Thursday, August 17, 2023

A Bird-House Creating Workshop

Greetings lovely friends & readers

Every few days I pick some fresh stems of Daphne - I like to keep a small vaseful on my kitchen bench & each time I'm working there I lean in & have a big sniff 😉💗 ... as far as I'm concerned the daphne season is over way too fast.

My dearest friend Sandy moved away down the South Island earlier this year & I miss her dreadfully.
Before she left she gave me a big bucketful of bulbs, mainly daffodils. I picked out some large sized ones & planted them in my wheelbarrow as the begonias I had in there were not doing well.  I am so delighted with my daffy display & think of Sandy every time I walk past it, & smile 💛

A couple of Saturday's ago I attended a workshop out at The Floral Shed.  Very longtime readers of my blog will remember Nita when she first opened the Hummingbird - I wrote a blog post on it *here*.  Nita has now established a large garden at her rural property, opened a Shop there, as well as supplying Florists & running Workshops.  When I saw a space available in the Birdhouse making one, I put my name down without thinking too hard about it.
Driving out there I felt a little anxious as I did not know any of the other ladies doing the workshop. 
Seeing it all set up around the work table, I felt immediately inspired.  My first attempt came together quite quickly but then I realised I'd put my sides on wrongly ... Nita easily recitified this & gave me a new kit.  It was so much fun banging in nails - you actually had to hit them really hard to go into the wood.

The photo above was taken by Ayla who does photography & social media for Nita via her own business fablefolknz 
I was so totally engrossed in drilling that I did not know it was being taken but I did ask Ayla for permission to use her photo in my post, which she very kindly gave me.   

After our birdhouses were assembled we all stopped for a delicious morning tea.  Look at that food - I can attest that it was amazing!

After morning tea the fun part (for me) began when we got to decorate & embellish our birdhouses.  Nita had a great array of rustic bits & bobs for us to choose from.  Some ladies kept theirs quite plain, others went over the top - they all looked wonderful.

(That is me second from the right for those that don't know me 😉)

Although I knew none of the other ladies I think I hit the jackpot because they were all just so lovely & friendly, inspiring & fun to be with.  Here we all are, so proud of our birdhouses - we all agreed that it was indeed a wonderful way to spend a morning & that we don't do this sort of thing for ourselves, often enough. 

Here is my finished birdhouse - I wanted to add the No 91 to it because - well that is my address! I found some silver numbers that you put on birthday cakes & painted them matt black.  I just adore my birdhouse in all its "rustic-ness".  I would do another workshop with Nita in a heartbeat. 

Currently I have it sitting on my deck area under my vintage Mangle.  

My lovely friend Shirley was visiting so I made some banana & white chocolate muffins as I had banana's turning brown.  A few days later I was hunting for a caramel slice recipe online & came across a new-to-me recipe  Caramel Anzac Slice. It sounded divine & as I had all the ingredients, I made it up.  By the amount of pieces that have passed my lips I can certainly attest that it was delicious 😏

I would like to be able to say that we have harmonious relations in our furry family but I would not be telling the truth.  Thankfully Little One can go outside now & it's made my life a little easier.  I bring him in about 5 o'clock & he has a rest by the fire before causing havoc for the rest of the evening, then bedtime.  You can see by the blue arrow he hides under this unit, thinking he is invisible. We don't as yet allow him in the lounge as it gives Pippi & Blackie a room to get away from him.  He of course, has other ideas!

Pippi is "milking it for all it's worth" & knows I will allow her on the things she is not usually allowed on, for example my Mums good mohair throw blanket.  I still live in hope but I must admit - it's wearing thin some days  😖

My chocolate addiction consumption continues & this arrived in my inbox yesterday sent from The Mr. I think it was supposed to make me feel better .... it did not  😉

Thank you as always dear friends, for your visits here today,
Enjoy the rest of the week & remember to be kind to yourselves & each other,
With much love & friendship to you all,
Julie & the furry three x0x0x0

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Hosting The Craft Group Ladies

Greetings lovely friends & readers

Well it would seem that I blinked & July ended 😕 - the year is slipping by so very fast.

