Saturday, June 3, 2023

Welcome to June 💗

Greetings lovely friends & readers & Welcome to June 💗

Officially the first month of Winter here in the Southern hemisphere.

May it be a wonderful month for us all !

 I bought Mum this "Welcome Trough" many years ago from a delightful home-based business just south of me - Tomo Pots.  I bought it home with me when I cleared out her house & yesterday I filled it with water & floated some Camellia flowers in it - just like Mum used to do.

I have been looking for a new rug to go in front of my fire for many months now.  The previous one came out of the Farm Owners house & was in tatty condition when I received it several years ago.   All the ones I looked at cost many hundreds of $$ but I was able to find one online that I liked (for only $85) & it arrived on Tuesday.  
I absolutely LoVe it & when my eldest son saw it he commented "it looks like it's a hundred years old".  How perfect!!!  Even Miss Pip gave it her seal of approval & she almost blended right in with the new rug! 

As I had two Orders for mothball sachets I made up another batch earlier this week.  These are wonderful to put in your yarn or your woolen clothing & keep the moths away without leaving that nasty lingering camphor smell.  I'll put the recipe at the end of my post today in case you would like to make some yourself.

I had a baking day on Monday.  I made fruity cereal slice & a new-to-me banana bread recipe as I had a large bunch of bananas turning black.  This is the new recipe I used.  You can see from the photo above that my eldest son & Alec quickly demolished half of it, still warm from the oven.

Dear Alec won Player of the Day for Soccer last Saturday & he was Oh so proud of his Cup & Certificate.

My dear friend Sandy gave me some plants she no longer wanted & when I had planted them all I discovered this wooden cat under the layers of newspaper in the bottom of the banana box that the plants came in.

I've forgotten to take a "before photo" but it was faded & chipped in a couple of places on the paw.  I had the matt black chalk paint out so I gave it a generous coat of paint & it came up beautifully.  Well what else could I write on it ... it IS their house & they very generously allow us to reside here too 😉

I used to have a subscription to the Simply Vintage Magazine (4 issues per year) until I could no longer fit them in my bookcase & I cancelled it.  I still enjoy pulling them out to re-read from time to time.  This Issue No 8 is from 2013 & when I spotted this primitive pumpkin in it, I thought perhaps I could use up some of my autumn toned wool fabrics.

It was simple & fun to make ... I used 8 different fabrics for the wedges in muted autumn tones.  

I stamped a tea-dyed tag & made some "curls" from a length of rusty wire.  Just wind the wire around a thick knitting needle & slip off. 

I had a pair of these silver plated candleholders ($1.50 for the pair) in my stash so I painted one with matt black chalk paint & it was just perfect for the base.  You are supposed to use the pumpkin as a scissor holder but I like mine just fine without scissors poked in the top.  ✂

I have been continuing on with my dishcloth knitting - at nights when my eyes are tired. I am using up all my small oddments of cotton yarn & making scrappy ones.  This free pattern is still my preference as I like a small sized dishcloth that I can squeeze out in one hand. 

Every now & again something happens that tugs right at your heartstrings.  This was the case yesterday when I attended my Grandson Sid's school Grandparents Day.  He very proudly presented me with this below & it bought big tears to my eyes.

How fortuitous dear friends, that I just happened to be wearing my pink shirt & black pants that very day!  Please take note of my curly hair, my eye make-up & my slim body (!!!)  I shall be putting this in a frame in a special place. 

Thank you so very much dear friends, for your visits here today,

Wishing you a wonderful (long) weekend - its King's Birthday Weekend here in New Zealand & the sun is actually out!

Remember to be kind to yourselves & to each other,

With much love & friendship to you all,

Julie & the furry ones x0x0x

Herbal Moth Ball Sachets:  50 grams dried Rosemary, 50 grams dried Mint, 50 grams dried Thyme, 25 grams Ginseng (tea), 200 grams whole Cloves.  Combine mixture & add to muslin bags.  I also add a large handful of dried lavender to mine.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Sewing, A Birthday, Painting & Slow Stitching ...........................

Greetings lovely friends & readers

It has been another busy week with lots happening each & every day.

A friend gifted me this gorgeous Cyclamen for pet feeding duties so I planted it in my vintage wrought iron chair 💗 ... a splash of colour for the colder months hopefully.

