Sunday, December 29, 2013

Rainy December days :-)

A rainy good afternoon to you dear friends & readers,

Rainy days in December are always so very welcome & precious

rain drops on the lillies 
The house is quiet today - the Mr is away - I am burning hot cinnamon wax melts & enjoying the peacefullness ...

red alstromeria & white penstomen - picked yesterday before the rain came
and most of all . . . 

... not feeling guilty that I should be outside working  :-)

My hanging baskets have been a picture of colour this summer - I have been diligent in my watering (for a change) & it has paid off

plus I have tried to plant some things that last a little longer - like catmint & geraniums ...

But it is not all picture-perfect flowers in my world - I get into some right messes at times too ... like yesterday, while having a bit of a heavy duty weeding session ...

... this is what greeted any customers that walked up the driveway ...

I hope you all managed the christmas festivities & had a most enjoyable time - it seems like the blink of an eye, & it is all over for another year

Gorgeously  packaged (& delicious) home baking from my friend Sandy

I have been working at the table most nights doing some small felt projects - like the mice in stockings I mentioned in my last post ...

I decided to "make an early start" on some more for next christmas ... plus I had downloaded this pattern quite some months ago & squirrelled away some empty matchboxes during the winter. 
Continuing on with the mice theme, I just adored these little mice in  their matchbox beds

They only take a small scrap of grey felt & look so cute when made up ...

I love the little note pinned to his bed :-)

As I wanted a bit of a primitive look I sprayed the quilt scrap, pillow & note with a mixture of parisian essence, water & vinegar in a spray bottle - you can be quite liberal with the mixture
(note to self .... spray the piece of white dacron that is in the bottom of his bed)

The Mr came home one night & asked me what I was making ...
"some christmas decorations" I replied
"well I hate to burst your bubble" he informed me "but umm,  christmas is umm, actually over for the year!!!"
"I know ... I am making a start on next years"   :-)
Go here for the free mouse pattern downloads - scroll right to the very bottom of the page

My neighbour popped over early christmas morn in a bit of a tizz
She was off to Rotorua & had thought they "werent doing gifts" but had suddenly learnt ..."they were" !!!!
We quickly wrapped up some lavendar hearts in tissue & ribbon & off she went on her journey ... 
which meant I got to sit at nights & make some more (Oh such a chore!!)

I really enjoy the whole process of making these dainty little treasures

Almost mid summer here is a time for lots of harvesting & gathering for me ... I have been collecting many different seeds as I weed, & storing them in brown paper bags. I also had to have a quick prune of the lavender up the Cottage path as it had flopped all over the bricks

Plus all summer long I constantly gather nuts, cones & strawflowers for my pot-pourri making ... this is second nature to me now 

The small cones to the left were lying on the lawn under the magnolia tree & hastily gathered yesterday before mowing
I noticed how much the fluffies garden had grown in the 6 weeks since I first photographed it, so put together this little collage to show you ... (click on the pic to enlarge it)

The catmint & shasta daisies are all in full bloom now
Before I close I wanted to mention a beautiful website that is well worth a visit ... my young friend April now has a site for her aprons & gorgeous handmade craft work, go visit here  ... & also for her wonderful organic skincare products, go visit here.  April has put together her website so beautifully, it is a treat for the eyes  :-)

I hope the New Years arrival brings good things to you all my friends & that all our hopes, dreams & wishes come true in 2014

Thanks so much for stopping by this wet December day
much love/hugs/ friendship to you all out there
Julie x0x0

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A festive Thank You

Festive Greetings dear friends & readers

I wanted to pop by & wish you all a Very Merry Festive Season

And especially to say a heartfelt Thank You to you all out there who stop by to read my blog posts
Many blessings & joy to you ALL this christmas season

To those of you that take the time to leave a comment or to "follow" my blog - thank you SO very much 
To those of you that just "pop by" for a quick read - thank you SO very much
And even to those of you that read my posts & think to yourself "she sure knows how to waffle on that rather odd threadbear girl . . . " !!!! - thank You so very much
Because you have still taken the time to read my ramblings

In the countdown up to christmas it is easy to feel overwhelmed by everything
I felt a bit like that this morning ... so I decided to begin by clearing my table off ... & then just take small steps from there ...

Its surprising how picking a small bunch of dahlias can change your mood somewhat  :-)
(notice how I dont photograph any of the rest of the house which currently looks like a complete bomb site!!!)

I had been making more citrus potpourri, so I filled my old scales up & the kitchen smelt delicious (for a change!!!)

The Mr came in with some fresh pickings from the garden last night - (honestly the way he carried on, you would think HE had planted & tended to them!!!)
 but it was lovely to see the first of the cucumbers as it is something we both really enjoy eating

Cucumbers, courgettes & rainbow beet freshly picked

And yesterday I sowed radish seeds as the lunar calendar is good for planting things that produce below ground at present - (all your root crops)

These have been busy days on the farm with silage making - I love to see the paddocks all cut & drying in the sun

And then the men come in with their "big boy toys" & make the silage into bales 

You can just see the fluffies garden to the bottom right - a bit more in bloom now

And then the bales sit in the paddocks waiting for the "wrapper" to come in & do its thing  :-)
The weather has been great for the silage & hay making so the farmers ought to be are happy !!!!!

