Friday, December 19, 2014

Like a busy little elf . . .

Christmas Greetings dear friends & readers - and a Happy Friday to you all 
(or Happy Thursday in some countries)

Source : Pinterest

I have been a busy little elf these past few days but just today have finally wrapped the last of my families gifts 
At 85 years old my Mum no longer wants or needs any more "stuff" so I find her incredibly difficult to buy for ... 
I try to make handmade gifts for her that are special

Over 5 years Quite some time ago now I bought this kit while on holiday in Australia
It is a Lynette Anderson design - Mum was with me & she loved it so I planned to stitch it for her
I finally finished it this week (good things take time you know) so I used Jennys' wonderful tutorial to frame it myself
Whenever I read Jenny's tutorials on her blog elephantz I often tuck them away in the corners of my mind to refer back to "one day"
Jenny's tutorials (& her blog itself) are just wonderful & so easy to follow ... I have never had the confidence to actually frame a stitchery myself & would often pay large amounts of money for the framer to do it for me

I just used a simple wooden frame bought on special at The Warehouse ... 
I was really pleased with how it turned out

Once I had gift wrapped the parcel I sat that evening & stitched one of the "wish tags" designed by Tracey North from I LUV COUNTRY
(just thin cardboard sandwiched between 2 layers of felt)

which just seemed to set Mums parcel off beautifully I thought
-  Merry Christmas to my dear Mum  -

My friends & I don't really exchange gifts as such at Christmas time, we all have quite large families to give to  ... 
but instead I like to do little baking gifts for my local friends

Every year I make my gingernut bites & package up ... you can read the recipe at the bottom of this old post

Also this year I made some apricot fudge fingers ... really simple to make ... I have popped the recipe at the end of this post today
I find the decorative paper cups available from the $2 shop are a perfect size to present my baking in

Also I have been dehydrating some apple slices ... I got this vague idea in my head to make a dried apple wreath
You have to soak them well in citric acid before drying them to prevent them from turning brown

Now that I am halfway through this process, I must confess I am not sure about the apple wreath ... ???
I shall keep you posted on that one !!!

Every year I like to buy a new decoration, not necessarily for the tree ... just to dot about somewhere & enjoy
This year I came across this felted reindeer & just loved her so much
(yes she is a HER, she is wearing a dress!!!)
Her little satchel was empty but I popped some berries & greenery in it to make her more christmassy

\She looks most at home sitting on my egg container along with last years christmas purchase

Sometimes the busy-ness of the season can be quite overwhelming & you find yourself thinking "I can't wait til it's all over"
Yesterday I read a blog that said at this time of year "queues are long, wallets are empty & tempers are frayed"!!!
How true I thought . . .

Even Little Miss Jinxy was feeling it this past week, bless her !!!

My Mum arrives by bus this weekend so I may not have time to pop back again before Christmas
I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you that stop by to read my ramblings
I very much appreciate that you take the time in your busy days to do this
May I wish you all a bright & happy festive season & hope that it brings good things to all of you & to your families 

Don't forget to be a bit kinder to yourself  & take some time to just rest a little along the way
I am unable to spread the presents right around the tree as I need to allow a space for Missy to rest her weary self!!!
with much love & friendship & blessings to you all
Julie & little Miss Jinxy & Blackie

Apricot Fudge Fingers:

125gm (4 ozs) butter
90 gm (3 ozs) brown sugar
1/2 tin sweetened condensed milk
1 pkt crushed wine biscuits
1 cup chopped up dried apricots

Melt butter, brown sugar & condensed milk in pot.
Add apricots & crushed biscuits, stir well,  Press into a greased tin & sprinkle top with coconut.  
Set in fridge & cut into fingers.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Much Skipping & Rejoicing . . .

Hello & Happy Weekend to you dear friends & readers

There has been much skipping & rejoicing going on at my threadbear life this week . . .
& the reason for this IS . . . I have finished my orders for the year!!!!

I completed the last 2 hottie covers that were ordered for christmas gifts by my lovely friend Shirley

Shirley's grandaughter is into hearts, pinks & blues, & "pretty things" ... so the cover on the left was perfect for her.
Shirley's young grandson is very much into trains & engines ... so once again faithful "Mr Google" helped me find a good basic train shape that I could applique on

I lined this one with some lovely blue flannelette fabric I had that was so soft, warm & cosy.

And finally, a repeat customer had ordered some more of the felt mice in stockings  ... 
I had previously made 8 for the Cottage but they had all been snapped up fairly quickly this christmas

These are fun to sit & do in the evenings & don't require too much concentration or effort.

My friend Carolyn's daughter Rose, is getting married next month in the far north 
Though I have been invited to the wedding - but am unable to attend - I offered to make a horseshoe for Rose

I have become partial to these plain white boxes you can buy from Warehouse Stationery ... they are the perfect size to hold the horseshoe in, & look lovely with a little decoration on . . .

The horseshoe (along with 12 cups of my dried lavender to toss) will be my gift to Rose

Since my orders were complete, I decided to do a little christmas decorating in the house
OF COURSE ... I was under supervision to ensure I got it right . . .

Little Jinxy is growing up fast ... she has bought so much joy into our lives ...hard to believe she was a wild, feral kitten

Treasured gifts from friends from past christmas's

Last week, walking past the Sallies Op Shop in town, this basket outside was "waving & calling to me"
(you know how things have a habit of doing that don't you???!!!)

