Sunday, November 26, 2023

All Stocking-ed Out (!!!)

Greetings lovely friends & readers

It has been a stocking-making kind of week (or fortnight) & I am currently all stocking-ed out !

 Our beautiful Cherry Blossom tree (Shimidsu-sakura) in full bloom a couple of weeks ago, before the strong winds came.

At the beginning of October my local Patchwork Store Stitchin-stuff put a notice in their online newsletter requesting small christmas stockings to be made to donate to the local Foodbank. I collected the free pattern & instructions & cut out several from my Christmas fabrics.
  I managed to sew up 10 before Covid struck me & my sewing abilities disappeared out the window 😐 

They are fully lined & padded with wadding, & each one measures just under 8 inches.  This one above was one of my favourites fabrics. 
 The store were hoping to reach a target of 300 stockings & when I dropped mine in they were up to 279.  

(Click on the picture to enlarge & read clearly)
So I was delighted to read in my local newspaper this week that they actually reached 350 in the end.  The store fills them with chocolate treats & they go in the Foodbank boxes for families that have younger children.  Next year I will aim to sew up more as I am sure I have 10 already cut out.

These sweet little stockings above are a free pattern from the Twig and Tale website.
I buy offcuts of linen when I see it in the thrift stores & I hand embroidered these before sewing.  I plan to fill them with some ceramic christmas ornaments for a couple of special people.

Last year, after Christmas, I made myself the swag of primitive stockings above.  My dear friend Sandy had shown me a photo on her phone & I made them from memory ... in the softest green & grey striped linen fabrics above.  

My friend Sandy has moved away down to the South Island & I miss her immensely. I decided to make her a set in reds & taupes as I knew she loved these colours.  I posted them away & Sandy was delighted when they arrived as she had just begun her Christmas decorating.

While hunting for some threads I came across this stitchery that I had stitched last Christmas & never ever made up.  It is a very old design from Mogs Designs whom I am sure no longer designs. It is called "tis' the season stocking"

Although I'd done the stitchery I still needed to tea-dye my calico & then make up the stocking, stuff it & fill the top with berries & greenery as well as make the 3 candy canes. I also sewed 7 rusty bells down the length of the stocking. 
 I used to make lots of these & sell in my Craft Cottage & they were always VeRy popular.   🎄

I love this little area of hand-mades hanging on my wall.  The Calico Reindeer I made in * this post * back in 2020.

And Yes - it was time again to sit & wrap 48 little parcels, & fill my Grandsons advent stockings.  This was a good activity to do while resting from Covid & took me 3 days to complete (!!!) I will be delivering these this coming Thursday. 

Just prior to going on the Cruise I cleaned out our fireplace, scrubbed the brick surround & then bought all my houseplants back from the "hospital corner" down the end of my lounge.  I noticed my ladder fern (2nd from left) had roots coming out the bottom so it needed a re-pot.

I found this pot under my house, bought home from Mum's when I cleared out No 44 way back in February.  I thought it was a good size for the fern but needed a paint.  I painted it in Old Linen, the same colour as the other pots, then gave it 2 coats of spray varnish to protect/seal it.  I found an offcut of transfer that I also applied to it.

I am sure that my ladder fern breathed a sigh of relief when I repotted it & it's looking much healthier already.  And Yes dear readers - you can see definate signs of Christmas decorating going on here at Threadbear HQ.

Thank you - as always dear friends, for your visits here today,

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

With much love & friendship to you all,

Julie & the furry three x0x0x 

( a new Header to take us into the festive season)

Friday, November 17, 2023

Cruise-ing, Covid ........ & Orders

Greetings lovely friends & readers

October of last year, while I was lying in a hospital bed recovering from a not-especially-nice surgery, my friend Gail sent me a text ... Would I like to go on a 5-day cruise next year in November?? 

Why ever not ?! I thought.  Of course it was ages away & anything could happen in between times (& in fact, quite alot did happen in between times)

There were a group of 8 ladies going, mostly our craft group ladies plus 2 extra.  Because we shared rooms it kept the cost to a minimum. 

