Sunday, July 27, 2014

This Week I Learnt . . . .

Happy Weekend to you dear friends & readers

This week I learnt lots of things . . . 
"so long as you learn from your mistakes girl ... that is the important thing ... so long as you learn"
(wise words my dear old Dad always said to me)

Potted Hyacinths on my deck  -  big sniff now
This week I learnt . . .
if you are going to pop into town (even briefly) it pays NOT to leave your sewing room door open for certain 4-legged friends to check out & "test run" a few things 

This week I made Louise Cake for The Mr ... it is one of his favourites 
However - even though the recipe says to use Raspberry Jam - I should have used Strawberry Jam. 
He informed me he wouldn't eat a single piece as it had raspberry jam in it ...
This week I learnt . . . 

. . .  that no matter how many pieces of Louise cake you stuff in your mouth ... it doesn't actually make you feel any better ... or any less cross with The Mr !!!!

This week I learnt . . .  
that no matter where in the house you choose to do your painting ... invariably you are going to have a little helper

. . . down on the floor or . . . 

. . .  way up high on the bench . . . 
Yep I think its sanded enough now Mum - nice & smooth

2 cute little vintage distressed shelves

- some wooden Op Shop purchases given the wax & paint treatment, & now stock for the Cottage -

small vintage distressed nesting table
This week I learnt . . . 
that even though we are only just past the absolute middle of winter ...
 there are already signs of life appearing in the garden 

white daphne, white hellebore (winter rose) & red tulips in bloom
This week I learnt . . .
 that when you decide to close the Cottage for a couple of weeks ... just putting the "Closed" sign out does not actually mean a single thing . . .  they will still drive in & say "oh! are you closed??" ... 
you need to actually shut the gate & preferably vacate the property !!!

This week, even though I did not get near my sewing machine, I did manage to complete some painted revamps

I was really pleased with how this wooden trug turned out - it would make a lovely work basket or perhaps to hold magazines - it is a nice generous size ...

This week I learnt . . .
that when you let the kittens outside for the first time & they go missing for the entire day ... that knot in your stomach will NOT go away by scoffing an entire large block of chocolate in one sitting!!!

3 of my fur granbabies - Nika, Feebie & Sonic the cat - photo from Sarah, my daughter in law  :-)

Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead dear friends
thanks SO much for your visit today - I wonder what I will learn next week ???

with much love & friendship,
Julie x0x0x

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tipped on its head . . . & best Op Shop Purchase Ever

Hello, & Happy Weekend to you all dear friends & readers

My daily routine seems to have been rather tipped on its head with the keeping of the kittens inside, plus having the Cottage closed

I seem to spend a great deal of my day cleaning up after them lately ... 
but I was pleased they were tucked up inside yesterday morning as we awoke to a ripper of a frost

I have still found time to finish off a couple of orders & complete some half started projects

The little gossamer butterfly came from a scrapbooking shop - just perfect

I had an order for 2 wedding horseshoes ... 1 in ivory & 1 in white ... the wedding requiring the white one had a butterfly theme

My friend Jane purchased the last roundie cushion from me that I made back here ... & then loved it so much, she requested another one 

Jane chose the one on the left with the blue button    :-)

... so I made 2 & let her choose her favourite   

I managed to finally complete the "half begun" bags I had started several weeks ago, made from vintage wool blankets

One I embellished with a doiley & the grey army blanket one I adorned with red trims in a Union Jack design
I have always loved the combination of reds on greys
And flipped over to the other side . . .

Once again this is the "afternoon tea bag" design by Ellen MacGregor from a lovely old issue of Handmade Magazine - I really like this pattern - it makes up into a nice roomy bag

They grey one I lined with a gorgeous vintage rose fabric & the blue check one has a vintage sheet lining in pastels

My lovely friend Shirley had a special birthday last week so I stitched up another of Michelle's gorgeous Stitchery Alphabet Designs using a Cottage Garden Thread, "Kangaroo Paw" ... & filled Shirleys fabric pouch with my own cottage garden potpourri.
Like me, Shirley loves her reds  :-)

Although we have had a succession of icy frosty mornings, we usually get a nice sunny day to follow . . . 
slowly I am practising moving the birdfeeder out into the garden & away from the deck

I spent some time trying to tidy my deck area & cleaned out my old wheelbarrow & filled it with my left over gourds - 
a bit of a splash of colour in the midst of winter

My neighbour bought me a lovely cheery pot of Baby's Tears for shifting her sheep while she was away
... it fitted perfectly in my red dotty cup & saucer

My Best Op Shop Purchase Ever . . .

