This past week & a bit . . .

Hello dear friends & readers,
This past week & a bit has gone by in the blink of any eye  :-)
I cannot believe we are about to turn the calendars over to November !!!

I had the loveliest group last week bring their lunch - an older bunch of ladies - the lady sitting next to me was 97 !!!
As they were leaving this is what they presented me with . . .

Inside the box was this . . . 

the most beautifully iced home-made sponge cake :-)
we shared it with my sons & their families,  (otherwise I could quite easily have scoffed the lot!!!!)

Some of the ladies in the group were impressed with my vege garden which is looking bountiful at present

They asked me ... "you must have a great composting system??"
"No"  I said "I garden by the moons cycles"
And so off I launched explaining my current obsession ... lunar gardening
"Oh I couldnt do that" one lady commented "my husband would think I was quite batty"
"dont worry " I replied "mine already does think I am, but I still continue..."

I have harvested my first planting of beetroot & cooked it up ...

They taste just delicious

Now answer me this folks .... 3 weeks out from a wedding in my garden ... surely only a man would decide to build another raised garden from scratch ???!!!
(I very nearly had convulsions !!!!)     (AND left home as well!!!)

However, we needed to get rid of our rubbish heap that I burn on & this seemed the best solution as the potash makes very good filling for the base 

The old saying "the only difference between men & boys is the size of their toys" .... very true in our house ...!!!
 but he did do a great job & it sure saved me trying to wheelbarrow it all in by hand

We have composted it, & fed it with blood & bone, & lime & are waiting for the new moon to begin planting
The Mr was keen to plant it on the weekend but I insisted we wait ...
"you know you are in danger of becoming like one of those evangelical preachers" he told me "all I hear is you waffling on about planting by the moon - I hear you telling your customers about it & you cart that stupid calendar around with you everywhere ..."   !!!!!

I love that often while we are working outside, we have some "visitors" observing us .... cows are such inquisitive animals by nature

Oohh Gladys, what do you think they're doing over there .....  arguing with each other ??!!

There has been very little inside activity this past week & a bit - although I did run up the 2 scraps of oilcloth leftover from my stool revamps,  & made some outdoor cushions for the Cottage

A trip to Briscoes sale bought some new teatowels & while the angels have been ironed on, I have yet to applique around them & do their "hair" ... I like the bright splashes of colour for a change

While at Briscoes I noticed their lamps were half price so this rather uninteresting little number came home with me ...
(I am always looking for extra lamp light for the Cottage but the ones that appeal to me, cost a small fortune)

The shade is rice paper . . . so I decided to "embellish it" a little

Out came the Op Shop doiley again ...
I was so pleased with the end result ... even the Mr commented on what an improvement it was  :-)
What do you think ???

I added a doiley circle to each side plus some bobble trim I found in my scrap box

In my kitchen I have a bit of a "poppy theme" going on ... I did not really plan this but the old tiles I rescued from an antique fire surround kind of started this off
And so I commissioned the poppy stained glass doors to match the tiles
So I was most excited to win an auction on Trademe last week for this set of coasters - handmade by a lovely lady from the far north

They are so beautifully finished & have felt on their underneaths to prevent scratching

Well folks I hope you have found some creative time in your week
Thanks so much for stopping by to read my ramblings
I may not be posting much in November but I shall remember to cart my camera with me to record the "happenings"
Wishing you much love/hugs/friendship, as always
Julie x0x0x

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Steptoe & Co

Good afternoon dear friends & readers,

While I am more than happy to be called "Mrs Steptoe" & to cart home everybodies throw-out junk  "treasures",
I realised that the section was beginning to look a little like Steptoes Yard

It was time for a sort-out & a clean-up after the winter . . .
plus I have a group wanting to eat their lunch on my deck tomorrow, so I needed to use some elbow grease  :-)

The birds really like my candlelabra for perching on ... but they insist on leaving me little "calling cards" on the table underneath

A quick trip to Cambridge to this lovely store here acquired me 2 nice lengths of Oilcloth to freshen the area up a little

Even the fat fluffys old kennel got a scrub-up & a nice dotty piece for the top

Leeanne do you recognise the wire basket??

