Saturday, March 28, 2020

Staying in my Bubble ...............................................

Greetings dear friends & readers

As of midnight last Wednesday New Zealand went into Level 4 Lockdown due to the Covid 19 virus.
For us here this means everything is closed to the public except supermarkets, chemists, medical centres & 
petrol stations.
Our Prime Minister has said "we all have to stay in our bubbles in order to flatten the curve of this pandemic"
Personally I am more than happy in my bubble, but I know there are others that will really struggle with it & 
my heart goes out to them 💗



I have a new (step) granddaughter due in 2 weeks time whom we will not be able to visit until this is all over.
Over the past couple of weeks I have been doing some sewing for her just using up bits from my stash -
 I thought I would have no feminine fabrics but I was able to rustle up some pretty colourways.
I made 3 bibs using this free pattern from the internet - I have made these for my other grandsons & their Mum's 
tell me -  "these are the best bibs ever" !! 

I always buy white or cream towels when I see them on sale & use the toweling for the back of the bibs.  
I had an end left over from a white towel so I made two burp cloths & bound them with pink bias binding.
I knitted two pink organic cotton washcloths using this free pattern 

I made a flannel wheatbag & the bunny rattle is made from a vintage wool blanket - I tucked a rattle into 
the bunnies tummy before stuffing with fibrefill.
I found a length of fleece large enough to sew two cuddlies.

The little cloth doll is called Maisie & is a pattern by Kate Henderson of never enough hours blog 
I packaged everything up in pink tissue paper & The Mr was able to deliver it over to the city before the lockdown came into force.


Once we were in lockdown I decided to spend some time giving my sewing room a good clean, tidy & sort.
This was looooong overdue dear readers. 😉

It was lovely to give it all a good freshen & a fluff up & when I was finished I thought I would sew a new 
ironing board cover. 

Whenever I do this I just take the old cover off, cut the elastic & pull it out of its casing, open the fabric out fully & lay it on the new fabric on the floor - cut around the shape, make a casing, new elastic & voila .  .  .  .  .
This fabric is Cath Kidston & was purchased a couple of years ago when Mystyle first closed its Cambridge shop. 
I originally planned to cover a chair with it but used something else instead.


Last month my friend Gail turned 70 & had a small party.
Although she said "no gifts" I wanted to give her something but was not quite sure what as Gail has everything 
you could ever want  😉
I had this vintage cane dolls pram in my sleepout so I lined it with a black rubbish bag & planted it up with petunias for her.  On my way to her party I stopped at the Variety store & purchased a helium filled balloon that said 
"Happy Birthday" & tied this to the handle.
Gail said it has continued to flower away beautifully & she was thrilled with her gift.


Like alot of you I am sure, every now & again I feel this tight knot of anxiety about this horrid pandemic in our world -
 I worry for my children & grandchildren & what the future holds .....
When I feel this happening I try to distract myself with some home remedies

I play with Pippi alot - she is a great entertainer & very much lives in the moment

Blackie has been bringing in on average one mouse a day (!!) lately so he prefers to maintain a social distance 
as Mum is none-too-happy with him 😐



I burn lavender oil in my diffusers as I find this helps to calm me

I knit dishcloths & I stockpile dishcloth cotton yarn in lovely colours 😉😇
I try to cook good nutritious meals & I spend some time outdoors each day if the weather allows.

I find if I keep my hands busy then my mind stays on track so I try to keep creative & do things that bring me pleasure.

I am thinking of you all at this trying time dear friends
Take care of yourselves & each other & stay in your bubbles,
With much love & friendship to you all ! 💕
Julie & the furry ones x0x0x

Friday, March 20, 2020

Keeping Busy

Greetings dear friends & readers

These are troubling times we are going through currently so - as my blog title suggests - I am keeping busy.

I saw this verse on Instagram yesterday & asked if I could share it - I loved it & felt it was appropriate for these uncertain times


And then this one below which made me smile .  .  .  . 😊

I have never had any problem isolating myself - in fact, I am probably the opposite in the respect that I often 
have to make myself attend things & could quite easily hermit myself away.
But I know there are many out there who are struggling with isolating themselves while this virus runs rampant
& I really feel for them. 



I finished a Tilda Hanging Lambs order for Maria last week - she called unexpectedly to collect it & I had taken 
no photo's so I quickly snapped some while they lay on the bed - not very good ones either 😉


These are a pattern from the Tilda Book Homemade & Happy
The green set above were for Maria & the blueish ones were to go to Australia.



