Sunday, January 27, 2013

Summertime Sunflowers & bike baskets

Hello there friends & readers,

Phew it is sooo hot . . . 
we are all wilting here at my funny ol' threadbear patch

The Mr & I have been milking as our worker is on holiday
I am finding it a chore in this heat & the paddocks are turning brown very quickly
this is peat soil & the land turns brown very quickly

Sometimes I finish off by myself while the Mr does other farm chores - but often, I have a "helper". . . 
in the form of a right pain in the rear very willing & able farm dog
who is struggling with this heat himself
& last night found a murky old trough to hop right into

I did say "have a drink" NOT "have a dip" !!!!
- so he required a bit of a hosing off (which he loves)

I like to have a little drink while I am being hosed off
The Mr grows Japanese Millet at the farm to make into silage
& also to break feed to the cows
this year he added sunflowers to the mixture as the oil in them is very good for the cows
they are a real picture at present with their happy faces turning to the sun each day

this is taken with me standing on the ground - shows how tall they are now - towering above the millet

they always make me smile even if I am driving down the road & I see some in a paddock - such happy flowers :-)
I picked a dozen & bought home to brighten the cottage deck

My Mum has been up for a few days to stay as we had a little family get-together over at Papamoa
I picked these lillies from the garden to cheer the dining room up before Mums arrival . . .
(an interesting point . . . I always obsessively clean the house before my Mums arrival - I was contemplating this & thought of my own boys & wondered would they do this if I was going to stay with them??? & I came to the conclusion they would most likely think "Oh Mums coming, SHE can do it for us...") !!!!

I love their fragrance though I know lots of people don't.
We had a lovely few days with Mum :-)

My friend Lois runs our local Trade Aid Store & is always letting me know when something comes in that she thinks might interest me - or be suitable for the Cottage
Before christmas she told me about the new bike baskets
that had arrived in, so I purchased one for myself
I felt it was only varnished very thinly & as I planned to have it outside I knew it would deteriorate very quickly
so I waited til the Mr was not around, then I fossicked in his shed
(he HATES me doing this I might add)
& found an old pot of polyurethane
I was very thorough & gave it several coats over a couple of days
- it soon dried in this heat -
then I cut up a black rubbish bag & lined the inside

before planting it with some busy lizzies potted colour

which will look great once they spread out over the edges
I was really chuffed with my basket on my tatty ol bike
a bit of colour under the walnut tree . . . 
Note the quickly browning off grass around it

Anyone fancy a ride . . .  ???
Mum had given me a brand new white towel to use
but we tend not to use white linen here as our water contains
ironstone & turns our whites yellowish - unless I soak everything
I had remembered something in my very "special treasure" book

on page 37

I also remembered seeing some pretty bindings in my local wool shop recently (& couldn't resist a few)!!!
So I set to & cut the towel up & made some washcloths
 - using the bindings to trim them

I got 8 made in total from 1 towel - they are a generous size
I plan to display them in an old enamel basin in the cottage 
along with some home-made soaps :-)

Also, prior to Mums visit &, once again, cleaning out her room
I tipped out my bag of offcuts from my wool blankets that I tend to keep (for whatever reason)

plus I came across an old container of crocheted flowers -
I think maybe an Op Shop purchase a few years ago??
I always keep a basket by my chair in the lounge & during my day I tend to throw bits & pieces into it - for handwork to do in the evenings if I am watching t.v.

After an evenings stitching & a good soppy movie (One Day)
this is what I turned the offcuts into . .  .

Stuffed with homegrown lavender - they smell wonderful :-)

A lady walked up the path last week & admired the garden
I explained to her it was certainly way past its best now
& looking tatty due to the drought 
She commented "Oh you must surely have a watering system??"
"Yes" I replied . .  . "I do..."
"its me, - on the end of a hose each evening !!!!!"
She rolled her eyes !!!!
Well friends, its milking time again so best I get moving
as I have a "helper" waiting for me

getting impatient . .  .
wishing you sunshine or rainbows - wherever in the world you are
"happy weekend" :-)
thanks - as always - for stopping by
Julie (& the ever-important "farm dog")

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Round in circles . . .

