Thursday, January 29, 2015

Four Little Angels

Hello dear friends & readers & a warm Welcome to my new followers . . .
Four little angels flew out of my sewing room this past week.

Or I should say ... 4 little pincushion angels ...
this is a Woodberry Designs pattern (by Kerryanne English)
You can read about the last time I made these angels here

The two angels on the left are for birthday gifts ... 2 friends having birthdays this week within 3 days of each other
As both are beautiful crafters (one a sewer, one a crocheter), I decided this was an ideal gift as you can store sewing notions in the back pocket

I popped a pair of small scissors & a needle threader in the back before gift wrapping them.
The other two are now for stock for my little Cottage.

A customer phoned & asked for a gift to take overseas.  She was happy to leave the choice up to me but her instructions were that it needed to be:-
- usefull
- lightweight
-bright & cheery
- kiwiana if possible

As she has bought the handtowels from me in the past, I decided to make another using my gorgeous bright Pukeko fabric.  A set of clove scented spice mats to match & a teatowel trimmed in this seemed the perfect package.
She was delighted with the gifts I had put together & took all 3 items.

My hanging baskets are beautiful again this year but soak up the water like a bottomless pit  . . .

I find I need to water them twice daily now - both early morning & late evening - the petunias don't seem to mind these long hot dry summers we are now having each year ... so long as their feet are kept wet

The other flowers that seem to do well in my garden during the dry spells are Impatiens 
(or busy lizzies we call them)

Each spring I plant a punnet full in my big old Beatie Wringer Washing Machine that sits under the old silk tree 

. . .  & fill the old suitcase on my deck with another small punnet.

When the rustic chairs in my garden become rotten unsafe to sit on, I like to move them into the gardens themselves as I feel they can still look attractive.
You have to be careful though, as customers will sometimes still go & attempt to sit on them ... so I have found if I place a pot of something on the seats, it discourages this from happening.

This miniature variety of petunia pepe seems quite happy tucked away in the midst of the rose garden, with the occasional jug of water tossed over it

Last week after finishing the millet silage, the Mr decided we should drive to Raglan for a dinner of fish & chips on the beach.
Raglan is just over an hour from here & it our nearest beach.

I love visiting Raglan & often wonder whether I would be happy to live there??
We bought ourselves some dinner ... the fish at Raglan comes in fresh each day & tastes completely different to any you might buy back home ... we found a nice grassy patch to sit & look out at the sea ...

Yes I know ... I am pathetic the way I cart my tomato sauce all the way over to the beach !!!!

After eating & a walk around the wharf, we usually take a drive out to Whale Bay - sometimes there are surfers out here, & the Mr likes to watch the boats come back in after their days fishing

At another Bay closer to the township, there were some kite surfers out having fun . . .

We took a different route back home again (Old Mountain Road) & I noticed how brown the countryside is looking due to lack of any rainfall this summer
You can just faintly see Hamilton city in the distance here
It was such a nice outing & to get away to the seaside, even if just for a few hours.

Well friends ... it is lavender harvesting time again in my neck of the woods so I am off outside to rub some more lavender stalks - below is this morning pickings ...

Lean closely into the screen & take a big sniff !!!!

But firstly I am off to make myself a cuppa ... 
I hope you enjoy this little verse I found to share with you extolling the benefits of tea drinking ...

Source : tumblr

Thank you all so much for your visit today & all the lovely comments you leave me ... I appreciate them all so very, very much.
with much love & friendship,
Julie x0x0x

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Op Shop Treasures . . . dead ducks . . . & Blackie

Hello & Happy Tuesday dear friends & readers,

Another wedding invite  . . .  another horseshoe to make  .  .  .

This time for my sweet young friend Rebecca getting married in early March

I have accumulated a small stash of these white boxes now from Warehouse Stationery as they are perfect to present the horseshoes in & I really enjoy decorating them as well.

While running early for a haircut last week, I popped into the Animal Care Op Shop to fill in time . . . the young girl behind the counter was texting & chewing gum & looking like she wished she was "anywhere else but there" . . .
I popped these on the counter (they have had a wash, they werent quite that colour!!)