It was my turn to host the craft group ladies in July & I just managed this on the very last day.  When I look back at the busloads of Garden Groups that I used to host it is hard to believe how much work it felt like just to get ready for 7 ladies!!!  It felt like a marathon effort.

 In my attempts to tidy up prettify things a bit round here I went off to the Garden Centre with a birthday gift voucher from my friend Gail.  I could not resist the super healthy looking maidenhair fern above, as my last one was looking rather dead sad.

I also used the voucher to buy these lovely cyclamen above - just the pop of colour my outdoor space needed at the moment 💗

Mine is the one on the right - an old frame of Mums that I repurposed

We had previously decided to make this craft meeting a Mid-winter Christmas theme so I chose the "Joy" frames as our project.  Everyone had to bring along their own painted frame.  We had a lovely time glueing vintage music papers to our frames, stamping the word "Joy" & then making the tiny wreaths to go on them.  I love how everyone's turned out slightly different as each of the ladies put their own spin on it.  

Our challenge issued last month was from Gail.  She handed everyone a Daphne's Diary magazine & we all had to make a project out of it.  Gail works at the Op Shop & a large pile of almost-new Daphne's Diary magazines had been donated.  This is my copy above.

Wanting to try something a bit different, I chose the leaf art above.  I found a tree down the far end of my section with these large green leaves on it so I pressed & dried them for a week.  I was really pleased with how the painting turned out but unfortunately I put them too close to our fire to dry the paint & they burnt & crinkled up quite a bit.  You can see the brown markings above where they burnt.  So I decided to try another project.

The patchwork coasters caught my eye so I found my scrap bag of Tilda fabrics - Yes I save every scrap!  These were a fun & simple project to whip up - I used wadding in the middle & a pretty floral backing.  These would look lovely tied up with a scrap of lace & gifted together with a pretty coffee mug. 

I had originally planned to give the ladies another project after lunch so I trialled the snowflakes made from wooden clothes pegs.  You can find the instructions * Here *.  I found that the wooden pegs were very rough & required lots of sanding once I'd glued them, then when I painted them I wasn't that happy with the end result so I ended up mod-podging a paper serviette over it to hide the faults.
Though I was able to show the finished project we did not end up creating it - perhaps another month we may make it as our group project.  

This is our lunch table

I know I have said this before, but one thing we always get right at our meetings is the food!  We all bring a shared plate & everyone bought something christmas-themed along.  It was wonderful to have the hot food as it was a cold bleak day here.  

Our morning tea table above - Yes Willie, I made Scroggin Slice !
 I reached my hand into my christmas decorations box & pulled out a few little bits to decorate our table & make it feel a bit more mid-winter christmassy.

I picked Sid up at lunchtime on Tuesday as they had parent-teacher interviews.  He wanted to craft so we made this "penguin" above from toilet roll tubes.  Sid has named him "Frank" 😉

I captured this photo of Pippi last week ... she had been creeping up on Little One on the deck & thought that she was hidden behind The Mr's farm gumboots.  She was Not impressed when he ran away inside & she couldn't stalk him any longer. 

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead dear friends - remember to be kind to yourselves & to each other,

With much love & friendship to you all,

Love Julie & the furry ones (all 3 of them!) x0x0x

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Arts And Crafts

Greetings lovely friends & readers

Whenever I ask Sid what he would like to do today he always replies "Arts & Crafts".  I save a myriad of boxes, tubes & other containers that I think he might enjoy creating with.

The other day he made a "marble run" ... a contraption made of tubes etc for his marbles to go down - even including a sharks mouth for the marble to run through. I am always amazed at his imagination & he never needs any prompting.
Every Tuesday after school we go to Lego Club which is held in a part of our local Library.  Afterwards we go into the Library & he chooses books to get out.  The Christmas craft book above left caught his eye as he wanted to make the Snow Globe Terrarium in it.  Off to the Op-shop we go to buy a large glass jar for $2.  Thankfully Granny had everything else required to make it.

