Thursday, January 28, 2016

Chaos & Calamity

Greetings dear friends & readers,

When The Mr & I moved to our home here 18 years ago now ... our lounge ceiling was dippy, droopy & saggy (a little like the two of us truth be told)
When we moved in here & ran a lick of paint around the lounge we simply got our paint rollers & shoved it really firmly back up as hard as we jolly well could because . . .
We planned to replace it "real soon"!!!
18 years later ... the time had finally come.  
The Mr in his wisdom, decided now would be a good time to do a small lounge extension.
We got our plans drawn up, found a builder, got our permit, lost our builder, found another one  .... then proceeded to wait 13 long months for work to commence
Waiting for work to commence with a large section of deck removed

Last week . . . work actually begun !!!
This is currently my lovely back door interior exit

This is currently my lovely back door exterior entrance

These are currently my lovely french doors leading off my lounge

And this is currently my especially lovely garden area

Due to all the trauma of workers & their power tools & suchlike . . . . guess what has happened ???
Yep ... you guessed right !!!
Cats back on the table .... lace cloth and all !!!

In the midst of the chaos & the calamity of it all ... I have managed to complete a couple of orders
My friend Pauline requested baby rattles for newly born twin girls as well as another customer Fay, who requested a baby girl rattle also.
I made up 4 pink & one blue for them to have a selection to choose from.
The pattern is from this beautiful book from Amy's blog nanacompany

My friend Joyce has moved to a new home & I wanted to give her a small housewarming gift.
I remembered that her new kitchen was in modern greys with a touch of red so decided to decorate her a teatowel
The pattern for this design is a free download from KerryAnne's lovely blog Shabby Art Boutique .  .  .

.  .  .  though KerryAnne's teatowel has 5 houses across it, I could only fit 4 on mine. 
I also stitched "Joyce's Kitchen" onto my teatowel.
As Joyce is a wonderful gardener I popped in a cake of lemon myrtle "Gardeners Soap" as well.
While in town today running some errands I delivered Joyces housewarming gift to her  ... she was delighted with her present & immediately hung her teatowel on her oven door handle.

My little grandson Alec has just turned 8 months old. He experienced his first trip to the seaside over Christmas ... his parents took him to Raglan beach.  I loved the photos they shared with me of their outing ...
Needless to say, he slept very well that night !!!

Thank you dear friends for visiting with me today ... I hope to keep you updated on our building progress but I am a little concerned that I do not currently have enough chocolate stashes to see me through this entire process.
I shall have to rectify that.
Wishing you all a wonderful end to your week,
with much love & friendship,
Julie, Blackie & Pippi Longstocking

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Making a pact with myself ................

Greetings dear friends & readers
Please tell me what is different (And wonderful) about the picture below ???

For those of you that noticed ... Yes indeedy there is No cat basket on the table !!!!!!!!
 Just a lovely jug of flowers,  a candle & Not a cat hair in sight !!!!
(long may it last)
Last week, I made a pact with myself .  .  .

pact ... to agree .... an agreement or compact between two or more parties or nations ...

The pact was that I would remove two items per day from my sleepout & either give them away, throw them away or do something with them
It began easily enough .... there are a zillion empty cardboard boxes in there, so it was simple enough to just remove several of those.
Until The Mr pointed out to me ... it's all very well stacking up piles on the deck table but you actually need to do something with them!!!

So I began with the smallest articles first .  .  .
Two small wooden bowls & a serviette holder/ letter rack from the Church Op Shop
The little carved wooden bowl got painted using my Cottage Cream wallpaint, then lightly sanded & made into a pincushion using some of my pretty Tilda fabrics

I loved the way the rough sanding seemed to make the carving on the side show up more

The taller wooden bowl got the same treatment, but I added some pompom trim & braiding to the middle to break up the depth of it

The little wooden serviette holder (or letter rack) got painted & sanded quite heavily to give a real chippy paint effect
I then added some brass embellishments & found a cute pack of cottagey serviettes to complete it.

