Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Raggedy days

Good afternoon dear friends & readers & welcome to my new followers

It is so lovely to have you stop by for a visit  . . .  thanks so very much  :-)

When my friend Claire owned her gorgeous little patchwork Shop in Hawera one of the very first patterns I purchased from her was a Sun Valley Primitives design called "Raggedy Angel"
Claire also sold the rather large corrugated iron wings that were used in the pattern

I eventually made the angel up & she used to hang just outside my entry door greeting people & generally hanging away there quite happily - I found an old grainy photo of her back then ...

The entry door to the left is no longer there as we removed it when we altered our kitchen

As you can imagine, being dressed in red, after hanging out there for a few summers, the red fabric had faded to a shabby pink & she was most tatty & neglected looking.  
She was relegated to the back of a cupboard for a year or two ...

Recently I found her body & the wings & decided to give her a new lease of life

I mixed up a spray bottle containing 3 teaspoons parisian essence & 200 ml white vinegar & liberally sprayed over all the faded calico parts that would show

She got to lie out in the sun on a large fluffy towel to dry, & I can assure you, she was not mistreated in any way.

Oh yes this is the life .... lying here in the warm sunshine ... starkers !!!!!

I showed you a sneaky peek last post of the new dress under construction ... the design is quite like stitching a penny rug with all the felt pieces making up the "tree" design

Today I completed her & hung her on my dining room wall although she is not going to stay here - I just havent found quite the "right home" for her yet

I had planned to redo her hair (which is thick jute string that I originally hand dyed) but my good friend Leeanne suggested I leave it as it is - all sort of scraggy looking

I just love the mottled effect on the corrugated iron wings

I kept the original star that she is clutching, but covered the centre felt stars with masking tape & gave the calico a good spray with my parisian essence mixture 

I like to hang my dolls on the wall for a few days & walk past them to decide if I need to embellish them any more or change anything ... already I have decided she needs some brown cheek blusher & some red berries tucked into her star, hmmm ... perhaps a rusty button at her neck .... ??? . . .

This past week I had my last group booking - a Rural Womens Group bought their lunch to the garden & ate in the shade of the trees & had their meeting 

The doves very much enjoyed the additional company to the garden but made the meeting a little difficult with their loud noises & deciding to swoop in & out every now & then - they are becoming very settled & at home now

My friend Jan thought they were ornaments when she walked up the steps last week & got such a shock when one turned its head !!!!!!

As they tend to stand either in their food dish or on the edge & kept tipping the dish over ...  I notice The Mr has given them one of my vintage enamel plates to eat out of ...
just about to climb into the food bowl !!!   notice how the bits we dont like get tossed out !!!
Along with my last group booking I also completed my very last order this past week . . .  Sandra had ordered 3 large sized cushions from me to go on the back of a sofa bed in her sleepout - she requested that they be approx 25 x 25 inches, in wool blanketing & a pale blue colour scheme

I decided to make up a patchwork effect using a variety of blue blankets I had in my stash - these cushions turned out huge & took a mountain of stuffing ... but Sandra was delighted with them

Her main concern was how to sneak them in without her husband noticing ... I couldn't offer any suggestions but I wished her lots of luck  :-)

Having no more group bookings or orders is actually a first for me ... I have never been in this position before & thought I would feel rather concerned ... but I actually feel quite calm about it ... perhaps this will give me some time to really enjoy being creative for a change ??

I made up a few more sets of scented Spice Mats from my kiwiana fabrics as there were no more left in the Cottage ... these always tick along as they are a great gift for sending overseas.

You may recall two posts back when I mentioned my vintage cane shopping trundler ... a trademe purchase ... how I hadn't yet decided what to do with it   :-)
Well it was a post comment from dear  Shane that got me thinking ...
 & so I filled it with my dried hydrangeas & sat it on a sheltered area of my outside deck - I love the combination of blues & the different pastel shades
Thanks so much Shane for the inspiration

Although things here are rapidly turning brown & crisp I took some snaps of my wheelbarrow which is still flowering away happily - I water it each night & the begonias & lobellia are still thriving

Thanks so much to you all dear friends & readers for stopping by 
 I shall be back at the end of the week with the draw for my angel - best of luck to all those that have already entered - there is still time if anyone else would like to pop their name in the giveaway -
here are the post details for you to enter

Hoping you have a lovely week ahead,
much love & friendship to you all,
Julie x0x0x0x

