Wednesday, February 18, 2015

And then, there was one . . . . ( a Eulogy )

A sad, sad Hello to you dear friends & readers,

A few days ago I had to say Goodbye to my precious little Jinxy Girl after she was killed on our road.
My heart is heavy with grief as I type this.

It seems difficult to believe that I snapped this photo just one day prior to her death
I had been wandering around the garden looking for something inspiring to photograph & saw her watching me from under my old wooden wheelbarrow
What struck me was how well she looked after many months of caring for her & trying to get her to put weight on.

As I never knew the date she was born ... a litter of 4 wild kittens just appeared in my front garden last autumn ... I can only guess she would have been about a month shy of her first birthday when she died.

I left food every day in the front garden but their Mum kept shifting them as she didn't like me trying to interact with them. And then the frosts came & I found them one morning, all sleeping in my old dogs kennel, that I had still kept.
(click on the pic to enlarge to see how really tiny she was)
It became apparent how much smaller you were than the others ... you were such a wee dot.
A puff of wind could've blown you over 
(in fact one day, a puff of wind actually blew you sideways as I watched you trying to run across the lawn)
You seemed constantly chilled & would let me bring you inside by the fire or the heater ... but you would only last about 10 minutes & you would be gone again, searching for the others . . .
. . . who frequently went off & left you all alone for long periods of time

We fed all 4 of you day & night ... but your Mum didn't like it & still took you away lots ... you were all quite wild really.
I named you Little Sickie with your sad face & your weepy eyes

Your sister "Whitey" was killed by a truck at the depot yard, & I found a good home for "Squawker" to live.  
That left just you & your brother, Blackie.  I invested in a cat cage & finally managed to get you into the Vets.

You had bad cat flu & bronchitus & she gave me 2 weeks of special antibiotics to give you.
After 24 hours you disappeared again, so I made the decision to lock you & Blackie inside for the time being. 

Then, it became pandemonium for awhile  . . .
I kept you shut inside through a cold wet winter for about 8 weeks in total.
You loved it & thrived  .  .  .  Blackie - he barely tolerated it.  
As your health improved we renamed you little "Jinxy"

We tipped our little house "on its ear" making games & tunnels for you both to play in 

You were always right there being a pain assisting me whatever I was doing, you loved my crafty pastimes

You were mischievious, rascally & often just plain naughty ... but like with any naughty child,  I always forgave you when I saw you sleeping - your sweet little face & your curled up toes never failed to melt my heart 

From day one, I always noticed how you loved to sleep in contact with one of your siblings, always tucked up right next to someone

Yes -  we had you speyed ... this took two attempts at the Vets, you almost didn't survive the first anaesthetic

You were such a treasure little Jinxy, my dear sweet girl.  

I had never experienced kittens before, I had always inherited other peoples "cast off cats" that needed rehoming.

You tipped my world on its head but you bought me endless joy & pleasure 
I felt a tight knot of such deep love for you right in the centre of my chest where I imagine my heart to be.
We miss you so very much already.

And as for dear Blackie .  .  .  he is just lost & lonely.
He wonders where his nutty, dippy, loopy sister has gone to.  We are giving him extra special love, care & attention.

Sometimes I was sure there were multiple personalities inside that tiny wee head of yours dear Jinxy ... 
& I loved every single one
photo borrowed from Sue's blog

I shall think of you every year when I put the lights on my christmas tree & I will remember to leave a special place underneath it in memory of you

Rest in peace my sweet little Jinxy girl
Thank You for the immense joy you bought me in your short lifetime

I shall carry your memory with me in a special place in my heart.
with much love,
Julie & Blackie

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Topping Up . . . Stocking Up

Hello there dear friends & readers

Yesterday was Valentines Day here in my part of the world & possibly, in your part ... it is today
I would like to reach out & wish you all a Very Happy Valentines Day 
in whichever way you might choose to celebrate it

This delightful picture was sent to me by my dear blogging friend & fellow cat lover Willie ... & I would like to share it with you all
Thanks so much dear Willie . . . I adore this picture !!

Sometimes the Cottage can feel like it is ticking along quietly but not really a great deal flying out the door  ... just a kind of steady plodding along.
Then suddenly I can look & there are gaps everywhere ... mostly my "regular stock" ... for example teatowels, handtowels, wheatbags etc ... nothing particularly creative, but just good steady items that slowly flow out the door & that my regulars like to keep on hand for unexpected gifts.
This is what happened last week & after having a small seizure when I saw the amount of gaps ... I thought I had better concentrate a little & fill UP some of those gaps

My handtowels are a regular seller - since taking this photo on Friday, these 3 are gone 

As I had an over-abundance of flouro green handtowels I made up some more kiwiana ones, & sets of my Scented Spice Mats to match them

In total I made 8 sets of the Spice Mats in a variety of different fabrics
The Kiwi & the Pukeko ones are now on their way to the U.K. - a lovely customer who popped in on Friday wanting lightweight, locally made gifts to take home with her  . . .

I made another 5 Golly teatowels to bring the basket total up to 8

After all these years of making Golly teatowels, I still really love them   :-)

Though the weather is certainly not conducive, I have been selling lots of wheatbags lately ... I can only imagine people have injuries or sore areas, that need the heat applied

Mainly I like to use the flannelette fabrics as find these are cosier & more comforting to handle

Just before my Garden Ramble last November, I potted up some of my china cups with delicate babys tears plants ... I wasn't sure how these would sell but had some vintage china cups left over from making my teacup birdfeeders so decided to give it a try ...