The fluffies "house" is a great height if I need to use the hot water Urn for my groups - plus I dont want to get rid of it in case one day another fat fluffy decides to come & live with us 

The Mr tells me "its all very well you collecting all this derelict old stuff but you need to keep it in good condition too - this place is looking more & more like Steptoes yard!!!"

The day I decided to scrub & clean everything I had 6 lots of customers (this is a busy day for me) ...
One lady walked up the driveway & announced "Oh you have a garden full of weeds you realise" 
 "Um, sorry ???" I asked her

"Oh all these grannys bonnets, & foxgloves & poppies ... you realise they are just weeds ... they will self sow everywhere & you wont be able to get rid of them!!!"
"Um, actually I quite like them & often plant them out" I explained
"well you will be sorry mark my words ... anything that self sows into my vege garden is a weed as far as I'm concerned ... even those poppies you've got there..."
She cant mean my beautiful poppies - surely NOT??

"Um I actually planted those poppies myself,  but thankyou for your advice" now buggar off!!!   (sorry I didnt actually say that - but I did think it)

The Mr tells me when I scrub the house I look like a Homeless person who has been caught in a shower of rain (I get more water on me than the actual house) - I think the customers that came thought I was the hired help
Shane these are some of the seeds I have sent you  :-)
My little witchey was looking tatty, so she got a coat of Hot Chilli Paint
Beautiful speckled foxglove .... I sure HOPE these "weeds" self sow everywhere in my garden !!!!

I have been dehydrating oranges from our tree to make my citrus potpourri - the house always smells lovely when I do this job

When dried (this takes 8 - 9 hours) I sit them on cane trays, in my hotwater cupboard for a few days to finish them off ... then I make up my next batch of potpourri

Lean in close & take a really big sniff  

All year round, like a squirrel, I gather bits & pieces to make this up

Some of the wooden bits I was working on last post have been finished  

a rather tatty looking wooden stool/table got a revamp  . . . 

This little 50c Op Shop tray (below)

The wooden basket is still a work-in-progress

turned out rather lovely I thought

And continuing on with my bathroom "budget-makeover" I found an old wooden shelf in the woodshed which I gave a rough coat of paint & a rough sand back ... I wanted a really rustic effect

which I think I acheived 
(incidently the Mr asked me "when are you going to finish off that shelf in the bathroom, its looking a bit rough ??!!!")

Yep, rough . . .  just the way I wanted it  :-)

Well folks best I get "on my bike" & finish some more chores,
I hope the coming week brings you crafty ways & happy days,
and watch out for those "weeds" out & about on your travels  :-)
thanks so much for stopping by,
much love/hugs/friendship,

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A bit of a blur . . .

Hello dear friends & readers

This past week has gone by in a bit of a blur . . . 
The highlight was definately the return of "the travellers" (my youngest son & his fiance) after their 6 week Europe trip 
On Wednesday I drove to the big smoke to collect them from the airport ... but first I had to deliver some very special cargo to their home in Hamilton

dear little Karma who missed her Mum & Dad terribly but was sooo well behaved
It was wonderful to see them come through those Customs doors - both smiling - "I missed you" were my sons words 
Since arriving home he has emailed me some pictures of himself in far fetched places ... 

A" free spirit"  is my son .... Love the glasses Kayne  :-)

I think he was looking up at a plane ??  or daydreaming maybe ??

I look at these & its hard to get my head around all the places he has been & the things he has seen ...(& I must confess that a tiny part of me would really like to send these pictures to all the teachers that repeatedly told me my son would never amount to anything in life!!!!)

I was also rather spoilt & received some delightful gifts 

The wee Owl was from a tiny village in Cinque terre in Italy - the lady was sitting in her Craft Shoppe overlooking the ocean - stitching them (Oh the poor lady!!!!!!) Incidently they said I would've thought I had died & gone to heaven had I been in that shop!!!