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Giveaway, an anniversary & a "sort-of" birthday

Hello dear friends & readers,

I have decided to have a little give-away on my blog ... there are a couple of things I have to celebrate which made me decide to do this . . .

source Pinterest

Firstly this month is the 10 year anniversary since I had my accident - fell out of the hammock, & broke my neck
This in turn, lead to my little Cottage being constructed for me  :-)
(which in turn lead to me beginning my little blog about my life here at Threadbear Cottage)

Secondly it is coming up 2 years since I started my blog - kind of my 2-year birthday & seeing as I have never had a give-away before, not even for my 1st birthday, I decided it was long overdue

This lovely linen angel is based on the Rosalie Quinlan Peace Angel from the book Gift ... however I have altered her slightly ... she is dressed quite neutrally in a linen dress, doiley pinny, & her wings & bloomers are Lynette Anderson prints. Her hair is hand-dyed mohair & her little peace-stitched heart is raw linen. She has 2 mother-of-pearl buttons on her bodice

Although she has hung on the wall watching over me for the past few days ... she is equally as lovely just sitting ...

Would you like to win her perhaps ???
The Giveaway is open to Anyone & I will post to Anywhere in the world
All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment on this post & if you are a follower, let me know, & I will put your name in the draw for two entries.
You don't have to be a follower to enter but if you are, then you get two chances  :-)
Is that simple enough ???
Also I will be adding a few extra goodies in with the parcel - a couple of little surprise extras.
I will draw the give-away at the end of this month.
(incidently Peace Angel is 43 cms/ 17 inches in length)

Last week I posted about the 2 ring-neck doves that had come to live in my trees - this week they have become even more quieter & have let me get right up close to them at times

The dove in the background had lots of feathers missing around his neck - apparently he was very picked on by the other birds when in the aviary - I am so pleased to see them all growing back again slowly now he is free

Every night I give The Mr little reports about our daily "progress"
He assures me that it is not actually me they are so fond of, but rather the $12.00 worth of dove mix I bought for them at Bin Inn

According to him it is purely "cupboard love"

However these visitors to the garden this past week, have not been quite so welcome ... 

If you look at this next photo you will notice the tall solar lamp at the foot of the steps, just to the left - this was taken in spring a couple of years ago

The solar lamp had been a gift many years ago but unfortunately it had blown over many times & was no longer able to be straightened so we decided it had come to the end of its life
However, I saved the glass dome that was around the bulb as it was quite solid & had never broken in all the times the wind had blown it over

This week I gathered together the dome, a $2.00 glass dish & a $1.00 wine glass from the Op Shop - I had a little project in mind

I tipped the wine glass upside down & glued the plate to its base ... then I added a sparkly diamante star which I think had been a christmas decoration at some stage

All I need now I feel, is a pretty glass flower or bird perhaps, to adorn the top of the dome

I was rather chuffed with my $3.00 project  - what do you think??

This piece of vintage embroidery had sat in the bottom of a box of linens for many moons - I had always loved it & wanted to do something with it
The thread I have used is an Op Shop purchase - almost like a linen type of yarn - very old

Although I had soaked it, it still had a couple of marks & was very thin & worn in places, but I really loved the design on it
The fabric was so thin it almost felt like it had been stitched on an old flour bag
I cut around the best of it, turned it under & blanket stitched it onto a lovely piece of wool blanketing in a similar colourway

I decided it could make up the last cushion on my couch

It hardly shows up the gorgeous striped blanket unfortunately

Looking at my photos I am thinking that perhaps I should add 4 large bakerlite buttons to the edges of the embroidery to complete it . . .  hmmm . . .  what do you think ??
I also stitched the original blanket label (which was in great condition still) to the back of the cushion

Lastly to share a couple of sneaky peeks of some prim dolls I am currently working on . . . 

Incidently the lime green is masking tape - no the dolls legs are not striped green/burgundy !!!!!

I hope to have the completed dolls to show you next post.

While grocery shopping last week I treated myself to one of these lovely fragrant candles at Pak-n-save ... for $4.99 they smell delicious & are so enjoyable
This one is the raspberry one but I have also tried the pumpkin spice one .... 

Wishing you a wonderful week dear friends & readers
Please do enter my give-away if it appeals to you
Thanks as always for your visits which I so appreciate
with much love/hugs/friendship,
Julie x0x

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