Sid wanted to "re-enact" the scene shown in the book so I found my other bottle brush trees & we did a matching display.  The snow globe has fairy lights in it but ours aren't showing up well in my photo.  We had to thread white pompoms onto clear fishing twine to make the effect of the snow falling.  Sid was delighted when Granny found a remnant of green ric-rac for his lid. 😉

Also in the book were these Christmas Pinecone Owls.  Luckily I had some pinecones in my woodshed so we made one of these as well but chose not to spray paint our pinecone.  

I've covered Connor's face as I don't have his Mums permission to put his photo on the internet

Sid had been asking for a friend to come so we invited Connor, a boy from his class & such a sweet delightful boy.  Together they made a range of characters using cardboard loo roll tubes.  I googled & found * this * wonderful site for ideas.
  When I collected Sid from school this past week Connor came up to me in the playground & said "Granny - I've been saving my toilet roll tubes for the next time I come to your house".  What a perfect compliment 💙

My lovely friend Kiwikid Sue & her husband have been on a trip over to New Zealand & we arranged to meet up in Tirau for lunch.  I had wanted to give Sue a wee gift for her new (6 month old!!!) Grandson Finn - just a little handmade Kiwiana gift, so I sewed some bibs & a matching teething ring, then made a cat from a wool blanket in my stash. 
I pulled apart an old toy of Sid's & removed the rattle from inside it - then I stuffed the cat with the rattle inside & it sounded great.

My friend Carolyn has been up for 2 weeks dog-sitting for her son while he was overseas.  Carolyn wanted a chalk painting & decoupage lesson so we organised a painting day together last Saturday.  She painted the thrifted tray & bowl above & then I showed her how to decoupage them using paper serviettes.  She plans to gift these two items filled with baking. 

I had been working on this old saw that had belonged to my Dad - I bought it home in March when I emptied out the family home.  The Saw was rusty so I sanded this off & then coated it with Fishoilene which I found in The Mr's shed. 
Unfortunately the Fishoilene was still sticky after 5 days of sitting the saw by the fire.  I googled "fishoilene still tacky" & it suggested sprinkling talcum powder over it to remove the stickiness.  I figured I had nothing to lose so I sprinkled it liberally with talc & then shook the rest off onto the grass.  This certainly did the trick & took away any sticky residue.  While Carolyn was painting her woodware I painted Dad's Saw - 2 coats of black chalkpaint.

I wanted to gift the Saw to my Brother for his birthday - he is right into growing veggies but although I looked hard I could find no transfers or serviettes relating to this theme.  In the end I used offcuts of the Botanical transfer that I used on * this box * & was really pleased with the end result. 

  I have sprayed the saw with two coats of clear matt finish varnish as I think this will protect it well.  I especially love the detail on the wooden handle & will give this a couple of coats of wax before I gift it to him next month.  

Little One is fine & dandy & living his life to the fullest ......

He enjoys watching the birds out the dining room window as they eat the bread I toss to them.  We leave the door open for him to venture outside but he is still a little timid as yet & has only gone a handful of steps out.  Mind you, if you could see the face on the Ginger girl who guards the door, hissing, spitting & banging on the glass, you would think twice about venturing out too (!!!)

Little One is fixated with the front-loading washing machine & spends a great deal of time watching it agitate round & round.  He is also absolutely obsessed with the toilet ... the above funny appeared in my inbox this morning from The Mr. 😐
A funny thing I've noticed that he does ... when I use my grumpy voice to him, shake my finger & say No - he squints his blind eye at me several times as if to say "Well I am incapacitated you know!" 