How much for these I asked her??
a shrug of the shoulders   . . .  "Umm ... 50c"  she said (my heart skipped a beat)
I popped this on the counter & again asked how much ??

another shoulder shrug . . .   "50c"  still texting . . .
"are you sure??"  I asked her 
"Who would want that junk" she replied "the doll doesn't even have any arms!!!"
So I paid my $1.00 &, heart beating fast, I exited the store.
After a gentle soak & wash, I am so in awe of my vintage linen set - someone has crazy patchworked the serviette & small egg cosy using their left over remnants from a time long gone by ...
the fabric is fragile & thin in places, worn with age ...

I just love it so much & it brings me cheer sitting on the rustic egg holder on my kitchen bench

And as for "armless wooden dolly"   .  .  .
 she got a gentle wash to remove the fly spots & a bit of a makeover too . . .

I fashioned her a dress from some of my Lynette Anderson fabrics - I visualised her in quite neutral tonings ... then a pair of pantaloons to attach the wooden legs to her body
Some small calico arms were made & tucked inside the sleeves, then a doiley collar & a set of rusty wire wings seemed perfect I thought

The little wooden heart came off something long, long ago,
 & the wooden bird button was just the right size to adorn it

Much happier than sitting in a box of broken oddments at the Op Shop don't you think??

My neighbour Leah's very dear elderly Aunt passed away late last year in Holland.  Leah's Aunt had been a wonderful artist in her day & had done many beautiful paintings as well as some onto fabric.  Leah arrived home with a small bag full of some fabric "remnants" she had once practised on, & asked me if I could "do anything with them" for her to keep.

It was a little nerve-wracking as I had to carefully soak & wash the fabrics first ... I tried out a small piece for a test run to ensure the colours stayed & didn't bleed.  It really had just been her "practising onto fabric remnants" as it was large pieces with various paintings on at different intervals, & I had to try to fashion something from them.

These 2 paintings were my favourite & I loved the colours ... they were large enough to cut around, overlock & hem, & make into two medium sized cloths for an occasional table ... one was a white background, one was ecru.

I managed to make 2 small, plump cushions from another corner & then a small lavender bag from the last remnant.  I find requests like these can be scary sometimes, but Leah was SO happy with what I achieved for her & now has some mementoes to enjoy of her Aunt's work.

This week saw another "mini avalanche" in my sewing room which unearthed a box I had long forgotten about.  
Many years ago I used to make these calico "upside-down ducks" ... it is a pattern called "Dead Duck" by Di's Dazzling Dolls (Diana Chalk 2002).  
I used to have an old ladder hanging in my kitchen with pots & pans on it & one of these hanging in the middle, & I received lots of comments about my duck.  Inside the box which fell on my head, were 2 calico ducks already cut out.  So I sewed them up & stuffed them.  My orange felt was almost non-existent & I had just enough for the feet, so I decided to paint the beaks instead

Alas - no orange paint !!! 
Being the weekend & wanting to finish them, I recalled a faint distant memory . . .  "red & yellow makes orange" 
(I think from my primary school days no less)
So I mixed my red/yellow paints together & voila ...  I made orange !!!    :-)

Really hard to photograph these darn ducks . . .

They are really long ... from head to toe they measure a metre in length 

They are such a fun, cheerful thing & always bring lots of positive comments ... they look great hanging from the wooden ladder amongst the dried flowers in my Cottage

And some exciting news ... this week for the very first time I was able to pick little Blackie up 
(now come on Julie ... you call that exciting???!!!)

Little Quite big Blackie has always been an aloof kitten (cat) - he is happy for you to pat him sometimes ... on his terms, but don't ever try picking him up, or you would feel the sharpness of his claws.  This week I just bent down, picked him up gently & popped him on his chair

No hissing, spitting or scratching ... mind you, he did go limp like a ragdoll ...
since that first time, I have picked him up on numerous occasions & he seems fine ... I haven't quite gotten to the stage of cuddling him in my arms yet ... but I do live in hope   :-)

Thanks so much for stopping by today dear friends  -  I always appreciate your visits
Wishing you a restfull week ahead & try to remember to  .  .   .

with much love & friendship,
Julie x0x0

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cat Language, making stock & tea drinking . . .