This wooden letter rack got the same paint & rough sanding ... then embellished with some wooden butterfly cutouts ... this is able to be hung on the wall or can stand up all by itself   :-)

And last - but by no means least - this cheap wooden slatted box got painted & very lightly sanded ... just to add a touch of shabby chic to it

 I lined the bottom with a lovely scrap booking paper ... actually a "christmas paper" apparently ... but on sale for half price !!
Just a simple embellishment for the ends completed it

I have been lucky enough to have been gifted two gorgeous vintage items this past week
The first is this unusual teapot ... an elderly customer wondered if I might like to paint & plant it ??

I am thinking with its twin spouts it might be useful for when I have large groups having a cuppa here?
The second item was this gorgeous old woollen blanket - a gift from my lovely friend, Marie

I had not seen a blanket in this beautiful mustard & grey colouring before & I just adore it.

Thank you so much for your visit here today ... the sun is out & I am off to garden in a shady spot .  .  .
.  .  .  in this garden here actually by the old wringer washing machine.
I hope the rest of the week is kind to you dear readers,
with much love & friendship,
Julie, Blackie & Pippi Longstocking

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Upcycles, Homeless Gloves & Gollies . . . . . .

Tuesday Greetings dear friends & readers
We have been lucky enough to have some odd rainy days this January but on the sunny days I have been attempting to complete some more "upcycles" from the mountain of Op Shop junk treasures in my sleepout

The metal shelf & wooden tray above were rescued by me from the Op Shop Bin just prior to christmas
The aluminium kettle (minus its lid) was found by The Mr when he was mowing an overgrown lawn for some friends of ours ... the kettle was lying under a hedge & looks as though it has been a planter at some stage of its life as it already had holes in its base

It was also under a good half inch of caked on dirt & grime
A good scrub & a very light sand ... then 2 coats of Amulet green & it was looking much improved

Once the baby's tears plant is a wee bit more established, it will look wonderful ... these Kettles do not sit for very long in my Cottage ... they soon get snapped up.

Everything that day got the Amulet treatment ... this wooden tray also got 2 coats & then lined with a lovely scrap booking paper

The two short ends were slatted & were a little fiddlier to paint

The little metal what-not shelf also got two coats of Amulet ... I remember my Grandmother having one of these shelves with all sorts of bric-a-brac on it ... she was a great hoarder collector my Grandmother ... I am wondering if perhaps that is where I get my hoarding collecting tendencies from??

An elderly customer gifted me a small bag of crochet doilies late last year.
Most of them were rust marked, torn & beyond repair but some were able to be rescued.
In the bottom of the bag was one lonely crochet glove ... it was quite stained but I was able to get it clean with a gentle soak.

As I was certain no-one would want to buy one glove without its mate, I filled it carefully with dried lavender ... then I gently gathered the top of it in with some perle cotton & stitched across the opening
A vintage pearl button & small crochet flower just completed it ... I really love this single lavender glove & the fragrance is heavenly.

The Doves have returned after a long absence 

I counted 8 here this morning which is great because before they all left ... we were up to 22 !!!!!
I have bought some more Dove Mix from Binn Inn & a certain little 4-legged Miss is back on the rampage again ... 
I snapped these pics just this morning
Click on the pic to enlarge it & YES - that is her - up the tree !!!!
I am sure if Pippi ever learnt to speak English the first words that came out of her mouth would be "it wasn't me ... Blackie did it!!!"

As I walk across the lawn to the Cottage throughout the day I could smell this beautiful fragrance ... I realised last week it was a lily bulb that I had shifted last winter when I took out an entire corner garden.
A customer commented on it yesterday & that it was unusual to have so many buds on the one stem ... she counted 18 in total.
It is obviously thriving in the shadier spot I have shifted it to.

