Saturday, February 1, 2014

These Drying Days . . .

Good afternoon dear friends & readers & welcome  to my new followers  :-)
It is SO lovely of you to stop by & take the time to read my ramblings . . . 

source : pinterest

Here at my funny ol' threadbear life I often refer to January & February as my drying months
The late summer days are filled with constant drying as I collect & gather, & try to "preserve" all the things I will need throughout the coming year for my potpourri making & other oddities that I do here 

statice sitting waiting to be gathered into bunches & hung

Along with the lavender I mentioned in my last post that I gather, dry, rub, (& inhale!!) ... I got a good picking off my statice plants this past week ... plus a couple of buckets of hydrangea's 

click on the pics to enlarge them if you like
From past failures, I have found the best way is to pick them when the leaves feel papery to the touch, (about this time of year is ideal) - give them a good big drink of water (for about a week I find) - then hang them to dry in bunches

I love the see my Dads old painting ladder (that is hanging in the Cottage) filled with my dried flowers for the season
The old statice from last season, I chop up into my rose potpourri to add a bit more colour

Last year my friend Pauline from Infused with Nature gave me some calendula seeds which I scattered around the edge of the vege garden & I am sure  ... every single seed took   :-)
So I picked a basketful of the flower heads & dried them in my dehydrator this week

Along with the yellow statice, they add a nice splash of colour to my citrus potpourri's

The dehydrator has been working overtime lately as I have a large order to fill for a friend - I do really enjoy making all my potpourri's & it never feels like a chore  :-)

The roses (thankfully) are having their second flush & I have been drying their petals as much as I can before these strong winds we are experiencing, blow them to infinity & beyond ...

I have also been drying some millet seed heads which The Mr grows at the farm to make into silage, & also to break feed to the cows when the grass gets low

You may recall some months back, I moaned about posted about pruning our grapevine & weeding the rows of aggies & what a chore it all was ...

 This was what it looked like back then - mid September these were taken

We have had some prolific growth & the severe pruning of the vine has really been quite successful with it looking like producing a good crop this year
you can see the bunches of grapes in the pic on the left
The Mr keeps telling me he is expecting a phone call from Corbans Wines anyday now  (???!!!)   . . . truth be told, usually the birds beat us to most of it as we don't cover the vines to protect the fruit

I am really enjoying the flowering miniature agapanthas this year -having weeded the rows properly last September

This past week I finished an order for a friend who wanted some of my wool blanket cats/rabbits to on-sell in her shop

She had asked for 5 of each so I made up a dozen & let her pick out her favourites

About mid last year I helped my friend move house - she had lived in the same house for 40 years & so consequently, got rid of alot of stuff during her move.  I took lots of bags to the Op Shop & also the dump for her.  I also took quite a few home & - you may recall - earned myself the name "Mrs Steptoe".
There was a supermarket bag to be taken to the Op Shop & when I opened it, it contained her wedding dress ... 
"are you sure??" I asked 
 "Yes I dont want it" came the reply.  
So I asked if I could perhaps have it to cut up for the lace & fabric ??
"Yes, of course, do whatever you like with it" 

It seemed appropriate then that I came across the plastic bag with the wedding dress in this past week in the mess that is my sewing room ...  as tomorrow is a potluck tea combining both her birthday, her housewarming, & a "thank you" to all those who helped with the move
The dress had a long train & a frill around the bottom which my pic has not shown

I found one of the doll bodies that I had made last post still waiting to be clothed ... with trepidation I cut into the wedding dress fabric & lace ... I tried to use as much of the lace as I could

I covered her wings with it plus stitched some of the tiny pearl beads here & there ... made her some lacey bloomers

although I have given her a small posy of tulle flowers, I like to think she is more of an angel . . .  not a bride doll

I hope my friend loves her - there sure is plenty of wedding dress left over   

My neighbour has opened the door of one of her aviaries & released her ring-neck doves - some have returned & others have  not  . . .  a pair have decided to take up residence in my trees & The Mr captured these pics yesterday morning . . . 

I am more than happy to share my garden with them - I love the sound they make & they seem very quiet & content

Finally friends, I made a Trademe purchase way back in September last year but it was a "buyer must pick up" purchase ... as the lady lived in Auckland I asked my stepdaughter to collect it for me - which she did - & I have only just received it when they came for a visit last weekend

I am not sure why, but I have always loved these old cane shopping trundlers - although I must admit my grandmother had one & Oh how I hated it back then !!!
The Mr asked me what I planned to do with it ... "I'm not sure yet" I replied ". . .  something arty perhaps . . .?? "

"Well so long as you dont expect to walk down the street with it wearing a funny old hat & expect me to walk with you" he informed me . . .  (gosh, I hadn't thought of that .... now there's an idea !!!)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend out there folks - thank you SO very much for your visits
Wishing you rusty old trikes filled with flowering snapdragons  :-)

with much love & friendship,
Julie x0x0x


  1. Hello Julie,

    I could just about eat this post the colours in the drying blooms are amazing. Have you thought about putting the grapes in the de-dehydrator. I did this a few years ago making sultanas. They were yummy. What you did with the Wedding dress is so lovely your friend will just hug you I think.

