Thursday, August 27, 2015

Snippets from my Week

Greetings dear friends & readers
We have had some lovely sunshiney days this past week .... just little snippets to let us know that spring is hopefully just around the corner.

My Vintage Car Club Group last weekend went well & the rain held off for a few hours while the ladies visited the Cottage

They are such a friendly bunch & I always enjoy seeing them dressed up in their finery to drive their vintage cars for the day, whilst leaving the menfolk at home
I think after me, they were heading on somewhere to have a High Tea.

A couple of days prior to the groups visit, my blogging friend Sue decided to pop over my way for a visit
This was timely as I had had a baking day just the day before.
I dont often have baking days now ... as these are usually followed by "eating days" -  such is my willpower 
(or lack of !!!)
No-bake Muesli Slice                                                                                          Louise Cake
I had made Louise Cake (the Mr's favourite) & a delicious no-bake muesli slice (this recipe came out of the Tempo magazine)

Sue informed me that she had gathered lots of crafty bits & bobs to bring over to me . . . & I was certainly not disappointed
There was a treasure trove of goodies in the large carrier bag along with seeds from her garden, magazines, patterns & these cane trays below which Sue was happy to pass on to me

It was lovely to sit & have a catch-up again with Sue ... I was surprised Madam Pippi did not make an appearance - only to discover when Sue had left that she had been accidently shut in the sleepout !!!!  Poor wee thing was quite miffed she missed Sues visit.
Sue thank you so very much for all the goodies you gifted me - I have been diving into the bag lots of times in the past couple of days, & it still feels like christmas!!

Our winter vege garden has been a great source of pleasure & joy to me.
I seem to prefer to grow all my brassica's now during these colder months when the white butterfly isn't making a pest of itself.
We are currently eating broccoli daily & have caulis & cabbages ready along with silverbeet & spinach which I now grow all year round

It is exciting to see my garlic coming through as well as the curly kale that I planted last month thriving away
So when I knew Sue was coming, I quickly put together a "produce box" for her & tossed in a magazine & some of the muesli slice I had just made

As I forgot to take a photo myself, I have pinched borrowed Sues photo from her blog - you can read her post about our visit here
Once again, thanks Sue for a lovely visit - next time I promise to come with you to do the Opshops   :-) 

And the trays which Sue gifted me got a wax & 3 coats of paint this week . . . then a light sanding to give them the chippy look that I adore
The woven cane bases really soaked the paint in but I think this has made them quite wipeable now.

This past week, while hunting in the very back of the woodshed I found these two old aluminium kettles under some sacks of pinecones

I gave them both a good scrub & a light sand - I went through a phase once of painting everything with blackboard paint as I liked the matt black effect it gave - the black one is a cast-off from this phase

Now of all the people that enter my funny little home, 9 out of 10 of them will comment on the "doiley-fied" kettle sitting on my green stool which I have planted with babys tears
It just seems to fascinate them & draw their attention.
So I decided to do this to one of the aluminium kettles to pop for sale in the Cottage
I chose the plain one but I lightly sanded it & painted it with my Amulet green shade of paint ... the reason I painted it was because the aluminium was very pitted & I felt the paint would help to hide this
Which it did indeed !!
I was really pleased how it came out - I masked the lower handle first so I didn't get green on this.

The little plastic pots that your salad comes in at the supermarket fitted perfectly in the round opening of the kettle .  .  .
.  .  .  so this got planted with some baby's tears .  .  .

.  .  .  & then the "doiley-fying" just finished it off nicely .  .  . 

.  .  .  along with a rustic key tied to the handle. 
Next post I shall hopefully be able to show you what I did with the other (black) kettle 

Miss Pippi Longstocking is certainly feeling so much better now after recovering from her surgery - I notice she is not protective & guarding her tummy area anymore & tucks herself up with Fat Black now quite happily

Above is their sleeping positions at night, & during the days when I am painting outside on the deck table, they like to supervise & take a wee nap while watching the paint dry !!

Thank you all so much for visiting today & staying with me through my lengthy ramble.
I hope the coming weekend brings good (& creative) things to you all
with much love & friendship,
Julie, Fat Blackie & Pippi Longstocking

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Special Doll

Rainy Wednesday Greetings dear friends & readers

Well over a year ago Quite some time ago my friend Christine asked me to make her a very special doll
Her instructions were .  .  .
- she must be in blues (but I could add a touch of maroon)
- she must be a large country doll (not primitive)
- she must look like a girl doll (again not primitive)
- she would like dolls appliqued on her dress (!!!)