A surprise package arrived late last week from my friend Carolyn in the South Island.
I was not expecting anything as we no longer exchange christmas gifts.
Upon opening the parcel, this little face smiled out at me .  .  .
It appears Carolyn had popped in to the local Recycle Centre at the Rubbish Dump & this fellow was sitting on top of a pile of stuff to be sorted ... she posted him off to me with this little note enclosed

Yes Carolyn ... always room for "one more" !!! It was just priceless & made me smile all day long.
I shall find him his own special chair & his note will stay tucked into his little jacket always.
Hope you find something to make you smile all day long this coming week dear readers,
Thanks so much for stopping by today ... I am off to vacuum out my Cottage as my first group is due tomorrow
 (help !!**!!)
with much love & friendship to you all
Julie, Blackie & Miss ratbag Pippi 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year 2016

Greetings dear friends & readers & A Happy New Year to you all

The festive season has passed us by in the blink of an eye .... phew I can hear some of you saying
Rather than make any resolutions (which I generally keep to for approximately 3 weeks on a good year) ... I prefer this year to live by the words I read on Rhonda's blog .....

"Lets be against sweeping changes & in favour of doing things in small steps.
Lets not discourage ourselves by trying for too much or subject ourselves to the tyranny of somebody else's big ideas."
(Wendell Berry)
It certainly struck a chord with me & sounded very appealing.

I received some lovely goodies for christmas this year
- a stack of books both new & 2nd-hand
- beautiful soy Ecoya candles
- the latest Adele C.D. (apologies for the blob of light in her face!!!)
- gorgeous handmade christmas decorations from a clever friend.

The past 10 days have seen a good tidy up of my sewing room & some gentle stitching appear
After my mammoth tidy up on Boxing Day I decided to make myself a new ironing board cover ... I had come across some vintage Op Shop fabric that I had long ago squirrelled away so decided to use some of this up as I adored the floral pattern

I had lots of help from Blackie who "warmed" the fabric up for me first

I also added another layer of wadding to give my poor old flattened board a bit of a boost
Its funny how something so simple - I just layed the old cover on the ground & drew around the outside of it - can bring so much pleasure 

The entire task took about 30 minutes from start to completion

Heart & Dove decorations made from scraps of an old grey army blanket
These decorations were stitched by hand, just a little late gift for a friends first christmas in her new home
The pattern is a free download available from here

My daughter in law Sarah has her birthday on the very last day of the year
I had given Sarah my old Janome Sewing Machine a little while ago & she has been attempting to spend some time using it so I made her up a little sewing kit for her birthday
The needlecase pattern is from Gail Pan's book Patchwork loves Embroidery which Sarah had gifted to me for my last birthday

Apart from the purchase of the sewing notions, all the fabrics, trims etc came from my scrap stash

Whilst tidying & sorting my sewing room I came across a large sack. I am sure I purchased this several years ago from Davids Emporium in Hamilton.  I seem to recall it was the princely sum of $2.00.
I looked at this sack & "cushions" came into my head
(Yes .... I know ... please don't comment on this sentence!!!)
I decided to make some squashy cushions for my rustic outdoor chair . . . as it was raining at the time, I (unfortunately) had some assistance .  .  .  .

.  .  .  .  of the four legged variety .  .  .  .
.  .  .  . who thought the sack made a wonderful hidey place

One sack cut through the middle = 2 cushions
From The Warehouse you can purchase The Basics range of pillows ... a pair for $6 ... so I used one each inside the cushions as I wanted a soft squashy effect .  .  .
.  .  .  & also to simply tie the corners with some jute twine.
Really happy with my new cushions & the world is not going to end if they get left out in the odd rain shower !!!

Before I close I would just like to show you a photo of my window basket ... each year I plant red/white Impatiens in this basket as I find the red looks striking against the paint colour of my house.
This year when I went into Bunnings to buy some Impatiens the lady told me I was too early so I quickly chose a punnet of red petunias instead . . . thinking they would be equally as nice

The petunias are thriving in the basket . . . I am just not too sure when they will be turning red !!!!!
(But I do live in hope !!!!)
Thanks so much for stopping by today dear friends & readers
May the coming year be a wonderful one for us all filled with all things that bring us pleasure & good health
with much love & friendship,
Julie, Blackie & Miss Pippi