Hello dear friends & readers :-)
Do you ever have those weeks where you go round & round in circles???
Well I certainly do . . .
last week was one of them :-(

I seemed to go from one project to another & by the end of the day - not really have achieved much
my little cottage has been busier due to the lavender farm
being in full bloom
this is great for me but means I get very little done
however, I did manage to complete some half-started craft projects
(I wont confess how long ago I actually started them though)
Over New Year I dragged out some old rolls of vintage wallpaper
& decided to make some nice bags for the cottage
to pop my customers purchases into . .  .
apologies for really grainy photos - dont do them justice sorry
They were so simple to make - just sew up the sides,
tops folded under & a hole punched for the handles
I used some old cording & some ricrac for the "handles"
(trying to use up what supplies I already had)
It felt great to be able to use some of the wallpaper
& feels really nice when I hand them to the customers
& they admire their bag :-)
Two of these cane chairs were dragged out of the woodshed
I had purchased some paint a very very long while ago
& had been nagging & hassling asking nicely for the Mr to paint them for me . . .
he finally agreed last Saturday &I could've jumped for joy . . .
I wasted no time cleaning them up ready for him
distracting "someone" who wanted to help the painter
& quite fancied himself coloured "red"
Seeing as She has shut me inside I am going to sleep with my head on her carpet!!!

I am so chuffed with the finished product
(incidently the colour is called Hot Chilli should you feel tempted)

Next post I hope to be able to show you some cushions I have made for them :-)
These two little Miss's were sitting naked in the sewing room
& finally got some clothes (& hair) this week
they are called Baby Annie & are an Angels in Disguise pattern
I like to give them little toys to hold in their hands
(in case they get bored)
Another "completion" was this felt swag I really enjoyed making
It is the partner to this heart "door hanger"
which is an I Luv Country design by Tracey North
I really love her patterns & am always pleased with the finished result
But by far the most exciting thing that happened this past week
was a visit from a friend whom I met through my blog.
I had the loveliest visit from Leeanne & her husband
it felt like we were old friends & we could've chatted for ages
but they had a long journey ahead of them
you can find Leeanne here . . .
she has written a post about her trip so far
(I do so love meeting my blogging friends - thankyou Leeanne for popping in - it was definately the highlight of my week)
Leeanne had taken some photos of Isabella for her post
so yesterday when I was studying her (Isabella that is)
I realised how really filthy she was
- all cobwebby & bird pooey the poor wee lass
even a touch of moss beginning in her creases!!
so I set to & gave her a good scrub with the long brush
I do hope you can notice the difference
she is much shinier & smiling brighter I think :-)
Before I close I just wanted to show you these little "faces"
that have popped up in the garden this past week
I just adore them but the interesting thing is . . .
I have absolutely NO recollection of ever planting them
& as they are bulbs, I can't imagine they have self seeded there
the pink one is actually where I grew my tomatoes last year!!
The cream one has the most glorious scent
I love that about gardens - how these things sometimes happen
& kind of make up their own minds about where they grow,
Have a wonderful weekend dear friends
I hope its a creative one where-ever you are
thanks so much for stopping by
love/hugs/friendship - Julie Xox

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sallys house - & the Lavender farm

Hello dear friends & readers
It is no secret to you all that I like to live my life vicariously through other peoples homes :-)
And so at the begining of December when my friend Jane suggested we take a drive up to Auckland to see her sister Sallys new home  -
I jumped at the chance!
I dont get up to the city very often -
so it is such a treat for me when I do
Sally had moved house since Jane & I last visited her together
She was now in an amazing place perched on the side of a hill
with wonderful views through the bush to the water

Sallys dining area looks out onto the native bush hillside (note the handcrafted owls on the dining table - gifts ready for Jane to take back home for nieces)


note the handmade rag wreath on wall
the thing I think I love the most about Sallys house
is that she has this total vintage look running right through it
unlike myself,  with my eclectic mix of mismatched items

Looking through to Sallys kitchen area - LOVE this shelving

Note Sallys collection of vintage aprons hanging on her vintage hook

Imagine gazing at this while cooking dinner . .