It was in a large box with my favourite words on it . . . "bargain bin" ... so it came home with me  (of course!!!)
After a scrub & a good dry in the sunshine, I lined the base with heavy cardboard, wadding & some vintage Sanderson fabric

It came up beautifully & I thought might make a great work basket to keep by your chair with your handwork in

Whilst attempting to tidy my sewing room somewhat, I came across this stitchery I had done earlier in the year ... 
so quickly made it up into a Santa bag

I told myself that this is really the only time of year I am going to sell a Santa bag!!!
The discolouration on the calico is from me dying it with parisian essence ... I really like this mottled aged effect
This is an old Country Friends pattern by Wendy Brigg ... I usually make one each christmas, either as a gift or as stock for the Cottage.

I have been having a real "love affair" with poppies this spring ... I toss seeds endlessly into my garden & in one particular area this year, I have had such a variety & assortment come up.
I took these photos to share with you ... all in one garden in close proximity to each other

A beautiful array of colours ... a shame they are over so quickly.

Well dear friends, with my last group due tomorrow, there is tidying to be done outside
I wish you all a wonderful week ahead & that you find some skipping & rejoicing of your own to do, even for the tiniest little reason,
thanks so much for your visits today
with much love & friendship,
Julie x0x0

Monday, December 8, 2014

A "blink of an eye" kind of week

Hello dear friends & readers,
The past week has gone by in the blink of an eye ... somewhere in the midst of it all we welcomed December in . . . 

Early last week I had the loveliest group bring their lunch to eat & enjoy
After the most awful cold winds & nasty weather ... we actually managed a nice sunny day

They laid out the most beautiful spread on my decking table (AND invited me to join them) ...
 its always a good sign that they are enjoying their visit when they are reluctant to move onto their next destination

They were such a lovely group of ladies ... "a coffee & craft group" from Hamilton

Then the next really lovely visit I had was from fellow blogger Sue - we had met up once before & judging by the amount of talking that went on, we will surely be meeting up again!!
Sue never arrives empty handed & this is the assortment of treasures she bought in the boot of her car

. . . all gifted to "yours truely" . . .

Sue is a real Op Shop Queen & the wooden pieces were Op Shop finds, while the gorgeous candy coloured blanket remnants were leftovers from a "coat of many colours" Sue is currently making herself using thrifted wool blankets
Just mouthwatering colours   :-)
Thank you SO much Sue ... you can read Sue's post about her visit here & she even managed a great photo of little Madam Jinxy (up a tree no less!!!!)

I had been requested to make up another 8 hanging baskets for  local Bar & Eatery "The Redoubt" ... the last order I did for them was way back in May
A mixture of Lobelia, geraniums & cascading petunias to tolerate the hot dry winds they get where they hang

While in Mitre 10 choosing the plants my favourite garden centre assistant Wendy, asked me if I had any of my Mums knitted girl gollies left ... she would like 2 please.  
Oh I am sure there are some girls left in the basket I assured her . . .

Oh dear . . . 5 mustard coloured boys, no girls !!!! What to do ???
A quick phone call to Mum who assured me that NO she couldn't possibly manage to knit me two before christmas 
. . .  forced me put my thinking cap on . . .

I chose the 2 with the longest/wooliest hair ... & gathered up a length of fabric into a "skirt" then added a bow in the same fabric to their hair (Oh & stitched a small bee button to their jackets)
Wendy was just delighted & about now the 2 girls are winging their way to Australia for christmas stockings.

My friend Lois who frequently gets me to do bits & pieces for her, dropped off this bag of oddments quite sometime ago.  It had been weighing on my mind that I needed to get it sorted for her
That is actually her wedding dress to the left ... I havent even touched that part of the order yet.
The roll cushion needed to be recovered in the green stripe fabric, the cream wool cross stitch cushion needed to be taken apart, a good soak to clean it, then a new inner & new backing made for it. 

The delicate crinolene lady china cup had a hairline crack so I turned it into a pincushion for Lois

The wedding dress is to be used to dress a doll (as yet unmade) ... but that may have to be a project for next year
 I feel.

This "always kiss me goodnight heart" was an order for a "new baby boy who has everything" gift

I had a couple of these in the Cottage but nothing in suitable colours for a new baby boy ... so I made this one up especially for the customer.
The pattern is called Sentimental Hearts by Laurel Hermon & is torn out of a very old Homespun Magazine

I have sold these in the past to be given to new babys & always think what a beautiful gift they make for the baby who has everything.

Before I go make a cuppa I would love to share a few more photos from Kayne & Nicoles recent wedding - they loaded some to my computer over the weekend
Precious Little Karma
Beautiful Nicole

As the weather was so bad they took them down to the wine cellars to take some photos

. . .  my 2 boys & I  . . .

This last one is one of my absolute favourites - just a random snap of Kayne sharing a laugh with Nicoles Dad & the 2 grandads ... love it.

Thanks for staying with me through a photo heavy post dear readers
I hope the coming week is good to you all & you are managing the lead up to christmas okay - the next couple of weeks can be a busy time so try to remember to take some time out to "smell the roses" along the way . . .

Just as little Madam Jinxy is doing   . . .   !!!!!!
with much love & friendship to you all
Julie x0x0x