Yes, I Know ... I have always disliked these cat scratching poles ... always wondered why on earth people would take a nicely decorated room & then plonk one of these things in the middle of it ???!!!
Now I Know Why !!!!

Woohoo Look at me Mum - I'm the King of the Castle !!!

Oh Yes .... they play on it all the time ... plus it seems to have stopped the littlest one using the carpet to scratch its claws into

The Mr has changed her name to Little Jinxy ... she is a rascal indeed ... but I love her so much, with her odd little sideways run & her tail sticking up like a question mark behind her
After we lost our beloved old fluffy dog last Easter people would often say to me "oh you havent replaced him yet - how odd" ... & I would sometimes reply (or think to myself)  "something will just come along some day". 
I really believed this would happen
. . .  & here they are . . .

Absolute chaos on eight legs !!!!!
Little Jinxy is so much better & almost finished her antibiotics course ... 
Little Blackie - hmmm, well he's a bit of a work in progress for now   :-)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend dear friends
thanks so much for stopping by today - it was lovely to see you all  :-)
much love & friendship,
Julie,  Little Blackie & Jinxy  

Friday, July 11, 2014

Finishing things, Giveaway Win, & "tough love" . . .

Hello dear friends & readers,
I have decided to close my Cottage for a couple of weeks (perhaps the rest of July)

There are several reasons I decided to do this ... the main one being that I was just feeling a weeny bit tired ...
- tired of always keeping it looking presentable
- tired of keeping the grounds looking presentable (failing miserably at that one Julie!!!)
- tired of always looking presentable myself (well umm actually THAT is debatable Julie .... 
we notice that some days you havent even combed your hair !!!!)

Slooowwwly the Doves are getting the hang of their new feeder

So I figured a rest was in order & a bit of catch up time   :-)

Plus I had some orders I had been procrastinating about for way too long...
When Megan saw Leeanne's pinkeep that she posted about here she contacted me & asked me to make her one
I thought I had another mini "ring tin" left but found I didn't & must've imagined I had 
(this happens often inside my head I might add!!!)

As she specifically wanted a ring tin one, I improvised & found the small size Watties Tomato Paste tin to be the exact size I needed
Some sawing, some drilling & they were ready for painting

Resene Testpot  "Persian Red"

I like to line & pad the inside of the ring tins really well

Megans is the left hand one, the other is stock for the Cottage
As I type this Megans Pinkeep is winging its way to her in the South Island

It has been a bit of a "painting-by-the-fire kind of week"  . . .

Some Op Shop purchases were unearthed in my Sleep Out ... its all very well buying all these things Julie ... but you kind of have to actually do something with them too !!!

Some Works in progress . . . 

The table in the foreground is a piece a friend commissioned me to "distress" for her ... the little table in the background is a $5 Hospice Shop purchase ... I had always fancied a small table in the corner of my bedroom ... kind of a reading corner as this area of my room gets lovely afternoon sun . . .

Well no sun today Julie .... it IS mid winter after all!!!

This sweet little Op Shop cane basket & these 2 wooden dishes got treated to a lick of paint & a pretty lining also

The cane basket lining is fabric/lace & the wooden dishes have scrapbooking paper

This lovely little tray/dish also got a wax/paint treatment & then embellished with some pretty paper & buttons . . .

I Won a Give Away  !!!

Yes thats right - I won a draw in the most beautiful Spring Giveaway that Vicki hosted over at her blog here

This stunning nest necklace arrived in my post this week
This amazing handcrafted nest necklace is from the beautiful jewellery range of Vicki's friend Sidney Hanner ... you can find more of Sidney's work over at her webpage here

The workmanship & detail in the necklace is just amazing & it came presented in its own gorgeous little gift bag

Image borrowed from Vicki's blog
Everytime I look at the necklace I see some different detailing in it
Thank You SO VERY much to Vicki & Sidney for the chance to enter this amazing & generous Giveaway.