A wilting hot Tuesday "good afternoon" dear friends & readers

Do you find yourself putting on a special tone of voice when you speak to your pets ???
The Mr has commented to me several times lately "do you realise how you speak to those kittens, have you actually heard yourself??"
Usually I take no notice of him . . .  but a comment from my Mum while staying, forced me to listen to myself somewhat . . .

"why helllooooooo my boooootifuuull  Blaaaackie Boy"

"Hellllooooooo my preeeecious little Jinxy winxy girl .... howwww aaarrrre yooouuuu mums preeeecious wee girl "

 Ha ? ? ? ? ? ! ! ! ! ! !        yes I Know, I hold my hand up ! !
AND the Mr tells me I (apparently) use a special "sing songy voice" when talking to them too
Believe me, I wasnt using a sing-songy voice this morning . . .
If you are wondering about the stupid expression on her face, its because she had some of the nest in her mouth & was trying to hide it!!!
This was the "gift" little Jinxy deposited on my dining room floor right after I had vacuumed
If she can't catch the actual birds, she is happy to take their nests away.

It has been so very hot of late that I try to work outside early in the day & then come indoors to the cool of my sewing room.
I packed away my christmas table in the Cottage which left it feeling a little empty with some gaps to fill.

I realised I had no "double ender oven mitts" left so appliqued this bright cheery set last week

When I packed away the Tilda Santa that I wrote about here I thought I might be able to revamp the cute little Santas Elf somehow & keep her out all year round

I decided to try to make her into a kind of "gardening angel with raggedy anne legs"
(does that make sense?? actually, No Julie, it doesnt)
I gave her some wire angel wings first,  then I removed her snowflake embellishment & replaced it with a wooden mushroom button, then I unpicked her "Joy" decoration & gave her a rusty tin birdhouse to hold

She hung on my wall for a couple of days & then, just this morning, after cleaning up rascal Jinxy's demolished birdsnest, a thought came to me  . . .

I fashioned her a nest from the remnants, glued a tiny artificial bird in it & then hot glued this to her wings

She appears most content hanging on my angel wall in the Cottage   :-)

As mentioned last post, I have been endeavouring to fill the gaps on my golly ladder with some new stock
I finished this sweet little girl last week also - she is a pattern from "Angels in Disguise" called Baby Annie & Mammy

I decided to dress her in this pretty lemon floral fabric from my stash, & made her some pink polka dot bloomers
(incidently the actual pattern has no bloomers but I never like to think of them getting cold in their nether regions!!!!)

I often give my gollys a toy to hold in their hands & this little teddybear (cut off a keyring) was in just the right tonings - I added a crochet doiley collar & a cute ceramic dolly button.

Sometimes I make things for the Cottage that I think are just wonderful & spiffy & gorgeous & will sell like hotcakes 
. . .  & then they sit ... & sit ... & don't sell . . .
This was exactly the story with the bath bags I made way back here

Then just prior to christmas I sold 3 jars of them   :-)
Oh what excitement as I still had lots of the mixture left & also 3 of the jars I had bought originally

It didnt take long to run up some more of the little muslin bags & fill ... the lids have plastic stoppers which are removable & I like to fill them with either dried rosepetals or lavender - interestingly enough it is the rose petal lids that are proving the most popular.

Because it is so dry here now, I am finding I need to water every evening.  Usually I am tired & not enjoying an added chore, but late last week, as I came around the corner of the garden a wonderful scent engulfed me

The lilly that my Mum had been hoping would open while she was staying, finally popped open its massive buds
Gosh the fragrance was heady ... I have decided to just enjoy it in the garden & not cut it to bring indoors

Well friends, time to go put the kettle on . . . one of the most thoughtful gifts I received at christmas was from my stepson & his girlfriend.  They gifted me the latest issue of Frankie Magazine along with a tin of tea - "Chamomile & Lavender" 
The tin reads " a floral rapture ... a superior blend of chamomile, lavender & cornflowers artfully blended"

They wrote on the card that it was "enforced relaxation" ... & it certainly is!!  
 Each afternoon, while escaping the heat, I make a cuppa & enjoy a few more pages of the magazine.
I hope you get to enjoy some enforced relaxation in your coming week dear friends & readers,
thanks so much for stopping by today, I hope you are managing to keep warm or cool, wherever you may be
much love & friendship,
Julie x0x