After I had finished making the cot blanket for my grandson here I felt confident enough to tackle the applique.
A lengthy look through my doll patterns unearthed an old pattern I had long ago been given - "Millicent" by Lyn Hyland of Lil Blokes.
 I decided to use this as a guide for the doll as at 85 cms long, she was certainly one tall girl

I finally finished my version of Millicent (Milly) today after spending several weeks to-ing & fro-ing on her

I am hoping she meets with Christines approval .... I altered the pattern quite a bit & changed my mind about several things along the way as I often tend to do
As pictured above, I left half the entire back seam of the skirt open so that when she sits, the applique dolls are displayed nicely & not half hidden from view

I was able to bring in the "touches of maroon" in the appliqued dolls clothing

I originally cut down a crochet doiley to make her a collar & had this sitting in place .  .  .  but then changed my mind as I felt she was a "country doll" & this was giving her more of a vintagey look
In the end, I didn't give her blouse a collar at all.

I thought she was complete, & she sat on a chair for a day or more, while I walked past her.
 But I felt she needed "something in her hands" somehow .  .  . though nothing covering up the appliqued skirt - 
not a handbag, not a toy, not a doiley .  .  . I was very undecided ???

These chunky wooden hearts were unearthed in my sewing drawer - I think they had been on a wallhanging in a previous life.  
I drilled some holes in the maroon one & added some raggy strips to make a small country swag for her  .  .  .  this is only pinned in place at present as I am still a teeny bit undecided .  .  .

.  .  .  & may wait to see what Christine thinks.
What do you think dear readers . . . swag or no swag ???

I do love Milly & her country colours - she will look perfect in Christines beautiful home.

After all my painting endeavours last post using the beautiful Escape colour, I found this old toolbox in my sleepout

In fact, it has been in there for so long I am actually unsure whether I bought it, it was given to me ... or just grew out of the piles of detritus in the corner of the sleepout!!!
It was ratty & tatty but I felt it could be given a make-over.
I waxed it & painted it my gorgeous Escape colour ... the Mr pointed out to me I had "forgotten" to paint the inside base, but I was planning to insert a lining, so why waste paint

This vintage cotton sheet was the perfect match for the blue colour so I made a padded cardboard base, covered it & glued it in place
As the edges were rough & uneven I disguised these with a lovely braid I found in my stash ...
winding the braid around the handle reminded me of a vine climbing along a trellis

Last week my dear friend Shirley popped in for a brief visit - the box was sitting on my dining table in a stage of half completion.
Shirley loved it so much, she asked if she could buy it (when finished) for her new craft room
I was so pleased it would be going to such a lovely home

When I hand-delivered it a few days later, Shirley showed me where she was planning to put it .... it looked simply perfect in her craft room holding some creative bits & bobs.
Likewise this table got completed, but this one I did in the lovely green shade, Amulet

We had some brief patches of sunshine this past week & dear little Pippi enjoyed sitting out in it watching me paint

She is looking so much better after recovering from her surgeries

Well folks, with my first group due this Sunday the Cottage is looking full, but all I can say is thank goodness they are not a Garden Circle !!!! The Garden IS a sorry sight indeed.
Thank you all for stopping by today - I hope the rest of the week is kind to you all
with much love & friendship,
Julie, Blackie & Pippi Longstocking 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Feeling Blue

Good afternoon dear friends & readers,
It really all started with this "little article" below . . .

A gift from a friend earlier in the year . . . she thought it "looked like a bit of me" ??
Now even though I love the colour blue, for some reason I have no blue in my house except for a ruffle curtain at my bathroom window.
So the "little article" got put in the bathroom & everytime I looked at it I thought to myself  "I really do love that shade of blue"

Off I trot to my local hardware store, "little article" in hand. 
Now the men in there are well used to me by now with my grand schemes & my budgets of zero ... usually, they hide from me.
However, there is a new man working there - a lovely young man who took the time to go through the colour charts with me & attempt to mix me a testpot
Resene "Escape" we thought might be the right shade of blue ... Yes I liked the sound of that !!!!

Backing up a bit from this story now . . . my friend Joyce works in the Church Op Shop in my little town.
This shop is only open 2 mornings a week & is not large, but I would definately consider it the cheapest Oppie in our town.
When I went in a couple of weeks back to deliver some books & clothing articles, Joyce asked me if I was interested in the two tables below ... $5 each

As you can see I had begun to sand one down here already

Although they certainly weren't shouting out to me to buy them, come home with me they did.
Joyce's boss Raewyn asked me what I did with the wooden bits ... I explained how I paint them up & revamp them.
She came out with an assortment of oddities that I could have, that she said "they couldn't even sell for 50c"
These items below were in the assortment ...

AFTER a good scrub - they weren't quite this clean to begin with

Sometimes when I get given things, they eventually DO end up on my burning heap - some things are just beyond repair or revamping.
I wasn't too sure about the fate of this little wooden bowl below

Firstly, I decided to have a go with the two breadboards using my new pot of Escape
The blue is Escape & the Green is Amulet

Three coats of paint per board later & I was really pleased with how they turned out.  I decided not to sand the edges & just stay with the colour ... I added a simple teatowel wound around each board as I thought this might make an attractive gift.
Many years ago I used to make artificial bread twists & varnish with a thick lacquer - I found a bagful in my cupboard & added one to each string tie - purely as embellishment.

