Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Harvesting . . . & plodding . . .

Good afternoon dear friends & readers,

This past week has been a time of some plodding ... all mixed in with a little late summer harvesting ...
When The Mr & I built our 2nd raised vege garden back in November of last year (see here) ... we filled it with soil from our burning heap.
 I noticed a couple of pumpkin plants had popped up in it so I just left them to do their "thing" & wander

As you can see above, those pumpkins actually turned out to be ornamental gourds - obviously self seeded from the odd ones that get thrown on the burning heap (by myself) from time to time

I was so pleased that there were a few different varieties & not just all the same plain yellow ones ... there were some very small sized ones I was planning to throw out ... but then decided to pop them in my kitchen scales - a little splash of colour on my benchtop

I do so enjoy the colours, shapes & patterns of gourds  :-)

As autumn kicks in here now, I like to pull the last of the vege garden to bits to re-fertilise & plant it out for the winter.
However, I managed to harvest this last colourful assortment just yesterday morning

cucumbers, tomatoes, red peppers, passionfruit, & 1 lonely courgette

though our tomatoes this year have been small in size, they are still very tasty & sweet

Before I mowed the other evening, I gathered this basketfull of walnuts off the lawn - though listening to the wind that is howling around us today, I imagine there will be just as many on the lawn again by now

I have been shifting stock & feeding pets for my friend Lois this past week - she lives a few kilometres up the road from me - I have had a constant companion by my side while carrying out these enjoyable tasks - a gorgeous chocolate labrador named Coco
Now doesn't she just look like she fell into the tin of cocoa???!!!
(p.s. YES I was tempted - definately - to put Coco in my car & bring her home with me!!!)

A few years ago my youngest son Kayne undertook a building apprenticeship - Kayne played a significant role in the building of my little Cottage 

& also built the one for Colleen that I posted about back here.
Kayne would frequently find himself unemployed "in between jobs" ... & on one occasion Lois commissioned him to build her a "garden room"  ... I always loved where Lois situated it & captured a snap of it while feeding her animals this week

Although it is not many years old, I love the timeworn, weathered patina it has taken on ... 

... as if it has sat there for a good many years ...

My friend Bronwyn had asked me to make her a teacup teddy to take to Australia as a gift ... she was undecided on a colour so I decided to make 2 & let her choose,  then keep the other as stock for the Cottage

These tiny little "pieces of fluff" which end up pretty much fitting in the palm of your hand sure  do take some fiddling with to put together 

The first one was a gorgeous pink tipped fine mohair fur - she has ended up as Little Miss Rosebud 
(thankfully they don't take a great deal of fur to make so you can use up your smaller offcuts)

The second one is Miss Goldilocks & she was made using a lovely golden mohair fur with a slight curl to it.

(The teacups pictured are mine - Bronwyn has her own to use) 

I wonder which one Bronwyn will choose - Miss Pinky or Miss Goldy ...
(these teddies are constructed using one piece for the body, arms & legs & then a pieced head, plus ears) 
This pattern (again) is torn from a very old Bear Magazine & is titled Teacup Teddy by Joan Woessner.
You can read another post about my teacup teddies here

Also - whilst "plodding" this past week - I managed to complete these rusty tin swags 

made using rusty punched-tin hearts, a star & a birdhouse

They are just made using torn strips of fabrics which I iron & fray neatly (I Know, I Know!!!) & then tie in co-ordinating colourways
I have made these before for the Cottage & they have proved to be rather popular.

Well dear friends - I am off to sit down with a cuppa & a new purchase 

- many thanks to Betty for letting me know about this new book - a sequel to the one I posted about back here.

Before I close I just wanted to say a huge Thank You to you all 
some of you have, on the odd occasion, dropped me an email telling me how much you enjoy reading my blog & stopping by my little corner of the world 
This has meant so very much to me - it truely lifts my heart & gladdens my soul to know you enjoy my ramblings

Sometimes just a little kindness (a comment or a word) can mean so very much to a person

I snapped this photo walking into my lounge yesterday afternoon - I loved how the late afternoon sun was making rainbows on the walls

May you all have a rainbow filled week dear friends & readers
Thanks so much for your visits
much love & friendship & kindness to you all,
Julie x0x0x

Monday, March 17, 2014


Hello dear friends & readers,

This post is written especially for my good friend Leeanne
Several months ago Leeanne asked me "could you do a post about that doll thats up the top on your header"

That doll is called Lizzie . . . & she is a pattern by Chris Rook of "Raggedy-ole-britches"
My tatty copy has been torn out of an old Homespun magazine & (until now) I had only ever made the one

Hello there . . .  I'm Lizzie

My Lizzie sits on my dining room couch & watches the world go by, observing all the comings & goings of my rather odd threadbear life

When Leeanne asked me, I had already begun another body so this weekend - with cyclone Lusi whirling her way around us - I sat down & began to complete Lizzie No 2.