Sally had begun her christmas decorating before we arrived
I LOVED her tree decorated with snowflake ornaments
she had hand-made from vintage wool blankets
She had been framing some old calendar pictures for her wall
I fell in love with this pastel grouping of pictures :-)
woops - sorry to chop some off but was trying to get couch in also :-)
Off from her dining area she has the loveliest little private courtyard & she has set up a little seating area
with her vintage cane chairs & granny rugs
However . . .
it was when I saw her craft room I got seriously envious! ! !
this is my idea of what heaven would look like ! !
Note the doiley bunting across the window
Oohh I wanted to stay in this room forever ! !
vintage tea wagon holding craft supplies
If there is a syndrome called "craft room envy"
then I definately have it ! ! ! 
the cross stitch up on theleft is Sallys handwork
the wall above her work desk

Sally has a real "dottie angel" look with her decorating I feel
very Granny chic -
This is the chair I got to sit in with my cuppa

(I think it had been Sally's Granny's chair)
A couple of pics of Sal's bedroom I snapped
vintage crochet bedspread & handmade cushions

& a final snap of the dining area before my camera decided to "die" on me :-(

door to courtyard just to left of photo - note pile of vintage wool rugs on stool
Sally writes a blog of her crafty makes
you can see more of her wonderful handwork here . . .

Jane & I had the very bestest days outing
It is so exciting to visit "the big smoke"
especially when it doesnt happen that often.

(I must add a footnote here -
the house was actually much nicer than my pics show
I blame my outdated camera having yet another "off "day)

And then yesterday morning I had to take another little trip
this time just around the corner from where I live -
to Alphra Lavender farm
I had to take some more of my D.L.E cards to Bev
& this is what I saw on arrival, out my car window. . .

Bev & Ian have been running the lavender farm for 15 years now
you can see the wonderful products they make & sell in their
on site shop at the lavender farm
They are hoping to begin their yearly flower harvest next Friday
& then they extract the oil in their distiller
to be made up into all their lovely products.
Honestly it is a feast for the senses paying them a visit
both visually & aromatically
the above bushes are 5 years old now
I remember when Bev first planted them
& had such a problem with rabbits constantly digging them up
the small bushes in front were planted last October
& the ones behind a couple of years ago
You can go visit their website here
Bev has a beautiful garden to complement the lavender

Before I go I just wanted to share with you a christmas gift I received
that I had actually requested sometime ago
This gift was definately not romantic nor personal
but has actually made such a difference to my life already

Yes - I now have a gate buzzer !!! :-)
Although we seem to be having a few volume problems
it is rather loud ! !
Even  deaf ol' Mr Wolf heard it yesterday
& beat me out to greet the lady in her car
who didnt see his approach & when he put his head around her door . . .
she let out this bloodcurdling scream ! ! !
It was awfully embarrassing (for Me not the dog)
I apologised profusely & she did also for being so dramatic
once she saw the big deaf ol' fat fluffy was harmless
then when we got in the cottage . . .
I got a fit of the giggles ! ! !
honestly, I could not stop laughing at her scream
I was mortified - at myself
(I actually seem to spend an awful lot of time apologising for that flipping dog & his antics)
stupid ol' Mum making things up about me again & that stupid o'l gate buzzer
Well thats about it from me this week folks -
but just wanted to send out a bit of a plea . ..
is anyone else having problems uploading pics with blogger??
for some reason the browse pics button I used to use has gone
& I now have to go into HTML to add pics instead of Compose
which instead of 1 hour to do a post -
takes me 2 days ! ! !
If anyone has a solution to this I would appreciate any info
but please bear in mind . . .
I am NOT computer savvy
Wishing you all a happy weekend ahead
thanks, as always, for stopping by
much love, hugs, friendship,
Julie Xoxo