The bowl was destined for the burning heap but then I had an idea (an epiphany as my son would say)  ... I painted the bowl with my Escape & then lightly sanded the edges.  I also drilled 4 holes in each little scallop edge

With the addition of a small silver charm tied to each hole, I thought this might make a sweet little trinket dish 

perhaps the ideal gift for a young girl for her jewellery ??

One of the tables also got the Escape treatment . . .

I actually undercoated both little tables with my cream wall paint twice to give a coating to the dark wood underneath.  This makes it easier to apply any colour & gives a good base for the paint to adhere to.

Though my original intention was to leave the tables plain like the bread boards, I ended up just ever so lightly sanding the edges.  I liked the way it gave a slightly time-worn appeal to the whole look of the table - don't take off too much, just a very light rub is best.

On any given day the scene above is what my dining room looks like - it can be pouring down outdoors but I can still manage my small paint projects by the fire ... occasionally I have to pick the odd cat hair out of the end result !!!
You can see by the picture that I undercoat the darker articles first with my cream wall paint.

These two dark cane baskets were in an Op Shop bargain bin quite some time ago.  I didn't especially like the dark colour so gave each one a fresh coat of coloured paint ... Escape & Amulet - the gorgeous green I am eternally indebted to dear Catherine for recommending to me.

The green one I lined with my treasured Tilda fabric & the blue one got a base made from some vintage sheeting fabric .... a nice fresh look to a dated old cane basket I thought.

You will be pleased to read dear friends that Miss Pippi is definately over the worst of her surgery now . . .

.  .  .  even if somedays she needs a little rest whilst climbing out of her bed !!!!

With a few more projects needing my attention, I am off to Escape some more
Thank you so much for popping by today - your visits most certainly make my day
Be kind to yourselves & to each other,
with love & friendship,
Julie, Blackie & Pippi x0x0x

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Haybarn Chair

A Very Rainy Wednesday Good Afternoon dear friends & readers

After my make-over on the $2 chair in this post here, The Mr came home with this "rather lovely" chair tossed on the back of his ute

It had been sitting in the haybarn at the farm since time began for a very long time, & birds had used it for free parking as well as the numerous spiders that had taken up residence in it
Even Blackie was intrigued with its many smells . . .

Definately smells of mice I think !!!!

First up, a good scrub using a strong mixture of sugar soap & disinfectant .  .  .

.  .  .  which kind of transformed it somewhat

I bought it inside & have spent the past days while I have been on "Pippi confinement" painting it by the fire.
 I have done this over several days as it needed four coats & I had a helper that was unfortunately, not optional, 
so it has been a long process as I am sure you can imagine

Little bit missed on the back here Mum
I often wonder what they thought at the Vets while Pippi was under anaesthetic & they got to witness all the bits of white paint on her??!!

When I was satisfied with the coverage, I left it for an entire 24 hours to harden by the fire.  
This wouldn't be quite so necessary if it wasn't winter-time.
Next on the list was to sand & distress the edges, just lightly, not too shabby.

As I envisaged this as a kind of bedroom chair, sort of soft & feminine, I decided to use a selection of doilies & vintage linens to cover the squab
sort of a similar effect to the footstool in this post here

I attached these to a calico backing as it needed to disguise the red of the squab ... overlocked the edges, then spent several hours hunting in The Mr's shed for his staplegun 
(which incidently, I am sure he hides from me!!!)

The covered squab - a nice patchwork effect & lovely if you can't decide which doiley you actually prefer to use .... Use them all I say !!!

But,  as usual - "something" was missing . . . ah yes, a cushion perhaps??
 I had put aside these 4 gorgeous vintage serviettes which were amongst my linens - I thought they might make a lovely little squashy cushion for the back of the chair - more for looks than practicality to be honest

The addition of a beautiful vintage bakelite coat button & my squashy patchwork cushion was complete . . . 

Hard to photograph on this grey rainy winters day but viola . . .

Another chair saved from landfill . . . this little petal will be going for sale in my Cottage
And speaking of little petals .... thank you SO much for your kind words & well wishes on my last post regarding little Pippi's surgery

She gets her wound stitches out this Friday & then hopefully, she will be back to "as normal as it gets for Pippi".  
As you can see above, she is continuing to milk it for all its worth make the most of the care & attention
And as for Blackie . . . well some pictures speak for themselves

And look Willie, leg in the air today   :-)
Thank you for brightening this rainy day today with your visits,
I hope you enjoyed my little repurposing story & that you look twice at those chairs next time you are sending them off to the dump
Have a wonderful rest of the week dear friends,
with love & friendship,
Julie, Blackie & Miss Pippi Longstocking