The photo above shows the before & after of the hands & feet which require some needle sculpting ... as I tend to stuff my dolls rather tightly, this was often a tiny bit tricky but we got there in the end.  Without sculpting, her feet would be quite misshapen I feel.

Now wouldn't you just adore a figure like this ???!!!

The above pic is the completed doll body - yes I know - rather odd looking isnt she ... but I am quite partial to these "hammer head style" dolls, especially the primitive ones
(I notice the pattern says to sew all the body pieces first & then dunk in parisian essence but I personally find it much easier to dye a large piece of calico first, dry it, then begin my body)

Dressing her is the fun part ... her dress is simple enough & she has pantaloons also 
 I just love the finished Lizzie ... I decided to embellish my "No 2 version" with some torn fabric ribbons in her hair

Its interesting to notice the fading of the calico body & cardy  in Lizzie 1 - although our diningroom is dark, it just shows how much the light can fade things

The pattern just used 3 single strands of wool for hair stiffened with PVA glue ... I preferred to add a bit more hair, but this is a personal choice

Although the pattern calls for an Op Shop baby cardigan (to be parisian essence dyed), she is equally as lovely without the cardy

Her eyes are black domes (or snaps/poppers as some countries call them)

The pattern also shows how to make her some primitive cakes with painted icing on but my Lizzie is quite content to just sit around observing, so I didnt make up the cakes.

Because I seem to have made rather a few Raggedies lately, I decided to do a small Raggedy Anne display in the Cottage to group them all together

I thought they could just enjoy each others company & share stories a little

Sometimes when I am in bed at night, I wonder to myself ... do they ever get up & move around & then get back into their rightful places by morning . . .  hmmm ... no wonder the Mr thinks I am "losing the plot somewhat" at times ...

I just love my Raggedies So VeRy MuCh  :-)

While Cyclone Lusi blew great gusts & gales around us all weekend (& unfortunately, did not rain a great deal) it was definately indoors weather but great for crafting & finishing some long overdue projects

This was a panel I had planned to make up into a table runner for my Mum - originally for a christmas gift but it ended up back in the "to finish basket" ... her birthday is next month so I had another go at completing it ...

(The panel was called A Stitchers Garden by Moda)

I am still undecided whether to attach the black bobbles to the ends of the runner or leave as it is ... what do you think readers - bobbles or left as it is  ??

Looking at my photos, I would like to stitch through the centre borders in red to make them sit a little better ... also a note to self... "give table runner a good iron!!!"

Another completion was this very old stitchery pulled out of the pile - it is a Country Friends design,  stitched on linen very many years ago (in fact, I think it was approx 8-9 years ago now!!)

I tossed up a few ideas but in the end, decided to cut out a blue wool felt border with my scallop scissors & then attach it to some blue ticking (from the Op Shop) & make into a cushion ... 
the linen on the stitchery is faintly tea-dyed but you can hardly tell.

Today the wind has died down, the sun is shining & it was lovely to sit & have lunch on the deck, to read a gorgeous magazine & drool over some new projects

The hanging baskets can be hung back up again now - they are little wind battered but survived none the less 

And I am sure . . . 

from Pinterest

 . . . that lurking in the back of the cupboard somewhere ... there are some more PHD's to be completed.

Have a wonderful week ahead dear friends & readers
May you keep safe from any "storms" out there - thanks so much for your visits
And Leeanne - perhaps you will be inspired now to make your own little Lizzie doll
much love & friendship to all of you,
Julie x0x0x

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Potpourri ... stitching ... turkeys & trikes !!!!