I have had a few last minute completions this past week

My sons fiance has been rather partial to all things "Paris" since the return from their trip -  I was looking through my scraps & came across this Paris piece of fabric which was just big enough to embellish a good sized carrier bag ... the handstamped ribbon was a trademe purchase many months ago ... I knew I would find a use for it oneday - I continued the ribbon around the back of the bag also

My neighbour has a lovely young English couple staying & requested me to make up some more of my Spice Mats to give them as gifts using some N.Z native bird fabrics (incidently Spice Mats are fabric coasters filled with wadding & cinnamon & cloves - the fragrance is released when you sit a hot drink on the mat)
Yet another good old fossick in my scrap bin & I unearthed some lovely kiwiana bird prints . . . 

I also made some vintage doiley covered notebooks for some "secret santa" family gifts & for popping in stockings

Finally a bit of wool felt stitching to put together some coasters & adorn a gorgeous piece of  french linen which I made up into a tea towel/table mat/tray cloth

Dont forget to take some time out in this busy season to stop & "smell the roses" dear friends

I hope you all have a happy & safe time in the coming week & that Santa brings you a little (or a lot) of what your heart desires

Thanks so much - as always - for your visits
with much love/hugs/friendship & joy today & all the days of the year
Julie x0x0x

Friday, December 13, 2013

This Week I . . . . .

Good afternoon dear friends & readers

This week I did a real mixture of things & tried to "be a little kinder to myself"

I enjoyed the garden, rather than just working in it all the time ...

The weather was lovely so I ate my lunch out on the deck & read my new magazine with much excitement  :-)

I had popped into my local Paper Plus Bookstore & come across this quite by accident . . .  
some very tempting projects inside ...

I rather "enjoyed" my new paper serviettes also  :-)

This week I picked a bunch of fresh lace-cap hydrangeas for my dining table

Now I understand why they are called lace-cap

I went to "Sunday Lunch" at  Villagrad Winery with my son & his fiance ...

As they have booked the venue for their November wedding next year 

This week I finished an order for my friend Lois

Lois's daughter has a christmas stocking identical to this from when she was a child (she is now 39) ... 
& wanted them made for her children now (fortunately I could still get the daisy braiding from Spotlight)

Lois also came to me with these 2 "muffin/scone holders" that had been her late Mums.  She asked me to "do something with them so that she could use them as a table mat" ... they came up beautifully with a good long soak in Napisan

This one I just attached to a lovely piece of white linen - it was enough with the lace on it already

This one I attached to a piece of cream cotton & added a flat lace trim
Lois was so pleased with them & promised she will use them now

This week I also began some christmas decorating - just keeping it quite simple this year

A stack of suitcases & a couple of Santas on my spindle-leg table

Rustic Santa (beady little eyes just poking out the top of his beard) this is an old pattern from Woodcutters Daughter 
(he is one of my favourites of all the Santas I have made)

This teddy was one of my sons & each year, I give him a hat, some boots & something to hold onto to ... 
he is sitting under the tree at present but he may end up elsewhere ...

This week I also began some christmas baking - this is my "gingernut bites" recipe that I make every year.
 I came across these dotty paper cups from the $2 shop - 
 I thought they were perfect for presenting the baking in 

re-using the gorgeous labels given to me by Wendy from Charlottes Web
I have popped the recipe for these at the bottom of this post for those of you that may like to give them a go - 
they are very yummy & I usually make several batches  :-)

My dear old friend Joyce popped in yesterday with these delicious home-made treats - after a week of trying to eat healthily, my willpower is fast flying out the window  !!!!!

This week I sat at the table one rainy day & made these little felt mice in stockings  - last christmas Michelle from here very kindly gave me one which I just adored.
Do go check out Michelles blog as she does the most amazing christmas decorating in her home.

This week I appreciated all the growth in the garden from the recent rains we have had 
(rain in December is always so precious & welcome)

New raised garden just been built

So the above photo was taken end Oct/ early Nov ...
The photo below taken today - you can just about see the veges growing as you watch !!!

Also another "before & after shot"

Remember the suitcase planting I showed you ??... my herb planter ??

I promise NOT to rave on (again) about gardening by the moon !!!!!

Thanks so much to you all for popping by - your visits are so appreciated
I hope the lead-up to Christmas is going okay for you all out there?
Remember to try to "be a little kinder" to yourselves.
much love/hugs/friendship,
Julie x0x0x

Gingernut Bites Recipe:-

90 grams butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1/2 cup condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
250 gram packet gingernut biscuits
1 cup sultanas

Melt butter in a saucepan, add golden syrup & condensed milk.
Stir in essence, crushed biscuits & sultanas over medium heat until well combined.
Cool to room temp (this is important)
Roll heaped teaspoons of mixture into balls & toss in coconut,
Refrigerate until firm.
Enjoy  :-)

I use my old blender to crush small amounts of gingernuts at a time though I have put them in 3 plastic bags & put them under the wheel of my car before & driven/reversed over them a few times!!! But do be careful no-one walks up the driveway at this point as you may have some serious explaining to do !!!!!