The four I potted up had sold, so I decided to do another 3 ... it takes a wee while for the plants to get established enough to sell them
(I must add here that one lady came back recently with hers ... a sorry looking state ... "Ummm my plant died" she said ... I gave her another plant I had growing in a plastic pot so do hope she remembers to actually water this next one !!!!)

In the evenings, by the time I get inside from watering & get to actually sit down my eyes are too tired to focus alot 
I need some gentle handwork that doesn't require too much concentration
The wool blanket hearts are perfect for this & I try to keep a basket full ready by my chair for evening stitching ...

As the bowl in the Cottage only had 3 left, this gave me the chance to do a lovely assortment using up some of my wool blanket scraps ... stuffed with this seasons dried lavender they smell heavenly

My lovely friend Lorraine popped in the other day - she had been on a trip to Perth & had purchased some linens from an Op Shop that was closing down ... she had taken out what she required & my name popped into her head ... what a treasure she is ... just look at these delights ...

Thank You SO MUCH Lorraine for your kindness & generosity ... I shall keep you posted on what I do with them but honestly, some of them are just too beautiful to cut in to

Thanks so very much for your visit today dear friends & readers

I shall leave you with a picture of dear little Miss "butter-wouldn't-melt-in-your-mouth" Jinxy ...  

who sends you all good wishes for the coming week ahead - may it be filled with pleasureable moments
with much love & friendship to you,
Julie, Jinxy & Blackie x0x0x
(p.s  thank you all for your lovely & encouraging comments about Lois's wedding dress doll in my last post ... Lois cried when she collected her doll.  Happy tears I should add!!)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Lois's Wedding Dress Doll (& a tutorial)

Good Tuesday afternoon to you dear friends & readers

Way back sometime mid last year, my friend Lois bought me an order to do for her
You can read about part of Lois's order in this post here 

Scrunched up in the bottom of the plastic bag was Lois's wedding dress.
Although I completed the rest of the order, I can't tell you how many times that dress came out of my sewing room cupboard, then was thrown right back in again . . .(& the door slammed shut tightly !!!)
I decided I had procrastinated enough !!!***
The dress itself was in a sorry state .  .  .

Front View of Dress                                                                          Back view
Lois got married nearly 50 years ago now ... & although the dress in its day, would've been beautiful ... it was now neglected & yellowed with age . . .

This time - for a change - its not my photography making it look yellowed . . . it actually IS very yellow
Though the train was gorgeous, there was very little lace detailing to work with, apart from using the flowers off the train, & the lace up the sleeves. The rest of the dress was quite plain.
I decided I was going to need to make a decent size doll, to do it justice ... so I chose Charlotte by Rosalie Quinlan designs as she is 70 cm's in length
I tentatively cut out my pieces, then I needed to try to clean the fabric.
I dissolved a strong mixture of Napisan in hot water, then made it up to luke warm.  I soaked my pieces overnight, then just rinsed them really well in cold water, then hung them on the line in the sun to dry.  They came out spotless.
(phew . . . what a relief!!)

I made the entire dress using the heavy satin & then used one lace sleeve for a "pinny" at the front.
The sleeves were made from a fine silky organza fabric.
The cuffs became the bodice & I managed to use one button-up cuff for the back so the dress is removable.

I handstitched some of the ribbon roses that were in good condition still, to the hem of the dress

I used more of the heavy satin for her pantaloons & edged them with a vintage lace.  Recently Lois had given me an old powder box filled with some lace pieces that had belonged to her late Mum & this length of lace was in there.

The remaining sleeve was used to fashion some dainty ribbon roses which I used in her hair as a kind of "fascinator" headpiece (& I added some feathers)
When she was finished I realised she needed something to hold in her hands . . .

I still had some larger size ribbon roses that I had removed from the train so I wired these with some florist wire . . .

. . . & made her a bouquet to hold

I love her . . . but I now have a deep respect for the women that sew wedding dresses . . .
 working with the heavy satin & sewing the slippery organza over the top of it all very nearly did my head in !!!! 

-  Beautiful  -

. . .  A Suitcase Planter Tutorial  . . .

My friend Lynda phoned & asked me if I would like a Vulcanite Suitcase she was going to dump??
I said "yes please" - even though I didn't actually know what a Vulcanite Suitcase was  :-)

When Lynda's husband dropped it off he said the lid was split & broken & it was only really fit for the dump . . . 
but I thought perhaps it could look cute planted with flowers ??

Cut your timber lengths on a slant at the top for the lid to sit on

I drilled in two lengths of timber to hold the lid open - I use my ordinary kindling for this job as I find it is sturdy, but not too thick to drill either

Line the case with two big black rubbish bags & puncture some holes in the bottom of the bags - clothes pegs are good to hold the bags from slipping as you fill the case with your potting mix.

Work out the placement of your plants ... you could use just punnets of flowers but as I wanted instant colour, Mitre 10 stores throughout the country currently have 10 potted colour for $10 . . . which I thought was a bargain

Viola . . . one suitcase of flowers ready to grow & spill out . . . one Vulcanite Suitcase saved from landfill.
I just lift the lid to water it every couple of days.
You can read another post about suitcase planting I have done here

Thanks SO much for your visit today folks - rather a photo heavy post I am sorry.
Before I go ... could Trish (who commented on my last blog post) please email me ( - Trish I am unable to answer your question as you are coming up as a no-reply blogger.

I will leave you today with Jinxy "pondering her stressful life" . . .
Click on the photo to enlarge it - if you wish  :-)

with much love & friendship to you all dear readers.
Julie x0x0