Last week I drove to Tirau to meet up with a dear friend who was travelling North.  No trip to Tirau is complete without a visit to my favourite store My Style  I knew I wanted to purchase some of their Cath Kidston fabric to make a new ironing board cover.

I simply remove my old cover, pull the elastic out, lay it on my new fabric (60 cms) & cut around it, allowing enough to sew a casing.  The "helper" was unfortunately non-negotiable but she made a good weight to stop the fabric moving around 😉

If I could give you one little hint then it would be to NOT have a "helper" if possible, as they get tired, lie down on the job & sometimes even GO TO SLEEP!!! This makes removing your new piece of fabric from underneath 
VeRy TricKy!

When your helper wakes up again you have sewn your casing, simply thread your elastic through & pop it on your ironing board.  

It is amazing how much pleasure that 60 cms of fabric brings & makes me want to actually DO the ironing!! 

That very same evening we had a Birthday Party to attend as Alec was turning 8!!

The far right photo is just Alec pretending he has fallen to the ground

This year (for a change) his parents decided to hold his party at this venue in Hamilton Extreme Edge Rockclimbing Gym & it was the most perfect place for 10 rowdy, energetic boys to run around & use up energy!

Even Sid enjoyed it after his initial hesitation.  There are just so many wonderful themed climbing boards for children & they are harnessed in so it is very safe.  

If you have more than 8 children they give you a room to hold your party in ... which worked out so well.  We had pizzas followed by Chocolate Mud Birthday Cake ... then back to the climbing.  

Some readers may remember back in early March when I won this Anthurium Plant in a Competition.  I loved it & it seemed to really thrive sitting on my table.  However I read online that the flowers are very toxic to cats & as mine are frequently on the table 😕 I thought I should move it & not risk anything.  I didn't think they'd eat the flowers but simply brushing against them could cause a nasty reaction.  

This pink stool above was in my woodshed (!!) - an old thrifted find. I sanded the marks on the top, washed it down well & then painted it with two coats of chalk paint "antique white".  I kept the wood showing on the legs & gave these a generous coat of wax ... I was delighted with how it turned out & now its well out of any furry friends reach.

When I was down packing up Mum's house in early March, my dear friend Claire invited me to her home for a Stitching Evening.  There were 6 of us there - just a nice number. 
 One of the girls, Joy, had bought along a box full of these vintage fabric packs.  Joy had purchased these from French Pear Vintage & as she had so many we were each able to buy a bundle if we wished.  They are called "lucky dip bundles" - you don't know what you are getting but they are antique french fabrics & linens that the lady imports.  The girls issued a challenge that we had "to do something with our packs of fabrics".

Mine came home with me & when I looked at them all I decided I wanted to make a project using ALL of them in one hit.

I laid them out in a pleasing design, changing my mind over a couple of days regarding placement.  I decided to attach them to a piece of pre-washed calico which I cut to shape.  I machine stitched around some to fasten them & also dabbed a fabric glue pen under some.  Then I began to hand stitch across them, changing my direction as I worked my way across the rectangle - some horizontal, some vertical.

I drew some of my lines with a Frixion Pen as I am inclined to be wonky

I think it would be fair to say I enjoyed this mindless slow stitching so very much that I found myself driving to pick Sid up from school half an hour earlier so I could sit & stitch some lines in the car while waiting.  

I just used a roll of thickish embroidery thread that I had thrifted once-upon-a-time & really liked the effect of this thread.  I had 3 pieces left over from my bundle, 2 green & one white ... so I stitched these to a square of calico that I planned to use as my backing.

My original plan had been to make this piece into a table runner but somewhere along the way it became a cushion.  A sort of French Country looking cushion.  I finished putting it together at the weekend & made a large inner for it from an old pillow I had bought home from Mum's.  I like my cushions stuffed nice & tightly.  

I am really thrilled with my new cushion & I think I might be rather addicted to this slow stitching as I'd now like to make a table runner.  I wasn't sure about leaving my raw edges but now I really like this effect on my cushion.

Thank you all so very much for your visits here today dear friends,

It feels like its going to be a cold night here at Threadbear HQ so I am off to fill the wood basket,

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend - remember to be kind to yourselves & to each other,

With much love & friendship to you all,

Julie & the furry ones x0x0x

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Before, During & After ........................................