When I look at this photo they sent me .... OH YES ... I can see why !!!!!!!!
Looks pretty much like Heaven to me  :-)     click on the pic to enlarge it - its gorgeous !!!!!

After the 10th my moon calendar told me it was very good fertile planting time & most prolific for sowing & planting all that produce above ground . . .  so I planted come courgettes & cucumbers
 (my friend Donna had very good success with growing hers in tyres last year, so I thought I would give it a try this season)

We are experiencing the most awful chilly winds at present, so they are looking a little wind blown
A dear blogging friend Shane & I did a "seed swap" through the mail - you can read Shanes post about it here - so I planted the gorgeous variety of seeds that she so kindly sent me also.
(thank you all for your lovely comments about lunar gardening ... it seems there is lots of interest out there so I may keep "mentioning" it on my blog from time to time)

Last year I made pincushions from some vintage china cups & saucers, but they did not really sell in the Cottage, so I decided to try something else . . .  birdfeeders seemed a possibility ??

I have one in my front garden & often get comments on it ... so thought I would give it a try . . .  they look lovely sitting in the Cottage garden (the green stake is removable by the way)

At the start of the week ... I took a long hard look at my bathroom & decided it could do with a revamp.
Having neither the time, money, nor the energy to do this task . . .  I decided to improvise . . .  
& make a new curtain for the window  :-)

In fact, the curtain that was already there - having decided it was just dusty & needed a good shake - upon taking it outside & doing this - it promptly fell to pieces on me ... it was faded & rotten !!!!
So I decided to line this one to prevent fading & also, the sun rotting it ... I found some calico in my stash, along with the blue check seersucker type of fabric that I used.
To tell you that I very nearly threw the sewing machine out the window during the making of this . . . 
 would be the honest truth !!!!
Give me a fiddly doll to make anyday!!!!
The bows are purely decoration & serve no useful purpose whatsoever!!!
Upon completion I asked the Mr what he thought of my new blind ??
"Very blue" was his reply !!!?
So then I turned my attention to my little wrought iron chair, gave it a whisk of paint with a spray can - then decided to recover the cushion squab that was on it (& rather water stained) - I used the oilcloth I had bought several months back (& also the help of my friends industrial sewing machine)

The linen cushion was a pair of trousers given to me by my mum (many moons ago) & still in the "cut-out-ready-to-be-made-up" phase
I couldnt resist attaching one of the beautiful crochet hearts sent to me by my friend Amy - to be used as coasters 
But, Oh ToO LoVely to sit your mug of tea on !!!!

Thank You So Much dear Amy
Sometimes as I am rushing about my day or my week, I occasionally catch glances of vistas in the garden & they make me stop & appreciate them for a minute ... because they pass by so quickly with the changing of the seasons ... this was one such view last week as I hurried to open the end gate for a customer

The blossom petals reminded me of confetti on the ground

While pegging out the washing I noticed the wisteria flowering & the purple catmint underneath it 

I read this post by eco ethel with great interest - I absolutely loved what she had done with the jumpers/jerseys
I mentioned to her that I had been making herbal mothball sachets this week & promised her the recipe

(for eco ethel .. & for all of you) x0x0x

Herbal Moth Sachets:-
50 grams dried rosemary
50 grams dried mint
50 grams dried thyme
25 grams ginseng
200 grams whole cloves
mix together & place in squares of muslin
I also add a good handful of dried lavender to my mixture + the ginseng I buy as a tea (or teabags) from Health Food Shops.

Hopefully this will help keep the moths out of your woollens & not leave that nasty napthalene smell that mothballs seem to

Well friends I have another box of soaps arrived that need labels made for them

The house is quiet & I am burning my Apple Spice Wax Melt - so it smells like someone is cooking delicious baking ...

which - unfortunately . . .  they are not ! ! !
And this lot awaits me on my dining room floor - which I need to finish before the Mr arrives home  :-)

"Works-in-progress" which I shall show you next post.
Have a wonderful week filled with only good things,
thanks so much for your visits   :-)
much love/hugs/friendship to you all
Julie x0x0x