The first rose blooms of the season - Dublin Bay - picked last week

Eventually November rolled around & the day arrived for us to board our ship.  It was a P & O Cruise for those that are familiar with them.  This one was a "Tribute to the King Cruise" so lots of Elvis music & rock-n-roll. I must add here, that the tribute acts were just wonderful & of a really high quality.

Here is everyone getting ready for the Sail Away Party.  I loved being up high on this deck & looking down on the pools, also there was a flying fox going overhead!  After pouring rain all the way up to Auckland the weather came out beautiful.

The was the Atrium where some of the entertainment took place ... I especially loved the Glass Lifts (right).   This was on Level 5 & we were lucky enough to have our rooms on the same level.

Here are all 8 of us together ...  left going around table .. Jan, Sharlaine, myself, Joyce, Maureen, Liz 1, Liz 2 & Gail front right.

This was the route the ship took, leaving Auckland sailing down the Coast to Picton, a full day in Picton, & then returning again.  5 days - quite long enough for me - who couldn't wait to get home to her furry friends again 😉
Where I have put the yellow + is where I live in rural Waikato.

Here is the oldest of the group Maureen, with myself, the youngest.  On the right I had just had my hair done & we were getting ready to go to a Neil Diamond Tribute show (which turned out to be so amazing!!)

On docking in Picton we had already prepaid for a tour up the Queen Charlotte Sounds (see map above).  We were going on the boat below left with a Company called CougarLine Tours

We sailed all the way up the Queen Charlotte Sounds stopping at all the little bays along the way, dropping off boxes of groceries, trampers, sometimes picking up tourists - it was fascinating & the Captain gave a running commentary along the way.  We saw lots of dolphins, some even followed the boat for awhile.  

The stunning crystal clear waters of the Queen Charlotte Sounds.

The furthest point was Furneaux Lodge 2 hours out ... & then we headed back to Picton again.

Once back in Picton we treated ourselves to a delicious Pub Lunch of the freshest Gurnard, straight out of the sea.  There was a market opposite the wharf which we wandered through for awhile & then it was time to catch the shuttle back to the ship.  Another full day at sea & then early on the Tuesday morning we berthed again in Auckland.

Waiting our turn to disembark - you had to vacate your rooms by 8 am so we were up & about early.  It was a wonderful experience & I would certainly cruise again but I would do several things differently next time around. 
My dear friend Sandy summed it up perfectly when she messaged & said "Congratulate yourself Julie on having the Cruise experience - especially since you are such a Home body at heart"  And I unashamedly Am a Homebody. 💗

Unfortunately dear friends, I appear to have come home with a rather unwanted souvenir & I am the only one in the group that has so far succumbed to the virus.  Today is day 8 & although I'm not coughing quite so much, I still feel constantly dreadful.  But I know Covid is a process & I just have to be patient, rest & let it run its course.  It has taken me 3 days to write this post as my concentration skills are rather lacking 😐

A couple of months ago my dear friend Shirley asked me to make her two items she had some photos of.  The first was a HOME wallhanging, quite primitive in style but Shirley didn't want primitive for her home so we adapted it & I painted a wooden coathanger to tie Shirley's hanger on to (the one in her photo was tied to a twiggy tree branch) Shirley's home is muted pinks & greys so these colours were perfect.

The second item Shirley had photographed was a rather dilapidated looking Angel.  As soon as I saw it I knew I had that pattern - thankfully it was an old design from Mums Moment, whom I don't think are designing anymore. The pattern is called Pocket Angel as she has a sweet elasticated pocket on her dress, where the yo-yo flowers are.  I made her up in Tilda fabrics, provided by Shirley & think she turned out delightful.  I used some hand-dyed mohair yarn for her hair.  Her base is weighted with pellets so she sits nice & sturdily.