Greetings lovely friends & readers

Welcome to another shiny new month ... May !!

Image from "scraps of us" blog

I have been away down to see my Mum again & returned just in time last week as the road was closed due to another big slip.

- Before -

 Thank you all for your sweet kind comments in my last post about my new seating area with Mum's mohair blanket/new cushions.  I had hardly hit Publish on my post when I walked into the room to discover a certain 4-legged Princess had tossed the cushions on the floor & decided the mohair rug was quite cosy for Her Royal Highness thank you very much!!

I usually try not to light our fire until the month of May.  This year however (in late April) I came inside from gardening one afternoon & decided it was jolly well freezing in my house ... so I pulled my pinecones out & lit it promptly.  It never takes the ginger one long to find the heat.  It will burn now until October as our seasons have changed so much & our springs can be very cold & wet.

Before I headed down to see Mum I had some birthday gifts to make.  I wanted to make candles for my friend Carolyn & also my sister in law.  The crystal glassware was out of Mum's china cabinet so I thought it would be special to make candles to gift to my sister in law in these.  The fragrances are Orange, cinnamon & clove, & smelt wonderful.

In our first Lockdown of 2020 I purchased a punnet of Zinnia Dahlia plants that were not much bigger than my smallest fingernail.  I lovingly nurtured them along until they grew large enough to plant out in my garden.  They grew into the most stunning flowers & each year I remember to collect the heads so I can save the seeds for the following year.  I had pressed some of the flower heads under heavy books so I made up some fancy seed packets to gift to my friend Carolyn, whom I visited on the way down to see Mum.  

Prior to my trip away The Mr came home with this wooden mirror he had picked up in his travels for $20.  It had obviously come off a stand as it had brackets on each side.  Before painting I glued on some efex rubber mouldings to try & tizzy it up a bit.
As you can see I originally started off painting it my usual Vintage White colour but then changed my mind & decided to try a new-to-me colour ... "Linen".  

I loved the finished colour but decided the scrolls needed something to make them "pop".  After the numerous YouTube videos I watch I thought some white wax might be the answer ... problem was I had No white wax.

I decided to make my own version simply by mixing a tablespoon of clear wax with some white chalk paint & stirring well.  It did the trick wonderfully for the small area I wanted it for.  I find if you clear wax the scrolls first, then whatever you apply afterwards will always wipe off easily if you don't like it.  

Love, love my new (old) mirror & the colour is a gorgeous mix of brown & grey undertones, just like the raw linen I am stitching on at present.  

- During -

My brother & sister in law decided to go away for a few days to celebrate her 65th birthday.  I offered to house sit for them & look after their animals as it gave me a chance to visit Mum & also free accomodation now Mum's house has sold.  I had planned to take lots of photos but my time away was just so busy that I barely picked up my phone. 

Each evening I lit the fire & their elderly (deaf) dog Bella comes in at night & sleeps by it.  I had hoped to stitch but the cat in my lap was originally Mum's cat Bubby & she rather liked my lap.  
View from the bottom of the driveway ... & then from the top - out to an oil rig at sea.

My brother owns 40 acres & their house sits way up on the top of a hill with amazing views in every direction (but also lots of wind). 

Longtime readers of my blog will remember the fence my brother built by hand in this post & also in this post - my brother only has one arm after a motorbike accident when he was young. 
He has now built himself a Hothouse - it had to be built really strong to withstand the winds that they get up on the hill.  It was incredible & filled with a large variety of plants already even though he is just getting it underway.   

While I was away my lovely friend Claire invited me to a Pink Ribbon morning tea - this is a fundraiser for Breast Cancer that they hold each May.  We had the most delicious cooked breakfast ... & while at the Venue I took some raffle tickets & managed to win a prize.
This lovely wooden bread board & a set of 4 wooden coasters.  

- After - 

Once home again I got Sid to decorate 2 of the coasters - one each for his parents.  He did a lovely job of them & I sprayed each one with 3 coats of clear matt varnish to make them wipeable.  I'll get Alec to decorate the other 2 for his parents.  

While Sid was in hospital I took him an Easter colouring competition that I'd cut out of our local newspaper.  He coloured this in & upon his return home I dropped it in to the venue running the competition - a local Real Estate Agency.  Sid was delighted when they rang to say he had won his age group so I was able to take him in to collect his prize - a $50 gift voucher from a local bookstore/toy shop!!  