Dear Pippi & Blackie have not become friends with him as yet.  I live in hope but I think that the website I read that stated "it can often take 8 to 12 months" was probably referring to Our Household!  He has been in the household for 9 1/2 weeks now & for those that were wondering - Yes I am counting!!  
The photo of Blackie is especially for you Willie my friend ... notice no leg-in-the-air today 😉  

Alec picked these few straggly daffodills yesterday when I had him here - we had really strong winds on Friday & these were almost flattened.  They make me feel that hopefully, spring is around the corner.

Thank you, as always, for your ever-welcome visits here today dear friends,

Wishing you all a Happy Sunday (I started this blog post 3 days ago now!!)

With much love & friendship to you all,

Julie & the furry ones x0x0x0

Sunday, July 9, 2023

A June Recap

 Greetings lovely friends & readers 

Even though we are now well into July,  it's time for a bit of a June recap. (warning - rather photo heavy)

We had a family day out to "the big smoke" of Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, about 2 hours north of us.  First we visited Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World.  I last visited here when my 2 sons were aged 4 & 8 years old & my brother took us all as a treat.  I had been wanting to take my 2 Grandsons for awhile now as I felt they were really good ages to enjoy it.

 The boys both loved it so much & all agreed their favourite of all was the Penguin enclosure.

Sid found a new friend 😉

Eldest son taking photo is not in pic

Next we drove into Mission Bay & had an early lunch at the Bald Eagle Diner.  This was fun & then a walk along the beach front back to our vehicles.

After lunch we visited the Auckland Museum & saw the Dinosaur Exhibition amongst other wonderful displays.  I took 98 photos of our day out so I have just tried to pick out a few special ones to share with you.

I loaned my dear friend Claire a Simply Vintage Magazine - the same copy I used to make this primitive pumpkin..  When she posted it back she included "extras"

The sweetest fabric pear & a matching miniature quilt in autumnal colours - she had sewn both items for me as a thank you for lending her the magazine.  Needless to say I have offered her several other copies Any Time She Likes!  😉

I completed an Order for my lovely friend Shirley for 4 lavender/lace coathangers along with some more Mothball sachets.  When I posted my Mothball sachet recipe on Instagram I received orders for 24 of them.

I celebrated another birthday in June - 63 years around the sun! Happy Birthday to Meee!  We had a family tea celebration planned but had to postpone due to Alec developing Whooping Cough, so youngest son Kayne came to visit me after work with Sid.  

We managed to have our postponed pizza dinner last night & my daughter-in-law made me the most delicious carrot cake 💝

With some birthday money I treated myself to this expensive-but-gorgeous book above.  You can buy it in New Zealand from * Here *.  I drool over the pages & want to make Everything in it!

When I cleared out Mum's house in early March I bought this old silver tray home with me - Mum used it to sit her toaster on for as long as I can remember.  I sanded the rust off,  chalk painted it & applied a sweet lavender transfer.  

It is school holidays here in New Zealand so I have been on Granny duties. I took both boys to Extreme Edge Rock Climbing last Thursday & they had a wonderful time until it got super busy with other kids.

They very much enjoyed the coin operated air hockey game. 

I let them choose where to go for lunch & of course they choose that old favourite McDonalds.  I didn't mind as I rather enjoy their fillet of fish burgers & fries. 

A Little One Update:

Well I would love to tell you its all going tickety-boo but unfortunately it is Not.  Little One is fine & living his best life but Blackie & Pippi are most unhappy & they have not learnt to get along yet - it's over 6 weeks now.   I tried tough love the other day whereby I shut Little One in the cage above right, & shut Pippi in the same room so that they could get to know each other through the cage but it was traumatic & the most traumatised of all was Me!  Having said all that I did read this online (read the highlighted part) & realise it is still very early days. So I shall persevere & in the meantime, continue to eat chocolate (!!!) 😐

Thankyou as always dear friends for stopping by today,

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead - remember to be kind to yourselves & to each other,

With much love & friendship to you all,

Julie & the (3) furry ones x0x0x