This ladder above was given to me by my lovely friend Sue on one of her visits way back in December 2014 !!
Here in New Zealand we have an advert for Mainland Cheese & it says "Good things take time"

Well, like the advert good things do indeed take time because I pulled it out of the sleepout this week & painted it - Gosh it has only been 6 Years !! 😉
I decided to hang some of my beautiful vintage linen tablecloths on it that had been shut away in a drawer. 
 This way I can look at & enjoy them 💗 


  I have had a large bucket of hydrangea's soaking in water for about two weeks now so I displayed them in my vintage cane trolley as I like to do each autumn


I have never had green ones before but I have a creamy coloured bush & when I looked around the back I found 
the green tinged ones tucked away


A lovely & dear friend who lives away, lost her brother in a motorbike acccident on Waitangi Day.
I could not stop thinking of her & how sad she would be feeling - so I decided to send her a little Easter Package
The Bunny Teatowel above & the Rabbit Bag below are all free patterns off the internet if you would like to make any.
The Bunny teatowel download is  * Here *
The Rabbit Bag download is  * Here *


I used some of my treasured Tilda fabrics as I know she is a Tilda lover also.
I included lots of little extras, choccy eggs, lavender hearts, nests etc ........
My friend rang to thank me, told me she cried when she opened it but she could feel that I was thinking of her 💕
& it brightened her day


Last Friday night while I was sitting on the couch knitting my dishcloths I snapped these pics of Pippi & Blackie within the space of about 10 minutes - they are right beside me
Our evenings are cooler now & they have returned to the couch where they tuck up together in a little nest of blankets



It seemed quite appropriate then when this appeared in my inbox this morning - sent from The Mr 😊

Have a wonderful weekend dear friends - thanks for your visits here today,
Take good care, be very kind to yourselves & to each other.
With much love & friendship to you all,
Julie & the furry ones

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Plodding ..............................................................

Greetings dear friends & readers

Thank you all So Very Much for the kind comments you left me in my last post.
Everything you wrote meant the world to me ... I was so encouraged by your words that I shall endeavour to keep plodding along with my blog & trying to post a bit more regularly

In fact it has been a week of plodding ... some Orders were finished up & I have been waving my paintbrush 
around again
My sister-in-law Leonie gave me a piece of fabric & a chair pad she wanted covered - I forgot to take a "before pic".

As there was a piece of fabric left I stitched up a small plump cushion to go on the chair & covered a button for the cushion centre.


It is almost a year now since Leonie's Mum Dulcie passed away.
Dulcie was a friendly, happy lady who loved clothes & loved bright colours.
The fleece coat above left was one of her favourite garments - Leonie had it hanging in her wardrobe & asked me 
if I could make some lavender filled hearts from it - for her to hand out on her Mum's anniversary.
Originally I was to make 6, then 8 ...... then this grew to 12.
I am sure that due to the drought we have had this summer, the oil content in the lavender is high because these hearts smelt SO fragrant ... just divine 💜


These wooden items have been sitting in my Cottage waiting for me to upcycle/revamp them for over a year now.
Finally I hauled out all my left over colours of chalk paint.

Top shelf                                                                            Lower shelf
This old wooden trolley has been painted in Sandstone & the stencilling done in Duck Egg Blue - I only own 
one stencil so you get varying versions of the same thing 😉

This small wooden cabinet had been gifted to me years ago & - at the time - I stripped & oiled it.
Now it too got painted in Sandstone & lightly stencilled

The oak bedside cabinet above got painted in Old Linen - I love this colour as it has a faint bluey/grey tinge.
Some leftover rub-ons got applied to the door.

This small polka dot suitcase got a freshen up with some pale duck egg - I don't know why I bothered masking 
up the handles as I ended up painting them anyway 😉

Some time has been spent with my beautiful grandsons who are growing up so very fast!

They both came for a sleepover at Granny's - we had a wonderful time together but one of us (Yes, you can guess) was shattered at the end & needed a nap to catch up again  !!

I still enjoy knitting at nights  - these cotton dishcloths are made using all my oddments of bamboo/cotton yarn - they are real scrap bag cloths.   But they are fun to do & don't require too much concentration - which suits me just fine of an evening.

Thanks so much dear friends for your visits today,
I hope the rest of the week is good & kind to all of you,
Thanks again for all your kindness & encouragement in my last post.
With much love & friendship to you all,
Julie & the furry ones x0x0x

Monday, March 2, 2020

Positives & Negatives

Greetings dear friends & readers
I am having yet another attempt at resuscitating this poor neglected blog of mine
February was a month of many positives AND negatives & I just did not get any time to blog.


We had endless ups & downs with my Mum during February & then I myself became sick - twice !!
After several Dr's visits & investigations I tested positive for campylobacter & am now taking antibiotics to clear it up 
& get back to some good health.
So blogging definately was not a priority - some days it felt like it took all my energy just to get through the day.


Though my poor garden is rather like my blog - sad & neglected - the roses are still blooming away.
This is a good time of year for picking & drying the many petals I require throughout the year for the potpourri's I sell.

An added bonus is that it doesn't take long for the petals to dry to a crisp these hot summer days.

My friend Carolyn visited early last month & bought me a large armload of Nigella Seed Heads  (Love in a mist)
 from her garden.
When I cut them all up they filled a 10 litre bucket - these will be wonderful to help bulk out my citrus potpourri's

The statice is blooming & required cutting & hanging bunches to dry.



I have picked 3 trays of lavender heads so far (tho' there are many more still to pick) & sat one evening & rubbed 
one tray full into brown paper bags


I had an Order from my friend Marie for 10 lavender bags & 10 mothball sachets, which I always enjoy making.
(The mothball sachet recipe can be found at the bottom of this post if you would like to make your own.)