The fragrance is Baked Pear - just divine !
I called into Brandy's Botanicals while away as I needed to drop in some dried lavender ... I purchased this beautiful set of fragrant tealite candles & am burning one today in my crystal candle jar.

Phew - well done if you've made it all the way to the end!!
Thank you so very much dear friends, for visiting here today,
I hope the coming week is good & kind to all of you,
With much love & friendship to you all,
Love Julie & the furry ones x0x0x 

Monday, April 24, 2023

Mr P. Cottontail Rabbit . . . . . . & Displaying Some of Mum's Treasures

Greetings lovely friends & readers

Although I have packed all my Easter decor away now, I did manage to finish off this rabbit which I started only 12 short months ago!!!  

His name is P. Cottontail Esquire & he is designed by Lyn Hosford.

For his tailored Jacket I used the wool fabric from a man's blazer that was purchased from the Op Shop quite sometime ago.  I often pick these up when I see them going cheaply as the wool fabric is wonderful to use in projects.
His personalised wooden key is purchased from * here *

Though the pattern states to dunk his body in a "dye bath mix" to stain it, I could not bear to do this ... I much preferred my Gentleman rabbit in pristine condition. 
Here he is besides Miss Maggie Rabbit which I made way back in 2019!

The pattern is from the book Meadow Threads by The Need'l Love Company

I hauled a comfy lounge chair over closer to my French doors for the winter time.  It gets lovely afternoon sun here & is a nice spot to sit & look outside in the wintery months.
  Amongst Mum's treasures I had bought back this soft pink mohair throw & I draped this over the chair.  My friend Jane had gifted me a beautiful Cath Kidston tea-towel last birthday, commemorating our late Queen's Platinum Jubilee.  I decided to make it up into a rectangular cushion for my chair.  Jane had also gifted me the beautiful piece of Sanderson Linen & this became a cushion also.   

I thought they looked so pretty on the pink throw & they only took a couple of hours to sew up.  Often I pick up cushion inners when I am thrifting & tuck them away for projects like this.  

An inviting spot to sit with a cuppa ... I just need to make sure I actually do this!

There is a round occasional table next to my chair & I displayed Mum's glass cake stand on it along with some pretty floral china my friend Sandy had gifted me.  When I do new little vignettes like this, it encourages me to pull everything out & it all gets a good clean & a vaccum & I like to oil/polish my wooden furniture.    

A small ribbon-rose embroidered cushion that I gifted to Mum many years ago now 💝

I was with Mum when she purchased this sweet little Oak table way back in 2014.  She needed something to display photographs on & this was perfect.  I've always loved the heart shaped legs on it so home it came with me.  Mum's Crown Lynn Swan displayed on the lower shelf. (would you believe dear readers - Mum used the Swan to hold her toilet cleaner & loo brush !!!)

This Oak Canteen holds Mum's silver cutlery set.  She had always said she wanted me to have this so I have sat it on top of the Oak table & popped a small display on top.  Looking at the brass tray in this photo - I really must try 

The sweet lace cloth cames from Mum's also

Just a little corner of my home ... & makes me think of Mum when I look at her treasures around me.  There are still lots more to sort through yet dear friends, but I am trying to deal with a few things each week.  

Sid came twice last week & wanted to do "arts & crafts".  I save loo roll tubes for him but he also goes through my Recycling bin & pulls out any cardboard boxes etc that he wants.  He happily crafts & builds junk contraptions for hours! He LoVeS cellotape & goes through rather-a-lot !!! 😉

I got up early this morning & cleaned out my Fridge.  I then tossed all the left over veggies into a Fridge Drawer stew.  This will hopefully feed us for 3 nights & smells very comforting cooking away in the Crock Pot.  

There is a cold Southerly wind blowing here today & Madam Pip has her banana box inside the house with a fresh wool blanket.  Blackie is tucked up in the hallway cupboard sitting on the ironing pile (!!!) 😐.  The Mr informs me we are in for cold temps tonight.

I hope you are warm & cosy where-ever you are dear friends,

Thank you as always, for your welcome visits here today,

With much love & friendship to you All,

Love Julie & the furry ones x0x0x