Little Sickie (& I) had a trip to the Vets this week. After receiving antibiotics & handing over $94.50 in payment, she promptly disappeared (along with the others) for over 48 hours !!!
Not good when you are supposed to be giving her antibiotics twice daily!!
So we have decided we needed to practise Tough Love with them & Little Sickie & Blackie are now kept inside permanently (for the time being that is)
(Squawker has now gone to its new Owner at last)
This is now day 2 ... as you can see from the picture, they are none too traumatised from this decision ...

Sickie has adjusted really well & seems to be enjoying the warmth of being inside ... Blackie has not & continually howls & cries at the french doors to be let out ... this goes on all night I might add ... so as you can imagine, the most traumatised of the lot of us . . . is actually ME!!!   The Mr can sleep through anything!!!

You can see that when Blackie does decide to stop howling & have a rest, he sleeps like a flattened road-runner !!!
Oh the joys of it all  . . .  

Heres hoping you have a lovely weekend out there folks & thanks so very much for your visit today & listening to my ramblings,
with much love & friendship to you all,
Julie x0x0

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Birthdays, Hotties ... & other stuff . . .

Good afternoon dear friends & readers,.

It has been a week of birthdays . . . two of my dear friends celebrated birthdays ... & I myself turned 54 this past week  (sigh ...)

As several of us all share our birthdays around the same time we had a lovely lunch out to celebrate
My friend Bev had celebrated hers while on holiday overseas ... 

I stitched Bev's "B" using DMC 4180 in pretty variegated marshmellow pinks

I had stitched the letter "B" while Bev was away, using  Michelle's gorgeous  stitchery alphabet pattern which I purchased from her earlier this year

Also my friend Sandy...(who has her birthday tomorrow) - I stitched her "S" using Cottage Garden Thread "kangaroo paw" ... & made them up into little box-bottom pouch bags filled with my rose petal potpourri

I was very spoilt myself & received some wonderful gifts & treasures

My friend Leeanne stitched me this gorgeous mini wall hanging in redwork, which I just adore

Thank You SO much Leeanne   :-)

And Carolyn sent up a parcel from the South Island which included this wonderful apron she had made from recycled vintage fabrics ... it has already had lots of wear by yours truly   :-)

I love the doiley on the pocket .... Thanks Carolyn  :-)

Sandys lovely daughter Abby commissioned me to make her a hottie cover for her partner who is training to be an aeronautical engineer . . .  Abby suggested perhaps a plane appliqued on it ??

I had enough left of this gorgeous tartan blanket & I appliqued the plane with some red wool blanketing 

I lined it with a red spot flannelette for warmth 
 I initially hand-embroidered Tim's name on, but it was hardly visible so I unpicked it & appliqued it in some denim blue wool felt
Abby collected it today & was delighted with it . . . I sure hope Tim is too !!!!
As I had sold 2 hottie covers recently, I decided to make up another two - I figured they are not something I will sell many of in the summer months !!!

After stitching this gorgeous wool felt angel pincushion back in May

I came across 2 more Anni Downs pincushion patterns in my drawer ... so decided to make them up using up some of my wool felt remnants . . . 

Gilroy Goose & Larry Lamb ... filled with my finely crushed walnut shells 

From time to time I receive emails asking me whether I sell the craft work that I feature on my blog ... my apologies if my blog appears vague.
 Yes the stock I make is for the Cottage (unless I have made it for a gift). However should you wish to buy something from my blog (as some have done in the past) I am more than happy to package it up & post it to you ... simply email me for a price ... ""
I am looking into adding a selling page to my blog in which I can offer some work for sale over the winter months when my Cottage goes rather dead quiet  :-)
(also I am happy to make to order should you see something you would like made in a particular colourway)

Just 1 kitten photo to share this week folks ... I had purchased a "cat carrier" as I figured perhaps I was going to need one for vet trips etc ... I must be honest here & confess our last cat never went on a trip to the vets, if she ever got unwell she got a jab of penicillin down at the cowshed ... yes I can hear you all gasping now but she lived a long & healthy life til she was 17 years old.
Anyway The Mr instructed me to "just leave the cat carrier outside so they can get familiar with it" . . .

Considering Sickie looked at me initially like "if you think I am ever going in that thing you can jolly well think again!!!" ... I just had to snap this pic on my way to bed last night . . .

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend out there folks & I hope you find some creative time for yourselves as I plan to
Thanks so very much for stopping by today for a visit
much love & friendship,
Julie x0x0x