Quite some time ago I bought this chandelier off Trade me, a New Zealand auction site, similar to ebay 
The seller was demolishing a house & as no-one had bid on the chandelier they offered it to me for $5.00  ....  pointing out to me that it would probably need re-wiring to be able to use it.

I removed the lightbulb holders & pulled out the wiring from it - I had no intentions of it ever being re-wired.
Then I painted the brass with some left over chalk paint (Colour - Yorkshire Stone)

I found 3 matching china cups + saucers in my stash & made soy candles in each cup 
(Fragrance - Black Raspberry/Vanilla)

I used a strong Araldite Glue to affix the saucers to each of the 3 "arms" of the chandelier & then glued the cups 
onto the saucers.


After hanging it up I decided it needed some crystals hanging from the curves of each arm - my photographs are 
not doing it justice - it looks gorgeous hanging up & I am so thrilled with my $5 purchase
What's more - another of the endless ideas floating around in my head  has come to fruition 💕😊 !!


On Friday I had to deliver a tractor part to The Mr at the farm & snapped a quick pic of the dry brown pastures - this countryside is peat & usually manages to keep a green tinge over our hot summer months but everything is brown 
& crisp for miles

Today is overcast but still humid - Miss Pip has spent the day in her banana box out on the deck, & I think Blackie is under the house in the cool - he will return covered in cobwebs tonight.


I have reached a bit of a crossroads with my blog & alot of things in my life of late.
I wonder if my blog has become a bit stale & I don't seem to have as many interesting things to post about compared to when I was running my Cottage ?
I shall be giving it some deep thought over the coming weeks about whether or not I continue.
In the meantime Thank You All So Much for your visits & your continued support here.
With much love & friendship to you all,
Julie & the furry ones x0x0x

Friday, January 31, 2020

Still Crafting ............................................. (trying to !!)

Greetings dear friends & readers
I started January full of enthusiasm & hoping to blog weekly.
I rather rapidly ran out of steam when I had to drop everything & take yet another trip to my Mum's due to some 
health issues she was having.
Mum is doing okay now & I have returned home again - trying to pick up where I left off  😯

These beautiful lilly's above are growing right outside my dining room window - the  picture on the left is taken through the window glass
Their scent is heavenly & wafts in on the breeze - although I know alot of folk are not fond of lilly's, I just adore their fragrance 💗

While I was at Mum's the veggie garden went crazy - I have been madly picking every single day since my return.
I did not intend buying yellow courgette plants as I prefer the green ones - this is what happens when you visit the Garden Centre & forget to take your glasses !!! 😐

At present I am picking a colander full of tomatoes each day - & my sweet peas are still producing flowers this far into January!


One of my plans/hopes/dreams for this year is to become a better knitter & learn to knit more than just dishcloths 😉
I thought I would like to make myself a project bag to hold my knitting.
My dear friend Shirley had gifted me a lovely project bag pattern early last year.
The pattern is for the Finch Bucket Bag by Stitch Mischief

I decided to use up some of my Tilda fabrics as I seemed to have acquired quite a stash
I chose to make the larger size patchwork version which turned out quite a bit bigger than I thought but I am thrilled with it.


It is a lovely generous size & would hold several projects at once.




I used some cotton/linen blend & some red spotty fabrics (already in my stash), to line the bag & make the pockets. 
I didn't have any cording on hand so I used the polka dot fabric & sewed the drawstrings instead.
As the bag is also lined with wadding it has a nice padded effect & doesn't sag.


Early last December our craft group got together & had a small Christmas break up luncheon.
One of our ladies Maureen, had asked her husband to cut out 6 wooden doll/wing/star shapes & we were each presented with a set at the luncheon
Our challenge was "to create something with them"
Mine got put aside over the busy Christmas period & just pulled out again last week.
I painted them with some leftover chalk paint then decided to do some embellishing with the rice paper I purchased from Paint me Vintage  way back * Here * last May

I just applied my rice paper cut outs using Mod Podge.



Then I glued my angels wings & star on, & gave her a face & some hair.

I LoVe her so much 💕


As I have hung her on my dressing table mirror I even painted the back of her, as I couldn't stand seeing the 
raw wood in the mirror - yes I am pathetic fussy like that 😉   

I did not get a chance to catch up with any friends or other family while down at Mum's, but I very quickly ran into 
my friend Claire's house at dinner time one night, (while Mum sat waiting in my car) to drop an Order off.

"I have something for you - here" said Claire ......  & quick-as-a-flash she shoved this doll in my hands!
 This beautiful Tilda Christmas Angel, handcrafted by Claire herself ! Gosh how lucky I am !
I have her home now & she is not going away with the rest of the Christmas decor - she sits here in my lounge watching over me 💖
I have named her Angel Claire.

Have a wonderful weekend dear friends - it's hard to believe we say farewell to January tonight.

 Thanks so much for your visits here today,
With much love & friendship to you all,
Julie & the furry ones x0x0x