    Have a lovely weekend.

  2. Another fab post Julie. I love the Angel Doll for your friend - I'm sure she will be delighted with the new life given to her dress :-) Your drying surely keeps you busy but the end result is gorgeous. Too much else to comment on, suffice to say, I love it all!!!!! Have a great weekend!

  3. Giggle giggle, as this morning I saw an elderly women at the Farmers market with a trundler basket just like yours!!! I thought to myself 'that is cute'. Surely the Mr would look stylish with an old time hat following you along on a shop spree with the basket?
    The potpourri production line looks very nice & will smell nice soon too.
    You are very thoughtful making a pretty angel for the woman you helped moved house, the doll looks adorable!
    The 'Vineyard is looking marvelous darling!'

  4. The angel doll is a lovely way of thanking your friend for her wedding dress material. I always get a cup of tea when I find your latest post! it's like opening Country Living magazine! Betty

  5. Hello dear Julie
    It so lovely to pop in with my cuppa in hand and hear what you've been up to this week.
    LOTS!!! There's always so much going on here.
    I've made myself a note to grow statice next year in our old vege garden and try my hand at drying it - I didn't know about leaving it in water for a week - maybe that's why all my hydrangeas turn cream when they dry out.....
    You garden is a picture - those aggies beneath the grapevines look amazing and I love the wide pathways.
    I love your angel and your friend will be "over the moon" when she sees it - you're such a kind friend J.
    I spied the wicker trolley and I thought "I wonder what she will do with that" ha ha! There had to be a purpose - it's a lovely one.
    I can't help but be inspired when I open your blog - wonderful creativity in everything you do J - thank you.

    Enjoy your Sunday

  6. Your posts are always so motivating...I'm chomping for summer now. Yay for blanket bunnies and any type of dryness (very wet here). I wonder what you will do with that trolley? planter? or perhaps a mobile crafting basket? Keep up with the good intentions, they are very contagious. Eco Ethel xx

  7. Dear Julie, I dare you to wander around town with your cane basket on wheels :-) Your angel doll is lovely. It will be loved. Great post and so full of happiness. Shirley

  8. Ha ha perhaps we can go granny shopping together one day...floppy hats & all! I found a trundler last year too & had really wanted to buy one that my Trade me friend Leigh was selling as it was painted shabby pink & looked amazing, only she lives in Christchurch. My cane has a plastic coating so I haven't had a go at painting it day! Funny eh so cool & so cringeable all at once. A bit like your banana basket ; ) Eek that must have been weird cutting up your friends wedding dress. Of course the idea with putting the statice in water for the week is that you remember when the week is up & tip the water out otherwise you know what!! slimy stalks & pongy water. I don't know how many times I've managed that! I have had a lovely apricot pink calendula growing in my courtyard all summer (they often prefer the cooler months). When my first round of figs were ready a week or two ago & the birds were feasting on them I tied plastic bags around a few to let them ripen for worked a treat...might be useful if you wanted a few grapes. I love the line up of pretty. Goodness there's a fair mound of them when you go to trim off the stalks & spent flowers though I find. I have just got another gardening job straight across the road this week. I feel I'll never get back in to my sewing room ever again. Much love & friendship for a happy week my friend, Catherine x0x0x0x

  9. Hi Julie - wow, all I can think of as you show these beautiful flowers is how amazing the dyes would be from the hydrangea and the calendula, not to mention the rose petals!
    What treasures you must have found on the big clean out - the granny trundle is beautiful as it is - a total treasure. Maybe for display by the door to hold umbrellas?



  10. All your drying of flowers is so beautiful, such gorgeous images. The grape walk looks wonderful with all the summer growth. I love the cats, bunnies and, of course, the beautiful angel, such a lovely use of a wedding dress. Wishing you a wonderful week, hugs Wendy

  11. I would love to be under all of your drying flowers! I'll bet it smells heavenly! Your wool cats and bunnies are so cute and creative. I always feel envious of sewers who can just make such cute items, but I'm learning!

  12. Hi Julie,
    Oh I can just dream of the lovely smells around your home!!!!
    Must've been hard cutting into that wedding dress, but you have
    made a lovely creation out of it. Cute little cats/rabbits and love
    your little bike with flowers in the back. Cute post.
    Cheers, Anita.

  13. Gosh what lovely pics of all your pot pourri ingredients coming together. Quite spectacular, especially the calendula and citrus. So beautiful. xx

  14. this is the most lovely post ever, you are so busy, and so lovely , thank you for my message, I will remember your words xx thank you xx

  15. I have sat and read and read your blog your a amazing gifted person after suffering a illness myself I know how hard it is to pick oneself up .You are a strong wonderful person love your angel ...we all have one looking over us .

  16. The dress is lovely for this sweet doll and you sure made some precious kitties! Enjoy your week!

  17. The dried flowers are wonderful, I would love to grow Statice but I dont get enough sun. I am trying Lavender, if the snow has not killed it. I never have enough blooms to cut. I buy the dried Lavender and have it in glass jars looking pretty. Love this post


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