Her wings are embroidered with the words Love is the stitching that holds hearts together 💕 Shirley was thrilled with both her Orders.

Thank you dear friends for staying with me through this lengthy post,
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend - remember to be kind to yourselves & to each other,
With much love & friendship to you all,
Love Julie & the furry three x0x0x0

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Craft Group Challenges, Book Characters & A Little One Update

Greetings lovely friends & readers

Yesterday I picked a beautiful bunch of lilacs from my tree - this is only the 2nd year it has flowered but last year was not enough to actually pick any.

Their fragrance is gentle & soft ... I have sat a framed photo of Mum underneath as she would be smiling I am sure.

Throughout the year my friend Gail & I like to think up random "challenges" for the ladies in our craft group.  When I hosted the ladies back in July I had saved & washed up a load of cat food tins. 

  We go through 2 or 3 of these a day so it doesn't take long to get a good supply.  I'd removed their labels & any stickiness left behind & I held the bag out & told the ladies it was a Lucky Dip - they could take 1,2 or 3 ... or however many they wanted ... & they had to create something with them!
(I should add that these challenges are entirely optional to take part in)

I chose 3 tins for myself & then found this old broken table leg in my stash that I knew would-come-in-handy-one-day.  I cut it down to size & then painted the tins & the spindle. Then I hot glued the tins to my spindle as I wanted to make A Sewing Caddy.

Click on the picture to enlarge for a closer look

I mod-podged some paper serviettes to my tins & spindle to embellish them - I'd originally planned to use transfers but paper serviettes are a lot more cost effective.  Then I mod-podged the whole thing to seal it.
(I've forgotten to photograph it step by step hence I am explaining what I did)

Tin 1 : I drew a cardboard circle, padded it, covered it with fabric & glued in - this was to hold my quilting clips.
Tin 2 : I cut some floral foam to fit & then cut a slit in the middle & covered the entire thing with fabric - this was to be a scissor holder.
Tin 3 : I made into a pincushion using a gathered circle of fabric & some wadding, all glued in.
I made a little stitched tag to attach to the handle along with a scissor charm & then I filled my tins with their various bits & bobs.

Such a sweet, fun project & would make a gorgeous gift for a crafty person 💗

I loved what Sharlaine had done ... she had taken a thrifted wooden goblet, turned it upside down, glued her catfood tin onto it & then painted the whole thing & added some transfers.  It was so lovely & would be wonderful with a small candle or tealight in it 💜

Maureen had cut hers into the shape of a sunflower, painted it & attached it to a thin dowel, then sprinkled glue + glitter to the centre.  This would look great poking into a potted plant 💛

Liz had been thinking of her grandchildren when she created hers & had knitted tiny peas with black eyes as well as worms with tiny felt hats on, then made the cans into houses for them, including using the lids off the tins.
These had been such a hit that Liz asked me for some more cans as other family members had ordered some from her - I was happy to oblige. 

- Before -                                  - During -                                        - After -                

A tiny bud vase picked up from the Op-Shop for $1.50 - given the tomato sauce treatment last week.  I originally thought it was brass but I think under all the grime & discolouration it was more silver. 

Sids school recently held a Book Week.  To celebrate the children got to choose a Book Character & then dress up as that character.  Sid chose Marmaduke Duck from the book above.
Posing at Home                           At school with the telescope his Dad made him
His Mum did an amazing job of creating his costume using alot of what Sid already had (orange shorts, socks etc). My contribution was the hot glue gun, some white feathers & the wooden spoon tucked into his belt.  Sid was delighted to win the competition for his classroom & won a book voucher.

Many of you have asked after Little One & I have not updated you for awhile.  He is doing well & is living his best life 😉 No Pippi & Blackie have still not accepted that he is here to stay - Pippi is the worst & still hisses & chases him at every opportunity - Blackie not so much.  It is certainly easier now he can go outside during the day & we only have to keep them apart in the evenings when they all come in for the night.