Hello dear friends & readers,

My friend Kerryn who owns the beautiful patchwork store The Country Yard have just last weekend celebrated their annual "New Years Launch". 
This coincided with their being in business for 10 years so was a double celebration.
Some of you may have read about this on Leeannes or Raewyns blogs as these girls are lucky enough to work at this wonderful store.
I however, was lucky enough to be asked to provide bags of my potpourri for the goodie bags that were given out to some loyal customers ... 35 bags (I think) in total  :-)

I was honestly so chuffed that Kerryn decided to include a bag in the very generous goodie bags she was making up as I just adore making potpourri & am quite sure, even if I didnt have my little Cottage that I would still make these recipes as it has become a "little bit of who I am" over the years ...
Lean in real close & take a big sniff   :-)

Warmest Congratulations to Kerryn & her amazing team of girls - I would certainly have loved to have been part of these celebrations but (unfortunately) a family wedding prevented this.

Speaking of potpourri . . .  my friend Elaine is celebrating her birthday tomorrow - we usually exchange small handmade gifts as she is a crafter herself.
Last month I purchased from Michelle the pattern for her gorgeous Stitcher"s Alphabet.  I had seen these initials pop up in quite a few blogs & had long coveted this pattern ... as it turned out some family members were coming over from Melbourne & could hand deliver it to me   :-)

Elaines "E" was my first attempt
(I stitched this using a Cottage Garden Thread - "Kangaroo Paw")

I realised I had forgotten to tea dye the calico before stitching, so a quick blast with my parisian essence mixture 
(that I mentioned last post) & I then hand stitched it onto a piece of red cotton fabric ...

... that I had begun to make into a "sort of pouch"  . . .  this was one of those creations that just "evolved" as it went along ...

... & ended up as a lined bag with a box bottom . . .  I had planned to fill it with little chocolate treats but then remembered that Elaine is quite gluten intolerant . . .  so my fresh batch of rose petal potpourri beckoned . . . 

I hope Elaine likes it ... 
(although she is a follower, I know she is not reading this because her computer has recently crashed)

Happy Birthday for tomorrow Elaine  ! ! !

Last post I mentioned I had been working on another "roundie cushion" . . .  to say that my dimensions on this one were rather miscalculated would be an understatement . . . there were many hours spent unpicking & recalculating my measurements
(there were also many words said that I cannot print here AND on a couple of occasions the cushion sailed through the air like a frisbee!!!!!!)

However  . . . we got there in the end . . .

And that my dear friends  . . . is the important thing  :-)

This old cane carpet beater had been lying in the back of a cupboard - it belongs to my mum & she had given it to me many years ago to decorate for her ... more years than I have had my blog in fact  ...
I finally pulled it out this past week ... it was under about an inch of dust so I gave it a good scrub 
(I think it only fair to acknowledge the dust was more likely to be from my house than from my mums!!!)

I decorated it with some silk flowers from my stash plus a couple of different types of cones raided from my citrus potpourri bowl . . . 

I felt it was certainly an improvement . . . & hope Mum thinks so too :-)

These turkeys decided to make an unwelcome return to the garden after being absent for a few weeks 

There are 9 in this flock ... they came in through the front gate & were tall enough to set the gate buzzer off !!!

As it buzzes twice for each entry, you can imagine the noise with it going off 18 times as they sloowwly made their way through !!!

It is so very dry here now & there are only slim pickings left in the garden as I simply cannot water every single thing 
 I did manage to gather together a few dahlias & good old "The fairy" rose to brighten my table this past week

While standing outside watering the other evening, The Mr's friend Dave pulled into the driveway. 
I knew the Mr wasn't home & I must admit I groaned silently to myself (& muttered a few things)
  Dave is a lovely man but he very much enjoys talking endlessly about Moto X ... whether The Mr is here or not !!!
 In other words ... I get to listen to him waffle on ... frequently !!!


I was forced to rethink my thoughts somewhat when he reached into his boot ... & pulled this out for me though !!!
He told me I was the only "rather odd" person he knew who would get over-excited about a rusty old trike that his wife had told him to take to the local dump.

I would say by the "baldness" of the tyres this old trike has done many a mile in its day  :-)

I am off to finish picking the last of the strawflowers for the season
I hope the week is treating you kindly dear readers 
Thanks - as always - for stopping by my little corner of the globe
your visits are always so very much appreciated
Love & friendship to you all
Julie x0x0x0
The last of the strawflowers picked for the season