He is still kitten-ish in that he wants everything you touch & frequently runs off with my crafty bits.  He must be happy enough though because I have never known a cat to purr so much !!  In my naive way, I still live in hope that they will one day get along but who knows?!  When I do my big monthly grocery shop & buy cat food, the girl on the check-out always asks me ... How many cats do you have??? I usually say 4 as I include Fluffy at the farm 😉

Thankyou as always dear friends, for your visits here today,
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 three x0x0x

Monday, October 23, 2023

A Trike-Trailer, A Drawer, & Dishcloth Knitting

Greetings lovely friends & readers

Those that know me well, know my absolute LoVe of old vintage trikes ... I have four of them in varying states of disrepair.

 This one above is still looking pretty with the last of the pansies blooming, but these will sucumb to mildew soon as it's getting warmer here.

This trike above left is probably my "best one" as far as condition goes.  It has always stayed up on my covered deck so doesn't get the weather & the Grandkids have ridden it frequently so I keep it oiled & running smoothly.  
The trike trailer was purchased from the SPCA Op Shop ($12) late last year.  I had been asking The Mr to weld a loop to my trike so I could hook the trailer through it  .................... but I was still waiting ....................

During my deck clean-up in my last post I found an old wire hook & managed to find a gap under the trike tray that I could screw this into quite securely.  I was delighted 😊 - I gave the trike & the trailer a good scrub as they were both looking green after the winter.

As I knew I wanted to sit potted flowers in them, I lined each tray with an offcut of oilcloth to help prevent the wet pots sitting against the surfaces & rusting.  

I planted some mixed colour petunias into six terracotta pots I already had - 3 for each tray.

How happy this little set makes me every time I look at it.   And if the Grandsons want to ride around on it still, then it's simple to lift the pots out & away pedalling they can go  ............

This old drawer was found at Mum's Hospice Shop at the same time I bought the Pansy Planter Box.   I thought it might make a handy addition to my craft room.  It had originally been bolted to a desk so I removed the old hardware from the back.  It was actually formica but I thought it should chalk paint up okay.

You can see I removed the handle & painted right over it the same colour.

I gave it 2 coats of chalk paint in the colour Vintage White.  It went on really grainy - to be honest I think this was more the paint than anything wrong with the surface of the formica.  I tried thinning my paint out but it still went on like this.  I very lightly sanded the roughness out afterwards but still wasn't happy with it.

The drawer had a chunk out of one corner but I was able to fill this with some polyfiller.  I came across a large sheet of decoupage tissue that I'd been gifted last Christmas & decided to use this over my paint.  This was my first time using this tissue & it went on really well using mod-podge.  Once dry I coated it again with mod-podge as I find this seals everything & makes it wipeable.

The sheet was large enough that I did the top, the drawer front & also managed to line the drawer base. 

I tied a Tilda swing tag to the handle & soon filled it with crafty bits & bobs.  I was really pleased with the finished result after being not so happy with it originally.

And it fits in just perfectly on my sewing bench 💙

The last time I delivered an Order of Potpourri to Brandy's Botanicals Deb asked me if she could try some of my knitted cotton dishcloths to sell.  I was more than happy to oblige as I just love knitting these up - 
here is the free pattern I use.
I decided I needed to come up with a nice packaging method that was not too overly fancy but presented them nicely. I tied a brown paper belly band around them & then made up some swing tags that I printed off onto brown paper & cut out.  

I was pleased with the simple but effective way they looked.  I had enough cotton in my yarn stash that I was able to knit 10 different ones to send down to Deb.

  This way people can pick them up & feel the softness of them but also Deb can package them up with a soap easily enough if she so wishes.

Last month Alec had his first ever Grandparents Day at his country school - they have been cancelled in recent years due to various Lockdowns.  He dressed up as a Wizard & I dressed up as a Granny 😉 (!!!)

(I promise to have a proper cat update in my next post - Little One is fine & dandy & No - they are still not getting along)

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

With much love & friendship to you all,

Julie & the furry three x0x0x0